Monday, June 12, 2017

Maitland Ward eschews the subtlety

My favorite redhead has been fairly quiet on Twitter and Snapchat and such recently, putting out SFW images in the sans fards format. But the other day, she apparently couldn't take it any more and banged out this little number leaving nothing to the imagination:

maitland ward topless nipples

Not that I'm complaining mind you, but I do tire of folks applying these maddening filters to their photos to achieve what they believe is an artistic effect. Not everyone can be Helmut Newton, you know? Sometimes it's better to just take the picture and let fans do with it what they will, artistically speaking. For instance, I cleaned the following pics up a bit in Photoshop to get rid of that tinting and improve the clarity of the image:

maitland ward topless in fishnet
maitland ward topless in fishnet
maitland ward topless in fishnet
maitland ward topless in fishnet

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Late night flashback

Dutch actress Famke Janssen has eschewed the nudity in print and movies for the majority of her career. But way back when she was still a young model at 25, she did a layout for Vogue UK and probably wasn't in any position to object to a bit of overexposure in one of the images:

famke janssen bare breast vogue uk 1989

It's not exactly going to break the internet, or ruin the day for Ms. Janssen that this pic is back out in circulation, so I think it's okay for you to enjoy this rare look at a very attractive young model/actress on the rise.

This week in climate hysteria

In case you missed it, the world ended this week. President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, and just like that, civilization died. Noted Nobel Laureate climate scholars such as John Kerry, Joe Scarborough and Jerry Brown told us that the death toll would be in the millions as pestilence, famine and raging super storms would immediately sweep across the planet in an apocalyptic wave of destruction that would be . . . well . . . apocalyptic.

Here's the problem with all that -- none of it is true or possible or based on science of any kind.

Let's start with the fact that the treaty was illegally signed by former President and supposed constitutional scholar Barack Obama. The United States of America is not a monarchy. Presidents do not have the power to sign treaties. Treaties must be approved by Congress. That's Schoolhouse Rock 101. You'd think the brilliant lightworker sent to us from another dimension would have known that.

I know, of course he knew that, he just didn't care. But it really didn't matter because the treaty was non-binding which meant it was simply an international exercise in virtue signaling. But it was also stupid and dangerous and very one-sided in what it sought to do, which was serve as socialist wealth redistribution from countries like the U.S. to underdeveloped or poor countries around the world.

And while it imposed draconian levels of CO2 reduction for America, it left other massive polluting nations like China and India free to do whatever they wished for decades to come. While America would be sending billions overseas to dictatorships that keep their citizens living in squalor, we here would see our fuel costs skyrocket and millions of jobs lost due to the shutting down of current power production facilities.

And let's remember the biggest fallacy of this entire scenario -- that we must reduce global CO2 levels to combat global warming or climate change or whatever. Global CO2 levels are actually at historic lows, despite the industrialized nature of the world today. And in fact, CO2 is a necessary part of life on this planet. Plants need CO2 to survive, and the modest increase has contributed to an actual, provable greening of the planet over the last two decades. And though planetary CO2 levels have increased over the last two decades, planetary tempuratures (measured by RSS, the most accurate method) have not increased.

Al Gore made himself the prophet of climate apocalypse with his laughable powerpoint movie, and yet not a single prediction of his has come even close to materializing. Remember, right now, according to Gore, New York is supposed to be under water because the polar ice caps were supposed to have totally melted away. As of 2016, Arctic ice levels are actually 22% higher than the previous low point of 2012. Antarctica is actually gaining ice mass and NASA suspects that ice growth is slowing the rise of the oceans.

And yeah, rising oceans, let's talk about that for a moment. The oceans are rising at the same rate they have been for as long as we've had the ability to accurately measure it. Using tide gauges, scientists (not actors or politicians or musicians) show that ocean levels are rising at less than 2 millimeters per year. At that rate, it would take 300 years for sea levels to rise one foot. That's hardly flooding of biblical proportions.

Extreme weather events simply haven't increased with the U.S. currently in a period of historic lows for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. As someone so elegantly put it -- the only prediction that has come true from IPCC reports is that each succeeding report will predict even worse climate scenarios. And it is important to note that the IPCC, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is not a scientific organization but a political one comprised of over 80% politicians. Any wonder that their pronouncements and dire predictions seem only aimed at punishing developed countries in the name of global wealth distribution.

