Welcome To Earth, Bitch! *uppercut*

Gipsy Danger

Seriously, folks… go see this incredifuckingmazing movie right now! 8 times!

Please – for the love of whatever god or gods you believe in – don’t let the absolute fucking stupidity of GROWN UPS 2 win the box office for this weekend.

This isn’t TRANSFORMERS… it isn’t GODZILLA (that’s next summer)… it’s not POWER RANGERS like some fucktards have been saying.

PACIFIC RIM is it’s own thing with it’s own style and it’s own big damn heroes – 80 meter tall robots beating the shit out of 2,500 ton aliens.

While it’s best seen in 2D (shot in 2D and then converted to 3D – though all the CGI is rendered in 3D, so I suppose it’s a wash as to which is ‘better’), you may have a hard time finding 2D showings as theatre owners are a bit nervous about the profitability – especially with surveys showing GROWN UPS 2 to be of more interest to the movie going public… which means they’re forcing the majority of ticket buyers to pay the $3 – $5 3D surcharge in an attempt to maximize revenue.

However you end up seeing it, make sure it’s on the biggest screen you can get to: the action is HUGE.

If you were ever a child filled with wonder, then make sure you see this movie.

***

Newsflash: You’re Fat Because…

…you’ve made certain choices in your life.

Now, before I go on here, I’m going to exclude all those of you out there who have legitimate medical reasons for being overweight from the following discussion – there’s no reason to feel bad about your body if there’s nothing you could/can do to stop your [insert malfunctioning body part here] from making you extra-large.

Everyone else… well, you’re exactly who I’m talking to.

When you wake up every morning and look yourself in the mirror, do you loathe what you see because your body is statistically extra-large?

Guess what got you there?

You don’t know? Or, do you think you do know?

As a blogger that is always trying to be helpful, I will explain to you why you’re fat in terms that I hope you understand – but it’s going to take a very healthy dose of reality checking and honesty with yourself.

Also, this blog is somewhat aimed also at the Sally DoGooders who live in the proverbial land of milk and honey – the United States Of America – who are taking it upon themselves to sue every purveyor of delicious food in the public retail spaces of malls, plazas, and corner shops all across the land.

First, let me get straight to the facts of the matter… the complete and total truth, no matter who might want to argue:

1. McDonald’s hasn’t made one single human on this planet fat.

2. Burger King isn’t responsible for making your neighbor chubby.

3. Wendy’s had no part making that guy at work rotund around his middle section.

4. Hostess – the maker of the venerable Twinkie – can not be held accountable for shut-in video gamers being so big that they have to wear a muumuu around the house.

5. Little Debbie is not at fault for your Type II diabetes.

6. Neither Coca-Cola or Pepsi (and their Frito Lay snacks division) is on the hook for your massive stored energy deposits.

7. Hershey’s is not answerable for your pudgy fingers.

8. And finally, the local movie theater is not to blame for your adding a melted stick of butter to your popcorn.

Wait… how can that be?

You hear every day on the news that So And So is suing these companies for making people fat… so surely there is some merit to what they’re paying public interest law firms to make a case for… right?

No.

Not a single claim by these people can be born out in a court of law without the court itself being corrupted by social shortsightedness.

See this guy here?

Fat dude eating junk.

Not a single corporate employee or company policy is responsible for him being a fat tub of lard – and let’s be honest: he most likely doesn’t have a thyroid issue.

Nope… he’s fat because of what he’s doing in the photo i.e. stuffing his face with food that has very little (or completely zero) nutritional benefit.

As much as society would seek an easy scapegoat for it’s rising number of obesity cases, there is not a single person to blame but himself.

Look at that photo very carefully.

Do you see anybody forcing him to chow down on that massive burger? Is there a representative from The Burger Shack holding his family at gunpoint, promising him that they’ll be released without harm as soon as he consumes all those fats and carbs?

No.

Chubby McFatass there is using his own, God-given free will to consume that sandwich.

So tell me – please – why The Burger Shack, McDonald’s, or Little Debbie should be held accountable for the choices that YOU make?

Yes… the retailers make products that you feel compelled to eat – either for their taste or their affordability or both – whenever hunger strikes you, but in no way are you mandated by law to consume their wares.

You, the consumer, have every bit as much power to consume a bowl of fruit salad as you do eat a box of Chicken McNuggets and a side of delicious McDonald’s french fries.

The fact that you opt for the Mickey’s fare is completely on you.

