Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Top 5 Astronaut Movies of All Time

Please do take a moment to review my inaugural article for a website I have dreamed of writing for, "ScreenRant" - which published my first article this evening. First up, a topic dear to my heart - HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT in "The Top 5 Astronaut Movies of All Time" commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Please DO COMMENT and tell friends!

The Top 5 Astronaut Movies of All Time
Via ScreenRant.Com - Mike Wilkerson

Everyone has looked up into a clear evening sky to conduct their own survey of distant pinpricks in the regularly-occurring blackness. Passing aircraft, the stars and that which is always largest in the night sky - the Moon.

July 20, 2009, marks the 40th Anniversary of man landing on the Moon, and to showcase a different flavor of that same obsession, Screen Rant’s newest writer (yours truly), dons his newly-minted writing/explorer spacesuit to provide a listing of the Top 5 Astronaut Movies - a look back at the best storytelling that put you into the shoes of those who have TRULY gone boldly where we hope many more men (and women) will eventually go.

Click here to view the entire article via ScreenRant.Com NOW!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DVD Collection Update, Thanks to DVD Profiler from Invelos!

Ahh, the occasional happenstance of free-time movie watching. I've acquired several new DVD's that I've added to my collection and - thanks to DVD Profiler, you can now view them ALL, right now, and make your own collection for FREE.

Be sure to check out DVD Profiler, and my collection to see what kind of common ground we share in the way of DVD interests and tell me what some of YOUR favorites are via my contact form here at MikeWilkerson.Com. Thanks for visiting and I look forward to hearing from YOU about your movie collections!

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

People Safari - West -As the Sun Sets on Another Tuesday...

Last week Tuesday, I left my regular 9-5er and went to a community coffee shop that I frequent. The instant I got in I knew that it was going to be one of those "grab my proverbial pithe helmet kind of stretches and sure enough - I was right!

In the booth next to me were two female gentle beings, both of similar height, weight and their calls (voices) were almost exactly the same. It looked as though they were both exhibiting "nesting" behaviour - one with a large series of stringy cloth strands (known in some cultures as "yarn") and long steel pins that were weaved in and out of the material. The other had some kind of electronic TV tray, that must have been powered by electricity because it emitted light. Obviously, both of these beings were from an advanced culture. On the lower half of the L-shaped electric TV tray, there were symbols on small rectangular seashell-sounding tiles that the one on the left was pushing down with both of her hands in almost an almost musical tamber, over and over again, often hitting a longer, rectangular "button" that made a definitive "clack!" as her little digit on the end of her right arm thundered across it, over and over again.

After approximately 30 minutes of silence, another, younger male, but clearly in the same genus individual arrived. From what I could gather via my Universal Interpreter Device (that works in all conditions, tempretures, environments and times of day), this was the son of the one that was clacking on the electric TV tray. Apparently the "son" had been sent home from school earlier in the day because he as now on something called "academic probation." Ahh, very interesting and revealing. It was hard for me to capture all of the details I had gleaned from my UI, but what I did noticed was the amount of the word "like" used, in almost every single fragmented sentence.


My UI also helped me understand that in addition to being on academic probation, that the son was also in danger of "flunking out" of some kind of institution - school I assume. It was apparently all the fault of the "stupid teachers" at his school, that clearly don't understand the way he works, and continue to disrepect the way he talks, dresses and acts while in their presence. Oh how terrible for him. Perhaps if he had more piercings on his face, the unruly "stupid teachers" would be better able to read his expressions. How unfair.

Shortly thereafter, the hatch the the coffee aromaed cave I was monitoring. In strode what looked like the same male offspring, but with a pink jacket, different facial piercings and giant earring studs that made the lobes of her ears enormous. Amazing: Except for the differing clothes and mammory glands, this one looked just like the other male offspring. She put down a large sack - perhaps books like the male offspring. Oh my, apparently she too was suffering under he boot of those same dreaded "stupid teachers" because she too was experiencing something called "academic probation" - the mama electric TV tray clacker seemed unfazed by the information and continued to smack her fingertips against the symboled seashell-sounding device.

