Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Xmas 2014

Coming to the end of a 3 month classified training operation on the moon, but I wish you all a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Fact: Santa is actually a USMC 1st Sergeant

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shatner and Nimoy in new Star Trek III?

Zachary Spock Quinto confirmed recently that the third new Star Trek movie will be released in time for the 50th Anniversary of the franchise in 2016 and thusly will go before cameras within six months. That's great!

What I don't think is great however is that Robert Orci who "has the conn" for Star Trek III [2016] is more of a Trekkie than J.J. Abrams and is apparently planning on having both Spock prime [Leonard Nimoy] and Kirk prime [William Shatner] in the new universe! That's right, William Shatner could once appear canonically in Star Trek III [2016].

Now I'm sure that to some people this is great news, but I'm on the other side of that fence entirely. As much as I love the Shat, I think he's done all he can/needs to do with Kirk including a somewhat flat death scene in Star Trek: Generations, that despite not being the "best" way to say goodbye to the character, it has been accepted for 20 years now [Fuck, is it 20 years!!!???] as Kirk's endgame.

I didn't mind Spock prime's appearance in Star Trek '09, it was a successful passing of the baton, but Star Trek Into Darkness' Spock prime cameo served a pointlessness and a cheapening of the contribution of Nimoy's famous character to the franchise. While I adored Into Darkness, many saw it as just a poor rehash of the original Star Trek II and in turn rejected it's majesty without truly opening their minds to it's genius.

The character development we saw in Into Darkness could only have happened if we didn't have Spock prime there once again being all mystical and armed with future knowledge. His cameo threatened that but in the end it wasn't major enough to do character perception damage. I fear if both Shatner and Nimoy's characters are injected into the third new Star Trek movie it will considerably stunt that same character growth which was on schedule to be even more than evidenced between Star Trek ['09] and Into Darkness.

Also I loved the original Kirk and Spock et al when they were in their prime and maybe a little after, but Shatner is much to bloated now and poor Nimoy looks like he's about to drop dead any minute now (and how many fucking times is he going to declare retirement anyway?). We've got new actors now and a new timeline for them to work in. This is Trek for a new generation. Not ours. It's a timeline that doesn't need more goddamn time travel and alternative universes. They'll risk alienating any new fans they've picked up by delving into this misplaced nostalgia.

Having Nimoy and Shatner around will be like having your parents present while you're getting to 3rd base. No, put the new crew into space Robert and let them do what their counterparts originally did a generation ago without interference from future / alternate selves and give us something more original than a rehash of a classic or the Star Trek franchise will be exiled and lie dormant for another few years.

Source: Bruce Russel via Nerdist

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams 1951 - 2014

Last night I learned of the sad news that comedian and actor Robin Williams passed away yesterday at only 63. To add to the shock of losing such a master craftsman we learned that it appeared that he took his own life. I hope that I will never truly understand the terrible disease that is substance addiction and the depression he sought help with but I cannot condone his choice which I regard as an act of utter selfishness.

Nevertheless, one cannot deny the contribution that Williams gave to the entertainment industry and the world of comedy over the past 40 years. Williams was firstly a stand-up comedian and performed on stage every chance he got all throughout his professional career. His big break was in 1978 when he portrayed the alien Mork in an episode of Happy Days. The character was such a hit he soon had his own spin-off TV Series Mork & Mindy which lasted four seasons and made him a household name.

Williams made dozens of movies throughout his illustrious and prolific career. He made family favourites like Hook, Jumanji and Mrs. Doubtfire. He delivered 4 Academy Award nominated performances including Dead Poets Society and won for his performance in Good Will Hunting. Like most actors who have worked as long as he did, he also made some monumental disasters like Popeye and Cadillac Man. He explored his darkside in Insomnia and One-Hour Photo. He lent his voice to dozens of animated characters from Aladdin to Happy Feet. Two of his final roles will be as U.S. Presidents - Eisenhower in The Butler and Roosevelt in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

Everyone who watches movies has their own favourite Robin Williams movie. Mine is Good Morning Vietnam. Despite what I think is Williams' greatest performance for which he received his first Oscar nomination, the movie taught me about censorship [and why it's needed] and that no matter how shitty the job is, even if it's against your personal beliefs - if you're the best at it, you have to do it.

In life, Williams was a D&D and tabletop RPG player and an avid video gamer playing Battlefield 2 and and World of Warcraft. He named his daughter after Princess Zelda and it's believed his son Cody is named for the character in Final Fight.

There have been many tributes on TV, online and in the press today from actors, comedians, writers, directors and even President Obama but one that I was most surprised to see was when I read today's Press Releases from the Pentagon and among the usual DoD and military announcements issued daily was official note from the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:

August 11, 2014
Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Passing of Robin Williams

The entire of Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops. From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD - so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.

I know other entertainers who have died in recent years have done USO shows but I honestly can't say I recall reading an official DoD press release for someone who has not served in uniform or in office for the Department of Defence, so this is truly special, just like he was.

RIP O Captain! My Captain!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skellig Michael becomes alien world

There's a 54 acre 715 ft high unpopulated rock off the coast of Co. Kerry that's about to become one of the most famous places on the face of the planet.

Apparently J.J. Abrams, the custodian of my religious beliefs has been given permission by the OPW to film scenes for Star Wars VII on Skellig Michael of all places.

I'm hoping that it will be where they find the crazy old hermit Jedi Master Luke Skywalker living because that would be class and Hamill is sporting a beard [left] that would not look out of place amongst the locals down that direction.

But of course anything they doe will bring an influx of tourism to the island is it has to places like Tunisia and as it also contains a 6th century monastery, part of a UNESCO world heritage site, they may come away with more knowledge than they could possible imagine... well as see some puffins.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Since last year, due to increased responsibility elsewhere, I stopped jumping to the cinema to see absolutely every movie that may have a hook for me. This policy shift has for about 80% of the time, saved me from [according to trusted sources] wasting my valuable time. However the final 20% seems to be split unevenly between movies that I perhaps should have gone to see [4%], and movies I should not have gone to but did [16%]. Godzilla is one such movie in the latter case.

This new Godzilla, apparently an homage to the old Tohiro movies is easily one of the best examples of lazy, pointless, unstructured, maddening, vacant, unentertaining film-making of the decade. For some unfathomable reason, Warner Bros. gave $160m to Gareth Edwards, a completely green first-time director whose only previous work of note was some monster effects for something, I know I read it somewhere but can’t recall now. It’s obvious that the man does indeed have some skill in that field as I’m unable to fault the overall quality of the special effects, pyrotechnics, CGI, modelwork and art direction. However everything else that makes up a movie was almost entirely missing, and sadly it’s a big part.

