4.28.2000

Hollow Man : 3 of 5

All I could think of after seeing this one is that there no way this movie could have been made even five years ago. The special effects (all computer generated) are totally amazing, and even a little gross (did we really need to see a CG skinless wiener?). The plot is no big deal, effects carry this one, along with some pretty good action. I wish it hadn't evolved into such a slasher flick, but oh well. A cool aside - I just saw the green suit Kevin Bacon wore for filming on sale at Universal Studios Hollywood for $2000!

Love's Labour's Lost : 4 of 5

Since I took so much Shakespeare in college, it's only natural that I'm a Kenneth Branagh fan. It's impossible for me to watch the St. Crispian's Day speech in Henry V without cheering (out loud!). So, any new Will and Ken endeavor is always on my list. Love's Labour's Lost is entirely goofy and brilliant at the same time. It's basically the same idea as Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (make a modern musical with non-musical folk), but with Shakespeare thrown in as a bonus. It's definitely bold, and I promise you will laugh out loud (and not just at Alicia's overacting).

4.24.2000

Speed Racer

I have always been a Speed Racer fan, and I started thinking more about the show after getting an excellent Speed Racer comic called Born to Race for Christmas. Who wouldn't idolize a young guy who drives fast, fights hard, never gives up, and has a babe like Trixie chasing him around in a helicopter? I have quite a few of the episodes on video, but I'd love to have some original Japanese versions on DVD - somebody please release them! Sometimes it's fun to pretend I'm Speed while I'm zooming down 360 in my Acura - if only it had buttons on the steering wheel.

Martha Stewart

OK, I'll admit it - I have a bizarre addiction to Martha Stewart. I watch her show on Sunday mornings, and I even watched her recent Christmas special (which was totally goofy - the best part was hearing Melissa Joan Hart say "I have a tiny little chimney"). It's not that I'm attracted to her - it's that I admire her. She has turned her own anal-retentive neurosis into a multi-million dollar empire! Who isn't impressed with that? Still, I have a lot of fun counting how many times Martha says "perfect" during her show, and I loved watching Dave Letterman hit on her when she was on Late Night. Oh, and my favorite "Good Thing" is putting Polaroids of your shoes on the ends of each shoebox so you'll know which pair is inside.

Brock returns

Just when I thought my Poke-lust might be waning, the WB lets loose with a new Pokemon series called The Johto Journeys. The theme song declares "It's a whole new world, but you still gotta catch 'em all", as if to doom the audience (me) to certain addiction. Basically, the entire storyline has started over (just like it did with the Orange Islands crap) with new badges, new battles and the usual, but with the addition of all the new Pokemon that have been creeping up everywhere and (Mikey gets a tear in his eye) - the return of Brock. Yes, Brock is back, and in the first Johto episode managed to hit on five women in 30 minutes. Ah, Brock. I hope Tracy Sketchum is sitting in a dark room drawing pictures of Misty and shooting heroin.

4.21.2000

Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity / Jakob Nielsen : 3 of 5

Lots of people don't like Nielsen, and lots do. I enjoyed this book and found it really helpful to get some ideas in my head before starting my new job involving quite a bit of design. True, if Jakob had his way, there would be maybe one image on this page, no JavaScript, and much larger text, but if I hadn't read this book, I could have been tempted to make this a 14 frame mess with animated GIFs and flashing text! (Not really, but it's a good book anyway.)

4.15.2000

Juliana Hatfield / Beautiful Creature : 4 of 5

This is my first Juliana Hatfield CD, which I bought after hearing her via Napster (see, it does make some of us buy CDs!). This is a great disc - it completely fits the semi-whiny girl singer style I like so much, with tight harmony (which is probably also sung by Juliana). No spectacular virtuosos here, just great catchy pop with a sometimes bitter edge.

4.09.2000

Tenchi Universe Vol 5 : 3 of 5

Tenchi and his harem are now the most wanted criminals in the universe - oh no! This series has really taken a bizarre turn, and I'm hoping it will still be enjoyable as the family travels through deep space to get to Ayeka's home planet of Jurai, where a new emperor has taken over and ousted the royal family. There have been some great moments with Kiyone and Mihoshi at Galaxy Police headquarters, and a cool appearance by Ryoko's rival and cute Ken-Oki, but the best story involves the group running an overpriced hostess bar to make money for fuel - Ryoko is such a funny drunk (I'd by her a drink anytime). I wonder how long they can stretch this journey? Good thing they have a karaoke machine on ship!

4.08.2000

Tenchi Muyo in Love : 4 of 5

The Tenchi Muyo films actually try to be something larger than the TV series (I wish I could say this about the Ranma movies, but actually they are just longer episodes). Tenchi Muyo in Love is a bad title (the only love is for his mother), but the story and the emotions are incredible. Tenchi and girlie pals travel back in time to defeat a foe who wants to kill his mother (more of that Jurai stuff), and they get to see his young dad and mom court at school - very touching, cute scenes, especially with his dad sketching the house they will one day live in. Cool battles as well, of course, make this an all around excellent feature.

Napa, California

Being a relatively young man with disposable income, and wanting to spend as much time as possible with Helen before she moved away, I invited her to come with me to California, partially to relive some of the times I had there with Trey. We decided to stay in a bed & breakfast in the town of Napa, so we could do all the wine country activities and still make it to San Francisco, too. The highlight of the trip was our balloon ride over the valley, and we covered more of San Francisco than I had ever seen before. Traveling together was something Helen and I did very well, so this was the first of many trips.

