Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cars 2

I just took my 2 year old to see this movie.  It was okay, mostly about Mator, which was fine, but way too adult oriented, and not as fun to watch as the first one.  My 2 year old still enjoyed it, but it didn't seem to have the same feeling or appeal.  I'm glad I waited till the dollar theater, not really worth much more.  Ah, Pixar, why did you sell out to Disney.  They don't care about art or the craft, only about making more money.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

True Grit

While I love westerns, I only love good westerns.  I'm just a cowgirl at heart :)

Anyway, I enjoyed this movie.  It wasn't totally awesome, but it was a very well done movie and made me laugh and had enough action/non action to really make a good movie.  I loved the characters, I loved the actors.  It was a well worth movie to watch.  So, if you like westerns as much as I do, you'll love this one!  And who knew that Jeff Bridges could actually act?  Not me.  I couldn't understand him half of the time in the movie cause he was supposed to be a hard ass, smoker, old man, cowboy, but yeah.  And also-Matt Damon-cowboy movie-who knew how hot that could be?  True, he played a prideful, arrogant Texas Ranger, but after awhile his character starts to grow on you.  I just loved the girl-Maddy, I think from the beginning she had fire, wit, smarts, and just in your face.  She was awesome.
Now go watch it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clash of the Titans

While way better than the old version it didn't follow Perseus' story to the T, but it was fun to watch and you should at least watch it once.  I thought Medusa was the best part, and the Gin were pretty cool.  I think Sam Worthington is starting to be type cast.   Anyway, not much to say.  If you've seen the older version you kind already know the story.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tron Legacy


With the exact same plot and story as the first one it was nothing special.  The only thing going for it were the pretty colors and the improvement on the graphics, but other than that the writing was horrible and it was just a bad remake or sequel whatever it is.



I loved it!!  Its not necessary to see it in 3D, but we did.  We missed the first little bit of the show-traffic was horrible.  But, the action was cool, I liked the relationship between Thor and Natalie Portman's character.  I thought the guy who played Thor did an excellent job!  It was just all around good!  I'd take my kids to see it it was that mild but also that exciting!  It was just really fun to watch.

I never read the comic or even really knew about the story or the myths.  But, I thought it was a great movie.  Marvel comics did a great job with this one.  I think they finally know how to make a good hero movie.  Iron Man was good, but this one was more electrifying!  :P  I really recommend seeing this one at least once...or twice...or more.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

All I can say is...WTF!  Why is this show so popular?  I was confused through the whole thing!  This girl has emotional problems and identity issues and the only man who cares about her she doesn't give two cents to till the end.  It was really weird to watch.  Yeah.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Don't watch, not worth your time.  Nothing really happens, Cary Grant gets married then blows his newly wed off when he finds out his Auntie's are killing old men and burying them in the basement.  He spends all his time like a chicken with its head cut off just trying to get his brother (who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt)  into an Insane Asylum instead of turning in his Aunt's.  And then his Psychotic brother shows up with a body to bury as well.  Luckily the cops finally come and catch on to what is happening.  The brother goes to jail, the Auntie's join the other brother in the Asylum and Cary Grant finds out he was adopted so not likely to be as crazy as them.  Really weird and boring show.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven

I first watched this while substituting at a public school, I never finished it.  Until last week.  I would suggest reading the book-like always, but the movie was awesome too!  Its a touching story-about a man who has a hard life, dies saving a girl and meets 5 people from his life in Heaven who help him work through his baggage in order to move on.  I cried.  I really liked it, I recommend it and will show it to my children.


A friend of mine a long time ago suggested I watch the movie Gattaca.
Well, I finally did and...

Oh, sorry, I fell asleep.

While the idea for the story was quite interesting and Jude Law's character was cool;  it was really boring.  A dramatic film where nothing really happens.  So, I'll never watch it again, but I can say I've watched it;  just not sure if it was worth my time.

And there you go.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fallen Semicolons Go to Valhalla

Listen up, movie writers. You need to understand something: The 80's are long over. Those of us who participated in that decade have since grown up, gotten jobs (and lost them, too), started raising families and are generally ready to leave that time behind us.
Sure, there are a few things that I look back on with some nostalgia: Amber colored LCD's, the original WD21 Nissan Pathfinder, and Below the Root... but one thing I do _not_ miss is the novelty of being a nerd.

Thankfully, it's not novel. All the ridiculed, socially awkward, intellectually-inclined population of Earth has grown up to be perfectly normal human worm babies.

