Sunday, August 23, 2015
Director Christopher McQuarrie and; comeback story of the decade, actor Tom Cruise, join forces again to bring us this 4th installment of the TV reboot that now has become a cinematic cash cow or abused dead horse depending on your opinion of this latest outing. I have to give McQuarrie some leeway here as there aren't too many new or creative directions to take this apparently immortal concept. Although he voluntarily took the job and obscene paycheck, so any slack must be reduced by those indisputable facts. However, I will give him kudos for trying to infuse this series with a contemporary Sherlock versus Moriarty look and feel to Hunt's conflict with villain Lane. But that is where the reserved accolades end and the, please stop the insanity begins. It is predictable, at some points stale, and way, way too long. Also, any attempts at humor are just that, attempts at best with a total and inexcusable waste of Pegg's unique and biting wit. Cruise gives us his best effort, but nothing, short of an impossibility, can make this series feel fresh and energized. Yes, it has cool stunts, but they are overtly stereotypical for action fare. Inundated with motorcycle battles traveling at ridiculous speeds, car chases and crashes that defy all the laws of physics, and injuries that would kill the Hulk but have no effect on a Scientologist, apparently. But, in all fairness, the movie title deliberately excuses all logic, so if you don't leave reality at home, you have no one to blame but yourself for any disappointments. And hey, good news, Alec Baldwin is still alive, so there's that. 2 out of 5 Kernels; money can't buy happiness, but it sure can keep crap floating; impossibly so!
Monday, August 17, 2015
It's official; Depp has lost his mind. This film should be used as a replacement for water torture as it would be a far more effective tool in tormenting the wicked; but that same proposal would be unacceptable as it is far less humane. Director Koepp, who has worked with Johnny before but with a much darker fare, now attempts a Clouseau meets MOD Squad look and feel with this outing. I stress the word, attempt, as the humor, script, and performances are mostly stale only briefly venturing into absolutely precociousness as a changeup. It's stellar cast is abruptly eclipsed by the utter silliness of a predictable and tired whodunit with zero thrills and even less charm and entertainment value. My heart breaks, as one of the brightest stars of the last two decades and the man who brought us one of the most iconic characters of our time, seems to be quickly turning into a depressing caricature of himself. It may be true; stay a hero long enough, you become a villain, at least to your fans. 0 out of 5 Kernels; sorry Jack, there isn't enough rum to make me to find this funny and that volume would kill me before it could, as if there were any hope of it in the first place.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Neil Blomkamp is quickly becoming a one-trick pony in the scope and feel of his movies, as each one too closely resembles the next; which is a worrisome thing for me, as he helms the newest Alien installment despite all of its hype and its leaked sleek, exciting concept art. In addition, the idea of a robot finding sentience is not a new idea by any stretch of even the most strained imagination. To best describe this latest incarnation, one must consider it in this overtly simplistic comparison; Short Circuit meets Robocop within District 9. The acting is peculiar, not bad, somewhere between annoying and downright precocious. And kudos to anyone who can take such a larger than life, definitive talent like Jackman and force him to play a ridiculously stereotypical and irritatingly overreaching character; which I type with stinging sarcasm. The effects are remarkable, as in all of Blomkamp's outings, and the script inundated with creative perspectives regarding life's meanings and purposes and the blessings and trappings of humanity. But, as I mentioned before, its environments and filming are so identical to his family of preceding works, that sibs appear to be twins, rather than finding their true identities. It is as if we are watching a running series of separate ideas locked in-discernibly within the same fragmented universe, rather than truly independent features able to equally share the same space. But maybe, just maybe, that is his purpose; only Neil knows for sure. Whether that is true or not, unfortunately, for the audience, it becomes a film you watch once, over analyze, and then never really care to watch again. What a shame for such a uniquely talented director. 1 out of 5 Kernels; at least it's better than Elysium, but can that be interpreted as a real compliment.
