rjray.org  home · entertainment · movies  Powered by Blosxom

This work licensed under a Creative Commons License:

+ raelity bytes
+ paul e. [LJ]
+ Rain Graves
+ gnat [use Perl;]

Syndication feeds:
# RSS 1.0 format
# Atom 0.3 format

My other sites:
- Silicon Valley Scale Modelers
- Book page for Programming Web Services With Perl

Other journals I read:
= DJ Adams
= rebecca blood
= Tim Bray
= Margaret Cho
= Warren Ellis
= Neil Gaiman
= Rafael Garcia-Suarez
= John Gorenfeld
= Lawrence Lessig
= Michael McCracken
= Jeff Vogel
= Norm Walsh
= Wil Wheaton

My journal at use.perl.org:
· Restless
· RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· Forgive Me, Bretheren Monks
· Extry Extry: Winer Leaves the RSS Advisory Board
· RPC::XML 0.54 Uploaded
· The Books of Perl
· Good Intentions Don't Equal Good Results
· Errata Tracking Page for PWSWP
· Image::Size 2.992 Uploaded
· Props to Portland PM
· Lightning Talks
· OSCON, Tuesday
· OSCON Plans Now Set

» Blogs that link here

Powered by Technorati

We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

The Wizard of Oz Heresy 2005.07.04.07:00

This is so blasphemous, I know that I'm going to lose serious culture points for daring to besmirch such a classic...

I'm watching The Wizard of Oz, as I tape it from my TiVo for a friend. And I gotta say this, no matter the consequences...

The Cowardly Lion is so ghey. I mean, he makes Johnny Depp's swishbuckler Jack Sparrow look butch.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Pax Christopher Reeve 2004.10.11.08:54

Superman has passed away.

Understand, for many people in my age-bracket (+/- 10 years or so), Reeve was as much the embodiment of Superman as any paper rendition in a comic book.

Christopher Reeve 1952-2004

He made us believe a man could fly.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Movie Review: Van Helsing 2004.05.12.06:47

I went to see Van Helsing on opening night. What can I say? I'm gullible for vampire flicks, and this one had several actors to offer that I enjoy watching. Indeed, this film would make a good Kate Beckinsale double-feature along with Underworld. I'm also a big fan of Elena Anaya ever since I saw her turn in Lucía y el Sexo ("Sex and Lucia").

That all said, I didn't have my expectations too high, so I wasn't as disappointed as I have been in other movies in the past. The story isn't too bad, and I don't think that the plot devices to bring in both Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman were too contrived (as some have suggested). Alas, I felt like Hugh Jackman was a little too Logan-like in his performance– it really felt like Wolverine versus Dracula but without the claws. Probably the best performance of the cast was from David Wenham as Carl, the Vah Helsing equivalent of a James Bond "Q". Of course, the three brides are all hot, as is Beckinsale in her busty costumes.

For me, one of the most disappointing areas were the computer-generated effects. In particular, the rendition of Mr. Hyde in the opening sequence. It felt almost like the same half-assed work as in LXG. The werewolves were probably the best-done of the effects, though the wives had, well, "interesting" harpy-life forms that allowed them to fly around like bats, but with the ability to grab at and drag things around, as well as taunt. Taunting is generally important when you're a villian. One thing I noticed about the harpies, though, was the conspicuous lack of nipples.

Anyway, I'd say the movie is a worthwhile matinee, and since I'm such a vampire-geek I'll probably get the DVD one day. But since I haven't even gotten around to acquiring the Underworld DVD, I don't see being in a great rush.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Neil Gaiman's Matrix 2003.11.16.00:51

Through a series of links on LiveJournal, I came across this short bit of "Matrix Fanfic" written by Neil Gaiman: Goliath

I find the thought of someone like Gaiman doing Matrix fanfic kind of amusing, but I can't really laugh at it, because it's really damn good. And not just in that "I like Gaiman so everything he writes I blindly like" sense, either. I do love his work, yes. But I like plenty of writers, and while I gush about the stuff I really enjoy, I just don't bother with talking about the stuff I don't like. So while I admit to being a fan-boy where NG is concerned, I truly believe that if you liked the first Matrix movie at all, you'll enjoy this story. Bonus points if you can guess the identity of the antagonist(s).

