Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Madagascar

I went and saw DreamWorks new animated feature Madagascar last weekend. I was not disappointed.

Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) have lived a life of ease as the stars of the Central Park Zoo. At least until Marty has a mid-life crisis and gets all the animals at the zoo deported (actually sent back to the wild, much to the joy of the wildlife activists) and our quartet ends up on the island of Madagascar where the group finds out what it is really like to be in the "wild" and what real frienship is, especially when Marty looks like a good rump roast to Alex.

This was a good movie. Thankfully, Ben Stiller doesn't sound much like himself, or else the movie would have been unwatchable for me. The rest of the cast rounds out a very funny group. Schwimmer was great portraying a hypochondriac. The monkeys were an absolute riot and King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) steals the show. The Penguins added a perfect touch as the Antartica Mafia. Chris Rock shines.

Like most of the Dreamworks animated flicks, there is enough to keep the kids entertained, and enough pop culture/adult humor to entertain the rest of us. The film was funny, but seemed to drag in a couple of spots and really seemed like it should have been funnier throughout. Yet, the animation alone is worth the price of admission.

This movie is a fun little romp and worth seeing on the big screen.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Go Speed Racer

Danica Patrick, an Indy Car driver, was the first woman to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500 and finished fourth, giving the strongest showing of any woman who has raced at Indy.

You go girl!!! I meant to watch the race but was at a family function.

Congratulations to Danica and her team!!

So, where are all the women Nascar drivers?

I am sure there are some talented women drivers out there, but it seems like a big team like Roush or Hendick Motorsports would have to pick her up so she could compete and then they would have to back her with some serious cash like the big boys get.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Star Wars Episode I: Revenge of the Sith Review

I went opening night to the theater here in Bangor to see ROTS. None of that midnight showing stuff for me though, I’m getting to old for that.

As the end credits started to roll my initial reaction was: I’m not loving this movie.

But, the reason for this was multi-faceted. It was the last movie in the series, so there was some emotions about that. Face it, many of us have grown up with Star Wars, so there is definitely some sadness about the end of the films. The movie is also very fast paced, unlike the first two episodes. There is a lot to take in, and I am going to go again next week and might even update this post.

So, after some reflection, I have to say the movie was awesome. The bar was set pretty low because of Episodes I and II, so III was phenomenal in comparison. Lucas saves the prequel series with this one and does do a nice job tying the two series together.

The storyline is simple: we watch the decline of Anakin into darkness, that being turning to the Dark Side of the Force and becoming Darth Vader. Along the way, he does some very despicable stuff.

I found quite a bit to like about this film. General Grievous was a great character. He paces and coughs like someone who is very old and has some health issues, but he fights like a madman. In addition, the fact he has four arms and wields the lightsabers of fallen Jedi in each one is cool. The battle between he and Obi-Wan was amazing.

The most improved acting award would go to Hayden Christensen. The onscreen chemistry between he and Natalie Portman was vastly improved, as was his interaction with Ewan McGregor. The acting is still pretty stilted, but that is not the highlight of this film. I seem to remember that Mark Hamill’s acting in Return of the Jedi was pretty stiff too. The most moving scene is at the end of the epic battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. McGregor nails it. I was almost in tears.

I was disappointed by the miniscule role the Wookies had in the movie. A trivial side note at best, even though they come to Yoda’s defense. They could have been left out altogether and no one would have missed them.

As Lucas and moviemakers as a whole move toward digital effects and characters, Yoda was a highlight. Our favorite digitized green Jedi Master moved and emoted as if he was real. The showdown between Palpatine and Yoda gets a thumbs up.

Overall, I would say this is “the” movie of the summer, maybe the year. Lucas does a good job tying up the loose ends and completing his masterpiece. Star Wars fan or not, this is a must. It is rated PG-13, so keep the kids at home.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

11 Hours to go

11 hours until show time for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith!!!