Television advertising makes you eat it? Hmmm…. okay – let’s look at that.

Pundits would say that the commercials you see on TV up to 100x a day have brainwashed you into being constantly wanting fast food or the kind of junk offerings you find at the neighborhood convenience store.

I suppose this could be held out to be true… if there wasn’t a whole lot of other crap on TV that’s being marketed directly to you that you blissfully ignore: how many of you out there order everything you see in infomercials?

Raise your hand if you’ve compulsively ordered the Snuggie For Pets? C’mon… it’s only $9.99! Who can resist that kind of deal?

Or… how many of you ran out and bought that Head On headache reliever? You know… the stuff you apply directly to the forehead?

I’m going to wager not a lot of you did either of those things because you were smart enough to realize the products were pure crap – choosing not to waste money and hurt your pocketbook by being stupid.

Yet… you CHOOSE to eat vast amounts of fast food that you know are pure crap and are going to hurt your body in the long run.

Why is there such a disconnect between choice and result?

There is nothing simpler than what’s going on here: it’s cause and effect – one of the most basic scientific concepts.

You do one thing and you get the predicted effect – in this case, you stuff an entire 12-inch pizza in your face in a single sitting which causes the effect of you gaining a few pounds.

Of course, this is assuming you’re not a professional athlete like Michael Phelps that consumes massive amounts of calories to fuel their workout routine.

Which is the backside to this issue: your buttocks take up two seats on the airplane because you refuse to do to the physical exercise required to burn off all of those calories you consume.

You’re choosing in your life to eat a Double Big Mac, large fries, large Coke, and two apple pies – without also choosing to engage in the physical exertion necessary to scrub all of those calories and saturated fats out of your system… which leaves your body no choice at all but to store those things as fat around your middle/butt/legs/arms/neck/chin.

Sure, there are pharmaceutical alternatives to exercise… substances that will make your body burn calories at an accelerated rate, but they are no substitute for using your own muscles to naturally do what that pill does nowhere as efficiently.

And yes… there are radical surgical procedures to physically limit how much food you can eat.

But why?

Why take these pills? Why go under the surgeon’s knife?

When you can simply CHOOSE to not eat these things in such great amounts that you become the size of a small Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon?

Society needs to give it’s collective head a shake and stop trying to blame others for our choices in life.

You can not sue Burger King for your own laziness.

The fat guy you see mowing his lawn – wearing shorts and a wife beater tank top – can’t seek damages from Dairy Queen because he can’t be bothered to get on an exercise bike.

In closing, let me make this abundantly clear, in case you are still confused:

Nobody other than you can blamed.

So stop trying to take kid’s Happy Meal toys away because you think they’re what cause childhood obesity – it’s the parent’s choice to buy them the little box of fats and carbs and then let the child sit around the house all day playing video games instead of running around outside for 20 minutes.

Take some fucking responsibility for your actions in life, and leave people alone who are trying to make an honest buck.

Dear Fast Food Retailers: An Open Letter

How are you?

Everything good? Money’s okay and everything?

Great to hear it.

Your fiscal health is very important to us… your valued customers.

Remember us? How we give you money for food and the occasional toy/promotional item?

You know why we do that?

There are three reasons why we go to you and buy Big Macs by the billions – or millions and millions of Whoppers – and the golden brown french fries that go with them… oh and the drinks, pies, shakes, sundaes, or whatever the hell else we want in our meals.

Reason Number One: Your food tastes good… and you know that.

Every food item on your menu is designed, engineered, focus grouped, and test marketed solidly until you’re completely sure about that product’s cost vs. income future. (Well, Arch Deluxe and McPizzas aside).

Reason Number Two: It’s convenient.

Sometimes we’re just too busy with our lives to go all the way home and cook up a meal, or we’re just too lazy, or we feel like treating ourselves to a cooking-free meal, or any combination of the above.

Reason Number Three: It’s food we can’t have at home.

Sure… any dumbass can go down to the grocery store and buy hamburger patties, buns, condiments, a bag of frozen french fries, and a bottle of Coke, and take them home to form the basis of a meal – but it’s not going to taste as good as your Big Mac, Whopper, Baconator, or Flamethrower Burger.

We just don’t have the resources and time it takes to formulate the right combination of ingredients, spices, and preservatives to match your delicious wares.

