Monday, October 30, 2006

@the movies in Boston for Halloween...

8.30pm @Harvard Film Archive

10pm @Brattle Theater

with live soundtrack by DEVIL MUSIC ENSEMBLE
8pm @Coolidge Corner Theater

TBA Halloween Double Feature
@ Somerville Theater

7.20, 9.15 @Capitol Theater

10pm @Harvard Square

in "Disney Digital 3-D"
@ Boston Common

Keep on creepin on~

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Neptune's class protector, Veronica Mars. =)
Papa Keith: Look at my dedicated college student!
Veronica: Knowledge is power.
Papa Keith: Nietzsche?
Veronica: Mmm mmm. School House Rock.
Just watched the first two episodes from this season and needed to drop a quick blog about how I can't stop being impressed with its supercoolness.

Veronica's started at Hearst College in Neptune this fall. Alas, no sign of guest stars from last season, George Michael and Maeby Bluth. Still, even without them, college is chock full of goodness. Cool points of note from the first two episodes, in no particular order...

THE SIMPSONS's Homer, Dan Castellanata, is a Sociology prof who puts his first year class, including Wallace and Logan, through the classic prisoner-warden simulation/study, updated with a preface about Abu Ghraib. A student in the experiment drops a "D'oh!" in one scene as he leaves.

Tina Majorino, aka Napoleon's Deb, hangs in as Veronica's Willow at Hearst. Yay!Wallace gets a competent nerdy somewhat Screech-like RA who introduces them to BSG's "Frak" as the curse word of the future. Okay, I didn't like the "of the future" description/error, but TO-tally loved the tip-of-the-hat, and laughed out loud when Veronica dropped a very apropos "frak" bomb in dialogue an episode later.

Note: My frackin "frack"s are a frankenstein combination of Dirk Benedict's Starbuck's smart mouth and Mel Blanc's Yosemite Sam's muttered cussin'.

The velcro-haired ventriloquist geek of FREAKS AND GEEKS finds new life as a Hearst student. I think that he was a college freshman in something like three canned Fox sitcoms in the last three years.

In the above-mentioned Stanford Prison Lite, Logan ends up in the prisoners. In the course of the experiment, he engineers a breakout, and upon sucking down a food court delicacy he totally channels (quotes?) homicidal peckerwood T-bag Bagwell from PRISON BREAK!—I *think* it's a rip-off of a line that he utters once he's gotten a first taste of food outside of Fox River...
Logan: [Channelling T-Bag] I do declare! That was the finest frito pie I believe I have ever tasted!
Frackin brilliant =)

I was happy that I had In and Rowan in front of the telly while watching. It's one thing to tell people about how good a show is, but so much more to get them to watch it and feed them the backstories and point out the details, y'know? I think maybe they'll pay more attention in the future. Perhaps I can even jockey to get season 1 onto my sister's Netflix queue, heh.

Oh, I got to explain to them how it was on VERONICA MARS last year that I saw my first ever network televisional reference to "the shocker" - HA =) Veronica broke it out in conversation with Weevil, like an exclamation, y'know? She said, "Shocker!" in sarcastic surprise, and accompanied it with the gesture, but she got the fingers wrong, heh. Weevil is about to correct her, complete with an explanation, when she shakes it off and moves on to more pressing matters.

Not sure if reruns from earlier seasons are still playing now, but if they are, I urge you to check them out. If you're pretty quick on the TV uptake, jump into the new shows. If you're a completist, or prefer watching your shows in 3-6 episode runs, Netflix/rent seasons 1 and 2 on DVD!

Good crack. =)

Wack! Guess what other bit of supercool worked its way into Veronica's frackin dialogue in the second episode! I kid you not!

"Keep on keepin on~"


six-stringed-together-words samurai challenge

At the prompting of designfemme, I'm reserving this blog entry for posting submissions along the lines of WIRED's very short story challenge. The simple directive: write a science fiction, fantastickal, or horroriffic story in six words (or less =).

Drop a comment with your sudden fiction and, provided it doesn't offend my very delicate sensibilities, I'll add it to the collection within this post. A challenge, not a contest, I offer no prize or award, and no rating system, although, you are welcome to drop cheers (but please, not jeers) in addition to your six words in any comments. I do acknowledge, but do not guarantee, the possibility of killing time in a vaguely creative way, and perhaps an unquantifiable sense of accomplishment.

Identify yourself any way you like (or don't), and include a site/blog/or even email link if you'd like. Not that you're going to get a lot of traffic from an appearance here, the three of you. =)

Here's a few to get things going...

Robot: Do. You. Think. I'm. Sexy?
---cabinboy 061028

Escape pod holds five. Pick straw.
---designfemme 061028

Superflu antidote! Just in time! *Achoo!*
---cabinboy 061028
Egg becomes man. Chicken questioned.
---zorknapp 061029

Humans colonize stars. Property values plummet.
---cabinboy 061030

DNA. Isotope. Electricity. Back, you beast!
---Jeff 061030

Machines choose new ruler. November 2004.
---cabinboy 061030

Last earthman: "Hey, baby." Humanity doomed.
---cabinboy 061031

Shapeshifters conquer world. Nothing changes.
---Anna 061101

"Geez, who died?" "You did, Lazarus."
---cabinboy 061101

Cute alien. Beam me down, Scotty!
---Anna 061101

Help! --zap-- I know Kung Fu.
---Anna 061101

Boy plays video game; aliens die.
---Anna 061101

Forbidden spell. Conjurer hiccups. Hiccups cured.
---cabinboy 061104
Gort spoke: Keep on keepin on~
---cabinboy 061029 =)

p.s. If you haven't seen SIX-STRING SAMURAI, get thee to watching it! Brilliant indie alternate American reality sci-fi martial arts wonder. =)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

13 hours of horror (alas, no takers)...

I blasted my emailable friends/victims with this notice-invite earlier this week, and had some quick shared reminiscences over THE GATE and WEREWOLF, but alas, garnered no, "Hey, count me in!"s...

O well~

By the way, if you haven't seen NEAR DARK, check it out for a very fun and clever modern vampire road movie with a familiar trio of baddies, on loan to director Katherine Bigelow from then-husband (I believe) James Cameron. I first caught it at an all-nighter marathon at Somerville Davis way back in college. Pretty kickass. =)
13 hours of horror...

And I'm not talking about Sid & Marty Krofft's Pufnstuf on DVD! No—it's the Coolidge Corner Theater's HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE MARATHON! Warn your friends! The killing starts at midnight on Saturday and the screaming does't stop til Sunday afternoon, leaving you with time enough to reanimate and still make a brunch date *and* confession...

Tix are $20 for the 'thon, and $10 for the midnight double feature (LAST HOUSE & EQUINOX).

There are some old school and pop classics in this year's line-up...

Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT - Kill the psychopaths! Vengeful parents mete out vicious justice to their child's killers. A family film.

NIGHT OF THE COMET - Shop til you drop! Valley girls are all that's left of humanity when everyone else is turned to dust by a comet's brush with our atmosphere. Well, valley girls and zombies.

THE GATE - Two kids discover an evil dimensional gateway in the backyard!

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON - A satisfactory last-minute substution for NEAR DARK, which was originally scheduled. Okay, okay, you all know it's some good twisted werewolf fun =)

There's MORE, of course—check out the site for the low-down.

Anyone want to buddy up for a movie all-nighter? Do let me know =)

Keep on keepin on~

Also, for a more up-close and personal interactive horroriffic experience, check out Barrett's Haunted Mansion...

ALSO also, at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square on Halloween - EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN!!!!

BSG: Keep jumping...

3.05: "Collaborators"

Adama: You wouldn't like her when she's angry.
Adama: Keep jumping.
Baltar: I need you too! Did you hear me...? I need you too...
I probably should have *started* with that...
A gut-twister of an episode. One of those Shakespearean scenarios, where just the right couple of words into the right ear would fix everything, y'know? Well, not really fix everything, but... a whole lot less would be broken. And why not share those all-important words? A combination of bad timing and potential ulterior motives, colored by vengeance, frustration, and anger, as well as dignity and pride.

Gaeta spills it all—dogbowl!—to Starbuck in the mess hall (and apparently he's told others repeatedly before that). Whatzherhead, who's already in the circle of six, overhears it all from a table away. What she gets out of it: one—that Gaeta claims to have helped the insurgents; two—that Starbuck has got a mad-on for punishing anyone that had anything to do with the Cylons on New Caprica. And how does she choose to act in light of this info? She nominates Starbuck to be the new sixth for the circle.

Excellent having the circle legitimized by an executive order by Zarick. Way to use that window, his not-so-lame-duck period, and such good poetic rationalization coming out of Zarick's mouth in defense. Until the mention of needing six votes to convict, when Anders bails on them, I just believed that this was the post-rescue insurgency council, cleaning house they way the Chief said they would.

