I just saw Inglourious Basterds and I think I might be a little bit traumatized.

(I mean, the most sympathetic character in the film is plotting mass murder... but that's not new for Tarantino. Neither is the unbearably tense ensemble scene, like the one in the basement. Finally, Christoph Waltz is definitely number one with a bullet for Best Supporting Actor.)

Valentine's Day seems to be the day on which the majority of my acquaintance gets all emo for one reason or another, so I thought I would post a really cool animation which is also one of the strangest and most disturbing things I've ever seen. It's, um, not emo. Might be more appropriate, in its way, for Easter, though. (No, still not then. Not appropriate for anything, probably.)

To clean your brain (and for a real Valentine present), check out the teaser trailer for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. (via [livejournal.com profile] beatnikside.)

It's amazing how nearly-accurate a pastiche this is. Probably the most accurate part is the "hallway scene" with the heart attack. With regard to other elements, I think that the video seems a little later than 1984... a few more posts coming up for contrast.

It's also amazing -- almost annoying -- how catchy a synthpop track this is! I bet you could play it at an 80s night at a club, between Duran Duran and Erasure, and nobody who didn't know it would immediately recognize it as a fake.

Made of Win

Dec. 8th, 2007 08:11 am
I need this as an animated icon.

Oh, you'll see.
verbminx: (intense fragility)
We went to see Control tonight & I should really write a longer entry about it, but not right now. (I mean, look at the time: I still need to take a shower and finish with my laundry.) The short review of Control: you already know how it ends, a surprising level of mordant wit is displayed in getting there, and the performances are spot-on, although Samantha Morton looked about a decade too old for her role. Since the film is very, very good, I'll just give you the following, and maybe one more when I do get around to writing more about it & about the general weirdness of the evening....

The pop-up scrolling thumbnail menu has lots of other excerpts, which should give you a pretty good idea of why this movie is widely regarded as both creepy and awesome. Also, watch this for extra credit.
Man, this movie was just... weird. There were some things I thought they handled well, some things that I thought could have been handled better, and, in general, kind of a disjointed feel. I can't decide whether I think it's awesome or awful, and I think it might be a bit of both.

I knew about some of the film's events because I have a copy of a script that was circulating the internet last summer, and was confirmed genuine - BUT an early draft - by one of the writers. I think the majority of the stuff stayed in the film, but the outcome is different.

major spoilers ahoy. )

I'm not going to tell you whether or not to go see it, I'm just going to say that it probably isn't exactly what you're expecting, based both on the two previous films and on other films of its type. If you do go see it, WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE CREDITS FOR THE "HIDDEN" SCENE. It's actually important to the plot, rather than just being a cute little easter egg. Then come back and read my list of points here, or go read [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's.
We saw Zodiac on Saturday night... I thought it was really good. I've found the case interesting enough over the years that I've watched a handful of specials about it, so I knew some things about it, including who the "best suspect" is. If the actual perp is still alive, he would almost certainly be an elderly man, now; the killings happened almost 40 years ago, and they didn't think the killer was particularly young at the time. The best suspect is dead and some other interesting ones have been behind bars for a while.

Can you handle the movie? The murder scenes are graphic but not gory, and anyway, Zodiac wasn't really a mutilator or torturer, as serial killers go... heck, he wasn't even particularly careful about making sure his victims died, so several survived. There are scenes of enormous dread in the movie, even if you are familiar with the facts of the case... you never know how much will be fictionalized! Towards the end, the tension was nauseating, which happens to me very rarely in movies. (My mom came with me and Tom, and almost walked out at one point, during which there was no gore whatsoever, just this sense of terrible dread.) There are no big shocks, though. Nothing jumps out at you during those moments of dread, as might happen in a horror movie, and all of the onscreen killings happen pretty early in the film. There are no autopsy scenes, as you might expect from police procedurals dealing with serial killers. It's pretty tame in what it shows, but enormously frightening in what it suggests, which is a serial killer intentionally without method who likes to play games with the press and police.

I loved Robert Downey Jr as Paul Avery, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle who wrote extensively about the case as it was happening. The screenplay is great - the scary scenes are scary, but there are other scenes, through the course of the investigation, and as the investigators and journalists play off each other, that are hilarious, handled with great comic timing.

Zodiac as a case, to me, isn't creepy so much because of the murders themselves, which were fairly straightforward (shootings, stabbings), but because of how much he liked to mess with the press, fomenting hysteria, and because of the complex ciphers he created. I can't be the only geek in the audience who gave an appreciable sigh of recognition every time the book The Code-Breakers came onscreen. In fact, it seems apparent that the fictionalized version of Robert Graysmith became as obsessed with the case as he did precisely because he was a puzzle buff. In real life? I'd have to know Robert Graysmith.

