Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Haunted House Movies:
13 Ghosts - I thought this movie was ok the first time I watched it, but seem to like it more and more with each additional viewing. Plus the bonus features on the DVD are pretty good.
House on Haunted Hill - Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but watchable.
The Haunting - Same as above.
Amityville Horror - Very unrealistic for a movie that claims to be based on a true story, but still kind of creepy. Watch the original version, not the terrible remake from a couple years ago.
The Shining - A true classic and probably the best known haunted house movie of all time. Jack Nicholson is fantastic, plus it led to one of the best Simpson's parodies of all time - Treehouse of Horror V. I can't believe it hasn't been on tv this year.
The Haunted Mansion - I had high hopes for this movie after the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, but despite top notch special effects, first rate set design, and great ambiance, this still fell short. The story was not very cohesive, and it just seemed kind of aimless. And I'm not sure Eddie Murphy was a good choice.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is really the only version of this story that I thought was any good. Robert DeNiro turned in a great performance. I had initially thought he was an odd choice, but was pleasantly surprised.
The Mummy starring Boris Karloff was very good. I've found that a lot of the old monster movies are a bit boring and corny, but this one turned out great.
The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser is a little on the goofy side but is still good fun.
Bubba Ho-Tep - Completely different from any other movie you'll ever see. Bruce Campbell is great as Elvis, and Ossie Davis pulls off a quality JFK. More comedy than horror, this one is a must see.
Underworld - this one could also have gone in the vampire category, but the werewolf category is a lot thinner. Underworld and Underworld Evolution are both good movies about the ongoing battle between vampires and werewolves.
Harry Potter and the Werewolf - I can't remember which movie had the werewolf in it, but it was pretty good.
Wolf - a little slow, but gets good at the end.
These movies don't really fit in any other category.
Army of Darkness - I don't have enough superlatives for this movie. One of my all time favorite movies of any genre, I absolutely love it. Bruce Campbell reprises his role as Ash from Evil Dead 1 and 2 and in this one is transported to the middle ages by an evil force where he must battle the 'deadites' - an army of the undead - for the possession of the necronomicon - the book of the dead. Hands down the best B movie ever made, go out and watch it right now.
Frailty - Bill Paxton is visited by an angel who tells him he has to slay demons disguised as humans with an axe named Otis. Naturally, this is somewhat disruptive to the life of his 2 young boys. This one also comes highly recommended by me.
Sleepy Hollow - Tim Burton is one of the best directors for creating ambiance, and this is some of the best cinematography I've ever seen. Johnny Depp also turns in a great performance as does Ray Park who played the headless horseman - at least while he doesn't have a head. Better know for being Darth Maul, he is better with weapons than any other actor in history. Except maybe Bruce Lee.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - the Disney cartoon narrated by Bing Crosby has always been one of my favorites. Perhaps it's just nostalgia.
From Hell - Not really a Halloween movie, but still scary. This movie about Jack the Ripper is outstanding. One warning though - I haven't met a woman who liked this movie, I assume because of the subject matter.
The Sixth Sense - more psychological thriller than horror movie, I love this movie.
Red Dragon - again, technically not a horror movie, in my opinion this is the scariest movie ever made. I find serial killer movies scarier than monster movies. Red Dragon has it all, a great story, incredible acting all around although I'm particularly fond of Harvey Keitel's performance as special agent Crawford, suspense, and of course Hannibal Lecter.
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Wererabbit - just good fun.
And so here is your video of the day, courtesy of Google: Drowning Pool - Soldiers.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
From here I will move on to actual good movies. Today's category is vampire movies:
Unquestionably the best vampire movie I've seen is Bram Stoker's Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I've seen many other versions of Dracula, but this one has the best acting (despite Keanu Reeves), screenplay, special effects, and general ambiance. Way better than the Jack Palance Dracula.
Also worth watching is the first vampire film ever made: the 1922 silent classic Nosferatu. Movie making has come a long way since then, but this one is still worth a look.
A fictional story based on the filming of Nosferatu, Shadow of the Vampire is one of my favorites. The basic premise is that FW Murnau found a real vampire to play the role of Count Orlock, the vampire in his film. Naturally, this didn't work out quite as well as he had expected. I think this is a very unique and enjoyable film.
Interview With The Vampire was also pretty good, although a bit too long and it drags at points.
Stay tuned for more!
