CategoryBrick

Technoir

Matthew is running a cyberpunk story game called Technoir for Harry, Alex and myself. It’s very good, and I’m not just saying that because it cites Brick in its inspirations. Here’s part of the mechanic for healing damage: when your character has been tagged with something that describes permanent physical, emotional or social harm to them, you have to get surgery to implant a piece of cybertech that “replaces what has been lost.”

Left implied is that of course it fucking doesn’t, nothing does, that’s not how loss works. But it is how cyberpunk works, in one elegant sentence that happens to be a functional rule. That is brilliant game design. Well done, Jeremy Keller.

In which scrolling through Google Reader gives me a mild heart attack

Rian Johnson is posting like twenty pictures a day to the just-created Brick tumblr, for some reason. Happily, today he included this DVD-cover fan art that I did back in 2005. I always meant to clean that up and redo it; I had a couple other ideas for doing similar treatments of different scenes, but I don’t remember what they were now.

I’ve been thinking about Brick a lot the last couple of days, actually, because it’s occurred to me that I have pretty simple tastes in terms of plot. Give me any of the following and I will squeal with delight (double points for setting it in high school):

  • Emotionally crippled badass tries to get to the bottom of things (Brick, Neuromancer, Veronica Mars)
  • Young woman comes into her own and learns how dangerous she can be (Howl’s Moving Castle, The Privilege of the Sword, Bone, everything by Robin McKinley)
  • Tenuous network of friends and lovers collapses under the simple pressure of human desire (Lovebot Conquers All, Battlestar Galactica, Magic for Beginners)

And, of course, the latter is why I love Scott Pilgrim. Take away the video-game trappings and the fight scenes and the hipster music references and the fourth-wall humor and… okay, don’t take any of those, they’re great. But the real reason I have such an aching priapism for those comics (which I didn’t pick up until 2008! GAH) is the way O’Malley spends so much care and attention setting up what we in the Indie RPG Club call a relationship map. He gets you to like everybody in it, gives them each their own petty little wants, and then lets them tear each other apart.

Not that I would know anything about what that’s like.

The Brothers Bloom

I loved Brick so much that I wish I had more and better things to say about Rian Johnson’s follow-up movie. There were some beautiful shots and some very good gags, and it actually earned a little pathos by the end. But the cleverness was worn way too obviously, there was a surplus of voice-over, all the Double Shyamalans got old, I never stopped believing that Mark Ruffalo was Mark Ruffalo, and there were some distinctly Orientalist aspects to Bang Bang that made me uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I think it passes the Bechdel Test–Rinko Kikuchi and Rachel Weisz are actually the best parts of the movie. And the Brick cameos tickled me. And the movie at least had the sense to joke about its own very overt, very LOOK-HE’S-WEARING-A-WHITE-SUIT symbolism.

I don’t know! It was okay. I’d see it if I were you, and I hope Johnson’s next movie is just a little less ambitious, and meaner.

Google is buddies with Clear Channel now and that makes me unhappy

Quick fanboy bit here, just for the benefit of Google.

There are three significant fonts in Brick, and I accidentally discovered all three of them in separate places. The block title on the posters is in Font Bureau’s Giza. The title that zooms away after the cold open is Todd Bushman’s Cipher. The front of the party invitation is MillaN’s Sand.

Okay, my real top ten:

  1. Brick
  2. Hackers
  3. Sneakers
  4. Punch-Drunk Love
  5. Grosse Point Blank
  6. Spirited Away
  7. The Matrix
  8. Unbreakable
  9. Dancer in the Dark
  10. Toy Story 2 (or maybe The Incredibles, this one is pretty close)

Honorable Mention: The part of High Fidelity where Moby hits Tim Robbins in the face with a telephone

You’ll notice that only two of these movies are older than ten years, and none of them older than twenty. If I get through even a quarter of my Netflix queue this year, this list will probably change a lot; I become more aware daily that I haven’t seen most of the movies that I would like, particularly with regard to noir.

Still, I’d say seven of the above are unassailable. (Consider Hackers pre-assailed.)

The Baxter is dropping Brick this week already! WHAT A SURPRISE. If you are one of the remaining few people I know in Louisville who didn’t get dragged to see it last Friday, let me know and we can go together. I will be seeing it again either tomorrow or Thursday.

Argh. For the record, I figured out why everybody reading this via RSS or LJ got the last fifteen entries today–I didn’t close a span tag when I edited the Brick rave, and RSS readers decided that the whole document was now a) different and b) invalid but readable. Sorry.

Sneakers, Punch-Drunk Love, Grosse Point Blank; Unbreakable just fell out of the top five

It took what, ten years? But early indications are that the #1 spot has finally changed hands. The fact is I know I can’t trust my judgment in the immediate aftermath of a revelatory experience, especially one I’ve been anticipating this much, so I’ll have to wait and see it again before I can make this official.

But I don’t think I’ll change my mind. Sorry, Hackers. Brick is probably the best movie I’ve ever seen.*

* Disclaimer: do not ingest this recommendation without salt. Consider my previous favorite, and that any low-budget indie high school western noir with its own slang dialect and a protagonist named Brendan is pretty much made just for me. Side effects may include shortness of breath and a desire for subtitles. See our ad in Nature. Brick: Thick As What All.

I am hyperventilating

A secret source with the initials “David Clark” brought me first the rumor, then the confirmation: Brick will be showing at the Baxter Avenue Theatres this Friday, June 2, at 12:50, 3:10, 5:30, 7:50 and 10:05. Normally I’d want to see it as soon as I left work, but I’d also like to see it with Maria, who has to electrocute children until after 8:00, and anyway I bet this is a movie better seen after dark.

SO! If you live in or around Louisville and love either a) me or b) good nasty detective stories, please show up at the Baxter for the 10:05 show! It will be a party! I will buy your popcorn!

This goes out to my posse in the 402.

Okay. As you probably know, I want to see a movie called Brick. Brick is ostensibly coming to the Baxter Avenue Theatres, but not on the release date (May 26) promised by Brick’s distributor, Focus Features. That’s because May 26 is part of Memorial Day weekend, when Baxter will be busy filling seats for movies that “anyone has heard of” and that “make money.”

The evidence suggests that Baxter now has a print of the film, but is holding off on showing it for the aforementioned financial reasons; it doesn’t help that Focus decided Brick wasn’t doing well enough to justify more publicity spending, and is now recycling prints by moving them from one theater to another instead of making new ones. If there’s no perceived market for Brick in Louisville, Louisville may not see Brick at all.

Every time I’ve called the management offices of the Baxter to confirm or deny a revised release date, they seem a little startled that I’ve even heard of it, much less that I know it’s scheduled to come here. One guy actually asked “how did you hear about that? A rumor? Where did you hear the rumor?” I would like to change that. I would like them to pick up the phone and go “are you calling about Brick too?”

So: if you live near Louisville and you have any interest at all in the movie, it would be neat if you called the management office at (502) 456-4404 and casually asked hey, Brick? Is that coming here? Oh, do you know when? Cool. No need to call if you don’t live around here, and no need to wheedle, threaten or cajole. Just ping a little data against the collective consciousness of whoever answers the phones over there.

Don’t all do it today, either; pick a time within the next week or so and put a little note in your datebook. People on the LJ feed can call dibs on days in the comments. Whatever. This whole operation is very casual, except if you don’t do it you don’t love me.

I really, really want to see Brick. I am going to print out some flyers and hang them down Bardstown Road. I am going to continue talking it up here until you’re all sick of it. I swear, I am going to make an event on Facebook.

I would like you to see it with me, and I’d like us both to have the chance.

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