(Lyrics from Audience of One – Rise Against. I’ve got bout 12 tracks right now that I am just not getting bored with and this is one of the ones that stand out. Probably for this line in particular. It’s kind of funny that this is a line that I would have applied to a few people I know and have been happily surprised that it is no longer the case. The picture is of course from LOLCats and just seems fitting both for using DOOM in it as well as how I feel towards work today.)
Once again too much time has passed since one of these updates. It’s one of those things that are just bound to happen though as I’ve been fully distracted as of late. Work, social life, projects, Modern Warfare 2- all of this and more are keeping me writing up what exactly I’ve been up to on a consistent basis!
Well for starters there was a small little convention that took place in Chicago since my last update- Flashback Weekend. I have to admit getting Neil out to one of the horror events in Chicago was a nice change, and I think made it easier for me to sell him on going to more in the future. (Figured it would only take event to get him to want to hit up more.) Continuing with the horror theme, my coder fell through for Buy Zombie. After all of the work getting it going it fell apart at the end. The upside? He at least sent over the .psd and I was able to hire someone on the cheap to convert it to a WordPress theme! I just have a few last touches to iron out and a new site will FINALLY be live!
Speaking of being alive, say in the world of 2009, it is hard to imagine that any of my friends had yet to see Iron Man. Therefor it was disappointing that Leah had not yet seen it. OK not really since I was able to enjoy someone else’s first time reactions to such a fun movie again and that’s always a nice change.
Rose decided she wanted a blog she could rant on. I’ll give you one guess who got talked into setting it up (not that I know anything about setting up WordPress blogs.) So Tiny Cynic was born. (I clearly had nothing to do with the name.) If it wasn’t for some CSS issues with how the theme was setup by default it would have taken I believe a whole 5 minutes to setup. (So yea it ended up taking about an hour…)
Finally I bought a couple of new toys. A new digital camera as well as the Prestige Edition of Modern Warfare 2. To be completely honest they both game in on the same day so I have yet to open my shiny new Canon PowerShot SD780IS with it’s shiny 12.1 MP and 3x optical zoom. Apparently it also can do video. It’s a bold new world! Having not opened it yet I was clearly preoccupied with playing Call of Duty 6. I was so preoccupied I have yet to obtain batteries for the night vision goggles that came with the Prestige Edition! (Yes. I now have a digital camera and night vision goggles, I could run around at night and be that creepy guy you want to avoid at all costs. Score.) MW2 is everything I loved about Call of Duty 4 and MORE. I won’t start typing about the game as I could rant for the rest of the post on how great it is.
I know I’m missing things that happened. However, I am on too little sleep (nothing to do with staying up late playing Modern Warfare 2.)
Dark Country had to be one of the more interestingly filmed horror movies that I’ve seen lately. It mixed ‘reality’ for the most part with certain scenes looking as if they had a 3D layer added over to them. Basically a newly met and newly wed couple are traveling from Las Vegas and stumble upon a body. The body ends up not being dead and as they offer him a ride the movie starts to get interesting. While in some movies this would annoy the hell out of me as Dark Country ended up with a dream like state to large aspects of the film it fit perfectly. The male lead did a stellar performance and after having seen him as the lead in both this and The Mist I want to see him continue on in the horror genre. Bonus points for Ron Perlman in his role as a deputy in the film.
The Public Enemies that I am referring too is obviously the gangster period piece starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Of course those two weren’t the true stars of the movie, it was in fact Stephen Dorff’s performance that stole the show. Yes I’m kidding but I do wish Dorff would get to play an asshole in more movies with how well he does it. While I would have preferred a real chunk of direct interaction between Depp and Bale they did demonstrate how the two were matched against each other extremely well and how confident he could get away with everything that Dillinger was.
The remake of Taking of Pelham 123 had a lot of ups and downs throughout the film. Again a movie that has two stars pitted against one another (John Travolta and Denzel Washington) this one at least had them get a good chunk of face time with each other near the end of the movie. I have to admit I enjoyed the fact that Denzel didn’t play his normal role and mixed things up a little. While a train robbery movie is always fun in and of itself it was in fact what Travolta’s character was really trying to pull off that made the film more of a hit. They could have left out that entire subplot, still had the movie out, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good.
State of Play brings Russell Crowe as a reporter investigating the death of his friend’s (Ben Affleck) lover. With Ben’s character being both married and in politics it is messy right off the bat. When you add in the fact that it is also involved with the regulatory commission that his character is on and has something to do with a multi-billion dollar company that is trying to influence government decisions to increase it’s contracts and influence? NOW it’s messy. Political thrillers that can keep my attention are few and far between as most of them really aren’t written properly. This one would have been a miss as well if it weren’t for the amazing acting on both Crowe’s and Affleck’s parts. (Both of whom are actors I haven’t really dug in a movie for awhile.) If you are into political thrillers at all you may want to check this one out.
Child’s Play. The birth of another horror series that after 3 movies should have stopped. Also a horror franchise that is being rebooted soon. While I did enjoy the first 3 movies the last 2 hurt my brain when I watched them originally. So Child’s Play is of course the origin of how a serial killer ended up transferring his soul into the ‘body’ of a toy while trying to cheat death. From here he has to find someone he can transfer himself into but that of course never works out so easily. I don’t know if it’s because I saw this when I was younger, because it really is well written, or because it takes place in Chicago but I’ve always loved the first 3, OK, 2 and a half movies in this series.
Child’s Play 2 starts up shortly after Child’s Play came to a close. Chucky is dead. Andy, the child from the first movie, is in a foster home having been taken from his “lunatic mother” due to her insistence that a doll tried to kill her son. Kudos for using the same child in both of the first two films. The plastic mess that Chucky had been burned down two of course on a corporate level cannot be wasted so is melted down and used in creating a new Chucky doll. I’ll give you one guess as to where this goes. Yes Chucky comes back and goes to chase after Andy once again.
Child’s Play 3 brings us a new actor playing Andy as well as a new concept on how Chucky came back to life. Only one of those two statements are true. If you know Hollywood you will of course know that it was a new actor! Andy is now in military school learning how to be a man and not a sniveling little boy who is afraid of dolls. That of course works ‘great’ but he is able to stand up to Chucky’s madness on a military base which actually worked out pretty well for a setting. Some of the slight changes he made around the base to add his fun in into the mix was actually entertaining. While it wasn’t as good as the first two it still lived up to my expectations of a Child’s Play movie.
