Thursday, October 30, 2014

Modern Man of La Mancha

“Poetry demands imagination and with that imagination, we may discover a dream.” I heard Peter O'Toole say those immortal words when I watched Man of La Mancha and they've always stuck with me. For those that have never heard of the musical, read the novel or seen the movie, it's about the author Miguel De Cervantes when he was imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition and he tells the story of Don Quixote in order to keep the prisoners from burning his work. Don Quixote is a sick, elderly man that dresses in antique armor and goes on a quest to defeat evil. I've always loved the story because of how it shows the power that comes from dreams.

Pursuing my dream of being an author/writer, it's an extremely difficult task and it requires a lot of my free time. This is my way of saying that I don't get out much and when I do go out, I see people always over doing it. They're making stupid decisions, getting in trouble and taking risks that can end their life before it really begins. When asked why they would do something like that, they all have the same answer for the same question. “I have to live life because it's the only life that we're going to have.” While I respect this point of view, I have to humbly disagree.

One of the greatest gifts humans beings can have is an imagination. These people live life because it's all they have, I live my life because of what it can be. In my parents lifetime, they have come from seeing segregation to an African-American president, Wars, Peace, and advancements in various fields such as medicines, technologies and explorations. We've broken barriers, pushed human restrictions to new limits and expanded our understanding of the universe. Everything accomplished because people had an imagination and dedicated themselves to turning it into reality.

I can only imagine what the future holds for me and I hope one day that my work will contribute to mankind's progression. In the tale of Don Quixote, his delusions helped two people by the names of Sancho and Aldonza see past their realities. It helped them cope with the fact that Sancho had never really done anything in his life until he decided to join Don Quixote on his adventure. Aldonza also benefited because she saw herself as a person in the end, not just some prostitute meant to be someone's toy every night. That's the power of the dream.

This is why I choose to live my life, I want to contribute something that will help people see things in other ways except reality because let's face it. Reality really sucks sometimes for a lot of people, if it didn't then we wouldn't need escapes like bars, books, clubs, movies, and video games. At the end of the film, Peter O'Toole says to the prisoners, “God help us all. We are all men of La Mancha.” I have to say that I consider myself a modern man of La Mancha. I say that because I'm only self published right now and I may not have an agent or a publisher, but I'll never give up on the impossible dream.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fury Review

There are several films about World War II that will stand the test of time. Movies such as Patton, Tora Tora Tora, Saving Private Ryan, and The Longest Day. Today, I add the movie Fury to that list because what makes this film unique is how it shows the younger generation like myself a very important aspect. We know about the troops that sacrificed everything to stop the Nazi regime, the General who was all blood and guts, and the battles that were raged on. This film however was about the tanks used and how American tanks were inferior compared to the Germans.

Fury stars Brad Pitt as Tank commander Don Collier who leads a strong cast in the form of Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal. Together these men for the crew for the tank known as “Fury” and made a name for themselves during the invasion of Normandy. Near the end of Hitler's reign, a tragedy befalls the group which leaves an opening in the crew, filled by Norman (Logan Lerman). Norman is an inexperienced solider that's never been on the battlefield so on top of staying alive, Collier must now train the fresh fish in the art of tank warfare. This provides a unique look at people who enter the war and slowly lose their sense of humanity.

Young Norman finds out real quick that the only way to survive the war is to throw away everything that made him what he was. There is an intense moment when Collier forces Norman to do something that forever changes him and what the crew considers to be “for the greater good.” While hoping to gain Don Collier's acceptance, Norman is also struggling to earn the respect of the other crew and through that, the audience connects with the crew and the brotherhood that unites them. Shia LeBeouf was especially impressive with his character “Bible,” a religious character that provides the spiritual support for the group. It was a fresh breath of air to see him in a role where he wasn't screaming most of the film and overall I felt he gave the best performance next to Brad Pitt.

