Me gusta leer y ver la tele

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nunca Máis

Next October the new movie of that potential genius that is Christopher Nolan (if you've never seen Memento you don't know what you're missing) will see the light. It will be called The Prestige (nothing to do with certain infamous oil tanker), and its trailer can now be seen on the net. A promising story, and a most impressive cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman (as in "I won't be Wolverine forever, you know"), the beautiful Scarlett Johansson (now finn5fel is going to see this movie for sure), Michael Caine, Andy Serkis (unknown until three years ago, now present in every great production) and, no more and no less than: David Bowie! Appearing finally again on a worthy production (that, if you consider Labyrinth worthy, which could be discussed). Anyway, a movie that I'm definitely going to see when they release it on Spain. Whenever that might be.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We Would Surely Avoid Scurvy if We All Ate an Orange

Empecinado sigo en mantener el tono pirata en el blog, a ver cuánto soy capaz de aguantar. Como intento desesperado, este dibujo de hace cuatro años. La técnica, lápiz sobre papel (difícil, lo sé). La inspiración: la verdad es que no me acuerdo. Estoy bastante seguro de que está relacionado con Monkey Island, pero no lo recuerdo. De todas formas, no tengo mucho que decir, aparte de que, después de cuatro años, todavía me gusta; lo cual es todo un logro. Normalmente tardo mucho, mucho menos en encontrar mis dibujos repugnantes; pero, por alguna razón, éste me sigue gustando. En fin. Será cuestión de disfrutar esos escasos momentos cuando se presentan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Look! A Three-Headed Monkey!

Seguimos con la temática pirática en el blog, que para algo somos originales.
Es de todos conocida la fantástica serie de juegos de Monkey Island; y si por si todavía quedaba algún despistado, Halagan y yo hemos estado mencionándola recientemente. Bien. Pues a raíz de esos comentarios y de la presencia de Pirates of the Caribbean en las pantallas de medio mundo (pronto de los confines del mundo), se me ha ocurrido hacer un post al respecto. Y el tema es el hipotético reparto para una hipotética película basada en el juego.
Hace algún tiempo -probablemente cuando todavía hacía buenas películas (o, al menos, películas que a mí me gustaban y funcionaban en taquilla, que ya sé lo que alguien me va a decir)-, pensaba que Brendan Fraser podría ser un buen Guybrush Threepwood, el protagonista de la legendaria saga. Sin embargo, desde que mi Molo favorito me descubrió Scrubs, pienso que Zach Braff sería un (wannabee) Mighty Pirate perfecto. De hecho, empecé pensando que Braff -o, al menos, su personaje en la serie, JD- era el perfecto Fry (de Futurama) humano. Y de ahí a pensar en el bueno de Guybrush sólo hubo un paso -o trescientos, más un par de mapas y una cabeza de navegante.
Así que se aceptan comentarios, quejas, ideas y sugerencias; y no sólo para Guybrush, claro. Aunque él es el alma de la serie, y sin un buen Guybrush Threepwood no puede haber monos de tres cabezas. Es así de simple.

PD: Buscando links para poner en el post, he leído una interesante entrevista con Ron Gilbert, el creador de los dos primeros juegos de la serie, en la que dice: "I think the thing is, when I planned those games out — and this is nothing new — but, when we did the first one the whole story just got too big, which is when I broke it up into three different parts. I know what that third one is, right? So it's not that I kind of sit there and think about "oh, what would the third one be?" I kind of know how that story's supposed to end, so I don't really think about it too much.."
¿Acaso todo el que se relaciona siquiera tangencialmente con Lucas tenía todos sus proyectos pensados desde el 77?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ahoy, Mateys!

As promised, here it goes: my own very review for Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest. First of all, I need to warn you, my dear reader. This post contains a LOT of spoilers. If you haven’t still watched the movie, don’t read further. Unless you don’t give a rat’s ass about it, of course. Anyway, I mean it, if you don’t want me to ruin you the experience that is discovering a new story without the smallest knowledge about what’s going to happen in it, stop reading. This is your last chance. I won’t say it again. C’mon, stop staring at the beautiful words. Okay, if you haven’t stopped reading now, you’ll never do it. So here it goes...

After eight months of cinebacy, I, as a great movies fan, started to think that it was time to cut it out. My whole body was begging for me to go to a big crowded movie theater, armed with a big tank of pop-corn and a cola-flavoured beverage of a famous worldwide brand, that I’m not going to mention. To be there, I was saying, with my pop-corn and my Coca-Cola (oops), enjoying a spectacular movie, action-packed and extremelly funny. And, which movie would comply with those conditions better than Pirates 2? Or so I thought...

And indeed well I thought. The movie is extremely enjoyable, and IMHO, slightly better than its predecessor. I laughed, and I felt delighted, like a kid again, watching an adventure movie and eating pop corn (I’m not as pop-cornsessed as it might seem, lo giuro). The Pirates sequel has everything that makes these movies so likeable. It has a frenetic rhythm that never slows down its pace, fabulous landscapes, wonderfully done CGI monsters and creatures, pirate ships sinking each other without mercy, returning old known characters who change sides as their own interests force them, absurd situations that try to steal a laugh from the audience (and often do it), great portrayed and stereotyped villains. This movie has it all to be a hit.

