bobquasit: (Default)
A very nice weekend. On Saturday we took Sebastian to a penguin class at the zoo - he got to see them and draw them. I picked up a cap at the gift shop that actually fit my head, for a wonder.

Later, Sebastian and I drove up to Boston. We got choreg and lahmejun from a couple of Armenian markets in Watertown, then went over to my parents' place.

We had a nice family get-together at my sister and brother-in-law's new place (they have a harpsichord, which sounds amazing - I played the one song I know, and it came out great) and then drove home.

It was pretty late, but Sebastian stayed awake through the drive. He'd read the first Harry Potter book all the way to Boston, and finished it on the way home.

On Sunday we went to Foxwoods with Teri's mother. I hung out with Sebastian while they gambled. We went back and forth several on some people-movers (like the ones they have in airports). Then we spent some time at the arcade. After dinner at the Hard Rock cafe, we headed home.

I was pleased with myself tonight. Sebastian was watching a live-action Scooby Doo that he's seen before, but I insisted on a family movie night; we had Mary Poppins from Netflix. Neither he nor Teri had seen it before, and in no time he was laughing and laughing. Teri really liked it too, although she fell asleep before the end. Now Sebastian is interested in reading the Mary Poppins books.

Now everyone is asleep. My computer is still in the shop (I hope it will be ready tomorrow), so I'm going to sleep too. Good night!

Posted via LjBeetle
bobquasit: (Default)
A very nice weekend. On Saturday we took Sebastian to a penguin class at the zoo - he got to see them and draw them. I picked up a cap at the gift shop that actually fit my head, for a wonder.

Later, Sebastian and I drove up to Boston. We got choreg and lahmejun from a couple of Armenian markets in Watertown, then went over to my parents' place.

We had a nice family get-together at my sister and brother-in-law's new place (they have a harpsichord, which sounds amazing - I played the one song I know, and it came out great) and then drove home.

It was pretty late, but Sebastian stayed awake through the drive. He'd read the first Harry Potter book all the way to Boston, and finished it on the way home.

On Sunday we went to Foxwoods with Teri's mother. I hung out with Sebastian while they gambled. We went back and forth several on some people-movers (like the ones they have in airports). Then we spent some time at the arcade. After dinner at the Hard Rock cafe, we headed home.

I was pleased with myself tonight. Sebastian was watching a live-action Scooby Doo that he's seen before, but I insisted on a family movie night; we had Mary Poppins from Netflix. Neither he nor Teri had seen it before, and in no time he was laughing and laughing. Teri really liked it too, although she fell asleep before the end. Now Sebastian is interested in reading the Mary Poppins books.

Now everyone is asleep. My computer is still in the shop (I hope it will be ready tomorrow), so I'm going to sleep too. Good night!

Posted via LjBeetle
bobquasit: (Chris Elliot)
Sebastian asked me to read more of Cheaper By the Dozen this afternoon. I was happy to do it, since it meant that the TV wouldn't be on. So the three of us sat in the living room for several hours while I read. Teri slept for about two hours, but woke up in time to hear the last three chapters, as I hope she would.

It's a very fun book to read, but also physically challenging. The father, Frank Gilbreth, is a grand character, and I read him with a booming, hearty voice - it's really the only way to do it. After a while I started to feel as if I'd been lightly sandpapering my throat. But after a short break or two, I continued. I ended up reading the whole second half, and finished it.

He loves the book; he laughed and laughed. But I knew that the last three chapters would be tricky. While much of the rest of the book deals with the family members as children, in the two penultimate chapters the older girls have started to grow up. I knew that much of those chapters would go over his head.

And as for the last chapter...well, I don't want to spoil the book, so here's a spoiler warning. )
After that we watched the 1950 movie adaptation of Cheaper By the Dozen on Netflix - it was available to watch via instantly. If you don't know, let me say up front that the execrable Steve Martin movies that go under the same name have nothing whatever to do with the book - other than the title, and that they feature a family with twelve children. It's just another case of Hollywood taking something nice and crapping all over it, as they always do.

