Saturday, April 29, 2006
Sean Bean and Quality, V's point of view
Okay, firstly I must apologize to M for not acknowledging the importance of TV quality. I was wrong to suggest that a TV quality actor is necessarily sub-par or inferior (although sometimes this is certainly the case). When M says that Sean Bean is TV quality, he means that Sean Bean's TV films are very much quality. They are quality for TV. I agree, wholeheartedly. But I must go a step further and reassert that Sean Bean is just overall Quality, both in films and TV.

Secondly, many thanks to M for the nice Regency Sean Bean. You don't have to spend a lot of time with me to become acutely aware of my obsession with the Regency period (it well eclipses my obsession with Beverly Hills, 90120). I am doubly impressed that this Mr. Sharpe is an officer, this is precisely the sort of thing that set the hearts of Regency ladies aflutter. Still, no match for Mr. Darcy.

Thirdly, I had occasion yesterday to see Sean Bean's latest masterpiece of modern cinema, Silent Hill.

Oh my, where to start?

Despite being the #1 film at the box office, this has gotten pretty crappy reviews. But I'm not a girl to care much about reviews - if I want to see something, I see it. And I try to see things with an open mind, especially horror films. The thing to remember about most horror films is, they're formulaic, and the the characters pretty much always make stupid decisions. Even the good horror films are like this to some degree. Foreign films are usually an exception to this, although if you watch enough Asian horror, I promise you'll get well used to angry dead girls who haunt/curse people via modern technology.

But I digress. Fully aware that Silent Hill was getting completely panned by the critics, I went to see it anyway. I thought the trailers showed promise, but I'm a sucker for creepy imagery. Maybe I should also mention that I've never really played the game for more than about 20 minutes (but this was due to my incredibly lame inability to aim the gun, and not because I didn't like the game). Thanks to the two obnoxious dorks I shared the cinema with, I know that the film was "awesomely true to the game, man!" and "really captured the awesomeness". So, make of that what you will.

I really don't know what to say about this. The plot was a bit thin, and at times completely nonexistent. Arrgh, I'll start from the beginning.

Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell have adopted this creepy little girl who sleepwalks and has nightmares about Silent Hill. Sean Bean wants her to have therapy, whereas Radha Mitchell wants to take her to Silent Hill to try to get to the bottom of it all. This immediately seems like a bad idea, but Radha Mitchell does it anyway. On the way, they stop at a diner. A lady cop becomes a little suspicious of them, probably because both Radha Mitchell and the kid are acting like psychos. Lady cop follows them down the road and tries to pull them over. Radha Mitchell guns the engine and tries to outrun the cop. Not only does this immediately seem to me like a bad idea, but they never attempt to explain why she does this AT ALL.

So yeah, Lady Cop and Radha Mitchell wind up in Silent Hill, only it's not really Silent Hill, it's some freaky haunted alternative dimension of Silent Hill. The freaky kid has gone missing, there's some mystery about Who Is The Freaky Kid Anyway, blah blah blah. But then it gets kind of... I dunno. Hard to describe.

For me, the bulk of this film was a lot like The Cell, in that there is A LOT of really neat, awesome imagery. When I saw The Cell, I thought it was great eye candy, but if you'd asked me immediately afterwards, "Hey V, what was The Cell about?" I would have said "Huh?". Now that I think about it, the second Matrix film was a lot like that, too. So yeah, Silent Hill gets an A+ for having many, many scenes of superdeformed corpses in various states of decay, moving in numerous creepy badwrong ways, and doing generally creepy badwrong things. This was great. I could look at that shizz all day.

"But V," you're thinking. "How did this advance the plot? What was its significance in relation to the narrative?"

Um... huh?

I just can't tell you. I dunno. I gather that a lot of bad stuff went down in Silent Hill, and there are a lot of angry superdeformed ghosts out there, thirsty for human blood or something. I guess that's the best explanation any of us can hope for. Maybe I should have asked the two obnoxious dorks.

Another problem is that a lot of those scenes, while being fascinating to look at, did look a lot like one was watching a video game being played. Lady Cop and Radha Mitchell were all the time being chased into corners by various superdeformed things. There was lots of shouting "OH PLEASE GOD! HELP ME! HELLLP! SOMEONE! PLEASE! PLEASE! HELP!" and then at the last minute something lame would happen, like Lady Cop would fire a single bullet into the air, and it would all just stop. And like I said, it didn't really further the story at all, it was just sort of filler, and an excuse to put these two characters in perilous situations.

