If you actually care what I think about movies, music, or books, this is where to look.

Catch Up

I don’t know if I can even recall the books and movies since I last posted about them. Last night I watched Falling Down, a movie about a nutjob defense employee who just walks out of traffic one day and has some crazy adventures (I liked it, it was messed up). The other night I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was different than the first movie of course. I still haven’t read the book, but I certainly will sometime. Deep Roy is awesome. Far better than Johnny Depp, even though he did a passable job too. “Everything here is eatable. I’m even eatable, but that’s called cannibalism, and frowned on in most cultures.” Over Christmas, we watched the first three Harry Potter movies (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban). I liked all of them (though none of them were spectacular). I’ve read the first two books (years ago), and rereading and catching up is somewhere on my reading queue.

After I caught up on the original Earthsea trilogy, I read Tehanu and Tales from Earthsea. By the way, all of these are by Ursula K. Le Guin. Incidentally, Fantastic Fiction is a great website for fantasy readers. When I have some time at home, I’m going to read The Other Wind, the last Earthsea book.

I’m currently reading A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. This is the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I love the series, and I’m rereading it so I can get to A Feast for Crows and still know what’s going on. “Epic” is the key descriptor for this series. It’s huge and detailed. In my opinion, it hasn’t stagnated the way Robert Jordan‘s Wheel of Time has. But then, Martin’s only on his fourth book, and Jordan’s written about thirty of them or something. But then, Jordan’s started stagnating around the third book. I hate all his female characters so bad. They’re retarded, and they’re all the same character. *sigh* But I still have to read it. Therefore, Knife of Dreams is still on my list. Luckily, my roommate has a copy, so I shouldn’t have to buy it till it’s on paperback.

I’m sure there’s other things I’ve seen and read. Oh, like Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. It was okay. Parts of it were funny, if you’re into Family Guy style humor (which I am). And until I recall more stuff, that’s all for now.

I’m stuck in San Diego on a remarkably frustrating trip. The contractors are about two months behind, and they’re in our way. They were supposed to be off the premises by the time we got here, but they’ve got our equipment surrounded by scaffolding and covered in tarps. They’re painting and grinding all around it, so we can’t do anything. Also, the install group is dumb. They were supposed to be done, too, and they’re still not. So, we’ve basically been having a vacation in San Diego. Which is kinda nice, but frustrating because we can’t get any work done.

Posted by snaotheus in Reviews, 2 comments

Several Things

Since the last time I’ve put anything in the Reviews section, I’ve read, listened to, and watched a bunch of stuff. Let’s see what I can remember.

Most recently, I watched The Wizard of Oz. I had never seen it before. Indeed, so many people disbelieved me when I told them I hadn’t seen it, that I started to think that maybe I had seen it and just forgotten most of it. But, after seeing the whole thing through, I definitely never saw it before. It was a really good movie though! Quirky and strange (and I loved the fact that all of the Munchkins and whatnot got a single line in the credits: The Singer Midgets as the Munchkins). I hate Dorothy. She’s stupid and annoying. The Cowardly Lion is awesome. And I loved this quote from the Wizard: “Why, anybody can have a brain. That’s a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma.”

KrisDi and I also watched Tron recently. It was probably the first time I watched it all the way through. Truth be told, it was horrible, but I enjoyed it anyway. It did inspire a new drinking game though: Drink once for every hardware reference. Twice for every incorrect hardware reference. Three times whenever software shows emotion or ambition or any other human trait not attributable to computers (yet).

We also watched Life is Beautiful, an Italian film by Roberto Benigni. He does a great job of making you like all the characters. I was leery about a movie where the director was also the leading man, but it worked out very well. It was a very good movie.

I just finished re-reading the first three Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin. They were just as enchanting the second time. I reread them because since the first time I read them, three more books have been released in the series. I have them now, and will get to reading them soon. Anyway, my prognosis on Earthsea is “excellent.”

I’m now reading Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. It’s not particularly well-written, but the subject matter is really interesting. It might help that I’m pretty familiar with Navy stuff in general, and that my dad served on one of the ships (USS Seawolf) mentioned periodically in the book. I’m not done with it yet, but I found it worth reading. I’m a little surprised to report that, since it’s non-fiction, which is a bit of departure from my normal fare, if you hadn’t noticed.

Posted by snaotheus in Reviews, 1 comment


I had a lot of spare time on my last trip, so I watched the following movies and read the following books (and wrote reviews on them)

The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri (translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
I wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t know Italian history, because I think a lot of the appeal of this thing is recognizing all the people suffering in hell. There were a number of things I liked about it, but overall I found it pretty damn boring, unsurprisingly, since I don’t know a damn thing about Italian history and I didn’t even recognize the names of most of the “notables” burning for their sins.

