Monday, June 29, 2009

"What-what the hell is a gigawatt?"

You'll all probably relate to this, at one time or another. You know, that time when you feel all nostalgic and you want to watch those movies that you watched as a kid, over and over and over and... Well, it seemed like this past weekend was perfect for it. And there's not just one movie to this post but TWO! Yeah, the SO allowed a mini movie marathon. But I think she was feeling just as nostalgic as I was, so all was good. There's one movie that is probably the single defining movie of my young life, at least from age 5-12, until Star Wars. That movie is... Back to the Future. And to top it off, I also get to talk about... Back to the Future... PART 2!

Pretty simple premise really. Doc Brown creates a time machine out of a DeLorean and his own invention, the flux capacitor. All you need is plutonium and enough room to get up to 88 miles per hour to generate the 1.21 gigawatts necessary for time travel (I know, it's so easy!). Marty McFly is there to witness it all happening for the first time when the Libyans (it was the 80s...) seek revenge for Doc stealing their plutonium, killing him. Marty jumps in the DeLorean and travels to 1955, only to ruin the moment when his mother and father met. So he has to get those two together so he doesn't disappear AND get back to 1985.

Part 2: Marty must go with Doc to 2015 to save his kids' futures, but all hell breaks loose when they go back to 1985 because someone (2015 Biff, archenemy of the McFlys) gave another person (1955 Biff) a sports almanac with scores through to 2000. Biff gets his money, kills Marty's father and marries Marty's mother. Marty and the Doc have to go back to 1955, get the almanac from 1955 Biff and not bump into their counterparts at the same time. All ends well, except Doc is transported to 1885 (because of a lightning strike to the DeLorean) and so Marty must get 1955 Doc to help him.

First movie: ingenious, original, funny. Second movie: exciting futuristic inventions, but uses jokes from first movie. My question has always been: how did the Doc and Marty meet? Doesn't it seem weird how close they are? What's that all about? I never understood their relationship, how close they were as friends. Were they acquaintances, colleagues, a weird uncle-nephew type of relationship? That's never explained to me, so I don't know.

And what about the future? They travel to 2015, only 6 years away. Where's hover conversion? Where are the hoverboards? I want my hoverboard! I expect it, because if I don't get one, I'm personally going to Robert Zemeckis' door and asking for a refund for purchasing the VHS tapes, the DVDs, and merchandise for the movie. He should have realized what he was doing to my generation when he introduced those hoverboards. Every single one of us wants one, and I'm not seeing that technology appearing anytime soon for the general public.

And what's with the different Jennifer's? First movie: Claudia Wells. Second (and third) movie: Elisabeth Shue. ??? You didn't think we could tell the difference? What happened to Claudia? ...AND I feel like an ass... because Wikipedia says her mother was diagnosed with cancer at that time, so Claudia was unavailable for the sequels. I'm truly sorry for what she and her mother had to go through. But Claudia, you are much hotter than Elisabeth (aka Daniel's "girlfriend" from Karate Kid) and will always be Jennifer in my mind.

So yeah, the movies were just so amazing. Looking back, the manure truck joke, the use of the boards to get away, calling Marty "chicken" so he'd get mad... a little overdone. But looking past some of the small things that can be considered annoying, this movie series is always fun to watch.

So why not Part 3? One, it was getting late that night, and two, the SO says she doesn't like the third one... I know. Yeah, it's in the Ol' West, but it's still Back to the Future. Again, it shows the same jokes, probably making the point that we are doomed to repeat the same corny jokes forever. Great.

So these movies are forever staying in the DVD collection, and I know the SO won't fight me on it. Next post: the next great thing that will change the way I (and the SO) will view movies in the future. Later!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My last DVD purchase...

I know, it's sad.

But I have to post it, seeing as from this point on, it's Blu-Ray for me.

Now this happened just after we got the HDTV, so it comes before the moment I proved to the SO we need a Blu-Ray player. Actually, this took place the day after we got the TV in our apartment. We just dropped off the SO's mom at the airport. And I had been waiting two days (TWO DAYS) to go out to Best Buy and get it. In those two days, the local BB had sold out of it (yeah, crappy). So I knew that the BB near the airport still had a copy. Too bad that BB is in the middle of the ghetto. No joke, I think there were bars on every window.

And we stroll in, the SO freaking out over us looking for a DVD in the ghetto. But I figured we go in, we find it, we pay for it, we get out. Simple plan. Luckily, this BB did have what I was looking for: Fanboys. It seems fitting that this would be my last DVD, as it's about people with no lives... like me with my DVDs!

So my DVD-buying days are now over...

Blu-Ray-buying days have begun! Woo-hoo!

And I imagine the Blu-Ray experience to be something like this:


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Wait, you've got to tell me - was it spongy?"

