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Archive for January, 2009

DVD of the Day #27 - Burn After Reading

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Burn After Reading was one of my favorite films from 2008 and easily my favorite Coen Brothers movie. The movie takes a bit to get going, but once it does, it just become a completely batshit insane dark comedy about the insanity living here in the District of Columbia. The movie actually makes you go, “Holy shit!” several times with bits you just didn’t see coming, mainly what happens when George Clooney’s character meets Brad Pitt’s and the Home Depot project Clooney is building in his basement.

Burn After Reading features an amazing cast: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Sledge Hammer, J. Jonah Jameson and more. I do have to admit this is easily my favorite Brad Pitt role of all time just because the character is so stupid, it’s hilarious.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell: Osborn Cox (Malkovich) is a wreck of a man who was just fired from the CIA for his drinking problem. His wife is planning to leave him (and his having an affair with George Clooney’s character). Cox’s wife is told by her divorce lawyer to get all of his financials from his computer so they can see how much he’s really worth. Along with the financials, his wife accidentally downloads Cox’s memoirs that he has been writing. Of course, this disc is lost by the divorce lawyer’s secretary who then leaves it at her gym…where it is found by two clueless personal trainers who decide to blackmail Cox since they have, “His Sensitive Shit.” From there everything goes to hell and it’s pretty much a laugh riot - especially the ending. God bless America.

A very fun movie and it’s nice to see a comedy from the Coens after how fucking dark No Country For Old Men was. Yeesh.

Is It Worth Keeping? Yes.
Rating: 7.5/10

And so here we are

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Back to the grind with my nine day weekend finally over. Man was it a busy time. So much happened, and yet nothing did.

I wracked up $500 in vet bills with the bunnies. Monday they had their annual checkups and bloodwork and Friday they had to go back in. I woke up Early Friday morning at about 2-3am with Chewie having a massive sneezing fit and baby’s eyes being a little wet and goopie just like Thylali’s were reight before she died. These two signs of sickness plus the lack of sleep plus a week of not being productive plus a general overall dissatisfaction with things at the moment triggered a bit of a panic attack that didn’t subside until Saturday evening about 6pm. Of course a panic attack for me just means I’m subuded and appear normal compared to the histronics that occur in others when they have one. Plus, when I have one it’s more about me being crazy productive. My defense mechanism has always been to gets things done rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, so the rabbits had vet appointments at 9am Friday, where we learned Chewie and Baby aren’t sick - they just have allergies, most likely to dust and the like. Even though I scrubbed everything for hours while they were at the vet (I had them run every test known to man and Chewie needed a tooth spur removed) Chewie’s still sneezing at the same time every morning and it wakes me up instantly. Still, it’s good to know he’s not sick.

The rest of the attack occured with the fact we’ll all be moving in August, the fact I don’t feel appreciated or paid enough in my day job and that I’m getting way too antsy about the DSCC getting back to me about the new position with them. So I spent ten hours on Monday doing resumes. 122 to be exact. I’ve already heard back from two companies, both in Minneapolis that want to hire me and once I hear back from Erin and Madeline with their full contact information, I’ll have three more into General Mills. What can I say, I want to make sure they get a referral bonus.

I’m not sure why I’m contemplating offers back in Minneapolis. Well, that’s not true, I know why. Money. I make a lot through all my freelancing but DC also costs a lot more. The same cost for renting out half of the duplex on Lake of the Isles is how much a 500-600 sq ft apartment costs here in the DC metro area. That’s insane to me.

Looking back it’s probably less a panic attack and more my little “MUST TAKE STOCK OF LIFE LIFE AND FOCUS DIRECTION” thing that I have every two years since I moved back to the states. two years ago I had it and starting looking outside of Minneapolis. Two years before that I was looking to get out of UMP. Two years before that I realized Elisa and I were on borrowed time and started taking stock in getting back to the states, although only half hearted because my heart wanted to believe differently from what my brain was saying.

