sareini: Bub from Day of the Dead (bub!)
There was supposed to be thunderstorms and (at the very least) rain today. When I briefly left the house this afternoon I could even feel it in the air. I could smell it in the air. But it never happened. So right now we're still sitting at 24 degrees C with the hope of it dropping again tonight like it did last night for a while, allowing Lily and I to sleep and feel a little better today. Although there's a possibility I'm getting either a kidney infection or a kidney stone now. Ow.

Today I finally managed to watch The Belko Experiment, having finally tracked down a decent copy. Its poster has a quote describing it as "Battle Royale meets Office Space!" and honestly, I take that as a challenge. It's a basic story: 80 employees of the Columbia branch of the Belko Corporation find themselves locked into their isolated office building and told that they have two hours to kill 30 of their fellow employees or 60 of them will die. Oh, and they all have mini-bombs implanted in the back of their skulls that explode if they try to escape or break the rules (they were told they were GPS trackers to guard against kidnapping). We then see the different reactions of several of the staff as they try to survive, with it ranging from the one guy who wants to try to save everyone without killing to the inevitable guy who would have eventually gone on a killing spree anyway (played by Dr Cox from Scrubs!), to the COO who decides that it's his responsibility to save as many people as possible, and the only way to do that is to execute 30 employees.

So it's an edgier version of Battle Royale but with adults and with a tacked-on "social experiment" explanation. And because nothing will ever beat Battle Royale in my heart, of course it's not as good. I mean, it's not bad, but it's not better than its obvious inspiration. There's moments of black comedy throughout - some moments are good, while others are too obvious and fall flat. I found myself more attached to incidental characters rather than the protagonists and antagonists, and I found the ending to be (a) predictable and (b) rather trite in one big way. But hey, James Gunn and Greg McLean (of Wolf Creek infamy) certainly tried hard. And it's very bloody - splattery, even. So in the end I guess I recommend it - just don't expect sublime things from it.
sareini: (hiding)
The continued heat, even at night, has started to cause me another problem: I can't sleep. Last night I tried using Nick's old room fan to cool things off a little, and while Callie was enthralled by it and the very concept of "wind inside a house", it came at a price: I couldn't hear my music over the noise of the fan, which meant I still couldn't sleep. So that, coupled with worried about Lily who's having a flare-up and several personal things getting to me and weighing down on me, left me feeling very depressed this morning. I tried calling my social worker, but even though she's back from her holiday she's now off sick, so I'm still left twisting in the wind and that only made me feel worse.

So, after curling up in bed with Lily who senses when I'm bad like this and came along to purr on me for three hours so I got some sleep, I decided to take quiet day today. Worked on Ross's birthday present, drank raspberry lemonade water and watched random stuff.

One thing I watched was a J-horror mockumentary found footage movie called Noroi The Curse. It's one of those movies that holds your attention for the near two-hour run time, but then when it ends you have to rush off to Wikipedia to work out what you just watched. I enjoyed it greatly - like I said, it held my attention for the whole thing, and was just the right amount of creepy without any overt jump scares - and with notes of Ghostwatch, The Blair Witch Project and a kernel of what would become Paranormal Activity but I also strongly suspect I'd have understood parts better if I had a better understanding of Japanese and Shinto customs.

Now I'm playing League of Legends (because what better thing to do when feeling low than play Abuse Simulator 2017?) and drinking yet more raspberry lemonade water, because that stuff is like crack.
sareini: Bruce Campbell as Elvis from Bubba Ho-Tep (Bubba Ho-Tep)
I went to see The Mummy this afternoon, fully expecting it to be a hot steaming pile of poop considering the pounding it's been taking in the press since its release.

It was not quite as bad as I'd been expecting, mainly due to the presence of Russell Crowe as Dr Henry Jekyll and Sofia Boutella as the evil Egyptian mummy princess. The former managed to pretty much steal the show for me and the latter was both pretty to watch and had that quality of looking waif-like but being able to knock people around the room at a moment's notice.