There are some moments in life you want to capture forever: the day you say I do, the birth of your child, the day your SO realizes that you need a Blu-Ray player. I really wish I had a camera to take a picture of the SO's face to show you just how she felt when we watched our first live-action DVD on the HDTV, Fever Pitch.

Now, the SO loves this movie, most because it's got the Boston Red Sox in it, and she LOVES the Red Sox. And it's a simple enough story, so I'll have plenty of space to write about her reaction. So the story: Girl and guy meet and start dating. Girl comes to find out guy is a crazy Red Sox fan. He chooses the Red Sox over her too many times and she leaves him. Guy is willing to sell his season tickets to be with the girl, and the girl stops him before he does and they are back together.

Okay, so for the real drama...

I specifically put this on just so I could show the SO just how crappy the picture is with a DVD player on a HDTV. And she was not saying a word. Somehow her face was scrunching up so much her face was about to disappear. She couldn't stand how bad the picture was. I kept telling her.

By the luck of God, a Harry Potter movie was on one of the HD channels, so I put it on. She was amazed at how crisp and sharp the picture was. I then showed her what it looked like on the DVD player. She was disgusted. And then that's when it happened...

"So does this mean we have to buy everything on Blu-Ray you just bought on DVD?"

In a blink of an eye, I told her that Blu-Ray actually upconverts the DVD to HD quality. Not 1080p quality, but very close. And I think it made her even angrier, because now my DVD fund has become, drum roll please...


a Blu-Ray fund!

That's right, I'm no longer going to buy DVDs, which is what the SO wanted with the use of this fund. It's true, because now I'm saving up for a Blu-Ray player! And as I can feel the hatred of the SO on the back of my neck, I have no idea what Blu-Ray player to get, as I want one that has everything I would need for Blu-ray that also can present my DVDs in the highest quality picture as well. I am NOT buying all those movies again, I can assure you (and the SO) of that.

So if you have any suggestions as to what Blu-Ray players I should be researching, please drop me a line. I'm open to any and all ideas, including your thoughts on PS3. Because I have one shot at this, and I can't blow it (i.e. the SO will kill me after telling her an HDTV will be awesome for our movies and then we have to go out and get a Blu-Ray player to achieve this goal). Thanks in advance. Later!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"I'll teach you to laugh at something that's funny!"

It's pretty simple, really. If you know you're going to put the SO through a stressful day, make sure to give her a great evening before. That's why I chose to go with The Simpsons Movie this week.

What, you may be asking, could this movie do that would destress the SO before stressing her the next day? Well, when the next day involves 8 hours of driving and my relatives, you can understand. But I'm not here to talk about that, I'm here for the movie (we can talk about that stuff at the END of the post...)

Plot: Homer causes an environmental catastrophe in Springfield, EPA puts a biodome over the city. Springfieldians want to kill Homer, wormhole in sandtrap allows Simpsons family to escape and find refuge in Alaska. Springfield is planned to be eliminated from the map, the Simpsons (minus Homer) want to help and go back, only to be captured by EPA and put back in the dome. Homer has an epiphany and realizes that he must save Springfield to save his family and to have happiness in his life. Homer and Bart go "Strangelove" on the dome and save the town.

In my opinion, it was amazing to see The Simpsons on the big screen. Of course it's impossible to have the compact storyline of a 30-minute show spread over 90 minutes. Of course it's impossible to get every character involved in the plot (that's why they invented sequels... duh). And of course it could never live up to our expectations because they've been doing this for 20 years.

But it's still a great adventure. More than anything, it was a chance to see The Simpsons, a staple of television watching for almost everyone, do something that we had never seen them do before: attempt to be in a full-length movie. I'm pretty sure most of us could have sat down for a 4-hour Simpsons movie and would still be crying out for more. Yeah, the storyline was a little lame, and it would have been cool to have more characters involved, but that's nearly impossible, even in a 24-episode season on TV.

What was cool about it were the references to old and recent episodes, the clarity of the images on the screen, and of course, seeing Maggie saving the family once again. But what was really amazing was watching it on the HDTV and again pointing out how it's not quite a high-def picture coming out of the DVD player. But that will become a sticking point in the proverbial back of the SO in the next post, just you wait... bwa-hahaha! Later!

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Eeeee... va?"

I'm not even sure why I chose this movie to watch as the first film to watch in its entirety. But I thought it might look the best now with the HDTV. Boy, was I wrong (even if the SO didn't believe me, but she will soon enough). What movie could that be? Probably now one of the SO's favorite Pixar films, WALL-E.

