Dec 20, 2011

Drunk History Christmas

Drunk History is back for Christmas. I feel like I’m complicit in the death of his liver, but this is awesome.

Dec 16, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

The Muppets – Let’s be honest, this movie isn’t very good. Half the songs are nice, half aren’t really very good. I have no particular affection for the muppets (blastemy, I know), I just didn’t watch them. So the humor is not really for me. I hate to sound like a douche, but we are firmly post post modern nowadays. The self referential meta stuff doesn’t really work anymore. A couple of the jokes did, but most of them fell really flat.  Jason Segal does a rather shockingly bad job. I guess it’s not his fault, he’s given this cheesy fake role. Hell, Amy Adams is an amazing actress, and even she seemed kind of lame. And holy balls did they look uncomfortable singing into the camera. It made me feel so awkward. Singing into the camera is dumb, guys, muppets can do it because they don’t have real eyeballs. So all this is true, and yet I leave the movie with an overall positive feeling. The thing is, it’s a very sweet movie. It’s a movie about people (muppets) overcoming, embracing who they are, a guy learning to have faith in himself, all that good stuff. Even though I’ve never seen more than 5 minutes of any muppet show, the movie left me with an overall cozy feeling, which I guess is the muppets’ special power.

The Green Lantern – Seriously, who decided it was a good idea to use MS Paint to create his mask?

The Beach – This is an old one I never saw. Leonardo DiCaprio finds an isolated beach and the community that lives there. Shennanigans ensue. It’s actually pretty good. It’s a very pretty movie, it’s a pretty compelling story. I discovered only afterward that it’s a Danny Boyle movie.  He has a chance to be my favorite directory. 127 Hours was awesome, 28 weeks later genius, trainspotting if not enjoyable at least culturally important, and sunshine and slumdog are two of my favorite movies ever. I need to go watch his others (which wiki tells me are shallow grave, a life less ordinary, and millions) and findout of he sweeps it (I’m extremely nervous about cameron diaz in that middle one).

The Captains – Yikes. William Shatner made a documentary interviewing all of the captains. Genius idea right? Turns out, William Shatner is perhaps the worst documentarian in the history of cinema. Like, amazingly bad. So bad, a mockumentary would not PRETEND to be this bad. Just wow bad. That said, it’s interviews with some of the most pivotal actors of my young life. Stewart, Brooks, Mulgrew all WERE my teen years. Bakula and Pike came much later, but still. So no matter Shatner’s incredible ineptitude, I liked seeing this just to hear the stories. But let’s focus here, Shatner is a horrendous filmmaker. He is so up his own ass about what it means to play a captain. Every SINGLE question he asks them is either a) a setup for some cheesy opinion he has on what it means to play a captain, or b) a trap, he just wants to tell a story of his own. It’s organized and paced in such an insane way, Shatner thinks he is being deep, but it’s actually very shallow and weird. But still, if you have watched a few hundred hours of star trek as I have, it’s worth it.

Fame (2009) – I’ve still not seen the original of this, this one isn’t that good. I thought it was more about dance because it had a SYTYCDer in it. But it’s mostly a teen drama, with a bit of decent music, and very little dancing. Kind of lame, sorry.

The Green Lantern – Seriously, who decided that two pieces of green apple fruit roll-up would do for his mask?

The Next Three Days – This is pretty cool. Russell Crowe’s wife is imprisoned for murder (it’s unclear if she really did it) and is out of appeals. So he figures he’ll bust her out. It’s a pretty exciting thriller that seems kind of realistic through most of it. You can’t say too much about it, I guess, watching him go through the details of the breakout is just kind of cool. Sadly, at the ending it craps out and does some very silly convenient bullshit. The whole movie tries to be realistic in a cool way. But then everything just works out so specifically in the end, it’s really annoying. But still a good movie, I guess.

The Square – This is an Australian movie. It’s basically about a couple having an affair who want to make off with some money, bad things happen, things spin out of control, etc etc. I didn’t think it was too bad. Not great, not horrible, solidly in the middle. Very much a 2.5 stars movie, if only Netflix would let me do that. If forced, I suppose I’ll put it at 2 stars.

The Green Lantern – Seriously, how’d they get ahold of the Quake 1 engine to render his mask?

Monsters – You know, this is actually almost pretty good! It sounds like a horrible movie – the us/mexico border has turned into a kind of no man’s land because some aliens have crashed there. It’s this weird mix of war zone and animal sanctuary. Then a couple gets trapped there and has to get through. Sounds shitty, but it’s actually pretty cool. The movie has a bit of a low budget feel. The aliens, which are used sparsely (a good choice) actually look pretty good. There is something about the scenes that feels limited. It’s not like they have cheap sets, it’s mostly outdoors. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels small in scope. Which is too bad, because it detracts from what is otherwise a really cool idea. Still worth seeing, I think.

The Fly – Woah, this is pretty gross! I’d never seen it. I guess I didn’t really know the story, either. I think it’s a pretty good movie! All these years later, and it’s a pretty solid horror movie. Much more in the tradition of Hyde or something –a scientist turning into a monster. And yikes is it gross. I’m not saying it’s the grossest movie I’ve seen this year. But I am saying it’s up there, and given that it’s 25 year old physical effects up against modern CGI, that’s pretty cool.

Set Up – Ugh, I just watched to see how bad this is. Not puke bad, but bad. 50 cent is some criminal, gets double crossed, tries to get revenge. Bruce Willis is in it for no good reason. Some other people too. Lots of people shoot each other, nothing interesting happens. 50 cent, to his credit, is no worse than anyone else in the movie.

The Green Lantern – Seriously, where’d the producers find that roll of christmas wrapping paper to use for his mask?

Jedi Ninjas

Super cool choreography. Ending is hilarious too.

Dec 11, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Rango – This movie is pretty fun. There’s not really a whole lot to say about it, it’s funny, it’s cute, it’s a nice adventure. There is the slight distraction of someone in the room yelling about how the Mojave desert doesn’t have saguaro cacti. But besides that, it’s a good movie. Plus, I was doing the yelling the stars in Wall-E twinkled when they were off planet. So, half a dozen.

Captain America – Well, better than Thor, that’s for sure. The more I think about Thor the less I like it. A few good hammer swings, and the rest of the movie kind of sucked. This one isn’t amazing, it’s kind of average in a lot of respects, but it wasn’t as boring as Thor. They do a fair job of getting the Cap ethos right. I’ve never been a cap guy, he was always too clean cut and boring for me. But if you are going to do him, you have to get the underlying stuff right. He is kind of painfully noble and good. He’s very much the Marvel Superman. Both of those characters can be very boring without the proper context and are a challenge to write because of that. But that’s the character, and they did a fairly good job of sticking to that blind nobility, so that was good. Action was alright. Dude with a shield just isn’t all the spectacular, at the end of the day. As part of a team in Avengers he’ll be great, I think.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Against all odds, this movie is quite good. It’s about a 16 year old kid who thinks he’s suicidal because his life is so hard. He goes into the psychiatric ward of a hospital to get help. He there meets a few wacky characters, including Zack Galifinakis playing as normal as he ever has, and also including a cute girl (of course). This movie is in imminent danger at all times of being horrendously cliché, cheesy, and trite. Oh boo hoo, poor 16 year old upper middle class white kid’s life is hard. But amazingly, this movie has just the right awareness of that weakness. It, and the kid, know that his life isn’t that hard and that some people have a lot worse to deal with. But a lot of us have lives that aren’t that hard, and it’s a fair point that we should all chill the fuck out and enjoy what we have. Even me saying that sounds trite, right? But this movie has an honesty to it, aware that it’s not the oracle of truth, but still has something good to say. On the flip side, I’m not sure how I would have react to this if I watched it while depressed. There is a tendency to get wrapped up in your own “problems” and reject any external opinion. So it’s possible a movie with a message on how to enjoy life will be lost on those who need to most.

The Adjustment Bureau – This movie is pretty good too. The premise is there’s a bunch of people whose jobs are to keep everyone on “the plan”. And if you deviate (on purpose or accident) they try to correct. Then someone tries to go off plan, for love no less, drama! Sounds kind of corny, and it is kind of corny, but it’s pretty entertaining. Mostly in a popcorn way, not a mind blowing way, but still fun to watch.

Hanna – Meh. I remember seeing the ad for this so long ago and thinking it looked awesome. A teenager girl assassin? Cool! And all the imagery of this pale girl in the pale scenery was very striking. Unfortunately, the movie just doesn’t live up. Too much talking, not enough fighting. Weird story that feels slightly non-cohesive. I wish it had been great.

Season of the Witch – Okay, so, this isn’t the worst movie ever. I know, crazy. It’s not good, it’s super duper average. Nothing about it needed to exist that you couldn’t get elsewhere done better. But all that being said, there is stabby stabby and fighty fighty and things look ok and the story is whatever and Nicolas Cage doesn’t totally annoy you. So it’s fine.

The Graduate – I had never seen this. It’s…. boring as hell. This is a great movie? This won oscars? It’s sooooo slooooooow. Dennis Hoffman, I now realize, is who Michael Cera has been basing his career on. He does awkward for 2 hours. It’s kind of amusing, his first attempts at sex are pretty funny. But the rest is just snoozefest. The whole rest of it is just not that interesting. I get it’s iconic, the whole under the leg shot. In fact there’s a fair amount of interesting cinematography. POV, reflections off mirrors, other stuff. But not enough to make it a good story. And then there’s the famous wedding thing at the end, which sparked an archetype that lasts till today. But that still doesn’t make it a good movie.

The Man Who Cried – Ok, so Christina Ricci is a russian jew, forced out to Europe, trying to make it. Then something with an opera singer, she bangs Johnny Depp the Gypsy for a little while, things go belly up, and she heads off to America. There’s nothing actively wrong with the movie, just boring. Neither an interesting look into immigrant life, nor a compelling story.

