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Showing posts from 2010

DVD: Daybreakers

Daybreakers is, in turn, a fascinating vampire universe, a more mundane vampire film, and ultimately an utter mess of a vampire flick. Which is too bad, because it could have been an utterly awesome vampire film.Of late, the vampire has been treated pretty shabbily.  They’re becoming emo pansies, rather than the bad-ass blood-thirsty (literally) killers that they truly are.  Most will blame the Twilight books and films, and maybe they’re right. Wherever it began, however, it’s become an epidemic. The results are well-chronicled in an article over an io9, “I demand better vampires.”Daybreakers might have been the film to fill that demand. It could even have been the setup for the vampire TV series. Its possibilities were endless, and maybe still are.The film takes place in the near future. For reasons not fully explained, though hinted at during the opening title sequence, most of the world’s population have become vampires. The few remaining humans are either kept in special farms, sl…

A Brief Lesson In Why California is Economically Dysfunctional

State budget woes grow deeper as rosy projections come up shortWashington hasn't come to the rescue. Hopes for a tax windfall were dashed last month.As the reality of a $20 billion deficit sets in, California leaders are bracing for another summer of difficult state budget talks.Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will kick off serious budget discussions Friday with his May budget revision.(Emphasis mine.)The California state budget process looks something like this:By January 10 of every year, the Governor presents his state budget to the Legislature (California Constitution Article 4 Section 12(a)).The Legislature hashes at it.By mid-May, the Governor submits his May revise, the “revise” taking into account changes in the economy, shifting spending priorities, etc.The Legislature resumes chewing.The Legislature must pass the budget bill by June 15 (California Constitution Article 4 Section 12(c)(3)).El Guv has certain line item veto authority, but in general he either approves or rejects…

Iron Man 2

The question on everyone's mind: Is Iron Man 2 as good as Iron Man?For myself the answer is no, it's not as good, it's better. That's my pure gut reaction and subject to change after I've seen it again (and again). It's not a fair comparison at the moment because I've seen Iron Man more than a few times, and enjoy it each and every time.Nonetheless, there's a certain something to the sequel. Generally in the pattern of superhero films, the first film tells the tale of how our hero became super. The second film is about the period of adjustment, how our superhero is adapting to their new role in life. The best examples include Spider Man and Spider Man 2, as well as Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.In loose fashion, Iron Man 2 hews to that template, but gives it a gentle spin. The significant difference between Iron Man and other superheroes is that he doesn't have a secret identity. Tony Stark has already publicly declared he's Iron Man, so unl…

BRD: Avatar

In one sentence: Remarkably beautiful, incredibly brain dead, and if it were any more touchy feely I would have felt molested.Now, in a few more sentences: Taking place in 2154, Avatar tells the story of Jake Sully and his journey to Pandora, a moon around a distant solar system. (It’s supposed to be the planet Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri star system, but I’m darned if I can remember that being in the film.) Sully is there to remote-pilot a cloned alien body, his “avatar” of the title. His publicized mission is to provide security for scientific recons; his covert mission is to infiltrate the natives, learn their weaknesses, and advise military command.The entire necessity for an avatar is the toxic and hostile nature of Pandora. It is presented as a planet custom-made to eliminate human life. Animals will kill you on sight, and if they fail the atmosphere will do the job, so for goodness sake, don’t breathe! More than a few times I found myself wondering whether Harry Harrison s…

How to Train Your Dragon

It was my birthday this past week, and Dreamworks Animation has just delivered this born and bred animation fan a brilliant present called How to Train Your Dragon. A simple story told simply well, it is a joy to behold and I’m straining to say anything vaguely ungood about it.All right, the supporting cast is rather weak. You’ve met them all before and seen all their antics before (though the one who evaluates dragons in terms of their D&D scores is hilarious). Yes, and so what? Complaining about them is as useful as complaining about the director again using a blue sky during daytime. These are people in the background, given (maybe) a word or two to let you get to know them. So drag out a stock character, let him/her/it scream/speak/bark and voila, the audience understands them immediately.But enough negativity, on with the oh so very good….How to Train Your Dragon tells the story of Hiccup, an un-Viking-like boy growing up on an island of rough and tough Vikings. It’s a wonder…

Coming Soon: TRON Legacy

Excuse me while I dust things off. Long time no write. Been looking for Brigadoon. So far no luck, but I remain hopeful.I missed reviewing Sherlock Holmes and Daybreakers. I’ll write more about them when the DVD’s are released, but suffice to say for now that I’ll be buying both.I still haven’t seen that box office behemoth, Avatar. My sister gave it a glowing testimonial: Absolutely gorgeous, beautifully presenting stupid characters and an even stupider plot. Seems consistent with most every review and/or comment I’ve heard or read. Except for those few who are so over-the-top in love with it they remind me of WALL-E fanboys. When I see it on DVD I’ll no doubt be told that it’ll suck because “you must experience it!” Well, sorry, but isn’t that a left-handed way of saying the story sucks?Can’t argue with $2+ billion at the box office, though.I could probably write about Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, but it’s not worth caring about. That it’s raked in so much at the box office ma…