So we’ll see. Out of all the resumes I sent, only 8 were back in Minneapolis and they were all jobs I would move back for if they met my salary demands. Three others to GM will get back tonight and I appreciate Madeline really pushing the HR there to hire me. Yay for internal pressure. We’ll see what happens.

I had a talk with Kim about the reality of my situation Saturday and how DC is the anti-Minneapolis. I hated Minneapolis weather and it’s being in the middle of nowhere but I made a lot of friends, 3/4ths of which I missed seeing while I was back during Thanksgiving whereas I can count on my hand the amount of people in D.C. I’ve met that haven’t disgusted me in some manner, but I love the city, the warmth, the things there are to do and how close it is to everything I love. Plus, there’s a Nandos. So it’s a weird situation. But the chance of me moving back to the Twin Cities is pretty remote and it all revolves around a) finding a job I could do that would make up for the weather B) the job opens roughly around when the lease on either half of the duplex opens up so I could just move on in and C) the amount of money. I’m showing my ethnic background with that last one.

Life would be a lot easier is the NDP just said, “Here’s that offer letter for the Director of Marketing” position. I so suck at waiting patiently.

DVD of the Day #26 - One Missed Call

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Like many of you, I find Hollywood’s remakes of classic Japanese horror films to be awful. In fact the only one I’ve liked is The Ring which I actually find better than Ringu if only because Ringu as a whole springs off into amazingly bad territory with hermaphroditic psychics from beyond the grave. I think i was the only one worried when the US Ring brought over the Ringu director, if only because I’ve sat through Ringu II and Ringu 0 and read the manga and thought, “Wow, this is some mighty bad crap. They should have stopped it at point XXX”

However part of me was hopeful for One Missed Call as I enjoy the Japanese one and the trailer for the US one appeared that it was going to be…okay. I mean it couldn’t be worse than all the Japanese remakes Sarah Michelle Gellar was in. or Pulse, right?

WRONG. Not only does the US remake get fundamentally everything wrong about OMC, but it misses all the points Miike was trying to make in this film. Hell, the movie doesn’t even come together plot wise at all, keeping certain reveals (and a craptacular ending that makes no sense) until the very end unstead of spreading them out properly through the movie, leaving the viewer confused, annoyed, and preturbed.

Like the original movie, the US version of One Missed Call is about a ghost serial killer who gets you through your phone. It kills people repeatedly while one young girl and her plucky police detective sidekick tries to figure out what’s going on. However, due to bad acting, strange ghostly visions that have nothing to do with the killings at all but are put in just to be creepy and “cool” and a complete misunderstanding of the reality TV aspects of the film, the US One Missed Call fails in every way it is possible to fail. Hell, they even changed the ringtone and how one of the ghosts died which is fundamental to her motivation and killings. Now she’s just an evil psychotic instead of emotionally disturbed and immature with severe mommy-sister issues.

This makes the US Pulse look amazing. I actually found myself going, “Well maybe I should watch Pulse again. Maybe it wasn’t too bad after all.” Yes. YES IT WAS THAT BAD. It’s just this film is so fucking awful it makes bad films look good by comparison.

The only redeeming quality of this film is Ana Claudia Talancon…and not because of her acting skills.


Is It Worth Keeping? Ha ha ha. NO.
Rating: 2/10 (I’d give it a one, but I have in fact seen worse films and at least the cinematography and special effects are…okay. It’s better than fucking Wind Chills though.)

Review #248

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Ultimate Shooting Collection
Developer: Milestone Inc.
Publisher: UFO Interactive
Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Release Date: 01/23/2009

Although the title is Ultimate Shooting Collection, it really should have been Dreamcast Shooting Collection as all three games were originally on the venerable Sega Genesis. Contrary to popular belief, there are still games being made for the Sega Genesis, per my review of Wind and Water Puzzle Battles, which was released at the tail end of 2008. In fact, all three games were released after Sega stopped officially supported the Dreamcast, but that didn’t stop either developers or gamers from continuing to shot it love. Here’s a quick history of each game before we begin the actual review.

Chaos Field was originally released for the Dreamcast in December 2004, variants of the game were ported to the Playstation 2and Game Cube. This game is basically nothing but Ikaruga boss battles but instead of black vs. white bullet absorption there are two fields: Chaos and Order.

Radio Allergy, which was released in early 2005, is also known and most often referred to as Radirgy This too was ported to the Gamecube and PS2, each with their own exclusive gameplay move. Radirgy has a Jet Set Radio feel to it in terms of graphics and music. This was released in early 2006 and considered the most popular of the three shooters in this collection

Karous is my personal favorite of these games (Probably due to the fact I have played it so often I can beat it without losing a life.) Karous (Which is meant to be “Karasu”, which is Raven In Japanese) was released in 2007. 2007 was an amazing year for the Dreamcast as it gave us Trigger Heart Excella and Last Hope in addition to this fun little shooter. Until WWPB, Karous was considered the last Dreamcast game.

So now we have all three for a price of $29.99, and two of these games have never seen English language releases. How do these titles stack up despite originally being released on a system nearly two generations old?

DVD of the Day #25 - One Missed Call

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This is my favorite Takashi Miike film. I even have the ringtone from this movie as my deafult ringer for my cell, so that should tell you something.

One of the main reasons I love this movie is because it takes the “possesed electronics” fad of Asian horror and makes some subtle jabs at it, along with Japanese pop culture. Instead of a possesed VHS tape like Ringu or a possessed camera like Shutter, One Missed Call revolves around a ghost that calls your cell phone. When you recieve your voice mail message it comes from the future and it is a recording of your last words before you die horribly.

The deaths in One Missed Call are both inventive and violent, but what I like best is how the movie bashes traditional mainstream Japanese horror, the insanity of reality TV, how the Japanese culture doesn’t talk about family issues - preferring to keep them as secrets lest the entire family be dishonoured by their discover and more. There are a lot of great plot twists in the movie as well, all featuring the evil spooky ghost (or two) behind the serial slayings. Even the ending is unexpected and it’s a nice little debate amongst J-horror fans as to what happened at the end. There is a clear cut ending that Miike meant, and the sequel (not done by Miike) hammers that particular ending home, although I wouldn’t advise watching the second as its pretty lousy. I hear there is a third OMC that hasn’t come to the states and I’ve seen bits of the OMC TV series which is actual quite good, but the original film is still my favorite.

I’m a big believer than original and innovative horror has passed Japan buy for the past few years with France being the current country of choice for high quality horror right now (and films in general. They’ve been amazingly impressive for the past half decade), but Miike’s One Missed Call is one of the last few good Japanese horror films that I can recall watching.

IS It Worth Keeping? Yes
Rating: 6.5/10

DVD of the Day #24 - The Cannonball Run

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Well this was a fun little flick.I’d never actually seen it before, but I enjoy those old school ensemble movies like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Rat Race so I decided to use one of my many Swapadvd.com credits for this.I have to say this was a pretty impressive cast. Burt Reynolds, Sammy Davis Jr., Roger Moore aping Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Farah Fawcett, Peter Fonda, Jackie Chan, Don Deluise and more. Just a fun cast.

The premise of the movie is wacky and unrealistic, but also a lot of fun. The Cannonball Run is an illegal street race from one coast to the next. The idea is to get to the other side of the country as fast as you can without getting pulled over by the cops. The characters are all insane, ranging from a Shiek in a souped up Rolls Royce, Burt and Don in a fake Ambulance, Tara Buckman and Adrienne Barbeau in cat suits with revealing cleavage to stop cops from writing tickets and so much more. There’s no depth to any of the characters and the movie relies on a lot of slapstick and sight gags, but it’s a cute little film that had me laughing repeatedly. It’s not a great film by any means, or even a good one due to all the inconsistencies and a real lack of any plot other than “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown,” but it’s highly entertaining crap that I could easily watch again and again.

