Roni Reviews: The Green Hornet

January 15, 2011

Roni Weiss and Seth Rogen

(If the picture looks familiar, that’s because it was originally in my “Doppelganger Week on Facebook” post, from 1/30/10, wherein I use facial recognition software to see who it thinks Seth Rogen and I look like.)

I liked the new Green Hornet movie. I never watched the Bruce Lee stuff before or heard the original radio show, so I wasn’t married to any idea of the character or plot. I’m not for or against Seth Rogen. In fact, most of my dealings with him as a concept revolve around people telling me that I look like him.

So before I tell you the specifics of what I liked and didn’t like within the movie, here’s my new system:

  1. Would I see it again? Yes, if someone else paid for me to see it again. I don’t feel compelled to rush out and see it again, but hey, that’s me. I’m cheap. Some movies, I wouldn’t go if you paid for me. Some movies, I wouldn’t go if you paid me.
  2. Do I recommend it? Who would I recommend it to? Yes. If you like superhero origin story movies, you should be satisfied. If you like the writing of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, you should be satisfied, as well.
  3. Is it necessary to see on the big screen? It’s sufficiently action-y that it’s worth making the effort to see it on the big screen. 3D, once again, didn’t add anything for me.

Feel free to continue on if you want my details on stuff I liked and didn’t like within the flick.


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Roni Sees Inception

August 9, 2010

After seeing Inception

Note: If you really don’t want to know anything about the movie, probably better not to read this. And this was written before I read anyone else’s reviews, etc.

I didn’t like Inception.

Mind you, I didn’t hate it, a la Avatar, but I am disappointed in everyone that created the buzz that made me feel like I had to see it.

I am beginning to wonder how much I will like a new movie that is generally liked.  When something has broad appeal, it means that it isn’t necessarily making bold decisions, so as to be as palatable to as wide a base as possible.

OK, on to some actual critiquing.

While watching:

I think a good indication as to the quality of a movie is whether or not I tune out. During Avatar, I constructed a whole fantasy of what I could be doing instead of being there. At Inception, there were points where I thought about what I needed to do and realized I’d been tuning out for up to a minute.

  1. I wasn’t into the movie, at first. I felt like Leo and his romantic interest had hackneyed dialogue that didn’t have real emotion behind it. I started getting into it a little when I saw some cool editing as he was maneuvering through the building with his silencer.
  2. From then on, it was really in and out until they got into the snow world, at which point I really began tuning out more.  A lot of the actions scenes bored me, like the van chase and the skiing.
  3. The end felt like a copout to me, since it leaves it open for if you want it to be a happy or depressing ending.

Post-movie thoughts:

I’m not sure what ideas about life one is supposed to gain from the movie.

“Don’t let guilt destroy you”?

“Reality is what you make of it”?

Or perhaps you are just supposed to enjoy this world. Maybe it is just a ‘fun’ heist movie, with a bit more to it.  Either way, I feel like the movie tries to tell you something about you deciding your reality, which I find inaccurate. Reality is reality. Perception can be changed.

The Matrix is a much more successful story because it comments on modern life by saying it’s all an illusion. To wake people up from a world that they are forced to be in to serve a greater machine makes sense and resonates. It’s also clear that that’s whatThe Matrix is trying to tell you. Inception is not clear in this regard and doesn’t tell us about our lives.

All-in-all, there were several elements I wasn’t satisfied with:

  • Cobb’s character felt pretty one-note: desperately guilty with momentum.
  • Too much was explained. It’s part of the drawback of establishing a world that’s different from the normal one in a limited timeframe: explaining it to the audience. It’s one of my biggest complaints that the movie had to try very hard to make sure everyone was following everything.
  • The soundtrack wasn’t anything special. I listened closely a few times and it seemed relatively generic.
  • Ken Watanabe’s stilted accent took me out of it and didn’t seem to match the level of the dialogue that he was saying.
  • I didn’t really believe the love between Cobb and Mal.

There were a couple of moments I did like:

  • When Arthur has the girl kiss him, just because he wanted her to.
  • As said earlier, some of the editing when Cobb is shooting people through the building at the beginning.
  • Some of the fight stuff in the hotel, but I still saw it as The Matrix 2010, in terms of choreography.


I will not fault people for liking the movie, as I did with Avatar (I maintain that the only way to like that movie is to ignore absolutely everything other than the visual and the political message that it’s unsuccessfully trying to present), but I still think one has to ignore some serious flaws in Inception that I cannot get past. I don’t understand how people can see the characters as interesting. And I don’t think the movie offers anything in terms of giving us ideas to shape or change how we see the world we live in.

I am concerned with people thinking a movie is good simply (or at least mostly) because it is visually appealing. I don’t watch a movie for the technical. It’s nice to go back and review how something was made and know what makes it special in terms of its creation. No matter how in the industry or personally technical you are, if that’s what you’re thinking instead of watching the story and characters, the movie isn’t really doing its job.

Having written this, I will be willing to write up something else, given more comments and if I read reviews that point me in a different direction or which need rebutting.

