Monday, August 10, 2009

GI Joe: Kiddie Flick...

...who knew? Well, the studio, for starters. Only they didn't give the rest of us fanboys (yes, I'm a chick, but 'fanpeople' sounds like some made-up alien race from a Star Wars spoof) a heads up. And as we can all attest: knowing is half the battle.

No, they led us on w/carefully edited trailers that enticed us with their promise of a worthy 'Joe' on the big screen - finally(!). We believed them, maybe because we really, really wanted to. And then there it was, the 1st blatant sign of a private, 1st class SNAFU: no advanced screenings for critics. NOOOOoooooo!!!!

So, like any good soldier, we bucked up and lowered our expectations. Drastically. One-quarter of the way thru we knew it wasn't nearly drastic enough. We radioed ahead to warn approaching units (i.e. we tweeted & updated our Facebook status via cell). But it was apparently too late as 'Joe' managed to take the box office lead despite the new intelligence we'd provided.

Gotta say I was surprised to learn, post-viewing, that this flick was rated PG-13. For... what, exactly?

Let's see:

  • Sex/Nudity? A resounding 'no'. Daringly dressed tight-bodied ninja chicks, sure -but we've seen more skin, & leather, on WWE commercials.
  • Language? Not really. I'm pretty sure the 'F' word was AWOL, as were most other 'adult' swear words; unless you count 'hell' or 'damn'. But from my recollection even 'swear words: lite' were in short supply.
  • Violence? Well, technically this would be a 'yes'. But it was all glitzy, glammed up, somewhat subpar CGI style violence and mostly involving machines/weapons/suits. In other words, LOTS of bang!, zoom!, wow!, crunch!, crash! - but no attempt at gritty reality a la "Saving Private Ryan", or even on the order of most prime time TV shows. Neither can I recall any blood on screen for more than a few nano-seconds, or any graphic injuries whatsoever (unless you count a burned up face/neck/torso that shows up late in the game supposedly minutes old, that looks days old... yet still has nothing on Anakin Skywalker/soon-to-be Darth Vader in SW3: Revenge of the Sith).
  • Adult situations? Um... kinda? And by 'kinda' I mean, if you are a 6-11 year old boy who is into GI Joe then yes, you would be convinced this film is full of 'adult situations'. If you're an actual adult, not-so-much. Unless saving the world from diabolical, cliched, borderline PowerRanger-quality villains is your idea of an 'adult situation'. And if that's the case, I hope you're enjoying your 'cool bachelor pad' in your folks' basement.

So, yes, I think I've covered the main contributory ratings areas, and provided sufficient evidence for a re-count.

Don't get me wrong, if you're one of the aforementioned 6-11 year old boys whose really into 'Joe' (or happen to be the parent/aunt/uncle who takes one along), you will think this movie is ultra-realistic, smart, and highly entertaining.

It's the rest of us grown-ups that wish the P.R. folks would've let us in on their 'Joe' spin, so we could've known what to expect - and thus been better able to plan our viewing partners (and screen size/location) accordingly.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Occasional Movie Blogger Returns w/thoughts on STAR TREK: ORIGINS - not too shabby, indeed!

WOW! A prequel/sequel done waaaaay right - what a nice surprise!

Saw Star Trek: Origins @ Eden Prairie AMC in MN tonite, & can safely say it no longer mattered that on my 3rd trip to MN, I still didn't get to go on the roller coaster or similar attractions @ the Mall of America - this film was quite the fun thrill ride all by itself! Throw in killer extended previews for upcoming surefire blockbusters Transformers 2 and Terminator: Salvation, and I was a happy chick.

Okay, first off, loved all the old subtle (and not so subtle) references & throw-backs to the old series, as well as the clever storyline (about which, all I will say -to avoid spoilers - is that it paves the way for a whole new battery of films/TV shows/books that aren't in any way beholden to any of the past story/timelines/events), and witty, character-driven/appropriate dialogue.

Casting was letter-perfect all the way around - something I wasn't convinced of when the choices were first announced.

