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    • Impotent Fury

    • Posted by Bombus Hortorus on 23 Mar 08
    • Have just realised that the large, and totally unexpected pile of chalk in the middle of the road I ran into last week at some ungodly hour in the morning has actually done significant damage to the front end of my car - the lens from the indicator is completely missing and the bumper is smashed to pieces behind the front - which I didn't notice when I gave it a cursory check.

      So some stupid, stupid bastard with a badly loaded truck is going to cost me a lot of money. My twisted heart burns fiercely in HATE.
    • Movie Review - Casshern

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 22 Mar 08

    • One of the things I don't like in Japanese animes is the over-the-topness. Over-the-top can work, but when taken too seriously it's usually just ridiculous. Unfortunately, that's what happens in "Casshern". Director Kazuaki Kiriya apparently filmed this movie while taking amphetamines. This might sound like a good thing considering this is a superhero action movie... but it's not. Imagine Michael Bay ten times worse. There you go.

      The story: in a near-apocalyptic, war-ridden world, Dr. Azuma manages to get some funding for his neo-cell research (an obvious elseworld version of stem cells) and his research is slowly evolving, until an unknown event causes the bioengineered (or neoengineered, I don't know) mutants to come to life. The security in Azuma's facility kills most of them, but some manage to escape to an abandoned fortress which is conveniently filled with thousands of warbots. These mutants also find out they have increased strenght, agility and the incredible ability of learning kung-fu out of nowhere. They decide to take revenge on the human race for trying to kill them, and they set up an empire called neo-sapien (a reference to neo-nazis, probably). Meanwhile, Dr. Azuma grabs his son Tetsuya's corpse (killed in war) and brings him back the same way the mutants came to life. To adapt Tetsuya to his stronger, faster body, Azuma's fellow scientist builds an armor for him. Now, Tetsuya is as strong as the mutants and - yep - the only one who can stop them.

      The script, written by director Kazuaki Kiriya, Dai Sato, Shotaro Suga and Tatsuo Yoshida and based on the original anime, starts well. Creating an interesting, depressing world bathed in burning orange tones, the film makes some interesting commentaries on stem cell research, cloning and the cruel nature of war, and creates some nice characters. The dialogue is not great, but not bad either. That all works until the unknown event makes the mutants come to life - suddenly it's like the movie hit its head on a wall and became a complete retard. Ridiculous dialogue (one-liners, especially), chaotic story-telling, a laughable villain and convenient plot devices (an abandoned fortress filled with functioning warbots, for fuck's sake).

      If the script at least works in the first hour of the movie, Kazuaki Kiriya's direction never does. Unable to hold a frame for more than three seconds, he tries to capture a scene by every possible angle. The editing keeps swapping angles every moment for no apparent reason during every simple conversation between two characters.

      The thing is, after the mutants come to life, his direction becomes even worse. The first fight in the film is absolutely terrible. I know he was probably trying to portray Tetsuya's dizziness at that moment, but he could have done that in a much clearer way than just cutting to a new angle every nanosecond and abusing soft focus.

      The action scenes, by the way, suck. It's almost impossible to understand what's going on, thanks to an editing work that makes you feel like you're having an epilepsy fit. Worst: that editing's not only on the action scenes, but in the rest of the film. The way it goes from a scene to the other (ex: from a location to another) every two seconds is stunningly annoying to say the least.

      Not even the movie's visuals could please me. It's impossible to appreciate them with the nutjob editing, over-the-top directing and the cinematography that can't seem to decide whether the movie will have orange, white or black-and-white tones. And while the special effects work during normal scenes, they lose their appeal during action scenes due to - once again - the editing and directing. Finally, the main cast is good, but most actors just try to look cool as if they're in an actual anime (one of them even shakes his head to adjust his bangs in a terribly awkward moment of the film).

      I couldn't watch this movie until the end. I tried, but I just lost my patience and realized the movie was beyond salvation at that point (when Tetsuya calls himself "Casshern" for the first time, probably at 1 hour and forty minutes of film). "Casshern" could have been great, if it wasn't for a completely nuts movie crew that tried too hard to capture the anime style and destroyed the film's story.
    • Random Ranting

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 21 Mar 08
    • One of the many things I (love to) hate are those people who hand over paper to you on the street. I dunno what you call it: pamphlets, flyers, whatever. It's paper with ads that are never remotely interesting. I never, EVER pick them up. I don't give the bastards the satisfaction.

      In my street, Rua das Laranjeiras (Laranjeiras Street), there's a patch with a bunch of them. Clearly pissed at life, they just shove their hands in your way and keep them there until you're out of arm's reach (or until you grab the paper). One time a guy shoved his hand so violently and suddenly in front of me I stumbled backwards. I needed all my will power to smile awkwardly instead of grabbing all that paper and shoving it down his throat while screaming, "here, eat some Yoga classes, you bastard FUCK!".

      But so far they were just annoying... until one of these guys made the equivalent of a Cinema actor breaking the fourth wall:

      I was strolling down Rua do Catete (Catete Street) when a girl tried to hand me a flyer - and she said - she SAID:

      "Take it."

      I swear! The fucking NERVE! Not only she shoves her hand in my way, she presumes I can't understand that by her gesture she wants me to GRAB THE FUCKING PAPER.

      I was so surprised it took some time for me to react. I mumbled:

      "Fuck you".

      No, actually, I didn't. I wanted to, but my automatic politeness made me say:

      "No, thank you."

      And then she REPLIED... I swear to whatever god you believe in or don't, she REPLIED IN A BITCHY TONE:

      "Oh, man..."


      Obviously I kept walking, pretending I didn't listen. And now I'm fearing this is the beggining of a new strategy: now they'll ASK you to pick up the paper, and when you don't, they'll act sad. And in the future, it will get worse: you won't pick up the paper and, when you're far enough, they'll yell "motherfuckeeeeeeeeer!" and run like hell.
    • What's up with Roo

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 21 Mar 08
    • Finally having an artistically productive week. I got some new drawings done for AoE, for my Celtic/Roman/Gallic wars rpg, and some fun drawings done. My wrists aren't super-cranky today (huzzah) and the Ct/tendonitis kick seems to be going under control again with more care and stabilization of the weather.

      Got tickets to go visit a friend in Chicago to work on Godcraft stuff in April; got to check and see what the new stuff is at the AIC, drag my sketchbook over to do some drawings, might need to get a new StudentID for museum prices though...

      "Sadomasochistic Necrobestiality" is running through my head to the tune of supercalifragilisticexpialadocious.

      I'm feeling rather tired today; guess I'm getting out of shape; once the ice clears up and its safer walking I'll start walking to class in the morning instead of driving...

      I talked to my mother yesterday. I said I wanted to go into doing comics, and she immediately cut me off; she's not into it, and doesn't understand it. Grandma is more supportive; I actually got her to read Persepolis I & 2- and she liked it, and a few other grandma-safe comics I have about the house...

      So here's a question for my readers:
      Anyone have any idea of any graphic novels that would be grandmother safe? Ie: No sex, no swearing, very little violence?
      I got her to read Persepolis, which she liked a lot, tried to get her to read Maus, but she didn't want to read it because it had 'icky mice and rats on the cover'.
    • It really is the little things

    • Posted by PyD on 21 Mar 08
    • So on Fridays in my lil Uni Library I am fated to work the Friday evening shift. That's 1pm to 9pm GMT. Yes working Friday nights not ideal - particualrly when coupled with working every second Saturday - I run a 6 day week followed by a 4 day week.

      The last thing I have to do before anyone resembling a boss or manager leaves on a Friday afternoon is a shelving run which varies from about 10 books on days like today to a few thousand on the days assignments are due in.

      Usually on these runs I try to swing into the office at the other end of the building to say hello to the folk that work there who we see less frequently than we used to at our old location where we shared an office space.
      I also liek to peruse the acquisitions shelf to see if anything particularly intersting or risible - usually marketing texts - have arrived.

      Today on the shelf that hosues newly arrived DVDs I found this
      Grindhouse trailers

      Knowing that this is soon going to be available not just to me any time I feel like getting drunk and watching it but to the general and varied student and staff populus of this somewhat less than august institution just makes me smile inside.
    • Z: TBH: Insomnia

    • Posted by Z on 21 Mar 08
    • Time to come clean.


      I haven't slept in three weeks. I tried dedicating a twitter to it when it was simply dread. I tried talking through it with those closest to me.

      At this point, approaching the fourth week, I'm deathly afraid I've stopped making any sense. I'm repeating myself- a lot. Apologising for no apparent reason. Nodding off at my desk, not for sleep, but for being unable to hold my head up anymore.

      I'm confessing this because I have no idea what I'm saying out loud anymore, and while I can't avoid responsibility for what I say, I can at least apologise for not making any sense.

      Whatever I say before this insomnia breaks: I'm sorry. Ignore me.

      - Z