The thing that does it for me is the way the characters are written. They’re humans, with human feelings (and then there’s also Sparrow). I mean, stereotyped as they are, they are very credible characters, crooks, self-centered or love-driven. Of course they are all beautiful people (except the ones that need to be ugly, and by Gelder they are), but, apart from that, the bad guys aren’t always so bad, and the good guys aren’t always so good as well. The couple of comical scoundrels Pintel & Ragetti (not a fashion designer franchise) are back again, this time as a couple of turncoats that always stand in the side of the person who can benefit them the most (or who will beat them the less, to be more accurate). Just the same as Commodore James Norrington (where have I read that last name before?), a man who had it all in the first movie, and who starts from less than zero in this one, turned precisely in that he despised so much: a drunk looser, nothing wannabe, a leftover. He didn’t handle at all his fiasco of the first film, he lost it all, and he didn’t take it well. The characters come and go, they enter and leave, they climb and fall, they die and resurrect... Just the way world is.

Bill Nighy, that actor whose face you know very well but you never remember where the hell did he appeared, makes a wonderful Davy Jones, the baddest guy of this movie. But he has his feelings too. I actually sympathize with him. Like with Bootstrap Bill, Will Turner’s father who’s always in search of redemption, or like with Elizabeth’s father, Governor Weatherby Swann, who gaves up on everything he believed in for love to his daughter, and once and again watches his own perfect world around him crumble and fall.

On regarding The Three Musketeers, Johnny Depp’s rendition of Jack Sparrow is as crazy as always, so there’s nothing new about that. Maybe in this movie he’s a bit more treacherous (and, BTW, effeminate) than in the first one. His relationship with Will Turner is once again one of mutual comradeship and trust... Who am I kidding? Will can’t stand Sparrow, but time after time he’s compelled to save him, or to put his trust on him. Jack, on the other hand, well... he really doesn’t think much of other people feelings, now does he? He doesn’t even think a lot about Elizabeth’s feelings (and, yeah, Keira Knightley is hot, finn5fel, we all know it), but he doesn’t miss the oportunity of playing with them. She, Elizabeth, ends a bit confused herself. At the last minutes of the movie, she tricks Sparrow with a warm kiss, sacrificing him to the Kraken to save her own life and those of all her friends. And at the very end she cries for that. Does she regret what she’s done, condemning him that way? Definitely. Is she physically attracted at least in some measure to Jack? Maybe. What kind of woman wouldn’t fall in love with a young handsome pirate who is totally crazy, a bit clumsy, who is completely egotistical and by the looks of him one would say he’s gay? And Will saw the kiss. That must have hurt. Wouldn’t had been wonderful if at the very end of the movie, when they’re given the chance to bring Sparrow back to life, he would have said simply "NO", and would have walked away? The hell with Mr. Sparrow and Elizabeth, who can’t trust him enough to tell him what she’s done. But, of course, Will agrees to follow Elizabeth till the end of the world (literally) to go saving Jack, because that’s what will make her happy. And Will’s such a gentleman, you know.

Of course Will and Elizabeth will end happily together, and Sparrow will sail the seas again, alive and as crazy as always. This is a Disney movie, isn’t it?

The movie, though, isn’t flawless. It’s far to be. It suffers from a McGuffin excess, on the first place. The characters are searching a non metaphorical key, and the chest that it opens. And the whole movie, and absolutely everything the characters do, it has to do with finding them. Who cares if the chest contains Davy Jones heart or anything else? BTW, I gotta say, if you have something as precious as your heart, and you want to keep it safe, don't put it in a chest and bury it somewhere, especially when you’re an almighty mutant pirate whose only weakness is that you can’t put your feet on earth except once every ten years. I mean, keep the chest with you, not the key. Or put it in the bottom of the ocean, but never there where you’re the only person who can’t have access to it. It’s stupid!

What was I saying? Yes, the McGuffin excess. The whole movie develops around that, and that can end tiring the audience. The line is not completely crossed, IMO, but not for a long distance. And another flaw I find to the movie, which can also end boring if not well used, is the excess of non-credible scenes. It’s the Peter Jackson’s King Kong syndrome. In that movie, there are a couple of scenes that are over-exploited, like the one in wich the filming party, in Skull Island, encounter face to belly with a herd of diplodocus-like dinosaurs (if not diplodocus themselves, which I really don’t know). Well, a brutal stampede follows, with everyone running through a narrow canyon between the legs of the dinosaurs. Well, what are the odds that anybody would survive to that? Very few, I should say. I would accept that it could happen (especially on a movie that goes about a zeppelin-sized ape that falls in love with a tiny little woman), but that scene goes on and on, and on and on, and never seems to end. The scene itself is so incredibly incredible that the spectator ends switching off and doesn’t buy it (or that’s what happened to me at least). And he gets bored. Well, the whole Pirate’s sequel is plagued with that kind of scenes. Not so obviously unbelievable ones, yes, but there are so many... like the waterwheel fight scene. It’s well designed, well filmed, well choreographed, but it’s so incredibly long, the wheel spinning and spinning, rolling and rolling, on the forest, on the beach, without something that blocks its way, without something that makes it fall. It’s something so incredible to happen, that if you make it happen, and don’t stop it at the right moment, weighs down the scene, and the movie itself. The good thing is that Pirates 2 is such a light-weight film, such a laugh-searching movie, that it can be forgotten. It’s appropiate to the general mood of the movie. Just like on the scene where they plan to damage the Kraken with six casks filled with gunpowder and thirty of so casks filled with rum. Sparrow shoots a musket ball to the net containing them and, miraculously, hits one of the only six gunpowder casks. Pues eso.

