Tron: Legacy – The sequel

In 1982, a movie named Tron hit the screen.  Tron was an adventure set in a digital world constructed with neon and day-glo colors inside a computer system controlled by the Master Control Program (MCP).  Tron starred Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn / Clu – Codified Likeness Utility), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley / Tron), Cindy Morgan (Lora / Yori), Peter Jurasik (Crom) and David Warner (Ed Dillinger / Sark / MCP).  Gladiator games ruled the digital frontier.  Programs fought for survival in disc ring combat, light cycle combat and other such now-iconic modes of warfare on the Grid.  The MCP’s rule of the Grid was absolute in this digital world.  In an attempt to thwart Flynn’s interference from the outside world, MCP used cutting-edge technology to digitally store Flynn inside the computer world which it controls.  Three adventurers – one human (Flynn), two digital (Tron and Yori)  – set out to wrestle control from the MCP and get Flynn back to the real world.  There’s only one place this can happen – the uplink tower at the heart of the MCP’s citadel.  Thus, our adventure began.

Nearly thirty years later, we revisit the world of Tron in Tron: Legacy starring Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn / Clu), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn, Kevin’s son), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradely / Tron) and introducing Olivia Wilde (Quorra) to the story.   Lured to the old arcade shop where his Dad used to work by Clu, Sam begrudgingly seeks to find out what may have happened to his estranged father – a father nearly twenty years absent – seeking the answer to one question: why did you abandon me?  Finding a system clock running with over twenty years of run-time on it, Sam – like his father – is transported into Grid where he now faces both foes old and new – as well as an upgraded Grid.

With the MCP gone, the Grid has come  under complete domination of Clu – Kevin Flynn’s surrogate program who’s sole purpose was to create a perfect environment.  Clu seeks to eradicate anything he deems not “perfect”. Kevin Flynn – part of this imperfection himself – manages to escape Clu’s purge into exile to the rugged undeveloped part of the Grid.  In his absence, Clu assumes complete control.  Once again, gladitorial games are afoot on the Gaming Grid.  Once again, programs are forced into combat against one another in a game of digital survival.

Enter one Sam Flynn.

Sam is immedately thrust into the gladitorial games upon being digitally downloaded by Clu while in his father’s old workshop.  Coming to his rescue is Olivia Wilde (Quorra) complete with cool all-terrain car, martial artist, weapons and vehicle expert and all-around good-looking gal.  Along the way, Sam meets colorful characters such as Castor / Zuse, Sirens of exquisite beauty and grace, and a Terminator-style killing machine known as Rinzler.  Sam reunites with his father only to realize that he’s a pawn in Clu’s bigger game. The story moves to its logical conclusion with Sam, Quorra and Kevin reaching the uplink tower all the while being doggedly pursued by Rinzler and Clu’s minions.  It’s a straight-line plot.  There are no fancy twists and turns.  No unexpected revelations.  Yet, Tron: Legacy accomplishes exactly what it set out to do: tell another piece of the Tron story in good cinematic fashion – and tell it well.

Tron: Legacy‘s punctuated by such fabulous performances by the likes of Michael Sheen (Castor / Zuse) in his role as the End of Line bar owner; kick-ass techno music by Daft Punk, some seriously sick combat sequences and stunning visual effects throughout.  Beau Garrett, Serinda Swan, Yaya DeCosta, and Elizabeth Mathis add a sense of the exotic as our Sirens in the movie.  Ring combat and light-cycle combat along with other familiar components lend a continuity to both films. In addition, we get to see new vehicles and dazzling ground and aerial combat sequences in Tron: Legacy. All of these elements work together to bring another chapter in the Tron universe right to your doorstep live and in technocolor.  Whether you see this in 2D or 3D, you’ll want to see it on the big screen – or if you have one at home, a big screen of your own should you choose to wait.

From all of us, to all of you: Well done boys and girls. Well done, indeed.
Advertisements

Matt Stover

It was really cool to hear Matt come and talk on Sunday morning June 13th.  He talked about his walk with God and how that’s affected his outlook on his football career, his family, and especially last season when the Ravens never called him back.

