Saturday, June 30, 2012

People Like Us review

Writers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci have written some high grossing tentpole movies. Their screenplays include Transformers (2007) and Star Trek. (2009) So it's interesting to see them along with Jody Lambert write the family drama, People Like Us. I mean has Michael Bay ever directed an indie drama? Anyway, the movie is based on true events and Kurtzman makes his film directorial debut.

People Like Us opens up with introducing us to Sam Harper, (Chris Pine) a slick New York businessman who buys and barters overstocked products. One of his deals gets him in trouble with his ruthless boss (Jon Favreau) and the Federal Trade Commission. He also has debts. But Sam has another problem. He returns to his home to find his angelic girlfriend, Hannah (Olivia Wilde), tell him that his father, Gerry Harper has died. Sam has been estranged from his record producing father for years.

Sam returns to Los Angeles for his father's funeral, and stays at the home of his mother Lillian. (Michelle Pfeiffer) We find out from her that Sam's father was not a good husband either. Still, she loved him. While in town, Sam learns that his father has left $150, 000.00 in cash to give to ane eleven year old grandson, Josh. (Michael Hall D'Addario) There's a twist here. Sam had no idea that he had a nephew or a sister. We find that his sister is a half sister, Frankie. (Elizabeth Banks)

Sam decides to find Frankie and Josh. Frankie is single mother and works as a bartender. She's also a former alcoholic whoe's struggling to make ends meet. She's also estranged from their mutual father. Josh is a precocious kid and is suffering from the effects of not having a father. The dilemma for Sam is that if he doesn't tell Frankie about the money, he could keep the money even thought it's dishonest.

In the movie, Sam has rules for life that he learned from his father. I've got some rules for films. So in the spirit of Sam's rules here are mine.

1. Trust your audience and curb the camera gymnastics. During the first hour of People Like Us, Director Kurtzman moves the camera relentlessly. There were whip pans, handheld camera shots and fast cutting. Kurtzman doesn't linger on a scene for more than five seconds. I got motion sickness.

Look, it's time to stop the need to use camera gymnastics to keep the audience's attention. We're not all teenagers with ADHD. People Like Us has a compelling story. There's no need for all that movement.

2. Don't put too many montages with soft rock songs. Putting soft rock songs with montages are momentum killers. You don't need a soft rock song to tell the emotions of the characters. It's especially corny when the lyrics of the song are used to convey the emotion in the scene.

There must have been about three music montages in People Like Us. The soft rock songs interfered with the audience's investment in the plight of the characters.

Now, it sounds like I hated People Like Us. Not really. The film finally worked when Kurtzman slows down the camera for a quiet night scene between Lillian and Sam as they sit on a bench overlooking Los Angeles. It works because we find that as much of a bum that Sam's father was, Lillian still loved the man. Life is complicated.

The dialogue in this movie rings true. People really do talk like that. They have financial problems. And with a title called People Like Us, I was a leery since the cast was so beautiful. But Michelle Pfeiffer gives Lillian the sadness the character needs. Chris Pine conveys a slick businessman then a person in search for his past. And Elizabeth Banks demonstrates she's a great actress. I know people like Frankie. They're survivors. Banks doesn't act like a Hollywood star. She feels real like a single mom trying to raise her son as a bartender.

If you can survive the camera gymnastics in the first hour of People Like Us, you'll find the last hour rewarding. Because the film is about the search for human contact. It's about the need for family. The grade is B +.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Voter ID laws equal voter suppression

In case you don't believe that voter ID laws are about voter suppression, a Republican finally admitted it. Pennsylvania House Leader Mike Turzai said GOP nominee Romney will win Pennsylvania because of its voter ID law. If it weren't so real and awful, it might be a plot for the bad guys in a bad movie. At least, Stephen Colbert can make a little joke of it. And by the way, he cites that there has been no instances of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. It's like that everywhere.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stephen Colbert mocks Justice Scalia

The other day, the United States Supreme Court struck down Arizona's immigration law. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented and argued states' rights allowed Arizona to regulate immigration. Stephen Colbert rips Scalia in a brilliant way. Wonderful sarcasm.
Here's Colbert's funny piece.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starts out with mild mannered insurance salesman Dodge Peterson (Steve Carell) in his car, listening to the radio. The DJ announces that the mission to stop an asteroid from hitting the earth has ended in disaster. The earth has twenty one days left. Armageddon this aint. By the way, the DJ tells the audience they will countdown the days along with the classic rock hits.

While waiting for the end, Dodge finds out that his neighbor Penny Lockhart (Keira Knightley) has been collecting his mail when it's been incorrectly delivered. He finds a letter from an old flame, Olivia, that professes her love for him. Dodge and Penny escape a riot and she convinces Dodge to find Olivia before the world ends.

There are no CGI asteroids heading to earth in Seeking a Friend, and no action set pieces of car chases or fighting off rioters with guns. This is a dark comedy. For a movie like this to work, it must have good writing, directing and acting. Seeking a Friend, has all three. And it's not just good, it's excellent. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria has written a screenplay that is humorous, smart and touching. All the jokes work because they are not way out of context. The dialogue feels real. Her direction is good because she knows her actors. She focuses on them when the drama requires it. Knightley is charming as the goofy Penny. And Steve Carell gives his Dodge a world weary facade. For a man known for his comedy, Carell demonstrates he can do drama as good as any actor alive. It's a bravura performance.

It's refreshing to see intelligent movies released during the summer. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World asks profound questions. How does one deal with the end of life? What defines civilization? It also raises big ideas. Finding love can happen at any time in a life. The grade is A.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My favorite part in "When Harry Met Sally ..."

I'm looking back at one of my favorite movies, "When Harry Met Sally ..." (1989) That's because Nora Ephron who wrote the screenplay for the film passed away yesterday.

My favorite moment is not what a lot of other people love about the movie. Most of the time they cite the fake orgasm scene in the delicatessen. That's hilarious. But my favorite scene is on one of the New Year Eve celebrations where Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) are dancing. You see it's so supposed to be platonic. But as they dance, they realize they're falling in love. And the song they are dancing to is "I Could Write a Book." Listen to the lyrics. It's about a story of two friends becoming lovers. Harry Connick Jr. does a wonderful version of it with full orchestra. Here's the song from the soundtrack. Thanks cyd007monica for the video.

Farewell Nora Ephron

Writer and director Nora Ephron passed away yesterday from leukemia. She was 71. She wrote screenplays from Silkwood (1983) to the delightful Julie & Julia (2009) which she also directed.

But her greatest work was her screenplay for When Harry Met Sally... (1989) It was an insightful look at how difficult it is for men and women to be platonic friends because the sex thing would get in the way. Funny in Woody Allen way but more romantic than Allen could ever be, it is a classic of cinema. I love the way the film combined rich jazz standards with New York, to create the ultimate romance. Farewell Nora. You will be missed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mass Effect 3-Priority: Rannoch, tips for Insanity

We continue our series on how to beat Mass Effect 3 on the Insanity difficulty setting. Today, we go over Priority: Rannoch. As we have done previously, we only go over the most difficult portions of the mission. My general tips for Insanity should cover the other parts of the mission.

