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Monday, February 25, 2008

T2: EXTREME DVD Is Mind-blowing!

I can't tell you how incredible it is! When I started watching it just a few days ago, I thought, "I love the 'Connor Chronicles,' so watching this movie again will be great! But what precisely makes it "Extreme"...?"

Here's what makes it Extreme:

It's in widescreen format, so you see everything top-to bottom that you saw before, plus more on the left and right. That expands the whole world of the movie, because you get to experience parts that were previously hidden.

There are a bunch of scenes that are slightly extended or subtly different, and yet the music and dialogue flows as if the movie was meant to be like that.

There are a ton of deleted scenes built into the film that you've probably never seen before! These are scenes that have a tremendous impact on your movie experience, and on the world of Terminator 2. Some even tie in with the "Connor Chronicles!" This element is the Number One reason why T2: Extreme DVD will blow your mind.

The sound is crisp, and the graphics are smooth.

It's awesome!

So if you're a fan of Terminator, and especially if you've only ever seen the "normal" version of T2, you've gotta see the Extreme DVD!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

I Watched Knight Rider (2008)

I liked it. I liked the car, the technology, Val Kilmer's cool voice, and the appearance of David Hasselhoff at the end. The special effects were great, too. And the bad guys held their own. The scientist was OK. But there was a lot I didn't like. The female lead, who was supposed to be a professor of a subject relating to the new, complex field of nanotechnology, did not seem that intelligent. You get a different vibe from someone who studies science and is very smart than you get from your average person. And the female lead seemed very normal. Maybe it was casting, or maybe it was direction. Maybe still, she didn't think to come up with a few personality quirks to highlight how incredibly brilliant she's supposed to be (given that she's the daughter of the guy who built KITT!).

There was a cop lady who seemed rude to me. I didn't like her hairstyle. She seemed full of herself. You'd think they'd try to make as many aspects of a show appealing as they could. If they want to create conflict or something interesting, that's fine. But her attitude and appearance just seemed negative for no good reason at all.

The lead, the new driver of KITT seemed ambivalent, like I read about why Jason Bourne is so cool. Apparently today's generation is similarly ambivalent. But I was really looking forward to someone with charisma and incredible energy. Like, "Yes, with this car anything is possible!" Instead it was like, "One man can make a difference? Nah,... no thanks... um, uh... noo..... oh gee ok." Fine for the film, but I think it might have hurt the series. But of course, the main character could develop charisma as time goes on.

Val Kilmer rules! If he was part of the show, I think I'd watch it. But why would he do TV? Maybe for a change of pace... He's calm, cool, and collected. Everything you'd expect from a genius who lives inside the best car in the world. Clean interior, fresh air, crisp sound.

The commercials in between parts of the show were a bit much. It was like, "Do you like this movie? Buy a FORD! Buy from FORD! FOORRD!"

All in all, I think the film did a good job, and was smooth and polished in some areas, though not all. I guess since it technically was just a show, and some shows take a while to find their groove, I should cut it some slack. Definitely worth a watch!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

DVR And Wireless Transfer Of Movies

I'd like to take a break from discussing movies and instead focus on where I see DVR technology leading us in the next few years.

Right now, some of us have souped-up cable boxes that not only receive HD programming, but also can record it -- digitally! This new technology still has kinks in some areas, and one limitation is the amount you can store. Between 30 and 40 hours seems standard at some basic level. But it's great that we can record shows to watch later, on our own time. And we can skip the commercials!

What's next? Bigger hard drives. Slowly the amount you can record and save for later, without watching and deleting, will increase until it reaches the point where every movie ever made can be stored on your DVR box.

Well, that's great, but what if I want to watch something I recorded, but in another room? Transfer technology will be developed. First there will probably be a small box with a card that you can insert. You have one of these boxes hooked up to your DVR box (or built-in), and another hooked up to your non-DVR TV. (Sure, maybe DVR will come standard with all TVs soon, but maybe not.) You insert the card in the box near the DVR, download a movie, and take the card to your other TV, insert it, upload the movie, and watch it.

The next step - wireless transfer. Beam a movie from one DVR box to a non-DVR TV, to your iPod, to your computer, to your phone, to your LCD walls. The future's looking pretty bright!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Apocalypto (2006)

I must admit, this is not what I thought it would be. It was still great, incredible, and amazing. But I had expected supernatural stuff like aliens, the Mayan calendar, and 2012. It was far more down to earth. In fact, it was so down to earth, it was great on a totally different level.

[Spoilers Below]
You follow along in the footsteps of a Mayan tribesman who hunts and gathers with his brothers in the jungle. A crushed Mayan village wanders by, our hero gets momentarily "infected" with fear, and you might think, "So, fear is it. Fear infected them all, and caused their end. Hope that doesn't happen with us." Suddenly, other Mayan guys show up and start wreaking havoc. So then you might think the really society killer is war. Don't go to war or everybody will get wiped out. But then it turns out that the battle was really part of a slave trade brought forth by a semi-advanced Mayan city, complete with pyramids and human sacrifices. But there's also drought and disease. So then you might think, ok the end is near because of global warming and disease.

Then there's some really cool action as our hero must fight to keep himself and his family alive.

Then -- AT THE END (don't read this if you want to watch the movie with curiosity)

The white man arrives on ships. It truly is the end of the world.

I think I read somewhere that the white guys were appalled by the barbaric practices of the Mayan people, and so exterminated them. If that's the case, then it's the city folks' fault, because the jungle Mayans were pretty cool. Not savage, living in harmony with nature.

But this all got me thinking. At the end of the movie, global warming, disease, and war are all happening at once, and then a technologically advanced visitor from out of town arrives. Could Mel be foreshadowing a visit with aliens that coincides with the turmoil foreshadowed in the Book of Revelations?

Another idea I had was that it makes perfect sense why doomsday scenarios usually say, "There will be storms, disease, plague, hunger, thirst, drought, your cattle will die, everyone gets sick, etc. etc." It makes sense to me that the only way to wipe us out is through a confluence of events. The crap has to hit the fan in as many different ways as possible, simultaneously, in order to provide a sufficiently difficult situation as to destroy humanity.

Good movie!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Indiana Jones 4 Trailer: Looks Great!

I remember seeing Indy use his whip to swing from one place to another in "Raiders." Then in "Temple of Doom," he used it at the end to pull his love interest closer. Then in "Last Crusade," River Phoenix (Young Indy) used it to scare a lion, and ended up explaining the scar that Harrison Ford has on his chin.

When I first saw "Raiders," I got the impression that Indiana Jones whip-swung all the time. But then in the other movies he didn't so much. By the looks of the trailer for "Indiana Jones 4", he'll be bringing that technique back!

It looks phenomenal!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Knight Rider (2008)

They filmed the movie, and got Will Arnett to do the voice of KITT, now a black 550 hp Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang.

Ford is so gung-ho, they want ads up the wazoo relating Knight Rider and Ford vehicles. So cool, right? Anybody voicing KITT will probably get a piece of that.

But guess what? Will Arnett has been voicing commercials for GMC Trucks for years! And GMC was none to thrilled to hear that their voice was crossing over to the dark side. So he's all, "Bail?" And they're all like, "Bail."

Enter Val Kilmer, the new voice of KITT. I've read that the crew is now rushing to get his dialogue done. I guess they're a bit behind. Two weeks left to broadcast! I like Will Arnett. But I think Val Kilmer is great. It will be neat hearing him in a new film.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

American Psycho (2000)

I don't usually watch movies this dark, but this one was on last night, and I'm a fan of Christian Bale. I thought, "Why not?"

This is a pretty intense film. Bale plays a rich Wall Street guy in the '80's. He and his rich buddies have their own unique perspectives on life, having graduated from Ivy League institutions and landed high-paying jobs that justify $500 lunch hours. Bale is apparently a sociopath who enjoys the idea of killing. Eventually he crosses over and kills a coworker, one he was jealous of. Then he kills again and again, does some drugs and hires some hookers.

I enjoyed the glimpse at high society, and the '80's throwback. The setting for many of the scenes was clean and upper-class, quiet and laid-back, smooth and classy. It was neat to experience.

