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Topics - Chiprocks1

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1
DVD's & Blu-rays / Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)
« on: April 09, 2018, 06:57:06 pm »
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)


Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0CbN8sfihY



Okay, I watched Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi this past Saturday Night and have been putting off writing any kind of review because I'm conflicted. I honestly don't know what it is about this movie that I just don't want to write anything. I've been letting the movie swirl around in my head the past couple of days just trying to put my finger on what is troubling me about the flick. Does the movie suck like most people have said? Well, it depends on how you look at parts of the movie or character motivations. Would I put this in my Top 3 Star Wars movies? No. Honestly, I think I need to re-watch The Last Jedi again because I'm still not sure what I liked and disliked about this. Something is off for sure. So, yeah, I'll give Jedi another go again and then come back with a review. I'm not even going to give this any Stars right now until after the second viewing.

2
DVD's & Blu-rays / Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
« on: April 06, 2018, 07:35:02 pm »
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
5 Stars out of 5


Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue80QwXMRHg


Not only is Thor: Ragnarok the best Thor movie yet, it's quite possibly my favorite entry in the MCU. Definitely in my Top 3. I think Spider-Man Homecoming is still my all time fave, but Ragnarok is right up there as pure entertainment from start to finish. This is really unlike anything I've seen from any of the other MCU flicks as far as visual style and tone. Stylistically this felt like a movie that was inspired and came direct from all things 80's with its color scheme which I absolutely love. But it was the tone that kind of threw me for a loop. They were really pushing the jokes here....HARD. There was no two ways about it. They were going for laugh out loud moments and they succeeded in Spades. It's not a typical "comedy" that you would expect....but it sure felt like one. There were so many jokes that it was hard to keep up with. This is a movie worth going back for repeat viewings just to get all the things I know I missed the first time around.

Chris Hemsworth is is cool self as Thor and was damn funny. But it was the addition of other characters that really made me take notice. Jeff Goldbum as Grandmaster was vintage Goldblum. Tessa Thompson as Scrapper was a nice addition as well. But Cate Blanchett as Hela is possibly the best Villain ever in the MCU. Yes, she gets "destroyed" at the end. But I fully expect her to pop back up down the road in the future. This is Comics after all. And daaaaamn does Cate look smoking HOT!! But the star of the movie is of course The Hulk. Getting a Hulk that actually carries on conversations in full is what I have been waiting for for years and it delivers in a BIG way. Second best character in the movie is without a doubt Korg. A beast....with a voice like that was and is f*cking priceless!! Highly recommend this as a Buy.

3
DVD's & Blu-rays / The Shape of Water (2017)
« on: April 06, 2018, 06:39:31 pm »
The Shape of Water (2017)
5 Stars out of 5

Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caj2OoFUXsQ


I really didn't know what to expect with The Shape of Water. Sure, I knew what I was getting with Guillermo del Toro, as I'm a big fan of his other films, but was unclear exactly what this would actually entail. It's vintage Toro, but it's so much more than that. Simply put, this is a throwback to old Hollywood Films as I see it and that right there made me even more invested in what was playing out on the screen. How do I decribe this? I guess you can say it's a mashup of Old School Films and Creature from the Black Lagoon. But it also has something else going for it as well. Even before they actually get to the legit Musical portion of the film that includes Song and Dance, I was telling myself that this was in fact a musical in very subtle ways based on how the story is being told with music and how the characters were interacting with the music playing over/under their respective scenes. I wonder if this was intentional so that when we finally get to the Musical number, it would feel organic and natural with it's inclusion.

Never heard of Sally Hawkins before this, but she was fantastic as the Mute Girl. Her acting was f*ckng damn good in her ability to get across emotions using only her face and sign language. Michael Shannon was perfectly cast as the Big Bad Villain here. Is there any movie or TV series that he isn't the Big Bad? He always crushes it in whatever role he takes on. I do fear that he is no typecast to play the same kinds of roles moving forward. That's the downside of being so good at what you do that you forever seal your fate. Anyway, I highly recommend this as a Rent. It's a fantastic movie that flies by pretty damn fast.