So if Michael Bloomberg wants to donate $15million of his own dollars to the Paris Accord folks, more power to him. If idiot mayors like Bill deBlasio want to declare that their cities will abide by the accord and jack up power costs and restrict their citizen's rights and lifestyles . . . go for it. And if you want to live like that, by all means, move to one of those cities where celebs with carbon footprints the size of Godzilla live like kings and queens while those who aren't millionaires struggle to stay warm in winter and not overheat in summer while they walk or ride a bicycle to work and see their paychecks decimated by massive tax increases to cover the costs of appeasing the cult of climate change.

Donald Trump has done his share of stupid things since becoming President, but he got this one right. Perhaps if he had better speechwriters, he could defend his case for occasionally doing the right thing in a better way.

Joanna Krupa got a little too clever here

Model and very occasional actress Joanna Krupa has developed her own cottage industry of appearing in photo shoots that tease some sort of nudity or supposed accidental exposure like this. While she has appeared naked in a variety of venues, she mostly seems to work at the almost there type of thing. Just recently she worked on a beach shoot in a shreddy sort of shawl designed, I'm sure, to push the envelope and tantalize her fans:
joanna krupa nip slip

Like I said, she's not averse to nudity, I just get the impression she'd prefer not to just leave it all out there every time. And I don't have a problem with that, sometimes the tease is more fun than the reveal. But other pics from the shoot indicate she might have underestimated the exposure potential of this particular outfit.

Still, she's a gamer, she left the pics out there. I appreciate the honesty of it all -- she knows her market and isn't ashamed to keep herself in the public eye.

joanna krupa nip slip
joanna krupa nip slip

Friday, June 2, 2017

Movie Review -- Wonder Woman

wonder woman poster movie review

I began developing my jones for mythology back in junior high school (that's what they called middle school in prehistoric times). I took 2 1/2 years of Latin and a great deal of that was translations of not only speeches and texts but also Roman mythology. I loved it. And I followed that by reading about Greek mythology, which was the same thing only different names for the Gods. And then Norse mythology and so on. Bulfinch's mythology . . . I've still got that somewhere.

So when I began buying subscriptions for comic books, besides X-Men and Daredevil, I also got Thor. How could I not? A mythological god turned superhero?! Had to have that. I loved them and like other fans, suffered through years of horrible Thor appearances in television. But when MARVEL decided to do a Thor movie, I was excited. When I saw that Kenneth Branagh was directing, I knew it would be good. Unlike many fans, I liked that movie and Branagh's Shakespearean vibe on Asgard and the relationships between those who dwelled there.

One thing I didn't like was that they didn't follow the mythology of the Thor character from the comics. Taking a cue from Asimov's theorem about technology -- that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, they simply made Thor and the other Asgardians aliens. Clever but disappointing

I had conversations with screenwriter Michael France (Hulk, Fantastic Four, Goldeneye, Cliffhanger, etc.) about that when Thor came out. His position was that moviegoers wouldn't accept the notion of actual gods, that it was too ridiculous. I thought to myself that the notion of a guy who can spontaneously burst into flames and fly or a dude made out of rock or a girl who can turn invisible and project force fields was pretty ridiculous too, but . . .

With Wonder Women we see that maybe either audiences have changed or the world has changed or something. Because they don't shy away from the original mythology of who and what Diana is. After a shout out to Batman v Superman, we get Diana's life as a young child on Themyscira. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson), is wildly protective of the rebellious young girl who wants desperately to be a warrior like the other Amazons.

But along with a fairly literal explanation, via Greek mythology, of how and why the Amazons came into being, we also get clues that Diana may be much more than what she appears to be and the Queen may be hiding or protecting her from a greater evil in the world.

We see Diana grow into adulthood, in the person of achingly beautiful Gal Gadot, and soon thereafter the Amazons secluded paradise is breached by the outside world and the horror raging there -- World War I.

After a brutal battle with Germans on the beach of Themyscira, Diana, convinced that Ares, the God of War, is behind what's happening in the world outside, steals the weapons given to the Amazons by Zeus and leaves the island with downed pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to find and kill Ares and restore mankind to what she believes and has been taught is their inherent goodness.

