October Horror Movie Challenge: The Last Days

The Last Days (Los últimos días), written and directed by David and Alex Pastor, 2013

What a pleasure! The Pastor brothers have done something genuinely fresh here. This movie is set in modern Barcelona, some months after the outbreak of a sort of global plague of agoraphobia, so severe the victims inevitably die within seconds of being outdoors.

But we don’t actually get any kind of info dump for more than half an hour. The movie starts by showing us the situation most of a year later, and all the ways people struggle to cope indoors and underground. (They can look out without the Panic gripping them, but that’s as far as it goes.) It’s tough. In the midst of this, a couple of guys at a software firm work out a way they can each go check on someone they love, and off they go.

I’ve long been a sucker for empty-city scenes. This movie has some great ones – Barcelona is such a beautiful city. But they mean something different here, because those buildings aren’t full of bodies, or zombies, but of people alive and…not well, but managing, who simply can’t go out under the sky anymore.

The protagonists are engaging, the production is wonderful, the music is great. I can hardly recommend this too highly.

Tally: 7 new, 4 rewatched, 1 dumped (earlier posts in this series are up on my Google+ stream).


October Horror Movie Challenge: The Last Days

Production notes

This blog is partly an experiment in changing my writing methods, to see what effect that has on my thinking about stuff and getting it set down and shared with the world. This post is a short ramble about my tools, for those who care.


  • iPad 1
  • Zaggmate Bluetooth keyboard

The Zaggmate keyboard isn't as big as the one on my laptop, but it's not a whole lot smaller, and while my typo rate is higher than on laptop or desktop, it's not a whole lot higher. And of course I can take this combo with me just about anywhere.

I haven't done a lot with the on-screen typing, but I feel like I'd like to be better at it. Practice will no doubt follow.


  • PDF reading: PDF Expert. Yeah, yeah, GoodReader has features, but I use Apple products because good interfaces matter to me, and GoodReader is ugly. Just ghastly. PDF Expert is clean, attractive when I need it and hidden away when I don't.
  • Blog writing: Blogsy. I checked this out on a recommendation from a friend and like it very much. What's especially handy is that it builds in support for stuff like inserting images and uploading them to a designated hosting site, all behind the scenes. It even has a lil' built-in web browser I can use for things like product purchase links. Otherwise I'd be switching between multiple apps all the time while writing, and that is not iOS's best thing. But one good single app? Yes please.
  • Image cropping and other adjustments: For the moment, Aviary. I have a couple others to poke at as well. When I'm able to get a newer iPad, one that can run iOS 6, I'll be able to do the stuff I want to right in the saved images roll, but this works fine for the present. No complaints.
  • Music: Yes, I write to music almost all the time. The Music app and Pandora serve me well.
Montano supervising my computer usage

The more I write this way, the more I like it. I'm one of those people who tells themselves and others that they're good at multitasking at the computer, but who really has some significant problems cutting out distraction and maintaining focus. The iPad makes it just hard enough to go wandering off for more web and other distractions that I tend not to do it without an actual good reason. So I write more, and fiddle less.

There are things that would really go better at the desktop or laptop; I just happen not to be writing them right now. Comparing multiple products comes to mind. If I were to write a comparison review of, oh, several game books sharing a theme of some sort, I'd probably want several of them on-screen at the same time in separate PDF reading windows. Likewise for needing comparison info from multiple places on the web. But for what I'm writing here, this approach is making me happy.


Production notes