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Archive for July 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

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Last Saturday I finally had the opportunity to see Wes Anderson’s latest film “Moonrise Kingdom” at College Square. Like most of his films (“Life Aquatic” being the one that disinterests me), I sat and watched and was drawn in by its cleverness and quirkiness, but wasn’t fully wowed. After the film ended I left the theater and continued to think about it over the rest of the day and weekend. I came to like it more in hindsight than I did in the theater. It’s rare when that happens, but there you go.

The film is about Sam, a kid who flees a scout camp on the small fictitious island of New Penzance off the New England coast during the summer of 1965 for a romantic rendezvous with Suzy, a girl who caught his eye at a church play one year prior (a stage production of “Noye’s Fludde, which is actually an opera).

A search crew is assembled, consisting of the scoutmaster (Edward Norton), the local police captain (Bruce Willis), Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and, later, a social services worker (Tilda Swinton, in all her iciness). I liked the leads, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, and I thought Willis did a good job portraying an adult who genuinely seemed to care about Sam’s predicament (there is a subplot regarding his foster family… but I don’t want to give it away).

Anderson has a particular, signature fondness for tracking shots, which are used so extensively that, I almost have to admit, I became slightly annoyed by it. But it’s a trivial complaint for an otherwise sweet, charming story about two kids’ first attempt at romance and escapism.


Fateful hands, Ctd

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I downloaded the Manos game app, and was not impressed. Holding my iPhone sideways, I had to rely on four tiny controller-style buttons on the screen (with no haptic input) to guide the character across the screen, bobbing and weaving (unsuccessfully) around various threats.

Honestly, I was never good at attack-style video games. When my family got an NES for Christmas way back in the 1980s, my brother was the one who excelled at Mario Bros. and the like, while I stuck with Tetris and Dr. Mario. When we got a computer in our home, I preferred Myst and Sim City over Doom and Wolfenstein 3D.

But I will give the game developers credit for creating a game that looks very much like it came from the 1980s, graphics- and music-wise.

Written by camcarlson

July 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Fateful hands

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A restored version of “Manos: The Hands of Fate”, one of the ‘best’ worst films ever made, is being released on DVD. Kudos to for this story.

Also, an iOS game version will be released this Thursday. The below video makes it look far more interesting than the film was. I’ll be trying it out this Thursday.

Written by camcarlson

July 23, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Posted in Apple, Cinema, video

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Midnight movie massacre & the right to bear arms

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I’m very grateful that Alex, who moved to Aurora last summer, was not at the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” last night.

An excerpt from Roger Ebert’s op-ed in today’s NYT:

I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence. I think the link is between the violence and the publicity. Those like James Holmes, who feel the need to arm themselves, may also feel a deep, inchoate insecurity and a need for validation.


That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.


Immediately after a shooting last month in the food court of the Eaton Centre mall in Toronto, a young woman named Jessica Ghawi posted a blog entry. Three minutes before a gunman opened fire, she had been seated at the exact place he fired from.

“I was shown how fragile life was,” she wrote. “I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”

This same woman was one of the fatalities at the midnight screening in Aurora. The circle of madness is closing.

Written by camcarlson

July 20, 2012 at 6:17 PM

DABDA refresher

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Written by camcarlson

July 19, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Posted in Cinema

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Midsummer Roundup

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Halfway through the summer. The past few weeks have been spent working overtime during the day, practicing digital sabbaticals on the weekends and slowly plodding along with my twin archival and purging projects.

With a few exceptions, temperatures have been consistently in the nineties and the air stiflingly humid. Suffice to say, bicycling has taken a back seat to running and weightlifting at the gym.

A few good books read over the past few weeks:

-The Company of the Dead, an alternate history of the 20th century where the Titanic didn’t sink, the US loses WWII and the Nazis and Japanese control the US coastlines. In the new 2012 there’s a Kennedy working for the Confederate intelligent agency out of Texas, who kidnaps the current captain of the Titanic, flies him out of New York City in a German zeppelin, fights with samurai in a hotel in Tennessee and rallies Native Americans to fight a tank war in the Nevada desert while powering up a time machine recovered from Roswell in the hope of… well, I don’t want to give it away.

-It’s All About the Bike, half a history of the development of the bicycle and its various components, and half biography of author Robert Penn, traveling the world and spending an ungodly sum of money (as in over $5,000) to procure the best parts for his dream bike.

The Moviegoer, the tale of a man turning 30 living in New Orleans in/around 1960, during the week of Mardi Gras, who doesn’t seem to engaged in his job or his family or his meager circle of friends but is willing to flee with his cousin (I think that was their relationship) to Chicago, and somewhere in those 240 pages he goes to the movies too. That last one was so-so… the aunt had some good lines towards the end of the book.

A cold began working on me last Wednesday and unleashed its fury last Friday night. I was waylaid all weekend, downing 7-Up and cranberry juice and engorging on seasons 2 and 3 of The West Wing on DVD (I did manage to join Sam and Sharina for dinner and a roller derby double header at Young Arena Saturday night, but my finicky sinuses kept me from enjoying myself). Coming off a weekend of general lethargy and ill health, I’m trying to play catchup.

The A/C has been working more overtime than I have these past few weeks. I’ve turned it off for the rest of the night but it knows as well as I do it’s going back to the front lines tomorrow morning. Good thing my utilities are included in the rent.

Movies seen over the past couple months: “The Happening”, “Whip It”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (dumb fun), “Magic Mike” (believe it or not, there’s a story, but it takes second place to Soderbergh’s “Haywire” from earlier this year), “Ted” (funny but it’s a rental), “Tomboy” (interesting French film about an androgynous 10-year old girl), “John Carter” (not nearly as bad as the bad press led me to believe, but still… not good), “Margaret” (a movie written in 2003, filmed in 2005 and stuck in production and legal limbo until this year’s DVD release; a captivating original story with very good performances) and several DVDs I own (“JFK”, “Paris Texas”, “The Social Network”, “The Squid and the Whale”, “The Darjeeling Limited” and “Gimme Shelter”).

…and “Prometheus” — saw it twice, once in 3D; currently my favorite film of the year, so good and creepy, a modern prequel to “Alien”, a bit faster-paced with a few glaring plot loopholes but still a very solid piece of entertainment. Jim Emerson wrote extensively about this movie and its relationship to “Alien” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. It’s a very good essay and worth reading, even for those who didn’t see “Prometheus”. Seriously, read it. Now.


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Ditto for this one…

Written by camcarlson

July 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Posted in Cinema, video

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