brian on 2008.11.02 at 07:00 pm
Good news for Mac users who are Netflix subscribers, or thinking about becoming one. After over a year of PC-only Windows Media-based “Watch Instantly” video streaming from Netflix, they have now put streaming to Macs and Windows via Silverlight 2.0 into public beta.
Of course, I signed up for the beta instantly and tried it out right away. Here’s what I found.
I selected the first episode of season six of CSI: Miami, “Dangerous Son” to watch on my Mac mini*, which is connected to our 26” HDTV via DVI-to-HDMI. I chose CSI: Miami because of its use of fast, vivid imagry. The color saturation is artificially inflated like no show I’ve ever seen. The style of cinematography is full of fast cuts and fancy, whiz-bang transitions. The sound moves from quiet dialog to loud sound effects and lots of thumping music.
The results were mixed. The color came through as strong as it does when we watch it in HD. The audio was good, not amazing, but plenty good for streaming. However, the fast moving video was not good. This is always the challenge to test video with because it stresses the encoding (it’s very hard to compress fast moving imagery) and the playback hardware (hard to compress means more data per second needs to be processed to keep up with the motion).
Most of the video, that didn’t exhibit fast pans, or speeding objects, looked good. It did not look as good as an iTunes SD TV download, which is the standard I would compare any online video to, (as it is excellent) but it was good enough. However, watching an hour or more of video that had a lot of action would not be enjoyable.
I left this feed back in the comments of their announcement blog post, because I couldn’t find an official beta feedback option. I look forward to seeing if the video improves.
The only other video I can compare this too that was powered by Silverlight was the Olympics. I watched the two hour men’s mountain bike race from Beijing, which also exhibited some fast panning. I believe that quality was a little higher, though it’s been two months since I watched it, so my memory may not be perfect. But I’m sure I would have remembered a speed issue.
Comparable to Sliverlight is Flash streaming video, which powers Hulu.com. I have not watched action-packed video on Hulu, but I have watched a couple episodes of Saturday Night Live, and I also believed it’s video quality was a bit better. I basically forgot I was watching Internet video. I don’t forget that when I watch quality Flash video from places like YouTube.
I still think Netflix has work to do, but I’m encouraged at what they’ve produced thus far. Besides, I get to watch it for free with my $11/month account. I can’t be too critical.
- For reference, here are my Mac mini specs: 1.83 Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Safari 3.1.2, Silverlight plug 2.0, OS X 10.5.5, Comcast cable connection tested at 18.4 Mbps (! – I pay for six! That may be burst speed, not sustained, but still impressive. I’m still investigating, but probably due to their DOCSIS 3.0 network upgrade.)
[All the comparison video I mention above was watched on the same setup, full-screen.]
Posted in: Media · Movies · Television · Web
brian on 2008.08.30 at 04:51 pm
Talk about the Red camera has really shaken up people in video circles. If you haven’t heard about it, and especially if you have, you’ll really want to read the biography of the RED camera that Wired has written.
You may be interested that Red was founded by the billionaire founder of Oakley optics, Jim Jannard. It winds up that he’s a passionate and fascinating figure, not unlike a Steve Jobs, who is entirely driven by innovation and making the ideal solution. He has been intimately involved in the design and construction of the product.
A good read. Plus, check out the bottom line of Red’s web site.
Posted in: Movies · Photography
jake on 2008.08.04 at 01:57 pm
I’d like to preface this by saying I didn’t run screaming from the theater or attempt to jab Twizzlers into my eyes. There are worse movies in existence. But I spent more time laughing at this movie than with it. Pretending this movie can be spoiled, spoilers follow.
You may have seen yeti being showcased in the previews on TV. Well there are a few of them, and they’re good guys. Yes, two protagonists can speak Yeti (Brendan Fraser, Rick, marvels at this himself) and ask for some hairy help. While the yeti run around in weak CGI pummeling the Dragon King’s minions I hit my breaking point…
During the tussle a yeti kicks a soldier over an entryway. He checks with another yeti who throws up his arms signaling a successful field goal… What?! This is taking place in 1947. How would a creature out in the Asian wilderness know anything about American Football? He could not have seen it on the barely existent television. I doubt he came to the States to watch it live. Wasn’t it derived from rugby? Are you telling me that the yeti actually invented the sport and Mr. Camp took it from them?
My suspension of disbelief only goes fairly far. And the new Mummy movie broke it. Broke it hard.
jake on 2008.05.09 at 02:36 pm
There are many pieces of entertainment that can be construed as guilty pleasures. MacGyver was a popular tv show in the late eighties and the latter seasons have not aged well. This has caused some pop culture negativity. When you say MacGyver in public you can receive two basic responses. Some point out his pseudo mullet and laugh. Others get silly grins and reference Swiss Army Knives and Duct Tape.
Gizmodo recently mentioned that the show’s creator, Lee David Zlotoff, is interested in crating a big budget movie of the property. Hopefully if this is greenlit it will do the classic justice. Yeah, I just called this show a classic.
- ‘MacGyver’ Coming to Theaters, and Not as an Intentional Comedy?
- Quote: Would a Modern Day MacGyver Still Use a Swiss Army Knife?
Posted in: Movies · Television
brian on 2007.12.08 at 12:44 am
The first trailer for the Wachowski Brother’s (Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta)adaptation of the cult classic Japanese Anime series, Speed Racer has been released, including HD.
Secondly, Amazingly amusing Norton Anti-Virus Ad/mini-shows. These are ~5 minutes each and make two parts of a psuedo-Japanese kids show (subtitles in English, kitsch in Japanese). Awesome.
When you make commercials this cool, people use their DVRs to record them, not skip them.
jake on 2007.12.05 at 02:17 pm
When I was in elementary/middle school the beginning of the year brought many new things. New books, new friends (hmm… maybe not), new classes, and new stuff. While new clothes may have been superfluous the biggest waste I’d have to assign is to sneakers. Every year you’d walk into school with shiny new Air Jordans that hopefully your mom found at a reasonable price. But the majority of the time this had nothing to do with your old sneakers falling apart or your feet growing too fast. It was simply a status symbol. I recall even being jealous of the kids who could buy a new pair over winter break. Why would we need all those, fully functional shoes?
This question has bothered me for years and is related to a new video by Annie Leonard. The Story of Stuff is a twenty minute video where Annie breaks down and points out the issues with our consumer culture. It was originally a slide show presentation (just like Al! only less controversial and less vice presidenty). This video will make you cry on Black Friday.
My uncle mentioned this to me on Thanksgiving and this season is very fitting for a viewing. I’m glad that it’s getting recognition around the Internet.
Posted in: Environment · Movies · Nature
jake on 2007.10.17 at 11:39 pm
Animated movies full of pop culture references and modern, top-forty songs hurt my brain. That is the first thing triggered when I see advertising like this movie, Kung Fu Panda, and it’s tagline.
Why is this movie trying to be so hip? That line is ridiculous. And it has Jack Black in the title role. This movie will be popular to little kids when it first comes out and a footnote in ten years. I’m going to wipe this from my memory and go watch Mulan.
