Tuesday, June 24

quick tidbit

i'm currently trying to get back into blogging and commenting, but i find the longer i let it go, the more there is to blog about and comment on. it's for people like me that the following website was created:


here i'll post brief thoughts and links to cool stuff IN REAL TIME (hopefully). this is sort of combining the small stuff that's too small to blog about and my "around the web" feature i gave up on all in one. it's pretty neat because it forces you to be short and concise in your posts by only allowing 140 characters per post. now, i've been known to ramble, so this is pretty cool.


Tuesday, June 10

what i've been up to - may edition

i'm in the process of updating my blog. tonight i posted on what television i watched in the month of May, what interesting things i read in the month of May, and what movies i saw in the month of May. stay tuned for what video games i played in the month of May, as well as an Arizona wrap up, and what's coming up this month.


what i've been up to - may movie edition

so wow. may's over. what movies did i see?

way more movies than usual, that's for sure. saw the bulk of them while on vacation in Arizona.


i watched the original Indiana Jones trilogy in preparation for the new movie. what's funny is that i don't think i've ever sat down and watched the trilogy in a row like this. whenever i've watched it in the past, it's been one at a time, and sometimes not even all the way through (catching it in the middle of a showing on TV). sitting down and watching them all back-to-back, i have a few comments.

- Temple, which used to be my favorite as a kid (for some reason - maybe because of the beating heart scene, or the mine cart ride), is now my least favorite of the three. i don't hate it (like a lot of Indy purists do) - hell, i LOVE Short Round, while lots of people hate him - but it's clearly the odd man out, and the weakest of the three. it is an interesting ride though. and DARK. man is it dark.

- Raiders and Crusade have almost the exact same plot outline, right down to both having to do with the search for a religious relic. i think that Crusade was modeled so closely after Raiders because of the backlash the dark Temple caused. maybe. i don't know. anyway, it's not a bad thing. it's hard to pick a favorite of the two (since they're so similar) but i think Crusade was the one that was fleshed out the best and had the best pacing. and it's got Sean Connery. come on!

Raiders of the Lost Ark
4 stars out of 4

Temple of Doom
3 1/2 stars out of 4

The Last Crusade
4 stars out of 4


well, looking back, i'm surprised i liked it as much as i did. i got an email from a friend in which he expressed his utter hatred for the movie (i guess he was done with it in the first 5 minutes) and i could see where he was coming from with almost all of his points - in fact, the cynic in me (which usually comes out when watching a movie) almost totally agrees with a lot of his points - but in spite of myself, i actually liked the film. maybe it's because i didn't have really high expectations.

problem points for me (minor/vague spoilers ahead):

- Indy never really seemed in trouble. any trouble spots he (or any of the other characters) got himself into just felt, i don't know, safe, like no harm could ever come to him.

- Harrison Ford is old, and it showed. not all the time, but sometimes. some of the lines he delivered... man, he just sounded tired.

- there were a few scenes that were a little far-fetched, even for an adventure movie like Indiana Jones. however, somehow i managed to look past them. barely.

- i have NO idea what the hell was with the CGI animals, ESPECIALLY the monkeys (if you've seen it, you know what i'm taking about - if not, i didn't ruin anything don't worry). in fact, the scene where a certain someone was playing Tarzan with the monkeys was, by far, the worst of the movie. i blame Lucas. damn you Lucas.

- any archaeological puzzles Indy came across were solved waaay too easily. i mean i know he's good (see the library scene in The Last Crusade), but that good? and there were like, hardly any booby traps.

- the prevailing theme that ran throughout the movie really bothered me in that it was way too literal. i would have liked it if we never saw any physical manifestations of the theme. i would have liked it more if the movie left it open to interpretation, let the viewer decide "well, was it real or not." but no, Lucas HAD to screw it up (i blame everything bad in this movie on Lucas).

- the epilogue bothered me a little in that none of the other movies HAD an epilogue to that degree (Raiders was the closest thing i guess). i know that this is probably the end of Harrison Ford as Indy so that's why they did it, but i would have liked it more if they rode off into the sunset like at the end of Last Crusade. left it a little more open. oh well.

wow, reading all that it sounds like i hated the movie. but i didn't i swear! there were a lot of things - both big and small - that i liked about it. there was a lot of clever dialogue, a lot of neat nods to characters (his dad, Marcus), it was a great ride from start to finish...

3 stars out of 4


perhaps the movie was built up by my friends too much (some said it was up there with Batman Begins and Spider-Man 2). perhaps i placed my own high expectations on it (kick-ass previews had been all over the internet for 9 months). perhaps i just don't care that much about a reformed billionaire and his rogue gallery (never been a big Iron Man fan). at any rate, the movie was a bit of a letdown, but i didn't dislike it by any means. my two main problems: i'm just not a huge Iron Man fan, and the plot was damn predictable - though you can't really fault the movie for that, since they were just following the comics. i loved, LOVED Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. i loved Iron Man in action. Iron Man sneaks into my top 5 comic book movie adaptations - but it's by no means a Batman Begins or a Spider-Man 2.

oh, and i fully expect it to get bumped down to #6 after i see The Dark Knight later this summer. ;)

3 1/2 stars out of 4


a bit of background: i hated the first movie when i first saw it. i'm not sure why. maybe i couldn't see Matt Damon as the next action star. maybe it was the material. maybe it was the director. at any rate, i saw the second movie in the theaters and was BLOWN AWAY by it. maybe i was in a different mindset. i'd like to think it was the change in directors. so i became a Bourne fan. i was eagerly anticipating the third chapter. did it let me down? ...a little. but only because there was no breathing room, no time for character development, and the quest he's on, well, he doesn't really complete it. he was supposed to find out who he was. he finds out his name, and how he signed up for the program... but he doesn't track down his old life or anything. i was expecting a bit more. oh, and the plot outline - higher ups want to shut down Bourne for some reason or another, which reveals yet another top Treadstone guy, blah blah blah... yeah it's getting a little old at this point. that said, it was an AWESOME ride. Damon and the director have said they're doing a fourth, so here's to another great ride. just try and change the outline just a bit. maybe our government doesn't have to be after him for once.

3 1/2 stars out of 4

- JUNO -

going into this one was weird. i wanted to see Juno when it first came out, and of course i didn't, and then the internet latched onto the pretentious dialogue and indie music in the film and started making fun of it, and i wasn't sure if i wanted to see it or not anymore. well, i watched it, and boy am i glad i did. if you can look past the pretentious dialogue (which is at its worst in the first 10 minutes) and indie music, it's actually a pretty great story. only complaint (other than the pretentious dialogue/music) is that they should have focused a bit more on the boy/girl relationship in the fall/winter months, since it became so important later. it's a real treat. acting is pretty good all around too.

3 stars out of 4


i love comedians in dramatic roles. Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction. Robin Williams in his countless dramatic roles. so suffice to say, i was excited to see Steve Carell out of his element (or maybe in it?). well... the movie was a bit of a letdown, but only because of the predictable plot. if the film would have taken a few more chances, it could have been a lot better. that said, Carell was pretty good, and a lot of his supporting cast played their part. it was a very familiar movie (both in terms of family get-togethers - a good thing - and in terms of the plot - a bad thing). it was a good film, not a great film.

2 1/2 stars out of 4


an animated, straight-to-DVD, feature-length film based on a comic book series of the same name. i'm not a huge fan of the Justice League (DC Comics collection of its power hitters, like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman), so the film had to do a lot to win me over. while it never really won me over completely, i did like it. the main problems: the movie was rushed and the plot was all over the place, not giving all the players enough face time. however, it gets points for the setting - post-WWII, at the start of the Cold War. THAT was really intriguing. i'm a sucker for putting superheroes in different settings, especially historical settings. if anything, the movie made me want to go out and read the comics.

2 stars out of 4


any movie that's a fantasy nowadays suffers from "post-Lord of the Rings" syndrome in my mind. the movie may be good in its own right, but i'm going to dock it points right off the bat for being a fantasy that's post-Rings. so you've got a lot of ground to make up if you're a fantasy movie nowadays. sadly, Stardust never made up an inch. it's an utterly predictable story that's mired by pretty bad acting and characters that i never really cared about. that said, i can find beauty in almost anything, so what's good about the film? some of the fantastical elements were pretty cool, and the love story was a little different from your average film. that said, i have no desire to ever see this again. however, it was based on a graphic novel of the same name, so i may check that out one day.

