This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



May 2024

DVD: Blue Planet: Seas of Life (Discovery Channel Version): Disk 3

So it was time once again for a DVD we own but hadn’t watched yet. This time it was Disk 3 of this series. There were two episodes on this disk. One thing I was struck by was that there were a number of stylistic elements that were different than the first two disks in the series. But no matter. The two were “Tidal Seas” and “Coasts”. Now, of course the area where a lot of the tidal action was going on WAS the coasts, but they differentiated with the tidal one concentrating on wildlife whose life was exceptionally strongly influenced by tidal cycles while the second one was more about just things going on at the coasts that were not tide related.

Of these two, I liked the tidal one better. More odd creatures I was less familiar with that were just neat. Meanwhile, the second one had a lot of large predators killing and eating cute penguins and seals and stuff. You’re busy thinking “Aw, what a cute penguin!” and then all of a sudden a sea lion or walrus or something is tossing it up in the air and ripping it in half or whatnot. Oops.

Anyway, this continues to be a good series. I think of the first three disks though, Disk Two is my favorite at the moment.

DVD: Sixteen Candles

So, this week was an Amy movie weekend. It actually was supposed to be for the last several weeks, but she never had a qualifying movie. This time she did. But then at the last minute she got an invite from a friend for some concert, so ditched family movie night. Brandy and I watched her movie anyway.

The movie was Sixteen Candles, which I had NEVER SEEN. I knew it was some sort of “classic” from the 80’s that was always spoken of with nostalgia. I figured that meant it was a good movie. I was wrong. There were perhaps a couple of funny moments, but it was mostly just bad and full of annoying stereotypes. Now, did I recognize some of Amy’s behavior in Molly Ringwald? OK, maybe. BUt for the most part, it was just people walking around doing things that didn’t make sense, and for which the motivations were unclear and also made no sense. And almost everybody making bad decisions and acting irresponsibly at every turn.

I admit it, I just don’t get it.

Why does anybody like this movie?

DVD: Doctor Who: Inferno: Disk One

This last Friday Amy wasn’t home, and the movie of the week was another old Doctor Who. This time it was the Third Doctor story Inferno from 1970. My vague memory is that this is the first Third Doctor episode I ever saw back when I was a teenager.

As of late as we have been going through the old episodes, I have been anxious to get past the 1960’s stuff and get on to the slightly more recent 4th Doctor and beyond stuff. But some of the 3rd Doctor stories actually aren’t too bad. This is one of those. I didn’t have strong memories of this story, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve enjoyed it so far. Some funny moments. Interesting story so far, etc.

Now, this was only Episodes 1-4… 5-7 are on Disk Two. So we’ll see if I continue to think the same way.

But for now, I think of the 3rd Doctor episodes, I kind of like this one.

[Edit 2009 Sep 22 02:48 UTC – We just went to watch disk two, only to find it was all extras, and in fact all seven episodes of this were on the first disk. So please ignore the above, a new review will be posted once we watch ALL of Disk One.]

DVD: The Philadelphia Story

We’ve been pretty good the last few weeks at actually doing the family movie night every Friday. Two Friday’s ago it was my movie again, and as I do every other one of my movies, it was time for working my way up the AFI 100 Years 100 Movies list and it was time for #51, The Philadelphia Story. With this movie I have now watched 50 of the 100 movies! Woo! I’m on my way!

Anyway, it is a funny little romantic comedy sort of thing. Amy was skeptical at first and did not want to watch it. It was old, it was black and white, and it was one of my picks. Harumpf!

Anyway, by the time it was over, she loved it. She keeps a little “Quotes File” on her iPhone, and she added several quotes from this movie. And she and Brandy both laughed a bunch.

Meanwhile, I thought it was OK. It was a fun little movie I guess, but I wasn’t overly impressed, and if you ask me about it in a couple years, I probably will remember very little about it.

But in general people liked it, and the fact that Amy liked it made it a fun time.

So, good movie. Probably worth a rental once.

DVD: Jerry Maguire

This week it was time for another movie from my own Netflix queue. And this time it was Jerry Maguire. This is a movie I had once started to watch back in 1997, but had not finished. When we started to watch it this time, I didn’t really remember even a single minute of it, so I must not have gotten very far at all.

Anyway, it was cute. I liked it. It seems it got nominated for a bunch of award, and I’m not sure if it actually was good enough to deserve that, but it was a fun little movie, with some cute moments, as well as the handful of famous lines from it. I had fun. And Brandy and Amy enjoyed it and laughed a decent bit too. And of course you had the nice emotional happy ending thing.

I’m trying to think of more to say about this, but there really isn’t a huge amount that comes to mind. Nice little romantic comedy crossed with a little bit (but not annoying amount) of sports. Cute kid. Worth renting.

DVD: From Here to Eternity

This last weekend was time for another movie from my own Netflix Queue. And specifically, it was once again time for me to resume my climb through AFI’s 100 Years 100 Movies list which I have slowly been working myself through since the list was released in 1998. I had previously watched #100 up to #53. It was now time for #52, which was this movie.

For those who don’t know, it is about a bunch of soldiers in Hawaii in the run up to Pearl Harbor. I must admit though, it didn’t do all that much for me. I know it won lots of awards and such, but… I just never really connected with any of the people. They seemed to just be walking through things. And making decisions I couldn’t quite understand. Well, sometimes. I got why the main character didn’t want to box any more, and how he would just to just take the various indignities pushed on to him. But at the very end why he would take a short cut rather than the direct route? And why he would just run when confronted? Dunno. Mystery to me.

Anyway, I guess there were some interesting bits. And some funny moments. And it was fun to note things like “Hey, there’s the guy from Airwolf!”. (Knowing of course that given his long career, the fact that I remember Ernest Borgnine most for Airwolf is kind of a shame, but, well, that’s how it is.

