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The Matrix Reloaded and Reloaded and Reloaded

Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2003

Dave!Okay, having just seen The Matrix Reloaded for the second time, I can now say with authority that the movie was quite a let-down from the promise of the original. Sure it had great special effects and some killer action sequences, but the story itself was fairly boring and repetitive. To explain why I feel that way, it's necessary to discuss some details of the film, so stop reading if you haven't seen it yet.

And, before I get e-mails from people telling me that I didn't like Reloaded because I didn't understand it, please spare me your wrath, because I understand the film all too well... I've read Nietzsche, and have a firmer grasp on the philosophical concepts of "free will" and "choice" than most people do, so everybody claiming to like Reloaded simply because you think it makes you look smart, can just skip the rest of this post but, for the rest of you, here it goes:

The reason I didn't like this movie is that it failed to engage me for the duration. There were always "stoppers" in the way of the story's flow that made it impossible to really get absorbed into the world that the Wachowski Brothers have created. Inane strips of boredom that repeat the same theme over and over again until you find yourself slipping into a coma until the next cool action sequence arrives. How many times do we need to hear about machines and humans needing each other to survive and the consequences of making choices? We get to hear both themes repeated so often that I find myself amazed that there are people that don't understand the film's concept... first that ridiculously dull walk that Neo takes with the head council guy, then again from the Oracle, once more from the Merovingian, and yet again from the Architect. Holy crap... we get it already! And let me add to my complete frustration with the incredibly stupid Zion rave dance sequence, which has been dissed to death on every review I've read. What was the point? I'm sure it was intended to show a celebration of humanity that is worth fighting and dying for, but all it did was grind the movie to a screeching halt. Too many moments like this made me long for a good editor to step in and tighten the story to a watchable pace (and fix the gawd-awful time shifting that destroys the final action sequences as the three teams attempt to break into "The Source").

Enough with the bad, anything good? Well, I was pretty entertained by the action... the freeway chase sequence is astounding to a degree that I would gladly pay another $7 just to see those 15 minutes again. The fights are a bit repetitive, but fun to watch. Monica Bellucci (as Persephone) is breathtaking. And Morpheus' line to Agent Smith: "Does that include a bullet from this gun?" is easily the best line from a movie since Trinity's "dodge this" in the original. I also like the fact that the film has a decent puzzle in it... is the "real world" that people think is real actually just another level of the Matrix for further control? Did Neo and Agent Smith (in his Zion-acquired body) escape the "Matrix within a Matrix" altogether and make it to the real real world, which is why they ended up in comas at the end? I guess we'll find out in six months.

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X2 Redux

Posted on Saturday, May 24th, 2003

Dave!Ack! First I was disappointed by The Matrix Reloaded, and now another summer blockbuster has underwhelmed me... X2: X-Men United. Boring, boring stuff. The most powerful mutants on earth aren't battling other powerful mutants like "The Hellfire Club," cool aliens like "The Brood," giant robots like "The Sentinels," or even an intergalactic threat like "The Shi'ar." Oh no, this time they are battling boring humans in boring situations with boring action that that makes me wonder why in the heck people are liking this movie. Even worse, the "big bad" at the end of the film isn't even a boring human, but water. Yes, water. The X-Men battle water in the boring climax to this damn boring film.

The only thing that even remotely salvaged any entertainment value for me was the addition of Nightcrawler, who actually uses his mutant powers in a cool and exciting way throughout the film. But the others? Cyclops gets out maybe 2 optic blasts. Storm has seemingly lost the ability to fly, Rogue consciously uses her power once in the entire film (and to lame effect)... it goes on and on. About the only action sequence outside of Nightcrawler's attack on the White House that was worth watching was the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike, but even that was pretty lame, because Wolverine wins by using his brains instead of the brute-force method that would have made it so much more satisfying. Magneto and Mystique are back from the first film, thankfully, because they are the only remotely interesting characters in X2 again.

When are we going to get an X-Men movie that has bad-ass battles that are even half as exciting as the comic book? Where are the all-powerful villains that will make the X-Men struggle? Sure, in X3 we're set up for having Phoenix arrive, but if things go as they have been, she won't be the all-powerful goddess that can destroy a planet, she'll be a bland imitation of Pyro that can burst into flame once or twice. Brian Singer, please prove me wrong and give us a third X-Men film worth watching.

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Star Trek Nemesis Crapfest

Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2003

Dave!Holy crap! I bypassed Star Trek Nemesis in the theaters because it looked lame, and I still had visions of the awful Star Trek Insurrection trapped in my head. Well, somehow the idiots in charge of Star Trek have managed to sink to a new low... Nemesis sucks total ass. I don't even know what I can say about it except that it is a boring boring boring film with nothing interesting to say or nothing new to show us. I can only pray that the bad box office, horrid reviews by critics and fans alike, and diminished interest in Star Trek in general will kill off this "Next Generation" franchise for good.

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Terminator 3

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2003

Dave!I had huge reservations about this film, seeing as how it would not be helmed by original writer/creator/director James Cameron. A pleasant surprise, it actually turned out much better than expected. Where Matrix Reloaded disappointed, T3 delivers in spades. In two areas, it actually manages to surpass even T2 (but not the original... no sequel ever could!): 1) The new Terminatrix (played by Kristanna Loken ) was even more ruthless (and far more beautiful!) than Robert Patrick's T-1000, and 2) Nick Stahl adds new depth to the John Connor character thanks to a haunting performance that makes me cringe when thinking of the whiny portrayal we had from Edward Furlong in T2. In fact, Stahl's Connor echos nicely the masterful performance by Michael Beihn as his father (Kyle Reece) in the original, which was the part that was so woefully lacking in the first sequel. Yes, it does have a few logical flaws (the Terminatrix should have been able to much more easily dispatch the leads given her vast superiority over Ah-nold's T-100 model) but hey -- the action, special effects, performances... just about everything... were high entertainment value, and well worth the $6, which is rare for an action flick now-a-days.

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Underworld

Posted on Saturday, October 4th, 2003

Dave!Let's see... Vampires vs. Werewolves? Cool. An ancient blood feud that comes to a head in modern times? Very cool. Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight latex beating the crap out of people and shooting everything in sight with automatic weapons? Off-the-hook cool. The movie Underworld, which features all three? Laughably bad.

What in the hell happened that such an amazing concept could be ruined so resoundingly? Well, with the exception of Kate, who looks hot and plays the brooding bad girl perfectly... the acting is just over-the-top bad. Every character tries to be kind of an intense psycho-goth, but ends up funny instead. On top of that, it appears that budgetary constraints must have not allowed for decent special effects, because everything kind of has a retro-1970's look that is also funny. And now I read they are working on a sequel... so I hope they get the money to do it right, because a great vampire vs. werewolf film is something that has been missing in my life (I get the women in skin-tight latex beating the crap out of me all the time).

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Uma Kicks Ass!

Posted on Saturday, October 11th, 2003

Dave!I just got back from watching Uma Thurman kick major ass and have to say that Quentin's Tarantino's done it again! While Kill Bill is not a film geared towards deep thinking, and isn't quite up to par with Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown, it is one hell of an entertaining flick!

Sure the violence is over-the-top and dripping with more blood than all of his previous films combined, but Tarantino knows exactly what makes a great action movie: hot woman-on-woman cat-fight action! You would think that Uma having a knife fight with hottie Vivica A. Fox would be enough to sell a movie, but oh no... we also get Uma mixing it up with cutie Chiaki Kuriyama and her flying mace ball... and Uma battling it out with bad-ass Lucy Liu with samurai swords! But even that's not enough... Uma kicks plenty of other asses along the way, and also manages to meet up with Japanese acting legend Sony Chiba!

For the movie-going public who doesn't understand that film can be a medium for pure entertainment that doesn't really have to say anything... well, Kill Bill Volume 1 probably isn't for you. But for any film geek that ever wanted to see Quentin's particular brand of beautiful, stylized violence applied to a classic revenge flick, this is your movie. I can't wait to see "Volume 2" in February (it doesn't hurt that we'll get Uma hacking it out with Michael Madsen and Darryl Hannah!).

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Berardinelli Sucks Ass!

Posted on Monday, October 13th, 2003

Dave!Usually, I do not respond to how others review a film because I just don't care what random people think. Granted, I do like taking a peek at the "Tomatometer" (over at Rotten Tomatoes), because it pulls from dozens of film critics to give a general consensus as to how good a film might be... but even then, I don't really let it dictate whether or not I'm going to see a film.

Anyway, I happened across a review from James Berardinelli at his "ReelViews" site where he makes so many ridiculous jibes at Kill Bill that I was pissed off enough to be compelled to respond to his major criticisms (not to him personally, I doubt he would care, but to anybody who may be thinking of taking his "reviews" seriously)...

"...Kill Bill, which was constructed as a single motion picture before being sundered at the eleventh hour. The result is messy and frustrating - a movie that feels incomplete in every aspect." This is such a stupid comment as to be laughable. The entire story of Kill Bill is told in chapters... and not just "implied" chapters... but actual frickin' chapters that are displayed in the movie! It's not as if the film was butchered mid-scene, it actually occurs at a natural breaking point in the film between chapters. I mean, seriously, is Kill Bill really any different than Lord of The Rings or Matrix Reloaded in that respect? I actually feel that both of those films were worse, because story elements truly were incomplete in every aspect... Matrix Reloaded is particularly bad: Neo's in a coma and Zion is under attack? NOTHING is resolved, and you have more questions than answers... and are more confused than entertained! If I never saw Kill Bill: Volume 2, I would at least be able to picture an ending to the story. While I agree the editing could have been tighter, the massive amount of cuts required to make this a single film would not be worth it.

"One aspect of Kill Bill that doesn't disappoint are the action sequences. Although no better than those in The Matrix Reloaded , they are fun to watch, as The Bride slices and dices her way through dozens of enemies..." Bitch, please. No better than Reloaded?? Get off the pipe! While undoubtedly enhanced with some nifty wire work (wholly appropriate to the genre this film is in), the action in Kill Bill is REAL. These fights are not some computer-created crapfest... they are real people bashing it out with real emotion. And the carnage! Heck... compared to Kill Bill, Reloaded is just a video game with good special effects! Compare The Bride's fight against the "Crazy 88" to Neo's fight against 200 Agent Smiths and tell me that they are in any way comparable. Not even close.

"One could argue that the best thing about Pulp Fiction was the delicious dialogue, and that's something almost completely absent here. The number of quotable lines and memorable non-action sequences is small." Uhhh... dude... Pulp Fiction was a character piece. This is an action-revenge flick. They are entirely different films, with entirely different focus points... would you be happier if an action movie was more notable for the dialogue than the action? I saw Kill Bill because I wanted to see Uma kick ass. I was not disappointed. If you want to see Uma spouting cool Tarantino dialogue, then go watch Pulp Fiction again.

"Why show revenge #2 before revenge #1? There doesn't seem to be a reason. Maybe it will all become clear in Volume 2 , although I somehow doubt it."Well, as a professional movie critic, you should understand about a concept called STRUCTURE... and perhaps a rudimentary understanding of "pacing" and "balance" would also be in order. It was necessary to show "Revenge #2" before "Revenge #1" because it started the movie out with a bang and instantly draws the viewer into the story. The first revenge on O-Ren Ishii required way too much foreshadowing and back-story to make for a good opening into this type of film (and would have meant cramming two heavy fight scenes right on top of each other at the end). The way Tarantino has structured it now, there is perfect timing between the action and a balance to how the story of The Bride is revealed. The non-linear structure that Quentin uses is not so much a "signature device," but a method he uses very effectively to keep pacing and mystery through his films. When I saw Uma cross off "Revenge #2" from her list and noticed that "Revenge #1" was already marked... it really got me curious as to what happened there, thus providing a perfect window to dive into that story. The only reason Tarantino needs to mix up the chronology is because it makes for good storytelling.

"This is a problem with a revenge flick, where we're supposed to root for the hero and despise the enemy. Neither is the case here, especially since we never see Bill." Uh... gee... isn't the fact that Bill massacred The Bride's husband-to-be (along with every other person at the wedding) and shot her in the head reason enough to root for her revenge? Bill's actions alone make him an enemy worth despising.

"Everyone else would do better to stay away and avoid the bitter disappointment of seeing how the greed of a distributor can degrade the movie-going experience... Miramax claims that money plays no part in the decision to release Kill Bill in two parts. This is, in their words, a determination based solely upon a desire to respect Tarantino's "artistic vision." If that's the case, then Miramax should offer a free coupon to see Volume 2 with every ticket sold to Volume 1. I bet they won't be doing that." Excuse me, but isn't the alternative to force Tarantino to butcher the story down to a 90 minute film that's nothing but fight scenes? I can't imagine how bitchy your review of that film would be! The fact that Berardinelli cannot seem to fathom the idea that Miramax is taking one hell of a risk in dicing up the film in two parts speaks volumes as to his ignorance of the movie industry. Holy crap... what if Volume 1 tanks? They would still be obligated to release Volume 2 at a huge loss! Do you think that distributing a film and advertising it is free? Do you think that movie theaters can keep their doors open by showing free films? While I don't doubt that Miramax is hopeful that they will make huge bank from having two films... it doesn't make any sense at all to think that this was an easy decision to make. Miramax owes a huge debt to Tarantino for getting their studio on the map with Pulp Fiction. To think that this is anything other than a gift to Quentin so that he can keep his vision for Kill Bill in tact is just stupid. It would be far, far safer for Miramax to take the low road and force a more easily-sellable, butchered version of the movie.

Throughout Kill Bill , I got the sense that Tarantino thinks he is being more clever than he actually is. But, in reality, he's just more clever than James Berardinelli (who, interestingly enough, gives the film 2-1/2 out of 4 stars). I find it astounding that, as a so-called professional film critic, your review consists entirely of petty bitching on how this film is a marketing gimmick by Miramax that's not as good as Pulp Fiction. If you were not so obsessed with the things this film is not and actually concentrated you review on what it actually is, you would see that this is hands-down the most stylish action-revenge flick ever put to film. Berardinelli claims that this is "half-a-movie that runs too long." When a critic's reason for disliking a film isn't about the actual material in the half he saw, but instead is whining because he has to pay to see the ending... it's pretty difficult to take his "review" seriously when other films that are told in parts don't get the same treatment.

UPDATE: After getting a deliciously scathing comment on May 2nd, 2010 berating me for daring to voice my opinion on Berardinelli's opinion (DELETE!), I Googled around and found a genius deconstruction of the guy's reviewing "style" at Your Stupid Minds. Far be it for me to crap all over somebody's passion for film, but now I feel fully justified questioning exactly how this Berardinelli guy got to be a "Top Critic" at Rotten Tomatoes when his reviews are so pedestrian and lacking any kind of real insight or imagination.

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Revolutions… Not

Posted on Saturday, November 8th, 2003

Dave!Just got back from The Matrix: Revolutions and can't imagine that there's any way I could have been more disappointed. What began as a miraculous story with vision and originality in The Matrix disintegrated into a horrid mess of cliches and mundane dialogue interspersed with just enough eye candy to keep me from falling asleep.

Sure the final battle between Zion and the machines has the best special effects ever put to film and are any sci-fi geek's wet dream. Yes the last fight between Smith and Neo above The City was exactly what every super-hero comic fan's been dying to see. But that's just something to look at. What in the hell happened to the story? I didn't mind the fact that Revolutions completely negated or disregarded most everything from Reloaded because, let's face it, there wasn't much worth salvaging (hell, now I'm trying to figure out what the point of Reloaded even was). But what did we get instead? Something even worse.

Neo, who became all-powerful while in the Matrix has somehow inexplicably become super-powered outside the computer world as well, able to shut down Sentinels and blow up machine bombs at will. And what explanation do we get? "The power of The One extends beyond The Matrix." Yeah, whatever. In the beginning of the Matrix trilogy, there was a plan... a prophecy to guide the logic of the story and provide a reality where super-powered kung-fu fighting could happen. By the time we get to Revolutions there is no logic, just a pathetic Christ analogy story with nifty visuals, a conversation with the "Big Giant Head," and more of the Oracle's rambling nonsense at the end. That's a revolution in film-making I don't want. Oh well, we've always got Lord of the Rings: Return of the King coming up (at least that one's got an actual story to it).

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Master and Commander

Posted on Saturday, November 15th, 2003

Dave!From the name of this film, you might think that Master and Commander is some kind of dominatrix-fetish, S&M fantasy flick. You would be wrong. Instead, this is a film loosely adapted from Patrick O'Brian's series of novels chronicling the fictional adventures of Captain Jack "Lucky Jack" Aubrey and his doctor-friend Stephen Maturin during the Napoleonic Wars.

Having never read the books, I didn't know what to expect, and ended up being pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed very much the give-and-take friendship of Aubrey & Maturin, and was glad that fully-realized characters were on-screen as opposed to one-dimensional cut-outs standing in front of the action. Even the lesser players in the film are given a nice level of characterization... including an officer the crew believes is a "Jonah," cursed to bring the ship misfortune, and a young boy who loses an arm but not his spirit in battle.

The action in Master and Commnder is all at once breathtaking and horribly confusing. The broadside battles are really cool to watch, and the brutality of such warfare is captured in detail. But, when it comes to the massive hand-to-hand conflict at the end, it's nearly impossible to tell who is fighting who, and everything degrades into a bunch of anonymous fight scenes that really detach the viewer from the story. If directory Peter Weir had bended historical accuracy a bit, and tried to find a way to better differentiate the opposing forces, I think it would have made for a stronger ending.

Overall, a good historical action film that doesn't suffer from lack of characterization, and is worth a look despite some confusion near the end (and the fact that "Pippin" from the Lord of the Rings films is the ship's helmsman didn't help matters... "where's Frodo, Sam and Merry?" I kept wondering). I will probably give the Patrick O'Brian's source material a read to see if it holds up as well.

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136,800 Minutes

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2003

Dave!On the wall staring at me every morning when I wake up is my framed movie poster for Pulp Fiction... you know the one where Uma is laying on a bed smoking a cigarette, having just put down her trashy pulp novel next to her pistol... which means the first thing I think about every single day is "how much longer do I have to wait before Kill Bill Volume 2 is released?" The answer, as it turns out, is 95 days until the February 20th premier.

Uma Kill Bill Two!

According to TimeAndDate.com, that's 8,208,000 seconds... or 136,800 minutes... or 2280 hours left to go until Uma once again kicks ass with a righteous fury. That's too damn long. If I can't ride my motorcycle and can't watch Uma kill dozens of people, that makes for a pretty boring three months for me. Winter sucks ass.

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Hellboy!

Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2003

Dave!One of my long-time favorite comic books, Mike Mignola's Hellboy, is finally getting a movie treatment by none-other than Guillermo del Toro (who crafted the amazing film "The Devil's Backbone"). Hellboy is the story of a demon who gets drawn to earth at the height of World War II and grows up to be the world's foremost paranormal investigator. The Hellboy comics are filled with all the things that makes comics worth reading, and are a real treat to look at thanks to Mignola's gothic art stylings.

Hellboy.

It's going to be interesting to see how del Toro manages to translate such a visually distinctive work to the big screen, but then I see promotional images from the Hellboy movie site, and it looks encouraging:

Hellboy Movie.

There's Abe Sapien, Hellboy, and Liz Sherman... right out of the comics and come to life! How cool is that? For even more Hellboy coolness, you can also view the movie trailer from Apple. I can hardly wait until April 2nd!

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The Last Samurai

Posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2003

Dave!When I travel, I take along my faithful iBook because it's small, rugged, and has great wireless range. When I get back home, I immediately switch back to my PowerBook G4 because it's easier to work on the bigger screen and the faster processor comes in handy for graphics work. Anyway, I was transferring some files off my iBook this morning and ran across an entry I made about The Last Samurai that didn't get posted...

The Last Samurai.

I wasn't planning on seeing The Last Samurai because I am just not a big Tom Cruise fan. He never seems to stop being Tom Cruise and get lost in the part he's playing, which kind of destroys the immersive experience of watching a movie for me. But when I was in Japan last week I kept seeing these beautiful posters for the film that didn't feature Tom Cruise at all. Then I started seeing these stunning commercials on beautiful high-definition Japanese television that got me thinking that this film might transcend Tom Cruise and actually be worth watching. So when I got back to the States, I managed to catch it in Minneapolis and was really glad I did.

The Last Samurai.

The Last Samurai is not only one of the best films of 2003, it is quite possibly one of the best films ever.

I am rarely emotionally affected by a film... I can count on one hand the films that have moved me to the verge of tears (sappy love stories and hokey dramas just don't do it for me). Given that, you can imagine my complete shock that this would become one of them. And I am still trying to figure out just how that happened. Yes, the film is beautiful... the cinematography is breathtaking and I would gladly sit through 3 hours of it with not a single actor in the frame. Yes, the score is a wonder... the music in the film is a presence that will haunt you long after you leave the theater. Yes, the story is captivating... the Samurai's efforts to preserve a way of life that had existed for centuries is good material. Yes, the acting is top-notch... if Ken Watanabe isn't nominated for an Oscar for his brilliant performance, then the award is as irrelevant as I had thought. And yes... Tom Cruise gives the best performance of his career (unlike many, I thought his work in Born on the 4th of July was self-indulgent and overly-acted). I can only guess that it is all these factors in concert that makes the movie so compelling.

The Last Samurai.

So do yourself a favor and see Tha Last Samurai as soon as you can in a really good theater. It will absolutely not be the same experience if you wait for the DVD. And don't forget to visit the official web site. There's also a pretty good book from the movie available.

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Oscar-Worthy

Posted on Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

Dave!Since everybody else is looking back on the films of 2003, I might as well do the same. And, since I feel the Oscar-winners rarely end up reflecting those actually deserving it, let's go with that...

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. Okay, the award would really be for the entire trilogy not just the final chapter, but Peter Jackson's film version of an un-filmable book is an incredible achievement and is very much Oscar-worthy. Two other films just as worthy: Lost in Translation, which is one of the best character studies ever put to film, and The Last Samurai which is one of the most beautiful films I've seen in years.

Best Actor: Bill Murray for Lost in Translation. Bill Murray is a comic genius that can salvage even the most inane roles (re: Bosley in Charlie's Angels). But it's his more dramatic turns that make him Oscar-worthy. First there was Rushmore, then there was The Royal Tenenbaums, and now his absolute best role to date in Lost in Translation which completely dominates any other actor this year. And the best is yet to come... Bill is re-teaming with Wes Anderson for The Life Aquatic next year!

Best Actress: Uma Thurman for Kill Bill. Oh come on. Forget Jennifer Connely, Nikole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and all the rest... that sappy drama crap is cliche, and each role is interchangeable with the others. Uma's stylish performance elevates this grinder-flick to new heights, which takes a talent no other actress came close to this year.

Best Supporting Actor: Ken Watanabe for The Last Samurai. Easily one of the best performances this year, it really chaps my ass that he will probably be overlooked. Anybody who has seen this film knows Watanabe's quiet dignity and mind-blowing charisma on the screen deserves the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson for Lost in Translation. How many actresses could have held their own against Bill Murray in this film? Very, very few. Johansson actually deserves Best Actress for her stunning work here.

Best Director: Sophia Coppola for Lost in Translation. Yeah, yeah, Peter Jackson did an amazing job for Lord of the Rings. But such effects-heavy films have me question what the role of a director actually is in such a spectacle. And, as if the performances that Coppola managed to coax from Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson weren't enough, she wrote Lost in Translation as well. Every scene was perfectly orchestrated for effect, then sewn together to create a film that was brilliant and Oscar-worthy.

My only regret is not finding a place for Johnny Depp in my list. His performances in Pirates of the Caribbean and Once Upon a Time in Mexico were classics in 2003. Likewise, I haven't a clue as to where Master and Commander should go, but that was a pretty good flick as well.

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Miramax Sucks Ass

Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2004

Dave!One of the only things that was going to make my non-motorcycle-riding winter worthwhile was the coming of Kill Bill 2 on February 20. I was already pissed off that I had to wait that long, but today Variety breaks the news that Miramax has moved the release date to April 13. That's 94 days... over three freakin' months... away.

Uma Kill Bill Two!

What the f#@%?!? The movie is done, what in the hell are we waiting for? I didn't complain when the movie was split in half... whatever Quentin needs to fulfill his vision for the film is fine with me, but to pull something like this is unforgivable and doesn't make any sense at all. Fans of the first film... YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE YOU MIRAMAX DUMB ASSES... are dying to see part 2, and you now go out of your way to piss them off? If this stupidity is due to coinciding with a DVD release or some other moronic marketing crap I will be very disappointed. If this were any other film, I'd boycott the theatrical release just to be happy knowing that I didn't support Miramax for being such bastards. But it's Uma kicking ass on the big screen, so what can you do?

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Sign Me Up!

Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2004

Dave!Okay... a movie featuring motorcycles and hottie biker babes (called Torque)? Who is the genius behind such a perfect concept? Oog... looks like it's über-producer Bruce Berman. The guy has his share of hits (well, one anyway: The Matrix) and complete misses (Matrix: Reloaded, Matrix: Revolutions and just about everything else), so I guess it's anybody's guess as to how bad this movie might suck.

Torque: The Movie!

Watching the Torque trailer, I can see that they are mixing in some special-effects for the trickier (i.e., impossible) riding shots. I guess it will make for a more exciting movie, but it kind of sucks that reality is so blatantly absent from every film that hits the screen now-a-days. Oh well, I'm sure all the breasts are real...

Torque Biker Babe!

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Speaking of South Park…

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

Dave!I ran across a proposed bill that would ban all "objectionable" language from radio and television. Now I can't get the song "It's Easy Mmmkay" (from the South Park movie) out of my head as I try to mentally picture radio shock jocks trying to learn how to stop swearing on the air...

South Park: The Movie

You can do it Its all up to you-mmmmmkay.
With a little plan you can change your life today!
You dont have to spend your life addicted to smack...
Homeless on the streets giving handjobs for crack.
Follow my plan and very soon you will see, its easy mmmkay...
Step 1: Instead of ass say buns, like "kiss my buns" or "you're a buns hole."
Step 2: Instead of shit say poo, as in "bull poo", "poo head" and this "poo is cold."
Step 3: With bitch drop the t because bich is latin for generosity.
Step 4: Dont say f#@% any more because f#@% is the worst word that you can say!
So just use the word "mmmkay!"

South Park: The Movie

Now, out of respect for others, I never swear in mixed company... oh no, I save that kind of language for my friends, family, and this blog. But I have to say that harsh words have lost their shock value to me anymore... through years of constant exposure, words like "f#@%" have no more worse meaning to me than "darn." Yes, it's a shame that today's youth have turned into foul-mouthed little perverts... but what's the use in stopping the swearing on radio and television when kids can hear far worse on the school playground? Mmmkay?

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Oscar Buzz

Posted on Wednesday, January 28th, 2004

Dave!I had already given my take on who should be winning an Oscar this year, but thought I would do a rough follow-up now that nominations are out:

Best picture: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," "Lost in Translation," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," "Mystic River, " "Seabiscuit." Who should win: This is a really tough call since the first three are all Oscar-worthy. I previously theorized that Return of the King should win based on the strength of the entire trilogy, but in retrospect I feel Lost in Translation is the better film. Who will win: I am guessing Return of the King has the edge.

Best Actor: Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"; Ben Kingsley, "House of Sand and Fog"; Jude Law, "Cold Mountain"; Bill Murray, "Lost in Translation"; Sean Penn, "Mystic River." Who should win: Absolutely Bill Murray... not even a contest (though Johnny Depp made that film). Who will win: Bill Murray... how could he not?

Best Actress: Keisha Castle-Hughes, "Whale Rider"; Diane Keaton, "Something's Gotta Give"; Samantha Morton, "In America"; Charlize Theron, "Monster"; Naomi Watts, "21 Grams." Who should win: Uma's Kill Bill performance was overlooked (idiots!), and the only one of these films I saw was the excellent Whale Rider, so I have no clue. Who will win: It looks like Charlize Theron has the edge, though Nicole Kidman is a Hollywood darling that could prove an upset.

Supporting actor: Alec Baldwin, "The Cooler"; Benicio Del Toro, "21 Grams"; Djimon Hounsou, "In America"; Tim Robbins, "Mystic River"; Ken Watanabe, "The Last Samurai." Who should win: I admit I haven't seen all these films, but I don't need to... Ken Watanabe's performance was one of the best I have ever seen in a film. Who will win: My guess is Tim Robbins.

Supporting actress: Shohreh Aghdashloo, "House of Sand and Fog"; Patricia Clarkson, "Pieces of April"; Marcia Gay Harden, "Mystic River"; Holly Hunter, "Thirteen"; Renee Zellweger, "Cold Mountain." Who should win: I didn't see any of these films, but Holly Hunter stands out because she doesn't usually lower herself to dramatic pap like "Cold Mountain." Who will win: Renee Zellweger can't seem to get any hotter in Hollywood right now.

Best Director: Fernando Meirelles, "City of God"; Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"; Sofia Coppola, "Lost in Translation"; Peter Weir, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"; Clint Eastwood, "Mystic River." Who should win: I maintain that the direction of special-effects spectacles like Rings is too much in the hands of people at the computers rather than directors... so Sophia Coppola easily gets my nod for best director of Translation which she wrote as well. Who will win: They'll probably give it to Jackson for Rings just because of the mammoth effort it took to film the entire trilogy (and that's not entirely wrong, I think).

Best Animated film: "Brother Bear"; "Finding Nemo"; "The Triplets of Belleville." Who should win: The magic that Pixar pulled off in Nemo gets my vote (though Triplets is brilliant). Who will win: Nemo.

As for the other awards... Original screenplay: Sophia Coppola should win and probably will. Adapted screenplay: This is an area where Lord of the Rings deserves to win... it's the impossible task somehow done really well, but I have a feeling Cold Mountain will take it. Art direction: Both Last Samurai and Master and Commander are deserving, and Samurai should take it. Cinematography: Last Samurai really should have been nominated but, since it wasn't, Cold Mountain will probably grab it.

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Uma Teaser Trailer Goodness

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Dave!Roger made my morning by sending me the link to the new Kill Bill Vol. 2 Teaser Trailer that's up at Yahoo in glorious QuickTime (I have no idea why Apple doesn't have it on their trailers page). Somehow I managed to miss it when it was posted last week.

Kill Bill 2 Teaser Trailer

While this does nothing to ease my anger about Miramax pushing back the February 20th premiere date to April... it does make me happy to know that the film is out there somewhere.

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Lost and Found

Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Dave!I didn't think it was possible to ruin the perfection that is Sofia Coppola's brilliant character study Lost in Translation. Unfortunately, I was wrong. As I just found out, you can ruin a film on DVD. All you have to do is make it so that the viewer cannot simply insert the disc and watch the film... you force them to watch dumb-ass previews first...

Prisoner of Universal

Try hitting the "menu" button so you can watch the film and what do you get? OPERATION FORBIDDEN! You can fast forward through the previews, but you cannot stop them, and that sucks ass! I paid for the movie not your f#@%ing advertising you Universal Studios bastards.

Mr. Bill is Lost

Anyway, this is one of my favorites for 2003 and is highly recommended. But don't rent it expecting to see a cutsey romance or a film that does the thinking for you... this is very different. You are simply an observer of two people that find each other in an ocean of oddities that is a different culture. It is a film of quiet moments that allows you to decide for yourself who these people are and what they are thinking. It's not Hollywood, it's real life. You don't watch it, you experience it.

Tokyo Nights

As and added bonus, Lost in Translation also does an amazing job of capturing what it is like to be a foreigner in Japan. Numerous times while watching I had a touch of déjà vu that mirrored my own experiences from my travels to the land of the rising sun. It is respectful of Japanese culture, yet not afraid of poking fun at how foreigners perceive it (which is why I find it ludicrous that some people are calling this film "racist").

About the only thing missing from the DVD was a commentary track... I would have loved to hear Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson comment on the various scenes and what went into making them so wonderful to look at. What you do get is a short documentary by Sofia's then-husband Spike Jonze called "Lost on Location" that reveals how difficult it was to film "guerilla-style" in the streets of Tokyo without permits, prior arrangements, or a firm grasp of the language! The only thing that's more astounding than the film itself is what they had to go through to make it.

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Star Wars on DVD

Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Dave!The good news is that today Lucasfilm distributed a press release confirming that the original "holy trinity" of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi will finally be released on DVD in September. The bad news is that these will be the same crappy and much unimproved "Special Editions" from 1997. You know, the version where distracting computer-generated characters are crammed into every frame and Greedo tries to shoot Han Solo first? LAME! I had at least hoped that the original versions of the film would be a selectable option for those of us who love and remember the way they were first shown... you know, when Han Solo really was the scoundrel smuggler that Leia accused him of being... who shoots first and asks questions later... not some whiner in desperate need of a bitch-slapping.

StarWars

I simply don't understand how Lucas could be such a twit. First he creates one of the greatest films of all time in Star Wars, then follows that up with an even better film in Empire Strikes Back, only to flush the entire franchise down the toilet with Return of the Jedi (featuring dancing teddy bears, burp and fart jokes, and general moronic stupidity). I won't even go into the flaming pile of shit that is Episode 1 & 2... with even more burp and fart jokes and, heaven help us, Jar Jar Binks. Please, somebody stop Lucas before he can kill again!

Oh well. I still own the originals on LaserDisc, so I suppose I can always go and burn my own copy of the real films onto DVD. Problem is, I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT!! I can only hope that when George Lucas dies one of these days that his kids have more sense than he does and allows a re-release of the originals on DVD (or holocube or whatever media we'll be using then). Don't we true Star Wars fans deserve that much?

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Oscar Bait

Posted on Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Dave!Since Billy Crystal came back to hosting the Academy Awards, I decided to have them playing while I worked... Funniest Moment: Adrian Brody's breath freshener (runner up: any moment with Billy Crystal). Most Deserved Oscar: Sofia Coppola's original screenplay (runner up: Finding Nemo's best animated film). Most Undeserved Oscar: Sean Penn's best actor... he's good, but dozens of other actors could have played that role equally well, whereas nobody else could have pulled off Bill Murray's performance in Lost in Translation. Best Unrecognized Performance: Uma Thurman from Kill Bill.... again, how many other actresses could have pulled that off? Best Speech: Renée Zellweger's best supporting actress. Worst Speech: Sean Penn's not-so witty WMD comment (I feel the exact same, but it was completely inappropriate here... Tim Robbins was able to restrain himself, but you couldn't? Dick.)... oh hell, all of the speeches were pretty terrible, because all I heard after the first 20 seconds was "blah blah blah blah blah." Hottest Babe: Jennifer Garner (runners up: Catherine Zeta Jones, Charlize Theron). Most-Missed Babe: Halle Berry.

Dave & Oscar

Overall a pretty good show. The only lingering question is whether Lord of the Rings deserved such overwhelming praise... best adapted screenplay, absolutely... best special effects, definitely... but the others? Perhaps. As I mentioned before, I honestly think that it is winning not for the film Return of the King that was nominated, but is instead winning for the entire trilogy. When thinking about it that way, perhaps it is deserving.

   

Selma

Posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

Dave!Selma Blair is one of those actresses that seems to hover on the fringes of Hollywood, taking memorable small roles in an eclectic mix of films and TV. I first remember her from the television bomb Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane and later from the most excellent film Cruel Intentions (where she makes out with Sarah Michelle Gellar in Central Park... sweet!). Then Selma moved on to Legally Blonde and an underrated Cameron Diaz film called The Sweetest Thing.

And now she's playing Liz Sherman in Hellboy which could be her best role yet... I can't wait to see it.

Selma Hellboy

To promote the movie, Selma has been doing the talk-show circuit. I knew from previous interviews that she was funny, but something else is going on now... Selma is hot. While scanning TiVo from yesterday, I ran across her appearance on Ellen where she took my breath away...

Selma 2

Yes. I think the word you are looking for is "radiant."

My favorite part of the interview was when Ellen was asking about Selma's one-eyed dog "Wink"...
Ellen: So his eye was missing when you found him?
Selma: No, but I thought he was cuter that way, sooo...

Selma and Wink

Classic! Yep, I'm in love again. A pity she just got married to Ahmet Zappa.

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I miss Phil

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2004

Dave!I just got done watching the Biography tribute to Phil Hartman and it once again hit me how much I miss that man. He was unquestionably one of the funniest people on the planet, and his work on Saturday Night Live makes him my favorite SNL player to date (who could forget Phil as Sinatra? Donahue? Clinton? and so many others?). And then there were his standout characters of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure on The Simpsons. And, of course, his brilliant performance of Bill McNeil on News Radio.

I miss Phil

Every time I hear a voiceover that Phil did... or run across an old show or movie Phil was in... my heart sinks a bit as I wonder how many other wonderful projects he could have made for me to laugh with had he not been killed. Phil, you are much missed.

   

Rebel Yell

Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2004

Dave!Excuse me for a minute... Billy Idol just came on Random Play from my iTunes jukebox...

Rockin Out

This is why it's so cool to be able to have all 8626 of my songs with me wherever I go. Just put my iPod or iTunes on random and anything from my music-listening past can come back to haunt me. Billy rocks!

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Kill Bill v2

Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2004

Dave!Yes! More Uma ass-kicking goodness was to be had with Kill Bill: Volume 2. It was not as intense as the first part (which makes it seem a bit boring by comparison) but I'd imagine once Quentin edits them back together into the single film it was meant to be that it will even out a bit. In any event, the wait was worth it... the fight between Uma and Daryl was perfect (and gave me a BladeRunner flashback). As with all of Tarantino's movies, I was left wanting more (much more of Pai Mei!), hopefully in ten years Quentin will make good on his promise and bless us with Volume 3.

Uma!

In the meanwhile, the trailer for Hero with Jet Li has a definite Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon vibe with lush visuals and some cool special effects. Absolutely looking forward to that one.

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Utah Movie Night

Posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2004

Dave!Inbetween work, work, and more work, I've made an effort to see a couple of movies because that's something I don't get to do very often. A quick run to the TomatoMeter over at Rotten Tomatoes revealed only two current movies that have a rating of "fresh"... 13 Going on 30 and Mean Girls. So two "chick flicks" it is then!

Chick Flicks

13 Going on 30: Surprisingly enjoyable. It's the same premise as Big except instead of Tom Hanks, we get the sweet hotness of Jennifer Gardner who all of a sudden becomes a grown-up overnight. What makes this version different is that time has passed, meaning that all the kids from her childhood are grown up as well (including her best friend, played by the always cool Mark Ruffalo). Any doubts about Jennifer Gardner's star power will be buried with this film and, if there's any justice in Hollywood, this will be a major break for her (but hopefully not so much that she'll quit Alias!). In the final analysis, I probably enjoyed this more than Big, and can easily recommend it for a rental.

Mean Girls: I was actually looking forward to this movie since it is the feature film writing debut of my current crush... Tina Fey (who also has a small part in it). Sadly, while smartly written, it's just not very funny. Mean girls rule the school and getting revenge ends up not being the best solution. Lesson learned, movie over. Maybe young girls will get more out of it than I did (I certainly hope so, because mean people suck!).

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Lucas Sucks Ass

Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Dave!How do you make the shitty finale to two of the greatest movies of all time suck even worse than it already does? Well, with Return of the Jedi, it's not that hard to do... I mean, you've already diminished the Star Wars franchise to teddy bears and burp and fart jokes... but that didn't stop George Lucas from finding a way. Oh no... when it comes to f#@%ing up movies, Geroge Lucas is the master. His latest shot at blasphemy is igniting a firestorm across the internet and, if it proves to be true, is going to make me very cross indeed.

Lucas Sucks Ass

WHAT IN THE HELL?!?!!!

I've already ranted about how much I loathe Lucas for his inane "prequels" and his tampering with his original Star Wars (HAN SOLO SHOOTS FIRST YOU MORON!) but, as bad as Return of the Jedi is, IT'S NOT EVEN GEORGE'S FILM!! It was directed by Richard Marquand!

WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE STOP LUCAS?

At the end of Jedi, Luke saves his father from the Dark Side... meaning that Anakin Skywalker is redeemed and gets to take his place as a Jedi in the "afterlife" (or whatever). THAT'S why Luke sees his father... THE MAN HE JUST RESCUED... standing next to Yoda and Obi-Wan there in Jedi attire.

IT MAKES NO SENSE THAT LUKE WOULD SEE "YOUNG ANAKIN" at the end! I mean, how would he even recognize him? Why didn't Yoda and Obi-Wan reverse in age when they died? Where is the man that Luke saved? Bah. I guess I won't be selling my LaserDisc player anytime soon, since that's the only way I can ever see the Star Wars films when they were any good.

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Super Too

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Dave!As some of you know (or have guessed) I grew up a comic book fanatic. One of the greatest moments in my young life was seeing a comic book finally come to life in a film... a good film... in 1978 when Superman: The Movie was released. For the first time, things on the screen were matching what my young mind had been envisioning all along. For the first time, I believed a man could fly.

Two years later, a surprising thing happened. A sequel was released (Superman II) that was actually better than the original. Seeing Superman battling it out with the Phantom Zone Villains over Metropolis on the big screen is a memory that gives me goose-bumps to this day.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Superman II film which director Richard Donner intended to release never came to pass, and the film I actually saw was a butchered version of a much better film.

Given that Superman II is still one of the best super-hero comic films ever... even 24 years later... nothing would make me happier than to see the movie as it was supposed to be. And now that the film's 25th anniversary is approaching next year, it's the perfect time to do it. That's why I will be adding my voice to those good people at the Forbidden Zone who are petitioning Warner Brothers to let Donner "fix" the film...

Restore Superman II

If you want to read about the amazing film that Superman II could have been, there is an excellent analysis over at Superman Cinema. If you want to do something to try and get the film restored, go to the Forbidden Zone and see how you can help.

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Klaatu Barada Nikto

Posted on Friday, June 4th, 2004

Dave!I was channel surfing and ran across one of my favorite films of all time... The Day The Earth Stood Still, so naturally I was compelled to watch it for the hundredth time. It still sends me into shock when I realize that the movie is over fifty years old, yet is more relevant today than ever. Even though it is in black & white, it is beautifully shot, wonderfully paced, incredibly acted, and has special effects and a music score decades ahead of its time. The film is timeless...

The Day The Earth Stood Still

I take a look at this, then look at the crappy state of today's science fiction, and just want to chop somebody up with a light saber. Back then a film meant something. Whereas today, we've got loonies like George Lucas destroying sci-fi with burp and fart jokes, paper-thin characters, and Jar Jar Frickin' Binks.

"I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet. But if you threaten to extend your violence, this earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder."

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Movie of Dreams

Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2004

Dave!Fifteen years ago my favorite film of all time, Field of Dreams was released. To mark this anniversary, they've released a new edition on DVD that includes a few more extras than the previous release, including never-before seen deleted scenes. Fortunately director Phil Alden Robinson resisted the urge to go insane, "pull a George Lucas," and completely f#@% up a perfect movie... everything is exactly as he left it years ago.

Field of Dreams

I still cannot figure out what is so appealing to me about this film that nothing else has come along to knock it off the top of my list. I've seen it dozens of times, never get tired of watching it, and will probably watch it dozens of more times in the future. There's just something magic about Field of Dreams.

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Spidey Too

Posted on Monday, July 5th, 2004

Dave!It's about time. I've been waiting twenty-four long years for a comic book movie to approach the greatness that was Superman & Superman II, and finally Sam Raimi delivers in spades with the wonderment that is Spider-Man 2. I was a comic book geek that was beginning to lose hope, but now salvation is at hand...

Spider-Man 2

This is not to say that other movies haven't come close... the original Batman was pretty good... Daredevil was better than most people gave it credit for... Hellboy and Blade were serious contenders... even the first Spider-Man flick was a step in the right direction. But it wasn't until Spidey 2 that everything came full circle and you could believe (if just for a moment) that comic books could be real. Not only that, but director Raimi also gives his fans a few inside jokes and is having a bit more fun this time around (Bruce Campbell? Chain-saws? I want another Evil Dead movie now!).

But forget about all that... do you know why this movie works? It's not a big secret: THEY RESPECTED THE SOURCE MATERIAL!! If the huge box-office continues, Spider-Man 2 will be the biggest movie in history, which is why I am all the more puzzled at films like the new Catwoman fiasco that in no way resembles the source material and is sure to be a complete bomb because, HELLO, IT'S NOT CATWOMAN!!

Spider-Man is successful as a fictional character because he's a good fictional character. His history has been refined and built-up for decades... there's no need to f#@% with it, and Raimi understands this. If only we could get him to direct the next X-Men film as well. Hell, if only we could get him to direct all super-hero movies! But, talented as he is, Raimi can't be everywhere at once, which is why I offer Dave's Top Five Tips on How NOT to f#@%-Up a Comic Book Movie in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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Painful

Posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Dave!Well crap! In preparation for my impending vacation holiday, I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my back. It hurts to walk. It hurts to type this. It hurts to breathe. I can't figure out what I did. Just all of a sudden, wham, welcome to the house of pain. About an hour later I met up with some friends to go see The Bourne Supremacy, and think I made things worse by sitting in a cramped theater seat for two hours instead of staying home and laying down flat.

Fortunately, the movie was pretty darn good. Fast paced, with an entertaining (if fairly straight-forward) plot and a serviceable performance by Matt Damon and Franka Potente (from Run Lola Run fame). I think I liked it even better than the first one. Kind of sweet that we get yet another excellent sequel (like Spider-Man 2!) since they are usually pretty lame the second time around. Here's hoping that the film is a success so we can see a big-screen treatment of The Bourne Ultimatum!

I like the Robert Ludlum novels I've read, but haven't yet taken a look at the Bourne books, so I'll have to give them a try. It will give me something to do instead of lying here in bed moaning in agony.

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Terrorize This

Posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Dave!The trailer for Trey & Matt's new movie Team America: World Police is up (in Quicktime, thankfully). If it's even half as good as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, I will be very, very happy. The hard part is having to wait until October to see it... I want to see it now. "Putting the "F" back in Freedom" indeed.

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Clerks2

Posted on Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Dave!I just read that Kevin Smith, fresh off his Jersey Girl flop, has decided to return to where he began and make a sequel to Clerks which he is calling The Passion of the Clerks. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I am thrilled that Smith will be again delving into the familiar territory we know and love. On the other, I am terrified that he will pull a George Lucas and needlessly trash some of my favorite movie characters...

Clerks!

I suppose that I should give the guy the benefit of the doubt, because I loved the Clerks animated series. And if there's even a small chance that he will approach the greatness that is Chasing Amy, then perhaps it's worth the risk? But can we at least get rid of the cheesy "Passion" title? South Park already beat you to it, so it's just lame now.

It's just a little over a week until my Clerks: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD set gets here. That's something I have no mixed feelings about... I can't wait!

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Howl

Posted on Sunday, September 5th, 2004

Dave!My jealousy is in overdrive right now because people at the Venice Film Festival got to see the latest Miyazaki animated masterpiece: Howl's Moving Castle (based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones). As if the fact that they are in freakin' Venice isn't cool enough, they also get to see what is sure to be one of the best films of the year...

Howl's Moving Castle

I have blogged several times about my love for all things Miyazaki (he's entry #38 in my "One Hundred Things"), and feel that his stuff is equal to anything Pixar has ever done, and surpasses anything I've seen come out of Disney. Everything he touches is magic, which is why I was devastated when rumors were running around that he would be retiring after his previous piece of genius Spirited Away. Fortunately, his love of children put retirement on hold so he could get this movie made (possibly because it has a strong anti-war message?). Is it too much to hope that he will get a few more movies out before he really retires? I hear he is in poor health and couldn't make it to the festival, so I offer my best wishes for a quick recovery.

The film debuts in Japan on November 20th, so who knows when it will ever reach us here in the States. A preview in Quicktime is available (select "Media" - stunning!). And the official website is up as well (Japanese only).

If only I could afford another trip to Japan this year.

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Steam

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

Dave!As if it weren't enough that Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is coming... Ain't it Cool reports that Katsuhiro Otomo's first feature-length film since his masterpiece Akira is finally nearing completion: Steamboy! As you would expect, it looks absolutely amazing, and I have no idea how I am going to be able to wait for it to appear here in the States once I saw the brilliant images they have up at Monsters & Critics...

Steamboy

The film takes place in kind of an "alternate universe" version of Victorian London, which I'm sure will look stunning. It's supposed to be a much more "family-friendly" film than Akira, but fans of Otomo's ability to blow stuff up should not be disappointed. Here we see the Tower Bridge taking quite a hit...

Steamboy2

Otomo packs so much into every frame of his films that it is imperative to see them on the big screen in a really good theater. Since there are only a handful of theaters in the States I consider to be "really good," I wonder where I will end up flying to in order to see it? Now if only Otomo would adapt his excellent manga "Domu: A Child's Dream" into anime.

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Zhang!

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2004

Dave!Last night after a long day of work, we returned to the city and decided to walk around Insadong so I could buy a few souvenirs to take back with me. This famous shopping area of Seoul is kind of a divide between the old and new of the city, and packed with tourists and natives alike. As night began to fall, we wandered towards the "new side," which reminds me a lot of Tokyo when the bright lights and lively signage is ignited...

Seoul Lights

After shopping, we decided to go see a new movie from China called Shi mian mai fu (which translates to House of Flying Daggers). I've been dying to see Hero but that film had come and gone to Asia over a year ago (even though it is just now making it to the States) and House of Flying Daggers looked as though it might be similar in a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon kind of way... especially since they both star the astoundingly talented and beautiful Ziyi Zhang...

House of Flying Daggers

House of Flying Daggers

I didn't have much trouble following the story even though the film was in spoken Chinese with Korean subtitles. Unfortunately, I think I would have enjoyed myself more if I didn't understand the story! While the film is beautifully shot, has some kick-ass fight sequences, and features Ziyi Zhang being as captivating as ever... the tale itself was mostly laughable with boring stretches that send you into a coma.

The plot basically involves a young blind girl (Zhang) who works as a dancer, but is suspected by two policeman-friends to have secret ties to a team of revolutionaries known as the "House of Flying Daggers." Once she is captured, the police guys decide that they should rescue her, and a bizarre love story filled with inept surprises, mind-boggling plot twists, and over-the top drama ensues. At one point I had to resist the urge to stand up and scream "would you people just die already!" because there is only so much drama I can take in one sitting. Even so, I'll probably buy it on DVD so I can relive the scenery and fight sequences.

Oh well. All-in-all it was a pretty good way to spend my last night in Korea. After breakfast, I'm packing up and heading home.

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Emmybulism

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2004

Dave!Security: The big news in travel this week is the impending "update" to airport security, which allows TSA screeners to more thoroughly pat-down people with suspicious bulges in their clothing. To alleviate fears about possible misconduct, the TSA assures passengers that any pat-downs will be performed by screeners of the same sex. That's terrific, because having the "suspicious bulge" in my crotch patted down by another guy while the entire airport watches makes me feel so much safer about flying.

20/20: Lucky us! Barbara Walters has an exclusive interview with child-raping piece of shit Mary Kay LeTourneau this Friday on 20/20! I hope I can overcome my compulsion to watch. Can somebody remind me again why it is that she isn't still in jail?

Incredible: Yet another trailer for The Incredibles is out. I can't possibly express how badly I want to see this film, which looks like it just might be the best thing Pixar's done yet. Having Samuel L. Jackson as a super-hero doesn't hurt, but having Brad Bird (of Iron Giant fame) writing and directing is the movie's biggest asset.

Incredibles

Stonebridge: The number of blog visitors I am getting because of the ass-hats at Stonebridge Life Insurance continues to grow. It would seem these idiots are still harassing people with their never-ending telemarketing calls. Tired of the constant hang-ups, victims are entering the phone number from Caller-ID into Google and getting my blog entries bitching about it here and here. Pathetic. At what point is the FCC going to step in and bitch-slap Stonebridge Life for this abuse?

Miami: The ads for the season opener of CSI: Miami are saying that "one won't survive." Is it too much to hope that David Caruso's character is the one to die? I would actually watch the show if he weren't on it because I like Emily Proctor. Why not put her in charge?

Emmy: For the most part, I think the Emmys completely suck. Rarely does the person or series most deserving of the honor ever win... heck, most of the time they aren't even nominated. Where is Wonderfalls? Dead Like Me? Angel? And sure Scrubs was nominated for best writing (and lost) but it deserved so much more, because it is easily the funniest sitcom running right now. And don't even get me started about Sharon Stone winning over Betty White for best guest appearance. Still, a few nice things happened: Drea de Matteo, The Daily Show, and James Spader all deserved those wins.

   

Dave Approved: Clerks X

Posted on Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

Dave!Clerks is one of those films that I can watch over and over without ever tiring of seeing it. It's not the best made film, and it's certainly not well-acted, but it's so smartly written that it's easy to forgive just about any other offense. Kevin Smith just has this amazing insight into how people think, and is somehow able to translate that into characters that seem eerily more life-like than real life. The film is a day in the life of two clerks Dante and Randall, as they work their way through life, love, and annoying customers. Sure the premise may sound boring, but it somehow ends up being one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.

Clerks X

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the film's release, Miramax has released the ultimate Clerks 3-DVD collector's set. It includes the theatrical release of the film with original commentary and trivia track, the Sundance Cut with all-new commentary, and a new documentary called The Snowball Effect that talks to just about everybody ever involved with the film. You also get a number of extra features, with two of them alone being worth the price of admission.

The first, Clerks: The Missing Scene fills in the gap as to what exactly happened at the funeral home when Dante and Randall went to Julie Dwyer's funeral. Rather than filming the scene, they decided to animate it in the glorious style of the Clerks: The Animated Series cartoons. I read the story in a comic book that Smith released years ago, but this was magic. This one scene more closely binds Clerks into the Mallrats and Chasing Amy trilogy and fills in some back-story for Dante that enhances the original film.

The second, Flying Car is a sweet short film that Kevin Smith created for an appearance on The Late Show. Until I saw this short, I was hesitant about Smith creating his sequel: Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks, but now I can't wait. Something about seeing this brilliant exchange of dialogue that only Dante and Randall can deliver has left me wanting more...

Flying Car

Of the "Jersey Trilogy," Chasing Amy is easily my favorite. But it's hard to ignore the movie that got everything started, and Clerks is a brilliant piece of filmmaking in its own right. If you've never experienced it before (and don't mind a little X-rated dialogue, drug references, and a lot of swearing), this new 10th Anniversary edition is probably the best way outside of a theater to see it. If the impending sequel is half as good, it will still be one of the best movies of 2005.

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Bitching

Posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2004

Dave!Lucas: Finally got around to watching the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set in-between my marathon work sessions, and am still amazed at how Lucas could have created such genius in the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, only to completely flush the franchise down the toilet with the inane Return of the Jedi and horrifyingly bad prequels. Diminishing Star Wars to a series of burp and fart jokes that's riddled with insipid characters like "Ewoks" and "Jar Jar Binks" so you can sell more toys to the kiddies is about as lame as lame gets. The changes he made to Episodes IV and V are upsetting, but whatever. I don't give a crap about the changes he made to any of the other films, because they all suck. Still, if you're a Star Wars geek, the set is well worth picking up (but then you probably knew that).

Empire: Is not The Empire Strikes Back one of the most perfect action-adventure flicks ever?

Kryptonite: Some idiot in Toronto is organizing a TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS lawsuit against Kryptonite, the lock makers, because the cylindrical locks they manufacture are easily defeated by using a Bic pen. It's disturbing to know that America's sue-happy mentality is infecting other countries. I own a Kryptonite lock for my motorcycle. Am I upset that the lock can be so easily picked open? Yes. Am I pissed off that Kryptonite has known about this failing for a decade and chose to ignore it? Sure. But do I think the company should be sued for TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS when they have volunteered to contact all registered customers and exchange the locks free of charge? No way! I mean, come on! If your bike was stolen because your Kryptonite lock was defeated, then YES... by all means sue the bastards! But if you've not been a victim of their incompetence, what right do you have to sue them? Just exchange your busted lock for a free new one and shut up. The millions of dollars Kryptonite is already going to have to pay to fix the situation is punishment enough for their stupidity. I mean, TWO HUNDRED MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS?!? f#@%ing lawyer ass-hats.

Panasonishit: Panasonic just called to sell me an extended warranty on the piece-of-crap DVD recorder I bought. I felt compelled to ask the saleslady why in the heck I would buy an extended warranty for the junk when it has never worked properly and Panasonic hasn't been able to fix it? Nothing I have ever bought from this company has worked right. Not my VCR. Not my Phone. Definitely not my DVD recorder. Panasonic gear is crap, and the fact that they don't support their customers when it fails makes Panasonic a shitty company that will NEVER get another penny of my money.

Mars: The new television season is pretty bad, but I happened across a show called Veronica Mars that took me by surprise. Then I saw it was created by Rob Thomas and understood why it was good... he's the brilliant mind behind the greatest TV show of all time: Cupid. Only the stupid bastards at ABC would cancel such brilliance. Yargh!

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Fantastic

Posted on Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

Dave!When it comes to comic books, I've always been more of a "DC guy" than a "Marvel guy." During the late 70' when I got into comics, all the cool books were at DC: Green Lantern, The Flash, Batman, Legion of Super-heroes and the rest. But there was one Marvel book that I read faithfully. One book that was so cosmic in scope that it dwarfed all others. One book that dared to go where others fear to tread. I am talking, of course, about the Fantastic Four.

With the huge successes of other Marvel properties like Spider-Man and X-Men, it was only a matter of time before "The World's Greatest Comics Magazine" was given the big-screen treatment. There was an earlier attempt at an FF movie, but it was reported to be so bad that they were embarrassed to release it. I can only hope that this time they get it right, and manage to come up with something as terrific as the Spidey flicks.

Recently, photos have been released of the characters they've developed for the movie. If you can get past the dorky poses, Mr. Fantastic, The Thing, and The Human Torch don't look too bad. They've got kind of an Alex Ross look to them (although The Thing does look a bit puny in this shot, and Johnny doesn't have blonde hair)...

FF_Boys.jpg

But here's where things get interesting. They've cast the sweet hotness that is Jessica Alba to play The Invisible Woman! Alba, who kicked serious ass in the first season of Dark Angel, is an interesting choice. I can only hope that this means the director is going to make the character be an actual participant in the fights instead of pretty window dressing on the sidelines, because nothing could be better than a hottie like Alba kicking butt. Especially when she looks like this doing it...

FF_Alba.jpg

Oh yeah! Halle Berrie's suck-ass Catwoman, eat your heart out (and speaking of Catwoman, why in the heck can't DC make a decent movie from their books? Everything after Superman II has sucked).

Anyway, if the movie pans out, I wonder what it would take for the films to start having fun with the characters like they do in the comics. Have the FF make a guest shot in the next Spider-Man film. Make a few X-Men show up in the Fantastic Four sequel. Have the actors put aside their egos and million-dollar paychecks to just have a bit of fun and give the fans a treat. That's what comic books are all about, and the movies should be too.

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Liz

Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Dave!I think today shall be declared Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day! Well, for me every day is Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day, but I'm not letting that stop me. After having gotten Kazza to post a photo of the delectable Ms. Hurley in her blog, I decided to do the same. To top off this day of delights, I think I shall have to watch Bedazzled for the fiftieth time (nothing is quite so very nice as watching Liz being very naughty!).

Again, much link love goes out to the Sexy Sexy Elizabeth Hurley Pictures site, from which I have swiped this photo. It is easily one of the best sites on the Internet, and I highly recommend that you go there and spend an hour or two admiring breathtaking photos like this one...

Elizabeth Hurley Appreciation Day

Lovely. Perhaps this will have to be a double-feature night and I'll watch Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery along with Bedazzled. It's not like one can ever get enough of Elizabeth Hurley.

   

Blogateria

Posted on Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

Dave!Blogography: I awoke this morning to find a baker's dozen of emails from kind people asking me not to shut down my blog (apparently in reaction to my entry yesterday). Sorry to mislead you, but I'm not planning on it anytime soon. I was just wondering how much longer I would continue given that quite a few bloggers seem to be giving it up. Besides, when I started this blog (after two previous failures) I made a commitment to myself that I would stick around for 1000 entries, and this is only #605.

Commentary: It's a mystery to me that I receive far more emails than visitor comments for my blog. From yesterday I got 2 comments but 13 emails? Thinking that perhaps people are afraid to leave comments because an email address is required, I've made some changes... 1) No personal information is required to comment anymore, and 2) If you do leave an email address for personal correspondence, it will never be displayed. I have no idea if it will make any difference, but you can now leave completely anonymous comments if you like (by leaving the name, email, and link fields blank).

Listen: Since I had to rebuild all 604 pages to remove the commenting requirements, I made a few other changes as well. First of all, I've added a link to my FAQ and other info about me to the menu there on the left. Second, the "Dave Gallery" now links to my Flickr album. Third, I've added a "Listening" item to the menu which shows what embarrassing 80's pop music I'm listening to at the moment (currently, that would be Until She Comes, a beautiful song by the Psychedelic Furs).

Angelina: I just saw a trailer for the new Angelina Jolie movie coming out called Mr. & Mrs. Smith (which also stars Brad Pitt, if you care). Sweet! They play a typical suburban married couple, but are unaware of each other's true professions... they are actually highly-paid assassins working for competing organizations. When the secret is revealed, they end up trying to assassinate each other! Looks wicked-funny and action-packed but, sadly, doesn't come out until June 10, 2005 Something about Angelina Jolie as an assassin appeals to me. Maybe it's the outfits?

Angelina Smith

Jessica: I also see that a trailer for Blade: Trinity is out, which I am looking forward to. In addition to more Wesley Snipes ass-kicking action, we also get Jessica Biel for eye candy and Ryan Renolds for comdey relief (cool, it's Berg!). They got Goyer to write again, but this time he is also directing, which worries me a bit because he's a rookie and Guillermo del Toro did such a brilliant job last time.

Season: I have a feeling that my motorcycle is going to be put into storage for the winter very soon now. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to ride it much for the past month, so I'm kind of sad about that. Oh well, just another reason to look forward to Spring, I guess.

