22.12.07

little fucking robots

a month ago i posted some photos of my latest obsession: transformers movie toys. for some reason i cannot get enough of them. i have now collected all the ones that i find worth getting, and i figured i may as well share them with any and all geeks out there, as well as a few of my thoughts on each figure. again, as mentioned before, i think the reason i got into these is because it reminds me of what it was like to be a kid.


i know this blog has deteriorated into, well, crap, and i do apologize. i've just been so lazy about writing in general, and since i can't muster any desire to complete my novel, this blog has pretty much gone neglected. anyway, here they are:

top: voyager classes - ironhide, optimus prime, ratchet and starscream.
bottom: deluxe class - 77 classic bumblebee, concept camaro bumblebee, barricade and jazz.

there are a few that are missing, like megatron, brawl and bonecrusher, as well as various other versions of the same models, but i find the rest just aren't worth getting.

voyager class:
optimus prime: personally, i'm not too excited about this figure, but it's the best optimus there is for the movie line. there's a leader version about three times the price and size, but i didn't find it very good at all. way too big, looked horrific on the shelf, and really limited in articulation. basically, an overpriced paperweight. this voyager optimus prime, however, is pretty decent with excellent articulation and light piping (clear eyes that allow light to shine through).


ironhide: probably my favorite voyager class figure. his alt mode is excellent and his robot mode is pretty badass with those big guns. it's pretty movie accurate. only real downfall is that he's so dark colored. hard to see details. his cannons combine into one large one that you can mount on one arm and fire the missiles out of.


ratchet: this guy i basically got because i wanted to get all the autobots. his alt mode is oversized compared to the other voyager models, and it feels really cheap, but his robot mode is kind of cool with excellent articulation. he does, however, look a bit like frankenstein.


starscream: the only decent voyager decepticon figure, the alt mode is pretty cool, with spring-loaded missiles. his robot mode is kind of awkward looking. sort of like an insect squatting to take a shit. he also has charlie brown knee caps.


deluxe class:77 classic bumblebee: this version is the japanese version, which came with clear windows and hard plastic bits, compared to the very plain looking north american version with painted in windows and dull cheap yellow plastic. i really like the alt mode. it's very compact and tight. the robot mode is pretty bad with clown feet and spring-loaded missiles that you can put on his shoulders or hands.


concept camero bumblebee: probably the best of the bunch, this version of bumblebee has amazing articulation very movie accurate, and all around fantastic, both in alt mode and robot mode. his gun actually splits apart to reveal a clear blue energy blade. yes, geeky but cool.


jazz: the worst figure, barely worth purchasing. he's pretty ugly, his alt mode is pretty plain, but his robot mode at least has good articulation and great light piping. however, he's got these near non-existent t-rex-like hands that are pretty ugly. again, the only reason i got him was to complete the autobots.


barricade: one of my favorites, he's pretty awesome. his alt mode is probably one of the best, and his robot mode is just mean looking. like a bodybuilder experiencing roid-rage. he comes with a miniature frenzy that comes out of his chest.

transformers supply has been next to nothing this christmas season, but i figure in the new year stores will be restocking. deluxes range in price from $9-$15 canadian dollars, and voyagers somewhere at $20-30, depending on where you go. i wouldn't hit up ebay because the major chains should be restocking. however, if you're prone to laziness, then by all means, take advantage of ebay.

finally, as i mentioned before, there are many alternate versions and repaints of these figures. i didn't find any worth getting except for the "evolution of a hero" pack which included the north american 77 classic camaro and the battle damaged version of the camaro concept bumblebee. this was exclu
sive to target in the united states, and zellers here in canada. but that's only because that deluxe model is really cool regardless of paint job.

and finally, just to round out this post, here's a photo of one of the coolest christmas gifts i have ever received. it's a convoy ultra magnus ipod player. this figure throws back to my childhood.

20.12.07

pimping for jesus

british comedian pat condell on the u.s. election. well said.


8.12.07

david usher: music


mitt fit


republican nominee, mitt romney believes that "freedom requires religion. just as religion requires freedom." um, no. fuck you mitt.



via onegoodmove.

