Star Trek (****)

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When I saw Star Wars when I was a kid my mind was expanded, my imagination ran wild and all I wanted was for that little training lazer ball thingie to be real and me to be able to be trained during my Jedi training by it with Yoda supervising. When the prequels were about to come out on theater I had great expectations, one of the biggest mistakes you can do when going to a movie, and the movie was a total letdown. I learned later in life that transformers was just meant as an infomercial with a story to sell toys, but to have Star Wars become the same thing was pretty sad.

When it comes to movies, I sometimes set myself up for letdowns. I have been pretty excited to see what they did with Star Trek since I wrote about the cast being announced back in 07. I knew some of the actors, and was very excited to see what Zachari Quinto and Simon Pegg were going to do with their roles.

Since watching the Star Wars remakes I had started to get used to the idea that I was not able to tap into my inner child to enjoy movies anymore. Even the latest Indiana Jones did not excite my imagination as much as the older ones did. I thought that the Matrix and Blade were going to be the last movies that I would get truly excited about and chucked Transformers coolness to pure sentimentalism for one of my favorite morning cartoons. I figured I would never get goose bumps during a movie again, and that my inner child only came out to play video games.

Then I watched Star Trek this weekend.

Saying that this movie blows StarWars latest trilogy out of the galaxy would be an understatement for the ages. This is entertainment in its best form. Great writing, Great acting, Great special effects… the Summer blockbuster is BACK. I will not talk about the movie or its plot, because you deserve to see it untainted! go see it this week, go to the IMAX, go and experience what I think would be one of the best movies of the year! What are you waiting for?

Advertising and Social Media

One of the first questions that I get from a web savvy person when they see the stats for not just my blog, but the other sites I webmaster is why don’t you monetize it? The answer is quite loaded, since I do have google ads running on a couple of the sites and I have thought about putting more banners here and there. The short answer is because I don’t want this to become work. While I am totally open to the idea of using my web knowledge to make a company’s web presence more successful, taking the “Logtar” brand and making money with it might take some of the cool personal and social aspect away from it. I don’t have to answer to anyone and can post pretty much about anything I want.

That said, I believe that business using social media to reach their customers is one of the best thing that could have happened to advertisement in years. I have felt the advertisement world has been sick for quite some time. I was always annoyed by commercials where at the end I had no clue what the product was even if I could retell the commercial like I wrote the script. Unless they were going for full subliminal, I thought they were not doing a good job at all. Don’t even get me started with what I think of advertisement via blinking banners on the internet.

While Meesha is still very skeptical of the whole thing and pretty much feels like he is being attacked by all fronts from people trying to sell him stuff he does not want. I see the complete opposite. I see myself being closer to the product development and enhancement process than I ever have before. I feel empowered to not just #unfollow a shameless advertiser in twitter, but to support a company that is doing things right by talking about them. I do believe that social media finally earned its 2.0 with being the digital age word of mouth.

Being invited to the blogger/twitter preview of the AMC Mainstreet made me want to go again. It had nothing to do with me being given a free quesadilla or the ability to see a movie before its even on wide release, it had everything to do with the superior movite watching experience they offered. I am glad I gave AMC as a company a second chance because they had really lost me after a visit to the Fork and Screen.

Posting about something even in a negative manner still ranks the online presence higher. Being able to voice my opinion is powerful when you have an audience, and I feel that here in KC the local blogger/twitter group is raising the coolness level of this city. I have learned about more good places to visit in a short period of time than if I would have just visited the travel guide suggestions. I know some people like Meesha want to try everything for themselves first, but I don’t want to try a horrible place if someone else already had the bad experience. I have been told that I saved people a movie ticket with a movie review or at least made them wait until it became a rental.

I don’t think what social media is doing locally or even in a global scale is going to be easily manipulated. I don’t think a free sample makes you obligated to like something you would not already liked in the first place. At least from the places that have contacted me for a review yet, none have come with a “must talk positive about our product” rule, in fact most have wanted a very honest opinion in an effort to make their service of product better.

