Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Intro to Dungeons and Dragons: Vecna (Upgrade)

(This was originally published in June 2010 on my facebook page but I have made some edits.  The characters discussed are owned by Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro games)

           Know who Vecna is?  Well it is unlikely that you ever will, Dungeons and Dragons is not a topic that has adapted well to live action or animated presentations of its material.  For some reason the concepts within Dungeons and Dragons only work well when not under their official banner (e.g. "Lord of the Rings", "The 13th Warrior", "Conan: The Barbarian").  However I feel that more people should indulge in the hobby, and it is because of characters like Vecna.

He's not that popular within his own universe, being a monster and all.
            In ages past a great and terrible user and creator of the darkest and most evil of all magic ruled nearly the whole of the mortal world, crushing under his heel nations.  His only enemy it seemed was time, he was mortal at that time, and to combat this he encaged his soul into a magical container called the Heart of Vecna, and in doing so he animated himself as living death, a Lich.

The book in his right hand is his revised edition of "The Book of Vile Darkness" to which he added a few chapters.
            However when confronted with the limitless time and resources he had as undead immortal king of the world he decided to set to work making himself even more powerful, he sought out Godhood.  He turned over a lot of the administration function of his kingdom to his lieutenant, the Vampire Lord Kas (holder of a Sword forged by Vecna to be the greatest and most powerful weapon ever held), and then Vecna set to work ascending.

This is Kas, who takes fashion tips from Clancy Brown's Kurgan from "Highlander"
            At the cusp of godhood Kas betrayed Vecna and attempted to take his place in the position of Godhood, it turns out that the sword Kas carried was imbued with all of Vecna's own personal Thanatos (that means death instinct, the side of the human mind that drives a person to self destructive risky decision making).  Kas cut off Vecna's hand and smote out one of his eyes, but failed to stop Lich's ascension.

"Gods are allowed to walk around barefoot.  What?  It's my lair, so I choose not to wear shoes, it's my choice."
            Kas was either banished from reality entirely becoming part of the collective Thanatos aspect of the living world, or Kas escaped to rule over his own night-world in the world of shadows.  Whatever happened to Kas, Vecna became the God of secrets and living death.  Vecna's hand and eye, touched by the power of divine accession became magical talisman's sought by those who would emulate Vecna's success.

He's also somewhat handi-capable in that his new deformities became his holy symbols.  In no way combining the copy righted images of Sauron's red eye and Saruman's white hand... Total coincidence.
            Dungeons and Dragons is a high fantasy setting more often than not, and Vecna represents the penultimate villain in such a world.  He is the lingering of a past that most would prefer forgotten, a world ruled by darkness and despair unending.  At the same time he embodies exactly what adventurers in Dungeons and Dragons wish to delve into, the secrets of the old world forgotten in tomes, secrets that created the wonders that sit in broken shells, ruins of a great civilization, that had been misused but could have been an instrument of great justice.  Vecna is a good metaphor for the lingering threats of the fantasy kingdoms that are gone and are paradoxically envied and pillaged while at the same time despised and feared.

"I don't care if the place is lousy with undead, orcs, hippies, or pedophiles.  There is loot and damned if I'm not going in there to get it."
            Vecna is my favorite antagonist to envision in various permutations.  Sometimes I make Kas his spurned best friend (or even butt buddy), who didn't betray him, he just didn't want to be left behind.  Sometimes I have it that Vecna cut out his own hand and eye to fashion weapons from them for his own use.  I have also made Vecna an anti-hero, out to keep secrets from those who would use them improperly to destroy the world, as he regretfully nearly did, and that he fosters his dark image to serve as part cautionary tale, part fear mongering propaganda campaign to keep people from challenging him for his dreary and lonely position as undying keeper of the world's secrets.  Then there is the best Vecna, the one who likes the multiple choice origin and motives, easier to keep his true goals in the shadows that way.

He has a lot of cool art associated with him if you haven't figured that out yet.

