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Showing posts from August, 2010

Review: Lord of War

Sometimes, it's easy to forget that Nicolas Cage has been in good movies in the past. Given that he usually produces one good movie every five or so, that's not hard to do. This is definitely one of his better movies, and it deserves to be watched.

And let's be honest: this movie is basically just Cage. He plays the fictional arms dealer Yuri Orlov, based on a real person (as well as other similar people) who worked smuggling weapons out of the former Soviet Union. The general plot's pretty easy to follow: Cage smuggles weapons everywhere and then the travails of such a job are highlighted. Along the way, he tries to hide what he does from his loved ones as well as the police. The only real knock against the plot would be the fact that it ramps up too quickly, and in early moments you find it difficult to connect all of the globetrotting and some of the characters together. Nonetheless, it's not a bad plot, and it does its job admirably.

I've already covered t…

Review: The Hangover

I finally got around to watching this movie, and I think I might have waited too long. Which is to say, some of the surprises in this movie (the funny ones) might have been slightly ruined for me because of what eventually leaked out over the course of promoting this movie and reading some reviews. Nonetheless, The Hangover was still a good movie, and definitely worth the time it took to watch.

The acting's pretty top notch. Ed Helms especially stood out, as did Zach Galifianakis. It's hard to fault any of the rest of the cast, but I think that over the course of the entire movie, both of these actors pretty much stole the show. In short, the acting was good, and both Helms and Galifianakis were great.

The plot's pretty basic, but it had enough good turns to make it really interesting (especially the entire part with Mike Tyson). Some bits were a little bit predictable, but overall the plot was serviceable. The dialogue was witty, of course, and the one-liners were decent.

Review: The Expendables

Well, consider this the start of my attempt to finish my list of things to do this summer. This is the first of the five movies I've wanted to watch this summer, and holy shit was it worth it. If you don't feel like reading any further, then let me just tell you this: despite some disappointing moments, this is the best action movie of this year, and possibly of the last ten years. It has everything that you could possibly want. Go watch this film.

Any mention of this movie would require a mention of the cast, and The Expendables does not disappoint. Though Stallone and Jason Statham take up most of the screen time, every member of the main cast gets a significant role in some way or another. Without an exception, Stallone's casting and ability to utilize the actors in this film is great. The only disappointing aspect of this was when Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were on screen at the same time. The scene was too short, and I would have preferred that …

Derive Politics post: A Defense of Religious Freedom

Here's another post from Derive Politics that I wrote, this one dealing specifically with the ground zero mosque controversy. An excerpt:

"There has been a recent and disturbing uptick in Islamophobia in the United States. Specifically, mosques around the country have been targeted with protests and complaints about the encroachment of Islam in the United States. These fears are fundamentally unfounded, and are merely a result of either xenophobic prejudices or political grandstanding. Though usually such sentiments can be ignored, in this case action must be taken to avoid a situation that could become much worse."


Keep reading here.

Five belated things to take away from the US-Brazil friendly

1. You know, I'm going to be really, really, really afraid of Brazil in 2014, especially since the stars that were on show (Neymar et. al) will be in their prime come the next World Cup. Seriously, can anyone stop them? I don't think so.

2. This game was a waste, mostly as a result of the USSF's mistakes. Sunil Gulati should have decided immediately after the World Cup if he wanted to keep Bob Bradley or let him go. Granted, you would end up with the same problem as after 2006 (re: with Jurgen Klinsmann), but to let a game against Brazil go to waste, and not use it to develop new talent, well that is just a bad decision on everybody's part.

3. If this was Bradley's last game, then I would like to say bravo. Certainly after 2006, the past 4 years have been a massive improvement.

4. There are serious unaddressed issues at defense that if the US doesn't take care of, will set us back in 2014. This is not a joke: we have no real defense as of now.

5. Only time will…

Summer List

So my internship at RCF Econ has evaporated, and nobody's at fault except the federal government!

That is to say, the project we were working on for the Department of Energy was cancelled. Yes, 7 weeks into the project, after a late start, the Department of Energy decided that we weren't going to get done on time (or they had difficulty getting the information they needed from industry vendors, either or) and decided to cancel our contract. Working there wasn't bad, and it paid well, so I'm a bit unhappy. Instead, now I'm working only part time (2 days a week, $90/week on average) and I have a lot of free time. As such, here is the list of things I plan on doing. Some of them will start immediately, some next week:


1. Watch 5 movies that I've wanted to watch for a while.

Right now, those movies are The Hangover, The A-Team, The Expendables, Get Him to the Greek, and Lord of War. I'll add more as I go along.

2. Finish Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Ol…

Today's graph: The overal effects on the deficit based on economic and government policy.

Courtesy of the cbpp.org.

Review: Starcraft II (Part 2: Multiplayer)

So last week I reviewed the single player portion of Starcraft II. I praised it for the storyline and gameplay. This week I'm going to focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game. Unfortunately, while Starcraft II's single player campaign stood out, its multiplayer leaves a lot to be desired.

Let's start with the first and most obvious missing feature: LAN play. Without LAN, the only way to play the game against others is through Battle.net. And while Battle.net has some great features, the intrinsic increase in latency (and the fact that you need internet access, meaning that play with friends in the same room is out based on most people's internet connections) leads to an inherently worse experience. In fact, it is likely to interfere with the ability of the Korean professional league to switch to Starcraft II. Blizzard thus should be developing LAN play. If they don't release it to the public, however, expect hell to pay.

More problematic, however, is the inabil…