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Cats & Dogs (2001)

Cats & Dogs (2001)

Here's a tale of the epic battle that's been waged through the ages. The one between cats and dogs. Man's best friend versus their worst enemy - only they don't even know it! Back in the early days the dog came to rescue man from his feline enslavement, and yet that tale has now been lost to the ages, until one day...

A little puppy comes into the picture. He wants to have an adventure, yet meets a boy. The boy's father is working on a cure for all pet allergies. The father's not spending enough time with the boy. The dog bonds with the boy. Meanwhile there's an evil cat with a silly name scheming things; hoping to foil the plans of said experiment...

It's a fun movie, in part enacted by real animals (that's the impressive part), and in part with puppets/CGI. The special effects haven alas not aged all that well, and the tale seems to be directed at a much younger audience than myself. Though it kept me watching it just didn't feel as captivating as I feel it should have, but overall it wasn't bad. It had some good moments. I'm impressed by how well they managed the concept maybe most of all, with all the moments where the dogs are clearly alive, only their expressions sometimes 'enhanced' with CGI. But sometimes...

I'd like to give this a higher score. Jeff Goldblum was great too. But it the end it just hasn't aged perfectly, and ended up feeling just a little too tittle. Life ain't just but... my score.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

I think I saw this one back in the day btw. Not sure.

Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)

 Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)

The first one was great, the second one a bit of a repeat but it worked too, but this one... feels like they tried too hard here. Or too much.

They tried going serious. They tried going with sex appeal. They tried going relatable and family-focused, and it all falters. Frank Drebin comes across as an old man (how do you say 'gubbsjuk' in English?), the villains as clowns and the whole plot just one big farce somehow. I mean I guess you could call the first two farces too but: farce in a bad way here. Not on a comical note. Just a mess.

Don't get me started on the special effects either.

I'll admit the prison scene did crack me up, it did, as did some segments of the final showdown, but in the end it doesn't have the same pure, unadulterated or altered slapstick comedy genius of the first two. It's almost like this gave a glimpse of what was to come, with exaggerated; crazy and blunt comedies like The Hangover and all the like. Though some of those bring forth a lot more laughs than this one did...

Is Leslie Nielsen just outliving his role at this point? I'm not sure what it is, but something feels off with this one. Didn't have that same formula for greatness as the previous two. The main guys all seemed so much older. George Kennedy too. Anna Nicole Smith was a welcome addition though...

An unexpected gem as the credits end though:

No animals were harmed in the filming of this movie.

However some species did become extinct during peripheral photography.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Work Thing

Midlife crisis? Work-related crisis? Life-related crisis? Whatever the crisis my vice is: thinking too much about this.

I can't keep work off my mind even during the weekends lately, and I wonder if that has to do with working from home so much, and not differentiating between locations for free time and work time. It's not ideal, but driving to the office everyday's not ideal either. Not for finances, nor for time, nor for the potential health detriments that might come with all too much mobility in these crazy times...

But the problem isn't really that work's always on my mind. The problem's the work. I'm not working with something I enjoy, and somehow I seem to have moved further and further from the realm of optimal creative design, and more monotone but acceptable regular IT work and administration, to the realm of server administration, command-line, and digging through code and trying to figure out how it works as to solve company problems I'm not really qualified to deal with... it's taking a toll. And dues pile. I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, and that I'm being underappreciated for what I do manage to do considering the overwhelming complexity of all the more of an effort I make to actually keep up with it.

I have years worth of education within the field of design and basic programming languages linked to web-related ditto. I'm self-taught initially. I honed my skills with further university level learning. I love design. And content. I love tinkering with sites like this. I tried a C++ course once and realized that wasn't my thing, yet the gap between design and code these days seems to be shrinking. Not only do the same agencies deal with both - with combined efforts from programmer/designer side - but plenty of talented individuals really delve as deep into one side of the business as the other one. The old cliche that programmers focus only on the functional aspects of something - and how the design always comes second and ends up looking like shit - doesn't seem to apply anymore.

Maybe for some. I don't see it though. Everyone's hella talented these days.

I've never considered the opposite as much. That those who consider themselves primarily designers might focus all too much on the visual, and that their work instead ends up lacking in functionality. Does that apply? I feel like functionality's a part of design too. Interface design is a thing. It just might be my specialty. Though implementing desired interface functionality in code if it isn't there already, if you don't have a programmer to help you with it, is another beast entirely.

Maybe I'm just not cut out for this kind of work.

Computer work. I doubt by the burdens that pile, and observe for a while, it's so verdant outside, as I curl in denial, always bursting with rhymes, never searching to fly, only biding my time while the vultures come circle. A circle of jerks.

I'm a worldly observer.

But really though. Stressed out.

Don't want to let the company down, but can't keep going like this all too long either. Energy depletes, focus becomes a challenge, getting up in the morning's difficult, I try all sorts of self-affirmation tricks but no serious meditation yet. Momentary experimentation only goes so far. D-vitamin no longer seems to be the cure-all for my winter depression... cause this no longer has much to do with winter does it? No darkness is due. Our weather's beautiful. Both sun and snow for three weeks now. It's incredible. I should be so uplifted.

