October 31, 2005

Movie Weekend Wrapup.....

UNDEAD - Zombie flick from Australia. While the special effects and photography were suprisingly good for a low budget splatter flick, the story was too convoluted and rambling.
Watching the uninteresting characters run from place to place for almost 2 hours became too redundant to bear. Not a complete waste, but could have been much better with a little tighter direction.

KNIFE IN THE WATER - Roman Polanski’s directing debut. Taunt and edgy thriller with just 3 characters. A couple pick up a hitch-hiker and take him along on their sailing outing. Polanski enjoys slowly upping the tension on the (very) small boat between the three of them. It all build up to not much......but it’s still a ride worth taking. An impressive debut.

BATMAN - Tim Burton’s Batman that is. Still entertaining after all these years. Don’t know why so many people didn’t like Michael Keaton’s Batman/Bruce Wayne. Burton is obviously going for a dual personality storyline and Keaton seems to be the obvious choice for Jack Nicolson’s foil.

HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK - Nasty drive-inn grindhouse exploitation madness from notorious Italian director Ruggero Deodato. Very ugly film. David Hess abducts a housefull of yuppies and gives them a dinner party they won’t soon forget. Bizzare twist ending which is surprising for Deodato, whose films usually don’t try this hard to be good.

SAW 2 - Typical modern day horror. A couple of good performances, but other than that it’s the same old cookie cutter story with some twist ending trickery of it’s own. Average at best.

THE PIANIST - Not hard to see why Polanski won the oscar for directing here. While this story of a pianist in Nazi occupied Warsaw could have rambled this way and that, Polanski keeps the storyline and focus sharp and straightforward. Great survival tale.

October 17, 2005

High or Haute

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Saw quite the decent horror movie over the weekend. Which is rare because most of the garbage that gets passed off as part of the horror genre is just that. Garbage.

The movie, titled HIGH TENSION here in America, was made and released in France a couple of years ago as HAUTE TENSION. It was bought by Lions Gate Films here, and then sadly given a horrible English dub job and (even worse) censored by the MPAA of a few min. of bloodshed.

HIGH TENSION is now available on DVD (where you can play it in it’s ORIGINAL French Language, or the sh!tty English dub if you so desire) in glorious wide-screen and completely free of MPAA censorship.

Aside from all that....is it worth it? Why did Lions Gate bother buying the rights to a French horror film? Frence cinema is known more for their avant-garde New Wave films than horror. Only one real director of French horror even comes to mind (Jean Rollins.....and he wasn’t even that good).

The short answer is yes. With one of the greatest sound mixes I’ve heard in a film recently, HIGH TENSION does just that. Tell what seems like a sickeningly simple story with so much claustrophobia and, well tension, that it truly is a horrific film.

Sadly the film does KIND OF go off track in the latter moments, but getting there is quite the ride. Razo sharp photography, that amazing sound mix, and ample scares and violence make HIGH TENSION one of the best horror flicks of the past few years. And from the French no less.

August 11, 2005

Now That's What I Call Music

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Meet the greatest band you've probably never heard of.

Been DEEP into the band THE DECEMBERISTIS lately.

Good music.

Seek it out without delay.

"The Mariner's Revenge Song" is a true highlight....

August 01, 2005

Speaking of The Captain....

Recently saw Rob Zombie's homage to the golden age of exploitation cinema THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. While not a BAD movie (it achieved what it set out to do.....disturb and entertain) it contains some of the oddest characters and set pieces since.....well since LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. If only David Hess had made a cameo, the circle would have been complete.

Instead of David we get 70's exploitation king Sid Haig. Best known for his big bald head and psycho eyes, Sid made many memorable appearances in Jack Hill's blaxploitation Pam Grier movies (most memorable as he gets jacked with some hypodermic needles by Pam in COFFY).

His character in THE DEVIL'S REJECTS has a name that had me searching out some DVD's. Although not the kind one would expect.....He plays Captian Spaulding.

Thanks to this oddly placed Marx Brothers reference I was inspired to check out the local library's supply of Marx on DVD. It wasn't bad....they had 10 of 11 Marx flicks that I am aware of. (I'm not even sure A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA has ever found it's way to dvd).

Always my favorites, these flicks on DVD are looking good. Probably not as perfect as they could be (there is still the odd missing frames and occasional bad sound), they are still worth hunting out.

There should be a law against this many puns in one exchange....

Capt. Spaulding: How much would you charge to run into an open manhole?
Ravelli: Just the cover charge.
Capt. Spaulding: Well, drop in sometime.
Ravelli: Sewer.
Capt. Spaulding: Well, we cleaned that up pretty well.

Hooray for Captain Spaulding.

July 18, 2005

Hooray for Captain Spaulding

I've been hearing from people lately that I need to update my Blog.

I agree.....and I didn't know you all cared so much. It's touching really.