Edwards quotes three major influences on his career that’s only several years old now – George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino, three of the most successful film creators in the world. Sadly Edwards captured almost none of what these men are known for. The movie has action, without sense of adventure and thus displays none of Lucas’ influence on him. It does have a plot but it’s without story and it’s soulless which is not how Spielberg would have influenced him, and despite having some of the screens’ more competent acting ensembles as Tarantino often does, Edwards wastes their talent with uninspired direction on top of already bland dialogue. There was one moment where Ken Batman Begins Watanabe reveals the creature’s name as Godzilla, it’s supposed to be a dramatic movie-defining moment to send chills down everyone’s spine but instead elicited shrieks of laughter from the audience. I’m glad some people had something to enjoy anyway, but this wasn’t overall a “so bad it’s funny” effort, this was just “bad.”

I don’t understand fully at what point in the process a story from David Callaham who competently penned the story and screenplays for both Doom and The Expendables could be so damaged by Max Borenstein and or further incompetently handled by Edwards. Neither Borenstein nor Edwards have such credits to their names so logically the fault must be with one or both of them. Not at fault were the actors who did their best with what they got. BAFTA nominated Aaron Kick-Ass Taylor Johnson took the lead as Lt. Ford Brody, a Naval EOD technician who for some reason could execute a perfect HALO jump? [but if I started listing all the military issues I had with this movie, I’d be here all day], the aforementioned SAG, Golden Globe and Oscar nominated Ken Watanabe as the obligatory scientist who ‘understands’ Godzilla, Brian Breaking Bad Cranston who has been nominated or won every TV acting award for the past 10 years is the scientist who speaks the truth but no one listens until it’s too late and of course we must mention Godzilla himself, except he’s really only a supporting character in this shoddy flick.

One major issue I must address was that the sound quality was horrendous. In all my years, I’ve never had such a terrible aural experience in the cinema, and I include the few times I’ve been in the back row far corner with some now-forgotten female conquest, away from the true surround experience in the centre area I insist on today. It was like as if they resampled the sound into 128kbps MP3 with some points sounding as tinny and warbled as 96kbps! It may have been an issue with the cinema sound itself [but I've since been in that cinema without issue] but it’s more likely the movie, and it suits me to blame the movie as I’m hating on it anyway. The sound issue certainly did not help Alexander Desplat’s music score but considering it was only marginally less droning, derivative, uninspired and toneless than the rest of that talentless hack’s other efforts, I don’t think it would have made much difference.

A few weeks back I read and subsequently tweeted that the USMC Hollywood liaison office decided to stay well clear of this. I should have followed suit.

Whopper Rating: *

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tonight on the main evening bias....

I'm so genuinely appalled at the news coming from the Israeli/Gaza conflict that I'll have to turn off the news. While I acknowledge the loss of life is indeed a tragedy and the war crimes on both sides of the conflict will continue, I'm fairly desensitised to that now. No I see the near global media bias against Israel as just as worrying.

Many news outlets have their own narrow-minded agenda like Fox News, Russia Today or The Guardian but thankfully they can be switched off/ignored, but when I see bias on this overwhelming scale that it can't be avoided it makes me sick. This reprehensible media bias is turning people who likely don't even know what the conflict is even about towards anti-Jewish hate-crime that make Mel Gibson at his drunken worst look like a moderate humanitarian! Many of these crimes are being committed against people of Jewish descent who may never even have ever been to Israel.

For the past two years during what was supposed to be a ceasefire, Hamas have been figuratively prodding the Israeli tiger with sticks, provoking it but to no avail. Finally they kidnap and kill three of the tiger's cubs and then they cry foul when the tiger gets pissed off and retaliates? Bollox to the media and anyone who can't see through it.

My words are full of wisdom but why not read from a holy man, a Rabbi who lives in Berkley [the cesspool of liberalism] and blogged to the normally leftist bastion of commentary The Huffington Post.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I won't miss him this time.

One can count the number of live appearances of one Hans Florian Zimmer on their fingers even if they're missing some. Needless to say it's a pretty rare occurrence. He has done a select few live events over the years usually as publicity pieces for movies he's scored. 

In 2000 he did a live concert at the Flanders Music Festival in Ghent, Belgium which was deemed quite remarkable for the lucky folk who attended. That event was captured on "Wings of a Film" an album made from the performance.

I was pretty shocked to see him on Saturday Night Live earlier in the year with Pharell Williams who worked with Zimmer on his Amazing Spider-Man 2 score and Zimmer did another live event with whom he dubbed The Sinister Six, the musicians who helped create the songs and sounds of the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack including The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

I believe I have a CD or MP3 copy of every commercially available piece of music that Zimmer has scored on as well as plenty that's not publicly available so I'd be considered a true fan. He's without a single doubt the living musician I most admire.

So when he announced a concert series to debut in London in October, I vowed not to miss him again and I already have my ticket for his first performance.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Star Wars VII: Original Trilogy trio return

I don't think that just because I'm young and handsome that it somehow gives me the right to criticise the appearance of others, especially celebrities who are ageing naturally. No human being looks exactly the same after 30 or 40 years [unless you're Patrick Stewart]. Sure some folks look great for their age but there are others who do not. When some move out of the spotlight for a while and re-emerge like Val Kilmer, the result can be a shock.

Last year Mark Hamill was seen really dying for a fag and he rummaged through a public ash can to get a few puffs of sweet nicotine. This act was almost as reprehensible as the paparazzi who photographed him doing it after coming out of a burger joint which as Hamill's neck and waistline could attest to, he visited quite frequently [left]. 

This no doubt worried people about the original trilogy stars reprising their roles for Star Wars Episode VII. To be honest it also worried me a little, far more than knowing that I'd be losing almost 15 years of post ROTJ continuity begun by Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire. I mean we don't need [or want] 57 year old Carrie Fisher in her gold bikini but we do need to still see Princess Leia in her and the worry is that while active in Hollywood, both she and Hamill have been away from the front of the camera lens for quite some time.

Seeing her in person assuaged my fear somewhat. I was in the audience for a convention panel in Atlanta a few years back and there was little doubt Fisher [whom I share a Birthday with] commanded the love, attention and respect of those in the audience. While she said a couple of months back that she was made lose 30lbs for her new role, I'm convinced that this was something she'd have done herself anyway, to stay true to a character that obviously means so much to so many middle-aged men.

Hamill recently posed with Jedi Micky, a Jedi personification of Disney icon Micky Mouse. It's pretty obvious that Hamill not only aced the treadmill but every other piece of equipment in the gym as well and looks like a wise old Jedi Master which he damn well should be by now.

