Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Zardoz

Preposterous claptrap and thoroughly enjoyable. Made for a mere million dollars! And a fifth was Sean Connery's salary. Urbane commentary from Boorman worth a listen. Finale as chilling now as the first time that I saw it.

LEGO V-Wing Modification

Lego recently released a slew of Star Wars-themed sets, including a model of the V-Wing from Revenge of the Sith. It's a small set of a vessel not really featured in the movie. Normally, I am very forgiving of the design decisions made to render Lego models. It can be an ungenerous medium. However! This model has an error. The rear wings are not meant to fold over the cockpit like a broody hen, but rotate along the sides of the craft like a goose-stepping Nazi.
The correct action can be accomplished with just a few pieces: 1x2 hinge plates. After moving a few spacers around to allow for stud-play, it all works out almost exactly the same but with the correct mechanism. I think. In the movie, it's not easy to see what the ships are doing. Close enough!





Darren McGavin, Dennis Weaver, Don Knotts

You guys were great, thanks for the TV.

Zemblan Grammar

Snarky. Funny.
Zemblan Grammar

Separated at Birth?

Toa Maiden
St. Evandra

The Killing

Undeniable energy and unstoppable momentum propel every scene. Even those with the pedantic narration. I am not convinced that this isn't simply a extended joke of a rather black sort. "In a fit of pique, they napalmed Cheltenham. Even the police had to sit up and take notice."

Waking Life

Fascinating visuals do their best to inform shaggy dog story. Some great monologues.

Badlands

Beautiful psychopaths are arrested in Wyoming after some killing and some camping.
In flat black, this is the most sinister car ever made.

The Straight Story

At the ragged end of creation, souls as weathered as planets wheel but do not orbit. David Lynch finds reminders of mortality every few miles of the journey, but none so forcefully as in Sissy Spacek's performance. That I just watched Badlands may have had an effect. The only false notes were in a couple of supporting characters (the Deer Woman and the Tractor Mechanics). The sound design by David Lynch is outstanding.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Brain Slug in the Bathroom

Someone left their alien brain slug on the sink in the men's room. They always look bigger on their own.

brain slug
Brain Slug
Originally uploaded by kyle_beatty.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Dam Busters

The far superior stable-mate of Squadron 633. Although i am very fond of Squadron 633, it lacks Dam Busters' vitality and clarity. Also no stupid, stupid love story.

Floating Car


Another snap taken with intel cs630. It discovered a hover craft in the lane going the opposite direction. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Random pics from intel CS630 webcam

Taken during commute home. I thought it would be too dark for the camera, but a couple of the shots have nicely saturated color.

The Country Girl

Muddled screenplay undercuts ridiculous melodrama. William Holden, sly as ever, never seems to be in the same universe as the movie; too fast, too solid, too smart, too everything, he may as well be rotoscoped in from another dimension.
William Westmore was charged with the hopeless task of making Grace Kelly look haggard and tired. Her performance may be good but she is completely undone by her luminous, sculptured features. The camera can't get enough of her shoulders and chin, even while she is gasping out some pretty bad speeches (almost Padme-bad. Almost Episode III-bad.) Bing Crosby sings some and also portrays a drunk and is forced to spout half-baked dependency psycho-babble. Pauline Kael calls it "odd" and she is right.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is magic-deficient. It shows signs of having been too many times re-written for too many audiences. A couple of scenes are word-for-word faithful but the whole resembles the books only somewhat, and lacks their vim and joy entirely. Lots better than Mom and Dad Save the World.

Pom Poko

It turns out that the beasts in question are not actually raccoons, but a canid.
Americans, even Ghibli-enthusiastic Americans, are likely to be baffled at least a couple of times. The kamikaze scene's weaponry is sure to astound. At turns whimsical, tragic, brutal, manic, but never coy, the story tells a gigantic tale. The moral is that the damage that we do to nature is damage done to ourselves. Humans are not inimical monsters (see Nausicaa) but animals more foolish than most.

Bowling for Columbine

Brilliant, scattershot indictment of just about everything posits that institutionalized fear-mongering leads to violence. Famous interview with Charlton Heston is actually the least effective component because Charlton Heston is so unbelievably sad and shrunken. He wasn't as blind-sided as some have made him out to be, but he was not up to the questions that Moore asked. A few years before it would have played different as a debate between peers, but now they are too different in abilities and perspectives to communicate. A difficult place for everyone, including the audience. Good extras on the DVD.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Far From Heaven

Impossibly long-suffering alien from another planet visits confoundedly imperceptive mental case in fantasy land of stilted mannerisms resembling Earth.

Ray

Jamie Foxx was great. Reminded me forcefully of Young Man With a Horn

Purple Hair

One of LEGO's new themes is Exo-Force, an iteration of Mecha. This excitable fellow is on the side of the humans. His hair is not only purple, but is made out of some rubbery plastic instead of ABS.



Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter

from the article: "Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," she said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."

I picture a couple of freezer chests of baboon hearts being heaved into the brush to make room. Turns out it was just an elderly Texan plutocrat and not Osama. Better luck next time, your grey eminence.

Web Failure!

Stuffed Animal in Visorak Web

Extreme Bionicle Hijinks

Bionicle Hijinks

The whole package

More Monkey Lamp

Detail of Hideous Monkey Lamp

Hideous Monkey Lamp

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Red Pony (1949)

Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy! Aaron Copland! And it's ... boring.
The redoubtable Louis Calhoun essays the role of Annoying Old Grandpa by being Annoying Old Actor. Directed in a style that might be called American Didactic. The whole thing, from faded dungarees to roll-top desk to dusty lane seems to have been designed by the artist of the Dick and Jane books.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bubba Ho-Tep

In spite of a brilliant premise, this manages to avoid greatness. Bruce Campbell's performance is really good, Ossie Davis is impeccable and the production is mostly perfectly good. The story needs much tightening, however. It's a horror movie but it's pedantic! Argh.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Pawnbroker

Rod Steiger's performance is the main attraction in this manipulative hokum. The other characters merely orbit around his remarkable performance. Very stagey and full of 60s cinema tropes. And what is up with the final cue by Quincy Jones? I really want to know.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Grand Illusion

Pepe le Moko meets A Man Escaped ... not really. It has more in common with the Lord of the Rings than that .. no, not really. In any case, it is a beautiful film to look at and is greatly entertaining. I will never be able to look at Darth Vader the same way after seeing von Stroheim's commandant character.

Ghost of Frankenstein

Lon Chaney Junior makes for a lumpy Frankenstein. The love interest has about 10 costume changes. The dashing young hero is decidedly middle-aged looking Ralph Bellamy! Sir Cedric Hardwicke looks dyspeptic the whole time and is clearly only pleased when his character dies. A lesser Frankenstein, a game effort if too workmanlike and dull.

Rabbit Proof Fence

The epilogue is devastating. The reality of the situation is so horrific, that even this well-done drama does nothing to illuminate the wrongness of the situation. Suffice to say that Fascism is bad, racism is bad and the combination of racism and Fascism is very, very bad.

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