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Jeff

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Everything posted by Jeff

  1. I wish someone would do a really good adaptation of A Distant Trumpet. It's one of the best western stories ever written.
  2. Well, several titles stand out, though this list might be peculiar to my own tastes and experiences over the past ten years. I am deficient in the area of foreign language film making, not because I don't like it but because I never know where to begin. That said: The Lord of the Rings trilogy The New World Letters from Iwo Jima The Ninth Day The Pianist Hotel Rwanda The Passion of the Christ Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World The Departed The Dark Knight Black Hawk Down No Country for Old Men There Will Be Blood The Incredibles Minority Report United 93 Wall-E A Beautiful Mind The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Gone Baby Gone O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  3. I'd give it a B. Up was sublime. Star Trek was a blast. Wolverine was...watchable. But there has been little else to pique my interest. The year's movie slate causes no excitement either for good or bad- it's just "meh". I look forward to Public Enemies, and I might fork over a few bucks to see Harry Potter since I saw the other 5, but I can't see myself attending the theater again until some of the big late-year releases pour in. (Mind you, I loved Gran Torino, but I count that as 2008. And I still have not seen Slumdog Millionaire.)
  4. Long time, no post! I dig the new board skin. Stephen, you've started a fascinating topic. This is a subject that I have been thinking about quite a bit, having studied communications at BU, where social media are being held up as the greatest thing in history (Truman was wrong about the atom bomb apparently). In particular, I think the Amish-style withdrawal tactic that some parents use is particularly interesting. Having gone to a secular school, with secular people, in one of the most secular cities in America, I can see the appeal. Unless strong habits are built up against the various temptations that new media provide (be it a minor matter of shirking homework to a major one like internet porn), these things can indeed be an avenue of bad influence, and I believe they often are. Yet I have to say this: qualitatively speaking, I have never seen a complete Amish-style withdrawal actually work in the long run. I knew many, many young religious kids whose media consumption was extremely sheltered and limited by their parents in an effort to keep out bad influences. All of them were orthodox Catholic families (though many of them went beyond orthodoxy, dismissing John Paul II as "liberal", embracing sedevacantism, etc). Many of them would chide me and my siblings for our worldly ways, meaning that our Mom allowed us to watch Animaniacs, the Superman movies, Tom and Huck, whatever. Fast forward ten years. A significant number of these kids I grew up with have now completely rebelled against their parents. The strictness of their upbringing ultimately led to trauma once they left home and realized "what they were missing". Of the kids from the Catholic homeschool group that I attended as a child, several (and I mean several) have ended up on non-speaking terms with their parents, pregnant out of wedlock, no longer Catholic (or even Christian) etc. Now, of course, I am not insinuating at all that it was their parent's media consumption policies that drove them to this. That would be absurd. However, the types of parents who instilled such strict policies didn't seem to have much luck when their kids got old enough to realize that some of the "bad stuff" was "fun stuff". The media consumption stuff just became another avenue for rebellion. I think that a measured, monitored use of both new media and old media (not just FaceBook, but TV) is the way to go. I was blessed to have parents that did have rules about what content I could watch/see/take in, yet understood that media have value. They allowed us to use the internet, to watch films, to read newspapers, etc. Each medium had different rules, but access was given. I feel as though it worked out well.
  5. I've been sitting here, catching up on whatever apparently went down over the past two days, finding it very difficult to know what to write. My first impulse would be to say simply how sad I am that things have come to this...yet everyone else has said as much elsewhere. I guess once again, I haven't anything that is useful to add. I have noted tension for some time between certain people, but never did I imagine that it would result in people leaving this community, or in the type of meanness or name-calling that I have caught snippets of here today, etc. Perhaps I am just clueless, but all of this has happened quickly, and I still don't understand the exact nature of yesterday's blow-up (nor the apparently long-standing animosity or tension that led to it) I feel a particularly sharp sense of discouragement whenever I observe two (or three, or four, or five) people, each of whom I like and respect as individuals, at odds with one another. It's like watching your parents argue: you love them both, so what the hell are you supposed to think? Count me as disappointed, discouraged, deflated...most of all, surprised.
  6. Steven, I read your review this morning and it made me kind of sad (not because I disagree with it, but because on the contrary, your "comic-book movie" reviews are usually on target). I guess that since X3 was not that great, I shouldn't have expected Wolverine to be terrific. Perhaps Fox only had two good X-Men movies for us. Nevertheless, I'm tired of mediocre action movies based on stuff that I like! I am 21 now, meaning that when X2 came out, I was 15. It had the same kind of impact on me that the original X-Men comic books probably had on you older guys when they originally came out. Ever since the day I saw X2, I have wanted to see how Wolverine became the character that he is. Not being a big Marvel comics reader, I have, in a sense, been waiting for this film ever since then (X3 had no answers- at least, nothing terribly revealing). Naturally, assumptions can be drawn from the prior films, but this one was supposed to tie it all together. I'll still see it, of course, and I should probably try not to walk into the theater with negative preconceptions. Still, this stuff is important to me. If I sound like I'm whining, it's because these stories have been a long-running source of enjoyment in my life, going back to my adolescent days. It was eye opening stuff then, and I have long desired to see its fulfillment. ::wolverine::
  7. I can't help but feel that the film's lack of the earlier installments' all-star supporting cast might result in a little less interest. I am sure Wolverine will do well financially, but this time there's no Ian McKellen, no Patrick Stewart, no Halle Berry, no furry blue Frasier. Consequently, people might look upon this one as a second-rate X-Men flick. Of course, that's just my theory. So if the flick is a roaring box-office success, I can always fall back on this disclaimer.
  8. Jeff

