Flu (film)

Posted in Entertainment, foreign films, Korean films, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2015 by urbannight

Flu is a Korean disaster film that is very good.  Like a lot of Korean disaster films, there is a lot of humor in them.  Although the serious parts are very serious indeed.

The more I like a movie the less I have to say about it.  The less I care about spoilers.

The writing is good.

The acting is excellent.

The drama is intense.

You should watch this.  Everyone should watch this.  It is like the American film from a few years ago, Outbreak, only much better.

I group of illegals are transported into South Korea via a shipping container.  One has a cough as they take off.  They arrive in Korea with only one survivor.  He gets away but a lethal and very fast acting flu starts to spread through the city.  The city is quarantined.  Things go from bad to worse after that.

CDC people from the US come in and some politico types and they try to take over and eventually want to solve the problem by bombing the city to make sure the flu doesn’t get out of the city.    The Korean president has some difficulty wresting control back from the American’s who think they have the right to tell every other country what to do.

Well, that does sound about accurate.

Go watch it.  Go watch it now.  It is on Netflix at the moment.

Ring of Fire, HAHAHAHAHA, Sorry.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2015 by urbannight

This little disaster movie must be made for t.v. because it is a two-part movie.  The human drama was pretty good in most places, a bit melodramatic in others.  The writing for most of it wasn’t bad.  The science is pretty awful.

An oil company is secretly using a new laser drilling system to drill over twice as deep as they are legally allowed.  They are after what they think is a pocket of oil.  The geologist who signed off on it, but only at the legal depth, is aware of the target but had identified it is compressed magma.  Which it turns out to be.  The volcanic structure of the area is a caldera type volcano with a number of towns that had been built-in the caldera.

This is part of the ring of fire and they expect it to trigger an extinction level event.  In fact, they keep talking about and counting down to one massive event happening all around the entire tectonic/volcanic area called the Ring of Fire.  This is a massive area going around in a circle on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

At least they are having some of the initial events related to this having occurred around five months before.  But this one break through into the magma chamber has destabilized the entire Ring in a matter of hours and they are expecting the entire ring to start erupting all at one time in under a day.

Now, when I was in college and minoring in Geology, there was a theory that something could set off the Ring of Fire.  But not in the way depicted in this movie.  It would take something very massive and if it triggered any part of the ring it would only  be certain parts.  That might trigger other sections.  By trigger it was only in the sense that it would increase the tectonic and/or volcanic (although both are intrinsically related) activity in the area which might be enough to trigger eruptions or might not be.

Theoretically, something might possibly be able to trigger the ring in stages and it might cause eruptions, eventually, in stages, but nothing that would go off all at one time or that could trigger a mass extinction event.

Charles and Harry

Posted in Entertainment, New, Royals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2015 by urbannight
Windsors

Press photo from something or other some time or other.

I can remember how there have been rumor after rumor, for many years, that Harry was not the son of Prince Charles.  But looking at this image, how can anyone think that?  Harry is a red-haired version of his father.  The slightly wider face he inherited from his mother makes his father’s admittedly homely features look less homely.  The noses are not identical but how much is that due to Charles’ age?  The eyes and that smile are the spitting image of one another.  So is that identical hairline.  I guess trying to figure out who Harry’s ‘real’ father might be is a way for some people to try to keep Diana’s memory alive.  Seems silly to me.  Don’t people have enough REAL problems to worry about?

Rice and Lentils, a simple if slow cooking dish.

Posted in Caooking, Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2015 by urbannight

I have this super simple dish I make sometimes.  It always  tastes great but it takes a long time to make.

I start with a few cups of water and set it to boil with a bullion cube in it.  Any type, sometimes chicken, sometimes beef, sometimes veggie.

Once the lentils are nearly done I add rice and whatever seasoning trips my trigger at that moment in time.

You have to watch to check the water, add more as needed.   I’ve found it always takes more than the amount of lentils and rice recommend.  I’m not sure why.

Now I just as water as needed until both the rice and lentils are soft.

I’ve never had it turn out bad.

That being said, I’ve had trouble using some of the so-called instant rice.  Regular instant rice cooks up fine.  But there is an ‘instant’ boil in bag Jasmine rice that doesn’t seem to work.  I, of course, cut the bag and pour it in.  The problem is that the box says this ‘instant’ jasmine rice cooks up in 8 to 10 minutes.  This is not true.  I’ve never had it cook in under about half an hour.  Even when cooking it on its own according to the cooking instructions on the box.  If you want to use Jasmine rice, it will turn out better if you just buy a normal bag of the stuff and cook it per those instructions.

Altar, the ending, warning, there are spoilers.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2015 by urbannight

Altar is a Gothic haunted house movie.  It borrows heavily from other movies and is predictable.  The ending is a bit odd but I think it makes sense.

