Saturday, October 22, 2011

Movies we've seen - 'Contagion'.

I've seen a couple of movies of late, 'Red Dog', 'Real Steel', and the one I'm reviewing here, 'Contagion'.

I have an IMDB account, and I posted this review over there;

"Summary: Plausible scenario, thought provoking, an important movie.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I note some are saying they are 'underwhelmed' by this movie. What you get out of a movie often depends on what you expect from a movie experience. If you just want entertainment, be that action, romance, whatever, then maybe this movie will disappoint. However, if you want something beyond shallow entertainment, this movie will NOT disappoint. It is a plausible scenario, quite thought provoking, and I believe, an important movie. It is also technically quite good. Acting and camera work excellent, good screenplay and directing. The characters ARE human, with human failings. It doesn't end happily ever after for all, and some of the people in positions of responsibility (eg at the CDC) put their family first. There are allusions to politicians misusing their position. There are scenes where people loot, trample others to get to the head of the queue for medicines, steal food, generally, some/many people behave badly. (And in contrast some behave well). So the movie explores the spectrum of human morality, and shows good men have flaws. This is much closer to reality than the behavior that many movies usually reflect. A somewhat deeper movie than Hollywood has put out for quite some time. Recommended".
I'll rate it 4 out of 5.

'Red Dog' and 'Real Steel' are also worth seeing. Red Dog is based on a real life story, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when I saw it.

Real Steel is quite an original idea (rare these days), and good entertainment.

I'll give them both 3 1/2 out of 5 and a plus. Worth seeing.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs Feb 24, 1955 – Oct 5, 2011.

I am, sadly, moved to comment on the recent passing of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple (and Next Computers, and Pixar). Some people leave a big hole in the world when they pass, and Steve Jobs is one of them.

How better to sum up his life, and his philosophy, than in his own words? This is a link his 2005 Commencement speech given at Stanford University in 2005;

I run a Mac. Daughter has an iPhone. The household has various versions of the iPod. And it goes way beyond that. The innovations pioneered in the original Apple Mac are considered givens on virtually all personal computers today.

Many in history are remembered, often for the negative impact they had on the world (Hitler, Stalin are examples). Generals are remembered more so than the soldiers that died in their campaigns. But Steve Jobs has no negative baggage to be remembered by, but overwhelmingly, positives. He is a man who will cast a long shadow, and be remembered fondly.

RIP Steve.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Movies. Tomorrow When the War Began.

Posted a review on imdb for this movie - I really liked it. Most other reviewers did too;

..."I saw 'TWTWB' last night. Great Movie!

Based on the first book of the John Marsden series, it follows a group of teenagers who go camping for a weekend, and return home to find their country has been invaded, and their families put in a concentration camp, some of their community killed. What would you do? They fight back.

Australians inhabit a continent rich in resources and space. Both of which are in short supply in the world today, and that will become increasingly the case as the 21st century progresses. The authoritative 'Jane's Defence...' sees that rich prize as being envied by others, so the scenario is not far-fetched. The politically correct are worried, it seems, that the invaders, are non-specifically, but clearly Asian, and are worried about upsetting them. 'Well Hello' people, that is the most likely source of an attack on Australia, deal with it.

The plot was good, quite faithful to the book (as I recall - it is now almost 20 years since I read it). The dialogue let the script down a little on a couple of occasions, The lead actors were very good, the supporting ones a little less so. The photography and sets truly represent the Australian bush and a typical country town.

In parts, Stuart Beattie does a better job as scriptwriter than John Marsden in the original book. John has no military background, and it shows. He seems to suggest in the books that it would be possible to fight an invader without taking up arms. Whereas Stuart shows it is very necessary to have arms, and know how to use them. (In the 1st Act, Ellie and Homer hunt rabbits, which the group have a collective feast of - so they at least have a useful knowledge of shooting and hunting - sadly, most Australian teens are denied those experiences and skills these days).

Whether it means to or not, it asks some questions worthy of debate in Australia. Are there those who envy Australia and wish to take what we have? Who would it likely be if they did? How would we fight back?

It will inevitably be compared to 'Red Dawn'. but it is different, and that would do this, exceptional story, a great dis-service (though Red Dawn is pretty good too)".


