Quote of the Day

About people not coming to movies…

“Loews, AMC, Cinemark, and their brethren lay the blame squarely at the feet of the studios for flooding the public with a stream of insipid and uninspiring releases. Seeing a movie at the theater isn’t always a real treat, though. Sure, you get the Dolby THX sound, a big screen, and stadium seating in the newer theaters. Hand-in-hand with that are commercials that run before the film starts, exorbitant concession prices, and people getting calls on their cell phones.”

My boys, HardOCP

This and That

Well, the weekend (my weekend) has just flown by. In that good way that makes you realize you enjoyed it, but flown none-the-less. As my super quick previous post let on, I enjoyed Hitchhickers Guide very much. I wouldn’t say that it was accurate, but it was fun to watch. Kind of like a a movie from a TV series. You’ve seen so much of the characters, you know the storys, so the movies become just another “episode”. If you look at HHGttG like that, it works. If you go into it thinking you’re going to see, and deserve to see, a complete tale about Arthur and friends you’ll be disappointed. This isn’t a Lord of the Rings epic. This is more of a synapsys of the HH universe. A brief overview of the uninittiated. I will agree with most critics however, that the movie was quite “jumpy” and didn’t really like to stay on track at all. It was really all over the place. Some of that was disappointing. Other parts I was almost glad they happened to jump by it as it was funny reading and I’m glad they included it (whale falling anyone?). I was right about the ending. I didn’t expect any less (more) from Hollywood. I would like to mention the opening song (and credits song for that matter). A rousing ragtime rendition of “So Long and Thanks for all the fish” had me rolling. The only really sad part is that after all is said and done, the BBC will have done a better job of being acurate with the series and with a small percentage of the budget. Makes me want to find the old BBC series on DVD. Oh wait, here it is in my download que… silly me.

That was Friday.

Saturday I worked for about half the day and then came home early. Lauren and I got some Casa Ole’ and then headed over to where we’ll be having a church picnic sometime soon. After that we visited with her grandparents and stayed for dinner before heading home.

Sunday I stopped off at EB and picked up a copy of Capcom vs. SNK… which I quickly returned since its complete crap. What I really wanted was Capcom Fighting Evolution (even though I now read that it sucks) but it’s not coming out until July. DOA Ultimate however, had a major price drop (from $49 to $19) so I picked that up for an even trade when I brought back the first game. That, I feel, was a good purchase. Sherzan and I played it for a few hours Sunday afternoon and managed to unlock about half the stuff. Robin and Laurie came over to join the party and I fired up some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill.

Sunday night I had a match so the girls were playing Scene-It (the DVD game) in the other room while I was helping my crew to another stalemate. We’ve been locked in combat with another clan for 2 weeks now and no one has been able to get the upper hand. After 5 rounds of overtime, by league rules increasing the spawn times with each round, we’re up to 1-minute spawns. We’ll play again next week and someone should come out on top. With spawn times that long, one well placed missle, scud, artillery barrage, etc, can wipe out half a team for over a minute. That gives the other team plenty of time to get you where they want you and go for your flag. Defense is the key. I did an ok job, I wasn’t really getting the shots I wanted to and the other team would find my hiding spot right off. I was stationed to watch a long stretch of road from an elevated pirch. Infantry couldn’t see me but tanks and APCs could. I was toast after a few well placed shells and I never fully got back into my groove.

We’ll see how we do this week. I feel confident that we’ll be able to take’em.


We’re going to see Hitchhikers tonight, as I’m sure a few of you will be doing this weekend. I’m genuinely concerned about its quality. Most book-to-movie conversions are tremendously inaccurate and pathetic attempts to condense 400+ pages of ideas and words into a 50page, 2 hour screenplay. This excludes mediocre genres like romance and romantic comedy. Somehow those movies, being as melodramatic as their book bound counter parts, manage to escape the “it was nothing like the book” movie review over post-cinema coffee. Action movies, SciFi, Drama and historical pieces are shot to bits in order to either make things more exciting for the illiterate movie going audience or are simply “edited to run in the time allowed”. Has anyone read Jurrasic Park? Does anyone who has think the movie is anything like it? Anyone else incredibly disappointed that they completely ruined it?

