I took yesterday off, because I badly needed a day off. A full day off, with no expectation that I would write anything. Not even a blog entry. And I have been gorging on movies.
Wednesday night, we braved a thunderstorm to see Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World (2007) at the Avon on Thayer Street. The Avon is wonderful. It was built in 1938 and is even cooler than the Plaza in Atlanta. And the film was, of course, very good. Herzog has yet to let me down. Encounters at the End of the World, while a documentary, covers some of the same ground as Herzog's recent sf film, The Wild Blue Yonder (2005). But it was ground I didn't mind retracing.
Yesterday, we caught a matinée of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Night, and I can now say that, finally, someone has made a Batman film I like better than Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992). Indeed, someone has finally made a superhero film that works as a film, period, even if divorced from the context of comic-book adaptations. The film is just superb, top to bottom. Yes, Ledger's Joker is fucking brilliant. As much as I love Christian Bale, this film belongs to the Joker, not Batman. Indeed, I'm hoping we see Ledger receive an Oscar nomination for this, at the very least. I also thought Gary Oldman's performance was excellent. James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer's score was perfect. And I wish I were not so fucking asleep, so I could articulate my thoughts better. I should have written this last night, not this morning, while I'm sitting here waiting for the Ambien to wear off. Anyway, even though I found that The Dark Knight far exceeded my expectations, and I'll go so far as to say it's a damn near perfect film, I did have a couple of qualms with the last twenty or thirty minutes. And I don't feel like fooling with the tags for an LJ cut, so IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS, SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. NOW. Frankly, I think one of the ferry's should have blown, and it should have been the one loaded with civilians. There was just too perfect a build up, and when one didn't blow, it felt like a letdown. Up until that point, the Joker seemed, to me, to be functioning as a sort of bringer of revelations to Bruce Wayne. The Joker always won, one way or another, and he was never wrong, until then. And it felt forced, like maybe the studio execs were too afraid of a test audience in Little Rock or something. If the civilians had pushed the detonator and their own ferry had exploded, after having been spared by the convicts, that would have been true to the film. But that's my only major quibble. Also, big nods to the screenwriters, because, damn, that's a quotable movie, one of the most quotable since Pulp Fiction (1994), I think. I'm making a list of my favourite lines, such as (as the Joker explains himself to Harvey Dent) —— "Do I really look like a man with a plan, Harvey? I don't have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. You know what I am, Harvey? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I caught one. I just do things. I'm a wrench in the gears. I hate plans. Yours, theirs, everyone's." Fucking A. Or another of the Joker's lines —— "You see, nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If I told people that a gangbanger was going to get shot, or a busload of soldiers was going to get blown up, nobody would panic. Because it's all part of the plan. But tell people that one tiny little mayor is going to die and everyone loses their minds!" Or Harvey Dent's line —— "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain." Great stuff.
Then, last night, we watched an odd little zombie film, The Signal (2007), which was divided into three parts, with three directors —— David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry. It also contains a beautiful cover of Joy Division's "Atmosphere," by the way, courtesy Ola Podrida. A visceral, gory film that does a nice job of keeping you off balance, and of mixing a sort of cosmic horror with black humor. Not great, but a nice surprise.
Anyway....if you have not yet ordered a copy of the new mmp edition of Daughter of Hounds, I ask that you please do so. Thank you. Let's keep these books in print. Meanwhile, Herr Platypus says Friday is as good a day as any to subscribe to Sirenia Digest. And, of course, subpress is taking preorders on A is for Alien.
And wouldn't you just know, as soon as I try to back away from Second Life, I go and discover a pretty cool Medieval Persian rp sim that allows me (more or less) to resurrect Shahrazad al-Anwar, this time as a mute, amnesiac necromancer? I have been spending far too much time in the sim —— Kingdom of Sand —— the last two days, and sleeping far too little. You can see my character's profile and a screencap here (if you're into that sort of thing). Last night, I even caught a djinn.
Now...I have to try to wake up, answer email, and get started on a new story for the next issue of the digest. Where's my cocaine!