The walking Stupid, (TWD)

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The longer that the walking dead lingers on our small screens, the less sense it makes. I can see why it is steadily losing viewership. For me the answer is simple:, some characters that everyone wants dead, are still alive and others that viewers are attached to are senselessly killed off. Glenn, Abraham and Carl  are the prime example but there have been many other characters that were killed off by walkers, or by bad guys, just as we were beginning to become attached. We root for these people and hope for their continued survival, yet they continue to die in the most heart breaking ways.  For a while   now I have been aware of the dead bro walking trope, which still tarnishes television and movies. Characters of color on the Walking Dead don’t last very long with the notable exception of Father Gabriel, that useless knucklehead that left the gate open at Alexandria, stole food and weapons for the Trash people and spouts hypocritical nonsense, while endangering the people who have protected him. Michonne should have cur his head off. His behavior fits the old stereotype of the shifty, untrustworthy, cowardly negro, Shame on you writers room.

There have been many other noteworthy characters, that deserved to be survivors and were actually and logically more suited to be survivors, than father Gabriel; for instance Noah a courageous young man who had survived on his own, for a long period of time in a zombie infested apartment building. He was killed off in a really despicable manner by a cowardly Alexandrite, who then blamed him for his own death. The Death of Noah was to me, as heart  breaking as the death of Carl. The young people that use their brains to survive deserve to live, they are the real future.

Another senseless death on the series,  was that of Sasha. Her irrational plan for vengeance was too stupid even for her, especially after she had started pulling herself together.  One of the earliest unwarranted deaths on TWD, was that of Shane Walsh, Ricks old partner on the Police Force.  From my point of view, it was Rick’s cheating spouse who instigated the murder, if Shane had been the victor I have no doubt that Mrs. Rick Grimes would have happily continued shagging Shane.

Shifting gears, lets talk about the disposable Doctors on TWD. I truly doubt that people in this type of predicament, would be so unconcerned about killing anyone, who has the skill to keep people alive. By my count six healers have been killed off, Negan killed one of them, Dwight killed another, one of Negan’s Henchmen killed a third. If Negan were actually as smart, as they try to portray him, he wouldn’t have killed any one that had medical expertise, no matter how angry he was and anyone who did kill a doctor or healer would be severely punished.

Let’s talk about the sanity of both Rick and Morgan. These two are all over the map when it comes to illogical behavior; to call them erratic is an understatement. Morgan actually callously murdered an ally in a fit of rage, that should have been focused on the enemy, a good beatdown would have sufficed. Both men appear to have lost their moral compass and can not distinguish between those who deserve mercy and those who do not. We have even seen Carl, murder an unarmed teen who was no longer a threat, obviously the influence of his brutal and unstable father; now we’re are expected to believe, that Carl has suddenly had some kind of unseen epiphany, making him the arbiter of peace between to murderous maniacs. Ricks brutal murder of the sanctuary survivors, after promising them safety, when he only had to kill the one Negan loyalist, that actually deserved killing, was an act that made him more of a villain than a hero. I know that letting Negan live follows the graphic novel, but it is no longer logical, considering Rick’s behavior.

It is obvious, that some of the saviors, were only cooperating with Negan out of fear of being brutally beaten to death. This is why some of the fighters were so easily turned after being captured.  This brings me to the subject of Maggie who randomly killed a prisoner who stood up to her, instead of the snickering, taunting, jackanapes that was Jared who led the escape from Hilltop. I was hoping beyond hope that Maggie would put a bullet in his skull, ever since Jesus saved him and the rest of the prisoners from Maggies wrath. Her misplaced distrust of poor Alden, who is trying so hard to prove his worth, by remaining behind as a prisoner, instead of running back to Negan; is both cynical and unfounded and shows a lack of understanding and compassion. In my opinion the only choice for Hill top leadership is Jesus and the only choice and the clear choice of the Alexandria group is Michonne. She is strong as a warrior, level headed and has the trust of her friends, without all of the crazy drama of Rick.

