Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black Swan (Drama 2010)

Well this movie was certainly nutty. I'm not a fan of chicks going crazy but I got to give this one props for doing it in an artsy way. Yeah it's weird knowing that there are probably some peeps in this world who are obsessed with one thing and one thing only.

Anyway as a film it was good and complete. One thing that I'm still wondering is if Portman's character would've been the way she was if her mom had been normal and not a nutter.
Rating - A

Monday, December 27, 2010

Four Lions (Foreign British Black Comedy 2010)

I didn't really want to watch this movie at first just because British comedy is usually a miss with me. This one was OK but I still did not laugh as much as I would think a Brit would.

The movie is a black comedy about a group of pretty dense bombers and their antics while planning a bombing. The chuckle factor comes from some of the characters and their lack of intelligence. The situation is pretty real so that's why it shouldn't be funny but yeah some parts were worth a laugh.
Rating - C

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (Book 2010)

If I didn't know any better I would've thought that Lisa See was a full-blown Chinese female, but to my surprise that was not the case. She has some Chinese blood in her, but yeah, pretty much white as they come just by looking at a pic.

This book was good; let's just get that out of the way. The story was very real and believable up to the point when you read on the cover that it's only a novel. I swear the cultural details and little mannerisms that the author injects into the characters are so very Chinese and accurate. She sure did a lot of research in order to gather up so much detail for her fictional characters. She is definitely a quality writer with talent up her sleeve.
Rating - High

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AT&T Samsung Captivate Galaxy S


So after going back to having a simple phone after the Vibrant fiasco, I could not help but want another touchscreen smartphone. So after browsing around CL and Ebay forever I finally got a captivate through Ebay. The chick on the other end kinda misrepresented the condition of the phone so I managed to get $100 off my bid price which turned out to be less than market. Go me! So yeah after a few months of ownership here is my review of the device.

Hardware-wise the phone is pretty good. The GPS is very flaky so it has been suggested that this is a hardware issue which I believe, but the screen, sound, and overall feel of the phone is still good to go. It doesn't have a front-facing camera so that sucks when compared to the iPhone 4.

Software is where everything falls apart. Android is supposed to be an open platform that is made by Google, so one would think that the programming was OK; it isn't. For one reason or another Google OSes are tweaked with by manufacturers and made more shitty with different keyboards or different front-ends. Why couldn't it just be a Vanilla Google OS? So yeah your options as an android user are to use an antiquated ROM that is never updated or to try to root your phone and use a multitude of different ROMs that Joe Nobody in some random basement coded from a leaked ROM. The official stock ROM sucks and custom ROMs are hit or miss depending on if the developer is smart or not. It's just so frustrating to have only these two options at hand.

In comparison, the Apple iOS is pretty stable and updates come regularly. This is one thing that Apple has over Android and it's beginning to be more important. At the end of the day the device is a cell phone and there are certain expectations that need to be met:
  1. Simple
  2. Works
  3. Bugs are fixed
Currently Android has none of these expectations met.

So what is annoying about this phone/OS? A lot. First off the updates are few and far between. There have been many on-line arguments about if it is Google's fault or Samsung's. Most have said that it is Samsung's. It's very lame that the cell phone community has to depend on XDA programmers to tweak with leaked ROMs in order to get them to work on various cell phones. I don't see why Samsung does not invest some of their resources to do what they are supposed to do. The reasoning posed has been because of money and the fact that it is not in their best interest to support new OS versions like Froyo and Gingerbread on older phones. People will eventually just buy new phones with newer native OSes already installed. Pretty fucked up if you ask me. Why does the OS even need to be configured? Isn't it really just a small computer?

Anyway, what else...yeah the "system sound" settings will reset 80% of time time after you power off the phone meaning that whenever it boots back up it'll play this annoying Galaxy S tune at full blast. Another thing is that menu clicks will either lag or not detect so you are forced to click a bunch of more times. The Youtube app will also not sync up with your real account meaning that if I login on both the computer and the phone, and if I watched one a video from a subscription, the computer or phone will not know that the video has already been watched. WTF. Isn't this was logging in is all about? The phone also crashes apps quite often and occasionally the whole OS will crash and you'll have to take the battery out. So in comparison Android phones are very much like a PC whereas the iPhones are very similar to Apple's OSs. Yeah does it mean it is better? Yes, in many places concerning stability, but not everywhere. For example Android phone apps are almost always free and they are very functional as a free program whereas Apple apps are not so. But iPhones are a lot more stable and they "just work".

