Not like that Mademoiselle

Poirot looked at her sadly.  “Ah, mais c’est Anglais ça,” he murmured, “everything in black and white, everything clear cut and well defined.  But life, it is not like that, Mademoiselle.  There are things that are not yet, but which cast their shadow before.

– Agatha Christie, The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)

The bunny

The last few nights I noticed a rabbit was visiting my patio late at night…each time in the 1AM to 2AM time frame.  It was very nervous, and was spending all its time at the base of my two bird feeders.  Very sloppy birds visit my feeders, and there is always seed spilled all over the ground.  The rabbit was carefully foraging from this food source.

Today I decided to fill a frisbee with bits of carrots and leave it out.  I guess some rabbits eat carrots and others don’t.  And they definitely prefer the green leafy part to the orange body.  So we’ll see.

Tonight, it’s only 10:30PM and I’m rewarded with the bunny’s return.  And as a bonus, there is a little one along with him/her.  A tiny rabbit is bouncing along my fence.  I’m not sure if there are any others, and I won’t disturb them foraging tonight.  I left fifteen carrot pieces out, we’ll see what I’ve got left tomorrow morning.

One other thing…there’s actually a dead bird laying out near the feeders.  My feeders are sort of out in the open, so they are vulnerable to predatory birds.  Not sure what killed my bird, but it happened in the last week or so.  It wasn’t there when I last filled my feeders.  And it doesn’t seem to have enough missing pieces to have been killed by a predatory bird for the purpose of eating.  Maybe it was just killed in competition for the food source, who knows.  But my point is, the rabbit doesn’t mind.  In fact, as it’s selecting bird seed to eat, it often sits on the spot where the dead bird is at.  Seems like that would be uncomfortable to me.

Final four weekend

I guess it’s Final Four weekend here in Indy.  This morning my pancake house is filled with people wearing Kentucky and Michigan State themed apparel.

Chappie

There were moments when Chappie (2015) felt a little bit like Short Circuit (1986) to me.

Dev Patel plays the central human character, Deon Wilson.  He is the engineer who has been working on an AI program that will enable the police robots to think in human-like fashion.  I think most people will recognize Dev Patel as “that guy from Slumdog Millionaire“, but I haven’t seen that yet.  I think of him as “the manager from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“.

Hugh Jackman plays Vincent Moore, who is an engineer working on a large police robot designed to eliminate military-grade targets.  He loses major portions of his funding, so you can tell he’s not a happy camper.  He’s a bit of a worm in this film.  There’s one scene where he gets his ass thrashed, and that’s funny to see, given his roles in other movies.

The setting for this film is in Johannesburg (South Africa) in the not-too-distant future.  In reading about the cast, it was interesting to see that some of the main characters (“Ninja” and “Yolandi”) are not professional actors, but are musicians in a South African group called Die Antwoord.  These two, along with their friend “Amerika”, comprise that gang that is holding Chappie…a bulk of the film is how they’re teaching Chappie how to be one of them.  While Deon and Yolandi try to teach Chappie about stories and painting, Ninja and Amerika try to teach Chappie about how to shoot, and “how to be cool”.

There’s plenty of action in this film, as well as a little bit to make you think about things.  To me, the big picture is about this: if the great hope is about creating “life” with AI, then the big disappointment is crushing it up against the shit of humanity.  Chappie is immediately thrust into that situation.  I won’t spoil the ending, but it was a little bit predictable as to how things would turn out near the end there.  In my mind, there are still some unresolved questions about how they’re going to manage going forward.

Chappie (2015)
Chappie poster Rating: N/A/10 (N/A votes)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel
Runtime: 120 min
Rated: R
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Released: 2015-03-06
Plot: In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.

Paddington

All of the indications pointed to Paddington (2014) being a good movie, and it was.

I’ll say this first.  I haven’t seen the newer Doctor Who episodes yet, because Netflix doesn’t have them yet.  So when Peter Capaldi popped onto the screen as the neighbor man who doesn’t like Paddington, this became my first experience with Peter Capaldi.  This becomes the first thing I’ve seen him in.  I knew it was him right away, he has a pretty unique face in my viewing experience.  The buggy eyes (he reminds me of Ralph Furley that way), the pinkness around them that makes it look like he’s been crying, and the darkness below them that makes it look like he needs a rest.  He has a small role but gives a nice performance, and I’ll remember his awesome ugly sweater vest for quite a while.

The story is really solid.  I’m not so familiar with the books, so I don’t know how true to the original story the movie is.  Marmelade is present in a big way.  I learned that Paddington’s relatively unique sort of bear species comes from Peru.  As with many other stories, it’s a sort of tragedy that forces the change to occur, that is, that Paddington decides to go to London.

I loved the set design…the house of the Browns is really cool.  I love the cylindrical design of the staircase in the foyer, with the tree painted onto the wall.  Each of the rooms in the house is beautiful to look at.  When they do that shot of a dollhouse being opened up, and revealing the six rooms in the Brown house, that is really beautiful to look at.  Maybe for me anyway, I love that sort of thing.

Sally Hawkins plays Mary Brown, the mother in the family.  She’s perfect for this role, a sort of British mum who is the first to have compassion for the situation Paddington finds himself in.  In fact, it’s she who first names the bear.  Paddington, without intending to, gets himself into all sorts of mischief and ends up upsetting one of the family members, and it’s Mary Brown who helps to keep the peace.

Nicole Kidman plays Millicent, and is very eager to capture Paddington.  When she breaks through the glass on the Brown ceiling and descends on a wire, it’s quite a poke I think at Tom Cruise’s famous scene in Mission Impossible.

The ending was nice.  Our heroes must thwart the bad lady in the end, and what occurs is something that had been building up for the duration of the film.  I’m happy with how that ties neatly together at the end there.

Paddington (2014)
Paddington poster Rating: 7.5/10 (14,077 votes)
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King, Hamish McColl (screen story), Paul King (screen story), Michael Bond (character "Paddington Bear")
Stars: Tim Downie, Madeleine Worrall, Lottie Steer, Geoffrey Palmer
Runtime: 95 min
Rated: PG
Genre: Comedy, Family
Released: 2015-01-16
Plot: A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.