Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Yet Another Netflix Junkie

Posted: 2010-04-01 in General
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This past Sunday, I bit the bullet and joined Netflix.  I'd been considering it for a while now, but between Mariser's recent post about Netflix coming to the Nintendo Wii and my own restlessness about being laid up on the couch with nothing but crappy movies available on the television, I decided now was the time to join up.  So I subscribed, set up an initial queue of about 50 movies I've been looking forward to seeing, and got There Will Be Blood in the mail on Tuesday.  Dee and I finished it last night and I packaged it up and mailed it back today.  Can't wait for the next movie to wing its way into my DVD player!

However, the part that really sold me on Netflix (over Redbox, which works out to just about the same price with no subscription commitment) is the Instant Viewing capability.  Any computer with a broadband connection can be set up to stream a subset of the Netflix movies for viewing with absolutely no wait.  This is where the service really shines – there are more than enough movies, miniseries, and television shows available for instant viewing that I've always wanted to see but never got around to watching when they came out.  Currently, I'm watching a half-hour episode of the British miniseries of Gaiman's Neverwhere at lunch every day.

My wife isn't quite as excited about the service as I am, but I think once I have the capability to play Netflix movies from a Wii across to our TV, she'll become a convert – if for no other reason than it'll allow her to find novel new shows/movies for the kids to watch when she needs a break, and she won't be subjected to the same episode of Imagination Movers or Phineas and Ferb that's she's already seen about a billion-and-two times before.

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Since I've still been couch-bound for the last couple weeks, I've watched a lot more movies than I normally would. I watched a lot of crappy movies, but did find a few diamonds in the rough. Here's some of the gems I caught:

The Hurt Locker

4.5 of 5 Stars
4.5 of 5 Stars

"Kathryn Bigelow directs this gripping drama (nominated for nine Oscars) following one of the U.S. Army's elite EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) teams operating in the ferocious war zone of Iraq. As the squad identifies and dismantles improvised explosive devices and other bombs, they must also contend with the frayed nerves and internal conflicts that arise from living in constant peril. Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce star."

An incredibly powerful film that came at me from a totally unexpected direction. The whole movie felt like one long, tense shot. The characters seemed a lot more "human" than many of the more recent war-time movies I've seen; the EOD crew is composed of individuals just looking to do their job safely and efficiently so they and the people they're trying to help (U.S. soldiers and Iraqis alike) can make it through another day safely. The film focuses less on the action the team sees while on tour (although there is certainly plenty of that), and more on the emotional and physical interactions of the  people affected by the conflicts that take place every day. Surprisingly, most of the big-named actors have very small roles in this film, and the lesser-knowns standing in the spotlight do an excellent job of portraying troubled and entirely-too-real human beings. The end result is a fascinating and gut-wrenching look into the lives of people who just happen to be soldiers, for better or for worse.

Paranormal Activity

3.5 of 5 Stars
3.5 of 5 Stars

"When Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) fear their San Diego, Calif., home may be haunted by a demonic presence, Micah sets up a video camera to document all the jaw-dropping, hair-raising action over a series of several nights in fall 2006. The paranormal occurrences increase in frequency and significance, leaving Katie more and more distraught — and determined to put an end to the terror."

I'm not usually a fan of the "handycam film" – you know, the shaky, intentionally "amateurish" handheld camera that "adds" to the action or suspense of the movie – but it worked pretty well for this film. Reminded me a lot of how effective it was in The Blair Witch Project. There were definitely some creepy moments to this flick. In fact, after it finished, my wife and I had to immediately start another movie because we didn't want to go to bed with the images the director leaves in your head at the end of the film. There were some points where I found myself wishing the pace of the movie would pick up a little, and I questioned the likelihood of the actions of the main characters at several points during the movie (is there one of these movies where you don't?), but overall, it was a pretty well-built film that will leave you wondering whether there really is something to all this paranormal activity stuff.


4 of 5 Stars
4 of 5 Stars

"An easily spooked guy, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), joins forces with wild man Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) to fight for survival in a world virtually taken over by freakish zombies. As they destroy scores of the undead, they meet up with two other survivors, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone), and journey to a supposedly safe abandoned amusement park. Ruben Fleischer directs this horror romp."

This movie was easily the most funny and most gory movie I've seen in a while. Think Superbad meets 28 Days Later. Ditching traditional zombie-flick traditions from the very start, this film is a slaughter-fest of semi-witless zombies by the "last survivors in the world". Filled with subtle, sarcastic, and sometimes flat-out slapstick humor including some very hilarious one-liners, this film kept me smiling and laughing through just about every scene. Bill Murray joins in on the fun late in the movie as himself and steals the show in at least a couple scenes.

