Sunday, January 19, 2014

Best In Geek 2013: Emi Gets Random

By Emilie Noetzel

Much like Andrew, most of the readers of Idle Hands know only that I go to a growing number of conventions and festivals where I do photography and nerd out. To better let you all know me, or maybe be more confused about my randomness, here is my Best of Geek in 2013.

Best books:

(These are books I read in 2013, not necessarily books that came out in 2013. I do read a ton of books per year and do tend to forget the “not so amazing” ones.)
Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker
Clive Barker is a master at weaving tales of horror, terror, and magic. Yes, tales of magic, like this one, the third book in his YA series Abarat. Like the two books that came before, Abarat follows the adventures of Candy Quakenbush through the land of the Abarat. It may be a book aimed at young adults or teens, but it is not too childish or too immature for a full grown up (like this 33 year old) to enjoy. The paintings found in the book add a lot to the story, further fleshing out the characters and land as well as giving the reader a better idea of what the author had envisioned for the story.

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell
This was a book I had to read in two parts. I started reading it while in Europe and just could not get into it. Maybe my mind was not in the right place at the time. Earlier this year, I picked it up with the thought that I really should finish it (as I finish all books that I start...further proving that I am a glutton for punishment sometimes). This time around, I loved the story and its descriptions of New York City, a place I miss greatly, and of the ladies living their lives in this book.  As a book from the author of Sex and the City, I did not know exactly what I expected, but I ended up getting a glimpse in the lives of the ladies who run the town which was a fun and easy read.

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
The classic Clive Barker story that was turned into the movie Hellraiser, this book contains so much more than what was seen on screen and is absolutely worth reading.  Before people start calling me a fake horror fan, this was my third (or fourth?) reading of this book.  I had just watched the movie and wanted to check something in the book and it pulled me in like a Lament Configuration book, so before I knew it, I was rereading the entire book, again.

Best movies:

Big Ass Spider!
This movie is about a big spider, a really big spider and how it wreaks havoc on Los Angeles.  This is pretty much all you should need to know to view it.  It is filled with fun mayhem and crazy spider involved deaths.  Big Ass Spider! is one of the most fun, ridiculous movies I have seen this year.  I do want to eventually own it so that I can watch it a few more times.

Helter Skelter
The movie is a very interesting and entertaining study of the obsession of beauty and youth, showing this through the life of a uber famous model in Japan and how she is built up the better be torn down.  Helter Skelter is a beautiful movie with crazy colorful images and an even crazier story.  The movie moves fairly fast, like the world of fashion and popstars.  This constant chaos makes for a very interesting movie that is never boring and always fun to watch. 

One of the most stunning and touching films I’ve seen in a very long time.  It is an oddly beautiful story for its subject matter with a tear-jerker of a movie inside that will eventually make you feel good about the prospects of the future.  This is movie that needs to be felt, volume blasting its music, a movie that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated.  I do believe that the less one knows about the story going in, the better to enjoy it.

Saving General Yang
General Yang has been taken by his enemy’s army, thus why his seven sons must go on a suicide mission to save their father.  The story told here is a classic one in Chinese cinema and is one of filial piety and honor.  Saving General Yang is a classic story as interpreted by Ronny Yu, making it less potentially stuffy than previous versions of it.  Yu’s version of it is entertaining and grandiose.  The costume, the hair, the fight sequences are all done amazingly well, proving a great attention to details, which is highly important when dealing with a story many times told.  It is a beautiful period piece and a great action movie.  If those are your types of movies, seek this one out.

Best special effects mention: 
It is not easy to make me feel nauseated with special effects anymore and this movie did it, more than once.  The effects look realistic and will make anyone paying attention to what is going on on the screen queasy.   Thanatomorphose means to rot from the inside, which is exactly what is happening to the lead character in this movie.  It is a hard to watch study of a woman and how she is falling apart from the inside, literally and figuratively.  Worth seeing if you can stomach it.


After School Midnighters
Is this supposed to be a kids movie?  What the heck is this about?  It felt like one big trip, and not the travelling kind either.  It’s about kids in a boarding school who go on a quest of sort, passing tests to win back their school from the dark side, I think.  I may have missed something in translation.  Or I may have lost track of part of the story.  It is absolutely worth seeing if only for the three undead bunnies acting like they are gangsters.

Best event attended:

Fantasia International Film Festival is one of the best I have ever been to.  I used to be a regular there when I still lived in Montreal, spending most of my evenings there and many hours on the weekends.  Now that I live in SDCC land, Fantasia is like family that I get to visit for a week every summer right before or after the beast that is San Diego Comic Con.  It is a long festival with a crazy cool array of films selected for its crowd every year where I have seen some of the best and some of the worst (yes worst) movies ever.  It does not matter is the movie is great or horrible, viewing it with a crowd that respects the movie going experience makes it all worth it.

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