Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FGFC: Lifeforce, better late than never?

So I'm late, well I'm always late but this time I'm later than usual. But what are you gonna do, sue me?

So it is time once again for the FGFC This month the coo coo nutsos ran the asylum and Stacie allowed a vote to choose the movie. That vote lead us to “Lifeforce.” A sci-fi/horror, (or is it horror/sci-fi?) flick directed Tobe Hooper out of 1985. The movie is based off of the book based on the book “The Space Vampires” by Colin Wilson, a book that based on it's title I find annoying that I had never heard of. Time to head to the used book store!

So I went into this movie as usual knowing extremely little. In fact really all I knew was the description Stacie gave during the voting process (a new and scary, but cool, addition to the film club. Now we can only blame ourselves?). Research, whats that? So basically I went in knowing only that it was a Tobe Hooper directed flick, and at some point some naked life sucking space vampires would show up....Ok that's not true, I did do a little research. I had to make sure the name Bea Arthur didn't appear anywhere on the cast list. But other than that I swear I went in knowing nothing.



On with the really big shoe

You know honestly I'm have no idea why but after multiple viewings this movie really just doesn't do much for me and

I really have no idea why. When I sit back and think about it I really should have loved the thing. First off it combined horror, and sci-fi two of my favorite genre's in any medium. That alone should have been enough to seal my love. So why didn't it? Seriously I'm asking because after 4 viewings (Yes 4 viewings!) It still isn't striking me strongly in any way.

It isn't poorly made. In fact in a way the effects really impressed me. I really liked the look of the dehydrated lifeforeceless victims. They had a fantastic creepiness about them, especially when animated, and those eyes. I really liked the practical effects. Even the light/energy stuff wasn't so bad, although the effect itself didn't make a whole lot of sense in a logical “what is that doing” sense. But then we are talking about space vampires no? The closest thing to an eh, maybe moment in the effects was the space “walk” moments where it was clearly a still image floating on a matt-painting. And yet even that wasn't terrible, they managed to get some depth out of it and the painting was top notch. Actually I take that back, there is one effect I didn't care for. The animated giant bat creature, I thought they looked cooler while inanimate.

The story, well maybe this is what does it. First I'll note that I've never read “The Space Vampires” so I don't know how true to the book it truly is. But to me it plays an awful lot like a movie that was directly adapted from the pages of a book. Most people think that is what they want. I always maintain that movies and cinema are two completely separate mediums and direct translations rarely work. People get hung up on changes, but they simply are needed. Need proof see the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in fact watch it with director/writer commentary they talk a lot about changes being needed and people love those movies (and by people I of course mean me). So from the beginning it plays a lot like a book on film, from the John Larroquette exposition at the beginning spelling out the happenings to the order in which things are happening. Even the twist at the end was dulled for me by the manner in which the foreshadowing, the verbal queues would work in a book but on film there are better more subtle ways.

There were things I did like storywise though. The misdirection sending them to Yorkshire, the stuff in the asylum that was good. The retconning of the entire vampire mythos was kind of cool. The idea of a vampire plague and the energy being sent to the shop was a really cool sci-fi meets classical horror type convergence.

See like I say, some complaints but nothing overwhelming. Yet somehow I just couldn't feel Lifeforce. And that is saying something I mean c'mon....Naked vampire aliens from space, Patrick Stewart getting lip locked by a another man, bodies that explode into dust, zombiefied plague victims going all hungry vampire zombie all over London, freaking naked vampire aliens from space (did I mention those?).

My final conclusion.....My brain effing hates me and wishes to drive me insane.



Also I'm not so sure that the female naked vampire alien from space wasn't actually a Sith. When she was escaping the research center it looked an awful lot like she was using, Force Lightning, Force Choke, and Force Push. Go ahead and rewatch, you'll see. She was full of the dark side!

Monday, June 23, 2008

R.I.P. George Carlin

As I sat down tonight to write up my thoughts on “Lifeforce,” this month's FGFC pick I heard the news of the passing of the great George Carlin. Which really tore me up. Actually it was a lot like a punch straight to my gut. Something I just wasn't ready to hear, something I don't think I would ever have been ready to hear.