On the other hand, it's never good to remind your audience of other, better films that they could be watching, and yet that's what this film did (An American Werewolf in London, Hellraiser, any of the Blind Dead films, any of the previous Mummy films except possibly the last one... any film with Michael Caine in it...). And it was most definitely a Tom Cruise Movie - as in Tom Cruise played a Tom Cruise character and the film was set up around him so that he could look, say and do badass things (like the bit where he pushes the blonde protagonist/love interest out of the way of a careening-on-its-side London bus and then leaps perfectly through its shattered windscreen to land effortlessly in a seat a few rows back). Johnathan Coulton's Tom Cruise Crazy kept playing in my head throughout the film. And when it wasn't, I was wondering if Tom Cruise's character could have been replaced with Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series and if anyone would have noticed.

Of course, any and all credibility went right out the window when the protagonists went into a chamber where liquid mercury was literally dripping from the ceiling, and none of them died of mercury poisoning within hours.

But to be fair, I am interested where they're going with this whole "Dark Universe" franchise. Especially with Dr. Jekyll. I could see something interesting coming from that...
sareini: "Zombies are a girl's best friend" quote with a picture of Julie from Return of the Living Dead 3 (Zombies!)
Yesterday pretty much got written off as being too sad. I spent most of the day in bed with Callie and Lily or talking to my niece on the phone. But today I managed to drag myself out of the house to go and see Alien: Covenant at the cinema.

Now, I've still not seen Prometheus because way too many people whose opinions I trust said it wasn't very good at all, so I suspect I missed some of the film's callback moments because of that. I mean, I knew David was in the previous film, and he was a little bit snooker loopy, and that apparently we didn't get to see an actual xenomorph in Prometheus, but I knew little beyond that. I don't think it affected my enjoyment of the film though, but who knows - maybe I missed some subtle nod that broke the whole story open in a new direction.

I did get confused by Walter for the first part of the movie. It doesn't help that I get occasionally face-blind while watching movies, and so for the first 30 minutes or so I was sitting there thinking, "Is that even Michael Fassbender? Am I getting confused like I do with Mads Mikkleson again?" (It was Michael Fassbender.) Eventually I figured things out though, but that also leads into a gripe I had with them film that I'm pretty sure I and only I will have: what happened to the naming convention? Ash, Bishop, Call, David and... Walter? Yes, I am irrationally bothered by this.

It's got some very splattery moments - not so many as some early reviews had led me to believe, but the ones that were there were very bloody and visceral. Aliens bursting from backs (as seen in the trailer) and other body locations and xenomorphs killing people messily are the order of the day here. And of course it's got its strong female lead with a gender-neutral name who kicks arse like there's no tomorrow.

Also, nice use of Chekov's Nail.

A couple of spoilery points here )


Overall, I recommend it. Definitely brings the prequels of the franchise up to speed with the xenomorphs we know and love.
sareini: (cat)
I woke up this morning to find Callie licking my closed eyes. Apparently my role in life now is to be a salt lick for a kitten. It's the hay fever, of course; now that it's May and the weather is grudgingly admitting that it's springtime the pollens are really getting started, and of course I was already allergic to all of them even before the news of "super pollens" (pollens that have mixed with diesel fuels to be extra sticky in the mucous membranes) hit last week. Already my nose is getting runnier, my eyes more sore and prone to sticking closed in the morning (cat licks aside) and most annoyingly, the roof of my mouth itches more and more of the time. At least my life as it currently is minimises my contact with random free-floating pollen in the outside world.

In other news, I managed to be relatively productive around the house today. Did some small amount of tidying, typed up and published a review for the movie blog (The Void, in case you were wondering) and got as far as I currently can with the Shawl of Secrets. I'm now at the point where I have to buy the missing ball of yarn before I can continue, and depending on how things go on Thursday (another vet visit for Lily) will determine whether I can get that this week or at the end of the month. Still, it's a good thing it's not able to distract me right now, as I still have to finish that cardigan for my niece.