28.10.07

into the wild


in april 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of mt. mckinley. his name was christopher johnson mccandless. he had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

that's what it says on the cover of the book written by jon krakauer. i'm not giving away anything because it's not a story about christopher's life: it's a story about his death and the life that was taken. the film version of into the wild is faithfully directed by sean penn. when i read the book, it quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. even though i knew the outcome, there was so much tension and drama on every page. i was gripped. what's so interesting about the story is christopher mccandless himself. a young man so principled with his own idea of morality. a young man so desperate to experience life.

those who have read the book seem to have two different opinions of him. one group believes he was a selfish, stupid, careless kid who caused his family incredible grief and ultimately committed suicide. another group believes him to be a very smart and intuitive kid who was after something bigger than this life, something higher than material goods and human pettiness, who touched people's lives, and who ultimately made a fatal mistake. i've got a different opinion of him, but i won't say it because the beauty of the book and the way krakauer wrote it, is in the way it leaves it open for your own interpretation.

now, the movie however sort of robs you of that choice. sean penn, if you have heard any of his political rants, is very one-sided and is very vocal about his opinions. and here, he's no different. he directs the movie, a movie he's wanted to make for ten years but couldn't without christopher's family signing off on it, with plenty of passion and love for the subject. the only thing is, he shows christopher off as almost jesus-like, which i think is a mistake. he also does some very heavy-handed things in the end of the film which i think sort of takes away from the power of it. what penn does is focus so completely on what makes christopher great, he doesn't include any of the negative aspects of chris - the selfish kid, the naive kid, the hurtful and spiteful kid. i think if he had, it would have made a much better movie. personally, i love a hero with faults. penn makes christopher's story cut and dry, black and white, and that's a shame. he sort of forces his opinion on you, and i sort of resented the film for that. i also had a general problem with the movie where i felt hardly any emotion. it may be due to the fact that i had just read the book a couple weeks earlier. the book drained me emotionally, which is perhaps why the movie comes off as kind of lacking. the film has been well received by critics and audiences alike, however.

the film also has a great soundtrack by eddie vedder. vedder shows off some great original work as well as some awesome covers.

i must say that all in all, i do identify quite a bit with christopher. i understand his desire to experience something beyond this life. i understand his frustration with his father as well as society. i also understand his wanderlust. as much as i love city life, sometimes i think it will swallow me whole, which is why sometimes solitude and being comfortable with being alone is a good thing. the big different though is that i don't have the fortitude that he has of his principles, and ultimately, despite enjoying solitude, i eventually find my way back. unfortunately for christopher, he couldn't.

the following is the video for the cover "hard sun" as well as "society," a video some fan made with pics of pearl jam. enjoy.




21.10.07

9/11 conspiracy nutters

i am all about questioning everything. you shouldn't just blindly believe something just because someone told you it was so. otherwise, it borders on religion. however, there is a line where logic and reason is drawn, and conspiracy theories often test that. one such conspiracy theory is that the u.s. government purposely destroyed the world trade center towers on 9/11 in a controlled demolition. there are whole internet communities about this online. i've heard their arguments, and normally this is where i'd post a link to one website or another, but really, it's just not worth my time.

bill maher is back on the air with another season. these conspiracy theorists have apparently been getting at maher to bring up this topic on his shows, but he refuses to. it appears a couple of audience members decided they'd throw it in maher's face. what ensues is quite a funny little war of words.



and here is a more civilized discussion. maher interviews garry kasparov, chess grandmaster, and a candidate for president of russia. kasparov speaks with such intelligence and sophistication that it sparks remarks from maher and guests about how great kasparov is. very good interview.


12.10.07

Endings

so i basically have the whole book written out in my head. it's just a matter of getting it down onto paper, which is getting easier and easier as the days go by. it should be, considering i've been meditating on this story for at least a good year and a half. over the past few months, i've managed to put to rest some nagging personal and professional issues that have plagued me for the past year. i think this has allowed me to free up time and thought to finally get this book done. the only real question marks are when will i have it done? (i'm hoping for the end of the year) and which ending will i choose?
endings are tough, because a bad ending can ruin a good story and a strange ending can pervert the whole story. at the same time, you want an ending with some balls. at least i do, especially considering the themes that i will be discussing. the problem is that the ending i have in mind is great, but it borders on foreign art-film type stuff, which usually turns a lot of people off. i have read and seen a lot of stuff lately where the ending would wuss out even though overall it was a good move. i don't want to do that.
that being said, i have three endings in mind, all different variations of each other, but the book will be drastically changed depending on which ending i chose. at this time, my plan is to just write all three endings, and have friends read the book with all three endings and give me feedback, even though most of my friends consider feedback as, "that was good." or maybe I won't release all three endings and I'll just chose the best one and just fuck the audience over. we'll see. it's still a long ways away before i even write them.

