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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Terminator Salvation

Terminator SalvationIt took me forever to get around to this movie, but after Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, can you really blame me?  Before I get into Terminator Salvation, I’ll give you some context on how I feel about the Terminator franchise.

The Terminator is regarded as a classic sci-fi movie, but the more I think about it, the more I tend to drop it into a slasher/horror movie category…  Arnold Schwarzenegger just chases people around the whole movie and kills them… yeah, he pretty much kills everybody accept Sarah ConnorTerminator 2: Judgment Day is, in my mind, the best possible version of The Terminator (minus Lina Hamilton half naked), but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same movie (but flipped on it’s head), but with more character development, better lighting, effects and overall production value.  Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines… this movie just didn’t hold my attention.  The improvements they made from T1 to T2 justified another movie, but T3 is the exact same movie as T2, just crappier with improved effects.  When I heard they were making yet another Terminator movie, I wasn’t exactly turning cartwheels… that is, until I heard Christian Bale was in it in the starring role of John Connor.  Bale has been my boy since Equilibrium (2002 – I know he’d been making movies since he was 14, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the movies he made before 2002), so suddenly, things were looking up.

Ever since I saw T2 as a kid and I got a glimpse of the war between men and machines, Salvation was the movie I wanted to see – this is probably why I was so unhappy with T3… or because the movie sucks.  Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed Salvation, although apparently no one else did.  Roger Ebert said, “After scrutinizing the film, I offer you my summary of the story: Guy dies, finds himself resurrected, meets others, fights. That lasts for almost two hours.”  Not only is that almost the exact same review he gave for T3, but that’s also the most simplistic summary ever… in fact, it barely passes for a summary, because he’s leaving a ton of shiz out.  Here is an actual summary:

Salvation has a lot more to offer than the other Terminator movies; it’s not just people chasing each other, there are interesting characters there.  Unlike T2 and T3, you don’t wait the entire movie to see the Terminators fight each other.  There are characters that actually evolve in this movie… I don’t understand why everyone hated it so much.  I’ve read that people were disappointed it wasn’t rated R like the other movies, but that seems like a stupid reason to dislike a movie – to get the movie down from an R to a PG-13, they removed a guy getting stabbed with a screwdriver and a topless woman.  That’s it.  It’s not like they yanked the core out of the movie or something.  And the movie rewards your patience:  you get this scene at the end.  NICE.

If you’re a casual Terminator fan (I’ve never watched the TV show or anything like that), I think you’ll enjoy Salvation.  If you read the expanded universe fiction, I’m sure there is plenty in here to piss you off.  But people seem to hate this movie, and I’m not sure why.  It doesn’t have the previous movie’s silliness, and it has plenty of action; it’s gritty, the pace moves well and the story rounds out nicely.  People act like the first two were Shakespeare… I just don’t get it.  I don’t know what people wanted, but I liked this movie…  I might be the only one.

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Pumpkin beer rankings

Harvest Moon - Blue Moon

Much to the chagrin of my waist line, I like beer, and I like trying new beer even more.  Seasonal beers really do it for me, and October is one of my favorite months.  Sure,  Oktoberfest is all well and good, but for my money, it’s all about the Pumpkin Beers.  When it comes to a pumpkin beer, I don’t want some tiny little hint of pumpkin (I’m looking at you, Blue Moon), I want to be annihilated by pumpkin and, preferably by alcohol content.  Here’s a list of five pumpkin beers I’ve tried, ranked from least to greatest.

Pumpkin Ale - Smuttynose

5. Harvest Moon – Blue Moon

Like Smuttynose, I can barely taste the pumpkin, but unlike Smuttynose, the alcohol content is pretty mediocre.

4. Pumpkin Ale – Smuttynose

I can vaguely tell I’m drinking a pumpkin beer when I’m drinking Smuttynose, but i can certainly tell I’m drinking a beverage with alcohol in it.  This stuff gets it done, one way or another.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

3. Post Road Pumpkin Ale –

Brooklyn Brewery

Good flavor and readily available (at least in my area), so it’s a nice option.

Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale - Anheuser-Busch

2. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale –

Anheuser-Busch

I would say Jack’s has a bit more pumpkin flavor than Post Road, and while the privately owned liquor stores don’t seem to carry it, the grocery stores that carry booze seem to have it in abundance.

