Arrival

3 Mar 2017 06:46 pm
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)

I just saw 'Arrival'. I really liked it. It had me a little scared at points. And confused.  It was also more existential than I expected. I'm glad I didn't know anything going in.

However, my answer to the final question is a resounding, "Hell yes."
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
A couple of my friends independently let me know they wanted to see the monthly Kung Fu series at the Hollywood Theater. Yes, please!

Kung Fu sword fight!
 
Sabertooth Dragon vs. the Fiery Tiger was playing this week and it did indeed entertain. The (only known) 35mm print was a bit choppy, so there were puzzling gaps in the story. The puzzling gaps could also be due to my complete lack of cultural competence or the film's not-quite-translated-right dubbing.

The story starts with the king announced as dead and the successor being chosen from the king's will. In a surprise move, the 4th prince, instead of the 14th, is named the new king. The other princes object. The new king tries to kill his family. Chaos ensues. There's a dalai lama in gold lamé with a flying guillotine army. The palace is booby trapped pretty spectacularly. The cheongsams and hanfus (?) were gorgeous from what I could see in the faded film print.

The two stand-outs for me:
The king, who turns out to be a jerk of course, with many trying to overthrow and kill him, loves wine, women, and song. The first time he got busy with a lady, a guard rushed into the bed chamber and shouted, "YOUR MAJESTY!" and I thought, "Great, what kind of attack is coming now!" and the guard continued with, "DON'T OVERDO IT!" And this happened every. single. time. And the king just kind of smirked and kept going. ???

The head guard got drunk and said some things in the king's presence that he probably shouldn't have, which resulted in the king kind of banishing him. I think. And when the guard, in some distress, is reflecting back on what may have happened to cause this, before plucking his own eyeballs out, says, "I've never betrayed the king! Well... maybe once."

Again, this could be a cultural thing or the translation not quite conveying the actual situation.

Two thumbs up!


motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Amd the answer is "no, I can't write two posts in under 1/2 hour."

Music
I saw SUUNS live and made a dork of myself at the merch table with one of the band members and bought vinyl. I can't stop listening to the SUUNS and Jerusalem In My Heart album. Speaking of vinyl, I got a cheap thrift store receiver and finally hooked up my sister's turntable. I blasted myself with old records and may have made my neighbor laugh while I belted out "Movin' Right Along" courtesy Kermit and Fozzie.

I worked on my album and got everything edited.

I went through a few weeks of My Harp Mastery and discovered "30 Days to Done", which helped my fine-tune my practice schedules.

I played a wedding outdoors on a campground at the coast and it was wonderful. I got to play some Battlestar Galactica music for it!

Books
I read "Unbroken" (despite writing it in my Christmas letter as "Broken") by Laura Hillenbrand. It was terrifying and hopeful. And read by Edward Herrmann, RIP.

I really liked "Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab. The coat that you can take off and fold and turn inside out to turn it into a different coat folded and turned my mind inside out.

Movies/TV
Watching Jessica Jones, Grantchester, Luke Cage, and Westworld with friends has been a balm for my soul. I've also been watching the crap out of "The Mighty Boosh".

Seeing Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm was... wow, just wow. At the same theater, I saw Metropolis (1927) with live organ music.

Miscellaneous
My mom is recovering from her stroke. I trained for the next higher job classification. We did a TSD rally again. I made lost of socks.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Music
I'm swinging wildly back and forth between liking and cringing at what we've managed to record for my album so far.  Right now I'm in the "sounds good" camp, so yay!

I found two music websites that are particularly helpful.  For harp, I discovered Harp Mastery by Anne Sullivan. She sends out very practical tips to improve your playing and technique and thought-provoking ideas for improving your musicality. Maybe not for harpists only? The other website is fiddlehed which is super organized into beginning, intermediate and advanced course outlines. He has a ton of videos, the most helpful of which are how to practice. I know how to practice the harp, but fiddle is completely different.  Both are enthusiastically, yet gently encouraging.

I found Girl Band, a band that hails from Ireland, has no girls in it, and do cool harmonics on the bass. A strong indicator of how much I like them is I thought they were good enough to buy their album. I also couldn't stop listening to Missy Elliot's album preview "WTF". I'm so glad she's back.  Both should be listened to super loud.

Books
My two favorite books of 2015 were ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John  Mendel and ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke. ‘Station Eleven’ is a post-apocalyptic tale of a frightening pandemic, a traveling symphony, and Shakespeare. Mendel deftly weaves a small group of people together back and forth through time in a brilliant and beautiful way. I didn't want this one to end.

'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ is a hefty tome, anonymously and wittily narrated, and starts in the mid-1800s with two characters attempting to answer the question: “Why is there is no magic in England anymore?” It would not be out of place as a serial story told in monthly installments in a Victorian magazine. I was content to come along for a leisurely and delightful ride - then it got really thrilling.  And it has fantastic footnotes.

Movies
Mad Max: Fury Road - I loved this so much I don't even really know what to say about it. What We Do In the Shadows was hilarious and I can't wait for the werewolves (not swearwolves!) sequel. The two movies that surprised me were Trainwreck and Magic Mike XXL. Trainwreck had way more substance than I expected. I laughed, I cried. Despite that most of what was in the trailer was not in the movie. XXL was way more feminist than I expected and I really appreciated that.

ETA: Eep! I forgot I saw Girl Walks Home Alone At Night - it's one of the best vampire films I've seen in addition to WWDitS and Only Lovers Left Alive. And Love at First Bite.

Miscellaneous
The Blood Eclipse Moon was magical, the Pacific Ocean was dizzyingly cold, and the TSD Road Rally was tiring but sensational.

