A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Movie Review, Just Another Dark Night of the Soul

Dark City came out in 1998. I just got around to seeing it because my son got the DVD as a birthday present.

Suspending disbelief is the only way to enjoy the bad plot devices of sci fi. I like many such movies, but you've got to get over the silly stuff.

For example, a staple of a lot of sci fi is the aliens aversion to water. In Signs, you have antagonists from a civilization able to cross galaxies to land on a planet 70% the substance that will do them in. You would think that higher life forms would figure this out. Okay, it doesn't ruin the message of the movie, but as a plot device, it is lame.

In Dark City the water problem is there , but is not fatal to the aliens as they seem to be a bit smarter than the wraith looking creatures of signs. the major plot device is, like the matrix, the creation of a controlled world inhabited by humans.

The difference is that in the Matrix machines let humans think they were living real lives while stealing the electric power while in Dark City it is dying aliens wishing to find what makes humans human so they can save their species.

the Matrix is more believable, if only because serious scientists such as Ray Kurzweil have posited that we must merge with our technology or be left behind by it. Still, it is not too believable. The idea that the machines need people as "coppertop" batteries and have to provide a virtual reality to keep us going does not really hold up. No matter, I enjoyed the fable and its twists and turns.

The Dark Night sci fi plot device of aliens crossing the universe to set up a controlled environment so they can find out what makes humans tick and then use it to regenerate their dying species is less credible. Somehow, studying beings orders of magnitude less intelligent so you can be like them and survive is not too believable. Getting some and dissecting them might be. Something that would be believable would be the aliens set up some powerful receivers to get Earth TV, watch a few reality shows and realize there is nothing terrestials have that they want.

So why did I like this movie? Well, once disbelief is suspended, the plot is not bad. Guy wakes up wondering if he's a killer. He is helped to awareness by a Doctor who knows what's going on. Falls in love with the woman he has been programmed to love and not love. Resists aliens and awakens the controlled population.

As Doctor Schreber, Kiefer Sutherland overdoes it, but it worked. William Hurt as Inspector Bumstead is William Hurt, as always. That isn't a problem. Rufus Sewell as the lead works well. He nicely does the confused guy trying desperately to find himself. Jennifer Connelly's performance is well done. Alex Proyas' direction of making a 1940s metropolis the locus of the story sets the mood. Sort of science fiction meets Mickey Spillane.

Sewell and Connelly could have been replaced by any number of actors. It is Sutherland and Hurt who give the movie its flavor. Hurt could have made a career out of the detective genre if there were demand.

For some reason I can’t get Connelly’s rendition of Runaround Lover out of my head.

Still, I can't say why I like dark sci fi. Such ridiculous stories, even when well done, are still ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The inevitability of the Web

The generational aspect of technology is everywhere. I can barely use a cellphone. Sometimes I think my son could change the Earth's orbit with his.

It was less than a month ago that I found out there was such a thing as webisodes. Last weekend, my daughter and I auditioned to be in one. Webisodes have been around since the 90s, still, they did not come into my view. Now, I am a slow learner and don't feel I need to get into everything, but sooner or later I do. I felt no desire to see anything on youtube and now see a lot.

There are many advantages to the Webisode. It is my guess that costs are orders of magnitude less. As someone who wishes to be a recovering accountant, the need to pinch a penny is crucial in most enterprises that seek to produce something. The webisode allows producers, actors, directors, etc. who are just trying to break into the business more opportunities.

So, from that one can conclude that the webisode is inevitable and every art will arrive on the web and live there until the web is succeeded by another form of information delivery.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Things are moving in the area

The people from OurFilmSpace.com (button to the right) are going to shoot a webisode series in the Brookfields. To find out more about it click on this link.

My daughter and I went to the auditions yesterday, Sunday, August 24. I had never done anything like that and it didn't go horribly until the improv. Manic is the only way I can describe how I felt.

My daughter came out of the audition on cloud nine. She prepared and if she performed in the audition as she did in front of me, she deserves to be satisfied with herself.

Of course, there was no lack of talent at the venue in Arlington. Many were called, but only few can be chosen.

Watch this space for updates on Oldbury Hill.

Nirvana in Apple Country

We are into harvest time in orchard country. Out here in Swamp Yankee exurbia, peaches are out as are some apples and it's great. A treat that comes with the reopening of the farm stands is cider donuts. If there are no more entries to this blog, you know there is someone in Massachusetts with "Surfeit of Cider Donuts" on the death cert.

There is a wonderful orchard near us, Breezelands in Warren, that makes about the best cider donuts. My daughter applied for a job and, due to a lack of experience, was turned down. On opening day, I suggested that a run over to Breezelands might be in order. My young Empress replied that she did not support them as they did not hire her. alright, I did not get ready for the errand. After awhile, Her Majesty told me I should hurry up.

That's how good those donuts are.

Now, I don't recommend addictive behaviors, but if you fall for cider donuts, by the time Breezelands closes, you might have enough body fat to hibernate and wake up slim for Spring. There are black bears that occasionally course through the land of the Quaboag. Maybe they will let you snooze in their den this Winter. Best of luck.