Monday, September 17, 2007

architecture month

It's SF architecture month according to the SF-AIA, so I thought I might take the time to think about what I like and don't like as I ramble across the city.

The picture above is of the plaza of the new Federal Building. I've watched the building go up, walking by there once a week or so on my walk to work. I've mixed feelings about its look, I think I generally like it, but this little touch picture above in the plaza I love.

Outside the doorway to the annex (a long low building which juts out from the main building, which is in the left hand of the photo), there is a concrete embankment that runs the width of the plaza. It is perfectly situated for people to wait in line. Every morning there is about this many people all sitting, attending the morning.

I hope this was intention, not accident! A further think to note is that the anti-skateboarding plates are spaced almost perfectly for human social habits. If they weren't there, I think the distribution of people would be about the same.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

3:10 to yuma

I was moderately excited about seeing this movie. I like a good western, and given the rave reviews, I was expecting a nice little treat. Ah expectations.

Not that this movie is bad by any stretch. It might even be decent to good. But not great it really adds little to the genre, and I wonder what it might have even added to the original. Perhaps Deadwood has ruined me, but 3:10 also has little on Unforgiven. Even Kevin Costner's Open Range was more interesting storywise, and beautifully shot to boot.

Ultimately, its casting Crowe as Ben Wade (oddly the credits, show Ben Wade in place of Russell Crowe when listing drivers and such, as if he was so deep into method acting he forgot who he was) which I think robbed the movie of promise. Not that Crowe is a bad actor to watch, but unlike Bale, his characters' character rarely differs that much. Crowe's just too darn likeable as a person. And we know from the get go that Ben Wade the character is good at heart -- because he's a sketch artist, and the woman he seduces in the bar was clearly treated right. He brutally kills several men, but they are men who we are set up to dislike, who in some measure deserved it. If you don't know how he will act in the end, then I'm not sure you were watching the movie. In other words, he was no Al Swearengen.

It needed a touch more darkness to it to make it a more than just a rehashed Western.

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