3.30.2006

Carl's Netflix Review #3

Four posts in three hours? That's crazy!

This is a rnew eview for something I saw a while ago:

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
4/5 Stars

An interesting look at one of the first pay-cable channels that came before HBO. It was certainly a movie channel for movie lovers -- a film festival every night. If you love movies and want to be inspired just a little more, take a look at this doc. Z Channel had an effect on a lot of people in the LA area and we have Z Channel to thank for the inspiration it gave to filmmakers like Tarantino, Jarmusch and Spheeris. It's always interesting to learn what makes filmmakers tick.

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Idiot Journalism

It will take you one minute to read this, I promise. I hope it takes much less time for you to determine that reporter behind the article that doesn't take their job seriously.

I know, I know, it seems like a stupid premise for an aspect of a political campaign, but politics in Massachusetts is an animal like none other. One quotation from a gubenatorial candidate, follow by what looks like 10 minutes of online research should not qualify as the basis of an article.

A few more quotations, especially from voters/supports who are taking part in this activity, would have gone a long way in making this throwaway article into a substantive human-interest article that could add some new dimension to an otherwise boring race in which the media is focusing mostly on each candidates' inexperience and poor choices. How's that for a non-run-on sentence?

1 Comments:

Blogger jesse complained...

Try this on for size.

4/04/2006 10:55 AM
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Dunk This

Another story in the Globe that proves how proudly idiotic some communities are. It seems that the town of Wellesley does not want a new Dunkin' Donuts because it's damaging to the town's characer and "a barnacle on the face of progress." Selectman David J. Himmelberger is the real Barnacle here, along with everyone else in Wellesley's town government.

The article doesn't really get into specifics as to why having a third (including one that's in a gas station) DD shop that located outside the town center is akin to the holocaust, but I'm sure it's stupid. Already, a judge has shot down the town's request to have the shop close because no restaurant license was filled out. Suprise, suprise, non of the other high end coffee shops filled out restaurant licenses either because that particular law has not been enforced for almost 90 years. This particular DD is a take-out only operation, also.

Looking at the picture that's included with the story, it actually looks pretty decent. There are no garrish orange and pink colors, just faux-gold leaf on brick and even a trash can outside the door to prevent littering by exiting customers. Coffee and pastries are a basic human urge these days.

Towns and neighborhoods that act so holier-than-thou when it comes to small businesses really bother me. How is a pastry and coffee shop (that's just what DD is) detrimental to a community? There are adult video stores that are bigger in size than the DD in Wellesley. This is the same thing that happened in the North End when people complained that it was out of character. How can a New England institution be out of character in New England? This makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

Even if you don't read the article, I'll leave you with the best part: ''It's not as attractive as it should be," said Maureen Bach, who works at a neighboring dental practice. She opposes the store but nonetheless bought a coffee there on a recent morning.

You just can't get rid of these basic human urges.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Peagreen complained...

Tortola, your blood pressure will rise when I say -- You knucklehead there's nothing wrong with the world, it's all in your demented mind, my short-tempered little freak. Bush is really a savior. The Red Sox nation is crazy and V for Vendetta is a foreshadowing of life as we know it. And, there won't be a summer in Somerville, just for you and I have arranged for that.

3/30/2006 10:10 AM
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Blogger Carl complained...

I vomited your color this morning.

3/30/2006 10:17 AM
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Knight Tale

I read yesterday that Tom Jones is now Sir Tom Jones. I have this discussion with a few people about British "knights" and how the last line of defense are people like Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger.

Here's my idea for movie: The entire British military is wiped out by a nuclear explosion. Now, the only warriors left are the Knights -- Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John, Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Paul McCartney (and the Ghost of Bob Hope). They must restore order to the land and battle British Nuclear Powered Zombies, all while protecting their women: Damn Judi Dench and, of course, Dame Edna.