City of Ember

3 of 5 Stars
3 of 5 Stars

"Bill Murray and Tim Robbins head the cast in this sci-fi fantasy set in Ember, a city illuminated only by artificial light. When the town's generator begins to fail, two teens (Harry Treadaway and Saoirse Ronan) race to save Ember's citizens from darkness by solving an old mystery. Martin Landau, Toby Jones and Mary Kay Place also star in this eye-popping metaphorical tale based on Jeanne Duprau's best-selling novel."

Definitely meant for kids, this movie is a little too trite for adults to really enjoy.  In spite of that, City of Ember is a beautifully visualized film, and the premise is entertaining enough to keep you watching to see how it turns out.  I suspect the novel is excellent and may pick it up so I can find out if it is as good a piece of YA fiction as I suspect it is.  Bill Murray does an excellent job as the city's mayor, but look out for Saoirse Ronan (nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for Atonement) – I suspect she's going to be tearing her way through Hollywood in a couple more years, based on what I saw in this film.

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The idea's courtesy of Ginger Sister, but the quotes are all chosen by me.  I didn't go for the most obscure quote from the movies, but I also didn't pick the most obvious.  Happy guessing, and I'll try to update as the answers are guessed in the comments.  (SPOILER WARNING: Guess before you scroll to the end of the quotes, as the answers are posted directly below the quotes area)

The Rules:
1. Pick 30 of your favorite movies. (These aren't necessarily my all time faves, but they'll do.)
2. Find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them on your blog for everyone to guess.

NO CHEATING.  Guess what you know, don't wikiquote them.

1) "Are you classified as human?" "Negative, I am a meat popsicle."

2) "Lena. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I left you at the hospital. I called a phone-sex line… I called a phone-sex line before I met you, and four blond brothers came after me and they hurt you, and I'm sorry. Then I had to leave again because I wanted to make sure you never got hurt again. And I have a lot of puddings, and in six to eight weeks it can be redeemed. So if you could just give me that much time, I think I can get enough mileage to go with you wherever you go if you have to travel for your work. Because I don't ever want to be anywhere without you. So could you just let me redeem the mileage?"

3) "Well, I'm not used to supposin'. I'm just a workin' man. My boss does all the supposin' – but I'll try one. Supposin' you talk us all out of this and, uh, the kid really did knife his father?"

4) "The warrior code. The delight in the battle, you understand that, yes? But also something more. You understand there is something outside yourself that has to be served. And when that need is gone, when belief has died, what are you? A man without a master." "Right now I'm a man without a paycheck."

5) "McManus came to us with the job, Fenster got the vans, Hockney supplied the hardware, I came through with how to do it so no one got killed, but Keaton… Keaton put on the finishing touch. A little 'fuck you' from the five of us to the NYPD."

6) "Uh, whose car is that out front?" "Mine. 1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I've always wanted and now I have it. I rule!"

7) "Listen kid, I'm not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don't give a good fuck what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get."

8) "The helmet I was wearing… Oh come on, that's funny. That's really funny, I mean I'm the only person who wears a helmet to work who isn't putting out fires or racing for NASCAR. But what do you do, I can't quit… their insurance is amazing, what do you do? You laugh. I'm not saying I don't cry but in between I laugh and I realize how silly it is to take anything too seriously. Plus, I look forward to a good cry. It feels pretty good."

9) "Well, most recently, there's room 309, there's this scary Mexican gangster dude poking his finger in my chest. There's his hooligan kids snapping their fingers at me. There's a putrid, rotting corpse of a dead whore stuck in the springs of the bed. There's rooms blazing afire. There's a big fat needle from God knows where, stuck in my leg, infecting me with God knows what. And finally there's me, walking out the door, right fucking now. Buenas noches."

10) "I don't know why you died, Goldie. I don't know why and I don't know how, I never even met you before tonight. But you were a friend and more when I needed one. And when I find out who did it, it won't be quick and quiet like it was with you. It'll be loud and nasty. My kind of kill. And when his eyes go dead the hell I send him to will seem like heaven after what I've done to him. I love you, Goldie."

11) "So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help."

12) "Look son, being a good shot, being quick with a pistol, that don't do no harm, but it don't mean much next to being cool-headed. A man who will keep his head and not get rattled under fire, like as not, he'll kill ya. It ain't so easy to shoot a man anyhow, especially if the son-of-a-bitch is shootin' back at you."

