Dr. Postol has a knack for taking complex strategic and policy arguments and finding problems with them based on strict physics which cut across party lines. Of course, this tends to make various people very irritated with him an awful lot of the time. On the other hand, it also (in my opinion) means that issues he investigates tend to have more of their fights center around actual fact-based problems, which is (again in my opinion) a plus.
True or not, this is funny. I feel like working to boost Amir's Google ranking at this URL.
I'll try to hold any spoilers until later, and label 'em clearly.
Cheap escape: I liked the flick. Highly entertaining.
More depth: From what little I know, this movie takes the notion of continuity from the comic sense and laughs while wiping its ass with it. There's even holes when considered strictly as the third of three movies in a vacuum. But like a magnificent drunk, the movie just stumbles with divine grace across these holes and somehow stays upright through momentum. It's a summer movie, for Gawd's sake, it's not supposed to make sense. There's actually a story of sorts in there; one that connects with the prior two movies, so in that we are lucky. Looked at with one eye closed and the other squinting, it looks almost like it was planned as the third movie in an arc trilogy. Almost.
There are noticeably more explosions, effects, asskickings, and general mayhem moments than in the first two. Part of that no doubt reflects a higher budget, but part of it also reflects much less of a tendency to get angsty about the personal stressors of mutantdom. The stress is there and still plays a significant role in the story (if not the most critical!) but much less time is spent trying to coach marginal actors into producing believable expressions of personal conflict underneath DRAMATIC MUSIC to display INNER TENSION. More time is spent having said characters display their Issues by blowing the ever-loving shit out of some piece of scenery or even (in this flick) some hapless homo sapiens or even mutant who happens to be in the way - which, really, is what it's all about.
All hail the pyrotechnics teams.
Okay, some minor spoilers below. Nothing you wouldn't get from a close examination of the trailer, I promise.
Still with me? Okay. Some pluses and minuses. Here's one of my biggest peeves - Nightcrawler does not appear anywhere in this film. Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot. He was perhaps my favorite mutant; I was ecstatic when he showed up in X2, and they even did it right, making him one of that movie's high points. For God's sake (heh) he even bamfed properly! Give those people cigars! And then...what? He's just not there. We don't even get a throwaway line explanation of what the hell happened to him. We even have a scene in an abandoned church for God's sake! His stomping grounds! But nope. No Nightcrawler. POINTS DEDUCTED.
We get a completely nude Rebecca Romijn. This is never bad. :-)
Ian McKellen is a splendid bastard. Truly he is. Despite wearing what looks like a padded vise around his head, his eyebrows manage to perform some 47 percent of the acting duties of the entire cast. Watching him tailor his physical gestures (degree of exertion, type of motion) to his various Magneto exploits is a treat to behold. Finally, we get not one but at least two Magneto-vs.-Xavier debates-with-pointy-words-and-tone, and just being able to pull two actors of Stewart and McKellen's caliber into the project speaks well of this flick. They rock.
There were a great number of Inexcusable Movie Cliches, even for a comic book flick. Honestly. Helpless-housewife-locks-car-door-in-the-face-of-unimaginable-power. R. Lee Ermey's Drill Sergeant Voice. Jack-Ryan-Style Fake-IR-Satellite-Realtime-Video Taken-From-Ten-Feet-Up Live-In-The-White-House. A President who can only speak in four-word-cliches. Sometimes the cliches even overrode the movie's sensibilities - for example, Magneto's army. Because the army is Bad Mutants, there's some reason that 95% of them have to look like Biker Gang rejects and be wearing clothes straight out of Deliverance. Uh, I call bullshit on this one. Eric Lensharr would not be delivering his speeches of self-defense and actualization to a bunch of intensely racist backwoods types. He'd be able to find a bunch of self-interested as well as urbane types who had a better place to hang out than behind Cousin Bob's Trailer.
More good-natured jokes about the outfits, which is good. Hank McCoy wearing his 'old' outfit and bitching about how it used to fit him was a good follow-on to 'You'd prefer yellow spandex?'
On the plus side as well, the storyline they chose fit in extremely well with Magneto's character and backstory; his motivations were COMPLETELY believable, and his actions throughout were (mostly) self-consistent and understandable. The 'with us or against us' meme was developed well, and they didn't spend too much time (as I feel sure Singer would have) 'exploring the issues this would have raised among the Xavier community.' Nope, too busy with the asskicking and general Armageddon.