From I Watch Stuff
Posted in: Movies
brian on 2007.09.03 at 05:07 pm
The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: A boring rant Look at the management team at NBC Universal. Look at the GE board of directors. Do these people scare the living shit out of you? They sure scare the hell out of me. They’re all buffed and polished and about a hundred and fourteen years old. They look like cadavers who’ve been done up by the world’s best funeral home makeup artist.”
Fake Steve Jobs has really hit the nail on the head with this post. I’ve been meaning to write something about the NBC and Universal iTunes breakups since first hearing the news last week that NBC was pulling (or iTunes was ceasing sale of) NBCs television shows from iTunes.
First of all, think it’s a coincidence that NBC and Universal (same company, essentially) both have taken big shots at iTunes recently? First Universal decides to start selling DRM-free music, like Steve Jobs had suggested, but not through Apple. Second, NBC says “let us jack up our prices or we’ll walk” when it comes to iTunes negotiations; Apple replies “don’t let the door of the world’s leading digital entertainment store hit you on the way out.”
What’s going on here is the beginning of the end: The networks and record labels have finally begun to see the writing on the wall. They’re dinosaurs looking to the skies and wishing away that incoming meteor. But it won’t change things. They are mostly middlemen. And the middlemen in the entertainment realm are quickly being replaced by the network – the Internet. Apple’s the tip of the iceberg of said Internet. The Wal-Mart of internet digital media retail, with 70% of the market in a strangle hold (a funny comparison considering Wal-Mart is actually in the digital media retail space, as well) These distributors want to have Apple’s dominant position, so they’re trying to play hard ball. But they can’t beat Apple because they simply don’t understand internet distribution. Apple does, and they’re willing to share. The studios shouldn’t reinvent the wheel – just use Apple (and Apple’s competitors) for digital distribution, and spend your time doing whatever else you guys do.
We’ll continue to see media distributors attempting to fight Apple, tooth and nail, because it’s the only way to stave off their irrelevancy. But any injunction they come to will only be temporary. Apple will win, and thankfully for once, consumers will win because for the first time, consumers have a say: if you don’t give us the media we want, in the way we want it, we’ll go elsewhere to get it the way we want it, when we want it, and you won’t get a dime. We have BitTorrent. iTunes is currently the only seriously good alternative to BitTorrent.
Free advice to the middlemen: stave off your irrelevance a little longer by flexing your editorial muscle and find really good material to sell – not the mind-melting junk you’ve spit out for years. And then sell it where and when the consumer wants at a reasonable price. Apple knows what consumers want and iTunes is a grand step in the right direction. Once all DRM is dropped (the vast majority of consumers won’t need piracy if they’re given a good product at a good price) we’ll be in the promised land of digital media commerce.
Otherwise, you’re just fast-tracking yourself to a slow and painful demise.
You need your customers more than they need you.
brian on 2007.03.13 at 02:07 am
I just finished watching “Blogumentary” a film by Chuck Olsen. You may recognize that name if you’ve watched Rocketboom, where he is an occasional contributor, or if you’re really into the vlogs, he is also Minnesota Stories.
In truth, I was bored and had had the Google Video Player link sitting on my desktop for about two months staring up at me “Blogumentary.gvp” as if it were lonely. Other icons came and went, but this one held fast. I figured I’d give it a click, be bored after five minutes and be able to finally toss that sorry file into the trash can.
One hour five minutes later, that didn’t happen.
I’d like to recommend this film to people in our audience who fall in to two categories. First, if there’s anyone in the audience who has a blog they don’t write at much, or perhaps someone who is thinking about writing one. Maybe you use Facebook or MySpace, or maybe you just casually read some blogs, but you’re not an alpha-blog-geek. Perhaps you’re a professionally trained writer and you’re tempted to “do the right thing” and start a blog. I encourage you to watch the film. I think you’ll get a great background in blogs, and be inspired.
Second, if you were a fan of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, you’ll really enjoy the section on the first campaign blog (Howard’s) and how the internet changed the face of American politics forever. Includes significant and insightful interview time with Joe Trippi, and footage inside the Dean HQ. Makes me want to cry this many years later, how much promise that campaign had, all ruined by a media smear campaign that may not be matched again in my lifetime. Coverage starts at about the 40 minute mark. Don’t think this is an unbalanced documentary, though. Chuck spends equal time with the people who think the New York Times is in the business of printing Democratic propaganda and that Democrats rule the media — the guys at PowerLineBlog.com
[Transgression: This has nothing to do this the movie, skip to the next paragraph before this gets ugly… Question: if the Democrats have free reign in the media, then how would they have let it get this bad? Why would Democrats continue to look like bozos? People who think this also think people who believe climate change is a real threat have a hidden agenda. Yah, they’re going to get rich saving those spotted owls… somehow… and when we figure it out…]
I don’t really have more to say about the film other than it was excellent. I encourage anyone to see it, if you are a web geek, you’ll see and hear “famous” web people in the flesh, instead of in phosphor, which is cool in and of itself. Go watch now. The video quality was excellent and the streaming of the data was flawless over WiFi to my beloved MacBookPro.
brian on 2007.01.08 at 01:49 am
“In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.” – Roger Ebert
“There is no controversy about these facts. Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero.” – Al Gore
It took me until tonight to see this movie, which is available “onDemand” for Comcast cable subscribers for $3.99. I later found out I could have watched in HD for $5.99 The nice thing about onDemand is that I didn’t have to use fossil fuels to get the movie from the store.
There’s really no reason you can give me that you shouldn’t see this movie, if you haven’t already. Up to and including the fact that the movie is actually entertaining. I’m contemplating buying the DVD and lending it to everyone I know. Would you like to borrow it? Please?
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative…your mind will be changed in a nanosecond.” – Roger Friedman of FoxNews.com
Posted in: Environment · Movies · Nature · Politics · Weather
jake on 2006.09.19 at 04:23 pm
The funny part that at least I enjoy explaining to people involving me, Meredith, and a couple (they’re twins) mutual friends invloving Harry Potter. Sometimes the story comes off as interesting. Other times I recieve blank stares that can mean only one thing, “you need to get out more.”
All of us have birthdays right after the three primary characters from the series. The twins, Liz and Jess, have the date right after Harry Potter, August 1st. And I have the date right after Ron Weasley, March 2nd.
Naturally you can draw other lines between everyone in that I am a ginger and Meredith has a big brain and frizzy hair. Sorry Mer. ;)
I’ve just always found these to be a fun little group of facts. How did J.K. Rowling come up with the dates? Are Liz and Jess going to save the wizarding world? Should I whine and be overly concerned about everything?
I get out plenty! :P
brian on 2006.09.08 at 11:17 pm
Have you heard about the irresponsible fictionalize account of the 9/11 attack that ABC is airing? I personally am furious. ABC has been my favorite network for a long time, I’ve watched World News Tonight on ABC since I was 5 years old. Now my trust has been betrayed in the interest of controversy and partisanship.
