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THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR Movie Review by The Commander

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THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR
CommanderAvatar-mosaic
 
BY THE COMMANDER
2 (out of 4 stars) 
 
If you missed out on The Purge (2013) and the follow up, The Purge: Anarchy (2014) well here's your chance to see what you've been missing.
 
The Purge was an interesting concept.  Written and directed by James DeMonaco, it was totally different than all other movie plots.  The premise is that once a year, for 12 hours, any crime is legal, including murder.  This was a way of removing all built up anger and hostilities against each other, to ensure a peaceful life amongst American citizens.  The only people exempt were politicians and government officials.
 
The Purge, with a meager budget of $3M, did an incredible box office of $64M domestic and $24M foreign.  That’s a worldwide box office of $98 million or almost 30 times its budget—a true Hollywood success story.
 
So as a follow up on its success, DeMonaco then wrote and directed The Purge: Anarchy, which cost $9 million, but still did $111 million worldwide or 11 times its budget.  When you're on a roll, you might as well make it three times the charm, and so DeMonaco once again wrote and directed the purge election-year.
 
It's pretty much the same synopsis.  Let’s kill somebody!  I got me one!  BINGO!  YAHTZEE!  However, the main difference in this version is that no one is exempt from the Purge.  It's now OK to kill anybody:  politicians, police, firefighters, ambulance workers, the President and even Donald J. Trump (sorry Bill, Bernie and Hillary, you’re just not that popular on the Purge Hit List).  
 
The Purge: Election Year has Frank Grillo, reprising his role as Leo Barnes, who has risen from police sergeant to chief of security for presidential hopeful, Senator Charlie Roan, who has been targeted for death by the current governmental establishment. 
 
I'm a fan of Frank Grillo and his performances in the Captain America series where he plays a great tough guy and has a wonderful presence on screen.  Elizabeth Mitchell, who plays Senator Charlie Roan, is a wishy-washy character that really can't make up her mind about killing, even when she nearly avoids death multiple times.  Get with the program already!  After all, this is the annual Purge, where everything is LEGAL!
 
Well, what can I say?  U.S. theatergoers just can't get enough violence, muggings, beheadings, mob riots and murder.  Even Europe and Asia are getting into the act with their box office numbers growing with each new release of The Purge film series.
 
I liked this movie for the non-intelligent scenes.  I don't understand why anyone didn’t have an Uzi or AK-47, and didn't mow down 47 people, like what happens in real life—but then again, this is a movie.  You have to expect some fiction.
 
Bottom line, if you like violence and wish you could ‘Purge,’ then this is your movie.  If you abhor violence, go see Finding Dory, everyone else did!

SPORTS - ALIANTE Golf Club

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STRIPLVSPORTS

ALIANTE GOLF CLUB
By Jeff Alexander

Located in the far north end of the Vegas Valley is Aliante Golf Club, which is almost an onsite golf course at the disposal of those lodging at the Aliante Casino, as it’s positioned just across the street. The hotel-casino recently changed hands with Boyd Gaming acquiring it, so folks are expecting some wonderful changes to the resort, which should make for nice accomodations at the end of your golf game if you prefer to stay away from the hustle-and-bustle of the Strip. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a ride, the club offers transportation specials to and from your hotel room.  

Designed by Gary Panks and Associates, Aliante Golf Club contains trees not typically found in the desert, including Pear and Purple Locust trees, making this course unique among other Vegas desert courses. With four tee options at each hole, golfers of all skill levels will enjoy this great facility. 

Although there are some beautiful views of the Sheep Range Mountains on a few of the holes, that mountain range is not the most picturesque of the valley, so you won’t be distracted from your golf game by glorious vistas. The course winds through the Aliante housing development with plenty of wide fairways. The homes are quite modest so, unlike many Vegas courses, your round will not be filled with the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of viewing spectacular homes, as is the case at other golfing venues here in the Valley. But you’ll certainly enjoy a straight-ahead round of golf, on a friendly course at which you can score well.  