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3.28.2006

Time to Go

One punch and you're out

If you didn't hear, new Red Sox (and extremely well paid) setup man Julian Tavarez tried to punch out Tampa Bays' Joey Gathright because Gathright actually had the gaul to slide into him at home plate yesterday. Imagine Tavarez's suprise, after the collision, to find Gathright had somehow gotten his forearm under Tavarez's foot! Gathright attempted to push Tavarez out of the way so as to get him off his arm. A bench-clearing near-brawl ensues.

I just read Tavarez's rap sheet... he shouldn't even be on this team. The Sox have a poor history of bringing in malcontents that they think have overcome whatever personal problems they have (Carl Everett, Tavarez, Giambi). This is not Mr. Epstein's School of Manners. This is the biggest (or at least second biggest) stage in Major League Baseball.

There is certainly no guarantee the Sox will even make the playoffs this year, and we don't need bad seeds like Tavarez pulling Everett-like shit that will only raise the heat from fans and the media.

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3.27.2006

Everyone's Trying to Screw Me

I knew that my bill for cable/internet would go up soon because introductory monthly charges were only temporary. I was not prepared, however for an extra $15/month charge for all premium cable channels that I never signed up for! RCN is providing me with cable and internet -- two very widespread forms of communication, yet they can't seem to be able to notify me that I have all these new channels to watch! I'm planning to cancel the extra premium channels, but it would have been nice to have enjoyed them, even for a little.

Thanks for nothing, RCN.

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3.23.2006

Carl's Netflix Review #2

This is a "classic" review -- I will delve into my older reviews every now and then.

Pirates of the Caribbean
3/5 Stars

Pirates of the Caribbean is definitely a fun'n'tumble film, but that's about it -- all flash, no substance. With a standard 'lost treasure' story, we're introduced to our hero, our villain, our rogue, and the spunky girl. Star Wa-- I mean Pirates of the Caribbean puts on display some great special effects, however they do little in the way of creating more than a momentary thrill, rather than some stronger suspense and fear. Those pirates sure are dirty and have very few teeth... but what else can they do? Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp are absolutely fantastic in their potrayals as the scene-chewing Barbossa and Keith Richards-like Jack Sparrow, respectively. They more than make up for the absolutely wooden and contrived performances from Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. It's all Disney and Hollywood in the end, however, as good beats evil, the villain is vanquished, the rogue is redeemed, and the guy gets the girl.

(1 person found this review helpful.)


That little note at the end -- how many people found this review helpful -- is a mini-feature of the review feature of Netflix. I'm not sure if it's really to tell you if you've been helpful, or whether or not it's just a review-meter of your review. Anyway, I'm glad one person who read my review felt that way.

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3.22.2006

Carl's Netflix Review #1

In response to Coolhand's comment on my last post, here is my first Netlix Review:

GARDEN STATE
3/5 stars

Call me stupid or unrefined, but I just don't get these existential examination films. Some (Virgin Suicides) I get, but most of the time, movies like Garden State and Lost in Translation just blow over me and I often feel like the writer/director of these films decided "hey, I'm going to make this ambigous with long silences and soundtrack of whatever is hot on The OC... everyone who watches The OC will love it if I include the right emo soundtrack."

Zach Braff does a 180 from his JD character from Scrubs, which is actually unsettling. I was almost waiting for him to jump up and down and tell me that the whole movie was a big joke. And then there's Natalie Portman... I liked her in The Professional. Yeah....

I won't say that it borders on pretention, because Zach Braff seems like a genuine guy, but Garden State just rubbed me the wrong way.

1 Comments:

Blogger Coolhand complained...

i saw on the today show where ZB said he wanted to do a film that was just about reaching that awkward mid-to-late 20's stage where you don't quite know what to do with yourself. And i guess it's based on experiences him or his friends had.

we should write that movie.

and i'll get on writing that stuff for your website...

3/24/2006 2:01 AM
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Bye Bye Bronson


We'll miss your lifetime 4.59 ERA and 33-33 record. More importantly, we'll miss the fact that you were in the Living/Arts pages more than you were in the Sports pages.

