As I am one of the many people who have to suffer though Valentines Day while being single, I decided to treat myself to a movie after I got off work tonight — headed out to see Sugar and Spice…and had a blast. While most definitely a ‘fluff’ film (did anyone think otherwise), it was a lot of fun, and one of these days I’m going to have to sit down with my friends and see just how many shots were parodies of/tributes to famous crime/drama flicks — I know Reservoir Dogs was in there, and recognized quite a few other shots, though I couldn’t bring the specific films to mind. In any case, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

…like that’s really a surprise to anyone who either knows me or is actually bored enough to read this babble on a regular basis. :) Today’s acquisitions:

The Insider: The latest movie for me to pick up sight unseen. However, I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Michael Mann‘s directing (Manhunter, Heat, The Last of the Mohicans), and when you add in a cast including Russel Crowe and Al Pacino, I don’t figure I can do too badly…the 7 Oscar nominations don’t hurt, either. Was hoping to watch this tonight, but I think it’s a bit late for that…sometime soon, though.

Star Trek: TOS Vol. 19 (with The Changeling and The Apple) and Star Trek: TOS Vol. 20 (with Mirror, Mirror and The Deadly Years): Hey, I can’t help it…I was brought up on Star Trek! My only disappointment here is that Paramount is releasing these so slowly…2 discs, with 2 episodes each, every couple of months. Ugh. Disheartening to see it done this way when Fox does such an excellent job releasing The X-Files in season sets. Hopefully we’ll be able to talk Paramount into adopting this approach when they start putting TNG DS9 and VOY on DVD.

Other than that, a fairly uneventful day (in other words, pretty normal). I did get a call from the temp agency that confirmed I’m on their list, and from the sounds of it there might be something coming up soon. I can hope….

First off, a question: what kind of moron makes a call to someone from his cell phone in a movie theater just as the movie is beginning?!?!?! Ugh…times I wish it was legal to backhand someone just because.

Okay. I’m calm.

Just got back from Hannibal. I kind of need to let this one percolate in my brain for a bit before making a final decision, but did want to get some of my immediate thoughts down. Basically…well, in all honesty, kind of dissapointing. Nowhere near as strong of a film as either Manhunter or The Silence of the Lambs, which was kind of a shame. I don’t want to lay the fault of this on any of the cast or even on Ridley Scott — I think the problems lay in the story itself. It just felt very uninspired for the most part. I wasn’t quite bored at any point, but wasn’t at all drawn into the film, either.

The first part of the film fell kind of flat for me — it seemed a little heavy on the exposition and setup, trying to draw us in to what was going on, but not ever quite succeeding. The rest of it…well, for the following couple paragraphs I want to point out some parts that are definitely spoiler material.

I just couldn’t buy Clarice’s ‘downfall’. This was one of the first big things that bugged me — wouldn’t the FBI be recording all transmissions between the various people during an operation like that? If that were the case, then there would be a record of both Clarice and her friend telling the rest of the agents to stand down, and the cop going off on his own and provoking the situation that resulted in Clarice having to shoot the suspect. With that kind of record, I find it extremely hard to believe that Clarice would have gone through the villification that she was.

Next big problem — the revenge plan involving the boars. I’m sorry, but that was just all sorts of silly, and seemed much more like it belonged in a B-movie than the successor to one of the most famous psychological suspense films ever made.

Lastly, the final climax involving Ray Liotta‘s character getting lobotomized onscreen…oh, come on…that just felt like the author of the book desperately trying to find some way to go so over the top for no other reason than to go over the top and see how much he could shock everyone. Admittedly, it did shock me — but in very much the same way that most South Park events shock me — an initial “Oh my god I can’t believe they’re actually doing this,” but that’s it — no staying power. The psychological games that Lecter played in SotL were much more effective for me on a long-term basis than the gruesomeness of the final act of Hannibal is going to be, and it comes off in the end as feeling cheap.

I will say that I think Julianne Moore was a fine choice to replace Jodi Foster — she imparted a lot more credibility to the character being the same person than I’ve seen in other situations where the actor changed from one movie to the next (a good example being Hannibal Lecter himself, who I find much more creepy in Manhunter than I do in SotL — not that Anthony Hopkins‘ performance is bad, I just prefer Brian Cox‘s portrayal).

I also think that Ridley Scott did a good job with what he was given. There were quite a few shots in the film that were visually pure Ridley Scott — even one passing underneath a bridge in D.C. that could almost have been lifted directly from the opening scenes of Bladerunner. I just don’t think the script gave much to work with, and I can say that I definitely agree with both Jonathan Demme and Jodi Foster’s decisions to pass up on returning to this film.

