Sunday, October 28, 2007

Come back to see me, I know they have a rainy season.

It's been a busy week. M80 has sucked up all my time, in a good way. I find I really like the job, really like the frenetic pace, really like doing something significant. Excitedly talking to people about the X-Files is fun. My co-workers are fun too. I can't help but compare it to Oxy. It's been that long since I've been in an environment where everyone has so much energy, and has so much fun. I feel like I've been hibernating; I forgot I used to have this much fun around fun people everyday. It's that sort of environment.

My Malcolm Reynolds costume came out so well! I was really surprised when I put it on, and this costume has definitely earned a reserve place for future costume engagements. I'm thinking I may even wear it at Anime Expo next year.


November's just around the corner and it's going to already be a busy month. I've got a convention, a trip, and then Thanksgiving taking up three of the four weekends. After that...it's December already?? Though I always feel like the year just started by the time it's nearly over, I feel that way again this year. I'm not ready for 2008 and a year closer to the end of the decade yet! Oh, how I'd love a time machine...

Oh yes! As awesome as Portal was, and believe me, it's awesome, I am loving Half-Life 2: Episode One a whole lot more. Valve continues to do no wrong with an incredibly immersive game and a very well written story. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You Are Not to Blame

I saw four different movies this weekend.

Eastern Promises

An indie film disguised as a mainstream release. Eastern Promises is much more about its characters than the plot they go through. We see the different mobsters grind against each other, pushing and giving till almost the limit, and then coolly backstabbing each other rather than bursting into open violence. Viggo Mortensen was fantastic, and disappears into his character, adding another brilliant role to his resume. I've come more and more to believe that the true mark of a great actor is if you can look at several different roles they've played and find it hard to believe that was the same person behind them all. (Christian Bale being the best example I've seen of this recently.) Mortensen does just that here, and judging from this choice, I'm very excited to see where his career goes. Vincent Cassel is brilliant and insane as always, though on that last point, he seems to play the same character as in Brotherhood of The Wolf and the two Ocean's films. I definitely give him the benefit of the doubt, and think he's just been typecast in America. Making a mental note to look into his French films...

The Darjeeling Limited

Stuart put it best, this is a Wes Anderson film, you know what you're going to get. Quirky, flawed, human characters, an oddly magical setting (in this case the titular train), deadpan humor, and lessons learned all around by the end. As far as where I'd rank this in Anderson's four films, I'd have to place it either second or third, as it's been a while since I've seen Rushmore. My all time favorite is The Life Aquatic.

Lust, Caution

Ang Lee has honed his skills to a fine point here. I admit I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain. I'm not put off by the subject matter, but I was put off by the controversy built up around a fictitious story. If it was anywhere near as masterful as Lust, Caution however, it certainly deserved the Oscars it won. Lust, Caution is the sad, twisted story of a young girl who pins her fate on an adolescent crush, and is dragged further and further into a world of deceit until it becomes the only life she has. I'm reminded of a Jacqueline Carey quote about a razor thin line between love and hate, and it comes to mind here. The passion that Wong Chia Chi and Yee share, though a lie, becomes the only truth she knows, and her hate turns to love though she cannot believe it herself. The film quietly smolders throughout, drawing you into its secluded corners and closed bedrooms, and the lies upon lies upon lies. Tony Leung plays the most magnificent bastard I've seen on film in a long time, and makes you loathe Yee, then come to pity him. Tang Wei is perfect as Wong, and never betrays a flaw in her portrayal. Whether this is beginner's luck or the signs of such a talented actress that she reminds me of Brigitte Lin, remains to be seen.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

What I went into thinking would be a Western turned out to be a very solemn, intense portrayal of the disillusionment of growing into manhood and the face of fame. The film begins a bit slowly, with a narration that I felt was not needed or at least too obtrusive, but then settles into a quiet, brooding, vivid character piece, couched in a rich setting. Brad Pitt gives a broad, powerful performance that slowly unfurls as both Robert Ford and the audience come to know his character. He proves that he still has all the talent that he's tucked away in recent years, and don't be surprised if the whispers of Oscar around this performance really do come true. Casey Affleck proves himself as well. I've never seen him in anything besides the Ocean films, and this performance shows that he has a long, robust career ahead of him. The camera work in this film is superb, portraying the thoughts of the characters on screen, and making beautiful use of the understated vistas throughout.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

