Terrible movie week

We are not having a good movie week at Casa del Bartlett. A quick rundown of our failures:

• “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” Atrocious. John Salley’s cameo was kinda funny, but this was a painfully difficult movie to watch. It was genuinely dreadful.

• “Know1ng.” Atrocious. The whole “secret message foretelling disasters hidden, but not really, in a list of numbers” plot vehicle really could’ve been cool – really – but this movie blew it by trying to wrap it all up in a “good, and yet somehow frighteningly creepy, aliens save humanity” story that was incredibly freaking stupid. Also, the entire concept of the list and the message it contained was comical – “we’re going to give you this huge list of dates and locations and guarantee that X number of people are going to die at that spot – which might include you. But this *last* place, oh, that’s the one place we’d really like for you to go, and if you show up, we’ll save you at conveniently almost the last possible hour before your world is destroyed. Even though we could easily just take you — or anybody else, really — at any time, since we have a large number of gigantic universe-traversing spaceships.” Amazingly stupid movie.

• “The Haunting of Molly Hartley.” Started out OK, especially compared to the other trash-heaps we watched so far this week, but it fell into the same sort of cliched garbage as the others at the end. The return of Molly’s mom was also completely nonsensical. “The nurse released me because she believed.” Um, OK. You’re in an insane asylum, and somehow convinced a nurse who works around wackos every day that *your* fruitcake story was the one she should believe. Right. Dumb.

• “The Unborn.” Almost comically awful. This movie was nothing but “cute girl pretending to be scared by something that jumped out in front of her.” The plot is completely nonsensical; I think I would need to draw a flow chart to even begin to make sense of it. The monster came from where? He started in whose body? And starts by moving into insects? And then for some silly reason he makes the heads of dogs and people turn upside down? What? Very, very little about this movie makes a shred of sense. It’s a close race, but this was the worst of the bad this week.

Only highlights? The “Friday the 13th” remake, which Mel and I had already seen in the theaters, and which I enjoy because it’s the only movie we’ve ever seen together that legitimately freaks Mel out; and “27 Dresses” which was actually pretty entertaining. We also saw “The International,” which was OK, although the ending was pretty difficult to make sense of. Did the bank get its comeuppance or didn’t it? Who knows. There was a great gunfight scene at the Guggenheim in N.Y.; that alone made the movie worth watching.

Ugh. Here’s hoping for better luck next week.

Back after a week in Kansas

Have been in Kansas all week visiting my parents; my two brothers and I were together for the first time in five years, since my wedding, so that was pretty awesome. Also, was the first time for my parents to have all seven granddaughters together; so it was a great week all around.

Will be working on my projects this week – Coraline popup and my chair. Stay tuned for updates.

Grrrr, comment spammers

Let me make one thing clear – I hate comment spammers. Inundating my inbox with spam is one thing; I can filter the vast majority of it to a junk folder and never have to deal with it. Comment spam, I have to deal with each and every one individually, and having comment spammers force me into a position to have to approve each comment before I allow it on the site, it kills any opportunity for meaningful discussion unless I’m right there to click “accept” at the time (assuming, of course, people want to comment on this blog to begin with). I consider comment spammers to be no better than vandals. They’re just swooping in to spraypaint their garbage on my wall and leave.

That said, I’ve been getting pelted from comment spam from the domain ds4ns1ns2.cn, which gives a permission denied if you try to visit it. They anger me.

Coraline house: Construction underway!

After having this project shelved for a couple of months now, I finally got around to starting construction of my Coraline house popup that I started back in March (Adam will surely be excited 🙂 ). I built the top and bottom for the popup and started working on the “Coraline” logo for the front cover. The logo is silver foil cardstock glued to a piece of grey paper for the shadow; the first letter I tried to make, a “C,” turned out OK; I’ll just need to take a bit more care in gluing the pieces together for the final product. This first letter was mostly to see how this would look, and whether it’d be worth the effort to worry about the paper shadow. It looks pretty good, so I think I’m going to continue with it. Pics over there –> in the Flickr sidebar.

I have found my chair!

Today I finally found a lounging chair for my office at home. It’s a filthy, disgusting pile of grossness; the upholstery, which looks to have been formerly a very nice wine-colored velour, is crushed and worn thin; dirt and sand fly out at all angles when you kick it; and it looks like it used to be home to more dogs than people. The sign on the chair at the garage sale said “$20 OBO”; my “OBO” was $10, and they took it.

Now, the planning begins on how to convert it from a cube of stank into a paragon of seating awesome. I already have a picture in my head of what I want to do with it. Just need to go on a material hunt now.

There are five “before” pictures are over there –> in the Flickr sidebar. Check ’em out.