The other glaring weakness of Rick, is his gullibility. Jadis and her flighty and predictable double-crossing, has put him and his group in jeopardy three times; Simon was correct in his response to the Heapsters betrayal. No one needs these clowns at there back, because they will only run away, or stab you in the back. Jadis should have been killed, after her first betrayal, yet Rick continued to Knock on her door seeking help, only to be betrayed again. This behavior fits the definition of crazy.

This brings me back to my main point, that the wrong people are killed off and that unlikable and useless characters, are left to muddy up the story with pointless drama,that does not progress the story at all. The season finale  was not satisfying or conclusive and the end scene with Maggie, Darryl and Jesus makes less sense than leaving Negan alive.  Jesus is very much against cold blooded murder, Darryl let Dwight go proving that he can change and he bears some of the responsibility for the death of Abraham; so his vendetta against Negan is empty and selfish. Maggie is the only one that really has an ax to grind, being Glen’s widow, she should have been allowed to vent her rage by bashing Negan’s brains out with Lucille, now that would have been a satisfying ending.

LOGITECH WOES

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Logitech 570 wireless trackball

I haven’t used a Logitech device for a long time which explains why I purchased a new one. Let me make myself perfectly clear; the reason why I haven’t purchased a logitech device is the fact that I was dissatisfied with their performance in the past and the difficulty in setting them up. To say the least they are now and always have been a nightmare for an average guy like me. I won’t get into the problems that I had with my former keyboard and mouse, but apparently nothing has changed to bring them into the 21st century. I am admittedly old fashioned and I don’t take to new technology, but the Logitech 570 wireless tracking ball is nothing less than a throwback to the days of my first PC, a Sears eMachine that cost all of eight hundred dollars in 1998. I used the mouse that came with it, until it no longer clicked and then I discovered Tracking balls; once cutting edge ergonomic technology, now  relegated to the old peoples section with the other archaic devices, and that’s exactly were it belongs.

I have gone through three tracking balls  since 2000, which means that they’ve each endured an average of five years of daily use. My third one is still in service but I’ve always wanted a wireless tracking ball and now after a decade and a half I finally found one for about half the price they wanted back in the day. Up until now I’ve always had the plug in tracking balls because until now most of my PCs were not set up to be wireless, although my  Micron had the capability I am tech lazy and never bothered to hook it up.

Now I am a Mac user and have familiarized myself with a wireless keyboard and mouse, but I hate moving my hand around a mouse pad just to use the cursor. So I forsook my wireless apple mouse and plugged in my old faithful tracking ball. But alas the sticky clicker syndrome hit and my poor tracking ball was afflicted. Time for a new tracking ball. So I went to Best Buy and found the Logitech 570 wireless tracking ball with unifying Receiver. It seemed simple enough buy it plug it in and go to work. If only it was that easy!

I did everything that I was supposed to do, I went to the Logitech site downloaded the manager and installer, (already too much work), I read the prompts very carefully followed the directions and failed miserably to pair my tracking ball with my mac. I have unplugged, restarted and started from scratch and so far I have not been able to successfully pair the device. the closest I came, was being able to assign right click and roller, but before I can finish I have to assign a function to to the left click, which the manager will not let me do. So the tracking ball remains unusable and so far the help site doesn’t help. My next step is to call customer service and hope they don’t charge me for the call. This is more trouble than any tracking ball is worth in a world of plug and play devices. Unfortunately Apple only offers the same piece of junk that I already own. My Advice is, don’t waste your money on this tracking ball. If I get the problems resolved after contacting customer service I’ ll update my progress, otherwise my opinion still stands.

Tech review: Vizio Smart TV

IMG_0578 (1)             MY STUPID SMART TV.                                                            Don’t be fooled by the name of a product. Just because something has the name smart in front of it, doesn’t mean that it is. I recently purchased the VIZIO E-Series Smart TV. I shied away from Apple TV because I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with MAC products, meaning I own an iPod touch an iPad and a iMac All in one computer. They have an incredibly steep learning curve for a guy like me, who started with a simple PC. My main beef with Apple is that their customer service is nothing more than a money grubbing scheme to bilk their customers. I swore to myself that I would never again buy another APPLE product. When they finally wear out or can no longer be upgraded all of my Apple devices will be replaced with anything other than Apple.