We'd all seen bits of the movie before, but never the whole thing. It was nice to all sit down together and watch it, particularly since we'd just finished the book. The movie was considerably more faithful to the book than any movie adaptation I've seen in the last twenty years; certainly far more faithful than Peter Jackson's inexcusably awful Lord of the Rings movies. The father was played by the slender and sprightly Clifton Webb, who was not a good physical match for the real Frank Gilbreth (he was tall and quite overweight, according to the book), but Webb played the part well enough. A romantic subplot was shoehorned in, but it's relatively minor and inoffensive. Likewise, a small running "suspense" plot was added too; it didn't really work, but didn't harm the movie much either.

The names of a few secondary characters were changed for no obvious reason, and much of the action in general was telescoped. The first half of the book was essentially cherry-picked and packed into the first quarter of the movie, with the more adult final sections being expanded quite a bit to fill in the remaining three-quarters of the film. Also, some lines were given to different characters than in the book, and a few key lines were slightly amended. But all in all, I was surprised by how faithful the movie was to the novel.

One annoying thing: our Wii's wifi connection completely failed with four minutes left to go in the movie, just after a very dramatic moment indeed. I had to run upstairs and pull the plug on both our cable modem and our router for 30 seconds. After that, we were able to finish watching the movie.

Sebastian liked both the book and the movie very much, and gave them both five stars. All in all, a very pleasant night for the family!

Our next step will be to read AND watch "Belles On Their Toes", the sequel to Cheaper By the Dozen. The movie can be ordered as a disc from Netflix; there's no streaming option, unfortunately. Our local library doesn't have a copy of the book, but the Rhode Island library network has many. I've requested a copy, and I imagine it should arrive soon. I'll put the movie at the top of our Netflix queue in time to have it just when I finish reading the book to Sebastian.
bobquasit: (Chris Elliot)
Sebastian asked me to read more of Cheaper By the Dozen this afternoon. I was happy to do it, since it meant that the TV wouldn't be on. So the three of us sat in the living room for several hours while I read. Teri slept for about two hours, but woke up in time to hear the last three chapters, as I hope she would.

It's a very fun book to read, but also physically challenging. The father, Frank Gilbreth, is a grand character, and I read him with a booming, hearty voice - it's really the only way to do it. After a while I started to feel as if I'd been lightly sandpapering my throat. But after a short break or two, I continued. I ended up reading the whole second half, and finished it.

He loves the book; he laughed and laughed. But I knew that the last three chapters would be tricky. While much of the rest of the book deals with the family members as children, in the two penultimate chapters the older girls have started to grow up. I knew that much of those chapters would go over his head.

And as for the last chapter...well, I don't want to spoil the book, so here's a spoiler warning. )
After that we watched the 1950 movie adaptation of Cheaper By the Dozen on Netflix - it was available to watch via instantly. If you don't know, let me say up front that the execrable Steve Martin movies that go under the same name have nothing whatever to do with the book - other than the title, and that they feature a family with twelve children. It's just another case of Hollywood taking something nice and crapping all over it, as they always do.

We'd all seen bits of the movie before, but never the whole thing. It was nice to all sit down together and watch it, particularly since we'd just finished the book. The movie was considerably more faithful to the book than any movie adaptation I've seen in the last twenty years; certainly far more faithful than Peter Jackson's inexcusably awful Lord of the Rings movies. The father was played by the slender and sprightly Clifton Webb, who was not a good physical match for the real Frank Gilbreth (he was tall and quite overweight, according to the book), but Webb played the part well enough. A romantic subplot was shoehorned in, but it's relatively minor and inoffensive. Likewise, a small running "suspense" plot was added too; it didn't really work, but didn't harm the movie much either.

The names of a few secondary characters were changed for no obvious reason, and much of the action in general was telescoped. The first half of the book was essentially cherry-picked and packed into the first quarter of the movie, with the more adult final sections being expanded quite a bit to fill in the remaining three-quarters of the film. Also, some lines were given to different characters than in the book, and a few key lines were slightly amended. But all in all, I was surprised by how faithful the movie was to the novel.

One annoying thing: our Wii's wifi connection completely failed with four minutes left to go in the movie, just after a very dramatic moment indeed. I had to run upstairs and pull the plug on both our cable modem and our router for 30 seconds. After that, we were able to finish watching the movie.

Sebastian liked both the book and the movie very much, and gave them both five stars. All in all, a very pleasant night for the family!

