Tuesday, August 29, 2000

The Wild Bunch



Movie: The Wild Bunch

Cool, violent, strange Western. It's strange because it's so different from other movies. It's basically about bad guys -- really bad, evil, despicable guys -- do a tiny bit of good in the end. Fascinating, exciting, and excellently directed. Hard for me to judge today as the film's a classic that has affected so many film-makers since, but it's obvious it was ahead of its time.

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Saturday, August 26, 2000

Ikea



I went to Ikea today. Amazing store. They sell furniture and other things for the home. It's like a massive Costco except selling nothing but reasonably-priced home furnishings. Definitely an experience. I got a desk -- really it's their "IVAR" storage system -- but as it's configurable in to about a million variations, I was able to design a wall unit that will hold two complete computer systems, two printers, computer accessories, and much else. My current desk setup has never been optimal, being made up of a half-dozen pieces kludged together, and the maze of cords, contraptions, and awkwardness in the very small amount of space I have has made organization impossible. I've looked at many furniture stores for a decent desk, but either they're big and wide and with no vertical dimension, or if they do have a tall hutch (maximizing space) it's not big enough for my large screen monitors. The IVAR system looks to be the dream. We'll see how it works out!

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Monday, August 14, 2000

Android



Movie: Android

Older scifi film with Klaus Kinski and his android on a space station and some escaped convicts who arrive to threaten them. Mildly interesting, technically ridiculous, and silly special effects by today's standards. Nice twist at the end, though.

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Sunday, August 13, 2000

Running Mates



Movie: Running Mates

Interesting TNT production with big stars like Tom Selleck. Fun, good cast, a little predictable, and a touch anti-conservative (why can't these things be apolitical?). Not going to change your life, but well written.

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Saturday, August 12, 2000

SJ vs. Tampa Bay



Soccer: SJ vs. Tampa Bay

I went to watch the San Jose Earthquakes take on the Tampa Bay Muntiny today. This was the first soccer game -- first sporting event of any kind actually -- I've seen in person (i.e non-televised). I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was intimated by all the crowds, but it turns out I had a great time and the crowd was a big part of it: you really get caught up in the momentum of the crowd's excitement at a game. I'm certainly going to go to more of these. I also -- and this was really cool -- got MLS leading scorer Mamadou Diallo's autograph, and had a brief (very brief) chat with him!

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Friday, August 11, 2000

The Muse



Movie: The Muse

Silly fun, somewhat superfluous tale of a script writer who's career is on the skids but is revived by a mysterious woman who's supposed to be a "Muse." Okay, but I couldn't figure out why, whenever someone said "She's a muse!" people instantly associated her with the muses of Greek myth. My first association would be have that it's some sort of jargon or new age term. Weird blend of comedy and the supernatural.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Jury Duty



Had to go to jury duty today. Out of 90 people set to be selected for a trial, I was the last one picked... number 86. Fortunately, the lawyers ran out of premptory exemptions just as I got there, so the two alternates were chosen and I and a few others were sent home. Missed it by that much. Crazy process. I find it hard to believe that anyone convicted is actually innocent (I can easily believe that people not convicted could be guilty).

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Monday, August 7, 2000

Sleepy Hollow



Movie: Sleepy Hollow
Director(s): Tim Burton

Odd film, but not in a good way. Started off well, and I disagree with the critics who thought the performances were poor: what was wrong with this movie was all in the script. It’s got a great setup: you’ve got Johnny Depp’s character (Ichabod Crane) who’s supposed to be an 18th century “scientific” detective who comes in direct conflict with the supernatural elements of the Headless Horseman. Sounds like the makings of a great battle between reason and the supernatural, right? But after all the setup, the film does nothing with that! After a slight doubt or two Ichabod immediately accepts that these are supernatural events (witchcraft) but obviously controlled by a human, and he sets out to discover which human. Huh? What’s scientific or reasonable about that??? From there it just gets worse, including the ending, where he concludes that his new girlfriend is the murderer, only belatedly realizing he was wrong, and then she isn’t even upset that he thought she was evil! Bizarre, unfinished, with impressive, gory effects, and some painfully obvious techniques like not showing a single bit of sunlight until the last frame of the film.

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Sunday, August 6, 2000

Topsy Turvy



Movie: Topsy Turvy
Director(s): Mike Leigh

Fascinating look at the lives of 19th century opera writers Gilbert and Sullivan and how they wrote their greatest work, The Mikado. A bit dreary in some places (you need to be in the right mood for a serious period piece), but hilariously funny in others. Lots of surprisingly good opera. I especially liked the way the film fleshed out all the supporting characters, bringing us into the lives of the actors, choreographers, etc. It was a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how stage actors really lived. Also interesting: the DVD includes background on Gilbert and Sullivan (you should read it before watching the film), including the amazing detail that Gilbert introduced the concept of “directing” upon the world — prior to him, there were no directors.

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Saturday, August 5, 2000

Species



Movie: Species

Above average sci-fi thriller starts off well with odd group assigned to find and retrieve government’s missing alien, but eventually denigrates into standard monster flick.

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Friday, August 4, 2000

The Whole Nine Yards



Movie: The Whole Nine Yards

Okay, rather low-budget affair (oddly with big stars like Bruce Willis, etc.), and several silly plots about a dentist getting involved into the complexities of the mob and a contract killer who’s his next door neighbor.

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