Wednesday, December 27, 2006

America: From Freedom to Fascism (Documentary 2006)

Very interesting, I wasn't expecting the subject matter to revolve around the Federal Income Tax, but it's good to be surprised now and again. The narrator and creator of this film, Aaron Russo, begs to explain how America's Federal Income Tax (FIT) is actually not written into any law, but is a creation of the IRS and a small set of private banks. In a nutshell, the American people are being played, but more at the end of a gun barrel and prison time than with actual legislation.

The film starts out by explaining the ins and outs of the FIT and shows how we should not have to pay for it every year. The then goes onto the subject of the Federal Reserve and how it's not an actual government entity, but instead, a cartel of large, collaborating private banks. All of this information is combined to show how we as citizens are losing more and more rights and being steered towards becoming an Orwellian police state.

Now I'm not one to research any of this, but lets say all of the information in this documentary is true. "What are we to do about it?" I shall answer this question as a normal worker bee living in this wonderful country called America: "We do nothing." The reason for this can be laid out in a very simple manner. Most of us are law abiding citizens who don't want a visit from the cops or the Feds because they have guns and can, most of the time, use it on us with no immediate ramifications. What I mean by this is that government entities who have guns can royally fuck you even though the reasons for it may be illegal, and later down the line, after thousands of hours of suffering, you might be released. Why go through any trouble when all you have to do is pay your damn taxes and live your life as you do everyday? The people in this movie are stubborn: they believe that the system actually works. Well it doesn't. People are corrupted, government is corrupted, and all of us worker bees are just trying to get by. No sense putting up a stand when all you're going to do is get raped in the process.

This all may sound odd if you haven't seen the movie, so just bear with me. The end of this film was very "French" in the manner of stepping up and questioning your government. Throughout history, people have only united against government when they were either starving or when their quality of life had greatly diminished or was irrevocably changed. Until any of those things happen in this country, the only things that the people in this film will be doing is making their lives harder for themselves and constantly losing the battle. As I always say, "Fight only when you are going to win or when it's worth everything to make a point." Any other reason is foolish and is destined for failure. This movie is certainly not bad, it's instead quite educational, but the more you think of how many things would have to change in order to "fix" everything, the more pointless the venture becomes. Yeah it sucks that we're getting played, but who isn't? Where in the world has a grand, corruptless government where everything makes sense? Find that utopia and I'll be ready to cash in my passport.
Rating - B

Apocalypto (Drama 2006)

It's good to know that even though Mel Gibson is a crazed bigot, he can still make some pretty good movies. This film tells the story of one guy who had to overcome a ton of shiznit in order to escape from a declining civilization and save his family. As my good friend Kerry stated, "It has a very simple story," and that much is for certain. The plot is very direct and easily understood as you take a journey alongside the main character.

Everything about the movie was pretty well done as I am unable to think of any flaws or lull moments. The historical accuracy of the representation of the Mayan Civilization can be debated by those who know more about it, but from a generalist's point of view, the depiction of the setting was fairly believable. The action, music, and graphic violence is reminiscent of the first time I watched Braveheart, so that earned it some "oh damn!!" points with the visual blood and bone crunching sounds. If you're looking for a solid film set in Pre-Columbian South America, then this one's for you.
Rating - A

Monday, December 25, 2006

Step Up (Drama 2006)

Very blah movie. For one of its genre it actually fell a little below expectations. Nothing about it was interesting. The story was fairly transparent from the beginning, the actors were more interested in their own personal glory from dancing by themselves than dancing with each other, and the overall theme of the plot was pretty putt putt boring.

All of the dramatic scenes were both purposely inserted as well as poorly done. The writers literally had to think up a scene where "drama" would take place and squish it into the existing story. Later they had to waste even more time to write in a "fix drama" scene to make everything hunky-dory again.

Maybe my opinion stands as it is because the main chick was not my cup of tea. Something is wrong with her mouth; I think she has too many teeth. Am I that much of an ass reviewer? Yes, I think I am because I don't believe she was hot or convincing enough to take on a lead roll. She should be a stripper.
Rating - D

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Clerks II (Comedy 2006)

I'm surprised to say it, but this movie was actually kinda funny. It wasn't super funny, so don't get any ideas, but it got a few occasional chuckles which is better than some crap that I've seen lately.

The only things I remember from the first movie was that it was all in black & white and there was some line about "try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot" or something to that effect. This one was different in that it was much faster in terms of pace, and it sorta reminded me of the movie Waiting. The humor was right along the same lines too so yeah, I'd say that the two films were very similar in quality and lowbrowness (I just made up that word, so fuck the spell checker).

So if you're bored and need something playing in the background then this is the movie for you, but if you're looking for something more worthwhile then look elsewhere. Simple as that.
Rating - B

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sorry!

Yeah my apologies for not posting much during these last few weeks. There's like 5 movies out that I really want to see but the current cold-ass weather in Tucson has caused me to be hella more lazy and unable to get up during weekend mornings to go to the matinée showing. Since I'm still a cheap bastard, I won't pay full price to walk into a theater alone. Quite sad, I know, but fear not! Next week I totally have off so I will be able to clear out a good number of cinematic works. So until then, Merry Christmas kiddies!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Waging a Living (Documentary 2005)

Well this was an unexpected and sad little movie about four different peeps who are trying to make it in this world with only minimum wage or something very close to that amount to survive on. Although the documentary took a pretty direct look at what situations all of these individuals were in, it did not address "how" these people got in those situations in the first place. I believe the "how" is very important and should be examined.

When taking a broad look at each of these people, they all had a few things in common:
  1. They were all uneducated, although one person did finish her Associates Degree during the course of this film.
  2. They all had kids; and not just one, the number ranged from 2 to 7.
So, when looking at those facts, I say to myself, would I be able to survive with only a HS education, working for any wage $5.50-$9? And although I did not go through all of the detailed calculations such as fixed costs and stuff, I would assume, using general numbers, that I could probably survive although it would be a bitch and I would probably be living super ghetto style.

The problem with the first point is that yes, you can't really progress further in any career without an education because 1) You are not trained in anything 2) You have not proven to anyone that you can pull off learning anything new. 3) There are people better than you who are more educated or driven, and are after your job. So even though < $9 per hour is still low, it's also a survivable amount in most cases for one person, depending on where you live in the country. This number probably didn't include the factor of having kids, but why should it? It should never have been an issue in the first place when you're at such a low point in your life. While watching this film, I kept on thinking about my second point. The main reason why all of these people were "fucked" was because they had so many mouths to feed at home and because being a single parent doing regular parenting tasks sucks ass. Here is where all their money went: to support chitlins that do nothing but drain your income. Call me heartless, but I can't stand it when people make bad decisions over and over again. If you accidentally have one kid then fine, deal with that, but have anything more, and you'll be labeled an idiot who just made your own life worse. From an economic standpoint, it would even be more efficient to take out any loan necessary to abort the baby than to raise it. One lady in this film was supporting 3 kids, and one of her daughters had 4 kids, so she was supporting all seven of them! WTF! Of course there was no daddy anywhere to be seen, so what does that mean? Bad choices over the span of 2 generations. It's really really easy to avoid becoming preggers: Don't Fuck. I've almost lost count of the number of years I haven't, and guess what, I have a job and can spend all the money on me, not some lousy kid who will only lead to less money, more headache, and greater depths of disappointment. This country should have a Starship Troopers type of system in that you should have to earn the right to produce offspring so that it will ensure that the kid will have a stable, 2-person-earning family. I really wonder how many "good" kids come out of these homes with 7 damn children barely surviving under the poverty line and super dependent on government assistance. It's like pre-digging a hole for the kids even before they are born.