Possible Criminal Minds spoilers if you've not seen Season 11 yet )

Knitted shawl in browns, reds, oranges, yellows and greens
sareini: ('everything is true')
I've been tired all weekend and I'm not really sure why. Either I've been sleeping badly and not noticing (I'm one of those people who sometimes dreams of not being able to fall asleep, thus completely confusing the fuck out of my already addled brain and leaving me exhausted in the morning), or Friday's cinema trip was more emotionally draining than I realised (it was a pretty busy screening for 1pm on a Friday). Either way I've spent a fair amount of time in bed, doing very little and/or dozing.

***

One thing I did do yesterday was watch a horror movie called The Dark Tapes, a found-footage anthology movie that felt to me like it was trying to fill the void left by the V/H/S series. Apparently it's been winning awards on the festival circuit and getting good reviews in lots of places... which makes me feel slightly guilty that I really didn't like it.

Probably some spoilers here )


***

Despite knowing better, I continue to play League of Legends on weekends. At this point I think I deserve every bad game I get just because I won't follow my own advice and not play. There is little more frustrating than going 4/0/1 in your lane making sure your lane opponent can do very little but lament his choices in life, then have your team come mid and feed him kill after kill so that he ends up carrying his team to victory.

***

I am vaguely toying with the idea of some Loki: Agent of Asgard fic stuff. It's kind of nibbling at me right now. We shall see.
sareini: "Zombies are a girl's best friend" quote with a picture of Julie from Return of the Living Dead 3 (Zombies!)
I broke my DVD-buying fast today with a copy of Train to Busan.

I've not bought any DVDs for myself for several months now, for several reasons. The simplest reason is cost - even if I'm taking advantage of "4 for £20!" deals that's still £20 that could have gone on something else, like proper food or into a savings account. Another reason is that I've well and truly lost count of the number of DVDs (and the occasional Blu-Ray, for they have deals as well) I now have lying around the house that I've not gotten around to watching yet. I could probably host a film festival at this point. And finally, I haven't really needed to, what with Amazon Prime, Netflix, Shudder, the BFI Cinema Collection and the nebulous grey area that is Kodi TV and its add-ons. All of these combined are more than enough to ensure that I should never need to buy a physical copy of a film ever again.

But sometimes you just need to support a film with some actual money. Train to Busan was one of my favourite films of 2016, and it pretty much came out of nowhere and had a "limited release" so limited I didn't even hear about it until afterwards, at which point it was great fun to try to track it down. And I loved it not just because it was a zombie film, but because it did something original with the zombie attack scenario, was fun, high-energy and kept you guessing as to at least some of the eventual survivors. And if you enjoy a film enough, you should shell out some actual cash as a thank you to the filmmakers so they can make more films that you'll probably enjoy.

So after heading into town to get some cat treats (we were running low and they're an essential part of the pill-giving process, the cats will tell you), I ended up in my local branch of HMV. Whereupon it took me 10 whole minutes to actually find the DVD, hidden away in "World Cinema". I fail to see why we need a seperate "World Cinema" section in stores now, especially physical ones - it's really effectively just saying, "Films With Subtitles And Themes That You May or May Not Understand And Which Probably Have More Nudity". And most of the time no-one's going to go looking there unless they're like me and already know about the film. There's always at least two or three people blocking the aisles in front of the Horror section, trying to decide what vacuous straight-to-DVD movie they've been told is "Scariest Film of the Year!" to buy, but World Cinema is wide open (also as a side note: I wish HMV would widen it's aisles a bit; it's getting so I've seen people in wheelchairs just have to sit in the entrance and shout what films they want, which is hardly disability-friendly). If nothing else, mixing in World Cinema with the regular genres could at least give some people an education.

...I'm being pretentious film nerd again, aren't I?

