Friday, January 25, 2008

Can't talk. New TV.

Subject: TV
I've been insanely busy with work ever since I got back from Vegas. You may have heard something about Xerox's "brand update". Among other things, I got stuck with implementing a lot of that cra... uhh... effort. (Notice how the stock dropped 33% since that launched. Grrr.) Anyway, I think it's about to clear up.

But I've managed to come up with something else to suck all my spare time away: I've upgraded my "home theater"!

My 56" 720p Samsung DLP is over 4 years old. I've been eyeing the new Sony 3000A 60" 1080P set as an upgrade, but had been waffling between that, and a twice-as-expensive (but the same price originally as my Samsung) plasma. After way too much research, and finding out that Sony is discontinuing RPTV sets, and a decent Circuit City sale + coupon, I decided to go for it.

It got delivered today (between marathon conference calls for work). And wow, is it a sweet bit of kit.

I'm taking advantage of the disruption to overhaul all of my components -- mainly dusting, but also significantly upgrading my HTPC so it can handle upconverting fansubs to 1080p. I love tweaking things endlessly, so I figure that will keep me busy. But it also means I won't be able to watch very much until I'm done.

When I'm done, though, I figure I'm long overdue for a revisit of my most favoritist series ever. You know what I'm talking about... *wink*

Saturday, January 19, 2008

All Trekked out and nowhere to go

Subject: TV
I've been jamming on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" discs lately.

I missed a big chunk of the series when I moved out here; and while I saw the very end eventually, I missed most of season 6 and all but the last of season 7. I'm halfaway through season 7 now on DVD.

This is probably the better-written of all the "modern" Trek series, though there's pockets of dumb scattered throughout. Right now, near the end-game, the biggest "dumb pocket" is this whole Vic Fontaine, 40's Vegas thing that they're all obsessed with for some stupid reason. There's a little bit of charm to it, sure, but in terms of suspension-of-disbelief, it's really freakin' hard to accept that a bunch of hundreds-of-years-in-the-future aliens are really into the Vegas showroom Joisey-boy-crooner thang. In every other episode. Dark war themes, intrigue, etc. -- that's the good stuff. But cheesy homages to Rat Pack slang and caper flicks grow a little old after a while.

There's just a few discs left until the series is done, but it's rather tedious at this point, and I wish it would get back to the interstellar gravitas that it started to exude a while back.

Not much else going on besides me working way too much and being stressed out. I got a bit of a bonus, but I just spent it all to upgrade my home theater equipment. Maybe more about that later, when I actually get it...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

She was booed at Cannes, but I plegde my undying love for her

Subject: Cinema
I've mentioned before that I tend to reach an intoxicated state where I wish to make marriage proposals to Sofia Coppola. No matter what, no matter why, her films are the ones that tell me that I would devote my life to her.

Maybe it's because she uses Kirsten Dunst like Fellini uses Marcello Mastriani. Or it's that constant application of 80's New Wave music to her soundtrack, even in the depiction of the almost-corrupt but otherwise 16th-century Emo world of "Marie Antionette" -- the movie she got booed for.

I love "keep it simple, stupid" as a philosophy, and I really think that this movie kept that mantra. But the irony is that it was such an elaborite and detailed costume piece. Far from simple in it's detail. And attention-to-detail is one of my favorite things.

But the story was very simple and straightforward. The role of a woman in that era, even with the most amazingly enriching entitlement. But it was still so simple and understandable.

That all said, I can see the possiblities why Sofia was booed for this. Kirsten's performance was okay, but not all that transcendent. Combine that with the 80's soundtrack and you find yourself split in two directions: identifying with the youthful impulsives back then, to the point of ascribing some sort of universiality to it; or otherwise rejecting the notion that kids will be kids, that what we feel in our late-tweens/early 20's is exactly the way thing were back in the old days, no matter what class you belonged to.

Which is Sofia Coppala's thesis, I'm sure. She's the daughter of a reknowned director herself, and has probably been brought up with great expectations (and greater opportunities). So in a lot of ways, I think this film is trying to express that kind or expectation she percieves. I'm probably wrong, but I can't help sense that in almost every shot.

I'm very tempted to watch "Lost In Translation" right now as a follow-on, but I know I'm not going to get anything more out of it than my usual PWI self would. Still, I don't care if she was booed at Cannes; Sofia knows what she's doing and I love ever moment of it.