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Package Containing 3 Star Trek Starships

So, after a gap of 20 plus days the box is finally here. Using $50 that I earned doing some paid blogging for a client, I purchased 3 more Star Trek starships from the Official Star Trek Collection done by Eaglemoss. After spending over 10 days in Indian customs and the post office, yesterday I finally got a receipt from the local postman saying that the package was at the post office but I had to pay Rs.463 as duty tax against it.

Since he came to inform me this just as I was eating lunch and then had to get ready to go for the office, I didn’t go yesterday but went this morning as soon as the post office opened. I went in and paid for the package and took the box back home. Although there was some confusion for them as I had said “parcel” which is a different service and this one had come via Indian Speedpost.

So my name and address cleared the confusion and I was handed over the package and I came back home for an unboxing and taking photos and a video. My internet is a bit slow and hence I can’t upload the video, as it is quite large in size, at the moment. So I will do follow up posts in the coming days.

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Exodus : Gods And Kings

Exodus : Gods And Kings is a 2014 biblically-inspired epic fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott. It was written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley. It is a loose interpretation of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt as led by Moses and related in the Book of Exodus.

Since the story is known to most people who have read the Abrahamic religious myth legends, I’m only going to focus on some points I made on the movie itself:

  • Excellent shot & produced film. The special effects and sets and costumes are so awesome looking. I love epic films and films set in the distance past and this one stylistically was great to look at.
  • I also think that the actors did a fine job. Well chosen in most cases, Ben Kingsley gives the movie a bit of that class, Christian Bale was awesome as Moses as were everyone else. María Valverde (Zipporah) is so beautiful and lovely and she did a fine job, despite the big age gap. Joel Edgerton plays the main antagonist really well, as a jealous and suspicious prince and then grief-stricken king/father who’s son is dead, so well. Only negative is that Sigourney Weaver had such a small role -waste of a talent!
  • The story & writing is weak. You only get a documentary style telling of a tale and are missing the angst, passion and character development. Despite the grand scenes, it lacked excitement and the only time I felt any was during the parting & crashing of the waves. It didn’t feel like an epic saga and this is something I notice is the movies of late – the movies from the the 60s, 70s didn’t have the technology of today but they did the best with what they had and the movies were so much better. Atleast in this genre.
  • Some believers complained about the Biblical inaccuracies; some controversy arose over statements from Ridley Scott that he would be looking to natural causes for the miracles, including drainage from a tsunami for the parting of the Red Sea. According to Scott, the parting of the Red Sea was inspired by a tsunami believed to have been triggered by an underwater earthquake off the Italian coast around 3000 BC. Another critics said that there were fewer than 10 plagues depicted in the movie, the crocodiles were not involved and the Israelites themselves were also affected by the plagues. The movie was banned in a few countries, including Egypt, UAE & Kuwait. I say don’t take things so seriously and get a life!
  • The depiction of Malak, the representation of god, in particular was of interest to me. He sounded like a tantrum throwing brat, helpless to do anything for 400 years and all of a sudden seeks the help of this one man, a displaced Hebrew who didn’t even know he was one for most of his life, to led the chosen people back to their land! Yet he can cause plagues and the parting of the Red Sea? Loved it!

Overall I did like the flick enough to rate it a 7.5 outta 10! I can’t give it any higher as they should have focussed on the characters a bit more rather than the settings and the effects. Still worth a watch.

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The Pyramid

The Pyramid is a 2014 December release and is a horror/supernatural film in the found footage vein but a little more cleaner production than your usual run of the mill stuff. Directed by Grégory Levasseur, produced by Alexandre Aja, and written by Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon the film stars Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O’Hare, James Buckley, Christa Nicola, Amir K and Daniel Amerman.

Drs. Miles & Nora Holden, an American father & daughter archeologist duo are leading an excavation dig 50 kms away from Cairo when they discover a 3 sides pyramid unlike any other seen before in Egypt and much older than the ones in Giza. Along with them are technician Michael Zahir along with documentary director Sunni & her cameraman Fitzie. As they open the apex, a rush of toxic fungal stale air rushes out causing one of the workers to get infected and convulsed. Due to the uprising in 2013 Egypt the team are ordered to evacuate the site by morning an Egyptian army soldier is sent to ensure that they do leave the site. The team however does not want to leave without getting a good look inside the pyramid and send a robot (a miniature version of the Mars rover), Shorty, in to investigate. Shorty is damaged by an unseen creature and the signal is lost, causing Zahir to want to go and fetch it as he could be in trouble with NASA, who he borrowed it from.