We’ll see how things end up after more people see the film, though…there’s a discussion on the Home Theater Forum discussing the film that I’ve stayed away from for now, but I think it’s time to dive in.

That’s it for tonight, though…going to skim through the Hannibal discussion on the HTF for a few minutes, then get to bed — that whole wonderful job thing kicks back in tomorrow morning.

Seeing as how I’m actually starting to update this thing on a more regular basis — and given my tendency for loquaciousness — I figured I’d drop the archiving settings down to weekly, instead of every two weeks, so that this page didn’t just keep scrolling on and on and on and on and on…. I also removed the link to the old hand-generated archive pages (from before I started using this software to automate the updating process), since it’s all really old stuff, and it’s easier for me to just stay with the automatically generated archive pages.

Even though I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, I just got around to watching Dead Ringers last night. Wow…what an incredibly fascinating film. David Cronenberg almost never fails to dissapoint me — he’s got an incredibly twisted mind and excels at putting his ideas on screen — and the one time he has (Crash, which I never even made it all the way through) I’m now starting to consider renting and giving another try. Anyway, the combination of Cronenberg and Jeremy Irons‘ absolutely mindbending performance as a pair of identical twins in Dead Ringers was absolutely mesmerizing. The fact that Irons could play two such identical people and put just enough subtle differences into the performances that it was always clear which was which was absolutely incredible to watch…he just proves yet again why he’s on my list of favorite actors.

In other news…well, not much. E-mailed my resume over to the temp agency, so all I can do now is ‘hurry up and wait.’ Spent most of last night here at home being frustrated with life in general…I’m so burnt out on just about everything here in town, especially with all this drama with TimeFrame, that I’m looking forward more and more to the day that I can just pack up and leave. Ah, well…some days I do better than others.

Now, I’ve got to go jump in the shower and head off to work at Suncoast, selling movies for a few hours. Fun fun fun….

Having been a fan of Star Trek practically since birth, I’m not sure it would be possible for me not to be excited about this little tidbit of information. It’s been known for a while now that Paramount was going back and doing some work on ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ for its upcoming DVD release — we just weren’t entirely sure just what that meant.

Well, this article from the New Times Los Angeles Online website gives a lot of really good information on just what we can look forward to. Check it out, if you’re at all interested.

Yesterday was not exactly the best day I’ve ever had — not the worst overall, but certain moments may have some fairly large impact on days to come.

I’ll start with the good stuff, though. First off, my bowling continues to improve, which is cool. After last week’s run I brought my average up to 113, then surprised myself by managing to pull off my best series yet — 142/168/140! Not just my best series so far, but that 168 is my best score so far…I’m hoping to be able to get at least one game where I break 200 before I stop bowling.

Secondly, I got a chance to swing by Suncoast and picked up Love’s Labours Lost, and watched that after I got home from bowling last night. It turned out to be a really fun film, though it takes a little getting used to at first. Since Branagh combined Shakespeare with a 40’s style musical for this production, it opens with a ‘newsreel’ to give you some background information, then moves into some expository Shakespearian dialogue…then breaks into “I’d Rather Charleston”. Really caught me off guard at first, but after one or two numbers you just get caught up in the spirit of the experiment, and it just becomes a whole lot of fun. The only real downside I found was Alicia Silverstone trying not just to act, but to sing — luckily, she only gets a few verses completely on her own. I found her character to be this film’s eqivalent to Keanu Reeves in Much Ado About Nothing — an essential character who is unfortunately really badly miscast. Aside from lil’ miss Clueless, though, it’s a wonderful little romp, once you get past the initial shock.

Unfortunately, those were the highlights of the day. Not that they were bad highlights…just that the rest of the day kind of overshadows them.

Did my taxes — I owe $146. Bleah.

The big thing, however — if I’d had any more money in the bank than I do, I would have walked out of my job at TimeFrame yesterday. This is a really major thing for me — one way or another, I’ve always had an almost overdevolped sense of responsibility to whatever job I’m working, and will stick out some really uncomfortable situations when I deem it worth it, and I’d been doing my best to deal with all the little things at TimeFrame that bug me for a while now, as I didn’t want to either lose the paycheck or throw away the four and a half years I’ve got there just a few months before I leave state. However….

It just isn’t worth the headache anymore. While it’s not the job itself that bugs me, and I still enjoy the actual work I do, the work environment is so screwball that I’ve finally reached my breaking point. So, today I’ve called in to take a personal leave day, and I plan on running around to some of the temp agencies in town to take their placement/skills tests and see if I can find anything upwards of $10/hr for the next few months. I figure if I can find some data entry position — the kind of thing that often pays $12-$15 an hour because nobody wants to deal with it (usually a night position, shoved in a hole somewhere typing numbers in for hours on end), then as soon as I’m confirmed there, I can turn in my notice at TimeFrame and lose a fair amount of the stress in my life at the moment.

