Sin City, Totally Awesome

Two and a half hours later and you leave the theater with narration running through your head. Everything around you gets described by an inner voice that’s hard as nails and smokes camels unfiltered.

“It’s cold outside, but it’s a spring kind of cold, the kind that lets you know it’ll all be warm again tomorrow…”

The movie left me with much the same buzz I used to get as a kid when I first encountered martial arts films. When you get out you’re all hyped up on the immersion. The world looks all weird with a normal pallet of colors to it. You begin to ache for the shadows and the feel of a cold gun in your hand… cold but for the heat and smoke radiation off the barrel after you’d just emptied and entire clip…

You see how this can get you into trouble.

It’s always been dangerous driving home from a movie (or video game) with good car chases in it… you get that itch to push things just a little faster, that urge to cut in and out of traffic… maybe run a red light or two. It’s just as bad walking home from a kung fu flick through dark streets. You have the almost uncontrollable urge to start hand jabbing and jump kicking people around you.

Sin City left me with an almost unquenchable desire for unfiltered cigarettes, handguns, and hookers that look like movie stars. Make that pornographic movie starts.
“That there is a damned fine coat you’re wearing” could become the new “Make my day” … except that it wouldn’t mean as much if the person you were threatening weren’t wearing a coat. Still, the way Mickey delivers it…

Let’s get things straight from the start so I don’t get your expectations up.

The narration is bad, okay? The narration came straight from the comic book, and comic book narration is never meant to be read out loud. So the constant narration feels stiff, stilted, and corny.

That is… until you get used to it. Once you just sit back and let yourself be immersed in the feel and flavor of the film you don’t notice the narration is bad… or, to be more precise, you no longer care that it’s bad. Because it’s so bad it’s cool.

The dialog is worse. There are lines so full of corn you could plant entire hectares with them. We laughed out loud at many of them. You couldn’t avoid laughing if you tried. But it worked. Don’t ask me how it worked, it just did. You laughed, you knew it was corny to an extreme, but it was beautiful all the same.

Finally, the violence and gore was the worst of it all. Gouts and splatters normally reserved for splash fest C-grade horror flicks about liquid filled zombies walking into lawn mowers were frequent. Amputations and castrations and crude disembowelments were threatened, implied, and eventually just flat out shown. Men in the audience winced in sympathetic pain. Often.

Everything was overdone, overindulged, and completely over the edge. There was no line to cross. The line had been washed away by a river of blood long before the opening credits ran. Once the lights dimmed and the previews faded you were hauled off into the deep end with your feet firmly encased in a bucket of cement.

But that is the beauty of the film. It isn’t just the visuals that are drastic black and whites interspersed with splashes of color. The dialog, the plot, the acting, the sets, everything was in a gradient of two: All and Nothing. No subtleties, no feints, no casual drama. These were not real people leading real lives with real problems. These were gods and demons made flesh with all the passions and appetites to match. I suspect the reviews of this movie, and people’s general opinions of it, will be just as gradient. You’ll either love it or hate it.

The movie is faithful to the comic books to a fault. They never strayed, never changed anything. I’m embarrassed to admit that I read the comic enough times that I noticed where they skipped lines. But they had to. The narration was overdone as it was. If they hadn’t trimmed it they would have had another Lord of The Rings trilogy on their hands.
And speaking of Lord of The Rings, I have to wonder if Elijah Wood deliberately chose his role to take himself as far from his image as Frodo as possible. From selfless savior to psychopathic cannibal in one step. Hell of a career move. I only wish they could have kept him fighting longer.

It’s pathetic how much of the film I could remember from the comic even as I was watching it. I could even fill in the background on many of the characters shown.
Manute’s missing eye, the one replaced by a shiny ball of gold, was due to his encounter with Marv when Marv backed up Dwight, before Dwight had changed his face, grown in his hair, and went into hiding to avoid a murder charge.

The man sitting on Marv’s left as they watched Nancy dance was Weevil, the informant used and abused by many of the characters, but most notably abused by Marv when he wants to trick the people setting him up for murder into coming for him. That’s why the two hit men showed up at the bar to take Marv out, Marv had sent Weevil off to tell everyone he knew where Marv could be found.

There’s an entire back story that involves Dwight, Gail, and the twins Goldy and Wendy that explains why Dwight is so protective of, and respected in, Old Town. And even before that story there’s background for why Dwight was involved with the girls at all.

I’m embarrassed to know all of this, and so much more, but it makes the movie just that much richer for me. But even those people who had no idea of the background (ie, everyone else with me tonight) loved the movie in all its excessive gore and glory.

But then again, the people I hang out with are kind of… different. Connie mentioned that the man sitting next to us expressed shock to his companions about how we were all laughing at the … inappropriate moments.

I’m going to see this film again. It’s worth full price to see it on the big screen. And I’m going to buy it the moment it hits the shelves. Count on it.

Must get back into writing.

Write, write, write, must get a-writin’… just read quixote317’s post about having to struggle to write these days and I found myself identifying with him. I haven’t had an easy writing session for months. Ever word has been a struggle. Which is why my journal on lj has been mostly quizzes and links to small items of interest, and my journal entries on my own website have been virtually nonexistent.

Even now I’m having trouble moving much past the first paragraph. Give me a moment, I’m sure I’ll build up some momentum from somewhere.

Today was a gorgeous day, weather-wise, and I made a concerted effort to get out of the house and enjoy it. I did a lot of little things that had me driving around the city with my windows down. I took a bag of bottle and cans in to the depot, picked up a few supplies from my local Co-op, and had coffee in our neighborhood pub. The pub still had its windows closed but I don’t blame them. The wind was pretty strong and would have been a nuisance.

I had planned on working out but the coffee has since worn off so my enthusiasm and drive has withered. I really should go, though. I know I’ll feel better if I do. I just have to convince my feet of that fact and get them going back out the door.

I miss Ronya already. She was in town for a grand total of about 27 hours over the course of Wednesday. She arrived at 2 am, having left work at midnight to drive in to Calgary. She left again at 5am Thursday morning in order to get back to work on time.

She should be done her practicum at the end of May, and from there she’ll have real days off that will allow her to have real fun, relaxation, and beer. It’s not like we’re alcoholics or anything but not being allowed to drink 12 hours before a shift pretty much make’s Ronya a teetotaler when she’s working seven days with slightly less than 24 hours off in between.

In other news, I’m an uncle again. Wildor and Sandi had their second daughter late Wednesday night… five pounds, something ounces. Tiny kid, but she was only a couple of weeks early so I’m sure she’ll grow in no time.

No word on the name yet. I’m sure they’ve picked one, I just haven’t been around to ask them what it is.

I spent a couple of hours chopping at the block of ice behind our garage this afternoon, one just before I went out and one as soon as I got back. The ice really isn’t in the way of anything any more, and I know it would have melted away just fine on its own… but I want it gone now. I want winter gone. I’m getting tired of Calgary’s staggered seasons, with Winter throwing in an appearance in nearly every damn month. Striking at the ice and throwing the chunks out of the shade won’t make winter disappear any faster, but it made me feel better.

And it showed me just how much stronger I’ve become over the years. The last time I performed that particular chore I was wheezing and sweating by the end of it. Now? Not even breathing hard, and not a single drop of sweat.

All the more reason I should continue going to the gym, right? Especially as Ronya noted that I have, indeed, gained weight over the winter. I’ve got the strength, now I just need to use it. And keep it.

I received my copy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in the mail on Wednesday. Guilty pleasure abounds. I popped it in on Thursday as I worked and marveled at just how much better the movie is in widescreen. Actually, it isn’t much different either way. It’s one of those movies that isn’t much hampered by conversion to full screen. Still, I do prefer widescreen… and the sound and video quality are much better as well. Make me wonder how I put up with VHS all those years.

The DVD also comes with a second disk of bonus materials. Which consists of four interviews, one each for Tom Stoppard (writer/director), Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and Richard Dreyfuss.

I haven’t watched the Tom Stoppard one yet. I finally had to shut the TV off last night when I realized it was nearly 2 am.

Tim Roth’s interview was the best. He’s just one of those guys who gets an idea, steps up and does shit. He got into acting almost on a whim, and he very obviously appreciates every second he gets to do it. One of those guys you just love spending hours with talking in the pub.

Richard Dreyfuss is… just a little too much. He’s a Serious Actor, although he’s real enough to know when to be Serious and when not to be. He’s humble enough to admit that his one stint at directing revealed that he was exactly the kind of director he hated to work with, and he has no desire to inflict himself upon hapless actors again. He admits to he won an Oscar far too young, far too soon in his career. He was just working up his repertoire when he suddenly found himself at the top with nowhere else to go. But he’s survived fairly well over the years and is definitely worth hiring for any role you could imagine. He’s also definitely not a writer. He kept trying to explain all these complex philosophical views about the differences between movie acting and theatrical acting (and he finds the former harder than the latter) but he lacks the words to describe the feeling. But he *is* a consummate actor, and when words fail him his expressions, stance, and very real *presence* fills in the blanks nicely. I kept filling in the words for him as he gyrated through his interview.

Richard is a man you’d love to have play any character you have in your show, and he’d likely be a very respectable and professional person to work with. I just don’t think I’d ever want to hang out with him, personally. He’s just one of those Very Serious and Very Committed people, people to whom “giving it your all” is a literal thing rather than a figure of speech. I have trouble getting along with people like that. I always feel like such a waste of space while at the same time feeling offended for feeling that way.

Gary Oldman’s interview was evidently done with the march of time mired helplessly in a pool of molasses. He didn’t *look* stoned, but he definitely looked very lost and… old. Aged well before his time. I think he’s been overly hard on his system over the years and it’s all catching up to him. Either that or he hadn’t had any sleep the week before the interview and was fighting off the narcotic effects of a full bottle of Nyquil Extra Strength. You could actually measure the timing of his sentences in Minutes. He averaged about a word every five to ten seconds. I’m not making this up. Half the time he looked like he wasn’t even sure where he was. I finally had to skip it and go onto Tim’s interview, which was like switching from a powered scooter to a formula-one race car. You suddenly had to pay attention.

Some day I’ll watch the Tom Stoppard interview. It’s interesting that the interviewer had the same question for each of the actors: “were you intimidated to be working with Tom Stoppard.” Apparently the man is something of a legend in Theater. Who knew?

And Now I think I shall go work out. Yes.

"We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school.
Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric,
and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love,
and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive.
But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the
blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see."
"Is that what people want?"
"It's what we do."

Odd Fondness

I’m experiencing a flood of old past pleasures at the moment. When I went to fish out my boxes of Zombies!!! Games I happened to glance over the shelf of old videos we have stored in the same room and spotted Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. I oooo-ed in recognition, immediately attached to memories of this marvelous little film. Tim Roth and Gary Oldman at their best, decades ago when they were still very young and fresh. Richard Dreyfus, always good as he always is. Some fantastic dialog, along with some bizarrely intellectual physical comedy. It’s All Good. So I tossed the video in but have yet to turn off the radio. For some reason the odd mix of music and movie works… and then, out of the blue, Jack decides to play The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese” and I’m caught up in another wave of nostalgic pleasure.

And now, inexplicably, I have an intense desire to spend an entire afternoon, or maybe even an entire weekend, gaming.

These odd pleasures … I can’t fathom the connection, except that they come from my past.

People (or memes) will often ask “what’s your favorite book / movie / song…” and I never have anything beyond the pat, simple answers. But my favorites always remain hidden in my mind, choosing to emerge on their own schedules, or when I’m synchronistical-y reminded of them by something else.

I used to be annoyed by this. The fact those little things I love aren’t readily apparent in the forefront of my mind. But I’ve come to accept this as a necessity. After all, the worth of treasure is in its rarity. If it were always in the fore of my mind the gleam of its appeal would gradually wear to a dull gray of commonality.

So I’ve learned to just treasure these little sudden reminders of past favorites and leave it at that.

“Let me get it straight. Your father was king. You were his only son. Your father dies. You are of age. Your *uncle* becomes king.”
“Undid me.”
“He slipped in.”
“Which reminds me…”
“Well, it would.”
“I don’t want to be personal.”
“Common knowledge.”
“Your mother’s marriage.”
“He slipped in.”
“His body was still warm!”
“So was hers.”
“Makes you think.”
“Don’t think I haven’t.”
“And with her husband’s brother!”
“They *were* close.”
“She went to him…”
“Too close.”
“For comfort.”
“It looks bad.”
“Adds up.”
“Incest to adultery.”
“Would you go so far?”
“To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies. You are his heir. You come back to find that hardly was the corpse cold before his young brother pops onto his throne and into his sheets, thereby offending both legal and natural practice. Now… why exactly are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?”
“I can’t imagine.”

