Monday, July 30, 2007

A New Friend

Yesterday morning I departed Arizona for (hopefully) the last time and gunned it for the Nevada boarder. 14 hours and 1000 miles later, a very exhausted me arrived at home with absolutely no energy left. I was planning on bunking it in Vegas for the night, but I got in at 3:00PM and the sun was still shining brightly overhead. During this long voyage, I discovered a piece of my car that has been ignored for years, until now. I had always thought that cruise control was only a novelty for the lazy and wealthy, but I'm primarily a city driver, so I've never really had an opportunity to fully utilize it, other than going down Mountain Ave at a fixed 37mph.

On the highway, this little buddy of a button is your best friend. When there's nobody in the front, nobody in the back, and nothing but the desolate Nevada landscape in the distance, it's oh so damn boring to hold your foot on that pedal for such a long time, bouncing from 68-77mph. The button totally worked, as advertised, and fixed the car at the cop-safe speed of 73mph. All you have to do keep the coche in the straight line and avoid passing out. I have found a new appreciation for cruise control even though it'll probably be many years before I ever abuse myself into taking a long trip anywhere.

The Simpsons Movie (Animated Comedy 2007)

After being an established entity in American households for close to two decades, it's about time that Matt Groening and crew produced a movie. Was it worth a ticket to go see a television show on the big screen? No.

I really can't predict what would have happened if this movie was released when I was still in my teens because my grasp on humor has changed quite a bit with the advent of Family Guy and other equally hilarious comedies. But I think I'll make the move and say that I probably would've rated this movie a lot higher if I were 12.

The film follows the came comedic edge that the television show takes, which is very mild by today's standards. That single fact is probably the reason this film was less than impressive. People are paying to see something "more" when they see a film in the theaters. If you make an episode longer, but change nothing else, it will be no different than a Halloween Special. Another odd thing is that a good number of the jokes had homosexual undertones to it. I'm not sure what the deal with that was, but it was damn weird and was definitely out of character.

This movie should have been sent directly to video because it didn't deserve to be in theaters. Is it worth a rent? Yes, just because it's The Simpsons.
Rating - C

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thermaltake iXoft Notebook Cooler (Random Product)

I'm such a sucker for gimmicks, but I don't care. I'm not really sure how I came across this device, but I did, and I subsequently bought it. I have absolutely no idea if it works or not lol, but I can say that it does turn into a liquid material when heated and it does take away the heat from your lap, if you're away from a desk.

I mainly purchased it so that I could use it overseas and because it was light and foldable. Was it worth $23 dollars? Who knows, but from my experience we exist on Earth to pass the time, and purchasing trinkets like this is just a small part of that equation.

After using this device for around a year, I discovered that it actually insulated heat instead of spreading and dispersing it. My laptop's core temperature was around 15°F higher when it was placed on top of this cooler. Don't get one!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Damn Tests

I'm probably not the first to say this, but "Fuck standardized tests." After studying many hours for multiple months, I finally re-took this test and promptly bombed it. I scored substantially lower than my first round back in 2003 and prior to me going to grad school for my first Master's. This is incontrovertible evidence that shows that either these tests are all bullshit, or I actually got dumber after completing grad school. Oh well, I'll apply and see what happens. I've always hated these tests, ever since those elementary days.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Fantasy Drama 2007)

Fun stuff everyone. This was probably the best Harry Potter film to date. The movies seem to be maturing at the same rate the books have. As expected, there were less and less intro scenes and a whole lot more plot. I can't say much for a direct comparison since I don't remember anything I read from the book; but as a standalone film, it did great.

The story was well rounded even though many of the scenes could've been bolstered a tad more than what was done. The acting was on par with the previous films, and there were a few add-in characters of note. Imelda Staunton, who played Dolores Umbridge, did a kickass job representing her character, and newcomer Evanna Lynch played a very convincing Luna Lovegood. Hopefully Luna's character becomes an active addition towards the end of the series. She kinda reminds me of Wednesday from The Addam's Family.

The Harry Potter franchise has turned into a regular "must see" because you have to finish all of it, just like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. No disappointments yet, so two more to go.
Rating - A

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Breach (Drama 2007)

Well this was an ok movie. I thought that it would be more like The Good Shepherd in terms of depth, but it played out to be more like a made for TV movie. This film was all about Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent who spied for the Russians back during and after the Cold War. Pretty treacherous stuff, but the guy's totally rotting in solitary, so good riddance.

I dunno if it was the director's fault or the writer's, but this movie had a slow, boring feel to it, much like films about 18th century British nobility. Ryan Phillippe was a convincing actor, and so was Chris Cooper, but it was missing a lot of forward momentum/excitement.

