[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2014-10-10

Lifeforce (1985)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 20:58
Lifeforce (1985)

Tonight’s film fun was Lifeforce, starring Steve Railsback, Mathilda May, Peter Firth, and a host of others. This is one of my all-time favourite movies, and unlike some movies from the 1980s, this is every bit as great now as it was the first time I saw it. Maybe even more so, since this is the Shout! Factory director’s cut on Blu-ray.

I just can’t express how awesome I think this movie is. Everyone is so perfectly cast. Steve Railback as the shell-shocked astronaut fighting his involuntary obsession with the Space Girl is *perfect*. Mathilda May as the Space Girl communicates through body language and expressions a range I am not sure any living actor could match. Peter Firth as the SAS colonel is as cool as James Bond and just a little bit pervy. Frank Finlay as the death-obsessed biologist is amusingly quirky and detached as only an English actor can be.

How could this movie have failed at the box office? Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakob on the script, John Dykstra on special effects, Henry Mancini on the soundtrack, Tobe Hooper at the helm… this is undoubtedly one of the best science fiction movies of the 1980s, and absolutely the best movie Golan-Globus ever produced. I have not yet watched the extensive special features, but I am looking forward to it.

THANK YOU, Shout Factory, for bringing this long-awaited director’s cut to Blu-ray!

What is “gamergate”?

Filed under: Gaming,Journalism,Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 16:36

Generally speaking, I avoid posting anything controversial here on my blog; despite the title, I prefer to focus on the positive. However, I have decided to make an exception, regarding the hate campaign terrorist group known as “gamergate”. Have you seen the term “gamergate” (or “‪#‎gamergate‬”), and wondered what it is? Here it is, in a nutshell:

A handful of unrepentant assholes who get a kick out of stirring up controversy (they may not even believe what they say — that’s not important to them, they just like “stirring the pot”) organized a harassment campaign against a number of women journalists. A larger number of socially maladjusted idiots have joined the campaign, because they are miserable, gullible creatures. The name of this harassment campaign is “gamergate”. “Gamergate” comes from the same cretins who brought you “bikini bridge“, “ebola-chan“, and any number of other manufactured controversies that I hope you have been too smart to pay attention to.

Pretty much every argument you hear in favor of “gamergate” is either a red herring or a bald-faced lie. It’s not a real controversy: it’s simply a hate campaign a terrorist group created by malicious idiots, and anyone who sincerely thinks “gamergate” has any value is a pathetic loser who deserves to be pitied and then ignored.

If you make death or rape threats against someone for expressing an opinion that’s different from yours, or if you concoct ludicrous conspiracy theories about in an attempt to discredit them (instead of saying, you know, “I don’t agree with you. Here’s why…”, or — and here’s a novel idea — simply ignoring them), there is something seriously wrong with you. Seek help.

2014-10-19:: Personally, I think it’s gotten to the point where we need to start treating “gamergate” like any other terrorist group: don’t engage them (it only encourages them), deny them a soapbox for their toxic views, and report their crimes to the police.

2014-10-21: Chris Kluwe doesn’t mince words.

Monday, 2014-10-06

Clue (1985)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 16:37
Clue (1985)

Colonel Mustard: “Just checking.”
Mrs. Peacock: “Everything all right?”
Colonel Mustard: “Yep. Two corpses: everything’s fine.”

I love “Clue” (the movie). This and “Dark and Stormy Night” are my favourite homages to the “old dark house”/”ten little Indians” genre. “Murder By Death” is a close third.

It occurs to me that Clue is unusual, for the era, in the way it handles the homosexual character. Which is to say, he is not mocked or portrayed as repugnant: the fact that his sexual preferences are politically incorrect is noted as the cause for blackmail, but other than that, he’s treated with the same amount of ridicule as any other character (perhaps less).

Professor Plum: “What are you afraid of: A fate worse than death?”
Mrs. Peacock: “No. Just death.”

Random Thoughts:

  • I think it’s funny that Yvette’s shoes change from heels to flats whenever she has to run up or down the stairs.
  • I love the exterior shots of the house.
  • Poor Jane Wiedlin.
  • I miss seeing Yvette run up and down stairs.
  • Tim Curry’s impression of Michael McKean is really funny.
  • I am fascinated by Miss Scarlet’s dress, which is apparently held up by friction.

Wadsworth: “Three murders.”
Mr. Green: “Six, all together.”
Wadsworth: “This is getting serious.”

Mrs. White: “Yes. I did it. I killed Yvette. I hated her … so… much. It-it-it… flames… flames, on the side of my face…”

Saturday, 2014-09-27

Where are all the female superheroes?

Filed under: Comics,Gaming,Movies — bblackmoor @ 10:26
batcassie

A friend who has daughters shared with me this article about a guy who bought a Justice League board game to play with his daughter, only to find out there that there wasn’t a single female superhero in the game. Seriously?

