Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Wrap-up

Ho ho ho, you rebel scum.  That's much better than that bah humbug stuff, isn't it?  So the new Star Wars movie is out and from the reviews it has gotten so far it sounds like a pretty good film, which is good as I like Star Wars.  I haven't seen it yet, but plan on doing so perhaps over the Christmas holiday.   How did you feel about the past films of 2017?   I thought they were okay.  I haven't seen everything, which is just the way I roll these days, I just don't get out that often to the cinema.  I did get out and see Blade Runner 2049, which I loved.  But for most of the time I'll just catch them with my Netflix sub.    Having said that there are still many more I want to watch. 
Some weeks back I watched the third part of the newly revamped Planet of the Ape franchise.  War for the Planet of the Apes, was exciting, immersive, and I enjoyed it.  That whole trilogy was worthwhile and could have gone wrong in so many ways.  I'm glad it was able to dovetail some of the early series of films into it.  I guess these type stories will always have some au courant subtext because evidently we're always going to be at war with somebody somewhere.   Sad, but true.   I really enjoyed the little girl that they found in this last adventure, and how they explained away why the humans in the apes world lost their ability to speak. 
I watched the Korean film, The Chaser this past year, and it was really good too.  It's about a serial killer in Korea, and if you enjoyed films like Silence of the Lambs or I Saw the Devil, well, you'd probably enjoy The Chaser as well.  It's a dark film as one might expect from such genre, but another reason I liked it was it went in unexpected directions and had characters that weren't cookie cutter.   So yeah, if you like that sort of thing, give it a shot.
The same thing is a bit true for Nocturnal Animals, not that it was about a serial killer, although it's closely related in some ways, being about murder.  It's one of those stories within a story movies, and I generally enjoy both Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal in roles.  If you are looking for another good story that makes you wonder where it's going, it's a good one.  As you can probably see, I wasn't too much into the whole super hero or blockbuster epics this year as much.  It's not that I don't like them, I still watch my fair share, but I've just been wanting to see something else. 
Although I did see Alien, Covenant.  I'm admittedly a big SF fan, and a big Alien fan, so I had to see it.  It's the SF law.  I enjoyed it for what it was, but I didn't feel it progressed the cannon that much, and there weren't any huge surprises either.  Michael Fassbender was good in it, which I expected.  But for what it was, another part in the Alien franchise, I could enjoy it on some level, although I think I enjoyed, Prometheus better.  I'd give it a B grade or something like that. 
Logan I was a little indifferent to.  I think some of this comes with age.  I'm not a teenager anymore, and although I enjoyed it for the action film it was, and for being a part of the X-Men franchise, however, the language in it was a turnoff.  I grew up in a time when Wolverine would get pissed off and say something like "Cripes."   If someone got the better of Conan, he'd exclaim something along the line of, "Crom."   I don't know if it was just for the ratings, but Logan sure used the F-word a lot in this film, which I thought was totally out of character, and silly/stupid as well--not to mention poor scripting.  Man, talk about a super hero NOT one to look up to.  Aside from that criticism, I did enjoy the film.
Now army medic, Desmond T. Doss would be the type hero to look up too.  Yes, it's a pretty propagandized film, but taken from a real story that was made into a bigger story for the film.  How it really all went down, who knows, but I did enjoy this tale that sort of took its queues from earlier Hollywood.  Perhaps a bit old fashion in the telling, but I enjoyed it. 
I really had high hopes and anticipation for Kong: Skull Island, but man, what a dumb picture.  I've never seen in a picture in recent memory that had characters doing such lamebrain stuff.   So there's a gigantic monster ape, and it's uprooting trees and boulders and throwing them at your oncoming helicopter and you don't turn around and fly away or at least say, "I think we need a bigger plane."  Wow, I thought the other monster in the film was ill-conceived too.  It just looked goofy to me.  I know the original King Kong is just going to be hard to beat, but this was a big let down for me. 
I've generally enjoyed Michael Keaton's performances in whatever vehicle he's in, so the same is true for The Founder.  He injects a lot of energy into his roles.  Again this film seems a bit old fashion perhaps in its direction and approach to the character, and the film does have it's flaws--the ending didn't totally work for me, but it's not like you didn't see it coming either.  However I assume it was taken from real history, so they can't hardly change that without making even more mistakes.   But up until that third act; I enjoyed the film. 
Wilson is probably going to be one of those comedies that either you're going to love or hate, or fall somewhere in-between like I did.  Again I generally like Woody Harrelson in his roles, and this one was pretty much made for him.  I'd read the Daniel Clowes' graphic novel from which it was adapted, and didn't know how they could capture it for the cinema, but they did a pretty good job.  A lot of the jokes are blue or bathroom humor as the poster above implies.  It's not quite Woody Allen and it's not quite Seth Rogen either, but falls somewhere in the middle perhaps.  It's sort of one of those films that's not exactly memorable, but I could watch it again just for a few laughs, and I've seen a lot worse.  If you need a laugh, give it a watch. 

