All these articles about the future of our fair city. Well, let me tell you, I don’t like it. Our grand last mayors 12 year drive to build up a huge fancy hip reputation at the expense of the people? I dunno, maybe she was thinking that a big enough facade would attract people and business that would fill that facade in. Well, I think it’s just too expensive for our own good. This parade of dumb ideas… Extending the light rail down the bus mall seems the dumbest yet. What? The parallel train a few blocks away and the dozens of buses that ply those same streets all day long aren’t enough? How does spending god knows how many hundreds of millions of dollars to put in these tracks when every year they talk about cuts to schools and police and fire… yeah, I’m sure that it’s all “different budgets” so that the money “can’t be used for other purposes”. Regardless. It seems as dumb as “covering the freeways” and short sighted. Anyway, Portland. yeah, where counter culture has gone from being the opposing culutre to the culture on the other side of the counter.
But I’m also ticked off by the FDA’s lock on the “plan B” pill. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant concept, but it’s a million times better than people being stuck with unwanted pregnancies or abortions. Denying them to rape victims on religious grounds? Well, bringing unwanted children of children into the world or leading someone to go for traumatic surgical procedures due to activities that were either mistakes or, worse yet, forced upon them, seems to lack a certain sense of compassion. Why does the Bush Administration keep skipping the page about the separation of Church and State? Damn that 60 minutes, always bringing up this terrible stuff…
Anyway. Yeah, now y’all have to pay with a rant before I continue on… Hopefully, I’ll have a more intesting selection of movie for next time but for now?
I feel like I must be missing something.. It’s been a week!
Anyway, Spellbound. Well, not to continue harping on this subject but… It was fine. It had some stuff that I liked a lot and Criterion did a really good job with it, but it just didn’t really do it for me like I would have hoped. I know, I shouldn’t keep complaining about Hitchcock movies but man, his good ones are soo good… The “dark lines on white” trigger I didn’t really buy… Not just because it seemed a bit all encompassing, but considering the situation wherein it had its roots… It just didn’t seem like it would leave quite that powerful an impression. This movie just didn’t really leave much of an impression.
A Very Long Engagement though, I did like quite a bit. Ths Jeunet fellow, well, I am pretty non-plussed by Alien IV (not as bad as, gaahhh, AVP, but dumb nonetheless) but Delicatessen is one of the finest films I’ve seen and Amelie is tremendously well made, quite very picturesque and entertaining (yes, I do need to see City of Lost Children again. I just didn’t get into it, it must be better then I recall). Anyway, not knowing what to expect; either a dry Lit movie or a silly chickflick, A Very Long Engagement was really quite good. I may need to add it to my wishlist. Very Jeunet: same actors, same style, same quality… I found it very engaging and interesting and, though some of the plot connections seemed very far-fetched (yeah, Amelie, but still) it seems quite forgivable with the overal quality of the movie.
As an aside. I started, for I think the third time, Demons of the Mind. I just can’t do it. I have a healthy atttraction to Hammer, as I imagine everyone out there does… And while I am very fond of some of their more fringe works like Lost Continent, this boring gothic flick just doesn’t do it. All I can say is that I don’t recommend it to anyone except maybe the Patrick Magee completest.
Now then, last night? Of course, out here first run theaters are dominated by the evil wal-theater chains of bloated prices, fake customer service, and that strange color scheme that makes you scream. I was shocked to realize that one of the few remaining classic theaters in town is not only not part of a chain but also a first run theater and one that prices its tickets well below the chains! Regal and Century and stadium seating be damned! Off we go to the Moreland Theater from now on. It’s a beautiful old theater: awesome interior style, velvet curtains between the lobby and the seating area? Awesome! But anyway, they are playing Walk the Line so me and the missus went to check that out. Quite good, we liked it a lot. Though I have a long fixation on John, it was a bit odd to see him portrayed as a pop-star. Yes, I know that he was but I always think of him as being a bit more off the beaten path then that. The Phoenix guy did a good job. I didn’t think that he seemed to be imitating John really, but he did really good with the singing and the part. The lead girl, well, I don’t really like her and she makes me nervous to look at, but she did a good job, especially with the singing. I actually really liked Robert Patrick. Kind of funny because I’ve never really liked him. He generally seems bland and I am disturbed by all of those Fox-free X-Files seasons, but he struck some kind of nerve with me in this film. Highly recommended.