10.10.07

Update

brief update as to what i've been up to:

nothing.

however, i am planning for some future activities: it never snows in vancouver except maybe once or twice a year during december. i'm hoping for a bit of snow so i can go take some panoramic photos of the city under snow. i didn't get a chance to do that last year. when it does snow, i'll post some photos on my photo blog. i am also in the hunt for a missing roll of film from my u.s. trip. some great pictures of colorado were on that roll. i'd better find it...

in terms of writing, i've just been biding my time, not trying to force anything. what little i've written has been focused primarily on vancouver and how much i just love this fucking city. i was rollerblading near yew and 5th and there was this steep hill which allows you to see the rest of the city. say what you want, but there's beauty in the city. you just have to know where to look.

one of the things about vancouver that used to bother me so much was the fact that a lot of the buildings in downtown vancouver, especially the newer residential ones, are all the same: they all have that tepid turquoise coloration on the windows. one day as i was going over the granville bridge, on a particular cloudy vancouver day, i realized how gorgeous the city looked with that color. this is the only time when that color looks good. and since vancouver is so cloudy/rainy on a regular basis, i don't mind that color any more.

anyway, here's a snippet i wrote for the book. it took me five minutes to write it literally as i was thinking of a topic to write about on this blog:

Blink. And it’s gone. The love. You can be enamoured with something but give it enough time, it becomes pedestrian, and when it gets pedestrian, you take it for granted. Blink. And it’s gone. The love is something that you really want to try to keep a hold of. When you find it, you grab onto it with both hands. Feverish. And it’s this love that Monty feels, staring up at the lights. He sits on a park bench, wooden, steel framed. Bare-naked trees surround him, strategically placed in the artificial park. Manufactured life standing in for nature, like surrogates, surrounded by brick and steel. There’s a parking garage to one side and an alley to the other reeking of what god knows: Shit, blood and cum. Hanging from the bare branches are strings of blue florescent lights. Decorative. Small, sparkling beacons beneath the pitch black sky. Monty sits alone on the bench, staring up at the lights. He’s been there for almost two hours. The night gets deeper and so does the love: the love of the little peace that he craves. He doesn’t question where he finds it or when: he just accepts. And as this feeling soars, he cannot let go, because it’ll be a long way down.

9.9.07

jigsaw

so i've been writing off and on for the past few weeks. i've only been writing separate little scenes, almost like self-enclosed short stories. sometimes i'll jump ahead to a part of the book i feel like writing and then sort of go back and piece things together, move scenes around... sort of like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle. the luxury about writing is that you can do whatever you want. the way you write one book, isn't necessarily how you will write your next book, and so on.

i've finally settled on the fact that the mood and pace of the book cannot be settled in just two parts. i'm just not that talented. instead, it will be three distinct, yet connected parts. think of it as three short stories all including the same characters. the first section will be an exploration of men and their relations to each other and the lasting influence of their fathers. the second section will be the nity gritty political stuff, involving the clash of civilizations. and the third section will be about redemption and proving to be bigger than your physical frame. i'm actually writing a disney screenplay, haha.

my writing is becoming pretty spare and bare bones which is kind of nice. there's a nice aesthetic feel to the work, where it actually just looks better on page. i know this is pretty superficial, but it matters. i find i am just not bothering with too much continuity from scene to scene. a character may act one way in one scene, and in the very next scene, they may act another way. the reason is that i don't find explaining what happened in between very interesting. most people can infer what went on. i just can't be bothered. overall, the book should come in at a very lean 150 to 200 pages. i just don't have the patience to write long books. i find i have to finish a book quickly, before i lose interest, which happens faster and faster these days. as one gets older, one finds they don't have much time for filler.

this book will be less explicit and graphic than my previous work. i am finding more often that with sex and violence, less seems to be more. if done correctly, a two or three line bit of violence can do more for the imagination than a dozen pages of overwrought, dramatized orgy of blood. not that an orgy of blood is bad. sometimes, in the hands of a very skilled writer, it can be quite good. personally, it gets boring to write such things.

