forget me not…

No wonder the last entry was soo short! Well, I guess there are a number of reasons but worst of all, I left a movie out! Back then I got to treat Jim K to an Ichi the Killer party! It worked out quite well. As I’ve mentioned before, my Malata is having issues but it performed almost without issue that evening. It’s probably been a year or so since I last enjoyed an Ichi appearance but he’s never let me down. Again, totally not a date movie (though the wife did sit through a good bit of it… Yay!)… Some bad stuff happens in it (which I won’t mention in a family friendly blog like this), some of which I actually had forgotten about. But anyway, about it? Yes, another of my top ten. It looks really good, it’s really fun and it has some great stuff. Jijii’s surprise towards the end and also at that point Kakihara’s shiny suit and Shun Sugata’s voice are among my favorite parts. Anyway, it might be called violent or obscene or silly or all of those, but it is all of those, in a very glorious fashion! Highly recommended to anyone with a penchant for Yakuza films or “glorious violence”. It’s Miike’s high-water mark and a must see.

And ok, I finally finished the three little aliens. Alien 3 is done! At the point in which this originally came out, I certainly liked it alot. Now for my first time with the added footage, I still do. I suppose one could call it the weakest of the first three but at times I like it better than Aliens… I would say that they are three great films. A very well-done trilogy (I prefer to forget about the two following) with not a weak number among them. I think that Alien is one of the best horror films of all time (talk about a slasher), and Aliens is one fine war movie… Alien3? Well, it’s all about atmosphere and it’s laid on thick and good. I have heard many folks say it is too dark (I think they mean visually) and that it is too dark (I think they mean psychologically), but those certainly don’t stand in the way of a fine Sci-Fi/Horror/Action/Monster movie… Not in my book. Yes, it’s not a very uplifting film (no, not even the end), it doesn’t have any sympathetic characters, it’s very dark and sometimes when the Alien runs it looks a bit fake. In this version most of the rather disposable characters gain some depth.

a3
alien3 55:40

We also finally watched Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. It was alright. We’ve seen a number of Greenwald’s movies and they mainly seem to be a collection of newscasts and bits of information with interviews. Not really with the same narrative aspects of, say, a Michael Moore movie. But still, it nice to watch a movie filled with depressing aggravating information sometimes. I realize that he’s addressed this issue already many times but I would be interested in having the movie cover more of the “why, on earth, do people shop there?” question, since that is really the reason why Wal-Mart has become what it’s become. All these cities and small businesses don’t lose their money and shut down due to Wal-mart, they shut down because their customers decide to support Wal-mart’s “non-values” instead of those of their communities. Sad and pitiful but, like many things American, we love making things worse for ourselves due to the lazy and/or greedy little voices within us.

We also just finished the first season of Dead Like Me. While it wasn’t all that bad, I wouldn’t recommended it to anyone unless they had a real strong desire to see it. It doesn’t have much of a plot so the stories are a bit thin, most of the characters are trite and I find the star to be quite uninteresting (maybe even just plain unappealing in appearance, style, voice, everything) but it can be entertaining and easy to mindlessly watch and I like Mandy Patinkin well enough. In other news, strangely, it has about the foulest mouth I’ve yet heard on a TV show. I think they curse less in The Sopranos! Also, midway through the season they replaced one of the alright characters with one who was consistently dumbly irritating… But it’s always nice to see Vancouver. Such a nice city.



a thing of speed and beauty……

talk about addictions… Mine is that I can’t go to bed… It’s a half past 2 AM and I have no interest in stopping my iTunes shopping spree for the evening. How to recover from this strange “never waste time sleeping” addiction? I dunno…

Anyway, we’ve been watching a little stuff. Very little. In fact, no DVD’s to report… Except we watched Claires Knee. I actually got to the end of it, which was probably unneeded. Anyway, yes, your standard french relationship film. A little interesting, yet something that you aren’t torn about turning off. No really interesting characters and the quality of the film brings to mind little worthy of focus. Actually, I found none of the characters to inspire my interest. But it was fine and dandy, as an old school french (pedafile swinger…) movie.

