« November 2004 | Main | January 2005 »

December 8, 2004

okay dad, i'll keep writing movie reviews...

...as long as you promise to never call me "The Ebert of the Web" again. Do we have a deal?

Tonight I saw a beautiful movie and I'm partially glad and partially very sad that Loverzan wasn't here to see it with me. You see, it's one of the best sequels I've ever seen, and it's about love, and we saw the first movie together. So perhaps you can see how that would be beautiful and also heartbreaking. But too heartbreaking. So I saw it alone. I hope she sees it too.

I saw a review in The Stranger when it came out...a good review. If I remember correctly, the cynical Seattle paper, The Stranger, said to do yourself a favor and go rent the the original movie, Before Sunrise, and then go out and see the Sequel, Before Sunset. That made me remember the first movie and knit my brow in surprise. They made a sequel to that movie?

Okay, now this sounds terrible, but it's a movie about a character played by Ethan Hawke (hey, keep reading!) hanging out all evening with some unknown but extremely cute french lady. All night they walk the streets of France and talk about love and philosophy and sort of try to act cool and give each other a hard time, but can't be blind to the fact that they have some serious feelings for each other. He's leaving in the morning, and after their whirlwind night of love, they make a romantic pact not to exchange numbers, but just to meet at the train station in six months, and that's it.

That's it. They just talk about philosophy all night (they don't even show the sex) and then he goes home. And yet I guess I give up all guy cred I ever had when I say that this movie is truly better than all the Terminator movies in the world. Some of the dialog was cheesy, but something was said, and I wasn't sure what.

So I missed Before Sunset it theaters (cause, you know, whatever) but it just came out on video and I decided to get it. For old times sake or something. And unbelievably it surpassed the original. It's not like they're the two best movies I've ever seen, far from it. But the first movie had something truly special and honest about it, and somehow Richard Linklater (co-writer and director of both movies) manages to go ten years in the future, take it all up one notch, and deepen his presentation.

Near the end of the movie (which I will not reveal) he is noodling about in her apartment, and she's making some tea, and he wanders over to her CD player. He looks through the stacks and just puts something on, without a word. I laughed...that's just what I'd do. Then the first strains of music come on and it's Nina Simone and I think, holy shit, that's really what I'd do. And then he says, "I can't believe I missed her in concert. I can't believe she's gone." Then I thought, Get Out Of My Head Richard Linklater!

But that's why I realized I liked both movies. Because even though both movies have dialog that's a little contrived at times, they both felt like a true portrait of two smart people who didn't really believe in love, but nevertheless were falling in love. Bantering, trying to one up each other, but only tenderly, taking it back, making innuendos and then pretending like it was a joke, acting like it's no big deal when they both know it is, trying to get every moment to count, taking it to the last moment when they can possibly be together...sublime.

Hey, if you go see it and are like...holy shit that was boring...then I'm sorry, I'm a girlie man, what can I say? Chin up, I'll bet they're going to make a IMAX 3D Terminator 4. where some really fuckin' cool robots get blown up by the new kung-fu matrix T-1 Billion and the shards spin and fly towards you and it looks like they're going to drip robot blood RIGHT ON YOU! I'll go see it with you.