Robert A. Iger
President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
Dear Mr. Iger:
I’m very disappointed that you would make the horrendous choice to air a fictionalized, polarizing and politicized account of the events of a horrific event so recent in our country’s history, and so close to the 5th year anniversary — could confuse fiction with the truth (and your information has been determined directly contrary to the truth as stated by the 9/11 Commission) which could have an adverse effect on people’s perception of reality when they go to vote in primaries and elections that are now starting in our midterm elections. This ENTIRELY irresponsible of your company.
I haven’t determined what I will do personally about this, but right now I’m beginning with boycotting your World News Tonight, which is really sad because Charlie Gibson is by far my favorite news personality on any channel. But it’s the one thing I watch regularly on ABC.
I will not buy any more TV shows of ABC’s on iTunes. And I may write to all your advertisers to inform them of this as well. Additionally, I will be blogging this commentary on my blog, recently.rainweb.net, and talking about this at the blogging conference I’m going to with over 300 other influential bloggers this weekend. I will encourage them to blog about and join in the boycott as well.
Below this note is some boilerplate that I agree with wholeheartedly.
It has come to my attention that ABC plans to air a two-part mini-series called “The Path to 9/11” on September 10 and September 11. Accounts of advance screenings indicate that this program places primary responsibility for the attacks of 9/11 on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration. This assertion is not supported by the 9/11 Commission Report upon which the program is purportedly based. This partisan misrepresentation of history is not surprising given that the movie was written by Cyrus Nowrasteh, an avowed conservative.
It is wrong for ABC to play politics with the facts of 9/11 by providing a national platform to present his distorted view of history. I am unwilling to whitewash the truth. The events that led to 9/11 are important topics for discussion and debate. But it’s a debate that must be conducted honestly.
I am asking ABC to either fix the many inaccuracies contained in the program – or to not air it.
I would appreciate a prompt reply to my e-mail.
I would encourage you to tell ABC what you think of their actions, as well.
jake on 2006.06.13 at 06:56 pm
We now have four editions of The Princess Bride. I noticed this in some advertising this morning on IMDB. The original DVD was released in July of 2000. A special edition was released a year later. Nothing is bizarre about that. Lots of movies have two versions. But now we have two more competing editions. Basically it amounts to boy and girl versions.
First we have the Buttercup Edition. A picture of Westley and Buttercup adorns the cover. The famous scene right before he leaves to go stake his claim on the world and save money for their wedding. It’s obviously playing up the romance angle.
And second we have the Dread Pirate version. Hooray for adventure and sword play! Which the image of “The Dread Pirate Roberts” conveys.
Although the special features are listed slightly different, if you compare, the two editions are exactly the same. The only exception being the packaging. The movie itself is something you should have in your collection. But the marketing department needs to go back to the drawing board. I am curious about the new Dread Pirate mockumentary. But I don’t want to choose between a masculine and feminine version of a movie I already posses.
If they really wanted my money they would just go with a singular Fezzik Edition. Everyone loves the giant…
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2006.04.03 at 11:50 pm
Kevin Smith came under fire for a speech he gave at the University of Pennsylvania. He recounted the story of his buddy Jason Mewes battle with addiction. The problem is that everyone is jumping on the few sentences that include Jay sleeping with Nicole Richie. Which I have to imagine only happened because of her being in the spotlight. I won’t debate her worthiness of such attention but I’d like to point out Kevin’s attempt to get the whole story out.
Since the gossip sites have seen fit to print only the portion of the Jason Mewes story I told at UPenn (that portion being what said sites seem to feel is the only interesting aspect of Mewes’ life), I figured why not put the whole tale of Jason’s battle with drug addiction into print here, where folks can get a better idea of who Jason truly is and maybe why he fell victim to heroin abuse in the first place.
The story is a good example of what drug addiction can do to you and the people around you.
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 1
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 2
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 3
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 4
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 5
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 6
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 7
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 8
- Me and My Shadow, Pt. 9 – The Conclusion
Update: Added more parts.
Update 2: And another part…
Update 3: man, how many parts are there gonna be?
Update 4: Finally, the conclusion.
Posted in: Movies · Recent Events
jake on 2006.03.02 at 05:12 pm
Well today is another birthday for me. I am now a whopping twenty-seven years old. I’ve discovered two new famous-ish people to add to the list of people who share my birthday.
Here are the people I didn’t know…
- Bryce Dallas Howard – Not only is she cute, but she’s going to play Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3. I guess I’ll have to start watching all her movies or something. One time this crazy lady at the store claimed I looked like Bryce’s dad, Ron Howard. I’m not sure what that lady was smoking.
- Daniel Craig – Oh great, now I have to stick up for the new James Bond every keeps making fun of. Well maybe not that much…
- Lou Reed – Co-founder of Velvet Underground
- Tom Wolfe – Author of The Bonfire of the Vanities
- John Irving – Author of The Cider House Rules
- Heather McComb – Actress from a bunch of different random things. Also married to Dawson. He’s actually a few days older and originally from a neighboring town. And has a couple indirect connections with me.
And the ones I already knew…
And finally some random tidbits I wanted to share.
- Bend it like Beckham — you can’t lose, says study – Apparently we aren’t equipped to handle curving objects.
- New $10 bill rolls out Thursday – Now the tens are in color. I still think we should change the sizes of the bills too.
- The Magdalene Sisters (get it) – This was a good movie portraying a group of young women forced to stay in a Magdalene Asylum. The DVD also includes a documentary that brings up the aftermath if a girl was lucky enough to leave. Intimate relationships are damaged forever.
- Firefly (from Digg) – Now Firefly is now under $ 20 at Amazon. :) – Bonus side note: Gina Torres, who played Zoe, had a role on The Shield last night.
Update: Added some more birthday people…
Posted in: Movies · Recent Events · Science · Television
brian on 2006.03.02 at 01:38 am
Two second review:
The Corportation, Documentary.
Worth every minute of watching.
This month it was on Comcast OnDemand, via the Sundance Channel. It may have expired today, but check just in case.
jake on 2005.12.20 at 06:02 pm
I read a terrifying thing (from Digg) today about the possiblity Joss Whedon wasn’t going to continue with the Firefly universe. While I that would be a tragedy I wanted to touch on something the article said.
…Serenity’s status as a franchise nonstarter; despite Universal’s best marketing efforts…
Has anyone seen the promotional material on TV for Serenity? The 15-second spots where it’s basically just River Tam (Summer Glau) kicking everyone’s ass? I’d just like to point out that there is a fucking lot more to this movie than River beating people up.
The movie was so well received by critics because of the character development. Not because it was an action movie along the vien of Rambo. Universal dropped the ball just like Fox did with promoting the show.