Once upon a time, a man who practiced alchemy was very much in love with his wife and while performing a Rosicrucian ritual, he kills her.  Many years later, they both haunt the house.  Although it was quiet when it was a B&B.

A family moves in to restore the place.  and once the sealed off rooms are opened the haunting start.  The ghost of Radcliffe indicates the death of his wife was an accident.  But he seems to be attempting to possess the husband and recreate the murder using the wife.

I think perhaps Mrs. Radcliffe’s death really was an accident.  As the crucial hour comes near, he is waiting and the wife is out cold and in place and the altar stone hanging above her starts slipping from the ceiling.  I think it had come loose in its sockets and slipped out and he Radcliffe never meant to murder his wife.

The children race in and save the day, pulling mom from the mural on the floor.  Mom and daughter try to get to the fire escape on the roof while the son has dropped some balls for Dad to stubble on.  The trap doesn’t work, Mom is on the roof.  Dad is looking down at the fountain in the yard.  The fountain where Radcliffe died after slipping from the roof.

Mom slams the window on Dad causing Dad to fall back just when the altar stone crashes into the floor.  Daughter tosses holy water in his face.  Mom is saved, Dad is back to normal.  No one died.  Everyone things everything is over.  They call a cab and are driving from the house.

Mom is in the back seat with the kids, Dad is up front with the driver.  Mom starts cracking her knuckles.  Just like the lady ghost did.  The children look over at her hands and see a huge, old-fashioned wedding ring of amber.  She just looks at them.  Dad looks back and puts his hand over Mom’s hands and says, I love you, Petal.  Radcliffe’s pet name for his wife.  He then just looks at the kids.  The kids look at their parents in horror and the movie ends.

HMMMM.

I think that Radcliffe was never trying to recreate the ‘murder’ of his wife.  I think he was trying to recreate the ritual and finish it without her dying.  So they could be together again.  I think that because they managed to save mom and everyone was there at the right time and no one died, that somehow the ghost succeeded.  And he and his wife would now be able to live on again, together.

Where that leaves the kids and what happens to them is an entirely different story which we will never know, since it was more amusing to end the show with them looking terrified as the taxi heads away from the house and back to London.

The movie was not bad if not brilliant.  The secondary characters were a bit of wasted space.  The contractor that has hardly any screen time before quitting and the ghost whisperer that is hardly there either.  The other secondary characters only had lines on the telephone and no screen time at all.

If you like ghost stories, it was nice to see a Gothic one done for a change.  Worth watching.  If you want more blood and guts in your horror, you probably won’t want to watch this one.

The Seasoning House.

Posted in Activities, Entertainment, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by urbannight

This movie is about a brothel. All the girls in it are kidnapped and drugged. They are kidnapped by a military unit. While the film is a British film, it seems to be set in some Eastern Bloc country after the fall of the USSR when there was all that fighting over there. I’m guessing the name of the brothel was The Seasoning House as it is the name of the film. I’m not sure as it is never mentioned in the movie.

I feel I should mention that one of the things that caught my eye about this film is that Sean Pertwee is in it. I didn’t think Pertwee was a terribly common name so I had to look him up. He is, indeed, the son of Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor. He plays the commander that is using his unit to kidnap young women from the towns and take them to the brothel. In fact, the military men seem to be the primary customer base for the place.

They take a young girl who is deaf and mute. Parts of the movie are filmed with no sound other than background music and it is effective for getting into the head of the girl who will be called Angel.

For some reason, movies fall apart around biological function. Angel is def and someone drops a bucket next to her head with a loud clatter for the audience. The implication is the sound woke her but she is def. More likely she felt the vibration through the metal bed frame. But the give the impression it is sound. At another point, someone goes pst pst to her and she turns her head. There is not viable explanation to that. It isn’t like he was close to her. He was several yards away. Lastly, it looks like she is emptying slop buckets into one bucket. But the girls are tied to the bed by one hand. The slop bucket is out of reach. So how are they using it?

Angel herself is very pretty but has a very large, strawberry birth mark on one side of her face. Victor, the man who runs/owns the brothel, keeps her for himself and has her take care of the girls. He seems to treat her with a very strange sort of gentleness and kindness contrary to the rest of his actions.

This movie is dark and dirty and violent and generally horrible. Yet is has some bizarre moments of cinematic beauty. The scenes with no sound but background music, when Angel starts to wash the hand of a girl whose was killed by a soldier as he raped her, when Victor is showing Angel how to inject a girl w/ heroin.

