Archive for May, 2008

What I Would Search For

Inspired by World News with Charlie Gibson and Jackie’s posts about the EF-5 tornado to hit Iowa, it’s made me wonder what one thing I would search for in the wreckage of my home (or save, if time allows to grab it).  As someone who’s so fearful of severe weather I can’t even look outside during a storm, I’m surprised I’ve never really thought hard about it before. A few items have come to mind. As I write this post, I haven’t made my decision so I’m going to write out things I’d like to save and any explanation behind it or a reason for it not being the ‘one item’. I think by the time I finish it, I’ll have an answer.

  • Photos/Wedding photos – While these are sentimental, they are archived online with Flickr. While it would be time consuming and painful to reprint and redownload to my computer, they’re safe and sound.
  • Wedding ring – Chances are, it wouldn’t be off my finger, but if it were, it is covered by insurance.
  • My grandmothers’ jewelry – Sentimental items more for the sake of passing on to daughters, but finding something from both grandmothers that can travel through history would be worth it.
  • Camera – To document the story for a grieving outlet and for remembering.
  • iMac – It’s one of our most prized possessions because it’s really the first large item we bought together. We unplug it when there’s a threat of severe weather, so it would be easy to grab.
  • Our backup drive – While losing our iMac would be very sad, it’s covered by insurance. Losing our data would be more sad, because you can’t just buy your files and time back with your insurance check.
  • Haji – We took her with us to safety the last time weather threatened, but only because time was on our side. Admittedly, she’s not first on my list since she came with her owner by default.
  • Cell phone – Not only to see if others are OK or to have others be able to reach me to see if we’re OK, but to have for neighbors who don’t have a way of getting hold of their family. I probably would already have it, and if not, someone would.

Of all these items, and I’m sure I’ve missed some since I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, I’d probably go for the backup drive. I have a lot of files I’d miss if tragedy struck us, because my passion is design – and losing my archive of what I’ve done would be nearly devastating. I’m sure it would be for Miles, too. We should have a backup somewhere other than our home, but we don’t, and so that is why it wins.  Severe weather predicted for today…

What would be the one item you’d search for (or save)?

Indiana Jones

After last week’s review, I got worried. Readers were commenting on their low expectations of Prince Caspian and because of my review, might go see it when they otherwise wouldn’t have. That worries me because I went into the movie with low expectations/little interest. If a reader goes to the movie with the expectations of how great I thought it was, they might be let down because they’re going in with a different view. If I had seen the movie where expectations were met, I may not have been raving about it as much. So, this being said – take my reviews with a grain of salt. They will skew your movie watching if you take them to heart and they are skewed by my own perceptions. See the movies with your own thoughts going into them so you can have the most accurate perception of them. If you can’t do that without my thoughts in mind, then it might be a good idea to wait to read my reviews until you see the movie yourself.

Ticket Stub of Indiana Jones More specifically, take this review with a large grain of salt because I haven’t seen all of the Indiana Jones movies, nor remember anything of what I have seen, and therefore wasn’t as big of a fan as some of you may have been…so my comments and criticisms might just be how the Indiana Jones franchise is. But my views are strictly from outside of the Indiana Jones’s following, so don’t get your feathers ruffled up about it.

The movie pretty much met my expectations, which were low. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like I was on a Walt Disney World theme ride. The believability isn’t quite there. Take the safari ride, for instance. Even though you are looking out for poachers and end up chasing them, you really don’t believe it is happening – even with puffs of dirt shooting up around you to simulate bullets. But your safari tour guide sure does keep on trying, doesn’t he? That’s what I felt like in this movie. The story was sub-par and the overall feeling was over-the-top and somewhat campy. I never felt any sense of danger for our hero, Henry Jones, Jr. In fact, there were several moments where I thought, “This reminds me of something that would happen in a Scooby Doo movie.”

I thought Harrison Ford did a good job portraying his character, for as much as I could remember of how he used to portray Indiana Jones. Even in his age, he seemed rugged and tough and ready for a fight. And his character was even pretty close to his age – late 50s, maybe 60s. However, I couldn’t help but wonder – with all the (well-choreographed) stunts, what percentage was Harrison Ford actually in the movie?

Shia LeBeouf and Cate Blanchett’s performances were sub-par. The only thing going for Blanchett was her accent. Otherwise, I couldn’t take her seriously as an enemy. Unfortunately with Shia, it’s hard to keep from thinking about him as Louis Stevens. As much as I try to look past it, that’s just the way it is. Hopefully he’ll make smart moves about his character choices and become a great actor. Last night, I compared his possible future to that of Mark Wahlberg. Assuming he makes the right choices. His character in Indiana Jones, Mutt, was to “Fonz”-like for me and he didn’t pull off the tough guy act. However, I did really enjoy the fight scene in the diner with the greasers vs. the preppies. Nice.

Overall, I wasn’t a fan of the character interaction. Miles put it nicely by saying that it seemed they were more interested in the mystery rather than in their situation. Instead of being concerned that the person next them wants to kill them, they ask questions about what they know. And that person freely gives them the honest answers. It seemed to me, that it would have been more in Indiana Jones’s character to lead Irina Spalko on the wrong trail.

If you weren’t planning on seeing this movie, it’s probably a good idea to see something instead. If you’re a fan of the Indiana Jones movies, it’s a good performance by Harrison Ford as a last hurrah in this franchise.

Some little perks, The Janitor from Scrubs and Charles Widmore from LOST have small appearances.  I give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

Makeover

You might have noticed a few changes since you last visited the blog. In fact, Miles and I had planned a re-design of my site to be released on our wedding day, along with the new URL sporting my new name. That didn’t happen. So we thought we’d launch the redesign for my birthday in April. I didn’t start designing it until just a couple days before my birthday. So, of course, that didn’t happen.

