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Cooler weather

Clouds rolled in yesterday and brought cooler weather. Thankfully. It’s still quite warm and humid, but I won’t risk collapse just walking to the mailbox.

I have made good use of this enforced at home time, though. Spending a little time here adding yet another modification to my WordPress installation; a little time there working on the Redland RDF wrapper in Visual Studio.

I’ve also been catching up on all these movies I’m getting through Netflix, though we don’t get as many movies a week as we could. For instance, we don’t sit down immediately and watch a movie when it comes in; sometimes I’ll skip movies for a couple of nights, and my roommate might wait for the weekend. But we’ve both found the service to be a good value, and we’re happy with it.

It’s changed, too. To compete with the new movie service from Blockbuster and Walmart, Netflix is now offering an option that allows you to have five or eight movies out at a time, rather than three. I’m trying to imagine why a person would need to have eight movies out at once. But then, I don’t understand someone who has a thousand feeds in their aggregator either.

Anyway, back to the movies. This week I watched Timeline, Mystic River, The Last Samurai, and the Fog of War.

Timeline wasn’t bad, but was somewhat predictable. The kind of movie you can watch while you’re coding.

The acting in Mystic River was very good, especially Sean Penn; but there was something about the movie that didn’t click with me. I didn’t think it did a good job connecting the events in the past with the events in the present time. It’s as if the past events were incorporated just to add an element of angst to the movie – hip pedophile movie moments.

I’ve never cared for movies that introduce elements and then don’t tie them together intelligently. It just didn’t happen with Mystic River, numerous awards or not. However, I liked the actors, and they played Charlestown dwellers to a tee.

Turning to The Last Sumurai. This movie has some very pretty scenery, and impressive scenes, but what’s with Tom Cruise and the poses? On the ship, pose. Teaching the Japanese, pose. Not just Cruise – the whole movie seemed posed somehow, starting with the Samurai kneeling on the hill and the breathless pause before the word “….honor”.

I found myself soon tired of the scenes that seem to be contrived, to pull every last ounce of Honor from each. The whole movie could be summed up as follows:

Man captured by enemy becomes one with his captors through a shared sense of Honor, and joins his new brothers in a fight where the odds are all against them.

Why must movies always use extraordinary characters to demonstrate honor? If Cruise starred as a teacher, and those in battle, plain farmers, I think I would have appreciated the movie more.

I was somewhat surprised at my reaction; after all, the movie is very popular. Perhaps I’m just not in the mood for Tom Cruise. Or perhaps it’s really just a dude flick. (Notice I refrained from a more colorful description that would have involved a word representing males that rhymed with ‘flick’. I hope you all appreciate my delicacy of mind.)

If I wasn’t overly enamored of The Last Samurai, I found The Fog of War to be a fascinating documentary. However, I’m saving my discussion of it for Sunday’s American Street essay.

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