Archive for February, 2015

Movie Reviews: Venus in Fur, and My Mistress

So while losers and people with bad taste are out seeing 50 Shades of Grey today, I figured that I’d review some more off the radar slightly kinky films. Both are undoubtedly better than 50 Shades of Grey. I can say this without seeing 50 Shades of Grey, as just about everything else is better than that dumb movie. So let’s get on with the reviews.

Venus in Fur

This film is based on the stage play based on the novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The word “masochist” actually comes from the author’s last name. But let’s get to the plot synopsis.

A stage play based on the novel is in the works, but the director is having trouble finding a woman capable of playing the leading lady. It’s getting late, and he’s just about to head home when a woman arrives very late for auditions. He doesn’t want to let her read, but she begs him and convinces him to give her a shot. It starts out funny, but from there on things get interesting. Slowly she begins taking control of everything while reading her role. She prevents him from going home to his fiance, and seems to know a bit too much about certain things, everything actually. At some point it’s not laughs anymore and surprisingly hot, or possibly still funny depending on your taste (or lack thereof). The ending confused me initially, but after I slept on it and talked about it with a friend I realized what was going on.

The acting was great. Mathieu Amalric is either an amazing actor or a submissive guy in real life, or both. He was able to replicate this look guys get in their eyes when they’re absolutely transfixed by a woman. I’ve never really seen a man do this in a movie before. He was also great at playing a guy who was in denial about what he really wanted, playing off his innermost desires as something else less embarrassing to admit to. And Emmanuelle Seigner did a really good job of playing a manipulative, controlling and possibly crazy woman without coming off as annoying or as a bitch. If I spoke French I could probably better judge their acting, but over all it was very well done. The music was also great and added a lot to the crazy  mind-fuck feel the film had to it.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This:

  • It’s not really a true rendition of the novel, it’s a movie about the play of a play about the novel.
  • The ending confused me for about a day.
  • As great as Mathiew Amalric performance was, I didn’t find him that attractive.
  • If you haven’t read the novel, you probably won’t appreciate this film as much as you would, had you read the novel.
  • The director, Roman Polanski, is a rapist. Just getting the word out about that since these days everyone only seems to be talking about Bill Cosby.

However, I will add that the ending was much more satisfying than the end of the novel. I found this movie enjoyable overall, but feel bad recommending it because the director is a scumbag.

My Mistress

This is an Australin indie film about the odd relationship between an older teenage boy, Charlie, and an older French-Australian woman, Maggie. (I’m presuming Charlie’s character was of the legal age to consent in Australia, but I’m not quite sure). It starts off with Charlie discovering that his father’s killed himself right around Christmas (but it’s the summer since they’re in Australia), he seems to have a shaky relationship with his mother, plus he has the idiot teenage boy thing going on. After he sees his mom making out with his father’s best friend at his father’s funeral he flips out. Then he takes a job as a gardener at a house down the road for Maggie, a professional dominatrix. He’s overly curious about the BDSM lifestyle and “convinces” her to let him take part in it. The film also goes into Maggie’s past a little bit, it seems child services have her young son because she had a drug problem in the past. She’s sobered up and is working to get custody back.

What I found the most odd about this movie is that Charlie isn’t really a submissive guy. He was manipulative and had several angsty teenage tantrums. Instead of being polite about getting Maggie to whip him, he breaks into her house, handcuffs himself, and refuses to spit the key out of his mouth until she makes him do so.  It was more like he was curious about BDSM and wanted to do whatever he had to experience it. I didn’t think it’d be like that from the trailer. On a positive note, unlike the 50 Shades series, the movie did at least imply continuing to beat someone after they’ve used the safeword is wrong.

This was more of a story about two messed up individuals dealing with issues and trying to ease their pain by using each other. It’s not like the first half hour of The Graduate, and they’re not really a couple I could ship, despite them having some happy moments together.

Why You Shouldn’t Like This

  • The relationship was kind of messed up, but I think that’s what they were going for.
  • The trailer was kind of misleading.
  • I would’ve liked if they went more into Maggie’s backstory, we didn’t really get that much. They also didn’t make it seem like she liked or disliked her job at all, or if she got anything out of it besides money.
  • The ending was reasonable given the story, but it was just meh.
  • Again, Charlie wasn’t actually a submissive guy. A true submissive guy is supposed to put his dom/domme’s wants ahead of his own, Charlie was pretty selfish most of the time. And he never got his rude behavior beaten out of him.

I’m not sure if I’d recommend this or not. It was nice to see something different, but it wasn’t especially amazing.

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A Belated Post On MAGfest

I am so proud of myself. I have always wanted to do a convention write up but always forget to do so in a timely fashion. BUT NOT THIS TIME! IT’S MAGFEST POST TIME!