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Believe

Posted on Tuesday, October 12th, 2004

Dave!Girls know him as that whiny bitch from Somewhere in Time. Guys know him as the world's greatest hero: Superman (my favorite comic book movie adaptation of all time). I can only hope that Christoper Reeve's passing (as Marlon Brando's before it) will lighten some hearts and finally halt the legal battles that are preventing Richard Donner's original cut of Superman II from being released. What a wonderful tribute it would be if Reeve's intended performance could finally be seen as it was meant to be.

Dave Reeves

Christopher Reeve made us all believe a man could fly. Now it's his turn.

Rest in peace.

   

Jersey

Posted on Sunday, October 17th, 2004

Dave!I feel I must preface this entry by declaring my love of all things Kevin Smith. Clerks and Chasing Amy are utter brilliance in film-making, and I even like his cartoons, comic books, and many other endeavors. Very few people can write dialogue as good as Smith (Quentin Tarantino and a handful of others perhaps), and his sense of comic timing is flawless. So when I say that his latest film, Jersey Girl is kind of lame, well, it's nothing personal.

Ben Affleck plays a publicist named Ollie Trinke who loses his wife (J-Lo, go figure) during childbirth, and ends up having to raise his new baby girl, Gertie, all alone. After a PR incident gone terribly wrong at the Hard Rock Cafe, Ollie is fired from his job and has to move back to New Jersey so he can live with his father (Geroge Carlin) while he tries to find new work. From the moment he meets a new potential love interest (Liv Tyler), the movie forges ahead in a completely predictable manner right up to the cheesy ending you can see a mile away.

Affleck is passable as Trinke (but falls short of his work in Chasing Amy and Bounce) and newcomer Raquel Castro stands out with a terrific performance as young Gertie. The rest of the cast seems to do the best they can in background roles that are pretty one-dimensional... but the problem is never with the acting, it's the writing.

You can definitely see Kevin Smith touches from time to time, but it seems watered down from what I've come to expect. What's really bad though is his tendency to go for stupid jokes to fill in space that greatly distract from the overall story. The aforementioned incident at the Hard Rock Cafe starts out when Ollie's father refuses to watch baby Gertie and so Ollie has to take her to the event (apparently, he's never heard of a babysitter). Then it's time for the same jokes we've seen a million times: Baby poop smells bad. New dad doesn't know how to change a diaper. Baby powder goes flying (after dumping half a bottle on the kid... har dee har har). It's not funny, it's stupid and tired and Kevin Smith is so much better than this.

So, if you want to see a light comedy flick, you could certainly do worse than Jersey Girl (which is to say that you could do much, much better as well). About the only thing highly recommended on the DVD is a selection of Kevin Smith's Roadside Attractions from The Tonight Show so, even if you hate the film, a rental won't be a total loss.

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Errata

Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Dave!Maher: It would seem that Bill Maher's ex girlfriend is suing him for 9 million dollars. She is claiming that he had her quit her successful career as a Delta Airlines flight attendant with false promises of marriage and buying her a home in Beverly Hills. REMINDER TO SELF: When flying to Salt Lake City this Sunday on Delta, be sure to ask the flight attendant where I can pick up a job application. I loathe the idea of dealing with bitchy passengers all day long, but would gladly do so for the millions of dollars they apparently make.

Lost: I just realized that I forgot to watch the amazing new J.J. Abrams show, Lost, last night! Thank heaven for TiVo!

Jeunet: One of the most brilliant directors in cinema, Jeanne-Pierre Jeunet (who crafted the utterly amazing film Amelie) has a new movie coming out with strong "Best Picture" Oscar buzz called A Very Long Engagement. I cannot wait to see this film, and have watched the trailer at least a dozen times now (drooling over the delicious Audrey Tautou and the breathtaking visuals again and again). Today I learned that this new movie which is set in France, filmed in France, and uses a cast of French actors and technicians, is now being challenged in French court as to whether is a French film and thus eligible for government subsidies. It's nice to know that the USA is not the only country suffering from a serious lapse in logic lately.

Tautou!

Koolerz: Last night I picked me up some "Koolerz Piña Colada flavored Gum" to take to work with me. Today I was dismayed to find out that the gum tastes *fabulous* for 48 seconds (I timed it!), but then all the flavor is gone and you're just chewing a substance that tastes like motor oil on plastic. I was wracking my brain to try and think of another product you can buy that satisfies for such an astoundingly short time period of time... and then remembered my worthless Panasonic Recordable DVD Player, which satisfied me for only 42 seconds. Fortunately, the gum only cost $1.29.

Thanks: For all who served. Thank you.

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Dave Approved: The Incredibles

Posted on Monday, November 15th, 2004

Dave!It's cold here in Salt Lake City. So cold, that after seeing The Incredibles at The Gateway, I had to go buy a pair of gloves so I could manage to walk back to the hotel without having my fingers freeze off.

As for that movie... it was, well, incredible. Given that this film was a collaboration between the brilliance of Pixar animation (easily surpassing Disney as the leading US animated feature house in every way possible) and Brad Bird (whose miraculous Iron Giant film is an all-time favorite of mine), I expected nothing less...

Incredibles!

I dare say that it surpasses even Superman and Spider-Man 2 as best super-hero movie of all time (not to mention burying suck-ass snore-fests like X-Men).

It's that good.

Surprisingly, The Incredibles earns it's PG rating by being a pretty intense flick with death and destruction that you don't normally see in "kiddie pics" like this. Don't get me wrong... kids will love the film, especially once the action builds up during the second half, but adults are the ones who will really get a kick out of the more subtle elements strewn throughout the story.

The premise of the movie is pretty slick: continuous lawsuits have forced super-heroes to retire and go into hiding. Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) ended up marrying Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter) and having super-offsprings who hide their powers from society to live as normal people. But Mr. Incredible is not content to be a paper-pushing insurance claims adjustor, and secretly yearns to be a hero again, commiserating with his super-powered buddy Frozone (a scene-stealing Samuel L. Jackson). Eventually, a mysterious offer for super-heroics (on a secret island worthy of a James Bond villain) proves too tempting to resist, and Mr. Incredible quickly ends up over his head. It's up to the rest of the family to come to the rescue, with breathtaking action sequences and humor that's almost too good to be true - much like this promotional poster by comic book legend Mike (Hellboy) Mignola...

Mignola!

Because this is a Pixar production, the visuals are predictably stunning. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. From beginning to end, there's so much going on that it will take several viewings to truly appreciate the effort that went into making this film so "incredible." Just watching the inventive ways that the characters use their super-powers will have comic book fans geeking out all over the theater. How in the heck the upcoming Fantastic Four film can possibly top this is unknown, as the bar has been set mind-bogglingly high.

Do yourself a favor and be sure to see The Incredibles in a theater rather than waiting for the DVD... it's everything that people love about the movies, and begs to be seen on the big screen to be truly appreciated.

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Elektrik

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Dave!Is it wrong to be looking forward to a movie even though you don't think it has much of a chance of being any good?

Elektra!

Sigh. Let's face it, I'd watch a film of Jennifer Garner filling out her tax return.

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Seriously

Posted on Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Dave!Seriously... how do we go about repealing the antiquated and horrendously stupid electoral voting system here? I don't care which side of the political spectrum you might lay, how can anybody not support the idea of every vote counting? Does anyone (except those comprising the Electoral College) seriously want it this way? Why hasn't a repeal of the 12th Amendment ever been offered to the people? How do we get it put to a vote? Anybody?

Seriously... can't Dave Winer just leave us alone? First he decides to define moblogging for us... badly, and now he's decided to tell us that unless we're reading syndication feeds his way, then we're doing it all wrong. I have no problem with Winer publishing his opinion, but he never seems content to do just that. Instead it's always "Winer's right, everybody else is wrong." End of story. Why can't he just be happy that people are using syndication and suggest a way that works best for him, rather than attacking people who have found a different way of doing things? Shades of gray Dave... shades of gray.

Seriously... why is it that movie comedies can't be complex and intelligent anymore? Have people's attention spans truly diminished to such a low that dumb-ass burp and fart jokes are all we're going to get now? It certainly seems that way. I just purchased the long-awaited DVD release of Foul Play and am amazed that a film starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase could be so brilliant while also being so funny at the same time. What's truly amazing is that there are no wasted moments in this film. Even seemingly meaningless scenes are subtext that builds the story. Things going on in the background are essential to solving the mystery they've got going. Unlike the typical Adam Sandler crapfest, you actually have to pay attention... but it's so well-written that you don't care, you want to pay attention (which is cruel, because there are some seat-jumping moments you never see coming). And it was made in 1978. We've certainly dumbed down in the past 26 years. A "comedy" as smart as Foul Play would never be green-lighted today.

Foul Play

Seriously... who is the moron that put David Caruso at the head of C.S.I. Miami? I love the original C.S.I. and am won over by the grittier take on the concept with C.S.I. New York. But I cannot bring myself to get through a single episode of Miami because Caruso is so laughably bad doing his overly-dramatic, arrogant, Gil Grissom impersonation. If Caruso can't be bothered to actually act out something original, can we put Emily Procter's character in charge?

Seriously... why do I feel compelled to participate in really time-consuming and difficult memes? This time I have Dennis to blame. To read through my "Nine Layers," just click the link below...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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Treasure

Posted on Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Dave!With nothing on my agenda after I got caught up with some work, I headed off to the Mayfair Mall for a showing of National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage. What I expected was a modern-day Indiana Jones type film, but what I got was something entirely different. It's almost as if the success of The DaVinci Code got Jerry Bruckheimer hot to do a conspiracy-genre film that ended up being a sloppy hodgepodge of American mythological elements poorly pasted into a predictable action-driven story.

Not to say that it sucked ass, but it sure could have been better.

Nicholas Cage is Benjamin Franklin Gates, the latest of a long line of Gates fortune hunters who are convinced there is a vast treasure hidden away by this country's founding fathers with the help of Free Masonry and the Templar Knights. Much to the dismay of his father (Jon Voit in a throwaway role), Gates tracks a critical piece of the treasure puzzle to Antarctica (an idea stolen from a Dirk Pitt book). Unfortunately, his need for financing leads to a partnership with Ian Howe (Sean Bean) who, predictably, turns out to be a bad guy. From that moment on, the race is on between Cage and Bean to find the treasure first... one to guard it for all humanity, and one to exploit it for personal gain.

I was sure that the "treasure" was going to be some lame-ass attempt at "idealism" ... perhaps a piece of paper with the words "America's true treasure is her freedom" or some such bullshit. Thankfully, they didn't take that route, but it doesn't matter. The lameness comes from the half-assed attempt to fit American-heritage-themed clues into a paint-by-the-numbers action flick. Strip away the nonsense with the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, etc. and there's nothing left but crap... tame chase scenes that culminate in an pathetic ending for the bad guys, and a predictably sappy ending for the "heroes."

Oh well. They did toss in a little eye candy (played by Diane Kruger), capable comic relief (played by Justin Bartha), and Harvey Keitel, which brings National Treasure up to a "5" (on a scale of 1 to 10). Not really good, not really bad, just predictably average. I hope that the actual adaptation of The DaVinci Code (starring Tom Hanks) fares better. At least it has a pretty good story to build on.

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Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

Dave!Nomaaahh!: Let me get this straight, Nomar just signed a 1-year contract with the Cubs for $8 million, after passing on a $60 million 4-year contract with the Red Sox WORLD CHAMPIONS? Even if the Cubbies pick him up for four years, he's still losing $7 million a year. I cried for a week when Nomar left Boston, now I think I'll laugh for a week at his fine business sense (then cry the week after that because he's still making millions of dollars for playing a game).

Joystick: Continuing my video game blathering from yesterday... not only are the games dumbfoundingly complex, but the controllers are ass. Two thumb-pads, four shoulder buttons, four action buttons, and two function buttons seems to be standard now. This leaves me concentrating more on what button I should be pushing than actually playing the game. On top of that, I don't want some tiny pad for directional movement... I want an actual joystick! I thought it would be simple to go buy one, but I thought wrong. The closest thing I can find to what I am wanting is an X-Arcade Stick, but that's as big as a house and costs $100!! Harsh!

Cars: Looks like Pixar's follow-up to The Incredibles (titled Cars) has just been pushed back seven months. They say it's so that they can better time their movies (release a feature in Summer, then crank out the DVD version for the holidays), which makes sense from a business standpoint. But many people are speculating that the bigger reason is to give Pixar CEO Steve Jobs more time to decide about renewing a distribution deal with Disney after he finds out who is replacing Michael Eisner (the guy who's been running Disney into the ground for the past decade). A third option, which is my personal guess, is that the movie sucks...

Cars

First of all, it's a freaky concept... a world where the only life-form is cars?? Second of all, it is a complete rip off of the Chevron Cars (a much better rendition of the concept, beautifully animated in clay by Aardman Animation, who is responsible for the brilliant Wallace and Gromit films). And lastly, one of the feature characters is a broken-down hick tow truck? How very cliche of you Pixar. Still, it is being directed by demi-god John Lasseter (who has Toy Story 1 & 2 and A Bug's Life under his belt), so I can only hope I am very, very wrong. I dunno, judge for yourself by watching the Cars trailer and then taking a look at Aardman's Chevron commercial...

Cars

You can then spend the next two hours of your life exploring the rest of the Aardman web site, which showcases numerous examples if their beautiful work in claymation. Dang. Now I want to go watch Wallace and Gromit!

Stockholm: Since Veronica Mars is now in reruns, I was flipping through channels and saw that The Amazing Race 6 was in Stockholm! Furthermore, contestants were hanging out at The Sheraton Stockholm, which is the same hotel I was at. Anyway, while I like the idea of racing around the world, I cannot bring myself to watch the show... it's just too painful to have to watch rude Americans be assholes to natives and complain all the time. As I was turning the channel, contestants were in Africa complaining about everything from how "gross" the taxis are to how stupid they think people are because they can't speak English ("DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH? I NEED SOMEONE SPEAKING ENGLISH!!!"). Holy crap. Thanks for being such a stellar example, dumbass.

Letterbox: Last night I had to stop by Wal-Mart and noticed that they had The Bourne Supremacy on sale for a staggering $15 (which is cheaper than even DeepDiscountDVD!). Since we are entering rerun season on television, I thought I would grab a copy because I remember it being a pretty good flick. But when I got home and started it up, I noticed it was the STUPID FULL-FRAME VERSION! CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Why in the heck do they even sell butchered films? When are people going to realize that anytime they buy a film that has "been reformatted to fit their television" that they are missing half the movie? Sure the letterbox format's black bars at the top and bottom of your TV screen are annoying, but it's a small price to pay for getting to see the ENTIRE MOVIE AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE VIEWED!! Argh.

Sorry to rant, but HOLY SHIT... it's bad enough that Chewbacca didn't get a medal at the end of Star Wars, but if you are watching the lame "Full-Screen" version, he doesn't even get to appear on the screen! The Digital Bits has a good argument for widescreen (letterbox) formatted movies, and excellent examples which you can see by clicking here.

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Sinful

Posted on Monday, December 20th, 2004

Dave!Well crap! Showtime has cancelled Dead Like Me, which is easily one of the more inventive shows on television. I guess that means I can dump the channel, since the only reason I bought it in the first place was to watch this one show. It really pisses me off that they don't at least allow the creators of the show to wrap up all the loose ends, and Dead Like Me had more than most. It must really suck to be Bryan Fuller. This is the second utterly brilliant show of his to be cancelled (the other being the amazing Wonderfalls). I wonder if he'll just give up trying to create intelligent, thought-provoking shows and start creating crappy reality shows like everybody else.

In movie news, there's finally a trailer up for the adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City... and does it ever look delicious! It would seem that they went for a literal adaptation of the comic's visual style, and I'm quite happy about that. Almost as happy as I am about the sweet hoteness that Miller & Rodriguez have lined up for the female cast (including a disturbingly sexy Alexis Bledel... Rory from Gilmore Girls is hot?!? Who knew?). Yowza! Sin City indeed...

Sin Babes

Oh yeah, they've got some other guys in it you might have heard of before... Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Michael Madsen, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, and Elijah Wood. My gut tells me the film will be fabulous, but I can't help but be pessimistic about the film's chance at commercial success.

It really is too bad that the American population at large is so stupid when it comes to entertainment. It really would be nice to have decent shows on television and movies in our theaters.

   

Sithful

Posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2005

Dave!Oooh... new spoiler images of the final film in the George Lucas Star Wars prequel trilogy fiasco have been leaked all over the web! Well, not really "spoilers" per se (because we already know how everything turns out) but it would seem that George is trying to find some ways of keeping things interesting for us in Episode III (which would be a pleasant change from the horrendously bad Episodes I and II). Three images jumped out at me...

Sith Spoilers

SPOILER 1) They are finally starting to bridge the gap between trilogies, as we're getting something almost TIE-Fighteresque and almost X-Wingish about the ships now. This space dogfight shot is so delicious it has me wishing that Lucas would drop all pretense about knowing how to write good drama/romance and just stick to what he knows best, because a Star Wars movie made entirely of spaceship fights would kick ass!

SPOILER 2) Badass Christopher Lee (ridiculously named "Count Dooku") gets his ass handed to him by lameass Hayden Christensen (appropriately named "Annie Skywalker"). This is wrong on so many levels. I mean, seriously, why in the heck didn't anybody tell Lucas how implausible this is? "Hey George, you've made an error... I realize that you count on your fans suspending disbelief enough to accept that robots, spaceships, and aliens are real... but NOBODY could possibly believe that Christopher f#@%ing Lee would EVER be served by Hayden Christensen!! It's much more plausible that a puppet with a lightsaber could own Christopher f#@%ing Lee in a fight, so why not have Yoda take care of it?" Not that it would do much good trying to tell him anything... I mean, Lucas thinks high comedy involves burp and fart jokes. But Lucas also seems to think that repeating themes over and over and over again is brilliant writing, so I guess that's why we've got Annie and Dooku battling it out in front of the Emperor in his throne-room now, just like we'll have Annie and Luke battling it out in front of the Emperor in his throne-room come Episode VI. Also, I suppose it's easier to write the same thing over and over and over again rather than having to think of something original... because, heaven forbid we should actually get some fresh new ideas in a Star Wars film (oh look... somebody gets their hand chopped off AGAIN).

I hope that Episode III is at least watchable. I just don't think I can take another movie that's as heinously lame as Episodes I and II. The sci-fi geek in me would probably implode.

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Elektrafying

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2005

Dave!Oh my. Yahoo! Movies has put up some yummy production stills along with the first full five minutes of the forthcoming Jennifer Garner love-fest known as Elektra. Sure the movie clip features a brief snippet of badass action and has a kind of interesting opening but, to be totally honest, I am not holding out much hope for the quality of this film. Though that's not exactly why I want to see it so badly...

Elektrafying

At least they made movie Elektra look like the comic book Elektra a little more this time. Not that it matters much... it's not like I am going to be watching the movie thinking "the shape of Elektra's halter top is entirely unlike the comic, thus ruining my enjoyment of the film." Uhhh... no. What will be going through my mind is the exact same thing going through every other guy's mind in the theater: "breasts... breasts... breasts... breasts... breasts... breasts..." I feel like I should probably apologize for this entirely offensive and sexist remark but, well, men are dogs... what else can I say? I'm just doing my best to live up to the label.

Anyway, to take a look at the sweet hotness that is Jennifer Garner all dressed up like a comic book super-hero (and view those first five minutes of her movie), click here to see Elektra at Yahoo!

UPDATE: Proving that you just can't get enough of a good thing, Patrick notes that IGN has an exclusive scene from the movie featuring Elektra getting the ultimate "kiss of death" from Typhoid Mary. You can read about Jennifer Garner's bid for male fantasy dominance and view the clip over at FilmForce.

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Aquatic

Posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2005

Dave!Finally got around to seeing Wes Anderson's latest masterpiece... The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou starring Bill Murray and numerous other talented people. This film received a disappointing 50% over at Rotten Tomatoes which leaves me flabbergasted, because I think it is easily one of the best films released in 2004. Not only is Murray's acerbic wit in full force, but all of Anderson's usual comedic touches are sprinkled throughout the film like candy, waiting to be discovered, unwrapped, and savored.

Zissou!

Aquatic tells the story of once-famous (but now washed up) oceanographer-filmmaker Steve Zissou who is hoping to hunt down a kill the mysterious "leopard shark" that ate his best friend. He also plans on documenting the adventure to create a new film which he hopes will bring him back to the limelight. Along the way he has to deal with a stranger who may or may not be his son (Owen Wilson), a failing marriage (to Angelica Houston), overwhelming competition (Jeff Goldblum), and a myriad of money trials to finance the operation.

And all of it is hysterically funny, of course.

What's truly magical about the film is the detours into occasional fantasy with stop-motion animated sea life (Sugar Crabs! Electric Jellyfish! Rhinestone Bluefins!) and a cut-away set that's entirely brilliant...

Zissou!

I understand that the comedy in this film is miles away from more pedestrian fare like you'll find in the latest Adam Sandler flick, but if you like a little intelligence to your funny, I can't recommend The Life Aquatic highly enough.

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Sideways

Posted on Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Dave!The movie Sideways is racking up all kinds of critical acclaim, and sweeping the art-house awards circuit. Something this special I just had to make time to see.

And... I just don't get it.

It's not that it is a bad film, it's just that I am mystified at how so many people are falling head over heels in love with it. Aside from a few clever bits of writing, some nice character work from Paul Giamatti, and an excellent performance by the ever-brilliant Sandra Oh... well, there was just so much nothing in the film. Mind-numbing stretches of nothing.

Dave Sideways

It's as if the people working on the film got to certain spots where they didn't know what to do, and so they simply said "well, let's just drag things out and maybe people will think we're being artistic." But, for me, it just didn't work. And I'm not saying that every frame of a film has to be wall-to-wall action either. I mean, my favorite film of all time is Field of Dreams, which has plenty of quiet moments... but they mean something. Sideways, on the other hand, is a character piece with very little character and not much else. I've seen episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer that had more of an impact on me.

And that brings me to the Oscars tomorrow night... I saw nothing in Sideways which convinces me it is Best Picture material. Thomas Hayden Church had zero depth to his character, and was so paint-by-numbers predictable that I can't imagine him being in the same league as somebody like Morgan Freeman for Best Supporting Actor. Finally, Virginia Madsen's character had so little screen time and complete lack of emotional detail that I can't even fathom why she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the first place. I guess being a "critical darling" gets you a lot of mileage.

And through it all I think back to Kill Bill 2 which had everything going for it, yet it gets snubbed from a nomination to make room for something like this?? Travesty!

Movie Quotable of the Day: "We accidentally replaced your heart with a baked potato. You have about three seconds to live."
Yesterday's Answer: That Darn Cat! (1965) with Dean Jones, Hayley Mills, and Roddy McDowall.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  10 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Golden

Posted on Monday, February 28th, 2005

Dave!When you are a vegetarian in San Francisco, there is really only one thing you need in order to decide where to eat, and that would be Dave's SF Veggie Restaurant Page. This amazing resource gives you the low-down for many of the Bay Area's finest vegetarian establishments, and is updated frequently. Among the most highly recommended on Dave's list is a Chinese restaurant called "Golden Era Vegetarian Cuisine," which has amazing food that's so delicious you will never miss the meat...

Golden Era

About the only thing that could possibly be a better resource than Dave's SF Veggie Restaurant Page for hunting down veggie cuisine in the city is Dave himself...

Dave

After a truly amazing meal of Pot Stickers, Spicy "Chicken" (imitation), and Plum Lemonade, we headed off to see The Aviator, which is a terrific film. And while I haven't seen the Clint Eastwood boxing-snuff flick Million Dollar Baby, I find it difficult to believe that it could be superior to the Scorsese epic about Howard Hughes. It had just the right balance of biography and action to be constantly entertaining though, as usual, Scorsese needs a stronger editor to pare down this 3-hour film by at least a half-hour (particularly the decline of Hughes' mental state, which went on for far too long). I suppose the most surprising thing about the film was the cast, with Leonardo DiCaprio turning in a shockingly good performance that redeems his lame Titanic work. Even more amazing was Cate Blanchett's eerie rendition of Katherin Hepburn... she OWNED that role, and earned the Oscar she got (and then some). I still maintain that Sideways, while somewhat entertaining, is in nowhere near the league of The Aviator, which is truly an Oscar-worthy nomination.

Oh, and before I forget, I just want to mention something that happened while I was at Fisherman's Wharf, on my way to meet Dave for lunch. Here, take a look at this...

Fiver

See that five-dollar bill? Well that's all you need in lieu of an apology now-a-days.

While standing at the street by Pier 39 trying to figure out what bus I wanted to take, some ass-clown in an expensive suit comes out of nowhere, running for a taxi... AND KNOCKS ME COMPLETELY ON MY ASS IN THE PROCESS! He has his wallet out so, as he opens the taxi door, HE THROWS FIVE DOLLARS AT MY HEAD!! He doesn't say he's sorry. He doesn't ask if I am okay. He doesn't bother to help me up. He just throws a fiver at my head and gets in the damn taxi.

What the f#@%?!?

I don't know what makes me more disappointed... 1) That this inconsiderate, monkey-spanking ass-wipe thinks that throwing money at things is an acceptable way of dealing with a problem, or 2) That he thought I was only worth a measly $5. So now I've got a jacked-up leg that feels as though my hip has been ripped out of the socket... with which I have to make a 45-minute drive to the East Bay tomorrow morning. What is WRONG with people now-a-days? When did "sorry" turn into a $5 bill?

Categories: Movies 2005, Travel 2005Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Early

Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Dave!In a wonderful stroke of luck, I managed to catch an earlier flight and arrive home a full three hours ahead of schedule. A pity that there's no new episode of Veronica Mars running tonight (Save Veronica!), but at least we have a return appearance of Heather Graham on Scrubs.

In more disturbing news, along with the twenty new pornographic TrackBacks I had to de-spam, I also got a scary piece of email which accused me of "stealing" the idea for a graphic which I drew up for my "review" of the movie Sideways. Since the return address was bogus, I'll go ahead and make my reply public here:

I hate to tell you this dumbass, but the only thing I did was parody the official movie poster...

Dave Sideways

Sideways

I don't even know who you are or what picture you are talking about. Sooo... perhaps instead of threatening to "expose" me, you should attack Fox/Searchlight Pictures for coming up with the idea in the first place.

Stupid people suck ass.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Man that ball got outta here in a hurry! I mean, anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don't you think?"
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: Grease (1978) with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John.
Categories: Blogging 2005, Movies 2003Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Gromit

Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

Dave!I love animation. Well, let me rephrase that... I love good animation. There's something "pure" about a world that is wholly created and realized. Many animators understand this god-like power and use it to full advantage. But few animators are as brilliant at it as Nick Park and the geniuses at his Aardman Studios. Their most famous characters, Wallace & Gromit, are easily one of the best animated creations ever made. Any adventure of the cheese-loving gadget inventor Wallace and his genius dog Gromit is guaranteed big fun.

I love Gromit more than Mickey Mouse. More than Tigger. More than Marvin the Martian. More than any other animated character. Though he never speaks, he is more expressive than most human actors...

Gromit

But there is one character even better than Gromit. One character destined to forever rule over animation with an iron fist. One character I obsess over: Feathers McGraw, the evil penguin criminal mastermind who disguises himself as a chicken to foil the law...

Feathers McGraw

Not only that, but he carries a gun! How can you not love an evil penguin that packs heat?

Thepenguin

The first Aardman major motion picture was the excellent Chicken Run and now, after years of waiting, a Wallace and Gromit feature arrives this October... Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Wererabbit! You can catch the teaser trailer from The Sun by clicking here. You can also watch a "making of" featurette by clicking here.

Never seen Wallace & Gromit? Well, if you are a Netflix user, there's a DVD of their first three adventures, and you can add it to your Rental Que. Otherwise, I think it's out of print and you'll have to try eBay or something (hopefully it will be re-issued to coincide with the movie release).

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Now that Billy tried to mutilate her, do you think Sidney would go out with me?"
Yesterday's Answer: Forrest Gump (1994) with Tom Hanks and Robin Wright.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Sin

Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2005

Dave!Gee... entirely too many good things happening today. Most importantly, my motorcycle is OUT of storage and my car is back IN to storage. Life doesn't get much better than that! I've already gone out for an hour, and realize once again just how trapped I feel driving a car now. Many other people must be feeling the same way, because there were a lot of motorcycles out over the weekend. While this does get a bit tiring because of all the "motorcyclist courtesy waves," there can never be too many motorcycles out on the road. The more people riding, the fewer rights that dumbass lawmakers can take away from us.

I keep "flip-flopping" back and forth over which upcoming movie I am most looking forward to seeing this year. After the fiasco that George Lucas had with the first two Star Wars prequels, I can safely remove the third (and final?) off my list... still, it's got Wookies and Darth Vader, so even that has some amount of excitement around it.

No, setting aside the Wallace and Gromit movie, there are really just two that are coveting for my top spot. The first, Frank Miller's Sin City appears to be very faithful to the stunning comic book that inspired it. It looks exactly like Sin City, has Quentin Tarantino as a guest-director for part of it, and features Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel looking disturbingly hot. Moviefone has a new trailer up that totally kicks ass, and has me even more excited to see how it's going to play out...

Sin City Trailer 2

The other film, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is based on one of my favorite novels of all time, and has been a long, long time coming to the silver screen. The casting looks note-perfect, and since Douglas Adams himself worked on the script before his untimely death, that can only bode well for the adaptation. I want so badly for the film to blow me away and set box office records so that the remaining books in the series will be put to film. The original trilogy deserves at least that much...

Hitchhiker Trailer 2

Yes, a very promising year for movies I think, even if these two films were all we got.

And, in music news, I have a song stuck in my head from a movie trailer I saw for a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon called Fever Pitch (definitely not a movie for me). It's an excellent rendition of the Supertramp classic Give a Little Bit which is not sung by Supertramp! A search on the iTunes Music Store reveals it's a cover by the Goo Goo Dolls, which I proceeded to purchase immediately. Very sweet. It's the instant gratification that makes me so happy to be alive in the digital age.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "See, I did join the army, but I joined a different army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms."
Yesterday's Answer: A League of Their Own (1992) with Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  7 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: Cinema

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2005

Dave!If you could own any item from any movie, what would you take and why? Well, I'd love to have my very own Gort robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still... how cool would that be? My dream of taking over the world would be a piece of cake with Gort there to kick everybody's asses. Or maybe some of the gadgets from the James Bond movies would be handy? Nah, I think the one thing I would want more than any other would be Mace Windu's purple lightsaber from the Star Wars prequels. That way I could open up a can of Samuel L. Jackson-style Jedi whoop-ass all over the stupid people who bug the crap out of me...

Cinemadave1

If you could become any character from any movie, who would it be and why? Dude! No question, it would be Indiana Jones! He got to run around the world having awesome adventures, finding treasure, and shooting Nazis and stuff! On top of that, if I were Indiana Jones I could literally whip somebody's ass with my bull-whip. That would totally rock...

Cineamadave2

If you could visit any location from any movie, where would it be and why? Probably inside The Matrix so I could fly around, shoot lots of guns, and go all kung-fu on people who cut me off in traffic...

Cinemadave3

FQ MOVIE MASH-UP: Combine some items, characters, and locations from different movies to create an entirely new film! What would you call it and what would it be about? I think I'd like to take the chain saw from Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the Alien from Alien, Jason from Friday The 13th, and put them on the ship Discovery with HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then everybody could battle it out IN OUTER SPACE!! My master-work would then be ready to kick box-office ass and be called: Friday the 13th, 2001: An Alien Chainsaw Massaccre Odyssey. Brilliant! I'd pay serious bank to see that flick.

Davecinema4

Be the movies at the FridayQ.

   

Numbers

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2005

Dave!For a Friday, I must say it's been a pretty good day for me...

Sixteen. Verizon finally came through with my DSL order today after sixteen days of orders, cancelled orders, re-orders, and a myriad of other problems that wasted hours of my valuable time to get sorted out. Much to my surprise, the new router/modem they sent me had wireless built-in! That's a pretty cool bonus, and shows that (if nothing else) Verizon is at least paying attention to how the customers are accessing the internet. Even better, it seems as though my connection is slightly faster to boot, and the Verizon wireless has more range than my old Apple Airport Base Station. The best part? All of that is at a $20 savings per month over my previous EarthLink DSL line. This couldn't come at a better time, because just this morning I was thinking I'd rather give up the internet than spend another week with dial-up.

Three. Last night while watching the latest episode of The O.C., they ran the new Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith trailer. Just for fun, they had "Seth Cohen" from the show (the ultimate sci-fi/comic book nerd) introduce the thing with his Star Wars action figures. The trailer itself is pretty kick-ass cool and features mind-blowing special effects, Samuel L. Jackson with his purple lightsaber I covet so much, Wookies(!) and, best of all... GREEN BOOBIES! Of course, I remember getting all excited about Episodes I and II after watching the trailer, and they both sucked so much ass that I nearly shat myself in the theater. Do I dare muster any hope that the final Star Wars installment will be worth a crap? History tells me no... BUT WOOKIES AND GREEN BOOBIES! How can I not be excited?

Ep III Trailer

Of course, the bigger Star Wars news is the increasing rumors that Kevin Smith will be in charge of some kind of Star Wars television show after Episode III wraps production. Since Kevin Smith on his worst day can fart better dialogue out of his ass than Lucas can write on his best day, this is really enticing gossip. It also seems really plausible given that the show could be done fairly cheap given today's digital special effects... I mean, all the computer models and scenes and such are already there, they just need to be reused in new and interesting ways.

Six. TrackBack spammers are pummeling me today. In the past six hours I've received dozens of email notifications for horrendously disgusting TrackBack pings that I am trying to Blacklist as quickly as they arrive so that any further attempts will be rejected. The problem is, they are using a new domain every time, so Blacklist is only killing a portion of what I'm being hit with. Six Apart has STILL failed to patch MT so that I can force moderation of TrackBack pings for manual approval, which is mind-boggling. I'm left with no choice but to turn of TrackBack for my blog, because I refuse to allow "hot doggy sex bestiality pics" to be promoted here. What in the heck is Six Apart waiting for? It's not like I am asking them to take care of my spam... just give me the ability to do it myself through moderation like I already can with comments. Seesh!

Four. Since putting Scott Plank on my "List of Three Guys I'd Go Gay For", I've received four emails wanting to know more about him. One email was from a woman who "became obsessed with him after seeing that sexy photo on your blog." Unfortunately, as I had mentioned, I don't know much about him at all. I met Scott briefly a few times because he was a potential actor for a role in a movie project I was involved in. Unlike most everybody else I met in Hollywood, Scott was a genuinely nice guy who was kind, funny, and humble. I was sent tape of his appearances in Air America and Melrose Place, but anything else I learned about him was from his entry on IMDB. I am told that he once had a web site at ScottPlank.com, but it isn't there anymore, which is kind of a shame. I have no details about Scott's death, only rumors I don't care to elaborate on. If anybody out there runs across this and knows of a place that has any information about Scott, please pass it along, and I'll be happy to share it.

Eight. And speaking of computer animation, I switched to LightWave[8] today after having used Electric Image Animation System for nearly a decade. I originally started with EIAS because that's what the people at Industrial Light and Magic used in Star Wars: Special Edition. It cost thousands of dollars, didn't come with a modeler, and was a bitch to use... but it produced pretty images very quickly. The problem is that EIAS sucked more and more with each new update. Version 5 has a modeler that crashes constantly doing the simplest of things (like beveling the corner of a cube!), and an animator that is so buggy I keep looking for roaches under my keyboard. The final straw came when I got a notice that I can upgrade to EIAS 5.5 for $300 the same day I got a notice that I could purchase a "sidegrade" to LightWave[8] for $500. Despite my having to re-learn a brand new package from scratch, I decided I was not going to pay $300 for another pile of shit from Electric Image just to get bug fixes to problems they never patched (and a load of potential new problems to worry about). As a perk of switching to LightWave, there's about a hundred books and dozens of training videos available... I think EIAS has at most three books (all out of date) and not much else. So any penalty from switching should be fairly short with such a wealth of material to learn from. Here's hoping.
UPDATE: Interestingly enough, NewTek just hired Jay Roth and Mark Granger... two long-time Electric Image employees. I am hopeful that this is a good thing, but my past problems with EIAS do have me slightly worried.

Seventy-Two. It's a lovely 72 degrees outside this afternoon. I am so taking off work early to go for a nice long ride on my motorcycle.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Doesn't it give you kind of a... a shudder... of electricity through you to be in the same room with me?"
Yesterday's Answer: The Man with Two Brains (1995) with Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner.
Categories: Blogging 2005, Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

TwoFitty

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2005

Dave!Well, Neil has gone and done it again... dug up another huge meme that I don't really want to spend time participating in, but feel compelled to nevertheless (and he got it from Richard, so he's equally to blame). This time it's the infamous "Internet Movie DataBase Top 250 Films" (as ranked by IMDB Voters). The idea is that you take the complete list of 250 films and then check-off the ones you've seen. Surprisingly, I've seen all but 77 of them (and only two on the list are unknown to me completely).

It's a terrific idea for a meme and, since I love movies so much, I just can't pass it up (as I have twice before). But TWO-HUNDRED FIFTY?!? Ah well. I've kept the IMDB links, so you can click to learn about the movie if you are so inclined. I've also added my personal rating to those I've seen (Bomb to 5 stars) and, like Neil, have also noted which of the films I own on DVD...

Blogography Movie Rating

For those of you who could care less about my movie habits, I've put the list in an extended entry.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Memes 2006, Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  12 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Entertainment

Posted on Saturday, March 19th, 2005

Dave!This has not been the best of weeks for me, but it has been a good week in entertainment news...

Oldboy. A movie I have been waiting to see for years now... a Korean film called "Oldboy" finally has a US distributor! When I was last in Korea I looked for it, but it had left theaters there (having been released in 2003). It's a mystery/revenge thriller that won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and has critics falling all over themselves with praise (in fact, it's #93 on the IMDB 250 meme I did yesterday, and is assured of going higher on the list once more people have seen it). You can read about the movie and see a trailer over at FilmForce. The only down-side is that I will probably end up having to go to Seattle or L.A. to see it, unless it starts making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon box office.

Oldboy

Veronica. E! Online's annual "Save One Show" television poll is over, and Veronica Mars devastated the competition with 56% of the vote! All while beating out popular favorites like The West Wing (less that 1%) and Arrested Development (9%)...

  1. Veronica Mars (UPN) 56% — Highly recommended! My favorite show on TV now.
  2. Arrested Development (Fox) 9% — Funniest show on TV. A must-see!
  3. American Dreams (NBC) 7% — Looks cheesy. I don't watch it, and don't care.
  4. Charmed (WB) 6% — Sad. Should have been cancelled when Doherty left.
  5. Life as We Know It (ABC) 5.5% — Pale Freaks & Geeks and Popular imitation.
  6. Tru Calling (Fox) 5% — A good show I was sad to see cancelled.
  7. Enterprise (UPN) 3% — Boring and shitty. Wasted opportunity needed better writers.
  8. Point Pleasant (Fox) 2.5% — Pathetic O.C. imitator.
  9. Joan of Arcadia (CBS) 2% — Stuck in a rut. Stopped watching because Joan is a whiner.
  10. North Shore (Fox) 1% — Yet another pathetic O.C. imitator.
  11. Jack & Bobby (WB) 1% — Unlikable Lahti ruins this otherwise good show.
  12. The West Wing (NBC) <1% — Still good, but slowly dying after Sorkin left.
  13. Medical Investigation (NBC) <1% — Horribly, tragically, laughably bad.
  14. Kevin Hill (UPN) <1% — Started great, then ended up being a one-note show.
  15. The Wire (HBO) <1% — Excellent show HBO has already renewed.

Hartman. After being announced, then unannounced, scheduled, then unscheduled, Phil Hartman's final show News Radio is finally coming to DVD! One of my all-time favorite comedians, Hartman headed up an absolutely brilliant cast that included Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall), Stephen Root (Office Space), Andy Dick (Less Than Perfect), Maura Tierny (E.R.), Vicki Lewis (Celebrity Makeover), and Khandi Alexander (CSI: Miami). I stopped watching after Phil died, but every show until then was GOLD and will be a welcome addition to my DVD collection.

Renewal. NBC has already announced renewals for The West Wing, Crossing Jordan, Las Vegas, ER, and Joey. I stopped watching ER ages ago, never got into Crossing Jordan, and thought Joey sucked ass. That leaves me happy for Las Vegas a guilty pleasure which has four of the hottest ladies on television, and The West Wing which took a nose-dive after creator/writer Aaron Sorkin left, but has been rebounding with great new characters (the new National Security Advisor, "Kate Harper," is the best addition since "Ainsley Hays"). It will be interesting to see what happens when the show gets a new president.

Bullshit. Proving that it can't be all good news all the time, The Sci-Fi Channel has debuted what has to be one of the most embarrassingly bad concepts for a movie in recent memory... MANSQUITO! He's half-man, half-mosquito, and all killer...

Mansquito

They cancelled the brilliant Farscape so they could have money to finance this crap? WTF?!?

Movie Quotable of the Day: "I don't wanna sound like a queer or nothin, but I think Depeche Mode is a sweet band!"
Yesterday's Answer: Soylent Green (1973) with Charlton Heston and Chuck Connors.

   

Dave Approved: Sky Captain

Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2005

Dave!I finally got around to watching Sky Captain And the World of Tomorrow on DVD and found it to be a stunning piece of art. Every frame looks more like a gorgeously rendered painting than a movie, and the visual effects are nothing short of jaw-dropping. This may very well be the most beautiful looking film I've ever seen. As if that weren't enough, it's got giant robots attacking New York, ray guns, and loads of other cool stuff! It's as if all the things that those 1930's sci-fi serials thought was going to happen in the future, actually did happen!!

I remember wanting to see this when it was in theaters, but never managed to make it. I am furious with myself that I didn't get to see it on the big screen (where it absolutely belongs). All I can hope is that it one day hits some kind of limited re-release or is shown at a convention of some kind...

Sky Captain

No still-frame capture will ever do justice to the lush visuals Sky Captain so liberally doles out (and choosing from hundreds of amazing shots is an impossible task), but oh what a movie...

Sky Captain

Sky Captain

The only thing that keeps this flick from being one of the greatest films of all time is A) The story is a bit weak, and B) The acting in places is dreadful awful. Jude Law is fine as the heroic Sky Captain Joe, Giovani Ribisi is great as his sidekick Dex, and Angelina Jolie is radiant in her bit part as Captain Frankie Cook... but Gwyneth Paltrow's take on not-so plucky, plucky reporter "Polly Perkins" is a mess. She wanders through scenes as if she's drugged, never fully committing to the part. I know that she is a capable actress, so I can only guess that she was unable to work in blue-screen environments or she needs a strong director, and first-timer Kerry Conran was too awestruck or timid to get it out of her. Such a shame, because a strong female lead would have improved the film quite a bit.

Still, story faults and Gwyneth aside, the dazzling images and edge-of-your-seat action sequences make this film a must-see. Just accept the fact that it is supposed to be a cheesy 1930's sci-fi serial drama, and embrace it for the masterpiece it is. I rented Sky Captain from NetFlix but, had already ordered myself a copy just 10 minutes into the movie! I must own it so I can watch it again and again and again, because there's no way you will ever absorb everything the film offers in only one or two viewings (even dozens may not be enough).

The bigger news to come out of the Sky Captain front is that writer/director Kerry Conran's next project is an adaptation of my favorite sci-fi novel of all time: Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. This has me very conflicted. On one hand I am thrilled, because I know that the visuals will be amazing. On the other, I am terrified that he won't have the directing chops to get the acting performances that this story will desperately need. If there is no chemistry between John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia and Deja Thoris, Martian princess of Helium, then the movie will suck ass. And I am telling you right now, this movie simply cannot end up sucking...

John Carter of Mars

I have waited most of my life to see John Carter in the movies, and it will not be in vain. I want this film to rule the earth so we can get a dozen sequels. I want it so fabulous that critics (or, more importantly, Burroughs FANS) cannot find fault with it. If they end up moving the time period from Civil War America, or some other dumbass thing, I would rather there be no movie at all.

I am cautiously optimistic. In the meanwhile, go buy a copy of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on DVD. It's just too darn pretty not to see it.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "I know I'm old enough to be his mother, but when the Duck laid that kiss on me last night... I swear my thighs just went up in flames! He must practice on melons or something."
Yesterday's Answer: Jurassic Park (1993) with Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum.
Categories: Dave Approved, Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Sinner

Posted on Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

Dave!I was going to make time next week to go see Sin City, but when I found out that the tightasses over at MovieGuide.org were using words like "depraved," "despicable," "abhorrent" and "evil" to describe it... well, I just had to see it immediately. That's guaranteed box office GOLD, baby!

And I was absolutely not disappointed. The film is a shot-for-shot exact translation of Frank Miller's hyper-violent graphic novels, brilliantly realized by Robert Rodriguez. While there are a few hiccups in the process, the end result is a stunning visual treat that brilliantly captures a world gone mad.

And it doesn't hurt that the film has an astounding cast of talented professionals breathing life into the characters. Bruce Willis, Mickey Roarke, Clive Owen, and dozens of others (including a never-ending buffet of hotties like Jessica Alba and Brittany Murphy)...

Sinjessicaalba

Singirls

Sinbrittanymurphy

In fact, I dare say there isn't a poor performance in the bunch, which only accentuates how beautiful the minimalist splashes of color look over the rich black & white noir feel. So, for me, this film is simply a must-see. But I realize fully that it is not a film for everybody. The violence is pretty heavy throughout, and much of the subject matter is not very pleasant (hey, this is "Sin City" after all!).

Now I'm going to have to go back and re-read all the books again.

UPDATE: I have tried a couple of times now to contact MovieGuide.org to point out a mistake in their review, but they don't offer up an email address, and emails to "webmaster" are bounced. So I guess I might as well make the correction here, since they are not open to communication...

*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***

In the review, among the many violent atrocities they list is "dog eats at dead person." This is not correct. It should say "dog eats at live person!! The reason that Marv took along the surgical tubing was so that he could use it as a tourniquet after cutting off Kevin's arms and legs. That way Kevin would still be ALIVE when the dog ate at him! Since Kevin was a cannibal who would make the women watch him as he ate them, Marv took a cue from The Bible and offered up Kevin a big-old slice of "eye for an eye" type retribution. You would think a so-called "Christian" movie review site could appreciate this.

UPDATE: Thanks to "Carmen" for telling me where to find the contact information at MovieGuide.org. I had problems with their drop-down menus and couldn't see it, but they do work fine in Safari, so I was able to send them the correction.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Hypothetical situation. Which do you prefer, a girlfriend missing one breast or half a brain?"
Yesterday's Answer: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001) with Viggo Mortenson and Elijah Wood.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

UnSurprise

Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2005

Dave!I won't even pretend to be surprised that somebody decided to take me to task for my overview of the sublime artistic vision that is Sin City. About the only surprise to be had is that there haven't been more such emails. Any time you remotely touch upon religion, it's almost a guarantee.

The short version of the letter is this: apparently everybody is entitled to their opinion, unless you are just positive that you are right and God is on your side... then, of course, everybody else is wrong and shouldn't have an opinion in the first place.

The long version is a little more complicated than that. I won't go into all the boring details, but suffice to say that movies like Sin City are destroying the moral principals God has handed down, and I shouldn't be attacking the MovieGuide.org ministry for doing God's work. Since sending a reply is undoubtedly useless, I'll just reply to her comments here for my own amusement.

Rosario as Gail

I suppose the first thing I should do is provide a disclaimer that I am not a theologian. I have studied numerous religious philosophies over the years (including Buddhist, Christian, Judaic, Islamic, Mormon, Hindu, and Shinto faiths), but am not a practitioner of any of them. As a matter of full disclosure, I should also mention that I find Buddhism closest to my religious "ideal" and endeavor to apply Buddhist teachings to my daily life (but do not consider myself a "true" Buddhist). All of my religion studies were undertaken because of my love of different peoples and cultures in the world, and an effort to understand my fellow humans a little better.

Given all of that, I can say that I understand the world's major religious philosophies quite well. What I will never understand is how people practice the religions they profess to subscribe to. I do not, for example, understand how so-called Christians feel justified in bombing an abortion clinic and killing a doctor who performs abortions when killing is a mortal sin according to The Bible, and judgment is for God alone to pass. I do not, as another example, understand so-called Muslims who would blow up a building with women and children inside when the Prophet Mohammed forbids such actions. I do not, as yet another example, understand so-called Buddhists who own a gun and eat meat when Buddhist precepts discourage such things.

Ultimately, I have decided that people do not live according to any religious doctrine, but instead live according to their INTERPRETATION of said religious doctrine.

So, as a matter of respect, I fully appreciate people's religious beliefs and their opinions and interpretations of the laws that their religion demands of them. But, on the other hand, this is America. The same freedoms that allow you to practice your religion also give me the freedom to watch a movie you consider to be abhorrent (like Sin City). So if you honestly believe that I don't have the right to enjoy a movie your religious interpretation says is wrong, then go f#@% yourself.

Now, addressing the matter of me "attacking" the MovieGuide.org "ministry" (or whatever), this is complete nonsense. I only wanted to notify them of an error in their review. For Christians who find it pleasing to know about offense content and a film's adhesion to a "Christian World View" before going to a movie, then I'm happy that MovieGuide.org exists to spell it out for you. That way, I don't have to listen to you bitch and complain while I'm trying to watch the film. I have no problem with the people over at MovieGuide.org (tightasses though they may be), and wish them the best of luck in stemming the tide of Godlessness in America... unless it results in the removal of movies I want to watch, in which case they can go f#@% themselves too.

My respect only goes so far as to extend to those who would respect my beliefs in kind.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "When two hunters go after the same prey, they usually end up shooting each other in the back... and we don't want to shoot each other in the back."
Yesterday's Answer: City Slickers (1991) with Billy Crystal and Jack Palance.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Erasure

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Dave!After going through a mile of bubble-wrap to get all of the fabulous Blogiversary 2 prizes packed up (just waiting for the T-shirts!) I thought I would update my Mac G4 Cube to Tiger and watch a little TiVo and a couple of NetFlix DVDs.

First up was Shaolin Soccer, which kicks so much ass that you almost need a new genre of film to describe its ass-kicking proficiency. If you've ever wanted to know what would happen if a soccer game took place in The Matrix, then this film is your answer. Really cheesy dialogue also makes this one of the funniest films I've seen in a while. The DVD had both the shitty, butchered "American" version and the vastly superior "Chinese" original (with English subtitles).

Shaolin Soccer

Next was Erasure: Hits!, filled with incredibly bad videos that are so gay that even gay people must think "wow, those are some pretty gay videos!" I am really schizophrenic when it comes to the music I listen to. At home, in my car, and on my iPod are groups like Radiohead, System of a Down, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Pearl Jam. While at work, I am strictly synth-pop with groups like Erasure, New Order, Thompson Twins, Pet Shop Boys, and Moby (which is why my AudioScrobbler profile looks the way it does). Of all of them, Erasure is easily the undisputed queen of bubblegum synth.

Erasure

Sadly, not a single video in the entire Erasure canon is worth a crap (the low point is when both Andy and Vince are dressed in full drag as very ugly women singing Abba's "Take a Chance on Me"). It's really too bad given they are capable of such beautiful music... "You Surround Me," "Joan," "A Little Respect," "I Broke it All in Two" and so many more. Why can't their videos be as lyrical and beautiful as the songs they depict? Sad.

Lasty, I watched the two-part Enterprise episode: In A Mirror Darkly. It's where we get to have the boring Enterprise characters all evil and interesting (finally) because they're in the Star Trek "Mirror Universe." It's fun to see Archer gone all insane... but even more fun to see Hoshi as a power-crazed whore in a belly-shirt who will sleep with anybody to advance her career. Delicious. I also found it a bit touching to see T'Pol and the other aliens attempt a coup against the evil humans, knowing they would fail completely in order to maintain continuity with future Star Trek series. If the show were this good for the past four years, I might have actually bothered to watch it (and so would everybody else, which means UPN wouldn't have had to cancel it).

Which begs the question... why is it that Trek producers just don't understand what Star Trek fans want to see? We want action! LOTS AND LOTS of ACTION! Don't have characters sit around in decontamination chambers and talk for an hour straight... blow some shit up! The reason Captain Kirk was so cool was because in any given situation he would either fight with somebody, shoot somebody, or have sex with somebody. THAT'S IT!! That's all he did, and we loved it! But now all we get for action is people sitting around the bridge saying stupid shit like "let's re-route the EPS conduits" and then pressing a bunch of buttons so they could go back to boring talk again. Stupid. I have every last episode of the original Star Trek on DVD and watch them all the time. I don't own any of the other series, and usually won't be bothered to watch them for free on television either. Why? Because when I tune in to Star Trek I want to actually be entertained (and there wasn't much of that to be found in anything that followed the originals, except the movies #2, #4, #6, and #8). Please, if there is a god of science fiction television, let Paramount fire the dumbasses who have been running Star Trek into the ground for the past 20 years and get somebody who will actually entertain us with the next series.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "...and I hope the people of the United States of America will be able to sleep better knowing that women like us have guns."
Yesterday's Answer: The Black Hole (1979) with Robert Forster and Anthony Perkins.

And now for a few more MacOS X Tiger observations in an extended entry.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

SerenityHD

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Dave!One of the (many) things to love in the new MacOS X Tiger release is the new High Definition video codec that's built into QuickTime 7. The technical name for it is "H.264," whereas the "H" stands for "Holy crap this is amazing-looking video!" At first I had a little trouble with playing samples from Apple's HD Gallery, and assumed it was because my computer wasn't fast enough. But I think that might have just been because Spotlight was indexing in the background at the time... now it works great on my Dual 1.42GHz G4 Mac.

All the clips are amazing (and big!), but the movie trailer for "Serenity" is just jaw-dropping. I must have watched it a dozen times now. Each and every frame looks like a hi-res photograph instead of the blurry mess you get from regular video compression. Just look at the detail...

Serenity

Serenity

Every pore in her face... ever hair... is clearly visible. It's almost surreal. Now compare that to the previously released "large-sized" trailer...

Serenity

Incredible. It doesn't hurt that the movie looks like it's going to kick huge amounts of ass when it arrives on September 30th. I was not a real fan of the cancelled "Firefly" television show, but I will absolutely be going to the feature film sequel.

Right now, QuickTime 7 is only available for the Mac, but a Windows version is promised soon.

I so want a $10,000 HD video camera right now.

   

Crash

Posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Dave!Just got back from seeing Crash, a film about nothing... and everything. I guess I'd describe it as a character study that's a commentary on racism and race relations in a way that's both enlightening and frightening at the same time. Every character has their flaws, and nobody is what they seem or what you'd expect. What's interesting is the way the lives of the people inhabiting this film keep intersecting in so many ways... sometimes lame, but most-times fascinating.

I loved it.

And it doesn't hurt that every single performance was flawless... Sandra Bullock's brief part is the best I've seen from her in years. Don Cheadle's here in yet another jaw-dropping performace. Thandie Newton looking beautiful as always. Matt Dillon proving again that he's moved far past his teen-idol status. Michael Pena in an Oscar-worthy role. And even rapper Ludacris shatters expectations. And that's just a fraction of this amazing ensemble that's almost too good to be true.

Crash Poster

It's refreshing to find that Hollywood is still occasionally giving us thought-provoking films to challenge us, rather than the spoon-fed cliches that are so predominant now. Life doesn't always turn out all wrapped up in a pretty bow... and movies shouldn't either.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Why are hurricanes named after women? Because when they arrive, they're wet and wild... and when they leave, they take your house and your car."
Yesterday's Answer: Airplane! (1980) with Robert Hays and Leslie Nielsen.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Utah Day 1: The Guide

Posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2005

Dave!Watched "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" today and have mixed feelings about it. I am a huge, huge Douglas Adams fan. I've read every one of his books and have met the man three times at readings he's done. On top of that, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite books of all time. Given that kind of devotion to the material, I admit that I was biased against it going in. How could it possibly live up to what's been in my head for twenty years?

On one hand, it was an entertaining flick with absolutely perfect casting and beautiful effects (Shynola could have really dropped the ball in animating The Guide but shined instead). Compared to many movies out there, it's brilliant. On the other hand... well, compared to the actual book, it sucks. They made too many senseless changes that meandered off into distraction. If the changes improved the story for film, I wouldn't have objected... but the majority of the changes just didn't make sense. They didn't make the film funnier. They didn't make the story easier to follow. They didn't explain things for those unfamiliar with the books. They were changes for no reason I could see, and they would have been better off sticking to the source material. Why mess with perfection?

Guide Poster

For true fans, there were a few nice touches... like the original theme from the radio show that played when The Guide was opening up. The original "Marvin" from the television version standing in line at the Vogosphere. And Douglas Adam's head being the last object transformed into by The Heart of Gold (to name a few). It's not enough to make up for some gross errors, but it helps.

Complaints aside, I am glad I saw the film. As I mentioned, the casting is so good that I can never again read one of The Guide books without picturing characters and settings imagined here (except Zaphod's second head, which was stupidly handled in the film). All I can say is that if you see the film and haven't yet read the book... you really must. You can't not read it.

And while we are on the subject of Douglas Adams, his book Last Chance To See (about his quest to see endangered species around the globe before they disappear forever), is also worth a look. Funny and heartbreaking at the same time... all while being an incredibly important work as well.

One last thing. For the love of Zarquon... SUBWAY, WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP PUTTING THAT f#@%ING TOOL JARED IN ALL YOUR LAME-ASS COMMERCIALS! Seriously, I don't give a crap if you are toasting your subs now... I will drive 20 minutes into Wenatchee so I can get a real toasted sub at Quiznos so long as you keep having that moron advertise your shit. Jared had a fat ass, ate some sandwiches, and lost weight... BIG f#@%ING DEAL, it doesn't make him any less annoying. All you're doing is pissing people off by keeping his dumb ass on television. And yes, I still want him dead... now more than ever.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."
Yesterday's Answer: Traffic (2000) with Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  10 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Utah Day 6: Kolob of the Sith

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2005

Dave!Ah, my last day in beautiful Utah started out in Zion to watch the sun rise over the park. After that, it was all about heading North so I could get back to Salt Lake City. But, along the way, I decided to get the most out of my $20 Zion Entrance Fee and take a look at the Northwestern corner called "Kolob Canyons." It's pretty sweet, but going in the morning was a big mistake, because you have to look directly into the sun to see all the coolest scenery. That means photos are pretty much out of the question, though I did snag one that wasn't all glare...

Kolob

Once back in SLC, I decided to go watch Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith in a decent theater. After reading all the rave reviews, I was really, really looking forward to it. Well, now that I've seen it, I have one thing to say...

George Lucas should never be allowed to write or direct ever again.

Ever.

George Lucas sucks so much ass as a filmmaker NOW that I find it impossible to believe that he was responsible for films like American Graffiti and the original Star Wars THEN. He is an embarrassment to himself and his profession. His once brilliant talent has been pissed away to depths impossible to fathom twenty years ago.

Revenge of the Sith was indeed better than the first two prequels... but that wasn't hard to do. Both Episodes I and II were tragically bad. Horrendously, praying-for-death bad. Lucas had nowhere to go BUT up. That he managed to do so just shows he at least has the smarts to hire some very talented people to save his hack ass. In the grand scheme of the Star Wars universe, I'd probably rate them like this...

Star Wars Ranking

And before you decide to attack me because you think that Revenge of the Sith is the coolest movie you've ever seen... think about it for a second. What was so cool about it? The awesome space battles? The mind-blowing special effects? The stunning settings? The kick-ass light-saber fights? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But Lucas didn't do any of that shit. Industrial Light and Magic created all of that. Let's take a look at what Lucas WAS responsible for... horrible, cheesy dialog that is so bad that I was visibly wincing as phrases like "it is your love that makes me beautiful" stank up the screen. He's also responsible for getting crap performances out of otherwise incredible actors. Does he even bother to actually DIRECT his characters? You can tell they're trying, but there's simply too many scenes where they wander through like zombies spouting all that f#@%ed-up dialogue.

But what I loathe most of all is that Lucas excels at drawing you into these fantastic worlds, only to sabotage himself with stupid, unforgivable shit. A fantastic scenes of Wookies on the rampage has me totally engrossed... until it's f#@%ed up by a Wookie doing the "Tarzan yell" as he swings through the jungle. WTF?!? Congratulations you dumbass, you've just shattered the illusion you worked so hard to create. But it's nothing new... Lucas is ALWAYS destroying scenes with childish bullshit like burps and farts. He defends himself by saying that these movies are written for kids... but kids from WHEN? The 1960's when this kind of idiotic, juvenile behavior was actually funny? Now it's not just lame, it's stupid.

Despite all of that, I must admit to having a good time at the movie. If you can ignore the dialogue and acting, it's a Sci-Fi lover's dream come true to finally see the birth of Darth Vader... those epic space battles... all those geeky touches (was that the Millenium Falcon?)... it's the first movie since Empire Strikes Back that actually feels like Star Wars again. I just can't help but wonder how amazing this film could have been had Lucas done the right thing and passed the dialogue writing and directing to more capable hands.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "No... I am your father."
Yesterday's Answer: Charlie's Angels (2000) with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore.
Categories: Movies 2005, Travel 2005Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Awarded

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2005

Dave!I don't know about you, but I definitely plan on tuning in to the MTV Movie Awards tonight...

Alba Boobies

From the press photos for the event, it looks to be a bit more... uhhhh... exciting than The Oscars, I think.

Categories: Movies 2004Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Ham

Posted on Saturday, June 11th, 2005

Dave!I went and saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith today, and it has to be the most entertaining movie I've seen this year. It also has the highest body count. Angelina Jolie was stunningly hot, and this was the first role since 12 Monkeys that Brad Pitt has done that I've enjoyed (a pleasant surprise). The only problem was the ending, which fell a little flat, but getting there was so good that I didn't much care. I am embarrassed to admit that I am secretly hoping for a sequel. I could watch Angelina Jolie blow stuff up and shoot people for hours. I could especially watch her shoot the dumbass behind me WHO MADE A MOBILE PHONE CALL DURING THE MOVIE!!

