Star Wars – How old is old enough?

My kids (4 and 6) are petitioning to see Star Wars….While my wife doesn’t think it is a good idea, I’m on the fence. Howold is old enough? I’ve gotten them gaming, but think that maybe it is time for some “source material”. Any thoughts?

 

~AoB

I live….again

I  live…..again.  OK folks. I’ve officially arrived at a decision. I’m returning to the “active GM” chair. No more just tinkering with mechanics. I’ll aim my tinkering to a specific game/group. And it won’t be for a planned out, extensive campaign. It will be for a one-shot…just to play. That one-shot may grow into something bigger, but for now I’m aiming for a one-shot game. Details to follow…..but as a teaser, I’m thinking some Atlantean Fantasy goodness is in order.

[As an aside, I really need to trim the number of categories I have…..jeesh.]

~AoB

Movie Review – Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 is an excellent sequel to an outstanding movie.

This action-packed romp earns an 8.

Robert Downey Jr. continues his success playing the ego-driven, narcissistic hero, Tony Stark. “I am Iron Man.” He loves the adulation (and chicks) that comes with his new public role. He also faces personal issues as the side-effects of being Iron Man develop. It is a tough balance for an actor to portray, and Downey does a solid job bringing Tony Stark believably to life.

The rest of the cast put in a good performance, too, but are eclipsed by Downey. I didn’t recognize Garry Shandling as Senator Stern, who seeks to get the Iron Man technology for the government. His face is now quite flabby. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts, Stark’s personal assistant and voice of reason. Scarlett Johansson is introduced as a sexy and intriguing employee from the legal department of Stark Industries. She is fun to watch. Don Cheadle continues his role as Lt. Col. Rhodes, another voice of reason and balance to Tony Stark. He isn’t particularly compelling, but I don’t think he could do much more with the lines and role that he was given. Sam Rockwell is excellent as the sleazy, unethical and spiteful CEO Justin Hammer of weapons company Hammer Industries, the primary competitor to Stark Industries for military contracts. Ah, Mickey Rourke. What a beautiful man… He does a durably decent job as villain Ivan Vanko. We are given enough background for him to be believable, but he does pull off some unlikely things as any super-villain does in these stories. It’s not a problem. He is more human and with more straightforward and believable motivations than many villains. He is a good choice for the role. And what movie would be complete without Samuel L. Jackson? He expands his role as Nick Fury of the Avengers project.

The plot makes sense. It takes the next logical steps that would naturally evolve from the first movie. The government takes a national security interest in Iron Man and Ivan Vanko rears his ugly (literally) head. It provides plenty of palatable action and excitement. That is all of the plot that I shall provide to avoid spoilers (and additional work by me).

Don’t forget to stay for the teaser scene at the end of the credits (like a certain me did).

Daybreakers

Daybreakers tells of the world when vampires rule and humans are almost extinct.

This entertaining piece gets an 8.

The story is set in 2019, 10 years after bats infected the human race with vampirism. Most of the population has turned with some humans remaining – voluntarily and some not-so-voluntarily…

Vampires work regular jobs and have essentially maintained normal human existence except that activity is at night and buildings are fortified against sunlight. The problem is that the human population has dropped to a level where blood is getting in short supply and a good substitute has not been developed. When a vampire’s diet faces a significant deficiency of human blood, it begins to mutate into a mindless mutant with wings and claws – not a pretty sight…

Ethan Hawke is a brilliant vampire scientist working on an effective human blood substitute for a large biotech company. The main business of the company is running a human blood farm – a large chamber in the building has hundreds of columns with circular platforms that hold unconscious humans like so many bags of fresh blood. It totally reminded me of the human farm in The Matrix. The blood supply is dwindling as the humans are dying.

Speaking of other movies, Ethan Hawke must pass through several biometric security gates to get into the biotech’s research building, just like he did in Gattaca. While this movie does borrow some visual ideas from elsewhere, it is very well done and has an excellent plot. Hawke is ultimately sympathetic to humanity’s plight and gets caught up in its fate. There is adventure and several plot twists. That is all that I can prudently tell you.

Ethan Hawke is a sympathetic vampire fulfilling his character well. Sam Neill is the unsympathetic CEO of the biotech company as the stereotype goes – one could hardly imagine a good CEO or corporation (which is one of the reasons our country will lose it competitiveness and wealth). The acting was good overall. Willem Dafoe is pretty entertaining as one of the human rebels on the loose.

Daybreakers is clever, interesting and very entertaining. It is pretty much at the end of its run in the theaters so you will most likely have to wait for the DVD, but seeing it in the theater would be more enjoyable.