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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Past week

Let's see... playing catch-up again.

Last Monday I got together with my friend Eric from MDA to see The Aura, an Argentinian film-noir, about a taxidermist who dreams of pulling off the perfect crime, and falls into a heist while on a hunting trip. Of course something goes completely wrong. A great movie from a director who sadly died at 47 just a few months back (this was only his second movie). i also respect directors who aren't afraid of long silences in their films.

Picked up some books at Balfour's Books annual half-price price sale (mystery, science, history mostly). Huge crowd in there the first few days, and a reasonable one whenever I walked past it the rest of the week.

Wednesday saw 300 with green_trilobite, moon_custafer, and Zale, with dinner at the Hot House first (great as usual). I must admit I was a bit worried going in, as it have been getting very mixed reviews, the commercials made it look like it was all shouting, and I wasn't the greatest fan of Sin City, the previous highly stylized Frank Miller adaptation. But I really liked the movie. Yes, it is very stylized, but this time I thought it was in service of the story (which is honestly, ridiculous). As moon_custafer pointed out, one of the 100 nations that Persia had conquered must have been Radio City Music Hall. As she also pointed out, the queen only appears in one scene in the graphic novel, but it kicked ass. Here she has a greatly expanded role, but it omits that scene, and what they give her to do doesn't really go anywhere (and can be seen as more than a little demeaning actually). It's one sour note in what is otherwise pretty much an epic. 

Thursday at work was spent packing up all my stuff for the move to begin the next day, which I got off. Bye bye, 400 Carlingview, I doubt I'll ever see you again.

Thanks to the day off I got to have lunch with Sandra downtown, which was fun as always. In the eveing I attended a discussion of George Orwell's 1984 at the Center for Inquiry. I haven't read that book in maybe 15 years, and it's astonishing how well it hold up. Not maybe it's scary how well it holds up. Especially the discussion on "permanent war" and how it helps the government maintain control.

And Saturday was yet another film, one of the series of Russian SF/Fantasy films at Cinematheque, Ruslan and Ludmilia, which according to Joel (saw it with him and Melanie) is considered one of the great Russian Fantasy films. I had no idea going in that it was 2 hour 40 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission, and I will admit to falling asleep for a bit during Part I, which featured a lot of build-up, but Part II was just complete insanity.

We had a dwarf wizard with a six meter beard (note to wizards, when your beard is the source of your power stop telling it to everyone), a visit to Castle Anthrax, the most obvious wire-work ever, Russian verse mangled into English, and in the final battle more decapitations than in 300, not something I expected in a movie this year, let alone the same week. I'm more likely to see tis again than to sit through Solaris.

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note to wizards, when your beard is the source of your power stop telling it to everyone
And if you don't tell them, try not to keep getting it caught on things so they cut it off in their well-meaning attempts to rescyue you (Snow White and Rose Red, a most unjustly neglected fairy tale).

Said wizard actually had four guys running ahead of him most of the time carrying the beard.

Also, saw Gilliam's amazing/disturbing Tideland the other day, and don't want to think about taxidermists for a while. Not to mention green_trilobite's The Dude T-shirt now has a totally different meaning.

Yeah, that's a seriously weird movie even for Mr. G.

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