And. Yes. I’m not sure.. Anyway, we went to go and see Brokeback Mountain. I was a bit reluctant, as I have been hoping to see Goodnight and Goodluck instead, oh well…

Anyway. For some unexplainable reason, I was quite bored for the first hour or so. Though I found the scenery quite attractive, fella’s not including, but the sheep were nice…

Anyway, it was actually a pretty good movie, a tear-jerker and all. If you’re into that sort of thing, i would recommended it.



i possess a stellar convertor…

A slasher in the classic vein of 25 years back, Haute Tension is dragged down with none of the overblown corny stuff they make horror movies out of these days. This is a very nicely bloody film: well used blood, convincing and some really strong “yuck!” scenes. It’s a by-the-book slasher film like they made in the golden years: girls (as required, one of maybe loose morals, one not) off on a fun trip, singing all the way… Then stalked by a crazed killer. It’s got all the goods of the classics, only it looks much better than those oldies. Good cinematography, good story, probably fairly tense (if you’re not too jaded at this point… sigh…), great special effects (good gore, not like the silly overdone stuff I’ve complained about before), and a really nice, dark and vibrant color palette. Highly recommended for anyone into slasher films, but not such a purist that they only watch films that look like they were shot in super-8 over a weekend.

haute
haute tension 01:11:37

I also finally watched The Mouse that Roared. Another fun “multiple Sellers” 60’s romp. Not the most brilliant comedy, sort of in the vein of Casino Royale, but not as overdone or corny. I’ve had the book as long as I could remember and it’s always been in my mind to watch the film. I just hadn’t got around to it. I think that seeing Lolita brought it back to mind, so watch it I did. It was a fun silly Peter Sellers romp, not too slapsticky, even with some tense moments! What I found most enjoyable though, were the graphics for the cut scenes. The storms while crossing the Atlantic were quite nice. I should have capped some before sending the disc back so you all could have seen them.

I felt like I must have seen it, due to it’s cult classic status but, upon watching… No. I most certainly hadn’t seen this film before. It is one thing to be influenced by a film but the opening scene of Battle Beyond the Stars seems to be just a bad re-shoot of the Star Wars opening sequence. After that, it becomes a fascinating rendition of a 1950’s Sci-Fi film but made 30 years later. Time is about the only thing changed in this one, the effects certainly stuck to the old methods. Starring John Boy Walton (that last name makes me cringe now) behind the wheel of Nell, the ship (the first busty space ship I’ve seen & when her engines start, they make a distinctly Star Trek sound). But I shouldn’t get started on features that remind me of other films, I wouldn’t know when to stop (okay, there were “inspired by” Willy Wonka, Logan’s Run and Alien, among others…). Bad plot, bad effects, terrible “jerky” robots, bad acting, strange casting filled with b-movie stars (hard as this is to say about someone who went on to star in The A-Team but, “Cowboy” may be the low point of George Peppard’s career). Bad, but not in any of the good ways.

Following this up with another Sci-fi movie probably was a bad idea. I was in too critical a mood so everything looked corny. But I sat down for Supernova. After taking a little break well into it and then coming back made me to believe that I might like it more a second time through. Not that it was particularly good, It is very much too dramatic and the scene that’s a copy of my least favorite scene in Aliens was annoying (did I mention it was too dramatic? Soo dramatic in some scenes that I felt like I must have accidentally missed the previous 10 minutes). It had a strange cast: Angela Basset, James Spader (who I haven’t liked in anything except Stargate), a terribly underused Robert Forster and Lou Diamond (what the? Where’d he come from?). It was probably the nakedest sci-fi movie I’ve seen (well, since Cosmic Cheerleaders, if that counts) but they also throw in a “jerky” robot, like the above film (didn’t that dance go out of style back around the time that Gallager did?) and the lame Hollywood ending… Man, who writes those?



hot on the heels of heaven…

Not much watching for this week. Distracted with being sick and pondering taking a C class over the Internet… Is that nutty? Does that work? iClass? Well, we’ll see. So I’m messing around with that sort of fun stuff…

Watching-wise though, I’ve mainly been getting bored with History of Britain… I mean, I like history well enough, but when it’s just king this and king that, it starts seeming like a bit of stuff is missing and it gets a little dull. Last night we got to episode 5 with the black plague and he actually started talking a bit about more social effects on the regular folks. So that was an improvement… though I’m not sure if I’ll make it all the way through. And of course, more Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the wife is working her way through the whole Seven Up series, but I’ve not really watched any of that.