  • About the only one who I had to warm up to was Chekov (Anton Yelchin) - the vocals were spot-on, but the actor's look just didn't match up to what I had in mind for a 17-year old version of the character; but by the time we were 3/4 thru the movie, I had made peace w/the curly blonde locks on my Russian reboot.
  • As a Heroes nut, I was sure that Zachary Quinto was going to be my fave going into the movie. For a white guy w/no Asian attributes, he pulled off young Spock quite admirably/enjoyably.
  • But the real McCoy (yeah, yeah, bad pun!) & first real scene stealer for me was Karl Urban as beloved old medical curmudgeon, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Not since Ewan McGregor's turn as a young Sir Alec Guinness a la Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi in 1999's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace has an actor so captured the essence of a well-known character, albeit in younger form.
  • John Cho fares well in his turn as Mr. Sulu, though other than an away mission with Kirk, didn't seem to me to have a whole lot to do. (I could share more here, but not without spoilers.)
  • Speaking of Kirk, Chris Pine wisely opted not to go the route of Shatner clone, instead crafting an edgy, rougher-around-the edges version of the character with core similarities - but a portrayal he can rightly call all his own.
  • We get an interesting glimpse behind the usually all-business Uhuru with Zoe Saldana in that lead. She's poised and perfect on-the-job like we remember, yet sophisticatingly sexy and witty off-the clock. There's also a fan-gift of a back-story woven in with another major character, that many may not have considered before. (Again, could say more, but not without giving too much away.)
  • By the time a hilarious & lovably irked Simon Pegg showed up as one Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the movie had been on-screen way too long - but I'm happy to report, it was well worth the wait! They saved enough zingers for Pegg to be memorably quotable, while also letting his hard work on an authentic Scottish brogue shine through with Scotty's signature reply to a request for "more power" from engineering. (I won't tell you when it happens... only when it does, you'll practically be screaming it along with him!).
  • Eric Bana is Nero, the latest in a long line of clearly insane Star Trek villains. His motivation as revealed in the plot, is understandable, if constructed from a sort of twisted misplaced, singular-focus logic/blame. Bana disappears into the role, barely recognizable in face, physique or voice. Should put the Aussie back in rotation as a household name.
  • Last but not least, Leonard Nimoy - the only original cast member invited to be part of this latest film - again reprises the role of Spock. Looking older and frailer than prior depictions (the man is 78!), he brings a timeless "wisdom-of-the-ages" vibe to the character, along with a touching passing-of-the-torch presence linking the past to the new future-past (confused yet?). Interesting trivia: Nimoy was given casting approval over who would play the young Spock in the new film (spoiler alert in reference link).

Overall, I was especially impressed that no one did an out and out impression of any of the classic actors - though there were definite method nods & occasional style/delivery similarities reminiscent of Brandon Routh's near channeling of Christopher Reeve during a few select scenes in Superman Returns (e.g., the pushing up of the eye glasses with pointed finger on center of frame, the short, quick under-breath "mm-hmm" utterances, a certain glance or gaze, etc) - no bad copies, just worthy "reinterpretations"/"homages".

Other fine performances by minor characters include:
Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike, the captain of the Enterprise; Ben Cross as Sarek, Spock's father; Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson, Spock's mother; and House fans will recognize Jennifer Morrison as Winona Kirk, Kirk's mother.

I can't remember when I've been this pleasantly surprised by the competence/coherence of a film. Young and old fans (and non-fans/newbies) alike will find an entertaining 2+ hours flies by, keeping you near the edge of your seat & at times, holding your sides from riotous appreciative laughter.

The visuals & ships/space shots were out of this world (ok, bad pun), but how can you go wrong with the special f-x house that George [Lucas] built, ILM? Of course, one expects them to meet or exceed past efforts, and with Star Trek: Origins, they don't disappoint. Again, the continuity of evolution from prior series to present incarnation was near flawless on every level: from cast to characters, and ships to wardrobe. The update to the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 (" bloody A - B - C - or D!") exterior/interiors are presented in the detailed glory we always imagined they would be like "in real life", with enough design elements to fit the bill of the beloved original. The fashions/uniforms were competent updates of clothing clearly inspired by that of the original series, along with modern touches and believable guesses at futuristic garb in the 23rd century.

This movie was such an unexpected treat, just over half-way through I was mentally plotting my next viewing(s) along with a list of potential partners in crime. Should prove to be the much-needed hypospray [shot] in the arm to catapult the Star Trek brand back to the stratosphere; relegating the love-it-or-hate-it tv series Enterprise - once thought to herald the inevitable demise of the franchise - to no more than a mere blip on the Star Trek collective radar.