No posting today unless it is Star Wars related, and even then that might be iffy. Full day of work and then trying to squeeze dinner in before we head to the theater. Since we live in a rather small community, we'll probaby head to the theater about an hour earlier than showtime to get the best seats possible.

It is going to be a long day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Blade Trinity

Just finished watching the third installment of the Blade franchise.

Awesome. It is rare that the third movie in a series is as good as the first, but they have got this one right. Amazing effects, great story, perfect tunes, and Ryan Reynolds was just downright funny.

This one is going to be added to the collection. Helps that it is a CBM, a Comic Based Movie.

Those seem to be all the rage these days.

And it is a good thing.

Is the new “Star Wars” an anti-Bush flick?

Apparently, Hayden Christensen seems to think so.

I think it is a bunch of crap.

It is going to be a great sci-fi movie that ties together the greatest space saga ever created.

There undoubtedly are people out there that are apparently going to see this whole underlying story as anti-Bush.

Namely the French, and Hayden Christensen.

Anyway, I’ll be watching the movie spin-free thank you very much.

I hope that you will too.

Kylie Minogue diagnosed with breast cancer

I saw this story this morning on The Daily Buzz after I just finished listening to “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” while working out.

Minogue, who was big in the eighties, reinvented herself a couple of years ago and has put out some catchy pop tunes, most of which I thoroughly enjoy.

Hopefully she'll make a full and speedy recovery.

This thing is just plain beautiful!

The new Microsoft X-Box 360.

My shirt is drenched with drool even now…

Thursday, May 12, 2005

iCarnival

Slublog is collecting links for the Carnival of the Playlists again.

I have the oddest mix of music on my iPod. Does this mean I am well rounded?

Probably not…

In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins. Classic song. What else is there to say? Remember when Phil was cool and made great music? This is it.

Switch by Will Smith. Big Willie Style!!! A catchy little tune. I always love Smith’s stuff. Movies, music, whatever.

You and Me by Lifehouse. A great acoustic guitar song. Either Lifehouse’s stuff is awesome or awful. This one falls under awesome.

Confusion by New Order. This song is playing during the bloodbath (literally) in the Blade movie. One of the coolest techno songs I’ve heard. Love it.

Lost in a Portrait by Trapt. This one is from the Punisher soundtrack. A hard driving rock tune with great melodies.

Broken by Seether featuring Amy Lee. Another song from the Punisher soundtrack. Amy Lee has an incredible voice and this is a great song for it. Moving vocals. Great acoustic guitar part.

So there you have it. Astor Piazzola should make the next one. Oblivion is a great song. Who knew you could do so much with an accordian…

Questions that need to be answered in Sith.

MSNBC has had some remarkable Star Wars coverage. Today’s latest: ten questions that need to be answered in Revenge of the Sith. Each question gets a 1 out of 10 rating on its likelihood of being answered.

Some questions have better odds than others than being answered, such as why are the Jedi so clueless. 8-10 chance this one gets answered.

The Player’s Art

An exhibit currently at the Colby College Museum featuring rare, vintage, and handmade guitars.

Among the guitars featured will be a 1952 Gibson Les Paul "gold top" prototype signed by Les Paul, and a 12-string, one-of-a-kind, left-handed 2004 Rickenbacker Model 350. "The Player's Art" also will include vintage amplifiers, artwork, photographs, posters, and accessories to examine the guitar's impact on popular culture.

The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities. For more information call 207-872-3228 or visit www.colby.edu/museum/.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Guide to the Star Wars Galaxy

MSNBC has a great guide to the characters in the Star Wars Universe. You just click on the character and up pops a brief description of the character.

I really think that Lucas is going to Salvage the Prequels with ROTS.

I wonder if I can get all five movies in between now and the 19th?

Welcome to The Chronicles of Narnia!

The trailer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is up. This one looks like it is going to be awesome.

Link via Slublog.

Nature’s Wrath

Maybe it isn’t such a great idea to challenge one of God’s greatest creations. Everest's win column has a larger number than Humankind.

