Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sorry, my heart just wasn't in this one.

In the summer of 93 a movie came out. A movie about dinosaurs. A movie about dinosaurs with effects that would rival anything that had come before it. That movie went on to become of the most most talked about movies of the year, and quite possibly one of the greatest movies ever made. That movie was NOT Carnosaur.

No, not by a long shot.

While Laura Dern was working with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neil on Jurassic Park, her mother, Diane Ladd, was slumming it in this attempt to cash in with the likes of that one guy who went on to do a few episodes of Voyager and that chick who was in Charles in Charge.

For those of you unaware of the 'story' in this nearly 15 year old movie, it goes something like this: Mad scientist genetically modifies chickens to resurrect dinosaurs in the hope of wiping out mankind. Meanwhile, the night watchman falls for a hippy and tries to stop the mad scientist. In the end, everyone dies.

Yeah, it's actually a little less straightforward than all that, but you get the idea. Actually, that might be the movie's biggest problem...the plot. It was far more complicated than it needed to be. A simple monster on the loose story would have sufficed. Instead, there's at least a half dozen underdeveloped subplots.

It would have been much simpler to make a movie in which Doc and Thrush come together to thwart the Evil Scientist and her army of dinosaurs. Hell, I'd watch that. Instead, we're treated to an hour and a half of unexplained captions, characters doing things for no reason, and, hell, characters who EXIST for no reason. The sheriff ads nothing to the plot. Why bother with him? Why spend so much time with him?

Wait, I've got it. The whole thing should have been about the scientist breeding dino DNA into the chickens to increase their size, and therefore increase the amount of meat. That would have been much simpler than the whole 'evil lady wants to destroy the world by creating dinosaurs' thing. Hmm...someone SHOULD make that movie, actually. It's got sci-fi original written all over it.

I really have no interest in rating this one. If I did, I'd give it 4 something somethings out of 10.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Crossing the Uncanny Valley River

Over the weekend I watched Beowulf. That's all.

That's just not going to cut it, is it? Hmm...damn, too bad.

Ok, let's try a different approach.

Beowulf is the kind of movie


Oh! I know!

The CGI/motion capture look of Bobby Z's Beowulf, that's no good at all.

Beowulf was an ok movie that was a little weird to watch. It was just a little too uncanny valley for me. It would have been a lot better, to me, if they'd used people on a blue screen and put them in a mostly CG world. You know, like Revenge of the Sith or those other movies where they did that sort of thing...

The story itself was kinda interesting though. And Grendel looked pretty great. Overall though, it was an 'ok' movie.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monster Movie Poster Mondays

Godzilla 2000 might actually have been the first Godzilla movie I ever saw in it's entirety. Sure, I had caught a few on tv, but never the whole movie and, I mean, it's tv, you flip though the channels.

Godzilla 2000 also started a run of watching Godzilla movies every Friday for a couple of months at my friend's house. It also started one of our favorite games when watching foreign movies. We'll look at a movie and try to re-cast it using American actors. It's one of the best games we ever invented. It's up there with 'Pullman or Paxton' and 'Name 5'.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Great Zombie Debate: Running vs Walking and why it doesn't matter

There's an ongoing debate among zombie fans, are they better represented by the slow moving zombie packs that have historically been the bread and butter of the genre, or is it not scarier to face the all out unrelenting horror of a creature that can outrun but not out think you?

When I think of zombies, one of the first thoughts to enter I mind in the slow, shambling mass of the recently dead. They're slow, sure, but they keep coming. You can stop one, but more will come after you. They don't have to be fast to be effective. They just keep coming. How can you outrun a creature that doesn't need to stop to rest or to eat or to drink or to shit? They just keep chasing you. Keep running, they'll be right behind you with a determination that more than makes up for their speed.

