Agents of Shield – Birdkillers

I was watching this week’s episode of Agents of Shield and an evil genius has rounded up a bunch of criminally insane super Villains,  like so many comic books plots from history.

An ugly man takes off his BAIN type face mask and yells a loud screen in the middle of a football field.  So loud it seems,  that the director wasn’t pleased with a normal yell, and hired animators to CGI his face,  and allow for a distorted mega jaw that opened wide enough to fill with a watermelon.

It’s conveniently a football field,  because we’re already so conditioned to judge distances in this metric.  Anything bigger than a car is always compared to a football field or two. It seems we all know how big one football field is. 

In this scene, the players are standing at one end,  and they drop to the ground when the roar reaches them.  A moment later,  all the cheerleaders at the other end of the field drop as well.  Another moment passes, and all the black birds in the sky fall to the ground too. A dramatic scene.

I was impressed at the accuracy of this timing, and the attention to detail.  The birds all fell while in flight,  so of course they fell at an angle.  In many other films,  animals dropping from the sky open fall straight down,  like rain without wind. Flying birds wouldn’t drop straight down.  Perhaps raining cats and dogs would be more vertical,  but birds would flow this way,  and in random intervals.

They did well. I liked it enough to pause and blog.

This is what my brain thinks about when I watch TV.  Inside my brain is a DVD commentary of imagination. I can almost hear the director discussing various options, and imagine the back stage arguments and discussions with the effects crew. 

The sound of dropping birds was also impressive. It was a soft thud, aided by the fact that they were all hitting the same soft green AstroTurf surface.

I wondered to myself what the budget must have been for this scene. It went by quickly, and it wasn’t clear whether they used 50 real birds, or added them in digitally, but either way, it was an expensive 3 seconds. An average Agents of Shield episode has a number of special digital effects you’d expect, like whenever they use their special red corvette or invisible jets, but to me – a bunch of dead birds was equally impressive.

I didn’t remember to watch if the end credits were there to assure us all,  no actual birds were harmed during the filming of this episode.  That was how they would have done it in the 70’s.

 

Pauseandblog : I Zombie

iZombie is a new show on The CW.

I like the comic book style credits they use to do scene transitions and some effects that would be too costly to work out. It’s a great idea.  It makes me believe this may be based on a comic.  I didn’t bother to look up whether it is or not.

At the first commercial break,  this episode has already shown us a sex act,  and then described it again in a recapped vision memory.  It was a very sexy first chapter,  even if described by a zombie. They’re grabbing our attention early it seems.  On the older prime time shows,  the sex scenes are in the 45 minute chapter. It’s actually funny if you go channel surfing at 9:45 through network prime time.  Everyone is in bed… including much of the audience it seems.

It occurs to me that this show is hitting a younger age demographics for a cop show.  All too often,  the police solving murder mystery shows are appealing to an older audience.  NCIS is even jokingly referred to appeal to the same audience MATLOCK used to. A much older crowd. When I heard that, I stopped watching it, just to appear younger.  iZombie is more like Nancy Drew than NCIS.  Of course, that sentence certainly doesn’t make me feel young at all. Nobody young knows who Nancy Drew is anymore.

Teenagers don’t watch cop shows.  They watch Zombie shows,  and zombie shows with sex scenes may broaden their audience.  The fact they solve crime makes them almost like a super hero with special powers – not a cop show.

In the second act,  we see the Zombie’ special powers.  She not only gets visions and memories of the dead person who’s brains she eats, but she actually develops bits of their personality.  In this week’s show, she’s learned to appreciate art,  and women.  It starts off quite subtle at first, especially if you didn’t see episode one.  I almost missed the bit where she was enamoured with a women the dead man had slept with.  By the time of commercial break,  they’ve gone past the subtle, and made it more obvious for the whole audience by explaining it in the narrative.  She even implied that some of the powers she earns stay with her.  She can now speak Spanish,  and paint.

