Monday Feb 11, 2008

Thumbs up for Persepolis

tiny image of Persepolis movie poster

Yesterday, I saw Persepolis. I thought it was great. The artwork was beautiful, the characters Marjane and her grandmother were wonderful and the story really took hold. I dragged the older boys (10 and 11) along and that was probably mistake, not because of the occasional bad language and a couple violent images -- but simply because of the subtitles. The whole thing is in French and they had a hard time following along, especially at the start. I wonder why the Galaxy didn't show the English-dubbed version, because there is one with the voices of Iggy Pop and Sean Penn. Guess that's a good excuse for watching it again when it comes out on DVD.

Tuesday Jan 29, 2008

Filmbabble's 2007 films

picture of Varsity Theater in Chapel Hill

Dan says 2007 was an exceptional year for films and he's posted his top ten films of 2007 list, with links to his original reviews for each film. Based on the four I've seen (Simpsons, No Country, I'm Not There and Ratatouille), I'd have to say it's a good list. I'm looking forward to tonight when Dan and I are going to see Blade Runner, The Final Cut at the Carolina Theater.

Monday Aug 06, 2007

Film Babble scores mention in NY Mag

My brother Dan is a great writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of films, rock and pop music in general, and he's blogging, so it's only natural that folks start to notice. This weekend he got another boost, this time it's a mention in New York Magazine: The week in Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman.

Wednesday Jul 11, 2007

10 definitive films within films

My bro Dan, who clearly understands the secret to blog success, has done it again with another lengthy and well-researched blog post. Thanks to his most recent post 10 definitive films within films, he was featured on the IMDB hit-list again this week.

Thursday Jun 14, 2007

Film Babble Blog on the IMDb Hit List

My brother Dan's blog, Film Babble is listed on the front page of IMDb today. Well, OK, you have to scroll-down a little but it's there. Dan's recent post on 20 Great Modern Movie Cameos caught the attention of some folks at IMDB and elsewhere. Congrats Dan. 

Monday May 07, 2007

Film Babble Blog 80th post

Celebrating with Movie and TV mind teasers

1. What was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?
2. What was in the package left in the care of Barton Fink?
3. What state in Springfield in on The Simpsons?

...and more from bro man Dan.

Monday Feb 12, 2007

Heart of Gold

And before I leave the topic of movies I'll mention this; recently I've been enjoying Neil Young's Heart of Gold, an absolutely wonderful concert film of and documentary about the debut of Neil's Prairie Wind album last year. See also, my brother Dan's brief review of the film over at Helium.com.

Friday Feb 09, 2007

Jesus Camp

It's been in my Netflix queue for a long time and it finally arrived this week. Jesus Camp (see also Wikipedia, IMDB) is a documentary about an evangelical Christian bible camp that indoctrinates children with far right-wing and anti-science teachings. It's an excellent documentary and well worth seeing if you want to understand what's going on in the deep red areas of the USA. It's truly scary stuff, but church folk aren't all like that -- check out Evolution Sunday coming this weekend to a pulpit near you.

Thursday Nov 23, 2006

Film Babble

Here's a little something else I'm thankful for. My brother Dan has been low-frequency blogging for a while and he's getting better and better. His blog is called Film Babble and it's definitely babble (and I mean that in the absolutely best way possible), but his writing style is interesting and he got a pretty deep knowledge base to draw on when it comes to movies and music. His latest post is about director Robert Altman, who just passed away.

Saturday Dec 03, 2005

Walk the Line and a night out

For the first time since three-year-old Leo was born, Andi and I dumped *all* of the kids off with my parents (thanks Mom and Dad) in Chapel Hill and headed out to movie, dinner and a show. We saw Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash bio-pic. Ebert gave it the thumbs up, Rolling Stone says its Oscar material and we both loved it.

After the movie we were hoping to try Panang again, but we didn't have time for dinner. We had to meet Andi's brother and head back to Raleigh to see Carbon Leaf at the Lincoln Theater. Carbon Leaf put on an enjoyable show, but the music didn't really grab me, at least not enough to inspire any CD purchases. If I had to triangulate (using my out-of-date reference materal), I'd say they were Connells-style white-boy jam-pop, with celtic influences (penny whistle included) and Phish-like sing-along lyrics.

All and all, a very nice and kid-free night out.

Thursday Jul 14, 2005

Mostly off-line today

Andi and I went out to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary last night (thank you very much) and as we left, a Time Warner truck parked right next to our cable box. When we returned from our dinner/movie date (both were excellent: Margaux and Batman Begins), I found that my cable modem was dead. After an hour on-hold with the Time Warner folks, they finally offered to come out in a couple of days and fix things. Isn't that nice. Until then, my availability on AIM will be spotty. I'll probably park myself at Sun's Cary office once I figure out how to get acccess there, but for now I'm at Helios coffee.