Back to Vizio. After setting up and tuning it, I discovered that almost everything available on the menu of internet apps, (most of them are subscription services), which means they charge a fee, are apps that aren’t needed , not wanted, or are redundant. I am an HBO subscriber but unfortunately They don’t make that available on this product. They do have Hulu plus, but why should I pay for that, when I have HBO GO. I feel that with a smart tv I should be able to access the same things that I can access from my iPad,or my TV. The Yahoo app store is so limited that it only took me two minutes to check out their inventory, pretty lame! I feel that I should be getting much more from a smart TV, especially when all of the hype and the sales pitch that I got from the guy at best buy. This thing should be amazing, but it’s not.

Here is what I expect but didn’t get. The ability to browse the internet, the ability to use a wireless keyboard, the ability to watch HBO GO, Adult Swim, Crunchy roll and a bunch of other favorites. I thought I would be able to play Mahjong,slots or download the Sims. None of these things which are common on my iPad are available to me. The only good thing that I can say about it, is that it functions as a normal television with a very slow remote and You Tube. I can not figure out the use of the pairing feature, since you can only  use it with You Tube and you see the exact same thing that you’re watching on your iPad. I can rent or purchase movies but I can do that on my  regular television and have a bigger screen. I can also and have watched movies on my Mac and my iPod and iPad, so no big deal. I can not lay up in bed and work on my blog. In short it’s just a TV that isn’t very smart after all, just a scam to sell more apps.

TIMEY WIMEY LOOP DE LOOP (Terminator Genisys)

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I love time travel movies, even the bad ones. The good ones are few and far in-between and I do consider the Terminator as one of the good ones, the franchise’s popularity proves my point. Right from the start it was more than just an action movie, because of the questions about fate, destiny and the intrusion of technology into our lives. The entire Movie franchise starting with the original The Terminator in 1984 has posed these same questions and technology and society has reflected the concerns in the movie. This series plays like a neo-Luddite treatise against the horrors of artificial intelligence. Technology can be scary, I personally hate the cloud I think it is useless.

All of that said; my reasons for not liking Terminator Genisys, has more to do with the fact that I spent the entire movie confused and trying to recap the previous installments of the series. In case you’ve forgotten there have been five movies and a television series in the franchise. without doing a synopsis of any of them, here they are; The Terminator, 1984, Terminator 2:Judgment Day, 1991, Terminator 3:Rise of the Machines, 2003, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, Television series, 2008, Terminator: Salvation, 2009. Now we have Terminator Genisys, 2015 Which felt like the beginning of a new franchise. If there’s a sequel to this movie I think I’ll avoid it, like I’ve avoided the TRANSFORMER and IRON MAN Sequels. One bad experience is enough and I really think that this series needs closure.

Almost the entire movie was a WTF moment, that’s not good; however that’s not the worst of it. Spoiler Alert! The vilification of John Connor was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I can’t understand why this was necessary to the story, other than to give Jason Clarke additional screen time; it also put a glaring plot hole in the movie. I wasn’t put off by the acting, I found Emilia Clarke tough but adorable, Jai Courtney adequate and macho, Jason Clarke was scary good and Arnold old but not obsolete. All in all this wasn’t a terrible movie just a terribly confusing one. There is lots of almost non stop action and some lighter moments which were not present in the other movies. I didn’t walk out on it so I will rate it as a solid popcorn Saturday matinee.

