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Back from vacation, and on the net…  Gmail on a cell phone isn’t much of a link!  Looking forward to a great 2008 with Melissa and the boys!

BDFL podcast should be back this week, Scott willing…  congrats again to Kurt Albin for his win of Brutal Bowl VI.

Saw National Treasure 2 over the holiday; it was fun.  Anyone seen I Am Legend yet?

Speaking of movies, looking forward to Cloverfield, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Indiana Jones 4 in ’08.  And Watchmen in ’09.

Best movie ending ever: Planet Of The Apes? (Just watching it again on AMC…)

Happy New Year!

We went and saw Bee Movie at the newly opened Great Escape Theatres Harrisburg Mall 14 earlier today. Their $6.50 matinée and $9.00 adult prices aren’t great, but several aspects of the experience were. Firstly, concessions were not as highly priced as our local Regal Theater. Secondly, the roughly 90-seat theater (#6) we were in had rocker-style seats with foldable armrests and plenty of legroom for this 6’3″ frame. Also notable was room to comfortably accomodate at least four, if not six, patrons in wheelchairs. Thirdly, there was no advertising shown prior to the stated start time. At the start time, 8 minutes of pre-feature advertising, consisting of three movie previews and a Coke commercial were shown. No “Great Escape tells you to turn off your cell phones… please, silence your cell phones” message, no “go back to the lobby and buy some concessions” message. Finally, about a minute into the movie I realized there was no projection artifacts (dust, etc.) in what was being shown and the images were perfectly clear; I think everything was being presented digitally. It blew me away.

Add all this up and you have a superior moviegoing experience than what I’m used to from any other theater in the area. Go check them out.

By the way, Bee Movie was enjoyable, and Ryan loved it. The animation was fantastic and greatly rendered in this fine theater.

Update:  I thought I should mention that the West Shore Theatre is our favorite in the area.  We recently went there to see The Bourne Ultimatum, and I noticed that they had cleaned or replaced the screen.  Mainly due to price and coziness, I have to recommend it most highly.

Star Wars is one of the first movies I think I can recall seeing in a movie theater.  I think I first saw it sometime in early 1978, when I was 7, but I can’t be sure.  I have a much clearer memory of seeing epidodes V and VI in theaters, after seeing episode IV.   In any case, I was a Star Wars nut as a kid and collected a lot of the toys, only to sell the lot of them to an adult collector when I was 11 or 12.  They got a lot of use.

I’ve enjoyed the original trilogy as it’s aged, and still prefer it to the prequel trilogy.  R2D2 is my favorite character; a mini R2 sits under my monitor at work and keeps me company throughout the day. 🙂  The Empire Strikes Back is probably still my favorite Star Wars movie, but obviously it wouldn’t have come to be without the excellence and success of the original.  Long live Star Wars!

Inspired by Don.

Go to IMDB.com and look up 10 of your favorite movies.

  • Post three official IMDB “Plot Keywords” for these 10 picks.
  • Have your friends guess the movie titles.

Try to guess mine:

  1. End Of The Millenium, Virtual Reality, Betrayal Strange Days (Phil)
  2. Bodyguard, Liquid Metal, Truck Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Don)
  3. Wizard, Death Of Hero, Invisibility LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring (Don)
  4. Drug Addict, Accidental Death, Jeri Curl Hairstyle Pulp Fiction (Don)
  5. Stuttering, Barrister, Run Over By A Steamroller A Fish Called Wanda (Don)
  6. Amnesia, Superhuman Speed, Hot Air Balloon The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Phil)
  7. Stranded, Mind Control, Spacecraft Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (Phil)
  8. Ocean, No Opening Credits, Hidden Civilization
  9. Telephone Box, Time Travel, Socrates Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Don)
  10. Cucumber, Heavy Metal, Stonehenge This is Spinal Tap (Don)

Update (5/6): C’mon, I didn’t make them that hard, did I? One more day and I give Don more answers…

Update (5/7): Four more left!

Update (5/9): Phil got three.  One more left.

Three words: go see Invincible. Melissa had the great idea to go see this movie that I’d just heard about and it was great. It tells the story of Vince Papale, a Philadelphia Eagles fan who was convinced to try out for the team when new coach Dick Vermeil held open tryouts in the preseason of 1976. Before the movie, I’d never heard of Papale’s story, so it really interested me. If his Wikipedia entry is correct, the lead-up to his being picked up by the Ealges was embellished in the film. I’d like to know how much of the movie was “inspired” and how much is the true story.

Regardless of its accuracy, the film was well-made and clean; it’s rated PG and Ryan went with us. I had no idea the NFL had six preseason games back then; today’s 4-5 games seem like a long preseason. I thought the acting was great and the football looked real. It’s definitely not a football movie that requires you to know the game all that well, and there’s not that much gameplay until the end of the film. The story was entertaining and it was a treat to watch. Highly recommended.

