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For any and all info or discussion of podcasts and podcasting. Also community related miscellanea.
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:40 pm

And my (long) review of Splinter Cell: Double Agent is here. I don't recommend it. The stuff they left intact from previous Splinter Cell games is all very good, but, unfortunately, they changed almost everything.
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Post by Goldenrat » Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:02 pm

The Day The Earth Stood Still: saw this movie no the 23rd with my wife. I went in with low expectations based on the buzz I've been hearing from critics and in this forum. Well, the movie met my expectations. Pros: The special effects were good. I like to look at Jennifer Connelly. Keanu was good as the stiff, unemotional alien. John Cleese's 2 minutes on screen. Metal locusts! Cons: The "man is bad" message and constant whining about how "man can change, just give us a chance". Jennifer Connelly is too damn thin (what is wrong with these hollywood-types and their obsession to look like skeletons?). Will Smith's kid's character was like fingernails on a blackboard to this dad, and he got way too much screen time. I just wanted to flick that little brat's ear and set him in a corner. The predictable ending.

So, in my opinion I would say it is a renter if you really want to see it.
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:51 pm

Finished with Blind Watchmaker. I didn't read all of it, but it has to go back to the library and I've lost the interest to obtain another copy. Without going into detailed criticism, I'll just say that what I've read confirms my opinion that Dawkins is an empty suit. The book is interesting only as an intellectual exercise, and not especially interesting in that regard.

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Got the games "Mirror's Edge", "Call of Duty: World at War" and "World of Goo". All are quite good so far.
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Post by Goldenrat » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:06 pm

Saw a couple movies last weekend. Here are my quick takes on them:

Valkyrie:: I liked it. Not great, but a decent movie, I thought. The thing that bugged me was the language and accent issues. The German characters spoke English in German accents, British / Aussie accents, and Tom Cruise spoke like he was in Chicago. The teletype and written words were in German. How hard would've it been to have everyone speak with the same accent? I don't know. Maybe not a big deal but it kind of bugged me. It was worth seeing in the theater IMO.

Curious Case of Benjaman Button: I thought this was excellent. A long yarn, but it flew by and never dragged. Well done all around and I was surprised how well they pulled off the backward aging effects on Pitt. I haven't been to a lot of movies this year for some reason, but this is one of the best ones I've seen.

I'd be curious (like the case of B-Button) to hear what others thought of these two flicks.
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Post by clutron » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:18 am

Watching: 30 Rock - really, really good every week. Tracy Morgan can say anything and make me laugh, but Baldwin is where the show begins and ends.
YES, 30 ROCK rules so much. And I have to say Tina Fey is my secret girlfriend..So hot, so funny. Alec Baldwin is hilarious as the arrogant boss. That episode when Kenneth played poker with him was awesome.

Other TV I watch
- The Office
- The Chiefs...more like the Chefs this season.
- Heroes...What? Pete's dad took healing power from Kensei to come out of his coma, but you can shoot him with one bullet and he's dead? Sylar is a misunderstood bad guy who is really a confused good guy and has a kid named after Noah? Hiro can't time travel any more? No more formula? And now Nathan is creating a super power registration Act? Is Marvel gonna sue NBC cuz they ripped off the X-Men? Anyway, I still love the show. So much awesome fighting.
- Soon to be "Lost" when it comes back
- Sarah Conner Chronicles - Summer Glau = hot...but I feel a little guilty noticing cuz she looks like she's, what 16?...But it's cool cuz she's really a robot.

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Post by cammoblammo » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:09 am

clutron wrote:Summer Glau = hot...but I feel a little guilty noticing cuz she looks like she's, what 16?...But it's cool cuz she's really a robot.
So... being attracted to a girl who is physically mature but not quite of a consensual age causes guilt, but being attracted to a machine is okay? You don'tlive in the States, do you? ;-)

Just for the record, I think Summer Glau's hot, regardless of her age or androidism.
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:06 pm

Mirror's Edge for the 360: I give it a 7/10. Long review here, if anyone's interested.
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Post by StalinSays » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:33 pm

A couple of my recent, drabble community relevant facebook 'flixster' reviews. I feel many here might be susceptible to the threat of watching the X Files sequel, so information needs to be circulated. Also, I need to evangelize for The Wrestler, which was easily my top pick of 2008.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4.5