Bride of Chucky was the beginning of the end of the series. With ‘rebranding’ the title to just have Chucky in it and no longer be called Child’s Play to removing Andy to adding in a female ‘sidekick/love interest’ for Chucky. It honestly just went to hell. It did have a bit of fun horror movie trivia at the beginning where Chucky (who oddly wasn’t completely torn up as opposed to what we saw happen at the end of Child Play 3) was warehoused in a police building that also included a ton of fun horror memorabilia. An ex-lover of Chucky’s human days brings him back to life but soon finds herself at the short end of his anger and is herself transferred into another doll and they together go on a rampage while trying to find new bodies. The one thing the movie DOES have going for it though is how many tributes to other horror movies all around it has within.
Seed of Chucky, the first time I saw it made me cringe. This second showing actually wasn’t as bad but I knew how bad the film was going to be in advance so that probably softened the blow. Chucky and his bride from the previous movie apparently had a child and this child is able to bring them both back to life from a voodoo amulet shown in the same film. With their lives returned they are found to be on a set where they are filming a movie about Chucky’s killing spree which is all an urban legend as far as the general populace is concerned. The best part? Jennifer Tilly (voice of Chucky’s wife) is an actress on the film being made which results in countless bad jokes within the movie I couldn’t help but smirk at.
How to be a Serial Killer was a fun infomercial styled view trying to sell it’s watchers on all of the benefits to your life in turning yourself into a serial killer. I’ll be brief as I have a full review up over at Horror Society of the film. Pretty much the infomercial is what is running in the serial killer’s mind and he spends the entire film both killing people as well as training an apprentice on how to literally get away with murder. Throughout the entire film though we aren’t made aware that the infomercial is actually running in his mind until the very end.
It really was a good month of horror movies for me. I don’t know how I missed watching this gem previously but The Descent is hands down one of the better horror films I’ve seen in awhile. While I’ve never had a fear of the dark or being claustrophobic I could feel the dread brought out by both of these fears in this film. When a woman’s family dies in a car accident her friends, who have explored caves together previously, stumble onto a new one to explore. While they are used to crawling through caves in near pitch black it quickly becomes obvious that this unexplored one has more then they bargained for in both not being safe as well as being full of a mutant offshoot of humanity that is blind and has lived underground their entire lives- who don’t mind eating humans. While the description I just gave is kind of weak it doesn’t give the full experience of seeing what they go through to survive and I can’t stress enough of how much of great flick this one was.
Assassination of a High School President is a noir styled detective story that actually takes place in a high school. With Bruce Willis as the school’s principal and one of the school paper’s reporters as the ‘detective’ it focuses on the theft of the SAT answers. While he becomes both famous and popular from discovering who stole them he quickly learns that he has reported on a frame up and is on a race against time to determine who the real thief is and the motive behind the theft is not as clear cut as it would appear.
While I may have won my copy of The Children of the Corn remake it doesn’t change that fact that it really was a painful watch. It cannot compare to the creepiness of the original and the interaction between the two adults who first came into the situation did not seem genuine in the slightest. The children just weren’t as scary and the movie seemed to take an action over suspense tone that did not mesh well with the source material. While I did enjoy how they changed the end of it, if you want to watch Children of the Corn do yourself a favor and get the original.
So this one was a surprise but Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li wasn’t “horrible.” Don’t get me wrong it was by no means great but I went into it expecting myself to hate every aspect of the film. While they of course took liberties with the overall storyline and barely touched on the Street Fighter universe (it was an origin story for Chun Li) it did have quite a few great special effects and martial arts scenes. It is an entertaining watch as long as you do go into it knowing it won’t do much justice to Street Fighter mythos or have an in-depth plot in general.
What’s this? A SECOND horror series I’ve watched? Well I just couldn’t help myself as it’s been so long since I’ve had a chance to watch the Lovecraft masterpiece of Re-Animator. This is the tale of a mad scientist named Herbert West who has discovered a way to bring the dead back to life. A satire on the Frankenstein story it tells how Herbert keeps trying to improve his ability to bring the dead back to life- with unintended side effects. The series can’t quite decide if it’s horror or comedy but meshes the two together rather well.
Bride of the Re-Animator continues the tale told in the first as Herbert tries to have his assistant in the original, who is on the run from the law with him, assist his experiments once again. While it wasn’t an easy sell all he had to do was show that he had the heart of his assistant’s dead girlfriend who instantly wants to bring her back. Now to interject wouldn’t he need the brain as well? Aside from that though it felt true to the original and was entertaining all the way through.
Beyond Re-Animator takes a turn away from having his normal assistant. West is put into prison nearly at the offset for murder. A child in the area where he was arrested had seen the effects of West’s chemical and grew up with the sole intent of becoming a doctor to carry on his work. He is able to apply at the prison that West is being held and quickly brings him in as a ‘helper’ while he is actually assisting in the recreation of the cure for death. While locked in solitary West has found a way to improve on his formula that will not only reanimate the death but restore them to their original cognitive abilities. Full re-animation is now possible. Of course anything with this series is never as simple as it seems and everything begins to fall apart on keeping this ‘normal’ rather quickly.
Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror is a tribute to the Creep Show. An anthology of short horror tales that are all linked together by Snoop’s character narrating them all. This is another movie that surprised me with how bad it could have been and actually being rather watchable. While a few of the stories were painful in implementation each one had something going for it. While if I had to see any anthology horror movie get made into a series it would of course be Trick ‘R Treat, but if this one were too I wouldn’t have any real complaints. As long as they could get a bit more actual horror movie star power in the next one.
When this little science fiction movie Moon started I had no idea where it was going. It wasn’t until about 20-30 minutes in where things began to progress to the point that made the movie actually seem to be going somewhere. Once it did though I was hooked. Sam Rockwell played his character to perfection and Kevin Spacey voicing the robot who was his assistant was a blast. With Earth’s power sources winding down we have begun to harvest helium-3 from the moon as a new power source. (Fun fact: Helium-3 is a real element found on the moon which could provide another source of power for our planet.) While I can’t go into details on how this progresses too far without giving away spoilers let me just say that if you are into a science fiction movie, that likes to take pot shots at humanity, cloning, corporate greed, and has an overall good if slow story- pick this up immediately.
