30 December 2009

The Invention of Lying


So I’m bored and I watched it last night. Guess I’ll write something about it.

The movie started out quite good really, putting forth the question of what the world would be like without the concept of falsehood. Everybody seems to get along pretty well with total honesty, except for some reason they tend to be overly honest; people are always just blurting embarrassing stuff out without much provocation. It’s a little fishy, but I guess it was necessary for comedy. I think I’d like to see this concept used in a more serious sci-fi thing maybe.

As the title suggests, Ricky Gervais and his deadly chompers figure out how to lie for some reason. Naturally everyone believes everything he says because that’s what they’re accustomed to doing, even when he says contradictory things. It’s a bit weird. Events lead to him starting monotheism, and getting everyone really confused. You can tell this guy really doesn’t like Christianity.

Anyway it lost steam for me about half-way through after the concept got tired and it turned into more of a romantic comedy thing. It would have been better I think if it had been more of a tragedy, where more things went horribly wrong. Instead mostly everything went pretty well all things considered.

So it was okay I guess.

24 December 2009

Up in the Air


This movie got good reviews and the trailer looked okay, so last night when Avatar was sold out at IMax, I persuaded my friends to try it out. So we did.

It was pretty good. George Clooney is a good actor and the story wasn't too generic. It had a few neat little cameos. The elder George Michael from Arrested Development was in it. There was a nice ass-shot. However, it was a bit more of a chick-flick than I was expecting, which was a little awkward since we were a group of three guys and one girl. Still it was quite funny and entertaining, and it didn't end with "and they all lived happily ever after."

I can see why it's getting good reviews, but somehow I don't think it's going to show up at the Oscars. Also, when did romantic comedies start being called dramatic comedies?

20 December 2009



I didn’t start hearing about this movie until relatively recently, but it’s apparently been in the works for a really long time. It’s been a sort of vision of James Cameron’s since something like the 80s. A lot of new technology had to be engineered for it to be made. With this sort of hype, it’s pretty hard to imagine it living up to expectations. I personally though it would be a flop, just another action flick with a few pretty visuals and a lot of uncanny-valley.

It isn’t really.

Avatar has been receiving very good reviews from just about everybody, with Cameron being proclaimed the “King of the World,” a reference to his mega-blockbuster Titanic. The guy makes good movies. So, when he puts his considerable talents to work on a sci-fi epic, the results are probably going to be good, and they are.

The biggest part of it, of course, is the visual aspect. The majority is computer generated imagery with meticulous attention to detail and lots of motion capture for the CG characters, the Navi (and sometimes the humans). The environments are spectacular and successfully build a semi-believable world with lots of pretty colors, often reminiscent of the old Myst series of video games. The Navi themselves are also quite beautiful, as is the various other animal life. I’m sure the “furry” population is going bonkers over the Navi. The question of the uncanny valley is still relevant; as the movie started I could definitely tell things were a little weird, but after a while I just didn’t notice anymore. It’s a lot more evident in the short trailers. I also saw it in 3D which is supposed to be the correct way to do it. I’ll admit it was pretty impressive, but it also made things a little less fluid by seeming to decrease frame-rates during motion-heavy sequences.

The weaker part was the story. It’s a pretty generic one. Although I didn’t see the episode, South Park apparently was one of the first to make the comparison to Dances with Wolves, which is a very valid one. It still makes the story its own though since it’s sci-fi, and has the license to be all kinds of wacky. The acting was good but not great, and the dialog was okay. Overall the visuals make up for it and just make it all an extremely immersive experience.

This is probably the only contender to District 9 as the best sci-fi film of the year, and I think it just edges it out. D9 definitely wins in the story category but as far as mind-blasting beauty goes, Avatar takes it.

08 December 2009

The Road


I’ve decided to write this review in as close of a style to the book's as I can so as to cover both media while only writing once.

When he first heard of the movie through the internet he thought it looked really awesome. He hadn’t heard of the book before and only recently learned that the writer Cormac McCarthy also wrote No Country For Old Men which is also a very great movie. Then he waited a really long time probably about a year or so before it finally came out. Then he watched it.

It wasn’t as good as his first impressions made him think it would be but it was still a very quality film. It drags a little much like the book’s monotone dearth of punctuation but the atmosphere is there. There are some darn shocking moments in it but most of them happen off screen to good effect. The acting is good. Heck, Strider’s in it. Oh man a comma. Shame upon the writer of this review. Anyway the kid’s pretty good too.

Since he doesn’t think the story is that well known he will give a synopsis. A man and a boy who is the man’s son are walking down a road after the world has suffered some unspecified apocalyptic happening. Some nasty stuff happens. Some nice stuff happens. The man is pretty sad. It ends at some point.

Yeah he guesses that doesn’t really sell it well but that’s what it is. Go watch it for an experience.

Holy crap that was painful.

06 December 2009

The Sopranos – Season 1


Like The Godfather, everybody likes this show. I can see why people might enjoy it. However, I didn’t like The Godfather very much. I thought Goodfellas was boring. The Sopranos, so far, has been less than my favorite show ever.

Yeah yeah the acting’s pretty good and there’s some skin and nasty language to spice things up, and the story’s okay I guess. Something about it just doesn’t keep me riveted like say The Wire or Dexter. I don’t like the characters; that’s probably the problem. I don’t identify with any of them. They’re all kinda assholes. Really it almost seems more like a sitcom to me than a drama a lot of the time.

I’m not saying I never enjoyed it. There were some good moments and good episodes; I can’t think of any in particular, except maybe one of the last few. It took me a long time to get through this season, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to season 2.

I guess I just don’t get mobster fiction.

Devin Townsend Project - Addicted


Addicted is the second album in a series of four that Devin is putting out under the Devin Townsend Project name. He’s brought in a new set of musicians, although some of them have worked with him pretty extensively in the past (I guess just Poederooyen). The biggest addition is Anneke von Giersbergen’s vocal work, which is much more prevalent in this album than the female vocals on Ki. Anneke fronted The Gathering for a long time; I’m not up on their music so her inclusion wasn’t some orgasmic thing for me.

Anyway, Addicted is an up-tempo exercise in happiness in a metal context. The lyrics themselves aren’t necessarily happy but it’s an uplifting collection of songs to be sure. The original idea Devin had for this album was to emulate the sound of pop-metal/hard-rock bands like Nickelback, whose he has described as infectious music about the lyric writer’s penis. His take would have the sound, but would be more of a parody lyrically; poking fun at pop music itself. Instead, as is his wont, Devin changed the concept quite a bit. It ended up as something very similar to his older output. The lyrics are metaphysical an introspective, and the sound is waves upon walls of densely produced electronics and guitars. Anneke does bring a new element to the music by decreasing the amount of screaming and perhaps making it easier to sing along to it.

It’s a heavy album and it’s not a heavy album. It seems light-hearted but I don’t think it really is; Devin has put a lot of himself into it. It’s a flushing of a part of himself in preparation for Deconstruction, the promised barrage of chaos that I’m very much looking forward to. This album however, I’m not as enamored with as with Ki, which I felt was a transcendent album for Devin; this one seems like a throwback. A fun throwback, though.

01 December 2009

Ninja Assassin

Ninja Assassin


This movie is stupid.