During the summer, the Jets called him offering him his friend’s job.  Matt’s a very decent fellow.  He called his friend Jay Feely and asked how things were going over there.  Their kids played together, they’d hang out together.  After 19 years in the NFL, its natural to develop real friendships and relationships.  After Jay found out the Jets were negotiating with Matt, he spoke with the Jets and let them know he’d heard that they were looking to replace him.  Naturally, the Jets accepted Jay’s offer.  Matt’s told his manager afterward that he’d talked to Jay about the Jets job offer first.  Needless to say, initially, that didn’t go over too well.  Matt assured his manager that he felt like they’d be fine.   More weeks pass and it’s already the third week into the season when the Colts call him and ask Matt to visit.

There are two forms of commitment that a player can expect from a team: something monetary in the form of a signing bonus or something verbal.  Matt went to the Colts and kicked for them.   Matt named off all the shots he had to make (he only missed one).  Keep in mind, he hasn’t practiced with a team all season.  Matt let them know he was committed to them by saying he was ready to kick them into the Super Bowl.  They signed him the same day.  He went on to doing exactly what he said do.  Joe Flacco’s fourth quarter pick-off in the 2009 AFC playoffs made Matt’s previous field goal the game winner — which launched the Colts into the Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints.

Where’s the love?

I was thinking about Pete recently when I was feeling melancholy one day wondering why I had lost my love for baseball.  Here I was a guy who positively loved the Orioles of the ’70s and ’80s and today, I could care less about the sport.  Where’s the love gone?  As a kid, I had a pretty good arm.  Dad and Mom let us play Little League throughout our elementary school years.  Like most kids, I didn’t usually get up to full speed until the end of the season.  We’d all get those cheapo trophies that all kids love after playing a tournament each season.  If you grew up in Maryland, any kid worth his salt that could throw dreamed of being Jim Palmer.  I remember once over at church during a fall harvest festival, I threw a beeeeautiful curveball to a buddy of mine.  The thing broke a mile.  I knew I threw it right because my elbow hurt afterward.  So what happened?  I mean we’d root for Mark Belanger, Don Baylor, Bobby, Grich,  Al Bumbry, Jim freaking Palmer, Eddie Murphy, Rick Demsey, Boog Powell, and last but certainly not least MR. Brooks Robinson.  The list goes on and on.  These guys are baseball icons.  They’re men who made the sport great simply by going out there and doing it day in and day out, by playing with integrity and grit.  Somewhere along the way we lost that in big salaries and somewhere in there, I lost the love of baseball.

Whatever you feel about Pete Rose, I think we can all agree that Pete’s a baseball icon.  He wasn’t the first dumb guy to walk into the game and he’s certainly not the last.  We’ve heard tons about the steroid doping investigations that still plague the locker rooms of all of today’s major league baseball teams.  We’ve got guys allegedly taking guns into locker rooms, other guys allegedly fighting dogs, and yet other guys allegedly brutalizing women, and yet further still, other guys cheating on their wives.   Controversy after controversy across the broad spectrum of sports.  As sure as my butt’s glued to this chair, I’m certain a lot of those guys will make the Hall of Fame in their respective sports.  I can’t help but think: where’s the forgiveness for Pete?  Hasn’t he paid his dues for the mistakes he’s made?  It’s been twenty years since he was coach of the Reds.  Pete’s 69 years old now.   He’s done jail-time for the tax stuff, been sacked by periodical after periodical and lambasted by every talk show on the planet.  The Reds will never retire his jersey due to the permanently ineligible from baseball status that’s tattooed squarely on his forehead.  I wonder if the league’s plan is to let the guy die then posthumously give him a Hall of Fame nod?  I think it’d be a damn shame if that’s the route they take.  It’d be nice if someone in the Commissioner’s office had the stones to stand up and work to heal the wound between Pete and baseball before he leaves this good ol’ Earth.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Where’s the love?  I just don’t know where it went, but it’s gone.  I lost the love for something that was once great and I don’t know why.

Psalm 70.

1 Hasten, O God, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me.

2 May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.

3 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame.

4 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!”

5 Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.

—–

I always love how you can simply flip open a Bible and find hope, encouragement and peace no matter where you turn.

Borderlands revisited.

