Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sherlock Holmes- 2009

I finally have a few minutes to do my next review so I wanted to chose Sherlock Holmes, a film by Guy Ritchie released on Christmas Day 2009. I saw this movie New Years weekend and the crowds were still there. As it turned out it was still a few weeks before the crowds would really die down for this re-imagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective.

The movie began like a period piece with dirty and grimy views of London and a fantastic opening fight scene. From there it dove right into the main mystery of the movie and grabs your attention that quickly.

From there Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law take their skills and help Ritchie craft an amazing work. The acting itself lends to the story because the main two actors are so good at what they do. They both have great talent for the dramatic but also have a great flare at comedic timing and that really helps the movie move along and not get to drab. There are also the amazing details of the movie. The details to the story line, details to the sets (some CGI of course), and the characters were all, to me at least, perfectly chosen for the story. I guess what I am trying to say is that the levels of the movie all add up. Its a great story and its told really well.

I wasn't sure what to expect really because Ritchie has been up and down with his movies, but most I have enjoyed. Also, this is a story told over and over because it truly is a classic. So that makes it much more special in a market of stories that are repeated but no for the good.

I hope that this is not too generic, but it would be easy to give things away if I said too much. Otherwise I recommend this movie and if you can see it in the theater before its too late. Other wise the Blu-ray and DVD are already available for pre-order.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Golden Globes

Well I don't usually watch the award shows, but this year I figured I wouldn't fight the wife on it with some good movies and people up for awards.

It started off kind of frustrating because so many I was rooting for lost. For instance I strongly believed that Avatar should win for Original Song and Score. Those were two parts of the movie I really liked and thought it helped make Avatar the epic it is. It was ok that Up! got it for score though. I liked the movie and its music, so I think it was deserving anyway. I was also glad it won for animated. I haven't heard the song from Crazy Heart, but I know T Bone Burnnett is usually pretty good at what he does.

Moving on from that some of the actors I was rooting for won and I think they are long deserving of the awards they won. Robert Downey, Jr for one is very deserving and despite his road bumps, he has had a great career and his recent movies and I am very happy he won for Sherlock Holmes, it was a great movie. I am also very happy for Sandra Bullock whom I have followed for many years and I am very glad she did a great movie like The Blind Side. She was great in it and was just an overall great movie. She is an amazing actress and finally getting an award for it. I also hope that both of them will be nominated and win the Oscar. I will have reviews of both of these movies coming up as well, so keep checking back.

As for the Director and Picture- Drama awards, I was so happy to see that Avatar took home the awards. I even stayed up while feeling bad to make sure that it did. James Cameron's work on this movie was amazing and with the details of the effort he put into the movie is astonishing and made me cheer for him even more. As a geek I have to admit I loved his speeches as well, he not only promoted the environmental stand in his movie he also through in some of his Na'vi language... "Oel ngati kameie ma tsmukan sì smuke." Which means I see you my brothers and sisters. It was a great time for Avatar fans and a bright spot for the future of the franchise.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Movie Review #1- Avatar


As I am sitting here starting my first movie review blog I am actually listening to the soundtrack of Avatar to relax me during my day at work. So I thought I would begin the blog with a quick mention of the music before I get into the depths of Avatar, the latest triumph by James Cameron.
 I have a large collection of movie scores both on my IPod and my home server and this soundtrack is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. James Horner to me is one of the best composers of the modern times. He ranks up there with John Williams, (of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park fame), Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), Hans Zimmer (Black Hawk Down, Gladiator) and the like. He has scored for Braveheart, Perfect Storm, and Titanic in the past and his music continues to amaze me. He uses all types of instruments to give me chills and the vocals are just as haunting.
I know to break apart a movie score seems kind of overkill to some, but to me music can make a movie. I am a firm believer that music can indeed sooth the savage beast. The soundtrack has helped this New Year in calming my nerves down several times at work and reminded me of the world I was allowed to escape to for almost 3 hours….

Storyline- Escapism at its best

As most of you all know, James Cameron is no stranger to creating the fantastical epics, like the first two of the Terminator series, Aliens, and The Abyss, or a romance for the ages like Titanic. The level of escapism is incredible considering the planet is modeled after a primitive type of Earth. The moon Pandora is a very natural habitat only cut into recently by the humans and still a pristine place. The world though is lush and green and full of life. It certainly makes us tree huggers wish the Earth still had more reachable places like this. I think that we all long for a place like this because of its richness in life and color. We all have Cameron to thank for this and for his amazing technology teams that help bring it to life….

Production- Technology

As we all know by now James Cameron used some amazing technology to create this movie. Not only did he implore the likes of WETA and ILM to help with his movie, but he helped them in developing many new technologies that have now pushed the movie making experience to the next level. I won’t be a reporter and tell you all of the new technologies, but I do want to mention one that amazes me and makes me smile.

James Cameron was tired of how motion capture technology delayed the best performance capabilities because of processing time. In other words the delay for the director to see the footage the acting and performance was so delayed that reshoots were very common and often directors lived with the performance. James Cameron was able to help devise the camera that included a screen to display, via a large set of high processors, the actors already in their world so that he could direct them with accuracy. In addition to this he was able to take the motion capture to a new level with the multiple angle shots also done on the actor’s faces and such. The realism is at a new level with the faces of the Na’vi and with this comes the comfort zone people will now have with a CGI face. No more is it going to look plastic or fake or anything. It not only brings a new level of realism and enjoyment to the movie. The expressions make every one seem more real and more alive than ever before.

