A Scanner Darkly
Boring is all I have to say. It had an interesting art style, that admittedly made me nauseous at first, but other then that there wasn't much to it. The paranoia, surveillance and other social themes weren't really built on all that well, and nothing really happened in the movie until the last 20 minutes. All of a sudden the film gets interesting, things are haphazardly explained and then the movie is done. Great. I don't usually mind Linklater's plodding films, but for me this one could really have benefited from a more focused story. I'm not sure if it was the same in the original novel, but at this point I don't really feel the need to check it out. On the positive side, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, two actors I usually loathe did really well in the film.
A classic in the genre, hailed by almost everywhere, and yet I really didn't dig it. Much like SD, it was just too slow. I don't mind atmospheric horror movies (The Haunting), overly gory horror films (Demons) or style over substance horror films (any Argento film) but oddly enough even though this film contained little bits of all of those, none of it added up to make a particularly compelling film. It was far too slow, without any real tension to justify it, the gore was great, but too far between, and it seemed like it was really going for a kind of hazy, dream/nightmare like, kind of vibe, but I just didn't feel it. The sad thing is I enjoyed the knock off, and infinitely shittier Zombie Holocaust far more. At the very least that one was unintentionally hilarious and over the top.
The Joe Schmo Show
This show was on TV some years back, I think 6 or 7, but I've never forgotten it. It's a 'reality' show, about a group of strangers living in a mansion on a show called' Lap of Luxury' where they compete in random tasks and challenges to win $100,000. Except, everyone minus one guy is an actor. And behind the scenes there's a crew of writers and producers doing their best to script a show around the 'Schmo's' actions. So the show plays into all the usual retarded reality show conventions (ridiculous challenges, stereotypical characters, in fighting) but in an over the top and hilarious way, while all the while staying relatively grounded so as to keep the main guy, the 'Schmo', fooled. Not only is it a damned funny show, but it's also surprisingly touching, and has a ton of great twists along the way.
World War Z
Ok, into the books. I read about half of this a couple months back and got really bored. It's well written, and I love zombies, but 'an after the fact' type of book sure has a hard time creating, let alone maintaining any tension. Anyways, I'm back into it now and I love it. Either the book gets better as it goes along, or I'm more in the mood for it. Sadly, I wish there more films out there like this novel. Sure there are plenty of zombie films, but not containing world wide, country wide, or even usually city wide attacks/infestations. And much like with war, my interest is in the rebuilding, the after effects, and the detriment that the situation has had on everyday living. We have movies with gore, and fighting and 'scares', but it's always so closed off (in one little shed or house) and it's always fairly shallow. I'm glad they're making a film of the book, but I really hope they're able to do the large scale battles, destruction and human drama correctly. Otherwise I'm gonna be pissed.
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
So very awesome. My interest in African history continues and this was a book I purchased to help me with my Poli Sci paper, and I'm still enjoying it beyond that. It's a memoir/history lesson, and while the memoir part is less interesting to a degree (a son discovers his families hidden secrets...yeah I know that makes it sound thrilling) it's still a fantastic book. It's basically a detailed account of Zimbabwe from about the 60s up until recently. The author is a journalist who's family lives in Zim and so he describes first hand knowledge and facts regarding the history and current climate, and the book also contains interviews with other inhabitants, both black and white. It's basically a 'this is why Zimbabwe is fucked, and here's what's happening now' kind of book. I've also got about a dozen more history books lined up for after this one.