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 16

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that is a guilty Pleasure".  Truth be told this was originally going to be yesterday's entry of "Mean Girls" because of the stigma attached to it at the time and the fact that I am not by any means its target audience, but I realize that I don't really feel guilty about liking that movie, and prefer to endorse its consumption rather than be conflicted about it.  I am not really a herder and have the capacity to hate things people consider classics ("Bladerunner" which I reviewed a bit later in this series) and I have no problem liking things people consider to be goofy ("Wayne's World"), dumb ("Road Trip"), just incredibly far fetched and awkward.  Today's entry fall into the category of far fetched and awkward, it is "Conan:The Barbarian".

Nostalgia Critic's take on the movie, and its shitty sequel.

            I am a big fan of the concept of character distillation, this is when you take a character with a lot of continuity and artistic iterations and rather than try to get everything exactly right you instead focus on the core themes of the character, and then do your best to present an original direction for them.  "The Dark Knight" does this with Batman, it presents him as a sci-fi detective that utilizes his martial arts and the bat totem to fight crime, he does not murder and does his best to preserve the lives of even the most evil of adversaries.  By focusing on these core elements they can add characters or vary the role of the supporting cast on the story to create drama, by making Gordon, Dent, Rachel, Fox, and Alfred all go through a variety of personal conflicts and arcs while still having the big conflict of Joker remain at the center.  This also allows new bat mobiles, new gadgets, new back story, and new character looks to happen while still remaining true to the core of the character mythos.

Get used to me referencing this movie when it comes to adaptations.

            "Conan: The Barbarian" while at its core a silly action movie has big shoes to fill.  Conan as a character predates Batman and has been portrayed in short stories by legions of writers and at numerous periods in his own life, and in the life of his mythological world of Hyperion.  He has been a pirate, a thief, a king, a warlord, an exile, a bandit, and a drunken lover of women.  Creating a movie that would represent all of this would be thinly spread and disjointed, instead "Barbarian" focuses on him doing what he does best, killing wizards who represent the oppressive nature of theocratic domination of man.  He also bangs a lot of chicks and punches acamel which is cool.

Also, lots of snakes.

            This movie is immature at parts with boobs, and random encounters with plot pointless bad guys, a lot of supernatural weirdness for the sake of weirdness and at one point there is a giant vat of split pea soup that has human hands and heads added, presumably for flavor, so that orgy goers will have something to munch on.

And there is the main bad guy with the captive princess.  This came out the year before "Return of the Jedi".
            Most people also look at Arnold Schwarzenegger as both a good and bad pick for the role, being physically correct, but his accent leaving the audience wondering where Austria is in the Hyperion era of fictional history.  Strangely I don't have this problem, and I never do.  In spite of the fact that I do lots of voices and accents when speaking, leaving some to think that I have multiple personality disorder, I don't really pay attention to them or care about them unless they are some kind of plot point, they aren't here, so I ignore it as it doesn't get in the way of Conan telling his god, Crom to go to hell.
            It isn't a perfect movie, and I hope that the new iteration of this character coming outlater this year is well done and successful, but I think this movie is a good bit of fun that shouldn't be taken too seriously and enjoyed for what it is, an objectivist rant against theocracies.

Also, the bad guys totally work in my opinion.

Monday, May 30, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 15

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that no one would expect me to Love".  I actually had to ask someone else what movie I have talked about positively that they were rather shocked or confused by my having liked it, and while I was thinking along the lines of "Crash", a movie that won best picture, but is more or less forgotten or now derided by the mainstream world of movie going.  "Crash" is not a movie people would be surprised that I like because it fills out a lot of the things I like so well.  Instead I went the entire other direction with a movie that was going to fall under tomorrows header of 'Guilty Pleasure'.  So what movie would you be surprised that I like?  "MeanGirls".
No nudity.

            Written by Tina Fey before she made it big, and staring Lindsay Lohan back when people thought she was going to be the big actress of her generation "Mean Girls" fell into a very reflexive hole in most people's view of the world.  It is now okay to like Tina Fey, and to enjoy Lohan ironically for how insane she is (like Gary Busey) when "Mean Girls" came out Fey was the head writer for SNL during a mediocre cast period, and Lohan was hated by people of my stripe and social circle mostly for being popular with so many normal people.
Popular.  You know.  For her acting.

