Sunday, November 30, 2008

Essential Cinema - 41

Snow Falling On Cedars

Ethan Hawke ... Ishmael Chambers
Youki Kudoh ... Hatsue Miyamoto
Reeve Carney ... Young Ishmael Chambers
Anne Suzuki ... Young Hatsue Imada
Rick Yune ... Kazuo Miyamoto
Max von Sydow ... Nels Gudmundsson (as Max Von Sydow)
James Rebhorn ... Alvin Hooks
James Cromwell ... Judge Fielding
Richard Jenkins ... Sheriff Art Moran

Scott Hicks

David Guterson (novel)
Ronald Bass (screenplay) (as Ron Bass) and
Scott Hicks (screenplay)

Robert Richardson

A murder trial in a remote Pacific Northwest island stirs memories of lost love and exposes the towns ethnic bias towards it's hard working immigrant neighbors.

Learning to let go of past loves and the struggle between doing the right thing as opposed to trying to recapture our youth.

I came across this film on DVD while I was at the local public library. I had heard of it but did not know much about it. I took it home and it sat on my DVD player until the day before it was due to be returned. We fired up the DVD that evening and my wife and I watched it all the way through. We were both pretty impressed.

The first thing that astounds you about this film is the cinematography. Having dabbled in film making myself, I know how hard it was to get many of the shots you see in this film. This film was nominated for an Oscar for it cinematography for good reason, it is absolutely beautiful to watch.

The other thing that impressed me so much about this film was the period look. The set designers worked overtime on this film to get the look of the late 1940s Pacific Northwest just right. Having lived in Oregon and Washington this film made me long for the cold, wet winters, the cedar and pine trees and the crashing of the ocean against rocky shores.

Many of my fellow bloggers write film reviews and give their opinions on the current state of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Most of these reviews center around the current phase of fantasy and escapist films that the Southern California special effects factories churn out on a quarterly basis. Most are slick, some are will written (even though they are based on comic books), but most leave me empty. That isn't the case with this work. Snow Falling On Cedars deals with the emotions of life spanning years, wars, loves and moral struggles in a small, idyllic, remote community.

The film deals with issues all of us will face at some point in our lives which is why it is so moving to watch. The viewer can relate to what is going on with the characters and come to the understanding that we all share something of the human experience. There are few cons with this film. The acting by the cast is competent if not exceptional. Max Von Sydow's closing arguments in the murder trial may be one of the best I have ever seen on film. I highly recommend this film.

Clicking on the "Essential Cinema" title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. The listing of all the LaserDiscs that I have reviewed on IMDB can be found here.

Clicking here will take you to a listing of all the "Essential Cinema" reviews in my Blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Work With Me Here, Folks

The Alternate View Awaits You

I guess some of you didn't get the memo, or some of you are just lazy, or some of you are just so blown away by my awesome ability that going here makes you feel inferior, but I have not been getting as much traffic on my alternate blog. You really owe it to yourself to check out "The Alternate View" so you can see just how wonderful and depressing my life can be all at the same time.

I mean seriously, look what you are missing. Stuff like this:

and this:


and this:

or maybe this:


and who can forget this!

OK, you might want to forget that last one, but hey, sometimes life isn't pretty!

Only two brave soles have signed up to follow this blog, so show me some love folks!

And while I am on the subject, I could use a few more subscribers on this blog as well. I mean really, Slyde and Earl are kicking my ass in this department and you KNOW my blog is better than theirs! (at least in quality, maybe not quantity).

So check me out and sign up....consider it my really cheap Christmas present.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm Out Of Touch

Bake Me Some Cookies Instead

I have gotten this e-mail a few times over the past several days from well meaning friends. It indicates that a lot of the gift cards that you may have recevied in the past, or may get in the near future may be worthless unless they are used quickly.

It goes on to give a list of the stores that are either going out of business or curtailing their market presence in the coming months.

As I scanned down through the list I was rather apathetic. Call me strange (in a good way), but I don't know what most of these stores even sell and I have not visited any of them in the past 5 years (with the exception of Home Depot, I live there on the weekends).

I suppose that shop-a-holics may be in for a bit of belt tightening in the coming economic downturn, but based on this list, I will barely notice it.


For all you gift card lovers, be sure not to buy any at the following stores. Many are reducing the number of stores or are going out of business completely. Most often, gift cards are not honored once the company has declared bankruptcy.

Stores that informed the Security Exchange of closing plans between October 2008 and January 2009.

Circuit City stores

Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 store nationwide

Eddie Bauer to close 27 stores and more after January

Cache will close all stores

Talbots closing down all stores

J. Jill closing all stores

GAP closing 85 stores

Footlocker closing 140 stores, more to close after January

Wickes Furniture closing down

Levitz closing down remaining stores

Bombay closing remaining stores

Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January.

Whitehall closing all stores

Piercing Pagoda closing all stores

Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.

Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ (New Brunswick)

Macys to close 9 stores after January

Linens and Things closing all stores

Movie Galley Closing all stores

Pacific Sunware closing stores

Pep Boys Closing 33 stores

Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores

JC Penney closing a number of stores after January

Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.

Wilson Leather closing down all stores

Sharper Image closing down all stores

K B Toys closing 356 stores

Loews to close down some stores

Dillard's to close some stores.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dope Deals 2.0

vaGR@ ? Piles at hand

I don't get a lot of spam anymore. I get most of my e-mail through G-Mail and they have a pretty good spam filter that learns based on what you mark as spam.

Today I went into the Spam folder to clear it out and browsed through it to make sure that something hadn't been accidently placed there. Nothing was, but I was amazed at the tenacity of online spamers to try and beat the filters. Listed below are some of the subject lines for these messaged (cleaned up a bit).

I find it hard to beleive that there is really that big a market for Viagra and Cialis in this country. Having talked to numerous women over the years, I know there are a lot of middle aged and older men that place a very high importance on their sexual performance. If you see a 65 year old man in polyester pants, a comb-over and a shinny 1992 Corvette, there is a good chance there is Viagra in his pocket as well. But come on guys, move on. Take up stamp collecting or go back to school. There are other things in this world besides chasing tail.

For those that just have to please their spouse, you really can't go to your doctor and get a perscription? There is enough of a market to keep all these spammers in business?

And I really want to earn the $4,000 for the online survey so I can buy lots and lots of those TagHeuer and Rolex knockoffs.

(be advised that the spelling and punctutation is as I found it)

I would trust these guys to sell me drugs....wouldn't you?

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Make $75 in 15 minutes with surveys

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10Viagra+10Cializ only $69.99, Cheapest in town! You wont find any others offer like us...

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Love Karma

Porcupine Collector

I got to see a funny thing on my walk to work yesterday. I left for the gym at around 5am and it was still pitch black outside.

As I walked through our sleeping neighborhood, I passed a house that had recently been rented by the owners who were out of town on extended family business. The new renter has a huge dooley pickup truck and a smaller tow truck that he parks on the street. I knew from previous walks by his house that his line of work is a Repo-Man. His tow truck say "Allstate Recovery Systems" on the drivers door. Not the kind of name you would give to a local auto mechanic.

So as I passed the rental property in the early morning twilight, there was the tow truck and attached to it's hitch, with its rear wheels off the ground, was a brand new $70,000 Porsche Carrera. The Repo-Man had probably been stalking it for days.

If you need an indicator of how bad the economy is getting, there is an investment banker or real estate agent in Scottsdale, Arizona that is probably missing his 'ride' because of the plunging stock market.

The old joke about Porsche's is; "Whats the difference between a porcupine and a Porsche? Porcupines have their pricks on the outside. There is evidently one prick in Arizona that couldn't make his $600 a month car payment, who is now riding the bus.

(In all fairness, I own an exotic sports car as well, but mine is paid for. People that live within their means are usually not pricks.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Flood Gates

Better grab a paddle

I haven't been writing a lot recently. Been pretty busy. We have a new dog that has been demanding a lot of our attention. After doing a lot of renovation on the house cash is pretty tight, Halloween came and went and there are still half finished projects to finish up around the homestead, not to mention some work on my other blog, "The Alternate View".

However, behind the scenes, a lot has been going through my mind. These thoughts have mostly been about things that have been bugging me, which is sort of a constant theme in my brain. I have several blogs in the pipeline that are getting ready to launch but something always comes up.

Then something sort of dawned on me today while standing at the bus stop. I whipped out my little notepad and started to 'link' a bunch of the thought streams. By the time I exited the bus an idea had congealed on the paper.

First and foremost, even though this blog is entitled "Hypocrisy", it has been taking a rather negative tone of late as I continue to battle with the incompetency dragon that is constantly nipping at my heels. So I am going to change the tone of the blog and steer away from the obvious things that have been driving me nuts and move in a broader more positive direction. But before I go, I am giving it one last send-up.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know I try and keep these things short. Nothing is more tedious than reading through a really long blog. By definition they are supposed to be short, not mini-novels. I experimented with the trilogy concept before in my blog "The Great Puzzle". In that blog, I took a complex and profound subject and broke it up into 3 installments. If any of you read through all three of them, you know my view on religion, the universe, the afterlife and the meaning of it all. Like I said, heady stuff to try and fit into one blog.

I will be doing the same thing with my last 'ranting' post. It will be in three parts and entitled the "The Perception Trilogy". The first installment won't be posted for another week or so.

After The Perception Trilogy, the only ranting blog entries will probably be in the "Dip-Shit" series. The rest of the blog entries on Hypocrisy will be warm and fuzzy....or maybe not....depends how many folks piss me off in the interum.

Stay Tuned.....