Holy crap, I don't play WoW, so a lot of these machinimas don't hold my interest, but this one is fantastic.
Dec 15, 2008
Charlie Wilson's War - Huh, this wasn't quite what I expected. I figured it'd be a very sober political drama. And to be sure, it has dramatic historical weight, especially as it comes to the end. Most of the movie, though, is very funny, it's practically a dark comedy. It's written very slickly, too slickly, really. I thought to myself "this seems like an aaron sorkin show" and sure enough, his name pops up immediately in the credits. I didn't need so much smooth banter dialogue. I like it, I loved west wing, but I think it's had its time and you need to be a little less slick to be believable. But it is good, it's very enjoyable, and it fills in some important things I didn't know about those events.
The Savages - Wow, what a depressing damn movie. It's just about being old, and how it sucks and sucks for everyone around you! It's good, the three actors do a great job, it's just so sad, it's hard to feel good about the movie. I don't really get while it's supposed to be a dark comedy. It had a couple moments, I guess, but most of the humor was so muted by the opressing situation, that it wasn't funny so much as that much more depressing. It's good, it's just a bear to watch.
Before The Devil Knows Your Dead - Umm.... well... it's good... I guess? I guess it's my time for depressing Phillip Seymour Hoffman movies. It's not as overtly sad, it's supposed to be a tense thriller, although I don't totally get that. It tries to play with time, but not in a way that matters. It's not like there's a mystery or big plot gaps. It's just filling in the details as it goes along, I'm not really sure why they bothered with that. For the first while I was pretty much not into it. It picks up at the end and there is some reall good acting from Hoffman and Ethan Hawke. I'm a little less impressed with Alfred Finney, it was mostly just trembling with rage. In fact, there was a lot of trembling with rage in this movie, I got sick of it. In the end, espeically the end, it's a very dramatic movie. I'm not sure why I didn't totally buy into it, the parts were good, it just didn't completely resonate with me, not sure.
Chop Shop - Wow, what a great little movie. It's very simple, just this young boy who is trying to make his life, working at a garage, selling bootleg dvds, trying to get enough money to start a better life for him and his sister. It doesn't all work out, of course, and there's no real resolution, it's just a segment of their lives. But damn it's beautiful. It's filmed hand-held (but good quality) making it seem like you are
just watching them go. The acting, if I'm being critical, is a little forced, but it's completely forgivable. The ending actually made me say
"wow" out loud. Great movie.
The Good German - Umm... it's a good try I guess. So this is George Clooney doing a WWII movie, filmed like an old movie. It's black and white, it has overly dramatic music, there's even this weird softness to it all. Not like barbara walters inerview soft, but just a weird saturation. The sky was bright white all the time, the characters seemed to glow a bit. Maybe all the war-time backgrounds had to be digital so it gave it a fakey look. The story is just average, kind of a suspense mystery thing, but not all that engaging. People act fine, I just don't there's that far to go with the script. The big bombshell is not big at all, so instead of an oh em gee moment at the end, I'm left with a "huh.... k, was that supposed to be a Casablanca homage? cuz you aren't as good as that movie, so don't make me think of it" I dunno, it's not bad, it's cool they were trying to do something like that, I just don't think it was that interesting, separate from style. Oh well, another movie in the "meh" column for George Clooney.
Flakes - Ugh. Okay, so while I watched this I thought of one or two good things to say about it, but now I really can't remember them. The bad things? everything else. It's a douchebag hipster story with douchebag hipster actors saying douchebag hipster dialogue. To be fair, this movie had an uphill climb for me. If I had never heard of a Cereal Bar, I would think that is quirky and cute and would never exist. Problem is, it does exist, on campus, and it's stupid. Plus this movie has Zooey Daschanel in it, who I have a well-documented dislike for. Turns out she can, ocassionally, have a personality, unfortunately it's the personality of a bad actress. The plot is just amateurish anti-starbucks lame ass hippy-hipster bleating with weak characters filling their token roles. It feels like it was made by a rebellious teenager who probably thinks that if his movie made any money, he's a sellout working for the man. It's forced, it's awkward, some of the one-on-one scenes are downright uncomfortable. Also, they ruined Christopher Lloyd. Oh, I remember the one good thing, the one and only time Deschanel's drab tranquilized monotone acting has ever been good, said in the context of a relationship: "What has been sufficient to get us to this step is insufficient to get us to the next step. I got that from a fortune cookie and it's true." That's it, now you don't have to see the movie.
Dec 12, 2008
Dec 9, 2008
Dec 7, 2008
Transporter 3 - Ok, in case you don't know, I have to admit to a man-crush on Jason Statham, so my opinion may be colored here. It's gotten so bad, in fact, I went and looked him up on netflix to see what movies I HADN'T seen (hint: not many). But, let's get to the bad stuff. This movie is stupid, the basic premise doens't make any sense, the whole criminal plan is dumbnity. There were at least two moments where I laughed out loud at something, and it's not cuz it was funny. Also, I had to see Jason Statham's boobies 4 times, I got to see the red head's boobies 0 times. That seems wrong - my man-crush extends only to his punches and kickes, not to his boobies. Nonetheless, there's lots of driving and punching and kicking and shooting and it's all great and it was totally worth going. (yes, that's the whole "good parts" section).
The Architect - This is a weird little movie. It's a good movie, I think. It feels a little small, I kept thinking I was watching an episode of a TV show, like it just wasn't big enough. That changes some by the end, though not a lot. But you can't critisize something for being focused, it's not as if its aimless or pointless, it's just a short movie with a short story. It's fairly well done, the actors do alright, though I'm not sure the chick from Heroes really has the skill to be much past pretty. The writing is fairly tight for what seems a small budget movie. It's filmed really simply, maybe that's why it feels like a TV show. I'm reading on RT that people hate it pretty bad. Seem to think its too big for its britches, and lacks overall structure. It's based on a play, I guess, which explains a bit of it's narrowness. I see what the people mean, it's what lead to my TV feeling. But it just doesn't seem overdone to me, it's not big enough to be overdone, the events aren't dramatic enough. It's got a simple plot and simple character arcs, which isn't great, but it's not bad, it's just simple. Overall I'm good with it, it's better than a lot of other ways to spend an hour and a half, it's just not that important, not worth endorsing with much energy.
Dan in Real Life - Huh. This movie is surprisingly not horrible for the reason you would think. Surprisingly, it's not because Dane Cook is in it. He goes most of the movie without making me want to kick him in the nuts. Well, that's not true, he said bro once and I almost turned it off, but mostly he reins it in. I assumed it would be a lame comedy, turns out its a lame romantic comedy slash family movie. Steve Carrell plays Steve Carrell as ... Steve Carrell. He's basically Michael Scott without the overt personality, just the sadness. His character is pretty pathetic, so much so that it's not enjoyable to watch. I know it's not supposed to be, in that sense, but so what? Just cuz he's supposed to be hard to watch doesn't make it ok that I'm uncomfortable the whole movie. Most of the dramatic conflict that makes him sad is too forced, it's like a sitcom. The dynamic between him and his daughters is good enough, if overly structured, but it's nice I guess. Still, I was either bored or annoyed most of the movie, with the occasional laugh or sweet moment.
Step Up 2: TAKE IT TO THE STREETS - Ok, we all know what this movie was about - the part where they dance in the water. It was all over the trailers, the ads, and my expectations. The whole movie is a build up to that part, it may as well have been called Step Up 2: The Scene Where They Dance In The Rain. The rest of the movie, when they aren't dancing, is truly horrible. The acting is, without exaggeration, porn-worthy. It is flat and the dialogue is straight high school play. It really is amazingly bad. The dancing however, is great. Nothing that will make your jaw drop if you watch So You Think You Can Dance (or America's Best Dance Crew), which you totally should be watching. But still very good dancing, the choreography is pretty great. And the scene at the end is pretty much worth the previous hour plus. It's just a damn fantastic idea to dance in the rain like that. It's a good movie for DVD (or bluray) extras too, as its pretty much all dancing, which is kinda the point. You even get to see Jabberwocky in the extras, which was neat! Anyway, don't think, just watch, it's good.
Be Kind, Rewind - Yeah, it's kinda cute. It's not really good. But it's certainly not bad. It's just a cute story that's pretty much what you saw in the trailers. I didn't know it was Michel Gondry, which I guess makes sense, but its relativley toned down. But it obviously that home-made fantastic thing he likes to do. The last 30 minutes adds another layer of sweetness that's not in the trailers (I don't think) that's cool. But, in the end, it feels pretty forgettable to me. A cute idea, nothing wrong with it, just not that special or memorable. Sorry!
Call Northside 777 - This is a pretty traditional reporter story. Course, it's 1948, I dunno if it was traditional yet. But it being traditional does not mean bad. It's Jimmy Stewart investigating a wrongly accused guy, at first he doesn't buy it, then he's doing everything he can to save him. It's not brilliant, it's too normal to be brilliant, but it's a perfectly good reporter movie. Worth seeing if you are in the mood or like Jimmy Stewart.
