May 29, 2005

The system is down

Wasabi is an excellent movie. I saw it yesterday. Jean Reno rocks. Apparently, the Japanese love him so much they put him in the video game Onimusha 3 as the hero.

May 27, 2005

Top Five best and worst zombie movies

Anyone that knows me knows I am a zombie aficionado. Dunno why, but I think it has something to do with the first time I played silent hill (I may tell the story that got Abra to hyperventilate/laugh about that later, but I digress...). With my holy powers of video store clerk, I watch many a movie good and bad. Here's the ones to watch out for.

Top Five best zombie movies

1. Shawn of the dead.
Each detail of this movie was well planned and executed. From the opening few seconds you know its a winner.

our intrepid cast

2. Dawn of the Dead, 2004 Remake
This movie's got it all. Zombie babies, Jay Leno Zombie, and Jonny Cash's "When the Man Comes Around" playing over the opening credits.

Isn't it cute when he tries to fit into normal people clothes?

3. Dead Alive
Before he directed lord of the rings, Peter Jackson was a gore goob. And this is the goriest movie I've ever seen. The highlight of the movie is when the hero straps a lawnmower to his chest and enters the fray.

4. Night of the living dead and its remake
How could the world's first zombie movie not make it onto this list? I actually like the remake even better. And guess what? George A. Romero is coming back to create the fourth movie in his infamous series, Land of the Dead.

The world's first cute little dead girl?

5. 28 Days later
Okay, they break the rules from the start, by telling us what caused the zombies, but still, a really good zombie flick. Brits don't have guns, so they have to be a little more creative when dealing with zombies. Come to think of it, liberals cause most of the zombie problem in this movie, starting with releasing infected animals from the research lab. Contrast that with the crazed military men though, and you can see the movie as a political debate. The best part of this movie was its softer, more philosophical side that explored the nature of mankind. A thinking man's zombie movie.

Honorable mentions.
Evil Dead 2 (the best one of the series), and Close Encounters of the spooky kind. Two good movies, with not-quite-zombie monsters in them.

Top Five Worst Zombie Flicks

1. Resident Evil One.
I don't really want to think about this much. It doesn't even have a resolution, just a lead into the sequel...

2. Resident Evil Two.
Besides having every zombie cliche done in a boring way, it also has every action cliche you can think of. Imagine Team America, sans satire. Yes, of coarse, driving a motorcycle through the stained glass window at that exact moment makes perfect sense. No my intelligence doesn't feel insulted in the least, please keep the witty use of the F-word coming my dear. Also sans-resolution.

"Oh, that's valentine. She's a loose cannon, but we like to keep her around cause she's hot."

3. Junk.
The only Japanese zombie movie I know of, and it makes me not want to see another one. From the very beginning we are pumped full of pure cheese until our brain is replaced by gorgonzola. Also, the Japanese don't seem to know the rules... be it of physics, good acting, or what zombies do. The only good part was seeing a Yakuza zombie eat his own guts to prove his machismo.

remember, when going into super saijin zombie mode, your hair turns blond (I wish this was a joke, but its not).

4. Zombies Vs. Vampires.
I haven't even watched this one and I'm putting it on the list. Trust me, I'm clairvoyant about when movies will be bad, as the VanHelsing incident proved.

5. Weekend at Bernies Two
Yeah, they made a sequel to the movie with the most improbable plot ever. Yeah, this time they brought voodoo magic into the story to make Bernie a zombie. But he doesn't move unless he hears those Jamaican beats, mon.

"Respect for the dead? Nah, we'd rather have fun!"

Honorable mention:
House of the Dead, the movie. If the list went to six, this matrix-zombie-busting-moves fest would be on it.

This post is Rated PG-13

May 24, 2005

May 17, 2005

Oh, crap, this site is funny. Unless you're Elijah Wood. Then it's just gay.
Increase my capacity to love
Be not afraid
Find opportunities to give to others
Develop integrity
Thank and complement others

--From a list of goals I made long ago, recently refound.

May 15, 2005

'Cause my opinion is soooo important

As you may know, one of my summer jobs is working at Hollywood video. We get three free rentals a night and I have been taking advantage of it. I thought I'd review some media I've ran across (not just movies).

Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha
Budda's life, as seen through the eyes of the god of manga himself. It is quite educational (though I worry that history is treated in it much in the way it was in Cartoon Network's "time squad") and entertaining. I just finish volume two of this massive series. Sidhartha has gotten married, had a kid, and gone off to live as a monk despite his caste. Makes me want to see the manga depiction of the life of Christ.

Written by, produced by, and starring japanese comedian Takeshi Kitano (the gruff guy from kikujiro) as a blind swords man. It has the world's only Japanese tap-dancing scene set in ancient times as far as I know. Weird, funny, and violent, I highly recommend it. The sword fighting is like nothing anyone has ever done. Also included on the DVD is Takeshi's famous and revolutionary yakuza film Sonatine.

Volcano High
Bad movie. MTV brought this Korean movie to the U.S. and dubbed the voices with those of famous rap stars. This was only thing more unnatural than normal dubbing, which is pretty bad. The only redeeming factor of the movie was the pretty girls.

