December 2014


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Siblings (2004)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 6.5/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

This was an interesting Christmas choice! A completely subversive christmas message counter to all the bullshit family movies that are usually forced down our throat this time of year.

This is one you want me to spoil the premise of, beucase you’ve never heard of it, it’s not on Netflix, and you likely will never watch it anyway.  And I think the spoiler is in the actual 1-line IMDB summary.  I.E. You’re supposed to know what happens before going on. So here we go.

This is a movie about 4 siblings whose cool grandfather dies, so they kill their FUCKING ASSHOLE parents. Seriously… Their parents are just awful. Incredibly awful. In every imaginable possible way. They don’t dwell on the awfulness too much: Just enough to establish that each parent is a total piece of shit to at least 2 of the 4 kids.  Most of the movie is focusing on the siblings. Ergo the title.

This is listed as a black comedy, and that is definitely true. It’s mostly not funny — and you don’t really laugh out loud — but the way everything works out is slightly uplifting in a dark, morbid way. Sometimes murder is good.  Sometimes killing your parents is good. Merry Christmas.

You don’t smile much when watching the movie. It’s more of a cringer. But you smile at the end. That’s what counts. While not  THAT spectacular, it holds interest, and celebrates the Christmas spirit. Sort of.

While not our favorite movie, I still sort of think it is a must see for anybody who likes morbid subversion of christmas holidays sprikled with a little murder.

Merry Christmas.

Directed by David Weaver.
Written by Jackie May.

Alex Campbell (2 eps of Goosebumps) as Joe, the older brother.
Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Total Drama, 1 ep of The Dating Guy) as Margaret, the older sister.
Samantha Weinstein as Danielle, the younger sister.
Andrew Chalmers as Pete, the younger brother.
Sarah Polley (Mr. Nobody, eXistenZ, The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, Splice, Dawn Of The Dead, Exotica, Go, 1 ep of Friday The 13th: The Series) as Tabby.
Paul Soles (The Incredible Hulk (2008), Spider-Man in the 1967 Spider-Man series, Bruce Banner in a 1966 Hulk series, also in an Iron Man 1966 series, 3 eps of a Captain American 1966 series) as Grandpa.
Nicholas Campbell (Antiviral, Hank in Naked Lunch, Goon) as Dad.
Sonja Smits (Videodrome) as Mom.
Tom McCamus (Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning, Tangled, 2 eps of Friday The 13th: The Series, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill) as Mr. Phillips.
Aaron Abrams (Simon in Producing Parker, Jesus Henry Christ, YPF (Young People Fucking), Resident Evil 2, 1 ep of The Dating Guy) as Pastor.
Joan Heney (Detroit Rock City) as Agnes.
Martha Burns as Miss Bradford.
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil 4-5, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Jumper, X-Men) as Tom Muster.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401787/combined

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: OMG! Another Gregg Araki movie is finally out! I love almost everything he does! Smiley Face (2007) was a great stoner comedy, and an atypical Araki movie (8/10). Mysterious Skin was an amazing movie, even if it was very painful to watch a plot about child molesters (8/10). Splendor was so refreshing compared to other movies with 3-way relationships (8/10). Even the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy: the movie Nowhere (7/10), The Doom Generation (upgraded to 7/10), and Totally Fucked Up — are extremely unique movies that take you on rollercoaster rides of ridiculous unexpectedness. I unfortunately have not seen his first three films: Three Bewildered People In The Night, The Long Weekend (O’Despair), or The Living End, or his 2000 MTV pilot “This Is How The World Ends”. But I am working on fixing that!

Basically, he is a great filmmaker. He usually writes, directs, edits, and produces his films, so there are not a lot of forces interfering with his creative genius.

The main character, Smith, is played by Thomas Dekker (John Connor in Terminator:The Sarah Connor Chronicles, also in the Honey I Shrunk The Kids TV series, and he was in 1 ep of Caroline And The City [as young Richard], 2 eps of Seinfeld, as well as A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010, and Star Trek:Generations). I’m surprised I did not recognize him since he apparently gets around. His lesbian friend Stella is played by Haley Bennet (Kendall from the movie College).

Her crazy witch girlfriend is Roxane Mesquida. “London” is played by Juno Temple. I knew I’d seen her before – she was in the 2 recent St. Trinian’s movies. Why was her nose-ring so tight in this movie?

The Messiah was played by James Duval (Frank from Donnie Darko, Go, SLC Punk!, Nowhere, Independence Day, The Doom Generation, Totally Fucked Up).

