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Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor HDTV Antenna (Certified Refurbished)
Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor HDTV Antenna (Certified Refurbished)
Offered by DealFisher
Price: $39.99
4 used & new from $39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for west Minneapolis, August 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fun fact: there's no one size fits all TV antenna that will work for everyone. Getting reception has gotten tricky since the conversion to digital and different antennas do different things.

All I can tell you is that in my townhome in Hopkins Minnesota, the mohu leaf 50 works perfectly and pulls in the elusive NBC which I had been without for the last four months. I had tried a few antennas and they didn't cut it. This one does and I'm thrilled.

If the mohu leaf 50 doesn't work for you, I would suggest trying a directional antenna. The mohu leaf is an omni directional antenna.

Super Mario 3D World - Nintendo Wii U
Super Mario 3D World - Nintendo Wii U
Price: $47.95
80 used & new from $35.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Super Fantastic Happy Game, March 20, 2014
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From the years 1985-2005, there were six Mario platformers in existence, eight if you count the fantastic Yoshi's Island and the paint job of Doki Doki Panic known to us westerners as Super Mario Bros 2. In the last eight years alone, Nintendo has made an additional eight Mario platformers. Mario games used to be events. Sometimes they were earth shaking, watershed, revolutionary events. That is no longer true. And despite my lifelong love of Mario, I had started to get a little burned out. All of this makes it that much more impressive that this game blew me away as much as it did.

Super Mario 3D World is an insane game, filled to the brim with pure joy. I am convinced the development team, Tokyo EAD, is a magic factory. Every idea, and there are lots of ideas, is meant to be fun or amusing. The cat suit, complete with characters meowing and walking around like cats. Plessie the goofy, hard to control dinosaur that you ride in select levels. Multiplying your character seven times over. Playing with your friends. Everything in this game was designed with the mantra, "what is the most fun thing we can possibly do?" And they usually succeed at accomplishing their goal.

Even the least of Mario games have superb physics to their game, meaning running and jumping around just feels right, and 3D World is no exception. What really separates the merely good Mario games from the all time classic Mario games is the level design. 3D World has fantastic level design. I think the Mario Galaxy games have the highest of highs when it comes to Mario levels, but they also have some middling levels that are probably actually fun but by comparison they seem to be a drag. 3D World may not hit those highs of Galaxy, but they come close and there is no level that I would consider "middling." It's all Grade A, incredibly varied stuff.

Really, there's no other game trying, let alone succeeding, at being this seemingly drug induced brand of pure joy. If you like Mario at all, and why on earth wouldn't you, you should play this game. I know there's been a lot of them recently, but this (and both the Galaxy games) is among the most fun I've had playing video games. Ever. Huzzah for hyperbole!

Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
DVD ~ Chris Pine
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $14.11
182 used & new from $3.98

16 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Looking Fan-Fiction, June 21, 2013
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is an extremely watchable movie. That is because of JJ Abrams. Say what you will about JJ Abrams, the man is a talented visual stylist. The way his camera moves, his edits, the set piece sequences he creates are all pretty great. He can make any movie fun. Hell, I even like his overuse of lens flares. His work in these areas is once again excellent in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Unfortunately, he's never worked with a good script. When MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 is the best script you've worked with, you're not doing too hot. Most impressive is Abrams' ability to make watchable, even sometimes good movies out of bad scripts. Abrams, along with his excellent cast, do their best again here in STID, but the script they are working from is just too vile to save.

Again, most of the movie was very watchable. It never "feels" like Star Trek (whatever that means) to me, but it was enjoyable, in a dumb, obvious 9/11 allegory sci fi way. (Btw, have these writers seen the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA reboot? Cuz they kinda already did the whole space-opera-as-9/11 metaphor thing. 10 years ago. Before the allegory had been done a million times.) Honestly it felt more like a dumber version of Mass Effect than it did Star Trek. And I was fine with that. I love Mass Effect! But then, the wheels start falling off the wagon.

Spoilers ahead.

For context, I looooove THE WRATH OF KHAN. I'm not crazy about everything relating to Star Trek, but that movie is great. So when STID very openly invites comparisons between itself and TWOK, it looks absolutely foolish in comparison, and frankly, made me mad. The writers may love TWOK like I do, but I don't think for a second they understand WHY that movie is great. Let's break this down into the two plot elements that most directly relate to TWOK.