And another thing that I didn’t like: the repetitive story scheme. Captain Jack Sparrow is once again pursued by a doom. Wasn’t that the first movie storyline?

I will finish saying that nobody owes a movie to nobody. Despite all the things I’ve just criticized (that’s what reviews are for, aren’t they?), I really liked the movie. On contrary to finn5fel's opinion, it’s not the best movie ever. But I will never regret having broken mi cinebacy to go watching it. With all those small details and references... Doesn’t that wicked witch of the Caribbean that is Tia Dalma bear a strong resemblance with a character of our beloved Monkey Island videogame series? It was fun to watch it. And it will be more fun to watch the third installment, the next year, although I really really hope that nobody else gets resurrected. Even Barbossa, too? Let’s hope they've got a good explanation for that one.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Trim the Sails and Roam the Sea

A couple of quick facts for you, wannabe pirates. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is, according to one of my favorite magazines (the only one, along with Wizard Magazine I am subscribed to) Entertaiment Weekly, the 7th most-grossing movie of all time. The movie looted $5.2 million last week, adding to a total gross of $401.3 million so far. This means that Spider-Man ($403.7 million) might not be the 6th most-grossing movie of all time for too long, hehehe.
So, other than being one of four movies to earn more than $400 million on its first release (I read it somewhere, but I can't find it to quote the article), it has become (always according to EW) the second-fastest movie to pass the "$400 million plateau". It's only taken Captain Sparrow and his crew 45 days to rack such an impressive bounty. Do you know what movie made it in 43 days? Lord of the Rings? Star Wars? Nope. It was Shrek 2. Weird, huh? At any rate, POTC: DMC is right now No. 7 of all time, so we should celebrate. Go plunder some convent!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dreadful Story

I just finished reading Superman: Godfall, and I think it should be retitled Superman: Godawful. Because, ladies and gentlemen, this story sucks.
I've never been a big fan of Superman (even though I love Smallville, which is not as contradictory as it might sound), I admit it. In fact, this is one out of two Supes books I have (the other one is the way more entertaining Batman/Superman vol. 2, the one about Supergirl). And truth is, I bought it because of the pretty pictures.
The great Talent Caldwell drew the original six issues, and the even greater Michael Turner drew the covers. The eye candy is there: terrific pictures with incredible colors, provided by the amazing Peter Steigerwald. However, that's all there is to this book. The story is horrendous: it's boring, uninteresting, somewhat confusing, and, above all (you guessed it), not compelling at all.
My recommendation is that, if you want to enjoy Caldwell's artwork, go and get Fathom: Dawn of War, or even WildCats: Nemesis (the story is not great either, but Nemesis is way more interesting a character than Lyla). Plus, he's working on the relaunch of Gen13, and the pictures look gorgeous so far. So listen to me, and stay away from this paperback. You're welcome.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Curso Avanzado de Literatura

