Thor Ragnarok – One Comic Too Far!


How can 93% of the critics who write for Rotten Tomatoes be wrong? Doesn’t the $500 Million they say its made world wide mean its a great film?

Marty and I went to see “Thor Ragnarok” tonight and I still can’t figure it out. It’s not the plot or the characters I am having trouble with. Its the concept. Is it a spoof on the Avengers films that have gone before? Is it a spoof on the leading characters – especially Thor? What do you say about a friend that started out making some witty comments about his neighbors at a cocktail party and after one too many went more than one comment too far? Is he ready for Comedy Central or should he have packed it in and headed home?

If you saw this film on the blue screen without the computerized special effects you would not last ten minutes in your seat. I know computer graphics are used in most all films and especially in these type of block buster comic book recreations. But is that all there is? What happened to movies that were just good movies? This certainly is not one of them. Every scene – 100% of them take place in a special effects world. Enough already.

Marty gave “Thor Ragnarok” a D. I gave it a C. But would I tell you to spend $12 or more per person to see it in the theater? NO!

Larry

Alexa Echo Plus and Apple’s i8X – Uncle Larry Loves them Both


Just in case you forget my 72nd birthday on the 14th I bought myself two new technology wonders and am happy with them both. Here are my initial thoughts:

Alexa Echo Plus by Amazon – Where has Alexa been all my life? I have never had an entertainment and information device all three of us like as well as Alexa. Though it is a female name when you say it she listens – responds immediately and the range of responses is unbelievable. In short if there is a song or any piece of information anywhere on the internet Alexa will retrieve it for you – and pronto. As amazing as the availability of music and information is – almost equally impressive is the quality of the speaker. The range of the sound for a speaker no taller than 6” and as big around as a soda can is amazing.

Alexa Echo Plus comes with a light bulb that generates different 3 different rings of light on the top depending on her status. How great would it be to find a woman with a multi colored crown that tells you if she’s off – on and ready to receive instruction and or is actively doing something for you:) Then when you are done just say her name and OFF and she is! Amazing!

One last word on Alexa Echo Plus. If you buy one don’t bother to read the instructions. Assuming you have Wifi available at the location where you place Alexa just download the Alexa App on your iPhone and it guides you right through what to do. I made the mistake of trying to set it up using my Mac and that does not work. Download the App on your iPhone and Alexa will be playing music and answering your questions in minutes. Speaking of questions I think Alexa must be the younger sister of Siri. If you are bored just sit around and ask her questions and she is never stumped for an answer. This is bound to become one of America’s favorite drinking games.

Apple iPhone 8X – I just walked into the Verizon Corporate store on PGA and 30 minutes later walked out with Siri in a bigger home. The comments that follow are based on the differences I have seen already between my iPhone 6 and the 8X.

1. The size of the screen significantly increases my ability to read it and use the key board.
2. Siri has really matured since the i6 came out. If you sync it with your contacts there isn’t anything I’ve found yet that she can’t do – and with my tremor that is a real plus. I may be kidding myself but the Siri on the i8 hears me better and gets results quicker.
3. Speaking of hearing you won’t believe the speaker! I automatically put it on max volume and then on my first received call it sounded like they were on speaker phone – when they weren’t. When you put it on speaker phone it is really loud on max volume. I’ve had to turn it down just a touch. Something Marty has been trying to get me to do for years. When listening to music w/o the ear plugs the sound fills up a room. I’d estimate it’s almost twice as loud as my i6.
4. The screen picture quality is much improved – brighter and sharper. Speaking of brighter it has an option that you can choose to activate that automatically dims or raises it’s brightness based on the ambient lighting around you.
5. The battery life could take a Tesla around the block. It’s 3:45 PM as I write this and I’ve used the i8 as much today as before and I still have 91% battery power!
6. All those ios updates I’ve made to my i6 had left it working hard to keep up and the i8 is so much faster.
7. I have only taken one picture so far and it is so much brighter, clearer and sharper than my i6. Verizon encouraged me to go to YouTube and watch the video on all the things the new camera can do – especially in the world of portraits and motion. I’ll get to that later and let you know.
8. Storage – it’s not an issue. I have 650 songs and a bunch of apps and I was always bumping into the 16GB limit on my i6. The base/free storage is 64GB and for a “few dollars more” you can get 250GB. Not even President Trump has that many friends:)
9. Finally, the size and weight has not been an issue. It fits into the front pocket of my pants or shorts just fine.

Well that’s it. If your birthday is this month – or you aren’t sure those who love you the most are going to get you Alexa or Apple’s i8 get out there and treat yourself to these new electronic marvels. After all aren’t you worth it?

Uncle Larry

American Made – Tom Cruise – Wait for Home Viewing


When you go in a theater on a rainy and windy day in FL and there are only five – yes, make that 5 people total in the theater your instincts should tell you something – other than can I get my money back?