And then there's Harrison Ford who has had a stellar career on the silver screen with over 25 major appearances since ROTJ. He was considered the safe bet for being great in Star Wars VII but sadly he's turned into a grumpy old fart and broke his leg on set delaying production and causing rewrites.

Well two of of three ain't bad.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Lord of the Blogs: The Return of The King

The biggest shock I got when I jumped in grade last year was that apparently general officers attached to non CONUS commands are afforded a shitload of vacation compared with the field grades. And if you don't take it, they send around medical personnel to evaluate you if it's deemed that you've been working for too long.

I've been probed enough by both medical and non-medical personnel throughout my career so if they want me to take a month then that what I'll do. To be honest I fucking deserve it. Why? Well you're all still alive aren't you?

So I grew a beard and went off on vacation, in a south easterly direction with some other folks who similarly were forced to take accrued vacation. We went somewhere with sun, sea and sand, well actually not too much sea as we were pretty far inland. We partied hard and it's unlikely the locals will forget us soon. Those that lived. We lost a couple of our own. Well I did say we partied hard. 

Normal service will now resume.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fred's Dropped Dead! - RIP Rik Mayall 1958-2014

One may think that that first bit is somewhat callous for an obituary, but if you understood - or even believed you understood the comedic genius that was Rik Mayall then you'd agree that he'd find it quite hilarious, at home both as droll satire and schoolboy toilet-humour.

Mayall performed on stage in the early 1980's with long time comedy partner Adrian Edmondson whom he met at Manchester University. He co-wrote the TV cult-classic The Young Ones in which he starred as obnoxious, poetry-writing anarchist Rick alongside Edmondson before they both went on to star in their sitcom Bottom which also achieved cult status. Crass schoolboy humour, explosions, pyromaniacs and severe blows to the skull with frying-pans were the recipe for the majority of Mayall and Edmondson's slapstick comedy and they became famous because of it.

Mayall made some sporadic appearances elsewhere on television at the time. He is widely known as Lord Flashheart from Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder series shouting catchphrases such as "woof!" and "let's do-oo-oo it!". In contrast to his obnoxious and anarchic characters his last great TV character was Alan B'Stard a conservative backbencher MP for Haltemprice in The New Statesman, which ran on ITV for four series.

Mayall appeared in several movies including cult-classic Woops Apocalypse [1986] and in the final film in the Carry On series, Carry On Columbus [1992]. My post title is a pun on Drop Dead Fred [1991] arguably Mayall's most famous film role where he played the title character, an imaginary friend to Phoebe Cates. It was literally one of the worst British movies ever made probably because it was marketed as a children's movie but contained repressively dark black-comedy, profanity and themes of serious mental illness.

Mayall suffered a serious quad bike accident in 1998 and doctors had kept him on a life-support machine for five days. He began to show signs of life just before they were about to turn it off. He said the near-death experience changed his life and "the main difference between now and before my accident is I'm just very glad to be alive."

Mayall died at his home in Barnes, London on Monday from what is understood to have been a coronary event. He was 56. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Below is Mayall as Lord Flashheart in BBC's Blackadder Goes Fourth with Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Tony Robinson and Adrian Edmonson as Baron von Richthofen.

Adrian Edmondson paid tribute to his friend, saying: "There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing... They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. "And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard."

Saturday, June 07, 2014

'Fighting Joe' nominated for Commandant

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said yesterday that he was delighted that President Obama accepted his recommendation to nominate General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to serve as the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. 

Hagel said Dunford is an extraordinary leader who has always been faithful to his country and his Marines during more than 35 years in uniform. His steady leadership as the Commander of the ISAF in Afghanistan and his commitment to the men and women under his command, have lead progress there and remains on track to responsibly bring America's longest war to an end later this year. 

The SecDef said that no one is better suited to write the next chapter in Marine Corps history than Joe Dunford, and he look forward to working with him in his new role upon his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Source: U.S. DoD

Friday, June 06, 2014

June 6th 1944...

The weather in Normandy at this time 70 years ago wasn't ideal for the Allied plan, but D-Day began shortly after midnight when 24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops began dropping and infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of france starting at 06:30.

Despite 12,000 casualties and almost 4,500 confirmed dead, the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the french Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in World War II.

Let us hope there will never be a need for so many heroes to do something so brave ever again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vaccinations no longer CIA cover operations

Lisa Monaco U.S. Homeland Security Advisor has announced a White House policy change and vowed that the CIA will no longer be using vaccination programs as a cover for intelligence gathering such as the one implemented prior to the neutralisation of Osama bin Laden. The agency has also agreed not to use genetic material obtained through such programs.

The deals of 13 public health schools had written to President Obama in protest over the use of immunisation as a front for espionage. One such program was run by Dr. Shakil Afridi, who offered hepatitis vaccinations in Abbottabad, Pakistan as cover for his CIA-backed effort to obtain DNA samples from children at a compound where bin Laden was later eliminated. Afridi was convicted and sentenced by Pakistan to 33 years for treason. While later overturned, he now faces retrial. Later in 2012 the UN suspended polio vaccinations Pakistan after gunmen killed several health workers. Taliban militants accused health workers of being U.S. spies.

CIA Director John Brennan said earlier that his agency would "make no operational use of vaccination programs, which includes vaccination workers." A CIA spokesman said Director Brennan "took seriously the concerns raised by the public health community, examined them closely and took decisive action." Neither The White House or the CIA have not acknowledged any error in the decision to use the Pakistan vaccine program as a spying cover. The White House statement came three days after Pakistan acted to quell a growing polio crisis within its borders. Pakistan's Health Ministry recently announced that it would require that all travellers leaving the country first get a polio vaccination following the WHO's declaration that polio's spread was an international public health emergency, and identifying Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon as nations that had allowed polio to spread beyond their borders.

SPEARHEAD’s Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information, Brigadier General “Whopper” Creedon expressed dismay at the decision. The General explained to a closed UNSC session on Monday, that the U.S. programme was one of the easier ways to root out “those not of us”. He explained that because “their” leaders have told “them” to conform to all that humans do so as to blend in, they had unwittingly supplied UNETIDA, now SPEARHEAD with data used to track, monitor and if necessary eliminate “them” for years. “Some of ‘them’ are very good at concealing their outer identity, but advances in science have allowed us to track 'them' from things like vaccination samples later found to be ‘not human’,” he continued. SPEARHEAD’s current intelligence efforts piggybacked off the U.S. intelligence operation for years and now Creedon may be faced with using his own agents embedded with U.S. and WHO efforts to gather such intel unless the operation is scrapped in favour of more conventional intelligence gathering, which is unlikely to benefit those in need of medical care.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vampire unearthed in Poland

In Kamien Pomorski, northwestern Poland, archaeologists have made the gristly discovery of a vampiric grave. A 16th century body was unearthed during a dig in a marketplace. The excavation team found a number of unusual features which indicated the grave site was somewhat unnatural. The body's teeth had been removed, a fragment of rock had been inserted into the mouth and to be sure he could not rise as undead - his leg was staked deep into the ground.

