27 July 2013

The Wolverine

Wow.  I've found that I tend to rate movies more highly when I walk out of the theater, then with time the rating might drop when I start comparing it to other films I've seen.  What brought this up?  Well I've noticed that recently I've been giving movies perfect scores, and others in the past I don't understand how I could have rated them as high as I did.

Regardless, I think The Wolverine will withstand the test of time.  I think it's definitely in the same discussion as Man of Steel and Iron Man 3

The Wolverine is based on one of the best storylines from the comics, and overall I enjoyed this interpretation of it.  I liked some of the changes they made to the original story, but wish they could have left or fit other parts in.

Anywhoo, I just have a few comments, though this time they have major ***SPOILERS*** so be forewarned.
  • I've never been a fan of actress Famke Janssen, particularly as the character Jean Grey.  Perhaps she just didn't fit the preconception of the character I gleaned from the comics.  However, I thought she was okay, in this movie.
  • SPOILER WARNING, REDUX.  At one point Logan reaches in to his chest to remove a mechanical bug attached to his heart.  But since his entire skeleton is laced with admantium, how did he reach through his ribs?  Kind of awkward having to reach between with just his fingers (or claws) to rip out something apparently firmly clinging to his right ventricle.  Especially without anesthetic or assistance.
  • I'm okay with Logan losing his metal claws, though it is still puzzling.  I thought his bone claws were merely laced with admantium, not separate.  Though I guess the bone could have regrown/healed during the battle?  Pretty quick, even for Logan.
  • The whole 'two hands' to hold a sword felt a little gimmicky;  they put more screen time into the foreshadowing than the actual event required/deserved. 
  • I thought Mariko's ninja friend's change of heart happened a little too quickly/abruptly.
  • As soon as the metal samurai started moving, I kind of guessed where it was going in regards to the 'great reveal' at the end; so, in a sense it was predictable.
I actually think this movie was just as good if not better than Man of Steel, but I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm; this is a movie I'm definitely buying the BD (unlike ::cough:: that other solo Wolverine movie-  ugh.)

I rate The Wolverine 4.5 out of 5 stars.

15 June 2013

Man of Steel

Fortunately, I watched Man of Steel, today.  I say 'fortunately', because the cinema I normally go to for new movies isn't showing Man of Steel in 2D.  3D, yes.  IMAX, yes, and even a second type of 3D, but not 2D.  Anywhoo, I managed to find a cinema showing it in 2D, and there I went.

Man of Steel was definitely worth the time and price of the ticket.  Though once again, the movie started late.  At the 'official' movie start time, the cinema showed ten straight minutes of commercials -- not movie previews, and not the 'while you're waiting for the movie to start' fluff.  The movie previews came after the commercials.  I fear this is the new normal.

So, anyway... as I said above, Man of Steel is a good movie, perhaps even a great one.  Henry Cavill was great in his role, Amy Adams was good, as were all the other actors.  There were a couple things here and there that bothered me, but it's more nitpicking things, and occurred mostly in minor character scenes, though there was one bit I felt they could have explained more explicitly the antagonists' rationale for a human co-captive.

It's hard to compare Man of Steel with Iron Man 3 because while they're both superhero movies, they each have their own tone.  Iron Man 3 went for more laughs and silly stuff amidst the drama and action, while Man of Steel took on a more serious tone overall, the humour more subdued, or not so obviously deliberate and frequent.

Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that I liked how in Man of Steel I could recognize and sympathize with all the major characters' motivations, even that of the main antagonist, making him a slightly more tragic figure rather than a run of the mill power/money hungry cardboard villain.

Man of Steel, 5 out of 5 stars.

04 May 2013

Iron Man 3

I watched Iron Man 3, today.  Well worth the money, at least on 2D.  I've never been a fan of 3D movies so I saved a few dollars watching it the old fashioned way.  Iron Man 3 is much much better than Iron Man 2, and just as good as or even better than Iron Man.

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just make some general points:

  • I would have thought that most people would know to stay until the end of the credits for Marvel movies, but I'd estimate a little more than half of the audience left early and missed the last scene.  Having said that, significantly more people did stay for Iron Man 3 than I remember did for Iron Man.
  • One thing I did fine puzzling was how the main villain died, at the end.   Why did he die this time when he'd survived much worse?
  • Given Robert Downey Jr.'s contract with Marvel has now expired, this may have been his last turn as Tony Stark.  If this turns out to be true, I'll be disappointed, but also happy that Robert Downey Jr.'s run as Iron Man ended on such a high note.
  • Assuming Robert Downey Jr. is done playing Tony Stark, I wonder which is more likely, that Marvel 'reboots' the character of Iron Man (like Batman and Spiderman), or that Marvel maintains continuity and simply replaces the actor.  I'd lean towards the latter because of the way all the Marvel movies are linked together via The Avengers. Though right now I can't imagine anyone else in the role.  For now, at least, Robert Downey Jr. = Tony Stark.
Anywhoo, Iron Man 3 gets 5 out 5 stars.

