Tuesday, June 28, 2005

the Dark Knight returns!

Saw BATMAN on Friday - it is brilliant! Only two critical comments - fight sequences shot REMARKABLY poorly, especially considering who you've got to work with (Christian Bale of EQUILIBRIUM! =) and the nature of the character (BATMAN!) - and well, the weak link of the casting... Katie Holmes, in, as far as I know, her last pre-scientological role. A sad last non-cult-indoctrinated career gasp, altho I suppose the role itself didn't have all that much to it to begin with. I honestly don't remember a Rachel Dawes from any of my BATMAN reading, but I hafta admit I've got a lot of gaps in my knowledge of Batman mythology.

I SUSPECT most of this origin story is taken from a graphic novel called SON OF THE DEMON, but I'm not certain. I don't know that I love the idea that he was exclusively one guy's apprentice. I've always like the idea that he travelled the world to learn from the greatest minds and masters of the modern age - thieves, assassins, fighters, detectives, policemen, lawmen. A lot of kickass heroic types, dark and not-so-dark, including Samurai Jack, actually borrow from that idea of training, or rather, follow the same path. The Batman mythology ultimately probably lifts, knowingly or not, from some ancient text about some legendary figure.

I can't remember now the name of the opera that they're attending when his parents get killed, but I wish I knew better its significance, for a connection to his life. I THOUGHT it was "derfledermaus" (or however that's spelt - which I think translates into "The Bat"), but I'm pretty sure that's not what was credited at the end, though. I think it was something about a descent into hell (Faust? - a deal w the devil?), which also works, but y'know, not being an opera-goer, doesn't ring any particular opera bells for me. But then, maybe that would be TOO "comic booky," to connect the opera/story to his life in a literal or parallel way, and this movie wants to stay away from that feeling?

In most of the tellings of his origin, it's a movie - ZORRO. How perfect is that? =)

The cave of bats, and the swarming bats themselves, were done really well.

I was SO pleased when Gary Oldman's cop was called Gordon in the flashback.

I'm a little sad that the movie got such an AMAZING cast together but also such an aged one. I'm concerned about how many movies we'll get to see this Lucius Fox, Alfred Pennyworth, and even Ras Al Gul in, y'know? I WANT this BATMAN "franchise" to go on for a good long run.

Would LOVE to see a real and true and well done crossover with a Superman movie.

This was the most non-superhero superhero movie I've ever seen. It makes sense that it would be Batman that would accomplish that, tho, as he's "just a man," without any true superhuman powers. But, y'know, this movie could've been made with no mention or reference to Batman, substitute a few things here and there, and just created a new...I dunno...a sort of dark Indiana Jones as a crime fighter character...or something...

And it plays like different genres in different parts, but never really breaks the overall feel of the BATMAN "world" created in the movie, y'know? Part old school hard boiled detective gangster, part modern psycho killer, part horror movie, parts action, but all holding together. Hrmm...maybe it feels more like SEVEN than any other "superhero" movie I've seen?

I DO just wish the hand-to-hand action had been shot better. Seems like a TERRIBLE place to fall short in a Batman story. Hell, even if they'd done some wacked out transition to an animated sequence... would've taken some very clever doing, but I would've preferred it to what I saw on screen.

And oh...Katie...Maybe the scientologists already stepped in at this point. Getting her a gig opposite Christian Bale (not a sci, is he?—I think I'd be quite disappointed to hear that), to get her more practice kissing pointy noses, at a comfortable height at first, y'know?

In the scenes with Bruce near the end, where she says that they can't have anything together until he's no longer needed, I kept dropping in "Dawson" and "Pacey" at the end of every other line. She just didn't seem to own a character called Rachel. She came off as a slightly older Joey Potter to me. Maybe if they showed her actually litigating, y'know, trying a case in court, addressing a judge and jury...?

Ah, but there is so much good and smarts in this movie. I will see it again. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, June 06, 2005

vb-first day at the beach~

Just wanted to share a couple thousand words with everyone on the first Nahant vball day of 2005.

It took a bit of wrangling in a Boston-turned-ghost town by Nationals, but we got a squad of five players out to Nahant on Sunday morning: Christine, Kirsten, Tobi, Rowan, and myself. Thanks to you all for coming out to help enable my fixx! =)

Heh, Glen's take on Boston during Nationals - Only the C players are left! I hear that and I imagine the scene in Oz minutes after Dorothy and her farmhouse land on the Wicked Witch of the East, and the C-rated Munchkins slowly reveal themselves, emerging from their hideyholes and camoflaged bunkers, rubbing their eyes in disbelief at their delivery from the oppression of their evil bully, finally free to set up their own nets and play volleyball without worrying about blockers!

Or perhaps it's more like how those Keebler Elves ambushed the Rice Krispy guys, y'know? - They came out of the TREES, man...They came out of the TREES! Oh, Snap. We hardly knew ye...

Right, anyhow...

Rowan and I got to the beach at around 10.45am and it was already packed. On top of that high tide had just passed, so the crowd was all crowded up at the "top" of the beach, y'know? Where all the sand hadn't been touched by the water, which is where I like to set up, so as to provide a somewhat cushiony landing for all the foolish diving that I do.