Even Money - First impression of this movie is HORRIBLE. The title graphics are amateur, the opening narration is trite. Plus, ray freakin' liota is in it. Then all of a sudden, people start acting! Surprisingly good performances from people like Jay Mohr, Kelsey Grammer, Kim Basinger, Danny Devito, and yes Ray Liota. Forest Whitaker is classing the joint up being good as always. It's not much of a story, a few lives intersecting around this bookie bad guy. I wish they hadn't pulled out the narration for the ending again, was annoying. But it was still worth it, believe it or not.
Dec 2, 2008
Doomsday - Okay, here's how this movie's creation went. Guy1: Y'know what's awesome? Guns! and explosions! Guy2: Y'know what's awesome? ATVs! and car races! Guy3: Y'know what's awesome? The future! and a truly ridiculous and out of proportion amount of gore! Guy4: Woah, guys, guys, guys, GUYS! Isn't this getting a bit ridiculous? I mean, how can we have guns and explosions and tanks and a retarded amount of blood, in the future, and still have full plate mail, horses, lances, maces, gladiator games, beheadings and CHICKS WITH SWORDS?! Guys 1, 2, & 3: ....... Guy4: Nah, I'm just fuckin' with you, let's put it all in!
Star Wars: Clone Wars - Well, I heard this was really bad, and it's not really! It's not really good either, I guess. I saw the TV series, and it was decent. The thing with a TV cartoon is you don't really expect much from it, just a fun star wars story, and that's what it gave you. That's all the movie gives you, it doesn't much deserve to be a theater movie. But it's fun, the fights are fun, the overarching story is good too. For some baffling reason, the movie insists, every 10 minutes or so, on doing something unbelievably dumb. Usually dialogue, often a failed joke, and it's just like "ugh, god dammit, why did you let george lucas write that line?" I really did groan out loud more than once. But the rest is just fine, I'd like to watch the new TV series. Granted, I spent most of the movie paying more attention to Fallout 3 than the movie... but whatevs, it was decent!
Son of Rambow - Awwww, this movie is adorable! I apparently had no idea what this movie was about, I thought it was some cheap foreign action rip off thing. It's actually the story of a boy who dreams of a life bigger than the one he's got, and of being a person who's bigger than he is, and finding a real friend. It's not complicated or anything, nothing is surprising, but it's just so damn sweet. It's genuinely funny, the boys are very charming. Their performances don't quite hold up when things get very serious, but that is easily excused. It's just a movie that makes you smile, its really worth seeing.
10,000 BC - Jesus fuck, is this entire movie going to look like it was done on a high school green screen? Turns out, the answer is yes. Also: what the hell continent do they live on that has every damn ethnicity? Also also: just because you can make a convincing CG tiger doesn't mean it looks good. CG has to fit, it has to blend into the movie, it has to be part of the movie. It cannot be a very nice looking sticker on top of thefilm stock. Also more: in all other unmentioned ways, this movie sucks nuts. As a side note, I'm reading a book called The World Without Us about what would happen if humanity disappeared (but not our stuff or our impact) and it has much to say about the exctinction of the North American megafauna. This movie makes me think of that and makes me kinda sad.
August Rush - Y'know, believe it or not, I think this movie maybe kinda possibly perhaps potentially could have been halfway decent! There's actually a very nice mix of musical styles and what you might sillily call a journey of music. I could see making a movie where a person comes of age or has a life that traverses musical moments or identities. But, that's not what this movie does. This movie talks about silly ass "connections" and bullshit "wavelengths" and robin williams dresses like a douche. The kid does a good job, I think, he's got an innocence that would be very nice if it weren't embeded in the new agey bullshit. The movie is pretty much as bad as you think it is, it tries too hard, its premise is too ridiculous, I can't see through it to get to the rest. The tiny sad thing is just that glimmer of "hey, that could have been good. damn."
Parallax View - Another reporter movie. Turns out this is part of a "paranoia trilogy" by the same guy who did All The President's Men. It certainly has the vibe. The first 30 minutes is very good, draws you into this mystery and you really do want to know what's going on. I'm afraid after a while I got a tiny bit bored. I half imagine its just that I wasnt' in the mood for this kind of movie. There's a lot of tension and quiet moments and not a lot going on. It's still very good, I just wasn't super into the tension after a bit. It picks up again at the end and it's got a great bookend of an ending. I wish I loved it, I feel like I should have, but it was just good, not fantastic, for me.
Dec 1, 2008
Heard about this a few days ago, but I thought it just pasted the google result for you. What it actually does is generate a tinyurl with a little flash video of you typing the question into google, it says "was that so hard?" and then it shows the google result. Heh :)
Nov 27, 2008
Nov 26, 2008
Nov 19, 2008
Nov 17, 2008
Nov 15, 2008
Quantum of Solace - Pretty good, not amazing. The last one had a big advantage, it was such a radical shift, the whole idea of it was great, and I love Daniel Craig, almost as much as I love Jason Statham. This movie isn't a shift, it's just... another episode. It's not bad, he beats the shit out of people, cars move fast, people shoot people. The story is good enough, but it's not epic, like I say, it's just a james bond episode with a james bond I vastly prefer. -1 point: they made the hot chick the side chick and the meh chick the main chick. +1 point: there wasn't 30 minutes of driving a boat and kissing at the end. -1 point: the parkour scene was not even close to the first one. +1 point: I still like daniel craig. -1 point: they made hydrogen fuel look stupidly dangerous (I'd personally not let a stove fire explode my hotel, but that's just me). So that's more minuses than pluses, but it's not bad, it's just kinda plain.
Get Smart - Okay, I don't care how the rest of this movie goes. Smart uses an EEEPC *and* a creative zen: m! I'm sold! ...Ok, I've watched it now, it's all right I guess. It's a different kind of comedy than the juvenile silly shit from most of the summer. It's still silly, but it's kind of dry and awkward in that steve carrell way. So it was fun, there were a few parts that were really funny. I don't have any affection for the original, I never saw it, so that wasn't there for me. Carrell is funny, Anne Hathaway is good enough (though why they had to pull the same crap and start her as a badass and end her as a helpless woman I don't know). It's allright, it's a fine family kind of comedy, I don't think I'll remember much in a month.
In Bruge - Wow, this movie is really good! I was pretty shocked. From the ads (which features about 75% of the good jokes in the movie, I'm very sad to say, though you get some more from the deleted scenes), I thought it would be a kinda funny dark movie, and that's it. Instead it's this utterly different kind of movie. It strikes me, somehow, as kind of british, so maybe it's just different to me, but nonetheless. I mean, the movie is only half filled with dialogue, half the time you are just staring at people, or watching them sit around to very mellow pretty music. That ought to be boring, but it's really not. It's this very subtle simple really cool kind of movie. What's shown in the previews is there, it has a tiny bit of action in the end (which is bloody as fuck), and its threaded with humor throughout, but it's not a guy ritchey gangster movie, or a comedy, it's all the sitting around jostled by the jokes and the blood that seem the point to me. The movie really was a great surprise, most surprisingly of all - colin farrell is in it and not just not a jackass, he's good! Aces plus!
All The President's Men - Another in my series of reporter movies, this one I probably should have seen by now. It is, of course, very good. More than any of the movies I've seen so far, it really focuses on the details of investigating. The tricks they use to get people to open or up accidently reveal information are great. All their methods of tracking down the truth behind watergate is really cool to see. And given that subject material, its kind of hard not to make a good movie, the story is just so amazing. All in all very good, I'm glad I finally saw it!
Semi-Pro - Mmmmmmmmeh. It seems Will Farrell will never get better than Anchorman and Ricky Bobby. I guess I heard Stepbrothers was good, haven't seen it yet though. This one isn't bad, i'ts just not good. The humor isn't ridiculous like Zohan or Love Guru, it's just silly will farrell humor. He acts crazy a lot, runs around in circles, but you really can't do that every movie and have it still be funny. There are funny parts and funny characters (like all these movies, everyone's in them!) But its pretty dang forgettable. It's too bad. I'm not so much afraid that will farrell will keep making meh movies, I'm more afraid that he'll beat his own funniness to death and when I go back to watch the good ones, I won't like them. Hope not.
So I forgot to post this when it happened, but a while ago Ze Frank started From 52 to 48 With Love. It's like Sorry Everybody, but instead of everyone apologizing to the world for Bush, the 52 who voted for Obama are saying nice things to the 48 who didn't. It's a sweet idea, with a couple really nice images. Well, some assholes, I mean people, no wait I meant assholes, sent him lots of nasty hate mail about it. In typical artsy hippy Ze Frank fashion, rather than yell back, he's started Angrigami, print out the angry emails and make pretty oragami out if it. Tee hee :)
Nov 4, 2008
Nov 2, 2008
Every few months I realize I love machinima and watch a bunch. Conveniently, there was a filmfest recently to provide me some good ones w/o so much wading. Here are the ones I like:
The Life of a Turret - just funny
The Ship - not very good, but there's no dialogue, so they are relying entirely on the analogs to cinematography, directing, sound, and acting, which is cool to see.
Ignis Solus - Saw this before, not sure if I posted it, its fantastic.
Chevauchee nocturne- There's absolutely nothing to this except the neat style, so just watch 5 seconds.
