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May 18th, 2016
10:00 pm

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calendar update
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May 1st, 2016
11:42 am

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A Hologram for the King
Saw A Hologram for the King last night: basic setup is a struggling American salesman is sent to Saudi Arabia to sell a VR videoconferencing package. I have not read the Eggers novel this is adapted from and can't comment on how the movie relates to the book. Several bits in the film are overly abrupt and disjointed and don't work well, but a great deal of the movie is fine, and the two female leads, Sidse Knudsen and Sarita Choudhury, are excellent. Tom Hanks' amiable fish out of his cultural American waters performance is fine, but Lost in Translation did much of that concept already and I thought better than this. Unless you're an Eggers fan, or a Tom Tykwer fan (my main reason for going), you probably don't need to make a huge effort to catch this theatrically.

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April 30th, 2016
05:20 pm

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The VVitch
I can’t be the only one to look at The Witch poster and think “KERNING, PEOPLE!” http://cdn.film-book.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/the-witch-poster-01.jpeg

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February 2nd, 2016
07:08 pm

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calendar update
Oh right. This is still on.

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January 4th, 2016
11:30 pm

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dreadfully late movie reviews!
Victor Frankenstein - I'd say it's redone in the style of Showtime's Penny Dreadful except Penny Dreadful already has a Frankenstein. Better than I, Frankenstein was, overall roughly on a par with Robert Downey Jr's second Sherlock Holmes movie. Lots of action, lots of quips and one-liners.

Opens with a "you know the story" monologue describing the basic elements reminiscent of the opening monologue of V For Vendetta. The movie is, however, a bait and switch: the main character of the movie is Igor narrating his story before, during, and after his time with Victor Frankenstein.

Daniel Radcliffe plays Igor (with hunchback) a lot like the classic Hunchback of Notre Dame, and post-hunchback as Frodo meets Edward Scissorhands.

Inspector Roderick Turpin is played by Andrew Scott, the BBC Sherlock's Moriarity and most recently the technocratic character in the new Bond movie Spectre. Turpin is analytic and deductive in the Sherlock way, but he's also a religious fanatic. One wonders why they chose the name of a famous real-world and literary highwayman who had naught to do with the right side of the law, but almost no one will notice and I found it more amusing than annoying.

I swear Victor Frankenstein's building is the same they used for Ewan MacGregor's starving writer's garret in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, as well as some of the cityscapes and exterior street sets. Craig Armstrong's (who also did the score for Moulin Rouge) score here is his usual huge orchestral with choirs style.

The monster is very Universal Studios, although the face looked like Mickey Rourke as Marv from the Sin City movies. Great monster.

Weird direction: twice in the movie, James MacAvoy declares his name - but as he starts to say "Vic..." the screen freezes, the soundtrack goes silent, the camera pulls back, and "VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN" appears in huge ornate script across the screen. Very distracting.

Best credit title: a tie between Glass Armonica, and Hair Punching.

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January 1st, 2016
01:47 am

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Happy New Year from Two Decades Ago


Happy New Year 2000, from Strange Days (1995). Twenty years and I'm not tired of this movie.

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December 31st, 2015
04:03 pm

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calendar update
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December 29th, 2015
07:36 pm

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Justice League Tarot
Because I could not find a list of characters in this deck either included with the deck or anywhere online, I took the deck to my local comics shop and consulted. This is what I could come up with.

0 The Fool Harley Quinn
1 The Magician John Constantine
2 The High Pristess Catwoman
3 The Empress Poison Ivy
4 The Emperor Aquaman
5 The Hierophant Ras Al Ghul
6 The Lovers Hawkman and Hawkgirl
7 The Chariot Green Lantern
8 Strength Wonder Woman and Cheetah
9 The Hermit Dr. Manhattan
10 Wheel of Fortune Two-Face
11 Justice Batman
12 The Hanged Man Deadman
13 Death Doomsday (killed Superman)
14 Temperance Raven (Teen Titans, 80s)
15 The Devil Lex Luthor
16 The Tower The Joker
17 The Star Supergirl
18 The Moon Black Adam (Shazam)
19 The Sun Shazam
20 Judgement The Spectre
21 The World Superman and Lois Lane
King of Wands Captain Atom
Queen of Wands Zatanna
Knight of Wands The Shining Knight
Page of Wands Dr. Fate
Ace of Wands The Phantom Stranger
Two of Wands Ms. Martian (Teen Titans)
Three of Wands Amethyst
Four of Wands Justice League group scene, dinner
Five of Wands Firestorm
Six of Wands Booster Gold
Seven of Wands Etrigan, The Demon
Eight of Wands The Flash
Nine of Wands Huntress
Ten of Wands Cyborg (Teen Titans)
King of Cups J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter
Queen of Cups Star Sapphire (Green Lantern)
Knight of Cups Nightwing
Page of Cups Stargirl (JSA)
Ace of Cups Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern)
Two of Cups Apollo and the Midnighter (The Authority)
Three of Cups Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy (Legion of Super Heroes)
Four of Cups St. Walker, Blue Lantern (Green Lantern)
Five of Cups Mr. Freeze
Six of Cups three Flashes
Seven of Cups John Stewart (Green Lantern)
Eight of Cups Red Hood (Jason Todd)
Nine of Cups Plastic Man
Ten of Cups Big Barda and Mr. Miracle
King of Swords Darkseid
Queen of Swords Amanda Waller
Knight of Swords Guy Gardner as Red Lantern
Page of Swords Robin (Damian, probably)
Ace of Swords Sinestro
Two of Swords Madame Xanadu
Three of Swords Atrocitus, Red Lantern
Four of Swords Fortress of Solitude
Five of Swords Vandal Savage, perhaps
Six of Swords reverse Flash
Seven of Swords Deadshot with Batman
Eight of Swords Brainiac
Nine of Swords Scarecrow
Ten of Swords Captain Boomerang
King of Pentacles Ozymandias (Watchmen)
Queen of Pentacles Vixen
Knight of Pentacles Lobo
Page of Pentacles Blue Beetle
Ace of Pentacles Bane
Two of Pentacles Hawk and Dove
Three of Pentacles Teen Titans, Red robin, Superboy, Ravager, others
Four of Pentacles The Penguin
Five of Pentacles Swamp Thing
Six of Pentacles Green Arrow
Seven of Pentacles Deathstroke and Terra
Eight of Pentacles Batgirl
Nine of Pentacles Black Canary
Ten of Pentacles Blue Beetle (earlier)

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December 28th, 2015
11:30 pm

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The Hateful Eight in 70mm
Saw The Hateful Eight today in 70mm Panavision Ultra at AMC Southpoint Cinema, Durham. I don't go to that theater much: the last time I was there was for Richard Linklater's movie Boyhood.

The film had problems about fifteen minutes or so before the end (a minute or two into "The Final Chapter") where I could still see a faint ghost of the image on screen, almost black on black, before the lights came up for a very short time. The movie restarted having switched to digital: starting up a few seconds before "The Final Chapter" text card and replayed a minute or so before catching up to where the film had problems.

I am not upset at this malfunction because it gave me an "apples to apples" comparison: I saw over a minute of the same scene in 70mm Panavision film, then in what I can only assume is theatrical-quality digital. In comparison, the digital was paler with less saturation and slightly fuzzy.

Best job title in the credits: Checkpoint Charlie. No, I don't know why either.

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December 14th, 2015
06:15 pm

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calendar update, oh right
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