Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Date: February 2016

Elsewhere: My Letterboxd review of The Truth Commissioner

[Reblogged from my Letterboxd list](http://letterboxd.com/macdara/film/the-truth-commissioner/):

A premium brand idea let down by its Yellow Pack execution. The Truth Commissioner is brimming with plot and intrigue, shades of kitchen-sink drama and Le Carré-esque ambition. But with a mini-series worth of plot forced into 99 minutes, and far too much exposition and clichéd caricaturing to patch its bursting seams, it was never going to work.

Weeknotes #755-756

Week 755 brought a modest web article assignment and some freelance subediting (a nice bonus for a short month) that continued into the following week, leading into three straight production days, and the requisite subbing, layout and hair-pulling (a bit less of the latter than the last few deadline, though). But it began with a full day of film screenings, one of which was decent fodder for a review (and which I linked last week; I’m doing better!).


The Web We Have to Save

"Nearly every social network now treats a link as just the same as it treats any other object — the same as a photo, or a piece of text — instead of seeing it as a way to make that text richer. You’re encouraged to post one single hyperlink and expose it to a quasi-democratic process of liking and plussing and hearting: Adding several links to a piece of text is usually not allowed. Hyperlinks are objectivized, isolated, stripped of their powers." There's a lot in this, and some of it is maybe a little too cynical (the almost techno-luddite suspicion of 'secretive' algorithms selecting our information streams is something that stands out) but there's no denying what Hossein 'Hoder' Derakhshan say about the fate of the hyperlink. #link

Edward Neumeier talks RoboCop

He's also partly responsible for the great Starship Troopers, and was previously an executive at Universal before getting into the messy business of screenwriting. Which explains a lot, actually. #link

Drainland on Bandcamp

Just in time for their recent re-emergence, the Drainland back catalogue is now on Bandcamp, much of it for free download. #link

Lords of Catan

It's been years and still modern board games have yet to cross over into the mainstream where the boring old likes of Monopoly hold sway. Walk into, say, Hamley's in Dundrum and see if you can come out with anything like Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne. So filler news items like the Monopoly World Championships will continue to pop up, and you're only ever gonna find great stories like this one, on the Catan Worlds, online. (Disclaimer: I've never played Catan, because it's a three-player minimum, gah!) #link

Rosie Perez on Soul Train

Tim Carmody really comes up with the goods whenever he guest-edits Kottke.org, and his recent post on the great Rosie Perez is no different. (Yep, there's far, far more to her than "You're so stupid!") #link

Craven Family Values

On the house and home as a recurring them in the late horror maestro's filmography. Ben Gabriel's thesis is a little off in asserting that exploitation cinema was a "nonwhite genre". I'm sure that's news to Roger Corman, and even most of the classic blaxploitation pics were made by white directors like Jack Hill and Larry Cohen; minorities were the audience, sure, but they didn't yet have the means of production. Still, there is some truth to the notion that Craven, and fellow horror filmmakers/producers Sean Cunningham and John Carpenter, made moves to spruce up a comfortably grimy genre for a more general audience, only to be priced out of the neighbourhood. That's particularly so for Carpenter, whose last truly great movie was Prince of Darkness in 1987. (Also: Deadly Friend is a "nonhorror film"? Whole notta 'Nope' going on here.) #link


A stylesheet allowing for proper DTP-style typesetting for websites. Which is overkill for most instances but still nice to know this kind of flexibility is possible. #link


A background removal took that purports to be easier than using the lasso or magic wand tools in Photoshop. That got my attention, so I'm filing this for future reference. #link


"AsciiDoc is a text document format for writing notes, documentation, articles, books ... AsciiDoc files can be translated to many formats including HTML, PDF, EPUB ... You write an AsciiDoc document the same way you would write a normal text document, there are no markup tags or weird format notations." Seems like a variant of Markdown, but for more flexible structuring for different formats. Hard to understand that from the intro, though. #link

Japan Centre online store

This crowd were at the MCM Comic Con last summer. The shipping's a bit ridiculous if you're not mindful to select the standard post option, but there's a decent selection of Japanese goodies here. #link

What ISIS Really Wants

My eyes glaze over at what passes for an apologia for Islamophobia in the middle of this piece, but I'll accept that Islam as a religion is no better or worse than any other. Whatever the faith, it's what its adherents do that counts. #link

Elsewhere: My Letterboxd review of Deadpool

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

I think there’s been some misreading of Deadpool among local film critics, who appear to have watched it through the lens of ‘oh not another comic-book movie’ and allowed that to colour their take on its very deliberate schtick. I can’t even say I blame them, as such, because Deadpool is the very definition of a movie squarely aimed at fans, even more so than, say, The Force Awakens and its fan pandering at the expense of a better story, the difference here being that the titular anti-hero is an inside-baseball meta-creation – a comic-book character who knows he’s a comic-book character, constantly breaking kayfabe to address the reader and lampoon the tropes of the medium. If he wasn’t aimed at that audience, what would be the point?


Weeknotes #753-754

My did the last two weeks fly by with little to show for it. My work hours were off schedule again, which always throws things for a loop. And Daniel Bryan retired, casting a unexpected pall over proceedings. But I made the time to spend a day out with Bee in the city, write up a film review last weekend (that I remembered to link here this time) and join in the #MWE fun on Twitter.


Dead or Alive and otaku culture: why sensitivity is not the same as censorship

In short, lots of Japanese games don't get released in the west, because the market doesn't get them. It's been a thing for decades! Besides that, this is a nuanced take on a contentious issue. (And it doesn't mean fan service is universally acceptable, it's just worth knowing where it comes from before applying western values to it.) #link