Saw V: I did this for you.

To open with, this entry is not for the squeamish.  Either stop now or don’t run the videos.  You may have to click on the links several times for them to load, because yeah, man, gross.

The first Saw, to me, was an incredible movie.  It was suspenseful, and freaked me the fuck out for a good few days — part of it had to do with those “John Work a Days” (Leigh Whannel and Cary Elwes) — one of  whom happened to be working in cancer — that were integral to its plot.  In other words — I felt it coulda been me in those chains (except for the fact I’ve always been extremely sympathetic to the patients I’ve met, and truly enjoy talking to them about their experience, and doing what I can to make that better.  In Scotland, I brought up to nurses on the wards issues the patients were concerned about, and I ‘d do it again — it’s better for everyone to have understanding and blameless communication about issues facing patients, nurses, physicians — and everyone involved in the overall healthcare experience).  ANYWAY.

The first Saw was pretty amazing in my book.  The “puzzle” was innovative — two people, chained in a room, facing each other (with a dead body in the center).  Add to that plot reveals sprinkled in (based on the two character’s ability to relate to each other and their environment), and the plot moved at a charming, and sometimes relentless pace.   The flashbacks were understandable, given the time we were given with the characters (presumably, their last), and the incredible last ten minutes, where the movie reached a manic frenzy.   Here’s the trailer:

And here’s one of those vicious traps:

Besides Amanda’s reverse bear trap, here’s another particularly nasty outing:

Jigsaw was reminiscent of another notable, tense killer, John Doe in Se7en (don’t watch unless you haven’t seen the movie):

And, I might as well interject this here,  I was looking for a video to include regarding a particular sequence and the sin of ‘avarice.’  What I ended up findign (and what is hopelessly hilarious to me) is this video of William Shatner, and those last moments of Se7en:

Okay, now that I have that out of the way, I can contine on.

Jigsaw (back to the Saw franchise), in the early days, was super devious, and had an incredible insight into human behavior.  I loved this about Saw, and they continued in that spirit – I truly loved Saw II and forced many of my friends to watch it.  Saw II included traps and human puzzles galore.  One of the many traps involved a young lady we had seen earlier in the Saw franchise (Shawnee Smith), and is one of those moments that still creeps me out when I see it:

Then, to top it off, they put this lovely little twist in : they altered the timeline (at least in movie viewer’s heads).   All in all, however, it was a not too terrible study of these characters as they encounter some too-nasty twists.

Then along comes Saw III.

I had such hope.   And pretty much what followed was a jaded look at a bloody path through the first few movies.   There was something missing, however – the morality of the first two movies.  You see, Jigsaw was all about making people appreciate their lives, and this future was mightly bleak, replete with traps that were cool from an outsider’s perspective (if one liked horror), yet unsolvable:

That’s about when the series lost any kind of comprehensible message.  And, whatever, if you want to start off with a slasher killer like Jason, that’s fine — but don’t get too wrapped up in the idea of plotting. Yet, Saw advertises themselves as something different.

Darren and I went to see Saw IV in the theatre, and really other than this:

there was little else to justify our ticket price.

I didn’t got to see Saw V in the theatre, and I’m glad I didn’t — it was more horribly Ritalin-timed than Saw IV.

I was hoping that the Saw franchise would do so much more- and instead, what I have is this farce of  a series that picks up on  gimmicky devices, and rests on those instead of talent in the industry.

I watched Saw V today knowing that I would probably abhor it, and I pretty much called it.  The traps were cool, but not the same amount of coolness when the first movie came out.   Even more of a crime is the splintering of the mythology of Jigsaw – instead of one cohesive character, we get one character and his two, often differing, disciples.

‘We’re smart!’ they tell you.  Meanwhile, they took this:

And made it into absolutely useless tripe.

I get it — now, it’s all about those crazy traps, except they aren’t as interesting.

Goddammit.

Overall, look, if you are looking for yummy horror situations, this movie has it.  But if you are looking for the spirit of the original, where the plot is in, say, the possible, this isn’t really it.

But you have to love those traps. . .

Before they were cool!

Since high school, I’ve been close to bordering on lame, many times gleefully (or woefully) treading over the line between ‘weird’ and ‘lame.’  Anyway, my fascination with zombies, for a long time, simply was dismissed as a passing fad (and, you guessed it, lame).  Few people can brave the wonderfully done Dawn of the Dead, much less the terribly done (and yet remarkably hilarious) Redneck Zombies.  But I digress.

