Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney Schmizney! Marvelites should LOVE Pixar!

About 30 minutes after after I posted this tweet, Cinematical asked, will Pixar make a Marvel movie? Their answer? Yes!

Vid of Week 2009-08-31: Ford Family Follies

Apparently if you are related to Harrison Ford on screen, you have a high probability of getting kidnapped, attacked, or otherwise put into peril. And it's never Ford's fault. Dude should look in the mirror.

via /Film

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vid of Week 2009-08-24: Insanely Great Trailer


I can't believe that this never made it to the theater! Aside from the cast, this looks like it would be 1,000 times more fun than Snakes on a Plane.

UPDATE: It looks like you'll be able to see this on SyFy

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ludicrous Sequels

Who knew there was a Christmas Vacation 2? Now I do, thanks to 15 Ludicrous Sequels : Straight To DVD Movies. Since I hadn't seen the Straight2DVDMovies website before, I did a little exploring. They also have a cool article that points you to a very funny user review of a so-bad-its-good film, The Room.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Awesome AAA Assistance App

My car wouldn't start this morning, so I had my first opportunity to try the AAA Roadside Assistance iPhone application today. It's free from AAA, and does exactly what you would expect, quickly and intuitively. After a brief setup (I suggest doing this when you first download the app and not when needing help) where it collects your AAA membership number and contact information, you are a few taps away from requesting roadside assistance. The app uses your GPS location, gathers from you a bit of multiple choice information about the issue that you are having, and dispatches help. It also allows you to cancel the assistance request, like in my case where I found a neighbor at 6:30 AM willing to give me a jump start. Just as I cancelled the request, the assistance truck rolled up—barely 15 minutes from my original request. He was happy that I managed to solve the issue myself. If you are a AAA member and iPhone owner, this application is a no-brainer download. If you are not, why not?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vid of Week 2009-08-17: Apple "Share"

I may be pissed at Apple for blocking Google Voice applications, but I am still a fan of the iPhone for the time being, assuming that some resolution is negotiated eventually. Anyone else get the irony of this "share" ad given their lack of interest in sharing their platform?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

District 9 Formula

District 9 is anything but formulaic, but...

District 9 =

5 * (1/Independence day) +

2 * (1/V) +

SQRT(The Office) +

SQRT(The Fly) +

(1/Battlestar Galactica^2)

(read my review)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My District 9 Impressions

I am not a professional critic, so it was a minor miracle (via Philadelphia Free Movies) that I got to see an advance screening of District 9 last night. usually when I get invited to an advance screening, it is for something I have absolutely no interest in at best, or I am actively avoiding at worst. On the contrary, I have been pumped for this film since reading about its wonderful reception at Comicon.

In my opinion, District 9 (written and directed by Neill Blomkamp) is the best, most original science fiction film I have seen since Blade Runner. The story, the style, the characters were unlike any film I have ever seen. In the tradition of Battlestar Galactica (the next generation), Dune (the book), and other groundbreaking science fiction, District 9 has a clear social and political message. In this case, the message was directed at Apartheid and the Iraq war. Like other great science fiction, it doesn’t beat the audience over the head with that commentary by taking you away from the core story with pace-stealing exposition. Instead, it was just part of the backdrop, seamlessly interwoven with the story. And what a great story! Despite the politicizing, the story had me riveted to my seat, alternately appalled at the indignities, ineptitude, immorality, and outright criminal behavior of the characters, cheering for intense action sequences, feeling tight with tension at the action sequences, and heartbroken. It was the first film that I have seen in a long time that kept me guessing what would happen next. Wow. My favorite movie of 2009 thus far, and hopefully it will earn one of those 10 best picture Oscar nominations.

Just because it is the most original science fiction film I have seen in a long time does not mean that it doesn't borrow from other films that came before it, most obviously Independence Day. In fact, the premise of the film is like a bizarro-Independence Day. The alien invasion setup is the same, but the invasion starts in South Africa, not New York or Washington (not a spoiler--this happens in the first three minutes of the film). The protagonist, Wikus Van De Merwe, played wonderfully by Sharlto Copley is not a traditional action hero fighter pilot or inspirational leader. He is much closer to Ricky Gervais’ David Brent from The Office than Will Smith or Bill Pullman. This was probably furthered by the Office-esque documentary style storytelling technique employed by the director. Many of the visuals were clearly borrowed from Independence Day, yes. I enjoyed Independence Day, but District 9 is clearly not a product of the Hollywood summer blockbuster factory that created that film. It is much more human, much more gritty, and as such hits much harder.

