Monday, March 30, 2009

"I'm going out to get some popcorn and pink lemonade. I've just seen a three-ring circus"

So this weekend I couldn't get a break from the action of March Madness to get the SO to choose a DVD to watch.  But I did the next best thing:  movies on the DVR.  And this weekend I went with something that is tried and true.  I went with a comedy...starring Cary Grant...need I say more?  That right there tells me it's a winner, and of course I went with the first movie in which Grant shows off his comedic abilities with The Awful Truth.

If you haven't seen this film, it's pretty simple.  Husband comes homes after not being in Florida, wife comes home with singing teacher.  Husband gets jealous, they get a divorce and hilarity ensues.  Wife, Lucy Warriner (Irene Dunne), moves in with her aunt and becomes engaged to an Oklahoman visiting his mother in the big city (I believe New York, but don't quote me on that).  Husband, Jerry Warriner (Grant), still waiting for the divorce to be finalized, finds ways to mess up this new engagement.  The spin? Lucy and Jerry still love each other but don't know each other loves the other!  (Wow, there's some bad grammar for you... thank you, public high school out in the corn fields!)

For some reason, there's just something about Grant.  His good lucks, his voice, his charm, his comedic timing.  You're not really thinking someone like him is going to have the comedic presence, but he pulls it off, each and every time I watch one of his films.  And with this being the first of his films with his slapstick comedic style, I was blown away by how good he was even at the beginning.  And you know what this means?

Yep, I have to buy it now.  Somehow this Monday Review post has turned into a Future Purchases post.  And if I remember correctly, Borders had it as 30% off last week, which means that's not the case now.  So I missed the boat on that one.  But at worst case it's $15 bucks.  I can handle that, but I think I'll wait until I get another sweet coupon in an e-mail.

Don't know what the SO thought of it as she didn't watch it.  Not sure she would have appreciated it, especially since it's a classic and she doesn't do well with that kind of movie.  It's okay, she can watch it with me when we get the DVD!  Oh, how I can feel the flames from her angry eyes right now...


Friday, March 27, 2009

Borders, why do you put me through this?

Two purchases in one week?  Is that even possible?

As you've read in my earlier post, I was finally able to realize my dream of owning Andy Richter Controls the Universe on DVD.  But the DVD purchases didn't end there (Yeah, I bought Bolt, but because the SO wanted it, it is neither one of my purchases nor does it count against me in the DVD/Yarns and Shoe War I have with her).

We begin Thursday morning.  Just checking my e-mails when I stumble upon the usual garbage known as a Borders coupon e-mail.  Usually these contain coupons for 15 or 20 percent off an item.  I almost got duped by the 40% off one DVD box set a couple weeks back.  But I held out.  This e-mail's coupon, though, was too good not to use...

40% off any item, regardless of price!

Hallelujah, the DVD gods have been good to me for all the pains I've taken this week!

So what could I possibly use this on?  And how could I get the SO to allow this?  Ah, that is the key, for we both receive Borders e-mails, meaning she had a 40% off coupon as well.  Therefore, she would make a purchase as well.  Not a DVD purchase, but we'll forgive her for that.  Maybe.

Indeed, the obvious choice was the choice I almost made a couple weeks back with the earlier coupon: Amadeus.  Yes I have it on VHS, but this is Amadeus: Director's Cut.  With 5.1 Digital Surround Sound.  The music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart swarming all around me was so enticing, but was it worthy of such a coupon?  Was any movie able to garner my attention for such a priceless coupon (well, not really priceless, but it does mean less money I've spent on DVDs, which is a good thing... well, a good thing in that it means more money to spend on other DVDs!)

But then it dawned on me.  What was one of my future purchases that I really wanted?  That's right, White Heat.  Well, Borders didn't have it, but they did have The Public Enemy, another James Cagney movie and one that was an integral part of my gangster movie collection.  So sorry Wolfgang, I promise you one day you will be a part of my collection... in Blu-Ray!  Think about it, 7.1 Digital Surround Sound!  

