movies


5
Oct 22

Review: ‘Old on the inside’

We had a physical therapy appointment for The Yankee this morning. I drove her over, since, just four-days post-op and in a sling for the next several weeks, she doesn’t have her driving privileges.

We walked into the therapy center and it was like when Norm entered the bar at Cheers. They all called her name. Everyone came over to say hello. Everyone wanted to know what this latest thing was.

She gets good service at the ortho clinic. If they open a new wing it might be named after her.

I got in some quality work time today. Everything there feels back to normal. Monday was a lot of telling people what had happened and how we were progressing. Yesterday was spent buried in a computer and compiling my sophisticated note system — presently it is two calendars, a few notepads and index cards. Today, was just kind of a day. Looking for this, preparing for that, tracking down some person or another.

I also started preparing for four video productions I have to produce and direct next week. Whoever booked four shoots in three days should receive a stern talking to.

(That was me, of course. To be fair to myself, my concentration was divided last week.)

On my second, yes, second trip to the grocery store of the day I saw this.

I assume that dog had gotten the last of the hair care products I was looking for.

Meaning there’s another trip to the grocery store in the very near future. Fortunately I pass the store twice every day. And, today I learned the only thing more frustrating than a long series of cars in a perfect rhythm of ongoing traffic that prevents the left turn for several minutes is that the grocery store has somehow managed to rope off the primary entrance and exit to the shopping center for subtle parking lot maintenance purposes.

There was a guy there tending to the rope and traffic barrels as I was leaving. They were down, but they should be up. He said words to my windshield, but who knows what that was about. He spoke with authority when I rolled down the window.

I could not, he said, go straight ahead because this was closed.

Could I turn this way? Maybe.

Could I turn that way? Perhaps, but I don’t really know.

Seems like the guy tending the traffic modification system should have a firm grasp on the modified flow of traffic. But that might be a big expectation for 6 p.m. on a Wednesday. He was game to help, though, and so I drove one of the two ways he wasn’t sure about.

This took me through the movie theater’s parking lot. I used to love movie theaters, and then somewhere in the oughts the crowds became more of a burden. After that everyone’s TVs got better and, well, you know the rest.

But the movie posters! Everyone likes movie posters! And this theater has that row of poster frames on the exterior wall, just in case you aren’t sure what is showing, or what you are planning to see.

Half of the frames were empty. It had the tired look of a retired gas station, but the few posters that were on display were for current films, both successes and box office flops. The last movie I saw in a theater before the pandemic was inside this joint, it was a 40th anniversary screening of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which I had never seen on a big screen. (Too young the first time.) How’s this place faring? These are the last six months of reviews on Google.

Not really impressed by walk in theaters anymore. You really take a beating at the snacks and drinks bar.

A very quiet place to watch a movie and very affordable prices.

Old on the inside.

I really enjoy going to this theater.

You can tell that it’s an old and worn out theatre. But it’s generally clean and just a stone’s throw from College Mall. Not much to complain about.

Nice clean place to come watch a movie for an affordable price.

Scary theater, not from the movie either LOL. Dirty seats and crammed. Old and run down. 0/10 don’t recommend. ALSO for all of you youngsters out there, if you’re going to see and R-rated movie both participants have to have their ID. Not just one like other AMCs around the area.

It is difficult to say how old this theater is, but the web tells me it goes back at least to the mid 1990s. The interior suggests that if it is any older it hasn’t been redone since the early-90s.

It doesn’t really matter if it is true, but the place has a reputation for bed bugs. Whether that’s there or not, that’s always going to influence your decision about which theater you’ll visit.

And my choice is to watch stuff at the house. I, too, am old on the inside.


23
Jun 22

The wizard as a crazy, younger, man

Just some quick Twitter stuff to fill your time today. We wrapped up the new Obi-Wan series tonight. The quick review: worth watching. I say that as a person who wants Disney to explore any other part of this universe beyond the Skywalker saga. But it is good and this is might be the one legacy deserving an exception. Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness always needed a fifth act and here we are.

One nice thing about this being on the app is that the whole catalog is right there. Watching the big dramatic confrontation in the last episode of the miniseries brought me here.

It was the walking Jabba version. And I think that, now, Greedo and Han fired simultaneously. I don’t care about that, not really, but purists do. I only have one strictly held Star Wars belief: the whole series is really only good when Han is on camera. (Much as it pains me to say.)

