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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Hog On Ice

Good grief. Just had to post about this. We've already had word recently there are movies in the pipe that are remakes of MacGyver, The A-Team, and Missing In Action. Really, how are they going to fill the boots of Richard Dean Anderson, Mr. T, and Chuck Norris?! I don't think we really need remakes of these shows/movies, but whatever, we already know they'll probably suck the high wind (see Dukes of Hazzard movie, Starsky and Hutch movie, Bewitched, etc).

But now they've gone TOO far! They've announced the Coen brothers are remaking True Grit. What?! For starters, John Wayne movies don't need to be remade. (I'm ignoring the fact Rio Bravo was remade three times, twice starring Wayne, and one of the remakes has been remade. Don't ask.) But come on, this is unnecessary.

Granted, if anyone could pull this off, it'd be the Coens, but I just can't really see any current actor being able to successfully utter the famous line:

"Fill your hand, you sonuvabitch!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Checkin' In

Just a quick placeholder post. Still here - almost recovered from the flu bout, but still sleeping a lot. Guess the body knows when it has to repair. Had the building mangers on plumbing detail lately with a day without water and today having to wait for them to come by and do a look under the sinks in my unit. Guess they'll sleep better having checked, but it didn't help my sleep pattern any. Especially when they say it starts at 9 am and show up at noon. Wear a watch, people. Ok, rant over.

Got a good opening line for a story from Pappy in the comments of the last post, and I do like a writing challenge so I'll be coming up with something. I know what the last line will be, I just have to write the middle now.

Back for more sleep and then work again. Hope to get back into blogging again with some new posts later in the week...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Into The Sun

I'm just testing Flickr and Firefox's ScribeFire blogging plugin. But here's a picture for you to enjoy anyway. Managed to grab a pic of the sun and cloud while I was driving...

Driving into the sun

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Me Mini Movie Reviews: Babylon A.D.

This is a frustrating movie to review. On my first watch through the uncut version I rented, I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, knowing what I do about the troubled production, it sure leaves me wondering just how much better that three hour cut by the director is and wish yet again that Fox studios would leave movies alone.

The sci-fi story is set in the not too distant future that is probably a ‘pre’ post-apocalyptic. It definitely has a Blade Runner feel crossed with Children of Men and the look of this future is very cool. We join the story following a mercenary Toorop (Vin Diesel in an excellent performance) getting an offer he can’t refuse to transport and deliver a girl, Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from war ravaged Serbia to New York City. He picks her up at a monastery and reluctantly has to take her guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) along too. From there it’s a tension fraught fight or flight run to the border and Toorop begins to find out there’s more to this mission than just delivering a package. Choices will have to be made, and they won’t be easy.

The movie is very well paced and the action scenes well done. There’s a bit too much quick editing in the fight scenes, but it’s certainly watchable. Some of the best parts are the futuristic cinematography as we travel through war torn Russia, the snow covered Arctic, and into the glitzy New York cityscape. It’s not so far into the future that you have flying cars and such, it’s just a well done, believable version of the not too distant future. The actors all give excellent performances that change as the movie progresses, from Vin Diesel as the hopeless cynic to having a reason to fight, and Thierry as the naive young girl seeing the world for the first time and adjusting to it’s horrors.

But this is where that frustration kicks in. As much as I really liked this movie, there are deeper themes being presented here that don’t get the chance to play out. Human manipulation of mankind, religion, God, Artificial Intelligence, power, love, etc, all get touched on but not explored. Apparently the book it’s based on, Babylon Babies, is a 500 page thinker and I believe the director had a lot more he wished to address here than just a futuristic action movie. The director, Mathieu Kassovitz, has already stated in interviews he won’t work with Fox again as they consistently meddled in the entire production resulting in what he called “a bad episode of 24.” (Quote of the year?) I don’t think the end result is that bad. However, from what I gather the theatrical release was a complete mess, but the 15 minutes added back in to the “uncut” version makes for at least a comprehensible story, if short on depth.

This is a case of where all my internet movie reading is a double edged sword. I was sold on the movie from the trailer (which gives away a pivotal moment, so don’t watch that if you intend on watching the movie), but reading about the production troubles saved me spending 10 bucks at the theatre for a cut to bits version. Having watched the “uncut” version though, I really wonder what’s on the cutting room floor and hope someday we get a true Director’s Cut. If not, well there’s just one more reason among many for me to hate Fox Studios.

Verdict: Worth a rental - get the Raw & Uncut version only though, NOT the theatrical version. Good action, impressive visuals, and interesting but underdeveloped sci-fi themes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Could Use A Healing Factor...

Hey all, still here. Bit of a rough week. Inexplicably wound up with my left shoulder feeling tore up and couldn't sleep more than a couple hours without waking up from the pain. Don't know how it happened, but after about a week of it, it's getting better. Wound up sleeping for 12 hours on Sunday to catch up. 'Course, as soon as that clears up I catch a flu bug and got the sore throat head cold thing going here just to keep March's good luck streak intact. Can't wait for this month to fall off the calendar.

On the upside, I'm watching movies and reading and watching podcasts as any distraction is good. Watched Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider today and over a couple nights at work I watched True Romance on the PSP on lunch breaks. Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott, it's a wild ride of a movie with an excellent cast. Typical Tarantino writing, but directed by Scott it's not as overdone as some of Quentin's other stuff. Fun movie.

