Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting Back Into the Swing

I ... am completely out of it. I have ... nothing to report on. The hell happened? Are there no movies out? Books? Albums? Games?


That said ... it's been a while since I ... cared about something enough to log on here and write about it. The Wolverine? It was okay. Kinda 'tarded at points. Better than the first one. Hugh Jackman is still hot. But nothing splendiferous. Man of Steel was ... something. Star Trek Into Darkness. 

Or in games, GTAV and Saints Row 4 ... but really ... meh. 

Pop culture just hasn't been catching my eye. I don't rightly know what it is. I'm hella burned out on superhero movies for one thing, just bar-none done. They've so overhyped I've lost all interest. It's just a monopoly on the film franchise at this point and games? Other than the Kickstarter projects ... I couldn't care less about Triple A developers. They gave us Dead Space 3. I rest my case.

Thank Cthulhu for books. Since this semester has been particularly hammering my sanity (this does not admittedly explain my absence over the summer which was spent in my basement rewatching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix), I have resorted to using alarms to denote when I do certain things with ... moderate success. Reading and writing (Blog/Fiction) are going well. Waking up in time for Production Lab on Monday at 8? Not going so well.

But, being inspired to learn more about the Cyberpunk movement as it was in the 80s, I picked up that old chestnut, Neuromancer by William Gibson and holy shit. I love it. It's fast paced, and being of a more fantasy genre background, fast paced in always refreshing to me. There's no time for a hundred page birthday party when you're jacked in (I am a total Tolkien fanboy, so I don't mean that in a bad way, but ... well, it's true). 

Reading Neuromancer reminds me of when I was sixteen and picked up Neal Stephenson for the first time. Snow Crash blew me away. Until then I had only ever read Tolkien and Donaldson's fantasy writings (as well as other unknown fantasy authors), and I hardly knew what I was reading.

This isn't much of an article or a review, I know, but I'm working myself back into my old snarky groove. Leave me a comment and some loving so I know I'm not alone out here in the wonderful world of Cyberspace. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I'm a bit late in the game to be throwing in an opinion about Sherlock. However, I can say that its fandom is alive and cancerous on my college campus to the point where they and the Whovians have become nearly insufferable. 

Strangely, in Vegas, us nerds had learned how to pass unseen among the normies. Out here the nerds have taken over and frankly, I don't much like it. Mostly because, now allowed to run rampant, all I ever hear about is bow ties. 

Anywho, back to the BBCs other hit show, the modernization of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. John Watson.

For the most part the show succeeds quite well, and you don't need me to salivate all over the show like the rest of the internet (damn you Tumblr-girls). The show's cast is fantastic, certainly a step up from the god-awful Guy Ritchie films. I liked Snatch as much as the next man, but seriously, something went very wrong in the making of those films: everything.

Benedict Cumberbatch, despite looking like some kind of mutant badger, wears the dear-stalker well, and his interaction with Martin Freeman's Watson is the highlight of the show, coupled with his dealings with various characters.

The show has several recurring characters from the original stories, ranging from Lestrade to Irene Adler and Moriarty. Each of these characters is finely portrayed, and the show thrives when it is drawing from the source material as much as possible.

This leads me to my biggest gripe with the show, which has also become one of my bigger gripes with Doctor Who since Steven Moffat took over. I'm a clever guy, and fairly proud of my abilities as a writer, part of which is knowing where my strengths lie. Moffat can dish out some damn fun dialogue, but the man is nowhere near the genius that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was, and Sherlock suffers the same fate as any piece of fiction starring a genius character who is being written by people who are not geniuses. 

Moffat sets up elaborate and clever plotlines that only serve to entangle themselves, and the resolution never strikes me as satisfactory. This happens most visually in Doctor Who (each bloody series finale) but it is still readily apparent that he's trying to build on what occurred in the original stories, and embellish them, practically screaming, "Look how clever I am!"

(Also, Benedict Cumberbatch totally can't play violin and it drove me out of my mind).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This is the first in a series of 2012 film reviews.

So, in a word, Looper was kickass. Now in keeping with being a 'bitter film cynic" according to one of my newer friends (a title I intend to live up to), I did have some particular complaints about the film. I'll get to those in a bit.

