Categories
review

Movie Review – Quickie Edition III

Reign Over Me: Funny, touching, and wonderfully written drama about a man (Adam Sandler) who retreats from his life after losing his family on September 11, 2001. Don Cheadle plays a dentist who appears to have it all – wife & kids, a house in Manhattan, and a successful practice – only to find he envies his college roommate Sandler.

Whenever Adam Sandler  strays from his ‘comedy’ stereotype, he manages to do reasonably well – Reign Over Me is by no means his best drama effort, but it is certainly a powerful performance. Minus points for being so overwrought about things. ★★★☆

Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix: Harry Potter is one angry little kid. Oh, sure, he’s getting older, but that just means he’s playing to type as the angry/angsty teenager. Oh look, there’s still 2 movies to go after this – guess what the ending will be? (not that you’ve already read the book, of course). At least there wasn’t any broomstick football inanity in this one.

The most surprising bit is the little glimpses back at the earlier movies, when the actors were so much younger. How quickly they grow up, eh? ★★★

The Simpsons Movie: Finally got to see this in one of the few theatres that were still running it – a combination of circumstances having prevented me up till now. I thought it best to see it in the cinema to give it the biggest contrast to watching the Simpsons on telly, and… well, maybe I racked up the expectations a bit.

It really is a little like an extended Simpsons episode, and while some gags run fine in the longer format, there’s a whole needless stretching of subplot that makes it a little tedious. The use of CG is also getting a little more obvious and pervasive, which was never the Simpsons style – that’s Futurama’s realm, dammit.

I certainly hope they don’t sequelise and monetize it to the ends of the earth. It would be good to see some longer-than-one-episode plots though, like the one that made Who Shot Mr Burns such an instant classic. ★★★☆

Categories
conversations with myself

This time

It’s something emepheral, almost. Our relationship is defined almost entirely within the confines of the darkness and the music, the undercurrent of alcohol and the late night, the unsteady beat driving our actions and defining our interaction.

It’s hard to have a moment of intimacy when you’re surrounded by strangers at close range. Any such moments must be stolen, and undeclared, lasting mere seconds while the gaps between the moments stretch out, time’s elastic nature playing its usual trick. The music’s volume precludes anything but the eyes conversing, though at this stage it’s still early enough in the relationship that all the common phrases have not been defined in the language of the eyes.

Politeness demands you engage others, but your eyes are drawn back, searching for contact, unacknowledge or otherwise.

Finally, you find yourself outside, the chill night air refreshing after the stale heat of the dancefloor. Another night is over, and each of the group will find their way home, to wake tomorrow, some basking in the aftermath, others holding a head of regret. The moment passes, and you wonder if it’ll occur again.

You cross your fingers and wish upon a star. Maybe the old tales do come true sometimes.

Categories
tech

Playing with the iPhone

  • Smaller than I expected
  • But slicker than I expected – the sheer speed/responsiveness of the interface beats the crap out of practically any phone, smart or otherwise, I’ve played with.
  • Initial layout a little confusing. I expected the “main tasks” (Phone, Web, Mail, Music) at the top, instinctively. You would get used to it, yeah, but for at least 10 seconds I was searching the main block of icons for the “Music” section.
  • Mobile Safari – could do better, though it’s a far better implementation than nearly any mobile browser I’ve seen yet.
  • The keypad: ugh. ugh ugh ugh. A struggle, pure and simple, especially with my bigger fingers, and the lack of tactile feedback is an issue for speed too. “Autocorrect” saves going back and typing again though, and is pretty easy to use.  “Go” button in browser keyboard stupidest idea evar because it’s so damn easy to accidentally brush.
  • Music – wow, this has got to be the coolest part. The iPod is more intuitive, however, and in my (brief) experience the iPhone is less responsive. Text based search would be cool.
  • Overall, as everyone has pretty much already said, a slick little device from Apple; it’s got its place though, and I think it’s pretty unlikely that I’d get (or have much use for) this first round effort.
Categories
asides

Entire Relationships in one Paragraph

Entire Relationships in One Paragraph: It’s a short, sharp and utterly effective glimpse into three relationships that’s utterly bowled me over. Wish I could write this concisely and effectively.

Categories
opinion tech

Facebook’s Ad Network

Facebook came out this week with their real business plan – to leverage the network of people and the information they have on them to create an advertising behemoth. Using the ideas of viral marketing, combined with targeted advertising based on the interests and activities that many users list in their profiles, Facebook hopes to deliver an effective advertising platform that surpasses others simply because of the social power behind it.