Some very dark humor was thrown in at various points. I don't know if this was intentional, but I found it funny when Bale was running naked down a hallway with a chainsaw. It just struck me as ridiculously absurd, and I believe many absurd things are naturally funny.

Aside from those qualities, there is much overt violence, and sex, and drugs. If you don't want to see someone killed right in front of you, this is probably a film you should skip. But if you can tolerate some "pretty sick" stuff, this film has many layers that are worth contemplating on an intellectual level. At the very least, it is very different from your typical crowd-pleaser.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Brewster's Millions (1985)

I haven't seen this recently, but it popped into my head, and I love it! This is one of my favorite films, because Richard Pryor and John Candy are great, and because I love the idea of having tons of money to burn!

Pryor inherits $30 million, and must spend it all in 30 days. If he can do this, and have nothing leftover by the end of the month, not even a new shirt, he'll then inherit the full estate of $300 million. But he can't tell anyone about it! So Pryor (Brewster) goes into "business" for himself, become super generous, and lives out all the dreams he's ever had that can be bought and paid for. Things are zany and wild, and loads of fun. It's a million-dollar comedy!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heath Ledger Died From Accidental Medical Overdose

Saw on Yahoo that they'd finally figured out what Heath Ledger Died of.

His death apparently wasn't caused by Ambien, but rather by a combination of "oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine," which is, "the painkiller OxyContin, the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, and the sleep aids Restoril and Unisom. Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller."

Ledger's father said, "While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath's accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage."

So what does this mean? It means that doctors prescribed drugs that in combination killed him. Did they prescribe new drugs knowing he was already taking others? Or did he see more than one doctor? My thinking is that if one doctor knew he was taking the other pills, and then prescribed new ones that when added to the mix caused his death, then that doctor is culpable. He could be sued.

Sometimes I see yet another ad for "Take our pills" on TV, and I just feel bad. It's a well-made, bright, crafty, "uplifting" spot that brainwashes the audience into believing that all it takes to make life better is a new pill. "Believe me," says the ad, "You need this. All of you." Just sick. I know how some people feel about Tom Cruise, but with regards to avoiding prescription medication, I think he's got the right idea.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Van Wilder (2002)

I wasn't going to watch this, probably ever, as the ads for it were just a huge turnoff. It seemed lame. But it was on Comedy Central the other day, and I happened to see a particularly clean and hilarious moment involving an overzealous martial arts demonstrator. It was so funny that my attitude changed, and I decided to give the movie a shot.

Thankfully, watching it on Comedy Central during the day (and not 1am Saturday and Sunday mornings during the "Secret Stash" of unedited programming) meant that I was prevented from having to sit through some of the really extreme gross-out stuff.

I enjoyed the basic storyline, centering around a 7-year college student who "has nothing to show for," other than a ton of friends who would do anything for him, and social skills to rival those of Senator John 'Bluto' Blutarsky of "Animal House." What I found funny was how the main character in "Wilder" had a father played by Tim Matheson, who was also in "Animal House." Seeing Matheson's reactions to all the shenanigans in "Wilder," and comparing everything with what went on in "Animal House," it's easy to see how even the coolest party guy of one generation can completely reject the celebratory efforts of the next.

There's a completely wild moment near the end of the film in which someone's life gets ruined. The movie tries to build the person up as being "very bad," but I still felt sorry for him. Tara Reid was the revenger, and her actions seemed a bit extreme.

So if you can find this movie edited on TV, it may be for you. Or you could always go get the unrated version instead!

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Friday, February 1, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

What an awesome film. I love the mystery, the style, and the direction. You never see more than you need to, and the pace moves along nicely. It’s neat to follow the feelings of the earth people, as they realize a visitor has come blazing down at 4,000 miles per hour, and possesses unknown powers and designs on humanity. The “let’s hunt him down” radio talk seems like that’s just what a fraction of reporters thinks. I got the vibe that most people were curious, mystified, and uneasy.

I really enjoy this film, and am thrilled that December 12, 2008 will produce the opening of a remake starring Keanu Reeves (as the alien) and Jennifer Connelly! Can’t wait…

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