As a 50 year old man,  I’ve lived a lot of generations and seen how society picks new things to learn and improve upon each decade or so.  From before I was born,  we started figuring out things society was doing wrong, and we try to correct them.  In many cases, this kind of change is slow, and still ongoing.  Classic social blunders like slavery and race bigotry, rights for women,  and more recently,  gay rights.  We’re improving,  even if slowly.  Sadly bad parents teach their kids bad habits,  so it’s taking more than one full cycle of everyone dyeing off to eradicate bad behavior. A current hop topic of evil is rape, and in this episode, our third sex scene; more of an attempted rape is tackled. A handsome man moves past consent in such a casual way, as to lead me to believe this is way more common than most people understand.

It was this scene that actually inspired me to pause the playback and start this blog. It’s only quite recently that society has chosen to highlight a rape culture as our newest wrong to right. Media is strongly doing it’s best to bring to my attention how horrible men can be. With luck, scenes like this will help start a conversation or two, especially if boyfriends and girlfriends watch shows like this together. 

Since I’m writing while the show is paused, I have not yet seen how this attempted rape resolves itself in iZombie. I hope she doesn’t go “full on zombie mode”  and just kill this guy, and eat his brains, however I suspect a lot of women wish they could.  I can’t fully imagine how being raped must feel but I have been bullied before, and held down powerless to do anything but panic. I will say it does change your perspective on life and trust. There are few worse fears than being helpless in the control of an attacker. I hate knowing that kind of evil is so common.

I have to wonder whether watching it happen like this in so many shows and movies, is working for or against the idea.  I suppose it alerts me the problem is far worse than they may realize,  but whether it deters rapists or enables them is yet to be determined.

I unpause and watch. 

She doesn’t kill him.  She defends herself, hurts him slightly,  and runs away.  I fear that is the real problem.  While I don’t 100% guarantee that a rape attempt always justifies a life changing death sentence or imprisonment for all,  I do believe a suitable hard punishment should be exacted on anyone who bullies and overpowers,  sexual and/or otherwise. In my universe crimes against trust are the worst crimes of all.  Society needs to be able to trust ton survive,  and the more it deteriorates,  the more we all lose.

The last scene is used to further the overall love storyline the series will eventually persue.  Her comic style narrative is written to take the episode and relate to the many struggling teens who may feel of themselves as a zombie,  free of emotion. 

I’ll keep watching.

Wahlburgers Toronto

My review.

http://wahlburgers.ca/ 

This is basically a hamburger place where you sit and order from menus. It’s downtown in the trendy Entertainment district across from Wayne Gretskys 99 Blue Jays way.

This is the restaurant based on the reality TV show Wahlburgers, run by three of the Wahlburg brothers you can see in movies and TV.

10431714_301517326707797_5379568774920475092_n[1]The place is well designed, possibly by a set designer rather than a restaurant designer. It has a lot of seating on two floors, and when it opened at 11:30am there was already a slight line up. It filled within a few minutes and people were standing by noon. I love the green everywhere, including the most amazing green chairs, which were so light you could lift them with a finger. They are actually the exact same chairs (except green) that are seen in virtually every single cop show interrogation room. Notice the next time you watch. They all use the same chairs.

11000350_348770018649194_3915658038359876000_n[1]The menu is basic. Burgers, fries and a few sandwich alternatives. I ordered what I thought was the biggest single patty and so did everyone else. I remembered to say; No sauce. I had the option of fries instead of rings or TATER TOTS, which I was very tempted to ask for. I hinted to the waiter I’d tip better of he brought me one or two – just to try, and he did. They were exactly as I remembered from my younger days. McCains brand probably.

The onion rings are not onion rings at all, and if I liked Onion Rings, I’d be surprised and disappointed. They’re more like loose wet fried onions. When the burgers arrived, we commented how small they looked. Yikes. Even smaller than Burger’s Priest I’d say. 1/3 pound, but presented tall, rather than wide. They fit on little buns and looked almost like a slider.