1. Your class and weapons. I recommend Engineer. You have as powers, combat drones and a gun turret. But just as important as combat drones is Sabotage. You can hack a synthetic and he can attack your enemies.

My weapons are the M-97 Viper sniper rifle and the M-99 Saber. The Saber does great damage. And the Viper allows for kills without getting too close.

2. The squad. Tali is an engineer and has combat drones and sabotage. I arm her with the Graal Spike Thrower and the Scorpion pistol. I also choose Garrus. I arm him with the M-37 Falcon and Black Widow sniper rifle.

3. Tips for the hardest parts of Rannoch. The toughest parts of Rannoch come at the the end. It comes after you defeat a Geth Prime. You grab the elevator and confront three Primes.

a. The Three Primes. Right in front of you is a Spitfire. There is also one to the right near some crates. And there's one on the left. Grab the one in front of you. TAKE COVER.

Unload the Spitfire on the Prime. You didn't forget you're an engineer, did you? Unleash a combat drone. Get Tali to do the same. As soon as you can, deploy a gun turret. Okay, by now the Prime in front is on top of you. Run to the right. Get into cover. If you have to, sabotage a prime or its combat drone. Just remember you will have to deal with it once the spell wears off. Don't panic, stay in cover and move if you have to. But keep up with the launching of combat drones, and firing the Spitfire. Try to take them out one at a time. Don't spare the Medi-gel if one of your squadmates dies. If this is your third play through, you should have plenty. Eventually, you bring down all three Primes.

b. The Reaper. Okay, you've got to kill the Reaper by painting it with the targeting laser so the fleet can blast it. You must wait for the Reaper to show its big laser cannon to target it. You target it and two vertical bars begin to close. Once they close on the aiming target, the fleet fires.

The problem is that the Reaper is firing its laser at you. One hit and your dead. Here's what you do. Once the laser hits the ground in front of you, run. Running is more important than maintaining your lock. Why? The targeting laser remembers where you left off. After you hit the Reaper five times, it dies.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brave 3D Review

At the beginning of Brave, Pixar's newest animated film is a 3D trailer for Despicable Me 2. If you remember the first Despicable Me (2010), it was shameless in its use of 3-D or 3D. And it worked for that movie. The trailer emphasized the 3D with a hilarious use of a party favor by a yellow Minion. So, I was reminded of not so successful use of 3D by Pixar for the otherwise very good Toy Story 3 (2010) You see, Pixar's movies tend not to emphasize the 3D in what I call the snobby use of 3D.

Well, directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman seem to know that they were going to film and release Brave in 3D. There's depth. Objects feel like they push out of the screen. The grass looks like you can touch it. The forest has trees that makes the viewer feel as if he is there. Waterfalls throw droplets of water at you. Scotland never looked more beautiful. And yes, there is an occasional money shot where something comes at you. When you feel like you want to touch a Will- O'-the-Wisp, then the movie is special in 3D. I say if you're going to see Brave, then see it in 3D.

Brave is about a royal Scottish family circa 10th century. Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and King Fergus (Billy Connolly) are raising their family which consists of three young boys and a young woman named Merida. (Kelly MacDonald) Fergus has one handicap. He lost his leg to the gigantic bear Mor'du.

Elnor and Fergus have a duty for their daughter. They mandate that she must marry a prince from neighboring kingdoms to unite the land. Merida doesn't want to get married. However, she is allowed to choose the challenge for the suitors . It's an archery contest, a sport which Merida is an expert in. Merida enters herself in the competition which she wins handily. This angers Elinor who demands that Elinor fulfill her duty and choose a suitor. Merida flees to the forest where she meets a witch who agrees to change her fate. The witch creates a cake that will change Merida's fate by having mother eat it and hopefully change her heart. Instead, it changes Elinor into a bear. The rest of the movie deals with Merida's efforts to undo the spell.

It took four writers to create the screenplay for Brave. Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell
Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi all had a hand in the screenplay with a story by Chapman. This is a pretty simple tale. The movie is only one hour and thirty three minutes. Yet, The movie feels too long. Perhaps, it's the folk songs in the middle of the movie. I hate it when an animated movie throws in a bland pop rock ballad, at least Brave keeps the music Celtic. Additionally, the movie goes off on a tangent by having such a bizarre twist. Change your mother into a bear? It might not be family friendly but it might have been better to have Merida fight Viking invaders.

Still Brave has some funny moments. Like most Pixar animated movies, there's very little in the pop culture jokes. That's good. No cheap laughs here. It also has very loving moments. Merida is a fine model for feminism. She's a woman who wants to choose. She wants to choose her mate and her direction in life.

You could do worse at the multiplex when looking for a family film. Brave is a good family movie that tugs at your heart strings and entertains. The grade is B.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Colbert takes on crazy Republican gun conspiracies

You've heard the controversy over "Fast and Furious", the sale of guns to be tracked to Mexican drug lords. Gun-tracking goes back to former President George W. Bush. Now Republicans are saying this is President Obama's plan to end gun rights to American citizens. What the f..k?!!!

My head hurts. We need Stephen Colbert for comic relief on this topic. He also has fun with Ohio congressional candidate Joe the Plumber. Hilarious stuff.

Republicans get facts wrong

I've debated with conservative Republicans. And one thing I've noticed. They often get the facts wrong. Previously I've posted studies showing that conservatives engage in low effort thinking. Then there was a study of Fox News viewers as being the least informed.

Now comes a poll that shows how misinformed or wrong Republicans can be, at least when it comes to foreign policy. This poll done by Dartmouth showed that 63 per cent of Republicans believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in 2003. Really. After years of war, it was discovered that Iraq did not. Sixty four per cent have doubts of whether Barack Obama is an American citizen. And you think my calling some Republicans racist as liberal rantings.

So are conservative Republicans a bunch of cavemen? Well they don't like facts. They don't like science. See global warming. But I know this. If you get the facts wrong and make policy on your beliefs, people get killed. Women, minorities, liberals, moderates and independents must stop voting Republican.

Those Crazy Birthers, Part Twenty Nine

Folks, this is the face of the modern Republican Party. At the Montana Republican state convention, a Republican put up an outhouse. On it, there was Obama's birth certificate. Get it? It had a sign in it, that said something like this, "For a good time call Michelle. (Obama)" There were also bullet holes. I don't want to try to figure that one out. It might be somewhat frightening. Here's what Al Sharpton had to say about it.

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Colbert teases the Romneys' dressage love

Stephen Colbert has been teasing the Romneys love of dressage. Point? The middle class and poor cannot possibly relate to this sport which requires you to be very rich. Plus it's kind of goofy. It's about horses prancing and dancing. Let's check out Stephen Colbert's video from two nights ago and last week. And for a bonus. I've included a very funny interview with Olivia Wilde. She admits she also did some dressage. Very funny stuff.

