Streamline… er… SnarkLine (Snark of Thought) 3/7/18

Gimme a Break from the Snarky!!!

I’m taking a social media break. I need to get away from the commentators…er… Snarkentators… There is just too much negativity, and a toxic level of “snark” on social media. It’s like a bunch of people training for insult comebacks in middle school. Outside of this blog, I just need time away. I don’t want to read about whiny PC SJW that don’t get their way (because they feel entitled) so they rush to social media to use as their soapbox. I don’t want to read about people condemning racism yet in the same sentence becoming racist and sexist toward those who they “believe” are like that toward them. I don’t want to read mass fake news from regular news media to tech media to pop culture media… I’m just over it.

The internet is great as a vector for media (movies, books, music), for being a library (if you know where to look, becoming harder now that everything is fake), and for maps to get around and email for communication, but as a “social” site it sucks. It’s mob rule by the hive mind and everyone has to fall in line or the mob reacts. Sad really.

Oh Dear Netflix… (and some Snarky Narrative…lol)

Jessica Jones S2 in March (this week I believe), and Luke Cage S2 in June… I may watch JJ but it won’t be a binge because the first season was only ok. Luke Cage I’ll probably pass on because the first season of that was terrible after they killed Cottonmouth not even halfway through. I’m really getting worn out on the Netflix Marvel shows outside of Punisher and Daredevil. Even The Defenders ended up being a pretty big misfire, once all was said and done. What I’m really looking forward to is some Lost in Space!!! Lost in Space looks like it may be some epic space opera fun. While I’m getting tired of the reboots… I think this one may be interesting enough to stand on its own.

Hey Cortana… Er… Cortana. (Let me Snark on the Google Crackheads now!!!)

Here’s a nice update… Microsoft is changing the wake words for Cortana from “Hey Cortana” to just “Cortana” like Amazon does with the Echo and Alexa. FYI: We use Alexa extensively at home and then on my phone, Cortana is the personal assistant of choice. I used to use Google Now/Assistant but contrary to popular belief… it’s not that good and has the personality of a rock. Plus… Google is taking more of your info than all of the others and doing who knows what insidious things with it… So yeah… no Google. I like this change though because it never should have had the “hey” on there anyway. I think that was just in response to Google using the dumb “OK” with their assistant. So this is a nice change and welcomed!!! Also of interest here is the fact that later this year we should get cross Cortana/Alexa integration across all devices that they are on. Microsoft and Amazon working together beats that ad company easily.

Google Fanboys are so LAME!!! (Google Fanboy Snarking is FUN!!!)

I read about some Google fanboys who were “pissed off and going to cancel Prime” because Amazon won’t carry Nest products. They threw around words like “anti-competitive” and crap like that because they just want their Google half assed junk to be what everyone buys. FYI: This war was Google’s fault to begin with. They originally wanted 30% of any digital sale from Amazon through the Play Store if Amazon integrated the Chromecast technology. Amazon rightly told google, “Hell NO.” This is the kind of crap Google holds over other companies just because they hold the keys to the Play Store on Android. You want to talk “anti-competitive?” Look at Google and their blackmail Play Store and their OHA (Open Handset Alliance) iron lockdown of 3rd party Android OEM’s. Another FYI: Google is NOT open. If you believe that, then you are fool. Google has so many locks in place that they make Apple look open source by comparison. As a matter of fact, the way Amazon and Microsoft have been integrating and pushing cross platform, it just blows away the half assed closed ecosystem that Google is trying to lock people into.

At one point in the past, I was “all in” with Google. Then I saw the half assed nature of everything they do and how over and over again, my media wouldn’t work right, the selections were lacking, or there was always a “Google will probably add X later” BS excuse. Since moving to the Amazon/Microsoft ecosystems, not once have I had the issues I had before in the Google ecosystem. I may use an Android phone, but the majority of my apps are NOT Google.

So yeah… I support hurting Google’s ability to sell their half assed products. If they want to sell them, they have an online store to sell them through. Their crackhead fanboys can go buy direct. Does the Google Store sell Fire TV? NO. So quit your whining Google Fanboys. Go play with your lame Google Glass devices you sank a grand into.

I’m All Snarked Out!!!

The difference though is that this is one post with 5 headings… Social media is pure snark, almost every post, with no paragraphs of narrative but one liners for the 30 second attention span crowd. You might even get a little humor out of this post… Well, as long you aren’t of those obsessed Google crackheads anyway… Cheers!!!

