Thursday, April 28, 2005

Movie Review: Kung Fu Hustle

There's definitely something to be said for a movie that just makes you happy. A movie that you walk out of the theater with an ear to ear grin that just won't go away. Kung Fu Hustle is such a movie.

In some kung fu movies, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the fighting can be compare to a ballet. They have the same complex choreography. But in Kung Fu Hustle it's more Three Stooges than Swan Lake. The film plays out like a live action cartoon. When characters run they kick up a cloud of dust like the Road Runner. When they get punched their faces contort out of shape before snapping back into place.

I think that Roger Ebert summed it up best when he said it was "like Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton meet Quentin Tarantino and Bugs Bunny."

Go watch it. I promise you'll be smiling the rest of the day.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Book Review: Shadow of the Giant

I've been a fan of Orson Scott Card's Ender series for quite a while now, and I recently read the fourth (and last) book of the spin-off Shadow series which focus on Ender's lieutenant from Ender's Game: Bean.  All eight books are certainly worth reading, but at this point I hope that Card lets the series go.

To star off with, let me recap my opinions of the seven books previous to Shadow of the GiantEnder's Game is absolutely brilliant.  It is one of those books that should be required reading, whether you like science fiction or not.  It's one of the best depictions of the thoughts and actions of children (albeit extremely brilliant children) that has ever been put to paper.  The other three Ender books (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind ) are very different from the first.  They're interesting, although I think that Card let the things that he was trying to say about the Philotic Web and the connection between all living creatures got in the way of what should have been his primary purpose; that is, telling a good story.  Ender's Shadow is hard to judge on it's own.  It's more of a sidebar to Ender's Game than it is a standalone novel, just explaining everything that Ender's lieutenant Bean was doing during the events of the first book.  I found it a fun read, but, in the end, I thought it was kind of pointless.  However, things picked up with Shadow of the Hegemon.  I really enjoyed that book.  It involves Bean joining forces with Ender's brother, Peter, and how the two of them struggle to unite the world under one government.  I thought it was a very fun and interesting take on geo-political wars.  On the other hand, Shadow Puppets went back to Card's preachy, philosophical ways.  They didn't get in the way of the story as much as they did in the latter Ender books, but when you have a whole chapter devoted to explaining that the purpose of life is to have as many children as possible, that's really going overboard.

That brings us to the last book of the series, Shadow of the Giant.  The books picks up right where Shadow Puppets left off, both in terms of story and philosophy.  However, it didn't bother me quite as much this time around.  This is probably because there was quite a bit more of the geo-political machinations from Shadow of the Hegemon than there were in Shadow Puppets.  (Although, if our leaders would only realize that they shouldn't be so concerned with power because making babies is what's really important, then the world would be a much better place. . . .).  In the end, I felt that Bean and Peter's stories were drawn to a satisfactory close.  Card did leave some loose ends dangling at the end of the book, but I just don't know how many more interesting stories can be told from that world and would be satisfied if he just let it end here.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I want my MTV

I often wonder if other people's brains work in the same way that mine
does. Quite often, I'll be sitting around, or in the shower, or in
bed trying to go to sleep, then all of the sudden, out of the blue,
I'll remember a conversation or something that happened weeks or even
months ago. I'll think of something that I should have said or done
or realized, and then obsess over that for the rest of the day.

Case in point:

A couple of weeks ago my friends Griffin and Crystal came to visit. I
don't remember how it came up, but Crystal said that the first video
that they ever showed on MTV was "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.
Griffin and I of course told her that she was wrong. The first video
shown on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. She
didn't believe us, and had to go look it up online. Conversation
over. Then, this morning, in the shower, it suddenly hit me: There's
no way that Money for Nothing could have been the first video on MTV,
because it's making fun MTV. In particular, its about a blue collar
worker ("We gotta move these refrigerators, We gotta move these color
tv's") who is making fun of the rock stars that he sees on MTV and
their insignificant problems ("Maybe get a blister on your little
finger") while at the same time wishing that he could be doing that
himself ("I shoulda learned to play the guitar") and getting "money
for nothin' and chicks for free". So the song was definitely written
in a post-MTV world, which is a point that I should have brought up at
the time.

These are the things that I think about.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Here it begins.

I've been reading other people's blogs for around 5 years now (even
back before the rather stupid word 'blog' was invented). However,
I've never really had the desire to publish my own. This mostly stems
from my rather severe aversion to talking about myself. But recently
I've been feeling the urge to start writing. Not necessarily about
myself, just writing in general. Committing your thoughts to text is
a good way to help clarify and develop them. That's the theory at any

So this space will be devoted to the random outpourings of my mind.
These thoughts are generally about movies, music, video games, and
technology in general. They may also include musing on religion,
sports and politics, if I'm in that kind of mood. What will not be
included are the mundane details of my day to day life. I'm such a
boring guy that I would lose interest in writing about that almost as
quickly as you would reading it . . .

Being such a big movie buff, I consider the top few movies in my
Netflix queue an interesting window into my life, which is why it's
included in the side-bar. But I've been having trouble getting it to
display on all computers, so let me know if you have any trouble
seeing it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


I am now a blogger.