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toodleRIP

yes it does seem to be slow around here these days. i think FB made it somewhat redundant, plus, for me anyway, the inability to comment on posts due to some technical glitch that no one can figure out, has made even checking it less attractive. sad, but such is life. anyone check their friendster anymore? LJ? myspace? even my rss feed usually goes neglected.

The Death of Toodlepip?

The last blog post was from over a month ago! And October came and went without a 31 day Halloween post-gasm? What's become of us??? Is this the way the blog ends...with a whimper?

Chickety-check CHECK it out


This is the trailer for the indie game I helped make :D. Go like us on FB if you haven't! We also have a YouTube page and website here (There's a link to our FB page there!)

William's now at LCRA!!!


Hey Gang,
Instead of trying to let the word out individually to each of you I figured a good ole blog entry would get to the majority of my friends. The big news: After a year of application process (interviews, background checks, and paperwork) I have finally been hired by LCRA. I'll be working security for them here in Austin with some sweet state benefits and a professional paycheck, even more than I was making being a security supervisor for that fruit computer company ;-). Better hours, more time off and excellent training. I'll basically be a police officer lite (yes, I'll carry a gun and all sorts of fancy toys that make people go "owie"and maybe even a take home truck!) and I'll be at the very top of the security industry.

If you are interested check out what we do: http://www.lcra.org/community/ps/index.html


Dave's Films

As with a number of us, I got so busy in the second half of the month that I didn't have time to complete the challenge. BOOOOOO! >_<  But just for the hell of it, I'm adding a few short reviews at the end of this post of non-challenge movies I saw during August...

Crimes & Misdemeanors (Your Choice #1) - I've still only seen a handful of Woody Allen movies, and went into this one not knowing if it was a comedy or drama. First of all: great movie. Second: while it's got some dark comedy going, this definitely played out as a drama for me. It's some serious shit, dealing with infidelity, good people getting nothing while bad people get everything, and eventually, the specter of murder. Everyone's good, but Martin Landau gives a performance that's fucking amazing. 4/5

Source Code (Films from 2000-2011 #1) - Great sci-fi/suspense movie from the director of Moon, and I was pleased to discover the movie had something more to it than the trailers revealed. Nice performances, too. I'd suggest checking this one out to most anyone, and as it only runs maybe an hour and a half, it's a lean and fast-paced outing. 4/5

Black Swan
(Films I've Never Seen #1) - Darren Aronofsky is technically highly proficient, but I think the only movie of his I really enjoyed was his first: Pi. Now I'm starting to see all his movies are basically the same: people go through intense physical and emotional distress and, in the final few minutes, undergo a violent culmination of their downward spiral. And his characters all seem like cyphers - just there to move the story he wants to tell forward. Black Swan, like the Wrestler, was a movie I feel like I got all the major beats from the trailer alone. I'm not even giving it an extra star for Natalie Portman having lesbian sex with that chick from That 70s Show! 2 out of 5

Frozen (Your Choice #2) - This is the movie about the group of skiers who get trapped on a mountain ski lift right as the slopes are shutting down for a week. Not quite a horror movie, but definitely a survival flick. I thought it was surprisingly decent. The characters were above average and it actually had a good script. It walked a bit of a tough line between being a slightly pop suspense/survival movie and being a more serious drama about survival, but that kept it from getting morose. Still, a pretty grim outing. One awesomely filmed scene made me wince as few movies ever have. 3/5

The Dresser (Films I've Never Seen #2) - I caught this one on my Mom's recommendation. It's a serious drama (though with lots of incidental humor) about an aging, lead Shakespearian actor beginning to succumb to dementia. It occurs almost in real time as the lead up to a production of King Lear in the middle of London during The Blitz. The other lead character is the guy's gay "dresser" - an all purpose theatrical assistant who goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure the show goes on...even if the lead actor is about to go out of his mind. Great premise, and some amazing acting (Albert Finney got an Oscar nomination), but the movie ultimately left me cold. I felt like it overly sympathized with Finney's character, an egocentric bastard whose downward slide is surprisingly difficult to empathize with. 3/5

