July 18th, 2008

Blow My Mind

Back from The Dark Knight

Got a little emotional at The Dark Knight. As in "wondering if I was going to cry at times" emotional.

Yes, The Dark Knight is a good film.

It's also an emotional wringer. Much of this film is tough to watch.

And it's a film willing and able to go to pretty epic places, story-wise. This is not a "superhero punches supervillain until supervillain stops moving" story; this is a "superhero and supervillain battling for the hearts and minds of the people of the world" story.

Maybe I'll write more fully later. For now, it's been a long day, and wind down I shall.
Good Omens

One reason I'm strangely heartened by the Watchmen trailer

The World Trade Center is in Watchmen.

I actually was looking for it last night during the trailer for the film adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's graphic novel. The book and film are set in an alternate-reality New York City in 1985, where superheroes and costumed vigilantes exist (and where Nixon's still in office after he drafted superheroes to help us win Vietnam). The WTC was and still is an icon of that city; I'm glad that the special effects people recreated it for this film.

(By the way, that Watchmen trailer looks amazing. We in the Dark Knight audience reacted with cheers, whoops and applause. The trailer for the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still? ALMOST NO REACTION. Silence, and one "Oh" I could hear right afterwards. Not even an ironic "Whoa" in honor of Keanu Reeves. Bad sign. Of course, this is a film that NEED NOT HAVE BEEN REMADE IN THE FIRST PLACE ARGH.)
Blow My Mind

Alexandra DuPont reviews The Dark Knight

The lovely, long-legged mistress of movie musing Alexandra DuPont makes one of her occasional breaks from retirement to discuss The Dark Knight:
As we've been saying in our opening sentences, The Dark Knight is huge, propulsive, epic, knocks you flat on your fanny and kisses your mom and drinks all your bourbon and punches you in the taint, etc. I haven't been this overwhelmed by a genre film's scope since I snuck into a midnight Fellowship of the Ring preview screening for theater employees back in 2001, having no idea what to expect...

In fact, Dark Knight spends so much time with so many large and small characters, it sometimes feels like one of those phone-book-thick novels where characters from all strata of society tragically collide. (I've been jokingly calling it "James Michener's Gotham," though of course Frank Miller did the multiple-characters urban-tapestry thing in The Dark Knight Returns.) Gotham is the object of everyone's affections. And the love is largely unrequited.

But what really interests me about The Dark Knight is what co-writer/director Christopher Nolan doesn't do. This may be the first superhero sequel that's less outlandish, gadget-heavy and effects-choked than its predecessor.
Spoilers are included after a particular red line.

And here's leonardpart6's review of the film:
Yet even as a jumbled parade of epic excess, The Dark Knight is a remarkable cinematic experience. The film effortlessly picks up where Batman Begins left off in terms of its depiction of Gotham City; these are the movies grown-up Batman fans have longed to see, intelligent, mature interpretations of the superhero’s universe, with an interest in the psychology of costumed vigilantes and deformed supervillains.
Whale fluke

Ticketed

I have to think about why this happened: Last night on the way to s00j's concert, I got a traffic ticket for changing lanes on the grating of the Morrison Bridge, where lane changes aren't allowed.

Second ticket in just over a week. I'm annoyed with myself and annoyed with the circumstances.

I'm mentioning this here to stay honest about my life in my journal. Talking more about it would go into "dwelling" mode, though, and I don't want to do that.

Thoughts on the concert (yay!) and The Dark Knight (also yay!) later.
Good Omens

Random quick thoughtage

Stuff I pondered while running errands (dropping off a s00j CD at a radio station; returning a DVD set to the library; and having a burger at Burgerville) this afternoon:

* I overheard a snippet of conversation on the streetcar: "It used to be called 'Special Ed,' but it's not anymore because it's not P.C."

A thought I'm trying to form: I wanted to say to that person If language changes in a way you like, you'd never call that 'P.C.'; you only apply that to a language- or term-change you don't like.

Does the term "P.C." have any real meaning anymore? It's like it's a convenient boogeyman term, adapted to whatever denigrating meaning people want to apply it to. That person certainly was no George Carlin, actually pondering in an interesting way the deeper meaning of the changing language we use. She just was going I don't like that term, so I'll mock it.

To self-pimp, here's how I've talked about a language change, specifically about changing the names of mall. Third paragraph. Or you could read the whole entry; I think it's a good one...

* My phraseology, let me show you it: I had cause this afternoon to take the bus-and-sidewalk route I used to take to my OHSU job. Coming up a hill I was walking down was John, one of the people I used to work near, headed home. He said hi; so did I; he wished me a good weekend; I waved and told him "Escape well!"

* Burgerville (where I ate a cheeseburger topped with sauteed Walla Walla Onions because, hey, I craved them and they're in season) has jukeboxes, and the restaurant I ate at was playing an interesting mix of music. I was moved by one song to try to find the name of the song, but the jukebox guide wasn't functioning, and I doubted the employees would know what the song (which almost sounded like Tom Waits, but wasn't) was. Still, worthy and interesting song I hadn't heard before.

This reminded me of a more annoying jukebox situation I remember from thirteen years ago. It was 1995, during a college break, and I was at Lloyd Center in Portland for lunch. Recently opened there on the edge of the Food Court was a fake diner called Billy Heartbeats. Bad choice. The food was unmemorable, and the decor was forced -- I figured it was a failed attempt to emulate Jack Rabbit Slims from Pulp Fiction. My waitress was cute (yes, I still remember that), but that was about all that was worthy.

The memorably annoying thing was the music. The sound system would start playing some obscure Fifties song that I'd never heard before, but just as I'd start tuning into that song to go "What is that?," the song would fade out, replaced by something I'd heard either 10,000 or 11,000 times in my lifetime. I was getting "Tequila" or "Hound Dog" when really I was more in the mood for a deeper cut. And the presentation -- just a snippet of a deep cut, then a full-length chestnut (a short Fifties song, but still) -- called attention to itself, at least when a musicphile was listening. If the intent was to be comforting by playing the familiar music, why the fading-out deep-cut snippets that called attention to themselves? It's a taste of something not heard as much, but with that taste taken away and replaced by the chestnut. (Okay, there's a mixed-up metaphor in there somewhere.)

I was never moved to eat at Billy Heartbeats again, though it's survived to 2008, to my surprise.

* That's enough random thoughtage for now.
Walking

Tricky Pixie music-y. Whee!

Full-strength Tricky Pixie! Portland finally got to see all three members – S.J. Sooj Tucker (s00j), Betsy Tinney (stealthcello), and Alec James Adams (no LJ handle as far as I know) – all making music together at the same time. Same place, even! Last night they played at the Camellia Lounge, an offshoot of The Tea Room at 510 NW 11th in the Pearl. And they did pearly music, too! (Now, Chris, c’mon: that imagery/metaphor was a bit of a stretch…)

I saw copperwise and husband tanuki_green for the first time in a while, and saw Sooj fan/friend elocinnuala for the first time ever. She’d driven from Olympia, Wash., after work, to be there. Probably only the band traveled farther to be there that night.

With two people happily modeling Sooj’s “Lost Girl Pirate Academy” T-shirt (not the same T-shirt, but two different shirts worn by two different women), ever-changing light behind the lounge’s wall-lining curtains, and a warm vibe, Tricky Pixie treated a small, appreciative audience to their music. We sang along lustily on “March of Cambreadth,” while Alec played his part so strongly that his fiddle bow broke mid-song, and – hey! – I finally learned that the sing-along part of “March of Cambreadth” is “HOW MANY OF THEM CAN WE MAKE DIE?!” I also got to happily hug Sooj, chat with Betsy, and finally meet Alec.

This I think is true: Alec has what could be a good pirate voice.

At this concert, Princess Bride/”Wendy Trilogy” fan fiction was discussed (would the Dread Pirate Roberts and Red-Handed Jill fall in love? Someone needs to write that! They’ll have to choose which Dread Pirate Roberts first, though…). Hats were changed: Sooj said, “People figured out I like hats. The hats have their own bus.” Sooj’s boyfriend ‘K Wiley added a puppet alligator to “Alligator in the House.” Sooj sang like a torch-singing raccoon (really) in a Tinney-penned song about this Redmond, Wash. raccoon who they’ve nicknamed “Tough Titty Cupcakes” and who brings her increasingly scary-looking offspring around to eat cat food.

And this was overheard: “We were thinking of a “Taglio!”/Sweeney Todd mashup. Which is just wrong.”

Happy music time was had by us!
iAm iSaid

Mishearing a lyric

One of the songs I heard at Burgerville earlier was Genesis's "That's All."

When that song was new (and MTV was faithfully showing its video seemingly once an hour), I thought Phil Collins was singing "It's always the same, it's just a shameless song."

(He was singing "It's always the same, it's just a shame, that's all.")