Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Blu Ray Warning and Random Internet Goodies

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Blu Ray rant:
I recently ordered Independence Day and have owned for quite some time Terminator 2 both on blu ray.  I have to say that the quality of ID4 and T2 are both grainy and rather shitty when comparing them to blu rays for recently released movies such as Iron Man, Casino Royale (Daniel Craig), American Gangster, etc.  In other words, if you buy a blu ray version of a movie that was released more than 5 years ago, the picture quality of the blu ray will not be as good as a blu ray version of a movie that was released in the last 5 years.  The quality of the cameras used for filming as well as the medium in which the movies are stored greatly influences the resultant picture of the blu ray version of the movie.  The T2 and ID4 blu rays, are slightly better than upconverted DVDs.  Whereas the picture quality for recently released movies on blu ray, such as Iron Man, seem a lot more detailed and crisp (and suffering less interpolation effects) when being shown on a 1080p TV (ie significantly better looking than upconverted DVDs).

Random Internets:
A previous PA comic featured ‘dickerdoodles‘.  After doing a dickerdoodle picture contest, Gabe has amassed a collection of hard core cookie porn.  Albeit the following link contains no nudity, it isn’t exactly work safe:

http://gallery.penny-arcade.com/gallery/6778417_VVkNj#433636014_q6won

Snow Wolf pointed out to me that in a recent PA Post, Tycho announced Tycho and Gabe will be doing another set of D&D Podcasts.  Recording for this venture began this past Thursday.  Hopefully we’ll see those PA D&D Podcasts sometime later this coming week.

I thought this pundit kitchen picture was hilarious!  These [1],[2] are pretty good too.

For those of you in the academia, I thought this recent PhD comic on journal impact factors was really funny.

Post #100 – Top 5 Movie Fight Scenes

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I noticed while perusing my wordpress installation today that this post is post #100.  So I figured that this post should be somewhat special.  So what else to post about than my favorite martial arts movie fight scenes!  I ranked what I thought were the top 5 fight scenes of all time.

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Jet Li and Jackie Chan Part II!!!

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

I recently came across these two articles [1],[2] where both sources cite that Jet Li and Jackie Chan are working on a ***SECOND*** collaboration (film) together!

This is really awesome! I’m so happy to hear this. I really enjoyed Forbidden Kingdom (FK) and after seeing it I was definitely hoping that these two legends would do something else together.

Check out this Interview where Jackie Chan speaks about the famous fight seen in FK.

Forbidden Kingdom – Deliverance

Friday, April 18th, 2008

So there I sat on Friday morning (12:10am) as the opening credits hit the screen for the first Jet Li and Jacki Chan collaboration ever. Ironically Jet Li and Jackie Chan in this movie are not even the main characters, rather they appear as companions to a lost traveler. Yet it is Jet Li and Jackie Chan’s name which appear even before the main title. The makers of the movie however are not ignorant, they know that the majority of the audience are not going to watch the movie because Rob Minkoff directed it, or because it’s about a Boston teenager who stumbles across an ancient artifact and travels through time to fulfill an ancient prophecy. No; most of the die hard kung fu connoisseurs are present because of the fact this film is the first time Jackie and Jet are seen on screen together. In fact, in the early stages of development of the film it was dubbed the J&J project.

Li and Chan

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Forbidden Kingdom – Anticipation

Monday, April 14th, 2008

So if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably surmised at this point that I’m addicted to martial arts movies and am eagerly awaiting the release of Forbidden Kingdom (in theaters this Friday). There’s a good chance I will actually get to see the Thursday Midnight showing. I figured it would be kind of novel to do a before and after review. This will be the before review where I will list my ridiculous hopes and expectations about the movie. Then later after seeing it I will tell how (if at all) the movie lived up to those expectations.
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High Resolution You Tube Videos and Dark Knight Trailer

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I did not this; apparently you can watch any youtube video in high or medium quality by adding &fmt=18 and &fmt=6 respectively to the end of the address url.

Observe, in the following Dark Knight trailer, in the beginning, you can barely make out the “www.mpaa.org” text in the lower right hand corner. Now in the high resolution version, the text is much more visible. It seems this “hidden option” is progress based on an announcement made last November by Youtube [1], [2].

I really like the new batman movies. Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, etc. really make a great cast and the newer movies seem even more darker and sinister than the previous three. Albeit this upcoming batman is only the second, I bet they will follow the Hollywood movie making paradigm and turn the whole ordeal into at least a trilogy and maybe even a group of six. While six new batman movies would be repetitive, I wouldn’t mind a third one, or one more new one beyond Dark Knight.

Joker - Dark Knight

One has to consider though, they really made it tough on themselves to out due the first Bale/batman movie. The first one not only had batman, but Ninjas as well…That in itself seems to contrive a collection of unbeatable movie ingredients.

On yet another completely random note, I love this bear commercial.

Update: Apparently John West also made another bear commercial. I didn’t see the second one till recently. I still like the first better though.