It’s a great business move – with that much data on interests, and people piling in to add more, along with the value of the links between people, it’s an almost foolproof business case. Advertising targeted at user interests means they are more likely to react to it, allowing advertisers to tailor their messages and get the maximum payoff for their investment, which means advertising distribution agencies will lap it up.

Add in the viral marketing angle, where advertising effectively comes with a personal endorsement of someone you (vaguely) trust or at the very least have some shared experience with means you’re more likely to take a look at the message and consider it – for however many hundredths of a second – to be a real message, again making it more likely that you will follow through on it. Personal recommendations have always carried the greatest weight, and only recently have marketers tried to leverage it.

Great move, Facebook. I’m buying none of it.

Categories
asides

NYGirlOfMyDreams found

The story of NYGirlOfMyDreams, including a picture of the girl (she’s Aussie!) – Damn, she’s cute too :)

Categories
asides

Two in One

Two for you today – cumul.us, a social weather prediction site where you get scored for how well you pick the weather (I’m hooked already), and the Mythbusters test out the plane on a conveyor question in the next season (airing December). Much awesomeness. (via)

Categories
the daily column

TV Shows

May contain spoilers!

Heroes

Heroes is back! I had a fear that this would be somewhat like the second season of Lost, where more and more plot elements were going to be added until it was all an addled mess that wanders around and goes nowhere; up until this week’s episode, that fear wasn’t too far from being proven true.

But this week, they bought it back, and threw in a cute little twist to boot. I likey. There was no sign of the Alejandro-Maya-Sylar plot thread, which was a relief (can a character get more annoying than Maya or a plot thread more predictable than theirs?), but it inevitably means an extended sequence next episode.

On the other hand, one of Lost‘s plus points – its ability to kill off major characters just as you got to liking them, thereby simultaneously exasperating and reinvigorating for your interest – is a little lacking, to my inexpert opinion.

Top Gear

My god, it just gets better and better. This week found our intrepid trio driving across Botswana in second hand £1500 two-wheel-drive cars, a challenge most would only contemplate in serious 4-wheel-drives.

They turned up with cars I would suggest would be much cheaper than £1500, given what showed up for a similar Porsche challenge, but let’s not let that get in the way of a stupendously funny episode.

If you’re not watching Top Gear, what are you doing with your Sundays?! (ok, Mondays by the time it gets to Australia) Get to it.

30 Rock

I picked this up on a whim after seeing a little sample back in the first season, and I reckon I’ll be sticking with it for a bit. It’s not exactly predicable or by the numbers, but it sits firmly in the American-New York Sitcom genre.

Guest appearances weekly make it lively, Tina Fey is a talent (cute to boot!) and Alec Baldwin is straight out of his role in Will and Grace, the campness toned down a little for a little more general asshole-ness. It’s awesome!

Secret Diary of a London Call Girl

I never followed the Intimate Adventures blog, but I had heard about it – and when I heard Billie Piper (yes, the former pop singer, but did you see that series or two of Doctor Who? She was kick-ass!) was playing the title character, I just had to watch. (alright alright, pipe down).

I’m… a little surprised at what these guys are more-than-ready to put on free-to-air broadcast-TV week-to-week – and it’s getting further into it by the looks of things. Sure, timeslot, mature European attitude, all that and a bag of chips, but I would struggle to imagine any of the Australian networks airing this, no matter what the timeslot. America? HBO would pretty much be your only bet.

It’s a well-written left of the middle show, and my only regret is that I hadn’t and am not reading it now. Having just cut back on my RSS feeds, I’m not subscribing too any more for a bit, and really, I think I would only imagine Billie Piper as Belle now.

It’s also a little disconcerting to see places I’m getting very familiar with in London show up in the TV show – sure, there’s the famous spots, but this will have, for example, Belle walking to catch a bus… about 2 minutes walk from my work, where I pass by almost daily on my way in. Ordinary world reflected through the half-silvered mirror of the TV.

Others? There’s always The Daily Show, though that is threatened with the American writers’ strike. And… well, not much else to be honest. Lost, Ugly Betty, House, and practically every show I used to watch have all fallen by the wayside for reason or another, and plus, it doesn’t help that I don’t have a TV :)

Categories
asides

Happy Beads

Remember the lead-paint toys scandal? Here’s an even better one – ‘Bindeez’ have a glue which turns into GHB (a.k.a. fantasy, liquid ecstasy) when swallowed. How’s that for corrupting our kids? :)

Categories
quickie

Inanity

You know how poking is used to get someone’s attention/flirt non-commitally on Facebook?

Poke Yourself?

Officially peaked.