Silent Hill 4
Being "trapped" in a room the whole game was an interesting twist. I really hate the enemies in this one. I'm all nostalgic for the enemies of SH1.

I've got that feeling that I'm being watched again...

Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind
My first Sammo Hung experience. It is the Evil Dead of the martial arts genre. That means it may be my favorite martial arts flick to date. Highly recommended.

Kung Fu Hustle
I loved it, not as much as Shaolin Soccer perhaps, but still. And I found out Sammo Hung had a hand in this one.

More reviews to come as summer drags on.

May 11, 2005

En Passant

here is a rough draft of a sci-fi/hard-boiled detective/chess story I wrote a small while ago. Feel free to critique if you're into that sort of thing... and keep an eye out for the cthulhu mythos reference (very subtle).
Remember, ©: Claytonian, though I will let it into the creative commons once it's published

En Passant

The streets of Kritos IV were dank that night, accompanied by a darkness that clung to everything like a Camidian brain slug, the corruption of its tendrils infecting whatever they could dig into. Throughout the city, one could smell the fetid stench of where there was no power for the microbots to clean up rotting garbage. Detective Smith had us positioned around the corner from the entrance of a supposedly abandoned bio-structure. The old building showed obvious signs of disease; every once in a while it would belch out methane gas.
“This building has riggers,” said Smith quietly as we stood waiting with our hands on our weapons. “The whole place could explode if there was an open flame. Demolition’s due tomorrow. He’ll be packing his bags soon.”
I knew he was right. Riggers was a disease that made bio-structures dangerous. Even in an ignored ghetto-planet like this, full of Hatlian immigrants and their unsavory culinary practices involving other humanoids whenever they could get hands on them, a building with riggers could only stay up so long before public services tore it down to grow a new one. Unfortunately, when we got this information from the intergalactic police force we also received some more disturbing news. Word on the street was that our target was going to make a jump to the planet of Alhared on a flight leaving exactly two hours from the moment we were standing there. Already, the camera-sentry bots on that far-off planet were searching for a genetic match for our quarry.
Of course, even a child still in their growth pod knows that once a person has made a jump, they travel so fast that they arrive before they left, and simple quantum mechanics dictate that catching them in the past is moot and dangerous. The department cannot warrant the costs and risks associated with trying to apprehend a person that obviously will make their flight in the future. This policy was put into affect three years before the first hyper-jump was even completed; the intergalactic police can be highly efficient when it comes to matters of saving money. Well that, and there is the rumor that one could cause a paradox.
Detective Smith is cold and logical, all servo-heads are of coarse, but he is also surprisingly tenacious. I could sense in him the desire to make this arrest, even if we did get word on our bell-communicators from headquarters that our villain had been spotted on Alhared. I had a feeling that it would be up to me to talk Smith out of his plans, but part of me didn’t want to.
I had recently given up stim bugs. Not because I wanted to–don’t get me wrong, I’m utterly addicted to the endorphin rush that comes from letting those parasites crawl under my skin–but because my supply had been cut off by headquarters for the time being. Headquarters likes to keep pre-cogs like me as fresh as possible, and stim bugs lose their primary function of enhancing one’s abilities as their chemicals become too common to the body. In short, I was going through withdrawal, and becoming suicidal even to the point where part of me wanted to take the scumbag down and risk a paradox-implosion that may be localized to a block or as big as a solar system.
A voice in my head said, “Remember your duties, Mcguilicuty. I see your nihilism levels rising.” That was my implant, a rusty old model that was supposed to keep rehabilitated individuals like me playing nicely. My work for headquarters one part of my sentence for past crimes deemed mild enough that I could be put to use as a servant for the public good. “Take a criminal, make them into a cop”, that was the logic of the empire, especially if you had a useful talent like precognition. The implant gave me endorphins when I was good, and seizures when I was really bad. Just one more reason to let Smith make the capture even if our Bell-communicators started to ring in our heads, letting us know the bust was off.
I gritted my teeth and tried to clear my head despite the unpleasant tingling now flowing through my body. I thought back to the conversation me and Smith had over a game of chess earlier that night. We had been on a space barge, passing away the time until our jump through the light-years was complete.
“Relax,” Smith had said. It’s only an hour’s journey these days. So fast in fact, that there is a you are still sitting at the terminal in the past, waiting for his flight. I can remember back to the time when flights spanning this distance would take weeks. There were still some temporal ramifications, but not like now. Now you could call yourself from the future and say hello, if the government would allow it.” I knew he was right. With a bell-communicator, (devices named after Bell’s theorem), one could communicate instantly with any point in the universe, provided there was a central receiving station on the planet tuned to the quantum-stuff held in your communicator. All this is detailed ad nauseam in the lessons that the implant programs into my dreams each night.
“Well, your brain is bionic,” I grumbled. “Who knows how long you’ve been alive? I bet even you’ve forgotten.” And it’s true. Smith has so many synthetic parts he has more in common with an android than a human. I pushed a pawn two spaces forward. “Your move.”