But people in the entertainment world haven't gotten that memo yet. They're still enamored with the idea of portraying the nerd as some sort of charming martyr for the cause of being smart or something -- even tho' that stereotype has worn right thru' the soles of its shoes, the skin of its feet, the marrow of its foot bones, and is now lying dead on the trail of literature --- right along with the notion that all people wearing red had best stay clear of away teams.Many writers still seem to think that giving a shout-out to the world's most unspectacular subculture is an automatic +20 modifier to the show's appreciability.

I call it the Chuck-Sheldon phenomenon: The fallacious assumption among writers that references to something even remotely geeky is a valid substitute for actual writing talent.
I'm generally prejudiced against shows that cry: "I AM OF OR RELATED TO COMPUTERS AND THAT MAKES ME SPECIAL." But every once in a while, you see little nuggets of appreciability in even the tiredest Hollywood cliches...
Enter Tron: Legacy

1. Legacy is Evil
Even if you can scour the trauma of Swordfish from your memory, the portrayal of computer g
eeks in pop culture has been depressing. The
issues that movie writers try to touch on are usually fabrications of an uninformed mind or retarded mimicry of a journalist satirizing the reality of what matters to us.

Surprisingly, there were (few) moments when Tron tried to not suck at discussing the plight of the programmer.

Sometimes we programmers think that the code we're working on is awesome. Sometimes we just have to do it. But all programs require maintainence and it's not entirely uncommon for the author of a program to be a victim of his program's success: Being trapped in contracts that require revisiting the same, boring code day in and day out.

As technology ages, we find it less appealing. Then we grow to hate it. It appears to hate us. It traps us. Enslaves us. Legacy code becomes a tyrant. This was more literally true for Kevin Flynn and Clue than it is for most of us but it's still true.

This marks an unusual ability for a movie to actually capture an issue of relevance to computer geeks in an almost reasonable way.2. Your Darling Will Kill You
Every programmer has a little darling: A pice of 1's and 0's that he is absolutely certain is the sexiest thing ever to spring from a keyboard. Naturally, the elegance of this code is entirely illusory. It's not uncommon for one to imagine his work to look like this:

But in reality, it actually looks like this:

You think it's hawtness digitized but its really just silly cruft. You think she's lacerating off your clothes but she's really just dolling you up for your gladiatorial demise. All programs, no matter how appealing they may seem, are out to betray you.

Your masterpiece will become a genocidal madman. Your kingdom will become a prison. That program is not wearing high heels for your benefit.

You can't trust software no matter how much you love it.

3. Nerds are too generic. Go for Unix dweeb!
Truth is: Each person in the developed world that isn't collecting Social Security checks is at least 40% geek. Some of us are more geeky than others and a few grandmas out there still refuse to accept WiFi anything but witchcraft but they're the exception rather than the rule.

Because of this anti-novelty of geekiness, if you want your geek movie to stand out in the crowd, you're going to have to get a little more specific than the general purpose encyclopedians with bandaids on the bridges of their glasses. Where some shows have been content to throw in Cameos of Leonard Nimoy or Mark Hammil, Tron goes for broke and introduces the biggest stars of all: whoami, history, kill -9, and grep.
It's really quite strange to see a movie do this. I'm not used to seeing an interface portrayed as anything other than Media Player visualizer effects. But there it was: a decent imitation of real computer interfaces.

But that's where Tron's appeal seems to end and we're stuck with Hollywood turning embarrassing once again...

4. RMS Lives!1!1!!!one!... in a dumpster
There is nothing more amusing than movie writers trying to capture the spirit of a big, philosophical issue in a franchise-milking action film.

CEO: "u no can haz prohgarmz! iz 4 prawfit. kthkbai"

Conscience: "teh b
itz want 2 be fr33!!!!!"

It has been demonstrated that a thousand Apple fanboys on a thousand typewriters, can write a $43million sequel as long as there are 2^3 or more motorcycle stunts in it.

That painful, "trying too hard" feel was all over the first jazillion picoseconds of the show and I was quite glad that, once the story actually got started, it stopped screaming "disregard my lack of merit and appreciate the fact that I acknowledge the existence of people who use digital computing devices!"

Overall, I think Tron: Legacy did a decentish job given what it had to work with. It was cute. These four lessons were valuable ones to learn and, shock of all shocks,
I think that the movie Thor actually took those lessons to heart. The similarities abound.

1) rm -rf was invented for legacy code
If legacy code is an oppressor, Thor takes his mighty hammer to that oppresor's face. Does an aspect of actual Norse mythology stand between you and a good time? Don't refactor it: Rewrite it. Little, if anything, was really preserved from the premise this story was founded upon... except that there's a dude with a hammer who is called a deity.