Jill's Song - Corny as fuck. But if you are in a sappy mood, it's a nice analogy. As it happens, I'm not in a sappy mood, but I'd probably like it if I was. I'm going to have to go through this studio's stuff (they did ignis solus too).
Without Providence - Holy shitballs, this is filmed great.
There's quite a few others that are worth watching in the general "look how machinima has improved" way, but nothing that is specifically so amazing. There are some long-form ones that I've yet to watch as well. I mean jesus, an hour and a half machinima movie?? But it's good to see it all coming along. It's still pretty amateurish, but there are elements in various ones that are really stand-out, and when someone puts all them together in one piece, it'll be fantastic!2
Oct 26, 2008
The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker - Finally! I've been reading this book forever. That's mostly my fault, I just wasn't reading often. It is only slightly the book's fault in that it is rather textbook like. It could almost serve as the book for a psych class (or a number of other connected disciplines). Each chapter could foster a full discussion, especially the later chapters. As such, this is gonna be a hella long review, so stop reading if you don't care.
The basic premise of the book is an argument against the Blank Slate (and also Noble Savage) theories of nature vs. nurture, an argument for a strongly present nature element, and how these two things affect, to his mind, a number of aspects of our world. The first quarter or so is the argument against. For those unfamiliar, the Blank Slate theory says we come out of our mama's business completely blank, ready to be molded by: parents, peers, society, etc. The Noble Savage is an alternate but simliar theory elevating native peoples saying that before us whiteys came along and fucked them up, they were all honor and decency and virtue. The latter seems a bit of white guilt to me and I don't know that anyone really agrees with it. As he points out, every society fights, murders, rapes, and wages war. The one or two stories of amazing isolated tribes without these faults have in fact been found to be lies.
The degree to which the former is true is the heart of the nature vs. nurture debate, and of this book. The problem with the blank slate is its a 100% theory, i.e. we are ALL nurture. That's pretty hard to defend in any instance. He argues strongly that genes have a significant role in who we are. This is very interesting because I have been taught my whole life that the liberal proper way of thinking is that we are all what we are made to be or make ourselves to be. That seems to elimiate racism & sexism, the inevitability of war, or of violence, it makes us all pure until we mess each other up. But Pinker's point is plainly that it is not true. He cites a large number of studies to prove his argument. Which is the unavoidable fault of this book, I have to trust him. He spends the middle half of the book citing various bits of evidence, including lots of twin studies, which he holds up as the only way to have proof. The idea is to compare twins raised together, twins raised apart, and adopted siblings raised together. Studying where you find similarities most often suggests where those similarties come from: genes or environment. His claim is that in nearly every case it is genes: twins have the same sameness whether raised together or apart, and adopted siblings have the same sameness as two random unrelated people not raised together. If this is as true as he suggests, it basically destroys the blank slate as a theory. It says that as much as 50% of our personalities/skills comes from our genes. That's pretty amazing and unnerving. But it does rely on me trusting his evidence. Is he citing ALL the studies? Just the ones he likes? How many studies are there really? How many twins together and apart can their really be, and how many of those are in studies? What kind of sample base do we have to make the results statistically significant? These questions can only be answered by someone writing a book called "eff that pinker guy", or something similar, and then I'd have to ask if I trust him. But, assuming that he is right, that the blank slate is wrong, and that our worst elements are built into us to varying degrees, how does that change our view of our world?
That assumption, and those questions, are the last quarter of the book, the issues being some obvious ones: politics, race, violence, gender, parenting, and art. His answers would make any liberal squirm: yes, a race might have a different propensity for a skill than another; yes, one gender might be more lilkey to puruse one career than another; yes, rape is somehow in our genes; no, how you parent doesn't really matter.
The race/gender ones, I think, are the easiest to handle. Is it really so surprising that more men than women, in a completely neutral world, would opt to build or operate big machines and that more women would opt to take care of people or communicate? We do have 10s of thousands of years of somewhat defined roles in us, after all. Being in science, women in science is a big issue, one that I believe in. But he has convinced me that we don't have to make it 50/50, that maybe it shouldn't be. That doesn't change that every girl should be encouraged (as should every boy), that no one should be limited, and we shouldn't assume just cuz only 30% of girls (that's a random number) would want to build a computer or an engine, that this girl in front of us at this moment wouldn't want to. I think he goes too far, I think I'd much rather react strongly against any sign of prejudgment, but clearly his priority is speaking against the assumptions the blank slate has provided us, so it pushes him too far for me. Race is a little harder, we don't have defined race roles based on our biology, and we have thousands of years of social and economic situations for certain races as opposed to others. Those factors will manipulate what instincts our genes provide us, and it could have been the other way around. But it does make us squirm, if we did a broad IQ test, would black people rank, on average, below white people? would white be below asian? those are the stereotypes, the might be born out, then what do we do? The answer is it's silly, and we do nothing. His analogy, which I appreciate, is that if a study showed that tall people, on average, are smarter than short people, would employers start only hiring the tallest of us? That would seem stupid, and clearly race comes up for other reasons, not the results of a study. The whole conversation is uncomfortable, but interesting and managable.
Slightly worse is violence and rape. We are built to be violent, we are built to breed. In some cases they will come together and make rape. It's ridiculous to say its not "natural", it happens in nature. He even argues for a evolutionary imperitive to rape, in small numbers. But it is not as extreme as it sounds, and it makes sense. But that's not even the point, just because something is natural doesn't mean its right, and we should all really own up to that. The whole point of morality is to rein the negative parts of our nature. He thinks, and I agree, that this elevates morality, not denegrates it. There's a whole lot more to this and violence in general, like I say you could talk for hours on every one of these subjects, but its very good reading.
Much much worse is parenting. He argues that parenting basically doesn't matter a lot as far as who the child will end up being. He says that parenting has, at most, a 10% effect on personality/intelligence. 50% is genes, and 40% is other. Here is where I don't understand his argument. They do this measurement with the twins again, and they say they end up 50% alike due to genes (how twins raised apart and twins raised together are same sameness), 10% alike due to parenting or shared experience (how twins raised apart and twins raised together have different sameness), and 40% due to unique experience, which I don't understand. It's supposed to be environemnt, but not in a determiniable way. Two siblings, for instance, receive a shared experience. When they leave the house and go to different schools or have different friends, they hvae unique experiences. I don't really buy this argument, everything is unique to a certain extent, no parents treats all children the same. OR, everything is shared by all the people in that class, or peer group, and THEY should be 40% the same! I think its weak, either its wrong, or he doesn't explain it well. He uses this evidence to say all the effort put into parenting theories and methods is fairly useless, because parents have such a small effect. He argues that this does not invalidate parents, and that you can still mess your kid up or neglect them and that this is still objectively wrong, and that a parents job to keep their kids alive and healthy remains uneffected. But he says whether you play him mozart, read to her starting at age 2, have a full time job or stay at home, or a number of other factors, has no impact on how smart, nice, outgoing, ambitious, or even tempered they will be. This makes me nervous, to be sure, as I feel like I was very much shaped by my parents. But if what he says is true, then they had no impact on who I am. They kept me safe and happy, and didn't hurt me or scar me, but they did not make me whatever I am. I think we all have anecdotal experiences that suggest otherwise. Parents who do "better" with a second child or set of children raised much later than the first set. Parents who spent more time with the first born than the others, etc. He says its not true, its hard for me to believe, and as I don't fully buy his argument (due to poor explanation or falseness, I don't know), makes me want to think he's wrong. But I'm defintely not sure.
The last bit of society affected is the arts, and I agree with him mostly here. He pretty much hates modernism and postmodernism, which I already don't much appreciate, so I'm ok with that. He basically argues that modernism and postmodernism insists on relativism by denying human nature, and universal beauty. He says the basis for this denial is a blank slate idea that we only think this or that looks our sounds pretty because society told us to. He says that's wrong, however, that we think its pretty because we are built to appreciate certain things as beautiful, and to deny that is wrong, and to make art based on that denial is just dumb. I fairly well agree with him, postmodernism kind of annoys me, always has. He goes a bit too far (once again!), because I think you can appreciate the accomplishment of something for its own sake. New styles, new methods, or just plain "wow, isn't it cool how s/he did that?" can be mind blowing, and I don't particularly care if they are denying human nature, what they did was cool. But, as a theory of art, I'm on board with them being sillypants.
Okay, so wow, that was a lot of writing. I maybe should have said at the beginning, not now, that this book is certainly good. If you want a book to debate around, its fantastic, as it has things to say on the most fundamental issues we deal with daily. Whether its right, I don't know, I think it's 75% right, almost certainly. The remaining 25% requires I trust him to a degree I have no reason to, and in that 25% there's a lot of nuance and consequence. I would like to hear someone argue against it, maybe I should look up a book that specifically addresses this one, I know it happens at times. As I said, its not artfully written, its almost textbook like, maybe he should be given praise for the extent to which its not a textbook given the material, I don't know. He does pull together a fantastic ending, though that is by citing people who are magnificently skilled at writing. He uses passages from Dickenson, Vonnegut, Twain, and Orwell to provide the insight he is arguing for into human nature. But even outside the ending, the book is absoultely worth reading, it will make you think and make you question, even if you decide he's wrong.