13) "The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway… I've started to make a tape… in my head… for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done."

14) "First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have… reproductive organs under those little, white pants. It's just so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. You know, what's the point of living… if you don't have a dick?"

15) "I am finished doing what I swore an oath to God 28 years ago to never do again. I've created, "something that kills people." And in that purpose, I was a success. I've done this because, philosophically, I am sympathetic to your aim. I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut."

16) "Unbelievable, that old Biff could have chosen that particular date. It could mean that that point in time inherently contains some sort of cosmic significance. Almost as if it were the temporal junction point for the entire space-time continuum. On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence."

17) "That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you."

18) "There was this guy, and he was always requesting shows that had already played. Yes. No. You have to tell her before. He couldn't quite grasp the idea that the charge nurse couldn't make it be yesterday. She couldn't turn back time, thank you, Einstein! Now, *he* was nuts! *He* was a fruitcake, Jim!"

19) "Who the hell do they think they are? I report to the Prime Minister and even he's smart enough not to ask me what we do. Have you ever seen such a bunch of self-righteous, ass-covering prigs? They don't care what we do; they care what we get photographed doing. And how the hell could Bond be so stupid? I give him double-O status and he celebrates by shooting up an embassy. Is the man deranged? And where the hell is he? In the old days if an agent did something that embarrassing he'd have a good sense to defect. Christ, I miss the Cold War."

20) "Well, when I came home from school my head started to get really hot. So I drank some cold water, but it didn't do nothing. So I laid in the bathtub for a while, but then I realized that it was my hair that was making my head hot. So I went into my kitchen and I shaved it all off. I don't want anyone to see."

21) "We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power. It was believed they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun."

22) "Watch your mouth kid, or you're gonna find yourself floating home. We'll be safe enough once we make the jump to hyperspace. Besides, I know a few maneuvers. We'll lose em'!"

23) "Do you have any idea what it's like to have two people look at you, with total lust and devotion, through the same pair of eyes?"

24) "I just mean during the day. Daylight. When was the last time you remember seeing it? And I'm not talking about some distant, half-forgotten childhood memory, I mean like yesterday. Last week. Can you come up with a single memory? You can't, can you? You know something, I don't think the sun even… exists… in this place. 'Cause I've been up for hours, and hours, and hours, and the night never ends here."

25) "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."

26) "…Our files are confidential Mr. Barish so we can't show you any evidence. Suffice it to say, Miss Kruczynski was not happy and she wanted to move on. We provide that possibility."

27) "Let me put it this way. If you ever start feeling sentimental, go to Barstow, California. When you get here, walk into a florist and buy a bunch of flowers. Then you take those flowers to Huntington cemetery on Fuller and Guadalupe, look for the headstone marked Paula Schultz, then lay them on the grave. Because you will be standing at the final resting place of Beatrix Kiddo."

28) "They all have husbands and wives and children and houses and dogs, and, you know, they've all made themselves a part of something and they can talk about what they do. What am I gonna say? 'I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How've you been?' "

29) "You all wanna be looking very intently at your own belly buttons. I see a head start to rise, violence is going to ensue. Probably guessed we mean to be thieving here but what we're after is not yours. So, let's have no undue fussing."

30) "You just couldn't let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible aren't you? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever."

*1) The Fifth Element
*2) Punch-Drunk Love
*3) 12 Angry Men
*4) Ronin
*5) The Usual Suspects
*6) American Beauty
*7) Reservoir Dogs
*8) Garden State
*9) Four Rooms
*10) Sin City
*11) Good Will Hunting
*12) Unforgiven
*13) High Fidelity
*14) Donnie Darko
*15) Kill Bill: Vol. 1
*16) Back to the Future II
*17) The Princess Bride
*18) Twelve Monkeys
*19) Casino Royale
*20) Napoleon Dynamite
*21) The Matrix
*22) Star Wars (Ep IV)
*23) Being John Malkovich
*24) Dark City
*25) Say Anything
*26) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
*27) Kill Bill: Vol. 2
*28) Grosse Pointe Blank
*29) Serenity
*30) The Dark Knight

[NaBloPoMo 2008 – #19.2/2008]

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QotD: Mind Eraser

Posted: 2008-08-04 in General
Tags: , ,

If you could, which film would you un-watch or which book would you un-read?
Submitted by Kate.