The Giver

Snorefest, borefest,these aren’t two Minnesota festivals that occur between Septemberfest and Oktoberfest. When asked to describe the Giver, I actually had to make up new adjectives to do so. Unfortunately they weren’t good made up adjectives like fanfreakintastic,or exploderific or just plain awesome that came out; without much effort the words that came to mind were Snorefest and borefest. I have never fallen asleep in a movie theater, not even as a child at the late night drive in, where I had my blanket and pillow with me. The Giver had me nodding off like The Age of Innocence, the 1993 snoozer that’s more effective than NyQuil.

When I spend five or ten dollars on a movie, I expect to be entertained and not bored to sleep. A movie doesn’t have to be loud and stupid to entertain me, it just has to have a good plot and interesting characters, not caricatures. Not even the stellar presence of Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, both actors who I adore, could save this movie.

I love dystopian sci-fi, that’s why I chose to see this pic. I loved Snow Piercer and Elysium and many others, because I was entertained. I am not averse to Young Adult themes, even though I walked out of Twilight, because of the sheer sappiness, but I have seen both Hunger games and intend to see the third and forth. The giver was one of those movies where you get a slow build up, followed by an even slower let down. I hate survival movies where the landscape and environment dominate. The torturous trek across parched deserts and freezing mountain ranges bores the heck out of me, especially when it’s done badly. The opposite end of the spectrum is a Disney movie, Never Cry Wolf, Starring Charlie Martin Smith, (1983). My point is, that you just can’t tack a survival montage at the end of a movie and expect it to work. How did he and the baby survive, how many miles did he walk, what did he do for food and water and shelter, who knows?

the end of the movie is only one of the disappointments endured, the transition from black and white to color should have been glorious, as in Pleasantville (1998) another movie that starts out in black and white and slowly transforms for the viewer, both metaphorically and chromatically creating a visual treat. The acting by the young individuals is less than adequate, but I will give them the benefit of a doubt and blame it on the script and direction. However my guess is that unless a sequel happens, so they can redeem themselves this movie might have been a career killer for them. Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges will naturally survive, because they are awesome and so will Alexander Skarsgard but this was a bad comeback choice for Katie Holmes, may the odds be ever in her favor.

Since I brought up the subject of Minnesota Beer drinking festivals here are a few links to some fun festivals

https://www.facebook.com/septemberfest

http://minneapolis.about.com/od/eventsfestivals/tp/beerfestivals.htm

http://www.newulmoktoberfest.com

Those stupid stupid sims

I should be ashamed of myself; I’ve been playing Medieval Sims for a week now without a pause and neglecting the world around me. This stupid but highly addictive and frustrating  game game, has all of the annoyances of the original except in medieval clothing. The sims are still just as stupid as always, you have them cook a meal and no matter what setting for autonomy they’re set on, they have the strange habit of setting a plate of food on the floor and just standing there. No matter how many hundreds of simoles that you spend on fancy dining tables and chairs they will only sit down and eat fifty percent of the time. Although there is a strange exception to this quirk, any random sim within reach of your plate will apparently sit down and eat it for you. What’s up with that? If your sims are so damn hungry that they faint why wouldn’t they pounce on the food like a ravenous beast?

The eating glitch is not the only crazy thing about this game trying to get someone hitched is  ridiculously ridiculous, and if by chance you do happen to get them into a state of wedded bliss why do you have to go through the same courting ritual to get them to woohoo. Personally I think that there should be a different relationship model after the sims are married instead of the same old tired choices. Just a thought, if you have a perfectly good marriage bed why aren’t you cuddled up with your new spouse. Why can’t the king just order some one to marry him, after all his word is law. Chasing some one from too to room just to talk to them sounds like grounds for divorce or annulment to me.

Which brings me to my next gripe how can the constable lock up the king; the king should be immune unless a coup occurs and why can’t I just have the executioner cut off his head; as a matter of fact I think that a guillotine would be a great enhancement to this game. That pit monster is so lame I wanna few heads to roll. and why are the royal servants so impudent. Obviously all of these terrible quirks in the game are the fault of the game developers. I guess that I expect to much from a game that has been around since the last century and has had several decades to evolve but really hasn’t, just more and more stupid expensive expansion packs. Well it;s lucky for me that winter is finally oven in Minnesota in freaking May, maybe know I can tear myself away from this stupid game.