I say: "Live long and prosper, new Enterprise crew!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Hat is Back (it's the rest of his ensemble that's missing)

Bottom line: I would rank 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' as the 2nd best 'Indiana Jones' movie - with 'Raiders' and 'Last Crusade' both being tied for first (...sorry 'Temple'!).

The highs (brief so as to avoid spoilers) :
  • Indy is back!
  • Daring escapes from wrong place/wrong timing situations & booby-trapped ruins.
  • Marion is back!
  • Disgusting man-eating bugs!
  • Plenty of action sequences.
  • Hilarious "Why does it have to be a snake?" gag.
  • Subtle nods to prior flicks of both Spielberg & Lucas.
  • Indy utters key Lucas phrase: "I've got a bad feeling about this."
  • Requisite [and featured] appearance of the 'Wilhelm Scream'
The lows:
  • Okay, so Marion is back - but she's not quite herself. Karen Allen gushes her way through the part like she's all too happy just to have been invited to the party: totally devoid of any of the grit, gutsiness, or tomboyishly sexy charm we remembered - and loved her for - in 'Raiders'.
  • Sallah is conspicuously absent and both the Marcus Brody & Henry Jones, Sr. characters are dead. Okay, well, not really a whole lot Spielberg/Lucas could do about Marcus since Denholm Elliott passed away back in 1992. But Indy sorely needed a familiar-faced foil for both the character and audience to connect with on this South American jungle adventure - a gaping hole not even fillable by the combination of Ray Winstone, John Hurt or Shia LeBeouf (who, in a pleasant surprise and contrary to yours truly's expectations, did not suck).
  • Cate Blanchett as evil Russian KGB agent and psychic, Irina Spalko, is merely window dressing in a role that could have been deliciously devilish. We're not sure what went wrong but we suspect it has something to do with the hair - as we couldn't stop thinking of Edna Mode, the 'Q' character from Disney/Pixar's 'The Incredibles' every time she appeared on-screen... not exactly the quakin'-in-your-boots evil villain vibe they were going for.
  • The storyline might alienate/disappoint some 'Christian-relic-as-MacGuffin (i.e. central-plot-device) fans. Don't say I didn't warn you.
  • Things get somewhat predictable once you catch on to the whole underlying angle of the story.
  • The ending: might have been more satisfying had we seen some real sparks fly between Indy & Marion throughout the flick. Instead, we're served up superfluous dialogue between the two that borders on sitcom/romance-novel-generic, producing a forced pairing that leaves us feeling like they're an old married couple, already sleeping in separate beds. Example:
    • Marion: "I'm sure there must've been plenty of other women over the years for you."
    • Indy: "Sure, there were other women. But they all had one thing in common - they weren't you." (Aaacckk! Gag me now!)
STILL, in spite of the lows, I can forgive almost any flaw to have Indy back on the big screen, so long as the fundamental essence of our beloved Professor/Archeologist is intact - and indeed it is. Welcome back, Dr. Jones - it's good to see you again!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Man With The Hat Is Back!

Monday, July 30, 2007

I've discovered I have a superpower...

Yes, it's true. Apparently, at some point in every romantic relationship I've been in, I turn... invisible. I know this because the man that at the time comprises my other half, starts acting like I have ceased to exist. But I haven't... I mean, I blog therefore I am, right? But all of a sudden it's like I'm that teenager from that awfully disappointing but promising looking movie from a few months ago, where no one can hear him or see him; he's still around, but people act like he's not even there. Remember? (Come to think of it... I started to sense something wasn't quite right in my latest coupling about the same time that movie came out... coincidence or telling curse? Hmmmm....)

I can personally vouch for the fact that invisibility sounds way cooler than it actually is... especially in relationships. You go from someone calling you every day to never answering when you call them; from making plans to spend time together and actually spending time together, to being stood up when you've both agreed on a time and place just to talk... or get your things back (even though getting your things back wasn't really the priority - you just want them to lay eyes on you so you don't feel like you're invisible anymore). You go from feeling like you had finally met your other half, to feeling ...completely empty.

Now that I know about the phenomenon, from what I can tell the biggest problem with being endowed with such an ability, is not knowing when it is that I start to turn invisible, or being able to pinpoint the trigger. I mean, everyone knows having a superpower is NO FUN unless you can learn to control it. Where would Spiderman be without the power to sling webs at a moment's notice? Probably splatted on the sidewalk somewhere. What if Superman's heat vision burned people alive every time he looked their way? Two words: Lois Flame. And lastly, how would Jamie Somers had ever learned to cook if she couldn't keep from squeezing a lemon into oblivion everytime she picked one up? (Okay, I know, that last one was a stretch...).

