Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Movie: The Family Stone

Directed by Thomas Bezucha, starring Claire Danes & Diane Keaton.
Rating: ***

Overall, a romance almost good enough to bring tears to your eyes. Claire Danes turns in a nice performance. Diane Keaton is not particularly impressive, but doesn't detract much either. The character Everett Stone is wishy washy and unattractive. Sarah Jessica Parker, though -- she's very convincing as the uptight, stuck-up city girl, and then, when she falls apart, she's convincing then, too. I think she made this movie, which is odd, because I'm not particularly a fan of hers, which can only mean she did some damn fine acting.

What is really good is the story. The production values are nice, too. We get a picture of a family in the throes of struggling with life, and it is a generally hopeful picture. I can't give it four stars, but I think it warrants a view, and maybe even a second view later on.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ten Best Movies

I suppose everybody has a ten best movies list. I wouldn't bother people with my list, except that I promised to provide it, so here it is (the order is only approximate) :

1. Dune, the diLorentis version
2. Blade Runner, with Harrison Ford
3. The Gods Must Be Crazy. (in the foreign film category)
4. Airplane! with Lesley Nielsen
5. The Day the Earth Stood Still, Michael Rene
6. Aliens (first in the series) with Sigourney Weaver
7. Lord of the Rings, by Peter Jackson
8. My Fair Lady, with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn
9. Princess Bride, with Peter Falk
10. The Matrix, by the Wachowski Bros.
11. What Dreams May Come, with Robin Williams
12. The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland
13. You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (this one always makes me cry)
14. Patton, with George C. Scott
15. Monsters, Inc. (by Pixar Studios)

Okay. That's more than ten, but I have every one of these movies either on DVD or VHS. They're the sort of thing one can't live without. Too many Sci Fi pieces in the list, I guess, and there are some good ones I didn't mention, like, "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightley, and some great classics like "Miracle on 34th Street", and "Singing in the Rain" with Gene Kelley. Gosh, those were good. But, for better or worse, when I think "The Best Movies I've ever seen," the ones that leap to my mind first are these ten. (Okay, fifteen.)

I like love stories. What great love stories have I missed? Oh yes... Brad Pitt. Anthony Hopkins. (Don't you just love Anthony Hopkins?) Susan Parrish. "Meet Joe Black." Hard to watch this movie, it really stirs up the emotions.

Darn. I guess I've messed up the list. Oh well. Serves me right for trying.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Save Those Media

Ever wish you had saved old comic books, incandescent light bulbs, eight-track tapes, 45rpm records, and other collectors' items? The trend is not going to abate any time soon. With broadband internet, and even faster speeds on the horizon, printed books, music CD's, and movie DVD's are slated for the trash bin. Everything will be downloaded, streamed, and torrented. Why bother with expensive permanent media when computer storage can be distributed, taken with you, or transferred almost instantly from place to place?

The greatest obstacle to universal computerized media storage is property rights. We still need to sell individual units before allowing people to consume them, but commerce always finds a way to cope with technology. Those old paperbacks will not just be used books, they will be items of nostalgia, with a smell of old books, and the feel of rough pages, long gone, but not forgotten. How long before the paperback book industry dies? Twenty years, tops.

About this Blog

Midnight is the beginning of a new day. It launches the future. Tomorrow awaits. What headlines are waiting to appear on the news services?

Nobody can know the future, but, if things keep on the way they are... we can make some guesses. Just think of it as the counterpoint to ... The Modern Historian.