Category Archives: Movies General

Paprika, Robinsons, and Jarre

This past week I have made it through a few DVDs in between training shifts.
First up: Meet the Robinsons
I missed this Disney CGI movie when it came out last year. It was the first time since Chicken Little I missed one in the theaters (heck I even saw Home on the Range in theaters). Maybe its something against CGI. At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and it was much better than I expected. Perhaps it is the age-old axiom of low expectations=better movie experience. I recommend you check it out.
Second Up: Paprika
This is a Japanese anime movie that Tara and Brian saw last year and Daniel had been wanting to see for awhile. He finally found it on DVD and we sat down and watched it. Directed by Satoshi Kon from a story by Yasutaka Tsutsui, it is a story of a group of scientists who have invented a device that records your dreams onto a laptop. It reminds me of Until the End of the World with better reception on the laptop. It was truly entertaining and despite being a bit difficult to follow at times, it is well worth the investment. Another recommendation to check out!
Third but not last: Oxygene Live in your Living Room
It is not often that Amazon delivers to me a Jean Michel Jarre video, so naturally I was impatiently roaming the halls at work waiting to get this in the mail. Jarre performs his classic 1977 album “Oxygene” in real time (with some filler here and there). What is really amazing is that he does it with the help of three other musicians and does it on lold 1970s era synthesizers. I was enthralled for the entire 60 minute concert.
Those of you lucky enough to be in Europe, he is performing the same concert live at various venues. His concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London sold out in 2 hours (Ok so he is not Hannah Montana, but that is fast for Jarre). The disc also comes with a 3D version of the concert which I was not able to get to work. I am not sure if it is the video or my eyes or my equipment, but it just looked all misaligned. Many users of the Jarre newsgroup have indicated it is difficult to get it to work. One day, perhaps I will have a big enough room to make it work. As a bonus there is a re-recording of Oxygene (my 3rd such recording) to listen to in the car. For you Jarre fans out there what are you waiting for? Go get it!

Photo Updates and Bad Movie

Well I am back from a bit of a hiatus!
I went ahead and updated my photos from my two weekend getaways – Solvang and San Francisco. The trip to Solvang includes a stop over at the Kwik-E-Mart in Burbank. I thought it was rather cleverly done, despite the fact the Buzz Cola and the donuts were a little nasty tasting.
Speaking of Simpsons, I attempted to break out of my non-movie watching slump and went last night to the movies to see The Simpsons Movie. We arrived about 15 minutes early and after buying tickets and stopping at the bathroom, we ended up in the theater 10 minutes before it started. We were surprised to find the movie starting already. We shrugged it off and settled in to try and enjoy the movie. 10 minutes into the movie (or the real start time) it just stopped. I theorize that they discovered it was already running and were trying to figure out how to stop and re-wind. Unfortunately. after 45 minutes of delays and dealing with the hordes of obnoxious kids and teens in the theater, they finally told us that they were going to give us our money back.
Me and Daniel had been iffy about going to the Block at Orange to see movies lately since the patrons seem prone to interrupt movies and the quality of the facility is on the decline. After this incident (despite being comped the movie and given a re-ad for another movie), it will be a long time before we go back here. There are plenty of newer and nicer facilities out there.
One last photo note, I finally updated the Gorn page with the photos that I have taken in the last 8 months. It has been awhile and I was a little rusty getting them up, but hopefully I will get more into the groove.

Two Weeks Later

It has been a rough few weeks since my return from Mobile and Mark’s wedding. First out of the gate, the week of Thanksgiving my eye problem from last year re-surfaced. Nothing major, just another stye on the same eyelid as last year and it started almost the same day. Luckily, I had some of the ointment from last time around and it was still good so it went away fairly quickly. Unfortunately, I caught a bit of a bug – probably from the airplane despite my Emergen-C and Echinacea regimen. So for the last two weeks I have been balancing work with sickness and just a general malaise.

Some good highlights:
– I finally replaced watch bands and batteries for my backwards Goofy and Mickey Mouse date watches after my Timex indiglo watch from Mom finally had the face plate fall off. I have no idea when it happened, but Paul at work told me that he had noticed it for a few days before I realized it and pointed it out to him. I went a few weeks watchless, but now I feel whole again.

– I went and saw Casino Royale with Daniel. I thought it was pretty good, but hope that this “reboot” of the Bond franchise does not jettison all of the classic Bond elements (esp. the cool gadgets) that seemed to be missing from this story. It did feel a lot like Dr. No and From Russia With Love and I enjoyed the basic feel. Daniel Craig did a great job, but one movie is not enough to start the “Is he better than Sean or Roger” debate – we will see if he lasts a few movies.

