Monday, April 21, 2014

Movies Reviews: Muppets: Most Wanted, Noah, The Grand Budapest Hotel & Divergent

Movie Reviews

Muppets: Most Wanted
What a joy it is that the Muppets have been reborn with the last 2 movies. This edition has a great transition to the current plot, filled with musical numbers that will have you tapping your foot. Clean smart jokes are throughout and a fresh. The star of the show is Ty Burrell who plays a French Interpol agent. He makes Steve Martin's rendition of Inspector Clouseau look like Pauly Shore. Tina Fey is wonderful with a Russian accent, but perhaps the best part is the onslaught of cameos that only The Muppets can pull off. B+

Noah
First, I have to say that Russell Crowe is an asshole and Emma Watson is a stuck up bitch. That said, Noah wins this blog's: Best Picture out of 4. Everything you loved from Requiem For A Dream & Black Swan, comes together to bring this cinematic explosion

The Grand Budapest Hotel
So disappointed. I love Ralph Fiennes. He is one of my favorite actors. I love the director, Wes Anderson. But, I didn't love The Grand Budapest Hotel. Perhaps my expectations were too high after all the hype the movie was given based on the countless stars in the flick and success Anderson has had in previous movies. However, t
his movie was too long, too slow, awkward, and finally not nearly as funny as it could have been. Definitely a RedBoxer.

Divergent
The trailers and previews caught my interest. There had been lots of buzz about the movie on the internets. And finally the Today Show, America's last bastion of exceptional hard news, gave the movie a good pump.

The movie from the previews definitely looked like this was best to be seen in IMAX, so I spent the extra $3 for the full experience.

I went into the movie with a some expectations, but not many. Let the horror begin...

1. The not so lovely protagonist, Tris, played by Shailene Woodley looks like she just got her braces off. Literally, she has the look on screen of a 16 year old girl with a little baby fat left.

2. The male protagonist, 4, yes his name is a number is played by a James Franco look a like ironically named Theo James. Despite thinking Franco was on screen half the time, James is the only actor that brings a multi-dimensional character worth watching.

3. The cinematography was blurry. In this supposed city in the middle of nowhere didn't have a director that could edit out views of the Hancock Building in Chicago.

4. There is actually a make out scene between James and Woodley that makes you so uncomfortable you almost want to call the police to prevent statutory rape.

5. The crowning achievement of this "work" is that we don't even know what divergent means or what powers it gives you. The most one can gather is it is some type of mental power, but it is never explained and when a meanie like Kate Winslet is trying to kill you for a "power" that consists of a name, but nothing else, the movie becomes asinine real fast.

There you have it. I finally got out the review!



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vladimir Hitler

It was only 7 years ago when Vladimir Putin was chosen as Person of the Year by Time Magazine. I was pissed that Al Gore didn't win. Global warming was a big deal 7 years ago when Al won the Nobel Peace Prize for his PowerPoint presentation and it seemed at the time that giving him the Person of the Year status was a good idea.

But instead, Putin took home the Person of the Year crown. This decision was made because Putin had done such a masterful job rebuilding the Russian economy from the rubble of the Soviet Union. Hasn't there been another man that was awarded Person of the Year for rebuilding an economy from the rubble of a different economy? 

Ok, the title of the blog gave it away. That was Adolf Hitler back in 1933, who as Chancellor, was named Man of the Year (Time changed 'Man' to 'Person' not too long ago. Everyone was sexist back then). Then a mere 7 years later he took Alsace and Lorraine from France. No big deal, there were ethnic Germans living there. They all wanted to be part of Germany anyway. 

So far there are absolutely no parallels between Putin's actions and Hitler's so I don't know why I'm trying to compare the two. On second thought, there might be a few coincidences:
1. Both were awarded time's top person.
2. Seven years after both were named "Person/Man of the Year," they both annexed a small piece of land to the southwest parts of their respective States and under the pretense of bringing ethnic German or Russian groups of people under the protection of the Mother country no less.
3. Both parties showed a desire to take even more neighboring sovereign country land. Hitler wanted Poland. And Putin wants eastern Ukraine.
4. Red lines were set against Hitler and now against Putin about further expansions.
5. The Allies called out Hitler when he invaded Poland. Now, will NATO do anything if Russia tries to annex part of eastern Ukraine? 

All I've heard so far is that the West/NATO/US/UN, etc. will only sanction Russia again. Is Obama Neville Chamberlain? Is Putin going to stop these land grabs? Will the U.S. be drawn into a war over the country lines on a map in eastern Europe?

