Movie Review – The Incredible Hulk

Ed Norton is Dr. Bruce Banner, The Incredible HulkThe Plot – After being exposed to gamma radiation, Dr. Bruce Banner is transformed into a green creature of incredible size and strength. Hunted by the government for a power he has no control over, Dr. Banner is on the run, looking for a cure. While he cannot control the transformation, Dr. Banner has learned his rage is the trigger. Will he find a cure before the government finds him?

The Review – I have to agree with John, this version of the film beats the Ang Lee version. Not only does the story arc follow the comic series more closely, there are some nods to previous renditions of the Hulk. Younger viewers main not recall the Hulk TV series, but Marvel Studios acknowledges the work of Bill Bixby (who played Bruce Banner) with a television snippet, and Lou Ferrigno (who played the Hulk) has a cameo in the movie, while also doing the voice of the green monster. (Side Note – Lou Ferrigno at over 50yrs old still looks HUGE… GINORMOUS even.) There were items that I caught, but a few I overlooked. John has more tidbits listed in his review.

Marvel Studios should pay attention to what is making certain films successful, e.g., Spiderman, Iron Man, The Hulk versus ones that are mediocre, e.g., Fantastic Four, Ghostrider. The story is a big part, but I think the casting has played a more important role. Toby Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., and Ed Norton have all done a fantastic job humanizing the heroes they portrayed. In my opinion, character development separates the Marvel films from their DC counterparts.

With the release of Iron Man & The Hulk, Marvel Studios has stirred up the buzz around future releases. There are references to Captain America, SHIELD and other phenomena of the Marvel universe, which can only build the hype for anticipated future releases

GRADE: A- (The only knock I have against the film is the CGI rendering of the Hulk)

UPDATELaura just saw the movie and she used “humanizing” in her review. Great minds think alike. LOL.

Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth Betas Available

If you want to stay on top of Adobe’s vision for new media, the best place to go is the Adobe Labs. There you’ll find the latest innovations, and next creations from the engineers that make creatives squeal like giddy school girls.

The Lightroom 2.0 beta was recently made available for download, and now bleeding edge creatives can checkout the next releases of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth. These products, used for web development, web prototyping, and audio, allow you a sneak peek at the future of the Creative Suite, and a glimpse at the integration between products. Cross-media publishing should be on your brain, as new Adobe products continue to blur the lines between web & print products allowing a smoother exchange of files, and better workflow.

If the betas are any indication, the CS4 release looks to be the next stage in creative evolution.

Stupid Person of the Week

This week’s award for stupid people goes to Lance Cpl. David Motari and Sgt. Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion of the Marine Corps. You may remember these two from their infamous YouTube video where they threw a puppy off a cliff. (The video was immediately removed from YouTube’s website) It’s unfortunate that such cruelty is considered humorous by many folks.

I had never really witnessed animal cruelty personally until I came to Texas. I was shocked the first time I drove I-35 through Austin and saw a billboard warning motorists about frat boys throwing kittens at cars on the highway. Criminally insane, just maddening I tell you. In 2003, I was in San Antonio and saw some teenagers torturing kittens.

There are few things that really upset me, but the behavior displayed by Lance Cpl. David Motari and Sgt. Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion is completely unacceptable. I don’t know if there’s a punishment fitting enough.

Christian Stereotypes

It’s hard not to stereotype isn’t it? Depending on your background, experiences, influences, etc., at some point in your life you’ll make a statement or do something that stereotypes another person or group. In the right context stereotypes can be funny. The best comedians make the audience see themselves in such stereotypes.

Today, I want to talk about the Christian stereotype. The one where Christians are seen as God-fearing, Holier-Than-Thou, self-righteous, preachy, pompous do-gooders, and most importantly hypocrites. I know the stereotype well–I used to think a lot like that myself. My experiences with “Christians” only enforced my perception of that stereotype. It’s one of the reasons I did not speak openly about my faith once I decided to embark on a spiritual quest. I didn’t want to be considered one of “those people.”

