Thursday, November 27, 2014

New kidnapping case (Cocula)

On September 26, 2014, 43 male students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico (click here to read more about this ). But now a French reporter has uncovered a new kidnapping case where over 30 children between the age of 12 - 16 have been abducted prior to this. Naturally this reveal has shocked the nation and the world once again. But if only it would stop here. Because of the public outrage about the 43 missing students attention has been drawn to 20.000 other people who have gone missing. Although there are also articles that claim this number is much higher, and that is at least 26.000.

No matter how you look at this, it's absurdly high and all of this is a direct consequence of the Mexican War on drugs in which both sides are corrupt and evil as they come. The only real victims are the innocents who are caught in the middle of this. My heart and prayers go to all of them. (I do think the war on drugs can be stopped once the corrupt system has been eradicated. How? By legalizing drugs. Click here to read more about this). But this will lead to an entire different discussion and is not the goal of this article. So I won't elaborate on this any further.

How is it possible that such horrific acts can happen? The government and police who are supposed to protect and serve the public do the exact opposite. And for what? Money? Power? At the cost of what? What gives these people the right to act like this and play god? And how can they think to get away with this without enraging the people. You can't disregard life or treat it like it is a commodity. People touch other people. They connect, they form bonds by choice, love or blood. If you cut that for whatever reason it will affect the ones who are tied to the one that is missing. At one point not having these connections any more will vanquish any materialistic needs, ignorance and inaction. No longer will be people accept the fear and suppression. No longer will people accept their freedom to get diminished like this. No longer will people allow any wrong doing of the government and the police. In it's place the cry for justice will grow and people will be doing whatever it takes to get this justice. The corrupted ones will do what thy can to fight this and at times they might succeed in stonewalling. However it is inevitable that they will be stop any of this once the people go against them in full force. Mexican brothers and sisters, you are not alone in this and you have the support of any supporter of freedom and justice on this planet. Keep strong, have hope and keep fighting the good fight. The time has come to say enough is enough. 

For anyone who is reading this. Please give this the proper attention and consideration it needs. This might not be happening in your immediate surroundings but is something that easily could happen everywhere and perhaps it does in other ways. Sadly history shows that these evil acts aren't new and every time these happened people swore they would never let it happen again. Then why not make good on that promise? In this day and age we people have so many more means to be informed and spread the news or opinion. Why waste this on solely entertainment or trivial matters. Any one can make a difference now as long as you actually speak up. There is a reason why the powers that be want to control this information. We as people should be more critical and vigilant of what is happening around us and not only locally. The world is becoming smaller and smaller as our ways of communications have increased and made it possible to more easily form bonds all over the world. Please don't hide yourself from the truth. Don't ignore it. Embrace it and share it to everyone or at least try to tell it. Be aware of what is happening and then at least make an effort to do something about it by talking about it to others, sharing articles like these or be more pro active and organize protests or write articles yourself to give the innocents a voice. They can't speak so we have have to speak for them.

Sources and links:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review Predestination (2014)

genre: thriller, drama, science fiction

Predestination is a movie that if you say too much about the plot it will ruin it. So I will try to avoid saying too much about it. When Predestination starts it leaves you guessing throughout. Although I figured most things out one when a certain plot development came to light. (Not the first one because that was kinda obvious. But the one after 40 minutes or so). From that moment on Predestination keeps explaining slowly how and why events were happening. For me this was a bit unnecessary but maybe the film makers were counting on people not always paying good attention and wanted to make sure that they also would get it at the end. While the film remained intriguing I must admit that once you already know what is going on it's not as good as in the beginning. However keeping the story to the point and short (meaning very little deviation) backed up by phenomenal acting does save it from becoming tedious and boring. But there is one gripe you have to be able to deal with. I can't tell you what it is without spoiling but it's one for which you have to suspend disbelief a couple of times since it gets crazier and crazier. It's one so far fetched and illogical that almost ruins the film. Almost.  Despite I enjoyed this one so much better than for example Looper. In here you have a more emotional attachment to the characters since their story is told very well. Predestination is one of the better films in the genre but this won't be for everyone. You will have to accept some weirdness and I know some people won't be able to. I myself don't mind strange or weird as long as it is explained elaborately. In this one it happens because it is convenient. Such a flaw I find hard to forgive especially if the ending will leave you with very little else. Still this is a very enjoyable movie and it is surprising that this has not gotten more press because it does deserve far better recognition than it has currently.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review Suicide Kings (1997)

genre: crime, thriller

This title had been around for a while at the rental shop back in the day when I still went to rental shops. I ignored it because I hadn't heard about it. Since it was a small rental video store I was running out of titles for me to watch so I rented it and watched it and was a bit ashamed that I didn't rent it earlier. This was before I ever heard of Internet Movie Data Base. Back then you had to rely on TV programs or reviews in papers where little movies barely got the attention they deserved. So I Anyway this movie really surprised me. I expected this to be an average crime movie. But it is more than that. It is a very exciting thriller with a lot of twists and a surprise ending. All the actors perform well. Of course they are no match for Christopher Walken since he steals every scene he is in. The plot seems simple at first, but soon you will realize that matters are much more complex than initially presented. There are several comedic scenes since "the kidnappers" are not very experienced and even get tips from Christopher Walken how to do better. Even when kidnapped he is such a gentleman. It is a real mystery to me why this film is so underrated. With an incredible fast pace, excellent acting, several twists and turns offering thrills, comedy and more you should think it would get more press and praise. Trust me on this. It's a title you won't regret watching. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