i have been doing some research for the book. not a lot, because most of the stuff, especially the political stuff, i'm already really into so i get that stuff on a daily basis (eg: articles on political torture, renditions), but i'm looking into some other things that i'm not really versed with. learning how to accurately describe a gunshot wound by looking at gunshot victims online isn't really very fun, but it helps in the accuracy department. you kind of have to have a strong stomach to look at some of the stuff i've seen. there are some sick fucking things that people will upload or post on their websites. for example, i found a website that showed gunshot victims; detailed, graphic, pre-autopsy photos. the kicker is, the website speaks out against gun control. the point is, the teenage kid you see with the hole in his head could have been alive if he had had a gun to defend himself with. right. in that particular instance, it was his father that shot him. executed him point blank. kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, you think?

meanwhile, i have been reading a lot. in the past couple of months, i finished a couple of books that really aren't worth mentioning. sometimes you have to just try new things, and while somewhat entertaining, these books were pretty much just filler. i do have some better reading coming up (or at least i hope so). i'm waiting for the delivery from amazon.ca. the books are, in no particular order:

civilwarland in bad decline by george saunders.


into the wild by jon krakauer.

the tent by margaret atwood.


5.9.07

vfs

youtube is a bed of copyright infringement, but that doesn't mean you can't get interesting art from it. most of the times it's an excuse to post clips of television shows and movies, but there are people that are using it for what it was meant to be for: broadcast yourself.

the vancouver film school has been posting videos of films made by its students. some of them are interesting, others are just plain weird, but they're all original creations, which makes it kind of fun to watch. below are a few videos that i found to be interesting:

guernica



to the door



piece of mind


4.9.07

kim campbell

kim campbell, former prime minister of canada (the first female canadian prime minister), was on bill maher in 2004 which i missed somehow. anyway, in this clip, michael moore and maher are begging perennial pariah ralph nader to not run in '04. he was seen as the spoiler in the 2000 election that handed george w. bush the victory (which i personally don't think is true).
what is interesting about this clip is that campbell makes a very good argument against nader running. she is right when she says that politics isn't an abstract exercise, that there are real lives on the line, and nader isn't helping anything when he does what he does in this particular situation.
i like ralph nader, and i believe in the principle of what he is doing; the problem is that he is dictated by principle and principle alone on this issue, about bringing in a third party as a significant player into u.s. politics. sometimes he gets so riled up in his principles, that all reason and logic and humanity is forgotten. he claimed there was no difference between the two parties, and it didn't matter who you voted for. well, this is true. but who you vote for does matter: george bush proved this point. there can be someone worse. i cannot recall a president more destructive for his own country, as well as the international community. by 2004 people knew he was no good. he had to be removed. nader knew it, but he didn't care.
now i haven't seen any statistics on nader's effect in the 2004 election, but i do want to back kim campbell's point, that nader has influence, and influence can translate to power and the ability to effect change. he could use his influence to aid one side (in this case it would have been kerry). i'm not saying nader would have had any real effect, all i am saying is that sometimes you have to put aside principle when you have a chance to make immediate and effective change. yes, a third party will only arise if there is real movement and voice, and sometimes you have to break a few eggs to succeed. but this is easily said when those eggs aren't yours. it's easy to be principled when regardless of the outcome, you will be fine.
maybe it's because i'm pretty cynical and i don't think a third party will ever be effective in u.s. politics. but campbell makes a great point here, and it pisses me off that maher interrupts her for the sake of a really lame o.j. simpson joke. campbell was making a real political statement on a show about political discussion. but ultimately maher always has to get the last laugh, and it's a shame. i like maher, but sometimes, he just has to shut the fuck up.

29.8.07

porno bush

british artist jonathan yeo was commissioned to do a portrait of george w. bush, but was later told his services would not be needed. well, he went and did a portrait anyway, which is a collage made from fragments of 100 porn magazines. the picture above is the censored version. click on the image for the original image.

16.8.07

john from cincinnati

john from cincinnati is one of the wierdest shows i've ever seen. the writing is good, but at times, it is confusing and the acting is wooden usually on purpose. the premise is about a legendary surfing family that is on the verge of falling apart, in a community that seems disjointed and almost cut off from the rest of the world. in comes john... from cincinnati. he's an enigma. everyone thinks he's slow, and he may be that, but eventually strange things start happening, such as the grandfather levitating for no apparent reason, people healing from seemingly mortal injuries... and it all seems to come back to john. from cincinnati.

the writing is so purposely bizarre, that it's tough to get a hang on the tone and pace of the show, which is probably why john from cincinnati never really found an audience. it took me around episode four to finally get used to the pace, and really start liking it. then they canceled the show. typical. anyway, there are ten episodes to the series, and i've always felt that it was better to come up short, than to stay too long.