A year's end heavy weight, sure to garner as many Oscar nods as it does box office millions. While Aronfsky's The Wrestler tugged a few more heart strings for me, both best picture favorites are grand accomplishments, and the end decision will be as arbitrary as the awards themselves. Existential, moving, often quite beautiful, Ben Butt, as I like to truncate it, is well worth the hours spent breathing it in. It can at times though be its own worst enemy. The effects, while a wonder to behold, can pull you out of the story. The extraordinary elements can distract from the particular reverence of the ordinary the film crafts. Ultimately though, these faults are just my attempt at finding the few things I didn't like. Ben Butt is quite sublime, a film that I'm sure will 'last.'

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (The X Files 2)
2

I feel a different sub-title for the second X Files film is needed; "I Want to Believe' just does not suffice. How about X Files: I Want to Believe In This Franchise, But Can't. I remember the TV series fondly, and was quite pleased when I heard that the second feature film avoided the whole aliens slant (it really was tired, and incomprehensible after a point, the Achilles heel of the first outing). But my god, what an odious and obnoxious effort this turned out to be. An awful, flat script, full of redundancy and those wonderful 'character clearly states intentions previously made clear by the events of the story' kind of moments. A lame pay-off, some 'pawed at' but never explored themes, and if you can imagine, a tepid pedophile seeking salvation sub-plot. Yeh... You can't grab Dracula's leg, shake it around a bit, and call it a vampire movie - you got to wake em' up. I'd say 'for fans only,' but really they're the most pained victims with half-hearted cash grabs like this. Stay buried X Files, I want to believe you're in a better place.


Quarantine
3

I feel it necessary to track down the inspiration for this film, [REC], before I'd be comfortable making a fair and full assessment of Quarantine. As a one off, it's a compact horror film that eagerly depicts an 'all hell breaking loose' kinda' moment, from a first person perspective, with a strong result. Nothing revolutionary about the story, very point A to point B - it's the execution that makes it noteworthy. Like Cloverfield was for the timeless outline of the giant monster B-Movie, Quarantine is for a standard issue zombie pic. Some nice, creepy moments, especially towards the end. Worth a watch unless you're one of these poor, broken folks who get vertigo from a film in this style. If so, throw down a few more meds and continue to wait patiently in whatever doctor's office you habit - old issues Time should suit your needs till they find a cure.

The Wrestler
5

A haunting and evocative film, deserving the highest accolades a reviewer's vocabulary could summon. The Wrestler lacks Hollywood pretense, a scuba dive to the murkiest depths of the human condition. Rourke's 'Randy the Ram' is heart-breaking and true, a tragic hero the like of which is seldom seen. Darren Aronofsky has produced a film that only the most bold-faced optimist could have foreseen - not that The Fountain, Pi, or Requiem for a Dream were poor films (each is exceptional in its own way), but that each seemed deepening a preset template. The sublime appearance of The Wrestler is analogous to Guy Ritchie suddenly produce The Godfather. Please see it.

Dance of the Dead
4
A cute little zombie flick, disposable as a candy wrapper, but with a similar amount of sugary goodness lying within. Crafting a likable horror comedy is no easy task, kudos all around. Shuffling amidst the myriad of recent zombie films, as dim and leaden as the living dead they portray, are standouts like the Dance of the Dead, and that's why I keep coming back.

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Post by Kevin Anderson » Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:41 pm

Dance of the Dead - (4.5) I agree with everything StalinSays, on this one. It's Revenge of the Nerds meets Night of the Living Dead / Prom. A fun ride, and unless you're just done with the whole zombie thing, then there should be something here for everyone. I wish this one had got a big screen release.

Quarantine – (2) I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a remake before the original, and it really doesn’t make me want to see [rec], even though there has been so much buzz about it over the past few years. The whole documentary / found footage style in this one just gave me a headache. And I was instantly turned off when I saw it starred my least favorite actress from Dexter.

Hatchet - (4) The Slasher flick is my least favorite horror sub-genre, but Hatchet, just rocked. Tight writing, tense, fast moving, and just old school blood and guts. Fun for the whole family. Other slasher flicks I really liked in the past year or so are: The Cottage, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and Severance.

2012 – Trailer – Very interesting.

Spaced, BBC – (5) I can’t believe it took me so long to check this out. It’s a BBC sitcom, about 14 episodes, showing the pre-Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz talents of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edger Wright. Brilliant. Some of the dialogue and jokes in Shaun of the Dead, were pulled right out of this series which chronicles a year in the life a couple of twenty somethings in England. Rich with pop culture references and parodies, the only thing I can find wrong with this series is that it only has 14 episodes.

Masters of Horror – I’ve gone through a bunch of episode in the last few months and Deer Woman has replaced the Screwfly Solution as my favorite episode. The Washingtonians was pretty interesting – paints a new image of George Washington as a cannibal. John Carpenter’s Pro Life was very disappointing.

Just started reading Wicked.
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Post by deflective » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:35 am

Kevin Anderson wrote: Quarantine – (2) I was instantly turned off when I saw it starred my least favorite actress from Dexter.
apparently Dexter likes her

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:47 pm

Anyone see Slumdog Millionaire? Mrs. Tweedy and I wanted to go see it, but it isn't in any of our local theaters. :(
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Post by strawman » Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:40 pm

Saw it with Strawwoman and the strawberryz a couple of days ago. Definitely one of the best movies of the year.
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Post by StalinSays » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:01 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:Hatchet - (4) The Slasher flick is my least favorite horror sub-genre, but Hatchet, just rocked. Tight writing, tense, fast moving, and just old school blood and guts. Fun for the whole family. Other slasher flicks I really liked in the past year or so are: The Cottage, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and Severance.
I'm a similar kinda' horror fan; prefer the supernatural to the human interest thriller, slasher or otherwise, but you definitely have my attention. I was a big fan of Leslie Vernon/Severance, so Cottage/Hatchet just got dumped right in the Netflix queue. Oh, and an official de-reccomendation goes to French import slasher Frontier as well as home grown Barker adaptation Midnight Meat Train. Both drew lunatic praise from the 'Horror Geek' at cinematical.com, but met and held my ire.
Kevin Anderson wrote:Masters of Horror – I’ve gone through a bunch of episode in the last few months and Deer Woman has replaced the Screwfly Solution as my favorite episode. The Washingtonians was pretty interesting – paints a new image of George Washington as a cannibal. John Carpenter’s Pro Life was very disappointing.


I've watched my way through most episodes onlines - the series is so hot and cold it'd be a waste to do it any other way. I'm on the same page with Deer Woman as the desired prototype. Dreams in the Witch-House, Fair-Haired Child, and Haeckel's Tale were all decent, by my judgment. I didn't really mind Pro-Life - too goofy to be contemptible. If I had any kind of expectation of quality though, I'd be as displeased as Kevin. Haven't gotten too far in to season 2, but I'm making headway.

An emphatic de-recommendation goes out to the episode Jenifer. It knocked Dario Argento out of the 'considered genius' basket as quickly as a modern Romero movie. Deranged and deformed succubus handicap woman - need I be more descriptive?

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Post by StalinSays » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:21 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:Anyone see Slumdog Millionaire?
Another quickie review re-post. I'm with Strawman and the folks at the Golden Globes as a fan of this film.

Slumdog Millionaire
4.5

A fine feature film that reminded me of the Brazilian modern classic City of God in all the best ways. The central 'true love' story is as gooey and incongruous, as to be expected when saccharin hits grit. Overall though a viewer of Slumdog Millionaire is present a vibrant, emotionally charge tale of frightening urban ills set against the inspirational perseverance of the downtrodden. Danny Boyle shows off master class versatility, conquering another genre with Kubrick'ian gusto. Highly recommended.

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Post by Kevin Anderson » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:25 am

Comedy Central’s Celebrity Roast of William Shatner (5 out of 5)

Unforgiving, filthy, disrespectful, outrageous, and completely hilarious. I laughed so hard it hurt. Probably not for everyone though.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe – extended version (1 out of 5)

I want to believe this didn’t suck as bad as it did, but the evidence is in living color and almost two hours long. I have no idea what Carter was trying to do here, but if the goal was to purge any fond memories I had of the X Files, then like our soon-to-be X Prez once said, “Mission Accomplished.” This film reduces our X Files heroes to a sniveling, whining Scully, and a clichéd “I’m attracted to the darkness” Mulder. On the list of films I wish had never been made this one débuts at number two, right below Highlander 2. There should have been only one!