Roni Responds: Malaysia and Singapore

June 21, 2010


hey fellow traveler! any advice for malaysia/singapore. we’ll be flying into KL and will have about 7.5 days to do stuff…hope all is well!



I liked KL. If you feel the need, go up the Petronas Twin Towers, but know that you only can go to the middle of the towers to see the view.

Petronas Twin Towers

It’s still all right, though. Make sure you check out the Batu Caves.

Batu Caves

As much as I hate monkeys, they are an experience.  Plus, it’s Hindu, which makes it different from the rest of KL.

Batu Caves

I found Penang to be boring. Kent Foster’s favorite restaurant is there, but I didn’t find it to be so mind-blowing.


Remember: It’s a Muslim country. Just so you don’t get surprised. It shouldn’t really affect anything in what you do or how you carry yourself.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

(I don’t know of how much use they are, but here are two vids from Malaysia.)


I like Singapore. Make sure you check out the different areas.  The food in the Indian area is good. The mosques are nice.  It’s a varied sort of a place. By the water is cool. I think, by now, they might have casinos?

If you want something touristy, you can go to Sentosa. It’s like Asian SeaWorld.

(More YouTube vids of probably little use.)

1st, my 11,000+ hit controversially titled vid:

More of Sentosa:

After the dirty bustle of a lot of SE Asia, Singapore can be a boon, but

Remember: No matter how nice and clean it seems, there are lots of basic freedoms that are lacking, such as freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. They keep a tight rein to keep it nice. 4 official languages (English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil), but the people are mostly Chinese.

Hope that helps.

All pictures/videos in this entry taken by Roni Weiss.

Roni Goes to The Colbert Report

April 20, 2010

The first difference between The Daily Show and Colbert is that you don’t see a huge line outside.  Even the line that wraps around the back isn’t as large as TDS.

The security staff are nicer and you get brought in earlier, with clips of old Colbert playing in the waiting pen.  When I was there, we were delayed for a while, because rehearsal went on longer than usual.

Finally going in, the audience is only on the front, as opposed to front and one side at The Daily Show.  The set looks pretty much like it does on TV, which is rare for a TV show, as the sets usually look a lot smaller in person.

This time, I didn’t know who the warmup guy was.  His big catch phrase was that various people were ‘adorable’.  Standard warmup fare, with the exception that it went on forever.  It was clear that they weren’t ready to start the show and the guy just had to drag on.  He kept saying “What else?” to himself.  I remarked to the woman next to me that I could picture the movie of this, where it keeps fading, with the clock changing positions and we finally hear him asking “Is there anyone in the audience I haven’t talked to yet?”

Right before I was about to lose my mind, Colbert was introduced to the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme.  He came out in usual fashion, waving, running around and such.

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Roni Reviews: Google Buzz (AKA “Don’t use Google Buzz”)

February 11, 2010

“Socially awkward networking” is right.

Google Buzz is highly flawed. I’m regretting trying it.

I suggest you don’t.

My take: It adds nothing, offers little to no ability to change settings and sends you notifications of responses in the same manner as it sends e-mail notifications.

All-in-all, I haven’t gained one good thing.

Use at your own peril.

You’re better off just joining Twitter or writing on people’s Facebook walls.  Maybe they’ll improve it, but I would stay away until you get actual recommendations from sources you trust, as opposed to just falling for the ‘buzz’.

More details and another opinion?

Check out Molly Wood’s article, “Google Buzz: privacy nightmare”, which goes more into how Google Buzz automatically has you follow people you might have no interest in following, as well as how it posted pictures from her Android phone that she never uploaded.  Scary.

Update: While Google has made some changes to Buzz, I still cannot give it a good faith endorsement as it remains a weaker version of Twitter and Facebook walls. (Thanks to Alok for the link.)

Roni Responds: ChatRoulette

February 8, 2010


oh wait i’ve just stumbled across this

weird weird weird weird
you should write a piece about it


Piece:  The NY Magazine article poses a ridiculous question:

Is ChatRoulette the future of the Internet or its distant past?

Without a doubt, the distant past.

Here’s the crux: On ChatRoulette, you are on a video chat with strangers. Unlike Skype (or anything else in this day and age), you have no control over who you’re seeing/talking to.  No “by location” function. Nada. Totally random.

You can see them, they can see you, (provided cameras work on both ends and aren’t obscured or replaced with a video).  You can type to one another.  And, if one of you doesn’t want to see the other anymore, you press F9 and it goes to the next video feed.

That’s it.  You want to know more about my experience (which is probably the experience of anyone that isn’t a chick)? Read the rest of this entry »

Roni Sees Avatar

January 11, 2010

After seeing Avatar

Note: Possible spoilers/plot elements.

While watching Avatar, I was transported to a world outside the movie theater…  A world of writing blog entries, trying to meet people in Lyon, teaching English, planning trips… A world of what might’ve been if I didn’t have to watch this colorful ball of crap.

I really, really hated the movie.

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