Thursday, July 30, 2009

So...about that Watchmen director's cut DVD review

Well, folks, the short version is that the DVD makers saved all the (current) goodies for the Blu-ray edition, and I don't have a Blu-ray player, so I'm just right out of luck. But I got an e-mail this morning from Callidus telling me some of what I'm missing out on, like the director's commentary and the little frames in the corners of the screen that show you how certain effects were accomplished.

Unfortunately, Callidus and I are both missing out on even more goodies, because packaged inside each of our boxes were little flyers advertising a 5-disc "ultimate collectors edition" that will be coming out in December. Fucking marketing leeches.

Oh, well, here's my review of the non-Blu-ray edition of the director's cut, along with some screen grabs I've taken from two different scenes and completely out of context, just to give you something to build a few MC fantasies around. And just as a reminder, I've already reviewed the director's cut of the movie itself here and the "Black Freighter"/"Under the Hood" DVD here.

So, what's on the 2-disc director's cut DVD besides the movie? Not a whole hell of a lot - and not a single Easter egg, as far as I could tell. But in order of least interesting to most interesting....

There's the "Desolation Row" video from My Chemical Romance, which you can also find for free on YouTube.

There are 11 video journals of about 3 1/2 minutes each, all of which you can also find on the official movie site. I watched several of them back there, when they first debuted; and I can see that they've been updated a little for the DVD: adding in snippets of scenes that would have been spoilers if they'd appeared online at the time, but that don't matter one way or the other now. So overall, the video journals are sort of "meh," although the one about the Owl Ship features a cute bit where Patrick Wilson tells Zac Snyder that in the Millennium Falcon, you push this lever the other way.

Most interestingly (to me, anyway) is a featurette about the Watchmen graphic novel and how it was adapted for the screen. This isn't just (or even mostly) a "making of" documentary; it really is an homage to the graphic novel. It does an excellent job of explaining the subtleties of the story for people who know they're reading something great but don't entirely get it; and it also helps people like me, who don't understand the finer points of comic art, to see how brilliant Dave Gibbons' illustrations were (BTW, I found a set of annotations for the Watchmen graphic novel online once. They're only so-so, but if you want a glimpse of what you might be missing without buying the DVD, they make a nice start).

Oh, and of course, it's hilarious to watch all the people being interviewed in the featurette and the video logs as they try to tiptoe around the subject of Alan Moore, the writer who famously disowns every movie made from his graphic novels - and justly so, in most cases. And wouldn't Moore be rolling over in his grave* if he knew that the DVD actually starts with an anti-smoking commercial?

*if he were dead ;-P

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ulorin Vex has been holding out on me!

I'd thought she was posting all her latest images both on Deviant Art and her website, so I've only been following her on Deviant Art. But for some reason or other, I followed a link from DA back to her portfolio a couple of nights ago and just stumbled across this, in the "Art Nude" section.

Damn, couldn't you just write half a dozen MC stories around this single image? And isn't the model on the left sagging and staring absolutely perfectly?

Well, anyway, I'm busing writing (and thinking of writing) other things right now. But maybe this image will inspire someone else. ;-)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just a quickie

Today didn't turn out exactly as I'd planned, but I did get to watch the Watchmen director's cut (no extras yet), and I did finish the rough draft of "My Very Own Serial Number."

I always feel deeply satisfied on finishing a rough draft, but as for you fine people out there, don't get too excited yet. Now I have to let the story simmer for awhile, then taste it again and spice it up as needed. It won't be ready for posting for another week or two.

As for Watchmen, I think I'll wait until I've had the chance to see all the extras before I do a full DVD review; but I'll go ahead and say a little about the director's cut of the movie itself, now.

Most of the additions are just snippets here and there; the only really big new scene is the death of a secondary character. Anyone who's read the graphic novel or followed the movie news will know whom I'm talking about. It's a very powerful scene; and I'm very, very sorry it didn't make it into the theatrical release. It adds so much emotion to the story.

The other additions mostly involved Rorschach, and of course, more of Rorschach is always a good thing.

There were also a couple of new bits involving Laurie and her/Dr. Manhattan's government handlers. You can see that these bits were meant to develop Laurie's character arc a little more, but unfortunately, Malin Akerman is no better an actress on second viewing than on first. It's almost painful, watching her scenes with Patrick Wilson and Billy Crudup. She's like a kitten playing with extremely well behaved pit bulls.