I describe American Made as an interesting and funny “semi documentary.” If you really like Tom Cruise you will like this film because I believe he is in every scene. He worked for his money on this one.

For me I’m not a fan of Scientology’s Poster Boy but I lived through all of the Central America and Iran Contra affairs and thought Marty and I should see it. Marty is a big fan of Tom and she liked the film buy agrees that it is not a “must see” on the big screen.

There were 10 or more times that I laughed out loud so I think I would enjoy this film at home. Note to self when someone laughs in a theater and no one is there does it make a sound? There were half as many times when I thought this is a really long film only to find out its only 115 minutes.

Towards the end of the film they tied President Reagan to the whole mess and I loved Reagan and still do. That said – watching the Vietnam Documentary on PBS I was also disappointed to hear that JFK said he would have pulled out of the War in Vietnam but if he did he would never get re-elected so he pressed on in a bad cause. I like to think that Reagan meant well and spent his time hating and fighting communism where ever he found it and allowed the establishment to take what ever means necessary.

Well enough political commentary. American Made was interesting and had some funny moments but I think you should wait for home viewing.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – A TON OF FUN


If you liked the first Kingsman back in 2014 you will love this one – as did Marty, Tony and I. For pure entertainment – realistic or not – we give Kingsman: The Golden Circle a SOLID A.

There will be no nominations for acting “Awards” but there were some really funny roles with actors playing against type. The “bad guy” in this film is in fact one of my favorite red headed women – Juliane Moore. She may not be convincing as the “world’s largest and only drug dealer making $250 Billion last year” who yearns for attention befitting her status as an entrepreneur. That said she has some clever and funny lines and a unique plan to legalize drugs world wide.

The best performance in a smaller role is given by Elton John – a complete spoof – but not so subtly very funny!

The Kingsman – a British Spy Agency – are joined in The Golden Circle by “The Statesman” – an All American Spy Agency from Louisville, KY. While the “front” for the Kingsman continues to be a Tailor Shop the Statesman base their agency out of “Statesman” Whiskey – which is a brand of Kentucky Whiskey that was in fact bottled prior to the movies release. I can’t say what it taste like but you can buy and let me know what you think!

The Action sequences – which come fast and furious are well done. The comedy and one liners – which are ever present and for the most part funny and well timed. I did feel personally that as the movie reached it’s natural ending point the director include one or two too many comedic scenes which for me seemed to drag out the last 20 minutes of the film. However, do no despair Elton saves the day! One note of caution this is a violent film – made easier to watch because of the comedy buy violent nonetheless.

American Assassins – Finally A Movie We All Really Liked


American Assassins hits almost all my buttons: Action, Adventure, Suspense, Travel, Violence, Hand to Hand Fighting, a very well written and fast paced screen play. I never thought once about taking a potty break.

If Daniel Craig was the lead actor you would think it was the next James Bond Film. If Tom Cruise was the lead you would swear it was the latest Mission Impossible – and the good news is the cult of Scientology didn’t get a dime from this flick.

That said it stars someone I don’t know named Dylan O’Brian but my Research Director Tony tells me he has a long resume of film work. He was in great shape and very convincing as a young man whose “love of his life” was killed by terrorists and his passion is to kill as many of them as he can – be it with weapons or hand to hand or with his stolen Alpha Romeo – and kill them he does. Nothing cheers me up after going through Hurricane Irma like watching terrorists being killed left and right.

I suppose every aspiring American Assassin who wants to kill terrorists needs a mentor who is as tough as nails and of course used to be a Navy Seal and bleeds my way or the highway. This role was played perfectly by Michael Keaton. And what would a movie with two good guys be without a really bad guy appropriately named “The Ghost” who was trained by – yes you got it – Michael Keaton.

With this much testosterone you figure their “Boss” has to be a woman and the writer throws in an attractive young colleague for our “hero” who you are never sure if she is a “good-gal” or a “bad-gal.”

If you are opposed to Violence do not go see this film. With a name like American Assassin that’s what we do – we rain violence into terrorists lives. If you are looking for romance don’t go either. Our hero is a one woman man – even if she is dead. If you like action, adventure, suspense, travel and a fast paced film don’t miss American Assassin on the big screen.

PS Be in your seat for the opening and stay until the very good close!

Three Movie Reviews for the Price of One: Wind River “A” – Atomic Blonde “C” – The Dark Tower “D””


“Wind River” is going to be one of the sleeper movies of the year. I predict that Jeremy Renner will be nominated for a Best Actor Role because of the excellent job he did of getting into and portraying his character – a man with as many failures as success, yet committed to his calling as a legitimate “Good Guy” in this film and in life. He plays the role of a Wyoming Fish and Wildlife “Hunter” of predatory animals. His job description suits him well as a hunter of seriously bad men. Elizabeth Olsen plays a young FBI agent, born in Ft.Lauderdale, stationed in Las Vegas and completely out of her element in the cold and snow of Wyoming. With Jeremy’s help they form a good team tracking the men who raped a young Native American Woman on Tribal Land and were responsible for her death.