So at the end of the day, $12 spent for one DVD.  This puts me in the red for the Fund, $5 to be exact.  I have to hold off now, unless I want to allow more money to be spent on yarn/shoes.  But I can't do that, so I'll just remain content with what I have... until my eye catches the next prize!  Later!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How can Target not have Andy Richter Controls the Universe?

I will never forgive myself if this had actually happened.  I almost missed out on the opportunity to buy Andy Ricther Controls the Universe this week!  I know!  But it gets better, as you can tell from the title of this post that not every place had it available.  But let's start from the beginning...

So it's Tuesday afternoon, and I'm all excited about today.  One, I have an auditory experiment that banks 20 bucks (score!) and two, ARCtU comes out on DVD (SCORE!).  The auditory experiment has to do with piano lessons before the age of 10 meant my brain got all kinds of screwed up (the good kind of screwed up) and so they want to see how my brain responds to different sounds.  Pretty simple, really.  Sit in a chair, hook up some electrodes to my head, put something in my right ear that has the sounds, and I get to doze for an hour.  Simple, right?  Wrong!

The experiment was to start around 5pm.  I had done a couple experiments in the summer, so I knew what was up with how it was going to go down.  But it was to be done in a different room, so I wasn't sure where it was, so I waited in the waiting room until someone would get me.  After 15 minutes, I finally was called back.  Too bad the grad student didn't have me send her the exact same paperwork I filled out over the summer!  That took at least 10 minutes.  And by the time I was done, it was 7:30!.  Mind you, I told the SO that I would be done by 6:30.  Yeah, it doesn't get any better from here.

I get back to my lab to notice the time and I call the SO.  From the instant messages on my computer, she was leaving right then and there, so I had seconds to catch her.  She "kindly" picked me up, but I didn't think it was the best time to go to Best Buy to get the DVD.  Instead, in a cruel game made up by the DVD gods, the SO needed to find her doctor's office (which had just recently moved).  The SO needed to get this sinus infection diagnosed and taken care of because she was not getting any better.  So we drive to the new office, which is 1000 feet from Best Buy!  I was in no mood to deal with the SO's mood if we went so I decided to wait until Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon, the SO goes to the doctor, and I decide to tag along so I can sneakily get the DVD.  I thought the doctor's visit would be quick... over 1 hour!  Actual doctor time: roughly 5 minutes.  Waiting time: 1 hour!  But we needed some things from Target (mainly facial tissues for the SO) so we went there to pick up what we needed.  The SO wanted to get Disney's Bolt (I know, a total rip-off of Toy Story, but when has Disney come up with its own original idea?) so I begrudingly picked it up in Target's DVD Land (kinda like DisneyLand, except without the stupid costumes and infinite queues).  I get to the television DVD section and it's not there.  ARCtU is NOT THERE!  Who in their f'ing mind would not stock ARCtU on the shelves?  I was in a panic.  So we had to go to Best Buy, which is not on the way home from Target, so yes, we had to drive all the way back out there near the doctor's office to get to Best Buy.  But the joke doesn't end there.

We park in front of Best Buy, the SO not wanting to deal with my DVD whorish ways goes into Barnes and Noble while I search the shelves of Best Buy for ARCtU.  I get to the television DVD section... and there's only one copy!  Oh, glory be, thank God that I got there to get the last copy.  If they were all gone, I might have had a coronary right there on that spot.  Suffice it to say, I bought it for $30, thanks to my $5 gift certificate.

Happy ending, right?  Nope.  For two reasons.  One: the music is not the same as the studios couldn't secure the music rights for the DVD, meaning we get some generic disco beat for "The Hustle."  Two, one of my good friends went to Best Buy and bought it for $27 because Best Buy still honors lowest competitor's price (Wally World was that competitor- oh, how I hate them!).

But in the end, I have two new DVDs and I can finally realize the dream of owning ARCtU with 5 episodes that never aired... I can't lose!  Later!

