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Retro Review: The Wolf Man

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Synopsis
A guy returns home and runs afoul of a local werewolf.

Review
My first exposure to Lon Chaney Jr. (credited here simply as Lon Chaney, not to be confused with his father) as The Wolf Man was in The House of Frankenstein. I haven't been watching these Universal Monster films in order, and that was the first one I'd seen with The Wolf Man. I was immediately impressed with Chaney's performance, his talent as an actor really standing out. I was curious as to how his character's story began, and this film doesn't disappoint. The story is well thought out and Chaney is exceptional as Larry Talbot, a guy who has an unfortunate chance encounter with a werewolf. Bela Lugosi also appears, playing a character named "Bela" (go figure). This one's a classic. Each Halloween season I check out a few more of these Universal Monster films, watching ones I haven't watched yet, but I think next season I'll give this one another go even before I've fi…

Retro Review: Creature from the Black Lagoon

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Synopsis
After finding a fossilized hand with webbed fingers, scientists go searching for the rest of the skeleton. And, as luck would have it, there's a living specimen roaming around, and he starts killing members of the group.

Review
The first time I saw this film was about 2 weeks ago, but that creature always freaked me out as a kid. The costume is well done, and from a technical perspective the film is impressive, not only for the creature costume but for the fact that it's worn underwater for swimming scenes as well. There's a lot of underwater footage here, all very well done, and I can only imagine how difficult it must've been to do it. As for the plot/story, it's not bad, though they could've named this one "Creature from the Lagoon of Bad Decisions". The lead character continues to want to go easy on the creature, despite it continuing to kill members of the expedition. There is a member of the group who just wants to shoot it, but unfortun…

Retro Review: Dracula

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Synopsis
A real estate agent travels to Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania to have him sign a lease on an abbey in London. Seriously. That's how this starts. Then we travel to London and vampire stuff happens.

Review
You probably have a good idea about the story behind this one even if you haven't seen it. And so did I...except for the lease part. But this was an entertaining film which runs a little longer than most of the other Universal Monster movies I've watched (this one was 85 minutes, but most of the others I've watched have been 70 minutes or so). It's all here: Dracula turning into a bat, sucking blood, crucifixes, stakes, leases, the whole nine yards. This is one I'll probably watch again sooner rather than later just to pick up on the things I missed (I was a little distracted at the time). Lives up to its reputation.

Retro Review: The Invisible Man

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Synopsis
A mysterious stranger arrives at an Inn, freaks everyone out, throws a guy down a flight of stairs, and then begins a reign of terror.

Review
I hated this movie, for the simple fact that I hated the villain. In that aspect, the film succeeds in providing a detestable antagonist, but I loathed him so much that the film just made me angry. I don't usually get like that...and actually, I'm trying to think of another movie with a character I despised and I'm drawing a blank.

This film is considered a classic and is based on a novel by H.G. Wells. From a technical standpoint, the film does a great job with the invisibility illusion, such as when the main character removes some of his bandages, revealing nothing but emptiness underneath. When it comes to these classic Universal Monster movies, sometimes I find I dislike the original film but more enjoy the lesser-known sequels, so I have to wonder if that will be the case with the Invisible Man series of films as well.

Retro Review: The Mummy's Curse

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Synopsis
Two museum archaeologists arrive at a swamp 25 years after the events of the previous film, The Mummy's Ghost, looking for the mummy's remains. The swamp is being drained, and the archaeologists would like to take ownership of the mummy. But, as bad luck would have it, the mummy is still undead, and chaos ensues.

Review
The film is similar to not only the previous film, but also to the film prior to that, The Mummy's Tomb. I liked The Mummy's Tomb, but disliked The Mummy's Ghost. The small differences between each made a lot of difference in my enjoyment or lack thereof. And in the case of this film, I enjoyed it. Sure, it's mostly a repeat, but it moves along at a quick pace and there's some good acting and action.

On the downside, there's a rather offensive stereotype in the film as well, and every time this character opened his mouth I both laughed and cringed. If  you watch the film, you'll know who I'm talking about.

Also, even thou…

Silent Renew and the "login_required" Error When Using oidc-client

I recently implemented the Silent Renew functionality of oidc-client in an Angular application I work on, and was getting reports that the users' tokens were still expiring. This made no sense to me as I'd verified the code was working during development, but yesterday I found the problem and am hoping it will save someone some time.

The error we were getting back was "Error from signinSilent: login_required". This indicates that the user's session is no longer active on IdentityServer and they must re-authenticate -- which, of course, is what we're trying to prevent by using Silent Renew. In our case, the problem wasn't with the Silent Renew functionality, but rather the user's session was expired. The reason why it was expired was because, for some reason, we were setting the session length to 15 minutes instead of the default 10 hours.

What was occurring was that Silent Renew was attempting to renew a token after 55 minutes (60 minutes expiration, …

Serving Your Angular CLI Apps Locally Over HTTPS

When running an Angular CLI app locally, it's easy to set it up to run over HTTPS to more accurately match how it would run in a secure production environment (rather than just running it over HTTP locally). The below approach works with Angular CLI 6 and above, but may also be available in earlier versions.

In your angular.json file, look for your project in the projects node and then find the serve child node. Under that node, you can add a property called ssl and set the value to true to cause Angular CLI to build the project with a local SSL cert that it will create for you.

"serve": { "builder": "@angular-devkit/build-angular:dev-server", "options": { "browserTarget": "staff-portal-two:build", "ssl": true },
When you run ng serve for the first time after adding this property, there will be some output on the command line regarding the certificate being created. After awhile, it will also remove and r…