Movie Reviews from the Stream

Magellan (Amazon Prime)

This is a low budget sci-fi flick where scientists find that 3 signals (of intelligent design) have started broadcasting, and they are all in our solar system. In a race against in other nations (Chinese), the US is sending a one man 10 year mission to each of the moons where the signals are coming from to investigate the source.

Right off the bat you notice just from the camera work that this is very low budget. The sets are sparse spaces, the astronaut suit looks like the best interpretation of a suit on a lo-fi budget, and the CGI is below video game levels. Still… What is broadcasting? What happens when all of the artifacts are found and are put together? I admit, I stuck with it to find out. So even though it is very low budget, I wanted to see where the story went. In that regard, it does draw you in. The resolution was interesting though it set up more questions and left us on a bit of cliffhanger where a second movie could be done (I hear they are doing an eBook sequel).

After watching this, I found out they had done a Kickstarter, not for making the movie per say, but more for the funding of getting it released and put on display. Should you watch it? That’s a tough call… if extreme low budget flicks check you out of the experience then this is probably not for you. I however could see what they wanted and intended in the grasp of what was probably unaffordable in a sci-fi budget. At least they shot for the stars and I give them credit for that. I’d check out the sequel if they followed it up.


Blame! (Netflix)

Blame! is an excellent anime that is on Netflix. It tells the story of a human group who has to hide in a safe zone from the machines that want to terminate all humans in the city, which it keeps building. Humans lost control of the machines due to a virus and now only someone with the Net Terminal Gene, can access those controls. So a mysterious man named Killi wanders the city looking for any human that may possess that gene. He ends up helping this group of survivors in their quest for food and safety from the machines.

The CGI is beautiful and the story elements between drama and action are very well balanced. This is a universe that is heavily influenced by dystopian cyberpunk and one that I would love to see more stories happen within. If you like anime or cyberpunk then definitely check this one out!!!


The Ritual (Netflix)

This may be the first spooky, terrifying, make you jump, horror thriller I’ve seen in a long time. When four friends do some hiking in Northern Sweden, they get off the normal trail and then are hunted by… something. The fact that this “something” is rarely seen, makes the movie all the more creepy. Normally horror movies are plagued by cliche after cliche but The Ritual kept me guessing and interested in what was going to happen next all the way through. The underlying message of “facing your fears” also plays out in a very intriguing way. So much so, that when you reach the end, there is a feeling of accomplishment in the resolution. I know that sounds vague but I honestly do not want to give the plot away because it is so good. Go watch it!!!


The Cloverfield Paradox (Netflix)

I’m not sure what many of the jaded critics out there were smoking but this is a really good movie. It’s pure “Cloverfield” for one. Secondly, it has that “Alien” feel to it, as far as building tension. Having said that, it was much better than the last Alien movie. The ending wasn’t your average cliche ending that you seem to get with every female led group movie since the dawn of Alien. The acting was good, the music works, and the CGI was done well too.

Part of me just thinks that sci-fi fandom has become jaded. They claim they want more varied sci-fi media but then when they get it, they rip it up and hold it up to the same old same old movies and TV that came before. The Cloverfield movies tell different stories, not really linked, but possibly linked, and give us interesting characters to follow throughout.

Regardless what the hive group mind of sheep on the internet think, I think Netflix has a winner here and it is definitely worth checking out for any sci-fi fan out there. I also applaud Netflix for debuting the trailer at the beginning of the Super Bowl and dropping the movie on the platform for all to stream right after the game. I wish more movies would go direct because the “theater experience” these days leaves much to be desired. Give me my HD screen, home sound system, and a pause button. You can keep your fight for the middle good seats, theater screens or sound systems that seem to always have issues, and the smell of jalapeno nachos wafting strongly through the air. Home viewing is just better in my humble opinion.

My Broken Angels (Altered Carbon Sequel) Casting

Altered Carbon on Netflix was awesome and now it’s time to think of casting for Broken Angels, the sequel to Altered Carbon. If you’ve read the book, then you know that Takeshi Kovacs is in a new sleeve and he’s on another planet with a cast of characters looking for an Alien ship. So let’s cast this thing…

Roger Cross (Dark Matter) as Takeshi Kovacs

Amber Rose Revah (The Punisher) as Tanya Wardani

Steve Howey (Shameless) as Jan Schneider

Ed Stoppard (Knightfall) as Matthias Hand

Those are my picks… Now Netflix, make it happen!!!