Un día más, y un dibujo más. La página 13 tiene una pinta estupenda, ya veréis. Y eso quiere decir (aparte, claro, de prometer un exitoso futuro), que sólo os falta esperar 11 páginas más para poder disfrutar (espero) de la primera parte del proyecto más publicitado, anticipado, y comentado de los últimos tiempos. Con un poco de suerte, en cosa de un mes podréis tenerlo en vuestras ansiosas garras. Espero.
Volviendo a la viñeta en cuestión, ésta es… Bueno, mejor no lo digo, que no quiero desvelar nada. Pero se ha convertido en uno de mis personajes favoritos de la historia. Lo cierto es que ya me gustaba de antes... y esto es una apenas velada referencia a La orden de Adrianna, que no estaría de más releyerais (al menos lo que he escrito hasta la fecha) antes de hincarle el diente a la novela gráfica.
Como decía, este personaje siempre me había gustado -aunque su papel en la ODA no sea exactamente protagonista o espectacular-, pero no había planeado utilizarlo. Simplemente sucedió, como con varios otros aspectos de la novela gráfica; pero cuando pasó, pude ver que tenía sentido que pasara. Y eso trajo consigo otras implicaciones y sucesos que, pese a no haberlos previsto en un principio, cuando me di cuenta de cómo estaba el asunto (y, más importante, de cómo iba a estarlo en el futuro), son como deberían ser, y encajan perfectamente en el tejido de la historia.
Ya sé que todas estas divagaciones son oscuras y abstractas, pero ya he dicho que no quiero desvelar nada. Por otro lado, esto me sirve para abogar un poco por Stephen King (como si lo necesitara) y su forma de escribir historias. Mr. King empieza a escribir sus novelas cuando tiene una idea, y observa cómo los acontecimientos se van desarrollando, sin haberlos planeado o planificado de antemano. Esta revelación me alegró sobremanera, pues ésa es la forma en la que yo siempre he escrito mis historias, y me sentía mal cada vez que leía entrevistas con algún escritor que hablaba de la de libretas de apuntes de personajes y trama que escribía antes de ponerse a trabajar en la novela en sí. Y lo mejor de todo (como también dice King) es que al final todo encaja, y parece que lo tenías planeado desde el 77 (no puedo resistirme a meter la coña). Pero lo cierto es que yo voy descubriendo la historia al mismo tiempo que la voy plasmando en papel (ya sea real o virtual). Y tal vez por eso escribir me divierte tanto: porque no sé lo que va a pasar de antemano, y siempre resulta sorprendente.
Volviendo al ejemplo concreto de mi novela gráfica, sí sabía desde el principio cómo iban a acabar las cosas, pues siendo parte como es de una historia más grande, mis opciones estaban bastante limitadas en muchos aspectos. Y aun así, hay muchas, muchas cosas que difieren de mi pequeño treatment original. Traté de mantenerme fiel al "guión" original (pequeño resumen, más bien) tanto como pude, pero, una vez más, los personajes empezaron a influir y alterar la historia original, y pese a que el final es prácticamente idéntico a la idea original, el camino hasta llegar allí es ciertamente distinto.
Básicamente, el primer episodio es absolutamente fiel al guión original. El segundo se desvía un poco. El tercero casi no se parece en nada al concepto original; y el cuarto vuelve a acercarse a lo que tenía planeado desde el principio.
Espero que todas estas divagaciones tengan más sentido cuando por fin podáis leer el primer episodio. De momento, está en manos de mi hermana. Para hacer la espera más amena, y como ya he dicho antes, podéis releer La orden de Adrianna pues, aunque no es imprescindible para comprender la historia, creo que los lectores fieles (o sea, vosotros dos, Pablo y Nacho) apreciarán muchos de los detalles más (y no sólo tangas y otros anacronismos, aunque esta vez no hay pajitas, pero sí jarras de cristal) por haber leído la citada historia.
Y con esto os dejo por hoy, que lo que iba a ser un post cortito para cumplir se ha convertido en este ensayo sobre escribir ficción y ser demasiado vago para planearla de antemano. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Series Has Landed

Last night I finished reading The Laughing Corpse, which means I've already read three of the six books I bought on August 5th, and two of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books. I said the first one was just okay, but this one I really liked. The characters are more developed, and it is a lot of fun to see the alternative St. Louis come to life (or undeath, I guess) and to come across a bunch of characters we met in the first book. I still think there is plenty of inconsequential talk that doesn't really need to be there; and this is from a guy that absolutely loves dialogue (even when it's kinda useless). However, the characters in the book seem to love to beat about the bush, and some times it is exasperating. Other than that, I enjoyed it, so I guess I'll be getting the third one, Circus of the Damned, at some point. First, though, I need to finish the remaining three books, plus The Amulet of Samarkand (it was in the kids section!), which I bought last Saturday so Nacho can stop telling me to buy it. Of course, I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Este post iba a ser originalmente un resumen del concierto que los Rolling Stones iban a dar ayer en Valladolid, España, para el cual tenía entradas. En lugar de eso se ha convertido en una más de esas quejas que circulan hoy en día por la madre patria. Ayer cancelaron, a seis horas de su comienzo, el concierto. Hoy me acabo de enterar de que han cancelado el que iban a dar mañana en El Ejido. Eso, sumado a las dos ya cancelados de Madrid y Barcelona (porque a Keith Richards le dió por jugar a ser Tarzán), ha dejado al país sin ver esta vez a sus Satánicas Majestades.
Sinceramente, si Mick Jagger está afónico, o si le ha salido un forúnculo en el susodicho, pues qué le vamos a hacer. Lo que no tiene perdón de Dios es que unos tíos con tanta experiencia y tantas tablas sobre el escenario suspendan una actuación pocas horas antes de que comience, principalmente porque la laringitis de Jagger (excusa oficial) la arrastraba presuntamente desde el fin de semana. Si no pueden dar un concierto cada dos días, por cuestiones de salud, pues que no lo den, y punto. Y así le ahorran a sus fans el sufrimiento.
A mí, sinceramente, no me importa demasiado. Me he perdido el concierto, sí. Big deal. Mientras me devuelvan mi dinero... Pero, pensando en la gente que hizo cola a la intemperie desde 24 horas antes del concierto, en los que se metieron titánicos viajes en coche, tren o autocar, en los que se gastaron el equivalente a otras dos entradas en alojamiento, o en los que ya intentaron ir a Madrid y a Barcelona, pero nada de nada... la verdad es que se merecían que les hubieran avisado con algo de tiempo, creo yo.
Luego, como siempre, gente que llora, gente que grita, gente que jura que en la vida volverá a escuchar a los Stones (y probablemente en cinco meses ya se habrá olvidado de ello), y hosteleros y demás gente varia del sector servicios que se lamenta de haber perdido la ocasión de hacer literalmente el Agosto en unas fechas en que todo el mundo está en cualquier sitio menos aquí.
Como ya he dicho, no me va a dejar de gustar su música por esto, como tampoco dejaré escapar la oportunidad de ver uno de sus conciertos si se me presenta otra vez. Que no es que vaya a ser seguro, claro, con tantas enfermedades seniles como hay hoy día, que atacan a los mayores de sesenta cuando menos se lo esperan. A duras penas conseguí que me cambiasen el día libre en el trabajo para poder ir al concierto. Y teniendo en cuenta que era el único día libre que tendré en un mes, no me podía quedar en casa. Total, que aproveché para cumplir una promesa. Rompí mi cinebato, que me duraba ya diez meses largos, y me fuí al cine a ver Piratas del Caribe: El Cofre Del Hombre Muerto. Pero eso es otra historia, y debe ser contada en otra ocasión. En mi próximo post, por ejemplo.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Suéltate el pelo (o-o-o)