The situation is not pretty. And if Putin is anything like Hitler, the more he takes, the more he'll want.

And now I can't travel to Russia or Nazi-Germany. Damn.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Party to the End . . . Last Call is Only a Few Generations Away

As the people of earth go about their daily business, the future health of our human society continues to look more and more bleak. I believe that all the factors to be described spell an inevitable demise for our race. Cheered up yet? Let's get to the details:

1. Environment. When a Chinese river starts burning because it is all essentially sewage that's a problem. When crops don't grow because of a severe drought or severe flood, that's a problem. When the temperature of the air and sea continues to rise at an accelerated rate, that's a problem. I could list environmental problems ad nauseam. So what is the solution? We don't have one. When mass destruction across the entire planet starts to occur due to the weather, it will be too late to try a quick fix. It took us all of human existence to get to the point where we polluted the entire planet to the point of no return. The environment is a lost cause. Any actions taken now will be too late, despite the magnitude of the actions to repair the earth's environment for future livable conditions. Sorry for the bad news, but it's coming and anyone with an objective analysis concerning only the planet's health would be hard pressed to show evidence to the contrary.

2. Nuclear Instability. I actually think that this is one of the least concerning reasons our society may perish. The super powers around the world (U.S,, U.K., India, China, & Russia) understand the meaning of mutually assured destruction when it comes to the idea of unleashing an arsenal of nuclear missiles. The more likely scenario is not that we trade nukes in the air with China, but that a rogue state or terrorist organization finds a way to deliver a nuclear payload that starts an international crisis, paving the way for an all out nuclear holocaust. This still seems relatively unlikely at this time.

3. Overpopulation/Limited Resources. The population of earth continues to grow and is expected to surpass 10 billion people by 2100. That may sound a long time away, but that's really only 86 years, or a lifetime for many. Clean water, electricity, oil, food, and all the other resources needed to sustain this type of global population growth is unimaginable. That's not to say we are incapable of handling it, but what happens if key resources begin to dwindle? Who is gets to be first in line to get what's left? The wealthy of course because they can afford to pay out the nose for basic services a farm hand in Nicaragua cannot. Thus leads to protests, riots, and all the other fun stuff when a society turns on its head for basic survival. It has been estimated that within 30 days without electricity all of society breaks down causing mass anarchy. Will the chaos created by a lack of essential resources plunge all of humanity into a downward spiral, or will it only affect the least capable of surviving? This is yet to be seen, but if a run on grocery stores instead of banks starts happening in America, you can forget about lunch at Sardi's everyday.

4. Politics. The biggest polluter in the world, China, has no plans to stop pumping all sorts of wonderful chemicals and poisons into our air and water. Other countries take the sustainability approach (e.g. Costa Rica). But despite what 99% of the nation states in this world do, it only takes one to wreak havoc for the rest of us. Essentially this means that the future of our society is made good only if there is essentially total compliance with environmental policies (not yet created) to prevent the environment from imploding faster than it already is. If one major player decides it doesn't want to be "clean" who is going to stop them? Nobody. Not to mention that the speed of politics in this country has never been slower with our current Congress being the least productive in all American history. So even if the policies to help out our planet start to rumble in the corners of the Capital building, it could be decades before any meaningful action is taken if ever.

5. Faceless Greed. The only person these days that seems concerned with helping the poor is the Pope. And he has been strongly criticized by the American plutocrats. As long as there is money to be made today at tomorrow's expense, no changes to our current capitalist run society will occur. Our society is essentially like Social Security, we borrow today and worry tomorrow about paying back what we borrowed. Unlike Social Security, we are borrowing from the planet and have no intention to pay it back, leaving the planet bankrupt. Can you kick a dead horse? Yes, but it won't make the corpse jump up and start tilling ground again. The endless greed for more, is probably the most dangerous problems facing our society. We've all read about the revolutions of the past which were precipitated by the rich starving the poor to death (e.g. The French Revolution). As we have seen recently in Egypt and other parts of the middle-east, a revolution doesn't make things perfect as soon as a leader is deposed. Many times, the people become even worse due to the new management that may be even more inept and greedy than the management that was just kicked out the door.