Oddly enough, the movie appears to have been based on an actual outlaw race by the same name. I never knew that! I’ve also heard the sequel to this movie is considered one of the worst films ever made, so I think we’ll be avoiding that as well.

IS it worth keeping? If you like this type of movie as I do, then yes. it’s not a GOOD movie; it’s just a fun one.
Rating: 5.5/10

DVD of the Day #23 - Doomed Megalopolis

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Wow, was this god awful. I had no idea going into this that this would be god awful. This is a pretty famous old anime from the 1980’s and I remember people talking about this while I was watching 8 Man After, Vampire Hunter D and Golgo 13. I assumed this was a classic. Hell, it IS considered a classic, but god only knows why. After watching all four 45 minute episodes, I have to say this was a horrible waste of my time filled with stupid deaths, nonsensical plots, incest, and some really shitty animation.

Basically the whole series revolves around an undead mage named Yasunori Kato who wants to destroy Tokyo because he doesn’t like technology or modernization. Realize that this occurs between 1908 and 1930, which makes you wonder what he’d think of Tokyo, 2008. As such Kato is trying to wake the guardian spirit of Tokyo, Taira no Masakado, who he hopes will destroy the city when awakened. Instead each episode involves Kato killing things, doing depraved acts and being a right buttmunch, only to be stopped in one way or another at the end of the episode. This is trite, predictable and holy crap boring. The only episode that doesn’t end this way is the last where one of the main characters’ wife reveals herself to be the Godess of Mercy and then she and Kato get it on which ends his attempts to destroy Tokyo. In other words, all Kato really wanted was to blow is wad on some lady’s boobies.

Oh, in episode three, Kato is defeated by the mystical power of Fend Shui. Yes, Fung Shui. How the fuck did this get labeled a classic work of Japanese Animation?

This is bad across the board. Bad acting. bad animation. Gratuitous boob shots and rape, a nonsensical story, horrible plot devices, an exceptionally stupid villain who looks like an anorexic M. Bison and equally stupid protagonists. Avoid this piece of crap at all costs. Thank god it was free.

Is It Worth Keeping? No, but it’s worth BURNING.
Rating: 2/10

DVD of the Day #22 - Postal (Blu Ray)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Okay, some of you will probably think I’m insane for this, but Postal was one of my five favorite comedies from 2008, along with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Burn After Reading, Hamlet 2 and Run, Fatboy Run. I’d even put Postal at #3 of those five. Why? Because it is pure insanity and also Uwe Boll making fun of himself and is reputation as well. It’s great fun.

My favorite bits in the movie:

1) Verne Troyer is gang raped by a thousand monkeys.

2) Uwe Boll admits his films are financed by Nazi Gold

3) A jewish woman berates uwe for his movies being made with Nazi Gold and how her grandfather died in the Holocaust. Uwe replies, “My grandfather died in Auschweitz too.” which shuts her up. Then he adds, “He fell from a watchtower.”

4) The creator of the Postal video game tries to kill Uwe Boll for “ruining video game movies.” To which Uwe replies, “What are you talking about? This film is great!”

5) Uwe gets shot in the dick and bleeds to death

6) The limitless children and animals killed by random gunfire in this movie.

7) The fact this movie actually carries a very subtle and intelligent message that there is little difference between Muslim fundamentalist terrorists and the crazy evangelical Christians who preach pro life and then go out and blow up abortion doctors. I was shocked at how well, smart, Postal was at getting across the method that religious tend to cause more harm than good in this world, and certainly more than any video game.

8) Dave Foley is awesome as always

9)The entire movie is surreal and almost kafka-esque. Or maybe it would be more Camus-esque due to random death.

10) The extras include all of Uwe Boll vs his critics in thier famous boxing matches. AWESOME!

11) Postal 2 for the PC comes as a free add-in. Considering this is both fun and funny, it’s worth the purchase alone.

12) The blu-ray was three bucks cheaper than the normal DVD

All in all, this movie either shows Uwe Boll is better at making comedies than serious films, or that after crap like Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead, Mr. Boll was able to put together a very good, funny, madcap zany film that is indeed offensive at times, but only because you know the message being given is both true and hits home in a way a lot of people don’t want to look at themselves, their religion, or even the level of stupidity we’ve taken 9/11 to.

Highly recommended to all.

Is It Worth Keeping? Fuck, yes.

Rating: 7/10

Middle of a long weekend!

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Man, four days of weekend down and another five to go. It’s been a pretty productive time. Lots of writing finished, lots of Pokemon stuff finished, exercise accomplished and more.

Yesterday Vlad and I walked the seven miles from here to the mall to see the Obama inaugriation. It was more about people gawking than the actual event. I’ve never seen DC so happy and optimistic before. It was great. It was also crazy crowded and really, when will DC ever be that busy again? Someone erected an inflatable George W Bush status with a plaque calling him one of “History’s Greatest Presidents.” I’m still not sure if it was a joke of a wacky Conservative attempt to make people actually think W will be remembered as anything but Warren Harding 2.0.

Still waiting to hear from the DSCC. It’s driving me nuts as I’d just like some closure on that as it’s an opportunity I’d really enjoy and have a lot of fun with.

Back with the Charity I do stuff for, they’ve given me a nicer office. Here’s hoping they fgive me more money too. Alas, I know all non profits are a bit fucked by the current economic crisis, but still.

Looks like I’ll be down in California sometime in Feb. San Diego metro region. Whoo.

DVD of the Day #21 - Planet Terror (Blu-Ray)

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

The first half of the Grindhouse double feature didn’t fare so well, so you’re probably surprised to see me picking up the second half. Well, it was a free Blu-Ray when I bought Postal and Young Frankenstein so hey, why not? I’m happy to say I liked Robert Rodgiuez’s piece much better than Tarrantino’s, although it still had some flaws. I’m mostly happy that you could choose between the scratchy theatre version, and a “restored negative” version that was clean and crisp. I preferred the latter to the original as it really took advantage of Blu-Ray’s capabilities.

Planet Terror is yet another “Government oopsie creates zombies” story, although this time we can point the finger at Sayid from Lost and Bruce Willis, which is much better than the usual suspects. Planet Terror also sports a fun cast of people I’ve never seen before or since save for Rose McGowen. The movie doesn’t really offer anything new or inventive save for McGowen’s gatling gun leg that she gets about three-fifths of the way through the film. It really is a paint by number zombies movie where you have a large cast that is slowly whittled down into a few straggling survivors. I did like that the zombies were intelligent and that repeat exposure to the zombification gas could keep you human until you eventually begame a hideous blob person. That was a nice touch.

One thing I didn’t like was the “missing reel” bit. Yes I get it was supposed to be funny, but it also created a large gap in the story that you are supposed to fill in on your own, but it felt more like sloppy storytelling and a lack of Robert Rodgiuez’s ability to bring everyone together for the final stand.

There’s nothing really that disgunishes Planet Terror from other, better, zombie movies. The script is mostly that of Return of the Living Dead, but thankfully Planet Terror boasts a better cast of actors and better effects. I also have to admit I found Marley Shelton (Dr. Dakota Bloch) oddly hot and I did enjoy that her little boy had his head blown off. Not that I delight in child murdering, but that usually animals and small children are safe from grisly demises save for in FEAST, which has plenty of both.

I have to admit I’m not normally a fan of zombie movies. I believe I own five other zombie films besides this one: the Dawn of the Dead remake (because it was cheap and on HD DVD), Shaun of the Dead, Dead and Breakfast, Dead and Deader, & Wicked Little Things. Considering three of these are comedies, It’s obviously not my genre of choice unless we’re talking satire. I definitely rank Planet Terror on par with Wicked Little Things as both had mediocre plots but some great acting to make up for it, and a notch below Dawn of the Dead, which is probably my favorite modern zombie film. I think I’ll hang on to this one as it was fun, but I think I’d have been annoyed had I seen this in a theatre instead.

Is It Worth Keeping Yeah.
Rating: 5.5/10