Mediocre, Mediocre, Mediocre, Mediocre, Whoa… that was awesome

26 09 2009

I haven’t felt this convinced about the goodness of a film while leaving a theater since… maybe ever. It’s one of those indescribable things. It had reached that level of goodness where I no longer care about plot holes. I no longer care about suspension of disbelief with regard to CGI. In my mind, District 9 was perfect.

I have never been able to pinpoint the characteristics that make movies click with me. If I had to make a list of my top ten movies right now (of which District 9 would be one), three would be animated, two would be sci-fi, three would have a major element of romance, four would have major elements of fantasy, two would be action-packed, two take place in the modern world. Really, the only thing similar between all of them is that when I’m watching them, the rest of the world disappears in a way that no other movies can achieve. There are good reasons why I should never be a movie reviewer.

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District 9 finally reminded me what it’s supposed to be like when you watch a movie for the first time. It reminded me that it’s actually worth sitting through all those mediocre movies while waiting for the one to come along. Eventually, it will come.

I don’t know if I want to see District 9 again. All of my favorite movies also have the characteristic of me being able to watch them multiple times without losing any splendor. But I’m afraid to find out that isn’t the case with District 9. It was such a wonderful journey the first time, I can’t say if the second runthrough would live up to such high expectations. I’m neutral on District 10. People can complain all they want, but I always withhold judgment until it is released and at least the movie critics get a grasp of it.

I think my favorite movies are a great insight into myself as a person, eclectic as I am, and I find they usually are for other people as well. What movies just clicked with you?





Why I was wrong.

12 03 2009

NewsI seriously think this is the first Top 12 (or Top 13 I guess) where I did not dislike a single performance. Does that make it in actuality the best season? Not by a long shot. I think Adam and Lil are the only two powerhouses so far. But reminiscing about several horrid singers who made it to the Top 12, and those that even survived it, I was impressed none of this season’s singers were crushed beneath the pressure. Would I have liked one of my three female favorites to have made it instead of Jasmine and Megan, heck yes, but I will settle for being optimistic and hope that this group continues to impress me.





Why American Idol Season 8 is already the worst

5 03 2009

NewsQuite simply, this is the worst American Idol thus far. I had expected so much, since this format had saved one of the best competitors ever, Clay Aiken, when they used it in Season 2. I have been let down, and not just by the judges, whose weird bias toward each contestant really had nothing to do with singing at all. I have been let down by the American people, who, more than any season ever before, have voted for inspirational stories over actual singing skills. This is not a choose-you-own-adventure TV drama. These are the people who will be selling CDs in your local Best Buy. No one ever buys music because the person was a stay-at-home mom or had a rough childhood.

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My top three women of the entire competition – we’re talking I may have wanted them all in the final six – did not even make the Wild Card round. That means they didn’t make the Top 17 (Nine are already in the Top 12, plus eight made it to the Wild Card round). In other words, cutting the Top 36 in half, my top three, Mishavonna Henson, Felicia Barton, and Kristen McNamara, were dropped.

On the semi-bright side, most of my top picks after them are still in it or being considered: Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds, Megan Corkrey, Jesse Langseth, and Tatiana Del Toro (No one actually hates her for her voice). This season has already been dubbed a men’s season, but it was a self-fulfilling prophesy with no basis in actual talent. Vote out great female singers in favor of mediocre male singers like Michael Sarver and Scott McIntyre and you have a mediocre male-dominated season. Congratulations.

:::EDIT:::  Six of the now Top Thirteen were in my dream Top Twelve. That’s less than 50%. Fantabulous.

:::EDIT::: Matt Giraud, Ricky Braddy, Jasmine Murray, and Tatiana Del Toro annihilated the other four in the wild card round. Apparently, this performance had absolutely no bearing on the selection of the four moving on. I suppose the problem was that they couldn’t pick three more guys (having already picked six), so they left the arguably superior Ricky Braddy out in the cold, in favor of the Coldplay-destroying Matt and producer-favorite Anoop. Of course, they wouldn’t have run into this problem if Michael Sarver hadn’t been voted through for no apparent reason, so the blame still lies with voters, not the judges. Fantabulous squared.





Presidential Campaigns… OVER

2 12 2008

In retrospect, it was probably a really smart decision not to touch the entire on the Presidential Race.  That probably would have just caused a colossal mess with lots of blood and tears.  Heck, I don’t want to be the one that has to clean up to the dead bodies and disconnected appendages that are always lying around in the wake of a political argument.

Suffice it to say that I was an Obama supporter, I had good opinions of both Biden and McCain, and everyone on McCain’s Campaign staff should quit politics because they made clear at every chance possible that they had no clue what they were doing.  Apparently they thought taking Bush’s strategy and going more conservative with a less conservative candidate in a leftward-shifting country was the right way to go.  No comment on Sarah Palin.





This is your brain on anime

19 04 2008

In the last decade, Pixar has all but taken over the animated movie scene with their state of the art graphics and captivating stories. Leave in some room for Dreamworks and their couple successes, and there’s not much for anyone else. However, the surge in popularity of anime in America over the last decade has helped to detract some attention from the CGI studios.

