Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lady In The Water

After work I went and saw Lady In The Water. I know the movie has been really bashed by critics, but I've enjoyed other movies that took such a beating (like The Rules Of Attraction), plus I saw the preview and was hooked. Also, Paul Giamatti stars in the movie and he is one of my favourite actors, so in the end it was a no-brainer.
Shall we have a brief overview of the plot here? By all means!
Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) is the caretaker, or handyman, or whatever you call it, of an apartment building. The place has a swimming pool and Cleveland suspects somebody of swimming in it against the rules, that is, late at night - there is a rule that residents must not use the pool after 7:00pm. One night he hears splashing in the pool and discovers a strange, naked young woman. The woman tells him that she is from a place called the Blue World. She is being chased by monsters that look like large demonic dogs covered with grass and sticks and leaves. According to some legend (actually a bedtime story), if a human makes contact with one of these people (I mean like the girl he found in the pool), then humanity can be saved, or something. (How am I doing with the plot? It's not easy, this one!)
Cleveland, being the apartment building's handyman, knows a lot of the residents and there are some real characters there. One of them, a young man, works out with weights but only building up one side of his body - his right arm and leg are huge, while his left are normal size. Another apartment is host to a group of, I suppose what you might call "slackers", who sit around smoking and drinking and talking about whatever comes to mind.
Cleveland is a man with a tragic past, and the young woman learns about this by reading his diary. I won't commit any spoilers, only say that this element of the story was affecting and well-handled.
This story in fact is a modern fairytale. It's difficult to make a definitive criticism of it, because I'm not sure I understood everything in it, and it seemed very ambitious, even experimental - a combination of fairytale, modern drama, and horror. It seemed to be alternatingly enjoyable and fascinating, then embarassing and self-indulgent. I feel that I need to see it again at some later time to resolve my opinion of it.
Anyway, if you are a fan of Paul Giamatti, you will see it and at least enjoy his performance, which is strong. And it's an M. Night Shyamalan movie. He might have made some misfires, but his movies are required viewing, in my opinion (in particular for his dealing with supernatural themes).

After I found an almost-perfect seat in the theatre, an odd fellow came and sat two seats away from me. He had wild, straw-like hair and sat perfectly motionless, intently watching the screen. I estimated his age to be around early 30s. He arrived with a distinctively peculiar smell, yet not so disagreeable that would call for a seat change, rather a smell of clothing piled up for months in a closed room. But within 20 minutes I was accustomed to it and forgot about it. I didn't notice him again until the movie ended and the lights went up. I looked across and he was holding his hands up in front of his face, but still looking intently at the screen as the credits rolled, looking through his fingers. It seemed to me that he was greatly moved by the movie, which moved me in turn. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him about his impressions of the movie. I didn't though. I got up and walked out before the credits finished. It was too intense sitting there near him with his hands up and his powerful emotions.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rush Newbie

Today I bought my first Rush album, Moving Pictures (1981).
Steve, if you are reading this, I remember you telling me about these guys a very long time ago. Well, I finally get it! Rush are FREAKING AWESOME! Right now I'm listening to the album for about the ninth time. It ends, then I immediately replay it from the beginning. It has completely mesmerised me. I want to stay up all night listening to this album!

*falls to floor in rapturous joy at having (even so belatedly - really should have taken cue from friend many years ago!) discovered such a totally freaking goddam AWESOME band*

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Silent Hill

Well, tonight I finally got to see the Silent Hill movie. As a fan of the video games, it was a very mixed experience. On the one hand, the movie was way too long, the story was weak when compared to the source material (particularly the excellent premise of the second game), scenes ran on too long with very little happening, and much of the dialogue was embarassing. On the upside, fans of the games will enjoy many scenes that simulate moving through the nightmarish locations wtihin the games, and the accurate recreations of monsters like Pyramid Head and the Dark Nurses (although the nurses seemed to be handled badly, in that they were comical and many audience members laughed at their actions - surely not the intended effect). However, the horror/gore scenes were a highlight, and horror fans (not to mention Clive Barker fans) who haven't played the games will find a lot to enjoy here, with a couple of scenes standing out in particular: the Pyramid Head woman-skinning scene, and the big barbed wire gore finale.
While by no means what a Silent Hill fan would ever call a triumphant film version of the series, the movie did manage to faithfully recreate many elements of the games, and could also be heartily recommended to horror movie fans.

As a side note, I really like Sean Bean but, sad to say, he didn't have much to work with in his limited role here. A shame. The movie would have been so much better if they used the Silent Hill 2 premise where James Sunderland receives a letter from his wife - dead three years - inviting him to join her in Silent Hill, the small holiday town where they spent some of their happiest times, with Sean Bean playing James Sunderland.
Also very welcome in the movie was the use of songs and music from the games. Akira Yamaoka rocks.
As another side note, it was cool to see the actress who played the Borg Queen from that Star Trek movie.
The audience report is a shameful one on this occasion - a group of teen jerks and jerkettes sat right in front of me, all loudly jamming chip and lolly packets in each others' faces. It was deafening. Only halfway through the movie did they shut the fuck up (although that was most likely the point where their stash of sugary and salty crap had been exhausted).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Through Hell and Back

I had the flu all last week. It really wacked me all over the place. It sucked when I had to go out of the house because then I started sweating like crazy, and got dizzy. When I walked into a shop and dealt with the shop assistant, I got the feeling they were thinking, "Ugh. You look terrible. If you die in my shop I'm gonna be very pissed off." But I didn't die, I beat that piece of shit flu and now I feel like a million dollars [some hyperbole used here for effect].
Now I'm ready to go and watch the Silent Hill movie tomorrow. At last! I've been waiting about ten months for this one! Will it have been worth the wait? Tune in tomorrow for the review!

Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P. Steve Irwin

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Steve 'The Crocodile Hunter' Irwin's death today. He was making a new documentary on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef when a stingray punctured his chest with its tail barb - the stinger apparently went straight into his heart and he died almost instantly. (Being struck by a stingray's barb can be likened to getting stabbed with a bayonet.)
The world has certainly lost one of its great characters.