Monday Jul 11, 2005

Back to work

I'm back to work after a week of JavaOne and week of summer-shutdown imposed vacation. What did I do on my vacation? After returning from JavaOne, I joined the rest of the family at the grandparent's new beach/golf house close to Topsail Island, NC. I tried my best to avoid work. I did pretty well and that's not as easy as it sounds; I first starting working on Roller during a summer vacation at Ocracoke Island.

I forced myself to take a break. I did the beach thing: dragged beach chairs and umbrellas around, covered my body in sunblock, built sand-drip castles, etc. I showed the boys the original three Star Wars films. I saw The War of the Worlds, which was surprisingly good in a summer fun movie kind of way. I read Freakonomics, also good. That was great; I needed a break. Now I'm back, the older boys are in all-day camp at the YMCA, I'm ready to get back into Roller 2.0 group blogging work.

Monday Jun 20, 2005

Star Wars weekend

I convinced Andi that Alex(8) and Linus(7) are old enough for the Star Wars films. So, this past weekend we watched episides I, II and III. We started with Episode 1.1: The Phantom Edit, a fan-edited version of the film that includes much less Jar Jar than before. They boys thought they could have cut more; I kid you not. I thought the Phantom Edit was a little too fuzzy to enjoy. I guess that's because it was created from a VHS copy of the film.

I think the boys enjoyed Episode II: Attack of the Clones more than Episode I, but there was a little too much kissing. It's funny to see the kids cringe when Anakin and Padme get all mushy.

It was Andi's birthday on Sunday, so she took Alex and Linus to Episode III and I stayed home with the little Leo. They enjoyed it the most of the three, but Linus was a little disturbed when he saw what happened to Anakin. I don't think he was really traumatized, at least not as bad as he was on The Mummy (whatever you do, do NOT mention The Mummy to Linus).

I wonder what they're going to think of the original films. Will they see IV and V as the awesome classics that I know them to be, or dated and dull after the orgy of special effects they've just gone through in the prequels.

Tuesday Mar 15, 2005

Opti-Grab

A device for keeping your eyeglasses from sliding down your nose. Hmm... where have I seen that before?

Tuesday Jul 06, 2004

Spoilers and "No Buzz, I am your father"

I've been reading the Harry Potter books to my older boys since Christmas time and, now, we're speeding through the Prisoner of Azkaban, hoping to finish in time to catch the movie at the IMAX theater. The other day, the boys were drooling over the Harry Potter goodies in the Lego catalog and reading the blurbs next to each of the Potter Lego sets. Each set is based on some event in the book and the blurbs reveal all sorts of spoilers, plot-points like... uh... well, I guess I shouldn't say. Alas, my boys have been spoilered.

One of the things that makes kids movies fun is the two-level appeal. The movie makers try to throw in some adult humor that passes right over the kids heads or they make some pop-culture reference that, generally speaking, only adults will catch. The problem here is that kids can become "pre-referenced." That is, they get exposed to a pop culture reference before they experience the actual pop culture being referered to. For example, in Toy Story 2, Buzz Lightyear learns that the evil Zurg is his father, which, of course, is a reference to Star Wars. Now, when my boys see Empire Strikes Back, they are going to think "what a lame rip off of Toy Story 2."

Yep, that's what Dads worry about. Thanks for reading. I think that fulfils my quota for random nonsense this week.

Thursday Jan 29, 2004

Evil trash.

I just returned from Chapel Hill where I worked for about three hours to rid my brother's computer of all of the various adware, spyware, evil crap, worthless trash, and malicious idiocy that had accumulated over the first six months of his Windows-based computer's life. Three hours! If not for the Heavy Metal Parking Lot and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog videos we enjoyed, I would be ready to rant and rage right now. Evil trash indeed.

Thursday Oct 30, 2003

Kill Bill abbreviated review.

Very strange, very bloody in a Monthy Python Black Knight sort of way, and I enjoyed it. However, I did not like it nearly as much as QT's other flicks: RD, PF, or JB.

Sunday Sep 08, 2002

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Yesterday, I drove over to Chapel Hill to visit my brother and to see the movie I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.  The movie is a rockumentary about the making of Wilco's recent and critically acclaimed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (YHF) album. My nutshell review is simple: if you like Wilco you'll love it, if you don't then you might want to skip it. I loved it.

Whether or not you like Wilco, the YHF story is pretty interesting.  Wilco's record label, Warner Brothers Reprise, gave the band the freedom to make the album on their own, working in their loft, and without a producer.  Once Wilco was done with the album, the record company decided that the album was not marketable or radio friendly or whatever.  The company dropped Wilco and let the band walk away with rights to the album.  Eventually, Nonesuch Records took interest and signed Wilco. Like Warner Brothers Reprise, Nonesuch is owned by AOL Time Warner. So in the end AOL Time Warner paid for the same record twice.  

The story of record company stupidity was covered in the movie, but the movie seemed to gloss over the file sharing story.  YHF was available in MP3 format on the Wilco website for over six months before the album went on sale, but despite this and much to the surpise of the music industry middlemen the album debuted at #13 on the Billboard album charts.