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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Schwarzenegger Says Loosen' Up Your Knees

Arnold stops mid speech to help a girl who had fainted. He doesn't even hesitate, he just walks right over. Most speakers would probably stand there rather unsure.

Then he gives the others standing there some advice to loosen up their knees and legs so that they don't faint too...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Get Yer Trailers!

Some Quicktime trailers to pass along here…

For a noir fan like me, there’s a couple interesting noir-esque movies coming out soon. First up is The Lookout (download trailer here) this coming weekend, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Looks like a solid crime caper with focus on the characters, and its getting good reviews so far.

Coming April 13 is the movie Lonely Hearts. (download trailer here) Starring John Travolta as a cop trying to track down the Lonely Hearts killers – Salma Hayek and Jared Leto. It’s set in the ‘40s, so I’ll see it just for the cars, although the trailer looks really good.

Further out is the Ray Liotta movie Slow Burn (download the HD trailer here). Looks like a good twisty thriller, and Liotta is always worth watching.

Elsewhere, there’s the Resident Evil: Extinction movie coming in the fall. (download the trailer here). Featuring a Las Vegas buried under sand, it looks like it might be a decent throwaway zombie actioner. Hey, its got Ali Larter in it, so why not? The sand setting and the zoom in shot on Jovovich does make it look a little like a Mummy ripoff, but nobody was actually looking for an original idea here, right?

And finally, there’s the Waitress movie (download HD trailer here). There’s only one reason I’m even posting about this – Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal!) is in it. That’s not enough to get me to watch this movie though. It stars Keri Russel as a small town diner waitress, but the trailer looks boring as all get out. I’m not sure if it’s trying to be a romantic comedy or a whiny drama, but it misfires on both sides of that coin. There’s no funny, and there’s no drama. Who would pay to watch this? Poor Nathan – I really, really, hope his new series on Fox (Drive) is a hit, because he deserves better than this…

New Bourne Ultimatum Teaser Trailer...

New teaser trailer out today for The Bourne Ultimatum, coming this summer. Looks interesting, although the first half of it is just shots from the previous movies. It looks like he's going all Jackie Chan (Rumble in the Bronx) this time around jumping from rooftops and the like. Who knows if it will be any good - I really hope the director took notice of all the criticism of flash cut editing from the Bourne Supremacy and lets us see the action this time around...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Will Ferrell, Meredith Vieira, & Ice. What Could Go Wrong?

This is probably better than anything we'll see in Blades of Glory...not that I plan on buying a ticket to that. But you got to hand it to her - she takes a crack to the head and keeps on going...

Hot Bus...

NY bus converted into oven for matzos - Yahoo! News

Interesting arcticle about a man who converted an old school bus into an oven. Police were called when smoke was spotted, but apparently he'd been doing this for 3 years to make matzos for his Jewish congregation for Passover. He'd hooked up a gas line and was cooking away when police got there.

Given the illegal gas line, "There certainly was the potential for an explosion."

He said the back door of the bus, formerly the emergency exit, was the oven door.

"All the seats had been removed and the whole inside was an oven," he said

Rather inventive to be sure. The bus had previously been used as a home and a race-car carrier.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Me Mini Movie Reviews: The Black Dahlia.

I’ve been looking forward to watching this one for a while. Wanted to see it last September, but didn’t make it to the theatre as usual. Finally rented and watched it the other night, and it was alright. It got absolutely trashed by critics and bombed at the box office, but I kind of liked it. It’s not the greatest movie ever made by a long, long shot, but it does have its merits. Not quite sure why it took such a lambasting.

It’s a film noir story set in post WWII Hollywood focusing on two cops, the girl in between, and a fictionalized take on the real life unsolved case of The Black Dahlia murder. It was never solved in real life, but creative license is used here to tell a tale of how the detective’s obsession with the case affects the lives of these three people and pulls dark secrets into the light of day. Aaron Eckert plays Lee Blanchard and Josh Hartnett plays Dwight “Bucky” Bleichart - two cops, who are drawn together by their boxing past and into the warrants division of the LAPD and subsequently become involved in the high profile murder case. Scarlett Johannson plays the dame in the middle of the two, which causes conflict to say the least. She’s got her own secrets as well. Then there’s Hilary Swank playing Madeline Linscott – the femme fatale of the picture who stirs things up with Bucky.