Viper launch tubes are lit pretty dramatically considering they're basically to be giant gun barrels, eh?

Man, these humans are so ready to adapt to anything. I mean, they have a name already for this period moving forward, probably complete with a FoxNews set of graphics and music—The Second Exodus. And they're refering to it as such on the third day of it. History while it's happening.

Yeah, nothing like the real world.

I told Josh via IM a few days back, "This show is more about Iraq than OVER THERE was." And the U.S., in policy and politics, too, and doesn't obviously or consistently take sides. It's really amazing.

(FYI, don't know if it's coming back, but OVER THERE was a not-totally-crappy and maybe only half the time cliche FX drama about a platoon of American soldiers on duty in Iraq.)

In the end, I'm glad that Starbuck blabs enough in her kick-him-when-he's-down rant to save Gaeta's ass. Along the way, though, I *did* try to get myself ready for Gaeta's execution. The story power and opportunities that his execution offers is considerable, y'know? And with the show's history, well, you really can't rule out the writers letting Gaeta get wacked...

(And then waking up on a Base Star to deliver some coffee to Baltar. Heh.)

But letting them *almost* make that mistake is more than shocking enough, especially after sending Jammer out the launch tube at the start. And I think it converges well with Roslyn's amnesty proclamation upon her being sworn into office again. I also really dig the idea of the recording of stories.

I think I've heard something on NPR about the Library of Congress doing something like that, not specifically related to any war or wars, but collecting the stories of American lives and citizens. I think it's that NPR plays excerpts from them on Sundays or certain times... Not sure. Stupid brain.

I'll hafta give it another viewing sometime, but I thought Roslyn's speech announcing the amnesty was excellent, acknowledging the difficulty and grey area of vengeance versus justice, with the heat of anger so hot immediately after the New Caprican Cylon occupation, and getting past it, so that their civilization can move on. The definition of rising above it. Putting lofty ideals into practice.

I wouldn't mind it so much if some politician were to rip off a speech from this show. Just so long as s/he means it. =)

Okay, and attributes. =)

Revisiting the mess hall with the Chief and Gaeta was a very fine close to the episode.

Speaking of the Chief, after jetisonning Jammer, he asked Callie if she remembered someone helping her escape on New Caprica. That could be used later to piece together who was on the circle of six. No one but those who participated would or should know. Zarick might know that Tighe was chairperson or whatever, but I'd guess the fine print calls for the identities to be hidden, and Tighe assembled the original six on his own from high-ranking insurgents.

When someone answers the question, "Why do you ask?" with "Oh, no reason," do they ever actually mean it?

HA! I do love me some Baltar dreamtime. Number Six egging on Adama and the President to execute Baltar for betraying all of humanity, then Gaius muttering to her ( SO not-sly in front of the others, heh) something like, "Don't bother, they can't hear you." And Number Six turning on him, "Don't make me angry..." followed by Adama channelling Bixby's David Banner, "You wouldn't like her when she's angry..."

What an incredible and consistent ego, tho, that he should have Roslyn declare her lust for him, no?

Good crack, right there.

So, this Baltar doesn't get one of those high (and mighty) chairs like the old-school Colicos Baltar. He gets some kind of chaisse, a goblet?, and a plush hotel robe. Heh. There should be a "property of Base Star 327" stencilled onto the back of it, donchathink? I didn't see any slippers.

Where's the toilet?

Funny how that one long wall was a Cylon eye.

Cylon Xena is hottt, no? Hotter and hotter. I think she'd be a great Wonder Woman, or if they absolutely need to cast for a younger demo, maybe mama Hippolyta? Queen of the Amazons.

She only mentions the seven models. Where/why/how do I have it in my head that it's twelve? It was a note or something, right? Passed to Adama? Was it from the guy in the armory that he went one-on-one with way back in the pilot? Frack.

Baltar's declaration of love for Number Six... [Nelson Muntz's HA-ha here] =)

Poor Number Six...

Oh, just in case you forget why Baby Hera is so important, besides, y'know, prophecy and Honeybunny saying so and all, I do believe that it was her blood that cured President Roslyn of her cancer somehwere in season 2, or 2.5 or whatever the frack they numbered it. Pretty good for a dumb baby, eh?

Keep on keepin on~

tis the season...

Keep on creepin on~

Friday, October 27, 2006

six word sci-fi

Some XXS literary fun from WIRED. Here's their set-up...

We'll be brief: Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves.

Ah, Joss...

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
- Joss Whedon

Heh, Moore...

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
- Alan Moore

Good crack. Check out the entire collection (including many entries that weren't published in WIRED print) for some very fun turns of phrase. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


A substance developed to increase trust in a person... Isn't that called... I dunno... not being a schmuck? Well, some characters in a lab somewhere have made it and are selling it as "Liquid Trust." It's a topical, applied directly to the untrustworthy parts...

Ha! Wouldn't that be fun? I kid, I kid. Apparently it's like a perfume, spray-on. I guess it's been around a while, but I've not noticed. Guess its promotion isn't as catchy as "Apply directly to the forehead. Apply directly to the forehead. Apply directly to the forehead." It does seem almost Crumbelievable, but alas, that's already taken.

This is gonna become part of the origin of dozens of not-so-super villains, isn't it?

A good argument for doing business online, donchathink?

Thanks to In for passing along this stocking stuffer, and to the Colbert Report for keeping its finger on the advertising pulse. =)

Keep on keepin on~

brilliant little Flash game...

Check out DRAW PLAY.

Keep on keepin on~

in the Marvel Universe...

I really have to come up with a couple paragraphs of rambling just to knock that FREAKy amputation reattachment pit stop photo "below the fold" here...


How bout comic books?

I'm behind by a couple weeks on my reading right now. But it looks like where CIVIL WAR is concerned, that's not behind at all. Apparently all the CIVIL WAR titles are being held back because the CIVIL WAR series book is delayed, I guess in production. Bleah.

If you're not familiar w CIVIL WAR, going on in the Marvel Universe, let me see if I can summup. In a fracas with the most recent incarnation of the New Warriors, a supervillain destroys several square miles of Connecticut suburbs, including a school full of children. In the aftermath, the U.S. government pushes a superpower registration act thru Congress. The superhero community is abuzz with predictions, criticisms, and support regarding the act, right up until it goes into effect and the government, with SHIELD's "cape killer" squads and the help of registered and deputized superpowered supporters, begins enforcing it. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, and Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, both come out strongly in favor of the act, and put their genius to work developing strategies and facilities for containing those who defy registration. Spider-Man, newly enlisted in the new Avengers, is persuaded by Tony and Reed to register and reveal his secret identity to the public, a huge demonstration of faith in registration, or at least, in upholding the law. Captain America, however, disagrees. He is rewarded for speaking against the act by being named public enemy #1. He escapes a SHIELD ambush and goes underground, gathering other heros, and even vigilantes, who oppose the act, and together continuing to protect those who can't protect themselves as best they can...

I'm not completely clear on the letter of the law regarding this Superhuman Registration Act, but I think it's different from previous incarnations of registration seen in Marvel comics and movies in that registration is supposed to legitimize a superhero's activities and use of powers, not restrict and outlaw them (unless they are active and unregistered, or break existing laws). It requires revealing one's identity to the government, but not to the public at large. I haven't seen any instances of what happens to superpowered individuals who cannot control their powers, but imagine that the government, probably thru SHIELD, would want to train and harness them to become legit superhuman policeman or soldiers. I'd thought that it might also have a registered sex offender side to it, involving giving up your identity/location so that neighborhoods can be aware of and anticipate whether they might be endangered by, or enjoy the protection of, a local superhuman. So far, no sign of that side of the law being in play anywhere.

Peter Parker has been having serious second thoughts on the rightness of the act. And once he's given his first tour of the containment gulag that Reed and Tony have constructed in the Negative Zone, he's certain that the registration act needs to be stopped. He has a short heart-to-heart with Reed, whose resolve has recently been shaken by registration blowback that has put Johnny in intensive care, sent Susan to go in search of Captain America, and driven Ben to leave the country as a conscientious objector, a man who opposes the act, but won't break the law, and refuses to be pressed into enforcing it and having to fight his friends...

Pretty heavy stuff, eh? I'm annoyed at how a lot of the crossing over feels very much like contrived throwaway storylines designed to vacuum money out of the pockets of collectors and newbies, but I have to admit that the arcs involving the major players and marquee characters are pretty compelling.