What frustrated me even more was the all these people could have made various changes that would improve their situation, even if they were small. One guy was living in a one bedroom hotel thing in San Fran. paying up the ass in rent. Here's an idea, borrow some money from somewhere or save up the money, and then move to somewhere else like AZ, where the cost of living is way cheaper. The dude was a security guard, so it was not like he was limited to a specific geographic region. The camera also showed this guy's room and his collection of movies all neatly stacked. Here's another idea, sell those movies and stop buying them, that's why renting exists. How much money was wasted on all of those extras? If you don't have any money, live on the bare necessities until you can upgrade, don't be spending shit on uselessness. One chick looked like she had her nails done every week; you know the kind, those nasty, long nails. How much does that cost each time she goes in? Half of the peeps in this movie were also super fat, so how about eating less or skipping a meal all together? You'll get skinnier and you'll also have more money in your pocket. Win-win!

All of these people were in their respective "bad" positions in life because they had made many poor decisions throughout it. I find it very hard to feel sympathy for that. Don't have kids, don't get divorced, and a least get a Bachelor's; these are the three lessons from this film.
Rating - B

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Joyeux Noël (Foreign Drama 2005)

Well there's a very distinct reason why the French should not be allowed to make war movies: because they're boring. This film told the story of three military platoons: Scottish, French, and German who, during WWI decided to call a ceasefire on Christmas Eve so that one night could be spent chillin' with each other without fear of dying. It was supposedly based on a true story so that's warm & fuzzy and all, but it was just so boring!

Anyway, the plot of this movie concentrated around the primary officers of the 3 groups and showed how each of them were actual people with feelings and families and such. I guess back in those days, the govt. used a type of indirect propaganda to paint the enemies of the state as crazy, Godless monsters which took away the guilt of killing another human being. So after spending one night fraternizing with the enemy, everyone started to notice that their "enemies" were actual people who were forced to go to war because their countries told them to do so. Afterwards the soldiers and their officers have to deal with how to proceed in terms of the "war" because they all have lost their will to fight each other. I guess drinking with people builds some sort of camaraderie? I sure haven't noticed that, but whatever.

The film was not horribly done, but it was indeed very fru fru in its story and execution. No excitement at all, just a bunch of people who were not willing to fight. Although that's good from a non-violence standpoint, for a movie, you better have something to fill the gap because it turned into a bunch of military guys on a field just chillin' and waiting to get caught or for the war to end.
Rating - C

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Fountain (Drama 2006)

When I first walked out of this movie, I really didn't get it, but after sitting here listening to the soundtrack online and pondering, I think I finally get it now. Does this eureka make this film a great one? Not yet, but it does make it a super symbolic film that will require multiple watches for it to be 100% appreciated.

In the trailer, it looks like the plot is related to the Fountain of Youth or at least immortality or prevention of death, but it's actually all about one man's grip with mortality and acceptance. The funny thing is that most people can generally understand and accept what life is all about, but the research doctor that Hugh Jackman plays, is one of the few that just doesn't get it. I think the film tries to play it off as, "It's because he is so in love with his sick wife", but I call bullshit. A doctor is supposed to be all about science and logic. Life and death are all parts of that system, and preventing death is unnatural, as it supercedes the standing progression of nature. So thus, the character is either crazy or arrogant beyond words. I would say he's both; he should've gotten some Cs in college, that would've knocked him off his pedestal.

The music and cinematography were both serene and beautiful. The OST might actually be a pretty good one if you like ambient music. Visually speaking, the film was great, even though it was a little too dark at times. The plot was hard to wrap one's head around, that's why it took some time this evening for me to analyze it piece by piece until it became partially understandable. Again, everything symbolizes something else, and the second you figure out those connections, the film turns into a fairly deep one. I'll definitely have to re-watch it again to see if I missed anything else. If you're game for a thinking movie, this one's for you.
Rating - B

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brave Story (Anime 2006)

Well this one was certainly not a Hayao Miyazaki film; that much I can say for sure. This anime was totally a children's movie, lacking in all of the blood, ninjas, mechs, samurais, and fun-filled violence that we've all come to enjoy; or at least some of us.

Most importantly though, the movie lacked in music, which, for at least one production company, is the key defining attribute that makes their films get noticed. I mention this only because all of the better movies in this genre that also catered to a younger audience, such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Laputa: The Flying Island, were all successful because the music in these films were both memorable and impressive. By lacking in this genre standard, this movie only had its plot, animations, and characters to be rated upon, and all of that was not enough to push it through. It's kinda like creating a movie to compete with a Disney film, but not putting in musical scenes or not having one flagship song. You're asking for an ass-kicking, that's what that is.

I went into this film expecting something geared for an older audience, even if that age group was in its teens, but instead I got a bunch of Carebears speaking Japanese. The movie's plot was very direct while its characters were dry and underdeveloped. The creators put together this one transition scene in the middle of the movie, which showed short snippets of the characters on their adventures. This scene should not have been a transition one, but instead, each adventure should have been thoroughly animated. How else is the audience supposed to get a feel for the main characters if you never get to see them in any sort of action!

Although I'm doing nothing but bashing this movie, it really wasn't as bad as I make it out to be. It was probably a film for 5-9 year old kids; and that's most likely the reason why everything was so rushed and superficial. I would not recommend it to anyone other than hardcore anime fans who want to experience everything just once.
Rating - C

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Layer Cake (Drama 2004)

I totally stumbled upon this movie by accident while chillin' on the couch during Thanksgiving. It started out slow but it got more and more interesting as people started getting whacked.

Normally I would be averse to any movie that dealt with drugs; but luckily, it concentrated more on the business and less on the doing. The rest of the film had the same atmo as Snatch. so that directly equated into action, ass kicking, and super thick English accents. Some parts seriously shoulda had subtitles.

It will be interesting to watch Bond, now that I've seen this Daniel Craig character in action. He's a fairly good actor so I can see how he was chosen. I bet being a Brit also helped, but yeah, the movie was pretty good and well worth my time.
Rating - B

Thank You for Smoking (Comedy 2005)

I think some would label this as being a dark comedy, but I guess it was not as excessive as Very Bad Things, which was definitely a crazy flick. Instead, the movie's plot egged on Aaron Eckhart's character of Nick Taylor, a lobbyist for the cig industry. Some would see this as tasteless, but since I don't think there's anything wrong with cigs, it instead turns into comedy.

This film was quite funny and even clever at times. Some of the lines were outta control and the cockiness of the main character made him all the more entertaining. Even though there was a lot of dialogue, it didn't weigh down the momentum of the plot. Everything was kept simple and to the point. I laughed my ass off so that's all that counts in my book.
Rating - B

Accepted (Comedy 2006)

Stupid premise, impossible, and not very funny. These three phrases sum up the bulk of this movie. Unfortunately there is nothing more to say; it totally failed in being any sort of enjoyable teen film because it never had anything going for it. On top of that, the main character was Justin Long, that smug ass "Apple Guy". Yeah he can go fuck himself with his single left click button and corduroy pants. This movie should never have been made; and yes, at times it was that painful to watch...terrible.
Rating - D

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Road to Guantanamo (Drama Documentary 2006)

Well if you've never seen a controversial movie, this one would probably go under that category. This film was a drama/documentary of the experiences of a few British friends who went over to Pakistan for a wedding, but instead, somehow ended up in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The movie was, of course, one-sided, but the guys did describe how they were treated while imprisoned, which seems in-line with what the US administration claims, combined with what has been leaked to the public. At least there wasn't any Vietnam-era shit happening, cuz that would be super inhumane.

