February 15, 2010

We watched Dug...I mean...Up yesterday


We got Up from Netflix. The movie is definitely charming, and not really what I expected at all. The disappointment for us, though, is that the Pixar short feature "Dug's Special Mission" was not included with the Netflix disc. So, when I saw the movie for $9 at Target, with not one, but TWO shorts, I grabbed it.

Dug was definitely my favorite--SQUIRREL!--character in the movie. I could probably gripe for a while about the use of dobes and rotties and bulldogs as the "bad guys," but I won't, this time. (And the image was somewhat mitigated by Alpha's misfunctioning collar that created "helium voice.")

The one place I couldn't suspend disbelief was with the character of Charles Munz. (Okay, I also had problems with dogs serving dinner and flying airplanes, but I can get over that.) Anyway, Munz was probably in his mid-twenties or so when Carl Frederickson would have first heard about the Spirit of Adventure and Paradise Falls at age 5 or 7. So, when Frederickson meets Munz some 70 years later, Munz should be nearer to his deathbed at age 90 or so. Instead, he looks like he is 20 years younger than Frederickson. Maybe he found some anti-aging technology in his search for the bird?

I also found it a little sad that Carl didn't begin his adventure until after Ellie was gone. They promised each other they would go to Paradise Falls to live, but they never did. If animated characters can't live together in their dream location, what hope to us real-world-schmoes have?

Finally, the phrase "Adventure is out there!" struck me as a not-quite-as-clever as Toy Story's "to infinity and beyond!" exclamation. I don't see "Adventure is out there" catching on in quite the same way....

Overall, though, the movie was fun and kept us entertained through the entire thing. And "Dug's Special Mission" does contribute to the film in a quite meaningful way; in some ways, I wish it were an actual part of the movie, but regardless, I was glad to see it.

UPDATE: We actually watched it again the following night, and it really held up. Actually, there is a lot of subtle animation going on, and it pays to watch closely for extra little gems of details.

January 29, 2009

Neil Gaiman love

I love Neil Gaiman. My ex-boyfriend would get a kick out of the fact that I've been reading The Sandman, and I'm in love with Stardust and Neverwhere: A Novel. I wasn't as fond of American Gods: A Novel as others were, but it was definitely interesting enough to hold my attention. The husband and I listened to The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and the other stories on that recording. I haven't read The Graveyard Book or Anansi Boys, but I think I've read almost everything else.

So, watch this clip, a simple trailer for Coraline, and you'll see some of why I love the man:

January 28, 2009

Tiny Knits

Of course I'm going to see Coraline when it opens, but here's a clip on the knitter of the sweaters in the movie:

Some of the designs she has in miniature are incredible.

I'm just not sure she's the only one who does this (though she says "designs conceptual sweaters"); I seem to remember Becka posting or emailing me about someone else who knits miniatures.

July 23, 2008

Holmes disaster

I think I'm gonna be ill. I know there are people who think Ferrell is funny, but I'm definitely not one of them.

May 28, 2008

Regarding The Hobbit

The Weta site has a pretty nifty Q & A with Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro regarding the upcoming Hobbit production(s). I'm particularly intrigued by GDT's comments about Smaug:

"To me, Smaug is the perfect example of a great creature defined by its look and design, yes, but also, very importantly, by his movement and -One little hint- its environment - Think about it... the way he is scaled, moves and is lit, limited or enhanced by his location, weather conditions, light conditions, time of the year, etc. That's all I can say without spoilers but, if you keep this curious little summary you'll realize several years form now that those things I had in my mind ever since doodling the character as a kid had solidified waaay before starting the shoot of the film."

There's also a brief discussion of voices, and the names don't mean much to me, but for my money, Smaug will always be the voice in the Rankin Bass production (I have the soundtrack on LP because it has never been released on CD, probably for the same reasons it took so long to get this film going).

Let's just see if I remember to come back to this entry once the movie is done!

December 20, 2007

Is it really true? Pinch me, I'm dreaming!

Is Peter Jackson really going to make The Hobbit?! And where have I been that I haven't heard the news until now?

The Hobbit is one of my all-time favorite books. I know it lacks the depth of LotR, but it's the book I grew up on. I've read it in multiple editions, heard multiple recordings, and have a very special fondness for the Rankin-Bass animated version with Glen Yarlborough singing. I still have the boxed LP set.

There was a time when I could practically recite the R-B edition from memory. I still love the soundtrack (even though I am mocked by certain others everytime it comes up), and can't help but hear those songs when I read the book. I probably will miss that when Jackson does the movie, even though I have faith that I'll still love his soundtrack.

There are so many wonderful moments in the R-B version, though. "Each to his own, boys, each to his own. I likes mine raaawww," as stated by one of the trolls when they capture Bilbo and the dwarves, still comes up in our family for various situations. And I've always been enamored fo Bilbo's pronouncement, "I do like maps." I've often thought of myself as a version of Bilbo...I'm not from an adventurous type, but I'll go along, and "may the hair on [my] toes never fall out."