Dig leader Slawomir Gorka explained: "A piece of brick rubble in the mouth and pierced thigh indicates that it is a vampire burial. This was done not for him, but for the community, who lived here." Gorka added that the same rituals were common in burials in the area between the 13th and 17th centuries.

The origin of the vampire legend dates back to ancient Greece and Egypt. Dr Tim Beasley-Murray, a Slavonic studies lecturer at UCL, told the press that the myth spread up through the Balkans into eastern Europe where it was fertile in the pre-Christian era.

Captain “Barnacle” Strakovski, SPEARHEAD Special Operations Commander said that a counter-undead unit was dispatched to Kamien Pomorski to investigate but they reported no credible threat. Brigadier General “Whopper” Creedon, SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information said that while some legends are apocryphal, "vampires and the undead as a whole are quite real" and it’s one of his department’s "most important tasks to maintain international belief that it’s all nothing but folklore" while simultaneously subliminally preparing civilians for "encounters with the unliving". Creedon has been vocal against "nonsense" like the Twilight saga and The Vampire Diaries as they have served to portray vampires as “sexy and cool” and not the true danger they represent as in "the more fact-based" 30 Days of Night and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Source: The Guardian / The Daily Mail /

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happy 70th George Lucas

Movie Mini-Reviews 14-05-14


Liam Neeson plays the role of a clinically depressed, alcoholic U.S. Marshal who’s career is on a knife edge, but when he receives a terrorist threat from someone on the plane he’s guarding he begins a dangerous and completely unsanctioned game of cat and mouse involving an extraordinarily convoluted and unnecessarily porous plot that is sure to incense and annoy the more intelligent of it’s audience.

Overall the movie is a steaming pile of shit but it’s pacing and acting even through even the most ridiculous of situations coupled with the insane dialogue make it somewhat enjoyable. I laughed in disbelief at how nonsensical some of the twists the story took and in the end I just had to accept it for what it was. Truly enjoyable crap.

Watch out for Anson Hell on Wheels Mount who is barely recognisable without his Corin Bohannan beard and Lupita Noyong’o who won an Oscar just 24 hours after I saw the movie and seems far too fine a calibre of actress to be anywhere near this nonsense unless you’re playing the Kevin Bacon game - is simply a token black stewardess here.

Not as good as Taken or even Passenger 57.

Whopper Rating: **1/2

300: Rise of an Empire

This is the not really that much anticipated sequel to Zack Snyder’s seminal 300, based on Frank Miller’s masterwork. As stylish as it’s predecessor with extra blood and dismemberment, 300: Rise of an Empire is a sort of parallel story to 300 focusing on everything but the battle of Thermopylae itself.

Sadly we seem to be entering a phase of cinema where the sequel isn’t actually better than the original. Since the 80’s I’ve been watching movies knowing that the inevitable sequel would be far superior to what spawned it. In a rare occasion, some like RoboCop, The Matrix, Transformers, Delta Force remained supreme but 300 is now added to the list.

Strike Back's Sullivan Stapleton is Themistocles and while he shows promise, he's not yet ready to carry the lead in a movie like this. The sultry Eva Casino Royale Green steals the show as the vicious Artemisia, who despite spitting half her dialogue through her teeth and takes part in what must have been an uncomfortable angry-sex scene - still manages to craft one of the most memorable characters of the genre.

If you enjoyed 300 then you'll be glad you saw this, but it's nowhere near as good.

Whopper Rating: ***1/2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

As you've seen from the trailers this is a mash up of elements of Brubaker's Winter Soldier with some of the old 1988 Nick Fury Vs S.H.I.E.L.D. book thrown in - but the usual movie-universe differences prevail, such as - all of the characters on screen are in those books - they're just the same, somewhat different or completely different apart from their names.

It's a dark movie and almost devoid of the humour we've seen in all the other films, not a lot to laugh about here. While the original Cap flick had it's "mystical" elements with the Cosmic Cube, this is all hyper technology this time round and a lot less about Cap favouring more SHIELD. In fact there's a lot more SHIELD here than in all the previous Marvel movies together! I think if Tom Clancy had ever penned a superhero book, this is pretty much what it would be - more about technology, politics and weapons than a super-powered bad-ass.


Chris Evans is now seems completely comfortable in his character - but still projects that he's a man out of time, but adjusting. He's supported by Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson reprising their roles as Black Widow and Nick Fury, franchise newcomer Anthony The Hurt Locker Mackie as Falcon and even Hollywood legend Robert Redford has a role.

Fan service here is monumental, depending on what you've read [or remember what you've read] over the years. You are rewarded for paying attention. Remember, one stinger during the credits - and a small one after all the credits have rolled. It was bit longer than I expected, but thankfully it didn't have the faffing middle bit like Iron Man 3 did. The Avengers is still the best Marvel movie, but this certainly does live up to the hype it's getting. Enjoy.

Whopper Rating: *****+

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SPEARHEAD: 'Radio signal threat from space almost certain'

Some 3 years ago, astronomers detected a series of fleeting but powerful radio signals with the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia. While initially unknown as to their origin, or even their existence, the Aricebo Observatory in Puerto Rico confirmed that they're real and originate outside the galaxy. In milliseconds, each of the radio bursts released as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.

While the transient nature of the signals is not the main focus of discussion but instead just how far away they seem to be. Normally, radio waves travel at light speed so all the different wavelengths and frequencies of radio waves emitted by the same object should arrive on Earth in one big batch, but if something is sufficiently far away, this changes. Longer, lower frequency waves travelling through the cosmos have a trickier time getting here. The delay can only be theorised but it's allowing allowing astronomers to estimate that the waves are coming from something billions and billions of light-years away unlike most cosmic radio signals that originate in the Milky Way or a nearby neighbouring galaxy.

Arecibo Observatory By Jerry Valentin
There are a number of theories for the origin of the signals including blitzars [overweight neutron stars that resist the urge to become black holes], magnetars [neutron stars with strong magnetic fields], evaporating black holes and gamma ray bursts that involve a supernova. Cornell University astronomer James Cordes speculates that the bursts could be from an entirely new type of high-energy astrophysical event but SPEARHEAD warned the UNSC last week that it could be the result of either a mishap with some alien weapon of extraordinary power, or worse one that's working perfectly.