I'll just start by blabbing about what was going through my mind while watching this movie, because all I seem to do is question "why"? After 9/11 any dumbass would know that #1 If you are Muslim in a Western country, be the fuck careful. #2 If you knew anything about current events during that time, you would've known that the US was going to bomb the fuck outta Afghanistan. So seriously, unless you were there for a specific, distinct purpose, don't go there. These four friends didn't pay any heed to any rational thought and headed to the region anyway. Ok, so they went to Pakistan for a wedding, fine. Go to that wedding and get the hell out of the country. Why would they cross the border? Like seriously! In the movie they claimed to want to "help people" but really man...that's a fucking stupid reason. Unless you're a part of some real organization that helps people like the Red Cross or something, you don't enter a war zone without knowing that you are seriously fucking yourself and taking a huge risk on your life.

One fact that I've learned through the years is that people are stupid, like really really stupid. And in any sort of panic situation, people tend to react on instinct and not logic. One must assume that civilized actions and thinking only exist when you are within the boundaries of a lawful society; but the second you move outside that boundary, general human nature takes over and it becomes a vicious, Darwinian world. I always envisioned war to be much like that kind of world. Why do all movies show a post-apocalyptic world to be so bad? Cuz people would start killing, raping, and pillaging like no other. Law, order, morality, and everything else that makes a group of people civilized would go straight out the door. So for example, if Russia invaded China, I would certainly not be making a trip to China, ya know why? Because if a Russian soldier saw me, they would not think that maybe I was an American on vacation, but instead they'd probably shoot my ass.

So does this mean that I don't believe the peeps in this movie? Nah, they were probably telling the truth, but boy did they fuck themselves when it came down to the coincidental circumstances that caused the group to end up deep in Afghanistan. Their story was too far fetched to be believable by government and military entities, and that probably contributed to their prolonged stay in a military prison.

Everyone will have their own opinion of this film. Some people may hawk about the torture, others may go off on the false imprisonment stuff, and others may just call these peeps terrorists; but whatever opinion is taken, it was indeed an educational watch, if not a little disturbing.
Rating - B

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tucson's Finest

I would have rather liked it if this cop was in front of my house ready to haul away my crazy, ugly neighbor, but instead I had to settle for a fratty getting pulled over on Homecoming night. You shoulda heard him, "It's been a long night officer, and I just want to go home." Yeah, it probably was a long night, full of crappy beer and random attempts to slip a ruffie into some unsuspecting girl's drink. Fucker... The cop shoulda opened fire just cuz the guy was a Camero-driving prick. I would have looked the other way if anyone asked. Nothing good can come from letting him go...nothing.

Babel (Drama 2006)

Pretty good movie I have to say. The scene transitioning was totally the work of director, Alejandro González Iñárritu. It reminded me a lot of Amores perros in the way that film captured the lives of different peeps and how they were all related in some way to a specific incident. Location and scene jumping sure helped out with the flow of the movie, as I can't recall the existence of any boring parts.

The deeper aspect of this film revolves around communication and how important it is to be open with those around us or those who don't speak the same language as we do. It does illustrate how being able to communicate in different manners is one hell of an asset when you need it.

One part of the story that irked me has to do with a certain Mexican nanny and how she took the kids that she was looking after, across to Mexico to attend her son's wedding. From a personal standpoint I just can't empathize with her plight as well as I could with the other characters. If you are an illegal living in the US, you can't take any chances, especially when it has to do with the border. Didn't she even think that it would look hella fishy to be crossing back over to the US side with 2 white, American children? Wouldn't one guess that such a move would perhaps look super fishy in the eyes of Border Patrol? Now granted, her situation was not entirely her fault, and I know that her son's wedding was very important, but she had to have calculated the risk and sadly she thought that the wedding held greater priority. I personally don't like interacting with law enforcement and would not have taken that chance.

Besides that, the rest of the movie was realistic and put you directly into the shoes of each of the characters. It was also a pretty sad movie, considering the outcome of everyone's lives, but that's a signature end for this director. Special props go out to all of the sound people involved with this film; it was noticeably well done.
Rating - A

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mission: Impossible III (Action 2006)

Wow...action action action boys and girls. This movie was certainly a non-stop extravaganza meant to keep the audience locked in. Of course it does have foolish Tom Cruise in it, but you gotta admit, he can pull off these types of movies fairly well.

The plot was pretty straightforward in that there is a few bad guys, a few good guys, a few plot twists, and a whole shitload of special effects. I got to give a shout out to Kerry for pre-pointing out a certain "car exit" scene with hot-ass Maggie Q. Very damned impressive that one, and I loved the dress she had on too.

If you're in the mood for solid action flick then you've come to the right place; much better than the first and second one by far.
Rating - A

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties (Non-Fiction Book 2001)

Too bad I didn't know about this book when I first graduated because it would've helped in getting a little more perspective as to what was about to occur. The funny thing is that reading this would've saved me from spending too much time pondering about the precarious situation that lay in front of me, and instead, it would've refocused that energy towards more emphatic bitching about what I've slowly come to accept as life.

In a nutshell, this book describes pretty closely what a lot of people in my age group go through after graduating from college. It's a compilation of many peep's post-college experiences all separated out into different sections covering important topics such as jobs, unemployment, moving home, "catch 22" of experience, friends, relationships, kids, purpose, etc.

Because I read the book four years after the date it should have been read, no light bulbs went on because I already knew, heard of, or had experienced first hand everything that the book was describing. I do have to say that it's nice to know that other peeps have gone to hell and back with me. Actually, I think we're all still in hell, but we can't quite accept that part of it yet. At least none of us have kids, right?

I think most people in their 20s will be able to relate to this book. It was certainly an enjoyable read and you'll definitely get something out of it, even if it's only to hear the entertaining stories of other unfortunate people. Sadly, it gives no answers about what to do concerning the various worries that twentysomethings have; but the main Confucius statement I got out of it was:
"We all make choices in life, some bad, others good. Some of us get what we want while others don't, but that's life and you gotta keep on truckin'. The main thing is to not hold back if you want to do something because the worst thing you can do, is to do nothing then regret it when you can't get your youth/freedom back. If you fuck up, cool, you'll have your 30s to get a boring career and build up that nest for retirement. Just don't fuck up too bad like get an STD, get a Kid, or get thrown in Jail."
That's my version of course, but I think it's a pretty good methodology to go by.
Rating - High

It's that time of year again

Holiday Nog!!
I gotta say, some of the best things in life come in a half gallon jug and cost around $2.75. I wonder how many pills I'll have to take to avoid disaster.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Great New Wonderful (Drama 2005)

So this movie was a creative look on post 9/11 New York City? Shit, that's news to me. I watched this film blind and came out just as handicapped. I'll first let you know how this movie ever ended up on my computer. Casa prints out this monthly pamphlet thing that gives a list of new or interesting movies that are due to be released during a given month. I usually go through this and add anything that looks good onto a to rent list. They all have short plot descriptions, but I guess I bypassed reading this one because all I know is that this somehow ended up on my to rent list, so here I am, disappointed that I didn't watch something else.

This movie was another one of those pointless films that follow around a group of people who all have some issue, either with themselves, their occupation, or their surroundings. If there was supposed to be some sort of symbolism or analogy of one person's plight with that of a city or another character, then that went straight over my head because I didn't notice shit while watching this movie.

