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Food Inc.
This looks to be a film worth watching. Food Inc. examines where our food comes from and what corporations have done to it to drive profits. What you find out may surprise you.

While I'm generally accepting of food and where it comes from and have turned a blind eye to some questionable practices, I do still agree that people should know where their food comes from. That's why I like shows like "The F Word" that show you the work and distress of raising your own food and even mockumentaries like "Fast Food Nation" which told the story of American meat packing plants (the good stuff is in the commentary) years before this fall's NY Times article on Beef startled people.

So I'm providing the trailer here and even though I haven't watched this movie yet, I'm going to recommend it. It was released on DVD earlier this month. Hopefully I won't have to eat my words.

Posted 11/21/2009 12:26 PM in Food, Movies
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The Train Man
When I was in Japan, my friend Mappe introduced me to a Japanese program (from 2005) called Densha Otoko, literally "Train Man" about an Otaku (uber-geek, i.e. an anime obsessed, socially awkward internet dweller) who falls in love with a beautiful woman on the subway.

I watched the TV series and enjoyed it so much that I decided to do a little more research on it. The story is based on the unfolding threads on the 2Chan Japanese forums in 2004, and are generally accepted to be a real story. The original compiled forum threads are available in the original Japanese and translated into English if you like to read internet forums.

The series of threads were so popular that they were compiled and published into a book and eventually made into a movie and also into a TV series. The movie is available on Netflix and the TV series is available for streaming at MySoju.com

If you're a bit of a geek, or would like a look into the Japanese geek world, this is an amusing and touching (though slightly over dramatized) series to look into and I highly recommend it.
Posted 11/13/2009 02:05 AM in Geek Stuff, Japan, Movies, Reviews, Videos
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Formosa Betrayed to be released in theatres February 2010!
Dear FORMOSA BETRAYED friends and fans,

We are so pleased and proud to announce that our film will be seen in theaters across the nation starting FEBRUARY 2010! Attached is our press release as well as links to major entertainment trade papers that have also been announcing our upcoming distribution. Thank you all so much for your continued support in FORMOSA BETRAYED!



HOLLYWOOD, CA - October 28, 2009 - Screen Media Films has acquired worldwide rights in all media to Formosa Betrayed, which made its international debut at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Formosa Betrayed, a political thriller set in the 1980s, is the initial project for Formosa Films, a newly formed production and finance company created by Will Tiao. Adam Kane (TV credits include Heroes, Pushing Daisies, Mercy) directs his feature debut.

Story is inspired by actual events. An FBI Agent investigates the murder of an Asian professor at a small college. Agent follows the fleeing killers to Taiwan, where he finds himself on a collision course with the FBI, the State Department, the Chinese Mafia, and the Government of the Republic of China.

James Van Der Beek stars as the FBI Agent and Wendy Crewson plays a US diplomat in Taiwan. John Heard, Tzi Ma, Will Tiao, Leslie Hope, and Kenneth Tsang round out supporting cast.

Tiao, a former international economist with the Clinton and Bush Administrations, raised the funds for the $8 million project from private equity based on concept, and has nearly 300 investors in the project. Investment bank Berthel Fisher Financial Services provided completion funds.

Formosa Betrayed recently screened for Members of Congress in Washington DC, which was highly attended due to heightened interest in US-Taiwan-China relations. Film also recently won Best Picture and Best Actor for Van Der Beek at the San Diego Film Festival, and Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.

Formosa Betrayed is to be released in theaters in February 2010 in 15-20 North American cities.

Screen Media will rep worldwide rights and begin selling territories at the European Film Market in February 2010. Deal was brokered by the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group, Kevin Mills of Kaye & Mills LLP, and Screen Media's President Robert Baruc and VP of International Michael Dwyer.


Hollywood Reporter Article
Variety Article
Screen Daily Article
Posted 10/30/2009 02:20 PM in Movies, Taiwan
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Devin Faraci's review of Transformers
I was debating purchasing Transformers 2 and then I was watching Attack of the Show on G4 and heard this amusing review from Devin Faraci of Chud.com:
The reason why it's popular is because most people are stupid. If Michael Bay told people staring into the sun was fun, they'd do it. This movie is like staring into a retarded sun.

Posted 10/26/2009 00:02 AM in Movies, Videos
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Fast and Furious
I've got an extra ticket to see Fast and Furious at 7:30pm on Thursday April 2 at the South Barrington AMC, if anyone is interested in going. That's the day before it officially opens, courtesy of Subaru.
Posted 03/20/2009 12:20 PM in Cars, Movies
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Formosa Betrayed
About a month ago, my mom invited me to go to LA to see the world premier of the film, "Formosa Betrayed." It's an interesting movie focused on a murder that has ties to US-Taiwan politics. The premier will take place on 2/28, a nod to Taiwan's 228 Incident in 1947.

When I first heard about it, I wasn't sure I wanted to go but about two weeks ago my Mom said that she was going to LA alone and wanted me to mail my GPS to her as she would be driving between LA, Hollywood and Anaheim. As I've gotten older, I guess I've started worrying about my parents more so I decided to tag along. Little did I know the difficulties that would ensue.

First, I wanted to see if the ticket prices were reasonable from Hartford so I could do alternative travel through my company. They weren't. So I decided to buy a ticket myself using points. For 50,000 miles I could get a direct, first class, round trip ticket. I wasn't quite sure whether to go or not, so I didn't book it.