Whenever you think you've seen the ultimate depths of human rudeness, somebody comes along to prove you wrong. One day that idiot is going to end up with his mobile phone deeply impacted into his ass. That would rule.

My love and addiction for Kitty Spangles Solitaire is well documented. But Kitty and I drifted apart after I upgraded to MacOS X Tiger, because she refused to play anymore. I had forgotten about it, but then Swoop released a Kitty upgrade, so I wrote and got a working serial number and she's all better now. There's a few improvements in the new version. One option is that a pig comes out and tells you when there are no more moves...

The Pig!

It's great at first. You don't waste any time running through a deck when there's no cards you can play. But after a while, all I want to do is bake that little ham when he comes on and tells me I'm a loser. That's pretty drastic considering I'm a vegetarian...

Ham!

Mmmmmm... bacon!

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive?"
Yesterday's Answer: American Pie (1999) with Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott.

   

Bats

Posted on Sunday, June 19th, 2005

Dave!It seems that every time I go to the movies, it ends up being more about the morons who are sitting around me than the film itself. When I went to see Batman Begins, this did not change.

Sitting two chairs beside me was a woman who wheeled in what I thought was a suitcase. But it wasn't luggage, it was an oxygen tank. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem, but it was a defective oxygen tank that kept making a "sssst - sssst - sssst" noise throughout most of the film. I was getting so angry that I was contemplating either beating her over the head with the tank, or strangling her with the surgical tubing. I have no problem with people who need oxygen to breathe, but come on! If you are going to a public venue, be sure you've got a tank that isn't going to annoy the crap out of people.

But tank-woman was nothing compared to the f#@%ing sack-licking dumbshit that sat two rows behind me. It wasn't the fact that the redneck asshat felt the need to constantly talk to his inbred cracker clan... IT WAS THE FACT THAT HE TALKED TO THEM VERY LOUDLY!! He was forever dropping pearls of insight like "THAT FALL WOULD KILL A NORMAL MAN" and HEH, HEH... HE HIT HIM IN THE FACE. IT WAS THE FACE!!!!" and, my personal favorite... HE'S ON FIRE! THAT MAKES HIM THE HUMAN TORCH! HUH! HUH! HUH! HUH!!!" People like this should not be allowed in public... let alone be allowed to breed. He's just propagating an entire generation of movie-talking white trash that should be wiped from the face of the planet. If I had the ability to set things on fire with my mind, he'd be crispy like a burnt marshmallow. And, after I tossed the oxygen tank on him, he'd be like a crispy-dead exploded marshmallow.

BatDave

Now, on to the movie. I don't really talk spoilers but, just in case you want to stay pure and haven't seen it yet, I'm putting my comments into an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  11 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Neverland

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2005

Dave!After toiling away at work until 3:00, I decided to take a break so I could watch the Oscar-nominated film Finding Neverland and eat some Cheesy Potato Quesadillas. Both the movie and the food were spectacular.

Finding Neverland is a shockingly good film of brilliant imagination that showcases just how amazing an actor Johnny Depp has become. His performance is the epitome of subtlety and nuance that few others can match. It's been a long road since 21 Jump Street...

Finding Neverland

Depp portrays J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, and the film shows the real-life inspirations that led him to write about the little boy who would never grow up. Of equal brilliance is the supporting cast which includes Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, and four boys who are beyond gifted. I always marvel at how child actors can manage to pull it together, and this movie features some of the best I've seen in quite some time. Highly recommended.

Dave's Cheesy Potato Quesadillas.

  • Four Large Flour Tortillas
  • Grated Mix of Cheddar & Monterey Jack Cheeses
  • Southern-Style (Small Cubed) Potatoes
  • Taco Seasoning Mix
  • Black Olives
  • Green Onions (Scallions)
  • Your Favorite Brand of Salsa
  • Sour Cream

Heat 1/3 cup of cooking oil in a skillet and then add one pound (1/2 bag, if frozen) of Southern-Style (Small Cubed) Potatoes. Sprinkle with Taco Seasoning to taste. Cook until crispy and golden brown, then drain the oil and set aside over low heat.

Take a Large Flour Tortilla and lightly butter one side. Place into large skillet over medium heat (butter-side down). Sprinkle with potatoes and plenty of cheese, then add a spoonful of salsa with green onions and black olives to taste. Cook until cheese is starting to melt (don't over-cook!). Fold tortilla over in half with a spatula, then continue to cook until both sides are a nice golden brown.

Cut into thirds, then serve with Sour Cream and Salsa (if desired). Delicious!

After Finding Neverland, I took a look at Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which was moderately entertaining. I've never read the books, but it seems as though they must all be the same story... Orphans get taken in by some freaky unknown fringe relative, then the evil Count Olaf comes along in disguise and tries to get them back so he can kill them and inherit the family fortune. I guess it's a formula that works, since the books are wildly successful, but it all seems a bit redundant to me.

Back to work...

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Even if you hadn't grown up a savage, you'd be lost... there are no trails through a woman's heart."
Yesterday's Answer: Clueless (1995) with Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash.
Categories: Food 2005, Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Engagement

Posted on Saturday, August 20th, 2005

Dave!I finally got around to watching Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement) starring the ever-radiant Audrey Tautou. I can't image the pressure of following up his previous success with Tautou (the incredible Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain), but Jeunet somehow managed to deliver.

Engagement takes place after World War I, as Mathilde (Tautou) begins a search for her fiance, who disappeared during the war. She's been told he is dead but feels that if he had died, she would somehow know it. And since his body hasn't been uncovered, she refuses to believe it. Her search takes her on a fascinating journey that uncovers secrets, lies, danger, and a mystery...

Tautou!

The pacing of the 2 hours and 13 minutes is deliberately slow but, because the story was so beautifully shot, I never minded a bit. In addition, there were stunning special effects woven into the visuals which means there is always something incredible to see. This being Jeunet there were other quirky treats along the way, including a cameo by Jodie Foster (speaking flawless French), that was just icing on the cake.

By the time the movie had ended I was ready to watch the entire film again. And, if I had another 2-1/2 hours to spare, I would have. I've never had a desire to learn French, but if Jeneut continues to crank out these masterpieces I may have to start. The temptation to watch his work without subtitles is simply too great.

As for Tautou, she is starring with Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code come next year, so at least there will be something nice to look at if they screw up the book adaptation.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "A woman without love wilts like a flower without sun."
Day-Before-Yesterday's Answer: The Punisher (2004) with Thomas Jane and John Travolta.
Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Newness

Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2005

Dave!NEW! Google Blogs. Google has released a search tool exclusively for blogs. I guess that makes it "Bloggle?" I'm not very impressed... at least not yet. The search results often look totally random, even when sorted by date. In addition, problems I have with other search services haven't been fixed with Google. For instance, when I search for my name, my own blog doesn't show up in the results. This is despite the fact that my name appears in the sidebar of every single page here. WTF?

NEW! Bankruptcy. Today both Delta and Northwest filed for bankruptcy (or, to make it sound pretty they are calling it "restructuring"). This is kind of sad, because if our major airlines start crapping out, it's going to be really interesting trying to go anywhere when you have to string together a bunch of uncoordinated hops on small carriers. United Airlines, who has gone through bankruptcy itself in 2002, shows that surviving is possible... but operating conditions are getting progressively difficult. My guess is that fares are finally going to start climbing to levels where people are not going to be able to afford it. This, in turn, will cause airlines to shrink or die. Entire tourism industries to fold. More people to lose jobs. We are trapped in a downward spiral and nobody seems to be trying to find a way out. I'd say this is a job for our government but, well, you know...

NEW! Hero Cards. I've received quite a few emails wanting to know how to make hero cards. Just in case anybody is serious, click here to download a ZIP archive with a blank card in both Adobe Illustrator and GIF format. The GIF blank requires you to add your own text... the Illustrator files have text in place. Have fun.

Supreme Pontiff

NEW! Television. I just realized that I'm going to be gone as most of the new television season is starting up. Even worse, my TiVo doesn't have room to record everything I'm wanting to see. Even worse than that, my TiVo appears to be dying and I can't find a dual-tuner replacement. And just when you think you can't get any worse, it's been revealed that TiVo is going to start allowing networks to limit how long you can store their shows and disallow you from transferring them to tapes or DVDs. As if TiVo couldn't suck any worse after having canceled their Mac version of TiVo2Go, now they are actively hostile towards their customers. Hopefully DirecTV will come up with another option soon, so I can drop TiVo and tell the dumbasses to bite me.

NEW! Transporter. I am a huge fan of the first The Transporter film. Jason Statham kicks major ass, and tears through a fight scene better than just about any white guy I've ever seen. And when you get down to it, fight scenes and killer car chases are what an action film is all about. It helped that the script was actually worth a crap, but I suppose I should have expected as much from Luc Besson. Keeping all this in mind, I was freaking out when The Transporter 2 was announced, and Statham and Besson were both back onboard. This time, the action has moved to Miami, and "Frank" is a hired as a fill-in driver for a powerful politician's son. But when the son is kidnapped, the plot grows a bit complicated, and more sinister motives are revealed. Is it as good as the first movie? Not even. There's too many slow moments that attempt some really forced drama, and a few of the stunts go way past the relm of believability. But, as far as action films go, it's still pretty good. If you were a fan of the original, it's worth a look just so long as you keep your expectations in check.

UPDATE: Bwaaaahh ha ha haaaah! Thanks Susie! I have no doubt that a bitch could kick my ass... it's been done too many times before...

Wonder Bitch

UPDATE: Now Patrick has a really cool card up! I think "1EE7 H4X0R" would make for a sweet battle against "Tube Dude" by hacking his nuclear-powered remote control!

Movie Quotable of the Day: "Transportation is a precise business."
Two-Days-Before-Yesterday's Answer: Superman II (198o) with Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman.
Categories: DaveLife 2005, Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Heaven

Posted on Saturday, September 17th, 2005

Dave!Tonight I went to a showing of Just Like Heaven with some friends from work. I was the only guy in the theater. For a chick-flick, it was a pleasant surprise. Mainly due to stars Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, who waltz their way through this romantic comedy almost effortlessly.

The story revolves around Ruffalo's character "David" who moves into an apartment only to discover that it is already occupied by Reese's character "Elizabeth." Problem is... she's a ghost... or is she?

Just Like Heaven

The first half of the film is a bit cliched, but entertaining. The last half a bit sappy, but also entertaining. So overall not such a bad flick, and the dialogue is fairly snappy which is always a plus. Even if you can see the ending coming from miles away, there's always Reese to look at, so some fumbling in the plot is excusable.

The title of the film, Just Like Heaven is from a song by The Cure. I was a bit upset when they opened the movie with some other singer interpreting the song in a very different way, but the Robert Smith original played over the closing credits, so I guess it's all good. What's not so good is that they have the song Brass in Pocket in the film which is not sung by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders... instead they got somebody else to sing it just like Hynde which leaves me asking "what's the point?" Why not just use the original if you want it to sound the same? Probably a money thing, but whatever.

If they're looking for another song by The Cure to base a movie on... I suggest Fascination Street. That would be a sick bit of deliciously naughty cinema!

Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  7 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Serenity

Posted on Saturday, October 8th, 2005

Dave!Me, my friend, and a theater packed with nerds were treated to Joss Whedon's genius in the form of Serenity, the movie sequel to the ill-fated cult-favorite television series Firefly.

But as the credits were rolling, I couldn't help but think about what could have been. NOT for Serenity, which I enjoyed quite a lot. NOT for Firefly which was cancelled because of network morons grossly mishandling the show. NOT for Joss Whedon, who abandoned the "Buffyverse" to try something new. But for Star Wars.

Yes, Star Wars.

Star Wars started out as total brilliance, and then escalated into one of the greatest science fiction films of all-time (and best sequels ever) with The Empire Strikes Back. It remains my undisputed favorite sci-fi film, and a total masterwork in the canon of filmmaking. But then George Lucas found out how much money there was to be made in toys and merchandising rights (of which he maintains 100% control), and Star Wars was flushed down the toilet.

No longer were the Star Wars sequels about the story. It was about everything except the story. It was about selling action figures and stuffed Ewok dolls (case in point: everybody knows what an Ewok is, even though they were never named in the film). By the time Return of the Jedi came along, serious sci-fi was shoved aside for burp and fart jokes to appeal to the kiddies. The prequels gave us even more fart jokes, and then descended into untold levels of suckage with cardboard characters so boring and annoying that they were the least interesting thing on the screen.

Star Wars became a joke of cosmic proportions, and only partially redeemed itself with Revenge of the Sith.

Enter Serenity...

Serenity River

So this is what a sequel looks like when the creator resists the temptation to sell out.

Whedon didn't introduce cutesy characters to sell toys. Whedon didn't dumb down the show to the lowest denominator so two-year-olds would be entertained. Whedon didn't destroy what he created for the sake of special effects. Everything that made the original Firefly series so compelling is right here in spades.

Unlike dumbass characters that typify the "new" Star Wars universe (exemplified by Jar Jar Binks) who you wish dead every minute they're on-screen, you actually care about the people whose story you are watching. You feel their pain and share in their triumphs. You relate. Serenity is all about the characters, and everything else takes a back seat... just as it should be. Sure it makes for a slower pace, but by the end of the film you're totally absorbed in a world that's not your own.

That's not to say that there aren't problems. The film is unevenly balanced in parts, clumsily shifting between action and drama that accentuates its television heritage, but it never self-destructs as it so easily could. Trademark Whedon humor and witty dialogue drive the story forward through the rough patches, and easily make up for any shortcomings.

The story revolves around killing-machine savant River Tam, and the mystery of why "The Alliance" is so desperate to reclaim her. Along the way there are kick-ass fight scenes, stellar special effects, and more than a little dose of tragedy. I enjoyed it all, even if my favorite character had to suffer for it (proving once again that Whedon knows just what buttons to push to involve the viewer).

I'm not convinced that a 2-hour movie is the best format for Whedon's talent... he needs time to develop his stories that he just doesn't get here. But he did the best he could with what he was given and wraps things up in a way that won't disappoint the fans. I can only hope that between the box office and DVD sales, Serenity makes enough money that the dumbass network execs second-guess their decision to cancel Firefly.

And if there were any justice, the show would return in a new television series in better hands than those at Fox who worked so hard to make it fail the last time.

Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Ketchup

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2005

Dave!Returning home from back-to-back travels is never a good thing. Not only has work piled up while you were gone, but your TiVo ends up so packed with television shows to watch that you have to wonder if you will ever manage to work your way free.

Fortunately, there are only two shows I can't live without, and all the rest I am pretty much skimming through, so it's not as bad as it could be. Good thing, because I don't have the time for television right now...

Veronica Mars

Sigh. When a television genius like Joss Whedon says that Veronica Mars is the best TV show ever you would think that people would want to watch it. The fact that this is a true statement makes you think that people would be dying to watch it. Every episode is so tightly written and so brilliantly acted that the show seems to redeem television all on its own. Sadly, despite all of this (or, knowing American viewing habits, IN spite of this), the show will be lucky to last out its second season.

What is wrong with you people?

Last season was excellent from start to finish, and the last few episodes had jaw-dropping moments so profound that I wanted to have Rob Thomas' baby (he's the guy who created the show). This year, Veronica has shown no signs of slowing down and the episodes have been as amazing as ever. If you think this is just another high school angst crapfest, you couldn't be more wrong. It's a brilliant detective drama/comedy that's the one of the most clever and intelligent series ever to air on network television. It's only been five episodes and already we've had a tragic bus crash, a cameo appearance by Kevin Smith, Charisma Carpenter in a bikini, Steve Guttenberg, and Veronica is being her usual self... destroying powerful people and solving mysteries that Jessica Fletcher wouldn't have the balls to face. If you are missing Veronica Mars, you are missing life. The first season is out on DVD now, so there are no excuses.

Wanda Sykes!

Speaking of Kevin Smith, he's got a blog running for the filming of Clerks 2 and a spoiler images he's provided shows that one of the funniest people on the planet, Wanda Sykes, will be making an appearance. This woman is so funny that I actually sat through the movie Monster-in-Law (starring, heaven help us, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez) because Sykes was in it. I am trying really, really hard not to get overly-psyched for Clerks 2, but I absolutely cannot wait to see what crazy stuff Smith is going to do with the "Jersey Trilogy" this time.

Grey's Anatomy

After Veronica Mars, the best show going has to be Grey's Anatomy (Sundays at 10pm, ABC). The medical drama part is better than ER, the comedy part is sheer writing genius, the eye candy is sweet (in the form of Katherine Heigl and Sandra Oh), and it has my favorite character on television (George). This show could have failed so easily because the dialogue doesn't really impress on the page, but the cast somehow makes every line sparkle. Who could guess that a simple exchange like this could be the funniest thing on television all week...

Izzy: "Way to go George!"
George: "I have my finger in a heart."
Izzy: "Very cool!"

It's just so flat when you see it in print, but when performed by Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight it totally kills. I have no idea how they can keep things going so well for more than a couple of seasons, but I sure hope they manage it. Veronica doesn't have the ratings (a scary 2.5) to run much longer, but Grey's is a hit (a stellar 12.2) and can have a nice long run if they keep things interesting enough.

Mr. Sulu

And speaking of stellar, Mr. Sulu has just come out of the closet and announced he's gay. Well, not really Mr. Sulu... he's married and has a daughter just out of Starfleet Academy... but the guy who plays him, George Takei. This got me to wondering why we haven't yet seen a gay character in Star Trek. I mean, in the Star Trek future everybody is supposed to be so advanced and tolerant of alternative lifestyles (you'd have to be with aliens walking around), yet it seems that anything not hetero has been jettisoned into space. It's all kind of bizarre when you stop and think about it. For the next Star Trek series, why not toss in a couple of hot alien lesbians and see if that affects ratings any. Nothing makes a sci-fi geek happier than hot alien lesbians.

And, since there is no better way to end a post than by talking about hot alien lesbians, I guess there's no point blathering on any further.

   

Violence

Posted on Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Dave!Watching A History of Violence is an exercise in patience that is rewarded with some terrific performances. Surprisingly, a big part of that is unexpected talent from Lord of the Rings vet Viggo Mortensen. I've seen him in miscellaneous movies, but usually in throw-away roles requiring zero acting ability. This time around he turns in a carefully crafted performance of measured subtlety that salvages an otherwise predictable film.

Oh yeah... there's also nifty left-field roles for Ed Harris (spooky!) and William Hurt (12 shades of crazy!).

As the title suggests, there are moments of gross-out violence that are only partially gratuitous. I suppose you could argue they are necessary to put the characters into context, but I'm not quite convinced. I thought the movie Crash had more to say, but A History of Violence is still noteworthy. The story revolves around an apparently meek and mild diner owner who has a shocking and violent run-in with armed robbers. Once he becomes a local hero things start to escalate out of control. The plot-holes and completely unrealistic ending aside, it's worth a look when it hits video.

Speaking of violence... people who can't shut the f#@% up during a movie shouldn't go to movies in the first place. One of these days I'm going to be sitting in front of a rude talker and they're going to end up DEAD DEAD DEAD!! If I would have killed the dumbass, I wonder if he could appreciate the irony of dying during a film with "violence" in the title? I sincerely doubt it.

Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  4 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Kong

Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2005

Dave!After Peter Jackson finished up the Lord of the Rings trilogy, my hopes were high that he would finally get the movie rights sorted out so that The Hobbit could be made and the story would be complete. Instead he decided to remake King Kong.

This isn't really unexpected... if you've just finished a trilogy of box-office blockbusters, you can pretty much do whatever you want. King Kong was a dream project for Jackson, and he decided to go for the brass ring. I must admit, the idea of seeing Kong unleashed with today's special effect capabilities and a decent script adaptation is certainly compelling (it will help to erase the memory of the Jessica Lange remake crapfest from the 70's).

From the looks of the delicious new hi-def trailer up at Apple, not only did Jackson do a sweet job of capturing the spirit of the original, but he is composing the film to take full advantage of wide-screen, which should make for a mind-blowing movie experience come December 14...

King Kong

King Kong

King Kong

King Kong

King Kong

King Kong

King Kong

Sweet!

I still want to see The Hobbit though. Unfortunately, Jackson's directing The Lovely Bones next, so I have no idea if that will ever happen.

Categories: Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  13 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Funny

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2005

Dave!I am sick.

And I have gone totally gay over Ryan Reynolds.

It's entirely possible that I am sick because I've gone totally gay over Ryan Reynolds, but I'm pretty sure it was the crappy dinner I ate. And when I say "crappy" I don't mean that there was literally crap in it, but that it tasted terrible. And now my stomach aches and I've got cramps so bad that it feels like my intestines are trying to claw their way out of my torso.

HEY! You don't think that there actually WAS crap in my food do you?!? Because that would certainly explain a lot.

It's no fun being sick, but it's even worse when you are far from home...

Davesick

Anyway, before the gastronomical disaster that was my dinner tonight, I went to go see the movie Aeon Flux. But Aeon Flux was sold out until midnight, so I decided to go see Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds. It was not a good movie. It was, in fact, a pretty bad movie. It was cliched and slapsticky and there was too much time between genuinely funny moments. In the end, I think it had potential to be a good movie, except the pacing was all off and it wasn't charming enough to make for good romantic comedy.

But I ended up liking the film anyway.

And it's all because of Ryan Reynolds. The guy is hysterical funny...

Ryanreynolds

I first remember seeing him in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, but he eventually worked his way up to starring roles in Van Wilder, Blade Trinity, The Amityville Horror remake, and now Just Friends. None of these films were anything remarkable, but I think Ryan Reynolds was entertaining in all of them (how can you not love "Berg" from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place?). I can only guess that it's because he's an astoundingly talented actor and a genuinely funny guy...

...or because I find him totally hot.

When I get that all figured out, I'll be sure you let you know. In the meanwhile, I think I need to go puke my guts out.

CHAPTER 12: Christmas, Bloody Christmas..
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Crossing Guard with Traffic Paddle.
   
Lego Dave and his faithful companion Barky the Dog are rushing the brave construction worker to the hospital, but the evil Lego Buzz has caught up to them...
   
"NOW YOU CAN ALL DIIIIIIE!" screams Lego Buzz, his eyes filled with hate.
   
"Don't stop!" yells the construction worker. "Smash through the barrier and run him down!"
"Bark! Bark!" agrees Barky the Dog.
   
Lego Dave grits his teeth and charges forward, busting through the barrier and knocking Lego Buzz on his ass. The resulting crash tips over the wheelbarrow, and everybody goes tumbling to the ground.
   
"Hey!" yells a crossing guard running up to the scene of the crash. "You can't run a construction barrier! That's illegal! I'm going to have to write you a ticket!"
   
Then, out of nowhere, Lego Buzz appears... "TICKET THIS!!" he yells and he plunges his rotary saw into the crossing guard's stomach. "WAAH HA HA HA HAAAAHHH!"
Lego Holiday Twelve
"Dude!" exclaims Lego Dave.
"Bark! Bark!" frets Barky the Dog.
   
"AND NOW YOU'RE NEXT! ALL OF YOU!" screeches Lego Buzz, clearly out of his mind. "BWAH HA HA HAAAAH!"
   
Has time finally run out for our heroes?
   
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" CONTINUES!

Categories: LEGO, Movies 2005Click To It: Permalink  19 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Geisha

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Dave!Despite working my guts out over the holiday weekend, I still made time to go see Memoirs of a Geisha at the movies. As a Japanophile, it was an absolute necessity.

But make no mistake that I wanted to see the movie because I was a fan of the book... nothing could be further from the truth. I positively despise the book Memoirs of a Geisha on which the movie is based. It is a highly fictionalized crap-fest that shits all over the secret "flower and willow world" of the geisha and is an insult to Japanese culture on several levels. I am positively horrified that the book is the big success that it is, because it propagates stereotypes and false information that go against everything geisha are supposed to be about.

No, I went to see the movie because I am a mega-huge fan of Michelle Yeoh. And also the incomparable Ziyi Zhang, who I fell in love with ever since watching the sublime Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon...

Ziyi Zhang Geisha

Ziyi Zhang Geisha

But here's the problem. Neither Michelle Yeoh or Ziyi Zhang are Japanese.

Sure their performances weren't terrible, but they should have never been cast in the first place. They were hired for the job solely because they have name recognition (no matter how vague here in the US) and because Western audiences won't know or care that they aren't Japanese. They look "Asian" and that, apparently, was enough.

Unless you appreciate Japanese culture, in which case they are about as Japanese as I am. Seriously, I could have been cast as the geisha, and it would have been just as "authentic"...

Dave Geisha

Anyway...

The word "geisha" literally means "arts person" in Japanese. Geisha are not prostitutes, as most Westerners would think, but living, breathing, moving, works of exquisitely beautiful art. Sex never enters the picture (which is not to say that geisha don't have sex, it's just that they do not have sex as geisha, which is a big difference). Geisha are highly trained from a young age to sing, dance, play instruments, compose poetry, facilitate conversation, and dozens of other art forms... like gracefully pouring tea and making ikebana (interpretive Japanese flower arrangements). They are entertainers of the highest caliber, and respected artists both in action and appearance.

Which is why the movie and book sucks ass. in order to appeal to the tawdry nature of Americans, everything is infused with sex. You've got geishas having sex (in their okiya!)... geishas selling their virginity... geishas having their clothes ripped off... all these ridiculous things which are included solely to sell books and movie tickets. Obviously I can't say that these things never happened to a geisha in real-life, but they are in no way indicative of what geisha represent, and it saddens me to think that this is the image Westerners will have of them. I mean, sure it's one-step above the prostitutes that most people have in mind now, but not much of one.

Putting the true nature of geisha and reality aside, the film still fails in my opinion. It was beautifully shot with capable actors, but that doesn't compensate for the uneven pacing that's paired with a poor (and somewhat pedophile-freaky) story. Unlike The Last Samurai, which I was able to buy into as fanciful Japanese fiction, Memoirs of a Geisha never managed to absorb me. Too many flaws kept getting in the way.

   

Entertainment

Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Dave!I had to work every waking minute today. No blog for you!

Well, okay... maybe a little blog for you since Veronica Mars is yet another rerun tonight.

Time for Dave's Entertainment Minute...

Davehollywood

Scrubbed! Holy crap! Scrubs used to be one of the most brilliant shows on television. A show you could count on for smart comedy tempered with poignant moments of human drama. But then the new season happened, and all of a sudden it sucks ass... hard. Gone are the wonderful story threads that weave together beautifully every episode. Instead it's just a patchwork mess of sloppy gags that aren't even funny. The back-to-back episodes I just watched off the TiVo were a complete embarrassment to this once-great show. Please, just cancel it now while people still have good Scrubs memories.

Carter! Little Aaron Carter has just released Come Get It: The Very Best of Aaron Carter, which is a greatest hits collection for an artist who has no actual hits. Ordinarily, I wouldn't care. But I ran across the user comments on the iTunes Music Store and laughed my ass off. Over 300 reviews that include such gems as "If crap had a soundtrack, it would be this" and "A disgrace to music. William Hung is 10 times better than Aaron" and "There is no God" and "The Geneva Convention considers it a war crime to listen to this album". I wish I had the guts to actually buy it.

Oh! By some miracle, the self-congratulating Golden Globes wank-fest actually gave out an award that was deserved... the brutally hot Sandra Oh won Best Supporting Actress for her work on Grey's Anatomy. Sweet.

Super! The more information that gets released from the upcoming Superman Returns motion picture, the more anxious I am to see it. While I love the original Superman and Superman II films, the idea of seeing a Superman treatment with modern special effects is just too good. And now I have to wonder... they've finally got momentum going with DC Comics two most notable franchises... Superman and Batman. Who do I have to blow in order to make every comic book lover's dream come true: a Superman & Batman movie? And once Joss Whedon gets his Wonder Woman flick off the ground, how cool would a Superman & Wonder Woman movie be?

Underwhelm! The original Underworld movie was laughably bad. But what's even worse is that I will be lining up at the theater to see the sequel: Underworld Evolution for the sole purpose of seeing Kate Beckinsale run around in tight latex blowing shit up. High entertainment value with no actual entertainment... it's a conundrum of movie physics that compels me.

Not! Ouch. After airing only a single episode, Heather Graham's new sitcom Emily's Reasons Why Not has been canned, and all production has stopped. Given the millions of dollars that ABC pumped into advertising the show, I am experiencing a moment of perverse pleasure. This is the crappy network who cancelled the greatest show ever to air on television (Jeremy Piven's Cupid) after doing everything they could to sabotage it. Suck it ABC dumbasses! You so totally deserve it.

Back to work I go.

   

Apeshit

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2006

Dave!Sigh. Nothing like a dead laptop battery to ruin your day. I wrote this entry at 5:30am with the intention of posting it on my lunch hour. But then my battery ended up being totally dead, so I had to wait until I got home to the sweet embrace of my power adapter at 10:30pm.

And that's a real shame, because now I'm going to feel the need to proofread it. So an entry that took me 15 minutes to write and draw this morning will now be picked apart for two hours. It seems that once I start proofreading I have no idea how to stop myself. Worst of all, the proofreading isn't going to do anything to fix my crappy writing skills. If anything, I'll probably make things worse.

You've been warned.

Anyway...

It seems that Hollywood is just going apeshit over monkeys.

Everywhere you turn, there's monkeys. Monkeys in movies. Monkeys on television. Monkeys in advertisements. Monkeys everywhere. It's a monkey renaissance.

And that's cool because it means that Bad Monkey can get work in porn remakes! You know how they take a movie like Free Willy and remake it as a porn flick called Free THE Willy... or Under the Tuscan Sun becomes a porno called Under the Tuscan BUNS or something like that. It's all good harmless X-rated fun! Like this...

King Kong

Here we take King Kong, add Bad Monkey, and the porno remake could become...

King Dong

An instant classic! Here's another...

Curious George

We remake the upcoming Curious George animated film, add Bad Monkey, and it could become...

Bi-Curious George

And I'm sure that something porn-tastic could be made from Grandma's Boy which has a monkey in a starring role, or even the new CBS show Love Monkey which doesn't have any monkeys, but probably should because it's totally confusing otherwise...

Monkey Show

See? The possibilities are endless! Sadly, some of the best monkey porn titles are already taken by regular movies. Iron Monkey? Ha ha ha. Monkeybone? BWAH HA HA HAAAAAH!

So bring on the primates.

Bad Monkey could use the cash, and I'd be happy to have him throwing his feces on somebody else's walls for a change.

BLOGOGRAPHY FLASHBACK ENTRY: Banana
BLOGDATE: May 11, 2005
   
In which Dave learns how to peel a banana from a monkey while avoiding Thai hookers.
Click here to go back in time...

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Broke

Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2006

Dave!Here is my one word review of Brokeback Mountain from last night...

Borrrrrrrrrrring.

It was boring. Beyond boring. The cowboy love story was not enough of a story, and everything in-between was so mind-numbingly, coma-inducing, kill-me-now, BORING that I found myself counting ceiling tiles. Yes the cinematography was first rate and the scenery was pretty... but that doesn't excuse this long, drawn-out, snore-fest of a film. I remain positively dumbfounded that Brokeback Mountain is getting such critical acclaim. Between Heath Ledger mumbling every word of his incomprehensible dialogue and having to sit through long stretches of NOTHING, I can honestly say that this is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

I never thought I would find myself looking forward to watching some hot man-on-man action but, since that was the only action to be found, there was nothing else to do. The story tried to show how society was so unforgiving of their love that they had no choice but to enter into straight marriages that neither were happy in. But the result was cliched and felt tacked on... as if stereotypical screaming babies and an unapproving father-in-law were supposed to be some kind of excuse for them to keep having feelings for each other. In the end, the wives who were being cheated on for the sake of forbidden romance were the more sympathetic characters. I always felt that Ennis and Jack's marriages should have been a sad result of something both wanted but weren't brave enough to have... but this didn't come across in the film. At least not to me.

On a more positive note, I'll bet the porn remakes are going to be entertaining...

Bareback Monkey

The thing that surprised me most was not the actual movie, but that there were so many people there to watch it. Despite this being 2006, I live in a somewhat redneck area of Central Washington. To have a fairly good-sized audience of mostly older people at a 4:45 showing is remarkable. I can only hope that this indicates society is becoming more accepting of gay cowboys having sex. It would be nice to live in a world where consenting adults can have love and happiness wherever they are lucky enough to find it, and not have to worry about being judged or killed for it.

Overheard in the parking lot after the movie was over: "I nearly choked on my popcorn when that boy took that other fella from behind like that... heh heh heh, homos!"

Errr, well... maybe there's a ways to go yet, but at least the guy had a mind open enough to go watch a Western where the cowboys had been all homosexualized by the homosexualizations of those homosexualizers in Hollywood. That's a start.

Anyway, the night wasn't a total loss. Thanks to Michelle leaving me a hot tip in a comment, I was able to drop by Safeway and pick up a couple boxes of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch cereal for the bargain price of 2 for $5... score!

I wish I could quit you, Captain Crunch.

   

Colored

Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2006

Dave!Just as I was finishing this catch-all Monday entry, Yellow by Coldplay hit on my iPod, and I suddenly realized that there was a freaky color-theme running through all my bullet points. Funny how that happens...

Grey: In what has to be one of the best shows currently showing on television (now that Veronica Mars has seemingly vanished), Grey's Anatomy continues to surprise me. The SuperBowl two-parter was mind-blowing. Last week's follow-up was classic. And, even though last night's show was kind of slow and boring, I still find myself completely absorbed by it. Unlike crap-fests such as Lost which drags shit on forever with no resolution, Grey's never fails to plunge forward into new territory. You may not like where it goes, but you will always be entertained. Isn't that what television is all about?

Greysmontage

Purple, Green, & Gold: Oh how I wish I was in New Orleans right now for Mardi Gras.

Black: Balancing pain and nausea makes you pretty much useless for anything more difficult than watching television. But, other than the aforementioned Grey's Anatomy, the most interesting thing on television was a commercial for the new video game called Black, which focuses on one thing only: blowing shit up. Beautifully. That's all you do. You go from one location to another and blow... shit... up. It's got to be the most brilliant idea for a game ever, because they've cut out all the boring crap that you usually have to sit through to get to the good part. Which is, of course, to blow shit up. My copy is on pre-order, and ships tomorrow...

Xbox Black

Brown: The current round of ads featuring Jay Mohr as a talent agent for Diet Pepsi are the most incredibly stupid ads I've seen in a long time. I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised that Jay Mohr is whoring himself out for something so outrageously asinine... what else has he got to do? But Jackie Chan and P. Diddy? Pepsi must be paying them a shit-load of bank in order for them to ignore how idiotic they look in these spots. P. Diddy's is especially embarrassing, considering he cuts a new hit single with a can of Diet Pepsi called "Brown & Bubbly". Seriously, "Brown & Bubbly". I am still trying to decide if it is more embarrassing to be starring in this crap... or to be responsible for coming up with the idea in the first place. Pepsi... it's past time for a new ad agency.

Violet: Around seven years ago, there was a brilliant British television mini series called Ultraviolet that shows what happens when a cop played by Jack Davenport ("Steve" from Coupling) accidentally gets wrapped up in the world of "Code V's" which is a clever way of saying "vampires". I keep waiting for it to be released on DVD in the US, but nothing ever comes. Instead, now we have another Ultraviolet entirely, but this time it's a movie starring Milla Jovovitch. She's playing a "Hemophage" which is yet another clever way of saying "vampires", or so I am guessing. All I do know is that Milla kicks total ass, and I can't wait to see it. Please, please be better than the ridiculous Underworld...

Ultraviolet

Blue: I just learned that Octavia E. Butler, a prominent Seattle science fiction writer who created some truly amazing works, died this weekend. If you want to give her stuff a try, I recommend the critically acclaimed Wild Seed, a tale of two immortal beings that's a magical read and hard to put down. Truly a great loss to sci-fi fans, and a reason to be blue this Monday.

Lime: Still depressed that Coke with Lime is disappearing from store shelves, but Mooselet was kind enough to pass along a tasty reminder of the greatness that once was (only in Australia, alas). It's the "Coke with Lime Girls"...

Coke with Lime Girls

Hmmm... since kidney stones are still plaguing me, let's see how well I manage at work today while totally drugged up...

   

Vendetta

Posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Dave!As a big fan of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, I was very nervous about V for Vendetta being turned into a movie. After all, Moore's previous works League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell were positively butchered in the translation to film, and the odds of V bucking this trend seemed unlikely.

As it turned out, the result wasn't half bad. Sure several characters and events were changed, but I think the Wachowski Brothers did capture a bit of what made the original story so great...

V for Vendetta

The problem is that the context of the book when I first read it fifteen years ago was very different than now. Back then, the Orwellian world in the story echoed a possible future... today it seems to be a likely future. Because of that, the movie seems like a clumsy attempt at socio-political commentary instead of the elegant revelation it was when Moore wrote it.

In any event, this tale of an oppressed future society and its masked terrorist liberator is still worth a look as a film or, better yet, even more amazing if read from the book as it was originally intended.

Then you can be V too...

Dave for Vendetta

...and understand why the ending of the book is SO much cooler than what's in the movie.

   

Unwritten

Posted on Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Dave!Well, The Lost Blogs Grassroots Blogger Marketing Campaign is now over, and I am exhausted. On top of having to write two entries every day, I also made daily rounds of the 40 blogs that were participating, which left little time for anything else. I have 63 non-spam emails in my in-box. I have hundreds of entries from the 224 web feeds I subscribe to that need to be read. A big chunk of my Easter Sunday is going to be spent in bed with my PowerBook just trying to get caught up.

But it was all worth it. I had a great time, and there were some very interesting reads among the participants. In fact, I dare say that I did not find a single one that didn't entertain or educate me in some way. On top of all that, lounging around in bed reading email and blogs isn't the worst way to spend the day.

And speaking of a good way to spend time, I went to see the film Thank You for Smoking and enjoyed it immensely...

Aaron Eckhart Thank You for Smoking

This is not a movie for everybody, but I was completely hooked in the opening minutes and was laughing out loud more than once during the film. The story revolves around Nick Naylor who is a lobbyist for big tobacco, and spends his days defending the right of people everywhere to smoke and get cancer. And though the movie features great guest spots by William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, and many others... the really interesting stuff happens when Nick is with his son. That's where you get to understand why Nick is the way he is and how he is able to do the things he does. It's in these moments that a one-note story with only superficial satire becomes a brilliant commentary on the human condition.

Most of the praise for how much I liked this movie can be placed on Aaron Eckhart, who's portrayal of Nick was note-perfect in every scene. He approaches each new situation with an almost child-like sense of wonder that never for a moment has you disliking the character despite the "morally flexibility" in things he does. Eckhart has a scene where Nick gets to fly on a private jet for the first time. Even though the scene itself does absolutely nothing to progress the story, Eckhart speaks volumes for his character in the way he reacts to this new environment. Just one of many magical moments that make Thank You for Smoking one of the best films I've seen in quite a while.

And, while I am on the subject of Aaron Eckhart, can I just say it's amazing how he can completely change from movie to movie? He's like a chameleon who has me struggling to see him as anything except the character he's being at the moment. From In The Company of Men to Erin Brockovich to Nurse Betty to Suspect Zero... he somehow manages to elevate even crappy films like Paycheck and The Core to watchable fare. I can't wait to see what he does next.

In other good news, James Bow was kind enough to send me a review copy of his new book The Unwritten Girl...

Unwritten Girl

Because of how much stuff I've got going on, I had thought I would just read a chapter or two so I could say something about the story here, then read the rest once I got caught up with everything.

But one chapter led to another, and I didn't stop until I had read the whole thing (and once you've read the book, you'll understand why that's kind of ironic!).

The Unwritten Girl is a terrific fantasy-adventure read that's categorized as "Young-Adult Fiction" but, like Harry Potter, can easily be enjoyed by anyone. It tells the story of a young girl named Rosemary whose brother (literally) becomes lost in a book, and it's up to her and a friend named Peter to try and rescue him. What follows is a clever blend of fantasy and reality that kept me turning pages until the very end.

One of the things that I enjoy about James' writing is how his character dialogue seems so natural. I had mentioned once how envious I was that it was so easy for him to create such "real" people, only to have him assure me that he works very hard to get it right. This makes me feel better about how difficult I find it to write good dialogue, but now I can't help but wonder if he was just saying that to make me feel better. The Unwritten Girl certainly makes it seem effortless! In any event, congratulation James for a job well done, and I am looking forward to your next book!

Categories: Books, Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  13 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Blogiversary III… WATCH with DAVE!

Posted on Friday, April 21st, 2006

Dave!TODAYS'S PRIZES: $290 worth of DVDs (and stuff)!

  SORRY! THIS DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED! No new entries are being accepted.  

Coming up with prizes for a blogiversary celebration is a difficult task. Not only do you run the risk of picking out stuff that people don't want, but you have to make your prize world-friendly. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. Last year I did a food entry, and found out export of food items is prohibited to many countries. Books are heavy, so shipping is expensive. And when it comes to videos... well, that's the toughest of all. DVDs are "region encoded", which mean that they don't play outside of the area you bought them. Last year, I thought I would fix this by including both a DVD and a VHS videotape for each movie. Little did I know, this was even more stupid, because video formats are different around the world too. Apparently there's no real solution.

So unfortunately, if you live outside of "Region 1" (the USA and Canada), you won't be able to watch any of today's prize-winning DVDs unless you have a "region-free" DVD player. Sorry, but there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. Please keep all this in mind if you live outside the USA and Canada and decide to enter. Though, I must say, this collection of brilliant video may well be worth tracking down a region-free player to watch...

B3 Watch Dave

Sweet! And away we go...

TODAY'S $200 "WATCH WITH DAVE" GRAND PRIZE INCLUDES...
   
B3 ShirtBlogography T-Shirt
Even the best movie or television show pales in comparison to how cool you are when wearing a sweet Blogography T-shirt! Artfully silk-screened by hand on high-quality Hanes Beefy-T shirts, these Blogography-inspired masterpieces are comfortable, durable, and are guaranteed to make you the best-dressed person in the room... Dave not included! (Value: $14.95 to $16.95)
   
B3 Veronica MarsVeronica Mars: The Complete First Season
Yeah, big surprise considering I feel Veronica Mars is the best show on television. Period. The only show I've ever enjoyed more was another Rob Thomas creation, Jeremy Piven's Cupid. And to think I almost passed it up because I had thought it was going to be yet another high school drama crapfest. But NOOOOoooo! Veronica Mars is smart, funny, brilliant television with the best mysteries of any show yet seen. Veronica is a typical student at uber-posh Neptune High, until the murder of her best friend turns her world upside down. Now she helps her father run a private investigation office, all while helping her friends at school, and always trying to solve the biggest mystery of all: who killed Lilly Kane? Every episode is a piece of a bigger puzzle, with the ultimate solution so good that you'll be compelled to watch every episode all over again top spot the clues you missed. Highest possible recommendation. (Value: $49.95)
   
B3 WonderfallsWonderfalls: The Complete Series
As if to prove that ABC isn't the only television network that can destroy a brilliant television show with incompetent scheduling and marketing... FOX decided to screw one of the freshest, most interesting show they've ever had: Wonderfalls. Jaye Tyler is uninspired and going nowhere in life. She passes her time by working in a gift shop at Niagara Falls and avoiding meaningful interaction with people at all costs. But when inanimate objects start speaking to her, she's forced to get involved with not only her family, but complete strangers as well. Featuring funny, biting humor that's anchored by an amazing cast, Wonderfalls is must-see television that very few people got to see. (Value $39.95)
   
B3 South ParkSouth Park: The Complete Second Season
South Park is one of those shows you either love or hate. You either appreciate it as some of the smartest, guttiest, satire of pop culture ever created... or condemn it as a crappily-animated cartoon with four foul-mouthed kids that should be banned from the air. Me? I love it for both reasons! The second season of South Park is probably one of my most favorite, mostly because it contains an episode devoted entirely to Terrance & Philip, who are probably my favorite animated characters ever. Sure this isn't a show for everybody, but if you can get past the potty humor, foul language, and sometimes disgusting antics... it remains brilliant commentary on just about everything going on in the world today. (Value: $49.95)
   
B3 Cinema ParadisoCinema Paradiso: The Director's Expanded Edition
I can't stand romance movies. They're all so lame and cliched... with sappy dialogue and often totally unrealistic premises. Only rarely do I ever see a romance film that's worth a crap, and most of the time it's because they have something else to offer. And most of those films are foreign (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being excellent examples). And so we come to Cinema Paradiso. This film tells the story of Toto, a young boy growing up in a small village in war-torn Italy. With his father gone, Toto turns to the projectionist at the local theater for guidance. He quickly develops a love for movies, which become the driving passion in his life. But as Toto grows up, he finds that movies don't have all the answers when it comes to love and life. Easily one of my favorite films of all time, Cimena Paradiso is a rare movie romance that works on every possible level. The DVD contains TWO versions of the film... the original, and an extended version that has a revelation so shocking that it completely changes the meaning of the movie. I recommend watching the original (shorter) edit first, because it would be difficult to feel the same about some of the characters if you watched the extended cut first. (Value: $14.95)
   
B3 Clerks AnimatedClerks, The Complete Animated Series: Uncensored
In counting the ways that ABC television has screwed brilliant television shows because of rampant stupidity, the animated Clerks series would occupy at least five spots... probably more. It is well-made, highly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny (basically, everything you want in a cartoon). I had my doubts that a fairly vulgar movie like Clerks could ever be adequately adapted for network television, but Kevin Smith somehow managed to do it, and do it well. At the core of Clerks is two guys stuck in a dead-end job who stopped caring about it long ago... now they're just trying to make it through another day. Hilarity ensues. Watch it now as preparation for Clerks II, coming this summer! (Value: $14.95)
   
B3 Veronica MarsBedazzled
This movie stars the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley as the Devil. What more do you really need to know? As an added bonus, this is actually a really good film... filled with all the things that make life worth living: Liz being funny, Liz being sexy, Liz being cute, Liz being naughty, and Liz in a bikini. If that weren't enough, there's also a positive life message to wrap it all up. If you haven't seen this movie yet, then I fear for your immortal soul. (Declared Value: $9.95. Actual Value: Priceless)
   

And, as if that weren't enough, you've got two other chances to win if the Grand Prize eludes you...

TWO $45 "WATCH WITH DAVE" RUNNER-UP PRIZES INCLUDE...
   
B3 ShirtBlogography T-Shirt
Even the best movie or television show pales in comparison to how cool you are when wearing a sweet Blogography T-shirt! Artfully silk-screened by hand on high-quality Hanes Beefy-T shirts, these Blogography-inspired masterpieces are comfortable, durable, and are guaranteed to make you the best-dressed person in the room... Dave not included! (Value: $14.95 to $16.95)
   
B3 Cinema ParadisoCinema Paradiso: The Director's Expanded Edition
I can't stand romance movies. They're all so lame and cliched... with sappy dialogue and often totally unrealistic premises. Only rarely do I ever see a romance film that's worth a crap, and most of the time it's because they have something else to offer. And most of those films are foreign (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being excellent examples). And so we come to Cinema Paradiso. This film tells the story of Toto, a young boy growing up in a small village in war-torn Italy. With his father gone, Toto turns to the projectionist at the local theater for guidance. He quickly develops a love for movies, which become the driving passion in his life. But as Toto grows up, he finds that movies don't have all the answers when it comes to love and life. Easily one of my favorite films of all time, Cimena Paradiso is a rare movie romance that works on every possible level. The DVD contains TWO versions of the film... the original, and an extended version that has a revelation so shocking that it completely changes the meaning of the movie. I recommend watching the original (shorter) edit first, because it would be difficult to feel the same about some of the characters if you watched the extended cut first. (Value: $14.95)
   
B3 Clerks AnimatedClerks, The Complete Animated Series: Uncensored
In counting the ways that ABC television has screwed brilliant television shows because of rampant stupidity, the animated Clerks series would occupy at least five spots... probably more. It is well-made, highly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny (basically, everything you want in a cartoon). I had my doubts that a fairly vulgar movie like Clerks could ever be adequately adapted for network television, but Kevin Smith somehow managed to do it, and do it well. At the core of Clerks is two guys stuck in a dead-end job who stopped caring about it long ago... now their just trying to make it through another day. Hilarity ensues. Watch it now as preparation for Clerks II, coming this summer! (Value: $14.95)
   

Prizes so good, I almost wish that I could enter this one myself! To see how YOU can enter, read onward...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

M:i:III

Posted on Sunday, May 21st, 2006

Dave!After working myself to death for 26 hours, I managed to get a few hours sleep before going back out to an on-site job. After that was over, I should have gone back to bed, but instead went to the cinema to see Mission: Impossible III. The fact that I did not fall asleep during the film kind of speaks for itself. I enjoyed it quite a lot (certainly more than the pervious two).

Given that JJ Abrams wrote and directed M:i:III, it should come as no surprise that it plays like a really good episode of Alias (well, an early episode of Alias, back in the first season when the show was actually worth a crap). Except this time JJ had a massive budget and got to really let his mind run wild. Between the action, stunts, and locations... there's plenty of stuff to keep things interesting. This is a good thing, because the story itself is pretty formulaic with a not-so-surprising surprise along the way. There's also a slightly annoying plot hole around who knew what and when, but it's all in good fun.

Kind of makes me glad that the cool (yet cheesy) original-original series is going to be released on DVD.

That leaves only one movie left that I am really looking forward to this summer (and a handful of others I'll probably see)...

Super Dave

  • June 30th - Superman Returns (YEEEEEEEEEEEE-HAW!!).
  • July 7th - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Pirates!!).
  • July 21st - Clerks II (Kevin Smith!).
  • July 21st - My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson!).
  • September 21st - The Black Dahlia (Based on the James Elroy novel!).

Pretty slim pickings. You just know it's a crappy summer for movies when one of the films on my top-5 must-see list is My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Bleh.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  27 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

X3

Posted on Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Dave!Well, I went ahead and saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand despite the fact that I thought the first two X-movies sucked major ass. Turns out that X3 sucks too, but not nearly as badly as the previous films (hey, at least this time the super-powered mutants had moments where they were actually shown being super-powered mutants). In order to avoid ruining the film for anybody who hasn't seen it, my spoiler-ridden notes are in an extended entry. Suffice to say that I thought the film had a few geeky moments to please X-fans, but fell way short of being a worthy adaptation of the source material. Such a pity, because I am a major X-whore...

X-Dave

But here's the deal... as bad as I felt X3 was, it positively shines in comparison to the total ass-draining suckage that is known as The Da Vinci Code. Holy shit what a crap-fest of a film! Sure it was hampered by the lame source material, but Ron Howard & Company failed on just about every possible level to create any semblance of movie entertainment.

Long. Boring. Pandering. Safe. Uninspired. DEAD.

Even though I am not a big fan of the book, at least the written version had a small amount of bite to it. The film is just a mess that takes otherwise capable actors and waters them down to base stupidity. Audrey Tautou is absolutely brilliant in Amelie and the astounding A Very Long Engagement, but is given nothing to do here. All she gets is to stand in the corner all doe-eyed while Tom Hanks solves a series of by-the-numbers puzzles. A total waste of her considerable talent, and an even further embarrassment to the movie.

Maybe The Da Vinci Code is worth a video rental for a boring evening, but it's completely miss-able at the theater. Do yourself a favor and save your money. While you wait to rent the DVD at NetFlix, you can read The DAVEinci Code instead...

DAVEinci Code

And there you have it. A bad night for movies all around. If you haven't seen X3 and don't want it ruined, DO NOT read onward...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  24 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Eight

Posted on Friday, June 16th, 2006

Dave!This morning there was a major panic attack when I couldn't find a clean pair of underwear. Eventually I did manage to find some in my flight carry-on bag but, as I was searching, it did get me to wondering what I would do if I couldn't find any. Wear a used pair... or go commando?? Fortunately, I didn't have to choose, but I really should make up my mind in case I'm ever faced with this problem again.

Underwear aside, there was big fun to be had today. I finally got the little buttons I ordered...

Dave Buttons

They turned out great (much better than this photo will attest), which was a pleasant surprise because some of the stuff I order from CafePress ends up looking like crap. But every button was beautiful, had bright colors, and looks professionally made, so I'm happy. Now all I have to do is wait until the weather turns cold so that I can pin them on my jacket. It'll be just like the 80's!

Speaking of orders, I am dangerously close to FINALLY filling all of the T-shirt orders from Blogiversary III week... I have a mere 64 left to go! Thanks to everybody for their patience, and everything should be shipped out by Monday.

Since it's Friday, I'll be picking up a meme from James to finish up the day. You are supposed to come up with eight random things about you which most people might not know...

  1. I was approached about turning my blog into a set of mini-books. At first I declined, but was eventually talked into it. Unfortunately, the deal has recently fallen through because we could not agree on the direction of the project. But since I've already put a lot of work into the books, I'm toying with the idea of self-publishing them at Lulu or something (once I find time to start finishing them up). You can take a look at the cover concepts here.
  2. When I was in high school I started collecting comic books. Though I don't buy as many as I used to, I still read some titles and have amassed a huge collection of books. My current favorites are Age of Bronze, All-Star Batman & Robin, The Avengers, Superman/Batman, Powers, and Usagi Yojimbo. My favorite comic book of all time is Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  3. I've always got something smart-assed to say, and am rarely at a loss for words. Given this, you would think commenting on other people's blogs is a piece of cake... but this is not the case. I like to comment on other blogs when I have time, but sometimes it's difficult. Take one of my long-time reads: What's a Delmer Look Like. Delmer's writing is great and he's always got something entertaining to say... but I always feel that his entries are perfect as they are, and any smart-ass remark I might add would be an intrusion. And then there's Tonya at Adventure Journalist. I eagerly await her every word, marvel over her astoundingly beautiful photography, and have been a fan of her blog forever. To read Tonya is to love her. But eventually you run out of ways to say "beautiful" when looking at her pictures, and so I usually just end up looking at the latest additions to her jaw-dropping gallery, and sneaking away without a word. I don't know why some blogs have this affect on me and other's don't.
  4. I love to paint with watercolors. If I were to win the lotto and become obscenely wealthy, I'd do nothing but travel the world and paint.
  5. I am a huge movie-buff, but am humiliated to admit some of the films that I like. Off the top of my head, they include The Associate, in which Whoopi Goldberg plays a woman trying to break into a job as a stockbroker, but finds that prejudice keeps her shut out. Eventually she invents an alter-ego of an old white guy, but finds that her new success makes the deception difficult to maintain. And then there's Earth Girl's Are Easy which features Jim Carey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans as furry aliens who crash-land in Geena Davis' swimming pool. And, of course, Exit to Eden which has Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd as undercover cops at a private island sex resort run by Dana Delany (and Iman as an ultra-hot bad girl assassin). There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of others.
  6. Likewise, there are also musical groups that I am downright embarrassed to admit I listen to from time to time. Probably the most scary is A-Teens, who sing bubblegum pop at its absolute worst. Then there's even more tragic groups like Bananarama, Erasure and even Flock of Seagulls. Even more odd is that right after listening to this stuff, I can turn right around and pop in Rage Against the Machine or Pantera without skipping a beat.
  7. I choose not to eat any kind of meat, fish, or fowl... and choose to ignore broccoli, cauliflower, and any other vegetable that smells bad when you cook it. There is one food I cannot eat however, and that's mushrooms. They make me violently ill and seem to cause my throat to close up if I eat too many of them. That's a fungus for you.
  8. What I am looking forward to most of all next week is an appearance by Betty White on Game Show Marathon, which is a freaky show which dredges up old game shows that are played by quasi-celebrities. Betty will be an actual celebrity guest on the Match Game segment on the 22nd. Naturally, I can't wait.

Argh. I've been working all day and it's late. I think I'll go to bed and slip into a coma.

   

Q-n-A

Posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2006

Dave!In my previous entry, I had asked if anyone had questions that they might ask if I were to ask for questions, and some of you actually sent me some!

So here's a "Question and Answers" session with Dave....

First up, Exposed left me these...

  1. If you had 24 hours to live and could do whatever you wish with it - even outside the bounds of time/space etc. what would you do? I would bounce through time to watch Michelangelo create his most famous works. The Sistine Chapel, David, Moses, La Pieta, the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, and so many others. I would want my last day to be filled with beauty, and that would pretty much do it. Why? I just love Italy... everything from the art and architecture to the language, people, and food.
  2. If you had to redo high school (had to - no one would ever do this by choice) what would you do differently? Not much. There are some classes I took that I wouldn't bother with now that I know they're useless, but that's about it.
  3. What is your biggest regret and why haven't you fixed it? I really have only one regret, but it's not something I ever really discuss with anybody. Seriously though, life is really too short for regrets and worrying about the past doesn't do you any good anyway.
  4. You love to travel - you have 3 months with all expenses paid to do with whatever you wish - where do you go and why? I'd probably stay in Italy for the entire three months. I would live in Tuscany for a month, then head south and explore the Amalfi Coast and Sicily.
  5. Will you marry me? =) Elizabeth Hurley? Is that YOU?!?

And Wayne left me these...

  1. How old is the picture on your gravatar? The Gravatar is from this entry in March, 2004.
  2. Which was your favorite Matrix? Are you kidding? The first was mind-blowingly amazing. The sequels had their moments, but were pretty much crap.
  3. Do you really hate our President? If yes, please rate on a Scale of Hatred, like the Hotness Scale, and make sure it includes Jared, bad parents, dumbasses who can't use a turn signal and Clay Aiken. I don't hate anybody, including President Bush. The problem is that I lost any respect I had for him after his utterly asinine comments at the 2004 Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner (which I wrote about here). It's only gone downhill from there. I honestly think he is very narrow-minded in that he has no interest in representing all Americans... he only wants to give voice to those who think like he does. He also seems to be of the opinion that the USA is the entire world, and other countries shouldn't have a say in what happens in it. Overall, I find him very ill-suited for the job... and, though I don't hate him for his incompetence, I do dislike him for it. A lot.
  4. Did you know that 'Lovely Lady Elizabeth Hurley' could be 'HELL" backwards? No! I did not know that! Must be why she got to play The Devil in Bedazzled.
  5. Do you think I should trademark the term "BlogBerry"? I'm using my blackberry 8700c to compose this right now and I'm starting to use it a lot more for blog review more than email and phone. While that's a clever term, and I think you should use it all you like, I don't think you can trademark a phrase unless you are using it as the name of a business, or a service, or the name of a product. Sorry. :-(

And Alexander left this one question...

  1. I'm just curious. What are your thoughts on gaming? As a hardcore gamer I simply must know. I love video games. I've owned dozens of systems over the decades, starting with Pong and the Atari 2600... all the way to the Xbox and Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, I pretty much suck at gaming because I never have much time to play them. My favorite titles are usually strategy (like Advance Wars DS or StarCraft), RPG (like Sid Meyer's Pirates or Fable), or adventure games that kids can play (like Lego Star Wars, which is probably one of my favorite games ever). I also love board games (especially trivia games, where I kick ass) and card games (everybody should get a group of friends together and play Apples to Apples).

Annette also sent me a single question...

  1. Is your diet a healty one? Probably not as much as it could be, as I eat way too much sugar and not enough fruits and vegetables. Though I don't eat meat, which I consider to be much healthier than a diet where one consumes steroid-laden animal flesh. Darn that Coke with Lime all to heck!! :-)

And, for my last questions, SJ asked me to try out her "Movieographeme" meme, which I've put in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Categories: Memes 2006, Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Quatro

Posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

Dave!"They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way."

I don't know why that famous line from Marlon Brando in Superman The Movie was echoing through my mind when I woke up this morning. Probably because I have not yet seen Superman Returns, though I want to quite badly. Perhaps that will be on the agenda in New York or Chicago, since they have far better theaters than I have here. Local cinemas are pretty much crap... with poor screens, uncomfortable seats, and sound systems so bad you can barely hear dialogue. Good movies always mean a three-hour drive to Seattle, but so few films are worth it now-a-days.

Dave Fourth

I am spending my Independence Day holiday working — but, to everybody else, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

   

Clerks2

Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2006

Dave!The thing that makes Kevin Smith such a brilliant filmmaker is the way he can create a universe that seems more "real" than actual real-life. His characters always have witty, profound things to say, and are never at a loss for words in even the most bizarre situations. This was made clearly evident in his very first movie, Clerks which has long been one of my favorite films of all time.

Where Kevin falters is when he strays from his carefully-constructed reality and ruins the world he's built. This is why Mallrats, Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back and Dogma will always be inferior to Chasing Amy and Clerks... sure they're entertaining, but the un-reality built into the movies spoil things for me. They rip me out of the film and turn me into a mere observer instead of a part of the story.

Clerks2 Rosario Dawson!

So which side of the fence does Clerks II land on? Well, it's a mixed bag. For the most part, it is everything I love about a Kevin Smith film, with only a few moments of distraction. An example... at one point in the movie, the luscious Rosario Dawson's character, Becky, is trying to teach Dante how to dance to The Jackson Five's ABC. It is a magical, heartwarming moment that's tempered with funny inserts of the other characters bopping along to the music. It's perfect. But then, for no reason at all, Jay and Silent Bob appear in pig-tails mugging for the camera as a dance number breaks out.

WTF?!?

There goes reality. No longer are you a part of the Clerks II universe which seems so very real... you are torn from their world with such violence that the moment is destroyed. And I just don't get it. Why? What purpose does it serve? I've forgotten all about Dante and Becky during a pivotal scene in the film and am all of a sudden watching people dance? It's almost tragic how horribly this nonsensical moment puts the brakes on an otherwise great film. Where was Scott Mosier when this travesty of a scene was edited into the movie?

Sadly, if it weren't for this really bad decision, Clerks II would easily slide right up next to Clerks and Chasing Amy on the Kevin Smith scale of greatness. As it is, it ends up somewhere in the middle. I want very badly for the DVD to come out so I can buy it, rip it, then re-edit it into the brilliant film it could have been.

Anyway, focusing on the positive now...

Clerks II opens with Dante and Randal still working their menial job as clerks at the Quick Stop. But when the store burns down, everything is thrown into chaos and they must start a new life working an even worse job at the McDonald's-inspired Mooby's restaurant. A year later, it's Dante's last day before packing up and moving to Florida with his fiance, but Randal (of course) has other plans...