Smith’s mom was played by Kelly Lynch (Dianne from Drugstore Cowboy, 90210, The L Word, Ally McBeal). She reminds me a bit of the mom in the new V series. I kept thinking I’d seen her before, but I’ve only seen her in Drugstore Cowboy, and I watched that so long ago I’m surprised she looks familiar.

And oh, the redhead? Nicole LaLiberte? She was in Dinner For Schmucks, as the bird girl. She’s looks like a beautiful alien to me.

But enough about the people…

PLOT SUMMARY/QUIRKS: The plot was an interesting one. I consider this a thriller, some consider it a black comedy-scifi; this film manages to straddle several genres.

There’s black comedy, blue comedy, sex, drugs, trippiness, murder, cults, witchcraft, conspiracy, creepiness, sexual identity issues, homosexuality, bisexuality, straight people who act gayer than gay people, mystery, and armageddon.

Ian called it “vaguely Lynchian”, and I can see that a bit.

Remember – the movie is called KABOOM. The point is that everything is going to blow up at the end. Feelings of impending apocalypse are pretty much a staple of Gregg Araki movies.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Students who were too busy being horny fail to save the world.

VISUALS: Beautiful cinematography, like most Araki movies. They are full of intense colors, reds and blues, eye colors that are more intense than they ever would be in real life, overly-saturated scenes, “Star Trek purple”. This guy could make moving images that would be beautiful to watch even if there were no story, characters, or plot.

Ian pointed out that “Araki’s great gift is in creating entirely irrational worlds that seem completely reasonable in context”, and I agree completely. The real world doesn’t look like this, people don’t wear those clothes, dorms don’t look that nice — most everything is un-realistic, and yet it all feels very real. Perhaps I just enjoy suspending my disbelief and riding the rollercoaster ride provided by every Gregg Araki movie.

MORALS: Gregg Araki movies don’t really have morals or politics. They are generally kind of nihilistic. I took nothing from this movie other than it was a kick-ass movie.

GOOD STUFF: Everything! From the beautiful cinematography, the unexpected twists and turns of the plot, the hilarious sexual situations and commentary, the generous heaping of sex and nudity, the dreamlike and trippy feel, to the total nihilism experienced by the ending, this is Gregg Araki at his finest. I might be caught up in the excitement of having just seen it, but this may be my favorite Araki movie yet.

BAD STUFF: The page changes dramatically at the 1 hour mark — into an almost horror-esque feel, as the conspiracies that have slowly built up during the movie are gradually revealed. And it changes yet again at the 1:16 mark (a mere ten minutes before it ends), when the movie ends with an action sequence that feels a bit out of place. Some did not like this. Ian did not like this. He felt that it almost seemed like Araki ran out of money, and told everyone that we’d shoot one final scene that wraps everything up.

Being sympathetic to Araki’s uniqueness, I grasped at straws trying to explain why this pace change was actually okay.

While I do always like more of a good thing [make a sequel, make an animated series, put the deleted scenes back in, find a way to generate sequels in my dreams every night, etc, etc], I do think that perhaps he was aiming for having an ever-increasing pace to things.

It starts out slow, tricking you into thinking it’s maybe more about the characters (which has been done a lot; young people fucking). But then the odd things start happening, faster and faster and faster. Perhaps there is something about the feeling of impending doom working better when events start happening too fast to process.

To go with the Kaboom metaphor, it’s really hard to think clearly, and deal with everything happening, when you are holding a lit fuse that is about to blow. As that fuse gets closer to the end, things get crazier and crazier. When a bomb finally blows up, how things blow up is never something that can be truly predicted. So I think the increase of events — including the kind of ridiculous and abrupt ending — kind of work with the metaphor of something about to blow up, then blowing up. Shit gets crazy, then it explodes and falls apart. The rollercoaster ride is over.

Regardless, I can still understand the criticism. It did feel abrupt, and that does often makes me, and other viewers, feel kind of robbed.

But then again, doesn’t Gregg Araki ALWAYS end his movies abruptly?

CONCLUSION: I was already a huge Gregg Araki fan, but this movie has truly cemented him as one of my favorite directors ever. I can’t fit the reasons for why this movie is great into this box, suffice to say that it is a nihilistic ride that is more on the fun side than most of Araki’s movies. However: prepare for an abrupt ending that you may find disappointing.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.7/10 (too low!), Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (it had no prediction for us, for some reason).