The next day after talking to my mom I decided to book the ticket for Thursday, 2/26, only to find that the first class seats were no longer available so I had to get a coach ticket, but still for 50,000 miles because all the 25,000 mile tickets were gone as well.

Things were pretty settled there as well, until last Thursday when I got a call from Countrywide. I was refinancing my home through them and I hadn't heard from them in almost three weeks. I finally got in contact with them on Friday and the reason they were calling was to set a closing date. My rate expires March 3rd, but since I travel every week, that means the only day I had left to close was today, 2/27, when I was supposed to be in LA.

I called AA and changed my flight to today so I could close on my mortgage in the morning. You can read my two previous posts to learn about the fiasco I went through with that. I hope this movie is worth the two day trip across the continental divide!
Posted 03/01/2009 02:05 AM in Finances, Movies, News, Ramblings, Taiwan, Travel
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Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
This is a bit late considering it's been out for quite a while and already has plenty of rave reviews, but I thought I'd chime in since Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is only available free on Hulu for 2 more days.

In case you didn't know, the show was an on-line only musical by Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy, Angel) that was put together during the writer's strike. It is the story of Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser, How I Met Your Mother), a second rate evil scientist, and his attempts to take over the world. At the same time he must struggle with his nemesis, semi-super-hero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion of Firefly) while trying to get noticed by a girl at the laundromat (Felicia Day of The Guild).

I have to say that NPH is the star of the show and deservedly so. His character is quite loveable despite having a PhD in horribleness. The songs are sweet and entertaining and the script is sarcastically witty and humorous. I highly recommend catching it while it's still free on Hulu. If that doesn't work out, don't bother paying for it on iTunes when you can buy the DVD along with lots of extras for a mere $10.49 from Amazon. Extras include two commentaries (one sung as a musical itself), fan videos and a making-of featurette.
Posted 01/26/2009 10:27 PM in Geek Stuff, Movies, Music, Reviews, Videos
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Bridge to Terabithia
About 21 years ago, when I was in fourth grade at Forsyth School, I read Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Let me rephrase that. I was supposed to read Bridge to Terabithia. The description of the book is, "The story of a special friendship between a boy and girl." Do you think that really sounds interesting to a fourth grade boy? So I only read the first few chapters and, when I found out the ending, a couple of the more applicable chapters near the end (I won't spoil it).

Fast forward 20 years when I first saw the previews for the Bridge to Terabithia movie. I thought it looked awefully fantastical and figured they had embellished quite a bit on the book and had jumped on the LOTR/Narnia computer generated fantasy book bandwagon. Being a Disney movie, I assumed they had changed the ending too and so I wrote it off.

However, my sister brought the movie home for the holidays so I decided to go ahead and watch it. Despite not reading the entire book, I found the movie pretty good and from what I could remember, pretty darn faithful. This reviewer seems to agree. Oh, and I love Zooey Deschanel's eyes too...

Since I was at home, I decided that after 21 years, I should probably dig out my copy and read the book in it's entirety (after all, it did win a Newbery award). A quick reference of the publish date shows 1977, the year I was born! It appears to be the first printing and a quick search of Google images doesn't return the original cover art.

The 128 page book (it seemed so long back then but seems so small now) is an easy read and despite being written for kids, I found it surprisingly deep, touching, profound and insightful. I could almost call it gripping because for the first time in a long time, I read the book for my entire 8AM flight instead of sleeping like I usually do. Later that night, it almost made me want to cry when I got to the (surprisingly long) ending act.

The movie did make some creative changes, one of which resulted in a debate between my mom and sister over the meaning of it. Despite this, the movie is still pretty good, but it just doesn't do justice to the book which I think was excellent and definitely worth a read if you haven't read it and regardless of whether you've seen the movie.

One other funny thing is that after all these years, the other thing I distinctly remember about the book is that I had two copies. I think I found one lying around on the last day of school that year and the owner, Krissi, had already left so I kept it (her name is written on the inside cover).

I figured it would be amusing to track down Krissi and give it back to her but I couldn't find her on FaceBook or even on a Google. I saw her only a couple times after grade school because I think she went to Burroughs for high school (my rival school).

I wonder if I can find an old Forsyth or Burroughs yearbook to see if she has an official spelling that's different. Of course Caroline pointed out that she could have been married or something by now...

I should dig out some of my other grade school books too...
Posted 01/14/2009 08:34 PM in Books, Movies, Ramblings
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Luxury Movie Theatre open near me

The Arboretum will have America's second Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinema, an upscale luxury movie theatre complete with server call buttons and reclining leather seats (they have several locations in Australia). Tickets cost $32 but they offer gourmet food options. If you're looking for a deal, take advantage of their free martini Quantum of Solace offer. If luxury is your thing, then splurge for the $99 Coke Zero Bond Package (PDF Flyer) or the $149 Bond Package(PDF Flyer) which include drinks and dinner.

The Arboretum will also have Sur La Table, a chocolate cafe and a Japanese restaurant. Just down the street at Prairie Hill mall (I90 and 59) they have been opening up new shops as well. They first opened two years ago with Petco, BW3, Claim Jumper and several others, but this year they've expanded and almost doubled in size with Sports Authority, another Jimmy John's and more. Of course, I still have to check out Cabela's in more detail some time, and perhaps review their in-store restaurant that serves various game meats.
Posted 10/25/2008 12:34 PM in Movies, Shopping
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