Drabble Reviews Blog

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

Post by StalinSays » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:37 am

Goldenrat wrote:I agree with your review. A few of my friends saw it and also liked it. At the end I was debating in my head if Mary cheated or not, but thinking back I think there were some clues thrown in there which made the resolution work. Crazy delicious.
Yeh, usually I'm extremely put off by 'twist' endings, but SI's was well supported. It worked to clear up so many of the odd interactions between characters.

All scores out of 5.

-- --

Alice in Wonderland
2

MEH. Positive sentiments lingered within me as Alice reached its final stretch, then Johnny Depp's Scottish hatter started futterwacking.. and it was all over. Burton needs to stop adapting material - he clearly has no passion for it.

-- --

Thirst
4

An adulterous vampire priest suffers with a lingering case of boils and the rigors of maintaining a long-term relationship. Yep, a lot to absorb. Thirst is the newest film from one of favorite directors - Park Chan Woon. The one word review: fun. But boy o' boy is this a strange one. Watch it as an abstract hor'rotica collage - it works. Watch it as a narrative, try to figure out what is 'happening,' for but a moment, and you will be lost completely.

-- --

Plastic Beach (album)
4.5

I was filled with trepidation spinning the third Gorillaz record for the first time; I love their first two releases bunches and bunches, and invested in big 'spensive Coachella tickets just to lay eyes on the band. The last thing I wanted was a mediocre release clogging up the set list, and by god that was the last thing I got. A strong central concept ties together a highly varied set of sounds - hopping genres from alternative to funk to hip hop to electronic to Arabian folk music. It takes an adventurous ear but is definitely worth a listen.
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Mr. Tweedy
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:44 pm

Saw a satisfying movie a few days ago:

Moon - It's hard to say much about this movie without spoiling something, which is a compliment to a mystery movie, which this is. The setup is this: Our protagonist lives on the Moon, alone, the sole crew of an otherwise automated mining outpost. His shift is 3 years, then he gets to go home and collect his pay. After 3 years of loneliness and isolation, he's starting to go crazy... Or is he?

And to give even a hint of what follows would risk diminishing you enjoyment of a story that is actually fairly twisty, and whose twists of that excellent sort that make perfect sense in retrospect even though you never saw them coming. The movie is entertaining and has some good philosophical nuggets embedded in it, but it falls short of contending for "classic" status simply because there really isn't any reason to ever watch it again once you know the story. An excellent rental for a night when you want some smart sci-fi that your spouse will like too.

Tweedy Score: 80

Saw two disappointing movies last night:

Ponyo - You never know what to expect from Miyazaki. Some of his movies are beautiful and poignant, and some of them are just weird for the sake weird. Ponyo is in the later category. The plot is very simple: A young sea goddess take a shine to a human boy and decides to become human so she can be with him. Cool. And the parts of the movie that focus on that simple, sweet idea are enjoyable and fun. Unfortunately, the movie has a number of weird subplots and just plain weirdness that doesn't seem to connect with the main story at all, even tangentially. For some reason, the moon is falling out of the sky. And for some reason all sorts of prehistoric creates are suddenly swimming around in the ocean. And for some reason the sea level rises about 100 feet (which would, of course, flood half of Japan and kill millions of people, but no one seems upset or even concerned about it.) And there's this weird glowing well that does something for some reason. And there's this bad wizard who wants to kill all humans, but then he's really a nice guy who loves old people. And there's this life-or-death test to see if the sea goddess will be killed or live as a human, but they never really say what the test is, and I'm not really sure at what point in the story it occurred…

Yeah. Ponyo is so very weird and weird to no purpose that it gets lost in its own little world, and those of us on the outside looking in don't have any way to understand it or even know for sure if there's anything to understand. It just becomes a jumble of unrelated images. The end comes, but you don't know why or how. There are some cute moments, but not enough to save this movie from its own self-absorption.

Tweedy Score: 50

The Box - This is a big "fail," and the reason for the fail is very simple: The movie is too damn long. The logical (and satisfying) ending to the movie comes about 45 minutes into it… And then the movie just keeps on rolling for another 70 minutes. During that time it passes several more spots that would have great places to roll the credits, but it just keeps going and going and going, until it finally just sort of stops at a point that feels arbitrary, like the filmmaker realized he was just flapping his gums and finally decided to shut up.

The premise is simple and cool: A stranger shows up on your doorstep with a big red button and says "Here's the deal. Press the button and two things happen: You get $1,000,000 and someone you don't know will die. Don't press the button for 24 hours and I'll come back for the button and nothing will happen." What do you do?

As long as the movie focusses on the premise and the moral dilemma it presents, it's very good, but before long it starts to veer wildly down seemingly random and inexplicable pathways of weirdness. People are sucked through mysterious portals to heaven and hell, there is mass brainwashing, a magic hotel swimming pool, random weird zombie people stalking around for no reason, weird disconnects where characters suddenly are somewhere else for some reason, and explicit yet vague explanations of how Martians are going to murder us all if we don't pass the cosmic ACT.

The movie devolves into what is basically just a series of bizarre episodes that really have anything to do with each other, and don't even seem to be linear half the time. The end is obviously intended to be shocking, but the stuff leading up to it make too little sense to set us up for a shock. It just left me feeling indifferent.

Tweedy Score: 39
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:06 am

The Box was originally done as a piece in one of those 30 minute SF analogy series on the Sci-Fi network (before they became SyFy, sheesh),

(I think it was the re-done Twilight Zone) and as such, it was not bad, (as far as other episodes in that very luke-warm TZ remake go.)

Having seen that episode, I couldn't for the life of me understand how they were going to stretch it out into a movie without tossing a bunch of lingering irrelevant material. Mr.Tweedy's review seems to confirm that this is exactly how they accomplished that stretching.

As far as "Moon" goes, I am now intrigued enough to seek it out for a viewing.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Scattercat » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:04 am

"The Box" is originally based on a Richard Matheson short story. Given how little Hollywood seems to actually end up using of any of his original material, I have to wonder why they keep trying. The short story focuses quite clearly on the moral dilemma as such. The movie makes me fall over laughing just from seeing the trailer.

<3 Richard Matheson

</3 Hollywood movies of beloved stories

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by myke_deschain » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:47 am

Just Read:
"Hyperion" and the "Fall of Hyperion"
of which I was sparked to read after seeing someone mention it on the DC forums...so here's what I thought...

This was some of the best Scifi I've been privy to in awhile... Dan Simmons was able to capture me with cantabury tales for spacers. Each of the pilgrims tales was engrossing and at times touching. One particular thing that I enjoyed about this book is that it is set so far into the future that the author is forced to delve into how our technology, politics, and culture has evolved. The idea of treeships was also very interesting and original as well...But the real reason for reading this story should be for each of the pilgrims stories; they are amazing. Where the world-building that went into this story sometimes got to be a bit much, the way Simmons is able to develop a character more than makes up for it. The poet is probably one of my all-time favorite characters I've ever had the privilege to spend time with. This is the kind of story I read until four in the morning and fall asleep still trying to reach the next page. Great read.

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:08 pm

Saw a pair of comic book adaptations last week. I got some good news, and some bad news. let's start with the bad news.

All scores out of 5.

-- --

Kick Ass
2

A middle of the road graphic novel turned in to a bad movie. Source material about the travails of an awkward teen's desperate plea for acceptance, complete with grit, modest realism and copious cautionary harm visited upon the protagonist become bombastic glossy junk with jet packs whirring and gun cartridges being juggled, caught and fired in one motion, to zero consequence (unless you're a bad guy). If you're coming in vanilla, the action scenes, for what they are, are well constructed. But the heart of this one just doesn't beat. Drivel'ville.

-- --

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
5

Caught an early screener (the wide release is in August), and I cannot properly express the fullness of my enthusiasm. Highly original, entertaining, funny, exciting - take all the hype and undue praise attached to a Disney family release like Race to Witch Mountain or G-Force, and actually make it applicable. Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has really constructed something special - the singular experience of a living comic. Loose, meta, silly, 'anything is possible, fun. And look, I don't use the word 'fun' often. Not even Michael Cera's uncomprimising Michael Cera'ness can put a dent in this one. Romantic even - take a damn date. See it!
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:26 am

"An epic of epic epicness"? Oo!
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:55 pm

myke_deschain wrote:Just Read:
"Hyperion" and the "Fall of Hyperion"
of which I was sparked to read after seeing someone mention it on the DC forums...so here's what I thought...

This was some of the best Scifi I've been privy to in awhile... Dan Simmons was able to capture me with cantabury tales for spacers. Each of the pilgrims tales was engrossing and at times touching. One particular thing that I enjoyed about this book is that it is set so far into the future that the author is forced to delve into how our technology, politics, and culture has evolved. The idea of treeships was also very interesting and original as well...But the real reason for reading this story should be for each of the pilgrims stories; they are amazing. Where the world-building that went into this story sometimes got to be a bit much, the way Simmons is able to develop a character more than makes up for it. The poet is probably one of my all-time favorite characters I've ever had the privilege to spend time with. This is the kind of story I read until four in the morning and fall asleep still trying to reach the next page. Great read.
The follow-up duet "Endymion" and "The Rise of Endymion" is also worth a read (though I do think the original set is a bit stronger.)
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by F5iver » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:38 pm

I've only read the first one. I have a long list of other books to read first (not the least of which, the door stop "Under the Dome") before I can get to Endymion.

But of the stories in Hyperion, I was blown away by the priest and Jewish father's stories the most. And the poet is indeed a great character. He should be played by Wallace Shawn. Anyone else is inconceivable.

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:13 pm

F5iver wrote:I've only read the first one. I have a long list of other books to read first (not the least of which, the door stop "Under the Dome") before I can get to Endymion.

But of the stories in Hyperion, I was blown away by the priest and Jewish father's stories the most. And the poet is indeed a great character. He should be played by Wallace Shawn. Anyone else is inconceivable[/b].

You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. ;-)
Being raised Catholic and already psychologically sensitive to the imagery, the first two books gave me the willies in a major way. The main criticism one might level on the follow-ups is the the Christ metaphor is perhaps a bit heavy-handed, but the parallel to the current problems in the church and the struggle inside to bring it back to its true meanings and intent is certainly very relevant today.

The Catholic church in the second set of books makes the times of the inquisition look all touchy feely by comparison. Simmons does SF/Horror very well.

One of my favorite pure horror novels is his epic "Carrion Comfort" which is just brilliant, and terrifying.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by myke_deschain » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:23 am

ROU Killing Time wrote: The follow-up duet "Endymion" and "The Rise of Endymion" is also worth a read (though I do think the original set is a bit stronger.)
thanks for the suggestion... I rarely feel very confident about reading follow up stories after the main one is over.. Sometimes these extra books within an authors universe can get a bit drawn out. Even if they're not, they some how loose the ability to shimmer if the first book/books really shined (ex. some of the later dune books..).
F5iver wrote:I have a long list of other books to read first (not the least of which, the door stop "Under the Dome"
Tell me if that behemoth of a book is any good... I only made it about a hundred pages in before i got sidetracked and put it on the back-burner.

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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:55 am

Speaking of behemoths and Dan Simmons, at roughly 1800 pages combined between the two novels, Illium and Olympos are thoroughly enjoyable romps through quantum/ hard science fiction with a nice dose of a Lovecraftian menace stirred into the mix.

I give it a 9.99 out of 10, only losing points for having a slightly meh (well time to put a "the end" on this sucker) ending.

Beyond that the only complaint is that at 1800 pages it was just too damn short.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by dreamrock » Sun May 02, 2010 12:48 am

Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp

I have this bad habit of only reading when I'm on business trips. I'm so far behind on watching movies and TV shows from a combination of a sheltered upbringing and being too busy with creative stuff that I don't have as much time for reading anymore. I end up reading a book about once a month on average.

I started reading Vacation back in January and didn't get to finish it then and was confused as all get out when I came back to it on this most recent trip. I'm pretty sure that I would have been confused anyway because there was a bunch of stuff I didn't understand properly when I was reading it through the first time. Vacation made sense, but the beginning was still kinda "whut?!" so I re-read the beginning and was fine.

This book is subtle and brazen all at once. The plot is subtle, the prose is brazen. It's a great example of how bizarro fiction can work in novel length. If it wasn't bizarro, it would probably be classed as near-future dystopian science fantasy.

It's undeniably weird, so I think you all will like it in that respect. On a political scale, it's all over, but seems mostly anti-corporation and anti-west so that might piss some off.

If you've never read bizarro, I'd recommend reading some short stories before plunking down change for a novel. Jeremy's short stories Ballerina and Dog are great introductions to the genre. Dog, however, is way darker than Vacation and is too dark for work, so to speak.

Dreamrock's score: 95/100
Guess for everyone else: 70-75/100

---

Kick-Ass

Awkward and puerile. Hilarious and a lot of fun. I suspect a lot of DCasters would agree with Bo's assessment of the movie. My resident comic book super hero fan mostly hated it. I liked it and the roommate who disagrees with me on everything also liked it. So, there's an odd niche of people who are going to love this one.

Nick Cage has been on my naughty list for awhile, and this movie has inked him in there permanently. I hated his character and I hated the way Nick played him. I hate his socks now. His socks. That said, he had a few good lines in there.

His character was a lame-ass Batman with guns.

Kick-Ass, the character, was pretty lame too. He's an everyman and he does a brilliant job of showing why normal people can't be superheroes. He's basically Peter Parker with less crying and no superpowers. The less crying is substantially important to my appreciation of his character.

Hit Girl was clearly the star of the movie and all three members of my panel thought she was the best part of the movie.

The member of my panel who hated the movie complained about it moving too slowly in the parts where I thought it was at its awesome best. Ignoring the fighting parts.

If you're a fellow pacifist, you're going to have to pretend violence is ok for the length of the movie. I'm used to doing that already but I know some of y'all don't get past that well so fair warning on that bit.