On the other hand, movies like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil and their sequels, as well as the Dawn of the Dead remake have helped to popularize the fast moving zombie. A creature of blind rage and hunger, it's only driving force is more food. And, as this is the case, it will stop at nothing to get to it's next meal. Running though glass and fire means nothing to it. It's a creature of pure hunger and adrenaline. It feels no pain and has no interest in hobbies or colorful lights. It can outrun you if you make the slightest mistake. Your only advantage is the ability to out think the creature.

Now, it's long been thought that zombies are a critique of our society. We, as in Western 'culture' are the undead. Conformists with a herd mentality. Zombies are the ultimate consumers. All they do is 'use up' what they have and go get more. They don't plan ahead. They don't save for a rainy day. All they do is consume, consume, consume. They ravage they're environment in a never ending quest to to fulfill a hunger that just never ends. They are us, and we are them. We are the zombies with our SUVs, our throw-away electronics, our credit cards and our take out. If the zombies have always been a thinly veiled criticism of us, is it any wonder that the new breed of zombie movies has upped the ante to include zombies that move faster?

In an age when Google can return untold amounts of information in less than a second and companies can be bought and sold in a day, is it any wonder that zombie have had to adapt to catch up? Life takes Visa, and any attempt to slow things down is met with derision by those behind you in line. No, it was imperative that zombies move faster lest they be brushed aside on the way to the mall. Slow zombies became the old man in the powder blue Buick with the Florida license plate doing ten under in the left lane.

We needed a zombie that could envelope our own fear of being overwhelmed by our own culture. Life moves too fast for most of us. Email, cell phones, the internet, 1000+ channel HD cable/satellite packages. It's overwhelming and the modern 'fast' zombie seeks to epitomize that. Suddenly the fear isn't of city life coming to the farthest reaches of rural American and devouring the life we once lived, no. No, the fear is that the speed at which we have to live to get by in modern society is going to overwhelm us.

What say you? Fast or slow? Why? Defend your position.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm not sure why, but I expected better

Look, contrary to what you may have been told, I'm no idiot. When I put in a movie like Monster, I typically know what I'm getting myself into. Bad acting, bad effects, nonsensical plot, etc. I know not to expect to be mentally fulfilled by movies like these.

Still, it's not many movies that can leave me with my jaw dropped in awe of just how bad it is.

Monster is the 'story' (I use the quotes because it's presented as Blair Witch style fact) of two girls who travel to Tokyo to make a documentary about global warming. During their interviews something happens. At first, everyone thinks it's an earthquake, but no, soon they discover that it's something more ALIVE. It turns out that it's some sort of giant tentacled beast. I say 'some sort' because you never get a clear shot of the creature, just some flailing arms.

In other words, we're supposed to believe that two documentarians would debate amongst themselves how big a story this is and then, every time the monster was nearby, they would only use the video to get shots of each other, not the titular monster. Fine. I'll but that, I guess.

Actually, that's not even that big of a problem to me. I'll be the first to admit that the imagination is scarier than anything that can be put onto a tv screen. No, my biggest complaint is with the editing. And, according to the credits, that means I'm choosing to blame David Michael Latt for this debacle. It's meant to be the 'raw footage' from the event, but it just feels...not raw but boring. If this had been a real event, there would have been much more interesting events on the tapes. For example, over the credits they play these little 'man on the street' type interviews. Where were these during the movie? They were by far more interesting than anything uttered by our main characters. Large gaps in the film, as shown by blank screens, just kept taking you out of the movie. And, I still want to know what kind of camera they had to shoot this thing because it had to have been the cheapest piece of junk they could find.

I can deal with a movie that's bad. I can deal with a movie that has no budget. I can deal with a movie that is a little light on story. I can't deal with a movie that's boring though. And Monster for all it's craptasticly cheesy promise was BORING. I'm not going to blame the duo of Sarah Lynch and Erin Sullivan, I think they did okay with what little they had to work with. Hell, considering the budget, even the effects were ok. No, like I said, this falls squarely on David Michael Latt and director Erik Estenberg. Tighten the editing up a bit, get rid of some of the 'failing camera' gimicks and Monster would make for an almost enjoyable bad movie.