Technically, the movie was midrange. There were a lot of effects, but the CGI got fairly sloppy at times, especially at the end battle. Almost Lawnmower Man-ish, which made me shudder, for certain things. It was inconsistent, though; some of it (Magneto and the Golden Gate) was awesome - I don't know if it reflected a budget disparity or just rushing in some parts to get it done. Jean Grey's dynamic makeup (CGI as well?) was good. We didn't see nearly as much of the Mansion this time, making it seem like less of a 'special place' - we saw some of the school part, but not a lot - and in fact the sets weren't all that great. They were fairly generic. I can't think of any that stand out.
One thing that would have tickled me is for one of the young 'uns to have poked a button in the X-Jet during our pan past them in the passenger section, causing a 'call' light to bong at Storm's station resulting in guilty embarrassment. That would have been funny.
Final kvetch: there sure are an awful lot of mutants out there. Makes you wonder how Charles kept everything so quiet and why he even needed the Machine to find them if there were that many - even if they were mainly 'pawns' as Magneto put it.
Okay, done rambling. I enjoyed the flick, and will probably see it again. I liked the final scene; I thought it was the right 'comic book series' ending. Oh, and advice: stay after the credits.
Well, an answer is closer, if not settled. They can, really, which is what I sort of thought at the time too. While there may be technical issues with current subs which make this more difficult - notably, systems which require maintenance on regular cycle which can't be removed from the submarine for depot maintenance due to limited access port sizes on the boat (SSBNs have larger accessways specifically to allow depot maintenance of critical system components to maximize at-sea times) this is something that could certainly be solved in a new-design SSN, of which we've had at least one since I wrote that paper.
It's nice to know I at least managed to get something close to right - i.e. yes, that number was important; yes, the Navy thought so too, enough that they experimented, and yep, it makes a big difference.
Why are guns a problem? Not because someone who knows how to use them shows you what they do in a controlled environment with proper appreciation for it. Guns are a problem when they are treated as a 'magical object' that is 'forbidden' and hence represents 'mystical power' - i.e. when they are something that is never seen, never seen operating, never touched - and then become something that if only the kid can get hold of, they will be magically powerful and can fix all the problems with their life.
Pretending they don't exist, or that they can't be acquired by the kids if they try hard enough, is the way to make them mystic objects of fascination. Making them understandable and dangerous objects, like bandsaws or jackhammers, is the way to make their use something not 'cool' and 'powerful' but stupid and weak.
Plus, maybe your kids will want to go to Physics class. That's rare enough already. If there is an actual law against doing this demonstration in the classroom, then okay, understandable - perhaps he needs to set up a field trip to a range to do it. But if no-one's been hurt, and he's taking appropriate safety precautions, and knows what he's doing - SHUT UP! Jesus, it's no wonder the good teachers quit.
Fucking learn that.
I beat it. Then I tipped him $5.
Bob beat it before me though, so he got to taunt me.
But I like this. Gettin' blazed involves buttons, man...plushies...buttons...yeah...
o/~...I am a one-man wrecking machine...o/~
But if there's anyone out there that can honestly tell themselves that they didn't think this was going on, please, if you're in a position of authority over United States policy or please tell me no! ...my civil rights, resign now.
The imagery is savage - not only the violence, which is graphic and meticulous, but not casual (never that), but the landscape. The Outback is shown as a vast, gloriously wild and unforgiving place, with Europeans struggling to eke out a life there by imposing their civilization's habits upon the land. As they place frame houses on ground flat for hundreds of miles in every direction, their customs too sit perched awkwardly atop the dusty soil, unable to put down roots. The faint traces of life in the Outback, to which one might attach oneself, are visible; there are Aborigines living there who have been there, we can tell, since time began. However, the constant presence of racial contempt that the European society brings with it prevents it from truly putting down roots in this place.
This latter point is made most poignantly when one character dismisses his native houseman in order to prevent the latter's being caught up in the cycle of violence that is approaching. As he approaches the gate, the settler calls to him to only half-ironically wish him merry Christmas. Turning, he removes his shoes and drops his pocket handkerchief next to them, replies "Merry Christmas, Cap'n," and trudges through the gate - clearly commenting that these trappings of Europe will be more of a hindrance than a help outside the garden fence.
The acting is really quite good. Ray Winstone, Guy Pearce, John Hurt and Emily Watson all shine, but everyone in it holds up their end. As has been noted by other reviewers, the costuming and makeup is so total (in terms of grittiness and filth, at times) that it can be difficult to identify actors - which ends up making their performances all the more powerful.