Oct 25, 2008
Appaloosa - Man, I was so excited for this movie. I love westerns, after spending 25 or so years hating them based solely on hating all the douchebag arizonans who walk around in boots and hat like they've ever seen a god damn cow. But turns out they are pretty rockin', and here we've got Ed Harris, Vigo Mortenson, AND Jeremy Irons? Unfortunately, and this is the crux of its failure, we've also got Renee Zelwiger. I just looked it up, short of Chicago, Renee Zellwiger has never been in a movie I liked. She's horrible and someone should fire her from hollywood. That being said, it wasn't all her fault, the whole script was built around her retarded character and its retarded influence on retarded ed harris. What the hell?! You pussified ed harris! Did you see Pollack? a history of violence?? you ruined him! The whole movie after she shows up and ruins him is questionable, with good moments, but this tinge of crapiness, it was so sad to see. The movie also seems to cover too much ground, time-wise, that it felt rushed and awkward when you jump a bunch of time. So sad, mortenson and irons were so badass, why couldn't the movie be too?
The Incredible Hulk (2008) - New hulk movie. better than the last, for sure. I notice they made hulk a lot taller so he didn't look like an overgrown midgit again. The end battle was actually pretty dang good, and the end of the battle did a very good job of doing the hulk ethos, we call him when we need him, we chase him when we don't, it was nice, and without stupid dialogue! I dunno, though, I guess hulk is just never gonna do it for me. I hated the first movie, this one was okay but I'm left a little meh. World War Hulk, the marvel event last last summer was so boring and annoying for me. I guess I just think hulk isn't all that interesting, I dunno! Now i hear he might be the villain for the avengers movie and I'm afraid, its it going to be world war hulk all over?
Slacker Uprising - This is michael moore's new movie, and man it tugs you a lot of ways. First up, a bit of business - moore released this under the dr. horrible method of making money: put it out for free, people will pay later if they like it. This no doubt has something to do with the massive piracy of sicko last time around. Nonetheless, the dr. horrible method is great for established creators, so yay. Back to the movie. It's basically about this speaking tour he and some musicians did before the 2004 election trying to get people to vote. Called "slacker uprising" it went primarily to college campuses to get kids out and their friends out. The first thing that strikes me about this movie is "wow, wouldnt' this be fucking amazing if it had worked." Buuuuut, it didn't, which is a weird contradiction. Balls to moore, I guess, for releasing what on the surface could be an embarassingly failed effort. On the other hand, that's the point, and its meant to get us riled up for this year. Interesting fact that somehow had been blocked out of my memory: kerry was up by 7 points (according to some random poll, anyway) before the swift boat thing Obama is up by around 7 points as I write this (not necessarily when it posts), soo..... don't feel too comfortable. Another thing going on in my head, a big complaint w/ moore's movies (besides their creative/selective use of facts) is that they are becoming almost more about moore than his subject matter. he is a national personality, one that most people have a strong opinion about, and his movies were so heavily laden with his voice that its impossible to separate the subject from the speaker. This movie, either in contrast or in completion, is really about moore. Yeah, its about this speaking tour, but its about him. The surprising thing is that it doesn't make me hate him! I'm not a big fan of moore, generally. I've always said I agree with what he says, but not with how he says it. He has this way of corrupting my own views by giving people an excuse to hate those views via him, and its always bothered me. But amazingly, this time, or at least 75% of this time, he's saying things in a pretty reasonable way, without too much exaggeration or excess. It's still very rethorical and maniuplative (all speeches are), but it a way I could actually totally deal with. I'm going on and on here obviously because its not about a movie, its about all the things the movie is about, so I'll shut up now.
You Don't Mess With the Zohan - Dumb. Dumb! Silly goose movie. There are a handful of parts that are legitimately laugh worthy funny. A couple of the cameos are good, Geroge Takei and Mariah Carrey (who is funny because she is willing to make fun of herself) in particular. Overall its pretty dumb. The accents were horrible. It's not stupid enough to be bad, its not like it pained me to watch it, not most of it anyway. But I'd also not make any effort to see it on purpose, it's defintely a midnight cable I'm bored kind of movie.
Love Guru - Bad movie. It's like pure distilled mike myers silliness, but that's not good, it has no support. It's just the bad jokes and puns, with no context to make them funny. It fails on almost every count, and mike myers' character is just annoying, not cute. There are a couple laughs, but nothing great, stephen colbert is the best part of the movie. Believe it or not, this was worse than Zohan, even more dick and fart jokes, jesus.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Wow, this movie was pretty good! After the last two comedies, it seems like freakin genius. That's not fair, of course, but the movie was legitimately funny, I laughed throughout. It's not a classic or anything, I don't need to buy the DVD, I won't think of it in the same thought as Anchorman or 40 year old virgin or ricky bobby. But it was absolutely worth my time. The plot was predictable, but that's ok, it's not exactly why you see this movie. Everyone does a good job, including the british guy who I hate in real life so I had no problem hating his character. There's not a lot to say about the details of the movie, it is kind of straightforward, but it really comes together with some really honest humor and fun characters, thumbs up. Oh, and as a side note, the main character exhibited some weirdly specific me-like characteristics or habits that I found very disconcerting. Seriously, like 5 or 6 times I looked over and said "that's me!" It was kinda weird, though totally not the point.
Death Race - You aren't going to beleive this, but this was fucking great! No, seriously! And it's not man-love for Jason Statham either! I know it looks awful, and its true it is at times overflowing with cheese, the dude from deadwood actually talks snarky into the camera at one point. But the rest of the movie is very fun. The races are very cool, the couple of melee fights are actually pretty good, if brief, and kinda brutal. The acting and writing is nothing to be ashamed of. It's obviously not genius, but it is not lacking in any way for this kind of movie. I was totally surprised, it was completely enjoyable.
The Strangers - So, I'm pretty sure I don't like this movie. It's very tense, its aiming to creep you out and make you feel unsafe in your own house, and I suppose it does that. But I'm really annoyed with the whole premise. Granted, its based on something true, so I guess I can't say its ridiculous, but it just feels so sensational. oh em gee, people are going to break into your house and torture you and fuck you up, eek! No, they aren't, actually. This doesn't happen, and if it happened once, well, someone got hit in the head by bird shit falling at terminal velocity once, no one made a movie about it. I go back and forth because there's this nagging fear that I was afeared and that makes me all tough and want to say the movie was stupid. But, no, I think it really was stupid, or at least manipulative. Nothing else about the movie is really horrible, scary people act stoic (easy w/ a mask) and scared people act scared. The camera is a little holy crap shakey, but that's fine. No, it's just the premise, I'm annoyed, its almost as bad as watching Saw. Oh look, I just googled, the true story this is "based" on, besides helter skelter kinda, is the director's childhood memory of someone who knocked on random doors finding empties and robbed them. which has NOTHING THE FUCK to do with this movie. It is in fact, the opposite of the premise of this movie. So it's official, this movie sucks balls, I win.
Oct 19, 2008
Oct 17, 2008
Oct 8, 2008
I'm not much of a hype person, I guess I'm an old crank, nothing excites me all that much any more. But holy crap some of the cool things coming out of the LBP Beta are amazing. Someone recreates the FFX theme (reminds me of using Mario Paint), and then some INSANE person makes a calculator out of 1600 parts. I'm no where near ambitious enough to do any of this stuff myself, but I will love seeing what the beta community x 10,000 can do.
Oct 3, 2008
To be "fair" she used real sentences and grown up words at least half the time. The other half was "betcha", "ya", and verbs that end with in'. Of course, all the real sentences were memorized lines - you could see it in her face when she started repeating something she said in the mirror a couple hundred times on wednesday. But she didn't get on stage and kick dirt, so..... palin ftw?
Sep 29, 2008
Sep 24, 2008
Sep 22, 2008
Well jesus, this has apparently turned into a comic book review section. I'm almost only reading great books cuz they are all recommended from one source or another, so all my reviews are glowing! And there's so many more on the list to read and they are so much quicker than a real book! I'm like 1/4 of the way through a great book called The Blank Slate, I'll finish it some day I swear, until then...
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud - I heard about this comic, which is about comics, from a comic book video cast, and even these guys who knows all about this stuff said it blew their minds when it first came out 15 years ago. I gotta say, I feel the same way. I think there is some fundamental art theory in here that I just didn't know, so was surprising to me. Just different things about style and emotion and purpose and language vs. symbols and things that didn't occur to me in comics that are sort of amazing! I think it's pretty important reading for anyone who is into comics, 's cool.
Queen & Country - This is a good one, I guess. It's about British spies, basically, focusing on a particular one. It's the kind of story I don't really care that much, which tells me that it was written well because I was pretty interested to read each following issue. The art is cool too, the style changes dramatically (with the artist) from mission to mission, which is neat. I guess it has a lot of cross over with a couple spinoffs and even some prose novels. I don't like it that much, but I enjoyed reading the main book.
