Movie of the Day [Streaming and Blu-Ray] : 3 DAYS TO KILL

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3 DAYS TO KILL – With over 50 movies under his belt, Kevin Costner continues to mature into a better and better actor. Deftly and pulse-poundingly directed by McG from  a Luc Besson script, 3 DAYS TO KILL is simply a joy from its impressive opening credit sequence to its close.

A great and surprisingly smart and humanistic action-thriller, Costner is compelling as Renner, a man who has grown tired in the killing, and his understated performance is picture perfect, and is but one of an across the board great cast. Add to that vibrant cinematography and an ebullient score, and you have the kind of emotionally rich action movie that Pekinpah  would have made, and that’s high praise indeed.

Catch it free on streaming, then buy the Blu-Ray for the commentary and special features. It’s that good. Grade: A-.

 

REASONS TO GET THE BLURAY: “watched this film on an excellent Blu ray transfer. It comes in a 1080p resolution and a 2.37:1 aspect ratio. Beautifully detailed – check out the gracefully aging Costner face – and provides some terrific panoramic shots of Paris. Colors are excellent. Great picture. The audio is excellent as well. The primary track is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. It works great, especially in the numerous action sequences including the requisite car chase, several gun battles and some close up fighting. Dialog is clear and well positioned. Subtitles are available in Spanish, English and English SDH. Extras include a making-of short, a profile on director McG, a piece featuring a real CIA operative and a trailer. There are 2 options as well as to which feature to watch. The theatrical version and an extended version (5 minutes longer).”–Amazon.com review

 

This is a really beautifully shot film, and depending on time of day or bandwidth issues, that can be lost when viewing via streaming. Which is why I say streaming is a try before you buy medium. When you determine this is a movie you’re going to come back to, that’s when you want to purchase the Blu-Ray.

3 Days to Kill [Blu-ray]

Home Improvement and arguably Life Improvement tip of the Day : Light


As we get older it’s amazing the revelations we, if not learn, finally accept and integrate into our lives. Such as staying away from high Fructose corn syrup and modified corn starch/MSG. What you didn’t get the memo? :).

Yesterday after decades on this planet, I finally switched from regular bright light or warm light light bulbs, the kind that I guess make up 99% of the type of lights most people are living or working under in America, to full spectrum/daylight light bulbs.

Great Caesar’s Ghost!!! What the heck was I waiting for??? There is a negligible price difference and the quality of the light is noticeably easier.

What do I mean by easier? There’s always the sense in the human condition that we are fighting things, ourselves, others, nature, the tools we use to do our job, even the chairs we use or the lights that keep us from the dark.

There was always a bit of strain or glare or if not discomfort, at least awareness of otherness in the artificial light you use when the sun goes down. Artificial is the word, however I accepted it as a given, and compensated with brighter bulbs or angled reading lamps, etc.

Yesterday when I stuck those 5000 and 6500 kelvin bulbs in my floor standing lamps, what I felt when I turned them on, is the tension I always keep around my eyes in preparation for the coming of the light, I felt that tension let go.

I was prepared for something to fight against, the human condition, and instead this light flowed over me like a breeze, like a hand, and the light in my house and I… were no longer at war.

Since that revelation I’ve added 6500 Kelvin lights to my kitchen, helps the plants grow, and 5000 and 6500 Kelvin lights throughout the rest of the house. I keep one room with the standard artificial light, that I spent most of my life living, and working, and breathing under, I keep that room there to remember the fight, and in its contrast to the rest of the house, it reminds me to always appreciate… the end of fighting.

Most full spectrum lights you’ll find are CFL lights (Compact Fluorescent). Just about all of us now have CFL lights in our house, but very few of us have the full spectrum daylight bulbs. As I said, it in my estimation is a no-brainer regarding full spectrum light bulbs… they are must haves. The issue with CFL’s however is the one there has always been, they contain mercury. Mercury for an element that we rely on so much, it is one of the most toxic substances to human life.