With all of the horror movies that I have seen as of late I do have to say that the introduction to UP takes the cake as one of the saddest and most depressing introductions of overtime. I’m clearly talking emotion here not quality as UP once again proves that Pixar is an animated movie house with power and talent. They have yet to fail to deliver a good animated movie and once more have made it increasingly more adult orientated compared to the standard kiddie fair you would expect from an animated movie. Not that there isn’t room for the children to see this as well as it really is a movie that can be appreciated by all ages. For those who have seen the movie all I can say is one thing.. SQUIRREL!
Black Dynamite is the funniest movie I’ve seen this year. While some may argue that Zombieland was, and I agreed until I had seen this, you really need to watch it before you make that judgment call. Both emulating and making fun of the 70’s blacksploitation films, Black Dynamite had me in pain from laughter. Not only was it written well but it was FILMED looking to be a 70’s film from the outfits, the sets, and the colors on the film itself everything fit perfectly. If you are at all a fan of 70’s blacksploitation films or kung fu movies and haven’t seen this yet you are doing yourself a huge disservice and need to get this immediately.
House of the Devil makes it two for two on films that LOOK as if they had been filmed years ago. While this would be early to mid 80’s horror instead of the 70’s it still has the same feel of not being a recent movie. Again, dialogue, sets, props, acting, visually, it’s an 80’s horror movie. I’m not talking the late 80’s horror movies either that were typical slasher flicks or cheesy but the GOOD horror with proper suspense built into the plot. I cannot wait to see what else this director pulls off and pray that he stays in the horror genre. If he does we have an easy building of a dynasty of quality horror movies on our hands since he knows what works and is able to implement it.
Warning: This Update Is Ridiculously Long Since I Took Nearly A Month Since The Last One.
(Lyrics from Someday – Rob Thomas. Not what I’d usually stick on here but in all honesty it’s fitting. I have a LOT going on in my life right now with a ton of decisions to make and projects to work on. Figuring it all out would be a welcome breath of fresh air. Image from Extra Life. As much of a horror junkie as I am, this was not a representation as me as a child. I lack in any skill that involves art, specially sculpting sand to look like this.)
So It’s been a long while since my last update, nearly a month! I’ve been pretty busy with not going out! While that doesn’t seem like it should keep me that busy that’s not the case in the slightest. With the condo up for sale or rent (though the rumor is it’s coming off the market for rent) I’ve been having to work quite a bit around that. Add a cold into the mix for a week and that should help narrow it down!
So while I wasn’t doing much on going out I did get out a few times in the last month. For starters I caught a few movie nights followed by dinner and drinks with Leah. While not a movie, on the visual (actually this is more audio) consumption I went over to Deathscribe 2009, a yearly setting of horror themed radio plays performed live with Dano (and met up with Bryan and Mitch there.) After a nearly 8 month hiatus of hanging out I also got to meet up with Jen for dinner to catch up on each other’s lives. Of course on top of that there were also a ton of people have checked out the condo so that did leave me at the local coffee shop quite a bit.
Staying in being productive I did a few pieces of web site related.. stuff. I helped Rose setup her new website / portfolio for school, http://www.roseskegg.com. Being generous with my free time on helping other people I also came up with a rough draft business card for Brittney so she could better showcase her website when people ask on it.
Now being greedy with my time who could think I passed up helping myself as well? I made a few changes to this site and my twitter account. One of the projects I’ve been working on to be automated on the side is almost complete. I just need to play with the logo a bit, some artwork, and it’s golden. Just a hint- it involves zombies. Secondly I have another project that shouldn’t be ‘that’ hard to get going once I find the right RSS feed widget/plugin for a few friends to setup kind of an internal network for a few horror blogger friends. More on that one as it pans out.
Well as each of my last 2 posts were dedicated to whatever horror movie series I was rewatching at the time this one will be no different. While it is a shorter series- once you get to the TV section you’ll know why I went with it. Who doesn’t love a few movies in a row though about the coming of the Antichrist and the end of the world?
The Omen is the tale of a young man, switched at birth to be given all of the advantages anyone could ask for. Wealth, a political heritage, loving parents, a friendly little dog, and a staff that loves to help with his education. What else could Damian want for while growing up? Well when he turns out to be The Antichrist the end of the world would be a good start. Of course one can’t be purely evil while still naive in his youth without making some mistakes. Quite quickly first his mother followed by his father come to the realization that their son is pure evil, granted the father knows that the child is not truly his. Unfortunately due to this little family squabble the boy ends up being an orphan. Thankfully though the elite of the United States power base take care of their own and he is soon adopted by his uncle, another man of influence and wealth.
The Omen 2 starts with our young Damian securely living with his new family. A young boy once more surrounded by wealth and power now is getting an education from the military as this family has long done. Once again though family problems are stirred up, first his brother finds out his true nature. When not being too agreeable to it he suffers a fatal medical condition. This leads the rest of the family to go down that same road of mistrust and leaves Damian once again an Orphan- this time with all of the wealth and power of both sides of the Thorne family.
The Omen 3 gives us Damian as a young man. He is in charge of his “Uncle’s” company and also working with the government to expand his territory and influence. While not as creepy as an evil child this shows exactly what someone can do with power, money, and influence. The fun part to this one is that the time is at hand for the second coming. If Damian is to stop this and follow through with his plans of making a hell on Earth, he needs to work fast. You know how this goes, even if evil wins in a movie or two it never wins in the end so it won’t spoil this to tell you he died. Shocking I know.
The Omen 4 is the made for TV movie in The Omen series. Yes the owners of the franchise licensed out the name to this company to make a direct to TV film. If you think that’s a bad concept to run with it gets worse! The plot? An adopted daughter ends up being a possible resurrection of The Antichrist. Yes Damian had an illegitimate child who happens to be the star of this film. While the idea of bringing back a younger source of evil you just can’t get behind the acting or plot once it starts to kick in. I actually refuse to count this as part of the trilogy listed above. It WAS a trilogy, this isn’t part of it, this is an abomination. That is all.