December 7, 2004

what i think of every movie playing in seattle right now

  • after the sunset - total schlock
  • alexander - no way...not even as camp
  • alfie - no, but i can appreciate jude law
  • bridget jones sequel - no way
  • callas forever - maybe too art house
  • christmas with the kranks - never
  • closer - no way..and not just cause julie roberts is in it
  • eruption of mt st helens imax - saw it...old school, kinda boring, but good
  • finding neverland - never would have thought of it, but it won some award just now so I'm a little curious
  • garden state - saw it...kinda like a slick movie version of college radio, like REM or something. actually good though.
  • i heart huccabees - saw it, pretty darn good for what it was
  • into the deep IMAX 3d - saw it...liked it! freaky huge starfish!
  • kinsey - I'd probably see it
  • motorcycle diaries - sure, I'd see it
  • napolean dynamite - saw it, liked it..mostly just for enternainment...the is definately the kind of movie I like as entertainment...dorky, funny in a smart way, tries to do something new
  • national treasure - no way
  • overnight - twould be a guilty pleasure
  • polar express - god no..creepy pablum
  • ray - saw it...pretty hollywoody, but good enough to keep me entertained and teach me about the context of ray charles music so I liked it
  • sex is comedy - nah, probly not
  • shall we dance - no on the whole richard gere thing...he's doubly creepy cause he's tibetan buddhist. plus I think this was a remake of a japanese movie that's supposed to be way better
  • shaun of the dead - saw it...it had it's lame moments aplenty, but genuinely and seriously funny on the whole
  • sky captain and the world of tomorrow - saw it, good just for the technical feat it is (mostly digital sets and props, but live actors)
  • spongebob - probly wouldn't see it unless a friend really wanted to see it with me
  • team america - saw it, was disappointed...was expecting south park movie level brilliance, definatley wasn't here
  • the incredibles: - seen it, liked it..good as entertainment, and even as cinema on some level
  • What the #$*! Do We Know!? - too ramtha
Sorry I didn't make all the movies links to Rotten Tomatoes or the Internet Movie Database or something. It was enough trouble just to format it. Just go to those sites and cut and paste them into the search window for me. Thanks.

December 6, 2004

approaching harborview


Ben lost his passenger helmet for the motorcycle so I took the bus to Harborview today. As I approached I was glad I had the batphone. They cut off the cast, took films, and I sat around in the casting room for awhile cradling my tender bumpy wrist (I just condensed 2 hours for you there).

Already the bone surgeons and I have rapport. I respect what they do, and they respect that I damn well want the X-rays and my treatment options explained to me. Last time they said that it looked like they couldn't do anything much better via surgery, but this time they weren't so sure.

The X-ray was in a slightly different angle than the one 2 weeks ago, and they couldn't tell 100% if there was further degradation. They took me in the other room and used some other kind of live-action X-ray that's lower resolution. Actually it was stunningly cool to see them rotating my wrist around and seeing the bones themselves move fluidly on the display.

The two orthos studied it aloud while I sat there. They couldn't come to any serious conclusion. They were pretty sure it was still within the recommended 2mm of displacement, but couldn't be sure if it was more than last time or not. I looked real closely at what they were talking about and I admit it was difficult to even discern the similarities in the two slightly different X-ray angles.

So, one of the doctors said he'd like to see a CAT scan. I took a deep breath and said, "Hold up...is there any other way? This is out-of-pocket."

He gritted his teeth and they went back and studied the regular X-rays for awhile again, and still couldn't come to a difinitive decision. It was still within the 2mm, but he just couldn't tell for 100% sure if he could help with surgery. We made a compromise, they recast me and I come back in a week and we take another round of X-rays. If it still looks like a CAT scan is necessary then we'll do it, insane debt be damned. I want surgery like I want a hole in the head, but I'm also willing to be in debt to prevent serious mobility problems with my wrist.

They gave me another nice blue cast, but I'm understandably pretty bummed. I was kinda expecting, "See you in 6 weeks, kid." If there's a CAT scan or surgery it's really...kind of a bad scene. I'm trying to go easy on myself, but I feel pretty stupid.

I wandered aimlessly towards home, taking busses and walking, finally stopping for dinner at some Filipino place, where I chilled out over some pork adobo. It was tasty, and had these really good clear bean thread noodles...I didn't even know they had those in the Phillipeans.

As I walked out the door, this slightly overweight middle aged guy with thinning hair caught my attention. "Hey", he said, "Do you have any Demerol?"

I sputtered a little bit, indicating my cast lamely, as if to say, "They don't give you Demerol for a broken arm!" but he took it to mean confusion as to what the hell he was talking about. "You know," he further explained, "painkillers." I finally just said no, and I think he felt looked down on.

"Sorry...I just thought you were hip," he said.

I suddenly looked down at the ratty black leather motorcycle jacket I was wearing. I guess in the 50's this was a prime indicator of hipness. It was the jacket and the hair that made him ask, not the cast. Then I thought, holy shit, dude just called me a square! I snorted. "I'm crazy hip!"

Oh well, guess I really am a dork. I didn't realize black leather and Demerol was what it took.

