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gwalla
04 December 2011 @ 09:57 pm
Another quickie movie review! This is the latest by Aardman Animation, the people who brought you Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, though this one is CGI and not stop motion. Santa Claus is a hereditary position, passed down from father to son since the days of St. Nicholas himself. Everybody at the North Pole expects the current Santa (voiced by Jim Broadbent) to retire soon, especially the heir apparent, his overachieving son Steve (Hugh Laurie), who is already basically in charge of gift-giving operations and has organized it into an incredibly efficient system. Santa's other son Arthur (Jim McEvoy), on the other hand, has been relegated to a small office where he answers letters children have written to Santa. He's clumsy, a bit obtuse, and afraid of heights and speed, but good-hearted and upbeat. When it turns out after "Christmas Accomplished" has been declared that a child has been overlooked and her gift was never delivered, Steve attempts to sweep the news under the rug while insisting that it's too late to go back, and what does one child out of millions matter? Arthur, though, informs crotchety old Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), who pulls him along to deliver the package with the aid of his old sleigh and the reindeer ("Dasher and Dancer and...Bambi and John...and you and you and you and you") and, yes, save Christmas. But it's been a while since Grandsanta has delivered any gifts, and the old sleigh doesn't have the radar blocking and cloaking features of Steve's high-tech S-1 aircraft...

This movie is a ton of fun. It's a roller coaster ride featuring the trademark Aardman wackiness, with a bit of modern satirical edge without descending into cynicism. There's something fun to see in just about every frame, and no filler. Also, the 3D is well done and well utilized. Highly recommended.

The only downside, though, is that to get to the movie you have to sit through a video of Justin Bieber massacring "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" (did that song really need the addition of the line "Shake it, shake it baby"?), which BTW I think marks the definitive end of the steampunk fad.

Trailers:
  • The Adventures of Tintin - Looks like it could be a lot of fun. The story seems to be mostly adapted from the two-parter The Secret of the Unicorn/Red Rackham's Treasure (though the treasure in those was gold & jewels, while in this it's described as "something that could have changed the course of history") with some parts pulled in from The Crab with the Golden Claws (the story that introduces Captain Haddock). There's also a scene where Snowy must recover a ring of keys from a sleeping guard but is distracted by a sandwich, which I swear is from another story but I can't remember which. A (very cool) image of a ship crashing through sand dunes that turn into waves may be a replacement for the "uncorking" dream from Crab. There's also a scene with a dam and a rocket launcher that appears to be original, and a chase scene where Tintin crashes a motorcycle and goes flying only to use the front part as an improvised zip-line pulley on an overhead wire, a superhuman feat that he was never shown as capable of in the comics. Oddly, the Thompson twins don't appear at all in the trailer despite playing important roles in all of the stories this draws from, which makes me wonder if they've been excised.
  • Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - This looks like a pile. Apparently a sequel to that dire 3D Journey to the Center of the Earth movie starring Brendan Fraser some years ago, this has a teenage boy and The Rock in search of the eponymous Mysterious Island of Verne's novel, which the boy believes his grandfather has found. To get there they hire a helicopter pilot played by Luis Guzman along with his cute teenage daughter, and of course they crash there. The island is a sort of lost world featuring dinosaurs, giant insects, and miniature pachyderms, all rendered in the fakest looking CG I've seen in years, and the boy's grandfather, played by Michael Caine, who must owe a lot of back taxes or something if he's taking parts in crap like this.
  • Pirates: Band of Misfits - The next Aardman stop-motion feature, with the voice of Hugh Grant as an incompetent pirate captain looking to win the Pirate of the Year award. Lots of madcap action and some great visual gags ("I'm here for your treasure!" "No treasure here, sir. This is a leper ship." *arm falls off* "See?" "Gah!"). Looking forward to this one.
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
gwalla
26 November 2011 @ 09:55 pm
Dance numbers, rampant silliness, Chris Cooper rapping, "This is taking too long. How about we pick up the rest via a montage?", Eighties Robot, musical puns, traveling by map, "Now you know how we've felt for the last 4o years! OH HO HO HO HO", muppet ninjutsu, snark with heart, and gratuitous Jack Black abuse. Two felt appendages up!

It's a big ol' slice of nostalgia. A lot of it you won't really get if you didn't grow up with the Muppet Show and the movies, but from the sound of it that didn't bother the kids in the audience, for whom the general mayhem was enough. As a bonus, you also get a fun new Toy Story short (if only Happy Meal toys were really that creative. I kinda want a DJ Blue J).