            So what makes this movie something I went to see?  Nothing, I avoided it just like my social designation demanded of me and only came across it on TBS when I left the TV on while working.  I heard it, gave it a chance, and was rewarded with a very entertaining movie.  It has a lot of cliché things in it, but has a perspective that I have only ever seen in "Easy 'A'" recently, the perspective of smart female protagonist getting beaten down by social norms and bullshit.
Please don't go crazy Emma, you have such charisma.

            And while I like Emma Stone (the red head star of "Easy 'A'") as much now as I liked Lohan then, people are not surprised about me liking the movie.  What changed?  I wonder if something clicked in the last few years in regards to this.  That Tina Fey's success on "30 Rock" (the best TV show on the air currently) has changed people's perspectives on the idea of smart women protagonists?  I don't know, but I'm rolling the idea around in my mind, and it rings true.
I make passes at women in glasses.

            But yeah, the movie is well paced, has several jokes and character development disguised as sight gags, and the whole thing has a vibe to it of being very ironic (if that is the right word for it) which makes you feel like you are in on the humor.  It is about a math smart girl (Lohan) moving to a new school and moving through various exaggerated social circles; eventually she pretends to be dumb at math in order to let a guy she likes, who is actually bad at math, tutor her.  The ending is visible from the word 'welcome' as in 'welcome to the show' but it is still a good ride getting there.  Go watch it.
Lohan is not this orange in the movie.  Fake tans, because for whatever reason girls with freckles fail to realize how cute freckles are on them.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 14

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie from my favorite Director".  Which, not so shockingly is Edgar Wright, and the movie I've chosen to highlight represents one of the best comedies produced ever.  "Hot Fuzz" the story of a police officer so good at his job that the people in charge tried to get rid of him, and he just ended up better at his job elsewhere.  Bit of an objectivist tale of triumph but it remains awesome.

They could've killed more people in this I think.

            Starring two of Wright's friends and frequent collaborators, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the movie has a good blend of action, dark humor, very clever language and subversions of that language, a very light aesthetic which consistently portrays a very rural English sensibility, and as I mentioned a philosophical underpinning that good people will succeed regardless of bureaucratic stupidity.

Lawful Good: we're going to bust some heads and then fill out the proper paperwork

            Wright is actually more or less tied for my position of favorite director with Christopher Nolan.  The two of which have been collectively reinventing the Comedy, Noire, Action, and Superhero genres.  I can't really tell what pushed one over the other in regards to this blog, but I'm thinking that it is a property of volume.  Edgar Wright has made fewer movies, but each of them has been 5 stars with me, and "Scott PilgrimVersus the World" was my favorite movie of 2010, beating "Inception" Christopher Nolan's contribution to the world of cinema for that year... by a hair's breadth.

He does have a face you want to punch, like Jason Lee if he were English.

            And here I am again talking positively about someone and not really having any jokes to speak of.  I am glad that one of my favorite unsung superheroes (Hank "Ant-Man" Pym) will be getting a movie with Wright.  I wish that Wright would be put in charge of a "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" movie, as he was only an extra on the last incarnation which would be charitably described as underwhelming.  I also think that he could do a good job on a "Doctor Who" movie, they could have the Doctor regenerate into Nick Frost at the start of the film and the Master regenerate into Simon Pegg and the rest is up to them, but I doubt they could fail with that.
Yes, I said Nick Frost as the Doctor.  Yes the fat one.  Cause it would be funnier that way.

            Actually, upon more consideration, I know why I picked Wright, he is less appreciated.  While Nolan is seen as a visionary that is inexplicably not awarded Oscars, Wright isn't even considered for the gold phallus shaped like a little gold man.  So yeah, my 8 reads per post will really help get the word out on Edgar's merit.
"Whoever doesn't see this movie is a mother fucker." -Guillermo Del Toro

Saturday, May 28, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 13

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie from an actress I Hate".  And I actually talked about this briefly a long while back when I did my worst movies of the year for 2003.  "Final Destination 2" was #7, and Ali Larter won my personal award for worst actor of that year.  My alternative title for this movies is 'One cool massive opening sequence on a freeway followed by nonsense and stupidity'.

