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Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Angels & Demons

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Angels & Demons was something of a letdown.  I wasn’t expecting it, but I should have.  Never read a book and then watch a movie with big expectations.  I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code (the movie, I didn’t read the book) and I thought this would be no different.  Ron Howard really knows what he’s doing and that leads to very high expectations.  So, having read (well, listened, it was an audio book over a lot of road miles) Dan Brown’s book, the movie felt like it was cut short.  In addition, the changes made to the story for the movie adaptation just seemed wrong.  So, it’s hard to judge the film on its own merits.  I keep comparing it to the book.  Maybe if I give it some more time.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa was a worthy sequel.  I wouldn’t say it was better than the original, but certainly not worse.  Parts of the story felt forced, but necessary to pull everything critical together.  Despite the forced nature of some of the story, the writing was good.  The voice actors and animation were as well.  In fact, viewing this in HD was a treat; there were many cuts where the scene was almost 3D.  That was cool.  I seem to have a lot of CG films and I think I might pick up the Madagascar pair in Blu-ray when I get to actually buying HD media.  Rentals will have to do for now, though.

Up

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Up was an interesting little film.  I guess I had some expectations, because this one surprised me.   I really didn’t think I had any, because I didn’t know anything about it other than that it was computer animated.  Well, the first 5 or 10 minutes was a complete surprise.  I almost couldn’t believe what was happening.  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t seen the film, but I was just confused.  I guess it was required to give enough back story for the rest of the film, but it makes me feel like there could have been some other way to do it without stretching the film out too long.  So you get past that and into the main story itself — it’s alright.  Nothing too special.  It’s certainly a unique subject matter for a kids film, but it works alright.  I’d recently seen a factoid that there were only 2 animated Disney features that included both parents together and neither dies.  This maintains the status quo.  I don’t get the happy Hollywood ending out of it, though.  It’s just not there.  Anyway, I put the story at about a 5.  The computer graphics and voice acting were superb.  The quality and thematic styling of the animation was really outstanding.  I really feel watching it in HD gave some benefit to the content.  Overall, I’m glad I passed on seeing it in the theater, but renting it was alright.

Watchmen

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I didn’t know what to expect with the Watchmen movie.  All I’d heard was complaints about the in-your-face nature of a certain blue character’s anatomy.  I didn’t think it was that bad, but I could see how it might bug some people.  Then again, it shouldn’t bug anyone in the target audience.  In fact anyone that complains about that should also be piping up about some other scenes as well (of which I heard no piping before).  Personally, I don’t think I liked the movie, but I could see this becoming a cult favorite.  There is nothing in particular I can say was bad about the movie.  The casting, writing, cinematography, acting, make-up (except for the scenes of old Miss Jupiter, that was obvious costuming), and story were all well done.  It just wasn’t for me.  I think it has something to do with the styling cues and thematic continuity of the film that I didn’t like.  Don’t let that dissuade you.  While I don’t recommend the movie, it’s not for being a bad movie.  Watch it yourself and decide.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was a name and series milking movie.  Really, that’s the way to look at it.  I certainly enjoyed (and own) the first two movies in the series, but I doubt I’ll by this third.  In fact, I think the second movie was better than the first.  This third, however, didn’t stand up to my muster.  It’s not a bad movie, but more in line with something I’d expect as a made for TV movie or Saturday morning cartoon series.  There’s a lot of predictable dialog, and guessable plot lines.  There are certainly some redeeming jokes and gags, a couple new well developed characters, and a nice twist to the saber-tooth squirrel acorn chase.  It’s probably good as purely a kids movie (which is obviously its target market), but the previous films appeal to a more broad audience.  The voice actors did their job, the animators did their job.  The picture in HD was quite good.  It was the story and to some extent the dialog that were the let-down.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is another summer blockuster in the Transformers 2 fashion — it sucked.  Well, it was better than Transformers 2, but not by much.  It still was just a bunch of computer generated special effects.  There was a slight story to it, but not enough to amount to much.  Avoid unless you have some time to kill.

Traitor

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

I finally got to see Traitor.  I’ve been anxious to see it since I first saw trailers for it early last year.  For whatever reason it hasn’t appeared in iTunes.  I’ve periodically done searches and only come up with the sound track.  Anyway, the new Blu-ray player meant I needed some content — off to Blockbuster I went.  This is one of the first few.

So, about the movie, it’s very good.  I’ve been disappointed by what’s come out of Hollywood lately, so this was a nice relief.  Don Cheadle was amazing.  He’s a very good actor and always puts on an outstanding performance.  I really can’t find fault with the film.  The story was good.  That and the writing kept me guessing as to “the truth”.  In addition, the cinematography, locations, casting, mis-en-scene in general were outstanding.  I can’t recommend this film highly enough.

Blu-ray – now I understand the low adoption rates

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

So we got a good deal on a 65 inch plasma at hhgregg.  They included a Blu-ray player as part of the package.  I’d thought to myself that someday when I got a Blu-ray player it’d probably be a PS3, but I guess not.  I ran and picked up the BBC’s Planet Earth box set to have some content.  I’d seen it on Discovery when it was first released and was amazed.  I knew I had to have it in HD someday.  We’ve now rented several movies on Blu-ray and my verdict is that it can be quite amazing (like Planet Earth), but mostly not so much.  This has to be a big part of the low adoption rate.  I’ve got to rent some more  to see if I’ve just made bad picks, but so far — I’m not that impressed.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

We rented Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on iTunes last night.  Two words: pure crap.  I can’t believe they put something this bad out and that it made as much money as it did.  Ridiculous.

Bought An iPhone

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

So, I finally got an iPhone. I know it’s a few years behind the time, but the 3GS and 3.0 OS finally made it seem like a complete product. Also, the 32GB model seemed like it was the first to really be big enough as a convergence device. Additionally, the App Store “ecosystem” looked like it had reached the size needed to sustain itself. So, I dumped my no-longer-on-a-contract T-mobile account over to AT&T. So far so good. It’s nice to have a reasonable Internet browser all the time. I’m an NPR addict, so having instant access to their podcasts is awesome. Weather radar in your hand is amazing. I’ve got enough space to hold an enormous number of apps, music, podcasts, pictures, movies, and TV shows to remain computerless for a good chunk of time. I’ve even managed to connect to my office VPN, but I haven’t bought an SSH app to do my normal thing with yet (I live on a terminal). I even found this blog app, so maybe I will get back to posting again.