There were some watchings from weeks back that I missed last time. We watched Rock School. It was funny to watch it soo soon after School of Rock. It was obviously the idea behind the Jack black gig: A pushy annoying loud frustrated musician starts an after-school program for kids to learn music and then sets them off one a quest to perform at a big show. Anyway, it was pretty enjoyable. Though he certainly could be a mean fellow. All in the name of pushing people to be their best. Obviously an experience I’ve never been through, but it seems annoying. I would highly recommend it if you ever had enough interest to see School of Rock. It is an interesting contrast of a Documentary and a Hollywood dramatization of the same subject.

I also watched The Set-up. Now normally I am an unquestioning fan of any sort of Crime Noir. Possibly the best film genre out there (except I do get a bit tired of endless failures on the parts of our heroes), and this was not really an exception. It was well done & moving, with plenty of excitement and dames but… I gotta say. Boxing bores the living heck out of me. It always has. So much so that I’ve never even seen Raging Bull (though When We Were Kings is brilliant, I’m not sure why I make that exception). This movie’s got fisticuffs and lot’s of it. If you like good ol’ movies and you like boxing, this is one for you. I swear, though, the main fight seems like twenty minutes of watching them box.

I watched From Beyond again. That is one film that seriously needs a real release. Yes, it’s no Re-animator, but it’s an essential film in the HPL canon and this edition that I have (the only one I’ve come across) just doesn’t cut it. I’ve read reviews where folks refer to it as a bare-bones release but I think that are missing the point. It seems to me to be nothing more than someone pressing record on a dvd recorder and pressing play on a vcr with a chinese subtitled tape of the film in it: Okay picture quality, unremovable chinese subtitles (rather large), no chapter stops, no menus, no nothing. You put the disc in and it just plays. Anyway. Of course, it’s still a must see. Jeffrey Combs, and Barbara Crampton and the Gordon/Yuzna combination, the wonderful “fish” that the resonator brings to the fore, the gradual “more human than human”-ification of Pretorius. Highly recommended and much awaiting a real DVD of this classic.

beyond
from beyond 43:43

And then, last night, after getting bored of watching the bad lip-syncing of Brian Johnson in disc two of Family Jewels (playing the studio track over film of them performing only works well if you can’t really see their mouths and hands) I plugged in the ol’ VCR to watch Let There Be Rock. Talk about something needing a DVD release. The VHS are getting old and I don’t know about the other options: there are tons of stuff that certainly not this listed on eBay. I’m sure I could find a boot there, but I’d rather just get a real DVD. This is one of the all time classic music movies. Behind the scenes and on stage just as the boys are hitting it big, and nearly at the end for ol’ Bon. An awesome experience of the Greatest Band in the World.

Oh yeah and, just now, we watched Amelie. I know that this is a real love it or leave it movie for most people. I’m one of those who’s a big fan. The three of his films that I like are all wonderfully clever, very well shot and endlessly interesting. Though Delicatessen strongly remains my favorite.



super long happy new years greeting…

And what about all this death and disease, cancer pervades… Folks of all ages shapes and sizes… What’s the cure? Well, I don’t think that cure is the right word for the solution.

Looking at the world we have created around us, how can people be so naive about the causes of these ills that befall us. This myriad of symptoms that we call cancer have many, many causes in our little world. The list of things we surround ourselves with that are known to be carcinogenic (or otherwise potentially harmful or fatal) goes on and on: lead and the endless list of monoxides and dioxides from car pollution, industrial waste (just try reading The Fluoride Deception sometime), the radiation from Cell phones (“safe if antenna is not pointed at your head” does not, in my mind, constitute safe for something you talk through), radiation from power lines. Worse yet, plastics. Plastics are filled with carcinogenic materials: DEHA in water bottles, PVC in food wrap, chemical laden-plastics are what we’ve biult our homes around. That and: Ammonia used everywhere, Formaldehyde in carpets (along with 100 other toxic substances) and hundreds of personal products of all kinds, VOCS from mercury, formaldehyde and solvents in Oil & Latex based paints, polyurethane and Boric Acid and Antimony Oxides in Mattresses, and more! We all know that color and smell leach into plastic, I feel safe assuming that the leaching just may go both ways.