And as a guy who has used CFLs for years, they tend to blow… a lot. I have never found CFL claims of longevity to be accurate in the real world. They blow faster than incandescent bulbs in my experience. And over years of use you’re going to end up breaking your share. And even if you do manage, not to eat mercury over the cost of usage, you still have the issue of disposal, which is a big one. Because of the mercury content you cannot just toss it in the trash, it has to be taken to your local hazardous materials site or recycling site for proper disposal.

So there’s a lot of issues that become part of the mix when dealing with CFLs.

Which makes this push to LED light bulbs (Light Emitting Diodes) quite understandable. Though I have yet to find an LED that will work in the 6500K range and even the ones that work in the 5000K range, while producing that easy relaxing light, there are issues with them not truly being full-range. And depending on the brand, they also have flickering issues.

So yeah, I can definitely understand CFLs becoming less and less popular because of their Mercury issues (I would think a mercury free CFL bulb shouldn’t be an impossibility, why manufacturers have not pursued that option is a mystery) however as of today there really is no great equal or replacement for them in the 6500K Kelvin range (particularly great for growing plants).

So for the time being I use a combination of CFL daylight lights (making sure to be careful with the CFLs and properly dispose of them)and LED daylight lights, and in my house they are a hit. The light is a more pleasant experience than the harsh light that we had before, and we are better for the switch.

You just might agree as well. Try some Daylight bulbs for yourself here (and when you find the 6500K version you like, stock up as they are getting VERY hard to find):

Cree Daylight Dimmable Led 75w Replacement Bulb. Uses Only 13.5 Watts Ba19

 

“Finding Truth is difficult and the road to it is rough” –Ibn Al-Zahid. SEEKERS OF THE TRUTH

Movie News: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is it worth seeing in 3D?


Marvel Studios 10th feature film, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, is breaking on American shores this weekend, and the decision people have to make is… ‘is it worth seeing in theaters and more specifically, is it worth seeing in 3D?’

Well, dealing with the broader questions first, whether or not you are a fan of the Marvel Movies, you really have to tip your cap to Kevin Feige and the whole Marvel Studios machine for really doing what seemed if not impossible, highly farfetched; namely creating a critically and commercially successful movie empire based on the shared universe approach of comic books.

It, in many ways, is the return of serial movies, the type popular in the 1930s and 1940s, but done on a massive scale, undreamed of by those low budget quickies of yesteryear.

And Marvel Studios films have managed to be not only popular, but entertaining, sometimes impressively so. I would list their movies from best to worst as:

AVENGERS
CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER
CAPTAIN AMERICA
IRON MAN
HULK

IRON MAN 2
THOR
IRON MAN 3
THOR 2

And now their 10th film, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, is poised to carve out their place on the above list. I find myself largely uninterested in the film. Nothing about the premise, the characters, or the one trailer I’ve seen intrigues me at all. Add to that they have an unimpressive ‘Before the Window’ 3D rating from CINEMA BLEND, like all previous Marvel Movies, and it is no incentive to see this in 3D.

But what does stand out in opposition to all that disinterest is the director, James Gunn. James Gunn like many of the directors Marvel picks, lacks any pedigree in the action or blockbuster genre, but like other directors chosen, they have a personality to the films they have directed, and a way with actors and characters, they have glimmerings of potential.

I enjoyed James Gunn’s SLITHER and I do think Marvel Studios helmed by Kevin Feige have been nothing short of phenomenal in picking talent both in front of and behind the camera. For all the heat their choices engender prior to the film, their unconventional choices have proven movie after movie, to be great.

And it is hard to argue with great. I have no interest in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY as a concept or as characters, but I am interested in seeing James Gunn do a big, fun, space hopping action picture.

So verdict: I’ll catch GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on a matinee, or 2nd run, without 3D

Hopes this helps anyone on the fence, and feel free to chime in with your opinions. ENJOY!

