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Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Mindless Internet and Choice
Nicholas Carr has observed a few things about the internet and its effect on the way we think:
You can't have too much information. Or can you? Writing in the Guardian, Andrew Orlowski examines the "glut of hazy information, the consequences of which we have barely begun to explore, that the internet has made endlessly available." He wonders whether the "aggregation of [online] information," which some see as "synonymous with wisdom," isn't actually eroding our ability to think critically ... Like me, you've probably sensed the same thing, in yourself and in others - the way the constant collection of information becomes an easy substitute for trying to achieve any kind of true understanding.
Internet as "infocrack," as it were. In a follow up entry, Carr further comments:
The more we suck in information from the blogosphere or the web in general, the more we tune our minds to brief bursts of input. It becomes harder to muster the concentration required to read books or lengthy articles - or to follow the flow of dense or complex arguments in general. Haven't you, dear blog reader, noticed that, too?
As a matter of fact, I have. A few years ago, I blogged about Information Overload:
Some time ago, I used to blog a lot more often than I do now. And more than that, I used to read a great deal of blogs, especially new blogs (or at least blogs that were new to me). Eventually this had the effect of inducing a sort of ADD in me. I consumed way too many things way too quickly and I became very judgemental and dismissive. There were so many blogs that I scanned (I couldn't actually read them, that would take too long for marginal gain) that this ADD began to spread across my life. I could no longer sit down and just read a book, even a novel.

Eventually, I recognized this, took a bit of a break from blogging, and attempted to correct, with some success.
Carr seems to place the blame firmly on the internet (and technology in general). I don't agree, and you can see why in the above paragraph - as soon as I realized what happened, I took steps to mitigate and reverse the effect. It's a matter of choice, as Loryn at growstate writes:
Technology may change our intellectual environment, but doesn’t govern our behavior. We choose how we adapt. We choose our objectives and data sources and whether we challenge our assumptions. We choose on what to focus. We can choose.
Indeed. She does an impressive job demolishing Carr's argument as well... And yes, I'm aware that this post is made up almost entirely of pull-quotes, seemingly confirming Carr's argument. However, is there anything wrong with that?
Posted by Mark on April 30, 2006 at 09:52 PM .: Comments (2) | link :.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Weblog Usability
For the past week or so, I've been making various improvements to the weblog. Some of it is behind the scenes type stuff that isn't even visible, and much of the other changes are relatively subtle. Many of the improvements are aimed at making things easier for new visitors, especially those who stumble onto an individual entry or archive page. For new visitors and those who aren't so familiar with blogs, it's important to provide some sort of context and assistance (especially for confusing technologies like trackbacks and RSS). So what's changed?
  • Next Page: Ever find a new blog you like and start reading the front page? Whenever I do so, I'm invariably disappointed when I get to the bottom of the page. Usually, there's nothing down there - no way to continue reading. Given that one of the most annoying things about maintaining a blog is that all your great content quickly falls off the front page to languish in the obscurity of the archives. How to avoid this? I used to just have a link to the archives down there, but the ideal solution would be to actually continue reading right where you left off... so I added a Next Page link (some weblog software provides this feature by default, which is great). That way, you can just keep reading. It only goes back a few pages, but I figure that's better than nothing!
  • RSS: RSS is an interesting technology. It can be extremely useful, and a lot of people use it without even realizing it (on sites like my Yahoo, etc...) Unfortunately, usability tests have shown that most general web users tend to be a bit unclear on the value, use, and function of RSS feeds (and this is certainly an understandable reaction, I think). I still need to address this somehow, though I haven't yet decided how I'm going to do so. In the mean time, I've made a few revisions to the feeds. I've always had the feeds available, but I noticed a few things I wanted to change. The main feed is now RSS 2.0 and I've changed it so that it contains the full text rather than just an excerpt. I've done this mainly because I've actually begun using an RSS aggregator, and it's much more convenient when a blog has the full entry text in the feed (and annoying when a feed only has an excerpt). I also removed the images and moved the section further down on the side navigation. Power users will obviously be able to figure it out, but I didn't want to clutter the top of the navigation with something that average visitors wouldn't understand... Again, more work will be done to rectify this area.
  • Individual Entry Pages: One recurring theme here at the blog is that we need better tools for information aggregation and analysis. However, aggregated content (i.e. search results from Google, the aformentioned RSS aggregators, and even blogs themselves) has certain implications which must be considered. Most sites are designed from the top down, assuming that visitors will start at the main page, then make their way to the more specific content. However, with the increasing trend of content aggregation, visitors start on other sites and make their way to the lower levels of your site, bypassing a large portion of your site's design (the portion that guides the visitor to their target content). Because of this, lower level pages like the indivudual entry pages need to provide some sort of context to the visitor (this context is normally created by the process of navigating through your site, but remember, visitors have bypassed your carefully laid out information architecture, so they have not gleaned any such context). So I've attempted to provide a little more context on individual entry pages (in the upper right area of the page). There are several other things I've changed on the individual pages, but that mostly has to do with meta data and page titles.
  • Montly Archives and Category Archives: Same issues here as on the individual entry pages, and similar changes have been made (adding context to these pages, again in the upper right). There are several other things I'm considering. With respect to the monthly archives, I'm not sure how useful it is to list every month on the right side of the main page (plus, I've been doing the blog long enough that the list of months is getting pretty cumbersome). Do people really navigate in that way, or are categories more useful? Also, categories would be a whole lot more useful if I used them better. For instance, I collected all of my recent Philly Film Festival Posts in a category page, which (I assume) makes it easier for folks who end up on any individual entry to get to other entries from the film festival.
  • Trackbacks: I've often considered just getting rid of trackbacks. If people are confused by RSS, they must be doubly mystified by trackbacks. Plus, trackbacks are major spam magnets. It apparently got so bad here that my web hosting service disabled it for me because it "was causing the server to become slow and unstable for other users on the system." (incidentally, that's why it wasn't working for a while, in case you were trying). Trackbacks have been enabled again, but I may decide to remove them at some point. If I do keep them, I'll have to make several improvements, similar to the above (i.e. provide explanations and context for them).
  • Comments and other areas: Lots of other smaller improvements need to be made, including a better way to list out comments (right now, it's difficult to tell when one comment ends and an other begins - the byline doesn't stand out enough). I've added some text explaining what happens when a comment is submitted (mostly explaining why some comments may not show up right away, though most do). The About area of the website could also use some updating. And there's probably another million little things I'll want to do as well.
As implied above, lots of additional changes coming in the future. I've been meaning to do this stuff for a while, so it's nice to actually make some progress. There have been a few papers released recently about weblog usability that were very helpful in this process.