Don't get me wrong. I am glad that the people survived, but know when to say when.

The TV Week in Review May 1 - May 7

With the season finale of most shows right around the corner, these shows are heating up.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition/How’d They Do That?- The Dolan Family

Jamie Dolan, husband and father of three, takes a second job at an electronics store to help put some money away for his kids’ future. A man walks in and starts shooting. This random act of violence leaves two people dead, and Jamie Dolan shot in the head and dying. Due to the courageous efforts of the EMTs, Jamie survives but has lost sight in both his eyes. His home is not even remotely set up for someone who has just become blind. It’s the Design Team to the rescue!

I once read somewhere (TV Guide I think), that they thought people were going to get bored with Sunday night and another hour on Monday for the “How’d They do That?” show, which shows you some behind the scenes footage that we don’t get on the Sunday night show.

Sunday’s show was two hours, and worth every moment. A great transformation for a guy that needs a little help. Once again the build what seems like a mansion. The cool thing about this house is that they used different textures on all the walls so that Jamie knows where he is in the house. This will help his independence greatly. Water features and wind chimes help him outside to find his way around outside.

Does this episode warrant three hours including the Monday night show? You betcha. A great family and a great 3 hours. I had the box of tissues handy for this one.

Desperate Housewives- Fear No More

Gabby learns that Carlos has messed with her birth control pills and that she is pregnant. Carlos couldn’t be happier, but Gabby on the other hand is rather upset, well, for one she and Carlos had agreed on not having kids, and two, because she has slept with John. Who’s kid is it? We might find out, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a pregnancy that is going to have a tragic end. I could be way off here, but I think we look for an accident (possibly car or stairs, you pick) and Gabby looses the baby.

Bree is another story all together. George the pharmacist is still attracted to Bree, and Rex definitely can see it. If I were him, I would have switched drug stores already. Bree is a smart woman, but why she continues to be so na├»ve about George’s affection is beyond me. She is going to get burned by her decision to continue the relationship. Maybe she doesn’t want to know…

CSI: Miami- Recoil

Good episode. The search for Horatio’s dead brother continues as we head toward the season finale. I really didn’t see this one coming.

Smallville- Ageless

Great episode, even though I don’t know how it falls into the whole scheme of the season. It was a real tearjerker seeing Lana and Clark be so maternal and loving to this child they found in Evan’s Field. When Evan goes through his last change, the energy he emits causes a huge explosion. Clark sends Lana away, but Clark stays with the boy till the end (obviously the explosion isn’t going to hurt him). This would have been a great time to let Lana in on his little secret.

The real highlight is the news that there is going to be a 90-minute season finale and a 8-minute preview of Batman Begins.

Lost- The Greater Good

Shannon looks for revenge as she grieves for Boone. Sayid gives Locke a once over, being a former interrogator for the Iraqi Republican Guard, and his BS detector is working overtime. Sayid gives him the thumbs up once he shows him the plane that he and Boone found. Shannon tries to shoot Locke but Sayid intervenes. Sure, she’ll be ticked at him for awhile, but she’ll get over it. We get a look into Sayid past and the tragic suicide of his former roommate.

The hatch is going to soon be revealed to all. Lost is probably the best new show this year. The finale is supposed to be emotionally satisfying, yet will leave a big cliffhanger for next season.

What am I going to do this summer? I see a Netflix membership coming on.

Alias- Mirage

Syd comes to Big Daddy Jack’s rescue, a good think too. It was kinda creepy that she had to impersonate her mother to help her delusional father tell her the location of the only doctor that can save his life.

And it a good thing they did, because the news out today is that Jen is pregnant with Baby Aflac (spelling intentional). That is going to put a cramp in her martial arts moves and skimpy clothing. Could this be the end of Alias?

CSI: NY- On the Job

CSI number three continues to impress.

Just when you thought CSI’s dumbest detective, Danny Messer, couldn’t get any more boneheaded, he does. Not only is he a lousy shot, he directly disobeyed Mac’s order not to talk because he felt nobody “had his back on this one”. Mac definitely had his back, and better yet evidence and a plan.