On the other hand, Matthew Goode comes off very slightly better the second time around, and I don't blame him so much for how he played Ozymandias as I blame Zach Snyder. He was the one who made Adrian a floppy-haired fop, and then a (highlight for spoiler text) [stereotypically sneering villain instead of a deeply twisted wannabe-world-savior].

But what I keep coming back to is this: the source material for this movie was so fantastic that a faithful adaptation really can't go that wrong. It's not a perfect movie, but it's still pretty damn awesome, and I'm very glad to have my own copy. I can't wait to explore the extras.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nostalgic for Watchmen posts?

Sorry, that's a reference only readers of the graphic novel will get. ;-)

Anyway, my DVD's of the Watchmen director's cut and Tales of the Black Freighter/Under the Hood arrived yesterday, and I watched the latter today - saving the best for last, you see. So here are my thoughts on TotBF/UtH. If I get the chance to watch Watchmen tomorrow, I'll probably blog about it tomorrow night. If I don't, you might imagine that I'm busy with my gf, in much the same way Silhouette is busy with that nurse in the image above. ;-P

But back to the DVD.

"Black Freighter" first. Gerard Butler's voiceover is perfect; but you know, I think that as over-the-top lurid as this tale is, it just works better in little hints salted into the overall Watchmen story. Seeing the whole thing laid out in all its gruesome excess is just (pardon the pun) overkill. I guess the most useful thing about it is that it underlines the parallels between BF's protagonist and both Rorschach and Watchmen's main villain (Do I still need to hide that person's identity? *sigh* I suppose I do.) so thickly that only the most gore-crazed teenager could fail to miss them. Hell, they even turned the raft's makeshift sail into a Rorschach blot.

"Under the Hood," on the other hand, is a total delight. Seeing Hollis Mason, Sally Jupiter (rocking an awesome '70's glamor gown), Moloch the Mystic, and others "interviewed" as real people is just fantastic. All these actors were sadly underused in the feature film, but here, they really get to shine. Notice, for instance, how Hollis and Sally both "speak with their hands" - and how Hollis' hands so often speak by hiding his mouth. Nice touch! And an even better touch is the look on Sally's face when the interviewer asks her whether or not it's true that she was assaulted by the Comedian. Her expression doesn't change one whit...and yet it totally transforms. Awesome acting there by Carla Gugino; I swear, I've never understood why she hasn't become a superstar yet. But moving on, we also get to see a bit more of Moloch, both embarrassed by and nostalgic for his past as a supervillain (I love how no one ever once mentions his ears), and also sadly thoughtful about what led to the rise of supervillains - and what might happen next on that particular front.

There's a little bit more on this DVD:

1) a "making of" featurette that's no more or less interesting than such things usually are. If you're the kind of person who enjoys "making of's," then you'll enjoy this one; if not, you won't. I am, so I did. :-)

2) The first chapter of the "Watchmen Motion Comic." I think I managed to sit through about 30 seconds of this. It was dreadful. It looked like someone had just taken all the panels from the graphic novel, made little paper cutouts of the bits they wanted to move, and then jiggled them back and forth a little. Ooooh! "Motion Comic!" Then they gave Rorschach's voiceover to someone about 1/10 as talented as Jackie Earle Haley and added the written text back in on top of it all for who knows what insane reason. Don't bother with this one, really, unless you're into masochism.

But do get the DVD, if only for "Under the Hood." It adds so much to the overall Watchmen story, whether or not you've read the graphic novels. And if you haven't read the graphic novels, then "Tales of the Black Freighter" will have its uses, as well. *shrug* Okay, I suppose "Tales of the Black Freighter" will have its uses for the gore lovers, too.

Anyway, just buy the DVD. It's worth the time and the money.

Apparently, humans aren't the only ones who enjoy a bit of inter-species hootchie-cootchie

Ma, get those kids out of the room!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I promise, you will *scream*

But before I make you scream, just a quick note: I didn't realize until today that my Ecstasy of Surrender 2 wasn't set for public viewing. Sorry, everyone! It's fixed now, so go have a look.

And now, click on over to your "eek" for the week. Be sure to read the comments for maximum screamage. ;-)

story update

Just so you know, I'm 95% done with the first draft of my next EMC story, "My Very Own Serial Number." Only the final brief scene left to write!