Mystery Team – Yikes, this is pretty bad. I like Donald Glover in Community and all, but whooboy. I mean, I see where they are coming from. There are some very funny moments. And where the rest of the moments (read: 95% of them) fall painfully flat, I get what they were thinking. They had ideas that were funny, things that should have worked. But the execution was really bad. The artifice of their ridiculously naïve characters wears thin literally in 10 minutes. I mean it, we watched the first 10 minutes of this probably 6 months ago, and I only just now forced myself to finish it. It was better than those 10 let on, but still pretty bad. I feel bad, because I see what they meant, and why that should have made me laugh. It was just too forced and felt pretty lame, sorry.

Insidious – I thought I heard this was amazingly scary. It’s waaaay not. It’s basically just Paranormal Activity (non of the found footage bs though) plus poltergeist. Really, more of the latter than anything. It’s not offensively bad or anything, but it brings absolutely nothing new to the table.

Trust – Wow this is a rough one. It’s about a young girl who gets tricked by an old guy online into meeting him, gets raped, and then the family tries to deal with that. It’s pretty brutally forthright with the subject matter. Uncomfortably so. I mean, if you make a movie about a creepy evil bastard who tricks/forces a little girl into sex, there are some things that have to come up. Showing the girl in this bathing suit he buys her, showing flashes of him kissing her and implications of worse. It’s really icky stuff. I don’t know how the actors did it, honestly. But then all the after stuff, is pretty honest too. A helpless dad, a family that doesn’t know what to do, and a a very very very confused girl. The girl does a pretty good job of expressing what can’t really be expressed. She defends him, she hates him, she loves me, she hates herself, it’s awful. And in the end the movie makes a really surprising choice to stick to their guns and face up to the fact that things don’t always work out. That you have to move on even though the fair thing doesn’t happen. I’d almost call it brave for a movie to make such a clearly unpopular choice. You could also call it exploitative, but let’s be generous I guess. It’s a pretty tough one, I certainly never need to see it again, but it was well done.

Paranormal Activity 2 – Didn’t like the last one, which everyone universally agrees was better than this one. So, I don’t like this one. Shocker. See my comments for any found footage horror movie ever. Copy paste.

Agora – Kind of an interesting movie, set in late 300s AD in Egypt. It shows the Christians coming to power, kicking out all the rest, and generally being fuckers. The main character is a philosopher woman (who was apparently a real person) who is eventually vilified because the bible says women are for baby making only. It’s an upsetting movie, because it’s based in reality. Christians really were fuckers (just like people in power before them). The destruction of the library is maddening (though it may not be true). It’s a pretty well done movie, though it may play with truth too loosely. The woman basically pre-discovers Galileo’s research 1300 years early. That at first annoyed me, but I suppose it’s not crazy. Some other greek philosopher pre-discovered Copernicus’ heliocentric theory 1300 years early, no one listened to him. And in the intervening years, I’m sure *someone* thought of elliptical orbits, it just didn’t “catch on” or whatever. So maybe it’s not crazy town. Anyway, decent movie!

The Warrior’s Way – Ehhhhhh. This seems like a good idea. Ninjas in the old west, awesome, right? Ehhhhhh. Not well acted, certainly. Not well scripted. Production values are ok, feel a little limited. The action is decent, it’s all slow-mo 300 style fighting, which is pretty cool. Watching the main dude take out ninja after ninja is kind of awesome. A 20 minute collection of the fights in this movie would be pretty bad ass. The movie, not so much.

TiMER – Okay, not really. It’s the future, everyone can go to the doctor and get an implant that tells them how long until they meet their soulmate. But only if the soulmate also has the implant, it stays blank until then otherwise. It’s an ok idea, I guess, pretty dorky. Besides the concept, the movie just isn’t done all that well.

Objectified – This is a documentary about industrial design. It’s a little bit in love with Apple. Granted, they are known for their industrial design. Then again, because they are known for it, people assume they are the end all, which is kind of self sustaining. It’s a kind of interesting movie, just about how people think about design. It’s a bit up it’s own butt, but it is a kind of interesting insight into the minds of designers. Worth the time if you are bored and the only movies netflix has added this week are police academy 28 and the 6th season of that show with that guy from the movie in the 80s.

Red State – This movie is basically about christian wackos. It’s sort of Kevin Smith’s version of the Waco standoff. The wackos kidnap sinners and kill them, eventually the authorities come in to stop them. That’s really all there is. People do a good job and all, but if it wasn’t Kevin Smith, I don’t think it would be a very noticeable movie. It’s got kind of an freaking awesome end to the siege, though, I’ll give it that.

Video Game Reviews @ The Temple

Okay, I’m really really behind on this. Largely due to a whole pile of indie games (damn you humble bundle!!!) that are piling up in my Steam account. That effing halloween sale didn’t help either. But, let’s make some progress. I was waiting to put more in this, but now the Thanksgiving sale happened and I am overwhelmed, I’ll push this out and do the next batch later!

Alpha Protocol – So this is basically Deus Ex. I know the most recent DE just came out, but I only buy games that are 5 bucks on steam, so I’ll get to that in a year or two. This is from a year or two ago, and it’s quite good! It was pissing me off something serious at first because it wouldn’t run. FIRST big budget game I try to play on my fancy new computer, and no dice. Letting steam do the PhysX install ended up being the secret. The game itself was actually very good. It looks great, it’s decently well acted. There’s nothing amazing about the story, it’s kind of a normalish secret agent story, but it was still good. I went half stealth half hacker, which was alright. I have the feeling that the different paths aren’t all THAT different. Hacking got me into some doors and computers more easily, but that’s only barely different than shooting everything in sight. But still, it’s fun. The action is fine, set pieces are a little monotonous, but not bad. I was actually pretty happy with this.

Amnesia: Dark Descent – And we have a new winner for scariest game I’ve ever played. Silent Hill is still up there. The difference there is perhaps that I played it on console. Playing on a huge TV from across the room just isn’t the same as a computer screen a foot away with headphones on. The first night I played in the dark too. God damn did it freak me out. It’s from the same guys who made the Penumbra series, which was alright. Those games were a bit buggy, I found I could kill bad guys by throwing boxes at them repeatedly, which ruins the suspense. What is amazing about this game is how utterly helpless you are. No weapons, you can’t run very fast, and you get scared easily. You have a health meter and a “sanity meter”. The more time you spend in the dark, the more freaked out you get. Also spooky events, and being near monsters, and looking at monsters decrease the sanity bar. You can’t fight, you can only hide, or run, but that doesn’t usually work. It’s basically a puzzle game, walking around finding the right pieces to get further into the castle. But hooboy did it scare me. More than once I considered stopping, that it wasn’t worth it. I’m sure you could play this game un-scared. Don’t put headphones on, and just blunder around. If you die, oh well, reload. But if you take just one step into that immersion and really act like you don’t want to die, it scares the bejeebus out of you.

Civ 5 – Oh look, I played a civ game again. I’m pretty sure I haven’t played since Civ2. It seems basically the same to me. I’m sure Civ experts have all kinds of opinions on how things are different, but it’s the same idea. I went through once as the Japanese on the normal difficulty, winning militarily. It wasn’t super hard. I was never in danger of extinction. Sometimes I made bad choices and started a war too early. But presto chango reload from 10 turns back and that was erased. It did kind of take over my life for a week or so, as civ tends to do. I don’t know if I’ll ever play another campaign, there’s just too much stuff to try. But christ, I got it for 7.50 on sale, I can’t really complain.

Atom Zombie Smahser – Indie game, top down looking at a few city blocks, zombies over running a city, try to get in and save as many people while fighting off the zombies. That’s a single level, many levels make up a city map and you go from place to place trying to save as many people as possible. It’s actually very fun, and pretty challenging. I only went through it once and managed to win (by getting enough points before the zombies got enough points, even though they had thoroughly destroyed most of the city). I tried to play again but found I didn’t have the patience for it. But perhaps I just have too many games to play

Hammerfight – This game is SO GREAT, but I got stuck on a level and really annoyed. It’s a physics game, but you are a little flying pod with a huge weapon attached (hammer, axe, sword). The physics come in in that you have to swing your pod around with the mouse to make the weapon swing, and then move the pod at the same time so that the swinging weapon hits similarly equipped enemies. It’s really fun and works pretty well most of the time. But then I got to this one level with a boss that can kill you in one mega-blast that he generally does right away, and I stopped. I feel like I’m missing something, how does a one-shot-kill boss make any sense? Sometimes he literally does it the moment I enter the room and I have to restart the level. I don’t understand, so I gave up, sad.

Revenge of the Titans – This is basically a tower defense game, but there’s resources involved, and research in between levels to develop new weapons. It’s pretty fun, cheesy little glowey graphics. But eventually I reached a point I couldn’t beat, and gave up. There’s a lot of that going on…

The Stanley Parable – This is actually a Half-Life 2 user add-on. It’s a very quirky little story. No fighting or actions. You are a worker in a building, and everyone disappears. You try to find out what happened. There is constant narration which tells you what to do next, unless you ignore it and do something else, in which case it gets mad at you. It’s extremely clever and very humorous. There are multiple endings depending on how you play. It’s very short, a single run through takes maybe 10 minutes. Very weird, but totally worth the time.

Event Reviews @ The Temple

As I Lay Dying – We saw this at Rogue Theater, a small theater on University. It’s a nice space, a little sterile, but fine. It’s a Falkner story, I guess, which I know nothing about. It’s a depression era type thing, about a family taking their mother to be buried. It’s a pretty sad story, the moral seems to be life sucks and then you die. For the most part the actors do a decent job. The doctor kept forgetting his lines, which was irksome, but everyone else was fine. The main guy and the daughter were maybe a bit better than the rest. Some of them, particularly the mother, the youngest son, and the religious neighbor, had a hard time deciding what their accent was. It’s supposed to be southern-ish, but it was occasionally british, or maybe scottish, I think I might have heard pirate in there. The sets were very simple, but good enough. There was an extraordinarily weird performance piece in the middle with one of the men taming a horse, but the horse was acted out by one of the women. I guess it gets points for trying something different, but it didn’t work. The musicians were extremely good, and there was a little jam session before the play started that was great too. All in all certainly a worthy experience.