Incidentally, audience members for the screening had to undergo a thorough security check by several burly gentlemen, presumably to block pirating. We had to submit to having bags searched, turn in our cell phones, and be scanned with a metal detector. During the screening, the security folks walked up and down the aisles, clearly looking for people who might be engaging in pirating activities. It was a bit surreal, and strangely paralleled some of the themes in the film.

UPDATE: I went to District 9 with my friend Noz. He wrote a pretty good, though not quite as glowing analysis of the film on his blog, with more insights on what films influenced it. Definitely worth a read.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Amazon Blu Ray Sale

Amazon is having a buy 2, get 1 free Blu Ray Sale until August 21.

What's Better Than Chocolate & Peanut Butter?

JJ Abrams and Stephen King. The next Lord of the Rings? That's a pretty high bar. I love the Gunslinger books. I read (actually mostly listened) to all of them. They are great, but not LOTR-great. I do expect JJ to create the best King adaptation since The Shining once he finishes up on Lost. Take your time man. Via Cinematical.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Preview for Dexter Season 4

Thanks to GeekTyrant for the heads up.

Flickchart - Crack for Movie Buffs

Remember the site Hot or Not? Well Flickchart is Hot or Not for movies. Thanks to Dave for the monstrous time suck.

My complete rankings are here, but here are the top 20. Not sure I agree with the exact rankings, but all are in the right ballpark.
  1. Annie Hall
  2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  3. The Godfather Part II
  4. The Godfather
  5. The Empire Strikes Back
  6. Star Wars
  7. GoodFellas
  8. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  9. There Will Be Blood
  10. The Silence of the Lambs
  11. Citizen Kane
  12. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  13. Raging Bull
  14. This Is Spinal Tap
  15. The Sixth Sense
  16. Chinatown
  17. The Lord of the rings: Return of the King
  18. Casablanca
  19. The Deer Hunter
  20. The Princess Bride

Monday, August 10, 2009

iPhone Banking

USAA just blew my mind with their update to their (free) iPhone app. This is possibly the coolest app ever. Saves my time, saves me money, and simply adds convenience. Haven't tried it yet, but if works as advertised and can accurately allow you to deposit checks via the iPhone, that will just be insane. INSANE!

via the New York Times

Three Stooges Casting News

I love Sean Penn, but I'm glad he's no stooge. Better Giamatti!

Vid of Week 2009-08-10: The Breakfast Club Trailer

RIP John Hughes

Oh, and be sure to check out Dave's great John Hughes retrospective.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

iPod > Zune HD

Whenever I hear an ad for a minivan that says it drives "just like a car" it reinforces my desire to drive a standard-setting car. In this very positive hands-on review of the new Zune HD, the reviewer writes "just like the iPhone and iPod Touch" in one case and that's all I can imagine. Keep trying Microsoft.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bad Marketing?

I don't normally write about cars, but I wonder who's idea it was to call a car "LOUD". I wonder if this is just a case of a bad translation?

The Lovely Bones

Peter Jackson's next feature has been shrouded in secrecy. No more--the trailer for his next film, The Lovely Bones looks fantastic. Sorry, it's hosted exclusively by Apple--no embedding enabled.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Funny/Informative Lost Videos from ABC

This fake "Mysteries of the Universe" Dharma Initiative is produced by ABC. So far 2 segments have been published, with three more yet to come. Some interesting teases about what we might learn in the 6th and final season....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Snow Leopard on Amazon

Snow Leopard (aka Macintosh OS X 10.6.5) is now available for preorder from for $29. Not surprisingly, it is already Amazon's top selling item in Software.

FCC Investigates Apple/AT&T

Growing hope that I may end up with Google Voice on my iPhone eventually. But that doesn't make me any less pissed at Apple/AT&T.

Vid of Week 2009-08-03: Pixar Ads

Before the mega-success of movies like Toy Story, Pixar got into producing commercials to pay the bills.

Via /Film. Check out their post to see more Pixar-produced commercials.