Falcon's Blog

The Quiz Part 12

Greetings, November is here once again and so is my annual quiz to test your general knowledge! As is always the case, the answers are below the questions and please remember to leave your score in your comments. Last year’s results were something of an upset as Aaron managed to pull off a win for the first time with a score of 7. Joh came in second position with 6 and Mark answered 4 out of ten questions correctly. Can Aaron hold on to his lead or will Joh take it from him? Will Mark bounce back from third place this time around? I am looking forward to see if there is another shake up in the results! Best of luck.

1. Which entertainer played conman Danny Ocean in the 1960 version of Oceans 11?

2. Who said this? – ‘You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.’

3. What is the name of the German politician, nicknamed ‘the Iron Chancellor’, who unified the Germanic states into the nation of Germany in 1871?

4. Put these Dirty Harry films in the order they were released- A. Dirty Harry B. Sudden Impact C. The Dead Pool D. Magnum Force E. The Enforcer.

5. How many television series of Twin Peaks, not including the feature film ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’, are there as at November 2020?

6. Which American Intelligence Agency do agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully work for as they investigate paranormal cases in the ‘X-Files’ television show?

7. Name the characters.

 Name the characters.

8. Unscramble the letters to reveal an actor- FEFJ LOMDGLUB

9. Which French film plays a pivotal role in Joh’s Write Wise entry ‘What are you doing on Halloween night?’

10. Which famed leader in the Sid Meier’s Civilization game series is known to favour using nuclear weapons after a glitch in the first Civilization game made this leader more antagonistic in the nuclear age?

Spoilers!

1. Frank Sinatra

2. Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent

3. Otto Von Bismarck

4. A. Dirty Harry D. Magnum Force E. The Enforcer B. Sudden Impact C. The Dead Pool

5. 3 series

6. FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigations

7. Jango Fett and Boba Fett

8. Jeff Goldblum

9. Eyes Without a Face/ Les Yeux sans visage

10. Mahatma Gandhi

Quote of the Day

You like Huey Lewis and the News?

Patrick Bateman

American Psycho

Written by Falcon, Sunday 15 November 2020

Legendary

Greetings, Legendary is a 2008 first person shooter video game from the now defunct developer Spark Unlimited. Spark Unlimited has a brief list of games under their belt that they developed during their run which includes titles such as Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and Lost Planet 3. The cast has no particularly big names behind it and primarily consists of voice actors or actresses who usually provide their talents for more minor roles in games or other media. Fay Masterson, Enn Reitel and Lloyd Sherr star as the main group of characters while the protagonist, Deckard, is a silent lead. The composition of the music is credited to Ricardo Hernandez and Jack Grillo who contributed to the sound of several games including 2013’s Tomb Raider.

The plot is fairly simple and begins with the discovery of a mystifying box that was located at the bottom of the ocean. The box is retrieved and the archaeologists who discovered it place it in a New York museum for preservation. Deckard, a professional thief, is hired by a wealthy individual known as LeFey and is promised a considerable fortune if he breaks into the museum and retrieves whatever is inside the box. Once in view of the box, he breaks it open and in doing so it brands a signet on to his hand while a powerful explosion of energy is unleashed. A confused Deckard stumbles out of the museum and as he sees that mythological Griffins are causing chaos in the city, he comes to the realization that he has opened up the literal Pandora’s Box.

Legendary

The incident, which has an effect worldwide, causes unwanted attention to follow Deckard and he is quickly located and recruited by a shadowy organization known as the Council of 98 who want to find and hide the box again like they had done so before. The Council believe that the signet on Deckard’s arm endued him with powerful abilities that would give him a fighting chance against the monsters that now roamed the earth. Deckard, with his mysterious allies and new found mystic powers, must fight back against a horde of legendary beings and LeFey’s personal army known as the Black Order, who have their own designs in mind for the box, to safely secure Pandora’s Box once more.

This game received middling reviews when released and is more or less forgotten in gaming culture today. Despite being repetitive, having little in the way of memorable characters and a generic plot, I did have a good time playing it overall. One of the main draws for me was the various mythological beasts from many different cultures that the player has to counter and, going by its own title, this was one of the big selling points that it had. This roster of supernatural enemies includes the more usual suspects of Werewolves and a Minotaur but it did also include creatures less well featured in popular culture such as Tsuchigumo’s Children, Nari and Fire Drakes. The enemies do of course begin to cycle round and repeat towards the end of the game, which becomes a bit samey, but that is to be expected with most gaming experiences. While I did enjoy Legendary, mostly because of my personal interest in monstrous creatures, I do believe that most gamers would find it a mediocre title to play through. With that being said, you could have some fun with this one if you could pick it up cheaply somewhere.

Plot=7/10

Characters=6/10

Graphics=6/10

Overall=7/10

Quote of the Day

Cara mia.

