Friday, February 24, 2012

Act of Valor Review.

Movie review time!

I just got home from watching Act of Valor. I have to say, great movie. Loved it. But that is as a gut reaction, so lets dig in and see just how good this movie really is.

First off, lets talk about the target audience... Men. Okay, some women will like seeing gungho guys going around and shooting stuff up and looking sexy all around. But the real target audience is probably males from between 17 to 30. And to be honest the only route they didn't take to get those guys to put butts in the theatre seating is to have some sort of heavy makeout/sex scene. But then, the movie is better for not having it, and everyone knows it. Other then "sex sells," they checked off every single box for the target audience aside from dinosaurs and giant mecha. Crazy frenetic gunfights? Check. Cool gunboats? Check. Cool gunboats IN THE GUN FIGHT? Check. Chase scene? Check. Cool sniper headshots? Precision check in the x-ring. Evil baddie and his plan of Doom(tm)? Check. Underwater scenes? Check. Submarine in the underwater scenes? Check. A guy taking an RPG to the chest and WALKING IT OFF? Check.

Guys, this movie ROCKS.


Plot? Huh?

Oooooh.... yeah. Plot.

Okay, we find out pretty quick that the Lieutenant in command of the SEAL team is A) married and B) they are expecting.  We also find out that a CIA operative in south america somewhere is trying to get info on a drug cartel guy who is hooking up with his childhood friend, the Muslim extremist who arranged and executed an attack on an international school in the far east (If I recall correctly.) killing a LOT of kidsBastard.

The team gets called up to rescue this CIA agent after she gets made and caught. She gets tortured, but stays strong until the team can get to her. And the intel they get from the rescue op leads them down the rabbit hole...

I am not going to talk much more about the plot, spoilers being what they are, but I will say it held together pretty well. It was a bit hard to follow at times, since the cuts they used came pretty quick, but they used a common FPS game technique of super imposing a map and using a target box to track the movement of the major scene transitions. After the second cut like that, I was at home.

The narration from the chief was a little heavy handed in the beginning, and I am glad they dropped it until the very end. It works as bookends, but the upfront part drags a bit.

Acting. Okay. These guys are actual Navy SEALs, and they did a lot to bring authenticity to the film. Tactics, movement, timing, body language... they did a lot. But uh... actors they ain't. They are better than I am, and I ain't joking, but I think part of it is that they are playing themselves to a large degree. These guys know they can trust each other, and so their bond carries over onto film. It just that the fine nuances of tone and delivery didn't quite make it in some scenes. And that is ok, because they knock most of it out of the park. When you have a combat scene, or a high intensity scene, they are dialed in. It's the quiet intimate moments that they struggle with. And I can live with that.
Well... The guy who played Senior. I can't find him on IMDB (the SEALs are not credited in the film, and I don't see his face on IMDB...) so I presume he is a SEAL. I could just be blind. But wow. This guy is GOOD. The interrogation scene was GOLD.

Music was a rush. The tempo and bass was spot on for when the action began to heat up. I think I annoyed a few people down the row by tapping my feet to it.

Anyway. I am about out of things to say. I worked to day, so my brain is a wee bit toasty.

But I do wanna say this, if you are in the target demographic, and you don't get a "Aaaaaw yeeeeah..." feeling when the river boats touch off the mini-guns... you just lost your man-card. That was SWEET.

What. I'm in the demo.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hiding in the Wings...

There are days when it is all you can do to simply be what you are needed to be. No more, and God help you if you are less. You feel tired, alone, sad, and you know that you are about to miss something important any minute now and so you keep on your guard to prevent it, but of course all that happens are minor screw-ups.

I started the day with a prayer. God, please help me to not give into temptation. Please give me the strength to get out of bed. To get to work on time. To honor You. That was hard for me. To make that choice was really hard. I am not great at the discipline of prayer.

I had not slept well, and have not slept well for around a month. I don't expect to sleep well tonight. Sleep deprivation is cumulative; if you miss some, you need to gain it back or you will begin to suffer. Miss some more, and it adds up.  Miss enough, and you may as well be drunk. I have missed quite a bit. I think today was a "tipsy" day. I got to work on time. Yay. Logged in. Cool. But everything I did was sub par, at least for me. I had Boss-man call and walk me through something I really should have known. He was kind about it, just training me, but I felt embarrassed.

