Drabble Reviews Blog

For any and all info or discussion of podcasts and podcasting. Also community related miscellanea.
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myke_deschain
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by myke_deschain » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:15 pm

normsherman wrote: Yes Myke, Canticle for Leibowitz is SO worth a read. One of my favorite books ever EVER ever.
ok.... I went and bought the book.. It was the only book by Miller in the whole store, in fact it literally the only copy of anything by him in all of the store!

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by F5iver » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:28 am

I'm in the middle of Hyperion, and it is quite engrossing. Like it about 3.141 times better than Canticle.

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by myke_deschain » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:27 am

ill chip in my 2cents after I've plowed though canticle.

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:48 pm

F5iver wrote:I'm in the middle of Hyperion, and it is quite engrossing. Like it about 3.141 times better than Canticle.
It's hard to go wrong when reading a double-crown Hugo/Nebula winner, and you certainly won't be disappointed by Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, or The Rise of Endymion. This quartet, (or Duet of Duet's more accurately) is one of the finest pieces of SF in recent memory, imho.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by normsherman » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:44 am

Not only a relevant Drabble Review, but also a decent entry into the 6 word story contest..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeII9vXNhpw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:37 am

You're infecting the kids, Norm.
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:12 am

Just watched the pilot episode of "V". Excellent! I'm genuinely surprised that they let something that good on network television. It's always risky to invest yourself in a series, but if the show can keep up the pace set in the pilot, it is surely destined to be a classic. The pacing is excellent, the writing is solid, and the production makes superb use of a limited budget.

The obvious references to Obama and Friends were extremely apt greatly appreciated. (This is on ABC?! WOW!)

Looking forward to next Saturday...
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 pm

normsherman wrote:Not only a relevant Drabble Review, but also a decent entry into the 6 word story contest..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeII9vXNhpw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
That had to have been a high point in your day, Norm. I'm changing my Signature.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by normsherman » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:18 pm

The Fourth Kind

*Spoilers*


Ok, alien abduction is the scariest thing in the world to plenty of people, including myself. The complete loss of control while mysterious blue light streams in your window-- something unknown kidnapping you, taking you somewhere unknown to do unknown things with you-- I mean, it's perfect for gut wrenching horror. Fire in the Sky did this perfectly in my opinion. The Fourth Kind, not so much.

Not SO much not so much though, it had good things going for it. It did scare the crap out of me in a few parts and I left the theater feeling uneasy. Aliens (we think) are basically tinkering with the citizens of Nome Alaska, who are all supressing the memories of abduction into their subconsciousness's. Milla Jovavich is a psychiatrist who starts awakening these memories in people via hypnosis and then shit hits the fan.

I for one think the blend of big Hollywood movie and documentary worked well, but the movie gets a lot of criticism for this. It's a convincing way to make you think at least some of the characters and events took place, which really amps up the spookiness. However, a quick google search-- an sorry to burst your bubbles-- shows that apparently NONE of the characters or events in this movie EVER HAPPENED.
So now it just feels like a waste of time, like I was lied to, because for me that was a big structural part of the movie.

Things that were cool:
The spooky owl
The eff'd up video footage
The possibility of it really being ancient demons instead of aliens, or maybe aliens inspiring the demon myths, or vice versa? Or all sorts of other implications by the Sumerian language integration.

Things that sucked:
Not enough/any alien footage. Not enough alien info. Ambiguity is great sometimes, but not in this case. What are they doing and why might they be doing it? why do they think they are God?
The irritation at nobody believing anyone, even when as skeptic sees something with his own eyes. Even the cop stationed outside the Dr.s house on 24 watch sees a UFO and the daughter being abducted, but apparently this isn't a credible source and he is ignored while her other child is taken into protective custody.
The movie is setup to be about a real life boogieman-- a Hollywood dramaticization of real events, like a kick ass episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Sure some of the "real" people are clearly actors, but to know there never was a Dr. Abigail Tyler, never was a missing daughter, none of it...ugh. Anyone watching it with that handy knowledge will find this a pretty gimp movie, just tainting the subject and study of UFO's with more unneeded mythos, lies, and false ideologies.
2 out of 5 clown eggs
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:37 pm

*continued spoilers*

I would say your review matches my own (though I went with a more sporting 3 clown eggs). The 'real' people being unable to act threw me. Nice device to muddy the water, but when you're holding a shot on this woman doing a bad read, you have to realize the audience will drift.

What really made me scratch my head was how gullible people are. Sitting in the test audience, answering questions by committee for a helpful 'coach' PR person, moving us through the stuido's survey list, getting untainted reactions, etc, what arose was pure comedy (tragecomedy, more specifically). When asked, by show of hands who was worried for the missing daughter, I was in the tiny minority of maybe 3 hands down. As the coach tried to move to the next topic, I raised my hand and said ' to clarify, I' don't hate kids or something, but this little girl isn't you know real, or really missing?" The coach ignored that and we whisked on to the next query. I got to hear one woman relive for all us aghast strangers how it feels to be raped and how that made her really believe in Dr. Tyler's story - she can see a fellow victim. Then I got to hear a really late to the party (reality) woman go 'so ain't nobody doing nothing for this girl?' about 20 minutes after we'd moved on from that subject.