I'm okay with that. He doesn't need to stay the ginger patron deity of oak trees, live in a retconn that alludes to incest, wear iron gloves, or have a giantess for a girlfriend to be cool, IMHO.

Of course, rampant modernizing comes at a cost: You tend to mutate the social issues into the silly, non-specific badness. Even still, Loki's badness had more appeal than Clue's general evahl: Digital Aryans are mostly goofy clichés by now. Psychotic, killer deities, however, are awesome goofy clichés.

2) Killing is what darlings are for

Thanks for spelling that out for us.
No disrespect toward Natalie Portman but we all know the real love interest in this show was Mjölnir. And what a lovely love-thing she is. She's far more loyal than any lover made of meat (while the whole of New Mexico tried to fondle her, she wouldn't budge) and doesn't hesitate to make the heads of enemies go concave.

Yeah, they had a little stint where Thor had to sleep on the couch but that's normal in even the healthiest relationships.

And this darling doesn't pull the Bond Girl gimmick and turn all venomous serpent on him later. She's got some clear and unrelenting standards as to the kind of man who will wield her and she'll smash the ever-loving squick out of anybody who threatens her man.

Unlike the horrible Delilah that software is, weapons are good, just, faithful, and precisely as sexy as they appear to be. This cannot be disputed.

3) Authoritarians Exist. So smash them.
I forget.  Which franchise is this again?
The only movie that gets to substitute progress bars in for actual suspense was Office Space. Thor accepted this and actually just used real suspense. Those of you who know your stuff were far more immersed in the moment when Hawkeye was threatening to shoot Thor than you were by some punk trying to fill his iPhone with warez.

A god doesn't fight The Man by putting his trade secrets up on Torrent Sites; he smashes secret government agents into muddy craters. He doesn't try to justify it either with lame nonsense like "but I'm the biggest shareholder!" He doesn't need to justify himself to you at all. He's a god. You're a puny mortal.

4) Nerds don't need overt platitudes
While Tron vested great effort in hooking somebody like me, Thor showed that such work wasn't really necessary. Natalie Portman, admittedly, has far more staying power than grep ever could (though I do like grep). Show a few better-than-real shots of nebulae, a pair of reasonably attractive ladies, and a bad-arsed dude smashing things with a mountan-crushing weapon... you're pretty much done.

Where Tron said "You are a nerd. Ergo: Appreciate me." Thor said "hey we're both nerds. Incidentally, let's have fun!"

I appreciated the fact that Thor was a little more grown-up its nerd heritage. It didn't need to rub the nerdiness in your face like the kid who'd just learned that cuss words were supposed to be offensive. It wasn't a proselyting nerd. It wasn't a violently insecure nerd. There was just wholesme nerdy violence.

The only way it could've been better is if you got to see Kat Dennings grepping thru hubble images while wearing spandex LED's.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Faith is For Bureaucrats

The Doctor is like James Bond: sorta British, an inexplicable womanizer, and played by more actors than you can count.

When I was a kid, my dad interrupted a vacation and dragged me to one of those time-share sales pitches where slippery salesmen tried to fenagle you into buying something that nobody really wants to own. You can identify the folks who are paid on commission. Some of them are deliberately obnoxious -- thinking if they're annoying enough, you'll buy something just to get rid of them. They latch on to you like barnacles to a galleon and try to prove their merit as human beings by telling... "jokes" ...

"Hey, kid, do you know why seagulls don't fly over the bay?"


"'Cause they don't want to be called bagels."

That sort of "trying too hard" aura that nauseated me then came over me again as I watched the Doctor Who pilot... with the... mannaquins tring to take over Earth.

The first episode of Dr. Who I watched, 15 years ago, was one from the 70's or somesuch. The doctor had an illustrious 'fro (the best part of the entire franchise) and he had a Bill & Ted's Excellent Transit Device™. I wanted there to be, you know, something happening but I suppose that was too much to ask of the BBC. They were holding out all entertainment value for Top Gear.

My sister-in-law, seeking to slake my wife's desperate hunger for entertainment recommended we give the Doctor Who remake a try. If Battlestar Galactica has taught us anything, it's that remakes have exactly one third as much potential as the original material they're imitating.

Like I said, that show tries too hard.

"Look at how corny I am! Isn't it quaint? I'm an endearing variety of bad! Appreciate my badness!" it said.

A few decent quips were scattered in the show like tasty, colorful gumdrops sprinkled upon a mound of browning, sun-baked roadkill --- the species of-which was indescernible in the cloud of flies and steaming carnage.