And then, just now, we watched Last House on the Left. As the jaded young-un that I am, it didn’t’ seem quite as shocking as I had expected. It also wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I was thinking it would be a more a cross of the Hills Have Eyes and Chainsaw… But once the first half hour was done, it was pretty fun. I couldn’t watch the teeth scene and the death of Mari took me by surprise, but the soundtrack was great and I’ve got to respect a film for doing all those sorts of things back in 72.
Man and also, did I mention how the region free player is dying? I blame it on the fact the 2 years ago, on the day I got it, I was rear-ended with it in the trunk. My wife told me that she was going to get me a new one for Xmas… But now she’s not! Mackerel! Hopefully, after the holidays, we’ll be able to get the bucks together to pick one up, maybe one like this fine little Malata…
Have I told you how grand the half liter beer mugs we got for our wedding are? I can fit a whole bottle of Doppel-Hirsch in one mug! I need to get someone over here to try them out with me sometime…
Anyway, drinking too much beer and listening to too much Deichkind and these posts are maybe getting too long…
Yes, we all know of the terror of television. That nightmare box that ruins soo many evenings and brings soo much human potential to rot on the couch like that forgotten bag of potatos at the back of the bottom kitchen cabinet… But it can get worse. Tonight? Relishing the thought of 60 Minutes after having to sit through an unbearable episode of 20/20 last week (is that show for real? Is that host for real? Shhuuudddeeerr….). Anyway, I don’t know who this new guy on 60 Minuutes is, but he’s terrible! It’s like he’s narrating a documentary for 4th grade. Ugh. And then? My god. A story on Bono? and U2? They seemed alright but, c’mon “Bono” take your stupid sunglasses off! You’re being interviewed (and it’s not even sunny), how stinking rude can you get? I’m suprised he wasn’t chatting on his cell at the same time. Anyway. After that some show called “Cold Case”? Let’s see: terrible dialogue (jesus, that must be the worst thing about television), irritating editing (why does everything have to be shot like it’s a commercial for a whole show?)… I dunno. I guess that stuff is aimed at the MTV generation. Whatever that means. Aren’t I the MTV generation? I remember when it came out… These shows though are plain dumb and really not thought out very well… “Dude, and then he’ll say “You mean, it was his son!?!” and then we’ll do some cool edit so that the camera’s filming the underside of the table then jags to the side to show someone’s foot and then, “are you saying, it was his son?!”". Yeah well, now there’s some show on of “snowing all over the world!”. Wow. Brilliant.
Anyway. All in all pretty lame. What’s not lame though is Friday I went to some new place called the Hawthorne Theater to see Vader! Damn that was a good thing. I know they’re a bit more Death Metal than my usual listening, but they’re just soo damned good. Anyway, it was good to go (I tried to change my mind, but the wife wouldn’t let me). I only go to one or two shows a year and I’ve seen very few metal shows, so it was quite nice.
Well then, onto movies…
Werewolves? Samurai action? Monsters? How could one go wrong? Well, one could. I did. Kibakichi. At first, it seemed slow but with potential. Some nice scenery and cinematography… Though the picture seemed muted and dark. Well. That was the best part. Slow, boring. A couple of good fights scenes that were thrown off a bit by the monster effects being what they were. Anyway, it seemed like a good idea, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you want action and werewolves, I’d suggest just watching Le Pacte des loups again… Maybe the ol’ library needs a bit of culling.