Well Told Tales # 41, I Used to love Her (3.5 out of 5)

A good tongue and cheek Zombie story. Well written and produced by the folks at WTT.

Doomsday (.25 out of 5)

If there is a list of the worst films of 2008, this turkey has to be on it. There isn’t a second of originality in it. The plot (and I use that word loosely) is blatantly taken from a dozen movies, most notably Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Escape from New York, Aliens, and every plague Zombie flick ever made. It really makes me wonder how films like this get made. It seemed like it had a nice budget, but none of it was spent on the script. It looks and feels like the filmmakers were at a video store one day and just compiled an outline from their favorite movies scenes, then went out and shot it, hoping it would make sense at some point. This has to be the worst thing to come out of Scotland, since,... No, this really must be the worst thing to come out of Scotland. I was thinking it might be the band that sung that, I would walk One-thousand miles song, but, no, Doomsday is worse.

StalinSays, you really bummed me out. I was looking forward to Midnight Meat Train, when it comes out on DVD next month. Netflix has it at just under 4 stars. Are you sure it’s a stinker?
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Post by StalinSays » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:50 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:StalinSays, you really bummed me out. I was looking forward to Midnight Meat Train, when it comes out on DVD next month. Netflix has it at just under 4 stars. Are you sure it’s a stinker?
I saw the a preview screening of it out here in Los Angeles, when they were still on the fence about a theatrical release. There is always the possibility that some re-cuts took place between my viewing and the DVD release, but I'd say that's overly optimistic. Don't get me wrong, I liked the short story and am a big Clive Barker fan, I just felt like they cocked something up mixing the recipe for screen. Without revealing too much, there are supernatural elements to what would appear a typical urban serial killer tale, and they work like gravel in your grits. Its one of those 'good enough to be disappointing' kind of situations - early sequences give you an ultimately squandered sense of excitement.

Mileage may vary though, for someone unfamiliar with the twists and turns of the story, keeping their meter on 'expect below average,' the positives might sift out of the mix and shine brighter than they did for me.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:15 am

Horton Hears a Who

This had the potential to be a great movie ultimately fails simply by being too long. Horton is a short story the filmmakers bloat and weigh it down in their attempts to drag it out to 86 minutes. There's really only enough story there to last an hour. For instance, there is a fairly prominent character named Vlad who, though pretty cool in his own right, has absolutely no role in the story. You could simply omit every single reference to Vlad and you'd never know that anything had been cut.

But if we ignore the bloat and pretend that Horton is a more appropriate 60 minutes long, it's a pretty good movie. The laughs are definitely there, and the humor works on all levels, from the dysfunctional Who bureaucracy to the delightfully bizarre creatures that populate Horton's jungle. One particular sequence–in which we see that Horton dreams in low-budget animé–brought on those little laugh tears.

What struck me most–me being a Christian and all–is the deeply spiritual implications of the movie. I thought this angle was actually show better in the (much shorter) TV special of yesteryear, but, still, you've got the Mayor telling his people that they need to obey the giant elephant in the sky if they want to live... and it's actually true. On the other side of the allegory, you've got the villainous kangaroo who insists the belief in Whos is irrational and demands that Horton be silenced for the good society.

So, not a must-see, but a decent (and kid-friendly) way to kill those 86 minutes you've been meaning to get rid of.
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Post by StalinSays » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:22 pm

Saw Hatchet on Kevin's recommendation. A little abrupt in parts, but an innocuous, well intentioned horror outing, quite funny in parts. Having seen so many slashers sullied by the regrettable trend towards torture, something that hearkened back to a good old fashioned Jason film hit the mark. Just watch, Victor Crowley will be more Jason than the shoe-filler in next month's Friday the 13th reboot (3.5 of 5)

-- --

Masters of Horror: The Damned Thing by Tobe Hooper provides inarguable proof to the rumor Steven Spielberg ghost directed Poltergeist (no pun intended). A laughable hodge podge - snippets from zombie films, The Shining, slashers, and bio horror without any meaningful thread to hang upon. (1.5 out of 5)

