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Speculative Fiction Saturday: American Hero

American HeroI was planning on reviewing a big blockbuster that I will probably review next week, but I found this film on Netflix and I decided to check it out. I’m not certain why I reviewed it, but it must be the month to review mediocre films that have “American” in the title.

I honestly don’t know what to think of this film. I mean, it is a superhero film, but we really have a lot of those from Marvel and DC, but sometimes you just want to watch something that isn’t tied into a franchise, right? Or are we past that point.

American Hero is an independent film that has an unoriginal tagline of “from zero to superhero”. I’ve heard that “zero to hero” thing a bit too much in films like Hercules, the Disney version, which is also at its heart a superhero story.

The film stars Stephen Dorff as a man who has extraordinary powers named Melvin Hesper. He lives in a poor part of L.A., and for some reason, no one seems to care about his powers.

Now, I am willing to suspend my disbelief about his telekinetic powers, but what I can’t understand is why he isn’t in the spotlight. I’m pretty certain that if anyone did have these abilities and could easily prove it, he would become an instant celebrity, at least on the Internet.

Instead, Melvin hangs around all day doing nothing, getting high, and occasionally doing street tricks of levitation. You think that he would be trying to at least get into show business, but society seems to just ignore this man’s amazing abilties. I’m not certain if the film is trying to say that we would ignore some guy who could have supernatural powers, if he was impoverished.

The film shows Melvin having the ability to strip apart a car in seconds with his powers. I just don’t think that people would tolerate someone who had powers like this. Also, if Melvin gets high all the time, wouldn’t he be using his powers quite irresponsibly? Like wrecking stuff? There is no way the public would be so tolerant of someone so amazing!

I feel like I am missing the point, and this film has some kind of documentary format going on. Maybe within this world’s universe, this was going to be some breaking film to put Melvin in the spotlight.

At some point, Melvin realizes that he has been given a great gift so he’s got to use it responsibly. So he becomes a superhero, and in the end…this one is one that I don’t want to spoil. Maybe you might like it.

Posted by on May 28th, 2016 No Comments

Our Review of the Lumo Game

LumoI’m going to have to say that I love Lumo. This game is a “classic isometric adventure with a modern twist”, which means that it is some kind of puzzle/RPG game.

As you can see from the image, there is a room here that looks to be part of a dungeon crawler game, and it is just suspended in space. I guess this is supposed to be an homage to games of the 80’s and 90’s, and it could be that way. It also looks like a tribute to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, as the game starts out in what looks like the real world when the player gets sucked in a video game.

From there, it is all about going into hundreds of rooms and solving certain puzzles while doing all kinds of difficult jumps and moves to get to the next level. So, yes, this is typical RPG dungeon crawling fun, and while Lumo might not be the long-awaited The Legend of Zelda game, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be just as much fun.

So, yes, I will give it my highest rating, simply because it is just so much fun and I really want to beat it, and hopefully find all the hidden goodies in it. I will say that the challenges are difficult.

Try it out for yourself on Steam for about $19.99, and I will say that it is worth the price and full of fun.

Posted by on May 27th, 2016 No Comments

Our Review of the Evoluent VerticalMouse C

EvoluentI often don’t get a chance to review a lot of mice, but this particular one known as the Evoluent VerticalMouse C is most certainly worth writing about.

You can see in the image that the thing looks like a shark fin or half the Rocketeer’s helmet, but this shape is ergonomically built to hold your wrist. Apparently, using an ordinary mouse will twist your arm, but the Evoluent VerticalMouse makes your arm neutral to relieve pain.

The mouse is made to keep hold your fingers and its thumb in place. The left and right clicker are there, and on the thumb are two buttons for forward and back on a web browser.

I have to admit, that the VerticalMouse C took some getting used to. I mean, it is like the mouse has been turned sideways, so it is very strange to get used to. In fact, I feel that my wrist will need adjusting to it, so my muscle memory is about to face a learning curve.

You can learn more information about the product at the Evoluent site here, and it can be purchased at the Evoluent site for $109.95 as of June 1.

Posted by on May 26th, 2016 No Comments

OtterBox Universe Modular Case

OtterboxI’m sure that you are aware of the name of Otterbox, who put out some of the most high quality of cases. Today, they even out-did themselves with the Universe Modular Case.

The Universe is an iPhone case that hopefully will not just be for the iPhone. It gives the user the power to clip on two accessories at the same time. It uses two slots, with one at the bottom and the other at the top.

Otterbox already has eight partners with this that include Square, Olloclip, and SanDisk. Anything is going to be used by the iPhone has to be connected via Lightning connector or Bluetooth, but it is a terrific use of a case being able to become a living app. The other add-ons include a battery pack, Wi-Fi booster, as well as a tripod.

