laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Apr. 14th, 2017 09:58 pm)
There is joy! Joy in Mudville. Karl Urban was announced for Dragoncon on Monday. He could cancel, but for now, my joy knows no bounds.

I saw Fate of the Furious today, and now I want all the fic in which the Shaw brothers are the offspring of Victoria and Ivan from Red and they're a family of mercs.

The movie was just big, dumb fun, choked with angsty tropes. Betrayal by coercion! Surprise!offspring! Enemies developing a fantastic bromance! Hulking men with small children! Jason Statham with a baby! And damned if that baby didn't think he was the bees' knees. So much fun! Oh, DVD, where arrre youuu?
It's a bummer that Karl Urban has fallen silent on Twitter. His silly, happy posts were a ray of sunshine. Maybe he's working or spending time with loved ones, or maybe social media has lost its charm after a few tangles with Trumplodytes. Whatever the case may be, I hope he hasn't given it up entirely.

I also hope he announces a few cons this year.

I watched another disc of Tales From the Darkside last night. It was hit-or-miss. "A Case of the Stubborns" was a campy, fun, gross romp featuring a young Brent Spiner and Christian Slater, and "Anniversary Dinner" was about a kindly old couple who aren't what they seem. The ending shot confused me, though. I'm not sure if the skulls in the cabinet were meant to come to life and join the feast, or if it was meant to show their previous victims.

The rest were mediocre, okay but forgettable. Except for "Answer Me", which was an overwrought travesty about...a murderous phone. I pitied the poor actress, who had to narrate her way through this shrill farce(she quite literally says things like, "I can't believe I'm going to the bathroom.")in a cultured English accent that would be at home in London's West End. As she mutters and rants her way through the scenes, a paranoid, petulant harridan berating nieces and hapless building supers who don't have a miracle solution for a ringing telephone in a vacant apartment, one feels not dread of the supernatural didoes in the room next door, but sympathy for her friends and relatives and a sneaking suspicion that she's quite unhinged.

But nope. Evil, homicidal Bakelite telephone. Which she threatens to beat to death with her bare hands. Phone: 1, Nutbar: 0, and the dumbest twenty minutes of television I've watched in a long time.

I also watched Kubo and the Two Strings. What a bittersweet, hopeful movie. It's such a shame it made no money, because it was clearly made with such love and attention to detail. For all the Internet squawks that the world hungers for more diversity and inclusion, something different from the same tired pandering to Anglo-Saxon culture, the box office returns tell a sadly different story.
This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween! I have been knee-deep in horror movies since midnight.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2013 was up first. The original is incomparable, and to suggest this remake holds a candle to it is to suggest the absurd. It's needlessly gory and possessed of the slick, self-impressed smugness that afflicts most modern horror. It also inexplicably tries to turn the cannibalistic Sawyers into sympathetic figures, innocent victims brutalized by troglodytic rednecks. Uh, the local yokels are horrible in their giddy sadism during the attack on the Sawyer homestead, but the fact remains that the Sawyers are a clan of cannibals who hunted and killed people and turned them into jerky and chili. So, the "oh, the poor, blameless Sawyers" narrative they're peddling here doesn't work, especially when the opening credits openly admit guilt by using the ending scene from the original. So, uh, oops.

But I love this movie anyway. Because with the exception of one, this new crop of Stihl fodder deserve what they get. Steal the Sawyer silver? Brrrrzt for you. Cheat on your girlfriend with her purported BFF? Here's one for you, you shameless dicklogs. Torment Leatherface's family, drape it in the guise of justice, and call him retard while you try to feed him through the industrial grinder at the slaughterhouse? Enjoy your stainless steel proctological exam, asshole. Whee! The gimp bests his tormentors, and I am always down for that.

I know it's odd to be rooting for the chainsaw-wielding retarded guy raised as a cannibal, but until popular culture gives me some better role models, he's what I've got to work with, okay?

And no matter how many times you keyboard weasels try to change it, his name is Bubba Sawyer, dammit, not Tommy Hewitt or Jedediah Sawyer. Bubba. Fuck you.

Next up was The Exorcist extended edition. This movie is a slow burn with a huge payoff. It's relentlessly disturbing, and the tension and unease, establish in the first shot, never evaporates. It's an exercise in mounting dread and helpless horror, a visual representation of malaise and broken spirits. It's never explained how or why a demon unearthed in Iraq would choose to possess a twelve-year-old-girl in Georgetown, but that's a minor quibble. The movie is timeless, and for good reason.