-- --

Creep had potential: a neat premise (trapped in the subway after dark with terrifying sewer mutant), the lovely Franka Potente, visual consistency, moody setting - all the right ingredients. However, once set in motion, it quickly heads to muddy, uninteresting retread land. Add a truly regrettable, misogynistic act of violence, and the reveal of our assailant, a hair lipped, scoliosis sufferer with patchy skin (where o' where have I ever seen one of those before), and you have a real stinker. Skip it. (1.5 out of 5)

-- --

Doomsday - big time ditto on Doomsday as useless junk. Disheartening, because I considered myself a Neil Marshall fan. Trotting a bunch of send-ups to older, better films without providing anything original of value does not a movie make. I mean, if you want two hours of patting yourself on the back for watching Mad Max at some point in your life, go nuts. (2 out of 5)

-- --

My Bloody Valentine has a 71% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes huh... Having seen this factory reject, what with buttons all akimbo and one sleeve longer than the other, I can say my faith in professional critics as a whole waivers, as it would my trust in designers if aforementioned mentioned metaphor shirt being the subject of a lengthy marketing campaign from the GAP. Is the 3-D thing neat? Yeah, I guess 71% neat. Realistically though, the sum product is a painted whore; lots of attention to distraction with no mind of the horrible smell and teaming crabs beneath. A sleep-walking third act, unlikable characters, mean-spirited unimaginative gore, and cliche a minute plot characterize this failed attempt at a genre film. This would be absolute death to watch on DVD.

If you're considering this movie after seeing the delightful campy trailer, or suffering a stroke, or whatever it is that got you interested, then see it now, while it has any merit at all. (2 out of 5)

-- --

Horton Hears A Who - quality film, I'm really surprised Oscar snubbed it for best Animated. The again, it isn't the dumbest thing Oscar did this year, by any length. It looks fantastic on Blu-Ray, and I swooned over the vibrant, cartoony animation. Consider the ticket for whatever Blue Sky Studios creates next already bought.

In response to Tweedy's review - I largely agree. I was in love with Vlad's design, and felt the nature of his character fit the world they'd crafted, so I wasn't put off by his inclusion. The bloat though was apparent to me as well. I guess you have to imagine yourself a child, meeting the story for the first time.

I think the true measure of the film's success can be seen in my contradictory interpretation of the film's deeper meaning. Without welcoming any argument on Seuss's personal beliefs, my view was completely dissimilar. I saw the Kangaroo as a conservative matriarch, persecuting Horton for being a free-thinker. I would venture that both interpretations suffice, as long as the moral survives. Don't surrender your will to the majority and live well. An excellent Rorschach. (4 out of 5)

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Re: reviews

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:35 pm

StalinSays wrote:I think the true measure of the film's success can be seen in my contradictory interpretation of the film's deeper meaning. Without welcoming any argument on Seuss's personal beliefs, my view was completely dissimilar. I saw the Kangaroo as a conservative matriarch, persecuting Horton for being a free-thinker. I would venture that both interpretations suffice, as long as the moral survives. Don't surrender your will to the majority and live well. An excellent Rorschach. (4 out of 5)
I think that really illustrates the worthlessness of common stereotypes. The kangaroo certainly plays the "conservative matriarch" stereotype in resisting new ideas, demanding subservience and sheltering her child, but she is also a materialist who demands proof of everything and instinctively recoils from anything that sounds like faith. She fits equally well into the "conservative matriarch" and "ivory-tower atheist" stereotypes, depending on which you are inclined to perceive. Horton also defies stereotypes. He is a "freethinker" in his refusal to conform, but his opinions are, quite literally, based upon revelation, knowledge communicated directly to him that no one else is able to access and which other people consider irrational and arbitrary. You'd do equally well calling him a "freethinker" or a "prophet."

I think what this shows is that people are really not as easy to categorize as we like to think and that seemingly disparate beliefs often have much more in common than we would be inclined to admit.

Wow, pretty deep for a "family" movie. 8)

On my list of coolest creatures ever. The hooves are the perfecting detail.
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tis' true

Post by StalinSays » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:17 pm

Tis' true. Simple truths without an agenda. Letting the audience, moreover children, think for themselves: it's a beautiful thing. Hell, it even outpaces Wall-E in areas like that.

I concur - bizarre yellow fluff creature demands a spin-off series.

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