Zombies, right now, are really really hot, and it’s hard for a discerning zombie enthusiast to find the exceptional material out there.   Even Time magazine is writing about them! Yet, when you won’t be able to buy an RC Zombie any more, and Zombie walks aren’t as cool, and eventually people become as ashamed of them as Hammer Pants, I’ll still be thinking of that sweet, sweet zombie apocalypse.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss the zombie mashup novel I read:

The infamous Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies
The infamous Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

That’s right,  Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies.  I had blogged about it before, and I ordered it off of Think Geek when it was finally available.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical that it would be as entertaining as its core notion, but I found myself reading it obsessively until it’s end — yet I’m not sure which kept the pages turning — Jane Austen, or the zombies.  I will give credit where credit is due — the zombie plot is not ‘extraneous’ (lots of people like to just . . . add zombies). Within this text it is done quite a bit thoughtfully, especially while keeping in mind some of the tropes and themes of the original book), and overall I found that I was enjoying myself.

The book has the added bonus of lovely little black and white illustrations of key scenes:

Illustration and sneak peek at the text.
Illustration and sneak peek at the text.

Truly well done.  And, most importantly, do not skip the study questions at the end — they are vital!

I’ve taken a break from zombie gaming (sorry, Steve — we WILL get some Resident Evil in at some point!) because of this little game named Oblivion.  Dear God, am I glad that this game wasn’t around in my college days — I never would have graduated.  It truly is a stunning achievement — made by the same developers who have birthed the magnificent world found in Fallout 3:

Fallout 3s Washington, DC
Fallout 3's Washington, DC

Even better?  They made Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh . . . I mean, The Pitt
Pittsburgh . . . I mean, "The Pitt"

Fallout 3 is an amazingly done game (with a few annoying bugs) that really does give you hours and hours and hours of gameplay.  I’ll also admit, it’s damn fun to watch.

Oblivion is also stunning, also intensely fun (less buggy).  But, as a long time RPG’er, I found something interesting about Oblivion.  I hate leveling.  I got my first character to about level 18 in the first two days — and all of a sudden, every fight was impossible.  Now, my character is a super bad ass level 2, with all over her minor skills higher than her major skills.  You see, unlike in, say, Fallout 3 or Fable, the world levels up with you, which makes it impossibly hard.

Anyway, back to zombies.

I wanted to close with two wonderful links:

exceptionally entertaining article forwarded to me by my dear Lou Ann.

and the stinque zombie bible (thanks, hipspinster!)

Just in case you haven’t been listening?  I’m telling you.  They’re here.

Twittering, Work, and a General Catch up.

I think the last time I was really regular about keeping a blog was Scotland.  Before that it was the long stint I spent while on crutches (and being Daclaren’s blog buddy, though she far outclasses me!).  Now, I’m so sorry I have to sneak everyone in.

My “tweets” should be appearing on my blog — so if you are ever curious, don’t feel bound by the dates I post, I’m pretty good about getting some kind of 140 character message in, even if it’s to tell Brent Spiner I find his posts amusing, or to try and pimp the Gorn Cannon idea to mythbusters.    I know, according to all the world I’m lame for microblogging, and that’s really just fine with me.

Work has been going nuts, which in my field of work is rather expected.  Duane’s advice to me rings in my head — “You’ll never get a job because things are running smooth.”  And that’s fine.

On the home front, the dogs are doing well.  Darren got my clarinet restored completely, and I got him a banjo.  I’ve decided to follow in Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman’s footsteps, and to learn swing.  To that end, I am ditching the Pomarico Crystal Emerald mouthpiece for a vintage mouthpiece that is ACTUALLY made by the master who also, you got it, helped Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw with such issues.  Of course, the mouthpiece will get here before the reeds, but HEY.  It’s something.

Along those musical lines are two other purchases:  A Didgeridoo, and an Autoharp.  Maybe we can play the Autoclub on the Autoharp!

Interestingly enough ,swing was music that was discouraged by three main people in my life — My clarinet teacher (“You’re so talented at your Mozart”), my band teacher (“Clarinets have no place in jazz band!”), and my grandmother (“go play your Mozart!”).  

So, now I’m going to play my instrument my way!  YAY!

So, some good things to note:

Manny runs a great music shop here in LA to restore instruments:

1507 N Gardner St
Los Angeles, CA 90046

(323) 876-9662
JunkDude is an AWESOME place to buy COOL music instrument accoutrement, and their customer service is unbeatable.  I can’t wait to play my mouthpiece!  
My Twitter, in case you were wondering.
Back to work with me, dear reader!  Notice you are now singular — I do have blog stats 😉 
Just kidding.  I’ve got at least two in my fold!