It’s really kind of bizarre for me to have gotten to this point — I’m still kind of amazed at myself for being willing to do something like take a day off to go job hunting. But, things have been going steadily downhill for me in regards to my job there, and there’s really only so much that I can take. So, today begins something of a grand adventure, in seeing if I can find something else to do for the next few months until I can afford to bail state. Should be interesting.

Of course, what’s going to be really interesting is if someone from TimeFrame actually ever stops by and checks my site and reads this….

Went out to see Shadow of the Vampire last night after I got off work. Not bad at all, though not quite as good as I’d hoped it would be. The previews had made it out to be a little more creepy than it ended up being — while it wasn’t strictly played for laughs, it wasn’t as much of a ‘horror’ film as I thought it might be. Definitely worth seeing at some point, though — Willem DaFoe just seems to relish has part as Max Schreck. They also occasionally do an incredible job of taking film stock from today and altering it to look as if it had been filmed on the equipment of the day for certain scenes.

One of the few downsides of the movie for me was actually Carey Elwes. Even though I’ve been a fan of The Princess Bride for years, and think that Carey did a great job as ‘The Man in Black/Wesley’, almost nothing I’ve seen him in since then has impressed me in the least, and I’m afraid this is another one. My main curiosity with his character for most of his screen time was actually just what sort of accent he was supposed to have…it certainly didn’t come across as German to me. Ah, well — a good matinee flick, but I can’t quite recommend a full-price show, and it won’t be a keeper once it hits video.

In other news, I just got a call from Suncoast that a movie I’d ordered has come in — Kenneth Branagh‘s Love’s Labours Lost. I’m all sorts of excited to see this one…I think that Branagh consistantly creates some of the best screen adaptations of Shakespeare, and when he decides to present this one as an almost Busby Berkely-style musical, complete with 40’s style dance numbers, I’ve just gotta see it. Besides…I’m still working on building up my collection of Shakespeare adaptations. Ones I know I’m missing that are on DVD at the moment are the recent stylized Romeo + Juliet, and the production of Othello with Laurence Fishburne. If only Branagh’s full 4-hour long version of Hamlet would come out!

Now — the newest additions to my movie library. Big surprise, huh?

1941: While this is definitely far from the best of Steven Spielberg’s movies (some would say it’s the worst, though I personally reserve that particular honor for Jurrassic Park: The Lost World), I’ve always thought that there were certain pieces of it that shone far and above the rest. The fight/dance scene in the USO club, for example, is one of the most amazing pieces of coreography I’ve seen, and I get a real kick out of watching it every time.

The Cutting Edge: It’s fluff. I know it’s fluff, and nothing but fluff. But it’s fun fluff, and nearly everyone I know who’s seen it agrees. A silly little romantic comedy about a pair of skaters — one figure, one hockey — going to the Olympic Figure Skating championships…well, okay, fluff. So sue me. “Toepick!”

Manhunter: The first of the (soon to be) three movies involving Dr. Hannibal Lecter, this mid-80’s film directed by Michael Mann is an incredible thriller, seen by more than a few critics to be better than The Silence of the Lambs. It’s certainly my preferred portrayal of the good doctor — though he’s not nearly as central to this story as he is in SotL, I find this version’s more subdued take on Dr. Lecter much more chilling than Anthony Hopkins‘ somewhat over-the-top version. With Michael Mann’s directorial style, I found myself to be very impressed by this first chapter in the semi-series of films surrounding Hannibal “The Cannibal.”

The Thin Red Line: I have to admit, this one’s still on my to-see list. However, the high number of stellar reviews I’ve heard of this (both around the ‘net and from friends who have seen it) convinced me to give it a buy — especially since Fox has just re-released it with a newly enhanced anamorphic picture and DTS soundtrack. Now I just need to find the time to set aside to watch this one uninterrupted, as I’m told that is by far the best way to see it.

So — not a bad haul this week. Woohoo!

I so don’t enjoy being sick. Came down with a really nasty flu virus a couple nights ago that has just knocked me for a loop…no fun at all. Worked all of about 3 hours yesterday, made it through 7 today…but am feeling better, though, so hopefully will be back to normal (whatever ‘normal’ is defined as in my case) by tomorrow. The worst part about the whole thing, though, was on top of battling the flu and feeling like crap, plus I spent all of today battling really strong hiccups too. Not a combination I’d recommend.

In other news, I picked up the 2-disc collector’s edition release of Disney’s Dinosaur today. Should be fun to play with. The only question will be how much of it I can make it through before the NyQuil kicks in.