By the way, these Universe accessories are able to withstand a fall, so they are durable as Otterbox products. The first Universe case will be on sale for $50, and the accessories will go on sale as well.

Source

Posted by on May 25th, 2016 No Comments

Chewbacca Mask Lady Keeps the Internet Entertained for Good Reasons

By now, you’ve probably seen this video from Candace Payne, and it has made her a star overnight. I won’t bother describing it, but it involves a woman who made a purchases a Chewbacca mask and tries it on behind the wheel.

This woman isn’t trying to advertise the product, but it is probably the best advertisement for this toy ever. What makes this work is how she is completely sold on this toy, and how it brings her genuine happiness. She literally cannot stop laughing, and it is not faked at all.

I’m actually very glad that this video has been seen by so many. This woman isn’t the type that you would see on camera, and I’ll use the Meghan Trainor article that I wrote about last week as evidence. She is Star Wars fan, and is unashamed.

I hate the fact that I see a lot of people trolling this video, because it demonstrates the benefits of the Internet as opposed to television. I feel that TV wouldn’t allow someone like this to just be themselves, but that is a strike against it.

I’m sure that this isn’t the only viral video that we will see like this, so I look forward to seeing more talented people just being themselves.

Source

Posted by on May 24th, 2016 No Comments

I Had to “Unfriend” Someone for the First Time Today

Wow, that title sounds like a song, doesn’t it? I guess this is the sign of the times that we live in. I suppose that a lot of us use Facebook as an unofficial method for tracking what our friends from childhood, high school, college, and other bygone times are up to. Heck, I saw a friend of mine today IRL and wished them a happy birthday, so how would I have done that if not for Facebook?

I have to admit that I look at Facebook to pass the time when I don’t feel like starting a project. Now, I’m needing to use it to promote my works, but everyone else is kind of using it for self-promotion as well. It is amazing how people fill it up with so much memes and all kinds of stuff that I just scroll through.

Today, one of my Facebook friends posted a meme that I could have used as the illustration, but decided not to. I feel that I am giving the creator of this racist meme too much press as it is. This is one time where I am not going to get an exact quote, but it shows a picture of a woman in a hijab, and if I am not using this term correctly, I ask for forgiveness in advance.

Essentially, the posting was just racist against Muslims, wondering why someone of this belief system should be in the line at a public bank. This was posted at my friend’s site, with an “Amen” underneath.

Do I even need to say that this is something that you do not “Amen”? I don’t care if there is some kind of a “holy war” with Muslims, and they win. It is heinous to assume that there will be one, and I had to unfriend the person who did this.

I have no idea how Facebook works when it comes to unfriending, so if this person is wondering why I unfriended them, this is why. I would say that I am sorry, but I don’t think I’m the one who needs to apologize, and I’m going to stand by that.

Posted by on May 23rd, 2016 No Comments

Speculative Fiction Saturday: American Ultra

American Ultra 1American Ultra is simply not a good movie, and I’m not certain whether it ever had the potential to be one. I’ll try and explain several things that this film had working against it.

First, the film has “American” in the title, this joins a very long list of films like American Beauty, American Psycho, American Pie, and so forth. For some reason, putting the adjective in front of “American” seems to imply something negative. I don’t think that speaks highly of the United States, and kind of shows what we Americans think of ourselves, and it isn’t good.

Second, the film is a rip-off of The Bourne Identity. The thing is that the film knows this, it even takes place in a fictional town of Liman, West Virginia. Why that name? Why, the director of The Bourne Identity was Doug Liman. Get it? I don’t many people did.

Third, the story has that really weak framing device where it begins after the events in the film are over, and so the audience has to wait practically the entire length of the movie for it to catch up to itself. I’m really tired of this type of beginnings. By the way, there are spoilers ahead, so you might want to stop reading and start watching the film if you want to see it.

Anyway, a proper beginning actually happens as we get some narration about how the main character, Mike Howell, is in love with his girlfriend and has no memories before he met her. Mike is played by Jesse Eisenberg, who seems to only play one type of character, and it shouldn’t be Lex Luthor. Okay, elephant addressed, let’s move on to the girl that he’s in love with, Phoebe Larson, played by Kristen Stewart, and you can insert your own Twilight joke here (second elephant addressed).

American-Ultra 2Mike wants to take Phoebe on vacation, but he can’t seem to make it on the plane due to some odd phobias he has. Mike wants to propose to Phoebe, but he keeps messing it up. Mike is also a drug addict, but since Nancy Reagan isn’t the First Lady, he can be the protagonist of this film.

Actually, why he is on drugs makes sense, as it has established that he has issues. He is able to function at a regular job, and he works a night shift at a convenience store. One day, a strange federal agent comes into his store, and says a series of words in a random order. It is pretty clear that Mike is a sleeper agent and that is supposed to activate him, and it eventually does. The worst part is when these two men come up to capture him, he reacts just like Mike Damon did in…The Bourne Identity.

By the way, there is this plotline involving a governmental bureaucracy, and apparently Mike is one of several programmed agents. This one lady named Victoria (Connie Britton) wants to save Mike from his eventual execution at the hands of cushy government employee Adrian Yates (Topher Grace). Yates sends in one agent known as Laugher (Walton Goggins), who is called that because he laughs. Yeah, that is really lazy writing right there.

Eventually, it ends up with that scene where the villain has the hero’s girl, and so the hero has to have a massacre to save her. Yeah, this is a by-the-numbers, but there is a great scene where Mike takes on all the bad guys in a retail store, using anything he can pull off the shelves as a weapon. Somehow, that is the American Ultra the film was going for.

The ending where Mike proposes to Phoebe in spite of being surrounded by cops who want to arrest him is also better than it really should be, which is some saving mercy but not enough for me to give the film a positive review.

The ending is one of those like Amazing Spider-Man 2 where it actually starts on a battle. There probably is a word for that kind of ending like there was in the done-to-death beginning of this film.

I’m not certain what American Ultra was trying to do, but it feels like someone wanted to make an ultra-violent version of The Bourne Identity in the same vein of Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s one of those ideas that you have to try before you realize that it probably isn’t going to work.

Posted by on May 21st, 2016 No Comments

Everything Announced at Google I/O 2016

Google-IO-2016-840x472In case you haven’t been paying attention this week, it would appear that Google had been having a big developers conference this week known as Google I/O. There was a lot of announcements going down, and this is just a few of them.

For example, there was a preview of the Android N, the latest version of the operating system. This currently does not have a name of a sweet treat as yet, but it will have a Vulkan graphics processing engine for some better performance. Also announced was Android Wear 2.0.

Then there is the new Google Cardboard, aka the next generation Android based VR program with Daydream. it uses a heavy-duty phone that uses a VR mode for optimizing content.

Also unveiled is Allo, which is kind of a combination of Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Then there is also the Google Duo, video chat, kind of like Apple’s Facetime.

So, yeah, there is a lot, and there is going to be a lot more. I’m sure there will be more about it soon.

Posted by on May 20th, 2016 No Comments

Black and Decker Electric 3-in-1 Compact Mower

Black and Decker MTE912Okay, so all of you probably have lawns, and all of you have to mow them, and if you are like me, then you have some edge that is impossible to mow. This is why I was so glad that Black and Decker sent me that toolkit as well as this 6.5 Amp 12-inch Electric 3-in-1 Compact Mower.

I will have to say that I never had any luck with the weed whackers that I have had in the past. I don’t know they just break down. I’ve since just adopted a pair of hedgeclippers and mow my lawn with the mower. I don’t have to with this, as it is an edger that can turn into a mower.

Basically, it is a set of wheels that you can use like a mower to cut your grass, provided you to can snap it in. I thought it was going to be a pretty complicated procedure, but it works really well and snaps in easily.

Now, this thing is essentially an edger at heart, so if you use it as a mower, your grass will be cut by twine and not a blade. I’ll let you decide if that is good, as there is an Automatic Feed Spool to do the cutting. Since I hate replacing those spools and they are costly, I might have to rewrite this article a few months later.

I’m going to recommend this for now, as the 6.5 Amp motor will do your yard right. Now, you might want to think about that when you purchase it. The issue is on the specs for the product site, it says there is a “charge time”, but this wouldn’t work without a cord.

Okay, I guess there is a corded version for about $77.04 and a cordless $133.69 version. At least that’s what shows up on Amazon.

Posted by on May 19th, 2016 No Comments

Active Edge Workout T-Shirt

active edgeOkay, I review a lot of products, but this is the first time that I have reviewed a shirt. Okay, there is one exception, like when I reviewed that shirt with the stainproof technology with Threadsmith Hydrophobic Nanotechnology.

I was able to obtain one of these shirts, and I am currently wearing it right now. To me, it feels like a shirt, really. Yeah, of course I am going to say that, but I am told that this product has “revolutionary technology” of infused and embedded electromagnetic frequencies into the fabrics, and this somehow enables the wearer to perform at a more optimal level.

Now, I have no idea if this is snake oil, because I am not certain how in the world to even test this. The company of Active Edge says that it has tested this, with clinical trials, and they report 90 percent positive benefits with zero side effects. How does this do this, it somehow activates the sympathetic nervous system, increases blood flow, as well as oxygen intake.

So, it is a great T-shirt, and it looks like it can do something for you. It is pretty expensive at $64.99, but it can be found at the Active Edge Gear site.

Posted by on May 18th, 2016 No Comments