I seem to be loosening up in my approach to writing, these days. In the past, I've always outlined the whole story pretty thoroughly before beginning to write, but this time I only sketched it out. And that means that two characters who were originally meant to be throwaways have become central to to the plotline. One of the two has actually become the (very sympathetic) focus of the third chapter.

Yep, that's right. The story I originally thought would be a quick, easy write has turned into a three-parter. But it's going to be fantastic, if I do say so myself. ;-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why can't we get ads like this in the US?

Oh, wait, I think I know.

BTW, Gawker says it's French.

...and another

Is this, or is this not, the most perfect fembot shot you've ever seen?

I found it on the website of high-fashion latex designer Atsuko Kudo, the second of the two links I followed from Christine Kessler's blog yesterday. And here are some other lovely images from that website, each of which (to me, anyway) has its own unique kind of mind control vibe.

Helpful hint for picture savers: If your screen size isn't already set to 1600 x 1200, change it temporarily before visiting Kudo's website so that the pictures will display at their largest. Then you can copy and save them with "Print Screen."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

One thing leads to another

Step 1: Stopping by Christine Kessler's blog, as I do several times a week, and discovering the pic at left among a collection of similarly themed but less enticing shots of Darenzia, Mosh and Skin. But the one at left piqued my interest because Mosh and Skin look like a couple of Diana Snowdon's* mindwiped drones, posing for her pleasure.

Step 2: Linking from Christine Kessler's site over to Ego Assassin for even more shiny, programmable goodness, including the pics below:

Step 3: Ah, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for that! I've saved the best for last. ;-)

*Diana Snowdon is a frequent star of Tabico tales, beginning (sort of, but not really) with Temp to Perm.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Possible connection to transgenderism?

I have several transgenders among my friends and blog readers, and I'd be very curious to hear their responses to this article. It's about a condition I've never heard of, which causes people to feel as if one or more of their limbs really don't belong to them. The feeling can be so strong that they might become suicidal or, like the man featured in this article, actually force amputation of the limb(s) they reject.

The scientists interviewed here have pinpointed the area in the brain that, when damaged or improperly developed, causes these sensations: it's the area responsible for a person's mental "body map." Now, I can't help wondering if transgenders have something similar going on; but since this is the first I've heard about the condition and the research surrounding it, I'm just shooting in the dark here. I'd love to learn more. Does anyone know of any studies along these lines that have been done with transgenders?

Baba Wawa does *not* like Bruno

I had to wait until today to post this because the buffering was so bad yesterday that the video was unwatchable. No problem today, and the commentary (with hand motions, no less) from Baba and Whoopi is a scream. Then there's that final little nervous "ah-hah-hah-hah-hah," which is just priceless. I only wish I could embed the video here.

Anyway, the animated GIF's are hilarious all by themselves, so stop by even if you don't want to watch the video.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bruno ist die Bombe!

God bless Sacha Baron Cohen. The man has absolutely no fear. When he puts himself in a cage in the middle of an auditorium full of mouth-foaming redneck homophobes and...does what he want to give him a great big medal for bravery. And a great big smooch on his pouty, perfectly glossed lips.

Oh, but the look on the face of the most enthusiastic member of that auditorium crowd when "Bruno"...does what he worth the price of admission alone. There's a man who'll be scarred for life. As well he should be. People like that should be marked so others can avoid them.

Now, I know the GLBT community is of two minds about Bruno, and that a lot of folks think the movie perpetuates the worst sort of stereotypes homophobes have about us. But as for me, I agree with The Flick Filosopher. Sacha Baron Cohen has created a character who represents everything homophobes most fear and hate, and that character is so over the top and unbelievable that when the real people he encounters take him seriously, you realize what absolute lunatics they are. Take, for instance, the karate instructor who teaches Bruno how to defend himself against gays, "who attack mostly from behind." And there's a reason Hitler gets more than one mention in the movie; when you see the run-up to the cage match, you really do begin to think Leni Riefenstahl ought to be there to film it.