It’s all a bit convoluted as several parallel stories eventually converge to reveal the whole messy state of affairs. As they say in the bonus features of the DVD, it’s really a story of a mostly honorable man’s (Bucky) descent into hell. I would put it a different way. It’s pretty much a straight up noir until Hilary Swank’s character and her family hits the screen. There, they take a hard left turn at Albuquerque and head straight on over into Crazytown, with the mother – Ramona Linscott (played by Fiona Shaw) as the mayor. Not that there’s anything wrong with a little crazy – as Wash from Firefly once said “I’ve been sane for a while now, and change is good.” (Didn’t see a Firefly reference coming, did you? :-) Bucky tries to put it all together and there’s a moment or two near the end as the bizarre tale gets told that he has a “What the ?!” look on his face. From the reviews, some critics did too.

Maybe it was because I had low expectations, but I was actually surprised by Josh Hartnett in this. He showed a good noir turn in Sin City, and carries it over here. I thought he did pretty well as the more or less “moral” center of the movie playing a man in over his head. Aaron Eckert was excellent, and I can’t wait to see his turn as Two Face in the upcoming Batman sequel. Scarlett Johannson was her usual self, but at least she didn’t look half asleep this time around. Hilary Swank vamps it up as the femme fatale and seems to have fun with an oddball role. Mia Kirshner as the doomed Elizabeth Short (real life name of the murdered woman who became known as The Black Dahlia) gives probably the best performance of the lot in flashbacks showing her desperate descent as well. Of course, this is a Brian DePalma film, so you know it’s going to at least look good if nothing else. The period settings are impeccable (Love the cars), and there are some great camera shots. He misfires at the very end though, trying for an indelible image for the audience that just comes off as a ham fisted cheap scare shot. The rest of it looks good though.

On the whole, for a dark noir fan like me, it was an alright movie. Not the best, not the worst. There’s a lot going on, and you need to pay attention to keep track of the players. It could have been pulled together a bit tighter, and it does overplay the ending and takes too long getting to it, not to mention the crazy loon moments teeter on the edge of camp. However, there are some good noir moments and some really incredibly well done period visuals (considering they filmed in Bulgaria on a budget), so it’s a bit of a give and take on the good vs bad of the film. For a noir fan like me though, I’ll take it, as these types of cinematic movies aren’t exactly popular in the age of Wild Hogs and Norbit…

Verdict: This isn’t a movie for mainstream audiences. Recommended for hardcore fans of film noir.

Oh, and keep in mind, its rated R for a reason.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Still Flyin'...

Watched the tail end of the pilot episodes for Firefly again tonight...has some of my favorite Firefly moments in that sequence. That's how its done - how when storytelling, its important to show, not tell.

The audience learns so much about the character of Captain Mal in one very short 2 second sequence as he walks in on a bad situation and without saying a word just takes care of it, but more importantly takes care of his crew. None of his choices are good, but he makes a decision regardless and moves on. Then there's Wash, showing how good a pilot he his and how calm under incredible pressure. Two of my favorite Wash lines - "If everyone could just be quiet a moment." and "Here's something you can't do." as he steers them away from certain death. And of course, Kaylee, talking to her ship and making it work. And then, the great exchange between Simon and Mal at the end:

Simon: "You had the Alliance on you, criminals and savages, half the people on the ship have been shot or wounded including yourself, and you're harboring known fugitives."
Mal: "Well, we're still flyin'."
Simon: "That's not much."
Mal(quietly): "It's enough."

Yep, still flyin'...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Just Because...

It's late, got nothing new or interesting to post, so going with a pic of Stewie...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Watch The Birdie...