Faust – Well, I tried opera again. The verdict is in – I don’t like opera. I really believe it has nothing to do with the quality. The best jazz player in the world doesn’t mean much to me, I don’t like jazz. The best opera singer in the world is still singing music I don’t like. Within the context of not at all liking the art form, this one seemed good. It’s about a dude (Faust) making a deal with the devil to regain his youth, based on some old German legend. The guy playing the devil was pretty great. He had the look, the attitude, and was my favorite voice singing music I didn’t enjoy. Everyone else seemed to do fine, though the friend, Siebel, was too quiet. In general the orchestra slightly overwhelmed the singers, really. The re-imagined opera did the AWFUL bullshit thing people do nowadays of putting words on the wall. It really annoys me, this emphasis of the themes in such a lazy way. The creator defensively points out in the program that he did not take anything out of the dialogue, that the words were purely supplementary. But I still think it’s lazy, if you can’t get your point across with just the story (and people have been doing so for almost a couple hundred years now with this opera), then you are doing a shitty job. On the flip side, the modernization was not as annoying as it often is, especially the devil in the modern context. And I thought the church and the mental ward set pieces were great. The harshness of the lights in the mental ward had a real impact. And the entire church seen was fantastic. But, it’s still an opera, oh well.

Premium Blend – This was great again! We went 2 years ago with a pair of free tickets on a whim. We missed it last year to my great dismay, but we got there this time. I think it wasn’t as good as last time, but still very good. Last time there was more variety, I feel. This time was all ballet and modern, with one exception. The opening ballet was pretty impressive. There was some girl who was maybe a big deal, but I didn’t think she was that great. The main dude was very very good, though. We were in the second row and for the first time I could see how much work the ballarinos (is that a thing?) had to do. Especially since she was kind of sucking, it was all his job to guide her and correct her spins and such. And some of the lifts were pretty impressive. The second ballet piece wasn’t so great, and had some horrendous outfits. There was an extraordinarily quirky modern thing, where the 3 dancers were a punctuation mark. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was cute. There was a reeeeeeally modern thing centered on the idea of how we order at starbucks having something to do with your personality. The dancing was good, but the theme was obnoxious. And they did all this meta stuff where the dancers talked and such. It was the worst part of the show 2 years ago when they did that, and it was this time. I’d rather dancers just dance. The stand-out was this tap/jazz/swing/ballroom thing. It was soooooo great. I don’t really love tap, I appreciate it, but I don’t end up enjoying it that much. But this was just awesome. They would all tap individually, then pair up for swing/ballroom type dancing, and go back and forth, it was freaking fantastic.

Nov 4, 2011

Oct 30, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Hayao Miyazaki Edition! So we decided to watch all the Miyazaki movies recently. Unfortunately, I’m only writing this now that we’ve gotten through 90% of them, but oh well. Also – I didn’t watch Spirited Away because I had seen it before. Now I wish I had, to refresh, I remember thinking it was too surreal for me. And we saw Ponyo back when it came out. That one was also cute, also pretty weird.

My Neighbor Totoro – I think this ended up being one of my favorites. Two sisters encounter these forests spirits at their new house and have a few adventures. It’s very weird, there’s a flying cat bus (that’s a giant cat in the shape of a bus that you sit inside, not a bus for cats). But it was very sweet and had a heroic female lead with no romantic BS. What we noticed in the first few HM movies we saw is strong female characters whose movies are NOT defined by finding a man, which we loved. The fell apart in the last few we watched, sadly.

Kiki’s Delivery Service – Another really cute one, also one of the better ones. A young witch goes off on her own, has some adventures, and succeeds. There is a boy who likes her, but it’s not the point of the movie. The point is her finding her place in the world. It’s a lot of fun. Far too many shots of Kiki’s underpinnings for my tastes, though. Mr. Miyazaki has some serious issues with under age girls’ swimsuit areas.

Princess Mononoke – Holy shit, what happened here? We were just getting used to the cute thing of these last movies, and now this gore fest? the fuck? Dudes getting their arms and heads chopped off, blood everywhere, jesus christ. I actually really liked most of the movie, though. The way they did nature vs. man/technology/pollution was actually cool. I liked the action, and the blood didn’t bother me. Sadly, the movie goes to crap at the end. First of all Mononoke, who is a bad ass killer in the beginning, turns into a weak woman who needs saving, which pisses me off. And then they just wrap the whole thing up with the stupid love story and NO damn resolution of the man vs nature stuff. Boo.

Howl’s Moving Castle – I think this might be the best of the bunch. It does have a love story, which doesn’t thrill me. But it’s mostly the woman who is the strong one, in the end. But the fantasy of it is quite fun. Calcifer is a fantastic character. Howl is a whiny goth, but sort of in a charming way. It’s a very cool movie.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – Eh, not as good. Also a man vs. nature thing. Perhaps a better resolution than Mononoke, but the movie is a bit weirder and didn’t really connect for me. Also – a lot more looking up skirts while a girl flies around, Hayao. Not a bad movie, but low on the list.

Porco Rosso – This one is actually pretty fun, maybe #4 behind howl, totoro, and kiki. An italian air force pilot after WW I gets some curse that turns him into a humanoid pig. He goes around bounty hunting, being charming and surly. Things happen, there’s some fun plane action, some funny humor. This one ends explicitly without telling you what happens which is kind of cool, but you can kind of assume.

Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro – Hm, one of these is not like the others. This movie is totally different from all the rest. I guess Lupin is an established character, so maybe that hindered Miyazaki. But it just seemed so different. The animation, plot, and humor felt american, not like Miyazaki at all. It was kind of slap sticky and silly, but not in the weird fantastical way that Miyazaki normally is. Felt more like an episode of inspector gadget than anything.

The Cat Returns – Now this is back to good Hayao stuff! This is exactly what I want from one of these movies. Whimsical, fantastic, fun, with a nice female heroine (still the problem of little girls with too short of dresses, sadly), varied characters and a weird ass world. This one is about a girl who gets pulled into a cat world – they are still house cats, but otherwise completely anthropomorphized, they talk and walk and wear clothes and use things. Crazy things happen, it’s quite kooky, and it all works out in the end. Great!

Castle in the Sky – I’m not sure about this one. We watched it in 3 or 4 parts. The first N-1 parts I wasn’t really digging it. I’m not sure why, it had the same sort of things that are likable about Miyazaki movies, but somehow I wasn’t on board. Yet in the last part, I was pretty engaged, amused by the pirates, happy with the events. Maybe the busy-ness of everything external to this movie distracted me too much to enjoy the first parts, which isn’t fair. Or maybe this one just isn’t as good as the others, not sure!

Oct 23, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Thor – Meh. The movie is fine, its got some okay fighting. The opening thing in Jotunheim was pretty cool. It’s interesting, it wasn’t really a comic book movie. More of a generic fantasy movie. Which is fine, I suppose, even could have been a plus. But the movie just wasn’t all the captivating. Not sure why. I guess the acting wasn’t great on some counts. I never have really cared about Thor, that probably doesn’t help. In their defense, I really didn’t think they could make Thor into a movie. So the fact that it’s not horrendous is somewhat impressive. I do like that they made godhood into advanced science of the magical variety. Cuz having a god in the mix is just dumb. And the 9 planes being planets is cool. Movie was just kind of okay.

Commando – Aw, I thought this would be good. I had never seen it. I thought it was a war movie, it’s more like a kidnapping movie. It’s very cheesy and 80s. Lots of Mr. Freeze-esque lines out of arnold. But the action just isn’t that interesting. Maybe it was bloody for the time, but not really now. And it’s just sort of standard shoot guns, guys die, nothing creative. Kind of bummed!

Trick ‘r Treat – Ha, what’s anna paquin doing in this? To its credit, the movie tries to be more than just a gore fest. It tries to play with time and perspective to go back over the same events with different people. I can see how that seems like a good idea. Didn’t really work though, it was just too silly to get interested in the intertwining events.

Deadfall Trail – Another well intentioned movie. 3 guys go out into the wilderness, crazy mostly-not-supernatural shit happens, they go nuts and turn on each other. That has the potential for an interesting psychological type movie. But it feels horrendously amateur, something about the filming and acting, I don’t know. Didn’t think it was very good.

Hunter Prey – On the flip side, I reacted very positively to this one. It’s certainly an indie movie, but some how when I first started it it, I thought it seemed like a web sci fi series. And all of a sudden I thought, they, this is really good for what it is. Some dudes are trapped on a planet, chasing a prisoner, things happen. It’s very small, there’s only a few characters.  And in a sense the sets are small, not a lot there, but they do it out in the desert like they are on a remote planet, and it totally works. Such a smart way to give your small budget a big/realistic feel. The acting is rather decent, and though the effects are a little on the cheap side, they aren’t bad. Totally shocked that this was not a bad movie.

Hobo with a Shotgun – It’s been a while since I mentioned the Mother Night syndrome. That was a nick nolte WW II movie that I remember being very bad except for the quote “be careful what you pretend to be, eventually, you are what you pretend to be” or something like that. This movie, like the grindhouse movies and machete before it, pretends to be shitty. It succeeds.

Freakonomics – The movie version of this stuff wasn’t that good, which is sad. I really like the freakonomics guys, I listen to the podcast, it’s very good.  They are kind of crazy economists, and that does (to me) force a limited perspective on some issues that doesn’t really make sense. But the book is good, and this movie is meant to elucidate a few examples from the book. But they spend WAY too much time on the sumo thing, and the rest of the examples just aren’t done all that fascinatingly. Sad, I still gave it 3 stars on netflix just cuz I like them, but it’s more a 2 star movie.

Seventh Moon – Two people get attacked in China. Um… that’s all I got. It wasn’t good.

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas – I realize no one thought this would be good. I just love the first one so much. In this one, 5 bad guys get turned and fight each other. The movie decided to go with bats, that was a weird choice. Bats aren’t really very scary. And they also generally can’t chew through steel cables. Yes, I know, these are magic vampire bats. But still, not very scary. Otherwise it’s an expected amount of blood, some boobs, and that’s it. Crap.