Monday, March 23, 2009

"So you want me to be half-monk, half-hitman"

So I apologize for the tardiness of my posts over the past two weeks.  With everything that is going on this semester, it seems I only have time to keep my mind on one thing.  And unfortunately, it hasn't been this blog.  But that changes today, even though I still have plenty to work on.  And even though this really wasn't written on the post date, it would have been the correct date for my Monday reviews, as I actually watched a DVD this weekend, the first (and I think only) for the month of March.  Not to worry, there will be another review that will show up, just that it is from a movie on the DVR (I really hope it doesn't die, because I have too many movies and shows on there that I can't miss!).

For this weekend's selection, I had to go with something that needed action.  Although the first weekend of March Madness has plenty of excitement, I had to break the monotony of basketball with real action excitement: guns, explosions, and fast cars (along with some fast women!).  It also made sense to watch this weekend's selection as the sequel is soon coming out on DVD and I need to decide if I will buy brand spankin' new or wait 'til it hits the proverbial $10 rack (it almost always seems like there are DVDs there that I need).  So what movie could this possibly be?  Of course, the most obvious of all obvious choices: Casino Royale.

With a new James Bond (Daniel Craig) in the mutli-decade film series, the geniuses running it all decided to start from the beginning, using Ian Fleming's first written incarnation as the inspiration for the film.  At the beginning of the film, we see how Bond earns his double zero status as 007.  We also learn of a scheme by the villain of the movie, Le Chiffre, to invest funds from a guerrilla group in Uganda into a successful stock portfolio.  I know, exciting stuff but it gets better.  In order to make a profit, Le Chiffre relies on short selling successful companies and profiting by engineering terrorist attacks to sink their stock values.  Creative, huh?

How Bond gets mixed into this is his involvement of capturing an international bomb-maker, whose cell phone has a message from an associate of Le Chiffre.  Following the trail, Bond is able to thwart any plans of a terrorist attack on a prototype airliner.  Le Chiffre, in order to get the profits needed (i.e. the guerrilla group wants their money... by any means necessary) sets up a high-stakes poker tournament.  As the best there supposedly is, Bond infiltrates his way into getting a seat at the poker table.  He meets up with Rene Mathis, an ally, and Vesper Lynd, a treasury agent who provides the money necessary to enter the tournament.  All kinds of action ensues (although the SO was bored out of her gourd at this point).  Bond is able to win the tournament,  but Le Chiffre doesn't allow him to get away that easily, torturing Bond and Vesper, but Mr. White (a very mysterious character) eliminates Le Chiffre.

Bond orders the arrest of Mathis (during the torture, he's exposed as a double agent) and professes his love for Vesper, while at the same time leaving his agent life behind.  On a romantic holiday, Bond learns the poker winnings were never deposited back into the Treasury, with a tantalizing ending for Bond.  Not only for his love, but also for his life as an agent.

Rather than spoil the ending for you, I'll leave it at that.  As far as I know, the latest Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, picks up where Casino Royale left off.  Which makes it that much more exciting for me to own sooner rather than later.  But I bought CR for $10 and I feel I should do the same for QS.  I know I would be putting less towards the SO's yarn/shoes fund, and that makes me feel better about waiting.  But oh, how I love Bond movies.

The SO?  For an action movie, she wasn't too thrilled.  This is also the girl who had a sinus infection at the time and was less responsive than I am for a day of shoe shopping.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I miss Pierce Brosnan as Bond.  But I do realize we all have to move on at some point.  Craig probably wouldn't be my first choice, but he doesn't do a bad job to the film series (not like Timothy Dalton - man, those movies were rough!).  Am I glad I made the purchase?  Hell yeah!  I only own CR and Die Another Day, so I'm not the proud owner of the entire series, but I might start keeping the latest and greatest versions of Bond.  Especially if they really delve into what makes Bond the suave yet powerful agent worthy of double-zero status.

More posts to write, involving buying DVDs!  I know, so exciting!  So I'm off to complete those posts.  Later!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's wrong with bro-mance?