So did you see any good films this year?  There are many more I want to see like the newest Star Wars movie,  Get Out, The Shape of Water,  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,  Victoria & Abdul,  Wonder Woman,  Dunkirk,  The Darkest Hour,  and well, I'm sure many more.
Here are many other Top Ten list for 2017 if you care to take a look.  I'm sure there are quite a few for any particular taste.  On the smaller screen I also enjoyed the Netflix series, Stranger Things, and I'm curious about a series called, Dark.   I also enjoyed the Ken Burns series on The Vietnam War. 

One of my smaller endeavors below, on music. 


Friday, December 01, 2017

So I Got Nothing Better to Do, Right?

So I tried linking my bank that I use in town to my 401k account.  There was some business I needed to do so I thought I better do that.  I know I should be grateful that I even have a 401k account, but it wasn't working.  I get frustrated pretty quickly over stuff like that.  A.)  I'm not not Steve Jobs when it comes to computers.  I can do quite a bit with the computer particularly since I'm an old fart, but some things I tend to second guess myself about.  So when I couldn't get online with my bank I was wondering what was going on.   I looked around to make sure I had my password correctly and that I was putting in the correct email and user name.  I ended up calling the bank here locally, and of course, ever so often you'll get someone that will talk to you like you're a complete idiot.  But she said, she can't help me with a  password, and goes on to tell me how to go about getting a new password.  Huh, okay.   I go back and try that to no avail.

I then call the 800 number to get someone outside our local yokel town parish of Numbnuts, America.   The lady there was more helpful, but told me if I haven't used my online account within the past year, I was probably kicked off.  I told her I believe I had used it within the past year, and she for whatever reason, disregarded my remark.  She went on to tell me, well, you'll have to get a new password and online account with us.   I asked if  I can do that online.  She replies, no sir, you have to go down to the bank for that.  Sheesh.

In the first place I believe I have been online in the past year, I know I have.   Now about all I did was look at my account, but also I believe I had set up a link to transfer some money thru that account as well.  I smell a rat, and it's known as corporate America.   In other words, whether I've been online or not (and I think I was) they are going to lie to me or not even acknowledge me, and tell me I gotta go downtown to redo, what should not have been undone.   Even then, what kind of rinky-dink bank makes someone actually go down in person for what should a been something you could just do online?  It just didn't make any sense to me one iota.    Of course the other thing being:  If I had not been online in say a year,  why the heck would they just kick me off?   I mean, don't banks want to keep their customers happy anymore, or is that just some bygone era thing?

So I get in the car and go down and re-establish my account again.  Believe me I got real unnerved when the teller that was helping after getting my driver's license said, "I can't seem to find your account with us."  My mind was turning over, okay what now?  I'm pretty easy going by nature, but stuff like this rattles my cage...

Anyway as long as I was out, I ran a few errands.  I went by the store and a few other places, and then once I got hungry again headed home.  Hopefully, no more glitches. 

Anyway tonight I watched some tube and ran across this series on Roku called Mark Hammill's Pop Culture Quest, which are pretty nerdy, but also interesting.  You can watch them here.