Someday, I will have to give a movie a 1, but not today. Monster gets 3 video cameras that they could have looted while wondering around an abandoned Tokyo that would have been a vast improvement over the one they started with out of 10.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monster Movie Poster Mondays

I skipped last weeks monster movie poster because of the Film Club post. Not this week though. Lets see what I have on my hard drive now...

Ah, there we go. Gigantis, The Fire Monster. Gigantis was the title of the U.S. release of Godzilla Raids Again, the second Godzilla movie. This also marked the first time that Godzilla fought against another monster AND the first appearance of the giant, spiny armadillo Anguirus. Why was the title changed? From Wikipedia:

For a long time, this change in name was thought to be because Warner did not have the rights to "Godzilla". However, Edward L. Schreibman, the producer of the American version, has said that he changed Godzilla's name to "Gigantis" to give the audience the impression that they were seeing a new monster. He has since regretted that decision.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cowboys and Dinosaurs: A tribute to The Valley of Gwangi

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A new trailer for you

It seems as though I'm always a bit behind the curve. By the time I'm putting a trailer up, it's usually been floating around for days and it's not really new and exciting anymore. The new trailer smell has worn off, so to speak.

Of course, that doesn't stop me, does it?

Hell no!

So, there you have it. The trailer for Neil Marshall's new movie, Doomsday. Neil Marshall, of course, the director of both Dog Soldiers and The Descent. Both were excellent movies, so I can't help but be excited about Doomsday...there's a sentence I never thought I'd say.

Happy Birthday 7 Dollar Popcorn!

January 10th marked the 2nd birthday of 7 Dollar Popcorn, do you know what that means? It means that, once again, I completely forgot about it. I had such lofty plans, too.

There'd be a cake.

And all of our friends would be there...

It would have been so much fun! We'd play pin the tail on the donkey. Watch some movies of course. It would have been great! But, of course, eventually the cake would run out...

Maybe not having a party was the right idea. Oh well, maybe next year!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Great Movie Gadgets Part 2: Attack of the Sabretooth

All I know is that I want my file transfers to look like this.

Some weird little girl throwing files into a folder. Is that some custom Linux file transfer? That doesn't looks like anything I've seen in Ubuntu...

Monday, January 14, 2008

FGFC: Did she have to crush the bat?

It's no secret that taste is subjective. As they say, one man's garbage is another man's treasure. So it is too with movies. One man's favorite giant monster movie is another man's low budget, unwatchable exercise in futility. And, one movie fan's masterpiece is another ploddingly slow waste of two hours.

I'm not here to say that this month's Final Girl Film Club choice was 'a ploddingly slow waste of two hours'. No, not at all. In fact, speaking only as a fan of cinema, Suspiria is quite a good movie. It is not, however, my kind of movie.

Suspiria is, at it's heart, a fairy tale. Like Snow White, Suzy is on a quest to lose her innocence. No, not that innocence, the other kind. You know, the naivety about the world and how it works. And in much the same way that Snow White had to defeat her evil stepmother, who is herself something of a witch. And, in much the same way, Suzy must face off against the evil headmistress of her dance academy, who is also a witch.

Suzy lands in Germany and, upon passing through the doors of the airport, is hit with a gust of wind as though to show that she has been swept away into a new world. So, maybe this is more like Oz, and the headmistress is the Wicked Witch of the West.

Suzy finds herself in a world of captivating and dizzying color. Color permeates everything in a nightmarishly dreamlike way. So, maybe it's more like Alice falling through the rabbit hole.

I could sit here and do this all day and never pin it down. No, Suspiria is it's own story. While it draws, thematically, from other fairy tales, it is doing a disservice to the film and it's makers to write it off as simply a rehash of the familiar stories that came before it. The story is simple enough. Suzy must leave home to join a dance academy. She arrives the same night that another student is murdered. And, though she doesn't know it, Suzy must stop those responsible before they can do the same to her.