If you really want to know how I feel about Trick r Treat in detail you can click on my review of it right here. Basically with the movie out and in my hands I was itching to be able to watch it again. How best to go about this? Virgin eyes of course. Neil came back to the condo one night and I pretty much forced the movie on him. Of course anyone who has seen Trick ‘R Treat knows that ‘forcing’ it on anyone isn’t really an issue. 5 minutes in and you are hooked because this perfect example of a horror anthology really is THAT good. If you haven’t seen it. yet you are doing yourself a disservice and need to change that immediately.
Return of the Living Dead is the non-Romero self proclaimed ‘sequel’ to Night of the Living Dead. A classic in it’s own right and one I shouldn’t have to introduce this is where the true idea of ‘bbrraaaiiiiinnnnsss‘ comes from, as well as the lesser known classic ‘send more cops‘ that is a beloved little saying for all zombie fans out there. Yes, before I got wrapped up watching The Wire this last month I had planned on polishing off a second series past The Omen. I haven’t watched the entire ROTLD series in it’s entirety in quite some time so felt it was the perfect choice! (Specially gearing up for Zombie Outbreak in November where I get to see this on the big screen.)
Grace is the story of a woman who wants to have a child. She has been wanting to have a child for quite some time and it’s just not working out for her. When she finally does become pregnant fate has other plans her as an accident takes her husband and the life of the unborn baby. So close to term however she ends up giving ‘birth’ to it regardless. So how surprising is it when the baby ends up crying? Yes it’s alive but if there is ANYTHING movies have told us by this time anything that is dead and comes back to life is not good and generally needs blood to survive. This is by far the case exactly. The movie has a lot of slow pacing and while is good is not something I would suggest to everyone. You need patience to get through this one, the end scene though? Seriously I shudder thinking about it.
Gamer starts off as a great movie. The idea of playing a video game setting in real life is great. The idea that it is a first person shooter? Even better. How about using convicts to act out these games that use real guns? OK sure why not, I’ll go with it. The whole idea of virtual worlds becoming an outlet for humanity to delve more into themselves and be antisocial is a fun concept to play with this setup and actually works. It’s got a decent plot, good action, and some great special effects. Hell it has Michael C. Hall (Dexter) play a billionaire who came up with this concept that is also using it for his own gain in another way. Why ever did I start this with it “starts as a great movie” instead of saying it was? Well. The ending is just weak. Absolutely 110% weak. It’s over in a heartbeat and leaves you feeling unfulfilled in just about every way possible.
Surrogates takes place in the future where fully automated robot versions of ourselves or how we want to be are able to be purchased and lived through. You “jack in” Matrix style and are suddenly in our world but looking through the eyes of a virtual body. Wow, it’s not the same premise as Gamer but has SUCH a similar themed concept. Again people are becoming isolated and living in fantasy instead of reality, but hey crime is down so that’s good right? Of course it is, until someone finds a way to kill those who are actually plugged into the network through the virtual bodies. Crime has come back and in this case it has disasterous results for the world. Much like Gamer this movie starts off strong (most movies with Bruce Willis tend to) however also like Gamer it just ends. No feel of long term resolution and not left in a way that makes you think about it- it’s just over.
Law Abiding Citizen is the third in a series of movies that give me a headache from the ending. Fortunately unlike the previous two this one IS worth watching. I don’t care if it’s from the Saw styled gore factor on the revenge killing, the creativity of the revenge he has in place, or just the acting in general this one doesn’t leave you with a HORRIBLE taste in your mouth. I would probably wait for the rental on it since the replay value won’t be top notch and the special effects don’t require a big screen. I would however say it’s one worth checking out at least once.
OK. I KNOW I’m still missing a few movies on this. I just can’t think of what they are right now.
So as you may have noticed the amount of movies I’ve watched lately has been down from most of my updates. There is a pretty solid reason for this. With my last update I had watched The Wire Season 1, well there are 4 more season of the wire. Yes I watched seasons 2-5 of The Wire and am now saddened that it is over. This is, hands down, one of the best crime drama’s that I’ve seen on television to date- from overarching story plots to character development that is done to perfection. Also seeing This is a must see series if you are at all a fan of crime dramas or in depth story lines.
Finished The Wire Season 2 takes place shortly after the first series ends. While the case has been investigated and mostly tossed to the wind aside from a few key arrests the team has been cut back. McNulty has been put on a boat to have harbor patrol duties and while contemplating quitting ends up finding a murder case that quickly gets him back to working with the Major Crimes Unit. While they aren’t directly in charge of the murder investigation the smaller crime they are on quickly leads to an international smuggling operation of drugs and women. Of course to keep things tied together these murders are also quickly tied in.
The Wire Season 3 ties in events from the previous two seasons. On the one hand the drugs were mentioned being smuggled in from Season 2 and this ties in with the drug deals going on from Season 1. While they are never directly brought up to the police the connection is there for the audience if no one else. We get to return primarily to the Barksdale organization and look in on both it’s legal and illegal activities. With the city demolishing the towers that was their primary source of income on the drug side they have to find a way to expand their market. Enter the drugs from the previous system and a coalition of drug dealers being formed.
The Wire Season 4 enters with the Barksdale organization having fallen. The coalition and a crew run by a new gangster named Marlo run the streets now and everyone has to adapt to a world of crime that has less rules and loyalty. The story has a major focus on a group of children from the gangbangers and how they grow into ‘the game’ or away from it. The Major Crimes Unit has fallen to the side due to it’s commander being promoted and politics. On the police side of thing this season is heavily influenced by the politicians in place in an increasing fashion and the gangs are in a bitter disagreement on how to deal with eachother and the influx of drugs into each of their areas.
The Wire Season 5 comes to close with one of the best series endings I have seen. It gives a small insight on how everyone is doing with their lives. Prior to all of that of course is the plot. The Major Crimes Unit hits a budget dead end and McNulty breaks the law, creating a new crime to creatively funnel resources back into the police department and into their ongoing investigation. The target? Marlo who has taken over the crime syndicate that was put in place 2 seasons previously. The entire season is spent walking a line between illegal phone taps, a fake serial killer, and the one target that the remnants of the Major Crimes Unit is desperate to bring in.