By the time the film got back to the regular plot, I was a little lost. Sean Bean and the cops have been searching the real Silent Hill (read: not the freaky haunted alternative dimension of Silent Hill) for his wife and kid with no result. Sean Bean becomes frustrated when the cop won't tell him the real story of what happened in Silent Hill, so he breaks into the police station after hours (a bad idea) and then goes to an orphanage and threatens a nun (so totally a bad idea) and the cops finally get fed up with him and make him go home.

Sean Bean was only in this for maybe fifteen minutes of screen time, but it was fifteen Quality minutes.

So eventually Radha Mitchell quits being a whiny bitch (and really, what was up with that? She was such a badass in Pitch Black). She goes to confront some demon, which is alternatively referred to as 'the demon' or 'the darkness' by the freaky residents of Freaky Haunted Alternative Dimension Silent Hill. This whole thing just seems like the ultimate bad idea, but hey.

Right around this point, Radha Mitchell stops speaking normal English and starts saying crap along the lines of "forthwith I confront you today prithee blah blah blah" and I had to wonder where the hell that came from. The dialogue started sounding completely forced and unnatural and totally out of place for that character.

I'm not going to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen it (or played the game, apparently), but I will say that I found it utterly confusing, which is just more points off its overall score really.

So yeah, ultimately it was watchable, and it wasn't utter crap. But I do think that with just a little bit more effort and attention to detail, it could have been a much better film.
A few words
I just want to say thanks to everyone who had kind and encouraging words for me throughout the illness and death of my cat, Farkle. It was and is a very difficult time, but the love and support I've gotten have made it a little more bearable. So, thanks, y'all. I don't think I could have handled this without you.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Sean Bean and quality
Sean Bean and his Quality (Belated)

Firstly, I loved the opinion poll thing V did.

Secondly, I said Sean Bean was tv QUALITY, not TV quality, as V well knows. There’s a big difference, I’m sure you’ll agree….

Sean Bean (pronounced Seen Been) has been omnipresent lately, I can’t seem to switch on a TV or watch a film without him popping up with a vengeance.

Here is a pic. of Seen Been as ‘Sharpe’ in the Regency period, especially for V.

Saturday, April 22, 2006
My five weird habits
Once again, Eli has hit me with one of those blog poll things, where you're supposed to answer the questions and then pass it along to five friends. This always leaves me kind of in a lurch, because I don't think I even know five people. Okay, so I know five people (I think I do. At least, I hope I do), but I definitely don't know five people who keep blogs. And the people I do know who keep blogs, they're mostly private type things that I don't really feel like I should be linking to. So. As always, I'll answer the questions and leave this open for anyone else who wants to do it.

So. My Five Weird Habits.

1. Whenever someone really, really, seriously pisses me off, I'll create a Sim that looks like them, and I'll put them in one of those Sims Torture Houses. You build a small house, like maybe 3 x 3 tiles, no doors or windows. And then you give them one of the most uncomfortable chairs and a sink. So all they can do is drink water or sit (though if they get tired enough, they'll sleep on the floor in pools of their own urine). This usually ends up with them (a) going mad, and (b) peeing themselves to death. Yes, I said peeing themselves to death. Also a couple of times that I did this, all the neighbors who came over to visit also went mad and peed themselves to death.

You know, this merits further blogging. As luck would have it, I'm pretty pissed off at this girl who lives up the street. Maybe I'll Sim-Torture her and post some screen shots...

2. I watch Beverly Hills, 90210 religiously.

3. Every time I use a public restroom, I can't help thinking about that episode of Twin Peaks where Bob beat up the one-armed shoe salesman in a public restroom, except Bob was invisible and it was really spooky. Trust me, it was a lot spookier than I've made it sound. So yeah, I can't use any public bathroom without being kind of freaked out the whole time about Bob and that one-armed man.

4. From time to time, I'll take it upon myself to try and resurrect old-school slang words. My current word campaign is "to the max". So, try and use "to the max" five times every day, and tell all your friends. Cos if we could bring back a piece of the 80s, that would be rad.

5. For about the past year, I've had that song "You Sexy Thang" deeply embedded in my brain. I think it started when the song was used in some advert somewhere. But now, if I hear any part of it, I find I have to sing it a bit in order to sort of exorcise it from my head for a little while (I believe in miracles! WHERE YA FROM?!? You sexy thang! You sexy thang, you.). M has been known to exploit this.

Those are the five weirdest habits that I could come up with. Weird habits to the max!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The results are in...
The people have spoken, and Sean Bean has been found to be QUALITY. Haha, I knew it! I never doubted you, Sean Bean.

