I have heard it said that springtime at Shuangxi is yet lovely. I intend to sail there in a dainty boat.
by AnotherChris  July 22, 2011 2:16 pm

Captain America is a pretty darn entertaining movie. Let’s get that out of the way first. I think it is far more of an enjoyable ‘summer’ movie than a CGI crap-fest like Transformers. That isn’t to say Captain America is chock full of special effects and CGI, but unlike other summer fare the effects are there to serve the story.Captain America Poster While the film itself is a good romp, to me it is best during the first half when it still realizes that it is set in the 1940s. I can understand the need to differentiate the Hydra technology from the general equipment of the day, but the led-laden, super-soaker look takes things a bit too far. The armor (tanks, APCs, etc) look far too modern and, even in the midst of a comic book story, it takes a tremendous leap of logic to assume that 70’ish years of military design philosophy could be bridged just by uncovering some ubertech power source. I would have greatly enjoyed a more retro-future aesthetic based on ideas of the day and less of a perfectly clean, contemporary sci-fi feel to the Hydra tech. To be honest, that is the only major flaw I found in the movie.

The acting is well done all around and even Hugo Weaving, who to me generally plays the same character, seemed a bit elevated. Chris Evans, whose acting I loathed in Fantastic Four but grew to enjoy in Push and Scott Pilgrim, was very well cast and Tommy Lee Jones played his usual grouchy self. It was odd that most of the comedic lines in the film came from him, but they worked brilliantly. The best of the bunch I felt were Stanley Tucci, Dominic Cooper, and Hayley Atwell (who I loved in Mansfield Park and Brideshead Revisited). I suspect Atwell is definitely going to be an upcoming ‘It-Girl’ and if you get the chance you should check out her brief appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, she seems extremely down-to-earth and likeable. Cooper is entertaining as Howard Stark, channeling Robert Downey Jr. in all his Tony Stark glory.

All in all, I think Marvel’s movies have been getting better. They may not be producing the broody, critically acclaimed films of Nolan’s Batman run, but they are cranking out good entertainment that makes garbage like Green Lantern weep in frustration. My recommendation? See it and stay through the credits. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Rating: Full Cap ShieldFull Cap ShieldFull Cap ShieldHalf Cap Shield out of 5.

by AnotherChris  July 8, 2010 2:41 pm

Antiques RoadshowThis weekend Antiques Roadshow is filming in Miami and I managed to grab a couple of tickets through the lottery. Normally I’m not a big fan of Miami and I doubt that this trip will change my mind much. But the opportunity to finally found out who painted the awesome estate sale canvas I picked up in October was too good to pass up, especially as the room was free (thank you Wyndham Rewards!). So, hopefully, I won’t end up shelling out too much for this little diversion.

As always, I’ve delayed packing until the last possible second so that means that I’ll be getting the car ready (vacuuming and finding the ol’ Knight Rider GPS) and getting me ready (laundry, packing, etc) sometime tonight. With luck, I’ll be out of here right on time at noon tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get some decent pictures from the Roadshow, although it depends on their picture taking policies.

So, that’s what’s happening here. Maybe, one day, they’ll be an interesting post here.

by AnotherChris  July 7, 2010 3:28 am

No, no one reads this thing. No, I don’t care. Yes, I’m back. Yes, I will be updating and reviving this monstrosity. No, I won’t give you my lunch money.

by AnotherChris  July 3, 2008 9:46 am

So, yesterday was Wednesday and that means some things happened. Looking back on it from so much time now, three things really stick out. Come along with me on a journey of sentimental reflection, won’t you?

Thing #1: The great penny robbery!

One cent coin

I went a lot of places yesterday: work, a gas station (x2), the post office, the library, Taco Bell, St. Mike’s… And with the exception of the library, the post office, and St. Mike’s, everywhere I went I was shortchanged by the cashier. By exactly one cent. I’m not sure how everything I purchased ended up leaving me with some amount of change, plus a penny, but it did. And without fail the cashiers made a single cent error in their favor. I feel that this is a disturbing trend that perhaps some sort of government regulators should look into. Or maybe the Department of Homeland Security. Are they stealing my pennies to fund the border fence? Whatever the cause, I think there must be some completely sensible reason for this blatant theft of change. Aliens, maybe, or Sasquatch.

