Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

The Perpetual Vacationer

We’re watching Wall•E with commentary from Director Andrew Stanton and we’re loving it! (You may have seen me tweet about it yesterday, but we had to split it into a two-day viewing because we started it too late last night.) Not only do they show concept art, storyboard panels, and video footage, (all awesome) the director gives some great insight on the messages they were trying to convey through certain ideas.

One particular thought he had I found very interesting. He was explaining the humans in space and how they were portrayed in the movie 700 years in the future—as lazy vacationers who interact with their neighbor via video screens and golf via touch screen. They’re in a perpetual vacation and never get out of their lounge chair. Instant gratification, as they click what they want to buy and receive it immediately. He talked about people on a busy street walking by each other on their cell phones, or in the commuting lane in their cars and how close we are to each other, but still being so removed. He joked that with things like 1-Click shopping, we will evolve into being only a thumb (for clicking) and a mouth (for eating).

My one question for you is, do advances in technology make us more removed from each other or more connected? I, personally, am more connected to those around me because of advances in technology, and social media specifically. There are so many people I would have never heard of a year ago, but now I know their interests, their career, their humor, etc. though many of them I have not met. Is this connection false? Does this change the definition of “connected”?

But most importantly, will there really be robots who do style my hair in the future?!

Decorations Still Hanging

I’m only writing because it’s been a while. Not really because I have much to say. Unless you read this and see that it’s super long – then I guess I thought of something.

The holidays came and went fast. We spent the actual Christmas Eve/Day with the Rausch and Miles families. Christmas Day night, my family came up for our kinda-sorta-annual Christmas Day movie tradition. That weekend we spent Christmas with some of the Greggs and Leaders. Two of my high school friends got married that weekend at home, so that worked out convenient for us.

New Year’s Eve we spent in Hawarden again, playing board games with my family and my sister-in-law’s family. Played: Squares, Pop 5, Buzzword, Apples to Apples. It was fun to just hang out and focus on strategy and playing the games.

I’m almost done with what’s been published of the Twilight saga. My sister’s friend is letting me borrow her copies. While it’s not the most well-written piece of literature I’ve ever read, it is an enjoyable story and somewhat addicting. I feel like my HS-age sister and sister-in-law. I don’t go crazy when Twilight is mentioned, but I can see why they like them so much. I’m almost done with the last book and it’s much more maturely-written than the previous three. I even blush. I am considering seeing the movie, though I know it won’t be as good – might have to wait until the library gets it in for rental if I don’t go soon before it leaves the theaters.

In a couple weeks, Miles and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary. We’re going to spend the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend at my grandparent’s timeshare in Okoboji. It’s something we’ve been planning since November, but now I feel like we need a weekend away even more. My family used to stay at this timeshare quite often in my pre-college days. Miles has not been there before and I think he’ll like it.

We’re well into the new year and I still haven’t written a check or anything that will force me to change my 08 habits. I don’t anticipate it being too difficult. So many things happened in 2008 (good *and* bad, but it’s easier to remember the bad) that I’m ready to move on.

Rausch Reunion

I Scream As many of you know, the Rausch Reunion is held every even year over the 4th of July holiday. This year was my second time in attendance and it was in Bismarck, ND. On Thursday, we picked up cousin Dan, cousin Amy, sister Molly and sister Brenna at the Summit exit and drove Val and Paula’s suburban the rest of the way. That night, along with 13 other relatives, we went to Hancock, which I found disappointing. Late night, but we were able to sleep in on Friday morning. After a jog/walk, we (Miles, sister Molly and I) met up with cousins Molly and Jenny and headed to Art in the Park in a nearby town. Then we hung out at the pool and headed to a park for a family picnic, then Cold Stone and then to the capital mall area for fireworks.

Sound Asleep Saturday was the golf tournament for most of the group. About 18 of us had an alternative tournament for disc golf, which was started as a tradition at the last reunion. Cousin Brenna had put together the teams, and though I wasn’t originally, I ended up on the same team as Miles, which worked out quite well since we brought our own discs and could share. That night was Mass and the awards banquet. And let me tell you, it was long. My hips and back started hurting from sitting for so long, so I moved to the lobby where all the little kids were playing. At the time, the children were beginning to overthrow the leader of the games because they didn’t like all her rules. Ahh, to be young again and thwarting “the man”.

At the end of the banquet, they try to determine where the next reunion will be. They seemed to be pushing for the Colorado group, but they said they needed 4 years to plan it, so they’ll be hosting in 2012. It kind of got shoved on to Sioux Falls after that and last I’ve heard, that’s where it will be in 2010. So we’ll be a large part of the planning committee, since there are only a couple Rausch families living here.