Cultural Impacts and Influences

In watching the movie I picked up immediately some of the under lying references in the storyline. Some people may say I am reading into it, but I believe it is important to the telling of his story. Cameron uses many references to Native American life and traditions, African tribal traditions, and even some Australian Aboriginal lore and such. I won’t go into the details because too much could give too much insight into the movie if you haven’t seen it. Many of the traditions though are featured such as being one with the land, respecting the life, and the life of a warrior.

The living as one with the land is what really caught my attention more because of its tolerance with Pandora;s life. I have always wished and prayed that the filmmakers in Hollywood would use their influence more and more to open some eyes. People are just not living in harmony with the world and perhaps a large scale epic can open even just a few eyes.

Optimism in us all just getting along- love

A last topic I wanted to discuss is in regards to how the movie, at least to me, shows the hope we all share in getting along. The movie really explores the influence of love and how it affects one’s personality. The hard core Marine living in the midst of a tribe that lives in a tree and worships the forest is certainly a good place to start to show how we all have the ability to love and to get along. It’s certainly a simplification of the events, but I really don’t want to a lot away to those details.

In closing I really look forward to the blu-ray release and any sequel that might occur. I hope that everyone else enjoys the movie like I did, but I know there will be nay sayers and that is ok.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Product Review #1: The Kindle

Well its been a few weeks since Christmas now and a few weeks since I got my Amazon Kindle E-reader. Not only is this device going to change my reading habits, but it changes the way we think about reading now. I know not all readers and all books will go to Kindle, but I think its a worthy cost to enable a part of my book collection to travel when I want it to. By no means am I going to "trade-in" my book collection or stop buying books, but the device is a great tool in the new world of reading.

The Kindle, in its 2nd generation, has many features that users that will enjoy. The most important to me so far has been the speed. The books download, open, and operate fast. Most downloads can happen under 30 seconds and even with weaker signals on its Whispernet network (powered by AT&T) the books do not take long to download. Of course an important speed function for e-readers (and apparently a complaint on many other brands) is the page turning function. It flows across pages just about as fast as you can read them. On that topic, I love how I don't have to re-adjust the book every time I do turn the page. I know its something stupid and simple, but its nice to me in cramps spots or just not really moving much.

Well, beyond the sales pitch I was trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid, the Kindle offers other features that I have enjoyed. It offers many magazines for download and at a great price. I have already subscribed to PC Magazine for $1.49 per month. Its tougher to read but magazines are perfect for this format in my mind.

Overall I am very happy with my Kindle and look forward to new editions. In the future I hope that Amazon add some much needed features to the device for its next release. I know one I would really like is a memory card reader. I know Barnes and Noble has one on their device and hopefully Amazon will answer with their future models. I could see the memory card being used for archiving old books, loading and viewing pictures, PDFs, etc.

Well I hope this first review is helpful to anyone that might want a better idea of what its about. Let me know of any questions....I will have more blogs are to come and one will include the first book I am reading on my Kindle "Long Walk to Freedom", the autobiography from Nelson Mandela.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Well my wonderful wife made my Father's Day even better... she made me this great montage video. She sure knows how to make me even more thankful for what I have...and no I am not crying, its just something in my eye, well both of them! Thanks again Natasha, certainly made my day even better! LOVE YOU! As for the rest...enjoy....

Monday, June 9, 2008


Ok. So this is a big week in baseball, at least for me and some others who love the game. Mr. Ken Griffey Jr. blasted his 600th career home run on Monday night. As many know now days 600 has been reached by a few questionable hitters the past few years so some of its glory has been lost, but for this man it means a lot to baseball. Ken Griffey Jr. has never been once mentioned in any scandal including the long stretch of steroid talks that bog down the sport to this day. He is one of the closest examples of The Natural there is. He is what A-Rod strives to be if you ask me. His swing is just the most natural thing you have ever seen, and as kids we copied it all we could, even if we were right handed batters haha. He was certainly the next big thing and even with all of his injuries, he has never let anyone down. Now as he gets closer to retirement, and 3,000, hits, he solidifies his place in baseball history and the Hall of Fame, he continues to amaze all ages and give baseball fans a reason to watch the game in an age of big salaries and scandals.

Yes I know baseball obsessed, what can I say, I just love the sport, I love being there or watching from my couch. I even love listening to it online or on the radio, there is just no better game! From the time I was a little kid in the suburbs and then the country...I have just loved the sport. Most of all I grew up watching and worshiping Mr. Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles. I followed him from the time I can remember until the time he hung up his jersey in 2001. I have collected all sorts of memories and souvenirs from his career and my life of rooting for the Orioles. Although I do follow the Orioles with a passion, I also enjoy following some other teams, mainly other National League teams. For the American League its pretty much just the Orioles I root for and follow closely. In the National League I follow the Atlanta Braves (for now), Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Chicago Cubs. All for different reasons, but most of them built in childhood.

Well I know this was all random and useless information, but thanks for letting me just blab about my favorite sport.....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New beginnings....

As my first blog I figured I would just introduce myself. I am creating this blog to move on from simple blogs on myspace and to get a little personal room away from too many people I know well haha. I am starting this blog mainly to address my life as its starts a new chapter. I am hoping to find a new job that will lead me down the path I have been looking for in my career. Along with my career I hope to keep up with my hobbies and my passions, both of which I will get into later when I start my ramblings, so that I can keep sane and learn new things....So I hope everyone has some patience for me catching up to the blogging world..more to come, just not tonight! Good nigh every one...