Lt. Gen. "Knuckles" McKenzie, Vice Commander, SPEARHEAD warned that any fully unexplained phenomenon in space is cause for alarm and that immediate UN funding be siphoned to SPEARHEAD to develop WMDs to defend the planet against from "a threat that we know not more than what we know". Cordes added fuel to McKenzie's concern adding that there was currently no way for use to even see all that is threatening the planet "Typically, telescopes only look at a very small patch of the sky at any one time, so you have to look for a long time before seeing many. This is why we have only detected a handful so far.” Cordes wrote in an article published in Science: "A Population of Fast Radio Bursts at Cosmological Distances."

Source: Mr. V / IO9 / Science

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Star Wars Episode VII is cast

 Clockwise from J.J. at 12 O'Clock Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Writer Lawrence Kasdan. Copyright and Photo Credit: David James.

Yesterday John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were almost completely unknown actors. If you have never saw the British crapfest "Attack the Block" or watched "Silent Witness" on TV recently, chances are you may never have ever seen them either. But thanks to yesterday's announcement from J.J. Abrams  / Lucasfilm / Disney, they are about to be catapulted into super stardom as they have landed two of the biggest acting gigs on the planet in the most famous movie franchise in history, as characters in Star Wars Episode VII alongside Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.

Boyega and Ridley will join five individuals new to the saga who've had somewhat more exposure to the masses in varying degrees:

Brendan Gleeson's Dublin-born son Domhnall is cast and was apparently Bill Weasley in the final Harry Potter movies and appeared in Dredd and True Grit.

Oscar Isaac was in Sucker Punch and Drive, stared as Prince John in Robin Hood [2010] and more recently as Llewyn Davis, the title character of the latest Coen Brothers movie.

Former U.S. Marine turned actor Adam Driver appeared in biopics J. Edgar and Lincoln before ending up on Lena Dunham's turgid "Girls" on HBO where he received an Emmy nomination. He is rumoured to be an antagonist in Episode VII.

Andy Serkis is known to everyone as the performance artist who provided the voice and was motion captured for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit. He was also performance captured for King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

And finally Max von Sydow needs no introduction to people who've watched movies since the 1950's because the 85 year old Swedish actor has been acting since then. If you've had a brain freeze - von Sydow was Father Merrin in The Excorcist,  Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon, King Osric [Conan The Barbarian], Doctor Kynes [Dune], Judge Fargo [Judge Dredd] and Burgess in Minority Report. More recently he's done voices on The Simpsons and in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I hope I'm not alone in saying that if von Sydow isn't the evil mastermind in this it will be wasted casting.

Franchise stalwarts Peter Mayhew [Chewbacca], Anthony Daniels [C3PO] and Kenny Baker [R2D2] are confirmed for the cast which Abrams' has stated is not yet complete.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Lego Movie thinks outside the brick!

“Everything is awesome, Everything is cool when you're part of a team!” This prophetic and thought provoking mantra has touched the hearts and wallets of cinema goers to the tune of almost $400m at time of writing. All in less than two months after it's release, and I must say that I think it’s worth every cent.

The Danes most famous export is undoubtedly the Lego bricks we played with as children and which we now watch the next generation enjoy. Lego unlocks a world of imagination that spans a literally infinite playing field of adventure. But what would happen if someone tried to prevent that imagination from being creative and limited Lego to a singular purpose – to be used only as the original instructions suggest and be glued together for eternity? Well that’s the frighteningly horrific scenario that the little minifigure heroes of The Lego Movie must prevent.

A star studded voice cast is led by Chris Guardians of the Galaxy Pratt as Emmet [the most interesting person ever], the feisty Wildstyle [Elizibeth 30Rock Banks] student of the old and wise Vitruvius [Morgan Freeman] who must unlock Emmet’s potential. They are joined by Lego Batman [Will Arnett], the rainbow loving Unikitty [Alison Community Brie] and slightly mentally unhinged 1980’s Space-guy Benny [Charlie Pacific Rim Day]. Will Ferell voices the evil Legoland President and CEO of Octan, Lord Business who has an army of henchman led by the split personality of GoodCop/BadCop [Liam Neeson].

The movie can be analysed as a classic charming children's fairytale with an unlikely hero, a princess, wise old wizard and an evil king. Some may push a more specific religious analogy by substituting the characters in the movie over those of Star Wars [Emmet=Luke, Widstyle=Leia, Vitruvius=Obi-Wan, Batman=Han, GoodCop/BadCop=Vader and Lord Business is The Emperor and substituting the Piece of Resistance for The Death Star Plans]. Cynics will say it’s simply a 90-minute toy advertisement. Beard-stroking intellectuals will latch onto it being somewhat Orwellian in it's centralised theme but to most it is just a well crafted, colourful, hilarious movie and fun for all the family.

Is my opinion of this movie skewed because I played with several hundred Lego bricks as a spoilt child? Because between the ages of 7 and 9 I was twice awarded the Lego Master Builder’s Badge? Of course it is, but don't let my greatness cloud judgement, see it for yourself.

Final Verdict: Transformers: The Movie, Toy Story 2 and Shrek are the only G-rated animated features in ‘The Whopper Collection’, to which I’ll be proud to add this perfect and flawless example of the genre.


Please note: The last exemption was granted to The Expendables 2 in August 2012.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ukraine's next president could be Darth Vader?

Vladimir Putin's very own propaganda machine Russia Today reported that the Sith Lord Darth Vader is now a real Ukraine presidential candidate. It's obviously not the real Vader [as he succumbed to his wounds and died in the arms of his son aboard the second Death Star] but the otherwise unnamed chairman of the Ukrainian Internet Party, who wears a Darth Vader outfit during his public appearances.

Vader's involvement in Ukrainian politics seemed to begin in the 2012 parliamentary election. The Sith Lord actually scored a record 3% of votes, which could have secured high office but because supporters had to add Vader’s name to the ballots themselves, they were rendered void.

Lord Vader with his signed paperwork outside City Hall in Odessa

This time however, Darth Vader has already filed the necessary paperwork to appear on the May 25th ballot along with submitting the required deposit of 2.5m hryvnia ($225,225) for presidential candidacy. He told Russia Today: "I am prepared to take responsibility for the fate of this country, if fellow citizens do me this high honour. I alone can make an empire out of a republic, to restore former glory, to return lost territories and pride for this country."