On the other hand, yesterday I watched Slow Fade. That was a good one. Well shot, some of the old Carlito Brigante “they pulled me back in” action… The Daniel Lam soundtrack (hey! The DVD comes with a CD even!) techno music was good, some nice camera effects and kind of a hazy feel to the whole thing… Not really visually, but you kind of start feeling a bit hazy like our protagonist. Anyway I thought a nice film. Engaging, good looking and some good action.
And about my baby? Yes, as she mentioned last time, we went to go and see Pride & Prejudice. My first time with that story. I actually liked it a good deal. It looked very nice, it was well acted and directed. I quite liked the lead fellow, Mister Darcy, and I surely got wrapped up into the who will get whom routine. Actually, it made me want to read the book. Which Cait tells me is both very good and a quick read. So maybe it’s something I can handle.
We’ve also been watching the Wonder Years. I wasn’t too familiar with the show but now, after about 14 episodes in 2 days, I’m getting the hang of it. Pretty good for a TV show. Something that wouldn’t be too horrible for children to watch. it’s very thoughtful and well intentioned.
Pondering the endless horrid things in the news: the horrifying “intelligent design” (takes me back to the wonderful eugenics experiments of the 30′s-50′s, and the racist christian dogma of the late 19th century), Creationism (maybe humans were created by the penguin god? Anyone ever think of that? It makes just as much sense but sounds more fun to me), the overthrow of Iraq (didn’t the French, Russian, Indian and American revolutions teach us that if people really don’t like their government, they’ll get rid of it on their own?), the obliteration of the Palestinian people (weren’t the Jewish people at one time forced to wear ethnic ID and get crowded into walled up neighborhoods?) , Oil companies profiteering off of hurricanes, young girls turning up dead, the Crusades, heroin addiction, the Religious right’s hatred of the truth and the religious freedom that founded this country… Gets me to thinking about things. Things as in people and the funny things that they choose to do.
It makes me want to wile away some time pondering the way things are and why people fear reality so much (and I don’t just mean drug users). Ones perception of the world is as one makes it. There is no spirit world, no psychic world, no alien infestation, no zombies, no alternate realities. All that garbage just causes problems. This new (to me) notion that the religious right supports: pollution, wars and hatred because they see those as the steps leading to armageddon? Those fools will kill us all, in the name of their pre-historic ignorance! Could there be people as evil as people who are hoping to destroy everything in the hope that their warped beliefs will send them to the promised land? How can people be soo obtuse as to not realize that the Judeo-Christian god (stolen from the Babylonians anyway), is as unreal (though much more boring) as Re and the Boat of a Million Years and Thor and his Hammer of Thunderbolts.? The fear people having of living in a human world is shocking to me. Drug addicts, religious folk, racists… Do the penguins fear living in the penguin world? I doubt it.
Though even with all this gibberish going on, I believe that all people are inherently good and responsible. They can be easily fouled up by experiences and environment and can easily be taught to think bad things. Everyone has the ability to make there lives into anything they like, regardless of circumstances. Sure, most people don’t get around to it. I’m doing in slowly myself. But, it’s not like I can’t. And it’s not like anyone else can’t.
All of the problems that people cause themselves and others are due to their insecurities. Greed, lust, arrogance, religious faith, violence… All have their roots in people not feeling good or confident in themselves. Sometimes those are deeply taught values so it seems like it’s their “culture” not their insecurities. But no, thats what it really is. That’s why in every environment there is always someone who sees the right way things should be done, even if they have the same background. They have the luck (or misfortune) to begin to see why things are how they are.
Why do some religious folks have such a strong fear of non-religious or other religions? Because they fear losing their faith. Why do they fear losing their faith? Because they have soo little confidence in who and what they are that their faith becomes their anchor to the world and the thought of losing it seems like losing yourself. Therein lies all fear of loss. Our place in the world is made of who we have decided we are, losing some of that, whatever it may be, can lead to extreme psychological and emotional damage. The keys? Either re-define yourself into something different than you thought you were or cope with being who you are.
Anyway. That’s enough of my ranting. But, I guess that’s what Blogs are for!
Now onto movies!