Overall though I’d probably pass on this. It was OK, but not memorable.

DVD: Dune

It was time for a Brandy DVD. The one that would have been next on her Netflix list was a later season of a TV show that neither I or Amy had been watching. Since that wouldn’t work for movie night, she pulled forward on her list this lovely gem of a movie. I very vaguely remember seeing it when it came out, or soon thereafter. The only thing I remembered was one scene involving the villian and his pus. I remember being disturbed by it.

Watching this for the first time in years, I did remember other bits as they came up, but it was mostly fresh. And, well… this isn’t a great movie. It tries to be all epic and such, but it also tries to cover the material from the long and complex book in just a single movie… a long movie, but still just a single movie. It might be possible to do this well, but this movie doesn’t do so. Things move from scene to scene with you never getting to care about any of the characters, and in a very disjointed way that always makes you feel like there are major things missing, that if only they were explained would make the whole thing make a bit more sense. But they are not there, so you just constantly feel like you are missing something.

Sure, you get to see people riding worms. You get to see Sting scowl and jump around some. And you get to see the creepy little girl at the end. But in exchange you have to see the disgusting Baron Harkonnen. And really bad special effects on the shields. And just generally be going “Huh?”

It seems what we watched was the Theatrical Version, but there is an “Extended Edition” that was produced later, that included a bunch of deleted scenes… but also removed some things and made a bunch of other edits. You would think that some more time and exposition might make this film a bit better, but from the reviews I’ve read, it actually makes things even worse… longer without adding much of value.

There was a TV Mini-Series also made out of this in 2000. It is longer. And it is better if I remember it properly. OK, admittedly, I probably watched it once when it was on TV, and don’t actually remember much about it… but it had to have been better, right?

Of course the best choice here is to forget the movie versions, and go read the book.

The book is a classic and worth reading. The movies… not so much.

DVD: Doctor Who: The War Machines

It was time for another Doctor Who, and this time it was time for The War Machines, a First Doctor Story from 1966. Actually the last of the First Doctor stories that is available (mostly) intact, since all the rest after this were lost when the BBC decided to trash a bunch of old stuff to make space.

This was four 20 something minute episodes, and it took us three weeks to watch it, because we kept falling asleep. So yes, this story sort of sucked. Well, it had its moments I guess, like they all do, but basically it sucked. There was the usual slow pacing of the stories from this era. There was the usual really bad special effects. And you expect all that of course. But it also had things like being the only story in the 46 year history of the show where The Doctor was actually called “Doctor Who” on screen… because the writers screwed up. Oops. I’d say even out of the First Doctor stories, which are most definitely not my favorites, this is one of my least favorites.

There was one really good bit though, which was one of the DVD Extras. Now, I often don’t watch these, but I did this time. One of the extras is actually a documentary about how this story was reconstructed. Because this was actually one of the stories that at one time was “lost”. But over time, bits and pieces of it were found from a variety of different sources, including edited copies that had been used for broadcast in various countries, as well as audio recordings made by fans straight off their televisions. The little documentary goes through how these various bits were found, then how they were combined in order to reconstruct the original episode, basically as it was originally aired… the exceptions being a few seconds here and there where they only had audio, so they “patched” the video with generic shots from elsewhere in the episode to make it seem like things were continuous and nothing was missing. There were also bits about how they dealt with the differing quality of the video from the different sources. It was fascinating stuff. Uh… way better than the episode itself.

So… if you’re watching all of these for completeness like I am, you will of course watch this. If you’re just looking for something fun to watch though, you can probably just skip it.

DVD: Blue Planet: Seas of Life (Discovery Channel Version): Disk 2

So, once again it was time for a DVD we own but haven’t watched, and it was time for the second disk in this set.

This disk had two episodes. The first was “Open Ocean”. In this episode the most striking and memorable bits were the huge shoals of small fish, especially as they became “bait balls” and were attacked by various predators.

But the second episode, “The Deep”, was the one that got my attention this time around. I’d of course seen various documentaries about deep ocean life before, but it is always just amazing to see shows like this that show the almost completely alien seeming forms of life, especially in the deep sea, but not at the bottom. Bioluminescent creatures that glow and sparkle and often look like some sort of aquatic space ship. Others with strange and bizarre shapes. Just overall weirdness. But absolutely fascinating… and beautiful.

Great stuff. So far I’m liking this series a lot. Disk three before too long I imagine. But something else will probably be next.

DVD: Blue Planet: Seas of Life (Discovery Channel Version): Disk 1

So, I think it was last weekend, but I do get confused, it was time for another DVD we own but have not watched yet. In this case it was Blue Planet which Brandy had given me for Christmas. Now, one thing that is interesting here is that there appear to be multiple versions of this out there. Brandy gave me the Discovery Channel version. There is also a BBC version. They seem to be basically the same thing, but with the episodes in a different order, and on some disks a different narrator. I think extras are different too. Wikipedia has more info.

Anyway, both Brandy and Amy had other things to do that night, so I watched the first disk on my own. On the version I have, the first two episodes were “Frozen Seas” and “Coral Seas”. As usual for this kind of documentary, both episodes were full of absolutely stunning photography and amazing views of the wildlife. I watched on the big projector screen, so it was all very immersive.

Two particular scenes really stood out for me though.

First, penguins swimming… rocketing… underwater at high speed, leaving cavitation trails behind them, and then shooting up out of the water onto the ice.

Second, coral… usually perceived as static and unmoving background to the other wildlife, plantlike at best, and more often rock like, shown in time lapse exhibiting its animal nature, moving and surging and reacting… and even fighting!

I do like this kind of documentary, and I liked these two episodes. More to come later down the road, as this is a five disk set.