RECOMMENDATION: OMG see it! But if you have watched other Gregg Araki movies before, and don’t like them — then he may not be your style. But he has his own style — more than most other filmmakers. And I think that’s what makes him great.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Besides other Gregg Araki movies? This is sometimes compared to The Rules Of Attraction. Truth be told, the characters, situations, and style of The Rules Of Attraction is nothing like this movie. But they are both nihilistic movies full of horny college kids where nothing anybody does truly makes a difference. Of course, that can probably describe a lot of movies…

MOVIE QUOTE: [paraphrased] “Straight guys are gayer than gay guys! They’re so upset that they can’t suck each others’ dicks, that they act queerer than Clay Aiken!”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian B reviewed it here. (I agree with his pro points, but not so much with his anti points.)

OTHER REVIEWS:

(more…)

If you’ve moved to a digital lifestyle, and are an archivist, then you are probably downloading tons of data these days. Everything from music to movies to comics to games to images to software to emulator roms to books to articles.

Sorting stuff manually is stupid. Sort things (take a folder full of crap, and sort it intelligently into subfolders) with a script. Assimilate (move subfolders to correct repositories) with a script.

I’m not going to share my scripts. But here is a great pattern for sorting files into subfolders. I’ll use an example that deals with My Little Pony related files:

set TARGETDIR=MLP
unset /q MASK
gosub addMask "My Little Pony*.*"
gosub addMask "MLP*.*"
gosub addMask "Equestria*.*"
gosub addMask "*Rainbow Dash*"
if "%MASK%" ne "" if not isdir %TARGETDIR% md %TARGETDIR%
if "%MASK%" ne "" mv  %MASK% %TARGETDIR%

This pattern can be copied over for anything. Simply change TARGETDIR to whatever folder you want. And use the addMask function to add wildcards that match those kinds of files.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:addMask [newMask]
	:Don't bother doing anything if no files match:
	if not exist %newMask% goto :addMaskReturn
	:Otherwise, add mask for those files to our mask list:
	if "%MASK%" eq "" goto :Empty_YES
	                  goto :Empty_NO
		:Empty_YES
		    set MASK=%newMask%
		    goto :Empty_DONE
		:Empty_NO
		    set MASK=%MASK%;%newMask%
		:Empty_DONE
:addMaskReturn
return
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Note that all my scripts are meant to be run on JPSoft‘s TakeCommand command-line interpreter (descended from 4NT in the 2000s, which was descended from 4DOS in the late 1990s, which was descended from NDOS, the command.com replacement included in Norton Utilities in the late 1980’s). This would probably work with CMD.EXE or PowerShell, but I haven’t tested those.

Use this pattern to make a giant sortthese.bat that sorts everything everywhere. If you want to get fancy, centralize all the scripts into one script that examines the current path and branches based off of that. (It’s easier to keep backups if everything is in one place.)

Here’s an example of branching based off the location where you invoke a script:

::::: Determine assimilate role:
if "%_CWD"==  "%HD250G:\READY-TO-DELETE"                goto :assimilate_dvd-burned_media
if "%_CWD"==  "%HD250G:\ABOUT-TO-BE-BURNED\DATA\BURNED" goto :assimilate_dvd-burned_data
if "%_CWD"=="%HD2000G5:\ABOUT-TO-BE-BURNED\DATA\BURNED" goto :assimilate_bluray-burned_data
if "%_CWD"==  "%HD256G:\MEDIA\MOVIES"                   goto :assimilate_freshly_watched_movies
if "%_CWD"=="%HD1500G2:\MEDIA\MOVIES"                   goto :assimilate_freshly_watched_movies
if "%_CWD"== "%HD2000G:\MEDIA\MOVIES"                   goto :assimilate_freshly_watched_movies
if "%_CWD"== "%HD1000G:\downloadclient\completed"       goto :assimilate_fresh_downloads

^ That code may be confusing-looking because I never hard-code drive letters. All my harddrives have environment variables which evaluate to the correct letter depending on which computer you are on. Also, %_CWD is TakeCommand’s variable that is the current folder you are in. That does NOT work in CMD.EXE. CMD.EXE uses something else, so this would need some modification (more…)

1 new photos uploaded just now (December 17, 2014 at 09:32PM).

If this post is fresh, take a look at my photostream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/

If this post is old, look at the latest photo from this upload batch here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/16046166082

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: From Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, and Trainspotting. Starring James Franco (Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man movies, Pineapple Express, Camille).

(One of the 2 girls he meets while hiking was in The Grudge 2. The other was a U.S. Marhsal in Iron Man 2, and was in 5 eps of 24 season 5.)

