Summer Catch-Up 3: The Death of Summer (Tropic Thunder — Pineapple Express — Journey to the Center of the Earth — Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior — Walk All Over Me — My Science Project) +book and tv show reviews
Posted on September 11, 2008 by Chris & Kris
This has been the busiest Summer I’ve ever experienced. Seriously, things have been insane. And, so far, Fall’s shaping up to be even more intense.
Since my last update I’ve actually seen surprisingly few things, most of my free time being spent reading, researching, chilling with Kris, or simply indulging in old DOS games. When I actually had time to sit in front of the TV, I found myself opting for television shows on DVD rather than taking from my towering film queue.
So, this update is going to be even slimmer than normal, but at least I’ll be able to weigh in on some things. And, this time around Kris is joining me for a few of the proceedings.
Without further ado, a look at the movies, DVDs, books, and TV shows we’ve been checking out this Summer.
HE-SAID: So funny I saw it twice in two days. I’m guessing the DVD will have loads of extra scenes, for as jam packed as the film was, it was still missing a few sequences from the trailer. I’m definitely seeing this one again.
SHE-SAID: One giant Vietnam War movie spoof. When it was on, it was on thick, when it was off, it was slow as molasses. I laughed a lot, but not sure what I laughed at upon exiting, but I’m sure most of it was for Robert Downey Jr. He would just smirk a certain way and it had me rolling. Kinda weird that Ben Stiller didn’t do a signature tantrum. It was almost like he switched roles with Jack Black at the last minute, who also throws a mean tantrum. Also weird to see Steve Coogan not be a pompous ass. Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise were tremendous as an incredibly one-track minded talent agent and an amazingly disgusting mogul respectively.
HE-SAID: Far better than Superbad or Knocked Up. And, believe it or not, I’d say it’s probably funnier than Tropic Thunder. I loved this film. I’m buying the DVD. Great great stuff.
SHE-SAID: Crazy cool male “I love you man” bonding flick with an adorably naïve James Franco as the strictly weed drug dealer (nobody does stoned better than James Franco) and the usually clueless Seth Rogen as the barely affected toker turned quick-tempered freaker. Gut-busting hilaaaarious! I think I only stopped laughing for three minutes the entire time.
— Absolute crap. Terrible story, terrible acting, editing gone crazy, just plain bad. How do you make Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li boring? Maria Bello’s barely recognizable with her clothes on, and that “British” accent of hers? Painful. Skip this at all costs.
— a bit preachy, but good performances from all involved. Comes out on DVD soon.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
HE-SAID: Surprisingly fun. The film slows down a bit in the third act, but the 3-D is top notch. I don’t know how this will hold up at home, but I definitely dug it.
SHE-SAID: Fun, fun, fun! It will be sure to pique science, geology, and/or zoology interest for children and adults alike, not to mention some trippy 3D and intense action sequences, like the flipping magnetic boulders scene where my knuckles went white gripping an imaginary boulder for dear life. Chris is right about it slowing down and I know I yawned a bunch, but there were a lot of sniffles in the audience at what I thought were completely cheesy sappy moments.
The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior
HE-SAID: Better than the first Scorpion King, and actually a whole lot better than The Mummy 3. This prequel’s directed by Russel Mulcahy, of Razorback and Highlander fame, and the story incorporates a fair amount of Greek mythology (I can dig it). The production feels about on par with a Xena or Hercules episode (I always kind of liked those), and the plucky young cast afford the proceedings a kind of low-tek cool. Check it out if you have a chance.
SHE-SAID: Chris liked this more than I did. It had a very slight TV Buffy the Vampire Slayer campy vibe to it at times, though.
Walk All Over Me
HE-SAID: Leelee Sobieski and Tricia Helfer as dominatrix sisters (I think some of you already left to Netflix with that sentence). But it’s even better than that. There’s an actual story here, and a surprisingly smart, blackly comic one to boot. Leelee plays a criminally unlucky female who holds up with her enterprising childhood babysitter Celene (Helfer) after a run-in with some particularly violent thugs. Inspired by Celene’s comfortable income as a dominatrix-for-hire, and desperately in need of cash, she decides to pose as her for a one-night job. Things don’t go as planned, and some very bad things result. Again, a smart, funny flick. Might make a good double feature with Cashback or Love Object.
SHE-SAID: Not bad as a slightly believable comedy with the loose ends actually sewn up at the close. Leelee Sobieski played wonderful timid. Lots of cleavage for the guys.
