All About foxrock66
Let me start this off by saying up to this point I have been strictly bipartisan when it comes to consoles - tripartisan if you count Nintendo, but this isn't what this is about.
When the PS4 was announced I couldn't have been more underwhelmed.
Today's Xbox One reveal, however, was the epitome of disappointing.
Seriously, what the heck?
I'm not interested in next gen for TELEVISION. Good god, I don't even pay for TV to begin with. I buy a gaming console for GAMES Microsoft. GAMES. Not live TV, voice control and freaking Skype.
Not to mention this bullcrap requiring installs and a preowned fee. Yeah, way to shoot yourself in the foot you greedy fools. Meanwhile I'll sit here and watch Sony's stock skyrocket and mourn the loss of what was once a good thing.
If somone can convince me that this isn't complete and utter folley, then please do.
So disappointed. You know what they say, 4 is better than One.
Star Trek : Into Darkness
You are a pawn, Kirk. You can't even guarantee the safety of your own crew.
There's no denying 2013 is a good year to be a sci-fi fan. Offerings like Oblivion, After Earth, Pacific Rim, and Riddick all promise to keep fans of the genre quite happy. However, its J.J. Abrams sequel to his masterful 2009 Star Trek reboot that is arguably the most anticipated release of the year, and rightfully so.
The 2009 film was an accomplishment; successfully modernizing the series while remaining decidedly true to what Star Trek is expected to be. Now, four years later, does the sequel, Into Darkness live up to its predecessor?
That all depends on what sort of film you want to see.
If youre all in for an action-filled, gut-wrenching adventure featuring the cast and characters you love from the reboot, then this is the movie for you.
The sound design is some of the best Ive experienced in recent memory. From photon blasts to screeching metal to warp drives, its unbelievably immersive. Jarring, subtle, soothing, adrenaline inducing, loud, its what sound in a film like this should be. Everything even simple punches have a weight and realness to them that is often overlooked in films.
This beauty extends to the musical score as well. Haunting melodies and rising crescendos are superbly placed to manipulate the mood to exactly what the viewer needs to feel at the time, whether that be wonder, dread, or excitement.
The returning cast members from Pine to Urban to Quinto to Pegg to the superb Bruce Greenwood - are every bit what they were in Star Trek 2009, and have arguably improved in their roles.
Quinto's Spock has noticeably grown, as has Urban's Bones McCoy. Pine's Kirk is a less explicit progression, but has successfully shaken some of the annoying frat-boy persona he exhibited in Trek 2009, which in itself is an accomplishment I can applaud.
The new cast members serve their roles for the most part minus Alice Eve, who seems perfectly content to act as a hollow shell placed in the film to be nothing but eye candy.
Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with; Vastly superior to 1982s Khan played by Ricardo Montalban, this new Khan is a sight to behold.
Equally menacing and relatable, there were many instances in the film that I truly felt for him and thought he was justified in his villainous actions. Cumberbatch's brooding, emotional portrayal is one the better characters in the series history, and I can only hope hell somehow be used again in the future. As engaging as he was, the final turn-about of his character arc was sadly predictable.
That is where we come to the bulk of what is wrong with Into Darkness
For all its victories, the film was almost too familiar for a returning fan like myself.
It leans on its source material 1982s aforementioned The Wrath of Khan like an ugly crutch, all too often borrowing plot points and twists in unneeded ways.
2009s reboot also did this, but in a far less greedy way, and ultimately managed to be original and surprising. Into Darkness does not succeed in this regard.
While the story is serviceable; if youre an old fan, chances are youve seen a lot of it before. This means many of the scenes meant to evoke shock or suspense may ring hollow, because you already know the outcome.
On occasion, Abrams has an inspired stroke, and instead of lifting a plot point, turns it on its head and gives us a legitimate twist that we can appreciate, but too often he eschews this in favor of trying to play to our nostalgia.
I was much more impressed with Oblivion's story line and unique ideas than I was with the script of Into Darkness, which is rather sad. Star Trek has always been more of a thinking-mans sci-fi, but this new film falls squarely in the action/thriller department. If youre looking for a good thought-provoking romp through the future, I recommend Oblivion.
Overall, Into Darkness is lacking in comparison to its older brother - and it seems to its competition this year as well. I will give credit to its final act, which was superbly engaging and had a pair of wonderfully executed twists though they may be lost on newcomers to the series.
The film is lots of fun, and if your introduction to the universe was the 2009 Trek, then you will likely be perfectly satisfied with this merely adequate sequel, but if youre a veteran of the world, you may be a tad disappointed.
In closing, I cannot help but feel let down. Into Darkness was engaging while it lasted and had plenty of great moments. The humor was frequent enough that it prevented things from ever becoming too dark, while also keeping its distance during the most dire of situations; and as previously stated the final act of the film was a superb ride.