As they try and make their way through to the robot, the floor in a chamber collapses and after they fall down to the next level, one of Zahir’s legs is caught underneath a large piece of the ceiling and the other four are unable to move it. Sunni tries to climb up a shaft to the level above but a creatures leaps at her and scratches her face, causing her to fall down. They leave Zahir behind to find another way out, only to hear him scream, and return to find only a bloody trail leading up the wall. The remaining four are chased by what is later revealed to be cannibalistic cats who have lived in the pyramid for generations, eating on the older ones to survive. The soldier rescues them out of a tunnel but is himself pulled back into the tunnel by an unseen and powerful force. The shocked team then escape a sand tunnel only for Sunni to accidentally fall into a spike pit and get impales and have the cats eat at her flesh. Although the other 3 try to rescue her Sunni’s wounds are fatal and she dies. The remaining 3 move on and find a burial chamber and as the speculate about a way out, Miles has his heart torn out from behind but a large hand and is dragged away. Nora & Fitzie hide in another section of the chamber though Fitzie shortly returns to watch through the camera as the large creature – part man, part jackal, weighing Miles’ heart.

As Nora learns from a hieroglyphic, the creature is Anubis, and the pyramid was constructed to imprison him as he became relentless in his pursuit to join his father Osiris in the afterlife. Anubis captured humans and tried to find a pure soul by whom he can escape to the afterlife. Nora & Fitzie find a way out and climb a long shaft to get out of the pyramid but both are caught by Anubis. As Nora comes to she finds Anubis killing Fitzie and about to measure her soul and she manages to free herself by cutting the ropes that bind her using a knife she had with her. She lashes out at Anubis and wounds him, causing the cannibal cats to attack him smelling blood. She makes her way out of the shaft and into a tunnel that leads out via a cave but the fungal infection overcomes her and she passes out at the entrance. As she comes to, a small boy finds her and the camera with her and as he turns around Anubis comes at them and grabs them both as the scene fades to black and the film ends.

Not very original or scary at all but it was an ok watch for the night. Production is decent and there’s less annoying stuff than most horror films but it’s not enough to rescue this film from the tons of horror stuff that pile out the dvd/bluray sections. 6 outta 10!

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The Show Must Go On

If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

But the whole point for me making films would be to create films based on the stories & ideas in my head. I mean, they are so awesome. Ok, I guess I would rather be the director producer than the lead actor in the film. Because then I can use my vision and ideas for what the movie should be like based on the story that I am given to do or I choose even if I cannot be the writer. Besides, I can make the writers write my story based on the ideas I give them right?

If this question was asked to me even 20, 10 or 5 years back I would have said “actor” because I’ve always wanted to be an actor based on the many actors & actresses who have entertained me and made go through the gamut of various emotions throughout the years but as I grew older I like the ideas behind the creation process and the production side of things. And I like movies for what they are even more than the actors and the special effects and stories – I find myself liking more and more independent films and fan based shows and getting more disappointed by huge blockbuster films from the big studios. I’m sure inflated expectations and large sums of money are responsible for the stuff that Hollywood doles out year after year but still – come up with original stuff guys!

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Prelude To Axanar

Prelude to Axanar is a 21 minute short fan film that came out online in 2014 (I dunno how come I missed watching it till last night). Funded through Kickstarter, production sought $10,000 in funding, but in gaining $101,000, received more than ten times the amount originally sought. Set in the Star Trek universe, the film stars Kate Vernon, Tony Todd, Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and J. G. Hertzler, in a documentary-style film recounting the events surrounding the Battle of Axanar, a major clash between the Federation and the Klingons. The film’s purpose was to show that high quality ‘Star Trek‘ films can be made on a low budget. The film’s visual effects were done by Tobias Richter and Tommy Kraft, makeup was by Kevin Haney, and sound design was by Frank Serafine.