Movie Week in Review

Mel and I knocked out three movies this week – we joined the 21st century and rented our first three BluRay discs. PS3 + mega-clearance on a 37″ LCD = we’re finally living in the present, home entertainment-wise. 🙂

Gran Torino [IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes]
We missed this in the theaters and had been waiting patiently for the DVD; it was worth the wait. This was an incredible movie, even though I thought it suffered a little by a poor acting job by the kid who tried to steal Clint Eastwood’s car — particularly the scene at the end when Clint locks him up to go off to do his ultimate good deed. The kid just didn’t sell well enough his anger about being caged and missing out on his moment of revenge. Honestly, though, that’s a minor nitpick for what was otherwise an absolutely fantastic movie. Eastwood was great; the girl who played his next door neighbor, a person who ultimately pulls him not only out of his racist shell but offers an avenue for the general redemption of his life, was really good. The ending was also completely unexpected (not the final final scene; everybody knows who’s getting the car, and it’s not the bitchy granddaughter). Well worth the price of a rental, and then some. This is an amazing film.

Revolutionary Road [IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes]
Absolutely boring and a huge letdown, especially having just recently seen an exceptional Kate Winslet movie from basically the same time, “The Reader.” The performances by Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio felt very melodramatic and over-the-top; it felt better suited as a play. The ending was completely pointless and changed the whole tone of the movie in one turn of a hearing aid knob – rather than just being a tale about the difficulties that came with DiCaprio having to deal with a wife who had mental issues, the ending turned the entire movie into a cautionary tale about marriage being a trap that breaks the spirits of men. It was awful.

Changeling [IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes]
A powerful, incredibly-acted movie that I felt suffered by being entirely too long. At 2:20, it seriously plodded – especially in the front third. Too much exposition, too much time spent in the insane asylum, too much time developing the storyline of the serial killer. There was great effort here to tell the entire story – and it was very well-done. It just got to the point that it felt like the movie was trying to be too much. Angelina Jolie is really good; John Malkovich is fantastic, as always; the guy that used to have that sitcom on FOX where he’d sit in the basement, get hammered and talk to his friend the invisible rabbit was fabulous as her eventual high-powered attorney; and the kid who ultimately leads the police to what was the true fate of Jolie’s son was *really* good. I just felt the pacing of the movie was off, particularly compared to Gran Torino; both were directed by Clint Eastwood, but Gran Torino is a superior film in just about every way. Better paced; I was more involved with the characters; just a more enjoyable film. Some of the things that befall Jolie as the LAPD is out to persecute her for standing up to them are genuinely difficult to watch; it could be those negative feelings had something to do with my opinion of this movie.

Still, Changeling is very good; I’d have no problems recommending that you see it. It’s still, by a significant margin, the middle of the three movies we’ve seen this week though. Gran Torino stands far above, and Revolutionary Road far below.

Upgraded to WordPress 2.8

I upgraded the backend of andybartlett.com to WordPress 2.8 today; will have to play around with some of the new features, as they seem interesting. I still haven’t taken much time to really dig into WordPress and figure out how it works beyond “Find theme that I like, apply it, write some nonsense and hit ‘publish’,” but it’s still nice to know what this software is capable of, should I ever find the time to really learn how it all works.

EDIT – lol, WordPress 2.8; none of the UI elements in the “edit post” screen work on either Safari 4.0 or Firefox 3.5b4 on my iMac. The “add” button for the “post tags” element doesn’t do anything, nor do the hide/reveal boxes for “excerpt,” “send trackbacks,” “custom fields,” “discussion,” or “comments.” Oops.

EDIT 2 – clearing caches and upgrading Firefox to 3.5b99 doesn’t fix the problem. This will be fun… Luckily the “update post” button seems to be the only UI element that’s functional on my Edit window.

EDIT 3 – the “visual” and “HTML” tabs work, also, as do “preview changes,” “change permalinks” and “view post.” That seems to be about it… “post tags” still not working, nor are the show/reveal buttons for the other sections of the post.

EDIT 4 – Weird; updating my Flickr manager plug-ins solved the problem. All UI elements on “Post” page now functioning; our national emergency has ended!

Yes! Somebody else gets it

Somebody found this blog using the following search term:

“why is marcus more advanced than t800”

Yes! Why indeed? It makes no sense…

Stupid, stupid Terminator: Salvation.

To the person who made it here due to that search term, I say “welcome.” 🙂

Film redemption: “Hangover”

The cinema redeemed itself yesterday in a big, big way. After sitting through two hours of the disastrous “Terminator: Salvation” on Friday, I rebounded in a big way by seeing “Hangover” yesterday with Melissa.

Having seen a little about this movie on-line beforehand, I figured it’d be worth watching. It’s so far beyond simply “worth watching”; it’s genuinely one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. To oversimplify it, it’s a combination of “Bachelor Party” and “Dude, Where’s My Car?”packed full of ridiculous and hilarious cameos. This is one of those movies that we’ll watch forever. We’ll assuredly buy it immediately on DVD and will do things like watch it three times in one night, guaranteed.

I won’t say much about it; just go see it. And when you do, stick around for the first two minutes or so of the credits.