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Originally published at Eggwhite's Eggbox. You can comment here or there.

Stepping away from writing about my recent reading, I’m going to talk about some recent viewing .

Arrival .  Based on a short story by Ted Chiang (“The Story of Your Life”), this is a film built around the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis – which I’ll summarise as the idea that languages you learn shape the way you think and perceive the world.

The film focuses on a first-contact situation in which a number of alien vessels arrive on earth, and the efforts made by both us and the aliens to both understand and be understood.

Those efforts are made more complex by some differences in perception which are not apparent at the start of the film, but gradually become so as things progress.

Amy Adams does a fantastic job of portraying somebody who is struggling to understand and come to terms with grief, whilst also working to understand a literally  alien language… a written language which is changing her perception as she learns to understand it and use it to interact with those who use it as their sole meaningful medium of communication.

It’s a slow paced, cerebral science fiction film. Whilst is has aliens (two onscreen), gunfire and explosions (well… explosion), it’s about as far from Independence Day as it’s possible to get. If you go in expecting an action-fest, you’re not going to come out with that expectation fulfilled.

This film has a small but strong core cast (Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker) who all do a fantastic job of being who they’re meant to be, but it’s Adams who really shines in a role that needs to display a more complex emotional state than is immediately apparent at the start of the film.

It also has some well thought out production design.  The alien-ness interior of the extraterrestrial vessel is cleverly portrayed, and the way that the story moves between the vessel and the research camp built up around it helps keep things tight and a little claustrophobic whilst also injecting a bit of comprehension and decompression time into the film.

If you like smart, earth-based, first-contact SF then you should absolutely go and see this at your first opportunity. Avoid plot summaries. Hopefully my description above is vague enough to avoid being too spoiler heavy.

If I had to give a rating, I’d give this a full-on 10/10, with a note that I want to see it again to see how my perception changes.  I suspect I may find it rewarding.

the_eggwhite: (Default)
...but somehow it happened anyway.

Mighty fine film. It's not a comic I'm overly familiar with, but from what I do know, this is comic book conversion done just right.

As everybody probably already knows by now, you really need to stick through the credits.
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I've just watched the film mentioned above.

That was the best vampire film I've seen in ages. I quite liked the comics, but I actually think the film is better - it hangs together better and actually makes you care more about the characters than the comics did, even if some of them are still somewhat less than bright. I also really like the fact that it makes the vampires inhuman. They are very clearly not your tragic antihero types, your dangerously alluring types or your machiavellian schemers... these are predators every step of the way.

I'll be buying that on DVD, I think.
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Just watched Blade Runner: The Final Cut.

I am reminded of why Blade Runner is one of my favourite films. Not just favourite SF films, but favourite films, full stop. I am also now firmly of the opinion that if you're going to watch it, you should watch the final cut - it removes the last few rough edges that the film had. It's still not exactly easy viewing, but it's worth every second and every little bit of effort.

Mighty.
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Serenity Gagreel

About 15 meg, and in .wmv format.
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So, today I most definately do not live. At all. Not even close.

I've mostly recovered from the plague, but just because my body couldn't let me actually feel halfway decent (it's the rules, apparently) it decided that I wasn't going to be sleeping last night. I got to sleep okay, but then I woke up again... and again... and again, and so on until the morning. So I got some sleep, but never in lumps of greater than about half an hour.

The result is a somewhat less than conscious and fully functional [livejournal.com profile] eggwhite. In spite of this, I have already managed to have a productive and useful meeting, which will most probably result in my finishing all the work I need to do on a particular project sometime this afternoon...

As for the weekend... Well, I had an enforced long weekend starting with Thursday, when the doctor told me to go home. The advice was good, as I was feeling almost human by Saturday, when I travelled in to spend a day with [livejournal.com profile] izzy_stradlin. Took her to see Serenity, which seemed to go down rather well. Not hugely surprising as it is a mighty film.

Alas, there was a slight case of lost scarf in the cinema, which was looking like it could put a dampener on the day. After a bit of wandering about whilst the next showing finished, though, the manager blokey let us back into the screen and the scarf was rescued.

I had planned to go and see Night Watch on the same day, but after one film I was already coughing and spluttering enough, so I decided not to and spent the rest of the day with [livejournal.com profile] izzy_stradlin instead. It was a good choice, and I will go see the film another time...

On sunday I walked to Homebase to buy a bunch of storage boxes, which I then used to sort some of the stuff in my cupboards. A worthwhile activity, but tiring and dusty, so I started coughing and sneezing again. Bah! I then played around with [livejournal.com profile] izzy_stradlin's old accoustic guitar again, trying a strange tuning so that I can attempt some cranes songs... Tuned it down a semitone on each string. Even managed to coax some halfway decent sounds out of it, although it'll be a while before I actually render those sounds recognizable.

In the evening [livejournal.com profile] nuuki let me usurp his PC so I could continue with Half-Life 2. Damned ant-lions. Get back in the Starship Troopers film where you belong... and stop eating me!
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A bit behind due to work being rather busy, but here's a new serenity viral...

Session 416, Excerpt 1, available via session416.com
Go to "Master 'R. Tam Sessions' Mirror List" and scroll down to the last section...
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Session416.com now has a fourth Serenity viral. This one's a bit more freaky than the last two, but still not as creepy as the first... So sessions 1, 22, 165 and 416 (excerpt 2) are now out there...

More of a general update later...
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Remember not so long ago I mentioned some viral marketing for Serenity?

Well, that was an excerpt from "Session 416".
An excerpt from "Session 1" has now been tracked down. This one is a lot less creepy, instead focussing on filling in some background. But combined with the other one (which comes after it), it says quite a lot.

Conveniently, somebody has set up a website to gather information on all of this kind of thing.
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Okay, it looks like the viral marketing campaign for Serenity has started with some short pieces of footage (I think specially shot footage, rather than bits of the film) being released onto filesharing networks.

I've managed to see one of them (no idea if there's more or not), and it's rather creepy indeed.

(the one I saw is "Session 416, Excerpt 2: R. Tam" - it's in quicktime format.)
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New trailer here...

Also, the rest of that website contains some interesting stuff. It looks like they'll probably be doing UK preview screenings in August + September, much like the ones they've been doing in the states for the last few months. They've also got some soundtrack snippets for download, and they sound a lot more firefly-ish than the trailer music does...
the_eggwhite: (Default)
Just watched the trailer for King Kong. Actually looks rather good - proper pulp without being too cheesy. Huzzah!

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