1.) Khan - The reason Khan is the most popular villain in Star Trek is because a) Ricardo Montalban's pecs and b) Khan has a history with Kirk and he wants revenge. When Eggs Benedict Cumberbund reveals himself to actually be Khan, NOT A SINGLE CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE CARES because he has no history with anyone. Hell, he hasn't even been talked about prior to this reveal. His name could have been John Bon Poopypants for all they care. It is a "reveal" that only exists for fan service and it falls completely flat. And then after that, he bears absolutely zero resemblance to any Khan I remember. Basically what they did was name a generic bad guy Khan for the fans when it really had no bearing on the movie they were making.

2.) The Self Sacrifice Ending Inversion - This is the one that pissed me off. Kirk sacrificing himself for his crew and ship is a pretty obvious ending to his arc in this movie, at least after Pike spells out what he needs to do to be a good captain. But why, for the love of god, why, reprise Spock's sacrificial ending in TWOK? Why turn what should be an emotional moment into one where the writers are elbowing you in the side going, "Eh? Eh? See what we're doing here? Eh? Get it?" It was even worse for me because I knew pretty quickly that they weren't even going to follow through with Kirk's death and they were going to cop out with Magical Khan Blood (dumbest plot device ever, btw), basically rendering Kirk's arc completely pointless.

TWOK is great because, on top of being a great popcorn film, every element of that movie comes together to say something about life and death and the relationship between the two. The Genesis project, Kirk having a son, Khan being a villain from Kirk's past, Kirk feeling old, and Spock sacrificing himself are all about these things. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. STID has no understanding of this. STID just takes a couple surface elements from this great movie and throws them in its movie and thinks that's enough. What it is instead is a hollow and cynical re-appropriation of the genuine article, and at that point all you're doing is fan-fiction. BAD fan-fiction.

I do, however, have a few friends who have never seen TWOK and they all think this movie is great. So if you've never seen the masterpiece that is THE WRATH OF KHAN and have no interest in doing so, maybe you'll like this.

STAR WARS RELATED POST SCRIPT: Honestly at this point, the only hope I have for STAR WARS EPISODE VII is that Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof won't be involved at all and based on Michael Arndt's previous work, EPISODE VII will be quite easily the best script Abrams has worked with. It'll at least look nice...
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2013 10:46 PM PDT

Bad Boys II (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Bad Boys II (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Will Smith
Price: $13.08
712 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Bay's Masterpiece, December 23, 2012
If you were to go through my reviews I've written here on Amazon, you'll find I have not said kind words about other works from Mr. Bay. Mainly, the Transformers sequels are among the most pain I've been in watching any movie ever. I also think PEARL HARBOR is one of the most misguided movies ever made. At least part of my disdain is because of BAD BOYS 2. This is the kind of movie Michael Bay should be making and I view those other movies as a waste of his time and his talents.

All of Bay's indulgent and excessive behavior are on full display here, which is normally a bad thing for his films, but I love it here. There's a couple reasons for this. One, this is a hard R-rated movie. Tons of vulgarity, fantastic violence, scantily clad women filmed a very gratuitous manner, and a weird, shocking disregard for human corpses runs throughout the film. Some would describe this movie as "ugly" and "mean spirited" and, sure, even "misogynistic" and while I wouldn't argue that, the whole thing is so over the top that I found it all very amusing. So much better than the juvenile, obvious humor found in the Transformers movies. Two, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are two terribly charismatic actors and they have such wonderful chemistry in this movie. They're having a blast making this movie and it is a blast to watch them doing it. There is a scene in this movie that has absolutely nothing to do with anything where the two of them interrogate a boy who is there to take Martin Lawrence's daughter on a date. It is so far beyond ridiculous and every boy's worst nightmare taking someone's daughter on a date and hilarious. Compare this to Optimus Prime stepping on Shia's Mom's flower bed in TRANSFORMERS which I find to be completely grating and awful. So the lesson is, if you're going to be indulgent, do it with charismatic actors, not lame-o cgi robots.

Also impressive is that this movie is kind of coherent. It has a story that it mostly sticks to. Make no mistake, the story is not good nor is it important, but it provides a solid frame work for everything that happens. You know why scenes are taking place, why they're driving cars through buildings, why they're shooting up everyone. It seems obvious, but Bay seems to have forgotten this lesson with his last two films.