Anyway, merry holiday thing, check my abstract batphone picture of downtown Seattle Christmas lights:


i love movies

My dad said he'd like to see me do some movie reviews, which I haven't really done on the tinyblog. So here's my two movie reviews. One is for Terminator 3, a fine movie with the governor of California as the robotic savior of humanity, and the other is Japon (Japan in Spanish) that has absolutely nothing to do with Japan.

I saw The Terminator on video and I think it was one of the first graphic rated R thrillers I ever saw. It was exciting and sort of funny in a weird way, and it had an outstanding, tense soundtrack and did a lot with a low budget. I didn't know who James Cameron was, and I didn't know who anybody was but Arnold of course, and I went Arnold crazy. I saw all his movies with all their snappy post-kill quips.

But Terminator was the best, and it allowed James Cameron to become the incredible hollywood ho-bag he is today (I can hardly wait for Aliens of the Deep (2005)). T2 wasn't too horrible, but it was definately James Cameron in full Titanic glory, with all the glossiness that is modern big cinema. It had, like, emotions, and character redemption and a teen-beat cover model character and a budget that would seriously choke a horse. He made back every dollar though. No more "being an emotionless villain" crap, this time Arnold had to be a hero. I loved that movie when it came out, but the huge budget and even huger plot holes it introduced really didn't quite do the movie right.

So Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, wasn't really directed by James...he had a writing credit though. I think the technical term is he "phoned it in". But, to it's credit, it had a bunch of no-name actors, and a fairly low budget (compared to T2) and really had the grittiness of the original. It's amazing Arnold deigned to show up...I guess he's really the ultimate ho-bag, and he ended up getting paid for free campaign material. (Ah don't care if he's Austrian, a man who can blow shit up like that is an honorary American in my book! Make that man president!)

Oh yeah, the movie. Okay so the plot holes get bigger, but they also sort of go back to the spirit of the first movie. It really feels more apocolyptic. So it was kinda enjoyable, and it was cool to see something that was started in the first movie come to fruition. I mean, they totally set this up to continue as maybe a TV miniseries, or a bunch of direct-to-video throwoffs...of John Connor endlessly waging war in the future. I hope that wasn't a spoiler. Do spoilers even matter for movies like this?

Okay, and one big complaint is John Connor...could he have been a bigger wuss? His mom supposedly trained him in all these military arts and he rides a motorcycle at 80 on a twisty road and makes all kinds of dumb civilian moves. He really could have been a stronger character. The very young Ed Furlong obviously did a much superior job, even at 14 or however old he was.

So it's clear I have kind of a love/hate relationship with this movie or more accurately like/disdain, and that's okay. I'm glad my man Nate had the courage to pick it up at the video store and I'm glad I watched it. If you didn't watch the other two, fer chrissakes, don't start now. But if you did watch the other two, then you should obviously watch this one too.

Was I gonna review a whole 'nuther one? I have to go to bed. Maybe tomorrow.

December 1, 2004

some minor geeky stuff


First of all, it's worth mentioning that IFComp 2004 just announced the winners of its annual short interactive fiction contest. I can't really play interactive fiction because...well, because I tend to suck at anything even remotely puzzlelike.

But the idea, the idea I love. For those of you who don't know, Interactive Fiction is what used to be called Text Adventures, which were the height of video game technology back in 1980 before graphics were really cooking on computers yet. Many people have at least heard of Zork and it's ilk. A place is described, as in a narrative:

You are in a plain room with doors to the north and west.

And you say you want to "go north" or "hand the owl to the dwarf" and the game responds, for better or for worse.

Only nowadays, since there's not a dime to be made from it, some real fiction artistes have taken a crack at it, making some things that truly live up to the name Interactive Fiction. It's fiction where the interaction is as rich as the narrative in many cases. And if making a linear story is hard work, imagine what it's like to make a story along with responses to everything a person might do.

Some of them are puzzles, and some are more like stories where you can sit on the sofa and such. They are all free, but usually you need some kind of "player" for them, depending on what tool they were used. I could go into detail, but really there's other places to tell you all about it.

And, for my own reference, here's a bunch of people who wrote reviews of this year's competition games:
JoshuaH, inky, maga, Bishop, Ander, Merk, zarf, ctate, ShihTzu Jacqueline, Ferret, and

Then also, I took a couple of pretty low-res pictures on my batphone for your viewing disaster.