Archive for September, 2008

25
Sep
08

(Bad) Movie Roundup

The other day I went to see Step Brothers, which is a terrible, terrible movie that made me lose all respect for John C. Reilly. It makes me wonder if he actually enjoys brainless comedies or if he was THAT hard-pressed for money.

Anyway, it feels like most movies I’ve watched in the theater this year were absolutely awful, and I’m trying to recount what they were. If you want the results before I list the movies, here they are:

(Watched in the last two years in the theater:)
24 movies
_________
12 bad
7 okay
4 good
1 AWESOME (Juno)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Terrible writing, terrible dialog, terribly ridiculous fight scenes. I met Uwe Boll this year, and he was right when he said that people would’ve put him in an insane asylum if *he* had been the one to make the movie. I’d much rather watch Bloodrayne a third time than watch Indiana Jones again. And Shia LaBeouf is one overrated actor, I tell you.
The Dark Knight
COMPLETELY overrated. Even silly action movies used to be better than what Hollywood is coming up with these days, and the 9+ star rating at IMDB.com is ridiculous. I’d give it a six, tops. There were some things I liked, and it’s hardly ever unpleasant to see Maggie Gyllenhaal perform in anything (except maybe in Secretary, but I might just be a prude), but overall the movie was just too forced and too dumb.
Step Brothers
As mentioned above. A piece of turd. No more to say.
Vantage Point
A dumb movie. Such a promising story – seeing the same scene from several different perspectives – but in the end, such a lame plot.
21
An okay movie, not particularly memorable, though.
Sex And The City: The Movie
Ah well, not exactly good, not very emancipated at all, but only a little bit worse than I expected.
Fool’s Gold
Finally a movie I wasn’t disappointed by, because it was exactly what I had imagined. Silly, fun, with stupid action-movie clichés and Kate Hudson. ENTERTAINING!
Get Smart
That one was really good. A very decent comedy with some smart jokes and generally a LOT more than I expected!
No Country For Old Men
I suppose it was okay, but it was very slow and I didn’t exacty ‘get it’. As much as I like the Coen Brothers, I won’t be recommending this movie to anyone.
Juno
Definitely the winner! This is the best movie I’ve seen in a long while, in and out of the movie theater! You go, Ellen Page! You go, Kimya Dawson! You go, Diablo Cody!

I suppose Juno and No country For Old Men were technically released last year, but it always takes a while for them to reach movie theaters here… But now that I look at what was released last year, there was mostly crap, too.
I did watch these in the theater last year:

Transformers
Pretty awful.
I Am Legend
Good idea, but not very well done. Logic erros, and stupid monsters and a VERY stupid ending.
Live Free Or Die Hard
Bad! Maybe action is NOT all you need in an action movie.
Atonement
Well, it had some interesting scenes and the way the sound was blended into the movie was nice, but the story… geeeeez.
Ocean’s Thriteen
Oh well. I seem to remember it was dull.
Mr. Brooks
That one was pretty awful, too. The story was dumb and nobody cared for the characters and their strange behavior.
Hitman
Okay, I played the game and I thought the movie would be fun as your typical action movie with nice effects, but it was boring and Timothy Olyphant had a grin on his face all the time, and although little is known about Agent 47, I know this: He doesn’t smile a lot!
Beowulf
The movie is pretty awful, and some of the animated faces looked eerie (Uncanny Valley much?), but I watched it in 3D and the 3D effect was pretty wicked, so who cares? The sins of our fathers! The sins of our fathers!! THE SINS OF OUR FATHERS!!! I AM BEOWULF!!!! (Urg.)
American Gangster
Well, not exactly great, really, but entertaining enough and – looking at the competition – evidently up in the better half of the movies I’ve seen in the theater.
Gone Baby Gone
Hyped way too much when it really had a lame and uninteresting story, but it was okay.
The Brave One
Definitely one of the better movies I’ve seen in the theater, and it did make me think and was interesting. The romantic scenes were kind of odd or unfitting or somehow off, and the ending was also a bit peculiar, but all in all it was a good movie.
300
An awful movie. Awful and ridiculous.
Because I Said So
Awful writing, bad movie. Diane Keaton is overrated.
Keinohrhasen
The one German movie I watched in the theater in the last two years, it seems. And it was surprisingly good. Sure, lots of clichés and exactly how often can you laugh at something embarassing being said too loudly so it’s overheard by everybody in a restaurant – but all in all, it was sweet.

CONCLUSION: I watch too much crap in the movie theater. I should choose the movies I watch more wisely. Too many bad movies are being made! It’s scary to think that Fool’s Gold is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the theater lately…

25
Sep
08

A Wolf At The Table by Augusten Burroughs


A little while ago, I finished reading A Wolf At The Table by Augusten Burroughs, and I was very impressed by it and recommend it wholeheartedly.