    24

    I was saddened by And FINALLY,
  9. If they give us more of Captain Barbosa, I will be satisfied. As for Keira, she was starting to get annoying in the third film anyway. I think there is potential for a fun outing here, especially since a new creative team will be brought in. The thrid film was a bit stagnant, compared to the excellent first two, so maybe new blood will enliven things.
  10. All I can think of is the Robot Chicken episode 3 Fast, 3 Furious, in which Mario, Speed Racer, Vin Diesel, the Duke Boys, and CHPS Patrol officers have a bloody, casualty-laden go-cart race. Seriously, if they are going to keep making these crappy movies, can't they think up titles that don't suck?
  11. Jeff

    24

    Last Monday's episode was decent. I like the fact that Jon Voight is getting more screen time, though again, Renee Walker seems to be sadly relegated to the office ever since mid-March. What's with Renee's For the record, me and my brothers have been re-watching season one. It is indeed amazing just how different Jack was back then; he was a caring family man who seemed invested in his domestic life. They have done a good job at evolving the character over the course of what, according to fan sites, has been 13 years of personal hell since "day one".
  12. Jeff

    Starcraft II

    Wikipedia, of all places, has a pretty extensive article on the development of Starcraft II. Naturally, it must be taken with much salt, but it seems that this project is indeed nearing fruition. Count me as excited. When I was but a 12-year-old, I was first introduced to Starcraft, and I loved it. There is no other non-licensed franchise game that features such a memorable plot, nor does any other game boast such imaginative world-building. Sure, Warcraft III was cool, but it ripped off Tolkien far too much to be a compelling tale in its own right. Starcraft's cybernetic, Road Warrior-esque, post-Earth milieu is something that I've always appreciated (this is the rare video game that would translate perfectly into a feature film, should such a film be well made, preferably directed by someone OTHER than the guy who made this turd). All three major races are playable, according to Wiki. Apparently, instead of three small campaigns in one game, Starcraft II will be a trilogy in which the first game involves a human campaign, the second, a Zerg campaign, and the third, a Protoss campaign. Yes, this will ultimately cost a lot of money, but it promises to be a rousing good time.
  13. Jeff

    24

    They never spell it out explicitly, though he assists Vice President Daniels with coordinating air strikes from a secure location during a national emergency. I don't think he's the Chief-of-Staff, but he seems to be holding some important job.
  14. Jeff

    24

    Does anyone remember the circumstances under which Agent Pierce found the president's daughter in her debut episode? IIRC, she was in the middle of some kind of business meeting...I wonder if she will indeed be connected to the corporate baddies. I agree, Crimson- the writers need to get Renee Walker out of the holding cell and back on the road with Jack. I still think that a romance between them is not out of the question. Maybe she'll be his sweetie in season eight. Last night was great, though there is some nerd minutiae that needs rectifying. If Ethan Kanin really has "known Allison for a long time", "has been with her from the beginning", and all of that other stuff he said as he resigned, then it leaves one wondering about whether the writers knew what they were doing when they decided to make him a major character this season. After all, he was briefly seen in season six as a part of the Palmer/Daniels administration, which means that before he was working for the Republican Taylor, he was working for the Democrat Palmer (party affiliations for the show's fictional presidents have been posted on the official site, and on fan sites, before). If Kanin was really such a life-long friend of Tayler, how did he end up in the administration of the opposing party for a time? Maybe in the world of 24, there is more cross-aisle reaching than in real life. Not that it matters.
  15. Jeff

    24

    I don't like the President's beady-eyed, Reese-Witherspoon-as-June-Carter-lookin' daughter. She seems like a little snitch, and will likely prove to be a major liability to the heroes. Last night, though, the writers did accomplish something significant: they gave the unlikeable Senator a realistic and (for 24) touching change of heart/understanding moment, prior to This is the kind of thing that keeps 24 working on an emotional level. Poignant subplots in the past have included I'm glad to see that for all the action that this season has featured, the creator's haven't forgotten that character drama can still be just as powerful as gunfights and assassinations.
  16. Jeff

    Watchmen (2009)

    Your comment made me laugh, Jason. I know how it is! What good Christian boy hasn't gone to see the latest action movie or big blockbuster only to find himself hiding from the obligatory nekkid ladies? 8O I couldn't agree more. Watchmen, the novel, was not intended to be slasher fare. The worst of the gore is stuff that Snyder dreamed up on his own. The scene where we briefly see Dr. Manhattan obliterate a couple of (presumable) organized crime figures was just ridiculous. The guts and bones hanging from the ceiling, the blood all over the gangster's (presumable) whores, etc. It was way too much- and totally not a part of the novel. Yet despite its excesses, I still feel very torn about this movie. Its images have stayed with me for days, and I've been sort of depressed since watching it. It's bleak, hellish, and dark, yet there is some brilliance here as well (artistically). It's one of those films where I cannot merely say, "I liked it" or "I didn't like it". I still don't know how I feel, I guess.
  17. Jeff

    Watchmen (2009)

    Benjamin Kerstein at The New Ledger offers an interesting take in The Lost World of Watchmen:
  18. Jeff

    Watchmen (2009)

    This is the first movie I've seen in a while in which the blood and gore really churned my stomach. I guess I should've expected it, but still. Is it just me, or were Dr. Manhattan's kills less bloody in the graphic novel? Obviously there's a big difference between the two mediums, but still. Halfway through the movie, my brother leaned over to me asked in a very confused tone, "What superpowers do these heroes have?" I told him they had none- or at least, that they weren't supposed to! Zach Snyder is just too fond of people flying through the air in slow-mo, I guess.
  19. IESB and Ain't-It-Cool have unveiled a potentially unpleasant possibility. Will Fox be rebooting the Fantastic Four franchise? The last two were bad beyond belief. Can Fox even be trusted to take a third stab? And in a post-Dark Knight world, will people show up? Maybe it's because of my relatively young age (having grown up with a more cinematic, post-2002's Spiderman vision of what superheroes ought to be) but I have never had a good experience with this set of characters. My experience is limited to the previous two movies, and to the Fantastic 4's various guest appearances in other Marvel stuff that I read. They showed up out of nowhere in Jeph Loeb's Daredevil Yellow, and I also remember encountering them in the old Classic Spider-Man books. Are they any major FF stories I have missed, before I write-off any hope of a good FF movie?
  20. Jeff