***

Bonus! For those who were wondering, my Top 5 Films of 2016 were:

5) Blair Witch
4) Train to Busan
3) The Girl With All The Gifts
2) Don't Breathe
1) The VVitch
sareini: "Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says, 'Bugger'." from Blackadder (Bugger)
I had plans for going out on Friday. Nowhere special, just to the cinema that's 15-20 minutes from where I live, because a new film was coming out and I really wanted to see it.

The film in question is The Belko Experiment, and I've been excited about it since I first heard about it last Christmas. It's written by James Gunn (yes, that James Gunn) and directed by Greg McLean (of Wolf Creek infamy) and it's basically a Battle Royale clone - a few score workers for Belko Industries find themselves locked in a building and told to kill each other or be killed. Frankly, they had me at "Battle Royale clone", if only so I could throw things at it if it turned out to be not so good. My local cinema had had posters up for it, and last time I was there (seeing Free Fire with my brother) they even had a trailer. It's coming out this Friday, April 21. But yesterday when I went to look up the times it was showing, there was nothing there. Further digging revealed that it's not going to be shown at my cinema at all.

So I girded my loins and messaged the cinema on Facebook, asking them just what was up. To their credit, they got back to me within three minutes and were very informative... But it turns out The Belko Experiment is on a "limited release" and so the distributors get to choose what cinemas get to show it. And my cinema wasn't picked.

This is the second time this has happened this month as well. At the beginning of the month they had adverts up for the French cannibal/coming of age film Raw that I also wanted to see - even though I'm not that big a fan of cannibal movies - but when the release day came around the nearest cinema to me that showed it was 25 miles away. So I'm not at all impressed by this idea of "limited release". In this era of digital and with the big movie companies so psychotically pearl-clutching over piracy, you'd think that they'd be getting films out to as many cinemas as possible to get people to pay instead of heading online for the film. Even if I was able to travel the 25 miles minimum to see a film I wouldn't, unless it was the best film in the history of humanity or I was being paid a very large sum of money to do so. The other cinema in my area is showing it, but only in the evenings when I'm not comfortable travelling further than the corner shop and it would cost me a hell of a lot more as well (taxi fare, plus I have a card for my preferred cinema). You'd think the competition would also encourage them to show the film in more cinemas, but apparently not.

So my Friday afternoon has suddenly become free, and I'm rather annoyed by it.
sareini: "Do not fuck with Cthulhu" (Cthulhu)
Today was a horror movie day.

Elsewhere on the internet, I have a blog exclusively for reviewing horror movies, that's been going for several years now. Ideally I'd be posting to it every day or near enough to it, but as with everything else that means fighting the depression and finding the motivation to not only write the reviews, but to watch the films I want to review in the first place. So what I've started doing is watching two or three horror movies in one day and making notes about them as it goes, then writing them up later (by hand before I type them up, for there is is still a luddite inside of me and it's the only way I can make myself do more than one draft). Today I felt like I had a good amount of focus, so I watched The Void and The Bye Bye Man.

Brief thoughts on both films )


(I'll put links up to the proper reviews when I get them up.)

In other news, we're having a snap general election! Oh, what fun, more canvassers knocking on the door for weeks on end. I haven't even cleared up the last of the crap from the by-election in February...
sareini: default (Default)
To counter my last post of rage about a stupid team member, I decided I should do a counter-post, listing a couple of the great teams I've been on in my MMO adventures.

1. The MM team of WIN! )

2. The LFD group that was a lawnmower )

tl;dr - sometimes, good teams happen.
sareini: quintesson icon (transformers)
I like having a birthday in late October. Not only did I always avoid having to celebrate my birthday on a schoolday because it would always fall during the half-term holidays (no getting doused with water by sadistic teachers for me!), but because it's so close to Halloween there's always plenty of horror stuff coming out at that time to entertain me.

Last year, for example, Channel Four devoured the Big Brother house in a zombie apocalypse, which was just like seeing all my dreams not involving George Clooney and/or Eliza Dushku coming true at once. And then City of Heroes introduced the Zombie Apocalypse zone event as part of their Halloween celebrations. Really, give me zombies and I'll be your friend for life.