In glorious low quality.
            Some of the deaths are cool, and if I gave two shits about any of the characters I might care, but I don't.  A majority of the set pieces amount to nothing and overall the reason for this movie makes no sense, the plot is: these characters should have all died, but didn't because of the inadvertent actions of the last movies protagonists, the car crash at the start of the movie was death balancing his paperwork I guess, but it failed because just like the last movie there was a psychic vision by the central protagonist.

Okay, so there will be a guy with fake arms, a box of fake arms, and she'll get freak out and then the elevator will cut her head off.  That is so much simpler and more elegant that her just having an undiagnosed heart condition and passing peacefully in her sleep.  Cause I'm fucking death that's why!
            Here is a question: "Where does the initial psychic vision come from that starts these movies?"  Whatever?  Really, that's the explanation we are given?  No explanation.  Alright.  Another point this movie goes out of its way to make is that suicide is impossible, death won't let the characters cheat him again, but in order to escape they require a near death experience followed by being resuscitated.  Here is another question based from the logic that these characters can't kill themselves but need to clinically die in order to escape: "How in the world then, can the cycle be broken?"  If you can't kill yourself, and you need to die in order to be brought back, under what circumstances can that happen, all of the deaths are decapitations, being cut into sections, or explosion, there are no instances of a character being killed in a fashion that would give them a way of coming back so happy endings are imposs... Oh wait the movie is over the protagonist is fine.  Fucking stupid premise.

Fake out ending!
            As for wining worst actress award, Ali Larter is the only member of the original cast of "Final Destination" to return.  She does nothing, shows up late in the movie, she set front and the center of the DVD cover because of... fuck if I know.  Oh, and she dies unremarkably toward the end of the film in another bullshit fake out plot.  She is normally a bad actress, in this she is radiantly bad, obscuring the lackluster performances of others in the cast.

Sadly, the tagline proved true as this franchise continues even after Ali's death.
            But what has she done aside from this?  How can I hate a woman who only real contribution to film has been in the "Final Destination" series and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"?  It's because she ruined the television show "Heroes".  She was the second worst actress on that show, and was married to the worst actor on the show, they were a mini sitcom of suck!  And they dragged the whole thing down.  Even killing her character she was replaced by a clone, who was poorly written and poorly acted, and they implied the existence of more clones... Which I'll never see cause I jumped ship from that meteor strike in progress before I had to watch anymore of her crap.

She is not good enough at acting to be in as many high profile things as she is.

Friday, May 27, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 12

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie from an actor I Hate".  Let me put this clearly out there, this movie fails for a lot of reasons, and the main actor is merely the largest and most spectacular of those failures, but in addition it has plotting problems, internal logic problems, and so completely rips off the plot of "Total Recall" I want to call this movie borderline plagiarism.  The movie is "Johnny Mnemonic", the actor is Keanu Reeves.
Ice T is in this too, he runs a gang of urban poor freedom fighters, and since they share the same role as "Total Recall's" mutants, I'm guessing the face tattoos and goggles are to fill in for a lack of mutation make up in the budget.

            Don't watch this movie.  Ever.  Nothing in it works.  Giant cyborg priest assassin, comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere.  The ultimate weapon at the end of the film, a cyborg dolphin, and it is far dumber and more pathetic looking than it sounds.  There is a guy who has a cybernetic thumb, the nail of which can be pulled out to create a whip (there is a spool of magical wire that can cut through anything like a light saber wound up in his thumb).

            There is a scene in which the protagonist is confronted by two arch villains, one of which has two goons with him, when Johnny kills the arch villain with the goons... this is hard to explain, the orphaned goons start following the orders of the other arch villain without explanation.  That is like Hell's Angels bikers and a mafia hitman showing up to kill a loan shark, and when the loan shark kills the biker gang leader, all of the bikers just start talking orders from the Hitman.  There are scenes like that all over this movie, when people come and go and work together without any reason to.  You might think that the DVD is skipping, when in fact the only thing wrong with the movie is that is has a terrible movie on it.
Seriously, that thing to his immediate right, is a mother fucking cyborg dolphin.

