Monday, November 19, 2012

Ken Burns on the spot again with The Dust Bowl

If you missed the PBS broadcast of The Dust Bowl you need to make plans to catch the reruns.  The two part series by Ken Burns was simply fantastic.

I know some of the previous work from Ken Burns can be a bit slow at times.  Not The Dust Bowl.  It takes a few minutes to get going as Burns sets the stage by introducing the people and how the region was populated.  But after the initial development, the show is fascinating.

I must admit it is an era that is not thought of much.  The 1930s have been pretty much "swept under the rug" as it was not the best of times in the United States.  The Great Depression dominated the times.  I remember from my schooling that the Dust Bowl was barely touched upon at all. Thus it was an almost entirely new subject for me.

Two things make The Dust Bowl so good you simply cannot turn it off.  Firstly, Ken Burns has assembled a plethora of outstanding photographs.  They are mesmerizing.  I never imagined the epic drama of the time and the extent of the sand and utter devastation will leave you in awe.  Photo after photo had my mouth gaping.

Secondly, Ken Burns found the people who actually lived it.  He established the homesteads and the plights of the familes.  The interviews and first hand accounts made the show and tug at your heart.

Over a decade, farmers tore up grasslands to plant more and more wheat, which soon was worth less and less. Next, winds blew away good soil and then more winds brought bad soil to the surface. In towns called Follett and Enid, the filmmaker has found important things to discuss about ecosystems and economies and how they collapse. More important, Burns also presents novel-worthy characters against an apocalyptic backdrop.

In the end, The Dust Bowl is typical Ken Burns.  The man does his research and can flat out tell a story.  He is in his element with The Dust Bowl.  The show can be unsettling at times, but is four hours of great documentary television.  A must watch!

Friday, November 9, 2012

World War Z - Fighting the Zombie Apocalypse

The next big zombie movie hits theaters early summer 2013.  World War Z Starring Brad Pitt the movie is based on a wonderful book of the same name by Max Brooks.  If you have not read the book, grab it before seeing the movie.  It is an entertaining read for sure.  With an impressive movie budget of $125 million expect nothing but a huge hit. 

With the breakout of the fabulous AMC series The Walking Dead, interest in World War Z will be high.  I have read the book and have monster expectations.  I love The Walking Dead and cannot wait to check this new movie out.

It will be interesting to see how director Marc Forster ties everything together in the film version as the book is a series of accounts of the Zombie War from several characters all over the world.  The interviews chart a decade long war against the zombies. The personal accounts also describe the changing religious, geo-political, and environmental aftermath of the Zombie War.  It looks like the movie will primarily follow Brad Pitt and his family.

Truthfully, I am not sure if the movie will follow the book much at all.  World War Z author Max Brooks stated he had zero influence in the script, but he did say he read the script and thought is was very good.  The IMDb introduction states that the movie follows a UN employee (surely Brad Pitt) as he travels around the world trying to stop the spread of a zombie pandemic.  We will just have to wait and see which path is taken.

I am also waiting to see what kind of zombies we will see in the movie.  Will they be the slower style flesh eaters in The Walking Dead style or will we get the "get after you" zombie from something like Dawn of the Dead?  In the book we had fairly athletic zombies that came in waves and were on the characters pretty quickly.  Hesitate and you are in big trouble!

**Update - We are definitely going to get "full-speed" zombies in World War Z!  I just watched the first trailer for the movie.

No mater what type of zombie we get.  There is just no way around it.  This movie should be BIG.  Brad Pitt.  A zombie world war.  The entertainment options are limitless.  Hopefully Forster does the story justice and produces a classic zombie movie we can love for years and years!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

President Obama - Forward We Go

Barack Obama's campaign pledge for re-election has been one single word. Forward.

Forward to what exactly? Forward towards more socialist programs? More welfare. More food stamps. Unemployment benefits that last for up to two years that do nothing but encourage the worker to not seek a job as they get free $$ from the taxpayer. More rewards to people who do very little to lend a hand in the productivity of our country.

Forward towards utter bankruptcy? A national debt that is going up over $1 trillion per year. The time is going to come when we have to own up to these excesses. Just look at Europe and the disasters in Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our day of reckoning will be much, much worse unfortunately.

Forward with a healthcare plan that a majority of Americans did not want? A healthcare plan that will force employers across our nation to fire productive employees because the fine is cheaper than the actual healthcare premiums. Wait. Watch. See the results of Obamacare.

He will have no mandate. He will be re-elected and not even win 50% of the popular vote. It's just like the famous Obamacare. A majority did not want it, but still we got it. Tonight a majority did not want President Obama yet we got him for four more years. Can we expect this President to actually sit down and try to get anything productive done with Congress? He spent the previous four years not working with anyone at all.

So here we go.
Forward towards more socialist policies.
Forward towards a bankrupt nation.
Forward towards gridlock.
Forward towards the fiscal cliff.

Really? Forward?