First is Jacob Nielson's recent alertbox column, Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. Quickly going through his list of mistakes:
  1. No Author Biographies: Well, I do have an About section that explains the site and me a bit, but as I mentioned earlier, it needs to be updated.
  2. No Author Photo: I question the validity of this. However, while I don't display one on every page, I do have the Fake Webcam (which is kinda silly and hasn't been updated in ages)...
  3. Nondescript Posting Titles: This is one thing I think I'm actually pretty good at (with some exceptions, of course). I used to lament my inability to come up with clever titles, but the lame titles I come up with that just explain what the post about are probably more useful to the average visitor. Also, I think I'm pretty good at writing for the web (i.e. using lots of lists, providing emphasis, and generally making content scannable.)
  4. Links Don't Say Where They Go: This is another one I think I've been pretty good at over the years.
  5. Classic Hits are Buried: This is something I've done a lot of thinking about in the past, and the result was the Best Entries page, as well as the little random image on the side navigation.
  6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation: Earlier in this post, I wondered how important the monthly links were in the side navigation. Nielson clearly thinks they're emphasised too much: "A timeline is rarely the best information architecture, yet it's the default way to navigate weblogs." He suggests the use of categories, which as I've already mentioned, I need to improve.
  7. Irregular Publishing Frequency: Another thing I used to struggle with and attempted to fix a while ago by setting a regular schedule. I make at least one post a week, and I always post on Sunday. Unfortunately, I don't post nearly often enough to really build up a lot of traffic.
  8. Mixing Topics: Color me guilty here, and while I know that a blog that serves a certain niche tends to fair better, I have difficultly settling on such a niche. However, several recurring themes have emerged here that have narrowed the focus of the blog considerably, which I think helps.
  9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss: A good point, but I don't think this has that much to do with usability (at least, from a visitor's standpoint).
  10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service: Check. No blogspot or livejournal for me. However, a colleague recently suggested that I make the weblog the front page of the site. That might work out, but that would also pretty much bury the other content on this site (which is more than just a weblog, after all, though most other areas of the site aren't updated very often anymore). Then again, the previously mentioned tendency for information aggregators to subvert top down navigation structures might make that a moot point (i.e. most people get to the Asimov area through a search engine, not by navigating from the homepage). Getting back to the point at hand, I think this is somewhat valid, though I think TypePad blogs do not suffer from this just yet.
Another extremely useful resource was this blog usability study, which touches on many of the things above (and in greater detail). I'd go into this one a bit more, but this post is long enough as it is. Perhaps more on this subject later in the week.
Posted by Mark on April 23, 2006 at 09:57 PM .: Comments (2) | link :.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