And let’s not forget our food system. Most of the food we eat has been so heavily processed that it doesn’t even resemble anything that the body should recognize: Soy is good for you (or is it?), but what connections does it have with textured soy protein, especially in a mash with myriad other chemicals, preservatives, coloring, stabilizers… Does the body really appreciate that as sustenance? On top of that atrophying, nay sabotaging, our immune system by swallowing every medicine we can get out hands on when we feel ill and covering ourselves and our environment with Anti-Bacterial soap, can’t really help. Human bodies are being weakened from the inside out and radiated and carcinogated from the outside in! No wonder there’s cancer everywhere. Good luck finding a “cure”.

Two cheery quotes from US PRIG, “three of the seven infant sleep accessories tested contained toxic flame retardants in the foam materials.” Yay! “Fifteen out of the eighteen products tested for phthalates including bath books, teethers, bath toys and other products contained phthalates. For example, a teether made by Gund contained DBP, a type of phthalate classified as a reproductive toxicant and banned in the European Union,” Don’t even get me started on the child development effects (ADD anyone?) of having little children stare at the seemingly psychosis inducing television shows, cartoons, and commercials for hours everyday…

Anyway, I don’t even know why these reports are needed. It strikes me as obvious that all of these sources surrounding and permeating us all of the time (who else finds it discomforting that we can turn on radios and TV anywhere and listen to them? Does that mean that American Idol is going through me whether I want to watch it or not?), assaulting our cells and systems, must have a cumulative effect greater then the individual harming ability of each one (this oft-quoted note from the FDA: “While it is true that chemicals used to make plastics can leach into food from plastic containers and films, all of the regulated chemicals used to make plastics for food contact, including DEHA, have been reviewed by FDA and have been found safe for their intended use” is fine… How all of our concerns about hazards are blown off using terms like Safe For Intended Use and The Amount Falls Into A Safe Range, doesn’t do much for me).

For further worry, here is a bit from Healthy Home Builder.

Anyway, on to movies!

We’ve had a busy week! We watched Dead Ringers which is always fun. It seemed a bit sillier then the last time I watched it (the effects of age, I suppose), but I still like it. Quite tense at times and you can’t help but feel bad for some of the characters, especially when Claire learns about the “fabulous mantle twins”. All in all though, I couldn’t help but think though of Julian Sands twisted doctor in Boxing Helena, who I find creepier, due to his childlike nature.

We also started off the Kubrick with Lolita. I’d never seen it and, man, had I been missing out. Very good film, very good performances from the whole cast (especially though, from Peter Sellers, always a favorite of mine). It was involving, intriguing and I highly recommend it. I hear the book is good too!

We followed that up with the Documentary A Life in Film. That was good too. I could have done without Tom Cruise as the narrator but, when he wasn’t actually on-screen, he was easy enough to forget. I never knew much about Kubrick, so it was good to hear a bit.

We also watched Angels in America. I had little interest in watching this, plus the six hour length scared me, but I was quite surprised. Though I didn’t actually like any of the characters, they we’re all well done (except the two scenes that lapsed into a few seconds of bad acting) and the story was good. As for the length? Well, I’m starting to feel that it’s odd that anything under 3 hours can even be called a film. There’s no time to develop anything worth developing in 90 minutes. The six hours went by easily.

We also watched Me Without You, another film I’ve never heard of but liked quite a lot. I fell right into the “Yay Holly, Boo Marina” camp… Rooting for Holly and Nat from the beginning (why do I get to be such a sucker for these romances sometimes? Tim and Dawn, anyone?). I really got into it. Queasy at their first punk rock party, mad at Marina, mad at Kyle Mac and his terrible hair… I fell for this fun film and the great soundtrack.

Speaking of Tim and Dawn, we had Krista and Ryan over for a bit and made them watch the first 6 episodes of The Office, the real (UK) version. That was fun as always. I never tire of this show. Krista reported that, though it is very like the American copy, the UK edition is much more discomforting. I’ve never seen the domestic re-hash, but I would bet she’s right! Now we need to watch all the way to the end again!

Last night, in the haze of a cold, I put in Sexy Beast. This time, the third I think, I am no longer having much troubles with their brogues (I wanted to subtitle it the first time). A great movie. The opening scene ranks up with the “leaving the restaurant” scene in Reservoir Dogs as one of the best opening/title scenes I know of. Past that though, the movie is awesome. Ben Kinsgley is tremendous, as usual, and the whole thing is great. Acting, story, script, cinematography, everything. Easily one of my top ten films (though my top ten list is at least 50 films long).



 

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