As the veil of Mutial of Omaha's Wild Electronic Kingdom rises from the Grab the Wheel blog, my usual sarcasm is prepped and ready to get wet! I have been blogging for years now and every time I am in the middle of a situation like this I am reminded how mundane all of my previous witnessings truly are. Here, in front of everyone in the shop that I'm in is a nother paying next to no attention to her two pierced children, who have both just told her that they'e both on academic probation.

Both? In the same day?

Another question rises from my common-sense laced life How many piercings is "too many for what looks like a freshman and sophomore in high school? Do the giant stud loop earring lobes eventually "stretc back to normal? I could put my cell phone in this girls earlobe and she could carry it for me.

The other thing that just absolutely drops my jaw, is the almost complete lack of attention by the mother and (apparently) aunt to the children's plight. Unless something drastic has changed since I was in high school, academic probabation is a big deal. It seemed to be less important than the almond carmel mocha that she stepped away to get a refill of.

Can someone help me with what I'm witnessing here? I will continue to don my electronic pithe helmet and comment on things that I see from various perches in life.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance, Snuggle, and Ken Dippold...

Let me be plain - I do NOT think I can dance, regardless of how much I drink, who's company I'm in, or -- let's face it - I know I cannot dance. :) Last month, ironically while on a strange and all-too-short family vacation, I was contacted by our pals over at RocketXL, a web-based promotional group that we've worked with since the inception of 2GuysTalking and they asked us if we wanted to partcipate in a great new promotion that Snuggle was tossing through. Being the ever-interested online Barnum & Bailey folks that we are, we said "yes" and jumped in - with both feet so to speak.

Having never seen the show, "So You Think You Can Dance" and only having used Snuggle long enough to know that I liked the original's smell better than most of the other stuff I could smell at the food store, we ventured forward. How on EARTH could I tie in something like "Snuggle" and "So You Think You Could Dance" to my life, television and our audience. Then it hit me...

STORY TIME! Ahh, the web-based bliss of yet another Wilkerson tale.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Caption Hunt: Cast Away

Show Viewing Date: 8-2-2008
Show Title: Cast Away - Starring Tom Hanks
Network: TNTHD
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking.Com


As I arrive back from a very short but satisfying rare mid-year vacation, I find myself drawn to watching and taking in the movie "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks, directed by Robert Zemeckis and noteably scored by Alan Silvestri. Those of you that have seen this film know "what happens" but I'd like to issue a quick spoiler warning to those of you that haven't yet seen the film. It's an outstanding film and my Caption Hunt Review of the movie "Cast Away" will destroy any surprise at all.

Opinion Review:

In this feature, Tom Hanks plays "Chuck" an A personality do-it-all guy that works for FedEx training people and solving solutions all over the world. Helen Hunt plays "Kelly" his soul mate who is a hungry doctorate student that loves Chuck, loves her life, and loves the way that Chuck makes her feel. All of that comes literally crashing as Chuck's ride home airflight slams into the south pacific where he is "cast away" into the deep blue in nothing but his frumpy sweater, socks, and a yellow life raft. Chuck is awakened the next day by the burst of his life raft as it strikes the rocky shore of a unique but still non-descript island that will serve as Chuck's home - for the next 5 years.

Click here to read the rest of this great Caption Hunt Review of "Cast Away"...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Resolved to Marvel at Captioning - Interpreter Hell Incarnate

Movie Viewing Date: June 29th, 2008
Movie Title: Resolved
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - The 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt


In the span of my Hard of Hearing-Interpreter career, I have only experienced what I have considered "interpreter hell" a very few times. The stand up comediant referring to the interpreter on stage, testing the interpreter to see "how far they will go" to convey information. Situations that showcase physical proximity to dangers both environmental and legitimate physical harm. They've all been a piece of what is the history of my Interpreting career. I have always prided myself on being able to collect the details of a line of dialogue, an overall argument - to absorb information and be able to translate that to American Sign Language in its many incarnations and provide that to my previous clients. "Resolved" - an outstanding movie on HBOHD this morning showcased the true reality if what would be Interpreter Hell, and why I have never had the opportunity to interpret competitive high school and collegiate debate.