Angel bonds with a girl who knows sign language. Her father was deaf. And through flashbacks, we learn that Angel’s own father was also a violent and abusive man. Her mother kicked him out. So Angel is upset when this girl’s pelvis is broken by a customer. The doctor is brought in and Victor implies the doctor can use her for something that is never explained. The doctor says that she is in no fit condition. Victor says some things about the past and clearly has a hold over the doctor but it isn’t explained. This becomes sort of important later.

Victor seems to be looking forward to a time when everything will be different, when he and Angel can leave and start over someplace new. He seems to think himself in love with her. Why is never really explained. Does he think that because he keeps her safe from the customers and is somehow kinder and gentler with her even though he forces himself on her that she will somehow love him for it? Does he think that because of her birthmark and her being deaf and mute that she would be grateful that someone would want her? It really makes no sense.  I have a theory that when we see evil characters trying to be good or gentle about something and not to turn it around as a trick, we are seeing a weird peek into the person they would have been, should have been, had they not ended up being a sick and twisted individual.

The people who kidnapped Angel and killed her mother (she had a sister, I’m wondering if that was the girl Victor kills in the beginning to frighten the other girls into cooperation) arrive in town again. I think this must be a military town because the commander acts like he owns the place and later acts like he own a machine shop that Angel tries to hide in. He orders everyone out and they go. Anyway, they come into the brothel and this freaks Angel out.

Time passing is hinted at as the commander implies that he is in security now. One of his men is sent in to the girl with the broken pelvis and she ends up dying. Angel now starts her killing spree. Only it isn’t a spree so much. She is really the only one she kills on purpose. The rest she kills as she is defending herself and in some cases, almost accidental. The fact that no one ‘really’ catches her is more a factor of dumb luck and her own desperation to get away.

Eventually, the last one standing is the commander dude and she is in the machine shop, (not really, I don’t know what it was so that is what I’m calling it) and she gets into the duct work and pipes to escape him. He tries to follow her and eventually gets really stuck. I mean good and stuck. The more he tries to get unstuck the worse it gets. He starts to beg her to help him. He is trying to kill her, he is responsible for her mother’s death and likely her sister as well, he kidnapped her and sent her to this brothel where the owner is raping her, and he wants her to help him. At this point, she happens to be facing him so she is able to read his lips as he does this. She produces a rag from someplace. As her clothes are pretty shredded up, it is probably cloth she ripped off. She shoved it in his mouth so he can’t talk and leaves him stuck. The implication being that he will die a slow death of starvation in the duct or pipe.

Now she gets out of the shop, continues running across more fields until she comes to an old lady working in her garden. The lady start to call for help and the doctor who tended the girls at the brothel comes out of the house. The old woman takes a sobbing Angel inside while the doctor looks both ways and then closes the door. End of film.

So, what did Victor have over the doctor? What was the doctor using girls for since all we know is that a girl with a broken pelvis was unsuitable? Did Angel just get out of the frying pan only to find herself in the fire now? We don’t know because this is where the story stops.

I find it very frustrating. I want to know how something ends. Even if it is not a happy end, I want an ending. Not a great big question mark.

HP Lovecraft and Religion, a few thoughts as I drove to work.

Posted in Literature, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2015 by urbannight

HP LovecraftHPL often makes the religious most susceptible to madness in his stories. They turn into absolute wrecks when confronted with things out of the ordinary. These things are not supernatural in nature and the person’s religious actions to protect them do not work. His creatures are natural but either ancient, alien, or trans-dimensional. So he is basing his monsters/creatures on science (or science fiction) that we don’t understand. The implication is that religious people are weak minded to start with.
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Yet many times he has people who were more rational and non-religious go to religious authority figures for help when strange things start to happen to them or around them. It is like he is saying that it is human nature to turn to religion when confronted by the unknown or the unknowable. Of course, anything suggested by or provided by these religious figures always fails. HPL’s views of religious are well known.
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His stories reflect a concept that those who are religious and depend on religion to start with are weak minded individuals but even those with stronger mental fortitude will turn to religion when faced with the unknown, that it is basic human nature. But since God doesn’t really exist, religion cannot solve the strange problems caused by life forms that science was unable to identify or that came from other places. But people’s reliance on religion makes using religion an easy way to take over a community in order to control people for ulterior goals.
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In fact, as I sit here running stories through my head, I can only think of one that uses a supernatural horror instead of one that could be considered natural if unknown or unearthly. That is Dreams in the Witch House. There may be others that I would find if I sat down and flipped through more stories. That’s just an off the top of my head recall.
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The fact that his horror seldom uses magical causes actually increases the horror. The idea that the world is much bigger and stranger than we can see in our ordinary reality and those things have no care for the structure of the world as we see it and have created it for ourselves is a more terrifying concept than supernatural horrors.

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