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Ran

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Everything posted by Ran

  1. The Hades + Soundtrack edition, already with a 20% discount, gets knocked down from about $25 to just under $9 with that coupon. The discount on Hades alone does fall under the guideline, but, eh, Supergiant's music is pretty good anyways. Think I'm going to pull the lever for that one, it's too good a deal.
  2. They think ”rockerboys” are just for show? Weirdos.
  3. The creator of the thread left the board and wanted all content removed, which by EU law we need to do when asked.
  4. I think that's actually wrong. Accounts come out from survivors, veterans, etc., almost inevitably come out in time. No Gun Ri became public knowledge (but not widely, and denied) a decade after the fact. Individual cases may be lost, yes, but general trends appear when things happen enough. It could be a failure of my reading, but I've just never heard of anything suggesting the behavior depicted in Lovecraft Country has any sort of historical attestation for the Korean War, vis-a-vis US soldiers (South Korean soldiers, yes).
  5. Watched Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee's latest, a Netflix release. It's lesser Lee, really, with some very flabby bits in the writing and direction of the performances, particularly in the early going. It felt like they had little time to rehearse and limited time to film, so maybe it was a lot of one-and-done scenes which were just accepted as "good enough". Which is a shame, because the talents they brought to the film -- especially Delory Lindo and Clarke Peters, as well as the late Chadwick Boseman (RIP) and Jonathan Majors -- could have really done more if the material and direction was up to it. It's not a bad film, just an over-stuffed and sometimes incoherent one. Many of the stylistic choices -- having the actors portray themselves 50 years earlier in the Vietnam sequences rather than having younger actors, changing between boxy 1.33:1 for the flashbacks and ultrawide 2.39:1 for present day action, some of the over-the-top violence -- worked very well, showing that on that level Lee still has it. Intercutting with flashbacks to "Hanoi Hannah", as well as archival footage, was also very good and to the point. It had a lot to say, perhaps too much for a single film. Best moment in the whole thing was probably Delroy Lindo's soliloquy in the jungle. Very powerful, very Lee, worth an acting nomination by itself, IMO. Speaking of Jonathan Majors, also saw the latest episode of Lovecraft Country. I can understand the controversy over it. I feel like the writers took a big gamble with a choice they made regarding Tic's past, without really thinking through how to contextualize it. Thematically, everything fits, and the performances were fine, but... I don't know. And I question the historicity of that moment.
  6. Having followed Weigel's commentary in the past, I think you're misconstruing what he's saying. Most of the pundits he's referring to are of course right wingers, and then there is, I guess, the "doomer" wing of the left who have as a prior that there's no way Biden can win, and therefore they read every event in that light as being a thing that will contribute to their prior. Weigel's very much an inside-baseball guy and his perspective is very different -- and much more cynical, really, about punditry and politics -- than that of the electorate. I don't think he's intending to suggest complacency at all, merely that pundits who keep trying to find evidence that Biden's going to lose from headlines are making an unforced error.
  7. She incorrectly claimed that the text did not specify Hermione’s skin color, as I noted. That she clearly concieved the character as white, wrote her as such, and then essentially gaslit her readers by claiming she never did is the thing that seems self-aggrandizing. Perhaps she regrets that she specified Hermione’s white face. Perhaps it was a slip of the pen that got past her and her editors ans she genuinely did not remember. She could have said that, but instead what we got was a false claim which she attacked people over when they pointed out it was false.