4
DVD's & Blu-rays / Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
« on: April 04, 2018, 02:28:03 pm »
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
5 Stars out of 5

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCcx85zbxz4


I'm a fan of the original Blade Runner, but I wouldn't say that Blade Runner 2049 was at the top of my Must-See List. Well, it wasn't one that I had to run out and see the moment it came out and I think in large part it had to do with the fact that I really wasn't giving this much of a chance of equaling the original. Not only does it meet it head on, I'm of the mindset that maybe, just maybe it even edges it out to a degree. Truth be told, that might be due to the fact that I just got finished watching this and it's still fresh in my head. So, maybe a little biased in my comment there. I will have to revisit this down the road and see how it really stacks up against the forebearer.

As for Blade Runner 2049, this really is a genuine masterpiece of film-making in every sense of the word. I'm just astounded that they were able to literally create a film that shares DNA from both from the look, style, pacing.....feel. Everything about this just feels so right and the fact that this was made 30 years after the original and yet it feels like it was made a year after because of the visual cues it takes. Look, this could have easily come off as a more polished sequel with all the tell tale signs of it having "better FX" and whatnot. As for the plot, it's essentially the same as the original to a degree. But throwing in the whole "searching for my lost father" angle was a nice add-on to give the older fans of the Original something to latch onto.

As for Harrison Ford, I don't agree with giving him Second Billing. There's so little of him in this movie that to say he is a genuine "Second Billing" actor is a bit misleading. We don't get to see him until the 3rd Act. Yes, I get why it plays out that way because of the story that is being told...but still. Ryan Gosling was great as K, the Blade Runner. Jared Leto was really good. Seeing Mackenzie Davis in this was a nice bonus for me. It was a trip to see Edward James Olmos return as Gaff. I had no idea he was coming back for this. But the biggest shocker for me was seeing "Sean Young" return. Kinda. Her character was duplicated with the actress using a Stand-In in much the same way they did with Tarkin and Leia in Star Wars Rogue One. Looks like the real thing, well pretty close to the real thing....but not quite there. Anyway, I highly recommend this as a Buyfor sure.

5
DVD's & Blu-rays / Stranger Things (TV Series Season 1 - 2016)
« on: March 29, 2018, 08:24:44 pm »
Stranger Things (TV Series Season 1 - 2016)
5 Stars out of 5

Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWxyRG_tckY

It's a no-brainer that I would like Stranger Things. Everything you've heard about it holds true. I get why this was / is a must-talked about series. On the surface, it's clearly a throwback and homage to all things 80's, which is when the series is set in. But it's also owes a huge debt to Steven Spielberg because it was filmed as if he himself did this. There are so many Easter eggs throughout with regards to what film they are taking a huge page from. The most obvious of course is E.T. and Poltergeist. But there are plenty of other things any fan of the 80's will recognize, be it The Goonies and Stand By Me (not a Spielberg flick if that's what you're thinking). Stephen King also has his metaphoric fingerprints on Stranger Things as well.

As for what's at its core, the story isn't new....but they do a great job of giving it a spin that makes it feel fresh, even if you know where everything will end up at by the end. The actors were all great and it was a nice touch with Winona Ryder as the Mom, a true by-product of her run in the 80's. But it's the kids that carry this series from start to finish and play well off each other. I don't want to dive too much into the plot in case you haven't seen it yet. All I will say is that you definitely need to give this a Rent. Already looking forward to Season 2. Not sure how long it's gonna take before it's on DVD though.

6
DVD's & Blu-rays / Homeland (Season 6 - 2017)
« on: March 19, 2018, 09:55:23 pm »
Homeland (Season 6 - 2017)
4 Stars out of 5

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4ZRFs_MdM8

Before I jump into my thoughts on Season 6, I gotta go back to Season 5 first. I never did a review for that season because I was actually watching it on Showtime and once over, it slipped my mind about doing a review. With that said, I can't remember much of Season 5 other than I thought it was a good season. Really, the only thing I can remember with any clarity was the finale episode and the finale scene. This was all about what happened to Peter Quinn. He's capture and tortured and ultimately gassed with a Toxic Chemical Weapon on TV. He is apparently a goner, but somehow survives to make it to the end, but is not the same. The final scene with Carrie hovering over Quinn in the hospital and the scene fading to White, I was left with the idea that Quinn had passed onto the other side. I also thought that the way the scene was shot, that Carrie smothers him with a pillow to put him out of his misery.

Fast-forward to Season 6 and we see that Quinn is very much alive....but he's definitely not the same as his Stroke from his ordeal has left him invalid. He doesn't move as he use to, can't walk the same way and his speech is slurred with bouts of memory loss. Clearly he is no longer working for the government and is dealing with just the day to day struggles of simple things that we all take for granted. 10 minutes into Episode 1, I had the entire season mapped out for Quinn. I knew that it was going to be all about whether he had one last mission left inside of him, in spite of now being unemployed and on his on. I knew that he would have major struggles getting to the Season Finale and I knew that he would in the end, sacrifice himself to protect Carrie and what's how it all went down.