We3 by Grant Morrison - Wow, what the hell. This is a very short 3 issue series, but it sure does pack a punch. The premise sounds silly, three animals (bunny, cat, and dog) bio & tech engineered into soldiers, the story of their break out. It's rather violent, very quick, and very powerful. It's not like its some grand moral statement - don't mistreat things, don't make dangerous weapons. But wow it is so awesome in its short breath.
The King by Rich Koslowski - Um, ok. This is the same guy who did Three Fingers, which I loved. It's a story about a new elvis impersonator who is changing people's lives and maybe isn't an impersonator after all. It's a fun book, a quick read, but I think maybe its thesis has been done better. I think its more about mystery, as it calls it, or the purpose of faith. It was okay, but if you want a good story with the same theme, go read The Life of Pi, which is an amazing book about faith, and that's coming from a very unreligious person.
Scud The Disposable Assassin by Rob Schrab - Meh, this isn't for me. It's about this robot assassin that goes rogue. It's super crazy over the top surreal cartoony. It's got a ridiculous sense of humor. Don't know, I had heard good things, just didn't do it for me. I can see how it would appeal to some, but not to me, I only got 4 issues in.
Surrogates by Robert Venditti - Quick little read about a different kind of future, where everyone controls robots to act as them in the real world. No one uses their real bodies anymore. It's a good story, nothing fancy, quick and effective.
Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan - This title is pretty well known, it got a lot of press recently when it finished its run. Its a rarity in comics in that it had a defined length that wasn't a few issues. It was 60 issues and the creator had that in mind throughout. The basic story is all male mammals on earth suddenly die except one guy named Yorick and his male monkey. The first few issues are just amazing. It's able to point out some facts about our world that boggle the mind. The last page of the last issues gives some stats about the % of certain professions that died with men, its amazing and sad. I'd say the book didn't keep up this amazingness throughout, it got a little "normal" as the same sort of miniplots happened over & over. But then they would throw in random throw away issues that were really great. It ended strong, though the last issue is a future thing that I don't really need. But if he didn't do it, people would complain about that too, so it's fine. Over all, great book.
Fray & Astonishing X-men by Joss Whedon - I'm grouping these because of the author, obviously. Fray is a buffy spin-off set a couple hundred years in the future. It's an 8-issue thing. Mostly fan service to buffy fans, I think. I haven't watched buffy (its on the long list of shows to get to), so it didn't hold anything for me. It's a good short story though. The X-men run ended recently (ellis took over) and is Whedon's take on the team. It's kept purposefully apart from the rest of the x and marvel universes. It's a good story, but at the end of the day its just more x-men. I mean, it's a big story, and dramatic and all that, but EVERY story in marvel (or dc I assume) is huge and its all the heroes and its the fate of the earth and people die and come back and die. That stuff kind of lost its drama around age 13. Anyway, both stories, plot wise, are just good, nothing great, but the writing is fun. It's interesting to see Whedon in written form. His dialogue is often quick and quirky, which you end up reading into the written dialogue, so that's interesting. He is really great at transitions, moving from scene to scene or character to character in subtle and dramatic ways. I also notice in both books when he does two parallel scenes or conversations. In fray it was for comic effect, in x-men it was for dramatic effect, both worked great. So these stories aren't blowing me away, but they are a great excuse to see whedon in a different form and notice some of his tricks.
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis - Okay, I should not like this book. It's set in the future, and its about a famous reporter, 5 years in isolation, who returns to the city and to reporting. By the numbers, I should hate this comic. The future is exaggerated, almost surreal, something that bothered me with Scud. Technology is essentially unlimited, vice is commonplace, almost anything is possible. The main character is a psychotic ranting over-the-top drug-addicted misanthropic shit-stirring asshole. I usually hate characters like this. I feel like creators use them just to be drunken pissants and yell at the world and their audience like their precious cranky perspective is so original or valuable. Clearly, however, all this is a big setup to say that I really like this book. I don't love it, anymore. The first, like, 15 issues I was flipping out for it. Then it started to drag and I got a little sick of his insanity. Then it picked up again with some political stuff, and in the end is mostly about free speech, government control, and most importantly journalism. Ellis uses this awful character (with an admittedly fantastic visual design) and society to go after not-yet-so-crazy shit in our own lives, of course. And though I might not call it super insightful (advertising culture, vice, government control, freedom of press, religion, etc), it still manages to be a really effective exaggeration of those issues. I have no problem with someone saying they can't handle this book, I'm surprised I can. And I'm not douchey enough to think its so smart that if you don't like it you "don't get it." But if you can dig the character design and world aesthetic, I think it is quite a ride.
Sep 21, 2008
Sep 20, 2008
Sep 16, 2008
HA! Okay, I had heard that Doug Stanhope (a stand up comedian, kind of the "edgy", obnoxious, but funny type) was offering Bristol Palin $25k (plus whatever people donate) to get an abortion and leave her family. It's a silly stunt, obviously she won't take it. What I didn't hear, was that Doug Stanhope is giving all money donated to the page to LilithFund.org, a program that gives underprivelaged women free or low-cost abortions. He will give this money on election day, in the name of Sarah Palin. HA!
Sep 15, 2008
Sep 14, 2008
Sep 11, 2008
Sep 8, 2008
Tropic Thunder - Ha! Pretty great. Not super great. Maybe people told me it was too great ahead of time so I'm a tiny bit disappointed. But still great. Thumbs up for pretty much everyone in it. Except jack black, I kinda hate him, I don't think I've ever liked a movie featuring him. I appreciate the addition of the comedian character, I just don't like him. Everyone else is great, though. I haven't seen any comedies this summer, so I'm not sure how it compares. I wasn't rolling on the floor every other minute, but there were defintely lots of good laughs and a good movie over all.
The Dark Knight in IMAX - Hey! I got to see batman in imax, it was pretty badass. IMAX issues: I didn't notice a single transition from IMAX to widescreen or back, it was just pretty. I was also in a theater with a far superior sound system to the first time, it was awesome. Movie issues: still amazing! It was interesting watching again. On the one hand you have more time to pay attention to little flaws. Bale's throat cancer voice was even more glaring. Silly things like dent actually walking around and breathing and talking w/ half a god damn face stood out. On the other hand, paying less attention to the story left me with more attention for little things that fill the movie out and make it seem even greater. My measure of how enthralled I was the first time around was how long it took me to think "oh yeah, heath ledger is dead." Believe it or not, it took me even longer this time! It's still a great movie, this was just a great movie louder and prettier.
Meet the Robinsons - Soooooo, if I don't say this is the best movie ever, I MIGHT get broken up with :) Fortunately, she doesn't read this! It's a cute enough movie. It's a 3D animation disney movie, kind of like that jimmy neutron show. It's a nice story, I guess, and its funny. It's not exactly the best animated film ever, but it's an ok time if you want silliness!
Meet the Robinsons (Retraction) - I have recently been informed that there is a direct relationship beteween good times and appreciation of Meet the Robinsons. Let me be clear: Meet the Robinsons is the Greatest Film of All Time. I have little doubt that the best filmmakers in our history actually travelled forward in time to see this movie before going back to create their own films, which stand as mere reflections of the brilliance of Meet the Robinsons. It is, without question, the single most significant artistic creation of the last 100 years.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - I had never seen this classic, and with the new one coming up I figured I should. It is certainly of an era, but it doesn't suffer too dramatically from being made 50 years ago. The story is pretty timeless, of course, and appropriate for modern day too. It's a strange movie, it's whole premise is the tension of feeling like we are on the edge of annihiliation, but i wouldn't really say the movie feels tense. Maybe because its old, or maybe I just don't like whole it was played. I just felt like I should have felt uneasy the whole time. I sort of fear I won't feel that with the new one because it will be too showy. The new one looks decent, I guess Keannu Reeves is appropriate to play someone w/o emotion. But though the trailer is moderately dramatic, I dunno if it will make me feel like we're all gonna die. Anyway, the original is good enough, and its theme probably would have blown me away if I was around then. Besides, it's a classic, you have to see it anyway! Btw, wiki tells me that there is a christian interpretation of the movie. I guess that makes sense, guy comes to save us from ourselves, dies, comes back. I'm moderately annoyed that no one can ever again try to save people without being jesus though.
Leatherheads - Uh oh. I have a history of liking pretty much anything George Clooney is in. I can't really think of any movie I didn't like. And things he has a part in creating are usually even better. The Ocean's sequels are maybe an exception, but they are sequels, so whatevs. But Leatherheads flies hi over george clooney's shark. It's just not nearly as cute as it wants to be. It has trademark GC quirkiness and charm and banterish dialogue, but it falls flat for me. There are maybe 5 to 10 real moments of cleverness, but the fact that I tried to count points out how lacking the movie is. Something just rang untrue and forced with these characters. Seemed like I should have liked it, but no, I'm afraid I didn't, it's the end of an era! Btw, did they digitally lower clooney's voice? I swear it gets deeper with every movie.