  8. Her tweet was definitely not "death of the author": Which just isn't true, since "Hermione's white face" is a direct quote from The Prisoner of Azkaban, and there were numerous other instances of the text indicating she was pale (lots of references to her blushing, IIRC). But to bring it back on topic, Rowling's tend to aggressive defensiveness when corrected came up there -- she misstated what the text said ("Hermione's face turned white", she claims is what people were telling her, which she said they were misinterpreting) and called those who pointed it out a bunch of "racists". No doubt some were, perhaps even many, but you don't need to be a racist to scratch your head over the author contradicting her own text, and her painting everyone who questioned her with the broad brush seems, alas, typical behavior when criticized. Her last word on it was that she had no objection to Dumezweni's casting and the idea of a black Hermione... which is what she should have said from the start, IMO, and there would have been no real controversy to speak of as far as her views on the matter went. She might even have made a nod to the idea that she regretted having limited the diversity of characters, and found the play a useful corrective or some such; a little self-flagellation always goes well on social media. I tend to agree that she had very limited conscious political commentary embedded in the HP novels, and a number of the ones people seem to see are more a matter of the choice of setting than deliberate messaging. That said, there's certainly unconscious choices, biases through which her creative process filters to the text.
  9. Agreed on the entrance. It reminds me from earlier this year the report that the Better Call Saul team seriously considered getting the "Lawrence of Arabia lens" to film an important desert sequence on the show, but got nervous about potentially damaging it so they used something else. I assume they mean the one-of-a-kind lens Panavision made for Lean and Young, shown here at the start of this video:
  10. It's not odd at all. Depiction is not endorsement. Depiction in this case exists to create discomfort that underscores the message of the film. No, but the image they chose, and the way they described the film, wildly misses the point of the film and makes it look like a generic "Spunky gal pals get popular and famous!" film when it's not that, at all. Netflix's marketing team decided it would be easier to mislead people to watch the film than to tell them it's a serious, indie foreign-language film. The vast majority of "questioning" comes from the place of "OMG, pedophiles may see this film and get off on it!" But that leads to absurdity: little children kept home, or put in burkas, never allowed to go the beach, etc., because "OMG, pedophiles!" It is absurd, and it is absurd to take this questioning seriously. The intended audience of this film are not pedophiles. One cannot make movies by trying to check off the list of people who might take unintended pleasure in your film. The intended audience of this film are people with enough critical faculties to appreciate the thematic commentary that is obviously intended. The depiction creates discomfort which solidifies the message. The right wing panic over it is particularly ironic because, really, fundamentally this is basically a film with a fairly conservative message, and whose key turning point in the final act is a paean to the importance of family and what conservatives would consider "traditional values":
  11. Just finished my fifth or sixth rewatch of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia. What a magnificent, epic film. O'Toole had the bad luck of going up against Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, otherwise he would have gotten that Oscar. Omar Sharif, especially in the last third as Lawrence begins to spiral out of control, was outstanding. Anthony Quinn was larger than life throughout, but he was terrific at that in general. Maurice Jarre's main theme is an exultant wonder that I could just listen to on repeat. And the cinematography by Freddie Young is among the greatest cinematic achievements of all time. What a perfect picture. After that, the next episode of Brave New World (the 4th so far, I think it's 5 more to go) was a bit jejune but was entertaining enough. Feels like it's drifting more and more from the plot of the novel, at least in that they go for big dramatic moments compared to the book (hence the death at the end of episode 3, or the death in this episode.)
  12. In theory, but not in practice. I see all. He does use it as a reference when he's writing, but he doesn't have an editor account.
  13. George never had an account. His wife, Parris, does have one, and has posted in the past (primarily about BWB shindigs at various cons). George would browse the forum without an account, and later on when he stopped occasionally Parris or other people might make him aware of things on the board -- interesting fan theories, things like that -- that they saw but I don't expect he reads them directly.
  14. RIP, Terry. Never read a word of what he wrote outside of a few quotes on the board over the years, but I know he brought many people joy (not always in ways he intended), and he had friends and loved ones. I think mystar withdrew from the internet after the PR people threw him under the bus (and they really, really did throw him under the bus; it was very ugly and, IMO, completely unprofessional, cruel behavior to the point where I recall people here were crying foul when they showed up on Westeros with their song and dance.)
