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Alexx: We haven't watched "Ironman 2" or 3 yet.
Kes: I can only take so much Tony Stark. How about "Doctor Strange"? Which one is he?
Alexx: He's the surgeon [insert more red kryptonite description here].
Kes: That doesn't sound very interesting. Who is the one who has mystic powers and transforms his girlfriend into a book? I mean, negative points for killing his girlfriend, but turning her into a book, that's kind of hot in a bibliophile bondage way.
Alexx [sighs]: That's Doctor Doom, and he turned his girlfriend into armor.
Kes: That's not very hot.
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The Case of Evil (Dirs. Neal Hallford, Jana Hallford, 2014)

This short is only ten minutes long but those are ten minutes of retro horror delight, especially for anyone who loves those blues songs about guitar players and the Devil.

The acting starts off a little stiff until things really start rolling, but the script is tight and the dialogue tells a story in a few simple words, just like the best blues songs.

I saw this for free with my Amazon prime membership, but I'm not sure how else one can find this short.
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THE LAST OF SHEILA Dir. Herbert Ross, (1973)

Directed by Herbert Ross ("The Seven Percent Solution") and with a script written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins, this is a fun and fast-paced murder mystery.

James Coburn plays a meglomaniacal Hollywood producer who invites a group of friends, which includes Richard Benjamin as a down-on-his-luck screenwriter and James Mason as a down-on-his-luck director, for a weeklong cruise on his yacht.

Once they arrive, the group discovers that a murder game has been arranged, and you don't have to be a mystery fan in expecting that pretend murder will soon turn into real murder.

What you might not be expecting is how wildly and wittily the story goes off the rails in the final act.

This is an incredibly fun movie that seems to start off simply but continues to accumalate surprising twists and turns right through to the very end. Highly recommended.
kestrell: (Default)
Katherine Hepburn is my favorite actress ever, as she starred in my three favorite films: "Bringing Up Baby," "The Lion in Winter" (in which she played Eleanor of Aquitaine, my favorite historical figure), and "Desk Set" (I always wanted to grow up to be the character Hepburn plays in the movie), so I'm pleased to find such a perfect quote from her:

If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.
kestrell: (Default)
I'm currently scanning/rereading Eco collection of writings titled "Travels in Hyperreality," which includes many of his best nonfiction writings, including my favorite on semiotic guerilla warfare, but this examination of what makes "Casablanca" a cult movie is still kickass. There are a few variations of this essay on the Net which you can find by googling
Umberto Eco Casablanca text
but you want the one which includes the phrases "intertextuality" in the title, such as this page which asked for a password but seemed to load anyway
http://davidlavery.net/Courses/Coens/ECO.DOC
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LJ user teenybuffalo and I watched this film yesterday, on a rather cold and rainy Friday. I hadn't seen this film since it was originally released and, although I remembered Richard Grant snarling "I want something's flesh!" I had somehow forgotten his final lines
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zEVZGuU3BU
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Kes: This Boston Globe article
http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2010/10/18/a_reel_deal_for_blind_deaf/#
talks about why there will soon be a lot more movie theatres showing accessible films with descriptive narration for blind and deaf moviegoers. My own experience with these films is mixed, as when the earphones work, it's great, but two out of three times the earphones don't work. I think there might be specific spots where you are supposed to sit to receive the transmission, but the theatre staff is consistently clueless about being able to give any suggestions.
Also, I sitll like to tell the story of my very first experience with descriptive video. I went to see Spiderman and it began with the narrative description: "A woman in a toga holds a torch high..." and I was thinking, "Toga? I don't recall there being togas in..." which is about when I heard "the Columbia Pictures logo." Alexx still starts all film descriptions by describing the studio logos.
kestrell: (Default)
So, when these zombies bite you, not only are you turned into one of the dead, you are turned into one of the undead who speak with a really bad Southern accent. There's kind of a backstory to that, but not really. And when the zombies bite someone, it sounds amazingly similar to someone crunching their fingers in a bowl of potato chips. And when someone is bitten, they say, "Ow! Owwwwwwwwwww!" because that is what adults say when they are being eaten alive.

But it's all good, because the final girl has the magic shotgun of infinite shotgun shells. After an accessible flamethrower, that's my new weapon of choice.

I know you are probably asking, "What is this movie?" 'cause you feel compelled to view it for yourself, but I can't help you there because the SyFy schedule page uses some sort of inaccessible flash.