Capricorn One - So I heard an On The Media story about investigative journalism that listed a bunch of old movies about reporters, so that's my next kick. This is first on the list, a 70s movie about a faked mars landing and the reporter who investigates it. I have to ignore that part of my brain that says this might have tied into people believing the moon landing was fake cuz that would just make me angry. Besides of that, it's a pretty decent movie. It's kind of cheesy and 70s-ish in feeling. The fonts, the music. I don't really think its a great "reporter movie" though. Eliot Gould is kinda goofy and just bumbles his way into the investigation. And the investigation itself is pretty stunted too, and the whole thing ends abruptly. It's an interesting movie, I guess, but I hope the rest of the list does a little better.
Shock Corridor - Alright, this is more like it! This is another reporter movie, the premise is the reporter gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to solve a murder that happened inside the hospital. First the flaws: it suffers some from old movieness. It has overly dramatic music, some overly dramatic performances. It has an absolutely ridiculous scene in the women's ward that literally has them all as sex crazed maniacs. They really call it the "nympo ward"! It was stupid and insulting. It is also really poorly editted. Jarring cuts within a scene, often action scenes that for some reason couldn't get done in one take. One was so bad a guy on the floor rotated 90 degrees through a cut. It felt very amateur in a way that I don't understand, it was 1963, there's no excuse for it. But with those out of the way, this movie is greaaat. The concept is great, its like Cuckoo's Nest except different. It treats madness a little simply, they are crazy and have moments of lucidity. It sets up a pattern he uses to do his investigation that is very formulaic, but it leads to great performances. The main guy does a good job, though his crazies are maybe too crazy. There are four principle patients he encounters, three are pretty good. The last, a black man who was the first to desegreated in a southern college, went crazy, and now rants like a KKK member, is fucking fantastic. He does a fabulous job and is filmed pretty well while he does it. It treats color (in the film sense, its a mostly B&W movie) really fantastically. And surprisingly, given the rest of it, it edits images of madness together well. It ends in a way that is almost inevitable, but is still good to watch. The movie absoultely has its flaws, it almost makes me want for a remake so that those flaws could be ironed out. But they might mess up what is great here, which is absolutely worth watching.
Sep 6, 2008
Aug 21, 2008
Aug 5, 2008
Mummy 3: Ha, We Got You - GOD DAMMIT! Fuck me in the face for letting the trailer fool me into thinking this wasn't going to be a horrible fucking mummy movie. This was even worse than the second one (the first one was alright). The only redeeming things were great CG on the terra cotta army, good CG on the yetis, and some reasonable fights. Everything else was fucking horrible. The plot, what they didn't steal from the Arthur legend or Last Crusade, was dumb. The dialogue was written, I'm convinced, by a 10 year old child with a learning disability. The jokes were god awful. Seriously, a field goal joke from the yetis? SERIOUSLY?! And hey, how come booby trap makers always make their arrows/darts shoot out in a line running away from the treasure? Make the arrows start at the other end! Or, better yet, have them start at both ends and meet in the middle! And, AND! I didn't know rachel weisz wasn't in it! she's the only thing worth looking at when there isn't CG on the screen! Instead this horrendous woman with her horrendous accent. When they did her reveal, I seriously thought it was a joke. I thought the JOKE was that this person pretending to be rachel weisz IN THE STORY was writing books about their adventures and stealing their glory! I thought, AS A JOKE, that they had her hat covering her face so we could laugh when it was revealed that it's this lady making money off of their lives. NOPE, not a joke. Except is is a joke, fuck the audience! haha!
Hancock - Well, this wasn't as bad as everyone seemed to say. It didn't help that the opening sequence had the worst CG ever since That Movie With Horrible CG. But then it turns into a decent movie. Will Smith as a butthole is funny, Jason Bateman is great (though, I gotta say, I think I've got maybe 2 more jason bateman doing jason bateman roles before I'm done). The second half of the movie was a nice surprise (to me anyway) and I'm glad it wasn't ruined ahead of time. Over all it was decent, nothing great, but a fun movie to watch once.
The Happening - Ugh, what the hell was up with this movie. It was just awkward. The one good thing, it was rather tense at times, I liked that. And I do appreciate apocolypse everyone-freaks-out type scenarios. But it was just written so shittily and acted so blandly. Mark Whalberg was purposefully doing this high school theater bullshit that was so obnoxious. And here's a good line, Zooey Dechanel: "I don't like to show my emotions either." Pssst, hey zooey, that's cuz you are a bad actress and don't know how. I think I remember hearing M Night wanted to make a B movie. Well, good job, you made a shitty B movie. Congratulations, what do you win?
21 - Meh, whatevs. It's an okay movie, I guess. It's nothing special, it's nothing bad. Everyone does a fine job, it's just good enough. The nerdy parts of me resents them taking an awesome real story about these kids and hollywooding it all up. Everyone's sexy and the plots all twisty and turny and blah blah. But if you don't know that, it's an okay movie. Oh, I hate voiceovers, espeically ones that tell you what's right in front of your face. But whatever, its a fine movie.
Never Back Down - Yeeeeeeeah, this movie sucks nuts. I know we all knew that from the trailer, but it really does. It really is just the karate kid + fight club + bad acting/writing = poop on a stick. The only point of the movie is to be violent and show boobs, and it doesn't even really show boobs. So that means the only point of the movie is all the fights in the last 20 minutes. Some are decent, but its not amazing coreography or anything. So what's the point? Nothing I guess. It did have one of my favorite The Bravery songs in the beginning, but all it did was point out how cheesy that song is, doh.
Aug 4, 2008
Kane & Lynch - This game wasn't really as bad as I had heard. It's by no means fantastic, the story is decent, the acting is pretty decent too. Aiming with an analog stick is as stupid as ever. Your teammates are pretty useless, so it doesn't really survive on its gimmick. I guess its main thing is the multiplayer modes, but that's not really my thing, so I dunno. Plus, its PSN, so its dramatically underpopulated. Moral of the story: I gave up after 5 minutes of failing to get into a game. I got shit to do, I'm an important person!
Lego Star Wars - So I acutally played 1-3 of this on the PC and loved it. I don't totally understand why a few people are all of a sudden just now with indiana jones realizing the lego games are great, everyone knew that like 3 years ago! So I really just rented this to play parts 4-6. Fortunatley it lets you do that after you beat just one level of the first chapter, which was nice. It's the type of game that makes you want to 100% it cuz its so much fun to use the differenct characters and their different abilities. But, I'm old, boring, and busy, so I just beat the main story line and sent it back. That's not a knock against the game though, it's super fun.
Bladestorm - Hey, Koei knows how to make a game NOT based in ancient china! whodahtunk! (no that weird japanese version of Dynasty Warriors doesn't count). The thing with Koei is I love like everything they touch. I could play DW to death, Dynasty Tactics too I loooooooved on PS2, I played it for weeks. This game is an interesting method in that it is halfway between Wariors and Tactics, you are in control of an individual squad running aorund the battlefield, but you don't fight as in punch punch kick kick. It's a fun way to do it, I think. It's also interesting cuz its set in the 100 years war instead of china. It's not a bad game, I had fun for a good long while. But these games have to be fantastic to survive a whole campagin, just cuz it takes for damn ever. And that just wasn't the case for me. Maybe I don't care about the 100 years war, but I just got bored long before I was even close to the end of the game. It's still fun, it's just not play it to death fun. PS, the voice acting of the tavern keeper is just about the worst I've heard this side of Resident Evil.
Okami - This is a slightly old PS2 game, I think I played a demo once, but I was excited to play it, it looks so cool. It's got a nice art style, its kind of cell shaded, but all the lines are drawn with a heavy brush, like old timey japanese lettering. The game mechanic is also cool, its the thing you where you draw brush strokes on the screen to do certain abilities or attacks. Yet despite both these things, I am monumentally bored. The inane dialogue doesn't help, its kinda done like katamari damacy where they just make weird noises and it gives you subtitles. The noises are really obnoxious though, and they go on and on and you can't skip it and it drives me nuts. And the rest of the game, I dunno, you walk around and fight things and get new powers, but I'm bored. And then I look at gamefaqs and see that after a few short sessions I'm only 1/7 of the way done, ugh, I don't see me finishing it before it goes back to gamefly!
Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core - This game kind of confuses me! Confuses me as to why I like it so much! The fundamental game mechanic is dumb. It's kind of an action RPG, but unlike a normal FF game, you can only use like 6 of your moves at once... dumb. And all limit attacks and summons are determined by random. WHAT?! Random? How the hell am I supposed to feel awesome when I summon bahamut down on some mophos head if its random?? Not to mention it makes boss battles feel inconsequential. I don't pull out all the stops, I don't use my best movies, I fight like normal, boring! But somehow, I loved this game. I'm an easy audience, I love FF7, and seeing more of it is great (though that still wasn't enough for silly dirge of cerberus). The graphics are beautiful, and the CG is amaaaazing. Just as good as either FF movie, better than any other CG movie. So nice to look at. And the story is just more FF silliness, but I like that silliness, and I like these characters, so its great. I think if it was a full length RPG I wouldn't have had the energy to do it with the silly fight style. But its a short one (gamefaqs helped me know I was already halfway done when I started getting restless), so it's totally worth it, if you are into it.
Aug 1, 2008
Jul 23, 2008
Uhhh...really? We have to get a thing passed to make it so greyhounds don't spend more than 18 hours day in a crate?!?! What the hell? They do now?! Animal racing is such a fucked up thing, I can't believe its 2008 and we do this shit. Build a robot to race or something, fuck.