Altered Carbon (Netflix) – Review (NO Spoilers)

Altered Carbon on Netflix is simply a masterpiece of Cyberpunk film making. It follows the book (Written by Richard K. Morgan) fairly well, adding and changing things in certain places for the sake of the series narrative. Don’t worry… If you loved the book (REVIEW HERE) you will be VERY happy with these 10 episodes that cover it.

I believe I sat there smiling for several episodes just because I was finally able to see these characters come to life. I’m not going to go over the plot, you can click on the book review linked above, as that is the same. The characters and acting was wonderful. The sound and atmosphere through the CGI was beautiful. I’m serious when I say that this may be the BEST show I’ve ever watched on the Netflix platform. We all know Bladerunner has been the film to judge all Cyberpunk on since its inception but I do believe that Altered Carbon surpasses both Bladerunner and Bladerunner 2049 for creating a fully fledged world that is both interesting in the genre and makes the viewer believe that this world could exist. If you are a true Cyberpunk fan then you will love this show.

Strangely this is the first time I’ve binged something and I feel like going back to watch it again because it was so damn good!!! I’m beyond ready for Netflix to green light the sequel book: Broken Angels, and get that underway. So if you haven’t checked out Altered Carbon on Netflix yet… GO CHECK IT OUT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Netflix Movie Reviews 1/22/18

Infinity Chamber

Infinity Chamber was really good. Think Cube crossed with Moon crossed with Groundhog Day. In the near future, a man named Frank is captured and put in a room for “processing.” His only source for communication is an overseer AI named Howard and a recurring day that keeps playing over and over that lets him speak with a coffee bar owner named Gabby. Why is here? What did he do? Can he get out? This one is definitely worth checking out!!!

I really didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did but in the end, I really liked this movie. Sometimes you just have to take chances on those low budget sci-fi flicks on the stream and you get rewarded…

The Call Up

…And then sometimes you take a chance on that low budget sci-fi flick on the stream and you get this. The Call Up starts with several people having been picked to try out a new VR (Virtual Reality) simulation experience. Once they arrive, they put on their suits (which they then discover they can’t take off) and find that dying in the game is death in reality.

This is one of those low budget sci-fi flicks that is shot in a warehouse on the cheap and the music is done in that 80’s casio synth sound to reiterate that it is indeed techie sci-fi. The acting was B rate but please don’t blame the actors because the script was nothing to write home about. Also… 2 regular cliches take place… The black guy dies first and the sole survivor is the woman. Look… the first cliche just shouldn’t happen in this day and age, it’s just dumb, and the second one is always happening. I like a good heroine (Ripley – Alien/Aliens) but not when the heroine doesn’t stand out and it’s a just group flick. It’s easy to spot who will likely live in these flicks these days… It has to be one of the women. If I could have written a better survivor in, it would have been the big nerd who was psyched to play the game. You knew right away that he wouldn’t make it to the end, so in other words, he would have been the perfect one to do just that. The Call Up is a flick that you should just keep on clicking by on the remote. Don’t waste your time.

Godzilla Part 1 (Anime)

I wish more animation was done in this style. They could then do more cyberpunk flicks this way without breaking the budget on a full fledged live action movie. Even superhero flicks would look good done in this fashion verses the cartoon-y American style we currently get. Needless to say, I really like this style of anime!!!

The movie… I like Godzilla movies where Godzilla is the good guy. I’m never really a fan of the ones that place him in the bad guy position. This movie treats him as the reason that humans had to abandon the Earth so long ago. When the humans can’t find any other planet to colonize, they return 20,000 years later (light speed here is like time travel). Godzilla is still roaming the planet and now they have a plan to take him out.

I’m of the mindset, if you a conquer a land, you should get to keep it. Godzilla conquered Earth so when the humans come back, in my opinion, they are an invasion force that has no more claim to the planet. Therefore… I found myself cheering on Godzilla to fire breathe, tail whip, and stomp the human army back from their invasion. I’ll probably watch Part 2 when it is released later this year but I hope it doesn’t go down this path of more fighting against Godzilla. If it does, then the overall plot will suffer badly because it just needs something else. The alien saviours of humanity may be that twist within that pays it off… we’ll see… Check it out for the awesome animation and then hope Part 2 delivers a good ending.