Shot to look like a documentary, Prelude To Axanar is about the Four Years War with the Klingon Empire, narrated by noted historian John Gill and featuring interviews with the various characters involved in the war. It begins 2 decades before the beginning of Star Trek : The Original Series – the Klingons, who do not see the Federation as worthy opponents in battle, attack and destroy Acranis IV, a prosperous Federation colony along the Klingon border. Under the leadership of their Supreme Commander Kharn, the Klingons continue their attack for 6 months. The Vulcans send a diplomatic delegation led by Ambassador Soval but they have little to no effect. In response to the losses suffered in the war, Starfleet appoints a new Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Marcus Ramirez, who pledges in a fleet-wide broadcast to defend “the dream of the Federation” against the Klingons’ committment to its destruction. Ramirez oversees the construction of the first warship of the Federation, the prototype USS Ares and several others in it’s class, to counter the Klingons’ mainstay, the D6 battle-cruiser.

With the introduction of the formidable Ares, the tides turn decisively towards the side of the Federation and the Klingons now change their minds about the Federation and also come to admire Captain Kelvin Garth, commander of the Ares. They then begin contruction of the D7 battle-cruisers to counteract the threat of the Ares and would restore the Klingons’ technical and military advantage. In response, Starfleet begins developing their own next-generation heavy cruiser, the Constitution-class, but construction falls behind schedule. To gain more time to finish their new heavy cruiser, Starfleet approves a plan proposed by Garth to fight the Klingons at Axanar, the planet where Kharn’s spies have reported the Constitution prototypes (revealed to be the Constitution and the Enterprise) are being built. The film ends on Stardate 2245.1, just before the battle at Axanar, when the first three D7s enter the war.

This short film is so awesome I cannot believe that it is a fan made film. It looks amazing and the acting of the cast is so good and spot on. It looks so much better than anything JJ Abrahms has done with the franchise so far. I am really surprised that I can be so excited about three fan based productions (Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Renegades and this one) that is head & shoulders above the cannon stuff that Paramount is releasing. Raising $650,000 through creation and release of Prelude to Axanar, Gossett and Peters are now in pre-production for the feature film Star Trek: Axanar, with production slated to begin in September 2014, and filming expected to commence by December for a 2015 release. Joining the cast will be Paul McGann & Garreth Wang as well as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Seth MacFarlane – Tyson would play the President of the United Federation of Planets and MacFarlane would play one of the Federation starship captains at the Battle of Axanar.

The Star Trek universe is so vast that even if every studio in the world created their own series or film, it would still just be the tip of the iceberg. May this trend continue. I want more Trek!

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Birdman

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman is an independent release American Black-comedy film starring Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough & Amy Ryan. The movie, made to look like it was a single continuous length shot, garnered wide acclaim from critics, with praise particularly directed to its acting, direction, and screenplay. The story follows faded Hollywood actor Riggan Thompson, famous for his role as superhero Birdman, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver.

With his glory days as the superhero comic hero Birdman in 3 movies long behind him, washed up actor Riggan Thompson is attempting to resurrect his career by writing, directing & acting in a Broadway play based on Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. Co-producing the play is his best friend and lawyer Jake and Riggan’s girlfriend Laura, and first-time Broadway actress, Lesley also co-star. Riggan is tormented by the voice of Birdman which he imagines to mock & criticize him and also imagines himself performing feats of telekinesis and levitation. During rehearsals a light fixture falls and injured actor Ralph (Riggan tells Jake that he made it happen himself in order to remove the actor from the play) and Lesley suggest that Riggan replace Ralph with the brilliant but volatile method actor Mike Shiner. In order to do that Riggan refinances his house to fund his contract.

The initial previews go disastrously with Mike breaking character over the replacement of his gin with water and attempts to rape Lesley during a sex scene. Riggan is also pissed at the younger actor as he feels that the latter is stealing his limelight with large news articles & interviews showing Mike as the star attraction. Mike is also hitting it off with Riggan’s former addict daughter Samantha, who he catches holding pot. His relationship with his daughter is strained as she accuses him of never being there for her when she was younger. On evening, during a break in the play, Riggan catches Samantha & Mike flirting and accidentally locks himself out of the theater and walks in his underwear through Times Square to get back inside; amateur videos of the incident go viral online. Later he runs into influential critic Tabitha Dickinson and though Riggan tries to be nice to her, she tells him that she hates his kind Hollywood celebrities that “pretend” to be actors and promises to “kill” his play with a negative review without having seen it. After arguing with her, he gets drunk and passes out on the streets of NY and the next day hallucinates a conversation with Birdman, who tries to convince him to do a 4th blockbuster film, and also imagines himself flying around the city.