Ever watched badminton doubles on TV? It was on TSN here at 2 in the morning, and it was oddly riveting. These guys leap into the air and hammer their racquet down on the birdie and it does go faster, but it still kinda floats. Then they just barely tap it to get it to just float over the net and die. They have to have really fast reflexes playing on a small court, and its really weird physics with that birdie. Who knew this was an international sport?

Monday, March 19, 2007

PSP Fun...

Been playing with my new PSP...great little gadget...

Granted, I only have two at the moment, but the games are great. Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a pretty frenetic race through the streets trying to avoid the cops. I gotta unlock better cars though...

Got the music and pics loaded on too, but the video is the tricky part. Sony, in all their wisdom decided to make up some kind of archaic filename routine and only play vids in MP4, so a lot of converting and such is required to get vids over to the memory card, but once there, they play great. Downloaded the free PSP Video 9, and that pretty much solves the conversion issue. It also allows you to edit the naming of the file and pick the thumbnail pic. Much better than what Sony will let you do. I guess they wanted people to get ripped off buying 20 dollar UMD movies (with no extras) instead of ripping flicks to the memory card. Hmmm, and I wonder why UMD movies are a dying media with studios pulling support...

I don't have a WI-FI connection at home, but the PSP does, so I can supposedly surf the 'net with the thing too. And with a tonne of homebrew applications out there, it really is a powerful little portable gaming machine and more. Sure, it's a little on the big side for extreme portability (if you only want music, get an MP3 player), but as an all in one, it's better than lugging around a laptop...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Me Mini Movie Reviews: The Marine

So this was a fun movie. As simple a plot as you can get, but things “shore’ do blow up real good.” I thought from the trailers this was going to suck, but it wasn’t bad as long as you realize what you’re going to get. This is a throwback to ‘80s action flicks, right down to the wooden acting.

John Cena, a WWE wrestler (and current champ, I think), plays The Marine, who gets discharged, heads home, gets talked into a trip with his wife, she gets kidnapped, and he goes all marine on the bad guys. Cars get chased, people get into fist fights, lots of rounds of ammo are fired and hit nothing important, and things blow up really, really good. Oh yeah, really good explosions.

John Cena actually does pretty well as the stoic marine – he’s wooden as an oak tree, but that works in the role. You can easily buy him as an action movie guy, and he kicks some ass throughout the flick. Plus, he did a lot of the stunts himself, which always helps in an action flick. Kelly Carlson does the requisite babe in distress role well enough, however it’s Robert Patrick, clearly slumming it and having fun chewing scenery, that’s fun to watch. He has some good lines, but the Terminator reference reaction is the best moment. (By the way, his T-1000 would have kicked Cena’s butt.) The rest of the bad guys are about the dumbest collected gang ever, though they do manage the odd good line.

There were some CGI spots that were doubtful, but for the most part is was a slam bang dumb action movie. It doesn’t rate anywhere close to the classics (Sly’s Cobra, Arnie’s Commando, Chuck’s Delta Force, Russell and Sly in Tango & Cash, etc.), but if you’re a fan of those great 80s/early 90s action movies and wish they’d make some like that again, its worth the rental.

Verdict: I’ll recommend the rental, for 80’s action flick fans.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

1Biiiiiiiiilion Dolllars...

BBC NEWS | Business | Viacom will sue YouTube for $1bn

Here we go. Back when YouTube sold their souls to Google, everyone said that was the death knell of the Tube. We were all just waiting for the big lawsuit.

Well, here it is, and it's a doozy. Viacom is going to sue for 1 Billion dollars. That's quite the dollar value, considering Google paid 1.65 Billion for Youtube. So, who does Viacom think they are? YouTube?

There certainly has been a downward spiral of quality clips on YouTube since the sale, and Viacom, which also owns MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central, has been on Google to get their clips down. There has been an exodus of good Daily Show and Colbert Report clips too, especially since Viacom cut their deal with Joost.

The funny thing is that YouTube is one of the few dependable (read non DRM) site where you can go and watch music videos. I'm certainly not going to MTV's crappy, crappy website to watch vid clips.

