Chronicles of Ryebone
 
 

The Stuff

Starting a story can be difficult, I understand. It's an important part of the story structure, and when done properly or even differently, can draw you in, turn you away, or set the tone for what is to come. Years ago I had a thought that I should put together a web site that featured the opening credits of various movies. There must be a neat history lesson to learn here, but what I saw in many modern films is the complete lack of opening credits. Oftentimes, you don't even get the title of the movie until the very end, which can help immerse you into the film from the beginning then slap your face at the end to wake you up from the alternate reality you've just sat through to remind you that it's been a movie the entire time. A final blow to follow up on perhaps a revelatory ending. Or maybe the title comes up slowly, to ease you back into the real world.

Computer Build 2014: Murney

All the parts were spread in front of me on the table. They beckoned my name, but they felt disjointed; like they didn't belong where they were. They knew their place and were confused why they weren't there, and it's entirely my fault. On a slow Thursday at work, I took the plunge and began ordering computer parts online. Months of research had thrown me into analysis paralysis. It took one post - a recommended system - to snap me out of it into the purchasing mode. It was quick; it was furious; it was expensive. Twelve hours later my credit card would be locked, and I would spend twenty minutes on the phone taking quizzes about my credit history and my shopping habits over the past twenty four hours. My credit card company was staging a kind of pre-intervention before my habit spun out of control too quickly.

Enemy

I wasn't aware of the term 'ambigious cinema' until after reading some reviews of Denis Villeneuve's latest film, Enemy. After seeing the term, I was washed over with happiness as it instantly set alight to a list of films in memory that would instantly fall under the label. Those movies were ambiguous enough, that I didn't want the added stress of having to file it away in my mind some where. The way I see it, the distribution of people that enjoy these films is polarizing, although, I will attempt to buck the trend and put myself in the middle (and upon further thinking, skew myself toward enjoyment moreso than hatred). You see it happening more often, but not in Hollywood. Films like The Grey slip by with an ambiguous ending, although it was easier to process and interpret your own ending. I presume that everybody in the audience who groaned at the lack of the ending are not fans of this type of cinema. With The Grey, you could easily draw your own meaning. With Enemy, the task is not so clear. In fact, the film works against interpretation, creating abstraction with the intent to bewilder. As the credits fade onto screen at the end of the film, you're going to sit there, staring blankly with your mouth open. Your brain goes into a desperation mode, as it reaches the far corners of your cob-webbed mind looking for meaning.

Feed the Voices: The Book

The trip up to see my family is a long one; clocking in at nearly six hours, it leaves me quite a bit of time for thought (which can be dangerous) and listening opportunities (be they podcasts or music). I was making the journey in February of 2013, when my thoughts drifted toward one of my good friends and how I've neglected his birthday nearly every single year. We have done a bit of a gift exchange in the past, which was always a book or DVD/Bluray, but the guilt for not actually being there on the day itself was starting to tear at me. And instead of apologizing (again and again) I decided to buy my apology in a heart felt gift.

Insidious

There was quite a bit of talk surrounding Insidious when it first came out (2010, for what it's worth). Suffice to say, I ignored most of it as I don't typically get caught up in horror movies. But this one kept coming like a slow moving train in the distance. The singular light of this train was something I could easily walk away from, so I did. I had friends go see it, then promptly tell me about how I may not be able to handle it. This is most very true.

Then, I went on a couple of dates with this one girl, and she mentioned the movie. She seemed to be in a similar predicament, in not wanting to watch it alone. Well, you can see where this is going, but you should also know that this is me acting here, and we never did end up watching it (I blundered it up well enough, for your information, but that's practically a given as well). So I had this movie sitting around for a couple of years waiting to go, and it seems the mood struck right. I mentioned my horror movie bunker, where I was able to work up enough courage and turn this film on.

