Sunday, June 12, 2005

Cinderella Man

I saw Cinderella Man last night despite all the Russell Crowe craziness. He may be a pompous actor and a jerk, but he's one Hell of an actor. I wonder if all that contraversy is what's causing the grosses to suffer, which is still less than half of the production budget. It was probably just released on a bad weekend because it is a surprisingly good movie. I wasn't even in the mood to see it, but it ended up being great. The setting is the Great Depression where James J. Braddock (Crowe) is a washed up pugilist trying to find money to cover his family's electricity and heating bills so that he can keep his kids with him. It provides an almost haunting picture of the Depression and does a great job of contrasting that with the unchanged lives of the upper class. I just liked the pretty close accuracy to that time period, especially attitudes towards the government. Anyway, the boxing scenes are just phenomenal and even better than the cinematography of the fights on The Contender. As they started getting more intense I could see the whole audience getting riled up for them and on the edge of their seats. Renee Zellweger also gives a worthwhile performance and it's hard to believe that Paul Giamatti was just in Sideways (can't wait to see him in Lady in the Water). I give it a high reccomendation with a solid A, but don't just take my word for it.


I do indeed have some news for nerds today. The biggest buzz recently has of course been regarding the incipient Macintel computers and the New York Times put up a great summarizing article of all the talk, including the concern of the Osborne Effect, which is that sales of Macs may fall in the next year because everyone is holding out for the Intel Macs. I was surprised to learn in that article that Jobs was asked by Kenichi Kutaragi to use the Cell processor (the brain of the PS3), but he felt it was as inefficient as the PowerPC. Ouch. Rival Microsoft is being a bastard and supporting the Chinese government in its censorship campaign by removing "democracy" and "freedom" in parts of its new Chinese internet portal. Way to sell out, Bill! Cambridge has added a few robotic benches and bins that respond to people and develop more personality over time. Now there's a cute way to use technology. My assistant debate coach way back when in high school was all hyped up about a Smart Board he had gotten, but we didn't use much, and apparently it's spreading throughout the nation. I think if teachers use it right, unlike him, it can be an amazing tool and save the energy of having to get TV screens and VCRs and stuff in addition to the convenience of literally saving what was written on the board. Lastly, there's an interesting editorial here about the failings of search engine with higher level search queries.

Now for some movie goodness. It was no surprise to me that the number one film this weekend was Mr. and Mrs. Smith because every time my friends and I tried to see it Friday night it was sold out! It raked in $51.1 while the other opening films lagged behind severely and there was even a large gap between it and number 2, Madagascar. If you managed to see the #1 movie you can check out a deleted scene at IGN. There's a trailer for The New World now online and it has really built up my hopes for a movie I previously hadn't heard of. Another movie I hadn't heard of until now is Hustle and Flow, which seems to be getting good early reviews and may be one to remember. AICN also has an early review of Herbie: Fully Loaded suggesting that it's actually a decent family flick. Lastly, George Lucas geeks can feast on this.

Just a couple of random things left. It would appear that the video game voice acting dispute I had previously reported on has been resolved with higher pay for now, which is good because I was worried it would get messy and cause a ripple effect in the industry. There's a new Strongbad e-mail to check out for all you fans of wacky e-mails.

This week I'm trying out the Sunday Brunch:

1) What is your favorite board game?
Cranium! I used to like Pictionary the best but Cranium is like Pictionary to the extreme! I know it sounds sad, but it's really a lot of fun to play in a medium-sized group.

2) What type of games are your favorite? (ie, board, card, participatory, dice, word games)
Probably participatory board games because they never get old. Games like Monopoly and Clue are such timeless classics. I am really into video games, but not everyone can really get into those.

3) How many games do you own, and if possible, list them.
No way I can list them. I've got PC, PS2, SNES, NES and board games. Let's just leave it at that!

4) Do you enjoy computer or video games? Which one is your favorite?
Yes, both. I probably like video games more because using a controller just feels more natural than a keyboard and mouse.

5) Describe a great childhood memory of an outside game.
Remember "Duck, Duck, Goose"? I still vaguely remember playing that game at the back of my Kindergarden school. Those were the good ol' days!

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