Two days ago, Colbert discusses U.S. Dressage acknowledging his prior piece.

Olivia Wilde interview from the same night.

Jon Stewart channels Lord of the Rings

In order to explain how President Barack Obama will win and how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney might prevail, Jon Stewart channels The Lord of the Rings. And he's right. Obama must gather his army of voters of all races like Aragorn had to get all the races of men to defeat the armies of Mordor. And Romney is solidfying his base by getting the angry white man vote. Check out this funny Daily Show video.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Republicans have trouble with the word "vagina"

During a debate on a harsh anti-abortion bill in the Michigan House, Democrat Lisa Brown said this, "I'm flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina, but no means no." For that she got censored by the Republican controlled House. A little side note here. Republicans all want limited government. Former Republican President Ronald Reagan wanted government off the backs of the people. But when it comes to abortion, they want the government in a woman's um, vagina.

But I digress. Yesterday, playwright Eve Ensler. read her play "The Vagina Monologues" on the statehouse steps. Helping her was other legislators and Lisa Brown. Let's look at how ridiculous the Republicans are acting by a couple of very funny video pieces. First up, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. Then actress Kate Beckinsale does a funny fake commercial for Funny or Die.

Mass Effect 3-Priority: Horizon; Tips for Insanity difficulty

Here are some tips for Mass Effect 3-Priority: Horizon mission on the Insanity difficulty level. As per our series on Insanity difficulty, we'll just go over the hardest missions and parts. Before we begin, I suggest you read my basic tips for the Insanity difficulty level.

1. Your class and weapons. I suggest you play Insanity as an Engineer. You get a combat drone, and gun turret powers. My two weapons are the M-99 Saber assault rifle and the M-97 Viper sniper rifle. That combination keeps my power recharge speed in the blue.

2. Your Squad. I choose Tali. I give her the Graal Pike Thrower and Scorpion pistol. She has a combat drone. Now you have basically two extra squad members. Garrus is my second squad member. He gets the M-37 Falcon and the Black Widow sniper rifle.

3. Tips for the hardest parts of the mission.

a. General tips. Remember to keep your distance from enemies. Take them out from a distance. Stay in cover. Take down barrier generators or engines as a priority. If you must, fall back.

b. Sanctuary entrance. Okay, you're under attack when you approach the entrance to Sanctuary. Get into cover. There's a Nemesis on the platform in front of you. Then a Phantom jumps into the action.

Launch a drone at the Phantom. Focus on her. Once she's down, continue to stay in cover. Switch to sniper rifle and take out the Nemesis. Finish any stragglers.

c. Banshee and Ravager lab. This is the section after you get rushed by Husks. You see an ammo cache and turn into the long lab. Yikes. A Banshee and Ravager jump you. And they add Marauders for good measure.

Launch combat drones immediately. The Banshee heads for you. Focus your fire on her. If you have to, fall back. Keep moving if she gets a bead on you. If she grabs you, you're dead. You can also open the door to a chamber to the right. It will give you a little cover. Keep redeploying the drones and use the gun turret. Once she's down, hopefully the Ravager is weaken also. Take it on. Stay in cover and fall back if you have to. Finish off any infantry from afar.

d. Upper lab with the Ravagers. Once you climb up a ladder from where you claimed the Locust SMG, you enter a long lab. To your right is a section with cover but it is lower ground. To your left are support beams for cover. I go left. Immediately launch combat drones. Take out the sniper rifle and attack the Ravagers down the hall from a distance. Stay in cover. Make quick work of the Ravagers. You may have to fall back but remember there's very little room to fall back. Keep using your combat drones and gun turret.

Look for any barrier engine or generator. Destroy them. With all your allies, two combat drones and the squad you should be able to bring these guys down. I've tried this section with Liara and Garrus on Normal and it was hard. With the extra allies in the combat drones, this section is doable .

e. Upper lab with the Banshee and Brutes. You take the tram and enter this long lab. Okay, right away, a Brute comes to attack you at the door. Launch two combat drones at it. When it charges, jump to the left. Turn and unleash your Saber on it. You may wish to switch Tali to the shotgun if not already.

Okay, once it's dead, another Brute is close enough to attack you. Redeploy the combat drones. Hopefully, you squad will keep it at bay because down the hall is a Banshee and a Brute.

Once you see the Banshee down the hall, move to cover on the left. This lab is very similar to Ravager lab. Launch a combat drone at her. This will keep her busy. Take out your sniper rifle and shoot at her from a distance. Throw a gun turret in the middle of the hallway. Hopefully, your squad will have taken down the second Brute because here comes the Banshee.

If you've damaged her enough, switch to the Saber. Yeah, I know there's another Brute. But the Banshee is the priority here. If the Brute or Banshee gets too close, RUN TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAB. Keep moving if you have to. I beat the Banshee because I was able to pin her down with a combat drone. Then I weakened her with the sniper rifle. Then I switched to the Saber and finished her off. Once you take out the Banshee, if the last Brute is still alive, dodge and fire. Keep redeploying the combat drones. Eventually you bring him down. Combat portion done. Now if you romanced Miranda, go and save her.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mass Effect 3-Priority: Cerberus Headquarters, Tips for Insanity

We continue our series of tips for Mass Effect 3 missions on the Insanity difficulty setting. Again, we over the hardest parts. And if you haven't read my general tips, I recommend you do. Today's article covers Priority: Cerberus Headquarters.

1. Your class and weapons. I make my Shepard a engineer. Advantage is the ability to use combat drones and sabotage gun turrets. My main weapon is a M-99 Saber assault rifle. My second weapon is the M-97 Viper sniper rifle. That's because I want to keep my power recharge level in the blue.

2. Your squad. EDI is mandatory. I give her M-12 Locust and the Scorpion pistol. My second squad member is Tali. She gets the Graal Spike Thrower shotgun and Scorpion pistol.

3. Tips for the mission.

a. Shuttle Bay. You are under attack immediately by infantry. And joining the fray is an Atlas. Okay, get into cover immediately. Get in cover behind your shuttle. Watch out for fighter launches. Launch combat drones. If you have to, sabotage the Atlas. You eventually kill everything except for a Nemesis on the upper platform. Snipe her.

Go upstairs and shut down Cerberus' plan to vent the shuttle bay. Fight your way and reposition the fighter. Then launch the fighter towards the back wall.

Get in cover because an Atlas barges through the opening. Now this is important. The platform above the hole you made, has two soldiers. One for each ladder that they are going to climb down. If you don't kill these guys ASAP, they will each climb into an Atlas stored in the walls. You will face three Atlases. Yikes. But if you nail these guys, you only face the original one.

b. The sublevels. The important thing you have to remember for the sublevels is to destroy shield generators. You don't have to wipe every one. But there will be a shield generatory that will make a gun turret invulnerable.

Keep your distance. Sabotage gun turrets. Launch probes. Eventually you complete thses levels.

c. The Human Reaper catwalks. The big thing here to remember is this. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Take out the Phantoms, Nemesises and soldiers from a distance. Use your combat drones.

