Halloween 2013 (AAC w/ chapters, 113mb via MediaFire, click cover to download.) This year I want to note the closing of MSN Headbang, my favorite metal blog and #2 source of intelligence for sourcing these tapes after ILM’s yearly Rolling Metal threads. Horns up for Adrien!
I’m obsessed with this postcard photographer who worked during the first quarter of the last century around my hometown, and I’m trying to compile a catalog of his output. Wrote a page about it. Nerds and photography/postcard/local history obsessives only.
The Gatekeepers – ☆☆ ½ Excellent historical document, docked half a star for the dumb CGI.
Stories We Tell – ☆½ Self-indulgent, occasionally touching. Didn’t like the non-biological dad.
Ordinary People – ☆☆ Should have been called Upper Middle Class People. Super American, I can see how it would have had a huge impact in its time.
Star Trek Into Darkness – ☆½ Fine, meaningless
Room 237 – ☆ Who cares about the infantile ranting of narcissistic morons?
Manborg - ☆ Kind of unwatchable, although I admire the effort and passion
Pacific Rim – ☆½ Good colors. Too old for this shit.
Pump Up The Volume (rewatch) – ☆☆ Rightfully beloved, incredibly badly edited – why is there no director’s cut??
Vampire’s Kiss – ☆☆☆½ Fucking tremendous. Suzie and I going as Nicholas Cage and Alva for Halloween this year.
This Is The End – ☆½ I laughed, meaningless
Spring Breakers – ☆☆☆ Benoit Debie drinks syrup
Oblivion – ½ couldn’t take more than 15 minutes, not Stephen Platt’s fault, you’re the best Stephen
Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry: ☆☆ Somewhat dull but a good biography of a major art world figure who isn’t in it for the money.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams – ☆☆☆ Wonderful, also deadly boring but worth it for the postscript
Skyfall – ☆☆ Stylish, dull, enjoyed the blue tux
Gwendoline – the height of orientalism, not for me
Killer Party – ½ basically unwatchable
Cutter’s Way – ☆☆ Kind of boring, decent performances, interesting to think of as a prequel to The Big Lebowski
Miami Connection - ☆☆ for enthusiasm, goofy as fuck and boring in the middle but joyful
Cash McCall - ☆☆ Many qualities lacking from modern film, interesting foreshadowing of the importance of M&A in American business life. Weiner sees it as an influence on Mad Men which is evident.
Stoker: ☆☆ Yay Chan-Woo Park and Mia, everything else eh. Plot somewhat predictable.
Sightseers – ☆ Good directing, believable acting, did nothing for me.
Argo – ☆½ Solid, no subtext at all, teaches nothing.
Skyfall – ☆ for great locations and solid direction, otherwise boring.
Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo – ☆☆ Presumably a bitter parody of fan desire before an astonishing conclusion
Only The Young – ☆ Attempts Mike Mills, isn’t. Cute kids.
Upstream Color ☆☆☆ Brave and completely American. SECOND APPRAISAL: ☆☆½ Probably low on meaning once you connect circles; still striking.
The Master – ☆☆½ – great staging, some genuine humanity between the leads but a flat ending.
Celeste and Jesse Forever – ☆ for Rashida Jones and an ending I liked
Silver Linings Playbook – ½ for Jennifer Lawrence, otherwise fucking false garbage
Beauty is Embarrassing – ☆½ for enthusiasm.
Killing Them Softly – ½ for slow motion car shooting and opening bit with junkies. Otherwise cynical, obvious, dull.
John Dies at the End – ☆ for funtimes, also liked the handling of the ending and credits
Sleepwalk With Me – ½ didn’t connect with me at all
Flight – ☆ for great plane crash sequence, turned it off after 1:20
End of Watch – ☆½ should have called it “when will Michael Peña die” but good performances
The Dark Knight Rises – ☆☆1/2 – great tech, good holding off of Batman until 3rd act
The Queen of Versailles ☆☆ – somewhat touching portrait of excess and attendant anxiety
Total Recall (2012) – ☆ for Obama money and cityscapes
Savages – ½ for one cool transition and Salma Hayek
Black Rain – ☆☆ Nutty! Like Rising Sun w/ the fear-based racism, has good qualities.
The Spectacular Now
Return From The Ashes
The prison was a hulking fortress, towering over the slums. The warden had called on us two days earlier with an irresistible offer, backed in coin. The lock-up was near empty, his men were bored, and he wanted us to test the prison’s vaunted defenses.
The warden’s lieutenant was boastful, jocular. We’d never best his guards, he crowed. With his men gathered, he stripped off his armor, donned a prisoner’s rags, and, with a wink, told his guards to lock him up in solitary. We sealed the deal with a handshake and a bet: the lieutenant’s fat platinum ring, tied around his neck — ours, if we got that far, he said.
We’d go in with practice swords and blunted shafts: a night of bruises to be sure, but no bloodshed.
We surveyed the building for two days, and climbed the nearby tenements at nightfall. An arrow through the night, a grappling hook, and we were on the ramparts. The first guards were cocksure but slow. They bent under our blows, grunted, and yielded.
Our thief crept into the heart of the complex, then returned minutes later, tense and pale. The guards below were dead, he said, gutted where they’d stood. We swept into the fetid halls below, sprinting past a gauntlet of wild-eyed, hooting prisoners. The commandant was in the basement cells, bloodied, in chains.
The craven fool sobbed his story. He’d made a deal with the devil — in the form of the city’s sinister mafioso: an escape for the prison’s most prized criminal. Now we heard the distant clangor of gates shutting floors above and then, faintly at first, the guttural rumble of tunneling.
The game, it seemed, had just begun.
6,000 words, for player characters levels 4-7.
Two weeks in the city resting and recuperating before we were met by messenger from the elven underground. Tales had trickled in of an enormous diamond mine secreted hundreds of miles across the mountains, where overlords worked a host of enslaved elves and their captive prince. Their proposal: we were to infiltrate the mine, fix its coordinates for an eventual assault, and rescue their prince.
The mine was apparently awash in uncut gems but lean of supplies and hard currency. The city’s criminal gangs contracted with the miners for the requisite shipments. We tracked a resupply out of the city, and ambushed them at nightfall. Their map led us through the tangled foothills for three days until, in the thinning air, the mine’s scouts sighted us. They took us the remaining miles blindfolded.
The mine was a wicked, accursed place. The elves, pale and sickly, worked vast, open-air pits, torn away from the forests that sustained them. The miners kept foul creatures chained up, harvested their acid excretions, and sluiced the mountain’s depths with those foul solutions.
The head of the mine was a sadist and sybarite. We flattered him, and promised more shipments. The first night, our searches turned up nothing. The complex held no secret passages, no hidden cells. The second night we reached the elves in their vile cages. As for the prince, he had been separated from them upon their capture. They hadn’t seen him since and feared him dead.
The third day we heard a new re-supply was on its way. Our time was running out.
8,000 words, for player characters levels 6-8.