But seriously, how am I ever going to find my happy ending, if my part in the story always ends up being written in disappearing ink? Maybe I can't keep from turning invisible, but there has to be some sort of reagent that will bring me back into focus without shocking the relationship. But what?

I'd love to hear some ideas. Preferably from "he who shall not be named". But at this point, I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Isn't it Ironic?

"Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right;
And life has a funny way of helping you out when

You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face."

Have I mentioned before that I'm very Virgo? Surely my last couple of posts didn't give it away...

While I've always loved this gem by Alanis Morrisette, until recently I never fully embraced the idea that the snippet of prolific prose above is actually the point of the entire song - NOT all the other verses in which things have gone horribly -if poetically- wrong. Nice little bit of "things happen for a reason" veiled optimism if you ask me.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I don't think I really believe this poem...

... but it *is* rather witty.

It ever has been since time began,
And ever will be, till time lose breath,
That love is a mood--no more--to man,
And love to a woman is life or death.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

So, I was reading in "Mars and Venus on a Date" about how I sabotaged my potential relationship w/he of the binary numbers tattoo (if you missed that part, read my last post to catch up). Apparently, my wave crashed and I turned the tables on the pursuit while he was stretching instead of waiting for his rubberband to snap back. "OH! It's all so clear to me now!" (grrr-RRR).

Okay, so what John Gray is basically telling me is that I should heed the advice of Dr. Alan Grant: Men are like T-Rex - "[he] doesn't want to be fed, he wants to hunt!" Well flip! (Yes, "flip" is my euphamistic version of the "f" How the heck do I turn myself back into prey - especially when the would-be hunter is not in a position to notice that the would-be hunted is making herself scarce and trying not to look over her shoulder to see if she's being chased yet? I hate playing games.

Can I just ask for a do-over - please and thankyouverymuch? Who cares whether it's just to be friends or more? Cuz, y'know, where am I gonna find another Indie-Music-loving I.T. Nerd to talk Star Wars-t.v.-&-movie-shop with?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why is it once I know what I want, I can't have it???

This happens to me ALL-the-time, in every aspect of my life.
  • Example 1
    I got a Sharper Image gift certificate for $50. I must have added nine different items to my shopping cart before narrowing it down to two that I thought I might like that weren't too terribly overpriced. I pick one via 'eeny-meeny-miny-moe' and select "check-out". In keeping with the course of the rest of my life, the item I picked is "currently unavailable and/or out-of-stock". Well, that being the case, OF COURSE, now I don't want the runner-up; it's the out-of-stock item or NOTHING! Screw Sharper Image, AND their mismanaged inventory - "Are you sure you want to cancel this order?" :::click-clack-click::: "Y-E-S."
  • Example 2
    I'm either at lunch or dinner, pouring over the menu like an IRS Auditor with a suspect return. Feeling adventurous, I bravely pick something new to try instead of an old standby. Inevitably, the kitchen is out of some critical component in my departure-of-a-selection. I should be happy to be spared the risk of paying for what could likely turn out as mediocre crap, but no, I'm not. I will be decidedly less happy for the rest of the meal because I'm quite certain I want the thing I picked that they don't have - precisely because they don't have it!!!
  • Example 3
    All the possibilities in the online personal ads world, and the one guy I pick to be the "vinegar in my volcano" fizzles out. What made me think dating would be any different?? Read on below.
Newly single after three years engaged, I jumped back into the dating pool with reckless abandon. I threw out all the old rules and decided to try something virtually unheard of in single life: I was up front and honest! I figured, no one else was doing it, so that would be my niche - my "one unique thing" to set me apart. Unfortunately, it appears it was an idea so radical, so far ahead of it's time, that not even a self-described 'nerd' with a tattoo of the binary numbers on his shin could appreciate it. And on top of that he had to be interminably cute, self-depracatingly adorable, and five years younger than me to boot.

