Thursday, 17 July 2008


If you think this is cute you clearly haven't watched the movie.

It's not often I think back on a recent event and realise that it has traumatised me a little bit. Yeah, maybe I am just an impressionable softie who is not sufficiently hardened because I do not watch enough horror movies or perhaps even remotely scary films. Well, I recently saw The Orphanage along with a few hundred other people at 1 a.m. at the Roskilde Festival, and I guess it was just because of the intense mood inside the cinema, but I got really frightened several times while I was watching the movie. The were moments where practically everyone screamed out loud.

Now, a lot of the effects were pretty cliché and the storyline was pretty obscure, but nevertheless it was all effective. The whole movie had as sense of brutal otherworldlyness that just drew you in. If I watched it in my living room chances are I wouldn't be quite as scared, but I'm not sure I'd like to take that chance. I can admit when something scares me even if it is slightly pathetic :-P


Apart from that I've watched a couple other movies, one of them being 3:10 to Yuma.
It is a remake of an old Western movie, and while I haven't seen the original I'd say this one did the job. It was refreshing to see another take on the whole western gang mythology that - in spite of that particular genre of movie being less prominent that it was in the 20th century - still contains a great deal of fascinating material. Seeing Russell Crowe as a villain was particularly refreshing, and Christian Bale's performance was delicately discrete.
Peter Fonda had a supporting role but really made the most of his limited time on-screen.

With all its twists and turns, cliché or not, 3:10 kept me entertained.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


One festival, unspecified amounts of alcohol and some fabulous concerts later, I sit down to write something that might possibly resemble a coherent blog entry. So what is there to say? For large part, memories of that festival are obscured by an alcoholic haze, but there is a wide variety of moments that were powerful enough to stick around.

The most remarkable concert I remember in its entirety was with Radiohead who quietly blew some 50,000 people away. One of those things you just don't forget.
Then there was Judas Priest, an old bunch of guys whose music I didn't know all that well, but the guitar solos and gimmicky stage show kept me interested.
I heard bits of Neil Young, and I heard all of the Kings of Leon concert but was quite positively pissed at the time so there are limits to how much I remember of it.
A lot of the other concerts are bit of a blur though I don't recall hearing more than a couple of bands that I genuinely didn't like.

It's kinda funny talking about the festival like this. I got to know (at least on a very superficial level) a fair lot of new people, many of whom I probably annoyed, being an immediately stranger to the bunch - along with my generally quirky personality. I enjoyed myself though, even if thinking back on the festival is a very surreal process. It's like I was gone from the face of the earth for a week.... Gone into some parallel dimension with a population of around 100,000 people, all living in tents of wherever, waking up to the smell of piss and beer every morning in similar tents that were all heated to oven-level during the day.

It was all addictive and yet I'm glad to be back. Slowly recovering from a bloody cold that I caught. There's that usual vacuum left by spare time. But I think I can fill it in... Just takes a little while getting into the habbit.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Can't stand the silence anymore! Well... I can stand it for another day at least.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Event Horizon

So the title for this entry is probably more dramatic than it should be. The fact is that as a gamer you sometimes end up with some specimen that you cannot seem to stop playing no matter how hard you try. In this instance it is Mass Effect.

The plain fact is that I do not have to say a single word about it, because review sights all over the world are right now queuing to praise it to Heaven. Although of course there will be some ignorant people who refuse to see its brilliance and will try to brutally pull it down from its throne of glory out of jealousy and spite. Though I'll say that apart from a few inconsistensies and signs of negligence, it is, in two words, bloody awesome. I felt a bit disturbed that some insectoid aliens I was fighting were carrying enough cash to collectively buy out Bill Gates. Now I have come to assume that they are all EA stock holders.


While I never actually managed to watch Citizen Kane in one go, I started poking at some Alfred Hitchcock movies - Rear Window and Vertigo. Though both movies had issues with believability, they were very interesting and provided me with a perspective I had not previously explored. Granted, many modern movies have drawn inspiration from earlier decades, so I can easily recognise many of the themes, and both features definitely cannot hide their age. Nevertheless both of them are intriguing even today; as statements about human psychology and as a looking glass that allows the mind to explore the past. /exit preteniousness

Always a pleasure to discover that there is a lot of brilliant stuff just waiting to be examined.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


Not entirely tired. No. Just a slight hint of fatigue as impersonal as a brief acquaintance; there is no attempt to bond with the sensation because it will be leaving shortly... It is liberating to be filled with that kind of apathy, but even more liberating to know that the apathy will soon be gone.
But it moves with the speed of light and will be there long before I arrive at my new destination, and I know that it will envelop me once again. For each moment it touches me it slowly becomes part of the way I think, and though it is heavy the weigh seems to be a comfort rather than a burden; not because I like its presence, but because I have grown numb and cannot truly feel it anymore.
Where I saw the dancing colours there is now a sense of grey that wishes its own place among them, as a spectator. It does not want to participate because it feels uncertain of its own abilities.