A couple of interesting things here. If you fail to complete the Grissom Academy mission, Jack shows up as a Phantom. You end up killing her. Or if you sold Legion to Cerberus in Mass Effect 2, Legion shows up as a sniper. Video below.

d. Kei Leng Battle. Keep your distance from Kei Leng and keep firing at him with your Saber. Use Tali's drones to keep other enemies who join the fray. Deploy your gun turret. Stay in cover. And if a Phantom come close, blast her. Eventually you defeat him. Combat portion over.

If you give Legion to Cerberus in Mass Effect 2, you face him on the catwalks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog at Weiner's Circle, Chicago

Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog comes to the rescue of actor Jack McBrayer when he gets dissed at Chicago's Weiner's Circle. Hilarious stuff.

It's Sinatra Time

The Cincinnati Reds have just swept the New York Mets in a three game series by beating them today, 3-1. You know what Frank Sinatra would say. If you can make it in New York, you're going to make it anywhere. Well, maybe the Reds can make it anywhere. World Series anyone? Here' the story of the game. And here's Frank.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hysteria Review

In today's movie landscape, summertime is for cinematic tentpoles. Big action. Brand names. Superheroes. So it's hard to find in the season a romantic comedy. Make that even rarer to find a Victorian era romantic comedy. But like a blast of cool air over a hot summer evening, comes Hysteria.

Hysteria takes place in 1880 England. Dr. Mortimer Granville, played by a charming Hugh Dancy, is an idealistic physician. He believes in modern science not the useless medical practices of the nineteenth century. His beliefs get him fired from a hospital and he finds work with an older physician, Dr. Robert Dalrymple. (Jonathan Pryce) Dalrymple's practice is to treat women with what is called hysteria. It's described as depression and muscle cramps. The treatment? Um, the doctor manipulates the woman's vagina. If done by a single woman, it's what we call masterbation.

Dalrymple is impressed with Mortimer. So much so that he wants him to marry his youngest daughter, Emily (Felicity Jones) and eventually take over his practice. Crashing into Mortimer' life is Dalrymple's older daughter, Charlotte portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal who again does a credible English accent. (See Nancy McPhee Returns) She's a feisty feminist who runs a settlement house. But it's Mortimer's success that leads to his revolutionary invention. You see, Mortimer has so many patients that his hand gets sore. Of course, if you looked like Hugh Dancy, you probably wouldn't have trouble with getting female patients. Anyway, one day while visiting his friend, Lord Edmund St. John-Smythe, played by a very funny Rupert Everett, Mortimer comes across an idea to use a vibrating contraption to stimulate a woman's vagina. Voila. It's the birth of the vibrator.

Jonah Lisa Dyer, Stephen Dyer and Howard Gensler have created a script loosely based on real events. As there was a Mortimer Granville who invented the vibrator. And the type of feminism that Charlotte displays did exist in the nineteenth century. See the Seneca Falls Convention. (1848) While there are broad moments of comedy, the writers keep the comedy grounded in the times. And the film has some serious fish to fry. Issues such as socialism and the inability of men to understand women are presented. Director Tanya Wexler does an excellent job of making every shot look like a million bucks. It's an England of stark contrast of poor versus rich. Yet, the country is beautiful to look at. She also expertly stages the comic set pieces.

Hysteria is a delightful romantic comedy. It's witty, warm and smart. The grade is A.

Jon Stewart interviews Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jon Stewart rips Governor Rick Scott

The other day Jon Stewart of the Daily Show ripped Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.) for supporting voter suppression laws. Usually, Jon is not this harsh. But let's face it. The Republicans are trying to win the fall elections by suppressing Democratic votes. These laws designed to stem voter fraud affect minorities. Many of these minorities are Democrats. Check out The Daily Show's feature on this.

Mass Effect 3: Priority: Earth Tips for Insanity

With this first article, I'm going to give tips for the Insanity difficulty setting of Mass Effect 3. Now, I'm not going to go over every mission and every part of a mission. I'm going to go over the hardest parts.

I'm going to start with the hardest and last mission of Mass Effect 3 on Insanity. It's Priority: Earth. This is the mission where you fight on the streets of London, England. Before we begin, you should check out my general tips for playing the game on the Insanity difficulty level.

Before you deploy.

Your squad. I chose Garrus. I arm him with the M-37 Falccon and the Black Widow sniper rifle. I also add Tali. She gets the Graal Spike Thrower and Scorpion pistol. Remember that she has the combat drone power. That's like adding another squad member.

Your class. I hope you've taken my advice and are an Engineer. Your combat drone will add another squad member. You have a gun turret power. And you also have Cryo Blast.

Your weapons. I bring the M-99 Saber. I also equip a sniper rifle, the M-97 Viper because it's light. You might want to use a more powerful sniper rifle. Just remember the greater the weight, the longer it takes to recharge your powers.

Part One.

a. The Beach.

As the shuttle doors open to deploy you on the beach, you are under fire. Immediately, deploy combat drones from the shuttle. Hit the beach. Now look to your right. There's a fallen concrete beam. Look to your left, there's another. Seek these for cover.

You'll notice a stairway which leads to a plaza. You can't go up the stairs yet. Too many bad guys. But notice on the stairs to the left that there is a gap in the wall of the stairs. Head there.

Get to the gap and hunker down. You got a flanking position on the Reaper forces. Use the gap to deploy combat drones, and a gun turret. Take shots at them. If a grenade comes your way, move down to the beach and cover.

Patience. Keep deploying combat drones and turrets when they get destroyed. Ammo is sparce at this section so keep using your tech powers to reduce the enemy strength. Cryo blast is also helpful. Eventually, you get the enemy forces down so you can move up to the plaza.

b. The Plaza.

Once you're on the plaza, you come under attack. There are Marauders and Cannibals up here. Get under cover. Take out your sniper rifle and reach out and kill somebody. Okay. You get a warning that there are Brutes. Take these guys out first. Use combat drones and your other powers to help bring them down. Fall back if you have to.

Eventually you clear the plaza. Restock on ammo lying around. There's some in open room next to the ramp. Save your game. Move up the ramp to the shuttle crash site.

c. The Crash Site.

This upper level plaza is a maze of rubble of what's left of a building. When you get up here, you're under attack from Cannibals and there's a Ravager to the right. Get into cover behind some broken walls. Use combat drones to help you clean up the area. Now take out your sniper rifle and from cover, kill the Ravager.

Jump over a gap to reach the crashed shuttle. Remember this gap. There are two
M-920 Cains. Use one to destroy the Hades Cannon. Get the other Cain. Position your squad behind you. The Cain can kill your people too. Get ready for the Banshee.

The Banshee. When the Banshee appears, kill her with the Cain. Now it's quite possible to miss her. She's skinny from all the dieting and not a fat target. ;-) Now what? Launch combat drones on her. And unleash your Saber on her. Now this upper plaza is small. It doesn't take long for her to walk on top of you. Avoid her Biotic blasts too.

