Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Mutant Chronicles (Action 2008)

This movie started out kinda crappy but it did kinda grow on me. It had an Army of Darkness feel to it even though Bruce Campbell wasn't in it.

The film had an interesting mix of actors like Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, and John Malkovich, so that made for a nice dynamic mix. Who knows how they got those actors to star in this film considering that the production costs seemed to be lacking in the funding departament.

The story was Anime-like at first, but then it got kinda religious which of course sucked. The action and gore had an odd style that shouted out indi. It was like it was filmed in a dude's basement or something. At least it wasn't as bad as Xena or Hercules though. There were enough gun and sword fights to keep me interested through to the end, but it did suck overall.

This movie was different, but it was also close to unwatchable at times because of its lack of polish and amateur-filmmaking leanings.
Rating - C

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bottle Shock (Drama 2008)

This movie reminded me of Sideways because of the story's basis surrounding wine. But besides that, the two films have nothing else in common. I'll never quite understand what people see in the stuff, wine or beer or tea - it all tastes like crap to me.

The movie was about a Frenchie wine connoisseur, visiting CA back in the 70s to see if American wines had anything going for it in comparison to regular French wines. The film circulated around a guy who gave up a job as a lawyer to go and try out making wine. The characters were forgettable, but the story and the drama that created it was pretty good. Bill Pullman did a good job but the other main character, Chris Pine, kinda sucked.
Rating - B

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaming Rant

So Steam is having this big sale on almost all of their games right? I had nothing better to do so I went and bought a seemingly interesting indi game called Space Trader. Since what I enjoy most in Eve is buying low and selling high, I thought that this game might be a fun little time waster. But guess what, it sucks, and is probably why it only cost me $5. What makes the game blow is the fact that it ends after a certain number of turns. Rumor has it that some games in the Civ series also does this. Having a game that ends after x number of turns it just as pointless as Solitaire, CS, or Chess. Who the fuck enjoys playing the exact same game over and over again without any sort of benefit from past efforts? I know the answer to that question is "A lot of people", but man...screw a whole bunch of that.

A game exists for 2 reasons: The first is to temporarily entertain, just like a movie does. If a game's story is good, then after you've beat it, you'll feel like you've accomplished a little bit of something since you've successfully traversed through a plot. You don't get this when you play checkers or anything similar. Sure, the result of how things turn out can be different but the game itself is the same and doesn't change. The second reason for a game to exist is for your efforts in that game to amount to something, may that be getting more XP, making more money, or achieving more bragging rights. The second is a bit harder to attain but damn, it pisses me off to no end when you're given an ass timer and you have to "have fun" in that small amount of time before the clock runs out. What the hell is the point? Even TF2, though highly repetitive, has stats to show personal growth and playing time. It isn't much, but at least it tries to show that you've invested energy into something that can be visualized.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Driving in China (December 25, 2008)

Ok so I'm back in China visiting the future in-laws. I'll explain the whole scoop later, but I need to talk about my driving experience here. So tonight was Christmas day and the fam here decided to take me out to go eat over at Ying Tan, the nearest larger city to my location in Jiang Xi Province. It seems as though I was the only one in the immediate family who knew how to drive so they found me an SUV and gave me the keys like it was nothing.

To start off, I never liked driving SUVs cuz the feel of them is so different from that of a regular, lower to the ground car. The next big issue was that it was a stick. To give you some background history, I lost money in an automobile transaction many years ago because of my disdain and lack of confidence concerning driving a manual transmission. And the last issue was the fact that Chinese drivers are crazy and so are all the pedestrians.

So what did I notice on our little town-to-town adventure?
  1. All drivers use their brights during the evening time so you are constantly blinded by oncoming traffic.
  2. Pedestrians don't give a fuck and will walk right in front of you without a care in the world.
  3. Motorcycles love zooming 3 inches from your side mirrors to pass you knowing full well that I barely see them and could easily make a swift jerk, bumping them straight onto the pavement.
  4. Streets are not paved well so most roads are bumpy as fuck with huge gaps that can't even be categorized as potholes unless a pothole is more like a-large-rectangle-spanning-the-entire-street type of hole.
  5. And as I already knew, nobody obeyed any of the traffic signals or lane appropriations.
I did get us to our destination without stalling, but I was scared shitless throughout most of it. My 99% probability of not getting into an accident while driving in the US suddenly changed into a 70% chance of hitting "something". We had to find a driver to get us back because my halo-ridden evening eyes (Thanks lasiks) were not going to take the risk. It was a crazy experience...something that I have no urge of partaking in again.

In order to get to where I am now, we had to take a train. First time for me, that's for sure. The train we used was opposite from what is in the picture above. I guess the current trains are the 3rd generation ones that are digital and more modern while the 2nd generation (see pic) was something from the 70s or 80s. The train averaged around 75-120mph, and it kept a constant speed throughout most of the trip. There were only a few stops where the train would wait only 1 minute before closing the doors and continuing on again. It was funny, during these 1 minute breaks a boatload of guys would rush the doors to light up a ciggy. You would think that people would just break the law like usual and start smoking it up in the train, but to my surprise the train had its own staff with accompanying police, just like an airplane.