Let me tell you briefly how I came to reading it. If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and why wouldn’t you be?!), you might’ve noticed that I’m very fond of the band Tegan and Sara. Now it so happens that Augusten Burroughs made an audio book of A Wolf At The Table, and Tegan Quin wrote a song for the occasion. It’s called His Love and it’s very beautiful, in a very sad way.

One, two, three, four
His love right out the door

The full title of the book is “A Wolf At The Table: A Memoir Of My Father”, and it is about the relationship Augusten had with his father, mostly when growing up. To say it was not a healthy relationship would be the understatement of the century. His father was a cruel and (mostly emotionally) abusive man.

Now, since Tegan spoke so well of this book, I figured I’d read it, too. Actually, my best friend bought it first, and I followed her example, and we did this really nifty thing where we read the book together, so that we’re more motivated. However, this is a book that needs no extra motivation. It is captivating and it is cruel and sad and suspenseful and the fact that it’s all true is heartbreaking. Yet, you can’t put it down. We read it very quickly and talked it through and are now determined to read his other stuff, too. You can’t help but admire Augusten for what he seems to have become, despite everything.

Augusten, with that love stuck inside
how did you ever sleep at night?

Related Linkage:
A Wolf At The Table at Amazon.com
His Love by Tegan Quin [YouTube]
Augusten Burroughs on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos [YouTube]

22
Sep
08

Music Monday #20: Joan Jett

Today is September 22nd, which makes it Joan Jett’s birthday. If the Wikipedia is to be believed, today is her 50th birthday. Happy Birthday, Joan Jett!

I used to love her music when I was younger, and I still like it a lot, although I got a bit sidetracked with other music. I can’t say that I particularly cared for her latest album, Sinner, much at all. Besides, the cover was eerie because it seems like she doesn’t have a nose.

Anyway, to celebrate this joyous event (I’m disregarding all the negative reports I’ve read about her, like that she was really rude on the set of Prey for Rock & Roll), here are some videos of her. Enjoy and comment!


I Love Rock’n’Roll. A classic.


Their Crimson & Clover cover. Awesome.


Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah). Also awesome.


I Need Someone. Very cool song.

Anything else I suppose you can find yourself on YouTube. The music is much cooler than the videos, though. ;)

06
Sep
08

Rambling: Sony Vegas Pro gives black videos

Hello! Today I want to write down what I found out about Sony Vegas Pro 8.0, since I had a problem with it and it seems that the solution is nowhere out there. So I figured, altruistic as I am, let’s help those people out there with the same issue.

This is what happened: I edited a video for a long time, sped up some sections, slowed down some sections, added music to it, adjusted the volume levels, etc. Eventually, I got ready to save the file. How to do that? You click on File -> Render. But once I rendered the file (I tried saving it as an MP4), all I got was a black video with the sound. On second look, I noticed that a few of the scenes actually worked. It made no sense. Eventually I figured that the part that worked was slowed down and had a lower playback rate because I had slowed it down. Choosing every video and right-clicking on properties and adjusting this to the rate that worked helped. HOWEVER, there is an easy way to make it all work.

SOLUTION: Choose all your video files (you know, click on one and then SHIFT and go to the last one. And don’t forget the videos on other tracks either!) and then right-click on them and choose SWITCHES and then DISABLE RESAMPLE. That should work. At least it did with me.

So yeah, I hope by putting this out there I can help people with the same problem, because this was close to driving me crazy. ;)

01
Sep
08

Linkage #18: Music Blogs

Here’s a list of some cool music blogs for your enjoyment:

B(oot)log – Says the author: This site is dedicated to my experience of live music. I post recordings that I make along with interesting radio and tv sessions and occasionally reviews of albums, songs, or whatever else I like.
Heartache with Hard Work
motel de moka – Very unusual music, which is why I like it.
My Old Kentucky Blog – The MP3 blog that puts some stank in it.
The Late Greats Mission statement: The goal here is to expose you to music not usually found anywhere else in the Blogsphere.
FingertipsThis is the blog version of the Fingertips web site, which is the web’s longest-running guide to high-quality free and legal MP3s. Once a week, this blog will feature the three songs selected as “This Week’s Finds” on the main site. Occasional other updates to the main site will be posted here as well.
Can’t Hear You Over The Sound Of How Awesome I Am – This starts playing music when you open it. Tsk.
Leaky Sparrow
Audio Muffin

This Women Coil [French] – Ce blog a pour but de vous faire découvrir la musique d’artistes féminines.
Bag Of Songs
The Sky Was Candy
This is a music blog. The focus is on music that I like, because I’m the boss around here.