Sigh. Not a test audience being dumb thing by any lengths. Overheard from a woman in the milling crowd leaving Paranormal Activity a couple weeks ago: 'this is a work of fiction, right?' Were the CG demon fangs on the woman lunging at the camera not enough?

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by normsherman » Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:34 pm

Indeed. To be fair though, I bought that some of the movie was based on a reported happening and that, like I said, the whole thing was a hyped-up Unsolved Mysteries episode. I mean, there are tons of abductions and creepy reported phenomena to draw from and hyperbolize-- mothman prophecies kicked ass and did it right. If Fourth Kind's director and writers decided to just make it all up from scratch you'd think they would have made up something more interesting.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:02 pm

It has more truth kernels than Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project (if you want to go old school, include the Amityville Horror, Cannibal Holocaust, and The Exorcist), it's the 'realest' of the 'fake real' horror movies in recent memory. Nome is a hot spot for missing persons, and the whole people seeing owls thing is from apparently legitimate case studies. All the footage in 4th Kind is completely fabricated, as are the characters, but the idea of Nome being plagued by weird happenstance is legitimate, just exaggerated to Hollywood level entertainment fair. I'd put 4th Kind somewhere near The DaVinci Code in truthiness, not Fire in the Sky or Communion.

Still, a fun ride, I think, as far as scary aliens go. Passable, watchable. 3 of Bo's clown eggs, 2 of Norm's, thats an omlette and change people.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:37 pm

The Mothman Prophecies... did it... right? Ack! Blarg!

Mothman Prophecies was the most boring movie I ever sat through. (We actually got our money back when we left the theatre.)

I've seen a two-disk packaging of "The Mothman Prophecies" and "The Forgotten." I was surprised that they didn't include a bottle of NyQuil in the package. :0
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:49 am

Mothman Prophecies rocked, that's 2 to 1, Tweedy be gone! Banished from the conversation, banished!
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by eric_marsh » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:22 am

I've been told by some that I like strange flicks. Who woulda thunk?

If you have not seen the City of Lost Children you have no right to claim to be a fan of strange fiction. It's near the top of my all time favorites.

Here's a couple clips. Unfortunately the second one seems to have been recorded from someone's TV set but the scene is good enough that I included it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1JcmpL-6t0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLrnrbtBUG" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

Allegro Non Troppo is my all time favorite film. It's kind of an Italian Fantasia parody, though it goes further than Disney dared. Allegro Non Troppo was was my first real introduction to classical music. It rapidly switches between slapstick and high art. This is "A film in which you will see the music and listen to the drawing. You might call it a film of magic, a Fantasia!"

The first clip is Sibelius's Valse Trist (Sad Waltz), the second shows the evolution of life on earth from slime in an alien Coke bottle to mankind. The music is Ravel's Bolero, or the Bolero Ravel, as the movie's narrator describes it. After seeing it fifty times the Valse Trist still gets to me.

Best quote: "They're mad. Mad as hatters. They insist that our film - this is all so ridiculous - was already made by a certain fellow years ago. A certain someone by the name of Prisney or Grisney. Some American. " http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074121/quotes" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

Both of the these are positively brilliant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Oc_J1Lu-o" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PLlsjyhbLU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y71HAeHjdNA&NR=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

The Naked Lunch also qualifies as strange in a hip, beat sort of way

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_tc62nxP1s" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

And just by chance, we watched Dark City last night. Another good one that falls into the strange category.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:33 am

*horrible wailing as Tweedy is banished to the Outer Darkness*
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:18 pm

*returns from arid places with 7 spirits more evil than himself*

The Silver Khan by Stephen Case

http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/story.php?s=63" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false

if you're anything like me, the title "The Silver Khan" all by itself releases just a teensy bit of adrenaline into into your bloodstream. You think "Wow, that is, like, the most intriguing title ever! What wonders must the text contain?!" And, should you start to read The Silver Khan, you will at first find yourself most gratified. The story has great imagery, presented by an epistolary, somewhat detached voice that makes everything seem authentic in the way that only fantasy can. We are introduced to the enigmatic Silver Khan, who lives with his 100 daughters in a magical palace that ascends to float in the skies above his fantastic garden during the day, and descends to released revelers into the gardens at night.

The story essentially revolved around two questions: 1.) How does the Khan's palace ascend and 2.) why does it ascend? As the mysteries deepen, the answers to these questions come to feel urgent, and I was totally into the story up until about the last 1/5 of the text. "New favorite story!" I thought.