– I am trying to enjoy the Shatnerrific “Show Me the Money” on ABC. I think that if there were a few trims here and there and the pace was speeded up a tad, it would be a blockbuster. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stay interested past 30 minutes so I do not think it will last a long time.

– This past week I had a chance to meet the new President of the Disneyland Resort Ed Grier twice. The first time was at the family holiday party on Monday and the second time was at a Cast Member Forum I was picked out to attend. He was much more personable than I expected and since I am working on the Nemo Project, I think I will probably see him again and hopefully he have a positive remembrance of me. Who knows where you can go if you network with the right people.

– As I posted earlier, I also met Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company at the Family Christmas Party. Honestly, I was thrilled beyond all believe that I actually got to chat for a quick minute and get a photo. It was way better than being in the foreground of a photo with Michael Eisner and never actually talking to him. I like what Bob has done for the company and the direction we are going, and I hope his success continues. And yes, I forgive him for canceling “Twin Peaks” back in 1991.

– Finally, work has been going well. After months of waiting, Test and Adjust is just around the corner and I am getting busier and busier. Hopefully I got my sickness out of the way and I can go head on into working on the project. Every day I am amazed at the progress being made and I really think we are building something special. All the attractions I have worked on have been special (yes even Pooh), but this one has a little something extra. Maybe because of the complexity or maybe its the passion of the workers. Who knows but I can’t wait for it to open and everyone gets to see it.

That’s about it for now!

The views and opinions expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily represent or reflect those of The Walt Disney Company.

Gorn Photos and Netflix

The Gorn photos from my recent trip to New England can be found here.

My last day in Boston I had visions of going to Harvard or down to Boston Common again to see the outside of the Cheers Bar, but alas, I decided instead to sleep in and be a bump on a log. It actually turned out to be a good thing since it helped keep my system on West Coast time.

The flight back was OK, but again I vowed never to fly a 737 cross country. It is hilarious when people have to pass in the dinky aisles. I should have watched the movie, but I was too busy with the Gorn photos to pay any attention.

I am glad that I have Thursday and Friday off again as my normal days off. It will give me a chance to catch up on everything around the house.

One of the things that Nathan finally convinced me to do was sign up for a free-trial of Netflix. Honestly, I should have tried it years ago, but I really don’t rent a lot of movies. Recently, my movie-going has really slowed down and there have been a lot of movies that I have wanted to see but haven’t. I figure if I keep it, I will need to watch 6 movies a month for it to pay for itself. Depending on how I get through the movies I selected, I might go down to 2 movies at a time instead of the three.

Johnny, Mini Mac, and Mary Poppins

Just yesterday, I had read an article about Johnny Carson writing jokes for Letterman. I was happy, hoping that maybe, just maybe he might make another Cameo on the show soon. Then today, the other shoe dropped as it was announced that he had passed away. I always liked The Tonight Show when he hosted it. Despite who was on the show, I always tried to catch the monologue and was always po’ed when it was another repeat cuz he was on vacation (then again that was better than suffering through a guest host). No one has ever come close to recreating the same sense of atmosphere on their show. Letterman never tried, and kudos to him for sticking to his style. The others who emulated never got it because they lacked the same charisma and charm that he had.
The Mini Mac went on sale yesterday, and for the first time since being in Cartography class at UCD, I want a Mac. I know Andy made the switch awhile ago. I still think I would rather have a new Windows based laptop, but the software titles that Apple has produced are really awesome. Now if I can get a copy of Dreamweaver for the Mac, the decision becomes even more difficult.
I watched A View to a Kill the other night. I figured since I had picked it up last weekend and I hadn’t seen it in forever, it was a good way to kill some time. I was surprised how much I liked it, despite Roger Moore’s advanced age. Next up Ring 0: Birthday – no where as creepy as the first two. Call me crazy, but I think Ring 2 permanently scarred me, and this one was enjoyable, but still a bit of a let down. Finally, I picked up the 40th anniversary edition of Mary Poppins. The film has never looked better. In my other DVD, there was a glaring difference between the “effects shots” and the regular ones. In this DVD, they are closely matched, and unless you are looking for it, you can’t really tell.
For some reason, I love Mary Poppins more and more as the years progress. I think it is because it was Walt’s crowning achievement, and (as they explain on the DVD) was the result of Walt’s ability to get the best from all those around him. I think it also inspires me to give my best when I am at work. Just to make him proud.

What Happened to Brad Kane?

