Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Last King of Scotland (Drama 2006)

Forest Whitaker was one crazy mofo. He totally deserved the Oscar that he received for this one. Acting was straight-on, so much so that I barely remembered that he was just acting.

The movie's plot was simple enough, a freshly-minted Scottish doctor wanders over to Uganda for a little life adventure. He was supposed to be there to help out another Western doctor in a small village, but instead, through an odd turn of events, he ends up becoming the personal doctor to a Ugandan general-turned President after a coup by his military.

Everything woulda been peachy, but two factors messed with the fate of these two characters: First off, the Scottish doctor was a dumbass who made very bad choices in life; and secondly, the Ugandan President was both paranoid and certifiably crazy. After a while in country, the doctor figures out that he's fucked and needs to escape, but he's now part of the inner circle of the President's govt. and is pretty much trapped.

The only thing that really stood out in this movie was the aforementioned acting prowess of Mr. Whitaker. The story let all of the angles of this character's personality shine through, but besides that, it wasn't an above-average plot. I liked this film, but it'll probably only be a one-time thing.
Rating - B

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fast Food Nation (Drama 2006)

The poster says it's a political movie, but I really didn't see any of that. The poster also says that it was based on the book, which I actually read, but I really didn't see that much of a similarity either. Weird, becasue the the book was a very interesting read. To sum it up, this film was trite. It followed around 3 main characters: the first one was a guy sent by his company to find out how shit was ending up in the beef supply of a fast food franchise, the second character was a young, white trash girl trying to get by with a job at a fast food joint, and the last was a group of illegal Mexican workers trying to get by in the US working for a meat packing plant.

I really didn't see the point of any of the characters other than they were all related, in some way, to beef, and the fact that their lives were all somehow crappier becasue of the beef industry. The corporate worker, investigating the trail of the meat, pretty much found out that corporations are all about money and having shit mixed into the meat was just part of the industry. The white trash girl got in with some bastard poli-sci college activist people and decided to quit her job. And the Mexican workers found out that life as a meat packing plant employee was crappy and dangerous.

I remember the book being written to try to tell you about how evil, corporate fast food was, but this movie just told 3 separate stories that lacked any sort of cognitive stimulation. Sure, it woulda been shitty being any of these three peeps, but that's life. Eating cow is what I do best and no movie is going to change that fact. Steak just tastes too good. The final portions of this movie showed visually, step by step, how a cow goes from being a living animal to a pile of meat. Was it disturbing? Yes. Was it bloody? Yes. Did I feel like I should care more? Nope. Why? Because back to my concrete stance; steak and hamburgers just taste so good...and they're nice to Mr. Tummy too. Do the makers of this film expect me to live on a fucking carrot?! The Hell with that. Nobody forced these people to be in the positions they were in; it was their own choice, so deal or just walk away.
Rating - D

Monday, April 23, 2007

Star Wars: Deciphering the X-Y Plot (Book 2007)

After years in the making, up and coming writer/actor Kerry Ramasy has done it again with a feature-length book based in the Star Wars universe. With the AZ crew in tow, Sae-Vion Briggs embarks on an adventure to solve a murder and uncover a dastardly plot to destroy the world, all while engaging in oceans of shit talking and general clownin' as intracharacter social dynamics sprout out of any available crevice that has been left unguarded.

This comedic journey elevates character building to a more intimate level as realistic personality traits are well illustrated throughout the plot. The capture of these literary action shots are more profound as the cast grows through experience, mutual interdependence, and general teamwork.

The reader is drawn deeper into the story as pupils glaze over and the speed of left to right eye movements balance out to flow like a metronome; this trance is only interrupted with occasional gasps of excitement and hardy chuckles. The imaginative scenes that Mr. Ramsay's words create, maintain the ambiance of Sci-Fi fantasy while injecting in memories of past "good times".