“Well, I’ve been alive long enough to contemplate many things,” he said. “Tell me, are you familiar with the history of chess?”
“No. I wasn’t even aware of what chess was until I was ‘rehabilitated.’ This implant has changed me in many ways. Mental games are just one thing that it forces me to... enjoy.” The implant gave me a shock then, just to remind me that I was nearing a boundary.
“Well, I don’t pity you for having to pay off your debt to society in such a way, but you should be glad that the tyranny of eugenics are finally ended. But that’s comparatively recent history and I‘m digressing; I was alluding to ancient history: the 14th century.”
“Are you gonna move?” I asked impatiently.
“Getting to it. Back in the 14th century, the move you just made–jumping the pawn forward two spaces for its initial move–was introduced as a new optional move in the official version of the game. The move was deemed to be quite powerful, however, and someone conservatively suggested a counter move to limit the advantage of the pawn’s new ability.”
“And that was?”
“Let me demonstrate”, he said, moving a pawn adjacent to my own into the square mine had skipped over. My piece blinked out of the holo-display.
“You can’t do that!” I protested. “Did you hack this thing?”
“Not at all. You’ll find that move was well within the rules. It is called en-passant, the counter to allowing pawns to move two spaces at once. You capture the pawn as if it was still on that square. It seems to travel right past that point, but a ghost, if you will, of the pawn remains. Capture the ghost, capture the pawn.”
My thoughts of the past were interrupted by a pre-cognizant flash back in the present. “He’s coming!” I mechano-pathically shouted to Smith. “He’ll be here within the–” I was interrupted by the familiar tone of our Bell communicators giving us information that was traveling instantly from over thirty eight light years way. The binary code processed quickly into a message I was already expecting. Our perp had been identified on Alhared just as we had feared. Headquarters was ordering us to back off immediately.
“No,” whispered Smith with determination. I realized by the way his head was cocked that he had jumped his programming.
“What do you mean?” I said incredulously. At the same moment, our target burst through the door with his entourage of goons. “Smith!” I desperately pathed, “don’t do it!”
But Smith had other plans. He yelled an obligatory “Freeze!” which was of course met with some obligatory shots from the thugs before they fled into the curtains of the night. As we chased them down the alley, I felt a part of myself observing all this with a detached curiosity. What would happen now? Would it be like some people theorized, where fate and chance would conspire against us in such a way as to allow our antagonist to make the jump? Does time cover its tracks unlike so many criminals fail to? Or does time trip up in a spectacular event that ends everything and everyone instantly? The superstitiously dreaded event we know as paradox. Part of me wanted to see Smith succeed. Part of me just had to find out for myself. Maybe the implant disapproved of these thoughts of mine as I dodged and shot my way down the alleyways, but it was designed to shut down during moments when I was in danger. The last thing you need in a firefight is a distraction.
Ironically, I took a slug in the shoulder as I had that last thought. It was a retro-weapon bullet, designed to vibrate the body until your brain ruptured and dripped out your nose. If I wasn’t a rehab case with a head full of electronics, and if I had not been merely grazed, I may not have lived. As it was, I passed out after a moment of excruciating pain.
When I came to, Smith was calling in the ambulance. “Did we get him?” I whispered.
“Yeah,” said Smith. “He’s Gorgon food. Literally. They swooped in as soon as I made the kill, and I’ve been batting them off you.”
I looked around to see that the little snake-like creatures that this planet was known to have in an abundance --like unto the rats and Roach-men that took over old Earth-- were indeed waiting to get a piece of me like the carrion they are. “One thing bugs me,” I said. “We’ve been partners for some three years. You’ve never pulled a stunt like challenging the edicts of headquarters on this scale before. What’s gotten into your head, metalmind?”
I heard servos whir in his dilating silicon pupils as he reminisced. “It came to me during the chess game on the flight over.” As he said this, the sound of sirens started to become over-bearing.
“What does chess have to do with anything?” I asked through gritted teeth. My arm felt like jelly. I would discover later that this wasn’t far off; it would take me three days in a regen tank to grow it back.
“En passant, my friend,” said Smith as he lit up a cigarette with a flame from his artificial finger‘s laser. “We just played chess against father time himself and won.”
I found out later that our perp was attacked on Alhared by an “invisible beast that ripped him apart and ate him alive;” at least, that’s what the superstitious Alhared natives said when interviewed. I resolved then to play chess more and think less in a firefight.

May 5, 2005

May 4, 2005

May 1, 2005

Don't blame me if I'm too sexy for you to stand

Guys' night out disbanded as soon as someone got a chance to talk to the platinum blonde.
Poetry was read, I was sleepy, but my previous experience as Judge Dread made me pay more attention than I wanted.
I spent today doing my favorite thing, almost: sitting in Hastings reading. I say almost in part due to the fact that I didn't eat pocky simultaneously. I'm wasting time until hitchhikers guide is seen tonight; and am temporarily homeless.
Jon said recently, "When things go wrong, it not that people are bad, it's not that the universe is vindictive. It's just that the sheer perfection of everything has been forgotten. The wrong way things have gone is just a reminder of how awesome things are meant to be; how awesome things are."