Our next step will be to read AND watch "Belles On Their Toes", the sequel to Cheaper By the Dozen. The movie can be ordered as a disc from Netflix; there's no streaming option, unfortunately. Our local library doesn't have a copy of the book, but the Rhode Island library network has many. I've requested a copy, and I imagine it should arrive soon. I'll put the movie at the top of our Netflix queue in time to have it just when I finish reading the book to Sebastian.
bobquasit: (Default)
First, I have to say that as a long-time Bostonian, it's really good to see a movie set in Boston that was actually FILMED in Boston. It was a real kick to see my former workplace and other old familiar spots in the background. Attention, Hollywood: Toronto is NOT a dead ringer for Beantown!

It was also rather a relief that none of the actors in the film attempted the obligatory and almost always lame imitation of a Boston accent.

As for the movie itself: the concepts aren't new. Keith Laumer could probably have sued the author of the original comic book miniseries that the movie was based on for plagiarism. The series (and therefore the movie) has much in common with Laumer's 1966 story "The Body Builders". By coincidence, the story is available online, legally, as part of the Baen Free Library; Google "Baen free library Laumer", and it will come up as "Keith Laumer: The Lighter Side". The story starts on page 31.

But the idea of a remote robotic body is probably new to most non-science fiction fans. And in any case, complete originality is certainly not mandatory. The movie is paced nicely, the acting is pretty well-done, and although there's not much that's terribly surprising in the plot, it is handled well.

If it weren't for the Boston element, I might have given Surrogates three stars - but the authenticity of the setting gave it just the extra boost needed to move it up to four.

[Netflix doesn't allow URLs, annoyingly - but the direct URL to the Laumer book is http://worldebookfair.org/eBooks/Baen_Library_Collection/0743435370.pdf]
bobquasit: (Default)
First, I have to say that as a long-time Bostonian, it's really good to see a movie set in Boston that was actually FILMED in Boston. It was a real kick to see my former workplace and other old familiar spots in the background. Attention, Hollywood: Toronto is NOT a dead ringer for Beantown!

It was also rather a relief that none of the actors in the film attempted the obligatory and almost always lame imitation of a Boston accent.

As for the movie itself: the concepts aren't new. Keith Laumer could probably have sued the author of the original comic book miniseries that the movie was based on for plagiarism. The series (and therefore the movie) has much in common with Laumer's 1966 story "The Body Builders". By coincidence, the story is available online, legally, as part of the Baen Free Library; Google "Baen free library Laumer", and it will come up as "Keith Laumer: The Lighter Side". The story starts on page 31.

But the idea of a remote robotic body is probably new to most non-science fiction fans. And in any case, complete originality is certainly not mandatory. The movie is paced nicely, the acting is pretty well-done, and although there's not much that's terribly surprising in the plot, it is handled well.

If it weren't for the Boston element, I might have given Surrogates three stars - but the authenticity of the setting gave it just the extra boost needed to move it up to four.

[Netflix doesn't allow URLs, annoyingly - but the direct URL to the Laumer book is http://worldebookfair.org/eBooks/Baen_Library_Collection/0743435370.pdf]

Netflix

Aug. 23rd, 2010 10:44 pm
bobquasit: (Laszlo Late)
So we signed up for Netflix a few days ago. I hadn't realized that we could stream movies to the Wii and my computer! Pretty cool...

Netflix

Aug. 23rd, 2010 10:44 pm
bobquasit: (Laszlo Late)
So we signed up for Netflix a few days ago. I hadn't realized that we could stream movies to the Wii and my computer! Pretty cool...
bobquasit: (Default)
We saw "Despicable Me" tonight. Sebastian laughed so hard I thought he might throw up - he really loved it. Teri really liked it too. I thought it was quite good, but somehow it didn't quite carry me away. Very enjoyable, but not a classic like The Iron Giant. I'd give it somewhere between seven and eight stars out of ten.
bobquasit: (Default)
We saw "Despicable Me" tonight. Sebastian laughed so hard I thought he might throw up - he really loved it. Teri really liked it too. I thought it was quite good, but somehow it didn't quite carry me away. Very enjoyable, but not a classic like The Iron Giant. I'd give it somewhere between seven and eight stars out of ten.
bobquasit: (Default)
We saw The Last Airbender today. I'd read all the reviews, and expected a cinematic atrocity. But the movie turned out to be much better than I expected. It wasn't great, but it surely doesn't deserve all the insults that have been thrown at it. And as for Roger Ebert saying that it looked as if it had been filmed through a dirty sheet, I can only guess that something must have been wrong with the projector in the theater where he saw it - either that, or his glasses were dirty.