It took the creators of this film took 1.5 hours to show what was distinctly obvious immediately upon watching each character in action. Like seriously, I'll just go ahead and spoil it because I know nobody is going to watch this piece of shit.

In the beginning we see this couple with this spoiled, fat son and the first thing that pops into my head is, "Oh, you guys need to discipline the fuck out of that thing." And low and behold, that was the all powerful lesson that the couple learned in the end. The next character was hot Maggie Gyllenhaal. During the first few speaking scenes with her in it, I was able to say to myself, "Oh, you're a super rich chick in a fru fru business, and I bet that's a highly superficial, LA-esque, competitive, and cutthroat environment". So of course it later turns out that she steps over some people to get ahead in that world and then afterwards feels bad for being such a piece of shit. The last pair of characters were these two Indian bodyguards who merely BS while driving around in a car. In the very first scene it showed one of the guys totally eye-raping and flirting with a waitress I said to myself, "Oh, you're gonna to try to get some tail you horny old man." And of course it turns out he is married with kids, bangs this random girl, and then later feels like a bastard for doing it.

Again, I'll state that this movie was pointless. All of the choices and actions that the characters made in this film were 100% predictable and even foreshadowed before anything even happened. What is the purpose of this?? That's right, there was no purpose; this was a purposeless film.
Rating - D

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (Action 2006)

Let's just start off by saying that I really wasn't expecting much out of this movie. The first and second ones were all about fast cars encased in terrible stories, so one can only assume that this 3rd installment would directly follow suit. Boy did it.

My first rant will be about the story itself because it really was that bad. Some kid gets in trouble in the US and will probably go to jail, but instead his mom ships him over to Japan to live with his Navy father. Wouldn't he still have a record when he went back to the US and have a warrant out for his arrest and such? The storyline played it out to be a perfect, crimeless plan, but I think otherwise. I guess they needed some way to get the main character, Lucas Black, over to Japan, but I still think it's a shitty reason.

My second rant involves how this individual got into a public school over there. I'm not familiar with the whole military brat lifestyle so I dunno if they go to school with other local students or stay on base, but this fool went from attending a regular American HS one second, and the next second he hops onto a plane and is enrolled in this local Japanese HS. The dude can barely speak English correctly, and now he's in a country that he can't even mumble anything? How is he seriously supposed to learn anything when he can't speak a whiff of the language. Obviously, education was not very important to the overall plot, but really people...

My next complaint relates to how the main character gets into the underground Tokyo racing scene. On his very first day of school he's sitting there munching on his lunch and here comes Lil' Bow Wow, ready to hook him up with the great social world of Japan. No...this is what would've happened in real life. His non-Japanese-speaking-ass would be standing in the hallway getting looked at funny, having shit mumbled to him, and having people take random pictures of him for months on end. There would be nobody who spoke English, he would learn nothing in school, and he would just sit there staring out the window talking to himself in his mind.

The next thing that pissed me off was that a ton of scenes showed hot girls just sitting around bored as they were part of some entourage or dancing around randomly wherever the main character went. I like slutty-looking girls as much as the next guy, but it was just so damn fake! Like seriously he would just wander someplace and there would be hella fine hotties scantily clad just shaking their shit during all hours of the day...WTF. Don't these girls have jobs? I don't think you can be a full time ho and still look that good. You still have to do regular people things like buy toilet paper, toothpaste, Windex, or maybe even a carrot. People can't be in party mode 24/7. Even the Playboy bunnies need time to recharge!

Next, they treated all the fancy cars like candy bars. One of the Japanese dudes just gives the main character an Evo (Mitsubishi Evolution i.e. 37K badass rally sport car, and that price certainly doesn't include all of the performance upgrades). Even if some of the characters did have some affiliation with the Yakuza, they would certainly not be so willing to just give an expensive car to some cocky white kid who thinks he can drive. Super unrealistic...so much so that it actually hurt the logic portion of my brain.

Giving the movie a small grain of credit, the race scenes were hot, like Burnout 3 hot. Everything car-related was very fancy, fast, and neat. Also, the main chica Nathalie Kelley had this Australian accent and was totally worth lusting over.

So yeah, the movie was an average Fast and the Furious type of movie, but man did the story blow major ass.
Rating - C

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (1st Person Action RPG PC Game 2006)

So I've been playing this game constantly since it got released on Wednesday and I finally conquered it last night. Yay for me, not that it's any sort of real accomplishment, but it's interesting how satisfying and how much of a stress reliever it is to kick an orc off of a cliff.

To start, the storyline of the game is super transparent. I knew the whole story, including the end, after playing it for only about an hour, so there was not much in guessing as to who your character was or what you were supposed to do. They obviously didn't invest in a very good writer, not like Bioware does.

The game play was different because it had the Valve engine going on, so it totally felt like a FPS with a good physics engine and all, but instead of guns and grenades, you had swords and spells. Being able to power up your hits and decapitate mobs was entertaining, but it didn't take a lot of skill to fight in this game at all. It had the same equation of block/kick/power up/swing/block, rinse and repeat. Because of the simplicity of the combat, it felt much different from Oblivion even though they both had swords in a first-person mode.

The sound and music was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was certainly not one of those games that totally immersed you into a playable world.

The creators did try to make one of the characters very witty, just like in HL2, through the use of female voice acting, but it seemed a little too forced and was catered directly towards the lonely 12-17 year old computer gamer demographic.

One thing that I absolutely hated was that there were a ton of bugs in the game such as random crashes, random falling through the world, having a shield with negative durability so it could not be removed from the backpack because it shouldn't have even existed in the first place, being stuck in walls, power-up combo movies not working, etc. Also, the loading time was excruciatingly long, even for a souped up machine. It took forever and a day just for one section of the level to load, and there were usually around 4-5 different sections per level. I'm sure the first patch will fix a bunch of these problems but seriously, to release a game in this condition is just plain irresponsible.

So that pretty much sums it up. I won't give it a rating because all games are in the eye of the beholder. I was expecting something short and fun, and that's what I got. A lot of the annoying bugs were easily overlooked because I knew I would be selling it in a few days anyways. It's worth a look if you like this genre, but it's not anything that you need to make room for on your shelf.
Rating - High

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Break-Up (Comedy 2006)

Eh, well this movie did make me laugh on numerous occasions, but it really was the same old shit underneath it all. This is probably what happened prior to the creation of this film: the writers and their friends all sat around a table making a list of clever come back lines, pictured Vince Vaughn doing them, and then wrote a whole story around that list. They also probably interviewed each other about past relationship fights that they had either heard of or had been involved in, and integrated those scenarios into the plot. There was nothing original about this Hollywood creation nor was there anything that made it stand out in the least. It was so cookie-cutter that I kept on thinking of the movie Hitch for some reason. Who knows, maybe some of the scenes were shot on the same street?

Anyway, there's not much to say about the actors because their jobs weren't that hard. All they had to do was say lines and make their face contort to fit the mood of the scene. There was only one memorable line in this movie that had me rolling for a few solid minutes, but was it worth sitting through this whole film? Nope. So even though it didn't suck, it was still very plain Jane, so save your money and find something else.
Rating - C

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Prestige (Drama 2006)

Holy shit! I haven't seen such an absorbing film since The Sixth Sense. This one, without a doubt, has taken the lead and will most likely retain that status for a very long time. The movie was so well done, that it truly does put to shame a lot of films that have come out in recent years.

