electricpaladin: (Candle)
Last night, [livejournal.com profile] ladypimpernel, [livejournal.com profile] cherrytop, Aaron (no lj), and I saw Coraline. I've already written a post about my thoughts on the movie to my other blog (the one with buttons for eyes... no, no, no! Ack!), so if you want to read them, check it out @ the Burning Zeppelin Experience.
electricpaladin: (Default)
Wow... that was a very disturbing movie. I recommend it to any and all.

I don't think the creator Morgan Spurlock was completely successful. I still don't believe, for example, that responsibility rests with the fast food companies for making America fat. We are still responsible for how we feed ourselves.

However, he does manage to establish that McDonald's and the food industry in general for making nutritional information difficult or impossible to access and making choices that are good for their profits and bad for our health. I agree that the purpose of the food industry should not be to make money at all costs, but to make money while providing a service - in this case, feeding the people.

Also, it was oddly gratifying to watch someone getting heavier while reflecting on how much lighter I'm getting.

Anyway, the take home lesson seems to be that McDonald's-type food is always bad for you. This doesn't mean you should never eat it - I mean, alcohol is always bad for you, too - but the choice to eat it should be made with that in mind. McDonald's isn't food, it's entertainment. If you're entertained by that sort of thing - hell, I am - then it can be a good choice, if its part of a generally balanced diet. As a 'meal', though, it's a poor choice.
electricpaladin: (Default)
is a really terrible movie.

Ok, the plot is pretty basic: in the future we will all be drugged into numbness to avoid the horrors of the human condition (hate, war, bigotry, etc). The world will be ruled by a neofascist oligarchy, whose enforcers are gun-toting clerics who use a martial art based on memorizing the statistically likely distribution of opponents and performing various rote katas that make them unstoppable in combat. The main character is one of these priests, but when he misses a dose of his emotion-deadening meds, he turns against the system.

This is what I knew before I decided to give 107 minutes of my life to this movie. I thought, "ok, sounds cool." After all, kung-fu movies are my guilty pleasure.

I began to see the error of my ways when, after 45 minutes, there was only the barest example of the badass kung-fu action I had been promised.

At the same time, a vague (and weird) sexism began to rear its head.

There are no female leads in this movie - none at all. The guy's son is a relevant character, a creepy fascist-kid in training to be a gun-priest himself. The guy's daughter? Completely irrelevant. The guy's wife? Dragged off to be burned alive for the crime of stopping her meds and feeling and he barely bats an eye, but when he has to kill his partner for absconding with a volume of Keats... then he stops his own meds.

All the gun-priests are male. All the black-masked machine gunners who back them up are male. All the authority figures are male. The only women we see are sexless workers walking around in a drugged haze or dewy-eyed resistance fighters, gazing hopefully at the main character. It's a little weird. Also, I expect a little sexy in my kung-fu movies, and I am saddened by its lack.

Also, killing emotion means no war, no bigotry, no hate or violence... but we still keep the women out of positions of power? Give me a break.

There are also a lot of stupid little inconsistencies and stupidities that piss me off. Why is it that in an emotionless society all the higher-ups and the ubiquitous motivational speaker seem awfully emotive? Why does the main character make exactly the same mistakes his partner made when trying to hide his newfound emotion? A lot of the plot - especially the big mega end-of-the-movie plot - count on people being really dumb.

The biggest annoyance for me was the exclusive equation of emotion with art. Not interpersonal connection or affection. Not self-awareness or purpose or passion. No, emotion comes from looking at pretty things. Pretty sunrises. Pretty art hidden in basements by resistance fighters.

It's a shallow movie masquerading as a deep movie, and that annoys me. If it had stuck to the premise of gun-wielding kung-fu action (and actually delivered on its promise!) without the weird sexism and pretension of meaning, I would have liked it a lot better.

Also, the premise of the martial art is dumb. Statistics don't work that way. If you tried that, you'd end up with marginally fewer dead priests, maybe, until the enemies caught on and changed their attack pattern. And then you'd have more dead priests.

Spiderman 3

May. 5th, 2007 02:42 am
electricpaladin: (Default)
The Short: Awful, but I enjoyed it.

The Long: I was right. Three villains = lame. None of the characters really got the screen time they needed, and everything felt chaotic. Especially the Venom plot, which was entirely tacked on. It was almost as though they were trying to shove three or four movies into one skin. There were some cool moments, and I laughed, oohed, and aahed at all the appropriate moments, but it was basically badly written, poorly acted, and crappily written.

The one thing it had going for it was that, unlike, say X-Men 3, it got the point. It was true to the style of the comics. The characters, however two-dimensional, were recognizeably the characters from the comics. And, since I basically liked it, this confirms Abby's theory - it doesn't matter to me how good the movie really is, it matters most how much they get the point.

Apparantly they're already working on Spider Man 4. Gah.
electricpaladin: (Paladin)
Today I found myself contemplating an old friend of mine, and how our friendship ended.

His name was Scotty. He and I were good friends at New Country Day Camp, the place I spent my summers before I was judged ready for sleepaway camp (I remember the bus would pick me up by the concrete bridge over Clark Street, one that connected two mysterious concrete-walled apartment complexes that I never saw anyone enter or leave). We had a lot alike: we were both heavyset and unathletic boys, we both spent our time at New Country Day Camp doing as much arts and crafts in the shade as possible, and we were both interested in fantasy - at the time, especially super heroes. Even our super hero lore meshed well. I knew more about the ancient heroes whose stories my father could tell me, people like Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern. Scotty, on the other hand, new strange, modern heroes. People like Adam Warlock.

Anyway, for years we were inseprable, at least during the summer. Then, I stopped going to New Country Day Camp and, as these things usually go, we drifted apart.

I didn't see him again for about six years. By then, it was my first or second summer at French Woods. I met, by chance, a kid who called himself Dan. He reminded me a little of Scotty, but I didn't pay the feeling any attention. He didn't seem interested in being my friend, and I had enough friends that I didn't push the matter. It was most of the summer before one of 'Dan's' other friends accidentally called him Scot in my hearing.

I was sad and hurt of course, but most of all I remember being confused. If Scotty had become thin and popular, then I would have understood. I hated the rules, but I knew them as well as any kid who's ever been outcast. If anything he looked worse. I remember that it felt like a petty act of betrayal, senseless and stupid and cruel. I never found out why - I wasn't interested in anything he could say to me. I never saw him again.

I don't know why I find myself remembering that story. I haven't thought about it in years.

In further news, I have recieved yet another book at Kepler's that completely depresses me. It's called I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love my Low Libido, and it's awful. Here's the author's website.

The Good: Woman discards a masculinized perception of her own sexuality (and female sexuality in general) and becomes satisfied with her own libido level! Bully for her.

The Bad: The book is essentially a memoir of the author's journey through the maze of desire and compromise with her husband Kip - and in the end, her lack of desire = zero compromise. Joan gets what she wants, that is, just barely this side of no sex life, and no pressure to change, and Kip is just (not) screwed. Well, he gets the occasional blowjob. And she 'permits' him to masturbate to pornography.

What bothers me is the author's selfishness. She doesn't want to negotiate, she wants to get her way. She doesn't care that her husbnad is happy, she cares that his needs are met enough that he won't leave her. It's a selfish failed journey through a marital difficulty masquerading as a self-help book, and it. On top of all that, it's mired in sex differences - men want sex, women want chocolate - which I have gradually come to reject. I think it will cause as much damage as Jon Gray's Mars and Venus franchise.

For the uninitiated (ie. those not living with a sex therapist's daughter) Gray's books are I'd Rather Eat Chocolate for men. Instead of focusing on how women should get the sex lives they want and men should deal with it, Gray's books claim that men have certain needs (a cave to hide in, regular sex, room to be macho) that women should accomodate.

What is wrong with these people? Don't they realize if I compromise and you don't, that's not compromise! Don't they realize that we call it a relationship because it's about relating! I'm fairly disgusted.

The saddest thing of all - it was a special order. That means at least one poor person has purchased that book, and may be trying to use it as a guide to dealing with some issue in his or her life.

To end on a positive note, tonight Abby and I will be seeing Spiderman 3. Expect reviews! A warning: I'm not expecting much. I liked Spidermans 1 and 2, but whenever they introduce more than one villain at a time, I begin to get very, very suspicious. Color me paranoid, but Batmans 2 through godknowswhat taught me not to have much hope for multiple-villain movies, even if the franchise got off to a good start.
electricpaladin: (Default)
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Spoilercut! )

In further news, I had a dream last night that might turn into a novel. I won't go into details now, but I would appreciate any resources anyone can recommend to me as to the general character of 1980s science fiction. I know a lot about a lot of sci-fi, but I'm fuzzy on the dates.
electricpaladin: (Holy Knight)
This movie reminded me of three very important things that I had forgotten.

Firstly, that just because something is overexposed until it becomes a cliché in and of itself does not mean that it isn't worth experiencing for one's self. I'm still angry at all the well meaning rentheads who forced me to listen to Seasons of Love until I wanted to kill myself - or them, and then myself - but now it's as much for not picking something better, like Living in America or that song about Santa Fe, as it is for trying their damndest to ruin the play for me.

I wish I'd seen it on broadway. Yeah, I'm angry at the rentheads for that, too. If they hadn't been so obsessed with plastering their baby all over every media they could then maybe I would have put forth the effort to see the show myself. People performed Maureen's piece - by itself, with no context - in summer camp talent shows. It was awful. I watched some girl prancing about on stage demanding that her audience moo for her thinking 'this is Rent? This is worthless.'

Ugh. The anger will fade, I'm sure.

Secondly, I need to go back to New York. I'm not sure why exactly, but I need to be back in that city one day.

And finally, something a little more personal. Rent reminded me that it doesn't matter what's true as much as it matters what's real. A bit of a platititude, I'm sure, but it means something to me.

Also, new apartment, thanksgiving, and family. More on that later.


Oct. 8th, 2005 03:03 pm
electricpaladin: (Holy Knight)
About a week ago, I watched the Firefly pilot. I then proceded to rocket through the series. Last night, I watched Serenity.

I was not amused.

It was awful. )

In short, go see this movie if you want shiny cuts of Serenity floating through space and looking, well, high-budged. If you want something that will cap the series and entertain you for a few hours, buy the roleplaying game and make it up yourself.

Or better yet, port the setting to a system of your own. Whedon doesn't deserve any more money for this piece of crap than he's already made. He clearly does better work when he's living a little hungry.

EDIT: For a slightly different take, see Abby's comments. I agree with pretty much everything she says there, and only excluded the same criticism from my entry to avoid redunancy.


electricpaladin: (Default)

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