thinglets: Film-a-month Favs for 2009 (part two)

all dates from

July - 2012

Some slim pickings for what's usually a solid month of the year. I've not, and will not, see a Harry Potter film in the theater. That being the case, for the apocalyptic geek in me... and the fact that John Cusack is in it, 2012 is my pick.

Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. "2012" is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.

August - Inglourious Basterds

When one shakes random director and genre generators and comes up with Quentin Tarantino and World War II... how can I not see this?

"Inglourious Basterds" (sic) begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.

September - The Informant

Okay, something strikes me as strange when too many post-apocalyptic/futuristic/vampire options are given in the first couple weeks of the month. I'd rather stick with Soderbergh and Damon.

What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company's multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn't been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre's ever-changing account frustrates the agents and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre's rambling imagination. Based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history.

October - Where the Wild Things Are

I've gotta give give mad retro respect to a Maurice Sendak book being made into a film by Spike Jonze no less.

An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.

November - Sherlock Holmes

Not that I care too much that Guy Ritchie is involved... Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Pipes anyone? But it's Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Thankfully this is coming out before what I'm sure will be a notoriously unfunny comedic remake that's rumored with Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen. I almost picked The Wolfman with Benicio Del Toro, but I really wish they hadn't gone period piece with it. I was hoping for a modern-day adaptation.

In a dynamic new portrayal of Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous characters, "Sherlock Holmes" sends Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson on their latest challenge. Revealing fighting skills as lethal as his legendary intellect, Holmes will battle as never before to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy the country.

December - Avatar

I get the feeling there are still WAY more announcements for film releases almost a year from now, but, based on the known titles as of now, James Cameron alone wins this for me. What looks like a solid cast is bound to be surrounded by some spectacular cinematography and effects.

"Avatar" tells the story of an ex-Marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.

Avatar concept art

thinglets: Film-a-month Favs for 2009 (part one)

all dates from

January - Taken

Luc Besson co-wrote this and he's got a mind that's just twisted enough to make it good.

A former government operative comes out of retirement and uses on his extensive training to rescue his estranged daughter from a slave trade operation.

February - The International

Looks kinda like a Bourne film, which is fine in my books.

Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are determined to bring to justice one of the world's most powerful banks. Uncovering myriad and reprehensible illegal activities, Salinger and Whitman follow the money from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul. Finding themselves in a high-stakes chase across the globe, their relentless tenacity puts their own lives at risk as their targets will stop at nothing – even murder – to continue financing terror and war.

March - The Watchmen

I've been waiting for this film since the Terry Gilliam rumors over ten years ago. Can I pay someone to put a Fatwa on Rupert Murdoch if Fox blocks this thing?

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, "Watchmen" is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the "Doomsday Clock" - which charts the USA's tension with the Soviet Union - is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion - a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers - Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity...but who is watching the Watchmen?

April - State of Play

Holy cast Batman!

Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in a blistering thriller about a rising congressman and an investigative journalist embroiled in an case of seemingly unrelated, brutal murders. Crowe plays D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey, whose street smarts lead him to untangle a mystery of murder and collusion among some of the nation's most promising political and corporate figures in "State of Play," from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland").

Handsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is the future of his political party: an honorable appointee who serves as the chairman of a committee overseeing defense spending. All eyes are upon the rising star to be his party's contender for the upcoming presidential race. Until his research assistant/mistress is brutally murdered and buried secrets come tumbling out.

McCaffrey has the dubious fortune of both an old friendship with Collins and a ruthless editor, Cameron (Helen Mirren), who has assigned him to investigate. As he and partner Della (Rachel McAdams) try to uncover the killer's identity, McCaffrey steps into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation's power structures. And in a town of spin-doctors and wealthy politicos, he will discover one truth: when billions are at stake, no one's integrity, love or life is ever safe.

May - Star Trek

Wow... what a month: Star Trek, Terminator, Angels and Demons, and X-men: Wolverine. I am, however, a sucker for the Trek with Angels and Demons a close second.

From director J.J. Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Lost" and "Alias") and screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman ("Transformers," "MI: III") comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, "Star Trek," featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before.

June - The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

I know, I've abandoned the new Transformers movie and Land of the Lost which should have a nostalgia-filled knockout punch for my choice, but... Will Ferrell's in it. Pelham gives me that retro feel that I just hope they can come close to the original on... see the original.

In "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," Denzel Washington stars as New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber, whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. John Travolta stars as Ryder, the criminal mastermind who, as leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train's passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there's one riddle Garber can't solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape?

2009 should have the torrent sites... I mean theaters... buzzing with downloads... I mean ticket sales.

thinglets: Boy Scout Gets All 121 Merit Badges

Okay, first off, "Badges? We don't need no steenking badges!"

Seriously, congrats to the boy/man who's 18 now, but that's not the point. One might as well be dedicated to something. I never was a scout or a cadet or anything that required formations. If I could get a merit badge for blogging, maybe I'd also stitch it to a sash. My concerns lie more in some of the 121 subjects that these badges are based on.

