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July 31, 2004

Godfather's Daughter Mafia Blues

Good review, luke-warm review.

This is paired with Avenging Quartet. More on my own impressions later...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:00 AM

July 24, 2004

Avenging Quartet

I just started watching Avenging Quartet, one of the two movies on a single DVD I found at Suncoast recently. I already knew it was a weak movie, and I'm only interested in the cheesy value of seeing Moon Lee, Cynthia Khan, Yukari Oshima and Michiko Nishiwaki all in one film.

It's painful to watch for more than the cheesy plot. This 'DVD' is obviously a bad video transfer from a third or fourth generation videotape copy of an original. The colors are washed out, the sound is muddy (all English dubbed by the way) and whole frames will drop out without warning. If this wasn't out of print, I'd certainly hunt down a better copy.

More to report, perhaps, when I've finished it...

Update...

Okay, this is another movie with Moon Lee as the star. She's mostly sharing the bill with Cynthia Khan. Michiko and Yukari are peripheral villains, and Yukari once again gets limited screen time. She gets to do about two decent martial arts scenes. So while I'm glad I saw the movie, I wouldn't inflict it on any of my friends.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:08 PM

July 23, 2004

Ong-Bak

First I want to thank Tom, who bought Ong-Bak for me while he was at Anime Expo this year (I asked him to, but he made it a giftie). I'd been reading about this movie, and seeing interviews with the various participants, for over a year, and was planning to buy it soon, so thanks Tom.

Phanom Yeerum took the name Tony Ja and a star was born. He's been training for years, inspired by the likes of Jacky Chan, but with a distinctly Thai flavor, specializing in Muay Thai, his home-grown martial art. The director, Pracha Pinkaew, obviously likes the Jackie Chan comparison, as the movie is filled with stunts replayed lovingly from multiple camera angles, a signature that Jackie Chan uses a bit more sparingly.

This has the feel of an early Chan-helmed movie. The production is inexpensive, the stunts small, and the story simple. Overall, I'm glad I had no idea what to expect, since if I'd been expecting a faithful later-Chan extravaganza I might have been disappointed. But taken on it's own terms, Ong-Bak is definitely worth watching.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:06 PM | Comments (4)

Bad Santa

Jean rented Bad Santa Wednesday. I remember when it came out that I gave it a deliberate miss, as I figured it was another one of those sappy spiritual transformation stories. You know the sort. Loser with no self-respect is brought out of his nosedive by the innocent trust of a cherubic child.

Well, that's the generic plot outline, except that the loser hardly ever gets the chance to climb out of the gutter, more or less stumbling into redemption. While recognizing some good fortune has come his way, I wouldn't say he ever decided to straighten out his act. This one is unrepentantly low-rent.

In other words, fun to watch, if you don't get turned off by swearing, of which there's copious amounts.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:49 PM

July 20, 2004

Alan Young

For Tom, who was talking about Duck Tales at the last NOVA:

Alan Young was the voice of Wilbur Post in Mr. Ed, as well as the voice of Scrooge McDuck.

If a talking horse isn't 'goofy' enough for you, how about a talking mule?

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:23 AM

July 15, 2004

Queen Triton

Bow down, my subject!

Later...

Okay, I just couldn't pass up the snarky caption for the banner photo, but now I'll share. This was taken at the Tennessee Aquarium, one of the outings at the Moyer family reunion. Chatanooga is actually a nice town, and their aquarium is very nice. The emphasis is on fresh water fauna, as they are blessed with lots of rivers around there. It is a much larger aquarium than the aquarium in Newport, though I really liked that one as well.

I'll try to cobble together a gallery sometime soon. It'll take awhile, as my demo version of Photoshop CS ran out (Fry's is out of stock of the upgrade package right now), and Nikon's software is so much slower loading those NEFs. Be aware that I fumbled the ISO on a couple of occasions, so the pictures are noiser than I'd like...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:22 PM

Beauty Investigators

I've always been a fan of Yukari Oshima. I've seen a number of her movies, though I'm not enough of a fanatic to have tracked down everything she ever did. In fact, I've had a movie in my stack for a year, Beauty Investigators, which I only watched the night before flying to Chatanooga. It's a corny story, with much bad acting. But I think it is a good showcase of Yukari Oshima's martial arts prowess, perhaps better than Kickboxer's Tears. I only wish she'd been given meatier roles...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:20 PM