My Science Project
— Fisher Stevens, Dennis Hopper, alien technology, dinosaurs….what more could you want? I wore out my tape of this film as a kid, but my new workplace has the dvd in the company collection. And you know what? It’s still pretty good. Granted, the film might not seem as cool without the benefit of nostalgia, but it’s a pretty cool flick you might want to share with your kids (current, or future).
Reading, reading, reading. I’ve been doing a lot these days, and enjoying it quite a bit. I’ll forego actual reviews, and simply list the current titles I’m working on. Currently reading:
The Revolution, by Ron Paul — A must read for each and every American. Read it before going to the polls.
- The Mythical Man Month, by Frederick P. Brooks — Software Engineering Project management. Still as relevant today as the day it was written.
- Krondor the Assassins, by Raymond E. Feist — Guilty pleasure reading. Still working towards Wrath of a Mad God.
- Accellerando, by Charles Strauss — Cyberpunk from the UK. More William Gibson than Neal Stephenson, and for me, that’s a good thing.
- Idlewild — Penned by the son of Carl Sagan. Easy reading fiction with splashes of science tidbits. Finished in a few hours total.. seriously smooth easy reading!
- Eyeless in Gaza — Aldous Huxley is the brother I never had. I feel that close to him.
- The Memory Artists — My airplane book that I’m determined to actually finish. A hypermnesic synesthete helps his Alzheimer’s afflicted mother to remember. The premise alone is a novel in itself. This is an amazing read, and I’ve read and reread the first few chapters a half dozen times already, on various flights, so I should know.
- Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power — A much appreciated gift from Chris that I’ve finally come around to begin. Chock full ‘o acronyms; God, I love this stuff.
- Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life — I thought this book was about John McCain, but so far, it is about other peoples’ courageous acts. It’s just like McCain to give others the spotlight and I applaud him for that. One of the last true American gentlemen.
— I’ve mentioned in a previous update that I’d started watching the show, but it’s only continued to grow on me. In fact, I’d say it’s one of my favorites now. Too bad the show’s ending just as I came around to actually watching it.
HE-SAID: I don’t get it. Annoying characters, painfully obvious homages, stupid humor….how is this one of the best shows ever? Not quite a British Family Guy, but it’s lowered the bar for the BBC further than I’d ever thought possible. The IT Crew was funnier than this. I’ve sold my set already.
SHE-SAID: I don’t get it either. I really wanted to get it, but it seemed as though getting it might be equivalent to pretending to be elite for liking drinking games after college. I also think the editing is a beat too slow. Simon Pegg’s cool in other projects though.
HE-SAID: Still loving it. And the show’s only getting better. Great stuff.
SHE-SAID: Brilliantly written show about people I’d love to slap. Wow, how times have changed and how some things are still maddeningly the same. Office Cookies replaced by Glass Ceilings, philandering husbands replaced by desperate housewives… at least we can always rely on scumbag advertising agencies and salesmen, eh?
HE-SAID: Mind Explosion!!!! Like The Kids in the Hall, The State, and Monty Python, the show serves up absurd sketch comedy that’s as funny as it is alarming. With Season 2 of this and Flight of the Conchords I’m gonna be a happy camper.
SHE-SAID: There’s some kind of genius under that great pile of expletives.
HE-SAID: Dude, don’t laugh. I was actually recommended this one by a fellow Engineer, and it’s surprisingly fun. Think the old Stargate movie but with space vampires, lost civilizations, computer science topics, and sarcastic humor a la Sam Raimi’s Xena and Hercules. It’s nothing that will really stimulate your brain, but it’s definitely a lot of fun. Like Battlestar, it’s sad this one is on its way out just as I discover it, but at least I have an awesome show to watch on Sunday mornings.
SHE-SAID: If there’s no James Spader in it, I ain’t interested, haha.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
HE-SAID: Season 1 was okay. Season 3 was pretty good. Season 6 was hilarious. I actually found myself quoting a number of the lines. “I brings the ruckus to the ladies!” Classic.
SHE-SAID: Ditto! Season 6 busts out the empathy for Larry David. Empathy I didn’t know could exist.
America’s Next Top Model Cycle 11
HE-SAID: Wow…I don’t know about this latest batch of girls. Some are better looking than recent seasons, but most are even more vacuous. Still, pretty entertaining. I dug the sci-fi parody in the first episode.
SHE-SAID: I barely watched last season for lack of anyone to really root for, but this season there are two sweet cuties: Analeigh and Marjorie. I don’t think either of them possess the moxie it takes to win, but I’m hoping they’ll stick around for a while. Isis the transsexual and Elina the activist are kind of interesting, too. This season’s trip abroad will take them to lovely Amsterdam.