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Armando N. Roman RSS Feed (Hillsboro, OR)
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Europa Report
Europa Report
DVD
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars "Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known...what does your life actually matter?", July 5, 2015
I had never heard of Europa Report until a couple of months ago on The Joe Rogan Experience when it was mentioned in passing. They barely said anything about it, but what they did say sounded interesting enough for me to keep it in mind and watch it whenever I got a chance. I’m not a fan of the sci-fi genre, be it something like The Fifth Element or something like Star Trek. Heck, my favorite sci-fi movie isn’t even that sci-fi to most people (Children of Men). But when I started up Europa Report, I was captivated by the way it was shot and with how atmospheric it was. Look, I’m just as sick of found footage movies as anyone else, and yet here the different cameras actually make sense and you can believe that everything is in sync. It’s not one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, for a few minor reasons, but Europa Report is worth watching for any sci-fi fan, or anyone who just likes to wonder about what else is out there.

The movie is made up of footage from the Europa One, a spacecraft set out to explore the moon of Jupiter- Europa. There are numerous cameras installed on the ship, with some being on consoles, on shelves, on the walls, and every space suit has one inside the helmet facing the person, and another one on the shoulder to show what they see. Every aspect of the journey is being recorded. This is all footage that was recovered from the mission, and at the beginning of the movie, a few people talk about the expedition and how important it was. We also get some clips of one of the crew members- Rosa, as she explains a couple of things that were going on when things got intense, and what was going on in her mind. The mission starts out perfectly. No problems, everyone’s getting along, communication with Earth is clear. But it’s clear that they encounter problems when they bring up that one of the crew members was lost, and then it becomes clear that there may have been other losses.

There’s a shot in the movie that is just tremendous to see, and the way that they let the scene go on without cutting to something else, allowing it to sink in, gets tons of respect from me. It’s as the craft slowly heads down to Europa. It’s one long shot with the craft making it down and we hear the voices of the crew talking to each other, giving reports on their status. All you see is this little ship sinking into the distance and for some reason, it really stood out to me. Europa Report is also one of the few found footage movies I’ve seen that doesn’t mess up its gimmick. How many found footage movies have you seen where there’s at least one moment where it’s clear that no one in the group of characters is holding the camera, and that it’s some random person who never gets identified? With how everything is set up in the ship and on the suits, that never happens. Each camera is labeled in the upper-right corner when it switches from shot to shot. There’s not a moment when you don’t know how something’s being filmed. I also -loved- how Europa looked. The surface has this weird, twisted look to the ice, not like anything I’ve seen before. There’s a very real feeling of loneliness there, helped even more by this look.

One of my problems with Europa Report is that it was hard to connect with any of the characters. I don’t quite mean that it was hard to relate with any of them; some of the situations they get into are very relatable, or we’ve seen them in other movies. The thing is, we never learn much about these people. I can kind of understand this because it may have made the movie more dramatic, or it may have seemed weird to have revealing scenes with these kinds of camera angles. When something bad happens to one of the few characters with personality (and keep in mind there are only 6 people on the ship), I didn’t feel much for them. The scene was edited beautifully, and the dialogue was perfect…yet I didn’t care as much as I would have if I knew more about the character or they had more screen time. I guess that’s where the more believable camera angles end up hurting the film. In your typical found footage movie, it’s always one or two cameras that somehow get their footage merged perfectly together with little or no gaps in time, but it’s also from a more personal point of view. You’re right there with the character. Here, you’re watching them, and most of the time, everything is mission-related. You’d think that would be a good thing. You know you have forgettable characters when the only thing making me want someone to survive is because they’re pretty or did a noble act, rather than having depth or being interesting.

The other thing that bothered me was that the movie is about 75% straightforward in telling the story, with bits and pieces of other scientists coming in to talk about the mission here and there. At one point though, we’re taken back to something that happened earlier, after events after it happened already play through, then it cuts back to another time. I had to rewind it for a few seconds to check the mission clock that shows up to see where the movie was. Why do this when you can tell this story from beginning to end without any issues? And as is the case with a couple of other movies I’ve seen lately, I wasn’t a fan of the ending, even thinking to myself “oh…this is it isn’t it?” and “THAT was it?”. The ending here isn’t terrible, and it doesn’t ruin the movie. I was just hoping for something more than a vague reveal.

