Monday, October 29, 2012

Just Saw Looper

I liked it! I think what I liked best about Looper was that almost none of what made it engaging was in the trailer. There was a whole story here that I was unprepared for, and it was reasonably well told. Very exciting and surprising.

I also finished reading The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind and posted my review over on

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas does a lot of things right. It manages to weave together a set of stories that are each substantial in their own right. The visuals are spot on and well done, the acting is outstanding, and the audio mixing manages to be some of the best in recent memory. There are a few hangups that keep it from being a truly exceptional film. It is a little hung up on its own cleverness, making it feel a bit pretentious about things that are pretty obvious or been done.

Impressive use of symbolism, colors, and imagery help tie the stories together early and often. By the time you get to the end the definitive connection between the narratives at the end, the links are still a little thinner than might have been optimal. Cloud Atlas manages to compensate for this through all of the methods the film uses to link the stories together outside of the narrative, using all the actors in every story, or the beautiful musical themes. This is probably the greatest strength of the movie.

In fact, these accomplishments are so positive that the film is already a success by the time its negatives show up. A lot of its turns are just way too obvious, and have been done better elsewhere. It is 2012, is the audience still supposed to be shocked that Soylent Green is people? When you see it, you'll know what I am talking about, and you will probably find it as laughable as I did. The only thing it does worse than pull twists that are obvious and trite is to act as though they are original and powerful and meaningful observations and metaphors. I did notice that the newspeak dialect that was spoken in the far future story managed to be difficult enough that the actors didn't quite make it feel natural and fluid.

Overall, Cloud Atlas is a solid movie. If you don't have the patience for disjointed story telling, the movie probably isn't for you. The action and special effects definitely aren't enough to make the movie appeal to a crowd that doesn't have the patience to work through the narrative, and there is a very real barrier there. It makes sense by the end, but you have to be willing to spend the whole movie actively asking questions and looking carefully for the answers.

Maybe if its plot twists had been a little less sill, and even preachy, this could easily have been a classic for all time. As it is, it's probably in the top two or three movies all year. Watch it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's pretty exciting to see an Humble Indie bundle do an entire bundle of novels. I went ahead and picked it up because it looked so exciting and had some of my favorite authors in it.

I have wanted to read more Cory Doctorow for a while now ever since I read Little Brother, and Pirate Cinema looks like a great place to start. Also, I have been reading more and more by Gaiman, and it is all amazing. Smoke and Mirrors was incredibly enjoyable, with some beautiful stories. He's also very accomplished as a graphic novelist, so Signal to Noise looks fascinating.

Everything in this pack looks delightful, though. I'll certainly be posting about it as I read and dropping down some reviews over at The Dangling Colloquy.
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