Jul. 14th, 2012

innocent_man: (woola)
District 9 is a sci-fi movie based on a short film by Neil Blomkamp. Apparently he was set to direct Halo, when that fell through (Michelle has some inside info about that, BTW), and Peter Jackson went to Blomkamp and said, "Here's $30 million, make a movie." So bam, District 9.

Inspired by the director's experience with apartheid as a boy in South Africa, the movie's title refers to a slum in which insectoid aliens reside. They show up in a ship that hovers above Johannesburg, and people finally cut their way into it. They find the "prawns" inside, but the aliens don't know how to make the ship work (that bit isn't specifically stated in the movie, though it is mentioned in a deleted scene). So after twenty years of growing tensions, the prawns are relegated to District 9.

As the movie opens, they're being moved to what is basically a concentration camp. Our POV character, Wikus van der Mewre (played by Sharlto Copely, who never really intended to be an actor but went on to play Murdock in the recent A-Team movie), shows us how the evictions are going down, documentary style, but then gets spritzed in the face by this alien juice he finds and begins to change into one. He is taken away by the shady organization for which he works, where it is discovered that he can operate the prawns' biological weapons. And then he teams up with a prawn who does understand their technology, in hopes of getting put back together.

The strength of the movie is in the performance of Copely, in the effects (the whole thing looks amazing and the weapons and their effects and fantastic) and in how dirty everything looks. The production design is fantastic, appropriate to some of the same crew that gave us Middle Earth. The prawns aren't the sleek, sexy aliens of the other sci-fi alien-war movie that came out in 2009 and was nominated for Best Picture (that'd be Avatar, which is a far-inferior movie, but it's pretty!), they're gross and slimy and...oddly compelling, in a way. The implication is that they may have been slaves, brought here by mistake, but I have another theory.

Suppose that humanity, for whatever reason, put a whole bunch of people on a spaceship. The people are just people, grabbed at random from population. And then there are, like, a crew of people to run the ship, and of those, a couple that are engineers who really understand the ship and how it works. And then everything gets fucked up and we landed on some inhabited planet, and the natives go, "well, shit, look at this dirty motherfuckers. Can't even operate their own tech. Must be pirates or slaves." But seriously, how many people reading this can even explain how a space shuttle works, much less know how to drive one? How many of us, if stuck inside a ship, would know how to do anything but starve to death? And if we wound up on a planet that, by some miracle, had an atmosphere that wasn't toxic, and we discovered that the shit they feed their pets is the yummiest custard ever, wouldn't we, y'know, fucking eat it?

The whole movie is, to me, a send-up of exactly how seriously we take ourselves and how little we deserve to. And at the end, when the prawn-gineer and his son escape with the ship and head off into the sky, you're left wondering - if they do come back, aren't we, as a species, utterly fucked? And don't we kind of deserve it?

My one complaint: The documentary format isn't consistently applied. It starts off as found footage or a documentary assembled after the events of the film, but we pretty quickly start seeing stuff that no one actually filmed. It's pretty easy to roll with it, but it's maybe a little sloppy.

My grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Dodgeball
innocent_man: (snorkel)
I backed this Kickstarter a while back, and just got my copy in the mail, along with Teagan's awesome t-shirt. So we're making characters! And by "we", I mean me, Sarah, Teagan, Will and Alisdair. Hoy.

Not pictured: Sarah.

The Game: Mermaid Adventures
The Publisher: Third Eye Games
Degree of Familiarity: None
Books Required: Just the one!

OK, let's do it! Will has already decided he's playing a shark-folk. Let's see what the others choose! Teagan wants to be an Octofolk, Al chooses Fishfolk, Sarah chooses Jellyfolk. I'll be an Eelfolk, 'cause I like me some prankin'.

I note down my free Quality (Cheerful), and now I get 5 points to divvy up amongst my Attributes. I give myself the following scores:

Body 2
Mind 2
Charm 3
Luck 3

Now, I roll for Hair Color, Style, Eye Color, and Fin Color. I get pink hair (with bangs!), amber eyes, and green fines. I'm kind of the lead singer of Neon Trees, only an eel.

Extras! Roll twice on the Extra Table. I get Weapons and Clothing. I wind up with a Lab Coat and Sharp Teeth. Neat!

My goal is Bravery. I get a bonus for doing stupid brave things.

Qualities, including magic. I take Nosey (whatchadoing? whatchadoing?), Royalty (I am a bratty eelfolk prince!), Water Bending (magic, exactly as it sounds), and Human Expert ("This is...a dinglehopper!").

That's it, but for a name. My bratty prince with the pink hair (which annoys mom; really it's the bangs that do it) is Prince Neon.

innocent_man: (Default)

So! When last we left our...us...we'd lost our damn AC. Again. We dropped it off at the Firestone in Lawton, OK and piled into Michelle's parents' pickup truck to go home (tight fit, but her mom let me drive because she's an angel). 

Firestone got working on it the next day (it would later turn out that the first fix involved a faulty part, and the compressor exploded again. The mechanic was very excited, he said they'd never seen anything like it before. Yaaaay. At least it was under warranty so it didn't cost me more). Meantime, we did Oklahoma things.

We saw The Amazing Spider-Man, which I really enjoyed. But no pictures of that. We went back to the house in Temple, OK (which is small and empty and OH GOD GET ME OUT), which was being swarmed by crickets. Like, really, you'd go outside and there was a blanket of them. Frogs loved it, though.

Next day (which I guess would have been...um...Monday? I'm totally lost) I mentioned I wanted to cook. We were going to go to Michelle's brother's house so the kiddos could swim, but they also have this awesome kitchen that they seldom use. Michelle's mom was kind of flabberghasted that I a) could cook b) wanted to cook and c) would cook in someone else's house, but see, I center myself by cooking, and I was pretty off-center.

So we went by Wal-Mart (ugh, if I never set foot in another Wal-Mart it'll be too soon, but there apparently aren't grocery stores in Oklahoma) and got stuff to make chicken Parmesan, which is simple and easy to make, but also not strange (Oklahoma is the land of starch and red meat and that's it) for the diners. So the kids jumped in the pool: 


Will and Al, pooling.


Will and his superhero cousin, Libby.


...I made dinner. It was well-received, and April (who's...geez, my sister-in-law, I guess. Wow, I just realized that! Neat!) asked for the recipe. So that was gratifying. :)

Home, sleep, uneventful day, crickets, and then next day, voop! Off we go! We got the CR-V first, of course, and then headed to Oklahoma City and Half-Price Books, where we sold off enough books and records and whatnot from Michelle's parents' house to finance most of our trip home (so that was nice). 

We drove to Springfield, MO, stopped for barbecue for dinner, and then I realized there was no way I was driving another 180 miles to Fenton (which is where our hotel was) without coffee. So we drove down "C-Street" in Springfield, which was a cool little area, and found some photo-worthy stuff:

A rose in the street.


A creature made of metal.


We also found a coffee shop called Big Momma's, which is exactly my kind of place:

They really like hedgehogs.


I totally agree.


We got coffee and dessert, and then back on the road! We found some radio broadcasts of The Shadow to listen to, and that got us to Fenton. 

Next day (Thursday), we set off toward home. We had breakfast at this awesome little restaurant called Maggie's Lunch Box (if you're in Fenton, I highly recommend it - I had a beef and ale sandwich that was amazing). Behold! 


Soooo maannnnyyy....



And then we found ourselves in Illinois, and near Greenup. We'd been here before, at a winery that we really enjoyed, so we stopped by again (amidst whiny protests from Will) to buy more wine. We also found a cool covered bridge nearby:


Ooh, covered bridges.




And from there, the long slog home. Stopped by Indianapolis and had dinner at an awesome little Chinese place with John Kennedy. And then home! 

And then home. Our next trip, I think, is GenCon.


innocent_man: (Default)

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