(When I say "enjoyed the first movie", I mean that this story was clearly written for the whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com website, which was first put together to promote the second film. There's nothing about it that places it in any particular part of the timeline of any of the three movies, but I'm pretty sure that Mr. Gaiman wrote it before the second film was released, that's all.)

# [/entertainment/movies]

Midnight Movies Again (Raiders of the Lost Ark) 2003.10.04.10:24

Under the heading of "ages really, really well," we can file the film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was the current weeks' selection at the Midnight Movie series being co-sponsored around here by the Camera Cinemas chain and the local radio station "The Wave". (This was the same series at which I first went to see 28 Days Later back at the end of June.)

This movie has held up against the current generation of "action films" amazingly well. It's supposedly a recently "enhanced" print, in that they've worked on the overall visual quality and sound quality of the film, but not in the sense of Lucas' decision to add all sorts of weird extra stuff to the original Star Wars trilogy. Nothing was added or changed, just shown the way it originally was, 22 years ago. That's what blows my mind: this film is old enough to buy booze and have graduated from college. And it is still heads and shoulders above pretty much anything released in the last five years. I'm sorry... did I say five years? Let's say ten. In fact, let's say fourteen– since the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I may be exaggerating, and I'm no doubt biased by the fact that it's still rattling around in my skull. But being reminded of little things like the "Sieg Heil!" monkey, the bad-ass swordsman that Indy just up and shoots, and of course the whole amazing opening sequence in the Peruvian temple (featuring the first credited film appearance by a then-unknown Alfred Molina), I guess I'm given to enthusiasm.

Wow. Quite a treat.

(Anyone in the south bay area can see it midnight tonite [Saturday the 4th] at the Camera One theater in downtown San Jose. I can't recommend it enough.)

# [/entertainment/movies]

Two Times 28 2003.08.10.08:10

I went to see 28 Days Later again, for the purpose of seeing the "original" ending. This was supposedly the way it was meant to end, but had tested badly with audiences. Thus, the movie got a "happier" replacement ending, á la Bladerunner.

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend that anyone go just for the sake of the extra bit of material. In this case, they were wise to re-do the ending. It was badly-paced, and just didn't fit with the rest of the movie.

(The details, and other spoiler-level discussion, behind the cut.)


# [/entertainment/movies]

Now Just a Minute Here... 2003.07.12.08:31

So I'm sitting here in my hotel room, channel surfing. I come across Star Wars: Episode II just as the big arena battle is starting. So I watch it for a while, because this is a big, flashy battle (and because the Jedi chicks are hot). And since I've watched the battle, I keep it on long enough to watch Yoda throw down against Dooku (what an unfortunate name).

Then something occurs to me. Maybe I thought of this before and promptly forgot it before taking note. Maybe I only just now noticed it. But when Yoda is fighting Dooku in that hanger, and the real point here is to keep him from escaping, why didn't Yoda throw any of the miscellaneous junk he was deflecting at the ship itself? I mean, Dooku throws several metal objects, then some rocks from the ceiling, and finally a fucking electrical column around, and Yoda deflects it all. Ship sitting right there, he throws it all onto the ground. I know, I know, we're all looking forward to the real fight, the sword duel in which Yoda goes all over Dooku like a crack-fueled bumblebee. For a second, I thought maybe they were in a different room from the ship, but during the sword-fight, Yoda bounces off the ship.

If you'd taken out the ship, Dooku wouldn't have gotten very far, now would he?

(No, I'm not pretending this is the only flaw in this steaming pile of a film, but I felt like sharing my observations.)

# [/entertainment/movies]

Movie Review: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Details?0181852">Terminator 3</a> 2003.07.02.07:42

Can you hear that distant bleating sound? That soft but distinct, "baa baa" of a consumer sheep? Yep, it's just me...

What I should have been doing this evening is laundry and packing for my flight to Oklahoma tomorrow. Instead, I noticed on my way home that the theater near my apartment was showing T3 at 10:15. So after a quick dinner, out I went.

Yeah, I should have stayed home.

This is pure sequel-formula. The number of explosions have been increased by the proper percentage. Ditto the visual effects. As with T2, the focus is on John Connor rather than Sarah (absent in this installment). In place of Linda Hamilton, we have Claire Danes. Mind, to my consideration this definately counts as trading up, especially since she's back to her (natural?) red hair and acting more like Angela in My So-Called Life than Julie in Mod Squad. Alas, there is very little truly original material here. The biggest difference is that John Connor is no longer the surly, brooding Edward Furlong. Rather, he's the mixed-up, paranoid and fairly unhinged Nick Stahl. And he's a lot less enthusiastic about seeing Arnold than the rest of the audience is.

