Archive for March 3rd, 2011

Monsters – 2010

Director: Gareth Edwards
Starting: Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy

If you had told me that this movie had been filmed by seven people in a van, I would not have believed it. Scuttlebutt says that there was no set script, that all the extras were people they found on location and that all the special effects were created by the director using some off the shelf software.

The story is simple. Six years after a probe carrying alien organisms has crashed in mexico (making the area at the USA border the “infected zone”), a poor schlub of a photo journalist is ordered by his boss to escort the media moguls daughter home before the migration of the aliens makes that impossible for months.

There are the usual trials and tribulations. The daughter is not a spoiled princess. The photo journalist is not a smug self-righteous bastard. Both of them are relatively nice people, normal people. And that is established pretty early. It’s refreshing.

There is nothing startling or monumental about the movie. We learn about the monsters and how society has adjusted as they travel. Overall it is a really enjoyable hour and a half. I would highly recommend it. There are a few scary “monster in the dark” moments and some corpses and death, but the story is more focused on the two people and how their journey effects them than making the audience jump.

Ever Since the World Ended – 2001

Director: Calum and Josh

Staring: Ensemble cast (with Adam Savage from Mythbusters being the only person I recognized)

Shot as a documentary cobbled together by two friends twelve years after a pandemic has nearly exterminated the human race.

It takes place in San Francisco, where only 186 people remain. It is shot in pure documentary style with lots and lots of talking heads. Like Monsters, Ever Since the World Ended is less about the disaster then about how people have coped with what happened.

There are some interesting moments. A man and woman bargaining over getting her pregnant in the presence of her friends over dinner. a community gathering arguing over how to deal with the return of a disruptive element.

Mostly, I felt that the movie was too dry. There was an entire “journey” sequence that seemed only to serve the purpose of proving how dangerous things were. I did not feel that much emotional attachment to the people. Perhaps it was the documentary style of the movie and I think it has a lot of good concepts, but ultimately it left me cold.

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Itanya Blade

I think tonight I will talk about Itanya Blade.

When I was in high school, I was not really into fantasy stuff that much, certainly not for role playing. My closest friend Pat and I had created an entire science fiction universe that we played in. When other teenagers stayed up all night talking about boys, but we stayed up role playing. I had an odd life.

But when I went to college, I was exposed to more fantasy things.

I started with an image. A figure on a horse in silhouette looking down towards a castle. And out of that I created Itanya and her brother, Altair.

Now I know that much of what Itanya was at the start is pure sue. Without a good background in what a good character looked like, though, I already had some understanding. When I started writing her, I constantly emphasized that she was not overly pretty.

Still, as a half-elf and half-demon, Itanya was pretty damn sueish. There were two magical swords. Her brother was a warlock king and her father a demon prince. She was angsty and misunderstood. Many bad things happened to her. She was so powerful and yet she didn’t do much. To this day, I cringe at some of the things i stuffed into those first few years of stories and eventual role play.

Still, the core of the character was carried around from venue to venue. I still adore the character, but after twenty years, Itanya is no longer the angsty teenager she was once upon a time.

Her basic background remains the same. I still think there is something I can make of her.

When I left her last time, she had finally been reunited with her estranged husband, Razoras. She was carrying his child. She had been defeated in a war (because she would not put her all into the fight). I posted a story from this period a few weeks back. I really like that thread because it showed how things had changed. But that community died and with it, I left behind Itanya and the world I had constructed with those people.

But I like the character. I have toyed with trying to construct a novel around her. But I cannot imagine that it would be as good of a novel as I would like. It is hard to make such a powerful character a main character in a novel. She’s powerful and imposing. So, I am not sure what I will do.

The world that she exists in, however, retains potential. I love world building. I am going to talk about some of those settings nex

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Life Update

I’ve been pondering a lot of things lately. I won’t say that I have been in the best of moods. Work is extremely stressful. I am trying to not screw things up and balancing a ton of things. I feel like I am failing at everything. I am not, mind you, but I feel the stress and being constantly tired makes things feel very uneven.

I don’t want that to be the focus of this post. I just live a lot in my own head at times. I am fighting the urge to log into Rift, fighting the fear that I will be left behind, that I will miss something. That tomorrow I will log on and all the connections I have made will vanish.

Meh, most of it is tired crazy talk. I am really tired and stressed. That will make people be stupid. It makes me very stupid.

This will be my second night not in Rift. I need to make time to write. So, I am writing easy stuff first. Journal entries, little pieces like this. I need to remember how to write. I need the practice and, I fear… well I fear a lot of stupid things I would rather not talk about. I already feel like I am walking the thin line towards crazy.

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