The story is simple enough. Humans have been consuming way too much waste and not recycling, reusing, reducing their consumption to the point where humans had to leave the planet in order to allow Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class (or WALL-E) robots to clean up the planet. When we first see the planet, we meet the one remaining WALL-E robot who's been cleaning up for 700 years. But WALL-E seems different, in that he has a personality. And it's almost like he's reawakened the spirit of Charlie Chaplin, with his silent movie approach to comedy. The second day, WALL-E has company on the planet, as a probe ship releases an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE) robot to look for plant life on Earth. WALL-E is smitten with love for EVE, but she's in no mood for love (kinda like the SO when I get on her bad side... which can be a lot, so I empathize with WALL-E). Luckily, he's able to demonstrate to EVE he's no enemy, and he shows her everything that he finds interesting that he's collected in his shelter, including a green, leafy plant. This stimulates EVE to send a signal to the probe ship to pick her up, and WALL-E and EVE are transported to Axiom, the flagship that has been the home of humans the last 700 years.

Not to my surprise, humans have become fat and lazy because of technolgical advances. Very 2001-esque, and by no surprise, the ship's main computer is the enemy, not allowing the humans to return to Earth because it is in autopilot mode. With the help of the captain of the ship, WALL-E and EVE are able to get the ship to return to Earth with the sacrifice of WALL-E's body. The ship zooms home, and EVE finds the necessary parts to save him but initially his personality is missing. By some miracle, WALL-E gets his personality back, and all is well with humans and nature again.

A little sappy at the end, but I love the beginning of the movie. No words, just actions and gestures that get the point across about WALL-E and his love for EVE. It's depressing how bad the planet is left, with garbage covering every inch of the planet. And I'm sure that's the underlying message for us. If we don't start changing our ways, we could end up like this. For the SO, she loves the underlying message, but I think more than anything, she likes to say WALL-E like it's said in the film (some weird Boston thing, I think).

What I noticed with the film on our HDTV is how the DVD player doesn't provide a clear picture, definitely not high definition. And it was blatantly obvious, but the SO disagreed with me. I kept telling her that it's not quite clear, but with an animated feature, it won't show up as bad as a live-action film. And that will become evident in a future post, I guarantee it.

So, the DVD is a keeper, mostly because it puts a smile on the SO's face, and getting rid of it would permanently put me in the doghouse (if we had a real doghouse, she probably would shove me in there) and I can't risk that. So I'll just avoid that confrontation. Later!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Ah dear, the young. Why do they never listen? When will they ever learn?"

That statement is so true for this movie review, or should I say, miss-view. I can, without a doubt, say this will be the hardest movie to review as I literally saw the first twenty minutes and the last twenty minutes. How, you're saying, is that possible? I'd say it the combination of sleep deprivation, apartment cleaning, and a film that can somehow bore me to death. Yep, you guessed it, Clash of the Titans.

I'm guessing that it really isn't that boring, it just seems like the dialogue and action are really slow. I don't even mind the old special effects. I actually appreciate that fact of the movie, but I cannot get into this movie. One of the SO's faves, maybe that's why I have a tough time with it. Whatever movie she likes, I on average do not. But for most, I can at least stand it because the plot is half-way interesting.

So let's start there. We first see Perseus, son of Zeus, as an infant with his mother trapped in a coffin sent out to sea, as he is prophecied to lead to the destruction of his grandfather, King Acrisius of Argos. Zeus safely transports Perseus and his mom to Seriphos, while at the same time destroying Argos with the Kraken.

Move forward a couple decades, and we find Calibos, son of Thetis, engaged to be married to Andromeda, the heir to the city of Joppa. Calibos pisses off Zeus for killing all of his horses (minus Pegasus) and turns him into a goat-like creature, leading Thetis to proclaim that no man could marry Andromeda if her son Calibos could not. Of course, Perseus falls for Andromeda as he is transported from Seriphos to Joppa (thanks to Thetis). With the help of the gods, Perseus receives a sword, shield, and helmet to help him solve the riddle which will allow him to marry Andromeda.

Of course, Calibos prays to Thetis to take care of Perseus, but instead she threatens to destroy Joppa is the city does not sacrifice Andromeda to the Kraken. With the help of Bubo the mechanical owl, Perseus seeks out Medusa, to use her "stoning" abilities to defeat the Kraken. Perseus kills Medusa and takes her head, saving Andromeda from the Kraken. They live happily ever after, yada yada yada, they become constellations. The end.

The plot when read in mythology, is quite interesting. The way it's done in the movie, can't keep my attention going. I'm thinking I need to see it again after reading the plot on Wikipedia. Because reading it made it seem a whole lot cooler than watching it. Even with great actors, you can't make a great movie. Just look at Ocean's Twelve (and Thirteen). The great Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith, the seductress Ursula Andress, and the handsome Harry Hamlin weren't enough to keep me awake. I remember Perseus being saved as an infant and then nothing, then getting the weapons and armor, then nothing, then getting Medusa's head until the end of the movie. That's it.