Brothers – This movie is pretty good. The shocker I think is Toby MacGuire pulling off the part of a troubled soldier returning from being a POW. When the movie first started, I’m thinking how can he even pull off being a tough soldier. But man does he get that haunted look in his face like nobody’s business. He’s pretty scary (much scarier, for example, than bats). The drama of the supposed love triangle isn’t what the trailer makes it out to be (stupid god damn trailers). Mostly it’s about him breaking down, and that is done well. It’s a bummer of a movie, I never need to see it again, but it is a good one.

Harry Brown – Who doesn’t like a little vigilante justice? Michael Caine (say it with me, in a british accent, “My Cocaine”) is an old man watching his neighborhood go to shit taken over by young hoodlums. Eventually says eff this and kills a few. It’s a weirdly prescient movie, as it features a huge riot, remarkably like the riots that happened a couple months ago in London, but that happened 2 years after this movie came out. Not that riots are a new thing, but it was arresting to see that. People do a good job, it’s generally a good movie. It doesn’t have much of an ending, but maybe stories like this just don’t have endings.

Paintball – Sooooo, some people go to play paintball in the woods. Then some people start killing them. They are in some game they didn’t know they were in, and have to get out. It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, actually. For an indie movie it actually looks really good. If my friend had made this movie, I’d be thrilled for them. At the end of the day, it’s another “oh em gee, you are in this crazy totally-possible situation, how do you get out” movie, which isn’t my thing. It’s not even like I would seek this movie out, there’s nothing special about it. But bonus points for doing what it meant to do, I’d be proud of myself if I made it.

Assault Girls – 3 Japanese girls play some sort of real life video game. Kind of like final fantasy, in real life. The crazy dude player seems very FF to me. It’s very shiny with its digital set pieces and digital almost everything. Some of the effects are pretty cool, especially given that it was presumably low budget. It’s kind of neat, the idea of playing a video game like that. But at the end of the day, it’s fairly narrow in scope and not all the captivating.

Labyrinth – I think I saw this once, maybe, or maybe just parts. But seeing it now, it’s pretty good! Bowie is freaking weird, I knew he was in it, I didn’t know he was a bad guy, or had such a major role, or that it is essentially a musical staring him. That’s all kind of weird. But the puppetry is very good. It’s sad because all the puppets totally hold up. They look as good as they ever did. Now, maybe you don’t like puppets, fine, you wouldn’t have liked it then either. But if you appreciate that style, they look every bit as cool. The CG effects, however, look like ass. I wish they hadn’t put them in, they were totally unnecessary. Jennifer Connelly is good for maybe the only time ever (for me). It’s fun, it’s a good movie.

The Dark Crystal – On the flip side, this sucked. Granted, some of the puppetry is amazing. Probably the best I’ve ever seen. But the main character is correspondingly awful. And the story and acting are just pretty crap. I’m glad I know what skeksis is, now. Sometimes it comes up in nerd culture and heretofore I had missed the joke. But that’s really all this movie did for me.

Tron: Legacy – Not as bad as I thought it would be! Not nearly as bad, honestly. It just looked so bad. I’m not saying it’s amazing, but I’d give it above average. It’s fun, it’s flashy, it’s got little ninja flights, it’s got great music (the one thing everyone seems to agree on), the acting is fine. The CG jeff bridges is horrible. Maybe you can excuse that in the digital world, cuz he’s some crappy digital version, I could buy that, and they could explain it away in the movie. But the fact that he looks like that in real life is really weird. But besides that, honestly totally a good time.

Conan the Barbarian – Um, I know this is supposed to be great. This is the original I’m talking about here. But the fighting is super lame. No one ever thought the acting was good. The story is a decent take over the despot type thing, but obviously nothing special. I don’t get why this is supposed to be great?

Exam – Hm, weird british movie about 8 people who go into a room to take an exam to get a job. It’s kind of a psychological thriller. It’s entirely in this room, entirely with these 8 people, the administrator, and a guard. For the most part, I actually quite liked it. It was very small scale, but kind of a cool exploration of this really weird situation. But in the end, they didn’t know where to go, and went somewhere stupid. It gets too crazy, and then has a “twist” that’s not interesting, and a conclusion that makes no sense at all.

44 Inch Chest – Weird movie. Some guy’s wife cheats on him, so he and his buddies kidnap the other man and beat the living shit out of him, interrogate him, and terrorize him. That’s really the whole movie. At first it seems like just a fantasy reenactment movie, written by some guy who obviously was cheated on. In the middle for a bit it starts to seem more interesting. But then it ends kind of uninteresting again. Didn’t really get it.

The Accidental Tourist – I’m not sure where I heard this was good, but they were wrong. It’s about a guy who writes travel books. He and his wife separate, he meets this kooky (and I mean KOOKY) woman, has a relationship, eventually has to decide between the old wife and the new woman. It’s monumentally boring. That’s kind of on purpose. The man is very monotone, not only in voice, but in personality, and in spirit. He is a nearly dead person, which is why he has trouble with his wife and is attracted to the kook. It may sound like a good idea to make a movie about a boring guy, but it turns out that just makes a boring movie.

Oct 6, 2011

Youtube captions

You gotta be can we do you think if we can make a should just be alone?! Hahaha.

Oct 5, 2011

Stop motion ninjas

Stop motion went through a real slump for the past couple years, it just all seemed samey. But this stop motion choreography stuff is great.

Sep 21, 2011

The Notorious IBE

I feel like I see a lot of the pop dance out there (so you think you can dance, ABDC, LXD. I explicitly don’t watch dancing with the stars, which I believe in fact enhances my credentials) So I feel like breaking sometimes gets a little boring, I see the same things over and over. But this is pretty cool. Splits backward somersaults? arm spin doing the splits? Holding yourself up horizontal(ish) with one arm? Jesus.

Sep 6, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

The Source Code – So, imagine Run Lola Run and Inception had a baby. Except, contrary to what you would (fairly) assume – the baby doesn’t come out broken. The movie is cool, interesting, and Jake Gyllaplatypus does a really good job, especially in those moments where he’s trying to make sense of his situation. The movie does get kind of philosoraptor on you at the very end, asking you to accept a certain view of the result. It’s just the very end, you can believe it’s all in his head if you like, and I wouldn’t call deciding on that point to be necessary to like the movie, but it is kind of the take home message. Still good though.

Trollhunter – Damn, I had really high hopes for this one. Didn’t really have a good reason for that. Literally all I knew about it was the poster. But there was something powerful and majestic about that poster. I know what it was, it reminded me of Shadow of the Colossus – one of the best games ever and, given its dated graphics, still an astonishing visual. But first, this is a found footage movie. And while I love the style of found footage movies, I hate the pretense, I wish they’d just leave off the bullshit where they act like its real. More than that, though, I think the movie blows its load too early. In 25 minutes we’ve seen a troll, then we see like 5 more until the important one. If those trolls had been unseen, and then our first view was 70 minutes in, that could have been amazing. Maybe not, maybe I’m wrong, maybe that would have been a massively boring 70 minutes. And hell, you see the monsters throughout SotC, and it’s still amazing. On the flip side, the scenery is fantastic. I’ve never seen much about Norway, but wow is it pretty. I guess there’s a whole level of allegory to this movie that I didn’t understand. The trolls being a metaphor for the need for power, and the power lines or oil fields being the price we pay (ruining the environment) - that didn’t strike me much. And I don’t understand what’s supposed to happen at the end at all. Oh well, ultimately not great, I feel like it could have been great.

Mary and Max – Wow, what a good movie. A really really dark movie. It’s claymation, about a socially outcast 8 year old girl in australia who randomly becomes a penpal with a 40 year old asperger’s man in new york. Yes, that is occasionally creepy. The movie does stretch believability a little bit, things work out (or don’t) in convenient ways. But I can’t imagine a better way to tell this story. This movie is simultaneously hilarious and devastating. And I just don’t know how you could pull that off with real actors, or perhaps even with animation. Claymation has this fantastic ability to be serious, surreal, touching, wacky, and painful all in 5 minutes. I have to say, the movie made me cry a little, it was very touching.

Limitless – I had heard this was horrible, it’s not horrible. It’s not good. It’s an ok suspensey actioney movie. Narrators can be annoying, but I kind of like them. I think the big problem is the ending. It just feels a little too wish fulfillment on the part of the writer. Everything just turns up roses. I know most movies end happy. But most movies don’t’ end up SO damn happy. Like the writer just wrote his ultimate fantasy. It’s like writing a story about me getting super powers, just feels a little silly.

The Messenger – This is a pretty heavy movie. Woody from cheers and that guy who played the really creepy bad guy in 3:10 to yuma go around telling families that their loved one died in war. What a shit job. To some extent the movie does exactly what you imagine. It shows you the range of responses from people, from immense sadness to disturbing acceptance to the fury of the gods. And eventually these two men bond over their experiences, shared and missed. In as much as it is expected, it is still powerful. The guy from 3:10 to yuma is an amazing actor and the story of his war is captivating. Woody Harrelson is a bit less convincing, his listening to that story is perhaps the weakest part of the movie. But the rest of his performance is strong. Not a fun movie, but worthwhile if you can deal with being depressed for an evening.

Ninja – Yikes. I went in knowing there’d be horrible acting, writing, and general film making. But I did think it would have fun ninja fighting. How the hell do you make 90 minutes of swords and shurikens boring?

Hello Dolly – Yuuuuuuuck. We watched this because the song from Wall-E got stuck in our heads after going to Disneyland and we wondered what it was and we found out it was a musical that we hadn’t seen and it was on netflix, so there you go. But yuck. I’ve always disliked Barbara Streisand, despite realizing that I’ve never seen a movie with her in it, I just don’t like her. But now I have one datum, she is obnoxious in this movie. Granted, her character is obnoxious, maybe that’s not her fault, but yuck. And I know it was made 40 years ago, but it WAS after women got the right to vote, for christ’s sake, songs about finding a woman to do your cleaning are not charming. Oh, and on that note, Mr. Matthau, swinging your arms back and forth like you are marching IS NOT DANCING. This entire movie lacked any real dancing, had boring songs, hell, it kind of ruined the wall-e song a little for me.  The problem, of course, is that I love My Fair Lady. And that movie has not only a “men are great” song but also the worst ending to a movie in the history of movies. But it gets a pass. Why doesn’t this? I don’t know, it just sucks. Okay, to be fair, I wrote all that only an hour into the movie. The rest of the movie got slightly better. They had one number with somewhat acceptable choreography. And the title song is somewhat catchy and Louis Armstrong is the awesomest part of the whole thing. But she still sucks, he still sucks, and the point of the story still sucks. So… that’s me being fair?