Gomez Addams

The Addams Family

Written by Falcon, Thursday 22 October 2020

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Greetings, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a 2018 film and serves as the second Star Wars anthology movie after Rogue One was released to cinemas in 2016. The movie is credited as being directed by Ron Howard after the backstage dramatics that led to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, best known for the Lego Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, being fired. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as the iconic smuggler Han Solo in his early days, Joonas Suotamo as the legendary Wookie Chewbacca and Community’s Donald Glover as fan favourite Lando Calrissian. Suotamo, a former Finnish basketball player, had taken over the role from the original Chewbacca actor, the late Peter Mayhew, for ‘The Force Awakens’, ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.

Solo also introduces new characters and actors such as Qi’ra played by Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame, Tobias Beckett as portrayed by Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton as Val, Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37 and Paul Bettany as the villainous Dryden Vos. The score was composed by John Powell who has orchestrated music for a number of films including Chicken Run, Shrek, Rat Race, Mr and Mrs Smith and the Kung Fu Panda series.

The plot begins on Han’s home planet of Corellia, a grim and desolate world in which Han and his romantic partner named Qi’ra hope to escape from. Han obtains stolen starship fuel, which is called coaxium, and plans to use the valuable resource to bribe his and Qi’ra’s way out of Corellia. After being chased by the criminal syndicate of crime boss Lady Proxima, who wants the starship fuel for herself, Han and Qi’ra manage to momentarily elude her forces. Han successfully bribes an Imperial Officer of the Galactic Empire at a space sport to provide transport for both him and Qi’ra but only he manages to get to safety as Qi’ra was captured by the gang. A dejected Han promises to come back to rescue Qi’ra one day with a ship of his own and, in an impulsive act, enlists himself in the Imperial Navy. During the registration, the orphaned Han is given the surname ‘Solo’ by an Imperial Officer as he has no family ties of his own.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Three years pass and Han Solo is serving as an infantryman on Mimban during a heated battle. As he fights on the front lines, he discovers a plot by smugglers who are disguising themselves as soldiers of the Empire to hijack an Imperial ship. Han tries to join the group, led by Tobias Beckett, as a way out of military service but when he isn’t welcomed in he tries to force his way inside by blackmailing Beckett. This backfires and Beckett convinces some Imperial soldiers that Han is a deserter. This results in Han being thrown into a pit to be eaten by a monster. That monster is none other than Chewbacca, who has been chained to the pit and immediately attacks Han. After a brief fight, Han convinces Chewie that he can get them both out of the pit by breaking down the infrastructure that kept them trapped inside. They manage to escape and Beckett, impressed by their prison break, allows them to join his team as they take off with the stolen Imperial ship for a heist.

Solo, due in part to its numerous reshoots, is one of the most expensive films ever made. It is also the first Star Wars movie to bomb at the box office. While its failure to gain crowds was blamed on a fatigued audience who had grown weary of three Star Wars films across three consecutive years, I believe that it suffered more from other factors. One of these was the concept of the origin story itself which would undoubtedly remove the mystique around Han’s character and his shadowy criminal background. It was also difficult for some fans to accept the recasting of such a beloved character as Solo, arguably Harrison Ford’s most notable character and certainly the role that brought him to stardom.

The main problem, in my opinion, is that it had the unenviable task of following the Last Jedi. A film that has seemingly destroyed the Star Wars fandom to a devastating degree and ruined Disney’s plans to make countless new movies for this one time juggernaut of a property. Solo is better than the Last Jedi and the as of then unreleased Rise of Skywalker but it ultimately feels unnecessary and most, but not all, of the new characters are either forgettable or annoying such as Waller Bridge’s L3-37. Lucasfilm is reportedly or at least rumoured to be in a disunited state as of now with power struggles occurring and warring factions battling it out within the company itself but there is some cause for hope for better projects in the future. The Mandalorian, a Space Western series for Disney Plus, is a recent addition to the Star Wars brand that I can say is one of the most captivating pieces of media that I have seen in years.

Plot=6/10

Characters=6/10

Special Effects=8/10

Overall=6/10

Quote of the Day

The Black Panther has been the protector of Wakanda for generations. A mantle passed from warrior to warrior. And now, because your friend murdered my father, I also wear the mantle of king. So I ask you, as both warrior and king... how long do you think you can keep your friend safe from me?

T’Challa/ The Black Panther

Captain America: Civil War

Written by Falcon, Monday 28 September 2020

Parasite

Greetings, Parasite is a 2019 film which was directed by Bong Joon-ho who is known for his directorial efforts in ‘The Host’, ‘Snowpiercer’ and ‘Okja’ among others. The movie stars a cast of South Korean actors who are most likely unknown to international and Western audiences but includes Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Pak So-dam. The music was conducted by Jung Jae-il. The film received a lot of praise on its release and won numerous awards including the Oscar for the Best Picture of 2019.