This book is a wonderful escapist read, especially if you're one of the characters. Kerry has managed to write just like any other Star Wars novel writer; props to you Mr. 'Phenom', and an added shout out to the scenes related to: Cake and Pizza, "JERK", & who can forget, Direct Deposit. I still can't believe you typed out 219 sum pages of pure text; that's dedication right there.
Rating - High

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Manual Labor Sucks

So one of the primary stipulations for me living in my parent's Tucson home was to somehow get peeps to take care of the yard, right? The main guy I used charged $75 and pretty much half-assed the whole project every month. After a few months he just stopped showing up so I assumed he had enough of my crappy yard. To streamline the process of yard clean-up, I merely shut off the water drip system so that 1) I wouldn't have to pay for more water getting used up and 2) Plants need water to grow so without water, one would assume that plants would die.

Fast forward 6 more months. Fruit and leaves are all over the ground, odd growths of plants have sprouted up out of nowhere, and both the front and back yards look like shit. So I go and call up another dude to see what the quote is: 1K. Maybe I'm just a stingy bastard, but one-large for a total yard revamp just seems like a lot of money because that's pretty much a whole laptop purchase right there.

So I really wanted to see how hard it would be to clean up a section of the yard. I went to Home Depot, purchased gloves and an air respirator, put on my sunglasses, turned on my mp3 player, and went to work raking up crap into piles and putting everything into large, black garbage bags. 2 hours and 6 garbage bags later, my exhausted-ass completes the task for the day and has managed to clear out only 1/3 of the back yard and it totally looks like I half-assed the project. Well fuck this; there is a reason people go get an education, so they don't have to work their asses off outside in the God forsaken sun. Although I still don't think it's worth 1K, I most certainly think its a few hundred depending on the quality. I'm so damn tired; tomorrow I'll probably feel like I just went skiing for the first time in the season or something. I'll just wait until this damn house goes on the market before worrying about what to do. This is another fine example of why nature sucks.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rocky Balboa (Drama 2006)

I don't know if this film was created to truly close out the long-running Rocky movie series or if they were just trying to scrape a few more bucks from the remnants of the 70s franchise. Whichever the reason, Sylvester Stallone kept the status quo of what a Rocky movie is all about, but that's not saying much.

I'll admit early in this review that I've only seen bits and pieces of the previous films and I've only completed Rocky V through to the end. The equation that this movie used is similar to that of Rocky V. It had a depressing start, showing the former champ in a downtrodden point in his life. Adrian had died and he was now the owner of a small restaurant. His relationship with his son was distant and he had this feeling in his gut telling him that he needed to "do" something.

Of course the activity that must be done is exactly what one can expect: he wants to go and fight again because, as was the golden saying in this film, "fighters fight". Kinda like "diggers dig", or "firefighters put out fires", or "computer techs crawl under desks to make sure their stupid users didn't kick something out of place." Anyway though, the whole reason for the plot was to give Mr. Stallone a reason to train up again for one last hurrah. The film did a pretty descent job giving the audience an inside look into the boring life of this ex-boxer, but that was the only thing that was descent. The 2-3 side stories were all blah and not very interesting. The ending was supposed to be inspirational and closure-filled, but I only perceived a run-of-the-mill ending. Please don't try to make another one...
Rating - C

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Motel (Drama 2005)

Geez what a steaming pile of shit. This film, like many I've seen, is the crappy work of some Indi director who has no talent what so ever. I'm troubled by the sheer number of "waste of time" movies that are created every year. I sure hope people will stop funding this trash and maybe better ideas will be extrapolated upon in its place.

The film was oh so boring, as it followed around this 13 year old kid whose mom owns a cheap-ass motel in the middle of nowhere. It shows this kid living his boring life with only a female neighbor and some trailer trash kids available to interact with. The kid also bears witness to the lives of all the stragglers who stop by the motel. Of course he becomes mildly influenced by some of these people and then slightly modifies his behavior and choices to test things out. Yes, we all know that he is in his puberty years and is a little "off", but to make a whole movie about just this with no accompanying theme? Shit man...I could be more entertained watching the sun move across a wall.

Another pointless movie that is not worth its beans. And I don't care if the majority of the cast was Asian; race didn't play a damn part in the level of boredom that this film can evoke.
Rating - D

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blood Diamond (Drama 2006)

Well this was an insanely good movie; solid all around. Some parts were a little reminiscent of Hotel Rwanda, except with more violence.

DiCaprio sure has been kickin' ass as of late. First was his valiant comeback in The Departed and now this film. A few more of these and he'll totally ween himself off of the whole Titanic pretty-boy persona. But yeah, his acting in this was top notch stuff. Connelly and Hounsou were fair to ok, but it was quite obvious that they had only minor, supporting roles.

Very violent country if this is really how western Africa was a decade or so ago. Goes to show how US media surely doesn't cover any of that. In thinking of this, even the whole Yugoslav War was fairly downplayed in America also. Weird world we live in I suppose, but other than mass media how else is one supposed to get news from the outside, especially when it's not in English.

Anyway, this movie is one of those solid, cornerstone films of the year that deserve a lot of attention and respect. Well done.
Rating - A

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Eragon (Fantasy 2006)

Rarely am I introduced to a film that doesn't even qualify as being a real motion picture, but this one sure fits the bill. I know how impossible it was to have avoided hearing about how shitty this movie performed in los teatros, but I still had to see for myself.

Utter shit. I know that this movie was based on a book, but dear God, did they really have to try to compress it all into what, a measly 104 minutes? While watching this, it was as if I totally fell asleep during huge swaths of time and had these gaping holes in the plot that could not be accounted for. Like I'm talking scene 1 is totally different from scene 2 which is totally different from scene 3, and it continues...What I mean by this is that there were no transitions at all; every single camera shot was a totally different plot sequence in terms of location, actors, etc. It was as if the whole movie was a combination of short storyboards. For a fantasy movie, it's just despicable. Imagine Lord of the Rings being told from a compressed time line...yeah...it woulda been shit, just like this movie.

The only redeeming quality was the girl, Sienna Guillory. She looked very hot with red hair, and I don't know if anyone knew, but she was also the hot short-haired co-actor to Milla in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Oh yeah :-)

I wonder if they're going to continue with this series. It was definitely worse than The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and they're continuing with that series...
Rating - F

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction (Comedic Drama 2006)

This is yet another film I'd have to agree with people on; very enjoyable and well written. I haven't pictured Will Ferrell in any other type of movie since his reinvigorated reintroduction back into leading rolls, which all started with Old School back in 2003, but a dramatic comedy is a small step forward.

There's no other word for it other than "fun". It's not fun like a Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer film, but another kind of fun where you don't have to do a lot of thinking, but still watch an enjoyable flick that took a higher concentration of intelligence to write.

Emma Thompson did a phenomenal job being an eccentric author and hot Maggie Gyllenhaal was just hot. I haven't gotten it all down yet, but I think it has something to do with the proportions of her eyes and cheeks that makes her so appealing.

The movie had an interesting plot that has never been done before, so it was a nice change of pace; the rest was pretty flawless.
Rating - B

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada (Comedic Drama 2006)

I never thought I'd say this, but this was a delightfully entertaining movie. There were a few scenes that I could have gone without seeing, but the core lesson was genuine enough.

Although I'm not really too familiar with Meryl Streep's past work, I'd have to say that this movie, for one, was a great display of her talent. She was a perfect villain of sorts, while playing a role that seemed to fit her like a fuzzy boot. I really can't picture any other modern, leading, female actor pulling off that character.

Anne Hathaway did an ok job too; it's nice to see her in something different from The Princess Diaries series. She'll have to take on a role in a more serious drama in order to be recognized as a descent actor, but this one helped a bit.

The entertaining portion of this movie was just the manner in which all of these fashion peeps talked, acted, and ran their life. Maybe it's actually what goes on in that world, but maybe it's not. I could see how it could be a realistic example, just with more blow.
Rating - B

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Chasing Daylight (Book 2005)

I usually hear about new books when someone recommends it to me; in this case it was my mother, who then gave it to my sister, who then gave it to me. The book was written by the former CEO of KPMG, as he discovered that he had brain cancer and had a fairly short time to live. The book was supposed to be about how he "transformed (his) life", but I saw something completely different.

I won't try to sugarcoat this: "What a Farce". That's my initial and final opinion on this whole book. Now granted, I'm not a heartless bastard and death for most people is not a good thing because there is so much to live for, right? That would depend on who you ask, but certainly for this author, he had a ton to live for. Lets breakdown some statements that can describe Mr. O'Kelly: Ex-Frat Boy, Standford/Harvard? Business school, CEO of one of the big 4 Accounting firms, wife and 2 kids, golfs in Scotland, hangs at country clubs, vacation home in Tahoe, another home in Manhattan, flies on private jets, making over 200k and under 1 Mil per year, etc...need I go on? Everyone knows that I hate rich people and I hate people who have perfect lives, like this guy. And yes, having brain cancer in the peak of your 50's is not a swell deal, but I'm sure all of those 1st class flights kinda evens that deficiency out.

Other reviewers have described this book as "inspirational" or "extraordinary", but really...what is so extraordinary about it? The guy finds out that he's screwed and that everything he has worked for is about to end because he only has a few months to live. He quits his job, organizes a list of people to "say goodbye" to, and then becomes very "deep" in the spiritual sense and sprouts off a ton of philosophy in a book that I ultimately waste my Saturday afternoon finishing. The only difference between this guy and an "average" guy is that an average guy would probably take out a worry-free loan and just go buck wild doing any and everything possible to get the most out of life. Hint: A lot of fucking would be taking place. I mean sure, saying bye to all your friends, family, and people that have meant a lot to you is fine and dandy, but I can do all of that in a little under a week if I was really in the email-writing mood.

This guy arranged his departure from this world in a very organized manner, while discovering that family and friends are the most important things to him. Why did he feel the need to write a whole book about this "journey" of his? I'm thinking, from his background, it's because he's a cocky alpha who thought that he was so important and would try to leave a "legacy" of sorts, kinda how Kings of yesteryear would have huge-ass tombs built for them and for a bunch of treasure to be buried alongside with their rotting corpse. I mean it's good that he came to the epiphany of what's really important; but seriously, most people would probably have that exact same eureka if placed in a sudden life & death situation. Something just smells odd about writing a whole book about it. I guess other peeps do it too, like ex-Presidents and rich people (Buffet, Gates) with their memoirs. That's what it's all about; thinking that normie peeps will want to hear about your wonderful life. Well guess what, life is a bullshit passing of time. Everything will eventually end and all you've worked for will disappear as soon as you die. Some other guy now owns the remnants of your empire and your widowed wife is probably fucking some other rich bastard as we speak. That's reality.
Rating - Mid

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Casino Royale (Action 2006)

Well everyone I spoke to about this film was 100% correct: It's the best Bond movie to date. This one pretty much kicked ass all over the board. It was rock solid when looking at the acting, story, girls, cars, torture, and special effects.

For the first time being James Bond, Daniel Craig performed the task like a veteran. He has a very cocky swag about him, which totally differentiates him from old school Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan. I think his unique style adds a lot of potential to the character, so hopefully he'll stay on board for more.

Yeah I gotta get right to it, Eva Green. This chick is so damn hot, it's hard to pay attention to anything else when she's on screen. She has the look and elegance of Jennifer Connelly in Dark City, combined with the unexplainable magnetic pull that only Scarlett Johansson and her pouty lips can invoke. I'm totally a fan.

This movie was very nicely written and well put together. The action sequences were totally modernized as it incorporated urban acrobatics instead of the same old 'large explosion/car racing' type of effects. There was substantially more character building too, so the audience tended to care about this Bond character more-so than any other. His whole relationship with M was pretty interesting too; there were a few very witty lines passed, as the two bickered back and forth. If you're tired of all the shitty picks out there, go and rent this and you'll remember why you started liking movies to begin with.
Rating - A

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

China Trip Summary

Since I've been back for a little over a week now, I guess I should try to sum up the trip as much as I can remember. First off, we went with this no-name company called Grand American Travel that has a rather fishy website. Personally, if I was planning the trip, I would not have gone with them based on the technological fact that the web design is nasty, but my mother had heard good things so we just went with it. I'm not sure what the total price of everything was, but our 8-sum day tour added up to a number less than 1.5K; this was all inclusive of course. All transportation costs, meals, and lodging were included with this. The only things that weren't were souvenirs, tips, and getting a Chinese Visa. My sister was kinda peeved at the fact that they would not take a CC as payment, mostly because the company would make more money if things were done in "cash", yes, very Chinese of them.