            And what the hell else can be said about Keanu Reeves except that he is a black hole of talent.  No line ever said by this man wasn't done in a tone of self parody.  Reeves has been in two movies I have liked, "Constantine" and "The Matrix".  "Matrix" was good in spite of him, and "Constantine" was good in spite of him.  How does he keep getting work?
Let's forget for a second that the source material is as British as the Stamp Tax and just go with the idea of an American adaptation.  How wouldn't this movie have been better with Robert Downy Junior or Leonardo DiCaprio, or even the guy who played Hurley on "Lost", at least they have charisma and can read a line without ironic inflection creeping in.

            He has had work doing Shakespeare in a legitimate production.  A Kenneth Branagh production!  And even though Shakespeare has a cadence to the words in his scripts, all of that sounds like the clunk and clatter of broken instruments coming out of Reeves mouth.  And I include this to show the sheer broadness of his opportunities to do something other than suck, to do work that has dignity, and how constantly he has failed to do anything other than suck.  I hate him as an actor, and would prefer his movies to not exist than him to be allowed and paid to make more movies.
Not one line is said without an odd, off kilter tone somewhere in it.
            In my opinion, this is one of the worst movies I have ever scene, and Keanu is one of the worst actors I have ever watched.  Have you seen the trailer for "The Day the Earth Stood Still"?
I will never watch this peice of shit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 11

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that has my favorite Actress".  Here is a big surprise for you, my actress is Natalie Portman.  The movie is "Black Swan" but that is sort of a header rather than what this is all about.
Yes, this will also be mentioned.  Incidentally, this is the only cool outfit she had in all three of those over produced movies.
            "Black Swan" is a pretty good movie, it has a lot of slow build that, instead of seeming gratuitous like in "Let the Right One In" instead is used correctly in conjunction with sound and characters to make the audience feel filled with dread and ill comfort.  This movie had me covering my eyes at various points because of the very identifiable and stinging displays of pain.  All that being said, the movie could be shorter.

            What does push this movie up from mediocre to good though is the acting of Natalie Portman.  Much like the movie "There Will be Blood" pivoted entirely on the acting of Daniel Day Lewis, "Black Swan" is entirely about Portman.  She experiences every emotion a person can experience, from excitement and joy, to confusion and embarrassment, and then rage and fear, with a quick stop in sexual and drug experimentation land to show her character going around and around the bend.

Oh no.  Lesbianism!  What foul sin has brought her... I don't care.  Sex is not evil.
I find it strange when movies play it as such.
            Natalie Portman came to my attention through "Star Wars" where her acting was as flat and pointless as the scripts in those movies, turns out though, she had been acting for a while, playing a very strange and corrupted little girl in "Leon: the Professional", which was an alright movie, but isn't an all time classic oh-my-god-this-movie-is-so-amazing tour de force.

Nat, relax.  You'll do other things than just "Star Wars" after this.  now put the gun down.
            So between being a nerd icon for the ultimate bland role of Ms. Darth Vader, and being the best thing about movies I only think are all right, why do I like her so much?  Answer: cause she is fun.  She is willing to do movies about anything.  Dungeons and dragons with weed ("Your Highness"), Marvel super hero love interest ("Thor"), Horny modern professional woman ("No StringsAttached"), and terrorist ("V for Vendetta").  Its not just that she is the best thing about these movies, it's that she has the range and talent to have been in all of them and do something as daring as "Black Swan".  She is the omni-actress, and she isn't afraid to take her best actress golden statue and continue doing movies in which she helps fight aliens.  She is awesome.

A lesson from "V For Vendetta", anyone could be a terrorist, even the prostitute you got by mistake.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 10

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that has my favorite Actor".  As most of my favorite actors will be covered to various stripe along with my favorite actresses (in fact that is tomorrow) I feel the this choice of actor may come as a surprise.  The movie is "Shutter Island" and the actor is Leonardo DiCaprio.

