Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: 127 Hours

127 Hours is a textbook example of a movie, or story rather, that you couldn't get away with if it weren't true. If it weren't based on a true story, SOMEONE (most likely someone mean-spirited) would claim something along the lines of “It's all too coincidental.” But you can't do that now, because then you'd be claiming that reality is too coincidental (regardless of the fact that it often is).

You're probably familiar enough with the setup from the trailers. Hiker and climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) is going out climbing without telling anyone where he's going. On his way down a canyon he slips and his arm is trapped. If or how he gets out would technically be a spoiler, so go see the movie to find out. Can't wait, look up the guy.

You probably wouldn't think there's a movie there, but director Danny Boyle and James Franco pull it off grandly. Much of the movie is about the circumstances that led Aron there and his fraying mental state. Those of you expecting a grand life story ala Slumdog Millionaire (which, despite being overhyped, is a good little film and you should really see it) are gonna be disappointed. The backstory is told in the broadest possible sense, telling us about the man's past, without delving into it in detail.

Oh and those of you expecting a handheld camera style in the movie are being fooled by the ad. It's used very sparingly, only one scene really uses it at length and it's really well done. Trust me. All the rest is general camera work, and it's all excellent.

What you've heard about James Franco in this movie is true, he OWNS it, in the (male) lead performance of the year and maybe the performance of his career, which will go a long way towards me forgiving him for his upcoming new Planet of the Apes movie. Much of the role requires some subtle physical acting and quiet emotional scenes, as well as some subtle 'losing his grip' acting. He will be nominated for an Oscar for this one and he should win, it's one of the best performances of the year. You can't really talk about anyone else's acting in this movie either, because he literally gets all the screen time, no one else gets more than a few minutes.

But half of the credit has to go to Danny Boyle. He directed wildly here, and he did it fearlessly. Wild tonal shifts, weird camera angles and just plain odd directorial choices that would threaten to damage the film are so well executed that they play into the film's strengths. An example is around the midpoint, Aron acts out an interview with himself, as both interviewee and DJ interviewer, accusing himself of the series of events that led him there. It SOUNDS comical on paper, but through a mix of subtle camera use and great acting from Franco, the entire scene is actually deeply affecting.

There's really not much more to say on this one. It's a two man show, between Franco and Boyle, and it's rather excellent. Right now, aside from Harry Potter there's not much in theaters that's equal to or better than this, so you should go see it while you can. So I guess this one is a bit shorter than usual. See you thursday for Rocky Horror.

Elessar is a 20 year old Alaskan born cinephile and to those who know the story: Yes that scene is intense.

Monday, November 29, 2010

And Irvin Kershner

This is why I didn't want to start a blog last year. Reporting on celebrity deaths would have gotten old.

Irvin Kershner, a WWII survivor and director died this morning. After directing a series of mostly mediocre movies that no one remembers, he directed a very good movie based on a John Capenter script called Eyes of Laura Mars. This caught the eye of George Lucas who pulled him to direct a movie you might have heard of called The Empire Strikes Back. He never really topped that, only directing a mediocre Bond film and a Robocop sequel.

Empire is my favorite Star Wars movie (you're shocked, I know) and Star Wars is still second only to Lord of the Rings in my pantheon of favorite movies. So I'll be watching Empire tonight, as a tribute. Rest in Peace.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

RIP Leslie Nielsan

Those of you like oldish comedy will be sad to hear that Leslie Nielsan is dead at 84. I dislike tributes, partially cause the descend into pseudo-spirtualism (of which I am not a fan) and because, I didn't know Mr. Nielsan. He was not a huge influence on me, nor someone who was a big hero of mine.

He was however, a rather exceptional comedy actor, known primarily for his starmaking turn in the justifiable classic Airplane! and the fantastic lead role in The Naked Gun (as well as a role in The Posiden Adventure), given to amazing comedic timing and the exceptional ability to deliver absurdist dialogue completely straightfaced. One of his lines from Airplane is considered one of the most well known quotes from any movie, and rightly so. Overall, even though he didn't mean a whole lot to me, the world is poorer for his passing. I suppose the title says it all. Rest in Peace Shir  Leslie.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reviewing the Twilight Books: Twilight

Hoo boy.

First off, to my regular readers, I'd like to apologize for this taking to so long. I can normally read through 50 to 100 pages in a sitting, but I couldn't read more than a few paragraphs of this without drifting off to do something else (which is rather indicative of it's quality, that I found reading old XKCD comics more interesting than this). Also, more than a few of these jokes and/or observations may be repeats of jokes or observations made elsewhere, but I know I'm late to this party so sorry in advance.

I feel no real need to rehash the plot, except for formalities sake. For those lucky few of you who don't know, Twilight is concerned with a girl named Bella Swan (no, not as in Bela Lugosi, as in Isabella Swan. As in beautiful swan. Yeah) who moves to a small town called Forks in Washington, only to fall hard for a model gorgeous guy named Edward Cullenwho turns out to be a vampire. Good for her, he's a vegetarian vampire, IE he along with his entire family of Cullen's, doesn't eat people. Better for her, vampires in this world don't burst into flame in the sun, they just sparkle like they're wearing body glitter. Best for her, he's in love (See: Stalking) with her too.

The book then meanders around for 150 pages of shitty dialogue until the plot shows up randomly, in the form of a one note villain who decides, out of the blue, that he wants to hunt Bella till the end of the Earth. 50 pages of avoiding anything happening later, he's dead, with no assistance from the 'heroine'. And then the end. Yeesh.

Anywho, I have now finished Twilight and am already regretting this decision to try and dig deeper into the inexplicable phenomena. One nagging complaint that started in the first chapter and held on throughout the entire damned thing was the rather incongruous fact that Stephanie Meyer has repeatedly stated she has no familiarity with her genre. This is easily forgivable; Hell it should make the thing more original. But that gets overpowered by her utilizing of some of the oldest cliches in the book. By way of an example, Edward's 'Arc' (I use the term loosely) from the first book is a nearly beat-for-beat rehash of Angel's arc from the first season of Buffy, but with the good writing and humanity sucked out.