  15. Yeah, I was going to check that one out, as I've been listening to Mantzoukas on Comedy Bang Bang recently and he plugged it. Unspooled and Blank Check sounds great, will check them out. ETA: Oh, one of the Blank Check hosts was part of the Jim Henson draft on Screen Drafts. Explains why Blank Check sounded vaguely familiar. Very cool.
  16. The other perennial film from the early 80s of HBO, that I recall, was Super Fuzz: My recollection is that Used Car is a much better film, though, and it is a little surprising that it doesn't show up on TBS (if they still show 80s films on occasion like they used to) or AMC or some such, especially given Russel. @Fez Which podcast was that? I've been listening to the Screen Drafts podcast for awhile, and have been considering getting into some other cinema-centric podcasts.
  17. One of my favorite crass comedies when I was young (too young, really, but those were the 80s for you). Played a lot on early HBO, as I recall. Still remember the "fishing" scene, and Kurt Russel's Rudy talking a mile a minute hawking his cheap lemons. Good cast, too, with the great Jack Warden, Gerrit Graham, Frank McRae, and Michael McKean (in his second film role, after having a part in Spielberg's 1941 the year before). As to my own watching: Watched Black KkKlansman for the first time, and it was entertaining but relatively slight for a Spike Lee joint. Felt the actress playing Patrice, the student union president, was rather poor (particularly in the scene where Stallworth admits he's an undercover detective). Also, did not know Steve Buscemi had a brother who acted (though I see that I've seen Michael Buscemi in a one-off appearance on The Sopranos from twenty years ago). Caught up on the latest two epsiodes of Lovecraft Country, still enjoying it. Felt like such a dunce for not realizing something at the end of the 5th episode, but they've been very good at throwing around elements to distract. Special effects on TV have gotten to an absurd level of quality. And just finished Hereditary, Ari Aster's first horror film. Very creepy. Owes not a little to Rosemary's Baby, I think. Toni Collette was the standout performer by far, definitely had the key role to sell the slow unraveling of horror. (Also, being in Sweden, what's with the family owning not one, but two Volvos? Between this and Midsommar, I'm thinking Aster is a Suecophile.)
  18. Yes, Umeå University has the goal of testing 20,000 students and staff. The first batch of 8,000 had just 2 positives. But as Luz says, Sweden is different in some ways. We don't have frats and sororities, there's none of that "Greek life" thing going on. This doesn't mean students don't party and drink, of course they do, but I'd say that there's a lot less mingling with the broader student body and definitely a lot less living together in close quarters.
  19. Everything is political. The choice to "not bring politics into it" is a political choice. You can watch the popular, aforementioned Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras but you'll find that the message they send is not the message you're thinking of. This piece of fiction has done more to make people think about modern society and the place of young girls in it than the combined 17 seasons of those two shows. Because it's art, and it's well-told, and it's challenging.
  20. Also watched Netflix's Cuties, directed by French-Senagalese director Maïmouna Doucouré, due to all the controversy when Netflix put out some misrepresentative marketing material. It's actually a very good film about young girls coming of age in this modern world of TikTok and Instagram, influencers and twerking, and the contradictions buried in it. The girls do twerk in several sequenecs, but two key ones are decidely and deliberately uncomfortable viewing experiences, making us think about what young children are being exposed to and the messages mass media, social media, and consumer culture is sending to them. It also has, as an integral part of the plot, the tensions in an immigrant Muslim household over the patriarch taking on a new wife, and the effects that that has on the young lead character, Aminata (Amy). I was sold by the film about 15 minutes in The outrage over the film is just absurd. Bunch of nitwits.
  21. My guess: highly dubious of it going further than Dune part 2. It will underperform Paramount's expectations and Villeneuve will want to move on, and both parties can save face by citing the bad start with the pandemic. Pretty clear already that the TV side of the franchising has become a mess with the showrunner (and co-writer of the film) stepping down, and I suspect that, too, will limp along for two or three seasons before HBO Max cuts it. The fact that the 2nd part wasn't filmed as part of the production, and that it isn't even formally announced, shows Paramount was being cautious about it even before the pandemic. Even more reason to be cautious now. We'll see how things shape up next year.
  22. I've watched it thanks to the controversy. It's sensitive and affecting. It's complicated. It's about the empowerment of young girls while it's also about the dangers about what that can mean in the world we live in now, where the message about what empowerment means swings wildly between overtly sexualized imagery (think about the celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton whose claims to fame include, among other things, sex tapes, or the recent phenomenon of OnlyFans) and judgmental, patrionizing efforts to encourage "modesty" and conformity. It's a particular combination of Anglo-American pedophilia hysterics combined with a lack of sophsticated discernment that causes this controversy. This film very much merits the positive critical reception, such as the Vulture review linked above. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence who looks at the film as a whole artistic work rather than focuses on single scenes taken out of context will understand that the film is concretizing the complicated extremes of the world girls and young women live in today. Netflix screwed up with that poster, absolutely, but the film itself is nothing like what the poster might intimate. These 11-12 year old actresses are twerking, yes, but the film underscores that they very clearly have no real understanding of sexuality, that it's all mimicry and going through the motions in an awkward simulation of being "sexy" becuse that's what they're bombarded with on TikTok and Instagram and whatever else they're looking at. (Decided to watch it after a top thread on Reddit featured a recently-popular Youtuber named Wubby going on about the film negatively. This is the same guy who let his Patreon sponsors get him to drive around in a vinyl-wrapped car featuring hypersexualized anime "waifu" characters in lewd poses. The video of his getting the car wrapped was actually kind of funny in an absurd way, but it is really rich of him, of all people, to be the banner-bearer for Reddit dullard outrage about a movie they haven't seen and don't understand. I suspect there's a strong congruence between people outraged about this online and incel culture.)
  23. I've watched this and that since the last time I've posted here. Prompted to write about the most recent thing I watched, today in fact, but will do a quick rundown of some of the stuff: Finished Curb Your Enthusiasm after stalling for awhile mid-7th season (which was silly, in retrospect, because that was just as the big Seinfeld reunion was going to kick off, particularly "The Table Read" episode with Michael Richards having ... issues with Leon after Larry gets Leon to pretend he's someone else). The 8th season was pretty good, the 9th season with Fatwa! The Musical was even better, and this latest season's running gag about the "spite coffee shop" over Larry's feud with Mocha Joe was great, especially as other celebrities picked up the idea and started their own spite stores. Jon Hamm was especially good playing himself shadowing Larry to learn his mannerisms for a role, and doing it all too well. Watched the first three episode of Lovecraft Country, enjoyed it so far, but it seems less ambitious than I expected. Also watched a few episodes of Brave New World, and enjoyed it so far, although it's slighter than the source material (much less philosophical, so far). Harry Lloyd and Jessica Brown Findlay are good in it. Got back on the Miyazaki/Ghibli watch. Saw The Wind Rises, which is an interesting mash-up of a Japanese novel and a biography of the designer of the Zero fighter plane. The idea of flying, and the image of wind blowing through experiences, are really strong with Miyazaki. I don't think this is a top film of his, it was a bit episodic, but there were some powerful moments and gorgeous images. Then saw Ponyo, which I thought would be too kiddie, but... nope, it was a wonderfully imaginative, very loose retelling/homage of H.C. Andersen's "The Little Mermaid". And then the Ghibli film Arietty, based on The Borrowers series of children's books (which I've never read), and that was also lovely. The animation is so good. (Interestingly, just read that Don Bluth is starting up a company to try and revive traditional handdrawn animation in the U.S. I wish him well!) Watched Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the Mr. Rogers documentary, and got teary eyed here and there. He was a living saint. The moment that François Clemmons (who played Officer Clemmons) recounted the moment when he realized that Rogers -- a conservative, white, straight ordained minister -- loved him and care about him -- a liberal, black homosexual -- and that he loved Rogers in return was especially touching. Watched Scorsese's Rolling Thunder Revue documentary about Bob Dylan, which has a fictional aspect to it when it's presented as using restored footage by a European director who was following the tour around, and features interviews with the director... but said director is actually an actor, presenting a fictionalized take on the events, and at no point does the documentary acknowledge this (ditto with an appearance of former congressman Jack Tanner, from the Tanner '88 mockumentary created by Garry Trudeau and directed by Robert Altman). So... yeah, some meta stuff. It captures the weirdness of that particular slice of the era pretty well. Watched Charlie Kaufmann's I'm Thinking of Ending Things. A very Kaufmann experience, to say the least. I figured out what was going on, to a degree, part way through, and thought it was a pretty bold approach at telling the kind of story it told. Jessie Buckley was fantastic, particularly Watched the first three episodes of Chef's Table: BBQ, made me hungry for meat, and more meat! First episode especially good, as the 83-year-old Tootsie Tomanetz who's the pitmaster at the famous Snow's BBQ in Texas is quite the character, and has gone through a lot of tragedy in her life but has weathered it and carried on. And the film I watched today for the first time, the 1947 British psychodrama Black Narcissus, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, based on the novel of the same name. The Technicolor imagery is sometimes amazingly lush and gorgeous, and the performances -- melodramatic though they are, stylized though they are -- really convey the passions and turmoils of the characters. Yes, it suffers the sins of Western colonial superiority and Orientalism, undoubtedly, treating the exotic locale (an Indian territory in the Himalayas, although in fact all shot in the UK, including on the grounds of an estate belonging to a former Indian officer who had planted Indian trees and flowers) as something that causes temptation and a loss of discipline.... but man, the performances. Deborah Kerr is good, David Farrar as well, but the standout is Kathleen Byron, who dominates the final quarter of the film. (In brief, the story is that a group of Anglican nuns take up residence in a remote, abandoned palace given to them by the local warlord, whose liason to them is a British adventurer who insights confused feelings in some of the nuns, with a subplot regarding the warlord's son and a flirtatious, troublesome peasant girl. It's greater than it might sound, and well-recommended.) Powell and Pressburger followed up with the gorgeous, glorious The Red Shoes (bringing us back, somehow, to H.C. Andersen...). They had a technical mastery of framing and lighting that was top-flight for the era. Scorsese cites Black Narcissus as an inspiration for the very tight close-ups he's used in some of his films.
  24. Thought this was a fun CK3 story -- guy made it his goal to eat the pope, and succeeded. Got a bad belly ache for his trouble.
  25. Who spoke of 3090s? The specs of the Xbox X put it roughly around the GTX 2080 Super. The GTX 3070 is a bit superior, depending on the game, but the teraflops that Nvidia claims for it are a little bit misleading (since it assumes all CUDA cores are being used for floating point operations when in fact as many as half may be doing integer work). As to "more mature hardware", I don't know, it's built on the AMD RDNA2 platform which hasn't even been released to consumers and won't even have a public reveal until late October. I don't think that's right. As I recall, RTX IO is supposed to bring 100x the performance of current tech ... but the next-gen consoles are using the new tech from launch. They should be fairly comparable. And bear in mind, Microsoft is planning to release a developer preview of DirectStorage for Windows 10 next year, whereas the PS5 and Xbox X are coming now. Like, Ratchet and Clank is not going to be a game that you will be able to play on a PC if they release it for PC this year, IMO. $1000 would be a minimum. $100 motherboard, $200 NVMe, $500 ($350 if you want to go down to GTX 3060 pricing) GPU, $300 CPU (Ryzen 7 3700X, which seems to match the specs most closely), plus a PSU and case. And I think you may need a more expensive mother board to have a PCIe 4.0 slot/m.2 for the SSD as well as one for the GPU. They get the prices down in a way no PC manufacturer can, hence you have to wait for price parity. True, but if you're not playing bleeding edge then you won't really notice.
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