Five Last Flicks we watched

The Dead (2005)The Dead (2010) poster
This infamous little film would have completely missed my attention, had it not been for a list of interesting zombie flicks I found online, that previously made me finally watch Romero’s Dawn of the Dead from 1978. This movie probably suffers from a little hindsight. Today we have AMC’s Walking Dead series which caters to all our zombie-lovin’ needs. But this flick predates the TV Show by five years! Still, it can be summarized as one man’s Walking Dead in Africa. Sounds interesting!
The movie features Rob Freeman as an American aid worker trying to get out of Africa, that has been struck by a zombie outbreak. Like the Walking Dead, these are slow-walking zombies, but there are quite enough of them to get the upper hand and kill you. Even in the African wilderness. I don’t know how this movie has not been seen by everyone, since it really is cool. It suffers a little in production, but the interesting locations and setup will soon have you forget that, as you experience the African night during a zombie apocalypse. This movie is naturalistic and realistic, and thus have some unsettling gory scenes, so ye squeamish be warned.

We’re the Millers (2013)We're the Millers (2010) poster
This comedy was recommended in one of the podcasts I listen to irregularly, and since I’m always on the lookout for a good comedy, I decided to give it a chance. Having watched some 40% of the film and LOL’ed quite a few times, I decided to stop it, and watch it from the beginning with Lady C. You know you’ve found one-to-watch when you want to share it with others. The plot here is pretty simple: drug dealer owes money to his boss and as a payment accepts getting a smidge of marijuana across the Mexican border into the US. The lead, played by Jason Sudeikis, gets the idea to disguise himself as a family father, hiring a neighbour, a homeless girl and a stripper as his family members. Hilarity ensues!
This movie is actually very funny! I was fearing it would be another Ben Stilleresque disappointment, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Elysium (2013Elysium poster
Look at the poster of this flick. It looks like Hollywood crap, doesn’t it? Matt Damon is distressed, and there’s something interesting going on behind him. Meh. At least that’s what I thought until I finally watched this movie, with very, very low expectations. It’s a Neill Blomkamp film, of District 9 fame, who also made the brilliant but infamous Europa Report (link to review). Unlike Europa Report, Elysium is a return to the subject matter of Apartheid, but with a classical sci-fi twist. This is more like the original science fiction movies where a political or ideological idea was blown up in a counterfactual world, and thus falls right into the collections of sci-fi lovers like me. Sharlto Copley makes a good villain but Matt Damon is sort of just Jason Bourne. Again. I’m giving it a 5/10 for good entertainment value.

Sound of my Voice (2011)Sound of my voice (poster)
This creepy flick is about two documentary filmmakers attempting to penetrate a cult who worships a woman with an extraordinary claim. It’s a very intimately told story of losing one’s mind, and the thrill of following the undercover filmmakers draws you into their struggle for sanity. I have long read about cults from ex-members and the truth is that cults don’t feed on the ignorant, but normal people like you and me who are overpowered mentally by behavioral manipulation, suggestive logic and beliefs and convincing coincidences. I watched this together with Lady C, and I have to warn you it’s not a good dating movie. It is, however, executed with great care to draw you in, but leaves you with questions and a creepy feeling of wanting more.

Knights of Badassdom (2013)Movie poster
This movie almost wasn’t finished and published, but they pulled it through and managed to create an honorable salute to nerds of all nations! If you’ve ever played roleplaying game or are indeed a LARP’er, you definitely should check this movie out. It’s a funny comedy that plays on the tangents of old slasher-style horror movies, but done in the milieu of medieval RPG loving nerds. The blurb: Live-action role players conjure up a demon from Hell by mistake and they must deal with the consequences. Starring Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn and Summer Glau along with a great cast of nerd-loving actors, you’re in for a treat. But this flick comes with a huge caveat. While I’d want to recommend it to everyone since just for it’s awesome title, I don’t really think it’s a movie for everyone. It’s not self-important, rather very lighthearted, but it might be a bit too heavy on RPG related references for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve ever played Warhammer or D&D pen and paper, or gone LARP’ing, today or in your younger years, be sure to check it out though!

“My Summer Car” Finnish Game Trailer

I just wanted to share this extremely realistic Finnish driving simulator, My Summer Car, as narrated by its Finnish creator. This really brings me back memories from my youth, even though I never got around to buying my own car, and I wasn’t in that exhaust smelling gangs myself. But driving aimlessly around in the dark woods is something I did a lot all around the year.

See the awesome website @ johannesrojola.com/msc/

Mock trailer for THE PUNISHER

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of comics. I more or less subscribed to The Phantom and, as I got older, Spawn. But I sometimes would look into other comics, like Judge Dredd and The Punisher and I always enjoyed them.

This mock trailer for The Punisher, called Dirty Laundry, is an ode to Frank Castle. It’s directed by Phil Joanou, written by Chad St. John and produced by Adi Shankar. Enjoy!

HOWTO: Use polytonic Greek in Slackware

I’ve been using polytonic Greek in a few of my earlier essays at the University, mostly to either correctly determine which term of Aristotle’s I’m hinting at, but also in relation to modern German philosophy (both Hegel and Heidegger refer to Platon and Aristoteles for instance). I set this up on my laptop that’s running Fedora core 17, but I forgot how I did it.

Consequently, I haven’t dared to update it, from the Fear of Fedora upgrades as well as losing my ability to write polytonically (not even sure if that’s a word).