Give the movie a chance, it’s not all that bad being a Browncoat.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.12.12 at 06:48 pm
And the second is that there is some talk of a sequel. The only problem I see is that the discussion revolves around bringing it straight to the Sci-Fi channel. Personally I wouldn’t mind Sci-Fi bringing back the series but I’m not sure how I feel about a movie.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.12.06 at 01:51 am
Have you ever met someone who has no idea that some new song is actually a remake, or that the new hit hip hop song is sampling a song by a rock band from the seventies? Yeah? Well I kinda felt like one of the people on the naive side today.
Did everyone but me realize that the new Fun with Dick and Jane movie is actually a remake? I was sifting through the Circuit City flier and noticed the title in a pile of bargain DVD’s. Jim Carey can probably make it humorous. But do we really need another remake?
Posted in: Movies
brian on 2005.11.21 at 03:33 pm
To me, to see a film once is not worth $20. I have no desire to keep a copy of this potentially interesting film, and even if I loved it, I would never watch it again, and thus have no need for hard copy.
I might go to a movie theater once or twice a year, and own no DVD movies I bought myself. I put my money where my mouth is. I do watch movies when they come to the small screen, but would watch more if I were allowed more control of where and when I could watch them. I would call this an untapped market.
I’m certainly not saying everyone (or anyone) shares my views, but I feel Joel, as a leading software business mind, is missing on a big opportunity. Funny that its lacking considering his last entry on digital media distribution!
I would have, in his shoes, chosen an H.264 download (with BitTorrent ) option alongside the DVD purchase option. There will be folk who want to keep a high-quality hardcopy, and they should get to have that. $20 is reasonable for that.
However, I would like to download a copy for a more digestible $5. I think the sheer volume of downloads would offset any cannibalization of the DVD sales, in addition to the saved costs due to no packaging, two rounds of shipping, manufacturing… and BitTorrent would make the bandwidth very reasonable (ask Cringely ). Sounds lucrative.
Afraid of piracy? Well, the tools to buy that DVD and change it into the format I described above exist in abundance. People will invite friends over to watch the movie, even! Gasp!
If anything, a legal download provides a reasonable and easy alternative to piracy. It’s working for Apple right now. I don’t think FairPlay will be the end all of digital media rights management, but its a solid, first reasonable and reasonably successful attempt. The only thing I’d add to a download like Joel’s would be the downloader’s email address, which the downloader would a) know was attached, b) have to enter into the purchasing webpage to get emailed a link to the torrent file.
Yes there are easy ways around these small features, but that’s the point. They keep honest people honest… if you share this on P2P nets and we see it, we’ll know you put it here. You can’t worry about those who will just strip it out, because of the DVD ripping issue I mentioned above.
Piracy will be a given, but you can’t criminalize all your customers because of it. Give reasonable people reasonable options to stay above board, and this will put the piracy percentage to its minimum. That will net you all the profit you deserve.
I cannot believe that digital delivery was not strongly considered by Joel. He’s a sharp mind. So even if we don’t get a downloadable option, I’d hope he’d post his thoughts on what made him go traditional in this case on his blog.
Joel, I look forward to seeing your film, if you give me the opportunity to!
Posted in: Media · Movies · Software · Technology · Web
jake on 2005.10.03 at 05:51 pm
Just yesterday I made “a bold move” and went out, by myself, to see Serenity. I had heard good things from the realm of geeks and figured I might like it. I was not dissapointed. With so many others typing their thoughts on it I figured I could just let mine slide. But it didn’t perform well this past weekend (from Digg), and I’d like to extend an invite for the masses to go check the movie out.
Serenity pretty much exists because the tv show it was based on (Firefly) had a little misshap —Fox didn’t give any priority to the show against other programming and aired the series out of order—and was cancelled after 11 episodes.
The first pang of interest came after Tom Coates post. Not only did he rave about the movie he also pointed out some interesting statistics where women, who you don’t usually associate with sci–fi programming, enjoyed it more than men. Shortly after that I noticed the Wired review. They pretty much summed up how I feel about the movie and convinced me I should go check Serenity out.
Serenity’s verbal fireworks help compensate for its clumsy special effects. The chases, explosions and battles are choppy and confusing and look a bit cheap. Using Hollywood’s warped abacus, it’s pretty clear that $45 million—Serenity’s reported budget—isn’t enough money to create blockbuster visuals.
Maybe that’s for the better. Rather than spending months working with the Orphanage or Industrial Light and Magic to blow up stuff in slow motion, Whedon invested energy in refining Serenity’s human elements.
I didn’t care that there was a lack of amazing computer generated explosions. Although I did not see major fault in the quality of the action sequences, it wouldn’t have mattered, I was already enjoying the characters and the good dialogue.
Serenity needs to be brought out of its slump. I’m hoping word of mouth will help it perform better in the coming weeks. With all the crap coming out of Hollywood lately Serenity shouldn’t be pushed out of the theaters without even making a divet.
Endnotes: Check out the little quiz after you come home from the movie and see which charcter you’re most like. I’m 75% Capt. Mal Reynolds.
Well, guess what.
I’m not going to say it’s the best science fiction movie, ever.
Oh, wait. Yes I am…
…So here’s what I have to say about Serenity:
This is the kind of movie that I have always intended Ender’s Game to be (though the plots are not at all similar).
And this is as good a movie as I always hoped Ender’s Game would be.
His take on it is that no matter how much fluff you put into a science fiction movie the characters have to mean something too. If the audience doesn’t love/hate the characters, you have failed. This is one of the key components to Pixar’s success. It is not just about making a pretty sci-fi world. It is about creating a great story with great characters.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.08.04 at 12:44 am
In this installment of link dumping we have some interesting tid-bits for all you readers out there. I’ll try and give my thoughts on the latest Harry Potter book if I get a chance. I finished reading it today.
- 100 Greatest ‘Rock’ Guitar Solos – Wooooo Pink Floyd… [from: Best Week Ever Blog
- Tropical Storm Harvey forms near Bermuda – The last time a storm with part of my name on it came through, it was weak and didn’t do a lot of damage. Lets hope Harvey is as big a pansy.
- Class action: $5 if you saw a movie plugged by Sony’s fictional critic – I don’t think this is as big a deal as them suing us. I didn’t mind “A Knight’s Tale” too bad, though that might have had something to do with the company. My worst memories are when the movie makers tried to pull us out of the middle ages and back into some modern crap. I’ll blow off the claim and hopefully some of the money will actually go to charity.
- Communications Course #1 – What to do when someone sends you a snide email. [From: Pixiegal]
Posted in: Movies · Music · Recent Events · Web
jake on 2005.07.05 at 07:24 pm
There were a couple things I wanted to actually post about, but I’m distracted at work and can’t get my brain around them. I’ll just leave you with a handful of links to peruse.
- Andy Budd has a Live 8 Funometer – I was busy with my bros’ (yes that’s plural) graduation parties so I missed it on TV. Though from what I understand, MTV really stunk with their coverage, filling it with ads and commentary instead of listening to the music. Hell, they probably sent some group of morons to the show and it’ll be some new reality series in a few weeks.
- Uwe Boll has been killing movies for a while now, sign this petition to stop him. Too bad it’s not that easy.