Anyhow, after Spidey has this talk with Reed, Richards seems on the verge of a crisis of conscience. At some point, Peter catches wind of how the registration act has been a windfall for particular defense and technology contractors, specifically Stark Enterprises. Tony is making a huge killing financially by coming up with the tech needed to capture and hold unregistered superpowered individuals. Later, when Peter makes plans to with MJ and Aunt May to spirit them away to safety, Iron Man ambushes him. The actual fight is going to be covered in the next issues of the CIVIL WAR books.

When we've seen Reed and Tony of late, Reed's been caught with 5 o'clock shadow, always at work or lobbying to support registration, and Tony's always armored up, addressing the press or participating directly in rounding up unregistered and rebellious heros and villains.

He's always armored up. He's amassing a huge amount of capital and value in his company. It gets me thinking that he might be a doppelganger. Maybe. I don't love the idea, it's too cliche and dumb, really, but it's a definite way out.

What I'm *really* wanting it to be is that Tony's discovered that he's got a short time to live. It could be his heart condition (shrapnel, was it? or a defect? I can't remember)... Maybe it's scerosis of the liver, him being a recovering alcoholic and all... In any case, I'm thinking, sick in some way that he could counter, at least temporarily, using the technology in his armor. If I remember right, he developed the chestplate for his armor to keep his own heart pumping while in a prison camp...

Anyhow, his mortality could be just the thing to push him into whatever camp it is that would ensure the longevity of his business and patent empire, as well as his posterity. He gets to be one of the architects of a society that ensures everyone's safety from walking, crawling, and flying WMDs.

Or, instead... or, ALSO, actually... what with Thor missing, but due for a return to midgard, I'm thinking it could be Loki the deceiver at work. Thor's half-brother, remember? What better reason for Thor to again manifest himself on Earth than his mischief making brother wreaking havoc with humanity, and especially managing to set two of Thor's most respected and beloved teammates, Iron Man and Cap, against one another.

Pretty frickin Loki.

Well... Hopefully I'll get another few clues in a couple weeks.


Keep on keepin on~

Monday, October 23, 2006

hot arm-to-crotch action

*NOT* a bedroom acrobatic maneuver...

At least, not likely a pleasureable one...
Also, *NOT* a still from a BFFF flick...

Although, it certainly looks like it...

Thanks to WIRED for this thing that I really didn't need to know about...


Keep on keepin on~

BFFF2006: spoilers and continued rambling


Ran into Adam, who runs the IFFB, at the Brattle tonight, before my second look at THE HOST. He'd mentioned that he thought he saw me at the BLOOD TEA screening last night and asked me what I thought of it.

I told him that I loved the craft of it all, and dig the story, although I thought the card party ran a little bit long. The "card party" was a scene at the mice's frat house with the mice around a table playing cards and drinking blood tea. One of the mice was playing as the doll, with her hands tied to his, to mimic and shadow his movements. He would reach to draw a card, and the doll would reach, then he would take the card and put it in his hand, held in the doll's hand. He also got her to drink the blood tea, which would run into and through her cloth and stuffing body and out onto the floor. Creepy.

He said that he totally appreciated the meticulous work that went into it, and loved the camera work. When he said that, I immediately thought of this one sequence with the oak tree dwellers sewing up the doll's body. They had cutout the cloth for the skin and stuffed it with something cottony, and now were sewing her together along a vertical seam that runs straight down the middle front of her torso. The camera started looking down at the body, an oak tree buddy running a needle and thread through and across the seam, closing her up. Then the view shifted to the inside of her body, looking out thru the closing seam. Smart. Beautiful. Well-done. Thoughtful camerawork and ANIMATED SEWING! This is the sort of thing I was thinking of when I wrote that this animatrix doesn't take any shortcuts.

There's a sort of meta-story that I neglected to mention in my earlier write-up. When I understood how it connected and flowed into the mice's doll and the dwellers' actions, it enhanced the film's coolness for me.

The film opens with a young woman sitting down for tea and cake. When she slices a piece of the cake, bugs come crawling out of it. Lovely, no? =) After a while, the woman notices something else in the cake and reaches in and removes a bird egg. This she takes and drops into the teapot. At this point, the film transitions to the fairy tale world and the home of the oak tree dwellers.

Soon after the dwellers complete the doll and decide to keep her, one of them discovers a bird's egg, floating down a stream that passes their home. He takes the egg to the others and they for some reason decide that it should be kept inside their beautiful doll. So, they unstitch her belly, place the egg daintily inside, nestled in the doll's stuffing, and then stitch her closed again.

So, when the mice abduct her, she is "pregnant." It is in this condition that she plays cards and soaks in blood tea. When one of the mice begins to dance with her, she suddenly begins to twitch and writhe on her own. The mice release her body watch in shock as her belly is broken by a clenched claw from within. The hatched egg has released a bright blue bird with a little girl's face! The bird tests its wings, manages to dodge the startled mice, and escapes out the window into the air.

We see her stretching her wings against the sky for a short while, and she passes the travelling dwellers, who seem to recognize her as the child born of the egg. They turn to follow her, as she continues in the direction of that bird-trapping spiderweb...

Following the blue bird, the three dwellers soon arrive at the spider's home and discover that she has been caught and coccooned by the spider. The spider has a black body, with a human woman's head, and spins webs of red string—the same string used to sew together the doll. The dwellers negotiate with the spider for the release of their foster child, offering some exotic food in exchange for the bird.

The dwellers cut the bird free, but she is already dead. They save the spider's red string from the coccoon and use it to sew the body of the blue bird into a coffin-pouch made from two large leaves. They then commit her body to the stream whence she game, and the water carries her away.

Meanwhile, the conflict between the mice and the dwellers is finally resolved. The film leaves the fairy tale world and returns to the young woman and her tea party. She is pouring herself a cup of tea when a small pouch splashes into the cup. She puts down the teapot and removes the red string-sewn pouch from the tea. When she cuts the string and opens the pouch, she finds a golden gemstone.



For Halloween, Bannor's son dresses up as a knight in his father's Laconian colors, armed with sword and shield. His daughter is garbed as a robed and scythed grim reaper. Their little friend Mac is masked and helmed as an orc and sports a nifty hammer. In their living room, son of Bannor gives the camera an impressive display of his swordplay skills. He draws his sword and begins a frenzied attack at an imagined opponent, threatening, "Take THIS, you pa-THE-tic ORC!" Followed by a what must be minutes of continued thrusts and swings of the blade thru the empty air. The kid is a regular Tazmanian Devil. He yells to his army, "Kill them! Kill them all!" And finally, apparently, dispatches the last of his enemies. He then sheathes his sword and explains, "That's all I have to say."

Man, I was laughing SO frickin hard during that! =)


On the second viewing of the film, I recognized a character that shows up very early in the story.

It turns out that the abducted daughter, Hyun-seo, is carried away to a deep sewer chamber, where the creature is apparently keeping some human snacks for later. Most of his prizes arrive dead, or nearly so. Hyun-seo is beaten up, but otherwise fine, and manages to find a smaller-than-the-creature's-head pipe to hide in.

In a later food run, the beast deposits an unconscious little boy. Once the beast leaves, Hyun-seo manages to rouse the child and ends up doing everything she can to protect him.

Very early on in the film, before the beast makes its debut, we see Kang-du, Hyun-seo's father, working his father's food cart. More accurately, we see him sleeping at the counter. A certain little boy takes notice and we see him attempt to snatch himself some free candy. Unfortunately, his arm is a bit short, and he ends up hopping and reaching over the counter for it with no success. His efforts are abruptly ended when his big brother grabs him by the shoulders and points him in a direction away from the food cart.

Well, it turns out that the would-be candy thief is none other than Hyun-seo's future cellmate in the creature's makeshift prison-cooler. Pretty neat.

There's more, but I can't channel any more of it... I hope you'll get the chance to see THE HOST and DARKON on the big screen soon! (BLOOD TEA... unless you're a filmmaker/animator, maybe you can rent it. =)

Keep on keepin on~


site | trailer | BFFF2006 | wargamingA thoroughly entertaining documentary with a much broader appeal than I'd anticipated. I daresay it *does* skew to the geekier end of the demographic scale, but Darkon is populated by all kinds, from all walks of life. I think my basic half-assed pitch still holds up, and I highly recommend the film for some amazing fantasy role-playing drama and the stories of the real world people who live it.

The film covers nine months in the lives of participants in a game and imaginary realm known as Darkon. Within Darkon, gamers play their alter egos, characters who might be king or knight, elf or human, mage or thief. They have unique origins and histories, and align themselves with certain nations within Darkon (or create their own), and swear allegiance to their leaders.

In these nine months, we see the strongest nation, Mordom, led by Keldar, challenged from within, by a previously allied nation led by Bannor. Mordom has dominated Darkon for years, an imperial nation that believes in its own manifest "hex" destiny, it has been undefeated in its campaign of conquest and expansion. General Keldar firmly believes that it is Mordom's destiny to subjugate and rule all of Darkon. Bannor has stood by Keldar's side for many wars and battles, but he's finding that he no longer has the stomach for destroying the holy sites of their vanquished foes, and outlawing their ways. Might does not necessarily make right.

