Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2007

Oscar Nominations

The endurance trial that is the Oscar race started today with the announcement of the nominations. I haven't seen all the films, so it's unfair to make sweeping denunciations. However, there are more than a couple of blips. First, standard disclaimer: The Oscars are about who you know. They are about celebrity status. They are about members of the Academy fawning over each other. They do not reflect audience preferences, they do not reflect the choices of critics. They started as an industry dinner party, an opportunity for people in the business to get together and cuddle. In many ways -- absent the dinner -- they remain so today. I love Oscar critics who say that the Oscar's are "more and more irrelevant", as if they had ever been "relevant". Or those who remark that some past winner "hasn't stood the test of time", as if that mattered. In that year among that pool of contenders, those members of the Academy liked those winners more than…

Bob Lee "The Nailer" Swagger?

This makes me nervous.I love the Swagger books by Stephen Hunter. Hell, I like all of his books that I've read. The man can right scenes of violence that make you gasp, yet they never feel gratuitous.Shooter, the movie, is back on the book Point of Impact. As is endlessly discussed and explained, lots of things have to change during that transition of book-to-movie. So I know going in that I'm not going to see the Bob Lee on the screen the Bob Lee I read about. For one, in the book he's much older, a burnt out, semi-disabled Vietnam vet. In the movie he's played by Mark Wahlberg, and he's anything but old, burnt out, or disabled.Does he have to be? Well, for the book he had to be, because that's why the bad guys recuited him. He's a master sniper, second to none. His war wound and the way he was treated by the government upon his return have made him fairly bitter. It, presumably, also makes him easier to manage. Naturally, in the book the bad guys get it a…

Children of Men

I had high hopes for this film. Some of the early reviews were great. Later, there were some less than glowing comments. All that, combined with the delay in getting the film to my area, took the sheen off Children of Men. Until I saw it.I'll cut to the chase and simply say it's my second favorite film of 2006 (#1 being United 93, no ifs, ands, or buts). It has problems, especially in terms of its politics, but it has a central story that just sucks me in.Let me dispense with the bad right away: Alfonso CuarĂ³n throws images around in this film in such careless fashion that it becomes mindless and therefore meaningless. I didn't mind the posters slamming Bush and "Bliar", even though it seemed a strange thing to see in a film that ostensibly takes place 20 years in the future. As jabs at current administrations, they're weak. As elements of the film, they're stupid, and they'll seem even more so in the years to come. There are images that are probabl…

Dearly Departed

I'm a Martin Scorsese fan. I haven't liked everything he's ever done, but even the ones I don't like are at least interesting. Most of his films are fantastic. So I was looking forward to seeing The Departed and now that I have, I'm surprised that I'm left with a supreme sense of, "Feh." It begs for a comparison to its roots, the Chinese film Infernal Affairs. In some minor ways it improves on the original, but when all is said and done, Infernal Affairs wipes the floor with The Departed. Why? First, I felt completely unstuck in time with The Departed. I think the film covers about a year's worth of time, but I'm not sure. Months seem to pass but no we're back in time no we're not we're a year down the road no we're only a day and look that conversation isn't over until next month the two are just stuck in that apartment chattering guns guns guns blood what month is it? You get the idea? Some films do this with aplomb an…

Analyzing Cisco v Apple

I think I'll start treating this like a law school exam question. FYI, a law school exam doesn't look for the right answer, they look at the strength and thoroughness of your arguments. If you want to see most of this is action in the real world, search for and read Quality Inns International v McDonald's Corp (a pdf can be found here). The process I'm going to go through is the same. If I were writing a brief on this case, this would be my outline. And hang on, this is a long post because there are a lot of questions in a trademark analysis. All I have is the public record. Cisco, in the filing, makes allegations based on "belief and information", but they don't state the basis of either. In turn, Apple hasn't filed an answer at all, so all I have are their public statements. The rest is sheer speculation. With that said, let's run the drill.... Do we have a trademark?Yes. The trademark in question is "iPhone". It is a nonsense word, i…

Cisco Sues Apple!

