Archive for June, 2010


“Overkill is underrated” is a line uttered at the opportune moment by Col. John Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) head of The A-Team, this summer’s best (as far as I can tell) nostalgia-inspired adaptation. This line is the perfect explanation and rationale for everything in this immensely entertaining action-comedy.

In fact, one of the best things about this movie is that the vast majority of the lines are said at the right moment and in the perfect way. And they are great lines, with some refreshingly original humor and sight gags.

The A-Team is, of course, first and foremost a summer action flick, the kind that no one cares too terribly much whether it makes a lot of sense as long as things blow up impressively – and they do. But writers Joe Carnahan (who also directs; known for Smokin’ Aces), Brian Bloom (who also stars as one of the bad guys), and Skip Woods provide much more than we would have settled for.

Sure, there are plot holes big enough to fly a helicopter through. And the laws of physics are basically thrown out the window. But then, this is not supposed to be a realistic exposé of covert government ops. The unrealistic stunts are there for a reason, and in this film, that reason is to create all the well-used opportunities for the characters to be themselves. In some ways, the A-Team members as we knew them from the TV series have been turned into cartoonish superheroes capable of phenomenal feats.      Continue reading

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Remember, as a child, how you could never go swimming without pairing up with another kid?  Never mind that neither of you could save the other if you were drowning.  At least your buddy could yell while you thrashed about.

The buddy system works in many instances in life. I’ve had a tough time embracing such a concept, being my mother’s independent little trooper.  She taught me well and to this day, that woman continues to dole out the support while retracting into her turtle-shell when she needs a hand. Heaven forbid that anyone but her should ever be inconvenienced. Ah, well, what are ya gonna do?  Parents are so hard to train.

Back in the early ’90s, I discovered what a great shot in the arm the buddy system was for my writing, which was flowing like sap in winter. I met two fellow aspiring writers at a literary conference, and we formed a triumvirate to review one another’s work and hold each other’s feet to the fire to keep writing. By the time our little Five Points Literary Society dispersed, I had produced nearly thirteen complete chapters of my sci-fi novel. But without my buddies, I soon fell back to my slothful, excuse-ridden ways. (Something even better came out of that alliance, though — my current roommate, who is also one of my best friends ever!  Just goes to show how great the buddy system can be.)     Continue reading

On Monday, June 21, Bill Liao, respected entrepreneur and author of Stone Soup: The Secret Recipe for Making Something from Nothing, joins ZOOM’D to explore the Stone Soup way—a new philosophy of business, development, and living that combines age-old wisdom with contemporary insights and skills. Deriving inspiration from the important message embodied in the traditional folktale about stone soup, Bill engages a wide-ranging conversation about the outer world and our interior lives—and how business, NGOs, community groups, and all types of organizations can work together to create a meaningful revolution toward a better world. One focal point of the conversation and example of stone soup inspiration and potential is WeForest, an initiative intended to halt climate change by creating clouds that will cool the earth until a low-carbon miracle happens. Join Bill and ZOOM’D host John Schmidt as they investigate “Stone Soup and the secret recipe for making something from nothing.”

Bill Liao, Australian entrepreneur, philanthropist, diplomat and author, is co-founder of the social network XING and CEO of Finaxis AG, a privately-held financial services company. Bill is a special diplomatic envoy for St. Kitts and Nevis, with focus on sustainable development and the environment. He is founder and coordinator of Neo.org, a global citizenship initiative, and WeForest.com, which will reforest twenty million square kilometres of stripped land. He is dedicated to the vision that business and enterprise, conducted fairly and with respect for the environment, can and will improve work, life, and the world that we all share. This vision is captured in his book, Stone Soup: The Secret Recipe for Making Something from Nothing. Bill is a mentor to budding entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and a regular at conferences and seminars internationally, speaking about social media and networking, entrepreneurship, making something from nothing, sustainability and development.

Listen to all the ZOOM’D Leadership episodes on VoiceAmerica!

random

What it means: adjective meaning without aim, pattern, or purpose; by chance; every member of a set having an equal probability of being chosen

“You begin Scrabble with a random selection of seven letter tiles.”   I ♥ Scrabble!

  • slang: something unexpectedly irrelevant but often amusing
    • “I watched this great movies last night; it was about…  Whoa, look at that squirrel!”
    • “Dude, random.”

From ME “succession, surge,” from Anglo-French randun (randon) “speed, violence,” from OF randir “to run, to gallop,” of Germanic origin (possibly from OHG rinnan “to run”)

Why I chose it: I dunno … I picked it at random.

Bloody Brilliant Vampire Tale

I love a good horror movie, and I’ve always been partial to vampires in both literature and film.  Dracula.  Lestat. The Hunger. The Lost Boys. The old Hammer films. Makes a heart happy to beat. This newfangled stuff of the Twilight and True Blood ilk is fun, but I’ll always adore the classics (neoclassic as some may be). And the more off-beat, the better … like Near Dark, The Addiction., and Shadow of the Vampire.

There’s a new contender on the (longish) list of my favorite vampire flicks. The tenderly tragic and provocatively sweet Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) is a 2008 Swedish film based on the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It follows the desperate little life of 12-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) as he’s all but ignored by his single mom, rarely sees his dad (who’s found new amusements), and is mercilessly bullied at school. He dreams of bloody revenge, practicing knife-play and lifting weights to try building up his fragile physique.

Then a dark-haired girl of apparently his own age moves into his apartment building, with someone we all assume is her father, and Oskar’s life changes forever. Oskar and Eli (Lina Leandersson) become friends, and she slowly becomes his protector, grooming him to eventually become hers.

The two principal child actors (both 11 at the time the film was made) are superbly unselfconscious and refreshingly real, yet undeniably creepy when they need to be. The story moves at a cathartic pace, picking up speed as the worlds of Oskar and Eli collide and irrevocably fuse.  What special effects there are blend seamlessly into the storytelling. In the end, we’re left with a thought-provoking peek at the bittersweet torment of immortality, akin to the laments of Louis is Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles or the anguished survival of Miriam in The Hunger.

Vampire movie fans and bizarre love story enthusiasts alike should check out this little gem.

A

Bonus: There’s a great rundown of 70 + vampire flicks at Snarkerati.

Another bonus: Read Gina McIntyre’s article about the remake.

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