Also, she must speak with Udo Kier.

The first thing that the viewer notices is the over abundance of color. Every frame is so saturated by colors as to become unreal. It fixates the eye upon the screen and leaves the mind a bit uneased. It gives every things a fantastical feeling. Dreamlike. Nightmarish. It's too much, in a way, for the mind to take in. It becomes almost haunting in it's beauty.

Just like Udo Kier.
The framing and composition of each shot is amazing as well. Every shot looks like a masterpiece. Faces and bodies placed in perfect compliment or contrast to the scenery around them. At one point, after speaking with Udo Kier, Suzy has a chat with an authority on witchcraft. The scene is shown, partially, in a reflection in the glass behind them. In the reflection you see two of each character as if to imply that a choice needs to be made. A fork in the road. To believe in the fantastic story of witchcraft, or to stay in the rational world where that sort of thing can't exist. The next shot is the professor's head, shown at an upward angle against a blue sky. The upward angle tells us, off hand, of his position of authority. Suzy believes what he is saying. That his head is juxtaposed against the blue sky tells us that his head is in the clouds. Therefore, without being told so explicitly, we know that Suzy has made the choice to believe the professor's story about witches and covens.

I think that, as a fan of the cinematic art, it is hard to find fault with Suspiria. From a taste standpoint, however, it is much easier. This is where we get back to the subjectivity of taste. While I can't say that Suspiria was bad, or even unenjoyable, it certainly was not something I would seek out to watch on my own. The deaths were drawn out in a way as to border on annoying (not annoying like your little brother, just, I don't know...cringe-worthy. It was just over done, and from my understanding of Italian horror, this was probably quite tame. Let's just say I don't need gruesomeness and gore to be scared. What's implied is scarier than what's seen...) and there were large chunks of the movie where absolutely nothing was happening other than the images looking nice on the screen. That's why I do the FGFC posts though, isn't it? To watch things I wouldn't normally watch? Movies like The Initiation or The Hand?

Hmm...maybe that's what was missing for me...a 'the' in the title. Regardless, the cinematic art fan in my gives Suspiria a 9, the rest of me however gives it 7 nooses around the neck of dead dancers as they're dropped through a glass ceiling out of 10.

NOTE: Yes, I know. This marks the first (and thus far) only time a movie has received 2 scores. Marvel at the ambiguity....and Udo Kier.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Analyzing Star Wars: Boba Fett

Can someone please explain to me the love affair with Boba Fett? What is it about him that makes so many Star Wars fans cream their pants over him?

Boba Fett plays a minor role in The Empire Strikes Back. It's a pivotal role, no doubt. He is the one who manages to follow Han Solo. What did he really do though? He didn't out think Solo. He didn't capture Solo. All he did was tell Vader where to find him.

If Fett is such a bad ass, why did he need Vader's help to capture Solo? And don't tell me he didn't need Vader. If Fett had been able to capture Solo on his own, he wouldn't have bothered working for the Empire. He would have taken Solo to Jabba the Hutt in the first fucking place. No, Fett was just another pansy ass servant. Just like Vader was subservient to Emperor Palpatine, Boba Fett bowed to Vader.

Fett has 3 whole lines in Empire. In all of them, you see that he knows his place. Never does he argue with Vader. He either submits outright or raises an objection only to be placated by Vader.
Darth Vader: There will be a substantial reward for the one who finds the Millennium Falcon. You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. No disintegrations.
Boba Fett: As you wish.

Darth Vader: You may take Captain Solo to Jabba the Hutt after I have Skywalker.
Boba Fett: He's no good to me dead.
Darth Vader: He will not be permanently damaged.

Boba Fett: What if he doesn't survive? He's worth a lot to me.
Darth Vader: The Empire will compensate you, if he dies. Put him in.
You can almost hear Vader rolling his eyes every time Fett bothers to speak. But, he does end up with Solo in his clutches, flying his ship to Tatooine to make his delivery to Jabba (who refused to tip because Solo was cold! HAHAHAAHA!! Get it? He was FROZEN in carbonite!). So, again, I will admit that Fett was important to the story of Empire. I'm not debating that. I want to know why so many seem to adore him.