50 Best Film Adaptations Meme
I'm generally not one to partake in memes on the blog (especially not two in a row), but I figure that since I've been writing about movies pretty much non-stop for the past month, it might make a good palate cleanser before I get obsessed with another topic.

Anyway, a few days ago, the Guardian listed the 50 best movie adaptations of books. Aside from the rather odd snubbing of the Lord of the Rings movies, a few people have started marking the list with what they've seen and read. Michael Hanscom and Jason Kottke have done so, and so will I (each line is tagged with a B if I've read the book, and an M if I've seen the move):

1. [BM] 1984
2. [B] Alice in Wonderland
3. [M] American Psycho
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's
5. Brighton Rock
6. Catch 22
7. [BM] Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
8. [M] A Clockwork Orange
9. Close Range (inc Brokeback Mountain)
10. The Day of the Triffids
11. [M] Devil in a Blue Dress
12. [M] Different Seasons (inc The Shawshank Redemption)
13. [M] Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Bladerunner)
14. [M] Doctor Zhivago
15. Empire of the Sun
16. The English Patient
17. [BM] Fight Club
18. The French Lieutenant's Woman
19. [M] Get Shorty
20. [M] The Godfather
21. [M] Goldfinger
22. [M] Goodfellas
23. [M] Heart of Darkness (aka Apocalypse Now)
24. [BM] The Hound of the Baskervilles
25. [M] Jaws
26. [M] The Jungle Book
27. A Kestrel for a Knave (aka Kes)
28. [M] LA Confidential
29. [M] Les Liaisons Dangereuses
30. [M] Lolita
31. Lord of the Flies
32. [M] The Maltese Falcon
33. Oliver Twist
34. [M] One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
35. Orlando
36. The Outsiders
37. Pride and Prejudice
38. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
39. The Railway Children
40. [M] Rebecca
41. The Remains of the Day
42. [M] Schindler's Ark (aka Schindler's List)
43. [M] Sin City
44. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
45. [M] The Talented Mr Ripley
46. Tess of the D'Urbervilles
47. Through a Glass Darkly
48. [BM] To Kill a Mockingbird
49. [M] Trainspotting
50. [M] The Vanishing
51. Watership Down

Not so bad, but nowhere near as impressive as Sameer Vasta, who has both read and seen 34 items on the list (with only 5 that he hasn't read or seen). Like everyone else who has done this, I have no idea why the top 50 adaptations actually contains 51 items...
Posted by Mark on April 20, 2006 at 10:15 PM .: Comments (1) | link :.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Wikipedia Meme
Shamus stumbled upon an interesting meme (at Tim Worstall's blog) relying upon Wikipedia's ridiculously comprehensive date pages:
Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your blog, including the year.
Like Shamus, I won't limit myself to the numbers above and will instead just list some things I think are interesting about September 13...

