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Review: DUST Movies on YouTube

April 30, 2018 Leave a comment
DUST_0418_Small

Logo (c)DUST

Two links you need to know if you like SciFi and/or good production in general:

I remember the old days of good SciFi paperbacks … and publications like Analog, that showcased some of the greatest SciFi shorts of the time. BTW … Analog is still around. Many things like that just dissolve into memories you cherish in your rocking chair (or perpetual motion glider chair). The great thing is DUST, being one of the better online venues, became the modern upgrade for lovers of great fiction … in video form.

I have yet to see a single short on their YouTube channel or site that I would not want to see as a full feature motion picture. Many of these talented film makers work production for many of the commercial length movies you watch at the theaters … some are independents. Regardless of the situation … curating on DUST is outstanding. Check them out … you won’t be disappointed.

swbkudosKudos from SWB!

Keep it up and keep us entertained.

Experience the future …. watch DUST!

-SWB

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Review: Lost In Space 2018

April 26, 2018 Leave a comment
250px-Lost_in_Space_2018_series_Logo

(c) Netflix / from IMDB

Wait …. where is Joey? Remember Joey from Friends … he played Don West in the last Lost In Space movie (1998).

I want Joey back.

Actually I think Netflix should have done “Friends In Space” as a Friends reunion project.

OK … I’ll stop. I know I’m irritating the scifi geeks.

On to what everyone else now doing in the blog-o-sphere … reviewing “Lost In Space” …

So far I’ll rate it a 3.5 out of 5. I like the show, and the new modern scifi feel – but I grew up with the original show, so I miss a little quirkiness of it – and thought Netflix would have attempted to insert a little of that with Dr. Smith. I think they tried to do that with Parker Posey’s character, but honestly I think that Parker was not the right casting. Like other’s reviewing the series, my first take is that her character as played does not fit in the gist of the current series. She’s just out-of-place …. and not out of place like Dr. Smith was in the old series … but, to a point where if her character left nobody would probably care nor notice. Nothing against Parker … just not the right fit.

Overall I think Netflix did a nice job of taking the basis of the series and updating it with a modern flare that actually seems possible in the near future (not within my lifetime, but in fifty years or so).

I’m getting older so besides the Dr. Smith thing being noticed (probably much due to sentimental remembrances of the character), a few niceties were noticed:

  1. I could watch with my family without constantly being tensed up and ready to cover my children’s eyes  due to the politically correct sex scene inserted every 15 minutes or so specifically to attract all lifestyles to view the show (or at least to not offend them), adding no value to the show.  This even with it being TV14.
  2. There is a balance in the characters. As a man, I don’t mind see strong women characters in a show or movie … but when it gets to the point where a series has been turned around to only have strong women characters (unless appropriate – documentaries and such) and the men are depicted to the point where they are only “stupid pitiful entities” (that might be a quote from Star Trek – I’d have to check) that’s also a form of discrimination, and slightly offensive. Lost In Space did a great job of not doing this with their character development – Kudos. This is a very nice representation of everyone being seen as strong in a group … when it is time for them to be so.
  3. The Robot wasn’t presented as a glorified microcontroller … he was present as a true friend to Will Robinson … who sometimes gets  pushed to the side and needs that friend.

The show also does a great job of presenting everyone as one big family. A little dysfunctional, but family. They all realize that if they don’t work together (you even see it in the acting with the Dr. Smith and Don West characters) they will not be around much longer, and humanity will have found no new place to live.

The almost immediate twist of Maureen Robinson noticing the black hole while floating on the edge of space doing recon was reminiscent of “Lost”. That very “Lost” feeling of “oh … wait, we crash landed on a planet we may be able to survive on” … and then the realization that it’s going to all end in a few weeks if they don’t get off the planet. That “I’m safe now …. but wait for it …. I’m actually still screwed again” feeling. Although I can see this being used multiple times in the series, I honestly hope they don’t beat it to death. It took some serious writing skill to innovate that in “Lost” when nobody knew it as a writing method … but now people know about it and can feel it out, so hopefully the writers will take that into account.