But the very best part about The Hobbit for me is the dragon Smaug. [I've always secretly thought he was wrongly accused by the dwarves and died a martyr's death. But I may just be biased...] The narrator's voice in the R-B edition is truly fabulous. I'll never forget Bilbo's instructions to "stand at the door as the thrush knocks, and the last light of the setting sun will shine upon the keyhole." Inside, Bilbo encounters Smaug, who tells him, "come out, thief. I smell you, though I cannot see you." Oh, it's just so beautiful.

I must admit, however, that the one scene I'm not looking forward to with the new movie will be the battle of five armies. I somehow have a very specific image of that in my head that will be impossible to recapture. However, now that I think of it, the R-B version hasn't ruined that, so there's no real reason that Jackson's version will, either.

Oh, I can't wait! Please let it actually happen!

April 6, 2007

I am SOOOO not sweet...

(I'm not good enough with HTML to make this look right on my blog...Sorry about that.)

Your results:
You are Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)

Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
River (Stowaway)
Dependable and trustworthy.
You love your significant other and
you are a tough cookie when in a conflict.

Click here to take the Serenity Firefly Personality Test

I don't know about the accuracy of the response (though the description at the beginning is dead-on), but Zoe is probably the character I'd choose to be if I could. Wash might be a slightly better fit, but some of the direct questions would not place me in that category: I'm not sweet (probably Kaylee's question, but I think Wash is sweet, too), I can't fly an airplane, and I'm only moderately good with machines (though I'd probably be really good if I had the training).

I just love Zoe. I love Mal, too, but my wit isn't quick enough. I'm also not necessarly the one to lead the troops into action, but I'll definitely speak my piece about it. Am I Zoe enough that I'd follow my Mal when I don't think he's right? For the purposes of this assignment, I'll say sure. :-)

I am also highly amused by the fact that my Book and reaver rankings are identical. Do you read the Bible and are you a cannibal were both "no" answers. The farther apart things seem, the closer they really are?

And why is Wash the only "single name" character? I didn't even know some of the others had last names. Isn't it Hogan Washburne?

March 31, 2007


Just finished the last episode of Six Feet Under . That was quite possibly the best final episode or ending I've ever seen. Here is a link to the video on youtube for the final segment. I'd be willing to bet that it will be poignant even for people who don't know the show or characters.

February 2, 2007

Movies and mysteries: Brother Cadfael


I've really been taxing Netflix for all it's worth recently; cold weather and a very large knitting project (at least one that will take forever if I don't keep working on it) have made going to the dog park impractical, so I've been knitting in front of the TV (or my computer) watching the Brother Cadfael mystery series. Because Netflix doesn't really tell you which order they come in, I've just sort of been watching them. And it pretty much works out. We learn right away that Derek Jacobi is the title character, and since each story is more or less discrete, I haven't really missed much by watching them out of order.

A few notes for the unwary, however. Just in case one is interested, Cadfael - One Corpse Too Many is the first in the series. I watched it 4th or 5th, which was fine, but it does set up the relationship between Cadfael and Hugh, Shrewsbury's deputy sheriff. (I don't know if the person playing Hugh changes or if he just starts looking different, but that is one of the few changes I've noted between discs.)

The other sequence note that I have would be to watch A Morbid Taste for Bones before The Holy Thief. Bones is about how the bones of St. Winifred came to the Shrewsbury Abbey, while Thief is about which monastery should have the relic. No harm is done watching them out of order, but learning what we do in Bones makes Thief just a tad ironic, which no one will ever catch if watched out of order.

So far, those are the only sequential notes I have. On the whole I've been enjoying them, though they remind me more than ever why I tend to be biased against the Catholic church (and in many ways, the faith has not changed much since the 12th century setting of the mysteries). I also become increasingly frustrated when Cadfael is the only logical or practical person around, though as we learn in the Holy Thief, even he has his shortcomings. Yes, I know much of the plot is driven by the ignorance and unenlightened state of the 12th century, but when I still see some of these behaviors in today's society, I wonder how we've managed to come this far.

And my favorite quote so far has been something to the effect that during a civil war (in this case, a war between King Stephen and Empress Maud), everyone is a traitor to one cause or another.

August 29, 2006

A Re-Make Done Right

I recently watched the 1969 movie The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine. Somewhere toward the beginning, I realized that I have already seen the 2003 version of The Italian Job, starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron.

Same name, same concept, different movies. The 1969 literally leaves you hanging. The very last scene of the movie is of a bus with the heist of gold bars dangling half over the edge of a cliff in the Italian Alps. What I like about the 2003 version is that it could almost take up where the previous one left off. I appreciate the fact that the movie title is the same, so any similarities (heist of gold bars, clever escape, use of mini-coopers) remind you of the original, but the story is different, more of a sequel than a remake. While not completely new and original (is there any such thing in Hollywood right now?), at least the story is fresh while sticking to its origins.