Incongruous is, by the by, the term of the day. Bella continues to refer to herself as plain or unattractive but EVERY guy in the book tries to sleep with her. Edward continually says that he wouldn't wish his 'condition' on anyone, but there doesn't seem to be any downsides to being a vampire. Everyone in school notices that the Cullen family doesn't eat, drink or come to school when it's sunny out, but no one puts the pieces together or think it's worth investigating. Hell, when the 'villain' shows up, Edward and Bella have been dating for about a week and the rest of the family has just met her earlier that day but they're still tripping all over themselves to protect her.

The book is all horribly written, consisting primarily of drippy dialogue between it's two leads. This is compounded by the fact that of the characters, at least the supernatural ones, that they are the least interesting of the bunch. Not that the others are much better, all of them are massive piles of one dimensional cliches (role call: Pixie one, silent one, big lug, angry chick, overly-motherly one, father figure) but some of them have interesting backstories. The pixie one (technically named Alice, who resembled nothing so much as a pale third generation Drusilla) doesn't actually remember her human life and turns out to have spent it in an insane asylum and can't remember due to electroshock therapy. There's probably an interesting story in there, but it's run through in a sentence. Silent one (named Jasper or, as the guys on Rifftrax dubbed him, Evil Harpo, yes as in Harpo Marx) fought in the Civil War. Father figure tried to kill himself when he became a vampire. THOSE could be interesting, but the book doesn't consider them so, instead dwelling on the 'banter' between it's leads.

A much larger problem, stemming from borrowing so much from better works, is that Stephanie Meyer seems to have NO idea what made the originals great. Drusilla WORKED as a character because while she was whimsical and ethereal, she was also opportunistic, cruel and more than slightly crazy. Stripping away those last 3 leaves her boring. Angel was tormented because when he was soulless he was the worst of the worst, a downright psychopath and when he got his soul back he was constantly tormented by memories of what he did. Edward seems to act tormented, but there doesn't seem to be any damned reason for it. There's no dark past, he didn't even feed on humans in the past; he got raised on animals.


Brief sidenote: While it's not even approaching the creepiest romantic bullshit going on in the series, or even the book, the vibe I get from the 'paired off' adopted siblings in the vampire family is extraordinarily creepy. Though given that female vampire romance writers include Ann Rice, I suppose I should count myself lucky that it's just a vibe.

All the additions the series makes to vampire mythos are either idiotic or wasted. Aside from the obvious glittering problem, the method to kill vampires is ludicrously overcomplicated, there is no reference to stakes, crosses or the oft-forgotten needing to be invited in. Giving them all Superman level powers makes the whole thing a joke, as does the implication that being a vampire automatically makes you model gorgeous. The only action in the entire book, not counting the Vampire Baseball Sequence (No Really) takes place off screen while the lead is unconscious, though given that in the movie, all the fight sequences look like their about to break out into a West Side Story Dance Fight, maybe that's for the best.

Finally, while Stephanie Meyer understands that good characterization means flaws in principle, she sucks at putting it into practice. The lead characters assertion that's she's unattractive is laughable as is the concept that her flaw is that she's clumsy (securing her place as the biggest Mary Sue in modern fiction) and all the vampires are repeatedly described as perfect.

Oh, and while technically this review HAS to focus on a by-the-number assessment of quality, I would like to reiterate that the subtext, which amounts to the biggest anti-feminist work to come out of a woman since The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right can fuck right off.

I'm honestly not certain if I want to do New Moon. Reading this ranged from boring to painful and I'm not certain if I can bring myself to struggle through more of this, especially when I'm so busy. I'll give it a shot, and if I give it up I'll let you know.

Now to go watch G.I. Jane to counteract the subtext.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Viewing

Every Thanksgiving since I was a kid we've celebrated Thanksgiving by watching something Native American related. There's a lot of reasons for this, starting but the main one is Natives started Thanksgiving so I figured we should honor them. As I now have a blog and a few readers I figured I should run down a list of 5 really good Native based films you should watch. There are others (Skins comes to mind) but these are five introductions, shall we call it.

NOTE: This list will not include Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves or Last of the Mohicans because EVERYONE has seen those. But if you haven't, you should. They're great.

Squanto: A Warriors Tale
The oft forgotten older brother to 95's Pocahontas this 1994 Disney movie may be a little simplistic, but it's an excellent introduction to Native history. Briefly, it's about a Native Warrior, captured by British soldiers who escapes from captivity to find his village and people devastated. Those of you who've taken American History may know he also started the first Thanksgiving. It's also well acted, mostly well written, gorgeously shot and rather unflinching in it's portrayal of the brutality inflicted on the Natives. It's not a perfect movie, but if you have a kid in the house, it's probably best.

Smoke Signals
Based on the EXCELLENT Sherman Alexie book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (don't ya just love that title?) Smoke Signals tells the story of Victor Joseph and Thomas Buildsthefire traveling to Phoenix, Arizona to pick up Victor's father's ashes. It's a rather touching little story, devoted primarily to the alternating views of Victor's father from Victor's and Thomas' differing point of view. It's primarily a comedy, but it does have several dramatic scenes. Overall a sweet and well written film, and if you haven't seen it you probably should.

Thunderheart
Based on a series of real events in the 70's, this one tells the story about a half-Native FBI Agent sent to a Lakota reservation to investigate a murder and begins to discover a growing conspiracy to frame a Native for the murder. Featuring a solid lead role from Val Kilmer and a fantastic supporting role from Grahm Greene (who you might remember from Dances With Wolves), it's easily one of the darker offerings in this list. It takes some liberties with the facts, but much of what happens in it is based on real events. And that should terrify you.

Navajo Blues
Now HERE'S an obscure offering. For those of you who were worried that these would all be historical or dramatic films, here is an out-and-out action film. Starring Steven Bauer and Irene Bedard (who played Pocahontas in...well...Pocahontas) it's devoted to a cop who saw his partner murdered an goes to a Navajo reservation in witness protection. Surprise, surprise, trouble follows him. Compared to the others, it's not particularly deep or relevant, but it's a well made action film set on a Native Reservation and it's exciting and enjoyable, even while it doesn't have a lot on it's mind.

Dreamkeeper
No, not Dreamcatcher, a spectacularly shitty Stephen King movie, this one is devoted to a troubled 17 year old and his grandfather traveling to the All-Nations Powwow. Along the way the grandfather tells him a series of stories, which believe or not, teach the kid something about himself and help him mature. Yes it's fairly rote, but it's mostly just a framing device for the much more interesting traditional Native stories. The CGI is a little unfinished and it looks noticeably cheap, but it's a nice story well told. Think of it as Big Fish retold with Native Folktales and you're about halfway there.