  • American Business (updated in 2003) - Already obsolete. See "recession" or go back to pamphlets from the early 1930's.
  • Aviation (initiated 1911) - read: How to drum up pilots to fight the Kaiser.
  • Basketry - really!?!
  • Cinematography - And so we find what all those Steven Spielberg donations were really all about before he resigned in 2001.
  • Collections - I guess it's deconstructionist to just claim one is collecting badges.
  • Computers - That this was initiated in 1967 is a bit scary... Boy Scouts or Bilderberg!?!
  • Fingerprinting - what was the motto again, To Serve and Protect?
  • Golf - What!?! that a Titleist?
  • Graphic Arts - Teaching Scouts to Photoshop their first crush's face onto celebrity bodies.
  • Indian Lore - I'm sure the folks in New Delhi will be thrilled.
  • Journalism - Not a bad idea, but I'm at a loss as to who might be qualified to teach journalism these days.
  • Mammal Study - read: Sex Ed.
  • Motorboating - Getting ready for your future in the Hamptons.
  • Railroading - Am I just cynical or isn't this the same as American Business?
  • Rifle Shooting AND Shotgun Shooting - Two different badges. I suppose if you're bad enough at Rifle Shooting they just give you a Shotgun to spray your prey into tenderized little bits.
  • Stamp Collecting - Soon to become Domain Squatting.

Like I said, I applaud the young man for enduring what must have been some torturous endeavors to attain all 121 badges. I'm curious as to whether, under the multiple Citizenship badges, Scouts are required to learn tolerance for sexual orientation as well considering the leadership fought like hell to remove Scoutmasters for being gay in 2000.

Then again the Scout Oath calls for all Scouts to be "morally straight".

Boy Scout Badges

thinglets: economic doom is a lie

For all of you crying the blues about an economic downturn, take some advice from the Canadian province of Manitoba. When the chips are down and people can't seem to make ends meet, there's a sure way to pump money into the economy while pumping your veins full of forget-your-troubles juice.

Manitobans break record for single-day liquor sales

"MLCC spokeswoman Diana Soroka said the holiday season accounts for 17 per cent of the province's annual liquor sales. And it will be another busy week in the lead-up to New Year's Eve, she said, adding customers seemed to be not only buying more liquor, but better liquor at this time of the year."

As a Canadian, it warms my heart to know the good citizens of Manitoba are not just drowning their consciouses in a cheap glass of ripple, but taking it to the next level all for the economy. With all the doom and gloom reporting that's been happening over the past few months, thake some time to raise a glass to Manitobans who know the best way to break an economic recession is to forget all about it.

booze record

thinglets: the true meaning of xmas

From, 30 creative print ads for the holidays. I know that I can't get to sleep on the 25th if I don't feel my corporate pushers aren't sending warm consumer vibes my way. And for all of my contempt and cynicism I direct towards some companies throughout the year, kudos to artists and designers who have the thankless tasks of trying to make brand names and logos seem human.

thinglets: how I lost my sleep in Vegas

I never wanted to be the type of blogger who participated in the "lifecasting" movement, so, suffice to say, I will not be posting my entire itinerary of the last four nights in Las Vegas. I will say this much before I collapse from sleep deprivation for a long winter's nap. If, up on the house, there arises "such a clatter", and that clatter is loud enough to wake me, I'm going to the nearest Phoenix, Arizona, US of A Circle K convenience mart, buy a shotgun and teflon shredders, and go reindeer hunting. And that fat bastard better not be anywhere in sight, because red stands out anywhere. Napoleon thought that wearing it in battle would disguise his wounds. Maybe he could have avoided wounds if he didn't stand out like a bull's-eye on every muddy Euro-battlefield.

I will sum up Las Vegas as follows:

  1. The city should not be that cold, but they should learn that four inches of snow is a dusting, not life-changing.
  2. Low-limit poker is frustrating, but at least the players are fun.
  3. I was Blackjack's bitch... I said Vegas, not San Quentin you filthy-minded holiday readers.
  4. I will start playing more PaiGow.
  5. The full impact of four nights of 17 hours of combined sleep could be summed up by a researcher as follows: "The person deprived of sleep will find it difficult to concentrate. This will affect his performance at work and at household tasks. The person will also experience a lack of energy. He might not have the energy to complete everything he has to do during the day. The sleep-deprived person is likely to be quite irritable. This irritability is likely to damage personal and business relationships."
What do they know? Stupid morons! They can all kiss my ass!

Oh... and Merry Christmas (or Festivus) to all and to all a good night!

Santa Target

thinglets: The Bowling Lobby to Topple Obama

Okay, so we've all heard about the White House's bowling alley and, if not, now you know. Suffice to say that there's been talk of removing the bowling alley altogether under an Obama presidency. To this news, Jim Sturm, President of the Bowling Proprietor's Association of America claims:

"It would be a sad, sad day" if Mr. Obama scrapped the bowling lane... I think his political analysts ought to take a long look at removing [it]. It could have a long-term impact on his political prospects."

Really!?! Can you believe the size of the three-holed balls on the Sturm to think that he can strike at Obama's presidency and topple his political future? People are losing their houses all over the country and there's talk of retrofitting a bowling alley? Here's an idea Sturm, take the retrofit money and make someone's mortgage payments. That alley looks better than 90% of the recrooms in America anyway... well in Austin Powers' vision of America.

Then again, I'm Canadian... if they tried to take the hockey rink from under 24 Sussex Drive, I might be pissed off too.

white house bowling alley remodel