It would be incredibly easy for you, McDonald’s, to team up with a company like Con-Agra or McCain’s to release a frozen, take home version of your french fries and even charge a marginal premium over and above what you’d make selling the same fries in one of your franchise locations – but that would make the masses have less of a craving for your beef-tallowed and special salted offerings at the local Golden Arches.

Or maybe you, Pizza Hut, could team up with the Pillsbury Dough Boy or Nestle’s Delissio Division and devise a pizza that we could come home and toss in the oven?

Maybe the ghost of Colonel Saunders would haunt the product research department over at Kraft’s Shake N’ Bake division?

No… no… no.

These things won’t happen because you want to protect your point of sale… controlled by ill-educated high school girls at computerized checkout terminals so that we have greater options, especially enforced by “Do you want fries with that?”

We as the fast food consuming public never begrudge you this… as you can tell by every purchase of an $8 ‘value’ meal.

Even when you spread out into such ‘healthy choice’ options as chicken salads and low-carb wraps – ostensibly to care for our well-being, and we’re touched that you care about us so deeply.

However…

We have to draw the line at oatmeal.

Yes… you read that correctly: oatmeal.

Stuff we have zero problem obtaining in our daily lives.

Most of us have a half-used box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal in a cupboard somewhere, our a bag of Quick Oats that can be thrown in a pot on the stove if we’re feeling so industrious as to slow cook our breakfast.

Some of us might actually like Cream Of Wheat as well… but don’t get the idea that we’ll pay for that gruel.

We honestly want to know where you get off trying to sell to us for three dollars that we can have at home for something like thirty-five cents per single-serve portion?

You put berries or other fruit in it?

Oh my goodness! Where, oh where could we get these berries and other fruits?!?!

Surely there is no other store in our neighborhood that would sell us these things in bulk… so where else could we get oatmeal with fruit in it other than the Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s just a short drive from our homes?

Why… you’ve surely developed a product that can’t be matched!

***sigh***

Honestly… what the hell are you thinking?

It’s oatmeal.

Plain, ordinary, run of the milled oats OATMEAL.

The only way that this makes sense is that the oatmeal itself is ridiculously cheap, and so easily prepared in factory machines that the profit margins are high enough to justify it’s niche status on your breakfast menu.

Who is the customer you’re marketing oatmeal at?

Old people? Rushed business types? Health Hippies? Ironic hipsters?

Your bread and butter customers want NOTHING to do with something so completely ordinary and lowly as oatmeal.

Let me repeat this unless you weren’t paying attention earlier: we can go home and have oatmeal… that we bought at a store… put in a microwave… in our home.

Please, for the love of whatever gods you believe in, stop sullying yourself in attempts to both make money and pander to whatever crowd you think is going to buy this crap.

It doesn’t suit you, Ronald… Timmy… and whomever else wants to follow suit.

We as your adoring fans expect more from you.

Now… with that said… pass the McMuffins/Crescent Sandwiches.

Yours truly,

The Public.

Stormcastle @ The Movies: 2011 Preview, Part One.

Say what you will, but 2010 was a bit boring when it came to movie releases from Hollywoodland.

There were some early hits for the kiddies… Iron Man 2 and Inception for the grownups later on – but overall, attendance was down this year when compared to 2009… and yet the box office receipts were averaging in comparison (mostly due to the splurge of 3D films and their applicable ticket price upgrades).

So as we burn off the last 4 weeks of December with only a few movies worth seeing – mainly Tron: Legacy and True Grit – I’m going to spend some time with you going over what it is that you can look forward to in 2011.

WINTER 2011:

January 7th: For those of you who are still enamored with Nicholas Cage and the various wigs costume designers stick on his head (I was happy with the long hair in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), he has a medieval adventure called Season Of The Witch coming at you right off the bat in the new year.

I’m going to be honest here – I haven’t really been digging the footage and blurbs from it so far, and am thinking this could be another trip into The Wicker Man territory… but I did like his performance in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, so who knows?

Season Of The Witch could be a tour de force – but don’t hold your breath.

January 14th: One week later, we have a new action flick featuring Seth Rogen – yes, that Seth Rogen – titled The Green Hornet.

After some hemming and hawing, the studio decided to dump this flick in January because it couldn’t really estimate how well the movie would do – despite it being a genre flick and based on a long time property that’s been around since the golden days of radio serial dramas… and the last major iteration of The Green Hornet starred Bruce Lee.

The Hollywood uncertainty comes from Rogen normally being a funny man employed in the Judd Apatow stable  – and when combined with his former portliness, this doesn’t really cut an action hero image in potential ticket buyer’s minds.