So, my concern isn’t unfounded. There’s a very good chance that they’ve ruined Douglas Adams’ brilliance completely. Most of the reviews I’ve seen fall into two categories. A) People who have read the books, seen the movie and loved every single moment of it or B) People who just don’t get what all the fuss was about and would like to go watch Million Dollar Baby again. It hangs, at the moment, at about a 55% tomato meter rating. The movie is either brilliant or confusing by most accounts. Everyone who didn’t like it talks about its jumpy story, dry dialog and jokes that no one seemed to get. They call it slap-stick and “zanny” and are generally unhappy people. Everyone who loved it went in wearing their “42” t-shirt, clutching copies of the Guide like it was the bible.

The only thing everyone seems to agree about is the changed ending. I haven’t seen it obviously, but my suspicion tells me that arthur gets the girl and they head off into the sunset for more wild and crazy adventures. That of course, is a complete guess. But I can see Hollywood doing that.

All I know is that the humor is damn funny, I’ve loved it for years. The casting for the movie is great (with the exception of Mos Def in the part of Ford), the trailer is the first trailer in years to actually make me laugh and best of all, Peter Jones, the voice from the BBC radio series, does the narrating. Thats money right there.

So, the 7:30 showing is my next stop. Fingers crossed.

Taxes, Fever Pitch and Video Games

Now theres a combo.

We’ll take these one at a time since they each deserve equal bantering.

Saturday night Lauren and I hung out with Ashley and went to see Fever Pitch, the new movie about a guy who loves the RedSox. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The story was mediocre and I really dislike Drew Barrymore as an actress, but the subject matter was there and it was good to feel a little Boston pride. The reviews are split right down the middle. Most are calling it a mildly interesting movie about baseball and fanaticism and the rest are calling it the date movie of the year. I thought it was probably about a 70%. Like I said, the subject matter is there, Jimmy Fallon doesn’t completely suck and there are quite a few moment where I laughed out loud. The rest was your average date movie. I can’t see it doing well at the box office though. It’s a movie about Boston, Boston Fans and the RedSox. People actually IN Boston will think it’s cheesy and people outside of Boston won’t get it. It was pretty much made for people like me, a fan, who wasn’t actually in Boston when they won. It brings that feel good hometown thing to the big screen for everybody that didn’t get to experience it first hand. Unfortunately for the box office numbers, that not a lot of people. We were 3 of about 30 people in the theater… and the movie just opened on Friday. Not a bad flick. Folks like me and Nagle should drag their girls to it so they can begin to understand about RedSox fans… everybody else can wait for DVD.

Taxes. Why me? After doing our taxes last night with the help of Turbo Tax, it appears that we owe the government $850. Wonderful. Just wonderful. It seems that Lauren and I both put “Married 2” on our W4’s, which means the government takes less each paycheck but you get less back, if anything, at the end of the year. Well, the places Lauren worked for last year took that to an extreme and took out next to nothing. Out of $5000 she made at one place, they only took out $120. That’s just not right. Although, maybe it is. Our W2s match our pay stubs, so, it could be right. If it is, we’re really getting the short of end the stick this year. It also doesn’t help that we’re into the next tax bracket by about $1000. Huzah. So, instead of a few hundred back, we’ve got to shell out $850 in the next few days. Isn’t that just awesome. I’m so happy the government is working for us and doing so many wonderful things, aren’t you?


Ok, we’ll end this on an up note of sorts. Video Games. I’ve got 3 to drop on you and only one of them was playable. That’s right. One. Last week I took a look at Prince of Persia 2, Star Wars Battlefront and Acts of War.

Prince of Persia 2 wasn’t even remotely playable. It didn’t pass my 15 minute test, mostly due to technical issues. When I loaded it up, the Bink movies that are the intro kept crashing the game. I wrote to UbiSoft tech support about it and got the canned “update your video drivers” answer. Well, considering Brothers in Arms as well as BF (something I play everyday) use Bink movies, I hardly think video card drivers are the issue. So, I found a save game and loaded past the intro movies to actual game play. It was canned, repetitive and completely uninteresting. They seriously toned down the one thing that made PoP good, the jumping/puzzle solving. Instead they focused on a combat system, which while interesting could be found in every run of the mill fighting game. Nothing innovative about being able to make a hit combo, sorry guys. Final Grade: D+ / C- (if you can get it to work).