For cases I was cheap and tried to buy a $2 hard case off of Ebay from HK. It turned out that the case was only good the first time you put in on. Subsequent times that you put it on then off, it would be harder to get it to snap back into place. After a few times it just wouldn't snap anymore and that was it. I also found out later that the case itself scratched up the phone in 3 locations on the actual plastic so yeah... bullocks to that. I then ordered some cheapo-silicone case from HK and that one has been doing better than the hard case. The most annoying part is that the rubber totally sticks to your pockets so it's harder to get in and out. Next I'll try some "TPU" material although I don't really know what it is...maybe it's just another fancy word for rubber.

So in conclusion I hate Apple as much as any PC person does but I do feel torn when it comes to cell phones. A phone is supposed to work...all the time. When I'm able to officially upgrade phones in March it'll be a hard decision of what to do. The Nexus S recently got released but of course it does not support AT&T's 3G frequency; so yeah, even though it has Gingerbread and a front-facing camera, what's the use if the speed is piss poor? Will the iPhone 4 be the only AT&T option at that time? I hope not, but yeah that thing just works even though it is a crappy Apple product.

The Princess and the Frog (Animated Family 2009)

So this was a pretty good Disney flick. I still don't like the new-style of animation though...reminds of Hercules too much any not enough of the old school style.

Either way storytelling was on-par with an average Disney flick as were the songs and characters. Perhaps the kids will enjoy it when they get a tad older.
Rating - B

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Countdown to Zero (Documentary 2010)

In documentary-land this one wasn't very good. It was all about nuclear proliferation and how getting all countries down to zero nuclear weapons would be the best for everyone. Yeah good idea and all but they didn't bring into context the fact that many countries have nuclear weapons as a deterrent for invasion. That and how countries like the US and Russia enjoy their superpower status and have no intention of allowing themselves to fall.

Either way, one thing I didn't like about the film was that they pretty much told you how to get bomb materials and how to sneak it into the US. I mean I guess in the world of terrorism and such maybe all that information is common knowledge but for me I didn't know that you could sneak stuff in with kitty litter.

Overall this movie didn't educate me any more than an average documentary. They just had a bunch of big whigs saying that nukes are bad. We all already know that...that and no country will really give them up fully unless they don't mind getting stepped on.
Rating - C

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Devil (Suspense Horror 2010)

You know this wasn't a half-bad movie. This totally goes against the MO of M. Night Shyamalan and the rest of the God-awful films that he usually produces. Why people still give him money is totally beyond me.

So yea, as stated this movie was OK. The basis for the story was good, the acting was believable, yeah the ending did not suck. What a change hu? It won't win any special awards, but I'd consider that a win for the director as he has put out some really patented crap ever since his one hit wonder.
Rating - B

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Animated Fantasy 2010)

This animated film was better than the last one I just saw. The animation was pretty good and the story was a little less kiddie. Yeah the film got dark pretty fast so that was an odd twist for the younger demographic.

It did have a Land Before Time feel to it so it was adventuresome in that way. Overall it was not too shabby.
Rating - B

Despicable Me (Animated Family 2010)

This one was OK; at least it had a few scenes that made me chuckle. Overall though I'm much too old to be actually watching films made for youngins. I can appreciate a well made film though, and even though this one isn't one of those, it wasn't all that bad either.

But for the much younger demographic, it works. A little bit of humor here and there, some neat side-characters, and there you have it, just don't expect too much.
Rating - C

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Expendables (Action 2010)

As predicted, this one was pretty bad. In some other review it did mention that a lot of the big names only had cameo appearances and that was indeed the case.

There was no story and the action scenes were a mix of Rambo-like invincibility coupled with the fast pace of The Transporter films. So yeah...pretty dull overall. All of the dialog scenes should've just been deleted; it might've turned out better that way.
Rating - D