The plot was definitely this one's greatest attribute. The story was so intricate, as it kept on going through a ton of twists and turns, so much so, that the audience became absolutely memorized and just held on through the ride. Props go out to the two writers. Considering that they were associated with both Memento and Batman Begins, it just further solidifies their positions in the industry as great writers, at least from my vantage point. The acting was on par with what one would expect from a great film, but it was totally the plot and character development that drove this one home.

As you might've been able to tell from the previews, this movie was about obsession and competition and how both are a dangerous combination when the status of being the best is one's goal. Sacrifice is needed to attain this, and the movie first foreshadows and then illustrates what people are truly capable of in order to reach that end. I really don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll just stop here; but yeah, this was one hella good movie. I don't think anyone can be disappointed with this film, and if someone is, you can label them as a poser who just wants to be different.
Rating - A+

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Ground Truth (Documentary 2006)

This documentary was a fairly interesting one. It interviewed various soldiers who fought over in Iraq and Afghanistan and have come back either physically injured or mentally injured. It was intriguing to listen to all of these peeps' stories, and to see their take on the war and on the scars that were left by it.

One thing that this film focused on was post traumatic stress syndrome and how nutty a thing it actually is. Listening to how the military broke them down to prepare them mentally for war, and how there doesn't seem to be an actual way to reconfigure them back into society, was pretty rough to hear. It was like they all knew how they mentally were before, knew that they got brainfucked, and knew that they were inherently different now. I believe the movie Jarhead addressed this phenomena, but it's more powerful to hear it from actual people.

Sadly though, like most politically-driven documentaries, this movie only concentrated on one side of the story. Although I do believe everyone is telling the truth concerning their versions of their experience, it does open up a few questions such as 1) How come there's not a lot of news concerning PSTS if thousands of soldiers rotate in and out of regular life? 2) I personally know of a few people who went over there, and they all seemed fine to me when they got back. But then again, I did not probe too deeply into their psyche nor am I a psychologist so maybe I'm talking out of my ass here, but it's just a thought.

Most of us already know that the government and the military are a bunch of bastards that take advantage of average soldiers or average taxpayers; so I'm not backin' them, but it would've been more enlightening to hear multiple sides of the issue.
Rating - B

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Click (Comedy 2006)

Well this movie was an unexpected diamond in the ruff. One would think that a comedy staring Adam Sandler would be just another offshoot of any of his previous movies, but this one actually had a deeper theme ingrained into its plot. Even though the story was simple enough, the manner in which the movie was put together was surprisingly impressive, especially at the end, when it combined music integration with environmental setting to turn the last sequence of climactic scenes into something that would have been expected from a full blown drama. I've never seen that done in a comedy, so that was a nice change.

One of the highlights of this film was Kate Beckingsale, as it showed her age through various fast-forwards in time. Makeup artists have been doing this for years in both film and television, but the difference with Kate's makeup was that she continued to look like a hottie even though her character did indeed look like a female in her late 50s . All I can say is that if this film's representation of her aging holds any accuracy for what is to come, then "Wow..."

Although the movie was not meant to be a drama, the plot had enough base for it to be tweaked into one. It would have been interesting to see how the writers could have capitalized on the fact that the story had a more serious and realistic undertone to it. It might've even been a frontrunner for something greater, if the idea would have been molded with different clay, or so to speak.

One funny observation with futuristic scenes within movies is that they always try to make things look super sci-fi, with shiny outfits and holograms and the like, but sadly I highly doubt we will be anywhere close to that shit in 30 sum years. At least they didn't try to put in flying cars.

For some reason the only word that comes to mind is "enlightening", but that might just be a personal take on the film and is probably not a global opinion. I liked it though; and for something that was barely marketed, who would have guessed?
Rating - B

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Departed (Drama 2006)

Considering that this movie is a remake of a 2002 HK flick, Infernal Affairs, it tends to be a little harder to rate because the story is exactly the same as the original. The Asian version of this film was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

A lot of reviews have been placing this movie as a contender for an Oscar, but I would have to disagree if they're referring to "best picture" or anything major like that. Instead, there may be some nominations for acting because that, I believe, was indeed top-notch. Four of the primary actors did exemplary jobs in handling the accents, attitudes, and execution of roles.

As most already know, this movie is a crime thriller where you have two moles on opposite sides of the law, scheming to undermine one another. It had an interesting plot, but most of the points came from the emotional depiction of working in a stressful, undercover situation. Both DiCaprio and Damon kicked ass in carrying this story forward.

Do I have any complaints? Yes, get a hotter chick. Vera Farmiga might think she's hot shit, but I sure as hell don't. She did get kinda undressed during one scene, but that doesn't excuse the fact that she was a very unconvincing MD, PhD.

There's nothing much else to say other than expressing that this final rating is totally geared towards the acting and nothing else. I somehow have a problem with separating an original story with that of a remade one, so I won't even try to find a way to factor that in. Let's just say it was a good movie and is definitely worth a watch.
Rating - A

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Educause Conference

So I was sent to Dallas to attend a conference for higher education institutions. I guess I should have expected it, but the whole thing was totally catered to CIO and director level peeps. Both vendors and other attendees didn't give a shit about you unless you were high ranking and were able to blow thousands of dollars on IT solutions. Whatever...I crawl under desks to verify that people have plugged in their computers; where does that place me in the whole scheme of things? Very Low.

The town of Dallas is large and spread out; it reminds me a lot of PHX except less hot. People are as standoffish as ever, but they have this annoying Texan accent to go with their inhospitable attitude. I did hear, for the first time in my life, an Asian chick with a heavy Texan accent. My God was that weird, almost as odd as an Asian Brit in the UK with an English accent. These Dallas folk sure knew how to cook BBQ beef brisket though...damn good meat.

I'm very glad to be home. US Airlines is the worst piece of shit that I've ever flown on. The seats are worse than bus benches on the side of the road, and their regional airplanes are about the size of a muffin. All you have to do is add water, form it to make it look like a Twinkie, and that's the fuselage for ya.



Monday, October 02, 2006

Just My Luck

So anyone want to guess what's wrong with this picture? Well I'd be happy to tell you: Freezers aren't supposed to have an ambient temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh yeah, you know it...my refrigerator died today. I came home to a melted bag of ice that used to be in the freezer, but had now melted through 25 years of plastic and metal to produce a large-ass puddle of muck on my kitchen floor. So yes, my steak for the week is now ruined. I guess I have an excuse to eat out all week, but still, what a waste.

So began my quest to find a replacement, on a night that was already allocated as a screw off evening. One can only guess my demeanor at this point.

I decided to go to Home Depot since its the closest place to me. Who goes shopping on a Monday evening for refrigerators? A goddamned group of frat fucks with one hooker sorority bitch, that's who. Yeah, they got there before me and had commandeered the only worker who was assigned to that section. Yeah, one thing I noticed with Home Depot is that they have absolutely no sense of cross training. I attacked every worker that came along, but all of them said the same thing, "Oh, sorry, that's not my section". Motherfuckers... Anyway, after Miss worker bee got back 20 minutes later, she ended up telling me that they were out of stock of what I wanted: Great, so off to the mall I went.

