greygirlbeast: (Default)
On Monday, I learned that "As Red As Red" has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, as has the anthology in which it was published, Ellen Datlow's Haunted Legends (Tor).

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No work yesterday, aside from email. No good excuse. The words were in my head, and the deadlines are pressing in about me. Still, I fucked off to nowhere in particular. Spooky got back from the mechanic (the bill was bad, but less than expected, and we're pretending that faulty crankshaft will last forever), and I realized that I'd not left the house since Sunday. So, I tagged along while Spooky ran assorted errands. For a while, the sun was warm on my face, and there were the first hints of green, and, here and there, blooming things. All traces of motivation and enthusiasm, enthusiasm for anything at all, faded from me. I dozed in the van. I looked through the windows at the shadows along Benefit Street. I ate a handful of jelly beans. On the way home, we stopped at Acme Video (but I'm coming to that).

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Last night, we watched Let Me In, Matt Reeves' remake of Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in, which, of course, was adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel of the same title. I avoided Reeves' film in the theater, which seemed like the best course of action. I couldn't see the point of it. Even if Reeves' film turned out good, he was still remaking a very new and very excellent film. An endeavor which would be, at best, pointless. And then I learned that the issue of Eli's gender was being removed from the script, which goes a long way towards gutting the story. Eli becomes Abby, and Abby's just a "girl," and all ambiguity is removed. To make things worse, I happened across an interview with Reeves (which I tried to find again, and have been unable to*) in which he was very open about his beliefs that these changes were necessary for the story to be appreciated by an American audience. So, no. I didn't go see it.

I also swore I wouldn't see the DVD.

Regardless, last night, we watched Matt Reeves' film. I tried very hard to judge this film only on its own merits, not relative to Alfredson's. And I failed. But then so does Matt Reeves. Spooky and I often happen upon interesting indie horror films that we'd never heard of, and which turn out to be quite good. Had it not been for the masterful Låt den rätte komma in, Reeves' film might have struck us that way. A pretty good little coming-of-age vampire story. I might even have applauded its grittiness and willingness to take child characters places lots of filmmakers wouldn't have. Instead, Let Me In came across as rushed and disjointed. Even dull. We both actually almost fell asleep.

There are places where the film is a shot-by-shot remake of Låt den rätte komma in, which, again, makes judging it on its own merits difficult. And what was all that business with "Owen's" mother being a religious maniac? I thought, oh...okay...she'll be the one "Abby" bites, the one who lives, then dies in the hospital-room conflagration, having learned she's become the thing she professes to hate, and hey, okay, that might be kind of interesting. But no. Nothing of the sort. Chloe Moretz, who entirely won me over in Kick Ass, radiated nothing of the quiet, innocent threat we saw from Lina Leandersson. And that kid who played "Owen" is about as interesting to watch as a bowl of Cream of Wheat. Is this actually the same actor who appeared in The Road? It's hard to fucking believe. Also, sure, there are more special effects in Reeves' film. Because that's what Americans do. So what?

Verdict: Let Me In is a very mediocre little horror film, if you've never seen Låt den rätte komma in, and if you can set aside the homophobic/transphobic politics that turned Eli into "Abby." But if you passionately love the Swedish film, as did I, and if you expect anything like its depth and Alfredson's marvelous study of mood and atmosphere and character, you're up shit creek. A very shallow shit creek. My advice would be to watch Låt den rätte komma in. It's actually a good film and worthy of your time and attention. To call Matt Reeves' remake unnecessary is a gross understatement.

I never go into a film with the intention of hating it. You know, watching (or reading) something just to earn the rights to kvetch. And I should have kept my promise and avoided this remake.

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I've ended the keyboard auction. I realize now that I made the incredibly dumb mistake of putting it up just as taxes are due. Maybe I'll list it again in a month or two. My thanks to everyone who looked in, though, and everyone who spread the word.

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Aside from the film, not much to last night but Rift. Selwyn made Level 26. I genuinely wish that MMORPGs would offer you the opportunity to tell whining, cowering townspeople to butch up and take care of their own problems or shut the fuck up. It could add a whole new set of stats. Another sort of reputation rating or something. I often have that reaction, and I was having it a lot last night, as the people of Granite Falls (Telara's answer to Deadwood, I think) asked me to do this and then that menial task. For example, the nurse who was too squeamish to take blood. Um...okay. The Ascendant are these super beings, essentially demigods, and we spend a significant amount of our time searching out lost lockets for mourning widows and putting meat in the tables of people apparently too lazy or incompetent to do it for themselves. Yeah, that makes sense.