1 1/2 stars out of 4


last movie i saw on my trip. in preparation for The Dark Knight next month. what a great film. i'm going to have to watch Spider-Man 2 again to make sure that it's #1 and not Batman Begins, because Batman sure puts up a good fight for the top spot. it's just... it's just a damn-near perfect superhero origin movie. and it's BATMAN - a flawed billionaire with no real super powers. a character i can get behind. a MUCH more interesting billionaire than Tony Stark.

4 stars out of 4

that's it for the May movie wrap up. what's on for June? well i've already watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (again), Vanilla Sky (again), and Solaris... who knows what's next? and will i get out to a theater to see one of my most anticipated movies of the summer, Wall-E? stay tuned.


what i've been up to - may reading edition

so wow. may's over. what did i read?



huh. i should really read something in June other than blogs and gamer mags. something of substance maybe.


what i've been up to - may television edition

so wow. may's over. what did i watch?

- House, Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order were back for several episodes, and now they're gone again. each show was pretty good in its own right - especially House - even SVU, which has been pretty lackluster the past few seasons.

- now we've entered a pretty bleak summer in terms of television. i'm currently watching mostly reality stuff - Hell's Kitchen, Last Comic Standing... even So You Think You Can Dance during commercials - and of course i'm still watching Battlestar season 4 and the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon. the reality stuff is just filler stuff to watch, but Battlestar and Spider-Man are my bread and butter. but Battlestar... oh man it's letting me down this season. but not Spidey! Spider-Man continues to be GREAT. i urge everyone to track it down. the sad news? Battlestar and Spider-Man are on hiatus starting next week! and after that, Hell's Kitchen will be over at the end of the month! not really much to look forward to either except for Burn Notice and Mad Men, which both return July/August sometime. oh well. no television means i can focus on catching up on series of the past and/or video games.

- finished watching Freaks and Geeks at the start of May. had they been able to have a four-year production plan in place and been able to pace things out better, the show could have been one of the best. ever. as it was, the show was a little rushed and muddled, yet somehow it started to get repetitive in the final few episodes (of only 18). it sort of had an ending, so at least there's that. it's a great show that could have been even greater.

- watched the first season of the BBC show Ashes to Ashes. it's a spin-off of one of my favorite shows of all time, Life on Mars (which, funny enough, is itself being adapted for American television this fall on ABC - might be worth checking out). Ashes didn't hold a candle to Life at the start of the series, but by the end of the eighth and final episode of the season, it certainly came into its own. it had 2-3 plot twists in the final episode that i did NOT see coming - in a good way. great writing. now if only the rest of the season had been as good. oh well. the best part is just seeing the gang back in action, even if it's in the 80s instead of the 70s. supposedly there's 2 more seasons planned, so here's hoping for some more Ashes goodness next year.

- well, in my last post i said i was going to move on to Deadwood after Ashes. well, i didn't. what happened? Indiana Jones fever struck. with the movie coming out, i devoted a weekend to watching the original trilogy. then i saw the new movie. and it wasn't enough. then i remembered that there was a television show that revolved around Indy as a young lad. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. so i downloaded it and i've been slowly making my way through it. why slowly you ask? ...well, it's not very good. ok, the series might pick up when Indy is older, but right now i'm watching the episodes where he's a little kid (like 10-12) and he's sort of annoying! that, and the thin plots are stretched to their breaking point at 45 minutes length. that said, the show does have a certain innocent charm to it, and it's neat seeing all of Europe and Africa (each episode it seems they're filming in a new exotic location - how many shows have the budget for that?) - oh, and it's cool how he meets all these famous people along the way, like Picasso, Tolstoy, Freud, Teddy Roosevelt, etc. so i'm making my way through the show, but it's taking longer than i'd like.

and that's what i've been watching. i suspect June will see me abandoning broadcast television altogether (until Burn Notice and Mad Men start up) and maybe, just maybe i'll make my way through The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.