And the end comes. I can't spoil it because there is nothing to spoil. In ends with narrator essentially saying: "I figured everything out, and, boy, what mind-blower, but I'm not going to bother telling you, my reader, what it is I figured out or why it was so important. I'm just going to quit writing now and leave you in suspense forever. And did I mention that I hate you?"

I doesn't quite win the Final Fantasy The Spirits Within Award For Worst Ending, but pretty close.

Tweedy Score: 49 - The awesome beginning and middle are ruined by a crushing anticlimax.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:19 pm

Oh, and Dark City and City of Lost Children are both essential viewing for lovers of weird stuff. Haven't seen the others. Might check them out.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:08 pm

All scores out of 5.

-- --

2012
2

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. No, that wasn't a drum roll, or the sound of King Kong approaching, that was the number of dumbs it takes to begin to describe just how dumb of a movie 2012 was. Leaps of logic that required only the most Kangariffic of hack writers. Bizarre, tangential symbolism. Bad science (like, not even trying science). A tortured sense of nimrod morality, despite a thoroughly anti-populist undercurrent. Plot holes that will one day absorb all the light in the galaxy. A sentient path of destruction that follows John Cusack at his very heels, but never so much as to create an undrivable surface. I'm not even sure I could even recommend this 'for laughs' - it's almost 3 hours long. Avoid

-- --


The Box
2.5

Somewhere in this mess was a good movie, the director and editor just couldn't find it. Another from Richard Kelly, director of Donnie Darko and Southland Tales, bearing his now trademark wormholes and water portals. This made a better short story / Twillight Zone episode. And yes, that can be surmised from the trailer, but before you cop a holier than thou perspective realize I had made this conceit going in. My interest was 'the rest of the movie,' and you know, it wasn't all bad. Granted, a toy chest of concepts that never come together, hence my earlier 'mess' comment, but not all deserved the scrap heap. A lot of nice 'Lynch lite' scenes, unnerving and alien. A good tapestry of intrigue is woven, and I must say I enjoyed Frank Langella's character to the utmost. Sadly by the shambling end nothing is delivered upon, just insultingly oversimplified or left completely unattended to. For the curious only.

-- --

The Fourth Kind
3

See Norm's earlier review. An average alien abduction flick, with a faux documentary of real events angle to add kicks. Only the settings and essential details (Nome, owls, missing people) are genuine, the rest lies through Milla Jovovich's teeth. Spooky if this kind of thing spooks you out.

-- --

Paranormal Activity
3

See my review of The Fourth Kind. An average haunting/possession flick, with a faux first person account of real events angle to add kicks. Nothing is genuine. Spooky if this kind of thing spooks you out. Try and ignore the hyperbole - it's not way better or way worse than The Blair Witch Project, because basically it's the same exact thing. Unless you want to use year of release or profit earned as the determinant, any discussion of the merits of one versus the other is pointless.

-- --

Excitebike World Rally (Video Game, Nintendo Wii, WiiWare [downloadable])
2

This game doesn't do much to justify its existence. The only true differences from the original, which sits in the same virtual warehouse for 4 dollars instead of 10, is the ability to share tracks, a 3/4 perspective, light use motion controls, and an online mode. I was hoping for a bit more. The essential core can be enjoyable and give you that old 'twitch gaming' satisfaction as you set error-free times, bouncing across the obstacles in a break-neck rhythm, but then that essential core is in the 2d original. The track editor is laughably simple, featuring (almost) the exact same list as the original (released in tandem with my release from the womb). You can call that nostalgic, I call it a lazy cash-in.

-- --

Borderlands (Video Game, XBox 360 / Sony PS3)
4

I had no clue I'd like this game as much as I did when my roommate invited me to play. The lovechild of Diablo and Secret of Mana, raised by Unreal Tournament. A shooter with loot (hundreds of randomly generated, oddly compelling guns that fire fire, acid, rockets, assorted petards, and Pikachu lightning blasts). Level rasising, skill trees, quests, and all sorts of this that you don't expect in a first person perspective (not made by Bioware). I mean, this isn't a reinvention of the wheel, lots of other companies have attempted the formula, more often as an MMO, but it's just exceptionally well realized in this case. Strong Co-Op, a distinctive, appealing aesthetic. I'll be there waiting when the sequel drops.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Phenopath » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:16 pm

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by by Jesse Bullington

Well, that was mental. This is an historical epic / fantasy / gorefest which is one of the most vivid books that I have read this year. It chronicals the journey of the eponymous brothers Grossbart across medieval europe. These grave-robbing brothers are the most foul, immoral and unpleasant protagonists you are likely to read of, and their voyage (with the aim of plundering Egyptian tombs) involves copious amounts of violence, cruelty, murder, bodily-fluids and demons.

If I was being pretentious I would describe it as an R-rated Baudolino (I am and it is). This book is highly recommended to Drabblecast listeners.
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