What would normally be a summer or December release, the movie features Rogen and Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou as a crime fighting duo similar to Batman and his sidekick Robin – complete with tricked out car, custom weapons, and the lead character being a super-rich playboy moonlighting as a crime fighter.

However, those of you out there who watched Pineapple Express know that Seth can work in the action/comedy arena, so I’m going to give The Green Hornet a cautious recommend.

January 21st: Get ready for an Oscar-bait!

What’s better than a ‘men on a mission’ movie?

How about a ‘men on a mission’ movie that takes place when a group of guys escape from a Siberian gulag and have to walk into Mordor walk across the various inhospitable terrains of the former Soviet Union and surrounding countries in a bid for freedom?

Sound good? How about if Hollywood throws in Ed Harris and Collin Farrell?

Yes? Then get in line for tickets to The Way Back.

February 11th: Here comes Nicholas Cage again – but this time, he’s back to the action vein that we all like him in.

What would you get if you crossed Ghost Rider, Tod McFarlane’s Spawn, Gone In 60 Seconds, and Quentin Tarantino-style violence? All mixed up in genuine, non-post production three dimensionality?

Drive Angry 3D!

Cage plays a guy who’s escaped from Hell to avenge his daughter’s murder and protect her child from an evil Satanic cult – all the while driving fast and crazy in classic cars and packing ridiculous amounts of firepower.

Oh… and William Fichtner is in the movie as The Devil – or is it The Devil’s pit boss? – which instantly makes the movie sooooo much more interesting.

I’ll be in the theater seats for this one, guaranteed.

February 18th: Another whack at the young adult fiction pinata!

This time – and the studio hopes it will do better than Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief or Jumper– we have D.J Caruso (director of two Shia Labeouf flicks: the excellent Suburbia, and the dopey-but-fun Eagle Eye) directing some pretty teenagers in a ‘aliens living amongst us’ type movie… but instead of it being like Men In Black, it will be more like the WB/UPN series Roswell.

Oh… and there’s a big, bad alien chasing our pretty alien teens!

Honestly, I’m kinda burned out on the whole Y/A fiction section of the bookstore being carted into the cinema.

Obviously, the studios are looking to replace the finishing Harry Potter and Twilight series – which are profitable cash cows for Warner Bros. and Summit Entertainment respectively.

However, like I noted above, Caruso has turned out some quality screen product, so I would recommend this movie just on his C.V. alone – but I think this will also appeal to the sci-fi fans as a whole.

March 4th: WARNING – March is jam-packed with content seeking your eyeballs!

The first weekend of March has 3 science fiction movies needing your attention – one is a quality speculative fiction production… another is a sci-fi tinted conspiracy film… and the third is possibly the most rushed project in Hollywood history.

First off, we have Apollo 18, which has barely begun production as I write this blog, and is in keeping with Hollywood’s renewed fascination with ‘found footage’ movies (Paranormal Activity, The Fourth Kind, The Blair Witch Project).

However, on face value, this movie isn’t scary – at least when compared to it’s predecessors – and is more in line with ‘alternate history’ fiction.

As the project stands right now, the movie posits that the USA launched one final group of astronauts towards the moon in secret atop a Saturn V rocket – the eponymous Apollo 18 – and they found evidence of alien life on the dark side of the moon.

Let’s put aside the ridiculous notion of launching a Saturn V in secret – it’d be kinda visible to everyone in Florida, and the rocket’s thrust output could be measured as far away as California – and admit the story is a tiny bit original and worth a look/see… especially coming from Timur Bekmambetov, who directed Night Watch, Day Watch, and Wanted.

Okay… next we have The Adjustment Bureau, which stars Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Mad Men‘s John Slattery.

Based on a Philip K. Dick story, Damon stars as a man who has glimpsed a possible future – only to have a mysterious agency try and force him into a future that has been chosen for him.

Drama, action, and romance ensue as Damon and Blunt fight the powers that be and rage against the machine that would keep them down.

Sounds like a good story to me… but did Dick ever sell a story to Hollywood before he died? Oh wait… Blade Runner.

Finally, we have Rango… and I really don’t know how to describe Rango to you – other than it stars Johny Depp (or, rather, Johny Depp’s voice) as a chameleon with some serious identity issues walking across the stereotypical American south-western desert.

