Star Wars as explained by someone who hasn’t seen it

Epic win: Star Wars as explained by someone who hasn’t seen it [grantjames]. Lovely.

The Fall

The Fall — oh my, that’s a wonderful movie. You should totally go see it. A load of us went to Taliesin for it tonight and universally lurved it. Just… oh, wonderful.

Here’s the interview that made me want to see it, and here’s the trailer (which is mildly spoilerish, but the joy of this film isn’t in the plot, but in its heart, and its eyes).

One does not simply… walk into Mortor

One does not simply… walk into Mortor [bash].

1000 Films to See Before You Die

The perfect way to pump up our lovefilm queue: The Guardian’s 1000 Films to See Before You Die.

(I do, however, really dislike all this “before you die” nonsense. See sketch in recent Mitchell & Webb radio series. Also, surely we’ll all live forever now thanks to genetic engineering / uploading ourselves into vast computers / our benevolent alien overlords – so the whole concept’s totally passé.)

Chad Vader – Day Shift Manager

Chad Vader – Day Shift Manager.

3 magnets + 40,000 pendula + 2 hits of acid = wow

Movie here. Psychedelic!

visualising the motion of 40,000 pendula under the influence of 3 magnets using Haskell. Shiny.

What’s going on here? OK, so it’s not 40,000 pendulums “all going at once”, because obviously they’d bounce off each other. ;-) What we have is a 200×200 grid (ie 40,000 pixels), and for each pixel we define a pendulum. At a given time, a given pixel’s colour represents the corresponding pendulum’s distance, at that time, from each of the 3 magnets (the pixel’s RBG components represent the three distances). Each pendulum’s movement is affected only by the magnets, ie the pendula are independent of each other. Hey presto, psychadelica-a-go-go.

Losing my (his) Star Wars virginity

Losing my Star Wars virginity (not me, obviously).

10.05: C-3PO and R2-D2 are making me laugh. They’re like bickering lovers. I hope Princess Leia escapes Darth’s evil clutches and makes it to Alderaan.

Stop. Nuptials time!

Oh wow. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia Corey Feldman‘s second marriage was offociated by MC Hammer! I think that’s the best thing I’ve heard all year.

(Why am I Feldman-surfing? Last week, Bash & I watched The Goonies. I hadn’t seen this movie since its original release, when I went with my mum to see it at a cinema in Aylesybury. That must have been late 1985, and I’d have been 11 years old. Fun film, good to see it again, but made me wonder whatever happened to ol’ Corey. Well, now I know. :-) )

Saving Private Ryan

Bash & I watched Saving Private Ryan this evening. I’ve wanted to see it since it came out, mainly because I’d heard that the first half hour or so was incredible. More generally, I quite like gritty WW2 stuff since I read Cryptonomicon, and I enjoyed what I saw (little) of Band of Brothers, so it seemed likely I’d enjoy this.

Well, yeah, it was all right. Not a life changer, but also not a complete waste of three hours either. The first half hour certainly didn’t disappoint, and overall I was fairly gripped, and impressed by the grittiness, jumpiness, fleshiness of it. I think it would be improved about tenfold by (a) having absolutely no music whatsoever (apart from the Edith Piaf, obviously), and (b) having no Stars ‘n’ Stripes fluttering fore and aft. But hey, shrug, it’s a product of its time and place, I guess (three years before the WTC attacks, btw). I expect it had more impact when it was fresh and the camerawork/lighting techniques were new & exciting, but still, it worked well. Tom Hanks did his Thinking Man’s Regular Joe routine as well as ever, and the supporting cast was gratifyingly full of “ooh look, I know him” faces (Ted Danson – yay). I was surprised to see Matt Damon as Ryan (I didn’t know before I watched it), which of course spawned a slight Team America moment on the couch. Always a pleasure…

(Hey, check the trivia on IMDB: interesting snippet on the Lincoln letter. It figures – historical truth is almost never as stirringly poetic as it is portrayed by propogandists, I suppose.)

I would be like David Lee Roth!

Currently greatly enjoying reading Questionable Content from start to finish. Bash spotted it linked off xkcd.

I saw Children Of Men last night and it completely broke my brain. That film is completely drenched in fear; every moment of the film, every character, everything that happens is driven by fear. Awful, just absolutely horrible. I mean, a great film (and I really like Clive Owen, I think) but I will be happy never to see it again. The last film I saw which left me feeling like this was Requiem For A Dream back in late 2002, but if anything last night was worse – with Requiem, it was really only the last half hour that was drowning in trauma, whereas last night it was the whole fucking film.

As such, I am spending the day at home nursing my psyche by drinking cups of tea and reading harmless web comics. :-)

The Big Bus

This week, I saw The Big Bus for the first time since I were a lad. It was every bit as fantastically ludicrous as I remember it, except now I could truly appreciates its kitsch 70s retro glory. In short: awesome. God bless mail-order DVD rental.

The film centres on the maiden voyage of `Cylops’, a colossal nuclear powered bus embarking on the first ever non-stop voyage from New York to Denver (clearly an important niche market in the late 70s). Big Oil interests are sabotaging the project, and a bomb-blast has put the pilot and co-pilot out of action. The project designer’s daughter (played by Rizzo – so sexy in her two-tone brown jumpsuit) goes in search of her ex-lover, the legendary Dan Torrance (played by the improbably monikered Joseph Bologna), the only man who can learn to drive such a complicated rig in the two weeks remaining before launch day. But wait! Torrence has a dark past, as we learn in a (to my mind classic) fight scene set in a smoky bus-driver’s dive bar – he was the sole survivor of the disaster of `Mount Diablo’, and is now haunted by accusations that he ate all 110 passengers.

Basically, it goes downhill from there, in glory.

Apparently it was a big influence on the Airplane! movies, Police Squad! and the Naked Gun movies. It was certainly a big influence on the comedy stylings of the Gimblett family. I still have an almost irresistible urge to go “Look out! He’s got a broken milk carton!” every time I see a fight scene. I’m also pleased to report Bash seemed to quite like it too, and I’m fairly sure she wasn’t just humouring me.

You eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal. What a world!

Dan Torrence