I’m still glad I watched the movie, and encourage anyone who stumbled upon this page or heard about it in a short conversation like I did to watch it. At just an hour and a half it never overstays its welcome and has some truly nice shots. If only it had better characters. If someone remade this as a regular movie without using the found footage angle, I could see it working. And if you’re really curious about what was going on, I recommend reading 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke, since this is kind of an adaptation of that.


Ford Motor Company FDK1 Knife and Multi-Tool Combo Pack, Blue with Black Appointments
Ford Motor Company FDK1 Knife and Multi-Tool Combo Pack, Blue with Black Appointments
Price: $24.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When will these be mentioned in a country song?, July 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'll admit- I'm no handyman of any kind, especially these days. But I get access to a lot of good tools now and then, and know quality when I see/handle it. This Ford knife and multi-tool are about as middle-of-the-road as you can get, and that's not really a bad thing.

The knife blade is 3 inches long and comes fully sharpened. I really liked the feel of the blade when I did some practice cuts. It still feels like it might break if you use too much force with it though. I'm also not a fan of the super tight belt clip and how the handle feels in my hand. It uses a locking bar to close. You'll want to open and close the knife many times for a while to make it easier to move the blade since out of the box, it's very stiff to move around.

As for the multi-tool, I thought it was neat and has a lot of good, useful tools on it. Blades, screwdrivers, a bottle opener, a -can- opener, and more are all right there in the handles. The pliers though, are probably the best thing. They keep a strong grip on objects without slipping, and as others have pointed out, they close without even a tiny gap. I remember my dad spending a small fortune on fancy pliers in the mid-90s that couldn't do this.

I guess what it comes down to is that you pay for what you get. This is a budget priced tool set, and if you need something of better quality, you can do much better. But for something to have around in your bag or even for the less tool-savy person to have in the car, it's not bad. Trust me, there are far worse out there.


Bedtime Devotions with Jesus: My Daily Devotional for Kids
Bedtime Devotions with Jesus: My Daily Devotional for Kids
by Johnny Hunt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.39
59 used & new from $8.46

3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the next one will have the Gospel of Thomas 4:1., July 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a really cute concept, but I feel like it could've been executed better if it had more content.

Click on the book's picture above and check out a few of the pages to get a good idea of what it's all about. It's basically a collection of Bible passages with short paragraphs explaining them and using Jesus in each case. The majority of the passages here are good, and the kind you can apply to everyday life. There's a built-in bookmark, and the pages have tabs to let you know what day and week the devotions are for. I thought this was neat, and since it doesn't go by any calendar, you can start whenever you want. The build of the book is nice and sturdy, and I was surprised when I took it out of the shipping envelope, not expecting it to be so well-made at this price.

I don't think that many young children will be that interested in it though, unless they're very into their church. My oldest daughter is 8, and goes to church on sundays with her mom, but a lot of what's in here I've already explained to her over the years in a non-religious way*. I'd say this is more for kids 3-6 if they're starting out with the Bible or going to church regularly. Since it's just one short page a day, it's a fast read. I think they could've made it more interesting with pictures or maybe even a few more examples. There are a lot of pages that have cute little bears, but they could have shown what the passage was talking about to flesh things out a little.

Don't get me wrong- this is a cute book and a fun thing to do with your young kids if you're...ok, most people looking at this page are going to be Christian. It has a sweet presentation, is very cheap, and will keep you reading for a full year. At the same time, kids may get tired of hearing Jesus' name over and over again with how the paragraphs are written. Just check the sample pages, and realize you're getting a lot of that. If that's ok with you, then cool, go for it.

* = note for people who might've read that and immediately went on alert. I'm not anti-religion at all, as is the popular thing to be these days. But many of the passages are common principles that any well-meaning person lives by, religious or not. That being said, if Jesus ever comes back, I'm going to have him over, turn on the tv to any church channel, and just tell him "look what they did".


Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
DVD
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Her first baby came out sideways. She didn't scream or nothin'.", June 30, 2015
I’ve been going through my queue of movies that’s been building up for years. I’ve finally started catching up on older “classics” from the 80s, and of the ones I’ve seen, this one right here is my favorite so far. To be completely honest, I’ve only seen one movie of Steve Martin’s, and one movie of John Candy’s before Planes, Trains & Automobiles. I thought they were both great, but for whatever reason, I never got around to seeing their other work. This is another one of those movies where pretty much everyone on the planet has seen it by this point except a small handful, or younger people, so there’s not much new I can say about it. Still, I think anyone who appreciates comedy will find something great here. It may not be the first movie to do the mix-matched duo thing, but Planes, Trains & Automobiles manages to do it with both a perfect combo of comedy and humanity.

Neal Page is your typical business guy. We meet him during a long, boring meeting where an executive is trying to decide on which ad to use, and time’s wasting away. Neal needs to make his flight soon to be with his family on Thanksgiving. When the meeting’s finally out, he only has a little bit of time to make it. Finding a cab is nearly impossible, and when he manages to pay someone to use the one they were going to use, it turns out that someone else got in while Neal was busy. He gets a glimpse of the guy before the cab speeds away. After he finally makes it to the airport, Neal meets the guy who took the cab- Del Griffith. He’s a regular buddy-buddy, friendly, talkative guy…pretty much the opposite of Neal as far as we can tell. When they board the plane, they end up sitting next to each other too, and it’s no fun for Neal. Before you know it, the plane has to make an emergency landing due to a severe storm, and the two are stuck sharing a room together. How much of this can Neal take?

Take one look at the movie’s box art and you’ll have a good idea of how the characters are. Neal and Del definitely have an Ernie and Bert thing going on. Neal is very precise and used to being on schedule, while Del goes with the flow and is seemingly care free. The best example of this is when they share a room together and Neal looks over the bathroom after Del’s been in there. Everything’s a mess, and somehow, every towel except the tiny one most people use to dry their hands, has been used. I won’t spoil what happens after they leave, but the motel really is just the tip of the iceberg for these two. Most of us who’ve been in a similar situation with having an annoying person next to us on the bus or plane couldn’t dream of being stuck with them somewhere else, over and over again, especially when you’re trying to get somewhere and something keeps preventing you from getting there.

There were a lot of moments where I laughed out loud while watching this movie, but what really got me was how the characters were written when they weren’t being angry or goofy. Neal and Del are both very real characters that have some moments where you can really feel for them. Being away from your kid’s school concerts or holiday plays, being away from home because you’re out trying to make sales, getting chewed out for being yourself when you feel like you aren’t doing anything wrong, it may sound basic (and I guess it is), but when these occasions popped up, it didn’t take me out of the movie or feel forced. The film’s resolution was actually very nice, and had the movie been made today, i’m sure it would’ve been taken in a completely different direction.

I don’t have anything bad to say here. Even the soundtrack, which I guess some critics have had issues with, was catchy to me. There’s one reoccurring piece that sounds a lot like the old “I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas…” song you sing as a kid, just done on a keyboard. And John Candy does a good job of playing the dashboard like a piano to Ray Charles’ “Mess Around” at one point, as bad of a time as it may be to do so. Definitely check this one out if you haven’t.


Nerf Rebelle Secrets and Spies Secret Shot Blaster Pink
Nerf Rebelle Secrets and Spies Secret Shot Blaster Pink
Price: $19.31
20 used & new from $18.99

4.0 out of 5 stars When are they going to make a big Nerf action movie called Rebelleion or something?, June 29, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As usual with the Rebelle guns, when they say that it shoots up to 75 feet, they mean it! It seems like every gun we've gotten has gotten stronger and shoots further than the last one, and this is no exception. Make sure no one aims at faces and everything'll be good. The Secret Shot is well-made, doesn't feel flimsy, and can hold a couple of darts in the purse portion once opened. Like a lot of the other Rebelle guns, you also get this [little-used] spy feature where the darts have messages on them that can be read easily with the special decoder. This kind of thing isn't going to be a key selling point, and it'd be nice if there was a way to write your own secret messages to send back and forth to each other, but it's a decent addition.

I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 like I have with most other Rebelle guns because this one is the slowest shooting gun we have, but it costs about the same as the other faster ones. You have to pump the handle each time to shoot. Compare that to other Rebelle (or any Nerf gun for that matter) blaster at this price point and you'll find that there are some really good guns that you may like better. Also, the purse "mode" seems tacked on and doesn't serve much purpose. I guess it makes storage easier since it won't take up as much space when unfolded.

The Secret Shot would be a good beginner dart gun for kids to see how they like it before investing in something bigger. It may not have as much firepower since it can only shoot one at a time, but it still gets the job done.


Fiber One Snacks Bar Cheesecake, Strawberry, 5 Count (Pack of 12)
Fiber One Snacks Bar Cheesecake, Strawberry, 5 Count (Pack of 12)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I guess it's probably better than eating the real thing., June 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Take one look at the box for this snack and you can probably guess that no matter what they call it, this isn't exactly going to be a healthy way of getting your fiber fix. That being said, it IS a pretty good treat to have when you're on the go or just to reward yourself with if you've been doing good with not eating sweets. When I took my first bite out of one of these, two things crossed my mind:

"This is good!" and "...this tastes like a real cheesecake, and that's not exactly known as a good source of fiber."

The good news is that you're getting 20% of your daily fiber in one of these little cakes. The bad news is that each one has 10g of sugar (not THAT bad actually, all things considered) and they're a bit high in fat. This will make some people turn their noses at these with that info alone. Keep that in mind if you're diabetic or really cutting down on your sugar intake.

You might also want to keep these in the fridge. I got these in the mail on a pretty hot day and a good portion of the strawberry filling ended up sticking to the plastic wrapper.

These are a tasty snack surprisingly high in fiber. Don't even try to brag about eating healthy though if this is where you go for the fiber fix.


NEW WHEY LIQ PROTN 42g FP 12/
NEW WHEY LIQ PROTN 42g FP 12/
Offered by Arcwholesale
Price: $40.58
9 used & new from $39.65

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't be surprised if you could ignite this stuff., June 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's no other way to start this review- this is one of the worst things I've ever tasted.

I never mention how I'm a part of the Vine program in reviews because I feel like it's an uppity thing to bring up, but I have to mention this part of it- the stuff we get is not to be sold, given away or anything like that. That being said, with those rules in place, I'm going to just leave this stuff in my pantry until it expires and I can throw it away, if I'm not to pour all of them down the drain.

Nothing about this drink feels or tastes like it's good for you. The instant the liquid touched my lips, it tingled. That tingling feeling lasted for a couple of seconds. As for the drink, it's this gross milky drink that tastes like fruit punch if the fruit punch came from a syrup and no actual fruit were involved. Imagine drinking on of the syrup containers that are used in making/flavoring snow cones. It's basically that with a hint of milk. You can drink this at room temperature or refrigerated. When I saw that it contained milk, I put it in the fridge right away and drank it when it got mail.

The one whole thing keeping it from getting 1 star is that you get tons of protein in one tube. This would best be used as some kind of emergency protein drink if nothing else is available for miles and you're on the side of the road or something. For sure stick to real foods or protein bars that at least taste good.


Under Armour Men's UA Strike Warp Sandals 11 Black
Under Armour Men's UA Strike Warp Sandals 11 Black
Offered by Active Life Store
Price: $21.99
7 used & new from $18.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sandals with flexibility that don't crack over time? I'll take a dozen!, June 22, 2015
Sandals aren’t something I normally buy, but when I saw these at the store recently, it was an instant purchase. The look is awesome and they feel really good on my feet. There are all kinds of different sandals out there- some with little bumps like these, some with gel pads. I prefer this kind with the cushioned foam in addition to said bumps.

My shoe size is 10.5 with most brands, 11 if I’m wearing Nikes. So I bought these in a size 11 and they fit perfectly- not too big or too small. Keep that in mind if you’re in-between sizes too. I’ll be totally honest with you- the sandals took about two weeks of wearing before they were broken in. The whole first week I wore them, I was worried that I should’ve bought a size bigger because my feet kept slipping out of the back of the sandals while walking. The band on top felt too stiff and I thought I might’ve wasted my money. Fortunately, after the second week, everything felt good and these have been my main footgear when I’m doing basic things outside. I can bend my feet at the toes and they don't crack like some other brands do. While I don't expect these to hold up for years and years of regular use, they do seem like they'll last a couple of summers.