19 December 2012

Sardines in a Tin Can

Air Canada announced that their new discount carrier, Rouge, will start in July 2013.  Big whoo, I thought, until I came across this bit in the article:

Rouge will also try to keep costs low by squeezing up to 20 per cent more seats into its planes. "The configuration on both the 767 and the A319 will be more dense than what we have at mainline Air Canada," Smith said.
What's that... more seats!? Is it standing room only?

Now, I haven't flown via Air Canada for a long time, for reasons I won't get into here, but the last time I remember the seating being more than somewhat scrunchy.  I shudder how to think they plan on stuffing 20% more passengers/seats on international flights to Europe and the Caribbean.

Printer Problems Solved?

My printer (Brother HL-5370DW) has been giving me headaches for the past year.  I thought the issue had been solved (see previous post), but inevitably it was only temporary, and the printer would without fail return to being 'offline'.  Ugh.

I think, now, though, I finally managed to discover the root of the problem, and hopefully (knock on wood), my printer will be headache free.  This post is primarily to put in one place the information I used so that should this irritating printer failure occur again I won't have to waste my time searching the internet once more.

Anywhoo,  I think the issue is that my computer was giving the printer a new IP address with every boot-up.  Why it started doing this a year ago when previously it hadn't still remains a mystery.  I blame a Windows update somewhere along the line.

  1. Press "Go" button on printer 3 times within 2 seconds to print "printer settings".  Check for IP address and "Boot Method" status.
  2.  If "Boot Method" status is "Auto", it needs to be changed to "Static".  To change Boot Method on Windows 7:  go to Control Panel -> Network and Internet --> View network computers and devices under Network and Sharing Center.  Right click on printer --> click 'view device webpage'.  Browser window should open, just like when accessing router settings.  Click on Network Configuration on webpage --> Configure TCP/IP under Wired (the printer is connected by network cable) --> change Boot Method to 'Static' --> click 'Submit' and exit.
  3. Next, go to Devices and Printers in Windows 7 --> right click on printer --> Printer properties --> Ports --> Add Port --> choose 'Standard TCP/IP Port' and then click New Port --> Wizard will pop up, click 'next' --> and under 'Printer name or IP address' type in the IP address of printer found in printer settings (see step 1) --> click 'next' then 'finish'.
  4. Confirm new port created by making sure the new port is listed under Ports, and check off the box next to it.  Choose this new port and click Configure Port --> make sure under 'Protocol' that the 'RAW' radio button is chosen.  Everything else should be default, eg. SNMP status is 'enabled' (Community name = 'public'; SNMP device index ='1').  Click 'OK'.
Whew.  All done.  Verify printer works, and uninstall old  printer.  Put hands together, close eyes, and, were I the praying sort, pray I never have to do this again.

Oh yeah.  Print out whatever I need to print before restarting computer.  Just in case.

24 November 2012

Breaking Bookstore Etiquette?

While browsing at a local bookstore, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a book scheduled for release in a couple days (according to multiple online stores) was already on the shelf.  I promptly grabbed a pristine copy and went to the check-out.  After the customary greetings, I asked:

"Are prices here the same as on your website?"

The obvious disappointment and sheer... depression (?) in response to my query made me pause.

"No.  Not necessarily."

I smiled in thanks and returned the book to the shelf, but wow... awkward.  Their reaction made we wonder if I'd committed a social faux pas of some sort. 

Sure, I suppose online book sales cut in to bookstore sales/margins, but this was their own company's website.  Heck, I just went online, ordered the book, and am having it delivered to that very same store for free shipping... oops.

I hope they don't recognize me when I pick it up.  

18 November 2012

On this Day: Twenty Minutes on the Road

Miscellaneous observations during 15-20 minutes on the road in the Land of Tim Hortons:
  1. A compact cutting in front of public bus.  Putting aside the risk to everyone on the bus, that's what... 1 800 kg versus 15 000 kg, or thereabouts?
  2. Automobile on left lane traveling 40 kph in 50 kph zone, and still moseying through a red light.  Heck, even cars traveling ahead of this one easily stopped for the light.
  3. Multiple drivers using one hand to talk on their mobiles.