*SPOILERISH* further description of in-game plot, without any mention of a final outcome...

So, Bannor negotiates an alliance of smaller Darkon states to stand together against Mordom. They present an ultimatum to Keldar, demanding that he be ready to stand trial before an international tribunal. Of course, Keldar will be having none of it, and declares that submitting himself, and his nation, to the authority of some arbitrary international justice system sets a dangerous precedent for all the nations of Darkon in the future. He defies Bannor and basically claims that the alliance has declared war on Mordom.


Sounds like a slice of Middle Earth, eh? Certainly nothing like the "real" world we live in! It's play-acting, after all, right? Well, as you hear from the players about their interactions and challenges in-game and out, it is and it isn't. As separate as you might think they are, actions and relations in-game have a way of crossing over, and vice versa.
The filmmakers bounce from player to player in and out of game, and we get to see and hear from the gamers just what it is that Darkon gives them that they cannot find in the so-called real world. Sadly, many stories involve a very basic and not uncommon dissatisfaction with some aspect of their day-to-day lives. Monotonous and unfulfilling jobs. Perceived obstacles to or ineptitude at creating and maintaining social relationships of all kinds. The feeling of having no control over one's life. Also, for some, rage at all of the above.

Thank the gods that there's joy to be had in Darkon!

It's the players themselves who voice the above revelations about daily monotony and frustration. While there are moments of comedy in the interviews and Darkon events, they're never directly at the players' expense. The film treats the inhabitants of Darkon with decency, but like the players themselves, doesn't take it all TOO seriously. For instance...

Bannor's real world son and family friend Mac are just a joy to watch at Halloween time, as one picks up the sword and shield as an exTREMEly motivated knight, and the other dons an orc-ish mask and helm. =)

By the way, Mac has an inCREDible monologue on what makes a good movie that I *so* wish I had a clip of to keep. He reminded me of one of the polar bears from the Aardman short "Creature Comforts." Too frickin funny. =)

In a victory address to his followers, General Keldar taunts the vanquished by claiming that his balls are bigger than their entire nation's... or... something to that effect. =)

At home, Bannor finds himself distracted from his chores when he discovers that EXCALIBUR is playing on the television. Heh.

It is uncanny how footage of flyovers of the city, suburbs, shores and wilds outside of Baltimore, set to just the right celtic music, can push your BRAVEHEART buttons.

While you'll hear it from everyone that Darkon is an opportunity for everyday regular Joes and Janes to re-invent themselves, start again as equals, brothers and sisters in a very special nerd family, you'll see that more often than not, the real world they attempt to escape steps right into Darkon with them.

For me, the battle scenes are very hard to read. The battles themselves seem to devolve quickly from strategic deployments to massive melees, so it's understandable. I do wish they could have been shot or coordinated somehow so that the changing tide of a battle could be better read. You can certainly make out some impressive attacks in spots, and the battle cries are very spirited, but in the end, these scenes are really just the frosting (impressive frosting, true) on the layers of cake that are the indvidual player's stories.

You've got one more chance to catch this documentary gem—5.30pm Monday at the Brattle. See it if you can! I guarantee you'll enjoy it =)

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I caught the 7.30 show tonight with Rowan, Larry, and Glen. Rowan and Larry made it to the 5pm HOST as well. It was just as good, maybe even a little better, on a second viewing. Thanks mucho for the company, fellas!

at Harvard Square

While wandering Harvard Square this (Sunday) afternoon...

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, October 22, 2006

BFFF2006: check this $hit out =)

With two nights of Fantastic films left, I figured I'd give a rundown of the remaining targets on the hit list, playing tonight and Monday evening...
THE HOST (today@5pm)...
site | trailer | BFFF2006 | ramble
The unflinching drama of an imperfect family coming to terms with the abduction of a child... a 100 foot long toxic amphibious mutant from the Han River.


THE CORRECTIONS, with a hideous man-eating beastie.
DARKON (today@7.30pm | Monday@5.30pm)...
site | trailer | BFFF2006
Live action role-playing in the soccer fields of Baltimore. That is, everyday people devoting their weekends to suiting up in mail, hoisting their banners, and arming themselves with styrofoam swords and fun-tipped arrows, facing each other on the real-world hex battlefields of the world of Darkon. Check out the documentary's trailer for a better taste of the very fair, earnest, and fun tone it strikes with the subject.

Or, please pardon me as I rip myself off from an earlier entry...

...sounds a little MAZES & MONSTERS, like Civil War re-enactments in Middle Earth, probably with a 10-sided die, or an analog MATRIX, and might fall somewhere between hilarious here and gorgeous here... and maybe a block over and a costume change from here.

BLOOD TEA AND RED STRING (today@9.30pm)...
site | trailer | BFFF2006
Man, this animatrix don't mess around. She doesn't take any shortcuts with the craft and she's produced some beautiful stop-motion miniature animation telling a very surreal fairy tale story of the conflict between a family of bird-ish oak tree dwellers and a small fraternity of white mice. The mice commission the creation of a beautiful doll from the family, but once they've actually completed it, they find they can't part with it. They return the mice's payment and keep their creation. The mice leave unhappily.

They return in the middle of the night and abduct the doll. When the oak tree dwellers discover the theft in the morning, the boys set out across the land after the kidnappers. On their journey they encounter a deadly maze, a spiderweb that traps birds, and a kind shaman frog. The pace may be a bit slow for those of you keen on SEVERANCE and THE FIVE VENOMS, but if you can downshift a while and appreciate a strange and beautiful, Grimm-er than Disney bedtime story distraction, check it out.
TRIAD ELECTION (Monday@7.30pm)...
trailer | BFFF2006
Directed by Johnnie To, hailed as a savior of sorts for the HK film industry, a herald of a next generation of great HK filmmakers (many of its directing greats were lured off to the west, with inconsistent results/success : P). Ned Hinkle, program director for the Brattle and this festival, has been quick-pitching it as a HK GODFATHER film. There's nothing I don't like about that idea.

Honestly, tho, I don't know enough to pitch this any better than the trailer and the festival blurb will, so check those out, and I'll see you upstairs at the Brattle. =)
THE FIVE VENOMS (Monday@9.30pm)...
trailer | BFFF2006
I'm told it's a "holy grail" of Shaw Brothers kung-fu goodness. Five martial arts masters named and masked after five of nature's deadliest assassins... I shouldn't have to say any more than that to get you to see this film. Cue G.O.B.—Come ON!

From the description, I'm pretty sure most of this film was burned into my brain on Saturday afternoons when I was just breaking into my double-digit years on the planet. =) Of course, I may be mentally kitbashing other Shaw Brothers fare from my childhood to match it. Regardless, it's must-see =) The print that will be rolling at the Brattle Monday night is a 35 mm restoration by UCLA and Celestial Pictures, complete with English subtitles! Check it the F out!
I'm gonna show up for all of these but BLOOD TEA. As magickal and impressive as it is, I'm just not personally up for it as a third film today.

Keep on keepin on~

* If you're looking for a more interactive, up-close-and-personal, fantastic fixx, you might consider visiting a certain Haunted Mansion... I've got it on good authority (alas, I have yet to arrange a visit myself : P) that this is one of your highest quality undead establishments, not your cookie-cutter Horrorday Inn or SuperH8 Motel, nosirree.

THE HOST with the most

site | trailer | BFFF2006Not your typical horror flick or creature feature. In fact, I've seen it pushed as a GODZILLA from South Korea, but gotta say, it's just as much LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE as it is monster movie. A thoroughly enjoyable family drama that happens to be set against an assault on the city by a horrible man-eating beastie.

The setup... In 2000, on the orders of a high-ranking prima donna, a military medical facility disposes of it's inventory of toxic materials in the Han River, which runs through Seoul. In 2004, a couple of fisherman encounter an unusual multi-legged creature in the river. In 2006, a man's corpse is pulled from the Han River...

Correction. HALF a man's corpse is pulled from the Han river...

I gotta say, it's pretty damn impressive the way the movie jumps right into its monster madness.

On the day that the half-body is found in the Han, at a different spot along the river, a crowd of gawkers assembles at the river's edge to watch a strange amphibious-looking beastie hanging out under a nearby bridge. As they watch, the creature slides into the water and swims close to shore. The curious onlookers find that their offerings of snacks, chucked into the water, are quickly snatched by the beast's tentacles and webbed claws. After a hail of snack items, tho, the crowd's attention seems to drive the creature away.