Clerks 2

The dialogue is, as always, note-perfect. Randal's tirades are among my favorite moments in movie history, and we are treated to some hilarious new material as only he can deliver it. The wordplay between Dante and Randal is as sharp as it's ever been, and is worth the price of admission alone.

Rosario Dawson, who is an incredibly talented actress, slides effortlessly into the world of Clerks and looks frickin' amazing while doing it. Her very presence elevates the movie to another level entirely, and adds substance to scenes that could have otherwise gone very wrong.

But my favorite moments of the film (besides the "inter-species erotica," of course) are served up by Trevor Fehrman. His almost painful level of naivety as the Lord of the Rings-and-Transformers-loving geek Elias, come very close to stealing the show. His reactions to the ever-increasing insanity that's forever following Dante and Randal around offers up a fresh perspective on the story that wouldn't be nearly as entertaining without it.

After all is said and done, it's a highly entertaining film with only a few mistakes keeping it from greatness. I can only hope that this is not the last we'll be seeing of these characters, as the movie ends on a note that only leaves you wanting more.

Much like Clerks did over a decade ago.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  15 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Buffalo

Posted on Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Dave!I really hate it when I get a song stuck in my head.

After seeing Clerks II it's the song Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus, which is a pretty messed up tune to have running through your mind all day long. If you don't recognize the name, you will probably still know of it as the song that "Buffalo Bill" dances to in Silence of the Lambs. Well, in Clerks II you get to see a flawless reenactment by Jason Mewes that's even more disturbing.

Well, not the dance itself... I mean, what guy hasn't put on makeup, dressed up in the skin of dead women, then danced around the house with his penis tucked between his legs? Yeah, we've all been there...

Buffalo Dave

No. What's truly disturbing is that once you start thinking of Buffalo Bill, you think of the actor who portrayed him... Ted Levine. And then you have to freak over how he now plays Lt. Stottlemeyer on the television show Monk. For some reason I find this transition of characters to be very disturbing...

Buffalo Stottlemeyer

I mean, he's obviously a very talented actor to be able to play such diverse roles... but damn. I just can't stop imagining that after Stottlemeyer gets home from a busy day of solving crimes with Mr. Monk, he's dancing around like this just for kicks before bedtime.

And then the image won't leave my mind as I hear... ♬ "Goodbye horses. I'm flying, flying, flying over youuuu..." ♬

Yikes.

For anybody into self-torture, the beautiful Q Lazzarus version of Goodbye Horses isn't for sale on iTunes, but a pretty good cover by the band Psyche is. Listen at your peril.

As if that wasn't enough on my mind...

Star Trek 9

Coming 2008?!? What kind of tease is that? I have to wonder if J.J. Abrams is going to manage to screw up Star Trek as badly as he's trashed Lost and destroyed Alias. He always starts off so strong then crashes and burns. Please have somebody with enough sense to know this cut him loose when things start to slide on yet another good franchise before it goes bad.

Though he has a LONG ways to go before it gets as bad as the totally boring Star Trek: Enterprise and the utterly crappy Star Trek: Voyager.

Categories: Movies 2006, Music 2006Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Super!

Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2006

Dave!w00t!!

PRAISE BE TO KRYPTON! FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY... Richard Donner is going to be given the cash to re-cut Superman II into the movie it was supposed to be. I have been dreaming of this for over two decades, and cannot WAIT to see it when released on DVD this November 28th!

I have written about Donner's Superman II here. And there is also a Wikipedia entry on it as well.

Restore Superman II

In other totally sweet DVD news... my copy of Pinky and The Brain: The Complete First Season arrived today!

Pinkybraindvd

I love this cartoon and have been waiting for YEARS for it to show up on DVD. Something about mice plotting for world domination just fills my heart with joy.

And now, since I want to watch my DVDs rather than figure out what else to write, I've filled out a meme from over at Avitable's blog in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Rage

Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Dave!Must... not... kill. Must... contain... overwhelming... rage.

There will be no blog entry today. I have returned from Seattle and am so freakin' pissed that I would probably punch my fingers through the keyboard on my PowerBook if I were to even attempt to explain the crap I've had to put up with.

It's all I can do to keep from screaming my head off...

Dave Fuck

So instead I will talk about My Super Ex-Girlfriend, which was a pleasant surprise for me. I was going to wait for the DVD rental, but it was the only movie playing in the theater next to my hotel that looked even remotely interesting...

Superex

Luke Wilson plays Matt Saunders, an architect who's unlucky in love until he meets Jenny Johnson (played by Uma Thurman), a quirky woman with an amazing secret: she's the hero "G-Girl" who flies around New York as its super-powered protector. But when things don't turn out as planned, Matt breaks off the relationship and ends up with an ex set on revenge.

While the film doesn't work on all levels, the compelling cast and occasional humorous moment makes me glad I saw it. Eddie Izzard? Anna Faris? Rainn Wilson? WANDA SYKES?!? I am so there. But the real star is Luke Wilson, who manages to play this kind of sympathetic role with an ease and humility that makes the movie work despite some serious flaws in pacing... even when Uma goes overboard psycho.

In the end, I'm very glad that the super-hero genre has managed to cross over into comedy in a way that actually works. Somehow I don't think this will hold true for Tim Allen's upcoming Zoom! (because it sure as heck didn't for the ridiculous Sky High).

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I'll be calm enough to blog again.

But I doubt it.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  30 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Wheel

Posted on Friday, August 11th, 2006

Dave!Last night I had somebody ask me how the recent airline terrorist story coming out of the U.K. would be affecting my travel plans. The answer? It doesn't... not even a little bit. If I had the time, money, and energy, I'd hop on a flight to London right now. I refuse to live my life in fear over something that may or may not happen. I mean, what's the alternative? Am I supposed to barricade myself in my home for the rest of my life? Never go anywhere ever again? F#@% that. Sure the world is getting more scary and more dangerous every day, but that's just the way it is. If I die in a terrorist attack on a plane, then my time is up and I die on a terrorist attack on a plane. Life goes on, and I'm not going to waste time worrying about it.

What I will waste time on is a way to classify people making news. This way, whenever I am not sure what to think, I can just spin my magical "WHEEL OF LABELS" and instantly know how I should feel about the person in question...

Fugly Wheel

For example...

Geraldo (who has apparently forgotten that he used to host the "Geraldo" show, which regularly had topics such as "Men in Lace Panties and the Women Who Love Them") has pulled out the hypocrite card and decided to trash Comedy Central and The Daily Show. He says: "You know, Comedy Central is now a big hit, Stewart and the Colbert guy... they make a living putting on video of old ladies slipping on ice and people laughing. That’s their life. They exist in a small little place where they count for nothing."

Say what? This is how he makes himself feel important? Trashing one of the most insightful, smart, witty, and important shows on television for political commentary? Sounds pretty stupid to me. And the fact that he insists on continuing to wear that dorky mustache that makes him look like a 1970's gay porn star just makes it all the harder to take. In any event, I have no idea what to think about this. Time to spin the wheel...

Geraldo Sucks

There you have it. Turns out Geraldo is a dumbass. Actually, the needle got kind of stuck between two sections so technically he's a dumbass-f#@%er. Perhaps somebody needs to hit him in the face with another chair to smarten him up.

But how does Daily Show host John Stewart rate?

Stewart Rules

Yeah, that's kind of what I thought.

And lastly we have Samuel L. Jackson, who talked about his most recent film Snakes on a Plane in an AICN interview. When asked about going back to re-shoot scenes in order to show the snakes actually biting people instead of cutting the camera away, here is what he had to say...

"You want the snake hit! You want to see it. You have two people goin' to screw in a bathroom on a plane and you know that there are some snakes in there... you know that when that tit comes out, you want to see a snake on that tit! At some point you gonna go, 'Man, I know a snake's going to show up somewhere... and hopefully that snake's going to be on that tit!'"

Brilliant. I couldn't have said it better myself! I'm assuming the sequel to Snakes on a Plane will be Snakes on a Tit. So how does Bad-Ass MoFo Samuel L. Jackson rate?

Jackson Cool

Yeah... like that's any surprise. He was about the only cool thing in those crappy Star Wars prequels. Well, him and Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine was balls-nasty evil! You gotta love that.

Dang. Now I want to watch Pulp Fiction again.

   

Snakes!

Posted on Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Dave!Long-time Blogography readers will know of my good friend Bad Robert. He was one of the earliest supporters of my blog, one of my very first commenters, and has been providing fodder for my entries for years. If you don't know Bad Robert, then you should read my infamous "Blue Balls Button" entry to get a feel for what I have to deal with (metaphorically speaking).

Anyway...

Snakes On A Plane!

For the past few weeks, Robert has been calling me up at random times during the day and night... screaming "SNAKES ON A MUTHERF#@%ING PLANE!"... then hanging up. To say he is psyched to see this movie is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. I can only guess that this kind of insane behavior will escalate until the film actually drops in two days.

This morning as I am getting ready for work, my mobile phone rings and I see it's Robert calling. I prepare myself for being screamed at, but the actual conversation was quite different...

phone rings...
   
Dave: WHAT?!?
   
Robert: Did you know that you came up with the idea for Snakes on a Mutherf#@%ing Plane??
   
Dave: Errr... no? What are you talking about?
   
Robert: I was Google searching and your blog came up. I clicked on it, and there it was... YOU came up with the idea for Snakes on a Mutherf#@%ing Plane back in 2004!
   
Dave: Wow. I'm going to have to hunt down Samuel L. Jackson and get my mutherf#@%ing check!
   
Robert: No doubt. And don't forget who told you about it when you get mutherf#@%ing paid.

I had no idea what he was talking about until I looked through my archives.

And there it was...

Passenger

Bad Robert was right. I DID come up with the idea on mutherf#@%ing July 19th, 2004. Don't believe me? Then go and read it for yourself!

Somebody is getting mutherf#@%ing sued.

UPDATE: Turns out Robert wasn't the first to bring this to my attention... I totally overlooked the comment from Cat that was left earlier this week! Great. Now she's going to want to get mutherf#@%ing paid too!

   

Sunshine

Posted on Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Dave!There are movies that entertain, and then there are movies which actually have something to say.

Little Miss Sunshine actually has something to say.

On the surface, it's just a funny movie about a family with major issues that's fun to watch. But when you dig a little deeper, it's a brilliant commentary on just how messed up life is and all the crazy crap we have to put up with in order to make our way through it. By the time they finally reach the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant, the absurdity of it all is in vivid relief.

Hands-down the best movie I've seen this year...

Dave Sunshine

Basking in sunshine has never felt so good.

   

Laborless

Posted on Monday, September 4th, 2006

Dave!Happy No-Labor Day, bulleted for your reading pleasure.

• MUTHERF#@%ING SNAKES ON A PLANE! I finally saw SNAKES ON A MUTHERF#@%ING PLANE today. It couldn't possibly live up to the hype, and it really didn't. The problem is that it's supposed to be a suspense thriller... but, in reality, not so much. It's like the writer/director didn't know the formula... 1) Something startling but harmless happens. 2) There's a moment of calm for the audience to catch their breath and be thrown off-guard. 3) Then something TRULY shocking happens, smacking the audience in the face and scaring the crap out of them. Sure it's formula, but it WORKS. The movie wasn't bad and turned out to be a great way to kill an afternoon... but could have been so much better in more capable hands. Like mine, for example.

Snakes on a Plane

• GO GO GO! Just noticed that OK Go's brilliant music video for Here It Goes Again is now available at the iTunes Music Store.

• BAD MONKEY! Yesterday I was guest-blogging over at Hilly's blog and today Jenny left a comment asking who is watching Bad Monkey while Lil' Dave is away. That's a good question! Turns out nobody is watching after him...

Smoking Bad Monkey

What?!? BAD MONKEY HAS TAKEN UP SMOKING!! BAD MONKEY! BAD, BAD MONKEY!! And they're Marlboro Reds too! Sure the cigarette companies have to spend money educating children as to the dangers of smoking... but what about the monkeys?

• STUPID-ASS ANNOYING COMMERCIALS! Television advertising is expensive and difficult to do correctly. It has to be impactful enough to get attention, clever enough to be memorable, and unique enough to be effective. But really stupid f#@%ing idiots seem to confuse impactful, clever, and memorable with ANNOYING! Screaming kids, people crunching on breakfast cereal, bad music... and now I've got "moo" to deal with. I'm sitting here working, minding my own business with the television on in the background when all of a sudden screeching at full volume is "MOO! MOO! MOO! MOO! MOO! MOO!" piercing my eardrums...

Puyallup Fair

It's a commercial for the Puyallup Fair and has a little girl in a cow suit mooing. I suppose it's supposed to be cute, but it's really just ANNOYING! WTF? You think that pissing people off with your dumbass commercials is going to entice them to visit? Needless to say I won't be attending... even if Depeche Mode is having a concert and Elizabeth Hurley is appearing nude.

• RETRACTION! Obviously, that was a lie. Even if Elizabeth Hurley were appearing fully-clothed at the Puyallup Fair, I would be there. Probably for Depeche Mode too.

   

LAMENESS!

Posted on Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Dave!Today was supposed to be a good day. Lego Star Wars 2 (the sequel to my most favoritist video game ever!) is in release. The ORIGINAL (CGI crapfest-free) Star Wars movies are out. Apple is announcing some (hopefully) cool new stuff. What could possibly go wrong??

Uhhh... yeah. Pretty much everything.

First of all, Apple's big-ass media event was crap. They're selling movies now... which would be a good thing except that they are selling shitty 640x480 DRM-infested versions that nobody in their right mind will buy. Pay $9.99 to $14.99 for a low-res film? Are you insane? Far better to put that money toward a DVD that you can rip into any resolution you want and view wherever you want. Where is a widescreen video iPod so we can watch movies the way they were MEANT to be watched? That tiny SQUARE iPod screen is fine for watching a music video... but an entire movie?!? WTF??

UPDATE: For those who question how I could possibly think that Apple's claim of "near DVD quality" is "shitty"... here's a comparison of actual DVD resolution to that which is sold in the iTunes Store. An almost 25% reduction in picture information, which I think is considerably less than "near" when it comes to quality (note that this graphic has been shrunk to 420 pixels wide to fit my blog, but the proportions are correct)...

iPod Movies

Now, on an iPod's tiny screen... it's no big deal (and the file size is smaller, which is nice for portables with limited storage)... but blow that up to an HDTV with Apple's new "iTV" device?? Yeah. We have a problem.

iTunes 7 looked promising, but the new "automatic album art" feature worked on very few of my actual songs. For example, Alan Parsons Project is well represented on the iTunes Music Store but, since they don't offer the "Anthology" album for sale, the artwork isn't available. None of the other new features will be of much use to me, and I think the user interface is actually a step backwards. Even worse, audio that played fine in iTunes 6 keeps cutting out in iTunes 7 for reasons unknown.

About the only thing to come out of the media event that sparked my curiosity is the new iPod Shuffle. It's even more compact and wearable than the brilliant original version. Naturally, I want one...

Shuffle Redux

Next we have the re-re-re-re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy (i.e. "the good one") on DVD. What's special about it this time around is that they are including the "ORIGINAL-original" films where Han shoots first and all the extraneous CGI shit isn't there to distract you. I should be happy, right? After all, this is what I've wanted ever since I got a DVD player years ago, isn't it? WRONG! What I EXPECTED was that LucasFilm would clean up the originals and provide us with an anamorphic (widescreen) transfer. What they actually did was do a quick-n-dirty transfer of the same letterbox crap that they put on LaserDisc decades ago. Well thanks a lot George, but go f#@% yourself. I know that you consider the "new and improved" crap to be the definitive version of the films, but why couldn't you have taken the cleaned-up version of the original and give us an anamorphic version that doesn't suck donkey balls? Haven't you ever heard that "anything worth doing is doing right?" Or is this yet another ploy to take money from the fans and then suck us dry five years from now when you re-re-re-re-re-release the original films as anamorphic?

Lastly, I drove 20 minutes into the neighboring city of Wenatchee first thing this morning so I could be first in line at Target to purchase Star Wars Lego 2: The Original Trilogy for Xbox and Nintendo DS. Target has a special deal where you get a $5 gift card with each SW2: TOT game you buy (while supplies last!), which saved me $10 and made me happy. I rushed back home and played them a bit before work and have to say that they are AWESOME!! Better than the original by far (probably because the source material is so much better!). It's not the most challenging game ever, but I was laughing my ass off and having a great time, which is all that counts...

Lego Star Wars 2
Screenshots swiped from the excellent IC Games site.

Cute as hell.

What was really surprising is how amazing the little Nintendo DS version turned out. The graphics are terrific and the sound is just amazing. Toss in the multi-player goodness, and you've got one of the best handheld games I've ever played. If you've got two cartridges, you can do Wireless 2-Player Co-Op Mode... otherwise, up to 4 people can play "Bounty Hunter Battle Arena: Search for Han Solo" off of a single cartridge! Brilliant.

So, with all this praise for Star Wars Lego 2: The Original Trilogy, what's so lame about it?

I don't have time to play it (insert frowny-face here).

Categories: LEGO, Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  45 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 1

Posted on Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Dave!Holy crap! Is it just me, or is this season of Saturday Night Live just painfully bad? The show last night with Jamie Pressly has to be the worst episode I can ever recall seeing, and horribly embarrassing for everybody involved. Losing Tina Fey as head writer (and Weekend Update anchor) has killed what little was left of a once great show. I never thought I'd be longing for the insanely stupid "Goat Boy" to come back to SNL, but ANYTHING would be better than this. Who in their right mind will want to host a show that can make even the usually-funny Dane Cook suck ass?

It's a lazy Sunday and so it must be time for bullet points...

• Tower: Sad news this weekend, Tower Records is closing its doors around the globe. Back in high school and college I would look forward to trips to Seattle with my friends because we would often stop at Tower and browse their collection of imports and 12-inch singles. Many times, we'd hit all three locations in Bellevue, Seattle Center, and the U-District to be sure nothing was missed. Of course now-a-days eBay and online specialty shops are a far more reliable and efficient way of finding music, but Tower is responsible for filling many holes in my collection in those early years. Since the store has fond memories for me, I've always stopped at other locations I find in my travels, including shops in London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur... plus some shops throughout Japan, and several here across the US.

• CBGB: As if that wasn't enough, CBGB is closing its doors as well. I've only been once, but still consider it to be an essential NYC experience and am sad to see it go. Rumor has it that a new CBGB is to be opened in Vegas, which seems wrong in so many ways. If this is actually true, I don't feel so bad that my CBGB T-shirt was ruined years ago.

• Quake: Washington's own Mt. Rainier, which I fly past frequently when inbound to SeaTac Airport, was hit by a minor earthquake last night which I could feel almost a hundred miles away. It is a bit worrisome to think that volcanic activity might be in its future. If such a beautiful landmark were to become another crater (like Mt. St. Helens), it would really put a dent in Seattle's southern view...

TT Wing Rainier

• The Departed: As somebody who thinks that Martin Scorsese hasn't made a great film since Goodfellas, I was most pleased with The Departed which may be his best work to date. This is kind of mixed praise though, because this film is essentially a remake of the brilliant trilogy of Infernal Affairs films out of Hong Kong. In many ways, I'd say the original works are superior (and well worth renting), but it's hard to deny that Scorsese did a remarkable job with his interpretation (cops with moles battle organized crime with moles in modern-day Boston). The violence, while harsh, is nowhere near the ridiculous levels of Gangs of New York (which I loathed) and the performances by Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio are fantastic. Jack Nicholson is also great, as expected, but it's difficult to see him as his character instead of "Jack Nicholson" on the screen. About the only negative is the wholly implausible love triangle that develops unnecessarily, but it's a minor quibble. If incidents of blood and violence don't bother you, The Departed well-worth checking out.

Streaming: How is it that YouTube can serve up millions of streaming videos every day, and yet just about everybody else fails miserably at it? Every site I try to watch video on from Sony to Fox to E Online all end up re-buffering every 5 seconds which is just stupid. Why even offer video if it's going to be completely unwatchable? Just put your shit up on YouTube and let somebody who actually knows what they're doing deal with it.

   

Pro

Posted on Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Dave!Halfway through each month, I have an alarm set so I will remember to check my server stats and see if I need to be offloading some bandwidth. This ensures that I won't overrun my limit and have to pay pay pay. Fortunately, there are some very kind and generous people out there who donate bandwidth when I need it... if I remember to use it.

Anyway, for the first time in years, unique visitor counts for Blogography went down. It was bound to happen eventually... I was expecting it to happen... but I still admit to being surprised. Apparently nobody loves me any more.

Well, 1.2% of the people who used to love me don't love me any more.

I should have never put up those pictures of Lindsay Lohan.

It's a good thing I am not a stats whore or I might have to do something drastic, like post those amateur porn videos I made when I was young and needed the money. Nothing makes visitor counts skyrocket like amateur porn! Well, except professional porn. I suppose if I drop another 5% I'll have to look into turning pro. Nothing quite like whoring myself out to keep my -ahem- stats up.

Speaking of surprises... I rented a Samuel L. Jackson film I somehow overlooked called The 51st State which had the amazing Emily Mortimer as a bitchin' lady-assassin who likes to drive motorcycles and kill people. In other words, she's the perfect woman...

Emily Mortimer

Emily Mortimer

The movie was okay, but not nearly as good as the other Emily Mortimer film I recently saw... a sappy drama called Dear Frankie. This flick also stars Gerard Butler who, in turn, is starring in the most eagerly anticipated film of next year... 300, which is based on Frank Miller's awesome graphic novel of the same name. It looks amazing. An even better adaptation than Sin City, if you can believe it...

Frankmiller300

The totally bitchin' sneak preview trailer (along with a nifty making-of featurette) is available at Apple in delicious hi-def QuickTime. For those of you who (like me) fell totally in love with Miller's graphic novel, there's a very cool comparison between the film and book here. Even if you aren't interested in 300, it's still worth checking out.

And now I'm off to "research" my pending porn star career...

   

Bullet Sunday 3

Posted on Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Dave!• Despite having way too much work, I made time to go see The Prestige, because it's a film by Christopher Nolan. I thought his Batman Begins was the best of all Batman fims. Insomnia was a little dull, but still a good movie. Memento was sheer genius, and I've lost count the number of times I've seen it. I had high hopes for The Prestige, and was not disappointed. The film, much like a magic trick, is a delicate balance. The trick is putting in enough clues to make the viewer have an idea of what's happening, but not so many that the viewer figures it out too early. Sadly (just like The Sixth Sense) I had everything figured out before the end, but managed to enjoy the film quite a lot anyway. I wish I could detach myself from movies like this enough to get fooled, but it doesn't ever seem to be...

The Prestige Bowie

The Prestige is a film about rival magicians (played by Hugh Jackman & Christian Bale) and their ever-escalating obsession to be the best. Along the way there are some surprising turns, shocking twists, and clever casting (David Bowie?). This is one of my favorite films this year (despite being inexplicably slow in parts). I was surprised to see that it was based on a book by Christopher Priest, who wrote the totally brilliant book The Affirmation which I read years ago. To say I'm dying to read the original novel after seeing the movie is an understatement.

• Speaking of totally brilliant books, I've been reading my new DC Absolute Edition of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. The volume is absolutely beautiful (looking much like Destiny's tome!) and has raised the bar for future Absolute releases. I've read that eventually all Sandman books will be given the Absolute treatment (four volumes in all) and hope that this includes the Death mini series... Chris Bachalo's stunning art would be amazing when blown up to a larger size! Highly recommended.

• In other movie news, I finally ended up renting Bride & Prejudice (the Indian remake of Pride & Prejudice) so I could see the brutally hot Aishwarya Rai in an English film because, well, damn...

Aishwarya Rai

I'm not much into musicals, but having the delicious Miss Rai around made up for a lot of cheesy song and dance numbers. One surprise... Naveen Andrews has a notable role that is very different than the brooding Sayid on Lost.

• As if Washington State's absurd "Say WA Campaign" wasn't embarrassing enough... Seattle has a new campaign of absurdity all its own... "Metronatural" for which they spent a hefty $200,000 and SIXTEEN MONTHS to come up with. And now they're going to blow $300,000 promoting it, which is odd, because I'd spend $600,000 to erase all traces of it ever existing (assuming I had $600,000 burning a hole in my pocket). What the heck does "Metronatural" say about Seattle? How is "Metronatural" going to inspire anybody to see Seattle? It's utterly bizarre, and sounds badly dated. The sad thing here is that Seattle is a remarkable city with a lot going for it, and I worry that "Metronatural" may actually have the opposite effect of scaring people away.

• My ENORMOUS PHONE is starting to go flaky, which means it's time to look for a new mobile. That's kind of a bummer, because I thought I'd have time to wait for Apple's iPhone to debut. But with no release date in sight, I've had to look elsewhere. At first I wanted the beautiful new Motorola KRZR, but that was before I found the ultra-sweet LG Migo...

LG Migo Phone

How cool is that? It looks kind of like Shrek! So I get all excited and am determined to get one when I read on and find out that it is a phone for kids, and doesn't allow you to dial anything except four pre-programmed numbers and 911. How crappy is that? So now I am going to have to find something else. Bummer.

• After watching a few snippets of Kylie Minogue's Showgirl concert on BBC America and writing about it, I decided to take up the advice in my reader comments and rent the DVD. It was... uhhhhh... interesting. Mostly because Kylie is a very entertaining performer... but more so because the show has obviously been created for an audience of women and gay men. There is so much man-candy piled on her stage that I turned at least 10% more gay just from having watched it...

Kylie Showgirl Guys

There's also quite a bit of Kylie's remarkable =ahem= assets shown as well, so all is not lost...

Kylie Showgirl

OMG! Aren't those red shoes just like totally the most fabulous thing ever? I'd kill or die to have the calves you need to pull off that look!

Uhhhhh... okay... maybe that would be 15%...

   

Motherfrakker

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Dave!The Pacific Northwest has been slammed with torrential rains for the past several days. In my town, for example, one of the two major bridges into the city has been closed because the river is running so high. Seattle is getting hit even worse, and the TV news is replete with scary pictures. This made driving back from Seattle a bit of a challenge yesterday, because the rain made for low visibility and the water was pooling on the roadway. Hydroplaning at high speed sounds a lot more fun than it really is.

As usual, the worst part of the drive wasn't the weather.

It was the other drivers on the road.

The remainder of this entry is brought to you by the word FRAK.

So there I was exceeding the weather-mandated posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour (I was going 55). I was passing a car that kept speeding up and slowing down, and just wanted to get by. It was then that some asshole in a dark grey Lexus LX07 came zooming up on my ass... AND STARTED FLASHING HIS BRIGHTS AT ME! What the frak? This isn't the frakkin' Autobahn, motherfrakker! I was EXCEEDING the speed limit AND PASSING SOMEBODY you frakkin' dumbass! So you can take your flashing brights and shove them straight up your frakkin' ass. This idiot had better pray that I never contract some terminal disease, because I've memorized his license plate number and have added him to my List of People I Fully Intend on Hunting Down and Killing Before I Die.

Speaking of The List, we have yet another addition...

Daveraiders

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont, who was tapped to write Indiana Jones IV, has finally spilled the beans as to why we haven't yet seen the film... George Lucas didn't like his script. Apparently Steven Spielberg absolutely loved it (calling it the best draft he's read since the original Raiders), but Lucas nixed it.

Yes, the person whose last three films were the craptacular piles of shit known as Star Wars: Episodes 1, 2, & 3 has passed judgement over a script beloved by one of the greatest directors of all time AND the guy who wrote the screenplay adaptation for The Shawshank Redemption (not to mention having the experience of a bunch of Young Indiana Jones scripts under his belt).

Frakkin' unbelievable.

Which is pretty much how one could sum up the mid-term elections here in the USA. I wonder if somebody is getting the frakkin' message?

Sigh. It's raining again, which is kind of a bummer. Though I do like the sound of it on the roof as I fall asleep.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fountain

Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2006

Dave!I woke up in the middle of the night with that "feeling" you get when a cold or other sickness is coming on. I immediately crawled out of bed and downed a dose of Airborne (never travel without it!) and stuffed some Zicam up my nose. Then went back to bed. Went back to bed pissed. I was absolutely livid at the idea of catching a cold. I fell asleep cursing my fellow airline passengers for infecting me. Cursing the weather. Cursing the entire world at the injustice of it all.

But then I woke up this morning and everything was fine.

I didn't have a cold or the flu and jumped right into work with a smile on my face because I wasn't sick. I needed to get through the day's To-Do List in a hurry, because I had three things that had to be done...

  • Pick up the new camera I ordered from Circuit City.
  • Go see Darren Aronofsky's new film The Fountain.
  • Eat crinkle-cut fries and a caramel-cashew sundae from Culver's.

The camera is a mixed bag. There are some incredible things about it. There are some inexplicably stupid things about it. I've still got a bit of playing around to do before I post sample images and write about it... suffice to say that the Canon SD800 is an interesting product.

I wish I could say the same about The Fountain...

Thefountain

I have been waiting to see this movie for years. I am a big fan of Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream and Pi films, and his long struggle to get The Fountain made was inspiring. On top of that, the visuals in the trailer looked incredible.

Of the seven people in the theater, two left before the half-way mark, another fell asleep, and another spent a good portion of their time texting on their mobile phone. This left three of us... out of seven... who even made an attempt to watch this pointless, boring, mess of a film. The plot takes place in three time periods and gravitates around the "fountain of eternal youth" mythology. I was wanting to walk out of the theater myself, but I was counting on Aronofsky to somehow tie it all together in some brilliant way at the end. But he really didn't. All we got was a series of clumsy cuts which pass objects between the centuries in no meaningful (or even artful) way. A huge, massively huge, disappointment that was beautiful in spots, passionate in others, but overall redundant and boring, boring, oh so boring.

Fortunately my caramel-cashew sundae was amazing, as usual.

Frozen custard is always good... even when it's snowing.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Rosebud

Posted on Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Dave!I should be working, but I woke up feeling pretty terrible so I've decided to wash clothes and watch television instead.

But when I turned on the TV, I was assaulted by Michael Bolton singing When a Man Loves a Woman LIVE while some guy is ice skating to it. Not knowing what in the heck I've stumbled on to, I check the channel guide and find out that it's Michael Bolton: Tribute on Ice.

Rather than having to gouge my ears out, I change the channel only to find Fran Drescher hosting some kind of Hanukkah show, which is even more horrifying. Suddenly I was terrified that I'd turn the channel and run into The Clay Aiken Christmas Special or something equally shitty, so I decided to watch DVDs instead.

I have a stack of new DVDs waiting to be watched, but ultimately decided on watching the Back To The Future trilogy for the hundredth time...

Back2Thefuture

Sometimes there's no substitute for the classics!

I still think that the way they used the second movie to go back INTO the first movie is one of the more brilliant moments in motion picture history.

Right up there with "Rosebud" in Citizen Cane.

And, of course, that "Luke I am your father" thing from Star Wars.

Wah. Now I want to see the Star Wars trilogy again.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Surfer

Posted on Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Dave!If it were possible for me to have any holiday spirit, it would have certainly been driven from me on the way home tonight. It's snowing like a muther, and the roads are for crap. To make matters worse, I got to the train crossing only to find a stupid train parked on the crossing-arm switch, which made it impossible for me to go through (even though the train wasn't blocking the intersection). This meant I had to back-up, then go all the way back through town (filled with dumbass maniac drivers), just so I could get to the other crossing in town. After all that, I finally get home only to find out that the parking lot hasn't been plowed. GAH! SNOW SUCKS!!

But there was good news...

THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR TRAILER IS OUT AT APPLE!! It's odd that I could possibly be excited about this given how lame the first F4 movie was... BUT OMG! THE SILVER SURFER IS IN IT AND HE'S KICKING THE HUMAN TORCH'S ASS!!

Silver Surfer and Human Torch

And thanks to the miracle of CGI, Silver Surfer can do some freakin' cool stuff... like melt through buildings and even his own surfboard!

Silver Surfer Melting

Sweeeeeeet!

Here's hoping that they nail it this time, because it would be very cool to have Fantastic Four movies that are as good as the Spider-Man films.

I so totally want to be the Silver Surfer, who has to be one of the coolest super-heroes ever...

Davesurfer

Bleh. Six whole months to wait.

At least the snow will be gone by then.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  17 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

UnSuper

Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Dave!Warner Home Video can kiss my ass.

Today I received my long-awaited copy of the massive 14-DVD Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition which contains the coveted "Richard Donner Director's Cut" of Superman II that I have been waiting 25 years to see. But when I open it up, I find out that my box has TWO copies of Disc 3 and NO copy of Disc 5. I'm pretty upset about it, but mistakes happen, and so I figure I'll just give Warner Home Video a call and swap the duplicate DVD for the one I'm missing. Simple, right?

Supermandvd

Except I can't find a customer service number anywhere in the box.

The closest thing I can find is an address for WarnerVideo.com. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a problem... EXCEPT WARNER HOME VIDEO'S WEB SITE USES F#@%ING UNDERTONE NETWORKS "POP-UNDER" ADVERTISING ON EVERY F#@%ING PAGE!! Even with pop-up blocking turned on, I am still having to constantly close all their f#@%ing pop-under windows with advertisements for NetFlix. The thing is, I already subscribe to NetFlix, but now I am seriously considering switching to Blockbuster, because I don't want to give money to ANY company who supports the donkey-raping shit-eaters at "Undertone Networks" who hijacks my browser for advertising.

Eventually I find a customer service phone number to call. But when I call it I am told I have the wrong department and am given a different number. Then I am told I again have the wrong department and am given another number. Then I am told I STILL have the wrong number and am given another number.

So there I sit on hold for A HALF HOUR before I am told that the line I've reached is to replace Disc 1 and Disc 8, which have the wrong content on them. That's fine by me, but what about my missing Disc 5 and duplicate Disc 3?

"Oh, you have to return that to where you bought it."

This is such a crock of shit. Nearly an HOUR of time wasted, and they won't even help me.

So I call up Deep Discount DVD and am emailed a return-label TO RETURN ALL 14 DVDS in under five minutes.

Of course, in the meanwhile, I don't get to watch the remaining 11 DVDs which are perfectly okay (except for the disasters that are Superman III, and the horrendous Superman IV: Quest For Peace)... oh no. I have to wait for the box to get back to DDDVD, then wait even longer for the replacement box to get back to me.

When all Warner Home Video had to do was mail me my Disc 5 and process my replacements for Disc 1 and Disc 8.

But instead I have to frantically search for a customer service number that doesn't exist, visit their Undertone-infested web site to get a number, get passed around THREE TIMES before getting the right number, ultimately get no help at all, and then find out I have to wait another week or two before I even get to watch the movies... all because of THEIR mistake! THIS is customer service??

Seriously... Warner Home Video can kiss my ass. It's crap like this that makes me want to illegally download movies off the internet. Why pay money to get treated like shit when I can download movies with no hassle for free? Movie studios and record labels should be bending over backwards to treat their legal, paying customers with respect and impeccable service. Instead, we get treated like shit, branded as criminals, and are forced to suffer for their errors. And yet, somehow, I am supposed to care when these idiots say that profits are down because of piracy? YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, DUMBASSES!! After all this, why would I ever want to buy anything from Warner Home Video again?

I don't steal music or movies. I never have. Maybe I should start?

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink  35 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 11

Posted on Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Dave!How can I be so exhausted yet not be able to sleep?

I went to bed at 9:30 and was relieved that I might actually catch up on some much-needed shuteye. But then I woke up at midnight, and haven't been able to get back to sleep all night. Insomnia sucks ass, but it did give me time to write the final Bullet Sunday of 2006... BLOGOGRAPHY'S BEST OF THE YEAR LIST!

• Best New Television Show... For nine glorious weeks, Project Catwalk featured Elizabeth Hurley being Elizabeth Hurley which makes it one of the greatest shows ever. At least it was, until this tragic event occurred.

• Best Returning Television Show... How does one choose between Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica? (if you are a guy, trust me... you want to follow those links!).

• Best Guest Appearance on a Television Show...

Peterotica
Betty White in "Peterotica" from The Family Guy.

• Best Movie... This is a tough call, but I was taken completely by surprise at how much I loved Little Miss Sunshine. A close second is The Prestige, which haunted me for weeks.

• Best Bad Movie Hype... I went to Brokeback Mountain because of all the hype and was so bored that I consider this to be one of the worst films ever. I prefer my remake, Bareback Monkey. "I wish I could quit you, Captain Crunch!"

• Best Video Game... Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy. I only wish I had time to play it.

• Best Funny... I never claimed that Blogography was a humor blog but, when I set my mind to it, this can be the funniest blog ever.

• Best Poetry... I hate to be tooting my own horn here, but my Seven Odes From My Day-Trip To Chicago kick ass! I should totally write a book of poetry!

• Best Charitable Cause... There is nothing more important right now than immortalizing my greatness. Give generously to the Dave Monument Fund.

• Best Explanation of Why I Am The Way I Am...

Dave Universe
Yes, the world really does revolve around me.

• Best Reason to Have a Blog... Davecago was one of the year's biggest highlights for me.

• Best Shock... Randomly running into fellow blogger Timothy while in New York City just before he's off to Uganda. What are the odds? Considering he previously lived in American Samoa before moving to Africa, he would be voted the Blogger I'm Least Likely To Ever Meet, yet there he was in the middle of one of the biggest cities on earth.

• Best Non-Government Holiday... Yeah, it would be pretty hard to top Day of Slayer! (and getting to meet Mistress Eve and Dave3 a month later was icing on the cake).

• Best Garfield Strip in 25 Years... Well, it's not like Jim Davis was ever going to get around to doing it. You may think I'm joking here, but I'm totally not.

• Best Bad Influence... Bad Monkey really is bad... he's teaching kids to smoke cigarettes and then getting them into trouble at school.

• Best Blog Fan... Turns out that I'm not good-looking, not funny, and not nice, and somebody was kind enough to point it out to me.

• Best Identity Theft... And here I only thought I was joking about people wanting to be me...

Dave Hair
Who could possibly want to be me with hair like this?

• Best Bad Robert Story... Well, of those stories I was actually able to share without getting sued, I guess it would have to be Bad Robert's Blue Balls.

• Best Advice... How to make your blog be like every other blog (though some people hated me for this one).

• Best Way To Hide a Fart... Who knew a pack of gum would make the best odor eliminator ever?

• Best Lie... Bob is a psychopath.

• Best Lesson Learned... One thing at a time.

• Best Blogography Entry... How can I choose when they're all so good? I've narrowed it down to these ten...

  • Pain. I read this one and even I laugh out loud.
  • Wipe. If only all entries could be about wiping my ass.
  • Chasm. So bizarre that I have no idea what it means, but I like it.
  • Uhura. Hah! It's a penis with a bluetooth headset!
  • Worse. Sometimes a cartoon can say more than words ever can.
  • Cake. Bad Monkey with a urinal cake in his mouth was one of my best ideas ever.
  • Drawn. How DaveToons are created.
  • Forty. Best imaginary birthday ever.
  • Bagged. I'm amazed I managed to make an entry out of a plastic shopping bag.
  • Stevenote. Sometimes my wacky imagination surprises even me.

• Best Reader... It's totally you! How could it be anybody but you? Thanks for stopping by, and we'll see you next year.

Best Friends

   

Voice

Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2007

Dave!After a long day at work on a public holiday, I was looking forward to finally seeing Children of Men and going out to a nice dinner.

Unfortunately my favorite restaurant in Wenatchee (McGlinns) has, for some stupid-ass reason, decided to stop offering veggie burger substitutions on their burger menu. WTF?!? THEY'RE FROZEN!! How hard is it to keep a box of frozen veggie burgers in your freezer for those times you have vegetarian guests? Is that really too much to ask? Sheesh. It's inexplicable shit like this that causes me to abandon local haunts in favor of sanitized chains like Applebees. Hey, they may be a chain, but at least they don't f#@%-over their vegetarian clientele.

Children of Men

As for the movie... it was pretty freakin' amazing. I was blown away at some of the more shocking turns (of which there are several). It is now readily apparent why Children of Men is garnering such critical praise... it's relentless. And beautifully acted. And wonderfully shot. And skillfully directed. It's not a feel-good film by any means, but it is a film that will make you think. And feel. Just watching Children of Men is thoroughly exhausting, but in a good way. If you can handle the violence and a few meandering scenes, it's worth checking out.

Anyway, if you will now excuse me, I'm choosing to retire on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day by listening to a few of his speeches. So many of his words are as profoundly stirring today as they were when he spoke them, and I don't know whether I should be happy or sad about that. Happy, because it just goes to show that great words withstand the test of time. Sad, because if I were asked to name a "Martin Luther King Jr." for our day, I could not. Why is it that America's greatest voices all seem to come from the past?

Bleh. I'd feel a little less depressed about that if there was a new Veronica Mars on tomorrow night, but she doesn't return until the 23rd.

Categories: Food 2007, Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Panned

Posted on Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Dave!Wow. I just got back from watching Guillermo del Toro's motion picture masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth. I already knew he was genius from his works on Hellboy and The Devil's Backbone... but this film exceeded even my loftiest expectations. It somehow manages to seamlessly blend a brutal reality with fantasy in a way that doesn't totally suck. If you can stomach the violence (and don't mind subtitles), it's definitely worth a look.

Taking place in Spain during World War II, Pan's Labyrinth is a little girl's attempt to escape the horrors of war to a fantasy realm that has perils of its own. Along the way she meets some interesting friends and even more interesting adversaries...

Pan's Labyrinth

About the only negative was having to see the film in a theater filled with idiots which included...

  • A group of emo goth dumbasses who talked the entire time. Assumably because they were too f#@%ing stupid to read subtitles and too lame to just leave the theater and sit at McDonalds for ten hours.
  • Three rude whores resembling Jabba the Hutt who not only couldn't shut the f#@% up, but snuck in large bags of Doritos that they then crinkled constantly while stuffing their faces with chips.
  • One moron who wasn't able to drink without choking, and spent most of the film hacking up phlegm.
  • Two stupid bitches who had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes... together. From their non-stop giggling, I can only guess they were snorting cocaine, blazing up on meth, or otherwise killing their few remaining brain cells.

Whatever happened to the good old days when you went to the movies, sat down, shut the f#@% up, and watched the film?

Speaking of "the good old days" — I find it amazing how the "remastered" special effects they're sneaking into the original Star Trek series has reinvigorated the show. I just finished watching a remastered The Doomsday Machine, and it was pretty sweet! The originals could always hold their own against any of the crappy Trek spin-offs that followed, but now they're at a whole new level of greatness. And, unlike George Lucas shitting all over the Star Wars trilogy, the people working on Star Trek are actually respecting the source material. The stories and spirit remain unchanged... the show just looks fresher.

If only we could do the same for Jennifer Love Hewitt's freaky bangs on the first season of The Ghost Whisperer.

Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  22 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 18

Posted on Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Dave!Lost is Lost... This morning I awoke to find a couple of emails from people pointing me to a story in The Washington Post about how Lost has plummeted in the television ratings and may be facing cancelation. I could try to act surprised, but what's the point? The show sucks ass. It was a brilliant concept that started out as a lot of fun, then disintegrated into boredom when the writers were either too stupid or too lazy to try and come up with cool new mysteries, choosing instead to drag out the same old shit... FOREVER. I mean, holy crap... I was pointing out this problem ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO, and I'm not even in television! Are the people running the show on crack? It's like a lesson in what NOT to do, where everybody sees the wreck coming except the people driving the bus. Next up... Heroes! Or will they learn from Lost's mistakes in time?

• Best Breakfast Ever... Snack-Pack Chocolate Pudding, five Golden Oreo cookies, and a glass of chocolate milk.

Ghost Rider

• Spirit of Vengeance... One of the cooler comic book creations, Ghost Rider, has finally been given the movie treatment starring long-time comic fan Nicholas Cage. And here's the thing... despite the shitty reviews, I enjoyed this film. Cage totally had a handle on the character, injecting humor where appropriate and not taking the role too seriously. The special effects were kick-ass. The story was entertaining. But, most importantly, there was enough action to keep things moving and the film was fairly faithful to the comics. What's not to love? It amazes me that reviewers are going to a movie about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle thinking it will be about something else, then are disappointed to find out it actually IS about a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle. Well, duh. It's not supposed to be Shakespeare, it's just a cheesy popcorn flick. Taking it for what it is, I found it brilliant, and will be buying it on DVD.

• Not-So-Daily Show... Whilst clearing old shows off my TiVo, I ran across the October 26th, 2006 episode of The Daily Show which I've saved because it is one of my all-time favorites. Remembering that The Daily Show can be purchased at the iTunes Music Store, I thought I would just buy the episode so I could free up some space on my TiVo box. Well, it was a good plan, except that you can only purchase the last 8 episodes and nothing before that. WHY? I would think that one of the benefits of selling shows online is that you have a library of archived shows to offer for sale. Both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have segments and guests that demand future exploration... why not offer them? Once again I am put in a position where my only option is to acquire the show "unofficially" — not by choice, but by stupid circumstance.

• Un-Trekable... Speaking of the iTunes Music Store... I was thrilled that the new "re-mastered" episodes of the original (i.e. "real") Star Trek were being offered for sale. Now, for reasons unknown, Paramount has withdrawn them. Which means last week's brilliant update of The Doomsday Machine and this week's beautiful tweaks to the classic Amok Time are nowhere to be found. WTF?!? So here I am, again, perfectly willing to pay money to get something I want, yet my only option is to hope somebody has uploaded it to BitTorrent. Oh well, T'Pring is a total bitch hottie at $1.99 or $0.00, so it's all the same to me. The only loser here is Paramount. Dumbasses. They will, of course, blame internet piracy for lost profits when it's their own stupid asses who are refusing to take my money.

• Six Meme... After avoiding the "Six Weird Things About You Meme" like the plague, Kyle descended like the Black Death and infected me with it. So here goes... 1) I don't like coffee or coffee-flavored products, which I don't think is weird, but others sure do. 2) I am perfectly happy watching the same movies over and over again... I've seen such films as EuroTrip, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Fifth Element, and Bedazzled dozens of times. 3) I have written exactly one fan letter in my entire life... it was to 80's Atari Computer game programmer Tom Hudson, and I still have his kind reply stuffed in a box somewhere. 4) My love of all things Betty White is not a joke... I really do think she kicks ass, and am a huge fan. 5) I am a total comic book geek, and own over 12,000 of them. 6) Weirdest of all? I write in my blog every day and this is the one-thousand-six-hundred-and-thirty-fifth time I've done so. FINI) I'm breaking the rules by not tagging six people now, but I don't tag.

Three weeks until TequilaCon...

   

Bullet Sunday 19

Posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday on Oscar night!

And while I am not a big fan of the Oscars (they never seem to award the proper films), I am a huge fan of movies, so here we go with the big four...

• Best Picture... Who should win: Little Miss Sunshine. Who will probably win: The Departed. Martin Scorsese, who has done some amazing work, will probably be given the statue for The Departed as a gimmee for being passed-over all these years... even though I don't think it is the best picture this year. I honestly feel that every other film nominated is more deserving to win, with Little Miss Sunshine topping my list.

• Best Director... Who should win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. Who will probably win: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima. This astounding film had some incredible artistic choices in direction that nobody can deny... Clint totally deserves to win for his hauntingly beautiful picture, and undoubtedly will. No other direction on a film comes close.

• Best Actor... Who should win: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson. Who will probably win: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland. I am sure that Forest Whitaker turned in a wonderful performance as Idi Amin (I haven't seen the movie yet), but I find it impossible to believe that anybody topped Ryan Gosling's mind-blowing performance in Half Nelson. I had mixed feelings on the film, but there's no denying Gosling's brilliance in it. As an aside here, if I could pick ANYBODY to win this award, and not just a nominee, it would be Ken Watanabe for his work in Letters From Iwo Jima. This actor puts more into every amazing performance than any other actor I know, and this role was no difference. It's pretty criminal that he wasn't nominated.

• Best Actress... Who should win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. Who will probably win: Helen Mirren, The Queen. Probably the best performance in a movie this year. She WAS The Queen in this film, and humanized a very real person in a way that few actors could have managed. I would be shocked if she doesn't win.

Dave & Oscar

And now, I have about six hours of work to do yet tonight, so I'll be signing off. If you hear screaming, it's because Pan's Labyrinth didn't win Best Foreign Language Film...

   

Bullet Sunday 22

Posted on Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday with the lights out! Problems with the electrical power have wrecked havoc with my work plans today, so here I am blogging on my laptop where it's safe.

As a side-note, I should mention that I am aware that Blogography has been having problems recently. My web hosting company, Media Temple, has been having serious issues with their new "Grid Server," and being able to access my site or comment on entries has been hit-or-miss as of late. Media Temple is supposedly working on the problem, but these issues have been going on for months now, so I'm not sure how much faith I can put in that. All I can say is "sorry" and please come back later if you're having problems.

Reeses Racing

• Disappointment! There's a dilemma I like to call "The Reese's Gambit." It hinges on the mysterious Russian-Roulette game you play every time you buy a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup candy bar. Will the peanut butter in the center be deliciously moist and tasty... or will it be all dried-up, powdery, and disgusting? There's no way of knowing, so you just have to buy one and find out what you get. When the center is good, there's very few candy bars I like better than a Reese's. When it's BAD, however, it usually pisses me off so much that I will go months without eating one again. Today, after a suitable three-month mourning period following a crappy Reese's experience, I tried again and got a good one. Yay me. Thinking I'd hit the jackpot, I went running back to the mini-mart to buy more... and was horrified to find that all of them had gross dried-out centers. So now I'm thinking it will be a while before I'm willing to play the Reese's Gambit again. I guess I'll just have to live off the memory of that yummy first Reese's for a while, and that sucks ass.

Remo Williams

• Destroyer! I watched Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins on DVD for the hundredth time last night, and wondered for the thousandth time why somebody hasn't made any more movies based on the series of excellent Destroyer books. Sure the original film (starring Fred Ward and Joel Grey) wasn't much of a financial success, and Destroyer fans disliked it because the story didn't follow the books closely enough... but I loved the movie. I still love it. And now that Tor Books is reviving the book line again with a series of "New Destroyer" novels in May, isn't it about time somebody step up and revive the movie franchise as well? The series really has it all... action, drama, intrigue, humor, and some of the most brilliant characters ever written. With the right director and cast, a Destroyer film would kick ass.

Cathy Dennis Move to This

• Deception! Back in 1994 there was a radio hit called Touch Me (All Night Long) by Cathy Dennis. The vocals were quite good, Cathy was suitably hot, and it had a sweet Europop electro-beat I liked. After a couple of listens I decided to run down to Hastings so I could buy the CD, which was titled Move to This (I was going on a road trip, and wanted something new to listen to). Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Touch Me song they were playing on the radio was not the same song on the CD. Instead of that kicky Europop beat driving the song, the CD track was all boring and shitty. I have a running joke with my friends about kicking the crap out of Cathy Dennis if I ever see her for betraying me this way. It may have been a dozen years past, but I just can't let it go. And then this morning I check my email to find that my friend Meagan had gifted the crappy song to me on iTunes... presumably as a joke. Well ha ha, the joke's on her because, as I was claiming the song, I noticed that iTunes had the REAL version of the song for sale off of a compilation called 100% Pure Dance. It's a mix that runs a little long, but it has the proper beat and I've been rocking out to it all morning. I think that I am finally... finally able to release my rabid hatred of Cathy Dennis now.

Hard Rock Dallas
Photo swiped from Virgil LaFerney's EXCELLENT Hard Rock Dallas Page.

• Dallas! I've been meaning to write about the sad closing of the Hard Rock Cafe Dallas since it happened two weeks ago, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. The pet project of Hard Rock co-founder Isaac Tigrett, the Dallas cafe was a special property indeed. Originally a Baptist Church, 13 million dollars was spent renovating the building and creating the cafe, which finally opened on November, 1986 (the fourth Hard Rock in the US and ninth world-wide). There were many features that made this cafe unique in the chain, and the property quickly became one of my favorites when I first visited in July, 2001. Hearing about the closing was painful, and I feel terrible that I didn't manage to get back once I heard they were shutting their doors for good. It's things like this that really have me questioning why I care about the Hard Rock anymore. If the owners can't appreciate the chain's history, why should I? Oh well, at least I got to visit this one before they dumped it... nothing is more frustrating than having a cafe close before I have a chance to visit.

Robert Downey Jr. Zodiac

• Downey! How is it that Robert Downey Jr. can steal every movie he's in... even if it is a relatively minor role? Sure Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo were excellent as the driving force behind David Fincher's latest film, Zodiac, but it's Downey who makes the film truly interesting to me. Playing seriously flawed reporter Paul Avery, he just blows everybody else off the screen. Suddenly a film that seems more like a crime reenactment than a cohesive story comes alive because Robert Downey Jr. just sucks you into his character. My only real criticism of this beautifully-shot movie is that it didn't have enough Downey in it. Well, that and the really bad toupee that Anthony Edwards was forced to wear throughout the film. Holy crap did it ever look like a ferret died on his head. Why why why couldn't they have just left his character bald so as not to distract the audience and embarrass the actor?

Oooh... the power is back on again! Guess I'll save my remaining bullets for next Sunday, because it's back to work for me...

   

Punk’d

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2007

Dave!As I was walking to my car this morning, I very nearly stepped in a pile of dog shit. The close call was made even more strange when I got to my car and saw that a dog was across the parking lot staring at me. I can only guess that he was the perpetrator, and was undoubtedly disappointed that I hadn't stepped into his trap. If he had a video camera, I'd say it's like an episode of "Doggy Punk'd" or something. More likely that he was just bored, and this is what he does for laughs.

Except now he knows what car I drive, so I can only imagine where he will choose to take a crap next. If I find a steaming pile on the hood of my car tomorrow, I'm going to hunt down that dog and shove it back up his ass. Who will be laughing then?

Dave Doggy Punk'd

And speaking of putting shit back in the dog...

I just saw the single worst movie ever: National Lampoon's Gold Diggers, and am trying to figure out why in the hell National Lampoon would put their name on such a bad, BAD film. The terrible story and acting would have been forgivable... except IT WASN'T FUNNY!! And isn't that what National Lampoon is all about? Rotten Tomatoes has listed an aggregated review score of 0%, AND lists it as #7 on the "100 Worst-Reviewed Films of All Time," so why in the heck would they ever release it on DVD? Far better to lock this piece of shit in a vault and drop it to the bottom of the ocean than to tarnish the National Lampoon name! They may not be as respected now as in their Animal House days, but there's no reason to flush their reputation down the toilet entirely...

Golddiggerssucks

You know a film is bad when it features ultra-hot Nikki Ziering topless, and I still can't find anything good to say about it.

   

Glorious

Posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Dave!I have yet to figure out why I am chronically unlucky when it comes to driving karma.

You can bet your ass that if there is a dumbass on the road, he'll be in my immediate vicinity. If there is a traffic accident, it will happen right in front of me. If there is road construction closing down a lane, I'll be the one they make stop and wait. If a 90-year-old woman is out for a Sunday drive, I'll be the one stuck behind her. When it comes to being delayed, interrupted, stopped, or cut-off, I'm the guy who is going to be selected by the driving gods to get shafted.

And it's always when I'm in a hurry.

Today I had to run home really quick before I left for the movies. Naturally, a train decided to pass right as I got to the crossing...

Stopped for a Train

Once I finally got past the crossing, a fruit truck going 15 miles under the speed limit pulls out in front of me...

Stopped for a Fruit Truck

After I got home, dropped my stuff, and finally made it out to the highway, a State Patrol car decided to pull out as well, which meant speeding to the theater to make up for lost time wasn't an option (forgive me for not including a photo, but something tells me that the State Patrol frowns upon taking photos from a moving car going 60mph on the highway... especially when it's the driver doing the photography).

Typical.

But somehow I made it to the movie on time, which is where I got to watch the greatest film released in recent memory, BLADES OF GLORY!

Blades of Glory

Forget 300, Last King of Scotland, The Queen, Zodiac, Blood Diamond, and even Ghost Rider, THIS is the movie which will stand the test of time! I'd put it right up there with The Godfather and The Terminator in terms of greatness!

Okay, maybe not. But it was a lot of fun, and much better than I expected...

Monkey of Glory

I just can't figure out why nobody has thought of building a comedy around double-men pairs skating before. It's a brilliant concept. Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Craig T. Nelson were all perfectly cast in their roles... but I'd have to say that it's Jenna Fischer who will end up with an Oscar nomination out of this film. She has a lingerie scene which will have people completely forgetting her mousy "Pam" character from The Office. Who knew?

Bring on Spider-Man 3.

   

Bullet Sunday 25

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2007

Dave!Make a joyful noise for Bullet Sunday has risen!

• Easter... I gave up celebrating Easter around the same time I gave up being Catholic (almost 20 years ago now!) but still love the holiday for one very good reason: the candy. I absolutely love Easter candy. From having my teeth shiver as I bite into the sweetness that is a Cadbury Chocolate Cream Egg... to getting some of my favorite candies in egg shapes and pastel colors... Easter is a candy-lover's dream come true. In many ways, I'm thinking it even eclipses Halloween in terms of confectionary importance to me now...

Dave Easter Chocolate
Nothing wrong with getting a little tail on Easter.

Which is probably why I'm choosing to celebrate the holiday by lapsing into a chocolate coma.

• Voicemail... ABC Television has an amazing new video player on their site which, get this, IS MACINTOSH COMPATIBLE!! As if that weren't cool enough, you can watch full episodes of sweet ABC shows like Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. But here's the best thing... they have an original online series called Voicemail that's priceless...

Voicemail
Mike is a character that just about any guy can relate to at some point in their lives.

For best effect, you'll want to go to ABC.com and choose their New Video Player. But you can also access the webisodes in the old Flash player format from the Voicemail web site (which is also funny). This is one of those rare online series that is actually worth your valuable time. I hope they sell the episodes at iTunes after the first "season" is over, because I would gladly pay money to have this show saved on iTunes for a rainy day when I need a laugh.

Of course, this being ABC, they will undoubtedly cancel it half-way through the current season and we'll never see it again. It's what they do.

• Three... There is no bullet point three. Move along.

• Flash!... Ever since seeing Blades of Glory, I've had Queen's brilliant Flash Gordon Theme playing in my head. Depiste the poor reviews, I always liked the 1980 Flash Gordon film... largely due to the funky visuals, excellent film score by Queen, and the sweet hotness of Melody Anderson. I bought the soundtrack album long ago on vinyl (long since lost) but lucky for me it's available at the iTunes Music store. Sweet! I also note that one of my favorite videos, Radio Ga Ga, is also available. The song has never been one of my favorites, but the epic dream-like quality of the video is a winner...

Queen Radio Ga Ga
Freddie looking fierce, fabulous, and very gay wearing leather pants, feathers, and a sash.

• Extracurricular... Why is it that every time I turn around, there's another teacher being busted for sleeping with their under-aged students? And, even more importantly, why wasn't this part of the educational curriculum when I was in school? Granted, there were very few of my teachers I would have wanted to sleep with, but I can think of one or two that I'd have gladly let tutor me in some after-school sessions. Just think of the embarrassment that could have been avoided in fumbling to remove that first bra had a teacher been kind enough to show me how it's done! That being said, you would think that the penalty for violating the trust of parents who put their kids in a teacher's care like this would be death. Of course, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that somebody finds underage girls and boys to be sexually attractive, so maybe I'm just biased.

And, on that note, I must now have jellybeans. JELLYBEANS I SAY!!

   

Movied

Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Dave!Yeesh. Another night of writing my entry just as midnight approaches. I guess that's what happens when you are slaving away morning noon and night to get caught up with work.

I suppose there are lots of things I could write about, but it's late, so I think I'll just grab that movie meme that's been floating around. Kevin has done is now, so I guess I pretty much have to...

  • Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times. Wow. Many, many of my favorite films have been seen at least 10 times. Here's a few from memory... Aliens, Back to the Future 1 & 2, Bedazzled, Beverly Hills Cop, The Birdcage, Buckaroo Banzai, Chasing Amy, Clerks, Coming to America, Commando, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Field of Dreams, The Fifth Element, Groundhog Day, The Matrix, Office Space, Real Genius, Remo Williams, Sneakers, South Park: Bigger-Longer-Uncut, Star Trek II & IV, Star Wars, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, The Terminator, Terminator 2, This is Spinal Tap, True Lies, and Undercover Blues.
  • Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater. Recently that would be Clerks 2 and Casino Royale. My personal record would probably be The Matrix, which I believe I've seen in a theater 6 times.
  • Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. Elizabeth Hurley.
  • Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. David Caruso.
  • Name a movie that you can and do quote from. So many. I'm pretty good with Buckaroo Banzai quotes.
  • Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs. I don't do musicals. Though I liked the soundtrack from Xanadu back in the day, so maybe that one. Or Grease maybe?
  • Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with. Uh. None that I know of.
  • Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see. Undercover Blues, which is one of my favorite movies that people are always overlooking.
  • Name a movie that you own. I own many, many films.
  • Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Elizabeth Hurley is an obvious choice.
  • Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what? When I was a kid, this was a popular summer pass-time, so I'm sure there are many. I do remember seeing the original Star Wars for the third time at the drive-in.
  • Ever made out in a movie? Sure.
  • Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to it. Talladega Nights.
  • Ever walked out of a movie? Born American, which made me embarrassed to be American. It's the worst movie I've ever seen in a theater (though I very nearly walked out on Spanglish, which was almost as bad).
  • Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. Dirty Dancing, but only because I was drunk and had gotten some really bad news earlier in the evening.
  • What's the last movie you saw in the theater? The most excellent Blades of Glory.
  • What's your favorite/preferred genre of movie? Action/Adventure is probably at the top.
  • What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? Herbie the Love Bug.
  • What movie do you wish you had never seen? Recently? The horrendously bad National Lampoon's Gold Diggers. Wretched, awful stuff.
  • What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed? Being John Malkovich is probably an easy pick for this one.
  • What is the scariest movie you've seen? Movies don't scare me much like they used to... back in the day, I was terrified from watching the original Alien.
  • What is the funniest movie you've seen? Gee, have no idea... Basketball, Stripes, or The Birdcage maybe? Eurotrip always makes me laugh.
  • Oog. Time for bed. But before I go, I was pleased to see that the plans for the first "Hard Rock Park" in Myrtle Beach have finally been released. It's looking pretty sweet, and bigger than I had thought it would be...

