Archive for March, 2006

Movie Reviews: Mission: Impossible franchise

Posted in movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on March 23, 2006 by Paxton

Our mission, and we chose to accept it, was to watch the Mission Impossible movie.

The wife and I had watched our Blockbuster movies the night before and nothing was on TV, so Steph was tasked with picking a movie. She perused the Holley DVD Vaults, felt like an action movie, and came up with Mission: Impossible starring Tom Cruise. Now, as of late, Tom Cruise has been acting like a first rate asshat. He used to be the cool, aloof Mr. Cruise. Now he’s the outspoken, cradle-robbing asshat. And I emphasize the words ASSHAT. I’ve been able to separate the off screen Cruise psychopath and still enjoy him onscreen, that is, until he made War of the Worlds. But I loved Mission Impossible and was eager to see it again to rekindle my fondness for a good Cruise action movie.

Mission Impossible is how a good action movie should be done. It’s fast, action packed and has very cool gadgets and characters. This was a big, action movie, but the director kept the atmosphere close and tight. You could tell this movie’s tone and atmosphere was used later for Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremecy. When I first saw it I remember being completely shocked when Cruise’s entire IMF team is killed in the beginning. Emilio Estevez as the hacker, Jack, was a surprise to me when he was introduced in the beginning. Needless to say, I was sad to see him go so soon. Cruise played Ethan Hunt perfectly and the effects were awesome. Jon Voight played a convincing character, but the chick who played his wife was AWFUL. I don’t know who she is, but I’m glad I don’t see her in any other movies. AWFUL. This movie was definately a must see. Needless to say, I was excited to see the sequel but dismayed when it took 4 years to come out.

After watching Mission Impossible (MI), Steph and I felt like watching the second one. We both saw it theatrically, apparently together (I had forgotten) and memories of it had faded. I remember not really liking it, but I was willing to give it another chance. So off to Blockbuster we went the next night and rented it. I’d have to say, on this second viewing, I was much more entertained, but the movie was WAY overproduced. Seriously. I don’t know what John Woo was thinking, but it bordered on the ridiculous. I applaud the addition of Sir Anthony Hopkins as Ethan Hunt’s boss, but I jeer the leading lady, Thandie Newton, and the main villain, Dougray Scott. Thandie Newton couldn’t hold her own against the toddlers in Daddy Day Care much less Tom Cruise or Anthony Hopkins. I was glad they brought back Ving Rhames for a small appearance. The action set pieces were cool, if bordering on complete foolishness. I enjoyed the pretty lights and colors, but would not really want to see it again. The script may have been complete ass, but John Woo can really photograph some violence. I mean, it’s like he’s in love with graphic violence. The slow motion, the close ups, the doves. It’s almost violence pornography. You don’t believe me? See this movie or the movie Face/Off. Unbelievable. More faceless characters are killed in John Woo movies than in WWII and Vietnam combined.

I really love the concept of these movies, and the character of Ethan Hunt, particularly.

The next day we went to see Failure to Launch and the Mission Impossible 3 trailer came up. This was the second time I’ve seen it and I was much more excited to see it now that we had watched the first two. JJ Abrams, the writer/creator of Alias and Lost, is writing/directing this installment. He is bringing back Ving Rhames (hopefully in a bigger part) and they have Phillip Seymore Hoffman as the main villain. If you ask me, this is shaping up to be a really good action movie. I will definately choose to accept this Mission……. 🙂

Update 1/31/2007 – Click here to see the full review of Mission: Impossible 3

Technorati Tags –

Kool Aid Singles: OH YEAH!!!

Posted in Kool Aid with tags on March 23, 2006 by Paxton

Kool-Aid Singles!!! Kool-Aid mix in small pre-sweetened packages that can be mixed in your bottle of water. I can die now.

Technorati Tags –

Shamrocks & Shenanigans

Posted in holiday, Jimmy Stewart, movies, reviews with tags , , on March 17, 2006 by Paxton

Happy St. Paddy’s Day to everyone. I’m home sick, so I’m not happy. Have a green beer for me.

