Friday, September 30, 2005


Movie: Serenity

This is an excellent film! Though I was a big fan of the TV series (it's based on Firefly, the show Fox cancelled after 11 episodes), I was a little unsure how everything would transfer to the big screen. This film answers that easily: it's even better on the big screen! Perhaps that was the problem with it on TV. The story was too big, too large for TV. It's the same cast, which is awesome (the actors are so tied to their characters it would have been hard to watch with other actors in the roles), and the story is excellent. It's high-speed action, great dialog, and terrific performances and special effects. About 90 minutes into the movie I was dreading the thought that it was going to end! That's the opposite of my feeling in most movies. I sure hope they make this into a series and do more movies. It could easily become the next Star Trek.


Friday, September 30, 2005

The Greatest Game Ever Played

Movie: The Greatest Game Ever Played

This was a surprisingly good period film about an amateur golfer who wins the U.S. Open in 1913. Though sports films tend to be predictable (either he dramatically wins by overcoming huge odds or he loses by a hair but somehow it's okay), this one still worked. It's a little bit hokey at times, with obvious sentimentality, but only in a few places -- most of the time it's just a good story. My favorite thing was the golfer's caddy, a little fat boy with the attitude of a king, who stole every scene he was in (loved it when he saw the President of the United States was in attendance and he waved and shouted at him like he was a regular person). Good show.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Corpse Bride

Movie: Corpse Bride
Director(s): Tim Burton

Wonderful, wonderful film! While Tim's Nightmare Before Christmas (his other stop-motion fantasy) is uneven, this one is just terrific throughout. The characters are visually strange and bizarre and yet somehow appealing, and the story's the same way. It deals with a shy young man set to marry a girl he's never met. Later, when he's in the woods practicing his vows, he puts the ring on a stick poking up out of the ground -- but the stick turns out to be the blackened hand of a corpse... the Corpse Bride. She accepts his "proposal" and assumes the two are married and takes him to the land of the dead, where we see dancing skeletons and other hilariously creepy creatures. Somehow the young man has got to tell this dead woman that he doesn't want to be married to her, that their differences are too great (she's dead, he's alive). It sounds grim, but it's done with such life and heart and wonderful music that it's remarkably light and fun. The story is sweet and moving and entertaining. You love all the characters (some you love to hate) and want everything to work out well. I was extremely impressed. It's not a deep story, but it has a few clever jabs and a couple thought-provoking ideas. Mostly it's just classic escapist entertainment, and utterly original and charming. A must see!


Friday, September 23, 2005


Movie: Flightplan

The premise of this reminded of the weak The Forgotten, but sounded better. A woman gets on an airplane (a huge new double-decker airliner) with her five-year-old daughter, but wakes later to find the daughter missing. She upsets the crew and passengers with her insistence that her daughter was on board, while they counter that she wasn't, and that her daughter is actually dead. The woman's husband recently died, so we start wondering is she's suffering from psychological delusions. All that I got from the previews and it intrigued me, but I expected whatever resolution to be weak and I wasn't disappointed. As always in this kind of thing, the reality feels cheap. It's like when you learn how a magician does his trick -- the wonder is gone and you feel cheated. Fortunately, the resolution in this movie isn't as bad as most -- it's actually marginally plausible. Jodie Foster's convincing performance as the mother helps a lot to ground this, as well. It's not a bad film, just not great either. It has some really cool moments and the plight of the mother searching for her child is so heart-wrenching you have to distance yourself, but the ending is so ordinary it's a bit of a disappointment.


Monday, September 19, 2005

SoccerTalk USA Podcast Launched

Soccer: SoccerTalk USA Podcast Launched

Today marks the debut of my new soccer podcast, SoccerTalk USA. I even created a website for it: (you can subscribe to the podcast at or via iTunes' Podcast directory in the Sports category). I basically talk for 45 minutes or so about the most recent Major League Soccer results and other topics. I hope to do the show once a week during the MLS season, perhaps less often or shorter shows at other times of the year.


Sunday, September 18, 2005


Movie: Hostage

Surprisingly decent flick about a hostage situation gone awry. Hostage films are like sports films -- there are only a couple plots available -- but this one does manage a few intriguing twists. The lead is Bruce Willis who's a retired hostage negotiator who finds his family kidnapped to force him to go back to his previous line of work. Unfortunately, the ending of the film negenerates into a strange insane-guy-watch-me-die thing, but the film still has a couple nice moments.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Transporter 2

Movie: Transporter 2

The first film had its moments and as a strictly action flick it was pretty good, but I never expected a sequel. This one's not bad, though some of the action struck me as pretty cheesy. For instance, in one scene the main guy's caught in a corridor with the female villain just down the hall with a submachine gun. He grabs the fallen door and uses it as a shield to protect himself from her hail of bullets. These bullets, which moments earlier were gouging holes in walls and moments later are dinging holes in metal, can't make it through the hollow frame of a wooden door! Pretty lame. There are a couple other scenes where the editing's choppy as though they didn't get enough footage for the scene. But the unusual thing is that despite a few silly scenes like that there's something charming about the film (mostly the presence of star Jason Statham) which makes the film fun to watch. The plot in this one is just an excuse for the action, so I won't even get into that (it deals with kidnapping and a plan to distribute a bio weapon). Just see it for the wild action and have fun.


Thursday, September 8, 2005


Movie: Constantine

This demon-hunter movie is better than I expected, but odd. The world in it is a strange blend of religion, mythology, magic, and superstition; what's odd is that all are treated as interchangeable equals, so priests deal with "enchanted" amulets and witch doctors are just as valid as priests. Basically, the film's saying that religion is just as real as magic; though in the film both exist, the conclusion drawn of course is that religion is myth just like magic. In other words, the Christian cross is no different from magic beans or an occult spell. I found that disturbing and troubling, but that's really outside the film. As for the movie itself, it has some decent action and visuals. The story's convoluted but works (or comes close to working, depending on your perspective). The ending's too contrived but does give some mild satisfaction.