Originally I wasn’t that eager to go to MAGfest, I really only wanted to go because of peer pressure. I thought it was gonna be lots of long lines to play video games. I love video games, but I hate long lines. I also didn’t think there’d be a lot of cosplay going on. I figured the best thing going on would be partying with my friends.

What I was psyched about was our Sci-Fi & Anime club chartering a bus to take everyone there. It was a million times better than hauling our bags to Manhattan and getting a bus to D.C, and then a cab to the hotel. The seats were pretty damn comfortable and the bus ride was fun because the bus was full of cool people! Except for that one guy I won’t name who was late and publicly shamed and chided for being late.

I also got more excited about MAGfest when I found out about MAGfest Pokemon League. I bred and trained a bunch of competitive pokemon the week before and leveled them up on the busride. A friend of mine was also kind enough to help me out by gifting me a few of his pokemon, but he was a loser and didn’t give them all the awesome nicknames I thought up to spite me. It was quite sad since I take pride in coming up with fun nicknames, but all is forgiven. I even got him a keychain of his favorite pokemon in the dealers room to say thanks, but let’s continue!

When we got to the Gaylord National Resort I was really shocked at how huge it was. I knew it was huge and had seen pictures, but I didn’t think it was as huge as it was. I could post pictures but you really need to see it in person to understand.

After checking in the first thing we did was sign up at the Pokemon table for team Aqua, and I entered my pokemon team  so I could battle gym leaders. I challenged the electric gym because there wasn’t a line. I wasn’t sure if I’d win because it was my first time battling these guys (or seriously battling in general), but my based quagsire, Swagsire, wiped out the gym and I got a badge! I lost every other gym battle for the duration of the convention, but it was ok I still had fun and Ash-earned a badge on Sunday.

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badges on my team rocket hat: poison, electric,  and a tsun-tsun moon button that is not a badge, but is cool enough to be one.

Basically Sunday morning we found the Poison gym in an non-standard location. I lost 3-0, but he gave me the badge anyway because he said he was leaving early! The normal gym leader was fun. I would have won against him if I remembered wigglytuff was also fairy type. I would have done better in general if I knew more about pokemon that came after gen II, but I still had fun. Hopefully I’ll get some actual badges next year!

On Saturday we cosplayed Team rocket for fun, and because it’s a relatively easy cosplay. To my surprise there were a lot of serious cosplayers running around. I didn’t take too many photos though. Here’s one of us with more team rocket members. I regret not bringing my mew and wooper poke-dolls.

magfestteamrocketOn Saturday we also went to a Katamari music pannel, the composers were taking question with the aid of a Japanese-English translator. I don’t think anyone asked them about drugs. If I wasn’t running on very little sleep I would have considered asking if hallucinogens or any other kind of substance played a role. The best “question” was one student telling them the song You Are Smart helped him study for his finals. The composers were also really surprised they had so many fans outside of Japan, it was kind of adorable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe also saw the band Lonely Rolling Stars later that day. They were pretty good, but they needed more and stronger vocals for most of their songs. And having the lyrics up at the end of their cover of Lonely Rolling Star would’ve helped the audience sing along like they seemed to have wanted us to. I wanted to sing along, but remembering Japanese lyrics is always something I’ve struggled with. That evening we saw the end of The Megas before we saw some of Powerglove.

Sunday we spent some time in the indie game room. My favorite indie game was Shutshimi. You play as goldfish with guns and shoot things. The levels go by really quickly, it’s not that easy to describe, but I really enjoyed it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also spent some time in the actual game room, which was huge. We did it either early in the day or late at night when it wasn’t as crowded. They had actual computers from the 80’s there with 80’s games on them. Tons of old arcade games. Tons of rhythm games. And all of it was free. I liked it, but you have to go at an odd time of day to not spend forever waiting for people to finish so you can get a turn. That type of thing brings back too many painful childhood memories of me waiting for my cousin to give me a turn on Super Mario 64.

On Sunday we also took a detour and visited the big ferris wheel we saw when we arrived!

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There was also a Peeps store. We had to go. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunday evening we went to see The Protomen concert. Earlier at the con we stopped by their table in the dealer’s room. Scott bought their album on a cassette tape (it came with a download code as well) and a t-shirt. He’d seen them before a couple of years and was adorably excited to be seeing them live again.  I think Scott being adorably excited to go was my favorite thing about the con 🙂 He also played some of their songs for me years ago, which I wasn’t that crazy about. They were much better live. It was a really fun concert.

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The lights made my wooper keychain all glowy and I thought it was cool. Don’t judge me.