Idiot! Mac should have thrown him to the wolves.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigations- Weeping Willows

Again another fantastic episode for the first and best CSI. Catherine goes looking for love in all the wrong places and gets entangled with a murder suspect, ironically enough played by her real life husband.

Her taste in men is horrible. Get her together with Warrick and call it good.

Numb3rs- Noisy Edge

The Eppes brothers encounter a UFO. Is it a being from another planet or some sort of new prototype? Charlie crunches the numbers to find out.

Charlie also finds out that his adorable assistant Amita, is going to change her major, meaning he won't be her advisor anymore, meaning that the romance is a go. Let’s hope Charlie is smart enough to figure out the repercussions of her news and make a move. I think he actually got it.

Great show. I love seeing the math work. The relationship between the Eppes family is great to watch, as well. Great job casting. Who’d a guess Judd Hirsch would be so great as Daddy Eppes?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I dare you to eat this.

I quiver in fear at the sight of this thing. Who in their right mind is going to tackle this solo?

Memorable "Star Wars" Moments

Yes, there is going to be a lot of Star Wars coverage between now and the 19th.

Check out Star War's memorable moments.

I liked the pod racing. That was one of the better things in Episode I, certainly better than Jar Jar Binks!

Maybe the Emporer will slice him in half with his lightsaber.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Weekly TV Roundup 4-25 to 4-30

My thoughts on the TV I watched this week.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition- The Harvey Family

This is one of the greatest shows ever, in terms of actually helping people. The first season was a real tear jerker, but season two seems to have de-stimulized me to the horrible situations in which people actually live and try to make the best of it. Not so with the Harvey Family.

This guy was diagnosed with epilepsy and lost his job. His wife has been working two jobs in hopes to make ends meet. The EM team saves the day by building them, in my opinion a mansion, and macks out Willy’s new garage with all the cool Craftsman tools.

Great show.

Desperate Housewives- Sorting out the Dirty Laundry

Recap show for this season’s guilty pleasure. Not as good as the Lost recap, but was adequate for catching new viewers up and reviewing for the rest of us.

Two and a Half Men
Repeat. Boy, don’t I hate those.

CSI: Miami- Shootout

Repeat. Nothing new to see here so move along.

Smallville- Blank

Kevin (guest star), a boy who can cause people to temporarily lose their memory, turns his powers on Clark (Tom Welling) and causes him to have total amnesia. Chloe discovers what has happened and must teach Clark about his superpowers while simultaneously trying to keep him from accidentally revealing them to others. On his trip down memory lane, Clark meets Lana (Kristin Kreuk), falls in love all over again and decides to share his secret with her. Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) takes advantage of the situation and convinces Clark to show him where the three stones are hidden.

In a season that has been mediocre at best, a highlight. It is fun to see Clark rediscovering his powers again like it was the first time and having Chloe help him. They have already departed from the mythos so much with the continued presence of Lois Lane, so put Clark and Chloe together. Get Lana out of the picture.

Lost: The Journey

Best new show this season. A great mix of sci-fi (they’re trapped on an island with a large something-a-rather, survived a plane crash, hunted by Ethan, etc.) and suspense. This show was a recap of the season to gear us up for the last four episodes. Usually I hate these things, but this one was awesome! I hate to see the season end for this one. Watch for Lost to pick up some new viewers based solely on The Journey.

Alias- A Clean Conscious

Alias seems to have put the horrid writing of last season behind it. Every episode so far this season has been very entertaining, and this week’s episode was no exception.

What’s up with Jack? After his exposure to radiation a couple of shows back, his health is declining, and picking at his hand with a letter opener is just plain nasty. Hopefully, they are coming up with a miracle cure for old Jackie-boy. The show is already losing Michael Vartan at the end of the season to a movie career (or so he thinks), and the loss of Syd’s dad would kill the show.