Buried – This is the one from last year where Ryan Reynolds is buried in a coffin. The whole movie is him talking to people on the phone and generally freaking out. He does a pretty good job, I suppose. I don’t know that it’s the best movie in the world, but it’s an interesting experience. It is essentially a thriller, but in that confined space, kind of neat. On the other hand, though I know I’m being unfair, I just can’t get over the part where he holds his blackberry up to his ear upside down. How do you miss that?

Smokin’ Aces 2 – I assumed this movie would be bad. But then after a bit I thought, hey this might be good. I like ensemble movies, this movie has a cavalcade of killers all going after a target. But it really just never comes together. What action there is seems like blindly swinging at cool instead of pulling it off. And then for some reason it tries to make a plot twist, where no plot twist was required, and it just seemed silly.

Blitz – Look, I’m ok with Jason Statham making shitty movies where he beats the shit out of bad guys in creative ways. Granted, if he makes 3 of those a year, we might get a bit sick of it, but whatever. However, I am NOT ok with Jason Statham making a shitty movie with precisely 2 minutes of action, one in the beginning, and one in the end. And the rest of the movie attempting to… be interesting? a mystery? suspense cop movie? Dumb.

Forks Over Knives – This is a “documentary” promoting a whole foods plant based diet. Now, I’m obviously on board with that message. Granted, I eat a whole lot of processed crap, and I’m not vegan, so I don’t act out the message of the movie. But I certainly agree in principle. Yet still, this movie was pretty horrible. All these documentaries, I swear they aren’t even trying anymore. It is just so transparent when they present facts, or portions of facts, in ways that trick people. I’m not an idiot, filmmakers. You can’t give me data, some of which goes from 1978 to 1999, some of which goes from 1999 to 2006, some of which another time period, and expect me not to get suspicious. You can’t say “a respected researcher” and “a respected journal” and not cite what the fuck you are talking about. This movie introduces every god damn person who would talk positively about their message in the world, yet they can’t name “a respected researcher”? I know nothing about this stuff, and I can poke holes in their arguments. Do they not understand correlation versus causation? You can’t just boil these things down to ONE cause and ONE effect. And if the studies they refer to make any attempt to suss out that connection, they make no attempt to inform us of that fact. They just spout facts and anecdotes and studies as if they are rock solid. It’s just very bothersome, especially given that I nominally agree with the moral.

The Wizard – Um, yikes. That’s not really what I thought it was going to be. I had never seen it, I knew it was video games, but I didn’t realize it was a 90 minute ad for nintendo. Not a particularly good ad, of course, it was made in the 80s. I’m sure if I had seen it as a 10 year old, and it was my introduction to super mario bros 3, this movie would just have an unassailable place in my heart. But, I didn’t, it wasn’t, and it doesn’t.

Skyline – Movie about alien invasion. Better than it deserves to be, but not necessarily good. Some decent special effects, obviously limited scale, but that doesn’t bother me. Some pretty horrendous acting and writing, but an okay story. Again, not good, but not as bad as you’d think.

Centurion – Oh Netflix Instant, is there anything I won’t watch on you? Granted, we’re all slowly turning on netflix, so maybe I won’t be saying that in 6 months, but that’s not really what I’m supposed to be typing. This movie was fine, romans run around, chopping up dudes, mostly run around and get chopped up themselves. Not very good, but okay background movie.

Marimba Zelda Cover

I know it’s just another Zelda cover. But 1) you could cover zelda on a  kazuu and I’d probably listen, and 2) it’s actually really good.

Aug 20, 2011

Apologies to Chris Brown

I don’t know who this Andrew Levy guy is – but he is, without question, the best thing to ever happen on fox news.

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Okay, I’m way behind again, let’s power through:

Sucker Punch – This movie is ultimately a failure, but I see what he was going for. It’s basically about some girls in an asylum who escape into a fantasy land that some how impacts their attempt to escape the asylum. As such, the movie comes into 2 distinct sections. The fantasy sections are essentially the baddest ass video game cut scenes you’ve ever damn seen. It is so much exactly what you would make if you made your ideal cut scenes, it’s almost insulting. I mean, they cover steam punk, they cover WW II, they cover dragons, they cover orcs, knights, robots, samurai, guns, planes, swords, fucking everything. It’s borderline manipulative to cram basically every single nerd trope (sans ninjas and pirates) into a single hour and a half. But, like it or not, it’s pretty awesomely filmed (slash digitally generated) action. The other half of the movie is very uncomfortable. I don’t feel that Zach Snyder has the cred to pull off a movie about abused women. Especially when their empowerment comes from wearing as little as humanly possibly whilst beating the shit out of undead soldiers. It just comes off bad. Besides the fact that the asylum world is kind of boring and nonsensical. There is a moderate twist at the end that doesn’t land very heavily, and the moral is… ambiguous. On the flip side, I was busy trying to buy a god damn touchpad for $100 (WHICH DISAPPEARED FROM MY CART HALFWAY THROUGH CHECKOUT!), so I accidentally let the movie start again. And the opening slow-motion-to-music scene that originally felt in media res and fell kind of flat, was actually very effective. I have a worry that the movie needs a second watching that I’ll never give it. But I’m probably wrong.

Red – What the hell? Why was this so good? This was supposed to be bad! Like, really bad. But it was actually really good. Like, 4 stars on netflix good. It’s not a super original story, an old retired killer has to strap his gun back on and do a job or save his own life or whatever. But the movie is aware of that, kind of has fun with it, has this wacky team of retired spies that’s just silly enough to take the edge off of the potential “same old”ness, but not so silly that it becomes pointless. Really, honestly, shocked at how much I liked this.

The American – zzzzz. Huh? What? Oh, I’m sorry. I was just watching the american, and I fell asleep. CUZ IT’S BORING. I’m sure this movie thinks it is the slow burn of spy movies that builds and builds to awesomeness. But it’s not. It’s 1/4 of a spy movie spread over 2 hours with nothing to fill the gaps except george clooney staring intently at a girl, a guy, or into the distance. Which is sad, because I used to be able to say I’ve never disliked a clooney movie. But this one sucked.

Cop Out – Well, funnier than I thought it would be. I hate tracy morgan. And yes I hated him before the gay kid “contraversy”, he’s not funny, he just acts crazy, and people THINK that means funny, but it actually is just stupid. Anyway, the movie is better than you would think. Not really that good or anything, but not so bad.

Fast and Furious – Um, so, all the people from the old movies get together, drive cars fast, shoot guns (maybe? I can’t remember?). It’s cool stuff, I guess, but who cares? No one.

Death Race 2 – Less driving, lots more violence. A twist (?) to make this prequel connected to the last movie that doesn’t make sense. Kind of fun mindless violence, that’s all.

Jonah Hex – Also better than I thought it would be, I had heard such bad things. It’s not all that exciting, megan fox can be eliminated from the world and that would be good. Josh Brolin does an ok job I guess? I don’t know, I watched it 2 months ago, I really don’t remember.

Night at the Museum 2 – I think this was kind of fun. Kind of like the first one, maybe a little less interesting because the idea wasn’t novel and they had to up the “action” to make the sequel bigger. So kind of lamer in that respect. Amy Adams’ Amelia Earhardt was more annoying than she was inspiring as a strong woman. But still, kind of fun.

The Wolfman – This is the longest back in the list of things I forgot to write about. I’m pretty sure I thought it was horrible. I did bother to give it 2 stars, so I guess it’s not like, C-movie trash, but it’s still pretty bad. Boring for non-action, action isn’t interesting, story isn’t interesting, just not very good.

Aug 11, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Xmen First Class – Well, that was entirely adequate. Not bad, not at all. Good, I guess you’d say. But no more than that. The casting was good all around. The girl who played Mystique was too young (making it super creepy at one point) and January Jones is too weird looking to be hot enough to be the white queen. But she did the uppity thing well. Kevin Bacon is probably the best (though I seem to remember shaw being much burlier), though everyone, including me, is kind of in love with michael fassbender lately. The plot was fine. Ridiculously rushed. I guess it’s cool to put it against a big historical event. But that historical event happened kind of quickly. Which means the standard training montage that typically happens way too quickly happened WAAAAY too quickly. The action is pretty good, pretty brief though. I did have a problem with the setting. Except for one shagadelic song and some silly outfits, it didn’t feel very 60s to me. It could have been any time period, it really didn’t matter. I don’t know, the movie is good. I think maybe we aren’t surprised by good comic movies anymore. I imagine the first Xmen blew me away because I didn’t think they could do it. Now I know they can, so you have to try harder to make it really good. Still worth seeing though.

The Social Network – Well I finally see this freaking movie. I have such a problem with it because there’s so much of it that’s not true. I don’t really know the details, but I know there’s plenty of artistic license, and that makes it hard to watch a based-on-a-true-story movie. It’s a well done movie, the dialogue is very aaron sorkin. Honestly I’m a little sick of that style these days. I think maybe it’s been done too much, or it just is too far from how people really talk. I’ve seen mark zuckerberg talk, he doesn’t talk like that. No one talks like that. Unless you have half an hour to prepare for each sentence to make the utmost efficient use of every syllable, you don’t talk like that. But whatever, it’s entertaining. So I still have this problem that it’s not real. Either the point of the movie is to be entertaining, in which case don’t base it on reality. Or it’s to tell the story, in which case, tell the right story. Kind of annoying that now i have this poisoned version of something that actually happened. But it is a good movie, well made, well acted, all that.