There's not a lot to say about the plot without giving it away. Yes, it's about that thin– if I say much at all, I risk giving parts away. The new face in the cast is the T-X, played by Kristanna Loken. She might be a capable actor; playing a machine is no way to tell. She does at least emote a few times, but that might actually not be the way to play a soulless killing machine. But she's very easy on the eyes, at least. And as the T-X, all the best visual effects center around her. The T-X isn't completely liquid metal like the T-1000 was (guess they decided the lack of moving-parts ability was too much of a handicap), but she has her moments. And her very feline-like endo-skeleton is almost as sexy as she is.

I'm a sheep, and I saw it for full price. You'll regret it a lot less if you pay a matinee price.

# [/entertainment/movies]

28 Days Correction 2003.06.29.07:30

The stickers I got at the midnight showing of 28 Days Later... actually read, "The end is extremely fucking nigh," not "really fucking nigh." Oddly enough, I find the difference in wording very significant. Something about the usage of "extremely" just works in that context. And no, I'm not giving the second sticker away. Not without hefty favors in return, at least...

Something else about the movie– more about the setting. Since this was a midnight showing, sponsored and promoted by a college radio station, it wasn't just sold out, it was packed with mostly college-age types. Which made for a fairly rowdy time before the movie started. One thing I nearly choked at, during the previews, was this: the preview was for The Eye, a new horror film from Hong Kong. Which looks really good, by the way. I plan to see it when I can. Anyway, the trailer opened with a voice-over of the phrase, "The sensation that's sweeping Asia." To this, someone in the audience shouted, "Oh no! SARS!" We pretty much missed the first third or so of the preview itself.

But despite the trend set in the time right before the movie and during the previews, the audience was pretty rapt throughout the movie. It really grabs you and holds your attention. Have I admonished you yet about the need to see this film?

# [/entertainment/movies]

Movie Review: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Details?0289043">28 Days Later...</a> 2003.06.28.09:59

This movie kicks the asses of mankind.

I'd been hearing buzz about this for months (it was out in Britain back in October), though the title threw me at first– "28 Days Later" sounds like a sequel to a bland Sandra Bullock vehicle. But it isn't; it's a horror film from the same directory who did two of my favorite films, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. And then there was the buzz...

I don't know how best to describe the film... equal parts 12 Monkeys, Blair Witch Project and Resident Evil. Of those, I'd only really recommend "12 Monkeys" to a friend. But this film works. It's suspenseful, it's scary and it gets under your skin. It isn't heavy on visual special effects, but it really needs to be seen in the theater to appreciate all the imagery on the screen at once.

The thumbnail overview is this– animal-rights activists break into a lab in Cambridge to free test monkeys. Only, the monkeys are infected with a highly-contagious pathogen that turns the infected into a bile-spewing, mindless, rage-filled killer within minutes. After the chaos, noise and blood of the lab scene, the screen suddenly cuts to black and displays the words, "28 days later...". We're shown a hospital room where a man wakes up to find the hospital, and the whole of London, deserted. After wandering the streets, he sees newspaper headlines and posted notices about evacuations and missing persons. Finally, he finds two other people who explain what has happened to the entirety of England in the last 4 weeks.

See this film. This is everything Blair Witch tried to hype itself as, but failed. It is more original than the Summer of Sequels we're currently in. And I can (almost) promise that you'll jump at least once or twice.

(I happened upon a midnight showing here in Campbell, that was apparently sponsored by KSCU, the campus-run radio station for Santa Clara University. 28 was the kick-off of a summer midnight-movie series they're running which will include a lot more great movies. They did some trivia-questions for prizes before the movie, and handed out cool stickers afterwards, with the catch-phrase "The end is really fucking nigh." I got two, but I'm still deciding where to put them.)

# [/entertainment/movies]

Movie Review: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Details?0317740">The Italian Job</a> 2003.06.15.07:01

I kinda went into this movie not expecting much. I think that most of the cast are prety good actors, and especially like Charlize Theron, Seth Green and Jason Statham. I even have to grudgingly admit that Mark "Marky-Mark" Wahlberg has grown into a pretty skilled actor as well. I also admit that I've never seen the original (though I will probably rent it soon, for comparison). So I didn't have to worry about my expectations not being met.