genre: action, adventure, comic book, super hero, science fiction,

The first time I viewed this I was completely taken away by this marvelous piece of movie. The second time I still was. Captain America: The Winter Soldier shows how a blockbuster should be.
It delivers highly on action and thrills mixed up with good drama and comic relief. Plus an intriguing tale that may seem simple but actually is a social commentary without it seeming like preaching. Captain America who stands for freedom and righteousness is even more likable in this feature and Chris Evans has really grown in his character. I never would have believed that the man who portrayed The Human Torch once not really that convincingly was such a powerhouse actor. Since The Fantastic Four franchise he has take on several different role like in The Iceman and Snowpiercer where you almost don't recognize him. Apart from the make up he actually became the characters he was portraying. But as Captain America he is undoubtedly the best. It's hard to pull of an icon of that magnitude but he manages to do exactly that. When is on the screen he inspires and you are willing to let him lead you in battle. The story in itself is quite surprising as it tries to add suspense in a way you would not expect to be in a feel good Super hero movie. I already was aware of the deeper story lines from the Marvel comics and it is very nice to see they want to show more of those. It's also nice how the tv show Agents of Shield ties into this story. Some of the later episodes take place at the same time. Which if you think about shows how great the scale of this story actually is. A lot of stories from The Marvel comic universe crossed over where each comic book character focused on one different aspect from the event. It is something that to me is simply epic no matter how flawed. Naturally I could say more but I think this is one you should watch and let it surprise you. Without a doubt this is one of the best in the Marvel franchise. A classic roller coaster ride!

Review Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

genre: action, adventure, comic book, super hero

Captain America: The First Avenger shows us the making of Captain America. And I think the way they did it was exceptionally done. You see a scrawny looking Chris Evans as Steve Rogers who shows us what a soldier should be about and then gets transformed into the big Marvel Icon we love. I liked it that they showed us enough of Steve Rogers before he became Captain America. How much he tried to get enrolled but keeps getting denied for obvious reasons. He is an underdog that has courage, persistence and heart. How can you not root for him? With him we go on this journey and for me it was a blast from start to finish. Maybe this film wasn't the epic people hoped for but since this one is focused on getting acquainted with icon Captain America it's good nonetheless. We all know by now that the sequel outdid this first one when it comes to spectacle and storytelling. But I this film does a pretty good job to establish the Cap of who he was in World War 2 and who he becomes in this day and age. It is rare to see a character grow on screen. And while it might not be that prominent it is hardly subtle. I think this Marvel film unjustly gets underrated. It does exactly what a good super hero film should do. I like it when you can cheer for a super hero. 

Also read review Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Learning Dutch

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A long time ago I always wondered how many people truly were interested in such a minor language as Dutch. It is one of the most illogical languages to tackle. Besides not many people outside of The Netherlands, Belgium and ex colonies where they speak it. However I was wrong. There are quite a few people who are interested. Now I am fully aware there are plenty of videos out there that dig into this matter. But from what I have seen those are either rushed, unstructured and not really that much fun. I will attempt to make learning Dutch as much fun as possible. And will try to incorporate some structure to my lessons as well. If for some reason I won't be able to I will at least make sure everything is clear to understand. 

Happy Learning everyone!

And here the first two lessons I have made so far. More are coming up. But if you have suggestions or questions concerning Dutch. Then feel free to ask. I will be happy to oblige (for free). (Beertje our mascot will aid you with learning to make it a more pleasurable experience).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Review Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 (2013 - )

genre; action, adventure, comic book adaptation

When news reached me about Agents of Shield I was excited but also at the same time a little skeptical. Because how was it going to work without superheroes or well known Marvel characters featuring in the show? Or were they going to surprise us with a cameo here and there. Or were they just going to ignore certain events and focus on conventional stuff. Well, let me tell you what they did and what I think of the show. (I do assume you have watched The Avengers otherwise you might want to avoid reading this review because it might contain minor spoilers).

The pilot was adequate but not as impressive and actually a bit off putting. So I kept it on hold for a bit. Then I gave it a second chance and stuck with it. The first 6 or 7 episodes might not be that special or spectacular. But they do set up the dynamics between the team members which makes you care for them. And after these episodes more depth is given to some of the characters. Especially to Phil Coulson. As you may know he died in The Avengers (2012). And with him returning naturally you will be wondering how he got back. At first it looked like this was going to be one of those mysteries that would be stretched out and eventually would drag a little. Surprisingly though they managed to keep it interesting. In large part because of Clark Gregg. He is very charismatic and likable. And with him you want to know what he has went through. They way they handled this is almost brilliant. Because they also tied this mystery to other ones in the main arc. The story telling becomes better over time. Like I said it takes about 6 or seven episodes for it to gain momentum. But when it does, it never lets up. So what about the superheroes? They are talked about but they aren't featured. Some of the Marvel characters from the Marvel franchise do make an appearance in one form or another. When they do, it's epic. To make up for the lack of our beloved super heroes Agents of Shield does have to deal with all kinds of meta humans. And it is interesting to see how the agents who don't have super powers deal with it. The action and adventure is quite exciting throughout. But what really is good about this show it manages to make you feel at the end of the episode. One episode it makes you feel good and another you are terrified of the events that just have occurred. Putting you on the edge of the seat and compelling to make you watch the next episode. That really surprised me. It's rare that a show which seemed generic at first progresses in a way that it becomes thrilling and compelling. Agents of Shield is also filled with references to events and characters in the Marvel Universe (comic books and the movies).  Which makes it a feast for fans who love that kind of a thing. So if you were like me having doubts about this show then rest assured. It maybe takes a few episodes to get better but it does improve a lot and how. To give you an idea. I binge watched season 1 in 1 day and a half. This is with doing stuff in between. (hey life does go on!) Overall this is my kind of show. After having seen the first three episodes of season 2 this has only confirmed it. 
Go watch it!