Shoot the glowing part, you fools!

The most compelling character was the first Dalek they met and he was only interesting for as long as it took for the writers to demonstrate that the show's budget was NOT its greatest (or even seventh-greatest) weakness.

Really, the budget wasn't a problem at all. That show just sucks.

Like brain-worms wiggling in my skull, one question tormented my thoughts as I watched: Why should I care at all about these people show? The Doctor is worse than Superman in his suspense-killing omnipotence and they try to gingerly stitch together a story by piling a contrived, nonsensical moral code onto the worn fabric of a not-quite-interesting character.

How does a man as retarded as the Doctor come from a species that can ruin conservation of energy, thermodynamics, causality, and the dignity of all sapient organisms to have ever existed in the lifetime of the cosmos?

He. Can. Do. Literally. Anything. And he wastes his time pseudo-courting Earth-girls and rescuing Earth governments that only differ from the horrible Dalek race in the scale of their effectiveness.

Though there wasn't really any nudity, the writing sure smelled like porn.

You spend a heck of a lot of time watching writers vacillate 'tweet arbitrary extremes along spectra of false dichotomy. Here are a couple of them:
  • "thou shalt not change history" and "thou shalt screw history like a drunken prom date for the good of good"

  • "this is a glib exploration of the feelings of two boring people who hang out together for no real reason" and "this is a childish attempt to quantify orders of magnitude by simply saying 'times infinity.'"

  • "death is a sad necessity of reality" and "sad necessities of reality are the battered housewives of plot."

But my head is filthy with solutions and I would never spend so much time whining without also offering a solution to you, my good reader.

If you want a good show with a bit of campiness, a little bit of contrivance, but a lot of entertaining ideas, a compelling premise, and actually interesting social commentary, I recommend you dig up episodes of the first season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. It, too, was a reboot of an old story that tried to offer a more modern (for its time), human-feeling to dated material.

Gil Gerard's titular role is The Doctor done right. He's over-powered and a cheesy, pangalactic player --- but he's also realistically stupid (not absurdly stupd like The Doctor).

More importantly, the world that Buck Rogers fights to save makes some remote variety of sense. Unlike the Doctor's Earth, which is a riduculous charicature of stoned preachiness, Buck's world is fragile and actually needs protecting. Both characters are equally as methodical in their approach to saving the world. One pulls it off because The Writers Decree It and the other pulls it off because because the rest of the galaxy is stunned at his recklessness or is too busy trying to unlock the "not quite necrophilia" achievement by shacking up with a five-century-old-man.

Yes, if you're into pretentiousness that comes with a fish-and-chips accent, you'll be let-down by Buck Rogers. But if you want an interesting, campy bit of televised amusement, you should take this advice and watch Season 1 (I disavow Season 2) of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Bad Asses
Okay, I'm not very good at this.

The movie RED surprised me!  First, I didn't know that it was a comic book.  Second, it was probably one of the best movies I've seen this year!  And the press didn't even make a big deal about it.  If you haven't seen it, I suggest getting it today!  It is full of wonderful, talented actors!  The dialog, the writing, its just hilarious and very well done!

Its a story about all these former agents who are now retired.  Bruce Willis' character however is marked RED: Retired. Extremely. Dangerous.  I won't go into too many details, but suddenly Bruce is running for his life because someone is trying to kill him.  He ends up kidnapping the women he loves to keep her safe, getting his ole' buddies back together.  This is just an awesome movie!  I'm surprised they never got this bunch of actors together before!

Also:  Karl Urban

I know I've seen him before, but my husband and I had to look him up.  You know a good actor is a good actor when he isn't type cast and you have to look him up on imdb and find out that he's been in some awesome stuff!  And he does a dang good job at all his roles!

1. Star Trek as Bones-awesome!
2. Bourne Supremacy-the killer who get's Bourne's girl
3. Lord of the Rings!!   What! - Eomer!  No way!  You hardly recognize him with the long blonde hair and armor!
4. Xena
5. Okay Doom and Pathfinder were both horrible movies, but you get my point.

This guy was in RED as well, and he's just so good that you can't believe the movies he's been in, because he's so good at acting way a spectrum of characters!

Anyway, go see RED!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Do Not Sully My Beloved

The technology is so advanced that it can make "woosh" sounds in a vacuum!

Real science fiction bores most people if they're ever exposed to it. I'm not talking about the space fantasy stuff like Star Wars or the Space Opera stuff like the grotesquely under-appreciated Firefly/Serenity. I'm talking about stories which revolve around actual science.

