The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

Posts Tagged ‘filmsIsaw

Thank you for the music

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Just watched Mamma Mia! The Movie this week (twice!). It sucks, is completely ridiculous, Pierce Brosnan cannot sing to save his life, and there are far too many annoying characters, but because it’s ABBA, all is forgiven. Meryl Streep, perfect as always, appears to be having the time of her life, but maybe it’s just her acting. Some of it would have been better if they simply used “playback singing” the way only we in India seem used to, but it was mostly okay. Apparently there are even thoughts of a “sequel” (wouldn’t be the first time a movie with no plot has had a sequel, anyway), because “there are still plenty of ABBA songs left”.
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Written by S

Mon, 2008-11-10 at 07:01:58

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Where Have I Seen…

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I have, for a long time, dreamed of a Firefox extension that would do this. Now, finally, empowered by Greasemonkey, I wrote one myself. (Technically, a Greasemonkey user script is not a Firefox extension, but it can be easily converted into one, and a Greasemonkey script is the Right Thing anyway.)

What it does: on any IMDB cast listing, show for each actor what other movies you have seen him/her in. Here’s a screenshot:

Clearly there is a lot of work left to do, but it took less than half a day to learn Greasemonkey (and parts of JavaScript) and write it, and it’s already usable! By me, that is.
[The following was true at the time of writing but is no longer true.] I don’t know if anyone else would be interested in this, but it currently won’t work anyway except when running on my laptop. This is its crazy “design”: on any IMDB page with a cast listing, it first looks for each actor on the page, and extracts their ID. (Reasonable so far.) To find their other movies, it then makes a xmlhttp request to a PHP script running on my laptop, which then calls a Python script and returns its raw output inside ‘pre’ tags. Now you know. The reason for this nonsense is that there was no JavaScript API/library for IMDB while there was one for Python, so it was really easier to just use the latter, and the only way available of interacting with the “outside world” from a Greasemonkey script is through xmlhttp requests, and…
Anyway it’s not all that hard to parse each actor’s “other movies” through JavaScript myself, if that’s all I’m doing, so I might get to that eventually. (I also considered keeping IMDB’s data locally and parsing the text files, but they’re huge and not very well-formatted: No IDs, for example.)

It’s currently named “WHIS”, can you think of a better name? :)

Update: It’s now a full-fledged Greasemonkey script, and is up on

Written by S

Sat, 2008-08-09 at 06:41:02

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Animated classics

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Found some treasures I hadn’t known of — masterpieces from the National Film Board of Canada.
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Written by S

Fri, 2008-01-25 at 20:06:04

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Scent of a Woman

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I just saw Scent of a Woman. What a bizarre movie.

  • Yeah yeah Al Pacino is a great actor and all.
  • I’m sick of Thomas Newman. I’ve seen American Beauty and Road to Perdition, and I don’t want your stupid piano notes when I’m expecting silence or low music. A music score is bad when it draws attention to itself. (To be fair, he made this before he made those two and The Shawshank Redemption.)
  • I don’t understand the perverse American culture where it’s dishonourable to tell the truth.
  • Or where it’s expected to be rude to family.
  • I thought “the guy playing George is trying too hard to ACT”, and sure enough, after watching the movie I find out it’s Philip S Hoffman, actor extraordinaire.


I did enjoy the movie though.

Update: I also saw Cinderella Man, and Thomas Newman wasn’t annoying at all. (Why does the Irish music in the credits have his feel to it? :-)) I remember Shawshank Redemption sounded great too. So he’s got better?

Written by S

Thu, 2007-12-27 at 02:41:48

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Films I saw

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Some cleanup…

Here’s the LSC schedule.

Grindhouse: Planet Terror isn’t exceptionally good (but yeah, I seem to pick up on the zombie film culture by watching parodies of it, like Shaun of the Dead, first). Death Proof should not be watched as part of Grindhouse. See it independently — the full version basically has a lot more girl talk, but that’s what makes Tarantino special, anyway. Builds up pace better.