4.07.2000

Tenchi The Movie 2: Daughter of Darkness : 3 of 5

After all the nice things I said about Tenchi Muyo in Love, I have to say that the second Tenchi movie doesn't match its predecessor. First, it's only an hour long - this is a movie? Second, the story is almost too action-oriented. Third, we have to deal with yet another unknown evil being from Jurai's past. Oh well, it was still fun. At least we do get a really touching moment between Tenchi and Ryoko, and the fact that the plot involves Tenchi's "daughter" is interesting. The best part of the DVD is the fact that it includes a full blown interactive encyclopedia with tons of clips!

4.06.2000

Terminator 2: Judgment Day : 2 of 5

I can remember so many people in grade school telling me T2 was the best movie ever - some even said better then Star Wars! Somehow, I never saw the thing, but now I've watched it on DVD. Granted, the effects would have been much more impressive to young eyes - now they are so simple by today's standards. There are some interesting story elements, but overall, I think James Cameron just went too far - come on, 2 hours and 15 minutes for a simple hunt and destroy plot? I was pretty shocked at lots of the gore, too - T2 thinks it can double as a slasher movie. I guess it was fairly enjoyable, but it could easily stand a 30 minute cut!

4.05.2000

This Island Earth : 3 of 5

A real science fiction classic, famous for originating the "big brain bug-eyed beast" that everyone associates with films like this one. The story is kind of cool, since it begins with a little mystery - a scientist is sent a bogus electronics catalog and orders everything in it so he can build an "interocitor" (he doesn't even know what it does). When it's done, he finds it's a communications device, and is invited to join an elite scientific group now that he's completed his test. Of course, the whole purpose is to develop a new source of nuclear power so an alien race can defeat their enemy and colonize Earth! There are some pretty nice effects for the day, but some terrible matte paintings. And why do all movies of this era end abruptly right after the bad guy dies? It's like they can't put "The End" on the screen fast enough! Still, This Island Earth is an essential film for the science fiction fan, and I enjoyed it on DVD (even though it had no special features - boo!).

4.04.2000

The Three Caballeros : 3 of 5

The Three Caballeros was Disney's first feature film to combine live action and animation, but they couldn't have picked a stupider way to show off this technique. This movie is just a loose collection of stand-alone cartoons and song vignettes without any plot to carry us along. Donald Duck is funny, of course, but his two companions are pretty boring. The live action sequences involve famous Latin lady entertainers singing and dancing with Donald, which leads to the most drug-induced Disney sequence I've seen (it makes Fantasia look like everyday life). The DVD includes a couple of other cute cartoon shorts - I love Donald and Disney, of course, but this movie itself is just a thrown together mess.

4.03.2000

Thrill Ride: The Science of Fun : 2 of 5

Since recently traveling to New York City and riding the historic Coney Island Cyclone, I've been obsessed with watching shows about roller coasters and amusement parks (mostly on the Discovery channel). I rented this DVD hoping for lots of roller coaster footage, and while there are some exciting scenes, most of the movie is devoted to motion simulator rides and spends too much time explaining how CGI (computer generated imaging) is done. Oh well, what else was I going to do with that 40 minutes?

4.02.2000

The Time Machine : 3 of 5

A nice birthday gift from Barron and Mariko, who didn't even know this is one of my favorite science fiction movies. The Time Machine takes HG Wells from 1899 to the year 80271 (wow!) where he helps the Eloi and the cutie Weena ("How do they wear their hair - the women of your time?") defeat the Morlocks. I love the cheesy miniature effects in this movie, though the story is so good it certainly rises above the budget. The DVD includes a crazy featurette about the restoration of the time machine prop itself, plus a 20 minute "new" scene where a super old Rod Taylor returns to chat with his old pal David - how touching! It was great to see an old favorite again, and they even have it mixed for 5.1 sound!

4.01.2000

Lost poetry

I recently found a notebook with some poems that I don't even remember writing! Here are a couple short interesting ones.

What do you learn
When you sit and watch her
Wearing your thick robe
Complete with coffee stains
When she lights a cigarette
And blows a hole
Through the smoke?

What do you say?
When do you mean when you say
That her eye catches light
(Her crooked eye
To match her sideways smile)?

What will happen
When the CD changer rotates
And spoils the mood?
Who will care?

Untitled

The sage that tells me
To wait for love
Sleeps in the hammock of her eyelash
Resting without a care
Without a responsibility
But to bitch at my longing

Titan AE : 4 of 5

After seeing the trailer for this movie, I wasn't very psyched about seeing it at the theater - it looked a little hokey, too CG-oriented, and the title sounded like a sinus medicine. Now that I've rented it and seen it - boy, was I wrong! I was completely impressed with Titan AE - the animation is fresh and cool, with excellent CG integration. Fox Animation and Don Bluth really did some truly amazing things from a technical standpoint, and the results are often beautiful. The story is really good, too (though the character of Corso switches from good guy to bad guy and back again so fast it's ridiculous). The voice talents are nice (Drew Barrymore's lisp is so cute), but the soundtrack is a little goofy to lure the "hip crowd" - it comes off as a grunge version of Heavy Metal. Overall though, this is an excellent movie, super exciting, and I could easily watch it again and again.