Links

Books

I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9′ S, Longitude 126° 43′ W)? by Neil Gaiman.

Music

Movies

On Avatar: Fantasy vs. science fiction: James Cameron’s Avatar. When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like Avatar? James Cameron’s Avatar: Watch Some -isms This December!

New Project by David Cronenberg with Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender and Christoph Waltz.

Terry Gilliam’s Three-Reel Circus.

Politics

The Danger of a Single Story.

Religion

Science

In Utero Images of Animals.

Completely Different Things

Internet Meme Database.

What I’ve Been Up To…

Sorry I haven’t really been around for a while… In these past few days I had to bake five different types of cookies, babysit my niece and nephew, do my Christmas shopping, go to the hairdresser, have a Christmas party, finish a book, go to the movies (twice, or actually three times, except that I didn’t get to see a movie one time) and do loads of things and my digital life got pushed to the back burner.

Here’s to hoping that things are kinda back to normal now.

Anyway, breaking news first:

Avatar sucks. Avatar is Dances With Wolves, except that the wolves have six legs and wings and the natives are blue. Avatar is much too long. Avatar is sexist and racist. And I’m really glad that I didn’t have to pay for my ticket. [More on that in my actual review.]

[And my apologies to B. and abstrakt that I didn’t go with them as planned, but I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. :)]

Links

Books

The 15 Best Time Travel Stories of All Times.

Movies

Natalie Portman to star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Trailers for Clash of the Titans and Iron Man 2.

The Guardian counts down the Best Movies of the Decade: 11-100.

Religion

Science

Mario Made with Genetically Engineered Bacteria:

Completely Different Things

The Best New Words of the Noughties.

Installing Windows Considered as a Literary Genre.

27 Questions – Meme Monday

1. In two words, explain what ended your last relationship.

8000 km.

2. When was the last time you shaved your legs?

Don’t ask… what’s winter for, right? :)

3. What were you doing this morning at 8am?

Riding on a train on my way to the utterly sense-less training I’m receiving right now, so I won’t show up in unemployment statistics.

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?

Writing another blog post.

5. Are you any good at math?

I can hold my own as long as it stays abstract. If you ever try to explain anything to me that involves some geometry, I’m going to die a hundred thousand times before I understand anything.

6. Your prom night?

I wore a black dress, I danced a bit, though not the opening because my partner cancelled on short notice and I generally found it rather boring, I have to admit.

7. Do you have any famous relatives?

Depends on what you call famous. One of my uncles is a writer (though not hugely successful), one of my aunts is the head of a university in Berlin and the family of my mother’s first husband (with whom I really have nothing to do at all) was somehow related to Walter Brennan.

8. Have you ever taken out a loan to pay for school?

No.

9. Do you know the words to your MySpace song?

What the hell is a MySpace song?

10. Last thing you received in the mail?

The normal snail mail? Some advertisement for a local circus.

11. How many different beverages have you drank today?

Two: coffee and water. And if you count the tea I drank last night after midnight, three.

12. Who did you lose your virginity to?

Some guy in Brasil. I think his name was Jean, but I only saw him once. It was generally a rather sucky experience, one of the “well, there, now I’ve got that behind me, on to other things!” experiences.

13. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?

No. But I like to make paw prints with my fingers.

14. What’s the most painful dental procedure you’ve had?

I had never had anything done that was really painful.

15. What is out your back door?

I don’t have a back door.

16. Do you like the ocean?

Who doesn’t?

17. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different kinds of popcorn for Christmas?

Nope. And I would be really disappointed if I had.

18. Have you ever been to a planetarium?

Actually, not that I can remember. I mean, I’ve been to the Urania, a planetarium/cinema/evening school in Vienna, but only to the cinema part, never to the planetarium itself. I don’t even know if it’s still in use.

19. Something you are excited about?

Christmas!

Btw [via presti]:

20. What is your favorite flavor of jello?

Raspberry.

21. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive?

No. I met one of my great-grandmothers when I was little but she died shortly after.

22. Describe your keychain?

Uhm, pretty full? It’s a fixed ring with a winding where you can screw a plastic thingy on or off. It’s not very exciting.