Seriously, though. His comments to the press yesterday were those of an upstanding athlete who realized that even though he could have the best of intentions with a team and sign a contract with a hometown discount, it all boils down to business. Bravo, Bronson, for not pulling the "no respect" card.

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3.21.2006

Coming Attraction

Netflix has a couple features that allows its users to write comments about the films they've rented. One feature is a complete user profile that allows users to write full-on reviews of any movie. Another is a "my two cents" feature that allows users to read mini-reviews by other users who are in their Netflix Friends group. Even if no one writes a mini-review, you can at least see how you're friend has rated a particular movie.

My review of Crash has drawn some chatter both online and offline. So, a new feature on the AYB has been born: Carl's Netflix reviews. I will cull past Netflix reviews, two-cents reviews and reviews of recently-rented materials -- all for your reading pleasure and, more importantly, to assist you in your rental selection for the near future -- and post a few each week.

More importantly, I really want some feedback on each review so we can have a forum for lively discussion. I know many of you who regularly read the AYB, and I know you have interesting things to say, so say them in response to my film review.

Oh, and send an F-U to Hollywood by signing up for Netflix
. Why pay the price to see two movies at a theater every month when you could conceivably rent 30 DVDs for the same price?

4 Comments:

Blogger Coolhand complained...

Why pay for a movie ticket? Answer: V For Vendetta.

C'mon, you know you want to!

3/22/2006 10:08 AM
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Anonymous Watching Movies in the Darc complained...

What? Hollywood is making money off Netflix. You think Netflix is some kind of renegade operation? It's just another rental outlet but with a different fee system and a delivery service.

The movies you are renting ALL came out in the theater at one point in time, so it's the same product. You're just choosing not to see the product at the optimal level.

3/27/2006 1:14 PM
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Blogger Carl complained...

I agree with that, however Netflix is a providing another way for consumers to see movies without leaving their home.

Even if it's not the most convenient (I think On-Demand is), it probably is the most valuable for consumers since it provides enormous selection and quantity.

I don't think Hollywood makes nearly enough money through rentals as they do through theater distribution.

3/27/2006 1:27 PM
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Anonymous Watching Movies in the Darc complained...

They make the most off DVD sales, because they don't have to split the profits with the theater owners. It's rare for any movie to make its money back on theater tickets alone, except for the biggest of blockbusters or the rare low-budget film that taps into the zeitgeist (Fahrenheit 911, Big Fat Greek Wedding, Passion of the Christ, etc.).

Netflix makes sense for the studios because 1, it is still a rental outfit, which means they are only lending their product to the consumer (unless, of course, you are using the service to run your personal bootlegging operation - "Do I look like a pirate?"). 2nd, it is free advertising for their DVD product: Movies you otherwise would have never seen and never considered buying are now made available for preview.

I know some of you are saying, "Hey, but why would I ever buy a DVD if I can always re-queue it? I'll be part of Netflix forever! Well, this is assuming that Netflix's current business model will stay unchanged. But that is like Tivo's once dominant position in the DVR market - because they had a monopoly, they forced consumers to pay for their unnecessary "service." There is nothing preventing Netflix from raising their prices in the future, or increase their throttling tactics. I consider the 17.99 price they're selling now to be kind of like the "AOL FREE MONTH" or "amazon.com $10 coupon" promotions of the past, designed to attract new members and attain mass usership. Don't be surprised when they announce the new 3-movie fee is $19.99.

Then I'll look forward to seeing you at the library!

3/28/2006 1:58 AM
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3.14.2006

Crash and Burn

I just saw Crash... I now know how easy it is to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

For those of you who haven't seen it, you probably already know that it's a film that deals with racism. What you don't probably know is that it feels like you're watching an after-school special about racism that was produced by HBO and written by an aspiring film student who loved the film Magnolia way too much.