Facts Births Deaths
Posted by Mark on April 16, 2006 at 05:54 PM .: Comments (0) | link :.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Philadelphia Film Festival: Cheesy Horror Double Feature
To conclude the Philadelphia Film Festival, I took in a pair of low-budget, cheesy horror films. One was good, the other not as much, but they're both worth a watch (if you're a fan of the genre).
  • Evil Aliens: Back before they were A-list directors, both Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi were known for their low budget, gory horror "splat-stick" films. Whether we can expect the same trajectory from new British director Jake West remains to be seen, but his first feature certainly owes a debt to the early Jackson/Raimi horror films. The movie starts with an abduction, followed by a television tabloid show going to investigate. The tabloid show doesn't believe any such abduction took place, they just seek to exploit the story. Naturally, they're wrong, and the coasal island they travel to is actually being invaded by, well, evil aliens. Along the way, we get treated to abductions, anal probes, decapitations, inbred Welsh farmers, shotguns, cattle mutilations, hot alien-on-human lovin', and blood spraying mayhem in general. Obviously, this film ain't for the faint of heart, but it's a lot of fun for fans of the genre, who should also be able to pick apart all of the references. Perhaps not as seamless and inventive as, for example, Evil Dead II, but still a solid effort. Also, as I mentioned earlier, this appears to be a part of the recent revival in British horror, though unlike The Descent, Evil Aliens plays the monster story more for laughs and gory fun than anything else. Excellent for its genre, though it's graphic depictions and the like are certainly not for everyone. (**1/2)
  • Tokyo Zombie: An interesting Japanese parody of zombie Films, Tokyo Zombie has a lot of potential, but ultimately falls a little flat. Like Evil Aliens, Tokyo Zombie is not playing it's story straight, but it doesn't quite have the rapid-fire pace that other films of this nature require. On the other hand, it is more ambitious than Evil Aliens, and it even follows through on some of that ambition. Two blue-collar laborers with a penchant for jujitsu have thir plans cut short by a sudden invasion of a zombies from "Dark Mt. Fuji" (essentially a landfill where all sorts of garbage is dumped, including industrial waste and, of course, human bodies). The duo (sporting hilarious haircuts, including a Japanese afro) are separated, and the film take some interesting turns, including an unexpected Kill Bill-style anime sequence that bridges five years in the story and a Romero parody featuring wealthy survivors pitting zombies versus poor human survivors in battle. Compared to Evil Aliens, the gore is practically nonexistent and the laughter is slightly less. However, it tries to leaven its story with a little more depth. Unfortunately, when compared to another brilliant zombie parody, Shaun of the Dead, it still doesn't really stack up. A bit of a disappointment, but probably still worth seeing for fans of the genre (**)
And that about wraps it up. It was a fun experience, though I wish I had taken some time off or something, because I certainly would have liked to have seen several other films during the week. For those interested, I've created a category for all posts from the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Posted by Mark on April 15, 2006 at 11:14 AM .: Comments (3) | link :.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Philadelphia Film Festival: A Bittersweet Life
The next film in my marathon was the Korean gangster flick, A Bittersweet Life. The recent surge in ultra-cool Korean action films intrigued me (particularly Chan-wook Park's "Vengeance" trilogy, which I have not yet been able to see) and so I figured I'd check this one out. It's a decent enough film and it kept me entertained, but it ultimately left me unfulfilled.

Sun Woo is an "enforcer" at a hotel bar run by an organized crime syndicate led by President Kang. As we see in the first scene, Sun Woo is your typical icy and efficient mobster, and has earned the trust of the syndicate's leader, President Kang. When Kang needs to leave town for a few days, he asks Sun Woo to do him a personal favour. Kang wants Sun Woo to look after his young mistress, Hee Soo. What's more, Kang suspects that she is cheating on him. If she is, Sun Woo is supposed to kill her and her lover on the spot. Of course, she really is cheating on Kang and it doesn't take long for Sun Woo to catch them in the act. Naturally, Hee Soo has stirred something in Sun Woo and he can't follow through on his orders, instead telling the lovers that they can never see each other again. This small act of mercy is the catalyst for the rest of the story, as Kang immediately realizes what happened and is none too happy. Meanwhile, Sun Woo has also seen fit to offend a rival syndicate, and refuses to apologize for his insolence, so they're none too happy as well. Betrayed by his own boss and on the run from others, Sun Woo seeks to exact revenge.

Let's be clear, the story here is nothing special. Writer/Director Ji-woon Kim plays the formulaic and derivative story straight, and while it works for about the first two thirds of the movie, it's strained in the final act. There are no twists, no double crosses, no big surprises. We don't go too deeply into characterization, and the neo-noir action story goes pretty much exactly how you'd expect it to go. However, we are treated to a number of excellent scenes along the way, including several humourous touches. The most notable action sequence of the film comes as Sun Woo manages to escape his captors. Stylish, violent, and original, it was the highlight of the film. Other highlights include Sun Woo's attempts to purchase guns from a group of wannabe gangsters (including a brilliant moment when their leader realizes that Sun Woo is faking), and the final gunfight.

