Browsing the archives for the Visual category

Mega Man Fan Movie

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Culture, Visual

I don’t think I can embed this player, but check out this link anyway.

http://ningin.com/mediastream/item:show/2008/11/21/megaman-movie-official-trailer/

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We Interrupt This Non-Broadcast…

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Culture, Music, Politics, Visual

Many moons ago I posted this video called Flying at Tree Level.

It’s a stunt/trick video showing some of the insane movement tactics in UT2004. The other day while checking my email I got a friendly message from the YouTube Police telling me that this video had been removed for violating copyright.

Now, as it turns out, YouTube hasn’t totally removed the video, they’ve simply muted the audio. Fine, at least they’re not totally annihilating volumes of original work just because they include something that may be copyrighted*.

*Although, the distinction must be made that these works themselves have copyright, what they don’t have is deep pockets and teams of lawyers to aggressively antagonize hundreds of millions of people.

So, anyway I went back and took a look at this so called copyright violation. Apparently the audio on this video was pulled because it contains a whole 40 seconds of the song “I Believe I Can Fly” by Space Jam. What a crock. Bitterly ironic that it gets pulled for containing only the main chorus of a song by a band who only ever made one popular song…

Update: Related Reddit thread.

Decision Time

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Culture, Personal, Visual

How long ago now was it that I swore off Battlestar Galactica? It’s certainly taken them long enough to get back on the air with new episodes.

So, now I’ve got to decide whether I’m actually going to bother with Battlestar Galactica again. Sure, it was a great show — During the first season. But past the halfway mark of season 2 it really lost its way. The end of seasons 2 and 3 were particularly absurd.

Ronald Moore has said that the writers’ strike gave them time to reconsider their story arcs for the new season. That’s heartening news, since the failings of the show were in the inexplicable actions of characters, absurd twists and retroactive storytelling that undermined its good qualities. Even so, I think I’m going to take a pass on the season premiere tonight until some more information has leaked out. If the word on the street, as it were, is overwhelmingly positive, I may just give it another chance.

Sunshine

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Culture, Visual

Sunshine1

After reading and hearing a bit about this movie, I finally decided it was time to check it out this weekend.

The film has been talked up as one of the better Science Fiction movies in recent memory, so I came to it with rather high expectations. Perhaps that was a mistake, because when I think of films like 2001, Solaris, Stalker, and so on, it’s almost setting myself up to be disappointed.

The first two-thirds of this movie were good. Unfortunately, you can tell that a lot of it is quite derivative. But the film is knowingly an homage to a variety of other movies and sources, so that isn’t a fatal flaw. We have a commanding officer, Kaneda, most likely a reference to the Kaneda character in the Akira manga. We’ve got a seemingly esoteric psychologist named Searle, possibly named after the philosopher, visuals that are highly reminiscent of 2001, and the list goes on.

The fault I found with this film is in not going anywhere. Here we have an epic plot, the death of our Sun, tied in with human struggles and some thought provoking ideas. But it doesn’t go anywhere thematically. It’s inconsistent, and even though everything we see might make narrative sense, there’s no closure, nor even a thought-provoking open-endedness. Instead what we’re left with is a jumble of pieces that could have made something amazing, but instead merely make something passable.

Spoilers.

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Top Ten Horror Movies

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Culture, Personal, Visual

In the spirit of the season, a list of my top 10* horror movies.

10. The Mothman Prophecies – Slow build up, but a very creepy film. Has stuck with me more than a legion of gorier, cheesier films.
9. Hellraiser – The endless sequels haven’t done this series much good, but the original retains the paranoid escape mentality and the strange vision of what lies beyond good and evil.
8. Jeepers Creepers – The sequel ruined the original, but alone it’s done with restraint and effectiveness that hits close to home.
7. Phantasm 4: Oblivion – I saw this movie a long time ago and without seeing the prequels, yet it sticks with me to this day.
6. Cube – See here.
5. Final Destination – Beats out Cube for hitting closer to home on my fear scale. Flashbacks to this movie when getting on a plane are inevitable.
4. Ringu 2 – I debated whether I enjoyed the original more than the sequel here, but I’m going with the sequel for the way it expands beyond the first film.
3. Alien – Claustrophobic paranoia while being stalked by the universe’s most deadly being, and your life is being treated like an expendable asset by a faceless corporation? Yes.
2. Poltergeist – Beats out Alien on the close to home factor. A movie that turned trees outside of windows, static on TV, and innumerable other household sights into fearful things.
1. The Thing – These things are always fungible, but The Thing hits all the right spots for me. A tight focus and a driving paranoia. The ending is what really nails it for me.