I started to question whether or not I'd made a mistake renting it about the time the opening credits ended. By the time they made it to the house, my worst fears had been confirmed. The barest of pretenses was provided to get the people into the house, and once there, the movie was reduced to disgusting blood and gore, cheap scare attempts, and completely stereotypical thug villains who did nothing but swear incessantly, point guns at everything and everybody, and generally pretend to be tough. Throw in some ghost T&A and you've got yourself one bad movie. And unlike other B horror movies, this didn't even make any attempts at being campy leaving absolutely nothing to like about it.
From there I moved on to the Transformers. I had been pretty skeptical about this one based on the previews I'd seen, but was pleasantly surprised. It had more story to it than the none I'd expected. The special effects were outstanding, except the transformation animations you couldn't really tell what was going on and while in robot form, the transformers looked too complicated. More like modern art than robots. It could have done without so much attempted humor though. John Turturo's character could - nay should have been eliminated entirely. A more serious movie would have been preferable. But these are relatively minor complaints in the grand scheme of things. After all, at it's core, this is a big budget movie about cars and airplanes that turn into giant robots and battle each other and destroy buildings in the process. And it delivered on what you want in such a movie. Great special effects, competent acting, a couple of super hot women, one of them even a genius, and just enough plot to tie the whole thing together and keep the cheese to a minimum. This one gets the Scott seal of approval.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Special thanks to WSU for exacting revenge on UCLA. Also special thanks go out to one WSU alum (who will remain nameless for his own protection) who even admitted that Cougs are classless.
I wasn't happy that the only time I could schedule a technician to come out and look at it was 8-10 am on Sunday morning - one of my important sleep in days. I was less happy when he didn't show up until 9:55. He turned out to be a nice enough guy though.
Well, after an hour and fifteen minutes, all he was able to tell me was that there was a degrading outbound signal and significant packet loss. He was able to tweak some things and get me back online, but somebody is going to have to come back out later and make some more repairs. At least it is something outside my building so I won't have to be home at the time. Long story short, I am once again able to bring you mildly entertaining anecdotes, and hopefully soon I'll be able to bring them to you much faster.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
If, however, you aren't bothered by such things and have a healthy interest in history, you will love this show. Season 1 follows the lives of 2 legionnaires, as well as Julius Caesar, Octavian, Marc Antony, Brutus, and a few other fictional and historical characters. This gives a glimpse of not only the historical aspects of Rome, but also the day to day life of common citizens.
I just started season 2, and so far it doesn't disappoint. Julius Caesar is dead (I hope that wasn't a spoiler for any of you, if so you need to crack open a history book) and there is a power struggle between Octavian, Marc Antony, and Brutus. Who will win? Well, Octavian of course, but I haven't gotten that far yet. He is still an adolescent at this time and has yet to change his name to Augustus. At the moment he is still being bullied by Marc Antony, sewing the seeds of discord which will threaten to rip the empire apart.
Trust me on this one. You will be doing yourself a favor by watching it.
It was all worth it though since Starbucks had an unclaimed grande cappuccino that I got for free since they were just going to toss it if I didn't take it. I am not one to turn down free coffee, except the horrible free coffee they give us here in the building that tastes kind of like mud. But free Starbucks coffee I will gladly put in my stomach.
So I guess all in all it wasn't a bad trip. I don't mind being a little damp if I can get some coffee out of the deal. And I wouldn't have been able to hold my umbrella with a cup in each hand anyway.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
After watching the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, I can't help but notice that despite the complete lack of special effects, the somewhat hokey dialogue, and the sub par (by today's standards) fight choreography, how much more I enjoyed it than the much bigger budget special effects spectacular 300.
I guess having a coherent plot - including a reason why they were fighting (freedom for not only Sparta, but all of Greece and western society), decent acting, and some historical accuracy means more to me. And the lack of ridiculous crap like magic ninjas, cyclopses and other monsters, and homo-erotic images of greased up half naked men throughout proves that sometimes less is more.
Sadly, though, the History Channel special on the battle of Thermopylae (which oddly enough happens to be on right now) is far more entertaining than either. Perhaps the moral of the story is that quality stories are better told by a narrator than hammy acting.
Stay tuned this week for my Halloween movie watching guide. Army of Darkness is a must see. The rest will be revealed in time.
Friday, October 19, 2007
According to unhappy customer Mona:
"I smashed a keyboard, knocked over a monitor ... and I went to hit the
telephone," Mona said. "I figured, 'Hey my telephone is screwed up, so is
yours.'". . . "It's totally not like me to do stuff like this," she said. "But
it is so irresponsible and so disrespectful [what they did]. I can't think of
any company reacting that way. It's like they got you in their clutches and
they'll do what they damn well please."