Remember the gap. You can fall back by jumping over it. That will give you more room to fight her. I actually fell back all the way to the top of the ramp from the plaza below. That's when I finally brought her down.

Now take out the Cannibals who have congregated by the downed shuttle. Okay. Move back over to the area where you found the Cains. Take cover. Cannibals are advancing from the same area where the Banshee came from. Move if you have to. Watch out for grenades. Keep deploying combat drones and gun turrets. Once the escape shuttle arrives, run for it. Don't worry about killing every enemy in sight. Once you enter the shuttle, this portion of the mission is over.

Part Two.

I'm going to give general advice for No Man's Land. Since this first section of Part Two is doable.

a. No Man's Land.

After you say your goodbyes and give your "command the room" speech, you head out for the Reaper Destroyer and Citadel transport beam. Generally, get into cover right when you spot the enemy. Don't rush into rooms. Use your combat drones and gun turrets to kill and flush out bad guys.

The bosses you face in No Man's Land are Brutes, a Ravager, a Harvester, and a Banshee. As for Brutes, keep your distance and move aside when they charge. Kill the Ravager from a distance. Ditto for the Harvester. Stay under cover when doing so. The Banshee appears after you kill or force the Harvester to retreat. Unleash combat drone on her and move back if you have to. And if Reaper infantry gives you hard time take them out quickly after the Harvester goes down.

b. The Missile Battery.

You've reached the missile batteries. This is the toughest part of the mission. This area of London is a cross shaped intersection of streets. The stem or what I call Main Street has the two batteries. I'll say going north is toward the Reaper Destroyer. The stems of the cross is divided into a left street which is left flank or what I will call West Street and the other street on the right which I will call East Street. At the southern corner of Main and West is shop that has ammo, medi-Gel and a Hydra Missile launcher. At the opposite side of Main is another shop with ammo.

i. The First Wave. When you arrive, you must clear out the enemy forces. Stay in cover and be careful. Use all your powers to defeat the Reapers. Activate the missile controls.

ii. The Second Wave. These Reaper infantry come from the north on Main Street. Stay in cover and take down as many as you can. Because another group arrives from West Street. Keep moving to cover. Use your combat drones and other powers to destroy them.

iii. The Third Wave or the This Sucks Wave. You get word that your left flank is going to be overrun. Okay run to the beginning of West Street. There should be a fallen concrete column that your squad can use for cover. I place Tali in the West Street shop. I keep Garrus with me at the column. I rip out my sniper rifle. Facing west or the left flank, I watch Cannibals and Marauders come down off the wall. At the top of the wall, in the distance, I see the first Banshee. Unleash sniper fire on her even if you don't get her barrier and armor level signal. When you do, you will find out that she has been damaged by your shots.

The Banshee hits the ground on West Street. She'll probably head for Tali. Switch Tali to the shotgun. While she's heading toward Tali, launch combat drones at her. In the meantime, watch out for the infantry firing on you. Anyway, you should switch to the Saber. Let her have it. If she makes a biotic dash to your position, MOVE. Okay, now here's the hard part. Another Banshee joins the fray.

If you're in trouble, move to East Street. There's a sink hole where you can take cover. Deploy a gun turret in the center of the intersection to give you some covering fire. Continue to attack the weakest Banshee. If anybody dies, use your Medi-Gel, you should have at least twelve due to the third play through.

If you get breached on East Street, run north to towards the Destroyer. It's not interested in you at the moment. This is a good position because you've got a good, narrow kill zone. Continue to deploy combat drones if any of the previous ones are destroyed or out of place. Eventually, with your running about, you bring down the Banshees. Be careful and finish off the rest of the infantry. Whew.

Go fire the first missile. Of course it misses. And you are told more enemy troops are headed your way. EDI needs time to target the last battery. And the Destroyer must be moved closer so now it can fire its big laser at you. What?!

iv. The Fourth Wave. First, you face about three Brutes. You know what to do. Launch combat drones to hurt and distract them. Fire your Saber. Keep moving. Keep moving. Run and gun. Stay in the south part of the area. After you take down about two of the Brutes, a Harvester appears.

Run to the West Shop. Grab the Hydra. And blast the Harvester. Even if you miss, which I did, you can still bring down the Harvester with conventional weapons and powers. Once it's down, the music changes. And now the Reapers unleash Banshees on you. And they throw in Marauders.

Here's what you have to do. Survive. Keep moving. Don't stay in the open. Stay away from North Main Street because the Destroyer's laser will kill you. Keep launching combat drones. Once EDI says you can fire the missile, run like hell to it. Activate. Congratulations. You've just finished ninety five percent of the combat for this mission.

Part Three.

If you've played this before, you know what happens. You make a mad dash for the transport beam. You get blasted and are injured. You wake up, about close to death. You have a pistol. You get up and walk to the beam.

This is where I almost threw my controller at the TV. Three husks rush you. And on Insanity, they are stronger. Body shots knock them down. If you can land a head shot, you get treated to a head exploding. If you survive, you move forward. You fall down. You know what is next.

It's that Marauder with shields. Only on Insanity, he's stronger too. On Normal difficulty, he's hard to bring down. That's because you have trouble aiming and have very little health. I've read you should try to aim for his body. Knock him down and then continue firing until he's dead.

Or you could do it the easy way. Yangineer 29 posted this on YouTube. Go to the far right and hug the overturned vehicle. Then when the Marauder fires at you, you can go behind the broken wall and use that for cover. The Marauder has trouble targeting you. You kill him easily.

Congratulations. You are now done with the combat portion of this mission. Now go up to the Citadel and end the Reapers' extermination.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stephen Colbert and the Banana Bunker

Stephen Colbert goes over the new product called "The Banana Bunker." Goofy fun.

The Amazing Martin Sheen Interview

Stephen Colbert interviews actor and liberal activist Martin Sheem who's playing Uncle Ben on "The Amazing Spider-Man." Colbert gets Sheen to crack up and show his suit jacket trick.

Colbert goes crazy over Prometheus

Stephen Colbert is a science fiction fan. Here he geeks out over the film, Prometheus.

Colbert on Vatican criticism of American nuns

Last night, Catholic Stephen Colbert discussed the Vatican's criticism over American nuns. The problem? They spent too much time addressing issues like helping the poor. You know, social justice. I'm sure right-wing nut juob, Glenn Beck would agree. Here are his funny pieces with Sister Siomone Campbell.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Romney goes for the white vote and gaffes along with Obama

President Barack Obama gaffes about the private sector struggling. Then Republican, Mitt Romney, gaffes about the need for firefighters, policemen and teachers. Romney follows with an ad that features only white people in the background. Folks, you have to look hard to find video without people of color. Welcome to the Southern Strategy, part 2. Jon Stewart and the Daily Show had a lot of fun with it.