Been a tad busy lately. I've taken up kickboxing, gardening, photography and amature surgery as hobbies lately, and they've consumed a good deal of my free time.

Ok. That's a lie.

Really I've just been watching too many movies and old episodes of You Bet You Life.

Groucho Rules.

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I'm sick of these conventional marriages. One woman and one man was good enough for your grandmother, but who wants to marry your grandmother? Nobody, not even your grandfather. - Groucho as Captain Spaulding in ANIMAL CRACKERS

July 01, 2005

Karaoke weekend at the suicide shack.....

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Some odds and ends that I recently was able to get my grubby paws on......

THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS - COMPLETE COLLECTION - Scored this collection of everything Karen O. and the guys have committed to disc. I’ve only ever heard their studio album so this collection of b-side, singles, and live tracks was a good journey. Makes me wonder where the NEXT studio album is..... it’s been a couple years now Karen.

THE WHITE STRIPES - LIVE IN GLASTONBURY 6/24/05 (bootleg) - Was pretty excited to get ahold of this brand spanking new bootleg of a concert from just a few weeks ago. Doesn’t feature enough songs from the new album (Get Behind Me Satan), but otherwise it’s a solid show from Brother Jack and Sister Meg. “My Doorbell” sounds great live.....but did we really need THREE versions of “Passive Manipulation”? Me thinks not.......

DJANGO REINHARDT - VARIOUS ALBUMS - Have been looking for some original studio work from Django ever since the flick SWEET AND LOWDOWN. These recordings are perfect. Great sound quality (for the time) and easy going tunes.

THE EELS - 6 ALBUMS - Haven’t checked all these out yet, but the latest album (“Blinking Lights and Other Revelations”) has been one I’ve been going back to more and more lately. The song “Now You’re Really Livin’” is about as perfect as they come. Looking forward to exploring these albums soon.

THE LATE GREAT DANIEL JOHNSTON - A tribute album to Daniel. Not bad at all. Good folk tunes covered by a wide variety of fringe artists. It has Beck, Tom Waits, The Eels, and Death Cab for Cutie........not a bad lineup. Waits' version of Johnston's "King Kong" was a perfect match. The song is an odd blow-by-blow account of the story of the movie. Fun.

THE DECEMBERISTIS - PICARESQUE - Strange group. They look like refugees from a bad local Renaissance festival. Sound a bit like The Pogues. Kind of a mish mash of bluegrass, folk, punk, and Celtic.

SLEATER-KINNEY - THE WOODS - I know this band has been around for a good bit, but I’m just getting around to them. The album sounds good, but I’ve had a hard time making it past the first track. It’s a thunderous opener with the lead singer screeching “Land Ho!”. First time I’ve heard that phrase spit out in song since Jim Morrison and The Doors.

June 22, 2005

Strange Travels....

Off to the state capital for a few days. Big time in Columbus. Sure to be rubbing elbows with political bigwigs. Greasing the wheels. Considering my travel companion is one of the most hated figures in local government employment, I'm sure to be dodging angry glares as well.

Truth be told, I just realized a bit ago that I have no earthly clue why the hell I'm going there. None. I was more or less told I'd be heading to Columbus these next few days, and accepted it as gospel (not that I accept any gospel, mind you). What could this meeting possibly be about? I believe this is the first time I've made a trip to the state crapital and had no idea what its for.

Even the scheduling board here in the office offers no assistance. It just says "Columbus" for the next 3 days. No why. No what. No what for.

No matter. If nothing else, I'm sure it will be a bore. I need to perfect the art of sleeping with my eyes wide open.

Maybe this meeting I'll wear a big suit.

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June 17, 2005

The Dark Knight Returns

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The new Batman movie has hit theatres. Being the uber-dork that I am, I'll be checking it out as soon as possible. The flick is called BATMAN BEGINS and it's directed by the impressive Christopher Nolan, who will forever be noted for his debut film MEMENTO. He also made the impressive remake of the Swedish movie INSOMNIA. That puts his score at 2 for 2.

Origin stories for comic book characters are always fun to watch and the early word on this one is that it may be the most impressive since Marlon Brando tossed a baby in a spaceship and sent it away from a certain dying planet.

Two good weekends at the movies in a row are set as next week sees the return of Pittsburgh legend Geroge A. Romero with LAND OF THE DEAD. It's about time too. George hasn't really had a flick in wide release since 1988's MONKEY SHINES.

June 16, 2005

Stop it.

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I hereby command the people of the plant earth to STOP wearing these bracelets. Yet another charitable fad that needs to die a quick death rather than linger on like a well-earned hangover. I don't care what color is for what or who you gave a dollar to. Stop it.

Stop it now.

Unless you wear one of these....

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Then you are truly lost and there is no hope.