Mao’s Last Dancer – Pretty cool movie about a dancer in the 80s who comes over from China to study, and then causes a minor event when he doesn’t want to return. He’s a ballet dancer, I guess pretty famous at the time, not that I know ballet dancers. The dancing in the movie, though slightly more sparse than I’d like, was very nice. It’s edited and such to make it look better, I’m sure, but he the actor is a beautiful dancer. The movie is interesting, well done, and has pretty dancing, pretty much all you could ask from it.

The Green Hornet – Umm… okay I guess. Not bad, kind of amusing. Nothing special. The Kato fighting is pretty cool I guess. The story is predictable. Seth Rogan is likable enough as the green hornet. Feels a little low budget, like maybe it’s an HBO movie or something. But it’s not bad, just kind of fine.

On the Shoulders of Giants – What a cool movie! It’s a documentary about the beginnings of black people playing basketball professionally in america. Unsurprisingly, it used to be segregated. Surprisingly it wasn’t really integrated until the 50s. In the 20s and 30s there was a team called the Rens from Harlem. They were really sort of the heroes of that culture. A respected team that, though not allowed to compete with white guys formally, were every bit as good and better in exhibitions. They differed from the other famous team, the Harlem Globetrotters (who, amazingly, were from Chicago, and did not travel the globe) in that the globetrotters were more toward entertainment than straight up athletes. The movie follows their progression, eventually being able to play and win a championship against a white team (a win that went unmentioned by the white press of the time!). So the story is super interesting to begin with, and then there’s a very charming art style on top of it. Throughout the movie are drawings/paintings/something by this artist with an extremely cool style. Not quite caricature, kind of hyper realistic, kind of cartoony, but absolutely beautiful. There’s also this weird jib-jab thing I don’t like where they put still photos of these old players’ heads on still photos of their bodies and move them separately. Presumably because they don’t really have much video of them. It’s silly, though, I don’t like it. But the rest is so cool to look at. It’s got interviews with quite a few notable black people, some athletes, some not. And at 75 minutes long, it’s just a great way to spend some time on netflix instant.

The People I’ve Slept With – Oh the movies I’ll watch when I need something to be playing while I do other things! This is super amateur, about some girl who sleeps around, gets pregnant, has to find the dad, has a bunch of drama. Has a gay best friend who is also trying to “reform” his life. I don’t know how you can tell that it’s an amateur movie, but you can. The acting, mostly, the editing too, maybe the filming, not sure. Not very good. Not offensive, just not very good.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans – Pppppppppt. This movie is just like the first one, except even more pointless. There’s a story, but at least the first one KIND of had an arc. At least a tiny arc at the end. This guy is just an asshole like the first, and that’s it. Nicolas Cage is awful. I’m not sure if he thinks he’s doing a southern accent? Or a asshole accent? Tough guy? Something? Whatever it is, it blows. Everything in the movie sucks. The only good thing about this movie is it makes me look back on the original slightly more favorably.

Creep – Okay, so the girl from run lola run gets trapped in a subway at night, some crazy thing tries to kill her and a few other people. It’s kind of bloody, but not that much. They move past the unseen monster thing in about 10 minutes, so it doesn’t have any suspense to it. The characters don’t have much personality, so we don’t care about them. Look, I know it’s a crap horror movie that isn’t really worth many sentences. I’m just saying, it’s not very good.

The Hole – Hm, is this great, or horrible? 4 teenagers go down into an old abandoned bunker for a party, get stuck, bad things happen. The great part of the movie is its playing with flawed narrator. One version of the story it tells us isn’t the whole story, or even the right story. So we are set up to think things are happening one way. Then we start seeing hints that it’s another way. I thought that would be used more, like they would have us wondering what is true. They don’t really do that, sadly, once it switches, it stays switched. But they do continue to reveal things that we didn’t necessarily know at the start, so that’s cool. I’m not a fan of the super cold calculating effective young person, tends to feel too perfectly set up. But that’s a relatively small part of the movie, and the rest is really quite good. I’m not saying I loved it, but it’s cool.

Capitalism: A Love Story – Finally saw the latest michael moore movie. God damn is everyone as sick of his patronizing high and mighty bullshit tone yet? For fuck sake, I am very glad he tells me most of the things he tells me, but can someone else tell them to me? I can’t stand his obnoxious pretentious asshole voice anymore. Even when I AGREE with him it feels like he’s talking down to me. But if you can ignore that, and I’ll grant you that’s a big if, the movie is good. I don’t know why people get away with what they get away with. I feel like life has reached a level of abstraction that bad people may always get away with their shit. As long as banks can do the horrendous shit they do, and then Obama can get blamed for the state of the economy, how will the people who do bad ever suffer for it? Very frustrating.

Astro Boy – Nothing much to say, just an animated movie. Kind of meh animation, but it’s not bad. Average story, kind of funny. That’s about it.

Book of Eli – This movie’s pretty good. Everyone loves a post-apocalypse, after all. Denzel Washington does a remarkably contained job. I mean, his thing these days, what he gets credit for, is the staccato loud dramatic acting. Here he’s soft spoken, efficient in his use of action and voice, it’s good to see. The world looks reasonably convincing. And it has its own hook, it’s not JUST another guy wandering a scorched world fighting the bad guys who try to control the pieces. It’s got a purpose, and a nice little ending to go with that purpose. I could do without mila kunis trying to look like a badass, but besides that, I’d actually say it was a good movie!

Video Game Reviews @ The Temple

God of War 3 – So… that was as expected. It was fun, sure. Blood and guts is fun. Mashing buttons and ripping things apart is fun. QTEs are fun. But you could apply that exact same description to the last two games. I’m not really sure what the point of this one was. Oh yeah, it’s pretty. Well, GW2 was like 20 years ago. In my mind, it looks exactly like this one, so the graphics don’t really do much for me. So, same game, different textures. Nothing new. Fun, but old. Good distraction, fine way to unwind after months of being unable to play a video game, yep. But not really that special objectively.

Prototype / Infamous – So I played both of these games near each other, I might as well compare them directly, since I’ll be doing it indirectly in separate posts anyway. They are both super-hero type games, you have powers, you run around a city doing fighting stuff and climbing buildings. Infamous has a morality structure, prototype does not. As always the good/evil choices are pretty easy. There’s no gray or anything, but it’s kind of neat either being a famous hero or a hated villain as you walk around and see posters and people’s reactions. Overall the story of Infamous is probably better. Not that it’s amazing, but it seems like they put more effort in to it, and the end is pretty cool. Prototype is a hell of a lot more fun, though, I gotta say. To some extent, that is a result of Infamous’ choices, not its failures. That is, Infamous decides that you can only glide, and that to climb a building you have to hop from window to window, like Assassin’s Creed. Prototype says fuck that, you can literally run up the side of a building, leap off, fly for 3 city blocks, do a little air jump, fly some more, do ANOTHER air jump, fly some more, and then finally glide down. I can cross half the city in a single bound in the time the Infamous guy is still jumping past the 8th window. It’s not necessarily bad of Infamous to choose to make you slightly less powerful. But leaping around like a bad ass is much more good than climbing your 90th fire escape. Fighting is similarly streamlined and fun. In infamous hand to hand is pretty useless, mostly due to your limited range and limited ability to close range, and relative fragility to getting pounded by other guys’ guns while you fight one hand to hand. Prototype meanwhile is just chaos leaping from guy to go smashing them, pulling them in half, picking them up and destroying all their friends with their body. Plus driving tanks and helicopters is NEVER a bad thing. Again, it’s not like Infamous tried to do that and failed, they tried to do something different. But if I had 5 minutes to smash around a city, I’d definitely spend those 5 minutes in Prototype.

Aug 3, 2011


Not a whole lot of dancing, but extremely cool visuals from this group on america’s got talent.

Jul 27, 2011

Spirit Rover Tribute

6 years on Mars. Jesus, my phone can’t last a year without becoming a god damn paperweight. ON EARTH.

Jul 26, 2011

State Farm Parody

HA! Reminds me of old D&D-table jokes about where the food in the “create food” spell comes from – the conclusion was usually poor people.

Jul 19, 2011

Raise Your Glass – Cosplay Version

I’m not super into cosplay, I’ve certainly never done it myself. And I kind of figure I wouldn’t want to spend too much time with those that get really in to it. But anyone who is outside of the norm, who is maybe laughed at for what makes them happy, deserves the chance to celebrate it, so this is kind of awesome.

Jul 18, 2011

Star Wars A Capella Re-Dub

I didn’t post the Matrix one from a couple weeks ago, but I can’t resist this Star Wars one. Awesome! I love Matt Mulholland.

Jun 22, 2011

Whole Foods Parking Lot Rap

This isn’t amazing, but it’s pretty funny. There’s a couple hilarious moments that make it worth posting.

Jun 12, 2011

Stop Motion Final Fantasy 7

I know stop motion is a little played out nowadays. Used to be I’d post every one I came across, now I rarely even watch them all the way through. But… Sephiroth!

May 30, 2011

Book Reviews @ The Temple

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett– Soo… can you believe I’ve never read any Pratchett? I listened to this, of course, but I find that to be a fantastic choice. The book is so snarky and british, it can only be read by a british voice. If I had read it, I would have been using a british accent in my head. The book is quite funny, quite fun, though it falls into two distinct halves for me. The first half I think is utterly fantastic. Laugh out loud (literally) funny in multiple places (the circle suddenly closed.  The circle suddenly expanded.  HA!), a genuinely interesting world and set of characters – and this with 27 years of intervening fiction to steal the ideas. I was really enjoying it. Then, after they escaped the Wyrmberg, things went tits up. All of a sudden the book just says “they went and did a bunch of stuff.” For serious. And then I feel like I’m in media res, and I have no idea what’s up. It loses its charm and I lost the story. Frankly I think the story gets too big too quickly. This is a problem in a lot of fantasy (both, oddly, in written fiction and in D&D campaigns, I find) – things become grand too easily. Third level characters (or their equivalent random joes in fiction) do not quickly become involved in celestial battles. It was still fun, but I just thought it got out of control. There’s a whole lot (like 30!) of books in the series, I’ll keep going until I get bored, I’m hopeful it will get back to its charm.

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett – Ok, second Discworld book. More of the same of the first. Maybe a little bit less funny. The plot was just as convoluted, which isn’t a good thing. Kind of hard to follow, on audio. It was fine and entertaining and amusing. Just overly complicated.