It's a fun movie, with plenty of laughs. For a caper film involving hardened criminals, there's surprisingly little blood in it (we only see two deaths in the entire film, and Wahlberg's character is celebrated at one point for pulling off a heist without anyone having to point a gun at anyone else). Even though stories have abounded about Edward Norton playing his role strictly due to contractual obligation, he is still a good actor and does a good role as the slimy villian. Theron actually has the harder part, needing to cover a wider range of emotions than anyone else.

Overall, this is a good matinee movie. I saw it in the evening out of boredom, but I wouldn't recommend paying full price for it. There's a funny cameo by Napster "celebrity" Shawn Fanning (and an extra in-joke in the form of a Metallica poster in the background of the Napster flash-back), and more than enough car-chases and action to satisfy most people. It's not really a clever movie, but it's a good escape for a few hours.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Special-Effects Whiz Gets Hollywood Star 2003.06.11.23:00

Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animation master who created legions of movie monsters and aliens, now has earthly evidence of his achievements: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I honestly cannot think of a more deserving icon of visual effects. Congratulations are due, and I plan on finding and photographing the star the next time I go down to SoCal.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Movie Review: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/tiger_redirect?HPBO_1&/Title?0266543">Finding Nemo</a> 2003.06.08.10:28

OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a total sucker for Pixar's animations. From the shorts I saw in college, to the amazing Toy Story, I've been hooked. So I went to this knowing I would like it, and of course I did.

It's cute, it's funny, and it has a few in-jokes for us older types in the audience (the big shark in the trailers? Named "Bruce"). The rendering is awe-inspiring. The voice talent is very good, with some surprises in the line-up, such as Geoffrey Rush, Barry Humphries and John Ratzenberger. It's easy to see why this was #1 in the box office last week, and I imagine it will be again this week (though the brain-vacant "2 Fast 2 Furious" might draw enough summer-break teens in to win this weekend, it will fade much faster than Nemo).

My only beef is that they re-did the old Pixar short, Knick Knack. This is shown at the start of the film. In the original, there were two different bikini-clad girls who had, shall we say, pneumatic personalities. Since this is a G-rated kid's flick, they re-rendered it so that the girls were more flat-chested than Christina Ricci in the first Addams Family film. On the one hand I can sort of understand, but I don't really see how the lack of oversize cleavage makes that much difference– the bikinis were the same barely-there strips of cloth. Oh well. Small price to pay.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Recent Movies: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Title?0290334">X2</a> and <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Title?0234215">The Matrix Reloaded</a> 2003.06.03.22:11

I think people put way too much expectation into sequels, and as a result they tend to be overly-critical when the movies actually arrive. I've heard a lot of grousing on both of these movies, more so Matrix than X2.

Since this is so long after the release (relatively-speaking), I'm not going to actually bother with reviewing either film. You may or may not have seen them at this point, but my reviews or opinions aren't likely to change your mind.

Rather, I'll share this observation I made in conversation with a friend in Colorado. She liked X2 considerably more than Matrix. She didn't so much dislike Matrix, of course. But she felt that X2 was a better sequel. I thought about it for a bit, and then later that day I called her back. It strikes me that people tended to find the first X-Men somewhat weak in a lot of ways (usually top of the list is the regrettable dialog Halle Berry was saddled with). In contrast, most were simply wowed by the first Matrix film. So, I suspect that people come out of X2, having seen a pretty good film, and when they view it in the perspective of the first film it looks really fantastic. But when they come out of Matrix Reloaded, they're comparing it to an original that was much more highly-regarded than the first X-Men was. So they hold it to that, and as a result many see it as a weaker film than X2.

Personally, I thought they both kicked the asses of men. I've seen Reloaded twice, and will see X2 again soon, probably after seeing Finding Nemo.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Lawsuit Targets Movie Theater Commercials 2003.04.02.21:19

Here: http://www.nomovieads.com/

Commercials before the trailers have been irritating the hell out of me for years, now. When I went to see The Guru in Orange a few weeks ago, the AMC theater I was at showed commercials, but they started them before the posted start time, so that by the "official" time the movie started, you were at the trailers.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

Category quick-links:


24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep
Oct Nov Dec

Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

Powered by Blosxom [Valid RSS] Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! creativecommons.org