Now Showing: Netflix Streaming On-Demand Film of the Day — THE ROBBER (Der Rauber)

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I wouldn’t agree with the quote on the above poster by an overly excited VILLAGE VOICE reviewer, this is more an intense case study/drama… rather than a white knuckled thrill ride; however it is an extremely tight and engaging case study/drama.

Plumbing the actions of a particular robber, the film never tries to explain those actions, but is satisfied in the unfolding of them, and in that way the main character of Johann Rettenberger (played almost wordlessly, and very impressively by Andreas Lust) remains an enigma and his actions inexplicable… to the end.

Director Benjamin Heisenberg, has crafted a fascinating and easily re-watchable puzzle of a film. The puzzle being the vagaries of the human heart. Strongly Recommended. B+.

You can view on streaming here (while it lasts), and when ready to own the movie you can get the Bluray here:

The Robber [Blu-ray]

NOW SHOWING On Netflix On-Demand Streaming : GRAND PIANO

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Eugenio Mira’s GRAND PIANO is a tight, compact and visually stunning thriller, starring Elijah Wood in a stellar role as a concert pianist and his most memorable night. Laced with rousing score and sound design throughout, it’s a film that would have made Hitchcock proud. Ignore the naysayers, a highly enjoyable 90 minutes!

See where you can view it… here:

http://www.canistream.it/search/movie/grand%20piano

and when you’ve determined it is worth owning purchase the DVD (complete with special features) here:Grand Piano DVD

Documentary of the Day : THAT GUY… WHO WAS IN THAT THING

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Today courtesy of Netflix streaming you can watch the pretty darn awesome and informative 2012 documentary THAT GUY… WHO WAS IN THAT THING. 16 actors, known in the business as character actors, discuss the ups and downs of being an actor in Hollywood, in this heartfelt documentary. Recommended!

http://instantwatcher.com/titles/191786

Reviewing the Reviews

There are a few essential truths of the world wide web (which turned 25 this year. The internet turned 44 this year) one being that most of us use the WWW to find reviews or recommendations of new things, new joys, to consume.

Whether that’s a restaurant review, hotel review, auto repair review, book review, or as in this case movie review; the hunt for reliable reviews and reviewers can be a daunting experience. Separating viable, intelligent opinions on a movie from just caustic rants (whether overly combative or overly defensive of a viewpoint) , separating the signal from the noise can be a daunting experience; weeding out the howling mob, from the reasoned review.

Well my friends, I was doing just that today over at IMDB, a site that is unfortunately very high in the noise department, filled as it is with immature reviewers who want to grade everything either 1 or 10, the best or the worst; not realizing the truth is usually somewhere removed from those two extremes. Well I sifted through quite a few reviewers to come up with the below list of movies that sound interesting and/or stylish enough to try.

Here they go… Enjoy!

Night of Fear (1972 Australian Horror)
Ritual of Death (1990)
Night Visitor (1971)
Burning Bright (2010)
The Pack (2010)
Outcast (2010)
Wound (2010)
Buried (2010)
Amer (2009)
The Dead (2010)
In the Line of Duty 4 (1989)
The Lost Missle (1958)
Dead of Night (1945)
Angst (1983)??
Arcana (1972)
Pensione Paura (1977)
Sennentuntschi (2010)
Devil’s Business (2011)
The Dead Don’t Die (1975)
Robowar (1988)
The Card Player (2004)
Demonwarp (1988)
Ths Abomination (1986)
Manipulator (1971)
Sei Mong Se Jun / Abnormal Beauty (2004)

The Raid 2 (2014)
Under The Skin (2013)

Stranger by the Lake (2013)

TWO-MINUTE WARNING (1976)
THE MANIPULATOR (1971- The late, great Mickey Rooney in a horror movie?! I have to see it. :) )
PLEASE MURDER ME (1956)
FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970- Joseph Losey is one of the great unheralded noir and crime directors, so add the names Shaw and McDowell to this film’s description, and consider me intrigued)