But here's what really sucks: I'm not sure that was it at all really. In fact, I have absolutely NO IDEA what happened, or more accurately, why NOTHING happened after hours of late-night IMs, swapping quips about everything under the sun along with some really great music, and consistently being amazed at finishing each other's sentences. (Okay, so, it was more like I swapped one song and he sent me 82 songs. But still...) And actually, it wasn't really that nothing happened; we met, we liked (or so I thought), we mostly watched a couple of DVDs. Then POOF!-be-gone. What is up with that? It's not like I'm gonna go Postal on someone if they decide they'd rather be friends or just part of my past - but the courtesy of knowing their intentions, good or not-so-much, would be mucho appreciated. And if I did or said something that put us into "jump-the-shark" territory, a little help here - for future reference - would also be nice, capeche?

So, I went on a date with a new guy. Cuz, y'know, that's what you do when you're rejected with deafening silence. We watched Eragon, the boy-meets-dragon movie. It was decent - the movie, not the date per se. I mean, he was nice and everything but there couldn't've been LESS sparks between us than if he'd have been my brother (and I think I'm being kind, here). The upside, ironically, is that he felt the same way. (Whew!) He told me as much in an after-date e-mail. I guess I should be saying "ouch", but I was so relieved when I read it, I didn't have time to consider I'd just been rejected...again. At least this time there was a finality to it, instead of being left wondering, blowing in the breeze. Thanks, one-date new guy! You're a testament to the value of honesty and communication in modern dating. ATTN EVERYONE ELSE: SEE?? This is how it's SUPPOSED to work: Date. Decide. Deliver the verdict. Now, neither I nor one-date new guy has to waste any more time on one another and can happily, with clean consciences, start the process anew with someone else. How efficient!

Ever the analyst, though, I do wonder why one-date new guy didn't find me attractive in person when he seemed pleased as punch with my online photos. (Got you w/that last link, didn't I? Ha-HA!) I have concluded it's one of these two distinct possibilities: a) I'm "fluffier" in person than I appear in said online photos; b) I put out such a "you're not the guy I really want to be at this movie with, but since that guy hasn't bothered to talk to me in two weeks, I'm here with you" vibe, that no amount of initial attraction could overcome it. Or perhaps it was a combination of the two...? Anyhow, that's over and now I don't have to sit through a Christmas concert at the symphony on Thursday with one-date new guy since with his "thanks, but no thanks" e-mail, he effectively withdrew that offer, which he'd made prior to our dragon date. Don't get me wrong, I like the symphony...but I'm more of a Mozart/Beethoven/Tchaikovsky kinda gal than "Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin'" in three movements with strings, woodwinds and a horn section.

Back to the conundrum of the "Invisible Man". If you're out there, and you're reading this, you've obviously won this round of "s/he who cares the least, wins". Be a dear and give me some pointers, would ya? I may be down for the count, but I'm no worse for the wear and am ready to get back on that horse and ride. (Three cliches including a lyrical song reference in one sentence - how can you not reward that, 'Atom'?)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

'Rescue Me' A Safe Haven...

...from 'Real'ity TV. I can't stand 'Real'ity TV. For one thing: IT'S NOT REAL. It's contrived drivel trying to disguise itself as a peek into the spontaneous unfolding of actual situations as they allegedly happen to supposedly 'real' people. Well, MOST of it is, anyway....basically anything with any kind of competition is C-R-A-P (my one exception being Season 1 of Bravo's 'Top Chef' - don't ask me why, that's just how it is.) The only time I see someone on 'Real'ity TV that even remotely resembles what "normal, everyday people" look like or act like, is on 'The Biggest Loser'.

Thank the stars for 'Rescue Me', my indulgent Tuesday night reprieve from such choice fare as 'Last Comic Standing' . 'Rescue Me' is, I think, one of the most smartly written shows on TV these days, and possibly in quite a long time. The writing ranks right up there with 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'Gilmore Girls' and 'NYPD Blue'. In fact, I like to think of 'Rescue Me' as a kind of mixture of the most successful elements of all of those shows - only with an extra kick of testosterone (BAM!).

Speaking of testosterone, some folks are deeply offended by the show's portrayal of women. As a woman, I admit they have danced a little close to the edge - maybe even crossed it if you agree with this article (or not, if you agree with this article). However, generally, I am not at all offended by the depiction of the female characters on the show as I understand they are shown through the eyes of self-avowed misogynist [character] "Tommy Gavin" (whom I inexplicably root for in spite of this fact - lol). Actually, I don't think he's a misogynist. I think he's more of a many straight men unsure of their place in society today (metrosexual? ? retrosexual? ubersexual?) , which is to say he fears what he cannot relate to and/or does not fully understand. But the great thing about that is it's celebrated within the show, much like the Mars/Venus craze of the early 90's: i.e. "We are different creatures, period. Accept it and move on."

