i’m not an idiot, i just play one on tv…

So on our way back from Monday’s hike, I saw a bumper sticker that read “Condi 2008”. Hmm…

I must say that, regardless of whether you believe that the current administration is: Just like all of the others, stupid and greedy, naughty and greedy, just plain stupid, just plain naughty or just plain greedy (personally, I vote for a combination of naughty and greedy), I feel like we are all sick of their shenanigan’s. Thinking that regardless of which republicrat we get saddled with in 2008, I think we’re all ready for a change, which makes that sticker seem sickening. Yes, to appeal to the liberals, Condi is maybe the best educated and smartest person in the white house, and a woman, and black… And to appeal to the Conservatives, she is a Fascist, lying, greedy, warmonger… But, man, I’m done. After 2008, I never want to see any of those jerkies in the news again. They should just disappear. And speaking of disappearing, I watched my first “real Vermont” movie

It was Disappearances. It was made by eminent Vermonter Jay Craven, from the novel by eminent Vermonter Howard Frank Mosher and filmed in the Kingdom of Vermont.

It does star Kris Kristofferson, who I can generally do without, though I am seeing more and more of him lately and liking (alright) what I see. But I had to watch it as it was filmed not only in the Northeast Kingdom, but a fair bit in St Johnsbury, where we will, one of these days, dwell. It is a Prohibition period piece about a loser who has led his farm to failure so he embarks on a questionable liquor smuggling attempt to gain enough money to buy some hay for his stock. Of course, I couldn’t help but think that it would have been less illegal and easier to just steal some hay… But that would be too simple for crazy ol’ Quebec Bill! Instead he heads off in a canoe to Quebec and brings his son and brother-in-law along. The story seems a bit befuddled and confusing, but considering Kristofferson’s character of Quebec Bill, that seemed to fit pretty well… He is a big mess. Though the key character of his son I didn’t find convincingly cast, the movie does have some interesting casting: Gary Farmer dominates the movie as his brother-in-law, William Sanderson (Larry!) is entertaining as the other man brought along on the trip. Geneviève Bujold and Luis Guzmán, in a cameo sized role, are also good. The one that really adds an odd element is Lothaire Bluteau as the semi-mythical Carcajou. Coming across as a phantom soldier from the civil war with a wig and a fake beard and having the resilience of Michael Myers, his character adds a surreal element (and also seems a bit corny, but with the way he’s played, the sense of corniness doesn’t really stick with you). Anyway, so they canoe to Canada, fight for some whiskey and just about everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. But it is a fine and odd little movie, the music is great, the scenery is beautiful and it’s fun to see St Johnsbury.



Now for something more moralistic, though not your standard morality play. Ever want to feel like civil rights are a bad thing? Don Siegal’s Dirty Harry focuses on the valiant vigilante (albeit a police officer), battling against the laws that seem set up to protect the criminal, rather than the innocent. When a ruthless serial killer, Scorpio, starts shooting people and leaving clues as to his next targets, the rather effective Inspector Harry Callahan is on the case. Scorpio proves to be not-so-elusive, but Harry’s quest to take him down is limited by the Mayor and the DA’s fixation on not violating Scorpio’s rights. Something which Harry couldn’t give a rat’s a%$ about.

Easily one of the great classic action films, though modern action crowds might not be able to appreciate it much… As I like to put it, back when making a movie was getting a crew, a script and some actors and you’d go outside and shoot… In this modern era of CGI, fancy budgets, overdone special effects, pop dialogue, ridiculous explosions and all that, I have a hard time believing that most youngsters could appreciate the old craft of film making. But I love these things. When it was about the making of the film, not what tricks you can do to it in post-production.

But I digress, Back in the day, San Francisco was the land of Crime and Police. Streets of San Francisco, Ironside, Foul Play, Dirty Harry… Where has it all gone? Well, in this crazy tour guide to the Bay Area, Harry romps around San Francisco, peeking in windows, getting beat up, continually offering to turn in his “star”, shooting his .44 Magnum and uttering his little catch phrases. All the while saving the day and trying to get rid of this creepy freak. The scene where he interrupts a bank robbery in progress is, most likely, the best Cops versus Robbers scene ever put to film.

Dirty Harry

The Man

Harry and Gun

The Magic

And through all of this, the family is away. Generally I feel a bit bored and lost and dysfunctional. Which makes me feel like not even going into work tomorrow. Well, what? If that is how I am feeling at home, wouldn’t work be the best idea? Why on earth would I stay home? But then, that is how I feel… Counterproductive and dull, since all I’m doing is drinking beer and listening to Her Space Holiday’s The Past Presents the Future over and over (and over… Though I just bought Home is Where you Hang Yourself, but I haven’t got into it yet)…

But, of course, I did manage to take in two good hikes, which you can read about here at: Coyote and the Wildcat! sorry, no deluge of pictures this time, as I sent the camera back east with the family.

damn, mola ram!

Back in my raucous teen years, I suffered a number of debilitating addictions. They varied in degree but there was one, short lived (just a few months of ’85), that was overwhelming. Conveniently, it was also inexpensive, only a nickel for each short fix. I would pursue it all the day long and then, come nightfall, the sounds would stream through my head keeping me awake: the commanding voice… the cracking of the whip. After pondering it rarely in the decades since then, I have suffered a small relapse… Through an enabler known as Macmame. Luckily, my interest is no where near the level of my teen years, but there is certainly an entertainment value remaining. Yes, I have again been traipsing through the caverns of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Back in the day, I was the king apparent of this game, though unlike the other games I played well that were more popular (Digdug, Robotron 2084 and Burgertime), I always suspected that my domineering skill at this was due to the fact that I seemed to be the only person who ever played the machine. Somehow, even with the grand new technologies, something about these good old boys really sits right with me. Though you “need” to own or buy the right to use these old ROM’s, there is an amazing treasure trove of memories waiting out there in the iAether…