If I had tons of extraneous cash lying around, I'd probably go to the movies this weekend (somewhere between the NCAA March Madness games - a guy has priorities).  And one movie that has intrigued me since I saw the trailer months ago is I Love You, Man.  A tale of a guy (Paul Rudd) who needs a best man for his wedding but has no guy friends.  I'm assuming the hilarity ensues when he tries to find that guy friend, who finds that guy friend in an investor (Jason Segel).  The twist is how this relationship takes over the relationship Rudd has with his fiancee, so he must learn to balance between the two.

This hits close to home.  No, I have plenty of guy friends (although they're all more than an hour away... tear).  And I get to see my best bud every couple of weeks or so, especially since I'm in his wedding this summer.  But that's the whole thing, he's getting married.  Does that change things between us?  My boy and his fiancee have been together since I've been with the SO, so I've always felt that I can be myself around him even with the introduction of the SO in my life.  It's almost like J.D. and Turk...

Where was I?  Oh yeah, my boy and me.  How do you balance between the two best friends in your life, the guy who's been there since day 1 in college and the girl who knows you better than you know yourself?  I guess that's the part of growing up I never really thought about.  So I can have the SO AND the bro-mance (although Rudd and Segel hate the word, it's kinda catchy).  One of my other boys even asked when my BF and I were going to go on our bro-date to see the movie.  Hardi-har-har.

Of course I want to see it, but I'll wait until it's out on DVD.  Just something about that Freaks and Geeks cast.  Now there are exceptions (not too sure about Observe and Report... that might be a "wait until cable").  But I have a good feeling about I Love You, Man.  And hopefully, there will be no Segel man-part showing in this film like in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Loved that film, but don't need to see his... you know.  Not necessary, although his cereal bowl was awesome (and I mean a cereal bowl, so don't get any ideas what slang it is - it's not slang, his bowl was huge!).

So if you go see the film this weekend, think of me and my boy, J.D. and Turk, and all the other bro-mances out there that show two guys can be best buds even when their lives are changing around them.  Later!

Monday, March 16, 2009

"I'm perfectly capable of fixing my own breakfast. As a matter of fact, I had a peanut butter sandwich and two whiskey sours."

This weekend just didn't go as planned, in terms of movie viewing.  First, I wanted to watch Hoosiers, because the NCAA March Madness has begun, and I thought it'd be a cool way to tie in my two passions: movies and basketball.  Didn't even get close to removing it from the shelf.  Why?  Two reasons:  too much good live basketball going on this weekend, and the SO was sick.  What is she sick of?  Who knows.  Hopefully not basketball, because it's a long month of mid-afternoon score checking and late evening upsets.  Could it be that, dare I say it, she's sick of Indiana?  Already knew that, and I would have thought it would have happened sooner.

Nope, it's just a typical lung-congesting, nose-plugging, stay as far away from the SO as possible cold.  At least I hope so, or all this Vitamin C I've been taking will have gone to waste.  I did get the chance to get up early Sunday and check out one of the movies I had on the DVR.  I thought I should lighten the load (to free up for more recording of my crap... and the SO's as well).  So I went with the logical choice.  A movie about staying committed to the one you love, no matter how sick they might get: The Seven Year Itch.

To break it down, it's a classic Billy Wilder comedy.  Something lighthearted, somewhat dated, and yet universally true in its underlying themes.  Richard Sherman (and what appears to be most of NYC) has dumped his wife and child at the train station for the annual summer trip.  The men stay behind (I guess that's something you would do back in 1955) and commit all the debauchery they can endure, including drinking, smoking, and fooling around (if you know what I mean... I mean, they would get flirtatious with the opposite sex while the wifey is gone... exactly, up to no good).  Well, Richard swears he's not like the other men and plans to work all the time his wife and kid are gone.  He's not home two seconds before a blonde bombshell walks into his apartment building.  Marilyn Monroe.  Yes, that Marilyn Monroe.  She's apartment-sitting upstairs, above Richard.  And Richard goes into Mr. Hyde mode, thinking of a way to get her into his apartment, but then he regrets and forgets the silly idea.  But The Girl (the name of Monroe's character) almost kills Richard, but he's quick to forgive because he's infatuated with her.  Throughout the movie, he's going back and forth between doing what's right and what's wrong, always paranoid about if his wife is cheating on him while she's in Maine.  To say the least, Richard wises up, with the advice from The Girl, and heads to Maine to be with his wife.