Updatex2: Courtesy of Derek: John West Shark/Salmon Commercial

Planning your Entire Summer Movie Experience

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

I went to see the Bank Job last night with my friend Frank. It was really nice to see a good movie for a change. The two consecutive movies I saw before the Bank Job, in theaters, were No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Albeit both of these movies did have underlying messages that may make them entertaining to some viewers, I thought both were horrific and would caution everyone to avoid seeing them at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, there are several open ended, anti-climatic films I have seen before and have enjoyed. But, in the case of There Will Be Blood, I cannot enjoy a movie with a run time greater than 150 minutes where the plot, regardless of the subtext, is about a drunk who’s life is destroyed by his ambition, greed, and addiction to alcohol. Also, for No Country for Old Men, I like my bad guys dead at the end. How awesome would any of the Die Hard movies or Disturbia have been if the villians/bad guys won at the end? I rate both There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men a 1/5. I may watch these again and will try to keep an open mind about both films, desperately seeking resolution and understanding to what seemed like to me, at first viewing, very boring films not worth investing the time viewing in which they demanded.

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Forbidden Kingdom Promotional Video

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Here’s the promotional video for the upcoming Forbidden Kingdom movie Jet Li and Jackie Chan will star in:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE7ny2bfXF0
The preview looks good, but I’m really scared in that I do not see any scenes were Jet Li and Jackie Chan fight one another. I really hope the two will either kill each other in the movie or at least have some kind of sparring match. Otherwise, I will have to murder the director. I mean how could you let Jet Li and Jackie Chan star in the same movie and not let them fight against each other? I don’t care if one or the other or neither wins, I just want to see them go head to head at least rather than have them fight other mediocre martial artists or even worse random stunt doubles.

Forbidden Kingdom

Also, any of you use meebo? Their web-based aim software is amazing! They have so many features and their software is so well developed for something that is free.

Thanksgiving Break and Black Friday

Monday, November 26th, 2007

So Thanksgiving Break came and went. Thanksgiving festivities themselves were pretty sweet. I actually ate thanksgiving lunch at my girlfriend’s house and then thanksgiving dinner at my parents house. Needless to say, after those two gargantuan meals, I think it’s time to punch the bag some more. Before Thanksgiving Break, I went see Beowolf on the IMAX and in 3D. The whole 3D concept on the IMAX was interesting, but I still prefer ‘standard’ movies as opposed to 3D. I had no idea the movie was animated or in 3D, so both were a surprise. Overall though, I would rate Beowolf with a 3.2/5. The story seemed kind of linear and much of the plot was very predictable. Furthermore, the story development kind of dragged on (probably because it was linear and predictable). The scenes we knew were coming took too long to come and go as we anxiously awaited something new. Furthermore, I think my rating of the movie is biased in its favor due to the beauty of any movie delivered in IMAX quality. I think if I saw this on any theater but the IMAX I would have rated it a lot lower. The IMAX tickets were definitely wicked expensive and this movie is not really a must-see on IMAX unlike other films that would be worth an IMAX watching – i.e. Empire Strikes Back, Transformers, Independence Day, etc. Aside from seeing the movie on the IMAX, other traits of the movie that motivated me to give it a higher rating then its plot deserved is the fact that it was animated. It was rather a slight deviation from the normal going movie experience and it was nice to see something new. I also liked the fact that many of the characters were animated to look like the people who played their voices. I thought some of the characters were animated much better than others though. Like the main cast seemed to be rendered a lot better than the smaller, insignificant characters. Before Beowolf, I saw American Gangster. I give this movie a solid 4/5. I like Denzel Washington a lot better as a villain I think than as a hero. His performance was phenominal. Russel Crow did a better than average performance as well. Furthermore, I have not heard this story told before (unlike the story of King Arthur, Beowolf, WWII, etc.), so it was nice (again) to see Hollywood trying out something relatively new.

AG2

I have been watching Samsung’s 32″ 720p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV for quite some time now.

Samsung 720p

It has been going for $950 at Best Buy for quite some time and only recently (before Black Friday ironically), it dropped to $800 at the local Ocoee store by my house. I mention the store because BB stores will not honor their online site’s prices. I like this TV because of all of the ports it has in the back – HDMI, S-VIDEO, PC-VGA, PC-DVI, Component, RCA as well as its contrast ratio – 8,000:1. That contrast ratio in particular for an LCD TV is incredible. That’s primarily the reason that the LN-T3253H model is so expensive (for a 32″ 720p) TV. I did wind up splurging and buying the TV upon hearing about the in store sale. I have since hooked it up to my ancient laptop (old Thinkpad) and am using the external VGA out on the laptop and the laptop’s DVD drive as a dvd player. The picture is very crisp, but I am wondering if I can get even better picture with an upscaling HDMI output DVD player. I have had my eye on Samsung’s – DVD-1080P7

DVD Player

My parents actually did wind up going out on Black Friday and to Best Buy of all places. HL2 Orange BoxI told them they were out of their mind, but my Mom had this theory that Best Buy would empty at around 8pm that night and that there would actually be merchandise left to sell. Regardless of her insanity, I told her to pick me up a copy of the HL2 Orange Box (typically going for ~$50) for the BF Sale Price of $25. Sure enough, she called me from the store and they actually STILL had a copy!! So I got the orange box for $25 without having to leave the house. And my mother was right, the lines had died down and the store was practically empty. I think it was dumb luck a copy was still there though. My theory is they forgot to setup a display case showing the HL2 marked down to half price, otherwise all of the early risers should have plucked the store clean.

