Archive for January, 2007

 Epic Movie

Never has so much been spent on so little to entertain so few. The budget for this film was certainly epic, so it’s a shame the comedy was so lackluster. No expense was seemingly spared on the CG effects, or the sets and wardrobe, but it was still a disappointing outing from the same group who brought us the laughs with the Scary Movie franchise. Perhaps they tried to reach too far, skewering everything from last year’s Nacho Libre (which I recognized from the trailer, since I would never actually pay to see that) to The DaVinci Code. The only notable scenes in the whole movie are Darrell Hammond’s spot-on parody of Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Carribean character: Capt Jack Swallows — but don’t waste your money on this one. Wait for video. Actually, no, don’t bother.

 The Good Shepherd

The acting is superb, and DeNiro’s direction is spot on, but don’t go see this movie if you are in need of a nap. Drink some caffiene and be prepared to pay attention. I think I was just lucky, and noticed the right details, otherwise the whole thing might seem like a parade of random scenes. Despite the convoluted plot, there is a worthwhile message in this film. Although the message I took may not be the one intended, it is this: the excesses of our government allow agencies like the CIA to be even more dangerous than they would be otherwise.

I wonder if tourism will increase at the Skull and Bones Society‘s Deer Island after being glamorized in this movie? I have nothing against secret societies, indeed, they are often necessary to keep a runaway government in check. But when the members of these societies are also the same people wielding power within the government, the dangers are simply multiplied.

Some say the intent of this movie is to draw parallels between the Mafia and the CIA, but this is not a novel concept for those of us who long ago stopped viewing our government as a collection of benevolent heroes. Only the most naive among us will find this revelation at all shocking.

 Lego Designer

A while back I wrote about a really cool and addictive board game called Cathedral. Ever since I got the game, I thought it would be cool to make a copy of the game and its pieces using Legos. Well, the Lego folks have some software called Lego Designer that you can download from their web site. It is a CAD application that lets you build anything your heart desires using the your choice of any bricks that Lego makes.

It took me a while to get used to it, but the software has some popup help to get you started. Once I got rolling, it was really cool to be able to build the model and then spin it around in 3D and look at it. The best part is once you are done, you save your design and upload it to Lego’s web site. You can then purchase the model you just made in a custom-printed box. If you add it to the gallery, then others who are browsing can buy your model too. My Cathedral game is here, if you’re interested in seeing it.

It’s actually cheaper to buy the real thing, so unless you’re a fanatic of both Cathedral and Legos, I wouldn’t recommend you spend your money, but definitely check out the software! [Update: you should also check out this guy’s design, which is, I have to say, better looking than mine, but is probably more expensive to make.]