Despite my love of Star Wars, a win for Vader would be disastrous on two levels -
1: It's a bit nuts in all fairness and cheapens the sanctity of Star Wars and
2: Putin could invade Ukraine on the basis they've lost all sense of reality if they've elected a Disney Character as President or just as easily use Vader's publicly stated imperialist policies to initiate a first-strike against Ukraine as he doesn't seem to need much excuse these days.

Basically, I'm not on board with this. Now if it was Master Yoda....

Source: Mr. V / Gizmodo / RT

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alien mothership photographed in Chile!

SPEARHEAD have dismissed photographic evidence from Chile of an enormous UFO as a ‘trick of light’ 

Brigadier General “Whopper” Creedon, SPEARHEAD Assistant Director for Intelligence and Information informed reporters Friday that Gen. Ricardo Bermudez (Ret.) the director general of the Comité de Estudios de Fenómenos Aéreos Anomalos urgently contacted the SPEARHEAD field office in Santiago to report the findings of a couple who took a photograph of an aerial anomaly over a reservoir. Creedon explained that the report was given adequate analysis and investigation since March 20th, but ultimately it was considered to be insubstantial.  

“While we at SPEARHEAD have tremendous respect for General Bermudez, his people and the work of CEFAA, we cannot at this time, support their claim that the anomalous aerial phenomenon is real and we consider the “proof and the eyewitness accounts” to be as flimsy as a Victoria Secret model’s underwear,” said General Creedon. “The sun is clearly visible in the photographic “evidence” as it often is over that beautiful country,” he continued “but when shining down as it does on say the waters of - say a reservoir - it can certainly create some light refractions and play more than a few tricks of light, which I can certainly forgive for being mistaken for a giant mother ship descending upon the world.”

Source: Mr. V, io9, Planeta UFO, Terra Peru, Ricardo Francino Saldivia, Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO with translation by S. Corrales

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Paddy's Day

I say Paddy's Day because the whole concept of a 'St. Patrick' has religious connotations and thus passe in today's society. And it's not really a day for HIM it's a day for US. But whatever you call it. Spare a thought for the Marines in Okinawa, Japan who do this on Paddy's day.

It'll probably make more sense after you gave a few, so get started. That's an order!

Friday, March 14, 2014

RIP Hal Douglas

He was the man who told you Martin Riggs was a "criminal's worst nightmare", he warned you to "Check your weapons, take your seat, and say your prayers" when going to see Con Air and he promised you that "The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of Forest Gump." Sadly, he lost a 4 year battle with cancer and passed away last Friday. His name was Hal Douglas and you've never heard of him.

Douglas was second only to Don LaFontaine [who passed in 2008] in the world of TV commercials, movie trailer voice overs and documentary narration. While LaFontaine is credited with creating the phrase "In a world...", Douglas perhaps used it just as much often substituting Land/Time/Town etc. for World as needed.

He said once in an interview: ‘I never thought of it as a great voice.... It’s throaty, chesty, a voice in need of clearing.’

He may have had one slight edge in the fame stakes over his peers however; in 2002 he portrayed the character of "Jack", an over-zealous voice-over artist literally lampooning himself and his entire career in a trailer for the Jerry Seinfeld movie Comedian. It is considered by many, including myself to be the funniest movie trailer of all time.

Rest in peace Mr. Douglas.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

There's been more than one Lone Survivor

Peter The Kingdom Berg adapted Marcus Lutrell's harrowing account of Operation Red Wings which took place in June 2005. While Berg does use a fair amount of artistic licence in the kill-count and the last 10 minutes is just a Hollywood war-porn and DID NOT HAPPEN THAT WAY - it's no reason not to enjoy this in the spirit it is intended, for Lutrell to tell the world the story of the courage and heroism of his buddies who were lost on an op that went sour.

The cast was brilliant. Mark Wahlberg [as Lutrell] loses his 'Mark Wahlberg' persona to do some 'real' acting for a change and comes out on top. Ben 3:10 To Yuma Foster, Emilie Killer Joe Hirsch and Eric Black Hawk Down Bana all bring their A-game to this fine piece of work. And finally Taylor Kitch has FULLY REDEEMED himself for both John Carter and Battleship and does good service to Lt. Mike Murphy, a name known by every U.S. serviceman today.

In the late 80’s I led a four man Force Recon team into ███████ on a three day Green Op to gather intel so that the brass could plan an operation against the ███████ there. Everything went exactly as planned for the first two days, we had a wooded area for concealment and clean lines of sight on ███████ but little elevation. On day three however everything went to hell. One of the ███████ K9 sentry patrols caught a whiff of some 3-day old Devil Dog sweat or something of ours when the wind changed and began making for our position. The dog handler was out of direct site of the rest of the ███████ but as he seemed to be about to radio in that he was veering off his patrol path, I gave the order to drop them. Three seconds later Gunny Hackett had perforated the handler’s skull with some 5.56, and sent the mutt to doggie heaven too.

We were so fucked. It was almost midday, broad daylight and we had ten minutes, if lucky, before Turner and Hooch were noticed missing. Hiding the bodies was pointless and would have bought us out of cover and probably taken as long as their search party would have taken to find us. It was time to get out of Dodge. Ten minutes seemed optimistic now. We had only gathered our gear and intel, sent our extraction request and were less than half a klick South when the ███████ alert klaxon started wailing – and they had more dogs.

To be honest I thought I was cleverer than the hounds; my egress route took us through a river which would delay doggie pursuit as we’d not enter and exit the river on opposite banks – we’d get out on the same side about a klick downstream! It was an ingenious strategy and I was confident it would enter the Corps' advanced training doctrine for SERE before long. Now if Sergeant Xan just hadn’t triggered that claymore we’d all have escaped intact.

There was nothing left of SSgt Xan save his dog tags, but Sergeant Wieler was very much alive and was pretty vocal about losing his leg below the knee. Giving him a branch to chew on silenced him as we applied a tourniquet but Gunny Hackett and I were under no delusions that the ███████ knew exactly where we were now. As the Gunny's thigh had taken shrapnel, he took the intel and I hoisted Sgt Wieler to begin our downward slope towards the bay before the first bullets began to puncture the foliage around us and we heard the angry barks of well-trained hounds.

The first shell landed about 200 meters in front of us which was bad news because we were running into their range. The dog-augmented force behind us and the several hundred meter sheer drop to the side meant that our best chance was to bet against the mortars. Finally Lady Luck seemed to take some pity on us and we were out of range before we got to the coastline. Alas, our zig-zagging had allowed the ███████ to catch up to us and there was now a heavy machine gun employed with it’s tracers buzzing past us like angry hornets. We stopped a few times to return the favour and dropped a few of 'em before I saw Gunny Hackett’s knee getting blown out and I felt my own stab of pain in my shoulder.