Tween Tramps

I know that my year and a half as a step parent hardly qualifies me as an beginner in parenting, let alone an expert. I do however get annoyed by what some people allow their kids to do. Just as much as a dog owner that does not pick up the poop from the sidewalk, I am annoyed by parents that let a tween dress like a total tramp.

I have seen the phenomenon before, but it turned out to be a total “pandemic” when I visited World of Fun this weekend. I was always a little annoyed by the MTV show that showed girls having sweet 16 parties that seemed to be more expensive than an actual wedding, but what I saw this weekend was just a little too much.

It starts with the make up. I don’t think any kid under the age of 18 needs full on club make up. To be fair, I am not a fan of make up, I believe in natural beauty. I do appreciate it when a woman gets all dolled up to go out, but a 12 year old with more mascara than all the Emo bands in the world put together to me is going a little too far.

I understand that most parents have to trust their kids, and that they can just go to their friends house and do it anyway, but My Mom would have never let my sister go outside with some of the make up and clothes I saw.

I seriously have seen movie prostitutes with more clothes on and less make up that some of these kids. I thought I was just being over critical, but the more I walked through the park, the more example of “club clothing and make up” on little girls I encountered.

Granted, it could be that I am just getting old and even people in their twenties look like 12 year olds to me, but it seems like this is not something that I just noticed. Appearently there are reality shows on TV about little girls being in beauty pageants… I guess I totally forgot about how creepy the whole JonBenet Ramsey murder case was.

Newsweek has an article titled “Are We Turning Our Tweens into Generation Diva?” I am afraid we are letting some of our kids just look like tramps.

I sold out!

For some tasty quesadillas and a great free movie. Thanks to @jpgardner, Bea and I got to visit the new Mainstreet theater. I have to say the experience was a wonderful one.

I had my doubts going in, and was fully aware of the potential of being used as a marketing “tool,” you can thank Meesha for my enhanced paranoia. I figured we would get a free movie and some snacks and that would be the end of it. However, the experience was so much more than that.

I have been to that area so many times and never payed much attention to the building until today. The outside looks wonderful, but once you step in you are truly wowed by how nice the place is inside. The building was completely remodeled, and I am not sure the normal person would get the access our group got to see how much of the old building is actually still there. The pieces of the old theater that we got to see really gave the experience a feel of history which enhanced the tour that we were given.

I went in trying to be hypercritical of everything, but I honestly could not find anything to complain about. I did not want it to seem like I would love a place and gave it a good review simply because I got to see a free movie. The quesadillas I had were awesome and I would probably get them when I get to go again. Bea is already planning an outing for us there. The only thing I can think of to really complain is the prices of the food and drinks being a little more than what you would spend on your weekly movie outing if you are a movie buff, but you do pay a premium for going to a theater where only 21 and over people would be allowed or just the amenities that are available to you.

After arriving and getting some AMC stickers that made us somewhat official, we waited until the group gathered and our tour began. While they were not super keen on actually giving us some of the information we geeks wanted, (how big are the digital movies? How much is it actually gonna cost for a ticket?) we did get to learn about how they used to have tanks for trained seals and how most of the materials used in the remodel project are either recycled or fully recyclable (I think our tour guide mentioned how the carpet was 100 recyclable more than a few times). I have heard of a place being cooled with blocks of ice, but actually being in one that was cooled that way and getting to see the ducts that were used to pump the air to the upper balcony was neat. It was also neat to see the old balcony which is probably not going to get seen by many people but I am sure plenty of pictures from tonight will surface.

The tour gave us access to behind the scenes to see the racks of servers and projection rooms. They have some beefy systems and all of the theater houses are fully digital. One of them is even 3D ready. They have some premium theaters and some regular ones, I am guessing they will be more than 15 bucks for the fancy one we went into. The seats were actually recliners and you have a very space age looking tray that slides towards you for convenient access to your food and drinks.