As the crowd begins to break up, one man turns away and looks down the shoreline... He finds himself paralyzed by a mind-numbing sight. The camera turns to follow his eyes... In broad and bright daylight, a sunny weekday afternoon, in a park along the river, we see the giant beastie stretch his many legs in a stomp down the boardwalk, trampling and swatting aside picnickers, snatching up school children, as well as sucking down the fleeing Seoul citizenry.

Pretty damn impressive. No messing around.

I think it was JAWS 4 (which I've never seen) that had the tag line, "This time, it's personal." Well, it was a ridiculous notion for that movie, but it pretty well describes the way things play out in THE HOST. You *think* it's all about a monster terrorizing the city (and okay, it *is*), but most of the film lives at the scope and level of the dysfunctional Park family of three generations dealing with the monster's abduction of their youngest.
With their daughter/niece/granddaughter in the monster's clutches, the aunt, uncle, father, and grandfather must overcome their long-standing issues to save her. Grandfather typically has to play referee for the quarrelsome and resentful children. With one brother a loving single pop, but also a slackerly screw-up, the other brother a disgruntled unemployed university graduate and activist, their sister an Olympic hopeful who prefers to take things on at her own pace, which is typically too slow for everyone else, and none of them married... well, there's a lot of sibling politics involved in anything resembling a family affair.

There's also a bigger backdrop of how the Korean national government, and then foreign and U.S. powers, decide to deal with the emergence of this biological threat or mutation. American experts reveal that the creature is a host for a potentially greater threat, a never-before-seen virus that quickly kills patient zero, the first soldier to encounter the monster.

Controlling a potential outbreak means quarantining the Park family, who have all been exposed directly or indirectly to the creature after its initial attack. This ends up pitting the family against the military in their search for their little girl. Cuz it wasn't difficult enough trying to hunt a maneating beast in the extensive sewer tunnels that lead to and from the river.

The cast is excellent, and I hafta say, I'm totally digging Kang-ho Song, who plays Kang-du Park, the father. I am a fan. I've seen him in JSA and MEMORIES OF MURDER and he is... I dunno, he's like Buddha if he was up for kicking people's asses. He goes deep with everything emotional in a tough-guy way. A Korean Toshiro Mifune.

The creature itself is f'ing cool—grotesquely toothed and multi-mandibled, tentacled, slinky, shiny wet, powerful, graceful and sleek.

I think I may hafta do a spoilery write-up in another post about all the good ideas and fun in this film.

I'm gonna close this up with the email pitch for THE HOST I spammed out to the poor unfortunate souls who naively let their email addresses slip. =)
THE HOST is a Godzilla-sized monster movie import from South Korea. A toxic spill into the Han River many years ago today yields a mutated terror that stalks the river's waterways and ultimately rises to attack the city. The film's director also helmed MEMORIES OF MURDER, an IN COLD BLOOD-ish look at the investigation of a vicious murder on the outskirts of a remote country town. The reason for and methods enlisted in the investigation are cruel and harsh, but the film manages to coerce more than a few comical and touching moments out of the characters involved. I expect that THE HOST will show an unexpectedly humorous and thoughtful vulnerable underbelly as well. Quality. =) Plays at 7.30pm and also Sunday at 5pm. Check it out!

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I saw the 5.30 BLOOD TEA AND RED STRING and stuck around for the 7.30 HOST. Dan showed up to catch it with me. I'm planning on going back for more tomorrow (Sunday) night with Rowan and Glen. I'm hoping that they'll both stick around for DARKON, too.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

SEVERANCE: additional cutbacks...

Maggie: I didn't want to be accused of not killing the guy when I had the chance...
First, a little comment about one of the SEVERANCE cast. I totally spaced on including it in my early am ramble...

It was nice to see Daisy Adaire (of DEAD LIKE ME, also seen on 24 a couple seasons back) on the big screen again. It's the first time I've seen her larger than life since THE FACULTY (what if THE BREAKFAST CLUB encountered an alien invasion conspiracy? =). I can't remember the actress's name now, but it caught me by surprise in the SEVERANCE end credits. For years I've been sure her name was Ashley something. Why would I think that, you ask? Maybe because that's the name that was burned into my brain by the opening credits of FIFTEEN on Nickelodeon... geez, like fifteen years ago. Wack. Yeah, I believe all of the cast were actually in their early teens, playing their ages, and the opening credits had the kids doing whatever and then pausing and turning to look at the camera. Then their first names would appear beside them, each of which also happened to be their character names. I figured it was some strategy for Nickelodeon to promote the future kid stars/moneymakers to kids by using the real name as the character name. Barely logical now that I look back, heh.

Yes, that's right, I said FIFTEEN. What? Have you not read my blog before?

Do you suppose that admission will get me on a watch list?

I'm watching DEAD LIKE ME on replay right now. The most recent in the SciFi reruns have been pretty powerful, in that sometimes clunky DEAD LIKE ME way...
Mason: [to Daisy] You are so beautiful... and I love you... I just don't like you anymore...
George: Maybe I'll try something different today...
Roxy: You should! It's a bi-ig menu.
Second, a warning against thinking that the SEVERANCE trailer might be too good to be true...

The trailer might seem like it gives all the good stuff away. (I do despise a trailer that does that : P) I mean, giving up the scenes featuring the leg in the trap and the cooler on the bus and all, it certainly begs the question, "How could it get any better?"

Now, I know I've posted links to the trailer in order to lure you into seeing it at the festival (just done it again, too =), but with the BFFF screening past, if you can avoid the trailer until the movie comes out next year, please do, and just GO! Go see the film without any trailer peeking. But, if you've already been teased and tantalized by the goodness of it, and asked the aforementioned question, rest assured, it *does* get even better. =)
And third, in case you're not convinced by my monotonous prose, I present to you below a *SPOILERy* description of a brilliant comic-horror setup and delivery from the film, including a brief list of some of the violent ends that SEVERed office mates meet...

At one point early in the story, product manager Jill is freaked out by a masked peeper in her upstairs room window, prompting everyone to acknowledge the ultra-creepiness of their predicament. All of the non-sycophants agree they want out, pronto. Cut off from civilization and without transporation, company manager (and jellyfish) Richard decides to co-opt star salesman Harris's plan to send someone up the mountain a ways to get a cell signal and call for a ride out. He sends Jill and Harris. On their hike up, the two get to chatting, and being in the business of weapons development, the conversation turns to "humane killing." Jill is disgusted at the thoughtless suffering that 21st century killing technology causes, and then reveals herself to be a fan of a particular classic, the guillotine.

[Wow, just saw a guillotine on the cover of the library copy of A TALE OF TWO CITIES that George's little sister Reggie picks out from a pile at the school library on DEAD LIKE ME.]

Nearly instantaneous and completely humane, claims Jill. Harris disagrees, explaining to Jill how it's proven that once severed from the body, the brain can still be alive, and the mind conscious, for minutes. It's a very fun and animated discussion that is unfortunately interrupted by the discovery of the battered and bloodied body of their bus driver.

When the peeper finally shows himself, we find that he's got friends, well armed and miltary-trained friends. Together they hunt down the office mates one by one. Hardly seems fair, really. The jerks. Jill goes out in flames. Richard has an unfortunate encounter with one of his own products. And Harris, well, he gets decapitated.


AND... it's just as he said. We see the killer's blade swing at Harris's neck, then, we are treated to his freshly decapitated point-of-view! It takes a second to understand it, as the screen is filled with a bumpy rolling view of of the woods, but it's perfect! After a few seconds, the rolling nighttime scenery resolves to Richard's head settling to a stop on the ground, eyes bright and wideawake, blinking, blinking, looking around, blinking, looking, blinking, looking, blinking, blinking... and at the last, smiling.

That's just so frickin sweet. I love it! =)

Heh. Mason just tried to offload a "Kitchen Guillotine" at a yard sale. That seems like a sign that I should sign off, eh?

I wanna mosey on down the the Square on the earlier side anyhow... take in some of the Head of the Chuck mob scene before disappearing into the flickering shadows upstairs at the Brattle for another couple of movies. I'm hitting BLOOD TEA AND RED STRING on my own at 5.30. Dan's gonna try to meet up with me for my first viewing of THE HOST at 7.30, and if he's up for sticking around maybe we'll catch some space opera, courtesy of CLAW JOB, at 10pm. It's very possible I might be knackered by then and more in the mood for fooding... We shall see...

Keep on keepin on~


site | trailer | BFFF2006
Hilarious and horror-suspenseful, a brilliant piece of work in the ever-popular and crowd-pleasing office co-workers face off against psychotic trained mountain men killers genre! =)

Blurbs about the film describe it as THE OFFICE meets DELIVERANCE. Not a bad description. I'd also add that it feels a bit like DOG SOLDIERS, and in parts, demonstrates SHAUN OF THE DEAD Goodness. This film adds a slew of clever wrinkles to a classic killer-in-the-woods set-up. The office coworker character types and relations set up some opportunities for hilarity as well as some touching moments amid the carnage.