I can talk all the trash I want about any of Bay's films, but one thing the guy is always good at is framing very nice, expensive looking shots and editing them together in the most entertaining, thrilling way possible. His movies feel like they cost more money than every other movie, which is admirable. Nowhere else is this talent of Bay's better served than it is here. Every car chase and action scene are loads of fun and exciting, and there are quite a few of them. Bay seems to have an unlimited amount of visual ideas and he's putting a good chunk of them on display here. Also, there's a good amount of practical effects, or at least it's CGI that looks like it's practical. This movie has aged incredibly well.

So yeah. I kind of love this movie. Why isn't it out on blu-ray yet?

The Amazing Spider-Man (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
The Amazing Spider-Man (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Andrew Garfield
Price: $9.99
187 used & new from $3.00

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SPIDER-MAN 3 >>>>>>>>>>>>>> THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, November 14, 2012
This movie is at best redundant and unnecessary and at worst a hollow mess. Doing the origin story again only ten years after we first saw it was stupid. Especially when you're hitting all the same beats and doing it worse. I don't think anything during the origin bits works as good here as it did in Rami's SPIDER-MAN. Everything is more contrived and feels like it's just hitting a checklist.

I think worse than that are the things this movie tries to do that are new. It can't commit to anything. The whole secret about Peter's parents is abandoned almost as quickly as it's introduced. (I can't believe they're still marketing that stuff for the DVD release.) Same goes for the whole searching for Uncle Ben's killer plot line. The Lizard is also a terribly uninteresting villain whose motivations are not sympathetic at all. Connors just becomes a pure bad guy when he's changed. Also what happened to that SWAT team that got turned into lizard people? They're changed and never seen again. A nitpick, sure, but the movie is constantly pulling this stuff. It adds up.

The love story stuff isn't good either. Yes, Stone and Garfield have good chemistry together but the relationship is written terribly. There's no conflict to it. They like each other right away and then they date and they never have any problems. It's boring. Also, what's the deal with the mumblecore exchanges between the two of them?

However, the WORST thing about this movie is the very last line of the movie, in which Peter happily goes back on a pretty big promise he made another character a few scenes earlier. It's awful because it shows his character has had no growth. He starts the movie as a selfish douche and that's exactly how he ends it. This is especially weird because the montage directly before that last scene makes you think that Peter has finally learned what it means to be a hero and then no, no he hasn't.

I would give this two stars cuz it is at least watchable, but I dunno why you would watch this instead of Raimi's trilogy, even the third one. You can call those movies campy, but they at least understand competent storytelling. Also only one star because it was stupid to do the origin story again. Just make a new Spider-Man with this new cast and crew.

Oh just kidding the worst thing about this movie is the crane operators.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2012 12:02 PM PST

Dersu Uzala
Dersu Uzala
DVD ~ Maksim Munzuk
Price: $19.65
34 used & new from $10.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb film marred by what is maybe the worst transfer I've ever seen., November 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dersu Uzala (DVD)
DERSU UZALA came at a rough time in Kurosawa's life when he struggled with depression and getting studios to work with him. Based on this film, you never would have guessed it. Kurosawa went to Russia to make this film and the result is, of course, beautiful. This was Kurosawa's second color film and I believe his only color film shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Every shot is impeccably beautiful. On it's surface it's just about a friendship between a native hunter/guide and a Russian army explorer, but beneath that the film is about man vs. wild, community, sincerity vs. cynicism, and more. There's a lot going on. I will say the first half is more interesting than the second and the film as a whole is slower going, but this film is great. If you're a fan of Kurosawa, you'll love this.

Unfortunately, the Amazon Instant transfer is awful. Based on other reviews I've read, the DVD transfer isn't much better. Colors are awful, compression is everywhere, it's not anamorphic, basically every transfer sin that can be committed is committed here. Also personal preference, the only way to watch this from Amazon Instant is with the english dub. That's not how I watch foreign films. I'm a subtitle man. The dub is okay, but I would have preferred the subtitles. Unfortunately, it seems this is the best we have right now. Hopefully one day Kino will give this film the transfer and bluray it deserves, but for now this is what we've got. It's still worth it.

The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel (Dark Tower Novels)
The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel (Dark Tower Novels)
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
165 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars King's Love Letter To Story, September 5, 2012
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When I first heard that King was doing another Dark Tower book, I was worried. Looking at Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla, I didn't see any space there for a story. King very clearly loves the world of the Dark Tower as it usually sneaks in in some way into almost all of his work, but the announcement of this book made me wonder if the man was going back to the well one too many times. I'm thrilled to report that all of my concerns were unfounded and The Wind Through The Keyhole is my favorite Dark Tower book and possibly my favorite King book.

