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12/4/2005

5... 4... 3...
The only response I got from our request for New Yearís ideas came from degenerate JF:
Let us know if you find out about any good New Year's ideas!!! I REFUSE to stay in Charlotte but I agree with you--I also don't want to freeze my behind off up north! I'm getting desperate and I have even considered going to a remote area of the NC mountains for the annual "Possum Drop". Scary... :)

Either nobody has any ideas, or youíre too damn lazy to put fingers to keyboard and send Ďem, or youíre keeping them secret so a horde of drunken degenerates donít crash your party. Well, the horde is more like a small advanced stout unit these days since most of the barbarians will remain back at the village with the spouses and children and cattle, keeping the home fires burning while we few adventurous wanderers roam the wilderness. So if you know of a happy hunting ground this New Yearís, spread the word!


FILM FLAM
Caught an advance screening of Aeon Flux last week. Itís a bad sign when a studio doesnít do any advanced screenings. Paramount screened Aeon Flux once, at 10pm the night before itís release - too late for any press people to get a review out before the Friday opening, too late even for word of mouth to spread.
The cartoon from which the movie is drawn, so to speak, was interesting and cutting edge, some 10 years ago. But what made it noteworthy were the interesting visuals - the odd artwork and animation style, lifelike yet simultaneously cartoonish, sort of Asian action movie meets sci fi, but with noir characters and sensibilities. The other interesting aspect of the cartoons was the nearly total lack of dialogue. Everything had to be deduced by the viewer. The main character only spoke a single word the entire run of the series.
I feared none of this would translate to the big screen. Another problem would be the transition from a series of interesting cartoon snippets to a coherent single film.
Most of my fears were justified. They tried too hard to make the future look real, rather than visually entertaining. Charlize Theron is gorgeous, but almost as two-dimensional as a cartoon in the title role. Her costume isnít the strange, skimpy bondage-like getup from the cartoon, a disappointment for straight males and fans of the original series.
The special effects arenít so special either. There are several wire-fu sequences that look cheap and many computer generated effects look computer generated.
But complaints aside, itís not a bad sci-fi flick. There are a few minor plot twists you donít see coming if you didnít watch the original cartoon (or canít remember the plot in detail, since plot wasnít why you watched the series.) Itís sort of a mix between 1984 and The Island, the recent flick with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johanssson. They donít get hung up on technology or throw in too many silly toys, though there are enough for geeks to say ďCooolĒ a few times. Probably not worth seeing in the theater, but rent it when it comes out on video and youíre looking for some sci-fi fun.
Speaking of fun, we actually went to a movie that wasnít one of SWís screenings for the first time in ages last weekend. I was in the mood for something light and funny so I talked SW into seeing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. A lot of reviews are saying itís a send-up of buddy action flicks, but I agree with one critic SW quoted, ďnoir with a funny bone.Ē Robert Downey Jr. is cute as a bumbling crook turned actor turned apprentice private eye under the tutelage of Val Kilmer, who is funny as the deadpan, gay Hollywood investigator for hire. The plot twists are quick and sometimes confusing but in the end itís all explained and you realize you didnít really care who was behind it all or what was really happening, you just enjoyed the ride (even more so if you catch it at Landmark Midtown Art where you can get a couple of glasses of wine with your movie.) Definitely worth seeing.


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