mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So.  Best damn Detroit rock'n'roll vampire movie ever.

Let me explain )

How to dispose of a corpse in Detroit )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
This article from Wired makes excellent points about Star Trek into Darkness.  It's ALL spoilers, so beware, but read it even if you don't plan to see the film because the core weakness of the Trek reboot is-- surprise, surprise, surprise-- awfully close to the core weakness of recent Fire Emblem games.

[I repeat.  I enjoyed the film.  I wouldn't necessarily see it again, but I'll likely see the next one when it inevitably comes to theatres.]

I was making comparisons between Trek 2009 and FE12/13 even before seeing the current Trek flick, but IMO the analogy is even stronger now.

ETA: Here is a very different critique which points out that reboot Trek is missing the whole literary angle that infused previous iterations of Trek.  If you don't wanna read it, I'll quote the final lines: 

I also recognized Kirk and Spock, and Picard and all the other good Trek folks had read way more books than me. And guess what? I wanted to be just like them.

That is an excellent point.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Well, I couldn't spend time with my actual father today, so why not celebrate Father's Day with a film about daddy issues?

This film, the second in the JJ Abrams "reboot" of TOS Trek, is one of those things that's a big gushy love letter to the original creation and all of its fans. I think it's telling that the characters aren't actually billed as James T. Kirk and Montgomery Scott-- they're "Kirk," "Bones," Scotty" and so forth in the credits. All that and a Leonard Nimoy cameo. Anyway, my complaint about the previous Trek film was that it was a fun and funny whole lotta nothin'-- if you were drawn to the various television series because of the distinct Trek vision and ethics and Prime Directive stuff, you didn't get any of that.

Anyway, this installment is better on those counts, at least marginally.

Mild spoilers )

Huge spoilers )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
"It's a Baz Luhrmann film and you've hated everything he's ever done."

It's TGG and I don't care.

"It's got Lana Del Rey on the soundtrack."

I can deal.  I mean, Jazz Age jazz is so quaint now.

"It's in 3D.  That makes you sick."

Um... I made it through at least one 3D movie before.  A short one.

"It has a cliche framing device and bloody voiceover narrations."

I can deal.  I can deal.

"They cut out the Nick/Jordan subplot."

!

!!!

Fuck you, Baz Luhrmann.  The careless, selfish and doomed relationship between totes gay Nick and pretty sure she's not straight either Jordan is my favorite subplot in the book.  Shit, that's where the whole "careless driver" motif comes from.  

Argh.  I may see it anyway, but fuckdammit.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
All gamer geeks need to see Wreck-It Ralph.  You'll get all the in-jokes and revel in the visuals, which is a plus 'cause the story ain't especially deep.  Imagine a Smash Bros fanfic in which, say, Luigi falls into an awkward romance with Samus while Donkey Kong carries the emotional weight of the piece, except well-written and convincing.  Or convincing enough for cartoons... and make no mistake-- this is a cartoon, not a "film" that just so happens to be animated.

It's a highly entertaining cartoon.  It's oddly racy and vulgar in parts for a Disney movie... but Sarah Silverman is voicing the female protagonist so I guess we're lucky it's still G-rated.  It's not in the league of Toy Story 2 or The Incredibles-- especially not the latter, a film that went places that were definitely not kiddie-flick froth.  The best Pixar films contain an element of loss, a sense that choices have to be made and that no, the heroes can't have it all-- or, if they get "it all," something else is lost along the way.  Ralph is a Disney flick and everything is tied up in a neat little bow.  

It did have one scene that would've sent me from the theater screaming if I'd seen it as a kid, though, and it had nothing to do with the bugs.

-x-

Brief political commentary under the cut )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I spent the evening taking in the timeless story of a young man who turns out to be the Chosen Hero, the holy maiden with whom he falls in love at first sight, a brilliant but corrupted ruler who thwarts their love, and the practitioner of dark arts who appears to serve that ruler while actually serving his own twisted agenda.  Nothing whatsoever to do with video games this time around!

This morning as I was chopping vegetables for breakfast (omelets made with farm-fresh duck eggs, yum) I was thinking of Edsel Ford, his impact on the arts, and the claim that he'd been the inspiration for the protagonist in Fritz Lang's Metropolis.  I have yet to get to the bottom of this claim, but it is an intriguing one (and in the process of looking it up I found this essay which is worth a read).  Thinking it over made me want to see Metropolis again.  During high school I watched the 1984 Giorgio Moroder version (with the prog-rock soundtrack) and found it fascinating and maddening.  At the time, this plainly incomplete cut was supposed to be as much Metropolis as anyone could get.  Then in 2001 a longer reconstruction was pieced together, and my husband and I saw it at the Detroit Film Theatre shortly after I moved to Detroit.  I found this version more maddening than fascinating-- still plainly incomplete despite a two-hour run time, unbalanced and rather incoherent in parts, with an exhausting Wagnerian score.  Still, it's a film that sticks with you.  The crazy robot chick alone is something to stick with you.
 
