Monthly Archives: December 2007

My Couch Theatre

After last weekends dismal movie showing I lined up what I thought would be three great shows.

Lions For LambsI started off with Lions for Lambs, and I have to admit I am a Tom Cruise fan. Every movie he is in I get excited about. Valkerye is slated for a 2008 release and I am really looking forward to that, but in the meantime I have Cruise in a political story.

The movie also stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford doing acting and directing roles. The story revolved around Washington’s disillusioned understanding of the war in Afghanistan and what they think is the right solution on the other side of the world. This was a formula for a great movie, but it failed to impress me.

I am not sure what was wrong, perhaps the movie was too short. It was ninety minutes and could have easily been over two hours to flesh out the separate stories. Perhaps then I would have been more invested in the Afghanistan story. Instead of being amazing it was simply lackluster.

I am not sure what else I could say, it wasn’t a terrible movie it just missed the mark on several areas.

Eastern PromisesNext on my list was Eastern Promises. I knew little about this movie except Viggo Mortensen was great and that the director was receiving accolades for it. Every review I had heard was spot on about this movie.

I watched the movie with sub-titles on and it helped when Russian was being spoken, but it would not be detrimental to not have them available. The movie had a great story revolving around a diary found on a girl who died during birth and what a family will do to keep the secrets safe.

Everything about the movie was great. Mortensen played such a violent and cold character but his actions revealed a hidden agenda and even if he cut off someone’s fingers the night before he could still be compassionate the next day.

I thought Mortensen would have a difficult time shedding the Aragon character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy but this proves he can play something other than fantasy.

Fun fact: Eastern Promises featured the most intense naked fight scene since Borat. Instead of fighting Azamat Mortensen’s character was taking battling two Checchan’s in an epic knife battle.

I?m Not ThereI’m Not There wrapped up my movie session and it was more than I expected it to be.

I am a fan of Dylan’s work but I am also very naive to his history. I’m Not There is a movie inspired by Dylan’s music and stories of his various lives and it was brilliant.

I thought having different actors play the same person would be awkward, but if I were to have a movie written about me I would be honored to have six actors play various parts of my life.

Obviously the soundtrack was excellent with well placed Dylan songs. The movie was artistic with stunning visuals and beautifully set up shots. The actors cast into the six stories were really impressive. Marcus Carl Franklin did a fantastic job considering he was in a movie with actors like Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere and Christian Bale.

White Stripes: July 25, 2007 PosterCate Blanchett’s depiction of Dylan’s performance with electric guitars being equal to opening fire on the audience was genius. The electric performance reminded me of a poster Rob Jones created. The White Stripes recently performed the same day Dylan went electric and Jones homage to that in the concert poster.

All in all I feel it was a good weekend for movies. With Oscar season around the corner there will be a few more to watch but I feel there will be some nominations for a few of the movies I saw this weekend.

My Mother Canucks

On Monday evening there was a surprise in store for me. The week before How I Met Your Mother was a repeat and I assumed there would be no new episodes until the WGA strike was resolved.

How I Met your Mother

How wrong I was. Not only was there a new episode, it was hilarious and I learned something about the Canucks.

Canadian born, cigar smoking, Tom boy Robin Scherbatsky recalled a perk of dating the sports reporter at her network with:

Robin: I even got into the changerooms and met Mayson Raymond.
Barney: Who?
Robin: He plays left wing for the Vancouver Canucks.

I looked over to Jenna and shook my head. I was not familiar with a Mason Raymond and we carried on with the episode.

The next morning I read an article titled Canucks recall three from Hamilton from Yahoo Sports. The first paragraph went like this:

The Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday recalled left wings Mason Raymond and Jason Jaffray and goaltender Drew MacIntyre from Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

Canucks : Mason RaymondI guess he really is a player, and the Canucks called him up in lieu of their recent injury streak.

While the Vancouver head office would never admit to Hollywood influencing their player call ups but there was a lot of talk about it following the episode on Monday.

The following night Vancouver played Anaheim, perhaps some of the writers for the show would take a time out from the picket line and see the game, because Raymond did not disappoint!

The two fresh faces in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room were easy to spot. Lockers displaying pucks with a piece of tape that said: “1st NHL goal” gave Mason Raymond and Jason Jaffray away. link

There you go, you can learn new things from TV shows and seeing as this episode was written months ago it is pretty remarkable that he would score his very first NHL goal after being name dropped on TV.

My Zootopia Station

I think there is a pretty evident parallel here. When I worked nights I was getting less sleep and more active on seagurs. I am now back on a regular sleep schedule and my posting frequency drops!

A team of parka clad researchers are heading to the North Pole to investigate this relation further.

I have not been up to much in the last week. The long weekend saw a staff party, some long sleeps and I caught up on a few movies.


Rescue Dawn and Redacted

The first movie was Redacted, and it caught my attention by seeing a trailer a few weeks back. The movie showed great promise and looked like it would be right up my ally. Unfortunately I found it slow, focused on an event in the oversea war I had not heard of and failed to deliver an story pacing.

I tried to redeem my lackluster movie weekend with a movie Dad lent me called Rescue Dawn. Because this movie was from Dad’s personal collection I expected it to not be an intelligent movie with an intricate plot but be simple and have a few explosions.

Unfortunately there were no explosions and the movie was dull. Because it starred Christian Bale my expectations were set higher but was sorely disappointed. The story could have been good but it failed to maintain the tension and urgency of escaping from the Vietnamese POW camp.

I have to make up for these two shows with Lions for Lambs or perhaps go for a reliable choice that will not let me down.

Lost

Season three of Lost was released on DVD this week and there has been a little bit of promotional items released online. The biggest is a new orientation film. Some wild things happen and the DHARMA rabbit hole goes a little deeper.