On another level, man, the filmmakers do some brilliant and vicious stuff with the violence. =)

The British office of international weapons developer Palisade Defence is sent on a get-away retreat at an Eastern European lodge. When they find a main mountain road blocked by fallen trees, they have to take a detour down a side road which should lead them to their lodge. When they arrive, they find it's far from what anyone would consider luxury accomodations. A search of the apparently long-deserted premises reveals that the building was used as a Palisade Defence testing facility of some kind. The colleagues share the rumors they've heard about such installations. One claims that they were asylums built to contain and treat killers and madmen. Another theorizes that they were camps for special ops soldiers who enjoyed their killing profession more than anyone should. In light of these rumors, everyone in the office wants to know, "What became of the patients, inmates, or campers?"

Unfortunately for them, they soon find out, as one by one, an unidentified stalker traps and attacks them. This is a team building challenge that was *not* on the itinerary. Who will rise to the occasion and who will *ahem* lose their heads? The company man? The buttkissing nerd? The alpha sales male? The product manager? The stoner IT guy? The American? The token black fellow?

The movie starts a bit slow, but it's to lay the groundwork, introduce you to the characters, so that you'll miss them when they're gone, y'know? Also to plant the seeds of just wtf may be behind the wacky fun that ensues.

Once it gets going, woo-OW! It really moves! =) It's not as tight as SHAUN OF THE DEAD, but like SHAUN, it doesn't forget anything or anyone.

The director, Christopher Smith, also directed CREEP, which I caught at its premiere at the Fantastic Film Festival last year. CREEP is a harrowing horrorific game of homicidal CHUD-and-mouse in the tunnels of the London Underground, starring RUN LOLA RUN's Franka Potente as the mouse. A very entertaining herald of what I predict is a movement in the current horror genre—once-human subterranean freak killers. I think it's got a foothold in overseas markets and will be imported to the U.S. soon.

Anyhow, this Smith guy, he's gonna be one to watch. Between CREEP and SEVERANCE, he's demonstrating some wonderful and adept range within horror, reminiscent of Sam Raimi with his first two EVIL DEADs. Gee, what's *he* up to these days...? SPIDER-MAN 3, anyone?

I'm just sayin~

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this in wide release in the states, likely sometime in the new year. I *will* gladly see this again, so let me know if you need a buddy for this movie trust fall. =)

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I caught SEVERANCE tonight at the Brattle with Glen. He wasn't up for double featuring, but I stayed for AUTOMATONS—some charming sci-fi fun. Alas, with my current sleep non-cycle, and using the BFFFestival schedule as my itinerary, I'm not sure when I'll be able to motivate for a review.

at the Harvard Square T... maneuvers...

The Daleks have deployed in formation, apparently ready to take the Square. Hrmmm... It seems that these are *not* nextgen model Daleks after all, and so are still vulnerable to their one natural enemy, besides Timelords of course—stairs! Yes, if not for the disabled UP escalator (visible in the background), the chessmasters, pit kids, and all those Harvard brainiacs on the nerd patrol would already be exterminated!

Oh, but they are nothing if not patient...

Keep on keepin on~

BSG: Well, *this* oughtta be different...

3.04: "Exodus (2 of 2)"

Frackin A, man, this is some good felgercarb, this is. =)

Just got done replaying tonight's episode. Got home around 1 after hitting the Brattle for SEVERANCE and AUTOMATONS (good crack =). And now, I'm more than a little overtired, so I may not hit all the stuff that I love about "Exodus," but I'll give it a go.

Freefalling Galactica in the atmosphere dropping vipers and FTLing the hell outta there! Vipers launching through the flames caused by friction heat of a battlestar bellyflop! Is it a Boy thing to get so frickin pumped up by that? F'in kickass! =) The only way that could've been even cooler is if they used the vacuum created by the jump to damage some Cylon hardware or infrastructure, y'know?

The entire rescue campaign was put together and shot/sequenced really well. We got to see it from the ground, in the air, and in space, and never lost track of how it's all meant to come together. And, Dr. frickin Z! but we got to see some kickass space carnage, didn't we?

A kickass military victory, but battered and fried in much sadness...

(Note: image is from a previous episode.)

Ah, poor Pegasus... But what a grand two-fer way to go! Too bad we haven't seen another resurrection ship around New Caprica, frack. Y'know, the show went back to the original series well twice this episode, first, with the exit of the Pegasus while taking on base ships head-on, and second, with Baltar being "adopted" by the Cylons, particularly because of his usefulness as a human, with insight into human behavior.

Y'know... assuming he IS human. =)

Oh, and poor mama Starbuck. Cruel Cylon jerkass. But, oh, can you imagine the Starbuck payback wants to deliver? Should be righteous and terrible. Yay! =)

And, poor, poor Mrs. T. Sleeping with a machine to save her man... That's some loyalty right there, that is. Or, at least, a kind of loyalty... And Tighe had to do her in.

What? No, that's where I wanted to end that sentence, really. I know it's with a preposition and all, but really, that's the end of it.


Really, though, that was powerful sad. Damn. And the way Tighe wanders and loses himself in the crowd on the flight deck at the end. What will become of him? Between ordering suicide bombing missions and offing his wife in his arms, and altho he'd be the first to give credit to Adama, returning to Galactica only to play unrecognized second fiddle as leader of the insurgency...

He's gonna be seeing the Galactica shrink for more than a few centons, eh?

Should be interesting when Mrs. T comes back as model #8 somewhere down the line, eh? Or maybe brother Stockwell will commission a model, complete with swirling capabilities?

I don't like the looks of the guy that Zarich pulled aside on New Caprica. Y'know, the guy he gives his gun to and directs to protect Roslyn until she's back on Colonial One.

Poor mama Maya... Guess her EUREKA shooting schedule might've gotten in the way, eh? Well, at least BSG lost her to another SciFi show, and a fun one, at that. Also, she looks pretty damn good in a uniform (as deputy of Eureka).

And what of baby Hera? Cylons don't get sick, right? So what's her blood going to do for them? Maybe it'll distill down to a red dust that will kill all the Cylons, except for the nice ones who will get an antidote, of course.

Loved the double Sixes there for that one moment. When Baltar picks up Hera, his Jiminy Six appears to confirm that this is The Child, then disappears as Caprica Six approaches him. Alas, I don't think we actually got to see both of them on screen at the same time.

Don't be stupid. Watch this show.


Keep on keepin on~

Friday, October 20, 2006


site | trailer | BFFF2006Man, I'm glad I had company for this one (Thanks, Fania =). That was rough. Not the feel-good hit of the season, but a solid rebound from the lameness of BROTHERS GRIMM (wtf happened there?). It's a twisted not-for-children child's story, an ALICE in which the Wonderland exists in Alice's mind, and filters a reality of drug abuse, sketchy family relationships, inappropriate tongue kissing, and an f'd up pseudo-religous take on taxidermy as resurrection.

The film follows Jeliza-Rose, the child of two junkies, one a rock guitarist, the other a harpie bitch, as she moves from an apartment in the city to her grandmother's farmhouse in the prairies. Not surprisingly, she doesn't have any friends her age. Instead, she talks to fireflies and squirrels, and creates friends, advisors, and confidantes in the form of her doll-head companions. Together they explore the wideopen-yet-small world of her new home, encountering neighbors who may have a mysterious connection to her family. An innocent girl who fixes her dad's works for him while talking to her doll heads, there's not a lot that will faze her. As her family disappears around her and she uncovers some disturbing secrets about her new neighbors, her biggest concern is meeting her new ghost friend for a picnic in the afternoon.

You, however, will be sketched out.

Seriously sketched out.

I don't know the source material novel at all, but I'm very curious about it now. I dig FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, an earlier Gilliam adaptation of a very twisted bit of reading, but do feel that it had a few great moments (and performances), separated by not-so-successful or compelling stretches. That's what TIDELAND feels like, too, only with drug-induced frenzy dialed-down significantly. There's probably an argument for the pace and prolonged discomfort as being faithful to the source, but I think Gilliam's hurting the movie by not editing down to reduce the endurance test feel of it for a movie theater audience?

I recognized Jodelle Ferland, who plays the lead, Jeliza-Rose, from a SciFi Channel marathon of the American KINGDOM series. In the Stephen King adapted series she played Mary, the ghost girl. I do believe that I also saw her recently as the daughter who goes missing in the SILENT HILL movie. (A mother is god in the eyes of a child, right, Jess?)