Well, as it happens, this very night the Detroit Film Theatre had the latest "complete" version of Metropolis with a three-piece orchestra performing their own score live.  So off we went to see it, and I have to say that while despite my philosophical and logistical quibbles with the film, it was an amazing two-and-a-half hours.  The Alloy Orchestra was marvelous and the twenty-five minutes of newly restored footage make a world of difference. There's not much plot to them, but the loss of those reaction shots and the like really mattered to the emotional balance of the film, and one of the longer bits (between the hero Freder and his sidekick Josaphat) really made sense of Josaphat's role in the film.  Since the original editing of the film has finally been restored after decades of guesswork, suddenly the whole damn thing makes sense.  The subplots all make sense.  The characters make as much sense as they possibly can given with symbolic weight they carry.  And the entire thing seems far less sci-fi and far more a twisted apocalypse piece, a fever dream melding skyscrapers with the Book of Revelations.

[This particular treatment of "love at first sight" is a damned sight better than what we usually get, I must say.]

And the visuals were yummy.  Art Deco dystopia yum yum yum.  We gave this version two thumbs up, plus a standing ovation for the orchestra.

-x-

As it happened the DLECTRICTY event was going on around us, so then we spent an hour checking that out.  The light bikes and such were fun, but there was a looping film being projected onto the facade of the Detroit Public Library that was worth standing out in the cold for-- a skewed but mesmerizing account of Western Civilization that very skillfully incorporated elements of the facade (which is adorned with the names of statesmen and philosophers).  It also was loaded with astronomy content (Eclipses! Galileo's telescope! Moon landings!) so I was happy on that count... especially as they didn't just use JFK quotes, but also Richard Nixon quotes.  Proper deployment of Richard Nixon in popular culture is often a sign the auteur gets it (see: Gravity's Rainbow, classic Neil Young, Watchmen).  I don't know if these filmmakers did get it but I was moved by their work.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 "[T]echnically not sinful in the eyes of GOD, but it is still SICK like mosquitos."

Best review ever.

I will repeat this to myself whenever I stumble across one of J!fandom's "wonderful" stepfather/stepdaughter romances.  

-x-

Speaking of sick, I spent the weekend at a friend's beach house and saw actual cable TV for the first time in... well, since I don't know when.  Including this "Wilfred" show that... wow.  So sick.  So close to home.  The spouse and I were transfixed and appalled.

Elijah Wood does sad-sack deranged suffering like no one else, man.

Also watched Honey I Shrunk The Kids, which proved a mistake.  It does not hold up well.  :(

-x-

I did cupcake testing last week for the wife of a co-worker who plans to enter a contest.  It was a very mixed experience.  When cupcakes go wrong, man...
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
About two-thirds of the way through TDKR, I was slumped in my seat, numbed from Hans Zimmer's overloud score, thinking, "This Gotham is not worth saving. Everyone in this film deserves to die.  The heroes should die because they are fools and they failed.  The villains should die because they are depraved.  Everyone else has been reduced to the level of mad pack dogs running in the streets of Detroit."

Somewhat spoilery  )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Chapter 2X has met my expectations.  By which I means, things were going great and then they went horribly and I had to restart and OMG if I weren't trying so hard to capture mooks instead of slaughtering them this would never have happened--

*SOB*

In which I whine about the capture mechanic )

My favorite text-based Let's Play of Thracia 776 just wrapped up, so you can experience its joy and pain vicariously at your leisure.  Cake Attack goes through everything-- optional routes, worse-case scenarios, and all of the dialogue.  This LP convinced me to use Marty.  It also won my heart thanks to the "tribute" to Dorias and Rinehart Betrayal Contigency Plan sequence, starring Salem.  <3

[I will say that the "poo-poo" and "gentle caress" brand of forum bowdlerization really gets on my nerves.  Just use @#$%! if you must, people.]

