Avatar Sneak Preview: ML3D

Posted by under *ambivalent, Movies, Technology | Join The Discussion |

avatarA few months back, Kevin got us in to see a 15 minute preview of the new James Cameron film Avatar.  The event was similar to the Dark Knight preview we saw a few months before that premiere, but I have to say this was disappointing by comparison.

The problem I had with the preview was that none of the five scenes we were shown were in any way complete.  We saw enough to get the idea: the human military has some interest in a strange alien world, they send in operatives who have uploaded their consciousnesses into the bodies of the indigenous people, mayhem ensues.  The main protagonist appears to be a disabled marine who is made able to walk again in this new body and serves as the viewers’ guide to the alien world.  However, without any real context for the scenes, it was hard for me to get into.  The preview for The Dark Knight gave us the full bank heist scene, and I think anyone who saw it was completely on board for what to expect.

The real showcase for this event was the 3D IMAX technology used to produce the film.  It looks gorgeous when things aren’t really moving around, but the action scenes fell apart.  I struggled a bit having prescription glasses under the 3D goggles, but eventually found a configuration that worked.  Although it was amazing to see the way the scratches and imperfections of my lenses were intensified.

It was kind of interesting to see Sigourney Weaver (Aliens) and Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation) working with James Cameron given his success directing properties that made them sci-fi stars.  This movie may be great, but I wasn’t convinced enough to buy advance tickets for the December 18th opening as we walked out.

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2009 Post-Season Baseball

Posted by under *dislike, Sports | Join The Discussion |

Phillies_2009Everything I write here would be completely meaningless if I didn’t mention the hours I’ve spent watching the Phillies this Fall.  I’m beginning this post 1.5 innings into Game 5 with the Phillies up 3 to1 in the game, down 3 to 1 in the series.  We’ll see how things change as the night progresses.

The schedule for the post-season is atrocious.  I understand Major League Baseball wants to make money, but this is ridiculous.  If you’re willing to have a game start at 2:30 in the afternoon, why not have a game start at 1PM?  This would allow all the games to start earlier and end at a time when everyone could stay awake to watch the late games end (barring extra innings).  And if a game is scheduled for the middle of a work day, it’s pretty clear that MLB is not concerned if anyone can see it (same goes for putting it on TBS, more on that later).  With this in mind, why can’t first and second round games go on simultaneously?  Also, while I can appreciate that Yankees and Red Sox fans are legion and spread all over the country, I don’t know that having your prime time games reserved for these franchises is worth marginalizing fans of other teams.

Baseball in November is just asking for trouble.  In 2001, the World Series was played in November for the first time as a result of the tragedy of 9/11.  Eight years later, it’s scheduled to go into November.  The days off are another cash grab for MLB and the networks so that they can have a prime time weeknight game as often as possible.  The ad dollars are so important, that there was nearly a week off between the end of the NLCS and the World Series so they could start on a Wednesday.  As we get deeper into the Fall, the weather in cities like Denver and Minneapolis are going to make it impossible for them to host games without delays.  This year’s post-season even featured a “snow-out” during the NLDS in Colorado.  Of course, the postponed games this year all happened to fall on Saturdays, the lowest night for ratings, and therefore, ad revenue.

The FOX and TBS broadcasts are awful for the most part.  Enough has been said about Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to fill a book, but TBS employed commentators that were unlistenable.  I don’t want cheerleaders for the big market teams, and I don’t want people that are showing that they don’t really know the game.  At the conclusion of NLCS Game 5, the play by play announcer called out “here’s the throw to the plate, not in time.” There was no throw.  I can understand getting caught up in a moment and missing something, but calling something that didn’t happen is borderline insane.

I’m not writing all this because I’m cranky that the Phillies are down in the series.  In fact, they’re up 8 to 1 and I’m still annoyed at MLB. I’m even annoyed that it’s so close to MLD.