Knocked Up: Pretty ok.

Hot Fuzz: Heh. I had already seen this before and still went to see it. From the makers of Shaun of the Dead, comes an action film.

Paris, Je T’aime: I really do love Paris. The film is rather uneven, etc… I think I’ve written about this already in another post.

Ocean’s Thirteen: Awful. Even compared to Eleven. The sequels just keep getting more smug, not actually better.

The Lives of Others: Very very good. Please watch.

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Written by S

Sun, 2007-11-04 at 01:41:09

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Vulgar language

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[This should have been another “Film I saw” post, but I don’t think this deserves one.]

I saw the fifth Harry Potter movie on Sunday night. It was awful.

Also, I’m not sure I heard this, but I think at some point in the movie, Cho Chang said “Anyways”. Which reminds me…

I have (or had) a theory about Indians and a cultural linguistic inferiority complex. We see a fair bit of hypercorrection when it comes to English — and many (too many!) misinformed, well-intentioned people finding fault with perfectly cromulent words and often offering invalid replacements. In addition, there is a tendency, upon hearing a “foreigner” say or use a word differently, to change one’s own usage; it disturbs me how frequently I hear “skedule”. And I nearly cried when I heard “soccer” even on DD.

This brings us to “anyways”, a “word” that has successfully leapt from illiterate, rustic Americans (“dial. or illiterate” — OED) into India’s fashionable shopping malls. I literally cringe every time I hear it, but I promise that it has nothing to do with my considering the film awful.

[I used “vulgar” in the title; am wondering if I could have said villainous, or would that have been too much of a stretch?]

[Non-update: Need to find some place to put this article!]

Written by S

Tue, 2007-10-23 at 10:06:15

Film I saw

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Yesterday I saw A Mighty Heart. It is about Daniel Pearl, the American journalist who was kidnapped in Pakistan. Angelina Jolie plays his wife. It’s hard to make a good film where everyone already knows the ending, but it’s a pretty good attempt. Everything looks authentic. (Although the outdoor shots were shot in Karachi, the indoor shots — including everything involving Jolie — were in Pune.)If you pay attention, you can find the scene where the police carry out a raid and confiscate the “computer” — a monitor.Jolie did a good job, I thought. Moving film.

Written by S

Sun, 2007-10-14 at 03:26:27

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Oui, vivant

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Paris, je t’aime

Apparently, the Faubourg Saint-Denis segment (the one with Natalie Portman) was shot very quickly, and even used to recruit other directors to the project. Written and directed by Tom Tykwer. Must remember the name. He made Lola Rennt. The actor in the segment is blind in real-life too. (The movie here, but don’t watch it unless you are able to turn the volume up enough…)

I was actually considering visiting the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris when I was there (the segment with Oscar Wilde’s grave). Apparently the entire cemetery has been vandalised by Jim Morrison fans. Of all the great people buried there, …

Apparently the reason I understand so much of the French of the woman in the last segment is not because she is speaking slowly, but because she isn’t speaking proper French.

Now, Wikipedia says

Initially 20 topics representing the 20 arrondissements of Paris were planned but two of them (the XVe arrondissement directed by Christoffer Boe and the XIe arrondissement by Raphaël Nadjari) were not included in the film because they could not be properly integrated into the movie.

which seems absurd. I cannot imagine how the segment with the beauty products salesman in Chinatown integrates with the rest of the movie — or with anything else in the world. WTF was that?

The film also has Juliette Binoche (from Trois Couleurs: Bleu).

iTunes says my play count of We’re all in the dance is 15. Oh well… this happens to me very frequently after I see a film — I remember playing Requiem For a Dream on a loop for nearly an entire day. BTW Feist’s 1234 is featured in the new Apple iPod Nano ad (TODO: fix this link when it gets broken.) And I didn’t think it had both French and English just because I couldn’t catch some English parts, it really had both.

Written by S

Thu, 2007-09-20 at 19:19:17