I wasn’t a third of the way into The Host: A Novel when I knew something was awry so I Googled the author and discovered that it was written by Stephenie Meyer, the same woman who wrote The Twilight Saga. I’m not even sure why I finished the book…I was probably too cheap not to attempt to get my money’s worth. I’m sure there’s a fan base for stories that center primarily on a teenage girl’s inner monolog and angst…but they aren’t for me.
Still, there were elements to the story that I thought were interesting, notably how to survive as a member of an outcast society and the elaborate underground survival shelter that the human survivors developed to stay hidden from the parasitic invaders. So, based on a recommendation from my daughter and the hope that the main character’s inner monologue wouldn’t transmit to the big screen, I recently watched the movie adaptation of The Host. Continue reading
Producer Brad Pitt recently released a big budget movie based on the popular apocalyptic zombie book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and starring…you guessed it, Brad Pitt. I had a chance to see World War Z recently and have condensed the survival lessons presented down to the… Top 10 Survival Lessons from World War Z.
In addition to a big name cast headed by Brad Pitt as United Nations Inspector turned stay-at-home dad Gerry Lane and Mireille Enos as Karen Lane (not to mention a wonderful supporting cast for the international scenes) it has special effects so amazing that they took years to develop.
As I recall the book was written as a faux history based on oral interviews conducted after the recovery from a zombie war. It was essentially a series of vignettes describing how different groups of survivors got through zombie plague. Pitt’s movie draws on the environment developed by Max Brooks in his book for inspiration but is essentially a different story following Pitt’s character as he travels around the world searching for a cure to the zombie epidemic.
I’ve written before about how the proliferation of the zombie phenomenon is likely due to the fact that it’s a safe way for the average Joe to think about a collapse or TEOTWAWKI event in a relatively non-threatening way. Think about that for a minute… with a zombie apocalypse the only thing you have to prepare for is animated corpses that don’t compete with you for resources… other than your own skin.
Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead
It sure looks like the all star cast of The Expendables 2, Back for War had a blast filming the action packed movie. Hardly five minutes goes by between them facing a new hoard of enemies at which point they stand up next to each other, put their weapons on full-auto and mow the enemy down with the help of very graphic special effects while testing out each other’s catch phrases from the eighties… “I’ll be back,” “yippee ki yay,” etc. When they run out of catch phrases they trade barbs like “waiting for Rambo,” or ‘I’m a Lone Wolf.’ If you lived through the eighties there’s no need to explain the references…if not, ask your parents.
While I admit it’s fun watching Sylvester Stallone (who also produced), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme (aptly named Jean Vilain as the enemy commander) share the screen… I wish there had been more than the thin veneer of a plot. In order to make sure I spelled all the actor’s names right I checked out the movie’s official website…in a lot of ways the website’s like the movie… it was never finished either. Continue reading
I took today’s quote from E.B. White a bit too literally recently and decided to do something I haven’t done for ages…I decided to take a day off trying to ‘change the world’ and just ‘have one hell of a good time” so I took the wife out to the movies. Wasn’t planning on doing a review but a few aspects of the movie caught my imagination so I thought I’d pass along an abbreviated Skyfall Review.
For those of you not familiar with Skyfall, it’s the latest James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig…it’s also a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the franchise. I’ve been a fan of Ian Fleming’s characters since first reading the books as a kid (long before you could catch up on the movies with cable TV or on demand video). Interesting aside, Fleming was a British Naval Intelligence officer and also wrote the novel Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.
Unfortunately, the producers ran out of original Ian Fleming books to film years ago but the same family that produced the early movies continues to do so today…and they’re very good at it. Barbara Broccoli took over the producer’s chair from her late father Cubby years ago and has the same knack for making an action packed picture with exotic locations, fast cars and faster women as her daddy did. Interesting aside, one of Broccoli’s ancestors actually developed and popularized a vegetable…can’t remember which one…
Anyway, back to the movie and no spoilers. Skyfall has everything you expect in a bond film which are, let’s face it, formulaic…but it also is a celebration of the Bond franchise with nostalgia inspiring twists and a role that had to have been written for the original Bond, Sean Connery to play…unfortunately he didn’t.
The movie also has a few very strong messages that struck a cord with me: Continue reading
As a Military Intelligence officer I generally cringe when anyone uses the term ‘Oxymoron’ because it’s usually followed by a moronic statement that disparages the noble and honorable profession of Military Intelligence. Before we look at the Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons let’s review the definition of an oxymoron and some non-preparedness examples:
Oxymoron: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
Some additional examples of oxymorons from the folks over at www.oxymoronlist.com include: anarchy rules, abundant poverty, border control, centrally planned economy, congressional accountability, free rent, great depression, government efficiency, honest politician, politically correct, United Nations, withheld contribution, zero deficit and my favorite… communist party (Stalin, Tito and Mao were probably more effective as boogie-men than at boogieing down).
We generate and perpetuate our own oxymorons in the preparedness movement and media…here are the Top 10 Preparedness Oxymorons:
I actually started Tomorrow When the War Began as a book a few years ago and it was just a little too ‘Judy Bloom’ for me. I have no issues with an inner monologue, but John Marsden’s running dialog straight from his main character’s (a teenage girl) head was a little much for me. I just looked the author up…a guy wrote that book? Anyway, I get my more than my share of teenage angst with all the teen girls in my family…so I never finished the book. However, I still thought that it sounded like a great story if I could get past all the inner monologue and straight to the story.
The story itself sounded like an Australian Red Dawn…and I liked the movie Red Dawn. Did I mention that Tomorrow When the War Began is a juvenile novel…so are many of Heinlein’s greats so I don’t prejudge…wish I had with the book though. The book is actually the first of the very popular ‘Tomorrow’ series.
So…back to Tomorrow When the War Began, the movie…even though the book wasn’t for me, I was still interested in the story line so when Tomorrow When The War Began came out on Netflix I jumped at the chance to watch it. The movie is a beautifully filmed and well acted Australian production about a group of Australian teens that go camping and return home to discover that an unnamed military force has invaded Australia and taken all their families hostage.
[MINOR SPOILERS ALERT] Continue reading