Sgt. Wieler, although unconscious, saved my life because most of the machine gun rounds had chewed him up instead of hitting me. I had met his folks some months back, his death would hit his mom bad but his dad had been a squid in 'Nam and new the score. He’d proudly hang his kid’s Purple Heart above his own and that of his father before him from WWII.

Gunny Hackett grabbed my arm and handed me the intel. “Captain, this is bigger than us! Get it to them!” He was bleeding from his chest now too. I gave him my grenades, spare mags and I saluted him. He returned it saying "Go Sir!" As I ran, I heard him lay down precision covering fire, earning a posthumous Medal of Honor, a photograph of which I'd be allowed to show his wife and daughter some months later. I heard a tremendous explosion from Hackett's position just before I dived into the surf eliminating most of who was pursuing me, and I recall dearly hoping that the extraction sub got our message.

Has this got anything to do with Lone Survivor? No it's just that the sights and sounds in the movie caused a few flashbacks as I watched it. Most Hollywood war movie/action fare won't do that to me. This is no Black Hawk Down but it rides with The Hurt Locker and it seemed real enough from my seat - I don't think it can get more praise than that from someone who's done what I have.

Whopper Rating: *****

Thursday, March 06, 2014

SPEARHEAD and NASA unconcerned for now

During an emergency UNSC meeting on the Crimean crisis yesterday a question was raised concerning SPEARHEAD's ability to secure the planet should there be conflict between the superpowers.

The commander of SPEARHEAD U.S. Army Lieutenant General "Stomper" Santorno, said that both he and his senior flag and general officers including those from the Russian Federation "serve a higher cause than any one nation and are responsible for the planet first and our flags second". He explained that while the operating forces of SPEARHEAD are commissioned, instructed, trained and fielded by the worlds military and security forces as well as drawn from the medical and scientific community of many nations their oaths are superseded by the needs of Earth as a whole.

General Santorno's sentiment was echoed by Russian Air Force Lieutenant General "Voran" Kerimov, SPEARHEAD Deputy Commander for Operations/ Deputy Chief of Staff who addressed the council as the most senior Russian Federation officer assigned to SPEARHEAD. He said that any officer or or serviceman who does not commit his life to the security of Earth would be summarily dismissed from the organisation after a short but effective course of brainwashing.

While SPEARHEAD may find it easy to close ranks, the media became concerned about the joint Russian-U.S. space program. Currently a U.S. astronaut and two cosmonauts, one whom is from Crimea, are scheduled to touch down on Russian soil next Monday after months aboard the ISS. "Everything is nominal right now in our relationship with the Russians," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

Since the retirement of space shuttle program, the U.S. relies entirely on Russia for human transport to and from the ISS, paying $70 million for every astronaut. U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said in a statement on Tuesday that the U.S. needs to back away from the arrangement with Russia's space program and paying them to "hitch a ride to space". He wants NASA to develop it's own delivery vessel and once again lead the world into space. "Leadership in space exploration is a goal worthy of a great nation."

Former astronaut Tom Jones says that NASA is intent on keeping ISS missions from becoming a political football. He points to the Apollo/Soyuz missions of the mid-70s, during the height of the Cold War, as evidence that the two countries cooperated in a spirit of detente and said the two space partners are more inter-dependent than ever now. "What they lack for example, is all the control software that we use to point, manoeuvre and control the space station," Jones says. "So, they would not be wise to deny us access, because they would be denying themselves access to all the utilities and supplies they need for the space station."

Source: FOX News

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

TUESDAY - MARCH 4TH 2014 - 03:15 EET.

Monday, March 03, 2014

The 2014 Academy Awards got stuck in a 'Gravity' well

Yes I came up with that title myself and let's face it, it's probably worthy of it's own award, but instead let me acknowledge last nights achievements in movie making.

Gravity deservedly walked away with seven golden statuettes including Best Director, Score, Cinematography,  and Visual Effects celebrating it as one of the most remarkable and original pieces of entertainment this century. As it's also the only one of the major motion pictures nominated that I'll probably watch at all [and I thought it was excellent], then I'm going to agree with everything it got.

The other winner was Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, a more obvious Oscar-demander dealing with the darkest period in American history which took Best Supporting Actress for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o as well as the coveted Best Picture. Disney's Frozen also took two awards one for Best Animated Feature and Best Song, while The Great Gatsby took the two main Design awards.

Other winners included Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club with Best Actor and Supporting respectively. Cate Blanchett, Best Actress for Blue Jasmine and Spike Jonze for his Her screenplay. 

Ellen DeGeneres hasn't been on the Oscar stage for some time but she was certainly a safe option to host as well as someone who probably wouldn't get herself into too much trouble [even with Liza Minelli whom she accused of being a transvestite]. But I guess not everyone can be Billy Crystal.

The In Memoriam was nicely done and the inclusion of Harold Ramis was noted even though he only passed away a few days ago. Sadly however they always forget some very notable names like the great Dennis Farina, but the lack of Tom Clancy was quite frankly unforgivable.

Someone asked me what movies/people I'd give the awards to for the year instead. Well, I think Gravity's sound was outstanding and I can't think of another movie that needed such a rich soundbase before so I agree with the Academy. Alfonso Cauron's direction was also faultless so he'd still get best director. Again Visual Effects had to go to Gravity they blew Star Trek and Iron Man out of the water. In difference to actual winners, I would have given Best Actress to Bullock if only to never give an accolade to a Woody Allen movie and as great and necessary as Steven Price's score was for Gravity, the best score of the year was actually Trevor Morris' effort for Olympus Has Fallen [with a nod to Zimmers' Man of Steel]. 

Veering completely away from any nominations I'd tie Jim Carrey and Russel Crowe for Best Supporting Actor for Kick-Ass 2 and Man of Steel respectively [with a nod to Cumberbatch for Star Trek Into Darkness]. Diane Lane was in a class of her own in Man of Steel and would have had no competition from what I saw. I thought the most work into design was on display in Pacific Rim [with a nod to Riddick] while the physical stunt work in G.I.Joe: Retaliation, Fast and Furious 6 and It's a Good Day to Die Hard would be impossible to compare, and I don't think they give an award for it?  

Shane Black and co. easily wins any screenplay battle with Iron Man 3 as does Robert Downey Jr. for his portrayal of Tony Stark in it but it'd be impossible difficult to give a "best picture" award to a single movie. If there's a separate award for Animated Feature they should also break up the live action to respective genres. Then I'd be able to make Gravity best drama, Star Trek Into Darkness best sci-fi, The Hobbit The Desolation Of Smaug best adventure/fantasy, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa best comedy and Iron Man 3 best action movie - and if I can't do that, then why the hell not? I'm the General goddammit!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aliens attack Earth, hit moon!

