Daily GUIDE-ance:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Limitless (movie)

I thought this was an awesome story, translated to the screen very well. Liz, to be fair, disagrees. A renter, she would call it. Meh. She’s not a bigtime snob like me. (we both liked the soundtrack though. See Howlin' for you, currently stuck in my head, at right). Nicely written sci fi. Basic premise: a new drug gives you temporarily a super human level of intelligence. I enjoyed the thought and effort that the author put into trying to figure out how a person much much smarter than you would act and think. Made for some cool fights scenes. I do love a story about someone who wins with his smarts. Mr. Cooper in the lead role did very well indeed with it, playing the same character, but at varying levels of smart. That’s a solid challenge. Loved the big fight at the end. I also loved his last line to DeNiro.
A fun movie, but made you think. Stimulating. Out of the box.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mysterium (a book by Robert Charles Wilson)

I am utterly enthralled by this scifi writer. He puts the sci back in sci fi. I’ve compared him before to Michael Crichton, but with a better imagination, and better basic story telling skills. The basic premise: a small vacation town in the west one day vanishes into thin air, simply replaced by old growth jungle. Or from the point of view of the town: the world vanishes and is replaced by another Earth with an alternative history.

He just spins a great yarn, and makes you think.

Here's a quote from Mysterium, that sort of sums up a bit of why I dig this author:

"Do you ever wonder, Howard, about the questions we can't ask?"

"Can't answer, you mean?"

"No. Can't ask."

"I don't understand."

"We're sitting here asking spectacular questions, you and I. About the universe, how it began. And if we can ask a question, probably, sooner or later, we can answer it. So we assume there's no limit to knowledge. But maybe your dog makes the same mistake! He doesn't know what lies beyond the neighborhood, but if he found himself in a strange place he would approach it with the tools of comprehension available to him, and soon he would understand it-dog fashion, by sight and smell and so on. There are no limits to his comprehension, Howard, except the limits he does not and cannot ever experience So how different are we? We can ask many, many more questions than your dog. And we can answer them. But if there are limits to our comprehension, they would be as invisible to us as they are to your dog.

So: is there anything in the universe we simply cannot know? Is there a question we can't ask?"

More tomorrow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Latest media I have ingested

I actually don’t watch a lot of movies…no patience. I have no problem with watching 10 minutes and giving up, if it is registering too high on the retardometer to stand. Same with books. Some say this is not a good way to do things, but I say it is. Why waste my time on boring things? This wise ‘quit while I am ahead policy’ assures me of… well I dunno what it assures me of exactly, but at least I don’t have to watch dumb stuff. Like some people I could mention.

It also means, that because I don't waste my time plowing through the mediocre dung of commonplace lame books and movies, I have more time to watch and read ONLY THE BEST. I do love being a snob.

This summer, I’ve seen 3 movies that I really really dug, and gotten quite psyched over at least one book. All rate high on the unique, interesting, provoking and entertaining scales. At least I thought so.

In chronological order of how I saw/read them:

Super 8 (movie)
The thing about being 'out of the box', like this movie was, is how do you sell it? Have you ever watched the original trailers for Princess Bride? Its an awesome classic of a movie but the trailers made it look very stupid. Because it was unlike anything else out there, so there was no frame of reference that a marketer could relate it too. "Did you like _____? Then you’ll love PB!!" There was nothing to fill in the blank with. Super 8 is also out of the box like that. Which is awesome, because EVERY movie out there right now is either a sequel, or a remake, or a queer 80’s TV show.

OK enough ranting.

Super 8 (movie)
Genre? I guess you’d call it a Scifi/monster movie. It’s set in the early 80’s, which was a lot of fun. The main characters are all kids and they found a great, hilarious gang of child actors. Good story. Lots of good scary; not blood and icky scary; genuine suspense and surprise. Loved it. Saw it in the theater with Liz. We had a fight over where we were going to sit and who had to be forced to sit next to a stranger. I lost the first fight and won the second, but with bad grace. Liz like this movie just as much as me.

True Grit (movie)

Liz actually forced me to see this, which is quite weird… Liz twisting my arm to see a John Wayne remake? It’s like me bullying Liz into seeing Pride and Prejudice. But it turned out to be great. This movie also had a very fun to watch child actor (too bad she will probably grow up to be an addict) and old what's his name, the bad guy from Ironman, played the John Wayne role. Probably a lot better than John Wayne ever did. (Kind of like remaking a Johnny Cash song. You KNOW you can’t do it worse.) But seriously, old whats his name: he was a lot of fun to watch. Matt Damon was too, partly cause his character was such a dweebe. Its always fun when people lose their egos.

This post is Just about too long as it is. I'll tell you about the other movies and books on Wednesday.