Monday, February 29, 2016

Books to Look Forward to for Spring 2016

Article: The Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2016 - Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly has put out a great list of Spring 2016 books.

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Classical Music - Best Places to Listen Online!

One of my great loves is Classical Music! The Internet has brought a great deal of classical music to those who love it. Here are my suggestions as to where to find the best Classical Music resources online!

 • NRK Klassisk

This radio station is from NRK, the national radio network of Norway. They have a number of different stations. I listen to their classical station, NRK Klassisk. If you are on Google Chrome, you will be automatically prompted if you would like to translate the station's page. Click yes, and you will see the current selections playing, with the current selection highlighted.

 • Spotify Classical

Spotify, as you probably know, is a streaming music service. They have a variety of genres available, including Classical. There are a number of symphony orchestras that have concerts and albums available on Spotify. Those include: Wiener Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. When you listen with their Free option, you get 160 kbps streaming. When you use their Paid option, you get 320 kbps streaming.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscars - Complete Winners List

List: Oscars: The Complete Winners List - The Hollywood Reporter

List: Oscar Winners 2016: Complete List - Variety

The 2016 Academy Awards is over, and the complete Winners List is out!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Furious 7" (2015) Movie Review

Movie Info: "Godzilla" (2014) - IMDb

Ratings: "Godzilla" (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

Walker's Action-Packed Swan Song

Okay, the main thing here is seeing Paul Walker in action one more time. And, I am glad that they were able to make that happen, especially given that he had only shot half of his scenes before his untimely demise. And, it's nice that he gets a proper, emotional send off.

Otherwise, it's the usual two-plus hours of impossible-to-survive-even-for-Superman action sequences! The vehicular mayhem is well shot and choreographed. But, it's tough to not laugh at how the characters magically survive the endless insanity! And, the conceit that these street racers have become super-secret agents, whose fighting skills make James Bond look like a wussie, strains credulity to the nth degree.

Naturally, there is a classic MacGuffin, the plot device that means nothing in reality, but drives the plot. Here, it's some super-secret surveillance device, or whatever! And, the movie ends up being an endless series of confrontations with baddie Jason Statham, where he gets to escape time after time, when they'll just end up killing him before the credits anyway!

There is some fun character interaction, and good dialogue here and there, which are the best parts. Brian Tyler's generic action-movie score is just that. The cinematography is very good. The movie famously had to take a number of different elements to construct the scenes that Walker hadn't shot. This included, using CGI to put pre-existing footage of Paul's face and mate it to the bodies of his brothers, standing in for him. The same went for getting his dialogue constructed. It gets the job done, but the seams sometimes show. The result is a mix of scenes that work really well, while others are more obvious.

All in all, a better-than-average "Fast & Furious" installment, obviously not to be missed for getting to see Paul one more time.

★ ★ ★ 1/2 (3 1/2 Stars Out of 5)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cassettes Are Back!

Article: Cassettes roll back into fashion - Daily Mail

Article: Are cassette tapes making an unexpected comeback? - BBC News

Article: This Company Is Still Making Audio Cassettes and Sales Are Better Than Ever - Bloomberg Business

Article: Audio cassettes are back—because hipsters - Quartz

Vinyl has been making a massive resurgence! And now, cassettes are joining them!

I have two copies of a classic JVC boombox that has a very good cassette recorder. So, doing cassettes is pretty easy for me. I know that it isn't for a lot of people, which is perfectly cool. But, if you do have the right equipment, the rest has become a lot easier to do!

I have bought a number of vintage blank cassettes, plus a number of pre-recorded cassettes. The blanks have worked really well! The pre-recorded ones have definitely shown their age. The sound quality on most of them has clearly degraded. The ones on better tape, Chromium Dioxide (Cr02), are clearly better! But, listening to music on cassette mostly means making your own cassettes. After all, that's what's most legendary about cassettes: making your own mixtapes. So, that's what people who love cassettes most would be wanting to do, anyway!

Having a good cassette recorder is the first step. But, having good blank cassettes is the second step. And, you can still do that with National Audio Company (NAC). They make both regular bias and CrO2 blank cassettes. They also make pre-recorded cassettes for companies like Sony. You can order the higher-bias cassettes for just over $4 US a piece.

