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January 23rd, 2015
09:49 am

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January 17th, 2015
10:42 am

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[film] A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Saw A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night last night at the Rialto Colony (Colony, specifically: runs today through Thursday, at 9:30pm only). Worth your time.

Often described as a "vampire Western", A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour) is to me really more like what would happen if someone told a young David Lynch and Godard about John Hughes young love movies of the 1980s and they collaborated on a movie together: it's like some mix of Le Samourai, Alphaville, Eraserhead, and Sixteen Candles. Great 80s-influenced soundtrack. It's slow paced like Only Lovers Left Alive was, but even sparser in the way Scorsese's After Hours felt: the city is deserted except for the characters. Black and white. Little onscreen violence, almost no nudity, lots of silence between dialogue. Some of the film didn't work as well for me as I think it was supposed to: scenes of the girl stalking her victims was just not quite precisely enough mirror behavior to work for me. But the skateboarding was a lovely zero-budget way to give the visual suggestion of flying on screen. Yes, skateboarding. It works, really. So 60 French New Wave, 70s experimental, and 80s pop romance all in one movie. Works for me.

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January 14th, 2015
12:51 am

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January 9th, 2015
12:22 am

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Late, I know. 'm going to pretend this is still Wednesday.
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January 2nd, 2015
10:47 am

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Last Guardian Standing
Logged in to Destiny while the Bungie servers were problematic (PSN was fine) and connection issues were kicking everyone off the network. Reached the Tower and I was the only player in the entire Plaza: just me and the bots. No people on screen or on the radar, nothing moving. No one to play soccer or kickball, or dance with.

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January 1st, 2015
09:17 pm

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[film] Foxcatcher
Foxcatcher with Steve Carrell’s (excellent) zero affect performance & bleak grays and silences is a vampire movie. Hear me out.

Visually, the entire film is shot in low saturation and grayed out to the point that the gloriously vibrant rural Pennsylvania woods in summer and fall look drained and anything else looks worse. Carrell's performance involves an almost totally immobile face and an overall bodily stillness. He is often shown slumped deep into a chair like a corpse in a coffin: a complete absence of physical twitches, or life, or movement, only his eyes and voice. His physical presentation is similar to an insect, arachnid, some depictions of vampires, and (I believe) Larry Niven's descriptions of people whose life spans have been extended far beyond normal: in many cases they're long-lived because they're ultra-wealthy and can afford to not die, but they're identifiable as ancient not by wrinkles but by their physical stillness.

Carrell's character has supernatural powers the same way that it has been argued that Bruce Wayne's superpower isn't training or willpower, it's money. Like Dracula and other vampires of his style, Carrell's character is aristocratic, lives in a mansion with a retinue of servants some of whose loyalties approximate Renfield's. As to vampiric draining, he doesn't drink blood, he makes people submit to his will and subjugate themselves. One of the toughest scenes in the movie is where Mark Ruffalo's character due to circumstances forces himself, an Olympic gold medalist and successful coach, to describe Carrell's character as his mentor in his personal area of expertise and excellence. Ruffalo's character is explicitly coached into the words by one of the other employees, who reminds him that Carrell's character prefers vocabulary words like "dominate".

Carrell, Tatum, and Ruffalo all give very good to excellent performances. Vanessa Redgrave has a small but powerful role as the matriarch of the family. Despite the previous work of Carrell and Tatum this is in no way a comedy.

Even without the vampire interpretation, it's not hard to categorize Foxcatcher as a horror movie: it's a good movie but not remotely a pleasant one.

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December 31st, 2014
06:42 pm

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Happy new year!
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December 30th, 2014
01:16 am

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[film] Enemy
Tonight's film in the doppelganger film festival: Enemy, loosely adapted from Jose Saramago's novel The Double. (Yes, I know last night's movie was titled The Double, adapted from the Dostoyevsky story of the same name. This term overload or name collision is sort of expected given the topic at hand. More surrealistic and less coherent than The Double, with more dream sequences and a lot more spiders (seriously, if you have a spider phobia you may want to be aware of a few rare bits that are extremely unnerving), Enemy is a bit more overtly confrontational with "there can be only one" than The Double. Good performances, great unnerving score. If I had to recommend only one of these movies it'd be The Double, but they're both pretty short and would make a decent double feature. Again like The Double, Enemy ran locally last year and I regret missing it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_%282013_film%29

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December 29th, 2014
12:01 pm

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The Double
Last night's film, that I now regret not seeing last year when it ran locally (briefly, but it did run here): The Double. A "British black comedy...based on the novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky...about a man driven to breakdown when he is usurped by a doppelgänger". There's a couple of bits that remind me of After Hours, one of my favorite black comedies of all time. (Relevant to Wraith20‬, I see Shadow and Harrowing associations throughout in this movie.) Currently on both netflix and amazon prime streaming.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Double_%282013_film%29

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December 26th, 2014
10:08 am

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at her door there came a rapping
So M. was kept up much of Christmas Eve by an irregular sharp tapping noise that she thought was an animal in the ceiling of the next room. The noise happened only when all the lights were out and stopped if she turned on a light.
Last night she went to bed while I began watching a movie when the noise started again. I poked my head through an access hole into the rafters of the ceiling feeling very much like the Captain in Alien (1979). Nothing.
I sat in the dark waiting. A series of sharp almost metallic or rock-like clicks, inconsistent in number and duration with minutes between sets, happened. I quietly moved and waited again to triangulate the noise.
The rapping happened again and I spiked the location with a tight-beam spotlight - to find that the lone fish in the aquarium had discovered, after a couple of years of residence, that it could headbutt the glass thermometer (suspended inside the tank by a string) against the inside of the aquarium's glass wall. Moved the thermometer and the noise didn't recur for the rest of the night.

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