Jul 21, 2008
So I saw the trailer for Watchmen before batman. I've been pretty ambivilent about the movie, I don't see how it can possibly do the book right. I mean, Watchmen is, like, literary. Time or someone named it one of the 100 most significant works of fiction of the past however many years. It's dense, its complicated, tell ya the truth, it was too much for me. I'm excited to read it a second time around before the movie comes out just so I can understand it better. It's very meta, or post-modern, or whatever, its aware of its environment. And so much of what came after it is aware of it. I can't imagine them making a movie that matches its depth. The trailer did look really good, though, in just a dramatic eye candy kind of way. Come to find out, there is an extraordinary amount of scene-to-scene faithfulness (think 300 or Sin City) to the comic. Which brings me to my point: this comparison by Major Spoilers is totally cool.
Wanted - First of all, this movie is fantastic, just crazy ass gun battles and shooting and blood and bang bang fun. There are some absurdly cool fights and general badassery. Just the fight toward the end inspired by the big fight in the comic is worth the price of admission, just great. Unfortunately, it makes no sense at all. You really have to turn off the disbelief switch. I mean, the conceit of the world is just retarded. Bendy bullets, infinite health, broken physics, it's all there. This would all be fine if they were just superheroes, dust your hands, problem solved. But its explained away like if we all just breathed really fast and/or had a neurological disorder we could do it too, 's dumb. It's nothing like the novel, which isn't necessarily a flaw, just what it is. It shares the first 10 and last 2 minutes of the comic, and the theme presented there (i.e. your life sucks, go fuck yourself), but everything else besides names is new. That's ok, I guess, but I would have loved to see the horrible world where villains are in charge and the heroes are all dead or irrelevant, it was so great in the comic. There are lots of small things that fail, some of the dialogue is pathetic, but there are also little bits of cleverness, or background moments I liked. Over all though, forget the book, turn off your brain, and this movie is teh awesomeness.
Wall-E - Awwww, so adorable! Really really wonderful. No surprise, Pixar is amazing, they are amazing at what they do. The movie is charming and cute and has some nice little lessons for all the kids watching, and evne the adults I guess! It's very touching. I mean, it's a straightforward story, but it's very sweet and makes you wanna cry! Or at least me anyway. Bee tee dubs, I hear a lot of people are complaining that the movie is preachy about the environmental/healthy morals. That's bullshit. I didn't find it preachy at all, they didn't even overtly SAY anything, they just presented a super exaggerated future. To my view, the only people who are upset about this shit are people who are insecure about their own fat asses and shitty environmental decisions and get offended when anyone calls them on it, so fuck them. Anyway :) There's not really much else to say about it, it's not exactly underpublicized. I don't know if it's my favorite pixar movie, but incredibles and ratatouille and this are all in the same league. It really only has one fault: STARS DON'T TWINKLE WITHOUT ATMOSPHERE.
Hellboy 2 - Yikes, this movie was bad. It's sad, cuz I was actually really looking forward to it. But the writing is just god awful. Right from the beginning with the stupid young hellboy thing, it was just dumb. The beginning also had the best part of the movie, the puppet scene, which was just nice to see in an artistic kind of way. So I had hope! The acting was decent with what they had, and the art/directorial style is as cool as you would expect (though the troll marketplace felt kind of like the star wars cantina). But then it was just not very good. The whole relationship was badly written, the awful german character, the bumbling jeffery tambor, it was all bad. And the action, while fun, just wasn't half good enough to justify the other stupidness, I'm afraid. Worst of all, the had plenty of opportunity to make due with their own bad writing, because they have a wise cracking sarcastic lead character! All you have to do is have him make fun of your own silly genre tropes, and you've got me laughing instead of sighing. But instead, he just gives lame jokes and then he cries. boo. There was one genuinely funny scene (though it was slapstick) and a few cool visual scenes. But besides that, there's really nothing here.
The Dark Knight - Well fuck me this was as awesome as everyone said. A small caveat: I didn't think the first one was so great. It was very good, but I didn't crap my pants. I didn't like the quick cut darkness of the action. I know they pretend that's cuz he's sneaky batman, but I say it's acutally cuz its hard to film cool action scenes where you can see shit, it's cheating. Plus katie holmes = boo. but it was still a good origin story kinda movie with a decent villain. Dark Knight, however, is in a totally differnet category. I've heard it compared to Heat, which I really have to go watch now. It's just an amazing masterpiece of cop vs. robber. And even though a lot of hte joker's gambits are kind of obvious, you still totally believe that people would act like they did and fall into them. The action is pretty good (not so quick cut dark), the movie looks great. Bale is good, although his batman voice is just stupid. I got so sick of not understanding people in this movie cuz they think talking low and gravely = big and scarey. It doesn't, guys, it just means you have either the sniffles or throat cancer. But I'm getting off track. The movie is fantastic, Heath Ledger blows you away. I wish there wasnt' all the stupid real life drama cuz I'd love to see a comic book movie get a legitimate oscar. Not only does Ledger do an amazing job, the joker is written, directed and filmed so amazingly, its scary. I'm not even a big batman guy, but he embodies the spirit of the real joker from the books more than any other person on film. Not only him, but the batman/joker relationship, its perfect. Everyone does a good job, really, Dent's transformation is great, the Joker's history is handled great. And, here's bonus points for a comic book movie, the writing is pretty tight. There's not too much wasted energy for a kinda long movie. There were a couple instances where I rolled my eyes at some blabbing that didn't need to be there, but mostly it was really well done. One other thing that annoys me, though. People are talking about this movie like it's so deep. It's not! It does great things, joker's "social experiments" are awesome and clever, but they aren't breaking new sociological ground. What's cool is to see them dramatized in a way that makes you feel the fear of living in a place like gotham. That is fantastic and awesome. But its not a philisophical masterpiece, so calm down and read a book. Anwyay, off track again,. This is the best superhero movie ever made. Spiderman was amazing cuz no one had ever done it well. X-men was amazing cuz no one had done it with an ensemble. This is amazing because its an amazing movie. So, thumbs up, aces plus, awesome.
Holy crap this is so cool. They vacuum sputter your electronics with some kinda clear plastic or I dunno what. But then it can go underwater or get spilled on and be fine! Tekzilla had videos of cell phones running underwater and pouring a glass of water over the keyboard of a laptop. SO COOL.
Jul 19, 2008
Ha! We all know about the african prince scam, yeah? and then there were some offshoots of less ridiculous sums. But now, apparently they are specifically targetting college tutors. haha! B got the email referenced in this link in the mail the other day. an african scam (I don't know if he's supposed to be african, but the email is in broken english and his last name is a kenyan city) aimed at tutors where you get paid through the silly fake check. I dunno, It's so weird to target such a small group of people!
Jul 16, 2008
So, this is retardedly cute. It's misleadingly cute, of course. I thought it might be hoax, but it appears to be real. But the lion was in a sanctuary and saw humans all the time. They played the lion lottery and won, but just as likely could have gotten their face eaten off, which is exactly what happened to a chef at that santuary killed by the Born Free lion. The news story is actually more interesting than the video, sad too.
Jul 14, 2008
I didn't mention this during the first couple posts, I thought it might be lame, but it has really gotten kind of cool. The idea is these vegan freaks are stalking illegal whaling boats in the australian/antarctic seas. According to this crazy UN charter, ANYone is allowed to fuck with illegal poachers. Fuck with includes film, report, stand in the way of, and BREAK THEIR SHIT as long as they are in unprotected waters (which is where they are doing this poaching anyway). It's freaking fantastic, in the most recent post they caught up with them and threw acid on their decks! It's one of those things you wish people would do cuz the governments won't and it's so cool!
Jun 29, 2008
Warhawk - Well, jeez. It's an FPS, on a console, online. How did this game have any chance with me? To be fair, it seems like it might be ok if you were into it. Kind of Battlefield for the PS3, except no classes. I'd rather just play battlefield. PS I suck hardcore at console FPSs. PPS everyone on the internet is a douche.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue - So, here's the thing with me and driving games, we don't really get along. The best racing games ever are the Burnout series because they aren't really racing games. They are crash into things and blow shit up games - wonderful. For the most part every other racing game ever made sucks, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that I suck at them. The one exception to this was Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, which I played the shit out of. There is some magic to the realisim of the GT games that lets people who suck at them feel like they are at least learning and getting better because they teach you. Prologue is the same way, I have much more fun playing it than I should. Unfortunately, it is a stunted game. Everyone kinda knows this, it's practically a demo, only like 4 tracks, maybe 40 or 50 cars total? Kinda limited, though I gave up before I hit that limit cuz I suck. So, it's beautiful, plays wonderful, it's brilliant. But it is not a full game, and not worth $40. Great rental though.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 - Pretty good! I had heard the first one was great, but it was on 360 and I never got to it on PC. I had also heard vegas 2 is basically the same game again, which is a good thing! This is the only way I can imagine playing FPSs successfully on a console. It's more patient, more tactical, less twitchy. There's still a retarded level where it's just you against an army and its super frustrating. But besides that it was a lot of fun, I didn't get bored, which is saying something. The story itself is standard, the acting is decent. It's a fun game, though, defintely worth the time.