- Jason Kottke really gets around.
jake on 2005.06.22 at 06:14 pm
News flash for the film industry, you’re killing yourselves. When it costs $9 a ticket, and the average person doesn’t go by themself, your customers are going to be more selective. Especially when I can wait a few months and buy the thing on DVD for less than the price of two movie tickets. You guys need to clean up your act. You can still make crap loads of money if your customers save some money and can go to more movies.
With all the bull out there you’d think they’d figure it out one of these years…
Sorry about that, back to the movie.
The feel is dark, like some of the Dark Knight’s better graphic novels. I enjoy Tim Burton’s work immensly, but his original Batman movies gave a totally different feel. It was dark more like a scary clown at a theme park. Batman Begins felt more real. Gotham was a living, breathing city, not a backdrop.
Everyone who enjoys comics should enjoy this movie. And many people who enjoyed the Spider-Man movies should also enjoy this movie. Batman Begins is more interested in the characters than just blowing things up. Of course lots of things blow up too. I just didn’t find it excessive.
The acting is also high quality. I’ve seen a couple other movies with Christian Bale, but my mind keeps floating back to Newsies. I think it might be linked to how my cousin Amy used to obssess over it. I think I’ll start thinking of him as Batman now. And Michael Caine as Alfred is a good fit too.
If you’re interested in saving some money just do what I did, go to a matinee. But this movie is a must see on the big screen.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.06.22 at 04:57 pm
Well my PowerBook is back, my frisbee team isn’t doing too well and I got to see Batman Begins yesterday (my thoughts in a following post). But I haven’t posted in a few days, so let’s give anyone reading out there a little tidbit of what I’ve found interesting recently.
- Lions Rescue, Guard Beaten Ethiopian Girl – Wow, apparently a young, girl who was kidnapped, to be forced into marriage caveman style (a problem in Ethiopia), was saved by a group of lions. Anybody wanna let loose a few on Tom & Katie? · I also saw this on Boing Boing around lunch time.
- Halloweenie Paper Toys (From Boing Boing) – I think I’m gonna have to save this for decorating my cubicle this October…
- Emo Philips – The Can Man (From Screenhead) – Gotta love this guy. Remarkably, the guy who directed this short also made an original Meet The Parents I’ll have to see if they have that at Netflix… Nope…
- Finally, for all you nerds out there, Top Open Source Tutorials
Posted in: Movies · Recent Events · Web
jake on 2005.05.31 at 02:13 am
A Little Intro
Being a fan of the original trilogy as a young boy I was excited when these three came out. While Episodes I and II were decent, they could not live up to the memory of the old set. Episode III on the other hand did a good job of living up to the memory. Most of the characters were handled well. Kottke pretty much sums up my feelings with his review and he’s better spoken so I’ll let him finish up.
…which was the biggest surprise for me, that sadness. Somehow, Lucas made a real old-fashioned tragedy here; he actually made the evil Darth Vader into a sympathetic character.
Balance to the force?
Something I can touch on that is unique to my knowledge pertains to the whole “balance to the force” concept. I recall when Episode I came out a bunch of friends of mine were confused by all the talk of bringing balance to the force. Wasn’t it Luke who wins out? But, as my buddy pointed out, Darth Vader actually hurls the emperor down the ventilation shaft. Was it a ventilation shaft? Ehh… No matter.
The twist is that to remove all of the Sith would not balance the force. It would skew it to all positive. I don’t know if George Lucas meant for this or not, but the galaxy far far away seems to not understand this simple word. For good you need evil. For evil you need good.
My take on it, Anakin does bring balance to the force. If you remember what Obi-Wan says in the first set of movies, that Darth Vader hunted down the Jedi and murdered them all, then you also notice that Yoda and Obi-Wan are seemingly the only Jedi left at the start of Episode IV. A master and an apprentice—well sort of, we know Obi-Wan didn’t directly study under Yoda—are all that are left on either side. Four masters of the force, two on either side. Were the Jedi confused all along?
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.05.19 at 01:54 pm
It was hard to decide between Blockbuster and Netflix. Blockbuster gave out coupons for free rentals every month at the store. That was a nice perk but about the only distinguishing quality. So in the end I went for “underdog” Netflix. Even though Netflix invented online rentals Blockbuster has been around for years.
Well now the third competitor, Wal-mart, has folded and is sending customers toward Netflix. Sure it’s probably like fifty people but at least Netflix doesn’t have to worry about them pushing a price war any longer.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.05.13 at 05:02 pm
Well with the new Star Wars movie coming out soon there’s buzz all over the place about related topics.
There’s how stuff works where you can learn the ins and outs of how to build and wield a light saber.
Nearly anything you would normally find around the home or office is easy to cut with a lightsaber, including steel pipes, reinforcing beams, mounting struts and so on. If you happen to find yourself hanging upside down in a cave, a lightsaber is the perfect tool to use to cut the rope.
We also have a little movie combining Star Wars with a funny little movie from last year. Anakin Dynamite uses terminology from the Star Wars universe in the setting of Napoleon Dynamite. It has some discrepancies with the original text, things like not saying “gosh” enough. But it’s still pretty funny if you know the original.
I escalated my own level of brutality, and he lost ground. Still I found place to wonder: what fires his naked hatred? This is not the sting of a political idealist.
He popped out of the carbon chamber before I could freeze him, which was a neat trick.
Neat trick! Ha! And it’s nice to know the Empire learns its lessons.
And so my master appointed me the task of overseeing the final phases of activating the armaments of the New Order’s greatest work of engineering: a new DEATH STAR, ten times more powerful than the first, a glorious rebirth of Tarkin’s dream. (And this time we’ve built it without the need for a vulnerable secondary thermal exhaust port, right below the main port.)
Ahhh… That darn secondary thermal exhaust port.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2005.02.09 at 02:23 pm
I really need to restart my machine after downloading all those updates at work… So before I do that I thought I’d throw out a bunch of tabs that don’t require they’re own post.
- Lampoon’s ‘Blackball’ Tests Film Release Standards – in an interesting move they are releasing the DVD of the movie 4 days after it hits theaters. We’re almost to ““Instant cassettes”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094012/.” Naturally it makes more sense to buy a DVD of a movie for $15 when it costs $10 a ticket at the theater. Movie studios don’t necessarily need to do this. But they defintely need to evaluate their practices. With all the previews and commercials… God… it drives me batty…
- Chris Noth returning to ‘L&O’ fold – Sweet, I always was a fan of Detective Logan. Even if it is on a sister show it’s nice to see an old character come back.
- Secure wireless email on Mac OS X – If you like your email secure it’s a nice extension to Brian’s Tutorial
- Boy’s drive steers attention – Man this kid is determined. I probably would have just cried if my parents took away my video games when I was 4. From: joystiq
Posted in: Humor · Movies · Television
jake on 2005.01.10 at 05:21 pm
- I noticed on the Superficial a funny spoof of The Ashley Simpson Show.