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And now...well...we'll see.

* I intend to continue looking for it, though.

Postscript: My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark who appears to have found the interview I'm remembering: "Hammer Film's Simon Oakes Promises Scary, Accessible 'Let Me In'". But I may also have read this, which [livejournal.com profile] sovay tracked down: "Matt Reeves Interview LMI DVD,Talks About Abby's Gender." Both contain equally offensive and idiotic comments.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I shall not allow the fact that I am not awake dissuade me from making this blog entry.

Yesterday was, as I said, a day off. And it was not a bad day off, but I fear my head was not cleared out during the course of the day, as I'd hoped it would be. So, I move ahead with a cluttered head.

I've done A-E of "The Yellow Alphabet." Today, F-H.

Watching The Runaways night before last, and pretty much any time I see something made before the advent of the personal computer, the cellphone, the iPod, videogames, the world wide web, and so forth...I am left with the disquieting feeling that the world is becoming increasingly less real. No, I cannot yet quantify that. I'm still working on some way to explain precisely what I mean. Just a sense that things were more real than they are now, and that we continue losing the integrity of reality as we accept more and more techno-distraction into our lives. And sure, this likely goes back to radio and motion pictures, television and telephones. Maybe it even goes back to the invention of the printing press. But the latter was invented in 1440 or so, and it was only at the end of the 19th Century that the explosion of communication and entertainment media via electronic delivery devices really began. Sure, I sound like a Luddite. I probably am a Luddite, albeit a Luddite who spends most of her life online, who uses Twitter and Facebook and LiveJournal and Gmail. Who has an iBook (from 2000, but still), an iPod (from 2005, but still) and a cellphone (from 2004, but still). Mostly, I'm just thinking aloud here. I think the world is becoming less real, and the rate of disintegration may be exponential. Maybe this is what all those transhumanist H+ wonks mean by the "Singularity."

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I think that my various new meds have my body a little off kilter. Specifically, my blood pressure. When I went to the doctor last Monday, my blood pressure was high. But mostly, the Prazosin is causing my blood pressure to drop. In the mornings, I am woozy and weak. My pulse tends to race. But the alternative to the meds is unacceptable, so...I'm dealing with it.

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So, yesterday we saw Phillip Noyce's Salt. The first half was slow, but it picked up steam and the second half was quite enjoyable, as long as you didn't expect the plot to make much sense. As long you're satisfied by watching Angelina Jolie kick butt. Which I was. The ending is more of a "just stopping," so I assume this is the beginning of a series, unless this film tanks. But yeah, big dumb fun, leave your brain at the door.

Which brings me to the fact that we finished Season Two of 24 last night. It's a strange, strange show. It's really not very good. It is, in fact, often perfectly ridiculous. And yet we keep watching it. I think it's mostly Kiefer Sutherland, and the violent absurdity of it all, that keeps us coming back. But I can't imagine anyone watching this one week at a time, one episode a week, with commercials. It's certainly not that compelling. And, setting aside all the silliness, the plot devices and stuff the writers just pull out of their butts because it looks cool and Jack's such a badass that physics don't apply and the like, my main annoyance with the series is it's insistence on irrelevant subplots. In this respect, Season Two was both better and worse than Season One. All that business about Kim and the murdered wife and the murdering husband...it was just a huge distraction. I suspect studio execs insisted there be something to "appeal to the female demographic." But none of it had anything whatsoever to do with the actual story until the very, very end, and then only as a too-convenient device to distract Jack during a crucial minute or so, which was hardly enough to justify its existence. But yeah, we made it through two seasons. Not sure if we'll keep going (especially given that what happens after the Season Two cliffhanger was put into a frakking videogame).

Also, I'm not usually opposed to American remakes of foreign films, not by default. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't. But I am horrified at what's been done by Matt Reeves to Låt den rätte komma in. It's one thing to move the film to America. It's a far, far worse thing to remove Eli's gender issues. That, essentially, guts the film of one of its driving forces. This is not just a story about a budding serial killer and vampirism, but about sexual violation and gender ambiguity, and by striving to make the story more "accessible" (Reeves' own choice of words), he's destroyed it. There's a reason Tomas Alfredson's movie was pretty much limited to the art-film circuit. It was smart and subtle and dealt with complex issues, and dumbing it down for the mass American consumer is an abominable notion. Even if it's a notion that makes money.

We have eBay auctions ending this afternoon. Please have a look.

Anyway...I should get to work.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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