So what do they think they're gaining from this? Ticking off the end users is always a good step towards a solid customer base...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Preacher, Gone To Texas...

At long last, I’ve started in on reading the highly regarded and critically acclaimed Preacher series of graphic novels written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillion. I’m a huge fan of Ennis' work on Punisher, and have been meaning to read the Preacher novels for a while, just haven’t got to it.

Well, I have the first one of nine books here, and picked it off the shelf the other night. Couple hours later, I finished it, then proceeded to order the other 8 books from Amazon. Should be here soon, I hope. Have to see where this story goes.

It is a completely over the top mix of violence, humor, questions of faith, western themes, vampires, utter crudeness, biblical references, and anything else you can think of. Anywhere else, this kind of stuff wouldn’t work, but here it all mixes together in some weird kind of sense. I was laughing out loud at some of the dialogue one minute, then pondering a thought provoking moment the next.

It all revolves around Reverend Jesse Custer and his trip to find God. And that is to say, literally find Him and talk to Him. Accidentally bonded to a supernatural force called Genesis, Jesse finds himself with power that might just rival God. However, after finding out God left the realm of Heaven upon the birth of the Genesis entity, Jesse sets out to find Him and take Him to task for the way things are. (“How the hell can God quit?!” Jesse asks). With a strong moral conviction, Jesse is joined in his quest by his gun toting ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire, Cassidy, who is a riot of a character. Along the way, a host of other characters show up, including a gunslinger straight out of the wild west called the Saint of Killers, appearances from a ghostly John Wayne, and a kid with revenge on the mind called Arseface. I tell ya, it’s a trip.

Needless to say, if you are the type that is easily offended, steer way clear of this book. However, those that can appreciate this kind of trip with an open mind will enjoy a kick ass ride through a crisis of faith. It’s a helluva premise for a story, and interesting questions are raised, along with side splittingly funny and profane dialogue. Then in the middle of this mayhem, there’s this Jesse character with a moral compass who refuses to abuse his newfound power. I love works (movies, books, music, etc) that can entertain you, make you laugh, and make you think all at the same time. Can’t wait to read the rest of the books and see just how this story could end.

If you're interested, you can download the first issue in PDF form here.

Edit: This is a fictional story (the Preacher books, that is) that should not be taken literally by anyone. It should not be read by anyone under 18 and without a sense of humor. This should not be considered as a promotion or recommendation of the books as I have only read one and cannot comment on the scope of the story...yet. Stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Slice It Up...

The other day I saw an ad on the side of a bus for something called the Slice channel. What the heck is that? And why is it on the channel where the Life Network used to be? What happened to the Life Network? Not that I care, but apparently they just changed their name to Slice and tweaked the lineup a bit. Now it’s basically a rerun of the Women’s Network with a slightly hipper rap. (I modified it, but does anyone know what movie that line comes from?)

I don’t watch either channel much, since there’s rarely anything good on either one. However, there was the occasional show of interest on the Life Network. The Bridezillas show was a good one. Basically it was a one hour commercial pointing out all the reasons guys want to stay single. The train wrecks of female humanity on that show were awesome. Complete meltdowns. I can’t believe any of those guys went through with the wedding. Poor buggers. If I were in their shoes and my bride to be was doing stuff like that, I'd be fast in my truck putting foot through the firewall on my way out of town...

So anyway, if you are looking for the Life Network, look for Slice instead. Or better yet, read a book…

Monday, March 12, 2007

Why Do I Know That?

I have too much useless information in my head.

I'm watching an episode of Seinfeld - the one where Elaine makes friends with Susan, much to George's dismay, and worlds collide, and Kramer is movie phone guy, [Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you want to see?], and George winds up in the wrong theatre looking for Susan, Elaine, and Jerry. At that point, you can see a bit of the movie playing in the background above George's head. No faces are shown, no dialogue is heard, and it's certainly not one that could pass for the fictitious Chunnel they're supposedly seeing. And yet I know what movie it is.