The season four trailer is also edited in a fast and exciting style that we have all come to know, love and hate from ABC. Fifty-five days until the season starts and this is fueling my excitement.

YouTube IconSeason 4 Trailer (0:35) | The Orchid Orientation Preview (2:02)

Unfortunately we may not receive the eight episodes we expected, but two less. DarkUFO had an update on this situation, read below:

There is a natural break in the story at the end of episode 6. But there are 8 episodes in the can, and those last two start a new arc and don’t really stand alone. So…….some PTB at ABC don’t want to show those last two. At all — until fall or NEXT Feb. when/if there are more episodes to go with them. But other powers in the Disney pack are strongly pushing for all 8 episodes this Feb, because they are so desperate for original content to be aired. But right now, there is nothing to follow # 8, not planned, not written, nuttin’. link

U2 : ZooTV

Everything you know is wrong!

My Night Conclusion

All night long you’re thinking: Am I asleep? Have I slept?

This concludes the social-work experiment of how I react when I work night shifts. Six days of sleeping in the afternoon, breakfast at 10AM and 4PM are coming to an end. One day I even had a beer at four in the afternoon, which would have been my ‘morning’.

Escher – Day and Night

Besides a beer for breakfast one of the biggest perks was no traffic. I could get home in the same time it took me to get to work, which is never the case during rush hour. A parking spot was also not an issue. When I did go to Tim Hortons it was quiet and I got my coffee fast.

I also liked the solitude of nights. There are few distractions so you are able to concentrate on your job. Although the little distractions throughout the day are nice. The reason why I was working nights was pretty successful too. The page saw great traffic and the European market we wanted to reach were the top countries on page views.

Post It Notes: InsomniaI was getting about 5-7 hours of sleep a day so that is no worse than my idea of a rough week but the hours were rarely in a continuous stretch. Several times I had a nap at 9PM just so I could make it through the next twelve hours.

Being woken up from an hour nap at 10PM is like waking a bear during his hibernation and then you tell him there is no honey. I think torture techniques could easily take advantage of sleep deprivation and taunting the subject for a nap only to take it away at the last moment.

Post It Notes: WeekendI do not think I completely adjusted to working nights, so this should benefit me when I move back to normal hours. I will have a long weekend to sort myself out for Monday morning and get back on track for sleeping for seven to eight hours regularly.

Even then, sleeping during the afternoon was not as big of a problem as I had anticipated. I did buy a sleep mask, and even used it a few times. I found the mask was helpful, with the aid of ear plugs, to not be affected by the outside world.

I may not enthusiastically jump at the opportunity to work nights again, but I can say I have tried and survived.

My Network Formula

Beds equal sleepI am not sure how many days I am into my night shifts, three? Maybe four. They are improving though. They are not getting worse so I guess they are getting better.

I had a nap that was longer than my actual sleep, so does that mean I only napped? Or did I sleep both times?

I have recently discovered a format in television that is more evident then you would think. When a new show starts they have a Pilot to grab the networks attention and expect an order for a few episodes to be aired.

Winning over the network is a difficult process, but gaining loyalty from fans takes a different approach and a little more time. In fact, it takes four episodes.

I have found that several of my favorite TV shows has sealed the deal with me on their fourth episode. The first three episodes may have been good but the fourth would tell me what the series is capable of.

Lost – Walkabout
Lost was good for the first three episodes but the reveal with Locke was amazing. Even if this episode was flat Lost would still be my favorite show, but this episode took the series to another level.

Locke quickly became my favorite character and he seemed like the only one who knew what powers the island held. Locke’s handicap was done perfectly. The camera zoom out to showing Locke in the wheel chair makes everything you knew about Locke that much more significant and real. You see him in a different light.

Lost: Walkabout

“Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”

24 – Day 1: 3:00 A.M.-4:00 A.M.
I knew I would like 24 but I found the first few episodes of the freshman season a little dull. Kim was lost, for her first of many times, and characters were being introduced. What sold me in this episode was that Alan York, the ‘parent’ who was also missing his daughter and helping Teri find Kim, was not York at all.

This was completely unexpected, showed that the plan for the Bauer’s and Palmer was deeper than we imagined. These twists and unexpected moments are something I grew to love about this show.

24: Day One, Hour Four

I am fudging my own rules a bit but I made them up so I can live in a disillusioned world for a little bit longer. My blog, my shaky rules. The real reveal of York was not until the sixth episode.

Although you became invested and trusted the York character. He was sincere and wanted to help Teri reunite her family and then wham he was evil and not trying to help at all.

Heroes – Collision
A lot usually transpires in a regular episode of Heroes, and this one was no different. I liked the premise of the show and the fact the show could focus on several story lines at once always kept me entertained and wondering what was going to happen next.

Although what made me a fan of this series was the final moments with Peter and Mohinder on the subway when suddenly time stops and Hiro appears on the subway with an ominous message for Peter.

Hereos: Collision

“My name is Hiro Nakamura. I’m from the future. I’ve a message for you.”

Chuck – Chuck Versus the Wookie
I took a chance on Chuck. I watched it because of several recommendations and I found I was not overly excited to watch this show. I enjoyed it but it had not grabbed my attention. I think this is a case of getting to know the characters and understanding their interactions more than any one defining moment.

Lost, 24 and Heroes all had jaw-dropping moments but this episode was just solid on all fronts. The story avoided becoming stale, there was humor and I found that the characters really grew on me. After this episode I looked forward to more Chuck.

Chuck: Chuck Versus the Wookie

“Are you talking about Se?Wookie over there?”

There are exceptions to the Episode Four rule, and not all of the TV shows I like followed this format but if I went and re-watched the fourth episodes of my favorite series I may notice a surprising trend.