Oblivion

I’m no professional so unfortunately I don’t have the privilege of seeing early screenings of the newest flicks. So like everyone else I have to wait. So here is my belated review of the new Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. The movie takes place in a post apocalyptic world that was ravaged by the destruction of the moon and followed by an alien invasion. Blowing up the moon should have been enough, to pretty much destroy all humans. Well the earth men did what any group of Survivors of a horrendous cataclysm would do they dropped nukes on the offending Aliens, making the earth even more uninhabitable and thus winning a pyrrhic victory. This is the story that is revealed to us in the opening narration, by the main character Jack, a humble drone repairman. The drones were supposedly designed to take out pockets of alien invaders still roaming the planet.

Jack and his curvy tech support vicky, are biding their time while awaiting the end of their three year tour on earth. In two weeks they are due to join the rest of humanity on Triton, a totally unsuitable ice ball with Cryovolcanos and nitrogen spewing geysers. Why not Europa or Mars? This doesn’t seem to bother Jack or Vicky, nor does the fact that a decimated race that teeters on the edge of extinction, could muster the resources and manpower to build a giant space station.

Although the earth is supposedly too toxic for habitation Jack manages to find a hidey hole surrounded by mountains and greenery with his own private fishing pond out back. He goes there when he wants to get away and shoots baskets, reads books and listens to old albums on his phonograph.

Obviously the movie is called Oblivion, because Jack is totally oblivious to the evidence all around him, that suggest that Earth is not the unlivable radio active wasteland, that he has been led to believe. The rest of the movie after the intro focuses on Jacks journey of discovery, learning the truth and the meaning behind his recurring dreams about a beautiful mystery woman, (Olga Kurylenko). Poor Vicky doesn’t stand a chance. Jack is more or less an unquestioning tool of his masters; he doesn’t even question the reasons for his memory wipe, which is suspicious on every level. That’s all I’m going to reveal about the plot. You’ll have to see it for yourself if you haven’t already.

You can probably tell by the tone of my synopsis, that I didn’t find Oblivion as entertaining as the trailers had led me to believe it was. I can usually tell if a movie is going to be bad within the first fifteen minutes. However  the premise of this movie was interesting enough to make me believe that the best was yet to come. Oh, how wrong I was! It dragged on and on with the annoyingly perky Boss Sally, asking the same question in scene after scene, “Are we and effective team?” The answer should have been. “Are you an annoying jerk?”

There is some superfluous nudity and male female bonding and no backstory until toward the end of the movie. I found the pacing slow and the scenes in between the action boring, and the plot full of logic holes and inconsistencies. One of the biggest inconsistencies was the fact that in one scene the drones seemed fairly easy to take down; which was the reason for his constant repair jobs. while in others they were almost indestructible. The same could be said about Jack; he takes a forty foot fall onto a hard surface and doesn’t die or get knocked unconscious, but can’t take a hit from a rifle butt that wasn’t meant to kill. Why did they even need to hit him anyway? Actually either one should have killed him or at least given him a fractured skull.

When Jack finally comes face to face with his dream girl she is hesitant to tell him the purpose of the mission which he was a part of . Get real they were on the same mission! So why was she hesitant to tell him the truth? They should have been exchanging stories just out of curiosity,  and we would have gotten to the truth of the matter sooner rather than later. I hate it when movies try to be suspenseful and do it so awkwardly ; this was that kind of movie.

The best thing about this movie wasn’t Tom Cruise; it was Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Nicholaj Coster-Waldau, who should have had a bigger part, rather than wasting time watching Tom Cruise shoot baskets and look wistful, while listening to Procol Harum. I guess that it’s normal in Cruise land that everyone else is relegated to minor significance.

On the upside the movie was beautifully shot, and the special effects were excellent. The set designs were reminiscent  of the Jetsons but were very cool. Over all I’d give this movie a C- Since I didn’t get up and leave the theater grumbling to myself.