Over the weekend Dell had a sale on 8800GT. I have been really stoked about the 8800GT ever since it hit the market. I actually wanted a 8800GTX and have been waiting for it to go on sale ever since it’s release, but it still floats at $450+. The 8800GT has a MSRP of $200 – $250, but since they came out in November, they have been in such high demand and consequently retailers have been price gouging and selling them for $300+. In the tests done by the good folks over at Anandtech, there are several instances where the 8800GT performs as GOOD as the 8800GTX. This is quite astounding as the 8800GT costs less than half the average 8800GTX. Dell had a sale over the weekend where they sold an MSI 8800GT for $221 (shipped to FL)! I can’t link the Dell page directly as they pulled the deal within 12 hours of it being posted on their site. Albeit, the price was true, Dell could only afford to offer so many as the demand for this card is rather high. Here’s a new-egg link of the exact same card I ordered from Dell. Here’s a link for all of the 8800GT’s offered over at newegg, all currently $270+ and all currently out of stock.

MSI 8800GT

The lowest on pricegrabber, currently, for the card is $300. For some reason it took me over 45 minutes to pull the trigger on this one, but I did eventually (and in time) end up buying the card. Unlike some of the people in this slick deals thread, I did get a confirmation order to my email and the card is estimated to ship December 10th. I am pretty excited about the card, but I have a feeling the card will motivate me to buy a completely new system, rather than simply upgrade the video card on my existing system. I have been consequently watching ram prices, power supplies, raptor hard drives, cases, processors, etc. If the prices are right, I may wind up buying another rig as my current one is 2+ years old. I did actually get some x-mas shopping done for some relatives and loved ones, but the stuff they wanted isn’t nearly as interesting as what is posted above! :D When I get a chance I will post some pictures of my TV. I may wait on this though because if I do decide on getting a new computer, I will just post pictures of the new setup with both computers and the TV. I love being a geek! spot

The Michael Clayton Experience

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

This past Friday I got a chance to see Michael Clayton.
Clayton_Clooney
This weekend is right before Halloween, so I imagine everyone was out partying it up. That and the fact that this movie actually requires the use of your brain and has been out for several weeks was probably why there were only 2 other people in the theater when my girlfriend and I got there. Seeing the other two people in this empty theater, I realized I had to take advantage of this opportunity. I started walking up the steps (in this theater capable of seating at least 100+ people) and stopped at the row with the only other couple in the theater. I began to approach them as I was though I was going to sit right next to them. I actually was thinking about just simply sitting down and telling them how I think this movie is really going to rock. I did not want to take it that far though in the event that the guy did not share my sense of humor. I did stop half way through the isle and smile and said “just kidding” and turned around and went to go sit reasonably far away from them. I’m very sure they really didn’t want me to sit next to them with the over abundance of seating. I think they did find the gesture somewhat humorous though.

Clayton

I will start out with stating the movie is very involved – much like All of the Presidents Men and Ghost In The Shell. What could a 70s movie about Nixon and Watergate and a late 90s anime about cyber crime and Artificial Intelligence possibly have in common? Both are my favorites and both take multiple viewings to completely get the proper perspective on much of what is going on. In short – during the course of the movie, you may find yourself wishing you had brought a notepad to take notes with all that is going on with the plot. The characters in the movie go through a great deal of growth during its course. Michael Clayton (played by George Clooney) is a janitor (Legal Consultant) that tailors to really rich clients by cleaning up the mess they get into. So say when Dick Chaney’s daughter is found in possession of coke after being arrested for prostitution, our beloved vice president would eventually come in contact with Clayton for help cleaning up his mess. Although, I’m sure there are plenty of other graver skeleton’s in Chaney’s closet he could use help with other than his daughter. Evil Laugh. During the course of the movie however, Clayton comes to the epiphany that he is better than his occupation and capable of greater, nobler positions. He comes to this revelation when helping a fellow ‘janitor’ who everyone else claims is insane. I give the movie a 3.9/5, but I wonder if after more viewings I would rate it higher. This movie made me think, something I haven’t had to really do for a movie for quite some time. Most of the summer block busters (Transformers, Die Hard 4) were still good but not much thought was required on your part, simply sit back and enjoy CGI/violence (which again is not a bad thing). But this movie dares you to use your brain and rewards you for recognizing its allusions.