Tuesday, February 28, 2006

... hostel

oh my goodness. i sometimes wonder (usually about halfway through the movie, which is way too late, because by then i'm in the movie and i need to have it finished) whether being desensitised to screen horror is a good thing or not. it's good in a way - i'm not shocked or disturbed by the news anymore - and it also means i can decide if a story is worth seeing and hearing, on its own merits and depiction aside.

hostel is like that. i loved eli roth's film cabin fever (so much i bought it at video ezy on the way to the cinema) and i was interested to see what he did with this one. like the aristocrats, i had heard a lot of bad stuff about this movie. the depiction of violence i didn't find as stomach-turning as a lot of other people might, and i think this is because hostel is incredibly similar to a number of short stories by authors like clive barker and christopher fowler. clive barker's "in the hills, the cities" had an element of surreal horror to it that hostel borrows heavily, that of people familiar to the audience who are lost in a foreign country at the mercy of the citizenry of that place. there is also an inevitability about the story that reminds one of christopher fowler's short story about a man who, returning to his car in a parking garage, cannot escape the unseen horrors driving him towards his own death.

hostel has no surprises, except in the techniques of gore used in its torture set pieces, and the acting is adequate for the story. note roth in a cameo at the beginning of the movie (would've been nice to see him on the butcher's trolley near the end!) and the ugly american character that pax runs into in the change rooms is a similar character who pays to get on the doomed bus in the day after tomorrow, played by the same actor (whose name escapes me).

two and a half stars from me. not as good as cabin fever, and my greatest regret in seeing this film was missing the preview of the one new film that showed in the trailers. v for vendetta (even though it is based on comic book, i think) looks like it will be quite good, the little i saw of it. the question is, given the smorgasbord of human terrors available to us, why do we need remakes of the hills have eyes and when a stranger calls?

Monday, February 27, 2006

... risk sucks

although i went to mars hill cafe on friday night after work, i didn't read any poetry. on the last friday of the month, mars hill hosts what they call "one word", which is basically a poetry and spoken word open mic night. this month they tried something a little different with a couple of guest artists to open the night, "the rooks", a brother-sister rap duo from cabramatta, and "bravo charlie" (i think that was his name), a slam poet and freestyler who won the latest poetry slam competition run by the state library. they were both pretty good. some people got up afterwards to read their own stuff, along with a stand-up comedian (i think) who worked through some pretty good material. a big thanks to the psychology students who helped me with the magical moving bus stops on route 545.

the headline for this post, however, stems from my foolish agreement to play risk on saturday night. i had a great time and was in great company, and i'm looking forward to the next time we play boardgames, but my curse in risk has not changed. i drew a mission that i had almost no hope of achieving, and was hounded to extinction by my hostess, who had drawn "destroy all green forces" (my colour). to be fair, she was sitting two people away from me, and not actually NEXT to me (the usual position of my risk-nemesis). i hate this game. thankfully, the consensus seems to be monopoly for next time... i have a fighting chance there...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

... happy birthday

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday... whoever you might be who has a birthday on february 23...

happy birthday to you!


Monday, February 20, 2006

... weddings, parties, anything

i'm a hopeless romantic. i'll admit it. i am. (most would agree i'm hopeless, at any rate!) but the closer you get to the nitty gritty of a thing, the harder it is to feel romantic about it, i think.

i was proud and very privileged to have been a part of anthony and taminda's wedding on saturday just gone. right now (hopefully) they are honeymooning without care somewhere in the wide-open yonder, while the rest of us who were at the wedding have returned to our day-to-day existences. i was the third man in the groomsmen, and anthony and taminda asked me to be m.c. at their reception. i thought about it for a while before i said yes. i think i'd do that again if i were asked again.

i was surprised a bit at how much pressure i felt as i performed my duties. when i was a groomsman for my friend andrew and fiona, i didn't have a great deal to do. wear the suit, make sure my shirt was tucked in, smile for the photos... that was about it. yep. that was about it.

being the m.c. meant i had a few more things to think about. i not exactly reknowned anymore for my punctuality (back in the bad old days i was five minutes early for almost everything), so i was rather keen to outdo myself in sticking to the timetable... but while i thought at the time i was running late, so was the bar staff, and when the first toast was ready to be raised, the grapetise fizzy grape juice we were to be drinking hadn't yet made it to all the tables. other items included, in no particular order:
  • i didn't realise the cake-cutting knife was already on the table...
  • i was thanked when i didn't expect to be...
  • a speech was made when i'd been told it wasn't going to be...
so here's a note to anyone who might ever ask me to m.c. for them:

i'd love to. but don't be surprised if i stress about it, because i want your day to be perfect. because i'm a hopeless romantic. and just plain hopeless.

... busy week

last week was a very busy week at work. anyone who knows me knows that i almost always say that work is busy, whether or not it empirically is... i think it's because i take on board a lot of stress (validly or not) while i'm at work.

it was also busy because i had actually to go to wauchope for a wedding, which meant that i had friday off work. i left work promptly just before 6pm to catch the train to central, thence to gosford, for a lift with a friend to wauchope, whence we arrived at 11:45pm.

altogether a particularly long day, given that i was up at about 5:50 that morning.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

... short story

found this cool short story by matthew reilly off his website (read about it on his website but had to google it to find it).

check this out... i hope it works!