(Incidentally, as a puzzle buff, I have to say... I hate trying to decode ciphers. Encoding them is, to me, a ton of fun, as is learning about the mechanics of encoding various ciphers, but frequency analysis and all the associated mathification is no fun at all.)

Anyway, I don't know if you want to see ZODIAC, but if you're interested, it's very well-done and not a waste of time at all.

one minor spoilery thing. )

klaus nomi

Nov. 26th, 2006 11:03 am
I've heard of Klaus Nomi, and knew some stuff about him (from seeing the website I'm linking here when the film first came out_, but never heard his music; this is odd, as I love both new wave synth music and countertenors. None of my close friends have ever been into him.

Anyway, I just saw part of The Nomi Song - wow!

But the library doesn't have any of his cds. Boo. Poor Klaus.
What do you know - it's the 100 "V" March.
So, all I'm gonna say is that some of you probably totally want this

Snakes on a Plane Audience Participation Script.

(The two lines that got me were, "Then why are you trying to FUCK me like a surfer?!" and "Cages are for criminals! They've done nothing wrong!")

("Red Bull gives you wiiii-- never mind!" is also pretty good.)
Why does everyone have a Happy Meal Johnny Depp ragdoll but me?
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but almost all of the pop-culture LJ icons that I have and actually use are funny, or at least trying to be.

So, does anyone know of any V for Vendetta icons that are humorous or silly?

C has made some lovely icons over at [livejournal.com profile] masquerade_arts, but they are serious.
There are also THESE at [livejournal.com profile] hoivenicons, but only the first one is the sort of thing I'm looking for.

I'm not having much luck with google searches... there's not enough out there yet, and it hasn't been out there for long enough.
As you may have noticed, I have been lousy at avoiding the internet this past week. So I'm going to keep attempting to avoid it until I'm successful for a bit. Today, the news was the reason I wanted to go online.

We watched The Interpreter earlier, and it was better than I expected, and pretty interesting, but while addressing tons of issues there are plenty, particularly implicit issues of race, which it did not address much (except in the caption of Zuwanie's childhood photo). Still, a decent mystery/political-thriller.

Some links and stuff for you:

Colette Calascione - not as weird as Ray Caesar or Mark Ryden, but some pop-surrealism commonalities. Really nice art. On the other hand, she seems to still be pretty young, probably in her early 30s, and I think her painting style will become more refined with time. It's good now. (via Neatorama.)

After "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, The Prologue by Jeff Wall - depicts a scene from... well, you guess. Amazing image. Over 1000 lightbulbs, just like in the book. (via something or other, maybe Neatorama as well.)

Aquarabbit - Delicately stitched and painted art by Dana Robson, featuring bunnies, hedgehogs, squirrels, skies, and stars. (via a comment on Apartment Therapy.)

There were some interesting articles, too, but hey, nothing I can do about a browser crash.
Oh, I just got back from the free preview of Aeon Flux. We didn't think it boded well that they chose 10PM the night before the actual opening for the preview; at the same time, they were checking for cellphone cameras at the door! (Normally, a last-minute or nonexistant preview means a studio is trying to keep there from being much word-of-mouth so they'll have a decent opening weekend before anyone discovers what a stinker the movie is.) I have a stone-age cellphone, because we were way too cheap to get cameras when we got new phones 2 yrs ago; I therefore had no problems. But Dara had to go back to his car before he could get in. We had passes for 6 and only 4 ppl, so we gave one of our 2-person passes to a guy who really wanted to see the movie but didn't have a pass himself.

The movie is... hm. I think there will be people who like it and people who don't. no real spoilers in this commentary. )

Aargh, my paid account apparently just expired.
(ETA - awww, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] suburbangoth for reupping me a few months! I wasn't begging, just noting that I couldn't get to the icon I meant to use for this post. But I am super-duper-appreciative. :)
Yeah, so I got a wild hair to read some Keats. (or is that a wild hare?)
As if that weren't bad enough, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" just made me cry.
I think I might as well just turn in my Punk Card now, give away all my skull-and-crossbone jewelry, etc.

Um, let's see. I'm feeling better tonight, in that I haven't thrown up in my mouth at all today. (This sets me well ahead of last night.) Still have the evil sinus headache and stiff back. Before bed last night I watched The Cat Returns, which is cute and charming but slight: a Ghibli production, but not Miyazaki. Tonight is Pabst's Pandora's Box. It's silent, so I will have to pay attention to it and probably not work on anything else at the same time.