As dumb as she may be portrayed in the movie, Monroe is one smart actor.  Not quite sure what it is, but she plays a very smart dumb character.  I've only seen her in one other movie (Some Like It Hot, another Billy Wilder film)  but it feels like Hollywood wanted to make her the dumb blonde, well before it was cool (I'm talking to you, Paris Hilton).  But would she still be the legendary icon she is if she were still alive?  Who knows, but I'm guessing because she's forever that young, beautiful blonde, America (and probably a good chunk of the world) will go ga-ga over Monroe.

I truly enjoyed the movie and was surprised at how short it ran.  It seemed like the movie could have continued on, like the film reel had accidentally stopped (the SO probably was dying, but for someone who's artsy-fartsy, she has a hard time watching classic movies... okay, classic movies that I want to watch).  Maybe because it never seemed like the movie had a climactic ending, in the sense of what movies have today.  Not to say it's a bad thing, but I wasn't ready for the end.

So there may be potential for that in the collection, but I think I would need to see it again to confirm this.  Too bad I deleted it from the DVR, but I'll try to catch it again.  Could be Monroe on the screen, or it could be that Richard gets more paranoid than me about things.  I should tell the SO at least I'm not that bad.

Maybe in the middle of the week, I'll get a chance to sit down and watch a DVD.  But with the SO under the weather, I'll continue to be the good guy and tend to her needs.  Aww, I know.  I'm a sweetie, but maybe it's so I can go to Best Buy next week!  I know, I'm bad.  Later!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Borders is EVIL!!!

Now I know why Friday the 13th is so bad...

So I got into lab this morning, just checking my e-mails before getting ready for a meeting and some lab work (I know, I actually had work to do instead of working on this blog... I know, how dare anything take me away from doing what I love!).  And then IT showed up...

An e-mail from Borders.  But not just any normal e-mail.  Usually it provides a 15-20% coupon good for any item in the store.  Sometimes it's 30-40% towards a book or CD.  But oh no, they went and did it... a 40% off any DVD box set!

I know, how dare they!  They know I'm trying to cut back on spending on those precious DVDs (although I did drive the SO to the yarn store today - $12 more to my DVD fund!).  And what do they do?  Two weeks before Andy Richter Controls the Universe comes out, they provide a coupon that would provide a lot of relief from a purchase like that.  Doing the math, the DVD costs $40.99 at Borders.  40% from that is $16.40, meaning it would cost $24.59...

Okay, so it's cheaper buying from Best Buy (or Amazon... oh Amazon, how I love thee), especially with the $5 gift certificate.  But for some reason, it's the whole "40 percent off one DVD box set" that has me happier than a stormtrooper NOT on either of the Death Stars, happier than J.D. in one of his daydreams, happier than... I'll stop there.  Can't show too much of my nerdiness in this post.

So is there anything I need in my collection that I don't already have?  Check my other blog, Tenacious Spoo in the List of DVDs to see what I have and what I do need.  You'll be a big help to me and you'll get the evil look from the SO.  Okay, so I'll get the evil look, too... okay, I'm getting it right now from her, even though she's across campus.  I can still feel it.  Scary.  I know.  Later!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Best Buy, you finally paid off!

Is there anything better than free money?  Okay, I guess it's not really free if you have to spend money to get it, but that's beside the point.  The point is... what was my point?

Oh yeah, so in the mail yesterday was a letter from Best Buy with a $5 gift certificate because I spend more money than our government on useless things (for me, it's DVDs, for the government, take your pick).  Which means... yes, that's five dollars that doesn't go against me in the DVD/Yarn and Shoes tug-of-war.  

