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The Shawshank Redemption

After dinner at a Mongolian Grill with Maria, we decided to rent and watch a movie. I had recently visited IMDB, where I saw again that the Shawshank Redemption was rated as the second best movie ever (The Godfather edges it slightly). Curious, I have always wanted to see the movie, and last night was the perfect opportunity. After eating, we stopped by Scarecrow, rented the movie, and headed back to my place to enjoy it on my recently acquired 22 inch widescreen LCD monitor.

The movie was very good, certainly a 5/5 on my scale. Score one for IMDB.

Fantastic Four: The Rise (and Fall) of the Silver Surfer

I went to see the second Fantastic Four today with Kunlun, Alex, Alice, Jeremy, and Ian (I think). Although Kunlun and Alex liked it fairly well, the movie didn’t really work for me. Indeed, I have found that most movies where the whole world needs to be saved at the last minute don’t work as well for me as the smaller-scale, yet deeper struggles of similarly-themed, but almost always more successful movies.

— An Aside —

Take, for example, Star Trek: First Contact versus Star Trek: Nemesis. In the first, the earth is saved early in the movie, and the rest of the time they are trying to convince a drunkard to fly a rocket. Yet that movie, in my opinion, is far more compelling than Nemesis, where the world has to be saved at the last minute. Its just so trite that most movies that attempt it can’t help but to fail.

— Back —

Anyway, I would give FF: TRotSS (haha, trotss) a 2 out of 5. Don’t go out of your way to watch it unless you need mindless, predictable action and you tend to like this sort of cheesy action movie.

Shai’s Birthday & Spiderman 3

Yesterday Shai finally got to be as old as me again, and after an interesting dinner, he treated us to Spiderman 3 at Lincoln Square. I actually thought the movie was quite good — maybe a bit formulaic, but it was a formula that worked well. It shared a lot of the character subtleties that made Pirates II compelling, but fortunately lacked the overabundance of darkness of the Pirates offering. And Spiderman offered some legitimate humor, unlike Pirates which played so heavily to the legitimate humor that had been in the first movie, but lacked much if any of its own. I’ll go ahead and give the third Spidey a 4/5.

TMNT & Namesake

Saw two movies this weekend — the new, animated, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (they appear to be no longer teenagers, they are now in their twenties), and then, this night, Namesake. I liked both, although as far as movies go they couldn’t really have been more different.

TMNT — 3.5/5 — Worth seeing if you like em for sure
Namesake — 3.5/5 — Much slower paced, not for everybody, but a good show

300

I went with Theo to see the movie 300 last night. It was alright; unfortunately it could have been great, but it was screwed up in too many places to really excel. Perhaps the worst part is that Theo, who has read the graphic novel that the movie is based on, told me that most of the parts I liked the least were not parts of the graphic novel the movie was based on, but rather were added in by the movie makers themselves.

Oh well, not every violent movie can be Apacalypto.

Before the movie, Theo and I made it to the top of Lincoln Sqaure… it is harder now, but still barely possible.

Update: Forgot to give this one a rating. Lets say, 2.0/5

Long Days

Saturday was the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff. It broadcasts live from Manchester New Hampshire where it is 10:00, so that means 7:00 here, which means getting up around 5:30. The local kickoff event is hosted by none other than the Titan Robotics Club, with generous support from the FIRSTWA/SRA, and DeVry Univeristy. Red Bull was kind enough to provide refreshments (in the form of Red Bull drinks, of course).

I recently discovered that a fellow CSE student, Helene, was a FIRST alum (from team 192, GRT), so I invited her along. With just a little bit of prodding, she accepted, and we both ended up enjoying ourselves while learning about the new game. Of course, I already had a sneak peak from helping assemble the rack on Friday night.

I had promised to get Helene home early, so I left immediately after the kickoff to take her back to the U-District. Next came soccer practice, at 12:30. Since intramural sports seem to be the only way I can coax myself to exercise regularly, I try to get involved with them every quarter. A big thanks to Scott for organizing it every quarter.

Next, I did some homework while organizing a movie-going expedition with Courtney. Along with Kunlun and Anne, we ended up seeing Children of Men, a wonderfully gritty apocalyptic offering. While the others I was with saw it as depressing, I have a way of seeing these sorts of films as very hopeful. Sure, the surroundings were grim — women are infertile and the whole world is self-destructing — but in the midst of it all, life is finding a way forward. I’d give the film an A, or a 4.5/5.

After the movie, I went over to Ananth’s place to watch the second half of the Seahawks game. Talk about a roller coaster! But the Hawks prevailed, so for now, all is well. Ananth was kind enough to feed me while at his apartment, so I didn’t have to do it myself. I also got a call from Maneesh right after the game, and we were able to go crazy over the phone together. It was a good time. After seeing the Sonics lose yet another game, I headed back home to work on some more homework, before succumbing to sleep fairly early.

Sunday, I woke up surprisingly late, considering how early I had fallen asleep. Most of the day was homework until I ended up at my parent’s for food. After dinner, Jon came over an we all watched the replay of the Boise State-Oklahoma game, which I must agree was the best college football game I have seen in a long time, perhaps ever. It seems that for the last few minutes of the game, and overtime, Boise State had simply run out of normal plays. Everything was a trick. Even my mom was excited. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

After the game, it was back to the homework. With the help of my Dad, I was finally able to quash a bug in some of my code, finishing the first part of an assignment due Wednesday. Of course, I have a lot of stuff due Monday, which I guess is today, as well, so I have to go home now and start on that. So much for a great start to the quarter; of course this is probably the most stuff I’ve had to do on a first week ever. Even the amount of reading is looking improbable. Oh well, this is what I signed up for I guess.

Deja Vu & Apacalypto

I recently got back into movie-watching mode, catching Deja Vu with Little Scott, and Apacalypto with the Brothers Marsh and Little Scott.

Deja Vu was a typical time paradox action flick with a remarkably effective delivery that made the movie much more dramatic than it otherwise would have been. It ended predictably, but it was fun getting there. Lets say B+/3.5.

Apacalypto was something else entirely. Let me preface by saying, if you are not totally comfortable with blood spurting from head woods, blood pouring from chest wounds, and brutal blood-drenched combat, do not watch this movie ever. That being said, I liked this movie, a lot. I think it had a rather compelling storyline and told a story without pulling any punches. I definitely think my enjoyment of the movie was due in a large part to a perspective influenced heavily by Orson Scott Card’s Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus and the Book of Mormon. That and my strange and complete callousness to violence. A+/5.0.