Oh. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Newest Object of my Hate

Yes I'm late to this party, but I need to comment. And that title's not a joke, there's a list. A LONG list.

I'm a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. HUGE. Own all 7 Seasons, all 5 of Angel, read the season 8 comics until it became unbearably silly (if you've read it you know what I mean).

So I was understandably skeptical when I heard the Powers-That-Be (or rather, Wolfram and Hart) are Planning to Reboot it.

This is going to hit harder and cause more anger, in the long run, than the Spider-Man reboot. A lot of people were (understandably) upset about Spider-Man 3 and with that being the last thing we heard from Spider-Man, we're less inclined to be angry. Plus Raimi going off to do the Warcraft movie (really) and possibly a remake of Day of the Triffids of all things, seems to suggest he had reduced interest.

Buffy on the other hand is one of those things that, like it or not, really set the stage for geek movies and shows to take over in this decade (the other being The X-Files). A show about a teenaged girl battling true-to-legends vampires and unique varieties of demons, alongside massive amounts of backstory and magic, seems like it would only appeal to true geeks. But, through some trick of fate, Buffy was massively popular, ran for 7 seasons and is still a cultural staple today. I say Buffy and even the most snobbish or culturally ignorant person knows I mean the Slayer of Vampires.

Trying to reboot that, in a movie no less (the movie Buffy was...not good, to say the least) is going to be hard. You're going to be fighting an uphill PR battle, and not just against hardcore fans. Vampires have been among the most abused and widely mocked concepts since Twilight got big, and rebooting one of the Holy Grails of Vampire Mythos in this climate is unwise. ESPECIALLY since Twilight could be best be described as Buffy but with everything that made Buffy good sucked out of it.

I'm not against the idea of remakes or reboots: I loved both of the new Halloween movies. The difference is, Halloween hadn't been good for a long while (since the first one, really) and Rob Zombie had some interesting things to say on the subject. Unless you have something new, or unique, to say about Buffy, the culture surrounding it or the universe it inhabits...why bother?

Incidentally, a contributor over at the Escapist has an interesting article about Buffy from a lady's point of view. Give it a gander.

Alright, that's it for me. If I don't have anything more to say over the next couple days, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US. (Non US readers, please disregard).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

If you've been to an indie theater or maybe one likely to show foreign films, you've probably seen the poster for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, one of my nominees for poster of the year. It's a simple subversion of the generic headshot/main character poster. It just consists of a headshot of the titular girl, albeit with a massive number of piercings, spikes necklaces and probably the biggest mohawk I've seen outside of a Mad Max movie. If nothing else, it catches your attention and sets the tone for the movie as a whole.

The problem with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (and The Girl Who Played With Fire) is that the shock from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is hard to top. Tattoo was such a thing-from-another-world that it was hard to wrap our heads around it's characters and it's world. It was such a unique and weird creature and no sequel could live up to that shock. There's also the fact that since Tattoo, the series has only gotten sillier.

Permit me to qualify that statement. Tattoo was an extremely normal, extremely grounded murder mystery that began and ended in it's own movie. Very straightforward. Hornet's Nest and Played With Fire on the other hand are mostly devoted to a giant overarching conspiracy including secret government agencies, defecting KGB agents and semi-crazy psychiatrists. At the center, shockingly enough, is Lisbeth Salander, who is on trial for the attempted murder of her father in the last one. She apparently knows too much about...something, it's never abundantly clear, and thus the conspiracy is putting all it's efforts towards putting her in jail, like she's Jack Bauer at the end of a season of 24.

Meanwhile a B-Plot devoted to Lisbeth's half-brother killing people across the country because...again, not made very clear. It doesn't matter much, the B-Plot doesn't intrude on the main plot in any meaningful way until the last 20 minutes, which ends up being one of the major issues. Much of the plot is left dangling without ever getting explained. Why is the conspiracy so dead set on silencing Lisbeth? Why is her half-brother murdering his way across Sweden towards Lisbeth? Why doesn't the conspiracy just shoot her? The movie never bothers to explain, and as such much of the plot is unsatisfying.

What's irritating is most of the plot seems to have been trimmed to make room for an extended court room sequence which seems to try and be extremely true to real life. Now my father is a lawyer, so I know a little about law, so I know it can be intensely fascinating. I know that it can also be deeply boring, often times at the same time. As such, basing the entire second half of your film around an extended court room scene intercut with the actions of some of the other characters was...not the best idea.

There are bright spots. The cinematography and mood building are still good. Lisbeth is still a fascinating character and Noomi Rapace still does an exceptional job playing her. All of the dialogue is well written and it manages to be actually suspenseful, even when it's not being particularly coy about how the case is going to turn out.

But I'm not sure if they're enough to overcome it's flaws. I've yet to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (I'm most of the way through Tattoo, interrupted by my ongoing attempt to finish Twilight) but a lot it reeks of poor adaptation. Tattoo succeeded by slicing off all the extraneous subplots and characters to deliver a streamlined version of the main story, allowing them to focus on the interesting characters of Lisbeth and Mikael and they're evolving relationship. But in this one, as in the last one, much of the subplots remain, albeit mangled and they make the movie feel half finished and unedited.

So the Millennium trilogy has drawn to a close, and while The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is easily the weakest of them (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is STILL my best movie of the year and it looks like it might just hold onto that title), it remains a fascinating movie, and I can't fully say you should avoid it. Don't rush right out and see it, but when it hits DVD, I'd recommend giving it a look. Between this trilogy and Let the Right One In, Sweden has been putting out some interesting movies lately, so it looks like they're a country to keep an eye on.

Elessar is a 20 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he'd like someone who speaks Swedish to settle a bet: Is Rapace pronounced Ra-pace or Ra-pa-ce?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Those of you who are regular readers will know I was...apprehensive to say the least of the first part of the final film of the Harry Potter series. They will know that the action heavy trailer, the poor direction of the previous films and the disregard for what made the good Harry Potter movies good had me awaiting inevitable disappointment.

They will now hear something rarely said on this blog: I. Was. WRONG! Just as in 2008, Uncharted 2 overcame it's predecessor's flaws to create something incredible and rocket to near-the-top of a nearly set in stone list, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has managed to overcome all of the myriad problems of 4, 5 and 6 to deliver one of the best films of the year. It's not only better than I expected, it's better than I dared hope.

