Tag: movies

Sketch 31

I started my new job on Monday.  So far its good, but I’m of course still just settling in.  Mainly its a big relief just to have something.  I’m looking foward to Friday’s paycheck from the two day temp assignment last week.

On Saturday, one of my friends invited me along to a wedding of one of her high school friends.  The wedding was pretty normal (well except for parts being in Korean) until the reception.  When the wedding party arrived, each couple was introduced along with music, which they danced their way into the hall to.  When no one was left except for the bride and groom, the video on the right is what happened.  It definitely made for a more interesting wedding reception.  Other highlights included the infomercial made by the groom selling “Jane’s Top Musical Hits,” including him (and friends) lip syncing along to songs from High School Musical, Dream Girls, Hairspray and maybe one or two others, I can’t remember.  The wedding was great fun, but I was sure exhausted by the time I got home a little after midnight.

Sunday I ventured up to Thousand Oaks to hang out with my friend who lives up there.  I took the Red and Orange lines to Woodland Hills to meet him part way.  With the trips on Saturday and Sunday, I’ve now ridden all but a small section of the Green and Gold lines in the Metro “Rail” system (the Orange line is a dedicated bus line).  My friend bbq’d some ribs and we watched Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.  The movie was funny, though not as funny as the first Harold & Kumar movie. It was a pretty laid back afternoon.

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Sketch 29

It was a pretty crappy week in the job search department.  I applied to a bunch of positions, but didn’t hear a peep from anyone.  Most disappointing was the wine store position that I applied for.  Oh well.

I tried to get into a free screening of The Dark Knight at USC on Thursday, however not much of the wait list made it in for that one.  So I ended up riding my bike over to the Arclight Hollywood and to see a show Friday afternoon.  The build-up to the movie was completely over the top, and therefore expectations were quite high.  The movie didn’t disappoint.  I think pretty much every one of the main actors did a fabulous job in their roles.  Sure, Heath Ledger is getting the bulk of the press in light of his passing, but he also did a pretty fabulous job reinventing a character played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson in the first Batman movie.  Both Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhardt were great as Batman and Harvey Dent as well.  One of my friends thought it might have been a little long, and I can see that position, but I didn’t mind the length either.

Sunday I went and saw the Independent Shakespeare Companies performance of Twelfth Night at the Barnsdall Arts Park in Hollywood.  Basically, its free Shakespeare in the park, Th-Su, during the months of July and August.  It was fun, and I think I’ll go again, though with a picnic dinner this time.

After spending the morning job searching on Monday, I decided to take a little diversion and do some more exploring of LA.  So I got a Metro Day Pass and hit the rails.  This time I took the train to Universal City and went up to Universal City Walk.  Basically its just a collection of stores and restaurants just outside of Universal Studios.  Touristy for sure.  After walking around the City Walk, I decided to head back into Hollywood to catch a movie.  I was initially thinking about seeing Wall-E at the El Capitan Theater (owned by Disney), however the movie had already started by the time I got there.  Luckily, Hell Boy II was playing across the street at the Chinese Theater.  Check one more touristy thing off the list…See a movie at the Chinese Theater.  Like the first Hell Boy, it was directed by Guillermo del Toro.  A great movie as well, and not as dark and sinister as The Dark Knight.

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The Wackness

It’s the summer of 1994 and Luke has just graduated from high school.  He deals weed to make money.  He likes his shrink’s step-daughter.  He pays his shrink with weed.  A twist on the classic coming of age movie.

I saw The Wackness at the Arclight last night.  It definitely brought back some memories, as I am around the same age (graduated in 95, originally class of 94).

The soundtrack is great…definitely a reminder of the times…rap that’s pre- Biggie vs. Tupac. 

In the movie Olivia (the step-daughter), tells Luke that he needs to wake up.  Stop looking at only “the wackness” of life (the negative) and just focus on “the dopeness” (the positive), like she does. 

I think its a good point…but we need to make sure not to be extremely in either direction.  Yeah, its not healthy to focus just on the wackness…but likewise its not healthy to focus just on the dopeness.  Both exist…and both need to be dealt with.

