And This Is Why America Is In Trouble

While I find the caucasian girl’s behavior reprehensible, I’m betting the 18-34 crowd can tell us more about what’s happening on ‘Big Brother’ then they can what’s happening in the world. It’s discouraging as a writer to see such ignorant people, and how little our school system is doing on educating. We have people graduating High School who can’t even read for God’s sake! But things are okay! We know what’s happening in ‘Big Brother’!

Just leaves me shaking my damn head.



Pacific Rim Movie Review





STARRING: Charlie Hunnam, Diego Klattenhoff, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman

2013, 131 Minutes, Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Pacific Rim is not a very good movie. That’s not to say that a lot of people aren’t going to have a lot of fun watching it. If you are in touch with your inner twelve year old and can check your brain at the door, you are going to have a great time.

Guillermo del Toro divides his time between Hollywood blockbusters and arthouse fare and has notched amazing achievements with both. This is the director who made both Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth. This time, though, he’s gone high concept. The movie is essentially Godzilla vs. Transformers. For some that’s going to be more than enough. One doesn’t pop in the DVD for, say, Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla expecting to see The Seventh Seal.

The premise is that an undersea rift in the Pacific Ocean has brought forth increasingly ferocious giant monsters that are destroying coastal cities around the world. They are dubbed kaiju from the Japanese word defining the whole genre of giant monster movies. To fight back humanity has built the jaegers, from the German for hunter. The jaegers are giant robots that require two humans to meld their minds with the mechanism and each other in order to operate it.

That’s really all you need to know. Yes, there are human characters who are given sketchy backstories, but you won’t really care about them.

“Large special effects fighting each other . . .”

Raleigh (Charlie Hannum) lost his brother in a fight with one of the kaiju. Stacker (Idris Elba) is the leader of the human fighters who keeps popping pills to deal with some mysterious injury inflicted in an earlier fight. Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) was rescued by Stacker as a young girl and now helps train the jaegers. None of these characters are much more than cardboard cutouts.

There are a couple scientists (Charlie Day, Burn Gorman) who provide crucial information late in the film but who are essentially there for comic relief. Thank goodness for Ron Perlman who chews the scenery in fine style as Hannibal Chau, a shady dealer who markets in the remains of dead kaiju. His scenes come to life in a way that very little else does in the film.

That’s the problem. Pacific Rim exists primarily for the battle scenes between the kaiju and the jaegers and then does everything it can to make them difficult to follow. They take place mostly at night, often in the rain when not underwater, and are edited in such a way that it’s often difficult to know what precisely is going on except that two large special effects are fighting each other. Are those pieces flying away part of the kaiju, part of the robot, or simply pieces of yet another city being trashed in one of this summer’s movies? Who can tell? At one point one of the jaegers turns out to have a hidden sword that proves an effective weapon and one can only wonder why it wasn’t used earlier.

So, if you are all hopped up for Pacific Rim because you can’t imagine more fun than giant monsters battling giant robots, go and enjoy yourself. Just don’t expect it to make much sense logically, narratively or visually. It’s not a very good science fiction movie, but it is a heck of an amusement park ride.

– Daniel Kimmel

Sci-Fi Film ‘Europa Report’ Uses Science to Show Space Travel Perils

Per Yahoo News


Sci-Fi Film 'Europa Report' Uses Science to Show Space Travel Perils

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The new science fiction movie “Europa Report” is billed by some admirers as one of the most accurate depictions of human spaceflight ever put on film, and that realism is no accident.

Screenwriters, expert consultants, actors and others worked to bring a sense of reality to “Europa Report,” paying meticulous attention to the world they were creating in the spaceship and depicting on the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.

“One of the first things that drew me to the script was the fact that, as I was reading it, everything in there seemed to be at least inspired by what we know both about space travel and the possibility of what could be found on Europa while at the same time keeping a great equilibrium with making a movie that was also thrilling and interesting that kept me gripped until I finished the last page of the script,” Sebastián Cordero, the director of “Europa Report,” said. [See images and stills from the science fiction film “Europa Report”]

The movie follows the journey of a crew of astronauts sent on the first manned mission to Europa. It is shot documentary-style and features interviews with various people involved in the harrowing undertaking to seek out alien life in the solar system. You can watch the “Europa Report” trailer here.


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Sci-Fi Film 'Europa Report' Uses Science to Show Space …

An astronaut works outside a spacecraft cockpit in this still from the 2013 science fiction film ‘Eu …

Scientists working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., consulted with Cordero and other members of the team during the film’s production. Steven Vance — the lead for the habitability team of JPL’s Icy Worlds Astrobiology group — and Kevin Hand — the deputy chief scientist for solar systems exploration at JPL — both helped to create the realistic world of “Europa Report.”

“We would go back and forth on the different issues that they would find … and different things we could incorporate that we could run by them,” Cordero said of Hand and Vance’s work on the movie. “During the shooting itself, we had a very short shooting schedule and basically once we had settled on the things that the screenplay called for, and once we basically had some sort of blessing from our scientists, we felt that we could go ahead and shoot this. However, during postproduction, there was also a lot of back and forth.”

Scientists helped Cordero and the rest of the production team craft a realistic-looking computer- generated surface of Europa when they were putting the final touches on the film.

The filmmakers also conferred with other scientists during the movie’s production. In order to understand the backgrounds of some of the astronauts written into the script, Cordero and his team worked with other researchers to more fully understand the motivations the characters could have for embarking on such a dangerous journey.

In the original script, the screenwriters had written generic scientists into the movie, but after consulting with an oceanographer, the filmmakers decided to be more specific, including an oceanographer, engineers and other scientists onboard the ship bound for Europa, Cordero said.

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Sci-Fi Film 'Europa Report' Uses Science to Show Space …

Astronauts work in their spacecraft cockpit in this still from the 2013 science fiction film ‘Europa …

The filmmakers also added a few hidden gems for fans of space travel. The rocket launch shown at the beginning of the film was footage from the 2011 launch of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, expected to arrive at Jupiter in 2016.

“Europa Report” is currently available in the iTunes store and is set for release in theaters on Aug. 2.