The “Art” of Martial Arts by Ben Fuller

(This is a slightly revised version of my essay for my Black Belt/Instructor level examination from the early 90’s in Traditional Northern Style Chinese Martial Arts. The original version of this essay was published in the WuGong: Journal of Chinese Martial Arts, July-August 1998, Vol. 3, #16.)

Originally, in the ancient war torn Asian lands, the martial life was the only life, if indeed you wished to live at all. Over the years and millennia, over the accrued experience of generations, after war after war, the Asian people started turning their combat training into something more.

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Cabin In The Woods – Movie Review

(Originally posted on Republibot.com on 4-19-12 – and then immediately posted here, too, for some reason…) 

I have an approach to reviewing films that I rarely share called Perfect Film/Perfect Movie. Basically it posits that a Perfect Film is one that I can’t fault any of the choices made in the execution of the film – story, cast, plot, direction, etc. A Perfect Movie is one that I can tune into at any time and something cool or interesting is going on, regardless of the craft involved. Obviously Perfect Films are a much smaller group than Perfect Movies, but still overall, they are elite clubs with few members.

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A Series of Vaguely Movie Related Tweets (9-6-10 to 5-13-12)

I generally spend an inordinate amount of time inside of my head crafting reviews and opinion pieces that I then forget before writing them down. With the advent of Twitter and FB, I started sharing out random thoughts and ideas with the intention of writing something more indepth at a later date. That has rarely happened.

This series of vaguely movie related tweets span the period from September 6, 2010 to today – March 13, 2012. They are listed in the order in which they were originally tweeted. The Twitter API only returns back about 3200 Tweets – no idea why – so the ones before that are effectively lost for now. Also, I think I am still missing some that should be in this listing, but that is because I had to sort through all 3200 tweets and isolate each relevant one, so I suspect I deleted a bunch or missed them on accident.

And now, may I present to you… A Series of Vaguely Movie Related Tweets:

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My Twitter Reviews from 9-06-10 to 4-06-12

I have been tweeting short 140 character Movie Reviews since I got on Twitter. I have alternated between taking great pride in boiling down a complex opinion about something to a short, but thoughtful tweet and feeling lamely self-important about it.

These reviews span the period from September 6, 2010 to today – March 13, 2012. There are 103 of them and they are all in chronological order (rather, the order in which I tweeted them). The Twitter API only returns back about 3200 Tweets – no idea why – so the ones before that are effectively lost for now. Also, I think I am still missing some that should be in that 3200, but that is because I had to sort through all 3200 tweets and isolate each review, so I suspect I deleted a bunch or missed them on accident.

And now, may I present to you… A Bunch Of Twitter Movie Reviews:

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My Top 5 Favorite Romantical Movie Scenes for Valentine’s Day

(Originally posted on Blogmaster2000.com for Valentine’s Day on 2-14-12)

I am not a big proponent of Valentine’s Day. I am not a big fan of holidays in general for that matter. It just seems that we, as a culture, take great ideas and over think them to the point that we destroy all the fun in them. Look at Sundays for instance – a day of rest. We have found a way to make it the most stressful day of the week in one way or another. For those of the believing persuasion, it is a day of heightened expectation and rushing, for those that are of the unbelieving persuasion, it is a day of lowered expectation and grousing that everything is closed.

Don’t even get me started on Christmas or Super Bowl Sunday.

But out of all of them, Valentine’s Day is probably the worst because fully half of the population loves it, and the other half hates it, and everyone dreads it.

Anyway, enough ranting, let’s see some videos in no particular order.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Movie Review (***1/2)

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 11-21-05)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been, hands down, my favorite book of the series to this point. The story follows Harry through his fourth year at Hogwart’s. It also follows Harry through his fourteenth year of life. In this fourth and fourteenth year, respectively, Harry’s world opens up a little wider. Hogwart’s has been chosen as the location for the Tri-Wizard tournament. An inter-school competition in which three schools each enter a champion from their student body and compete in three challenges (all of them dangerous) to see who takes the title. All the while the evidence builds that “He who must not be named” has returned. All very engaging and extremely well thought out and executed, so, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I went to see the film adaptation at the theater upon its release.

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Nacho Libre – Movie Review (**)

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 7-2-06)

Let me state right up front that I absolutely loathed Napoleon Dynamite. I found it petty, cynical and mean spirited. There were, however, moments of extreme promise, but they felt more like happy little accidents than anything else – moments that the filmmakers weren’t even aware of, let alone how they happened – which only increased my ire at the movie itself. And believe me, I tried to give it a chance, I saw it almost 2 and a half times (I walked out of the second viewing about 20 minutes in and forced myself to suffer through Without a Paddle instead – the last viewing was on DVD as a team building event, it was their choice and me, being the great boss that I am, gave in to their misguided desire). Having said that, please believe me when I say that I went into Nacho Libre with relatively positive expectations.

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Serenity – Movie Review (***)

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 11-05-05)

I never saw the TV series. A lot of my friends were huge fans of it and took every opportunity they could to encourage me to watch it. But I never did, and quite frankly I went out of my way to not watch it (some silly excuse having to do with my overstrained ego and being jealous of the way director and writer Joss Whedon has been able to build huge and loyal fan bases while I languish in IT Sales…). Suffice it to say, though, that I have now purchased the whole TV series of Firefly on DVD based simply on how well I liked the movie.

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Chicken Little – Movie Review (**)

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 11-11-05)

Disney seems to think that Animation for Animation’s sake is all that matters.  That they can slap the semblance of a story together, input the whole thing into a render farm, pop out a templatized feature length product and just by the simple fact that they epoxy their Brand name to it, it instantly should make it a quality animated film in the grand tradition of their storied past.  While Pixar preaches “Story, story, story” (now whether that will continue to be true in the future is still to be seen…), Disney is all about the Brand.  And that fact about Disney is nowhere more evident than in Chicken Little, the newest animated mass market twinkie from the Mouse House’s piece work animation assembly lines.

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LOTR: Of Hobbits, Rings, and Book to Film Adaptations

(Originally posted on i-Pocalypse.com on 2-13-02) 

I freely admit I got caught up in the hype. Before I saw it for the fourth time I reread the books – something I haven’t done since Junior High School. I will see Fellowship of the Ring many more times in the theater I am sure (I mean, I saw The Phantom Menace in the theater five times when it was released and I didn’t even like it), but the film is not the book.

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