March 13th, 2010

moria mask


So a few nights ago, continuing our Miyazaki come down from our now concluded Avatar: The Last Airbender buzz, we watched Ponyo. Okay, you know what? Ponyo is way crazier than stuff like My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away. That is a crazy movie! Especially because it is just the Japanese "Little Mermaid" movie-- suck it Ariel, Ponyo is...much weirder than you are. I like it best when she has her little chicken arms & legs, because that is...pretty disturbing. Jenny was really stressed out by the mom's recklessness-- I mean, the movie alternates so wildly between realistic & faerie tale that the over-the-top stuff like throwing caution to the wind & careless driving really seems like child endangerment! I also liked Tina Fey as a voice actor, Jenny found her distracting at first, but I thought she was well cast. Like I was saying about translation-- I'm not so opposed to dubbing in cartoons, which are already dubbed by the virtue of their existence.

Anyhow, then last night we tried to watch Whiteout but it was...terrible. I mean, it just is a flat mess of disaster. We both have a fondness for Antarctica, & I like Greg Rucka & Jenny had just read the comic-- but sheesh the movie! At the point where the girl who the protagonist teams up with & has sexual tension with? We discovered that they'd replaced her with a guy. Which is when I shut it off in disgust & bought Jenny ice cream. Really, the movie was...I mean, not even scream at the screen bad, just boring & flat & sort of amateur in tone. I didn't expect anything else but I couldn't be bothered to finish it.

When I came back, we decided to put in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. No Kate Beckinsale, but then, Whiteout had her in it, so-- sort of? Anyhow, Underworld, the first one, I like! I mean, it certainly is what it is, a B movie about werewolves & vampire's fighting. Also, the concerns about them "ripping off White Wolf" are probably true? I mean-- they settled the case & hopefully settled it well, but! The big "but" is that I'm fairly convinced that the story of how the movie was conceived in Kevin Grevioux & Len Wiseman's World of Darkness campaign. I mean, really, it is pretty clearly the "what happens if a werewolf gets turned into a vampire?" story that crosses every player's mind. So yeah, I think it did infringe on the World of Darkness unique portrayal of supernatural critters & I think "The Love of Monsters" was a heavy influence. I think legally they were in the wrong, but ethically I think they were just geeks who created an idea in someone else's sandbox & made it work. So yeah, it has wrapped around for me to being a plus, rather than a minus. Anyhow, Rise of the Lycans wasn't what you would call good, or even as good as the first one, but it didn't pretend it was anything other than a vampire's fighting werewolves story. I would have liked the vampires vampires, though. The best character was Andreas Tanis, the sort of selfish quid pro quo guy who is at least honestly out for number one. Really though, Kevin Grevioux is the best thing about Underworld-- he's the huge black guy who plays the werewolf "Raze," but! Another "but!" When we watched the extras on the first Underworld DVD he came on with his ridiculously deep voice & was like "well, I have my Masters in microbiology so I wanted it to be at least plausible..." & it rules. He's not just some huge actor, he's the writer & developer & good for him. He's awesome. He's in Rise of the Lycans & I had forgotten just how deep his voice really is. Anytime the meathead proves to be the brains of the operation, that is my favorite. He's making a Frankenstein versus the monsters movie now & I am excited for it. B movies that are B movies!
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How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Innsmouth. (17)

Kid Vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout.

"Atlantis is dead!
Long live Atlantis!" said the
caramel apple shill.

The jacket copy calls this middle-grade Douglas Adams, but I don't think that is the case at all. It isn't pun-laden or filled with the same mild mannered absurdity. Really what it most reminds me of is the middle grade books from my own youth. I mean that in a good way! I think there is a level of weirdness that a lot of middle grade lacks these days. I'm not saying sliding in mythology & the paranormal is a bad thing, but it does dominate the market these days. Kid Vs. Squid hearkens back to the surreal oddity of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, or works like Interstellar Pig. Just the story of a boy going on some goofy adventure. He's threatened & menaced by some pretty horrible piscine stuff, he makes friends that are useful & cool, he takes his character "flaws" (like having a big mouth) & spins them into positive character traits-- it really is a solid read. The plot moves along, the language keeps you hooked, the moral isn't shoved down your throat-- yeah. I liked it. Fun little bit of action-adventure, with a heaping dose of strange tales & humor.
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