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Howard Hughes and the Hole in the Ceiling

Some eight and a half hours sleep last night. Clearly, I'm making up for lost time. Vague memories of a dream, standing on a bridge looking down into crystal clear water (a recurring dream), somewhere in Florida. I watched shoals of fish and huge crayfish scuttling along the bottom.

Yesterday, I did 838 words on "The Maltese Unicorn," and found myself much nearer THE END than I'd expected I would. I'd thought I'd be at least Monday getting to the conclusion. Now, I'm planning today to make a big and merciless push towards that last word. I've been working on this story much too long. It's time to be done with it.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, The Ammonite Violin & Others is still available in the trade hardback edition.

Last night, after dinner, I watched a new Nova documentary on Mount St. Helens (I was only 15, almost 16, when it erupted on May 18th, 1980). And then we watched Joe Johnston's The Wolfman (2010), which was actually quite good. It was refreshing to get an old-school werewolf film, instead of all the nonsense about clans, otherkin, "lycans," and such (and for that, I blame White Wolf's werewolf rpg, the Underworld films, and a host of crappy paranormal romance novels that have reduced werewolves to "shifters"). Though ostensibly a remake of George Waggner's 1941 The Wolf Man (scripted by Curt Siodmak), Johnston's grandly atmospheric film pays homage to both the classic Hammer films and Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). A great score by Danny Elfman (again, very reminiscent of Wojciech Kilar's score for Coppola's Dracula), and the cast is excellent through and through. It doesn't hurt that Benecio del Toro bears an uncanny resemblance to Lon Chaney, Jr., and Anthony Hopkins is nicely creepy. The transformation sequences are excellent, though I didn't find the end result nearly as menacing or otherworldly as the old-fashioned werewolf makeup effects from (again) Bram Stoker's Dracula. In fact, if I have any single gripe with Johnston's film it would be its reliance on CGI. Why was the trained bear in the gypsy camp done with CGI, and the stag that's used as bait for the werewolf? In both those cases, the sfx fall flat, though they usually work with the monster. The actual makeup was done by Rick Baker, by the way. Anyway, yes, I strongly recommend this one.

Afterwards, we watched a Dutch film, Ole Christian Madsen's Flammen & Citronen (2008), which was also excellent, and there's a lot I could say about it, but I've gone on so long about The Wolfman that I really need to wrap this up.

Yesterday was the birthday of the father of sociobiology*, E. O. Wilson (born in 1929). Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

The platypus is ready for the home stretch.

* Yes, I know that John Paul Scott was likely the first to use the term sociobiology, but it was Wilson who brought the field into its own (and took so much flack early on).

Comments

( 9 comments — Have your say! )
michael_b_lee
Jun. 11th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
Speaking of horror movies, if you and Spooky haven't seen it already, I highly recommend The Abandoned.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 11th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)

Speaking of horror movies, if you and Spooky haven't seen it already, I highly recommend The Abandoned.

I've not even heard of it. But I'll look it up.
humglum
Jun. 11th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)


Actually, I forgot we saw it, but it was one of the films at Horrorfest the year we went. Had to look at the trailer before I remembered it. I recall liking it.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 11th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)

Actually, I forgot we saw it, but it was one of the films at Horrorfest the year we went. Had to look at the trailer before I remembered it. I recall liking it.

Ah.

This is what comes of seeing so many movies.
jenjen4280
Jun. 11th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
I thought the Wolfman was more like a gothic movie with werewolves rather than a horror movie -- and it did well for the genre. Also the movie seemed like a bit of a mash-up between the original Wolfman (1941) and Werewolf of London (1935).

I totally agree about the CGI. I prefer traditional FX to CGI.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 11th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)

I thought the Wolfman was more like a gothic movie with werewolves rather than a horror movie

Truthfully, I don't draw much of a distinction here, though the Gothic employs horror to greater and lesser degrees, and all "horror" is not necessarily Gothic. But yes, Johnston's The Wolfman is undoubtedly a Gothic tale.
mastadge
Jun. 11th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
I hear they actually had a real bear but for some reason had trouble getting it onto the set, so they brushed off and recolored some polar bear special effects from The Golden Compass for this film.

Ultimately I found The Wolfman very disappointing. It mostly looked great (some dodgy CGI aside), but Del Toro seemed bored and boring (maybe his dialect coach did away with inflection and emotion while getting rid of the heavy accent?), Gollum showed up too many times, and the majority of the characters were cardboard or ciphers and their relationships impossible for me to invest in. The film was generally on when the Wolfman was tearing people up, and deathly dull the other 80 minutes or so, offering nothing of substance to sink my teeth into.
greygirlbeast
Jun. 11th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)

and the majority of the characters were cardboard or ciphers and their relationships impossible for me to invest in.

I honestly don't go into monster movies looking to invest. I'm happy to be entertained.
mastadge
Jun. 11th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
And I found it, for the most part, too dull to entertain when there wasn't a wolfman on the screen, which was most of the movie! I'm glad you enjoyed it -- I usually rather like Johnston and am glad this movie's evidently not hurt his career -- I only wish I had found it so enjoyable.
( 9 comments — Have your say! )