A thick liquid moves across the floor, almost seeming to grab it as if the liquid itself possessed muscles. It is far easier to watch it indifferently when it teaches my feet and gnaws at my shoes, but it is not numbness that makes me ignore it. It is rather something I thought I saw, something I glimpsed outside. But not long enough.

I am not sure if I woke up.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Rock me hard but softly

The heat's in my eyes and in my throat so deep I feel like I'm going to choke on it any minute now. The preliminary stages of allergy are slowly announcing their arrival; my eyes are occasionally itching like hell and I know it is only going to get worse. Naturally I have also caught a Summer cold while I am at it.

And a road sign decided to ambush me the other day when something made me lose control of my bicycle, learning me some tasty bruises. The sense of pain was however overshadowed by the chance to play Rock Band which was, indeed, bloody awesome. Apart from the fact that their plastic replica of a Fender Stratocaster feels like something of an abomination to play.
Nearly endless customisation options for your own individual rocker ensures that people who are so inclined can waste hours pimping up their appearance.
I made a huge, bearded muscular motherfucker called Lister Twister, which most of all sounds like the name of a hardcore pornstar. You might argue that lots of stage lights and bling is pretty superfluous when they have no effect on the gameplay, but they certainly added to the general feel of the game. The small awards that each band member can achieve after a song were also cause for much hilarity, like when our bassist got the award "Unconcious", while I could feel the comfortable sense of ego inflation that comes with getting the "Legendary Solo" award in a difficult song.

Hey dudes, it's 12 Angry Men, not 11 Surprised Morons!

As a continuation of my little nostalgia trip I have watched "12 Angry Men", a cinematic gem unknown to most people from my generation. It is about a jury of 12 men whose task is to decide whether or not an 18-year-old guy killed his father. A few things may be outdated, but to me the sum total of the movie is a great deal of character acting that adds a lot of depth to the 12 main characters even though we only know them for about an hour and a half. The fact that we only know the men by their behaviour and professions (which are revealed throughout the movie) and not by any names ensures that we are not too distracted, and the real-time approach makes the entire experience more authentic.

Next up on my nostalgia list is Citizen Kane.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Revisiting the oldies

Since the mood swing hippiefits in my last post I haven't been able to make a single entry that could sum up everything properly. The fact is that I have been dealing various exam-related stuff that I engage in, apparently bent on some manner of self-punishment, and on the side I have been on a wild nostalgia trip to the cinema. Also, I have been wasting my time on various computer games and finished off the last few episodes of Lost (3rd season) including a not so bloody extravagant finale.
The other two seasons had a razor-sharp ending, but that was not good enough for the writers who instead went out of their way to go all noir and additionally thought it was a good idea to make one of the main characters look like Leonidas from 300. Which by and large made it immensely hard to concentrate because I half-expected him to exclaim "This is Sparta!" at any moment.
Hopefully in 4th season they might explain a bit about the fabled smoke monster that has so far acted mainly as a Pwn Ex Machina whenever some character needed to get offed. When they do come with an explanation I will end up ignoring it in favour of my theory that the monster is the spawn of the massive amounts of marijuana consumed by the writers of the series.

So anyway, what this entry was actually about is the fact that I have been watching Blade Runner and all four Indiana Jones movies recently. Watched the original trilogy in a row and since then I have seen the 4th twice. You can go on and on about how special effects tend to overshadow some more important elements in today's movies, but in a film like Indiana Jones that is more or less the whole point. The storylines in those features do not make any sense so the entire thing might as well be beefed up with some overwhelmingly silly CGI that reflects the general mood of the movie. It is by far the silliest of the four, and while the villains in the earlier movies, though still a bit comic-book-ish, actually managed to be genuinely sinister, the villains in the 4th feature are so stupidly exaggerated they are almost likeable.
But like we all know, in movies like these it is not a question of if the protagonist survives. It is always a question of how. We are already aware that he will defeat his enemies and get the girl in the end. I do not honestly know if the movie had been more effective without all those silly moments to counterpoint the gravity of each cliffhanger. I think it is spot on to spend a lot of resources on showing just how tough and badass Indiana Jones really is. Like the fact that he can, while trapped in a fridge, survive being flung over a long distance by a nuclear blast.
And the most miraculous thing happened... Shia LaBeouf was likeable!

I don't declare my approval just to seem anti-pretentious. It really depends on what expectations you have when you go in. I expected something entertaining, but not revolutionary. That is what I got.
The future isn't nice.

Blade Runner on the other hand is a slower and much less action-packed 2-hour noir fest. And in its restored version, I gotta say, it looks nearly every bit as smooth as a modern day movie. It is the shooting technique and general feel of the movie that really reveal its age. It cannot be watched without a good dose of patience. When I first watched a DVD version I bought I was not very impressed, but on a second viewing - and in the cinema at that - it all made much more sense. Harrison ford is the sort of actor where you often know what to expect, but in a noir feature like Blade Runner he is right at home. It is also a movie that benefits from the fact that the city in which it takes place becomes a character in its own right.
It might not be for everyone because the pacing is so different from that of modern blockbusters. But even if it isn't your genre, it might be worth checking out at least once in your lifetime.