avoid instant death…

After that excitement though, there are the movies. Sadly the movies I have to contribute aren’t exactly inspiring much. I will get around to watching something more interesting soon, I hope. I ended up watching A Civil Action. I’m not really one for legal drama’s and this was wasn’t too exciting, but I do appreciate anything that brings attention to corporate corruption, so I appreciated it on that angle. But it was actually a fine, fairly interesting story and I thought Travolta did fine in the lead role as an attorney who get involved in a “families versus corporation” environmental pollution case. Though it’s based on a true story, I still couldn’t help but feel that they went a bit overboard exaggerating the extent to which these lawyers sacrificed for this case. But what I really came away from the movie thinking is: Wow, what a cast. They even drug John Lithgow out for it. It had good roles for William H Macy and Robert Duvall (who was as good as always, even if his character was a bit too frustrating and though they overplayed his little mannerisms) and Gandolfini did a good job (Even after watching 20-odd seasons of the Sopranos, I was capable of seeing him as someone other then Tony). On the other hand, Tony Shalhoub (who I have been fond of ever since Big Night) seemed wasted in his bit part… Lot’s of screen time as one of the lawyers dragged along by Travolta, but little dialogue and character. So, you know, the movie was alright.

We then watched yet another Stephen King job. This time, a real feature film! The Dead Zone. Possibly the least engaging King one yet. Certainly not as bad as The Stand (and certainly not as entertaining as it either…), but not particularly interesting. Though it is another one with an eye-catching cast. The story of a fellow who lands in a coma for five years after a car accident and then comes back with the ability to get flashes traumatic events in peoples futures. This ability ends up leading him down a pivotal path and Christoper Walken, as Johnny, has to come to terms with his new power as a gift, a curse or both. Walken, while a wonderful actor, is better suited as a character actor in a supporting role. I just don’t get him as a lead, his intensity is too intense, and I don’t think his characters are believable enough if you flesh them out too much. It also starred Brooke Adams, who was disturbing due to how familiar she looked (it must have been from an old favorite, Gas Food Lodging), but the worst was Herbert Lom, who, while I like him and he did a dandy job, I just could not stop picturing Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies whenever he was on the screen.

Oh yes and, after a too long break, I went on another hike.

The exciting details live here:

Devil’s Rest

tie your mukluks tight…

Slowly but surely…

Again, we watched a Pride & Prejudice. This time though, it was the big BBC version with Colin Firth. As far as these go this is probably the best version we’ve seen. It’s length really helps… A story as engaging as this, the more time to let it play out the better. It had a great cast and was “realistic” to the time and just really well done.

The Hours. This was pretty good. I’m not really a fan of anyone in the movie and I don’t know anything about Woolf, but the movie was interesting. The snipping together of the three interconnected different stories in three different eras worked well and it was certainly chock full of drama.

Oh yes, and speaking of classics… We watched Hellraiser. This was creepy in the 80’s. I especially liked Frank’s return and the nail in the stairs. But It has a hard time now with how dated it is… the cenebites aren’t really intriguing (they’re just hokey looking now, and don’t even look at their pillar), though the mouthy one and pinhead are still pretty fun. It’s also a neat story. But it just doesn’t age well, and it’s certainly far from scary at this point.

Sadly, we also watched the new Stepford Wives. Ok, well. We watched the original version of this not long ago. It was pretty good. This one… I hate to use language like this but… It sucked. Stop with the remakes! Unless you have a some reason. Taking a serious film, yeah maybe campy but still, a serious film with some mystery involved and some social commentary value and remaking it as an insipid comedy of almost unfathomably dumb proportions and keeping no secrets at all. The way that American films are made these days… maybe people are as shallow as everyone likes to say that they are: Formula? Take an unoriginal idea, remove any kind of message or value, replace that with humor so base that even a two year old should be insulted by it, remove any sense of intrigue or mystery and replace it with a plot not only thrown in your face but also hyperbole’d into retardedness (basically, take out anything that requires any thought to watch) and, man. It just stinks. Get me outta here.

Christmas Evil! Yes, it’s that time again. Well, no, I actually watched this Halloween time. Anyway, yes, another classic Christmas movie. It really show how hard it is to find truly good people who are deserving of presents… Soo many bad children out there… If anyone ever disses this, strap them into a chair and make them watch Silent Night, Deadly Night 1&2.

In honor of another election day, we perked up with Unprecedented again. The wife wanted to watch this again. I don’t know, these make me nervous around election time. Luckily it turned out good this time around,unlike the last November that we watched this. It’s a good movie but it’s just more stuff that makes you wonder why Americans (like me) are so complacent and lazy that they don’t take to the street and overthrow the government. How many times can a quarter of a billion people get played over and over again without really doing anything about it (except writing blogs, breaking coffee shop windows and reading liberal “preaching to the choir” books?). Wow. These movies really rub our noses in it. All of the “un” movies are really appalling to watch. So if you haven’t, you should watch them.

The a quick jaunt down the street to see L.A. Confidential… And to see it in a theater! It was great, but it was a little wider-screen than the screen so the ends were cut off. Yes, it could be a big compliant, but I only noticed it really in the beginning when words would disappear off the end. I really just like this movie! I love Kevin Spacey again (he stars in four of my favorite 90’s movies), he is brilliantly wonderful in this role. James Cromwell does a smash up job too! Sadly, I don’t really like Crowe or Peirce (and of course, Basinger is terrible, not as terrible as her cardboard Vicki Vale in Batman, but terrible still)… But the movie is great. You can’t beat police corruption for a story, and this film is full of corruption and backstabbing, and shooting, also… Some great clothes and just a great all around look and a fun, violent story!