The interesting structure of this book which has been noted in most of the reviews instantly reminded me of the movie INCEPTION. The Wind Through The Keyhole is a story that you, the reader, are being told. In this story, Roland tells a story about his youth before the world had moved on. Inside THAT story, Young Roland tells the titular story that appears to be a common folk tale amongst the folks in Mid-World. In the folk tale, the main character Tim references other stories but never actually tells one. So, in INCEPTION terms, we're three levels deep with a fourth being hinted at.

One could argue that nothing of importance happens, nor did we learn anything revelatory about any of the characters. One could also argue that King could have ditched the stories inside of stories framing device and just given us The Wind Through The Keyhole without the fluff. All of these things are true, but they also miss the whole point of the book which is that stories matter more than maybe anything. All throughout this book we see how stories help various characters. What they learned from stories, how they grew from hearing stories, how they took courage from stories, how they use false stories as a weapon, and so on. At one point this theme is plainly stated, "We're never too old for stories. We live for them." It's a beautiful message and one that hit me pretty hard.

It should also be noted that the titular story is fantastic. It has the feel of a classic fairy tale, but at the same time definitely takes places within the world of the Dark Tower. This story takes up more than half the book and is an exercise in economical and gripping storytelling. I would not have wanted it for this book, but if King wanted to give us a standalone book or seven based solely on the continuing adventures of Tim Stoutheart, I would be all in favor.

So in what order should you read this book? As a general rule with prequels and interquels, I always go through stories as they're chronologically released and I think that applies here too, although nothing would be ruined if you did read this after Wizard and Glass. Most of this book isn't even about our beloved ka-tet and after a whole book of back story, it would be understandable if you grew impatient and missed the beautiful point of this book. Come back to this one after you're not in a rush to see what's inside the Tower.

King could have written a love letter to stories in a million ways and not have had it reliant on the mythology and world of the Dark Tower series. But he did, and I'm grateful he did. Mid-World has never felt more alive and real to me than it did while reading The Wind Through The Keyhole. Highly recommended.

Torque (Widescreen Edition)
Torque (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ John Ashker
Offered by hissarlikway
Price: $6.96
173 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gloriously dumb, and it knows it., April 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Torque (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
There is a dialog exchange about halfway through TORQUE in which the main character, Ford, quoting THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, says "I live my life a quarter mile at a time." His love interest, Shane, responds back with, "That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard."

TORQUE is not a knock-off of FAST/FURIOUS. It is a self aware, tongue-in-cheek commentary on those movies, and for me it's much more enjoyable than they are. TORQUE is delightfully over the top. It has bike-fu. It has a climactic set piece that is quite literally a video game. It has Jamie Pressly who barely says a word of dialog and spends the entire movie wearing revealing leather outfits, licking her lips in a seductive manner, and smacking other characters on the ass. It has Adam Scott's hair, and Adam Scott in general. It has obvious and obnoxious product placement. It has thoroughly cheesy dialog. It is shot in a way that makes Edgar Wright look downright calm. And at 81 minutes, it's briskly paced and doesn't overstay it's welcome.

I will say this isn't as good as SHAUN OF THE DEAD or HOT FUZZ or the Holy Grail EVIL DEAD II as those come from places of love and are legit zombie/action/horror films while at the same time commenting on those genres. I mean, if you like those movies, you should definitely check out TORQUE, but TORQUE comes from a cynical place and is only trying to troll. In that end, it is a success.

If you're not in on the joke of TORQUE, yeah, you're gonna hate it. Maybe you'll hate it either way. All I can tell you is that I had a stupid grin on my face for most of the run time.

splash Masque Screen Protector Film Clear for iPod Touch 4 4G 4th Generation 3-Pack NEWEST MODEL-Invisible
splash Masque Screen Protector Film Clear for iPod Touch 4 4G 4th Generation 3-Pack NEWEST MODEL-Invisible

5.0 out of 5 stars Can't speak highly enough about these screen protectors, March 26, 2012
I purchased a 3-pack of the Splash Masque screen protectors a year and a half ago when the 4th generation iPod Touch first came out. I put one on immediately after removing the iPod from its packaging and it worked great. It's like nothing is there. No weird distortions and the protector feels great to the touch. It has glare issues, but so does the screen itself. Again, it's like nothing is there. Fast forward to today. The original screen protector had accrued a couple minor scratches from normal use. I decided to replace it with one of the other two protectors that remaining from this original purchase. When I removed the old screen protector, I was surprised at how immaculate the actual screen was. I don't know why I expected anything different, but it STILL looked like it was fresh out of its original Apple packaging. After diligently removing all dust from the screen (I recommend sweeping the screen with the long edge of the screen protector), I applied the new screen protector without any hassle. And voila, it's like I have a whole new screen for my year and a half old iPod.