(bonus fact: The Dresser was made in 1983; that same year, the director made the slightly less award-winning epic...KRULL)

Crank 2 (Films from 2000-2011 #1) - Perhaps the most batshit movie I've ever seen, but I actually preferred the slightly more grounded original Crank. Still, a good, crazy time from the team that's doing the Ghost Rider sequel. Amy Smart is crazy-hot in these movie, BTW. 3/5

Transsiberian (Films Starring the Same Actor #1 - Woody Harrelson) - Modern, Hitchcockian thriller that takes place largely on a week-long train from Beijing to Moscow. I read that it's best to watch this without knowing anything about it and that's true. As a result I was pretty riveted. This is the kind of thriller where you really don't know where it's gonna go. Unfortunately, there're a few swerves at the end I didn't buy and they brought down (a bit) what had been an excellent suspense outing. Same director as Session 9, a memorably low-key horror movie from the 2000s, and if you know that movie (or maybe The Machinist, which I haven't seen), you know this guy can create strong, eerie pacing. Recommended in spite of an ending I didn't love. 3/5

Trainspotting (Films I've Never Seen #3) - For some reason Danny Boyle's hugely watchable, stylish, blackly humorous foray into heroin addiction for a group of Scottish hoodlums didn't connect much with me. Lots of memorable scenes and visuals, and even a great soundtrack. I think the skeeviness of the characters just got to me. They're a pretty bastardly lot to spend two hours with. Still, I'm glad I saw it. Ewan McGregor is particularly great and so is Robert Carlyle (who I only know from Stargate Universe and didn't even recognize in Trainspotting, he's such a different character). 3/5

No Country for Old Men (Just Some Random Shit I Watched #1) - I don't know why this movie enthralls me so, but I've probably watched it seven or eight times now and I never do that with movies. I even agree that it's got some flaws in its final act, but the nailbiting suspense, the terrifying performance by Javier Bardem, the beautifully bleak visuals, and having one memorable scene after another all add up to an amazing movie. 5/5

Fright Night (Just Some Random Shit I Watched #2) - Nothing great, but a fun update of the original (a cult favorite of mine) that threw in enough new stuff to stand on its own. Catch it sometime if you're in the mood for a lightweight horror movie with some laughs along the way. 3/5 

Misery (Just Some Random Shit I Watched #3) - Rob Riener is the fucking man. His hits include The Princess Bride, Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men, and yes, Misery. With a screenplay by the legendary William Goldman and amazing performances by Kathy Bates and James Caan, this is about as good as it gets for suspense movies. Even the bit parts (Richard Farnsworth, Lauren Bacall) are awesome. 5/5

Unbreakable (Just Some Random Shit I Watched #4) - It always seemed like the mythology Shyamalan built up in this showed a poor understanding of superhero comics, but since the movie suggests superhero comics are just a filtered down, pop version of a real phenomenon, it doesn't hurt the movie much. And it's just a great yarn. And harrowing, almost moving into some kind of grim horror movie near the end, but I love the slow-burn sense of discovery that builds up to it. Good cast, very understated acting. Memorable score by James Newton Howard. I didn't especially like this when I saw it at the theater, but it seems to grow on me with every new viewing and now I'm definitely a fan. 4/5

Nick's Films

The Perfect Score (2004) #1 Starring the Same Actor - Scarlett Johansson -
A fun, light, stupid comedy about how a group of kids all vying to be something in their post high school lives, flunk their SATs. In response, they decide to break into the building that houses the SAT tests and steal the answers to seal the deal on their respective futures. It's a bit Breakfast Club meets typical 2000's stupid comedy, but there's some heart in there too, which makes it pop. Plus it stars two of the current Avengers roster! 3/5

Usual Suspects (1995) #1 Old Favorite that I haven't Seen in Awhile -
Damn. Good. Movie. Even 16 years after the fact, this movie holds up in almost every regard. The cast is brilliant, the story is fantastic, the score is memorable and in your face...And did I mention that the cast is brilliant? Still one of my all time favorites. 5/5