Star Maidens: a really, really, really, guilty pleasure

One of the things that I love about  You Tube, is its function as a defacto Archive of vintage movies and television. I spent a good part of this winter hunkered down in my snow bunker, searching You Tube for ancient gems. So far I have found more than enough to keep me busy on those cold winter nights. Two of my favorites from  my childhood (in the 1950’s) were the 1930’s serial version of Flash gordon and Buck Rogers; incidentally both of these starred Buster Crabbe. I have already watched all of the episodes of both serials

On further examination I have rediscovered some of those great 1970’s and 80’s Sci-Fi TV show that I had forgotten long ago, like Space 1999. However there are some shows that I have never seen before, because they are from the U.K. and were not aired on American television. One of the few Brit Sci-Fi shows that aired on American TV. was and still is Doctor Who, (on BBC America). I am not familiar with British TV from the 70’s and 80’s so when I discovered STAR MAIDENS I was pleasantly surprised. I must admit that it is slightly silly and campy, but in a good way; unlike the laughable and awful Galactica 1980 which was a total flop.

Star Maidens a 1976 British and German production, is one of those rare reflections of contemporary society that in retrospect is quite progressive. It is representative of second wave feminism because it stands gender roles on their heads and highlights the pernicious and banal male attitudes of the time. Some of these attitudes still persist today. The main premise of the story takes the gender  role reversal to its logical conclusion; the nightmare of all Macho male misogynist, a Female dominated society.

Plot summary: the Planet Medusa is struck by a roque asteroid and forced out of its own orbit and strays into the orbit of our sun. The remnants of their population have moved underground and developed a matriarchal society. I guess the reason for this mega disaster back story, was solely for the purpose of moving the planet close enough to Earth for the action to take place.

Two lowly male servants, Adam and Shem virtually enslaved by the evil dominating women, discover that they are close enough to another planet to risk an escape. The reason why they want to escape this planet inhabited by oodles of beautiful women, who use them for sex as well as labor, is that they are tired of not being taken seriously and being condescended to. Don’t you worry your pretty little head, let a woman do that for you. Your man brain is too small to comprehend such technical things. These are the kind of attitudes that the women of Medusa have toward their unworthy male domestics and laborers. These are the common complaints of women in our own society and it is hilarious to see the tables turned.

Adam (a male domestic) and Shem (a mechanic) steal a space ship and high-tail it to the big blue marble. The women are incredulous about the escape and don’t believe that the men could actually make the journey without killing themselves. Much to the women’s dismay the bumbling men actually make it to earth alive. The first thing they do upon arrival is try to converse with a cow and then eat some grass. These guys aren’t really the brightest bulbs in the light shop.

The Medusans then dispatch Fulvia and Octavia in the Hunter ship Nemesis to apprehend the two male fugitives. It’s for their own good, men are too stupid to survive on their own. On earth Octavia and Fulvia come head to head with the insolent and arrogant Earth men and start making demands for the return of their property. In the mean time Adam and Shem have turned themselves in, and ask for political asylum.

The women discover that they can’t reason with unreasonable males and kidnap two scientist Liz Becker and Rudy Schmidt and abscond with them back to Medusa. Immediately upon their arrival the pair is quickly separated and begin to learn what is expected of them. Liz is set up in luxurious accommodations, while Rudy is set up in a male barracks with the other sausages. It is soon obvious that Liz loves her new status and that Rudy hates his new life on Planet Medusa. When it is explained to him, how men had mishandled the planet for thousands of years, before the women turned it into a peaceful paradise, (for women) he says that he would rather live on a planet of war and greed than stay on medusa.

I guess that Rudy doesn’t  believe in the old adage that, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”  The underlying themes of, freedom is relative and empathy is impossible are explored in a light hearted manner. Rudy insulated by his male superiority, feels enslaved, while Liz feels liberated in a matriarchal society; although she claims, she just wants to return to Earth and be Rudy’s assistant.