This time around, to quote an excellent movie, the board is set and the pieces are moving. Voldemort is directly assaulting and taking over the Ministry, the Order is fighting a losing battle and Harry, Ron and Hermione are setting out to find the remaining Horcruxes (aka, the Not-The-One-Rings).

So it's a scavenger hunt, which leads, without any spoilers, into a second scavenger hunt and then into a 3RD scavenger hunt, and a lot of directors would be tempted to try and ramp up the excitement by throwing in some random action sequences and if you watched the trailers while being aware of the plot beforehand you might have assumed that they did.

Well forget the action heavy underwhelming trailers (much of the action in the trailers is either misleadingly cut or not in the first one anyway). The film instead elects to pull back and take it slow, concentrating on character building, plot and mood. Much of the cinematography suggests that someone involved watched The Seventh Seal several times before starting production.

All of this works because the film is unafraid to be disconcerting and actively frightening. The corrupted Ministry resembles a Nazi regime too closely to be accidental. Death and torture happen on screen. A chase scene is shot disjointedly and shakily to highlight fear and desperation. Most notably, a scene that threatens to fall into the “simple scene amped up” problem of the earlier films is done so perfectly and fearlessly that it manages to be actively frightening and emotionally effecting. And there's an extraordinary bit of animation used during a story scene.

All of this works better than it might otherwise because the series has finally abandoned it's irritating habit of playing up the famous scenes. The story has been properly adapted. Things have been altered, switched and outright removed to allow the story and themes to arrive on film.

The cast is of course, perfect. And why not, after 7 movies everyone is inhabiting their characters perfectly, working hard to keep all this connected and relatable. They're backed up by some fantastic cinematography, an incredible soundtrack and probably the best script of the series.

It's not quite perfect, much of it's problems arriving based on the other films. The decision to more or less cut the characters of Kreacher and Bill from the other movies means that they have to be introduced, play their part in the plot and be ushered off screen. A couple deaths are not as effecting as they might be due to their lack of reference elsewhere in the films. And where they choose to cut out is gonna piss some people off.

Guys I was really apprehensive going in but this one dispelled all my fears. This was the film promised to me by the third one and bungled by everyone up to this point. If you like the Harry Potter movies or even fantasy movies in general, you owe it to yourself to go check this one out. So you go do that, and I'll see you tomorrow for The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Elessar is a 20 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he would like to tell you that Hedwig was as bad as he thought it would be.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Second Age Reviews: Poltergeist

Poltergeist is a very rare breed of film. It is a horror film that manages to be both a well made piece of intelligent cinema, and intensely scary. Very few horror films manage this, but the ones that do are legendary. We all know the names: The Shining, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Silence of the Lambs, Hellraiser. Poltergeist's success comes in it's willingness to let things build without letting us know what's coming or when.

The plot is concerned with the Freeling family, a nuclear family living in a planned community. The film takes it's time establish characters and, more importantly their disconnect. The kids are acting out, the parents aren't really connected and no one is talking to each other. But, very quickly, that becomes irrelevant as things are moving on their own, the youngest daughter is hearing voices and the TV isn't working right. And that's when things get weird.

I want to stress the part about the movie being scary before I move on, especially since it's not a cheap or subjective scare. Cheap scares are when something leaps out at you in the instant the music screeches (for a study in this and almost nothing else, go watch Drag Me to Hell). Subjective scares are, hm how to put this? How about this: It terrifies me. Scares me to DEATH. At some point in my life it stopped being simply a movie and became more of an endurance test and that's because clowns TERRIFY me. That's a subjective scare, something that appeals to one of the larger phobias.

Poltergeist doesn't go that route. Instead it's terror is built about it's slow building tension and visuals. Extreme tonal shifts that might otherwise be considered a flaw are worked in it's benefit as it quickly becomes clear that NO scene is safe from a ghost or a monster suddenly popping in to tear up the scenery, keeping you overly tense even in the more peaceful or happy scenes.

The acting succeeds across the board, especially in the fantastic performance given by the little girl, keeping an innocent quality about her, even as she endures horrors. Both the parents are doing excellent jobs, despite the fact that we can see their arc coming from a mile away, as is the professor they initially call in for help. But the unquestioned star is Zelda Rubinstein as the medium called in for a Hail Mary pass to fix all the nonsense. She had the toughest job, as the grounding in the spiritual and supernatural nonsense as well as what amounts to a mix of hero and mentor, and she rises to the occasion admirably.

The camera work and lighting are excellent, combined with an exceptional sound guy, working hard to make the simple buzz of static into a creepy calling card for it's faceless villain. Lighting works wonders, casting simple shadows and lighting up eyes in creepy ways, to add to that slow building tension I spoke of. And the cameraman, who does an extremely good job throughout, more than justifies his entire salary in a single hallway shot near the end. You'll know it when you see it.

If the film has a failing it's in the special effects department. Maybe it's because it came out in 1982, the same year as the horrifyingly perfect special effects featured in The Thing, but with the exception of the creepiest tree in the world (and yes I'm counting the ones from Evil Dead) the special effects never really pull it together. Much of it consists of simple skeletons or around-the-house objects and a couple of the ghosts/specters look actively fake.

Before I conclude, I'd like to address a quick pair of points. Firstly I feel Poltergeist is a textbook example of a movie in which sequels cannot work. The film's arc consists of the slow buildup from bad to worse to worst, and once you've gotten to worst the first time, everything else just feels like stalling. Incidentally, this is why Paranormal Activity 2 didn't work.

Secondly, no retrospective review of Poltergeist would be complete without a commentary on the director controversy. The big how-to-do consisted of the fact that at the time of film, Steven Spielberg was directing E.T. and, for reasons that escape me, not allowed to direct a second film at the same time. So he produced Poltergeist and got Tobe Hooper, best known for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to direct. The thing is, a lot of people feel that Tobe Hooper was director in a name only and the Spielberg was the one calling all the shots. And having seen it again with this in mind...yeah I gotta agree. Thematically and stylistically it feels a lot more like Spielberg than Hooper and the metaphors and 'point' are much more in line with Spielberg.