I really do love these sandals and recommend them to anyone. They’re durable for what they are, don’t have bad stitching anywhere, and don’t slip much if they get wet.


Headhunters (English Subtitled)
Headhunters (English Subtitled)
DVD
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom and Jerry for grown ups., June 21, 2015
As is the case with most movies I’ve been watching lately, I heard about Headhunters a few years ago on a podcast where everyone was talking about great movies no one ever talks about. Very little was said about it, but I threw it on my queue based on the praise, and only got to watching it a little bit ago. I’m glad I remembered the movie now, because this is easily among the best I’ve seen this year.

Roger Brown is 5’6” tall, and makes up for his height with his lifestyle. He has a job that nets him tons of money, an incredible house, a beautiful and successful artist as his wife, and he steals expensive pieces of art in his spare time to keep his lavish lifestyle going. He’s even buddies with a security expert who can delete logs from security systems, and gets a nice share of what Roger gets from the art. One of the most important things when it comes to stealing, is to know everything you can about the person you’re taking from. Roger targets people he interviews for his company, learning about them right there in the interview. One night at his wife’s art gallery opening, Roger meets Clas Greve, a man who used to work for a very big company, and Roger immediately tries to get him tow work for his company after learning more about his background, as well as the fact that Clas has an extremely rare painting. Clas declines, but when Roger manages to get the painting, he discovers that he may have made the biggest mistake of his life- he found someone just as good as he is.

Not much of a plot summary, I know, but a lot happens in Headhunters, and I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises. The movie had me worried that this was going to be some kind of business drama, but once the ball gets rolling, things get intense fast. The whole time I was watching this, I thought to myself “man, this feels like something that would star Liam Neeson”. There’s a lot of double-crossing, a lot of moments where someone escapes by the skin of their teeth, and a lot of tricky plotting. Headhunters has some great moments where you think you’re ahead of the plot, because something is revealed early on and you think a character made an obvious mistake, but that isn’t always the case here.

All of the actors do a great job, especially Aksel Hennie as Roger and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Clas. The way these characters were written is equally great too. By no means should anyone find Roger likable. He’s dastardly, steals expensive things form unsuspecting people, has no interest in even talking about having kids with his wife, and on top of that, is cheating on her. You almost have to want him to prevail in the end because the odds are stacked against him so much, yet even then he continues to keep his bad qualities. Still, I was on the edge of my seat wondering how he was going to get out of the situations he got into, considering what he was up against. This is a game of cat and mouse like no other.

I really want to say more about Headhunters because it was such a surprise. I’ll stop before I ruin anything big or give away a cool twist. If you want an intense chase movie, this is what you need to watch.


Trouble Game Despicable Me Edition
Trouble Game Despicable Me Edition
Price: $11.63
43 used & new from $9.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm just glad a certain weapon didn't make it into the game., June 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I didn't have that many board games when I was little. One that I tried to play as much as I could though, was Trouble. Even with just one other player, I'd have fun playing game after game, popping the bubble in the middle of the board. There was just something cool about that, and it was more fun that just rolling the dice like you normally do. Now, there are tons of versions of this classic, and this Despicable Me version tries to make things a little different while keeping the gameplay the same.

The object of the game is to get all four of your Minions onto the finish steps near the middle of the board. You pop the bubble with the dice inside and move your pieces however many spaces the dice adds up to. To get a Minion on the board though, you need to get a 6. If you land on the same space as another player's Minion, that sends their piece back home, really messing things up for them. There's also a picture of Siren Bob on one side of the dice. Get Siren Bob, and you bring his piece into play, setting him in front of your Minion. As long as he's in play, your Minion can't be sent home if another player lands on the same space as you.

The game is still fun, and with four people playing, things can get crazy. As many others have pointed out though, the quality of the game isn't as good as previous versions of Trouble. The board is pretty flimsy and won't last long if kids are rough with the game. There are no holes for pegs on the game pieces to go into and stay in place either. The game feels like it was rushed into production to make it out in time for the movie's release.

At the same time, it's extremely cheap and has more to do than a few other board games I've seen for the same price or higher. This would be a great starter board game for kids, and you can move up to a better version if they like it.


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