I'm a racist, you're a racist, we're all racists.

1 Comments:

Blogger Coolhand complained...

yeah, seriously. my only joy at the end was when sandra bullock's character fell.

and why did lorenz tate have to die?

and who was ludacris?

3/20/2006 10:55 PM
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3.13.2006

RIP Tony

We hardly knew ye.

Poor Tony Almeida, stabbed with a chemical syringe by Robocop.

You were my favorite character from 24, even more favorite than Jack. You were soul-patch Tony. On day one, you were total jerk, until the end, when you realized Jack was a good guy and that you shouldn't be angry at him for being a whistleblower. Plus, you got to boink his ex-girlfriend for a while. On day two, you solidified your "awesome" status by kicking ass hour after hour, and getting with lovely Michelle Dessler -- who knew that day two would be the most blissful day?

Day three was the beginning of the end. On day three, you were the boss of CTU -- and threw it all away to allow the suspect to escape so he could lead you to your kidnapped wife. You ended up in jail, kicked to the curb by the very woman you saved. On day four, you returned to CTU, only to be shunned by pretty much everybody there. In the end, though, a silver lining -- you ended up back with your wife and the two of you decided to look for jobs elsewhere and out of harm's way.

On day five, however, your wife got blown up. Upon confronting the man who was behind it, you felt something that you've alway kept with you: morality. Too bad that morality bit you in the ass. Robocop stabbed you with a chemical needle.

Rest in peace, sweet prince Tony Almeida.

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3.12.2006

Sopranos Tonight!

I can't believe it's been almost two years since the last episode...

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3.09.2006

Plugging Away

I got an email from Puvu.com a few weeks ago, and they asked me to mention them in a post, so here's the SHOUTOUT. Puvu.com is a service for jobseekers that allows people to create reports about their interviews. You can input what types of questions you were asked, anything particular about the interviewing company, etc. This is for the Boston-area right now, so if anyone is job seeking or has an interview lined up, take a look.

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3.08.2006

Cleaning Out My Bad Purchases

I didn't even see The Age of Innocence

As I finish up ripping my music collection to my computer, I've come across a category that can only be described as bewildering -- bewildering to me as to WHY I purchased these particlar CDs. I am talking about, of course, soundtracks and compilations. Did I really need to purchase Hollywood '94 -- 10 score pieces from various movies that came out that year (remember Squanto?). And what reason did I have for purchasing the 1995 Grammy Nominees CD? I don't even like Bette Midler, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross or pretty much anyone else on the disc.

I wouldn't be caught dead listening to most of the people on this one.

And let's not forget actual soundtracks. I was happy to buy the soundtrack to Sister Act back in the mid nineties... but should I be proud now? What about the soundtrack to Mask? Was the only reason I really purchased it because of Cuban Pete? Yikes. Was I so sadly Star Trek obsessed that I had to buy the score to Generations?

In case you were unsure, Whoopi Goldberg is featured in this film.

I could take the easy route and not rip this CDs, but that would be like ignoring my youth, and I just can't do that. Now... I have to wrap this up so I can rip the Northern Exposure soundtrack.

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Congratulations to Myself

That last post was my 100th post! Good work, me. It was very fitting that I was angry for that post. I'm surprised my anger hasn't caused an aneurysm.

Does this now mean I can syndicate my blog to channel 56 or channel 38?

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3.06.2006

Oscars, Meh

I usually am excited for the Oscars, but lately I've viewed most industry awards (especially those out of Hollywood) with disdain. How can I not look at them and see a bunch of moneysucking industry whores patting themselves on the back for another mediocre job well done? Most of what Hollywood produces is garbage and I'm supposed to want to watch a show that allows Hollywood to congraluate itself for the cream of this crap crop?

Industry awards ceremonies are simply masturbation.