So there you have it, B's recipe for the end of civilization as we know it. We have a couple or more generations to go before the dominoes start to fall. But they are at the tipping point. So if you're young, congratulations, you may be the last generation on earth not to experience the collapse of human society, if you're old, you really don't have to worry about anything. So drink, eat, play, and know that all the problems of the world will fall to our descendants who will generously pick up the unpayable tab for us, whether they want to or not.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Truth About Law School

Dear reader,

If you care so much as to know what law school entails then perhaps you will find this blog helpful. If not, I hope you will find it amusing.

Law school provides an excellent educational experience, but is in almost everyone's eyes a racket. Professors, students, Deans, and lawyers most of all speak of how law school is nothing more than the establishment extorting their due from the newcomers.

200 years ago there were still plenty of lawyers, but only a couple of law schools. William & Mary founded the first law school in America in 1779. Harvard founded a law school very near after. But as I previously stated, there were many lawyers in America before any law school was founded.

Before the introduction of a law school institution was solidified by the American Bar Association, to be a lawyer, one was apprenticed by previous apprenticed and accepted lawyers by the local courts. John Adams was a Harvard graduate, but there was no Harvard Law School at that time; he was apprenticed into being the successful lawyer he was before his revolutionary crusade.

I find that there is no reasonable explanation why a person that can pass a bar exam can not be certified by a state as a legal attorney just because they do not possess a law school degree which costs ruffly about $150,000.

But as any student of history knows, there have been guilds, unions, and other mechanisms throughout human history that make attaining a certain position only attainable by jumping though hoops and paying dearly for it.

I do not believe that a to be lawyer should necessarily balk at the prospect of making millions while being in debt a couple hundred thousand, but as in any business, success is not assured.

What is one to think when the former Dean of a law school flat out repeatably states that all law schools have become too costly and as a result there are fewer law school applicants as a result of this economic barrier?

Here is what I think: all law students just want to practice. I know all I want to do is get in front of a judge as soon as possible and argue my client's case.

It does not require great genius to graduate from law school, only some diligence. And, I can attest to that fact not because I consider myself a dunce, but because I know I could have worked harder in my first year and still passed with ease.

What is the point to this conversation? Perhaps to inform future law students that it is not so much as a formidable academic challenge as a financial one, and that it is a severe and that is a poor policy for all law schools. They want your money so they do not want you to fail, but they also act under the presumption that people are too stupid to be able to practice law without a degree. John Adams, perhaps the greatest of our founding fathers (and I went to Mr. Jefferson's University for undergrad), I'm sure would be enraged by the current system.

So the solution is only in the next generation of lawyers that chose to change our current system. But as we all know, anyone that tries to up-end the way of society does not fair well.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Is all life predetermined?

I have had a theory lately that all life is predetermined. I don't like to think that it is, but when one considers what the laws of physics state, there is room to believe all animals including humans have a predetermined destiny.

The theory is that all atoms want to be stable. If you light a match, there is more stability in burning that match than if the match had never been lighten.  At the same time, our brains are no more than chemical reservoirs of information. We don't have computer chips in our head and all the information that we accumulate and use in daily life is stored in the brain in chemical fashion that even the top scientists in the world are still trying to figure out.

So here is the theory...if all things in nature are trying to become more stable doesn't that mean that every thought we have is actually driven by a chemical process that may make us feel in control, when we are actually acting in a way that makes the molecules and neurons fire in a way that is out of our control and makes us do what is in accordance with physics and not free will?

If you shoot a man with a gun, and he dies, why did you shoot him in the first place? Your brain synapses told your body to pull the trigger, and the body is beholden to the brain. The next question is what made your brain tell your body to execute this action? If stability is the ultimate goal of the universe, it would make sense that you really had no real decisive ability to shoot or not to shoot. The chemicals in your brain which we can not control, overrode what some would call "free will" and thus even though you may be aware of the crime of shooting someone, it was actually a doing of the chemicals in your mind that were the real culprit and not you as a sentient person.

The Sun doesn't have any ability to do anything that doesn't match up with astrophysics. It can not decide to have a solar storm or not, all the Sun does is react to the elements that rule the laws of physics. So why is a ball of fire larger than any planet in the solar system any different than a bunch of atoms in a human? We do not know.

But I believe that there is some truth in the fact that everything that happens on Earth is predetermined due to the laws of physics.

Isn't it at least interesting to think for a moment that everything we do in the universe is predetermined and yet as humans we still believe in "free will?" When will we ever know who rules who? I don't think that question can be legitimately answered at this time, but damn it would be amazing to find out that what I theorize about "free will" being a farce is actually true.