As cinematic culture evolves, certain genres split into very distinctive categories. Never is that idea truer than in the classification of science fiction. You either have ultra cheesy, effects laden, star-driven, action filled orgies or Uber cerebral, effects laden, star-driven, deliberately complex, mega geek fare. I would add the designation of well written, thought provoking, emotionally charged, meticulously crafted, indie treats, but the mainstream largely ignores them with their pocketbooks, so we won't include them and revisit the travesty of that reality another time. This feature is unique in that it is the second of the two choices and yet possesses a great deal of the "unmentionable" in its performances, theme, and remarkably constructed, slight convoluted, but genuinely imaginative plot. Now I detest, Nolan; he has done more damage to the Batman franchise than the Joker could have imagined in his most psychotic riddled wet dream. And the only one I loathe more that good ole' Chris, is McConaughey, whose acting can only be likened to Catwoman's nails on a chalkboard for me. But I have to reluctantly admit both have surprised me, creating and acting in one of the best films of their respective careers. This is The Andromeda Strain and 2001 for the next generation with effects, script, and portrayals working in perfect sync to dictate the most amazing love note to science fiction filmmaking. I remind, this is for those who have a true adoration for the genre; so if you are looking for non-stop thrills with snappy one-liners and an overzealous glut of CGI talking robots and alien invasions, you will be sorely disappointed and overtly irritated with its two hour and forty-nine minute run time. But in the rare cases of quality, it takes time to tell a good story. 4 out of 5 Kernels: accept for its aggressively preachy pro-environmental message, this is one of the best in its field within the last decade.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Mankind’s greatest fears will become its only hope!
A novel by
Ronald J Rossmann Jr
It is where the crossroads of magic, science, time, and space meet that the Crux exists and the greatest fears of men reside.
Put simply, the Crux is the nerve center of the infinitesimal dimensions the vast and immeasurable cosmos houses. It is the only dimension that parallels the Fleshworld, known throughout the cosmos as the one true residence of humanity. The Crux has no birth date, its legacy defies the finite understanding we possess regarding the concepts of time and legacy. It was formed by entities known only as Elders and monitored by the Controller. He is a being who appears to have neither beginning nor end bound by Fate and her undeniable, unavoidable, and irreversible dominion. For reasons shrouded in deep mystery, he dogmatically obeys her predominance without reservation or hesitation.
The residents of the Crux called Citizens are created from the most powerful emotions humanity emanates, those that drive its race to both the brinks of self-discovery and ultimate destruction. They are emotions, defined only by the language and ideology of their mortal hosts as; fear, hate, rage, and love, with love being the weakest of all the architects.
The Construct is the life force that shapes and supports every inhabitant, without it the very fabric of the Crux would tear under the stress and burden of even the slightest anomaly. It binds their existence together, connecting them for all eternity in a majestic web of life and pain, joy and hopelessness, strength and weakness, and all manner in between.
The Crux is the place where all that man fears fellowships and travels together, where fantasy and fact mix together so effortless, fluidly, that their borders are deeply blurred. When science is left unexplained, it is called magic and here that magic is as sincere as the most reliable empirical evidence. It is the guardian of Time, holding all accountable to it, but itself. The never-ending corridor of history, constantly reinventing events and results as the fickle temperament of Fate so decides. It exists in a state impossible to define by any lesser than the Controller and his allegedly infinite mind.
Without the Fleshworld, the Crux would dissolve like tissue in water. Likewise, without the Crux the Fleshworld would be left completely vulnerable, naked and defenseless against the whims of the myriad of celestial neighbors seeking to persecute, dominate, and obliterate its naïve and hapless denizens. But there is a cost to this shared existence. As emotional of a species as humans are, every excess ounce of negative energy, relentlessly expelled on a moment by moment basis, is cast into the Construct becoming a permanent part of its matrix. Thereby, spawning more Citizens each one more violent, frightening, and lost as the next. They are tortured souls hungry to quench their newly conceived insatiable guile, starving to find purpose as the nightmares and agonies of the Fleshworld mold their personas. It is up to the Navigator and her Marshalls to ensure these dark and tormented creatures find usefulness, captivity, or expiration for there are no other options.
