Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brand New Eyes

I recently bought three albums: Paramore’s “Brand New Eyes”, Rise Against’s “Appeal To Reason”, and Kings of Leon’s “Only By The Night”. So far, “Brand New Eyes” is the one grabbing my attention with several good songs and some variety of style. And, as always with Paramore, Hayley Williams’ voice is amazing.

After “Ignorance”, the angry song getting play on radio (angry songs are always fun to get into and sing along with), “Brick By Boring Brick” is my next favorite on the album. After listening the song and going over the lyrics on Friday night, we watched Dollhouse, and the ending of the show reminded me strongly of one verse:

Well, if it's not real
You can't hold it in your hand
You can't feel it with your heart
And I won't believe it
But if it's true
You can see it with your eyes
Oh, even in the dark
And that's where I want to be, yeah

While it doesn’t match the song overall (on Dollhouse, it wasn’t Sierra’s choice to be in a “relationship” that wasn’t real), the match up of Sierra recognizing her love for Victor even without any memory of him and “if it’s true, you can see it with your eyes, oh, even in the dark” connected to me. Especially as Diane and I had been discussing how much to read into the “even in the dark” part of the song (balancing the fantasy/escapism the song is against vs “true/real” dreams/faith).

We watched Gran Torino last night, which was better than I thought it would be. Now I’m looking forward to watching a football match (Arsenal v West Ham) and a football game (Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons) today.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Head in the Clouds

I've been watching a bunch of movies during my time off for Christmas, but none have really stuck out. Tonight, however, I finished watching Head in the Clouds, and was very impressed. Critics have been very harsh to it, apparently, but I thought it was a great personal-level story of politics, war, and hedonism in 1930's and '40's Europe, the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Not a classic movie, but definitely good and worth seeing.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Serenity Reviews

Here's a good summary of reviews of Serenity, on all the different levels you can enjoy the film.


Just got back from watching Serenity. It was excellent: go see it if you haven't. It helps if you've watched Firefly, as the movie can't possibly give you the depth of the characters like the TV show. But it's not necessary. Just watch it for a great story, wonderfull, funny dialog, and good action.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bringing Up Baby

I just wanted to make some quick comments on one of the movies I recently watched: Bringing Up Baby. The movie was a fun, fast-paced, screwball comedy. But, more importantly, Katherine Hepburn was utterly charming in this movie as a hyper, nutty, self-centered, earnest young woman trying desperately to win over Cary Grant's character. Actually, her character reminded me of a very exaggerated version of my wife, Diane. So, of course, I loved the movie. If you're looking for fun and silly, definitely watch this movie.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

TV and Movie Moments That Get You All Choked Up

Now, I've never cried during a movie. Anyone who knows me would say that I'm not all that emotional of a guy. But there were two video-moments that I recently watched that did choke me up a bit. Both these scenes were both extremely well acted, in addition to be about quite difficult, emotional issues.

The first comes from an unexpected source: a sitcom. Mother Wore Stripes, from that tremendous comedy, Wings. Joe, played by Timothy Daly, confronts his mother, who abondened him and his family when was young (pre-teen?), and left him to take care of his of father (who was crazy), and his younger brother. The combination of Joe's anger, his expression of all the things he's lost, and how his life and who he is was changed by her decision to leave, as well as Daly's perfect acting make this an extremely potent scene. Daly's voice control is what really carries this scene.

The second moment comes from a more expected place: a classic movie. This time the incredible acting comes from Bogie, in The Caine Mutiny. When Bogart's character, Lt. Cmdr. Queeg, breaks down and shows his insanity during his cross-examination for the mutiny trial. Here it's Bogart's facial expressions that make you feel an immediate, overwhelming pity for the character.

So, do you have any movie or tv moments that you found particuarly powerful? Ones that choked you up, or made you cry (that is, if you're not the sort that cries at everything...)?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Movie Blogging: Music and Movies

I've got quite a back-log of TiVo'd movies to blog about. We started to watch Funny Face, but turned it off quickly, reinforcing the conclusion that I really don't like musicals. In fact, I can only think of two musicals off-hand that I've enjoyed. The first is The Wizard of Oz, though I think it's more in-spite-of it's being a musical. The second is the absolutely brilliant South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut. In fact, my fondness of South Park is almost entirely due to this movie: I'm not nearly that big a fan of the TV show.

More recently, I watched a couple of supposed "classic" films that I don't really get the reasons for the acclaim. First up: The Untouchables. I thought this movie was simply awful. It was a movie that didn't quite know what it wanted to be. Plus, Kevin Costner was more wooden than a log-cabin. But most awful of all was the music. Not only did it never seem to fit the current mood in the movie, but it was unpleasant to listen to at the same time. It's a lot easier to forgive ill-fitting beautiful music. Sean Connery was pretty good, but the poor script that couldn't decide if it was story, character, or action based dampened his performance.

Last night we watched The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Diane didn't like it all, and quit watching part way through. I, on the other hand, stuck through it mostly for the quality of the music. The score for this movie was extraordinarily well done, and kept me watching the full two-and-a-half hours. This just goes to show how movie music can make all the difference. Though the acting was better here than in the Untouchables as well.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer

Thanks to TiVo and Turner Classic Movies, I've been able to watch a lot of movies, especially movies from 1940's and '50's. I figure maybe a lot of people haven't seen these, so I should blog about ones I liked.

Tonight my wife and I watched The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, starring Cary Grant and Shirley Temple. If you're like me, you probably only think of Shirley Temple as the singing-dancing child-star. In this movie, however, she plays a 17 year-old high school girl, in love with an older man, who's not interested, but has to date her by court-order. If you can't tell by that plot summation, this is a very silly comedy story.

I bring up my ignorance of this aspect of Shirley Temple's career, because I was surprised at how truly excellent she was in this movie. Her screen prescense and ability to play the best stereotypical, dramatic, silly high school girl with a crush I've ever seen in a movie. She really carries the film. Beyond the movie was a successful and fun light comedy. I find, at the moment, that a light comedy is really something I enjoy, and very little in current television or movies deliver. It's all generally over-the-top, or heavy on the "feel-good" emotion or drama.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Mel Gibson Threatens Photographers

Isn't this basically a feature-length threat against the Paparazzi?

Thursday, March 28, 2002

LotR: FotR

Interesting stuff about the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD releases:

Showbiz juice: An R-rated 'Rings'
LOTR extended deleted scenes - full details!

Monday, March 25, 2002

Awards Shows

I have lost faith (once again) in the ability of awards show to make judgements properly. Sure, I didn't actually see the other movies, but it is inconceivable that A Beautiful Mind is an example of a better directing job than Lord of the Rings. For Peter Jackson not to be recognized for the amazing work he did is rediculous.