Aquí estoy de nuevo, tratando de cumplir mi propósito de tener un post diario en este vuestro blog. Lo cual no quiere decir que siempre lo cumpla; pero al menos lo intento. Y, como no sé si os habréis fijado, cuando no sé qué poner, recurro a algún dibujillo, que queda bien y no tengo que pensar más de la cuenta.
Aquí tenéis de nuevo a la protagonista de la novela gráfica (o miniserie de cuatro episodios) que mi hermana y yo estamos haciendo. Creo que hay que hacer notar que, por más imágenes que pongo, pienso que no estoy revelando nada de la historia, hehehe. Talento que tiene uno.
De todas formas, el verdadero talento aquí es el de mi hermana, que entinta, colorea y da esplendor a mis líneas lapiciles. Ojalá tuviera la versión a tinta, pero mi hermana sólo me manda las pruebas de color, así que tengo que saltarme el paso intermedio de esta interesante exposición. También tengo el boceto por ahí, pero es tan cutre que no vale la pena escanearlo. Todos esos bocetos y cosas extra ya aparecerán en la Edición Especial de Coleccionista en la que el malo desenvaina primero en la cantina... O algo parecido.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

(Hon Vill Ha)

I just came back from the Rave (well, actually I just came back from Barnes & Noble, after going to the Rave). I went to see Pulse, yet another, as I said on a previous post, J-horror movie. And since it is a J-horror movie, we'll compare it with another recent movie of the same kind. Remember The Grudge? Remember how bad you thought it was? Well, Pulse is worse. Yup, you heard me correctly. It's pretty much the same movie: cute blonde in trouble, haunted by really pale, weird-ass spirits. Or maybe SMG wasn't blonde in that movie? I honestly don't remember, but, at any rate, Kristen Bell is certainly blonde in the movie. And, just like The Grudge, Pulse sucks. But more so. I watched in increasing disbelief -and mounting boredom- as the characters tried to figure what was going on. At some point, they discover red tape prevents the evil stuff from creeping in, but the audience never really understands why this is so. But I've read somewhere that part of the J-horror "charm" (for lack of a better word) is that they don't try to explain everything. Well, now that does certainly explain a lot.
The movie is so slow and uneventful that the 1h 27 min it lasts actually feel like The Return of the King, minus the incredible filmmaking behind that fantastic movie. I mean, when you are actually dying for the main characters to, well, die, so you can get the hell out of the theater, you know you're in trouble.
The only good thing in the movie is Kristen Bell, who looks really cute. Also, the director made sure we get plenty of shots from her back (and I mean plenty, my friends), so we can appreciate how well engineered those jeans are. And she does a good job (and not only of filling those pants up), with her character, Mattie, but she is too Veronica Mars- like. Then again, Mattie is a teenager trying to solve a mysterious case, so I guess there wasn't much for Bell to work with.
In other words: spare yourselves, and don't go see Pulse. Instead, you can wait for the new J-horror movie opening in October. What was the name? Oh, yeah: The Grudge 2.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Conmoción Lingüística

