Marvel and Netflix have done it again and created another perfect binge watching masterpiece. Jessica Jones is the newest Marvel superhero to grace the small screen, and while she was virtually unknown to most viewers I am sure this show has caused a boom in interest in this character. Earlier this year when marvel released Daredevil, they laid out plans to create a small screen connected universe of their lesser known properties. Jessica Jones is the second hero marvel decided to introduce, however I don’t know if Jessica can be considered very heroic in the standard sense of the term. The character of Jessica Jones is known for being a failed super hero who has relegated her life to alcoholism and a private investigation company. While the Netflix show delves deep into her alcoholism, it never shows her as a failed hero, but more as an underachiever who seems to be crumbling under the weight of her own talents. Jessica Jones is a show that is ripe with character development, as it quietly introduced somewhat in depth origin stories of several other lesser known Marvel properties while masterfully explaining what makes Jessica tick. Much like Daredevil, the show is made almost entirely on the sinister nature of the main villain, and the major external antagonist of Jessica Jones is a devious man named Killgrave. Killgrave is a psychotic, sociopathic individual, who has the power to compel others to do anything he wants, however he uses this power almost exclusively to torment Jessica into choosing to be with him. While the Killgrave of the comics was much more sinister than the version on the show, the writers perfectly portrayed how awful this individual’s perception of reality and morality actually is. Jessica Jones is a terrific show, it is a bit raunchy and extremely violent, but that is to be expected in the world of Netflix dramas. Each episode is almost an hour long, but the story flows seamlessly enough that it is easy to find yourself watching two or three episodes at a time. I was actually able to watch the entire season in one weekend, and while I enjoyed the show, I now have to face the realization that season two is going to be an entire year away.
It has been a long time since I had some great barbecue, and today I decided to head to a nice Upstate New York “barbecue joint” called Holy Smoke BBQ. I was a bit apprehensive about going to this place, since barbecue restaurants are often “hit or miss,” but after learning about their large portions of St. Louis style ribs I had to give it a try. I went into the restaurant with the intention of just trying their signature ribs, and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and size of the meal. Most people go into a barbecue restaurant strictly for the meats, but I am one of those rare individuals who has to try all of the sides. The mac and cheese was probably the best I have ever eaten at a barbecue restaurant, and considering the amount of eateries I have patronized, that is definitely quite a feat. The service was excellent and the meat was extremely juicy and well seasoned. I generally am not much of a rib eater, but for these ribs I would gladly make the 45 minute trip from NYC again. If you are ever in the Mahopac, NY area, check out Holy Smoke BBQ you will not be disappointed.
The Martian was an interesting film, this movie is based on a 2011 novel, and it was pretty cool to see how quickly and effectively it has been adapted to film. While I enjoyed this movie, I felt as though a few aspects of the film were somewhat sped through. I understand that this was a long movie with a solid pace, and that a cinematic release will never be able to convey the intricacies of written literature, but I still felt like I was forced to know more than what they were telling me in the film. I love space travel, and I especially love that this movie deals with the matter of the possible colonization of Mars, but I wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much if I was ignorant to the film’s subject matter. The Martian is a good science fiction film, it packs enough suspense to keep most movie goers interested, while not over doing it in the dialogue with too much jargon. The visuals of the film, while someone plain, perfectly express the idea of total planetary isolation, and the special effects of the movie are top rate. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for an interesting and thought provoking action film. If you like a somewhat mindless suspense movie that throws in a bit of science for flavor, then this is definitely the film for you.
Goat simulator is a game that is available on almost all major platforms, but for the sake of this review, I will be sticking with the iOS app. With a name like Goat Simulator it may seem a forgone conclusion that this app is a joke, but after playing it, it is hard to deny its charm and addictive qualities. Goat simulator is a parody app, even on the purchase page there is a disclaimer warning the buyer to spend their money on something more worth while, but with a sale price of three dollars as this is being written, I decided to give it a shot. The object of this game is to run around, as a goat, causing damage to a small town, with absolutely no limits or consequences. Goat simulator is basically poking fun at the absurdity of “open world” games by making the character a mindless goat with an unexplained vendetta against humanity. Aside from the obvious jokes pointed at the gaming world and the blatant glitches thrown into the game, Goat Simulator is actually pretty fun. I wouldn’t go as far as to nominate this as the greatest app ever or to say it is a must buy, but for the money, it does exactly as it promises. It provides the user with minutes of useless time wasting fun that could have been used for more productive means. If you have a little time to waste, try this app out, it is pretty fun. I have only had it for a couple of days and while I enjoy playing it, I am starting to think I should have taken heed to the disclaimer and found a better use of my three dollars.
