Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pat Morita (1932-2005)

Mr. MiyagiPat Morita dies at age 73 on Thanksgiving Day

I was sorry to hear that this oscar-nominated actor died recently.

Perhaps Ralph Macchio said it best upon hearing the sad news...

"It was both my honor and privilege to have worked with him and create a bit of cinema magic together," Macchio said in a statement. "My life is all the richer for having known him. I will miss his genuine friendship. Forever my Sensei."

Read a few other thoughts about The Karate Kid in my post here.

Films Recently Watched:

The Girl Next Door (2004) dir. by Luke Greenfield

Crash (2004) Written and Directed by Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis also wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby. These two films are the only ones that I've seen recently that have made me want to physically interact with on-screen action in order to prevent something from happening. It's about an emotional connection with the characters, something that only a few of the many are able to accomplish as hard as they may try. That said, it is important that you view this film as a modern-day fable. The coincidental events that occur during the film are unlikely at very best, and probably closer to completely implausible in a city the size of Los Angeles. Nonetheless, as a moral tale, it is well-connected and well-written. I definitely recommend it to those who can tolerate the "R" rating: "for language, sexual content and some violence."

Robots (2005) dir. by Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha
This, from the makers of Ice Age is another example of a CG film with amazing visuals and astounding voice talent, but no heart. I remember enjoying Ice Age, but Robots isn't Ice Age. I hope for better things from the sequel, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Today In History...

If you've seen Steven Spielberg's film, Saving Private Ryan, you probably remember the scene early on where letters of condolence are being typed to families of the fallen soldiers. General Marshall (played by Harve Presnell, pictured here--->) reads a letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote to a mother of five sons, all of whom were killed in the Civil War.

Well, in the movie, that emotional reading compels the powers that be to dispatch an entire platoon of troops to save Private Ryan, the one remaining son whose three brothers have all been killed in the U.S. war effort.

That letter by Abraham Lincoln, now known as The Bixby Letter, was written on today's date, November 21, in 1864. But there's more to that story than what I knew previously.

First, as it turns out all five of Lydia Bixby's sons were not killed in the Civil War. Though still tragic, only two of her sons were killed in combat. Of the other three, two deserted the Union Army, and the other was captured by Confederate forces and was later honorably discharged from the Army.

Furthermore, it appears that the letter may not have even been written by Abraham Lincoln at all. Though admittedly, there is no absolute proof either way, some speculate for various reasons that the letter was a forgery.

Anyway, it was news to me, so I thought it might be news to you, too.

Everybody have a safe and happy Thanksgiving (and Black Friday, too!)

Friday, November 18, 2005

DVDs May Be Hazardous To Your Health?

Oh dear! Color Me Concerned!

Apparently, some state attorneys general believe that portrayals of smoking in movies causes "these kids today" to begin smoking. Well, I don't know about that, but the film studios can do whatever they want as long as any public service announcement on any DVD that I purchase can be skipped by either fast-forwarding or pressing "MENU." That goes for the FBI anti-piracy warning too, but more and more of those are becoming non-skippable. :angry:

In related news, I decided to participate in The Great American Smokeout yesterday. Despite the fact that I've never smoked a cigarrette or otherwise consumed tobacco/nicotine products, BUT, as a consumer of DVDs, and now, with this new information; I mean, hey - you can't be too careful, right? Am I right, or am I right?


Films Recently Watched:

Sin City (2005) dir. by Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez

Contained in this film, there are several instances of glorified tobacco use, and yet, even now, I have no desire to begin smoking. My committment to the Great American Smokeout is paying off already!!

I very much enjoyed the highly stylized visuals in this film. The nature of the source material apparently didn't lend itself to integrated plot threads so the story jumps around a bit.

For examples of how they used the graphic novel to establish the look of the film, look at Ward's Post about the film.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What Hannah Said #2

Hannah: Are you tired, Mommy?
Christy: I'm a little tired.
Hannah: I'm BIG tired.

McZoli's = Fazoli's (EDIT: a late addition)
tu-bana = banana
tu-jamas = pajamas
nay-care = daycare
potato = tomato (and vice versa)

What are you doing in the whole world?


Hannah's first joke:
Hannah: Knock, Knock
Me: Who's there?
Hannah: Baby
Me: Baby Who?
Hannah: With a Bottle!

Films Recently Watched:

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) dir. by George Lucas
The new DVD looks and sounds good to me!

Nikita (1990) dir. by Luc Besson

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) dir. by Wes Anderson

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) dir. by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Camille (1936) dir. by George Cukor

Racing Stripes (2005) dir. by Frederik Du Chau

Office Space (1999) dir. by Mike Judge

L.A. Confidential (1997) dir. by Curtis Hanson

Finding Neverland (2004) dir. by Marc Forster

The Thin Man (1934) dir. by W.S. Van Dyke

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) dir. by Adam McKay

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cheerful Notes

Cheerful Notes

Our church has had a children's singing group called, "Cheerful Notes." Hannah finally was old enough to join shortly before the group was eliminated. This was probably her first and last time to sing with this group. I have video, for those who are interested. She was either lip-synching or singing very quietly. At least she didn't fall down or lift her dress up!

A few weekends ago, we travelled to north-central Ohio to visit Christy's cousin, Dana and her family. Dana recently had her third child, Vivian Hannah (her first girl is named Ruth -- we joked that if she has any more girls before we do, she might actually have to come up with an original name for her!). While there, we also got to visit Aunt Rosie, who would be Christy's Mom's Mom's Sister (Great-Aunt?). Anyway, we also got to be there for the apple harvest. In the pictures below, you can see the cider press at work. Here are the photo highlights from our trip to Ohio:
(click on any picture for a bigger version)

Tonight, we're headed down to Indianapolis for the final Praise Gathering. If you come, I'll be the one wearing the button reading, "Stick A Fork In It" :-)

Films Recently Watched:

Heat (1995) written and directed by Michael Mann
I'd never seen this, but I really enjoyed it. This is not your typical action movie. This one takes its time (nearly 3 hours worth), allowing for plenty of character development even for relatively minor characters. It delivers in spades on each and every setup throughout. It's a lot of fun to watch.

The Blob (1958) dir. by Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.
Campy Halloween fun! Christy calls this site my "blob". This "horror" movie starts with this catchy tune over the opening credits that has been stuck in my head ever since.

Yojimbo (1961) dir. by Akira Kurosawa
What a cool movie. Cool characters, cool music, cool story. This was later remade by Sergio Leone in his "A Fistful of Dollars."

Léon (1994) dir. by Luc Besson
I muscled Christy into watching this one with me -- She likes it! -- Hey Mikey!

Dracula (1931) dir. by Tod Browning
A Halloween Feature