This year, I'm getting Left for Dead 2 (okay, not till November, it seems, but still...), and last night I got to see Zombieland, which was just all kinds of awesome. The best way I can come up with to describe it without spoiling it is to call it a buddy movie with zombies and more than a few sly nods to the genre-savvy among us. And Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee is just... awesome. I thoroughly reccommend this film to anyone and everyone.

There's a couple more films I'm very much hoping to catch as part of my October-horror-birthday celebrations as well. One is Paranormal Activity, which is this little film apparently made for just $11,000 in about a week, and is currently terrifying audiences wherever it goes. I'm always on the look out for a movie that can instill in me the same level of terror that BBC1's Ghostwatch did all those years ago (and I still have problems watching that now...) It would help me immensely if it was actually given a release date in the UK, of course, but... The other is a movie called Triangle, which I admit I don't know that much about (although I'm guessing there's a Bermuda Triangle connection...), but it's made by the same people who did the movies Creep and Severance, which I did enjoy, so I certainly want to give that one a look.

In conclusion: October: it's a good month.

Antichrist

Aug. 29th, 2009 04:01 pm
sareini: default (discworld - millenium hand and shrimp)
Last night, I found myself with the chance to actually watch Antichrist, one of the two films I mentioned last week here.

cut for spoilers and very disturbing content... )

(Last.fm is being bitterly ironic with the music too, I see...
sareini: Amanda from the Saw movies wearing an reverse bear trap (Saw)
Two films, both made/produced/released this year. One, Antichrist, contains "strong real sex, bloody violence and self-mutilation" - specifically, female genital mutilation. The other, Grotesque, contains "unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism", including amputations and eye-gougings.

The former film has won awards at Cannes and has been passed uncut by the BBFC. The latter has been banned outright and decried as having less plot or character development than the Saw or Hostel movies.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what you can get away with if you label your work an "art" film. It's like Ai No Corrida, where they got away with the hardcore porn and inapproprate use of boiled eggs (serioisly, look it up, but don't be too shocked...) because the director claimed it was an "art" film.

Before the rant gets away with me too much, I want to make one thing clear: I haven't got a horse in this race, except maybe the one to do with anti-censorship. I've always had the viewpoint that, as long as it's not real and/or (in the case of certain types of pornography) everyone's consenting and no-one's getting hurt, it shouldn't be censored at the adult level, because, you know, we're adults. Personally, I wouldn't see either of these films - Lars von Trier tends to bore and/or confuse me unless I have a guide book handy, and horror films that are grand guignol strictly for the sake of grand guignol (but without the plot, because most people forget that grand guignol actually had storylines behind them) have about as much interest to me as watching paint dry. But just because I personally wouldn't watch either film doesn't mean that I don't see the absurdity in these two decisions. I just don't see too much difference in the two films that one gets a free pass and the other doesn't - especially if you consider the fact that Antichrist is meant to be more realistic, and thereforetheoretically far more shocking than a film which apparently concludes with a scene straight out of the ending of the Lamberto Bava film Macabre (trying not to spoil the film there).

(Oh, and as a further reference, Grotesque sounds remarkably similar to a British film called Boy Meets Girl, which was banned by the BBFC for eight years but finally released uncut in 2001).

The Mist

Dec. 30th, 2008 10:53 am
sareini: default (necronomicon)
I just got finished watching The Mist, which is a film I'd wanted to see for some time now, and not just because it was an interesting horror film based on a Stephen King novella.

No, the reason I wanted to see it was because, in my second year of Film Studies at university, I had done an adaptation of The Mist for a script project (well, a scene and various suggestions for how to adapt it, along with effects, cinematography and the like), and I wanted to see how the actual movie had ended up differing from my "version".

Here be spoilers. )

In conclusion: It's an enjoyable enough film, but I prefer the book - and my version - better overall.
sareini: default (Xmas)
Here's hoping everyone had a good Christmas/Giftmas/whatever you choose to call it.