June 15, 2005

Dancer in the Dark

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Interesting. According to reports released all over the news today, Terry Shiavo was blind.

Here's the exact quote from the AP news....

LARGO, Fla. - The autopsy released Wednesday on
Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding she was severely and irreversibly brain-damaged and blind as well. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused before she collapsed.

That would mean the above picture would more be Terry reacting to the TOUCH of someone's hand on her face than any actual visual recognition.

So, as sad as it was for her family to see her "pass away", the truth would be that she had (in all reality) passed on some time ago.

This will most likely be the last headline for Terry Shiavo. Florida can rest easy that it can return to making news by screwing up elections and displaying unique homemade boats from Cuba.

June 14, 2005

What goes around....

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In the words of a great silver screen villian as he prepared to do battle with the man who once taught him everything he knew....

"I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I met you I was but the learner. Now, *I* am the master.....

These were the words that passed through my mind as my partner and I laid waste to the man who taught me Euchre. Victory was secured in a 2-1 defeat of my storied teacher and his new younger apprentice. The circle is now complete indeed.

Two Jacks and an Ace were laid by yours truly to bring in the final two points that turned the once proud professor into a slack-jawed wide-eyed face of disorientation.
The truth was out there. The chickens were coming home to roost. His hand was played and he came up short.

Let the Euchre reign of King Lemmy Caution begin......

June 09, 2005

Safety first

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+ PLUS +

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Is a very bad idea.

You can learn something new at work every day if you just focus and pay close attention. Grab every chunk of wisom that comes down the pike. Today we were enlightened as to the dangers and evils of mixing cheap dime-store booze and chainsaws. No injuries occurred, but I can safely say that the practice of mixing the two will lead you to the unemployment line. Fast.

Now you know. And, as a great philosopher once said, knowing is half the battle.

June 05, 2005

Damn you Russell Crowe

You don't want to like the guy. It seems that every interview or tabloid story he's involved in makes him out to look like a bigger and bigger schmuck. Angry, egotistical, loud, obnoxious, and full of swagger. Just an all around australian bastard. (I can say that, having some drops of Australian blood running through me.....if there really is such a thing as Australian anything....I mean it was a prison colony, right?).

And of course there's Proof of Life. Just awful.

Wll, I went and checked out Cinderella Man today...... Damn. No matter how much you need to dislike the guy, he's just an all around phenomenal actor.

How exactly does he manage to complely alter his entire physical and molecular makeup from film to film? Fat and old in THE INSIDER, yound and mean in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, bloated and...well commanding in MASTER AND COMMANDER. And now middle aged and scrappy in CINDERELLA MAN. And I didn't even mention the damn movie he won an Oscar for.

So credit where it's due. He's no Paul Giamatti, but he's good.

June 03, 2005

Get away from me kid, you bother me....

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I hung a picture of good old W.C. Fields in the office the other day. No good reason other than I've been re-watching some of his classic flicks on DVD lately. It caused quite a cultural clash
between those that knew who W.C. Fields was and those that didn't.

For those of you that don't know him, than I humble suggest the following : NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK, THE BANK DICK, IT'S A GIFT, and YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN.

All of them are more or less Fields' classics. Funny sight gags mixed with his stange speech patterns and hostility toward kids and animals.

I try not to be snobbish.....I can appreciate a good modern comedy. But there just aren't people like W.C. around anymore. Along with The Marx Brothersand Charlie Chaplin, W.C. was a giant of screen comedy.

June 02, 2005

You don't seem to come around. Push your finger and make a sound.

Musical bliss.

The White Stripes return with their follow up to the 2003 album ELEPHANT. A fantastic collection of brand new songs called GET BEHIND ME SATAN. Rock, blues, country, and piano ballads intermingle to give us what is easily The White Stripes' most eclectic album to date.

Highlights on the album include a bluegrass tune (!) called Little Ghost, the very catchy My Doorbell, the equally melodic Denial Twist, and the stunning closing number called I'm Lonely (but I Ain't That Lonely Yet).

It's another all around excellent work from Jack and sister Meg (who, like on ELEPHANT, gets her own brief vocal solo on the strange Passive Manipulation).

Out in stores on June 7th, be sure to pick one up.

Along with The Gorillaz's DEMON DAYS and Fiona Apple's unreleased EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE, it's one of the years best albums.

June 01, 2005

Suddenly DEEP THROAT isn't so sexy....

I've always held a sort of interest and facination with the presidency and persona of Richard Nixon. Old interviews, news footage, and films dealing with Nixon (and Watergate to a degree) have continued to hold an interest over the years.

For some choice fictional films on Nixon, the trinity would be Robert Altman's SECRET HONOR, Alan J. Pakula's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, and St. Oliver Stone's NIXON. Honorable mentions go to the strange 1999 comedy DICK.