Bwahaha:Cisco Systems sued Apple Inc. in federal court Wednesday, saying the computer maker's new iPhone violates its trademark. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco federal court, came just a day after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone in dramatic fashion at a trade show in San Francisco. But even while Jobs was trumpeting the product during his keynote address to Apple faithful, the matter of the product's naming had not been resolved behind the scenes between two of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.I figured they'd play nice, I figured Apple, that is, Steve Jobs, wouldn't be so stupid. Sure, he got away with this crap when Apple (Computers) fought Apple (Records), but Cisco is worth (let's check the article) something like $174 billion, "the most richly valued company in Silicon Valley[.]"It is also worth noting that they are suing for injunctive relief, a court order commanding Apple to top using the name "iPhone"…

James Cameron Is Back?

I want to get this excited, I really do:I don’t care how he votes. I don’t care if he’s frenched Hugo Chavez in the warm glow of a burning American flag. Cameron is the most innovative exciting and original filmmaker we have now and his return to the business of making films is wonderful news. If some other hacks had half Cameron’s talent I’d give them a wider berth. See, it’s just a bad mix to be a hack and hate America. One or the other I can maybe live with. But both? No....but James Cameron is so uneven for me. Maybe it's the way he let his ego take over after Titanic's Oscar sweep. Or maybe because where lots of people condemn Steven Spielberg for creating the "curse" of the summer blockbuster (think Jaws, 1975), I blame Cameron for creating the true curse of the horrifically out of control Hollywood film budget.Titanic was and probably remains the most expensive film ever made. (Yes, yes, I know that Cleopatra ranks right up there, but I don't have my infla…

Apple Unveils a Lawsuit!

Well, maybe not yet, but Cisco already owns the name "iPhone", so either Apple has purchased permission to use the name or their lawyers are already drawing up their response to the filing Cisco will be making. In any event, at MacWorld today, Jobs unveiled the long-rumored, much discussed, always drooled over (by Macboi's) Apple iPhone. Am I the only one not terribly impressed? The technology looks stunning. It also looks like overkill. Massive overkill for a phone. As a precursor for future uses, this is terrific. Jobs compared this to the unveiling of the original Macintosh computer. To me, it looks more like the unveiling of the Lisa, which was overpriced and underwhelming in actual use. To be sure, the Lisa made way for the Mac. In the same way, it looks to me that this generation iPhone will give way to a genuine killer product. Why? The price. For $500 I can get a kick-ass digital camera, a kick-ass mp3 player, and be more than satisfied with a regular, free cell …

OS Wars, Flame!

Will the prattle over whose operating system is superior ever cease? Well, no, of course not. I, of course, opt to sit above the fray and will pompously claim to speak for the common man. What do I mean by that? I mean that insane and inane debates over which operating system is "best" completely miss the point. The point? That most people don't care about the operating system, they care whether or not their computer does what they want it to do. I bow before the inherent superiority of Linux and its Unix origins. I acknowledge that a core of Unix invests Mac OS X with a certain sophistication and advantage that Windows XP -- and probably the forthcoming Windows Vista -- can't, and won't, match. Fine. Mac fanbois, are you happy? Good. Excuse me, though, I'm sticking with my XP boxes, thankyouverymuch. Why? Because XP works. I know someone can crank up some stats that show that once an XP box touches the Internet it takes approximately three shakes for an XP b…

Uncle Orson's All-time Film List

My son loves to read Orson Scott Card. I'm a fan, but not in the same league as my son. He also likes to peruse Card's website, and I thought I'd trot over there and look, what I found, Uncle Orson's All-time Film List:To make this list, a film had to move me deeply or entertain me greatly on first viewing, and continue to move me and entertain me upon repeat viewings in later years. The first twenty or so are roughly in order of importance to me; after that, the order of the rest could be shuffled a bit without harm. I mean, can I really say that Hudsucker Proxy is "better" than The Man Who Would Be King? Of course not. But I can say that Man for All Seasons is more important to me than any other movie in my life, though the next few aren't far behind.Regretfully, I confess that I haven't seen all of the films on his list, just most (90+%). What I find amazing is how much I agree with his assessments of the films, and what made them simply Great. For…