Okay, it’s time to fire up Borderlands again while I’m on spring break.  Haven’t made it too far yet, and I’m still liking the way the game was designed with that comic book black-pen outline around most of the artwork.  I took my hunter through the first playthrough of Borderlands and stopped.  I always enjoy the storyline more than I do running through the game with each character class.

This downloadable content’s pretty good.  You can see how playing this in four person coop would just rock.  Like they said, the level cap’s been increased and more fun weapons have been added.  So far I’ve knocked off Mr Shank at Lockdown Palace.   I rescued Athena and now she’s giving me new missions to run.  I’m sure I’ll run into General Knoxx at the end.  The plot seems pretty straight forward.  Find the big guy and blast him.   That’ll put a cramp in Atlas’ operations on the planet.  More on this later when I have more time to play.  Classes start up again on Monday and I still need to knock out that second project in Python.

Green Zone

Matt Damon’s back, but this time in fatigues not turtleneck sweaters and gun-concealing overcoats.  Straight up, Green Zone is a good movie.  The stage is set, the plot begins to unfold and the major players are introduced at the outset.  Matt plays Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller.  Miller’s task is to secure Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) sites in Iraq as the US invades.  Iraqis are literally looting sites he’s moving to inspect.  His team’s sufficiently exposed, but he has to lock down the sites and secure whatever’s there.  That’s his mission.

After three misses, Miller starts asking questions.  Why are these sites empty?  Where are we getting this faulty intel?  Miller asks realistic plausible questions many Americans were asking themselves after the Gulf War at the time.  Many of these questions still remain unanswered to the general public’s satisfaction even today.   Miller finds himself working against the clock.  He discovers he barely misses General Al Rawi, an Iraqi General in charge of Iraq’s chemical weapons program.  If anyone knew where the WMDs were in Iraq, Al Rawi would.  He knows if he bags the Ace of Clubs (Al Rawi’s card in the deck of 52), he can remove a big player from the board and move on those WMD sites to complete his mission.  The pace of the movie’s good.  Damon’s character’s a smart, moral, and decisive character.  Miller’s chief opponent is Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) who’s source (Magellan) inside the Iraqi military provided the WMD intel.  Poundstone keeps a Special Forces Commander Briggs (Jason Isaacs) in his back pocket to add to the excitement.  Briggs snatches up Miller’s prisoners who have information on Al Rawi.  Miller needs Al Rawi to get answers.  Heading back to HQ for some answers as to why his prisoners were taken from him, Miller meets a CIA guy named Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson).  Poundstone and Brown are clearly political opponents.  Amy Ryan plays journalist Lawrie Dayne who watches Miller and Brown having a conversation at HQ.  More motivations start coming to light as Miller begins putting some of the pieces together.  The tension’s constant throughout the film as Miller struggles to stay ahead of his as-yet-unseen opponents as he gets closer to the truth.  The movie’s filled with plenty of gritty action from breaching buildings, gun battles, hand-to-hand combat, a Blackhawk helicopter filled with surveillance gear that  just cooool to good old car/HUMVEE) chases.

Green Zone‘s definitely worth seeing in the theater, but like most films these days, it is one you can wait on to hit DVD if you have a nice 42″+ flatscreen TV.

Brainz….

Zombieland

Yes, they’re back.  Those flesh-eating fiends we all have come to know and love so well: zombies.  Apparently, you get a virus, your brain swells, and suddenly, you’re overcome with the desire for human entrails.  This movie’s a riot.  All of the characters are named after cities they’re from.  It’s a good romp across the American flatland where surviving from day to day is all that matters.  There is no safe place on the Zombie planet (formerly known as Earth) because zombies are everywhere.  These zombies aren’t your normal run of the mill foot-draggers either.  They can run a forty at four seconds flat.  Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg) has a list of survival rules that’s kept him alive.  Throughout the movie, Columbus’ narrating different portions, but the start of the movie is where Columbus explains the basics of Surviving Zombieland 101.  Later, Columbus’ll meet up and begin traveling with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) only to be set upon by the dynamic duo of Witchita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).  After all, if the zombies don’t get you, your fellow human survivors will, so be on the lookout!  It’s a fun movie where killing zombies is the mainstay of the day’s activities.   Bill Murray makes a cameoand does a nice job of rounding out some of the comedy throughout the movie.  If you’re a fan of Shawn of the Dead Zombieland‘s a must see.