I might've recommended it based on its historical value, but you could probably just read up on it via Wikipedia and save some time.
Rating - C

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Transformers (Sci-Fi Action 2007)

Michael Bay, you are a badass. Hopefully you continue making films until the bitter end. Oh my, this movie was so damn good, it's a perfect representation of what a crazy summer blockbuster is supposed to be. It had everything one would want: humor, guns, helicopters, military stuff, a hot girl, a mindless plot, special effects up the YingYang, and of course giant, transforming robots.

This movie was very entertaining, like an edge of your seat fun fest. It didn't matter if the plot was simple or if some of the scenes were super corny, it was cool and it didn't matter why. The primary girl, Megan Fox, is so damn hot too, and I have the equation for why. She has Jennifer Connelly's mouth, Shakira's tan, Angelina Jolie's eye shape, and crazy blue eyes; that all equals hot. Shia LaBeouf's acting was not too shabby but he coulda just been overacting. He hasn't been in a lot of stuff other than "Even Stevens", so I don't really have a basis for comparison. He should give some props to his agent for landing this gig though.

Obviously this is a must-see, and not a renter either. You have to see it in the theaters to fully appreciate the level of action movie-making genius.
Rating - A

Tales from Earthsea (Anime 2006)

If you've never seen what the difference in directors can do for a film, look nowhere else than here. This anime, although produced at Studio Ghibli, had the son of Hayao Miyazaki at the helm of the boat, and boy did it hit some coral reef and sink. Somehow Goro Miyazaki got in his head that he could direct an animated film, just like his dad; he can't, so because of his arrogance, I have lost a few hours of my life to his whim.

This story is based in the world of Earthsea, something I have no information on and will probably never care to know anything about. It didn't have anything interesting like magic, bugbears, wizards, etc. If this film was a peek into this world, I'd rather just close my eyes and see nothing. I'm pretty sure it burns more calories to watch a crappy movie than to stare at a blank wall because you're brain will be doing a lot of bitching.

Do you know how I know this film sucked? Because I can't remember one bloody thing about it. The characters didn't stand out, the plot could be summed up in three short sentences, and the music was not unique. I swear, some electric keyboards have demo music better than what was in this movie. If I was at the premier showing I would've grabbed someone elses' popcorn and thrown it at the director. The son is definitely not like his father. Utter shit.
Rating - F

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's just not right

So, what's wrong with this picture? Well after driving around running errands all day, I'd say the temperature is the thing that is a bit askew. You can look at this and be all comfy in an indoor AC'ed establishment, but if you're ever stuck driving around in this shit, it really does get the brain-a-thinking. I really don't think human beings are supposed to live in places that get this hot. It's just not natural. I kept on saying to myself, "Geez this must be a seasonal joke, cuz damn's fucking hot." I guess it's good that I'm leaving because my patience with overall uncomfortableness seems to be decreasing as I age. 75 degrees all the time, does a place like that exist?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Secret Life of Words (Drama 2005)

So this was an odd little movie. It wasn't all that bad, but it was a tad weird. I'm totally not one of those artsy guys, so hell if I know what type of hidden meaning this film was supposed to have. All I know is that if I was the director, I would've said "no" to the script.

The story was pretty sad from the vantage point of the main female character, played by Sarah Polley, but the rest of the movie didn't really go anywhere. This is one of those films that I picture being shown in a college media arts class and the teacher making you write some paper how deep it was. The only thing deep was me looking at the bottom of my empty soda can for drinking my awesome Dr. Pepper was the only thing keeping me going through this one.

I don't know...I wouldn't recommend it. It wasn't a life-changing film nor was it interesting. I did like the fact that the girl had a spartan lifestyle in the intro scenes...totally reminded me of myself. Go me! Yeah, I'm an ass...
Rating - D

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ratatouille (Animated Comedy 2007)

Pixar has yet again maintained a standard of excellence with this week's newest release from John Lasseter and friends. This film has all of the standard bells and whistles of any Pixar creation, being that is has humorous dialog, a solid plot, terrific CG graphics, and nice character development.

What makes Pixar movies better than the rest is that they don't let the CG take the leading roll, while most films from Dreamworks Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks usually depend on the graphics for their main meat. Don't they know by now that how cool something looks doesn't matter if the audience doesn't care about the plot or characters? I mean it seems like a pretty damn simple concept to me, and I'm not that smart. An example of this is Surf's Up, a film that looks like a standard shitcake with marketing and advertising sprinkled on top.

It's good to see that even with Disney's buyout of Pixar, it doesn't seem like anything has changed in terms of style or artistry. I have no complaints at all and was very satisfied with my $9.25 purchase (I think the price went up). This is the first summer blockbuster "shoe-in", so hopefully there will be more to come.
Rating - A