Lets look at his role in Return of the Jedi. Here we see Fett has not only delivered Solo, he's also decided to stick around for a while. Obviously this implies that Fett is unemployed. Truly, a sad state of affairs, but who wants to trust a bounty hunter who kow tows to the Empire? You hire Fett only to find that suddenly the Empire is all up in your shit. Not cool. So, the unemployed Fett hangs out on Tatooine long enough to see some bounty hunter he's never heard of bring in Chewbacca. This has to be, initially, quite insulting. Sure, he brought in Solo, but he failed to get the Wookie.

And if that weren't embarrassing enough...a blind man knocked him into the mouth of the sarlaac. Boba Fett died in the stomach of a stationary creature. And to those of you who would argue that 'he survives in the books' I say 'Fuck you and your dumb ass books'. The Emperor cloned himself in the books too. Big fucking deal. No, we'll stick with what happened in the movies, thank you very much. George Lucas has made enough changes to these movies over the years that I think we can assume that if Fett had survived, it's be in the movie. Fett's dead. He died, screaming like a little girl, as he fell into a hole in the sand.

But, that's okay, you hold onto your little anti-hero worship. Just know this...everything Lucas did to emasculate Vader in Episode 1, he did to Fett in Episode II. I know, you'd rather forget the why little brat crying with his dad's head in his hands. All he could do is cheer his father on from the sidelines. Sure, maybe he could pilot a ship (so long as he didn't have to worry about any gas/brake/clutch pedals). So what though? So could Anakin at that age, and Anakin stopped destroyed an entire droid army as a result.

And think about this, do you think that Lucas would bother with action figures for all the no-name background character if Boba Fett figures hadn't flown off the shelves? No. Of course not. The nerds made a minor character popular and have paid the price for that for 30 years. Way to go nerds. Serves you right.

Just keep throwing your money away on merchandise for a bounty hunter who doesn't even deserve it. Me? I'll stick with the real badass...IG-88.

Because nothing says badass like a killer robot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Attack of the Terrible Graphics

Let's let it be known first that I LIKED Attack of the Sabretooth. It was no Octopus 2 or Raging Sharks, but it was a fun movie to watch. I'm not here to review it though. I don't care about that right now. What I want is to take a look at some of the effects. In fact, I want to take a look at the CGI overall.

For the most part, it was really well done. This was a very low budget film that still managed to produce a CGI sabretooth that looked good.

The eyes look a little lifeless, but overall, it's a damn good looking CGI creature. The sabretooths did look good. There's no denying that. However, the issue is with the sequence at the end.

This is the 'statue' atop the building. Notice that the graphics look like something out of an original Playstation game. looks even better in the same shot as a person. I've seen animatics that looked better. In fact, that's what this looks like to me. It looks like a rough idea of what it was going to look like that never got finished. It's inexcusable after how good the sabretooths looked for them to have something this blatantly bad in the movie.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Quick Reviews of Bad Movies: It's Back.

Sometimes, you have to learn from the lessons of your past. Fire is hot. Ice is cold. Water is wet. And sometimes, you should just jump ahead to the sequel.

Spiders wasn't the worst movie I'd ever seen. I just can't help but think that Spiders 2: Breeding Ground would have been better.

My advise, pop Spiders in your DVD player and just watch the last 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What was that? That was the sound of awesome.

Have you ever watched a movie and thought to yourself 'Wow. That was fucking sweet. You know who would love that? No one I know.'? That's the thought that Shoot 'Em Up left me with.

It's essentially every possible action cliche, thrown into a blender and poured onto the screen. Plot? Who cares. Guns? Tons of them. Crazy technology? Sure, on the guns. Hero with a mysterious past? Yuppers. Hooker with a heart of gold? You know it.