Carrie may be the one that carries the entire season, but Season 6 was all Quinn. She actually felt more of side character this time around. If there was ever a way for a character to go out in a blaze of glory, this was it. As for the Plot, I also knew that the President-Elect would turn out to be corrupt and the actions that take place in the Finale shows it. This isn't a knew plot thought. They also did it with President Logan in Season 5 of 24. As for the final shot, the cliffhanger....it was surreal to see how the series has boomeranged right back to Season 1. With Carrie completely disillusioned with the President and the government that is now fully corrupt, having her staring at Capitol Hill with a blank stare, just like Brody does in Season 1, I'm left thinking that Carrie, who's now at the end of her rope will decide to go full-on Brody herself and become a Suicide Bomber. Well, I see her hellbent on carrying this out for the first half of the next season before snapping back to reality and deciding to take down the President the right way.

Overall, a great season with stellar work from Rupert Friend, Mandy Patinkin, Elizabeth Marvel and the always awesome F. Murray Abraham. Definitely worth a Rent. Check it out.

7
Video Games / Shadow of the Tomb Raider
« on: March 15, 2018, 12:47:10 pm »
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Teaser Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5-n_aXgQG8


I had no idea we were getting a new Tomb Raider game this year. I actually thought that 2-3 years from now would be generous in that regard. So yeah, THIS is fantastic news for me.

8
DVD's & Blu-rays / Jessica Jones (TV Series Season 1 - 2015)
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:11:14 pm »
Jessica Jones (TV Series Season 1 - 2015)
3 Stars out of 5


Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWHUjuJ8zxE

Okay, I've been looking forward to checking out Jessica Jones for a while now, especially with all the Reviews pouring in with titles like "The Best TV Series in year...." and "...the best Marvel Series on air right now". With stuff like this, how can I not get pumped up to see this? I went into this with way too much hype and expectations and of course it did not meet them at all. Don't get me wrong, the show is good. But is it the 'be all, end all" that everyone has made this out to be? No.

Let me back up a bit here. The characters and the actors are great in their roles and even the story itself was something of a breath of fresh air. It's the pacing of the entire season that does more harm then good here. Having Jessica going toe to toe with Killgrave, a man that can brainwash anyone merely by saying whatever he wants is a good plot point. My issue with the entirety of Season 1 is that they kind of blew their wad a bit too early. The first half of the season was great....it's the second half that honestly was a bit thin. To me, they revealed Killgrave way too early in the first half and since he is the main Villain and naturally will have to make it to the end for the final confrontation left the second half with what I would call "filler" episodes. I mean, how many times can you capture Killgrave only to have him escape at the very last second and suspend disbelief? So, stretching episode after episode just to save Killgrave for the finale is just asking too much from a viewer. Well, for me anyway.

Another thing that was just a bit weird to see is there really wasn't any FX shots save for maybe 2-3 all together. The series comes off more like an Independent Film that has to use creative editing to get around what a big blockbuster movie would use in selling everyone's respective powers. So, all the fight scenes that take place just come across as woefully underwhelming to say the least. I'm not asking that they go crazy with FX shots, but if you want to at least make it appear that both Jessica and Luke Cage have incredible powers, than you're gonna have to come with more than just clever editing. With that said, I do recommend this as a Rent for sure. It's a good series.....just not what everyone has made it out to be.

9
DVD's & Blu-rays / It (2017)
« on: March 02, 2018, 06:20:05 am »

The only connection I have with It was the Original TV Movie Event that aired over two days and all I can remember from that were a few select scenes. I remember John Ritter, Red Balloon, very few scenes with Pennywise and enjoying what I was watching.....that is until the final scene with that dumb Spider that made no sense in the scheme of things. Years later what I heard was that it was the only thing that the film makers could use at that time to represent what the Human mind could not comprehend. So, I was very curious to see what they were going to do with the Reboot now that they would have the FX toys to work with in fixing this one problem.

Well, having just watching It, that problem is never addressed and was skipped all together. Or so I think. The thing I picked up on for this Reboot is that they also jettison  the whole "Kids suffer traumatic childhood, grow up and then reunite years later" to take on Pennywise. The Reboot just covers the years when they are kids. But the way things are left in the movie, they set it up to return 27 years later if need be to take on Pennywise again. So yeah, a sequel is definitely coming for sure.

As for the movie itself, I thought it was done extremely well. Beautifully shot. At times it reminded me a bit of Stand by Me and for whatever reason, The Goonies, even though there is no humor or wit from that film. I think it has to do with the band of misfits The Losers and having one Girl in the group. The story at times was a bit confusing at the beginning where the kids were being pursued by Pennywise. Remember, I don't remember much of the Original movie. So it took awhile for some of that Plot to come back to me. The final confrontation between the Kids and Pennywise was done really well. I'm sure anyone that has seen the movie already wants to see another installment. I do. This one is definitely worth a Rent. I just wish there was more Pennywise is all.

10
DVD's & Blu-rays / Battle of the Sexes (2017)
« on: February 24, 2018, 09:01:39 pm »
Battle of the Sexes (2017)
2 1/2 Stars out of 5


Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AWP1K7FaFI

Sorry, but I'm in the minority here, but I think Battle of the Sexes is a bit overrated. Yes, Emma Stone and Steve Carell are solid in their respective roles. But the movie as a whole just left me bored. I knew going into the movie that there wasn't going to be much other than the Match itself and even that wasn't something I was ever going to buy into as compelling stuff. So, with the Match coming at the end, that meant that they were going to have to pad and stretch the personal stuff to fill out the rest of the movie. I just didn't find anything there for me to sink my teeth into. I don't want it to sound like I'm saying this is a bad movie, it's just not a movie for me. I certainly wouldn't put this in my Top 20 Sports movies. I guess it's worth a Rent for the performances by the two leads....beyond that....not much else.

11
DVD's & Blu-rays / Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
« on: February 19, 2018, 06:52:55 am »
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
5 Stars out of 5

Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGHGZjDguqw


OMG! What a fun, exhilarating movie! Spider-Man: Homecoming is everything I want and have wanted out of a Spider-Man movie. From the very first shot to the last, I was completely sucked in and hooked. There is a lot to like here. You want Big FX Sets to thrill you, it's here. But if you want something that's a bit more grounded in reality in characterizations, that too is readily available. For starters, they actually got a teenager to play a teenager! Shocking! Tom Holland is fantastic as Peter Parker / Spidey. Even though there are a couple of previous Spider-Man, I've never enjoyed the character of Peter Parker because he has always been portrayed as whiny, annoying and just not fun to watch. Holland is a joy here and giving him a sidekick in the form of Ned was a great way to go.

The other thing that struck me while watching the movie was just how much influence I was seeing from John Hughes here. As you know, I'm a HUGE Hughes fan, so for me, this was a Big Plus for me. There are a few scenes that were pulled directly from a number of his films, the most blatant being Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As soon as you see the scene in question, you immediately know. But rather than trying to conceal it as something else...they literally show the very same scene from Bueller which had me grinning ear to ear. And yes, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles' influence can also be felt too.

Now what about the cameos that make up Homecoming? Well, if you've seen the Trailer, it's no secret that Iron Man / Tony Stark plays a big part. Robert Downey Jr. is great as Peter's mentor. But it was the inclusion of Happy that really got it right. I wasn't expecting to see Jon Favreau have so much screen time. It felt like this was more than we ever get from him in any of the Iron Man flicks. Pepper Pots and Captain America also make their presences known in their respective cameos. But it's Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes / Vulture that finally gets it right when it come to creating a believable Villain that actually matters. Ironically enough, the only other Spidey movie to get the Villain right is of course Spider-Man 2.

I remember after watching the first Trailer for Homecoming that I declared that this would be the best Spider-Man movie of all time, but that was hyperbole. Having just watched the movie, that statement pretty much lived up to it because as I said, there is so much to like about this one. There are a ton of small inside jokes that will make you laugh. The pacing, acting, FX, plot all kept me engaged and begging for more. I love how in this movie, it's Tony Stark that creates the Spidey Suit and with that, all the bells and whistles you find in Iron Man are here. Yes, for purist of the Comic Book as sure to hate this. But I thought it was fun to see and gives Peter more options in what to do. This could have been a bad thing because essentially the Suit does all the work for Peter, but the plot takes the suit away from him, giving him the chance to actually become "Spider-man" without the suit. With this new suit and everything there is to too learn about it, it reminded me a great deal about The Greatest American Hero, where that too was all about learning to control a Superhero suit leading to lots of laughs.