There's also a poster on here who sounds frighteningly like I do when discussing Thracian political meta and the essential jerk nature of Cuan and his subordinates.  @_@

-x-

Saw The Avengers last night.  On the one hand, I loved it-- good script, brilliant casting, well-done characters.  By comparison, The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer had good actors miscast, a cheesy script, and half-baked characterization.  But I think that Avengers, like F4, has a certain moral cowardice under its surface-- watch as Manhattan is totally trashed, but all we'll show you is people being rescued and not the horrific civilian casualties that undoubtedly resulted from this super-powered street brawl.  Don't even think about that part of it.  That did bother me, more than a little.  But in terms of sheer enjoyment, The Avengers was A++ and Hawkeye is totally hot.

And I think I finally "get" the appeal of Bruce Banner now.  And how.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, the most excellent spouse and I decided to ring in the new year over at Ukrainian Grandma's, which meant going into Detroit for a drinking/gunfire holiday.  Trust me, this is not common practice.  Anyway, we brought over our normal New Year's Eve fare: Koyaanisqatsi and Dark Side of the Moon.  No, we view/listen to them while cold sober, thanks for asking.  No, I don't care if they're "better" under the influence.

So, we put the bottle of spumante in the freezer (it turned into a slushie) and made use of Grandma's ancient CRT TV set, the one I got sick of in the spring of '08.  I bought a new TV that year expressly to enjoy SSB:Brawl with better visuals.  But we took that one with us to Dearborn, and so all Grandma has is the crappy one, which does work.  It's just... small.  Grandma didn't know what to make of Koyaanisqatsi, but she did try.  She'll be ninety-two in a couple of weeks, so the fact that she's even trying to care about the weird stuff we bring home is pretty touching.

So, we finished the film, and played "Time" as the clock struck, and then all the explosions started outside and we hit the deck.  Carpet, rather. 

"Street is very quiet this year," Grandma observed about ten minutes into the year, as gunfire thundered to the left, right, and beyond.

"Yeah, it's quiet compared to Tripoli this summer," muttered my husband from his position on the floor.

We turned on SNL to pass the time while we waited out the crazy; the host tonight was Jason Segel, which threw us because we'd gone to the matinee to see the new Muppet movie today.  Then six of the Muppets turned up in the middle of Segel's opening monologue, which was kind of creepy and very funny.  It closed out the night in a pretty good way.

-x-

Anyway, the Muppet movie.  My husband wanted to see it, badly, and I believe it was his only first-run theater experience of 2011.  (I saw Captain America this summer.)  It's quite good-- I just about suffocated from laughter when the 80s Robot showed up with the tray of Tab and New Coke-- but we both agreed it was too G-rated.  Yes, that is a valid complaint; Muppets were edgy back in the day.  Gonzo had his name for a reason.  He wasn't just "weird," he was gonzo, operating on a different, death-defying plane of reality.  But it was a good film, despite the creep factor of the situation, involving a grown-up human (Jason Segel) and his perennially stunted Muppet brother.  Also the best thing I've seen Jack Black in, since ever.  Not a fan of Mr. Black, and he got tortured in this and I liked it.

We were also subjected to the following previews:

Something with Claymation pirates.  Pass.

The Secret World of Arriety-- Studio Ghibli does The Borrowers?  Yes please!  Not convinced by the dub job, though; what I heard wasn't bad, but it didn't seem to fit.

Brave-- WTF.  Did some refugees from Dreamworks descend on Pixar?  This looks like shit.  Grotesque shit.  And didn't anyone tell Pixar yet that their humans are creepy as fuck?  Animated toys, robots, critters-- all good.  Humans?  YECH.  Yes, it worked for the Incredibles, but those were comic-booky superhero people.  Not Dung Ages Scottishy types flashing their asses in a direct nod to Braveheart.  Damn, that joke was old before I met my husband, and this is our tenth New Year's as a couple.  I was pretty appalled, if you can't tell.

Oh, and then we got to watch a short featuring Toy Story characters, which restored my warm fuzzies for Pixar (at least until I get exposed to Brave or anything to do with the Cars franchise).  Woody is probably my all-time favorite Tom Hanks character; I swear, it's like he's real or something.  And Buzz Lightyear is about the only thingTim Allen's ever, EVER done that I've enjoyed.  So that was a plus.

I guess I'll do the mandatory introspective post tomorrow.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I was looking up the "Dot" movies earlier this week, 'cause I always did like the score to Dot and the Bunny.  This trip down memory lane reminded me that many, many movies aimed at kids were, in the 1970s and 1980s, pretty damn bizarre.  Yeah, Bambi upset people because the mom got shot, but adults knew this and warned kids my age about it when the Disney Channel played re-runs.