Season of the Witch (2011) #1 Movie You've Never Seen Before -
Well, my Nicolas Cage obsession continues, this time forcing me to watch a meandering, bore of a movie that I thought would never end. The characters are bland and one dimensional, the "villain" is meh and the effects I thought were pretty lame. Really though, you would think that Cage would have fun playing one of God's Soldiers during The Crusades...but he doesn't. 1/5

The Town (2010) #1 Film from 2000-2011 -
Ben Affleck always surprises me with his ability to direct. He's like the polar opposite of Kevin Costner, as when Affleck merely stars in a movie, it's usually horrible, but when he directs and stars, there's something there. Really, The Town is a traditional crime caper wrapped up in Boston-ese, i.e. really heavy accents. Nothing really original, but the characters are compelling and there are some really neat robbery scenes that are intense. That stuff elevates the film quite a bit. 4/5

The American (2010) #2 Film from 2000-2011 -
An interesting, slightly slow, but evocative film that shows what you can do with a smaller budget. Clooney actually goes against his usual mold here with a character that is not super likable. The result is a film about an assassin that feels a little like The Killer in many respects. I would suggest not seeking this one out if you happen to be sleepy though. Not perfect by any means, but a solid film. 3/5

Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008) #2 Starring the same actor - Scarlett Johannson -
A funny, sexy, beautifully human romp. Woody Allen, despite being a poor excuse for a human being, really does know how to make a damn fine movie. Javier Bardem was so good in this and the two female leads were very striking. I even liked Penelope Cruz, a person I usually despise on general principle. 4/5

Mortal Kombat (1995) #1 of 3 films of your choice -
Such a stupid movie, but I do love it so. I haven't seen it in years, and really, it doesn't hold up extremely well. The FX is pretty bad, but the fight scenes are decent and I love the soundtrack. Gets me all riled up for a good fight. Also, much of the movie is simply hilarious. 3/5

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) #2 of Films that You've Never Seen Before -
A harsh...No scratch that, extremely harsh, movie. But it's very well done. The acting is great, the filming is fantastic, and the story was very engaging to the point that the murder mystery got under my skin. I can see why some people are put off by it, but I am very happy that I saw it. 4/5

Pitch Black (2000) #2 of One of My Old Favorites that I Haven't Seen In Awhile -
Loved this the first time that I saw it in theaters...But I hadn't gone back to it in years. In fact, I think I've watched the sequel Riddick at least three times. I have no idea why that is. That said, this movie about a transport crash landing on a doomed planet infested by dark loving aliens is still creepy and action packed. Diesel gets to have a lot of fun and I think that there is a ton of originality at play here. 4/5

Lincoln Lawyer (2010) #3 of Films that You've Never Seen Before -
A very mediocre film based off a decent book by Michael Connelley. Matthew Mcconaughey turns in a fairly flat role as a "down with his bad self" lawyer and the story follows all of the traditional thriller beats. I liked seeing William H. Macy, but I wouldn't recommend this one. 2/5

Poltergeist (1982) #2 of Films of Your Choice -
It had been awhile since I'd seen this one, pretty much since I was a wee lad, but I decided that it was time...And it was glorious! Tobe Hooper crafted a fantastic film with the help of Spielberg. Great characters, inventiveness in the actual filming of it, and the performances from a great cast really cement this as one of those movies that stands the test of time. 4/5

Fright Night (2011) #3 of Films from 2010-2011 -
I really had fun with this one. It may not outdo the original, but it does it justice none the less. Fun score, good acting, great special effects and just the right bit of camp. It felt like a return to classic 80's horror, and considering we don't get that too often these days and instead get torture porn or stupid slasher flicks, I'm all for it. 4/5