Imperial Pumpking Ale - Southern Tier

The King of Pumpkin Beers!

1. Imperial Pumpking Ale – Southern Tier

Imperial Pumpking Ale is my favorite, by far.  It’s got a rich, sweet pumpkin flavor with a 8.8% abv, its got plenty of alcohol.  I’m having a hard time finding it this year, but I highly recommend it.  Long live the king.

Titanic 3D coming in 2012

titanic“Ice burg right ahead!”  – I shiz you not.

James Cameron is re-releasing Titanic in 2012 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking… of the Titanic.

After all, nothing says loving tribute to those that lost their lives in that tragic accident like JamesCameron collecting another ten bucks off my mom and her friends on movie night.

Oh wait, there is a way to make the tribute even better:

HE’S CONVERTING THE MOVIE TO 3D.

james cameron

"Suck on THAT, George Lucas!"

So if you liked Titanic before, surely you will love 3D Leonardo DiCaprio.  When reached for comment, Mr. DiCaprio said, “This is exactly what my career needs right now.”

In an effort to one up Mr. Cameron, I’d like to announce that I’ll be debuting Lusitania for Christmas of 2011.  The special effects will combine CG elements and plastic models filmed in my bath tub – in the third act, my golden retriever bites the Lusitania in half.  And of course, the movie will be in 3D.  And it’s going to be a musical, featuring music by Bono and The Edge.

I readily admit:  I’ve never actually sat down and watched Titanic from beginning to end.  I saw the trailer and thought, “That looks shizzy,” and didn’t see it in theaters.  Remember when it was on cable all the time for a while there?  I tried, but I had to turn that bad boy off.  I stand by the decision. Remember the scene when that one character remarked, “Psh, Picasso, he’ll never go anywhere.”  Yeah, I turned it off right there.  However, I did turn it back on in time to watch the boat sink, and I’ve seen a few scenes here and there over the years, so I think I got the jist:  the movie blows.  But then, check out James Cameron’s resume:  does anyone seriously enjoy these movies on any level?  As for me, I’m patiently waiting for the sequel to Piranha Part Two: The Spawning.

futuramaAnyway, I did see the Futurama parody of Titanic – that’s probably good enough.

I thought the idea of a Titanic movie was in bad taste before, when I was a teenager. Re-releasing it just affirms my deeply spiritual belief that James Cameron is the devil and he shouldn’t set this hell hound upon us again.  Besides, he owes me one:  I sat through all of Avatar and I didn’t interrupt that flaming pile of shiz once to complained about how bad the movie sucked (besides being crappy, it’s also the most predictable movie of all time), how heavy the 3D glasses were, how sick I was of the fact that everything on Pandora glows after the first walk through the jungle, that the element they wanted to mine was called unobtanium and that it equally unnecessary for Cameron to scale the aliens that much bigger than the humans as it was to show the main guy get into his avatar control coffin every single damn time he was going to control his avatar.  He has to get in the damn coffin thingy – I get it!

Back to Titanic:  making money off tragedy is evil, but not illegal, so I don’t begrudge him much for this – if it wasn’t Cameron, it’d be somebody else.  But to do it twice with the same movie is downright… I don’t know what to call it.  I guess it makes you Hitler.  There, I said it – its just basic math:

let p be profiting off tragedy, so p * 2 = you’re Hitler

I was mad about how shitty Avatar was, but re-releasing Titanic is going to far, and I’m super angry about it, and it’s an anger I can never let go…  never let go.

titanic

"You just said you'd never let go... don't forget and leave me in a watery grave forever..."

Disney World Vacation Photos

Sorry it’s been a while in between posts, but I was on vacation for a while – yeah, VACATION!  And it was awesome, mind you – TOTALLY AWESOME!  I’m working on a monster post about my trip to Disney World that will probably be available next week.  If you need some prose in the style of the J-Dogg (yeah, I seriously refer to myself as the J-Dogg; well, not seriously) to tide you over until  then, head over to BomberBanter.com, where I rip the Yankees for playing like unmitigated ASS against the Texas Rangers. Read the rest of this entry

The Golden Compass movie review

Have you ever had an experience where you see a trailer for a movie and formed an assumption about said film and then when you actually saw it, it’s nothing like you expected?  That’s  exactly what happened to me when I saw The Golden Compass.