On opening night, in the final scene which ends with his character shooting himself, Riggan uses a real gun with real bullets to shoot himself in the face. He earns a standing ovation from all but Tabitha, who leaves during the applause. When he wakes up he has had reconstructive surgery to his nose and Jake shows him rave reviews in the paper, including one from Tabitha who calls his uicide attempt “super-realism”, a new form of method acting. While Samantha is out getting him a vase for some flowers, Riggan goes to the bathroom and dismissed the hallucination of Birdman and seeing birds outside, climbs onto the window ledge. When Samantha comes back in to the room, she sees something in the sky and smiles as the movie ends.

What does she see that makes her smile? Her father flying in the sky? The ending is strange because all the feats of levitation and telekenesis is just supposed to be in his head right? I mean Riggan isn’t really a superhero? What could that ending mean? Nevertheless, it is a brilliantly directed, shot, produced and acted film one of the most unique way of telling a story I have ever seen. It is a look at Hollywood and the film industry itself and is well worth watching. Keaton is masterful, probably his best role yet. A 9 outta 10!

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Top Grossing Marvel Movie Characters

Top grossing Marvel movie characters

Comic book movies are becoming ever more popular, with roughly three of these films released every year and superhero games also start become more popular at sites like iPad Casino. Marvel are the most successful company, with most of the films based on their characters being hits – and these are the top five.

The Avengers – $1.51 billion

Given that it features all the big Marvel characters and actors like Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth, alongside direction from Joss Whedon, The Avengers was guaranteed to be a hit. It was Marvel’s first film to make over a billion in ticket sales, and still remains its highest grossing film.

Iron Man 3 – $1.21 billion

Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr as the title character and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, broke numerous box office records. It became the second highest grossing Marvel movie in a mere two weeks after its release and has remained there since.

Iron Man 2 – $623.9 million

Although it made almost half as much as its successor, this second Iron Man from 2010, still comfortably makes third spot on the list. It made $2.2 million at the box office on its opening day in European cinemas, thanks to the presence of Black Widow Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury.

Iron Man – $585.2 million

This 2008 film started the Iron Man ball rolling, introducing Downey Jr as irascible billionaire Tony Stark, although its global box office take of $585.2 million seems positively miniscule now. Alongside North America and Canada, it topped the box office in most of Europe and Asia.

X-Men: The Last Stand

The X-Men franchise is another of Marvel’s big guns and this 2006 film with series regulars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen was the biggest of them all at the box office. It was the top box office film in 26 countries outside the U.S., and broke Memorial Day weekend box office records in that country.

The success of the Marvel universe shows no signs of stopping, with the sequel of the Avengers – Avengers:the Age of Ultron and the Antman arriving in cinemas soon, making it tough to see how any other company can beat them.

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Interstellar

From director Christopher Nolan comes Interstellar a science fiction movie written by Nolan and his brother Jonathon Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow & Lean Cairns have supporting roles.

In the near future the human population are having a shortage of food and hence is a failing agrarian society with frequent dust storms. Former pilot Cooper runs a farm with his father-in-law Donald, son Tom & 10 year old daughter Murphy “Murph”. Murph believes that there is a poltergeist in her room that is trying to communicate with her, dropping books and leaving markings in the dust and on investigating Copper believes that the “ghost” is an unknown intelligence sending coded messages using gravitational waves, leaving binary coordinates in the dust that direct them to a secret NASA installation led by Professor John Brand. Brand informs Cooper than a wormhole has opened near Saturn, presumably by an alien intelligence, and that the wormhole leads to another galaxy where 3 possibly habitable worlds orbiting a super-large black hole that they named ‘Gargantua’. The three planets are named Miller, Mann & Edmunds after the astronauts who were sent to survey them on a one way mission. Brand recruits Cooper to pilot the spacecraft Endurance to recover the astronauts’ data; if one of the planets is habitable, humanity will follow on space stations.

Murphy takes his leaving the hardest and refuses to be amicable. On the Endurance Cooper is joined by Brand’s daughter biotechnologist Amelia and two other scientists Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) as well as advanced robots TARS and CASE. After they enter the wormhole they head to the planet Miller but find that the planet suffers from severe gravitational time dilation due to being too close to the blackhole; each hour on the planet is roughly equivalent to 7 hours on earth! Amelia, Romilly and Cooper head to the planet on one of the shuttles to retrieve the data left behind by Miller but a gigantic wave hits them and Doyle is killed. With a little delay the other two head back to Endurance where Doyle has spent 23 years all alone! On earth meanwhile, a now grown up Murphy is a NASA scientist working with professor Brand on an equation that will enable NASA to launch the space stations via gravity. However on his deathbed Brand confesses that he feels that it is impossible to do so and that he concealed his conclusion to keep hopes alive and also that Plan B was to restart the human population on a new planet using frozen embryos kept on board Endurance.

