DVDs, Books, Games, and more

Monday, January 22, 2007

I Trust You to Kill Me - DVD

AndyO review: * * * 1/2

Metacritic score: 53/100

A great documentary about a band on the rise, with Kiefer Sutherland as the band's manager. This is not a reality-TV show. The band in the movie, Rocco DeLuca, is amazing. Sutherland is on an artist's journey -- a vision quest of sorts.   

posted by AndyO @ 10:02 PM   0 comments

Thank You for Smoking - DVD

AndyO review: * * *

Metacritic: 71/100

posted by AndyO @ 9:53 PM   0 comments

The Illusionist - DVD

Andyo review: * * * *

Metacritic score: 68/100

I love movies about illusion and magic -- especially when they're this good.

posted by AndyO @ 9:45 PM   0 comments

Sunday, January 14, 2007

24 - Season Five - DVD

AndyO review * * * *

Warning: spoilers below

After I finish a season of "24," I always wonder how it can get any better. But it always does. Watching "24" on DVD is a bit like eating Lays potato chips--only instead of not being able to eat just one chip, you can't watch just one episode. I usually end up watching two or three -- sometimes four -- in one sitting. (With a family, I have to wait until everyone goes to bed.)

As other reviewers have said, a bad day for Jack Bauer, the hero of "24," is a great day for the audience. In the very first episode former President David Palmer, one of the characters that goes back to the beginning of the "24" series, is assassinated. Like any show worth its salt, "24" is willing to kill off important characters ("Lost" is another one)/ But "24" doesn't stop there: Three other major characters from past seasons are attacked, with one of them killed, one of them injured.

Jack Bauer comes out of hiding to find out who killed Palmer (Jack had to fake his own death last season so the Chinese couldn't get him). And then he finds out he's being framed for Palmer's death -- even though he was "dead." From there, where the plot goes is anyone's guess, and I won't spoil any more.

The real secret behind "24" is the depth of its characters. Characters who seem simple often turn out to be complex. Take President Logan: in Season Four he was a whiny, unfit president who needed David Palmer to come in and hold his hand. By the end of Season Four, we see how Logan has duped most of the people around him by playing the fool.

Some of my other favorite returning characters include:

  • Chloe O'Brian, the CTU super hacker who supports Jack wherever he his;
  • Edger Stiles, an Everyman programmer who's not as good as Chloe, but wants to be (and probably has a crush on her);
  • Audrey Raines, Jack's ex-girlfriend and the daughter to the Secretary of Defense.

The other cool thing about "24" is how they bring in actors that you don't expect to see. In Season Five, they brought in:

  • Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as Bill Buchanan's inexperienced boss
  • Peter Weller (RoboCop) as Jack's ex-CTU mentor who has gone bad
  • Jean Smart (Garden State, I Heart Huckabees) as President Logan's wife, Martha
  • Jilian Sands (A Room with a View, Leaving las Vegas) as Vladimir Bierko.

My hat is off to the actors, writers, directors, and everyone else responsible for "24." This is one of the few shows that is worth wasting about 18 hours of my life each season. There are only two other recent network shows to which I've had this kind of connection: "The X-Files" and "Lost."

Lucky for me, Season Six starts tonight...

posted by AndyO @ 12:49 PM   0 comments

The Iron Giant - DVD

AndyO review - * * * 1/2

After reading an article about the 50 Greatest Robots Ever in Wired Magazine that featured the Iron Giant, I pulled this one out of my DVD collection to show Cameron and his friends. This movie is one of those that gets better with each viewing. And while it's not really a kids' movie (language and adult themes), most of it is suitable.

Interesting facts: "The Iron Giant" was created by Brad Bird, who joined the legendary Pixar and created "The Incredibles" (probably my favorite Pixar movie). Evidently, Warner Bros. messed up the release of "The Iron Giant"(animation departments being shut down, marketing, etc.). Bird was so scarred by the experience with Warner Bros. that even when he joined Pixar he doubted that a studio would ever support an animated project.

posted by AndyO @ 11:44 AM   0 comments

David Blaine - Fearless - DVD

AndyO review: * * *

My son, Cameron, and I are going to see David Copperfield this month, so I wanted to show him some other magicians to get him ready (I couldn't find any David Copperfield DVDs). David Blaine is a really interesting magician. He often finds finds people walking down the street to show his magic to. This makes his card tricks, levitations, and contortions even more dramatic. Also, Blaine's calm demeanor is always a counterpoint to his magic. He always says something like, "Look at this; I don't understand how this happens."

This DVD is recommended to all people who like magic and performance art. There is some language, but it's pretty suitable for kids.

posted by AndyO @ 11:12 AM   0 comments

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Elliott Smith - Figure 8

Tiny Dog introduced me to Elliott Smith, who was one of those musicians who burned brightly for a short time. This is the first time I've listened to this album, and I liked it a lot.

posted by AndyO @ 6:55 PM   0 comments

The Cars - Greatest Hits - CD

The cars are one of those bands I never really get sick of for some reason.

posted by AndyO @ 6:50 PM   0 comments

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Night at the Museum - Theater

AndyO review: * * *

Metacritic review: 48/100

This is a great "escape" movie for children and adults. There's nothing more frightening and fun than the contents of a museum coming to life at night. Ben Stiller makes the journey funny, while the supporting cast includes many A-list actors.

Note: Clearly the movie public and the critics are at odds with this movie, as the public reviews on Metacritic are much better, and this movie is performing well at the box office.

posted by AndyO @ 11:19 PM   0 comments

Rocky Balboa - Theater

AndyO review: * * *

Read the AndyO full review here.

posted by AndyO @ 11:09 PM   0 comments

A Scanner Darkly - DVD

AndyO review: *

Metacritic score: 73/100

Scanner Darkly, A reviewsThis film is clearly an impressive stylistic feat. It looks like a graphic novel or comic book come to life (see picture). But I found the story too boring and the characters too self conscious for this to be anything more than a novelty.  

posted by AndyO @ 11:05 PM   0 comments

Charlotte's Web - Theater

Andyo review: * * * *

Metacritic score: 68/100

This movie version of the E.B. White children's story is destined to be a classic.

posted by AndyO @ 10:58 PM   0 comments