Desperate times call for… grunge work

I’m back, alive and pumpin’!

That’s pumpin’ as in weights.

Went to the gym for the first time today. Decided to take it relatively easy and only did weights. I’ll try cardio tomorrow, but at a much lower resistance than I used to do.

The weights went okay. Again, I took it easy, so some exercises I cut the weight down to about two thirds. For my shoulders, which were giving me a problem even before I was sick, I cut the weight in half. Still got a twinge from the right shoulder at times but I did actually finish the set, which is actually better than I did in July. I guess being sick for six weeks gave my shoulder the time it needed to heal.

I was so happy to be back at the gym you have no idea. It boosted my confidence and made me feel almost human again. Now I just need a job.

I’ve made a number of additional applications, three today in fact, but I’m still not hearing anything back. I’d call to check on the applications but I can still barely talk. It’s hard enough making a good impression without having to shout a hoarse whisper into the receiver. I’m beginning to wonder if my voice will ever be normal again.

Money is tighter than ever and with no responses coming from any quarter it’s time to get work elsewhere. I wouldn’t be opposed to working a help desk but… well, there’s the whole voice problem again. Aggravated people with a technical problem probably don’t want to deal with trying to decipher my voice on top of it all.

So I’m going to start applying for some security and delivery jobs tomorrow. I can do them both without having to talk much and my size will give me some advantage. Hopefully it’ll just be a temporary thing until I get an industry job again. In the meantime there are bills to pay.

Still splurged, though. Went to see Resident Evil: Apocalypse with Connie, Colin, Heather, Michael, and Chris on Friday. We all loved it *because* it was a stupid action/thriller/zombie movie. We didn’t just check our brains at the door, we gave our brains candy to keep it happy while it waited. Yes there were gaping plot holes (like nobody in town had a ladder? That wall wasn’t more that 20 feet high. Hell, grab a fire truck…) and horrific interpretations of science (like a nuclear missile can be disguised as a nuclear meltdown? Please!) but we didn’t care.

We wanted action. We wanted guns. We wanted explosions. And we wanted super tough chicks in tight outfits kicking ass and blowing monsters away. We got a *double* dose of that.

Milla Jovovich? Hot. Damned hot. And super tough, super strong, outfitted with more weapons than Duke Nukem… and with a mule kick that will literally take your head off. Yum.

Sienna Guillory? Hot. Damned hot. Keeping pace with Milla’s uber-toughness by adding those oh-so-necessary fashion touches. Corseted top and mini skirt? Makes the boys drop their mouths open just in time for her to drill a bullet through their head.

Needless to say this movie is not cinematic genius. It’s barely cinematic anything. It’s a bag of hot, melted, nuclear cheese with tarts and cheesecake for desert. You gain five pounds of fat just watching it.

Yeah, I’ll be buying it.

Funniest moment was when, after the movie just went through a violent crash scene and suddenly switched to a silent black screen… and the guy in the back of the completely silent theater goes “woah”. Made the whole theater laugh their asses off.

Saturday I did nothing. I did post a few new items on ebay, but other than that… nothing.

Sunday I gave up on Nothing and went over to Connie and Colin’s place for a late night of Xboxing. I arrived just in time to watch the last half of Empire Dreams, the “making of” special about the first three Star Wars movies. We got to revisit why those movies were so terrific, and I couldn’t help thinking that almost all those elements were completely and utterly missing in George’s later prequels. He commented to the camera that, ironically, he had ultimately become that which he fought so hard against in the first three films: big corporations. As soon as he said it a light went on in my head. He had fallen victim to his own “dark side”, his multi-million dollar corporate mentality, and lost all the good elements of his original filmmaking along the way.

Today, as I said, I posted resumes to three new jobs as well as posting a few more things on ebay.

Tomorrow I go looking for grunge work. Wee.

5$ Movie King

Bought a whole bunch of videos recently. I picked up “Young Sherlock Holmes”, a movie which always had a very “Indiana Jones” feel to it for me. I love Victorian architecture, and old Victorian style drama. It allows me to feign intellectuality.

I think it’s the Egyptian plot element that makes it feel like an “Indiana Jones”. The supposed ancient cult with their blowpipes and hallucinogenic drug all match the “Indiana” film theme.

The one scene from that movie that always stuck in my memory was Watson’s hallucination of the living pastry. It seemed far more disturbing that many of the other hallucinations in the film. The idea that your food can come to life and start shoving itself down your throat is more than a bit disturbing to me.

Also bought a $5 copy of “Idle Hands”. This is one very funny movie. I enjoy the delivery style of Seth Green, he who played the Son of Dr. Evil in both “Austen Powers” movies. Were I a gay man, I would certainly date him.

What? I think he’s cute.

Also bought a $5 copy of “Slam Dance”, a movie released in 1987 starring Tom Hulce (from 1984’s “Amadeus”) as CC Drood, M. E. Mastrantonio (from “The Abyss”), and, of all people, Adam Ant.

It’s an understated film about an artist (who also happens to do comic strips) who gets caught up in the middle of a murder investigation when the woman he slept with (played very sexily by Virginia Madsen) ends up dead.

Unlike other adventure films where the protagonist gets caught up in some shady investigation, CC doesn’t want to get involved. He didn’t love the girl, he doesn’t want to know about her shady past, and he doesn’t want to stir up “the powers that be”. But a strong man, the one most likely hired to kill the girl in the first place, continually pushes and pesters CC until he’s forced to solve the entire case… and still take the fall for it.

I really think this was an underrated film. It should have received much more attention than it did. But then I’m not the general buying public, I guess.

I also picked up, again for $5, a little documentary called “The Deadliest Art”. It covers some of the best scenes from some classic martial arts films. It includes a number of interviews with such masters as Jacky Chan, Cynthia Rothrock, and the formidable (and round!) Samo Hung. It’s a cool introduction to those of us unfamiliar with the martial art genre of films. These people, if nothing else, are excellent acrobats.

I’m on my way to becoming the five buck movie king, I think.

Run From Reeses

Went and saw Titan AE last night with Wildor.

What can I say? It was another Don Bluth film. That pretty much covers it. Except for the rock video bits which were really annoying. At least the characters themselves didn’t sing. And as for the music, I liked the movie “Heavy Metal” better, and anyone who knows me knows I hate hard rock.

Oh, and the ice asteroids were kind of cool, but they didn’t look like ice to me.

The plot twists were sad and predictable. The plot holes were standard economy truck sized.

I really wish I had only paid half price for it.

But if you want to see a good piece of feature length animation, check out Chicken Run. Again, the plot isn’t too terribly original, but the animation is much more fun.

I mean, chicken with teeth using hammers and catapults. What more do you need?

The only problem I had with Chicken run was that Mel Gibson kept sounding like Tim Allen. I couldn’t shake it.

Peter Lord and Nick Park, creators of Chicken Run and the Wallace And Grommit series do have their own signature styles. They’re British for one thing, and all that implies.

By the way, just for your information, there is a conspiracy among the Cineplex theatres.

I’m not entirelysure what the main goal is, but I know it involves forcing people to eat as many Reeses Peanut Butter Sticks as inhumanly possible.

For months now every time I go to the theatre and order a popcorn/pop package deal I do so with the expectation of getting a tasty candy bar to go along with it. Just as it’s advertised.

But I do not. Instead I get the ever gross never popular PB Sticks. Each time I ask the clerk for the candy bar actually pictured with the value deal in the advertisement. Each time I’m told “sorry, we’re out of those, you’ll have to accept this PB stick instead.”

Every. Single. Time.

Now of course there’s no way they could miss the trend of running out of the particular candy bar every time they run the promotion. They know how many they’ll need. These people keep track of every single cup, every single kernel of corn. There’s no way you could convince me they’d underestimate how many Jersey Milk’s or O’Henry’s they’d need for a particular promotion.

The only conclusion I can see is that they plan it this way. Obviously they want you to take the PB stick in place of the candy you really wanted.