PLOT SUMMARY: Dude gets stuck under a rock in the middle of nowhere. It takes 127 hours before he does something about it. You can probably guess what you have to do to save your life after being stuck under a rock for 127 hours.

(Okay, the pedants out there might point out that 127 hours is actually his description of the entire experience, from when he left, until when it was over, and that he was not actually trapped under the rock for all of those 127 hours.)

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Mother’s poor-quality gift causes man to lose arm.

QUIRKS: Based on the true-life story of Aron Ralston.

VISUALS: They did a good job filming the movie, which mostly takes place in the exact same spot. Flashing between reality, memories, and the main character’s imagination kept things visually interesting. The director also used triptychs a lot, for whatever reason. I liked them. They work well in widescreen. They would not work well in a 4:3 aspect ratio.

It’s NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT overtly gross or traumatic. People fainted watching this movie, but I think that says more about the realistic portrayal of the situation in the movie, than about what is actually seen on the screen.

MORALS: Don’t go out into the wilderness without telling anybody where you are going! DERP!

GOOD STUFF: For a story about a guy sitting under a rock, alone, they actually manage to put in quite a lot of suspense and thrills, and even a twist. Watching him record his video goodbye to his family and friends really adds to the tension. This happened in real life too. Nobody has seen the original video except the people it was meant for, the director, and James Franco.

BAD STUFF: Some wusses fainted. Haha. Wusses.

CONCLUSION: I’ll be redundant and just say that this was a very good film. Most people already know about this so I’m not telling you anything new. read Ian‘s review at http://dcist.com/2010/11/127_hours.php

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10. She liked it more.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.0/10 (same as Clint’s rating), Netflix: 4.1/5 stars (’bout the same as Clint’s rating).

Netflix’s predicted rating for us was also the same as Netflix‘s average rating–4.1/5 stars.

RECOMMENDATION: Great man-vs-nature true-story tale of survival.

SIMILAR MOVIES: I hear Buried is very similar…

MOVIE QUOTE:

Aron Ralston: “You know, I’ve been thinking. Everything is… just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock… this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It’s entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian B gave it an extremely favorable review. My friend Mary O’M actually knew the guy in passing in college…

OTHER REVIEWS: Celebrity comic Brian Posehn put it in his top 7 movies of 2010. Outlaw Vern reviewed it too. (more…)

I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link]

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3.3/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars. IMDB: 7.4/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars, IMDB: 6.7/10.

CLINT’S THOUGHTS: The whole franchise was kind of pretentious. They should have stopped after the last 2 movies. At least this was better than the last one. My rating is a bit weird because I feel I didn’t like the movie as much as how good it was, because I was pissed off about how pretentious it was, how mediocre the 3rd movie was, and how the Hunger Games movies no longer have any hunger games in them. This was basically just a war movie, and a wrap-up of everything they built-up. It was still cool, but…. In a 4 movie franchise, it kind of sucks if you blow your load after the first 2 movies, which is what happened with Hunger Games.

I’d say the first 2 Hunger Games movies were an awesome mix of survival battles (i.e. Battle Royale), dystopian politics (becoming more and more relevant each year), sci-fi gimmickery (Battle Royale did not have this technology), and post-modern management of public perception (i.e. Wag The Dog). But the 3rd movie seemed to mostly be whining about public perception and dystopian politics — where was the cool battles, the acutal Hunger Games? It was almost like a big fashion show. The 4th movie is similarly missing aspects of the first 2, except in the opposite direction: It just feels like a war movie with a lot of random battles (that aren’t hunger games), with unnecessary new plot elements introduced to stretch it out into yet another movie. When I read the IMDB plot summary, it read better than what I experienced while watching it, so maybe I drank a bit too much and that made me enjoy the movie less than I could have. But I was kind of disappointed.

It was at least better than Hunger Games 3, but that’s not saying much. Hunger Games 3 was one of our least favorite movies out of the entire year we watched it in.

CAROLYN’S THOUGHTS: I barely even remember 3, and we had to reread the plot as a refresher. This movie didn’t redeem the franchise much, but it was better than the last one. These movies were more entertaining when they were about the actual Hunger Games.

PEOPLE:

Directed by Francis Lawrence (Hunger Games 2-4, I Am Legend).
Written by Peter Craig (Hunger Games 3) and Danny Strong (Hunger Games 3).

Based on the book by Suzanne Collins. (more…)

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