This could mean he’s forgotten, or he’s sand crazy or he’s lying. The latter doesn’t make a lot of sense based on the rest of Guinness’ arc. He doesn’t seem like he’s less lucid after all of those years in the desert. Similarly, forgetfulness doesn’t make a lot of sense. So I’ll blame the modern writing, here, for not being able to overcome the old Lucas writing.

You could make the same argument as I tried above about the way we’ve seen and thought about Guinness’ Kenobi. But we should also give Lucas’ writing a nod. It’s important to remember how cinematic storytelling can change over 40 years. We didn’t see the whole Kenobi-19-year-old-Skywalker dynamic. Maybe some off-camera things shaped Kenobi’s choices. Maybe I’m giving too much credit to Lucas, but as we know he’s doing a lot of homages here, so why couldn’t that be one?

Hayden caught a lot of grief for his Anakin Skywalker, but if you’re going to create the galaxy’s scariest monster there has to be some rage in there somewhere …

I suppose it is owing to the 1970s vision of the science fiction future in a time long, long ago. But doesn’t it seem odd that Kenobi spent all that time wandering about the Death Star without anyone seeing him? I hate myself for looking this up, but Wikipedia says that

According to Star Wars reference books, the population of the Death Star was 1.7 million military personnel, 400,000 maintenance droids, and 250,000 civilians/ associated contractors and catering staff. The Death Star was defended by thousands of turbolasers, ion cannons and laser cannons, plus a complement of seven to nine thousand TIE fighters, along with tens of thousands of support craft.

… and there’s not a bank of security cameras looking for old guys strolling around in robes?

Which leads us to the big confrontation, and where we stopped the movie, because … the outcome of the Vader-Kenobi confrontation on the Death Star.

Look, it has been 45 years. No one has been working on the Kenobi miniseries that long, but when they wrote the six-episode plot for the series they refreshed their memories of what happened here, and in that last prequel. Between all of that, and this new series, there is room for them to continue working.

So, again, worth watching.


6
May 22

Do not dip the needle in gasoline

I didn’t know it any point in time over time, but I have watched four Karate Kid movies — including the unnecessary Next Karate Kid. I also watched the inappropriately named 2010 remake with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. (That was kung fu, if anyone is keeping track.) I had my mind blown by the 2015 explanation of how Daniel is the real bully, a violent sociopath, in the movie and, before that, the Sweep the Leg music video which is probably not canon. (The internet is a magical place where people put way too much of their free time.) I have also watched all four seasons of the Cobra Kai series. I’ve done so with two things in mind. First, that Daniel is the bully and, second that Daniel doesn’t realize his best days are behind him and Johnny thinks his best days are still ahead of him.

And now, after all of that — a runtime of 29 hours and 48 minutes, plus the four minutes it took to figure that out — finally this. The best line in the whole franchise, from Chozen Toguchi.

Yuji Okumoto has appeared in 100 projects over the years, and he also owns a restaurant in Seattle. He … is gasoline.

Graduation ceremonies are this weekend. We had one in the building today, the game design faculty do a special program for their students, and it is always one of the first ones to go off, and they do it in our building, and use the giant television to show off their hard work. It’s quite neat. Late this afternoon the Media School’s program was held in the IU Auditorium.

Tomorrow the big graduation in the football stadium. Other schools have similar multi-part ceremonies, as well. The School of Nursing will be in our building to take advantage of the extra space for their students’ proud family members. No matter their school or discipline, it is always fun to see the happy faces.

They’ve all been posing all over campus in their caps and gowns and nice suits and beautiful dresses for days. Graduation, like everything, has become a much more involved exercise over the years.

(Why the university hasn’t decided to control the flow of foot traffic around iconic and scenic photo settings for better graduation photos and a chance to maybe fund a scholarship or something out of the effort eludes me. But I’m sure they’ll get around to that one day. Everything gets more involved over time.)

And, we got a Covid booster today. CVS said “Why not?” Dude was done before he began. Best shot I’ve had in a long time — not that anyone charts these things. No emerging side effects, as yet, but I can feel the injection site. Previously, from the Pfizer shots I could feel the scratchy throat and weariness and whatever else just moving in for a day or two. No such problem with the Moderna. Conclusion: I got the placebo.

Or I’m immune to vaccines.

But before we commit to that, let’s see what tomorrow brings.


10
Jan 22

‘They’re coming! They’re coming!’

Two years ago, plague.

Last year, plague. And locusts.