Copland? Yes, that again. The wife said it reminded her of Mystic River which was the same thing I thought when I watched that movie. I don’t know what to say. More folks should see this. It’s a great drama: little that is positive happens, the story is interesting, it’s quite involving and suspenseful and it has a great cast! De Niro in one of his few good roles in the last 15 years, Ray Liotta playing his standardly wonderful “intensity man”, Harvey Keitel is terrific, Sly in his best role since Rocky… I know that lots of potential viewers are put off by the Stallone factor but… It’s a big mistake! This movie is great! Stallone pulls off the lead role as a failed wanna be policeman who is the putzy sheriff of a Jersey town populated by corrupt nyc police. And he pulls it off great! When an opportunity to do something comes knocking, in the guise of internal affairsman De Niro, will he drag himself away from his old Springsteen records and do something? With a fun role for Jeananne Garafallo and a host of future Sopranos (Phil, Gloria, Carmela, FBI Frank, Paulie (sort of), Artie, Charmaine…). It’s a must watch! Be sure and see the Director’s Cut

And after long times of hearing about it, I watched The Last Man on Earth. I don’t know… I’m a big Vincent Price fan… But I’m also a Chuckie Heston fan (at least for his apocalyptic s-f films) and for movies based on I am Legend, I just find The Omega Man to be more entertaining. Last Man isn’t all bad… There are some interesting bits, but the vampire thing doesn’t move me and Price wandering around and doing voice over narration bores me.

In big news… To counter the high prices of the RM films editions of the Russ Meyer movies, I was thrilled to see the release of the Russ Meyer Box Set from Arrow Films! 12 discs and 18 movies! Yes, I’ve seen 6 of them, three of which I already have in the RM films editions, but 18 movies? Great great great! The only complaint so far (and a minor one) is the packaging is ugly compared to the RM films ones, but the price is much, much better. And, of course, it includes films not yet DVD’d in the USofA. I am curious as to the quality compared to the older ones (the original black and white editions don’t look very good) but I decided to start out watching in a more chronological order.

First off? The Immoral Mister Teas. Well, more like fast forwarded through this. I had always wondered what it was like, and now I know. Basically a guy following around women imagining them in situations without any clothes on. Not really anything to watch. It was kind of like a Benny Hill sketch that goes on for too long and doesn’t have the humor.

I then watched, sort of more closely (though I was trying to fall asleep) Eve & the Handyman, featuring Russ’ wife Eve. This one told more of a story, it just wasn’t much of a story. Eve (in the guise of an apparent private eye) follows a handyman around as he travels around San Francisco and engages in handyman business. He has many near-titliating encounter with women (most of whom are Eve Meyer) until his day comes to an end… where a grand twist unfolds, which I will hold off on exposing! The movie sound is all overdub (as with Mr Teas) and the humorous scenes (denoted by close ups of Eve’s character laughing) really lack any humor what so ever. But still, these two movies, as his first real commercial films, are must sees for any Meyer fan… and probably “may as well not sees” for anyone else.

More hiking! Yes, as the season winds down, there was a wonderful hike up around Burnt Lake to East Zigzag… Read all about it!

And then a long birthday weekend at the beach led to a short jaunt own a nice trail. The, um, Hobbit Trail. Read this one too!

a welcome reprieve…

Yes it’s October again, time for the HPLFF! Luckily I actually went this year! I couldn’t resist? Why? Well, we went to see From Beyond! Yes, a very rare treat for the big screen, but this one had a bonus… It was presented by, yes, Barbara Crampton! Not only is this movie a general must see, in a theater and with the star? No way to miss it! Though the picture quality was mediocre (like my ol’ bootleg dvd, I can’t wait to get a look at the delayed new official dvd release), this Combs/Crampton/Gordon/Yuzna story is a must see. A entertaining glimpse into the world beyond our five senses (what we could see and be if only we could enlarge the pineal gland). It is, of course, a great crazy story that doesn’t stray too far from the original story (though not only does it add the expected un-lovecraftian twist of a “girl” in the story, it goes even further with some s&m concepts!) of a scientist whose research has gone too far and ends up overtaking him. It features some crazy creatures, some great concepts and Ken Foree in a comedy relief role that is really the acting highpoint of the film! Combs is fine, but his wackiness seems a bit unconvincing, Crampton really seems a bit cardboard in her role, reminding me of Mikael Petrov in Fit To Kill. It’s probably my least favorite of the CCGY films, but whenever I do see it, I am always positively surprised with elements of it. Also surprising, for the Lovecraft film festival crowd, is that about half of the folks there had never seen it before!

Oh yeah and Barbara Crampton, the special guest… she presented the film and did a q&a which, while I’m not a q&a fan, wasn’t half bad. It was great to have her there. And she also handed out the statues at the Howie awards which took place right before the other feature we saw… Dead Birds!

Well, I liked it. I thought it was special for two reasons. First, it was a conventional, old time ghost story. Most films now seem to try and find some kind of angle in presenting a ghost story. Not here.. Just a plain old haunted house of spirits of a family wrongly killed. Also, the time setting. Most ghost stories are 20th century stories with ghosts of folks killed in the 19th or 18th centuries. this though was a civil war story and took place in the old days. It is low budget but the few effects were interesting enough that it didn’t seem bad and the limited sets (a corn field, and old house and a little town) made it easy to not notice it. Anyway though, a good basic story of Civil War soldiers turned thieves turning on themselves… With a little spiritual help. it has some nice effects and some darn good scares.. I would highly recommended this to any ghost story fan..

Then, Downfall again. The wife hadn’t seen it so we ran it. Again, a great film… We both think it’s great. It loses none of its greatness the second time around. It looks good, it has an involving story and the casting is great. At times, is requires either a close eye or an ability to just let stuff glide by because who people are isn’t always clearly stated, people are referred to whom we only briefly have seen, without it being clear when we saw them who they were. But, the casting is done in a way that if you have a passing knowledge about these folks, they will be apparent.. I believe that this story of the last weeks in Hitler’s bunker was based on the diaries of ol’ Traudl, but it is way more interesting then that Blind Spot documentary that she is in. That was way dull… I say skip it and check this out.. This films casts a great story of Hitler and who he was and the doubts of those around him (and the lack of doubts of some of those around him) and a great glimpse into the personalities of some of his people. It is a great and interesting way of showing the people behind the reputations, without excusing their actions.

