October 7th, 2009

Meanwhile...

mars
Sure, it's probably not as permanent as a stone tablet, or even the printed page, but here I go again, anyway.

Yesterday, I was a bad, bad nixar. Which is to say, while I was making my blog entry, I became inexplicably angry, and knew the day was blown, so far as the words were concerned. There was a time I would have fought against that certainty. But now I am older, and I know a lot more about myself, and about futility. So, I cast responsibility to the four winds and we fucked off and went to the movies. Two of them, in fact, which I haven't done in ages, gone to two movies in a single afternoon. I'll get to the movies in a moment.

I'm pleased to announce that Penguin has submitted The Red Tree to the nominating committee for the Publishing Triangle Awards. Which is cool, and I hope they'll do the same for the Shirley Jackson Awards.

We were awakened about 8:30 this morning by the most amazing thunderclap. The windows all rattled.

Distance fades to stormy grey,
Washed out from the deep of the ocean.
Here I will stand to face your wrath,
While all the others are praying.


Sorry, that Wolfsheim song keeps coming back to me, the last few days.

---

So, yes. Two movies yesterday. The first was Christian Alvart's Pandorum. I did very much want this to be a very good film. And I'm not sure it's precisely a bad film, but it is a terrible, convoluted mess, so far as plot and cinematography are concerned. And maybe that does make it a bad film. Mostly, I think I need to see it again on DVD. It might actually work better on a small screen. The camerawork and art direction are so murky, especially the first hour or so, that it was often almost impossible to figure out what I was seeing. Mainly, the film suffers from having monsters when monsters aren't needed. Indeed, it has this in common with a far superior film, Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007). I love Sunshine, but something always bugged me about it, something about the "third act" that was just off. And one night I was talking with Sonya (sovay), and she put her finger on it. Everything's fine, until the crew of Icaraus II board Icaraus I, and a superfluous monster is introduced, in the form of the mad man Pinbacker. In Sunshine, Pinbacker is a completely unnecessary antagonist. Boyle has already provided us with a number of far more terrible forces that the protagonists have to overcome to succeed at their mission: the isolation and hostility of deep space, human psychology and fallibility, and, primarily, the sun. No monster was needed, but we got one anyway, for whatever reason, and it's a wonder the film worked in spite of it. Pandorum suffers from the exact same problem, in that its mutants are unnecessary. We have the hypersleep-induced psychosis of the title, a bunch of amnesiac characters lost in the bowels of an ancient and enormous spaceship, trying to figure out how they got there, where they're going, and how they're going to survive. The ship's nuclear reactor is shutting down. And we need the mutants...why? They're not even very interesting monsters. Stan Winston Studios pretty much recycled the subterranean mutants from Neil Marshall's The Descent (2005) for a few fight scenes that add nothing much interesting to the film. There are is some good stuff in Pandorum, and it's certainly worth seeing on DVD. But it could have been a far, far better (and smarter) film, if only a few things had been done differently. Mostly, lose the monsters.

Our second feature was Ruben Fleischer's absolutely hilarious Zombieland. It was impossible for me not to love this big, silly slobbering dog of a movie. It does what it came to do, and leaves you wanting Twinkies. Not surprisingly, Woody Harrelson steals the show. However, I will note that, as with Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), there are not actually any zombies to be found anywhere within Zombieland. We are told, straight out, these are living people suffering from a virus that causes them to become enraged cannibals. Not the living dead; the infected living. I'm beginning to think that the definition of "zombie" is quickly changing (again), and soon no one will remember that a very necessary part of being a zombie is being, you know, dead.

---

Back home, we ate leftover chili and watched the new episode of Heroes (rather flat), then played WoW for a bit. My Draenei paladin, Kalií, made Level 46. And that was yesterday.

And here are six more photos from our trip to Stonington, CT on Sunday:

4 October 2009Collapse )