And while Comcast claims that their customer service isn't that bad, that it's just a matter of perception, Comcast's subcontractors in particular have been consistently in the news for falling asleep, murder, digging in the wrong yard or blowing up laptops, dishwashers or homes. Is that an issue with the media, perception or Comcast's subcontractors?
I could expound upon my frustration with Comcast, but will spare you since it's well known by now anyway. As much as I don't want to have to get a dish or change my email address, I get one step closer DSS/DSL every day.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
And while you're at it, feel free to visit Realm of Redheads for everything you ever wanted to know about redheads.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Today the Chuckman was kind enough to bring in a copy the latest CD by Ministry of Melodic Mayhem for me to listen to. My first impression was that that was too many M's for one band name. That aside, I decided to listen to Flame In The Distance anyway.
The band features a lot of minor key, single note, acoustic guitar riffs which I found reminiscent of Days of the New and Tantric. Thrown into the mix are a couple of violins which I found to give the music a Celtic/Irish feel. The vocals I would describe as balladesque, and on more than one occasion reminded me of Billy Joel, not in terms of the sound of the voice, but more in terms of cadence and general flow, and in particular I kept having flashes of the song The Downeaster Alexa. It's kind of an odd mixture but it seems to work. It is kind of a new age/soft rock mix. If you're looking for some mellow music that you might hear on an adult contemporary station, then this is for you.
The web site is listed as under construction, but check back later for updates. The album art I had initially thought was a picture of Atlas holding up the Death Star, but upon closer inspection was disappointed to find that it is just a stylistic planet earth with some zodiac references drawn on. I could have given this a much higher review if it was the Death Star.
Maybe this will turn out to be a good thing for me in that I will be forced to find something more productive to do with my free time than watch tv. Or maybe I'll just watch more sports. Although many major sporting events appear scripted these days, I don't think that they are covered by the Writers Guild.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Shaun Alexander needs to step it up and be a man and run the ball like he's
Coming from a hall of fame back, I think that carries a little more weight than your typical commentator.
I personally think he's going to have a big game against the sub-par Saints defense, especially since it's a nationally televised game. He has a history of big games in the spotlight, so I'm going to go on the record and say that this will be his biggest game of the year to date, which, when I think about it isn't really saying much. But still, I expect something in the neighborhood of 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.
I wouldn't really call this dream a nightmare, but it was surprisingly unsettling. In the dream, I came home to find 3 people packing up all of my belongings. After several minutes of arguing and threatening, the only information I could get out of them was that they were hired by my landlord. There was no reason why they were moving me out. I found it very upsetting that for absolutely no reason, and completely out of nowhere, I was suddenly homeless.
What really surprised me was that it woke me up and I couldn't let it go. Even though I knew it was a dream, I couldn't go back to sleep because I kept wondering why they would be evicting me. I always pay my rent on time. I'm quiet. I keep the place clean. I kept going over these things in my head for about half an hour (although my ability to judge time in the middle of the night isn't very good) before finally convincing myself that it was just a dream and I could go back to sleep. At least I didn't have to get up for work today and could sleep in.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
The real novelty of the game is that you can find "plasmids" - injections that will manipulate your genes and give you super powers. I found the electricity plasmid that allowed me to shoot bolts of lightening from my hands like the emperor. I also found the incinerate plasmid which allowed me to set enemies on fire. I saw a short video that said there were also teleportation and telekinesis plasmids and others.
After playing the demo, I'm dying to play more. I just hope the rest of the game is as good as the beginning.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I finally got home at about 10:30 tonight and the long day combined with the lack of sleep I've been experiencing lately have left me damn tired, and nearly incapable of typing correctly. I'm as tired as a _____.
There you have it. Multiple entries are acceptable. This contest will remain active until I declare a winner.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Well, my next step was to go inside, find a flashlight, and see if it had fallen down between one of the seats and the center console, under one of the seats, or perhaps even have made it's way under one of the floor mats. After an extensive search of my car, I found the following items left for me by a previous owner: a pack of gum, a barrette, a pen cap, an air freshener, and what appeared to be a cheeto, but I'm not entirely sure since it was lodged in it's hiding space so well that despite my best efforts I was unable to extricate it. I also found $1.45 in change (I can do a load of laundry now!) that I assume a good portion of, if not all of, fell out of my pockets.