At the center of the 'story' is a baby, a murdered mother and a man with a love of carrots. Clive Owen is that man. And, really, if you told me that it was nothing more than Clive Owen stirring soup for an hour and a half, I would have watched this movie. I've liked everything I've seen him in. I'll go on record here and say that Clive Owen is one hell of a good actor.

It's a bizarre sort of movie, the kind that is difficult to describe. Like I said, the plot isn't really a concern, and as such, the story kind of takes the back burner to concentrate on the action sequences. What bit of the story they do concentrate on is pretty far fetched, dealing with gun control, baby farms for bone marrow transplants and political intrigue.

Shoot 'Em Up is not The Bourne Identity (or any of the others for that matter). It never feels like it takes itself very seriously. Maybe that's why it worked for me. I can see why people wouldn't like this one. It's not a movie that would appeal to your averave middle-American WalMart soccer mom. It's a tough pill to swallow. It's the kind of movie that is probably helped by drinking a couple of beers first. And, you know, that's ok. 8 babies in bullet proof vests with a sock on their heads out of 10.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Monster Movie Poster Mondays

We return to your regularly scheduled poster this week after a short hiatus brought upon by holidays and laziness. Yay for holidays! Yay for being lazy!

Oh Gamera, you giant turtle you. Destroyer of cities, Guardian of the Universe. A giant turtle who is even loved by the likes of Roger Ebert! You know you're fighting the good fight when Roger Ebert is on your side!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Movies I'd Like To See

Here's the thing, I'm a man of ideas, not a man of action. I tend to have all of these great ideas, either for new movies or just how to fix the ones I see. Today, I had an idea for a movie. Most likely a SciFi Original.

The story would take place in some African country like Kenya or the Congo. A medical research facility is working on a cure for a very dangerous strain of the flu virus. Maybe we keep it somewhat relevant by calling it bird flu or something. That's still somewhat topical, right? Whatever, it doesn't matter.

Regardless, something happens at the facility. The scientists turn on each other, local militants invade the facility, something. And, in the process, the virus they've been working on is let loose and infects a rhinoceros.

Meanwhile, a group of college kids decide to spend their spring break in Africa on a safari of sorts. One of those package deals where you stay at a resort and they take you out in a jeep to see wildlife. The college kids would be a mixture of a few kind of nerdy kids who are interested in the science aspect of it all (biology/zoology students) and some rich, good looking kids who are there because 'everyone goes to _____ for spring break!" and they think that they're better than that. At least one of this group will be an attractive woman who's parents sent her thinking it would be an educational thing. Most likely, she will be the type who, while being a part of the rich/popular clique, is more interested in hanging out with the 'nerds',

The virus that the rhino contracts turns it mad, and it starts to kill lions and tigers. So, all the kids see on their trips into the widerness are dead animals. The rhino keeps getting closer and closer to the resort until it attacks. It's then up to our college kids to be eaten by the killer rhino and stop it!

Mmmm! Tasty entrails!

The movie will be called Rhino Virus.

Someone get Boaz Davidson on the phone!

Friday, January 04, 2008

It was missing suspense...

Did I ever tell you about my trip to Alaska? I don't think I did. It was last February, in the middle of the FILMuary marathon. I visited a small town called Chevak and the city of Fairbanks (and even ate at the northern most Denny's in the world (the sign said so)). Of course, none of this compares to Alaska's northernmost city, Barrow.

Aside from being at the top of the world, Barrow is also the setting for 30 Days of Night. The city at the top of the world is at the top of the list for vampire travel agents. You see, it's night time...for 30 days. Kinda. Really it's just a very small amount of light every day, but that isn't as intriguing. No. 30 days of complete darkness, now THAT'S a story element.

So, the vampires decided that this year, they would attack Barrow. Why now? After all these years? I don't know. I guess that they just never got around to it. They're real busy, you know. What with their BlackBerries and iPhones and PDAs and all that other stuff that vampires have. I guess it's tough to get up that way. Especially when you can only travel at night!

