Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Spark of the Divine (Intervention).

This is obviously tragic news. It's certainly not the sort of thing that would wrench uncontrollable laughter from somewhere dry and deep in my decrepit frame. And definitely not the sort of thing to ellicit wild jackal howls of delight.

But you've got to admit, it's pretty funny.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Onion is Funny Again.

Very probably true.

Pre-emptive retributions.

Have any of you wronged me recently? Like stolen all my cattle, for example, or burned my township to the ground?

If so, click here and we'll consider ourselves even, okay?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sound Advice.

Mutineers Need Not Apply.

Due to an unfortunate volcano-related accident, the position of chief minion is once again open. To be in with a chance of attaining this desirable position within The Organisation, simply answer this question:

Now that I have a computer that works, what's good on the internet? Assume for a moment that I've been living a backwards existence with a 500MHz processor and a schizophrenic wireless card for five years. What's good in the world of Not Text?

Oh, and I've already heard of YouTube. No smartarses, thangyewverymuch.

Oi, Grendel! 'Ave some!

Continuing in the tradition of being impressed by movies of which I have previously been pretty damn unsure, I recently watched Beowulf. Now, before I go too far, I wasn't that impressed. But it wasn't a clusterfuck, and that's something.

The main reason I found myself watching it was I was interested in the adaptation of legend into contemporary storytelling. Modern audiences, though pretty fucking shallow for the most part, will not accept the 'that's just how it happened' nature of storytelling in myth. Mythological characters rarely have a compelling or even vaguely believable psychology. They're often not even really archetypes, tending more towards amalgamations of human experience. This is where Beowulf fits, as a morality tale about those who strive for glory.

In the film Beowulf, while he is still the skilled warrior of the poem, is an unreconstructed braggart. Great, fine. In a society where word-of-mouth is the only way for information to travel, this would be a great way to have a legend form. But, and this is a big but, even his own men think he's full of shit. And here we come to the main problem with the film. In trying to turn mythological characters into actual characters, the writers have left the story wholly unbelievable. Why would his men follow him on a lunatic quest for glory when they think he's a lying toerag? There are plenty of these gaps of logic, and they generally occur around the points in the story where the writers have failed to ally the story they're compelled to at least vaguely try to tell with their interpretation of Beowulf's character. It doesn't entirely break the movie, but it's distracting, because if you have made fundamental assumptions about how someone behaves, it is not acceptable to go entirely against those assumptions because you are constricted by the original story.

It's quite a pretty film, though has the usual glassy-eyed staring that CG characters tend to suffer from. This might just be rose-tinted amnesia, but I'm sure some of the characters in The Spirits Within looked better. There's also some really obtrusive and annoying (virtual) camera work. The director is clearly too enamoured with his toybox to actually use it properly. It's as though Orson Welles climbed into his crane with a bucket full of Pixie Sticks. It zooms, swoops and dives all over the place for no reason that I can discern, and it is desperately annoying.

With all that said, it wasn't a bad film. There is some genuinely great design work in it, which counts a lot more for a CG movie than it would otherwise. It's well-paced, and plenty of the vocal performances are strong, though I can't help but think it would have been better for a cast of unknowns, especially with all the actors providing faces and performances. Suffice it to say, the idea that all that's keeping you from seeing Ray Winston's digi-bollocks being a shader setting is quite disconcerting.

I seem to be having trouble summing this up. A lot of small petty things annoyed me. I couldn't believe the motivations of many of the characters. There was a lot of unnecessary reference to Christianity replacing the old Norse religions. Grendel, for some fucking reason, spoke 11th-century Anglo-Saxon in 5th-century Denmark. And yet, I enjoyed it.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yeah, It's a Picture of a Hairy Guy.

Firstly, the remake of The Wolfman looks damn cool. This cool, in fact:

Secondly, 30 Days of Night would seem to be quite good. Pallette and general tone remind me of John Carpenter back when he was good. Characters seem slightly more than 2-dimensional, which is not bad for a horror movie in which everyone is almost certain to die. It even has Dracula references (there's a Renfield character) that do not suck. The vampire designs are original and compelling. So far, so good.

Imagine the noise of a comedy slide whistle. I can't believe anyone can listen to this shit and lap it up. The worst thing about this pretty damn shitty administration is that they have categorically proved that you can simply tell a great many people what you want them to believe, and they will believe it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


So, um, yeah.

Not much more I can say about that.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Hello there, internets, I am returned.

So, it's been a little while. Not to worry, I know for a fact that both of the people that read this got by in my absence. Still, the usual cursory update is yours for the taking.

I have left Old Job (Goliath Books) and started at New Job (amusing nickname to follow.) New Job basically involves mining for internet. Which means, given the gibberish I tend to put up here, that I am now Signal/Noise neutral.

Various other things have happened, but as per usual, if you're reading this you probably already know about them.

Coming soon: videogame euphemisms!