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December 4th, 2007

Win Copies of 26lies

The ASif Fund-drive has an ever growing list of books you can win:

2 copies Flashspec Vol 2
2 copies of Backstreets by Robert Hood
1 set of the four Shades novels by Robert Hood
2 copies of Crosstown Traffic edited by Stuart Coupe, Julie Ogden & Robert Hood
1 signed copy of Fivefold by Nathan Burrage (due out in January)
1 copy of In Bad Dreams
2 copies of C0ck
1 copy of Aggressive Retail Therapy by Grant Watson (out of print Angriest Video Store Clerk in the World trade paperback)
2 copies of the Issue 1 of Henry & Gil vs the Infinity Engine by Grant Watson and Edward J. Grug III
2 copies of Polyphony 6
2 copies of Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth by Ben Peek
2 copies of Swans Over the Moon by Forrest Aguirre
6 copies of Fables and Reflections
1 copy of Daikaiju 3
2 copies of Bad Case of Loving You by Laney Cairo
5 copies of Shiny Issue 1
5 copies of New Ceres Issue 2
1 copy of Potato Monkey Issue 5 (the final issue!!)
1 signed copy of Seacastle by Tansy Rayner Roberts
1 copy of Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley
1 copy of Celtika, Book 1 of the Merlin Codex by Robert Holdstock
1 copy of The Iron Grail, Book 2 of the Merlin Codex by Robert Holdstock

Have you donated?

Five bucks gets you one ticket, ten two, fifteen three, and so on and so forth. Toss in a five or ten and you could pick up 26Lies cheap.


Beowulf arrives with motion capture suits, three hundred odd cameras, direction by Robert Zemeckis, a script by Neil Gaiman and Robert Avery, and a thousand youtube videos of Angelina Jolie's computer simulated breasts.

At the end of the film, I asked myself, in the car traveling back, why everyone was so fascinated by the simulated nudity of Jolie. Sure, it was pretty enough, but i didn't particularly understand why people in the cinema snickered or why they hooted or why, afterward, people would go to the effort of putting the scenes on the web. I'm straight. I like breasts. I like naked women. I should be more into it, yeah? I should be right there. Snickering, hooting, uploading, and telling you that I snickered and hooted and uploaded while wearing ridiculous 3D glasses. Perhaps if it had looked a little more real. Perhaps if I hadn't been subjected to about ten minutes of carefully shot scenes to avoid the toned and not really looking like Ray Winstone Winstone's Beowulf's penis. There's a mouthful for you. There's a pun. Lets all have a chuckle. I guess in the end you can say that I would have been more interested in the scene if, by the time I got to it, I wasn't thinking that, sure, you can show Angelina Jolie's computer generated breasts and ass, so long as you don't show her nipples--but it's fine to hint at the outline--and lets be real careful not to show any kind of pussy.

All that stuff is bad!

All that stuff offends us!

Anything we're born with should be hidden!

Oh, by the way, we're going to show you folks impaled on spikes, monsters getting their skin ripped open, and blood splashing all over you in 3D excess...

Stupid isn't just a word, y'know.

Eventually, I was forced to come to the conclusion that, in part, the fascination with Angelina Jolie's fake nudity was due to an acknowledgment on the audiences part that the film wasn't very interesting. Perhaps it was never going to be with Zemeckis as a director, but the film itself seems caught between wanting to be faithful to the original source, while also wanting to fit into the Hollywood block buster of hunting monsters, repenting for your bad deeds, the importance of being a good father, and showing some nudity that isn't quite real. Now, I should admit here that I haven't read the original source material, for I'm a bit on the lazy side and just never gotten round to it--those epic poem things require work from me, I'm afraid--so I'm not real up on how much the film has changed from the original, but I am under the impression that the original text was about the rise of Christianity--or not, as the comments say--and not as the film might have you believe, hunting down monsters, slaying them, fucking their mother, and then slaying the son you spawned in the smooth-where's-the-opening?-cunt of Angelina Jolie. Which is, whatever, you know--change the original text, don't, just settle for sure on it. The aforementioned Christian angle, for example, is a subtext within the film, and handled with all the fine craftsmanship of a brick through the window, which is kind of how the whole film rolls along, actually. The 3D bricks fly out at you. The problem, however, is that such things as this hint that the film would like to be something that it ultimately isn't, and there is almost an argument that there are two films in Beowulf, that of the monster slaying morality lesson about fucking beautiful women with no vagina and birthing villainous sons that you don't raise properly, and the second being that of the rise of Christianity and the loss of old religions and gods and ways. The latter gets virtually no play to it, and the former, as you might note, is something to be mocked a little, for hiding a woman's cooch and a man's schlong while showing me 3D blood letting is silly.

But what, you might ask, of the film in and of itself? The acting, the camera angles, and the script? The first is by the numbers, though John Malkovich appears to be in some kind of pain for his role, which may or may not be my imagination. There's nothing interesting in the angles or how the film is cut together, because, hey, it's a Zemeckis film, and none of them are interesting on that level. It's standard, by the numbers stuff, which is exactly what the script is like, moving between visual penis gags, a few jokes, some grunts for action, and no real style at all. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, adds to the overall feel of nothing within the film, of sitting through an empty, soulless adventure, in which a computer generated naked Angelina Jolie becomes the main attraction for the viewers, a metaphor even for the fakeness of what they have just endured, a realisation that nothing was going to ring true for them, and that they must now focus on Jolie to understand how they should process the film.

Of course, I suppose the film can be justified as a 3D experience, and I must admit, I do like a 3D experience, though outside wood, blood, and spears being pointed and thrown at me, there didn't seem to be any point in having it as a 3D film. Considering that I saw the trailer for Journey to the Centre of the Earth in 3D before Beowulf, however, it doesn't take a whole lot to rise above the usual offerings, I suppose, and I kind of doubt I'll be paying for that film.


Paper Cities Reading

At the end of this link is a video of the Paper Cities reading in WFC.

It is over an hour long, but you can see, somewhere in the middle of it, Chris Billett (chrisbillett) and I read a part of my story, 'The Funeral, Ruined', which is in the anthology. Both of us have accents, so obviously, we're both worth the price of admission. Chris is only slightly better looking than me, which is why, I imagine, he gets applause at the start and end of the story. At least, I assume so, since my net connection seems to be shot tonight, and I can't get a good stream for the video.

Also, it's an hour long.

Also, I don't particularly want to watch myself on film... yet I am drawn to it like a car crash. I hope I laugh.

Order of appearance is Cat Rambo, Cat Sparks (catsparx), Mark Teppo (markteppo), Hal Duncan, Catherynne Valente (catvalente), and Kaaron Warren (kaaronwarren). Chris and I fall after Teppo.