August 4th, 2014


It feels so good to finish a multi-day project

I don't like to start something and not finish the same day. The same hour, if possible. Today I finally finished making the Blu-Ray version of the Little Shop of Horrors DVD, burned 10 copies and have the first two ready to mail. Also made 5 copies in PAL format, for my UK cousins. I hope they work. I don't have a PAL DVD player, so the closest I came to testing was to see that my player recognized it as Blu-Ray by couldn't launch it. In the good old days it would be able to play it, but the video would be scrambled and the audio might skip too.

Another long-tern thing I got done was to go to the SJAA meeting room at Houge Park and get my Celestron telescope collimated. And the star alignment process explained, sort of. That bit has to be done at night, using three obscure stars to get a fix on where everything else will be. Sounds stupid to me, since it would be possible with the computer to line up on the moon, Mars and Venus and be accurate enough for me. Most telescope owners apparently are only interested in viewing, and the farther away the object the better. I just want to photograph the nearby planets & the moon. The moon is interesting enough that I would be content to just take pictures of small bits of it way close-up.

And I am three steps closer to home-made sourdough rye bread. I made the starter two weeks ago, took it out of the fridge and "fed" it last night and today it was alive and growing, and very sour. So I filtered through half a dozen recipes and came up with on which could be done in a day. But I didn't start till 3 pm, when I got back from SJAA. So where that stands is I made the recipe, the dough had risen and been punched down twice, and is in small bread pans covered with a moist dish towel, on top of the stove (it's gas, the oven pilot light makes the stovetop slightly warmer than the room). I'll check in the morning, and if there is time I'll bake it, otherwise when I come home from work.

The first event of the morning was to go see the first showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. Friends and relatives on both sides of the Atlantic have been raving about it, it couldn't be too bad. I had not counted on it being the IMAX showing, but that was okay, there were plenty of seats way up in the back at 10 am. And AMC's IMAX is not in a dome, which would make me dizzy.

I have never heard of the comic book, so I can only judge it on its own merits. In general, it was very enjoyable, with lots of humorous moments, the characters were well-established but kept maturing. Chris Pratt is no Harrison Ford, but Peter Quill is not written to be as competant as Han Solo. He did okay. Zoe Saldana adds another sexy alien role to her resume, this time with major martial arts and weaponry skilz. Outstanding performance, despite being given some mega-awkward lines to explain towards the end whose side she is on. Vin Diesel is only on the payroll for the box office draw. His voice-ove must have taken 30-seconds of studio time. The animated character Groot, to whom the voice belongs, just says the same 3 words pretty much the same way. The character is amazing, and a highlight of the show, amazing powers for a tree with legs, and they keep evolving.

But for me the show was stolen by former pro wrestler Dave "The Animal" Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer, a huge man with a heavily decorated torso - imagine Maori warrior tattoos, except they are pink welts, like he has been artistically branded with a soldering iron. His character goes from dumb as a very angry rock to almost intelligent and definitely empathetic by the end of the movie. He has some of the best lines, and also some of the best fight moves. Dave can Act™.

Bradley Cooper does the voice of Rocket the bionically enhanced racoon. Part of the plot is Peter has a mix tape from his mother, cassette era tunes which the writers have lined up with the mood of scenes in the show, sometimes successfully. They left out Rocky Racoon, a monumental omission on their part.

Michael Rooker is the blue-skinned head of a group of "Ravers" who kidnapped Peter as a boy. A blatant steal from Serenity's Reavers. He's good and scary, but the weaponry demonstration which keeps his gang in line is not performed until way after we need to see it. Until then it just looks like a gimmick. Another guy who can Act™.

Glenn Close is the president or something like it of the Nova Prime, the planet being another steal from Firefly - the benevolent police state. John C. Reilly is tapped to be a constable, and while he's a master of making a small part not so small, the character should have belonged to Colm Meany. There's even a shot towards the end of his apartment with rice paper sliding doors and an Asian wife (we only see her from the back, but it's enough).

Technically, the movie is amazing. There is enbough special effect work for three flicks. They could have cut half an hour of the fight scened without losing any content. Costumes, makeup, CG are all outstanding. Audio was excellent, I could hear everything everyone said.

No title song. I think they missed out there. The score was typical space battle stuff, with cassette songs in between. 

None of the romantic moments gelled. There were some belly laughs, but nothing to cry about.

Stay for the easter egg after the 12,765 names in the credits (they were kind to us, and showed them in two columns so it took half as long to get to the end). I have a cameo.

Worth matinee IMAX 3D senior price.

Plans for tomorrow:
Still need to see if Nero can convert the blu-ray DVD into a standard DVD. I need to make PAL DVDs for my low-tech relatives.