I'm pretty impressed with the turnout - 18 votes! I don't even know 18 people! So thanks y'all, for spreading the word and whatnot. So yeah, out of 18 votes, 13 were for quality, 4 were for TV quality (and I'm not sure M even voted, so maybe that should technically be 5), and one naysaying meanie doesn't think Sean Bean is quality at all.

That was awesome good fun. Maybe we'll do it again soon.
Jodelle Ferland gets the Codename V Stamp of Approval.
Jodelle Ferland is the little girl from a whole shitload of spooky films and TV shows, most notably Kingdom Hospital and the upcoming Silent Hill film. She's only 11, but she frigging rules. As evidence, I present this quote from an article on Yahoo News:

The film's director, Frenchman Christophe Gans, said when he first met Jodelle she was wearing a white fur coat and pink sunglasses and was just as giggly as she could be.

Then, Gans said, Ferland changed her voice to an evil tone and told him she had always wanted to play the devil.

Now that's a kind of ambition I can relate to. Rock on, little girl.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Exercise your right to vote!
M and I have been having a disagreement about something, and I decided to put the matter up for a vote. In the interest of fairness, I won't divulge which opinion belongs to either of us until after a respectable number of people have responded.

So, please, familiarize yourselves with the work of actor Sean Bean and choose which of the following best describes your opinion.

Is Sean Bean...

1. Quality: A reasonably good actor, suitable for supporting and/or leading roles in actual feature films?

2. Television Quality: A marginal actor at best, suitable for roles in made-for-TV films, or possibly direct-to-video movies?

3. Not Quality: An actor whose work you'd rather avoid, or you might watch for things like unintentional comedic or camp value. Examples: David Caruso, Eric Roberts.

Voting commences below. Since I don't see any reason to cough up $30 for the premium ad-free polls, you'll probably have to look at advertisements on the results page. I reckon y'all should be able to deal with that. Oh, and since we'd like to see some real results, feel free to pass this link around. Who knows, maybe this blog will actually get a few readers...

Sean Bean is...
Absolutely quality.
Television quality at best.
Haha, you're kidding, right? Sooo not quality.
Free polls from

Friday, April 14, 2006
She used to have a carefree mind of her own, and a devilish look in her eye
If you have ever been fortunate enough to have a pet that you've loved, I think you will understand this. In the past few days, it has been discovered that my cat - my companion and my friend of 15 years has pancreatic cancer. Despite trying to create diversions for myself, I pretty much can't think about anything else. I tried to come up with a Friday Baddie this afternoon, just to maybe get my mind off things for a while, but the only baddie I could think of was 'pancreatic cancer' so I'm just skipping it this week.

I am 30. My cat has been a part of my life for half of it. I honestly can't really remember a time without her. She is a better friend to me than most people I know, and I am not ready to give that up. I'm not able to give that up, but I have to. And soon, maybe very soon, I am afraid that I will have to make the hardest decision that one friend can ever make for another.

For half my life - through my awkward adolescence, through lonely years, through high school and college and growing up, and even through a lengthy serious illness of my own, my cat has always been here waiting for me. She has always come running whenever I call her name, bringing me love and devotion and companionship of a sort that you don't really see with humans. No matter where I've gone or for how long, she has always been waiting here for me.

Now when I go out, even for an hour or two, I am afraid to open the door. I think, "are you still there? Are you still waiting for me?" I panic when I can't immediately find her. I call her name, and somehow she finds the strength to answer. I find her in the end, and hold her tiny, weak body in my arms. She is still there, I feel her heart beating. Her eyes barely open, but she looks towards the direction of my voice.

I know that one day I will come home, and she will not be waiting. I will call her name, out of habit and out of love, and there won't be an answer. The thought of this scares me.

Anyone who tells you that animals don't have feelings is lying to you. So is anyone who tells you that losing a pet doesn't hurt as much as losing a person.

I'll leave y'all with my favorite photo of Farkle, my oldest friend. It has been my privilege to share so much time with her, and to be able to share just a little more.

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Friday, April 07, 2006
Friday Baddie

OK, this is a little generic, but you'll know this baddie, maybe under another name.
In the UK they are known as the 'chav'. I think in V's town they are just generically called 'rednecks', though they probably don't work too hard in the sun. They seem to make up the majority of the population everywhere.

They range from children to middle aged people. As a typical example, the younger versions genuinely think 'Ali G' is the coolest, with no perception of irony whatsoever to the oldest, waddling down the street in packs with the latest football shirt not quite covering their belly chanting racist gibberish at midnight. Primarily in my town of Lowestoft it's the teenage girls pushing their baby chairs like weapons, while the assumed fathers of the contents of the chair are the previously mentioned human detrius.