I'll say one last thing, there is a Big Twist that comes 2/3rds of the way in the movie that changes everything and it was a major surprise for me and I'm sure most people that avoid spoilers. I won't say what it is. But when it reveals itself, it's a Holy Sh*t moment. I can't wait for the next Spider-Man movie to get here, which is something I have NEVER said about any of the previous flicks. This is definitely a Buy, which I intend to add to my DVD collection.

12
DVD's & Blu-rays / A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
« on: February 17, 2018, 12:51:52 pm »
A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
2 Stars out of 5

Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2bnY9oWVFw

Look, the first Bad Mom's was surprisingly funny and I gave it a pretty good rating. But at no time while watching the first installment did I ever think "I sure hope we get a sequel". This is a movie that doesn't warrant one. It's basically a throw away property. But sadly, Hollywood doesn't think in logical terms...only in "how can we milk this for even more money moving forward". A Bad Moms Christmas is exactly what I expected to get from a pointless and unnecessary followup. I found myself incredibly bored throughout most of the movie and more than that, it wasn't even close to being funny like the first flick. The only one that actually made me laugh on multiple occasions was Cheryl Hines who is hilarious as Kristen Bell's mother. Other than that, this is a Skip. It's a turd of a movie and a complete waste of time. I really hope they don't make another sequel...but given how it ends with Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon heading off to Vegas, that is something they are clearly thinking about.

13
Music / Record This! (The Home and Pro Recording Studio Thread)
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:58:48 am »
Creating a new thread geared specifically toward the in's and outs of Recording. I love to see BTS of how other people approach their craft from the simplest of plugging into a PC or to a more robust Studio that covers more than just hitting the Record button. This also includes the art of writing Songs as well.

14
DVD's & Blu-rays / Wonder Woman (2017)
« on: February 15, 2018, 06:53:16 am »
Wonder Woman (2017)
5 Stars out of 5

Trailer


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeZ8X5FKl78


I've been waiting a long time to finally get the chance to sit down and watch Wonder Woman. I've pretty much stayed spoiler free the entire time, but it was really hard because of all the praise that was floating around out there. Wherever I turned it was another article or an interview where someone was gushing about the flick. I gotta preface this by saying that I've always been a fan of Lynda Carter as the the standard for Wonder Woman. Having just watched this movie, the torch has clearly been passed to Gal Gadot. Yeah, she was in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but she had such a small role in the movie that I really couldn't make an opinion about her other than "she looks the part".

With Gal getting her first full movie to carry in Wonder Woman, I can't think of a better actor to assume the mantle of Diana Prince. Just as important as her performance of course is the Direction by Patty Jenkins who did a fantastic job crafting the look, feel and pace of what turned out to be fast movie that flies by. Love the nods that Patty threw into Wonder Woman to pay homage to Superman: The Movie, which for me has always been the Gold Standard for Comic Book movies. So, to see this little Easter Eggs really was a delight. Diana/Wonder Woman has a great origin story and shocking has a great character arc from the beginning to the last shot in the movie. There is a clear change for her that you just don't see in most Comic Book Films and that has been the biggest fail in why those movies just don't connect with me on an emotional level, Logan being the lone exception in years to get it right.

Chris Pine was great in his role as Steve Trevor and really played off Gal to great effect. Hated to see him go at the end, but it's his sacrifice that actually propels Diana to become who she was and is destined to be and it's very exhilarating to see her transformation complete at the most pivotal and critical time in the film. There is a lot to like in Wonder Woman. Yes, the action sequences involving Wonder Woman will have you grinning ear to ear in their awesomeness. They look so damn good. But more than that, we finally get a DCU movie that doesn't suck. Not every movie has to be dark and brooding to tell a story. That has been the biggest problem so far with the other DCU flicks. Wonder Woman went in the opposite direction and succeeds and it still feels like it fits in nicely in that Universe. I highly recommend this as a Buy. It's definitely a movie that I'd come back to again and again in the future. 5 Stars out of 5.

15
Sports / PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics
« on: February 08, 2018, 06:37:02 pm »
Opening Ceremonies start tomorrow, but the games are already underway tonight with Figure Skating and Freestyle Skiing. I'm so happy the Olympics are back. I always get sucked into the competition. Been looking forward to this since the closing ceremonies of Rio's Summer games. And so it begins.....

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