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Kinbote

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About Kinbote

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    (2) Evoker
  1. Never heard of Schizopolis, but based on the title alone, I think I'll give it a wide berth. Not sure if I've seen Kafka or not, but in my experience Kafka movies are best avoided; most people interpret him as being dour and self-serious, when in fact he was actually being funny. But if this one comes up on the tube, I'll give it a go. Is Grey's Anatomy the one where he thinks he's dying and travels all over the world looking for a miracle cure? If so, that was amusing. Poor Spaulding Gray, though. EDIT: according to Imdb, Kafka has Alec Guinness and Ian Holm, so now I have to watch it.
  2. I've never read the Heinlein book, but I've always been under the impression that his admiration for the military and soldiers was entirely unironic. In fact, he's often been accused of the fascist sympathies lampooned in the film. And yeah, the movie is extremely sour and cynical. Soderbergh (to shift to an earlier subject) is at his best when he's making light, stylish crime comedies, like Ocean's Eleven, The Limey, and (dang, can't remember the title) the Elmore Leonard one with George Clooney and J-Lo (the latter giving a surprisingly excellent performance). Soderbergh suffers when he tries to be significant or thought-provoking, as in the messy Traffic. Granted, I haven't seen all of his movies, so there might be a few contrary examples, but I think it holds true as a general rule.
  3. I started getting into the Hammer horror/fantasy films about a year ago. At this point, I've probably seen about 3/4 of them, and have a big old pile of dvds (I can get pretty obsessive when it comes to my enthusiasms). What Hammer managed to do is quite impressive. Taking advantage of a slump in the British film industry, they hired some of the most talented and resourceful artists in the business, using b-level (and even c-level) budgets to make films that could pass for a-list. Not only great actors like Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Andre Morell, Freddie Jones, etc; but also visionary directors (Terence Fisher, Roy Ward Baker, Freddie Francis), composers, and, last but not least, set designers (who created what Baker called the "Hammer Glamour"). So far, my favorites are Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (who can resist a title like that?), The Devil Rides Out, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, and the two movies that Brian Clemens (the Avengers mastermind) wrote. So, anyone else here a Hammer fan?
  4. Shin: my apologies for being misleading. I didn't do the fact checking myself, but was relying on a bleat James Lileks wrote a week or two ago (and which is quite convincing). I don't know how to do links, but you can find the essay at: lileks.com/bleats/archive/04/0704/070804.html And, if you're not familiar with Lileks, I strongly recommend that you take a couple of hours to browse his site, particularly the Institute of Official Cheer...wonderfully funny stuff there.
  5. He does lie, as Volourn said. The following is a minor issue, which may make it worse. Apparently, Moore said that he became disillusioned with America when a half-dozen of his high school classmates were killed in Vietnam. After a smidgen of Googling, James Lileks discovered that these people were actually adults, didn't go to school with Moore, and weren't even from the same town (they were from Flint, while Moore grew up in one of the city's suburbs). So, Moore lies through his teeth in order to prove a point. It's beyond me why people are willing to champion someone who deliberately (and needlessly) falsifies the truth. Even if (actually, especially if) you agree with his general conclusions, there is absolutely no excuse for giving him the time of day. EDIT: before I get called on it, I'd better apologize for a mistake in the first paragraph. The casualties were, like Moore, from Davison, not Flint.
  6. Isn't Quest for Fire the caveman movie with an original language created by Anthony Burgess? As a Burgess fan, I've always been intrigued by that one.
  7. I liked the guy who wanted to move back into the matrix and have himself a nice big steak. That was about as profound as that otherwise very juvenile movie got. The biggest surprise (that I can think of off the top of my head) in terms of a movie I thought would be good is The Wicker Man. I've yet to hear a negative word said about the film, but to me it was just a lot of 60's flower child silliness, sort of a horror equivalent to Easy Rider. But you can just ignore me, since I tend to be very much in the minority on this subject; after all, I detest Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton too! As for movies that are supposedly awful but that I quite liked, I'll nominate The Ninth Gate. It's no masterpiece, but a consistently entertaining little movie, with plenty of Roman Polanski's subtle homor and some lovely sets.
  8. Not to brag or anything, but I have several boxes full of mint, first edition PKD paperbacks. Back in high school I used to help out at a local bookstore, and instead of paying me the owner would give me these books. Oh, and Clans of the Alphane Moon was definitely not PKD's first. Can't think of what the first might have been, though. Maybe Solar Lottery.
  9. I read Ender's Game years ago, and thought it was an entertaining action novel. However, I couldn't understand the extreme devotion many fans have for him, and I haven't been tempted to read any of his other books. I tend to be fairly demanding when it comes to literature, though. I don't give a free pass just because it's science fiction. People like Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein are extremely intelligent, and good at inventing future sciences (and making them intelligible for the layman), but they are not very talented novelists. Clarke in particular is a weak artist: his prose is clunky and unlovely, his interest in character is nonexistent. The sci-fi writers I most admire (in fact, idolize) are R.A. Lafferty, Jack Vance, and Gene Wolfe. (In my opinion, Wolfe is, along with the non-sf writer Muriel Spark, by far the finest novelist working today.) I also enjoy some of the stuff by Poul Anderson (the awesome Boat of a Million Years), Avram Davidson, and Cordwainer Smith.
  10. Tolkien (though I've never been an especial fan) spent decades creating his alternate universe, inventing a language, detailing Middle Earth's history almost obsessively. Star Wars is paper-thin in comparison. I do agree with Tantor, though, that the high fantasy genre has been played to death over the years, and I welcome a turn to science fiction. And Iolo, it's nice to see that people still appreciate the great Jack Vance. He came up with the Excellent Prismatic Spray, if I'm not mistaken, as well as grues.
  11. Most of the threads over the past few days have degenerated into niggling rules discussions and the like...people want to spend time here but need to be given a reason for that. I'd love to hear some kind of announcement from Obsidian, but, roshan, do you really believe that they would be doing much damage to their game if they keep quiet for a while longer?
  12. Story, plot, and character development all very much exist in KOTOR. They're just not interesting or well-written.
  13. That's an excellent point, Vladek. People are getting so upset about The Passion because you shouldn't blame all the Jews for something a small minority of them did some 2000 years ago (not that, from what I've read, the movie implies any such thing). But these same people feel its perfectly acceptable to blame Gibson for his father's evil opinions. That's called having your cake and eating it.
  14. I didn't like Knights of the Old Republic. I thought it was simplistic, preachy, and shallow. Also, most of the NPCs suffered from an ennui that was both self-regarding and overwrought; travelling with them became a real burden. Nor were we permitted the psychological satisfaction of turning to the Dark Side, since in this game to be evil meant no more than to be petty. But that's my rant, and I'm obviously in the minority. For those who did like the game, please don't assume that the above paragraph implies a criticism of your taste. I'm perfectly happy to admit that my standards are not only high but quirky. Nevertheless, I'm relatively sanguine about the chances KOTOR2 has for being a good game. My essential problem with the first game is that it was poorly written and poorly imagined; but Chris Avellone is, as proved by Torment, an intelligent and imaginative writer. If he (and, of course, the rest of the talented Obsidian staff) is given the necessary freedom, then the Star Wars universe should provide an excellent playground, and one I will look forward to. In fact, if KOTOR2 stays in line with its predecessor's heavy concentration on plot and character, then this could turn out to be the Torment 2 we (or at least some of us) have been waiting for.
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