After arriving at Sears many minutes later, I rushed over to the appliance section to find myself in competition with an old couple heading towards the same area from the opposite direction. There was only one sales goober working the area, so he takes one look at me, one look at the couple, and guess which one he picks? Yeah, motherfucker... So while I'm standing there, next to the refrigerator that I'm 100% wanting to buy, a random sales lady, who looked like she was totally done for the night, ushered me over to the register and made the easiest commission sale ever. 7 minutes flat and I was done, walking past the goober that didn't choo-choo-choose me, purposely making eye contact while waving around my receipt overhead, reminding him one of the most important lessons of sales: Know your customer. Would a fine-looking 26 year old well dressed Asian gentleman walking very fast with a little piece of paper B-lining it for the refrigerators on a Monday evening be perhaps window shopping? Fuck No!!! He's there to get shit done, out of necessity, so that he can back to his movies and video games.

Anyway, now I have to wait 4 days till the peeps deliver my fridge, and in the mean time, I drink warm soda and water...great. And those fratties at Home Depot...I hope their dicks rot off.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Last Kiss (Drama 2006)

I personally thought this movie would get more attention just because nontraditional relationship flicks usually draw a pretty good crowd, but for one reason or another, this one is already on its way out of theatres.

This film followed around several characters who are all friends and each in a different phase of their life concerning relationships. One guy is married and miserable, one guy is still having uncommitted fun, one guy is in a good relationship and is about to have a kid, and the last guy is still not over an Ex that dumped him. A side story follows around the parents of Jacinda Barrett's character as they go through a large wave in their many decade long relationship.

I know what this movie was trying to do, and that was attempting to show how all relationships are super hard and that communication and honesty are hella important in all of them. It also tried to show how all people make decisions, many instinctual, and a lot of the times they turn out to be both foolish and selfish. The movie succeeded in placing these themes into the story, for I understood how each of the guys approached, confronted, and dealt with each of their problems; and I also understood how each of the girls reacted to the stimuli affecting their lives.

A few problems that cause this film to lose points was that some of the scenes were overacted because the characters were not appropriately developed. In a nutshell, the writers tried to cover too much territory with too little time. If they had focused their energy on fully showing how a few of the characters ended up in the situations they were in, it would've built a more stable foundation for the ensuing drama to be fully understood by the audience. But as you may have guessed, Zach Braff's character was primary, and although we learned a ton about him and his perspective, we were a little lost when looking into the lives of the other characters.

The situational comedy was very funny at times, and the overall movie was both entertaining and engaging, so at least I still think of this movie in a positive light. As previously stated, it could've been polished up a bit more, and that's just a pity that it wasn't. But yeah, Jacinda Barrett did a fantastic job in her climactic scene of the film. That single scene made the whole movie worth it because up until that point, the whole audience was held in suspense, waiting to see how she would react and open a can of whoop-ass to Zach Braff's character.

So how does this movie compare to Garden State? Well, it was different because both films had their own distinct purpose. Garden State was more about being lost and trying to find purpose in life, while this film was more about choice, and how peoples' choices can always affect others. Garden State was a good movie because it concentrated on one character and built that character from the ground up. That and Zach Braff was getting with Natalie Portman, which always wins a movie more points. Again, this film had a really good idea, but was too broad in its execution. If they would've just narrowed the story to cover three of the main relationships, it would have been great.
Rating - B

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fuck Insects!


Although it may look like I'm a diseased rat, that is actually what happens to me immediately after I get bit by any mosquito. It's like a plateau! Yeah...goddamned insects. I can't imagine how some people would ever be so inclined as to go into Entomology as a career...fucking disgusting. If I could have a constant psionic wave emanating from my brain, killing every insect in one square mile of myself, oh you can believe that I would be blasting that shit constantly. Insects serve no purpose other than scheming to find a way to bite my ass while I am walking the short distance from my mailbox to the front door.

On a secondary note, I have to apologize for not posting any movies as of late, but seriously...what has come out that is actually worth spending any money on? I've been DLing and watching a ton of Asian movies, but since most of you don't care for subtitled, foreign flicks, I won't bore you by posting a review on something you will most likely never watch. So yeah, if you know of a movie that you think is good or one that I should watch, please do tell. I find myself being more and more picky as to the movies that I'm willing to watch because my time has become much more important; and by time I mean sleep. I'm sure everyone can relate to that.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friends with Money (Drama 2006)

I'm so glad that I can look in the mirror and see that I'm not Jennifer Aniston. I mean damn, to know that one's career peeked while playing Rachel on Friends is one hell of a thing to wake up to every morning. She's not even that attractive! If I saw her as a waitress at Denny's or something, I honestly wouldn't think much of it at all. I see so many hotter girls prancing around campus everyday. It's an amazing feat that such an average person made it so far.

To sum it up, this movie was both un-engaging and pointless. All it did was follow around a rich group of female friends who were all in their 30s. Yeah, the only thing I thought of when I read the synopsis was "Humm, exactly what could they do to make this plot more interesting?" The writer obviously didn't think of this question in advance because, nothing was done about it.

The film was a farce. It tried to show how all of these rich women had problems and how their money could not solve anything because the issues were all related to external people or their internal selves. Yeah, I call partial bullshit on that whole idea. You give me 20 million right now and lemme tell ya, I might not be happy, but I sure as hell would not be in the same ridiculous scenarios that these characters were in. After you look at each individual and analyze their issue, you soon discover that the situations are all of their own doing, which is usually related to a bad decision on their part. All of the female characters have horrible skills in gauging the quality of their husbands/boyfriends. What's so Earth-shattering about that? Isn't every fucking movie like this about the same thing? A girl picks a druggie, a girl picks a swindler, a girl picks a gambler, a girl picks a mobster, a girl picks a wife-beater. It's just like the Lifetime channel.

In this movie, one of the husbands is probably gay, the other is an insensitive, selfish fuck, and the last one is just too rich for his own good. And of course, Jennifer Aniston's character is being played by some ex-fratboy-looking schmuck. The story didn't have a point because it didn't try to develop the characters through their problems. There was no growth, no eureka, no light bulb. All you had was four female actors bitch about problems that they themselves chose to get into. I have no pity for that shit. Yeah, this is the crap I'm forced to review when no good movies are available.
Rating - D

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In Her Shoes (Comedy 2005)

I'll start by saying that I never knew that Cameron Diaz had such a smokin' body, but boy was I delighted to see all of it from different angles throughout this film. A ton of scenes could've totally been mistaken as an intro to a late nite Skinnemax flick, so needless to say, it was damn good viewing. Anyway, the story itself was actually better than average. I was totally surprised because I thought it would be another superficial movie about general crap, with only a pretty face on the cover to sell it, like Raising Helen, but it wasn't like that at all.

What won this movie some points was that it had more than two plots going on. Usually movies of this type are limited to only two plots: one for the relationship, because there always has to be a love interest of some sort, and the second being the primary plot that the movie flows on. This one had around six plots going on, so that made it the story all the more interesting.

One thing of note that this film showed, was exactly how much difference clothes and makeup can change the appearance of a woman. The lead supporting actor, Toni Collette, did an unbelievable number of jumping from pretty to ugly to pretty. The wardrobe and makeup artists totally changed her appearance each time. It really makes me wonder what girls would look like if they were all 100% souped up.

Although I can't say that this movie was a top-notch Oscar winner, it was definitely better than average for its genre, and is a perfect watch for a lazy weekend afternoon.
Rating - B

District B13 (French Action 2004)

This movie was a perfect combination of Escape from L.A., The Transporter, and Kiss of the Dragon; but sadly, that's not saying much. I'm not sure if French popular culture is currently a big fan of this new fangled urban acrobatics, but this movie sure has a lot of it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just go onto YouTube and search for silly people who enjoy jumping through staircases, from rooftop to rooftop, and from building to building in dense urban sprawls.