In the end, they filed me up OK and with a tasty clean oil fries side, I enjoyed the meal. The burger comes on a nice fresh bun that is unique, although it reminded me a bit of Fuddruckers, and the flavour of the burger was good. A little like the Priest flavor, but not exactly. The taste was good and not overpowered by their fresh green lettuce, tomato, cheese or sliced cucumbers.

All in all a unique, tasty flavour that stayed with me for a few hours. Good burps. Mmmm.

After finishing, I found you can order an 8oz burger not on the menu. I wish I’d known.

I might not ever make a special trip just for this place, especially with $20 parking, but if I am nearby it is a solid choice. Now I may watch the show.

(Photography from their official Facebook web site)

Pauseandblog CSI CYBER

I started watching last nights new CSI series with no expectations. I was curious at most, but didn’t spend any time pre thinking about it. I just turned it on and watched the first scene. A child abduction.

The first thing I noticed was the father of the child sleeps in his glasses. I even paused and rewound to establish he really was asleep.  Weird,  I thought. Do people actually do that?

Next we see the baby missing, first on the bedroom babycam,  which was emitting faint voices, and then in reality.  Typical mother scream of panic and then a zoom shot of the babycam making those same noises, which traditionally doesn’t happen so much anymore.  In the old days, baby monitors used to pick up cordless phone conversations regularly, but not for a decade or so.

On the next scene, we see the lead actress acting quite tough, steal the case from the experts on major crime and kidnapping, justifying this isn’t best served by the experience retrieval team, but instead, her CYBER division which seems to be so new, one guy starts his position in the next scene, and nobody in the police department has even heard of them.  I suppose a suspension of belief is required in all CSI series. The guy who traces the body and takes fingerprints really inst the same one interviewing suspects and talking to witnesses.

So the fact the the investigation is lead by the team that takes a webcam feed should not surprise me.  All of this, because the webcam was transmitting foreign voices.

This crime must be webcam related.

Despite this logic flaw,  I will continue to watch the rest of the show. I know in my heart,  it will get much worse.  They have not even played the opening credits yet, and I’m quite excited to see if it will be a song by the Who.

Unpause

Oh good. They did use The Who. Nice choice. This pleases me.

The team they put together is as demographically calculated as a boy band, trying to fit all the holes of fan types.  The fat guys,  cute girls,  black criminals and the had some guy.  There are three recognizable faces.  I’m not certain I’ll accept Patrica Arcettes non mother attitude,  but we’ll see if the rest of the show turns me off.

The story continues in CSI style, twisting the plot around from simple to complex, and the CYBER team perform fairly regular tech tasks like tracing phones, using GPS and finding SD memory cards with video of the crime, now detected as a babycam live auction for the missing baby. Essentially the team is doing the exact same stuff as any other mystery show, except the techs are the leads, rather than a hand off team usually off camera.

Unpause.

Every show on TV these days bends the future a little,  but I did find the scene where they listen to the auction audio after one of the techs flips a switch and says; all languages now translated and the sound is of the same loud, crowded yelling auction, only with the foreigners now shouting in accented English rather than German, Arabic, and Chinese. That’s more sophisticated than Star Trek translator.

I don’t know that Google will ever get to that point. Translation in their own voice, real time.  I think not,  but again,  I’m still watching.

Unpause

The next miracle they perform attempts to teach us game consoles keep track of every user,  but only so they can trap petofiles. How happy I am to hear this,  covering up any of the other emotions I may have when I accept every device is hackable.  This show could destroy the trust of America in the first episode. It’s more terrifying in some ways than a chainsaw horror film.

If we dismiss the technology in this show as future based science fiction, the premise is almost silly.  If we believe everything in this show is possible,  it’s scary.  I’m torn.

The show ends with a lot of traditional first episode morals and recaps, and even a parents basement joke. We see her deep life long obsession that will play out in serial storyline eventually as The Who plays them out.

A well produced CSI show that could go long, if accepted. I’m not sure I like the cast enough to keep in my weekly rotation,  but I’ll watch next week.