While laying here calmly waiting for death, I watched the Jimmy Stewart classic Harvey. Not very leprechaun-y, but I don’t really have any movies dealing with St. Paddy’s Day that I can think of. This will have to do.

James Stewart plays the always polite, very easy-going everyman, Elwood P Dowd. His best friend is a 6′ 3.5″ white rabbit named Harvey only he can see. Actually, I should have watched this on Easter, considering it has a bunny in it.
Anywho, the whole movie his family is trying to commit him because they think he’s crazy. He keeps winning people over because he’s so polite and nice. Typical Jimmy Stewart. It’s a classic, and one I recommend. Very light comedy. Check it out.

RIM BlackBerry settles lawsuit; Patent Trolling?

Posted in BlackBerry, patent trolling, technology with tags , on March 14, 2006 by Paxton

For the last year and a half, Research in Motion (RIM) has been in a bitter dispute with patent holding company NTP over software patents used by the popular Blackberry wireless email/PDA service. NTP claimed that RIM was illegally infringing on their software patent with their Blackberry service. The problem occured in software protocols and code within the service itself. The lawsuit came to the point where the entire service was going to be shut down and subscribers would have to regroup and move on to a new service. This month, though, RIM settled it’s lawsuit with NTP. This news made millions of subscribers happy that they don’t have to spend thousands of dollars switching to new providers.

While this is good for Blackberry subscribers (of which I am not one), I wonder what this means for future technology. The practice NTP used above is called patent trolling. Holding companies will buy up obscure patents and search for any technology that is infringing, however slightly, on it’s patent. This can be bad in several ways. A lot of these lawsuits are not by the original patent owner, they are by a holding company that had nothing whatsoever to do with the original patent, and, by and large, probably don’t even understand their patent. It’s really just a financial game for the holding company. They may not even win their case, but all they need to do is find that one product with the large company…….then jackpot.

For me, this can only stifle the advances a company will make in technology. If companies are afraid to research and create breakthroughs because they are worried about infringing on some obscure patent, then that’s not good for anybody. Something needs to be done about these holding companies doing nothing but trying to earn a quick buck on innovations they neither created nor had anything to do with.

On the other side, I think there needs to be some reform in the Patent Office. Many of the patents given today are for simple, obvious programming, not so much innovations. Amazon patented it’s ‘One-Click Ordering’ system which seems, to me, more like short cut programming as opposed to an innovation. Maybe I’m wrong. I also think the rules for software patents need to be written more clearly and maybe the Patent Office needs to mine through it’s patent catalogs and do some re-thinking, maybe hire more patent officers and train them better. Stop a lot of the frivolous patents that are getting through the system.

Either way, reform probably needs to happen (both consumer and gov’t side) because in the corporate battle of patents, I think the purpose of the Patent Office, protecting the little guy who actually created the innovation, is becoming forgotten.

Technorati Tags –

Buy a box of cookes…lose your soul

Posted in Girl Scout Cookies, humor, personal, random with tags , , on March 14, 2006 by Paxton

I am glad the whole Girl Scout cookie ‘sales extravaganza’ is over. Seriously. They were pimping those things out like crack rock. I’d go to the grocery store, there are two adults and their kids asking me to buy cookies. I walk THREE STORES TO THE RIGHT to go to Blockbuster Video and there are two more adults and kids asking me to buy cookies. How many places am I going to be harrassed to buy cookies? They are like the mafia. I felt like if I didn’t buy at least a box some guy named Vinnie was gonna kneecap me. It got so bad I almost started shopping exclusively at adult bookstores just so I wouldn’t see a little girl outside trying to shake me down for some cookies. And I’m not sure how much longer adult bookstores will be safe.

“Hey sailor, looking for a good time? Buy a box of Trefoils and see where the night takes you.”

Technorati Tags –