Thursday, August 30, 2007

The King of Kong or a Fistful of Quarters

There is not a better documentary showing most of the various aspects of human behavior. This is about a guy from Redmond named Steve Wiebe (wee-bee), who decides to be the world champion in Donkey Kong. This involves presenting a videotaped score of his million point game done in his garage in front of his wife and kids. Steve seems unaware that there is a cadre of worshippers of the current point holder- one Mr Billy Mitchell. Steve isn't allowed to use his legal score because one of Mitchell's "enemies" sold Wiebe the motherboard that runs his personal Kong machine- and there is suspicion that Wiebe is a cheat. It is basically true throughout the documentary that Wiebe is, especially at first, seemingly the ONLY honest person. Mitchell is allowed to submit a very suspect tape that beats Wiebe. And the oddball group of adolescent-like adults are thrilled that their erstwhile bullying leader and hero can keep his record. Mitchell has obviously been beaten. Mitchell is allowed to get away with tape submissions while Wiebe is forced to play live. Mitchell doesn't agree to play Wiebe in a live game, but drones on and on in the film about how live play is the only real thing. He doesn't see his own stupidity. When the time comes for the match, Wiebe has a family in tow, but Mitchell brings along a wife who looks like she could be being paid to be there. Mitchell does not play live. Wiebe has everything that Mitchell does not- but he has to win this title. In the end, it boils down to the Guiness World Record people, a record keeper for the gaming industry, and the honest determination of Wiebe not to let a bunch of childish, poor sports beat him. One classic scene has Wiebe showing up randomly to eat at a restaurant that is coincidentally owned by Mitchell. One of the weenie adults whines to Mitchell on the phone "we didn't invite him". Ah, memories of junior high. Wiebe is a successful science teacher in Redmond WA, and he is a role model for kids of all ages. is the official site.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, yet another guy flick from Apatow. I did admit I laughed in spots, but in general, I'm not sure a woman should be reviewing this film. If guys are that rude, that clueless and that gross, then maybe it's a good thing that girls stay out of their bonding groups. This is not suitable for kids under the age of 15 or so, and then it better be a pretty knowledgeable kid. Was it funny? well, yes. Was it 4 or 5 star? well, no. It was happily vulgar and childish and improbable. If you like that, and you have never grimaced in a film by Adam Sandler or looked at your watch during an American Pie, and thought Wedding Crashers was Oscar worthy, then this movie is perfect for you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Did you ever see A Midsummer Night's Dream- the film version from 1935? Then you know the dreamy sort of fairy tale aura that a movie can have. That is what this movie is- a fairy tale. It has several inventive comic touches - most involving dead brothers. Yet again, Michelle Pfeiffer is here appearing creepy and frozen as a younger woman and creepy and rotting as an old witch. Take your pick. There is romance and sweetness. At spots it is a bit boring. And of course it is totally predictable-not a surprise in the entire script. But it is a little lovely, and a little sweet, and a little comic- not bad for a film that is straight out of a short fairy story. BUT I would not recommend it for children- the gore is still gore and unless you want to be up all night, don't bring the little ones.

The Bourne Ultimatum

I loves me some Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Every time. There must be about a 50 point IQ difference between Damon and Affleck. There is no other explanation as to why Damon can appear so smart and intense in films and Affleck seems dumb or smarmy. This is so much fun. The action is non-stop, the plot is easy to follow, and the result is exactly what you expect it to be. I never read the book, because why would I? There's some American logic for you- but if Damon is going to be in the movie, then I don't actually CARE about the book. Good for you Matty. Oh- Hollis and Alex both did not like the hand held camera shots. I was watching Matt Damon and I didn't notice.

The Simpsons Movie

Weeellllll, other critics have given this hugely positive reviews. I cannot do that. I think it was mildly entertaining, though Spencer said she thought it was not good, and that she was very disappointed. And if you cannot please a 9 year old, then you cannot please a 90 year old and there goes half the audience that would see this. I thought it was a mundane story, funny at times, but not funny enough. The edgy wit was not there for me. I expected more and yet, somehow, I knew it wouldn't be that great. It's okay. But okay is enough for some people.


Oh yeah. This is the return of the movie musical. It is a lot of fun- as any John Waters based creation would be. There is a formerly unknown actress playing the lead of Tracy. And what a lead she is- like Totie Fields singing on crack. Never mind that she will take her cute little roly poly self back to anonymity. John Travolta has a mystifying role as Tracy's mother. I know it is tradition for that role to be played by a man, but Travolta looks entirely too comfortable as this woman. The goofy Christopher Walken is the dad and the rather vapid Amanda Bynes is the best friend. It is cute and clever and the music is great. It makes everyone who sees it walk out happy- despite the overuse of botox by Michelle Pfeiffer, which is rather depressing. Awwww, go see it then get the CD and have fun singing along.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This is a rather dark film, but then every one of the books at this point are. The problem with this film is that the book cannot be captured in one movie. So many details are left out. SO many emotions are explained in the book that really cannot be conveyed in such a short time. As a film version of Cliff's notes, it is a good movie. Certainly Daniel Radcliffe is a far better actor now than the miserable actor he was in the first one. The usual special effects are there. If you haven't read the book, then the movie will seem spectacular. So I will have to say it is a very good movie. But the book is better. As I am sure will be the case for the last few movies of this series. If you liked Harry before, you will like this now.