Better news.  Because I took piano lessons when I was young, I qualify for an auditory study that pays $20 to sleep.  I know, that's freakin' awesome.  What's more awesome is that with the $5 gift certificate and the $20 from this study, that will cover the cost of Andy Richter Controls the Universe.  I know, awesome!

So, if I do the math right, I'm currently $8 in the positive, $5 that doesn't count against me, $20 that goes against me, that leads to... $12 in the negative!  I'd have to say that counts as a small victory.  Even in these hard economic times, this may turn out to be a quality purchase.  And it doesn't leave much for the SO to spend on her yarn and/or shoes... another small victory!  I'm so happy I could...

Or possibly...


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I can't believe this got cancelled!

Yes, my friends, it's that's time of the week (although a little early - that's what she said! Oh!).  Time to preview a little thing (that's what... yeah, that's lame) I like to call my Future Purchase, DVD style.  This edition of FP actually only includes one DVD, but oh boy is it jam-packed with awesome DVD goodness.

Of course, I'm talking about the hit television show Andy Richter Controls the Universe.  And when I say hit, I mean my boys in college would have to be in front of the TV when the show came on.  Which wasn't for very long, actually.  Kinda sad, almost went as quickly as undergrad.  Again, another sad thing.  So let's talk about happy things, like it's finally come to fruition, the DVD version of the television series.  Finally!  I know that at least a couple times in the past few years there was talk about it coming out on DVD, only to get shot down, like my chances at getting a Blu-ray player this year.  Yeah, I know, that bad.

Not sure really how to describe the show, other than we're treated to Andy Richter at his finest outside of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."  Debuting in the spring of 2002, the show only lasted 19 episodes.  But considering how many shows on Fox get cancelled, the show is almost like M*A*S*H when it comes to how long it was on air on the network.

The only thing holding me back from purchasing it is... it's not out yet.  Supposedly, allegedly, hopefully... it will be released March 24, 2009.  So two weeks away!  I don't know if I can hold in my excitement.  And it helps that the SO bought yarn this weekend, so I'm in the positive for how much I can spend on DVDs.  Yip... wait for it... EEE!  And at a cost of $28, I will only go $20 in the negative.  Not bad, I know.  Let's just hope I don't go overboard in Best Buy when purchasing ARCTU.  Must keep eyes on the prize, no looking around at other possible purchases.  Otherwise, SO can buy lots more yarn (or shoes), and I just can't let that happen!

This is why I have to buy it.  And so should you.  Later!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Who didn't watch the Watchmen?!?

Clearly, this is the start of a new week for me.  Last week, I intermittently sent out posts for this blog, but I wasn't consistent like I had been in past weeks.  Now that I've done the hard work last week, I can focus on more important things, like this blog.  And this week starts not with a DVD review but an actual MOVIE review.  That's right, The Spoo went out to the theatres for the first time since The Dark Knight (come on, I'm poor and I only go to see movies that should be seen on a ginormous screen).  And in this situation, a movie finally warranted that need to go to the theatre, nay, the IMAX theatre!  Only one movie could fit that bill, and it is...WATCHMEN!!!

To really bring it all back together, The Dark Knight is the reason why I was waiting on pins and needles for Watchmen.  The big preview before viewing The Dark Knight was a trailer for Watchmen, and because it highlighted the graphic novel as the most celebrated of its genre, that had to mean something!  I mean, people do not just put gradiose titles on just anything...

I think just about everyone who's anyone that's read a review knows the general plot of the movie.  It's an alternate 1985 world, where masked heroes are outlawed and Richard Nixon is still president.  The Comedian, a masked "hero", is murdered at the beginning of the story, and another masked hero, Rorshach, wants to find out who would want to get rid of masked heroes.  Because not soon after this murder, Dr. Manhattan (the only true SUPERhero of the story) exiles himself to Mars, leaving the other masked heroes to ponder what is happening.  Rorshach calls upon other exiled heroes like Nite Owl II to solve this mystery.  Deepening the plot of ridding the world of masked heroes, Ozymandias (one of the few heroes to retire and reveal his identity) has his life threatened by a potential assassin, and Rorshach is framed for the murder of an ex-villain.  Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II decide to break Rorschach out of jail and find out who's trying to rid the world of masked heroes as the world tiptoes closer to nuclear annhilation (oh yeah, the US and USSR still hate each other in the Cold War).  Ultimately, Rorschach, Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II find out who (or what) is responsible for all this, with a truly climactic finish.