Though I must admit that we saw it in 2D rather than the upconverted 3D. Maybe that made a difference.

Anyway, although it changed a number of elements from the series (which I'm a fan of), it wasn't brutal about it. The actors who played Aang and Katara were much better than I expected, from the reviews. Noah Ringer, who played Aang, captured the sweetness of the character rather well.

Some of the casting was a bit jarring, racially, and that's coming from someone who thought that the complaints about it were mostly annoying whining; but seeing such a very Caucasian-looking woman (she looked Swedish!) playing Katara's grandmother shook my suspension of disbelief. And there were other moments when the odd assortments of ethnicities within tribes and nations was just a little...distracting.

The actor who played Sokka didn't work for me; or, perhaps I should say that the character was written with virtually no humor, and that was a sore lack. In fact, that's something I missed very much: the humor of the original series was almost entirely missing.

Dev Patel, who played Prince Zuko, could have done a better job I think. I liked him a lot in Slumdog Millionaire, but he was too over-the-top here - he overdid the character's rage. Ironically, his scar was much too understated. It may be worth noting that in my opinion, the character of Prince Zuko was the worst-acted in the original series, and has always sounded rather wooden. At least Patel avoided that pitfall.

Aasif Mandvi always makes me laugh on The Daily Show. He did a very credible job here as Commander Zhao, although I wonder if I may be biased; he didn't seem very different from his Daily Show persona. But it seemed a waste to have a talented comic actor in what should be an out-and out "heavy" role. It makes me think of the criminal waste of casting a comedic genius like Hugh Laurie in a role like "House".

The "they wave their arms, strike some poses and then the elements react" effect that I'd read about was noticeable some of the time, but nowhere near as intrusive as I'd been led to expect. I'd been warned about the changes in pronunciation of names, and was ready for it; it was a stupid thing to do, but it didn't ruin the movie.

I've liked Shaun Taub ever since I saw him in Iron Man. But whenever he was on the screen I badly missed Mako, who played Uncle Iroh for the first two seasons of Avatar. Taub didn't try to imitate Mako's voice, and isn't stout at all. I love imitating Mako's version, his voice is just so fun! Plus I hate to lose a stout (or fat) hero. There just aren't enough of them in the movies these days!

The effects weren't bad at all - in fact, I thought they were pretty neat. The writing wasn't bad either, a little overdone but respectable. More humor would have helped. I can't help but feel that a lot of the critical community is slamming the movie because they just like to kick Shyamalan when they think he's down. It looks as if they may have succeeded, too; we saw an afternoon matinee, and the three of us were the only ones in the theater! Pity, I'd have liked to see the sequels.

Sebastian gave it nine out of ten stars, but then revised that to eight. I gave it six or seven. Teri gave it three because she felt it was too unfaithful to the original series.

Tomorrow I think we're going to take Sebastian to his first drive-in movie to see Despicable Me, which should (I hope) be good.
bobquasit: (Default)
We saw The Last Airbender today. I'd read all the reviews, and expected a cinematic atrocity. But the movie turned out to be much better than I expected. It wasn't great, but it surely doesn't deserve all the insults that have been thrown at it. And as for Roger Ebert saying that it looked as if it had been filmed through a dirty sheet, I can only guess that something must have been wrong with the projector in the theater where he saw it - either that, or his glasses were dirty.

Though I must admit that we saw it in 2D rather than the upconverted 3D. Maybe that made a difference.

Anyway, although it changed a number of elements from the series (which I'm a fan of), it wasn't brutal about it. The actors who played Aang and Katara were much better than I expected, from the reviews. Noah Ringer, who played Aang, captured the sweetness of the character rather well.