Edge of Tomorrow

Last summer, Oblivion took me by surprise and currently stands as one of my favourite movies (of the past few years, at least). So seeing previews of Edge of Tomorrow brought about an anticipation and excitement for another Tom Cruise sci-fi adventure that was ultimately - and pleasantly - fulfilled earlier this week. There was a fleeting moment of anxiety as the theatre dimmed that the movie would not meet the expectations I had, or that it wouldn't impress me in the same way that Oblivion did last year (a fair comparison). Edge of Tomorrow does not disappoint; if anything, it exceeded my expectations and proves itself as a solid sci-fi action movie.

Pompeii

My parents have always been big movie fans, often seeing everything that comes to the theatre regardless if it's good or bad. Whenever I go visit them, I eagerly anticipate watching a movie in one of their many recliners, embraced by the heavy blanket embroidered with majestic golden retrievers. The air conditioning typically runs high, so the blanket is needed, and the end result is a cozy movie watching experience that only mom could provide.

On a recent visit, my father was listing off the movies that we could watch. I'd seen many of them, but voted for Pompeii. My perception of the movie made it seem like a good match, and it didn't matter that everybody said the movie was terrible. If anything, that works for the movie in these situations. I often can't take my mom's word for the quality of a film, as she tends to enjoy it all - unless it's overly violent, vulgar or offensive. Pompeii is a PG-13 rated film that has been scientifically melded together to be as inoffensive as possible: you won't find much blood here (although there is violence), a lack of skin, no sign of band language, and simple leading characters with names you don't need to remember.

Godzilla

There is a tremendous amount of guilt when I tell myself - and others - that Godzilla has been an institution in my life since, well, as long as I can remember. In the mid-eighties my father and I would spend an inordinate amount of time watching Godzilla movies on Betamax. My favourite around the time was GODZILLA 1985, although I haven't seen it in years (and reviews indicate it may be one of the worst). The guilt comes from not having watched any for a solid period of time, perhaps fifteen years or more; the only exception was taking a break to watch GODZILLA 2000 and of course, the abomination of Hollywood's 1998 remake. For one of my birthdays, my friend obtained a large amount of the franchise films and we watched a few, and it was all new to me. It turns out I don't know much about Godzilla, but that hasn't stopped me from loving the character, or falling into a warm, nostalgic bliss when I recall Sunday afternoon's spent in front of the black and white set watching the King of Monsters' exploits as a child.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

That the general public wasn't ready for a Spider-Man reboot ten years after the release of the "original" in 2002 is proven by the relatively poor box office numbers the new one has managed to do. However, I think it's safe to say that everyone is happy that it wasn't as bad as Spider-Man 3, which was a boneheaded mess (for the most part). I didn't really care for The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, but it wasn't terrible. I like to think that it would have done much better if it wasn't overshadowed by Marvel's runaway juggernaut of The Avengers films. And as time keeps on churning, the need to bring the largest Marvel properties back into the fold of the home studio is becoming more pertinent with every release. Sony did a good job twelve years ago, but Marvel came in and disrupted the whole thing. We wanted a crossover with X-Men as well back then, but the fact that different studios licensed our beloved characters all but cemented that this will not happen. Enter Marvel, who turned the comic book movie industry on it's head. With the advent of Spider-Man 2, Sony is talking about a similar structure, albeit with purely Spidey related characters - the only ones they are licensed for. They're talking Sinister Six and spin off movies, so it's relevant to look at this singular movie not only as a Spider-Man sequel, but as a setting off point for a gargantuan franchise of movies, television series and toy lines.

Sorcerer

As I "review" films I often make a note of what my expectations were going into the film, and how those expectations affect my level of enjoyment. It's typically an inverse relationship with low expectations often resulting in a high enjoyment of the film. That is to say, it's easier to enjoy a movie if you bring in low expectations, as it's harder to enjoy a movie with high expectations. Oftentimes, I think of it as a crutch, and it's easy to dismiss or praise a film based on that binary scale. Every so often though, I bring in expectations not of general quality, but regarding specific elements, which can either be met or not met, and in turn, my satisfaction could go either way. For an early example, I look back to the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. In this case, I knew very little and didn't expect very much, but I did want to see some great skeletal action - you could say I wanted an update on the old Clash of the Titans skeleton combat that I so thoroughly enjoyed as a child. I got it, and much more (did anyone expect such a clever performance from Depp though, really).

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