Murphy however believes that she can figure out the formula with additional data from a black hole’s singularity. Meanwhile the 3 remaining crew on Endurance have enough fuel to go to one more planet and they pick Mann as data is still being transmitted. They bring Mann out of cryosleep and he shows them the planet’s surface which is covered in icy glacier, perpetually cold and mostly inhospitable. However Mann, who knew about the embryos and Plan B all along, faked data to get the Endurance to pick him up and lures Cooper away to protect his secret. He & Cooper fight and the former breaks the latter’s visor and runs back to the shuttle. Romilly is killed by a bomb Mann set to protect his secret. Amelia rescues Cooper using the other cargo shuttle, and they arrive at Endurance in time to witness Mann docking improperly. The airlock explodes, killing Mann and causing serious damage, but Cooper uses the cargo shuttle to get Endurance under control. Almost out of fuel Cooper & Amelia plan to slingshot Endurance around Gargantua on a course toward Edmunds on the other side of the black hole while many years will pass on Earth. However Cooper & TARS use their shuttle to detach themselves from the Endurance in order to lower the load and give Amelia with CASE a better chance of reaching the planet.

TARS and Cooper collect data from the singularity and send it to Endurance before the shuttle is destroyed forcing Cooper to eject himself and TARS into space. They emerge into this inter-dimensional tesseract where time appears as a spatial dimension and portals show glimpses of Murphy’s childhood bedroom at various times. Cooper realizes that the wormhole’s creators are future humans transcending time and space, who have constructed the tesseract so he can communicate with Murphy as her “ghost” and save humanity. Using gravitational waves, Cooper encodes TARS’s data on the singularity into the adult Murphy’s watch, allowing her to solve Brand’s equation and launch the space stations. Once Murphy realizes that it is her father reaching out to her and she collects the data, the tesseract dissolves and Cooper is moved to the wormhole where he is pulled back in and is found floating near Saturn. When he comes to he finds himself onboard a large biological NASA space station on which the humans on earth now live. He is reunited briefly with an elderly Murphy, who pioneered the exodus of humans from earth to space stations in the Milky Way, and is now near death. She tells him to find Amelia who is implementing Plan B with CASE on Edmunds’s desert, hospitable planet. Cooper and TARS, who was also rescued from space, steal a NASA shuttle to travel to Edmunds’s Planet.

Bold, beautifully shot, ambitious, special effects laden, artistically gratifying, excellent acting (though I still can’t stand McConaughey) but the ending ruined it for me with with the “love” as a 5th dimension and the transcendal futuristic humans guiding Cooper to see Murph etc. For the last maybe 30 minutes I didn’t really enjoy the film though the rest is great. Surprised by some logical goofs though and choices that the characters make. Still, I shall give it an 8.5 outta 10, mainly for the science & scifi elements.

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RIP Leonard Nimoy

It will never be the same again. American actor, film director, poet, singer and photographer and the man who was the original – and for many of us the only Spock – Leonard Nimoy has passed away. He was 83 years old. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

Nimoy was born to Jewish immigrant parents in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his career in his early twenties, teaching acting classes in Hollywood and making minor film and television appearances through the 1950s, as well as playing the title role in Kid Monk Baroni. Foreshadowing his fame as a semi-alien, he played Narab, one of three Martian invaders in the 1952 movie serial Zombies of the Stratosphere. After the original Star Trek series, Nimoy starred in Mission: Impossible for two seasons, hosted the documentary series In Search of..., narrated Civilization IV, and made several well-received stage appearances. He also had a recurring role in the science fiction series Fringe. He frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography. In 1978, Nimoy played Dr. David Kibner in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also did occasional work as a voice actor in animated feature films, including the character of Galvatron in The Transformers: The Movie in 1986.