It was the burning for the sins that I came for, and the burning for the sins that I stayed for. I mostly just wanted to read poetic descriptions of suffering. They were pretty graphic. Turns out I also liked the odd sentence structures and obscure verbiage. I must admit, though, I found it difficult to finish the book. I’ve never read anything that put me to sleep so quickly, and I’m including math and physics textbooks. I was pretty amazed.

I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the Divine Comedy until my education miraculously improves (preferably Matrix-style downloadable knowledge upgrades).



Apparently a classic German movie (of the non-scheisza variety) from 1931. In some ways I can see how it might have inspired The Usual Suspects, but M’s nowhere near as good. I think there was supposed to be a morale to the story, although it’s difficult to tell whether it’s “don’t judge others unless you’re free of sin” or “killing people is bad” or “German children like candy” or “the German criminal undeground is unionized, highly organized, and remarkably efficient, and the police force is not.” I can probably think of a few others. On the boob scale, it rates a zero, because although there were whores, I didn’t even see any cleavage. Also, no explosions, although there were unruly mobs.

Reading the following paragraph will probably spoil the plot for you, but since I don’t expect anybody will actually rent it, here goes:
The story starts off pretty cookie-cutter; mysterious serial murders of young girls, murderer writes a letter to the presses for publicity, manhunt and panic ensue. Here’s the twist: The unionized, highly organized criminal underground is so upset by the upsurge in police activity (cutting down on their work and reducing their funding, requiring them to start taking money from their “pensions for the wives of jailed union members” fund) that they decide to go after him themselves. And they go whole-hog, too. The Beggars’ Union tracks him into a building and they observe that he doesn’t come out, so the thieves and other disreputables break into it that night, neutralizing the guards and systematically break into every room in the building looking for him. When they finally catch him (moments before the cops arrive), they take him to some abandoned building to give him a trial. The cops arrive before the trial can be completed, and regular justice (as opposed to criminal underworld justice) is dispensed.


La Femme Nikita was pretty good. This one was French. Apparently I’ve been into foreign films lately. I guess that’s just how it goes when I start adding things to my Netflix queue. I end up with a bunch of things from a genre in a row, with Bubba Ho-tep thrown in the mix. Anyway, the plot was basically a teenage druggie punk gets caught and prosecuted for murder. The government stages her death so they can turn her into an assassin, something at which she’s apparently particularly talented. After a few fucked up scenes, she decides she doesn’t want to do this job any more, and leaves everything (including her newfound beloved fiancee) behind to continue her life elsewhere (presumably with markedly less violence).

Posted by snaotheus in Reviews, 2 comments

Rashomon and Bubba Ho Tep

I watched Rashomon on my last flight. Not that they actually showed it on the plane, I played the DVD on my laptop. Christ, if they played this on a flight, it might set a precedent for decent in-flight entertainment, and that would totally destroy today’s flying experience.

I don’t really want to spoil the movie, because I recommend watching the whole thing. It’s a foreign film, though. I watched it with the Japanese language audio and English subtitles (as is my preference for foreign films). Anyway, so a crime is committed and you get to hear descriptions of said crime from all the participants. The stories are ridiculously inaccurate and incongruous, as each character tells the story to their own advantage in some fashion, and you’re left to glean whatever truth you like out of the testimonies.

I liked it because beyond being interesting and occasionally funny, it demonstrates how memory is subjective rather than objective. There were sword fights, love stories, crime, remorse, violent death, implied sex (not graphic or boobiful), treachery, everything (besides boobs) but explosions. I recommend it. To my friends, anyway, who won’t hate me for recommending this since they realize that I like some weird ass movies.

– – – – – – –

I watched Bubba Ho Tep in the hotel today, because I was bored as all hell. Bruce Campbell is still the man, of course (I shook the Evil Hand!). I liked this movie too. KrisDi will probably groan, since she thought Army of Darkness was hopelessly cheesy, but I’m a big fan of the cheesy horror genre. GirlAndi remembers the Jason nights back in the day.

Anyway, this movie had pretty much everything but the sword fighting. Explosions, boobies, violence, undead, a black John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis should have gotten an Oscar or something. I was convinced. I swear it). I guess it was missing treachery. This movie was a lot funnier than Rashomon, though.

I decided to buy into the characters, because I liked them. A repentant Elvis lives in the shoddy Mud Creek Shady Rest Convalesence [sic] Home, enduring the disbelieving and condescending staff. The only person who believes he’s the genuine article is the elderly John F. Kennedy, part of his brain removed and replaced with sand, his body dyed black by the government to hide the truth.

So there are the characters, whom I loved because I’m a quirky nerd. Mysterious things begin happening around the Home, and JFK and the King get together to save their retirement home. Elvis’s colorful past is revealed (as well as more of his medical history than I was really comfortable knowing) through flashbacks. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the trippy schizoid scenes (that’s where you’ll find the boobies). Oh, and there’s a panty shot, too! So go watch it already!

Posted by snaotheus in Reviews, 3 comments