I recommend it highly. Be warned that the violence is not cartoony, is highly bloody, not only bloody, and very effective - but also absolutely necessary.
"Thank you for your offer to send your purchase records to me," she wrote, "however our Software Asset Management (SAM) program is the only unbiased way to create an accurate baseline and resolve this matter.""Unbiased." Yes. What a...oh, never mind, insert pejorative here.
More popcorn, please.
Someone is going to have to draw us a cool chart with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one is so we can keep track of the players of poker, poke her and Tax Dollar Bingo here.
Update: Other shoes, other shoes...
Sure. And pigs have antigrav trotters.
Let's have a small thought experiment. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the Head of the CIA appointed by, say, a Democratic president, who was wildly unpopular with the long-time professional cadre of employees there, brought with him a long-time associate from essentially out of nowhere. Let us also say that this DCI had a highly publicized, stormy tenure in which allegations of political housecleaning during a much harped upon 'war' were bandied about.
Now let's imagine that this DCI, who to date has had no personal allegations of impropriety involving a sex or bribery scandal, abruptly resigns. Then two days later, his personal appointee, who it turns out is involved to the point of being the target of an FBI investigation and possible indictment, resigns.
CNN says 'gee, he only resigned because his boss left.'
Now crank in multiple hints, rounded up by Laura Rozen at War and Piece, that this no. 3 has been considering resigning since before the Big Cheese's suprise Friday funhouse announcement.
And still, CNN sucks wind for the White House spin cycle.
The driver looked at me and grinned (not actually cruelly) and said "Seventy-five. You have it inside?" I nodded, and he said "Okay, I have to keep moving, but I'll pull over across the street, okay?" He pointed. I moved away, and he pulled past the cross-street and up to the curb, waiting. I went back inside for pants and cash.
Which was a problem. I came back out and trudged over to meet him, shaking my head.
"You got it?"
"No, man, I think you still got me. I only have $17." Which was totally true, it was all the cash I had in the house.
He looked at me for a second, then laughed and said "Nah, I'll take your $17." Which he did, then dropped the car carefully and shook my hand. "You still have the ticket, though, I can't do anything about that."
"'Course not, man, thanks, thanks a lot."
I drove Darth back into my driveway. Hell, if running out of my house in tighty-whities to get a laugh saves me from having to go to the tow yard, that alone would've been worth it. The ticket was $20. I can't really complain at all about the tow, since yep, I was on the wrong side of the street (they switched the street sides a year ago when they repaved and put the signs back, and I still get them wrong...first Friday and second Monday, which side?) and they didn't get to my car until 10:20am instead of the 8:00am they normally do (which I would've slept through) and he was cool about it and made my Monday not suck.
Whew. So here's to human, good-natured tow guys. Thank you, sir.
Why is this assclown bothering being in Washington, again?
Up against this field there are no fewer than around *ten* pirate, barbarian, generic-fantasy-medieval-magic crapola games. What the hell? When did imagination and computers come to mean 'elves and unicorns and magic' to the exclusion of all that's fucking holy to a man raised on blaster pistols and starships?
Speak not to me of EVE Online or Space Cowboy. If you can't get out of your spaceship and walk around and moon somebody, forget it. It's just a big flight sim. Damn it.
I miss Anarchy Online. It was a grand fucking attempt. It just didn't have the tech to produce enough content to fill the space it had, or make the world fungible enough - and it got boring fast. But God, if it could have fulfilled its promise, it would have fucking ruled. And it *did* hold me for around a year, exploring if nothing else - WoW is prettier, but the thrill of managing to get somewhere new in AO is something WoW just doesn't have for me. Making it into a new zone, finding a pointless-and-non-interactive-but-pretty crashed starship way the hell out in the middle of nowhere on Rubi-Ka - that showed me that the game designers thought like me - they wanted a world, not just a vessel for an adventure module. Those crash sites and random encampments were a hopeful investment for the future, as well as easter eggs for those of us who would spend time just flying around the planet in our Yalms, sightseeing.
Damn, I miss it. But not enough to go back and realize that there really wasn't enough interaction to make me stick around. If only AO's content was sitting on top of WoW's platform...oh, man. The weeks I would lose inside.
Update: I'm wrong. Warhammer Online is not Warhammer 40,000 online, which would be sci-fi. Nope. It's a big-tusked-orc-type fantasy war MMO which looks a lot like...um...world of...no...couldn't be...sigh.
And none of you have the excuse that no-one will take what you say seriously.
Deal with it.