OK, went to see Superman Returns tonight. Loved the homage to the earlier films with the opening credits, music, and the liberal Marlon-Brando-as-Jor-El appearances. This was a very cerebral movie, but Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor kept it alive and he drove his plotline along well. I thought the cinematography and effects were spectacular. The acting was good, although some of the editing seemed a bit choppy; and there were times where it seemed like Lois & Clark had ESP. The Clark/Lois/Richard love triangle was very present throughout, although I think the pretense that Lois doesn’t know Clark is Superman, even though it’s been a constant all these years, seems more ludicrous now than ever.

The ending of the movie was left pretty darn open for sequels. At the end I felt a little slighted when nary a sliver of the history between Lois & Clark that led to you-know-who hadn’t even been presented. What happened between Superman IV and the time when Superman left to find Krypton? Well, besides you-know-what.

Overall I liked the movie plenty, but I have to agree with my buddy Jim when he says Batman Begins was the stronger of the two series’ movie franchise reboots. But I’m definitely interested in seeing Superman return again.

Melissa and I finally got out last night to celebrate our anniversary and we went to see the Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves film “The Lake House“. It was a decent romantic movie if you buy into the plot device, which is fantasy. It was set and filmed in Chicago, and I think the cinematography was excellent. I liked the way they unfolded the story, although near the end of the movie it was unclear how much time was passing between scenes. I figured out the twist a bit early, but it didn’t take away from the ending. It’s probably the best date movie I’ve seen in a while.

The Academy (whose awards ceremory tonight looks great in uncompromised HD here at home, by the way) are lecturing us that we shouldn’t be content with seeing movies at home on DVD; that we should get back into the theater and see them as the larger-than-life things they are. I like a good big-screen experience as much as the next guy, but most of the chain theaters today suck. Usually Melissa and I go to a theater to see a movie only when the following conditions are met:

  • It’s not the first weekend of release
  • It’s a weekday afternoon that’s not a holiday
  • We don’t plan to buy concessions
  • We don’t know of past projection-type issues (bad aspect ratio, not starting on time, etc.)
  • We arrive during the 15 minutes of previews

Sounds like a great place to see a movie, huh?

Melissa and I went and saw HP4 Sunday night. Like the other movies, it was a lot of fun. Unlike the other movies, it’s rated PG-13. The subject matter isn’t necessarily more grave than in the last two films, but the fact that a character dies makes the film a bit weightier.

The tri-wizard tournament that drives the plot is a great excuse to infuse new blood into the series, in the form of students from two other wizard schools. It worked for me. The tournament itself was pretty cool. I thought the Christmas ball in the middle of the movie was a good chance for the film to explore teen angst, but I don’t think the secondary characters were fleshed out enough for us to care who Harry, Ron, and Hermione went to the dance with. There just seemed to be something missing. It was still fun, though.

The effects continue to be first rate. I think they probably cut this down from a 3-hour movie. I’m betting fans of the book think it could have been even longer. I haven’t ready any of the books, and I saw the first two movies out of order, but I’ve enjoyed all of them. This series epitomizes character building, and it’s great that a lot of the recurring characters continue to be played by the same actors.

Definitely worth catching on the big screen; some of the panoramic shots just won’t translate well to smaller screens. A no-brainer if you liked the previous movies. One thing I liked about this one is that it didn’t start in Harry’s foster family’s home. That schtick was getting a little tiresome.

The Superman Returns and King Kong trailers were attached to this film. At this point I think I’m going to dig KK better. I’m usually a nut for superhero movies. Perhaps the non-teaser Superman trailers will interest me more. I always was more of a Marvel guy. (C’mon X3!)


by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video

Like many other geeks, I went out and bought Revenge Of The Sith on its street date. I finally sat down to watch it last night, but since it was late and no one else was watching with me, I used the computer and headphones. Like many others I’ve read, I think it ranks above episodes 1, 2, and 6 (ROTJ); the fact that it was conceived to tie into episode 4 predestined it to some sort of success.

I usually use the second viewing of a movie like this to watch the special effects; I’m still marvelling at the fluidity of the digital characters. Sometimes the physics were a little “off”, like in the Spider-Man movies, but for the most part it was great fun. For some reason, I didn’t cringe as much as the first time during the Anakin/Padme scenes.

I think the end of the Anakin/Obi-Wan fight could have been written better. Obi-Wan says, “I have the high ground.” Anakin jumps anyways and is defeated seemingly easily. Perhaps a better ending was lost on the cutting-room floor.

If you have a hole in your Star Wars DVD collection, go and fill it. If you bought episodes 1 and 2, you’ve got nothing to lose!

@aharden

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