Trailers for Pixar's Brave (story seems a bit cliché, but the visuals look lovely) and Aardman Animation's next stop-motion feature, about pirates, which looks hilariously madcap.
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Current Mood: chipperchipper
 
 
gwalla
31 October 2011 @ 11:46 am
If you want to sell me on anything involving food preparation, you probably should not imply that it will make the food resemble Aughra from The Dark Crystal.
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Current Mood: nauseatednauseated
 
 
gwalla
1/2 oz creme de violette
1/2 oz Saint Germain elderflower liqueur
1 shot (1 1/2 oz) Pimm's No. 1
1 shot white rum
fill with about 2 parts Dry Soda cucumber soda to 3 parts Reed's ginger brew
1-2 dash(es) orange bitters

garnish with a cherry

A spur-of-the-moment concoction that turned out pretty well in one try, with just the addition of the orange bitters. OF course, Pimm's, ginger ale, and cucumber are known to be a good match, and rum goes with everything, but the two flower liqueurs were grasping at straws. This is the first drink I've concocted with Dry Soda cucumber soda that didn't just taste like cucumber soda. 1/2 oz of creme de violette is usually too much, but here its presence is fairly subtle (while still noticeable).

The "2 to 3" proportion of the sodas is an estimate. I just poured from both bottles at the same time at about the same rate, and stopped pouring cucumber soda about a half an inch from the top of the glass. The sides of the glass are diagonal, so who knows what the exact proportions were. I'm pretty sure it's altogether about 1-to-1 between boozes and mixers.

I have no idea what to call this.
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Current Mood: drunkdrunk
 
 
 
 
gwalla
22 April 2011 @ 09:52 pm
Asperger's Syndrome is a form of high-functioning autism consisting of difficulty picking up on social cues, which sometimes results in sufferers acting inappropriately.

Assburgers Syndrome is a form of low-brainpower douchebaggery consisting of 15-year-olds on the Internet finding out about Asperger's Syndrome and thinking "Aha! I like acting inappropriately, therefore I must have Asperger's, therefore I have a Condition, therefore I'm totally justified in acting inappropriately because you can't help it if you have a Condition amirite?", which sometimes results in chuckleheads trolling message boards and calling people "fags" during games of Counterstrike.

Neither has a known cure, but Assburgers can sometimes be mitigated with hard punches to the mouth.
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gwalla
02 March 2011 @ 10:34 pm
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Canton ginger liqueur
1/2 shot (3/4 oz) Mathilde Poire pear liqueur
1 shot Plymouth gin
1 splash Stirrings blood orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
maraschino cherry

Pretty good, a little on the sweet side (the dash of Angostura rescued it from being cloying). The pear flavor is a little hidden; I might adjust the balance between it and the St. Germain a bit. The proportion of the Canton seems just right: assertive enough to tell you it's there but not taking over. Could use a little work but honestly not bad as-is.
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Current Mood: creativecreative
 
 
gwalla
25 January 2011 @ 10:09 am
Put together a pretty good cocktail last night.

1 shot gin
3/4oz Sloe gin
1/2oz Campari
1/4oz Creme de Violette
1/4oz Cointreau
1 splash orange juice
shaken

Didn't have a garnish but an orange or lemon twist seems most appropriate.

A nice balance of herbal and fruit flavors, mellower than you'd expect from the ingredients. Very easy to drink. I was aiming at a blood red color but it ended up a very nice shade of magenta instead.

I'm particularly happy with this because it's something that uses a decent amount of sloe gin, which I hadn't had much success with. I was curious about the stuff, but not impressed when I got some (and BevMo only carries it in pretty large bottles). Maybe it's just that Hiram Walker makes crappy sloe gin, I dunno. Here its sort of indistinct tutti-frutti blandness actually works in its favor, cutting the harshness of some of the other ingredients without fighting with them or really diluting their flavor either.
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Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Batmobile - In Orbit
 
 
gwalla
11 January 2011 @ 09:18 am
For padparadscha

 
 
Current Mood: crazycrazy
Current Music: The Original Checkmates - The Spy
 
 
gwalla
24 December 2010 @ 06:22 pm

The Anti-Claus Painted
by *Blairsculpture on deviantART
 
 
Current Mood: crazycrazy
Current Music: We Wish You a Metal Christmas (and a Headbanging New Year)