So what did I think?  Because of the trailer back in July, I immediately went out and bought the novel to read it and was blown away by how the story went back and forth from the present to the past, how animation is mixed with specific readings that not only provide clues but also increase questions about what's going on.  I was totally confused in the beginning, trying to understand what it all meant, and only at the end did it all click.

Prior to the movie, I re-read the novel to jog my memory and pick up on the details in the movie.  Now the beginning of the movie is f'ing awesome.  It follows the plot pretty closely.  I was worried that it might be too slow for civilians (people unfamiliar with the novel) but my BF really liked it.  The SO had mixed feelings, but I'll get into that later.  I thought the idea of World War III was underplayed.  The novel makes it feel like everything's going to get blown up at any second, and the movie only seemed to worry about who killed the Comedian.  I missed the real "whodunit" aspect of the novel, even though it seemed like one of the most important parts of the movie.  I was glued to the novel just to know how it all played out.  There were so many characters, places, dates, and events that I had to keep straight in my mind that at the end, I had a huge "A-HA!" moment at the climax of the novel that I didn't feel it in the movie.

Even with that, it seemed like there could have been greater development of the characters.  Loved the action, although it did seem excessive in places.  Loved the music, but it was too cliched in the love scene with Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II.  The music didn't always potentiate the scene, it only reiterated the sentiment.  Although I did get a kick out of My Chemical Romance's take on Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row."  I almost think more of the songs (especially those referenced in the novel) should have been redone to tie in the past with the "present" 1985 with 2009 (but I wouldn't have wanted that to get too out of hand).  

What it comes down to is this: I am so glad Watchmen made it to the big screen.  As a recent fanboy, I wanted to see it in all its IMAX glory.  But it sometimes seemed to miss the point of what Alan Moore (writer of the graphic novel) was trying to say in the novel.  Yet, in the final scene of the movie, I felt Dan Snyder (director) got it right and all was right with the movie.  Even though it seemed like so much more could have been added (I wasn't even phased by the 2 hour 41 minutes length - it could have been twice as long and I would still have thought it wasn't long enough), the movie was great.  

I think that if you've read the novel, you might be slightly disappointed but it's such an event that it has to be seen on the big screen (I love IMAX!).  If you haven't read it, go see it, then read the novel and really appreciate what was done not only in the novel but how limited it was in the movie (even with those limitations, Snyder tried to get as much into it).  I think the SO needs to read the novel because even she felt the characters were underdeveloped, especially Silk Spectre II (I know she felt it just seemed like there was something missing that would have made it make sense to civilians).  Female characters in the novel were much stronger than the movie portrayed.  For me, I can't wait for the Director's Cut DVD with scenes from "Tales of the Black Freighter" inserted (TBF was a comic within the novel and really encapsulated the atmosphere in a nuclear-laden world - even in today's world, the paranoia surrounding the war on terror parallels the feelings around a potential nuclear world war).

Please go see it, because I hope it will make you go out and read the novel, which changed how I thought about the graphic novel genre.  So much can be said in the novel that I didn't think could be possible.  So as much as I thought there could have been more, it was wonderful.  Later!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's Batman!

So sorry for the huge delay in getting this review out this week.  Everything seems to be getting in my way, mostly reading reviews about Watchmen (Got my IMAX ticket!  Although I haven't heard if it needs to be seen in IMAX - Oh well...), working on a presentation I have to give next week in front of my departmental area (no pressure there!), and grading exams (which the grades were worse than a Jim Belushi biopic).  But it's no excuse.  And because of how my weekend went, I didn't get to watch any TCM movies, so the DVD is really full!  Hopefully I can squeak out a couple this upcoming weekend, on top of another DVD review.  But this week was the SO's choice...