What probably kills the most is that it's a 2-hour movie that feels like 2 days. Maybe I need to get in the right mood, knock back a few appletinis, and then that movie might be the best thing since sliced bread.

All kidding aside, I'm going to need to view this movie again to get an accurate representation for my review. Rather than continue to hack away at this movie, I'm going to give it a second chance. It may not be soon, but soon enough I will sit down and watch it (as the SO's smile widens to the size of New Jersey, just on the thought of watching it again soon). Later!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Then God created the plasma TV, and all was good

Cue music... (Read this post as the music plays)

It's finally here...
The moment you've been waiting for...

In all of its glory, I give you the new TV I've been waiting for my whole life (well, actually three weeks, but it seemed like an eternity!). I give you the Samsung 860 series 50-inch plasma TV, able to provide 1080p picture with 0.001 ms response time, it just makes your toes curl thinking about it!

And I wasn't even there for the unveiling. I know, it's sad, but I think I can forgive myself by basking in its glow, it's 50-inch glow. And the first thing I watched on it was... Dancing with the Stars (ugh).

Okay, not a great way to start but the next thing was... American Idol (Ugh).

Well, third time's the charm. And I finally got to watch... Star Wars (yay!)! Only ten minutes, as it was early in the morning and I had to get ready for the day, but still, it was great. Not HD great, but that's for future posts. It was worth the wait, and I have so much sports, so many movies, so little time to watch it all. Hmm, maybe if I... no, that would involve me losing my one source of income, so what if I... no, I can't sell that much of my bodily fluids, so... I guess I'll just have to watch when I can. And it's great, if I can just figure out why the cable signal is only coming in at 1080i and 60 hz. Maybe it's the cable box...


Friday, June 12, 2009

"Have you gone berserk? Can't you see that man is a ni?"

Sometimes you have a movie that you choose because you're in the mood for a particular genre, or sometimes it's because you haven't seen a particular film in a long time.  Or sometimes you watch a movie because the recent passing of an actor makes you want to watch any and every movie with him or her in it, no matter how small the part.  And that's how I came up with watching Blazing Saddles.

Although Dom DeLuise has passed away over a month ago, it still seems like he should be here, making even the tiniest part in a movie the stand-out performance.  And that's pretty hard to do in a film like this.  From the start, I could tell the SO was not into it.  Maybe it had to do with the use of the word "ni" in it.  Or maybe because it's just flat out funny!  Yes, there's a lot of use of the "ni" word, but somehow it reminds us of how stupid our ancestors were in the degrading term of an African-American, especially when he's the hero of the movie.


Simple plot, Hedy Lamarr (that's HEDLEY!)...

Sorry...Hedley Lamarr, the State Attorney General, needs land to continue building the railroad system in the old American West.  Of course, that land is located where Rock Ridge, a quaint little town of Johnsons (no joke, everyone there is a Johnson).  Hedley sends a gang of thugs to terrorize the town, killing the sheriff.  Well, Hedley suggests to the Governor that Bart, previously an enslaved railroad worker, should be the sheriff (knowing that the entire town would be opposed to the color of his skin).  Of course the town is up in arms over this, but soon they warm up to him when he saves the town from Hedley's thugs and Webster's dad (yes, that's Alex Karras who plays Mongo).  Bart also helps out Jim aka "The Waco Kid", an over-the-hill alcoholic who is still a sharpshooter but can't control his drinking or his shooting hand.  Together they try to control the chaos in the town.

But... Hedley plans one last attempt to get rid of the inhabitants of Rock Ridge by employing "rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass kickers, shit kickers and Methodists" into an ambush of the town.  With the help of the town of Rock Ridge and Bart's railroad buddies, they build an exact replica to fool Hedley's evil gang... and that's when all hell breaks loose, as the joke is released on all of us like a bunch of farting cowboys.

We are transported to a closed set in Hollywood, where Dom DeLuise is trying to get a bunch of flaming men (it's twue, it's twue) to do a dance number, when Hedley's gang and the people of Rock Ridge bust through the set!  WTF?!?  So the joke is this is a 1974 movie that takes place in 1874 with the characters' mindset from 1974... I know, it's crazy, but then again, it's Mel Brooks!  Of course Bart saves the day, defeating Hedey (that's Hedley!) and driving off into the sunset (in a limo...).

I love, Love, LOVE this movie.  Probably Mel Brooks' finest creation on film.  So many inside jokes, so much physical comedy, it has everything you want to make you laugh for a couple hours.  Clearly, it went over the SO's head (by a mile).  A movie that has Dom DeLuise, Gene Wilder, AND Harvey Korman cannot fail, and with so many quotable quotes, it's one of those movies that will always be funny.  So in the end, of course it's a keeper.  And thank you, Dom, for always being "on" even in the short time you were on screen and on Earth.  Later!