For a club that is encircled by homes on almost every hole, Aliante has pretty good length, (7022 yards from the Eagle tees, 6657 from the Falcon tees, 6117 from the Hawk and 5340 yards from the women’s Dove tees). Even from the middle Falcon tees, the course presents a challenging test of your game because of the rolling fairways and undulating greens. There are no trick holes or sharp doglegs right or left, so you’re free to enjoy your straight tee shots and approaches from verdant fairways that are cut tight. Though it’s not what I’d call a plush course, it is well-manicured, professionally staffed, and the play moves briskly, so you’re not faced with a five-hour round.

The first hole is a modestly distanced par four that gives you a chance to loosen up before attacking the long par four second hole (472 yards) and the par five third hole. A short par four is tucked between two challenging par threes before you once again face another long (448 yards) par four. The front nine closes with a “scoreable” par five and par four, and at that point you should have put up a pretty good score.

From the Eagle tees, I found the back nine to be a bit more difficult than the front, primarily because four of the five par fours on the back are over 400 yards long, so reaching the greens in regulation on them is harder than on the front nine. In addition, the par three 13th is a 233 yard hole that is well-bunkered to the left, three-tiered, and simply a solid, tough hole. So at Aliante, the ease and fun of playing straight-ahead holes is countered by their length and difficulty.

Overall, your day at Aliante will be a pleasurable experience, whether it’s as a rest from your gambling and partying as a visitor, or if you’re a Vegas golfer, playing as many of our interesting courses as you can. The fees are not cheap, rather in the moderate range for Vegas courses; but definitely worth the price of admission.  

Aliante Golf Club • 3100 West Elkhorn • North Las Vegas, NV 89084
702-399-4888 • AlianteGolf.com

2017 ASTON MARTIN DB11

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2017 ASTON MARTIN DB11

The DB11 brings a new, more angular interpretation of the hallmark design of Aston Martin after its latest landmark with the DB10, developed specifically for James Bond—now with more rear head and leg room. Performance climbs from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds, with top speeds of 200 mph from its new twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V12 engine. The very latest technology from its technical partner, Daimler AG, includes a full-color 12” TFT LCD display, an all-new instrument cluster for primary vehicle information, and a second, centrally-mounted 8” TFT screen for infotainment. Controlled via an intuitive rotary control with an optional touchpad offering character recognition, multi-touch and gesture support, the new satellite navigation and audio system have never been more effective, sounded better, or been easier to operate.
 
Pricing at $211,995 Available at: DB11.AstonMartin.com

THE SPRING - 360-degree 3D Virtual Reality Film

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STRIPLVFEATURES

THE SPRING
AN INSIDE LOOK BEHIND THE 360 3D VIRTUAL REALITY MAGIC

BY THE COMMANDER & AL CAUDULLO

The Spring is an action-drama, filmed in 360-degree 3D Virtual Reality (VR). Three female cave explorers set out, dropping down through a pit to enter a cave with an underground river. The seemingly harmless adventure turns deadly as the underground river suddenly floods. Our trio of spelunkers are forced to go deeper into the labyrinth of caves to make their escape via, “the Spring,” a rumored but unexplored exit.

The first of many questions I had for Greg Passmore, Producer/Director of Passmore Labs, was: “When you are shooting a 3D 360-degree Virtual Reality movie in a cave (when at times you are perilously close to the top due to the water level), where do you put the crew?” His reply threw me off-guard: “Anywhere I want,” he replied. It was then that he told me he was shooting with one RED EPIC camera. How? 

Greg realized two things during the pre-production process of the film. First, this story would make a fantastic virtual reality movie. Second, it would be impossible to shoot this with a traditional multi-camera VR Rig. For one thing, the only place for the 8-10 crew members to go during a take would be: underwater. For another, the near claustrophobic tiny crawlspaces that would need to be navigated would simply not accommodate the VR Rig. The obvious answer was, with such a small space, to shoot everything in panels.
 
Passmore Labs is an awarding-winning studio, working in the world of 3D multi-camera and 3D conversion. Greg is no stranger to inventing his own workflow, and in this case, creating his own proprietary Spherical compositing software to ‘stitch’ the elements of the 8-camera views together. Don’t think for an instant this was an easy process. Lens calibration, filling in areas, and warp correction are just a few of the many hurdles that needed to be overcome. 