*For the moment, may be subject to revision without notice.

It’s Never Scary on TV

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Culture, Visual

As Halloween rolls around, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the usual glut of horror movies on Television to catch up on things I’ve never seen before.

I just got done watching Halloween: H20: Twenty Years Later. The movie was alright, but what really struck me was how irritating it was watching it from a television station. Fortunately, I don’t even bother watching any television shows “live” anymore, and so therefore can skip the commercials. But even with the ability to skip through the commercials really quickly, I’m feeling particularly irritated with watching these things off of television at all.

Typical scenario: Mike Myers is seen walking down a corridor with a knife in his hand. The Halloween suspense theme is playing. Then, in the bottom of the screen, a row of symbols flashes by and coalesces into the television network’s symbol.

Great, any sense of tension was just blown. This happened constantly as I was watching the movie. If it wasn’t the network label appearing in the corner, it was an ad for another show on the network. There must have been at least three other shows being advertised during this horror movie, one of them a comedy and another a romantic comedy, total mood killers for the ambiance of a horror film. Do I care about these shows? No. And even if I did, I wouldn’t want that cluttering up and distracting me from something I’m already watching.

It seems like the network people want to discourage anyone from watching anything on their networks at all. If it really bugs me, it wouldn’t be hard at all to simply move entirely to watching everything on DVD. The only real benefit to TV at all is the serendipitous finding of something you might want to watch, but couldn’t remember you wanted to watch. Amazingly enough, I can browse throw a station’s offerings via the local TV guide or the streamed-in content guide, I don’t need to have ads plastered on top of my shows to know when something else is playing.

Yeah, I guess that deafening silence means I should just forget the crazy idea of television stations caring about my viewing experience at all.

Cube^3

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Culture, Visual

Cube2

As October’s been passing along I’ve been trying to catch up a bit on some of my backlog of horror movies. Cube and its two sequels were movies that I’d heard of before via friends, but never seen. Last weekend they popped into my mind for whatever reason, and I ended up picking up the trilogy to watch.

For the time being I’m going to limit my discussion to the first film. I’ll get to the sequels later. The concept of the movie is pretty simple: People are stuck in a cube, which is comprised of smaller cubes. In fact, the concept seems so sketchy that I was worried if the movie was going to be able to carry itself. Thankfully, it did so really well. The movie paces its revelations well enough that, even though you think there’s nothing further to unfold, there is. It works out well and keeps what could be a kind of tedious exercise, a group of people crawling through identical cubic rooms, interesting until the very end.

Although Cube is a horror movie, it’s not a slasher flick or the torture porn that passes for horror these days. Cube actually reminds me of what I thought of when I first heard the concept for Saw — “A serial killer who puts people in situations where they kill themselves,” ingenious, I thought. Sadly, Saw didn’t live up to my high hopes, but Cube is in the vein I was hoping for, a cerebral sort of horror.

Cube1

Here’s where the spoilers begin. I’ll probably also be making comparisons to the sequels, so fair warning.

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Last of the Time Lords

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Culture, Politics, Visual

About a week ago, after watching the second part of a three part finale to the third season of Doctor Who, I got to thinking about the show. For awhile, meaning for most of the first season and about half of season 2, I was a big fan of Battlestar Galactica. My feelings on the series soured after a particularly bad second half of season 2, and a generally pretty mediocre season 3, with a spectacularly bad season 3 finale.

Some spoilers behind the cut.

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End of Andromeda, Part 2

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Culture, Visual

Spoilers Alert.

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