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My Blueberry Nights

I watched My Blueberry Nights last night finally.  It is Wong Kar-Wai’s first English language movie. The movie opened the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, but did not see a US release until April 4, 2008.  Because this is LA, and we actually get the Limited Release movies right away, I didn’t make it to see it in the theaters before it was gone.  So I had to wait until this past Tuesdays DVD release.

In the tradition of many of his other films, this is a story of love.  Wong Kar-Wai describes it as “a story of a woman who takes the long route instead of the short one to meet up with the man she loves.” (from wikipedia)

The movie is still shot in the way of his earlier films, despite the break from his long-time cinematographer Christopher Doyle.  Full of sensuous colors and saturated hues.

The movie got very mixed reviews during its theatrical release…but I enjoyed it.  The story was a little disjointed at times (moreso than usual), but that may be more of a symptom of writing in a second language (even though he co-wrote with a native english speaker).  Norah Jones did a decent job acting, for her first time.  The story behind her casting is that Wong Kar-Wai had her specifically in mind for the role and had to convince her to do the role.

Here is the UK trailer (embedding was disabled for the US version):

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Sketch 26

The end of my friends visit was punctuated by a little freaking out about my lack of job and money in my bank accounts.  I placed a call into the Diocesan’s insurance administrator to check the status of my unemployment benefits application, and was told that they only cut checks once a month and that is around the 15th of the month.  So it would mean that I wouldn’t get a check until mid-July.  Thankfully on Thursday (the 26th), a check arrived with my first payment (which was backdated to include everything from my last day of work (May 15th).  That took a big weight off my shoulders for sure.

I signed up at a temp agency downtown.  They have mentioned a few opportunities, but I haven’t been sent out on anything yet.  The person there did give me some resume tips…so I’ve made some updates and plan on bringing them in Monday after the long holiday weekend.

I saw the movie Wanted, on Friday.  It is directed by the same director as the Russian films Nightwatch and Daywatch.  It was pretty enjoyable, lots of action, a cool car chase, and fun with trains.  Its not going to win any major awards or anything…but it was fun and worth the $14 (gotta love weekend movie pricing in LA).  The car chase almost overtook my previous favorite car chase in a movie (Ronin Car Chase), but its more special effect created, while the Ronin chase was just driving. (Wanted Car Chase Part 1, Part 2)

Other than that, it was a pretty slow week.  Still trying to be frugal with the funds, trying to read, trying to spend time at the beach avoiding the heat.  I got to do the prayers of the people at church on Sunday.  That was cool, my first involvement in a church service since finishing at Canterbury.  I’m really liking the new 10:15 service.  Its keeping me at Beverly Hills right now.  I might be getting more involved with this service in the near future.

…and wow, the year is half over.

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Sketch 25

From the 17 – 24th I had a friend visiting from out of town.  So basically we spent the week playing tourist in LA.

After picking my friend up at the airport, we headed straight to the beach (Manhattan Beach).  Spent a little time there and then headed back to my neighborhood.  My friend was craving mexican food, so we walked over to the taqueria that is near my house.  After that we just kind of chilled out for the rest of the evening.

The next day we did some more exploring around the neighborhood.  We walked down Melrose, to about halfway between Fairfax and La Cienega.  The plan was to check out some of the stores (even though neither of us had money to spend).  However, we left a little early in the morning, and a majority of the stores weren’t open.  In the end, we got some coffee and did about 7 miles of urban hiking getting there and back.  Needless to say, after that much walking in pretty warm sun, we didn’t do much else the rest of the day.

Thursday, we got day passes for the Metro and did some exploring public transit style.  We had an early lunch in Little Ethiopia, went to the La Brea tar pits, and in the evening went a saw a sneak preview of the movie Finding Amanda in Beverly Hills.

Friday, we got up early and headed downtown to check out the LA Flower District.  They claim its the largest flower market in the world.  It’s basically 2 big warehouses full of venders selling flowers (and other accessories).  It’s mainly geared towards the wholesale market, but they have public hours each day as well (though some of the vendors shut down by then).  After that we went up to Griffith Park and walked around the Observatory for a bit. I’m pretty sure we went to the beach at some point as well.