Naturally, hijinks ensue – but in some really mind-bending ways, courtesy of Depp’s Pirates Of The Caribbean director Gore Verbinski.

I’m going to guess that even though Rango seems good for the kids, it’s going to play much better for the accompanying adults.

March 11th: Another packed weekend!

This time, it’s a double bill: Source Code, and Battle: Los Angeles.

Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as U.S. soldier who has been enlisted into a special military program that investigates disasters – by immersing you in the memory of someone who died in the tragedy i.e. you literally are that person once you’re connected to the machine.

Jake has a finite amount of time once in the person’s memories – only up until they die, naturally – to figure out who blew up the train they were riding from clues he can discern from his surroundings.

Problem is, as he goes through the scenario over and over, Jake falls in love with the deceased man’s wife and wants to save her – despite the fact that the disaster has already happened in the real world.

As for the second movie, Battle: Los Angeles, aliens once again come to Planet Earth to get all rowdy-like and kick our asses.

What differentiates this movie from it’s cinematic predecessors, and what saves the movie overall, is that it’s told with an almost documentary-like approach: think Black Hawk Down instead of Independence Day.

The story unfolds from the viewpoint of the soldiers fighting this seemingly vastly superior and unstoppable force after all but one of the major world cities have fallen, and stars the intrinsically trustworthy Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan, and Michael Peña – with generic bad-ass actress Michelle Rodriguez.

March 18th: Did you like Shaun Of The Dead? How about Hot Fuzz?

Then you’re in for a good time when the Shaun/Fuzz team brings you Paul – a road trip comedy of galactic proportions!

The titular Paul is an alien who’s just trying to make his way home after being a guest of the United States government for a lengthy amount of time – escaping his handlers and hooking up with two UFO geeks who were on a saucer-sighting tour of the U.S.

Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, and Seth Rogen as the voice of Paul.

March 25th: Only one movie of note on this last weekend of March.

Zack Snyder – the director of 300, Watchmen, and Legend Of The Guardians, and future director of the next Superman movie – brings us a wholly original movie that’s not based on comic books or Y/A fiction… one that can be best described as a steampunk Alice In Wonderland with machine guns.

Sucker Punch stars Emily Browning (best known from Lemony Snicket’s An Unfortunate Series Of Events) as a young woman who’s been involuntarily institutionalized at an insane asylum from Hell – and who’s only recourse is to escape into her imagination as a way to cope with what’s been done to her.

Joining her in this visually stunning picture are Mad Men‘s John Hamm, martial artist and Black Dynamite star Michael Jai White, and former Disney sensation Vanessa Hudgens.

SPRING 2011

April 15th: Who’d have thought there’d be another sequel?

Scream 4 is coming at you, ready or not!

Wes Craven again directs a script form Kevin Williamson (creator of Dawson’s Creek), and puts David Arquette, Courtney Cox, and Neve Campbell in front of the camera once more – this time adding Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Adam Brody, and Mary McDonnell.

Needless to say, Ghostface is back terrorizing the gang thanks to a tell-all book written by one of the original survivors.

Is there any more mileage in this franchise? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

April 29th: Speaking of mileage and franchises, we’re heading down to Rio de Janeiro…

…for Fast Five a.k.a. The Fast And The Furious 5!

Yes… Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back for an all-star edition of the high-octane series with Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Matt Schulze, Tego Calderon and Don Omar all returning to race cars and avoid the fuzz for as long as possible – this time with Walker also on the lamb after breaking Diesel out of prison.

Oh… and the fuzz? None other than Dwayne “Don’t Call Me The Rock (But You Still Can)” Johnson bringing his biceps and steely gaze to hunt down these criminals – which could turn this into the best adaptation of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit ever.

May 20th: Double bill time again, but this time with two huge franchise juggernauts.

First up is the fourth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, subtitled On Stranger Tides, which finds Johny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow caught up in a quest for the legendary Fountain Of Youth – at the behest of Penelope Cruz.

Only problem is, they’re sailing not on the Black Pearl – but on the Queen Anne’s Revenge… under the command of the notorious pirate Blackbeard (played by Brit stalwart Ian McShane).

Hilarity and adventure will surely sail again on the oceans of the cineplex.

Anyway… moving on!

How many of you out there caught last year’s 2009’s STAR TREK?

Wasn’t it awesome?

Do you remember how at the beginning, James Kirk’s father died heroically saving everyone by ramming the Kelvin into the bad guy’s ship?

Man… that was heart breaking.