Anyway, as you may have expected, the story was predominantly action-based and pretty weak everywhere else. There should be no expectations of practicality or logic while watching this mishmash of fighting and fast camera shots. I guess it was ok for what is was, because I don't remember ever being bored, but the story was super lame. Some of the choreographed fighting was pretty cool, but overall it was still on the low end of the action genre. Theses French movie-makers have to know that there still has to be a mildly, cohesive story when making a film, even if it is an action one.
Rating - C

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Illusionist (Drama 2006)

Different: is what I'll start off by saying. This movie was a nice change from the regular shit that has been presented in theatres as of late. The time frame, costumes, story, and setting are all a welcoming change from the norm; more peeps should jump on the bandwagon and maybe that will revitalize the industry. Interestingly enough, there will soon to be another movie released that's based along the same lines of magic, called The Prestige. This should be an interesting watch and hopefully a good comparison review will follow.

The story was pretty good, but for some reason I kept on feeling like I've seen it before, but when I tried to think of a comparable movie, nothing really came to mind. Oh well. Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti did a pretty good job, while Jessica Biel seems to still give off the impression of a talentless hack. Maybe I'm being a little too cruel considering that her lines were kept to a minimum, but whenever I see her in a movie all I remember is Blade: Trinity and how much feta cheese she blew in it. Do you know who should play every female role in modern movies? Scarlett Johansson. Why? Cuz she's hot, and it wouldn't matter if she had speaking lines or not; everyone would remember the movie because her oh so super fine ass would be in it. Hehe

So anyway, the movie was enjoyable but the ending was way too predictable. After watching enough movies that baffle the brain, most of us tend to be more attuned to plot twists, which results in the audience seeing right through this film. Overall it was good, but not fantastic. We'll see about Hugh Jackman's upcoming film later.
Rating - B

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A New Low

So, can anyone guess what's wrong with the picture below?
Give up? It used to be the location of my big green garbage can and big blue recycling can. They have been stolen! What the fuck man...they're free from the city assuming that you actually have a house that needs them. What kind of sick fuck would go and steal these things? I swear this town has sunk to a new low. Fuck Tucson. This place is cursed; and of course it only happens to me because both my neighbors still have their stuff.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

United 93 (Drama 2006)

The original trailer for this movie was an "edge of your seat" ride when I first saw it. It had a pretty simple setup, with a black radar screen and a plane blip traveling within it. With only voices in the background and blip updates on the radar, the trailer was very simple yet haunting enough to get the heart pumping. I didn't really know how they would even try to make a whole movie based on this one event, but I had hoped that they would not overly-dramatize anything that was based on conjecture, considering that, as far as I know, all they had were snippets of information that came from various calls that passengers made off the plane and nobody had a real distinct play-by-play of what happened. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

The cinematic style used in this film was perfect considering the content. It ended up having one concrete attribute that made the whole package work in its favor, and that was realism. While watching the movie, it felt more like you were a fly on the wall and less like you were being entertained from afar. Every scene, from the waiting area, to the FAA, to the military HQ, to the control towers were all very realistic and very believable. Nobody seemed like they were actors and nobody seemed like they had rehearsed lines, for it was just like these were the real peeps going through this crisis. Normal, human confusion, pauses, emotions, and reactions all sounded and seemed real. I'm not sure how they did it, but it was just like you were there, in all of those locations watching the whole situation play out.

Because the movie wasn't filmed with normal, Hollywood entertainment value in mind, it actually turned out great, and a lot more human. I believed the film; if that makes any sense at all. Nobody tried to be a tough hero, nobody was 100% gung-ho to retake the plane, there was mass confusion on the ground, and there was hardly an organized plan in place. In the end it was just a group of average people placed in a panicked situation who wanted to survive and to talk to their families one last time. I'm totally sure that this type of emotional chaos occurred on the other hijacked planes of 9/11, but one advantage that the passengers had on this flight was time: people + time = ideas and that's the simple truth.

One interesting part of the film I noticed was that a little more than half of the phone calls to home or loved ones were sent to voicemail. Think about how shitty those people must've felt after finding out that it was the last time they would hear their peeps' voices. And think about the tones too...all freaked out and such. Man, I'm sure a lot of them are not pushing the ignore button anymore.

This film got its rating for being the most real reenactment of any tragic event. It was probably very difficult to get the emotional scenes just right for all of the actors, and that definitely deserves some props. I think this movie succeeded in using its subtly of shots and scarcity of music to fully illustrate the human characteristics of all of the people involved. Hats off.
Rating - A

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Nine Lives (Drama 2005)

Now this was an interesting little movie. It was composed of nine separate snippets from nine different women, which kinda gave you a peek into each of their lives. The film tried to interconnect the characters together, kinda like what Crash did, but not to the same level. Many of the stories were way too subtle to catch a lot of the interconnectedness. I had to rewatch multiple parts of the DVD in order to map out how everyone's story was related with each other, and even then, it didn't seem like there was a point to any of the results.

I'll describe the finer points of this movie by starting with the shots themselves. Each story was one whole take, so these actors had to do a perfect job throughout all of it, or else the whole scene would have to be re-shot. I've seen this done once before in a foreign film called Russian Ark. That movie was crazy stuff because the whole film was one huge-ass shot...all of it! Hundreds of actors and extras, it was quite a sight; but sadly, reading subtitles for that long became very tedious and I sorta lost it towards the end.

But anyway, the next aspect of this movie worth mentioning was the acting. Although most of the actors did OK jobs, the most memorable was Lisa Gay Hamilton's depiction of a daughter who comes back to her family home after being away for many years as she prepares to confront her father who she had some "history" with. Yeah, I would guess that she was probably molested as a kid, but that's just a guess because they kept that info ambiguous. To sum it up, her acting was super convincing; like edge of your seat convincing. And again, taking note that the whole scene was shot under one, long take gives it even greater props. I think people should see the movie just for this scene because it was so damn good.

The film was better than average because it was different, but I really didn't understand the main theme and what it had to do with a cat's nine lives; and yes, a cat was symbolically placed in both the middle and at the end of the movie. All I can say is that a lot of these peeps' lives were way too "out there" to be categorized under an "average person's life", so thus, relating to it was a little harder to do. I don't feel like there was any global take away from this film other than watching other peoples' lives, but thankfully, that's a fun thing to do. You don't know how many times I walk by a person and want to know their "story". Everyone has one and there's always something new to learn from it.
Rating - B

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Scary Movie 4 (Comedy 2006)

I really wonder if these movie companies even break even on some of these sequels. Take this one for example: shit. Did it make me laugh a few times? Sure, but was it as good as the original Scary Movie? Hell no. It's just the same as American Pie. Was it a good movie the first time you saw it? Sure, but how was the 3rd one? Shit. Why is this I wonder. Well, the answer is quite simple: the writers change the script but continue to use the same equation and that gets old super fast. Just like the ever-changing world of cell phone models, fashion, or interests, people are hella fickle, especially those in the 16-23 demographic. Things only remain funny for a fixed amount of time before they get boring and unoriginal; that's when you have to just stop.

As you may have guessed, the movie was not entertaining. 3 or 4 of the jokes and/or scenes were funny, but nothing was actually cleaver. I dunno, these writers didn't understand that general slapstick humor is not as profitable as it used to be, and these days you have to do something really unique to make a funny movie.
Rating - D

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Poseidon (Action 2006)

Eh, what can you really expect from a movie like this? It was just like any other disaster flick with all the right fixens. You always have the conflicting dynamics among survivors, competition among the alpha males, weak characters, complaining females, and one annoying-ass kid who always seems to wander off at the wrong time and get himself trapped and/or otherwise placed in a precarious situation that requires a main character to come and save the day.