Yet, there are so many little things that while competent, were not astounding. So much potential literally brimming around the surface of the display, but never being fully realized. Does it deserve a place in your collection? Yes, though perhaps not on your classics shelf. Into Darkness will find itself much more comfortable alongside contemporaries like Prometheus or Terminator : Salvation.
E. C. Cook 2013
Heads up. I am neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, these are simply my thoughts on the issue that everyone is so caught up in recently. I am however, firmly against the idea of attempting to solve an issue with such a broken excuse of a plan as "ban one of the things they can use" and so this is largely an argument against so called "gun control"
Reader discretion advised.
Lets start with some statistics. Get your reading glasses.
According to Dr. Gary Kleck, criminologist at Florida State University, between 800,000 and 2,500,000 crimes are stopped by guns each year. Regarding accidental shooting deaths per year, that number is in the 14,000-17,000 range.
Intentional killings? Were looking at around 12,000 homicides in 2011, with only about 8,000 being firearm related.
So out of roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the United States - about 100 million of which are handguns, belonging to around 80 million individuals - a whopping 0.0026% of these weapons are actually used as murder tools, whereas 0.083% are used to prevent crimes.
There were over 19,000 deaths by accidental drug overdose in 2004. The majority of these deaths were from prescription drugs, not illegal drugs. Banning prescription drugs makes as much sense as banning guns.
The most liberal states in regard to gun policy do not experience nearly as many homicides as states with tight gun control.Shouldnt places like Vermont be rife with mass shootings? Or maybe availability of guns isn't the problem after all.Many states such as Alaska, Vermont and New Hampshire have very liberal gun laws, if availability of guns is really the root of the problem with mass shootings in this country it seems like these states where it's really easy to get a gun should have more problems.
The efficacy of gun control legislation at reducing the availability of guns has been challenged by, among others, the testimony of criminals that they do not obey gun control laws, and by the lack of evidence of any efficacy of such laws in reducing violent crime. Analysis of the impact of gun control laws, by Kleck, covered 18 major types of gun control and every major type of violent crime or violence including suicide, and found that gun laws generally had no significant effect on violent crime rates or suicide rates. Other studies have found no association between gun ownership and suicide.
In other countries, other methods of suicide are used at even higher rates than the U.S., so gun availability may affect the method used but not overall suicide rates. University of Chicago economist Stephen Levitt argues that available data indicate that neither stricter gun control laws nor more liberal concealed carry laws have had any significant effect on the decline in crime in the 1990s. A comprehensive review of published studies of gun control, released in November 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, was unable to determine any statistically significant effect resulting from such laws.
Speaking of other countries, lets talk about Switzerland.
Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe. Switzerland does not have a standing army, instead opting for a people's militia for its national defense. The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations; Switzerland thus has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world. In recent times political opposition has expressed a desire for tighter gun regulations. A referendum in 2011 rejected stricter gun control. Why? Because laws dont matter.
In a 2001 study, it was averaged that about 420,000 assault rifles (fully automatic, or "selective fire") are stored at private homes in Switzerland. Additionally, there are some 320,000 semi-auto rifles and military pistols exempted from military service in private possession, all selective-fire weapons having been converted to semi-automatic operation only. In addition, there are several hundred thousand other semi-automatic small arms classified a carbines. The total number of firearms in private homes is estimated minimally at 1.2million to 3 million.
In 2005 almost 29% of households in Switzerland contained firearms of some kind.
The yearly average for gun related homicide in Switzerland? 40 cases.
All this being said, murder rates - and crime in general - are far more strongly correlated with poverty than gun laws or rates of gun ownership.Rural and suburban areas have far more guns per-capita than cities do; yet cities have a large majority of murders. It's an issue of poverty and lack of opportunity, paired with mentally or emotionally unstable human beings. The same factors that cause most crime.
The solution requires education about gun safety, improvement of mental health care availability and quality, as well as dealing with socioeconomic issues that lead to crime and violence. Not trying to prevent tragedy by banning one tool that can be used in evil when countless other tools may achieve the same effect.
If you have to restrict items from people and not people themselves to prevent acts of destruction, then that's a failure among society. Why is it the only thing people have a problem with people dying from is guns? No body advocates such changes when somebody bombs a building, hacks someone up with a machete, chops a head off with a knife, stabs twenty plus children in a school or flies a pair of jetliners into the World Trade Center. We didnt ban airplanes or box cutters did we now?
It's easier to make a homemade bomb or stab someone in the throat than it is to get a firearm. Fully automatic rifles are difficult and very expensive (upwards of $20,000 for a registered M16) for civilians to legally acquire in the US. The "special skills" required to make a homemade bomb are "mix fertilizer with diesel fuel", but media sensationalizes shooting in such a way that murderous gunmen become anti-heroes instead of horrible monsters, and we blame the tool they chose instead of the person executing the act.
This is the problem.
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