From 1982 to 1987 Nimoy hosted a children’s educational show Standby: Lights, Camera, Action on Nickelodeon. Nimoy lent his voice as narrator to the 1994 IMAX documentary film, Destiny in Space, showcasing film-footage of space from nine Space Shuttle missions over four years time. In 1994, Nimoy performed as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Pagemaster. In 1998, he had a leading role as Mustapha Mond in the made-for-television production of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Nimoy provided the voice of Spock as a guest star in a Season 5 episode of the CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. The episode is titled “The Transporter Malfunction” and aired on March 29, 2012, and was frequently mentioned by several of the main characters (especially Sheldon Cooper, who idolized Nimoy).

During and following Star Trek, Nimoy also released five albums of musical vocal recordings on Dot Records. On his final three albums, he sings popular folk songs of the era and cover versions of popular songs, such as “Proud Mary” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line“. There are also several songs on the later albums that were written or co-written by Nimoy.

In 1965, he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot The Cage, and as a changed character would go on to play the character of the half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock for 3 seasons of Star Trek : The Original Series until 1969, followed by eight feature films (from 1979 to 2013) and guest slots in the various spin-off series. The character of Spock has had a significant cultural impact and garnered Nimoy three Emmy Award nominations; TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters. Nimoy’s fame as Spock was such that both of his autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995), were written from the viewpoint of sharing his existence with the character.

And now he is gone. The Star Trek world weeps for the loss of a great person and actor.

Leonard Simon Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)

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The 2015 Academy Awards Winners Are….

The 87th Academy Awards ceremony concluded in the early hours of this morning (last night in the USA) and here are some of the winners:

Achievements in visual effects : Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

Best actress in a supporting role : Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Best foreign language film : Ida — Poland

Best actor in a supporting role : J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Animated Feature Film : Big Hero 6

Best Documentary Feature : CitizenFour

Best Original Score: John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn for Glory from Selma

Best Director : Alejandro González Iñárittu, Birdman

Best actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything

Best actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best picture: Birdman

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Coma (1978)

Based on the 1977 Robin Cook novel of the same name and directed by Michael Crichton, Coma is a 1978 medical thriller starring Genevieve Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Richard Widmark, and Rip Torn (who I didn’t even recognize until the end). Also starring in small roles are pre-fame Ed Harris & Tom Sellek.

Dr. Susan Wheeler, who is having trouble in her relationship with fellow resident Dr. Mark Bellows, is devastated to learn that a close friend of hers, Nancy Greenley, is pronounced brain dead and ends up in a coma after minor surgery at the Boston Memorial Hospital. Susan, who works there along with Mark, decides to check up on the records and finds that over the previous year a number of other fit young people have ended up the same way. When another young & otherwise fit person suffers the same fate she investigates and finds out that all 12 cases took place in the same operation theater, OR 8, and that all the comatose bodies were taken to a remote facility named the Jefferson Institute. As she continues to investigate she runs into road blocks, seemingly from a Dr. George, Chief of Anesthesiology at Boston Memorial Hospital.

After a fun weekend with Mark she tries to enter the Jefferson but is told that tours are only conducted on Tuesdays. As she gets closer to the truth, a maintenance man, who offers to give her information, is killed by a security guard who then tries to kill Susan but she escapes from the hospital and finds out that Carbon Monoxide is being filtered through the gas tubes in OR 8. She runs to Mark’s apartment but on hearing him speak about her on the phone to someone, she panics and runs away. She goes for the tour at the institute and finds out that the Jerfferson is a front for harvesting organs to be sold to the highest bidder on the black market. Boston Memorial is in on this, purposely inducing comas in patients whose organs match those of potential buyers. She is almost caught by security but sneaks out on top of an ambulance that is delivering some organs to an airport.

Susan goes to see Dr. George Harris, the Chief of Surgery, to who she has confided her suspicions and tells him everything. However it turns out that Dr Harris is the mastermind behind this operation and he drugs her with a substance that creates a pain mimicking an appendix about to burst. He rushes her to surgery and says that he will do the operation himself. Mark meets Susan there and she manages to convince him that her life is in danger and he also hears Dr. Harris insist for OR 8. Mark stops the carbon monoxide from entering the gas tubes and takes Susan away after her operation is shown to not have an inflamed appendix. The two lovers have Dr. Harris exposed and the final scene is of him waiting to be escorted by two police officers.

It has some tense moments and the acting is top notch. The movie itself is a bit dull in places and I hope they do remake it someday with more excitement. 8 outta 10!