The Professor and The Madman by: Simon Winchester is the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary was created, primarily by the works of a well respected doctor and by a man that spent the majority of his adulthood in an asylum. I’m a slight fan of words, phrasing, and the English language in general. Imagine though if there was no source for it, no way to look up what exactly a word meant. Think how many famous authors such as Shakespeare had no ability to look up a word they were writing if they weren’t 100% sure on the meaning. This is the tale of how it all came together. I was a bit iffy on starting this up as how could a novel about the creation of the standard format of a dictionary be interesting? Well I think the aspect of mentioning the ‘madman’ who was involved with it is a good start. While half of the book is about the creation of the dictionary the other half is of his life and how it shaped him to be such a prominent source of help on this creation that is still a standard in the English language today.
A while lot of nothing new
(The above lyrics from from Rise Against – Audience of One and image is from the webcomic LilFormers and is brilliant. It has nothing to do with this post in any way shape or form but having grown up with both the cartoony pizza loving turtles and the darker comic based turtles I nearly died laughing from this. If you didn’t grow up with the Turtles and don’t get this don’t worry- I’m insane.)
So it’s been awhile since I’ve done my last update here. Surprisingly there hasn’t been as much media consumption as usual! While there has obviously been some you have to keep in mind that it has been just over a full month since my last “What Stu has been watching / reading / playing update.” So aside from this what HAVE I been doing? Well there was of course Terror in the Aisles 2 that I attended which was a complete blast all the way through. I spent some time hanging out with Rose before she went back to school. Spent a day hanging out with Leah while she was recovering from a late night of drinking which was a blast. Had Bryan and one of his friends over one of the nights Rose was here for watching a couple movies. Neil was gone for a week and a half and I had the place to myself which made me realize that it wasn’t that bad of a thing. On that note- our condo is going up on the market next month which means when looking for a new place to live I’m going to see what I can find out the south side, with indoor parking, that I can afford solo. It’ll clearly be a step down from where I’m living now but it’s that or I look for a new roommate as I don’t think Neil is planning on staying in the city when the condo is gone.
Rather light on the social life too. Where has all of my time gone? I’m honestly not sure! I have been half assed working out again lately but not enough to make a dent and while I know I’ve been working with a programmer for the new design on BuyZombie and made a few changes here (profile picture, added a contact form, and some minor things) it really doesn’t explain what exactly I’ve been up to. Maybe I’ve gone the Fight Club route and developed a split personality that’s running me around at night? Whose to say!
I was able to recently see the Chicago premiere of Trick ‘r Treat and can’t stress enough that this is a must buy movie for any horror fan. There aren’t many horror movies that actually focus on the holiday of Halloween itself, even the aptly named Halloween only took place ON the holiday and otherwise did not really concern itself with it. Here we have in it’s greatest form a movie based around ancient rituals of paganistic religions that were the origins of our present day trick or treat experience. Centering this masterpiece of fun horror is an entity known as Samhain whose entire purpose is to enforce that everyone follows the ‘rituals’ laid forth and punish those who didn’t.
On opening weekend of what is meant to be an epic new science fiction film I saw District 9 with Rose and Neil. Now I’m not going to say that District 9 wasn’t epic in scale. I’m not going to say it didn’t have an original plot because the concept while used before WAS used originally in this film. I’m not going to say how it ends was bad because I loved the way the movie ended up. My complaints are two- exactly. The first of these 2 are the main actor. I’m sorry I just couldn’t feel bad for him even with how things ended up. I was far too annoyed by his character to see feeling bad for him when the time came that you knew you should. Things happened to him that you HAD to feel bad for him and most probably did but I just couldn’t. I mainly wanted to hit him. The second problem? I felt the beginning was too long. I think I ONLY felt this because of the actor as well. I loved how they showed us what happened to society and why but couldn’t enjoy it while trying to drone out the lead actor.
So I was a ‘small’ GI-Joe fan growing up so when Leah picked that as one of our movies to go see I have to admit I couldn’t pass up the offer. I knew what I was in for before it began- a summer action flick that would partially murder my childhood memories of a beloved franchise. I can’t say they overly commercialized it since the franchise was created OFF of a toy line. The cartoon would have never existed if it weren’t a marketing tool for the toys. With that in mind I have to say I really did have fun with it. I was a little annoyed with a few key plot changes; Scarlet should have been torn between Duke and Snake eyes, The Baroness was never ‘good’, Destro never had to have his mind controlled to be part of Cobra (loved how they did the mask for it,) and Cobra Commander’s ‘mask’ was asstastic. With those complaints aside I really had a great time watching the movie. It was a summer popcorn filled flick with a perfect sequel ending. An over the top plot that paid off in spades for entertainment and I am fully looking forward to the eventual sequel.
The ONLY selling point I had ever really heard for Prozac Nation was that hey- you get to see Christina Ricci. Being male this of course intrigued me! The movie though is a great commentary on prescription drugs, depression, mental illness, being accepted, and what people will do to have fun. On top of all this it is based off of an actual auto-biography of the writer Elizabeth Wurtzel and how she both got through college and started writing. Well acted, character development, amazing shots, overall (even without a nude Christina Ricci) the movie was a good watch and easy to be drawn into wanting to know how she would end up and unable to avert your eyes away from the train wreck she was making of her life.
What set of movies would be complete without at least one horror movie, and a zombie flick at that? Boy Eats Girl fits the mold perfectly! This Irish made horror movie went with the general zombie outbreak idea of the dead coming back to life, spreading through bites that kill, and these dead eat humanity. This movie has been fitting in once again with the idea of intelligent zombies. I feel this trend, with how commonplace it is becoming, is one that is here to stay. While it does work in some situations the entire idea of a horde of mindless man eating undead who feel and think nothing past how to kill the next of us is still more fun to work with. Having to accept the mindless zombies the ending of this movie makes up for how badly the ‘cure’ for turning into a zombie is- a nonstop over the top gore fest that is absolutely ridiculous. If you don’t mind intelligent zombies and can get over the teen romance angle it’s a fun ride.
