drpaisley: (cock)
Ah, the holidays. No snowpocalype this year, which is fine by me. A whole two days of work this week, and yesterday's really kicked my butt. Today will, ideally, be calmer. In the meantime, some music.


1) Bone Machine (feat. Ryann Donnelly), Harvey Danger

2) Say What You Mean, Jordan O'Connor

3) Rei do Mundo, Flu

4) Eurotrash Girl, Cracker/Leftover Salmon

5) I May Smoke Too Much, Todd Snider

6) Prince and the Band, Prince (Live at Coachella Disc 1)

7) Free Love Messes Up My Life, Bongwater

8) New Feeling, Talking Heads (7/8/79, Nihan Seinenkan, Tokyo, Japan)

9) I Got The News, Steely Dan

10) Up And Down, Nobodys


plus


11) Dream Lover, Roy Buchanan (Grand Emporium Kansas City Missouri August 2, 1985)

12) Can You Promise Me The Sky Won't Fall On Us, The Very Sexuals

13) Body & Soul, Coleman Hawkins


Saw The Hobbit: The Fandom Menace Wednesday with the ladies and Adam Reuter and his lovely wife Leslie. The higher frame rate didn't bother me particularly, and was only occasionally noticeable to me. The scenery was lovely, as always, and while I have to agree with Ol'Doc Kessel that the fight scenes did seem to run on a bit, and seem way to reminiscent of the earlier/later films, it was an enjoyable three hours. And I must say I was impressed with the writers managing to combine The Davinci Code, The Fugitive and Batman into one character. Am I the only person who has realized that Attack of the Orcs will be a Star Trek crossover?

Everyone have a good New Year's Eve, and we'll see y'all on the flip side.
drpaisley: (Default)
Thanks to the wonders of fandom, NPulsifer, Rohanna and I were part of a sneak for "Legion" at the spiffy new AMC Wonder Theater downtown. There were a number of good things: the concession stand carries real beer and wine (though they were out of both bratwursts and Polish when I was there, and I wasn't willing to wait 10 minutes for the next batch). The seating was excellent, with good legroom and a footrest bar. The seats themselves were very comfortable, and had the "Buttkicker" subwoofers in them to enhance the cinematic experience. Overall, the place is very impressive.

After previews for "Iron Man 2: The Ironing,"* "The A-Team,"** and some other films that I have already forgotten, the feature began. I'm afraid they don't have enough beer in the whole complex to make "Legion" palatable. The effects have their moments (the foulmouthed old lady doing the Spider-Man impression is fun), but otherwise this is a sad and silly bit of hackwork, devoid of any redeeming value. As NPulsifer said on the way home, "If you stumbled onto this on HBO, would you watch it to the end? No."

I'm sure there's a theology student out there who can take apart the Biblical butchery of the story, but the Michael and Gabriel interaction had more than a whiff of "Brokeback Heaven"*** to it, and the "Dad always liked you best" ending was mildly amusing, if only because the deus ex machina was an actual deus ex machina! I don't want my two hours back, but it was close. To paraphrase Monty Python, "This is not a movie for watching, this is a movie for lying down and avoiding."



*I am hereby copyrighting, trademarking and otherwise claiming that line for me, damnit! And yes, I have a flag.

**Why? Why? Why? What the hell is wrong with everyone involved in this?

***that one's NPulsifer's; credit where credit is due
drpaisley: (Default)
I am free of the tyranny of work until next year, as of 1.30 today. To celebrate, we used the two AMC Gold Passes (good even when they say "no passes") Rohanna got from her boss to experience Avatar in IMAX 3D LSMFT OMGWTFBBQKTHXBAI. We were joined at the Barry Roads facility by the lovely and talented Ken Chalker, who was off with the ladies getting food when the ad for census workers came on during the interminable pre-movie infomercial.

As for the previews, I want to see Alice in Wonderland (and just when I didn't think Anne Hathaway (scroll down) could be any hotter, they made her the White Queen), and I do not want to see whatever the film is that stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz (in the opening bit, she walks into him at an airport, and says "Sorry I didn't see you," to which I added, "Because you're so short!"). If they had added Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey to the cast, it would have only been marginally less appealing to me.

Then we put the goggles on, and saw more previews, of an IMAX 3D Hubble movie which I must see, Shrek 43 or somesuch (which I don't), along with others I don't remember. Then, at last, the movie. Short version: it's beautiful, a technological tour de force. While occasionally some of the the 3D stuff didn't seem quite right, it was very rare, and overall it was an amazing achievement, especially the little details drifting around that looked like you could reach out and touch them, as well as the live/CGI interaction. I thought that the Avatar of Sam Worthington looked more like Brendan Fraser, but after seeing the credits I could easily match up most of the Na'vi with the actors who provided the motion capture. Certainly the perpetual twleve-year-olds looking for cool visuals, lots of 'splody and alien chicks with cute tits will be happy.