It's against this fairly simple plot background that the movie plays out. There's a lot of empowerment going on here, and I don't mean girl power stuff. Again and again, Diana's naïve nobility and morality moves those around her to take action and/or make tough choices. She rails at her mother when Hippolyta tries to stop Diana from leaving. How can we stand by and watch millions die and do nothing, Diana asks. The Amazons were created by Zeus to protect mankind and stop Ares, that's their purpose to exist, she points out. She has to do something.

She berates a room full of Allied Generals for sitting in safety and comfort, while rank and file soldiers die on the battlefield. A true General should fight along side their troops, she says, risk their own lives just like the warriors they command. She calls them cowards and tells them they should be ashamed of themselves.

Once on the front, confronted for the first time in her existence, Diana sees the horror of war and is moved by it. When they pass through the trenches, she hears the laments of townsfolk who have suffered under German occupation. She hears how the Allied soldiers have been trapped in these trenches for a year, unable to move an inch over what is cleverly called "no man's land." Trevor wants to stay on mission, his mission, to find this evil General. But again, Diana rails about how they cannot simply ignore the suffering around them. Climbing out of the trench in full Amazon regalia, she wades into a hail of bullets and machine gun fire and the image of her bravery moves first Trevor and his team and then the Allied soldiers to storm the German front and crash through. It's a moving and heroic moment, and not nearly as cloying as it might have been under another director. And indeed, has become the signature sequence in the movie. Fun factoid -- director Jenkins had to fight to get this scene into the final cut as the studio didn't think it was necessary. Sometimes you've got to trust the artist, ya know.

Time and again through the rest of the movie these sorts of scenarios play out. And not always just Diana inspiring the others, but she is also inspired by the bravery and self-sacrifice of Trevor and his mates assembled for the mission in typically pc movie making style -- a drunken Scottish sniper who can't shoot anymore, a noble Arab actor turned mercenary and a noble American Indian turned smuggler. *sigh*

I'm not familiar with director Patty Jenkins, but she did a good job balancing the emotional ride of this movie and navigating what could have been some groan inducing moments. The battle on the beach, featuring women warriors armed with bows and arrows and swords against soldiers armed with guns could have required epic suspension of disbelief. Instead we saw exactly what one might reasonably expect -- death on both sides with the good guys (or girls in this case) coming out on top but not without some tragic loss.

Diana's growth from the cloistered environment of Themyscira through some enjoyable comic moments in 1917 London to seeing that war and battle isn't all romance and glorifying bedtime stories to her final realization that life and the world isn't everything she thought it would be is all handled quite well.

I've seen some bitching on various outlets that Gadot isn't built like a bodybuilder or a busty Playboy model (you just can't please some folks) but she's plenty athletic enough to carry off the very stylish battle/fight sequences. And honestly, that lithe physique seems perfect for the role. She's also a very good actress, conveying the varying emotions of the movie effortlessly and effectively. I read where she had thought about leaving acting prior to getting this role. I think maybe she's gonna have a real career boost after this movie.

If I do have a complaint it is about the final confrontation with Ares. Yes, she does finally meet him. The physical battle seems forced, as if the writers simply didn't know how a god might do battle. We get yet another reveal about who and what Diana actually is and there's one little continuity error that may need some explaining in future movies. I'm a bit surprised I haven't seen anyone on these fanboy sites bring it up.

All in all, this is a really good movie. One of the better origin story movies so far. I'd rank it up there with Deadpool and Chris Nolan's Batman Begins in terms of an origin story flick that casual fans will enjoy. I've seen some bitching about the runtime -- it's just over two hours, but I saw it last night at the 10:40pm showing and didn't even notice how late it was when it was done. Btw, don't hang around for a post-credits scene, there isn't one.

If you've been bummed about DC's last couple of flicks, give this movie a look. I think they may have a legit hit on their hands here. I certainly hope it does well. With Justice League coming out this fall, a successful Wonder Woman lead in could really help that movie and others in the DC universe get on the good foot with movie goers.

Update 1:
Looks like the movie is starting off well with reports of an $11m Thursday opening, which puts Wonder Woman somewhere between Logan at $9.5m and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at $17m.