All-in-all the design of the spacecraft, the presentation of the cast and story by them, and the very decent acting makes this delightful to watch.

My rating again: 3.5 out of 5.
My Wife’s rating {{snore}} … but that’s another story.

Enjoy the show … pass the popcorn, please.

-SWB

Netflix AMC Halt and Catch Fire – a late acting surprise gem.

April 23, 2018 Leave a comment

From IMDB

Most of the fan base for this tech history drama  were basically included the techno geeks of all ages, and all generational labels … the true geeks, and the closet ones (we know you …. Big Brother watches you playing your Atari 2600 behind your wardrobe!).

The main reason most watched it … the techie history (or so we thought). In general it was really cool trying to place the fictional company with the real innovative company of the time during each episode (of course seeing the gear was fun too). An yes, I too did wince when the ceiling dust fell into the mainframe due to the partying techs on the floor above.

The characters, in general, were spot on to their stereotypes of the day. The appearance of women heavy in influence in the beginnings of the industry also had much truth … many forget NASA butt being saved prior to the computing golden years by women who learned how to program on their own. Many of the female characters were not put in the show just to get viewership … many times, it was really like that.

In the beginning the show seemed to be more the design of a lite docu-drama about computer history in Silicon Valley. Later it seemed to expand into a hodgepodge of dramas (including the required sex scenes concerning all applicable lifestyles to give the typical cable and streaming series message of “you can watch our show … we’re very PC” – this is the only thing where I see TV hurting these days, when good acting starts to be over-shadowed by the political need to do on-screen CYA). Seasons 1 and 2 were great …. and to the the credit of the writes, if you skipped any scenes you didn’t think applied to the show, the story lines still continued very clearly. Season 3 took me a while to get through, and I even mentioned to wife that it was neat seeing the companies portrayed in seasons 1 and 2 were very cool, but season 3 seems to lack in keeping me interested and I didn’t see a real direction in the writing.

Then season 4 hit. It seems to almost be a continuation of the writing in season 3, but more into the relationships (including family) that were forged and destroyed by the industry – a very real thing. The acting was always decent, but you noticed a higher caliber come into play in season 4. The ending episodes of season 4 brought in a level of writing and acting I haven’t seen in years. If you are a fan of good theatrical acting, but don’t care much about the techie stuff … at least watch the last 4 episodes of season 4 (starting with “Who Needs a Guy”). This is where Gordon passes away due to his health issues. The real highlight is in the last episode where Donna and Cameron go through a dialog about their startup – in about 4 minutes they describe a complete cycle of a company, their relationship in it, and their moving on … in a way that is theatrically award worthy.

Emotionally the last 4 episodes are on the caliber of The Cryptogram. The writers did such an excellent job of making you completely immersed into the families (tech and otherwise) to the point where you felt like you were the one getting on a plane to move away and start over. Emotionally you will be spent.

Don’t miss it …. this is truly one of those gems everyone will end up buying on DVD or digital download in a few years and treasuring (like Heart of Dixie, or All The Rivers Run).

-SWB

The big screen from the past taking on an 8mm cast.

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

sewickley-theaterSo, the predictions of the big screen being gone due to the lcd bigs screens blowing them away seems to be much less of a valid vision in modern times.

The pic on the left is a new theater in a small community (Sewickley) being built from scratch containing a community room (for about 145), a 160 seat theater, and a 90 seat theater. along with that many communities like Lawrenceville, and Zelienople, etc have remodeled old theaters, or old buildings refitting them for theaters realizing that dinner and a movie in your own community is still better than dinner with a two hour wait at a corporate restaurant, moving to park again, and a thirty minute line for the movie, along with waiting in traffic to get our of the theater parking lot.