Now I haven’t heard this about The International so wait with me a moment here, be patient, I hated the movie. Now your going to wonder why on this since literally it had me enthralled and was one of the better reviewed films this year, even slipping partially under the radar. So why did I hate this movie? THE LAST 5 MINUTES felt completely rushed and not in line with the spirit of the movie. It was an easy out for the character, an easy out on how it made no difference, and just didn’t feel that it did the film justice. I literally could not stop watching the movie and enjoyed every second of the plot and felt betrayed by the ending of the film. I’m fine with a movie that wraps everything up at the end in a bow if it has no plans for a sequel but the ending has to fit with the lead up. Who was killed, how they were killed, and the little newspaper clippings all felt thoroughly rushed and uncreative. The agent we’re rooting for who has to ‘turn bad’ in order to get his way isn’t forced to follow through negating the entire set of events he set into motion and it pissed me off. If your character isn’t taking the moral high ground he should be forced to make his choice completely and not have it taken out of his hands. I clearly enjoyed everything else with how angry I am about this ending which no one else has had an issue with but I felt let down with such a great build up in plot.
Friday the 13’th Part 6-10. So basically what happened in these movies is Jason Voorhees goes around and kills a bunch of teenagers that are having sex, doing drugs, or just having fun. Shocking isn’t it? Jason Lives, The New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, The Final Friday, and Jason X all told the same story of Jason going on a rampage butchering the innocent. There was a few fun changes of leaving Crystal Lake to take a trip into Manhattan and in one instance space but there really isn’t much you can do with a slasher flick series based off of a man in a hockey mask who never talks. At least Freddy spoke which lent us some originality. I did love how they mixed it up a bit in the later movies but watching these through straight just ended up being painful. One at a time mixed in with other movies these are all acceptable (and I love how the dress and speech clearly show the time periods they were made in) but a Friday the 13th marathon will never again happen on my TV. (Tune in next time for another Horror franchise that I kill any self-interest in seeing to completion in one sitting!)
On her day of relaxing at my place after a night of heavy drinking I felt Leah needed something that was just mind numbing entertainment which can always be fulfilled by the man- Bruce Campbell. My Name is Bruce felt like the perfect fit for a lazy day with B movie greatness in every second that you can’t help but love (even for the B movie haters out there.) He’s never had a problem mocking himself on film but this one takes the cake with an all out fest of a… simpler… town unleashing a curse and kidnapping Bruce. Not him acting but kidnapping him as a B actor. It portrays how ‘wonderful’ his life is these days- divorced, living in a trailer park, being screwed over by his agent (figuratively of course… though literally with his ex-wife,) barely running car, and not being able to land a job past sequel after sequel of horrible B movies that he constantly is panned for. If you love horror movies, B movies, or Bruce Campbell this is one to pickup.
“The Wire was one of the greatest shows on television.” Neil said. “You HAVE to watch the damn show right now” he said. So I did, Season 1 at least and fine I’ll admit it- Neil was right. A great plot, acting, character development, well shot scenes, a series on cops vs drug dealers, every single aspect is a selling point for me. So why have I taken so long to start watching it? I suppose it’s from being stubborn (does that surprise any of you?) as well as telling myself I didn’t want to start another series. Well this one is 6 seasons, Battlestar is over clearing up a spot, and most of my shows are coming up to their season finales if they haven’t already had them. Basically I was bored and out of excuses so decided to pick it up.
Bonus note: I’m also caught up with True Blood Season 2 aside from the finale which is tonight. I’ll do a quick writeup of what I felt about Season 2 in it’s entirety in my next post.
Shadow Complex came out on the X-Box 360 and I’ve been slowly playing through it. The ONLY reason I haven’t beaten it yet is because I know I will not see another game like it for some time, if ever. Anyone who gets me talking about modern video games will know I will eventually lead up to complaining that there aren’t enough side scrollers these days. I clearly love first person shooters or I wouldn’t be playing Call of Duty 4 2 years after it’s release and eagerly awaiting the sequel, but my heart is with the classics. Side scrollers and 3/4th view games (Zelda) are what always did it for me and now, finally, with Shadow Complex I can play a side scroller that is worth of the classics. With a metroid style shooter feel, a map the size of the castle from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a level up system, AND modern graphics I’m hooked. I try to play for an hour or two at a time and while I know where the game can be beaten I haven’t fully explored the map yet and plan on doing so, slowly, before it comes to an end. I may never see another game styled in this manner that was made with such skill again. I need to enjoy it while I can.
With everything else I’ve been slacking on doing you would think I would have finished more than 1 book. However no there was only one, however it was a great one! In The Woods by Tana French is a murder mystery that completely sucked me in. The writing style had me hooked from the get go and the character interaction between the two lead detectives on the case was eerily familiar to a few friendships I’ve had in the past. Add in the fact that there was a great mystery at the heart of it, character development, and a few twists along the way and yes I loved it. Oh did I mention one of the two detectives are from the town this murder happened in and seems to be related to the murder of two of his friends that he lived through as a child, the memories of which are locked away in his memory?
You See The Darnedest Things In Chicago…
But I’ve been told I can’t talk about what I saw last winter. So instead I’ll talk about life! As usual I’ve had a lot going on in life as usual since the last update because I take far too long in making any on this site. Hell it’s been over a month for an actual ‘everything that happens’ since I never was able to talk about going to Sal’s place for the 4th of July which involved seeing every finale on the way from Chicago to Plainfield and a pile of his fireworks as well. Drinking lead to a late night and a good time. Though the good time didn’t continue onto the 5th where I needed to sober up while getting to my grandparents to stop in and say hey and my parents where there was a family get together for lunch. Ouch. Fun times just, ouch. Also on the family end of things has been a birthday party for my cousin Ross who turned 18 (now he can buy porn!)
Sadly on the car end of things my Bimmer decided to cost me an arm and a leg. Emissions testing was due so the week before I was planning on taking it in I had a fun surprise- The check engine light! Yes! One of my senors apparently had blown, of course taking it in ended up showing that 2 of them had blown. An arm and a leg later I had my car in great condition (aside from needing a wash, BADLY) and take my car in for testing where it promptly fails. Yes it fails. Why does it fail? For some reason the connector (which worked where I took my car in) that they plug the computer into wouldn’t scan it. Another trip to the shop (thankfully this one had no charge) and I was able to take my car in to pass. BMW one of the Micro$ofts of automobiles. See what I did there?