The concert was especially fun because things kept breaking, but they just kept going along with it. All of the songs were great. They even did a pretty decent Queen cover. And I’m pretty harsh critic when it comes to Queen covers. Scott said the audience could have been into it more, but I’d blame that on a lot of them just going because it was another concert they could easily get into, or to check the band out. It wasn’t just fans who knew all of their songs like at a concert you’d pay for. After going to this I’d absolutely pay to go see them live if they ever come back to play in NYC. I’m still not crazy about their studio recordings, and wish the lyrics were a bit easier to understand, but I don’t care that much. Also since I haven’t played the mega man games it’d be nice if someone made a summary of what story line the game actually has, and what The Protomen expanded for their rock opera. I still don’t have much of an idea as to what their story line is, but again, I don’t care that much because they put on a fun show.

Monday we spent a little bit more time in the game room before we left in hopes of beating the impending Snowmageddon happening back in New York. Overall it was a fun convention. Next year I want to focus more on concerts, and hope to win more badges… assuming I can go next year 🙂 (I think it’s a yes)

Bought him last minute on Monday!

Bought him last minute on Monday! His stand is actually upside down, and I did fix it, but I’m too lazy to take another photo.

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Concert Review: Distant Worlds

I forget exactly how long ago Scott got us tickets for the Distant Worlds concert at Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ, but it was quite some time ago. I remember not being that eager to go because of the price, but figured it’d be fun, plus it was in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to deal with coming home from New Jersey late at night. Plus Newark doesn’t have the best reputation, but let’s get back to the concert!

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I wasn’t that crazy about the first half of the show. My main problem was the damn screen seen in the picture above. They used it to play Final Fantasy clips during the concert for every song. I felt that it really took away from the music, blocked some of the chorus from my viewpoint and made it feel more like I was watching an amv or something, especially since the acoustics in the hall weren’t that great. They started off with some music from Final Fantasy XIV (which I haven’t played). I wasn’t really feeling the songs. At some point they played something from XIII or whichever one had Lightning in it. I didn’t play that game but based on the clips I understand what people say about the game being waifu fodder, and the music wasn’t that memorable. They ended the first act with a version of the Chocobo theme, it was cute, but once again I found the use of the screen annoying. I think they were trying to be cute and fun with it, but again, I found it very distracting from the music.

After intermission they got to good stuff, One Winged Angel, Suteki Da Ne, and the opera from Final Fantasy VI.They also did a song from VIII which was nice. My biggest complaint once again was the damn screen. I wanted to actually feel some music feels when they played One Winged Angel, but the first thing on that screen was a closeup of old school graphics Sephiroth, and then him staring at “mother,” I’ve seen too many parodies and jokes that I thought it was funny and couldn’t take it seriously anymore. Then they started showing clips from Advent Children, reminding me that that movie was the most confusing thing I’ve ever watched in my life.

Suteki Da Ne was wonderful, even with the damn screen. Rikki was perfect. Seriously everything about Rikki’s performance was perfect. Her dress was beautiful, sadly I didn’t get to take any pictures. But this was absolutely the best part of the show.

The opera was also pretty good. It gets points for being the only time I felt any vibrations during the show thanks to the female vocalist. Not feeling vibrations during One Winged Angel was especially disappointing. I want to blame Prudential Hall for me not feeling any vibrations, but I can’t be sure. Like I know if this was at Carnegie Hall, or Avery Fischer Hall and I felt no vibrations it’d be solely the fault of Distant Worlds. Also when the opera was starting everyone laughed at those old school pixels on the screen from FFVI

They ended the show with some battle music and the Final Fantasy credits music. For that bit they played credits on the screen, which I felt was the only time that screen was really appropriate or worth it. It also turned out Nobuo Uematsu was there, he made a brief appearance and bowed at the end of the show 🙂 even though I think getting a picture with him would’ve been impossible, it was nice to be in the same room as him.

Final Words

Overall I found the concert enjoyable. I would’ve been upset about the ticket price ($80+) had Rikki not graced us with her amazing presence and made up for all of the shows downfalls. Again, I suspect the acoustics of the hall were bad but I cannot be sure. I also think that this concert was not as great as it could have been because the organizers felt the need to pander more to young people by changing it up from a traditional classical concert. We could have had fun without the screen. I think I would’ve enjoyed the music more, and would’ve been able to immerse myself in the music had that screen not been there and had the hall’s acoustics been better. I’ve seen this pandering to “new” fans really take away from a number of things in the past. Like the stupid amps being used for the Zelda concert, and these really weird costumes and set designs in a production of La Boheme they did a live broadcast of at my high school circa 2007. Classical music can be fun for newer people, you just need to have a fun attitude and not try too hard. Trying too hard to be cute is what ruins things. And a lack of vibrations. Especially a lack of vibrations.

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