30 days of night

um, i have to see this.

14.8.07

duchovny's back

you know that actor that had a hit tv show and decided he was too big for the show and wanted to leave to do movies but did a couple and didn't go anywhere only to disappear for a few years to resurface every once in a while to blab about how wonderful it would be if there could be another movie based on his former hit tv show? well, that's david duchovny. i don't think david duchovny ever knew his limitations as an actor, because let's face it, he wasn't so great on the x-files. he was fox mulder, and only fox mulder. he basically comes from the keanu reeves school of acting, except devoid of all star power. anyway, i've always like him regardless, and now he's back in californication, a showtime original series. it's a surprisingly funny, raunchy show about a one hit wonder writer who is struggling with trying to rekindle his burnt out career, his ex-wife, and his precocious daughter.

the show starts out fun enough, (a blowjob from a nun), but it quickly throws in the the cliches (guy comes home and catches duchovny with his wife). there are some genuinely funny moments though, like when a girl he picks up at a book store punches him in the face during sex. twice. even though the cliches dampen the genius, the writing and dialogue is smart enough to be charming. witness the following exchange, where duchovny finds out that his ex-wife will be getting married again:

- Hank, I'm getting married.
- What?
- He asked, and I said yes.
- Why the fuck would you do something like that?
- Because I love him.
- No you don't.
- Yes I do.
- You don't!
- I do!
- You do not
- Yes I do!
- You don't!
- I do
- You don't!
- I do!
- You don't!
- How do you know?
- Because he's a fucking dial tone! He's everything you said you never wanted. I'm sure he means well and everything... I may be fucked up right now, but he's not the guy for you. I can see that.
- How do you know that?
- Because I know you. Now don't I get a say in this?
- No.
- Are you sure? Because it seems like I should. Maybe.

there are some other juicy lines, like duchovny talking about finger-banging a cat, and his ex-wife telling him that he smells like pussy and he says, "thank you" with a smile.

i really liked the pilot, and it looks like duchovny finally found his way back to television again. isn't that always how it happens? it's kinda nice. i haven't laughed this much at any pilot for any show. not even entourage, and that's saying something. hopefully californication will stick around for a couple of seasons, if only to amuse me. duchovny's back, baby!


13.8.07

muse

muse [myooz] –noun
1.classical mythology.
a.any of a number of sister goddesses, originally given as aoede (song), melete (meditation), and mneme (memory), but latterly and more commonly as the nine daughters of zeus and mnemosyne who presided over various arts: calliope (epic poetry), clio (history), erato (lyric poetry), euterpe (music), melpomene (tragedy), polyhymnia (religious music), terpsichore (dance), thalia (comedy), and urania (astronomy); identified by the romans with the camenae.
b.any goddess presiding over a particular art.
2.(sometimes lowercase) the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like.
3.(lowercase) the genius or powers characteristic of a poet.


everyone has a muse. and if they don't, they should. it's interesting who you come across that can inspire you. that inspiration can drive you to create beautiful art, or it can drive you to destroy it, and everything in between. i think a good muse should do both. a muse, whether a he, she, or it, should be polarizing. it should grab hold of you and pull you apart in opposing directions. a muse should make you want to tear your hair out, yet at the same time bring you comfort. i think that sort of force creates good art. no, not good art, but great art. great art explores as many facets of human emotion as possible, both exploiting it and emboldening it.

my muse has been the same for as long as i can remember. she's always sort of been there, mostly in the back of my mind, sort of eating away at my subconscious. never really letting go. when a muse knows they are your muse, it can get complicated to say the least. trust me. ultimately though, a muse should outlast the physical self. in the end, the memory of a muse is just as good, just not as biting as the truth of it, for memory is not truth. any real police officer can tell you that.

at any rate, i've written some more so here's another snippet:

Elton gets out of his bed and makes his way to the stereo. He scratches himself through the boxers. The city noise filters in through the window into the small room. Sean watches him from beneath the covers, the pillow bunched up beneath her chin. Her eyes examine him thoughtfully. He turns on the stereo, sets it to blast. She makes a noise and covers her head with the pillow. There's a letter for him by the door, no doubt slipped under it the night before from the hotel manager demanding another couple hundred dollars for the week. He goes into the washroom and jerks off to the image of the girl on the shampoo bottle. Her head is tossed back, her eyes a flutter and her mouth is slightly parted. Her "O" face. When he's done, he goes to the mini fridge. Sean is sitting cross-legged in a chair in a matching pink t-shirt and panties, with an open jar of peanut butter in her lap. She's digging at it with her fingers. He's always hated that. She looks at him and doesn't say anything as she licks her fingers. Then she mentions that he looks like he's lost weight.
- What?
- I said you look skinny. Are you bulimic?
- Do you mean like you? Or was that anorexic? I can never tell the two apart.
- Don't say that, Elton. Why'd you have to say that?
- You opened that door.
- God, you're so mean.
- Hey, I'm sorry if you don't have an eating disorder. They're like Chanel handbags. Everybody's got to have one. Surprised you're not in on it yet.
- Fuck you.
- I'm just kidding.
- That's not funny. People die from it.
- People die from car accidents too.
- That's also not funny.
- No, what's not funny is if your pants no longer fit you. That's a tragedy. He looks at her. That was another joke, babe.
- You weren't joking. She sticks her finger into the peanut butter and sucks on it. Defiant. He's got his head in the fridge, refusing to look at her. She says, I'm not a savage. He then looks at her and his eyes wander down to her belly. He grabs a beer and walks away. She looks down at her stomach. It's a little rounder than she remembered. She frowns and tugs on her shirt, pulling it down to hide her roundness. She looks at the peanut butter and shoves it across the table.
- I need some more rent money.
- I don't have any.
- Why don't you call your dad?
- Why don't you get a job?
- Your dad's loaded and he loves you. That's like a rarity or something these days.
- Don't you find it emasculating that I pay for everything? I thought guys cared about that.
- Jesus. Forget it. He drops himself on the bed and stretches out on it, staring up at the dimpled ceiling. He rubs his thumb over the lip of the beer bottle.
- You can't live here forever.
- My god, he sighs. Are you still here? Sean gives him a dirty look and starts looking for her clothes. She says under her breath:
- You're a pagan. You don't deserve God's name on your lips.
- It's a figure of speech.
- Still a pagan. You're gonna rot in hell.
- If wishes were ponies, babe. If wishes were ponies...

road trip: western united states

i have posted photos from my road trip. you can find them here.

7.8.07

sunshine


just remember it takes eight minutes for light to travel from sun to earth, which means you'll know we succeeded about eight minutes after we deliver the payload. all you have to is look out for a little extra brightness in the sky. so if you wake up one morning and it's a particularly beautiful day, you'll know we made it.

- sunshine

sunshine is about 8 astronauts, whose mission is to deliver a nuclear payload the size of manhattan into the sun. why? well, the sun is dying and they are attempting to reignite the sun, because if the sun dies, so do we. the spaceship delivering the payload is called icarus 2. this is the second and last attempt, as the first attempt, icarus 1, was mysteriously never heard from, disappearing seven years ago. needless to say, the crew of icarus 1 failed in their attempt, for unknown reasons.

as they get near the sun and enter into the "dead zone" which is basically the point of no return, where their communications to earth will no longer be heard, the crew stumbles upon the icarus 1 vessel. here, they take an ill thought out, yet somewhat logical step to salvage the payload from the first ship. the thinking is, since this is their last shot, two last shots are better than one. this turns out to be a fatal mistake.

the script is written by alex garland, who also wrote 28 days later, which is a far better movie. comparing a zombie movie to a space movie isn't really doable, except for the fact that both were written by alex garland, who is predictable in his writing. basically, what you know is that there will be humans faced with extraordinary situations, which usually end in a bloodbath. what's interesting about garland's writing, is that he always asks interesting questions, even though the ending is usually predictable. sunshine is no exception. here, garland weighs interesting questions, such as how expendable is a person's life when weighed against the success of the mission, which means the salvation of humanity? and how much of our humanity can be lost, or how much of it are we willing to part with, in order to succeed? is compassion or dignity important when faced with life and death? to some of the astronauts, it is important to keep what makes us human, to others, nothing matters except the success of the mission. in this particular circumstance, i'd have to agree with the latter. you can cry about it later.

there is an interesting scene where some of the crew debate what they must do to survive. in this situation, it is about oxygen. there is an accident, and they don't have enough oxygen to survive long enough to deliver the payload. actually, they do, so long as they lose a few people. and as the situation goes from bad to worse to hopeless, these questions get asked more often. the cast gets shaved down, and they begin to wonder just how minimal the numbers can get in order to fulfill the mission? each of the 8 astronauts fulfills a specific role. so who is expendable? the gardener? the psychologist? the communications officer? the captain? the physicist? and so on.

the movie isn't anything special, in that we've seen all these things in every other space movie ever made. nobody said garland was original. but it was entertaining for what it was. it was released in the uk months ago, so there are dvd rips online that you can scam if you want, but i chose to see it in the theatre and i'm glad i did, because it's a very visceral visual experience. they do an excellent job of recreating the sun on screen.