And then, as our second WW2 film, we watched one of my old favorites… Slaughterhouse Five. From one of the great books of american literature, one that I would have thought “unfilmable”, comes this great film! … The story of a aging optician who becomes unstuck in time, it all comes along great: the moving back and forth in time is well done, Michael Sacks does a good job (though I especially like Eugene Roche) but everyone does a good job and the story is great fun! I can’t help but wonder if it was controversial when the book was released for its frankness about the Dresden bombing…

welcome to traflamadore…
slaughterhouse five 01:30:18
And yet again, The Fog. I am becoming thoroughly convinced that this has little going for it, unless one is some kind of Carpenter completist… This is certainly one for the “sell” stack… While I like John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau and the story concept has good potential… It really just doesn’t work out. First, the music she plays on her KAB radio station is unworldly, there would never be a radio station that plays only that stuff. Two, it’s not scary at all! Not one bit.. The baddies come close to looking good, but then they don’t and there is absolutely no suspense. Three, some of it is just plain ridiculous. The candle parade to see the statue? Yelling warnings over the radio without saying why you are warning people and no one has power anyway? The hokey golden cross? Of course, I feel like when it was first on late night tv after it came out, I thought it was scary, but now?? nothing..

are you scared yet…
the fog 01:20:18
And in keeping with last times DeNiro/Scorsese classic, we watched The King of Comedy. A forgotten classic, but certainly one of my favorite Scorsese films and and even better role for De Niro. The King of Comedy is a brilliant example of a “comedy” that’s not funny at all. Jerry Lewis is great, playing his plain old terrible self…And he has some nice suits, which are nice to see in a film from this ugly suit era. The chase scene with Jerry’s great 60’s suit and his rat-packy walk, the smug walk of pinky rings and a drink in hand, it’s great fun… He is perfect in this. It’s the best film about fandom with some great bit of the truth behind the entertainment business. It’s a black comedy crime caper that can’t be beat. For my money, De Niro is at his best, Rupert Pupkin is his best role after Travis Bickle. Kidnapping his way to the top, acting tremendously naive, yet not naive at all…

such a nice suit… oh yeah, and sandra bernhard…
the king of comedy 39:41

such a bad suit… oh yeah, and what…
the king of comedy 22:50
And again I watched Metal: a Headbangers Journey.. Well, call it a subconscious attempt at conversion, I had some of the boys sit through this. I admit that watching this kind of stuff with other folks does make me a bit self-conscious (not nearly as bad as watching Heavy Metal Parking Lot at the bike-in theater, but the same idea). But gosh, I love this movie. His enthusiasm for the subject is refreshing. Later, the wife and I watched the “Black Metal Documentary” on the specials disk. First, it is too hard to hear most of the dialogue, it lacks depth and, though it kind of goes without saying, the wifes comment that “these guys are basically just assholes” certainly rings true. But I love them, just the same! Though I’m not a fan of burning down Stave Churches like Fantoft…

Fantoft stavkirke…
And yes, it’s a rarer trip nowadays, but another hike was to be had. This was a rugged one for me. I don’t know if I’m just not cut out for 13-14 miles of hiking, or if it was all the twistings of my ankle or being a little out of practice, or the fact that once we went up the hill and started going down, that we ended up having some more sizable ups.. Anyway, it kicked my butt. But you can read here all about the Conquerering of Devil’s Peak AND Hunchback Mountain!

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention last time that I watched Explorers! It’s sort of a Forbidden Planet for kids. It does feature a couple of soon to be stars and it’s a lot of fun. A good clean kid’s movie with lots of adventure and funny stuff.

short on movies…

This week? two Theater trips! We went out to the newest beer theater, the Academy Theater. Very nice! It looks good and has a nice feel and they serve good pizza, good popcorn, and beer!

And what did we see? the best comedy I’d seen since 40 Year Old Virgin, Thank You for Smoking! it was great. I was expecting something, I don’t know, different something sillier. In fact, to me it was one of the better comedies I’ve seen. Great subject matter, fun characters, very funny, the reference to cell phones at the end… Great!

And then, a new old classic came to town, Army of Shadows. Some say the best Melville, well, not my favorite, but still quite good, and chock full of Alain’s, but no Delon. The noir sense worked well in this WW2 resistance drama, dynamically led by the great performance of Lino Ventura and also the charming Paul Meurisse. Full of close calls and treachery, great cinematography, great characters and a top notch plot. You really can’t go wrong with Melville.

Da Vinci Code… Ok. Yeah, I’ve, of course, never cracked the book open, and I always failed to see the great controversy behind the story, I guess it’s because this is the first time these ideas have really been presented in a package for the mass media consumer, instead of a more bookish group. Regardless, though it seemed uninteresting and with some uninspired stars, a trailer for it exuded an exciting action thriller atmosphere with some intriguing secondary players so, now that it has made it’s appearance in beer theater land, we went and saw it.

Well, well, well. First off, the projector was too unfiddled with so the slight blurriness of the picture, blended with the awkwardly edited night action scenes made the first part a bit hard to watch. The over-exposition was tried true and tiring. Especially, I thought, giving the subject matter and genre, there should have been a chance for people to figure things out, instead, all of the angles were handed out on a well-lit (especially see the Star of David) platter, sadly, considering the potentially intriguing subject matter. Anyway… It all made for a very predictable movie.

The movie was quite dull, until Ian McKellen showed up. I warn you, he is the only actor who actually seemed to be really using his acting muscle for this one, and the only character who was at all interesting. The first scenes with him were also the only times when really scandalous theories were given much airtime.. Reno and Prochnow were much underused and the two leads really aren’t too great. Hanks really shined in Big but since then… I dunno.

But enough about movies!

We took to the hills again and it was even better than the last. We, um, ascended to the top of Table Mountain.. Yes, it was back to Washington again, in fact, not far from ol’ Dog Mountain… The one was very good. Some nice steepness, some great vistas and a nice reminder of the works of geology… Warning, there are lots of pictures at: Ascent of Table Mountain

she doesn’t have any shoes…

Oh where to begin… Well, i’ve watched some movies… But it’s been soo long that I may have forgotten some of them.