Siguiendo con la conmoción lingüística -exagerando, como dice Halagan, sólo un poco-, tengo algunas historias para vosotros. Tres, para ser exactos.
La primera es que me acabo de levantar, y he tenido el que creo ha sido mi primer sueño en Spanglish. Normalmente no recuerdo lo que sueño, y, cuando lo hago, a veces es en español, y a veces en inglés (con más frecuencia desde que vivo aquí, obviamente). Pero creo que no había tenido ninguno en esa interesante mezcla de idiomas. Y lo más cachondo es que, en el sueño, el hombre que estaba sentado a mi lado en el metro/autobús me preguntaba si era asturiano, hahaha.
Las dos siguientes historias están relacionadas con aeropuertos, y con el problema de traducir literalmente (ver post anterior) o de no saber lo que se hace. Me explico.
La semana pasada pasé un par de horas en el aeropuerto de Dallas en mi viaje de regreso de San Diego. Mientras vagaba por la terminal y ojeaba libros y revistas (donde descubrí, por cierto, que por fin sale el nuevo juego de Sam & Max, y que Elsa Pataky, en la portada de Maxim, tiene un papel en la ubicua Snakes on a Plane), escuché el típico mensaje por megafonía que te dice, en inglés, que no aceptes paquetes de desconocidos, porque a saber lo que llevan dentro. Bien. Después del mensaje en inglés, vino el equivalente en español, que decía, al final, "los pasajeros deben evitar el transporte de artículos sin su conocimiento". Tan asombrado me quedé, que saqué lápiz y papel y copié la brillante advertencia allí mismo. La pregunta es, claro, cómo demonios vas a evitar transportar algo que no sabes que llevas.
En una vena similar, la última historia viene del Dulles Airport en Washington, DC. Hace un par de años que no lo uso, y tal vez han cambiado el anuncio desde mis días de visitas frecuentes a la capital de la nación; pero allí tenían otro anuncio megafónico de parecidas características. Después de aconsejar a los pasajeros, en inglés, que no dejáramos nuestro equipaje por ahí, pues seguridad lo recogería para inspeccionarlo, nos advertían que, durante dicho proceso, el equipaje "could be damaged or destroyed" (y sabiendo cómo tratan las maletas me lo creo). Después del anuncio en inglés, venía la versión en español, mucho más cruenta y salvaje, que decía que al equipaje abandonado "se lo dañará y destruirá". Así, por las buenas. No una posibilidad, sino la más absoluta de las certezas. Si hablas inglés, tu equipaje corre peligro; pero si hablas español, ya puedes despedirte de ver tu maleta otra vez. Si eso no es fascismo lingüístico, poco le falta.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

La Comprobación Hacia Afuera

¡Hola niños! (que diría Krusty el Payaso).
Apuntándome a la moda bilingüe que asola este nuestro blog de todos (los pocos que lo visitan), sí, escribo este post en español. Y, por no traicionarme a mí mismo, lo escribo en plan relámpago, siguiendo mi principio (patente pendiente) de "más vale escribir algo aunque sea poco y patético que no escribir nada".
Hoy, a raíz de la polémica blogo-lingüística en que estamos inmersos (exagerando el asunto solo un poquito), he recordado un experimento que llevamos a cabo finn5fel y yo hace ya un tiempo. Un experimento lingüístico.

Hace dos días que descubrí que si en el todopoderoso Google versión española tecleas 'sunny jhanna', así, incluso sin comillas ni nada, nuestro blog aparece en primer lugar. No tiene mucho mérito, de acuerdo, sin nadie que nos haga la competencia homonímica. Pero resulta muy útil para, en lugar de pinchar en el nombre de la página, hacerlo en el vínculo que viene justo a su derecha: "Traduzca esta página". Es ahí cuando el maravilloso e infalible traductor on-line de Google entra en juego, y la magia comienza.
No voy a entrar en más detalles, pero es indescriptible la sensación de leer la página traducida (la que sea, claro, no limitemos nuestras investigaciones tan solo a la soleada Jhanna) teniendo al lado la página original, sin traducir. Al igual que es impagable el resultado que se obtiene cuando un texto ya escrito en español recibe las dulces caricias de este exquisito traductor on-line. Como diría mi querido co-bloggeador: Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Coming to a Sewer Near You

So here I was, wondering what I could write about, when I stumbled across the teaser trailer for the new CGI TMNT movie opening next March. For those of you who grew up with these characters, and resent the horrible movies that were made years ago, I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised. So check it out! And get some pizza for the way.
TMNT trailer

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Quiz Show

I try to post. I try to write. But I simply can't. I don't have enough time. I would've liked to have posted another lenghty review of a movie, or a book. But, if I don't have enough time to watch or read them first, how am I supposed to do it?
So, I thought, the question is, whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and... no, no wait. I'm mixing things up. The questi... the point is: it is best to wish writing lengthy posts about interesting things, but not doing it, or to wish writing the same lenghty posts about the same interesting things, but writing short ones instead about... well... things.

Anyway, today I bring you something I've become addicted to: two very interesting web pages for all of you out there who enjoy games (not video- related), who like geography, or who brag about having seen many much more movies (sic myself) than any other one of us mortals. It goes without saying, but my congratulations to all the responsibles for these both great pages. Yeah, yeah, I know... It finally went with saying.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