    Hard Rock Park

    Hard Rock Park

    The juicy details can be found at Myrtle Beach Online (which is where I snagged these photos). I guess that will be one more property to add to my list when it opens in 2008.

       

    Skywalker

    Posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2007

    Dave!I remember it as if it were yesterday.

    I did not see Star Wars in a theater when it was first released. I saw it at a drive-in later that summer. This was kind of a bummer because the picture... and especially the sound... at a drive-in is pretty crappy. But it was still Star Wars, and I remember being completely and totally absorbed from the moment that Star Destroyer crossed the screen. It was more than my 11-year-old mind could fathom, and my life (like so many others) had just been changed forever.

    Princess Dave Organa
    Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

    To say I became obsessed with Star Wars is an understatement of epic proportions.

    I bought everything Star Wars I could afford from my allowance or beg out of my parents. I collected the action figures and toys (when they were eventually released the next year). I devoured the comic book adaptation. I started drawing Star Wars stories of my own (Dart Vader lives!). I even made my own Star Wars films using stuffed animals, a 16mm movie camera, and time-consuming stop-motion photography. I was a pioneer in special effects, using a magnifying glass and permanent markers to draw laser blasts and lightsabers directly on the film. My world revolved around Star Wars, and once I rented the movie on VHS for the 100th time, I didn't want my old world back.

    But it was three years later that my obsession would be rewarded with one of the greatest movies of all time: The Empire Strikes Back. Everything that made Star Wars such an incredible experience was doubled. The action was intense. The special effects were mind-blowing. But most important of all, the story was brilliant. It was everything you hope for in a sequel, but rarely get. It was... it is... the perfect film.

    Sadly, things took a drastic dive after Empire, but that did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for all things Star Wars, even to this very day.

    I lived through the heinous embarrassment of the Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks. I survived all the inane burp and fart jokes that all but destroyed Star Wars credibility. I endured through the devastating "acting" of Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen in the awful, awful prequels. I remained faithful as Lucas butchered his original brilliance in "special editions" where Greedo shoots first. I stuck it out as serious science fiction was degraded for the sake of making toys. But despite it all (or perhaps because of it all?), I still love Star Wars.

    Star Wars Logo

    Which is why today, in celebration of 30 years of Star Wars, I am re-watching all the movies on DVD while I get some work done.

    Hmmm...

    Boy was Luke Skywalker a whiny little bitch back at the beginning! I still wince when I hear: "But I was going into Toshi's Station to pick up some powerrrr converterrrrrrrs!" or "Uncle Owennnnn! This R-2 unit has a bad motivatorrrrrr!" and most of all "It's just not fairrrrrr!" I can't believe that Han never bitch-slapped the little whiner. Hard.

    Oh well. I guess it all turned out okay in the end.

    At least until George Lucas had Hayden Christensen show up as a Jedi Ghost at the end of Jedi and screwed it all up.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 32

    Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2007

    Dave!It's a Bullet Sunday Holiday! Well, not really... I'm still catching up on piles and piles of work over Memorial Day weekend. But at least it's quiet.

    • DaveToons. While I was on vacation, I worked on one of the many animated sequences for my video. I'm guessing that I'm about 25%-30% finished now. The cool thing about the project is that I am trying really hard to put Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey in places and situations I've never drawn before. It helps to keep things interesting to me so I don't get bored. Outer-space seemed to be a natural, but since I had already done Star Wars and Star Trek stuff before, I decided to take a more "reality-based" approach this time, choosing instead to make them astronaut heroes...

    DaveToons Animation Boards

    DaveToons Animation Boards

    DaveToons Animation Boards

    • Robin. One of my favorite Disney toons when I was a kid was Robin Hood. Growing up, I continued to enjoy the character, and was glad that there were plenty of books and movies to explore. Unfortunately, the movies were dated and crappy, but in the mid-80's there was a British television series called Robin of Sherwood which is probably the best interpretation of the character I've ever seen (even when Jason Connery took over for the amazing Michael Praed after series two). The show was tough and gritty, filled with brilliant acting and an almost spiritual reverence for the characters.I've re-watched the episodes many times, and purchased the DVD set a while back. Then in 1991 disaster struck. The Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was unleashed. This steaming pile of shit was beyond bad, and killed Robin to me for years. Flash forward a decade-and-a-half, and the BBC has taken another stab at Robin Hood with a 13-episode series which has also been airing on BBC America. This time they've attempted to modernize the story a bit, with mixed results...

    Robin Hood

    On one hand, they did try to do away with Robin as some kind of poser prancing through the forest in tights and blow-dry hair. This Robin is a mangy scavenger which seems more realistic to me. In addition, they've done a fairly good job of casting the roles, and have filmed the show beautifully, with lush photography and some nice cinematography. Where the show falls flat is that it's a bit boring and drawn-out. Robin starts out as a kind of wimpy pacifist, and there's not a lot of action to be had. In the end I'd have to say I liked it okay, but it still pales in comparison to Robin of Sherwood, which is a real shame. It's my understanding that they have started filming a second series, so I can only hope that the show will improve as it moves forward... the world needs Robin Hood now more than ever.

    • Fuzz. Finally got to see Hot Fuzz this weekend and absolutely loved it. Coming from the creators of the fantastic comedy-horror film Shaun of the Dead, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at all those quaint English countryside tele-dramas... but nicely blended with comedy, action, violence, and occasional gory situations. As if that wasn't enough, there's actually a really good mystery story to build upon, and all the acting is top-notch. Much of the humor and situations will be lost on American audiences, but I think that's why it's so amazing... they dumbed it down for nobody. Brilliant writer/star Simon Pegg was not afraid to start the film out slow, gradually building to a violent and action-packed finale that will have Shaun of the Dead fans cheering.

    Hot Fuzz

    In the movie, London police officer Nicholas Angel is so good at his job that he's making everybody else on the force look bad. The solution? Ship him off to the boring English countryside where he won't have the opportunity to show up anybody. But things are never quite what they seem, even in the sleepy village of Sandford, where everybody has secrets and a shocking mystery is waiting to be uncovered. Five stars from me.

    • Fascism. When I made my Blogography Political Sanity Chart last Wednesday, a couple of people asked why I didn't have Ann Coulter on it representing the Nut-Job Right. The reason is that such a hateful, fascist, moronic, lying bitch would throw off the entire balance, causing the chart to be completely messed up like this...

    Political Sanity 2

    Ann Coulter goes beyond "dangerous" and skates right up to "total fucking destruction." Her never-ending parade of hate and lies is so horrendously bad for this country that the damage she's done is incalculable. She professes to love America, but preaches against everything this country stands for. She's nothing but a skanky whore that will say anything, anything... regardless of consequences... to sell her piece of shit books. The fact that people even listen to what she has to say is surely a sign of the Apocalypse. Ann Coulter is representative of everything that is wrong with the USA, and indicative of all we must triumph over before we can come together and start rebuilding the America we once were.
    "I take the Biblical idea. God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees... God says, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" — Ann Coulter (obviously living up to her really fucked-up interpretation of The Bible).

    Ugh. Time to get back to work. And I had better think of washing clothes too, because my pile of dirty vacation clothes is starting to smell funny...

       

    Paprika

    Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

    Dave!"The 24-bit eggplant will be analyzed!"

    I always pay a visit to Rotten Tomatoes before I even think about seeing a movie. But when I noticed that Satoshi Kon had a new film out called パプリカ (Papurika = Paprika) I didn't care what any critic might have to say. This is the genius behind one of the best animated films ever, Millennium Actress, and I knew immediately that I simply must see it. I had essentially been working two jobs all day, and this was just what I needed to decompress before going back to the hotel for another five hours of work that still needed to be done.

    Turns out I didn't need to worry. Rotten Tomatoes has an aggregated score of 90% Fresh for Paprika, and I totally loved it.

    Paprika4

    The story centers around a brilliant woman psychologist named Dr. Chiba who is working with a team of dream research scientists. Thanks to the invention of a device known as "DC Mini" she can enter the dreams of patients as her psychic alter-ego, Paprika, and help them with their psychological problems. Unfortunately, a set of three DC Mini devices are stolen, and somebody is using them to merge reality into the dream world. It's now up to Dr. Chiba/Paprika to figure out how to track down the devices, find out who is behind the theft, and save the world from madness.

    The result is a mind-bending explosions of animated imagery that's about the coolest thing you'll see this year.

    Paprika1

    Paprika2

    Paprika3

    To be honest though, this movie will not appeal to everybody. People who don't care for Japanese anime may be put off by the fantastical story elements and nonsensical visuals that permeate the film. Another problem is that the plot for Paprika may be difficult to follow for those used to having every last detail spelled out for them, and don't like to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. But if you can put your brain on hold and just go with it, this in one film that's really worth seeing.

    And as much as I enjoyed Paprika, the movie soundtrack is almost even more impressive, and has some very cool music by Susumu Hirasawa (who also scored Millennium Actress). The film's theme song The Girl in Byakkoya has been stuck in my head from the moment the movie started. Fortunately the track is available at the iTunes Music Store, so I can obsess over it until my mind goes mooshy. If you even think you might like Japanese Electronica... you can sample the album at iTMS (Meditation Field and A Drop Filled with Memories are beautiful).

    Lastly, for anybody interested, Apple has the super-sweet movie trailer for Paprika on their QuickTime site, which will give you a taste of what you're in for (turn your volume way up to hear that amazing Hirasawa soundtrack!).

    How depressing that Japan regularly cranks out these amazing animated art-pieces that are challenging and thought-provoking, and we get tired retread shit like Shrek III. Blargh.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Recovery

    Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

    Dave!Firstly, to all my friends and family reading this who know about the situation here in Seattle... thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy. This has been one of the longest days in my life but, despite all the delays and the waiting, everything turned out with the best possible results we could hope for.

    Waiting, as they say, is the hardest part.

    In an effort to distract my head, I put in a very full day. First I went to see Transformers, which was pretty freakin' cool. I love that they never cheated you out of a transformation or a battle. You see everything. And there are few things better than watching giant robots beat the crap out of each other...

    Transformers

    Where the film failed me was in the utterly pointless deviations from the actual story. By the time we got to Sam's mom talking about masturbation, I was just plain pissed. It wasn't funny. It wasn't interesting. It was just needless distraction. Why? And then there's the whole military sub-plot that goes nowhere. Why? But worst of all... John Turturro, who I actually enjoy as an actor, plays a character "Agent Simmons" who was so unbelievably annoying and stupid that he very nearly ruined the movie for me. Why? Somebody needs to be in the editing room with Michael Bay so they can slap him upside the head when he makes stupid decisions to include crap like this, because otherwise it was pretty good flick.

    Then I went to see Fantastic Four 2, which was better than the awful first film, but still a far cry from what a Fantastic Four film should be. The only real reason to see the movie is for Silver Surfer, who rightfully kicks ass...

    Silver Surfer

    I found myself almost wishing that the Fantastic Four weren't in their own film so I could see more of him. That's pretty sad. Overall it was mediocre, but I was glad to have seen it.

    And, of course, I stopped to take a look at the iPhone up close and in person. And, of course, it's just as amazing as everybody says it is. And, of course, I want to have an iPhone now more than ever before. Everything about it is just cool. Particularly the screen and web browser, which is mind blowing...

    iPhone Blogography

    Blogography looks great, and is totally readable in horizontal mode, even without zooming...

    iPhone Blogography

    A pity that they're sold out absolutely everywhere.

    But not surprising.

       

    Fact!

    Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2007

    Dave!I was just flicking through channels and see that BravoTV is airing Eddie Murphy: RAW... except they are silencing all the curses. This makes the jokes incomprehensible, and renders the entire show 50% silent. Why even attempt run a censored version of Eddie Murphy standup? It makes no sense.

    Anyway, earlier today I mentioned on a message board that had I re-watched Battlefield Earth this weekend and was surprised that it wasn't as horrendously terrible as I had remembered. Sure the acting was mostly awful and the makeup on the Psychlos was embarrassingly bad (their "hands" didn't work, and looked like giant mittens)... but it had good FX, a passable (if implausible) story, and was decent mindless entertainment. Whatever...

    Battlefield Lame

    A couple of hours later, some dumbass leaves this enlightening response...

    "Don't be such a fag. Battlefield Earth sucked and that's a FACT!!!

    I ignored his obvious struggle with his sexuality, and went on to explain that Battlefied Earth "sucking" was an opinion, not a fact. Believe it or not, there actually are people who like it, and the flick did receive a few positive reviews by the critics. But, much like Bill O'Reilly, the moron simply could not distinguish between opinion and fact. The conversation immediately degenerated into idiocy, at which point I took my leave. I'd rather give up than waste time with inane crap like this.

    Much like I've given up on the antiquated and stupid state of patent law. I've written about the absurdity of the US patent system before, but without using curse words. Today I feel like writing about it again, but this time I can't be as generous in watching my language (much like Eddie Murphy in RAW)...

    Rated R

    If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...

       

    Self-Assigned

    Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

    Dave!BUILT-IN ETHERNET IS CURRENTLY ACTIVE. BUILT-IN ETHERNET HAS A SELF-ASSIGNED IP ADDRESS AND MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET.

    Sigh.

    I've got to start staying in a different hotel. Bad enough that this place doesn't have wireless and I have to bring my own ethernet cable for internet... even worse that it doesn't work half the time, so I end up having to drag my sorry ass down to the lobby for their crappy lobby wireless (which is almost as bad). Why is it some hotels just don't seem to get it? Most everybody NEEDS reliable internet now-a-days. If you don't provide it, and people are going to go somewhere else.

    Today was yet another three-hour drive through n-o-t-h-i-n-g to the "Inland Empire" of Spokane. It's a hypnotic journey of flat plains and wide-open spaces...

    Road to Spokane

    Road to Spokane

    The good news is that if you leave at the right time of day, you don't have to share the road with anybody. The bad news is that if you've done the drive once, you've done it a million times... and it's always the same.

    Of course, once you actually get to Spokane, you can drown your sorrows in two delicious slices of the Best Pizza in The Universe at David's Pizza...

    David's Pizza AGAIN

    I know I've blogged about this pizza like a hundred times now, but that's about all there is for me to write about here. I've lost count of the number of times I've taken that same photo composition, but oh well... here it is again: two slices of DaVinci pizza with a Stewart's Orange Cream Soda (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I would order for my last meal if I were on death row).

    After dinner, I went to go see The Simpsons Movie which was kind of boring. The show definitely works better when the writers are condensed for time on your typical half-hour episode. Giving them 90 minutes just drags everything out. The real reason I wanted to see it, however, was to know if anything in the film would have a lasting affect on The Simpsons' "universe." For one character it actually does, which made me a bit sad (hey, I liked that character!).

    And now it's time to head back to the lobby so I can post this. Fortunately, everything else I wanted to do on the internet tonight can be done on my iPhone while running around my hotel room in my underwear.

    They don't let you do that in the lobby.

    Categories: Movies 2007, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink  28 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Flash!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2007

    Dave!♫ Ahhh AHHHHHHH! He'll save every one of us! ♫

    I finally got around to watching the Sci-Fi Channel's Flash Gordon show. I was really stoked for the series, which is why I was devastated to find out that it sucks ass. This is probably one of the worst television shows ever, and that's saying a lot. Not only is the writing complete and total shite, but the acting is horrendously bad and the special effects (what few of them they use) are laughable. I can't find a single thing worth praising on this trainwreck of a series, and am dumbfounded that Sci-Fi... who are supposed to be fans of good science fiction... would screw things up this badly.

    Which begs the question... how could you possibly fuck up Flash Gordon? There's so much source material to work from.

    I mean, come on, the crazy-cheesey 27-year-old movie staring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, and Max von Sydow was sheer genius by comparison. I love that flick! Not only have I see the film dozens of times and purchased all iterations released that I could find (VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Import Special Edition DVD, and Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD), I've also got the movie poster framed and hanging on my wall...

    Flash Gordon Poster

    And here's the puzzler... the writing on this film was over-the-top, the acting was far from great, and the special effects weren't anything to write home about (though there was a musical score by Queen!). So why did the movie work, while the television show fails so miserably?

    BECAUSE IT WAS ENTERTAINING!! Hell, I'd argue that the FIFTY year-old Black & White Buster Crabbe serials were more fun to watch that this shitty television atrocity!

    In the movie, Flash was trying to save the entire earth. In the TV show, Flash was trying to find an iMac (or whatever). In the movie, Ming was a sadistically evil egomaniac. In the TV show, Ming is a whiny little bitch. In the movie, Dr. Zarkov is a brilliantly mad scientist. In the TV show, Dr. Zarkov is a bumbling idiot. In the movie, Aura is a brutally hot psychotic bitch. In the TV show, Aura is just plain boring. Much like the show itself... totally boring.

    Flash Gordon fans deserve so much better.

    Dave Flash Gordon

    With even a little effort and creativity, a new Flash Gordon show could have been brilliant. I was counting on it being brilliant. Instead I was only setting myself up for disappointment.

    Stupid Sci-Fi Channel bastards.

       

    Superbad

    Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2007

    Dave!My work schedule keeps changing. One minute I've got two days before I start... the next minute I've got two hours. This makes any grand adventure out of the question, so I decided to just wander down toward Milwaukee and catch a movie or something.

    But first, breakfast.

    Since it was 11:30am before I got my work situation figured out, I missed my breakfast window of opportunity... but still wanted breakfast. Remembering that Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day, I decide to see if there's a location near me. Thanks to iPhone, stuff like this is simple...

    1. Wake up iPhone and select Google Maps.
    2. Enter my location and press the "search" button.
    3. Type in "Cracker Barrel" and press the "search" button.

    And, just like that, iPhone pops up with the nearest Cracker Barrel down on County Line Road Q in Menomonee Falls (if Apple ever adds a GPS unit, that would eliminate step 2...hint, hint). Have I said how much I totally love my iPhone?

    After a plate of eggs and corn bread muffins with a side of grits, I consult iPhone once again to see what movies are playing at the AMC down at the Mayfair Mall. Turns out that Superbad doesn't start until 1:40, so I decide to take a look at the new Apple Store at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale before I go. I have no idea where that is but, once again, iPhone comes to the rescue with detailed maps and driving directions, complete with traffic status. How did I ever get along in life without it?

    The Glendale Apple Store is nice enough, but it turns out that Bayshore Town Center is a kind of elitist-fascist shopping area with a "Code of Conduct" posted at the entrances. Rules include "no congregating in groups of more than four people" and "no profanity" and "you must carry photo identification" and "no unauthorized photography." This kind of scary crap made me feel very much out of place and unwelcome, so I decided to bail. But not before screaming "FUCK YOU BAYSHORE TOWN CENTER" at the top of my lungs and taking this completely unauthorized photo of the Apple Store there...

    Apple Store Bayshore Town Center

    Surprisingly, this anti-conduct behavior did not cause a swarm of security guards to come beat me up and kick me out of Bayshore Town Center as I expected. It's too bad, because then I would have REALLY had something to blog about.

    Then I was off to the much more sane and friendly Mayfair Mall, where I arrived just in time to see Superbad. Except not really. Once the twenty minutes of commercials, advertising, previews, and crap had aired, THEN I got to see the movie.

    Superbad was pretty darn funny, and seeing Michael Cera on the big screen just makes me miss Arrested Development all the more. Oddly enough, however, I found the main story-line with Jonah Hill to be kind of annoying... it was the sub-plot with two cops played by Bill Hader (funnier here than he's ever been on Saturday Night Live) and Seth Rogen (who co-wrote Superbad) that completely stole the show for me. Funny, funny, stuff... McLovin.

    Almost as funny as when I went to pick up my rental car yesterday and saw that two guys had decided to ignore the warning signs, arrows, and big-ass spikes so they could exit through the entrance gate...

    Severe Tire Damage

    I hope that they purchased the full insurance coverage option on their rental. But I'm guessing that they probably didn't, because once I got inside I noticed them in a heated discussion with the manager. I think that they were actually trying to blame him for their mistake, so good luck with that guys!

    And now I'm at work. But I can't hook my laptop up to internet here for some reason, so heaven only knows when I'll get to post this (my schedule has me working straight through until 9:00am). Bleh. Maybe I can escape for a midnight "lunch break" or something.

    UPDATE: And so I run back to my hotel where I will have internet to post this, and decide to stop at McDonald's for a large fries and a chocolate shake. But when I get to my room and open the bag, I see that my large fries is only HALF-FULL!!! Frickin' rip-off McDonald's bastards! Is nothing sacred?

       

    Wrong

    Posted on Monday, August 27th, 2007

    Dave!And so I'm back from Chicago browsing through all the TV shows stacked up on my TiVo, when I notice that one of my favorite shows, My Boys has several new episodes waiting for me. I've always known that the show is based in Chicago, but I never realized how entrenched the show is in Chicago until tonight. The characters regularly drop the names of Chi-Town locations I've been to or through, but it wasn't until they talked about eating tapas at Emilio's that it finally sunk in. That's the restaurant where RW invited me to dinner, then subsequently went insane and had to be taken away by the police (or something like that). It's cool to know that not only is the show funny, but it works hard at being authentic as well.

    Anyway...

    On the way home from work today, I made the turn onto my street and noticed something odd in the distance. A car on my side of the road was going in the wrong direction, heading straight for me. Thinking that it was a temporary adjustment because of a cat or pothole (or whatever) on their side of road, I wasn't worried. But he never went back into his lane. He kept coming. My concerned deepened when he started honking his horn as he approached. Not knowing what else to do, I slowed down to a near-stop, and waited to see what's going on. But the guy kept coming. And once he got almost to the hood of my car, he swerved into the proper lane (still honking), flipping me off as he passed, then went back into my lane.

    And then it happened.

    Suddenly I found that I was doubting myself over something I knew to be correct.

    "Holy crap! Am I driving in the wrong lane?!?"

    It was only for a fleeting second that I thought the right lane was the wrong lane, but it's been bothering me all night. I'm a total genius! How could I question myself like that? Especially over something so fundamental like driving, which I do every day.

    It's a mystery. And I still don't know why that guy was driving on the wrong side of the road. Perhaps he just got back from living in England or something? Dunno.

    And, lastly, speaking of wrong...

    NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    Geeks of Doom is reporting that Keanu Reeves has been tapped to play Klaatu in the remake of one of my favorite films ever, The Day The Earth Stood Still. I mean, come on, the movie really doesn't need to be remade in the first place... but Keanu Reeves?!? That's like getting Bender from Futurama to play the intergalactic peace-keeping robot Gort...

    Keanu Day The Earth Stood Still

    Heh, heh, heh... "Klaatu barada niktooooo-bite my shiny metal ass, humans!"

    It's a sick, sad world.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Blu-Ray

    Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2007

    Dave!For better or worse, I'm an early adopter.

    I love tech gadgetry, and have always put myself on the bleeding edge of new technology... from computers, phones, and cameras, to stereos, media players, and video games. I am always seeking out the newest of the new to play with. Sometimes I get burned (MiniDisc Music Player, Apple QuickTake Camera, Panasonic Recordable DVD Player, to name a few) but overall I've been happy with my decision to be first out of the gate (and so are my friends and family, because they get the "old" equipment it replaces).

    I was one of the first people in Washington State to own a DVD player. It was one of seven Sony reference players sold in Seattle, and cost just under $2000 once I got everything I needed. Sure that's a lot of money, but when a friend and I were invited to a technology demo of DVD in early 1997, I simply could not resist. The quality was such a huge leap over VHS tape that a total movie whore like myself was compelled to purchase it. As it turns out, this was money well-spent. My Sony DVP-S7000 player has been in service for almost 11 years now, surpassing the PIECE OF SHIT Panasonic Recordable DVD Player I bought a while back which never once managed to record a single DVD, despite two trips to the repair shop (which is why I will never buy from Panasonic again). I still curse director Kevin Smith for that mistake, because it was his advertisements that led me to buy Panasonic.

    Buying into DVD was an easy decision. It was superior to anything else out there (including my LaserDisc player... also an early adopter purchase), and was clearly the future of the home theater experience. I wasn't the least bit worried about investing in the technology, because all the major manufacturers and studios endorsed it. This was probably one of the safest bets I had ever made.

    Buying into Blu-Ray was not an easy decision. Mostly because manufacturers and studios are split between endorsing Blu-Ray and a competing format, HD-DVD. Choose wrong, and it's the Betamax vs. VHS tape format war all over again... and somebody is going to lose. That time, it was Sony's Beta that lost, so jumping onto their Blu-Ray format was not a sure bet. So I waited.

    But soon it became clear that there wasn't going to be an early victory in the format war. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were both surviving at a near-equal pace. This was going to be a long, very stupid, drawn-out battle, and if I didn't choose a side I would be waiting quite a while. So a few weeks ago I decided on Blu-Ray, because that's where Disney-Pixar was at. I wanted to buy their brilliant new film Ratatouille in Hi-Def, and you couldn't get it on HD-DVD. So I ordered a Samsung BD-P1400 player at $369 (which has subsequently dropped at many vendors to $339 because of Black Friday).

    The player itself is good, but not great. The biggest problem was that the BD-P1400 did not come with an actual hi-def cable! So right out of the box, I couldn't see the Blu-Ray movies I bought in the way they were meant to be seen. This brought up the nightmare of cable-shopping, because they are SO FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE! The cheapest HDMI cable I could find locally was $79! Fortunately, the good people at Optimized Cable Company had what I wanted at $19.95 (quick shipping...highly recommend). A few days later, and I was in business.

    PROS...
    The picture and sound are incredible. The clarity and detail in the picture has to be seen to be believed. This all came to light when I watched Terminator 2. At first, I thought the picture was just a little better. But then I played the same movie on "regular" DVD and started switching between the two. The difference was astounding. Tiny details like hair and other small elements were noticeably blurrier when I dropped out of Blu-Ray. Since I can't do a screen capture of Blu-Ray (yet), I decided to simulate what a very small Terminator looks like when extracted from a scene and blown up. It's something like this...

    Bluraycompare
    Simulated DVD Enlargement on the left, simulated Blu-Ray enlargement on the right.

    Of course, the quality of the picture is wholly dependent on the source material. My Blu-Ray movie of Superman II, The Richard Donner Cut is an older film with noticeable softness and grain. Blu-Ray actually seems to make this more noticeable, because it presents such flaws so clearly. On the other hand, for movies like Ratatouille, which was a 100% digital conversion, there are -zero- flaws, and the picture quality is jaw-dropping spectacular.

    CONS...
    For reasons that totally escape me, Blu-Ray movies takes FOREVER to start up. Unlike a DVD player where you drop in the disc and can start watching immediately, Blu-Ray has a lot of waiting. At first I thought it was my Samsung BD-1400 that was to blame, but a quick check in online forums shows that this is a common problem in all hi-def players. This is really frustrating, and difficult to comprehend. Three steps forward in quality, one step backwards in convenience. Other than excessive waits for menus and such, the only other quality problem I've noted is occasional stuttering in some movies. It's very quick, so it's not too distracting, but can be irritating. Hopefully a future firmware upgrade will help solve this. But the biggest con? Some hi-def titles are not available on Blu-Ray, the studio having chosen to go the HD-DVD route. This includes many favorites (like the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series) and is kind of a bummer. Not wanting to buy a new film on the older format when not available for Blu-Ray, I've decided to rent them on Netflix until a Blu-Ray version is (hopefully) released. I suppose I could buy a second HD-DVD player (or a new combi-player) but really don't want to divide my media like that.

    The worst part of switching from DVD to Blu-Ray is my existing library of now-antiquated DVD movies, because it's not like I am going to run out and re-buy my entire collection again. Fortunately, the BD-1400 has "upconverter" technology which makes my old DVDs look pretty darn good, so this is not much of an issue for me. I'll re-buy some of my favorites, and absolutely buy new titles in Blu-Ray... but the bulk of my collection with remain in "regular" DVD.

    In the end, I am happy to recommend Blu-Ray over DVD. I am not, however, ready to recommend Blu-Ray over HD-DVD. The quality is reported to be about the same, so it's a personal choice as to which road to take. Many people might want to wait for the "combi-players" to come out so they can play either... but if you want to go with a single HD format, the choice will have to be made as to which has more movies and studio support that you're interested in.

    Am I happy with my decision? Sure.

    Am I confident I backed the right Hi-Def format? I have no idea.

    In the meanwhile, I'll be enjoying the stunning quality and terrific sound that Blu-Ray offers. Movies at home have never looked better.

    Categories: Movies 2007Click To It: Permalink  33 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 57

    Posted on Sunday, November 25th, 2007

    Dave!Where did this day go? Seriously, it's coming up on dinner-time and it feels like I just woke up a couple of hours ago. I know I went to work, but I didn't get nearly enough done. Must be a Bullet Sunday.

    • Pole! What is it with the latest fitness trends that keep popping up, disappearing, then popping up again? I'm seeing ads (once again) for POLE DANCING as exercise. I could make a number of smart-ass comments here, but instead I decided to buy a pole and get into shape! Off I went to Amazon to get an instructional video... and imagine my surprise when I found out there's a whole world of slutty exercise programs to choose from!

    Poledancingexcercise

    And now I can't decide if I want to learn exotic dancing, pole dancing, lap dancing, or bump n' grind strip-dancing. My gut instinct is to stick with pole dancing, but I'm thinking there's more money to be made in lap dancing. At least that's always been the case when I'm paying for it. Because, hey, there's nothing to say a guy can't earn a little cash while getting into shape.

    • South Park! Last night I finally had a chance to pull out my South Park: The Complete 10th Season DVD set and watch my second favorite episode of the series ever: Make Love, Not Warcraft (my all-time favorite being Christian Rock Hard). In addition to being hysterically funny, the episode is just so incredibly well made. I'd go so far as to say that it's practically flawless. Anybody who hasn't seen it should definitely take a look...

    Make Love, Not Warcraft

    • WOW! Included with my new South Park DVD set, there was a free 14-day trial for World of Warcraft. This is a really brilliant idea, because after having watched that South Park episode, I was in the mood to give it a try. I had played the original WarCraft games but, since I am not so much into the whole "online massive multi-player" thing, I never tried WOW. And now that I have, I know what all the fuss is about. It's pretty sweet!

    Dave WOW!
    This is me! I'm a Tauren Shamen, which I picked because he looks badass cool.

    Dave WOW!
    I use my mace to unleash my righteous fury on giant turkeys.

    Dave WOW!
    Then I figure out that I can shoot lightning, which I use to fry green pigs.

    Dave WOW!
    Oh shit! I'm dead!! I got my ass handed to me by a giant super-pig!

    Dave WOW!
    Oooh! The moon is all pretty and stuff.

    For a while there, I was having me some fun... being all kick-ass by running around and killing giant turkeys and pigs and stuff. But then people started asking me to join their group every 15 minutes, and I didn't want to play anymore. I don't want to join a group. I'm busy all the time, and can't commit to playing with a group... I just want people to leave me alone. But I couldn't find a way to hang a big "DON'T ASK ME TO BE IN YOUR GROUP" sign around my neck, so I gave up and stopped playing. Oh well. Hopefully Blizzard will release Warcraft IV soon, so I can play alone. Of course, right now I'm more interested in Starcraft II, which is the sequel to my favorite Blizzard game of all time.

    &bull Starbucks! I have written about the song I Love N.Y.E. by Badly Drawn Boy (from the amazing About A Boy movie soundtrack) a couple of times now (here and here). It's beautiful, magical, and I've always been puzzled as to why it was never nabbed for a television commercial. Well, somebody really smart in Starbucks' marketing department finally found it, and it's playing on a really cool animated ad for their calorie-laden holiday drinks (it's got penguins in it!). Beutifully done, Starbucks! If you're curious about this wonderful piece of music, you can take a listen at iTunes here.

    • Ghost Rider! After goofing off with WOW, I capped off my evening by watching my Blu-Ray copy of Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider. It's not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a fun movie to watch and has nifty special effects. The critics, of course, savaged the movie in their reviews (it mustered only 28% on Rotten Tomatoes), which is probably justified, but kind of lame since this was such an easy target. I mean, come on, it's got a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle and Nicholas Cage in a hairpiece for crying out loud! At some point you have to just let go...

    Ghost Rider!

    Besides, any movie that's got Sam Elliott and Peter Fonda in it can't be too bad!

    And thus ends Bullet Sunday (though I've got a iTunes meme in an extended entry which was tagged me by James). Tomorrow I'm traveling cross-country, so my entry for Monday will be posted pretty late. For anybody interested, I'll be updating my journey throughout the day via DaveStalker™, so feel free to travel along with me if you've got nothing better to do.

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...

       

    Speed

    Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007

    Dave!Well today totally sucked ass.

    Just as I knew it would. I expected it to suck ass. Somehow I thought this foresight would make it easier to live through to the rain of shit that fell all over my life, but I was wrong. So wrong. With every new horror that popped up, I was worn down just a little further. I haven't measured my height or anything, but I must be at least 3 feet shorter than I started out this morning. And my head hurts.

    But there was a bright spot when I woke up and saw that USA Today has a sneak peak at the new Speed Racer movie in production. And the photos are incredible. Word is that the Wachowski Brothers are creating a movie unlike anything seen before (not a surprise considering they were also responsible for The Matrix)...

    Mach 5

    Speed Racer

    I was a massive fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon when I was a kid (it had a monkey in it!), and am really psyched to see how this film is going to play out. Unfortunately, I have a long five months to wait. In the meanwhile, I guess I'll just go stare at the sneak peak photos again, and play make-believe Speed Racer like I used to...

    Dave Racer

    And then prepare myself for yet another crappy day tomorrow.

    UPDATE: The Speed Racer teaser trailer is now online. This is going to be so cool. Look, it's Chim Chim!!

    Chim Chim

    Chim Chim

       

    Hero

    Posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2007

    Dave!Is there anything more terrifying than having a few drinks and playing Guitar Hero?

    I suck ass at even the "easy" level, and alcohol doesn't seem to help.


    Dave Hero

    In happier news, I finally saw the film Kinky Boots and am absolutely astounded at the acting ability (flexibility?) of Chiwetel Ejiofor. The guy is amazingly talented. His role as "The Operative" in Serenity is by far my favorite, but his playing the transvestite "Lola" in Kinky Boots blew my mind. Now I am really wanting to see Dirty Pretty Things.

    Despite being rainy and a bit depressing, the weather in Seattle is still a massive improvement over Spokane.

       

    Indy

    Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

    Dave!Gah! I am addicted to Guitar Hero! Every time I hear a song now, I picture those notes coming at me and start doing air-guitar button mashing. This is particularly embarrassing when the song is something stupid playing on the radio (this morning I was rocking to All Out of Love by Air Supply). I would buy Guitar Hero for my Wii, but I'm afraid that I would never leave the house again.

    In other news... OMG! INDIANA JONES LEGO!!!

    Indy Lego

    Indy Lego

    I can't stand tossing the word "cute" around... but aren't these so totally cute? While I thought the sequels pretty much sucked ass, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest movies ever made, and has been a favorite of mine from the minute I saw it.

    Which is why I'm terrified after reading comments by George Lucas in the recent Vanity Fair about the new Indy adventure... Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    Basically, Lucas came up with a shitty idea for a fourth film that neither Steven Spielberg or Harrison Ford liked. But he kept ramming it down their throats and refused to come up with something different. Since Ford isn't getting any younger and everybody wanted to make a new Indy film, they eventually relented and let Lucas get his way. Considering the fucked-up mess that Lucas made out of the Star Wars prequels, my hopes for a decent film are pretty much dashed. I can only hope that Spielberg and Ford can transcend the material and at least come up with something entertaining that doesn't suck too badly...

    Daveraiders

    Oh well. I suppose I can always make my own Indiana Jones movie using Lego.

    Wow... now that I think about it, that's a totally kick-ass idea.

    Categories: Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink  29 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Goofy

    Posted on Monday, January 14th, 2008

    Dave!Yesterday I left for the Biloxi airport at 4:00am and was dreading the day to come. With four connecting flights ahead of me... all with very short layovers... the odds of something going wrong along the way was huge. First flight: Biloxi to Memphis - on time. Second flight: Memphis to Minneapolis - on time. Third flight: Minneapolis to Seattle - on time. Fourth flight: Seattle to Wenatchee - uhhhhhhhhhh... not so much.

    Wenatchee was fogged-in, and not a single flight had made it into the city all day. Not surprisingly, my flight was also canceled. This meant I got to hang around the airport with a bunch of really cranky people while waiting to see if we were going to be bussed, or if I would have to find a hotel and get re-booked for another flight.

    And so the bus it was.

    Three hours on a bus with 56 of my closest friends.

    Which was lovely, let me tell you.

    And yet, that was nothing... nothing... compared to the torture I was forced to endure tonight.

    Because tonight was when a group of us from work decided to go see National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

    Don't misunderstand me here though... the torture wasn't in watching the movie. Sure it was a complete re-tread of the first movie with no real improvements or memorable story elements. Sure it had so many plot holes that I was pulling my hair out at the end. And sure it pained me to see the remarkable Helen Mirren lowering herself to appear in something so mediocre and poorly directed. But all that was to be expected.

    What was NOT expected was that Disney would make you sit through a Goofy cartoon before the film actually started. I fucking HATE Goofy. I find absurdly stupid cartoon characters to be just a annoying and un-funny as absurdly stupid people. I mean, seriously, this shit is supposed to be humor?

    Goofy Bullshit

    Well, no thanks.

    I prefer to take my crappy movies WITHOUT a shitty cartoon up front.

    Goofy?

    Sigh. I would gladly trade every Goofy cartoon ever made for a single new episode of Invader Zim.

    Categories: Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink  27 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Relate

    Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

    Dave!Well then... thanks to some help from people far smarter than me, Blogography appears to be up-and-running again. Here's hoping it stays that way for a little while.

    Yesterday I was handed a movie meme and, since I had nothing better to blog about, I decided to fill it out. But after a few questions I realized it was just a variation on a half-dozen movie memes I had already done before, so I decided to toss it out and write about unclogging my shower drain instead.

    But then, just as I was getting ready to take a photo of the bottle of Liquid Plumr that had saved my day, I noticed one of the movie questions was different. It asked: "Name three characters from the movies you can personally relate to and why." Interesting! That's pretty much an entry all by itself, so I'll blog about my shower drain another day.

    And now, three people from the movies I personally relate to and why...


    "Mark" from Love Actually (played by Andrew Licoln).

    Love Actually is one of those films you either fall in love with immediately... or you despise because it is so contrived, manipulative, and filled with one-dimensional characters. On first viewing, I was firmly in the latter camp. I was disappointed that Richard Curtis would slap together a bunch of short bits from stories we've seen a hundred times before (including his own Notting Hill) and call it a film. The result is a patchwork of fantastic actors doing their best to add depth to characters that are so ill-defined that it's almost impossible to care about them.

    But then it grows on you. You see it at the rental store and remember it had some funny bits so you watch it again. And again during the holidays because it's a Christmas film. And again because it happens to be on HBO. And soon you're watching it for no reason at all, when suddenly it dawns on you... the characters don't have to be three-dimensional, because the characters are you. Or your family & friends. Or people you know. You don't need the details of their lives to become invested in them, because you already know them.

    This revelation dawned on me as I came upon the scene where Juliet has just discovered that her new husband's best friend is secretly in love with her. Mark is all at once overcome with the heartache, longing, shame, and the crushing disappointment of being in love with somebody he can never have...

    Love Actually

    Yeah. Definitely been there, done that, and can totally relate. Watching Andrew Licoln's brilliant, wordless interpretation of his character's agony is eerie, because it's as if he reached into my own experience and is expressing it on screen for everybody to see. Unfortunately, the director didn't allow his performance to stand on its own, and felt the need to blast music (Dido's lovely Here With Me) over the top... trying once again to manipulate the viewer unnecessarily... but it's still a scene that strikes me at my core every time I see it.


    "Bob and Charlotte" from Lost in Translation (played by Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson).

    There are very few moments in Sophia Coppola's masterwork Lost in Translation which don't resonate with me. She managed to capture with almost supernatural accuracy exactly what it's like to be a foreigner in Japan... Being surrounded by millions of people yet feeling completely alone... The bizarre yet captivating world of Tokyo at night... Seeing your fellow foreigners over and over again because you're all stuck in the same loop... Not being able to sleep... Trying your best to fit into a culture which you will never, ever be able to fit into... The language barrier facing you at every turn... Feeling like an alien because you're so tall and freaky-looking compared to everybody else... It's all here. When I first saw Lost in Translation, I related so closely to Bob and Charlotte that I felt as if the film was speaking just to me. Like it was made just for me. Numerous subsequent viewings haven't changed my mind...

    Lost In Translation

    Scene after scene I find myself mentally going "that was me!" and the memories of my trips to Japan come flooding back. It's not often that a film so totally enters my psyche and consumes me, but this would definitely be one of them. Many people I know didn't care for this movie at all, and something in the back of my head is always wondering if the only reason I love it so much is because I relate to it so well.

    And now, because I feel it's a public service to mention it, the Lost In Translation soundtrack is sublime, and available on iTunes. Each track is an atmospheric piece of magic that haunts you long after the last track has played. Of course, the song that everybody wants from the movie, Fuck the Pain Away by Peaches, is not on the soundtrack, but is also available on iTunes if you're looking for it.


    "Joe" from Idiocracy (played by Luke Wilson).

    Yeah, like a movie about a guy trapped in a world filled with morons is really that much of a stretch from my life of being trapped in a world filled with morons (present company excepted, of course). While not up to the impossibly high standards set by Mike Judge with his first film, Office Space, the not-so-implausible future depicted in Idiocracy is still brilliantly realized...

    Idiocracy

    Everything run by dumbass politicians... Corporations taking over the country... Starbucks expanding into the sex trade... Tell me that this is anything but an accurate portrayal of the world of tomorrow! So yeah, seriously I can totally relate.

    Brawndo. It's Got Electrolytes. It's What Plants Crave!

    Categories: Memes 2006, Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink  23 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Sharpie

    Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2008

    Dave!Free at last.

    This morning at 9:47am, after a week of agony and discomfort, my kidney stone finally decided to exit the building. And by "building" I mean "me." I had a feeling things were coming to an end yesterday because things started feeling different in my internals, but it wasn't until the pain subsided and was replaced with burning discomfort that I knew for certain. My guess is that appearing on The Jester Show last night scared the stone out of me, but it was more likely due to the massive quantities of water I drank afterwards.

    The hospital scan revealed that the stone was only 4mm, but it might as well have been 4-inches for all the trauma it caused me. Surprisingly, as I stood there gazing at the instrument of my destruction in the toilet, I marveled at how innocent it looked. Like a little pebble that might get stuck in your shoe or something. And by "shoe" I mean "penis."

    Though I'm sure if you looked at it under a microscope, it would be a different story. I've taken to calling my kidney stone "Mr. Sharpie" because it's the only explanation for how unbelievably fucking painful it's been...

    Mr.Sharpie
    Please note that Mr. Sharpie is no relation to Sharpie Brand Markers, ©Sanford, A Newell Rubbermaid Company
    I really don't want to be sued over this shit.

    Oh well. It's all over now. After having gone through this crap twice, I've decided that I'm drinking fifty glasses of water each day to flush this stuff out before it has a chance to accumulate into SPIKEY BALLS OF EXTREME PAIN!!

       

    In other news, the movie trailer for Battle In Seattle has been released over at MovieSet.

    It looks like complete and total shit.

    I don't know why they'd make a movie over a frickin' protest, but here you have it. While the event was very real, I have no idea if the drama they've added to the film is based on real stories or not. From the over-clocked intensity of the scenes in the trailer, I'm guessing it's mostly speculation and fiction, but who knows?

    In any event, I have no plans for seeing it. I was in Seattle working on November 30th, 1999... and blissfully unaware of everything that was going on. I was a dozen blocks away and cut off from news sources when things started up, and had no idea how intense things were getting until I went back downtown to my hotel later in the day. Fortunately, my hotel was on the edge of the riots, but I could still look out my window and catch a glimpse of the crazy stuff happening just a couple blocks away. Part of me wanted to go check it out, but after watching TV news I decided to stay in my room (which was largely tear-gas free!) and eat a bag of potato chips and a Coke for dinner.

    But my true memories of the WTO protest riots were formed the next two days while walking through the streets of downtown Seattle. The spray-painted buildings and smashed windows provided a vivid picture of just how fucked-up some people can get. I'm all for protest, but using violence to promote your cause doesn't do anything but make you look like a douchebag. I'd like to believe that the vast majority of the people who showed up were there for peaceful protest (even if most of them probably didn't even understand what they were protesting), but the fact that nothing was done to stop the violence has me blaming the protestors as much as I blame the Seattle Police for being so grossly unprepared.

    Ugh.

    Now that I'm back to normal, I suppose I should get back to reality.

    For once I'm actually happy about that.

       

    Newyorkatoria

    Posted on Friday, May 2nd, 2008

    Dave!IRON MAN, BITCHES!!!

    There was no real plan today. About the only thing any of us knew was that we were going to see Iron Man at 4:00. Everything else was just a matter of narrowing down the million options for things to do in New York City and picking something. Which is a heck of a lot more difficult than you'd think.

    Down the street from our hotel is the beautiful Grand Central Station, so we stopped by for a quick look...

    Grand Central Station

    Eventually it was decided that the main goal for the day was to go up the Empire State Building for an aerial view of Manhattan. Unfortunately, New York City has been under a perpetual fog blanket all morning, and visibility at the top was zero, so we decided to take a pass. Instead we headed downtown to see what progress was being made at the World Trade Center site. Along the way, we passed by Macy's, which was hosting an exhibit of Iron Man movie props in their exterior displays. There were little pieces littered from window to window like Tony Stark business cards, prototype armor boots, and the electro-magnet that keeps Tony's heart beating...

    Iron Man Props at Macy's

    But the big prize was the Iron Man Mach-1 armor! Totally sweet!!

    Iron Man Pano Macy's

    As if I didn't want to see the movie bad enough already!

    The last time I was at WTC Ground Zero, there was still a lot of debris, but it's all gone now, and things are finally starting to take shape. It's no less emotional, however...

    World Trade Center

    World Trade Center

    Unfortunately, it's really difficult to see anything. On the contrary, it's almost as if they were trying to obstruct your view of the site in every way possible. I have no idea what the reasoning is for this, but the only remotely viewable area is from a skybridge nearby...

    World Trade Center

    Back to the Empire State Building, where the fog looked like like it might be clearing up, but the operator assured us there was still no visibility at the top. Time for a "B-Plan." We headed up to Central Park to wander through The Metropolitan Museum of Art for a while...

    Paprika Painting

    Then it was time to meet up with Eve and Dave3 from Geeks of Doom for IRON MAN!!

    IRON MAN!

    Totally awesome movie! I dare say it's the best super-hero comic book movie made since the original Superman and Superman II. As expected, Robert Downey Jr. was flawlessly brilliant in his portrayal of Tony Stark. It's hard to imagine how anybody else could have played the role, really. Plenty of action. Plenty of story. Totally faithful to the comic book source material. Can you really ask for anything else?

    After an incredible vegetarian dinner at Quantum Leap in The Village, we ended the night at The Apple Store Soho.

    And now it's 11:30 and time to rest-up for tomorrows pilgrimage to Philadelphia.

    I can't wait.

    Categories: Movies 2008, Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 81

    Posted on Sunday, May 18th, 2008

    Dave!w00t! Today it's Bullet Sunday from one of my favorite cities: CHICAGO!!

    • Johhny. After struggling to catch up with work all morning, I decided to take the train into the city... even though the CTA has both the Blue-Line and the Red-Line under construction. A Johnny Rockets veggie burger was calling me. And since Chicago has one of my favorite restaurants in the chain, it would be worth the effort. Imagine my surprise when I get there to find that my beloved Johnny Rockets on Rush Street had CLOSED!! I was equally sad and enraged, and I don't think I'm ever going to recover. Goodbye Johnny, you will be missed...

    Johnny Rockets restaurant on Rush Street in Chicago at night.

    • Beautiful. I looked out the window and was happy to see that the weather had cleared up from the overcast skies and rain we had last night. It was beautiful out! Unfortunately, looks can be a bit deceiving, because it was actually chilly and windy. Fortunately, I had a jacket with me out of habit, because how would you expect to be cold on a day like this?

    Looking up at Hancock Tower and the Chicago city skyline.

    • Bean. After getting a surprise call from a former co-worker and meeting for coffee (her) and hot cocoa (me)... I met up with friends who were in the city from suburbia to do some shopping and go see Speed Racer (my review of the film along with reviews for two other movies I saw on the plane follows below). From there I decided to meet up with a current co-worker for dinner at the ever-excellent Pizano's Pizza and a walk through Millennium Park. I can't get enough of The Cloud Gate "Coffee Bean" sculpture, which was looking especially cool today...

    Cloud Gate sculpture... a giant 'coffee bean' shape with a mirrored surface reflecting the Chicago city skyline.

    Cloud Gate sculpture... a giant 'coffee bean' shape with a mirrored surface reflecting the Chicago city skyline.

    • Movie #1: Jumper. One sentence review: A great concept diminished to a bucket of shit that not even Samuel L. Jackson can save. Didn't we suffer enough when Hayden Christensen played Anakin Skywalker in the shitty Star Wars sequels? NOTE TO FILMMAKERS: THIS GUY CANNOT ACT! STOP CASTING HIM IN MOVIES! But even putting the horribleness of Mannequin Skywalker aside, this is a mess of a film. Our story begins when young David Rice discovers he has the ability to teleport anywhere in the world he can visualize. This is handy, because his mother abandoned him to live with his abusive father, and "jumping" provides him with the escape he's been longing for. Using his new-found power to rob banks and live a life of excess that spans the globe, things go terribly wrong when jumper-hating "paladins" (led by Samuel L. Jackson) start hunting David... AND THE AUDIENCE DOESN'T FUCKING CARE! The story then turns into sheer idiocy, and I was salivating over the thought that Samuel L. Jackson will actually kill the stupid bastard. By the time the lame-ass "twist ending" was revealed, I was cursing the moment I decided to watch this joke of a film. FAIL!

    • Movie #2: The Bucket List. Once sentence review: Brilliant performances rises above a pandering and fluff-laden script. Two of my all-time favorite actors? Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I will watch anything they appear in. To have them both in the same film is absolute magic. The story is about a curmudgeon millionaire (Nicholson) and a genius garage mechanic (Freeman) who discover they have fatal illnesses which compel them to live their final days doing all those things they never got around to doing in life. The resulting ride is a fun one, mostly because the banter between the two leads is so fantastic and the acting note-perfect. If only the script could have been tightened to eliminate some of the more overtly manipulative sentimentality, it could have been elevated to greatness. As it is, it's a good film that tries too hard to find the "fun" side of death. WIN!

    • Movie #3: Speed Racer. One sentence review: Complete and total failure of filmmaking on an epic scale that utterly devastates a beloved classic cartoon. What the hell happened? I have been looking forward to this film ever since I first glimpsed the previews that hit the internets. I was expecting a full-throttle, hyperactive film that pushes visual effects to new levels while redefining a childhood cartoon I loved. What I got was crap. A boring snore-fest of a movie that has shit-loads of stupid exposition and unnecessary drama that undermines any excitement you might get from the actual racing scenes (which are, admittedly, cool in a repetitive video-game kind of way). Just as the Wachowski Brothers managed to fuck-up an unfuck-upable franchise with the awful Matrix sequels, they have turned Speed Racer into a meandering, directionless film that sucks so badly that all the acting talent in the world (including Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, and Christina Ricci) can't keep it on track. Between the never-ending cut-wipe transitions that make you want to scream... and way, WAY too much time devoted to a mindless plot about evil businessmen secretly controlling all the world's racing events... it was all I could do to keep myself from walking out of the theater. EPIC FAIL!

    DAVETOON! Lil' Dave dressed up as Speed Racer with Bad Monkey dressed up as Chim Chim while flipping the bird.

    And that brings to an end another Bullet Sunday.

    I totally should have watched Iron Man again.

    • P.S. Every time I stay at a Sheraton hotel, the internet connection screen always has a photo of a guy smelling a melon. Can anybody tell me what the hell this has to do with anything?

    Guy smelling a cantaloupe melon at a market stall.

       

    Alarm

    Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

    Dave!Why is it that technology is making life simpler in every area of creation except when it comes to setting an alarm clock??!?

    It used to be that to set the alarm, you press and hold the ALARM button and adjust the hours and minutes until you have the time you want to wake up. Then you slide the OFF/RADIO/BUZZER switch to BUZZER and you're done. That's three out of four buttons and a slider switch until F#@%ING DONE!!!

    But not any more.

    The alarm clock at my hotel has TWENTY-ONE F#@%ING BUTTONS PLUS A SLIDER SWITCH (for Mega Bass)...

    Sony alarm clock with a hideous number of complicated buttons.

    To set your alarm you have to go through FIVE STEPS, two of which you have to repeat, which means there's SEVEN F#@%ING STEPS to set an alarm! It's so absurdly complicated that they have to give you an instruction card to figure the shit out...

    Complicated instruction card for setting an alarm clock.

    FAIL!!!

    All the love I used to have for Sony products is gone. Because of this piece of shit alarm clock, I somehow didn't push enough buttons to set the alarm (even though the alarm indicator was lit?). So even though I got up at 4:30am and didn't need to be up until 6:00am, I was counting on the alarm to tell me what time I needed to stop working and get ready. But it didn't. Suddenly the extra time I had given myself to get ready and make it into the city for my meeting had evaporated because it was 6:45 by the time I looked over and noticed something was wrong.

    Granted the stupid alarm clock has a CD player in it, but big f#@%ing deal... my iPhone has a MP3 player, clock, map, camera, calendar, calculator, notepad, web browser, and all kinds of other stuff in it... but has TWO BUTTONS!!

    Half my kingdom for an Apple-designed alarm clock.

    Work was at the delicious All-Candy Expo here in Chicago. I've bored everybody with accounts of all the cool stuff at the show in previous years, so I'll skip all that... but I did see two things that made me squeal like a little girl when I visited the PEZ booth. As long-time readers already know, I love PEZ. LOVE THE PEZ!!!

    So imagine my delight when I saw that they are coming out with STAR TREK PEZ!!!

    A PEZ collectible Star Trek Set with Original Series crew as PEZ dispensers

    As if that wasn't enough, I turned the corner and saw one of the most amazing things ever... CHOCOLATE PEZ!!!

    Bags of Chocolate PEZ candies hanging on a rack.

    It's as if PEZ is starting to combine all the things I love best in life into a single product family. Next year I'm fully expecting that there will be an Elizabeth Hurley PEZ dispenser waiting for me.

    After working the show for a bit, I was free for the day. Just two goals remained...

    ONE... Go to America's Dog and get me a veggie-dog done up Chicago style (I was going to just put ketchup on it, but I didn't want to risk the wrath of RW's Hotdog Commandments!)...

    A veggie hot dog decked out Chicago-style with mustard, tomatoes, pickle, peppers, and relish in a steamed poppy-seed bun.

    TWO... Make up for the shitty experience of watching the horrific movie tragedy known as Speed Racer by going and seeing Iron Man yet again. Which I did, at the magnificent Muvico 18 Theater in Rosemont...

    Muvico 18 building at night in Rosemont

    I paid for "VIP Premiere Seating" which puts you in the balcony in a huge comfy seat that's reserved for adults only, so you can take a beer into the theater with you! According to Wikipedia, the Muvico 18 Rosemont is the first theater in the country to have Sony SRX 4K digital cinema projectors in all auditoriums, which means the picture quality and sound were frakin' amazing.

    This is my third time watching Iron Man, and I can honestly say that I love it more with each new viewing. I'll probably see it two or three more times before it leaves theaters. I just can't help myself. Robert Downey Jr.'s performance is so sublimely awesome in every way... from his impeccable comedic timing to his note-perfect delivery... that I am positively mesmerized by the character of Tony Stark. The fact that the movie RESPECTS THE F#@%ING SOURCE MATERIAL AT EVERY TURN is just icing on the cake. A big thank you to director Jon Favreau for having the intelligence to understand that there's a f#@%ing REASON that iconic comic book characters have endured for so long, and it is insanely arrogant and stupid to reinvent the wheel when you've already got something that works and people want to see.

    And what I really need to see right now is a pillow, because I have to be to the airport in 5 hours.

    Yay.

       

    Bullet Sunday 91

    Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008

    Dave!Since yesterday I was threatened with death if I didn't put down my computer, there was no time for bullets. Thus we have Bullet Sunday on Monday today!

    Just a few odds and ends from my Comic-Con experience...

    • Costumed. Why is it that every time I see news coverage on TV, magazines, or in the paper that they always show most everybody at Comic-Con in crazy costumes? In reality, only a small percentage of attendees actually dress up. I guess that it's more fun to portray Comic-Con as some kind of freak show, but even that's way harsh. Why is it cool to dress up in costumes for Halloween, but not cool any other time?

    • Television. The big shows represented at Comic-Con are ones like Lost, Heroes, and Chuck. All of which are shows that I positively loathe. I'd even go so far as to say I hate them. Lost started off incredible, but quickly spun into redundant idiocy. Heroes was always pointless and stupid because you've got all these super-powered people who rarely actually use their super-powers. And Chuck, which started out clever and interesting, dropped to rock-bottom because the lead character is a whiny, bumbling bitch in every frakin' episode and I just got tired of it. I want new geek television shows.

    • Batman. Yes, I've seen Dark Knight twice now (and will see it again this coming weekend). I don't know what I can say that's any different from most everybody else... it's a brilliant, brilliant film, and I totally loved it. Not only is it one of the best comic book super-hero films ever made, it's one of the best films ever made period. Each performance was a revelation, particularly Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, and this movie deserves some serious Oscar love in every applicable category.

    • Watchmen. I am seriously stoked for this film, even though I know better. It can never measure up to the book... but, when taken on its own merits, it's looking like a terrific piece of genre entertainment. March 6th cannot come soon enough.

    And that's going to have to be it. I threw my back out, and the pills I took are starting to kick in. For some nice Dave Diego recaps, here are some by Snackiepoo and Winter and SJ, and Karl, and Motley.

    Categories: Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink  11 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    News

    Posted on Monday, August 4th, 2008

    Dave!I managed to ship out 103 orders before the issuing bank of my credit card decided that something fishy might be going on and decided to refuse authorization of any further charges. This happened once before, but I thought that it had been resolved. Apparently not. One more thing to fix tomorrow.

    When you're working your ass off all day long, a lot of stuff outside of work piles up that you don't find out about until you get home. I used to have a news feed going on my desktop, but once I got addicted to Twitter, something had to give. Otherwise I'd never get anything done at all.

    First of all, one of my favorite actors ever, Morgan Freeman, has been involved in a serious car accident. While discussing The Dark Night with a co-worker this morning, I had mentioned that I would have watched the film even if I hated Batman (as if!) because I love Morgan Freeman so much. He's been in some not-so-great films... but his performance is always exceptional, and I'll see anything he's involved in. My most heart-felt wishes for a speedy recovery, Mr. Freeman...

    DAVETOON: Lil' Dave holding a photo of Morgan Freeman

    Next up? They've released an update to the v2 iPhone OS that fixes "bugs." After installing it, I will admit that my iPhone feels a bit snappier... BUT THEY STILL DON'T ALLOW YOU TO SYNC EXTERNAL SUBSCRIBED CALENDARS!! This is horse shit. All of my travel plans are stored on the most excellent TripIt site, so I need to subscribe to its calendar so I can keep up with my schedule. FAIL! FUCKING FAIL!! ULTIMATE APPLE FAIL!!!

    In better news, one of my first super-hero favorites... Green Lantern... has entered production as a movie. Ordinarily I'd be dreading this because B-list super-heroes always get shitty movie treatments by assholes who think that the characters "need fixing." But there are several things going on here in Green Lantern's favor: 1) Recent box office smashes by The Dark Knight and Iron Man prove that these movies are most successful WHEN YOU RESPECT THE FUCKING SOURCE MATERIAL! Hopefully production will take note. 2) They are using the real Green Lantern here... Hal Jordan. 3) The writer on the project is Greg Berlanti, the guy responsible for quality stuff like Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, and Eli Stone! Please, please, please let them get this right... because a good Green Lantern movie could seriously kick ass!

    DAVETOON: Lil' Dave dressed as Green Lantern.

    Last up, I am getting ready to leave soon, so if you're in the Chicago area this Saturday (or in the St. Louis area next Saturday) and want to meet up with a great group of bloggers, please send a message to me at dave@blogography.com and I'll get you hooked up with all the details!

    Davecago Poster   Dave Louis Poster

    And now... time to wash underwear.

    Why is it that no matter how many pairs of boxers I buy, I'm forever running out?

       

    Thunder

    Posted on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

    Dave!After driving back down from Wisconsin, I spent most of the day working in my hotel room... only taking a two-hour break to run into the city and have Chicago Hot Dogs for lunch. Around 8:00, I'd finally had enough, and decided to walk down the street to the awesome Muvico 18 Theater so I could see a late showing of Tropic Thunder.

    Despite some dragging in the middle, the movie was pretty great. Mostly in thanks to Robert Downey Jr. who is simply incapable of giving a bad performance. The guy is absolute genius in everything he touches, and this film is no exception...

    Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder.

    Before watching the movie, I was ready to dismiss the harsh criticism over how it demeans the mentally handicapped. People are just too sensitive now-a-days, and pretty soon you won't be able to poke fun at anything.

    But then I saw the film.

    And I have to admit that it is pretty offensive in this respect. Maybe it doesn't go entirely over the line, but it dances right on top of the line... not once, but many times. Tropic Thunder definitely doesn't seem to be laughing with the mentally challenged here... but instead laughing at them. That's a real shame, because the film doesn't need it. The plot elements could have been easily handled a different way.

    Still, it would be difficult to dismiss the movie entirely... it was entirely too much fun for that.

    Categories: Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink  21 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Saint Louis

    Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2008

    Manga Dave!Since today is Friday, it's a work day... even when I'm in St. Louis. But I did manage to get out a bit in the morning and afternoon to see some of the sights, so it's all good.