4.8.07

road films

so i just got back from my two week vacation. i took a road trip down to the united states. the trip comprised of over 7000 km, driving through 8 states, and as with all road trips, lots of interesting stories. more on that later.

it's no secret that i have a thing for road trips. i love road trip films, and i love writing about them, mostly because i think they're such great vehicles for stories. that being said, i thought i might compile a short list of some of the better road films that i've come across in recent memory. they are listed in no particular order. i'm too lazy to give much of a description, save for a short blip:

kalifornia


tell me, big shot, how you gonna write a book about something you know nothing about?

- early, in kalifornia.

kalifornia is very worthy and interesting meditation on violence and living it vs writing about it. white violent itself, it never uses violence for anything other than to further the plot. this is classic just to see david duchovny in his pre x-files days.

true romance

i always said, if i had to fuck a guy... i mean had to, if my life depended on it... i'd fuck elvis.

- clarence woreley, in true romance.

true romance indulges in violence with glee, very hard to watch at times, but entertaining for its controlled chaos. while kalifornia spends all its time thinking about the meaning of violence, true romance does the exact opposite: in fact, one can't help think if tarantino has ever seriously thought about the consequences of violence. i don't think he has, because he shows now attempt at any sort of responsibility in any of his writing. personally, i don't think he's smart enough. but he writes fun dialogue, that's for sure.

the motorcycle diaries

you gotta fight for every breath and tell death to go to hell.

- ernesto, in the motorcycle diaries.

the motorcycle diaries is about two men, ernesto guevara and alberto granado who go on a trip on the back of an old motorcycle. ernesto would later be known more famously as the revolutionary, che guevara. political without the preaching.

y tu mama tambien

luisa: you have to make the clitoris your best friend.
tenoch: what kind of friend is always hiding?

- y tu mama tambien.

y tu mama tambien is basically about two horny teenage boys who go on a trip with a much older woman. that's about it. it's pretty simple, and of course there are revelations about the woman and the boys grow to know more about themselves and each other. there's no new ground covered here, but it's just well made and acted and has quite a lot of heart.

world traveler

women are just different than men. they want different things. i mean, jesus christ, i don't want to see anyone for that many days in a row.

- cal, in world traveler.

world traveler is about a man who one day, without warning, just gets up and abandons his wife and child. he goes on the road in search of something that he's been thinking about for a very long time. this is a very slow moving film, relying more on mood than anything else, but it is very good. cal, the main character, meets all sorts of people, especially women. if there's anything true about this film, is the women. you certainly do meet interesting women while on the road. again, more on that later in a different post.

18.7.07

californiaaaaaa, californiaaaaaa, here i come...!

so i will be taking a much needed and deserved three week vacation this friday. my friend and i will be heading down the coastline to the deepest south of california, possibly crossing over into mexico. we'll see. it's a road trip that i've been looking forward to all year. and it couldn't have come at a better time, as this is about the halfway point of the year, and a good a time as any to switch gears. with most of the past year behind me, there's only the future to look forward to.

at any rate, i won't be documenting the trip as thoroughly as i initially wanted to (didn't bother to purchase a camcorder), but i should have some good pictures that i will post on my panoramic blog when i return. i am leaving at an awkward time for my writing, however, considering how much of a roll i'd been on as of late, but hopefully the ideas will come fast and furious during the trip; they usually do.


as is my tradition with road trips, i will be taking along some steinbeck. this time, it will be his east of eden. i've always had a pretty deep connection to his books while traveling, so this time should be no exception.

it's been about a good fifteen or sixteen years since i'd been to california. just what do i plan on doing while i'm there? well, i basically intend on playing in the super mario 3 playoffs and schooling fred savage's retarded brother with the power glove. because i love the powerglove. it's so bad. first person to guess what movie that reference is from, gets a coke. long days, sunny beaches and roadside diners, here i come!