Bill Maher criticizes Occupy Wall Street

Bill Maher on Friday's Real Time criticized Occupy Wall Street and made fun of them for their goofy ways of trying to change America. He actually gives them some good advice. Get active in the political process. Check out his New Rule. I've also posted the video for you. Very funny stuff.

Jon Stewart "drones" on

Last week, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show went over the use of drones to kill terrorists; domestic use and the Catcopter. Watch how he skewers Fox News paranoia of the EPA's use of drones. Here's the piece, "Game of Drones." Funny stuff.

Mass Effect 3; Tips for the Insanity Difficulty Setting

I've just finished Mass Effect 3 on the Insanity difficulty setting. I did it on the XBOX and I'm pretty sure these tips will probably cross all platforms. By doing so, I got the Insanity Achievement and 75 gamer points.


a. Class Warfare

When you import a Mass Effect 2 (that's two) game or start the game without importing one, you are given the choice of selecting a class. This is important because you cannot import a prior Mass Effect 3 (that's three) game and change the class. Another factor that you must consider is that now you can use any weapon. For example, in previous games, an Adept could not use a sniper rifle. Now an Adept class can. It only affects weight and your ability to use Biotic-Tech powers consecutively.

And the class you should choose is Engineer. First, you have two powers effective against shielded and armored enemies. Overload takes on shields and barriers. Incinerate is effective against armor and health.

But there's more. You have one of the most useful powers in the game. Combat Drone. It's like having an additional squad member. It will attack a target. After that target is dead, it will roam the battlefield looking for other enemies. This is a power that you should upgrade to the maximum level.

But there's much more. You can deploy a gun turret. And it can be deployed while your drone is wrecking havoc. And get this. At the highest upgrade level, it can fire rockets. Finally, you get Sabotage. It can hack Geth, even with shields, and turn them into your ally. What about those pesky enemy gun turrets? Use this power and turn those gun turrets against your foes. It also can mess with organics' guns. Getting nailed by an Atlas? Freeze his guns. The Engineer may not be as flashy and fun as say an Adept, but because he's effective against all enemies, he's the best choice.

b. Play Mass Effect 3 at least once, preferably twice on Normal before starting Insanity. When you complete Mass Effect 3 once and import that save, you get distinct advantages. The second play through gives you the credits, talent points and powers obtained from the first time going through the game. You also get all the weapons, mods and upgrades you've earned from the first play through. So you can start out the second play through with the M-99 Saber, i.e. once you get to a weapons bench. You also get the amount of Medi-gel that you earned from the previous play through for each mission.

But the playing through gives you other advantages. After the second play through, you're probably going to be at level sixty in terms of talent points. That's the maximum. On this third play through at Insanity, your weapons can be upgraded to level 10, from the start of the game. Level 10 is the maximum You'll notice during the second play through, you could only get up to level seven until you picked up the same weapon during the game. So, the M-99 Saber cannot get to level 10 until late in the game since that's when it was recovered. Still, it's is worthwhile to use the Saber even at level seven.

c. Manually choose to use a teammate's powers and manually level up. This is the usual way to play on any difficulty setting. This way you can direct your squad's powers against a particular foe.

d. Enable the Auto Save feature. The Auto Save feature saves your games at points where you manually can't. I mean you can still manually save your game but there are points where it preserves the game saving you from having to play through a difficult stretch again.


a. Weapons. With Mass Effect 3, you can carry any weapon. The downside is that it effects the speed of which you can use consecutive powers. I try to stay on the positive end of the spectrum with the power recharge speed.

That being said, the weapons I usually pack are the M-99 Saber assault rifle and the M-97 Viper sniper rifle. The Saber packs a lot of punch and is semi-automatic. On lower difficulty levels, it demolishes targets. On Insanity, it may not but it causes a lot of damage on enemies. The Viper is a light sniper rifle that may not deal as much damage as other sniper rifles but it won't send your power recharge speed into negative numbers.

b. Armor. Yeah, I know some of you like a clean look when you see your character. Well, you want to live, don't you? So, upgrade your armor from the stores at the Citadel. Or buy armor suits. My Shepard looked like he had stuff growing on him.

c. Default Squads. There are some that say Liara and Garrus should be the default squad but I differ because of powers and weapons. I have two sets. Remember you can upgrade their weapons and they have unlimited ammo.

i. Garrus and James. Garrus can overload shields and barriers. He has unlimited amount of proximity mines and armor piercing ammo. James best power is Carnage which is big ol'biotic blast.

But why these two? Both can carry assault rifles. That means they can carry the M-37 Falcon. It's a grenade launcher with a lot of punch. When you have a squad firing these babies, bad guys start falling. Other choices other than James are Ashley and Javik. But Ashley is gone for half of the game, and you might not have bought the DLC, "From Ashes." I give Garrus, the Black Widow sniper rifle as his second weapon.

ii. Garrus and Tali. Once Tali becomes available, I choose her to pair with Garrus. I give her two kick ass weapons. The Graal Spike Thrower shotgun. It's a vicious weapon with maximum damage up close. And for distance, she gets the Scorpion pistol which fires sticky grenades.

But Tali's biggest asset is the Combat Drone. Now with your Combat drone and hers you can have two extra squad members. She can also sabotage turrets. You can kill enemies without having to fire a shot.


a. Know your enemies. On Insanity, enemies have stronger shields, armor and health. The are more aggressive in flanking you. And they rain down a torrent of fire. Staying out in the open is suicide.

b. Fools rush in. Do not rush into the middle of the battlefield. The enemy will kill you in seconds. There might be exception but I can't think of any right now. You should do the following.

c. Seek cover. And fire from cover.

d. If possible take the high ground. Firing from an elevated position gives you an advantage.

e. Move and fall back if you have to. If you're about to get overrun, move. Fall back if you have to. Going toe to toe in a melee battle usually gets you killed since the other bad guys will shoot you dead once exposed.

f. Take out Engineers and charging enemies first. During a fight with Cerberus troops, take out Engineers first. They deploy those annoying gun turrets which can kill you in a few seconds. Charging enemies are also a priority. Yes, husks are easier to dispatch but they can flush you from cover. Bosses like the Atlas, Brutes and Banshees can get on you in a hurry. Banshees have a biotic dash so they deserve most of the attention.


I'm an average player. And I've completed Mass Effect 2 and 3 on Insanity. I found Mass Effect 3 on the Normal difficulty setting to be hard. So, I wasn't feeling up t the task to try it on Insanity. But I played Mass Effect 3 on Insanity and did all of the above. Because you're starting with better weapons and powers, it's actually easier on Insanity than Mass Effect 2 on Insanity. Though there are a couple missions where I almost threw my controller at the TV. That's going to happen with any videogame at the highest level.

Anyway, follow my tips. I'm confident that you will beat the game on Insanity like I did.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Star Trek and Prometheus

Okay, you've seen Prometheus. (2012) And if you know something about Star Trek, it covered two subjects in Prometheus. Did Star Trek beat Prometheus to the punch? The answer is yes. There are two Star Trek stories that deal with the same subjects before Prometheus.