Something I wouldn't mind seeing would be to have an episode where the events unfold as seen through someone else's eyes [other than 'Tommy Gavin']: preferably one of the female leads. Bet it'd be hilarious...and enlightening. Kind of like the movie "He Said/She Said", with Kevin Bacon & Elizabeth Perkins. (If you haven't seen it, grab a copy - it's a hoot!)

To me, though, by far the coolest thing about 'Rescue Me' is something I've not heard mentioned anywhere or by anyone else: how they "trick" their large male viewership into expanded viewpoints. It's quite subtle, but I assure you, it's there. Go back and look at some of the dialogue/events. Some examples:
  • the storyline with 'Keela' and how "...little girls [often] grow up to date and marry guys like their Daddies". That is why 'Franco' could give her up to a "better life" [for now that is] - it made him look at how he relates to women & he didn't want her ending up with someone like him that treats women like he does.
  • 'the Chief' taking Viagra w/o a doctor's Rx & ending up having a heart attack & nearly dying! There are TONS of men out there doing just that w/o regard for the consequences. Maybe that episode/storyline has made some take notice & think twice about endangering their lives unnecessarily. I'm not saying men that need a 'lil help' shouldn't take Viagra (or Cialis or Levitra). But sheesh! If ya want it, don't be STUPID - go to a doctor, already!
At the same time, as a female viewer, I've come to be a little more understanding of men as a general populous - kind of the way you accept that really good friend who is forever returning things to the store, or invariably complains about their meal at a restaurant each time you eat out: it's not pretty, but that's just the way they are a lot of the time and besides those flaws, they're really not that bad.

Great show. Great cast. Great Scot! - the season three finale has come and gone. It's going to be a looooong wait 'til next season. (sigh)

Thank goodness Smallville starts back up in 25 days....

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns Verdict: "It's Worthy!"

Let Me Explain
When I say "it's worthy", I mean I am satisfied that Singer/Routh & company didn't screw it up - and that there is definitely potential for a solid franchise here. As opposed to say, the new Star Wars flix which, honestly, [and it pains me to admit this] were overall let-downs, a big disappointment - especially compared to how great I know they could have been. [Had Lucas stuck to producing & gotten pal Spielberg to direct....well, it almost makes me cry to think of the difference it would've made.]

In Superman Returns (SR), there were some truly eerily magical moments....when I felt like it really connected with SI & SII and also, where I could sense the "passing of the torch" as it were, from Reeve to Routh. There was one moment in particular where I just wanted to throw my arms around Brandon Routh in a grateful embrace to say, "Thank you. Thank you, for your deference to those who have come before you (Reeve), and for also adding those little touches that make the role your own. And for not acting like a guy who's trying to act like Christopher Reeve acting like Superman".

Lex Luthor
I really liked Spacey as Luthor - a lot. But, I came away with the sense that there was much left untapped, or maybe left on the cutting room floor (the movie is over 2.5 hrs long after all); like I hadn't seen all I could have of Lex in action. What I thought was missing in particular was the "oooh-I-can't-stand-the-way-he-gets-under-my-skin-cuz-he-always-wins" kind of thing from Lex. There were a couple of references that were included - a jealousy remark and an "I spent 5 yrs in jail because of him and now it's payback time" explanation for Luthor's motives in being, well....Luthor. But I was left feeling like I hadn't seen enough of the verbal banter between Lex & Superman, that battle of words where you angle for clever high ground, to justify the majority of the plot.

Jimmy Olsen
I thought the Olsen character was underused and frankly, out of place. He didn't seem to really belong in the movie, or serve any purpose. His scenes were like afterthoughts, as if someone in the editing room said, "But wait, shouldn't we have Jimmy Olsen doing something now and then? We did hire the kid and he is getting paid. Plus, you can't have a Superman story without Jimmy Olsen." It was like he was included cuz everyone expects to see him - or for no other reason than to aggravate Perry White by constantly calling him, "Chief!". [But they didn't even really play that up, either....yeah, Olsen did refer to White that way, but White never barked back at him for it like we know he's supposed to.)

Perry White
Speaking of "Chief!"....Perry White was 'okay'....not bad, but not really memorable either. He's no J. Jonah Jameson, I'll put it that way.

