Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things To Come

I was hoping that Netflix would send the restored (well restored-ish) version but I received the usual murky and croaking public-domain or bootlegged (or both) version.

This review is reasonable and comprehensive.

Draw your own conclusions

The Direct Mailing Association makes a nominal effort to allow people to stop receiving their dead-tree mailings. There is an onerous validation process that my bank would blanch at trying to implement. This is only one prong:

Re: Please Read Before Midnight!

Mr. Reichert -

We are known by the company we keep. Your campaign has evidently purchased a list of e-mail addresses unvetted for suitability for your purpose. "consumeroffer@appleogue.net" is a honeypot address used to identify spammers.

Congratulations, you have joined the ranks of cheap pill peddlers and Nigerian Ministers of Finance.

As to the content of your whining plea ("The other party is picking on me!" You have got to be kidding, cry me a river, grow up, etc.), it has confirmed my suspicions about your campaign and by extension, your unsuitability for office. Please consider doing the body politic a favor and withdraw from the race.

I have done your campaign the courtesy of using the 'unsubscribe' link. Please reciprocate by confirming that the unsubscribing function actually does what it's supposed to do. It will have to be done with greater attention to detail than your campaign has demonstrated in sending the spam in the first place, and I might add, with greater wisdom than your party has demonstrated, well, since Eisenhower.

I Like Ike but Reichert's No Ike,
Kyle Beatty

On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 5:21 PM, Dave Reichert <info@davereichertforcongress.com> wrote:
Dear Supporters

At midnight tonight, the year's third campaign fundraising quarter will come to a close, and I need your support to demonstrate the high level of support I have here at home.
By making your financial contribution to the campaign before the midnight deadline, you can help to ensure that we are headed into the last leg of this election prepared with enough funds to run an effective campaign all the way through Election Day.

With the complicated issues facing our country, we cannot allow Darcy Burner's partisan interests to represent us in Washington, it is imperative that Washington's 8th district maintain its independence from the hyper-partisan agenda. We need straightforward commonsense solutions – not ideological pandering.


Because I have stood against their agenda and will continue to do so, I have been targeted by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They - and other well financed leftist groups - will be pouring money into personal attacks and I need your support to fight back.


I am grateful to you for the generous support I have received in the last few months. Recent polls indicate this race is a dead heat, and your donation could push us over the edge. With Election Day just around the corner we must maintain our momentum. As always, I appreciate your support.

Sincerely,
Congressman Dave Reichert



Monday, September 29, 2008

September sketches

From New Album 9/29/08 6:07 PM

Big Bailout

Lots of noise around this situation, but it's simple. Reap. Sow. Deal. Both parties are to blame as far that goes, but we're in it together, aren't we? Well, everybody except the rich-beyond-dreams-of-Croesus crowd. Those folk we baste until the juce runs clear.
And before the ditto-heads start in on the socialism and abandoning the American Dream cant, here's a bone to gnaw on, if you can get your thumbs out of the way. The American Dream and socialism are not mutually exclusive. (Maybe I should have mentioned that you might need a dose of thrombolytic agents handy.) Having a government that can provide for the old and feeble is not giving up on anything. If you think so, you are ineligible to membership in the society of man except as an object of loathing and pity. Your allotment of acorns, dry grass and Plavix will be left in front of your unlightable caves.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bagdad Cafe

Plotless mummery almost scuttled by clamorous performance by CCH Pounder. Much too much yelling. Otherwise charming.

Beyond the Sea

Complicated approach to biopic gets seriously muddled in second act. Too clever by half, the music and knowing performances mostly redeem the picture. Kevin Spacey sings well.

One Arabian Night

Amusing story about love sept- or octangle between sheiks, dancers, merchants and German hunchback. Putti and Mutti are a riot.

More charcoal sketches

From more charcoal sketches

Some of the lines are OK, but pretty dreadful in sum.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Life of Emile Zola

Paul Muni's understated charisma retrieves this preachy document from the brink of pure pedantry. Much ham-handedness in William Dieterle's direction but never to any great harm. I will never forget the odd langoustine scene.

Bottle Rocket

Harmless fluff about feckless cretins.

Sergeant York

I'd like to say that the story goes like this: grinding poverty drives young man to become killing machine in service to the system that perpetuates his poverty. That would not describe this movie. What happens is that war almost derails a penitent man's redemption by exploiting his killing-machinitude. Great performances all around even in the utterly thankless role of the boot-camp commander who has to mouth the clumsiest speeches about duty this side of the pledge of allegiance.

Le Cercle Rouge

Classed as a caper movie, it's only incidentally about a jewel heist. It could have been about a bunch of guys performing a root canal and still been equally fascinating. And I mean that in a good way. The movie is about how the characters respond to events and each other's actions. They belong to a very ritualistic and honor-bound under-society (of putative gangsters but again could have been any kind of association: masons, astronauts, coffee-klatsch) and that is the real subject. Melville once again contrives some faux Oreintal philosophical window dressing of his own composition. It's the oddest thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Medium, Same Old ...