In those roles, it was easy to see that she was well cast for spook factor as a haunting or haunted little girl. But seeing her in TIDELAND, I can see that she may have the potential to be a dangerous young starlet, in the same constellations as Natalie and Scarlet and probably MIRRORMASK girl (whatever happened to Minuet, the little toughgirl from CITY OF LOST CHILDREN?). She holds her own opposite some very well-played craziness, from bipolar paranoid schizo Dell to lobotomized man-child Dickens. She also delivers the dangerously naive whimsy and fantasy logic of a little girl raised in a home that's fueled by heroin and methadone.

Alas, Jeliza-Rose's parentals don't get a lot of screen time in this story. Mom Jennifer Tilly gets to simmer and explode for a few minutes, and Dad Jeff Bridges rocks in onstage, jamming in a club, and floats out on a wave of heroin.

The cast and the craft are excellent. The camerawork is masterful and dynamic, as always, and there are a couple of truly magic visual moments. The busride from the city to the prairie has this one knockout gorgeous transition... An opening shot looking down on the high grass of the prairie, swaying in waves with the wind, is breathtaking and vertigo-inducing.

It will be opening at Kendall Square later in October. Alas, I can't recommend it for a *fun* movie night out. But it will certainly give you some disturbing thoughts and magickal screen moments to talk about, and Gilliam fans, especially those who appreciate FEAR AND LOATHING, and want to see what he's been up to to cleanse his palate of GRIMM, should check it out.

October 22. Percolating and re-reading this post, I find I've neglected some TIDELAND goodness. The ending of this film is beautiful. Took me back to TIME BANDITS. And I need to temper my negative words on the pacing of the film with my great appreciation for Gilliam's amazing ability to move us in and out of Jeliza-Rose's fantasy and "reality," and creating and consistently maintaining the view of the world thru her eyes, colored by her feelings, and governed by her logic. Still, it *is* long, and the problem is, you can FEEL it way too often. But, I wanted to say that while you're bored, you'll probably have a pretty picture to look at. Granted, that's not why you're at the movies, but, I'm just sayin...

Oh, you know just as well as I do that I just WANT this to be Terry Gilliam BRAZILian Greatness...


It isn't.

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. After TIDELAND, Fania tagged out and Paris Jen tagged in to partner with me for DARK REMAINS, a home-grown American new-wave horror flick. Not quite as together a backstory as the Japanese JU-ONs, but full of some very good screen scares. Maybe I'll find some time tomorrow to put together a decent ramble on it, if I'm not too saturated in SEVERANCE and AUTOMATON... =)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

LOST: I'm going to save Mr. Echo...

I'm up way late tonight/this morning. Bleah. This is gonna hurt later. I went and saw LAST KING OF SCOTLAND at a late show—I highly recommend it for a powerfully acted, mean rollercoaster ride of a based-on-true-events story about Ugandan savior-turned-dictator Idi Amin, beware a couple of moments of harsh death and violence—and then, once home after midnight, had to put in a couple hours on some workywork I'd brought home with me. When I got it to a decent stopping place, it was already after 3am.

I could've slept, but, what with catching SCOTLAND tonight, I ended up missing LOST. Seeing as how I'm planning on hitting the Brattle for the next five nights, I decided I should watch the episode before going to sleep, as I might not get another chance for a while. Or even if I did, I'd rather not have LOSTness mixing itself up in my head with Terry Gilliam's dark cinemagic or a man-eating blood-sucking mutated beastie from the Han River, y'know?

Check out the Boston Fantastic Film Festival for more on such subjects. =)

I will say that watching this season's SURVIVOR, along with LOST, and reading BATTLE ROYALE, makes for a very fun mental mash-up of plots, characters, and ideas.

In the opening scene where Locke opens his eyes in the jungle, post hatch detonation, he hears someone moving near him. He manages to raise his head, but alas, not his voice, enough to see Desmond making his way thru the greenery. When I saw that I got the idea that John might've been shunted in time by the EM phenomenon. Sent back in time to a point before the plane crashed on the island, and Desmond was alone, or perhaps tracking his old partner to his boat, and he just happened to see him then.

I dismissed the notion pretty quickly, as Locke makes his way back to camp in the "present," just a day after the hatch is blown, according to Charlie's comments. Also, when Hurley encounters Desmond, his underwear blown off by the hatch, heh, he's looking the part of wild jungle man, which seems in line with his rushing thru the fauna in the earlier scene with Locke waking up.

But... What about that comment Desmond makes to Hurley, about Locke's speech? Maybe it's Desmond who got knocked about the fourth dimension a bit by the detonation, eh? Perhaps he didn't "physically" travel, but was disembodied witness, or got some kooky black hole eye's view of the island area/dimension, able to perceive events in the past, present, and future all at once. Of course, once he regains consciousness in his human body, he can only retain and recall a small part of what he might have seen. That's how it always works, y'know?

The hatch imploded. The anomaly is no more, sealed, dispersed, whatev. When the anomaly's spiked in the past, it's sucked in people and air and seacraft from the outside world. It doesn't seem like very much of a stretch to have it warp space in the vicinity of the hatch, pick up the people nearby, and then deposit them in random locations on the island.

The sweat lodge was an excellent idea. I wonder if "talking to the island" is like getting into Narnia... You can only use each method once, and then it's "closed."

Boone appears to Locke. Another case of the island using the forms/spirits/ghosts of the deceased whose bodies are ON the island (for those of you playing at home, the other instances of this practice involve Jack's dad and Anna Lucia). Also, of visions appearing to the survivors when they're extremely exhausted, perhaps not even fully conscious. Those closeups of the survivors' eyes opening and/or dilating that lead into certain segments... They still make me think of dreamtime and R.E.M., and being influenced or somehow receptive in those states.

I saw Jim this past weekend, and we talked LOST of course (and BSG =), and he came up with the most excellent reason for backing up Ben's assertion that none of the Others would *want* to leave the island, even tho they can, anytime they wish—they're all terminally ill.

Pretty brilliant, eh?

The Locke backstory was a bit frustrating, as was the Jin and Sun one from last episode. It *was* interesting to see that jerkass guy from TWIN PEAKS—y'know, the poor man's Swayze?—getting some work as Mike of "Mike and Jan." The frustrating part is how the writers can flip and tweak each character's life, history, and personality, any which way from week to week, so long as there are any minutes of his or her existence between birth and arriving on the island unaccounted for. It's all plausible enough, but there's pretty much infinite opportunity to jerk us around. The Jin and Sun story... That just slides into moments from two or three other Jin or Sun flashbacks, right?


Even the slower backstory bits (like tonight's) are still pretty compelling television. But, y'know, I'd happily trade it in for another 30 minutes of what's happening on the island in the "present."

Hel-LO!~ McFly?! Floating mist of evil (or Walt's id?) that hovers like a cloud, cruises like a missile, explodes stuff like Wile E. Coyote, and eats airline pilots like a t-rex? Anyone remember that?

Which sorta bring me to Charlie. Charlie still seems kind of tweaked to me. Not on drugs, but... I dunno... He just seems colder, even alien at times. Soulless? Newborn? Possessed? Naive and willful? Post-detonation shock? Although he was already a bit sideways before that...

Polar bears, the Einsteins of the bear family...

From a post on AN INCONVENENT TRUTH a few months back...

Check out some observations on polar bears demonstrating a "brutal downside of global warming." I'm still waiting for a festive upside that doesn't resemble Lex Luthor's play for new beachfront property in the first SUPERMAN movie. Random synapse trigger - I seem to recall someone -maybe Kevin Smith?- talking about a SUPERMAN script bouncing around Hollywood for years, and some producer's input being to have Supes go up against killer polar bears... Wack.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Boston Fantastic Film Festival 2006!

From tomorrow (Thursday) night thru Monday!

The Boston Fantastic Film Festival at the Brattle theater once again offers up some kickass indie/twisted/horrorific/out-there film, ranging from Terry Gilliam's TIDELAND (a twisted update on Alice In Wonderland), to THE HOST (South Korea's gorier and probably funnier GODZILLA, from the director of MEMORIES OF MURDER), to DARKON, a documentary on "Live Action Role Playing," something that sounds a little MAZES & MONSTERS, like Civil War re-enactments in Middle Earth, probably with a 10-sided die, or an analog MATRIX, and might fall somewhere between hilarious here and gorgeous here... and maybe a block over and a costume change from here.


Good crack.

I'm gonna try and hit a screening of every film. Anyone else want in?

Keep on keepin on~


Caught TALES OF THE RAT FINK tonight at the Brattle. Not the best documentary I've seen. It's got a kickass surfabilly soundtrack, some decent style, and an approach that seems to match the spirit of its subject—Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, a very interesting, and to me, mostly unknown, subject—but overall, the film just glances off the surface of his life and work. It feels more like a high school film strip than a revealing documentary.