True science fiction does not need space ships, extraterrestrial life, or even super-spiffy technologies in it in order to qualify as science fiction. In truth, those things can sometimes detract from the quality of the story.

Being true science fiction isn't a boolean, true/false sort of thing, either. There are shows with a little bit of science in their stories. There are shows with a lots of science in them.

Old-fashioned Godzilla movies may be considered marginal science fiction because they deal with matters under the purview of biology and sometimes paleontology or zoology but the involvement of the science is minuscule.

Uber-mega-hit Avatar was a little more science fiction because Cameron went to great lengths to involve engineers, astrophysicists, and other smart people in as much of the film as possible. However, the science had very little to do with the actual plot so it's more just an adventure story garnished with science fiction sprinkles.

Bold, dataless Ishpeckian claim: The degree to-which science fiction is good is the degree to-which actual science is involved with the story, the drama, the suspense, or the spiffiness factor.

Extra terrestrial or Civil War POW?

The reason why Star Wars prequels are bad is mostly because George Lucas writes like an alcoholic, Jr. High drop-out but also because he wouldn't be able to differentiate science from witchcraft.

Though this gets me thinking: Just once, I'd like to meet a Wiccan quantum physicist...

The sad truth about cinema is that it is terribly deprived of true, well-crafted science fiction. I'd like to say I don't understand why movie makers have so little faith in our ability to consume quality entertainment ... but I'd be lying if I did.

Because movies epic-fail, whenever I need a good science fiction fix, I must take refuge in text -- and especially the text of Isaac Asimov. Though he's no Victor Hugo, if you were to ask me "Is Asimov the greatest science fiction author in the history of the world?" I would answer: "Does Greek mythology depcit a lot of poor role-models for your kids?" and then say "yes."

Film adaptations of Asimov's books tend to favor the traditions of movies more than the traditions of Asimov.

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Will Smith's I, Robot movie was... a Will Smith movie. It did nothing to capture the computer science (see that? SCIENCE!) aspect of the I, Robot stories as written by Asimov... it just left us with a more Steve-Jobs-inspired spin on the Terminator theme.

Robin Williams did alright in Bicentennial Man -- if you're in to movies all about atmosphere and copulating with microwave ovens. It fell more in line with the other tradition of SciFi (not to be confused with True Science Fiction) writing: Horrendously overbearing social commentary. Not that I have anything against social commentary, per se, but you don't go to McDonald's to get your oil changed and you don't go to Asimov stories to reflect on gay marriage legislation. Also: Screw Logan's Run.

I want a good science fiction movie that excites me as much as Asimov novels do. Last time I tried to be excited about a movie, I ended up watching The Last Airbender. Seeing how brutally Hollywood trampled my heart, I'm totally content to watch people NOT attempt science fiction --- especially if it happens to be the greatest work of one of my greatest heroes. As much as I'd enjoy seeing a good science fiction story on screen -- especially one as epic to the awesometh power as Foundation -- I know better than to think it could end not badly.

Roland Emmerich must hate me.

If you haven't read Foundation, you might want to see a doctor about that. It is one of mankind's greatest accomplishments. It also happens to be about mankind's greatest accomplishments.

Where some Science Fiction tries to lock itself into the madness of quantum mechanics, cosmology, relativity, economics, chemistry, and all the engineering tasks related thereto, Foundation goes straight for the root of all things nerdily awesome: It's a story about math.

Sure, there are space ships and even epic space battles in it but those really are incidental to the story of math being the most powerful force in geopolitical conflict... (cosmopolitical? Remember, kids, you read that term here first).

When Roland Emmerich, sire of 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, that abominable Godzilla movie, and Independence "Let's Make Ishy Cry Himself To Sleep" Day tries to make his little Foundation movie, what's going to focus on? The awesome math winning by sheer force of Just True or the pew-pew-pew-layz0rz making splodies happen?

Sure, you might think that the original Foundation would make for a really boring movie and... you may be right. Genuine nerds are actually fascinated with things that other folks tend to use as sedatives. But most attempts to increase the common man's access to nerdy things has resulted in that nerdy thing losing its charm. Don't believe me? You should.

Making a movie based on Foundation would undoubtedly sully it. Trust me: There is psychohistoric math on this one. Roland Emmerich doing a Foundation movie would be like using pages of the Koran as toilet paper while dressed as a Hitler wearing KKK robes on a float in a gay pride parade in the Deep South and screaming "America deserves to be destroyed and Wiccans practice witchcraft!"