At the beginning, we watched Ray. I thought it was pretty good. Like everyone else, I have always considered Ray Charles to be a wonderful fellow and a wonderful musician, yet I knew very little about him beyond that, so it was nice to see a spirited rendition of his life story.. There was a good portion of both the sweet and the sour and it kept up some good energy. Also, it was a very attractive film to look at. Nicely shot, nice costuming (some very nice suits), very pleasing. It was also fun to see Larenz Tate, who I’ve only previously seen in his great portrayal of O-Dog in the wonderful Menace II Society, and a nice surprise to have Curtis Armstrong appear.

And then another Woody Allen fantasy. Though I prefer Woody Allen movies with Woody Allen, this one wasn’t a trademark Allen movie, so his absence was fine. In fact, the movie was really good. Match Point has a strong story, some bad people, a very bad person, an endless anxiety of impending comeuppance and some great acting. A really great movie! Though it isn’t totally Allenesque, I definitely imagined that the notion of trying to get away with some kind of secret relationship with a non-blood related family member had some resonance for him.

And we actually snuck out to the theater to see a film. And a good choice it was! We watched Word Play. We both really liked this one! We are big documentary fans, but this was better than most: it was always interesting, and it’s always fun to see Wil Shortz. The rest of the subjects were an engaging bunch of people. The whole darn movie, while it can be tense at times, is lots of fun and seems rife with humanity. It constantly reminds you that there is still joy in the world and people who spend their time doing things that they really derive a great satisfaction from.

Another highlight this time was Metal: a Headbangers Journey. This, strangely enough, turned up on pay-per-view. I again liked it alot. It was interesting to see a real documentary on Metal from someone who was actually a metal person. Not one of those staid “sport-coat and jeans” Rolling Stone types who thought they were hot in ’82 when they smoked weed to Over the Mountain but since then have learned that U2 is what rock is really about, but someone who really knows what metal is about. Knows that it’s not just a genre of music that you can toss off with some grandiose comments about Led Zeppelin and Ozzy and think it died with teased hair. Anyway, I digress, but the movie, while a bit brief on some subjects, is solid. I must pick up the DVD to get a glimpse of the special features. Asides though, of course, I found the inclusion of bands like slipknot to be kinda lame, but then, those bands are lame and some people consider them metal, so I guess it fits. But come on “dudes” drop the masks during the interview. Oh yeah, hands down, the high point of the film is the interview with Necrobutcher, easily the funniest part of the movie!

And, though it’s kind of the other end of the spectrum, it really made me wish that they would release The Metal Years on dvd… My old VHS is so worn that everything has faded to red.

And yes, I’d never seen (nor have I read) In Cold Blood. Well, now that’s done. Another great old classic that, upon watching, I can’t imagine why I’d never seen it (I suppose I’ll say the same thing whenever I get around to raging Bull). Though it probably wasn’t the best part, I really enjoyed seeing John Forsythe (being that I was always on the Dynasty side of the fence). I’ve always found him to be a compelling actor and I really like his voice. Of course, the highlight of the movie is Robert Blake. He turns in an honest portrayal of Perry, in his “cold, yet not cold” manner. The film looks very nice, most of the actors turn in good performances and, even in this era of endless serial killer documentaries on Court TV, something about this story still pulls some strings.

Ok, so I made a second trip to the theater. I saw Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The wife wouldn’t go but, since she did make the trip out for Sympathy for Mr Vengeance last year, I though that was quite understandable…. As one would expect, it was good. It was shot really nicely and it had some great scenes and visuals. Though I’ve heard some good reviews of it, it would be my least favorite of the trilogy. Though it was very nicely made, the plot didn’t really move me. Both of the previous entries I had an easier time falling into, this story just kept me at a distance, I felt like he was just grasping at some other reason someone would be striving for vengeance. But it’s certainly worth watching and though I do admit that the story and characters in the first one seemed maybe hokier than this one, that one still seemed more original at the time.

Then, the next day, came an unanticipated sick day. That, of course, led to the watching of some standard sick day fare.

First up, Fortress. What can I say? Bad, plain and simple. The inclusion of two stalwarts (Jeffrey Combs and Stuart Gordon) with great resumes and the always fun Kirkwood Smith doesn’t help this dog. There are some nice gore effects that are in the Gordon style, but the rest of it just plain stinks. Boring crap. I mean it. No, seriously. How can garbage like this leave the editing room and get shipped out. The only thing that anyone could say would be, “well, that looks like a real cheapo”.

And then, Resident Evil 2. Why? I don’t know. I didn’t like the first one but I figured after watching Fortress, I could use something with an effects budget. Starting off like a homage to 28 Days Later (complete with “13 hours later”), but with a big budget and much much lamer… Well, the list of movies it seems to bring back memories of got longer: LOTR, Land of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead… It was quite boring and uninspired. While I didn’t like the first installment much, it is certainly head and shoulders above this one and though I’m not too fond of Milla, she was perfectly functional in both films and the addition of a second girl action lead who comes across as a cardboard stereotype is unneeded and dull.

There is really no reason to bother with contrived garbage like this, when you can get the same thrills, much better done, from soo many other sources…

Then I watched The Dirty Dozen. Well, though it certainly had an ensemble cast (including two old favorites, Marvin and Bronson), it was just a bit too cheesy for me. Since I’m not a fan of war movies, I like them to be a bit more serious. It’ll probably end up on the “sell” pile, but it was good to actually watch it as an adult, just to, you know, know.

And then The Descent again… Still scary and fun! The wife wanted to watch it and I gladly obliged. I noticed recently a trailer for its impending American release. Of course, as is common, they basically give away the whole thing (am I the only one who wants to know nothing about a movie before I sit down for it?), but I will certainly make an attempt to see it on the big screen, especially if’n it comes to a beer theater!

