Geeky weekend: Star Wars I – VI

Saint Patrick’s day weekend is a three day weekend here in Ireland (hey, we don’t get president’s day), combine that with Paula still being sick and we had plenty of time to just vegge in front of the boob-tube. All we needed to do was find a good batch of entertainment.

We bought Revenge of the Sith about six months ago but we never got around to watching it.  We couldn’t, of course, just start with episode III, we had to start at the “beginning”, episode I (as painful as that would be to sit through).

Watching the whole series in the space of 5 days brought up a few of questions. 

  1. When Obi-Wan dies he vanishes, leaving just his cloak.  When Yoda dies, he vanishes leaving no clothes at all.  When Darth dies, he leaves everything behind, clothes, meat-sack and all.
  2. Why did Leia set out to bring Obi-Wan and the death star plans to Alderaan?  The rebel base was on Tatooine.  You’re going to great lengths to find this guy, why send him on a wild goose chase?
  3. At the end of episode VI when glowing Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin show up to watch the end party, why is Obi-Wan all old and Anakin all young?  Sure, George had to make his re-edits… but that one is just dumb.
  4. If Obi-Wan and the rebels were going to such great lengths to hide Luke from his father why didn’t they change his name to something other than Skywalker?  Combine that with stashing him on Darth Vader’s home planet with Darth’s step-brother and it makes me wonder how many brain cells Anakin had left functioning after being given the oven-baked ham treatment.

I guess it doesn’t take a genius to poke holes in George Lucas’s writing.  But honestly now, how were the Jedi able to keep peace in the galaxy when all it takes to defeat them is persistent taunting?

Jedi: “Stop you fiend! Put down those stolen power converters!”

Thief: “Oh no! The Jedi! Say, how’s your mother?  She still mad that I dumped her and dating your sister?”

Jedi: “Oh!!! Why you! Grrr!! …. Aw nuts.  Let me help you carry those.”

Thief: “Thanks”

HD TV and Movies on demand? Thank you Xbox 360… almost

Mike aggregated some wonderful news about a new feature coming to Xbox 360 on November 22nd: video on demand. HD content will be available for free and for pay to download direct to your hard drive-equipped Xbox 360.

My first thought? SWEET! Living in Ireland has a lot of upside but the downside is no NetFlix and no TiVo. This service is the answer to a huge need.

Xbox 360 Projector

Your 360 is now a great way to watch movies!

Well… it would be the answer to my need if it weren’t for the fact that the service will be for US Xboxes only. I suppose it comes as no surprise given that international copyright law is a deep murky pool… filled with hungry sharks… and with little floaty things edged with razor blades… and all the ladders out are greased… and electrified.

At any rate, Xbox owners back in America: congratulations… [scowl grumble grumble]

A bit of Friday fun

Do you like movies?  Do you like spoofs?  Are you just tired of the hype around Brokeback Mountain? 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, here’s a little Friday diversion for you: check out the movie trailers for “Brokeback To The Future” and “Top Gun 2, Brokeback Squadron”

I found the pointers to these clips in a great NPR article on spoof movie trailers (and for you etymologysts, it has an interesting little sidebar on the origin of the word “satire”).  The NPR story links to a number of spoofs, including my favorite, a trailer for a nice, uplifting comedic drama, “Shining”.

(note: don’t bother watching the trailers for “Big” or “Taxi Driver”, they fall short)

It’s about freakin’ time

The broadband world has been here for a while but getting good content over the net is still not a simple matter.  Where’s that on-demand, world-wide entertainment network we’ve been promised?

Well, for you fans of Indian movies there is now a site for you which allows you to download digital copies of movies.  Movies like Raincoat which your local movie store will never carry… or new releases like Dhoom which even aren’t yet available on Netflix.  Not only are the latest movies available but you can get them much faster than driving to your local video store and way faster than Blockbuster Online.

If movies with people randomly bursting in to song and dance are your cup of tea, then check out Masala Downloads (

If, on the other hand, Jean-Claude Van Damme is your cup of tea… simply switch on Spike TV… he’s sure to show up at some point.

Eye candy with a capital EYE

Imagine a 90 minute classical music video filmed in beautiful locations.

Imagine a martial arts sword movie with lots of wire work.

Toss the two in a Cuisenart…et voilà! Hero.

Hero is a true visual and musical treat for fans of Chinese/Hong Kong martial arts movies.  Containing more emotional content then any action film ought to, presenting a striking visual style and possessed of a musical score with acres of pedigree Hero is a movie that defies you to find a frame of reference.

While the pure artistry of this movie is beyond compare, it is a martial arts movie… if you don’t like the genre, you may find the story won’t hold your attention.  If, however, you’re up for a feast of optic gluttony served up with a heaping side of musical goodness, you won’t be disappointed.  Tan Dun‘s score featuring Itzhak Perlman and KODO Drummers of Japan makes you just sit back and rub your belly.  Mmmm… tasty.

I could go on about how beautiful this movie is… but instead I ask you to just look… the use of color in this film borders on overwhelming and yet is delivered with incomparable precision… they whipped out a big ol’ Technicolor sledge hammer and did finish carpentery… and you won’t find a missed stroke anywhere.