…or something. Anywho, I’m on Twitter. Went with literal since it was available @TSLuikart
I know, I know, I haven’t been around. I can explain… no, wait, I’ll just sum up:
I think I need to get it on this whole “Twitter” thing – short but sweet is probably more my speed these days.
I saw a number of movies this weekend most notably True Legend for Far West inspirado.
I also saw On Stranger Tides. Wait… actually, no I didn’t. I didn’t see Tim Powers’ masterful book On Stranger Tides put on the big screen, the book that made me want to write Skull & Bones. No, I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides a movie that was, as this post’s title notes, “suggested by” Tim’s book.
I hope Tim got a big wad of money for loaning them his title, his bad-guy (one of them… sort of), and kinda his plot, I guess. It wasn’t even that bad of a movie, really… I mean, it wasn’t particularly good either, but it wasn’t atrocious.
Look, do both of us a favor… go read On Stranger Tides, brand new paper copies are now readily available due to the release of the movie (which make a point of saying on them in very small print “suggested the movie picture”) and certainly an electronic copy is a few keystrokes away.
Then you can regret along with me that the existence of this tepid movie means no real adaptation of Tim’s book for another 20 years, if ever.
I saw The Adjustment Bureau this weekend. Light spoilers follow:
Acting? Superb. Everyone was well cast.
Plot premise? Excellent.
Execution? Horribly disappointing. My biggest problem with the movie (and its a doozie) there are no bad guys. The movie goes out of its way to make the Agents of Fate likable. Just doing a tough job, nothing personal.
Nothing interesting, either. What could have been an amazing movie falls short due to an obvious unwillingness on the part of the film’s makers to take any real chances or piss anybody off by following through on the many implications the plot throws out, but then leaves by the wayside.
Conclusion: Flawed, enjoyable enough, but flawed.
So after returning from a very long trip (in the emotional sense) I had a package waiting for me. I literally had no idea what it was, I felt a bit like a kid at Christmas, it had been so very long since I had a package whose contents I didn’t know in advance of opening.
So what was inside?
My author’s copies of Gatecrashing for Eclipse Phase, that’s what. It is so very, very pretty.
It even has a built in book mark, how class is that? Actually, it is also kind of Posthuman – Gatecrashing is one of the best written, but also one of the densest, roleplaying supplements I’ve ever worked on. This book can definitely strain your mind. Digesting it in small chunks is probably a good idea.
The little poets sing of little things:
Hope, cheer, and faith, small queens and puppet kings;
Lovers who kissed and then were made as one,
And modest flowers waving in the sun.
The mighty poets write in blood and tears
And agony that, flame-like, bites and sears.
They reach their mad blind hands into the night,
To plumb abysses dead to human sight;
To drag from gulfs where lunacy lies curled,
Mad, monstrous nightmare shapes to blast the world.
Feeling the black abysses yawning behind me tonight, can’t catch me though, for my keyboard is made of silver and in my strokes lies the power cosmic.
I hate cheap e-gut shots. What, you ask, is a cheap e-gut shot? Basically, anytime you are set up by a writer to have a emotional moment (typically negative) by using obvious or easy short cuts. This is lazy writing / designing and I abhor it with a passion, whether it happens in a book, a movie, a video game, or what-have-you.
Just about any horror / slasher flick ever made is chalk full of these. You put a character in a “dark and scary” place, you lower the volume on the creepy music, and after artificially wratcheding up the tension, out leaps the killer as the volume spikes! The audience jumps in horror!
No, actually – the audience jumped ’cause they got cheap e-gut shot. They’re startled, not actually frightened. Big, BIG difference.
Another standard cheap e-gut shot – any character introduced with the specific purpose of being likable / sympathetic, so that the audience will feel bad when he/she gets killed later on. This has a major caveat though – if a character serves a number of other purposes, e.g. the character is fully realized as a character, not as a one-note-dead-man-walking you are being suckered into liking, then while you may have been gut shot, it wasn’t cheap.
Great example off the top of my head: Aliens. Our introduction to the Colonial Marines is flawless in its execution, we get the feel for a number of different characters and though we know, we know, that most of them are going to die horribly, we still get to liking a number of them and feel bad as they fall one by one. He even introduces a little girl, normally a harbinger of easy sympathy and she turns out to be an awesome character, as well as part of Ripley’s character arc in yearning for the daughter she lost… Not cheap, masterful.
Admittedly, Cameron drew a bit on genre conventions and archetypes, but when you’ve only got two hours (approx) you’ve got to make every one count – which is why I tend to give movies more of a pass then books, or television, or video games, all of which have far more time in which to explore character nuance.
Mechanic wasn’t the greatest modern action flick I’ve seen, but the fact that it was a straight-up ballsy R with some serious ultra-violence along with a touch of sex made it quite charming… well, from my point of view at any rate.
How I curse the rise of the PG-13 action flick. Admittedly, Nolan showed the new way with Dark Knight but still, I like proper weapon play. One of my favorite action films of the last decade (and believe it or not inspirado for you budding Far West fans) is John Singleton’s Four Brothers. Four Brothers is basically a classic revenge western set in modern Detroit and yeah, it is definitely an R. Greatly underrated, it helped continue to establish Mark Wahlberg as a contender, showed Tyrese Gibson to a wider audience, and introduced Garrett Hedlund (who just played Sam Flynn in Tron: Legacy).
…for this is the year (2011 that is) of the superhero flood. We have, let’s see, the Green Hornet, Priest, Thor, the Green Lantern, and Captain America. Technically we also have Kung Fu Panda 2 and for all I know, the Spiderman reboot. I think Nolan’s third Batman is slated for 2012, but seriously, lot o’ freaking superhero films.
I’ve been thinking about it because my friends at Green Ronin are soon to bust out their greatly anticipated Mutant & Masterminds 3rd edition, complementing their DC Heroes book, and Adamant has the glorious Icons in full swing.
Anywho, knowing the circles I run in lots of folks have been asking me what I think about all the superhero movies coming up this year. So am I looking forward to all of the above? Well, yes and no. I have mixed feelings on most of them, save one. I think Thor is going to kick ass, mainly because I’ve always liked Kenneth Branagh as both an actor and a director. Some of his Shakespeare adaptations have been a little self-indulgent, but in general I think he does good cinema. The fact that he has been a Thor fan since childhood is big icing on the cake. The newest Thor trailer looks amazing (I don’t give two shits that Heimdal is black – I literally didn’t even notice until it was directly pointed out to me) and Chris Hemsworth looks to be a knock-it-out-of-the-park casting decision for Thor.
And Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin? Fucking A.
I go back and forth on the others – though Captain America’s direction, as homage more in the Indiana Jones style of movie – is a great choice and could really make that one stand out – as could Green Lantern’s decision to flat-out embrace the alien nature of the GL Corps.
We shall all get to see eventually…
I have such plans for you, oh yes I do.