Saturday, June 28, 2008

Diablo III Announcement

Man, just watching those videos makes the index finger on my mouse hand hurt.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Wife and Stargate SG-1

I fell asleep this evening reading a book (my second attempt to start Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon – still can’t get into it, though I’m trying). An hour or so after passing out, my wife shook me awake, already in mid-rant before my eyes were even open about the end of season 9 of Stargate SG-1. She does not respond well to season finale cliffhangers if she doesn’t have the DVDs for the next season on hand. And she won’t get them for another week.

For someone who can take out a full season of an hour-long show in less than 72 hours, this is an eternity.

This one was especially hard on her, since it seems like most everyone died (I'm not sure about that: I was half asleep still during the rant), and the good guys' entire space fleet got blown up or something. She loves those fleet shots – and who can blame her?

Anyway, she punctuated this rant with this sentence: “Christ, it was like Wolf 359 all over again!”

Man, that is sexy.

She is such a nerd – and she’s hot.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Orphanage

I can describe my reaction to The Orphanage in one word:


Folks, it’s that good. While it wears its inspirations on its sleeve, most notably The Sixth Sense and Poltergeist (especially Poltergeist), this is not a hack job. Writer Sergio G. Sánchez and director Juan Antonio Bayona together create a film with a singular, unique voice, and they have produced one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.

At work (at least when I’m around), we always end up talking about movies. I don’t remember the full conversation, but I told Phil (a man who shares many of the same opinions on movies that I do – though he's a much bigger James Cameron fanboy than I) that the reason so many scary movies aren’t scary is because there is not a single character to care for. This is why the first big three movies by M. Night Shaymalan worked so well. And it’s why The Orphanage works. Sanchez starts with clichés – the cute kid and the spouse that simply doesn’t believe – and makes them into three-dimensional, honest characters.

I have a five-point scale for scary movies, and I’ll break The Orphanage down on that scale. But first, let me show you my scoring system.

1: Not Scary in the Slightest (as in, not scary in the slightest).

2: Mildly Creepy (a slow shiver that runs up and down your spine).

3: Creepy (that point in the movie where you ask yourself: “Why the fuck did I put this movie on? Why do I always watch these fucking movies?).

4: Downright Scary (the point in the film where you are actually yelling angrily at the film, no matter who is in the room with you: “Oh, you are not actually fucking going in there – are you, lady!? Oh, great: there goes the fucking flashlight…”)

5: Instant Pants-Fudge Factory (the less said about this one the better).

On this scale, The Orphanage starts on 2 and makes it all the way up 5. Rent it, watch it.

I’m out.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You Don't Mess with the Zohan (a quick rant)

Adam Sandler comedies really piss me off.

It isn't the lame dick and fart jokes. It isn't the corny, saccharine sentiment that's been a part of all his comedies since The Wedding Singer (which I liked - Billy Fucking Idol, man). It isn't even all the latent bigotry and the perpetuation of stereotypes, either. It's the fact that Sandler keeps putting John Turturro, one of the best comic actors alive today, who can turn even the weakest joke into comic gold with his delivery, in his films.

Why does this piss me off? Because it means I have to watch these goddamn films, just to see the Turturro bits. And it looks like he's in You Don't Mess with the Zohan, which means now I have to watch a movie that I was previously completely uninterested in seeing...when it comes out on DVD, of course - I ain't paying for that shit, man.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rambo (Part One)

With Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone accomplished something that I thought was impossible: he made a sequel to a beloved film that somehow apologized for all the other pointless sequels in that franchise and redeemed the character (and my opinion of old Sly’s talents as an actor and filmmaker). I went into Rocky Balboa with an extremely pessimistic disposition (as is my way), and was pleasantly surprised with the final results. I loved every minute of that movie.

And that’s why I was feeling cautiously optimistic when I popped Rambo into my DVD player this week. I didn’t expect a movie as good as Rocky Balboa, but I thought Stallone would be smart enough to tap into what made First Blood work and avoid the mindless action and dubious ideology of that film’s sequels. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only does Rambo suck – bad dialog, terrible story, wooden acting – it’s a horribly bleak film that offended me to no end.

I would have no problem with Rambo’s mindless violence and excessive gore if it wasn’t for the fact that Stallone wants it to mean something, and the message is this: violence is the only way to effectively bring about change.

I shouldn’t be surprised, since the ideology of the previous Rambo films was just as muddled and offensive as anything on display in Rambo. Let’s do a quick recap of the fucking ridiculous political notions found in these films.

First Blood: Ah, Stallone’s monologue at the end...

Why is Rambo a mentally unstable shell of a man? Was it the intense military training? The horrors he saw and committed in Vietnam? The alienation Rambo felt after coming home to a country not ready to deal with the young men who served in that war?

Nope. It’s because he couldn’t finish the job. If only Rambo could have been given the resources needed to win Vietnam, he’d be as right as rain – because nothing gives one emotional closure like killing a bunch of fools. Oh, and some hippies spat on Rambo when he came back from the war, which made Rambo cry. Am I the only one who watched Rambo’s end monologue and thought of the end of just about every Scooby-Doo episode, when, after being caught, Old Man Peabody revealed his whole dastardly plan. I can imagine Rambo saying, “I was going to bomb that country back to the stone age – and I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling hippies.”