Tag Archives: movies

Finnish Fridays

The Finns are having problems with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Police say that the three most infamous organisations, the Hell’s Angels, the Bandidos, and Cannonball have more than 40 subsections around Finland.
Police calculate that there are a total of 80 organised crime groups in Finland, including the subsections.
However, most of the groups using different names are not motorcycle gangs. There are nearly 1,200 members in the various groups. The newest, called the United Brotherhood, was formed out of three others, and has more than 50 members.

Iron Sky is getting closer…estimated release date is April 4th of 2012.  In the meantime, here’s the latest trailer.

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The Finns are also producing a…weird film called ‘8‘. Not sure if it’s my type of movie but

Here’s the trailer:

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The Mercury Men!

What a great idea…a sci-fi series that’s got some old school feel.  Check out the Mercury Men.  They seem to be on part 6 so far and it’s got some good production values and a fun ’50s feel (maybe that’s the ’40s…I’ve never been good with ancient history).  It’s been picked up by SyFy but tell me again why we need corporate entertainment entities?  I’ll easily forgo cheesy 3D graphics for good storytelling any day.  Here’s part 1.

Verily….this does look fun

Huzzah!

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The Thing returns

The 1983 movie The Thing was pretty close to perfect when it comes to horror movies.  So, it is with trepidation that I heard the news that they (you know, they!) were going to make a prequel to that movie called The Thing (obviously their budget for picking a title was a bit slim).

Now, if you’re familiar with The Thing you’ll know that there are some difficulties with the idea of a prequel.  Starting with the fact that everyone has to die in the end.  Now, that works in Shakespearean tragedies but I’m not sure how it’d going to work in a mid-budget horror movie.

Still, the trailer is now out and there’s nothing in it that raises any red flags (other than the fact that it’s supposed to take place on a Norwegian base in Antarctica and it looks like there are a whole lot of Americans wandering around.

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The challenge will be in recreating the sense of paranoia that the original one had.  Without that you’ll have a pretty lame story.

be afraid…be very afraid

I am slowly (painfully slowly) catching up on watching a variety of horror movies that have been stacked in my queue for a while.  Since Mrs. TwShiloh has a relatively low fear threshold I either need to watch most horror movies myself or carve time out of our schedule that will allow us to watch them that will insure there are at least several hours of daylight after the movie ends.  Horror movies anywhere near bedtime are strictly verbotten if I want my better half to watch with me.

But, I did get to see two movies recently that I was quite pleased with.

The first was an Australian film called The Tunnel.  It’s very much a Blair Witch Project rehash only taking place in the Sydney subway system instead of the Maryland woodlands.  It improves upon the original in that its characters are less annoyingly stupid (I didn’t want to slap them for acting totally irrational).  Even though the simulated documentary has been done (overdone?) this one still managed to generate that creepy feeling that good horror should elicit from its audience.  Explicit gore and violence is minimal and for the most part implied to quite good effect.  The other thing that really attracted me to this movie is the fact that its financing was crowd sourced.  The makers solicited funds from (prospective) fans and then (listen up MPAA and RIAA) they released it for free.  And lest this give you pause, check out the trailer.  This is no high school project made with someone’s cheap camera in a backyard.

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This movie is (at least) on par with many big studio / low budget horror films (and I use the term ‘low budget’ only to indicate the lack of expensive special effect, marketing and big name actors not as an indicator of quality).  As the film makers write:

The Internet was meant to be a tool to connect us. It was meant to break down borders and liberate. Now we have an entire generation who are being labelled criminals for using that tool. But perhaps rather than wasting millions of dollars fighting a losing battle against internet piracy, we should try and find a way to embrace the possibilities that this new world brings…

That’s the thought that inspired this project. We believe that if we stop fighting  the peer to peer networks, they could become the biggest revolution we have ever seen in the way we share entertainment and information.

After spending years being frustrated by what we saw as the movie industry’s  short-sighted and conventional outlook towards the online community, we decided it was time to try something different – The 135K Project was born.

We figured that movie posters and collectable frames from movies are being sold every day, so what if we could raise the money to make “The Tunnel” by selling every individual frame of it? We would be able to make a movie unencumbered by a studio’s need for box office. We could do what we got into the industry to do in the first place. Tell stories we like and get them out there so people could enjoy them.

While this movie doesn’t break any new ground it’s really not designed to.  It’s like hearing the same campfire story that you’ve already heard a dozen times before and you know how it ends but if you’ve got a good storyteller you don’t mind and can still find yourself checking out that patch of woods that seems a little too dark.  All in all, a very enjoyable and creepy 90 minutes.  Download the film for free here.

The second movie was ‘Let Me In‘ which is the American remake of the Swedish vampire film ‘Let the Right One In’ that I reviewed here.

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Remakes always are a cause for concern especially when a very good movie gets picked up by a big studio who decides to make it more ‘appealing’ to a mass audience.  I am very happy to relate that those concerns were unwarranted here.  The American version is faithful to the original yet in that you could watch it and carry on a fairly detailed conversation with someone who only saw the original.  Differences between the two movies revolve around emphasis of a few aspects of the plot which, while not critical, lead me to strongly encourage you to watch both films.  I think the parallax view provided by looking at the story from two slightly different perspectives gives a much fuller understanding of the story overall.

I was taken aback that they decided to set the movie in Los Alamos (quite a move from Sweden) but it works and the location is really irrelevant (you just need a place with snow and I guess Los Alamos in winter fits that bill).  The time period (1983) was set nicely with clips of Reagan on unattended TV sets in the background and a decent sound track made exceptional with the prominent placement of Blue Oyster Cult‘s ‘Burnin’ for You‘.  It also superbly captures adolecent angst and egocentrism by having almost all the adult roles fade into the background.  In fact, you really only see adults as they (briefly) interact with the kids.  You could almost replace the adult dialog with Charlie Brown’s ‘waa-waa’ adult talk and I don’t know if you’d miss anything or not be able to figure out what the characters were saying.  The only exception is one person who (I’d argue) is emotionally still a tween even though he occupies the body of a 50 something.

This story addresses some great questions that hover around the periphery of the vampire mythology that (imo) indicate that vampires need not be considered to have jumped the shark.  It’s just that the traditional way of story telling about them has become clichéd and overdone (and has been for close to 20 years now).  Anne Rice really was the last person to say anything substantial about vampires and she was clearly running out of ideas by the end of The Vampire Lestat.  Let Me In takes steps to reverse the ‘domestication’ of vampires which has been the recent trend raises all sorts of interesting new questions about the role of a vampire with his/her ‘Rhenfield’.  Also interesting is the question of what happens when your vampire isn’t aristocratic/beautiful/intimidating and can’t bully/seduce/charm his or her way through every problem that presents itself.

The movie was enhanced by Chole Moretz who also stole the show as ‘Hit Girl’ in the movie Kick-Ass.  I don’t know what her career aspirations are but if she keeps making movies like these where she flips expectations about age, gender and power on their head I’ll be fan for a long time.

So, make sure you see both versions.  After all, it’s not like there are a bunch of other good vampire movies out there competing for your time.

Kvick Tänkare

If you liked the HBO series ‘Rome’ (or even if you didn’t but like the time period) you’re in for a treat.  It appears they’re developing a series based on the Robert Graves novel ‘I, Claudius‘.

From the ‘better late than never’ file, i09 has a pretty good post about ten interesting items for consideration regarding the movie ‘The Dark Knight’.  The one that caught my eye from an intelligence perspective was:

Crime and anarchy are not allies.

Discuss…

So, I know you’ve been wondering what Steve Martin has been doing lately.  Apparently, still pickin’ on his banjo.

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An archeological find in Germany sheds some new light on the evolution of the exploding artillery shells.

It seems that around 1450, craftsmen began filling “hollow iron balls” with gunpowder for use as shot. Many times, the technique failed. The cannoneers first had to reach into the mortar’s opening, light the bomb’s fuse, then quickly fire the weapon. If their timing was off, the entire cannon would blow up in their faces before the projectile had left the barrel. They also often failed to correctly calculate the projectile’s trajectory, a process done using quadrants. And sometimes the fuse went out in flight.

