Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Mon 29 Mar 2010 12:01 am   //   Posted in: Mixes, Movies, Music, Videos

Epic Stop Motion Monster Mashup

Here’s a video and a story. First, the video:

Now the story:

Earlier this month, my brother Gerritt and his wife Melanie hosted a party at their house. Gerritt made a playlist of party music, and I suggested we play a movie to serve as “visual noise” for people to talk about and smile at. I went on Netflix queued up the 1963 epic Jason and the Argonauts.


Wed 3 Feb 2010 6:46 am   //   Posted in: Movies, TV commericals

Beth Grant’s weird Skittles commercial

Actress Beth Grant delivers the best line in one of my favorite movies, 2001’s Donnie Darko. Here she is with her classic lament: “Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!”

Now, time travel to present day. Beth Grant has showed up in a Skittles commercial. I love this:


Wed 16 Sep 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Movies

The best bike movie of all time

Note: I’m riding in the Bike MS ride on October 4 (info) and so every post this week is about biking!

I was originally going to call this post “The top 5 bike movies of all time,” but who would I be kidding? There is only one that matters: “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.”


“I wouldn’t sell my bike for all the money in the world!,” Pee-Wee declares. “Not for a hundred billion million trillion dollars!”

Right on! Fact: This movie launched director Tim Burton’s career. Fact: This movie spawned the sugary 1980s Saturday morning classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, beloved by millions of children. Fact: Every time you hear the song “Tequila” by The Champs, you picture Pee-Wee dancing on the bar.

This movie also has the best bicycle chase scene ever committed to film. Beyond dispute.


Fri 28 Aug 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Hard times, Movies

We need to talk about your flair

The other day at work I was coding an e-mail newsletter while listening to Dr. Dre and realized: I am pulling a total Michael Bolton.

Ten years ago, Mike Judge directed a movie set at a dot-com company in the generic American suburbs. It flopped in the theater. But time has been good to “Office Space.” It’s actually gotten funnier and even more devastating as the trends this movie dryly observed have become more widespread. For people of a certain age, this movie is as much a cultural touchstone as “Star Wars” and “Back to the Future.”

Gawker uses “The Bobs” as slang for “consultants.” The Wikipedia entry on TPS report includes half a dozen pop culture references. Web sites sell red Swinglines and Initech T-shirts. The “Pieces of Flair” Facebook app has 4 million users. Call “Office Space” a cult movie if you must, but it’s one heck of a big cult.


Thu 6 Aug 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Media, Movies, Over!

I will probably never buy another DVD

Last year, I spent $20 for a cable that connects my computer to my TV. It has more than paid for itself. A few months later, I’m streaming most of my home entertainment over the Internet. This week I watched “The Hunt for Red October” from Netflix. The experience delivered just as much Cold War nautical awesomeness as it would have on a DVD. And I can play it again any time I want.

Which makes me wonder, why own DVDs at all? My modest, tightly-edited DVD collection takes up one shelf of a narrow bookcase. Like my long-obsolete CD collection, seeing it sometimes fills me with buyer’s remorse. Eight discs of “Arrested Development” sit there mocking me, now that every single episode is available free online. “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Casablanca,” and “Vertigo” are there too—and also available streaming from Netflix.


Mon 27 Jul 2009 8:13 am   //   Posted in: Brooklyn, Movies, Music

Mighty good

This store cracks me up every time I walk past it:



Fri 12 Jun 2009 11:40 pm   //   Posted in: Movies, Transit

Mistakes in “The Taking of Pelham 123”

The remake of “The Taking of Pelham 123,” I have to admit, is better than the 1974 original, which I own on DVD and have seen at least five times. But nobody said the original was a great movie. What made it notable was it’s attention to detail. Almost every reference to New York City geography in the original is absolutely accurate. It was one of those rare New York movies that respected the intelligence of trivia-obsessed New Yorkers.

I follow trains the way some people follow sports, so I was interested in whether the film was accurate in regard to the New York City subway, the setting where all of the action takes place. How did it do?


Mon 1 Jun 2009 8:07 am   //   Posted in: In the news, Labeling, Movies

Reboot reboot!

J.J. Abrams’ awesome remake of Star Trek was branded as a reboot. I suspect it’s the first time that word has been used to market a movie, but we all instantly knew what it meant. I’ve also heard the same word — reboot — used to describe the government’s attempts to fix the economy. Let’s take as a given: People are using the word reboot a lot these days.

It’s an elegant word that comes from computers. (Merriam-Webster: boot: “to start or ready for use especially by booting a program <boot a computer> often used with up.”) Practically everybody knows how to fix a computer bug by hitting a restart button. The computer clears its memory, runs its start-up routines, and after several minutes, presto!, everything is new again. It’s like un-popping your ears or cleaning your glasses.

These days, many of our economic systems could use rebooting. Think about where you work. Imagine if you could shut the place down for a period of time, rethink everything you do, and then restart with all the current problems solved, inefficiencies purged, bugs fixed. Imagine if a company undertook a careful study of itself, figured out what it did best, trained and redeployed its people to solve its hardest problems, and came roaring back to life. It’s appealing, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, nothing works that way. Outside of the world of computers, few problems can be solved by taking something apart and fitting all the same pieces back together again. Heck, even modern computers are designed to be stable enough that you shouldn’t have to reboot them. (If Vista gives you guff, rebooting doesn’t help much.)

If you wanted to reboot General Motors, you couldn’t just shut it down, wait, and then try again. You’d have to spend a lot of money and human energy correcting a system gone wrong. You’d have to invent new things. Creation is hard, and language needs to reflect that. The makers of the new Star Trek film didn’t just re-shoot an old sci-fi flick with better special effects. They respected an existing template, but used it to say something new. It was hard, it was expensive, it paid off.

Reboot just sounds lazy. I submit a better word: reinvention.

Sat 23 May 2009 7:21 am   //   Posted in: Movies, Review

Review of “Star Trek”: Half of Four Stars

Last night we went to see “Star Trek” at the Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. We like this cinema because it’s in a bad location and nobody goes there. As always, we got great seats.

I’m not a Trekkie, but I’ve always enjoyed Star Trek films, and I was excited about this revitalization of the franchise. The previews started rolling at 7:20, and the movie started soon after. At about 8:30, the whole screen went dark. A few minutes passed and the movie sputtered to life again, only to cut out again after a few seconds. A woman from the theater, presumably the manager, entered and apologized. She said they were working on the problem in the projector booth. She gave us an update every few minutes until finally it emerged that the projector was totally broken—no power—and we would all get free passes to a future movie. (Credit to this manager for handling this disappointing situation exactly right.)

Since we only saw about half the movie, here’s half a review of it.

I really like what director J.J. Abrams has done with “Star Trek.” Expecially the beginning—five minutes of breathless action in which a man dies and a boy is born and two gigantic spacecraft are destroyed. THIS is how to start a movie! THIS is what we’re paying to see! The movie stays strong from then on, following the life of James T. Kirk on his way to Starfleet Academy and, ultimately, as a crew member aboard the Starship Enterprise. When the Enterprise is sent to answer a mysterious distress call from Vulcan,

– End –

Wed 6 May 2009 7:25 am   //   Posted in: Movies, Videos

“A real slap in the face for Trek fans”

This Onion video is pretty funny: