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First, Zombieland -- absolutely as fun as the trailers look. Great comic timing, invention, AND restraint -- not something you'd expect to be able to say about a zombie* apocalypse roadtrip action comedy starring Woody Harrelson, but the creators seem to know when they need to hold back and when they can go for it, and make very few missteps. Harrelson is GOLD, Jesse Eisenberg onscreen is a lot less grating than his opening narration suggests, and Emma Stone's Wichita is an unexpected treat -- a wily survivor who isn't undone by sentiment or the other weaknesses female characters get saddled with because they're "the chick." (I'd argue that some of the decisions she makes toward the end that look stupid in hindsight are no worse than a lot of things Harrelson and Eisenberg's characters do.) Just a ton of fun, well worth the admission. (Gore quotient = not bad. The zombies don't get to munch that much, and when they do, it's mostly a bite and pulling some flesh away, not tearing people open and ripping out entrails a la Day of the Dead.)

* Not undead zombies -- the diseased but living human kind. Runners, but here I liked it.

I've been unable to make time for LJing about all the movies I'm watching, so I'm going to drop that and just update my "what I've seen" list periodically. To that end, with favorites and top recommendations bolded:

You'd be surprised how much you can get in if you watch while you stretch before the gym.Collapse )

Will probably slow down my movie viewing a bit over the next few weeks to enjoy what looks like a promising round up of fall anime. So far, I've only seen Kampfer and A Certain Scientific Railgun, with Nyankoi next in line. Kampfer = pure cheese, but that amazing, budget-blowing henshin sequence in the first ep will probably keep me watching for an ep or two more at least. I didn't get past the first ep of Index, but Railgun seems like it could be fun if it doesn't get too moe moe. Kobato is a sure thing, and I'll probably catch at least a little Miracle Train on the off chance it turns out to be wacky. (I missed basically everything last season, and just started marathoning Umineko yesterday. (Much love to GG for going with the pun -- "When Seakitties Mew.")

Yes, Tsubasa's ending seemed both oddly rushed AND like it went on forever to me, too. I'm assuming a lot gets resolved after the fact in XXXHolic.

After Zombieland, ran around getting stuff to make cupcakes Thursday for my trip to rkold's this weekend. (Recipe is via America's Test Kitchen on PBS and available online here -- trial registration required, but well worth it.) This is about as fancy as I get when it comes to baking, with a mock double boiler and chopping up chocolate by hand. Also have a new muffin tin to use, so looking forward to it! Here's hoping I remember to pick up the baking powder I forgot before I'm wrist-deep in melted chocolate... >_>;;
Finally finished a project that's been percolating for a while -- an alternate version of the X TV OP set to Ali Project's "Ankoku Tengoku." (In my head, there's a chibified X TV series a la "Welcome to Lodoss Island," and its theme is "Peony Pink," but I just couldn't make that work.) I haven't had great luck with YouTube in the past, so I'm hoping this stays up for a while at least.



Notes on lyrics & moreCollapse )

At any rate, I think it does all hang together; at the very least, you know X TV is a series involving a brooding pretty boy, swords, dramatically swirling ribbons, and a fuck-ton of feathers. If you watched, I hope you enjoyed it!
So we've known for a while that CLAMP was going to roll out user-generated avatars on their mobile site, and the service is now live. But as nokiirat points out in a post at clamp_now, you don't to access the site via your phone to play with the avatar maker -- just go here to get started. It's a kick, they have a great starting selection, and I've been playing with it all evening.

Here's a quick walkthrough if you need help getting around the site.

What a fabulous time waster!Collapse )



...fierce, Kamui. Fierce.

I'd love to see what other people come up with, so feel free to comment with pics of what you've done. :D

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You know, I didn't think the title of that last post was going to be quite so prophetic. ^^; Actually, Kamui's hair didn't take two weeks although Keiichi's did, but getting my lineart cleaned up and colored had me working on my fanbook submission almost up to the deadline. I'm glad now that I was actively at it every day since about the beginning of the month -- it didn't cut down on the stress toward the end, but the results are much better than they would have been if I'd waited and tried to do it, say, the week before it was due. I'll post the finished pic sometime in the next few days.

While I worked, I added "Project Runway" to my usual background noise rotation of nonstop George Romero zombie movies, and now I'm looking forward to the new season even more. "The Fashion Show" wasn't a bad stopgap, but it didn't have near the fun, whimsy, and heart of PR. It's like Bravo thought it would be enough to copy the meanness and bitchery without anything to leaven it. To a degree, it works -- I didn't stop watching until the final runway show -- but I can't imagine buying the DVDs or ever wanting to rewatch season one. I'll give season two a shot, if there is a season two, but here's hoping there's a massive retooling in-between. (Tom and Lorzeno's suggestions are typically spot-on.) I will say: generally loved Isaac, loved the mini-challenges as a concept if not always in execution, and I still covet that yellow coat that inexplicably got Merlin booted. I really wonder how things would have shaken out for these designers if they'd made PR. I don't begrudge Anna her win (the clothes weren't bad, and she seemed nice), but James Paul's collection was more innovative, and my favorite was Reco's. (I also liked his work throughout the season, that pink/purple dress at the end notwithstanding...)