The shells now discovered…”was also coated with bitumen and wrapped in rough cloth,” Hüser adds.

The researcher surmises this signifies that the metal ball self-ignited from the heat at the moment it was fired from the cannon and burned as it whizzed through the air.

Even though I’m a vegetarian (well, kinda-sorta) I avoid tomatoes during that time of the year I can’t get them fresh.  Call me a snob but the taste difference is stark and it’s simply not worth my time to buy something that has such poor taste.  Since I’m always interested in people who validate my preexisting views, I was attracted to this excerpt of an new book about…tomatoes.

…fresh tomatoes today have 30 percent less vitamin C, 30 percent less thiamin, 19 percent less niacin, and 62 percent less calcium than they did in the 1960s. But the modern tomato does shame its 1960s counterpart in one area: It contains fourteen times as much sodium.

But there’s an even darker side to industrial tomato production”

South Florida’s tomato fields are “ground zero for modern-day slavery.” Molloy is not talking about virtual slavery, or near slavery, or slaverylike conditions, but real slavery. In the last 15 years, Florida law enforcement officials have freed more than 1,000 men and women who had been held and forced to work against their will in the fields of Florida, and that represents only the tip of the iceberg.

Watch it through to the end

A great way to spend 9 minutes on a Friday…

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Kvick Tänkare

Another data point to allay your fears about the big, bad Chinese threat.

Twelve years after Beijing purchased the incomplete Russian aircraft carrier Varyag, the 60,000-ton vessel — renamed Shi Lang — is reportedly on track to begin sea trials this summer. Shi Lang‘s first planes are nearly ready, too. In late April, the first J-15 fighter, an unlicensed copy of the Russian Su-33, appeared in navy colours.

Lacking the diverse air wing of American and French carriers, in the near term Shi Lang will be as limited as Admiral Kuznetsov. Her fighters will have poor range because they can’t be refueled in mid-air. They will be all but blind, guided only by their own radars and those of Shi Lang herself. And they will be vulnerable to enemy air defenses.

Got Medieval is back to posting after a long hiatus and is producing some high quality, humorous, information about art in medieval manuscripts.  Don’t think it’s your sort of thing?  Think again:

Regardless of the reason he might have done it, if you see a dude holding his own castrated scrotum in his hands in a medieval manuscript, ninety-nine times out of a hundred the dude is Origen.

That is the sort of factoid you want to keep in your back pocket in case there’s a lull in your party.*  Do yourself a favor and put this guy in your RSS feed (after TwShiloh, natch!)

The NIJ has produced a report about the safety of tasers.  Well, not so fast:

An NIJ report on Tasers gives us the ol’ “Nothing to see, here”.  Nut graph:

“There is no conclusive medical evidence in the current body of research literature that indicates a high risk of serious injury or death to humans from the direct or indirect cardiovascular or metabolic effects of short-term CED exposure in healthy, normal, nonstressed, nonintoxicated persons,” the report concludes.

And we all know that Tasers are never, ever used on people who are unhealthy, or who are intoxicated, or who are under some sort of duress. So the debate is settled!

*This may explain why TwShiloh doesn’t get invited to many parties.  eds.

There’s a new short film on the verge of being released and this looks interesting. The director (Aaron Sims) has some pretty design chops on a host of films over the past

couple of decades and has apparently decided to go and do his own thing now.

The film’s synopsis (from the official website):

RL7 is an eight foot tall combat robot. Only problem is he’s starting to remember once being human. Now on the run from an all powerful corporation that will stop at nothing to destroy him RL7 desperately searches for the truth behind his mysterious memories before it’s too late.

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Ave Caesar!

I’m really looking forward to this remake of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The original was one of my least favorite ‘Apes’ films as a kid (although I was probably too young to get it) but this looks good…

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Dumb kid causes robot apocalypse

Sorry about this…reposting with new link

Love it!