Sunday, March 25, 2007

Google and Heroes.

A quick plug before I get to the meat and bones of this post. Mr. O Connor has a couple of new videos of him singing on his myspace He also has an single launch the end of next month 21st april in Sligo..

So onto the Google goodness. First off the Blogger site has had a bit of a facelift, customising your page with rss feeds and the layout elements you fancy is a piece of cake now. Also gone is the dreaded "Publishing..." delay. My one complaint is that the preview, while nice and fast isn't giving me a true view of what my layout is going to be.

For example, this line when I view it in the preview all fits onto one line.
As you can hopefully see thats not the case when its published.
Not hard to get around, I'm simply using <P> and </P> to handle
my line formatting now..

The other google tool I've started using (having applied for a free account and recieved it ages ago) is Google Analytics, basically its webstats for your website. And in typically google fashion its everything you want from a webstat service and then some. Its pretty hardcore your basic dashboard offering you a view customised for executive ( pretty colours and nice graphs), webmaster( browsers your visitors are using, javascript/flash/java compatibility) how many visitors 'bounce' arrive at your page and immediately leave and Marketer (keyword analysis, adword clicks and other 'evil' stuff).

Analytics lets me know that that the canadians are my biggest visitors (big shoutout to the canadians, I've always liked 'em) and search keywords that bring people here from google tend to be the names of actors and movies. y'know actors like Harrison Ford, Christian Bale, Kirsten Dunst,Maggie Gyllenhaal and movies like Casablanca, Requiem for a Dream and The Shawshank Redemption. ( Sorry that was mean, apologies if you just if you came here while searching for a movie starring Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal. There isn't one currently but you can always hang on for this this

The last thing I want to mention is Heroes. If you haven't heard about it here's the quick
rundown, Its a TV series about a group of people who start to manifest 'powers' flight, telepathy
and even manipulating the space-time continuum. I watched the first 7 episodes last night, and
its only brilliant. The use of the powers is kept very low key and the story, each character has their own very down to earth problems, takes center stage. Highly recommended, I put it right up there with battlestar.

Friday, March 23, 2007

157: Once upon a time in the west.

Epic spaghetti western and pure Sergio Leone, lots of close ups of
uglypeoples faces and plenty of Gunplay. There are echos of
"The Good the Bad and the Ugly" in that the male leads fill those
roles nicely, Charles Bronson as the enigmatic 'Harmonica' (we
never find out his real name) Fonda as the child murdering (just so
there is no doubt about his depravity) bad guy Frank and
(quick IMDB lookup) Jason Robards as the
really-not-as-bad-as-he-initially-seems bandit Cheyenne.

When I say epic I'm not kidding it clocks in at just under 3 hours.
And a lot of the time you feel every minute of it. From the brilliant
opening scene where 3 of franks gang are waiting at the train station
for Harmonica. It must be 10 minutes of the three of them just standing
around in silence barring the background noise ( a dog barking, a fly
buzzing dripping water etc) , the movie opens with 10 minutes of nothing
happening and I was absolutely riveted. brilliant.

Speaking of silence the movie is pretty sparse on the dialogue but what
little we get is great stuff. My favorite is when Harmonica gets off the
train and is faced with Franks henchmen..
"you bring a horse for me?"
laughs, "looks like we're one shy.'
"no.. you brought two too many"

Once he out-dialogues them, he then out-guns them. classic stuff.

One thing that really stood out for me with this movie is that the
audience are assumed to be able to put two and two together,
expositionary dialog is kept to a bare minimum. So its pretty engaging stuff.

When we were kids my brother and I saw the 'Man with no name' trilogy
a lot as my Dad was a big fan. To my mind this film is much darker than
those movies, but maybe thats just because Its been so long since I've seen
them, I'll have to pick them up and see.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lovecraftian movies

I'm very excited about Guillermo Del Toros planned adaptation
of the Mountains of Madness (now if only he'd stop letting
other projects jump the queue - I'm looking at you Tarzan and
Hellboy 2).

I was thinking how there hasn't been a worthy adaptation of
any of lovecrafts material as yet.

There are a couple of contenders though:
The Re-animator was reasonably successful,
but to my mind it was never one of the definitive lovecraft
stories and I believe liberties were taken with the story and
tone of the piece. I'm not really in a position to judge it
as I've never actually seen it.

HP Lovecrafts Dagon was a DTV release,
and the cover does not instill confidence again I haven't seen
it but I think with bad movies at least you can generally judge
them by their cover. leastways I can't think of any good movies
with bad covers?

Call of Cthulhu by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical
Society is probably the closest direct adaption of Lovecrafts
material cleverly put together as a black and white silent movie.
Still waiting on my copy so I can't confirm this.

The Mouth Of Madness directed by John Carpenter,
starring Sam Neill looks like it should be the winner here
even though not directly adapted from a lovecraft story. And its
pretty good but its kind of heavy handed and knowing in its
Lovecraft referencing and is more Carpenter than Lovecraft,
no bad thing but not the best lovecraftian movie.

Here are a couple of movies I think are more lovecraftian even
though they don't advertise it.

Alien/Aliens - Think about it, unspeakable relentless alien
horror jarring humanity from its view as the center of the
universe.Add in a healthy does of absolute hoplessness and thats
pretty close to what we're looking for. You could even say that
Ripleyis something like the Randolph Carter character, her
encounters resulting in her ending up alien herself, or you might

Pans Labyrinth I think what really grabs me about
this movie is the fact that the 'real world' part is so real.
It's a case of the dragon in the woods, the more real the woods,
the more real the dragon. The time period (1930s) is not so far
from the period of lovecrafts stories either. This movie is
the one that convinces me of Guillermos ability to successfully
make "The Mountains of Madness".

Also an honorable mention for Hellboy with is "Ogdru Jahad" in
their crystal prison.

But back to "Mountains", to my mind the important thing to
get right is the scale of the thing. It has to be Epic (note capital E) .
The most important shot of the film? That tiny little plane slipping
through the gap in the mountains to reveal the dead alien city.

The Elder things will be tricky, Fungi-Plant-animals don't exactly
inspire terror.

But If anyone can do it Mr. del Toro can.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spam considered useful

Believe it or not the only thing that eventually made me post here
again was the volume of comment spam I was getting. There was
enough to give me that righteous 'I'm taking back whats mine,
damn your eyes' motivation.

Now that I'm back I guess I'll continue blogging my journey
through the 1001 you should see before you die. conveniently
enough its just been my birthday and one of the things I picked
up was a bunch of DVDs.

Amongst them:

"Evil Dead" (which I have seen many many times and probably
won't blog about),

"Equilibrium" (which was unlikely to appear in the 1001 movies
but I like much better than the matrix sequels),

"Anchorman" (again not a contender but allegedly quite funny),

"Top Secret" ( long time since I seen this but still a heck of a lot
better then the scary movie/epic movie crap we get these days)

and finally - "Once upon a time in the west", which I believe is in
the 1001 so that should be the next one reviewed. stay tuned..