Acts of War was at least playable. The concept was different: a RTS based (loosely) on current world events. I think the real problem here is that whoever was developing this had never made a RTS before. Reinventing the wheel didn’t really work out of them. Also, they really stripped down the standard RTS model and tried to replace it with “nifty” things. Resource gathering doesn’t really exist, neither does building anything more than troops. It’s a lot like C&C. You have a base, the base creates an army, you go blow stuff up. End of story. It also doesn’t help that the story itself is super weak. US soldiers protecting Paris during a UN converence? Come on. There are so many better RTS games out there, this one just isn’t worth the time. Passed the 15 minute test, but only for about a half-hour. Final Grade: C+

StarWars Battlefront was both playable and enjoyable. It’s actually fun AND interesting AND capable of being played for more than 15 minutes without wanting to rip out your eyes. The premise is simple: a FPS based on the StarWars universe and played in a Battlefield model. You have conquest spawn points that need capturing, you can hop in vehicles, be different classes and recreate any of the major battles from any of the 6 movies. The geek level from being able to grab a Tom-Tom on Hoth and go after Imperial walkers is unreal. The game also looks nice graphically. The interface is easy, it’s got some pretty decent bots if you’re playing Single player (campaign or instant battle) and of course the real meat is the multiplayer. Servers are a little sparse but once you find a couple that are actually populated the game becomes very enjoyable. I’ll stick with Battlefield but it I ever need a StarWars fix, this will do the trick. My only real complaint is some of the mechanics and weapon issues, but if the game were to get any sort of a following, those would be things that could be fixable in patches. Final Grade: B+/A-

Matt out.

Massive Weekend

What a weekend. It was kinda all over the place. Saturday I worked the 100th Aniversary party for American Nation Insurance or something like that. It was a crazy party with probably well over 1000 people. We were hired to photograph couples as they came in as a gift to them from the company. After that we were to photography the party, dinner and the presentation afterwards. The party was so big that we called in 2 extra photographers. I’m not sure how much they helped but it was nice to have someone to help carry stuff. Things went pretty well for the most part. My camera suffered a massive error and died about halfway through dinner, but hey, that’s what backup cameras are for, and we had 2 of’em. It was actually a pretty sweet rig, Canon 20D with booster pack, 17-35 L-Series (pro) lens, Quantum QFlash and Turbo battery kit all stuffed onto a custom bracket. I think it’ll be my main wedding rig once I figure out whats wrong with the camera. It might just need a firmware flash or maybe a good nights sleep.

Speaking of which, I didn’t get home until 2am from that shindig, which, with the time change became 3am. I slept in until about noon on Sunday. I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve got some sort of sinus/throat thing and it’s been real bugging me. I’ve been doing my usual Nyquil and OJ and it seems to be keeping the full-on cold at bay.

Sunday was pretty cool. While I was asleep, Lauren’s cell phone rang and it was Dan (from SCAD). He had a 4 hour layover in Houston before his fight back to San Diego. We figured since he was in the neighborhood we’d pay him a visit and grab some dinner with him and catch up. It was good to see Dan and he seemed to be doing well aside from stomach trouble from his excessive drinking the night before. He wanted to get something “Texas-ish” to eat so we took him for some mexican at Papasitos. After that we still had some time to kill so we stopped in at Frys before we brought him back.

Frys is quite possibly my favorite store on the planet now. It’s super Walmart sized and its full from floor to ceiling with everything electronic and computer related. It’s the only store I know of where you can go in and browse the “motherboard section” and physically handle the display board before you buy it. Not to mention the fact that isles to follow have every other component you can image. You can quite literaly walk into Frys and walk out with all the pieces to build a new computer at below retail, almost NewEgg prices. Add DVDs, CDs, Software and Home Electronics sections and you’ve got one sweet store.

And speaking of CDs, I went over to their techno section (yes, they actually have a techno/dance section) to look for the new Danny Howels Global Underground (after Chris reminded me which one it was) and ended up coming home with the greatest mix CD set ever made instead.

Renaissance: The Mix Collection by Sasha and John Digweed

3 CDs of pure genious. The quotes on the box sum it out pretty well…

“The re-release of this remastered 10th anniversay edition couldn’t have come at a better time” … “For many it was the first mix album they ever bought and for us it remains the best” … “Perhaps the greatest mix CD of all time”

Yeah. This is actually a re-release of the Uber rare original, which if I’m not mistaken, is going for hundreds on Ebay. It’s old school audio bliss. It makes me remember why I like techno in the first place.