The trailer I kept seeing for The Golden Compass is perhaps once of the worst cut trailers I’ve ever seen.  Being a fan of film editing (I edited the scenes in Pulp Fiction into chronological order for fun), this is something I look closely at.  The very concept of editing a movie into just a few seconds is daunting and I understand it’s not the same thing of taking hours of footage and assembling it into a film.  There has to be a ton of voices for a trailer editor to listen to:  the director, the producers, other studio execs and marketing people who all want things accomplished with this commercial for their movie.  But when it comes to the The Golden Compass, they blew it.  Badly.

So you watch the trailer and think, “OK, this movie is about a little girl who has a golden compass and hangs out with polar bears.  And Nicole Kidman wants the golden compass for some nefarious purpose… probably.  There sure seem to be a lot of polar bears in this movie!  Guess I’ll have to see it to figure out what all these damn polar bears in clothes have to do with that golden compass/little girl/ Nicole Kidman problem.”

That’s barely what this movie about.

I’m not familiar with Northern Lights (or the title it was released under here in America, The Golden Compass), the novel the film is based on, by which I mean I didn’t know it existed until I saw the trailer for the movie.  So all I had to go on was the trailer, and that trailer did not entice me to see this movie.  (I saw it anyway, but that’s besides the point – I also saw City of Ember, and like the trailer, that movie was kinda crappy.)  Against all odds, I watched it.  Why not, after all?  I like animals, and polar bears kinda look like big white dogs to me, and dogs are, as the kids say, ‘da bomb.’  What could possible go wrong?

the golden compassNothing much.  It’s a pretty good movie… only it doesn’t have much to do with polar bears and some weird animal war like I thought.  I guess I was expecting some weird Narnia knockoff, but what I got was more crazy shiz than I can shake a dæmon at.  (That’s pronounced demon, by the way.)  Yeah, dæmon.  The movie starts with a voice over that explains what a dæmon is; wikipeida does as good a job with one sentence:

The film is set in a world where a person’s soul resides outside their body in an animal-like form called a “dæmon“.

Got that?  Oh, and they talk, too.  And they’re independently sentient, meaning they have a mind of their own and don’t have any sort of telepathic connection to their human.  Oh and the childrens’ dæmons are shape shifters, but once you reach adult hood, they pick a constant shape.  Because… yeah, not sure why.

After the voice over, I figured we’d be surrounded by snow, but nope.  Looks like England – well to me, at least.  So these kids hang out with their dæmons and the Magisterium is kidnapping kids to try and separate them from their dæmons because Lord Asriel has learned that particles called “Dust,” which originates in a parallel universe and enters a person’s body via their dæmon, and the Magisterium believes the Dust will influence them and they want to inoculate themselves from said influence by separating themselves from their dæmons…

And there are a bunch of other plot threads moving through the movie, like the polar bears, the witches, who are Lyra Belacqua‘s parents, what will the bad guys do if they get their hands on the alethiometer (technical name for the Golden Compass) and… oh  yeah, the fate of the kidnapped kids and all this other crazy stuff!

I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.  If you like fantasy, you’ll enjoy this movie.  The characters are interesting and complex, and the story movies along well.  The effects aren’t perfect, but the acting is.  The bad news is the movie ends abruptly, leaving the door open for a sequel (two sequels, actually) that it sounds like New Line Cinema has no intention of bringing to the big screen.

So if The Golden Compass sounds interesting to you, I guess you’re better off reading the books.  I plan to – after all, the movie was good.

Everything you ever wanted to know and were afraid to ask about Glen Beck

glen beckNew York Times Magazine has a dissertation (the online version is 10 “pages” long) out on Glen Beck.  If that sounds daunting, don’t worry – I’ll hook you up.  Let’s quote:

“I think what the country is going through right now is, in a way, what I went through with my alcoholism,” he told me. “You can either live or die. You have a choice.”

Am I the only person on earth who didn’t know Glen Beck was a recovering alcoholic?  That makes it even more interesting to me when people refer to him as the new Rush Limbaugh, as Mr. Limbaugh is in recovery for abusing… I forget what, pills, maybe?  And ‘live or die,’ huh?  I guess Glen Beck saw the end of Karate Kid Part 2.

It was a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of September, and Beck had just returned from a week’s vacation in the Grand Tetons followed by a quick hop to Anchorage, where he and Sarah Palin appeared at an event on Sept. 11.

Read the rest of this entry

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