If you love classic tech and classic tunes, try out cassettes! And, have fun!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Godzilla" (2014) Movie Review

Movie Info: "Godzilla" (2014) - IMDb

Ratings: "Godzilla" (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

Massively Disappointing

Ah! How to describe the MASS SUCKAGE that is Gareth Edwards' 2014 "Godzilla?" How about: 1.) It's bad when you know that a dude in a rubber suit is infinitely better than the $100 million in visual effects Edwards blows to no good effect in this thing, or 2.) That Roland Emmerich's laughable 1998 "Godzilla" is better than this thing!

There has been talk about finally getting The Oscars to create a Best Casting category. But, this movie deserved a Worst Casting Oscar! Wow, the completely-unable-to-act dude from "Kick Ass?" An Olsen twin? Bryan Cranston overacting himself into the ground? Ken Watanabe inexplicably droning through his dialogue unemotionally?

Now, I am most forgiving when I just see a movie on cable that I have already paid for. I am less forgiving when I pay to see a movie by renting the blu ray, etc. But, I am completely unforgiving when: 1.) I take the time to go to the theater, 2.) Paying evening prices to see a movie, and 3.) Pay the upcharge to see it in 3D. Well, "Godzilla" met all three of those, so yeah, I'm pissed at how badly Edwards @#$%ed this up! And, he did. Royally. It's hard to imagine that they gave him a "Star Wars" film to do! Luckily, it's just a spin off, and not one of the trilogy movies!

Everything is messed up in this. The story is bad, Godzilla is in the movie for only a few minutes. And, when he is, he's in the dark half the time. What a waste! Only the score by Alexandre Desplat is good. And, this is a composer who has left me very unimpressed with almost all of his work.

Avoid this LIKE THE PLAGUE and go see the upcoming Toho "Godzilla" movie, "Godzilla Resurgence" coming out later this year!

★ (1 Star Out of 5)

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Monday, February 15, 2016

"Star Wars: Episode VIII" - First Footage!

Video: Star Wars: Episode VIII Production Announcement - YouTube

Article: Star Wars: Episode VIII Now Filming -

Okay, it's just a few seconds, and yes, it's a recreation of the last moments of "Episode VII," but it does show how Rian Johnson's film will look. To me, it's more artistic, with more saturated colors and a more pronounced feeling for mood and atmosphere.

Shooting starts today on the new movie which will be released on December 15, 2017.

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New York Times Bestsellers - February 21, 2016

List: Bestseller List - February 21, 2016 - New York Times

The New York Times has released its latest Bestsellers List in advance of its latest issue of The New York Times Book Review.

 2.) BREAKDOWN, by Jonathan Kellerman
 3.) ME BEFORE YOU, by Jojo Moyes
 4.) THE CHOICE, by Nicholas Sparks
 5.) NYPD RED 4, by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

 1.) WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, by Paul Kalanithi
 2.) ORIGINALS, by Adam Grant
 3.) BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
 4.) 13 HOURS, by Mitchell Zuckoff with members of the Annex Security Team

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"Star Wars: Episode VIII" - New Casting News!

Article: ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’: Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern Join Cast - Variety

"Star Wars: Episode VIII" casting news! Disney has announced that Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern have joined the cast of “Star Wars: Episode VIII.” Newcomer Kelly Marie Tran will appear in an unspecified part. Also, shooting starts today at Pinewood Studios on the new movie.

Revised Release Date for "Episode VIII: December 15, 2017.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

New York Times Book Review - February 7, 2016

Link: Sunday Book Review - New York Times

Darryl Pinckney’s ‘Black Deutschland’ and David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’ at 20 are the featured articles in this week's The New York Times Book Review.

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"10 Cloverfield Lane" New Ad!

New Ad: 10 Cloverfield Lane Super Bowl Ad (2016) - YouTube

Website: 10 Cloverfield Lane  - Paramount Pictures

The Super Bowl featured a new ad for the upcoming sequel, "10 Cloverfield Lane." Watch it now!

Fans of the original "Cloverfield" were lighting up the Internet when the first trailer hit the Net, as well as being shown in front of "13 Hours."

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Deadpool" First Reviews!

Review: Film Review: Ryan Reynolds in ‘Deadpool’ - Variety

Review: 'Deadpool': Film Review - Hollywood Reporter

Variety and Hollywood Reporter both get a big kick out of Ryan Reynold's "Deadpool." Read the Variety review and Hollywood Reporter review for their takes on the new film!

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