Overall, I can't say that a lot of modern horror buffs, growing up on Saw and Hostel are going to like Poltergeist but then, I can't say I like Saw or Hostel. What I can say is that it's intelligent, well made and interesting even while it retains it's scariness. If you're anything of a movie buff, much less a fan of intellectual horror, you should probably see it.

Next on Second Age Reviews: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Elessar is a 20 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he would like to let you all know that he... Can't Sleep. Clown'll Eat Me. Can't Sleep. Clown'll Eat Me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter comments

So as some of you might remember, about a month ago I came to the conclusion that the Harry Potter movies should be viewed as entirely separate from the books. This particular view is not entirely without precedent or merit. All adaptations must be viewed as their own product first and an adaptation second. This is why the Watchmen movie failed in my eyes: It was an extremely good adaptation but it didn't hold together as a movie very well.

Anyway, since I'm going to see the 7th Harry Potter movie this weekend, I figured now would be a time to report on what I thought of what I consider the problem movies, 4, 5 and 6. Before I start, I would like to say that while I like the first 3 MUCH more, I do have some problems with them. In the first one, most of the kids look lost on one level or another. Second one, you physically cannot watch anyone but Kenneth Branaugh when he's on screen (though that's more of a problem with him than with the movie). Third one had some very odd directorial choices (the just awful werewolf design comes to mind) but I feel they all hold together better as movies than 4, 5 and 6.

Oh and I suppose it goes without saying that these all come with a HUGE SPOILER WARNING for all of the Harry Potter books and movies.


Goblet of Fire:

Goblet of Fire is what set all the big problems in motion. Whereas the Harry Potter movies up until that point had opted for the Lord of the Rings approach of taking the stories, characters and themes and tweaking them to fit in the new medium, Goblet began the tradition of taking the Prince Caspian highlight reel approach (IE, show all the famous scenes without much connection), which left a lot of the scenes really disconnected. By way of an example, in one scene Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret after he attacks Harry. In the book this was tied into Moody's larger plot aspect, in the movie it never gets properly explained, other than weird characterization that takes 10 minutes.

Added to that was the simple problem of over simplifying. Look I'm not saying that you need to keep 100 percent to the books, but it was established, in the 3rd movie, that when someone busts out of Azkaban everyone goes APESHIT. At the end of the 4th we're expected to swallow “Oh this dude just busted out. No one noticed.” In the book this was this huge long conspiracy that tied every single plot point up in a nice little package, but in the movie it's dropped off in one line of dialogue that makes no sense, which would be more of an irritation if they'd bothered to conceal it at all.

Of course the cinematography is still nice and the casting is still spot on. A new problem that had been hanging around the edges of the first 3 (especially the second) but begins to show up hard in this one is the recurring problem of taking scenes or spells that were simple and quick in the book and turning them into huge CGI light shows, which probably helps drive the budget up. Look guys, I know you want your movies to be exciting and I know you're using Lord of the Rings as your guide, but I need to break something to you. Your fight scenes are ALWAYS going to boil down to 2 guys waving sticks at each other and shouting faux Latin words. It can be exciting and enjoyable to watch, but it's NOT going to be visually dynamic. Stop trying.


Order of the Phoenix:

Order was, in my opinion, the worst of the bunch. It still had mostly good technical work, fantastic casting and an interesting bit of coreography involving McConagall and Umbridge having an argument, but those were small comforts amid the mess.

The first problem is the highlight reel problem, which not only left a lot of characters with their backstories (and thus their interest) cut off at the knees, but also leaving a lot of subplots hanging around not accomplishing anything. The biggest example of this is the Cho subplot. Yes in the book it was a 30 page digression about mourning and transference and yes it did reveal Cho as painfully one dimensional, but at least it was a full subplot and connected to the plot proper. In the movie it amounted to “Hey, here's Cho. Hey, here's Cho and Harry kissing. Hey, here's Cho betraying them. Off she goes.”

There's also several levels of problems derived from a normally contradictory mix of over-directing and under-directing. Several scenes are clearly over-influenced by directorial vision and then left to dangle which leaves the tone going up and down violently from scene to scene.

The other problems that plagued Goblet are on full display as well, especially the stylistic choice to attempt to turn simple scenes into giant epic battles. This leads to a massive disconnect between ability and performance in the final battle. What, in the book, amounted to a desperate flight by a bunch of undertrained kids pursued by adults, using luck and surprise to their advantage, is turned into an epic war in the movie, which makes the entire result feel incongruous.

This one also highlights a problem that the 7th (and 8th) movies are going to have in spades, caused by the highlight reel technique. Most-to-all of the characters in the books are left cut off from their backstories and humanity, leaving us uncaring when a character gets offed. Because Sirius is so painfully undercharacterized in the movies, we don't care when he dies, a problem that the upcoming movies are going to have with EVERY SINGLE FRAKKING DEATH. Except Hedwig. That's gonna hurt.

This leads to the larger problem that the movies have had since Goblet: That they can't be expected to be cut off from the books because they very clearly expect us to have read the books. They didn't bother to conceal the larger mystery behind Goblet or explain the mystery when it got revealed because they knew we already knew. While most likely true (the books continue to be among the most popular books of all time), it's quite simply an unacceptable stance to take.


Half-Blood Prince

Prince is, on average, the best of the second half, which isn't saying much. It still jacks up scenes to try and be more exciting unnecessarily, cuts out most of the important characterization, leaves more than a few subplots dangling and has some very irritating directorial choices, but it manages to rein in these problems enough to deliver a better product.

Which isn't to say that it doesn't have more than a few problems all of it's own. First and foremost is that number 6 is tasked with setting up the big story and conflict for the 7th one, a task which is seems to consider secondary to it's job to endlessly detail the romantic tension between Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny.

There's also a couple of very odd scenes which are at best, mostly unnecessary. And finally, as long as I'm mentioning disconnect, there's a moment where they show Lupin and Tonks as a couple. Now, I'm going to skip over the fact that they didn't get together until the end of the 6th book and simply point out that they haven't had a scene establishing that they were a couple beforehand.


So yeah. Those are my thoughts on the 4th, 5th and 6th Harry Potter movies. I'm going to see the 7th on Saturday, review should be up that day. Oh and I have Poltergeist tonight and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Sunday, so it should be a good weekend for fans of my reviews.

Anyway, I'm trying to be optimistic. After all, they began to overcome their problems in the 6th one, maybe they can do it again for 7th and 8th. Hell, if they keep getting better, they might be able to take on the best one, IE Prisoner of Azkaban (tend to doubt it). Overall though, I'm keep expectations low, lest I be disappointed. Oh well.