Then, there was Friday the 13th IV. Dumb, dumb, dumb, and Corey Feldman was annoying as Tommy Jarvis, the precocious twelve-year-old who takes down Jason. It made for good background noise while I ate and checked email, at least.

Lastly, I watched The Ruins. On first watch, I'm ambivalent. As psychological horror, it does fairly well in showing the steady disintegration of the psyche when placed under extraordinary duress. It also works as body horror, with amputation sans anesthesia and all the self-mutilation in the name of survival. As supernatural horror featuring sentient vines? Not so much. It was worth the four dollars I paid for it, which is more than I can say for a lot of movies.

I still have the original Halloween to watch, and thus will end my annual celebration of all things boogedy-boo.
One thousand and thirty-nine words today, and Mercies IX is underway.

I'm not sure if this will post because LJ gives me a grey screen on the Post Entry page, as though my draft is stuck in purgatory.

I watched the first two episodes of Breaking Bad S1. Oh, my God, I want to punch Skyler in the face. Repeatedly. I know this is an irrational impulse, know that she's only behaving as any yuppie housewife would in her situation, but I can't help it. She hasn't earned the level of paranoid suspicion she's currently demonstrating. Her husband comes home late once and gets one odd phone call at home, and she feels the need to reverse lookup the number, call it, mouthbreathe into the phone like a creeper, and then drive to the listed address to confront a stranger because Walt claims the guy sold him some weed? Wow. Security issues, much? Damn.

And Walt, Jr. There's a person with actual CP on my TV! And he has his own personality! His mother infantilizes him, alas, but Walt treats him with dignity, and you better believe I cheered my ass off when Walt teed off on the sniggering bully. I wish I'd had parents like that instead of a mother who offered such uplifting advice as, "Oh, so what?" or, "Well, maybe if your personality wasn't so ugly, people would treat you better." Gee, thanks for the support, Mom.

Anyway, I love both Jesse Pinkman and Walt's doofy brother-in-law. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this ride.

I watched The Conjuring tonight. The scares hold up nicely, and the understated love story between the Warrens was a lovely counterpoint to the ever-escalating horror.

The wardrobe scene and the rocking chair one make up for the saccharine hokum of the climax. The latter especially is a masterclass in suspense and should be shown in film schools as an example of how to build tension.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Oct. 24th, 2013 12:05 am)
I watched the original Evil Dead today. It was far scarier to me when I was younger and watching it on the Saturday afternoon creature feature, mesmerized by the terror of watching friends turn to gibbering demons. Like Poltergeist, the effects have aged badly(I swear they used Mott's applesauce for the dissolving bodies at film's end), and the acting was sometimes overwrought, but it's still a claustrophobic nightmare of survival against evil wearing once-loved faces.

Atmosphere is one of the things the good horror films of yore get right. Because there were no CGI monsters on which to lean, they had to reel you in with ambiance and old-fashioned creep factor and turn everything from sets to surroundings to their fullest advantage. The makeup on the monsters might be stupid, but there's no denying that that dilapidated, creaking cabin with the cramped confines, dirty bathtubs, and cellar with heavy chains on the door is the last place you'd want to find yourself when ancient Sumerian demons come calling. Add in the dense, barren woods that crowd the cabin and half the movie's work is done before the first demon growls.

It's no longer terrifying for me, but it's still campy, unabashed horror fun and a must-see for the holiday.

And the scene with the playing cards is a masterclass in oh, shit.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Oct. 23rd, 2013 03:42 am)
One thousand and thirteen words today.

It has been twenty-four hours since Fox's announcement of Almost Human's delay, and they can still suck my disgruntled ass.

I watched Poltergeist last night. While the movie remains a fabulous classic, the special effects do not hold up. The face-pulling scene is especially glaring and embarrassing. Cheesy as the effects have become, the acting, storytelling, and creepy atmosphere are still unparalleled. Craig T. Nelson could have mailed it in or treated it as a farce, but he treated the hokum with respect, and in so doing, elevated the end result, as did JoBeth Williams.

Zelda Rubenstein was a hamtastic trip.

And why am I writing any of this? It's stunted and stilted and no one cares about my feeble, half-hearted analysis of a thirty-year-old horror flick. I don't even care. I'm just filling up space because it's better than the interminable blankness.
One thousand and twenty two words today.

Does any Trekkie out there know of what the standard Starfleet uniforms are made in the AOS? While both Memory Alpha and Wikipedia have extensive articles on the subject, neither mentions the fabric used. It looks too shiny to be plain cotton and too thick and stretchy to be wool, and it's not spandex. It be polyester, I suppose, but I'd like to think that fashion has improved immensely since the days of highly-flammable children's pajamas and hideous leisure suits.

I'm plowing my way through Mayflower. It's a fine book and presents a relatively-evenhanded account of events from both sides, but the tone is uneven. While some parts are riveting, others are drier than desert hardpan(much like the Pilgrims, har har; God, what a joyless, hypocritical, thoroughly awful clutch of humanity, and yet, they're uncomfortable proof that we haven't changed much, because they sound eerily like the religious zealots of today, with their hatred, fear, blindness to their own sins and shortcomings, and incessant moralizing.). It's not the driest academic tome through which I have ever slogged, but it skews to the more didactic end of the literary spectrum.

The Thing(2011)--SPOILERS )
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2013 12:32 am)
One thousand and nine words today.

We only got four hours' sleep last night thanks to a tiny bird trapped in the gutter just outside our bedroom, so I've been dragging ass all day. Ugh. I don't know how ER doctors do it.

Escape Plan--SPOILERS )
One thousand and one words today.

I rewatched Red yesterday. It's such a fun movie, and it certainly doesn't hurt that it has Karl Urban in it. The action scenes are amazing, and I love sassy, badass Helen Mirren blasting enemies in a ballgown and crazy, tinhatty John Malkovich. The ass-kicking fight in William Cooper's office at the CIA was gold, as was the car chase in New Orleans.

I also watched Paranormal Asylum a Walmart cheapie horror flick. If you are looking for a good horror movie, pass this one by, but if you seek a movie that's unintentionally hilarious and so godawfully bad it holds a morbid, masochistic fascination for the viewer, then, buddy, you are in luck.

Paranormal Asylum--SPOILERS )

Fuck you, movie. I paid sixteen dollars for Karl Urban, and he was in it for fifteen seconds. That's a dollar a goddamn second, and he wasn't even naked.
I wheedled Roomie into taking me to The Conjuring. He spent most of the movie staring at the floor.


An imperfect movie, but one that will be joining my DVD collection.
A movie yay: Red 2 is an endearing, fun, glorious movie. It suffers from a minor case of blockbuster bloat, and Mary Louise Parker's initial doe-eyed innocence grates, but it's abundantly clear that the cast is eating their work with double-fisted spoons, and it never takes itself serious. Helen Mirren is a stone-cold glam badass, and John Malkovich wallows in being a crazy coot with a heart of gold. Plus, Byun Yun Lee gets nekkid. For science. His ass was magnificent. I looked as long as I could.

A movie nay: I bought The Raven from the Walmart discount rack several months ago. I finally popped it in last night. Holy fuck, what a misbegotten load of overwrought, underthought twaddle. Before this movie, I thought John Cusack could act. If he could, then he has clearly abandoned those talents in favor of raving and bellowing and twitching like an epileptic in the throes of a seizure. At no point did Cusack ever disappear into the character he was supposed to inhabit. His performance was inept and grossly self-conscious and insulting, and I was so embarrassed for him that I could never invest myself in the half-baked adventure of Edgar Allan Poe, lunatic action hero.

No one else in this joke of a movie gave a wet fart, and a fair few of them openly resented giving even that much of themselves to this abysmal effort. I only made it as far as I did because Luke Evan was hot as hell in high-collared period clothes, and even he couldn't stop me from fast-forwarding through the last turgid half-hour just to escape the insipid idiocy.

Maybe it sounded good on paper. A lot of stories succeed very well in one medium, but collapse completely when transplanted to another. The idea of Poe as a reluctant detective playing cat-and-mouse with a deranged murderer who used his stories as the blueprint for his atrocities could make for an excellent mystery in capable hands, and if it were fanfic, I would give it a sniff and applaud it for its creative gumption even if it ultimately failed. As a movie, it was an utter, contemptible failure.

It's an infuriating shame, too, because the cinematography was stunning. The scene where a "skeleton" on horseback approaches Captain Hamilton's lavish masquerade ball was a glimmer of the sublime, the sweetest stuff of imagination, and it deserved to be in a much better film.

Save your money and spend it on something more worthwhile, like freezer-burned Hot Pockets.
Two thousand one hundred and thirty-nine words since last update. I'm busily laying the backstory for an OC. I'm sure that by the time I finally post this thing in 2016, no one will give a single fuck, but I'm having fun wallowing in the details, so in that, the story can't be called a waste of time.

The Lone Ranger--SPOILERS )
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jun. 19th, 2013 09:24 pm)
Two thousand two hundred and thirty words since last update. Not as many as there should be, but I lost two days watching Spartacus S2. Mmmm, naked!Glaber.

Man of Steel--SPOILERS )
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jun. 13th, 2013 10:47 pm)
I saw Now You See Me today, mainly because of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. It was a much better movie than I expected; the characters were eminently likeable, even the villains, and while I suspected part of the film's climactic twist, it was still fun to see how they got there. Mark Ruffalo often bore a strong resemblance to Vincent D'Onofrio in MIB, and Jesse Eisenberg was a smug douche who never earned the antihero Nice Guy mantle they tried to place upon him at film's end, but the movie worked more than it didn't.

Foreign reviews have been unimpressed, while American critics have been more generous. I can't explain the sharp divide in opinion. Maybe the movie's underlying theme of justice meted out from unexpected sources resonates with a a country that prides itself on justice for all and the better angels of our nature and with a generation so bitterly disillusioned by the failure of those same vaunted precepts in practice. Our government and law-enforcement officials protect only the wealthy, and in our panic after 9/11, we foolishly traded our civil liberties for the hope of security and naively trusted the people in power not to abuse the nigh-absolute power we handed them. We've only just begun to realize our dreadful mistake, and this movie, with its magical band of Robin Hoods, appeals to the withering, childish idealist inside who wants to believe that good guys and fair's fair still exist in a republic collapsing beneath religious, puritanical zealotry and hysterical partisan squabbling between politicians who would rather see huge swathes of their constituency suffer than let their opponent win or see someone get something they don't "deserve."

This movie lets us believe in the fairy tale for a while, and it's nice to go back to the land of make-believe.

Very few bands can command a crowd so effortlessly. Yet, they always seem surprised by the reverence in which many of their fans hold them. I adore Rammstein, but if I were ever called upon to don the woad in an epic battle of the bands on the order of the Dagor Dagorath, I would go bouncing down the hill in Metallica's name.

The trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hit the Internet today, and the fandom has exploded. I loved it, and I can't wait for December, but wow, does Legolas look...odd. His face is bloated and has a rubbery quality to it, and some of his movements are painfully CGIed. I realize that Orlando Bloom is twelve years older and not an immortal, ageless elf, but damn. When your father looks younger than you... Hopefully, Weta can clean it up a bit in the final edit.

And unggggh, Thranduil. I can see how Legolas came by his ridiculous hotness.
Two thousand and eighty-three words since last update. Mercies VII is well underway, though a cynical voice in the back of my mind whispers that a huge chunk of the six thousand words currently on the paper will be dumped in the final edit. But I'm still writing the scene, because I like fleshing out a pile of anonymous bones.

After watching the gleefully cheesetacular Priest last night, another bun has found its way to the overcrowded hutch. Bless Karl Urban, but some part of him must've known that it was going to be a trainwreck, because his opening line was so bad. He's usually so polished, but it was as though his dignity as a man was like, "I'm not saying that straight. Nopenopenope." Meanwhile the guy who cashed the check is, "But it's in the script." So his conscience reached a compromise, and the line emerged as a painful, constipated rasp.

And why do so many people in hokey scifi/fantasy flicks gruff their way through the often terribad dialogue? I did love the scene where Black Hat reveled in the bedlam of the vampires overrunning Absalom by dancing and waving his arms as though he were conducting a symphony. It wasn't a godawful film, but it didn't make a whole lot of sense, either.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jun. 1st, 2013 09:31 pm)
One thousand three hundred and ninety-one words since the last update. The first part of my ST:AOS fic is done. Tomorrow is a lost day because the forecast calls for nasty weather from late this evening until late Monday morning, but I can brainstorm the next few chapters of Sprache and sketch notes for the continuing saga of Haldir and Anariel.

Dark Circles--SPOILERS )


laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)


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