Nobody warned me about any of these:

#1) Watership Down: Utterly terrifying.  Thank goodness I never saw The Plague Dogs.  

#2) The Brave Little Toaster: Junkyard scene, man.

#3) Dot and the Kangaroo: The adaptation-appropriate 1890s setting gives this a creepier feel than the 1970s sequels, and the Bunyip scene just terrified me.  For years.  I mean, "hide under the blankets and scream" terrified.

#4) The Hobbit: My introduction to Middle Earth was a cute little play adaptation performed for us at school.  On this basis of that, I wanted to see this.  Bad idea.

#5) The Mouse and His Child: Not nearly as scary as the book, actually.  But still pretty scary, especially whenever the rats came into things.  Plus, I'd read the book and knew what "really" happened.   

(Honorable Mention) The Rescuers.  I could not handle the scene with the skull.  Turns out the scene in the book that the film is somewhat based upon is even worse, as it features Miss Bianca sitting on a "bench" made from a shin-bone of a murdered child.  Yay, Disney.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
The Third Circuit Court apparently owns three (3) movies, possibly on VHS.  Today's menu was to be Jurassic Park, Men In Black, and Miss Congeniality; my most excellent spouse swears that these films were on rotation the first time he got called to jury duty in the Aughts.  I made it through about 93% of that last-named feature before they sent me back to my day job.  

I had actually never seen Miss Congeniality before.  A.O. Scott of the New York Times called it "happily, deliberately second-rate, as if its ideal audience consisted of weary airline passengers," and I must say that's a correct assessment.  When you're in a fluorescent-lit cinderblock holding tank of bored and restless fellow citizens, already done with your mystery novel and denied access to a smartphone, Sandra Bullock's silly beauty pageant story is, at least, diverting.

But, my god, is that film offensive.  I cannot even call the characters cliches-- they're strawmen, parading around to teach us all some Lessons, though damned if I can tell what those Lessons actually are.  I think there was something in there about not being a truly liberated woman without the assistance of hair gel, stiletto heels, and a binge'n'purge sisterhood pizza party.   No thanks.  I'll stick to "equal pay for equal work" and "equal protection under the law" and that sort of thing.  

I think the worst moment was when one of the rejected beauty contestants-- Miss New York?-- leapt up on stage and proclaimed herself a lesbian, with a shout-out to her girlfriend in the audience and to all the lesbian girls watching, with the message that they too could "make it."  It was a horrible moment, because the way it was staged gave me impression that the audience, along with the onscreen camera crew, was supposed to find this public outing revolting, inappropriate, and pathetic.  I squirmed.  There was a lot about the film that was incoherent and wrong, but that moment stood out above the rest.
mark_asphodel: (Adult Fin)
Nostalgia for the Light is an interesting and worthwhile documentary but not a great one.  I do not think Guzman's thesis hangs together.  I didn't expect it to, though, but I did have a small hope it would all fit perfectly, and it didn't.

OTOH, expect something detailing Finn's lost years in the near future.

-x-

Well, that was the best meteor-shower party with a full moon and cloud cover that I've ever been to.  Everyone knew we'd probably see about six meteors, so they showed up to have fun.  And fun was had.  Good cookies, too.

I still don't like sleeping in tents.

-x-

This is a trend that disturbs me.  I think it's the second such "review" I've seen this week, and the anon factor makes it all the more off-putting.  If you're going leave little love notes around with the express purpose of calling people out, have the courtesy to sign your moniker to it.  Because you don't appear to really be interested in dialogue or effecting change, the way you're going about it now.

-x-

I really, really don't like resorting to childhood abuse/molestation as a means of explaining a villain, especially when there's no crumb-trail pointing in that direction.  It feels like shifting the burden of action from the villain to the villain's parents, for a start.  There are other issues I have with it, too, but that's definitely a factor for me.
mark_asphodel: (Dead Heero)
Captain America: The First Avenger is a superhero movie for those who want to see their heroes fucked over.  If he'd had a dog, the Nazis would've steamrolled it.  

Spoilers for the film )

All in all, it was a good opening arc and the usual bullshit at the end, but it was tolerable bullshit.  I enjoyed it.  It didn't feel as long as it actually was, and for a superhero flick, that's a good thing.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Gots some Dreamwidth codes if anyone needs an extra.

Also, Black Swan did not in fact give me nightmares, but I do have two issues with it.  Three actually.

Spoilers for film )

I keep wanting to type "Nyna" instead of "Nina," ha ha ha.

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