Here’s how I set it up on my Slackware 14.1 x86_64 installation that runs Xfce & i3 DE:
# Check that you have the keymap you want installed already:
$ ls /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386/qwerty/

# I want to use 'no' (Norwegian) and 'gr' with the polytonic variant
# the variants are listed inside the keymap. To confirm, you can do:
$ less /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/i386/qwerty/gr.map.gz

# The command to activate the changed layout settings that switches
# between 'no' and 'gr' with polytonic variant using Left Alt+Left Shift:
$ setxkbmap -option grp:alt_shift_toggle no,gr -variant ',polytonic' -display 0:0

# Confirm current settings:
$ setxkbmap -query

# Optional: install font (download below)
su -c 'cp newathu405.ttf /usr/share/fonts/TTF/'

You might also need a capable font, like this one, but I like Times New Roman.
That was it, really! I can now swap back and forth between the two as easily as I could on my Fedora box!

When it just hits that spot

There’s a small airline company in Norway running mostly local hikes with small passenger planes and mail. I took this photo embarking the northern postal route. Anyway, their latest commercial has a soundtrack that won’t leave you alone:

So this is Daughter and the song is called Youth. It’s "buildup" music, kinda chick-rock, and not usually what I listen to (nor does it have anything to do with the picture..). However, the way the commercial was executed was almost poetic. You can watch the Widerøe ad here! The kid’s just asking «One more time, just one more time!». Some songs just hit it exactly right. Here’s the theme song for Broen (the Bridge) which is another good example.

Five Last Flicks we watched

Here are the last five flicks I watched, usually accompanied by Lady C. I have tried to avoid any spoilers in this article, but feel free to harass me in the comments.

Dawn of the dead (1978)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)I found a list of the top 30 zombie movies of all time, most of which I had already seen, when I realized I had never seen the original Dawn of the Dead by Romero. I immediately got a hold of it and convinced Lady C to see it with me. This movie still holds its own, and I must admit it is way better than the 2004 remake (with faster zombies). This flick is a mixture between serious zombie survival and humorous slasher film. Since its production in the late 70s, some of the social caricature roles in cinema have changed, so it took a while before we understood that e.g. Roger’s character was more renegade than goofy and stuff like that. But the movie had a nice pace, with many intriguing scenes and the more speculative questions we ask ourselves facing this end-of-the-world hypothesis. We really enjoyed it!

Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited AwayThis flick has been on my to-do list for quite a while, ever since an anonymous /. user shared his opinion that Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi was the most beautiful film he had ever seen. Lady C was skeptical even though I seem to recall that we both enjoyed Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989). With a running time of 125 minutes it may be a bit much when you’re not already into anime, but Spirited Away turned out to be a great, fantastical experience which can be enjoyed by anyone with an imagination. The movie contains some of the most well-known anime creatures, that are really expressions of human desires, longings and quirks. The road this movie takes is also unpredictable and keeps you guessing for what’s next, in a good way. Put this movie on your list!

Godzilla (2014)
Godzilla (2014)There hasn’t been a good monumental monster movie since the creature of Cloverfield upped the game in 2008. In this sense, Godzilla really delivers! And to be sure, it also erases our shameful memories of the embarrassing flick from 1998 that everyone wanted to like but didn’t. With these other two in mind, how does the new Godzilla fare?
First of all, this movie harkens back to the good old days of Gojira lore. Not only does it establish a convincing background story, but the characters, the plot development, the music and some of the scenes really pay tribute to the old Godzilla movies which featured (a man in a costume as) the enormous, towering creature that was worthy the title of god-like. Second, I think it ties in with Cloverfield without actually claiming to do so. This alone should make your monster boner tingle.
There are some weak points to the flick though. The humanization of Godzilla goes a bit too far. We must not forget, that to Godzilla (and also the Cloverfield creature) we can be no more than ants. This is also what the film says, but not what it does. In addition, I’m not convinced that the choice of having a non-VIP main character follow the first hand experience was a good one. The Godzilla event was global so there is no reason why the movie could not have followed the creature from the perspectives of several characters. Finally, Bryan Cranston’s predictions don’t seem justified, but the jury is still out on this one, while we wait for a director’s cut.

Europa Report (2013)
Europe ReportI suspect this movie fell in the shadow of Hollywood’s Elysium. At least I hadn’t heard of it at all before someone mentioned it on a forum post of interesting sci-fi movies. This film follows the private space mission to Europa, which is funded by a live television broadcast from the ship back to Earth. (This is actually a real possibility for the Mars One colonization project.) You have to pay attention to the film, because it follows a non-linear storytelling; but it follows it through successfully and it makes for an exciting ride and keeps you involved in the plot. This movie may give the impression of being low-budget. I could only recognize Sharlto Copley (lead character in District 9). But that only speaks volumes for its successful execution! I recommend this to anyone looking for a Sci-fi adventure. This movie has character and harkens back to some of the classic sci-fi of the 1970s and 80s, but is modern and provides an interesting piecemeal storytelling which adds to the experience. Great flick!

Spring Breakers (2012)
Spring BreakersIf you bought this movie thinking it would provide tits and college humor, you’re going to be disappointed. This was another accidental find for me, I can’t even remember why I watched it originally. Perhaps I was looking for tits and college humor. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. But compared to my non-expectations this was a breath of fresh air! This movie reminds me somewhat of the 1998 Hurlyburly feat. Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey, in terms of atmosphere and feel. It is as sexual as it is cynical, but underlying the entire movie is an existential depression which expression comes forth in the four girls’ spring break break with society. This movie has gotten a bad rep, for reasons unknown to me. If you’re into exploitation and decadent films, this is a new item for your collection. It is a ride of moral relativism and could easily be mistaken as politically incorrect; but I find it an interesting comment on society instead, though to a somewhat more implicit extent than Hurlyburly.