Well, advance scout Kirsten had gotten there around 10.20 or so and was trying her best to maintain a 30x60 plot for our court, and she did an excellent job. There were a few folks who were still jammed close, but once we unpacked the court bits and peices they seemed to get what was going on and made to move out towards the wet sand, following the receding tide. So, I put down the lines for our court, and they ran behind and next to a few groups who were still staying put. I got the net set up, and that took about ten or fifteen minutes, and in that time, all the very-close-sitters but one (and a foursome who were a few feet out from a corner) had up and moved themselves farther from the court.

This one older woman, tho, she refused to move. She was part of a group, there with a gal pal and both of their husbands, looked like. Her chair was planted closest to our lines, and she was talking w her gal friend who was standing next to her, while their husbands, being husbands, talked amongst themselves, arms crossed, standing a short distance away.

I addressed their group, explaining that this was a volleyball court we'd set up here, and that while we always try to control the ball, a stray ball, or maybe flying sand, might disturb their camp. It was the old gal in the chair who jumped all over the subject, as the menfolk turned away, and her friend just listened. The lady kind of waved her hand and sharply asked - Just what do you want us to do? So I asked if she would be okay with relocating a little distance away from the court, closer to the water? We'd be happy to help move her stuff for her.

And man, this woman was just not having any of it. It was like she was LOOKING for an argument, a fight, a little something to get angry and entitled about, another story to buttress her ongoing crusade against "kids today," to share with her friends (who only put up with her because she put up the dough for the embroidered jackets and matching shirts for their bowling team, the Pin Cushions) at the 4pm early bird dinner...bleah.

She was all - Why should I move? YOU should move! I was here first! You can't make me move. And I swear if one ball hits me, I'll be on the phone in a second! - With whom exactly, she didn't explain. Her lawyer? The police? Her psychic friend? And after repeating my offer to help move her things - I don't WANT your help! Did I ASK for your help? The nerve! Why don't YOU move? There's a whole beach here!

And I explained to her how the town has posted that only certain parts of the beach are available for playing volleyball but of course any part of the beach is fine for sunning... - I don't care what the town says! The town can't tell me what to do. I was here first! (To her gal pal) Can you believe this? He's making me show my Irish temper!

I looked at her friend and couldn't read her at all. I think she might have been a LITTLE embarrassed, but I couldn't tell for certain from her expression. I will say that she did not offer verbal agreement or even a nod of support for the crotchety meanie.

I looked around a bit and noticed that her raised voice had gotten us quite a bit of attention from the little camps of people around our court. The idea that this was becoming a spectacle kinda freaked me out, so I left her with a little repeat of a warning... - I wanted to let you know that we'll be starting soon, and just to be aware that a ball might come this way.

Oh, rewinding a bit...

Earlier on, while we were setting up the court, she was speaking over-loud (working on the net, I didn't catch this myself, but Kirsten and Rowan did) to her friend about how - a ball had better not touch me!

Kirsten stepped up kindly to try to fill her in and advise her about our playing and suggest moving into the less crowded beach now that the tide was going out. She explained this was the only space available that could fit our court, and that we came to the beach to play. Mean Lady asked her - Am I going to see you on TV at the Olympics? Kirsten politely replied in the negative. Mean Lady snipped - I didn't think so!

Witch! Burrrrn herrrrrr!

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...

I went back to huddle w the rest of our beach vball troupe a while, to recap (alto it was mostly unnecessary, as it seemed everyone within a mile radius heard her half of our friendly little chat), discuss, joke and eye-roll. I felt a bit queasy about getting into such a prolonged argument over such a foolish non-problem, but of course everyone was with me on how ridiculous this woman's behavior was. In my mind I tried to imagine the Mentos commercial that would fix this situation...Perhaps...

One of the women players in our group could wave down a group of young bodybuilder types tossing the football around. A quick bit of exposition, a batting of eyelashes, and she'd have the strongmen march up to the little old lady and pick her up, chair and cooler and concentrated evil and all, and carry her away from the court and towards the water. The woman would be freaked out at first, but y'know, as we start peppering the ball, one of us points back at the strongmen carrying her off, and you see her starting to rub their muscular bods and deliriously smiling, and that's when she looks back at us, and my eyelash-batting friend would toast to her w the Mentos!

Something like that...

Meanwhile, in the real world, while we were talking, the woman's friend and their husbands moved their cooler and chairs away from the witch and our court. The woman didn't budge.

We took that as a good sign and decided to start warming up and playing. I think we might've actually gotten started around noon. We played doubles on and off until around 3.30pm or so.

Man, my legs and feet are achey today, just from staying on my feet and playing on the sand for hours. It must be summer again, cuz it hurts to walk! It was kind of extraordinary how comfortable my Skechers boots felt to my aching feet.

Anyhow, somewhere around 1.45, the witch's friend and her husband packed up and left. The witch herself remained, and at some point turned her seat in reaction to the moving sun. She didn't move away from our court, not an inch. With the beach emptying of people all around her and all, she just turned her chair. She finally ended up leaving w her guy (poor guy) at around 3.00. I'm certain that she stuck it out for as long as she could just to be as much of a thorn in our sides as possible. Sweet, no?

She packed up and left without a word. Do I smell a sequel?

Bleah, I certainly hope not.

Gotta say, it was our first day of ball at the beach, and our crew had some pretty remarkable vball control. We didn't once hit the crone, and skillfully dug up a few hits that might have. We probably only sprayed her w sand maybe twice. Bleah.

Well, so, other than that - a really grand day at the beach. Looking forward to more!

Keep on keepin on~