Feb 172013

To Live and Die in L.A. posterThis week’s movie monday challenge is about death, a shocking death scene in a film.

For me nothing beats Boromir’s fall in the Fellowship of the Ring.

But I still vote for the utterly surprising death scene in William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A..

Boromir’s fate was sealed in the book, but the twist in the Los Angeles tale in was a shock indeed.

Movie Monday #79: Death

Feb 112013

Today it’s been two years since Stephen Elop set the platforms on fire.

A lot has happened since.

And happily enough, I’m not wearing a MeeGo shirt today out of spite.

Time indeed heals wounds.

Feb 042013

(Live, all the way to the end. Or until I fall asleep.)

00:59: Here we go. Courteously Nelonen offers the broadcast with both finnish and english languages.
01:00: Time to pick up the first round of supplies: Liberty ale, nachos, salsa and so on.
01:01: And better make the allegiance public to avoid any false notions of objectivity: I’ve been a ‘niners man ever since the glory days of Joe Montana.
01:10: Haven’t seen a single game this season, so pretty much everything in the teams’ highlights reels feels fresh. Apart from the yelling announcer. Yelling, it works for latin american football, less so for the north american version.
01:17: Thus far the ugliest suit of the game: Jason Witten’s terrible blue number.
01:22: National anthem on a grand piano, with a really low bpm, too!
01:28: Will Ferrell!
01:31: Here we go. Finally. It’s been a long evening.
01:33: -5 on the first down.
01:35: And it’s a punt, the offense didn’t really get going.
01:39: First scoring opportunity. Overthrown.
01:40: A costly offside penalty results in a Ravens touchdown. Flacco to Boldin.
01:42: Oh yeah, no commercials in international broadcast = really boring intermissions.
01:48: Whoa, nice catch by Crabtree.
01:50: And the first QB run.
01:54: Sacked. 3 points at least.
01:55: Akers delivers.
02:03: OK, Flacco got lucky with that toss. Real lucky.
02:05: And that’s a really well-timed sack that pushes Ravens out of field goal comfort zone.
02:08: Got to admit that the Harbaugh bros. are not that amusing characters.
02:10: Great fastball by Kaepernick.
02:13: First turnover, an ugly and unnecessary fumble. Time to go get a second beer.
02:16: And that’s a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
02:22: And that’s a second Baltimore TD, 14-3.
02:28: And that’s a second consecutive turnover, a pick off a way too long Kaepernick pass.
02:39: Stopped on 4th after a fake field goal (that went uncommented on the broadcast). It’s a long way to the red zone, however.
02:43: Way too long, it’s a Baltimore ball now.
02:48: 21-3. This is getting ugly. And I didn’t know that a receiver can get back up unless he’s touched by a defender.
02:53: Gain of 14+15. Chance to score before halftime.
02:57: Crabtree open, but not passed to. ‘niners are their own worst enemy.
03:00: 21-6 at the halftime.
03:02: No idea who the first artist on the break is, but his pants are almost as ugly as Witten’s suit. Almost.
03:11: Now this is downright embarrassing. Playback. Flaming guitars. Atonal noise in skimpy leather.
03:14: The temptation to leap into bed is considerable.
03:32: 28-3. With a 108 yard kick return. I think it’s indeed time to give up and go to sleep.
03:34: It’s 109 yards, actually. And it’s a 22 point game.
03:41: What’s going on?
03:42: Ah, a power outage. With no announcement in the broadcast.
03:47: The angry yells from the audience are not censored.
03:48: As a niner fan I would vote for abandoning the game and restarting from scratch. Though I’m sure the NFL rulebook does contain contingencies for even this adversity.
04:05: Back in business it seems.
04:11: Back in business for real.
04:12: To no avail, the first down post-outage doesn’t help.
04:24: Crabtree reaches end zone to cut down the deficit. 28-13.
04:30: Flacco sacked, the ‘niners defense was merciless in three-and-out.
04:32: Gore scores after a long punt return. And it’s now 28-20.
04:40: Turnover for Ravens, Rice fumbles the ball on Ravens 24. It’s a whole new ballgame.
04:43: Akers fails a field goal, but the Ravens are penalized for roughing the kicker and Akers gets a rerun, five yards closer. And this time he doesn’t fail. 28-23.
04:46: There’s no way I’m going to bed right now.
04:57: 31-23 after a Baltimore field goal.
05:04: Kaepernick runs for a TD after absorbing a hit from Ray Lewis on the previous down. 31-29, after the 2-point conversion fails.
05:14: The chain is not a friend, Ravens pick up a first down with less than an inch to spare.
05:15: Jim Harbaugh agrees and challenges the ruling.
05:16: And the referees agree, as well, and the third down remains. But Boldin catches once again and the Ravens’ drive continues.
05:20: Harbaugh begins to look human with a precision tantrum following an offside penalty.
05:21: 34-29, with a field goal. And it’s an one-touchdown game now with a San Francisco ball.
05:27: Great fastball to Crabtree.
05:28: Followed by an even greater Gore run.
05:33: Timeout just in time, moments before the clock runs out and leads to a penalty. Two downs left.
05:34: Ball jarred loose from the receiver. One down left.
05:35: No downs left, a blitz leads to an arcing pass that flies over Crabtree.
05:36: It’s Ravens ball now, and there’s 1:46 left on the clock and the niners have just one timeout left.
05:40: 11 seconds left, and Baltimore to punt.
05:41: Ravens take a tactical safety instead of using a potentially blockable punt. 34-31.
05:43: 4 seconds left. Baltimore kickoff.
05:45: And the kickoff return fails. Baltimore wins.

A great superbowl once again.

It looked like a blowout on the first half, but San Francisco clawed themselves back into the game and within two points. But not past the Ravens, and that’s what counts.

Feb 022013

X-Men: First Class posterAfter the quite disappointing Wolverine my hopes for First Class, a prequel to the original trilogy were rather tempered.

I turned out to be wrong, First Class turned out to be a good movie on its own and a return to the form in the franchise.

First Class is indeed a prequel – it is set in 1962, and it cover the inception of the superhero team known as X-Men.

Despite the era this is not a Mad Men / X-Men- mashup. Casual sex and smoking are not part of the plot.

And neither does the film have that much to do with the comic book origins of the group. This is a stealthy reboot, as most viewers (including me) had no real idea how the team got started.

But despite the rewritten plot strands, there’s plenty that’s familiar and expected: Magneto cannot be a good guy, Xavier needs to end up in a wheelchair and the seeds of distrust between mutants and humans need to be sowed.

First Class accomplishes those tasks, and plenty more. This is far more than Marvel history by the numbers.

A lot of the weight is borne by the leads in the cast, and both James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender execute themselves well. But the cast is much larger – and a lot of characters barely have a blip on screen. One of those blips is the one of the greatest cameos ever – a totally unexpected visit by a short-tempered canadian mutant.

But it’s not perfect, far from it. The family relationship between Xavier and Mystique doesn’t work at all, and while Kevin Bacon puts on a nice display of villainship as Sebastian Shaw the character feels like a spare Bond supervillain.

But it’s a huge improvement over Wolverine’s solo movie, nonetheless.

Feb 022013

Lohikäärmeen Luola logoLohikäärmeen Luola is a freely available finnish translation of Dungeons & Dragons. Or actually a translation of the System Reference Document (which is basically the third edition of the game with the serial numbers filed off).

It’s basic.

It’s late.

It’s without art.

But it’s mostly very well done (I have some language issues, but they’re on the minor side).