Woodward and Bernstein always said they would reveal the top-secret identity of their informant known as "Deep Throat" (named after a popular 1972 porno flick starring Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems) when he died. Well, the old codger beat them to the punch.

It's in essance his victory lap around the track. He's no spring chicken and will more than likely be pushing up the daisies any week now.

Setting the politics of Watergate and Nixon aside let's us see the real story here. That's on HELL of a well kept secret. I've always believed that two people can only KEEP a secret if one of them is dead.......I guess 3 can handle it until 1 of them gets damn close.

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May 27, 2005

oh HELL yes....

Ok, I'll be skipping sleep until this is done and out in the local cineplex.....

Tarantino, Rodriguez set to 'Grind' together

By Gregg Kilday Thu May 26, 9:09 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Miramax Films golden children Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are teaming up to make a film for the new company established by the studio's founders, Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

Tarantino and Rodriguez will each write and direct a 60-minute horror film, and the two films will be packaged under the title "Grind House," which is planned for a spring 2006 release through the Weinstein Co.

It also will include its own trailers, bonus materials and added extras from other filmmakers that will be packaged together between the two horror flicks in a tribute to the old, big-city movie houses like those on New York's 42nd Street that earned the moniker grindhouses for programing genre pictures back to back.

Tarantino, whose 1994 thriller "Pulp Fiction" helped turn Miramax into a powerhouse, sampled grindhouse genres in his recent "Kill Bill" films. He said "Grind House" could be the first in a series of films. Rodriguez' "Spy Kids" movies have been a lucrative franchise for Miramax's Dimension arm.

= "Sin City 2," a sequel to the recent Rodriguez/Frank Miller film, another Disney co-production, will be released by Dimension in summer 2006.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

And dig that last sentence.....a SIN CITY sequal due next year.


You know who your REAL friends are....

It's easy to tell who your real friends are when they are willing to blow your charred remains out of a homemade cannon. Thanks Johnny. Mahalo!

Depp Arranges Shooting of Thompson's Ashes

By The Associated Press

ASPEN, Colo. - Organizers of a memorial for Hunter S. Thompson plan to erect a 150-foot structure — courtesy of actor Johnny Depp — to shoot the gonzo journalist's ashes onto his ranch near here.

Friends and acquaintances gathered Thursday to discuss the Aug. 20 invitation-only service, which will be six months after Thompson shot himself in his Woody Creek home.

Jon Equis, the event producer working with Thompson's family, said the tower will be 12 feet wide at the base and 8 feet wide at the top, where a cannon will be placed.

Depp, who portrayed the author in the movie version of Thompson's book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" will pay for the tower, designed to resemble Thompson's "gonzo fist" emblem.

As Thompson requested, his ashes will be shot out of the cannon onto his property.

Equis said the tower will be constructed far from Woody Creek Road and covered with a black drape before the service to discourage tourists. A public event is expected to be planned later to commemorate the writer's life.

The August event will consist of "spoken word and live entertainment," Equis said. The cannon will be fired around sunset.

The event organizers must get the plans reviewed by the Pitkin County Community Development Department, but Thompson's widow, Anita Thompson, was supportive. She said the event will be a celebration.

May 26, 2005

A new one

Just when you think you've heard every problem and encountered every question....

The first call of the day was from a woman who had a problem. A somewhat simple problem....she had no money and no gasoline. Oh yeah, and she needed to get to work.
As we have no real way to deal with this dilema, I turned her loose on the local JFS.
Let them sort out her petrol woes.

The next call was the new one. The gentleman wants to file for unemployment.....but he hasn't actually LOST his job. His boss won't let him go but he won't put him on the schedule either. Kind of got him by the short hairs there. He's in employment purgatory. Waiting.

May 25, 2005

Philosophy 101

What happens if you hold a job fair and nobody comes? Does it actually make a sound?

Amazingly the great unwashed of the area held little interest in our poorly organized job fair. Nobody wants the low paying hideous tasks that the likes of Avon had to offer. Is there no hope for society?

May 24, 2005

My god has a bigger schwartz than your god....



I need to start posting shit here.

Really I do.

No excuse is a good excuse. Or something like that.

If I had to pick one incident to write about today.....and picking just one moment of greatness from any one day in my life is difficult. So many amazing things happen to me.....

Oh yeah, the one incident. I was getting to that.

A woman came into the office today wanting to fill out an on-line application for the FAFSA (goverment student loan). She came in with her snall, loud, obnoxious, dirty little child in tow. Not that I have anything against kids, I do, but this one was particularly filthy. The woman then went on to let her little demon spawn run wild. Throwing paperclips, punching the keyboard, and generally making a pest of herself.

I walked up to this woman to show her how to get to the FAFSA website and was STRUCK in the face with stank. Nasty stank. Horrible stank. Stank that came from areas of this woman's body that I had no interest in.

So goes a tuesday.