Friday - I snuck away from work a little early because there was talk of working on Saturday and since I'm salaried I figured -1 hour Friday would make up for +6 or +8 hours Saturday. It turns out we didn't work Saturday but oh well. So I called up Dave and we went off to see Reign of Fire.
Ummm... it was an ok movie. It was better than I expected and I liked it, but I suspect that it's going to be a movie that you either have to want to like or your going to find a million and one plot holes and similar things. It has very good action and amazing effects with the dragons (reasons enough for me to go see it multiple times). I had some issues with its pacing... it actually reminded me an awful lot of the Road Warrior. It had that sort of "How much time has passed?" pacing to it. It's not a horrible problem, but I'm sure I'll hear complaints about how "they can't do all that in a day." If anything it made me wish that the movie had been a bit longer and had covered more random details about that particular world. It's the kind of movie that I think could have a TV series life much like Stargate/Stargate SG-1.
So can you tell that the movie is a bit derivative? It is. I don't think it makes any pretense that it's not somehow a quasi-knock-off of a half dozen post-apocalyptic movies. What does redeem it's amazing quality. It really does look like there are dragons roaming around the planet. You also get a very neat performance by Matthew McConaughey as the tough (and rather insane) Denton Van Zan. It's a trip to see him in a role like this after his roles in movies like A time to Kill, Lonestar, Contact, Wedding Planner, etc...
Oh, and I have to admit that I have a weakness for Izabella Scorupco (Vertical Limit, Goldeneye, a bunch of other movies I can't pronounce and didn't see ;). I'm not sure why, but she's one of the few actresses that I really find highly appealing. I liked the fact that she was in this movie. She's got this neat amount of sex appeal and cute-ness that is very cool... oh and she looks good in a flight suit ;).
All told, I'll give Reign of Fire an 8 on the DS, but that comes with a caveat that this is largely an action/fantasy/adventure movie. It knows this and (IMNSHO) it delivers quite well.
After the movie, we went to try out a sushi restaurant that Dave had heard about. So off we went to eat the raw fish at The Sushi Place.... Well to make a long and boring story somewhat shorter.... It was the worst sushi restaurant that I've ever been to. It's horrible. To be completely honest, I've had much better experiences at random greasy hole in the wall type establishments. It was clean and it looked promising but we quickly discovered that appearances can be highly deceiving.
It did once again prove my long standing rule that when it comes to regional/ethnic food, it is best to stick with restaurants staffed and/or owned by people who are of the same region/ethnicity. Sushi is a great example of this. If you are famliar with "real" sushi you know that a lot of emphasis is put on the professionalism and skill of the sushi chef. This is why people can spend years as apprentices before becoming bona fide sushi chefs. At The Shushi Place we had a bunch of hispanic guys who looked like they could care less about what they were doing.
They didn't come off as sushi chefs, they were more like short order cooks at your average greasy spoon. One of them was even using his cell phone while preparing sushi (ick). Obviously he didn't realize that this looked really bad... heck it looks bad for a normal chef to do this, but it looks terrible for "sushi chef" to be doing that at the sushi bar.
I've had similar bad experiences at "Tex-Mex" restaurants in Boston (run by someone from Ireland apparently), A Chinese restaurant in Vermont (run by a French-Canadian family... they didn't even have chopsticks on the premises)... and a handful of other places. This is not to say that the rule is a hard and fast one that can't be ignored fom time to time ("Well, actually it's not a rule so much as a guideline".... guess the movie ;). It's just something that I've developed from observation.
I think part of the reason that it applies is that food is one of those things that is equal parts science and art. It's easy to learn the basics of how to make something, but in order to really get it you have to either be a) very passionate about cooking and love learning the little nuances, or b) born into a culture where you were exposed to _____ often and regularly. Some people run restaurants because they love the business, and some run them because they just need something to do. If you love cooking with a passion then you can be good at anything you want, but if you're just punching a clock, then it is probably best to stick to what you know.
After the horrible sushi, we ended up driving around what I hope will eventually be my new neighborhood (note to self: look up info about the neat spooky old house). That and some random movie watching wrapped up Friday.
Saturday - Did nothing, slept late, read 2 books. I read the original graphic novel for The Road to Perdition and I read Drinking Midnight Wine (a book picked as much for my previous fondness for the author's style as for the nifty cover art ;). Both are very good books and I highly recommend them. Drinking Midnigh Wine is a bit of modern-fantasy fluff, but it's cool, and it's the first book to ever create a world/universe where I like the layout of gods and magic etc... Everything exists in a neat logical mishmash.... Honestly it reminds me a lof of Neverwhere but the characters are entertaining, the exploration of the world is fun, and the ending is happy. The Road to Perdition is a much heavier read, but the writing is good and the illustrations are fabulous. I read it in one sitting and just pored over all sorts of little details in it. I'm quite eager to see the movie now.
Sunday - Did nothing, slept late, got up to go have lunch with the 'rents. Got home, did more nothing, Dave called and we watched the Robin Williams special on HBO and bitched about our respective girl problems. Women, can't live with them, can't have heterosexual intercourse without them... don't remember where that's from. I've been whining about my girl problems to people all weekend though so I'm going to refrain from rehashing those here. It's the usual crap that I've come to associate with X and long distances.
Oh and let's hear it for my insomnia which has returned after a longish abscence. Last night I got a grand total of 2 hours of sleep. I was trying to get about 6/5.5 but I spent many hours tossing and turning. I fairly used to insomnia, but it worries me a bit nowadays because I have to do so much driving. It could really be a problem if it gets bad. *grumble*
Umm... yeah. so that's my long-ish rant for the time being.
Oi, I need a life... and I need to get some sleep and I need to get to work... now....