Thursday, November 8, 2012

Movie: The Hunter

There is a category of movies seldom noted: well done quality dramas which few would ever choose to watch if not for the deceptive previews. Not action, not comedy, not compelling, yet must be advertised as such for any market penetration. Good movies nobody would complain of watching, but which would not be chosen for what they are. The Hunter, of course, is one. Superb acting depicting a moving drama, telling of a hired gun's emotional bonding with an unwitting host family and the betrayals of all involved. One action scene aside, it is anything but. Worth watching, but hard to imagine someone knowingly choosing to.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Movie: From Paris With Love

John Travolta likes playing over the top sociopaths.
Waaaaaay too much.

Movie: Assassination Games

Jean Claude Van Damme returns for his most cerebral role yet: an assassin teaming up with another to take down a drug cartel. The reasons are deep and moving, insofar as a hard hearted loner can have deep and moving reasons. JCVD has abandoned his drug-fueled violent dance extravaganzas and moved on to gritty dramas - and by gritty I mean akin to a breakfast of asphalt. If you liked Se7en or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo you'll want to see this; if not, don't.

Movie: Blitz

Plot. Yes, there is one. A serial killer is murdering cops, and Jason Statham ends up in the middle of stopping him.

The aforementioned key: Jason Statham. Playing his standard big-bucks role of a chaotic good character kicking any ass getting in his way toward doling out street justice via a job that conveniently places him there.

Movie: Sliding Doors

One tiny event, something as simple as who moves out of whose way while going down stairs, can make all the difference. With Sliding Doors we get to see both timelines. This romantic comedy gives us twice the lack of romance and twice the lack of comedy for the same set of mundane characters dealing with the same basic set of uninteresting mistakes.

One of Pixar's rules of story writing amounts to: it's ok to set up the plot with a coincidence, but not to resolve it with one. This movie elaborates on that: especially to wedge in a happy ending where there isn't one.

Gwenneth Paltrow does a fine job with what role she's given. It paid her bills.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Movie: M:I-3

It's an action movie. Big budget. No complaints.

Oh, and it has a passing resemblance to a 1960's hit TV show.

Observation: How Much Computer for $2400

In 1981 we paid $2400 for an IBM PC with specs 0.0047GHz CPU, 0.000016GB RAM, audio tape storage (no floppy drive, hard drive unheard of, flash storage unimaginable), 320x200 graphics, and no monitor. We upgraded storage to 0.00016GB floppies soon after.

31 years later people are whining about the expense of $2400 for a descendant computer sporting 489x faster clock speed (x4, it's a quad-core)(never mind how much more done per clock cycle), 1,000,000x the RAM, 1,600,000x the upgraded storage, 81x the pixels, 65,535x the colors, monitor, and similar connectivity improvements - all in a box the volume of the first computer's keyboard.

If you take inflation into account, the cost of that original PC equates to 2.5 "retina" MacBook Pros today. For a third of the work you get a million times the computer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Movie: The Vow

Right to the point:
The happy couple, not long married, are out for a pleasant evening. They're hit by a truck. He recovers. She forgets him and their life. The rest is his struggle to win her love again, while others take advantage to turn her history the way it didn't go the first time.

A pleasant date movie, this story is well done, enjoyable, and predictable. And turns out it's true.

What to do when she forgets the last five years, returns to the past, and heads down the path everyone thought she would the first time? Why didn't she continue that way the first time? What could possibly persuade her to change course - again - the same improbable way? Intriguing questions with compelling answers.

How he could, should, and does handle this agonizing rewind is thought provoking. She is his wife, he is an utter stranger, and the pursuit & avoidance of intimacies amid trust and lack thereof makes for aching drama. The proof of their past is irrefutable, but the compulsion to repeat it is a mystery.

Methinks this movie is underrated. It excels at its goal at the exclusion of the wow-bang-shiny we're so used to, making it look so easy we miss the profundity of the human drama it tells.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Movie: The Proposal

The Proposal is the quintessential romantic comedy: two people having every reason to avoid each other are thrust together by improbable circumstances, despite their best efforts are compelled to learn wondrous facts about each other, and just as circumstances conspire to separate them one makes a heroic act to save and secure their love just as the other is leaving forever.

The situation is contrived, the embarrassing jokes compulsory, the plot predictable, the big reveal compelling, the supporting cast goofy, and it's all worth seeing again in a "have you seen..." pinch.

Oh, particulars? A boss-from-he11 executive needs an excuse to prolong an expired visa, so she (!) obligates the long-suffering loyal assistant to play fiancé. You can guess the rest.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Global Climate Change - In Context

Climate changes. Cope.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book: After America

Mark Steyn captures, in one easy amusing tome, everything that Right-leaning pundits complain is wrong with this country. Great summary, great insights - read it, then put it down and decide how you're going to fight back against the insanity of the polypragmonocracy (government by busybodies). And fight you will, as the current trajectory has no pleasant ending, no matter your political persuasion. This insightful commentary either pulls together the thoughts you're trying to form, or pulls apart the delusions you hold.