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

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kai Doh Maru (Anime 2001)

Trash. That's the gist of this one, utter trash. After seeing someplace that this flick was made by the same peeps who did Blood: The Last Vampire, I was quite tempted to rent it just because Blood kicked ass even though it was one of those shorts and not necessarily a full-blown, anime movie.

This one had a weird type of sketch animation going on where most of the scenes were not fully colored in. It looked like a demo drawing or whatever it's called in art where everything is just barely an outline of a character or a scene. If one person created this whole thing on their home computer then I would be more inclined to give it a break, but since a real studio was involved this project, the gloves are off.

The character development was so piss poor that I didn't even have time to categorize each character by sex and occupation before they started getting butchered. Seriously, the characters were killed off so fast that when an emotional scene was taking place because there was supposed to be some sort of connection between the main protagonist and a secondary character, I just sat there baffled saying to myself "Ok, the person who just got decapitated was a guy right? And he was an important character?" That is not how to make a movie people; even if it is just an anime short. Anyway, just stay away from this one...it's still more worthwhile to watch something crappy than to watch something trashy.
Rating - D

Capote (Drama 2005)

I think I might have missed the point of this movie. Why was it so good? I mean it was well done in most respects, from the acting to the directing to the screenplay and all, but the actual story was kind of anticlimactic and kept me wondering. Was the audience supposed to feel sorry for the convict or the main character, and if so, why?

I mean usually when a movie is based on a specific person, there's a reason for it. Ray, Ali, JFK, and Malcom X were all famous and did something unique in their lives or had something unique happen to them. This guy wrote a non-fiction book. A lot of people write books. I don't see anyone in Hollywood making a movie based on the life of Roald Dahl, the author of many childhood favorites such as The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Yeah, notice how those were probably the only recreational books that I read during my whole childhood. Go education.

On the acting side, Philip Seymour Hoffman was incredible. He got me so pissed off at the character of Truman Capote, that he totally convinced me that he was truly the arrogant, pretentious, elitist fucktard himself. I just wanted to throw gobs of mayo at the screen to wipe the smirk off his face. Ultracocky people just tick me off; they should all go back to their equestrian hobbies. But yeah, I can see how this built-up hostility toward Hoffman's character may have contributed to my inability to empathize with Capote or his emotional plight.

Overall it was a good film, but again, unless there is some historical piece of information concerning this murder case or this Capote person that makes this situation unique enough to have a feature film based on it, I think I've completely missed the point. And of course, my inquisitive mind will now find this In Cold Blood book and read it to see if it can shed some light on any of this.
Rating - B

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Drama 2005)

"One of the year's best films" - Roger Ebert.

"Bullshit" - Me.

I know I shouldn't have rented this. I remember seeing the preview and saying to myself, "Oh! some artsy piece of shit". And what do you know, that's exactly what this film is all about. Lets put random plotlines, abstract development, and boring characters in different mundane situations where people seem to be yearning to connect with one another.

This movie was fucking pointless; and I'd love to hear somebody tell me otherwise, while explaining why they thought this would move anywhere past the 0 on the X axis.
Rating - F

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Failure to Launch (Comedy 2006)

Yes I know. What the fuck was I doing watching this movie? And the answer, as some of you might have noticed is very simple; nothing good is out. In a few weeks hopefully more movies will come to DVD or theatres so I'll have something worth renting or watching, but yeah, I was desperate and this was what I grabbed.

The movie's plot is simple and boring, so I'm not going to go into it. Most have probably seen the previews anyway.

In a nutshell it was 100% American cookie-cutter romantic comedy in every which way from the introduction of the plot and characters, build-up of a relationship, a huge fight that takes place, and then the happy resolution that always occurs at the end. Sarah Jessica Parker is very plain looking, we all know that, and Matthew McConaughey is a tard. That sums up the whole 2 sum hours of a movie. I didn't laugh once, but I guess it held my attention so it would have been a good plane movie.
Rating - C

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fast Boat to China: Corporate Flight and the Consequences of Free Trade (Non-Fiction Book 2006)

Well this was an interesting little book about globalization and free trade in China. It mainly went into the details of how outsourcing has taken place in Shanghai and other provinces within the mainland, and how fierce competition among workers continue to drive the cost of labor down. And of course, lower prices equals more profits for multinational companies that choose to outsource to these areas. Although the book was certainly informative as to small tid bits of information that an average person would not necessarily be privy to, it didn't seem to have much of a point other than writing a narrative of the people who were interviewed, combined with the author's personal view of the economic situation. And since the author's background was not in economics, you can only take his opinion at face value.

I guess from my point of view the information is eye-opening, but it's one of those problems that has no solution. With the availability of cheap labor, both skilled and unskilled, from other parts of the world, companies will go under if they don't outsource like everyone else. This causes us, in 1st world countries, to eat our own shit because the wages that we're used to can buy a fuckload of stuff in other, poorer countries. Eventually the only jobs that will be guaranteed will be the ones that require direct human-to-human interaction. All services that can be outsourced will be outsourced and that's just the way things go in the world of business. One thing I predict is that as people in Asia and India get more money injected into their economies, they will progressively demand for higher wages and a better quality of life; in other words, they'll get greedy. And more greed means less returns for companies. The day will come when the law of diminishing returns will kick in and the value gained from going overseas will be equal to that of keeping jobs in America; and when this happens, all of this outsourcing jazz will go away and all of our jobs will flood back. Of course, by the time this happens, world economics will be way different from what they are today because globalization would have succeeding in leveling out the playing field.
Rating - High

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Shower (Chinese Comedy 1999)

Well this movie surely didn't deserve the "two thumbs up" like the cover said. It wasn't bad by any means, but it wasn't spectacular either. The film was about this guy who comes home to some small town after thinking that his dad had died. He sticks around and interacts with his father and down-syndrome stricken, younger brother and what he notices is a different, but wholesome lifestyle that exists there. The film was a feel-good one about family loyalty and such...not exactly the most exciting plot, but it got the point across.

It was O.K., but nothing that deserves a recommendation. Some might even say that it was too cookie-cutter in its plot; sorta like an after school special.
Rating - B