I find it baffling that there are so few female characters in superhero movies, and that those few seem to get left out of the merchandising so often. I assume that women who like superheroes like female superheroes, and I know that guys like female superheroes (Black Widow was the best thing about the second Iron Man movie). So who is it at these marketing companies that keeps making the bone-head decision to drop Wasp from the Avengers but keep Hawkeye (a character so lame that he’s become the poster-child for ostensibly sexist comicbook art, overlooking the fact that any art with Hawkeye in it looks ridiculous), or to leave Gamorra out of the Guardians Of The Galaxy merchandise? We, the people who buy this stuff, totally dig the female characters (for different reasons maybe, but that’s okay). So who are the idiots in board rooms saying, “No, no, no! We can’t have Supergirl or Batgirl or Power Girl or Wonder Woman or Black Canary or Batwoman or Jade in this movie/game/poster/action figure set, that’s just crazy talk!”, and why are people still listening to them?

The board game story has a more or less upbeat (if not entirely happy) ending. Even so, the whole thing mystifies me, it truly does.

Tuesday, 2014-07-29

The Host (2013)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 21:40
The Host (2013)

We just finished watching The Host (2013). I liked this movie much more than I expected. What if the Puppet Masters’ invasion had been successful, and years later, one of them had second thoughts about it?

I was expecting some kind of action-adventure chase movie, with lots of action scenes. In all fairness, there are a number of action scenes, but most of the movie is a character study, as the alien “Wanderer” and a number of humans get to know each other. What if the Puppet Masters were … people? What if they started to see us as people?

Give this movie a shot. You might be surprised.

Saturday, 2014-07-26

Fatherland/Split Second

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 15:23
Fatherland (1994)

The third Friday of August is Cult Movie Night at Castle Blackmoor. This month, we celebrate the career of Rutger Hauer with two of his most difficult-to-find films. First, we will view Fatherland (1994). Twenty years after Nazi Germany won World War 2, a German investigator and an American journalist uncover a conspiracy of terrible crimes committed during the war.

People who want to stay late will see the action-horror film Split Second (1992). This is a film about eating chocolate, drinking coffee, and getting “BIGGER GUNS!” Set in a near-future world where global warming has put the city of London under eight inches of water, Hauer plays a police detective hunting down a serial killer with a very familiar modus operandi.

Saturday, 2014-06-28

Bad Vampire Movie Night

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:05
Zoltan, Hound Of Dracula

Tonight has been Bad Vampire Movie night. We started with Dario Argento’s Dracula (2012), starring Rutger Hauer, who apparently got lost on the way to the movie and only showed up about a half-hour before the end. This was a more or less straight adaptation of Dracula, but I could not shake the feeling that it was a spoof of badly-dubbed Italian horror movies. The worst thing I can say about it is that it’s just kind of dull. It’s not too bad, though: I have certainly seen far worse vampire movies.

The second movie was Dracula’s Widow (1988), starring no one. This was a late-1980s feature, filmed in widescreen, which is unusual for this kind of movie from that era. This, too, almost felt like a spoof, but it wasn’t. I bet Larry Blamire and cohorts could make a fantastic movie in this vein (so to speak). Again, it’s not a great movie, but I have seen much worse.

The final movie in our Bad Vampire Movie night is Zoltan, Hound Of Dracula (1978), starring a spectacularly well-trained Doberman and Michael Pataki (of Sidehackers fame) and José Ferrer (winner of the Academy Award and numerous Tony Awards, and the first actor to receive the National Medal of Arts). I am not sure how to describe this film. It’s the best-made movie of the three, in my opinion, but the plot is… strange. The first half-hour is literally the dog’s journey from Soviet Romania to Los Angeles (spoiler: he takes a boat). The second half-hour is a relatively uneventful camping trip (certainly no more terrifying than any of the camping trips I’ve been on). But if you like vampire movies, and you like dog movies, this is your movie: in addition to the title character, it features two German shepherds in prominent roles, and a fair number of canines in supporting roles. And you know, it’s nice seeing German Shepherds with healthy hips, before they got so inbred to please dog-show ghouls. Warning, though: a puppy dies about 45 minutes into the film. It’s not gratuitous or sadistic, though: it happens off-screen, and it’s not played for laughs or gore. If a softie like me can cope with it, small children and pregnant women should be able to handle it just fine (spoiler: the puppy shows up again later in the film). Oh, and there is a beautiful late-1960s Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible that José Ferrer drives around Los Angeles. Truly a beautiful classic American car.

Friday, 2014-06-13

Gravity

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 21:56
Gravity

I just watched Gravity with Susan Blackmoor. I had low expectations. After all, I have seen this movie before, when it was called Marooned and starred Gregory Peck and Gene Hackman. George Clooney is no Gregory Peck, and Sandra Bullock is no Gene Hackman. But when I’m wrong, I admit it: I enjoyed this a great deal. This was a spectacular homage to the “space adventure” movies of the 1950s and 1960s, back when manned rockets were new and people thought we might actually colonize the Moon and other planets. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, 2014-06-12

Musings on a power outage

Filed under: Home — bblackmoor @ 10:07

The power has been out about five hours as I write this. I’m conserving my laptop battery, and I hope it lasts until power is restored.

I’m glad it’s cool out. I can’t bear the heat. If it warms up later, I’ll have to go down into the basement, or get in my car and drive somewhere. I don’t want to spend any money, though, and I know if I drive around, I’ll be tempted to buy a hamburger or an egg McMuffin or something. I can’t make coffee or even a bowl of cereal. So far I have had a couple of bananas, the last few Oreos, and a couple of glasses of warm cola. Breakfast of champions.

I have been trying to think of things do that don’t require electricity. I have our Red Cross radio on some local “classic rock” station. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Teenage Wasteland, that sort of thing. There is a lot of yard work I would like to do, but between everything being wet from the storm and my not having any way to clean up afterward (we have well water, so no power means no water), I probably won’t be doing yard work today.

However, there are things I can do. For example, I have been straddling two different laptop bags for over a year now. Yes, that’s ridiculous. It’s just been really low on my to-do list. But now I have gone through all of pouches and pockets of my old laptop bag, tossed a lot of things I never used (or just plain garbage), and moved the rest to various pouches in the new laptop bag. So hooray, I’ve accomplished something. That took the better part of an hour, if you include the time I have spent playing with Vixen.

I’ve also been playing with Vixen, of course. She seems to sense that something isn’t quite right, but she’s been making the most of it, batting around and chasing the odd little gizmos I pulled out of my old laptop bag but hadn’t yet thrown away or put into the new laptop bag. Now she’s taking a break and lounging on my calves.

I think I may tackle the pile of paperwork that’s been piling up on my desk. Old receipts, work orders from repair work on our house, that sort of thing.

Oh, hey! The power just came back on! Yay! Now I can spend the next two hours reading Facebook….

[ten minutes later]

And now the power’s back off. I had ten minutes of power, and I wasted it on Facebook (what, you thought I was kidding?). Well, when the power comes on again (if it does), I certainly won’t be wasting it! The first thing I will do is make a pot of coffee. After that, I will read my email. After that… I’m not sure.

I guess I will go ahead and sort out those papers now.

[later]

The power is on, I have a hot cup of coffee, and I am making a dent in these papers.

Wednesday, 2014-05-28

Facebook vs. Google+: a comparison of conversations about gaming

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 10:18

I recently posted the following question/comment to both a Facebook RPG group and a Google+ RPG group, to see if there would be any substantial difference in the quantity and quality of the resulting conversation. This was not a “troll” post, in so far as 1) the post accurately described my opinion, and 2) I was careful not to denigrate the games or the people who wrote them (in fact, I complimented the games, and those compliments are sincere). However, I did choose this topic because I hoped that it would spark a conversation, and I did deliberately phrase my initial post in a manner intended to elicit a polarized response. So take that for what it’s worth.

So… transhumanist games. On the one hand, Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis look like well-made games with interesting settings. The skill and the creativity of the authors are admirable. On the other hand, a core premise of these games is that people will willingly — even routinely — commit suicide in the process of having some sort of copy of themselves made. I just can’t fathom any sane person ever doing that.

Even if you could have a duplicate of yourself made, why would the real you bother killing yourself? I can’t think of anyone other than a “suicide bomber” — someone willing to die for a cause — who would be willing to undertake such a thing. It’s madness. The closest comparison I can think of is Paranoia, but as crazy as Paranoia is, it doesn’t feature people routinely dying on purpose in order to activate their next clone.

As the conversations progressed, I kept my contributions to each conversation as similar as possible, in order to keep the experiment as unbiased as possible.

The Google+ post received 10 responses (excluding mine), from 4 people. The first response began with the sentence, “This is a lack of imagination on your part.” That generally sums up the tone of the responses on Google+: adversarial, and not focused on gaming at all.

The Facebook post received 41 responses (excluding mine), from 16 people. The first response began with the sentence, “People aren’t always logical.” This generally sums up the tone of the responses on Facebook: conversational, and focused on the characters in the setting. The Facebook conversation also branched out into the themes and genres of the games I referred to in my initial post, particularly Eclipse Phase, which I was reminded was a horror game.

Draw your own conclusions.

P.S. As a result of the conversation on Facebook, my own attitude toward playing these “transhumanist” games (particularly Eclipse Phase) has definitely changed. I can see myself actually playing in them now.

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