Good news everybody! Kirk Sr. (actor Chris Hemsworth) is alive and well!

Errr… except he’s come back as a god… named Thor!

Marvel Entertainment is bringing you the next flick in their Marvel Universe franchise, Thor.

The great thing about the Marvel movies is they all happen in the same universe, which allows for recurring characters to pop up from flick to flick – like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Furry, or Clark Gregg’s Agent Colson.

Thor tells the story of the Asgardians – who are highly advanced aliens as opposed to gods as the Norwegians would have them – and how Thor’s father Odin (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins) banishes Thor for being too warlike, which lands him on Earth – where he’s studied by S.H.I.E.L.D., and where he slowly learns the value of humanity and how to become a true hero – before Earth is wiped out by nefarious forces.

Thor is directed by Kenneth Branagh, which is an interesting choice due to his previous knack for directing elite British flicks such as Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V – and I think that style can work very well for Thor as the material is fairly Shakespearean in scope.

Couple that with stars like Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Colm Feore, Rene Russo, and Stellan Skarsgård… and you should have a stellar tour de force.


May 27th: Are you ready for some Jack Black?

I mean… good Jack Black… instead of the crappy-collecting-a-paycheque Jack Black in Gulliver’s Travels?

Then you’re more than ready for Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom Of Doom – which reunites Po with his friends, The Furious Five.

But all is not well in Dreamwork’s Asia: a new villain has cropped up, and he’s threatening to use the titular Kaboom Of Doom to conquer China and wipe out all traces of kung fu – which means Po has to get in touch with his roots and figure out who he really is if he’s going to triumph, while making new friends along the way.

Joining Black’s voice talents are Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Seth Rogen, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, James Woods, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Liu, and Victor Garber.

Summer 2011:

June 3rd: Here come the dog days of the summer blockbuster!

First up… X-Men: First Class.

This is a prequel to the X-Men movie series started a decade ago by Bryan Singer and killed by the ineptitude of Brett Ratner in X-Men 3 – but instead of a few years prior to 2000’s X-Men, this movie goes all the way back into the comic book’s origins… back to the groovy 1960’s.

Yes… a comic book period film – and as is necessary in telling a story far before the narrative we’ve mostly enjoyed to date, the entire X-Men cast has been chucked out the window in favor of younger actors.

Gone are Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor Xavier and Magneto – replaced James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender.

The movie tells the origin of the friendship of Xavier and Magneto… and how they came to be two sides of the same coin: not enemies, but having vastly different ideologies – while also telling the story of how Xavier came to found his School For Gifted Children a.k.a. the home base for the X-Men.

June 17th: Let’s all go green!

No… not environmentally friendly (‘cuz you should be doing that already, right?), but going to see Ryan Reynolds in The Green Lantern.

The first DC Comics character to make it to the big screen that’s not named Superman or Batman, The Green Lantern tells the story of a cocky test pilot who discovers a crashed alien ship where he’s given a ring that enables him to do fantastic things with only a thought – but as always, that great power comes with a certain amount of great responsibility: he must join the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps. and become a protector of all that is good in “…the brightest day, the blackest night…”

So get your butts in the theater seats to support a good Canadian boy, will ya?

June 24th: Vrooom, vrooom!

Pixar/Disney brings you their yearly CARtoon masterpiece, Cars 2 in 2011 – and yes, it may be true that the original Cars might have been Pixar’s weakest product to date… but you can’t argue with the merchandising  of the brand: young boys just love Cars paraphernalia.

Cars blankets… Cars lunchboxes… Cars wallpaper.

In essence, Cars is the long awaited answer to Disney’s Princess empire – something masculine for boys under 8 years old… but still accessible to all other demographics.

This time around, the Cars gang finds themselves racing across the globe in grand prix events in popular cities around the world – and along the way, Lightning and Tow Mater engage in some James Bondian cloak and dagger escapades.

July 1st: Just in time for Canada Day, Michael Bay returns!

Bringing all new levels of Bayhem, Dreamworks and Paramount submit Transformers 3: The Dark Of The Moon (and no, that’s not a typo) for your approval.

Not only do Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide, and Shia all return to action, but they’ve jettisoned Megan Fox! Thank the Gods!

This time out, we find the world’s governments demanding the expulsion of our Autobot allies – despite their newly revealed role in the Cold War space race between the USA and the USSR… and unknowing of the evil plans of the Decepticon named Shockwave.