En el país de las pesadillas

Sorpresa, sorpresa, un post en español. ¿Que por qué? Pues porque me presionan desde las más altas esferas. Que si digo que sí lo haré y nunca lo hago; que si no tengo vergüenza (que es verdad que no la tengo); que si esto y que si lo otro. En fin. Post en español en 3... 2... 1... Dentro!
Hoy voy a hablaros de uno de mis videojuegos favoritos, Alice, de American McGee. Alice se publicó originalmente a finales de 2000 (en octubre, para más señas), y pese a tener seis añitos ya, me sigue pareciendo un juego sublime. (Para leer críticas más profesionales, id aquí.) Me lo compré hace un par de años, y me lo pasé tras mucho esfuerzo y dedicación (en modo fácil); pero lo echaba tanto de menos que me lo estoy volviendo a pasar, esta vez en modo normal. Y qué queréis que os diga: este juego es una maravilla.
Primero, la historia. Alicia regresa al país de las maravillas después de escapar del manicomio en el que ha estado internada desde hace tiempo, y, lo que encuentra en este antaño colorido mundo parece más bien sacado de una película de Tim Burton. Pero com más sangre y criaturas que, además de raras, son crueles, viciosas y sanguinarias. Tu misión: volver a poner las cosas en orden para que vuelvan a ser "normales" y aburridas.
Los gráficos son prodigiosos, tanto en personajes como en decorados, y dan ganas de quedarse parado mirando. Y el diseño de los personajes es magnífico, con esos toques pesadillescos que le dan al juego un sentido alucinatorio que traspasa la pantalla. Podéis ver el tráiler del juego aquí.
La música es excepcional, dando mucho ambiente y acompañando perfectamente. Es oscura, gótica y misteriosa, y casi casi te obliga a jugar con las luces apagadas y el volumen al máximo. Y si es noche de tormenta, mejor que mejor.
El juego es bastante largo, y aunque a los que les gusta explorar y vagar por amplísimos mapas les va a parecer ciertamente lineal, a mí me encanta. Llamadme cuadriculado, pero me gusta saber en todo momento qué tengo que hacer para ir de A a B. Y en Alice siempre está bastante claro.
Tanto éxito tuvo el juego en su día que están trabajando en la versión cinematográfica, protagonizada por la actriz favorita de mi amigo Nacho, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Y sí: probablemente será mucho peor que el juego, pero quiero ir a verla. ¿La acronimizable SMG troceando criaturas feas por doquier? ¿Quién no estaría interesado en un concepto tan original?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Books!

DB Pro is releasing the comic book adaptation of Laurell K. Hamilton's famous Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. Since there are thirteen books in the series so far (the last one, Danse Macabre has just been published), DB Pro is, reasonably enough, adapting the first book, Guilty Pleasures. Artist Brett Booth is going to draw the series, and since I like vampires, and I really like the penciller (his artwork for the project accompanies this post), I thought I'd give it a try. The first issue was supposed to come out in July, but it is late. Unfortunately, that seems to be the rule in comic book publishing nowadays, so that's hardly newsworthy. However, that gave me the chance to buy Guilty Pleasures (the book), and see what it was all about.

Truth is, I'm not very impressed with it. I finished it last night, on my flight back from San Diego, and while somewhat entertaining, it's not by any means a great book. It does look like the beginning of a good series, and that's why I just bought the second one as part of the book-buying spree I went on a couple of hours ago.

I was going to go to the movies to see either Talladega Nights, Clerks II , or A Scanner Darkly, which has finally come to Chattanooga. Instead, I passed The Rave and kept going toward Barnes & Noble (where else?). Guilty Pleasures had been the last book in my To Read shelf, and I needed new printed words to help me evade reality. B&N was, of course, the place to go.

I ended up buying six books, only two of them from authors I knew already. One of them I just mentioned: The Laughing Corpse, which is the second book in the Anita Blake series. If I don't like this one better than the first one, I won't read any more. Of course, I'll let you know how that goes.
The other book by an author I already knew is I'm a Stranger Here Myself, by the hilarious Bill Bryson. If you've never read anything by him, you could do worse than reading A Walk in the Woods or In a Sunburned Country. You won't regret it!
Next we have Queen of Blades, by a Aaron Rosenberg. This book continues the story of the videogame StarCraft, with characters we all love such as Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, and Arcturus Mengsk. I confess I never finished the game, but I really like it, so I'm excited about this book.
Another sci-fi book based on a videogame is Perfect Dark: Initial Vector, by Greg Rucka, whom I knew because of his comic book work. I still remember when I first played the original Perfect Dark for N64. Ah, those were the days... Anyway: a badass hottie being hot and badass. Sounds good, right?
Also a sci-fi book (I guess I was in a sci-fi mood today), next I got Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan. I've been wanting to read this book for a couple of years now, so I hope it's good.
And the last one is not sci-fi, but fantasy/alternative history. His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik, is the first book in a trilogy that tells the story of how the British and the French used dragons to enhance their armies when they were kicking each other's butts during the Napoleonic Wars. And yeah, I know that the last time I read a book with a similar premise I struggled to finish it, but at 353 pages, HMD is much shorter than the notorious Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.
We'll see how these books turn out. I'm going to go now, because I've got places to be and stuff to read. Enjoy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Last Day in San Diego

Well... I'm officially as bad as my students. I'm in class right now, and I'm typing this instead of paying attention. Anyway, I'm going back to Chattanooga later today, so this will be my last post from the Pacific Coast. Sorry this travel journal sucked. I'll go back to the "cool posts" as soon as I'm back in the good ol' South. Regarding the picture, it is a statue I bought yesterday. I just couldn't come to San Diego and not buy something comic-book related. It is Emma Frost, the White Queen from the X-Men comic books. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The San Diego Harbor