As for the story, well, let's just say James Cameron has surpassed George Lucas as the director who should never be allowed to write a script. Ham-handed, cliché-riddled steaming pile doesn't begin to describe it (and I'm not going to even get into the whole "white savior" thing, obvious though it was*). I really wanted to immerse myself in the film, but the planet-sized plot holes kept dragging me back to reality. While I am sure this will be on the Hugo ballot and might even win, all the talk of Oscars for anything but effects is ludicrous. I will vote for District 9, Up and Moon over this lump.

I do recommend seeing it, for the riide, and the battle scenes, and in general just to be aware of how good movies can look. Someday all this tech will be used with a good story, well told and acted. I hope.

Update: Here's an excellent discussion of the issue, for those interested.
drpaisley: (Default)
Rohanna and I went to a sneak of District 9* this evening, where we encountered a goodly number of KaCSFFS members and other fans. Good conversations were had with kcrisenphoenix and his lovely daughter Jayli (who is not 25, no matter what her driver's license says), club Director Tim Keltner (whose two children are also far too old) and Jan Gephardt and her son Ty, who is learning the realities of student slum housing in Columbia. After issues which I will discuss shortly, we made it into the theatre and waited for the film.

The only preview shown was for Zombieland, a comedy with Michael Cera and Woody Harrelson. It looks dumb, but in a reasonably good way. Then, after an unintentionally ironic warning to turn off cell phones, the film. It starts out as a documentary, looking into the fate of Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a corporate drone put in charge of the relocation of the "prawns,"** aliens who spaceship conked out above Johannesburg some 28 years prior to the start of the film. The prawns were removed from the ship, and placed in a "temporary refugee" camp that quickly turned into an internment facility. Growing problems have led the government to farm out the eviction/relocation process to MNU, a huge private army. Wikus is an almost stereotypical bumbling bureaucrat who is shoved into a situation far beyond his ability to cope. And then the cat food really hits the fan.

Director and co-writer Neill Blomkamp has used his own experiences living in post-aparthied South Africa to take what should have been an incredibly cliched mediocrity and turn it into a stunning film. By and large, the human characters are barely sketched out, but the breakneck pace and attention to detail concerning the aliens keeps the cardboard from overwhelming the story. Copley, a first-time actor, does an incredible job of giving Wikus a truly human center as he goes from Mr. Bean manqué to terrified victim to something like a hero.

This is, in sum, a very good film, genre or otherwise. I recommend it highly, and it's currently Number One on my Hugo nomination list for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

But. There was this one little problem. We got in line at 6.15 (Tim was kind enough to let us in with him), and the line began moving a bit after 7p, but in fits and starts. When we got around the corner and closer to the entrance, we discovered why. Security was wanding everyone entering, and taking photography-enabled cell phones and keeping them for the duration of the film (they were put in bags with dual tickets attached, one on the bag, one for the patron). The people doing the dirty work were quite up-front about why they were doing this–it was a requirement by Sony for showing the sneak. Additionally, the security guys occasionally wandered across the center aisle and stood in the corners looking for signs of illicit video activity. It certainly set the tone for the whole security and internment feeling of the film, though I'm fairly certain this was a bug, not a feature.

So I'm somewhat torn. On the one hand, I want this film to do well. On the other, I am tempted to suggest for a boycott, with calls and emals to the theatres and distributors, explaining that if they're going to invite people to come see a movie in the hopes the viewers will like it and tell all their Pretend Internet Friends, treating the people who show up like criminals is not the best way to make a good first impression. I was not rude or obnoxious to the theatre security people; they were just doing their job (although, as I pointed out to Ro on the drive home, that's the attitude that leads to people who can and will do anything if it's an order from the boss).

I've been to a lot of screenings over the years, many at that particular filmplex, and never run into that before. It was a bit jarring, but I didn't hesitate in going along with it, because I wanted to see the film, and I certainly wasn't going to be able to afford to see it otherwise. Was it worth the ritual humiliation? Definitely (though it did stick in my craw(fish)). But at some point something's going to have to be done abut these chickenshits and their fear of losing money to a cellphone capture posted online.


*The website is quite well done, with an extended trailer, then a guided tour run by MNU with human and prawn options. Worth checking out.

**As a measure of how fully the film enveloped me, it wasn't until I was writing this that the Blazing Saddles line "Mongo only p(r)awn in game of life" occured to me.
drpaisley: (Big O'Pimpin')
We went to see Coraline this afternoon with Rohanna's 10 and 7 year old grandkids. We chose the 3D showing just 'cause, and kept the spiffy new glasses (since they charged us $2 apiece for them). I read the book Friday at work, so I had it fresh in my mind, and was ready to see what changes were made in the transition.