The film had no depth whatsoever...a little bit of an intro for the characters, a few quirky lines, a description of the setting, and then Boom, a race to escape. It had a pretty average scenario for this genre of action movie, but without any type of development, nobody will ever give a fuck with what happens to the characters. We were all just watching the girls run around wet, and even that gets old.

The funny thing is that in real life nobody would get out alive because:
  1. Nobody is that lucky.
  2. Nobody is smart enough to have random knowledge of their environment, may that be a ship, underwater base, or building.
  3. Nobody would ever be able to agree on a plan of action because everyone thinks they know best.
  4. People would end up killing each other before any disaster would get the better of them because without the restraints of laws and rules, it's free game. And we all know how people love to mouth off and say stupid shit.
Rating - C

Monday, August 28, 2006

Birthday Trip

It's funny I used to love airplanes and being in airports when I was a wee little chitlin, but now after I've done it hundreds of times, traveling sucks ass. Waiting, having planes be delayed, and slow-moving old folk all contribute to the overall dissatisfaction that comes with modern travel. Here's the 2nd cutest dog in the world!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We've Hit a Lull

Yeah, so sorry about the lack of postings. Work is damn exhausting and this weekend I'll be headin' out of town. But I will soon be reviewing Poseidon, although I heard it sucked, Scary Movie 4, although I've heard nothing about it, and well...that looks to be it sadly. There seems to be a lull in quality movies hitting the theatre and/or the rental shelves...but a few like Zach Braff's new movie, The Last Kiss, doesn't look half bad. Do these movie companies realize that there's a certain percentage of the population who live for movies? Yeah maybe they should ponder that before funding something as stupid-looking as Material Girls. A comedy about golddigging, what an original concept!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

DarkStar One (Space Simulation PC Game 2006)

I was very excited to hear that a new space shooter was coming out since the last great one was back in 1999 with the release of Freespace 2, but sad how most things turn out to be ass. Back in the hayday of computer gaming, programmers actually took pride in building quality games, but these days a lot of interesting genres have died off in lieu of stupid shit like WoW...

The premise of this game is much like that of Freelancer in that it's supposed to be open-ended and non-linear, but that's not exactly the real case. The game totally prevents you from doing anything interesting because it limits you to small sectors of space until you finish storyline quests. Each new sector gives you the ability to level your ship, so money is not the main source of upgrades, sector-jumping is. This means that you can kill an assload of pirates while stuck in one sector and not move up even one level. This turns the game into a rat race to traverse through the storyline ASAP in order to level up your ship. That doesn't sound very non-linear to me.

In a nutshell, the game is way too plain for the tastes of any true gamer. The trading economics are excessively simplistic, the space dogfights are all the same, and the diversity of weapons is laughable. The biggest flaw of the game is the fact that you're stuck with the same ship throughout all of it. The lazy developers probably did this to avoid building more ship models...lazy bastards. Yeah, the most interesting aspect of all space shooters was always the fact that you could pilot a ton of different ships, each with their own unique abilities. Every ship was hella expensive and so was all of the equipment, so it always gave the player a goal to work towards. This game just killed that primary attribute all together and made it into some piecer that could've been put on a PS1.

Even though Gamespot rated this game as an 8.1, I would have to totally disagree. It had no depth, no challenge, and no real goals. What type of game is that? It's one that gets posted to Ebay after 4 days.
Rating - Low

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Grandma's Boy (Comedy 2006)

This was a pretty low-profile movie since I don't even remember it arriving in theatres. Of course there was a good reason for that, and it only cost me $2.03 to find out why.

I'm not even going to try to go over the plot of this film because it would be as useless as trying to describe any other comedy of it's type. It was a brainless movie that had weed, girls, and video games; so what more is really necessary? I didn't even recognize the main actor of Allen Covert, and since he was not funny at all, that surly didn't add anything to the pie.

So the main question remains, "Was the movie funny?", and the answer is "Not really". I chuckled 3 times...that's it. This is one of those movies that won't take you long to forget because it's pretty much a copycat of every other dumb, low-budget comedy out there.
Rating - D

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Drives Some People C-r-a-z-y (Documentary 2005)

Most of the documentaries I've watched seemed to be of fairly good quality, but I didn't actually appreciate how good they were because I never had a basis of comparison for a bad one. Now I do.

This film was a poorly made documentary that consisted of a grab bag of interviews ranging from state college professors to Mr. Bob Dumbass from small town America. Usually, a good documentary has some sort of narration that guides the audience through the topic, while expressing one viewpoint and outlining the subject in a broader manner. This film was nothing like that, it was just like I said...a bunch of interviews edited together.

The movie was totally one-sided, as the material came from a biased subset of people whose combined IQs could not possibly purchase a single plane ticket to the closest major city. Each person interviewed pretty much went off on how Wal-Mart was so great in their eyes and how much the company supported the workers. Isn't that the direct opposite of what the debate against Wal-Mart is all about? I haven't studied up on the subject, so I don't have enough information to back up any argument, but I do know that there is definitely another side to this story. The whole film was more crap than amateur, if that makes any sense. I just can't seem to take something like this seriously when the quality of the interviewees and general filmmaking is so low.
Rating - D

Saturday, August 12, 2006

World Trade Center (Drama 2006)

I think Oliver Stone should stop directing movies because his stuff always turns out a tad bit lacking, if not fully craptacular. I'll have to watch United 93 when it comes out and compare these two, because they both used the same formula and I would like to see if one director actually got it right.

It's pretty ballzy to do a movie on the World Trade Center, not because of the event itself, but rather because it would seem like a career-ender if it didn't turn out well. I'm not saying that the director fully fucked up, but he sure as hell didn't do a great job on it.

This movie told the story of two cops who went into the WTC to evacuate people, but instead got trapped underneath the rubble when the two towers fell. It's a pretty harrowing story of survival as it gives a depiction of the chaos, confusion, misinformation, and emotional pains caused by the day's events.

As one can expect, music integration was great during the more appropriate scenes of old 9/11 news reels accompanied with background narration. The film had quite a few tear-jerking scenes, but that can be expected when you watch people suffer. I think that's one of those human nature things; most normal people don't like to see other living beings suffer, may that be a person in pain or a dog in pain. It just triggers an emotional response that urges you to alleviate the suffering in some way, or if nothing can be done, you empathize and cry out of sheer helplessness. That's probably why The Passion of the Christ was so "moving" because that movie was 2 straight hours of seeing a guy get the shit beat out of him.

There were a few scenes and/or characters that I did not enjoy because they seemed either misplaced or forcibly placed into the script. I'll barely glaze over this to avoid spoiling it for those who have not seen this movie yet (Marine and Jesus). Yeah, I dunno if these scenes truly played an important part in the real-life story, but from my vantage point, something was definitely fishy and it still continues to bother me as I write this.

My main complaint was the overall flow of the film. It just didn't seem right, or more accurately put, it didn't seemed polished enough. Of course I blame the director for all of this, but maybe it's the writer's fault? The abrupt scene changes, odd transitions, and flip flops from real world to delusional world were understandably placed, but something didn't seem right. The movie was supposed to be a nice flowy river, not one that had a ton of elevation changes and zigzags. Maybe I'm the only person who noticed this...

So yeah, this was an alright movie; but it could have been much better with a different director at the helm. Let me put it this way: Apollo 13 was a much better film by far, 3x better.
Rating - B