But now…it’s happened. Feel free to take a look around. There are still some minor tweaks and changes, (major ones on the portfolio page as I haven’t uploaded any work there yet). I designed it, with consultation from Miles. Miles programmed it – making everything work exactly the way I wanted. His was the tougher and more time-consuming job. This never would have happened without his expertise. Thank you, husband!

I hope you like it. The change was much-needed and I’m excited to show it off!

Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian

This week The Movie Club met for Prince Caspian. Again, as someone who doesn’t know anything because I haven’t read the books, I thought it was a great movie! I really didn’t remember anything about the first movie. In fact, I only remembered there being three children: Peter, Susan, and Lucy. When this other boy (Edward) went to Narnia with the other Pevensie children, I started getting curious. I whispered several times to Miles, “Who is that other kid?” Of course, this thoroughly confused him and I didn’t get an answer until I figured it out for myself. Disregarding my idiocy, this nearly three-hour movie is worth the time. Never once did I find myself wondering “I wonder if we’re half-way yet…”

Ticket stub from Prince Caspian The characters were well-developed and even though the actors had three years to get taller, grow facial hair, etc., they genuinely seemed to only be about a year older. Neither they nor Prince Caspian, however, were what impressed me most. It was the Narnians. The animation and modeling of these characters was strong and believable. The two I was most impressed by were the centaurs and minotaurs. The centaurs walked and galloped in life-like ways. The area where the man becomes the animal really looks smooth and makes sense. The minotaurs are almost overwhelming with their strength, height, and other physical features. They look powerful and definitely lead the way in the battles.

The battles. Oh, the battles! They were COOL. Set aside the fact that they don’t show anything gory (cutting to a new angle right before someone slices a soldier’s neck, no “gross” sound effects), these battles are really neat to watch. They’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves and that makes these scenes even more exciting.  I give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you’ve seen the first one and even only sort of enjoyed it, this is recommended for you. “For Aslan!”

Iron Man – Speed Racer

Miles and I started The Movie Club. There are only two members and we intend to keep it that way. Every week, we will see a new movie. If there are none in the theater we’re even slightly interested in, we’ll rent. Miles was voted in as President, but the VP can overrule any decisions – as well as overthrow the President. Any “review” I do of the movies shouldn’t be much of a spoiler. Certainly not of important things. But if you want to see the movies first and make up your mind, you may want to skip my reviews until then.

Iron Man ticket stub Last week, we saw Iron Man. I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical. The trailer looked decent, but I knew nothing of the Iron Man / Tony Stark character, nor cared about him. I only went because my husband wanted to. It was amazing. Robert Downing, Jr. (and his humor) really made Tony Stark likable and made you want to root for him. I think if he had been more conceded or arrogant, I wouldn’t like him as a superhero – but maybe that’s the kind of guy Stark was in the comics. I’m not sure. The seamless integration of photo realistic effects was really quite impressive. The computer in his helmet (and home) was believable as an intelligent type of technology, as well as the robotic “characters” in Stark’s shop. The story was not only believable, they made it applicable to current culture and events – even though the story was conceived a few decades ago. The interaction between Pepper and Tony was entertaining and well executed. Gwenyth Paltrow did a great job walking the line between being enchanted by Stark’s charm and putting him in his place. So not only were the effects amazing and believable, so was the story. And the music. It fit in so perfectly, you wouldn’t even know, until you heard it, that the Iron Man theme didn’t actually play until the credits. And then there’s a little extra for those who are respectful enough to read the credits. All in all, it’s in my top two superhero movies released to date. Maybe number one, but that decision is too close to call.

Speed Racer ticket stub Tonight we saw Speed Racer on DLP. I was also skeptical of this movie. Mostly because I was afraid I’d have seizures from all the fast-moving colors. Let me just say that I knew in the first thirty seconds that I was disappointed. The extreme contrast between the brightly colored animation and the low-lit practical shots was just as disturbing as looking at a poorly super-imposed image. The shadows on the actors’ faces didn’t make sense and really looked flat when composited in with the effects. The parts where the style looked decent were when no practical shots were used – mostly when there was a wide-angle shot or very fast motion blurs. If the whole movie had been done with the effects, I maybe would have liked it. Maybe it would have even been forward-thinking. Either the technology isn’t up to speed enough to pull off this style, they didn’t put enough time and thought into executing it, or this style will never make it in the movie world. The only scene I enjoyed in this movie was when Speed Racer was sitting in the locker room at the beginning of the movie. There, and only there, did I feel that the “look” worked. And I don’t think there were any effects on those shots. One positive result of the movie is that Matthew Fox was in it as Racer X and seeing him sent my mind off to distant and beautiful lands of LOST theories and wonderment of the upcoming finale episodes. *ahhh*

All of this being said, I don’t know much about Speed Racer the character or show, and so maybe this style makes sense for keeping in line with it. But I know enough about anime to know that it probably doesn’t keep in line with it. And if it does, I still didn’t like the style. I did, however, enjoy reading Miles’s twitters about the movie. See them here. Also, the DLP might have been good but it’s hard to tell with a movie you can’t enjoy.

I hear Tony Stark will be making an appearance in The Hulk this summer, with Edward Norton, and you can bet your bottoms The Movie Club will be in attendance. A sequel to Iron Man has been announced for a release date of April 30, 2010.

I give Iron Man a 5 out of 5 stars and Speed Racer a 2.5 out of 5 stars.