Monday, March 15, 2010

Movies seen - 'Hurt locker'

Saturday, went and saw 'Hurt Locker'

(I posted this review on imdb also).
I came out of the movie and said; "THAT, got 6 Oscars... You've got to be kidding!" (Daughter, 20, liked it BTW).
The main character, Sgt James, just isn't believable. He is reckless, in a job where reckless would get you (and probably those around you) killed. (And the censure of your superiors and colleagues).
In short, I see the movie as written, and then made by people who have a perception of the military which is far removed from how things truly are.
The acting was good, the camera work good, the story line terrible.
If a Vietnam era protester who has never been in uniform, would never do so because their values, experience and theories are far removed from those who would, made a movie based on their perceptions, this would be that movie.
(Yes, I'm ex service).
1 out of 5 - just not believable).


Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Fat Jet (been a while).

OK, I know it's been a while. No excuse.

Again from Alex, C17 on a VERY wet day.

There has been torrential rain, floods in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia of late.

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Monday, October 05, 2009


I have received the sad news that the Brother-n-Law of one of the guys - Paul - who haunts one of the forums I do has lost his life in a flying accident. He was an Ag Pilot - a Cropduster.

Some folk inhabit a different, more dangerous and braver world than some of the rest of us.

Here is a youtube tribute to some of those frontier souls.

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Some Aussie Outback and Truckie videos.

Since Pete and others seem to like a glimpse of the Outback and the frontier souls who inhabit it, here are some links to youtube videos for you;

First we have a cab ride in a road train (starts at the beginning of the '90 mile straight' - Nullabor Plain).

Then we have a montage of road train footage. And another (Music by Slim Dusty).

And one from a European truckdriver's perspective.

Goin through the gears (that has to be late afternoon from the way the shadows are); Spicer (not as common as a RoadRanger gearbox). Here is a guy who knows his RoadRanger.

They can take a while to overtake!

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Movies we've seen - Inglourious Basterds

Went and saw ' Inglourious Basterds' a while ago.

It's not historically accurate. It IS very Tarantino, and it's definitely worth seeing.

"Superbly exagerated characters in high intensity moments. This is classic Tarantino"
Giles Hardie -SMH (Via 'Rotten Tomatoes').

4 1/2 out of 5 recommended.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Movies seen - District 9.

Not long back from seeing 'District 9'. Went and saw it on my own as no-one else in the family is much into Sci-Fi.

I actually don't think they would have liked it, but it was quite well done. It used a Sci-Fi vehicle to make some social commentary on South Africa's Apartheid past (not so subtly - but effective).

The plot centres on how a ship load of alien refugees are treated by humans, using the corollary of how humans treat 'different' humans as the basis.

It is based on a South African short film called 'Alive in Joburg' which in itself was inspired by the clearing/relocation of District 6 in Capetown in 1966.

The film reportedly cost $30 million to make, and took $37 million on it's first weekend. Not bad. Who said art doesn't pay - that's the sort of return 'Crocodile Dundee' provided.

3.5 out of 5. - Appeals to a specialised audience.


Welcome back home.

Daughter is back home after spending some time in the US. She did the West Coast thing with some extended family - LA, San Fransisco, San Diego.

She had a great time, but we and she are glad to have her back home.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Outback with a radio.

Found this on youtube and just had to share it..

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Fat Jet!!!

Been a while...

Courtesy of Alex's photography.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Was it really 40 - 40! years ago?

A long time ago, in a place not so far away, a 12 year old boy and his brother and sister stayed home from school with their Mum's blessing and watched TV all day.

The event we watched was the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon, and the first 2 humans to set foot on a celestial body other than the earth. It was, I believe, the most significant event I've ever witnessed, on a whole range of levels.

It probably, for example, influenced me as to the direction I took when looking for a job skill (electronics), further heightened my interest in my favourite fiction genre (science fiction), also reinforced my respect for the USA. All of these important in forming a 12 yo's view of the world and it's/his future.

It was, I note during Australia's and the US's involvement in the Vietnam war. (It was pretty impressive that the US could wage a war (hot and Cold), and yet still do something the size and scope of what the Apollo project achieved). And I was even then aware of the technological spinoffs of the space program (transistors and integrated circuits, for example).

A few short years later, I was to join our Air Force and train in electronics, the way paved by the subjects I chose and was motivated in. A few years after I had left the RAAF I got to work manufacturing some space hardware (for a local subcontractor for what was then Hughes Aircraft - for the Aussat-B series of satellites - and a few follow-on ones as well).

So, as July 20th approaches, lets marvel at what was achieved, honour the courage and dedication of those that conceived and achieved it, and reflect on how it affected us all, in one way or another.

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