Aside from it's setting, it's a pretty generic vampire attack movie. The vampires terrorize the town and it's up to our sheriff to save the day (and his marriage) with the help of a plucky assortment of locals.

The movie, however, fails to ever build any suspense. The vampires lay siege to the town for 30 days, but you really don't get a sense of time. The whole thing feels like it takes a night or two. You never get a real sense of the hell that would be hiding for a month. I think THAT would have been a much more interesting story.

It was entertaining enough, it was just lacking suspense. And that's a pretty vital ingredient for a horror movie. It's like making a cake without flour. Yeah, it might turn out ok, but it just doesn't feel right...

6 people walking down the street so that the vampires can lure you out of hiding out of 10.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I missed Cortman

I Am Legend is the third attempt at turning Richard Matheson's story into a film. The first was with Vincent Price in 1964's The Last Man on Earth followed by Chuck Heston as The Omega Man in 1971.

I haven't seen either of those. I can, however, say that Will Smith's performance in I Am Legend is slightly better than, well, anything else I've seen him do lately. There were fewer of those goofy one-liners that he seems to favor. There was the obligatory 'Will Smith working out' scene, but it was short.

The story itself centers around a cure for cancer that goes wrong and turns 99 point something percent of the population into vampire like creatures. Robert Neville apparently played some role in creating this 'cure' and is now one of the few people immune to it. Manhattan has become sort of a 12 Monkeys-esque wasteland filled with lions and deer. Neville is accompanied only be his dog, Sam. The two of them have spent 3 years on the island trying to survive and find a cure.

I liked I Am Legend a first. It's a movie that brings you in and you find yourself involved in Neville's life. However, a while later now, I find that I like it less. There are gaping holes in the story that, at first, seem ok, things make sense. The more you think about the movie though, the more you start to see past the veneer. You start to ask questions, not the least of which is 'how?', how did he manage to survive on his own for three years? What happened as more and more people 'turned'? How did none of them know he was there?

I'm not the type that will fault a movie for straying too far from the source material. Let me tell you though that it strays pretty far from the source material. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The film has it's own identity though. The book's ending is rather bleak. It's not a Hollywood ending by any means. In the film, we are presented with a slightly more optimistic ending. An ending that, however, removes all context from those titular words 'I AM LEGEND'. And, while I understand that the ending had to be changed, I will forever regret that it was the case.

It wasn't a bad movie. It was, in fact, very enjoyable. It just wasn't a great movie. It was good, and felt great when I watched it, but officially will live in the realm of 'good'. 7 snares to trap you so that a pack of infected dogs can bet let loose to attack you out of 10.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Welcome to 2008

Sorry about the break, but, well, the holidays were a bit hectic and I just didn't get around to writing anything. I had...other things to do. Like play Dead Rising. Or Mass Effect. Or Gears of War. Or Assassin's Creed. On my new Xbox 360.

Yeah, I'm back in the realm of playing video games. And, as we've seen in the past, I'm easily distracted by them. And rightly so. I mean, they're so shiny.

And, holy shit, Assassin's Creed? Fucking hell dude. It's pretty goddamn sweet. Seriously, check this out...

Yeah. It's every bit as cool as that. There are 9 missions that you have to go on. 9 people you have to kill (and a bunch more that you can kill if you want to). You think, 9 missions? That seems kind of short. And, well, it probably could be. Except, the missions aren't all that easy. You have to gather information on your target by eavesdropping and pick pocketing. You may need to rough some people up for information. Others will trade information for Once you have all the information you need, you can go to the Assassin's Bureau to get the marker (aka permission) to complete your mission. Now you have to go find and kill your target. The whole thing can be made easier by climbing towers to reveal more of your map. When you know more about an area, your map will guide you to your targets.

It's a sweet game that I can't help but recommend to anyone willing to listen to me.

We'll get back to movies soon enough. But for now, understand that I have a mission to accomplish.