I also finished the Preacher series and loved it, but still thinking about writing something up on it. Started in on the Watchmen graphic novel now, with it all the rage in the theatre, figured I better read the book first.

And here's something cool - I've resisted any next gen game console to this point, but this game might be worth a PS3. Can't wait for the Wolverine movie, and this game looks like a lot of fun to play, hitting stores the same day. If I had Wolverines healing factor, I wouldn't have to worry about sore shoulders and throats...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Everybody's Got A Trailer...

We got trailers hitting the net all over the place for the summer movies. I guess now that we're into March, they don't have all that long to go after your hard earned bucks, so they gotta get those hype machines rolling.

There's a new and final Wolverine trailer out there. I watched a low res version somewhere, and since the HD version is in the bowels of MTV's website I'm not going to bother to link to it here. Just wait till it comes to Apple. (seriously, MTV?! What are you thinking Fox?) What I did see of the trailer convinced me not to watch it - the trailer, not the movie. It's Fox doing the usual "give away all the good stuff" and so I stopped watching and will wait for the movie. No need to have it spoiled by overzealous marketing. However, the bits I did see look great and I can't wait for this one.

Then there's a new Star Trek trailer out and it looks pretty cool, even for a non Trek fan like me, which I assume is the point of rebooting the franchise and going after new viewers. Lots of explosions in space, not much else in the trailer. Looks like it could be ok, but it won't be any Serenity.

Also out is a trailer for 500 Days of Summer. This is a little outside my wheelhouse movie wise, but sign me up. Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel? Ok, I'm in.

But the best is saved for last here. The first trailer is out for what is one of my Top 3 anticipated movies this year - Public Enemies. It's the story of bank robber John Dillenger and the FBI agent, Melvin Purvis, hot on his trail. Dillenger is played by Johnny Depp and Purvis is played by Christian Bale. That's enough right there to be interested, but the guarantee this will be awesome is that the director is crime action/drama master, Michael Mann. His movies Heat, Collateral, and Miami Vice are three of my all time favorites. Now I watched this trailer in low res flash and it was ok, but if your computer is at all capable, go over to Apple and watch it in 1080P HD glory. This one should be great. (by the way, the cool blues music in the second half of the trailer is Ten Million Slaves by Otis Tayler in case you were wondering like I was)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Shiny Apples

So much for that March 24 date. Apple quietly updated their desktop line and a few other things today. The iMacs got some good speed bumps, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule got updated, but the Mac Mini update is what I've been waiting for.

The Mini now has the new Nvidia graphics, same as the laptops and a huge improvement over the old Intel GMA950. It's got DDR3 Ram in it too, although the low end version comes with only 1GB (really?!). On the back, it's got 5 (yep, 5!) USB ports, firewire 800, and this is where it gets interesting - both a mini-DVI and mini-Display ports so that you can now power two displays off it. There's been a lot of people wanting that for a long time. And all this in about the smallest desktop package you can get.

The downside is, I think they actually raised the price. The low end version starts at $729 Canadian which I think is about $80 more than what they were selling the old one for. Guess I'll be looking at some older refurbs, see what they come in at.

So, back to the Apple website I go...

Terminator Salvation

Of the blockbuster summer movies coming this summer, I'd have to say Wolverine and Terminator Salvation would be two at the top of the list. And now, the first full trailer (Not a teaser) has hit the web for Terminator and it's awesome. We get a look at more of the story, the interaction between Conner and Terminators and the apocalyptic look of the future. With Christian Bale as John Conner (leader of the human resistance) and Sam Worthington as a Terminator who think he's human, it looks like the battle is all set.

I'm a huge fan of the first two Terminator movies. From a sci-fi angle and CGI and action viewpoint, they were ahead of their time, but it's the story in both that holds up no matter what. The third Terminator kind of took a helluva dive on that front, but I'm hoping Terminator Salvation gets it back to quality storytelling and not just "blow it up good." The downside is that the continuation of these movies rather stomps all over the point of the second movie, in that "fate is what you make it" and that you can change the future, but apparently the war happened anyway. Of course, the war between humans and Terminators would have had to happen for one to get sent back to protect John and Sarah Conner in the first place so that they could change the future and - oh dear, I've gone cross eyed...

Anyway, this trailer looks great and hopefully they can get Linda Hamilton back to do a voice over to book end the movie and maybe even an Arnold cameo. That would be classic.

HD trailer at Yahoo Movies here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Carryin' On

Hey, look at that, I have internet access again. Came home last night and had nothing in the way of a series of tubes to connect me to the outside world. My equipment was working right, but with the lights dimming on and off, I figured there was probably something else wrong further up the line. Must've been, cause now it's working. Would hate to have to go through internet withdrawal.

Elsewhere, I make it a point not to talk in details about work on here, but I will say I got good news last night in that the contract has settled and we'll keep working. That's a huge load off the mind and yet another chip falling in place. I may still hate my job, but in this economy you've gotta be grateful to just be working - anywhere. And if I can last another year, odds are good I'll get transferred to a better location. So it's just a wait and endure thing now, but at least the bills will still get paid. Now it's on to a laundry list of to-do's that have been on hold for the last six months...

And in other news, reading around the web there are some strong rumors that there will be an Apple event on March 24, likely to introduce updated Mac desktop models. Waiting for the new Mac Mini here, which is more in the affordable bracket than a laptop. Or even better would be a nice drop on a refurbed older model price. We'll soon see.

And the quote of the day goes to The Outlaw Josey Wales - classic western I watched:
"Now remember, things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is."