Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Not Just Another Day....

   It's hard to believe that it has been 12 years! It is amazing how clear we remember some things and forget others. I am not from New York and I have never lived there. I have friends who live and work there and to hear them recount that day is at times chilling. Nonetheless it is a day none of us should forget and one that has changed the way our country lives.

  The morning began like any other. It was sunny, but a little bit of a September chill. I was living in Michigan at the time and it gets colder there a little faster. I had just began a vacation. I woke up went to the gym and had just gotten back home. It didn't feel any different than any other day. When I came home Sean was on the phone and pacing and I saw the first of those horrifying images on the TV. I still thought it was just a plane crash. I couldn't have been more wrong.

  It was then and throughout the next week that I would be glued to the TV. How could this happen? What do we do next? The usual questions were asked, but I certainly didn't know any of the answers.
I immediately went back to work. My flight was cancelled and so was vacation. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be on the air. I understood the severity of what was going on in the world, but I was not ready to be the guy conveying info.

 I was immature and even though it was a small market, I should NEVER have been on a morning show. Information was given to us by the minute and we couldn't get away from what had happened. I wasn't ready at all. People asked questions, they were angry, made assumptions, and cried. I remember doing the same. I remember looking up at the sky in the days that followed and not seeing planes. I remember seeing the pictures of the true heroes of that day. The people who ran into the explosions and not away from them. The people who needed no reason for why they did what they did. They helped without question.

 I look back and now and see that some good things did come from that tragedy. If you were not old enough to understand what was going on then it might be hard to appreciate now. The country had a renewed sense of patriotism. People became proud of the flag and our way of life. People were a little kinder. We helped total strangers and not for any gain. We appreciated each other a little more and gave when we didn't have much to give. We became inspired by those who put their lives on the line everyday. It didn't matter if you were rich, poor, young, or old. All that mattered was that we were American. 911 helped a lot of people learn to appreciate life again.

If you're not in New York, you might have forgotten that. I hope that we always remember and pray none of us have to witness anything like that again. I was in New York for a Billy Joel concert at the now gone Shea Stadium. Billy has a song called, "Good Night Saigon." It was obviously written about Vietnam, but during the chorus of "we'll all go down together," the stage became full of police, firefighters, and first responders from that day. People next to me were sobbing and you could still feel how much that day still resonated in the lives of those people.

 911 made us all think. It made us all not take little things for granted. I hope we can learn to think like that again and more importantly, I hope that we never forget.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Riddick, Not Chronicles, but not Quite Pitch Black

    The previous adventure of Richard B. Riddick left a bad taste in a lot of fans mouths. I think it moved too far away from what we thought the character was. Vin Diesel was at a point then in his career that he phoned a lot in. He thought he was bigger than he was and Chronicles of Riddick was hardly a huge success. Vin and director David Twohy did, however, create a character that fans truly developed a fascination with. The good news is Riddick's latest outing is closer to what Pitch Black was and not Chronicles.

   Riddick begins injured and left for dead on a strange world inhabited by predators. He is fighting for his life and somewhere along the way befriends a dog like creature. The movie acknowledges the events of the last film, but quickly moves beyond it. We even get a cameo from Karl Urban.An undisclosed amount of time passes and the unlikely pair realize that the planet has a larger threat looming. Riddick determines that they both must get off world. They find a deserted mercenary base and send up a signal.

 Two separate groups of mercs arrive. One led by Santana (Jordi Molla) and the other by Matt Nabel's character who has ties to the first film. Santana's group are a bit more criminal than the latter, but it matters little. Riddick begins to play with their minds and eliminating them one by one. The groups really don't get along and it worsens after Riddick steals computer cells to each of their ships. The bigger threat looms and an alliance between all parties is formed for the benefit of survival.

  The special effects are average for a movie of this size and at times look a little sub par. Twohy does his best to create dangerous worlds, but in some cases they become visually bothersome. Still and A for effort and this unnamed planet doesn't look like any place you would want to visit. The creatures are OK, but it's the amount of them that is scary more so than their appearance.

  The cast is the best since the first movie. In some cases even better. Molla steals the show from a comic relief stand point and is borderline Jack Sparrow at times. He has the right amount of sinister combined with stupidity. Bautista, who will later take a larger role in Marvel's Gaurdians of the Galaxy, little more than a thug. He is still believable and certainly looks the part. Katee Sackhoff is pretty cool. Hot in a bad ass kind of way and her interactions with both Molla and Vin are definitely high points in the movie. Comic book fans love her and this was a great role to have cast her in.

  All of that is good, but make no mistake, it is Vin Diesel's show. He is still a bad dude. He brings Riddick back closer to where he was in Pitch Black. A savage killer that will sometimes show signs of being honorable. Vin helped to create one of the better movie anti-heroes of all time. He sees in the dark, loves sharp objects, and still bleeds cool. It is a another good turn for Vin. The plot is similar to Pitch Black, but not exact. There is a good balance of action and cheese. There is some plot and in the end if Riddick's adventures continue, I would go along for the ride.