Strange Days

That-British-Guy-From-Inception might be a Batman villain

Obviously that-British-guy is not the news. The fact that he might be playing Hugo Strange (a VERY old, as in the oldest, and very obscure, Batman Villain) is the news. And color me mixed. I have no idea who Strange is or what his deal is, but a cursory glance at his wiki reveals he's essentially perfect for the Nolan's take on this. Very smart, no superpowers.

More on this as it develops

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Green Lanterns Light

Jeez I go to sleep for 9 hours and this happens.

Green Lantern Trailer

Color me optimistic. Ryan is still well cast, everyone seems to be getting into their character, most of the important people are accounted for and the directors seems to know what you need to do to make Green Lantern work on film. Even the suit looks better in motion (at this point I'm not convinced that the magazine cover one we all hated was even finished product).

There are problems. Firstly, the non fan is not going to take away anything of who Green Lantern is and they NEED to know some basics going in. Secondly, it seems to want be both an Iron Man trailer and a Dark Knight trailer and that grates in 2 minutes (you could shift gears in the movie from funny to serious, but a trailer needs to stay the same throughout). Finally the CGI looks really unfinished in places but it's not due out till next year, so that's forgivable.

I'll have another entry about something entirely different when I've been up for a little longer.


Oh and before I go, since we're on the subject of trailers, who else has seen those trailers for Faster? Okay, so does it seem to anyone else that the title of the movie is "The Rock Shoots Everyone!" Seriously, I half expect someone to have a conversation like in that one episode of the Simpsons. "What about Marie?" "He shot EVERYONE, stupid."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Trailers

People who know me will be surprised I'm posting 3 times in 2 days. Ahem. People who know me know that I like to browse trailers on youtube, because with my knowledge of films, I can generally tell a lot about a movie from it's trailer. By way of an example, I called back when I saw the first trailer for Unstoppable that it was going to end up being Airport with a train and I was right. Doesn't make it unworthy, but it does make me right, which I love.

The extension of this is when I see a trailer that makes me go "what the fuck?" I tend to end up remembering it and/or trying hard to see it. A good example of this is Black Swan because it LOOKS like a mashup of Bound, The Company and The Fly and the fact that someone had the balls to TRY that has me interested.

So it's with a fair amount of interest that I stumbled upon this trailer this afternoon.

Troll Hunters

It LOOKS like someone came to a director and said "Make me Cloverfield, but with Norwegian troll mythology" (that 2 headed troll at the end is an actual troll from Norwegian myth, and I think the Christian Blood thing is too). And that premise looks like enough to get me to see it, if only because that premise sounds fascinating.

You know what I like about this trailer? How at first it looks like they're gonna conceal the monsters behind shitty night-filters and quick shots and then suddenly BAM, there it is on screen for a solid 4 seconds, and repeatedly after that?

A little bit weirder

Every so often I get the assumption that, for the moment, the world is as weird as it can get. And then, like clockwork, the world shows up at my door and says "Fuck you, it can always get weirder," and pulls something utterly bizarre.

Occasionally the bizarre thing is worrying. Thankfully today it's not worrying just...bizarre. (Hat Tip The Escapist)

The Bizarre Thing

Yes that is a Japanese pop singer. Yes she is singing to a sold out crowd. And YES, she is a hologram. No I don't know, and I don't WANT to know. Yes the applications range from morbid (using it to recreate The Ed Sullivan Show with The Beatles comes instantly to mind) to creepy beyond belief (I'm not going into it).

Oh and Lady Gaga? You're no longer the weirdest pop singer right now. Or the most impractically dressed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

See that Glenn? That was the line.

So anyone who knows me (which should be just about 10 of you) will know I'm not a big fan of Glenn Beck, or Fox in general but Glenn is a special case (see: Terrifying). I keep wondering when Glenn will cross a line so far that he can't go back. I kinda assumed that calling Obama a racist would be the line. Or pretending to light a guy on fire. Or pretending to poison an elected official (Nancy Pelosi). Seriously Fox, where did you find this guy, giggling to himself in the asylum from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

Anywho, welcome to the other side of the new line: Glenn Beck has accused his favorite punching bag George Soros of being complicit in and maybe even assisting in the Holocaust, and of being an anti-semite (Soros, who is Jewish, grew up in Nazi Occupied Hungary and his father had to bribe a Nazi agriculture official to pretend that Soros was his Christian godson). And some people in the Jewish community are understandably upset about it. Not a liberal link.

Okay Fox, is this the line? Are you going to reprimand him NOW or does he actively need to kill someone on air?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Batman and Realism

Over at Moviebob's blog (which you should really read, even though I don't always agree with him) there was a discussion about the new Batman films and someone brought up the topic of realism, which made me want to go into more detail on the subject. My thesis is, essentially, that Batman FILMS get progressively worse the less realistic they are. I'm talking film only for now, Animated Series' and comics don't matter in this discussion. Let's go down the list shall we? (All of these are, of course, subjective opinions and contain spoilers)

Batman
Realism: Not very. Joker and his shit tend to strain believeabilty, Batman has a car that turns into a plane, which is then shot down by what amounts to a giant pistol. Also, the Joker poison subplot makes no fucking sense.
Quality: Not very good. Not very bad, but not exceptionally good. 7/10

Batman Returns
Realism: Fairly realistic, playing like a realistic-reimagining of most of the characters. Deformities play a huge part, as does psychology and the VERY realistic aspect of the greedy to the point of violence CEO. Even the suicide penguins are based on the very real practice of stitching or strapping mines to bats or birds and flying them towards the enemy.
Quality: In my estimation. Pretty damn good. Not great, but better than any of the others until Begins hit. 8/10

Batman Forever
Realism: Pushing back in unbelievability. Some people hinted at deleted subplots, which don't matter to the finished subject. Acid turns people's skin pink, no one reacts with any real psychology and the Riddler's tech makes no damned sense.
Quality: Not good at all. Plot is a mess, villains have no menace, Batman is hopelessly miscast, no one has any chemistry and it all looks garish. 4/10

Batman and Robin
Realism: Completely gone. Training takes 20 seconds, Mr. Freeze's and Bane's tech is from another world, Ivy has what amounts to super-powers and again, no one acts like a real human being.
Quality: COMPLETELY worthless. 0/10

Batman Begins
Realism: Pretty realistic. There's some semi-mystical shit going on around the edges of the ninjas and Scarecrows gas is very soft science, but everyone acts believable, most of the villains are connected to the mob and Batman is fighting like he'd need to (IE, less Bruce Lee and more Alien).
Quality: Excellent. Easily the best Batman film so far and usurping the title of best comic book film from X2 (things like Sin City and 300 don't count)...until 2008. 9/10

The Dark Knight
Realism: Shockingly realistic. All the villains are connected to the mob, acid actually burns, moral grey areas appear and no mystical or gimmick stuff shows up at all.
Quality: Fucking fantastic. 10/10


See a pattern? The ultimate point is that Batman in film gets better the more realistic he is. NO, I am not calling for all superhero films to be realistic, Superman, X-Men etc. all work betted unrealistic, for the reason I'm about to explain. Batman is a normal human.

