House (Not the show. DEAR GOD, NOT THE SHOW)

This is not a writeup about the show House, where a snarky doctor pops Vicodin and solves medical mysteries. If that’s what you’re looking for, turn back now. This has nothing to do with that show, and never will. There are no similarities, except for maybe that some of the actors are male.

There are lots of movies out there about haunted houses and people getting trapped in them. Or people spending the night in one and then getting trapped in them. Or people going to a house because they’re lost/car’s broken/think it’s a nice hotel and then get trapped in it. It’s a familiar story, and it can be said that it’s a little played out. But then, you could really say that about every movie out there, couldn’t you? All stories have already been told, it’s the way in which they’re done that we should be looking at.

And by god.

I think I originally began to watch this because I thought it would be crap, and maybe it would help me fall asleep. Michael Madsen was obviously another pull. He’s okay in my book. But it’s very likely that I didn’t really have much hope, though I swear to you now that I recall no such thoughts happening.

Mostly because this movie just blew all such thoughts right out of my pretty little brain. Then said brain was splattered against the wall.

This is, apparently, also a book. Which I’m going to have to seek out. Because wow. If this is what I get from the movie, I can only imagine what I’ll get from the book (*knock wood* please, don’t jinx me, please don’t let me be wrong, please don’t let it be horrible since I opened my damned fool mouth).

This doesn’t just get you through plain old every day fear, either. This really fucks with you all over the place. It’s like it had a party in your brain with Motley Crew and Guns ‘N’ Roses and didn’t tell you. It also didn’t tell you that it invited some heroin junkies and gave you some acid in your sandwich. Every single angle, this thing is coming at you. I loved it.

I think that more horror should be all encompassing, instead of just focusing on the physical horror or the psychological horror. Combining it can make some very beautiful music. Haunting, melodic music carrying a chainsaw. Oh, I know it can go the other way, too. I’ve seen it happen. I’m not an idiot. But more should at least try. If we do not try, we do not learn.

We can take notes from this movie, and spread them all over the place, and hope that little baby movies with this much intensity are born. Or something.

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Dante’s Inferno

Have you ever been really bad at a game you really loved? I haven’t. Well, not until Dante’s Inferno. And that sounds really arrogant, but it’s true. When I find a game that I adore, it’s like I already know what to do. My brain and my hands communicate perfectly, and everything comes extremely naturally.

Again, that was until Dante’s Inferno.

I picked this game up as soon as I could. The moment that it started to be talked about, I was interested. I am a huge fan of the Divine Comedy and have had multiple copies of it over my life. Currently I have an older set in a three book arrangement, and a giant copy complete with the woodcuttings. You can imagine that I was pretty excited to hear that they were going to make a game from this.

I knew, of course, that they wouldn’t be following the story exactly. How could they? And that things would be left out, other things would be added in that weren’t there originally. I made peace with these facts long before the game was released. The point was, it was going to be Dante’s Inferno. That’s all it needed to be, for me.

When I got the game, I was more than pleased with what I was seeing. I had no complaints to make, and happily worked my way through levels, deciding (of course) to damn everything as much as possible on the way.

The only problem was – I kept dying.

There’s something to be said for getting used to a game and dying a couple of times in the very beginning, but that wasn’t what was happening here. This was an extraordinary amount of dying. This was me kicking the bucket every few minutes. This was the sort of dying that makes you feel really bad about yourself as a gamer. It was getting to the point that I was only able to get through one level each time I played before I found myself extremely frustrated and having to quit. This is not the kind of thing you want happening in a game you adore. And despite my inability to stay alive, I was still in love.

It got to the point that I decided I was going to have to go for the easiest difficultly level. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I went to the options and lo…

I have it set on the hardest. The hardest is called “Hellish”. Yeah. No kidding. It appears that Dante’s Inferno doesn’t work the way that other games do, with an “easy” “medium” and “hard”, but rather “Normal” (medium) “hard” (Holy crap) and “What the fuck” (dear god, save me). When I saw it, I thought that “Classic” was what they were calling “Easy”, so I skipped to “Zealot” which I thought was “medium”, and accidentally went down too far on the list, putting myself on “Hellish”.

You see, I do all my games on Medium. I’m arrogant, I’m not cocky. I know my level of gaming, and I know what I’m comfortable with. I like a challenge, but I don’t like to be constantly frustrated. Rarely will I go above Medium, and really, those times, it has to do more with getting an achievement. Like if you beat a boss on Hard and don’t have to do the whole game on Hard in order to get it.

So I’m pretty proud of the fact that I got through so much of the game on Hellish, but I was really happy when I knocked myself back down to Classic and stopped dying all the time. The game became fun, and my love grew. I could actually get through entire sections without a single death.

I enjoyed the game enough to play it through twice back to back, and loved all the interactions with Virgil (there could have been more). I loved the way that they made the circles look, there was definitely a feel of what kind of people suffered within them. There was no sugarcoating of what was going on, and the damned echoed (alright, and amplified) the kind of brutality that Dante wrote about. In the Divine Comedy, he certainly doesn’t give mercy to the souls he speaks about, and it was nice that the game didn’t either.

The Tudors (Completed)

Netflix got the rest of the Tudors for streaming, and I decided I wanted to watch it. The sad thing here is that I didn’t remember at all that I’d already seen the first two seasons. I completely blanked all of it.

Then when I started to watch, all the episodes of those seasons were at 99% watched. I was a little confused. Even sadder is the fact that I made a whole post about how much I loved the goddamned show.

I have no idea how I managed to forget it completely. I just don’t. Luckily, all it took was rewatching the final episode of season two and it all came back to me. It was like I was an amnesia victim who had triggered the release of information to bring me up to speed on my own life.

Anyway. I did enjoy the rest of it as much as I loved the first two seasons. I found myself more infatuated with certain characters than I was previously, and still quite envious of the way the women dressed. I don’t care what anybody says, if I can ever afford it, I’m going to have a whole wardrobe made in that style, and then I’m going to wear the dresses all the time. All. The. Time. Even to the grocery.

I was pleased that Jonathan Rhys Meyers held up his end of things perfectly to the end. I was happy to see some characters die. And I was only mildly perturbed at the actress choice for the last wife. I just don’t like her as an actress, though.

There are very few shows that have a definite ending, and it’s kind of nice to have everything all wrapped up neatly. Most shows get cancelled before they have a chance to decide how the story should flow, and have to rush to get it to a point where people won’t have to wonder. Of course, sometimes shows just get cut off and you don’t get anything even close to an ending. Not that I want all my shows to have a pre-imagined end point.

It’s rare for me to find a show that does end and I’ve liked it all the way through. Arrested Development is one, and I hold all shows to that kind of standard. The Tudors Arrested Development standard, I think I’ll call it from now on. The Arrested Tudors Development standard… Arrested Development Tudors standard…

Anyway. Start to end, I adored the Tudors. Very rich in imagery, very factual (though I’m sure some things were fudged, but without Henry the VIII standing there telling you the story, it’s hard to know every single tiny detail).

True Grit

Ah. Well. What can I say? I didn’t think that I was going to like this movie. In fact, I actually avoided seeing it when it came out. Not that it didn’t look good. It did. I won’t lie. But I was avoiding it out of protest, out of a general principal. It’s a remake, you see (some of you youngins won’t know that, but it’s the truth), and I’m kind of sick of remakes happening when they don’t need to.

To top that off, I’m a massively huge fan of John Wayne. Giant. Since I was a kid. I literally grew up watching John Wayne movies. I have seen every single one of them. I have a pretty fair collection of them, as well. I honestly harbor a deep and undying love of The Duke, and (playfully) threaten those who disparage his name or claim to not know any of his work. (Playfully, I swear it)

So I was pretty upset when I saw this had come out. Ignoring the fact that I like all the actors in it that I know. Ignoring the fact that it seemed as if it was filmed right and followed the original pretty well (it’s a book, too, you know, which I have yet to read because I just found out, but damn straight I bought it, and it’s sitting in my To-Read-Pile).

Principal.

But, I questioned another Fan and he informed me that he enjoyed it and found some things in it that he liked better than the original, though the original was hands down the better movie. So, I finally gave in and watched it.

Again: What can I say?

You can’t tell John Wayne, but I think I enjoyed myself.

I guess another thing I was worried about was that in this day and age of constant political correctness and everybody tiptoeing around about every little tiny thing, in this world where I can’t say “I love my cat” without somebody shouting YOU MEAN FELINE AMERICAN!, I thought that they would try to soften the hard blows of the film. I thought they would try to disguise some of the dirty moments. I was concerned that some of the more intense scenes would be lost to filmmakers worrying about what moviegoers would say about them.

I was most pleasantly surprised that none of it was lost. It was all there. In fact, I think a couple of things may have turned out more brutal.

I laughed. I did. I won’t lie. There were really funny moments. And I laughed. Not just a little chuckle, either. But a good, honest laugh. Happy about that, too. The original might have been seen as a Western, but it was also a comedy, and it was also dark. This one turns out to be somewhat more dark, but it still fit quite snugly into the place where it should be.

And I have to agree with my friend, I did enjoy Matt Damon as the Texan more than the original guy. Not that I didn’t like him. But Matt Damon brought a certain thing to the film that only he can bring. Should it ever occur that time travel becomes possible, I will insist that he go back and star in the original alongside The Duke. Yes.

I think that the girl in the original had a little more pluck to her, but this girl didn’t do badly at all. She had the tone and the cadence of the original film and girl, and her tenacity was spot on.

I liked it. I did. And I think I’m going to buy it so it can sit on the shelf right next to the original one. And just to prove how sick I am, I’m going to tell you this: After I’ve finished the book and I own the new version, I’m gonna watch both back to back. Take that. 4 hours of Rooster Cogburn.

The Virgin Suicides

I only recently got to see the movie adaption of this book. I read it a few years ago and discovered that I really liked it. It wasn’t until after I finished that I made the mental connection of the author of this book being the author of Middlesex. To say that I enjoy his writing is an understatement. Since I read Middlesex, I’ve gone actively searching for things Jeffrey Eugenides has written. Which means that at the time that I picked up The Virgin Suicides, I likely knew exactly what I was doing, but by the time I actually got to it (through my large stack of books-to-read) I’d forgotten.

I wish now that I’d seen the movie before I’d read the book. It’s the only way I can come up with that I might possible have enjoyed myself while watching. If I hadn’t known how it was supposed to feel, maybe I could have felt anything at all.

This really makes me sad to say. Considering how much I love the writer and I love the book. It really kind of hurts. But this movie really fell flat.

The insertion of real people into the characters went well. They picked some very good faces to fit into what I had imagined. So I don’t know if it was their acting, or if it was the directing that caused the problem. I hate to say either. But considering I’ve seen these particular people in other things where they aren’t lifeless and empty, I think I might have to lean toward the directing.

I don’t want to insult Sofia Coppola, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.

The book made me actually cry. I was dry eyed through the entire movie. The book moved me, it made me feel things. I kept wondering how much longer the movie was going to take. I felt I knew the characters when I read the book. Watching the movie was like stepping into a crowded room full of strangers wearing masks of my friend’s faces. Everything the book was, the movie lacked. I was not interested in the story as I watched it play out on my television screen. I was not intrigued with what the characters were doing.

So much was left out. Not just scenes, but emotions. Key things. Hints. Clues. Knowledge. A life of it’s own.

The emptiness of this movie was really rather astounding. How can somebody take words that have such presence to them and steamroll them into something so dull?

I don’t know.

I wish I had the answer.

Dragon Age: Classes

I’ve played two games of Dragon Age thus far. One as a rogue, the other a warrior. I think the stories would have differed greatly even if my two characters hadn’t been so vastly different (My rogue was a female elf, my warrior a male noble). Just because between the casts the abilities and how people respond to you are so vastly set apart.

I sort of hated not being a rogue. The fact that you ALWAYS then have to cart around either a whiny chantry cunt or a horny assassin elf is a little annoying. (Can you tell my characters aren’t exactly nice?). They both disapprove of so many things I wanted to do, of course, Zevran disapproved of less. Thus, I attached him to my team at all times. I hated not being able to pick my own locks, or guile my way through things. Obnoxious. Always having to switch characters to open a chest or deactivate traps, obnoxious.

On the other hand, I didn’t use nearly as many health poultices as I did when I was a rogue. So by the end, I had stacked up well over a hundred, without ever once having to buy one. I had so many injury kits that I really just didn’t know what to do with them. As a warrior, I was such a powerhouse that nobody even had a chance to get hurt. Plus, as a warrior noble, I was apparently a chick magnet. Not only did I bed Morrigan long before everything I read said it was even possible, but I had the ability to bat my manly eyelashes and lure any unsuspecting female into my tent. Who KNEW there were so many NPCs you could make out with in this game?

My problem with both of the characters I have already played is that neither of them could bed Leliana. She just wasn’t interested in them. Considering they were both quite attractive, I’m leaning toward ‘She just doesn’t dig evil’. Well, I’ll show her, won’t I? I’ll be nice with my next character. Yes sir, I will. Then we’ll play Bag The Bard, and see who ends up in bed with who.