A lot has also been going on with work but none of you really care about that. Let’s just say at the time of writing this I’m about a month overdue for my yearly review so huge paycheck with backpay should be incoming soon. Score. Hung out with Rose a few times as the Tiny is in town on her vacation which involved gaming and movies. The usual. Saw Transformers 2 with Leah (see below) and had dinner with her. Dinner involved her usual brand of motivating me to do something with my life though this time she made some progress. Not sure if it was the area she had meant to but things are going to be changing soon for BuyZombie and my horror projects in general. Big changes. It’s always hit or miss when I hang out with Leah but once upon a time she was my muse on many things and still has the ability to kick that in on occasion.
My opinions of this movie leave me in agreement with most of my friends though at odds with the vast majority of reviews online. When I went to see Transformers 2 with Leah not only did we both enjoy it but felt it was better than the first. While Shia LaBeouf again had far too much screen time (honestly I don’t care how his college life in the movie is going) the Transformers actually got lines in this one. Enough lines to get ‘some’ character development out of the Transformers that previously did not exist. (While magic on the eyes the first movie did not exactly bring forth that much in plot while this one actually helped stabilize a bit of the Autobot and Decepticon heir achy, their goals, why they are truly at war, and a possible progression of where they could go with the series if it indeed continues. Did I mention that Ravage was awesome and I’m glad they decided to include the only real cat transformer!
First up that I’ve seen of late is Knowing. A Nicholas Cage movie of course means that it’s going to be something painful to watch where Nick Cage’s jacket and hair blow in the wind while he’s running and at some point he is holding a flashlight. All of these apply aside from it being painful to watch. Yes while it will be sadly overlooked by all as everyone seems to avoid Cage movies as of late this one is a fun filled movie combination of drama meets science fiction (in a completely unexpected twist… possibly because I didn’t watch the previews but once it kicks in I had no idea what to expect.) The super basic premise is that Cage stumbles across a sheet of paper that was buried in a time capsule that ACCURATELY predicts major disasters that are going to happen, including one that will be the most massive disaster to hit humanity ever. Honestly the movie was a fun little romp with great special effects (All I have to say is the airplane and train scenes, mainly the train scene- WOW! I actually was impressed.) If your in the mood for Cage in something that’s not been as ‘meh’ as most of his movies as of late this one is worth picking up. Just remember be prepared for a sci-fi twist part way through it.
Next up we’ll switch it up to my favorite genre, yes a little bit of Horror. Lucio Fulci’s Zombie is a CLASSIC zombie movie from the Italian Zombie Golden Age- this of course includes everything that Fulci happened to produce. Honestly I haven’t had a chance to watch the first of his classics in a few years and what can I saw the one scene that stands out above all others hasn’t changed from one of my favorite scenes in zombie movies of all time- Zombie Vs Shark. If you haven’t seen this scene before and are a horror fan you should feel nothing but ashamed of yoruself. While it is a typical zombie movie in the stance that we aren’t fully sure how it starts, our ‘hero’s’ are attempting to find out what happened to the father of one of them. They end up barely escaping with their lives and of course the infection has spread to be a global epidemic. (I’m really not ruining anything here this happens in just about every Zombie film.)
Continuing on with another piece of horror in what I’ve watched lately we will run with- The Last Horror Movie. To start with I highly suggest renting it from a video store for the end to properly work right. It starts off looking as if it will be one of the worst horror movies to have ever been shown- stick with it. While I can’t see this is one of the best horror movies that has ever been created and there is far too much on the snuff / torture end of things (I like suspense these days more than the gore.) The saving grace of this movie is how he questions why (based on the assumption that the movie is real) do you the viewer keep watching it. What draws you in to this piece of film that keeps showing people killed and expanding on this line of thinking to the finale. It was surprisingly entertaining but mainly from the way they would make you question watching it, without this it would have been just another generic serial killer flick.
Adventureland is one of the latest entries into the just out of high school going into college comedy genre. Where a man falls in love with a woman he can’t have and somehow ends up with her anyway. I do have to admit I did enjoy seeing Kristen Stewart in a roll that wasn’t Twilight which actually pictured her almost favorably as an actress, granted I can’t truely respect anyone who was in any of those movies at this point. Ok yes I STILL haven’t seen the twilight movies and don’t plan to it’s just the principal that I stand behind. Do remember what I felt would make a good ending for Twilight. Aside from that it wasn’t bad though I can only force myself to approve so many of these movies a year and say I fully enjoyed them and I believe that quota was already filled.
The Hurt Locker won best film at The Venice film Festival and upon watching it you can easily see why. Not a typical “war” movie it delves into the lives of those who disarm bombs for the military and a group of them that work in Iraq on disarming these explosives and how they live, their real life issues, and how they try to make a difference. Honestly- Well worth the watch. I do find it entertaining that the largest start in the movie, Guy Pearce, dies very early on and isn’t thought of as one of the main characters. If you like watching movies that focus on interactions between the characters and focus primarily on that, with a lot of action, set against a war zone in progress you should pick this one up immediately.
Lake Dead was one of the many movies shown in the After Dark Horrorfest series. This one was from the 2007 collection and I have to say while not great was surprisingly entertaining. Well entertaining in a southern hick, cannibal, inbred kind of way. It’s on occasion hard to watch these movies. Between having to work with some people from the south that I can see being part of these movies to the bad dialogue given to these kind of characters I’m pretty sure it’s obvious on why that would be. Lake Dead takes place as three sisters are given a motel from their grandfather that they never knew was alive. Their alcoholic father attempts to sway them from taking up this property but as he has only treated them badly their entire life they of course feel that this is most likely more of the same and proceed to claim their new property but instead find a group of serial killer cannibals who have a love for their family that will not keep them in the best of health.