It works for people with super powers, in film because our disbelief is already suspended. It also works in comics because we will buy just about anything in comics. Don't believe me? As far as I can tell (and it's hard to tell, because it's terribly written) Batman dies in Final Crisis when he shoots Darkseid in the head with a bullet that goes backwards in time (chased by The Flash) which hits Orion and STARTS Final Crisis because it has a virus which then goes back forward in time to hit Batman in the back of the head too. YEAH.

But in movies, we stop being able to buy everything because he's a flesh and blood person on screen. This is why, in all the worthwhile movies, he's wearing bulky armor, because we KNOW he needs to wear armor or he's gonna die horribly, and we KNOW that's what armor looks like. This is why super powers or mystical stuff are poison to Batman in film, because he doesn't have them, but he needs to beat them.

In the surreality of comics, this can work, even if it grates sometimes. But in a live action production, especially a movie, it starts to get stupid, even irritating. This is why the infamous Anti-Shark Spray is as well known as it is, because it's an example of what's wrong with Batman in a live action medium. We know that he, as a flesh and blood person, cannot take on a shark, so they pull some bullshit about him having prepared with anti-shark spray and believeability snaps and it becomes stupid.

This isn't to say that realism is responsible for the quality level of each of the respective Batman films (the Nolan ones are good because of good direction, writing and acting, Batman was bad because of bad writing and acting, the Schumacher ones were bad because of terrible application of personal style and vision, etc.) but it's an argument for one of the reasons they were bad or good, and it's an argument for why the third one (currently entitled The Dark Knight Rises, for all you who didn't know) should stay realistic.

Incidentally, this is also why Robin doesn't work, at least in live-action. The jist of Robin is you're taking an undertrained, brightly colored, unarmored minor into combat situations on stealth missions. And we're supposed to believe that not only is this not shockingly immoral, but also not deeply impractical. Yeah.

Agree, disagree, want me to shut up? Comment.

Too Far

Elf The Musical

What.
The.
Fuck.
Is.
This.
Shit?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Guy

People who know me will know that I'm not a huge fan of Family Guy. It brings to mind a mashup of several different shows, all of which are better. It doesn't have the balls or the low production time to be as edgy and topical as South Park, it doesn't have the format or insight into culture to work the random haphazard cultural references of Robot Chicken or the technique and chops to be as funny as The Simpsons.

As for his other television shows, The Cleveland Show is, as far as I can tell, completely worthless (I've only watched a few episodes) and while American Dad always threatened to be, for the spy and action genres what Futurama is for sci-fi, it never had the writing or the intellect to cause that concept to work. (Side note: Another show in the same vein Archer is damn near one of the funniest things on TV right now, with fantastic parody shots at spy and action movies, and the Bond films in particular. You really should give it a shot).

Anywho, thanks to all this, you know when I say that And Then There Were Fewer is easily one of the best things to come out of Family Guy (if not THE best), you know I'm not screwing around. A fantastic note-perfect parody of a very specific type of movie (what kind would technically be a spoiler), which manages to be unique and clever without being full of itself. Bravo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Second Age Reviews: Pink Floyd's The Wall

How does one do this? How does one review The Wall? A review, by definition, must be written as soon after viewing as possible, to ensure that one gives as close an aproximation to your original thoughts as possible. However I'm having trouble collecting my thoughts on The Wall seeing as it fucking BROKE MY MIND!

Any attempt to retell the plot, in any form, is wasted effort as the film's plot is barely comprehensible. It switches between 3 settings and characters, a rapidly burning out rocker, a fascist dictator and a child growing up post-war without a father, loosely connected by actors and intersecting scenes and a series of fantastically drawn and incredibly trippy animated sequences. Is one real, one memory and one hallucination? The film is entirely unconcerned with such a trivial little detail, and essentially goes out of it's way to NOT answer that question. It's ultimately pointless anyway, as in this movie, the plot is most decidedly NOT the point.

But for once when I say the plot isn't the point, it isn't in a cheesy B-Movie “That bit where Bruce Campbell uses a rocket powered chair to kill a mummy is the point” way (anyone who gets that is awesome). No, in this movie, the music is the point. The film proper is adapted very loosely from an album, called The Wall by musicians Pink Floyd, one of the pantheon of 60's rockers who redefined rock.

The idea of using an album to tell a very loose story is not one particularly unique to Pink Floyd; David Bowie did it in his breakout album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, The Kinks told a VERY loose story in their album Arthur or the Fall and Decline of the British Empire. Hell Coheed and Cambria use their entire catalogue to tell a very broad overarching story. The Wall's closest spiritual siblings are Help! by The Beatles and Tommy by The Who. In terms of strictly critical quality, The Wall is not as widely seen as Tommy nor as coherent a story as Help! but I think it's the superior product.

Well that's 4 paragraphs ranting about things that are not, strictly speaking, relevant, but a lot of The Wall is hard for me to review. From a strictly 'what I like' stand-point, the music is bordering on orgasmic. It doesn't use The Beatles technique of having it's actors also be it's musicians, which is good because while The Beatles were (in my opinion) some of the most brilliant musicians who have ever lived, they were none of them great actors. It also avoids the Tommy technique of hiring people who can act well and then forcing them to sing (Sweeney Todd hadn't happened yet, so people hadn't figured out to alter the music to their actors and make it a stylistic choice). This also led to, shall we say, problems. Don't believe me? Go to youtube and look up Jack Nicholson trying to sing Tommy Can You Hear Me. Yeah, that's what I thought.