Well, anyway. Big pieces of newsprint with plain charcoal. Feels nice, anyway.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Low Rent Minions


Low-cost solution to harassing villagers, oppressing populations, guarding prisoners - all the usual minion duties. Will show no initiative or dangerous imagination. May not retain directions for extended periods.

Little LEGO Technic Fella


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Master of Ballantrae

Things get off to a pretty rocky start with a sequence of narrated history lessons, but by the time we get to the pirates, matters are suitably adventurous. Errol Flynn is called on to do some glowering and the occasional ponder, but he seems to be taxing his skills. The result is really more of a depressed pout. Buckles are swashed to at least the minimum required.

Mogambo

Clark Gable comes off a lot better in this rubbish than Grace Kelly or Ava Gardner. Neither of the women reach the level of acting of small-town dinner theater. Best part was a character actually saying, "Go on without me. I'm all in." The safari photography is real good, but it's in the service of a lost cause from the first: emotionally incongruous and impossible, the relationships are incomprehensible where they are not strictly cliche.

Monday, September 15, 2008

US officials: Al-Qaida unpopular and 'imploding'

That's not how it works, though, is it? Popularity is a metric more useful for laundry detergents, cheerleader squads and revolution. Terrorists, the real kind as opposed to the bogeymen propped up by the current administration, really don't care what anybody thinks except the targets. And by definition, the targeter is not going to be popular with the target. Remember, that by target, I mean those in power who cannot be attacked directly. The people who are blown up have very little to do with it at all.

Does Dell Dailey (Is this a pseudonym? Did someone actually name their kid Dell?) really imagine an exchange like this:
Terrorist With Doubts About Violent Methods: Jeez, Grainger, did we really have to blow up the entire market? I was going to get some pistachios.
Terrorist Without Doubts About Violent Methods: Farley, it was agreed at the Wednesday meeting that we were going to blow up the whole market. You could have got them yesterday.
TwDAVM: People are going to think we don't care about collateral damage.
Tw/oDAVM: It's a big crater, all right. Maybe you have a point. Could it be that we have been given bad advice about how to effect change?
Because that's absurd. If there was any discussion, it was more along these lines:
TwDAVM: Mother of God, that's a big crater! I bet that car flew 30 metres.
Tw/oDAVM: That'll make them think twice about imposing their blasphemous hedonism on us.
TwDAVM: Got any smokes?
Tw/oDAVM: Darn it, I was going to get some yesterday.
TwDAVM: Same time next week, then?
Tw/oDAVM: God willing!

New Defense Against the Dark Arts Instructor Announced

John "Ray" Bigboote Odierno replaces John "David" Smallberries Petraeus.

Isn't This From a William Gibson Story?

"... four European servers closing due to Russian player migration." Full disclosure: I have precisely zero interest in WoW.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Petrified Forest

Although usually considered deficits, the deliberate staginess and talkiness serve the material well. The conflicts are simultaneously melodramatic and subtle and both would have lost their appeal with an active camera or lots of action. To be clear, the biggest action is Lesley Howard climbing a ladder. Bogart appears mid-show and steals it away from the principals immediately and permanently. Good stuff.

le Samoraï

I am not a huge Alain Delon fan but this is the perfect role for him. The movie is even more formalistic than the title would lead you to believe. Direction is arty but in a good way, art direction is lucid and performances are very good. The editing is flawless. So I guess I liked it. Several police-procedural sequences are both surreal and fascinating. The literal-minded among us will find much to be aggravated by, but that is one of the charms.

Didn't See That Coming

Contrary to all computer modeling, oracles and common sense expectations, I received a not-nonsense e-mail with these words in one sentence:
Anasthesia
Laparoscopy
Hermaphrodite
Alpaca

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Long Kiss Goodnight

How did this get in my Netflix queue? Dumb, over-earnest, humorless, dumb, clumsy and dumb. The parade of cliches goes by so fast and thick it's impossible to keep track. I am sure that Renny Harlin is a nice guy but his movies are consistently dreck. Samuel L. Jackson is the sole redeeming characteristic and that's played out before the end of the second act.

(Seinfeld + Gates) == new(Crosby + Hope)?

MacRumors has another of the wacky Microsoft(?) ads(?)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Marketing Juggernaut Breaks an Axle

You can watch the Gates and Seinfeld ad for Vista on MacDailyNews. It's ... um. Yeah.

The GOP Can't Seem to Figure Out This "Law" Thingie

As in "rule of". In a trivial instance, Heart is annoyed by the GOP's use of Barracuda.

Free Is Good

Training new employees can be an annoyance for customers. Some people react especially badly and make up stories about missing their planes (see below). Sometimes it results in a free drink. This nicely demonstrates the balance that the universe keeps itself in. The wise student will try to perceive the flow of this balance and not impede it. Gratitude and courtesy are part of this flow.

Indy minifig for scale.

Doodles

Oldboy

Although more psychologically valid than the usual revenge thriller, it does not transcend the genre. It's hard to stop watching Min-sik Choi because he is constantly twitching or grimacing in the most fascinating ways. However, the unraveling of the plot, as fantastical as it is, does not deliver on the premise from the first act. Recommended for the visuals and fine acting, but it is mighty gritty.

