glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Until today, the Dora the Explorer Inception spoof trailer was my favorite. ("You're talking about dreams...sueños.")

However, for sheer "Go Big or Go Home", this one might be catching up.

...INEBRIATION.




Bonus: as someone who leaves the house sometimes at night on the weekends, I think I've actually seen the end of this movie on sidewalks throughout the city. And I've seen the middle of this movie at diners throughout the city the morning after. ("It's only once you sober up that you realize you were actually plastered.")

Also, no joke, the attention to detail here is kind of great. That elevator lobby is amazing.

ETA: Another of my favorites, which I had seen and then unforgivably forgotten about, is Bill and Ted's Excellent Inception. Back when I wrote at Tor.com about the effect Inception might have, I mentioned that if it did well, we could expect more smart sci-fi. I was shamefully unprepared for its potential for parody, which might exceed all of its actual effect on smart sci-fi in Hollywood.
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I have a Tumblr. It's mostly useful for an aggregated feed of handy screencaps of shows I don't even watch, just so I don't fall behind in knowing what's going on with all the shows I don't watch. (This is my life. I have no explanations.)

However, sometimes you get an image that is so awesome you don't even know what to do except blog it on Tumblr, and then immediately blog it on LJ.



(Click through for hi-res and source.)

This image brings joy to my heart, forever. (And also fear, because I will have to begin tracking down the ones I don't recognize, which will cut into my catching-up-on-shows-I-don't-have-time-to-watch time.)

Inception

Aug. 4th, 2010 05:40 pm
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I saw Inception last night, for the second time.

A couple of lingering questions I had from my initial viewing were cleared up. A couple will just never be answered. I'm largely okay with it; I'm certainly willing to overlook them and enjoy the movie.

I'm definitely willing to overlook the things I didn't like to watch some of the fight scenes and chase scenes, and to watch Cillian Murphy pulling a compelling emotional through-line out of ten lines in the script. Cillian Murphy: literally acting his way out of a bag since whenever Christopher Nolan started putting sacks on the poor guy's head.

(Also, to watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page doing pretty much anything. Also, Tom Hardy, who is so much more in his element here than in Wuthering Heights that it seriously boggles the mind. Also Dileep Rao, and Marion Cotillard, and Ken Watanabe. Basically, see the picture below.)



One of the things that bothered me on my initial viewing was the seemingly-excessive exposition in the film's first third...until last night, when something happened in the audience that made me realize why all that exposition might be necessary.

Vague spoilers for a minor subplot under here, and other random nattering about the movie. )

This is outside the cut because I really want to know this even if you are not the clicking kind:

Usually I feel like a movie can be enjoyed in the privacy of one's home just as much as at the theatre, if not more so. However, the group viewing experience here seems worth recording. So, I'm totally polling on this one; I want to know how everyone's audiences reacted after the movie was over. POSTERITY, ETC.
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And I thought the first episode was amazing!

I'm not saying it got cheesier. I'm just saying that if I ran a drive-in movie, this would be the summer special.



These men are just confused that they are one of the few promo stills available and 80% of them haven't even appeared in the miniseries yet. Mostly because this miniseries is a battlefield they aren't on. You know who's on that battlefield? The people under this cut.

Five Things About Episode 2 of Pillars of the Earth. )
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So, I'll be doing the episodes of The Pillars of the Earth one at a time, since it's all my ancient laptop can handle before Netflix crashes my computer for the night.

The good news is, this kind of comedy gold is worth every frustrating moment. I'm going to hit five things in every episode worth watching it for. We'll slap it behind a spoiler cut, I guess, though the book's been out for twenty years. (Also, this is so unrelated to the book that it wouldn't matter in any case.)



Look at those hostage eyes. You know you're in for a treat!

Five Reasons to Watch Episode 1 of Pillars of the Earth. )
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The Pillars of the Earth premiered on Friday! It's based on the Ken Follett bestseller, which means that, as with any Ken Follett book, there will be a lot of research into the topic, many people will die in gruesome ways, and women will do ridiculous things at all times for no reason.

