Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides (2011)

I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, like most people did.  The following ones, not so much.  On Stranger Tides is long, boring and tedious.  Well acted, production quality is there, and of course excellent special effects.  It simply isn’t interesting, and I had difficulty staying awake.  Like all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies since the first, they could have cut 1/2 to a full hour out and made a better movie.


Fast Five (2011)

The latest in the Fast and Furious series of car movies.

Vin Desiel is back in this one, though don’t expect to see him much below the chest.  He doesn’t appear to be in as good a shape as in many previous movies.  As in he appears to have gained some weight.  Still has big arms and the most monotone voice you’ll ever hear, but it’s painfully obvious from the camera work that they constantly try to shoot around showing his stomach whenever possible.  It feels like watching a TV series where an actress is pregnant in real life, but they don’t write the pregnancy into the show, so they never show her from the torso down, accept from the back.  It’s much like that here.  So much so it was really annoying me.  So what if he has a belly now!  Shoot the movie properly!

This odd camera work isn’t the lamest thing in the movie, the rediculous final robbery where two and even one car can pull a huge bank safe around without effort throughout a city on hot pavement.  I’m talking about a bank wall safe that appears to be about 10 feet by 10 feet by 10feet.  Pulled by a small 2 wheel sports car.  Not only down the street, but through buildings, concrete barriers, street poles, endless vehicles, like it weighs as much as a feather.

Did I mention this movie is well over 2 hours long?  Apparently it takes that long to convey this complex storey.  This is by far the worst Fast and Furious so far.  It should have been an A-Team episode 28 years ago.  It would have worked then


Pandorum (2009)

Pandorum is a Sci-Fi thriller/horror movie.  Not a great movie, nor does it have a large cast, unless you count extras with monster makeup.

The premise is the sending of the last of society into space in cryo-sleep in hopes of repopulating a newly discovered planet after nearly destroying this one.  Why the universe would rent us another one after the way we treated this property is beyond me.  You’d think we’d be on a black list of some sort.  But faulty cryo-sleep systems and genetic alterations intended to allow the people to adapt to the new planet turn many into humanity hating monsters.  It’s funny how mosters always get along with each other but hate humans.

This movie has poor acting, slow plot, and it’s certainly not that well written.  But as is typical these days, special effects are well done, and there are some interesting concepts.  And we actually end up with a surprise ending, unlike most films.


Self Balancing Platform Safety

So I received my limit switches yesterday to redesign my Self Balancing Platform dead man’s switch.

I spent considerable thought on either installing the switch into the handle behind the bike brake handle lever, or building the limit switch into a small box and using a bike brake cable to activate the switch remotely.  I decided against the remote box and bike cable design simply cause it would look more cumbersome and obvious and less integrated.

This morning I machined the rectangular hole for the new dead man’s switch into the aluminum tube crossbar and installed it.  The stuttering issue resulting in a Segway face plant seems to be resolved.  Replacing the faulty/easily damaged momentary push button switch I was using.  Plus adding a bicycle brake handle for better feel for activating the switch is also reasonably comfortable.

However I discovered a fairly major issue with this design.  I installed my dead man switch into the right handle of the platform.  Since the limit switch is fairly large and close to the end of the platform’s handle, and me being right handed, when I release the dead man switch and climb off, and then simple hold the handle of the Self Balancing Platform to steady it or move it around, it’s very easy for me to accidentally activate the switch and send the platform into action without notice.  And if this happens when the platform is not very level, then considerable wheel action can result.

One alternative would be to install it on the other handle, but then the same issue would happen when a lefty used it and climbed off.  So in hindsight the best idea was the bike cable and a remote box with the switch located elsewhere.  If I mounted the switch under the platform it could be hidden there and only the cable visible.  I might still try this.

The current design is much better, but still not ideal.  I solved one problem and created a new one.  The precision limit switch is an ideal dead man’s switch.  But this new location leaves little room for a handle to hold when I’m not riding it and total power is not turned off.