This year, plague. And also …

The birds, the noisy noisy birds. The messy, messy birds.

You should see the sidewalks. But it’s better if you don’t have to. And if it rained. Or someone rolled a high pressure washer outside.

Anyway, pretty day out there. But quite cold. This is a tradeoff I’m willing to accept.

Oh, and hey look! My new desk chair showed up Saturday. I put it together Saturday. The cats helped. And, right now, they’re taking turns checking out my stuff.

I’m assuming that it will prove comfortable, once the animals let me sit in the chair that I … just bought … for myself.

Which must mean it is time for cat pictures. Here’s Phoebe at rest.

And here she is, taking a nap. Yesterday, you see, was a serious sleep day.

And here’s Poseidon, wondering what I’ve done with his new chair.

He sat in it right there most of the day. After, that is, I assembled the chair, let him sit in it downstairs, spun him around a bunch, then carried the chair, and cat, upstairs. As soon as he got down, hours later, I put it in the office, and shut the door. He is very confused.

This weekend he has also discovered the joys of the space heater.

This is going to become a thing. We’re creating monsters.

As I typed this, Phoebe returned to the same position for another nap. Clearly I should be doing this at my desk and not in a recliner.

Monsters are what we are creating.

I had a nice punchy little ride yesterday, this is a part of Watopia, Zwift’s fictionalized world.

Which explains how I’m underwater there. Some of their environments are simulacrums of the real world. You can ride in a few villages of France. There’s a former world championship site in Virginia. You can ride in Central Park. You can also ride through the futuristic sky bridges of New York.

Or you ride around and up, and through, a volcano. Here’s my avatar coming down from the top of the volcano.

Of course there’d be a full moon and lava spewing. I often wonder, when I’m on this course, what it would be like if you had a different lunar phase as part of the reward. And how difficult to ride through the overwhelming presence of sulfur.

Your avatar rides, literally, on a road that goes through a volcano.

Which is a good metaphor for some people’s Mondays. Not mine. But Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday mornings? More meetings then you’d normally find on a volcano, though. Sometimes there is a sulfur smell, though, but, thankfully, minimal ash.

At least the birds stay in the trees.


22
Jul 21

Now playing

Ran a casual neighborhood 5K today, making two-days in a row of exercise. I wonder how many days it’ll be before I put together two more consecutive days of exercise.

(Update: It was a few, as it turns out.)

Here’s a little video clip of yesterday’s 25-mile bike ride. We’re only three miles in here, which is why I am keeping up with my lovely bride. Putting up mid-summer numbers and can’t hold her wheel. Must be the gears she is using. Surely it isn’t me.

When I tested the post a picture of The Yankee on a bike ride was in the rotating header, and this video was below. That’s a lot of fun.

Anyway, I’d make the whole site look like that, but then it’d just be a blog about her riding bikes. That’d be fun, too. But I also include random things like …

What do we think about this? I only remember that the first movie had something to do with a seasoning, and it was a mess, and there were giant worms. This movie has the spice, the drama and, maybe there are worms.

It seems overly dramatic, for a trailer. These are art forms of their own, of course. If trailers are art, then they have to evolve. (Go watch a trailer from any movie you liked from the 1980s, for example. Go watch the first Star Wars trailer.) And, sometimes, I suppose, they have to respond to external events.

Does a trailer of a long-anticipated, and presumably corrective, relaunch have to go over the top? Does it have to after the year we’ve had? Or are we just imagining that?

What’s left in the movie, after a trailer like that?

It’s probably a 16 hour movie. Which I would have thought was fine, but then I watched, over three sittings, the Zack Snyder Justice League cut. Here’s the official trailer for that.

Feels more like a comic book than a movie, doesn’t it? I’m not sure which is better for it.

Just a few weeks ago someone over at Mental Floss compiled the list of the best 25 movie trailers of all time. This is how you know it’s an art. There’s a notion of subjectivity there, but it’s inescapable to think that the movie itself, viewed either before the trailer or after, doesn’t have some influence on such things.

Go on over there and see what’s number one. But! Before you do, toss out three names. What do you think you’ll see as number one. Pick a strong one, pick a thoughtful one. Pick a cliched one.

Were you right? I bet you were.

Still haven’t seen that movie.

Tomorrow, we’re going to wrap this week up in tidy fashion. Things will look nice and fresh when you come back. So come back!

And bring me your best movie trailer ideas, too.