    24

    :spoilers: (because I don't feel like messing with tags today). :( I have to say, last week's fatality was monumentally depressing for me. One of my favorite characters, who I had hoped would be a fixture for the rest of the show's running, is gone. I am reminded of what Secretary Heller told Jack at the end of the last season- "Everything you touch ends up dead." Not only love interests, but friends too. Still, it's never really Jack's fault that the people around him die- in fact, many times he has been more than willing to die instead (George Mason, anyone?). Alas. Anyway, for me, the season has seen a reduction in both plausibility and plot construction, but I still dig it. The FBI characters and the new presidential cabinet are still more interesting than Obama Lite and his idiotic cabinet in season six (still wondering why Wayne picked a creepy VP who hated his guts?). I learned years ago that it is not always the sum of 24's parts that make it awesome, but the gravitas of the parts themselves. The White House's capture by terrorists was far fetched. Yet watching Bauer and friends manuever through such hellishly scary, eerily topical situations is thrilling. It was the same last year and the year before that- the nuclear explosion in Valenica, the vision of a United States crippled by daily terror attacks and under siege from within a la Israel, the use of chemical weapons in a mall. It's terrifying stuff, and while the manner in which it occurs is generally unrealistic, it speaks to me a lot more than fantasy-based espionage stuff like Alias. So, when 24 stretches realism, one must swallow it down and take it philosophically. It still kicks ass, right?
  21. Jeff

    Watchmen (2009)

    Wouldn't you know? Wouldn't you know? Afterr 7 years of writing reviews that are only read by myself, an online magazine based in Boston (albeit an obscure one) was willing to publish a Watchmen review by yours truly for actual publication... ...and yet this weekend coincided with a marriage prep retreat in a distant part of the state, a job interview, and my brother's own need for the car we've been sharing. And now that the opening weekend's over, who is going to read a review even if I do write it? I was unable to get to the movie, so I'd still need to find time to see it even if I were to write something. This stinks. It's a sacrifice I had to make, but I am sad about it. I hope to fight again another day!
  22. Jeff

    Watchmen (2009)

    After reading the novel, I couldn't help but wonder if the studio's use of director Zach Snyder might be a mistake. Visually, I am sure the film will match the book, since Snyder has already proven he can do that (a la 300). Yet Watchmen is not, fundamentally, an action story. There are few action set pieces in the book. It seems more of a plot-driven piece to me, which makes wonder if having the director of 300 in charge is such a good idea after all. Still, I won't write it off. It will probably be the first 2009 movie that I drag myself to.
  23. Jeff

    24

    Cannot wait for tonight's episode. According to the IMDB cast listing, Morris is back, FWIW.
  24. From Podhoretz's review: He's right about the ending and the dialogue, though I don't think that this film can be called a "failure" either. It is too technically skillful and engaging (for the first half at least) to be dismissed outright.
  25. Jeff

    24

    Wow... This new season is vintage 24 (thus far, mind you). I love the new structure, the lack of CTU, the involvement of the FBI. I love the Senate hearings and the new president and cabinet, unencumbered by weak holdover characters from prior seasons (ala Lil' Wayne). For once, I hope that they keep some of these characters for season eight. I want to see President Taylor stay in office. I want to see the new techie girl propped up as a sort of anti-Chloe. I want to see Jack dating Renee Walker; she's a very talented and beautiful lady. (Maybe they can have Jack Jr! In the year 2035, maybe the Son of Jack will rise to power and fight off the terminator invasion or something.) The plot is tightly written, suspenseful, and devoid of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which is a nice change. To me, the tying in of the 24: Redemption plot into this season has had great effect. All the subplots tie together, but not in a contrived way. I am falling in love all over again!
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