My first thought was Lady in the Water, as I'd love to forget that something like this even existed.  But then I realized that by "un-watching" or "un-reading" something, you'd be setting yourself up to watch/read it again.  So my only motivation for un-watching/un-reading something would be to reexperience the amazing/incredible emotions/thoughts I got out of the medium the first time around.  Here are some of my top choices that I'd want to watch/read again, for the first time:

1. The Usual Suspects
2. The Spanish Prisoner
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. The Star Wars Trilogy (eps 4, 5, and 6)
5. 12 Angry Men (the original)
6. Fight Club
7. The Indiana Jones series
8. The Matrix
9. Memento
10. Sin City

1. Anything by Robert Heinlein
2. Neuromancer
3. Slaughterhouse-Five
4. Ender's Game
5. Moby Dick
6. Snow Crash
7. The Talisman
8. Watership Down
9. The Lord of the Rings series
10. Almost anything by Spider Robinson

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I found out a few days ago that I'll be headed to Houston, TX next week for a week-long inspection of a vendor's system.  I've got family in the area, but coincidentally, they'll be in Pennsylvania at the time, visiting my other family.  Looks like I'll bring a book or two and catch on some reading in the evenings. 

I might even get a chance to go catch a movie or two (quite a luxury when you're usually shackled to a 2-year old anytime you go out).  Anyone have any recommendations?  The one's I'm sort of considering are:

    – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I'm a sucker for the series, although I like the books more than the movies)
    – Transformers (who doesn't enjoy having their childhood repurposed to sell millions of new toys to a new generation of kids?)
    – Ocean's Thirteen (If it's anything like the first two, I'll enjoy this one a lot)

On the fence (I would need a really good recommendation to push me into seeing it)
    – Pirates of the Caribbean 3
    – Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer
    – Evan Almighty
    – 1408 (I've read the Stephen King short story this is based on…Meh.)
    – Evening
    – Live Free or Die Hard (Is this the one where the corpse of Bruce Willis is resurrected to fight terrorists in some city somewhere?)

Ones that are definitely out:
    – Anything animated (I get enough of this at home, I'll see them soon enough when they come out on DVD)
    – License to Wed (Um…if you've seen a preview, you'd understand)
    – Knocked Up (I had to wash my eyes out with bleach after watching the preview for this movie)

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I'm not a slacker, but I play one on TV!

Seriously though, since my classes for the spring ended, I have been the master slacker. Nothing has been more enjoyable than coming home from a medium-length workday and plopping down on the couch with a good book or the remote control…of course, I can feel my legs losing their muscle-tone, and my cholesterol's probably going through the roof, but hey, I think this past week was a desperately needed break from my reality of the past year. Working 40 hours a week of regular work, compounded with 20-30 hours of work due to in-house classes and projects does nothing pleasant for the mind or body…and now that I feel sort of rejuvenated (or at least, I don't feel like taking a hammer to my 'puter every morning) I think I'll get off my lazy ass and start doing some more stuff.

Dee and I bought new rollerblades and have been taking trips down to the 3.1 mile paved park path that runs along the lake…that's so much fun, sometimes. When the weather is nice and sunny, everyone is out enjoying themselves and you've got runners, bikers, rollerbladers and the odd skateboarder or two out on the path moving to the beat of their walkmans, radios, or some odd internal rhythm…If some aliens came down from outer space during one of these days, they'd probably be confused as to why everyoone was in such a hurry to go down the path in one direction, turn around in the cul-de-sac, and hurry back the other way…maybe they'd think it some sort of weird earthly mating ritual…and they wouldn't be too far wrong, given the absurdly large number of guys out there that look like they're showing off or preening for the attention of their more exercise-focused female counterparts.

Anyway, some of Dee's family (sister, sister's 2 little boys, other sister's son and daughter) is coming up for a week's visit starting this evening. Should be fun, but we'll see how long it takes me to get tired of having 4 kids running about underfoot 🙂 I think my limit for children of my own will rest around 2…I just have to remember that as cute as they are as a newborn, once they reach the 2-18 year old range, they become that precious-yet-complete-and-utter-handful that drives people slowly insane…

Currently Reading

Too much to mention. The last book I touched (this morning) is called Cyber Way by Alan Dean Foster. Although I've really enjoyed some of his books, others have been so damned hard to get into that I just give up (and I'm not one that gives up lightly). The Journeys of the Catechist series are beyond excellent and should be read by any fantasy fan for their fanciful nature and incredibly understated humor. Cyber Way is turning out to be pretty good. Mixing sci-fi with the cultural aspects of the Navajo people is turning out to be quite an interesting mix, and the aspects of the sandpainting and spiritual beliefs Foster is covering are things I've never heard of, or even considered learning about.>

Currently Watching

Saw The Matrix Reloaded on Monday. I think I liked it (for the most part) better than the first. Not to give anything away, but the sex scene with Neo and Trinity was a little much for me…everything else kicked ass and doesn't need to be discussed here when you can be immersed in it yourself. Check out the soundtrack, too…kick-ass tunes!