As the story progresses Fulvia makes her way back to Earth, albeit against orders, to try to retrieve Adam, her domestic who she obviously loves. On earth Fulvia is kinda put in her place but not quite as she learns the quirks of earthly behavior.

This show is a fun diversion full of feminist themes, as well as a a lesson in tolerance and gender parity. As campy as it is, Star Maidens is a satirical denunciation of sexism that’s done in my opinion in a non offensive way. It is worth a watch if you like campy Sci-Fi with intelligent themes.

Zero Dark Thirty

The controversy about the movie, Zero Dark Thirty, was purely based on a misconception, at least in my opinion. Maybe the critics were watching a different version of the movie than I was, or maybe it’s just that each brain works differently. To me it was obvious that the protagonist got very little information from torture. The fact that they had tortured detainees for a decade, and never got any closer to Osama Bin Laden proves that it wasn’t  the violence that bore fruit, but the non violent types of interrogation, that actually proved useful. Proper and thorough  detective  work carried out by analyst who actually examined the mountains of information compiled, combined with humane treatment of prisoners and some bribery, yielded the final results that led to finding and killing Bin Laden.

The real controversy should be why did our government employ such archaic, brutal and ultimately useless methods to gather intelligence. Not everyone talks under torture some people just die. Others resist but more often, people will say whatever the torturer wants them to say just to stop the pain. Torture isn’t a reliable source of information. Another thing about the movie that bothered me, was that they received a vital lead from a minor al Qaeda operative, that he had seen Bin Laden in Pakistan, but then failed to investigate that lead. Ultimately Bin Laden was found in Pakistan. It wasn’t the first time that the intelligence service has screwed up and probably not the last; the movie clearly points out this fact.

The criticism that Kathryn Bigelow was some how crediting the discovery of the whereabouts of Bin Laden to torture methods, is in my opinion unfounded. What I saw on screen was an hours worth of horrible interrogation methods, that yielded few results. From an objective point of view the director did not seem to take one point of view over another, but much like a journalist was simply reporting what was happening. We  now know, that torture was used, but even the experts agree that none of the information obtained from torture led to the final results.

It was pointed out to me by an unnamed source, that some of the criticism may be gender bias. Women directors in Hollywood have always had a harder time than men, and Bigelow is infringing on typically male territory. the war/action/thriller. This is Kathryn Bigelow’s second foray into the Iraq war, her first being the Hurt locker (2008) about an EOD team. So there may be some  credence to this theory.

Politics aside, I found the movie’s opening disturbing. The 911 calls of the panic stricken victims of the World Trade center made me want to cry. It was emotional overkill for me, because the last time I was in New York, was on july fourth 2001, when the twin towers were still standing. If I had never actually seen those buildings in reality, the impact of their destruction might have been blunted. Any director worth their salt knows how push the right buttons to draw the audience into the story. The opening did just what it was supposed to do, even though it was a bit heavy handed.

Most of the rest of the movie was depictions of torture, or of the protagonist viewing torture on a monitor. I found it to be redundant and draining and on the verge of boring. The high spots in the movie were the scenes that depicted inter office politics and maneuvering, together with brainwork and investigation. I think the movie would have been more interesting, if more of the foot work of the intelligence community had been revealed to the audience.

The movie picks up again in the last forty-five minutes when the big boys finally decide to do something. After analyzing and agonizing over the information, Seal team Six is finally give the go ahead to conduct an operation, in the territory of another  sovereign nation, without their knowledge or consent. This in it self was not only dangerous, but could and did create an international incident. Bigelow created the perfect blend of  the tension and confusion that comes with the fog of war. By making everything so dark the viewer was stumbling around in the dark trying desperately to keep up with the action on the screen. She resisted the urge to shoot the entire scene through the eerie green light of a night vision scope, which made the situation even more tense.

All in all this was a fairly decent movie although I could have done without all of the torture. I don’t think that it added much to the movie beyond the first uncomfortable visit by the movie’s female protagonist.