1. The search for our creator. One subject in Prometheus is the question of who created us. The two archaeologists Shaw and Holloway are searching for the Engineers. It's their belief that the Engineers created us.

The film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), covers a similar story. Spock's brother Sybok searches for God.

2. Did aliens seed earth with human DNA? The question of whether aliens seeded earth with human DNA is answered at the very beginning and the middle of Prometheus. Not only does the movie state this but the alien race is humanoid.

During the sixth season (1993) of the TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was an episode called "The Chase." (Image from episode above.) An archaeologist named Galen (Norman Lloyd) discovers a code in the DNA of various life forms. He gets killed. So Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) takes the Enterprise all over the galaxy to find the meaning of the code. It's a program that projects an ancient humanoid alien who tells us that her race seeded the planets with their DNA. The purpose? The species that evolved would be a monument to the alien race's existence.

By the way, "The Chase" was penned by Joe Menosky and Ronald Moore. It is one of my favorite TNG episodes. It is perhaps the most Roddenberryesque of the series.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prometheus 3D Review

Director Ridley Scott has hinted that his new film Prometheus contains elements of his 1979 classic Alien. If you have seen Alien and Prometheus, you would find out he wasn't lying. But all you have to do is watch the trailer to realize this. There's a scene where we see an alien space jockey contraption that looks exactly like the one in Alien.

Prometheus starts out in the past on an unnamed planet, that could be earth. A space ship is seen. There's a humanoid standing before a waterfall. He drinks a liquid and it causes him to get sick. He falls into the water, and disintegrates, leaving his DNA.

The film then moves to the future. It's the late twenty first century. Archaeologists and lovers, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover an ancient cave painting. It's a star map which they interpret to be an invitation to visit from aliens like the one above whom they call Engineers. They believe that mankind was created by them. The film then flashes forward to the starship Prometheus. It has been built by the Weyland Corporation to explore the planet found by Shaw and Holloway. Its pilot is Janek (Idris Elba). The whole mission is overseen by Meredith Vickers. (Chalize Theron) Also onboard is the android David. (Michael Fassbender) As Prometheus lands, the scientists discover an alien structure. It contains dead humanoid aliens and other lifeforms. The lifeforms are definitely not the friendly ones we saw in Close Encounters of a Third Kind.

"LOST" in Space.

The performances in Prometheus are very good. Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green are enthusiastic scientists on a search for the mysteries surrounding the star maps. Charlize Theron gives Vickers, a cold corporate veneer. But it's Michael Fassbender's David that is the most interesting. Fassbender is always excellent. (X-Men: First Class) His challenge is to play an advanced android, one who is not human but mimics emotion. It's daunting because he has to add an artificialness to the character. Fassbender does this and makes David a fascinating character.

Ridley Scott has always been a director whose visuals in a film define his artistry. (The Duelists, Gladiator) But his stunning visuals here don't overwhelm the action. Scott expertly stages the action scenes and makes the audience feel as if they are there for the terror. Of course, he's helped by CGI which is used to horrifying effect.

As for the 3D version of Prometheus, one would think the medium would be perfect for Scott. And if you're going to release a movie in 3D, film it in 3D. Scott did. The result is that unlike many 3D films, there's no problem with lighting. Some live action scenes have depth and that cool popping effect. The problem is that Scott uses the snobby approach to 3D. That is, he doesn't really emphasize it or hurl things at you. He uses it in a more subtle way. The best scenes are the ones where computer holographs are displayed aboard the ship. These shots have pop. But if a director is going to film in 3D, he should use it. Place objects in foreground and background. Prometheus is not Hugo. (2011) Still, I found it interesting enough to recommend the 3D version.

Of course, movies are not just visuals. They tell a story. And here's where Prometheus has problems. The screenplay was written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. But I detect Lindelof's presence all over the screenplay. First, let me just say there are some dumb moments for the characters. Examples include Shaw convincing a crew member not to bring weapons. Yeah, that's a contrivance so the humans can be turned into fodder. Then while in the alien structure, the humans take off their helmets. Huh? What about catching an alien cold? Not so smart.

But recall that Lindelof was show runner and writer for the TV series Lost. He has a fear of midi-chlorians. (Entertainment Weekly, 2-5-10, pg. 31) You see screenplay writers cite the explanation of the Force caused by midi-chlorians in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) as overexplaining a plot point and weakening the story. The result is that I see writers doing less and less exposition in film.

If you've seen Lost, particularly the final seaosn, many of those mysteries that they've heaped on you weren't explained. And that's the problem with Prometheus. There are questions that the screenplay refuses to answer. These leave huge plot holes. What are David's motivations for his actions? What are the Enggineers' motivations? Prometheus refuses to answer these questions. At the end of the movie, I screamed, "Oh, Damon." Look, I don't want all the answers. You don't need to explain to me who created the alien humanoids for example. But in a film with the resources in place to explain questions raised, it should answer them. And you better pay attention for the sparce exposition that Prometheus does give you. It happens very fast. Hint: Janek has a couple of important lines.

Prometheus is thought provoking. It's fascinating, horrifying, exciting and confounding. It demands a sequel just to answer some of the questions. If it stands alone, this film has deep flaws. The grade is B.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Colbert talks about America's best export

Stephen Colbert goes over Japanese diet glasses, America's best export and the Dead Catcopter. As far as America's best export, all I can say is "USA, USA, USA." Enjoy his Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger segment. Hilarious.

Take heart Wisconsin Democrats

Wisconsin Democrats, you're probably hearing that that this is the end for unions. The right-wing has billions to crush you. Before you give up, let me remind you of this. You got Governor Scott Walker recalled. He had to fight to keep his job. And he knows you are there to fight for your rights. In any war, there are lost battles. Regardless, the recall race for one of the four state Senate seats looks like it might go to Democrat John Lehman. That would change the Senate to a majority of Democrats. So keep up the good fight, working people of Wisconsin.

Here are the words of Michael Moore.

"Lose a battle here & there, but trust me we'll win the war. History proves
one thing: The good guys sooner or later win. Hate cannot sustain."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Colbert's interview with Congressman John Lewis

Stephen Colbert let down his guard a little last night. During an interview with Congressman and pioneer civil rights leader, John Lewis (D-Georgia), he went out of character to reveal that his mother marched for civil rights. Colbert seemed genuinely touched during his interview.

Colbert mocks anti-science Republicans

Republicans in North Carolina want to pass a law that would deny scientific evidence of climate change. It would make it illegal to consider sea level rises due to global warming. I'm not making this stuff up. This is great stuff for Stephen Colbert to lampoon. Check out his funny and smart video.

Goodbye Pedro Borbon

I'm a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan. And I remember the Big Red Machine teams of the seventies. A big piece of those teams was reliever Pedro Borbon. Yesterday, he passed away. He pitched for the Reds from 1970-1978, and had a rubber arm. He could go virtually every day, giving you two innings. And more importantly, he kept the Reds in games. I remember a fun guy to watch who made you smile. Here's an excellent eulogy from John Erardi of and the Cincinnati Enquirer. God bless you, Pedro.

