Movie of the Week: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Silke and I are big fans of the first two X-Men movies, which were both directed by Bryan Singer. The later X-Men movies however were hit and miss. I only liked X-Men: First Class. When I heard that Bryan Singer directed the latest movie X-Men: Days of Future Past I was really looking forward to watching it.

X-Men: Days of Future Past links the story of the early X-Men to the characters from the first two movies. In the near future mutants are all but extinct. Most of them have been hunted down by an army of giant robots called Sentinels. These Sentinels even enslave humans that have latent mutant genes which could lead to mutant children. Despite their formidable powers the mutants have not been able to stop their enemies as the Sentinels not only have superior numbers but are also able to adopt the abilities of the mutants over time. In a last desperate attempt to prevent this dark future the mutants send Wolverine’s consciousness back 50 years in time and into his younger body. Wolverine only has a few days to find the younger selfs of the most powerful mutants and convince them to work together to stop the creation of the invincible army of Sentinels. That of course is no easy feat.

I had high expectations for Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men franchise and I wasn’t disappointed. An exiting plot, good actors and (mostly) convincing special effects provide an action packed experience that rivals the first two movies of the franchise. The movie also unites the original and new cast in a way that respects both and even improves the story. The producers probably went through a lot of effort to get all of the original actors on set, even those who only played minor parts in the first three movies. And the ending raised my hopes for future awesome X-Men movies. 🙂

Four Laws of Network Protocols

After fiddling with my LDAP server (which now serves NetBSD and new style Mac OS X auto mounter maps) for several hours I realised that I should finally write down my four laws of network protocols:

  1. Network protocols which have simple in their name are not simple.
  2. Network protocols which have lightweight in their name are anything but lightweight.
  3. Network protocols which have neither simple nor lightweight in their name are still not simple and probably also not lightweight.
  4. If you can use a network protocol by typing a request into Netcat the protocol is treacherous because it appears to be simple but really isn’t.

If you keep this in mind the nasty problems you will experience with various network protocols will at least not come as a complete surprise. 🙂

Movie of the Week: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Although Silke and I both enjoyed The Hunger Games we somehow didn’t manage to watch the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on the big screen. So we watched the movie in our home cinema (very comfortable seats, free drinks and dog cuddles during the movie) for the first time last Saturday.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues the story of Katniss Everdeen. Although she and Peeta Mellark survived the massacre in the arena they are still in danger as President Snow, the ruthless ruler of Panem, views them as threat to the current order. Katniss’s act of defiance at the end of the games has given people hope. They no longer believe that the capitol is all powerful and the districts are in unrest. To end the rebellion before it really begins the new head gamekeeper Plutarch Heavensbee devises a perfidious plan to kill Katniss: for the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games the tributes are reaped among the previous victors. As Katniss is the only female victor that district 12 ever had she has to return to the arena and fight for her life again.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a very good adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s book . It is exciting and even darker than the first movie. You can sense the latent danger all the time while watching Katniss’s desperate struggle. The excellent cast and the impressive special effects complete the first class viewing experience.

After two successful movie adaptations I’m definitely looking forward to Mockingjay, the great finale of The Hunger Games trilogy. As the last book has been split into two films there should be enough time to do the story justice and deliver a memorable ending.

Taking comfort in the Unfairness of the Universe