Saturday, December 27, 2003

movie: Return of the King. After the liberties that Peter Jackson took with the Two Towers story line, I had my expectations set fairly low. Return of the King met my low expectations. I guess as a fantasy movie it wasn't bad. As someone who generally dislikes good books that are made into movies and as a fan of the Lord of the Rings books, it is hard for me to be objective. Still, considering some of the abominations that have the title Lord of the Rings attached to them, I guess this was pretty good. 3 stars.
movie: Driving Miss Daisy. Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd. The film opens with Miss Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) proving herself no longer competent to drive. Hoke (Morgan Freeman) is hired, against Miss Daisy's will, by Boolie Worthan (Dan Aykroyd) to chauffer Miss Daisy around. Needless to say, Hoke becomes a great friend to Miss Daisy. 4 stars.
movie: Romeo Must Die. Jet Li kung-fu action flick that takes place mostly in Oakland California. Some of The Matrix special effects and choreography folks worked on this film. Jet Li is very charming (a la Jackie Chan but in his own way) and the fight choreography is very humorous. It is fun seeing a film shot on a familiar location. If you are into kung fu action flicks give this one a try. I'm ready to check out another Jet Li film some time. 3 stars.
movie: Kundun. Scorsese's flick about the Dalai Lama and China's invasion of Tibet. Great photography. 4 stars
movie: A Better Tomorrow. 1986 John Woo Hong Kong action flick. Apparently this film was really big in asia. In '86 Chow Yun Fat is a young rising star. Fun in a retrocamp sort of way. Two stars.
movie: The Deer Hunter. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania mountains, Vietnam. Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken. Three hours, three bullets, three vietnam veterans. Russian roulette. Wow, they're all so young! 3 stars.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

movie: Lost in Translation

Amy: This one got off to a comfortably slow start. Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray are well matched. I developed just enough desire to know more about the characters' thoughts to really enjoy the subtlety Sophia Coppola uses to tell their story. I wish more big-screen relationships were as satisfying as this one. And I wish more big-screen endings were as perfectly matched to their big-screen beginnings. four stars.

Jonathan: Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a movie star who is in Tokyo making a whiskey commercial. Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is also in Tokyo tagging along on her photographer hubsband's business trip. Both strangers in a strange land, they eventually become friends.

I felt the movie would have been better had
Bob Harris' wife (heard on the telephone but never seen on screen) been portrayed more sympathetically. The movie does not need so much emotional distance between Bob and his wife and it would have been better without it. In general though, the movie gives the audience plenty of room to develop their own ideas rather than bludgeoning them with a cinematic mace. Jean-Pierre Jeunet touches this very subject in his director's commentary of Amelie. There is a scene in Amelie where she takes an apartment key that has been left in a door to a locksmith to be duplicated then replaces the key in the door where she found it. In this replacing the key scene, there is an x-ray vision special effect showing that Amelie has a duplicate of the key she is replacing in her pocket. Mr. Jeunet commented that in test screenings many people did not make the connection that Amelie had duplicated the key in question when they later see her surreptitiously enter the apartment so hey added the x-ray key special effect. In seeing the movie again he felt that it was too much (i.e. lacked sublety). This is what I'm talking about; I also like the scene better without the x-ray key.

movie: Cilantro Y Perejil. When Carlos gets home an hour late and then refuses to ignore a cell phone call from his boss, Susana throws him out. Carlos weathers the separation fairly well but Susana has a more difficult time of it. Blind dates, match making services... . Netflix is definitely exaggerating when the say One of the best films to come out of Mexico. Not bad: two stars.
movie: With a Friend Like Harry. Saw this last week and really enjoy it. Sophie Guillemin is a babe. Once you get the gist of the film, the plot is predictable but seeing as how I'm not drenched in french cinematic cliches day in and day out, I found it quite amusing. I didn't make the connection until I browsed the info at IMDB but Sophie is also in He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not which I saw not too long ago. That movie stars Audry Tautou of Amelie fame. Neither of these films are particularly good but they'll do when you want a taste of something french. I give Harry 3 stars and He loves me... 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

movie: I saw Goodfellas recently. I've seen the first 3 seasons of the Sopranos on DVD. Goodfellas no doubt provided inspiration for the Sopranos. Another interesting point is the large number of actors who appear in both Goodfellas and the Sopranos.