Just out of curiosity, anybody on my FL read Jojo's Bizarre Adventure? If so, favorite characters/parts? Mine would be Joseph and (perhaps unsurprisingly) "Battle Tendency," but I've got a soft spot for Phantom Blood, pretty much the entire cast of Diamond is Unbreakable, and of course, Dio (particularly in "Phantom Blood," "Steel Ball Run," and the OVAs*). I'm enjoying the inspired lunacy of SBR, and remain impressed that Araki could turn a shounen fighting/adventure series into a seinen horse-racing manga and make it WORK.

* Maybe it's because I saw the OVAs first, but I actually don't enjoy Dio as much in the Stardust Crusaders manga. (Which I think is also one of the weaker parts art-wise, since Araki is just starting to draw fight scenes with Stands instead of characters using the Ripple directly, and it takes him a while to get back to the exaggerated poses and constant vogueing.)
Wow -- I forgot the conniptions Kamui's hair used to give me. >_>;; The design sketches for the first Tsubasa OAVs are helping, kind of, since Kamui's hair DOES look kind of like hair right now -- just not particularly like Kamui's. He's somewhere between 70s shoujo sci-fi boy and Mizuki after three weeks stranded on a desert isle. Which is amusing, but not helpful. Better go back to the manga and see if I can't doodle my way to something reasonable...

Movies: Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat, 2001)

M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could come up with a twist ending as brutally effective as the final ten minutes of Fat Girl (À Ma Soeur!). Except if he delivered punches to the gut like Catherine Breillat does in this film, people wouldn't leave the theater talking about his brilliant plotting -- they'd be staggering up the aisles trying to come to terms with what they've seen. I'm still coming to terms with the film days later. With a little distance, it doesn't look like nearly the gratuitous copout it did on first blush, but now it's the film as a whole that's disturbing (and darkly brilliant).

Fat Girl is roughly 90 minutes long, and for the first 80 it's an unsentimental but sympathetic portrayal of two teenage sisters attempting to negotiate the minefields of sexuality, romance, and above all, their relationship as dissimilar but ultimately loving siblings. Fairly standard indie fare, in other words, but noteworthy for its frankness on all subjects and even-handed portrayals of both girls. (The English title is really kind of a misnomer.)

Warning for potential triggers, definite spoilersCollapse )

Would Recommend?: Yes -- just be willing to give it a few days to settle with you.

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Cutting my thoughts on this one, because I got to rambling and it ran long.

Is there such thing as insanity among penguins? I try to avoid a definition of insanity or derangement. I don't believe that a penguin might believe he or she is Lenin, Napoleon Bonaparte, but could they just go crazy because they had enough of their colony?Collapse )

Would Recommend?: Very much. If it's not Herzog's best, it's still interesting, thoughtful, and often very funny. Gorgeous underwater photography, arctic volcanoes, and a world-renowned expert discussing penguin ménages à trois, prostitution, and existential crisies (?).

Also, given that Second Impact is set at the South Pole, I'm sensing a potential parody doc: Encounters at the End of Evangelion.
Things I never thought I'd see: an Ingmar Bergman comedy of manners. Smiles of a Summer Night plays a bit like A Midsummer Night's Dream, starting with three (or four) sets of mismatched partners eventually resolving into the "proper" couples over the course of a night. Even having seen something as lighthearted as The Magic Flute, I wouldn't have expected Bergman to have such solid comedic chops. There's a lot of Ernst Lubitsch in the interactions between the characters and the dialogue*, but Smiles has disappointment and longing underneath (or maybe alongside) the cynical poses. The result is a smart, funny film in which everyone finds their happily ever after, but not without reflecting seriously on love and life's frustrations. Especially good is Eva Dahlbeck as the actress Desiree Armfeldt, with Gunnar Björnstrand as her foil and former love Fredrik Egerman. (Also wouldn't be surprised if Margit Carlqvist inspired legions of female fans in that riding outfit, wow.)

Incidentally, Smiles was Bergman's first big international hit, predating The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries by two years.

Would Recommend?: Sure. This would be a great introduction to Bergman -- a fun film with the existentialism and serious relationship drama sort of relegated to the side, but enough of "Bergman proper" that you should be able to get a sense of whether you'd like to see that in its more fleshed out incarnations. (If so, follow up with Wild Strawberries, and then think about Seventh Seal.)

* See Trouble in Paradise.
I love this straight to the point remix of the 2012 trailer:



Found on the always geekriffic io9.

This trailer is a bit more exciting, though, in a Love & Peace donut stampede kind of way:



I still can't believe this is on the way. Expecting a 25-30% increase in Vash cosplayers on release.

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