Update 2:
I stand duly chastised. I pointed out what I thought was a continuity error in the movie -- in her confrontation with Ares, the God of War destroys Diana's sword The Godkiller and yet I thought she was still wielding it in BvS. Turns out I was wrong, as several commenters on a fanboy site so helpfully [\sarc] pointed out. Diana wields something called the Sword of Athena in BvS and is also using a new shield. No explanation for why other than director Zack Snyder wanted to inscribe some quotes/verses on the items as part of his artistic creation process. Perhaps in a future movie we'll get an explanation for where the new weapons came from.

Update 3:
Numbers are in for the weekend opening -- three days from Thursday thru Saturday (again, not my stats bro) and Wonder Woman has a domestic gross of $100.5m and $223m worldwide, so along with a critical success, DC and the studios have an official hit on their hands. Important to note that both BvS and Suicide Squad made a ton of money worldwide, but suffered from some pretty savage critical reviews that weren't completely deserved in my humble opinion (I actually liked BvS. You can check out my thoughts on SS in a previous post). Anyway, bully for Gadot and Jenkins for their success with this movie.

Did you find this review helpful? Check out my other reviews for my thoughts on the flicks and the occasional gallery of hotness that accompanies them:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

What's wrong with Ghost in the Shell?

ghost in the shell 2017 movie poster

Glad you asked. And since I saw it last night . . .

If you're a fanboy of the original anime like me, you might end up mildly disappointed by this movie. It's not a bad stand alone movie. But if you've watched the hype over this since the decision was made to make the film, you've heard how it was going to be a live-action remake of the classic 1995 anime.

Uhmm . . . yeah, about that . . .

A more accurate description would be that this 2017 version of Ghost in the Shell, is a lush, cgi heavy, sci-fi movie based on the classic 1995 anime of the same name.

We've got a lot of the same characters -- Batou, Togusa, Ishikawa, Saito, and the Chief of Section 9. For no apparent reason, the Chief now has a name -- Aramaki (and is played by well known Asian actor 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano). And the Major's name is also changed to Mira Killian as opposed to the original Motoko Kusinagi from the anime. Though there is a reason for that. And that is where the live action version veers away from the classic anime.

While the original is a story of how a hacking program amassed so much knowledge that it became aware of its own existence, essentially becoming a sentient digital life form referred to as The Puppetmaster but originally created under the code name Project 2501.

In the live action version, the villain, referred to as Kuze, is a failed previous iteration of the human/cyborg hybrid experiment that the Major is the culmination of. His course of action -- hunting down all those responsible for creating him and killing them, is quite different from the Puppetmaster's motivation in the original -- simply to be allowed to exist and be recognized as a new form of life with all the freedom's we afford other sentient life forms on the planet.

And while the 1995 anime is more focused on the profound implications of artificial intelligence and what might happen if/when machines evolve beyond what we've made them to be, the 2017 version is more of an indictment of the capitalist industrial complex and their (supposed) heartless drive to create new product. In this case the melding of a human brain and a cybernetic body. Of course they have to wipe out those pesky memories that might complicate matters, hence the Major's new name of Kira instead of her real name Motoko, something that is revealed in the climactic final sequences of the 2017 film.

The original also had quite a bit of examination of the politics of a new future world where the lines between corporations and governments have become blurred, that are reduced now to simply corporation = bad, government = maybe not bad.

I had previously wondered if any of the changes in the live action version might have been driven by the thought that audiences, particularly mainstream American audiences, would be put off by the talky nature of the original anime. Part of what I like about those flicks is exactly the fact that they have a lot of narrative and exposition in them as they put forward complicated thoughts on whatever subject is driving the film.

But there's also quite a few dialog heavy scenes in this current film where the Major struggles to understand who and what she is and where she came from and what might have happened to her. That sort of surprised me.

The film makers did throw in a handful of iconic scenes from the original, pretty faithfully recreated to please us fanboys -- the opening and closing back dives off skyscrapers by the Major, the cyborg body creation sequence, the water fight with the ghost hacked assassin. The Major's battle with the spider tank was altered a bit, but not in such a way that I was overly disappointed.

All in all, it isn't a bad film. I'm not sure how it will do with audiences that aren't familiar with the original. I think it's a decent stand alone movie, but I myself, couldn't separate my expectations/knowledge of the original from how I was viewing this version. It did make me smile at times. The Chief is sort of a bad ass in this version, that was fun.