- The site that linked to that originally also had a link to a video of the 4-year old drummer. His fills could use a little work, but in general he plays very well for someone his age. He could be cool when he’s older if he doesn’t get full of himself. Otherwise I’ll have to start referring to him as “The Mediocre 34 Year Old Drummer.”
- Gizmodo relays us to some interesting features on Hacking Netflix about adding profiles to user accounts. It has many benefits but I wonder if they thought about pushing movies up the queue if multiple profiles (family members perhaps) request a movie. I’m kinda excited to switch over from my Blockbuster account which I got while trying to barter referrals for my Free Camera
- Unleashed is a new movie starring Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, and Morgan Freeman, looks pretty cool. Too bad Li spends the movie trying not to kill people. ;)
Posted in: Movies · Music · Rant · Technology
jake on 2004.07.25 at 01:56 am
I was a big fan of The Bourne Identity. I even sat down and read the book after the fact. After buying the Extended Edition with what they call the Bookend Scenes and a “free” ticket I went and viewed The Bourne Supremacy today. Neither of the movies follow the books other than in spirit. The character development is similar, they just tell slightly different stories about an agent who loses his memory and grapples with that and the agency who trained him.
There may be some spoilers in here, but I’ll try to keep those to a minimum. I won’t give any big secrets away, but there is more information here than you see in the trailers. Unless you want to be completely left in the dark you can read ahead and still “discover” events in the movie.
Now Jason (Matt Damon) is living a somewhat peaceful life with Marie (Franka Potente) where the only problems he has are nightmares and doubts about his past. The CIA has closed the group he originally worked for but during a mission to discover a mole someone leaves a “forged” fingerprint of Jason Bourne. Then there is an attempt on Jason’s life. Now the CIA is after him for some answers. And assuming the Treadstone group is still being run and they’re still looking for him Jason turns around and goes after them. Throughout the movie Jason not only gets to the bottom of what is going on he learns more about his past and the nightmares he is having.
I really enjoyed this movie. It has some great action scenes, including a wonderful car chase scene. It is built on a foundation of characters, you don’t feel like the action is there for it’s own sake. There are also plenty of plot twists. Jason just doesn’t go down. He’s a machine and does everything deliberately. You get to see why his superiors considered him the number one agent. I’m not sure if I’ll see this a second time, since I’m not rich, but I am definitely buying the DVD when it comes out.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.07.07 at 03:13 pm
Wow, there’s a lot of Spidey 2 buzz out there. I saw the movie agian with my mom and youngest brother on Monday. Nothing really new to add. I pretty much covered it in that other exhaustive post. But I have been noticing many things around the net in the last few days.
- “The Peril of Doc Ock” – Let’s start it out with a bang, I just found out about this one. It is a great animation done with Legos. Good quality.
- Spider-man 2 movie mistakes – From Slashdot.
- Spider-Man vs. True Spider Superpowers – Some science about Spidey’s powers.
- Spider-man 2 game – This is for anyone out there who’s not up on games. For some reason there’s 2 versions of the game. A PC version and a Console version. The PC version is sub-par and only got a 5 out of 10 on Gamespot, with a 3.5 from readers. The console version performed a little better getting a 7.2 from reviewers and a nice 8.5-9.0 from readers depending on which actual console they posted to. My understanding is that the Console version has some minor flaws like repitition. So if they just worked on the story and content it’d be a must-have game. If you’re looking into the game or buying it for someone else, avoid the PC version at all costs. Even if it is a little cheaper.
jake on 2004.07.02 at 06:45 pm
So I forgot to mention a weird thing I saw at the Spider-Man 2 showing a few days ago. They are releasing a third Blade movie. While not a huge surprise by itself, they added a couple of extra characters to the mix. One of them just so happens to be Ryan Reynolds. That's the guy from "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" and one of my favorite funny movies, Van Wilder. He's playing a guy called Hannibal King and it's kinda weird to see him toting guns and stuff.
Also he recently became engaged to Alanis Morissette. He seems pretty busy.
brian on 2004.06.30 at 04:06 pm
I won't go on and on about it, other than saying this, no matter what your political background is, you should see it, think about it, and talk about it. It's not important that you adopt MM's view of the situation, just that you think about what's going on with your country. Form an opinion of your own, then go out and vote.
I, as a progressive-leaning independent (with some libertarian leanings) tend to think there's more skank stuff going on than the Bush Administration cares to admit. And I think they are a cancer upon our country. Scalpel! But I thought that a head of time.
Go see this movie, regardless of what you think of MM, go see it. Some like this whiner, are scared. It's just a movie. An op-ed piece. By the way, only people who can't back up their opinions don't enable comments on their weblogs. He can whine on his weblog, but MM can't in his movie? Weblogs are about discussion. Don't be close minded. If you don't agree, then that's fine. At least your ticket money goes to support intelligent, thought provoking documentaries in theaters, instead of the just the regular mindless stuff. Variety (of movies, and of opinions) is always better.
jake on 2004.06.30 at 02:12 pm
What's it all about?
Well I barely got any sleep last night, about 3 hours worth, because I went to one of 'dem midnight showings of Spider-Man 2. All the same actors reprise thier respective roles in this better sequel. The movie takes place a couple years after the first one.
Peter (Tobey Maguire) is having a hard time coping with the fact that because he is out fighting crime there's no time for things like, homework, girls, a job. He quickly starts to melt down and question why he's wearing spandex in the first place.
Meanwhile Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) is busy losing his sanity when his experiment fails and his wife is killed. It also probably doesn't help that his tentacles have their own AI so when the safety chip is destroyed in the accident they start to influence his thought.
So now we have a madman running around and Spidey no where to be found. To top it all off, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is engaged half way through and Harry (James Franco) is obsessed with destroying Spidey. Luckily Peter comes to his senses and we see a lovely climactic battle between hero and villain.
A couple scenes I really liked.
The first was the big train battle scene. (Where the first picture comes from). It's action packed and has some nice twists. The second is when Peter is really questioning himself and ends up using an elevator to reach the ground floor of a building. Some random guy shows up and they exchange a few funny words, and we learn that the spandex suit rides up in the crotch sometimes.
I loved this movie, hands down. I can nitpick about random things, but that's mostly just cause I used to have a Spider-Man bike when I was 2 and watched re-runs of the TV show around the same time (ie he's my favorite comic book character of all time). The action was great, the character development was great, and I will probably see it again, when I'm not half asleep.
They lead into a third movie where a few people are introduced to be possibly the next villains. I'd actually prefer a double villain setup. Harry obviously could become the second Green Goblin as he did in the comic books. Curt Conners (Dylan Baker) could be the Lizard as he does in the comic books. However that would make a third experiment gone awry in three movies, a little redundant. I'd love to see Venom come about but that might be a lot of development for one movie.
What works for me? Peter discovers the black alien suit in the next movie which leads into a 4th and possibly final Spider-Man film against Venom. While this is going on he fights with the second Green Goblin and another villain, perhaps the Lizard or Kraven the Hunter, or someone else not as cheesy as The Painter.