No, 97 percent of the time, the people on screen aren't even doing the singing. Most of the time the music takes the form of a bombastic narration, lending the extraordinarily surreal scenes some connection. There are only 3 scenes where the characters on screen are the ones doing the singing, 2 if you don't count the chorus, and both of those are clear, if high quality, lip synchs. All of the music is clearly pulled directly off the album the movie is named for, and on that level I need to devote sentence to telling you whether the music is good or not: It's Pink Floyd, what the fuck do you think?

Secure in the knowledge that the music is incredible, the director is free to concentrate on the oft-forgotten technical aspects of a musical. No, not the writing, there's maybe 5 minutes of spoken dialogue in the entire film, and very little of that is consequential; The directing. The camera work is actually excellent, using light and shadow to help underline the increasingly surreal visuals. The costume work is amazing, from the pseudo-Nazi uniforms in the fascist sequences, to the hippy knockoff outfits found in the rocker sequences, to the creepy masks taking front and center in the school sequences, but appearing throughout. All of this is tied together with a clearly dedicated editor and a well used set and prop design.

The animated sequences deserve frank description. Aside from being fantastically trippy and often extremely frightening or unnerving, they are beautifully animated and well placed, serving less as interludes and more as transitions or expositions.

I must say though, the movie is extremely obtuse. I'm on my third viewing and I'm not sure what, if anything, the movie is supposed to be about. But that's not what a review is supposed to talk about (what you're looking for there is an analysis). What a review is supposed to tell you is whether or not you should see it. Well hell yes you should. This is a fantastic film, a high point for rock operas and musicals in general. So what if you don't get it, I still don't entirely understand all the points in The Seventh Seal but that doesn't stop me from seeing it ever October. Plus if you have an insufferable sibling or cousin, who thinks they like musicals after watching High School Musical or is always annoying you with Glee, drop them down in front of this. See how long they last.

Next on Second Age Reviews: Poltergeist

Elessar is a 20 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he's finished his meat; can he have some pudding now?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shite

Yeah, yeah, got The Wall tonight, come back tomorrow morning for the review, but I was wandering around looking for info on that new Zack Snyder thing Sucker Punch and well, I read this:

"In early interviews, Snyder stated that he will make Sucker Punch! an R-rated film, but in a recent interview he then stated that he is aiming for it to be rated a PG-13."





Well...

Shit.

You have a movie about fetishized girl-dolls (and that's what they are, let's not pretend otherwise) trying to escape from an insane asylum with a fantasy world devoted to sword fights, machine guns and dragons and you want it to be rated PG-13.

Yeah, no.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Paradox of Obama

Obama took over a country in need of a leader, in need of someone strong and forceful, but also calm and collected, an intelligent warrior if you will. He needed to be strong enough to push through what needed to be done, regardless of how the people felt. When a similar problem was rearing it's head, George HW Bush (Bush the first) broke a campaign promise and raised taxes, because it was the right thing for the country and showed true leadership, even though it cost him a second term. Obama didn't need to worry about that, he's a democrat; We don't punish our leaders for doing the right thing.

But therein lies the problem. With a country in crisis and in need of leader, his entire political opposition stood together, not to help him rebuild our shattered nation or to add their own ideas to the mix, but with their sole agenda being to tear him down, to stop him. It didn't matter to them if the nation suffered while they pursued their agenda. And for it, they were rewarded by the people who booed John McCain when he defended Obama, who bring rifles to town halls, to shout about rebellion against the democratically elected president.

The Tea Party was built on these people and the fact that they have political clout has me terrified. As I said, nothing at all will get done these next two years, no significant bills passed or changes made, nothing to help fix the country. They have already promised that Obama's budget is "dead on arrival" regardless of what it contains. That screams to me everything wrong with the movement and the politicians it put into office. "It doesn't matter what he does, so long as it's him doing it, I'll vote against it." These are the men and women this election swept into office.

This is the paradox. He could be too forceful, or risk offending these people but he needed to be forceful to get anything done. He wanted to work with them, to have them help him rebuild this nation. He didn't know that simply what he is, what race he is, meant that there was always going to be a contingent that would never go along with him, no matter how logical or forceful he was. Sometimes I wonder, when I watch him on TV, if he's afraid that if he pushes too hard some idiots will attack him or try to start off a rebellion. There were two assassination attempts foiled before the election was even over; Did that effect his decision making?

Now it appears he wasn't forceful enough, as his power is greatly reduced, and it's unlikely anything will get accomplished now (though at least the upper class tax cuts will expire). In trying to keep from offending these people, he lost his chance to do some good.

It's times like these that I ask myself that immortal question:


What would Horatio Alger do in this situation?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Results(ish)

So it's 11 PM and it's time for the penguin on top of your television set to expl... So it's 11 PM and the results are mostly in. Looks like the Republicans are gonna take the House, but the Democrats are gonna hold the Senate. Which is exactly what we'd need to get even LESS accomplished then we did over the last 2 years.

Sigh. On the plus side, Linda McMahon is out (she was up in CT, IE where I vote) as is Christine "I'm not a witch but masterbation is against God" O'Donnell. So not a lot to be happy about...

But The Wall is this thursday, and The Promise and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood are out in 2 weeks. So that should keep me from getting TOO depressed.

More in depth political commentary tomorrow.

Today

What are you doing here? It's election day. Go vote. I don't care who you vote for, just go do it. Nothing entertaining is happening here today.

(Readers not in the United States, please disregard).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Latest Attempt

I'm a firm believer of knowing what you hate, partially so you can bitch more knowledgeably, but also because the things you thought you hated might surprise you (See: Hellraiser). This is why I've watched the Platinum Dunes remakes of...well just Texas Chainsaw and Friday the 13th, but isn't that enough. This is why I struggled through 2 1/2 PAINFUL hours of Transformers 2. And this is why, every so often, I am seized by the desire to struggle through the Twilight novels.

It never goes well. I've never actually made it all the way through an entire one of the books, for reasons that are obvious if you've ever read the fucking things.

Anywho, it's time for me to try again. I can't promise I'll get through these with any speed, or at all. I might give up by the time class is out tomorrow. But if I finish any, I'll be sure to blog about it, book by book.

But only if I can get enough Joan Jett to counteract the subtext.