That's just sad. I can't learn anything new, 'cause like Homer said, "Every time I learn something new it pushes something old out of my brain", and I so need to hang on to information like this.

The movie, by the way, is The American President with Michael Douglas and Annette Benning. Not a bad movie either, for those types of light, meaningless romcoms...

Weekend's Over...

Didn't do much this weekend...slept a lot, and surfed the net looking at Mac/Apple stuff. I think I really want one of those Mac Mini's. If I decide to upgrade my desktop, that's what I'm going with. You get the best of all worlds - the Mac software experience and then you can either dual boot or run Parallels software to simultaneously run Windows XP right in your Mac OS X. Or even a Linux product if you want. The Mac laptops are way out of my price range, but if you're going to have a desktop, why wouldn't you get one that can run all 3 major operating systems without much of a hassle?

Also watched the Toronto/Ottawa hockey game Saturday night. Was a good game too. The Leafs had plenty of chances early, but Sens goalie Ray Emery shut the door. Then the Sens went up 3-1, so it looked like another Leafs loss. But Boyd Deveraux (who I remember played for the local minor hockey team) scored one to make it 3-2. Then, with time winding down, Sundin made a great pass to Antropov who scored on his second attempt to tie the game. It went to overtime, where Kubina made another great give and go play to get the puck to Darcy Tucker who scored the winner for the Leafs. Nice come from behind victory for the Leafs and a fun game to watch. However, I still say the best thing that could happen for the Leafs would be to miss the playoffs. If they squeak in, it'll be status quo for another year, but if they miss again, the pressure will be on to make some changes. Hopefully, they'll start by getting a new GM that will actually do something. As it is, the Maple Laughs are fun to watch stumble along like always, but I feel sorry for Mats Sundin who has had no one good to play with for years, and has no hope of ever winning a Cup...

Hoping to see 300 at the theatre either Monday or Tuesday. Looks like it was a major hit at the box office, collecting 70 million on its opening weekend. It had zero competition, but that's still impressive for a genre film that's rated R, which usually takes away from your box office total. A money maker like this could very well mean director Zack Snyder will get the green light for the seemingly impossible to make Watchmen. Can't wait to see 300, and just hope the theatre isn't full of disruptive spring break teenagers when I go :)

Friday, March 09, 2007

New Trailers...

Two new trailers here...

First up, an R Rated trailer for 300 here. Can't wait to see this. Enjoy the trailer, but remember it's R for a reason folks. Oh, and be sure to turn the volume way up before it starts :)

Then we have a new trailer for Slow Burn here. It's a new Ray Liotta crime thriller (opening April 13), and it looks good. Liotta is always watchable in his 'barely contained I'm about to blow up' mode, and this looks like one with some twists to it.

Oh, and apparently we will finally see a trailer for Pirates 3, coming March 19. Will they recapture the spirit of the first one, or continue the Matrix like downward spiral of the trilogy? Time will tell...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Me Mini Movie Reviews – Hoodwinked

Ok, normally I’m all Mr. Film Noir/Crime Drama/Sci-Fi, but Hoodwinked is just plain fun. This’ll be a brief review, but had to throw something up to mention this little gem of a movie. It an animated flick, but it’s hard to believe this is directed solely at the kiddie demographic. Sure, they’d probably enjoy it, but most of the jokes and humor are probably aimed at an older crowd (though it's still totally clean humor and safe for kids). Either way, I found it laugh out loud funny and way funnier than most live action big screen “comedies” that come out these days.

It starts out with the realization that there’s a thief on the loose in the Enchanted Forest stealing the critter’s goodies recipes. This is resulting in the different goody makers closing up shop. Granny still has her recipes in the care of Red Riding Hood, who decides to take them to Granny’s cabin in the woods for safety. A series of events later, and Red Riding Hood, Granny, The Wolf, and The Woodsman are all holed up at Granny’s under investigation of local police (Chief Grizzly). Each gets their chance to tell their side of the story, and we see each one play out as they try to solve the mystery. To say any more would ruin the hilarity.

