Diary of an Ass Monkey
09 April 2011 @ 12:53 am
Saw John Carpenter's new film The Ward today at the film festival. It's about teenage girls trying to escape from a mental institution. The best thing I can say about it is that it made me nostalgic for how well written Sucker Punch was. There was literally nothing clever or scary about this thoroughly unambitious horror film. Even the cast, Jared Harris from Mad Men and a bevy of young actresses from minor roles in various CW/WB shows,seemed bored. Carpenter is supposed to receive an award later at the festival... via Skype! I'm tempted to show up for the Q&A so that I can say, "Mr. Carpenter, speaking of phoning things in, I saw your new movie..."

Diary of an Ass Monkey
23 August 2010 @ 09:38 am
I've been ignoring this poor blog lately, so here's an update on what I've been up to.

Saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World two weekends in a row. Love that movie. Our friend Patsy from Michigan (formerly known as our friend Patsy from Malaysia) came and stayed with us for a while. I made fig ice cream with freshly harvested figs from our tree last week. It's intensely figgy! Saw Dean Wareham play a whole night of Galaxie 500 songs, which was absolutely amazing.

The writing has been going excellently. I think I've averaged 10-15 hours per week this month, which is freaking huge for me. I'm way past the halfway point on the first draft and finally cruising along at a respectable speed. Writing at home is still hard for me, so I've been taking my little netbook over to a bar called Lucky 13 and working there. The good music, surrounding conversations, and ballgame on the tv provide a nearly ideal level of distraction for me. The only potential downside is my waistline, but I've been upping my salad intake and sticking to light beers, so it should work all right.

Listening to: The Blow - "True Affection"
Diary of an Ass Monkey
21 July 2010 @ 11:56 am
So, I thought Inception was pretty great. I'm not going to bother discussing what it's about, like I normally do, because frankly if you haven't seen it yet, you should stop reading this right now and just go see it. Plus I'm going to spoil some crucial stuff.


I spent a lot of enjoyable time during the weekend kicking the movie around in my head, particularly the kicks themselves. For instance, I'm still not sure why Arthur wasn't kicked out of the hotel when the van drove off the bridge. Can the kick be intentionally ignored? If anyone could do that, I suppose it would be Arthur, who seems both very determined and highly professional (at least when he wasn't stealing kisses from Ariadne).

And then there's that damned top. Was it about to fall or not? It was certainly wobbling. I walked out of the theater wishing they hadn't shown the wobbling, so that the viewer could fully make up their own mind. But in the end I decided that it doesn't matter if it keeps spinning. What matters is that Cobb set it down and left it there, a gesture that clearly shows he's accepted the reality that he's in. Besides Saito totally handled it while they were talking in the beginning, so he could have simulated a false replica.

And I'm pretty sure the kids were dressed in the same clothes as they were in his memories, although I'll need to see it again to confirm that. So, yeah, I am inclined to believe that Cobb is still in a dream. (I also kind of like thinking that Mal really did escape back into reality by jumping off that building and that she hired Arthur and the others to go in after Cobb, with the intention of either rescuing him or incepting him with a dream level he'd could find peace in. Although, admittedly, there isn't much in the movie to back that particular theory up.)

I was surprised for a while that Nolan didn't make the dream worlds more dreamlike, but that was pretty much necessary to pull off the repeated "Am I still dreaming?" cons. And there were a few points where the audience couldn't really know the consequences of what the characters were doing, which drained a bit of the drama. The only thing that really bothered me about the movie, however, was there were way too many shots of people in snowsuits shooting guns in the third level of the dream. Those parts made me feel like I was trying to feign interest in other people playing some multiplayer video game.

Listening to: Cilla Black - "You're My World"
Diary of an Ass Monkey
20 July 2010 @ 10:17 am
Finished off the Q-Fest/Danger After Dark Festival with three films last week.

On Thursday, I saw You Should Meet My Son!, a zany, low budget, fish-out-of-water comedy about a conservative Southern mother venturing into the gay lifestyle to find a new man for her son. It was pretty cute.

Then later that night, I saw Enter the Void, a film which really freaked me out. In a good way. It's one of the trippiest films I've ever experienced. Establishing it's uniqueness early on, the entire film is shot in the first person. Through the eyes of the main character, a young Canadian drug deal living in Tokyo, we take hallucinogenic drugs, commit crimes, and get killed. And that's where the movie really gets started. Much of the movie is about what happens to his consciousness from the moment of death until the moment of his next reincarnation.

Saw Red White & Blue Saturday night. It was a hard film to enjoy, but an interesting one to watch. It's an unusual revenge story set in Austin, Texas, following two residents of a boarding house. I mainly went to see it because Noah Taylor (from Flirting and The Year My Voice Broke) was in it, but now I wish I could disassociate it from my memories of him.

I also saw Inception Saturday, but I'm going to have to save that for another post.


Listening to: Amy Winehouse - "Wake Up Alone"
Diary of an Ass Monkey
14 July 2010 @ 09:47 am
So, upon returning home from New York last week, the Q-Fest/Danger After Dark festival had begun here at home.

On Friday, I saw a Greek film called Dogtooth about three adult siblings who had been raised since birth with no exposure to the outside world except what they're parents selected. Secluded away in a country house, they live in fear of being exiled, exploring the limits of their limited world and inventing strange games to pass the time. It was bizarre and intriguing and probably worth the price of admission for the dancing scene alone.

On Saturday, a bunch of friends and I went to see RoboGeisha, which was even worse that you'd think. Just like it says on the tin, it's the story of geishas being turned into cyborg assassins. Never attempting to be more than a B-movie, it eventually stopped being so bad it's funny and became so bad it put me literally to sleep.

Then on Sunday, K. and I biked uptown, hoping to see James Franco play Allen Ginsberg in Howl, but it was sold out, so we saw the non-festival The Girl Who Played With Fire instead. It was a good flick. I didn't like it quite as much as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, possibly because the twisty plot was tied up into too neat of a bow, but it was definitely a good movie and I eagerly await the final chapter.

Listening to: Love - "A House Is Not A Motel"