9.29.2004

GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE



I was able to catch Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence last night, just days before it gets pulled out of the Main Art Theater's rotation. Almost missed it.
Let me tell you, this movie has some of the most impressive graphics and animation I've ever seen (a blend of 3D and 2D). It's stunning. That alone makes this movie worth watching for me. There were several scenes that had me sitting there, almost in a state of hypnosis, just amazed and how much time was put into this work. So much attention was paid to every little incredible detail.
Where the movie errs, however, is in its dialogue (noted by most critics already). I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but it's true. Everything is so wordy and geekspeak, it's hard to maintain focus for the whole thing. I could pay attention to it for a little while, but about halfway through I started to get frustrated by it and lost the desire to follow all of the philosophical meandering. Togusa, one of the characters, said it best at one point in the movie when, in the middle of a conversation with a forsensics expert, he blurted out "What on earth on you talking about?" and "let's get back to reality here?" Those were my exact thoughts. Sam, my moviegoing partner for GITS 2:Innocence, likened it to The Matrix Reloaded. I thought that was a pretty accurate comparison.
The result is that this movie ends up being not very accessible to a wide audience. Most people will be turned off either by the heavy dialogue or just by the whole premise of the film. Those that can stay with it, though, and die-hard anime fans, will probably enjoy it immensely.
I still enjoyed it, particularly because I was so impressed with the animation. Production I.G, the graphics studio that is responsible for this film, did an amazing job on it - a "setting-standards"-type job. Here's hoping that they (or someone else) can build upon that kind of excellence by applying it to a script that actually keeps the viewer drawn in for the whole story next time. I probably will wait til this comes out on DVD, maybe watch it once more with someone who has't seen it and then will never watch it again.
Head over to iFilm and check out the trailer and/or the first 8 minutes of the film (in 3 different viewing formats), which includes the opening scene and credits. Just don't forget that those are video files shrunk down and compressed for easy viewing on the internet. They don't even do the big screen version one bit of justice at all. Anyway, the opening credits sorta remind me of Bjork's "All is Full of Love" video. Pretty sweet, if you don't mind me saying.

9.25.2004

I'M GONNA BUY, LIKE, INFINITY OF THESE



It has just come to my attention recently that our beloved little movie Napoleon Dynamite is getting a DVD release on December 21st.

"...Yes!"

Dana and I have already briefly discussed the ramifications of this (other than her knowing what one of my Christmas gifts will be):
Party at our house that day with tots and delicious bass for anyone that shows up. We'll have an intense tetherball tournament going on outside. If you're like Summer Wheatley and you're not into tetherball, don't worry. I've got it totally covered. We'll have portraits inside (either pencil or Glamour Shots). At the end of the night we'll sit down, eat the cake I built, wash it down w/ some 1% milk (unless you prefer eggy juice) and watch the funniest movie of the last couple years. We'll be having a killer time - it's gonna be flippin' sweet!

9.23.2004

BUCKLEY RECEIVES A 9 FROM PITCHFORK!



Pitchfork Media, the music review resource with the most indie cred out there, has just posted their review of the new Legacy Edition of Jeff Buckley's "Grace," which was released a few weeks back on August 24th. They gave it a 9.0 on a ten-point scale, which is more than what I would've expected from them. It's a good thing they had Dominique Leone write the review. If that responsibility had been given to any of their other pretentious arsehole reviewers, it probably wouldn't have landed anything higher than a 6.0. She's one of the few that write for them that maintain any amount of objectivity in their album reviews. Anyway, I guess I should cut them some slack now, seeing as how they've finally given Buckley a shred of credit and recognized his supreme talent. Go read the review, then go pick up the CD and see for yourself (even if you already own the original version of "Grace"). There's plenty more to enjoy in this release.

9.17.2004

I HAVE RETURNED!

Oh my holy geez, it's been so long since I posted on here. I guess it's because I had a whole bunch of things going on for about a week or two and by the time everything had cleared up, there was so much I could post about that the idea of getting on here and taking the time to talk about it all became somewhat daunting. And before I know it, three weeks are gone and I've had the same post up on the front page all that time. So I just decided now to bite the bullet - re-break the ice, if you will. In short, here's what's gone on in the 3-4 weeks (is that about right?):

1. First order of business: I got my wisdom teeth pulled. For the most part, it was completely painless. I was totally out for the procedure and then my recovery was pretty smooth, if not speedy. The main downside to the whole thing was that there wasn't much I could eat for the next two weeks b/c I didn't want to get any food stuck in the black holes which once housed four of my teeth. This, of course, had its benefits, however. I loved all the milkshakes. But the no-solids diet gets pretty old after awhile, not to mention it messes up your bowels, especially when combined with four or five days of pain medicine. What followed one afternoon in the confines of our bathroom a week after my surgery will long be etched into my memory. Traumatic, traumatic, traumatic. I can now honestly say I know what childbirth feels like. There's a funny story that Heather Armstrong (a.k.a. Dooce) just shared on her site that hit me especially close to home, except that it took place at an office and I didn't black out or bash my head in or anything. Other than that, pretty similar circumstances. I wish this sort of thing upon nobody.
Besides that, I spent a good amount of time laying around the house, watching movies, reading, and gearing up for the 2004-2005 Fantasy Football season. I was daring and left the house the day after my surgery to catch Hero on the big screen for the first time. If anyone reading this hasn't done that yet, you really must. It is not to be missed. Even though I've had a foreign copy (probably a bootleg but I'm not positive) of the DVD for some time, I've still been eagerly awaiting the theatrical release of this film for easily over a year. It's just one of those movies that was made to be viewed on a massive widescreen. Do it. Do it.

2. We spent Labor Day weekend camping with a group of friends and acquaintances up in Tobermory, Ontario (that's in Canada for the not so geographically inclined minds out there). It was a good time. I've got some pictures I can share, and I'll come back later and add them into this post. Anyway, the weekend flew by pretty quickly. It was nice to get out of this suburban cityscape for awhile and be amidst the trees and lakes and cliffs and stars. We were pretty fortunate in that we had beautiful weather all weekend, except for some fog during our hike. But even that ended up clearing away in the afternoon. We also did some tandem kayaking around the Georgian Bay (I think). That was fun, although it got pretty exhausting after a couple hours and the latter half of the excursion was spent in wet shorts and underpants because we got stuck up on the edge of one of the islands and bombarded with a series of waves which came over the top of our kayak. Anyway, so that was it. Fun weekend.

3. As I write this, Salvatore, the 61-year-old, cigar-smoking, sentence-warbling Italian concrete construction worker is pouring the cement for our new back patio...finally. It's been quite a trip trying to communicate with him, since it's so hard to hear through his thick Italian accent and understand what he says in person (forget about it if we're on the phone!). I could go on about the many times I've gotten off the phone with him and Dana asked what was going on and I couldn't tell her a single thing because I didn't even know myself. But alas, the day has come and our patio is finally becoming a reality...halfway through September. I guess I should just be grateful that we'll have, what, a month to enjoy it before the wintry conditions hit Michigan. Despite the delays and the communication issues, I have yet to not be amused by Salvatore, though. It's been quite good for a laugh on more than one occasion.
Now the patio furniture shopping commences...

There's probably more that I could share about stuff that's happened lately, but my mind and my memory is just in sort of a swirling mess at the moment, as I feared it would be when I finally tried to do this. Anyway, now that I've made my return to blogging, it should become a lot easier for me to get on here. Ah, it's good to be back...