God of War 2: Woooooooo! Who doesn't love god of war? c'mon, you strap on huge chains, chop bad guys in half, rip wings off of other bad guys, shove knives down more bad guyss throat, cut some bad guys in half, it's great! It's not an evolution on the first game in any way, it is exactly the same. But it's been so long since i played the first, that this was fantastic fun. Plus I actually really loved the cgi'd history of the greek gods, it was way cool to see. The game is also wisely short and ends before I got sick of it (something I'm sure most people disagree with me on). Thumbs up all around, super fun.
Army of Two: Hahaha, I can't play this game without thinking of this Penny Arcade comic. They really do that! Besides that? Well, it's an okay game, I guess. It's not bad. The teammate mechanic is pretty good. The aggro aspect is what makes it work, and the AI on the partner isn't too retarded, which is nice. The dual-sniping thing is a great idea, but completely unused. Maybe the game is more fun played coop (I assume it has coop), but it's really kind of average. Buying weapons is fun, I guess? But most games you can just choose all your weapons, or they are unlocked, and now I have to buy them. The acting is good, the story is decent, if unoriginal. Its interesting to see a game about the whole private military contractor thing that is very hot button these days. I'm glad it was short cuz I was pretty much done with the gameplay after a few levels. Anyway, it was fun enough, but it didn't change my life.
Jun 27, 2008
Jun 25, 2008
Jun 24, 2008
Smokin' Aces - Took me a while to get to this movie, been after it for like a year. Jesus christ is it a gigantic cluster fuck of characters, alliances, snarkiness, and crazy ass violence. 2/3 of the movie is a plot setup for the retarded fragfest that is the last bit. It's kind of hard to keep track of, and not totally worth it. So it's ridiculously over the top, and yet kinda takes itself too seriously, but I guess it's a good time, if you try not to care as much as the movie does. PS, the ending is not Kaiser Soze. I'm pretty sure we are post-soze (and post- sixth sense, for that matter) and that can't be done again, so stop trying.
All The King's Men (2006) - This is a remake of a 40s movie, about 30s Louisiana politics. It's all about power, populism, and corruption. There is a funny resonance with Oil! which I am still reading. The movie is mostly an excuse to watch Sean Penn act, who is wonderful as a master orator and politician, Willie Stark. There are times when Stark seems almost lost while he is impassioned, and I hope that's on purpose. The rest of it, mostly about corruption, just makes you feel depressed and hopeless. But it's a good enough movie. Reading reviews now that I'm done (I alwayas want to write what I think before I let myself be influenced!) it seems there is a general attitude of disappointment, that this movie pales in comparison to the original and the book. I admit the plot was convoluted and didn't mean much to me. I discarded it as my lack of interest and the aforementioned despair. But the suggestion is that the previous incarnations made it interesting, so maybe this movie isn't so good after all. Penn is still great though.
Partition - Take equal parts romeo & juliet, west side story (I know, same thing), jungle fever, and a cheesy as romance movie, and put it all on the pakistan/india border, and if you have Partition. It's an interesting setting, the 40s/50s right after india & pakistan split and there were massacres, mass relocations, and all manner of badness. Unfortunately, take that away and it is the most basic boring, cliche, trite opposite sides of the track love story. The main guy does a pretty good job, but everyone else kinda sucks. Unfortunately it's just amateur in almost every way, I'm sorry to say.
Illegal Tender - This movie was remarkably adequate! I know that isn't exactly high praise, but I kind of expected it to be awful, and it wasn't. It's not fantastic at all, and there were certainly a number of times I just sighed and wished that one thing had been this other thing which would have been really great. Some stuff was kinda silly. I could feel myself rewriting the script in my head. But that being said, it is better than a lot of gangbanger movies out there. The actors do okay in Low-expectation Vision, too. It keeps up pretty well, i didn't get bored. Pretty good soundtrack too.
Teeth - Booooooooo. This movie was kinda awful. The idea is the vagina dentata myth thing. So I haven't seen anything dramatizing it before, could be interesting, right? Could be a this female power, feminist thing, right? OR it could be a horribly acted, mediocerly written, ridiculous excuse to show someone with his business all chopped off and bloody. multiple someone's, acutally. So bad, such a failure of an idea, really dissappointing.
Arsenic & Old Lace - Heh, this movie was pretty fun. The first half is actually really great. Over the top and weird, but fun. Cary Grant's acting is just silly, everything is huge eyes and shocked looks and moving his head back and forth like a stereotypical ghetto chick. But that's all perfectly okay, and it's fun. Second half gets kinda dumb. Trouble is when your movie has a ridiculous premise, is that you have nowhere to go but up on the ridiculous scale. I guess the argument is that these types of comedy are supposed to do that. And that you aren't supposed to even have disbelief to suspend if you have tuned in. But meh, at a certain point I rolled my eyes more than I laughed. But it's still thumbs up, just with a caveat!
The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin - This book has been on the to-read shelf for a while, but got pushed to the top recently because someone else was reading it (by coincidence) and I wanted to be able to chat about it. The book is basically a guy who is fairly anti-string theory talking about why he's anti, what else he thinks has potential, and then some broader philosphy of the educational and research systems and of science. I've always sort of felt uneasy about string theory, but I've never known anything about it, so I figured I just didn't like what I didn't understand. This guy points out a great many fundamental flaws with string theory - from it's basis (not being "background independent") to it's results (having no real expriments to test its validity). It's all interesting, but there is a problem. Much of what he says is that most scientists for too long have assumed string theory is correct because everyone told them it was - a valid point. However, now HE is telling me it's not correct and that something else is more likely, but why should I believe him any more than the next? At the end, though, he gets into philosphy of setting up science and education to allow broader thought. His complaint is that you can't NOT do string theory any more, and that that limits scientific potential and growth. This I am totally down with and I agree that scientists, just like any other group, get stuck on themselves, think they know it all, think their way is the right way. And when enough of them get in power, the system is geared toward only that way of thinking, and that's dangerous to science. So it's a good book. I don't read a lot of pop science, but it was informative. I at least have a better idea of the basis of string theory.
Oil! by Upton Sinclair - Oh man, I can honestly say I have been unambiguously excited about this book ever since I saw There Will Be Blood. So I admit, I'm an easy audience, but I have to say, wow did it start out great. Just the opening chapter, whodathunk a father and a son driving down a road could be riveting reading?? It's just so well written, I love it. It is very very different from the movie, no surprise. First of all, it's all from the perspective of the son, and has much more to do with him than with his father. The father is really no more than a foil or pure form of the capatilist view. The first, say, fourth of the book is very much like the movie, all about the oil business and religion. Then it's off to tangent town - society, growing up, falling in love, world war I, bolshevism, social issues, socialism, communism, a big coming of age tangent that is good and makes me feel dumb I didn't know that world war i, bolshevism, and lenin were all at the same time. All this is really rather the point of the book, not the oil. The oil is just a big analogy for the greed and corruption of politics and society. Well, not really an analogy, because it is part of the corruption of politics and society. Still, it serves as an entry point into it. It's very good, but it's just worlds different than the movie. In fact, I have a whole new respect for the movie now. There was a lot to go on in this book, and it would hvae been a horrendously boring movie to see all about the details of socialism and communism, there's just not the patience to learn like there is in a book. So instead Anderson took this microcosm aspect and made a wonderful glorious character driven spectacle. They are both fantastic pieces of art, in completely different ways.
Three Fingers - Ok, this is a graphic novel. I don't think I've done comics on here, but this blew me away, I had to write about it somewhere! This book is kind of set as an expose documentary, kind of a behind the music but more scandalous. The subject of the expose is the "toon" industry, in a world where cartoons were real people (think roger rabbit). The specific scandal I'll leave out, it's not a spoiler, but it's an amazing moment. The book has a good number of amazing moments, the pain and bitterness is so palpably written and drawn, it's fantastic.
While I'm on the subject, maybe I'll keep doing comics, so as I go I'll review ones I've read in the recent past I liked. My current subscriptions are:
Invincible & The Walking Dead - Both by Robert Kirkman. The first a fantastic modern superhero story, the second a zombie story. Kirkman is such a good writer, I don't really know how to describe it, but he makes two fairly routine stories (superhero kid and zombie attack) wonderful to read. These are my favorites, hands down. I feel like I'm not doing them justice, but there's not much to say except how great they are.
Fables - I didn't like this book at first, but it really grew on me. The main idea is that all our favorite fairy tale and cartoon characters are real people, many of whom live in their own community in new york. Their fairy tale worlds are the "homelands" and there is drama with an evil force that controls them now. It seemed silly at first, but like I say I grew to like it a lot, enough to pay anyway!
Atomic Robo - This one is actually done, but it's pretty good, and it will be back. It's from the guy who does 8-bit theater (a webcomic) and it's basically a robot built in the, I dunno, 40s or something (whenver tesla was) and he is a superhero. It's snarky and spiderman-like and well written. I don't actually think it's AS amazing as everyone else does, but it's pretty good.