Monthly Archives: February 2009

Movie review: The Strangers

[Blu-ray | DVD]

Wow, what a thrill ride. This is a horror movie of the top order. It just throws you into a night of terror. A random night of terror by basically never known assailants. I recently watched The Descent and it suffered from the same kinds of problems that Signs by Shamalan [Blu-ray | DVD]. It ruined the suspense with crazy bad monsters/aliens. The Strangers showed the crazy killers in masks. And unmasked them. But never really showed them. And “You were home” just added to the total random nature of the terror. It was basically all “unexpected” scares, but not bad. There were only EIGHT characters in the whole movie. That’s how focused the movie was on the scary alone. If you like scary movies, this one ain’t bad at all.

Design rules again

So about a month ago I posted Dieter Rams‘s design rules. They made the rounds again today via Daring Fireball and So I thought I’d post them again with a little more detail.

  1. Good design is innovative.
    • It does not copy existing product forms, nor does it produce any kind of novelty for the sake of it. The essence of innovation must be clearly seen in all functions of a product. The possibilities in this respect are by no means exhausted. Technological development keeps offering new chances for innovative solutions.
  2. Good design makes a product useful.

    • A product is bought in order to be used. It must serve a defined purpose – in both primary and additional functions. The most important task of design is to optimise the utility of a product.
  3. Good design is aesthetic.

    • The aesthetic quality of a product – and the fascination it inspires – is an integral part of the its utility. Without doubt, it is uncomfortable and tiring to have to put up with products that are confusing, that get on your nerves, that you are unable to relate to. However, it has always been a hard task to argue about aesthetic quality, for two reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to talk about anything visual, since words have a different meaning for different people. Secondly, aesthetic quality deals with details, subtle shades, harmony and the equilibrium of a whole variety of visual elements. A good eye is required, schooled by years and years of experience, in order to be able to draw the right conclusion.
  4. Good design helps us to understand a product.

    • It clarifies the structure of the product. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory and saves you the long, tedious perusal of the operating manual.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive.

    • Products that satisfy this criterion are tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained leaving room for the user’s self-expression.
  6. Good design is honest.

    • An honestly-designed product must not claim features it does not have – being more innovative, more efficient, of higher value. It must not influence or manipulate buyers and users.
  7. Good design is durable.

    • It is nothing trendy that might be out-of-date tomorrow. This is one of the major differences between well-designed products and trivial objects for a waste-producing society. Waste must no longer be tolerated.
  8. Good design is consequent to the last detail.

    • Thoroughness and accuracy of design are synonymous with the product and its functions, as seen through the eyes of the user.
  9. Good design is concerned with the environment.

    • Design must contribute towards a stable environment and a sensible use of raw materials. This means considering not only actual pollution, but also the visual pollution and destruction of our environment.
  10. Good design is as little design as possible.

    • Back to purity, back to simplicity.

From here.

Movie review: The Reader

I honestly didn’t like this movie all that much. And I wasn’t so impressed with Kate Winslet here. I thought Revolutionary Road was better, as a movie and for Winslet’s performance. I didn’t think this movie was as nuanced. I suppose it should be applauded for playing it straight, but it got kind of boring.

The last 10-15 minutes of this movie were terrible. Just terrible. And didn’t make a ton of sense. If the prison was so worried about Winslet’s character that they reached out to Fiennes before Winslet was released, wouldn’t they call him before he came to get her and tell him that she’s dead? Or at least “something’s happened, please come to see us” etc.? Fiennes is definitely the king of slow, quiet, go nowhere, but not necessarily bad movies.

Movie review: Traitor

[Blu-ray | DVD]

This movie reminded me of “The Negotiator”. Only with great character actors taking the parts played by Sam L. and Spacey. I am a big fan of both Don Cheadle and Guy Pierce and thought they did good work here. Pierce did an okay blown out Southern accent. I thought Cheadle was great showing nuance of emotion throughout. Saïd Taghmaoui I guess is the go to guy to play Arabic characters. It’s a wonder he wasn’t cast in The Kingdom [Blu-ray | DVD]. But he does a good job always. He should get some roles outside of this kind of movie though.

There wasn’t too much surprising about this movie. No big twists and turns, save kind of one. I didn’t really expect Cheadle’s character to engage in terrorism, so I didn’t expect his end bombs were real. But they were.

I don’t think the cat and mouse between Cheadle and Pierce was as grabbing as Sam L. and Spacey, but it was still very good.

800 Days – Galbi Tacos

So in Korea apparently they do anniversary dates (when you’re dating) by 100 day intervals, rather than months or years or whatever (though I suppose people also expect one year celebrations as well). So even though I’m married now (and as far as I’m concerned, only yearly celebrations for that), I’m keeping up with the 100 days things through 1000 and then I’m done with it.

Anyways, so sometimes it’s gifts, sometimes it’s trips, sometimes it’s dinner. It happened to be dinner this time around. I saw a link to Kogi BBQ (via @sidneylo) and wanted to eat some. Now seeing as it’s thousands of miles away, I thought I’d do what I could to replicate it at home.

I should say, I’m pretty much against Asian fusion cooking as it seems to be a fancy way of saying “I’ll do whatever the hell I want and say it’s Asian fusion” and more often than not, it’s rather disappointing. The only real “fusion” food I’ve ever loved in this world is Tex-Mex. As I’m originally from Texas I love Tex-Mex. I’m Korean and love Korean food (what a revelation I know). In the past I’ve done basic kind of mix of these two cuisines just because I’m lazy and was a bachelor. It mostly consisted of cooking bulgogi and tossing in a few spoonfuls of salsa for a little twist.

So anyways, @sidneylo put up the link and I watched this video:

Visit page on mun2

I checked out their site and saw their tacos. Here’s a Skitch with their description of the taco:

Korean Short Ribs | Kogi

A mouth-watering image. So I went about making it myself and here’s the result:

Galbi burrito

The only thing I didn’t make from their description was the garnish. I can’t say it tastes the same or better (or worse for that matter) as I’ve never had Kogi’s food (hell it’s a TACO TRUCK, you have to follow on Twitter here or here to even know where to find the taco truck), but I thought it was good, and more importantly the wife thought it was good.

800 days

Movie review: Redbelt

[Blu-ray | DVD]

This wasn’t a great movie. It was not bad at all though. How I felt about this movie kind of changed as the movie went on. I liked it, but just okay, but then liked it more and more and then a little less and less and ended up in the middle. In a way I kind of got a Tarantino vibe off of it. Not so much the look or dialogue, but in as much as he took another genre and put it into a different context. This movie is basically a samurai/noir movie, but set today. David Mamet didn’t go the full on Tarantino and use the same style of dialogue from other movies, but the vibe was there. It’s basically one long morality tale, which I suppose most movies are.

Mamet really just dropped you into a story without much back story. You just have to go with it. And it’s pretty rewarding to do so.

I can’t say enough how much I love Chiwetel Ejiofor. He’s great. In everything he’s in. Though I caught a tiny bit of the British English in his speech once. Does Ricky Jay ever play a straight man any more? Always a bit of con to him.