So, like I said at the outset . . . what's wrong with Ghost in the Shell?

In two words -- nothing really.

And now a word about whitewashing . . .

All these social justice warriors bitching about Scarlett Johansson playing an Asian character need to shut the f*ck up, put their onesie on, grab their warm milk and go back to their pillow filled safe spaces.

Once you watch the live action version you'll understand why Johansson was a completely valid choice of actress for this part as it was written in the same way that Michael Pitt was okay as Kuze (who's original name was revealed in the movie, but I cannot remember it now).

And I know that I had written a post about Johansson's casting in this part previously and had suggested Asian-American actresses for the role, but that was primarily driven by my exhaustion of Scarlett being cast in every freakin' role that was coming down the pike back then. Watch the original anime in the English dubbed format. If you discard the Asian character names, I defy you to see any of those characters as Asian. That's one of the fetishes of anime -- the westernization of the character features. And it is also part of the underlying narrative of both the original anime and this live action version -- a Japanese woman has her mind/ghost implanted into a generic cyborg body, not a replica of her original human form, but a fully artificial man-made cybernetic body. One that is a prototype for a future lucrative business.

In fact, in the original, part of the Major's angst is that she is not sure how unique she is. She struggles to understand what defines her in the world and society. At one point, she is riding a water taxi and looks up to see someone who looks exactly like her dining at a restaurant. Perhaps if the 2017 film's creators had been able to cast a more unremarkable actress in this role it would have driven that point home with more effectiveness. But they chose ScarJo for the box office. But whitewashing?! Know what you're talking about before you make statements like that dumbasses.

Did you find this discussion helpful? Check out my other not exactly a movie reviews for my thoughts on the flicks and the occasional gallery of hotness that accompanies them:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jeb Bush > Joseph Curl

In a recent article at the Daily Wire, petulant ass clown Joseph Curl referred to the former Florida Governor and Presidential candidate as a "bitter little man" over comments Bush made during a Sunday morning talk show in south Florida recently.

When asked about President Trump's recent ups and downs during the first 100 days of his administration, Jeb replied that "He's a distraction in and of himself... He's got a lot of work to do, and some of these things — the wiretapping and all of this stuff — is a complete distraction that makes it harder to accomplish the things I know he wants to do."

Jeb went on to correctly point out that Trump "...hasn't shifted to being president in the way that people are used to, and I think that's the problem, I would say. The strength is that he's acted in a good way and lifted people's spirits in terms of economic growth and job creation. But he's a distraction in and of himself by creating all of these, through Twitter and..."

Continuing along the same lines that many thoughtful commentators and pundits have taken, Bush advised that Trump "...should stop saying things that aren't true that are distractions from the task at hand." Jeb also pointed out that " whole approach to this is to watch his deeds, not his words. His actions matter in terms of the long-term consequences for people."

Showing more class and deference than candidate Trump ever showed him, the former Governor lauded some of the President's personnel choices so far: "I love the [Neil] Gorsuch pick. I love Betsy DeVos. I think the generals he's picked, which it's pretty extraordinary to have that many generals, but they're all people of great integrity. General [John] Kelly, who lived here, is a patriot. General [James] Mattis, Rex Tillerson — these are all top-notch people, and he's been decisive on the regulatory side, where he has unique control."

Trump and a great many commentators such as Curl here bashed Jeb relentlessly throughout the primaries. But as I said before, those of us who lived in Florida while Jeb was Governor for eight years, knew him to be an excellent administrator and highly competent chief executive for our state.

Imagine the difference in competence and tone if we had Jeb or Marco Rubio in the White House now. I was #NeverTrump for a reason. It wasn't a stance I took lightly. And as we watch Trump and his minions stumble around Washington, lashing out at conservative grass-roots organizations like the Freedom Caucus for properly standing on principle, one has to wonder what's in store for then next four years.

And for the record, Joseph Curl? F*ck you! Let me know when you've done anything other than type at a keyboard and hide behind the internet's anonymity.

I was heartened a bit by the comments below Curl's hit piece, where commenters pointed out that though they didn't care for Jeb as a candidate or even personally, he was right about everything he said.