He seems surprised.
            Strictly speaking "Shutter Island" is a very well done, albeit predictable movie that follows the path of a Federal Agent investigating a missing person on a prison island.  His own sanity and past demons keep coming back at him until ultimately it is revealed that... Well, it is a good movie, so if you haven't seen it watch it, and if you have seen it, watch it again knowing concretely what the ending is, and you will see very subtle performances through out the movie leaving a trail of not just hints, but something that didn't really register at the time suddenly crystallizing, it really holds up to multiple viewings and has a good look that doesn't deaden the senses (fuck you "Avatar").

            Now, I'll freely admit that "Shutter Island" wasn't the best movie of 2010, it wasn't even the best movie that DiCaprio was in that year ("Inception" and I'll get to it later on in this series), but it had his best performance.  And what was really weird is how easy the two movie's performances are to lay next to each other for comparison.  Both are highly psychological and the biggest difference between the characters is that... well, that would be telling, but the ending of each movie mirrors the other, so I guess I'm saying watch both to deepen your appreciation for each.

Don't worry creepy lady, no spoilers here.
            Now here the high endorsement I am going to give to Leo in "Shutter Island", at the end, I felt like crying for the guy.  I had become lost in the narrative and I actually said to myself, "Leo, I'm so sorry."  It hit me, it made an impact, it was really meaningful and I really don't think that I can give higher praise than that.

And the Hulk is in it.
            Now my opinion isn't based on just these two movies, any actor can have a good or bad year, just look at Josh Brolin, I didn't see "Jonah Hex", but then neither did anyone else, and yet he had a small and solid role in "True Grit", so odd year for him.  No, see, DiCaprio started to get in my good graces with "Catch me if you Can" were he held his ground against Tom Hanks, who I consider to be his generation's Jimmy Stewart and an acting icon few can match, if I were writing this blog 10 years ago he would be my guy, but neither "The Terminal" nor "The Da Vinci Code" rang my bell, and I can't remember the last thing he did that had solid impact with me.  Where as Leo has done "Blood Diamond", "The Departed" (My movie of the Decade), and last year was "Shutter" and "Inception".  That is freaking awesome, and so he wins.

Oscar Run!  Hit the SLOW MO!
            And no, I have never watched the entirety of "Titanic", just the first half.  You know, the boring half with boobs and not hundreds of people drowning/freezing.

Don't get me wrong, they were great boobs...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 9

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that puts me to sleep", this went back and forth with me.  Mostly I just don't watch movies if I think they are boring, and while I feel I have muscled through several films that are considered classics ("A Clockwork Orange") the only movie I could be said to sleep to the thought of is "Let the Right One In".
This trailer is a lie.

            Yes it has some interesting parts to it, yes it has some grisly portions to it, but Jesus Christ are those instances so few and far between.  There is so much scenery porn in this, lingering pointless establishment shots of empty snowy fields, and then there are the random victims in the movie, you get entire scenes establishing them as there own obnoxious and boring selves talking about nothing interesting.
Also the little boy's hair cut is stupid.

            Here is the thing, they remade this movie and made it much better.  Quicker pace, less character development for nobodies, and cooler action.  The only downside to "Let me In", is the CGI monster form the vampire takes, not saying CGI couldn't have been used, it's just that the one they have looks really unconvincing.
The practical effects are more convincing though.

            I am falling asleep writing this right now.  God, it is like trying to remember a school assembly when an awkward art presentation was made and nobody cared and there was just a droning sound of silent indifference.

            "Let the Right One In" does have something I have noticed about European movies though, and that is scenes without much going on purposefully.  What I mean to say is that the scene is supposed to be the audience watching nothing going on so they can think about what has happened and come to terms with it.  Like the audience would be so taken aback by the gravity of a vampire child that they need a moment to collect themselves.  Hate to break it to them, but "Interview With a Vampire" did that years ago with Kristen Dunst, so really, we need less time than they seem to think.  The same effect takes place in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and while that movie does have scenes of violence that made me sick, I didn't need a minute to reflect on it, I just needed the movie to keep moving forward.  Instead it lingers.  Hell "Tattoo" spent so much time in consideration and so little time establishing characters that I had no idea who the villain was supposed to be during the big revelation.  I kept thinking 'okay, he's the killer... Is that supposed to shock me?' and really the ending of "Right One" wasn't a surprise either, I just sort of shrugged and said, 'okay... so?'
This trailer is a lie too.