September 11th will always hold special meaning for Captain "Watchman" Talbot, Team Leader at SPEARHEAD Observation Station Matador in Rota, Spain. Like many young Americans, Talbot enlisted in the military following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He first worked as a Command & Control systems technician in the USAF before making the jump to officer. His first officer promotion to 1st lieutenant in 2009 also came on September 11th, and four years later as a newly minted captain he was assigned to what was then UNETIDA. But September 11th, 2013 will be the day Capt. Talbot will never forget as he was a real-time first-hand witness of an alien attack against Earth that could have wiped out several buildings - somewhere, were it not for the fortuitous position of the moon.

Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon, SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information briefed the UNSC on Monday on what took place at 20:07 GMT, 11 September 2013. He detailed the impact of small but fast apparently low-yield projectile which struck the moon causing a bright flash of light for almost 10 seconds. The projectile, according to the General “was approximately one meter wide and propelled at a tracked rate of over 60,000km/h as it impacted on the lunar surface.” General Creedon did not, or could not reveal the source of the alien projectile and was not forthcoming in speculation, but was adamant that it was "a belligerent alien projectile and not an benign errand meteorite.”

General Creedon also briefed the council on the public information being released concerning the thwarted attack. "SPEARHEAD is ceding primary credit for the observation of the attack to Spanish astronomers operating the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (Midas) of telescopes in southern Spain. This of course is to protect PROJECT: MOONSHIELD which vitally must remain completely classified. We obviously also needed to reclassify the attack, to the more acceptable natural phenomenon of a meteorite hitting the moon's surface." informed the General.

SPEARHEAD’s redacted and replaced information [complete with expertly doctored video evidence] was reported in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, appeared in the science and technology section of BBC News and was posted on popular space phenomenon an pop-culture website IO9.

Sources: IO9 / Mr. V.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Space rock lost, but MEEOWS scores hit

Described as an astronomical event not to be missed and would have been live streamed all over the world; 2000 EM26, a 900-foot asteroid, was supposed to streak by the planet Tuesday night, close enough for us to see it as it zoomed by. Somewhat alarmingly however, it never showed up, sending astronomers into a blind panic as they came to the realisation that it had vanished and they have no idea where the asteroid has gone.

There are many theories as to how the thing just disappeared. It’s most likely that it’s orbit was originally miscalculated - but surely not by everyone who did so? Did no one double check? It’s not the kind of calculation you’d want to get wrong, especially if an asteroid was coming close enough to Earth for to us to see. The Slooh observatory is trying to track down the asteroid using robotic telescopes, and has also asked amateur astronomers to help out with the search.

In an announcement that appears unrelated, Major General “Spiker” Lurd, SPEARHEAD Deputy Commander for Planetary Defences, announced that there was a successful test firing of the Microwave Energy Earth Orbital Weapons System [MEEOWS] developed by DARPA, the The Russian Federal Space Agency and Google. “We had as successful test firing on an unidentified space object about the size of 3 football fields” announced General Lurd excitedly. “The object superheated and we believe it silently fragmented into granule sized debris,” he said grinning from ear to ear. “We can’t wait to try it out on the alien mothership when it…” but apparently before he was finished the General’s microphone was cut and his assistant thanked reporters for attending before dismissing them.

Source: IO9 / Slooh / Mr. V.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Movie review catch up 19-02-14

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman is without a doubt one of the best, some say 'the best' single comedy movie of all time. No sequel could hope to match it and there was even a dark fear that a sequel would detract from the original. Well I can verify that it’s true that it couldn’t match it for laughs and quotability for likely the next 50 years, Anchorman 2 is an ‘acceptable’ sequel to the magnificent original. I would have to describe it as a dear old uncle whom you have not seen in years but you’re now just a bit too old for him to give you money anymore. All the laughs and the charm is there and you enjoy the company – but there’s no payoff.

The movie pretty much follows the theme and tone of the original as perhaps they were afraid of deviating too much from the formula with which they struck gold before but everything now is a lot more rehearsed, dare I say ‘forced’ and certainly more visually expensive on screen. Ferrell, Rudd, Kocher, Carell and Appelgate all return and are joined by Kirsten Wiig and James Marsden. Cameos from the likes of Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Will Smith and Vince Vaughan certainly didn’t keep the budget down but did keep the laughs up as the “finale battle” degenerated into am epic farce of apocalyptic proportions. Certainly worth a look if you’re a fan of Anchorman or Ferrell but missed if you don’t tolerate either.

Whopper's Rating: ***1/2

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller directs himself, taking the daydreaming character for another silver screen spin after Danny Kaye did for Norman McLeod in 1947. This time out, there is the advantage of digital effects to make Walter’s daydreams more [un]believable. While there is no shortage of laughs I wouldn’t put this into the same basket as Stiller’s other comedies like Dodgeball or even Meet The Parents, instead it seems to veer into Oscar-chasing territory in it’s themes, scope and vision which is a bad thing as most Oscar-chasers are shit. It would have been far more in Stiller's favour veer away from reality and deliver more crazy antics of Mitty’s daydreams.

Regardless, excellent performances from Stiller, with Kirsten Wiig [she gets around], Adam Scott bringing his best asshole performance since Stepbrothers and even perpetually muppet-faced Sean Penn was tolerable in his cameo. This might be one for TV to be honest.

Whopper's Rating: **1/2

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Shakespeare-lover turned more worthwhile movie director Sir Kenneth [Thor] Brannagh turned his directorial attention more recently to the late Tom Clancy's most famous character - Jack Ryan. The result was a perfectly judged, excellently shot, masterfully directed but overall mediocre spy-thriller. Writer David Mission: Impossible Koepp plotted a new origin tale for the Jason Bourne wannabe that could have been something better in the hands of someone more capable like Tony Gilroy if they wanted to go down that route.

Chris Star Trek Pine plays the titular character 'adequatly', swapping his Captain Kirk cockiness for a young man who realises he's woefully out of his depth but manages to make the best of his situation. While he'll never surpass the likes of Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford's Jack Ryans, he was certainly better than Ben Affleck although that's not hard now is it?

Pine is supported by Kiera Pirates of the Caribbean Knightly who is destined to become Ryan's long suffering wife Cathy and Kevin Costner returned from the dead last year for Man of Steel and it looks like he's decided to stay alive to portray William Harper for a couple of Tom Clancy franchise movies.

Whopper's Rating: ****