This Week in Geek (29/10-4/11/07)

Buys

What am I? The bank? Actually, I did buy my mom the latest Harry Potter book in French, which I'm sure I'm gonna pay for by Amazon suggesting I buy Harry Potter crap all the time. Ah well. Last weekend, a kid I know beat up another one when the latter spoiled the ending. That's what happens when you wait for the books to come out in translation. I'm not taking sides, I'm just sayin'.

"Accomplishments"

Considering I was away on a business trip for two days, it's remarkable I got my World of Warcraft character up a full level from 66 to 67. Those are big levels. But I did more besides, including 4 cards for my Unauthorized Doctor Who Collectible Card Game, all based around some players having problems with too common strategies. Part of the fun of a virtual project like this one is being able to turn on a dime and address such things immediately. I know many of you don't know what the heck I'm talking about. For you, the picture of some Daleks:
The rest of my geek time was used in flipping DVDs. First up was Death Proof, Tarantino's portion of Grindhouse. Though slow to start, I was fully entertained by the end, and it struck me that the deliberate shittiness of the first part (bad editing, scratched film), especially when contrasted with the crispness of the second had a point to it. I won't spoil anything for you if you haven't seen it, but the two parts contrast how exploitation movies were made back in the day and how they are made now, especially those starring women. Yes, I was impatient with it at times, but every choice was justified by the end. Nice extras celebrating the old school stunt work too.

Another movie that showed that cheap cinema didn't have to be meaningless was Jodorowski's El Topo ("The Mole"), a mystical western about... the Bible? The rise and fall of civilization? A man's battle with his inner demons on the road to becoming a "whole man"? Take your pick from those or a dozen more. El Topo is extremely violent (no kind of humane society was ever involved), stars Jodorowski's usual "monsters" (what he - lovingly! - calls deformed actors), and is shot in some of the most beautiful and unusual locations I've ever seen (in Mexico's desert, without a permit). It's not an easy film, but Jodorowski knows how to create an image. The commentary track (in Spanish with English subtitles like the film) is informative without giving too much of the game away, as well as insightful about the art of cinema and life.

From Spanish to Chinese, I flipped Kar Wai Wong's Fallen Angels, which wasn't hard since extras were minimal. I've mentioned how much I like this man's work before, and his usual style is on show here - rich colors, lush eroticism, a focus on character rather than story - but somehow funnier than usual, especially Takeshi Kaneshiro's mute shop invader. And it seems like the casting always includes a girl to fall in love or lust with, in this case, Michelle Reis' character. And I have to find that soundtrack somewhere...

 

TV on DVD? Why yes, I flipped the BBC series Jekyll, starring James Nesbitt in the dual role. My favorite new Doctor Who writer being Steven Moffat, I quite naturally gravitated to this project, but while there's a lot to admire about the writing, I must definitely give props to the Nesbitt's acting (largely responsible for the transformation rather than make-up or effects) and the editing (probably the best thing about it for me). There may be one twist too many at the end (leaving it up to the Comments section to discuss which one), and I'm not sure if opening it to another season was a good idea, but I was thoroughly entertained. Between this and Slings & Arrows, the 6-part tv series is a format that should be exploited more on this side of the Pond.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait...how could he NOT already no the ending to Harry Potter!? It's been yelled all over the place since before the book was even out.

Oh wait...am I the only loser who spends 3/4 of his life on YouTube?

Siskoid said...

Don't be ridiculous.

I'm sure you're not the only one.

 

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