Last night’s CNN debate reminded me more of a school yard argument than of an actual political debate. I have said before that I don’t enjoy political talk, so I will keep this short and be sure to stay away from declaring any of my personal political views. My issue with the debate that took place last night was not the candidates, but the extreme lack of professionalism by the moderator. I have seen debates in which candidates attacked each other, but this is the first debate in which I have seen a moderator calling up the barbs aimed at each candidate in an effort to instigate arguments. There were a couple of times in this debate that it seemed like the candidates would come to blows, and while that would have made for some intriguing television, that is not the proper way to vet a possible presidential candidate. I understand that CNN is currently in a ratings battle, but I think they should stick to reporting news, and keep the sensationalization of the presidential debates to the tabloids. I would love to see the future president stick to the issues, but unfortunately it seems that childish arguments are the only way the media knows how to raise ratings. The President of the United States, is a highly revered and prestigious position, in the months leading up to the next election, I would love to see more serious conversation about where the candidate wants to take the country and less name calling.
Fantastic Four is the most recent superhero movie released, and due to reviews from my friends, I stayed far away from watching this movie. My curiosity and desire to watch any recent superhero film finally got the best of me, and I decided to watch the “terrible movie” that my friends warned me about. I have stated before in this blog that I generally like to watch movies without reading a review, since I don’t want to watch with a tainted impression. I decided to watch this movie months after its release and unfortunately I have heard nothing but bad things about it, so my expectations were very low. My honest impression of Fantastic Four, is that it is a good movie, not great, but definitely better than what I expected. When I say this movie is good, I mean it does what an action movie should, it has great effects and a couple of decent fight scenes, nothing that is award worthy. The issue with this movie is its pace, it is an extremely short movie that tries to do too much in a short time, and ends up leaving far too many unanswered questions. The characters are not correctly developed, and the major villain is not even introduced as such until there is 20 minutes left in the film. I have read that the director wanted a much longer film, and that he was upset about the cuts the producers made. Now that I have seen the film, I fully understand the director’s displeasure with the finished product. This movie had a lot of potential, and based on what I saw, it really just needed more time to explain itself in order to be a great movie. I am not sure if this movie was a product of low expectations, but I believe this movie could have been much better than it was if they took the directors advice and made it a bit longer and more developed. For what the movie was, I think it was fine, it is a very short action movie that quickly pushes viewers through a hallway without answering questions. I am the type of viewer who likes to understand the story behind a movie in order to enjoy it, but I was still satisfied enough with this film due to my understanding that the director did not mean for it to be so rushed. Fantastic Four is not the greatest superhero movie but it is not the worst, if you are looking for a quick, mindless, action film to watch, it is definitely worth at least a rental.
Video games have definitely advanced since my youth, what was once a tiny man running on a screen with the ability to jump at the press of a button, has evolved into massive worlds with realistic looking characters who can be controlled to do just about anything. If somebody would have told me that one day I would be able to look at a game and not be able to differentiate the real from the fake, I would have said they were insane, but today’s gaming systems have shown the full power these developers now harness. I decided to try out the Xbox One this weekend, since I was once a big time gaming fan and I never actually played this now two year old system. At first glance this system looks like gaming has taken a step back, it is massive, like old school VCR massive, and honestly just based on the weight of the system I think they could have trimmed 30% off of the size. Once the console is turned on and after the somewhat lengthy setup, it is clear that it is no machine of the past. The Xbox One has the capabilities that were dreamed of in the past, and the processing power to do even more than it currently does, I never thought a video game system would ever reach the versatility of a computer but Microsoft basically nailed it with this one. The functionality of the system is great, but as with any platform, they live or die with software. The games on the Xbox One are exactly as expected, mildly entertaining and generic gameplay wise, but graphically stellar. It is almost impossible for developers to create a truly entertaining experience these days when they are so enamored with making a visual masterpiece. I have to say the thing I miss most about video games is how creative and entertaining they once were, but perhaps I am just getting old. I have to give the Xbox One a great rating as an entertainment device, but if you are not a “gamer,” save your money, it just doesn’t seem to be a must own device for an individual merely searching for a living room media center.
