Friday, April 28, 2017

Have you found *my* lionfish yet?

I'm not talking about the one in the video below, which I'll get to in a moment. I'm talking about the one in the Easter egg plotline of What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything? In case you've forgotten (or never knew, in which case, shame on you!), there is a giant hidden plotline in my Choose Your Own Adventure, one which takes the story in a completely new direction. I know some of you have found it on your own, and some of you found it after I dropped a big hint about the lily pond. Others, I'm sure, will do a search now that I've given you the keyword; but that won't take you to the starting point of the Easter egg, and you'll just end up wondering what the hell is going on. When I wrote the CYOA, I intentionally jumbled up the sections so that you can't just read straight through the book.

Anyway, watching this video brought my lionfish to mind, which made me think of my story and  also prompted me to tell you about a lunatic named Coyote Peterson (not his real name, as if you couldn't have guessed). You might know of him already; but if you don't, his Flickr account says he's "an adventurer and extreme field zoologist" - which doesn't make him a real zoologist. As as far as I can tell from a quick Google search, his only degree is in filmmaking.  He uses that skill to record himself getting bitten and stung by horrible, painful creatures of all types and then shares the results on YouTube. It's kind of like a classier version of Jackass.

But even though I'm taking the piss out of this guy, I do enjoy his videos. The stings and bites are real, and he's not afraid to show you how scared he is beforehand or how much pain he's in afterwards (He might exaggerate some things, but you can't exaggerate a shock-pale face or a red and swollen entry point. Plus, the bites and stings are all filmed clearly and in closeup). So far his biggest challenge was the bullet ant, so the lionfish is a pretty big letdown after that; but the video below will still give you a taste of his style and a link to the bullet ant video in the sidebar. It'll also show you what a real lionfish looks like. Mine's a little different. ;-)

Monday, April 24, 2017

For your viewing pleasure

A few days ago I had the extreme pleasure of watching The Handmaiden, the latest movie from Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook. Now, I haven't seen Oldboy (I've read the spoiler, and now I don't want to see it), but I know Park has a reputation for shocks and cinematic gore. Well, this movie is light on the gore, but it is beautifully filmed and there are plenty of shocks - plus an octopus, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

The basic plot is is. A conman selects a pretty young pickpocket to help him separate an heiress from her money.The heiress has been raised by a cruel and kinky uncle who trains her to read BDSM porn to groups of horny businessmen for profit. His profit. He plans to marry her later and take all her money. But the pickpocket's job is to convince the heiress that she should elope with the conman instead. After that, he says, he'll have her committed to a madhouse and give the pickpocket a cut of the money. But this movie is based on the English novel Fingersmith, written by the author of Tipping the Velvet, so you know the heiress won't fall for the conman. She'll fall for the pickpocket, and that will lead to all kinds of interesting developments. Lovely sex scenes, too. Lovely, lovely sex scenes.

I'll say no more about the plot, because it's too full of surprises to spoil. But I will say that the movie is available on Netflix. ;-)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Update on the MC/hypno-themed movie Annihilation

Remember the book Annihilation, which I've raved about several times on this blog? I even included some lengthy quotes to demonstrate just how heavily it relied on MC and non-consensual hypnosis. I loved it and recommend it highly. If you missed my  old posts, or if you just want to see them again, click on the link above. I also discussed the story at length in my podcast interview with Callidus (Start at 1:00:26) because we'd recently learned that it was going to be adapted into a movie by Alex Garland of Ex Machina, 28 Days Later, and Dredd fame.

But after the news that Garland was making a movie, there came a long stretch where we heard nothing but crickets. Fortunately, Paramount has finally released a few snippets of footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Don't ask me why they chose that con. In fact, if you know why they chose that con, tell me. (Better still, if you were there, give us all a full report!)

Anyway, it really was just snippets, but even the people who hadn't read the book and didn't know what they were looking at still came away excited. I'd hoped the footage would find its way online, but it hasn't; all I've seen are lots of articles describing that footage. io9 has the best, most MC-ish take, so that's the one I'll quote from:

The setting is a typical suburban house. Inside it is Natalie Portman’s character, and she’s crying. She’s lost someone and seems to be packing up or fixing the house to move out. Then, a man starts to walk up the stairs. It’s Oscar Isaac’s character, who just so happens to be the man Portman thought was dead. She’s stunned, excited, confused, and runs up to kiss him. But he’s almost not there. Unaware. Cold. Not kissing her back.

We move downstairs to the kitchen table where Isaac is sitting absolutely still with a full glass of water in front of him. She explains that he’s been missing for a year. No one knew where he was or what happened. He just disappeared. She asks if his mission was covert and he says “Maybe,” then “Yes.” She asks where he was and he says he doesn’t know where he was. “How is that possible?” she asks. “You must be able to tell me something,” she adds, now getting frustrated. “Does it matter?” he asks in a super creepy way. That shakes her but, finally, he’s about to open up.

“I was outside the room. The room with the bed. I saw you and recognized you. I recognized your face,” he says, which is very confusing to everyone. He takes a sip of water and says he’s not feeling well, which is when we see the blood. Portman’s character calls and ambulance and they’re off to the hospital. Isaac is convulsing, obviously very sick, and then three black SUVs stop the ambulance.
They break in, take them both out, and knock out Portman. She wakes up in some kind of hospital or prison with Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character. “Where’s my husband, I want to see a lawyer!” she says. We get a quick shot of Isaac’s character and it looks like he has silver makeup around his eyes in the hospital. Finally, Leigh’s character tells Portman’s what going on.

She explains there was an event. Maybe religious, maybe alien, they don’t know. Now there’s a mysterious area of the planet. They keep sending people there but no one has come back, she explains. “Now something has,” Portman says, referring to Isaac. “I need to know what’s inside.”
Portman then joins a team as they head into the area. This is when the footage sped up, mostly because I’m sure these parts of the movie are still being worked on. But here are a few of the images I remember. We see her and the other cast members walking towards almost like a blurry section of land. There’s a shot of Portman with a machine gun. A shot from inside some kind of big creature’s mouth of Jennifer Jason Leigh. People in a yard that seems to be made of vines. A vine-like substance growing on someone’s arm. Lights and colors and flashes that kind of looked like 2001. And that was that.

And now I'm going to share a video I did find on YouTube, of two very enthusiastic guys who didn't read the book but were nevertheless blown away by the teaser. Put their dialogue next to the quote above, and you might get an idea of how close or far the movie the movie might differ from the book. Also, if you have read the book, these guys' crazy theories will make you fall off your chair laughing.