Still, that book was my jam when I was 11, so I thought I might as well check it out, since it's got every ham actor who ever hammed. It's an Ultimate Ham-off!

After seeing the first episode, I can tell you with authority: this is the kind of Ham-Off they will write about for a hundred years. And by "they" I mean "me," and by "a hundred years" I mean "for the next three weeks."

I mean, the cast aside (Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, Donald Sutherland, Sarah Parish, just for starters), the subject matter is perfect for half-starved scenery-chewing. I think most of what I'll be doing the next three weeks is developing a drinking game for this thing, because I suspect it will need it.

For those who doubt how much cheese you can get in less than two minutes of footage, I give you a vaguely-spoilery trailer!



Tomorrow, Episode 1 (A New Ham-off)!
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Or, if you're me, any day!

Up at Fantasy Magazine this week, I posted Ten Cheesetastic Fantasy Flicks for Summer. For once, there's no competition for which one is best, because they're all the best!

Except maybe Xanadu is the best.



(Look at those hostage eyes. Yipes.)

The thing is, some of the movies on that list are cheesy but legitimately good. The Mummy, for example, is pretty unapologetic summer-blockbuster pulp, but I've seen it quite a few times and it always holds up, because Pulpy and Bad are not synonymous, even though a lot of things that aim for Pulpy end up at Bad. (That's another essay. I'm just noting it here.) Lost Boys is awesome, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is amazing. I'll even make a case for Earth Girls are Easy being a pretty solid flick! (Somewhere, Joseph Campbell is cringing.)

But there are some movies (...XANADU) that defy explanation.

Explaining it more doesn't help. )

(I've seen this movie like, six times. It never gets any less confusing.)

It was hard to choose a representative clip. The scene where the sisters wake up from the mural they're painted on (really happens) is pretty good. It gives the right tone for the film, both because the song makes you want to slap your ears off, and because it looks like the people actually in the scene were just as confused as anyone else, and the choreography was called out in a series of impromptu orders. ("Look at your hands! You have some hands! Have more hands! HAVE MORE HANDS.")

But I think this clip has to win.




Notes: this clip has been severely chopped, so you are missing out on the Gene Kelly-led rollerskating step routine and the part where Kira and her sisters sing this in half a dozen different styles, including Country Western, in which Michael Beck (SWAN, WHY) has to shake his shoulders like he's trying to wrench an arm out of the socket so he can be excused to the medic and just keep running and never look back.

Also, many of those sisters aren't the same sisters from the beginning of the movie. I'm just saying, that's the kind of show you're in for.

An awesome one.
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Okay, I have not even begun to settle back in from Launchpad, but I have a lot of updates and not enough time to write thoughtful intros for them (or for anything, ever), so we'll do this list-style and then I promise to bore you sometime later this week with the awesome details about making s'mores with people using only starlight for heat and marshmallows we harvested ourselves.

(This did not happen. Wyoming has no marshmallow trees, as they only thrive in the Pacific Northwest.)


1. First, fiction news! My short story "The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball" is up at Lightspeed Magazine!

2. I saw Inception opening weekend. I had to wait until I was in New York to do it - I dropped my suitcase at my apartment and went straight from there to the theatre - but I saw it. I will be writing more (a lot more) about this movie later, but for now, my SPOILERY review is up at Tor.com. SPOILERS. It says so in the cut-tag, but I'm direct-linking, so SPOILERS. SO MANY SPOILERS. THE TITANIC SINKS. DARTH IS LUKE'S DAD. SO MANY SPOILERS.

3. Launchpad was great. I wrote up an intro post here, with some handy links, and followed it up with Four Fun Things About the Universe, for values of "fun" that include the knowledge that if you get close to a black hole you'll be torn to shreds by gravity. Whee!


Tomorrow I should be caught up and ready to blog again. I hope. (I might just go home and sleep 12 hours. It's reverse altitude sickness!)
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Okay. This is the big Eclipse post.

Ten Things About Eclipse has covered the bases.

Yesterday, my piece about The Decline and Fall of the Twilight Empire went up at Tor.com. There, I discussed the fact that as the fandom grows, the quality of actual filmmaking seems to sink like a stone.

(I will be honest, though, looking at my notes for New Moon, I'm not sure if endless music-video tracking shots are any worse than establishing shots with voiceover that then cut to a different location/scene entirely. Still, Eclipse had more to work with and did less with it, so it's probably still the worst movie of the three. I'll have to think about this.)

But first, as always, there was The Line.

Stampede-free, Burger-King-crown heavy. )

I still think the line winner was the girl in a Cullen crest shirt, looking very displeased with her friends: "I was here early IRONICALLY."



These kids speak for all of us.


And then it was time for the movie. Oh, was it ever. )
glvalentine: (omg no)
And the Eclipse postmortem begins! First up: Ten Things You Should Know About Eclipse, at Fantasy Magazine. This information might just save your life. (Or, two hours. Whichever.)

4. Howard Shore did the music.
You’ll know because whenever Bella and Edward make out, it sounds like every pervert in the Shire is creeping up on them.




His hand looks like a questing, half-hidden octopus, doesn't it? (Go ahead, unsee it. I dare you.)

I have an article forthcoming at Tor.com about the franchise in general and the trend in cinematic quality (hint: yeeeeesh), and last up will be the line report and blow-by-blow, because seriously, you guys? YIKES.
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Last night, while reviewing what I've been working on in handy graphic form (which I will be doing again, because it's fun and prevents me from actually working), Inception was the last square.

Up at Tor.com today, I talk about what we know about Inception, and what Inception means.



Hint: it means that smart sci-fi movies are thin on the ground these days, and a movie pitched as cerebral sci-fi is an event in and of itself. (Seriously, the only thing emphasized in the trailer is dreams/ideas/the mind, and also how all these people look really great in nice clothes.) This strategy wouldn't have worked on a movie like, say, Moon, which was one of last year's thinkiest sci-fi movies, but too indie for its own good somehow, and it ended up coming out in about eight theatres and disappearing off the face of the earth, except for one DVD copy that I put in a time capsule to save for later.

Obviously there's no worries about that here, because Nolan made Batman cool again, which means he can basically do what he wants, forever. However, I am really hoping that this movie does not happen to suck. A lot of movies by good directors happen to suck, but when Channing Tatum gets tapped for the lead in a dimensional-sci-fi-action-romance that got suddenly greenlit because it's vaguely like Avatar, I bet a lot of good scripts are floating around that could really benefit from some box-office proof that smart sells.

I'm just saying, in a world where Ridley Scott is remaking his own Alien franchise, Spider-Man is getting a reboot THREE YEARS after the last one came out, and Avatar can win Golden Globes*, we could really use a win, here.

NO PRESSURE, INCEPTION.



* To be fair, many undeserving people have won Golden Globes.

WIPs

Jun. 24th, 2010 11:11 pm
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Please note, I apparently don't have time to write about anything in depth, but plenty of time to make graphics about what I'm doing. Mmm, logic!




1. Reference image for a story I'm working on; originally was used for a story I just finished, but this image had another purpose. (It's a worker.)

2. If I am not writing a story about someone in a coat of some kind, then I am writing a story about a post-human singularity...in which robots wear coats.

3. This looks like a still from a fantastic movie. It is, in fact, a still from One Night with the King, which is an absolutely terrible movie you will be seeing more of shortly.

4. Ditto. This is from Bathory. Not pictured: Hans Matheson painting a portrait of a baby that's been stored inside the block of ice. (Oh, it happens.)

5. This is a picture of a juggler. Technically, he's from an Anthropologie catalog, and he's probably just a juggler because Hans Matheson found another stand-in. In my imagination, he's my imaginary circus boyfriend. His name is Ben. You will probably see him again.

6. The novel currently with my agent takes place in a river city. This picture was from [livejournal.com profile] vintagephoto, and the time between me seeing it and me right-click-saving cannot be measured with modern instruments.

7. My next novel is set in the 1920s. Researching dance crazes of the time is repellent, grueling work that I absolutely do not enjoy whatsoever, but it has to be done.

8. Because it's never the wrong time to watch Gleaming the Cube.

9. Inception. I have a piece about this movie lined up for Tor.com; in the meantime, just know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt must have signed an extra wire-work clause or something.
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(You have to use all the 'o's. Everyone in the movie does.)

Over the weekend, as ordered, I actually told a ticket taker "Jonah Hex, please!" and saw it.

We all knew it was going to be bad. But I honestly could not have predicted the scope of awfulness here. This was no ordinary awful. It was almost magically bad. I snickered uncontrollably pretty much nonstop.

I also made this face a lot.



(Michael Fassbender, you put this movie down RIGHT NOW.)

Check out the details at Tor.com, but be warned that the written word cannot do justice to how sublimely, accidentally hilarious this movie is.
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A few days ago I mentioned the cheeseball glory that is Dhoom 2.

Today, we do a Bollywood 180 for Jodhaa Akbar, a sweeping historical drama based on the life of Akbar the Great.

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai star in both. I'm glad I saw Hrithik in this before I saw Dhoom 2, and that is all I will say about that. (Aishwarya…does her best.)



Nutshell: In 16th-Century India, Jalaluddin is the young emperor of Hindustan, handsoming his way across the country, trying to be wise and just and whatever. Jodhaa is a stunning Rajput princess who's married to Jalaluddin as a gesture of solidarity between Hindus and Muslims. Will these two incredibly genetically blessed people ever fall in love? Will Jalaluddin ever reconcile the two religions at war under his reign? Will this movie's eight bajillion subplots ever get resolved? We'll find out…in real time. (This movie is awesome, but it is also about eight years long.)

Let's hit it. )

Splice

Jun. 15th, 2010 05:55 pm
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People often use the phrase, "Ambitious, but flawed" to describe a movie. I use it a lot; it helps hint at a film that was trying to be more complex than The Blind Side or something, and depending how you put the emphasis, it can mean anything from "there were a few things that didn't sit quite right" to "what a magnificent collection of moving images that had no discernible narrative cohesion". (Oh, Sunshine.)



Splice tries very hard to be a Frankenstein for our times; a CGI creepfest; a meta-horror; a complex dissection of parenting norms; a parable of nature vs. nurture. At the same time. (You can see already where we're going to have problems.)

As for how well it did at any or all of those things…how big can I make "Flawed"?

And 3D, if you have it. )
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So, this weekend I saw Splice. I will be talking about it tomorrow, but it's just not the sort of blog entry I want to face on a Monday. Especially since I also saw Dhoom 2 this weekend.

Dhoom 2 stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, who had been paired to great effect in Jodhaa Akbar (despite Aishwarya's lack of actual acting ability). I thought, "Well, they did well in the other one. Let's check out Dhoom 2!"

Do you guys remember the first Mission: Impossible movie, when everyone had latex masks on all the time and they spent four hours just double-crossing each other and jumping around pulling off latex masks to reveal other latex masks and shooting bullets in an arc and running around and pulling off other people's latex masks, and you spent the whole movie thinking, "What is wrong with these awful people in this movie I don't understand?"

The maker of Dhoom 2 looked at that movie and said, "This is missing two things: dance numbers, and a man dressed up to look like the Queen. I can fix this."



And so, Dhoom 2 was born. )

Best part: I was thinking about writing this up, and I thought, "Well, it won't be the same without a compilation of Hrithik Roshan walking in slow-motion towards the camera with his shirt unbuttoned and his scarf fluttering in the wind, but where the hell am I going to find that?"

Turns out someone made it, and put it to a love song. Thank you, internet. Thank you for everything.

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This weekend, I saw Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time. It was exactly as good as people have said, which means it was a complete wreck.

The saddest thing is, even if you get over the whitewashed casting, and the nonsense plot, and the laborious action scenes (save the first big one during the city raid, which was genuinely exciting), there's still nothing there. It's all so calculated and flat and recycled.

The other saddest thing is watching this cast try to sell what they had to know was a total dog. Richard Coyle managed to do a lot in his three minutes of screen time, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were trying SO HARD, but it was just never going to happen. I'd like to see them in something else. (Particularly in something else that is not the sequel to this movie. Ever.)

Thing I can't find photo proof of but which is totally true: the Alamut CGI looks exactly like Mont-Saint-Michel.





Not sure why, but we'll go with it! (This was said a lot during pre-production, I expect.)

Check out the whole thing over at Tor.com.
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
It sounds like an It List for the Shire (Wouldn't that be amazing? Awkwardly-posed group shots of all the Tooks and Proudfeet and Gamgees that made it that year, like a Vanity Fair spread?), but really, Nine Hobbits that Could Happen details how things are probably going to go if any of those nine directors get their hands on the material.

I'm getting really concerned about The Hobbit, actually; bad enough that it's two movies long, which is utterly unnecessary, but there are huge budget issues and production has gone on forever and they are still adrift in the casting pond and it's just turning into a mess. (Plus, one of my favorite people in the whole world, Sir Ian, is not getting any younger, and if this thing takes much longer to get off the ground he's going to be sitting in an easy chair in a lot of his shots. This is fine for Bag End, but will get iffy once we hit the woods.)

That said, I don't think Bigelow or Scott are impossible choices, and I'd watch either of those movies. Otherwise I'm just staying home and singing along with my Rankin-Bass version, which is THE JAM.
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Short WisCon report: it was great, except for the hour prior to my reading at the Lightspeed launch, where I had a more serious case of nerves than normal and ended up pacing outside like I was a screwball reporter waiting for a phone call. The reading went fine, though, and everything else was a blast.

Today at Fantasy Magazine, I run down the Top Ten Magical Realism Films, which doesn't sound quite right, but Magical Realist sounds like a wizard who's like, "Listen, I can summon the beasts of the ocean, but my day job is in Indiana, so you tell me."

One of my favorites on this list is Lawn Dogs. It's a modern fairy tale in the good sense and the bad, in that uneven way where the concepts sometimes outstrip the dialogue, and some of the visuals are awesome and some are heavy-handed. (The suburban parents are perkily banal! He's a free spirit because he dives off bridges naked!)

On the other hand, in the opening scene where Mischa Barton's character is making sugar-cookie-girl-with-raisin-bellybutton cookie drones for her Brownies equivalent, and her parents are talking about super-suburban nothing in the background, a fly lands on one of the cookies and she looks at it a moment and then grinds it into the cookie alongside all the raisins. A moment like that...sets the right tone, let's say.

I remain surprised this movie isn't more popular (though it was hard to come by for a few years, so it's not like anyone had a chance to stumble upon it). It was one of the first times I saw Sam Rockwell; I looked this up after seeing Galaxy Quest and realizing Rockwell was the guy from The Green Mile and thinking he was probably pretty awesome in his other stuff, too. (Hint: he is.)
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Wow, that was kind of a long hiatus! (I made the last one in 1996, it looks like.) I know this has become something of a habit, like that time I tried to make a picspam of my French vacation and only got two-thirds of the way through, so if you are a literalist it looks like I never actually came home but am instead blogging from an attic somewhere overlooking the amusement park in Rouen. (Note to that person: well-spotted, mon frère!)

But I have my act together now, and the time has come for another Catherine Cookson Experience!

Today's is different from most of the others, because I genuinely love this one. It is a pulpy mess, and I enjoy every second of its cheesy glory. You will be able to tell this soon, but I thought I might as well warn you up front: this one is awesome, and I have the eight thousand photos to prove it! This is The Rag Nymph.



Vital Stats:

Era: 1850s, looks like.
Heroine: Millie
Siblings that require looking-after: Well, initially Millie is the one who needs looking-after (when you were niiiiiiiine!).
Illegitimate (Self or sibling): It's like a Law and Order episode; it takes you almost until the end to find out, and by then you don't even care.
Asshole Father?: Oh, jeez. Every father in this thing is a total jerkbag.
Romantic interest(s): Mr. Bingley, Paul Atreides. Tough call!
Bairnsketballs: Nope.
Fistfights: Somebody knifes a pimp. It counts!
Assaults: Oh jeeeeeeeez.

Under here, more When You Were Nine goodness. )

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Genevieve Valentine

September 2010

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