So, after initial payment was sent in and forms filled out, we had to send in our passports so that they could be taken to the Chinese embassy for Visas to be attached to them. This was a kinda worrisome time because they coulda just ganked our stuff, but it turned out ok and we got all of the paperwork and tickets back to us with a few weeks to spare.

So finally the big day came and we flew out of LAX and headed towards Asia. I forgot how many hours the trip was but it was a lot. Sitting on that plane in half-sleep mode was crazy ad exhausting. We got into Beijing around midnight their time so the first "night" was spent wandering to our hotel rooms to pass out.

The next morning we had to wake up kinda early and we went to see the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.

The Summer Palace was pretty cool; large swaths of land turned into this garden resort of sorts. We didn't get to see any indoors place where the royalty spent their time so that was kinda lame; it's kinda like getting to see some mansion but only being able to walk "around" the grounds.

Tiananmen Square was a huge area of concrete in front of the Forbidden City and other governmental buildings. There was nothing too interesting about it other than a ton of people were there just hanging out. It reminded me of London and how when I was there, people tended to "hang out" in large open areas. You sure don't see that shit in the US.

The Forbidden City was what I went there for and I wasn't disappointed at all. It was just like in the movies...Huge. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to wander away from the tour group so we only went from the southern entrance and exited from the northern one, pretty much going in a straight line through all of it. It woulda been better to look at "stuff" like paintings, furniture, armor, swords, clothes, etc, but none of those things were anywhere in sight. It also woulda been neat to explore and walk around the perimeter or go into the little side buildings to see what was in there, but yeah...that's one crap thing about a tour group: you don't have any freedom.

We got to see an Acrobatics Performance and that was really cool...it's like the circus except nuttier.

The next day we went to the Great Wall and walked all over it. Very impressive wall considering how long it really is and how much energy it drained from you after walking on a small portion of it. I guess if you have enough poor slaves or laborers, anything can be done!

Next we went to the Ming Tombs. I guess conceptually it's a neat location, but being there was not all that. The tour person had said that a lot of "stuff" was burned during the Cultural Revolution so all that was left was a large hallway of underground rooms.

The next day we flew to Shanghai and then headed to a town called Wuxi. After this it was kinda a blur becasue there was nothing cool to see. We were taken to various temples and gardens which did not interest me in the slightest. We also took a bus to another town called Hangzhou and essentially did the same thing there.

We ended up in Shanghai and there you could totally feel the "energy of the city", kinda like Hong Kong.

The last day we were there we took this Magnetic Levitation train from somewhere inside Shanghai to the airport. The "bullet train" maxed at 431km/h which is roughly 267.81 miles/hour. Considering how silent the ride was and how fast things looked when passing them, it was pretty impressive using anyone's standards.

The flight home was faster than the flight there, and that was the end of a very exhausting trip.

I'll now go into some detail of certain things that were hard to miss.

Sellers
At Tiananmen Square and especially at the Great Wall, people were everywhere mobbing you to buy shit. The second they saw a white face they were all over them gibbering the little English they knew how to gibber. Very annoying; it also happened whenever a tour group passed by a little store...more pieces of horrible sounding English getting spammed.

People
For the majority of the population, the peeps were pretty miserable. It didn't really seem like there was a true middle class. You were either military/govt/business peeps or you were the "common man" which pretty much translates into very poor, less poor, and poor. You got to see this more, when you left the larger cities and looked on buses as you passed them on the highway. Within the cities during the mornings and during the evening rush hour, it was impossible not to see tons of peeps crammed into these buses like ants, but the look on all of their faces is what gets you: they were miserable. It's kinda like "going through the routine", but they all continue doing it cuz there's not really an option out, but yeah there was no flicker of happiness or anything stimulating happening upstairs. Really odd stuff.

