Dec 27, 2008

Craft of War: BLIND

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

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

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 7, 2008

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

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.

SNL Digital Short

Holy balls, this is the best one since Dick in a Box.

Dec 2, 2008

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

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

Let Me Google That For You

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 :)