The charm of this movie is the humor. It’s certainly my kind of funny – sarcastic oneliners aplenty. They also do takeoffs of a couple different movies as well. The Wolf is definitely a take on Chevy Chase’s Fletch, and there’s a good run of Vin Diesel’s XXX jokes too. My favorite characters are Wolf and his sidekick squirrel photographer Twitchy, who talks a hundred miles an hour. Some great lines come from Wolf. Also, Bunny just cracks me up – especially closer to the end (the whole “Keith” bit is hilarious).

The animation is top notch. Colorful surroundings and detailed everything including the facial expression of the various characters which often times make the jokes even funnier.

This is a perfect movie if you just want something light to make you laugh and you’re tired of the lame attempts of modern comedies. A nice way to relax and not have anything heavy for 90 minutes.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. You can download the trailer here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mac Attack?

Ok, I want one of these.

Now, I’m no Mac user (yet), but you gotta admit that looks cool. A computer that small that actually has quite a bit in it. If you’re trying to save space, it’d be the way to go.

Actually, what brought me to trip over that product was searching the web on Mac computers and laptops. I’m in the market for a laptop, so I figure I may as well keep an open mind and look at them all. Especially now that with the Intel chips you can easily run Windows XP or Vista on a Mac alongside Mac OS X. I’d imagine it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to stick Linux on there too. One computer to rule them all…

Only one problem with a Mac: Holy crap, are they expensive! Looking at the laptops, I could probably get a 17” widescreen laptop PC for $1200-1500 (maybe even less). The only 17” Mac laptop goes for close to $3,000! I can’t afford that. In fact, about the only Mac product I could afford is the Mac Mini ($679). It is small, but it’s no laptop.

After the unmitigated disaster that was the Linux attempt (ok, a bit of hyperbole, I’m still gonna keep whacking away at it), I started thinking about the Macs. Or maybe the commercials got to me (the latest "Cancel or Allow" one is hilarious). Or maybe listening to the Movie Blog guys rave about switching to Apple laptops. Plus, since the things I really like to do on a computer are what the Mac is designed for, it makes some kind of sense. Something I’ll have to look into if I can find a financially feasible way to do it.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Moaning & Groaning

Well, isn’t that a kick to the head. I hadn’t much interest in the new movie Black Snake Moan, but then the other day I saw a music video for it featuring Samuel L. Jackson singing the blues. It was him from the movie as well as other clips to make the video. I liked the song, and so started to check out the movie a little more to see if there was more to it than the pulp posters would have you believe.

Apparently there is. Sounds like an interesting story actually. I also read a pretty good review of it in one of the papers at work. Then I even hit the official website and browsed around there, watching clips and reading about the story line. Sounds pretty good. They even have a soundtrack music player you can launch to listen to the entire soundtrack right there online. That’s pretty cool.

If you hadn't heard of it before, you can download the Black Snake Moan trailer here.
Oh, and here's an interesting review by Roger Ebert.

Now I rarely go to the theatre anymore (high prices and obnoxious people), but for some reason I thought I’d like to go see this. I hauled up my local theatre listings, and was shocked to find no mention of the film there at all. The other 2 releases are there – Wild Hogs and Zodiac, but I’m not going to those.

So what is this? This city isn’t exactly a backwater by any means, why don’t we get this released here? A bit more digging online, and I find we do get it – only on March 30 for two nights at the local small art-ish/indie theatre. I’m only guessing, but I assume that means the couple megaplexes around here won’t even be showing it if the indie theatre has it in the same month (like Brick last year). But that’s not the kick in the head. Here I was actually thinking of spending money in a theatre to go see this and I not only have to wait another month for it, it’s only showing on 2 nights – both of which I work.

That pretty much kills my interest in it. I’ll put it on the DVD list with the rest. And ya wonder why I don’t bother with going to the movies anymore. It’s pretty much to the point where I see a trailer, put it on a list, and check back for DVD release date later.

Anyway, so much for that. At least I save myself ten bucks. However, I will say the soundtrack kicks ass. If you like the blues, head over to the site and give it a listen.