The main tank battle is where the crew of Fury and two other tanks square off against an enemy German tank. It sounds unfair for the German tank right? Not really because the American tanks virtually get pounded and Fury would've joined them if it wasn't for the quick thinking of Collier. Even though they survive the battle, another horror comes towards the crew. A storm consisting of 300 plus Nazis are marching towards Fury's direction in order to stop American soldiers from getting closer to Berlin. 

Instead of getting out of the way, the crew decide to make a terrifying choice and fight in order to give the Americans more time and a better advantage over the Nazis. You'll have to see the movie to find out for yourselves and it was well worth the price of admission even if it wasn't matinee. I will warn the people who read this that this film does have scenes of gore and extreme violence so if your done seeing blood and guts then don't bother. Otherwise this film is a solid ten, another great film about WWII that makes the audience appreciate just how much was lost during a very dark period in human history. Not just American, European or Russian, human history. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Flash Blazes!

The Flash made his return to television in the CW’s adaptation of the famous comic book adaption and as expected, it left a blazing trail. The Flash is arguably one of DC Comics most famous superheroes only to be matched by the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The last time there was a live action Flash was back in the 1990s and unfortunately only lasted a season but considering the advantages of modern technology, it’s clear this Flash will be around for a while. For those that may not know, The Flash is the alias of Barry Allen whom is struck by lightning in a laboratory. The results of that accident gave him super speed hence his reputation, “The Fastest Man Alive.”

Played by Grant Gustin, Barry Allen made his first public appearance in last season’s CW smash hit Arrow and once fans saw the lighting hit, they knew a show was coming. The CW seemed to stay very traditional with the look but there are some differences with the suit being made of a dark red form of clothing, no tights. I understand these are different times but if there’s one thing I think every comic fan can agree on is we love how flashy the costumes are and these days, every superheroes suit is dark. While I wasn’t so crazy about how dark the clothing looked, I forgot about it once the action started.

Just like any superhero film or series, Barry gets his powers in time as “Meta-humans” are coming out of the wood work with one that robs banks with the ability to control the weather. This character is recognized by Flash followers as the Weather Wizard. Barry takes it upon himself to use his powers to stop the Weather Wizard in an epic showdown and in the process, sees an opportunity. 
An opportunity to use his powers to find someone that wronged Barry a very long time ago when he was a child. You’ll have to watch the show and find out what it was.   

While Barry is going through his struggles to understand exactly who he has become, there is plenty of distractions going on in the form of Candice Patton who plays the famous love interest, Iris West. Growing up as a childhood friend of Barry then suddenly coming back in his life, it’s clear that these two are going to have complications as time goes on. When we’ll see these two finally hook up? I’m more than willing to bet it will be somewhere in the third season and I do expect this show to make it that far and beyond.  

Overall this is the start of another CW smash hit with awesome graphics as Barry Allen speeds through his home of Central City. The show has plenty of drama, comedy and action to keep comic fans and anyone who is just looking for something to watch glued to the screen. DC in my opinion is finally catching up to Marvel as far as rolling out the line of superheroes that fans have been wanting to see for some time now. For many fans, Marvel has been in the lead for years but now it seems that DC may be starting to "speed up." Considering the quality of this show, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Flash ran right into the big screen soon with the upcoming Justice League movie.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Breast Cancer

What’s Worth Kneeling For?
Anthony Labson

I’m full of pride.
I can’t run from a fight
and I won’t shame my name.
I’ll stand ready to die.

I don’t flinch for a blade
and I don’t fear the sound of a bullet.
A knife is just a tool for use or trade
and a gun is nothing without a digit.

I fought enemies
and I even fought a friend.
The fighting never reached its end
and I would think at times I had an injury.

I never really had a reason to fight
but I never could back down.
Now more than ever all I can wear is a frown
because my love is fading from my sight.

She is the best of me
but we couldn't stop in time.
The other life in her heart is mine
So if she goes then I’ll cease to be. 

If finally bending my knees saves her
then I do it proudly with no dishonor.
My life without her would just be horror.
I never thought my greatest enemy would be cancer.