I’m going to be brutally honest when it comes to Dead Girl- it is one of the most disturbingly fucked up movies that I have seen in a long time. That being said I can’t decide quite a few things on it. I can’t decide if I enjoyed it. I can’t decide if the acting was good. Finally I can’t at all decide if it was a zombie movie. The main premise is that 2 friends, Rickie and JT, while looking for a place to drink in an old mental asylum find a girl that’s dead or apparently so. The thing is she’s still alive. One of the two feel they need to alert the authorities and the other decides in a very twisted necrophiliac fashion to have his way with her. I can’t say much more past this without spoiling the film for anyone who might be interested in seeing this. The only thing that I will say is that you’ll need to be able to deal with a large amount of screwed up scenes for the payoff of the movie. I can’t promise that you will like the movie but I can promise that it will be one of the more original movies that you’ve seen in a long time.
Mulberry Street is another of the After Dark Horrorfest movies that have been released as part of their festival collection. While the zombie epidemic plagues or those that create a post apocalyptic environment of the majority of the population being dead are the most fun- sometimes mutant plagues can provide a good time as well. Manhattan’s rat problem has gotten out of hand when the rats have suddenly both grown in number and have started hunting humans to bite… and infect. The infection has mild symptoms at first of hair growth, nausea, headaches, sickness. This changes though when all who have become infected start to mutate into giant rat-human hybrids who not only eat people but also will spread the infection to those that they don’t kill. The movie follows a father whose daughter has just returned from the war and he is preparing to greet her return with a party. As they are connected they have to fight to survive the ever growing infected populace that is spreading across the island.
On the side I also ended up re-watching Friday the 13th 1-5 which I don’t think that I need to explain the premise of to anyone out there who would watch similar movies as I am. I honestly have no idea how I was able to sit through all of that. (With the original view of seeing the entire series straight! Wow was I fooling myself!) While classic slasher flicks flicks they haven’t aged well and with all sharing the same premise they are hard to continue watching them one after another.. after another.. after.. *twitches* Aside from that Rose had never seen The Incredible Hulk so I made sure to fit that in while she was over. While a greatly underwealming movie to many I found to to be one of the more enjoyable comic movies as of late. Maybe I’m just an Edward Norton fan, maybe I’m suckered in by Marvel having their own studio, all I know is that I liked it. I also slipped in another viewing of American Gangster as Molly had never seen it. Finally I also ended up watching The Mist again. Partial boredom, partial enjoying BJ-C’s writeup of the religious nut in the movie, and partially while staying awake late one night and have to say- I still love the movie.
While I haven’t been keeping up with television as obcessively as I have been I did slightly (not fully) catch up on True Blood. It keeps getting interesting and I love the fact that there is some screen time with some enjoyable vampires (sadly Let The Right One In will not have a sequel. Actually that’s probably for the best.) Damn you Twilight for ruining what once was a good (too acceptable) genre and making it the laughingstock of horror. The other series I started up (only a couple of episodes) was Nurse Jackie which has a very similar feel to House M.D. and I think will be one that I keep up on. I finished rewatching the end of Battlestar Galactica twice now as both Molly and Neil hadn’t finished the series and finally watched the first episode of Californication and think it’ll be ANOTHER damn series to get me hooked. *sighs*
Breathers, A Zombies Lament by S.G. Browne is one of the more entertaining zombie books that have come out in quite awhile. While I have already read the book I had never written on it and having recently won an autographed copy I felt that I should re-read the novel and rectify the lack of any writeup. In a world where zombies are both real and intelligent anything can happen. Not the mindless flesh craving creatures that I love to read about usually these zombies are subclass humans with no social standing and aren’t even flesh eaters, just undead! At least that’s how things are at the start of the novel as Andy, the main character we focus upon, writes (he’s mute) his way into our hearts and finds himself on a journey to both find love, himself, and a standing in society that the undead lack.
I haven’t had a lot of time to really read as of late but apparently the books I have been reading are on my ‘recently won’ list as I also recently won the copy of Midnight Walk that I read. Another autographed copy this one including 13 of the 14 authors of the short stories contained within. While the highlight of the book was clearly “The Measure of a Man” (you can’t blame me being biased on the author sending it to me though you can blame me for being biased towards anything with zombies!) It was the tale of a young man’s coming of age tale in a Zulu tribe in Africa, who are attacked by a slaver ship that appears to have been infected by the undead! My second favorite was actually the last of the tales within, “The Svancara Supper Society” which focused on the future of our planet as starvation kicks in and we look for alternate sources of food. One society has figured out a way to make their own food, and has a unique take on how to enjoy it.
Dead Space has made me want a new science fiction space horror movie to be made. Combining a new interface that has almost 0 menu’s that interfere with the visualization on the screen (and isn’t an extension of your suit) with a plot that instantly hooks horror fans in there was nothing to complain about on this title. You can’t help but be hooked on a horror film that you can play which takes place in space. You play part of a rescue team that has gone to help a facility recover from apparently losing communication. The same facility the main characters girlfriend or wife does research on. You quickly discover that the ship hasn’t lost communication from any malfunction but due to being overrun by a horde of alien creatures who kill anything on site. Your ship is damaged and you now have to attempt to fix the ship in order to be able to return to your planet. Repair the ship AND eliminate the alien menace. There is an animated movie based on this game and it one of the next on my list to see.
Lego Batman, like Lego Star Wars before it, is just a blast to play through. Between following plot lines that are familiar to see, using cute characters, and having to build Lego ‘things’ to complete levels. I haven’t had a chance to beat it yet as I only recently picked it up but I’m nearly half done. How do I know how far done? Well that wold have to do with the fact that there are 3 acts to play through as Batman. Only 3? Well there are ALSO 3 acts to play through as the villains in the game! Each of these acts contain a variety of sub-missions both character and vehicle based. Simple and complex at the same time the Lego gaming universe continues to just be a fun casual series.
…and of course there has been plenty of playing Call of Duty 4. Having broke 100,000 kills I feel that I’ve finally beaten the game. Sadly Modern Warfare 2 isn’t due out until 11/10/09. It needs to come sooner!
BuyZombie Lets Me Score More Free Horror!
I recently ran a mini-article on BuyZombie linking to 3 reviews of a short zombie story. The results of this post? The author of the “The Measure of a Man,” George Willis, sent me a copy of the anthology his short story I wrote about was included in, “Midnight Walk.” Not only is that just cool of George to do in the first place but this particular copy also has 13 of the 14 authors signatures! Score. Now to make sure I do my own review of “The Measure of a Man” for BuyZombie as well. Thank you George!