Opinion Review:

What I have found most satisfying about this on-going series of Caption Hunt Reviews is that it has allowed me to not only enjoy an outstanding home theater (called "The Shire"), it also has opened doors to programs that I probably would have never had the interest in watching ot listening to. This movie, "Resolved" was something I probably would have skipped on by, except that I read that it involved debate. While debate was something I dabbled in in high school, the skills, jargon and sheer annunciation skill that I saw in the first several minutes of this truly made my ears and mind spin, wondering just how on Earth I would/could interpret this dialoging bonanza and the answer would have been very much like a very fast country, rock, death-metal or rap song, where I can understand a word here or there, but never anything strung together even on the best most-rested afternoon ever.

Additionally, I wanted to see exactly how this show, where there is a significant section of it depicted with people speed read-speaking (where they actually are giving cogent thought that is collected by not only the team they're debating against, but also the fellow debaters in the room, the judges in the room, and what I perceived were clearly onlookers watching and listening in amazement just as I did for the entire movie, were going to capture in captioning, how the people were speaking so fast. The accomplished it with the same thing interpreters us where the captioning says "[speaking indistinctly]" meaning that they are speaking but nothing in general can be gleaned from what's being said.

The captioning follows each and every team, including the showcased teams that are followed for a series of years as they complete year-round tournaments, local sectionals and everything in between. The names of the players are provided often both in graphics as titles for the participants but also inside of the captioning when they're speaking off screen to people on-screen, that really does make for an easier captioned read. I wish that other programs would take on this trait. In addition to what is the base closed captioning of the movie, they have several sections, including the speed read-speaking segments that are open captioned, which really helps you understand much of what the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities experience. A lot of people are under the impression that Deaf and Hard of Hearing people either have hearing, or don't have hearing, when in actuality, it's almost always somewhere on the spectrum of overall hearing losss. I am on the extreme able to function independently end of the Hard of Hearing spectrum and open and closed captioning is definitely gravy for me and helps me to better understand the players participating, their names, the spelling of their names, and more. Regardless of your ability to hear, I would challenge ANYONE READING THIS COLUMN to try to understand much of what is heard inside of this episode, without captioning of any kind. You simply will not be able to do it. Here's why: Over the years, competitive debate has "evolved" into a sort of shorthand speak, that is clearly discernable to those who use and participate in it's creation. To the "rest of us", it sounds just like what shorthand on paper looks like to people that just "write" - squiggles, fragments of words, sometimes-able-to-collect words but not much more. According to the show, the human brain can comprehend up to 800 words per minute being heard. Each of the presenteres in full speed read-speaking mode were pushing about 400 words per minute but it was still - AMAZINGLY DIFFICULT to make them out and I thought to myself: it's possible for some to double THIS speed and sill make things out? Amazing! The experience of listening to them is akin to watching someone speak incredibly fast, with an almost habit-formed bak occurring mid-sentence to break the cadence but also to allow breath. It's one of those things that when you see it with friends, you'll definitely look at your friends sitting in the room and say "you've gotta' be shitting me..."

It's amazing, it's otherworldly, and the best part - it's an acquired and dying skill that many people will never have the opportunity to see - save for the advent of this film that is.

The film continues following the groups as they grow older, pass through the system, and win and lose some major milestones in their scholastic debate careers. There is a point where there is a "revolutnionary team" that makes their presence known, and while I thought the initial ideas that they were providing were solid in regard to what is wrong with "the debate game" and actually attacking it by attacking the process and habitial creation traits of debate, rather than the other team- oy - that descending into what was one of the most frustrating "it's all about racism, and you can't understand because we're black" sessions that make for some very frustrating watching. Thankfully, that is a very tiny and still evocative piece of this great film that I believe everyone should be sure to watch at least once. It's a rich, supporting and educational effort that will give everyone an idea of what being able to communicate faster and more effectively than the other guy can provide to you, your family, your career, and your life - and bring you "resolve."\

Overall Caption Rating: 5

Overall Show Rating: 5

Total Rating: 5

Do You Recommend This Show to Others Who Depend on Captioning? Yes

– Mike Wilkerson
Creator/Graphic Designer/Talk Show Host

- The 2GuysTalking Podcast
2GuysTalking Original Content Podcast Network – 314-229-7683

[Mike is a professional entertainment critic and talk show host for The 2GuysTalking Podcast Network, a multi-media podcasting company specializing in the broadcast of opinion, thought and ideas. Be sure to visit 2GuysTalking.Com for more information.]

30 Days of Night - A Segment from The Caption Hunt

Movie Viewing Date: June 28th, 2008
Movie Title: 30 Days of Night

Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - The 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt


If someone were to ask me if I were a horror film fan, I'd probably say "no". In general I'm not a bloody gore for gore's sake fan, and I think that finding a fresh "look" at vampires is something that hasn't been done in an incredibly long time. Recently, a friend of mine had mentioned that not only were there a number of comic book movies coming out this year (all of which we're reviewing this year on The 2GuysTalking Podcast), but that one came out last year that many people would know nothing about. "Know nothing about" a comic book movie coming out? Instantly my interest was piqued and my hunt to find this "mystery comic book film" was intitiated. Would it be yet another dude or chick dressed in spandex? A fitted latex armour suit that had gadgets, perhaps? Ah, ha, what if perhaps it could be an "anti-hero" where it's just a guy with no super powers at all, who just does extraordinary things and understand that he's making a difference?

Clearly I'm locked into the focus of a superhero taking the center stage in this new comic book movie that came out last year and was released earlier this year on DVD. It wasn't a story about a modern-day hero in a red super suit, it was about a band of vampires, covered in red blood, stalking, hunting and destroying a town in northern Alaska, that experiences an annual black-out, that' provides them with with a platter-creating "30 Days of Night."

Previews/Commercials Captioned: Yes

Opinion Review:

As I stated previously, horror films are not generally an easy sell for me. This one carried through in my interest cue by being a comic-based tale, and then the hook? That it took place in an Alaskan Town that, every year, experiences "30 Days of Night" - a regularly-anticipated "dark spot" in the lives of a very ordinary community of people that live their lives just like you and I do - in a very cold and remote environment.

The movie inspires not only with these two attention-getting initial details, but also with what is a very well put-together cast. Starring Josh Harnett, Dany Houston, and a cast of people that provide solid performances across the horror movie genre, this film delivers not only a different "feel" to vampire films, but a completely different and chaotic look of vampires. Whether it's the very naturally scary-looking people that are of course covered in blood, to the original stunt coordination, to the ability of the characters to halt what could be easy samples of "stupid horror film" traits that plague films of this genre, this is a solid offering that gives you creepy, dark bloody, and viable, understandable gore that "fleshes" out a very entertaining off-shoot vampire story that doesn't disappoint.

The captioning both inside of this film, including the commercials and trailers are all very well done. There are no spelling mistakes of any kind, and it's great to see the different names of people that are different, not only because they're original names, but because of the area they live in. Eban, Mallkai and more are showcased wonderfully, as are the names of the would-be nameless vampires as the captioning follows their "voices" by captioning who is making the vocalizations, though their name is never said. A shining, golden turnip in this offering is the complete captioning not only of the features included, but a captioning of the commentary included on this disc. Things like that are TRULY appreciated and something not seen often.

Special/Supplemental Features Captioned: Yes

Overall Caption Rating: 5

Overall Show Rating: 4

Total Rating: 4

Do You Recommend This Show to Others Who Depend on Captioning? Yes

– Mike Wilkerson
Creator/Graphic Designer/Talk Show Host

- The 2GuysTalking Podcast
2GuysTalking Original Content Podcast Network – 314-229-7683

[Mike is a professional entertainment critic and talk show host for The 2GuysTalking Podcast Network, a multi-media podcasting company specializing in the broadcast of opinion, thought and ideas. Be sure to visit 2GuysTalking.Com for more information.]

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Marvel of Another Stan - Remembering Stan Winston

While Stan Lee has always had the mantle of “Stan the Man” for me, there is another Stan that made innovation, quality work, outstanding work ethic and memories in both the arena of television and feature films, that will last a lifetime. I am of course talking about the master - nay - Father, of modern practical special effects, Stan Winston, who died yesterday - Father’s Day 2008.

Stan had tickled my imagination in 1982’s “The Thing” - a movie my father introduced me to the same year that my best friend Carl and I went to see so many movies that kindled the spirit for The 2GuysTalking Podcast... More>>