The Republican Party "has been captured by the extreme right, " says Republican lawmaker

This politician may not be national leader but what he says about today's Republican Party is true. His name is John Savage and he's a state representative of Rhode Island. He's also a Republican. Make that a former Republican. Elected in 1999, today he quits the party because of its extremism and becomes an independent.

His words hit a bullseye on the nation's political landscape. Savage said this,

“I think the republican party or a good segment of it has been capture by the extreme right, the Tea Party and I’m in disagreement with many of their positions and I did not want to be associated or affiliated with that element of the party, I feel they are way to the right and I want to be more to the center and independent [.]”

He added,

“I’m saying yes, we have to move away from our extreme positions we have to work with each other. We have to be willing to compromise to move forward and get things done [.]”

Mitt Romney is gutless

Yesterday, Rachel Maddow sent a question to Republican presidential Mitt Romney whether he would support the Paycheck Fairness Act which is up for a Senate vote. Now the Paycheck Fairness Act would force employers to justify why they would pay a woman less money than a man for the same work. His campaign would only say to Maddow, it supports pay equity for women but they would not answer the question.

You know why Romney won't answer this question. Because it's likely the Republican Party is against it. And if he's against it, he will sound anti-women. It's just gutless not to answer the question. It's the same cowardice that Romney demonstrates when he enables super rich guy Donald Trump on his racist birther fantasies.

Here's Rachel Maddow's piece. The Romney campaign's answer to Maddow's question is almost comical but ultimately pathetic. Also included is her interview with Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Media Matters debunks Fox News' anti-Obama video

On May 30, 2012, Fox & Friends aired a video that was supposed to capture the last four years under President Barack Obama. Instead of an objective look at the last four years, it made all the facts indicate that Obama's tenure was a disaster. There were no positive moments for Obama in the video. It came across as a propaganda piece for conservative Republicans. It was so unprofessional that Fox News scrubbed it from its website.

Media Matters posted a piece on the inaccuracies in the video. Here's the debunking by Media Matters.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Battleship" sinks like a frozen turkey

In the May 25, 2012 issue of Entertainment Weekly (EW) , the number one on the "Must List" is the movie Battleship. EW called it a "surprisingly complex action movie." (Page 9) I wrote that Battleship was dumb and gave it a grade of D. It was so bad that I compiled a list of the dumb moments in the movie. I called it one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen. Yet, Lisa Schwarzbaum of EW gave it a B+. By the way, she's an excellent critic. But I'm guessing that everybody at EW was stoned when they saw it. I kid. I kid.

The reason why I'm right and EW is wrong is this admission. According to this Yahoo article, Comcast chairman Brian Roberts said that Battleship was an "unfortunate, large miss." Comcast owns a controlling interest in studio Universal which produced Battleship. The article notes that Battleship cost more than 200 million to make and market. It's domestic take is a woeful 50 million. It did take in about 233 million abroad. But that's probably not going to make a profit for Battleship.

So what sunk Battleship? It was doomed from the beginning. Start with a really dumb idea for a movie. It's based on a board game about deduction with no characters. Then make it dumber by adding dumb aliens. Make them comic looking. Make them look like Lizard Amish. Mix in dumb humans and action. Voila. The dumbest movie made this year or any year. Amazingly, 34 % of the critics at Rotten Tomatoes approved. Still, that's bad enough for a Rotten rating. Mark Battleship as the odds on favorite to win the Razzie for Worst Picture.

Obama's Stimulus Worked

In a moment of honesty for a Republican, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell admitted that President Obama's 2009 stimulus helped his state in the short term. That's what he told CNN's Candy Crowley.

McDonnell's admission is logical. The economic recession started under Republican President George W. Bush. In late 2008, things were so bad we were looking at the Great Depression, Part 2. In economic downturns, consumers don't spend. That causes companies to cut costs. That leads to high unemployment.

There is only one entity that is large enough to spend money in a recession or depression. It is the United States government. When the government spends money in a recession or depression, recovery takes place. Want a real life example? During the Great Depression of the 1930's, it looked like the Depression would go on for years. Then came the greatest government spending program in the history of the nation. WORLD WAR II. That government spending ended the Great Depression.

In February of 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law, his stimulus package. In the summer of 2009, because of Obama's Stimulus law, Bush's Great Recession was over.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stephen Colbert takes on Obama's Attack of the Drones

Stephen Colbert takes on President Obama's use of drones to kill terrorists. I did't know drone attacks on terrorists could be funny. Colbert is funny and provocative.

Stephen Colbert looks at the War on the Big Gulp

Stephen Colbert tackles Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on sugary drinks that are larger than 16 oz. Colbert goes surreal. Funny stuff.

Jon Stewart looks at the War on the Big Gulp

Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban sugary drinks whose volumes are more than 16 oz in the city of New York. Here's Jon Stewart of the Daily Shows very funny take.

Men In Black 3 IMAX Review

First, let me say you should see Men in Black 3 in any version whether it be 2D, 3D or IMAX. It's funny. It's warm. It's got great action. Here's my 3D review.

But the question becomes should you see MIB 3 in regular 3D or IMAX 3D? Well, let's this out of the way. MIB 3 is a conversion from 2D to 3D. The conversion process is like taking the movie and creating cut outs for a pop out book. Unlike a movie shot in 3D, a converted movie will not capture details, light and shadow of an object. It can only give it a background.

As a conversion, MIB 3 is a good conversion. CGI effects work the best. That's because animated objects are filmed by the virtual camera. Live action is caught by a regular camera. So, there were scenes of depth when a CGI effect was on the screen. But the conversion lacked pop. Many times live action shots looked 2D. On the positive side, the movie is well lit. So I don't have a complaint about darkness that plagues many 3D converted movies. I can't recommend any 3D version of MIB 3. It's not really that special for you to spend the extra bucks.

If you must see MIB 3 in some form of 3D, see it in IMAX. The screen is bigger in that it's taller. Picture resolution is crisper making the 3D effects stand out better. Sound is better. I've seen movies in regular 3D and IMAX 3D. And IMAX wins all the time.

Those Crazy Birthers, Part Twenty Eight

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has no moral courage. Given the opportunity to repudiate Donald Trump's birther beliefs, Romney declined. He told CNBC this,

"I don't go around telling all my supporters what they should think or what they should say but he knows what i believe about this [.]"

So if a supporter said President Obama should be a slave, you would say nothing? This birthrism is racist. Period. When Obama offered his short form birth certificate, the birthers refused to believe. When the state of Hawaii said he was born in the state, the birthers refused to believe. When there was evidence of newspaper reports of Obama's birth from 1961, birthers refused to believe. When he offered his long form birth certificate, birthers refused to believe. No one questions Romney's place of birth even though his father was born in Mexico.

History will judge you Mitt Romney. And the verdict will be that you enabled racism. You were a silent as the voices of hate screamed their evil.