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) #3 of Films of Your Choice -
Saw this in theaters and really enjoyed it. Liked it even better the second time. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, this one is really just a romance wrapped up in a sci-fi veneer. What sets it apart though is Matt Damon turning in a great performance as a up and coming Senator who's a bit of a bad boy. That and Emily Blunt is rather hot. All in all, a fun flick that is well put together. 4/5

Moulin Rouge (2001) #3 of One of My Old Favorites that I Haven't Seen In Awhile -
Not as good as I remember it being, but I really enjoyed the music in this one. It's catchy, psychedelically appealing with Baz Luhrman's traditional insanity, and I always found it cool that Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor sang their own parts. They're both very good. Still, the story is a bit bland and a little bit choppy. 3/5
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Randy's Films

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Movies from 2000-2011 #1) - Recently finished the novel, so I wanted to check this out. It's a damn good movie, dark and harrowing and does a pretty good job adapting a very complex narrative into a film. That said, I did find myself missing some of the complexities of the stories and characters from the book, so if you liked the movie, check out the book. I think it's better. Still dug it, though, and planning to watch the next two and the American remake. 3/5

Beverly Hills Cop (Old Favorite #1) - While I was sick, I had a weird urge to watch this again. It's a pretty solid action comedy, and I really liked the '80s meets Motown soundtrack, the banter between Eddie Murphy and the Beverly Hills cops, etc. It holds up nicely. 4/5

The Hangover (Old Favorite #2) - This has become one of my "comfort food" movies, so I watched it while I was sick too. Even though I've seen it enough times that I don't laugh out loud much, I still like all the beats, all the music and the chemistry that the main characters have. I also watched the unrated version for the first time, and there are actually a couple good scenes that didn't make the theatrical cut. 4/5

True Grit (Film You've Never Seen #1) - Loved the first half hour, very happy with the last half hour, thought the middle got a little slow but in general the first Coen Brothers film I've loved the first time I saw it, rather than needing a re-watch. Beautifully shot, great performances, especially by Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld. 5/5

Source Code (Film You've Never Seen #2) - I actually dug it a little more than Moon, even though (or maybe because) it's less cerebral. But it is fairly smart for a thriller, does that Phillip K. Dick thought experiment type thing, and while I thought the ending bordered on being a betrayal of the premise, in general I was really happy with this. 4/5

Attack the Block (Your Choice #1) - After a lot of hype, and despite a bland trailer, I decided to catch this with friends on Friday night, and... it's over-hyped. It's a solid little aliens vs. thugs flick, with a great design for the monster and pretty well-done 14- and 15-year old characters, but it lacked the humor or the inventive spark that made, say, Shaun of the Dead work. 3/5

Heat (Films Starring Robert DeNiro #1) - It's been a while since I've watched this one, and I still love it. I'd forgotten a few folks in the star-studded cast (Natalie Portman, a brief cameo by Xander Berkeley), and had forgotten a few of the twists and turns as well. It's a long, methodical film, but I think it's maybe Mann's best. I can't quite call it perfect, as Mann's male-female relationships never quite seem as strong/believable as his macho men bonding, but it's damn close. 4/5

Goodfellas (Films Starring Robert DeNiro #2) - I saw this in the theater in college and loved it immediately, and nothing has changed in the intervening 20 or so years. Great cinematography, fantastic use of voice-over, great cast, really memorable scenes that range easily from darkly funny to horrific and back again. With all due respect to The Godfather, this is my favorite mob movie ever, and one of my favorite movies ever. 5/5

Green Hornet (Film You've Never Seen #3) - Wow. That was *terrible*. I was hoping that despite the bad buzz, the few folks I knew who liked it were right and it was a Shadow-style cheesy but fun outing. It's not. It's stupid as hell. Boring, bad action, bad characters, *terrible* acting by Rogen and the actor playing Kato, no real plot to speak of... the car is kinda cool, but aside from that, it's a failure on every possible level. 1/5

My Updated List:
3 films you've never seen
-Source Code
-True Grit
-Green Hornet

3 films that are "Old Favorites" that you haven't watched in a some time
-Beverly Hills Cop
-The Hangover
-Big Lebowski