While the story might not be anything special, the execution is top-notch. The direction and cinematography are stylish and the performances, especially by Byung-hun Lee (who plays Sun Woo), are excellent. Writer/Director Ji-woon Kim knows he's not blazing a new path, and he manages to have some fun with the procedings. The film ends the way you'd expect, but it lingers a little too long and the characters didn't seem deep enough to warrant the ending. Sun Woo's motivations are left open for interpretation (there are obvious and no so obvious interpretations possible), but the very last sequence, featuring flashbacks and imagery from earlier in the film, is a little too overt and it defiinitely goes on too long.

There's a lot to like about the film, but as I mentioned earlier, it begins to lose steam about two thirds of the way in, and by the end, it's straining the limits of implausibility. What initially drew me to this film was the description that it contains "shootouts that make vintage John Woo look like romantic comedies by comparison." Perhaps my expectations were too high, but with the exception of the aformentioned escape scene (which is not a shootout, but harrowing nonetheless), the action sequences don't begin to approach vintage Woo gunfights. Nevertheless, it is an above average action film and well worth the watch for fans of the genre. (**1/2)

Update 4.15.06: I've created a category for all posts from the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Posted by Mark on April 09, 2006 at 01:30 PM .: Comments (0) | link :.

Philadelphia Film Festival: Adult Swim 4 Your Lives
Well. That was interesting. Hosted by Dana Snyder (voice of Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and featuring a veritable plethora of other Adult Swim creators, Adult Swim 4 Your Lives was a show that defies any legitimate explanation. As such, I will simply list out some highlights, as well as some words that I would use to describe the night:
  • The Paul Green School of Rock kicked things off. Yes, Paul Green was the inspiration for Jack Black's character in the film The School of Rock.
  • Skeletor singing show tunes (notably the song Tomorrow from Annie)
  • In fact, lots of singing was happening tonight.
  • Burlesque.
  • Beethoven vs. Bach (featuring Camel Toe)
  • Evil Monkey Boy (and hula hoops).
  • Suggestive dancing.
  • Twirling tassels.
  • Preview of second season of Tom Goes to the Mayor and a new series, Minoriteam. I got a t-shirt!
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Feature Film (!?) preview.
  • Did I mention Burlesque?
  • Dana Snyder was either putting on his Master Shake voice all night, or that's really the way his voice sounds. Also, that man is crazy.
Basically the night was filled with Dana Snyder saying (usually singing) wacky stuff, followed by some sort of weird performance (usually featuring elements of the burlesque). It was quite a night, though from what I understand, last year's event went on much longer and was even crazier. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of Adult Swim and if such an event is ever going on near you, I'd recommend it. Unless the thought of watching Skeletor belt out a few show tunes turns your stomach. Then I'd suggest avoiding it.

Update 4.15.06: I've created a category for all posts from the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Posted by Mark on April 09, 2006 at 03:41 AM .: Comments (0) | link :.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Philadelphia Film Festival: The Descent
The first film in my little marathon turned out to be The Descent. It played in a sold out theater at the Ritz East in Philadelphia, and if this experience was any indication, I'm going to have a good week... Since this film is scheduled to be widely released in the US this summer, I'll try to make this a spoiler-free review.

Horror films are often marginalized and given little examination, perhaps because of it's low budget and exploitive origins. However, I've often observed that producing a good horror film is one of the more challenging tasks a filmmaker could take on. Horror stories often require certain leaps of faith, which, in turn, places more emphasis on all other aspects of the film. For a good horror movie, everything needs to be there, including the writing (important for any movie, but horror films usually require a little more imagination), the characters, the acting, the cinematography, and the music, amongst many other aspects. In short, for a Horror movie to be good, it has to do everything a regular drama does, and then some.

With The Descent, director Neil Marshall has succeeded in crafting a genuinely creepy and engaging horror film. It's been a long time since I've seen such a good horror film in the theater, and the packed house of movie lovers no doubt made the experience of seeing the film that much better.

The film is about a group five female friends who regularly engage in adventurous activities like white-water rafting, hiking, and, in this film, spelunking. Naturally, one of the more reckless members of the group takes her unsuspecting friends to an uncharted cave, and the group promptly gets lost. To make things worse, it appears that they're not alone in the darkness...

Set almost entirely underground, the lack of light provides a lush canvas for Sam McCurdy's gorgeous cinematography. Films set in the dark are often confusing and disorienting, and while there are times when Marshall uses that to emphasize the claustrophobic environment, he also uses lighting to contextualize the situations with great effect. The score is also notable, though not showy. It doesn't call attention to itself the way a lot of horror scores do, and it is quite effective at setting the mood.