Some of the casting was a bit jarring, racially, and that's coming from someone who thought that the complaints about it were mostly annoying whining; but seeing such a very Caucasian-looking woman (she looked Swedish!) playing Katara's grandmother shook my suspension of disbelief. And there were other moments when the odd assortments of ethnicities within tribes and nations was just a little...distracting.

The actor who played Sokka didn't work for me; or, perhaps I should say that the character was written with virtually no humor, and that was a sore lack. In fact, that's something I missed very much: the humor of the original series was almost entirely missing.

Dev Patel, who played Prince Zuko, could have done a better job I think. I liked him a lot in Slumdog Millionaire, but he was too over-the-top here - he overdid the character's rage. Ironically, his scar was much too understated. It may be worth noting that in my opinion, the character of Prince Zuko was the worst-acted in the original series, and has always sounded rather wooden. At least Patel avoided that pitfall.

Aasif Mandvi always makes me laugh on The Daily Show. He did a very credible job here as Commander Zhao, although I wonder if I may be biased; he didn't seem very different from his Daily Show persona. But it seemed a waste to have a talented comic actor in what should be an out-and out "heavy" role. It makes me think of the criminal waste of casting a comedic genius like Hugh Laurie in a role like "House".

The "they wave their arms, strike some poses and then the elements react" effect that I'd read about was noticeable some of the time, but nowhere near as intrusive as I'd been led to expect. I'd been warned about the changes in pronunciation of names, and was ready for it; it was a stupid thing to do, but it didn't ruin the movie.

I've liked Shaun Taub ever since I saw him in Iron Man. But whenever he was on the screen I badly missed Mako, who played Uncle Iroh for the first two seasons of Avatar. Taub didn't try to imitate Mako's voice, and isn't stout at all. I love imitating Mako's version, his voice is just so fun! Plus I hate to lose a stout (or fat) hero. There just aren't enough of them in the movies these days!

The effects weren't bad at all - in fact, I thought they were pretty neat. The writing wasn't bad either, a little overdone but respectable. More humor would have helped. I can't help but feel that a lot of the critical community is slamming the movie because they just like to kick Shyamalan when they think he's down. It looks as if they may have succeeded, too; we saw an afternoon matinee, and the three of us were the only ones in the theater! Pity, I'd have liked to see the sequels.

Sebastian gave it nine out of ten stars, but then revised that to eight. I gave it six or seven. Teri gave it three because she felt it was too unfaithful to the original series.

Tomorrow I think we're going to take Sebastian to his first drive-in movie to see Despicable Me, which should (I hope) be good.
bobquasit: (Default)
Pretty funny, and it captures a number of things that irritated me about Peter Jackson's cinematic abortions of TLOTR.

bobquasit: (Default)
Pretty funny, and it captures a number of things that irritated me about Peter Jackson's cinematic abortions of TLOTR.

bobquasit: (Default)
Ghost Rider was on TV tonight. I was a fan of the comic books, and I'd wanted to see the film when it came out - although the reviews were bad.

Jeeze. I can't believe what an incredibly bad job of acting Nicholas Cage is doing. His hair looks fake, his teeth look fake, he's not doing a credible imitation of a human being, and it's utterly ludicrous that we're supposed to believe that he and his love interest have less than twenty year's age difference between them, much less that they're supposedly the same age. World of Warcraft, here I come!
bobquasit: (Default)
Ghost Rider was on TV tonight. I was a fan of the comic books, and I'd wanted to see the film when it came out - although the reviews were bad.

Jeeze. I can't believe what an incredibly bad job of acting Nicholas Cage is doing. His hair looks fake, his teeth look fake, he's not doing a credible imitation of a human being, and it's utterly ludicrous that we're supposed to believe that he and his love interest have less than twenty year's age difference between them, much less that they're supposedly the same age. World of Warcraft, here I come!
bobquasit: (Default)
Two people over on Goodreads now suspect that my post about Lewis' novelization of Prince Caspian was serious. I had to clear that up:


Actually, the whole post is pure sarcasm. I was half-way through reading Prince Caspian to my son while we were on vacation recently, when he saw that the movie was available for rent at a local supermarket. I was stunned at how many liberties the movie took with the book - C.S. Lewis must be reaching truly astonishing RPMs in his grave.