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett – And here’s another. This one had a good idea. In this world only men can be wizards, only women can be witches. Then a girl is born a wizard, whoops! It’s a cute idea, the grandmother character (a witch) is entertaining. But it never really comes together all that well. It’s not bad, it certainly has it’s funny moments. Something about these books aren’t blowing me away. But I keep listening, as they are very easy listening. So it’s not like they are so bad I can’t stand it, they aren’t really bad at all, just not all that good.

Mort by Terry Pratchett – This was a bit of an uptick, at least for a while. It’s the story of a young boy, not really good at much, who becomes Death’s apprentice. Another cute idea, and the first half is pretty fun. What’s good about the books, the silly irreverance and general perspective, is certainly evident through the first half. But, inevitably, the book becomes more concerned with the details of its plot than the lightness of its spirit, and becomes kind of boring.

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

Kind of a huge backlog here. I guess I was avoiding putting anything on the blog. Silly, eh?

Waiting for “Superman” – I think everyone has heard of this, it was big last year. A documentary about the public school system. It’s pretty depressing, not surprisingly. In addition to a lot of information, it also follows a few kids. Kids in shitty situations trying to get into better situations. They all go to one of these lotteries where 1000 kids try to get 100 spots at a school. The end of the movie shows them all waiting for results, and it’s fucking heartbreaking. Honestly one of the hardest things I’ve had to watch in a while. I’ve never been in that position, watching my future determined by a random drawing, it’s awful. The movie is very good though. There are things I’ve never heard of too. This idea that kids get put on “tracks”. A good kid, or a bad kid, gets his or her schedule set in his or her group. So kids who don’t do great get put in the not great group. And get put with the not great kids. Taught by the not great teachers. Given the not great opportunities. So what do they do? Not great! And so they fit in their group, and it all goes down the shitter. I guess this has existed for a long time, and though it’s nominally illegal now, it still happens. I assume it happened when I was in school? But maybe being in honors/ap type stuff insulates you from that by explicitly putting you in the smart kid classes. The mere concept of this thing kind of blows my mind. The conclusion of the movie is largely the common conclusion these days – charters and “experimental” schools. I’m not 100% on board with that theory, though. Not that I don’t think those schools are great, they are sometimes awesome. I would love for every school to be like that school in the movie. What hasn’t been explained to me is – is that possible? How hard (in money, or people) is it to make that school for that # of students? Now multiply that by the number of students in the country. Can we do that? Maybe we can, I honestly don’t know, but it does seem fishy. And secondly, these students in these special charters, here you have to fill out applications and go to lotteries and take 3 buses to get to school - they aren’t normal kids, and they don’t have normal parents. Maybe charters succeed because the students who go to them are motivated and their parents are supportive. I need someone to take many random groups of students across the country, force them to go to these alt schools, and see what happens. What happens when their parent isn’t willing to take 3 jobs then come home and read to them every night? What happens when the student doesn’t dream of their career path at age 8? I’m not so sure, I’m afraid the answer isn’t a happy one. I’d love to be wrong.

Catfish – Well how the hell am I supposed to review this? The whole point of this movie, well not the whole point, but a big part of the point, is to know nothing about the movie before you watch it. So, I guess I’ll say nothing about the plot? At all? I’ll say this much, it’s supposed to be a documentary. Watching it, the obvious question is whether it really is. The story seems ridiculously convenient. It’s a pretty crazy story to begin with, but i guess crazy stories happen in life. But to be just in so many right places at right times to film it is very peculiar. I’ll say this, if it’s fake, jesus christ good acting from Angela. If it’s real, it’s rather sad and borders on exploitive. But if it’s real, I think it is honest enough that I don’t necessarily feel bad for watching it, it’s not cruel hearted. But maybe it’s fake, and bothering to write a review of a fake movie is annoying. Not sure. If I didn’t go on the internet, I would say 95% it’s fake. People are so insistent, it drags me closer to 50/50. I still lean fake though.

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising – Jesus christ that was bad. A D&D friend recommended this to me. I don’t know if he was drunk or high (actually I do, he was a little drunk), but it’s horrible. The idea is a gaming group, and they kind of LARP their adventure, a little intertwined with their real lives. But it’s not good in any way. It’s low budget, so all the effects and costumes and acting and filming are bad. Presumably that would be ok if the ideas were good, but they really aren’t. It’s largely just worthless. There are some funny ideas. But they aren’t really. They are basically just the kind of ideas that we (we being people who play D&D) have all had while playing. And those games can be god damn hilarious, laugh my ass off, nearly pee myself funny. But, unfortunately, I recognize that it’s just not that funny out of context. And the ideas in this movie aren’t even as funny as mine, and fall completely flat in a movie. Bleh.

Tangled – Pretty fun disney movie, maybe the best in a while. Like all modern disney movies, it struggles against nostalgia. Nothing will ever be as good as the big 4, I think. The music certainly is always nowhere near par. Again, like all the modern ones, the music is much too poppy. But it is fun, the horse is great character. The adventure is entertaining to watch.

127 Hours - Yikes. Very good movie, beautiful scenery, amazing story. Certainly if it wasn’t true, you’d think it was kind of silly, no way that could be. The fact that it’s true makes the movie a bit of an experience. Having any connection to outdoorsey rock climby type stuff (though obviously never of that extent or spirit) makes it all the more impactful. James Franco does a great job. His biggest problem as an actor seems to be his never ending smirk, his ultimate laid backness that makes it seems like he just doesn’t give a shit about anything. But here he comes right up against the face of it and gets out alive, and he does that story justice. Very cool.

Harry Potter 7 Part 1 – Zzzzzz. Huh? What? Oh, sorry, I fell asleep just thinking about this movie. What a boring fucking movie. It’s like what everyone complained about lord of the rings – hours and hours of walking. Jesus christ, we get it, you jump from place to place and hide and search for stuff. But christ, did we really need a 2 and a half hour movie about “they go on the run, they have a little spat, they get a couple of objects”?? I’ll say – for the second to last time – that I loved the first book, liked 2 3 and 4, disliked 5, hated 6, but was convinced to like 7 by Jim Dale’s fantastic reading (the only one I listened to on audio). The movies I’ve always found pretty boring. Kind of entertaining, but lacking the only thing I liked about the early books – the charm. This movie, though, jeez, I really don’t know what people see in it. It just went on and on and nothing happened. I get they had to stretch it to make it 2 movies, cuz maybe it didn’t fit into 1, but why stretch to 2.5 hours?? Boring.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Holy crap, I really liked this movie! I’m not saying it was genius or anything, but I totally enjoyed it. The magic effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of ways to do magic. Harry Potter has a sad tendency to do it too sparsely and when it does it it looks like a star wars blaster battle instead of a magic battle. A lot of movies do it sparsely, honestly, cuz its probably expensive and hard to make look good. The only thing good about In The Name of the King movie a few years ago was the amazing teleportation effect, still the best I’ve ever seen. This movie does it all really well. From the silly flail your arms around to “form” the magic, to the symbols and shapes, to the CG of the effects themselves, I really think it was all really good. The rest of the movie is just average, of course. The plot can be predicted from the beginning. The acting is acceptable and no better. The main kid is kind of annoying, I get how people would hate him, but I don’t mind. Nicolas Cage’s horrendous cheesy acting actually fits in a way it hasn’t since the 90s. He goes over the top a couple times, but it’s pretty ok. The bad guy is good, the Criss Angel rip off is hilarious cuz I hate criss angel, the girlfriend is hot, it all works! Some of it was bad, “the prime merlinian” is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Along with “sorcerer of the 777th order” and a few other idiotic stuff. And I reeeeeeally wish they wouldn’t try to inject a scientific explanation to magic. Then again, the way that comes around in the end is cool. I don’t know, shocks me to death, I was sure this movie was flaming poop on a stick, but I totally dug it.

Gone With The Wind – Yeah, so I had never seen this. It’s… ok. Granted, it’s not made for me. I can see why people who want this kind of movie would like it. It’s very grand, epic, sprawling. Big sets, big costumes, big acting, big context. The big problem with the movie is every single character in it is a horrible person. The only exception is the friend, and she’s so pathetic that it makes it hard to watch. So I hate everyone, I don’t care if they die or love or hate. Scarlett especially can get trampled by a horse and I can’t imagine feeling sympathy. It’s a very hard thing to tell a story about an insufferable brat who only wants what she can’t have and uses every one in every way to get it. It’s doable, I guess, I can’t think of an example right now. I’m sure it’s been done. I’m digging The Borgias on showtime. That is filled top to bottom with unlikeable people. But it being historical and about murder and intrigue is way more interesting than a selfish dumbass who can’t get the husband she wants. Meh.

Brothers Grimm – Kinda boring. Sad, because there’s nothing really wrong with the movie. Some meh CG, but basically up to par. It feels, more than anything, like a Terry Gilliam adventure movie. Not as british in its humor, but the costumes and the world feel like that kind of fantasy. But in the end I really didn’t feel the need to pay much attention as I did other stuff. It’s a good background movie, I guess? Hey, I just googled, it IS a Terry Gilliam movie!

MacGruber – The netflix disc didn’t work. I take this as a sign from the one true god, your personal lord and savior, jesus mahogany christ, that this movie is not worth 2 hours. I sent it back and didn’t put it back on the queue.

Machete – Ummm… so I put this as 3 stars on netflix, I’m not sure why. I guess people know the story of this, right? Rodriguez (and tarantino) made the grindhouse movies, in between there was a trailer for this fake movie Machete. People loved the trailer way more than the movies (a fair assessment, grindhouse was shit), so they made it into a real movie. It’s danny trejo being a badass, choppin’ dudes in half, for 2 hours. Oh, and jessica alba’s ass. That’s pretty much the whole of it. It’s not any better or worse than you think. Can’t think of a reason that I gave it 3 stars. When’s Netflix going to get a “meh” # of stars?

