Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Movie Review

The Dark Knight - Oh, Hell yes. I'm not even going to try to write anything coherent, here, I'm just going to list off a few of the things that make this worth seeing, and I'm mostly going to try and highlight things that haven't been mentioned in very many published reviews. Incidentally: Yes, we went to an IMAX screen.
  • The elaborate bank heist that opens the film.
  • That car chase. The one that includes both a helicopter crash and a semi flipping end-over-end.
  • The cross-dressing Joker.
  • The Joker coming out of a hospital and getting annoyed when all of his bombs don't go off.
  • "You complete me" is now no longer a cliched, cheesy punchline.
  • "I'll do what you shoulda done ten minutes ago."
  • The Two-Face makeup.
  • The way they used what I see (in the comics) sometimes as the Joker's masochism: He keeps getting into fistfights with Batman, someone he has no chance of beating in a straight-up fight. One of the most chilling things in the film is Batman beating up the Joker, trying to extract information from him, and the Joker just laughing the whole time and saying, "You have nothing to threaten me with." He doesn't care if Batman beats the crap out of him, because he knows it doesn't change anything: After he gets tired of punching, Batsy is still going to have to play his game.
  • The Joker as ultimate nihilist: What he most wants to do seems to be to demonstrate that deep down, there's no such thing as morality, or fairness, or justice. That all the things that motivate Batman are illusions. I will leave it to the reader to decide whether he is successful in this.

    I wonder where they're going to go for a villain in the third film. There had been some talk of using the Joker in some way, and speculation about whether they would cast another actor, or just revise the Joker out of the planned story. Personally, I would be perfectly happy to see another actor in the role. The character is by definition mercurial, so it wouldn't bother me at all to see even a radically different interpretation by another actor.

    Whether that happens or not, though, what villains are left in Batman's rogue's gallery that could work in the "realistic" vein these two Nolan films have portrayed? Possibly the Penguin, though not in the mutant-raised-by-zoo-penguins version from Batman Returns, obviously. The Riddler might work as a serial killer, of the type who writes taunting letters to the police; the riddles would be his way of expressing his superiority.

    Beyond that, I'm afraid you start veering into Clayface and Killer Croc territory, which would be difficult to pull off in any "realistic" way. Unless, of course, they just decided to go all-out weird and have him face Bat-Mite.
  • Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    The Cycle of Creation

    We seem to have come all the way back around to...
    Before the beginning, there was this turtle. And the turtle was alone. And he looked around, and he saw his neighbor, which was his mother. And he lay down on top of his neighbor, and behold! she bore him in tears an oak tree, which grew all day and then fell over -- like a bridge. And lo! under the bridge there came a catfish. And he was very big. And he was walking. Yes! And he was the biggest he had seen. And so were the fiery balls of this fish -- one of which is the sun, the other they called the moon.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    Guitar Heroes

    This is nothing new - it made the rounds on the internet last year - but just in case anyone reading hasn't seen them, I highly recommend the St Sanders "Shreds" videos. Hy-larious.

    For the unaware, these are by a Finnish video artist named Santeri Ojala. What he's done is take video performance clips of various guitar heroes (Van Halen, Clapton, etc.) and dub new guitar solos over the videos. Bad guitar solos. Rather like the "experimental free-form jazz odyssey" Spinal Tap is forced to perform after Nigel quits.

    Think of it as sort of like an instrumental music version of a What's Up, Tiger Lily?/J-Men Forever kind of thing. The thing is, he does such a good job simultaneously matching what the video shows them playing (well enough to actually fool some people), but at the same time being so completely out of character... well, really, it's indescribable. Just watch. I particularly recommend the one featuring Ozzy Osbourne on hand-claps.

    Steve Vai apparently has a sense of humor*, and loved them. Yngwie Malmsteen, not so much: Rumor has it that he's the one who complained to YouTube about copyright violation**, resulting in the creator having his account banned. Oh well, the videos are still there, so I consider it my civic duty to ensure as many people see them as possible...

    Also: The non-music related one is fun, too.

    *Probably a necessary survival trait in Frank Zappa's band, where you run the risk of having your groupie exploits immortalized in a song like "Stevie's Spanking".

    **Despite this obviously being parody, and therefore falling under the Fair Use exception.