The next challenge was lighting, in a water-filled, confined space. In order to achieve a film quality dynamic range in the shots, it would require a delicate balance. It needed to be intensely bright, and there really wasn’t any place to light them. Actual caving lights emit a very low lumen light, insufficient for filming. The only choice was to create their own ‘cave’ lights. The actors actually wore them on their heads. Extra planning went into the direction of the actors, to not only deliver their lines, but to also properly light the scene. 

I asked Greg about using Super Speed Zeiss lenses, but he explained the need for a deep depth of field, which those lenses don’t offer. He needed to be able to stop down 2½ to 3 stops to achieve the proper near infinite depth of field. He used a variety of lenses, explaining: “Everything from the Peleng fisheye to the much nicer Zeiss Super Speed 35 (since we do panels).”

Audio presented another complex set of challenges. Keeping the microphones dry, for one. Plus the acoustics of a water-filled cave are far from ideal. Special waterproof cases were utilized with small inflatable boats.

As for DIT, Greg has a mobile production trailer/studio that he travels with to a location. The software has reached the point where he can ingest the raw files natively. Then the composite is built with the exported files feeding into an Oculus Rift for reviewing the days’ shoot.

The footage is being turned into a VR movie by using software (PAM360) especially written for this process. Greg has been developing this software with his team for almost a year. PAM360 will be distributed by startup Poison Apple Media. The site is not operational yet in English but should be finished soon. The principal photography is complete with B-roll and expected to be completed soon.

Post Production is being handled at Passmore Studios in Austin, Texas. They have not finalized distribution since this is such a rapidly changing landscape. The official release is at E3 at the Immerex booth. E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an annual trade fair held in Los Angeles every year, especially for the video game industry. Virtual Reality has its roots firmly entrenched in video games, but it is gaining ground with non-gamers for its ability to immerse you into a story.

The company, Immerex, engineers and creates immersive end-to-end virtual reality entertainment experiences. They explain themselves as: “We are a team of creative technologists, passionate inventors, ingenious cinema producers, decisive financial investors, and avid problem solvers, all of which fit perfectly with creating next generation immersive entertainment.” 

The finished film will be two versions, a 10-minute version, and a 3-minute version. Right now what was created with VR is a feature length film. Longer and more involved features will most likely follow as the technology moves forward. The complexity of longer VR movies and the ability for the audience to stay immersed are still questions yet to be answered. Time undoubtedly will tell. 

Greg’s rationale was summed up with this statement: “If we start with something hard and survive it, we can then say, ‘Alright, great! Now we can do the easy stuff.’ I really wanted to try something with some teeth, and this particular film was challenging, because of the physical environment, as well as the filming issues. If VR really has this ability to create this intimate sense of space and feeling, then this was the perfect environment to show that off.”

Co-Author, Al Caudullo is a 3D Award Winner. With over thirty years of experience in the video production industry, Caudullo applied his knowledge toward the future of stereoscopic image capture, and has been considered “a 3D evangelist,” a title given to him by 3D industry icon and former CEO of 3Ality, Sandy Climan. AlCaudullo.com

HYPNOSIS FOR BETTER SEX

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HYPNOSIS FOR BETTER SEX

There is a growing trend of people using hypnosis and meditation as a way to improve their sex lives and relationships. This new approach to relationship therapy has become extremely effective, since sex is an emotional experience and the body literally reacts to what the mind is thinking on all levels.
 
World-renowned hypnotist, Richard Barker, has been working with couples (and individuals), teaching them, through the power of hypnosis, how to have better sex. Barker explains: “The power of your sex life is all in your mind. You can choose to have better or worse sex depending on your thought process.” Barker says: “Some people come to see me individually because they feel anxiety about sex or just don’t feel good about themselves. If a woman, for example, has been told by a previous partner for years that she is ugly or just not worthy, it manifests itself into the subconscious, and can have a seriously negative impact on any new relationships. Once the negative perceptions are removed and replaced with positive affirmations, she can be on the road to a greater relationship.”
 
Richard Barker has spent the last 20 years working with thousands of clients across the world, making television appearances, and has written the new book: “Selling Hypnotically. The Art Of Suggestion” SellingHypnotically.com • IncredibleHypnotist.com
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