Robert Wm. Gomez's

The Maltese Falcon (9/10)

Although the plot seems to bounce around from time to time, this is about as hardboiled as hardboiled detective films get. It's filled with tough guy attitude that you can't really pull off in films these days without some crappy slow-motion explosion/CGI camera spin/sunglasses removal/camera sneer shot.

Down Istanbul

This is my new favorite song of the moment! Download it here. Get the whole album here at Twilightzone's Blog, where, at the moment, there is a great series of rare 45's being posted under the moniker Trashcan Records. Fantastic stuff!

Update: Drop.io is dead, as is my link to the song. Sorry.

District 9 (8/10)

A good well-paced sci-fi action movie. Didn't quite live up to the the hype and is mostly noteworthy because of the South African setting and gritty documentary style. In hindsight, it's just a rehash of movies like Enemy Mine  or even Dances With Wolves.

Dummy Image Bookmarklet

This afternoon I came up with a handy little bookmarklet (or favlet) that uses the site dummyimage.com to create a place holder graphic. Simply drag the following link to the button bar of your browser:

Dummy Image

When you click the bookmark it will prompt you to input image dimensions. Use the format, WIDTHxHEIGHT (for example 640x480) and a new window should open up with a downloadable GIF with those exact dimensions.

Copyright and YouTube

I just noticed today that a video I had posted in YouTube was just blocked in the U.S. because of some music I used in the background. Specifically, they blocked my PC Transporter video that I used to demo some hardware I was selling on eBay. The video is pretty mundane, but I used a Señor Coconut track in the background along with various beeps and noises from the Apple ][gs. Come on, who is going to download the song with all sorts of disk drive noises on top of it?

Black Dynamite (8/10)

This is not so much a parody as a straight-up recreation of a low budget 70s black exploitation film. The humor comes from the exaggeration of the style and it spares us (for the most part) from the Scary Movie-style moments of obvious jokes.

Zonbi Jieitai (4/10)

No-budget Japanese zombie movie with a dumb story a few good gore shots and lots of horrible iMovie-quality digital effects. I guess it's played for humor, but there aren't really any truly funny moments.

Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest (7/10)

The French comic upon which the movie was based. Stunning 60's stylized artwork, but the story is just a series of bland sci-fi episodes with a little titillation thrown in here and there.

Aliens Omnibus by Various Authors (4/10)

This is a collection of the Aliens comics that were released by Dark Horse in the late eighties. These came out before the awful Alien 3 went and killed all the characters we loved from Aliens. The plot picks up shortly after Aliens with characters returning to LV-426 to explore the crashed alien ship. I think I would have preferred it if the later movies took this direction, but the comics are just poorly written fanboy garbage for the most part. They try to be deep and end up just being a confusing mess of clichés and movie re-quotes.

Giallo (8/10)

Giallo isn't quite the return to form I wanted from Dario Argento, but it's a much better movie than the majority of his post-Opera films (I still think The Stendhal Syndrome and the Masters of Horror episode Jenifer are much better). Gone is the visual style that really was what made Argento's best movies so great. Instead, we have a good Italian-style thriller with the usual graphic violence, bad acting and plot holes. Generally, this is enough for me, but I always want more from Argento.

Video Games Are Derivative? No!! Okay, yes.

Ya know, I love me them video games. I would go so far as to argue that video games are, well... can be, art. However, I have to admit that even the best video games are a bit lacking in the originality department. Take, for example, this screen shot from Yahoo showing three upcoming games:

Video games are derivative.

Stubble-faced muscle men abound in the video game world.

Klonoa on Nintendo Wii (8/10)

This was a cartoony and fun side-scrolling platformer with nice2.5-D graphics. A bit easy and lacking the exploration and precise control of a Mario game, but enjoyable and worth playing through especially for the unexpected ending.

Une vieille maîtresse (6/10)

A somewhat miscast French costume drama based on a 19th Century erotic novel. The male lead is played by a creepy man-boy / Macaulay Culkin look-a-like who is like a kid playing dress-up in his ill-fitting costumes. Asia Argento is good as usual, but I don't think tattoos were that common among Parisian society women at that time.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (8/10)

A bit of speculative fiction showing how the world would deal with a zombie apocalypse. The book is written as a collection short vignettes, each told by a different character. Overall, it was an interesting read, but I would have preferred a bit more of a continuing narrative structure to keep me turning pages. Although, thankfully, it avoids the "the real monster is us humans" zombie fiction clichés.