I also watched some of Sid & Nancy, though due to the wife watching the whole thing, I got to hear all of it. I honestly don’t know how people can watch that film over and over. It was soo annoying that I couldn’t even sit through more then 10 minutes of it. Waiting for those arseholes to shut up and die really tired me out… A flock of losers yelling all the time and making big messes… man. At least there was a playing of Oh Bondage, Up Yours (easily my favorite old punky song), though I’m not sure who they had on the stage for that scene. Oh and seeing Courtney Love in a movie this old made me fell, well, kinda old. Though everyone was annoying I do feel that they cast it well. But, sadly, the movie is boring and irritating.

Oh and finally… Though the hiking has tapered off, a few weeks ago Paul and I made the trek up Dog Mountain. It was really beautiful and great and had some good strenuous parts but, since I took too many pictures, I made a page for it here: The Dog Mountain Journey.

back to the saddle…


So not a lot of movie watching this week but there is some stuff to report…

We watched, just out of the blue, Little Dieter Needs to Fly. I liked it quite a bit. It seemed so much a “Herzog” documentary. About one minute into hearing this guy talk, you think, oh yeah, this guy is perfect for Herzog. Little Dieter is a very interesting fellow, the life story he relates and the way he relates it are fascinating and overwhelming, one of those “this guy must be kidding” kind of life stories. Dieter’s is soo engaging, and his story is soo engaging, that Herzog doesn’t have to pipe in to save the film like he does in Grizzly man, Dieter is really quite engaging himself. I would quite recommended it. Sure, it’s no My Best Fiend, but I found it to be a much stronger subject than Grizzly man or The White Diamond was.

More watching, we finished this sixth season of the Sopranos. Of course,I love the Sopranos… But I must admit that some seasons don’t really thrill me. In fact, it’s really only the 1st and third that I really like… I must say that this was the dullest season yet. Man. It barely dragged me in at all, and it just left me as the lone guy on the hill in backing up Phil. I just can’t help it, I like the old-school guys… Carmella has turned out to be such a waste. Sad, since she was finally moving in the right direction at the end of season 5… No more… It makes me miss her “blood money” episode.

So in more things, we just spent 2 days in a yurt at Nehalem Bay State Park! I’m not going to post any pictures here, because I’ve had enough people ask me to report back to them that I’ll give the trip it’s own little page here… The Yurt!

fistfull of rawhide…

Yet another great hiking area. We went up Larch Mountain. It was really nice, though it rained the whole way and some parts of it were cold enough to still have thick mounds of snow on the ground. We will be heading back in warmer weather. The trail wasn’t too hard or very steep, but it certainly had rough spots. The views were not there, due to thick fog floating around everywhere. Supposedly at times you can see Hood from there. But the way up was a nice varied hike through some beautiful woods.

heading in…

To skip ahead to the way back down, most of that was through an eerie wood. A forest of Birch that was heavily damaged by a storm. There were trees downed everywhere and debris and then, of course, still the fog. It was a little surreal, in a pleasant way. What about the top, you say? Well, that was interesting too! It is a bit odd to hike 3-4 miles on a trail to reach a road and a parking lot but, once you get there, you are greeted with a very nice picnic area, it looked more like a camping area, secluded and well-treed. After that area though, a nice walk down a wooded path to be greeted by a stairway going up through the trees.

the stairs…

Where does it go? Well, if you clamber up these stairs you reach the viewing platform on top of the ol’ lava plug. The day we were there I was 4000 feet up, yet nothing to be seen but white. The edge could have been a 4000 foot plunge or a 400 foot plunge, if you leaned over though, you could see somewhat straight down… We’ll have to check it out in clearer weather, it was still a nice, interesting sensation though.

where am i?

down you go…

Finally, after all of the years of having Corben’s Vic and Blood laying around, I actually sat down to watch A Boy and His Dog. It was nice to get it out of the way. Sure, it’s a bit hokey, but it follows the graphic novel (I haven’t read the actiual story) pretty well and if you can avoid thinking about Don Johnson, it’s a pretty fun movie to sit and watch. The post-apocalyptic movies are always fun, and they take soo little money to throw together. Yes, watching someone walking though the desert with a dog can be fun! Following along Vic’s love troubles and wondering why all the white face keeps it a fresh and unique film from that genre.

a boy and his dog 1:01:52

We also rented Hellboy. I suppose it was alright. I mainly liked the beginning, with the occult nazi stuff. You can’t really go wrong with occult nazi stuff. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have many film appearences. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hellboy, any others? But it looked good in this. Some rather bad looking bad guy, some nice portal action… Trouble is, once the cartoon characters showed up, the movie fizzled a bit. Though it still remained interesting enough for a comic book movie, it made me just want to watch Sin City and to find more occult nazi stuff. But there were good effects and some nice sets. None of the “heroes” interested me at all, though I liked the doctor character. But let’s talk about the villains…

hellboy 8:34

We also watched Carrie. It seemed a sort of kindergarten for actors. So many soon to be famous faces that I would have sworn that the actor who played Freddy was really Chris Penn. Of course, the credits don’t agree but anyway, plenty, not just Travolta! In general though, I didn’t find the movie too interesting. William Katt freaks me out (and not in a good way), but the prayer closet with the statue of Howard Stern is neat and Piper Laurie does a wonderful job! She really is the movie… A great character and great playing of the character, really provide a solid core. Sissy Spacek does good too, very convincing. The two of them together really did the job.

carrie 1:31:30

And the for an unheard of one, I watched Time without Pity. Washed up drunk trying to get his act together to save his son… Okay, so it’s not The Lost Weekend but it is an interesting film. It is interestingly shot and some of the casting is quite good, in fact some really nice shots and something about some of the acting seemed really fresh and but the story seemed a bit fluff. Padded, I might say. It was an unexpected surprise to see Peter Cushing and Michael Redgrave did a good job, though he kept reminding me of Ray Milland… but I was drawn in, for the most part, by Leo McKern. I thought he put good energy and an interesting angle to his role. I found Alec Graham to be completely unconvincing. Anyway. The story was good, It was a combination of nicely crafted film with some good acting jobs and a nice noirish mystery… with some not so good roles and some parts that a seemed very strangely put together. I would still recommended it though. Maybe a good double with The Lost Weekend.

time without pity 20:01

a boy time without pity 20:58

hi, hi, hi there, Mr. Deltoid…

Yes, it’s been another lengthy vacation from here. I’ll be back in the movie saddle soon, I suppose. But what’s been going on these last few weeks? Be prepared… I do have a couple on things to throw down.