Saturday, my friend wanted to visit another friend in San Diego.  So we headed down south to do that.  I dropped my friend off at her friends and headed over to one of my friends place to hang out with her and her husband.  They decided to take me to Coranado Beach to check out that area.  We first went to Mr. P’s Irish Pub for lunch.  Mr. P’s is a big Navy hangout (my friend’s husband is in the Navy.  I had a pretty good corned beef sandwhich.  Then we walked over to the beach and hung out there for a few hours.  My friends husband and I spent a significant amount of time body surfing.  It was pretty much a great time (and I managed not to get sunburned).  Later I met back up with my visiting friend and her friend for some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  After dinner, we started our journey back to Los Angeles.  But on the way, stopped at Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido.  We got two beers to split between the two of us, a 2006 Double Bastard and a Cali-Belgique IPA.  Both were good, the cali-belgique was a really interesting hybrid beer.

Sunday, we went to church and then to the beach all afternoon.  I think we got there a little before noon and didn’t leave until after 6pm.  It was great (and again…no sunburn).

Monday we got up late, had some breakfast and had a somewhat lazy day.  We went and saw the new Incredible Hulk movie at the Arclight.

Tuesday, we went to Doughboy’s for breakfast and then it was time to drop my friend back off at the airport.

It was a great week…and fun being a tourist in my own town.

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Sketch 20

It’s been a busy week.  Thursday was my last official day at Canterbury USC (Granted I pretty much hadn’t worked since the end of April other than a few days).  I also moved to my new apartment on Thursday.  I can’t say enough how excited I am about the new place.  I really like my new roommate.  The place is much quieter than my old place.  Anyway, I’ve mostly unpacked and organized the room.  The only thing really to do is unpack the books.  I’m considering painting the room, but I haven’t gotten around to going to look at colors.

Work at the coffee shop is going well.  It’s can be kind of slow, but its summer (at least temp wise), and the later hours are still new.  All in all, I like it a bunch.  I’m still looking for a second job.  At the moment still being a little picky, because I can at least through the end of May.  I think I’d prefer to get a job at a beer bar, or even a grocery store that sold good beer.

Sunday, partially in order to escape the heat for awhile, I went and saw Iron Man at the Cinerama Dome.  It was my first time seeing a movie in the Dome.  The screen is huge, but slightly curved, so text on the sides of the screen can look out of place.  But you adjust pretty quickly (at least I did).  I thought the movie was fun.  Definitely one of the top movies made from comic books.  It kind of amazed me that the guy who made Swingers could do such a good job on an action film.  Though maybe that shouldn’t have surprised me.

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Sketch 10

Not a lot happened this past week.  Lots of work and a few movies. 

From Netflix I’ve watched:

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1958) — Louis Malle’s first film, which features a beautifully haunting soundtrack from Miles Davis.  The film is called Elevator to the Gallows in the US.

Balls of Fury — A silly stupid comedy about ping pong, death match style.  Mindless entertainment, not great film by any means, but it served its purpose.

Good Luck Chuck — A silly romantic comedy about a guy who is always the guy before the marriage.  Also kind of mindless entertainment.  But Jessica Alba is nice to look at.

Dan In Real Life — Another romantic comedy about a single father of three girls (two teenagers) who also happens to be an advice columnist.  He ends up falling in love with his brothers girlfriend.  Silliness ensues.

Slueth (2007) — Kenneth Branagh remake of the 1972 movie of the same name.  The original screenplay was written by Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter.  Michael Caine reverses his role from the original, playing the aging detective writer, instead of the struggling young actor (he was nominated for an Oscar in the original film version).  I haven’t seen the original however, so I can’t say which was better, just that this was enjoyable.

At the theater I saw The Bank Job.  Set in the 70s, a band of amateur thieves get conned into performing a heist for MI5.  Based on a true story (at least according to the promotions).  I enjoyed it.

I didn’t get as far in my job searching as I would have liked.  But I’m going to wrap up my resume updating by Monday (which is spring break) and really start the search in earnest.

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Pan’s Labyrinth

An initial reaction in verse:

we lose the magic
behind life and God
Each of us forgetting
what it means to believe
so we hold on to our self
so tightly we are scared
when someone gives themself
for us.

we lose ourselves in book
and film.  sheding tears for
lives we are too afraid to live.
we crumble into ruins hidden
by a concrete jungle
taking what we can
not what we need

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