It's cold as all getup where I am. I guess it's normal to have the same temperature inside as it is outside. No central heating at all, so I have cocooned myself into a single room with a heater unit. It's very odd having to wear a jacket to eat a meal or to watch TV on the couch. I guess insulation was not factored into the building specs.

Other than that, I've found out that smaller towns have no DVD-men. I guess I'll have to wait until I get to Shanghai in order to get some pirated flicks.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Adventure 2008)

This movie was actually an unexpected surprise. The trailer looked pretty simplistic, but the fact that it could be watched in 3D in some theaters had me thinking that it would be pretty juvenile. But let me tell you, after having to sit through 2 crappy girl movies, any action was better than none.

For being a simple adventure movie, this movie flowed very well. They didn't try to make it into some moving drama or some epic film of any kind. It merely had a plot, a few characters, and their goal to get from point A to point B. The film was very well balanced and that's what made it a decent one. Josh Hutcherson was still the same little shit that he was in Bridge to Terabithia, but at least the movie itself didn't suck as bad.
Rating - B

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Action Adventure 2008)

As with the first 2 films, this one followed suit with the same type of action and dialogue.

If you watched the other Mummy movies then you've pretty much watched this one too. The action, gun fights, and special powers of the villain were all the same ol' stuff except that this one is based in China instead of Egypt. It was enjoyable to watch, but probably only the first time around.
Rating - C

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Comedic Drama 2008)

LOL yeah obviously the beginning of my flight was less than a thrilling adventure. This film was also subpar as one could expect. I remember Netflixing the first movie but was unable to get past the first 10 minutes because of its highly focused demographic style. It's kinda like me trying to watch a cartoon at my current age although I somehow become entranced while watching SpongeBob SquarePants with little Sammy. "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea..."

The only real comment I have to say about the film is that America Ferrera's actions and hand gestures were spot on with a chick I used to work with here in China. I found it eerily odd. The rest of the movie was as expected, totally one-sided, painting girls as confused but still "right" for all intents and purposes. The guys in the film were way too good looking and kind. Guys don't come in that model, they just don't, so perhaps some of the more naive chicks watching this film will have unrealistic expectations of an average male.
Rating - C

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mamma Mia! (Musical 2008)

Well this was the first movie I was forced to watch on the plane. Man oh man, some films just shouldn't have been created, and this one definitely falls into that category.

Pretty much everything about this film blew ass. The story was dumb, the main chick was oh so fucking annoying, and who thought it was a good idea to cast Meryl Streep as the main chick's mother? She's ugly as she is old. Don't people know that her face = evil, lawyer characters and not dancing mothers? I was surprised she could even pull off some of the choreographed dances considering that she's ancient.

Yeah Amanda Seyfried's character of the bride to be was essentially a spoiled, rich chick who tries to make idealistic choices to cater to her selfish needs without the consent of her mother. "What a little bitch" was the only sentence going through my head in almost every scene with her in it.

The movie sucked. Even as just a musical alone it sucked. I'm not sure even tweenie girls would like it since it far surpasses the line between unrealistic and idealistic.
Rating - D

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yay

Finals are done, yay! Let's not make that same mistake again. School blows ass the 3rd time around, so I would totally not recommend it to anyone who's pondering.

For the last two weeks I had to watch my niece for 4 hours per day and what an adventure that was. I never realized how exhausting it is to watch a baby, change diapers, feed 'em, and pretty much make sure they don't get into mischief. FT mothers have it rough and FT single-parent mothers have it worse. "Don't get preggers" should be the motto of the young and foolish.

At the end of the week I'll be heading back to China for a visit. It's supposedly as cold as it is there as it is here so terrific. Yeah Chinese peeps love to wear jackets while in the comfort of their own homes. That's one intrinsic difference between the quality of life expectations of the two cultures. Maybe I'll be able to get my hands on some more pirated DVDs. Waiting for Redbox to spit the next round out is a lagging chore. So yeah, Merry Christmas everybody and if you're one of the many who are still employed, be very happy for that because being on the other side of that fence sucks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Step Brothers (Comedy 2008)

Will Ferrell movies are usually a hit or miss, but occasionally you get something that lies somewhere in between.

As expected the movie was all sorts of crude with a lot of cussing added in for effect. Usually I wouldn't notice if actors let out the occasional "fuck" or "shit", but it seemed excessive in this film. The humorous parts were pretty damn funny while everything in between was unbelievable and juvenile. Two 40 year-old sons still living at home and acting like 15 year-olds is not a believable premise, unless they had down syndrome or were autistic or something. The two main actors are just too old to play the part.

It was a funny movie, but there have been funnier ones. If you're a Will Ferrell fan, then you'll have a great time with this one. If not, you'll still chuckle at least 3 times.
Rating - B

Monday, December 08, 2008

Resident Evil: Degeneration (Animated Action 2008)

A few months back, teasers for this movie were released to the Internet. It actually looked pretty good considering that it was all CG, but one thing was very fishily familiar with the style...

I'm not sure where the plot of this movie fit in with the whole Resident Evil storyline. There've been 3 movies and countless video games, but some of the characters in this were definitely from the video games.