I believe this stereotype is reinforced by certain celebrities, evangelicals, and other folks who are in the public eye. This morning I was listening to the Jagger Mafia on Live 105.3FM, and they were discussing the recent interview Hulk Hogan had with Larry King. In that interview Hulk talked some about the accident involving his son Nick, in which the passenger of the vehicle John Graziano was critically injured. Jagger played some clips from the Larry King show, as well as taped conversations that were released by the jail facility where Nick Hogan is being held.

The disappointing thing about Hulk Hogan was how many times he invoked Jesus, spoke of being a good Christian, and yet took no responsibility for his lack of parenting skills or his son’s mistake. At one point Hulk even stated that being in a coma would make John Graziano a better person. Not only did Hulk come across as a hypocrite, but the negative Christian stereotype was in full swing. This type of behavior belittles true Christians who are perceived as using their beliefs for publicity stunts.

I will be the first to admit that I am far from perfect, and while I aspire to be a better Christian, I make mistakes (and sin) all the time. That’s right, I sin. I am a sinner. During this journey of faith, I have come to accept that fact. What I don’t do is hide behind my faith, or use it as an excuse for my behavior. I don’t make black & white decisions based on my faith, because honestly, I’m still learning, still wrestling with what I’ve learned, still trying not to sweat the small stuff.

Longtime readers know I don’t shy away from topics such as abortion, feminism, and homosexuality. Many would argue that my opinions contradict being a Christian, but I choose not to isolate myself from dissenting ideas. How can a person grow if they are only exposed to one experience? How can I become closer to God if I don’t learn as much about the world-both good & bad? How can I not love my sister Lesli just because she’s gay?

Yes, I have done stupid STUPID things. I think part of being a Christian is the drive to be better, not just in what we do or say, but in every aspect. Some days I do better than others. Today, I didn’t give the finger to any other drivers, not once. Oh, I screamed some profanities in my car, but no tailgating of other drivers for 10 miles. Guess that means I’m not excused yet from anger management classes. Heh.

I totally respect your right to choose your beliefs, and I don’t condemn people because they’re Jewish, Agnostic, Aetheist, Buddist, etc. I think such beliefs are very personal, and who am I to judge another person? Some of my closest friends are Jewish, one of my best friends thinks Jesus was an alien, and Lesli is more deserving of a decent afterlife than I ever could be.

This is one Christian who doesn’t have all the answers…

UPDATEBen has some insights into what makes a “Christian.”

MMA Review – What’s Next For Matt Hughes?

UFC 85: Bedlam – Thiago Alves TKOs Matt Hughes.

After another stunning loss, Matt Hughes may have just exposed himself as a fighter past his prime. Like the Mike Tyson of old, facing Hughes warranted courage just to step in the octagon, but the aura & mystique have long since passed. Matt Hughes has lost three of his last four fights, and none were even close contests. A 9-time welterweight champion, Matt’s contribution to the UFC, and mixed martial arts are unquestioned. His future in the sport is what many are pondering.

Steve Cofield makes some good points that perhaps it’s not so much Hughes being old (if 34 can be called old), as it is 2008 debuting a better breed of MMA fighters. I have watched Matt Hughes fight many times, and his powerful takedowns were absolutely impressive. In his last bouts, the other fighters have been faster, their takedown defense better, rendering Matt Hughes as a mere mortal.

In this new age of MMA, the best fighters are pushing the limits of the sport. It’s simply not striking vs grappling anymore. The longevity of a fighter and his (or her) success depends on a complete set of MMA skills not just a specialized mastery of techniques.

After the fight Matt Hughes called out Matt Serra giving way for perhaps his last MMA contest. It begs the question, with so many talented MMA fighters out there, what audience is going to pay to see these two fighters both coming off significant losses?

Personally, I think Matt Hughes is up to the challenge. Time will tell if he feels the same way.