Thing #2: Adventures in Swing Dance Lessons!

SWing Dancing

I decided to embark upon learning something new last night. (Well, actually I decided it a couple of weeks ago but bronchitis kept me sidelined for a while.) After talking with some people I know -post June Rollerderby match- I found out that some of the same folks were involved in teaching swing dance lessons. Now, let’s get one thing straight, I do not – have not ever danced. But I love swing music and I’m getting too old to not be trying new things. So, with my lack of skill in place, I wandered that way. There weren’t a lot of people there at first and, given my awe-inspiring lack of social development, I decided not to bug the people that were there that I knew. So, I watched a bit of rugby and MSNBC and nursed a refreshing pear cider.

Eventually more people showed, some of which I knew, and things got started. My initial plan was simply to observe for my first time out and see if it was something I was even capable of doing. However, no one would hear of that and soon I found myself partnered with a very nice young lady by the name of Keegan. (Probably spelled incorrectly.) Needless to say it was odd, since she was probably a third of my age… ok, half, ok maybe not quite that.  Still, I felt like a clumsy old fart. In the end, she proved to be quite a good teacher and for a first attempt I ended up doing… not entirely embarassing. I also managed to pick up the Charleston, which is one of my favorite parts of It’s a Wonderful Life. With the exception of an ill-timed practical joke by someone I know, I enjoyed myself immensely and look forward to learning more as time goes on.

Thing #3: Louise Brooks!

Louise Brooks

It was an odd string of internet browsing yesterday that brought me to Louise Brooks. I was looking for a copy of picture from Life magazine taken in the late 30’s or early 40’s that featured most of their stars of the time. It’s a pretty impressive picture that I’m sad to say I failed to locate a decent copy of. Not because it doesn’t exist on the web, but because I got distracted. From looking for that picture, I ended up running across a site that showcased Film Noir. Being a Noir lover, but far from knowledgable on the subject, I settled down to read all I could. From there, I got led to one of my favorites – The Big Heat. Now, somehow I forgot that Gloria Grahame was in that and she’s obviously also in another of my favorite films – It’s a Wonderful Life.

The Noir site I was on had quite a lot of information on Gloria and seemed to really love her in a film called Human Desire, also starring Glenn Ford. A boxed set of Noir classics that was only released in Japan was about the only way to get the film. So, I started looking for that. Amazon Japan has it, but no one else seemed to.  Could eBay save me? The answer, in short, was no. Posters and photos could all be had, but not the film itself. I decided to check out one of the seller’s who seemed to have quite a collection of repro-classic film posters. Clicking that link proved to be my undoing. I saw Louise Brooks. They were selling 8x10s of her and I was hooked. Like just about anyone who has ever set eyes on her, I was a goner. I entered research mode and kissed a productive afternoon goodbye.

As a latecomer to Louise Brooks, I’m not going to sit here and detail her existence like I actually know anything. I have three books about her (one by her) and a stack of DVDs on the way. I’ve started her biography and hopefully by the end I’ll know a little more about her. Just so you, the faithful reader (are there any?), aren’t left in the dark, I’ll give you a little info. Louise Brooks was a dancer, silent film actress, and later a writer. She was thoroughly her own person and seemed to refuse to conform the standards some people (and most of her bosses) would have preferred. She has been called the quintessential flapper and her distinctive bob cut, though worn by others of the day, has indeed become one of the most influential hair styles in all of recorded history. An excellent resource for information about Louise Brooks is the Louise Brooks society, which can be found at http://www.pandorasbox.com/.

I, for one, have neglected my duty to delve into the realms of silent film. There are numerous stars of yesteryear that await being discovered by audiences of today. Unfortunately, estimes place the amount of silent films lost to time at 80-90%. It’s a shame that so much cinematic history has been lost. But I intend to devour as much of it as I can get my hands on though, that’s for sure.

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