Many people don't know this but between the ages of about 7 and 15 or so if anyone asked me what my dream job was, what I hoped or wished I could be I had a two word answer, “Writer, Comedian.” That is no lie, and it I did then, and still do attribute it mainly to the man whom in my head I always refer to as “The Icon” George Carlin. Carlin was the first comedian that I ever witnessed that truly captured the entirety of my interest.

I've always believed that the mark of a great comedian is not just someone who can make you laugh, but someone who can make you laugh and provoke thought. Carlin was great at that, his views on language were legendary. Which was appropriate, after all he wrote and spoke for a living so language was his playground was it not?

One of the most powerful beliefs I have always had is a direct result of Carlin, that being that the words we use only have the power that we allow them to have.

The best way I've found to fight the sadness of this great loss is to honor the man and view his work. Here is a fantastic clip which will show you what I am talking about far better than any words I could possibly say.



Notice the beauty of his performance. The words he uses, how he uses them. His body language. The pace he uses, coming on strong and hard really hitting hard with some jokes then smartly cooling it down slower and quieter with the more subtle just so he can bring you back. Like I said and I truly believe it is an art.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Abridged in a maximized way?

Oh my dear neglected space which I call my home(page) I have been away too long. I'm a beast, a monster, a ball of rage ripping your heart to shreds with my absence....Well some of that may be true!

Also I've been in a bit of a rut. I go through them sometimes. I just want to consume and consume and consume and the drive to create is there but blocked horribly. Thank Zod for OpenOffice.org, otherwise I'd of killed at least one or two large trees with the amount of paper I would have wasted with all of the writing and tossing I've been doing.

So the question then begs, what have I been consuming? TONS, Television, Games, Books, and of course Movies. Highlights include;


TV

Seasons 1-4 of "Babylon 5"
I went on a rampage through this, almost no movies except for small breaks in between seasons. So basically every night was B5 night for quite a while, and it Never got old. That is saying something. The closest thing I can kind of equate the show with is "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" but that isn't really doing a service to B5 which is a far superior product. B5 even tackles many of same themes that DS9 dealt with (racism, religion, interstellar war) and does it much much better. In a lot of ways Babylon 5 was Years ahead of it's time. The show started airing in '94 and was filmed in wide screen and was totally serialized not only episode to episode but also each season was it's own large arc that shaped the universe. Very cool. To put it in perspective Firefly which aired in 2002 fought (and lost) with Fox to be aired in wide screen and to be more serialized.

Of course I still have to watch season 5, which I'm dragging on doing because even though I'm told I need to check it out. As much as I loved the first four seasons some of the aftermath from the end of S4 I wasn't particularly thrilled with so I worry if I'll like S5, I'm keeping my fingers crossed though. By the way seasons 1-2 are available on Hulu right here! That is where I watched season 1. I was way impressed with the service, even with my crappy net connection.

Bottom line, B5 S1-4 get 5 snaps in a B formation up!


Games

"Mass Effect"
Ok the game was really fun and I definitely spent a ton of time playing it. But you know what, I'm not as in love with it as I thought I would be based off of others. The story was really fun, not quite so unique though. In fact a lot of the basic themes seemed to be pretty heavily borrowed from "Knights of the Old Republic," which I'll talk about in a second but back to "Mass Effect." The story may have been good but if one thing bugged the crap out of me about the game it is the controls. At first the combat mechanic was torturous to me. I did get used to it but still it was a curve and it wasn't particularly well done. More than a few of the fights seemed more luck based than skill because of the near twitchy scheme. That isn't even mentioning the driving parts where the controls of the MAKO seem to have been developed in a very special section of Hell. Probably the one the Shepherd Book talked about, the one reserved for lawyers and people who talk in the theater.

"Knights of the Old Republic"
The entire time I was playing "Mass Effect" really the main thing going through my mind was "Man do I wish I was playing KOTOR again." So when I was done with "ME" That is exactly what I did. KOTOR is THE game that I bought my original Xbox for, thus it was the first Xbox game I bought. The thing still holds up. I just with that the backward compatibility with the 360 had been a littler smoother, still it was playable. Although I was disappointed with myself when I just couldn't bring myself to go dark side this time, whats wrong with me??

