Links to Photos and Writing   August 19th, 2010

I’m in the process of updating my old website to run on WordPress. While I’m re-building things and adding back the content, here are the links to my old Photos and Stories archives.

There’s also Anthropomorphic Dreams my publishing site which contains work from me as well as other authors. There are book anthologies as well as a free audio-fiction podcast.

Here’s a couple of audio stories of note I heard recently. As luck would have it, they’re both written by the same author, Will McIntosh.

First on Drabblecast, the podcast of strange fiction is Fantasy Jumper. It’s both disturbing and poignant. Set in a World’s Fair in the not-to-distant future, that playground of the Id shows us at our most petty and banal, but also so vulnerable.

And then from Escape Pod, the science-fiction podcast is Bridesicle, a story about speed dating in the cryogenic age, which is both chilling and ultimately quite moving. The implications on the technology in that world and their impact on society make for some intriguing ideas too.

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Predators   August 8th, 2010

I went and saw Predators in the theater a couple of weeks ago. It’s an action movie, but a good one and stands up to the original quite well. As a reboot of sorts it managed to recreate the same mood and excitement as the first movie. I got a bit tired of it near the end as the third act wore on, but it was a fun ride. It’s a nice step a way from the underwhelming AvP films of late too.

It did a good job bringing a disparate group of people together, throwing them in the situation and letting that help drive the story. That’s always fun. They also played with familiar tropes to both sci-fi in general and the franchise in particular. It was fun seeing them tick off certain points as the movie revealed more and more of the setting to the characters, such as when they figure out where the jungle they’ve found themselves in actually is. There were some good creature designs here as well.

Like the original, it’s an action movie, but with some nice dressings and it makes for an entertaining ride.

Speed Racer and Below   August 8th, 2010

I finally got around to watching Speed Racer at a friend’s house last night. I hadn’t been itching to see it because of middling reviews and also because I never watched the cartoon as a kid, so I wasn’t in the target audience. The movie was decent though. It’s no Citizen Kane but it was entertaining.

The visuals of course were the movies strong suit. The graphics and colors popped and the Wachowski brothers did a wonderful job in giving the movie a hyper stylized look inspired by the anime. Some of the race sequences were confusing and dizzying on the verge of seizure-inducing, but I have to give them props for the movie as a whole. All of the sets and props had that same design aesthetic and that was pretty cool.

The story wasn’t all that complex, but it served the movie well and from what I know of the anime it hit all the right spots and captured the story elements in a good package. I did like how they didn’t try and explain some of the oddities of the situation, they just ran with it like it was normal. A good example of that was one character outside the family giving a single askance glance at the monkey, but nothing being said about it. The little brother and monkey characters were kind of annoying in their antics, but they looked to be spot-on in their depiction.

So while Speed Racer was not something beloved from my childhood, and it’s not a movie I need to see again, I will say that it’s a fun diversion and the visual style of the movie is entertaining. It’s worth watching for that if you just roll with it.

Another film I saw recently had a much heavier and involved story. Below was a really interesting tale of a WW2 sub crew picking up survivors of medical ship sank by a U boat. Soon after the mysterious passengers are brought on board, things start going wrong… I don’t want to say too much to give anything away, but I will say that this is a movie definitely worth watching. It’s got a nice mix of atmospheric horror, military action and psychological thriller.

I wanted to see it as I remembered it was written by Darren Aronofsky, whose known for cerebral work. Pi ran a little long for me and I didn’t bother with The Fountain as it sounded too ponderous, but I like his ideas. While he didn’t direct this movie, his touch was still visible and it’s likely one of his more accessible films too, intelligent without being too overwhelmingly arty.