My presents this year...

- chocolates from Jelli
- pyjamas from Nick's mother
- DVD of Dead Set from Nick's mother
- a couple of scented candles from Nick's mother
- some Winnie the Pooh shower gel from Nick's mother

- DVD of Diary of the Dead from Nick
- DVD of The Shining from Nick
- DVD of Candyman from Nick
- DVD of Lord of Illusions from Nick
- DVD of The Cottage from Nick

...yes, that is a lot of DVDs. But I'm happy, of course.

I got Nick a book about hating Bill O'Reilly, a Vampire Counts batallion box, a box of Twiglets and the DVD of Iron Man. Nick was so happy with the Iron Man DVD that I almost wouldn't have had to get him anything else. It was good to watch him marking out like a giddy kid.
sareini: default (NoTLD)
Well, I'm looking forward to the next couple of days.

The next three films I'm getting sent from my DVD rental account are...

Cloverfield

Mother of Tears

Frailty

Nick, on the other hand, will most likely be not as... exuberant as me. Well, maybe for Frailty. It might be the kind of film he likes. And he has had to admit more and more that some of the films I watch aren't that bad - he enjoyed The Faculty, although whether that was due to it being a mix between The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers or because Laura Harris got naked even he can't really say...
sareini: default (cthulhu)
The Strangers is not a movie for those who are convinced that one day, what they see on Crimewatch will happen to them.

Lock the door. Pretend you're safe. (Some spoilers) )
sareini: ('everything is true')
First off I want to thank everyone for their comments, hugs and everything else over the past week. It's been difficult getting used to the house without Mac - I keep thinking I see him out of the corner of my eye - but it's been getting slowly easier.

As for the rest of the week... well, I'd have to say that the most exciting thing that's happened recently was me dying my hair. My hair is now what the box called "ultraviolet" - except that when I seach for that colour on the net to show it to you all, it appears to have ceased to exist. Instead, the closest I can come up with is "mystic violet", which you can see here.

...It actually is pretty much the same colour, now that I look at it. I'd put a photo of my own self up, but as my only camera is on my mobile phone and that won't now even connect to the network to send pictures, this is the best I can manage for now.

Nick also let me buy a few things on eBay, so I got myself a few DVD. I got C.H.U.D, Malevolence, A Blade in the Dark and, after so many years of searching, Nightbreed (only it's a foreign copy and so called Cabal. It also has Italian subtitles, so I expect in a few weeks I'll be able to say "God's an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian's where the monsters live" in Italian... And to keep my hands occupied, I got a Winnie the Pooh cross-stitch book that came complete with a kit, and several balls of wool to make Nick a scarf in time for winter. Unfortunately they haven't sent all the wool yet, so I'm still waiting to start that...

But otherwise, things have been pretty quiet. Since we took Jelli to the vets her face and shoulder have been healing up very well too, so it obviously wasn't ringworm and we won't have to take her back to the vets this week (a relief for all of us).

I'm also thinking about staqrting up a kind of garden in our backyard. Since it's all concreted over and we're (a) renting and (b) dirt poor, it would likely be limited to a couple of those rectangular windowbox-type things that you can have on the ground, but I'm a little sick of looking out and seeing just an expance of mottled grey. Especially when the next-door neighbour has such a good garden too...

[rec]

May. 7th, 2008 03:20 pm
sareini: (scared)
[rec] )
sareini: default (Night of the Demons)
The combination of my ongoing computer problems (it now alternates between making a noise like something coming in for an emergency landing on Runway 2 and an asthmatic smoker on an oxygen mask, and still randomly reboots itself when it decides it's too hot to keep running) and the fact that I haven't been feeling too well over the past few days have meant that I haven't been on here much (as in at all, actually). Instead I've been reading, sleeping, playing CoH when I can and my old reliable favourite, watching movies. So here's a few that I've seen recently.

Demons 2 )

The Card Player )

So that's my Italian film round-up... later on I'll try to do my Asian film round-up.

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