This morning I just randomly started thinking about a cartoon I really enjoyed as a child, and thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to type in the most memorable line from this cartoon and find the full video. The name of this cartoon is “Chow Hound,” it is a story about a dog who bullies a cat and mouse into getting him steaks. Every time the cat and mouse got the dog a steak, he angrily tells them, “you forgot the gravy.” The cartoon ends with the dog stuffed with food in at a doctor’s office, and the cat and mouse finally getting their revenge for his bullying by remembering to bring him his gravy. I love this cartoon because it harkens back to a time when cartoons were more creative than wacky. This cartoon had a message and it told it in a funny and slightly dark way, while still being funny and memorable. This cartoon was part of a segment on the original Looney Tunes show, and to be honest I don’t think I’d be able to remember it if it was like the shows of today. The cartons of today focus on weird characters and obscure topics, nothing in most of today’s cartoons has substance at all. I understand that television is not generally seen as the prime method to use for intellectual or personal betterment, but there is just something about seeing a relatable topic on a cartoon that keeps it fresh in the minds of viewers 20 years down the line. I don’t think much will change for the better when it comes to cartoons, I am just happy that I will always be able to watch the old stuff online. If you are curious about this cartoon, head over to YouTube and search “Chow Hound,” Im sure you will enjoy it.
Craigslist can actually be a great place to buy things from time to time. Over the past few years I have used this website to sell old electronics and purchase random items. I have rarely had any issues with using this website. The thing about successfully purchasing anything on craigslist is knowing what you want to buy and doing your research about the product. There are hundreds of people trying to pawn off their busted cars and computers on unsuspecting buyers, but if you know where to look, you can really find hidden and affordable gems. Craigslist is a site where people can sign up to buy and sell almost anything, I have personally purchased and sold computers, games, and cell phones on this site since it is fast and easy to complete a sale, but things can be dangerous. There have been recent stories of muggings and even murders connected to Craigslist, but with a few wise safety measures, all of these cases could have been avoided. The safest way to make a transaction via Craigslist is to only meet in a safe, heavily populated area. It also helps to bring a friend or a mode of transportation so you can quickly leave if necessary. Every posting and person on Craigslist isn’t legit, so it pays to make sure you are safe and not being cheated. It takes time to find a real posting on Craigslist, but if you are looking to buy something rare or for a low price, and you know how to distinguish a real seller from a fraudster, then you will definitely be happy using this site.
Ant-Man was a fantastic film, it had a great balance of comedy and action, and the casting was perfect. As you have seen from my past reviews, I am a big time action movie fan, and Marvel hit this one out of the park when it comes to action. The idea of casting Paul Rudd as a super hero seemed a bit sketchy to me, but after seeing the advanced amount of humor in the film, I am glad they chose him. The character of Ant-Man is an extremely sarcastic and intelligent individual, who seemed to be thrown into a much larger world than he would have ever expected. The film is small within the scope of the other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it leaves a large impression. The writing in the film was extremely clever, it played more like a comedy than a dramatic action film. Even with the deep drama going on in the narrative, there was never a moment when this film took itself too seriously. In a way it was like this movie made light of the whole dramatic world Marvel spent over 10 years creating, and I gladly accept this infusion of levity. If I can categorize this movie in the scope of the othe films in the MCU, I would call it the anti-Thor. The Thor movies always came off to me as dry with a bit of laughs thrown in, while Ant-Man takes a more comedic stance on drama. I would recommend this film to any comic book lover, but oddly enough, I would recommend it more to a comedy fan. The laughs were steady and warranted, and the actors made me feel like they would really exist in the world of the film. This movie is a low risk film for Marvel, they probably have no plans to make a sequel for this film, but after watching I would gladly pay to see Ant-Man return in his own solo film. I really enjoyed this film, and I can’t wait to see how they fit this wacky cast of characters into the future Marvel films.