The man is a helluva character, but that's about as much as much as we get about the man from the film. The film showcases his Kustom Kar masterpieces and tells you about the progression of his work through them. It's pretty effective, as his work does speak for itself (literally, in this film), but only to a certain degree. Not being a motorhead myself, it isn't enough for me. According to the film, he pretty much invented the graphic tee! But, we don't hear about it from anyone else but the film.

In the way of family life, you find out he got married right out of high school and ultimately was father to FIVE boys. We don't get any of their names, nor any mention of how his work might have influenced them and their relationships. What wee do get is that he built a skateboard for six so that he could skate with them.

There's a significant crossover in his life with Von Dutch (whom I now find less annoying, only familiar with his name because of those f'ing trucker caps). He's, like, the mastermind behind pinstriping as a way of detailing automobiles, and his work is described as something like jazz flowing from a brush. Anyhow, an encounter between the two customizing gurus is mentioned, then a summary of Von Dutch's work is given, but there's no real follow-thru on their meeting beyond the fact that Roth adds pinstriping to his repertoire. I don't really know how or if Roth's work relates to that of Von Dutch.

The film uses some creative montage and animation built from archival and collector's photos, films, and other materials. Kudos for the process. Alas, the timing and editing of some of the segments leaves a bit to be desired. The animation would hold too long on stills, or even an empty screen, without voiceover or other meaning attached to it. Some of the timing of jokey visuals also seemed to be off.

In addition to educating me on Von Dutch, the film also revealed to me the etymology of the "Fink" fonts from House Industries. I vaguely remember reading the name "Ed Roth" in reference to them way back when I first encountered House fonts, and accompanying Fink graphics, but not knowing who he was.

There are some high-powered names associated with the film, including Matt Groening, Jay Leno, and Tom Wolfe. They lend their voices to the cars featured in the documentary. When I saw the names, I assumed that at least some of them would be speaking as themselves, and have something to say about how Roth and Rat Fink influenced or inspired them. We only ever hear a direct remark about Roth from Wolfe, and it's a quote from many years ago.

I think that fans of his work would appreciate the film as a decent visual catalog and timeline. Non-fans will learn a bit here and there about the guy whose style inspired the creation of hot rods and dragsters, custom painted cars and detailing, tee-shirts as art and expression, and probably the Garbage Pail Kids. Look him up online and if you dig him and want to know a little more, in movie form, rent the dvd when it's out at the end of the month.

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

colors: now that I think about it...

The beach may not have been the only inspiration for my paint color choices...

STAR WARS concept art by Ralph McQuarrie.

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, October 16, 2006

kooky double features

Just came across two of my raffle ticket receipts for the Brattle Guranteed Request raffle and wanted to record my double feature suggestions.

Two of my favorite rock opera films, both from 1980...

"Pathetic Earthlings, who can save you now?"
[Cue Queen...]


A place, where nobody dared to go
The love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu...

Featuring and starring Olivia Newton John, Gene Kelley, Michael Beck, and the Electric Light Orchestra!

A double bill of imported "new wave" horror...

Can't vouch for it from personal viewing experience, but the trailer looks pretty f-in cool, no? I *can* testify that it's a very fun read fraught with supernatural intrigue. =)


A perfect frickin movie.

That is all. =)

Keep on keepin on~


Saw THE DEPARTED with Jim this weekend. Damn entertaining Scorsese reengineering of Andy Lau's INFERNAL AFFAIRS. I've got no great love for Matt and Leo, for... whatever reasons, but I've always had to acknowledge DiCaprio's talent, and, once I saw RIPLEY, Damon's. They do solid jobs of walking in Andy Lau and Tony Leung's footsteps.

Apologies for the references to the Hong Kong "original." I'd really rather not *compare* them for entertainment and quality, but the references in my mind are difficult to dispell. If you're not a HK movie fan, I guess I'd recommend seeing DEPARTED asap, then checking out the imported inspiration for it.

THE DEPARTED is basically the same story, with some very clever and spicy additions, as well as some tweaking of character details. The town is Boston, and the game is cops and robbers. The cops are a Massachusetts State Trooper task force targeting organized crime, and within that force, a squad of undercover cops, run by Martin Sheen's Captain Queenan and Mark Wahlberg's Officer Dignam, working their way in and up the gangland ladder. The robbers are an Irish-American crime syndicate, centered in Boston's Southie, run by Nicholson's merciless mad dog Frank Costello, who has planted one of his own boys in the task force that's investigating him.

As Frank's dealings bring him into conflict with competing crime families and even gain him international notice, each side's inside man becomes a threat to the other's operations, and measures are taken to uncover and eliminate them. Frank's man in the police force, Matt Damon's Colin Sullivan, has a frightful advantage, being able to work in the open and throw the weight of his badge behind his investigations. Still, Leo's Billy Costigan manages to avoid Sullivan's crosshairs, trusting in his instincts, repeatedly proving himself to be a fallen angel with drastic and daring actions, and playing his bosses and gangster colleagues to his advantage whenever he can.

As the movie unfolds, you're given glimpses into each undercover's history. Sullivan was a kid from the neighborhood that Frank took a special interest in, bringing him up and into the business over 20 years, and took under his wing to be specially groomed for his role as inside man.

Costigan, a child of divorce, spent his childhood weekends in the neighborhood, the son of a man who wouldn't accept the help or honor the influence of Frank and company, altho others in his family embraced him. Costigan grows up trying his hardest to dodge the criminal life, but can't avoid a few violent conflicts and run-ins with the law. He knows better, and has seen and lived better, and wanting to do some good with his life, shakes off the dirt and taint of the neighborhood as best he can and schools and trains to become an officer in the State Troopers. But once he arrives, his superiors, knowing his background, realize that in the battle with the syndicates, in the courts and on the streets, Costigan will be a greater asset playing the role of the no-good gangster that he's tried all his life not to be.

Some first-rate supporting work is delivered by Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg. You pay attention when they speak and you will be rewarded!

It may just be a conjunction of viewing opportunities this week, but I really feel that Baldwin is on a roll right now, bringing his brand of obnoxious excellence to 30 ROCK (I [heart] me some Tina Fey) and THE DEPARTED (at least for me). He was always good for being the kind of performer who's ready to do ANYthing for the audience (see his SNL appearances =), but I feel like I'm seeing him more and more in a particular character type that plays to his swagger and ego (real or put-on, I do not know) and he can really work that well.

Nicholson is solid as the psychotic gang boss. I was worried about him putting on a Southie accent for the role, but I don't think he ever turned it on unless it was to intentionally mock it, as directed, and that worked just fine.

The weakest member of the cast for me was the very-familiar-but-cant'-place-her actress who plays the police shrink, who builds relationships with both boys, but isn't aware of their adversarial cat-and-mouse connection. Aesthetically, visually and style-wise, she's a sore thumb against the backdrop of Bostonia and interacting with its Southie boys. That need not have been a minus, tho. Having an Eastern European beauty (I told Jim I thought she looked familiar, but it could just be that she seems like what you'd get if you took Claire Forlani and Sarah Jessica Parker and spun them together in a centrifuge) and outsider playing opposite these characters makes for character building contrast, y'know? The problem for me is that she is apparently supposed to be a hometown girl, complete with the accent. Her character is supposed to be able to turn it on and off, and given her background and profession, that makes sense, but throughout the film, it seems to come and go by accident, not design. It breaks her character for me.

I highly recommend you watch both movies. Maybe not on the same day, but within weeks of each other if you can. I haven't seen AFFAIRS since it was last at the Brattle, two years ago? But I experienced dozens of instances of movie deja vu. Some DEPARTED scenes and sequences matched my memory of AFFAIRS shot for shot for minutes. Not a bad thing, honestly, as AFFAIRS is so damn good. For Scorsese to do that, I'd say he'd agree.

*SPOILERy discussion of US vs. HK characters*

I don't know yet whether I *like* the details that DEPARTED fills in about the two undercovers. I feel like DEPARTED reverse engineered these boys' backgrounds and relationship issues using Freud as an advisor. The movie knows where they need to end up, these secret opponents, then it asks Freud, "Why would each guy make the choices that would get them to those final positions?" and, "How could those reasons be demonstrated in their upbringings and behavior?"

In AFFAIRS, we're not given very much history of the two principals, and their motivations pretty much begin and end with what side they choose to be on, who they pledge allegiance to and from whom they take orders. Their American counterparts, however, are carrying a lot of baggage around. Some of it does add dimension to the characters, but some of it seems to go toward absolving them of taking responsibility for their actions in a Foley damage control sort of way. But then, I suppose that all halps to make it more of an American story, eh?

You may get what I'm saying from just watching THE DEPARTED, but you'll definitely pick up on it if you see both films.

Which you should! =)

Keep on keepin on~