After that, we all hung out in one small hotel room, which I quickly removed myself from. Cousin Chad let us pick out a wedding present from his collection of glass sculptures (many are vases, but not all) and we’re excited about the one we got! On Sunday, we all packed up and made our way back home. A great reunion, I’d say about 125+ Rausch family members, which is intense. On to 2010.

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight ticket stub Best movie of the summer. I didn’t decide that right away, but now it’s decided. Except for one plot hole that wasn’t explained, there is nothing I didn’t like about the movie. And if you think this movie is about Batman, you’re wrong. And you should have gathered that by the lack of Batman in the trailers. It’s all about The Joker. And every plot twist and turn is all about The Joker. And it was amazing.

Only once in this movie did I think, “That isn’t believable” and that’s because it wasn’t explained and for a super hero comic book movie, that’s pretty remarkable. Maybe it’s because Batman isn’t “super” so the things he does are based upon the gadgets that were engineered and so I think, that’s plausible. (I could be fooling myself in this area and lots of the things in this movie could make no sense because after all, I’m no engineer.)

As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker was phenomenal. I’d say he has a two-part introduction and after his magic trick, all I could think was, “I cannot wait for the rest of this movie to happen”. Luckily, it did. He was super creepy. The licking of his lower lip throughout the movie really added to the creepiness for me. The lack of music in just a few scenes was another major factor in the overall creepiness. Acting aside, the heists The Joker pulls are so insane and intricately planned, you can’t help but be blown away by all the twists and turns. The over two and a half hour movie never once had me hoping for the end of it.

Except for the CG on one character, I didn’t take notice of the visual effects in this movie, which means they did it right. Or, at least I was sucked into the movie enough to not notice and nothing was bad enough to take me out of it. It was good work.

It’s a very dark movie. Things you don’t think would happen (because in most movies they wouldn’t), *do* in fact happen. And the breaking of those “rules” is extremely refreshing.

We saw this movie twice and I still give The Dark Knight a 5 out of 5 stars.

The Iron Giant – Vantage Point – The Kingdom

With Sue as our guest this week, we each rented a movie to watch in the evenings. The Iron Giant was good in most aspects. Dialogue was funny and clever interaction between characters and even the story and series of events that occurred in the movie were interesting and kept me into the story – a lot like what Pixar does with their characters. The only criticism I have is on the animation. It could have been better. The movie was released in 1999. Toy Story 2 came out that same year. One year before that, was A Bug’s Life. Three years before *that* was Toy Story 1. So we know that 3D animation in a broad sense was already in the picture. Miles says the giant was in 3D, but I didn’t notice and I would have enjoyed The Iron Giant a lot more if Warner Bros. had been hip with the 3D scene for the whole movie. It would have been really good in 3D.

I give The Iron Giant a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Vantage Point was a huge waste of time. Most of you know by now that the movie basically replays a short series of events several times from different character’s views and then one “this is how it happened” sequence. Even Matthew Fox wasn’t an enjoyment. The ‘rewind’ sequences were annoying and a waste of time. It’s like they just discovered their editing software had the option to fast-rewind and they thought seeing people move backwards was funny and wanted to show it off. The series of events that actually happened weren’t very believable. The 20 minute car chase will take you out of the movie, if you weren’t already. They didn’t spend enough time with each character for me to even care about them or get involved in their story. It was only 90 minutes but it was about 70 minutes too long. Other movies have done better jobs of weaving cross-over stories than this. It was a good concept, but it had already been done, much better.

I give Vantage Point a 2 out of 5 stars.

I had forgotten that we had seen the title sequence for The Kingdom on the internet a few months ago and how much I loved it.  One of the best, if not *the* best, I’ve seen. It gives you the history in just a few short minutes and if you already know the history, it’s design is interesting enough to keep you entertained.  I was concerned that the title sequence would overshadow the actual movie.  I didn’t want the movie to be a waste when the title sequence was so great.  But the movie wasn’t a waste.  It’s definitely worth seeing at least once.  While it *does* seem to take a while for any real action to take place (after the initial attack), the in-between time is entertaining and informative.  I didn’t think the time in between was dull, but I could see how someone might get ants in the pants and find the time spent on the situation in Saudi Arabia a little boring. But not me. And if you look past the believability of four FBI agents investigating this attack and achieving what they inevitably do in this foreign land, then you can appreciate this movie. It was a stellar cast – and you just can’t go wrong with Jason Bateman, am I right?

I give The Kingdom a 4 out of 5 stars.