At this point, I had performed a thorough search of my car and was still empty handed. Out of all other options, I once again searched everything in the center console to find that my gate key had, against all odds, slipped into one of my CD cases, but not just that, had slipped into one of the pages in the insert which had prevented me from finding it earlier. So after 15 - 20 minutes of frustration and thinking I had lost my mind, it turned out to be more or less exactly where I was sure I had put it.
One last important note: no profanity was used in the creation of this story. I know this may be difficult to believe, but it's true.
Combine that with the pitiful effort by Shaun Alexander, and nearly every drive ended with a 3 and out. The defense was pretty solid for most of the game, but they can only be on the field for so long before they tire out. I don't know the actual stats, and I don't think I want to know, but I would estimate that the D was on the field for approximately 90 minutes.
I think it is now time to sit Hasselbeck out and let Seneca Wallace get some starts. I think we're stuck with Alexander though. Even with Alexander running like a pansy, he's still a step up from Morris. We really need to get a bruising running back who will just put his head down and plow for the tough yards. Alexander is great at cutting back and finding holes, but on days like today when there isn't anywhere to cut back, he really needs to just put his head down and take what he can get. I can't stand to see him lay down in the backfield anymore.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
But if you're interested in some way overpriced condos in Kirkland, here you go.
Target seems to be best at this. I can't seem to go to Target without coming home with at least 1 DVD. My last trip I came home with the extended version of Stargate, Secret Window, and the real gem of the deal, a 2 disc package with Big Trouble in Little China and Flight of the Phoenix for just $5.50. I may never get around to watching Flight of the Phoenix, but I absolutely love Big Trouble in Little China. I guess I should just be glad that the closest Target is on the other side of Redmond and I absolutely hate driving through downtown Redmond or my DVD library would soon grow out of control. Best Buy usually suckers me in too, but again, not conveniently enough located to be a real threat.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
They have been advertising the Showtime free preview weekend that was supposed to be last weekend. Well, when the weekend arrived, I didn't have any Showtime. I sent an email off to them asking what the deal was and about 14-16 hours later got a response telling me that I had to go to the Showtime section of On Demand. Well, as politely as I could, I responded that if they had read my email, they would have seen that I said I tried that already and just received a message telling me to call Comcast to order Showtime. Several hours later I received a short response that said that they didn't know enough details to resolve the issue. No questions asking for specific details. No offer to help work it out. Not even a number to call for further assistance. Basically an email version of giving me the finger.
Well, as you can imagine, this immediately pissed me off. My first inclination was to call them up and complain, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that spending 5 minutes pushing buttons on the phone before I got to an actual person would only make things worse, and verbally abusing some poor phone jockey wouldn't really make me feel any better. At least not in the long run. Sure I'd get some temporary satisfaction, but I would feel guilty later. And by this time the weekend was almost over anyway, so I let it go.
At this point, I'm still considering sending off an email telling them that they have piss poor customer service, but I really don't think it will do any good. I can tell you from experience that I still think back fondly on the day I received a letter from a customer with just one thing to say: Safeco blows. That really made my whole week, so I know telling off Comcast isn't going to do any good either. The other option is to vote with my wallet and go to direct tv/dsl, but I really don't like direct tv, I'd have to pay more to get the HD channels, and I don't want the hassle of switching to dsl and having to change my email address. I don't know if there is really any option left for me but to downgrade my service so that at least I'm not giving them as much money. And perhaps if I emailed in the request in conjunction with a note saying how dis-satisfied I am with their service, it might actually get something accomplished. Probably not, but it's possible.
If anybody else has any better suggestions, I'd like to hear them. Until then, I'll rant away.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Next up is Dynamite Warrior. I didn't go into this movie expecting much. I thought perhaps something similar to Ong Bak - some good action and stunts, but not much story. Well, this didn't even have much story. The acting was terrible, the music offensive, the story goofy as hell and fairly nonsensical. I could have tolerated most of this if it weren't for the fact that the action was just bad. Full of magical nonsense with characters punching nothing and hitting someone 20 feet away and sending him flying. Plus a lot of wire work which I don't like at all. There really isn't anything good to say about this movie. Avoid at all costs.
Looking over my Netflix queue, it looks like it could be a while before I write a positive review. Recommendations are always welcome though. Speaking of which, thanks are due Shelvis for recommending Idiocracy which turned out to be pretty funny.