This takes me to the subject of money. Those millions of Chinese peeps will do anything for an extra buck, and I mean anything. They don't have any "social" or "ethical" issues that most Americans have, such as what is good for the environment, what is good for society, or what is good for individual mental health and happiness. The only thing that matters is gathering up as much money as possible without "shaming" the family (i.e. Being a prostitute or some other low profession). But in some cases I think the amount of money gained can overtake the resulting dishonor stemming from a particular action. Of course I'm totally generalizing, but I see my parents in this bubble. $ = Everything

Cars
There were all sorts of cars over there but the main ones were some Chinese made car and VWs...yeah who woulda guessed right? The rich peeps drive Audis, I rarely saw a Lexus or Honda, and even Toyota was a pretty rare sight. A few Peugeots were out and about but yeah...a lot of domestic cars and VWs. I don't think I saw one US-made car there the whole time.

Food
Yeah the food was not very impressive. A lot of vegetables, rice, and either pork or chicken. There was a rare fish or beef meal but yeah...they do love their poultry and pig.

Bathrooms
This was one of my main worries prior to going over there and yeah...it's exactly what I expected. Squat shitters. Like I stated in the pics of the trip, you totally gotta keep most of your pants on except for your ass. Just picture how a dog takes a crap and you'll get it. The bathrooms there were hella nasty and the bottom of your pants become very untrustworthy as in you don't trust them touching your clean clothes. I don't even think Lysol can help; only a shitload of Shout and Tide marinating overnight can clear away that level of filth.

Girls
From what I saw, vast generalizations cannot be made with the girls becasue some were cute while others were damn ugly. I think the hottest were the stewardesses on the plane though... One funny thing was that they all had the same body mold as in they were all pretty much short, petite, and skinny. You saw the occasional tubbo, but I'm sure she cries herself to sleep every night thinking of that extra helping of rice that she shouldn't have eaten.

Traffic
The Traffic was horrific. People didn't stay within lines, they didn't obey any traffic laws, and everything just seemed like a suggestion. The interesting thing was that I didn't even see one accident. I think the mentality there is "I don't want to get into an accident, but I won't, just as long as you brake when I cut you off". Also, I didn't see any road rage when very horrible moving traffic violations were occurring...I guess they're all just used to it.

Language
Nobody understood my Chinese. I don't know why either cuz it seemed like I was pronouncing everything right, so yeah I may have to work on that. Also, barely anyone spoke English either. Considering that the Olympics are a year or so away, good effin' luck with that.

Pollution
Horrible...Beijing was awful. You would be walking around outside and then slowly you would start to feel crap caking the surface of your throat. Other locals would just conjure up a huge loogie while making a lot of noise and spit out crap. Very nasty cuz everyone would be doing it; girls, guys, young, old...you name it and they were all doing it. When I got to LAX, I was honestly breathing in large swaths of air; seriously, it was probably 4x worse than LA.

Hotel Summary
Loong Palace Hotel (Beijing) - Very nice...I think it was supposed to be a "Chinese 5 star hotel". Also, don't use the word "elevator", you have to say "lift" in order for peeps to understand you. Also, the floor/room number system is all fucked up. You'll just have to go and see.

Xizhou Garden Hotel (Wuxi) - Kinda crappier...I think it was like a 3 star? My shower leaked and my room smelled like a cigs.

New Century Garden Hotel (Hangzhou) - I don't remember much about this place except that it was better than the one I stayed in the previous night.

Guangdong Hotel (Shanghai) - Pretty pimp accommodations in terms of quality but the room was the smallest of the bunch.

Fellow Tour People
It's always interesting when you get shoved with a bunch of people whom you don't know. Everyone becomes all pally but it never stays that way. It's like going to camp but totally not staying in touch. Everyone one was pretty cool...no problems...but no honeys my age either.

Tour Guides
Our first tour guide in Beijing was cool. His English was actually very good and he was fairly apathetic and nonchalant about everything; maybe that's why he was such a memorable person.