    I've been to St. Louis exactly two times. Once to visit the Hard Rock Cafe on my "Hard Rock Run" road-trip in 2000 (which included Indianapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta). And again for work in 2002. When I went to visit The Gateway Arch on my first trip, it was closed. On my second trip, I became violently ill, and couldn't even think of being trapped in an enclosed space.

    So when Ajooja won the "Dave Event in Your City" Grand Prize for Blogiversary 5, I swore to myself that I would go up The Arch this time, even if I had to climb it on the outside. Fortunately, this wasn't necessary. When I got to park at 8:00 this morning, there was hardly a line at all, and I was the first person to the top when they opened the doors.

    It was totally worth the wait...

    Gateway Arch, St. Louis

    Gateway Arch, St. Louis

    Gateway Arch, St. Louis

    The structure is sublimely beautiful, and photographs simply cannot do it justice. To the naked eye the steel exterior reflects the ambient light in a way that makes parts of The Arch seem to "disappear" into the skyline, giving it an almost ethereal quality.

    To get to the top, you have to board one of eight tiny five-seater cylindrical elevator cars that are chained together and pulled upwards. Gina summed them up perfectly when she said they have a "2001: A Space Odyssey" feel to them. As you climb The Arch, a recording describes the system as "part elevator, part train, and part carnival ride." This sounded very interesting, but there is NOTHING detailing the elevator system in any book, brochure, or postcard I could find. When I asked the nice Park Rangers questions about how the cars worked, I got precious little information (and 9-11 thrown in my face as the reason why). Oh well. Still very, very cool...

    The Arch elevator car interior with five tiny seats.

    For some reason I was expecting the top of the arch to be a tiny cramped room (like the Statue of Liberty, perhaps), but it was actually quite roomy...

    St. Louis Gateway Arch interior view.

    I was blessed with beautiful weather (despite the crappy forecast I had looked up yesterday), so I had an excellent view of the city...

    St. Louis view from the top of The Arch

    Here's a pano I stitched together. If you click on it, it will open a bigger view...

    St. Louis panorama photo shot from the top of The Arch

    Once safely back down to earth, I headed across the street to "The Old Courthouse." This is a famous monument because of the infamous Dred Scott trial where slavery was upheld. The building is quite remarkable because of the beautiful dome interior...

    St. Louis Old Courthouse building with The Arch in the background.

    Interior of the Old Courthouse Dome.

    As I was walking back to my hotel, I happened across "St. Louis Bread Company" which uses the exact same logo as my beloved Panera Bread. Closer inspection showed that they have the same exact menu as Panera as well. A quick look on Wikipedia on my iPhone told me that St. Louis Bread Co. was bought out by Panera, but they kept the original name in St. Louis (for obvious reasons). A delicious Mediterranean Sandwich made the perfect brunch-time meal...

    St. Louis Bread Co. sign.

    After getting some work done, I decided to take the MetroLink to Union Station so I could visit the Hard Rock Cafe to see if anything had changed in the past eight years. The location was originally a massive train station, but they made a kind of shopping mall out of it with a lake in the middle...

    Hard Rock Cafe St. Louis at Union Station

    Since I've been dying to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, I decided to catch a movie, but couldn't find it playing anywhere. So instead I went to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I wasn't a fan of the prequels, but love cartoons and thought the poster looked kind of badass cool...

    Clone Wars Movie Poster

    Uh huh.

    Due to massive amounts of profanity and adult situations, I've decided to put my "review" in an extended entry.

    As for me, I'm going to call it a night so I can attack the city fresh in the morning. There's a lot left to do, and only one day to do it all.

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...
    Categories: Movies 2008, Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink  53 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Up!

    Posted on Monday, December 15th, 2008

    Dave!I must be leaving early Wednesday morning on a work trip (weather permitting), and have been working my arse off trying to get caught up before I go. Unfortunately, this leave little time for important stuff like blogging.

    But that's okay, because the new Disney-Pixar film has a trailer out, and it's better than anything I could ever come up with anyway. I cannot wait to see this film.

    May 29th, everybody get ready to go Up!

    Up0

    Up1

    Up2

    Up3

    Up4

    Up5

    Up6

    Up7

    Now, I sincerely doubt that Up will take the place of Monsters, Inc. as my favorite Pixar film... but it may very well knock The Incredibles out of the #2 spot on my countdown list...

    1. Monsters, Inc.
    2. The Incredibles
    3. WALL-E
    4. Toy Story 2
    5. Finding Nemo
    6. Toy Story
    7. Ratatouille
    8. Cars
    9. A Bug's Life

    The trailer for Up can be found at the official website at Disney.

    Categories: Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink  18 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 112

    Posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2008

    Dave!It's Bullet Sunday from the insanity of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport!

    • Success. When it comes to travel, things going right is what's SUPPOSED to happen and doesn't really tell you much about a company. It's when things go wrong that you find out what they're made of. How they handle problems and the way they treat their customers is everything you really need to know. For the most part, Alaska/Horizon Air has been pretty good in dealing with an unprecedented weather situation that you can never really be prepared for. They have a genuinely caring, hard-working bunch of employees that are working their asses off against a never-ending tide of very upset people. This cannot be easy, and is truly a testament to the company philosophy that has made Alaska/Horizon Air such a huge part of my travel plans for decades. I consider myself extremely fortunate that they are "my local airline," and happy to keep flying with them.

    Airport Flight Board All Canceled

    Sea of Luggage!

    • Failure. Where Alaska/Horizon fails... and fails badly... is in organization and communication. There have been several incidents that boggle my mind, and has me wondering just how people in charge thought they were Doing The Right Thing. As I said in my previous entry, there's no point screaming and getting upset at the airport... but I have no problem doing that in my blog!

    1. I needed a current boarding pass for my flight, but couldn't get one from a machine because it was a Northwest Airlines ticket. I headed to the gate where my flight was taking off in two hours so I could get one from the gate agent. After 20 minutes of waiting in line, they closed the counter and told everybody to go to another counter. FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES! You do not... DO NOT close a counter without reaccommodating customers. EVER. You've just wasted everybody's time and rightfully pissed them off. If you need to close a counter, you CLOSE OFF THE LINE FIRST, then take care of those people who were waiting. There is no fucking excuse what-so-ever for screwing over your customers like this. SHAME! SHAME ON HORIZON AIR FOR THIS ABUSIVE TREATMENT!!
    2. When you tell people their flight will board at 1:20, and you don't board the plane within ten minutes of that time... MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT YOU SADISTIC FUCKS! If you know what's causing the delay, MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT! Even if you don't know what's going on, YOU STILL NEED TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT! Don't leave people standing there wondering if you've forgotten them and feeling ignored, that's just rude. There were times we waited a half-hour past the boarding time with NO ANNOUNCEMENT, and this is completely unacceptable. Don't be shocked that you piss people off when you fail to keep them informed, or at least acknowledge them if you don't have any information.
    3. Now, I realize that the airport is simply not able to handle the massive amount of luggage piling up from hundreds of canceled flights. I get that. But there is no excuse for the disorganized cluster-fuck that Alaska/Horizon had going on in baggage claim. No notices posted as to where you can find your bags. Nobody to tell you which line to stand in or even what the lines are for. Not even adequate security to keep people from walking off with whatever they could grab... just a sea of suitcases going on forever. They were announcing that you could claim your baggage at a future time, but I honestly have no idea if I will ever see mine again. It is inexcusable that they didn't have people there segregating bags by flight as they came down the carousels, posting signs with flight numbers, and announcing incoming bags by flight. Such a simple thing to do that would have gone a LONG way towards organizing things, but they did pretty much nothing after the hammer was dropped. This is more than annoying... it's borderline criminal.
    4. They announced again and again that you needed to leave the airport by going home or finding a hotel if you didn't live in Seattle, and call back for re-booking of your flight. Which would be fine... if Alaska/Horizon didn't have the STUPIDEST FUCKING PHONE SYSTEM ON EARTH!! Seriously, what is the point of answering the phone only to tell people that all lines are busy? Just let the busy signal come up so people can auto-redial until an agent is available! The only times... ONLY TIMES... I have gotten through on the phone was to get a recording saying that all the lines were busy, which is just insane. IF YOU CAN'T TAKE THE FUCKING CALL, DON'T ANSWER THE CALL YOU DUMBASS MOTHER-FUCKERS!!! This is stupid on a level of stupid that has me wondering if the Bush Administration is running the call center at Alaska/Horizon Airlines. I know that call volumes are obscenely high and you're doing the best you can... but don't be dicks by teasing people with no help when they finally manage to get through. This just makes you assholes.

    • Redial. Speaking of auto-redial, it is pathetic... PATHETIC that the iPhone doesn't seem to have this most basic of calling functions. Hopefully it will be added soon via an update or third-party application.

    • Outsourced. Last year, a movie came out with the very timely topic of outsourcing. In the film, a Seattle call center manager, Todd Anderson, has his entire department outsourced to India, and ends up having to travel there so he can train his replacement. The trailer looked funny, so I put it on a list of movies I wanted to see...

    But then I was reading a review of Outsourced in the Seattle P.I. where it was just savaged. The reviewer Bill White hated the film. He made it sound highly offensive to Indian culture for the sake of laughs, which I hate, so I ended up skipping it altogether. Turns out this was a mistake. I ended up renting Outsourced for my iPhone on this trip and liked it quite a lot. All of the criticism from the Seattle P.I. review was entirely unjustified. White called the lead actor Josh Hamilton "aggravatingly nondescript," but that was the entire point of his everyman character! White said the film "vulgarized the sacred sex manual, the Kama Sutra," but it absolutely did not! I thought the film was great in communicating the cultural differences between our countries in an entertaining way and, if anything, made more fun of us here in the USA than India. Sure there's some stereotypical humor in there, but it's on BOTH sides! As Todd becomes more and more adjusted to Indian life and starts to embrace his new surroundings, you get a wonderful taste of the culture, and can appreciate the country through his eyes. It doesn't hurt that his love-interest (played by Ayesha Dharker) is freakin' adorable...

    Outsourced: Todd and Asha

    And I love the relationship between Todd and his "replacement" Puro (played by Asif Basra), which was pretty funny...

    Outsourced: Todd and Puro

    Outsourced: Todd and Puro

    Outsorced: Holi

    All-in-all, a wonderful film that I regret having missed on the big screen. The cinematography of India (including the wonderful Holi Festival of Color) begs to be seen big. I guess that will teach me to trust a crappy review over my gut instinct when it comes to picking what movies I see in the theater.

    And now, since I've given up getting home until after the 25th, it's time for Wii Bowling!

       

    Reviewing

    Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2008

    Dave!The snow is piling up and depressing me, so I thought I'd write a few reviews to take my mind off things...

    w00t! It's Movie Review Time!

    All the rumors you've heard are true... Slumdog Millionaire is a wholly remarkable film that is not to be missed. In a day and age when the world seems full of hate and anger and is teetering on the edge of annihilation, having a movie filled with hope, love, and life is a refreshing (and much-needed) change...

    Slumdog Millionaire Poster

    A film about a poor street-kid who surprises everyone in India with his success on a popular game show, I loved Slumdog Millionaire, and can't wait to see it again. Danny Boyle is sheer genius, but I expect nothing less from the man who brought us the amazing film Millions, another long-time favorite of mine. Bravo, Mr. Boyle!

    w00t! It's iPhone App Review Time!

    I'm a world geography junkie, so I was pretty psyched when I saw that there was a new trivia app called "inFact World" available at the iTunes Store. It's pretty sweet, and quizzes you on continents, flags, languages, bodies of water, and other nerdy stuff. The interface is dead-simple and easy to use...

    inFact World Screen

    inFact World Screen

    The app sells for $2.99 and provides endless educational fun! Available at the iTunes Store for iPhone and iPod Touch.

    w00t! It's DVD Review Time!

    Bareback Monkey

    Shortly after posting about how much I hated Brokeback Mountain (which I maintain is one of the most boring, unsympathetic, bloated, overrated piece of cinematic FAIL ever made) I got an email from a reader telling me that I should try Yossi & Jagger, which they felt was a much better film along similar storylines.

    Always looking for a good movie to watch, and not having a problem with gay-themed films (on the contrary, flicks like Philadelphia, The Birdcage, Longtime Companion, and Jeffrey are classics)... I decided to investigate further, because I had never heard of Yossi & Jagger before. What I found was a bunch of promotional images which led me to believe that it was just a lame excuse to parade man-candy around in army gear for some kind of queer military fetish soft-core porn. I decided to take a pass.

    Fast forward to last week while I'm killing time at the airport, and I run across an article called "hidden gems on DVD" (or something like that) and lo-and-behold there's Yossi & Jagger. Since I had seen other films on the list and enjoyed them, I thought I'd give it a try...

    Yossi & Jagger Poster

    It was a brilliant, but odd film.

    Odd because it's an Israeli film about the armed services, but doesn't have any kind of political agenda. Odd because it's a film about gays in the military, but isn't trying to make any statement about it. Odd because it's a gay love story, but doesn't come from an exclusively gay point of view. Very odd because it's less than an hour long.

    Yossi is a company commander in the IDF who is calm, reserved and very private. Jagger is Yossi's subordinate platoon leader and is much more open and less guarded. Somehow they end up together, and this film is kind of a "day in the life" that's filled with humor, compassion, and tragedy. Apparently Israel doesn't distinguish between gays and straights when it comes to their mandatory military service, which is an interesting part of the film. You get the feeling that some of the other characters know something is going on between Yossi and Jagger... but none of them really care. All they care about is having superior officers that are competent and are looking out for them, which is the entire point, I guess.

    Yossi & Jagger is a touching and entertaining love story that made for a great short film. As if that weren't enough, it's supposedly based on a true story. If you're looking for something different, it's worth a rental. (DVD is in Hebrew with English subtitles and available at Netflix).

    w00t! It's Early Bedtime!

    Because I have to be up very, very early in the morning...

       

    KHAAAAAAN!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

    Dave!I just paid $4.00 for a bottle of Italian Spring Water at my hotel.

    I wish I could say that when I close my eyes and drink it, the taste is evocative of Italy... but all I taste is wet. That's a darn shame.

    So here I am in San Diego. It's a wonderful place that everybody should visit at least once in their life. If, for no other reason, to make a pilgrimage to the city of my birth. There isn't a temple here in honor of the occasion, but there really should be. Or maybe instead of a temple there could be a statue of me standing in Balboa Park. I dunno. There just needs to be someplace my worshippers can go to go pay their respects and place flowers to celebrate my greatness. And make a donation to the Dave Monument I'm planning to build in the land formerly occupied by Mt. Ranier National Park.

    Hmmm... I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but San Diego would be the perfect place to put my Daveland amusement park! I will convince the city to plow under the San Diego Zoo and put Daveland there instead! What a great location!

    Boy, being back to the city of my birth really has me firing on all cylinders tonight.

    And speaking of San Diego... there's a few people in town wanting to meet up for dinner on Friday night, if you're in the area and would like to come along, please send me an email ASAP so we can make plans. My email address is at the top of the sidebar on every page.

    Kirk says Khaaaaaan

    Unfortunately, I landed to learn of the terrible news that Ricardo Montalban had died.

    I, of course, loved him as Mr. Roarke on the show Fantasy Island. Every kid growing up in the late 70's did, because he was the epitome of coolness. He'd walk around in those flawless white suits being all friendly and good-natured and "Welcome to Fantasy Island" and stuff. But then he'd occasionally show his darker side... proving that he could be a total badass as well. It's unthinkable to envision anybody else playing the character except Mr. Montalban (indeed, even the brilliant Malcolm McDowell couldn't manage it when there was a failed revival series twenty years later).

    But, to me and so many others, Ricardo Montalban will forever be Khan...

    Ricardo Montalban as Khan

    The role of the maniacal villain in the second Star Trek film was not an easy one to play. Indeed, I'd say it was a thankless and impossible role to play. As written, the part was so badly over-the-top... almost to the point of being comical.

    Until it was performed by Ricardo Montalban.

    He played the character deadly-serious, and turned in a performance so riveting that it cemented Khan as one of the greatest movie villains of all time (indeed, even the brilliant Malcolm McDowell couldn't top it in a follow-up film, Star Trek: Generations). After watching Star Trek II, I fell in love with all things Trek again, and I really have Ricardo Montalban to thank for it. He will definitely be missed.

    Even if you don't like Star Trek, you should absolutely check out Wrath of Khan. Montalban's performance is totally worth it. Oh, and don't forget his masterful performance in the first The Naked Gun movie as well!

    Lastly, I urge you to read a fantastic blog entry about what it was like working with Mr. Montalban over at Mark Evanier's News From Me site. He was truly an amazing guy and a class-act.

    P.S. All my best wishes to my personal hero, Steve Jobs, for a speedy and full recovery.

       

    Watchmen

    Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009

    Dave!In the epic masterwork, Watchmen, the god-like being known as Dr. Manhattan is a being who experiences his past, present, and future all at the same time. Despite his incredible power over matter, time, and space, he's nothing but a slave to an existence that has already been written. His every moment is "going through the motions" of a life that is fully predestined and known to him.

    At one point in the book, Dr. Manhattan is exposed to a stream of tachyons which interrupt his all-knowing vision. Suddenly his boring walk through life is exciting again because he can't see the future. He had forgotten what it's like to not know what's going to happen.

    Which pretty much explains how I felt about the film adaptation.

    I had read the original graphic novel so many times that I knew every detail. I already knew the future of the story because I knew how it would all end. But the movie version of a dense story like Watchmen had to change to be film-able, so suddenly I was experiencing the excitement of not knowing. So many things were the same, but a lot of the details were different. Including the ending.

    For those who haven't seen the film, I can sum it up spoiler-free like this: Watchmen is a surprisingly good film and faithful adaptation that lives up to the hype. It was a remarkable tribute to the source material on almost every level. I really enjoyed the film overall, despite two curious missteps I felt could have been easily avoided.

    My spoiler-riddled review (which assumes knowledge of the original Watchmen graphic novel) follows in an extended entry.

    Watchment Bloody Smile Button

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...
    Categories: Movies 2009Click To It: Permalink  12 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 128

    Posted on Sunday, April 19th, 2009

    Dave!It's a beautiful day this Bullet Sunday... which I spent indoors working my ass off and re-watching Veronica Mars on DVD. Man how I miss that show.

    • Follow Me. What am I missing with the whole "FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER" deal? It seems everyone and their dog is whoring themselves out to get more followers in the social media game and I don't understand why. Ashton Kutcher has been all over the place with his march to a million followers, but but seeing an ad for him on a local billboard while I was driving into Wenatchee the other day shocked the hell out of me...

    Follow Ashton Billboard

    For a Hollywood star with movies to promote and stuff to sell, I get it. You want to be relevant in a whole new realm of influence with the populace. But everyday average people? What do they get out of it? Who cares how many followers you have? Will my life suddenly become more fabulous if I get a thousand followers? Oh well, 95% of the stuff on Twitter is crap or spam anyway. The more the merrier.

    &bull Dumbass Quotient. Speaking of Twitter spam... are people so fucking stupid that they are still clicking on links for generic viagra and penis enlargers and other moronic crap? I'd imagine they are, because why else would spammers waste their time of something that doesn't work? It's getting to the point where I can't even blame spammers anymore... they're just trying to make a buck. It's the total dumb-fucks that actually buy stuff from spammers that are the real problem. If people weren't so astronomically brain-dead as to make spamming profitable, we wouldn't have a problem. I just loathe these stupid-ass people who fuck up the internet for the rest of us... they shouldn't even BE on the internet in the first place.

    &bull Undead Poultry. LeSombre nominated me for a Zombie Chicken award, which comes with all kinds of rules you have to follow. Since I'm not much of an award guy and didn't follow any of them, I am expecting to be attacked by zombified poultry any minute now...

    Zombie Chickens

    • On Film. With all the flying I've been doing lately, I've been watching quite a few movies. I even made it to the theater on Friday, which was the second time this year! Monsters vs. Aliens - So good it's good. Crank 2: High Voltage - So bad it's good. The Spirit - So bad it's bad. Twilight - So very bad it's horrendous. The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) - So far beyond bad that we need to come up with new words to describe just how fucking awful this piece of shit "remake" is. There are some great-looking flicks coming up but, given my luck lately, I'm a little bit afraid to go see them.

    • Flame War. In general, I find "humor" sites to be pretty much hit-or-miss. But every once in a while I come across something so incredibly genius that I can't help but link to it. College Humor has a brilliant parody of the Billy Joel song We Didn't Start The Fire called We Didn't Start The Flame War (language makes this one not quite safe for work). Once I got past the hilariousness of the video, I kept watching again and again because of how frickin' beautiful the animation is. All the words come alive as they hit the screen, and somebody put in a lot of time to make that happen. Not bad for a humor video...

    We Didn't Start the Flame War

    We Didn't Start the Flame War

    We Didn't Start the Flame War

    But it's the inclusion of the ROFL COPTER that seals the deal...

    We Didn't Start the Flame War

    And now it's back to work. I should be able to go for another hour before dropping into a coma.

       

    Bullet Sunday 130

    Posted on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

    Dave!It's a full-blown epidemic edition of Bullet Sunday!

    • Mapping. Ooh! I almost forgot that I've got another state checked off my Travel Map! Now there's only North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma left to go. One of these years I'm going to have to just bite the bullet, fly into Fargo, get a one-way car rental, drive down to Tulsa, then fly home. Allowing for a one-day detour to Mount Rushmore, I could do it in three or four days. One more thing to add to my list.

    Dave USA Travel Map

       

    • Jacked. The annual Apple Blossom Festival came to town this weekend. And, while I gave up on celebrating the event a long time ago, there's still one Apple Blossom tradition I feel compelled to embrace... CRACKER JACKS!!!

    Bag of Cracker Jacks

    But something has gone terribly wrong. Right on the front of the bag, it asks you to guess what the surprise might be inside. When I was younger and Cracker Jack had awesome prizes, I might have had a shot at this. Maybe it would be a little plastic truck. Or a magnifying glass. Or even a book of sweet ink tattoos. But TODAY? All the prizes they give out are shit...

    Surprise Inside!

    Now, please tell me how the fuck could I have ever guessed a "pencil topper" that's nothing but a piece of slotted paper with a crappy drawing of cartoon bees on it? NOTE TO CRACKER JACK COMPANY: A PENCIL TOPPER WOULD GO ON TOP OF THE PENCIL. THIS IS A FUCKING PENCIL SLIDER. Or whatever...

    Stupid Pencil "Topper" Pile of Crap

       

    • Chuks. My post from Thursday was half-way understood by half the people commenting on it. While it's probably a mistake to try and explain what goes on in my head, I'll give it a shot...

    In the cinematic masterpiece, Dune (directed by über-genius David Lynch), there's a big battle at the end where the oppressed Fremen warriors rise up against the Galactic Emperor by riding giant worms into a sneak attack...

    Giant Worms of Dune

    In addition to mowing down soldiers with their giant worms, the Fremen also have a sound-activated guns called a "weirding modules." When they scream certain sounds, the guns shoot out a pretty blast of light that blows shit up...

    Fremen Shooting their Modules

    When I saw the film in the theater waaaayyy back in 1984, it was at our shitty local cinema which has horrible sound. Every time the Fremen screamed into their weirding module, I could have sworn that they were saying "INYUK CHUK!" Starting with Rachel, the replicant from Bladerunner...

    Chani Shooting her Module

    And Captain Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation...

    Gurney Shooting His Module

    And, of course, the Cosmic Messiah of the Dune Universe Himself, Muad Dib...

    Paul Shooting His Module

    Now, as everybody knows, "INYUK CHUK" is the phrase that Apache Chief on the Super Friends uses to grown into a big man and battle crime. Since Muad Dib has super powers, I kept expecting him to grow into a giant and start kicking some ass...

    Apache Chief on Dune
    Super-sweet Apache Chief custom action figure by Iron Cow.

    How frackin' awesome would THAT have been?

       

    • Yikes. Speaking of Dune, isn't Alia the freakiest character ever to appear in in a movie?

    Alia Getting Her Freak On

    Alia Gom Jabbar

       

    • Humor. There's a lot of reason to love Star Wars (well, the originals, not the shitty prequels). And one of my favorites is how LucasFilm has no problem poking fun at the franchise. Not only by allowing others to take a shot at Star Wars parody (like the recent brilliance by Family Guy and Robot Chicken)... but the wonderful way they make fun of themselves. If you're a fan, StarWars.com has some beautiful posters for Disney's "Star Wars Weekends" on display. Here's two, but there are many more that are well worth checking out...

    Star Wars Poster

    Star Wars Poster

       

    And now it's time for dinner. I'll be having rice tacos tonight. RICE TACOS WITH CHEESE!

       

    Day Two: Seattle to Savannah

    Posted on Thursday, May 7th, 2009

    Dave!All in all... a fairly uneventful trip. Except I ate a sandwich during my layover in Atlanta and think I got food poisoning. Fortunately, I managed to hold myself together until I got to my hotel.

    The highlight of the trip had to be the movie I watched on the plane... Taken starring Liam Neeson.

    I had seen the movie trailer and thought it looked pretty sweet, but I had no idea this film would be so kick-ass! I'd put it right up there with the original Transporter flick for awesomeness in the action movie genre. Throughout the entire film I kept waiting for some kind of hokey plot twist... but it never came. It's just really cool action that gets you from point A to point B in a predictable, yet entertaining way. Despite some fairly big plot holes, I really liked it...

    Liam Neeson in TAKEN

    Now let's see if I can get a few hours work in before I pass out...

    Categories: Movies 2009Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Day Three: Savannah

    Posted on Friday, May 8th, 2009

    Dave!It may appear that I'm writing two entries today. The truth is that I'm writing three entries, because I am also guest-blogging over at Wayne's place.

    Savannah is arguably one of the most beautiful cities on earth. I've only been here once before, and barely had time to drive around for a bit before I had to be on my way. This time around probably won't be much different, because I'm working right up until the day I leave. But I still manage to sneak in glances when I can. Today on my lunch I wandered downtown and meandered through some of the beautiful squares that dot the city. These swathes of green are beautiful refuges that, along with the remarkable buildings, give Savannah it's unique character...

    Savannah Monument

    Savannah Square

    Savannah Church

    After finishing up work I was going to explore the city at night, but decided to relax at a movie theater instead. I'm still recovering from my bought with food poisoning, and watching a good film would take my mind off things. But which movie to choose? The Hannah Montana Movie or Star Trek?

    I went with Star Trek...

    Dave Spock

    The movie was shockingly brilliant. It somehow managed to respect the material that came before it (literally!) but strike out in a bold new direction that is positively thrilling. Not only is this film dangerously close to dethroning Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as my favorite Star Trek movies... but it may very well be one of the best science fiction flicks ever made. It's that good.

    And now... let's see if some sleep will make me all better.

    Categories: Movies 2009, Travel 2009Click To It: Permalink  12 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bug

    Posted on Friday, May 22nd, 2009

    Dave!The big news blowing through the blogosphere today is former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken blasting away at how much he thinks current American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert sucks ass. Personally, I don't give a crap, and think Clay Aiken is entitled to his opinion. But what's so odd is that the words Clay uses to talk smack about Adam ("contrived, awful, and slightly frightening") is exactly... exactly... how I would describe Clay. I've never heard him sing a damn thing that didn't make me wish my head would explode... or wish Clay Aiken would explode... or both. This is like the suck-infested pot telling the suck-infested kettle that he sucks. Or something like that.

    And speaking of horrific infestation...

    DAVETOON: I'm a Lil' Dave Mac, and I'm a Lil' Wayne PC

    DAVETOON: Wow PC, you're infested! Yeah, Vista has more bugs than a rotting corpse!

    Shouldn't you do something about that? Yeah, I'm saving up for a Windows 7 upgrade!

    Yeah... Vista sucks ass and should have never been released in the first place, but instead of fixing it,* Microsoft is going to make you pay for an upgrade to Windows 7? What a crock of shit.

    * And no, those Service Pack updates didn't solve nearly enough of my problems with Vista to make me consider it "fixed."

    To see all of the Lil' Dave Mac vs. Lil' Wayne PC ads, click here!

    On a happier note, I got an email from somebody who was very happy with my movie suggestion of Doc Hollywood this past Bullet Sunday, and wanted to know if I had any other "old movies" that I'd recommend. The film was released in 1991, which had me doing some serious reevaluation of what I consider to be an "old movie," but I did come up with two worth watching...

    Creator Poster

    Creator (1985) Starring Peter O'Toole, Mariel Hemmingway, Vincent Spano, and Virginia Madsen. This movie was overlooked by most everybody and it's a real shame. Creator is a comedy with truly touching dramatic elements which has a lot to say about life, love, loss, and the science of it all. Peter O'Toole gives a fantastic performance as a brilliant but eccentric professor who's trying to clone his dead wife. It's definitely a level above your typical popcorn comedy, but oh so rewarding. Unfortunately, the DVD and iTunes versions are absolute shit... they butcher the film to crappy full-screen "pan-and-scan" which chops up the flow and framing of the film... but Flix is airing it in widescreen on the 26th at 12:05am Pacific (3:05am Eastern). If you get the Showtime/Flix channel package, you might want to set your TiVo, because this is probably the only way you're ever going to see this wonderful film unmolested.

    Undercover Blues Poster

    Undercover Blues (1993) Starring Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Fiona Shaw, and Stanley Tucci. Another overlooked gem that's one of my favorite movies of all time. Spies Jeff and Jane Blue are on maternity leave to spend time with their new baby, starting with a vacation in New Orleans. But when a situation comes up having world-shattering consequences, they are back in action for one more case. Hilarity ensues. I think what I like best about this movie (other than the fantastic way they integrate New Orleans into the story) is that there are no wasted moments. The plot moves ahead at full-speed from frame one, and takes you for a ride that's never boring and always funny. Definitely worth your valuable time to track down and watch.

    I've seen each of these films at least a dozen times, but just writing this makes me want to see them all over again.

    Unfortunately, I have to go back to work instead.

       

    Bullet Sunday 134

    Posted on Sunday, May 31st, 2009

    Dave!It's heatwave edition of Bullet Sunday!

    • Hot. It's eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit outside.

    • Hotter. I am guessing it's ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit inside... because the air conditioner is broked. I try to compensate by eating ice cream and drinking ice water, but it's just not happening. All that does is make me realize how bloody miserable I am when I stop.

    • Up. I saw Pixar's latest animated miracle, Up, and found it to be scrumtrelescent.

    • Upper. Seriously, Up is one of the most beautifully animated spectacles ever made. That wouldn't be saying much if the story sucked, but this is Pixar, so the story is genius as usual. Crotchety old widower Carl Fredricksen decides to have the adventure of a lifetime by tying thousands of balloons to his house and floating to South America. Unfortunately, an overly-helpful and annoying Wilderness Scout named Russell accidentally gets taken along for the ride. Hilariousness ensues. I don't know if Up displaces Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles as my favorite Pixar movie... but it comes darn close. I'd call the film "flawless" except I did have two small problems and one bigger problem with it. To avoid spoiling things, I've dropped that in an extended entry.

    Up Characters

    Up Characters

    • Twitter. I already feel as though Twitter is a massive waste of time... especially when things like "blip.fm" get involved and people are tweeting every frickin' song they listen to (Why should I care about your bad taste in music? Do people actually click on blip.fm links?). Or, even worse, those who live-tweet television shows and sporting events. Why would I want to read tweets about something I don't even want to watch? Or, if I am watching, I ALREADY KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING AND DON'T NEED TO READ ABOUT IT! Factor in other annoyances like re-tweets, private conversations, and Follow Friday (SERIOUSLY, IF I WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU FOLLOW, I'LL VISIT YOUR FOLLOWERS PAGE!)... and Twitter is mostly noise anymore (don't even get me started on blog post announcements which announce posts that I've ALREADY READ from a webfeed subscription). Bleh. I wish I wasn't so addicted to Twitter. My life would be a lot simpler.

    • Twitterer. But now the ultimate Twitter annoyance has struck... TWITTER GAMES! I keep getting "SpyMaster" invitations, and it's only a matter of time before "Mob Wars" invades. This may very well be the last straw for me. If I can't find a Twitter client that gives me the ability to filter out all the distracting shit that is clogging up my feed, I may just give up. Or unfollow a couple hundred people.

    And now I really need to catch up on some sleep. If you've already seen Up, and want to read me nit-picking over this excellent movie, that's in an extended entry...

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...

       

    Crazies

    Posted on Monday, June 8th, 2009

    Dave!I don't know what it is about me, but I sure do attract the crazies.

    Probably because I am a crazy, which I haven't ruled out.

    It doesn't matter where I go on this planet, I always seem to end up in some kind of messed up situation with my fellow humans. I've been attacked by a drunken knife-weidling moron in Seattle. I've been chased five blocks by a crack-head in Cleveland who wanted my phone. I've been felt up by gypsies trying to find my wallet in Rome. I've been mugged at gun-point by a psychopath in San Francisco who talked to himself. The list goes on and on. Ask Vahid about the time we were walking down the street in Albuquerque and was accosted by a spaced-out "purebred Italian Mexican" who wanted to have his fellow alcoholics kick our asses... everywhere I end up, the crazies come running.

    Tonight, after going to the movies and watching The Hangover I was walking to Johnny Rockets for dinner when another one came out of the woodwork...

    Homeless Guy: Hey have you got any change... a nickel... anything?
       
    Dave2: (looking up at him from his iPhone) No, sorry, I don't have any cash at all (looks back down at his iPhone).
       
    Homeless Guy: Hey! What were you thinking just now?
       
    Dave2: (looking back up) Err... I was thinking I don't have any change on me...
       
    Homeless Guy: (getting angry for no reason) No. NO! What were you THINKING when YOU first saw ME?!?
       
    Dave2: I was thinking "Why is this asshole being so RUDE to me when I'm trying to be NICE?"
       
    Homeless Guy: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU WERE THINKING!!
       
    Dave2: WELL, RIGHT NOW I'M THINKING "FUCK OFF!" SO WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE?

    He was still calling "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?" after me as I was crossing the street. And I still don't know what I did to set him off. I treated him with courtesy and respect. I looked him in the eye when I spoke to him. I was as nice as I could be when I explained I didn't have any cash, but it didn't make any difference. I dunno... maybe there's something about me that makes people crazy. That would explain a lot.

    And it didn't end there... after dinner I was crossing the street and some guy with a tourist map wants my help. I thought he was going to ask for directions, so I stopped. Instead he told me that he picked his mother up from Swedish Hospital after surgery, and now he doesn't have enough money for gas to get her home. This made no sense at all, because he was downtown when Swedish is up on First Hill, but I guess I have to give him the benefit of doubt since he seemed to be lost. In any event, I'm guessing his mother is stuffed in a car somewhere on the side of the road after surgery, and this makes me sad. If I actually had any money, I probably would have given him a couple bucks, even though this goes against my beliefs of causing no harm.

    In any event, it was nice to just be alone for a while after such an exhausting day. It doesn't hurt that The Hangover was such an awesome movie. Most comedies today take some stupid joke and then repeat it to death until the entire movie is run into the ground. The Hangover was refreshingly different. They never let the funny get repetitive or stale, so I was laughing all the whole way through. That almost never happens anymore. Kudos to writers Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, director Todd Phillips, and a fantastic cast and crew for a job well done. A particularly well-deserved shout-out to Bradley Cooper, who took an annoying character that would have driven me insane in most any other movie, and made him totally watchable and brilliant. I liked Cooper in Alias, loved him in Kitchen Confidential, and have been pleasantly surprised at his appearances in movies like Wedding Crashers... I hope he gets more leading roles out of his home-run performance in The Hangover.

    And now I should probably call it a night. Tomorrow is a very long day.

       

    Daveorado

    Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2009

    Dave!The first two comic books I ever bought were Green Lantern #121 and The Flash #277. I ended up liking Green Lantern best because his stories were cosmic in scope and seemed more imaginative. Whatever Hal Jordan could dream up, his magical ring could make a reality... what could be cooler than that?

    How about a Green Lantern movie?

    Last August there was an announcement that a GL movie was going to enter production. I was excited. Now there's news floating around that my hetero-man-crush Ryan Reynolds has beat out Justin Timberlake and Bradley Cooper for the role. Now I'm estatic. I can only hope that they REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL and come up with a decent story. A Green Lantern film should be EPIC. He should battle bad-ass villains like Sinestro and Star Sapphire... not lame-ass regular-people villains that shouldn't even be a challenge. There should be aliens and space battles. There definitely should be Abin Sur and the Guardians... DON'T FUCK WITH GREEN LANTERN'S ORIGIN, OTHERWISE IT ISN'T GREEN LANTERN!!

    The massive box office from the Batman and Iron Man movies should prove that you can remain faithful to the source material and still have a successful film. Hopefully the people behind Green Lantern understand that...

    DAVETOON: Lil' Dave dressed as Green Lantern.

    In other news... final dates have been set for Davelanta 3 (August 1st) and Daveorado (August 22nd)...

    DAVETOON: Davelanta August 1st
    The Daveil went down to Georgia...

    DAVETOON: Daveorado August 22nd
    A run to the Rocky Mountains...

    If you haven't already contacted me and would like to meet up with some cool bloggers in Atlanta or Denver, just send me an email at dave@blogography.com and I'll let you know when we have details!

       

    Wizardry

    Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009

    Dave!My air conditioner came with a remote control. That's pretty sweet, because you don't have to get up to turn it off and on. You can stay safely on the couch and not have to risk getting eaten by a Carpet Shark or accidentally getting any exercise.

    The problem is that the air conditioner makes an ear-splitting BEEP (shriek?!?) every time you turn it off or on. It has to be about the stupidest thing ever. I mean, it would be different if the air conditioner was totally silent and you couldn't hear when it was on... BUT IT'S AN AIR-CONDITIONER!!! Short of a smoke alarm, it's about the loudest damn appliance you can buy. Until now. It's as if the manufacturer said "I'm tired of smoke alarms stealing our thunder as loudest appliance ever... we can do better!" And they have! I swear that asinine shriek is louder than the test button on any smoke alarm.

    And I just don't get it. Having a loud BEEP go off every time you mess with an air conditioner is about as senseless as trying to find intelligence in an Ann Coulter book. Yet here we are, with me living in fear that turning on the air conditioner will result in the neighbors calling the fire department.

    A fire department which would probably be happy to allow my home go up in flames once they found out I'm not a Harry Potter fan.

    Davepotter

    Every time a new Harry Potter movie comes out, it's always the same. A never-ending stream of "Have you seen Harry Potter yet?!?"

    I've already written about my social inadequacies from not being a Harry Potter fan, but now the fervor has reached all new heights. There are no more Harry Potter books in the pipeline, so new films are all that's left for people to obsess over. This has resulted in an unprecedented level of disdain from Potter-Heads every time I have to explain that I don't like Harry Potter and have no desire to see any of the movies. The shock, disbelief, disgust, and sheer terror that's unloaded on me has never been more blatant.

    I'm still waiting for a Harry Potter edition of CliffsNotes so I can at least pretend to fit into society again.

       

    Miyazaki

    Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

    Dave!Imagine that there's somebody whose work you so admire that they inspire you every day. Imagine that what this artist creates fills you with such joy that your life is better because of it. Imagine that this visionary is one of your greatest personal heroes and you obsess over everything they've released.

    Now imagine that this person has decided to make a rare public appearance to discuss these works which have been an inspiration to you for your entire adult life... and you have an opportunity to see them do so live and in person.

    That's exactly what happened to me when I found out that animation legend Hayao Miyazaki would be speaking in Los Angeles today.

    Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. You just don't pass up an opportunity to attend a lecture with the man responsible for My Neighbor Totoro...

    Totoro!

    Blogging buddy Howard (from the Web Pen Blog) and I attended the event, and it was an amazing, incredible, wonderful night.

    Too many times the best days of our lives go by unnoticed and are only realized upon reflection.

    I know this was one of the best days of my life.

       

    To read more about Hayao Miyazaki, here's a Wikipedia entry.

    But to really understand him, just go watch his films.

       

    District 9

    Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2009

    Dave!Today started at 3:30am when I awoke to get ready for my early-morning trip to Portland for a quick meeting. Much to my delight, I got finished three hours early, which meant I had three hours to kill in the city before having to return to the airport. This meant a trip to one of my favorite places: Powell's City of Books.

    After an all-too-brief (but wholly unexpected and serendipitous) visit to the City of Roses, I headed back to the airport where I ran into Vahid and Sir, for another all-too-brief (but wholly unexpected and serendipitous) visit before flying out to Denver.

    So here I am in The Mile High City, which I haven't been to in six long years. That's a darn shame, because I love it here and wish I had an excuse to visit more often. After wandering down to the 16th Street Mall for dinner I saw District 9, a movie that came out of nowhere to become my favorite film of 2009 so far...

    District 9 Poster

    South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has recreated the horrors of his country's apartheid days in a surprising way. Instead of white colonists subjecting black natives to racial segregation... human natives are subjecting alien refugees to species segregation. And what wonderful-looking aliens they are...

    District 9 Alien

    What's astounding here is how fully-realized the world of District 9 is. By the time the film takes place, the aliens have been around for decades and their presence is treated as commonplace. That the actors were able to inhabit this reality so believably is what makes the story so compelling. You simply believe it's happening as you watch it, even though there are these fantastical creatures wandering around.

    The film is best experienced clean... with no spoilers or story points to ruin it... so run, don't walk, to a good theater and see it before all the talk about it diminishes the impact for you.

       

    Daveorado

    Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

    Dave!My day wasn't spent wandering around Denver as planned... but working.

    I did get out for a quick walk down the 16th Street Mall in the afternoon, but the heat eventually drove me back to my air-conditioned hotel for still more work. And though I didn't finish nearly enough of what I needed to get done, I finally threw in the towel around 4:30.

    Because it was time to meet up with Tug, Hot Doctor's Wife, and Howard at the Hard Rock Cafe for Daveorado!

    Daveorado

    As usual, good conversation and good times ensued. That I get to continuously meet amazing people like this in my travels is a gift for which I'm wholly inadequate at expressing my gratitude. All I can say is thanks to the three of you for taking valuable time out of your Saturday to let me hang out with you. Hopefully it won't be another six years before I am able to come back!

    After dinner, Howard and I decided to get our Tarantino on and see Inglourious Basterds. The film was total genius, and I loved every minute of it. Particularly shocking to me was how amazing Brad Pitt is in the flick... this is easily his best performance since 12 Monkeys. But the hands-down standout, scene-stealing role in the film belonged to Christoph Waltz's brilliant portrayal of Col. Hans Landa. The guy had to walk a very fine line to get just the right balance of humor and terror, and did it so admirably that the film was elevated to an entirely new level of greatness...

    Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa

    I have no idea how Quentin Tarantino does it. He always manages to write exactly the right dialogue, then cast exactly the right actors to speak it, then direct the entire film flawlessly, then pick precisely the right music to drive it all home. I don't think "visionary" manages to adequately express how astounding a talent he is when it comes to crafting a film, but it's the best word I can think of to describe what it is he does.

    Which, in this case, is to create a film that has many levels, yet blends them all so subtly that they disappear into a singular brute-force narrative. By the time we get to the film-within-a-film theater scenes (which seem to be a thinly-veiled commentary on all the killing that the audience has been manipulated into rooting for thus far), all I can do is shake my head in disbelief that any one man can possess such talent...

    Inglourious Basterds Poster

    I can hardly way to see what Quentin comes up with next.

       

    Bullet Sunday 146

    Posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

    Dave!It's another edition of Bullet Sunday... this time coming to you from beautiful Denver, Colorado!

    • I love Ponyo. Yet another Miyazaki masterpiece. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is such joyous, imaginative, feel-good fun that you don't even need kids as an excuse to go see it. Pretty much a retelling of The Little Mermaid, the oft-told tale of the little girl who wants to be human has never been seen in quite this way. Featuring some of the most mesmerizing traditional animated sequences I've ever seen, this is a stunning film which trounces the animated garbage we've been inundated with lately (hey, they're making a sequel to Happy Feet!)...

    Ponyo Teaser Poster

    The main character, Sosuke, is so lovingly crafted that you'd swear he was a real little boy... everything from the way he walks to the way he acts is just captivating to watch. While I prefer to see Miyazaki films in their original Japanese, I have to admit that the vocal talent Disney lined up for the American release is pretty stellar (ZOMG! BETTY WHITE & TINA FEY!) and all the actors seem to ring true to the characters they're dubbing. Well worth seeing in a theater for the sheer spectacle of it all... the pastel-rendered backgrounds are beautiful, and demand to be seen on the big screen.

       

    Epic Fail in the dictionary: George W. Bush and Johnny Rockets.

    • Failure to Launch. I got to the Cherry Creek Center Theater for Ponyo a little early so I could eat dinner at the Johnny Rockets there, only to find out that they didn't have any vegetarian Boca Burgers. AGAIN! Why am I not surprised? After all, I've been denied Boca Burgers in San Francisco (twice), Santa Monica, Seattle University Village (twice), Seattle Pike Place Market, Seattle Pacific Place, Miami Aventura Mall, Seattle South Center, and Kent Station... why should Denver be any different? Still finding it positively absurd that a FROZEN item can't be stocked in such depth that it won't run out 50% of the time a customer would like to order it. If you're not going to bother to watch your inventory, don't bother putting it on the menu so that people like me don't waste their valuable time going to a restaurant expecting to get the food we want.

       

    Denver Capitol Building

    Union Station Denver

    • Denver and Killer Squirrels. After the movie, Howard and Cameron dropped me off downtown so I could take a few photos around the Capitol Building. After goofing around for a bit, I decided to walk back to The 16th Street Mall for dinner and have a look around Union Station. As I was walking through Civic Center Park, I heard something in the tree above me and turned around to look. Much to my surprise it was a very angry squirrel, who glared at me just long enough to let me take a blurry photo of him...

    Squirrel Attack

    That's when I noticed that squirrels were everywhere, and they had no fear of humans. One little guy was eating a pile of sunflower seeds somebody had left and I was able to sit right next to him. He barely noticed...

    Nutty Squirrel

    Just for fun, I was going to reach over and grab a few seeds, but didn't want to risk getting bitten and end up with rabies or something. That would be just my luck.

       

    Tarantino Movie Posters

    • Film by Tarantino. My most consistently favorite director outside of Hayao Miyazaki is Quentin Tarantino. In my capsule review of his latest masterpiece Inglourious Basterds, I said that the word "visionary" was inadequate to describe his cinematic genius. This prompted one reader to ask me how I would rank his films, which would be thusly...

    1. Pulp Fiction. The Tarantino benchmark which instantly established him as one of the world's greatest living writer/directors. Its every scene is masterfully constructed for maximum impact, where even the slow moments serve to amplify the story to an insane degree. Featuring some of the best contemporary dialogue ever written anywhere, Pulp Fiction became one of my favorite films of all time before I was even a quarter of the way through it. How the three stories within the film weave in and out of each other in a non-sequential manner could easily be taken as a cheap filmmaker's gimmick, but Tarantino uses it to genius effect. As if all that weren't enough, Quentin managed to bring together one of the most perfect casts ever assembled, giving us John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Ving Rhames, and Christopher Walken (among others) in the best roles they are likely to ever have. If ever there was a film that encapsulated the word "brilliant" this would be it.
    2. Inglourious Basterds. Everything I wrote about this masterpiece yesterday is only amplified in my mind a day later. Quentin himself says that this is the closest he's gotten to Pulp Fiction and I absolutely agree.
    3. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2. A revenge flick so epic in scope that Quentin had to break it into two parts. And while I admit the ending was a bit anti-climactic, in this case it's the journey, not the destination, that makes the whole thing worthwhile. The fight scene between Uma Thurman and Lucy Lui is one of the most beautiful ever filmed. The fight scene between Uma and the "Crazy 88" is one of the most brutal ever filmed. The fight scene between Uma and Vivica A. Fox is one of the most engaging ever filmed. The fight scene between Uma and Daryl Hannah has one of the best endings ever filmed. String them all together with Tarantino's patented quirkiness and it's one of the greatest stories of revenge ever seen on the silver screen.
    4. Jackie Brown This film is a love letter from Tarantino to Pam Grier and her blaxsploitation films of the 1970's like Coffy and Foxy Brown. That he actually got Pam Grier to play the lead role rather than casting an imitator just shows how incredibly smart Quentin is when it comes to choosing his actors (we also get Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Forrester which just confirms it). The story, based on the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, is a crime caper flick so tightly paced and packed with so many brilliant dialogue exchanges that you never want it to end. The world of Jackie Brown lingers long after the credits have rolled.
    5. Reservoir Dogs Tarantino's debut is a hyper-violent heist thriller where the actual heist is never seen. Given that this would be the most interesting part of this movie genre in lesser hands, Quentin manages to create a far more imaginative film by showing everything but the main event. All the things Tarantino would become famous for are here from the very beginning, and it's a thrilling experience that influenced an entire generation of films that would follow. While not for the squeamish and faint-of-heart, this is a film that shows us exactly what cinematic genius is.
    6. Death Proof While decent Tarantino fare that features one of the best car chase sequences ever filmed, this movie pales in comparison to his other efforts. Which means it's still better than the vast majority of the crap which ends up at the local theater, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Quentin on his worst day knows more about making an entertaining film than many other directors will ever know. Kurt Russell in the lead role as a sadistic misogynist stuntman is just the icing on the cake.

       

    &bull Housekeeping Aggressive. One of the most thankless jobs on the planet has to be that of a housekeeper at a hotel. Forgotten entirely when they do their job well, yet persecuted ruthlessly when they make a mistake, the housekeeper is in the ultimate no-win scenario. Historically, I've always endeavored to be excessively kind and generous with housekeeping staff in order to balance out this wrong, but my attitude has been changing as of late. Because, in addition to being the most thankless job, it can also be the most passive-aggressive career in history. And more and more this is getting to be the case. Housekeepers maintain this front of kindness in service, but all too many of them really don't give a shit and, indeed, are actively hostile in their work.

    As an example... in the hotel I'm currently staying (which shall remain nameless, because it really doesn't matter) the housekeeping staff is so horrendously noisy each morning that I have no choice but to view it as intentional. And it begins the minute they exit the elevator... laughing and whistling and yelling and screaming and banging and slamming. Never mind that it's still fairly early and people are trying to sleep, they just don't give a fuck. Across the hall from my room is a laundry chute. What they could do is prop the door open so that the soiled linens will pass silently down to the laundry. But what they actually do is let the door slam shut again and again and again, which is an endless source of banging that is so forceful that my walls shake every time. And heaven forbid that you should want to sleep in, because if you stay later than they like, they will purposely create a huge racket outside your door until you ultimately give up and flee the premises. Every drawer is banged. Every word is yelled. Every cleaning tool is rattled. Every door is slammed. Because the housekeepers just don't seem to give a flying fuck anymore. They're up at the crack of dawn doing a thankless job, and they want you to suffer for it. Over and over and over again. One of these days I'm going to have had enough and scream into the hallway as loud as I can "SHUT THE HELL UP!" knowing full-well that it will only encourage them to be louder. Because that's what happens when you mess with people having the most passive aggressive job on earth.

       

    Denver at Night

    • Farewell to The City. And that's all she wrote. Tomorrow I'll take a trip to some stores I want to check out which were closed today... and then it's off to the airport and other adventures.

       

       

    Bullet Sunday 147

    Posted on Sunday, August 30th, 2009

    Dave!Ooh! I'm actually home for this edition of Bullet Sunday!

    • Garbage. Having a blog with nearly six years of material makes me an easy target for haters, since I'm bound to have written about something they disagree with. Most of the time I don't care. Either the person trashing me is so incredibly stupid that their garbage is impossible to take seriously, or they are criticizing me for something I never even said in the first place. I have no problem with healthy debate and welcome other people's respectful opinions... but that almost never happens. They're called "haters" for a reason, and are best just forgotten. Except sometimes they just won't go away. The anonymity of the internet makes them impervious to civilized behavior. I wonder if they realize that nobody is ever truly anonymous online? Something to think about, anyway.

       

    • Hurt Locker. I have little to no interest in the whole "war movie" genre. That's because they usually fall into one of three categories: 1) Political statement against war. 2) Political statement for war. 3) Glorification of war and/or war propaganda. The last category is the worst. All those old movies where war is depicted as an entirely one-sided affair, with the horrors nicely sanitized (e.g. the ridiculous "Oh you got me, you dirty Nazi! while the guy grabs his chest and slumps over). But every once in a while there's a film with no obvious political agenda which tries to tell a very human story that just happens to take place during a war (Clint Eastwood's amazing Letters from Iwo Jima comes immediately to mind).

    And now we get The Hurt Locker by the always amazing director Kathryn Bigelow...

    The Hurt Locker Poster

    Any attempt for me to explain the film would be a grave disservice to it. In simplest terms, it's about a three-man team of bomb disposal experts called "Bravo Company" in Iraq circa 2004, and their efforts to dispose of a never-ending supply of explosive weaponry that shows up in a variety of scenarios. After the death of their team leader, a new guy, Staff Sergeant William James, assumes command of the team and things get very interesting. You never really know if James is a reckless maverick who risks lives unnecessarily... or an absolute genius who is so great at his job that it only appears that way. All you do know is that Bravo company has just 38 days left in their tour, and the odds of them surviving long enough to return home grows dimmer with each new encounter. This is a film about guys in a very dangerous job, and there's no political bullshit or anti-war bias to get in the way of telling their story. Miracles do happen.

    One of the very best movies of 2009 (I'd place it at #4, after Inglourious Basterds, District 9, and Star Trek), The Hurt Locker is where I'd put all my Oscar votes. Jeremy Renner as Sgt. James is one of the strongest performances I've seen in a film all year, and is backed up by an army of talent and some spectacular cameo role appearances (which it would be a shame to spoil here). Suspenseful, gritty, and very human, The Hurt Locker is actually worth your valuable time to see.

       

    • Iconic. Every since installing Mac OS X Snow Leopard, I've been transfixed with the ability to view application icons at 512-pixel resolution. It's an entirely new ballgame at such a large size, and reveals surprising details that you would never even know existed at their original size... sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Let's take these three icons as an example...

    Snow Leopard Tiny Icons

    Transmit, which has always been a nifty little icon, is revealed to be a stunning piece of artwork when you get to see it at full size. The attention to detail is nothing short of amazing, and now people can actually see it...

    Transmit's little truck icon at full-size

    Twitterific, on the other hand, is exactly the opposite. It looks cute and friendly when seen small, but blow it up to full size and it transforms into something vaguely scary. I don't know if the bird is molting... sweating... or has some kind of disease... or what. His beak doesn't even appear to be part of him, but instead bursting through his head, like there's a bird trapped in a bird suit and he's just now breaking out. Granted, this isn't really the designer's fault. This is what happens when you are forced to exaggerate details so they will show up when reduced to a tiny size. Otherwise, it would just look like a little blue blob...

    Twitterific's little bird icon at full-size

    But those issues pale in comparison to the scariness of Apple's own "Mail" icon. It makes absolutely no sense now. The drop shadow makes it appear that the stamp is floating above the surface... but the cancellation mark looks flat, like it's a projection of some kind. Furthermore, the cancellation mark doesn't even look like it's been printed. The gray ink looks like it's actual ink on the white parts of the icon... but mystically transforms into blue ink when it is on the blue parts of the icon. At giant-size, it all looks like some kind of bad Photoshop overlay trick, because it doesn't act like any cancellation mark I've ever seen...

    Mail's little stamp icon at full-size

    Icons, which have historically had to communicate information at very small sizes, are now having to stand on their own as artwork when presented at larger sizes. This is an incredible challenge for icon designers, because it's not easy trying to create one piece of art which works perfectly for two entirely different uses. I suppose the big worry is that designers won't even try, and we'll get icons that suck at any size.

       

    And now I get to go back to work so I can (hopefully) get caught up before I leave again. Life, she is a bitch.

       

    Bullet Sunday 155

    Posted on Sunday, November 1st, 2009

    Dave!I'M SICK! Well, sick as usual. I've been feeling poorly since I got back from Amsterdam. I'm sure it's just fatigue from non-stop-travel and working all hours of the night and day... but it's getting old. I'm tired of feeling crappy. I have a feeling that this will be a shorter than usual Bullet Sunday.

       
    • Vote! Just a reminder to my fellow Washingtonians, there's precious little time left to get your votes in to APPROVE Referendum 71. All ballots are due by November 3rd, so if you haven't mailed your ballot and believe that everybody should have equal rights under the law, be sure to take care of it ASAP! I know I've posted this video before, and I realize it was made for the state of Maine, but it really applies everywhere, and is worth your valuable time to watch...

       
    • Buttah! The latest commercial for "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" is pretty cool...

    The Buttertons Commercial

    Except it looks strangely familiar...

    Butter

    Who do I talk to about getting paid for them using my idea?

       
    • Saints! Guess what's opening this week?

    Aequita Veritas!

    That's right! After nearly a decade of waiting, the sequel to Boondock Saints is nigh!

    The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

    The original Boondock Saints is one of those odd "guilty pleasure" movies that there's no reason on earth I should like... but I do. I've seen it a dozen times, and scare myself with how much of the dialogue I can quote from the film. I can only hope that the long wait for more Boondocks won't be met with disappointment. The crappy Star Wars prequels are still fresh in my mind.

       
    Annnnd... I'm spent.

       

    Trek

    Posted on Thursday, November 26th, 2009

    Dave!I know I should be talking about either how thankful I am for my friends and family or posting my annual DaveToon showing how this is not a good day for turkeys... but what I'm really thankful for on this day of Thanksgiving is Star Trek.

    I finally got around to watching my new Blu-Ray of the J.J. Abrams Trek movie today and fell in love with it all over again. After having seen it three times in the theater, I can safely say it's my favorite movie of 2009, which is strange considering I was set to hate it when it was released...

    Star Trek 2009 Poster

    The problem is that I'm such a massive fan of The Original Series that I never anticipated I could possibly like a "reimagining" of the show. Heck, I didn't even like all the franchises that followed... didn't care for The Next Generation... was not a fan of Deep Space Nine... totally hated Voyager... and was mostly indifferent towards Enterprise. They weren't Kirk, Spock and the gang, so they weren't Star Trek. The new movie, however, is Kirk, Spock and the gang, and I loved it. Even though we had different actors in the roles...

    DAVETOON: Monkey Star Trek Characters

    If I had to pick a second thing to be thankful for, it would be that I don't have a gun. Because if I did have a gun, I might be tempted to hunt down the asshole who decided to make a bunch of movie trailer previews AUTO-PLAY before the actual movie on the Star Trek Blu-Ray disc. I just BOUGHT the frackin' movie... you don't get to hold me hostage for stupid-ass previews I don't want to see. That's about as douchey as it gets.

    Well, not as douchey as, say, Glenn Beck, but still pretty douchey.

    Categories: Movies 2009Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 160

    Posted on Sunday, December 6th, 2009

    Dave!Home for Bullet Sunday! Home for an entire month! Of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure I'll end up flying out somewhere tomorrow.

    • Holidays. I got an email from Laurel reminding me that the deadline for sending holiday cards to the troops via the Red Cross's "Holiday Mail for Heroes" program is MONDAY. That's TOMORROW if you're reading this on Sunday... TODAY if you're reading on Monday. If you'd like to make a serviceman or servicewoman's day when they're far from home, here's your opportunity...

    Also... just a quick reminder that one of my favorite organizations, AnySoldier.com is a great way to show your appreciation for the troops any time of year. If you'd like to know what kind of stuff to send, I've written about that here.

       
    • Woodie. Many congratulations to one of my favorite bands, Matt & Kim, on winning a Best Video Woodie for their awesome Lessons Learned video. I've written about my love for all things Matt & Kim here, and you can watch their video below...

       
    • Killer. The question "what's your favorite app for the iPhone" is something I get quite often. Right now the honest truth would be Undercroft. But apps come and go and, once I've finished playing Undercroft, I'm sure some other toy will take its place. But once you remove the distractions, a few apps remain which I find indispensable. For travel, I wouldn't want to live without Flight Update Pro. For photos, I can't imagine not having ShakeItPhoto. And, of course, there's always the most important app ever created, Ask Dave!

    But if I were forced to choose just one killer app I can't live without, it would be Jaadu VNC that gets my vote. For those unfamiliar, Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a remote access system that allows you to control a computer over the internet. It's always somewhat problematic because of the screen update lag, but it works. And, thanks to Jaadu VNC, it works beautifully on my iPhone...

    Jaadu VNC Screenshot
    This is full-screen view, but you can also zoom in with auto-panning.

    In fact, it works better than the VNC clients for my MacBook, and I often-times end up using Jaadu to do things that go sideways with other clients. Being able to access my work computer from practically anywhere is a game-changer. There's nothing quite like being able to handle a work emergency while standing in line at Splash Mountain. Jaadu makes this kind of thing easy. But the app has some other tricks up its sleeve as well... such as being able to switch to a numeric keypad or even a media remote...

    Jaadu Remote Control Schreenshot

    It costs something like $25, but the value it provides is priceless if you're away from your computer but need access to it.

       
    • Copter. I am reeeeeally looking forward to seeing James Cameron's new film, Avatar. The preview images and video footage look amazing. And since it's James Cameron (Terminator, Aliens, Titanic) you just know it's going to be something special. What I find curious is the dual-fan helicopters featured in the material...

    Dual-Fan Copters from Avatar

    Dual-Fan Copters from Avatar

    They instantly reminded me of the dual-fan helicopters from Disney/Pixar's brilliant animated film The Incredibles...

    Dual-Fan Copters from The Incredibles

    Very cool! And further proof that The Incredibles was operating at a level far above your typical cartoon feature. The design on it was...well... incredible. And it only makes me want to watch the movie all over again.

       
    And that's a wrap. I really should get back to work now...

       

    Etiquette

    Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2009

    Dave!And so... James Cameron's Avatar is dropping in theaters this Friday, and I am near the point of desperation to go see it. The problem is that I positively loathe to go to the movies anymore. People have reached new heights of rudeness, and it's just not as fun as it used to be. I spend most of my time filled with rage because people are getting calls on their mobile phones, lighting up the entire theater by texting, talking in loud voices and making noise, kicking the seats in front of them, and being all-around assholes. Why should I pay $7.50 for a ticket and $6.00 for a Coke to be subjected to that?