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Rio

I must admit that I do tend to avoid animated films at times (I dunno why, I end u liking them a lot when I do eventually see them) and this one was no exception. 2011’s Rio is an American 3D computer-animated musical adventure-comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and directed by Carlos Saldanha.

The film features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jake T. Austin. The film was also a box office success, grossing over $143 million in the United States and $484 million worldwide. The film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song “Real in Rio”.

Blu is a young Spix Macaw hatchling who was smuggled out of Brazil along with several other birds. In Moose Lake, Minnesota his crate falls off the truck it was being delivered in and is found by a little girl named Linda Gunderson. Linda raises Blu as her pet and keeps him by her side all the time and 15 years later he has a place of honour in the bookstore that she manages. Blu is highly domesticated but unable to fly as he was snatched away at a very young age. One day Brazilian ornithologist Túlio Monteiro comes to the store and invites Linda & Blu to go to Rio de Janerio with him as Blu is the last male of his species and it is imperative that he mates with a female Spix to ensure that the species continues. Linda accepts and they fly to Rio, where Blu meets and befriends a Red-crested Cardinal named Pedro and his Yellow Canary friend Nico. At the aviary Blu meets Jewel a fiercely independent female Spix Macaw who wishes to be free in the wilderness.

At night the bird are captured by Fernando, an orphaned street boy and a tough looking & scarred Cockatoo named Nigel, who are both working for a group of smugglers led by Marcel. Marcel wants to sell the birds on the black market and make a lot of money. Nigel seems to dislike all “pretty birds” as he once was a famous star but his role on a television program had been ruined by one, while Fernando seems to have second thoughts. Blu manages to escape with Jewel and they make their way to the jungle. Fernando meets Linda and Túlio and helps them find the birds, while Blu and Jewel meet Rafael, a Toco Toucan, who offers to take them to his bulldog friend, Luiz, to remove their leg chain. He attempts to teach Blu how to fly, before they meet up with Pedro and Nico.

Nigel hires some marmosets to help capture Blu & Jewel who are taken by Pedro and Nico to a Rio-style dance party, where they perform a duet and begin to fall in love. When the marmosets attempt to capture them, a fight ensues after which the 5 birds escape on a train. Fernando, who has met up with Linda and Túlio, takes them to the smugglers’ hideout, where they discover that the birds have already been moved out. Meanwhile, Blu and the others meet Luiz, who releases the chain holding Blu and Jewel. After the two get into a heated argument, they decide to go their separate ways. Pedro & Nico witness Nigel capturing Jewel and inform Blu & Rafel who rush to the carnival to rescue her. As Linda and Túlio pose as dancers in blue macaw costumes to enter the carnival, Nigel captures Blu and the group.

As Marcel takes the birds in a plane, Blu destroys his cage using a fire extinguisher and releases the other captive birds. However, Nigel attacks the macaws, injuring Jewel. Blu sends Nigel flying into the plane’s engine using the fire extinguisher, causing the plane to fall. Jewel falls out of the plane’s open cargo hatch towards the ocean. Jumping out of the plane to rescue her, Blu finally discovers that he is able to fly and carries her to Linda and Túlio for help. Later, they adopt Fernando and organize a sanctuary to protect the jungle from smugglers. Blu and Jewel eventually raise three children together, and celebrate with their friends. Meanwhile, Nigel (who actually survived the plane accident) is ridiculed for his loss of feathers, and the smugglers are sent to jail.

It’s a fun and feel good film as most of these animated comedy/romantic films are. I like the storyline and the actors did a great job with their voices. 8 outta 10!

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All I Have To Say About That Is “Asphinctersayswhat”

Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

Exactly! This is ofcourse a quote from Wayne Campbell (played by Mike Myers) from that excellent movie Wayne’s World! Party on Wayne, Party on Garth! And this is Wayne & Garth Algar’s reactionary question to douchebags who have just told them something that they don’t like or agree with. Or just when they don’t plain like someone who is a phony.

That is my reaction to assholes & douche-bags I met in real life. And the world is full of them. That’s a plain awful truth and the quicker that you understand that the quicker you will be ok with it. It’s a fact of life and nothing you can do will ever change that. The only thing you can do is to either cry / moan /bitch and complain about it or you can try and adjust to that fact and learn to not let them affect you too much. And perhaps joke about it and a good laugh with your friends about said douche-bags.

Life is to short to let them make it less enjoyable for you. Adjust, change and be free. And have fun!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

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