If, like me you are tired of seeing computer generated scenes that only exist in the mind of a computer genius you will enjoy the grand movie-scape and panorama of Wyoming in the middle of winter. The long shots of white capped mountains – the use of long snow covered valleys as the movie’s stage and the drama of the mid mountain ever green forests frame this classic battle of good versus evil. Unlike the old time Westerns about as many of the good guys die as do the bad ones but the ending is very satisfying.

We recommend you see Wind River on the big screen for the grandeur of Wyoming in Winter that may be minimized in home viewing. Finally, this movie isn’t R for no reason. There is bad language, rape, close quarter hand to hand fighting that leads to death, an excellent and realistic close range shoot out between good and bad guys and some seriously fine shooting with his long rifle by Jeremy’s character.

That is the good news! Now for the less good!

What does it say about two movies when you saw them three weeks ago and you can’t work up the energy to review them. Hey, nobody is paying me for this so what does it matter?

Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron and The Dark Tower with Matthew McConaughey and some guy from Star Trek I don’t know were both a waste of our time. Fortunately each of us got a short to medium nap during each of these dark and over acted films. I recommend you wait until these two come out on FREE premium channel. But hey that’s just me. Some of you may enjoy seeing Charlize with her equally beautiful female lover.

What the heck – 1 out of 3 will earn you $25 Million a year in Major League Baseball. Talk about snoozers!

Fine Mexican Dining in Juno Beach


Tony prepared a Mexican inspired dinner last night that was rich, flavorful and had wonderful mouth feel. The warm soft tacos were moist and filled with beef, pork, diced red peppers and mild diced green chilies. He reduced a combination of Mexican Blanca, Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese for the sauce that was smooth, rich and decadently flavorful. Tonight we enjoyed the left over beef and cheese in a shredded lettuce salad. We are living high on the dining hog here in Juno De Mexico!

What is a True and Acceptable Religion?


I frequently hear a question something like this: “If Christianity is real and is a peaceful and forgiving religion then shouldn’t we show mercy to Muslim People and RESPECT their Religion?”

There may be many answers to this question that are deeper than my mind and spirit can know. That said I look to Jesus – The Messiah – The Son of God – The Promised One in the Line of David to define what true religion is.

Amazingly it did not require much research or insights. Marty and I were doing our devotionals today and we read the words of Jesus from a Jew that became known to the Christian world as St. Matthew. In Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 22: Verses 34 to 40 we read:
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Please read these Words of Jesus again!

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.”

Should we show mercy and open our nation and our land to untold numbers of Muslims?

I ask you to consider only one question! In the past 16 years or 16 centuries have the followers of Islam lived their lives according to this law: “To love your neighbor as yourself?”

Selah!

War For The Planet of The Apes – Who are the Good Guys and Why Does it Take two hours and twenty minutes to figure it out?


If you are a fan of this Franchise you will really like this movie so don’t read any more of this review!

If you are new to the Planet of the Apes films plan on it being slow to develop which gives you plenty of time to think. The questions that came to my mind while waiting to be entertained are: Without God, who are the good guys anyway? Without God does it matter? How does a movie with this much bloody killing and beating of Apes and people get a PG-13 Rating? Don’t take your child to see this flick if you ever plan on taking him to the zoo again. When will Woody Harrelson show his acting chops again? How could it take 140 minutes for this script? Did they not have an Editor? How much of the mood and “coloring” can one Film “borrow” from The Apocalypse Now and not give Marlon Brando credit?

The best thing about this movie is the Poster with Caesar – the lead ape not the Roman Emperor – riding right towards you in the snow with a little girl on the back of his horse. For me I wish I would have just looked at the poster for a few minutes and skipped the movie. Marty on the other gave it a B-.

Spider Man Homecoming – What Was I Thinking?


Let’s divide this film into two parts: The first 98 minutes and the last 35 minutes.

The first 98 minutes could be fun for someone 12 to 17 years of age. For me I rate this 98 minutes as an F – Marty came in at D. It was slow and boring and immature. I took a long potty break and checked the time often. This was 98 minutes I will never get back.

The final 35 minutes was very good. When The Bad Guy (no plot spoilers here) recognized the good guy the pace of the film shifted into high gear and ended strong. Marty gave this portion an A and I came in at B+.

Still the strong close was not nearly enough for me to encourage you to go the theater to see this film. Wait for home viewing where you can get something to drink, read the paper or a magazine, go to the bathroom and be ready for the final 35 minutes which was excellent – due in large measure to Michael Keaton.

After this disappointment they will not get me to buy a ticket for the sequel.