In His Head It's Like The Weather

Nico had this interesting seed of an idea last night. As we were heading out to Lucky Baldwin's he mentioned he had his X-Men belt on, and wondered what his mutant power would be. I added to this that it would have to be something very odd/specific, as X-Men typically don't have just "normal" powers like flying or super strength. (By the way Nico, I did think about it some more and I think your mutant power would be the ability to turn smoke into a hard, titanium-like form. This makes me imagine cool, anime-like battles: like being surrounded by a gang of thugs who have no idea of your power, and you blow a cloud of smoke with a grin into their faces which flies at them as this hurtling, rock-like object. Or being bruised and bleeding in this massive battle, and wounded you reach for you pack of smokes, only to flip it open and it's empty, a resigned "Damn" following.)

So I ended up having this crazy dream last night about myself as a mutant; my mutant identity springing forth from my head fully formed, Athena-like as it were. I was a member of this ragtag gang of mutant kids hiding in the sewers of this Renaissance/medieval city like Lea Monde. My mutant power was a great regenerative ability, and a minor telepathy ability that allowed me to sense the location and size of moving objects in a twenty foot vicinity around me. However, I had been experimented on, ala Wolverine, and all that was left of me was a brain and a spine encased in this sleek robotic body fashioned as a replica of my human form. It was so cool!

I also remember the gang was lead by this woman who had the ability to shapeshift into animals and wore the black leather X-Men outfit. There was a short, squat guy in colorful Gogo-like clothing who could reform his body from any number of pieces it was blown into. There was your standard, super-strong Beast-like guy, with brown fur and eight feet tall. Then there was a guy who could morph into inanimate objects and create copies of himself in these forms, and he was my rival. For some reason the townspeople were not frightened by my form, and there was no explanation why I was essentially a futuristic robot in a medieval city.

So, what would your mutant power be?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Simon's Curse

OMG, a night where I don't have to work on preparation! What is this??

I had a big interview on Wednesday, then my interview with M80 today. I've been preparing for both since last Friday, with barely a moment to myself the last couple of days. My body's definitely felt it with a bit of a sore throat I'm coming down with, and it already feels like the weekend for me tonight because I don't have anything to do.

I think the M80 interview went really well. I demonstrated my passion and severe interest for what they do over there, and I'm really, really hoping I get the position. It would be a dream job.

In what little time I've had outside of interview preparation, I've been marathoning through Dog the Bounty Hunter. I picked up the box set of seasons 1-3 along with season 1 of Inked. Dog is my favorite reality show. He's such a principaled character, and it's very refreshing to see someone who can live their life in such a simple, black and white manner in this confusing modern world. I'm not saying he's entirely naive of the good and bad in people (In fact I think watching the show it's very obvious he's aware of the good in everyone.) but that's what I get from the show.

It's Thursday night and there's a new episode of The Office out. Sometimes I wish I had regular tv.

I've been working towards finishing up Oblivion at last. I'm currently working strictly on the main quest to finish that portion of the game. I'm already head of the Assassin's Guild, and close to the top of the Thieves' Guild. I keep telling myself I'll play back through the game as a magic user, but we'll see if I have the stomach for that...

Kushiel's Dart continues to entertain but shows a bit of weakness. I understand Carey had to add another character into the story due to circumstances, but the plot device of "Hot Blooded Courtesan + Disciplined Monk = HILARITY! People who are opposites don't get along!" is more patronizing than I had thought her capable of.

It feels like it's about time for a new musician. If I could finish getting all of Spitz' discography, they might be it. I'd also like to find an English musician to listen to, someone with honesty but a bit more weight and hardness to them than the stuff I've been listening to lately. (Calexico, Voxtrot)

The Darjeeling Limited's just about out. Time to see my first Wes Anderson film in theaters... I am overjoyed.