Since the Crux’s cryptic conception, there has been Navigators, each one hand-selected by the terrifyingly mysterious but ultimately benevolent Controller. Each Navigator controls the Repository, a behemoth sized data bank containing every moment in history able to reference an infinitesimal horde of lifetimes and memories. This system contains every path taken and untaken, cause and effect, action and reaction played out to their infinite plausibility. Every entity of every species, breed, and creed categorized and organized in pure, logistical perfection. Running eternally, it is continually expanding, with fantastically complex and unimaginable algorithms flowing effortlessly through its data stream. Used also to monitor and manipulate the Construct, but only under the strict and unceasing eye of the Controller. No decision or action can be taken or occur without his final approval, any attempt would result in instantaneous rectification.
The Navigators choose their Marshalls whose primary purpose is to enforce the laws and parameters of the Crux. There is always one lead Marshall, aptly named the Enforcer. The Enforcer can then recommend recruits of a certain caliber to join him or her as Marshalls. There has never been a limit on the number of Marshalls; however, it has never been a highly desired position among the Citizens. Most consider Marshalls with the same high regard as snitches and traitors. Marshalls carry weapons that can dispose and dispatch of both mortal and Citizen entities. However, only the Controller can give permission to use any Crux craft against a Fleshworld inhabitant, and that has not happened in several millennia.
Once an Enforcer is chosen, he cannot resign his post unless he is deemed unfit, which results in a most undesirable end. Most Marshalls once existed in the Fleshworld and, through their own mortal deaths, are brought to the Crux and Remade. To be Remade is to transcend the physical and supernatural, existing on a plane that is inconceivable to mortals. Most Citizens are born from the Construct while a rare few are Remade. Citizens are forever confined to the Crux, but there are a select group that have the power to travel, unassisted between their dimension and the Fleshworld.
Those select few are referred to as Level 5 Citizens, the most dangerous residents of the Crux. These Level 5 Citizens possess extraordinary amounts of psychic and metaphysical energies. Whether it is to manipulate an opponents’ emotions, invading their minds’ with false memories, assaulting their enemies with an assortment of telekinetic traumas, or performing horrifyingly unimaginable miracles, it is no surprise that this community of malevolent offenders are watched on a ceaseless basis. If a Level 5 demonstrates even the slightest hint that they will use their abilities for personal gain or agenda, the Marshalls swiftly and mercilessly intervene. As I said before, they are the only ones equipped to handle such monstrous hazards, and few survive to tell their tale.
To further befuddle any primitive minded biped, for every Crux Citizen, there is a Didymus existing in the Fleshworld. A Fleshworld twin, wholly unlike his cosmic counterpart and immortal, although they will never know it. For if a Didymus were to actually die, his or her Crux counterpart would meet their demise just as promptly. Instead, Didymus live immortally through Cycles with time and spans decided on by Fate. A Didymus can live hundreds of these Cycles during its existence, repeating a consistent theme as their singularity is turned out over and over again. The Navigator tracks every Cycle ensuring that there is no interference or intervention from its Crux reflection. The population of the Crux directly corresponds with the population in the Fleshworld as the Construct cannot generate a new interdimensional life form unless it can match it up with a flesh and blood parallel counterpart.
The Didymus has no idea that his or her mirror likeness exists in the Crux, even if the same is not true for Citizens. Most know of their fleshly copy but are unable to do anything about it because of the Blockade between the two dimensions. Without that Blockade, many Citizens would travel to the Fleshworld, dispatch of their Didymus, and take control of their former’s life. You see, for a good deal of Citizens, mortality isn’t a curse or limitation, but an unattainable goal. It is more desirable than any wealth, pleasure, or power, in this or any dimension known or unknown. That is why the contingency was established that the death of their Didymus would result in their own termination. So any hope or dream of freedom is quickly crushed by this irrevocable precept.
