Monday, November 21, 2011

DVD Spending Tab II

Second DVD purchase of the year. Yeah, I'm a Jackie Chan sucker, so cheap double-dips are always appreciated.

Jackie Chan Blu-ray 4-pack, $8.65 at Target.

Total for the year: 5 movies, $17.30 spent, $3.46/movie.

Here are my reviews for the movies included:

Project A
Project A Part 2
Operation Condor
Armour of God

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Run To The Light

Well, I knew that some were grabbing up the soon-to-be-outlawed 100 watt bulbs, but I didn't know this was happening:



Ten dollars for a four-pack of bulbs. Forget gold investing!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My First Siri Request

Gave my new Siri app a little test right out of the box - let's see if she knows how to do this:

"Remind me to make a doctors appointment late next September."


She almost got it right. This resulted in a reminder to make a doctors appointment, but the late part apparently didn't get handled, as it was set for midnight on September 1st. So a switch over to the reminder (fortunately, the one she created was clickable right from the Siri window, so I didn't have to back out of Siri, swipe over to the Reminders app, and dig back through to find it), and change the date to later in the month.

I was wondering if she would somehow select some date in the back half of the month for late, but I guess not. What about the end of next September? Maybe that would have worked better?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Stand With You (From Way Over Here)

I fully support the nuttiness that is Occupy Oakland.

Just another good reason for companies to move out of California and other states that don't want them around (while simultaneously demanding more and more from them) to states like Texas, that provide a good business environment (and therefore a better living environment for its citizens).

Well done, Oakland.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Movie Review: Little Big Soldier

And now my long-delayed Jackie Chan Film Festival gets an unexpected new entry - 2010's Little Big Soldier, a Chan-written, -produced, -starring and -action-directed movie that IMDb slots in between two American films, The Spy Next Door and the remake of The Karate Kid. But this one is a Chinese production, which gives it a much larger probability of success, as his English films have definitely been hit-or-miss over the last decade or so.

And this one is definitely a hit. It's another historical entry, set in epic times, but somehow with not as large a scope as The Myth. This one concentrates on a mismatched pair of combatants, Chan's unnamed Soldier and co-star LeeHom Wang's unnamed General. They are the only survivors on opposite sides of a battle, with the Soldier portrayed as an ordinary farmer just looking to survive and escape his enlistment, and the younger General looking to use the ongoing battles to unify China.

Jackie's Soldier here is really one of his best characterizations yet - always talking to himself, giving out endless streams of sayings from his father, and doing just enough to stay alive - and hopefully keep his new captive alive long enough to collect a reward. It's been a while since he hasn't played a character who was the best fighter/spy/policeman/whatever around (maybe back to Rob-B-Hood, perhaps?), but this movie definitely shows that Jackie is more than just amazing stunts and fight sequences. In fact, he really only has a couple of fights here, and as is appropriate for his character, they are more about survival and escape than domination (and even the ones with the most technical proficiency end up being dream sequences).

But lest you think this is all broad comedy, there is actually a pretty serious side to the film also. Chan uses this situation as a commentary about the motives of leaders with respect to war, and the impact of battles on both the leaders and the common soldier. The movie ends with a crushing turnabout (which I won't spoil here) that is pretty powerful. I was really impressed in retrospec with just how many little throwaway moments from earlier points in the film led to great payoffs later on.

It doesn't quite stack up with the best of Jackie's career - as I mentioned, this isn't a film for the flashiest fight scenes (and we may be past that part of his career by this point, anyway). And the middle section of the film does drag a bit as the two men are briefly separated - they do seem to work better together. But on the whole, this is certainly Jackie's strongest film in years. Four out of five for me.