Dreamrock's score: 76/100
Guess for everyone else: 40/100 (Yeah, I'm going with Bo's score, just converted to my scoring system)

--

Penelope

In case you're trying to look this one up, it's the movie with Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. My impression is that no one ever heard of this movie. Ever. I'm clearly behind on pop-culture so I might be wrong.

This is my idea of a Drabblecaster's love story. Except it doesn't end with tentacles. I was destined to love this movie though as it combines two of my favorite actors, the aforementioned Ricci and McAvoy so please grain-of-salt this one. I saw it on Netflix streaming. If it's still there and you have it, that's an excellent way to check this out just in case you don't love it as much as I did.

While it has a somewhat cliche ending, the ultimate message isn't the cliche "If you love yourself you'll stop being weird and other people will love you too" message. I don't know. Watch this movie for free if you can and then complain about lost time if you don't love it.

Probably great as a date movie in either case though.

Dreamrock's score: like a bazillion
Guess for everyone else: ???
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Tue May 04, 2010 4:10 am

My 4-year-old demanded we buy Ponyo, and, having seen it several times now, I must revise my previous Tweedy score. My previous complaints still stand, but they seem less important in light of just how fun and whimsical I now see the movie to be. Ponyo is beautiful to look at and has a lot of what people usually refer to as "heart." It's fun, even if it isn't deep.

Revised Tweedy Score: 71
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by myke_deschain » Sat May 08, 2010 6:15 am

ROU Killing Time wrote:Speaking of behemoths and Dan Simmons, at roughly 1800 pages combined between the two novels, Illium and Olympos are thoroughly enjoyable romps through quantum/ hard science fiction with a nice dose of a Lovecraftian menace stirred into the mix.

I give it a 9.99 out of 10, only losing points for having a slightly meh (well time to put a "the end" on this sucker) ending.

Beyond that the only complaint is that at 1800 pages it was just too damn short.
I've recently been triing to seek out some good hard scifi... so this will be put to the test (or will i?... 1800 is a tad large...) right after I finish up "the Algebraist" by Iain M Banks..and while I'm on this note, has anyone else read this? For some reason I've had a tough time imagining what the Dwellers look like..

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Splice

Post by normsherman » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:07 am

Splice
*spoilers*
Just saw it. Pretty terrible.
Two hip young, leather-clad, macbook totin' scientists manage to not only create a new advanced predator life form completely on their without anyone else in the scientific community's help or knowledge, but they also end up making you smack your forehead over and over by making such painfully idiotic decisions over and over. And over. And over.

The woman lead's throbbing weakness of course, is that she can't control her emotions and motherly instincts. Dresses the monster up in a sun dress and says "science is about pushing boundaries! :roll:
The man lead's throbbing weakness is, of course, he has no control over his penis and has to bang the hideous bat/scorpion/kangaroo girl. :roll:

Not the worst movie of it's kind that I've ever seen. There are 5 Species movies I guess, so that's a hard category to compete in.

*1/5 genetically engineered clown eggs*
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Re: Splice

Post by StalinSays » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:58 am

normsherman wrote:Splice
*spoilers*
Just saw it. Pretty terrible.
I heard enough grumbling about Splice via the facebook and the twitter I ducked it for Get Him to the Greek. And that turned out to be crap as well. So movie failure for this weekend seems fated. Punishment for no one seeing MacGrueber?

Adrien Brody bangs the monster.. I'm back to wanting to see it.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by dreamrock » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:15 am

I saw McGruber. I don't think I can do a review of it. I laughed a lot, felt insulted a lot. Was pretty grossed out (which is pretty rare for me) and laughed some more.

It's not a great parody. In a sense, it's like if someone wrote a parody of MacGyver having only seen the theme song. When the parody was at its most ill-informed was where I laughed the hardest because it took work to associate it with Mac. It mostly doesn't feel like a joke that went on for too long. If you're going to see it, see it at matinee or second run theater. Or because a romantic interest wants to see it with you. :lol: Between the company and pretending it had nothing to do with MacGyver, I enjoyed myself a lot.

But it's a bad bad movie.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by Goldenrat » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:20 am

Glad I checked in on the Drabble Reviews Blog. I was considering seeing all three aforementioned movies (Splice, Greek, McGruber) but I think I'll wait for them to show in the dollar theater or on DVD. Not a good time to hit the cinema.
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Re: Drabble Reviews Blog

Post by StalinSays » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:26 am

Goldenrat wrote:Glad I checked in on the Drabble Reviews Blog. I was considering seeing all three aforementioned movies (Splice, Greek, McGruber) but I think I'll wait for them to show in the dollar theater or on DVD. Not a good time to hit the cinema.
It has been a lackluster summer. Further evidence: The Karate Kid (in which Jackie Chan teaches Jaden Smith kung fu (!?)) won this weekend with 58 million.

Maybe we're all still in Avatar withdrawal? I do have high hopes for Inception in July.
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