Dead Man Switch Open

Dead Man Switch Closed

Segway Faceplant

My home made Segway like platform threw me the other day.  I think it was a bad dead man switch.  It stalled momentarily while I was going down the basement hallway and it nose dived, throwing me over the handlebars and on to the ceramic tile floor, scraped/cut my legs a bit, hit my head on the tile but with my hand in between, just missing the edge of a door way.  Happened so fast I couldn’t do much to protect myself,  I did consciously get my hand between my head and the floor.  I’m sure I had a concussion of some level, as I had a weird head ache the rest of the day and was occasionally a lil dizzy. 

So having experienced that, and how fast that flip can happen, it’s no wonder the Segway company owner could get thrown off a cliff without any way to stop yourself, and I was doing only a few miles a hour.  Not that I know how his accident happened, but only imagining the possibilities outdoors after my little accident. 

I think part of the issue is the sense of security we get when riding something, when it is actually balancing for you, something you do naturally and when you do it yourself, you can instinctively protect yourself in a fall better than this I believe.  And the pivot point being so short and right below your feet makes it happen so fast, unlike a bike for example where if you go over the handle bars, the pivot point is a much larger arch, and you have a lil more time to think about how you will fall.  Plus in that case you would usually see it coming.  If power dies on a balancing platform, you don’t roll to a stop.  It’s like having someone kick your legs out from under you while you are running, and not seeing it coming.  So there is the anatomy of a Segway style accident.  Not cool and unbelievably fast. 

The Rite (2011)

The Rite kinda sucks tit.  Slow, boring, and the only scary thing is maybe the artwork on the disk container.

It’s the story of a emotionally crippled younf man with parent issues, you is too weak willed to live his own life, so he becomes a priest to make his weird father happy.  The Church realizes he has no faith at all so they train him to become a exorcist.  Totally makes sense, doesn’t it?

That is the whole plot.  And of course you add some crazy women that puke a few nails, cause that’s what real possessed people do, not pea soap.

The only thought provoking issue in this movie is why Anthony Hopkins would want to be associated with this shallow and weak film.


Your Highness (2011)

Your Highness is a perverted spoof of medieval, fantasy and maybe even a bit or science fiction flims.  James Franco plays a goody two shoes prince that can do no wrong, on constant quests with his loyal knights.  And the movie revolves around his quest to save his true love with his loser brother.

James Franco’s British accent sounds very strange.  In fact it sounds more like he’s doing an impression of Mike Myers’ fake English accent as Austin Powers.  But maybe that was his intention.  I found his bad accent more distracting than believable or entertaining.

It’s a fun rump, but for adults only, as their is considerable swearing and constant sexual humour.


Red Riding Hood (2011)

I’m rating this one a little higher than I might have otherwise, only because it’s very visually pleasing to watch, and has an unusual flare.  It’s an unique re-telling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood children’s storey.

Gary Oldman plays the twisted villian as he always does so well.  Most every other actor in this tale is hardly worth noticing other than for perhaps they are attractive.  Other than that this movie is not about great acting in the least.  And I suppose since it’s meant to be based on a fairly tale, they felt license to use an odd mix of styles, ethnic backgrounds, accents, and props.  Making the storey somewhat disjointed to follow since this things stand out in your mind and make you question how this goes together.

I enjoyed it cause it was unique and the scenery was beautiful.  Other than that, it’s Gary Oldman, and a few pretty faces that carry this one along.  If not for that it would be a 4 or 5 at best.


Something Borrowed (2011)

This is an excellent chick-flick.  Fairly predictable of course, but entertaining.  Just the right amount of sappy crap to almost make you momentarilly sad, but light hearted enough to not keep us there too long.  And it doesn’t hurt or leading man is hot.  It’s general appeal makes it watchable by most.


Takers (2010)

Bank robbers being chased by a cop.  Pretty generic in general.  Well made Hollywood style movie with lots of action that will hold your attention. 

Nothing really wrong with this movie.  It’s a good watch.  Just one of those movie you enjoy at the time, and 2 weeks later can’t remember ever watching it, and if you were to see it again, may not even remember it till you are part way through.

Just another cookie cutter Hollywood action movie.


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