Congratulations to Jeline on getting a Dean’s Award! She certainly deserves it. :)
Eerie: Not only does the recent Richard Kadrey nanotale “Black Neurology: A Love Story” bear a slight resemblance to a short story I submitted to my English class in freshman college, it also contains a William Blake quote I keep in my wallet. If you’re interested, the quote goes “Those who restrain desire, do so only because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.”
Occasions like these, when work from people I admire and respect hits a theme or bears a resemblance to something I’ve done or thought of, tickles me pink. It’s a special kind of feeling, an almost giddiness. I did a stupid comic story in high school called The Man House, about an insane professor who could shrink people to miniature sizes and kept them in a large dollhouse as his prisoners. Around 5 years later the same plot was used by my god and idol, Alan Moore, in a short Cobweb story in Tomorrow Stories. Man, that made my week. I mean, what am I going to do? Cry “He stole my idea!”? Give me a break! Just knowing that Alan Moore and I came up with the same plot at separate points in our lives gives me the strength to go on. It’s like getting a great compliment from the universe. There’s a Moore concept called Ideaspace that is illustrated by this example. Basically, there’s a dimension of perception wherein instead of matter, you have concepts. Ideas. And this “Ideaspace,” can be tapped by anyone with a consciousness. And Ideaspace has seasons and things like weather, which would explain why the steam engine was discovered by 3 different people in two different continents roughly within the same month. Why so many movies with directly competing “hooks” have been coming out (Volcano/Dante’s Peak, Shrek/Monsters, Inc., Antz/A Bug’s Life, Armageddon/Deep Impact, Independence Day/Mars Attacks, etc.).
So Close sucked. Sorry, I wanted to like it but it’s terrible. Even its guilty pleasure quotient was surprisingly low. It’s such a shame because you can see its potential, too. But what more should I have expected from the director of The Transporter? It’s written by Jeff Lau, who is apparently very famous and successful in Hong Kong, so much so that he is a featured artist in this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival. So far I am not convinced. The leaps of logic are the real special effects here; the action blocking is creative but shot poorly, and they move so slowly it’s unimpressive. Plus the effects are too noticeable. It’s a ridiculously over-the-top film that sometimes tries to be emotional but falls absolutely flat on its face. Plus, there’s a sudden lesbian undertone that emerges at the end! What the--?! Sad.
Narc is terrific. The recent “indie film with lots of buzz” lives up to it. Gritty, exciting, filled with moral swamps, I thought it was great. Acting’s terrific. Heard the director’s kind of arrogant, which is a shame, but he’s got the chops. Heard he’s taking over M:I-3 from David Fincher, which I’m happy about so Fincher can go do some other project I have more anticipation for than Mission: Impossible. Joe Carnahan also did my favorite of the Season 2 BMW Films, Ticker.
I enjoyed Chicago immensely, much to my surprise. I can see why the Academy is in love with it, and will not be surprised if it wins Best Picture, which is beginning to be more and more likely. It was consistently entertaining and surprising, which is hard to maintain, but it went the extra mile. The planning must’ve been intense. Plus, performances were pretty good all around, and best of all, each piece had a distinct look that separated it from the rest. I particularly loved the tap dance and the ventriloquist scenes. The one with the mirrors, too. And an excellent script! Plot and dialogue shine. Now I want John C. Reilly to win too.
Just saw The Majestic tonight, which has a lot of problems but as a feel-good movie kind of won me over at the end. Some scenes felt completely lifeless, though I couldn’t quite pinpoint why.
Star Trek: Nemesis was not as bad as people portrayed it to be. It’s not my favorite Trek film but it’s not the worst. Scenes where they shoot each other with lasers have no suspense at all, though. Still, I love anything that has to do with Data, and at least they’re continuing to do new things with the franchise. The philosophy has always been the core humanity (especially of The Next Generation crew), and that’s suitably on display here.
Am in the middle of reading Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby, which is slow going. Very detailed art, and an ambitious scope. Up next will either be Dylan Horrocks’s Hicksville or Grant Morrison’s The Invisible Kingdom.
I submit for your consideration, Takashi Miike. A Japanese director who’s become fairly popular in recent years due to the worldwide success of Audition, he has the same birthday as me, and is a damn workhorse. Of course, his movies prior to Audition have given him a cult following in countries other than Japan, but it was Audition that really got his name out there, and now all his movies are being invited to various international film festivals. Check out these numbers to see what I mean about workhorse: he only directed his first movie in 1991 (at the age of 31), and at the end of 2002 had 57 films to his credit. His slowest year was 1992, when he only put one film out (A Human Murder Weapon). His busiest was 2001, when he directed 9 films. Runners-up include 1996, 1999, and 2002, when he directed 7 films each year, and 1995, 1998, 2000, when he did 5. In Japan, you have to direct a number of films each year to make money. You just have to be busy. But look at that output. It’s amazing. And almost all his work is better than your average Hollywood movie. At his age, that’s astounding.
Gosh I wish I had cable internet. Better yet, DSL. Or one of those super-broadband networks they already have up and running in Hong Kong. Anything that could play decent video and internet radio. This dial-up stuff just isn’t cutting it anymore, though at less than 4 pesos an hour I’m still paying significantly less than I would be otherwise. Sigh. For you lucky ones: