Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Movie review - Crank: High Voltage

AKA Crank 2, AKA Crank 2: High Voltage, this is the second Crank movie, starring Jason Statham as the nearly immortal Chev Chelios. The first one was pretty crazy and this one is even more insane. This is not a family movie, because of, well, everything. I really liked this movie and I'm looking forward to another one, which I'm pretty sure will materialize. It also stars Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Dwight Yoakam and many others, including a few surprise cameos. Also, there are bloopers all throughout the closing credits, so stay until they kick you out.

There's action, outrageous situations, lots of humour, gratuitous scenes, violence and just plain silly fun. In the first movie, Chelios was injected with a poison and had to keep his adrenaline up to stay alive (think Speed, but replace the bus with a human being!). This time, his heart gets stolen and is replaced with a temporary artificial one. This mechanical heart is not meant for the type of activities Chelios needs to take part of in order to recover his own super-heart. So, of course, he needs to deliver frequent jolts of electricity to his artificial heart to keep it beating. Since the heart is inside of him, the electricity must goes through him. He gets very creative in the different type of ways he gets his needed power intakes, including static electricity, which he gets through, well, friction...

Seeing the first movie is not mandatory, but is recommended. If you are prude or easily offended, go see something else (Earth is really squeaky clean), but if you're like me and enjoy raunchy humour, go see it already!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Movie review - Earth

Earth is a big change of pace from the comedies and action movies I usually see. It's a documentary staring the natural beauties of our planet. It does feature amazing landscapes from around the world and is a joy to just watch. But, it does come with very good narration. The "American" version I saw is with James Earl Jones and is well done. The English one is with Patrick Stewart. I wonder if both will be available on the DVD.

Besides the plants, trees, water, ice and snow, there are lots of animals too. We follow the migration of a few families in particular, as well as many other random ones. Nature is a hard world to live in and we do get a sense of this, although it never gets bloody. Scenes of predators catching their prey usually cuts before it gets too graphic. There were lots of kids in the theatre and I don't think any of them were traumatized... I didn't notice any parent having to take their kid's out of the room, at the very least.

There is a message in the movie, regarding global warming, but it's rather subtle. It doesn't try to explain why it's happening or what should be done about it. They just state the fact that it's a big problem for bears and other animals that the ice at the poles is thinning, there is less of it surface-wise and it's happening for longer period of times.

The planet is changing, but life goes on. I went to see this movie for it's beautiful looks and I did get that. And seeing it on a big screen does amplify this, so I suggest you go see it in this format as well.

Activity update

I haven't blogged about a movie in quite a while, I'm going to try to correct that. I'll probably skip some movies, as I have seen many since my last review. Also, I'm going to have to give up on reviewing them in order. Thanks to DVD, and eventually TV, I guess any review can still be relevant, even after they are no longer on the big screen. But it still make sense in my mind to start with movies still in theatres.

If you really miss me, I'm more active on Tumblr, which does aggregate this blog, as well has other feeds, such as Flickr and Twitter. This last one is my most active feed, as I tweet regularly, including short movie reviews right after I have seen them.

Well, I'm off to my next review, the last movie I have seen...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How I solved my missing 8GB CF card mystery.

On Friday, as I was getting ready for Saturday's outing with the Photo Safari Montreal group, I noticed I was missing my spare memory card. I looked just about everywhere I might have left it, but could not find it. No data was at risk, but I paid a $100 for it and it's a useful item to have when you'll be taking pictures far from an electronic store. I had tweeted this, but somehow it didn't help the situation.

So, I went to our outing, at Exporail, in the Canadian Railway Museum, without my spare card. I didn't need it, so no big deal. But what I needed was my tripod's quick-release adapter, which attach to the camera and slides into the tripod's head. That was missing from my new bag as well. That was a bigger deal, because inside photography without a tripod is more of a challenge. Good thing I had just bought my new Canon Speedlight 580 EX II at the same time I bought my new and bigger backpack camera bag. Still, I missed using my tripod, which I carried around all day for nothing.

Coming back home, I figured I would find the adapter on a different camera, but such was not the case. I was now missing two items that used to be in my old bag, a Lowepro Stealth Reporter D200 AW. It's a nice camera transport bag, but it had become too small for me. I searched that bag many times before, looking for my CF card and proceeded to go through it again, as it was the only logical place my missing items had to be. Again, all pockets were searched carefully and in depth. I was starting to feel like a proctologist... Then I noticed the sides were attached with Velcro to the inside compartments. What's that? I separated the sides and pulled out the insides of my bag. What did I find, at the bottom of my bag? A video cable, a USB cable, my darn 8 GB card and my fraking tripod adapter! What I thought were front and back pockets turned out to be only gaps in the bag, not meant to put stuff in them.

There's a lesson to be learned, here. When emptying a bag of any kind, don't be afraid to TEAR IT APART to make sure it is really empty.

I'm sure other models and brands of bags have the same design, so be warned and keep this tale in mind if your things start disappearing.