stuff

Jan. 17th, 2011 01:25 am
llcoolvad: (cold)
Well! That Patriots loss was a big surprise. I don't really like football at all (too much bad high school football when I was in the marching band, I guess), but it's hard not to get caught up. I can only imagine what sports talk radio is going to be like tomorrow. And where does the blame lie?! Everyone will have an opinion, that's for sure.

Anyway. Friday and Saturday were mostly the same; worked, came home, had some dinner, hung out with Rita (P's cat), watched some telly (last night, BEHEMOTH — A Mountain, a Monster, a Massacre! — on SyFy. Awesomely awful), read some, visited with Brian and Thom (Brian's house guest) when they got back from Arisia, slept. Today was slightly different: after I woke up I puttered around for a few hours, then was hit with the feline sleep ray and a big patch of sunshine and slept about four more hours. Which was very nice! Aging has been catching up with me a lot this last year. I am so achy all the time, and it's affecting my sleep. Any chance I get to catch up is a Very Good Thing.

Finished another book, so now I'm up to three this year. W00t. When Brian got home from the convention today we went out and got some dinner (I had a gift card to use up) and then came home for a low-key night. I went over to P's to hang out with Rita for a while, watched some of the game over there and flipped back and forth between it and Felicia Day's Red: Werewolf Hunter on SyFy. A takeoff on Little Red Riding Hood, not only was it mostly unwatchable, it had the most confusing ending (SPOILER): she has to kill her boyfriend because he's been infected by the werewolves, but she got bitten too and in the very last scene they show her reading a story to her (one assumes) child. So she was infected? Or wasn't? Or ... ah, who cares! Sorry, Felicia, I wanted to like it, but REALLY not your best work.

Brian went to bed pretty early and I'm heading there now. Very glad it's a long weekend. I need to have a fun injection. Want to go see True Grit — maybe Brian and I will go Tuesday. I couldn't get excited to watch the Golden Globes tonight, so I gave myself permission to skip it. Is that a sign of something?

Maybe the apocalypse.
llcoolvad: (hair)
Today I woke up late and did an awful lot of nothing. Read a book, read the internet, had lunch, ate a couple of truffles (the godiva kind, not the kind pigs find!), then finally got off my arse and went out with Patrick — we took my car so I could play some more with my new GPS, which is my new fave tech toy evar! We went to see Slumdog Millionaire and both really liked it. I think my favorite bit (that wasn't encased in human waste) was the dancing during the end credits, but it was all pretty great. Danny Boyle is rapidly becoming one of my favorite directors: Sunshine, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, even A Life Less Ordinary. I guess I really need to rent Millions and Shallow Grave.

And if you haven't seen Sunshine and you like space drama with some surreal horror tossed in, you're missing a great movie.

I am apparently all about movies this holiday season. Next up from Netflix: The Old Man and the Sea, A Mighty Wind, and for some reason Netflix shipped me an extra movie, Wall-E, which I've seen but bears watching again. And they still owe me one, so Croupier is next, closely followed by Grey Gardens and Veronica Guerin. This should be a pretty fun few days! I have one more week of vacation and I intend to get a lot more reading done, too. Yay, vacation!
llcoolvad: (cold)
Using Netflix's "watch now" feature, I had another movie overdose day yesterday, in between presents and food. First up, Helvetica, or, "more than you could ever imagine knowing or wanting to know about a font". It had an interesting way of telling both sides, the sides being "Helvetica is the Best Font EVAR — it is perfect and can't possibly be criticized" vs. "Helvetica is soul-sucking conformity of the very worst kind that is killing art and contributing to the war in Iraq" (seriously). Very entertaining, which I found completely surprising.

Then another documentary: Wal-Mart, the High Cost of Low Price. This didn't even pretend to show both sides of the story, because, frankly, Wal-Mart is evil. Every single thing they do, from where they store pesticides and gardening chemicals, their promotion practices, how they manage their workforce, and the factories they do business with, is just appalling. And that ignores the subsidies they get to move into a town. And the competition they provide to push smaller companies out of business. I believe that most companies wouldn't like to be put under this kind of spotlight, and I believe that some of the charges against Wal-Mart are not any different than other large corporations, but I still don't think that excuses them. I would never shop at a Wal-Mart before, and after watching this I certainly haven't changed my mind!

Then I left documentary world and headed over to movieville. First up, Soylent Green. Despite being a huge SF movie geek I'd never actually watched it before, but after recently seeing the first Planet of the Apes movie and The Omega Man, the better of the I am Legend-based movies, I've decided that Charlton Heston was groovy in a sexist, late-60s early-70s SF-movie way (he's the anti-hero, the guy you hate, and he almost always LOSES), so I decided this had to be next. I knew the catch-phrase from the movie, so the ending was no surprise, but everything else was vastly different from what I had imagined it to look like. Very distopian and eco-disastery! Big thumbs up!