We went on this hour-long cruise, and I was bored out of my mind. Then, we tried to find a comic book store, but I didn't know the address or the name, so that was no good either. So we ended up having dinner at an okay restaurant with a gorgeous waitress (a beautiful blonde). And now I'm falling asleep on my keyboard. I guess I'll go to bed, since a long day of wasting my time at this stupid workshop awaits me tomorrow. Maybe I'll take my computer with me and pretend I'm taking notes. Now that's a thought...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Playing Around in San Diego

Well, the San Diego travel journal is not working as I had expected it. The truth is, I'm in class from 8:30 until 3:30, so, as soon as we're out, my new friends and I just flee the classroom and spend all afternoon/evening/night out, so I barely have time to update this blog. In fact, I'm almost late for the San Diego Harbor cruise, so I gotta go. At any rate, we went to Coronado Island yesterday, and enjoyed the beach. And since I took a few pictures, here you have one. I swear I saw this building in a Baywatch episode! Let me know if you think I'm crazy.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thank God it's Tuesday

It's been a long time since my last post. Thank Gelder that finn5fel manages to carry this blog for the two of us (school holidays, it is called).
Today I'm in the mood for talking about movies. Or better yet, for criticizing them. It must be because it's Tuesday.
I saw a couple of weeks ago Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, by the never-failing Tim Burton. I know, I know, O Planeta dos Macacos was awful, but, c'mon, he was forced to do the film in a way he didn't want to do it, in a very few time, and with a lot of restraints from the producers. Burton is definitely one of those few directors you can count on. Always. Like Spielberg, Allen (as in Woody), Scorsese or Coppola (if I were counting the dead, the list would be really long). His movies can be better or worse, but you know he's never going to direct a movie that can be called "bad". He's always going to release something with a minimum quantity of quality (pun not intended). Let's say... every one of his movies is worth at least of a seven out of ten (then again I'm not counting the Apes remake).
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (or C&tCF, to make finn5fel feel right at home) is a very good movie. In my opinion is not Burton's best work (that honor still falls on Ed Wood), and maybe not even one of his three best ones, but it's still a very good one.
The movie starts splendidly, and IMHO the first thirty minutes are its best part. The kid, Freddie Highmore, plays a great Charlie with incredible ease. Just like he did in Finding Neverland (also at the side of Johnny Depp). An amazing promise for the future, if he doesn't end joining Macaulay Culkin's club of Young & Promising Addicts.
About the rest of the cast, Johnny Depp's performance is brilliant, as usual, so it really doesn't come as a surprise. David Kelly is adorable as the dreamer grandfather of our
little hero. A man of that age, with that face, capable of such expressiveness... how can't he be loved? The rest of the kids are also good enough, and I can't fail to mention Noah Taylor (who started shining as an actor with his great role on Shine. Yes, yes, pun intended) and also two of the usuals in Burton's movies: his wife Helena Bonham Carter (they're married, aren't they? Now I'm not really sure) and the great presence of Christopher Lee, an actor capable of starring in the best and in the worst movies (guess in which of the two groups Attack of the Clones is placed).
The movie loses rhythm as it moves forward, and clearly the whole part in which they're inside the factory is the worst of the whole film. Maybe that's because it's boringly predictable. I know, the movie is based upon a children's book (by the great Roald Dahl, if you haven't had a childhood and didn't know), so I can't criticize that because it's part of the movie's essence: above all, this movie is for children, and that kind of things is what they need and what they like. It's awfully difficult writing for children. I remember an old book that I used to like as a child, El Pirata Garrapata. I almost died laughing every time I read it. But today, twenty years later (give or take) it's not funny. I can't get it. It's painstakingly boring. Because of that I know that I couldn't write a good book for children. All of my respect and admiration for all the professionals of children's literature.
Back to the movie, the other reason because I don't like the part within the factory is really easy: I don't like the Oompa Loompas. I can't stand them. Or, to be honest, I don't like the raised Oompa Loompa to the power of infinite. I would have preferred a lot of actors (or even CG ones, for those in the background). Variety, that's it. I've never read the book, so it's very probable that Dahl described the Oompa Loompas as persons with completely identical bodies and faces. All I'm saying is that I didn't like seeing repeated that much the face of Deep Roy (no offense meant), another of Burton's usuals now. An actor, BTW, for whose autograph many people would pay a lot, having appeared behind a mask in one of the original Star Wars movies and all. And I thought finn5fel and I were a pair of geeks...
And just the same I didn´t like the Oompa Loompa voices, all recorded by Danny Elfman himself (speaking of Tim Burton's friends). They're very... unnatural. Very synthesized. Very unlikable (to me).
Putting aside the critic in me, I would recommend this movie to every person who still has a kid inside of him (Hannibal Lecter, I'm not referring to you). And to every person who doesn't even remember what being a kid was. And to the kids. C'mon parents, take your children to the movies. They're not airing this one now, but there is a bunch of other good movies to see in family. As Queen's song did never say: thank God it's summer.