Now, if I see Scarface I think I'll be all caught up on the italian mafia genre.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

movies: Watched Glory and Diva this weekend.

Glory stars
Matthew Broderick,
Denzel Washington,
Cary Elwes and
Morgan Freeman. Matthew Broderick plays the character Robert Shaw, a young officer in the union army who is promoted to the rank of colonel and is given command of the first all black regiment. Needless to say, the regiment faces prejudice and discrimination but gets to prove their worth in the end. I give this movie 4 stars on the netflix's scale.

Diva is a French flick from 1981. I first saw this in the 80's and recently decided to watch it again. I'm happy to say that after 20 years, I still found this film quite enjoyable. It is amusing to see a young skinny Dominique Pinon in this film. Dominique Pinon is (apparently) a favorite of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, as Monsieur Pinon has played memorable roles in several of Jeunet's films:

  • the bubble wrap popping guy in Amelie.
  • Louison in Delicatessen. Hmm, I fuzzy on this character. Time to watch Delicatessen again...
  • underwater junk collector and the clones in City of Lost Children.

OK, back to Diva. Cynthia Hawkins, a renown opera singer who refuses to be recorded, is the diva. Jules, a young postman and opera aficionado, makes a high quality bootleg recording of one of the diva's performances. There is also a mysterious crime syndicate and a cassette tape, with evidence that threatens the syndicate. Unbenownst to Jules, this cassette is placed in the saddle bag of his moped. But hey, who cares about the plot? This movie is about the characters, frenchness and Parisian scenery.
I give Diva 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

drink: mexican screwdriver

  1. fill a 750 working glass to the half way mark with large ice cubes.
  2. Pour in a dash of Cointreau and then add two or three fingers of quality tequila (e.g. Herradura Gold or Patron).
  3. Fill the remainder of the glass with orange juice (Odwalla with lotsa pulp is nice, if you've got it handy).
  4. imbibe.
  5. repeat steps 1 through 4 as necessary

I often have a mexican screw driver or three in the evening if I'm watching a DVD.

movie: Finished watching Crash. Crash is written by J.G. Ballard (sci-fi author). One of the main characters is named James Ballard (played by James Spader). Also in the film are Holly Hunter and Rosanna Arquette. The movie opens by showing that James Ballard and his wife are some what promiscuous and kinky. Later, James gets involved with people who are turned on by car crashes. Lots of explicit sexuality.

I give this flick 3.5 stars on the netflix scale.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Yesterday I had dinner at
Vasili's Greek Food and BBQ
. I also picked up some scrumptous chocolate truffles next door at
Donnelly's Chocolates.. Just ate two truffles, Mmmmm.

Exciting things I did today

  • Went to work. This is exciting -- it means that my start up company has not folded and left me unemployed (a rare thing in silicon valley these days -- not folding)
  • walked my dog.
  • listened to some of Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I got this (unabridged) audio book from
  • worked on this blog.

Still haven't figured out how to edit a blog entry after I've posted it.

News flash: I just broke the code and have done the post, edit, repost thing several times in a row now! Wow.

Came across a new article detailing a suprising method of reducing
breast cancer
. Finally scientist studying something worthwhile!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

movies: This weekend I watched El Mariachi and Desperado.

Both were quite entertaining. Not to long ago I watched Spy Kids and Spy Kids II. The common theme developing here is writer/director Robert Rodriguez (who, IMHO, is a genius).

El Mariachi and Desparado are both action flicks with a fair amount of gore and plenty of humor (has Rodriguez made a film that does not have ample helpings of humor?). El Mariachi was made for the minescule sum of $7000 and it shows -- the film has a very cheesy feel. Desparado had a real budget and feels like a real, well funded movie.

On deck: Cronenberg's Crash

this is a test of the national blogcasting system. If this had been a real emergency, George W Bush would be president and you would be crying in your beer.

Wait! G.W. Bush IS president.