We went into the theater thinking we were going to see Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, and we got the surprise right before the movie that we were actually seeing a sneak preview of The Brothers Bloom, a movie I have heard nothing about. The movie is excellent if you have a dark sense of humor, but it did drag a little bit towards the end. If I was to review it, I would give it 3 out of 4 stars.

Overall my impression of the place was positive. The theater and the seating is superior to any other theater I have been to; I mean the recliners even vibrate! The price you pay might be a little steep, but with that you will get rid of annoying teenagers ruining your movie experience. This place is perfect for a dinner and a date with your significant other. I think you should really judge it for yourself as soon as it officially opens up on May 1st. I know that Bea and I are going back for sure.

*Update*
More reviews are going up!
Average Jane
Vivid13
JohnInKC
Ramsey Moshen

Follow the hash #amcmain

Watchmen (*)

If you are a fan of the graphic novel, under the age of 18 or offended by genitalia stop reading now. I went to see this movie as a complete virgin to the series. I had heard nothing about Watchmen, which surprised me because I thought I knew a little more about comics than your average person. I am not sure if reading the comic book before would have made this movie better, but I think that people that judge it with those eyes might be a little more kind. I don’t think so though, because even though I like Superman and Spider Man a lot, the most recent movies sucked.

If you are never going to watch this movie, then continue reading because I am about to tear it apart… along with probably some of the comic book and probably make a couple of enemies along the way… but hey, I voted for Obama and that already lost me friends, so what is another couple just because I thought a movie was completely ghey.

The superhero genre is getting a little over saturated. I think Dare Devil and Electra started to show us that, and well from then on we have seen a series of crap where the only golden nugget has been The Dark Knight. Everything else as movies has been a pile of crap, and Watchmen seriously felt like stepping on steaming poo.

I would like to start by what I did like. I think that Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs / Rorschach is impeccable. He kept the movie flowing and I was waiting to see what he was going to say next every single time that he appeared on screen. His character was the only one that seem to have not only depth but any type of likability. Even as a very flawed human being he was still able to be someone you wanted to survive, but he ended up getting blown to pieces because of the greater good.

For a second imagine a world where Superman does not put Lex Luthor in jail, but rather becomes his ally because he thinks humanity is so flawed that what is 15 million people’s death if billions can be saved in the future. In the same train of thought imagine that Batman is not as good of a detective he is, but more of an accountant type that can’t get it up for a beautiful woman, he has to first take the batwing for as spin to regain his manhood that was left hanging along with his cape. The joker is a rapist that is actually allowed to be part of the good guys. All over this comic we see caricatures of other beloved heroes. It is almost like their flaws are being inflated and the painted on top of a canvas mirroring our current paranoia and divisiveness. It is not that the heroes have gone bad, it is more like the heroes were never good.

I get the fact that people live violence and sex. I also think that there is such a thing as too much blood and violence. The blowing up of human bodies is just not something I enjoy seeing, along with attempted rape, bones broken and being exposed through skin and child dismemberment. It did not seem to add anything to the story and the fight scenes just seemed like an excuse to poor some more blood on the camera. In a world already so full of destruction I want to go see a movie that entertains me, not a movie that depresses me.

Every single character is flatter than the pages of the graphic novel that they came from. I am sure the true fans of the series would say that I am missing the point or the satire in the content, but trust me, the package it was delivered on was pretty horrible. Talking about packages, I never though i would see a movie where there would be 4 blue penises on the same frame. If you thought 300 was homoerotic, well there are about 300 frames of penises in this movie. When there was for I had to resist the urge to yell out loud, come on, enough of the blue penises. While there were a couple of bare breasts in the movie, they did not make up for the penis overload, not even one vajajay.

The special effects throughout the movie felt wrong. The camera angles tried too hard to be comic book frames. When the most believable part of an alternate universe is that Nixon stayed in power for three terms, you have serious issues. To me the movie was pretty bad, and it was only somewhat entertaining. I would not even consider this a rental unless you enjoy looking at mans buttocks and full frontal over and over and over.