Helicopter Over My House

From 20080909_helicopter

Probably photo-mapping.

Tagged Paper Box

 
Almost all the tagging in Lake City is of the most tedious type (Hi, Mace, you talentless mook!) but this little doodle is amusing.
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Cranium Covered in Titanium

 

Cranium the closed coffee shop in titanium paint, that is.
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Contact

Clumsy adaption of ham handed novel with one interesting idea. John Hurt was a welcome relief but all too brief. Prolix first act made me want to scream because of its maudlin, hackneyed and wholly unneeded background. She loved her father - We Get It! The bad guy was just a caricature which is fine except that someone sprinkled the characterization with Illusory Meaning Dust so that we are led to believe that there is some kind of interesting depth ... but no, there is no depth, there is only irony-free moustache-twirling in Beltway mode. And I want to like this movie. Jodie, help me like this movie. And while you're at it, I could use some help with Nell, Control Room, Safe Room, Room With No View, whatever it was called, and that missing-child one.

Cross of Iron

There can be no doubt who the director is with slow motion explosions and hurtling bodies and screaming. From the sympatico political parts to the admirable acting, there is a lot to like about this movie, but I was thoroughly put off by the low rent titles montage that was so overwrought, post-post ironic and pedantic that I thought i might not make it through them. So the answer to the question "what would happen if a director with a notably bleak world-view tried his hand at a tale of overt bleakness" is answered. A related scenario was explored more romantically in The Blue Max.

People Are Funny

While having coffee at the Starbucks at NE 120th Ave St. and Lake City Way, I overheard a woman state that she was going to miss a plane because her tea order was wrong. Assuming she is going to SeaTac, I think she is a bit confused about how time and space work. She was wearing pink flip flops. Her young companions --children?-- were dressed as hipsters of some denomination that involved velvet frock coats (it was about 75℉) and eschewing shampoo.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Moon and Sixpence

George Sanders owns the cynical, smooth cad persona in perpetuity. His character is called a cad several times and you can almost see the words enter his zone of disregard and be rendered into its component mesons and bosons and relegated to the perfect cold of the end of the universe. He is that caddish. Bookending title cards try to disown the theme of the movie but only serve to highlight it instead.

Billion Dollar Brain

The movie is not quite as silly as the title, but there are other problems. The plot is as rococo and formulaic as any Bond movie but Harry Palmer isn't supposed to be James Bond, he's supposed to be genuinely cool. So cool he grinds his own coffee. In the sixties! Ken Russel is up to his usual attractive and indulgent shenanigans but the script is a mess. No one ever presents a reason for any action beyond being espionagey. Spectacular location photography. Ed Begley turns in another fine over the top performance as an insane Texas oil billionaire who has not only GOD on his side, but a down-market version of HAL, as well. When the styrofoam box hits the boss's desk, turn the DVD off, you'll be happier than if you don't.

Doodles


Slow Loris

I went to the zoo today and a slow loris found me interesting:

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Toa Maiden Rides Off Into Sunset Some More

Fun with Photoshop and Inkscape. Preceding pages deal with the Toa Maiden's distress about the fate of Mata Nui (lay folk can stop reading now) and a vision of the Glatorians. Writing the script for these is the hardest part. Even so, the results don't quite rise to barely acceptable.

From Misc. Bionicle

Thursday, September 04, 2008

7-11 Visit

In the brief interim between Kung Fu Panda and Iron Man, I went across the street to the 7-11. I go in to a 7-11 maybe once every seventeen years, like a cicada. I really didn't need anything, but I thought I would check out the state of the convenience store universe. It hasn't changed much. I couldn't leave without buying anything, so I picked up a Snickers Charged, which is a caffeinated vitamin candy bar. Which is redonkulous.

In the time that it took me to eat it, a couple in a dilapidated Dodge Charger had a heated discussion about regular or menthol. They could not have spoken a dozen words and fully half were either curses or recriminations. It was like a one-act by Tom Stoppard.

Kung Fu Panda

A fine entertainment. I liked the look a lot, especially the prologue, which is 2-d. The voice acting was all fine with special mention to James Hong who was especially natural. Dustin Hoffman might have been the weakest link, but that's a quibble. There was lots of good acting from the animators even though they were tasked to provide some broad gestures. Lots and lots of nice little touches.

Iron Man

Iron Man is free of irony. The plot is either completely vapid or delightfully uncomplicated. The first act is entertaining, the second act is creaky and the third act has no surprises at all. It is impossible espoilerer the movie.
Jeff Bridges certainly looks like a bad guy right down to his 80's power suit* but is on auto-pilot, which is mildly funny in context. The vein on his right temple is thesping way harder than he is.
It would have been better if someone had resisted the urge to license the Black Sabbath song.
On the plus side: Downey is funny and convincing, and it all looks great. The most Marvel-esque Marvel adaption so far.

* right down to the contrasting collar and yellow tie. Also a big cigar. I know it's a comic book, but jeez louise.

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