    Maybe I should publish a new addition to my growing family of "Dumbasses" books so I can pass them out whenever I go to the movies?

    DAVETOON BOOK: Movie Theater Etiquette for Dumbasses

    Though the odds of anybody too rude to already know theater etiquette actually taking time to read it are slim.

    So maybe I do what I usually do, and wait for the Blu-Ray to be released.

    But then I look at this poster popping up everywhere...

    Blue Alien Avatar Poster

    ...and I really, really want to go.

       
    Here's hoping that if I do go I won't end up killing anybody.

       

    Jeunet

    Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2009

    Dave!As I type this, Twitter is down. I don't have a lot of time to spend on Twitter, but I feel incredibly disconnected when I go to see what's happening there and can't get through. Amazingly, you don't even get a Fail-Whale anymore... just a blank white screen.

    If I could Twitter right now, I'd undoubtedly tweet my surprise that the stunningly beautiful Audrey Tautou just showed up on my television in an advertisement for Chanel No. 5. A little internet research reveals that the spot was directed by the incomparable Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who had previously worked with Tautou on two of my favorite films: Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (known as Amélie in English-speaking countries) and Un long dimanche de fiançailles (known as A Very Long Engagement here).

    I don't usually post random videos, but this commercial is too beautiful to not be seen...

    Or heard. We're also treated to Billie Holiday for a soundtrack.

    Everything Jeunet touches is surreal and magical. Even a commercial for perfume. And now all I want to do is watch Amélie and A Very Long Engagement back-to-back. Even though it's 10:30 at night and I have a ton of work to do and I'd be up until 2:00am.

    Another time, I guess.

    Interestingly enough, Jeunet has a new film that debuted in France back in October called Micmacs à tire-larigot...

    Micmacs Poster

    I can't wait to see it, even though it sounds like it is very different from his previous two films.

    But sometimes different is good.

       

    Christie

    Posted on Saturday, December 26th, 2009

    Dave!I worked most of the day, trying to solve a very perplexing assignment in every way I could think of. By the time dinner rolled around, I was mentally exhausted and looking for a diversion. While cleaning off a bookshelf, I happened across my DVD copy of Death on the Nile... the movie version of the brilliant Agatha Christie novel of the same name (albeit with a number of characters having been changed or eliminated). It's one of those movies I can watch a hundred times and still enjoy it, so my diversion had been found...

    Death on the Nile Poster

    Equal in brilliance to the story is the cast.

    Peter Ustinov! David Niven! Mia Farrow! George Kennedy! Angela Lansbury! Maggie Smith! Jack Warden! And a crazy-ass BETTE DAVIS! But that's not all, it also had MANIMAL in it!

    It's Manimal.

    Manimal is one of those shows that I vaguely remember enjoying the heck out of during my youth. It featured a guy who could turn into animals to solve mysteries and fight crime and stuff. He had his pick of any animal under the sun, but always ended up changing into a black panther for some reason. Probably to save money on special effects.

    Those were heady days for cheesy TV, because Manimal ran at the same time as another sweet program from my youth... Automan! Though what I remember most about that show was that the character drove a Lamborghini that could make 90-degree turns at high speeds, and had a sidekick named "Cursor" that could build stuff out of thin air. Sure it was pretty much a rip-off of TRON, but it gave me something to watch after my homework was done.

    Speaking of TRON, am I the only one who's excited about the long-awaited sequel, TRON Legacy, finally hitting theaters in 2010?

    Tron Legacy Poster

    Of course, it's DECEMBER 17th, 2010... which kind of sucks. Especially when all we have to hold us over until then is this.

    Oh well, something to look forward to, I guess.

       

    Avatar

    Posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

    Dave!Ummm... yeah. If you live within a hundred miles of an IMAX theater showing Avatar in 3-D... you should go. And if you don't live within a hundred miles radius of an IMAX theater showing Avatar in 3-D... you should still go. It's just that mind-blowing an experience.

    Sure the story is so predictable that you'll feel you've suddenly become psychic. And yes, the plot is so black & white that you could cut yourself with the sharp division between good & evil. And true, it's got some stuff going on that seems so forced that you'll swear a giant shoehorn is going to appear on-screen any minute.

    But...

    It's also the singular most immersive spectacle you're likely to see for a while.

    Avatar Poster

    After seeing the miraculous CGI used to create an entire world, you will believe that anything is possible. Anything...

    Avatar Poster

    You keep telling yourself that it's not real... that it's just a computer-generated image... but then you forget. And pretty soon you just give in to the fact that 10-foot tall blue aliens actually exist.

    And that alone would be amazing.

    But the 3-D pushes it to the next level. There were several times throughout the movie that my fear of heights was literally kicking in. This isn't some cheesy attempt to use 3-D for quirky effects... it's 3-D used with such subtlety and mastery that it puts you in the film. Which is why you really need to make an effort to see it in IMAX 3-D before it's gone.

    Well, until the sequel comes along.

    Bravo, James Cameron. This time you've created a movie that actually deserves to make billions of dollars.

       

    Mars

    Posted on Friday, January 15th, 2010

    Dave!Finally.

    At long last.

    The news I've been waiting over 25 years to hear has just been released by Disney...

    BURBANK, Calif. (January 15, 2010) - Principal photography is underway in London for Walt Disney Pictures' "JOHN CARTER OF MARS." Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton brings this captivating hero to the big screen in a stunning adventure epic set on the wounded planet of Mars, a world inhabited by warrior tribes and exotic desert beings. Based on the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Barsoom Series," the film chronicles the journey of Civil-War veteran John Carter, who finds himself battling a new and mysterious war amidst a host of strange Martian inhabitants.

    After I had watched Star Wars in 1977, my 11-year-old mind was ensnared by science fiction and I was desperate for more. I had read a few teen sci-fi books here and there, but the genre never really caught hold. It wasn't until Star Wars that an obsession was born. I quickly became bored with the "kids" version of science fiction and decided to see what awaited me in the adult section of the library. That's when I found A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs...

    John Carter of Mars

    I devoured all of the Burroughs "Barsoom" books, and used it as a spring-board to the worlds of Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein, Herbert, and other science fiction giants.

    But it was the John Carter of Mars books that remained my favorite (so much so that I even "became" Edgar Rice Burroughs when joining in on Kapgar's "The Lost Blogs" contest).

    Sure they are relatively flimsy stories filled with outrageous coincidences and tacky dialogue, but the bizarre creatures and fantastic places that are a hallmark of the stories more than compensated. It was those things that had me dying to see John Carter movies on the big screen.

    And, after numerous false starts, that day has finally come.

    Here's hoping Andrew Stanton doesn't fuck up a childhood dream...

       

    Precious

    Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010

    Dave!Today I noticed that I'm getting increasingly upset over things that just aren't important. This morning, for example, I went on a tirade after listening to somebody on television use the full title of the movie "Precious" while discussing Oscar nominations. I don't know why. Probably because "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" is a stupid-ass name for a movie. I am guessing the film studio wanted to capitalize on the author somehow, but it only makes them look pathetic and desperate when you consider that "Stand By Me wasn't released as "Stand By Me: Based on the Novella 'The Body' by Stephen King." I mean, holy shit, if the people making "Stand By Me" didn't feel the need to whore out STEPHEN FUCKING KING for their movie, should we really have to give two shits where "Precious" came from?

    Granted, my disdain is undoubtedly amplified by the fact that I don't give a crap about EVER seeing the film "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"... but honestly, is this really a reason to start freaking out?

    Apparently it is if you are me.

    I'm really hoping that this unfounded hostility towards inconsequential things goes away soon.

    Preferably before "Alice in Wonderland: Extrapolated from the Novel 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' as Well as the Novel 'Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There' by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Better Known as Lewis Carroll" is released to theaters on March 5th.

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    Categories: Movies 2010Click To It: Permalink  15 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

       

    Bullet Sunday 171

    Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2010

    Dave!It's Bullet Sunday from one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen in Seattle!

       
    • Pet Shop. The hotel I'm staying in tonight is really, really nice (especially considering the bitchin' rate I got off PriceLine), but does have one minor draw-back. It's "pet friendly." Now, don't get me wrong... I love animals. I think it's great that there's hotels which accept our furry friends when they travel with us. I do not, however, think it's great to be woken up at 5:30am by a yappy little dog barking it's head off in the room next door on a Sunday morning. Though I suppose I should count myself lucky that it was just a dog and not a hyena or something.

       
    • Zombie Walk. As far as iPhone games go, Plants Vs. Zombies may be the best game ever released. More addictive than crack (or so I'd guess), it's one of those games that you never want to stop playing. It looks great, plays amazing, and keeps gameplay fresh with new features for a good long time...

    Plants Vs. Zombies Splash Screen

    Plants Vs. Zombies Play Screen

    The game, in a nutshell, has wave after wave of zombies attacking your home, and you have to plant an ever-growing variety of vegetation to fend then off. Highest possible recommendation (unless you have a life, in which case it will will destroy you).

       
    • Spell Check. If you're going to use the word "w00t!" then it's spelled in all lower-case letters with two ZEROS in the middle, like this...

    w00t Spelled Correctly!

    If you don't believe me, you can look it up in the dictionary!

       
    • Saturday Break. After working non-stop for the past several weeks, I decided to take a break and attend a blogger meet in Seattle... thanks to Ms. Sizzle and Chris for putting it together and giving me a much-needed distraction! The beautiful drive alone was worth the effort...

    Snoqualmie Pass

    Snoqualmie Pass

       
    • ONE Ring? Great news! The Lord of the Rings trilogy is finally coming to Blu-Ray! How awesome is that? Oh... wait a second... not so awesome... BECAUSE THE GREEDY FUCKERS AT NEW LINE STUDIOS ARE RELEASING THE BUTCHERED THEATRICAL RELEASE INSTEAD OF THE FULL DIRECTOR'S CUT! They're waiting for everybody to buy the incomplete trilogy THEN they'll release the complete films on Blu-Ray so everybody will have to buy them AGAIN!

    Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray Bullshit

    I mean, seriously, we already had to buy them twice on DVD, so why not give everybody what they want the first time around? Oh... that's right... NEW LINE IS RUN BY GREEDY FUCKERS! Blu-Ray easily allows the option of viewing both the theatrical release OR the director's cut on the SAME disc thanks to their "branching" technology, but why would we want to do that when we can sucker fans into buying the movies FOUR TIMES!

    Well, as much as I'd like to see these beautiful films in HD, I'll take a pass until the COMPLETE films are released. Holy crap I hate it when studio executives try to pull this bullshit. And everybody wonders why otherwise law-abiding citizens turn to piracy! THE MOVIE STUDIOS FORCE THEM TO!

       
    And another week bites the dust...

       

    Oscars

    Posted on Saturday, March 6th, 2010

    Dave!My head-cold only lasted 24 hours, but the resulting sinus infection is ongoing. Yesterday the pain was so bad that I had to leave work early, which meant that my planned half-day of work today turned into a full-day of work. I wouldn't have minded so much, except the weather outside was so beautiful. It makes me miss my motorcycle.

    Of course, right now what I really miss is having the energy to stay out of bed all day. The antibiotics really wipe me out, so pretty much all I can do is work and sleep. This is a darn shame, because I've got a to-do list a mile long before I start traveling again in two weeks.

    Hopefully I'll have the energy to make it through The Oscars tomorrow night...

    DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Hosts The Oscars

    In general, I find The Oscars to be a load of crap, but it still makes for an interesting evening of television.

    My "best movie" last year was Star Trek. For sheer entertainment value, I just can't seem to get enough of it. But it wasn't nominated for Best Picture, so I'd probably have to go with Inglourious Basterds, followed closely by District 9 and The Hurt Locker which were all amazing films. So was Moon but it wasn't nominated either. The odds of Inglourious Basterds winning Best Picture are slim, but I think it's a lock for Best Original Screenplay (and deservedly so).

    As far as Best Director, I think that Kathryn Bigelow nailed it with Hurt Locker, but I wouldn't be unhappy if James Cameron got it, because his fingerprints are on every frame of Avatar, which is a magnificient achievement in filmmaking. And, of course, I'm not going to have any complaints if Quentin Tarantino wins. Ever.

    I don't care about any of the actor categories except Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz. His incredible performance in Inglourious Basterds is about as Oscar-worthy a role as you will ever see.

    Speaking of Inglourious Basterds, it's my pick for Best Editing. Quentin's films are always paced impeccably, and the way the various storylines are so perfectly woven together in the editing room is a testament to Tarantino's vision.

    The Best Animated Feature Film I saw last year was probably Up, which had a really good story behind it (though I thought the actual "traditional" animation on either Ponyo or The Secret of Kells was the best of the lot). That being said, I also enjoyed Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, and Princess and the Frog so I'd be happy with any of them winning. As for Best Animated Short, that clearly has to go to Nick Park for his Wallace & Gromit short A Matter of Loaf and Death.

    Art Direction and Visual Effects are clearly Avatar's to win. This is the future of filmmaking, and has opened entirely new worlds in movies.

    I'd give Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Makeup to Star Trek on principle.

    The other categories I don't have enough information to make an opinion on.

    Of course, this is The Oscars, so I'll be lucky if even one of my picks is actually a winner. But there you have it.

       

    Bullet Sunday 173

    Posted on Sunday, March 7th, 2010

    Dave!Blergh. Muh head is assploding on Buwett Swunday! Sinus infections suck.

       
    • Oscar.
    Look, I liked The Hurt Locker as much as anybody (I saw it twice in theaters and bought the Blu-Ray), but winning Best Original Screenplay over Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds? What the hell? I can see The Hurt Locker taking Best Picture over Basterds, I'm right there with that... but Screenplay?? Seriously? It's things like this that makes me want to swear off ever watching the Academy Awards each year.

       
    • Can't. I have had at least a dozen people tell me that I need to see The Cove which just won Best Documentary. I love films of all kinds and am a huge fan of documentaries, but I cannot watch anything where dolphins are slaughtered. That's a weakness I'm perfectly willing to live with...

    Swimming with Dolphins

       
    • Strange. Katheryn Bigelow was well-known to me long before she directed The Hurt Locker. Mostly because of this poster which has hung on my bedroom wall for the past 13 years...

    Strange Days Poster

    Her movie Strange Days is one of my all-time favorite films. Written by (her then husband?) James Cameron, it's just cool entertainment. It has a great cast (I fell hopelessly in love with Angela Bassett after this performance), a really good story, an intriguing premise, and most everything else I love about the movies. The fact that it was so beautifully directed was just icing on the cake. All I can do is hope that the Oscar win for Kathryn Bigelow will mean we finally get a release of Strange Days on Blu-Ray.

    As an added bonus, Kathryn Bigelow also directed a movie in 2000 called The Weight of Water starring the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley... TOPLESS!! I owe Kathryn Bigelow a massive debt for that astounding moment of brilliance in cinematic history, so congratulations on your Academy Awards!

       
    • Teaser. The stupid-ass "teasers" that television news shows do during commercial breaks are getting more and more asinine. Shows like "Entertainment Tonight" always waste time before taking a break telling you what's coming up after the break. It's stupid, but nobody cares because it's not like you'll die if you miss anything on "Entertainment Tonight." You can, however, die from missing something on the news...

    "And this just in... another big auto-maker launching a recall. We'll show you what cars pose a risk for your safety this time! It's eleven minutes of uninterrupted news at 11:00 on KIRO 7... tonight!"

    Yes, let's not just come out and say which cars might kill you as a public service in the name of safety... instead let's keep it a secret so we can whore out our shitty local news program. Whatever.

       
    And now my sinuses are smooshing into my brain, so I should probably go to bed.

       

    Crasher

    Posted on Monday, March 8th, 2010

    Dave!I can't help myself. I love Crasher Squirrel!

    Crasher Squirrel in The Hurt Locker

    Crasher Squirrel in Avatar

    Crasher Squirrel in District 9

    Crasher Squirrel in Inglourious Basterds

    Crasher Squirrel in Precious

       

    I don't understand why somebody hasn't him to a picture development deal... he's Oscar gold!

       

    Oveur

    Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2010

    Dave!One of these days, I'm going to mount a video camera on my dashboard so I can have evidence of just how insane my 5-minute commute home can get. Today I added stops at the post office and the bank, which just tripled the crazy-ass shit I had to deal with. Being cut-off twice, nearly hit three times, and fuming over the SEVEN CARS coming from the opposite direction that DIDN'T stop while I waited to let a young boy cross the street... it's no wonder I'm near-homicidal by the time I get home. ARRRRRRRRRGH!

    But anyway...

    Peter Graves died over the weekend, which was some really sad news for me. As a mega-huge fan of both his Mission: Impossible television series and the Airplane movies, Graves has been a permanent fixture in my memory as both a brilliant source of suspense and comedy, which is a rare thing for an actor. My respect for him only grew when he turned down what was certainly a nice chunk of money to reprise his Jim Phelps role in the Mission: Impossible movie. The film totally betrayed the character, and Peter Graves would have none of it, which is really cool.

    I always held out hope for another Airplane movie, but any attempt to do so now without Captain Oveur in at least a cameo would be a huge mistake. Most of the best scenes in Airplane are his...

    It's Captain Oveur!
    "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"

    Oveur and out.

       

    Speaking of scenes...

    There's a very cool article over at The Guardian where their film critics pick their favorite movie scenes. That got me to thinking about what my favorite scenes might be, so I decided to take a stab at listing them over the next several weeks for MOVIE SCENE MONDAYS! The first scene I look at is from Katheryn Bigelow's Strange Days released in 1995. There be  SPOILERS  below, and the film is well-worth watching if you haven't seen it, so don't click through unless you have!

    → Click here to continue reading this entry...

       

    Day Ten: Amsterdam to Seattle

    Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010

    Dave!And so my vacation is over.

    The DutchBitch dropped me off at the train station for an uneventful ride to the airport. I then had a blissfully uneventful 10-hour flight home. I'd like to say I had a blissfully uneventful drive back over the mountains, but that would be a lie. In addition to "wintery mix" blasting the mountain passes (it's a mix of snow and rain)... I nearly got into an accident twice because people apparently don't know what a Yield Sign means...

    DaveToon Yield Sign

    Even though it's pretty much a universal symbol meaning "STOP YOUR STUPID ASS IF TRAFFIC IS APPROACHING, BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY"... but while I was out of the country, apparently here in Washington State they've become merely roadside decorations you can ignore.

    The first incident wasn't too spectacular. I just had to slam on my brakes to let the dumbass into my lane, even though he should have been the one stopping since he was the one with the YIELD MUTHA FUCKA! sign. The second incident was far worse, and took place as I was making the Cle-Elum turn-off from I-90...

    Yield Sign in Cle Elum

    That red line is me. After making my stop at the end of the off-ramp, I continue onward after turning left. That blue line is an oblivious douchebag who didn't even LOOK to see me already in the lane he was merging into. He blew on by the YIELD MUTHA FUCKA! sign and came gunning right at me. Not only did I have to slam on the brakes, but I had to swerve outside of my lane and then swerve back before being hit by oncoming traffic! But you know what the BEST part was? The dumbass lays on his horn when he finally notices me swerving all over the place! And it gets better! Since I was turning right and he was turning left, I pulled up alongside him WHERE HE PROCEEDED TO GIVE ME BITCHY LOOKS AND POINT HIS FINGER AT ME! Like he was calling me out or something.

    It took all the self control I could muster not to ram my car into him and bust his shit, but instead I pointed at him and screamed "YOU'RE THE ONE WITH THE YIELD SIGN, ASSHOLE!" He probably couldn't hear me, but I'm pretty sure he sure got the message that HE was the one who made the mistake.

    Oh well.

    It wouldn't be me traveling if there wasn't some drama involved.

    While on the plane I watched a bunch of in-flight movies to pass the time. Usually I only watch movies that I don't care about and don't want to spend the money and time to rent...

    Plane Movies!

    First up was "Precious, Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire". I never wanted to watch this film based on the stupid-ass title alone, but the subject matter didn't appeal to me much either. I ultimately found this movie about an abused and neglected teen a crashing bore, and ended up fast-forwarding through chunks of it. So people are horrible and life is depressing... wah! Big news. There was no break-through plot element here that made the story worth my time. I thought Gabourey Sidibe's performance was good, but not really Oscar-worthy. Mo'Nique was very good at being thoroughly reprehensible though, and probably deserved her nomination. But the break-out performances to me were actually by Paula Patton as Ms. Rain and (heaven help us) Mariah Carey as Mrs. Weiss. I may have hated the movie, but there were no denying the great acting. RATING: D+

    I also watched The Blind Side... a movie I avoided because all these "football inspirational" stories usually bore the crap out of me. Boy was I wrong. The story of a Southern white family who takes in a black homeless student who then goes on to become a football star was definitely entertaining. Sure the "based on a true story" plot was predictable and manipulative, but the performances were all-around amazing. Sandra Bullock earned that Oscar. And who the hell knew Tim McGraw could act? I also thought that Quinton Aaron added dimension to what could have been a pretty pedestrian and straight-forward character. These kind of bland stereotypical pablum films may not be my cup of tea, but I thought it was pretty good for bring in that genre. RATING: B-

    Next up was Pandorum, a sci-fi thriller that I knew nothing about starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid. The film was basically a combination of a dozen sci-fi films I've already seen before (mostly Alien and Sunshine with a little Serenity thrown in) but somehow managed to pull off the "zombies in space" idea in an entertaining way. I was happy to have seen it, but didn't think there was anything new or groundbreaking here. Had they found something unique and surprising to catapult the story out of the copycat rut they found themselves in, this could have been a home-run. I was pleasantly surprised by Ben Foster though. He always seemed so one-note in other things I've seen him in, but does a great job here. RATING: B-

    After that was Whiteout, based on the comic book mini-series of the same name that I had never read. It's a story about the first ever murder-mystery in Antarctica, and the special circumstances such an environment creates in trying to solve it. While I enjoyed the movie well enough (I can't help myself because I love Kate Beckinsale), the limited number of characters made guessing the mystery villain and the plot-twist villain absolute child's play. I literally had everything pegged in my head fifteen minutes into the film. Still, the arctic location made for some interesting plot elements and I liked the scenery. RATING: C+

    And then was The Invention of Lying, with one of my favorite comedians Ricky Gervais, plus Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and a lot of cameos from people like Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jason Bateman (PLUS Jonah Hill, in the ONLY role I haven't positively hated him in!). This thinly-veiled pro-atheism film was pretty much a let-down. Sure the premise of a world where people can't lie is funny at first... but the jokes grow stale far too quickly and the internal logic just didn't hold together for me. It was a half-hour of material that was drawn-out far too long (sometimes painfully so). RATING: C

    And lastly there was The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson's epic retelling of the classic Roald Dahl children's book about a fox who craves adventure and danger... sometimes at the expense of his family and friends. I had already seen the film once, and liked it enough to watch it again. The voice cast is stellar (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, and more), the stop-motion animation sublime, and the story just bizarre and quirky enough to keep things interesting. Oddly enough, I can't imagine kids enjoying the film that much, as most of the dialogue and story elements seemed very adult to me. RATING: A-

       
    And now... it's time to try and get a few hours rest. It's hard to get jet-lag when you only sleep 4-5 hours each night, but hopefully this long, long day will make me tired enough to manage some sleep.

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    Kick-Ass!

    Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010

    Dave!This afternoon was a beautiful day for driving over to Seattle... until I actually got here. I thought that I could beat rush hour traffic, but somehow arrived right in the middle of it. By the time I had checked into the hotel and made my way to the mall, I was late for my movie date to go see Kick-Ass. Luckily(?) there were twenty minutes of commercials, previews, and other crap, so I didn't miss any of the film.

    I liked the movie, and don't feel I should have to make any apologies for that. Even though I am sure there are plenty of people who probably think that I should apologize for enjoying a movie which features an 11-year-old girl with a foul mouth and a predilection for killing bad-guys in the most violent, bloody, horrifying, way possible.

    But it's a movie.

    Obviously if it were an 11-year-old girl actually murdering people for real, I'd feel different. But it wasn't and so I don't, because I can distinguish hard-core entertainment from real life.

    Kick-Ass tells the story of Dave Lizewski, a geeky high-school comic book fan who decides to become a costumed crime-fighter named "Kick-Ass." Unfortunately, he doesn't have any training or fighting skills, so he spends most of his time getting the crap beat out of him. Repeatedly. Almost dying after his first "adventure."

    On the opposite end of the spectrum is Mindy Macready, who has been trained since early childhood by her father to be a ruthless killing machine. Seeking revenge for Mindy's mother's death at the hand of organized crime, the duo become costumed crime-fighters known as Hit-Girl and Big Daddy (featuring one of Nicholas Cage's best performances ever!).

    If there's a problem with the film, it's that I found Dave Lizewski's screen-time to be mostly boring. Probably because every single scene with Hit-Girl brutally mowing down criminals was awesome times 100. There's just no way that Kick-Ass can compete with her. She completely steals the movie, and it got to the point where I spent my time wishing I could fast-forward to her next appearance...

    Hit-Girl Poster

    All in all, Kick-Ass was solid entertainment that tries to provide a "realistic" take on the super-hero genre film. Of course, it's nowhere near being actually realistic, but the portrayal tries to be. And I give them a solid "B" for the effort.

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    Empire

    Posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010

    Dave!The Hilton SeaTac Airport charges $14.95 for internet. I guess I can post this tomorrow, because Hilton can suck it.

    Today is a day where the entire internet is celebrating a movie so astoundingly brilliant... so wonderfully imaginative... so monumentally game-changing... so vastly superior to everything that came before... that it redefines what cinema entertainment means.

    I am talking, of course, about MacGruber, from which I just returned.

    This was the film I was most looking forward to this summer, and it did not disappoint. It was funny and action-packed from start to finish. Kudos to Will Forte and Kristen Wiig for their fantastic performances, and welcome back to comedy Val Kilmer! Of course, I like MacGruber on Saturday Night Live, so I'm probably biased.

    Coincidentally, today is also the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite films of all time: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back...

    Empire Strikes Back Poster

    I never saw the original Star Wars in an actual theater until the re-release in 1978. Instead I saw it at a drive-in with some neighbor kids. I, of course, loved the film and became obsessed with it in whatever ways were available to be obsessed with it back then. You couldn't buy VHS tapes until later, but you could buy outrageously expensive snippets on 8mm film. And then there were the books, magazines, posters, and all the other crap an 11-year-old simply must have or else they'll die.

    By the time Empire was released in 1980, my Star Wars mania was at a fever pitch. The idea of seeing the sequel on opening day was too much to resist, so a friend and I got dropped off at the theater so we could wait in line for entirely too long and be among the first to see it. The time spent was, obviously, worth it. The Empire Strikes Back is easily one of the best films ever created, and holds up on all counts to this day. As a movie, that alone is remarkable... but a science fiction movie?!? Magic.

    If I was obsessed with Star Wars, I became positively stupid-insane over Empire. It pushed the Star Wars envelope in all directions, and has some of the best dialogue quotes ever to hit the silver screen in ANY genre (I can only guess that this is because George Lucas didn't write or direct it... if only we were so lucky with the prequels). My imagination wasn't just captured by all the amazing things the film offered up, it was blown away never to return.

    Once you here those immortal words... "Luke, I am your father" you don't have much choice but to be blown away. Screw The Sixth Sense, THIS is the ultimate twist ending in modern cinematic history.

    Even though I was eventually let down by the follow-up effort, Return of the Jedi, my spirit was never dampened. Empire was simply too good to ever die. Toss in all the Ewoks, fart jokes, and other stupid crap you want, it doesn't matter. Once you've learned the ways of The Force from Yoda, there can be no turning back.

    Star Wars is in your heart and mind forever.

    I know it is in mine.

       

    2012

    Posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2010

    Dave!Nobody can see every movie ever released, so when they declare a film to be "the worst movie ever," what they are actually saying is that it's "the worst movie I've ever seen." Still, given the number of movies out there, this is still a pretty bold statement.

    To me, the worst movie ever used to be a Renny Harlin flick called Born American. The tagline on the posters was "Freedom is just a word...until you lose it." It was a Reagan-era flag-waver about three college students vacationing in Finland who decide to cross the Russian border as a joke. Unfortunately for them, they are spotted by the Russian army. They then get captured and tortured as suspected spies... something they consider unjust because they're Americans, dammit! Eventually they escape and, in the process, kill people and destroy a Russian town. The movie was utter shit and made no sense. It was meant to portray Soviet Russia as a nation of monsters, but the only monsters in the film were the Americans. Can you imagine if the situation were reversed and it was the Russians who were caught on American soil blowing up towns and killing people circa 1986? But movie audiences are stupid, so it was easy to cover massive gaps of logic with patriotic "Russia is evil" rhetoric. Born Americans was so bad it made me embarrassed to be American.

    But that was then.

    Now a new movie has taken its place... Rolland Emmerich's 2012.

    2012 Movie Poster

    Worst. Movie. Ever. Truly excrement on just about every level. First of all, it's a film made for idiots. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because even intelligent people can have great fun turning off their brain and enjoying a stupid flick. Heck, there are a lot of stupid movies I really like. But 2012 goes so far beneath stupid that it's fucking insane.

    Heaven only knows I wasn't expecting much, but I was hopeful. Sure Emmerich unleashed such turds as 10,000 BC and Universal Soldier and The Day After Tomorrow and that shitty Godzilla remake. But he also did Stargate, which I liked quite a lot.

    And yet nothing could prepare me for just how awful this film could be.

    Yes, the special effects were stunning in places... breathtaking even... but the story and events were positively asinine. Oh noes! The earth's core is heating up and the world is going to end! Let's pile up catastrophic spectacles and wild-ass coincidences and see if anybody notices that it's all window dressing bullshit!

    What's truly perplexing is that 2012 managed to attract some real talent... actors like John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover, and even Dr. Phlox(!). But it doesn't matter. Even the best actors on earth couldn't save this steamer. Events are so contrived and manipulative, that it feels like you're being force-fed a load of bullshit. And while I could give a dozen examples to illustrate this, the most offensive is the cracks that open up as the earth goes into spasm. They always... always crack across that "perfect spot." Like EXACTLY BETWEEN the fingers of God and Adam in Michelangelo's famous painting in the Sistine Chapel ..

    Sistine Chapel Stupidity 2012

    In some films, this might be interpreted in a number of ways. The original painting has God giving life to man. So maybe this is symbolic of man's abandonment of God, creating a rift between them. Or maybe it's meant to be ironic... the painting depicts God giving life to man, now all mankind is facing extinction. Or perhaps it's allegory for religion in general, illustrating that even God can't help you when the world ends. Etc. Etc.

    But attributing such deep thought to anything in 2012 would be absurd.

    I know this because earlier in the film, Amanda Peet is shopping with her boyfriend when he says something cheesy and ridiculous like "I don't know honey... I feel like there's something pulling us apart..." just before a crack opens up directly between them...

    Supermarket Stupidity in 2012

    Yes. This movie is that fucking stupid.

    But even that's not the reason I loathe the film so vehemently.

    As I said, this film was made for idiots. And because idiots don't have the intelligence to think for themselves or figure things out on their own, filmmakers like Roland Emmerich have to design their films to appeal to the lowest common denominator. They insert obvious clues in order to tell the audience how they should think, feel, and react. More often than not, these clues come in the form of a character. Somebody in the film whose only purpose is to help an audience of idiots know when to laugh, cry, get mad, or be scared. A douchebag moron to spell it all out.

    In the case of 2012, we get this piece of shit...

    Fucking Douchebag in 2012

    First it's the "Oh no, we're doomed!" look. Then the "Hooray, we're saved!" elation. It's so pathetic and absurd that seeing it makes me want to punch somebody in the face. Starting with this asshole...

    I hate characters like this. Fucking HATE THEM!

    And yet they're becoming more and more common in movies... and more and more blatant in their manipulations. It's getting so bad that pretty soon movie directors will just add subtitles which say things like "THIS IS SAD SO YOU SHOULD CRY NOW" and "THIS SCENE IS WHERE YOU GET ANGRY" and "THIS CHARACTER IS A BAD GUY."

    Which is pretty much what 2012 is all about. Telegraphing audience instructions with blatant eye candy and shameless manipulation for no practical purpose... including entertainment.

    The Blogography Movie Rating System...

    Blogography Movie Rating

    Which brings us to...

    Dave2 rating for 2012 (2009) — Bomb!Bomb!Bomb!Bomb!Bomb!Bomb!Bomb!

       

    Vanishing

    Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

    Dave!Usually I take the direct Amsterdam to Seattle flight at 10:15am, arriving 11:25am. But since I didn't know my schedule in Berlin when I bought my plane tickets, I opted for a later flight via Minneapolis that leaves Amsterdam at 1:25pm and arrives in Seattle at a gut-wrenching 7:19pm... a full five hours of extra travel time.

    At which point I have to drive 2-1/2 hours to get home.

    Usually the drive is no big deal, but yesterday it became one by the time I left the airport at 8:00pm completely exhausted. Things were further drawn out when I stopped 45 minutes outside of Seattle in North Bend at the Mt. Si Shell Station (pronounced "Mount Sigh") to fuel up.

    I only mention this because the gas station is across the street from the Mt. Si Chevron Station, which is the place that Sandra Bullock disappeared without a trace in the Jeff Bridges/Kiefer Sutherland thriller The Vanishing. This was a crappy remake of a pretty good Dutch movie called Spoorloos, but with the customary Hollywood "happy ending" slapped on to ruin the film. Well, it was actually ruined before the ending, but that's what I remember disappointing me most...

    Spoorloos vs. The Vanishing

       
    Speaking of movies, I rather liked the film The Young Victoria that was playing on-demand during my flight home...

    The Young Victoria Poster

    This was surprising to me, because usually I can't stand weepy period romance films. But this was something entirely different, with politics and power playing a bigger role than romance. If that wasn't enough, the production values and performances were all top-notch. Emily Blunt has come a long way since The Devil Wears Prada... which is kind of incredible when you consider the movies were only two years apart!

    And now I suppose I should get back to work. I seem to be buried again.

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    08/20: HEAVEN

    Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

    Dave!Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "heaven."

    Which is easy, because I've been there...

    Field of Dreams

    Field of Dreams

    Field of Dreams

       
    "Is this... is this heaven?"

    "It's Iowa."

    "Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven."

    "Is there a heaven?"

    "Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true."

       

    "Maybe this is heaven.""

       

    16/20: MOVE

    Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

    Dave!Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is "move."

    I spent most of my day moving... down the highway... so this was an easy one.

    Usually, I drive over the day before I have work in Spokane, spend the night, then start fresh in the morning. But time is so scarce now-a-days that I couldn't afford to do that. So I drove three hours over. Worked for 25 minutes. Ate at David's Pizza for 20 minutes. Then drove three hours back home. All in one day. It's not an ideal situation, but the work is critical and must be performed in person, so whatcha gonna do?

    I constructed a rig out of an old GPS window mount to hold my iPhone. I then use a photo app that lets me take a photo with a simple tap to the screen. This allows me to easily snap photos of my journey safely, since I don't need to look at the display to shoot. Occasionally I stop and relocate the mount to my side window just to mix things up. Most of the photos end up looking like crap, because they're not composed in any way, but I do end up with enough shots to tell a story of my day...

    Spokane Drive

       
    In other news... I finally got around to watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tonight...

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Hands down one of the best films I've seen in quite a while.

    And I'm including the awesome MacGruber, so you know I'm serious.

    The Swedish film is actually called Män som hatar kvinnor ("Men who hate women" in English) but it's based on Stieg Larsson's 2005 book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In some ways, the movie title is more appropriate, because the story has some rather shocking violence in it. Fortunately, it's anything but gratuitous, and serves a very necessary purpose to the plot (a shamed journalist is hired to solve a 40-year-old murder where things aren't as they seem, and gets help from a remarkable and unexpected ally).

    It also has one of the best revenge scenarios I've seen since Kill Bill.

    What's amazing is that the two sequel novels in the "Millennium Trilogy"... The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2007) have already been filmed. In fact, remarkably, all three books were filmed as a six-part mini-series for Swedish television and aired in 2009. Apparently, both sequels are coming to the USA this year as a theatrical release in bigger cities first, then on video at the end of the year. Sweet!

    Due to the massive success of the books here, Hollywood is planning American adaptations, with actors like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney rumored as leads. It's an interesting idea (though central plot elements seem like they'd need changing if the story is relocated domestically), but the originals are so good that it seems a bit pointless. Unless you factor in American's hatred of reading subtitles, in which case it makes perfect sense. Oh well.

    In any event, if you can handle a bit of violence and can read subtitles, the movie is worth a look. If you're a Netflix customer, you can even watch it instantly!

       

    Bullet Sunday 192

    Posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2010

    Dave!I am really too busy to blog, but if I don't rant about all the fake-ass crap that's been building up inside of me this week, I'll explode. So, apologies in advance...

       
    • Faux Advertising. Am I the only one who thinks that the ads currently running for the new Kia Soul are stupid? I mean, once you get past the cuteness factor of hamsters rapping and driving around, what does it say about the car? That they're so small only hamsters can drive them?

    Kia Hamsters

    What's odd is that the ad is being overplayed. Almost as if Kia is wanting people to get sick of it. I mean sure it's entertaining one or two times but, once the novelty wears off, it's useless. I'd argue it actually works against the brand, as the existence of this bullet would attest. But, then again, any publicity is good publicity. I guess.

       
    • Faux HD. I was channel-surfing for some background noise yesterday while I worked, and ended up watching Kevin Smith's underrated Jersey Girl on the TBS's HD Channel. And ended up screaming the entire time because the movie was NOT presented in HD. They just took the butchered SD version and stretched it out to fit the HD width. Which is bullshit. Don't go calling yourself an "HD" station if you're not going to show movies in HD. This kind of crap drives me insane. To illustrate, here's a scene from the movie Lost in Translation where a critical conversation is reduced to lips talking...

    Lost in Tranlation HD Scene
    The scene as God (and director Sofia Coppola) intended.

    Lost in Tranlation SD Butchered Scene
    The scene butchered on Standard-Def television and Pan-n-Scan DVDs.

    Lost in Tranlation Butchered Faux HD Scene.
    The scene butchered in Stretched-SD-Faux-HD, ala TBS

    And another. This time made worse, because an entire character has been obliterated...

    Lost in Tranlation HD Scene
    The scene as God (and director Sofia Coppola) intended.

    Lost in Tranlation Butchered SD Scene
    The scene butchered on Standard-Def television and Pan-n-Scan DVDs.

    Lost in Tranlation Butchered Faux HD Scene
    The scene butchered in Stretched-SD-Faux-HD, ala TBS

    Now, TBS is hardly the sole offender of butchering movies so stupidly, but they're one of the worst offenders. I wish the FCC would fine stations who misrepresent content. If you're an HD channel showing SD content, then don't distort the content in the hopes that nobody notices. Present it for the butchered bullshit it is...

    Lost SD on HD

       
    • Faux Justice. On Monday, child-raping-piece-of-shit Roman Polanski officially got away with violating a 13-year-old girl when Swiss authorities refused to extradite the infamous sexual-predator director back to the US to face charges from 30 years ago. Ultimately, I'm upset that just because somebody directs a few critically-acclaimed films they can get away with rape... but it was a decision for the Swiss, they made their decision, and I understand that. What I don't understand is how a big chunk of Hollywood stood behind Polanski and advocated for his release. People like Natalie Portman. Penelope Cruz. Whoopie Goldberg. Darren Aronofsky. Wes Anderson. And loads more. It's just baffling. My feelings were pretty well summed-up by Chris Rock on Leno a while back when he said "IT'S RAPE! IT'S RAPE!!! in total disbelief. How in the hell do you defend that?

       
    • Faux Hulk. Word dropped this week that Edward Norton, who played Bruce Banner in the last Incredible Hulk movie, was not going to be reprising the role in the forthcoming Avengers movie, even though he wanted to. This is monumentally stupid on so many levels. Mostly because the Hulk is a computer special effect, and Norton only appears when Bruce Banner is in the scene. And, let's face it, in an Avengers movie they're not going to spend a lot of time with Bruce Banner...

    Hulk Smash!

    Marvel just wanted to save a few bucks, so they used some bullshit conflict with Norton from years ago so they could find a cheaper actor that will kiss their ass. You'd have thought they'd have learned something from the massive success of the Iron Man movie franchise... quality people make a quality product, and you get what you pay for. Not that I'm saying there aren't other actors out there that could do a good job, I just think it's incredibly lame that this is how Marvel has decided to approach the project. Fortunately, Edward Norton has managed to stay classy.

       
    • Faux Righteousness. I've never understood how being Pro-Choice when it comes to abortion automatically removes you from the Pro-Life camp. I am most decidedly Pro-Life... it is the cornerstone of my beliefs. But I fully understand that this is the United States of America where people are allowed to have beliefs that are different from mine, so I am also Pro-Choice (which I explain in further detail here). Being Pro-Choice does not make me "Anti-Life" in any way, it simply makes me supportive of the ideals and freedoms upon which this country was based. And, while I don't in any way support suppressing free speech, I do feel that people should be able to make their choice free from persecution. Especially when the choice is one that's forced upon you and you're heartbroken about it.

    Earlier this week, Aaron over at The Daddy Files blogged about having to take his wife to terminate their pregnancy because the baby had a rare birth defect which was causing it to slowly die inside of her. As they approached the clinic, idiotic protesters were there "doing God's work" of mercilessly abusing people by shouting things like "YOU'RE KILLING YOUR UNBORN BABY!!" Which is horrifying enough for a woman who is already scared and vulnerable... but for somebody who wants to have their baby, but can't? It's nothing less than torture. And Aaron decided to do something about it by confronting these monstrous people. I encourage you to read his story. Yes, I'm a Pro-Life-Pro-Choicer. And I am 100% for free speech. But this is not "free speech" it's harassment. It's abusive. It is literally torture. And I think it should be illegal to so ruthlessly persecute women who are already making what has to be a difficult decision THAT'S AFFORDED TO THEM LEGALLY UNDER THE LAW! These are not compassionate people of any God I know. They're evil, pure and simple.

       
    • Faux Problem. What's surprising... but really not... is how most of the bitching about the iPhone 4 antenna problems come from people who don't own an iPhone 4, don't plan to buy an iPhone 4, and just enjoy mindlessly bashing everything Apple does because they're more fanatically obsessed with iPhone than even the people who own one. Of the dozen people I know that ran out and bought iPhone 4, not one has anything but raves for it. I would be one of those people, but Apple still hasn't released the iPhone 4 White, which is the one I want. With a lime green Bumper...

    iPhone White and Green Bumper

    Not to belittle anybody who is having problems, but... If you don't want an iPhone 4, don't buy it. If you bought one and don't like it, bring it back. It's not rocket science.

       
    • Faux Trust. I am more appreciative than anybody will ever know of the people who drop by here to read my crazy crap... then thank me for creating it. I write and draw and photograph things for Blogography pretty much for myself, but it's nice to know that other people like it too. The friends I've made from this website have been a true gift, and I never feel alone no matter where I end up because my online life is always there (AT&T willing). But, as swell as blogging has been to me, I admit to being afraid of it from time to time. More and more, people are treating personal blogs as if they were irreproachable news sources rather than the opinion-pieces they really are. Even here, everything you read is just one opinion with one view and one side of the story. Mine. And even though I've met dozens of people in-person and have been blogging here for years, the scary truth is that I could be a serial killer. Or one of those Russian spies. Or a pathelogical liar. Or an agent of the devil. Or anything.

    The fact that I'm a genius who is always right may seem to be a reason to trust everything I do at Blogography... and I totally encourage blind trust and allegiance as a part of my quest for world domination... but I feel compelled to point out that no blog, including mine, will ever have the whole story. I would fervently hope that before acting upon or accepting anything I say or do here, people would attempt to be fully informed. It's not a matter of trust... but responsibility.

       
    Well I certainly feel better now. Annnnd... back to work.

       

    Bullet Sunday 193

    Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010

    Dave!Here I am in the Peach State of Georgia, where it's time once again for Bullet Sunday. Apparently I'm now in an area which is not included in the "97% of Americans" that AT&T's cellular network professes to cover, so Bullet Sunday is about all I got! Thank heavens for WiFi.

       
    • Weather! Hot with a chance of hot humidity and hot thunderstorms? Well, let's just say I don't plan on spending a lot of time outdoors while I'm here...

    Weather is HOT!

       
    • Wheaton! While at Comic-Con, I posted a photo of Wil Wheaton to my Flickr stream. After responding to @Whall making a Stand By Me joke about it, I mentioned that I had met Wil Wheaton twice, and wasn't going to stand in line for two hours to meet him again. For this, I got called "bullshit" on by some random stranger, and was told that "Standing in line at a Star Trek convention for a two second autograph doesn't count as 'meeting Wil Wheaton'."

    Well, whatever... while I do have an autographed photo of Wesley Crusher that I was happy to stand in line for, that's not what I was talking about. Where I "met" Wil Wheaton was while he was an evangelist touring with NewTek, and it was hardly a "two second autograph." In fact, all I did was talk to him, I didn't even get an autograph at all. Or a photo. Though Wheaton did appear in the background of one of the photos I took of Kiki Stockhammer...

    Wheatooooooon!

    Bazinga! I'd mention that I stood in the airport security line out of San Diego with Paul Sr. of West Coast Choppers (from the TV show American Chopper) yesterday, but you probably wouldn't believe that either. Apparently I have nothing better to do than sit around and invent stories of chance encounters with famous people.

       
    • Waffles! There is not a single Waffle House in all of Washington State (the closest is in COLORADO!), which means the only time I get to eat at one is when I'm traveling. This sucks, but at least I have something to look forward to...

    Waffle House Dinner

    The food is (relatively) inexpensive, tastes good, and available 24 hours. What more could you ask for?

       
    • Wobble! When I was at the San Diego Zoo the other day, I was wandering through the new Elephant exhibit and came across an elephant dancing to some music that was playing nearby (you can barely hear it in the background there, as my iPhone doesn't have the best microphone)...

    Rock on, Tantor! Though a part of me is kind of sad at the idea that he might be wobbling around because he's bored in his cage and doesn't have anything better to do. San Diego Zoo is better than most at providing nice habitats for their animals to live in, but it's still a cage at the end of the day.

       
    • Watch! They keep adding cool bits to the TRON: Legacy trailer, which only makes me want to see the film more than ever. December is so far away...

    They've youthed Jeff Bridges! And did a really good job of it! I hope the movie lives up to even a fraction of the hype that's building around it.

       
    • Web! I hope that Flash videos in my previous two bullets didn't crash on you! For anybody who says that Mac users who whine about Flash are stuck in the past, and Flash has been much improved and runs perfectly on the Mac, I beg to differ. It's still the bug-ridden pile of bloated FAIL! it's always been, and still crashes all the time, as I can testify to because it happened again just today...

    Flash Crash Report

    Flash just can't die fast enough.

       
    And now... I guess I really should get back to work.

       

    DAY ELEVEN: Chicago

    Posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2010

    Dave!Since I couldn't get a flight home today without paying a fortune, I'm flying home tomorrow on the cheap. I thought the whole "Saturday Night Stay" price-reduction scenario had died off in the airline industry, but apparently it's alive and well. Though it's not like I'm going to complain about having a free day in Chicago, which is one of my favorite places. Especially since the city is full of friends that I can hang with when last-minute travel plans drop in my lap.

    My day pretty much went like this... work, take a shower, work, put on clothes, work, lunch and LEGO hunting in the city, work... movies.

    The strange part here is the movies, because I so rarely have time to see them.

    And I hate going to the theater.

    Because going to the movies pretty much sucks ass anymore. People talking. People texting. People taking calls. People sneaking in noisy bags of Doritos and other distracting crap. People in general, really. Because people are stupid, rude, and suck ass.

    But my hotel was near Muvico, which is supposedly a much better class of theater, and so I thought my problems were solved.

    First I saw Angelina Jolie in the post-cold-war spy-thriller Salt, which I enjoyed quite a lot. It's kind of a cross between No Way Out and James Bond in a nicely stylized film that keeps the action moving. Sure there are entire sections that were downright silly in their implausibility, but overall I thought it held up pretty well. At the very least, it was entertaining, which is about all you can ask for in a movie.

    I saw Salt in Muvico's "regular" theater. It's the same as most theaters, but the seats and views are a bit nicer. That didn't change the fact that I ended up staring at glowing mobile phone screens throughout the whole damn movie...

    DaveToon: Theaters Suck with Phone Glows

    Next I saw Inception, which is a clever Christopher Nolan film that proves his previous successes with Memento and The Dark Knight were no fluke. And though I usually don't care for Leonardo DiCaprio, I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page more than compensated with their excellent performances. The story involves corporate espionage via "shared dreaming" which is an interesting concept to begin with, but Nolan (who both wrote and directed) took it to the next level by tossing in a nice dose of reality-bending twists. The result is both interesting and entertaining, which is a rare surprise. This is not to say that the film is flawless... there were more than a few problems with the internal logic of How Things Work, and Ellen Page's character was a laughable catch-all for any story exposition or filler that Nolan needed to keep things moving. But still... a solid effort, and well-worth your valuable time.

    I saw Inception in Muvico's PREMIUM theater. Here you get a huge comfy seat and free popcorn for the bargain price of $20. Or at least it would be a bargain if it lived up to the hype. The problem is that the theater has other people in it...

    • The idiot to my left was regularly lighting up the theater by checking messages and texting on his phone. This is expressly forbidden but, since Muvico does nothing to enforce it, it happens all the time.
    • The idiots to my right were typical talkers, whose scintillating conversation involved such clever exchanges as "Where's the bathrooms in this place? answered by "They're outside!" Never mind that you pass directly by the bathrooms on your way into the theater AND there are giant signs pointing the way, THIS is worth interrupting the movie for?
    • The idiots behind me didn't understand what the heck was going on in the film, so they decided to talk about how much better Titanic was.
    • The idiot in front of me decided to do yoga stretches every 15 minutes, waving their arms in front of the screen.
    • Despite the high-class nature of the theater, half the chairs squeaked horribly, which meant that I was audibly annoyed even when people shut the hell up. How Muvico can have such poorly-maintained facilities and still justify charging $20 a ticket is beyond me.

    And why do I go to movies in the theater again? Even the so-called "premium" experiences such ass.

    Guess I'll just start waiting for Blu-Ray.

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    Expendables

    Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010

    Dave!Despite multiple horrible experiences at the movies recently (not with the films, but with the dumbasses in the audience), I hooked up with some friends to go see Sylvester Stallone's latest epic masterpiece The Expendables. I ended up enjoyed it quite a lot.

    Which is somewhat surprising given the number of poor reviews the film has been getting. Critics just can't seem to leave it alone, saying that it "doesn't live up to expectations," like it's a complete waste of the big-name action stars stacked up behind it...

    The Expendables Movie Poster

    Which raises the question... What the hell were the critics expecting?

    What I expected was a lot of bad dialogue, major ass-kicking, and huge explosions attached to a paper-thin plot and recycled storyline. This seemed logical given that it was co-written, directed, and starring... SYLVESTER STALLONE!

    Surprise! The film featured a lot of bad dialogue, major ass-kicking, and huge explosions attached to a paper-thin plot and recycled storyline.

    Yes I wish that they hadn't cast drastically over-used Eric Roberts as the bad guy (yet again). Sure I wish the story was tighter in the pacing and expanded in parts to add depth to the characters. Of course it would have been nice to functional dialogue... but that's obviously not what The Expendables was about. It's an homage to cheesy 80's action flicks, and fits the bill perfectly (even if all those 80's cheesy one-liners are curiously absent... Ahnold didn't even say "I'll be back!"). If you turn off your brain and just go with it, as intended, it's entertaining movie fare.

    Just don't forget to turn your brain back on as you leave the theater.

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    Pilgrim

    Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2010

    Dave!Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a good film which could have been a great film if it hadn't turned out to be Michael Cera vs. The World.

    My relationship with the original Scott Pilgrim comics by Bryan Lee O'Malley is a long story. Five years ago I was introduced to the book because of a girl I really liked. She was geeky and cool and cute and everything else you could possibly want in a potential girlfriend.

    Except I was stuck in the dreaded "Friend Zone" with no hope of ever escaping.

    A friend who knew of my predicament was more amused than sympathetic, and his solution in consoling me was to loan me Scott Pilgrim Volumes 1 & 2. Which, as anybody who has read those books would realize, is not much of a consolation at all.

    But they were an awesome read. I became an instant fan.

    The story of Scott Pilgrim is funny, smart, crazy, random, complex, beautiful, bittersweet, epic, and wholly entertaining. I've read each of the subsequent volumes as they've been released, and made a point of not seeing the movie until I had finished the final book of the series, Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour...

    Scott Pilgrim Books

    Since I read the finale last week, it was just a matter of finding the time to see the film, and tonight was the night. Off to the theater I went with all my expectations firmly in check. Sure the movie was lauded at Comic-Con, critically acclaimed by Scott Pilgrim fans, and getting good reviews in the press... but it was also bound to be a very condensed version of a highly complex story that ran over a thousand pages in six big manga-sized volumes. But would it be enough?

    Scott Pilgrim Poster

    Yes.

    And no.

    First of all, I was shocked at the amount of heart they managed to keep in the love story given how much of the background to the relationship was lost in translation to the Big Screen. I was anticipating that the movie would simply be one stylized fight scene after another with little room for anything else. This was pretty much the case. Except... director Edgar Wright managed to squeeze in just enough to make you actually care how things work out in the end. That was unexpected. That is what elevated the movie to near greatness. That is why I want to love the movie so much.

    Because what's not to love? Boy meets Girl. Boy has to defeat Girl's seven evil exes so he can date her.

    With one major exception, the cast was flawless. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was inspired as Scott's love interest Ramona Flowers. Kieran Culkin was genius as Scott's gay roommate Wallace Wells. Ellen Wong was a revelation as Scott's high-school ex-girlfriend Knives Chau. It was one home run after another. Even the "League of Evil Exes" made a big impression despite their extremely limited screen time...

    Scott Pilgrim Evil Exes

    Where the movie fails... and fails massively... is the casting of Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim.

    It was an awful, awful choice that dogged the movie from start to finish. Michael Cera was NOT Scott Pilgrim. He was Michael Cera. He's Michael Cera in everything he's ever in. Don't get me wrong... I liked his nervous geeky schtick the first time I saw it in Arrested Development. I even liked his nervous geeky schtick in Superbad... and Juno... and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist... but I'm done with it now. I wanted to see Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim, and it never happened. You can surround Michael Cera with all the incredibly cool special effects and kick-ass fight scenes you want, and it doesn't change the fact that it's Michael Cera up on the screen... he never lets you forget it...

    Scott Pilgrim Kroww!

    Sword Fight 8-Bit Style!

    Because after all that fades away, you're left with MICHAEL CERA BEING MICHAEL CERA...

    Michael Cera

    I can only guess that the decision to cast him was made to please some movie studio executive so they had a "known name" to sell the film. It was a decision that pretty much sabotaged the flick in every way possible, and it kills me to say that. So much went right with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World that it could have survived just about any flaws that managed to creep in. I mean, they overcame so much just to get it all to come together so beautifully. But when that flaw is the main character?

    In the end, my love of the Scott Pilgrim books makes me mostly love the movie too, despite a near fatal weakness in the lead role. It's one of the most imaginative and artistic flicks I've ever seen, and miraculously manages to capture the core concept of a highly complex and lengthy story. It's well worth your valuable time to check out.

    Next up for Michael Cera? He will be playing Gilligan in a movie remake of Gilligan's Island, which I fully expect will end up being Michael Cera's Island.

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    Bullet Sunday 196

    Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

    Dave!It's a boring day for Bullet Sunday, but here it comes...

       
    • Read. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Curious George. It was George who ignited my life-long love of monkeys, and his books remain some of my favorites of all time (the best being Curious George Goes to the Hospital. For this reason, I was happy to see that the Library of Congress was using him to promote reading with a series of cool ads...

    Curious George Reads

    Curious George Reads

    Books come and go, but the classics are forever.

       
    • Digital. As a long-time fan of comic books, there's something... wrong... with the idea of reading them digitally on an iPad or computer screen instead of the wonderful tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a book. But, after downloading a bunch of freebies on my mom's iPad using the Comixology app, I have to say... I'm almost convinced. I'm growing to love the effortless navigation, brilliant colors, and distraction-free panel-by-panel "Guide View" that leads you through the stories. As if that weren't enough, you can store a lot of comics on a digital device, which beats having to lug around stacks of books and finding room to store them all...

    Comixology iPad App

    However... pricing and availability sucks ass.

    Take for example the acclaimed Vertigo series Y: The Last Man. I've never read the series, but have always wanted to. The first issue was FREE on Comixology so I snapped it up and was immediately hooked. I wanted more. So I click on the "Full Series" button only to find this...

    Comixology iPad App

    WTF?!? They have just THREE issues of a SIXTY issue series... FOR A DOLLAR-NINETY-NINE EACH!! Even if the entire series was available, who is going to pay $120 when you can get PHYSICAL COPIES of all ten trade paperback volumes for $90? Heck, you can get all the OVERSIZED DELUXE HARDCOVER volumes for $100. This is insanity. Nobody wants to pay more for less. No printing. No shipping costs. No distribution. No retailer markup. No resale value. Nothing extra or special. Except the price, which just sucks. I would gladly pay $60 for the entire digital series, I may even pay $90, which is what the trade paperbacks would cost me. But $120? Screw that. Especially since there's no guarantee they'll ever release all the issues for digital sale in the first place. If this is the future of publishing, count me out. EPIC FAIL!

       
    • Emmy. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Betty White won an Emmy for her hilarious guest host performance on Saturday Night Live...

    Emmy Statue

    It's Betty White!!

    To this day, I remain astounded at how she cut no corners... she appeared in every sketch, plus an SNL Short, plus all the MacGruber interludes plus Weekend Update. Truly one of the hardest working people in show business (she just signed on for a TWO-book deal!), this is Betty's fifth Emmy win and she deserved every bit of it. As always, I can't wait to see what she'll do next.

       
    • Miyazaki. Good news for fans of Hayao Miyazaki (perhaps the greatest animator in history). Despite saying he was going to retire years ago, a recent interview revealed that he has no plans to retire. In fact, he's planning two films and is musing over a sequel to his underrated gem, Porco Rosso...

    Hayao Miyazaki

    When I flew to L.A. and met up with Howard for a rare live appearance of Miyazaki-san discussing his career, I thought it was a kind of "retrospective farewell," and am happier than words could express that this is not the case. Next up, Karigurashi no Arietti (The Borrower Arrietty) based on Mary Norton's 1952 novel The Borrowers...

    The Borrower Arrietty

    If there's anything you can rely on, it's that this movie will be yet another awesome Miyazaki work of art.

       
    • Eggs. My fried egg sandwich was delicious. So far so good... but salmonella can take up to three days to incubate, so I could have a diarrhea explosion any minute now. I'll keep you posted.

       
    Annnnd... I'm spent. This is going to be a loooooong week.

       

    Hollywood

    Posted on Thursday, August 26th, 2010

    Dave!The internet is all abuzz over Taylor Lautner filing a lawsuit against an RV dealership because they didn't deliver a $300,000 custom trailer to his movie set on time. For people (like me) who don't give a crap about the Twilight movies, Taylor Lautner is the "Jacob" of that whole "Team Edward vs. Team Jacob" debate that has every teenage girl's panties in a bunch. Apparently he's like a werewolf but he can change anytime, not just when the moon is full. Or something like that. I dunno. All I do know is that in those movie ads he hangs out with a bunch of other guys and they all take their shirts off a lot...

    Pack!

    Now, on one hand, breach of contract is a breach of contract. If the RV dealership said they would deliver something on time and didn't, well, they're in breach of contract. Legally, Taylor Lautner has every right to sue.

    On the other hand, shit happens. Maybe the gold-plated toilet Taylor wanted wasn't delivered to the dealership on time, and it's not their fault they're late. Maybe the person installing the diamond-studded bumper on the trailer got sick and had to go to the hospital. Maybe the platinum coating on the hubcaps needed to be polished up before they could deliver the thing. We just don't know. Because shit happens.

    But surely the movie studio could get Lautner a substitute trailer for a few days until his $300,000 dream-home-on-wheels arrives. It's not like the guy wasn't going to have a place to stay. And it's not like the RV dealership was grossly negligent and gave him a motorhome with exposed wiring in the crystal chandelier hanging in the shower so he got electrocuted or something horrible like that... they're just late.

    Which makes Taylor Lautner kind of a douchebag diva here.

    Apparently now that he's a big-ass star, the universe is supposed to bow to his whims. Shit happens, but it doesn't get to happen to him. He's too important. He's too special. He's too deserving. You don't fuck with Taylor Lautner or you get your ass sued.

    Whatever.

    Something tells me that Taylor Lautner has forgotten who he is. Where he came from. What it's like to be merely human.

    He's gone full-on Hollywood douchebag.

    But...

    Taylor, dude, you were fucking "Shark Boy" in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D!

    Shark Boy and Lava Girl

    You don't go from being "Shark Boy" to suing people for "emotional distress" because your $300,000 RV is late to your movie set... unless your intention is to make people hate your spoiled ass. The internet is cruel and unforgiving that way.

    Something also tells me we won't be seeing a sequel... a Shark Man and Lava Woman, if you will... any time soon. Taylor Lautner is just too big a star for something like that now.

    What a darn shame.

       

    Bullet Sunday 197

    Posted on Sunday, August 29th, 2010

    Dave!This Bullet Sunday is my last before I leave this Saturday. Bullet Sundays 198, 199, and 200 will be written while I'm on vacation. I'm happy just thinking about it. But happiness, as always, is tempered by sadness...

       
    • Dreaming Machines. I was profoundly sad to learn that the brilliant animation director Satoshi Kon had passed away earlier this week from pancreatic cancer. As the man behind Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and his brilliant tour de force of the imagination Paprika, this is a terrible loss to Japanese anime fans around the world.