I'll probably add to this if I get a chance once my brain is functioning a bit better, or if I can remember some things by seeing it a second time.
Why the heck am I the only one of my friends who can spot Stan Lee (credited as "Man Dodging Debris" in Spidey 2) in all of these movies? He’s had cameos in a few Marvel movies now and with exception of Hulk, where he actually is on camera for more an one second and paired with Lou Ferrigno, no one ever sees him. “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.06.14 at 01:46 am
There are a lot of movies coming out. Lots of diversity in this list. They're just links to the trailers. You can get to the official sites if they exist through the trailers pages. Enjoy...
- The Bourne Supremacy - I loved the first book and loved the first movie (even though they were different) so I have a good feeling after watching the trailer I'll like this one too.
- Spider-Man 2 - I already have tickets for this. I'd probably go see it if they replaced Tobey Maguire with Jaleel White (no offense to Jaleel).
- Dodgeball - I liked this the first time, when it was Baseketball. But it still looks funny... ;)
- Danny Deckchair
- Garden State - That one should be obvious
- Napoleon Dynamite
- The Incredibles
- SpongBob Squarepants - I've always loved this little guy, I'll probably bring my little brother.
- Hero - not a huge fan of wire-fu, but this looks good.
- Ocean's 12 - Apparently "they're all back," that's all we get out of the teaser.
- Anchorman - Woo hoo! Will Ferrell
- King Arthur
Whew, that took forever.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.06.13 at 02:55 am
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.06.04 at 03:03 am
I really gotta post things when I find them.
- justwatchthesky – A very pretty site that uses Inman’s Flash Replacement technique. It’s also themed, “I heart you.” awwww… From: Jeff Croft
- sinelogic – Another gorgeous site, Jeff linked to it too, indirectly.
- Was Michelangelo’s artistic genius a symptom of autism? – Trying to prove a point that Michelangelo might have been disabled. I think with his troubled childhood (which they mention in the article) along with just being a creative person, it’s not surprising he wasn’t a social butterfly, which is part of their argument.
- This Cosby show is undeserved – Interesting article from the Boston Globe. “we should be more concerned with finding resolutions, not lobbing recriminations.”
- Competition Is Heating Up as Projectors Go Digital – Not only do the projects cost theaters $150,000 but the studios want to send the content over sattelite. What assholes. Personally I’d just put the movies on hard drives and use a server setup to have them swap in and out. “Theater owners have refused to pay for the digital conversion, arguing that the studios stand to gain the most in the switch to digital delivery.” God I’m getting sick of all this…
- Flash 7 for Linux Released
- InstaSnow – From Boing Boing
- DoubleType – Typeface Designer
brian on 2004.06.03 at 03:14 am
Fahrenheit 911 Trailer is now available online, and will be in theaters in the United States on June 25th. Hallelujah. I can't wait. Think of Michael Moore what you like, but the man can make movies. I wonder if I'll have to go the Coolidge Corner Theatre to see this one, or whether it'll be out in "main stream" theaters. I can't wait. Have I said that already?
Jake: Completely unrelated, this is our 500th post. Yippee!
jake on 2004.05.20 at 07:39 pm
In the last couple days I’ve found two interesting sites about the move Troy.
- Troy: Hollywood vs. Homer – Pretty Informative, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I did read The Illiad in high school.
- Troy in 15 minutes – Pretty hillarious. I left the link in for the cousin part at the end so you could get the joke.
Agamemnon’s Hall of Greed, Mycenae
AGAMEMNON: There, there. I will be more than happy to wage a giant war and take over the entire Mediterranean get your wife back.
MENELAUS: sniff You’re the best, man.
AGAMEMNON: I know.
ODYSSEUS: You realize we’re going to need Achilles, right?
ODYSSEUS: Hey, man, what up?
ACHILLES: Nothin’ much [dodge, parry, stab]. Just teaching Patroclus [dodge, parry, dodge] to fight [stab].
ODYSSEUS: Lookin’ good there, kid. What is he, your—
ACHILLES: Cousin. He’s my cousin. Cousin. Totally my cousin. In conclusion: Cousin.
jake on 2004.05.14 at 05:46 pm
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.05.12 at 05:42 pm
Well here's some proof for you. According to Reuters, recently Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" has been top of the heap for piracy on P2P networks. As was pointed out in a study a little while ago, P2P piracy does not have a direct correlation to sales of the product being pirated.
The Reuters article points out the two most downloaded films of the past year.
A company spokesman said the Pixar and Walt Disney Company animated flick "Finding Nemo" and the little-known Miramax "Shaolin Soccer" are the most pirated films online over the past year.
Umm... well Shaolin Soccer was only just released in select cities in the US. I know I saw an add for it "coming soon" over a year ago. So how were we supposed to pay to see it? And Finding Nemo broke the record for DVD sales when it was released. I can imagine "The Passion" doing something similar. Anyone else see a problem here?
Posted in: Movies · Technology
jake on 2004.05.10 at 03:53 pm
Cory posted two articles from Strange Horizons. It is a web based magazine where they run user submitted stories. They have compiled lists of overly used plot lines. Stories We See Too Often and Horror Stories We See Too Often
The only problem I have with the lists is in the horror list, under "Serial killer or vampire stalks and slays victim(s)." we find "d. The serial killer was abused as a child." This is based in reality, so a fiction piece about a serial killer would more often than not revolve around chile abuse. It is not always one of the causes, but it does occur regularly. I did a paper in college where I pointed out links of a handful of higher profile serial killers and their history of being abused. Here's Henry Lee Lucas,
When little Henry sliced an eye while playing with a knife with his brother, his bootlegging, prostitute mother -- Viola Lucas -- left his gashed orb unattended for days until it eventually withered and had to be removed by a doctor. Once mom beat him so severely with a piece of wood that he lay in a semi-conscious state for three days before Viola's boyfriend decide to take him to a local hospital. Another time, she cruelly decided to send Hank to school in a dress and with his hair curled.
There is some question as to whether Lucas actually committed the numerous murders he confessed to, but let's just say he wasn't very well adjusted either way. Unless the writer wants to stray from reality, abuse makes sense.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.05.10 at 03:15 pm
Kuro5hin has an interesting post about screenplays that were never made. Sometimes, when pondering the repetitiveness of Hollywood, I wonder how many movies are never made that have at least somewhat original plots.
I thought the premise of Avatar was pretty good. Though as I sifted through it the original story had a few too many clichés. Like, man thrown into weird environment decides to stay behind because he find purpose and love in new environment. But overall I enjoyed it, and I wouldn't mind seeing some computer generated animals...