You can learn about chavs here. I'm sure you'll recognise the traits wherever you live.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
WTF is this?
In which V is gravely disappointed by the new Rob Zombie CD.

Memo to Mr. Zombie: the 1970s called. They want their shitty classic rock back.

Sigh. First, let it be known that I'm a big fan of Rob Zombie. In the past he's made some truly inspired music, and he's come up with two of the most innovative horror films I've seen in a long time. So I bought his new CD Educated Horses without having heard a single track, based on the logic that Rob Zombie could never possibly put out anything less than genius.

Wrong. So very wrong. Horribly wrong.

The first sign that you aren't getting the Rob Zombie you paid for would be the cover photo. Remember back in the day when Zombie looked like a zombie? Weird corpse makeup, that vaguely manson-esque cross on his forehead?

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exhibit A

Well, the zombie look is completely gone, and he's resembling a dirty hippie.

Free Image Hosting at
exhibit B

Also: WTF does "educated horses" mean, anyway? That phrase shows up in the lyrics to a couple of songs on this album, and it just doesn't make any sense.

But I digress. I was talking about how this album is total ass. Rob Zombie sings on this one. He sings, melodically, and plays acoustic guitar. Sometimes there's sitar music in there. Considering that I thought I was getting an album full of hardcore elctro-rock with screaming angry vocals about murder/death/kill, well. It's ass. That's all I can say.

I've never been a fan of 70s hippie-glam-whatever music. Keep your Allman Brothers, keep your frigging Lynrd Skynrd or however you freaking spell Lynrd Skynrd anyway. I don't like it, I just don't like it. And yet, here is an album full of it, from Rob Zombie. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOU, SIR? This is more than a departure from his roots, this is like a musical lobotomy or something. Like, is Rob Zombie a pod person now? I don't know. I just don't know. And I don't like it.

He full-out rips off In A Gadda Da Vida (I probably spelled that wrong, too... I don't keep up with that kind of shitty music) in one track. I'm not sure which track, I was too disgusted by it at that point to keep up with which song I was actually listening to. Rob Zombie, you are better than that. You don't have to rip off Iron frigging Butterfly and change two notes in one of the world's most recognizeable shitty 70s riffs. You have talent, and skill. Rather, you DID have talent and skill. Is this what you have been reduced to?

I wonder what kind of response I'd get if I wrote to him and asked for my ten dollars back? Probably no response at all, but it's tempting. He's got another new release out, a double-CD set of his greatest hits dating all the way back to White Zombie. I should have bought that one instead.

I hate to say this, but maybe he should just get out of the music thing and focus his creative energy on doing films. I'm wondering if maybe he was just spread too thin with The Devil's Rejects to make a good album. Coincidentally, the Devil's Rejects theme song is the best track on the CD. Which is not saying much, because it still sounds like something you'd find on 8-Track at goodwill. Try harder, Rob Zombie! TRY HARDER, FFS!

In short: I did not like this. I did not like this much at all, really, and I don't think that repeated listening is going to make it grow on me. And this is sad. I can't recommend this to anyone in good faith. Maybe get it as a gift for a friend that you don't like (because I think we all have 'friends' that we don't really like, eh?). Or get it if you actually like shitty 70s music. But don't get it if you're hoping for a Rob Zombie album.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Romance without words
I've seen a lot of films recently, but finally here's one worth reviewing.

3-Iron is a Korean film about a young man (Tae-suk) who breaks into empty houses while people are away on vacation. For reasons that are never explained, he tidies up their houses, does their laundry, tends to their plants, and repairs anything that he finds broken.

One day he breaks into a house that isn't really empty - a beautiful woman (Sun-hwa) is inside, hiding in a corner because she has been badly beaten by her abusive husband. When Tae-suk discovers Sun, he initially runs away, but then realizes that Sun needs a caring friend.

Without giving away everything that happens, the two of them run away together and she joins him in his strange hobby. They fall in love, and this is shown beautifully and subtly without any spoken words ever being exchanged between them. And I mean, no words. The two major characters in this film don't speak. I know how weird that sounds, but believe me, it was incredibly moving.

They're forced to be apart for a while (I refuse to give away details, because this is totally a must-see), but you just know they have to be together again. And when words were finally shared between these two people who say so much with silence, I must admit I shed a few girly tears. Really, this was one of the most beautiful (and most unusual) love stories I've ever seen.

I don't know how difficult this one will be to track down - I'm fortunate enough to have a local video place that stocks a ton of foreign films. But trust me when I say it's well worth the effort.