The film starts with the impoverished Kim family living in a cramped semi-basement apartment known as a banjiha which is situated beneath street level. The family of four struggles to get by and fold pizza boxes as a way to earn some sort of income. A monetary opportunity arises when the son of the Kim family, Ki-woo, is provided the chance to teach English to the daughter of the wealthy Park family. Ki-woo’s friend, Min-hyuk, had previously taught the daughter, named Da-hye, but he will be studying abroad and referred Ki-woo to the family as his replacement. Ki-woo impresses Yeon-gyo, mother of the Park family, as he poses himself as a university student and is hired as Da-hye’s tutor. Once Ki-woo gains the trust of the Park family, he tries to get the other members of his own family to weasel their way into other high paying service positions at the household.

Parasite

The first to do so is his sister Ki-jung. She sets up the false identity of Jessica, an art therapist, and hoodwinks the ditsy mother into believing that she should work with the ‘troubled’ son called Da-song. The father, Ki-taek, manages to secure the position of personal driver for the Park patriarch, successful businessman Dong-ik, by having the previous chauffer set up in a scandal of a suggested sexual nature as his daughter leaves her tights in the car one night. The mother also finds her way into the house by exploiting the peach allergy of the current and long serving house keeper, Moon-gwang, as the Kim family trick the Parks into thinking Moon-gwang has tuberculosis. One stormy night, the Parks decide to go on a trip and leave their luxurious house in the safe hands of their newest housekeeper Chung-sook. The Kim family takes advantage of the empty house but discover a secret about the home once Moon-gwang makes an unanticipated appearance at the doorstep.

I enjoyed this movie and despite having seen some of Bong’s films before, I was never too sure how Parasite was going to pan out in the end. While there are no plans for any sequel, there are currently talks of a television series being made for HBO. The series will have Bong and Adam McKay, known for Anchorman, Ant-Man and Vice, as Executive producers. The series will explore moments in between some of the scenes featured in Parasite. While I am sure that the television show will be well crafted, I have my doubts as to how interesting a series could be when it is set during a constrained timeframe and when the audience already knows what is going to happen.

Plot=9/10

Characters=8/10

Special effects=8/10

Overall=9/10

Quote of the Day

He thinks we're us. Isn't that silly. We're not us. We're two other fellas. Aren't we?

Stan Laurel

Swiss Miss

Written by Falcon, Saturday 29 August 2020

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Greetings, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a 2018 movie directed by J.A. Bayona who is perhaps best known for his directorial involvement in ‘A Monster Calls’. It is a direct sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World and is considered the fifth instalment of the Jurassic Park series which began in 1993. The film sees the two main leads for Jurassic World, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, return to their roles as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing respectively. Actors from the original trilogy also return such as BD Wong and Jeff Goldblum of ‘The Fly’ fame reprises the character of Dr Ian Malcolm for a brief cameo. Other actors who are new to this franchise include Isabella Sermon, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin and ‘Detectorists’ actor Toby Jones. Michael Giacchiano is also among the crew to have returned and conducted the music for this sequel.

The plot starts three years after the disastrous happenings in Jurassic World in which the park falls much like the original attraction had decades prior and the dinosaurs have free reign of the island. A small team had been sent to Isla Nublar to retrieve DNA from the slain Indominus Rex which had been dragged to its watery demise by the enormous Mosasaurus. Believing that any creature that had inhabited the lagoon had long since died in the past three years, a small aquatic vehicle is sent in to the enclosure as the ocean gates are opened. After locating a bone of the Indominus, the crew send it up to the surface and it is then taken away by a helicopter. The two man submarine is suddenly attacked by the Mosasaururs which uses the opportunity to escape into the ocean. In mainland America, Dr Malcolm is invited to speak at a U.S. Senate hearing as it has been discovered that the island of Isla Nublar is about to be subjected to a powerful volcanic explosion. The volcanic rupture will most certainly wipe out all of the dinosaurs on the island.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Malcolm believes that it is for the best that the dinosaurs go extinct once again and determines that the late John Hammond was wrong to have brought them back to life with his cloning process. Former operations manager of Jurassic World, Claire Dearing, completely disagrees and sets up a group to save the dinosaurs. The U.S. Senate chooses not to save the dinosaurs but Claire’s activism hasn’t gone unnoticed. She is contacted by the aging Sir Benjamin Lockwood, the former partner of Hammond. Lockwood and his aid, Eli Mills, have come up with a plan to save the dinosaurs and relocate them to a separate island. Claire agrees to assist them but she needs the help of her former paramour and previous raptor trainer, Owen Grady, if she is to have any success in relocating the prehistoric creatures. After an initial rebuff, Owen is eventually persuaded to go back to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs. He is especially motivated to rescue his own raptor, named Blue, who was left stranded there during the evacuation of the island.