3 films starring the same actor (Robert DeNiro)
-Heat
-Goodfellas
-The Godfather Part II

3 films from 2000-2011
-Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
-Black Swan
-Megamind

3 films of your choice
-Attack the Block
-State of Play
-The Man Who Knew Too Little

Dan's Films (Complete)

1. Wing Chun- 1994 (Never Seen #1, Stars Michelle Yeoh #1)
One of Michelle Yeoh's Hong Kong films before she hit it big over here, this is a perfect example of a martial arts action/comedy in the Hong Kong style. Yeoh plays Yim Wing Chun, the legendary founder of the Wing Chun Kung Fu style, but the film mostly focuses on the romantic misadventures of Wing Chun, her stinky merchant aunt, and their beautiful servant. Excellent kung fu, great comedy, and fun characters made this a great watch for me. 4/5.

2. Supercop- 1992 (Old Favorite #1, Stars Michelle Yeoh #2)
Released in the US in 1996, I saw this in the theaters and then not again until today. It still holds up, and Michelle Yeoh is an excellent counterpart for Jackie Chan in skill, martial arts talent, and comedic versatility. She also does most of her own stunts here, just like Chan. Although not my favorite of either actor's films, this is still a great part of both their filmographies. 4/5.

3. The Heroic Trio- 1993 (Never Seen #2, Stars Michelle Yeoh #3)
I find it hard to believe this was done after Supercop, as it was so schlocky and lacking in polish comparatively. The film is about three martial arts superheroines who try to stop a freaky demon from kidnapping babies that might be the next emperor. Yeoh plays one of the villains' servants who becomes a heroine. The first half was confusing, the second half somewhat entertaining. It did feature multiple uses of a flying guillotine, though, which was cool. Overall, not so great. 2/5.

4. Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms AKA Crippled Avengers- 1978 (Never Seen #3, My Choice #1)
This is only called Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms because it stars 4 of the same actors who played Venoms in The 5 Deadly Venoms; plotwise, it has nothing to do with that movie. A Tiger style master and his son with no hands are total dicks and cripple four guys, making one deaf and dumb, one blind, one an idiot, and cutting off the last one's feet. Of course, the cripples learn kung fu and take revenge. The kung fu in this Shaw Brothers film is excellent, including some scenes with large iron rings that were breathtaking. 4/5.

5. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin- 1978 (Old Favorite #2)
One of the granddaddies of Hong King kung fu films, this introduced a lot of ideas that are commonplace now including the extended training sequence. It follows a young man, rebelling against the oppressive Qing government, who is driven from his home and goes to the Shaolin Temple to learn kung fu. The hero, San Te, is based on an actual historical figure, as these characters often are. The main actor, Gordon Liu, is a master of kung fu, as are most of the rest of the cast, and it shows in the amazing climactic fight sequence. I watched it with the commentary on, and it turns out that the RZA from Wu Tang Clan knows a shit-ton about kung fu movies. 5/5.

6. The One-Armed Swordsman- 1967 (Old Favorite #3)
The quintessential wuxia film, this kicked off a whole trend of movies. A martial arts student loses an arm, then is nursed back to health by a pretty farm girl. They fall in love, and she gives him an ancient book of martial arts secrets that teach him how to use a sword with just his left hand. After that, he's all about avenging his father and defeating his master's enemies. The story is pretty damn good here, and the kung fu is decent; it would get better in later films. Still, this was the start of something great. 4/5.

7. Ip Man- 2008 (From the 2000s #1, Never Seen #4)
Based on the true story of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, this follows a Japanese general in 1945 and a modest wing chun master as they duel, the one to show Japanese martial arts are better and the other to give his oppressed people some hope. Ip Man was Bruce Lee's wing chun teacher, and this film sparked a new interest in the martial art in China, so both the guy and the movie were pretty influential. The film is excellent; Donnie Yen is amazing both as an actor and martial artist. The fight scene in the paper mill specifically is not to be missed. 5/5.