While I was watching my new Aladdin DVD Bonus features, I noticed that one star was given the least amount of coverage – Brad Kane. He was the singing voice of Aladdin and I thought he should have been given at least as much time as Lea Salonga (the singing voice of Jasmine). Lea didn’t get much time either, but at least they got her opinions on the whole thing. They did show Brad and Lea singing “A Whole New World” at a recording session, but alas no interview.
A quick web search hasn’t really turned up anything. Some items of note: Brad goes by the name of Caleb and performs in a band called “The Fates”. He apparently has composed music for Freddy vs. Jason and Devil’s Pond. He still provides the singing voice of Aladdin.
So Brad if you are out there drop me a line and let me know what’s up.

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Been a slow week. But here are some tidbits:
Amazing Race is back! Version 5 is off and running in Uruguay. So far they have a good group of teams, although I don’t think it is fair to have a former Big Brother contestant on the show – it eats up spaces for the rest of us to try to get.
Watched Johnny English on DVD the other night. It was funny in spots and was a pleasant diversion for a few hours. It is sort of how I imagine what would happen if I were a secret agent.
Had a great time with Tiffany and Daniel on Saturday night – so much so we are going again soon.
Dome to Dome Twice is almost done with the editing phase, just need some titles and the menu design and its set to go – I don’t think I’ll have a problem hitting the early August release date.
I hope things stay mundane for a bit, it is nice not to have much to fret over.
Oh – here is something to ponder (and hopefully comment on): What would you spend $700 on if you didn’t need it for bills/rent/crack or any other responsible thing. DVDs? Speakers? Digital Camcorder? Travel? The mind boggles..

Not just watching movies

It may seem that the only thing I have been doing lately is watching DVDs and posting movie reviews, but um, actually that is pretty much what I have been doing.

I managed to also pick up Season One of Survivor on DVD and have been watching some of it with Daniel. It is great re-visiting the original crew. It has been almost four years, so it was nice to refresh my mind about the one that started it all. You can tell the production values were way more primitive than in the recently finished All Stars installment. You can also tell just how superior the casting was in this version than say Africa, Thailand, or any of the other ones. To be fair though, I did think Pearl Islands was one of the better ones and hopefully Vanuatu will prove to be another winner when it premieres in September.

Now its just a few short weeks until the July 6 premiere of the Amazing Race 5. I can’t wait!! Other than that, I took Daniel out for his birthday on Friday. The rest of the gang will get together on Wednesday to take him out to Red Lobster. Sunday, Tiffany and Alex came with me to Jason’s BBQ in Long Beach. We had a great time – despite the fact we showed up just before everyone started to head out. Luckily there was some of Jason’s handiwork left over in the form of Korean BBQ Ribs and Corn. I was assured that no Koreans were harmed in the making of the ribs.

We also managed to watch the first half of Mean Girls on DVD. But Josh you say, “Isn’t that still out in the theaters?”. Yes it is. It appeared to be a bootleg from a French speaking country. The odd thing was that there were no subtitles, and the credits were in French. It was kind of jittery, but no worse than some old VHS tapes I have. The story goes that you can find all the latest releases on the streets of LA for $5. No wonder the MPAA is scared.

I’m too much of a film snob to get a movie in this condition though. I totally am willing to wait and spend around $20 for a good studio endorsed version. That being said, I think that charging over $60 for a whole season of a show is robbery. Why are things like West Wing and 24 only $50 a season, but Star Trek is $100 a season and Battlestar Galactica $80? Makes no sense. I think they are just trying to milk the faithful. I guarantee that if the Trek seasons were $60 a pop, they would be sold out. I know I would have bought them all.

Minne Recap and Dark Water

So our team competed in the annual Minnie’s Moonlight Madness through Disneyland. We stumbled out of the gate due to some really poor acoustics in the Fantasyland Theater. I can’t imagine that the Snow White musical sounds very good at all. A good time was had by all – especially once we broke down and got Alex his cupcakes. we ended up 163 – a steep drop from last year, but we chalk it up to our more relaxed attitude this year. We got whipped by Daniel’s brother who finished 43rd, but I bet we had more fun.
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered Dark Water – the Japanese film by the director of Ringu – Hideo Nakata. The eBay auction said that the DVD was Region Free and from Hong Kong. Well two weeks later, I am the proud owner of a Region 3 (Japan and Asia) version of the film. It was only $10, but not being one to waste money, I scoured the internet for some file utilities to help me out. Sure enough, I found some programs that can make backup copies of your DVDs (something I am concerned about with esp. some of my out of print and hard to find movies). Add to that the Nero program to burn DVDs, I now have a Region Free backup of my DVD.
Daniel and I have been itching to watch it ever since we sat through the first Ring movie and the sequel last year. We popped the movie in to the player and it seems to be work. We didn’t watch the whole thing yet, we are gonna wait for the pizza and the darkness of night in order to get real scared. I’ll post a review later.