Fallen Kingdom had a promising start but unfortunately it falls apart fairly quickly as it relies heavily on well-worn cinematic tropes, one dimensional new characters and forced nostalgia. The inclusion of the T-Rex from the original Jurassic Park movie was used well in Jurassic World but it has been overdone in this latest sequel to the point of almost being comedic or farcical. The main problem with this series is that the storyline has been trodden over already so many times in sequels which decrease in quality as they go along. It is no longer the fresh idea that had been set out in Michael Crichton’s novel when it was first published in 1990. None of these follow ups can match the magic of the original and most likely never will. The last of the Jurassic World trilogy is set to be released in 2021 with the title of Dominion. It will reportedly see Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum return as Dr Grant, Dr Sattler and Dr Malcolm. In my opinion, the series should have been left at Jurassic World as that was a fitting return to a beloved franchise.

Plot=6/10

Characters=6/10

Special Effects=7/10

Overall=6/10

Quote of the Day

This is another nice mess you've gotten me into!

Oliver Hardy

Way Out West

Written by Falcon, Tuesday 28 July 2020

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Greetings, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a 2010 action horror novel that was written by Seth Grahame –Smith. Seth is the author behind Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, a parody of Jane Austin’s iconic literary piece. His spoof take on the classic came out a year earlier than Vampire Hunter and since then he has worked on various films including the Lego Batman Movie, the remake of Child’s Play as well as IT Chapter 1 and 2. He is also believed to be involved with upcoming Gremlins and Beetlejuice sequels. This novel is, for several large segments, written as if it was the secret diary of Abraham Lincoln. The fictional biography also contains historical references in its footnotes or other annotation and old photographic ‘evidence’ of vampirism as part of it story telling technique.

The story starts in a quiet American town in the late 2000s. A youthful and mysterious man named Henry Sturges strikes up a friendship with a cashier who used to be an aspiring author until life put his dreams on hold. Henry gifts the cashier a diary before disappearing from the small town for unknown reasons. Once the cashier returns home with the present, he realizes to his astonishment that he has been given the personal diary of the 16th president of the United States and that much of his real history had been buried. He learns that the ill-fated president had in actuality been a slayer of vampires and the author uncovers the real cause behind the American Civil War. The Confederate States of America had been lead in part by vampires and the slavery system existed to serve them as slaves were a food source as opposed to the historically accepted reality of forced labour. The slaves were to be drained of their fluids on a mass scale and in a secretive manner so the humans did not learn of the vampire’s existence. The diary begins when Abraham was 11 years old and living with his impoverished family on the Lincoln farm. One night his drunken father, Thomas, reveals in a distraught state that Abe’s grandfather had been killed by a vampire in 1786 as opposed to the cover up tale of being massacred by a Native American tribe.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Abraham eventually encounters the wicked works of a vampire when Nancy, his mother, succumbs to an illness. He learns that Nancy had not died from milk sickness as he had wrongly believed but she had been poisoned by a vampire after his father had failed to honour his debts that had been owed to a local vampire. Abe began to loathe his father for not defending his family and swore to himself that he would spend his life hunting down vampires across America in revenge. His first act of revenge took place a year later when he lured the vampire responsible for his mother’s death into a trap and staked it through the heart using the element of surprise. Some years later in 1825, Abraham had been preparing to kill vampires daily using an axe and an assortment of homemade weaponry and tracks down one travelling along the Ohio River. Despite his best attempts and all of his rigorous training, he is defeated and almost drowned by an old, weak vampire. His life is saved by the intervention of another vampire who kills Lincoln’s intended target. The vampire, one Henry Sturges, is no friend of his own kind and offers to help Abraham in his quest to rid America of its vampire curse.

I enjoyed this book. It was exactly the type of novel I was expecting it to be with such a bizarre premise as well as its self-explanatory title. Despite the obvious fictitious elements, it also keeps to the facts about Lincoln’s life and provides an interesting view into the fictionalized Abraham’s mind-set. A film adaptation was made with the involvement of Grahame-Smith in 2012 although is does differ significantly from its source material. Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper and Anthony Mackie are among the primary cast of the movie. Seth also wrote a sequel to Vampire Hunter entitled ‘The Last American Vampire’ that I will most likely look into reading at some point.

Plot=8/10

Characters=7/10

Wording=9/10

Overall=8/10

Quote of the Day

And so life in the Shire goes on, very much as it has this past age. Full of its own comings and goings with change coming slowly, if it comes at all. For things are made to endure in the Shire, passing from one generation to the next. There’s always been a Baggins living here under the Hill, in Bag End. And there always will be.

Bilbo Baggins

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Written by Falcon, Friday 26 June 2020
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