...which meant I had to sit through another anime movie.  Good thing she doesn't have that many, so I can make it through easy enough (although she'll probably eventually select a couple Jimmy Fallon movies... ugh!).  I know she had a tough choice choosing, but it came down to watching a movie for which she had just read the book, and I could tell right away the movie was nothing like the book.  That movie would be Howl's Moving Castle.

Pretty simple, guy likes girl.  Witch likes guy, so turns girl into old lady, girl/old lady stumbles upon guy's moving castle (so the title at least makes sense!) and helps guy reclaim his heart from a fire demon (who is a friend of the guy's) without having to kill fire demon.  In the middle of all that, guy has to face former teacher and defeat her.  Did I forget to mention the guy is a wizard?

Very quickly, I picked up on the detail of the film, which was superb compared to other anime films I've had to watch with the SO.  Because I had seen this one other time, I think I appreciated this film more, or maybe I liked it because the SO every two seconds said, "That's not in the book!"  "Howl's former teacher is a guy in the book!"  "That's not why the Witch of the Waste turns Sophie into an old lady!"

I could gather from all of this that the director, Hayao Miyazaki, who the SO adores, basically took the outline of the story and incorporated his usual themes of war being bad and the environment is crucial to the survival of all species.  The book, which on all accounts was a decent story (although I haven't read), did not seem to be retold in the film.  I'm not sure if the SO likes the movie more, less, or the same, but she clearly has a new opinion about it.

As for me, I think  it seemed like the movie went quickly this time around.  Of the anime the SO has made me watch, it's probably the strongest film.  Oh, and Howl?  Voiced by Christian Bale!  Picked up on it right away, which made the SO mad because of this useless talent I have for picking up voices in animated films.  Picked up Billy Crystal as the fire demon, Calcifer.  Amazing what happens when you watch enough movies in your life.  It finally pays off...just not in the monetary sense.

Of all the anime we now own, I would keep this one.  Best story, best animation, best film.  But then I haven't watched the half-dozen or so others the SO definitely will have planned for us to watch in the next year or so.  My opinion might change, who knows?  Only Dr. Manhattan... okay, so I'm a little more than excited to see it Saturday, but while re-reading it... sorry, the post... good movie, should definitely see if you like fantasy or animated films.  Go see Howl's Moving Castle this weekend (after Watchmen!).  Later!

Here's the entire movie if you would like to watch now!

Monday, March 2, 2009


That's the only word I can describe about Sunday.  No, it's not about how bad my team is doing in basketball or even the state of the economy...

On Sunday, we were without... CABLE!


It was terrible, I came back from working in the lab around 2pm to have the SO tell me the cable wasn't working.  I didn't think much of it.  Thought I could just unplug and plug it back in and it would be fine.  Worked all the other times the cable was acting funny.  Not this time.  So I called the cable company, and they said the area was out and the service people were out working on it right now.

That was all fine and dandy, except it was out until 8:47pm!  I know, terrible...

And the worst thing?  Because there was no cable (and obviously no DVR), one of the movies I wanted to watch from TCM's 31 Days didn't get recorded!  I know, a travesty, a sham, a sham of a travesty!  So I won't be able to watch Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Tear.

Luckily, Fox (and almost every network) posts episodes of their shows online, so we could watch "Simpsons" and "American Dad."  But it's hard to forgive the cable over Encounters.  Oh well, I'll just DVR it again, if it ever is on TCM again...

Sorry for the delay over this weekend's DVD review.  Been busy, and that's no excuse.  So it will be up and posted very soon, that's my guarantee.  Later!

And as a way of asking for forgiveness, I present you with this, something that describes me to a "T" (or whatever letter works in this situation... probably not "Q", that's got a bad rap... maybe "M"?  No, that's weird... how 'bout "S"?  I'll have to think about that one):