Even my son was outraged at how untrue to the book the movie was, and he's only seven! He did like my sarcastic rendition of Caspian's dialog in an extremely cheesy Spanish accent ("Susan, I am so hot-blooded that when I see you shooting that bow, my lips tremble with passion.")

He also cracked up when Aslan breathed on someone - I forget who - and I said "Hey, Lion. Have a breath mint." So that gives you some idea of his sense of humor.

I'm very familiar with Lewis and Tolkien, which is why I get so annoyed at how badly they've been represented in the films of their work. I must admit that it also annoys me that so many people don't seem to notice the abusive, unnecessary, and essentially disrespectful nature of many of the changes that Hollywood has made to the original plotlines and dialog.

I'm reminded of an old joke:

There was an idiot whose lifelong dream had been to star in a play. One day, he unexpectedly inherited a large sum of money. He immediately arranged to put on a huge production of Hamlet with himself in the starring role.

No expense was spared; the production was held in the largest and fanciest playhouse in town. The best supporting actors were hired, as was the best director. All the critics and leading citizens were invited to opening night.

When Hamlet stepped on the stage, however, it was soon obvious that not only not only did he NOT have any talent, he actually embodied the opposite of talent; he was actively painful to watch. Within a few minutes, the audience was booing and throwing things at the stage. Stopping the production, the anguished Hamlet shouted out "Hey, don't blame me - I didn't write this crap!"
bobquasit: (Default)
Two people over on Goodreads now suspect that my post about Lewis' novelization of Prince Caspian was serious. I had to clear that up:


Actually, the whole post is pure sarcasm. I was half-way through reading Prince Caspian to my son while we were on vacation recently, when he saw that the movie was available for rent at a local supermarket. I was stunned at how many liberties the movie took with the book - C.S. Lewis must be reaching truly astonishing RPMs in his grave.

Even my son was outraged at how untrue to the book the movie was, and he's only seven! He did like my sarcastic rendition of Caspian's dialog in an extremely cheesy Spanish accent ("Susan, I am so hot-blooded that when I see you shooting that bow, my lips tremble with passion.")

He also cracked up when Aslan breathed on someone - I forget who - and I said "Hey, Lion. Have a breath mint." So that gives you some idea of his sense of humor.

I'm very familiar with Lewis and Tolkien, which is why I get so annoyed at how badly they've been represented in the films of their work. I must admit that it also annoys me that so many people don't seem to notice the abusive, unnecessary, and essentially disrespectful nature of many of the changes that Hollywood has made to the original plotlines and dialog.

I'm reminded of an old joke:

There was an idiot whose lifelong dream had been to star in a play. One day, he unexpectedly inherited a large sum of money. He immediately arranged to put on a huge production of Hamlet with himself in the starring role.

No expense was spared; the production was held in the largest and fanciest playhouse in town. The best supporting actors were hired, as was the best director. All the critics and leading citizens were invited to opening night.

When Hamlet stepped on the stage, however, it was soon obvious that not only not only did he NOT have any talent, he actually embodied the opposite of talent; he was actively painful to watch. Within a few minutes, the audience was booing and throwing things at the stage. Stopping the production, the anguished Hamlet shouted out "Hey, don't blame me - I didn't write this crap!"
bobquasit: (Default)
I couldn't resist doing this riff, inspired by my previous complaint about The Lord of the Rings. It's posted over at GoodReads.


Who is this "C.S. Lewis" hack, and who did he sleep with to get the novelization contract for the brilliant Prince Caspian movie?
Read more... )
Maybe Lewis (or whatever his real name is) has compromising photos of key Hollywood producers. Or maybe he's just related to someone big. Either way, someone has to do something to stop him before he screws up another valuable novelization. Millions of dollars are at stake!
bobquasit: (Default)
I couldn't resist doing this riff, inspired by my previous complaint about The Lord of the Rings. It's posted over at GoodReads.


Who is this "C.S. Lewis" hack, and who did he sleep with to get the novelization contract for the brilliant Prince Caspian movie?
Read more... )
Maybe Lewis (or whatever his real name is) has compromising photos of key Hollywood producers. Or maybe he's just related to someone big. Either way, someone has to do something to stop him before he screws up another valuable novelization. Millions of dollars are at stake!

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9 10 11121314 15
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated May. 25th, 2017 01:08 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios