The Fountain

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
My blood feeds the loam
My arms will scratch the heavens
The road to awe waits

So I finally got to watch Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain. It's one of the films I'd missed at the cinema and after seeing a half-assed film transfer on my dinky TV screen, I really wish I hadn't. Seeing the cg matte paintings of Xibabla from fourth row center would've been a kick. Hopefully, I can still find the graphic novel somewhere, and when that original DVD goes on sale... *crosses fingers*

The movie's a little warped gem of storytelling. Like a Tarantino film, it's got that demented kind of retrograde continuity that starts at the end of the middle, jumps back to the beginning of the start, and ends at the end of the end. It sounds confusing and it is.

It's one of those movies where you've sat through the first reel and you go, "what the fuck is going on?" But if you're patient and have an attention span longer than a five year old on halloween, you should be able to pick up the plot without any problem. And it's only about an hour and a half, so you don't have that long to wait for a resolution.

Aronofsky constantly invites you to empathize with his characters, starting with close-ups of their faces, and pulling back so you see more and more of their world; it's a world of sad, majestic grace. His set peices are gorgeously produced, from Queen Isabel's chamber, filled with light, to Tommy's home in the future, next to a dying star, to the blank white palate of Izzie's grave. Every image, every word, every sound, touches a chord that sticks in your gut.

But, It's the kind of movie where suspension of disbelief is key; like Shaymalan's The Village, you won't be able to appreciate the complexities if you're nitpicking about the small stuff. And if you're thinking that this is a happy movie, forget it. Go see the Tagalog romance showing next door. This is a movie about death and rebirth and eternal life. This is the kind of deliciously depressing movie I love, with just enough hope at the end to keep you from throwing yourself in front of a bus.

Still if tomorrow a bus does slam into me, I'll be okay with it. Just bury me in a field, plant a seed on my grave and let me reach for heaven. Eventually we're all headed to the stars on the road to awe.

FCBD! Fan boys unite!

Yes! It's back. I haven't been to a Diamond's Free Comic Book Day since our beloved CCHQ went kaput back in college.

Comic Odyssey's gonna be hosting it this time. You can see what titles they've got lined up this year at the FCBD site. I'm not sure if they've got the same rules as CCHQ had (one comic for every purchase of so and so pesos) but it just gives me an excuse to start looking for all those graphic novels I need to get.

Hellboy, 300, The Fountain, V for Vendetta even, and a whole mess of new ones I saw at Fully Booked the other day. Thank god for the nightshift. I can beat all you losers there. Thank god for call centers. I can afford to buy stuff I don't need.

Geekout! Geekout!

--- Thanks to Mark Cerbo for the heads up.


Genre: Action & Adventure
"Go tell the Spartans, passerby
That by Spartan law, here we lie"

I don't cry when I watch outright dramas; tearjerkers don't really have the intended effect on me. I tend to observe them stoically, appreciating the effect they have on others, but never really being affected myself (I'm dead inside, I know).

The only time I ever get teary eyed at the cinema is when I watch the stuff where the big hero/heroine makes the big speech about heroism and sacrifice and an eternity celebrating in the halls of valhalla with the likes of Achilles, Oddysseus, and Schwarzenegger.

As Theodred mourns for his son among fields of Simbelmynë, I can't help but sob. Whenever Bill Pullman shouts "This is our Independence Day!" I get all misty. When Willam Hurt says "The world moves for love; it kneels before it in awe", I'm left speechless. I was tearing up when Samuel Jackson gave the whole "We are soooo gonna get out of here" speech in Deep Blue Sea.

Well, until the shark ate him of course.

So given this quirk, you can imagine how moving 300 was for me. If you put aside all the unabashed violence, alleged homo-eroticism, and hedonistic depravity of the bad guys, the story is all about sacrifice and heroism in the face of overwhelming odds. Leonidas takes on "a thousand nations of the Persian Empire", laughs in their faces and inspires his people to defeat the hordes and usher in an age of reason?

Dude, where do I fall in line?


Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Bathed in yellow warmth
Sins and flesh turn to ash
Sunshine burns my soul

I couldn't sleep again. My serotonin levels ebbing away and my frustration levels growing, I decided to see a movie again. It was either the questionable "The Reaping" or the new Danny Boyle flick "Sunshine". Unless you've a complete lack of observational powers, you know I chose to see the latter.

I loved the trailer to this movie, and I was afraid it was going to be a complete let down (which is usually the case when I like a trailer), but I'm glad to say that this one was worth the hundred forty. It's been a while since I saw any movie that could get me to actually hold my breath in anticipation of what would happen next.

The film is like a mess of 2001, 2046, and Contact, with maybe a little of ID4's popcorn heroism thrown in. It has a certain visual lyricism that made it hard for me to take my eyes off the screen; every shot evokes an emotion. It's not the showy, empty busyness of a Pitof film, just subtly dramatic photography that makes it hard to choose a favorite image.

The music is also something that really works well, striking chords that stir both hope and hopelessness within the same scene. I thought casting was pretty good too, with performances that didn't overshadow the idea of the story, which is really what good science fiction is really made of.

The only dissapointment I have with the movie is the choice to shift the tone of it towards the end. Rather than continuing on with the slow burning, constantly building anticipation, the authors decided to rip out a page from 28 Days Later and the movie starts looking like a new age zombie slasher. The ending itself is great, with another lovely image to bring home with you; it's just the falling action that really gets me.

Still. This is definitely one of my favorite movies now, right up there with Lord of the Rings, Princess Bride, Before Sunset, and Usual Suspects. It's just a near perfect example of what a movie of it's genre should be.


Genre: Action & Adventure
Rain falls on New York
A battle between brothers
rage over duty

While the artist in me knows the animation of this computer generated cartoon isn't the best, and the writer in me knows the screenplay is juvenille, and the cineaste in me knows the voice acting leaves something to be desired... The little geeky kid in me loves this movie like turtles love pizza.

It's got ninja turtles, ninja rats, hot ninja ladies, with lots of extra ninjas thrown in; 'cause you know, everything is better with ninjas. Plus, there's the ever-lovin' turtle van, a heavy metal vigilante tooling around on a motorcycle, four nasty bad guys that would look great as toys, rampaging monsters terrorizing the city, a swirling vortex of extra-dimensional destruction, and one little gremlin who really needs to switch to decaf. All it's missing is Ernie Reyes Jr. and Vanilla Ice!

Can I get a "Cowabunga"?

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