The Fighter – The weirdest thing about me giving Machete 3 stars is that I also gave The Fighter 3 stars. It is without a doubt a better movie. But I don’t really care any more about it. It’s just another boxer movie. Underdog story. I guess it’s cool that it’s a true story. But it’s still the same story. Some good acting, a lot of family drama. But not really amazing, I’m not totally sure why it got such accolades. Christian Bale got all skinny and acted like a wacked out addict. That’s cool. But somehow it still feels 3 stars. Weird.

Logan’s Run – I had never seen this! It’s pretty good. It has the trappings of an old movie, of course. But holds up better than I would have guessed. I like a good distopia, as is well documented. There’s not much more to say about it, it’s good, I should have seen it earlier.

The Hangover – Maybe more surprising than Logan’s Run or Gone With the Wind – I hadn’t seen this yet! I just never got around to it. Everyone said it was so fantastic, I just couldn’t imagine how a silly movie about dudes getting drunk in vegas could be that great. It is pretty fun though. Not like blow my mind best comedy in 10 years fun. But definitely hilarious parts, maybe the funniest movie of last year fun? The structure is pretty entertaining, not directly seeing any of the wild night, just the results and retellings. The humor manages to be more than just dick and fart jokes. Not that it’s high class, but who wants high class humor, this is funny humor, so that’s great. Not so sure about the sequel. Sure, this one convinced me, it was funny, but how much more can they go to that well? But hey, maybe they found a different well.

Clash of the Titans – Meh, not that I expected much of this, but I didn’t get much. Ran around, stabbed things, made loud noises. Kraken got released, etc etc. It’s big budget, very flashy, all that. Seems like it should be enjoyable just for that. But I mostly half paid attention, oh well.

CJ7 – This is a movie by that Stephen Chow guy. I like his movies, I really like Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. They are lots of fun, have a silly sense of humor, and cool ninja fighting. This one is about a kid who finds this little alien. It’s kind of a fun kiddy movie. It does have some very very small amount of ninja stuff. But it’s not really very good. The kid stuff isn’t fun enough, the ninja stuff isn’t barely there, the kid himself of annoying. Oh well, go back and watch Shaolin Soccer if you want this kind of movie.

Despicable Me – Fun, I guess. Kind of an average dreamworks movie. Sad, they don’t make BAD movies, some of them are pretty good. But they do live in a pretty big shadow. This one is cute, it’s sweet, it’s funny. I don’t need to see it again, I don’t think you need to run out to get it, but if it’s around, it will be a good time.

Predators – Man, why wasn’t this awesome? Nerd-dom was so excited when Robert Rodriguez announced this. It had the recipe for awesome. I loved Aliens, because it had so many people to kill. A cast of characters, with different violent skills and personalities is fun. They can get picked off, so you can see cool fights with cool deaths, but the story can keep going. This movie SHOULD have been that. I mean, adrian brody was obviously an awful choice. But besides that it seemed like it should have been a lot of manly man fun. But it was mostly boringly boring fun. Not bad, I still gave it 3 on netflix, I guess, but it’s been a few days now, and I can’t think of much that I really liked about it.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief – Not worth the time. I love greek mythos. But I’m moderately familiar with it, so nothing in this movie was interesting! Kind of a problem with God of War at times too. The cool thing about these young adult fantasy books is being introduced to all the stuff about the world. Creatures and magic and rules and etc. But this is all stuff I’m familiar with. Best case scenario, it’s an awesome realization of creatures and magic I know about. Worst case scenario it’s a boring rehashing of stories that have already been told. Closer to the latter than the former, I’m sad to say.

Black Swan – Boo. What a waste of a movie. Look, you can’t just make a movie to be weird and that’s enough. She’s a wacko, I get it. She’s a wacko from the beginning to the end. She gets wackiER, but she’s still a wacko. This is supposed to be a suspenseful thriller –there’s neither of those things! It’s clear she’s crazy, so there’s no suspense about what is true and because none of it’s true there’s no thrills. Why the hell should I give a shit what’s going to happen to this girl if half the time she will shake her head and it will end up being a hallucination? The only way this kind of thing can work is if we don’t know she’s crazy, and that train sailed years ago preceding a string of movies with an untrustworthy narrator (and by narrator, I just mean whosever perspective we are seeing things through). There’s just no reason to care. Plus, bee tee dubs, skinny ass ballerinas moving their grotesque alien skinny ass bodies where you can see their shoulder blades and, I’m pretty sure, their kidneys, are even grosser than people peeling their own skin off. Didn’t know that before this movie, now I do. So, I guess it gave me that.

Bad Lieutenant – Pppt. This is an older movie, Harvey Keitel is a corrupt cop. He goes around doing corrupt things. Stealing from criminals, demanding sexual stuff from stopped motorists, doing lots of drugs, etc. There’s an overarching story with his gambling on some games that are probably famous between the mets and the dodgers. And then some stuff about an attack on a nun. But the term “arch” is used loosely. He’s just a bad guy who does bad stuff. It’s more of a window into him doing bad stuff than a story. I don’t think it’s all that interesting, really. I guess I should be pleased with Keitel doing a good job, but it doesn’t seem like that big a deal to be a shitty guy for an hour and a half. The nun thing is nearly an afterthought, though it makes for a slightly interesting ending.

Resident Evil: Afterlife – Right, well, that was a piece of crap. Can you believe they made CG nacho cheese dogs that looked worse than the original nacho cheese dogs from the first movie? Buncha crap. I seem to remember there being a couple cool fight scenes, but they obviously didn’t stick with me.

Wall Street – Never saw this, needed to watch it so I could watch the sequel. Maybe it made more sense in its time. Now it’s just a story about a douche who gets all high on success, then realizes he’s a bastard and switches sides just in time. Yeah, it was reflecting that mindset that was prevalent in the 80s (and hasn’t exactly died down). I was hoping it would have interesting reflections on today, but it just seemed kind of average. Maybe we are too abused by real life financial assholes to be shocked by it happening in a movie, dunno.

Apr 8, 2011




Rock Star


Bad Ass


Lover of Baby Food


BK Photo Bomb!




Prairie Dog


Too old for this shit


Destroyer of Worlds


The Best


Mar 14, 2011

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

The King’s Speech – So this won an awful lot of awards, huh? It is a pretty good movie, although… not that good. Maybe I’m being a bit contrarian (shocker). It’s still very good. It’s certainly a pretty interesting story. I do have an odd reaction to the reality of the story. My first instinct is hey that’s amazing truth. My second larger instinct is, uhh… so what? So a royal guy can’t speak well.Meanwhile, in the background, some of the most amazing moments of the 20th century are happening. Hell, Churchill is a side character. But I get it, this royal guy was more than that to the people, and that can certainly be a very important thing in trying times. Besides, we’ve seen WW II, sad as it is to say, there’s probably not much more story there (at least when it comes to the broad historical strokes, I’m sure there’s an infinite number of little stories). Anyway, everyone does an outstanding job, the movie looks great. All that stuff is thumbs up. But there is something missing that doesn’t make it amazing for me. I have no trouble saying it’s great, but it does not leave me feeling like some of the amazing movies of the past few years. I’m thinking Slumdog, or the Wrestler, hell even visual treats like Sunshine or 300. This movie was good, but I don’t ever need to see it again, it doesn’t reach that upper level. I’m not saying it doesn’t for others, just not for me.

30 Days of Night: Dark Days – This is another movie based on the same 30 Days of Night comic series. I quite like the series (though it never gets anywhere close to as good as the first set). This is kind of the same. The first movie wasn’t really very good, but it was good enough to enact a story I really like, so I liked it. This is a less good enactment of less good source material, so it’s less good. But still, I think I probably liked it better than most people would.

Gasland – Yikes. Documentary about how natural gas mining (via this “fracking” technique where they bust open the ground to get at the gas) is pretty effed up. I hear now that people are thinking it might actually cause earthquakes. I write this a few days after the big one in japan, so I can certainly see that having some impact. But this movie is about the polution of ground water. People who can light their kitchen faucets on fire due to the gas content. People getting sick. Environments getting fucked. It’s pretty miserable. Like many of these things, I get angry, but I do nothing. It will continue. Until maybe it stops and they do something else shitty. Very cynical, I know. But through a combination of feeling there’s nothing I can do, and knowing that I don’t do those few things, that require great effort, that I can do – I’m left kinda frustrated about it. The movie itself is fine. The narrator’s voice is ridiculous, I think he thinks he’s batman. The filming is kind of stupid. I think he was going for a gritty handheld thing, but that means he’s using crap cameras half the time. It’s effing 2010, there’s no such thing as crap cameras.  50 bucks get you HD, stop screwing around with this grainy crap. But besides that stuff it’s fine. It gets you the info, it’s obviously biased toward its thesis, but I’m pretty sure I’m on their side, so that doesn’t much bother me. It’s worth watching, you’ll be pissed, but it’s probably best to know what’s going on, especially if you live near any of these natural gas shales (I’m looking at you, Colorado family members).

A-Team – Oops, I never reviewed this. Not that I think it’s important that I do, it’s not. But in 3 years when I search my blog to find out if I’ve seen it, I want to remember not to watch it again. I mean, it’s not all that bad. It’s just a big ball of what you’d expect. Booms and bangs, stupid jokes, flying tanks. You know, the standard.

From Paris With Love – On the other hand, make sure I never see this again. What a piece of crap. Face/Off… is that the only thing Travolta has ever done that’s worthwhile? I guess I never saw Saturday Night Fever or Grease, so maybe those get a pass. But what else? Seriously. That dumb fucking subway heist movie? Dianetics: The Movie? The baby movies? Ok seriously, what else? I’m resorting to IMDB now. Swordfish – that had the line “not everything ends the way you think it should”. Those are the only redeeming 5 seconds of that garbage. Oh right, Pulp Fiction, that’s a good one. Aaaand, that’s it. Ok, 4 movies, tops, he’s ever done, that are remotely watchable. Well, you can’t call him inconsistent, because this movie sucks. He sucks. Is that supposed to be acting? Yelling a lot? Trying to pretend you are a bad ass? He has 5 seconds (is that a theme?) that are kind of Bourne-ish that’re neat. Besides that…. yeah, nothin’