Two weeks ago we had another good hike. A nice forest park romp through the woods. I was afraid that there might be some souls on it, for that is how the parts of forest park that I know are, but I think the monday morning time-slot and the fact that the spot we went to was about 10 miles past the part of the park I’m used to, led to us not seeing a soul on our little nature walk. Very nice, but sadly, our batteries died after the first picture, so there is little evidence.

Then last week, we went to Sauvie Island and had, to that point, my favorite hike yet of the series… maybe 8 or so miles, light wooded area, beach walking, a little lighthouse at the end, and perfect “60 degrees with occasional sprinkle weather”. Very nice. All was lush and green and meadows and the big river. And, yet again, not a soul on the path. In fact, aside from a couple of guys fishing in a boat, it seems the that whole end of the island was empty. All very nice, though the little side trek to catch a glimpse of the lovely town of St Helens is not worth the time, though we did find two strangely out of place concrete platforms… Mysterious…

look’it that green!
here’s more!

This Monday was another really nice one. We brought along company, the brother (more on that later) and buddy boy Brian and went out gorgeside for a trip up at Waukeena Falls and over and down Multnomah. Well, that was nice. Honey wasn’t feeling too well so that was too bad that she couldn’t enjoy it as much as she would have, but once we got to the top, it was better and it was a really nice area. Lots of trees, waterfalls and all that stuff, very few other folks. Sadly, once we got around the top of Multnomah, the little crowds came out and, worst of all, our route became paved! A sad, sad thing. The concrete o’er the earth is bad enough, but it also brings such pain to the feets that tromping along rocks and dirt just doesn’t have.

very nice…
quite nice…
do we live here?

Other things? Last week, our brother came out from back home for 3 months! It’s a bit odd for two old turtles like ourselves to suddenly have a 14’er around, but it’ll be fun. Gavin’s a great guy and it’s interesting because it makes one soo much more conscious of how you spend your time. He does say some funny things though…And another funny one. I was enlisted to be the guest on PhilosophyTalk this week. Well, it turned out ok. The show went nothing like I had been told and so my preparations were for naught and I was unprepared for what happened.. But, at least Powells got mentioned alot and some books that I picked out got some airtime. Strangely, its broadcast here in town was pre-empted by some senate hearings about some evil hard-to-listen-to fascist general who’s going to be taking over the CIA. I was kinda glad it was, but, then again, it seemed really lame too. I guess I can always just stream it…Movie wise, it’s been a quiet couple of weeks. but I feel like things are picking up,

We Watched Persuasion. A while ago we tried watching the one in the Jane Austen Box Set. Sadly, not good. This version, on HBO, was much superior. instead of a cheap movie of people in costumes blandly walking around this one actually gave an feeling of what it might have been lik to actually live in those times. A seemingly low budget was put to a very good use. The production design was genuine, the acting was good, the actors worked well. It was quite good all-around!

We also watched North by Northwest. For the first time… Yes, I had never seen this old classic before. Another, of course, in my series of watching all of these Cary Grant movies, he didn’t really bother me in this one, though. It was quite a good film! Fun, nicely shot, non-stop…. James Mason was great, of course. The twists were nice. Well, what else to say, classic Hitchcock. Great James Mason, great sets… Really great sets. And a fun story!

I finally watched The Call of Cthulhu. Soo many HPL stories have been movieized in one sense or another, it is a relief and a thrill to see one soo pure to his stories. The standard movie style (sound… color… girls…) seems to thoroughly dispel that literary aura that is the core of his writings, so a lovingly literal black and white silent film in the old style is a joy to behold. A must see for fans. But, sadly, the disc seems to be missing, so no shots of it… For now…

I also had never seen Casablanca, “The greatest film of all time or something”. I thought it was pretty good, not going to end up in my top 100 though. Of course, maybe great for it’s time, but for an older thriller, I’ll take a Melville film anytime. But it is quite classic, the casting is great: Veidt is great, Lorre is great, Dooley Wilson is great! Pondering the French Colonies after the fall of france, which i never thought much about, was interesting. And it was, yes, a good story with twists and turns and backstabbing. All that good stuff. You know? It was kind of like Star Wars.

After much wanting to for many months, we also watched Goodbye Lenin. I liked this one. Yes, I thought the premise was a bit weak. I understood, sort of, his orginal idea, but I thought that after a little time, it would have to become obvious to him how much he was overreacting, but that aside it was a fun and interesting movie. Touching at times and funny.

Hard Candy. I had been looking forward to this’n since viewing the preview some time back. I did like quite like it, it’s pretty non-stop and can be fairly unsettling. Plot-wise it was reminiscent of Death and The Maiden. My only issues with it were the obvious DV filming and the annoying “fast editing” sequences that, I guess, are supposed to be artsie or whatever, but they just seem rather unneeded. The movie was interesting enough and the roles were quite well played, no fancy tricks are needed. Fun, nonstop, in your face and exciting!

A Clockwork Orange! Yes yes… Again and again. About the only thing better than this movie is the trailer for it included on this disk, wonderful! Fun! Yes, one of the best of the best. One of the finest films of all time! Better than that old Casablanca! Brian hadn’t seen it yet so we sat down to it for some viewing. I noticed some things I hadn’t before, “home” (the second time around) has the old ludwig van’s 5th as a doorbell and the “new wife” was played by none of than David Prowse! Kind of a surprise, though I don’t know why. But back to the expected… Lot’s of the Ultra-violence, with about the most rollicking first 10 minutes a film has ever had. It always reminds me that I should read the book. Another funny one that I remember in Ma’s room when i was but a lil’ un. Anyway, I know it’s unfair to rate Kubrick movies, but this has to be one of the big three of them. If you haven’t seen it, see it! But be prepared. Also, personally I feel a bit odd viewing it in a public setting, as I did at the Mission Theater a couple of years back. There’s just a bit too much goodness to share with a room full of strangers.

a clockwork orange 34:13

what makes bob holler?

