Archive for June, 2010

[REC] 2

MILD SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.

So I finally got to see [Rec] 2 last night and have to say that I was quite happy with the movie.

[Rec] 2 you say?

You don’t recall there being a movie called [Rec]?

Well of course you don’t cause when it came out back in 2007 Sony bought up the rights and made an inferior remake that they released as Quarantine.

Sound familiar? Well [REC] was the Spanish original and it’s better, it’s easily one of the scariest movies that I’ve ever seen, the last 10 minutes or so are just pants splatteringly terrifying. And the rest of the movie is pretty awesome to boot.

And in case you were wondering [REC] stands for Record, as you’d see it through a video camera, so yeah it’s one of those hand held camera footage sort of horror films. You know like Paranormal Activity, or The Blair Witch Project.

So the first movie is about an incredibly cute reporter and her camera man who are doing a late night special on some fire fighters, and follow the firefighters to a building that’s gotten an emergency call. When they get there, they find out that things aren’t right and there’s some crazy shit going down. It would seem that there’s a sort of zombie disease going through the tenants of the building they’re in. The police show up quarantine the building and trap them inside. Things get bad very, very fast.

The movie is super intense, insane, and hardcore. It’s one of the best horror movies of all time in my opinion, it’s pure visceral edge of your seat thrills.

The sequel, available on demand right now from Amazon or the Xbox marketplace, takes place roughly 10 minutes after the first movie.

The first part of the movie follows a SWAT team into the building. It’s good to know that the characters are well armed this time around, though it only helps them out a little, cause once the infected show up, well they’re pretty much fucked too.

It’s from the beginning that the movie fully embraces the religious overtones hinted at by the ending of the first, this might put off some people, but I loved it. I find religious themed horror to be some of the most effective thematically, cause it helps the plausibility when it’s based on something billions of people actually believe in.

We find that all the implications from the end of the first film are in fact, the reasoning behind the happenings. We got some full on, crazy as fuck demonic virus spreading around here. Demonic Zombies! SCORE!

So now that things are set firmly in the supernatural, it leaves us open for even crazier scary stuff. We got demon zombie children climbing on ceilings, demon zombie children using scary demon voices, and then some faith in God versus demon action. It turns out the technichian that the SWAT team had brought with them is really like a secret undercover Priest who doesn’t take no shit from anyone, demons included.

He’s just like “SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD!”

Which happens quite a few times. He just fuckin blows away the aforementioned ceiling crawling zombie kid. It’s awesome. Faith and shotguns are a potent mix.

The movie does detour a bit when the focus shifts to some kids who’ve gotten into the building, who just happen to also have a camera. Iit kinda messes the pace up a little, but some of the coolest parts happen from their point of view; so it’s OK, cause it just adds to the craziness. During their section, there’s an amazing part involving a demon zombie getting a bottle rocket shoved into its head.

The two storylines eventually connect and then there’s more mayhem, some more demon zombies, some more folks die, and then there’s a pretty decent twist. It’s not exactly hard to figure out, but it’s a good twist none the less. The horrifyingly emaciated zombie girl from the end of the first film returns, things get even worse for the characters and ultimately nobody has a good day.

Overall the second film isn’t quite as good as the first, but still pretty great in its own way. It gives us more of what we loved about the first, zombies and first person point of view, and builds respectably onto the mythology.

If you’re looking for some fast paced horror movies to keep you thrilled [Rec] and [Rec] 2 are great options.

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First Attempt at Light Painting

So after doing some research about it on the interwebs I decided to take my first shot at light painting.

That’s when you take your camera out somewhere really dark, and with an open shutter draw crazy designs in the air with a light source.

What follows is a small gallery of some shots I took using some sparklers. It was me, a friend, a vacant lot in the woods, and my Canon 7D.

They’re not nearly as cool as some of the more advanced techniques and pics you can see online, but it’s a start.

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Love and Money

The following question was sent to my Formspring profile from an anonymous contributor. As I answered it, I suddenly felt inspired to elucidate. Since the post I’ve been working on has kind of stalled, I thought I’d share this in the meantime. It’s not much, but it’s something to chew on.