Lois Lane
I never really totally bought Kate Bosworth as Lois. Yes, Lois Lane is a "mommy" now, so some would argue that you have to consider how that would fundamentally change the character. But if I'm not mistaken, Martha Stewart is a "mommy" too....and yet when it comes to her profession, she's a force to be reckoned with (so I've heard). Hillary Clinton is also a "mommy" - doesn't mean she's all soft-n-cuddly, either. To me, Bosworth's Lois was missing the swagger, the attitude, of Lois Lane. The "I'm a tough broad, in a tough city, in a tough profession and I've been around the block once or twice - and don't you forget it!" general approach to things. I was imagining how Margot Kidder or Smallville's Lois, Erika Durance, would've played her. I have to admit, both of them incorporate more of the "chip on the shoulder" and "driven to get to the bottom of things even if it kills me" elements than Bosworth did. Consider the scenes in the plane before the catastrophic events with the space shuttle. Lois asks the government 'tour guide', as it were, why there is only one network covering such an important event. The woman shoots back with a directive to hold all questions until the end of the demonstration. Lois retreats, without even a smart comeback, comment loud enough for colleagues to hear, or clever redirection toward the lack of openness with the invited press. What????! Hold up....would Lois Lane have let that Government Scientist Barbie get off so easily? I think not.

Special Effects
I thought the CGI breathing life into a long gone Brando as Jor-El was nothing short of amazing. I'm going to pay better attention to that next time I see it. Too bad there wasn't more of it included here. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of that in the sequels to come. I can't wait.

The flying, I'll admit, is the most realistic I've seen. Supe no longer seems to be hanging from an invisible guidewire in front of an obviously green-screened backdrop. No, this Man of Steel looks more like Cris Angel of Mindfreak fame - effortless levitation, except without all the creepiness.

The journey from the remnants of Krypton back to earth was breathtaking. It gave a real sense of why Superman had to be gone so long - heck, he probably spent most of the five years he was gone just getting to and from! He probably hung around Krypton for all of 15 minutes before realizing he had made the trip only to find that Wallyworld was closed for repairs....indefinitely.

Martha/Ma Kent
Eva Marie-Saint was a capable Ma Kent, more there for Holy Mother metaphoring than actual dialogue or bonding with the audience. I'm spoiled by the WB's Smallville, I guess, where Clark's parents are fully-developed characters to which we've become attached - vs fixtures from the comics who are included to evoke certain emotions or dispense sage advice at pivotal moments. I did find it odd that there wasn't even a picture of Pa Kent hanging around the farmhouse though.

Jonathan Kent
Hello??? Who raised you, boy? Pa Kent gets barely a mention in this incarnation. I thought they could've had Clark have some flashbacks to Jonathan Kent to at least bring him into the story as a major influence on who Clark/Superman was and had become, as well as another source of the emotional angst our tormented hero seemed to have in droves. Heck, Glenn Ford is still alive (who knew?!) and could've even done new voiceover work.

Bottom Line
All in all, I'd say it was a valiant effort that mostly succeeded. There is a good foundation for at least a couple of more movies, with hopefully some more character development and cohesiveness to the story besides just that which is seen between Clark/Superman and Lois. Superman has indeed returned.....and with the political climate and state of world affairs, perhaps just in the nick of time, for all of us.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Working Late is Counterproductive

I know this because while I'm waiting on Excel to crunch numbers on a 50K record file, my mind wanders. Every little four to five minute yawn-fest then doubles in size like I've left the auto-mitosis (or is it meiosis?) gear engaged in my brain.

While I'm waiting, I hurry to check USA Today, Yahoo, Google and Fox to make sure I'm not missing anything. Those are my information staples. Occasionally if the spreadsheet is thinking exceptionally hard, I'll hit CNN, too. Wikipedia is also great for what I like to call "steam-of-consciouness" surfing. You pick a topic - ANY topic that comes to mind - type it in the search box and hit enter. In the articles that appear, there are zillions of links sprinkled throughout the narrative so that you could find you had jumped from Benjamin Franklin > Armonica > Interview With the Vampire > Brad Pitt before you can say Shiloh Nouvel!