Oops, gotta go--the next movie is on and someone just said something about ancient Native American burying grounds.

Why, yes, I am still waiting for Fed Ex, how did you guess?
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I'm currently reading John Crowley's _Four Freedoms_, which features a protagonist with a disability, and I am struck, as always, by how Crowley manages to bring such a visual sensibility to his work, while also providing such a rich sense of the multiple characters's interior lives.

For those who may not know, Crowley has worked for decades in the field of documentary film, and he has a genius for the language of describing visuals. It's
thanks to John Crowley
http://bostonreview.net/BR32.3/crowley.html
that I found out that there is a word for something which I had been striving to express to sighted people for years: why is it considered
to be such an impossible dream that I expect visual artists and critics to be able to describe what they see and what they do? Language and art should not be distant countries completely unknown to one another.

John Crowley, like one of the alchemists in his own books, has the mysterious occult
word to give my thoughts shape: "The word for written descriptions, in prose or verse, of works of art is ekphrasis..."

I use the word occult not merely in its meaning of magical but in its meaning of hidden or darkened, because language helps us to cast a light upon what has up until then remained hidden or half-sensed, perhaps only because, in limiting ourselves to a single sense, we fail to place what we are examining in various lights.

It's kind of difficult to talk about art or John Crowley's writing without, perhaps, coming across as wearing one's lit crit hat, but the work which recently reminded me of this link between words and pictures was an old movie, the classic film noir "Out of the Past," starring Robert Mitchum and produced by Jacques Tourneur, whose own work says a lot about thoughts and pictures, dark and light.

What struck me in listening to "Out of the Past" was how it possesses something which I find sadly lacking in a lot of contemporary films: dialogue which is sharp and eloquent, but which reinforces the personalities of the characters and underscores the sensibility of the film.

In checking out he IMDB page for this film, I realized that the person who wrote the screenplay also wrote the book upon which it was based and the radio version. It struck me that it was no surprise that this writer wrote dialogue which was fast-paced and snappy, because radio, like Shakespeare's plays, had to put not only the emotion but the action into the words. No long panning shots to show you the backdrop, no closeups to show you the teary-eyed woman or the squinting, flinty-eyed tough guy. Just words, creating pictures.
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The UK Guardian film blog has this wonderful post on silent films
http://www.guardian.co.uk
/film/filmblog/2009/oct/21/silent-movies-london-film-festival
which includes some nice quotes from various definitions of film. Although silent films might be thought to hold little appeal for a blind fan, I find them fascinating for two reasons: one, in that these films are, as Bergan's reference to Hitchcok's definition of "pure cinema" suggests, distinct from other art forms such as literature and theare, and second, because it seems that silent film still promises to be relevant to the design of new media such as computer games and virtual worlds. Remember the bit from _Snowcrash_ where Hero Protagonist admits that it is the female designer's invention of the code to include facial experssions in virtual worlds which really revolutionized the medium of virtual worlds? I think one fo the reasons why Charlie Chaplin remains so iconic, literally, is because he managed to produce an entire story through his facial and physical expressions, right down to the way he held his cane. A lot of new media still has managed to capture that level of minute detail, but when it does...
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Accents and sords with cheese on top...I find this strangely appealing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lalm_kkczVM&feature=related
kestrell: (Default)
The Guardian has
this article about the soundtrack to the film Harold and Maude
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/aug/11/best-film-soundtracks-songwriter
and a discussion of music in film in general.

One thing which strikes me is the mention of how Cat Stevens spent time recovering from tuberculosis, and the experience of isolation and having to confront his own mortality shaped his songs for the rest of his life. I recently read Peter Straub's bio, and he mentions that he was hit by a car when he was a kid and had to spend a long time out of school, using a wheelchair, and this experience also infuses his work with the theme of life being fragile and the world being dangerous.

In looking at the biographies of creative people, I have often been intrigued at how many of them have had similar near-death experiences and/or longterm disabilities, including depression. While many discussions of creative artists have emphasized the emo/Byronic aspect of such creative lives, I notice that, even if such events or characteristics are discussed, they are often done so only fleetingly with only the most superficical exploration of how this influecnes motifs, themes, and images in creative works.
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Kes: Although I disagree about _Zeroville_ being strictly nostalgic: I actually found it it to have a dark side which seemed to suggest that both the mystery and corruption in films was merely an extension of the psyches of the people who made those films. Also, must add _Sunnysie_ to my books wishlist.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2009/aug/07/budd-schulberg-literary-legacy

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