Friday, May 30, 2008

The Heartbreak Kid (Comedy 2007)

This movie can be remembered as one of Ben Stiller’s average flicks. He never really seems to hit gold with anything. I wonder if it’s him or the films.

Parts of this movie were actually funny. I laughed around 6 times, if memory serves me correctly, so that’s O.K. for a comedy. A chick named Malin Akerman was the main girl and for some reason I totally thought she was Kate Hudson. Weird hu? They both have blonde curly hair and they kinda look the same. Anyway, there were a few scenes where she was totally talking dirty in bed and that shit was raw. Dialogue kinda went into the 5th dimension with that, but it was still funny.

Like I said, it was an O.K. movie, but nothing that's worth wasting more than a dollar over. There are better ones out there.
Rating - C

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Bucket List (Drama 2007)

This movie was alright. It had two veteran actors paired up together, so not a lot of damage can happen from that.

The film is about two peeps who both have cancer and have around 6 months to live. One guy has a ton of money and is more than willing to start blowing it. A friendship develops between these two chums as they travel all over the world experiencing different places and crossing various activities off a ‘bucket list’ of theirs.

The movie wasn’t necessarily moving, but it did evoke a subtle feeling of serenity, especially at the end. It reminded me of a few key scenes from The Shawshank Redemption. I’m not sure if it was because it was that well done or because Morgan Freeman was the narrating voice in both films. Either way, it was still a pleasant movie and a nice watch.
Rating - B

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Strange Wilderness (Comedy 2008)

Well this movie was pretty stupid, but it did make me laugh, so I’ll give it some points for that. It was a super dumb movie though. You got to wonder how the director, who is also the writer, can think that he is contributing to society by creating a film of this low caliber.

A lot of the scenes/jokes were “inappropriate”, for lack of a better word. Were they funny? Some of them were. Were they either raw or unrefined? Most were, yes. Was there any real purpose to this movie other than having a group of losers in a Winnebago goin’ on a road trip in search of Bigfoot? No…no there wasn’t. With so many negatives, it’s hard to say that it had any shred of decency. But it did make me laugh, which is more than I can say about yesterday’s movie.
Rating - C

Meet Bill (Comedy 2007)

This movie was a turd. Aaron Eckhart played some guy who hated his job, was in a loveless relationship, and was always trapped in terms of being connected to his in-laws.

His wife ended up cheating on him, he befriended an adolescent through a mentorship program, and he started living healthier. End of story. This film had nothing, and I didn’t even laugh once. What a waste of an evening.
Rating - D

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fake Funnies

You might enjoy some of these. I've seen a few people wearing hella fake stuff around here, but nothing quite this humorous.




Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Fantasy Adventure 2008)

Well I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t expect this film to be any better than the first, but it was totally better in every possible way.

This was the second book in the trilogy. It was much darker and violent than the first film, but it was still under par when compared to The Lord of the Rings. Acting seemed to be better from all of the actors involved, but I still detest Georgie Henley and her pumpkin face.

A few new characters added a lot of personality to this movie, namely a mouse and a dwarf. It’s always nice to add characters that the audience can actually care about. None of the main actors are memorable, sad to say. A few sections of the plot seemed a little rushed though. Maybe the book had a more descriptive intro or background, but the movie did a good number of scene jumping in the beginning in order to get things moving.

In terms of costume design, the makers did a great job with making the human kingdom’s peeps seem like the old Spanish Empire. Their swords, helmets, and accents were very much Spanish in origin.

I enjoyed watching this one. The battle scenes were much better than the first film and the little inserts of humor assisted in holding my attention. The ending was a little lame though. If you had a choice of being a King in the Middle Ages with talking animals or being an adolescent in Post-WWII Britain, which one would you pick?
Rating - B

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Living in China (May 21, 2008)

Not a whole lot to report from the China front. The whole country is still mourning the dead from the Earthquake. All "entertainment" websites have been blocked or disabled so watching movies or TV shows is still a no-go until tomorrow.

Classes are close to being finished so I'm totally relieved for that. Yeah note to self: Teaching sucks. I would much rather be crawling under desks fixing computers like a low-level peon than teaching students anything. It's just not my cup of tea, but it was an experience jumping through the hoops. It's funny that even with a highly unorganized educational system, Chinese students are still better in Math and other subjects than your average American college graduate.

In other news, I saw my first Corgi today while walking back from my class. I guess some Chinese professor is the proud owner. I tried to nab the dog, but he/she was just as spunky as mine is, so it bounced away too fast. That breed has way too much energy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (Comedy 2008)

This one wasn’t funnier than the first, but it was still pretty funny. Mind you that the humor is more crude and raw than your average comedy. I’m surprised they were able to get away with some of the stuff in it.

Rob Corddry from The Daily Show was a lead character in the film so that was a little different. He played an exaggerated character, which actually hurt his performance. If his part was a tad more realistic, it would’ve made a lot of difference.

The main bulk of the movie played on a lot of stereotypes that exist in the U.S. It was funny at first, but then it got really old, probably about 20% into it. The rest of the movie was kinda lame as they kept on introducing new, stupid characters with a crappy plot. It had a lot of weed smoking for those of you who enjoy those types of films, but yeah, overall it was disappointing.
Rating - C

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Leatherheads (Comedy 2008)

It’s weird seeing a movie with George Clooney after recently seeing him in something great like Michael Clayton. The comparison is staggering as to how even a good actor cannot turn around a crappy story.

This movie was about the early days of football, so it had a little potential there. But since it was a comedic drama, having the film turn into a slapstick comedy of sorts made it fall down, way down. The movie was silly and stupid, but it tried to have a story to follow. It was an odd combination that didn't serve it well.

RenĂ©e Zellweger plays good rolls when she's a woman during the 20s and 30s. She kicked ass in Chicago and she was pretty good in this one too. Maybe it’s because of the clothes, hats, or hair, I can’t tell. Clooney’s acting was O.K., but again, his character was silly so I don’t know where to place him.

This movie blew. It started out kinda weak and then it ended up with close to zero HP.
Rating - D

Monday, May 12, 2008

News of the Day

I was just informed today that the husband of one of my friends was shot in the line of duty. He was still in the Police Academy when I left Tucson but now he's a full fledged officer. He's O.K. from when I gather, but it's still pretty crazy. Hope he recovers quickly. Here's the article for those who are interested.

In other news, China had an Earthquake this afternoon. I was in class at that time and my students said that they felt something, but I didn't feel a thing. It turns out that they were correct. I guess it was pretty bad. All the news channels are still going nuts about it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iron Man (Action 2008)

Do you actually want to get your money’s worth when you go to the movies? See this one and you most certainly won’t be disappointed. Remember the first time you saw Spider-Man? Yeah, you’ll pretty much get that same warm, fuzzy feeling.

This movie was both clever and funny. Robert Downey Jr. was a perfect Tony Stark, as most people would agree. If he could just clean up his act and not be busted for cocaine all of the time, he would actually have a pretty good career going for him. Yeah a lot of the quick wit and smartass comments that came out of his character were gold. The action, special effects, story, and cars were all great in this movie. The Audis were insane, like let’s trade in a few kidneys insane. Gwyneth was in this one too, but I don’t like her with red hair. It looks trailer-park cheap. Also, I’ve said it more than once, but girls have to realize that bangs are ugly as sin. Why do they continue to think that it looks good? It looked like crap in the 80s and it still looks like crap now.

The special effects of all of the mechanical robotic stuff working to put on the suit was great. It was just like how the marine was equipped in the Starcraft II trailer. There were numerous scenes with this happening, so you got to see the detail and the overall coolness of it all.

I was obviously satisfied and entertained with this movie. This is another good example of a comic book film done extremely well.
Rating - A

Vantage Point (Action 2008)

Well this was a crazy little movie. It had so many plot lines going along in parallel that it was hard to keep track of everything going on.

It’s good to see Matthew Fox finding other work other than Lost. I wonder if he can be a half-decent actor? Dennis Quaid was the main character in this one and he held his own for the most part. The story was unconventional, so that’s something nice to see every once in a while. It reminded me of Speed and how everything in that film kept on humming along at a quick pace.

After you get over all of the intensity, you still have an above average action movie.
Rating - B

The Other Boleyn Girl (Drama 2008)

I’m not sure about the historical accuracy of this film, but I’m guessing that a large chunk of it is fiction.

This movie was all about deception, seduction, and ambition. All of these nouns usually end with a bad result, even now. Johansson and Portman did pretty good jobs playing sisters who got with Henry VIII. I only know one other guy in real life who got with 2 generations of the same family; quite the pimp indeed. I think the best part of this film was the costume design. It was all very intricate and well detailed. The plot was O.K., but it was a little slow with a ton of talking.

England had a weird aristocracy during this period of time. It’s funny how it actually lasted longer than all the others.
Rating - C

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Great Debaters (Drama 2007)

I don’t think this film made it into theaters, but it was still an O.K. movie. Denzel played a college professor at an all Black college in Texas during the 1930s. Yeah screw those years in America. I wouldn’t even want to be me during that time.

So the story was about this professor putting together a formal debate team and having them debate other schools. All of this built up to the team being able to compete against Harvard University’s debate team. The film was alright. The Southern, Texan accents were great as was the details in terms of making it really seem like it was the 1930s. As per usual, Denzel and Forest Whitaker performed superbly.

Kudos to all the peeps who were able to survive through the racism and segregation in America during the better portion of the 20th century. If I was in their shoes, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to control my mouth from smarting off.
Rating - B

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Untraceable (Thriller 2008)

This was a fun little movie filled with dumb as shit characters and an incompetent FBI team. Diane Lane played the character of an FBI agent whose job is to combat cyber-crime. Things get interesting when some dude puts up a website of people getting killed with the number of viewers as the source of the cause of death.

First off, I’m not a security expert, so I dunno what was or was not necessarily possible in this film. What I do know is that if you had a streaming server with a live feed, and then you had some sort of botnet masking the source IP through a bunch of compromised servers, you would still be able to trace back the source, but you would probably need to get the logs from all the ISPs involved. Yes, this would take a bunch of time considering that ISPs don’t readily enjoy giving out information without a drawn-out court battle, but it is possible. In another scene you see the FBI peeps lock down one IP address and then putting the same URL name into a browser and having it already be redirected to a new server. That was bullshit because the DNS would not have been updated so quickly.

Also, if the FBI already knew the city that the streaming server was located in, they could've had the main ISP for the region help find the user by monitoring packet traffic and doing random shutdowns of specific ranges to see what the source IP was. Like in most towns I’ve lived in, your big boys are Cox, Comcast, or the local phone company with their DSL. There could also be satellite feeds too, but going after the broadband users would be a good start.

There were a bunch of technical methods the police and FBI could have utilized, but instead they all just “tuned in” to the killing, making the active connections go up and watching helplessly as the victims died. The manner in which a few of them croaked were very Saw-esque. Not too shabby at all, even though gruesome.

Diane Lane’s character was hilarious though. She was a grade-A idiot. First she had her home computer, which had confidential FBI information in it, hooked into the same wireless network as her daughter’s play computer. You would think that someone of her station would be smart enough to have her primary home system isolated away, with a VPN or SSH connection to her office. The fact that her daughter installing a Backdoor Trojan had somehow infected her primary system leads me to believe that she is a fool. She had to have no password or a weak password and no firewall. Also, she was running Vista, which is a piece of shit in itself. I’m surprised that her browser even opened up that quickly. The second reason, and I won’t spoil it for anyone, is that she didn’t search her car and then she got back IN the car. If you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Minus the stupidity of the characters, some questionable technical facts, and the very last scene with her badge, it was a pretty enjoyable thriller. Also, if you look closely at all of the stuff people were writing in the “chat room”, those comments were definitely worth a laugh.
Rating - B

The Forbidden Kingdom (Action Adventure 2008)

This was another new release at the theaters this past weekend. It was a little odd watching it because it was totally re-dubbed to have everything in Chinese. I think the U.S. version has English as the primary, spoken language, at least by the main character and the main girl.

The movie was different. It was very adventurous and it had a lot of martial arts action, especially with Jet Li and Jackie Chan dueling each other, but it was kinda blah in the story department. In a few scenes, racist Chinese remarks were used and that type of dialogue seemed a tad extreme considering that the movie was PG-13. It would be like watching The Nutty Professor and having them throw out the N-word a few times.

Even though the action was ok, I couldn’t stop wondering who the fuck Michael Angarano was. He was both a crappy main character and a random no-name. I guess the two Chinese chicks are famous peeps over here. I honestly couldn’t tell them apart. They both looked the same to me.
Rating - C

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Throwdown in Yanjiao

So I witnessed a very humorous altercation yesterday morning. When I walked out of the local grocery store, I heard a loud crash of window breaking and then I saw a bunch of seasoned duck feet flying through the air. A lot of yelling started up as another wave of duck feet went flying in the opposite direction. It turns out that a customer had been pissed off for some reason, threw something that broke the glass of a store’s window, and then the store owner had thrown food at the customer. The customer then retaliated with her own barrage of duck feet and attempted to make a quick getaway.

A younger guy came running out of nowhere, grabbed the customer so that she could not get away, and then started yelling bloody murder at her. Unfortunately I didn’t know what they both were saying, but it was a pretty heated sputtering of insults. Another girl appeared and tried to break it up by trying to talk to the guy. From the looks of it, she was either the sister or girlfriend of the guy. None of that worked though, because the customer gave the guy a 5-fingered ‘hello’ across his face. The dude was livid.

He pretty much went ape shit after that and started wailing on the customer with fists and kicks. If that GF/sister was not there to hold back some of that kinetic energy, that customer would have gotten her ass kicked. Just as it got interesting, the store owner came out and joined in the yelling and insults. During this time, a large crowd had gathered around the peeps. Traffic was stopped and boy was it entertaining. A policeman was standing near the crowd when this all started, but after he saw what was going on, he casually wandered away. I guess civil disobedience is not considered a crime around here. A few people in the crowd started yelling “hit her!” in Chinese, and these words I actually know, so like a good American I am, I joined the mob in expressing my want for more action “da ta!”, I yelled.

Sadly, the store owner seemed to only want to say a few key sentences and was not after blood. If I was her I would have beat the living shit out of that customer because now she has to pay to get a window replaced. The altercation subsided after the store owner coaxed the boy and girl to withdraw, and the customer just disappeared into the crowds of people.

I find it interesting that seeing a girl getting hit by a guy did not initiate an intervention by any males witnessing this. In America, many males would be quick to intervene. Yet another cultural difference between the two countries.