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Last update: 26 Mar 2006 -- 0:35am
26 Mar 2006

Howl's Moving Castle (IMDB 8.0|Rot 84%) (DVD Rental)

I liked Castle, but it pales in comparison to Spirited Away (IMDB 8.5|Rot 98%) and Princess Mononoke (IMDB 8.3|Rot 92%). All of these are Japanese animated films, directed by the same (brilliant) guy: Hayao Miyazaki.

Castle takes place in a magic steampunk world. Sophie, a hatter, gets caught up in a bit of magical intrigue causing her to search out Howl, who lives in the eponymous moving castle. Besides being ambulatory, the castle's front door exists in multiple places at once. Add a talking fire, a non-verbal but helpful scarecrow, a little kid, and animal transformation and stir.

The sadly miscast English dub was alternately flat/unaffected and overacted. I eventually switched it to Japanese (English subtitles) so I could at least understand the character's emotions.

The story largely makes sense from moment to moment (and all of the moments are interesting), but the overall arc barely holds together. The ending has a giant and unwelcome deux ex machina; I would have preferred the thread to have been left dangling instead.

Like anything by Miyazaki, it's worth seeing. However, if you haven't seen Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke yet, see them first.

25 Mar 2006

Domino (IMDB 5.8|Rot 16%) (DVD Rental)

Looking at the scores, no one liked this movie. I did, though, at least as a rental. It's highly stylized, violent, sometimes funny, and a bit weird. None of the characters except for Domino herself are much more than a paper cutout, but I think they are all meant to be that way. Quite literally, it's her story.

Worth a rent.

Final Destination 3 (IMDB 6.2|CAP 34|Rot 45%)

Saw this a few weeks back. A teen horror flick in the classic mode. The deaths are deliciously gruesome, some of the victims deserved their fates, no one believes the protagonist when she tries to warn them, etc. Worth a rent if you like that kind of movie.

The Hills Have Eyes (IMDB 6.6|Rot 49%)

Chosen for its fairly high score (for a horror flick) from Rotten Tomatoes. Not indicative of quality in this case. Extended suburban family gets waylaid in the Nevada desert and is tormented by mutants created by 1950s nuclear tests. Even without the mutants trying to shoot, immolate, rape, and eat the family, they were doomed to perish from stupidity/exposure. By the second minute of the movie (post-teaser) you already want main protagonist to be the first one to go. The fact that he lives is rather a let-down, actually. Best moments in the movie happen in the teaser before the title credits roll. Weak.

21 Mar 2006

I've been spending insomniac hours playing .

I've been playing the 4x4 puzzle and I usually finish at or just below the middle of the players. A lot of the words are not Scrabble safe, so that takes some getting used to.

Cool stuff they did: click a name in the rankings and the words they found that you didn't are highlighted. Put your cursor over a word and it highlights the people who found the word. Click a word and it goes to the dictionary definition.

I play as "foamy".

20 Mar 2006

I don't usually get past the third question of most personality tests, but this one had a couple of interesting ways to ask questions; the sliding bar and the 2d graph which were pretty cool.

5 Mar 2006

Live action Simpsons?!

1 Mar 2006

President was briefed about potential levee breaches before Katrina. And lied about it. To you.

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