And finally a movie I had never heard of but kept ending up at the top of my suggested viewing queue so I gave it a shot, Transsiberian. Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer are a married American couple who take the Trans-Siberian train from China to Russia, and there's murder and intrigue and drugs and all kinds of stuff, plus Ben Kingsley! I am no Woody Harrelson fan (altho I thought he was excellent in No Country for Old Men), but the movie spent a lot more time on his wife, so he was used judiciously and well. Very Hitchcockian and intrigue-filled; highly recommended!
llcoolvad: (busy?)
Taking vacation this week. Haven't had more than the occasional sick day off since Christmas, so this is well overdue.

Yesterday I was the queen of sloth, sleeping late, reading, surfing the net, buying lunch at the deli, then hanging out with Patrick. We saw Indiana Jones and the....really long title. Afterward P commented that there was so much Indy porn in the movie (between the music, the whip, the hat, the improbable chases, etc.), and I pompously pointed out that Friday night Neil Gaiman discussed that very concept at the lecture I saw, and how he'd come up with a definition of genre that basically requires certain set pieces in order to make the fans of that genre happy -- there's a difference between reading a book set in the west and reading a western. A western has cowboys chasing cattle rustlers, or roping cows, or riding the range, whatever. Whereas a novel set in the west might have some cowboys, too.

Anyway, however pompous you want to get, it was an Indy movie! And he didn't look too old! And it was really fun when Karen Allen showed up (but I must admit it was a little less fun before she showed up, Russians with bad accents notwithstanding).

Today, in honor of vacation, I peeled the plastic off some of the windows in the house and opened the windows! For you people who live in Texas and California and the south, you're all "you waited til now?" and I know you've had 80 degree days (and higher), but in my defense this was the first year in a long time that we have actually had a spring around here and it's been cold enough at night that it keeps the house cool during the day. Also, living with Mom as I do, I am subject to her old-lady metabolism, so while I probably would have opened my windows around April 1, here we are.

But today is a gorgeous day, and now that the windows are opened the cat is all riled up wanting to go out. I need a plan for the rest of my day...
llcoolvad: (cold)
Three people in a ROW on my friends page reviewed Cloverfield tonight! P and I saw it tonight, too. Talk about your of-the-moment experiences! I'm not going to review it, because now everyone's all about the spoilers, but I really liked it, shaky-cam and all, and I was totally able to overlook its shortcomings. I will say it made me grateful that I almost always wear sensible footwear, because secretly I am convinced that at any moment I am just one second away from being in a disaster/monster situation and you really don't want to be swanning around in heels.

There!
llcoolvad: (Default)
Netflix just announced that the Watch Instantly program is now unlimited (assuming you're a subscriber, of course, and assuming you're not one of the lowest-tier subscribers). Watch Instantly is just what it sounds like — it allows you to stream a movie to your PC and watch it immediately, for no additional charge beyond your subscription. I thought it was a cool idea when they rolled it out last year, but found that the selection was somewhat...lacking. No new releases, no full seasons of tv shows (they'll let you watch MOST, but not all, of a season), and just not that much that I'd be interested in, so after watching one movie, I didn't use it again.

Today, reading the announcement, I thought maybe the selection might be a little better. They now claim "Over 6,000 full-length movies and TV episodes". I think when I tried it before it was something like 3,000. That's gotta be better, right? And hey, I just got a giant shiny new widescreen monitor that faces my bed! And it's my day off! And a snow day! The heavens have aligned correctly for me to finally try it out.

I've found a few titles I will indeed watch. Pan's Labyrinth, This is England, Letters from Iwo Jima, a couple of tv series. But honestly? Not that much, still! Here's the Top 50. Why haven't they added more? The studios must be so locked into deals with iTunes that they're unable to do more at Netflix.

Today I tried to watch Walking Tall 2 (I wanted something on while I did laundry, sue me) — but it was in French! Then I tried House of Cards (the British tv series) but I wasn't in the right mood so I pended it for later. Then I found a sort of mixed Sherlock Holmes movie ("Sherlock: Case of Evil"), which was interesting and fun in spots, and stars the VERY cute James D'Arcy as a very young Sherlock, but lord, Vincent D'Onofrio was terrible as Professor Moriarty — laughable, almost (on the other hand, Richard E. Grant was a welcome bright spot as Mycroft Holmes. He needs to be in every movie, I think).

Finally I found something actually good: "Maxed Out," a documentary about the personal debt crisis in America. Lots of stuff I didn't know (watching GW Bush smugly sign the bill making it very hard for middle income America to file for bankruptcy was just infuriating, especially when they tell you that the bill was written by MBNA, who is Bush's top contributor...), some stuff I did know, and several heart-wrenching tales of woe. Overall very good, in a very depressing The Country Is Doomed kind of way.