The film is filled with well-orchestrated "boo!" moments, but there's more at work here than just cheap thrills. From the moment things start to get really bad for our heroines, Marshall is relentless. He plays the monster movie straight and even after the monsters are revealed, he's able to keep the intensity high. This is partly due to great execution (especially in the first reveal), but it's also because Marshall actually spends some time giving a little depth to the characters so that we care about them. The characterizations and relationships are effectively communicated through very subtle touches, and I liked that Marshall trusts his audience to pick up on such cues. The actresses do a quality job here as well... indeed, I can't think of another horror movie where all of the main characters were women. In any case, it's a fine ensemble.

The film is gory, but nothing struck me as being excessive. There are lots of homages to other films, including Deliverance, Carrie, and Predator (amongst others).

The film's been getting a lot of buzz here, and it has already met with international success, audiences often proclaiming it the best horror film of the year. There is some controversy over the fact that the US version has a different ending, but I think that is a topic for another post. I've read about the original ending, and to be honest, I think they both sound effective. The film is not perfect, but I'd recommend it highly for those in need of a scare. (***)

Update 4.15.06: I've created a category for all posts from the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Posted by Mark on April 04, 2006 at 09:32 PM .: Comments (0) | link :.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Philadelphia Film Festival
The Philadelphia Film Festival started a few days ago. Despite living in the area my whole life (and a love of movies), I've never actually attended the Philly festival (or any other film fest, for that matter). So I've decided to change that and make my way to a few screenings this week and next. Naturally, I'll be blogging my thoughts on the festival and the films I see. Depending on traffic and time, I'll probably be able to catch a few screenings, but not a ton.

In any case, there are definitely a few films that have caught my eye (particularly in the Danger After Dark category, all horror and action films)
  • A Bittersweet Life: It looks like a rather standard Korean gangster flick, but part of it's description intrigued me - it apparently features "shootouts that make vintage John Woo look like romantic comedies by comparison." Sounds good to me. I've already bought my ticket for Wednesday night...
  • The Descent: There's a lot of buzz claiming this British flick is the scariest horror film of the year. The last few years have been filled with lots of enthusiasm for Asian horror cinema, but from recent horror offerings, it looks like the UK is now leading a charge to challenge the Asian masters. There are a couple of other British horror flicks being featured this week, and I intend to check a few of them out...
  • Lady Vengeance: Well, I won't be able to see this film because there's only one showing and it's already sold out, but that's not so bad because I haven't seen the first two films in director Park Chan-wook’s “Vengeance” trilogy (both of which will be at the top of my Netflix queue, when I get around to setting one up). For those interested, Samael (loyal Kaedrin reader #5) reviewed the first film of the series, Sympathy for Mr. Vengence, not too long ago on the Kaedrin forum. I would have loved to have seen this one, but alas, it was not to be...
  • Two Days: Another film which caught my attention solely because of the description: "Blood Simple meets True Romance in this witty modern-day film noir where a marriage proposal rejection sends a hunky poet on a bloody path of unexpected revenge." Also from the description: "The inventive screenplay will keep you both guessing and laughing and the exceptional cast of quirky characters - including a voyeuristic Mexican motel owner, a wandering hippie-like seeker of the truth, a cackling but duplicitous gay man, and an alluring femme fatale - make this tragi-comedy a true standout. " Sounds like a good one to me...
  • The Forth Dimension: Interesting sounding supernatural science fiction. Seems reminiscent of Pi, a film I loved. From its initial showings, it appears to be rated rather highly, so perhaps I'm in for a treat (if I can find a showing that fits my schedule).
I'm also going to try to make the Adult Swim 4 Your Lives show (featuring the Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Dana Snyder (aka Master Shake) and Jay Edwards (ATHF director)), which a friend went to last year and highly recommended.

There are probably a hundred movies I'd like to watch this week, but I'm not even sure I'll be able to make my way to the ones listed above. Anywho, stay tuned, it should be a busy week...

Update 4.3.06: I saw The Descent last night and I was quite pleased with the film. A full review will be posted on Tuesday.

Update 4.15.06: I've created a category for all posts from the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Posted by Mark on April 02, 2006 at 02:32 PM .: Comments (2) | link :.

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