Currently Listening To

I pulled my mp3 collection off my computer at home and put it on my laptop at work so I can generate some decent stats on AudioScrobbler. That site is excellent…I can't wait until it starts matching me up with music other people listen to who also listen to my stuff…I'm always in the mood to hear from new artists! My nick on the website is RossRuns, if you want to check out my stats so far.

Currently Thinking About

How little I actually want to do work here today…I'm thinking those hard-earned vacation hours could be well spent today helping me take off early for a good run and a final hour on the couch with Cyber Way before Dee's family shows up.

Notified readers can think of catchy things for me to put here more often than I can.

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I'm completely worn out this afternoon, and I'll tell you why. There's an evil little video-game invention called Dance Dance Revolution. You may have seen this video-game miscreant in arcades across the country, or its juvenile brothers made for the PC and Playstation. If you have, I hope you're lucky enough to be able to pass up this quarter-stealer and refrain from getting addicted. If you haven't seen these maniacal machines yet, run at the first sound of the heavy dub emanating from the giant speakers, the frenzied teens flipping their feet among the dance-pad, the flashing lights and addictive game purpose. The evil Dance Dance Revolution game, if you haven't seen it (or need some mental refreshing), consists of a large video-game screen and an even larger steel-reinforced double-dance pad that sits in front of the screen. Players attempt to step on the arrows (up, down, left and right) in time with arrows that move across the video game screen from the bottom to top. Different levels (songs) have different beats and rhythms, and are of different difficulties. The easiest (Single-foot) is about the pace of a really laid-back step aerobics video, while the hardest (seven-foot) require you to constantly move your feet in multiple combinations of patterns, as many as 4 different patterns per second, for a period of 2-3 minutes!

Anyway, I've been sort of a dabbler in this game for quite a while, and about a month and a half ago I bought the home version for the playstation, along with two soft-plastic dance-pads. They're not as good (accurate or sturdy) as the arcade ones, but they do the job. I've slowly been getting better, and today I had a chance to try to strut my stuff in the arcade. Usually there's swarm of teenagers waiting to show each other up at the arcade at the mall, which means that me and my self-conscious thoughts are not going to be participating (at least until I get good). Today, while waiting for a movie, there was absolutely nobody hanging around, so I got $5 in tokens from the arcade dispenser and ventured my first real attempt at crushing the moderate-level difficulty songs on the arcade machine. The home version had different songs (being the original, as opposed to the 3rd remix of this version), but I figured that my abilities would be about the same, regardless of whether I knew the song steps or not. I had a big suprise in store for me though, when I tried out this game today…

I was on fire. I don't mean I was doing okay on those songs, I was doing GREAT. I was getting everything right and was in a zone. I kept moving up in difficulty and speed and my feet were flying. By the end of my money (45 minutes later) I was clearing a couple of the 5-foot level songs and although I couldn't beat the last one I tried before my money ran out (and my legs cut out on me), I gave it a damn good shot.

To make a long story short (too late!) I ended up going into the movie theater with DeeDee all hot and sweaty and tired, but very triumphant. Maybe soon I can show up one afternoon with all the high-schoolers and show 'em a thing or two about how to really step until you can't step no more.

Currently Reading

I started The Gold Coast and it's really good. The characters are fresh and it's really well written. I needed something light, too, so this is really fitting the bill.

Currently Watching

Right now, I'm just zoning to True Lies on TV. However, I saw Changing Lanes today in the theaters, and High Crimes last night. Lanes was definitely the superior of the two, but they were both worth watching. I really enjoyed seeing Ben Affleck offset Samuel L. Jackson today (they both kick ass) and the story was really pretty solid, too. Crimes was more of a typical thriller-type movie, and didn't really have a whole lot of suprises, although if you just sorta immersed yourself in it, you could feel sorta charged up.

Currently Listening To

Nothin' much. I need to go buy some new cds.

Currently Thinking About

How little I desire doing any work for my Neural Networks project. Not that I have a whole lot left to actually do today, but it's the principal of the thing I abhor. *Sigh* Guess I'll go procrastinate doing the work by cooking some dinner for Dee and myself. Mmmm….pork chops….

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