Oh… did I mention all of this Bayhem will be in motherfucking 3D!!!!!1! ZOMG! Sweeeeeeeeeeet!

July 15th: Here’s to ya, lad… we’ll miss you (until J.K. Rowling writes more books).

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 brings Harry’s story to a close with the epic battle that the franchise has been building towards for 10 years – Potter vs. Voldemort.

And while many of you know how this battle will turn out – having read the books ages ago – some of us DON’T, and we will not be deterred after investing a decade of our lives to the story of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Which is a rare thing in this rapidly changing world – when was the last time you spent 10 years in earnest with a franchise?

Only Star Trek has had more films… and they’ve been further apart than the Potter movies.

July 22nd: All hands on deck for the captain!

Captain America: The First Avenger brings us the second Marvel Universe movie of the year – not done since the first Iron Man and the rebooted Incredible Hulk in 2008.

Captain America is the story of weakly young man named Steve (actor Chris Evans) who wants to join the Allied efforts in World War II against the Nazis and their Axis pals – but his military application is denied due to his physical stature. About to give up, he meets a military scientist who wants to test his new Super Soldier serum on a human subject – and Steve volunteers himself.

Low and behold, Steve comes out of the experiment as the finest example of manhood that the world has ever seen – faster and stronger than any peer – and is soon drafted to combat Hitler and his goons in Europe.

The rest is… well, history.

In most non-North American global markets, the movie will simply be called The First Avenger in attempts to head off anti-American sentiment at the box office.

July 29th: The month named after Julius Caesar closes out with some good ol’ fashioned western action.

It’s 1873, and Cowboys & Aliens brings you more alien invasion goodness… except in the Wild West!

Despite what some think is a hokey title, Cowboys & Aliens treats the material seriously – so forget Wild Wild West or 2010’s Jonah Hex.

Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford head up this production loosely based off a comic book series of the same name, directed by Iron Man/Iron Man 2/Zathura‘s Jon Favreau – so you can be guaranteed lots of dazzling action balanced by solid acting.

The story is pretty much as I said: aliens invade late 19th Century America, which forces the titular cowboys to get over their differences with themselves and with the native population in hopes of fending off the extraterrestrial hordes.

If you go in looking for a lighthearted comedy, you’ll be leaving sorely disappointed.

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Alrighty, compadres…

This ends Part One of my 2011 Movie Preview.

Keep your eyes peeled for Part Two coming soon! (UPDATE: find it here)

Meet The PlayBook!

Specs:

  • 7-inch LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader
  • POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
  • Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future

So… essentially… everything the iPad lacks is in the PlayBook.

Bravo, BlackBerry.

DIAF, Apple.

The Joint Strike Fighter

Our next war bird

Canada has said yes to the F-35 Lightning II.

What’s of particular note here is the F-35 is billed as the Joint Strike Fighter – and the ‘Joint’ is applied in many ways when you look at it on a global scale.

For purely U.S. purposes, the Joint Strike Fighter moniker is based on the fact that it’s a ‘joint service’ aircraft i.e. that 3 branches of the U.S. armed forces will be flying it – the Navy (carrier adapted), the Air Force (base variant), and the Marines (vertical take off and landing variant).

When you step back to a macro scale view and look at how the F-35 applies to the global fighter scene, Joint Strike Fighter takes on a new meaning.

Eleven countries from around the world have contributed money to the development of the F-35: the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Israel, Singapore, and the United States (which contributed the lion’s share of spending).

The idea behind this venture was to supply all the countries involved with a common aircraft that would make joint operations between the stated nations more seamless – as well as allowing each state access to cutting edge technologies that they may not have been able to afford independently.

The end part of the previous paragraph is where countries like Canada specifically come in to play: Canada has nowhere near the tax base or military funding to develop a cutting edge fighter that could dominate other world player’s planes.

I don’t say that in an effort to kick my nation’s pride, but to only state an honest fact.

Also, there is some doubt as to whether our southern neighbors would take kindly to our designing and producing an air superiority fighter that could easily compete with their own: think back to Canada’s one proud moment in fighter design history (the vaunted Avro Arrow) and you’ll see how tragically influential the United States can be when it demands to be the kid on the block with the best toys.

Regardless, Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s are quickly going to surpass their ‘best before’ date as they are all part of McDonnell Douglas’s first production run of the F/A 18 airframe – first flying for Canada in 1982.