The slinger's neck snaps forward, and its long, pointed head detaches, flying through the woods as a self-guiding venomous glider... a smart-dart. The hexapede senses the dart and bolts, bounding in evasive zigzags. The dart tracks it unerringly through the trees and buries itself in its flank. The hexapede staggers. It stands, its muscles spasming, then falls over. The dart starts emitting a series of high-pitched squeals, which allow the body to home in on it blindly. The neck bends down, and is rejoined to the dart. Josh catches a glimpse of hair-like tendrils lacing together... some kind of neural interface. Then the slinger starts to rip the hexapede part.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.05.06 at 01:14 am
I randomly found the trailer for this new movie called Garden State. What draws me to this so much is Zach Braff, one of the stars of Scrubs. It's right up there as my favorite show. Zach wrote and directed the movie, which I believe he has done for at least one episode of Scrubs. I'll definitely be checking this movie out.
When Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral, he reconnects with old friends and - since he’s gone off his depression medication - himself. A chance meeting with Sam (Natalie Portman), who also suffering from various maladies, opens his world to the possibility of rekindling emotional attachments, confronting his psychologist father, and perhaps beginning a new life.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2004.04.13 at 10:20 pm
At first I thought this was another stupid cash in...
But Tarantino is apparently taking a different route. He plans on taking the daughter of Vivica A Fox's character and having her get revenge against Uma Thurman's character. He will do this by waiting 10-15 years and shooting some now, some then. Very cool.
Posted in: Movies
brian on 2004.03.05 at 10:31 pm
Posted in: Movies · Technology
jake on 2004.01.30 at 12:51 pm
I've always been a big Disney fan, but hated Michael Eisner. He helped bring about a revolution with Disney films form the early nineties. Then he got greedy and started the company down a horrible path. Now they look like chumps and Pixar is leaving their partnership once the current contract runs out. That partnership was arguably the strongest thing Disney had going for it. Now they not only throwing away their own animation studios, but lost the best 3D studio around. Good job Mike.
Posted in: Art · Movies · Technology
jake on 2003.12.19 at 07:21 pm
I'm not sure what to think of this. It doesn't seem to have much of a plot, though it's just a teaser, and the idea of it being 3D kinda creeps me out.
Posted in: Movies
jake on 2003.12.08 at 05:47 pm
I found an interesting article about how humans have dealt with snowstorms in North America at Blues News. But beyond all that I also found a reference to a movie in the text.
In winter 1873, Alferd Packer and several other gold seekers trekked into the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. Trapped in severe winter weather, months later, only Packer returned. When the bodies of the remaining men were found, evidence indicated that they had been cannibalized by Packer, for which he was tried and convicted.
jake on 2003.12.02 at 07:33 pm
This month't issue of Wired Magazine has an interesting article about Philip K. Dick. He is the brain behind a few of Hollywood movies like Minority Report and Blade Runner and the soon to be released Paycheck. Though Hollywood takes some liberties with their adaptations... I was reminded of this because I read the late writer has an official web site.
jake on 2003.09.16 at 02:42 pm
This past weekend I was pointed to the article about Doune Castle in the local paper. Coincidentally I am giving the Collector’s Edition of Holy Grail to my little bro for his birthday. My friends and I growing up made sure he loved all things Python, he actually requested it as a must have. Well after Soul Caliber II.
I figured this was a good way to christen the image capabilities I recently added. I had a hard time coming up with the first picture to post. Anything relating to Monty Python is a good candidate in my book. It probably has some bugs to work out, but it seems to be functioning fairly well.
Now, about that article, the most interesting thing to me is the real history behind the castle. It is one the best preserved castles in Scotland. And though it was built a hundred years later it is in a region where people like William Wallace traveled.
Overlooking a picturesque river just south of the brooding Scottish highlands, Doune Castle is in a region once roamed by Scottish heroes like Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.
The 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge — in which a force led by Wallace defeated the English — took place eight miles southeast of here. A monument at Stirling pays homage to Wallace, long revered in Scotland but little known in the United States until Mel Gibson portrayed him in the movie “Braveheart.”
Doune Castle is considered the best-preserved medieval castle in Scotland. It was built at the end of the 14th century by Robert Stewart, the first Duke of Albany, whose story is laced with intrigue.
Of course people wandering around there randomly spouting quotes from the movie is pretty sweet too.
Image from Talin’s Illustrated Travel Journal
jake on 2003.08.08 at 06:17 pm
I can see where activists have a problem with this. If the study's results are accurate then teens watching celebrities smoke onscreen will emulate them. And what are you most likely to smoke if you learn from a celebrity. Whatever they're having.
Posted in: Movies · Politics · Television
jake on 2003.07.30 at 07:08 pm
I read a story a couple days ago that oversimplified things and pretty much bothered me. By using the new Hulk movie as an example it discussed over the top special effects and the storylines that usually suffer as a result.
In the visual-effects community, ILM’s Hulk was seen as a major achievement: the life in the creature’s eyes, the way light played naturally off its skin, its synthesis into its surroundings, all were deemed first-rate. Film critics, however, panned not only the movie but ILM’s work. The monster didn’t look real. Case closed. Moviegoers must’ve agreed, because after a huge opening weekend, “The Hulk” died at the box office.
Hulk is a good movie. Spider-Man may have been better at this, but the character development was very good in the Hulk. You felt attached to the characters, even the big green guy himself. Using CGI the creators gave him facial expressions. In the scene where he saves Betty from the mutated dogs, he shows real life.
It is possible to say, well in general he doesn't look realistic at all. Just because he can make a sad face, doesn't mean he looks real doing it. Well news flash, he isn't real! He's a 15′ green behemoth! The reason he doesn't look realistic is because nothing like the Hulk exists in our world. It's impossible to make him look 100% real because we have no basis for him in our brains.
Movies are entertainment, we all need to suspend some disbelief. I'm tired of people not just relaxing and watching a movie for what it is.
jake on 2003.07.10 at 07:11 pm
Linux clusters have been taking over studio render farms for a while. Including being used in the new movie Sinbad. eweek has an article about the trend. I was amazed by the comments about what 64-bit computing does to the process...
"DreamWorks had, for example, one sequence that took 24-hours to be rendered on a 32-bit system, but which took just 20 minutes on Itanium-based servers…"
jake on 2003.06.05 at 07:18 pm
I'm interested in seeing this movie, but it delayed the release of the original on DVD last year. err...
jake on 2003.05.30 at 07:12 pm
Today Finding Nemo is coming out in theaters. I'm waiting till Sunday to see it with a small group of friends.
There's a review of it at CNN.com.
In the past, the partnership of Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios has brought us the "Toy Story" films, "A Bug's Life" and "Monsters, Inc." Their latest collaboration, "Finding Nemo" continues the amazing winning streak.
And there's also a tour recap at The Salt Lake Tribune. The article relates some of the ideas that make the whole operation tick. Things like, the "bathroom effect" theory.
Here's the "bathroom effect" theory, as Greenberg explains it: "If you have bathrooms that are scattered throughout the building, you use the bathroom nearest to where you're sitting. If there was one bathroom, all kinds of people would come together and talk with one another all the time -- you'd meet different people if you were waiting in line. It would enhance communication, and you'd be talking about things outside of work."
Posted in: Movies · Technology
jake on 2003.05.10 at 12:17 am
Posted in: Movies