    Satoshi Kon
    "The 24-bit eggplant will be analyzed!"

    ••• IF YOU READ ONLY ONE THING FROM THIS ENTRY, PLEASE READ THIS! •••
    Even if you dislike Satoshi Kon's movies. Even if you don't like Japanese animation. Even if you have never heard of Satoshi Kon. Even if you don't care about any of this... you must... MUST read the translation of Kon-san's final words, which his family generously posted on his blog. Because when it comes to facing mortality with a grace and dignity above and beyond what you could ever dream a human being is capable of, this is it. Satoshi Kon's letter is about as inspiring a message as you'll find, and his words are some of the most beautiful I have ever read.

    Click here for Mr. Kon's final words (in English).

    I am heartsick over the fact that he did not live to finish the production of his latest film, Yume Miru Kikai ("Dreaming Machines") which was sure to be yet another work of genius. I am hopeful that Masao Maruyama of Madhouse Animation manages to "figure everything out" and complete the film in Mr. Kon's absence. Given their past collaborations, I have ever confidence in Maruyama-san to carry out Satoshi Kon's vision and create a movie worthy of his legacy.

       
    • Paprika. And just because I can't express in mere words what it means to lose a man of such boundless imagination and sublime vision as Mr. Satoshi Kon, here is the crazy-ass trailer and genius opening credits for his film Paprika. Crank up the volume, because the stunning soundtrack by Mr. Kon's frequent collaborator, composer Susumu Hirasawa, is worth a listen...

       

    Rumor has it that director Wolfgang Petersen (The NeverEnding Story, In the Line of Fire, Outbreak, etc.) is working on a live-action version of the film. Heaven only knows how he'll manage it, as Paprika has imagery that doesn't seem as though it would work in "the real world"). Personally, I think a live-action adaptation of Paprika has already been made with Christopher Nolan's Inception, which is a very different film, but operates along the same ideas.

    Rest in peace, Kon-san, you will be missed.

       
    • Alas, MacGruber. One of my favorite performers on the current Saturday Night Live line-up, Will Forte, has announced he will not be returning for another season of the show. Now, I'm firmly of the opinion that SNL started tanking after Eddie Murphy left, and then went on a full-on decline once Phil Hartman left... but I still watched because there were occasional flashes of brilliance. Will Forte was responsible for many of them...

    Will Forte as MacGruber

    So long, MacGruber... you will be missed.

       
    • Unloading. If I've depressed you with my first three bullets, I'm sorry. For a dose of funny to cheer you back up, check out the Madge & Dave podcast where they unload on pop culture with style. Well... not so much "style" per se... but they do unload.

       
    • Booky. DK Publishing produces some of my favorite books. Their visual travel guides are the benchmark by which I judge all others. Their visual history titles redefine how interesting our past can be presented. Their visual art and architecture volumes can make a fascinating subject even more amazing. But my favorite thing they do is their pop culture visual guides for such worthy subjects as comic books, television & movies, toys like LEGO, and... STAR WARS! Their amazing reference works and brilliant cut-away guides has added depth to the Star Wars universe in more ways than a fan could hope for. Their latest visual title is sheer genius... Star Wars: Year by Year...

    Star Wars Year By Year

    What makes this book so great is that it's about the things both surrounding and involving the Star Wars films. Influences, comics, games, books, interviews, production notes, television shows, posters... anything and everything... all taken year by year. It's a fascinating look at all things Star Wars that no fan can miss.

       
    And now... I'm off to try an fit 16 days of clothes into a suitcase...

       

    Amazonia

    Posted on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

    Dave!I am starting to really, really despise Amazon.com — not because they suck or anything... for the most part I find their pricing and service to be excellent. No, the reason I hate them is because they make it entirely too easy for me to spend money I don't have. Stupid Amazon and their stupid product suggestions and their stupid One-Click ordering!

    Here are three of my latest totally non-essential purchases that I just had to own or else I would die...

       
    THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
    Star Wars is awesomeness defined. So awesome that at the time it was released, it was nearly impossible to process. Most everything about it was so new and revolutionary that the brain had no choice but to explode at the thought of it all. But by the time The Empire Strikes Back came along three years later, we were accustomed to all the amazing special effects and mind-blowing elements that made Star Wars such a phenomena. We wouldn't be surprised again.

    Or so we thought. The Empire Strikes Back proved us wrong. Upping the ante in every possible way, the film raised the bar so high that few... very few... films have managed to top it. It remains one of my top-five favorite films of all time, and cemented my love of Star Wars for all eternity (even when the franchise turned to shit with Return of the Jedi and the horrendously craptastic prequels).

    So how could I possibly not purchase The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, J.W. Rinzler's stunning follow-up to The Making of Star Wars and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones? This massive 372-page tome has a definitive look at every aspect of the movie's creation taken from countless hours of research and interviews. It includes numerous pieces of production art, behind-the-scenes photos, and other tidbits which gives the reader an insider's look at Empire in a way that will make you not only fall in love with the film all over again... but have an entirely new appreciation for the people behind it...

    DAVE APPROVED: The Making of The Empire Strikes Back

    It's a complete and total steal at $49.72 (list price $85.00!), and I give it my highest possible recommendation for Star Wars fans and anybody who's interested in film production. The Force is indeed strong with this one!

       
    THE SECRET OF KELLS BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO
    Where to start with this one. Probably with the fact that I am a total animation whore. I remain hopelessly fascinated with the artform and obsess over its every incarnation. Everything from a simple flip-book to full-blown computer-generated animations captivate me. But hand-drawn animated features are my favorite. Even when Pixar unleashes their latest computer-rendered genius, I still find myself pining for the animated classics I grew up with.

    So imagine my surprise when I happened across a production blog back in 2006 for an animated feature called The Secret of Kells. I had visited Dublin and seen the jaw-dropping beauty of The Book of Kells the previous year, and thought it was pure genius to use it as the foundation for a movie. For years I followed the updates, watching with amazement as the film took shape...

    Blog of Kells Art

    With each update at The Blog of Kells, I became more and more excited at the visual feast that was being created. Even at its very earliest stages, you could feel this would be something special. When peeks of the animated sequences were revealed, you knew it was something special. And when it finally opened in limited release in Washington State back in May, I finally got to see it and know that "special" was a drastic understatement. The film was magic. And I don't use that term lightly.

    Infused with Celtic mythology, The Secret of Kells tells the story of a young boy named Brendan who sees an unfinished book of secret wisdom and magical powers which holds the hope of banishing darkness and defeating evil. Leaving his world behind, Brendan undertakes an amazing journey through an enchanted forest to help complete The Book of Kells. Along the way he meets mystical creatures and the fairy spirit Aisling to aid him in his quest...

    The Secret of Kells Art

    The Secret of Kells Art

    The Secret of Kells Art

    The Secret of Kells Art

    The Secret of Kells Art

    The Secret of Kells Art

    The Secret of Kells Art

    Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. Every frame of this movie is a sublime work of art in its own right. Every frickin' frame! The fact that it's all beautifully animated in old-school stylings is just the icing on the cake. I could use words like "stunning" and "breathtaking" and "Glorious" to describe it, but there is simply nothing I can say which would adequately prepare you for the experience of viewing the film. Though a part of me wonders if the story is a bit too abstract for younger kids, I can't imagine anybody not enjoying The Secret of Kells.

    For $25 you get a combo Blu-Ray/DVD pack (alas, no digital version to be found) and it's worth every penny. Again, my highest possible recommendation.

       
    GRINDHOUSE: COLLECTOR'S EDITION BLU-RAY
    Finally... finally... Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's wonderful experiment in old-school double-feature cinema has been released on home video as they intended it to be seen... an uninterrupted back-to-back experience complete with all the pseudo-trailers, aged film damage, missing reels, and intermission card goodness!

    Grindhouse combines two films of senseless campy violence, horror, and action by two of Hollywood's most genius and unconventional directors... Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino, and Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez. You also get a bunch of brutally cool "faux trailers" for films like Werewolf Women of the S.S. by Rob Zombie and Don't by Edgar Wright (and, of course, Machete which was later made into an actual film!). It's not going to be for everybody, but any fan of shlock horror films will probably love it...

    Grindhouse Movie Poster

    While both films have their charms, it's Death Proof that I can't get enough of. When it comes to Tarantino movies, it's but a blip on the radar of his impressive oeuvre, but it's still genius when compared to most of the shit that gets released. Kurt Russell(!) plays a psychopathically homicidal stuntman who likes to stalk lady drivers in his "death-proof" stunt car, eventually running them off the road and killing them. It's all fun and games for the maniac... until he terrorizes the wrong women! This twisted tale of suspense and revenge has one of the best car chase sequences ever put to film, and is chock-full of Tarantino's witty (and borderline scandalous) dialogue. As I said, it's not going to be for everybody, but it's dead-on target for its intended audience. If that's you, I give Grindhouse my highest recommendation. Amazon has it for just $23, which is more entertainment per dollar than you can shake a machine gun at!

       
    And there you have it. $100 of my hard-earned money blown with three clicks. I wish I could say this was a rare event but, alas, there are even more unnecessary but essential items waiting for me, I'm sure.

    Don't act surprised when I'm selling myself on the street for Amazon gift certificates. It's only a matter of time...

       

    Captain!

    Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    Dave!Comic book super-hero movies are a mixed bag. For every great film (like Superman, Iron Man, Dark Knight, and Spider-Man 2), there's a crapfest unleashed (like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Elektra, Batman & Robin, Spider-Man 3 and any of the boring X-Men films).

    But the latest round of Christopher Nolan Batman flicks and Jon Favreau Iron Man flicks are leading the charge in a new era of comic book super-hero awesomeness. Filmmakers are getting serious about making good films that are true to the source material because they realize there's a reason the originals are such enduring characters.

    And there's every indication that even more great stuff is coming down the pipe.

    I'm fairly certain that Thor is in capable hands with director Kenneth Branagh and acting talent like Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman onboard. I loved the comic during the Walt Simonson era, so hopefully Thor won't disappoint. Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern sounds almost too good to be true. The upcoming Batman film, The Dark Night Rises, is certain to be awesome. And I'm sure Iron Man 3 will be fantastic. I'm not so sure about the Spider-Man reboot, but surely it can't suck more than Spider-Man 3.

    But it's Captain America that I'm holding my breath over. He's easily one of my favorite Marvel heroes, and I've followed his exploits for decades. The movie is set during World War II, (before Cap was frozen in an iceberg and awoke in modern times), which is true to his origin. Chris Evans seemed like perfect casting, and leaked concept art for the contemporary costume looked promising...

    Captain America Suit

       
    And today Entertainment Weekly unveiled the World War II period costume on its cover...

    Captain America Cover

    Yep, that's Captain America alright.

    This means there's only one of the "big guns" left who has yet to get their major motion picture...

    Wonder Woman

    I'll be really disappointed if Wonder Woman gets screwed out of a movie because she's a girl. Her origin and mythology are amongst the most interesting of any comic book super-hero, and she deserves a shot.

       

    Bullet Sunday 205

    Posted on Sunday, November 7th, 2010

    Dave!Welcome to an ALL-REVIEW EDITION of Bullet Sunday!

       
    • SIDEWALKS! I still haven't come down off the high I got from Matt and Kim's second album masterpiece, Grand, so when I heard they were dropping their third album, Sidewalks, I was skeptical. How could they possible come up with anything even near as awesome? Well, they're Matt and Kim, so how could it not be awesome? I love it, and have been listening to Sidewalks constantly. Here's a short video talking about the album with a sweet taste of the awesome first track...

    The only song I don't much care for is Northeast, which deviates from the happy funtime sound that makes me love the band so much. The other nine tracks are gold, however, with my clear favorites being Block After Block, Cameras, AM/FM Sound, and Good for Great. My only criticism of Sidewalks would be that it seems over-produced compared to what's come before. The charm of Matt and Kim's music has always been the raw, unpolished, basement sound that lets their indie roots shine through. But everything here is polished so heavily that no rough edges show, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Kim's wild, unapologetic brashness when banging on the drums is kinda... muted... this time around. And while the complexity they've layered into their latest songs adds a welcome maturity to their sound, I'd hate for them to eventually be buried by it.
    SIDEWALKS RATING: B (Recommended).

       
    • THE WALKING DEAD! Comic book adaptations for television have historically been hit-or-miss, with even the most successful translations feeling like something is lacking. So imagine my surprise when one of my favorite comic books ever, The Walking Dead, actually managed to elevate the source material so high that it exceeds my impossibly high expectations. In some ways, it's even better than the comic book upon which it's based...

    The Walking Dead Volume 1

    Shocking, I know. But no more shocking than a comic book where no character is sacred and anybody can die at any minute. What's truly shocking is the production values on the series. AMC is putting some serious cash into all aspects of the program, and it shows. The special effects and location shooting are brilliant. The zombies are works of art and not the schlocky B-movie retreads I was expecting. And the acting is top-notch, with Andrew Lincoln's flawless performance as Rick Grimes adding a sense of danger and realism that's almost too good to be true...

    The Walking Dead AMC Poster

    The Walking Dead TV Cast

    Zombie Woman from The Walking Dead TV Show

    Genius television on every level, and already renewed for a second season!
    COMIC RATING: A+ (Highly Recommended).
    TV SHOW RATING: A (Highly Recommended).

       
    • EARTH! As a huge fan of The Daily Show, I was quick to snap up their humorous primer on all things USA called America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Even though The Daily Show is a comedy program, it still manages to have an intelligent discussion of news and politics between the funny. With America (The Book), they poke fun at the country by reducing our culture and history down to a ridiculous grade-school textbook filled with witty essays that illuminate while they amuse. It was a terrific book, which compelled me to pick up the follow-up tome, Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race...

    EARTH (The Book)

    It's reminiscent of America (The Book), but on a global scale. Except this time they dismissed with the essays and went with page after page of easy jokes and witty one-liners slapped on wacky infographics and amusing photos. While still funny and moderately insightful, it doesn't leave the reader with much to think about (which seems to be the point). So while I definitely enjoyed Earth (The Book) it was kind of a step-down from their previous effort.
    AMERICA (THE BOOK) RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
    EARTH (THE BOOK) RATING: B (Recommended).

       
    • BLU-RAY COLLECTIONS! I've been opposed to wasting my money on re-purchasing videos on Blu-Ray that I already own on DVD unless there's a very good reason for doing so. Unfortunately, two new sets have dropped which left me with no choice, because they both contain some of my favorite films of all time PLUS very good reasons for buying them...

    Back to the Future Trilogy and Alien Anthology

    Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy. I am convinced that all three of these films are some of the most brilliant and inventive movies to ever grace the silver screen... and it's all because of the details. The original Back to the Future not only had a great story, but showed the consequences of time travel with numerous small details that geeks like myself go crazy over (such as when Marty destroyed one of Old Man Peabody's trees in 1955, causing the "Twin Pines Mall" in 1985 to transform into "Lone Pine Mall"). Then we got Back to the Future II, which managed to create an all-new story WITHIN the original film all while giving us a fantastical look at the future. Sheer genius. Back to the Future III was a bit more mundane, trading the future for the Old West, but managed to wrap-up the trilogy in a way that was satisfying and respectful to those that came before. This new Blu-Ray set has an incredible transfer to hi-def that's a marked improvement over the old DVD versions. Despite having been filmed in the 80's, everything looks crisp and new, and there's tons of extras that any BTTF fan will love (some of which I have never seen before). An added bonus... digital copies of all three films is included, so you can transfer everything to your iPod, which is awesome. Two down-sides. 1) The packaging can make releasing the discs a real challenge. You pull down on the disc to unhook it, but sometimes it doesn't work like it should, and I worried that I'd snap the thing in half. 2) The menu system is FUCKING STUPID! Maybe it's just my player, but every damn time I view something, the menu won't come back and I have to eject the disc, then wait the five minutes it takes for the menu to load again. A serious flaw that drops my rating... I'll take functionality over design any day.
    BACK TO THE FUTURE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY RATING: B+ (Highly Recommended).

    Alien Anthology The issue here is picture quality. The Alien films are fairly dark, which is a real problem for DVD/TV. You can get some nasty compression artifacts and murky shadows that obliterate details and kill the spooky atmosphere that makes the movies work so well. Thankfully, the new Blu-Ray Hi-Def transfer is fantastic. The picture is probably better now than it ever was, which makes me wish they'd re-release the films in digital theaters. In any event, the original Ridley Scott Alien film was a masterpiece blend of science fiction and horror that can still scare the crap out of me even today. It was followed by Aliens, where James Cameron did the impossible by grafting a high-octane "space marine" action flick onto the original sci-fi/horror concept... and actually made it work. David Fincher's Alien3 was a disastrous disservice to the story from Aliens, but a pretty good film when looked at independently. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection has some amazing visual sequences that are tied together by a rather weak story which revives Sigourney Weaver's deceased character in a way that never really worked for me. And even though I hated the freaky-ass mutant alien that provided the "villain" for the fourth installment, I think I enjoyed the film overall. Everything is brought together beautifully with a shitload of awesome extras that will take me days to get through. The packaging (again) is a bit odd (WTF-?), but workable. For any fan of any of the films, Alien Anthology is a must-have.
    ALIEN ANTHOLOGY RATING: A (Highly Recommended).

       
    And now I'm out of money, so that will have to be enough unabashed consumerism for the day.

       

    Schwan

    Posted on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

    Dave!Tonight I'm going to discuss the hot mess of a film Black Swan.

    I never intended to see this movie because A) I don't like ballet, and B) I find Darren Aronofsky films to be very hit-or-miss (I loathed The Fountain and The Wrestler but loved Requiem for a Dream and Pi). I was perfectly content waiting for it to come to Netflix so I could rent it and not have to suffer through it in a theater with a bunch of rude assholes. However... I kept hearing what a brilliant masterpiece Black Swan is. And Rotten Tomatoes has it pegged at 87% which is pretty darn good.

    Sooooo... tonight was the night...

    DAVETOON: Lil' Dave is the Black Swan!

    Needless to say, this review will be riddled with spoilers. If you haven't seen the film and are planning to, you might want to bookmark this page and come back later.

    For the most part, I found Black Swan to be pretentious crap with fantastic performances and some admittedly disturbing scenes. Despite wanting to enjoy it, I was mostly bored through the predictable story and unimpressed with the heavy-handed presentation. The only reason I can honestly say I'm glad I saw it is so that I can knowingly roll my eyes into the back of my head when people start talking about what a fantastical work of art it is.

    And I suppose I should get that problem out of the way first, because THEY NEVER LET YOU FORGET IT...

    THIS FILM IS ART BECAUSE IT HAS A LOT OF FUCKING FILM GRAIN!

    30 minutes into the movie I wanted to stand up and scream "OKAY, IT'S ART! WE FUCKING GET IT!" because I was so sick and tired of the massive film grain that was so obviously meant to give the picture an art-house cinema look. I mean give me a break... usually when movies are this bad, they're deemed to be in need of restoration. Studios spend millions trying to get rid of abusive grain when re-issuing old films because modern movie audiences are accustomed to a cleaner picture. But Aronofsky is apparently so desperate that Black Swan not be mistaken for anything but art, that he takes it to an entirely new level.

    And I get that. As somebody who started out in photography using a film camera, I totally miss the beautiful, warm, classic "feel" of film that's been lost in the digital age. But there has to be limits. When I spend more time trying to ignore the grainy haze obstructing the picture than I do on the story, you've failed. Artistic visual choices I totally understand. But, just like JJ Abrams' absurdly stupid overuse of lens flair in nearly every fucking scene of Star Trek, I didn't agree with the choice here, finding it more "distractive" than "artistic."

    That's kind of a shame, because if there's one thing that truly shines here, it's the actors. Natalie Portman's wooden and shitty performance in the heinous Star Wars prequels can forever rest directly on George Lucas's shoulders, because she is genius working with Aronofsky. Her vulnerable and damaged brand of crazy is nothing short of remarkable here. And it doesn't stop there. Barbara Hershey played her abusive-obsessive mother with such beautiful restraint and subtlety that it was disturbing to watch. There was nothing forced or synthetic about it, which makes me look at her work in Beaches in an entirely different light. Mila Kunis turned in an unexpectedly great performance as well (SHE'S MEG ON FAMILY GUY FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!). And then there's Winona Rider. I have no idea what it is, but every time I see her on screen I am inexplicably mesmerized, and her tiny role in Black Swan was no exception.

    Sadly, none none of the awesome acting can save the story, which was remarkably unremarkable despite special effects and bizarre pandering to make it appear that way.

    Natalie Portman plays Nina, an aspiring prima ballerina who hammers away at her dancing with a fury so intense that she's borderline crazy before she goes literally crazy. Nina's golden ticket arrives when she is given the lead performance in Swan Lake. It's then that her never-ending drive to achieve perfection ultimately consumes her, and the movie takes us along for the ride right to the bitter end (which, if you know the story of Swan Lake, is exactly what you'd think it is).

    As I mentioned, Nina has serious psychological problems... assumably brought on by her controlling and equally crazy mother, but amplified by her overwhelming obsession to perform flawlessly at the ballet. This eventually starts to transform her with ever-escalating psycho-delusions which are meant to echo the transformation she undergoes from White Swan to Black Swan within the performance of Swan Lake (even though they are different characters, they are played by the same dancer to illustrate the mirrored duality of good vs. evil, or so I'd imagine).

    The reason we know this is because THEY BEAT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

    I gave up on counting the direct references, which usually go something like this: "Oh Nina, we know you can play the graceful White Swan perfectly, now you just need to let yourself go so you can transform into the seductive Black Swan!"

    And let herself go she does... falling deeper and deeper into her transformation until she destroys herself getting there.

    The film tries some trickery to make you wonder how much of Nina's world is real and how much is just her twisted delusions. It's very cool at first, but it ultimately goes over the top and fails. At one point Nina goes into her mother's room where dozens of mommy's painting self-portraits come alive to torment her. Until this point, you only get flashes of crazy, but now it's bluntly spelled out for you. Nina is fucking insane. Any blurring of the line from this point onward is pointless because you've already got The Big Picture. Even worse... it doesn't matter from then on what's real and what's not. It doesn't matter if her dancing partner Lily is trying to be a friend or is instead a vicious, conniving rival who is intentionally messing with her head. It doesn't matter whether her director is just trying to get her best performance or is instead manipulating her in some kind of seductive game. It doesn't matter whether her mother is just concerned and over-protective or instead an abusive, crazy oppressor. It doesn't even matter if her mother is even real or instead just a delusional invention. None of it matters at a point when it very much should matter.

    But it doesn't, and so I stopped caring.

    Instead I was just bored. If I liked ballet even a little bit, I could have at least found entertainment in the many beautifully-filmed dance sequences. But, alas...

    I truly wish that Aronofsky would have had a lighter touch when crafting this movie. Something tells me that it could have been so much more had only he not tried so damn hard to make "art" and just let it become art.

    As an example...

    At one point Nina goes out with Lily for a wild night of clubbing with drugs, alcohol, and men — all in defiance of her mother. The evening culminates when Nina brings Lily home for some hot lesbionic sex — also in defiance of her mother. In order to make sure they're not disturbed, Nina props her bedroom door with a wood board so Mommy Dearest can't open it. The next morning she oversleeps and awakes to see the board has been moved, the door is ajar, and Lily has gone. NOW... since the board was moved, the only assumption you can make is that Lily was really there and Nina didn't imagine it. EXCEPT... when Nina arrives late to the theater, Lily acts as if she never went home with her (delivering the movie's best line in the process). This leaves the viewer wondering... "Did Nina imagine it all and never prop the door, or is Lily lying to make her (more) crazy and steal her role?"

    Had the film continued down THAT road, we could have had a beautifully fucked-up ending where the viewer is left to decide what was real, what wasn't, and what that all means to them... instead of what it means to Aronofsky.

    Except, as I said, it ended up not mattering what's real or not when you've got over-the-top scenes of Natalie Portman literally becoming the Black Swan at the end (an "homage" to Jeff Goldblum in The Fly?). Way to spell it out. I would have totally missed the symbolism if you hadn't done that. So instead of letting Portman's performance stand on its own, we get special effects to take the audience by the hand and lead them to the only conclusion possible. In my humble opinion, this sucked all the power out of her character, but c'est la vie.

    Black Swan ultimately fails as a film and lost my interest. Still, I give it a C- for the awesome performances.

    Darren Aronofsky has been hired to direct Hugh Jackman in Marvel Comics next Wolverine movie. Granted, he has no choice to be fairly direct with such a mainstream film, but I'm hoping he can elevate the material to something worth watching. He is, after all, still the guy who made Requiem for a Dream and Pi, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    Though Black Swan leaves me with more doubts than I had before I saw it.

    I'm fickle that way.

       

    Video10

    Posted on Thursday, December 30th, 2010

    Dave!2010 -> AUDIO -> VIDEO -> DAVE

    I'm going to split my list of top ten video entertainments for 2010 between television and movies. I'm only including stuff I've seen, which is why films like True Grit (which I understand is great) aren't showing up.

    Here is a list of my favorite television shows from 2010 :

       
    Raising Hope

    #1 Raising Hope.
    As perfect as a television show gets. Flawless cast. Priceless writing. Endlessly entertaining. Hysterically funny. Nothing I could say would do the show justice... just tune in and watch it.

       
    The Human Target

    #2 The Human Target.
    To be honest, I don't quite have the words to describe how much I love this show. Loosely based on a comic book of the same name, The Human Target is the story of Christopher Chance, an ex-assassin who now works as a bodyguard for hire. His dark and mysterious past is always coming back to haunt him, but with help from his business parter (an ex-cop named Winston played by Chi McBride) and fellow rogue assassin (Guerrero played by Jackie Earle Haley) he tries to make up for past wrongs. Part of what makes the show so great is that it has a low bullshit factor. Bad guys die when the shit goes down. This is a welcome change from the unrealistic approach taken by other shows in this genre. Two new characters were added this season, which is a little annoying since it messes up the dynamic of the show, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.

       
    Castle Cast

    #3 Castle.
    It's Murder She Wrote for the 20th century! Smart, clever, and funny, Castle stars Nathan Fillion as famous mystery writer Rick Castle who gets inspiration for his novels by helping out the police, led by the brutally hot Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic). Hilarity and murder ensues.

       
    The Walking Dead Cast

    #4 The Walking Dead.
    Somewhat based on the comic book of the same name, this show is about a small group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse of unknown origin. It's totally brutal and kicks copious amounts of ass.

       
    Tower Prep Cast

    #5 Tower Prep.
    I started out as a big fan of Lost but eventually grew tired of the show meandering without purpose because the writers didn't know what the fuck they were doing. Enter Tower Prep. Billed as a school for kids with special abilities, students are recruited for some mysterious purpose with no memory of how they arrived. With no escape possible, a small group of students make it their mission to figure out the secrets of this mysterious place and find a way back home. Unlike Lost, the writers behind Tower Prep actually seem to have a plan for what's happening. Don't let the fact that it airs on Cartoon Network and stars a bunch of kids fool you, this is a great show.

       
    ALSO GOOD IN 2010: The Big C (smart, smart, smart television), 30 Rock (Consistently funny. Thank you Tina Fey), Community (Defining excellence in television comedy), Grey's Anatomy (Still managing to surprise me), Modern Family (Isn't running out of steam yet!), Fringe (I initially didn't care for this show, but am really digging it now), Breaking Bad (Um. Wow), Mad Men (Declining, but I can't help watching it), Cougar Town, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Burn Notice, White Collar, Psych, Project Runway, Graham Norton, Top Chef, On the Road with Austin & Santino, Rules of Engagement, Hot in Cleveland (BETTY WHITE!!), Doctor Who, Hawaii Five-0.

    DISAPPOINTING IN 2010: Outsourced (Holy crap. Take a movie a really liked, strip it of everything that made it great, and you get this pile of FAIL!), The Event (Boring, plodding, meandering, bad television).

    COMPLETE SHIT IN 2010: Survivor (Look, the formula for this show is dead-simple... find interesting people, make them play games. The end. Stop fucking up the show by having Jeff Probst inject himself into the drama at Tribal Council. Stop influencing the natural progression of things with producer-meddling bullshit. Stop picking boring-ass people to be on the show).

       

    Here is a list of my favorite movies from 2010 (with ALL the films I remember seeing this year):

       
    Iron Man 2

    #1 Iron Man 2.
    Look, I know that this was a massive drop from the sheer awesomeness of John Favreau's original Iron Man. I know it didn't crack the vast majority of "best of" lists this year. I know a lot of comic fans criticized the movie. I know. I know. I know. So how DARE I have it as my #1? Simple. I just don't care what anybody else thinks. I loved this film. Robert Downey Jr. embodies the role of Tony Stark so brilliantly that he's easily my favorite movie version of a super-hero ever... even surpassing Batman, my favorite comic book character. Add in yet another great performance by Sam Rockwell, plus Scarlett Johansson in her skin-tight Black Widow costume, plus an over-the-top Mickey Roarke as the villain Whiplash, and you've got a movie I am compelled to enjoy. I've watched Iron Man 2 on Blu-Ray no less than a half-dozen times, and will undoubtedly watch it dozens more.

       
    Toy Story 3

    #2 Toy Story 3.
    It always amazes me how Pixar manages to pack such heartfelt emotion into a computer-generated cartoon, but they never fail to deliver. Near-perfect, Toy Story 3 is an amazing finale to two of the best films ever made. I love how Lasseter & Co. are not afraid to keep moving things forward as opposed to constantly re-treading the same stories over and over again. And, when you consider the fact that all the human characters are computer generated and could stay the same age forever, it's even more remarkable. This sequel sequel has the toys treading waaayyy outside their comfort zone and finding the value of friendship in even the worst of circumstances. Touching and funny, it makes me hope there's more Toy Stories to come.

       
    Kick Ass Cast

    #3 Kick-Ass.
    Yet another comic book adaptation, and one that still surprises me it was ever made at all. Kick-Ass is the story of an ordinary teenage kid who decides to become a real-life super-hero. Things quickly get out of hand when he gets tangled up with Big-Daddy and Hit-Girl's mission to take down crime kingpin Frank D'Amico. Things also get more interesting. As a hyper-violent, foul-mouthed, and deadly "hero" of entirely another kind, Hit-Girl ends up stealing the movie. Assuming you can stomach all the bloodshed, it's bloody good fun.

       
    Inception Cast

    #4 Inception.
    In many ways, I'm not 100% convinced that I even liked this film, which is just part of the reason it's so darn compelling. Another reason would be that the story wasn't dumbed down for the typical movie-going audience. There was real complexity and ambiguity that you just don't find in the dreck that usually comes out of Hollywood. Even putting aside the mind-bending special effects, Inception has a lot going for it.

       
    Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander

    #5 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
    This is one of those rare instances where I am very glad I saw the movie before I read the book... for one reason only: Noomi Rapace's absolutely brilliant portrayal of troubled punk-rock hacker Lisbeth Salander. Being able to picture her as I read the novel made it that much better. Easily one of the best movie characters ever, Lisbeth gets embroiled in an investigative reporter's quest to unwrap a mysterious murder in the powerful Vanger family. Since the film is Swedish, of course there's an American remake underway, though I can't for the life of me understand why. Maybe too many Americans are just too damn stupid to have to deal with subtitles? In any event, I genuinely pity whatever actress they get to fill Noomi's shoes on this one. There's just no way they can measure up. Dark, disturbing, violent, and wholly wonderful, I can't wait to see the two sequels (which, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were released in 2009 in the rest of the world, but are flowing like molasses here in the USA).

       
    ALSO GOOD IN 2010: The Social Network (A much better film than the subject would imply, I loved it), The Illusionist (Wonderful animated feature from France that's a bit depressing but ultimately rewarding), Salt (Angelina Jolie brings it in this taught action-thriller), The Kids Are All Right (A much-deserved slap in the face to assholes everywhere who think their definition of "family" is the only one that matters), Exit Through The Gift Shop (surprisingly smart and entertaining), MacGruber (Go ahead, mock me, but this film was funny as hell), Red (Actually improved a bit over the comic book it was based upon. Not great movie fare, but highly entertaining), Despicable Me (Clever, fun, animated delight that ISN'T from Pixar... who'd a thunk it?), Last Train Home (Brilliant film from China that's guaranteed to move you), TRON: Legacy (As a fan of the original, I am compelled to enjoy this flawed sequel with lots of eye-popping visuals, but little character), Let Me In (Color me shocked. A fantastic remake of a fantastic Swedish vampire film that puts that Twilight shit to shame).

    DISAPPOINTING IN 2010: Black Swan (My review is here), Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (It had such awesome potential but Michael Cera IS NOT SCOTT PILGRIM!), Alice in Wonderland (It has Tim Burton and some excellent production values... but didn't click with me for some reason. Maybe if I see it again but skip the 3D this time?), Jonah Hex (I have no fucking clue what in the hell they were thinking. While not a huge fan of the comic book it was based on, the source material is literary GENIUS compared to this bullshit, The Ghost Writer (I struggled not putting this film on my "GOOD" list but, despite some tense moments, I think it ultimately falls a bit flat).

    COMPLETE SHIT IN 2010: The Last Airbender (What. The. Fuck. A joyful, fun, exciting, amazing cartoon had the very life sucked out of it to create this horrendous pile of shit. Shameful. Just shameful.), Skyline (Who greenlit this crap? HELLO, YOU NEED A STORY BEFORE YOU SHOOT THE MOVIE!).

       

    Bullet Sunday 213

    Posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

    Dave!"You're not dying... you just can't think of anything better to do."
                                                  — Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    I've had cheese pizza for dinner three times in the past week. It's not that I'm particularly craving cheese pizza, I just can't think of anything better to eat. Well, I can, but flying to Amsterdam for a cheese sandwich or jetting off to Rome for Fettucine Alfredo seems a bit excessive. Oh well, pizza and bullets it is then. Welcome to a Very Special NEW YEAR Edition of Bullet Sunday!

       
    • NEW CHANNELS! I relented and purchased an expanded cable television package because my sister got me hooked on The Big C which you can only get on the Showtime Channel. Unfortunately, The Big C was just the beginning. Now I'm hooked on Dexter again... PLUS Boardwalk Empire on HBO. What an amazing show that is. I've always liked Steve Buscemi's acting, but damn...

    Steve Buscemi as Nucky

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The other actors in Boardwalk Empire are great too ( ZOMG! Erik Weiner?)... along with the writing, the directing, the production values, and everything else associated with the show. I guess with Martin Scorsese involved I shouldn't be surprised, but damn...

       
    • NEW HOTNESS! Well, okay, Summer Glau is not exactly "new," having appeared as "River Tam" in fan-favorite Joss Whedon awesomeness Firefly. And then she did a smattering of guest appearances in television shows meant to appeal to a sci-fi geek's wet dreams, including The 4400 and Dollhouse... along with playing a FRICKIN' TERMINATOR in the sweet Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles...

    Summer Glau as a Terminator

    And now she's moving into comic book geek territory by taking a role on The Cape, a super-hero series debuting on the 9th...

    Summer Glau in The Cape

    I can only guess that her next role will be as Wonder Woman, because that's about the only thing in the genre left for her to play! Hopefully her new show will be worth a crap, and not some lame knock-off of a lame show like Heroes.

       
    • NEW AWESOME! As a huge, huge fan of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, the movie I am most looking forward to this year is... PAUL! The movie looks entertaining as hell and, since it's Frost & Pegg, you know it's going to be funny. AND THE CAST! It's got Kristin Wigg, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, AND SIGOURNEY WEAVER IN IT! I can't for the life of me understand why the buzz on this film isn't bigger than it is...

       
    • NEW SHIT? Last year Steve Ballmer took the stage of the annual Consumer Electronics Show to show off Microsoft's revolutionary new tablet version of Windows 7 to be released on an upcoming "slate" hardware device.

    THIS year Steve Ballmer will be taking the stage of the annual Consumer Electronics Show to show off Microsoft's revolutionary new tablet version of Windows 7 to be released on an upcoming "tablet" hardware device.

    See, "slate" was the old shit. "Slates" ended up sucking ass and nobody bought them because "slates" don't have the power necessary to run a resource-sucking pile of shit like Windows. But then Apple unveiled the "iPad" which everybody made fun of because it sounded like "maxi pad" (or whatever). Everybody in the industry also made fun of iPad because it wasn't a "real" computer at all but just a "big phone that can't make calls" or perhaps a "grossly underpowered computer that can't do anything."

    But then Apple had the last laugh (as usual) because iPad went on to sell a bajillion units.

    So now Microsoft is recycling the same fucked-up bullshit that nobody wanted the first time around and pretending it's new because apparently, thanks to Apple, everybody came to their senses and decided they want a tablet computer all along. Microsoft was just ahead of its time last year, and THIS year will be totally different!

    Except that's not what happened at all. People didn't all of a sudden embrace tablet computer... they embraced the iPad which, as everybody in the industry was so quick to point out, IS NOT A COMPUTER. Sure it has some computer functionality, but it's more an "appliance" that becomes different electronic devices as opposed to a traditional computer. The fact that it's NOT A COMPUTER is what makes it so compelling. People who need a computer aren't going to be satisfied with a stripped down, crippled, slow tablet device. It's people who are looking for something simple and functional who are the iPad's target customer, and Apple understood this.

    Microsoft (as usual) is playing catch-up and doing it all wrong. Again. I'm sure after the "tablet" fails just like the "slate" failed, Balmer will be standing on the stage in 2012 with the "new" Microsoft "pad" device running the tablet edition of Windows 7 because THAT'S what the problem was... it was the NAME that sabotaged the previous two attempts!

    That same name that everybody made fun of when Apple unleashed it last year.

    Oh how I loathe Microsoft. They have access to unlimited money and unlimited technology, but there's nobody there with any kind of vision to make any use of it. I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY FLYING CAR, STEVE BALMER, YOU DEMENTED FOOL!!

    Microsoft Flying DeLorean

       
    • NEW OUTLOOK! I promise myself that I will be 50% less critical of Microsoft this year, because I know everybody it tired of hearing it.

    That will be really fucking easy to do, because this year Microsoft will be 50% less relevant to the computer industry, the mobile phone industry, and the electronic industry in general, just like they were last year (KIN PHONES FOR EVERYBODY!).

    The only place Microsoft is holding any ground is with their Xbox 360 video game console. You know, their SIX YEAR OLD ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY?!? Of course, six years in electronics years is like SIXTY years in human years, so heaven only knows how long that gravy train is going to last. Hopefully they've got an Xbox 720 (or whatever) up their sleeves so that SUPER Wii (or whatever) and ÜBER PLAYSTATION 1,000,000 (or whatever) doesn't come along and eat their lunch. Sure they released Kinect last year to freshen things up and let you control your Xbox via dancing, but that's hardly revolutionary like the Wii was. God only knows what Nintendo, the real innovators in entertainment technology, are cooking up next.

    Of course, it's not inconceivable that Apple won't come out with iPlay (or whatever) and swipe the gaming market as well. Thanks to iPod Touch, iPhone, and now iPad, they've pretty much sewn up the portable gaming market already. What's one more area of global domination to Steve Jobs?

       
    • NEW INSIGHT! Well, not really. Despite Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back being two of my most favorite movies of all time, I found the "prequels" to be massive piles of shit. Not only were they boring as hell, but they barely made any sense. When I initially wrote my thoughts on Revenge of the Sith after it was released, I ranked it as "okay" even though I fully admitted it sucked. Probably because compared to The Phantom Mencace and Attack of the Clones it was utter genius. I was so desperate to like Star Wars again that ranking it "okay" was more of a cry for help than any acknowledgement of cinematic greatness...

    Star Wars Ranking

    This got me roundly despised by many of my fellow Star Wars fans who thought Revenge of the Sith was the best thing ever. Not that I can blame them... if you've been eating nothing but vomit and fond memories for decades, a plate of moldy bread is going to feel like dinner at the Ritz.

    Now that time has passed, perspective has only managed to take the bloom off the rose. Or, in the case of Mr. Plinkett, to shred the rose into pieces, cover it in raw sewage, then fart on it as you toss it into a nuclear explosion. His biting, scathing analysis is horrifyingly accurate. He not only addresses all the problems I had with the film* but expands upon them with some insight I hadn't considered.

    If you're okay with lots of profanity and a shocking lack of taste and morals masquerading as a movie review, then this is something you must see.

       
    And there you have it. The first Bullet Sunday of a new year. Let's hope I survive the week to do a second one.

       


    *Well, one thing he DOESN'T address is the bullshit about "midichlorian count" being an indicator as to how powerful somebody is with The Force. If a massive number of midichlorians determines your strength, how can Darth Vader be so fucking powerful when he lost both legs and both arms? That's an ass-load of midichlorians to lose. And can somebody who has low midichlorians inject a bunch of them and instantly become a Jed Master? ARRRGH! Like everything else in the prequels, this shit doesn't make any fucking sense!

       

    Bullet Sunday 218

    Posted on Sunday, February 6th, 2011

    Dave!Blargh. Two days of travel have left me more dead than usual. On to the bullets while I still have a will to live...

       
    • TequilaCon. Unfortunately, there will be no TequilaCon event in 2011. In previous years, we've been extremely fortunate that the stars have aligned and everything has come together to make for an awesome event... but it just isn't happening this year for one reason or another. So rather than forcing together something mediocre, calling it "TequilaCon," and leaving people disappointed, we've decided to take a pass this year. The last thing anybody wants is to go to the time and expense of attending TequilaCon only to have it not live up to the high expectations set by previous years. As for the future... who can say? So long as there is tequila somewhere out there in the world, the possibility for a new TequilaCon will always be there. In the meanwhile... thanks for all your support. May your limes be juicy and your salt be salty until next we meet. Jenny, Brandon, Dave2, Vahid, and Mr. Tequila...

    TequilaCon Planning Posse

       
    • Mayo. One of these days I'm bringing an extra suitcase with me so that I can pack it full of creamy delicious Dutch mayonnaise. I would have tried to smuggle a jar back this trip, but US Customs are real tight-asses when it comes to bringing superior food products into the country. The bastards.

    Dutch Mayo Jars

    Please note that I was NOT the person who opened the jar of mayo on the right, ate a few spoonfuls, then put the jar back on the shelf. Not that I could blame this person, but it wasn't me.

       
    • Seriousness. But in all seriousness, who the fuck would open a jar of mayo in a grocery store, eat some of it, then put it back? If I looked, would there be slices of bread, cheese, and ham missing too? Did somebody make a fucking sandwich at the store? What the hell?

       
    • Honestly. I mean, truly... honestly... what the bloody fuck? Did somebody obsessed with the creamy deliciousness of Dutch mayo realize that smuggling an entire jar was impossible... but smuggling a handful down their pants might work?

       
    • Obsessive. Okay. Okay. Okay. I'm honestly not getting all obsessive over this, but these are the things that keep me awake at night, people. WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT MAYO?

       
    • Foreigner. This morning as I was waiting to board my flight home, I made my way to some website where a video was available. After clicking on the video, I got an error message saying "I'm sorry this video is not available in your country." This left me dumbfounded and more than a little pissed off. I don't think that people should get to put videos on the internet unless the entire internet is allowed to look at them.

       
    • Easy. One of the many movies I watched on my way home was Emma Stone in Easy A. It wasn't that this was a film I was dying to see, but it was one of the last things available that I hadn't already seen at least twice. Much to my shock and horror, I actually enjoyed this movie. It unapologetically borrows from a lot of those great 80's flicks like Sixteen Candies, Pretty in Pink, Say Anything, and the like. And does so pretty well. It always shocks me that quality films of any genre end up being made in this day and age... but for something in the teen angst/romance genre that doesn't completely suck? Miraculous.

    Olive Penderghast is a forgettable nobody high school student who decides to embrace her newfound infamy as "school harlot" once a false rumor about her losing her virginity spreads throughout the school. Hilarity ensues. Not only is Emma Stone flawless as the witty and lethally unflappable lead, but they somehow managed to assemble a genius cast including Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Malcolm McDowell, and a surprisingly appropriately cast Lisa Kudrow. If you're looking for some mindless fun (that's actually fun), here's your film...

    Easy A Poster

       
    • Hard. As opposed to the total shit-stain of a movie called Life As We Know It. I mean, holy crap, does Katherine Heigl actively search out the shittiest, most pedestrian, predictable, ridiculously stupid scripts in the gutters of Hollywood to find her movie projects? How many sublimely idiotic spit-take reactions to the foul smell of baby poop do we really need? Wasn't Three Men and a Baby enough? Are we doomed to see it replayed in a movie every three years until the end of time? Granted, I fast-forwarded through most of this film as redundant pap, so perhaps some of the nuance was lost on me... but what the fuck?!?

       
    Annnnnd... I'm spent.

    There are plenty more bullets left in me, but my fingers stopped working about ten minutes ago. Just three more hours layover until I get to go home and (hopefully) sleep.

       

    Bullet Sunday 220

    Posted on Sunday, February 20th, 2011

    Dave!This morning I had waffles for breakfast. Isn't that what Sundays are for?

       
    • Spy. A couple of people brought to my attention that Google Books has put some issues of Spy online for your reading pleasure! One of my favorite magazines of all time, Spy was the ultimate repository for satire writing, and had some of the most biting pranks and hoaxes ever committed. But this did not preclude Spy from tackling some serious matters in pop culture and politics as well. Hopefully Google will continue adding issues until all of them are online... that would save me from having to dig mine out of storage. If you want to take a look at what all the fuss was about, click here to visit Spy on Google Books!

    Spy Magazine Cover

       
    • Endangered. It's that time of year when television shows are reaching their do-or-die point in the ratings. If not renewed soon, some shows I like are in danger of being cancelled...

    Endangered Television Shows

    • Better With You. Surprisingly, I don't hate this comedy featuring the differences in relationships between three family couples. It's not the smartest sitcom on television, but I find it entertaining enough to keep watching. It's not so much that I would be devastated if it got canceled, I'm just afraid it would be replaced with something shittier... or yet another pathetic reality pile of crap.
    • Community. Probably the best show that nobody seems to be watching, and I don't understand it. This Joel McHale sitcom is smart, entertaining, and funny... which you just don't see that often. And it's got Chevy Chase in it!
    • Fringe. This show managed to captivate me in a way that X-Files never did... and I was a huge X-Files fan. Chronicling the "Fringe Division" of the FBI which uses "fringe science" to solve bizarre and unexplained phenomena, the show just keeps getting better and better. The primary theme tying the episodes together is the idea of a parallel earth which is oddly similar, yet wildly divergent, to the world we know. Now we've got entire episodes taking place in this alternate universe which is about the coolest thing you'll find on TV. I would be crushed if Fringe were cancelled.
    • Human Target. Yet another series that should be a massive hit, but languishes in obscurity. Loosely based on the comic book of the same name, this show features security expert and bodyguard-for-hire, Christopher Chance. It's got loads of bad-ass action sequences, clever stories, and a lot of humor... the holy trinity of perfect television. And yet, few people are watching. It would be a real shame if Human Target gets cancelled, because it's one of the few shows that proves to be a really sweet escape with every episode.
    • Nikita. I fully admit that I was late to the party with this one. I watched the first episode, didn't really think it was worth my time, and dumped it early. But now I'm regretting it. Yet another take-off from the brilliant film La Femme Nikita, the show is more a sequel than a remake... following Nikita after her escape from Division. It's actually really good television and star Maggie Q is exceptional in the lead. I'm hoping both the show, and myself, get another chance.
    • Parks and Recreation. I waffle on this show... alternating between loving it, then feeling indifferent. One thing is for sure though, I'd miss it if it were gone. Mostly because Amy Poehler is comedy gold, partly because I am a huge fan of Aziz Ansari, and partly because it's actually funny more often than not.

    Sadly, odds are that most of these shows are not long for this world. They'll probably be replaced with shitty "reality" shows that are inexplicably popular with the public at large. Heaven help us all.

       
    • 18. After seeing the Mars landing hoax conspiracy movie Capricorn One on VHS rental sometime in the 80's, my mind was pretty much blown. It encouraged me to think about what actual cool stuff our government might be keeping from us. Area 51 was a good start. But the various moon landing conspiracy theories floating around became my obsession. Not so much that the landings were faked... but about what happened while we were up on the moon. And there were a lot of theories. Everything from alien encounters to extraterrestrial artifacts to weapon installations to secret missions. It was a tin-hat wearing dream come true. And now a new horror movie, Apollo 18, is being released to reveal the secret of NASA's "cancelled" final moon mission... and why we've never gone back...

    Apollo 18 Poster

    It's been shot "documentary-style" (think Blair Witch Project) which I usually loathe in movies, but I just might make an exception this time if the reviews don't suck. The cheesy but intriguing trailer is on QuickTime, and the release date is March 4th.

       
    Annnnd... I only have time for three bullets today. There are many things to be done yet today.

       

    Moment

    Posted on Saturday, February 26th, 2011

    Dave!When working at home I often have a DVD playing to drown out any background noise. Most times I pick a movie I've seen a bajillion times so I can focus on my work. It doesn't always happen though, because some movies I can watch over and over again without ever getting tired of them.

    One of my favorite movies of all time is the Kevin Costner & James Earl Jones baseball-themed masterpiece, Field of Dreams. It's an astounding work on just about every level. The characters are rich and fully-formed. The story is deep and reflective. But it's the philosophy behind the film that is all-consuming to me. Every time I watch it, I latch onto some bit of wisdom that won't leave me. When I had it playing as background noise a couple months ago, this was the line that grabbed me...

    "You know, we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening."
    — Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, Field of Dreams

    Field of Dreams Significant Moments

    Ever since then I've been obsessed with recognizing my significant moments while they're happening.

    Today I completed a big part of a project I've been dreaming of for a long time. Right after clicking the "SAVE" button, I went and made myself a big salad with all the fixings and began to eat.

    It was then that I realized I had just experienced a significant moment in my life.

    ZOMFG! HAVE YOU TRIED THIS NEW KRAFT MEXICAN CHEESE BLEND WITH A TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE?!? IT'S FRICKIN' DELICIOUS!

    NEW! Kraft brand Mexican Four Cheese Blend with a touch of Philadelphia Cream Cheese for extra creaminess!

    Take THAT Archibald "Moonlight" Graham!

       

    Bullet Sunday 221

    Posted on Sunday, February 27th, 2011

    Dave!Welcome to a fabulous OSCARS EDITION of Bullet Sunday!

       
    • Intro! This new tradition of inserting Oscar hosts into scenes from the nominated films just keeps getting better and better. Using technology from Inception, James Franco and Anne Hathaway go into the mind of former Oscar host Alec Baldwin to learn the secrets of hosting the show. The fact that they managed to work in Back to the Future at the end was just the icing on the cake...

    Oscars 2011 Intro Montage
    Oscar telecast ©2011 by ABC Television

       
    • The Winners! Not surprisingly, there were a few awards passed out that I felt could have gone elsewhere, but overall I was happy with the winners. Here's my break-down...

    • Art Direction.
      Who won? Alice in Wonderland — Who should have won? Inception
      Come on. Alice in Wonderland was beautiful to look at, but it was a wacky invention that you couldn't really get wrong. Inception was practically the opposite, having to take the fantastical and make it appear very real, obviously the more difficult of the two... and a good part of what made Inception such a success.
    • Cinematography.
      Who won? Inception — Who should have won? True Grit
      Don't get me wrong... the cinematography in Inception was beautiful, but a lot of the most arresting visuals in the film were computer-generated. True Grit, on the other hand, was a stunning return to the classic grandeur of the Old West, beautifully captured by Roger Deakins.
    • Best Supporting Actress.
      Who won? Melissa Leo, The Fighter
      Who should have won? Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
      First of all, I love Kirk Douglas' contribution to film more than anybody, but this drug-out presentation was just awful. Almost as awful as Melissa Leo's profanity-laden, overly-long acceptance. This was a close call, but I gave the edge to Helena Bonham Carter because I felt her contribution to the film had the biggest impact of the performances I liked best.
    • Best Animated Short Film.
      Who won? The Lost Thing — Who should have won? The Lost Thing
      I admit that I didn't see two of these films, but I'd have a hard time believing anything could have topped The Lost Thing, which was fantastic.
    • Best Animated Feature Film.
      Who won? Toy Story 3 — Who should have won? Toy Story 3
      This was such a difficult choice, as I loved all three films. A part of me was secretly hoping that the beautiful "traditional" animation in Illusionist would pull off a surprise win... but this was truly Toy Story 3's award. Flawlessly animated and hauntingly touching, it was about as perfect as you could hope for in any film, animated or not.
    • Best Adapted Screenplay.
      Who won? The Social Network — Who should have won? The Social Network
      This was the story of a boring-ass legal battle somehow made fascinating by Aaron Sorkin. I'm not the least bit surprised. It's what Sorkin does.
    • Best Original Screenplay.
      Who won? The King's Speech — Who should have won? The King's Speech
      I wanted The King's Speech to win just so I could hear the speech by the guy who wrote The King's Speech! It was a great movie... my pick for best film... but I also wanted The Kids Are All Right to win because it was such a witty and special story that really should be getting more recognition.
    • Best Supporting Actor.
      Who won? Christian Bale, The Fighter
      Who should have won? Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
      I am a massively huge fan of Christian Bale, and truly believe he gives Oscar-worthy performances in just about every single role he takes. On top of it all, his acceptance speech tonight was perfect, making me appreciate him all the more. The problem is that I just wasn't a big fan of The Fighter. Yes, he was wonderful in it, but Geoffrey Rush was equally wonderful in a film I liked a lot better. Still, congratulations, Christian.
    • Best Original Score.
      Who won? The Social Network — Who should have won? The Social Network
      Seriously. Trent. Reznor. It seems like only yesterday he was screaming "I WANT TO FUCK YOU LIKE AN ANIMAL!" and here he is accepting a well-deserved Oscar with Attcus Ross for their absolutely wonderful work on the music for The Social Network. Out of all the awards handed out tonight, this is the only one which would have caused me to go insane if The Academy got it wrong.
    • Best Visual Effects.
      Who won? Inception — Who should have won? Iron Man 2
      Look, the special effects in Inception were nothing short of amazing. Seriously mind-bendingly wonderful stuff in there. But I gotta give it up for Iron Man 2's team who managed to not only create the title character in a totally believable way, but an entire array of bad guys for him to fight as well. The entire film depended on it, and the effects team delivered. But that wasn't even what made the visual effects so incredible. The best part was that the effects team showed incredible restraint in not burying Robert Downey Jr.'s flawless performance. In every case the effects accented the film instead of standing out in a way that distracted from it.
    • Best Film Editing.
      Who won? The Social Network — Who should have won? The Social Network
      The flow of this story could have been completely sabotaged by shitty editing, but that didn't happen. The way they cut in some subtle (yet very effective) edits to keep even static moments moving really worked for the film.
    • Best Director.
      Who won? Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
      Who should have won? David Fincher, The Social Network
      I'm not complaining that Tom Hooper won. Truly The King's Speech was a beautifully directed film and his efforts are well-deserving. I certainly enjoyed his acceptance speech. But I thought Fincher's job on The Social Network was probably the more challenging of the two, and should have got the shiny gold statue.
    • Best Actress.
      Who won? Natalie Portman, Black Swan
      Who should have won? Natalie Portman, Black Swan
      I really didn't like Black Swan, but there's no denying Natalie Portman's performance in it was brilliant. She had to have put a lot of hard work into that role, and it paid off in spades. I never saw Blue Valentine, but if Michelle William's performance was anywhere near the others, she deserved her nomination.
    • Best Actor.
      Who won? Colin Firth, The King's Speech
      Who should have won? Colin Firth, The King's Speech
      Colin Firth's performance was staggering, and his Oscar win was both expected and deserved. But, man, did Jesse Eisenberg make The Social Network worth watching. I was truly torn in my pick this year, but ultimately thought Mr. Firth had the more challenging role.
    • Best Picture.
      Who won? The King's Speech — Who should have won? The King's Speech
      By having a narrative from The King's Speech run through the roll of all ten films that were nominated, it's pretty obvious who was projected to win. And while I was a bit torn between that film, Toy Story 3, True Grit, The Social Network, and Inception for my favorite movie (DISCLOSURE: I haven't seen Winter's Bone yet), The King's Speech was my pick for best picture. I might have went with Toy Story 3 if it weren't a lock for best animated picture... or The Social Network if it held up a little better on second-viewing... but the right film won the Oscar.

       
    • Wrap-Up! Though James Franco faltered a bit at times, overall he and Anne Hathaway did a surprisingly good job hosting the show. The musical performances were mercifully short and half-way decent (including Gwyneth Paltrow, who I thought did a pretty good job considering she's not a professional singer... it was crazy seeing all the online haters unload on her while she performed). I also thought the presentations went very well. It will be interesting to see who hosts next year.

       
    Annnnd... I've got a long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I guess that's all she wrote. See you at the movies.

       

    Bullet Sunday 225

    Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2011

    Dave!Back to reality for a super-hero-fashion episode of Bullet Sunday! But, before we get there, I need to remind everybody that the best podcast on the internet you're probably not listening to is now on iTunes! Cannot recommend it highly enough: Hey! That's My Hummus on iTunes. And for baseball talk, don't forget Just Talking to the Cornfield on iTunes.

       
    • Wonder Woman! I've had very strong reservations over the whole David E. Kelley Wonder Woman television pilot from the very beginning. From everything I've read, it seems as though he's dead-set on putting his personal stamp on the material, which means we're not going to get Wonder Woman... it's going to be Ally McBeal in bad latex. The first episode's villain is perfume company CEO Veronica Cale (WTF?) which is being played by the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley (who arrived in L.A. a while back to film her scenes)...

    Liz Hurley arrives in L.A. for Wonder Woman shoot
    ©2011 Michael Wright/WENN (from AceShowbiz)

    Since Elizabeth Hurley is in it, I'm pretty much obligated to watch the show now. Which is a shame, because the official Wonder Woman costume photo looks like crap...

    Shitty New Wonder Woman Costume

    In all seriousness, I've been to comic book conventions where the fan costumes looked better than this cheap-n-glossy joke. She looks like a badly-dressed dominatrix or something. Such a horrible departure from the classic Wonder Woman uniform that was worn so perfectly by Linda Carter in the original TV show...

    Linda Carter as Wonder Woman.

    Call it cheesy if you want, but THAT'S what Wonder Woman is supposed to look like. COSTUME GRADE: F

       
    • Spider-Man! And speaking of truly terrible costumes... I loved the first two Spider-Man movies. The third one was awful story-wise, but had really good action sequences. Still, I was hoping for another Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire installment because I liked the "feel" they gave the character. Alas, it was not to be. So now we've moved on to something new which could be good or could be bad. And if the costume is what we have to go on, this is going to be as bad as it gets...

    New Spider-Man Movie Costume

    Even if he didn't have an inexplicably black crotch, this would be a horrible interpretation of an iconic costume. COSTUME GRADE: D

       
    • Captain America! The modern-day Captain America comics have never interested me very much. Sure there are good stories that pop up from time to time but, overall, it's a one-note concept to me. But I have to say, everything I've seen for the upcoming Cap film looks flawless. First of all, they set the movie in World War II, which is faithful to the character's origin. Second of all, it seems as if director Joe Johnston is going out of his way to make it a fun and entertaining film to watch...

    Chris Evans as Captain America

    Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull

    Captain America Film Still

    What's so killer about Cap's costume is how you can see they're clearly building up to his modern-day outfit by starting with a WWII era interpretation. He was designed to be a symbol for the guys in the trenches, and its coming across perfectly. And just look at the Red Skull! Cannot wait for this movie. COSTUME GRADE: A

       
    • Thor! Other than Walter Simonson's brilliant run on the character in the 1980's, I've never been a big fan of Thor. He just never seems to work in the context of the super-hero genre very well. But this film has Kenneth Branagh directing, and the trailers look to be pretty epic in scope, so we'll see...

    Thor Costume

    I am the first to admit that translating Thor's costume to the big screen is no easy task... but this looks all cheesy and plastic to me. I'm guessing it's supposed to be metal (maybe it is!), but I'm still not impressed and think it would have looked better with a brushed metal? This is probably going to appear much better on-screen when lit properly, so it's hard for me to be too critical. It is, after all, pretty faithful in "feel" to the original. COSTUME GRADE: C+

       
    • Green Lantern! This is the hardest movie of all to figure out. I think my hetero-man-crush Ryan Reynolds was flawless casting for Hal Jordan, but the movie is looking like a George Lucas CGI party instead of a film of any substance. The special-effects generated costume in the preview trailer looked so bad that I couldn't fathom how the movie could possibly work...

    Ryan Reynolds in Bad Green Lantern Costume

    But then I saw this shot of Mark Strong as Sinestro and thought "maybe"...

    Sinestro Movie Costume

    Green Lantern was one of the first comic books I ever read, and so I continue to hope that everything comes together. Out of all the super-hero projects underway, it has the most potential for greatness... or disaster.

    Ryan Reynolds and the Ring

    It's pretty hard to get a feel for how the costume works from still images. On Hal Jordan, all the crazy lines look just plain stupid. On Sinestro, they look awesome. I'm guessing that when they're in-motion they'll be all glowing and stuff, which will probably look cool. Or corny. I have no idea. I do think it would have been better to not go with 100% CGI though, which seems like a recipe for disaster. COSTUME GRADE: Wait and C

       
    • X-Men! I should probably get this out of the way... I loathed all of the X-Men films. They were SO BORING. The X-Men were never really given any battles. Sure there were some silly little scrapes here and there, but they didn't have any scope. Everything in the movie seemed so much smaller than life. And while the costumes weren't anything to write home about, I thought they were okay. Sadly, the costumes weren't the problem. And so now we're re-booting the franchise with a prequel...

    X-Men First Class Photo

    X-Men First Class Photo

    From what I can tell, the costumes here are pretty good. They are a faithful (albeit upgraded) interpretation of the "original" X-Men costumes, which was no easy task. All we can do is wait and see if the movie has the scope and story to make any use of them. COSTUME GRADE: B

       
    That's a lot of super-heroes. And it doesn't even account for the new Superman movie reboot, the third Iron Man film, the third Batman film, The Hulk reboot, The Avengers, and whatever else that's coming up. I hope that people don't get burnt out on comic book movies.