On the other hand, that early sex scene with Bruno's "pygmy flight attendant" Diesel is a screaming delight. I'd even go so far as to say it tops the puppet sex scene in Team America: World Police. And there's the bit where Bruno gets "humanitarian" Paula Abdul to treat migrant workers like literal furniture...and the bit where he comes on to Ron Paul, who pretends so very, very hard not to notice what's happening until Bruno drops his pants...and the bit with the vapid sisters who make a business of advising celebrities on which causes they can adopt to earn themselves the most attention.

And of course I mustn't neglect to mention the penis that opens its "mouth" and speaks. Holy crap, that image will be seared on my hindbrain until the day I die.

In other words, go see this movie. And enjoy. Ohhh, enjoy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just because it's beautiful III

Alberich is a photographer on Deviant Art whose specialty is photos of nude women underwater, occasionally posing with a bit of gauzy fabric. He prefers traditionally beautiful models rather than plasticized Barbie types, and the photography is always artistic and evocative, with a frequent supernatural element. Here's one of my favorites.

I think I'm going to have to add a new "Just Because" tag to help me keep track of these sorts of posts. Hell, it's not like anyone else pays much attention to my tags. ;-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Temporarily Tattooed Lovelies

I found the pic at left (and a few others from the same photo shoot) on Ulorin Vex's blog here. I had some difficulty deciding which one to use, since there's another one where she's posed more like a doll and you can't see her pupils, which really pushes my fetish buttons. But IMO, the corset, skirt, gloves and garters on top of the henna tattoos is just overkill; so I decided to focus on the bit I find most beautiful.

The artist is Angela Holthuis, and she does all kinds of makeup and hair effects, not just henna - though, again IMO, her henna work is the most beautiful part of her portfolio. Here, have a look at a couple more of my favorites - and by all means, check out Holthuis' whole site.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Eighties Perv

Ah, Duran Duran. Their songs never made much sense, but they sure put out some entertaining videos. Here's a recently rediscovered jewel from the Rio album: a song that was never released as a single, so you probably aren't familiar with it unless you grew up in that era and were a fan of the band.

I can still remember seeing this video for the first time back in the eighties and being absolutely scandalized, even without making it all the way to the topless dance at the end. I turned off the TV long before then. Eek! Corsets! Lesbians! Run for your lives! ;-P

If you're interested, you can see the whole video on YouTube here (Embedding is disabled). It really is worth a look, very artfully done. And the fetish wear still looks stunning and perfectly appropriate today.

But if you're still on dial-up or just not interested enough to make the click, here's a quick run-down with a few of my favorite shots. I won't bother to include the lyrics, since they're just the usual Duran Duran mix of vaguely sexual stream of consciousness.

The video begins with Lady A in a stunning bustier and lace-up skirt, caressing herself as her stone-faced chauffeur sneaks glances in the rearview mirror.

Lady B wakes up horny, beautifully adorned in latex and mesh, and promptly changes into something more comfortable...if a bit less fetishy. But hey, at least she strikes a nice drone-pose in the mirror.

After much driving, posing, and way too many small, black balls rolling around the floor of the car to be useful for what I imagine they're used for, the two women finally meet up in a parking garage - because, after all, what could be sexier than oil-stained concrete under fluorescent lighting? But hey, at least we get a nice look at Lady A's whole costume now. I so love that skirt!

Anyway, this being a Duran Duran video, the lovers don't do anything as banal as falling into a passionate embrace or kissing or anything. Nope. They just put their palms together and dance. But you know, it kind of works.

Now, here's where it really gets interesting. Slowly, quietly, the chauffeur steps out of the car and approaches them. Is he a voyeur? Is he going to snatch Lady A away for himself? Is he going to call the indecency police?

Nope, nope, and nope. He's going to turn into a woman and do a Billy Idol "Dancing with Myself."

It took me quite some time to realize the chauffeur's dance is so jerky-looking because that's exactly what the chauffeur is doing: jerking. Off.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Just because it's cool

Happy Fourth of July to all Americans at home and abroad. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the holiday, but it is pretty damn cool.

"Supermassive Black Hole," by Muse:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A new idea for Virtual Hypnotist: themes

I've created some "blank" sessions, composed only of visuals and audio presets (meaning configuring the brainwaves and selecting "Mary in Stadium" as the speech synthesizer voice), that you can use to build your own sessions around.

Click here and scroll down a little to view screen grabs of the themes I've made and to download them for yourselves.

Oh, and don't be surprised if you hear little or nothing from me for the next several days. I'm fine, just attending to personal matters.