Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fans of Pigment take note

Read this.

It's a couple of years old but has a very powerful message that I think needs be spread.

Excerpt from 'Shame' by Pam Noles:
Usually it would be just me in the basement sprawled on the floor surrounded by snacks, Legos and books to read during the commercials. If he was off shift, sometimes Dad would come down and join me in his leather recliner by the stairs. Every once in a while Mom called down from the kitchen Are you letting her watch those weird things? And we'd lie in unison, No. If she came down to check for herself, Dad would get in trouble.

Dad had his own names for the movies.

What's this? 'Escape to a White Planet?

It's called 'When Worlds Collide.' I'm sure I sounded indignant.

'Mars Kills the White People.' I love this one.

Daaaaad. It says it right there. 'War of the Worlds'. I know I sighed heavily, but was careful to turn back to the tv before rolling my eyes.

Once he asked me which was more real, the movie or the skits between. I didn't get it, and told him that they were both stories, so they were both fake. He didn't bring it up again until a skit came on. I can't remember if it was a 'Soulman' skit or one of the caveman gags (the cavemen were multicultural — basic white, Polish, Italian, and black). But I remember Dad saying, how come you never see anybody like that in the stories you like? And I remember answering, maybe they didn't have black people back then. He said there's always been black people. I said but black people can't be wizards and space people and they can't fight evil, so they can't be in the story. When he didn't say anything back I turned around. He was in full recline mode in his chair and he was very still, looking at me. He didn't say anything else.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Infowhore's Library - Next [Spoiler warning]

I watched Next starring Nicolas Cage, Jessica Biel and Julianne Moore. Next is about a stage magician(Cage) who can see two minutes into the future. Julianne Moore is a FBI agent who wants his help to track down a nuclear device in the hands of terrorists. Jessica Biel is Cage's love interest and damsel in distress.

In the summer of 2007 I went to see Spider-Man 3 in the theater. Next was also playing and I after I got out of Spider-Man 3 I almost went to see it. I decided instead to see Spider-Man 3 again and I am glad I did because I almost certainly would have been kicked out when I started yelling at the screen.

Basically this movie has no ending. You can argue that it's supposed to be ambiguous and make you think. I say blah and double blah. Half the movie is completely invalidated when it rewinds to an earlier point revealing everything that happened after to be little more than one possible future. That's right half the movie, the action packed full of cool things happening half, didn't happen and the movie ends with no resolution. I would have perferred that they all died in the nuclear explosion. Then we would have gotten some kind of lession about how even if we could see the future we still wouldn't be able to see everything. Kind of an Outer Limits type ending. I could have excepted that.

Toward the end when they began to bend and outright break the rules of how his power worked I began to get nervous. Then I remembered the rule of cool and decided it was fine. Watching someone who can see the future direct a small squad of armed FBI agents was awesome. I have to admit the geek in me was screaming, "He's like a JEDI!!" And when he says, "I made a mistake. It's happening now," just before the explosion, all I could think was, "Oh, shit."

Most of the movie's faults fall under the rule of cool. The ending a a huge cop out in my eyes. I was going to rate this movie a 5 out 5 however the it was just a dream ending left me with a very sour taste in my mouth. So I'm torn between giving it a 4 for the majority of the movie and a 2 for the ending.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Infowhore's Library - Netflix on X-Box

Recently I signed up with Netflix.

The idea of renting movies through the mail has never really appealed to me, even the ability to watch select movies online wasn't enough to lure me in. However back in November, Microsoft updated the interface of the X-Box 360, adding in new features like customizable avatars and the ability to watch Netflix online movies on your X-Box, among others. This perked my interest but not enough for me to sign up right away.

Saturday after stumbling onto the part of my X-Box's interface that would hold the queue of Netflix movies and finding only a sign up page, I decided to jump on for the free trial at least. I was surprised to find I really liked Netflix even before selecting my first DVDs.

Why? Because of the website design.

When looking at a page of movies you're presented with a thumbnail of the DVD cover of each movie. Above each is the title of the movie, which is useful because it can be hard to read the title off the thumbnail picture. Below the thumbnail are five stars. If you haven't rated this movie some of the stars will be red indicating what rating Netflix thinks you would give this movie based on how you rated similar movies. Rating movies is as easy as clicking on the appropriate number of stars. Beneath the stars is the add button. Mouse over the thumbnail and an info card for the movie pops up to one side. The info card gives you a short description of the movie a few of the actors, the director, genre and rating.

All of this is pretty standard stuff, what makes it great is the way it works together. You can rate movies, read descriptions, and add movies to your queue without leaving the page you started on. This is great for quickly running through, say, all the comedy movies or action movies or all the movies.

It's not perfect. There is no easy way to organize movies in your queue. Movies are added to the end or the beginning. Also sometimes movies repeat in the same category. These are minor complaints.

The real draw, for me, has been the movies I can watch through my X-Box. I've already added over a hundred items to my instant queue.

Most are movies that I haven't seen but want to: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Meet the Robinsons, The Invisible, Underdog, It's in the Water, Grindhouse, The Rage in Placid Lake , ect.

Some are movies that I have seen like enough to keep in the queue just in case I want to see them: Primer, Gray Matters, Threesome, Tremors 1,2 and 3, and Erin Brockovich. There are few of these because while I like a lot of movies, very few are really good enough to be watchable more than twice.

Also in my queue are some tv shows I haven't seen before: Wisecrack from Logo, Rough Science from PBS, TransAmerican Love Story from Logo and The Vicar of Dibley from the BBC.

Tv shows that I have watched and enjoyed enough to want to rewatch them: Coupling, Earth2, Seaquest DSV, MacGyver and Kim Possible.

Also on the list is a health dose of anime: Last Exile, Project A-Ko, Appleseed: Ex Machina, Utawarerumono, R.O.D., Ghost in the Shell: 2nd Gig, Dominion Tank Police, Best Student Council, ect.

All this is to explain where I've been for the past few days. On Netflix rating movies(700+) and adding them to my queues(200+). I think I'm past the worst of my Netflix binge.

I hope. Pray for me.