Yes, it’s been a long time coming. Busy these last few weeks, with taxes (oh, the dread..) and building the shop a webstore at mabelscafe.com, something which I had never attempted before… This, and more, has kept me away from much movie watching and from much time for writings like this. Now though, those times are behind me. So free do we feel now that the wife and I decided to start doing some hiking lately and started off today by walking to to Angels Rest in the gorge. A grand walk it was, much different that my daily stroll to work, much more fulfilling. And it is surely worth going all the way up and out on the rest… Very nice. And it was actually a pretty involving walk for non-hikers such as ourselves.


here’s the view looking back down at part of the trail

here’s the view across the river from the top. 1600 feet up…

I Watched The Lurker in the Lobby, the old first compilation of shorts from the HPL Film Festival. Of course they are all interesting as renditions of Lovecraft’s stories, probably with more connection to the actual stories than the feature films that are made. I like the Hound most of all, though Necronomicon seems good, but it is soo short that it is really a bit hard to determine. Both of The Outsiders seem a bit too little. It is such a basic story and such a good one that I hope to see a version that seems to involve more than a blue filter on a camera watching someone walking through a house. Cthulhu Wore Tennis Shoes, as the name would imply, isn’t worth watching but The Music of Erich Zahn is good as is From Beyond. The Hound is really the one film worth having this collection for, well, that and the awesome Thickets video for Worship Me Like a God! Though in reading reviews of the DVD collections now availible, I’m getting a bit tired of people always dissing the Thickets. They just don’t get it… I think maybe they haven’t heard enough of their songs. Nothings backs up a HPL day for me like listening to Cthulhu Strikes Back! The stuff on this ol’ VHS is currently available on the hpl collection dvd’s from Lurker Films

Eyes Wide Shut. Okay, here’s another one. I had some idea about what this movie was about and, from day one, I had never any intention or interest in seeing it. I know how could I say that about a Kubrick film? Has he ever led me wrong. Well, no. But… 2 hours of artsie masked orgies and the dull duo of Cruise and Kidman sounded enough for me to leave this one out of my consideration. Of course, thanks to xmas we own it and, feeling open about films this day, I reluctantly agreed when Caitlin suggested it. Well, as always, I was wrong. The movie was nothing like what I had expected. It is soo not a slow boring artsie orgy film, instead it is a caprivating thriller that, while lead by two annoying actors, is engrossing, well-shot, nice to look at and well acted (TC and NK pull of their irritating characters fairly well). Yes, Cruise and Kidman were dull (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a movie before), but they fit the parts pretty well. And it was just a good movie. All I had to do was close my cruise-eyes (like I do for Minority Report) and watch the plot unfold. A good mystery and another well-crafted film for Kubrick.

The worst movie this year crown is pulled off the head of Battle Beyond the Stars! Yes, I know that Jeff Conway is always a bad sign, but even he must have hated himself for signing onto Alien Intruder. Bad. Not even bad in the “okay, at least it’s corny” way, just plain, lame unwatchably terrible. Nothing else needs to be said. Not a single redeeming quality. Avoid it (and what? Billy Dee? It makes the Schlitz ad’s look like a highwater mark).

Another Masters of Horror came down the pike. I sat for a late nighter of Cigarette Burns. Easily of the better of the two MoH that I’ve seen. The lead guy wasn’t too engaging for me, and some of the scenes in France didn’t come across as all that believable, but all in all, a pretty good flick. A good idea, fun storyline, well made, good gore, Udo Kier, John Carpenter. I would recommended it if you are into the horror movie kind of thing and have an hour to spare. Also, some of the other MoH trailers seemed interesting. Especially Jenifer (by Dario Argento!) , it looks really good. And, obviously, they did a good job with “la fin absolue du monde”. It looks intriguing. yes, arty and “extreme”, but still, it looks like it may have made an interesting little film.

Yeah, for old times sake we watched Vacation. And I’m even bothering to mention it here because it’s been many a year since I had seen it all the way through. Of course, it was exactly how I remembered it but, I must again admit, this humor sort of fades with age. Or maybe fades with familiarity, or both. Still a classic though. The cousins are wonderful and the horrifying car is almost reason enough to watch the movie. Chevy Chase just gets a bit tiring after all these years.

And now we’ve watched Donnie Brasco. I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen this before. It was another good mob movie, more low key than most, which was nice and, of course, everything reminds me of the Sopranos… But this one didn’t have too many of the old Sopranos faces and it was a pretty good film. Good period job, good actors… Some top notch ones, including one of my old favorites, Bruno Kirby, and a job from Pacino that didn’t seem as much of a tired old thing as a lot of the roles I’ve seen him in. Of course the “basd ona ture story” aspect adds an element to the supense, and maybe a bit of remorse knowing thta things probably didn’t turn out too well for any of those guys. But a strong film.

And lastly, a repeat viewing of The Body Beneath. A movie truely only for fans of the old Something Weird style of movie. This on has it all: sex, violence, blood sucking, psychedelic feasts… But all done in a truly awful way. Bad acting, silly story with lots of contradictions, bad costumes, some odd characters like the vampires nymphet vampiress slave enforcer squad (no matter how low budget a film is, some of the money should be used for makeup), who sort of grew on me after a while, and the hunched-back mod, who never did grow on me… and that terrible terrible “i can’t believe they used that for blood” kind of blood that drips all over movies like this. It was a fun film though! And Gavin Reed is worth the price of rentals alone as the only actor who really tried to put anything into this film, his portayal of Algernon Ford was just perfect! I also liked the music played during the “feast”.


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