Q: What is more important to you: love or money?

A: I’ll freely admit that money is very important to me. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but money does buy things that facilitate happiness. It’s love, though, that makes life worth living.

I can hear the lamentations now. “Oh no, he’s gone soft on us! How can someone so hateful espouse the virtues of love?!” Understandable. But hear me out.

When I speak here of love, it is with the broadest of definitions. Most people think of romantic love when a question like this comes up. That’s certainly an important kind of love, but there are so many others! Love of your work, love of animals, love of a hobby, love of the arts. Anything that anyone is passionate about can be a path to happiness. Some of these loves are destructive (love of war, love of bigotry). Those who walk those paths find only false happiness and bring ruin to those around them. Ultimately, it is the duty of all people to maximize happiness, and this is best achieved by attending to our passions. In doing so, we achieve fulfillment and sometimes find meaning. We, as humans, are singularly brilliant in our love, by virtue of our intellect, but it is this same intellect that can so easily lead us astray. To become obsessed with money is to be lost, and it’s a pity more people can’t or simply won’t realize that.

Personally, I need to find happiness through significance. It is a difficult path, but a noble one. One might argue that an easier path might yield the same levels of happiness, but I believe that it’s not always so simple as choosing a path. I believe that, in many ways, our paths are chosen for us by our upbringing. The people we become, and consequently the values we hold dear, are the direct result of our circumstances, and even to some extent our specific genetics. The paths to happiness accessible to us are determined by our upbringing, and our choices must be made from among our given set, but it is up to us which one we finally tread.

GWAR at Bonnaroo 2010

So GWAR played a 2:30 AM set at Bonnaroo this year.

You know, Bonnaroo, the giant music festival in Tennessee where thousands of hippies and dirty people with dreadlocks gather to listen to music and trip out on tons of drugs.

Yeah GWAR played there this year, and it was awesome!

They rocked, there was tons of blood, Space Michael Jackson had his face ripped off, there was dismemberment, more blood, Obama showed up and in typical GWAR fashion sprayed blood everywhere, Margaret Cho got killed, and the was evil mutant baby impalement, an evil space pope, and then some blood sprayed everywhere.

Here’s some pics.

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AND HERE’S A SHORT VIDEO I TOOK A THE END OF THE SHOW!

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP the Banksy film

So we all know about Banksy right?

Guy’s pretty much the most famous street artist around. Often imitated,  the guy pretty much made modern street art into the weird popular thing that it is today. I mean half the cool stuff of his is the reason I decided to try to get into stenciling and wheatpasting.

Banksy has made a movie. It’s a documentary that’s kinda about himself, but not really. It’s called Exit Through The Gift Shop.

I saw it this past weekend at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and have to say it’s pretty awesome.

The film is really about this guy Thierry Guetta, who loved to film everything in his life. He was the sort of dude who would just have a camera on him, filming, almost 24/7, not for any real reason besides the fact that he felt compelled to do so. He’s kinda a wacky French dude, with a funny accent, some awesome facial hair, and he might be a boat-full of crazy. And he may not even be a real dude.

Thierry Guetta

He happens to be cousins with a French street artist known as Space Invader, and managed to convince his cousin to let him film him at work.

So he becomes more and more interested in street art, filming various artists, until he becomes sort of an unofficial documentarian of the street art underground. He meets various famous artists and goes around following them with his camera, but he find Banksy elusive.

You get a feel for how obsessed Thierry becomes, he apparently has thousands of tapes of just random footage, from years of taping. He’s kinda a weird guy. Eventually by providence he meets Banksy, they go around L.A. together and become companions after Banksy pulls his infamous Disneyland stunt.

So they go around together Guetta filming, Banksy letting him be document his exploits, under the condition that his face never be seen. It’s all very adventurous. Eventually Banksy tells Guetta that he should actually turn his footage into a movie, and when he does it’s supposedly a huge P.O.S.

So then Banksy takes the reigns and makes the rest of the film about Guetta’s rise as a street artist known as Mr. Brainwash. He becomes wildly successful despite the fact that much of his body of work is done by others and cannibalizes all sorts of styles and concepts. The film then documents Mr. Brainwash’s first giant art opeing in L.A., peppered with people’s opinions and various anecdotes.