In other words spending a whole days with friends, dinner, and a movie is still loved a bit more than jockeying your car around to get to the dinner and a movie – spending most of the time complaining with your friends how long it took.

So, this is cool. With losing many traditions for families and friends, seeing one brought back (other than sports, drinking, sports, drinking, sports, drinking) is great. Even movie directors and film geeks are following suite in their own way … with a what was though to be dying along with the local theaters, the Kodak Super 8 film camera.

How so?

super_8_lcd_white_v1Well Kodak, thought to be a dying company is catering to the wishes of a current batch of film makers and directors that want to shoot with the inspiration of 8mm film, just like their mentors from the past did. Sort of like current artists producing vinyl, because they came to the senses and realized digital takes away from natural sound(unless you have a small super-computer the size that most medium level governments can’t afford). The pic to the left is (c) Kodak and a shot of their new hybrid super 8mm camera. You get a digital copy of the film from the film after it is developed. If you still shoot still film, you understand as a photographer that light passed through actual film differently than an lcd and images on paper differently than a paper producing more natural shading and color tones. The way an image is projected onto a screen is also affected by this. Surprisingly, even the newest of film makers have to be given credit for realizing this.

cluelesstrophyBut a clueless award has to be given to the movie industry as a whole to forced small theaters to invest 60k or more in refitting completely to digital …

 

but kudos to those theaters that decided to keep some of their old analog projection gearswbkudos2 in place – and even one or two new theaters are rebuilding and placing some of the older projection equipment to accommodate film makers truly wanting to use and project on film.

If you have a local theater reopening or remodeling, please support it … most of the films they most likely chose will be much better than the ones the corporate clones show (and most likely make it to Netflix free within a month anyway).

A couple of theaters to check out:

Support your local theater, and keep your family memories on film!

Add any local theaters you know of via the comments!

-SWB

 

Changes To SWB

January 24, 2011 2 comments

Our New Owners

Yup, we being taken over.

This is for the good.  After being inactive for a while, another site has inquired about taking over Screaming Weasel.  There will be changes, it will retain some of  the sarcasm, but will lose some of the “rantiness”  and negativity that it had when it started around 2005-2006 and rant blogs were the fad – although we will gripe a little through it,  and SWB will be the occasional guest writer.

We think you’ll like it … and what it will present about Pittsburgh.

If you want to check out our new owners, Click Here

Here is their future WordPress Blog (Click Here)

Please welcome Karyon Nightly (sophisticatedpgh) as  the new main writer.

-SWB

This is it … life as you miss it

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

We all dream of the day when we get to sit on our rocking chairs and watch everyone else stress out and live life … or miss life.

Did you ever take the chance to stop and see what you have missed out on your quest for the golden rocking chair?

Think about it … gotta run to  get the cool job, gotta run to get the kids the hot toys, gotta run to get my boss his dry cleaning.  If you stop for a second, maybe you would realize you are actually on a planet. No … really, that thing you are walking on filled with dirt (and lots of unmentionables) is a planet.  Go visit the Carnegie Science Center … they’ll confirm it.  Honest.

Recently I rented the movie “The Invention Of  Lying“.  It was an interesting movie, because it showed humans as typical self-centered, selfish idiots – even when they didn’t know how to lie. It also showed how clueless and shallow people can be.

OK, it pointed out the high gullibility factor to us too.

The biggest thing it showed though, was how people can go a whole lifetime walking right by anything that matters … simply because that is how it’s always been done.  How many times do you do that yourself?  How many people do you know that have pretty much turned that way of life into a new kind of religion?

Think about it … maybe if we weren’t so “human” there wouldn’t be hatred, greed.  There would be jobs due to no outsourcing to save a buck.  People would be treated fairly, and their skin color, sex, or religion actually would not make a difference to anyone.

But then again, we are human … which makes “The Invention Of Lying” seem more like a documentary than a fictional movie.

-SWB

PS – I wish I were my dog.