Lowlights
  • Jon Stewart -- most of you who read this blog know how I feel about Jon Stewart. For him to host "Hollywood's Biggest Night"... well, it wasn't so bad. Stewart was servicable as a host. I'd give him a solid B -- among recent hosts, I'd rank him a distant third to #2 Steve Martin and #1 Billy Crystal, and closely followed by #4's Chris Rock and David Letterman, and way ahead of #6 Whoopi Golderg. Still, the Academy could have done much better in its choice of host. The other hosts I listed all had one thing in common -- they are entertainers. Jon Stewart is not an entertainer. He was a pundit thrown into an entertainer's role, and it showed last night.
  • Montages -- good God, get over yourself. How about shooting for a show that doesn't run nearly an extra half hour?
  • "No better experience..." -- The president of the Academy came on and told us, the viewer, that movies are about telling stories, and there is nothing greater than being in a darkened theater, with a bunch of strangers - everyone wanting to experience a story. Yes. I love being in a darkened theater with a bunch of strangers who talk on their cellphones, talk to each other, talk to the screen, make every possible noise they can with their food wrapping. I love driving several miles and paying $10 a pop for this experience. If you love movies and don't already subscribe to Netflix, here you go. Fuck Hollywood and fuck it's "experience". Stop putting out a shitty product and start to force theaters to meet higher standards.
  • RIP -- I do enjoy the montage that covers who died this past year. I miss Mr. Miyagi even more. But to not have Don Knotts is unforgiveable. He was in several live-action Disney films. Yes, he made more of a name for himself on television, but to not honor his memory is to write off a good portion of his career. The same goes for Darren McGavin. Read my RIP post for more info on these two legends.
Highlights:
  • None.

2 Comments:

Blogger Coolhand complained...

For me it goes:

1) Billy Crystal (for sheer length of service.

2) Chris Rock - for being a FUNNY, and shaking things up.

2b) Conan at the Emmy's - just because he was so funny that he warrants mention in a completely unrelated field.

3) Steve Martin - meh, I have nothing against him.

4) Whoopi Goldberg - see #2, but more mild

5) John Stewart - I think he has good "guy who directs traffic" type of comedy sense. Not an acerbic wit, type of sense.

then again, if it doesn't seem like i know what i'm talking about, it's because i rarely ever watch more than 10 minutes of oscars. the exception being Chris Rock's time, since I respect him as a stand-up comedian.

3/07/2006 2:52 PM
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Anonymous Mr. Showbiz,com complained...

Knotts didn't make the cutoff date. He will be included in next year's montage.

3/13/2006 9:21 PM
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I Am What I Am

As those of you might remember, I pledged on this blog to write every day while being unemployed. That didn't happen -- but what did happen, is that I found some direction.

I recently finished reading Robert Rodriguez's book, Rebel without a Crew, in which he pretty much writes a diary about his experiences planning, making, and winning a ton of awards for El Mariachi. It's a good, inspiring read for anyone who thinks they want to get into filmmaking. One of the points RR made was that he was astonished at how many people say they want to be filmmakers, but don't yet call themselves filmmakers. According to him, as long as someone refused to say that they were a filmmaker, they would never succeed in filmmaking.

So here I am, trying to figure out what to do with my life. Currently I'm consulting on a few different jobs, plus web designing. I like web designing. It comes easy to me. I certainly don't know everything there is to know about it, but I'm happy to learn as I go along. So, how about a career in web design? It's obviously shaky starting out, but the pay is good, I can make my own hours as a consultant... the sky is the limit.

I was walking on the street today and bumped into an old professor. He asked what I was up to, so I gave him the three sentence version of my past two months, and finished that now I was self employed as a web designer. It rolled off the tongue very easily. I can also add this to the top of my resume -- no more gap between today and the end of January. I now how a line that starts Jan/06 - Present.

So here I am, a self employed web designer rapping about direction and other things esoteric... do you know anyone who needs a website?

1 Comments:

Blogger Coolhand complained...

No, but kudos to you for being your own man!

3/07/2006 2:53 PM
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