I got a little snippy in an e-mail exchange over something that I know won't change in other peoples habits, and I didn't get as much done as I probably could have gotten done. All through out the day I just wanted to sit and cry for no real reason I could find.

I went to the store. Got some food and a candle. And a cheap pitcher, cause all my old pitchers broke. (note to self, vet roommates before moving in.) Came home to my cat. He ignored me.

It has been, as my mom said, a very blah day. Everything was just... blah.

I am making an effort to remind myself that this morning I did something new. I prayed before I got out of bed.

And God heard me.

Hold on to that in the sad days. The blah days. The crazy sad horrible days.

God hears us. If nothing else goes right, if all we trust in goes away, we can pray to a God who hears us, who listens, and who cares. We do not serve a God who abandons us but instead watches us like mother watches her child. He wraps us in His coat on a cold day, covers us in His love and we will never know how bad it could have been because when we pray He hears us.

Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
   Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come!
   Let your eyes behold the right!

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
   you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
   I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
   I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
   my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
   incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
   O Savior of those who seek refuge
   from their adversaries at your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
   hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
   my deadly enemies who surround me.

They close their hearts to pity;
   with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They have now surrounded our steps;
   they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
He is like a lion eager to tear,
   as a young lion lurking in ambush.

Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
   Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
  from men by your hand, O LORD,
   from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
   they are satisfied with children,
   and they leave their abundance to their infants.

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
   when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Cat who thought he was God...

I did a lot today. Well, for me anyway. I went to the bank, took care of a few things there, went to Walmart and did some grocery shopping. Made dinner, talked with family for LONG time. (Love doing that!) Played some games. Generally had a good day.

And all day long when i was at home I had this cat who kept trying to take playful bats at me. "Hey!" Bat bat. "Play with me!" Meow meow. "I'm here!" Claw. "Hey yo- ooooh craphehasthesquirtbottlerun!"

Gandalf just wanted attention while I was busy with my own stuff.

Funny how we react the same way to God.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The hope of a soldier...

Most of what I read for fun is by David Weber, a space opera/military Sci-Fi author. In one of his series two star nations have been fighting a war for something like twenty years (the series covers the whole war), and we meet a wide selection of characters from both sides of the conflict. One of them, the lead, is Honor Harrington. She has a friend, a Treecat, who follows her through out her life. He has two names, the one humans have given him, Nimitz, and the one he was given by his fellow treecats, Laughs Brightly. (The name makes sense in context). Being a race of telepaths, Treecat names are based around their character and nature. Treecats began to name "their" humans in the same fashion before they learned the English language, and the results can be... interesting.

One of Harrington's main opponents is/was Thomas Theismen, and I don't want to spoil the series for you, so I won't gave rank or situation, but Nimitz had a chance to name him. It took a while to get to know him, but Nimitz called him "Dreams of Peace."

One of the few men who can fight Honor to a standstill (no mean feat, that.), who has devoted his life to his nations navel service and is responsible for untold numbers of deaths to Honor's allies, and his name is Dreams of Peace?

And yet it is so fitting. How many of our soldiers fight because they want to stop the violence? If we can stop "the bad guys" over there, they won't disrupt the peace here. And isn't that an admirable goal?

Scripture has called us soldiers for Christ, to fight for His peace, and to bring it to the world. It is hard to wrap my mind around that, especially when we also think of Christians as being a peaceful people. Fighting is so contrary to that image.

I think often it is a matter of who we bow down to. Many soldiers in Libya and Egypt were bowing down to a tyrant, and horrible things happened. Syria and Iran are suffering under a military bowing down to evil men. American soldiers are not infallible, and I am sure some of them are bowing down to selfish desire and evil men. But I believe many of our Service Members, men and women in our uniformed services, bow down to something or someone good. Maybe it is the love of family, maybe it is belief in our Constitution, maybe it is our Lord Jesus Christ. But when we bow down to God, His Son, heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit, good things come of it. Joy, hope, love. It should be the desire of every soldier to bow down to God first, even if it means fighting a physical or spiritual battle.

And as soldiers of Christ, we are called to the same.

I cannot claim to be good at it, I know I am not. I am a poor soldier at best, but I can hope to be better. I can try. I'm holding on to that for now.

Found this image today. Thought it was worth sharing.

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