GTA IV
Ok so I can't say much about this since I got it only 4 days ago now and then promptly fell to The Plague food poisoning. But man is it a good thing that years of abuse have completely removed any delicate senses I may have had because Damn!

Bottom line? If you haven't yet check out "Knights of the Old Republic" for a unique action RPG experience set in the Star Wars universe. If you like KOTOR check out "Mass Effect" once you get past the controls you'll enjoy the game play. And finally if you love doing a lot of killing you should pick up GTA IV. Hell I think I've actually gotten my $60 worth out of GTA just sitting watching the TV in the game, especially Bas Rutten's show "The Men's Room."


Books

Bram Stoker's Dracula
I'm constantly in the middle of at least one book, sometimes I'm in the middle of two or three. Yes I have attention problems at time, I would have thought that was clear by now? Anyway I don't often talk about what I read. Other than on the occasional discussion on the Sword and Laser sci-fi fantasy book club. But you know what "Dracula" was really amazing! I've never really tried horror books before other than the occasional Steven King book, and I've never been able to get into any of those. A fact which no doubt both shames and appalls my dad who is a huge fan. So I'd avoided the classics in the genre. No longer! Not after this experience. I'm not sure if it is considered a "classic" or not but one of the next on my hit list is "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson.

Bottom line, just read it! Hell if you want to make an awesome few days read the book then watch "Nosferatu" (Max Schrek version natch), then watch the film version of "Bram Stoker's Dracula." The excitement will leave you drained*!

*Yes that was a horrendous pun, no I'm not sorry, yes I laughed just a little too hard at it, no I'm still not sorry, and yes, yes you can still view my alternate ending to "Nosferatu" thank you for remembering!


Movies

This one is complicated. Believe it or not I sat down here only to write about a single movie, a movie that I'm not going to write about tonight because, well, I've written a lot, it's late, and my abuse of the comma is telling me that it wouldn't be a very well written piece. So instead of waxing on about how much I did or didn't like "The Incredible Hulk" (Guess which way I leaned) I'll give you a tidbit on something else.

"[REC]"
Credit where it's due this movie wouldn't have even been on my radar if it hadn't have been for Stacie. So yeah, she still rocks.

So back to "[REC]." If you don't know what it is I'll try to do a simple summarization. Remember the cool idea behind the shitfest that was "Cloverfield." First person scares? Well take that but replace giant monster with zombie like creatures, replace the entire city with a quarantined apartment building, replace the non cleverly named "Hud" with an actual cameraman, and replace the rest of the main characters with Manuela Velasco. Then you make the entire thing really awesome and really fucking scary and uncomfortable. After all that then you have "[REC]."

Bottom line, the American remake that will be named "Quarantine" doesn't have a prayer of holding a candle to the original. Since as far as I can tell it doesn't look like there will likely be a US DVD release for the movie I'll be importing it as soon as it is available with English subtitles. Even if by some miracle a US release was given this wouldn't even be a rent this would be a run out and buy immediately.


Well this post has certainly turned into a giant monster on it's own hasn't it? Remember the motto here as Askewed Views, what we (me) lack in quality we (me again) more than make up for in quantity...ya know, when we (yep still just me, what?) actually get off our (you know the drill) butt and post.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Adam Sessler is the man

Yep I said it and I mean it. Need proof? Check this out, Adam talks about a subject that has bothered me about online gaming for years.



If people actually start taking Adam's advice maybe I'll one day re-upgrade my Xbox live back to gold....maybe.



Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to take my dad to see "The Incredible Hulk" for some early Father's Day fun. I tried, I really tried to get him to choose Iron Man instead, but alas the choice was his. As for myself I subscribe to Kim's way of thinking on "Hulk" movies.


Excelsior!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Why am I not more productive ?

Because when I should be sleeping and resting my mind I instead find myself completely and utterly distracted by things like this



If you want to see all of the lyrics click here


This rocks pretty hard too



Star Trek in German is pretty awesome.