June 23rd, 2007


Bad Places to Stay

Too tired again. Lost some sleep last night because my uncle came by to drill stuff into the other side of one of my walls. It could have been worse--yesterday my grandmother wanted him to tear the wall out before he finally managed to convince her it was actually not necessary. I'm still not sure she won't try to hire someone else to do it. But at least I'm out of the woods for the moment, and I'm daring to hope I can get things together for submissions. Comic publisher sites I'm looking at seem to want outlines for proposed series or graphic novels, as well as scripts, so I'm working on a second script for this new comic. Only I'm so out of it to-day that mostly what I'm writing lacks all kinds of energy. I know well what I want to happen, but it's got to happen in a more interesting manner than what my fingers are tapping into the keyboard.

I'm not sure how most writers work at this sort of thing, but to have consistent themes and discernable arguments, I tend to tell myself what I think the themes are going to be early on, then let them sort of drizzle on my brain and try not to think about them, so they kind of seep out naturally. For Boschen and Nesuko, I wrote the first chapter without knowing anything about the rest of the series, then analysed the chapter and thought about what issues I'd presented myself with, and the whole series ended up reflecting those sort of naturally.

Anyway, what else have I to say . . . Oh, I liked Hostel: Part II. Better than the first one, though I liked how the first one forced you to root for an unlikeable protagonist. The new movie's final act is much better than the first movie's, which actually became a little dull.

The setup is good in Part II as well--I liked how Roth manipulated the audiences emotions along with the three young women, who are at first a little afraid of the creepy nude model lady, but then find her a welcome companion on an unpleasant train ride. The dialogue and series of events in the train car are so perfectly orchestrated, using each character credibly, and never seeming forced.

Most of the positive reviews for the movie talk about the other branch of the plot, where we see things from the perspective of two of the would-be torturer/murderers as they first bid on the girls, and then become members of the nefarious international organisation that runs the market. They're both created as full characters with decently established psychological motives for wanting to torture and murder people. Roger Bart plays Stuart, the slightly more sympathetic of the two, and his conflict is interesting for its nuance, but Richard Burgi, the other guy, also ends up being somewhat interesting for his seeming simplicity, and we're forced to realise guys like these really aren't far-fetched at all.

I also liked the return of the semi-feral gang of street children and I wondered how Heather Matarazzo can hang upside down without her face turning red.

Matarazzo plays Lorna, a nerdy, rather inexperienced character who comes off as a believable shallow introvert, something it seems like I don't see very often in fiction. I sort of wondered if the movie wasn't setting her up as too much of a joke, but then, part of the fun of these movies is seeing people getting punishment just slightly worse than they deserve.
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