While a number of details were altered, and a new character added, the film was quite faithful to the original story. The animation company, Laika Entertainment, did a fine job of visualizing the world Neil created, and its doppelgänger space on the other side of the door. The voice talent was uniformly excellent, and the casting of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as the retired actresses was just brilliant. The biggest disappointment I had was in the climax of the film, which threw in a totally unnecessary rescue of Coraline by Wybie just to get a bit of "action" in.

Overall, I recommend Coraline very highly to everyone. It's definitely a kid-friendly film. If you have the option, do see it in 3D.
drpaisley: (Big O'Pimpin')
We went to see Coraline this afternoon with Rohanna's 10 and 7 year old grandkids. We chose the 3D showing just 'cause, and kept the spiffy new glasses (since they charged us $2 apiece for them). I read the book Friday at work, so I had it fresh in my mind, and was ready to see what changes were made in the transition.

While a number of details were altered, and a new character added, the film was quite faithful to the original story. The animation company, Laika Entertainment, did a fine job of visualizing the world Neil created, and its doppelgänger space on the other side of the door. The voice talent was uniformly excellent, and the casting of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as the retired actresses was just brilliant. The biggest disappointment I had was in the climax of the film, which threw in a totally unnecessary rescue of Coraline by Wybie just to get a bit of "action" in.

Overall, I recommend Coraline very highly to everyone. It's definitely a kid-friendly film. If you have the option, do see it in 3D.
drpaisley: (siegfried attacks!)
Work has actually been involving work this week, to the point of overtime even, and between that and the craptacular weather we've had this week I have not yet posted my thoughts on the re-make of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." I figure I should do so before it all fades into the æther.



Cut for the fins and moonroof )
In short, I would not recommed seeing this film without paying as little as possible and/or being under the influence of mind-altering substances. This could have been a timely updating of a classic movie, with the aliens bringing a warning of the consequences of humanity's continued destruction of Earth. Instead it's a poorly-written waste of CGI and actors. Even Rohanna's 10-year-old grandson wasn't that impressed with it (from the ads, he had thought it would have more action and general splodiness). If it serves as an excuse to get other half-assed remakes cancelled, at least one good thing will have come of this mess.
drpaisley: (siegfried attacks!)
Work has actually been involving work this week, to the point of overtime even, and between that and the craptacular weather we've had this week I have not yet posted my thoughts on the re-make of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." I figure I should do so before it all fades into the æther.



Cut for the fins and moonroof )
In short, I would not recommed seeing this film without paying as little as possible and/or being under the influence of mind-altering substances. This could have been a timely updating of a classic movie, with the aliens bringing a warning of the consequences of humanity's continued destruction of Earth. Instead it's a poorly-written waste of CGI and actors. Even Rohanna's 10-year-old grandson wasn't that impressed with it (from the ads, he had thought it would have more action and general splodiness). If it serves as an excuse to get other half-assed remakes cancelled, at least one good thing will have come of this mess.
drpaisley: (siegfried attacks!)
Watchmen Trailer:






Please?
drpaisley: (siegfried attacks!)
Watchmen Trailer:






Please?
drpaisley: (balrog butt)
Quick review: "You cannot lower your expectations enough." [/James Earl Jones voice].

Can't say I was surprised, I gave up on giving Steve and George any money. But I did notice an oddity, the sound kept dropping off every so often. Apparently, this was not a bug, but a "theft-deterring" feature. Right.

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/05/28/paramount-silencing.html

Fucking brilliant, guys. That'll get people into theatres to see colostomy bags like that film.
drpaisley: (balrog butt)
Quick review: "You cannot lower your expectations enough." [/James Earl Jones voice].

Can't say I was surprised, I gave up on giving Steve and George any money. But I did notice an oddity, the sound kept dropping off every so often. Apparently, this was not a bug, but a "theft-deterring" feature. Right.

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/05/28/paramount-silencing.html

Fucking brilliant, guys. That'll get people into theatres to see colostomy bags like that film.

Jumper

Feb. 17th, 2008 05:08 pm
drpaisley: (Default)
So Rohanna and I made it to Jumper this afternoon, once the snow ended and it was deterimined the roads were not bad, at least in midtown. It was entertaining, and I certainly wasn't wanting my $4 back (yay, Cinemark Merriam for real matinee prices!)

Review, with spoilers (and a hemi!) below. )

I'd say go see it, cheap. Support Steve Gould, who wrote the novel (now I have to dig it out and read it, to see just how different it is from the film product). It's fast-paced, amusing and the effects are quite entertaining.

Jumper

Feb. 17th, 2008 05:08 pm
drpaisley: (Default)
So Rohanna and I made it to Jumper this afternoon, once the snow ended and it was deterimined the roads were not bad, at least in midtown. It was entertaining, and I certainly wasn't wanting my $4 back (yay, Cinemark Merriam for real matinee prices!)