The two biggest names to start becoming more familiar with are Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon. Both are masters at showing why 2D animation still remains, in many ways superior to 3D. If we examine all 3D movies every released, we’ll notice something very peculiar. Nearly every movie is light-hearted, comedic, and directed primarily at children. That isn’t to say they’re bad; Pixar has all but mastered their genre. It just means that any attempts at serious CGI movies will be incredibly awkward to watch.

The only way to alleviate the problem is to make the quality of graphics so amazing that the audience can’t tell if it’s real or not. At that point, the movie may as well be live action anyway.

2D animation, however, has proven once and again that it can succeed in any genre. In this year’s Academy Awards, there were two light-hearted CGI films, Ratatouille and Surf’s Up, and an extremely serious 2D film, Persepolis. However, there is one other 2D film that should have been nominated had the Academy not continued to be so stuck-up. That movie is Paprika.

It’s innovative, enjoyable, mind-blowing, captivating, and beautiful in every way. The 3D effects are also seamlessly combined into the animation unlike any movie I’ve ever seen.  While this movie didn’t get to enjoy a wide-release – R-rated animated foreign films usually don’t – I recommend that everyone see it. Keep an open mind and let the anime flood your brain as it was meant to.

The character Paprika also reminded me of Amelie from the movie of the same name. Their likeness is uncanny considering one is a real person and one is animated. The two movies share a certain weirdness, but it’s that weirdness that sets them apart from the hundreds of other films released each year.





Oprah’s Big Give mocks Idol Gives Back

14 04 2008

NewsAnyone who watches American Idol regularly – I watch it irregularly, but in this case, that’s enough – knows that the Australian Michael Johns was voted off this week, to the shock and disappointment of many viewers. Even those who didn’t like him can’t act unsurprised. Simon Cowell had placed him in the likely top three with the only other two that hadn’t yet been in the bottom three: the Davids Cook and Archuleta.

People can talk conspiracy all they want, but clearly someone dropped the ball with this one. No indicator exists that predicted for him to go home. His songs, including the rendition of “Dream On” that subsequently sent him home were (and still are) selling well on iTunes.

More than likely, he just suffered from second-place-ism. In a season where there are three singers that lean toward rock (Michael, David Cook, and Carly), people couldn’t decide which to support. As a result, David Cook received nearly all of the votes for his renditions of songs like Billie Jean and Eleanor Rigby. Though Michael Johns probably places second or third on millions of people’s lists, second and third doesn’t keep them on the show. People have cried out for a correction of this flaw since the very first season when Tamyra Gray was booted before Nikki McKibbin.

In other news, Oprah’s Big Give did not get rid of a contestant this week. They had already slimmed down to three contestants, but apparently decided to let all three participate in the finale. (This was met with cries of “I love this show!” as if she had had no idea). The find their given reason a bit sketchy. The judges said simply, “We couldn’t decide who to send home.” Right…

Clearly, they are mocking Idol, whose host Ryan Seacrest all but said, “Michael Johns, you are going home. Just kidding, no one is going home. Haha, gotcha, you really are going home.” The show that had every reason in the world to keep someone around didn’t. The show that had absolutely no reason to keep someone around did. What is wrong with the people who run these shows?





It appears you are a virus

9 04 2008

News

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

We’ll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software.

If you’re continually receiving this error, you may be able to resolve the problem by deleting your Google cookie and revisiting Google. For browser-specific instructions, please consult your browser’s online support center.

If your entire network is affected, more information is available in the Google Web Search Help Center.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google. [End of Message]

Everyone who uses the internet is familiar with the famous “403 Forbidden” displayed across various unavailable web pages. The message above has been added to the long list by Google in an effort to reduce site traffic. Obviously, any computer that appears to have a virus that attempts to use the search engine, a red flag goes up and the site blocks the computer.

However, this all brings up one very big question: When did viruses learn to read?

And furthermore, how does the virus react to the horrible discovery that its only purpose has been thwarted? Someone obviously created the virus in the first place to fulfill a specific task on the internet, so now, upon reading this message, how can they carry on like normal individuals.  Personally, I would be hopping mad if I was a virus and came across this page.

Plus, the message instructs the virus to try either destroying itself or deleting Google cookies.  I think the first option is out of the question, and the second is just another task that the poor viruses are probably not capable of handling.  I mean, unless the virus was specifically programmed to do so, deleting cookies is probably about as hard as trying to eat one.

Maybe they have viruses that read now, but I think Google is still overestimating their problem-solving skills by a few decades.  Being such a huge source of money, it seems ridiculous that Google would make such a blunder by targeting unknowing viruses.

Unless, of course, Google’s intention was to direct this message at users and not the viruses, but no… that wouldn’t make sense.  I would like to think that the quality of my searches is at least a little above a virus’s, and Google would be foolish to incense it’s users with millions of 403 forbidden pages.

If you would like an example, type forum topic into Google and go to the 19th page.  For the record, I believe there are many people with a great interest in the 181st through 190th sites exemplifying what it means to have a true “forum topic.”

On a last note, I like the ending message, “Hope we’ll see you again on Google.”  It has a very smiley-McDonald’s-cashier tone to it, and could potentially prevent some viruses from committing suicide after finding out their lives are worthless.  After all, they are the victims here.