I neglected to mention last time that we watched School of Rock. Of course, I was quite reluctant to watch this. It being a comedy and all and though I have liked Jack Black in the past, I used to have to suffer through his musical outfit and it caused me some distress. Anyway. We watched it and I really found it quite endearing and entertaining. I was surprised by and liked how much it focused on music from the days of my youth, and the kids weren’t bad and Jack was plenty entertaining and the terrible band at the Battle was just a little too realistic…
I also watched Kontroll. It was a great movie! A little odd but very good, well directed, visually great, well acted and interesting. I liked the grittiness of it and that it never left the subway. The plot, or at least the way it was presented was very engaging. I don’t know, as always, what else to say. If you like foreign movies with a gritty low-budget kind of feel that are maybe a bit dark. This might be for you. I also love subways so that was a big added plus. highly recommended!
I than watched Point Blank. Lee Marvin is always an exciting fellow to watch and though the movie didn’t seem like it might be all that much, the direction (did Boorman ever go wrong?) and the visuals and Lee Marvin and Carrol O’Conner and John Vernon (why did he get such low billing?), those were all top notch aspects. The action scenes were really great too, once you witness the fight between Angie Dickenson and Lee Marvin, you just can’t go back!
Also on the agenda was Catch Me if You Can. Yes, it was finely entertaining. An intriguing story… But Tom Hank’s accent bothered me a bit.
We also watched, To Catch a Thief. I couldn’t really get into it. It was fine and all, though I don’t really like Cary Grant, but it didn’t really live up to what I expect from Hitchcock. The movies of his that I love: The Lady Vanishes, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo… Maybe even Rope if you can find a version that doesn’t give it away at the beginning… Those are all masterful suspense movies. I found nothing like that in this one. It was kind of “just a movie”. But it was alright.
Yes, the week of all hallows eve has come and gone. While It didn’t seem that our movie watching was related to that, the movies themselves did seem to be. I guess that made up for us having not one single trick-or-treater. We watched Amityville Horror. It was alright. Not particularly scary. It just made me want to watch Poltergeist.
I also watched Altered States for, yes, the first time. It bored me like crazy the first half, but then it really picked up and I actually liked it alright. I thought that the role of the skeptic was overdone; he was soo skeptical that it started to seem a bit ridiculous. And I don’t really like William Hurt, so there’s that. But all in all it was pretty entertaining and, if your can get past the dated effects, it had some interesting ideas going on.
I also watched This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, finally… Since it’d been probably two years since I sat down to At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul. Anyway, I really like these films. Something about a fellow who is some kind of arch-villain but lives in some little town of a hundred folks I find fun. I also really like the aesthetic of the top hat and long nails. These movies are very down home good and the hell scene is a sight to behold.
Paul and I went out to the Clinton St to see The Hills Have Eyes, another film which I hadn’t seen before. It looked as though they had saved an original element for me. All the tried and true scratches and blurs of a cheap film, 30 years down the line. Regardless, I liked it though.
Why? Something different. Not just a group of young men and women with 1 woman left over at the end as is all too common. I liked the extended family as victims and the little baby added a whole new angle. Of course, due to its era, it was an over the top “I can’t believe they just did that”. Back before that was all ironic and all…
In other viewings? We rented Marnie and Love in the Afternoon. Both of which were fine. I didn’t really click with Marnie though it was fine and had some good scenes. The AH cameo was way too obvious. Love in the Afternoon seemed fine. Though I do like Maurice Chevalier alright, I don’t like either one of the lead actors. And Gary Cooper also just seemed a bit off in this role. It was a bit disconcerting. The movie was good though.
And Saturday, nursing my way through a lame hangover, I started to watxh the Star Wars series. I started with Episode 2 and I only slept through maybe 20 minutes of it, so that’s good. Anyway, not much needs to be said. It still seems better than Episode 1 and sometimes I feel like it can be easier to watch than the scenes in the real Star Wars where ol’ George polluted it with hacked up scenes and his little cgi pets floating around… Sigh…