The mystery surrounding the familiarity of the film lies in how the animation melded with the storyline. It's not as much a mystery as a lightbulb going off. All this movie is, is if someone made cinematics for a video game, but combined all the CG into a standalone, without the video game part. It would be something that I have always wished that Square Enix would do with the Final Fantasy series. Screw the video game and put together a CG movie. Resident Evil is, of course, many notches behind the story of any Final Fantasy game, and it clearly shows in this film. Although the animation and action was pretty good, the plot, characters, and overall drama was unconvincing and lifeless. I'm sure it has something to do with the lack of realistic facial expressions. It's probably a hard thing to do on a computer.

If you're a fan of the movies or video games, then it's worth a one-time watch. If you're not, I doubt you'll be impressed.
Rating - C

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wanted (Action 2008)

Well this was definitely one movie where Angelina Jolie's patented lips would be unable to help out the film.

The movie started out pretty good, with a few funny scenes and then a headfirst dive into the action. It sorta reminded me of Jumper and how that movie began in terms of explaining the main character's special powers and such. But soon afterwards, everything went to shit. The plot history was not expounded upon, the plot twist came too early, and the ending was really really lame. It was as if the director suddenly ran out of money 70% into it and had to wrap everything up in a week.

I'm not sure if it's just acting or what, but James McAvoy annoyed the fuck out of me. I remember liking him in Atonement even though he sorta seemed like an ass, but in this film it was as if he wasn't acting. You know what I'm talking about...think Colin Farrell. It doeesn't matter what movie he's in, you know that in real life he's a complete prick. James McAvoy gave me that exact same vibe in this movie. What's up with that anyway? Do all actors turn into punks once they make it big in Hollywood? I know all singers turn into sluts or druggies...oh well.

Yeah this movie isn't really worth watching. It could've been O.K. if they removed the whole 2nd half of it, but as it currently stands, it's a complete waste of money.
Rating - D

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Latest Rant

So a week or so ago I went to this job interview. One of the peeps whom I spoke to was this chick who was younger than me and was, from what I could see, one of the more attractive females inhabiting this town. Right from the get-go I could tell that she was fairly uncomfortable being in the same room with me, much less having to shake my hand or trying to maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Any male from the AZ crew knows what I'm talking about when I explain "the look".

It's when an attractive female sees you, knows that you're within her same age group, but categorizes you into an unfuckable category, like a rock or a hubcap. In addition to this categorization, your apparent social class, physical physique, or racial appearance is so foreign to said female, that she becomes nervous, intimidated, and highly defensive.

This happened on numerous occasions back in the undergrad days when a bunch of us would mob over to some party where the majority of peeps there were non-sorority-bitch, White chicks and a few random dudes. This was contrasted by our group, which consisted of a nice mix of Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, Whites, and hybrids. When we all came through the door, all the smiles on the girls would disappear, conversations would quiet down, and purses would become clutched ever so tighter. It would be the same reaction that you would have if someone made a sudden move towards you, breaking your personal bubble.

These situations would usually lighten up after the host of the party greeted us, showing that he at least knew who we were and that we were probably not there to rob, rape, or pillage.

The point of the story is that this chick had that same look on her face throughout the whole damn interview because there was no host who could vouch for me and settle her nerves. Judging by her hair, jewelry, pants, and shoes, I had no problem classing her up in a second:
  • Not a sorority bitch during college, but wanted to be
  • Middle to upper-middle class family
  • All white females friends
  • Lifetime interaction with minorities limited to - Purchases (food/drink or retail)
  • All ex-boyfriends:
  • -White
  • -Drove a truck (Silverado, F-150, or Ram) or Jeep (Wrangler or Grand Cherokee)
  • -Wore a dirty hat (Fitted, baseball team logo)
  • -1st concert ever attended "Metallica"
  • -Native Nevadan 3+ generations
  • -Owned numerous hooded sweatshirts
  • -50/50 chance of having sported a large belt buckle
  • -Wore outdoorsy boots
While there, all I wanted to do was to throw an opened pack of mustard at her brightly-colored shirt so that when people walked by, they could look at the hideous stain and inquire:
  • Stranger - "So, why do you have mustard all over your shirt"?
  • Girl - "Oh, because I'm a skanky bitch".
One interesting thing that I've come to the conclusion of is that sorority-bitches, even though they're all hookers at heart, are classy enough to put on a good presentation and hold their own in a situation where they have to interact with people whom they would normally not. This is maybe because inside, they think that they're better than the people around them and can draw from that source of confidence. This is opposite with females like the one in my story. These girls are, as a friend likes to call them, "suburban-trash". They're usually highly sheltered in their own middle-class world with the same friends they've had since elementary school. When they see an outsider, like a minority for instance, they're scared shitless because they've never actually had to interact with one. They soon discover that watching TV-sitcoms and movies have definitely not prepared them for the task of actually having an educated conversation with someone different from themselves. Internally, they choose flight instead of fight, but they can't run anywhere because it's their job to stay exactly where they are, displaying their pussified cowardice with their jerky facial movements, loss of eye contact, and continuous readjustment of crossed legs.