July 14, 2004

Chasm City

One thing long plane rides are good for is chewing through a big fat book. That's how I finished Chasm City during the recent Chatanooga trip. I enjoyed it, and plan to read Redemption Ark sometime in the next few months. About the only thing negative I can say is that the plot was a bit more predictable than Revelation Space. I anticipated several plot points throughout my reading, and that was a bit annoying. Still, plenty of fun.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:27 PM

Hot, Hot, Hot

We're back from Chatanooga, Tennessee. Jean and Kelly flew out on Thursday, I joined them on Saturday, and we all sweated together until we returned yesterday, arriving late in the evening. I'm sure I'll complain about the summer heat here in Oregon, but it'll have to work hard to beat Sunday in Tennesee/Georgia, where the Moyer clan went out to Lake Winnepesauka, an amusement park, and we later learned it was 101 degrees (and very high humidity).

I'm done travelling outside the state for awhile now, thanks. Certainly no plane flights for around a year, when I hope to make the next Anime Expo. Good to be home.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:50 AM

July 04, 2004

Bubba Ho-tep

Tom lent me Bubba Ho-tep to watch between meetings, and I finally did. Really cute movie, very small-scale. It's sure to be a midnight cinema classic. I was pleased to discover it was based on a story by Joe R. Lansdale, who's known for quirky horror stories, among other things.

I liked the legal wordage in the ending credit roll:

"This is a protected work and violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and maybe the wrath of Bubba Ho-tep."

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:43 PM

They Might Be Giants

I'm sure Tom will be pleased to hear this. They Might Be Giants are now selling their own MP3's, both in 99 cent per song batches and in $9.99 album lots. Once their selection rises, I'll probably be shopping there myself.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:50 AM

July 03, 2004

NOVA Absence

At least I won't have to miss more than two NOVA meetings in a row. I've checked the calendar and I'll be back in time for the July 17th meeting! See you guys then!

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:40 PM

Missing Expo

My personal favorite way to spend July 4th weekends is at Anime Expo. But I only go every other year, since it would be too much doing that and the Moyer family reunion. So I'm not at AX this year. But I can live vicariously this year, due to Tom posting live from the con. Thanks Tom! I'll be checking every day, so force yourself to write, or draft Alan, James, John and Dan (and Adam and whoever else falls into your snare).

By the way, only your first gallery seems to be working. The others are all 'page not found'.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:35 PM

July 02, 2004

Front Mission 4

Seems like ages ago, I signed up for a free sample of a new video game coming out, Front Mission 4. Well, the game is out now, so of course my demo version arrived this week. I've been playing with it a bit, and it seems like fun. There's no save in the demo, and none of the missions are complete, but it's clearly a Square strategy game. I might even buy it when it's price drops.

I originally wanted to get the demo to share with James, Alan's roommate, but by now he's bought it, being such a mecha fan. Strike that, he probably bought the Japanese import with kanji menus a year ago.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:12 PM

More Office

I bought the second season of The Office at Fry's on my way home today, so Jean and I could watch it over the holiday. This is the final season, so I'm a bit sad it'll be over after this weekend. There's a Christmas Special, apparently, but it's not available on DVD (yet), so we're stuck waiting.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:02 PM

Does Whatever a Spider Can

My office was slow, and my development environment was kinda messed up, so I gave myself a holiday treat and took a long lunch to go see Spiderman 2 today. Was it worth it? Sure, I thought so.

The first movie was a lot of fun, true to the spirit of the original story, with casting that seemed to ring true. It may have suffered a bit due to needing to introduce the characters, introduce (or remind us of) the superhero conventions (secret identities are important to protect loved ones, for instance), and get the origin out of the way. But it was still a great romp.

This movie finds Peter Parker developing a reputation for unreliability, since he can't very well tell his friends, family and teachers that he sometimes needs to step out and save the world. I'm not sure, but I think the pace was a little faster, even a little smoother than the first one. But it had many Raimi moments, something that tickled me.

It's been several hours since I saw the movie, and I'm pretty sure I'd sit through this one again. I was sitting in the living room telling Jean about one particular attribute I enjoyed, and I could feel the geek excitement in my voice as I described it. So, yeah, anyone at NOVA wanna go see it, I'm there.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:57 PM