BTW, I'm not sure why I should even care, but I'm slightly relieved by Brangelina's choice in baby monikering - it's not totally strange like Apple or Bluebell Madonna, but it's also no Plain Jane (no offense Janes of the world); nor is it an overused, cutesy-pooh cheerleader handle like Britney or Jessica (no offense Britneys or Jessica's...except for two overexposed bottle blondes - you know who you are!).

The cool thing is that by the time I'm caught up [on the latest happenings in the world], Excel is too - and I can initiate the next sequence of code which will in turn give me another much needed surf-break.

Hot on the heels of my current events update is the "contest entry relay". This is where I hit F9 (manual calculation) on my spreadsheet, and then Alt-Tab to I.E. and bounce from site to site entering sweepstakes for "fabulous prizes" from the likes of HGTV, Food Network, and DIY. You can enter once-per-day until May 31st on several current sweeps - so of course I do. It used to take longer to fill out the web-forms. But lately I've noticed lots of sites let you slide with just your e-mail address once you've completed the full form on your initial entry. Sweet! But it has it's I'm done entering all my contests for the day, but my spreadsheet is still clocking. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do...

We can't play games where I work...that'll get you a security violation. There are ways around it if you know how to ghost your way across the web. But most times, the ghost sites have Java disabled so the games don't work anyway. It's just as well since the game I'm addicted to is PopFu - which ensnared me with it's wiley ways by being free but is now an exclusive Club Pogo selection (which means ya gotta pay to join the Club to play the game). I suppose I could do crosswords on some newspaper websites, or if I were really desperate, I could launch a "fun-filled" game of Sudoku (can you see the forced grin? ....ugh). Look, don't get me wrong, I like puzzles as much as the next....nerd. But sheesh! What is it about Sudoku that has the rest of the world enthralled but me? I've tried to do them, really I have. And I could, if I wanted to put the time and energy into it....or had a gun to my head. But it's just not....worth it. (Well, okay, yes - if there were a gun to my head, it would be totally worth it.) I apologize to all you Sudoku fans out there if I've offended you....bless your hearts, you do like your number puzzles. And, hey, thanks to my dislike of them, there's more for you! (Don't hurt me.)

Ooh! If you really wanna zone out at work, check this out....but take my word for it: Visine is advisable in order to avoid ocular injury. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How is it possible there are still people who forward hoax e-mails???

I got another one the other day:

Subject: Re: Missing 13 year old girl
Body of e-mail begins: Date: May 10, 2006 12:58 PM Please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward his message on. [Image removed] Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child.
Oh the humanity, the urgency! Of the 112 e-mail addresses and 3 states (I counted) this dire plea had traveled...NO ONE bothered to check this out before mindlessly forwarding it on. Why?? Heck, a person applying a little common sense could read the e-mail and conclude it was more than likely a sham. The lack of details about the alleged incident (how did she go missing? who was the last to see her? what are her vital statistics?) as well as the complete omission of any reference to law enforcement working the case would've had me guessing.

But FOLKS - you don't even have to read the e-mail or break out your Home CSI Kits to figure this out. Why? Because 90% of the time, the good folks at have already done that for you. In fact, you can help STOP THE INSANITY (ty Susan Powter for that phrase) by telling everyone you know to STOP forwarding those inane e-mails UNLESS they first check it out on Snopes.

I used to worry about embarrassing my friends, acquaintances, suitors, etc. by replying just to them with the info that they'd been had, and btw, here is the proof at NO MORE! Nowadays when I get sham-spam from those in my trusty address book, I use the dreaded 'REPLY-TO-ALL' feature to expose the fraud. It goes something like this:

FYI - this is a hoax. See: p.s. I usually check when I want to verify items like this. (Although they also have info on urban legends in general, not just emails or online shenanigans).
That little quip is e-mailed to the sender of said sham-spam, along with everyone they sent it to when sending it to me. Heck, in my quest to educate, I've even been known to grab all the e-mail addresses along the trail and include them, too.

It is my sincere hope that a recipient of this newfound knowledge will stop and think before forwarding future questionable e-mails. As a result of the sheer embarrassment at having been exposed mindlessly forwarding sham-spam like some kind of e-lemming running off the forward-all-emails-Cliffs-of-Insanity (ty Princess Bride for that phrase) they will a) now take the time to check it out first, or b) stop forwarding e-mails altogether. (Either one will work for me.)

So consider yourself warned people. Do your civic duty and check things out before you "forward-to-all". After all, when they enact the e-mail tax, you'll only be hurting yourself.