Mad Max

21 May 2015 08:12 am
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Mad Max Fury Road is a beautiful, beautiful film.

The sets (The attention to detail was amazing! I want a hand-built motorcycle with tapestry covered gas tank!), the clothes (I want Furiosa's pants!), and the cinematography (I kind of want to go through a sandstorm now).

Just "wow".

Like G.R.R. Martin said (much better, of course) though, I missed the usual voice-over at the end. For me, it would have given the movie that tiny bit of poignancy that would have pushed it over the edge into a truly complete work of art.

ETA: And while looking through images (this car is REAL) from the film I learned George Miller filmed Mad Max: Furiosa at the same time as Fury Road. What, what, what?!?
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
This list is from "Reel Knockouts: Violent Women In Film" from the chapter titled: "If Her Stunning Beauty Doesn't Bring You to Your Knees, Her Deadly Drop Kick Will". I found this while cleaning. For posterity, or maybe if I'm ever stuck for something to watch

Ah Kam 1996
Angel 2 1988
Blonde Fury 1987
The Bride with White Hair 1993
Broken Oath 1977
Butterfly and Sword 1993
China O'Brien 1988
A Chinese Ghost Story 1987
City Cops 1988
City Hunter 1992
Come Drink with Me 1965
Dragon Inn 1992
Drunken Master II 1994
Executioners (aka Heroic Trio 2) 1993
Fong Sai Yuk 1993
The Heroic Trio 1992
The Inspector Wears Skirts 1984
In the LIne of Duty I: Royal Warriors 1987
Midnight Angel (aka Angel/Iron Angels) 1987
Moon Warriors 1993
My Young Auntie 1981
Naked Killer 1992
New Legend of Shaolin 1994
Outlaw Brothers 1988
Police Story 1985
Police Story III: Supercop 1992/1996
Project 8 (aka Supercop 2) 1993/1999

Raging Thunder 1989
Righting Wrongs 1986
Shanghai Express 1986
She Shoots Straight 1990
Swordsman II 1992
Swordsmand III: The East is Red 1993
Tai Chi Master 1993
Wing Chun 1994
Yes, Madam 1985
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)



If you are into LARPing, or not into LARPing, or like slasher-comedy flicks, get thee to a theater to see this if at all possible.  It was so incredibly entertaining, even though I wasn't able to hear quite a bit of the dialog, due to a couple reasons - the sound turned surprisingly low and the crowd (including myself) laughing. Oh, and the fact I'm deaf.  Wait, verily, that is three things.  I actually got a little hoarse because at one point I cheered louder than I usually would, or at all.

The movie showing was made possible by an SCA group The Shire of Hauksgarðr through Tugg.  It played at the Kiggins Theater in Vancouver, which is a very lovingly restored 1936 theater, and so easy to get to.  As I was waiting to get popcorn, a fellow line-stander filled me in on the restorations the owners had done - putting in less and new seats for more comfortable sitting, pouring a new concrete floor (!) to get the angle of the floor just right, putting a bar in upstairs, etc.  And I must say, those were the most comfortable theater seats I've ever sat in.  Most seats try to fold you into an uncomfortable fetal position like airplane seats, but these actually had lumbar support.  But they need to do something about the sound!

I would say about 75% of the audience was in costume and very boisterous. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. There was a lot of well-deserved laughter and cheering throughout the movie.

The movie itself is full of nerdy goodness.  Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau are the three people in the film I knew best for their strong nerd ties - Game of Thrones, True Blood, and everything, consecutively.  Steve Zahn isn't someone I usually associate with geeky things, but that didn't make him any less fun or funny to watch.  Then there were the people I recognized and needed to research a little more - Margarita Levieva from Revenge (THAT'S where I'd seen her before) was great as the demonic succubus (is there any other kind?), Jimmi Simpson from many many things, Brett Gipson who I thought I'd seen before but hadn't, as Gunther, did really well as a slightly lost soul who never 'breaks game' (I think that's the right term), and I can't figure out who the actor was at the beginning in the garage who looked familiar. I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD!

The other name I recognized was Bear McCreary. He's done the music for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Battlestar Galactica, Defiance, Eureka, and Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles just to name a few.  He described the soundtrack as a “heavy metal fantasy concept album,”  and when he first read the script "my musical imagination filled with soaring bagpipes, drop-tuned distorted guitars, double kick drums, blaring horns, dulcimers and ethereal vocals – everything I love about music in one epic score." Yeah.

Here's a preview of the soundtrack:



McCreary has a blog where he talks about making music for movies, and here's his post about the Knights of Bassassdom that includes notation for each character's theme (warning: contains mild spoilers). Very cool!

I couldn't really find any information about the costumes, but I know that actual LARPers were used in the filming (and assume none of them were harmed :) ) so they probably had some input into that aspect.

This will definitely be a request for purchase at my library.  So much fun!
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I actually got out and saw some movies last weekend, one of them being Pacific Rim. It's at the second-run theaters and I figured I should really see it on the big screen.

During the scenes where they were in the rigs, controlling the giant robots, I kept laughing, but couldn't figure out why I found it so funny. 

pacificrim
Hey Knives...


Then I figured it out.

scottpilgrim
...did you know that the original name for Pac-Man was Puck-Man?

As an aside - I read this article about the costumes before seeing the movie, and paid a lot more attention to them.  Idris definitely lucked out in that department, but I have to say Ron Perlman's shoes blew everyone else out of the water (no pun intended), and whose character's name is, coincidentally, Hannibal Chau.

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