Oh jeez. In writing this up it occurs to me that I'm not supposed to watch streaming television or movies because of the writer's strike. Ooops! In my defense, I haven't visited a network site or downloaded a thing from iTunes since the strike started. And I used to! But I wasn't thinking of Netflix...shoot! My mother the proud Union member will be very disappointed in me. I guess I'll stick to On Demand. Or reading! Reading is good. Reading supports writers. There you go. Go read a book.
llcoolvad: (Default)
A weekend of movie opposites!

First up was "No Country for Old Men" with Patrick last night; I'd been dying to see it, and I really liked it (right up until the ending). It was suspenseful, interesting, paced well, the actors were excellent, and I was able to ignore Javier Bardem's Prince Valiant haircut for most of the movie. It's a noir gory western, what's not to like? Hugely violent, lots of dead bodies, buckets of blood, chair-gripping tension, a few moments of black humor, unrelenting evil villains, morally-ambiguous heroes, a laconic good guy — all good.

My main complaints were that a key event happens completely off-screen, so you don't actually know what happened (it could have gone two different ways), and then there were at least three extra scenes at the end that I thought were completely superfluous. We learned nothing new, there weren't any surprises, and the tension continued with absolutely no payoff. Seemed like a cheat, really. I haven't read the book it's adapted from, so I don't know if my complaints are largely the fault of the book or the Coens. Or my own tortured brain.

Then this evening I was coerced into seeing "Enchanted" with my chick-flick friends; not a movie I had any intention of seeing, and holy cow, the entire movie should be glazed in pink frosting! The audience was packed with tween girls and their parents, and there was much chortling with joy and squealing with glee. I haven't been to such a girly movie in ... hmm ... maybe ever before! When a movie can make rats, pigeons, and cockroaches cute and cuddly, you know you're in girl-ville.

For all of that, it was still pretty enjoyable. It poked a lot of fun at itself, and there were wisps of girl-power and 'reality is good' messages. The song and dance numbers were silly romps, and again were sweetly self-mocking, and Amy Adams, the fish out of water lead, was so naive and sweet and innocent you just had to like her. (You might hit her, but it would be with something soft.)

My only real beef was that the New Yorkers in the film spent a lot of time goggling in amazement at the crazy people wandering around singing in costumes, and seriously? It's New York! People are always wandering around doing some damned thing. A beautiful woman climbing out of a manhole in full ballgown is not worthy of gawping in astonishment.

Anyway, oddly, I guess I give a qualified thumbs-up to both films — but perhaps not to seeing them on consecutive evenings!

Mammoth!

Apr. 23rd, 2006 11:26 pm
llcoolvad: (Default)
Another entry in the so-bad-they're-almost-good SciFi Channel movies list. This time it's "Mammoth"; with Vincent Ventresca in the Corin Nemec role, 25-year-old Summer Glau playing his 16-year-old daughter, and Tom Skerritt totally slumming as crazy-old-coot-who-believes-in-aliens Grandpa.

But wait, there's more! Vinny (SciFi's "Invisible Man" series) is Dr. Frank Abernathy, a scatter-brained natural history museum director; his current obsession is a well-preserved wooly mammoth. When he accidentally signals the mother ship by drilling into the mammoth's butt and pulling out some kind of transmitter, mayhem ensues. The mammoth comes to life and becomes a, yes, mammoth-alien hybrid zombie, and runs amok in all the usual ways. And hello? Why WASN'T Corin Nemec cast in this movie? Was he too busy? They couldn't possibly have written the part with anyone else in mind.

Summer Glau is totally underutilized as Jack, who is supposed to be celebrating her 16th birthday, but is instead being neglected by her flaky scientist dad. She has a boyfriend (played by Cole Williams, Paul Williams' son (yes, THAT Paul Williams)) who convinces her to sneak out and go to a really dull rave. They do, and mammoth mayhem happens with predictable results. Her job? Looking upset. Running. Screaming. Pouting.

We lost count of the many many good movies that they referenced: Men in Black, the Blob, Night of the Living Dead, Addams Family, Jurassic Park, Signs, War of the Worlds; basically every SF movie there ever was -- meaning there wasn't a new or original idea in the whole movie. But it was cheesy fun, and I laughed a bunch. Since it was a Saturday night and we'd already gone out to the movies and had dinner, it was an acceptible way to spend a couple of hours.
llcoolvad: (cold)
Just watched She Monster on SciFi, and boy was it fun! Like most people, I love a good B-movie horror flick, and was expecting the usual SciFi badness when I turned this on. But no! This was an actual GOOD B-movie!
Review )

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