            So yeah.  Pretty dull.  Go see the American remake, shit happens in it to people you actually care about because you feel more swept up in the narrative, rather than shit happening and then you getting a little break to contemplate allowing you to take yourself out of the movie, slouch, and groan... then snore.
This trailer is actually pretty accurate.

Monday, May 23, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 8

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Today is "A Movie that I know all the Words to".  No contest here, "Ghostbusters" takes this one in a landslide.  I actually deleted a far distant movie challenge topic of "Movie you've seen countless times" because this is the only movie I can claim to have seen 100+ times.  Cause my Grandmother (who is awesome) used to watch me while my Mom and Dad were at work.  And even when I was freaking two, the best way to get me to settle down and be quite was science fiction mixed with clever comedians being smartasses.
What? I already posted a link to this music video in the "30 Day Movie Challenge". Well, watch it again.

            My love of this movie and the time I spent imbibing it doesn't end there though.  The sequel, utilitarianly named "Ghostbusters II" was another film I watched again and again.  And the animated series, the complete masters collection DVD set currently occupying a treasured space on my brother's DVD shelf in its firehouse shaped box.  I also had a hella lotta toys of the cartoon, most of which were played with till they simply fell apart (hence why I find Lego to be the best company for play things, they're nearly indestructible).  Oh, and then there is my waiting with baited breath for them to release the "Extreme Ghostbusters" cartoon to DVD.  Then there were the "Filmation's Ghostbusters" VHS tapes I had because they were related... In no way other than the name.  And that I played to completion the latest video game.  And I am also waiting for "Ghostbusters III" to hit theaters even though I'm sure it will be less than stellar.  What can I say this idea appeals to me on some level.
There was a coffee girl at Einstein's Bagels wearing this for Halloween, so wanted to mercilessly hit on her.

            See I am a big fan of science fiction, the paranormal, comedy (especially sarcasm) and the superhero genre.  This combines all of that together, though i suppose it would be a stretch to call the Ghostbusters superheroes, they only save the world on multiple occasions using gadgets of their own creation, but they are regular guys, with doctorates.
This was the video game on the Wii, which was criticized for its cartoon graphics.  Here is the thing, in 20 years, this game will still be a playable cartoon, and the more realistic graphics for the PS3 and Xbox360 will look shitty.  Style beats fidelity in any timeline of note.

            This movie is also very well paced and has a consistent look, it is New York, and it shows bits and pieces to help establish a growing sense of paranormal presence to keep it firmly grounded in New York, but at the same time pull you into a world that is far outside the norm.  Cause the Stay Puff Marshmellow Man is so awesome, that it kinda blows my mind.
"What?  What just popped in there?"

            I watched the commentary on the first movie where they sort of lament the special effects of the era not holding up, which I don't buy at all.  They have a clever use of miniatures, green screen, and animation to create an urban fantasy that passes my litmus test of believability.  I would even argue that if done now an excessive amount of CGI would end up cluttering the screen and over powering the actor's individual screen presence.
"Extreme Ghostbusters" a forgotten gem of 90's animation and story telling.

            Is this my favorite movie?  No, but it is in the top 10 and influenced my growing mind more than any other bit of Hollywood spectacle.  Would I recommend it?  Do I have to?  I have only ever met one girl who hadn't seen this movie prior to me talking about it, and I lent her the DVD's to one and two.  Then I threatened to turn her into ham cubes and serve her at a buffet if she didn't watch them.  So yeah, if you haven't seen it, go watch it.  It is the best comedy of the 80's.
It had its own charms.

            (Side note to the Lego toy company, if you make "Ghostbusters" sets, I will buy them.  Seriously, I will find a way to make them part of my decor, an ecto-1 and a fire house.  Do that.)
Not to much to ask is all I'm saying!