Nor do the cold showers kickstart me as they initially used to. Nor does coffee work as a viable replacement for that kick - it just gives me a headache if I skip a cup, and deep-breathing, music, writing, all this shizzle... it's not enough! Not when I'm not actually doing something about my great hurdle; keep on letting it grow to unsustainable proportions. Some day it's gonna fall.

My job. Such a central part in life. Whether it's me or them - or a combination thereof - I need to either regain a sense of purpose and peace or get the fuck out of here. Find something that truly matters. That gets me where I want to be. That lets me feel free. Or more so just: let's me feel.

Something good. Something real. Something that syncs with my ideals.

For now though: venting. This work thing. Lamenting. I'm searching. But spending. Still maybe a bit too much time on other things... but some of those are grueling too. Overload. The usual cue. No true solution, so do I brood. Hopefully, slowly, moving through. Work.

Stander (2003)

Stander (2003)

Apartheid. Blacks and whites. The story of an honest cop who can't stand being one, and that white men get away with anything while they try to keep the blacks under control, and so he starts robbing banks. As a white man. And nobody suspects a white man. A policeman even less.

That man is André Stander, and this is his story. Of him as well as his two companions, and the havoc they wreck in Johannesburg and beyond.

The filming's great. The cast's great (props Thomas Jane, David O'Hara, Deborah Kara Unger and the rest), and the story both chaotic and clever.

You don't get annoyed at anything being either too predictable or too presumptuous, which I guess goes with the realism, this being based upon a true story and all. It feels gritty and authentic, and both personal and impactful. It has a story to tell, a message, and it's not much like any other I've witnessed so far.

But that ending... justice sure works in a strange way...

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Gundala (2019)

Gundala (2019)

Never thought I'd see an Indonesian superhero movie, but here is one!

It starts a bit like Batman, but not really. There's the little boy who loses his parents, but keeps fighting, and eventually becomes a hero. Not by choice, but fate, maybe?

He's one with the lightning too. He avoids the rain because he doesn't want to get struck by it, yet he learns that the lightning makes him temporarily invincible. A useful but painful power to have. And so begins his quest...

The movie has potential, the fights are fun to watch, there are some colorful characters in the mix and plenty of that trademark Indonesian (at least in movies - well at least in Indonesian action movies) rage/violence/savagery, and a sinister plot a brewing in the background but... it's not perfect.

The fight scenes are clearly staged. The main hero doesn't seem as confident a fighter as he's supposed to be. The special effects are decent, but authentic fights would've made it so much more.

Overall it feels like a somewhat big budget thing, but they didn't get the fights right all the way, nor the relations. The red thread's not the clearest either. Awesome becomes average.

But the legend of Gundala...? Maybe sequels may take him further yet and truly cement his place in movie history.

Looking back the first Batman movie wasn't all that amazing either. This just might be even a little better than that was back then.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman (2019)

An old man recalls his time painting houses for his friend, Jimmy Hoffa, through the 1950-70s.

It's also the mob movie with the Action Bronson cameo!

He does his role alright. Sells a casket. Seems like himself, but his regular self works well here. I'm curious how he'd do with acting someone else, but it's good to see he may be a natural at least with natural cameos like this. Always with that Action charisma. Always nice to see.

As for the rest of this it's sad how every mob movie ever made somehow seems to become an anti-mob movie. Even ones as classy as this one. And it's sad how everyone ages, and dies, and how some people live on.

Not that it's sad that anyone lives on - it's just sad they age and live on as everybody else dies.

I like the ambiguity though. I like how it started, but when it's all over I'm missing the point.

It had to be for something. It might be the point is there is none, but what kind of movie would that make this? Anti-mob propaganda? It's all said and done now anyway. It is what it is.

In a way you could say the age plays on or pays homage to the longevity of the mob, but on the other hand there's always an element of certain people losing their grip as they do, of not keeping with times, of the world changing and the mobsters being lost in their own little realm of loyalty when in the real world it no longer matters at all.

Maybe I should see that more a testament to how crappy our time is. To strive to bring back what we had back in the old days.

A new mob? Unity that matters? Loyalty, family, respect, and an unquestioning and uncompromising raison d'être over all? Until your time is gone and lost upon you.

I'm as always fascinated by the culture, and by the code, and both acting and filming is great as ever here. Robert De Niro's still got it. I just wish it all ended a happier way, whatever reason they might have had for making it not so, be it a nod to the mob or not.

But that's why this doesn't get a top score in my book.

To escape reality is at least why I usually watch a movie, and though this might not really be my reality, my reality currently correlates all too closely to age and death - not my own necessarily but to that of those I hold close - and thus this doesn't feel like the escape I'm looking for in a movie, and I'm not sure it's the kind of reality anyone who was in or is in the mob would like to see either.

Or maybe I'm wrong? Maybe this shows them the way. Maybe this is a silent testament to the values of a culture and honor by most unknown.

Basically I guess I chose the wrong movie to watch. I don't like the age and/or losing grip thing, but can't nobody say this wasn't good.

It was what it was.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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