23. Where do you keep your change?

In my wallet.

24. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group?

Depends on what you mean by large. Today I spent an entire morning training a group of five people. If you want more than that, we’ll need to go back a couple of months or so, the it would be doing a presentation in front of about 30 persons. Larger than that, we’ll have to go way back to June when I spoke to the 100 or so guests at my sister’s wedding.

Well, bottom line: I don’t have a problem with it and I do it fairly frequently.

25. What kind of winter coat do you have?

I have two, an orange one and a black one. Neither are very exciting.

26. What do you think of the person you copied this from?

I have no idea anymore from which random site I stole this. Sorry.

27. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?

Opened. Because I’m alone in my flat. When I’m not, it’s usually closed.

Orlando (1992)

Orlando is a movie by Sally Potter based on Virginia Woolf‘s book of the same name, starring Tilda Swinton, Quentin Crisp and Billy Zane.

Plot:
Orlando (Virginia Woolf) is a young man during the reign of Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp). When he vows never to grow old, he doesn’t. The movie follows his life and affairs, first with the Queen, then with the Russian Princess Sasha (Charlotte Valandrey). After Sasha returns to Russia, Orlando leads his life pretty love-less and soon ennui sets in. Then one night, he falls asleep and can not be woken for quite a period of time. Finally he wakes up and finds himself metamorphosed into a woman’s body. And that’s when his trouble really starts.

I admit that I have never read anything by Virginia Woolf, so I can’t compare the movie and the book (yet, at least). But I really enjoyed the movie. It was funny, interesting and beautifully shot. And it has really awesome costumes and a great set design.

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The Deep End (2001)

The Deep End is a movie by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.

Plot:
Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton) is worried: her son Beau (Jonathan Tucker) has an affair with night club owner Darby Reese (Josh Lucas). Not willing to discuss his sexuality with her son, Margaret rather goes to Darby and tells him to stay away. But Darby goes to Beau anyway and the two guys get into a fight. After Beau leaves, Darby stumbles and dies. The next morning, Margaret finds his body, assumes that Beau has killed Darby and decides to cover it all up. But things are far from over: Alek (Goran Visnjic) turns up and tells Margaret that he has evidence of the affair between Darby and Beau and he tries to extort her with that knowledge.

The Deep End is a thriller, noir style. That’s not really the kind of thing I usually like. But even if it was, it still would only be an average film with a mixed cast, some logical fallacies and problems with the pacing. If you like thrillers, I guess you could do worse, but it’s not a must-see.

[Minor Spoilers]

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Blutsfreundschaft [Initiation] (2009)

Blutsfreundschaft (which actually means blood friendship, as in a friendship bound by a blood oath, and not initiation) is the newest movie by Austrian director Peter Kern and stars Helmut Berger, Harry Lampl and Melanie Kretschmann.

Plot:
Axel (Harry Lampl) is pretty alone and kind of lost. More by coincidence than actual conviction, he starts to hang out with a group of neonazis. When they attack a group of people and Axel accidentally kills one of them, he finds a refuge in Gustav (Helmut Berger), a gay laundry owner. Axel reminds Gustav of an old lover of his, so while Gustav tries to save Axel from the neonazis and himself, he unrolls his own past with the nazis.

This movie was pretty much ridiculous, I’m sorry to say. The plot, the portrayal of the neonazis, the portrayal of Gustav and Axel… It was all too much like a caricature to actually work. And why Helmut Berger was ever considered one of the great actors is so not clear from this film…

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Man to Man (1992)

Man to Man is a one-woman play by Manfred Karge and was filmed by John Maybury, starring Tilda Swinton.

Plot:
Shortly before the WW II, Ella Gericke (Tilda Swinton) takes on the identity of her husband Max after his death to work instead of him in the factory. She continues to be Max until she herself doesn’t even know who she is anymore.
The story is told from her point of view as an old woman.

Ugh. People, this movie is equally really boring and really annoying and very, very trying. Honestly, though Tilda Swinton gives it her best, listening to an hour long rant that’s not broken up by anything, no other person, no visual relief, nothing is not something I can recommend.

[Poster of the theatre production, not the movie.]

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