The whole thing is pretty amusing, cause there’s always the sense that the entire film could be one giant hoax. Guetta is such a strange dude, and he seems kinda like a buffoon. But it is a documentary, and Guetta did sell almost a million dollars in art at his L.A. show. It’s just crazy how just by mostly copying the ideas of others, and in what seems to be a mostly random creation process, he creates stuff that sell for huge amounts.

Banksy says at one point: There’s no one like Thierry, even though his art looks like everyone else’s.

We never actually see Theirry do any real creating on his own, and whenever he’s asked questions by reporters he always gives some rambling, strange answer about how he is an artist. He always just comes across as more of a crazy dude than anything else.

It might be a giant piece of documented performance art.

The movie is unbelievably meta. It’s about the street art word, and it might be the artistic sabotage of that same street art world by someone who helped create it. We’re never sure if Banksy is really a person or a collective of artists, but the movie helps to spread the myth, the story, into the pop culture. The movie blurs the lines of what’s real and what’s been faked, and it does it brilliantly. You’re never sure what part of the story is something that might have been staged, might have been one giant, elaborate joke upon the art community.

BANKSY

Banksy stays hidden in the shadows the entire time, and by the end we don’t really know anything more about him than when it started.We just know that in doing what started out as subversive art, helped create a popular, money making movement, one that isn’t immune to his own subversion.

How much of this documentary is true, we might never know, and it’s not really worth the trouble wondering, cause honestly that’s half the point. Either the truth is stranger than fiction, or it’s all a big hoax, either way we’ve been shamed at least a little.

Exit Through The Gift Shop is a great, intriguing documentary about the world of street art, it’s funny, it’s satirical, and it may or may not be at least partially true.

Yo Dawg I Heard You Like Centipedes

So while I usually find internet memes to be quite annoying, I find the “Yo Dawg I heard you like…” meme to be quite amusing.

Here’s my contribution.

Oh and I still find almost everything relating to The Human Centipede amusing.

ENOUGH by Kerry Turner might be the most depressing game ever

Sure the ending of Shadow of The Colossus is all sad and stuff, and some other recent games have tried to hurt our feelings, but it’s been a while since I’ve played something that’s just bleak.

Enough is a new flash game from reallyfancy.com, made by Kerry Turner. It’s a little bit brilliant.

You’re a rabbit. A cute little bunny.

Your whole world is a barren brown chunk against a black void. You can movie back and forth and jump.

There is a swarm of crows that swoop around randomly and try to hit you.

At the top of the screen it says Please Stop.

Any time you get hit by a crow the message changes. It progresses to I’m so tired, Just stop, Please, I’ve had enough, and finally I don’t want to go on. When you’re hit the final time you disappear from existence.

The whole experience is ominous. The black void, the inevitability of you perishing. The fact that the game itself is asking you to not continue.There’s no music, and there’s only about 5 sound effects total. Every little bit, there’s a sound of cawing crows, ugly, and preceded by a half second of white noise. It happens to remind you of the unavoidable threat that surrounds you, and it’s frankly a bit unnerving.

It’s hard to know what to make of Enough.

From the instant you start playing you’re under attack, and the common survival instinct says that you should jump to avoid player death. But you cannot survive. You cannot win. The bunny itself tells you that there’s no point, and that all you’re doing is making things worse. The game itself has already accepted the fact that there is no pleasure in the game, that there is no winning, so the real game is accepting that as a player.

It’s like the movie Funny Games, whereas in the film, horrible things only happen to the character because you, as a viewer, have chosen to watch. In Enough, the rabbit/the player suffers only because they choose to play.

Unlike Canabalt, another game, where death is inevitable and will happen with every game session, there is no incentive to try again. No high score, nothing to strive for.

It’s hopeless.

And because of this Enough is brilliant.

I don’t want to make a definitive statement about what the game is about. But I feel that the game is about being an anti-game. If that makes sense.

The only way you can really win, to really prevent the rabbit from perishing into blackness is to not play.