Nadia needs to watch out for her former Orphanage worker/guardian angel Sophia. Can we say the missing assassin Elena? A Derevko was looking to kill Syd? Watch out girls.


CSI: NY- Supply and Demand

This is what happens when a snooty college student gets cut off by Daddy. She ends up getting a designer knockoff bag that has heroin sown into the lining. She sells it as coke killing one student and sending another to the hospital. Her roommate, who has no knowledge of her new vocation, gets killed when the dealers coming looking for their stuff.

Good episode. I love it when Mac goes after Stella and puts her in her place. Your in charge, Mac. Not her.

Sorry, I still have ill feelings against Melina Kanakaredes from her days on Providence.

CSI- Committed

Yuck, incest episode. A mother/son relationship taken way too far. When is Grissom going to give Sarah some love? A hug after being held hostage by a whack job isn’t too much to ask for. Forget professional relationship here. Comfort her!

The original is still the best. Great show!

Numb3rs- Sacrifice

A scientist is murdered in his home and a big corporation is more interested in the information on his hard drive then the loss of his life. Was it the wife? Was it the assistant? Was it the multi-million dollar corporation? Send in Charlie with his abacus and a chalkboard to solve the crime!

This show continues to impress me. I am of the firm belief that math is of the devil, but this show actually makes it interesting. And according to TV Guide, the numbers work. The Epps brothers are worth watching every week and it is good to know that math is good for something other than figuring out how little is in my checking account.

A Blogger Game

Oh what silly fun!

I have been tagged.

THE BLOGGER'S GAME

Name five things from a list that you would like to do and then offer pithy little words of explanation.

Here is the entire list to choose from:
If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an innkeeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a backup dancer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be a proctologist...

If I could be a scientist, I’d be experimenting on politicians on Capitol Hill so I could bend their wills to mine and be the most feared man in the world (maniacal laughing here). Were you expecting something altruistic?

If I could be a llama-rider, that would just be kind of fun. Can you even ride a llama?

If I could be an athlete, I’d be a star forward in the NHL. Oh wait, there is no such thing as the NHL anymore.

If I could be a writer, I’d be an award winning comic book writer/novelist and be hired by George Lucas to write Episodes 7, 8 and 9, because he certainly can’t do it right.

If I could be a bonnie pirate, well, I’d rule the Seven Seas and be the most feared man in the world (maniacal laughing here). Oh wait, this sounds a lot like the scientist bit.

I don’t have anybody to tag (hysterical sobbing ensues).

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I went and saw The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on Friday night. I almost wasn’t allowed in the theater by my fellow attendees.

I went with my buddy Peter and his brother. As we were walking into the show, they both looked at me and asked, “Have you got your towel?” I looked at them rather quizzically and said, “What are you talking about?” They came to the sudden and horrific realization that I had never read the books, and had no idea what they were talking about. They said I couldn’t see it (they were joking, I think…), but I convinced them that since I had no previous experience with The Guide, that I would have no preconceived expectations of the film, and therefore could give them an unbiased opinion.

Arthur Dent’s (Martin Freeman) house is targeted for destruction to make way for a new highway bypass. Little does he know that the Earth is targeted for exactly the same thing. His neighbor, Ford Prefect (Mos Def) turns out to be an alien, and he sticks out his thumb and they end up hitchhiking their way across the galaxy where we find out that the answer to the ultimate question (the meaning of life) is 42 and where one hit of the improbability drive can well, result in the improbable (a couple of thermo-nuclear missiles turning into a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale that has a very short experience of self discovery.

A thoroughly entertaining and fun movie. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. This film reminded me of the quirky Mel Brooks films of the ’80 and ‘90’s (Spaceballs, Men in Tights). The Cook brothers agreed that the movie did justice to the books and that Zaphod (Sam Rockwell) was hysterical, much like he was in the pages of The Guide. It looks like the Douglas Adams favorite was done right and a great tribute to The Guide’s creator.

Worth the full price of admission.