The first point that was brought to my attention was the way the film glosses over time travel. Mayhap I'm getting soft in my old age, but this didn't bother me. The writer/director Rian Johnson himself stated,
"Even though it's a time-travel movie, the pleasure of it doesn't come from the mass of time travel. It's not a film like Primer, for instance, where the big part of the enjoyment is kind of working out all the intricacies of it. For Looper, I very much wanted it to be a more character-based movie that is more about how these characters dealt with the situation time travel has brought about. So the biggest challenge was figuring out how to not spend the whole movie explaining the rules and figure out how to put it out there in a way that made sense on some intuitive level for the audience; then get past it and deal with the real meat of the story."
That said, I can deal with the deficiency. What I can't deal with is the fact that the film sacrifices a lot of the possible character interactions. We have Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Old-Joe (Bruce Willis) and after the diner scene, they don't interact with one another for the rest of the film. There's a vague notion but all the potential is dropped midway, like a train run out of steam. 

Spoiler Warning: Let me put it this way, Joe describes seeing the future laid out in front of him in the final moments of the film. What do they always say though, "Show, don't tell." Looper had, as I said, so much more potential to delve into the alternative versions of each character. 

And that's not the only thing that chafed my britches. The biggest thing that bothered me again was a failure to utilize the established potential. In this case, the TKs. Telekinesis really had no impact on this film. It was there, it was shiny, and it offered up a pretty cool visual of blowing up Garret Dillahunt. But if you really think about it, none of the character arcs, none of the emotional beats would have been altered had the telekinesis been completely struck from the plot. 

I'll focus on the ending primarily. It was big, flashy, and offered the chance for Cid to change his mind about atomizing Old-Joe. However, if we cut it out, and kept with Cid running into the corn and escaping, Old-Joe preparing to shoot Sara, and Joe realizing the closed loop it would create, nothing changes. 

We are lead to assume that Cid uses his telekinesis to become the Rainmaker and begin closing down the loops, but seeing as we're only told about this, and not shown, any person with an imagination (and a hellion of a ten year old with a temper anywhere in the vicinity of their life) can probably figure out just as plausible an explanation for Cid's transformation into the Rainmaker.

Hold onto that hairline kiddo.
So, two big complaints? Failure to live up to potential, and ensure that plot points were necessary as opposed to simply flashy. 

That said, pretty much everything else kicked ass. I mean, really I was on the edge of my seat for a better portion of the film. I won't espouse everything here, but I'll ramble through some of my favorite aspects. Joseph Gordon-Levitt really impressed me here. For the first twenty to thirty minutes of the film I was simply blown away by his ability to capture a majority of Bruce Willis' mannerisms.

And let's face it ... these two don't look anything alike.
When asked about the experience, Bruce Willis had this to say, 
"I was sitting across from Joe across a table. I was supposed to act and get all my lines right, but I just found myself looking at him and thinking how weird it was. It was an honour. It’s really a strange thing to see someone that looks like a young version of yourself. He’s a great actor, I love his work and I just love what he did in this film, ‘Looper.’ He picked up some of my cadence of speaking, which was odd, and yet, really cool at the same time." 
Reading about the makeup Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to wear was another triumph of the film. Despite the oddity of it, I don't know if I'd have noticed had I never seen him in a film before. Hard for me to say. I pay attention to these things, but until I sat down and looked, I had no idea how intense the makeup really was. 

Okay, I've glossed over a lot of the film here, so I'll shout out to actors Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, and Noah Segan.

I will also say that the ultimate fate of the character of Seth was possibly one of the more mentally disturbing things I've ever seen in a film. Kudos! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome to the Future

Another year down, another apocalypse survived. Congrats everybody!

It's been a hellova year for me. I lost someone very close to me, transferred to an out-of-state college, and learned how miserable a primarily top-ramen diet can be. 

At the same time, as the old song goes, 
Now I have moved and I've kept on moving,
Proved the points that I needed proving,
Lost the friends that I needed losing,
Found others on the way ...
It's been a real journey for me, in ways that I've tried to keep out of this blog, which I've had for nearly a year now. I'm not much for New Years Resolutions, but I think it might be high time to kick this puppy up to 11. 

In the next week, I'm thinking about film. I had a lot of time to kill over Christmas break and a lot of movies and shows to catch up on in the midst of my ravenous social life (not sarcasm, I have an awesome circle of friends). 

Look forward to a string of retro reviews on some of 2012's releases. 

Salami, eggs, and bacon!