The only reason a Cycle ends is if the mortal occupier follows an increasing course of evil. Most times a life will exhibit some sort of malice at some point during any given Cycle. This legacy is usually purified when one Cycle ends and another begins, filtering out the nefarious inclinations. However, there are times when malevolence transcends the process and intensifies rather than diminishes. When a mortal exhibits a repetitive nature to commit evil, there is an intervention. The mortal is expired, meaning his Cycle is disbanded and soul carted off to Oblivion as a final judgment. In that case, his or her Crux equivalent is also terminated. Reserve your sympathy, more often than not, their Citizen equivalent is a much greater vulgarity.
Which brings us to this; every Citizen is forged or born with the right to one Request and one Inquiry. Both are limited to one each and no more. The Request is valued far more than the Inquiry as it can include but is not limited to; supplication for assistance, enlightenment, intervention, or, in the rarest cases, an audience with the Controller. Whereas the Inquiry is nothing more than a singular question of the Controller, primarily used for those who seek personal wisdom and direction.
If you are looking for some semblance of rationale as to this process, you have come to the wrong place. No one knows why the system is set up the way it is, especially me. And, as far as I know, no one has had the balls enough to ask. Now if you think this all reads a lot like stereo instructions or a bloated software manual, you would not be alone in that assessment. However, if you are going to even attempt to understand anything else I am about to explain to you, these are the bare essentials, and as such, must be imparted.
It all started with the interruption of my morning cigar and cup of coffee. Yes, we have those here, don’t question, just go with it. When another century turns the corner, it immediately translates into another headache for everyone involved. You see every century, our two dimensions pass so close to each other that they nearly touch, and if they did, let’s just say, it would be a very bad thing. When they pass a temporary Bridge is formed, but that is only known to the Navigator and her Marshalls. This Bridge unites the two parallels allowing passage of any Crux Citizen, no matter what level, into the Fleshworld.
I know, sucks right!
If that were discovered by the general populous, we would have a mass exodus the likes that no one has or ever wanted to see. Not even the Controller would be able to stop it, or so I have been told. So for the next cycle, which is two weeks in Fleshworld time, everyone is on high alert ensuring that this little pest of a secret never spawns wings and swarms out of control. The Marshalls relentlessly patrol while the Navigator becomes obscenely intimate with the Repository’s records and surveillance. She barks out orders on a second by second basis as potential threats arise no matter how seemingly insignificant. In turn, the Marshalls investigate every single case with the frenzy of rabid dogs. Well, a little more focused and controlled than that, but you get the general gist.
I have been through this before but this one would shape up into the most dangerous and terrifying I would ever face. One that would shake the entire universe to its proverbial core and forever alter the paths of all those involved, some to the worst of ends. One single event spawning a web of chaos as it turns two already upside down worlds, inside out, which should have caught no one by surprise. But it is amazing what you get comfortable with and how quickly the course of common sense is ignored.
And so our little story begins…
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Unique, charming, and thoroughly entertaining; this latest CGI venture is an original story highlighted by quaint humor and a well-crafted message of the importance of family, friends, and courage. Director Tim Johnson brings together an eclectic cast that delivers genuinely engaging performances in this fast-paced, lighthearted, and colorful tale of a haphazard extraterrestrial species of confused cowards who choose earth as their next home. Martin provides the voice talent for the hilariously misguided leader of the aliens while Parsons and Rihanna deliver equally captivating portrayals as our unlikely heroes. Fun for adults and kids alike; this is a definitive win for DreamWorks who desperately needed one. 4 out of 5 Kernels: be warned; you will be repeating lines for days, much to the chagrin of any co-workers or friends.