I finished my Sueet bag last night; now I just have to line it. It was a pain in the butt until the very last stitch. Tonight I finished a ribbon scarf; the ribbon is called India, but I don't recall who made it. Maybe Lana Grossa? My mom suggested wearing it with a turtleneck, which is all well and good, except that I don't look good in turtlenecks (too much boobage, it's unflattering), so I don't even own one anymore. So no idea what I will do with the little scarf; may gift it to someone.

I'm going to keep finishing unfinished projects until I'm caught up. I have a hat to knit for my mom, a mitten to make for myself (for which I need to remember the stitch pattern I used at the wrist), and a sweater to finish, and then I think I'm good to start on new projects.
We saw Corpse Bride earlier tonight... it was good, but not especially distinctive, especially in the inevitable comparison to Nightmare Before Christmas. May not be fair, because the older movie is a lot more of a fable. The newer one is probably plotted more tightly, albeit predictably. It isn't as cute and cartoony as the previous movie - a lot of Burton's characteristic visual flourishes are missing, but he's been moving away from them for years. (What I mean is: no longer does every point turn into a spiral curl.)
lots of details, no story spoilers past the first 15 minutes. )

Now I've said the bad things - these are pretty much the ONLY things I didn't like about the movie; I will totally want a copy when it comes out on DVD and I'll probably try to see it in the theater as many times as I can. Two things I especially liked: the first scene with Scraps, and the first scene with the Elder.
So the Lost premiere was Wednesday night... Lost spoilers )

We didn't really love Invasion, but we'll probably watch it a few more times. There was a lot about hurricanes that they got wrong just in that first episode. Not terribly exciting, and feels a little low-budget when shown just after Lost, which clearly has higher production values and a more epic, filmed look to it.

Reunion makes me want to eat my own eyeballs; I'm glad Alias will be starting next week, along with Night Stalker, giving me an excuse not to watch it. The suspense is developed very cheaply and poorly on Reunion and the historical setting is only hinted-at. I've seen the first few episodes and I'm more pissed off by the amateur storytelling tricks than in suspense about what they're hiding from me. (I'm irritated that they're hiding it from me. It's lame to have something happening and have everyone but the audience know, because that's the only way you can maintain audience suspense and therefore interest. They don't have superior characterization, good production values, or a compelling story, so they're resorting to a flashback-laden murder investigation in which we don't actually get to know who's dead.)

Criminal Minds is OK, but on Wednesdays at 9PM, I think it's probably doomed (opposite Lost AND Veronica Mars - the latter of which has low ratings but a growing following that the network has taken great care to build over the summer). It's a "quality" show about a behavioral profiler; it somehow professes to be groundbreaking, but is just like any other show you've ever seen about an FBI profiler. Good characters/acting/production/writing, but nothing special.

Within another week or two I will have tried all the new shows I'm going to try, and probably settled into a routine of watching almost nothing, maybe 3 shows a week at most.

Also watched The Transporter last night. Several reviews referred to it as ludicrous, and they were right. It was a lot of fun, but very silly. I was rambling off my questions about the plot to Tom maybe 3/4 of the way through. "So, who arranged to have Lai kidnapped? Her dad or her dad's business partner? What were they going to do with her, scare her? How did they know that Frank had 'opened the package' when he delivered it? Was the suitcase wired with a remote bomb so they COULD blow him up IF he had 'opened the package' - which they planned to figure out later? Or was it just set to go off either way?"

Finally he smiled, and piped up, "There are fight scenes!" ;)
The Cat in the Hat is on. It's pretty awful, but that's no surprise.

We finished NausicaƤ the other night... it was OK. As I said the other day, I think Miyazaki has tackled the same themes better... it's basically Princess Mononoke with a small element of Spirited Away at the end. But it's not like NausicaƤ is "bad" or anything. It's over 20 years old, and I just didn't like it as much as the more recent stuff. Will get around to reading the manga someday.

T.'s birthday is this week, and next weekend is his last day at his current job. At the new job, he'll work a normal schedule and have weekends off, which we are both very happy about.

I have been reading a lot. Currently in the middle of Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail, which is a lot of fun - if kind of meandering in terms of structure (so far). Have been reading Caitlin R. Kiernan's A Murder of Angels. It's the sequel to Silk & helps explain exactly what was going on in that book (which I liked, when I read it 7-8 years ago, but the last quarter or so confused me). However, now I'm at a point where I probably need to reread Silk so that this book will be less confusing.

I think I might need to acquire one of those cooling pads for laptop computers - my computer has been overheating a lot in the last few months. It shuts down after maybe two hours of normal use, a lot less if I am trying to update my iPod or use the cd drive. I can make it better by turning a fan on it, and by putting cds under it on my lap desk (although, when I do that, it slides around, of course). Anyone have any experience with them?



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