I'm sure in another 18 months when I replace the screen protector I just put on, I'll once again be knocked out by how good this product works. This is an essential accessory for anyone with an iPod Touch. Splash should be commended for delivering such a quality, long lasting product at so low a price.

Mass Effect 3 - Xbox 360
Mass Effect 3 - Xbox 360
Offered by Big Tex Video Games
Price: $16.49
221 used & new from $3.57

7 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series. Great game. Great ending., March 19, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Stop for a second. Look at these reviews. Hundreds of one-star reviews, mostly given for narrative reasons. Few are arguing that this game is bad in the traditional sense. No, people are upset by the story and specifically, the ending. You should also note the difference between a bad story and an upsetting story. There are a million games, some of them bonafide classics, that have bad stories. Mass Effect 3 is not one of them. This story is great. People care about this story, this universe, these characters. A whole lot. And that's why people are starting charity campaigns to bring attention to this issue, going to the FTC in an attempt to get the government to force BioWare to create a "proper" ending, and voicing their displeasure all across the internet.

BioWare has created a fiction that has inspired more passion than any video game ever and a whole bunch of TV shows, movies, and books as well. These one star reviews are not condemnations, they are the highest of compliments.

Before we discuss that controversial ending, let's discuss some other issues, like the barely discussed game play. It's not discussed much because there's no controversy here. It's great. Combat is legitimately fun, even more so than the second game. Cover works better, there's a legit melee attack, and the strategy of your three-character team is at it's peak due to better AI. For the first time in this series, shooting has a weight to it. It's not Killzone 2 or anything, but shooting feels pretty good.

There are set pieces in this game big enough and thrilling enough to impress Nathan Drake. The quality of writing (writing meaning individual levels/scenes and dialog) is beyond reproach and the best I've seen from the medium. The momentum of the story throughout the game is PERFECTLY paced. You may not like where it ends up, but you cannot argue with the storytelling. Phenomenal. The voice acting is great, as usual. The graphics are the best in the series and overall the presentation is immaculate. Go back and try the first game again for fun and see how much they smoothed out weird animation glitches and how much more texture there is to ME3 in comparison. It's shocking. Probably the thing about ME3 that upset me the most is the removal of the film grain filter. I got over it somewhat quickly, but I missed the gritty aesthetic the film grain added.

All right. The ending. Let's do this. (In a vague and mostly spoiler free fashion.)

I thought the game as a whole provided tons of closure. Almost from the very start of the game, characters and conflicts from the very first Mass Effect are getting closure and resolution. Before the final mission even started, I felt I had almost all the closure I needed. I had no need for an ending cinematic that gave me more closure and therefore wasn't disappointed when I didn't really get one. I also have no need for Return of the King's thirteen endings, but perhaps that's just me.

I will admit I somewhat understand the feeling that the choices you made in previous games don't affect the ending very much. And it's true, it is a bit disappointing that some of the choices you make throughout this game and the previous two games basically only boil down to a percentage point. I would have liked to see more of a narrative effect from some of those choices.

That does not mean that nothing you did mattered. Nothing could be further from the truth. The absolute best thing about the Mass Effect series is that, with a few exceptions, nothing is presented as "right" or "wrong." There are tons of huge conflicts, many differing points of view and none of it is black and white. And you empathize with just about all of it. The most powerful and stressful moments of these games are when they make you choose sides in these conflicts. Through these choices, you form beliefs about the galaxy and the ending puts those beliefs to the test. You are basically shaping the future of the galaxy in the manner that reflects what your Shepherd believes, and all those previous choices you made fully inform the final choice. It's been a week since I've beaten the game and I'm still thinking about the ending.

Mass Effect is easily the most important series of games to come out of this generation. It is also the standard for storytelling in video games that I can't imagine being met or surpassed anytime soon. Who knows when we'll see something this ambitious and successful again.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2012 10:48 AM PDT

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