Review, with spoilers (and a hemi!) below. )

I'd say go see it, cheap. Support Steve Gould, who wrote the novel (now I have to dig it out and read it, to see just how different it is from the film product). It's fast-paced, amusing and the effects are quite entertaining.
drpaisley: (Default)
The KaCSFFS movie pimpette, Conbarbie, blessed the group with a link to passes for a sneak of "Sweeney Todd." And so Rohanna, Dragonet and I trekked out to south suburbia this evening to take advantage of the opportunity, joined on site by the lovely Gay Phoenix.

Now, you have to understand that I generally do not like musicals. I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for the wildest of science fiction speculations, but the idea that two people can be walking down an ordinary street, start singing, and be joined by hundreds of other folks pouring out of every available orifice of the surrounding buildings to recap the current plot point in song and dance, only to have said mob disappear as the last notes fall, and the characters go on as if nothing has happened–not so much. I do like some musicals: All that Jazz, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Plan Nine from Outer Space (the Musical). Just not many. So I'd never seen the source material here.

I had a great time. The story was told with skill, the songs were well-written, and the cast, particularly the two leads (Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter*), sang competently at the minimum. The gore was so over the top it just became funny after a while. Definitely a date movie. Just ask Li'l Fearless.



*Also, mmmm, Helena Bonham Carter. Would I leave Emma Thompson for her? No, that's what poly is for!
drpaisley: (Default)
The KaCSFFS movie pimpette, Conbarbie, blessed the group with a link to passes for a sneak of "Sweeney Todd." And so Rohanna, Dragonet and I trekked out to south suburbia this evening to take advantage of the opportunity, joined on site by the lovely Gay Phoenix.

Now, you have to understand that I generally do not like musicals. I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for the wildest of science fiction speculations, but the idea that two people can be walking down an ordinary street, start singing, and be joined by hundreds of other folks pouring out of every available orifice of the surrounding buildings to recap the current plot point in song and dance, only to have said mob disappear as the last notes fall, and the characters go on as if nothing has happened–not so much. I do like some musicals: All that Jazz, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Plan Nine from Outer Space (the Musical). Just not many. So I'd never seen the source material here.

I had a great time. The story was told with skill, the songs were well-written, and the cast, particularly the two leads (Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter*), sang competently at the minimum. The gore was so over the top it just became funny after a while. Definitely a date movie. Just ask Li'l Fearless.



*Also, mmmm, Helena Bonham Carter. Would I leave Emma Thompson for her? No, that's what poly is for!
drpaisley: (Default)
Gosh, I gotta post more often, or something.

1. Promised You A Miracle (12" Mix), Simple Minds

2. Life Is Good, Los Lobos

3. In the Middle, In the Middle, In the Middle, TMBG

4. Summertime Rolls, Jane's Addiction

5. Oi Frango, Super Furry Animals*

6. Spoonman, Soundgarden

7. F.M., Steely Dan

8. Cry Me A River, Richard Thompson (Judith Owen, vocals)**

9. Watch Me Fall, Uncle Tupelo

10. Dead Horse, Robin Holcomb

Bonus round:

11. Motorcycle, Love & Rockets

12. Know Your Rights, The Clash

13. I'm Not Satisfied, Fine Young Cannibals

*From the excellent album Love Kraft

**From the "1000 Years of Popular Music" album


And the morning paper has an ad for "The Last Legion," featuring a centurion wielding Excalibur and billed as "The Untold Beginning of the King Arthur Legend." WTF? Starring Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley and Ashiwarya Rai (Bollywood actress of the "Hotty Damn McHott Hott school). If this film were a baby, I think leaving it on a hillside at birth would have been the appropriate course of action.
drpaisley: (Default)
Gosh, I gotta post more often, or something.

1. Promised You A Miracle (12" Mix), Simple Minds

2. Life Is Good, Los Lobos

3. In the Middle, In the Middle, In the Middle, TMBG

4. Summertime Rolls, Jane's Addiction

5. Oi Frango, Super Furry Animals*

6. Spoonman, Soundgarden

7. F.M., Steely Dan

8. Cry Me A River, Richard Thompson (Judith Owen, vocals)**

9. Watch Me Fall, Uncle Tupelo

10. Dead Horse, Robin Holcomb

Bonus round:

11. Motorcycle, Love & Rockets

12. Know Your Rights, The Clash

13. I'm Not Satisfied, Fine Young Cannibals

*From the excellent album Love Kraft

**From the "1000 Years of Popular Music" album


And the morning paper has an ad for "The Last Legion," featuring a centurion wielding Excalibur and billed as "The Untold Beginning of the King Arthur Legend." WTF? Starring Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley and Ashiwarya Rai (Bollywood actress of the "Hotty Damn McHott Hott school). If this film were a baby, I think leaving it on a hillside at birth would have been the appropriate course of action.

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