Anyway, after we dropped Dan off we headed south back towards home when we decided to go see SinCity. A few phone calls later and Robin and Laurie are coming with us. We catch the 8pm at Cinemark.

SinCity is one of those movies I’ll have to sit and think about for a while. It wasn’t bad, it was ok, and there’s nothing that I can pick out instantly as something I didn’t like, I just can’t help feeling that it was only mediocre though. Not for any particular reason, it just didn’t thrill me as much as I thought it would. Like I said, it’s not “bad” so don’t think that I didn’t like it, it just needs some time to digest I think. The direction and cinematography were very well done. The visuals were perfect and consistant and the mood was as close to a Frank Miller comic book as you can possibly get. I think there was a thin layer of “cheese” on top of the whole thing and that most of the actors were dry and that every line felt like a one-liner instead of dialog. This could also be because 99% of the lines were taken directly from the books, not to mention about 90% of the shots through out the movie. They did a great job of trying to recreate EVERYTHING from the comics but in the end it just feels a little forced. There’s a quote from a reviewer that reads: “Accuracy isn’t the same thing as quality.” and I think I agree with that. Out of 10, from me it gets something like a 8.5. Apparently, the tomato agrees – RT 78%.

Today is my day off so I’m spending the whole of it enjoying my new CDs, trying to get rid of the spyware I just found (stupid f’ing ecards from my mom) and playing some more Brothers In Arms. I considered briefly getting a new Xbox game, but there’s nothing out right now that I feel like spending $50 on. DOA Ultimate is a thought, but I’d rather wait until it’s in the “Hits” package and $20 cheaper.

Lastly, my “Recent Links” plugin is completely borked. I’m trying to fix it but keep getting parse errors. I’ve sent an email off to the author, we’ll see what he says. That should be back up (or gone) in a day or two.

Matt out.

Top 10 movies of 2004

Yeah, like you didn’t see this coming.

At any rate, this is my list. Other people have other lists, and that’s fine for them. I’m sure, in some weird backwards world, Spider-Man 2 might have made it onto someone else’s list. Not here brother. I’m tough on movies. People who see movies with me are lucky to survive if I start ranting as soon as I walk out of the theater. The good movie are the ones I wait until I get home to make fun of.

Anyway, without further ado… Matt’s Top Ten Movies of 2004 – now with explanations!

10. Dawn of the Dead – Ok, I know it’s campy. It’s cheesy. But what other opportunity did I have to laugh at zombies……

9. Shaun of the Dead – Good, funny zombie flick. But then, I think all zombie flicks are funny. I’m weird like that. It had its moment, but not enough to move it higher in the count.

8. Saved – Macaulay Culkin in a wheel chair, who couldn’t laugh? Actually, it was a light-hearted poke at people who take religion just a little to far. Jena Malone does a great job for her first film. The van scene still has me laughing. “I’m FILLED with Christ’s love”… *whack*. Classic.

7. Shrek 2 – The cat made it funnier than the first. That and the little inside jokes here and there. I bought the box set. Good stuff.

6. Miracle – It’s a movie about the single greatest hockey moment in history… as if it wasn’t going to make the list. It’s also really good. I went to see it with Lauren and a non-hockey person and even they liked it. Go figure.

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – One of Jim Carrie’s best. Artsy and stylish and just sappy enough. Well written and directed, unique and funny. Bravo.

4. Lost in Translation – I loved it, others hated it. I dunno, I genuinely felt sorry for the characters at the end. That says something right there. That and for once, Hollywood didn’t need a sex scene to “wrap up” loose ends. Genuine movie. Murry deserves some sort of award. But wait, isn’t this movie from 2003? Yeah, but I didn’t see it until 2004. MY list. Get it?

3. Napoleon Dynamite – Funny shit. Period. It had its dull moments, but everytime that kid talked I was rolling in the isle.

2. Garden State – Almost made it to #1. For his first try Zach Braff did a great job. Witty and entertaining, beautifully directed. A real indie-film treat.

1. The Incredibles – Yes, the Incredibles. Not only was it good, it was a cartoon! Seriously though, it was perfect from start to finish. An instant DVD special edition purchase. I found it hard to nit-pick and what I could was easily negated by the fact that it was CG. The voices were perfectly cast, the animation was great and hey, it had Jason Lee in it, what more do you people want!?!

I’m done.