In comparison, the United States has mostly moved to the newer F/A-18 Super Hornet – which has many performance upgrades over the Canadian legacy models, including better avionics and softer radar signature which are derived from being completely new planes as compared to modified airframes.

Yes, our CF-18s have been subject to regular maintenance and technical upgrades over the years – but for all intents and purposes, they are dinosaurs when compared to the rest of the G8 countries’ air force assets.

There are anecdotal stories that kick around the global fighter pilot communities of how Canadian Air Force staff had to make the rounds and beg for spare parts during our fighter jet commitments to U.N. and NATO missions in places like Kosovo and missions like Desert Storm – such as asking the Spaniards for spare batteries, etc.

How are we – as Canadians – to take pride in our military forces when they have to depend on the charity of other nations when we get into a pinch?

Does that make your heart swell with patriotism?

On second thought, forget I brought that up…

Canadian F-18s are aging and will soon have flown so many flight hours that their air frames will be considered unsafe to fly by technical standards.

We can not afford to send our top-notch pilots up into the air against threats to our global and national interests if there is a real chance that the jet will disintegrate under the stress loads that tactical maneuvers place upon a plane.

So here we are in 2010, nearly 30 years after we acquired our last fighter.

Why are tactical fighters important to Canadians?

What else will keep the newly ‘assertive’ Russian bombers out of our air space?

How else will we be able to fulfill our duties to NORAD, NATO, and the United Nations when it comes to rogue states?

Are we to just send along Good Luck cards from Hallmark?

No.

We need our boys to be in the thick of it, pulling Canada’s weight when it comes down to the nitty gritty – when some nation out there needs it’s ass kicked and priorities straightened out.

For Canada to have a voice in those kinds of matters, we need something to punctuate our sentences.

And nothing says that like a heat-seeking missile up the bad guy’s tail pipe.

We, as Canadians, are a peaceful lot and desire diplomacy over war – that’s a given… and a lot of us may not find spending $16,000,000,000 on 64 planes (including maintenance costs) to be a very good deal.

However, to paraphrase a very smart man, war is diplomacy when all other means have failed.

Sometimes, you have to stop using the carrot and start using the stick.

Wouldn’t you rather have a bigger stick than our potential adversaries?

The F-35 is that bigger stick.

It will be the first time Canada has owned a stealth fighter – one that is all but invisible to enemy radar… which is a very good thing when our young men are up in the skies against deadly forces – as any advantage in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat can be the difference between a pilot coming home in once piece and coming home in a body bag(s).

No, the F-35 isn’t the razor sharp portion of the cutting edge when it comes to fighter planes – that would be the F-22, and the United States isn’t sharing that aircraft with anybody.

Also, I must acknowledge the fact that the F-35 is years behind schedule and has saddled the U.S. Defense Department with numerous cost overruns – but in the end, the technology is still sound: whereas the F-22 returns a radar signature equal to that of a metal marble, the F-35 bounces back a profile of a metal golf ball  – which is still smaller than most birds.

Plus, the jet comes with cutting edge sensor suites, futuristic situational awareness systems for the pilot, and more weapons carrying capability than any plane of similar size – which leaves the F-35 as a solid No. 2 contender.

And this is where I must part ways with my preferred Canadian political party and the official Canadian Opposition – the Liberals.

The current federal Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, says that the Defense Department should have tendered the contract out to more manufacturers – instead of just handing it to Lockheed Martin on a silver platter… perhaps considering the No. 3 contender, the Eurofighter Typhoon.

From a strictly business standpoint, that would be a prudent idea – but when you take that business to the level of a nation state, there are many other things to consider: jobs for Canadians… wise investment of dollars Canada has already spent… how our armed forces will operate when hand in hand with other global players, etc.

Canada’s interest in the F-35 was initiated by the previous Liberal government when it was in charge of Canada’s future – to the tune of more that $100,000,000.

To simply walk away now would be a monumental waste of money, and a missed opportunity of epic proportions.

Iggy calls it a boondoggle, and is threatening to kill the contract the second the Liberal party takes power again.

I’m sorry, Iggy… but I’m going to have to step back and call you an idiot who would prefer to use a think-tank approach to solving skirmishes.

In this one instance, I have to painfully concede that the conservative mindset is correct: the candle with the biggest wick wins.

This blogger may not speak for all Canadians at all times, but I’m pretty sure I speak with one voice when I say this:

We want to win.

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See video of the F-35 here

Royal Canadian Air Force