8. Return to the 36th Chamber- 1980 (My Choice #2, Never Seen #5)
The loose sequel to The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, in this one an imposter monk goes to Shaolin to learn kung fu to defend his friends and ends up unknowingly learning it while performing menial tasks, 4 years before The Karate Kid was made. The final two fight scenes are amazing, using as weapons bamboo twine and wooden stools. Some crazy shit, but great to watch. This is also mostly a comedy, and it's pretty funny. 5/5.

9. Come Drink With Me- 1966 (My Choice #3)
This is an oddity among wuxia films because neither lead actor is a martial artist, leading to most fight scenes looking stylized and sometimes fake. Even so, it's considered one of the best of all time, though not by me. The story follows government agent Golden Swallow ass she tries to track down the bandits who kidnapped her brother. She meets and is helped along the way by kung fu master Drunk Cat (who, surprisingly, is not a drunken boxer, just kind of a slob). Cheng Pei-Pei, who plays Golden Swallow, is a ballet dancer, whih adds a real grace to her movements, but even so I could really tell that the fights scenes were faked and that brought my rating down. 3/5.

10. The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter- 1983 (My Choice #4, Never Seen #6)
Gordon Liu from 36th Chamber of Shaolin stars in this film focused around spear and staff fighting. He plays Yang brother 5, part of a large family of famous spear fighters who are betrayed in a battle and nearly wiped out. Afterwards, he becomes a monk and learns to fight with a staff instead. I must admit, the ending on this one surprised me a little. The kung fu is excellent. Worth noting is that Yang brother 4 also survives but is deranged, and his character was set to be the hero but disappears halfway through the film after the actor died during filming. 4/5.

11. My Young Auntie
- 1981 (My Choice #5, Never Seen #7)
The quintessential kung fu comedy, this is the story of a young woman who marries an old man to keep his property out of the hands of his evil brother after he dies. This makes her the elder of his relatives, most of whom are far older than her. Much of the comedy comes from very Asian young/old stuff, alongside Confucian morals vs. western modernism. A great story with excellent acting and kung fu, this is one of my new favorites. 5/5.

12. King Boxer AKA Five Fingers of Death- 1972 (My Choice #6, Never Seen #8)
This film kicked off the kung fu craze in the seventies when it hit the West, followed later that year by Enter the Dragon. The story follows a martial arts student who recovers from a horrible injury to his hands to enter a martial arts tournament, despite interference from an unscrupulous master. The kung fu is good, and the soundtrack is excellent, but the story drags a bit before hitting the tourney. 4/5.

13. Chocolate- 2008 (From the 2000s #2, Never Seen #9)
The heroine of this film is a young autistic girl who learns kung fu from watching movies and actual fights. When her mother gets cancer and can't afford chemo, she and her friend set out to collect old debts. The film is surprisingly touching, and does an excellent job of portraying the lead as an autistic girl who happens to be a kung fu savant, instead of as a kung fu genius who happens to be an autistic girl, if you see what I mean. The fight scenes are extremely creative and quite entertaining. Excellent movie. 5/5.

14. Return of the One-Armed Swordsman- 1969 (Never Seen #10, My Choice #7)
This sequel pits Fang Gang against 8 bandit kings, each of which uses a different bladed weapon. The bandit kings capture the local sword masters, and it is up to Fang Gang to rescue them and protect their students. The weapons get pretty out there, like a poisonous gun sword and an extendible sword, but the story is decent and the action great. Plenty of fun. 4/5.

15. Ip Man 2- 2010 (From the 2000's #3, Never Seen #11)
Donnie Yen is back as Ip Man, this time alongside Sammo Hung in 1940's Hong Kong as he opens a Wing Chun school. After a British boxing champ beats Sammo to death, Ip Man agrees to fight him in a match (a plot seen often in Chinese films). The acting and kung fu continue to be excellent in this sequel; the fish market fight was amazing. 5/5.

Game of Thrones RPG

I would so play this