rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

7-5-2004 (archived)

I don't have a great deal to say about “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” except that it is an extraordinary film that you should see as soon as possible. Like all Kaufman scripts, it's interesting, witty, and inventive; this is also visually innovative without ever being intrusive, and graced with excellent performances from the delicious Kate Winslet, and, startlingly, a gurn-free Jim Carrey, proving he can act fairly well when he is given a good enough script to play with.

Most of all, though, Kaufman has written a genuinely moving film about love and pain, hope and loss, and delivers an emotional punch completely familiar to anyone who has fallen violently in love and drifted out again. I am still trying to decide if this is the best film I've seen at the cinema or not. It is certainly the best film of the year so far.

10-5-2004 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Van Helsing”, which is visually stunning - excellent CGI, beautiful scenery, good battle scenes, Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale - and rubbish in every other way. The vampires are a particularly wasted opportunity, all shrieks and cackles, and Dracula himself is played like a pretentious, mildly talented sixth former trying to cop a Gary Oldman. I can only assume that the very poor, partially unresolved ending is an attempt to set us up for a sequel.

There are some decent and entertaining ideas here, and more than enough visual pyrotechnics. If they'd got the vampires right, it would have been a wonderful popcorn movie. As it is, it's an infuriatingly poor attempt. Fun, but not nearly as much as it should have been.

13-5-2004 (archived)

The fourth film review in a row, and probably last for a week or so, is “Secret Window”, an adaption of Stephen King's excellent novella.

There is a beautiful performance by Depp, a not-entirely-unprecedented but still well-done twist in the tail, and a final 20 seconds that hammer the point home with a such crushing lack of subtlety that we felt insulted. Still, any Depp film is going to be at least watchable, and this is not bad at all.

16-5-2004 (archived)

This weekend this abridged script (spoiler) for Van Helsing made me laugh very hard. And Pandaf Golf continues to eat much of my time even now I've finished it.

I'm going to bed now.

17-5-2004 (archived)

ECannotWrite. I offer you two interviews (wired, salon) about Neal Stephenson's latest, long but to-me-excellent novel. Do not adjust your sets; normal service will resume shortly.

19-5-2004 (archived)

This post, by Daniel Barlow, is comfortably the post of the month and possibly of the year in UKMG's ever-declining newsgroup section. Many independent artists are already pushing CD sales by releasing some of the better tracks as freely-distributable mp3 singles - for example, I bought Yogi's CD on the strength of the astonishing My Love For Lois Is Real. Closer to home, Clive Murray used a very similar strategy to market Earthman. Food for thought.

(Disclaimer: I invested in Clive's album. But you should still buy it.)

25-5-2004 (archived)

Good grief, how did that happen? Six days between posts; bad me, no biscuit. That is, I think, the first time I've fallen off schedule; I simply forgot I hadn't posted on Friday.

My movie buddy has swanned off to Rhodes, so there are no film reviews, and I've been just a leetle beet distracted recently, so here in penance is some actual news: I have, for the first time in my life, a job without an exit date; I accepted it last night. Not a one-year job or a two-year job or even a three-year grant, but a job job. I suppose the school in question could go to the wall, but since it's been around for the best part of five hundred years that seems unlikely.

I'm not going to link to them here, I think, lest it somehow result in people asking me not to say fuck any more over here. If you don't know which school I'm talking about, email me or track me down on IRC. I start there in autumn; for the summer I have a nice contract with my old employers, which will be both fun and very helpful for a poor student, not to mention handy for the gym. So life is good, and now once again life is pretty calm, and posting should go back to normal.

26-5-2004 (archived)

Something said today on IRC reminded me of Smilla's feeling for snow, and particularly the scene in which Smilla penetrates the end of a partner's penis with her clitoris. After we'd all stopped crossing our legs, our thoughts turned to two topics; firstly, what should one call this activity, other than "unusual"? I suggested “Russian Dolling”, but Urbandictionary prefers the rather more prosaic clitfucking. Disappointing.

The more introspective question was raised by Jeremy, who reflected that this was the first new-to-him sexual act he'd encountered for some time; perhaps it would be the last he would ever learn of! So, your task for today is to save us from this fate; write to me and tell me about a sexual act you think I might not have heard of. Better yet, blog it yourself and let me know, and I'll link to it.

As you were.

28-5-2004 (archived)

This week's film review is “The Day After Tomorrow”, a excellent disaster movie with a predictable and tedious human-interest story shoveled onto the front.

A pretty good cast have little to work with; Jake Gyllenhaal is a sulky genius silently in love with his high-school quiz-team captain, Dennis Quaid the frustrated macho scientist cliche of his father. The science underlying this is debatable; for every scientist who'll tell you about the weakening and even shutdown of the great ocean current (conveyor, Gulf stream, etc) there's another who'll deny it. Certainly nobody reputable is claiming the kind of overnight ice-age that the film proposes. Still, it's doing a good job of exaggerating for dramatic effect something that essentially all climate researchers agree is coming: massive and damaging change. The backstory reminds me a little of parts of some recent Kim Stanley Robinson novels; the science is certainly good enough not to be actively painful.

In fact in many ways this is vintage SF: ideas-based but with rubbish characters and poor writing. At least this is an SF movie that's done its homework, to the extent that a great deal of it is genre cliche (for the written genre, I mean). However, while the dialogue is poor, the prose is excellent: this is a spectacular film, full of brilliant effects, and it's very exciting - especially the tidal wave rolling into New York, though I'll admit I have a weakness for tornadoes. I enjoyed it very much, but if you have a low cheese tolerance it'll be ruined by the saccharine plot.

31-5-2004 (archived)

I've been periodically reading The War Against Silence, glenn mcdonald's outpourings of language, thought and emotion disguised as record reviews for some time now. Somehow I never linked to it. Here, then, are my favourites: Slingbacks, Tori Amos, (weight), (switch). His introduction is well worth reading too.