Our second tour guide was boring; a very dramatic change from the first. The kinda sad thing with jobs over there is that there's so many people waiting to nab yours, so that if you screw up once they usually fire you and get another person. This is the same with dropped dishes at restaurants too. Anyway, the second tour guide seemed to know the info in her head, but she was baby-stepping her English and was not confident with when she spoke so everything came out weird and most of the time her sentences would just fade away without actually finishing. She was kinda cute though, but I think her mumbling was what made a lasting impression. She also forced us to wake up at God-awful times like 5:45AM and shit like that so, as my sister kindly put it, "Every time she told us the wake-up-call-time, her tip went down a dollar or so".

Tour Company Summary
I'd have to say that the company actually fulfilled all of my expectations of the trip. All meals were arranged, all hotels were arranged, all transportation was arranged, we were escorted around everywhere, and everything stayed on a tight schedule. The only thing that coulda improved was the "free shopping time". The last day we got to do that, but we went directly from the shopping area to the airport so that kinda blew.

Overall it was a good trip. I saw what I wanted to see and I didn't have to think about work for a long while. Next real vacation will be a cruise though...I haven't done that yet.

The Holiday (Romantic Comedy 2006)

You know it's pretty funny that I actually just watched this movie yesterday and I've already forgotten most of the plot. It totally goes to show the level of quality that this one has.

The basis for this film is just like any other romantic comedy except for the fact that where most movies take you along a magical journey with the actors guiding the way, this one totally felt like you were on a set watching these peeps "act". What does this mean? It means that the quality of acting in this one was much like how you felt after watching a HS play. Maybe it's just me but the whole introductory scene with Cameron Diaz was 100% crap. You could totally tell that she was just reading off memorized lines. Jude Law and Kate Winslet assisted in the recovery just because they have actual, proven talent, but man....this movie was certainly not Cameron's finest hour.

The rest of the film was a cookie cutter story that I am seemingly quickly forgetting. Everything fell into place like a pre-built Lego set; when this happens I tend not to care as much. There's nothing worth watching here.
Rating - D

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Playstation Portable PSP (Random Product)


I tend to do this each time I go on a trip in a plane. I sit there, one or two days prior, ponder how I would like to play with a new toy, and then proceed to waste a ton of money getting everything retail when I coulda just been smart and pre-ordered everything through the web. Two Christmases ago it was the Gameboy Advanced SP and this year it was a PSP. I, of course, did next to no research on it and dived in head first.

The first thing I noticed was how bright and shiny the LCD was; a kickass bright screen through and through. This, of course, started attracting fingerprints like no other becasue your fingers are totally on the shiny black areas whenever you play. The UI was very well designed as was having a lot of built-in functionality. One annoying thing was that I had to buy a memory card for it. I hate Sony's proprietary stuff, but you gotta eat it to mess with their gear.

Video
The video playback was pretty descent. You have to use a few different software programs in order to shrink a DVD into a manageable size. You'll also need a 2GB memory card if you plan to store a good number of movies on the device.

Sound
The onboard speakers suck ass, use headphones.

Music
I put a bunch of MP3s on it prior to going on my trip. It did a good job playing them and it even had visualization options, like the ones Winamp and WMplayer has. The sucky thing was that I could not figure out a way to completely turn off the screen, so when I was sitting there listening to music, the system was totally wasting battery power by displaying stuff on the LCD. I, of course, dimmed the LCD's brightness factor, but it was still lame to be unable to black out the whole thing.

Battery
The battery lasted a pretty long time; 5ish hours on pure gameplay mode?

Web
The fact that it had wifi and a web browser peaked my curiosity, but yeah, I was eventually disappointed. It was pretty slow and its real-world functionality had its limits; I would rather check things on my cell phone if given a choice.

Games
There really aren't that many good games for this system. I played around 5 of them and they were all very mediocre; so mediocre that I would have rather read a book. The loading times for some of these games were horrendous. Do these developers know that it only takes a few seconds for a player to completely lose focus?

Conclusion
If you lived in a box and had no other forms of entertainment available, then by all means. But if you get your hands on anything else to entertain you, from a computer to a TV to a book to a magazine to a girl to people watching, then go do something else instead of buying and playing this. Unless some company pumps out a killer, must-play game, it's market share will disappear completely.