killing ourselves softly…

Very quiet these days. Another light viewing week. We’ve got plenty too watch, maybe too much even… But the time just doesn’t seem to be there. We did find some extra time… to run to frye’s at the last minute and pick up an iBook. Who knows what we were thinking, but it seems to be a good idea to have one. So yes, I’m fiddling about on it just now. I like it. It’s the first laptop I’ve had about aside from the 5300cs I’ve had hanging around for the last seven or eight years.

I’ll start things of with an old favorite, Sixteen Candles. I got Cait a bunch of the Hughes/Ringwald movies and this was our first to view. I didn’t really recall it but, on seeing, it became quite familiar. I feel like this was the first of the “series” and though it’s not my favorite of the bunch, it seems like a good place to start. Pop/teen/romance masterpieces, all of them. Though I was the right age at the time for this, it never really spoke to me. It is fun though.

We also watched Brothers Keeper. Another one of those sad lonely documentaries which has taken me years to get around to watching. It’s good and it really makes you wonder, like any good mystery. Personally, I think that they did do away with their senior brother and I felt like I had to question their motives a bit behind doing this movie. But I could see their position and understand why they did what they did. The darker motive that some law officers started flinging about seemed much less likely then just a plain ol’ mercy killing, however odd these fella’s situation might have been. But it’s a good movie, interesting in a number of ways. The boys are rather mysterious in their own way, a bit more savvy then they let on. Of course, I did avert mine eyes at the “pig slaughter” scene and some of the scenes with Lyman Ward (was he the shy one?) were a bit much in the sad way. I almost had to avert my eyes when he was on the stand.

Then The Tin Drum. I think it’s a great Lit movie. I hadn’t seen the movie for many years or read the book for quite a while either, but it still seems a satisfying rendition of the story. Of course, it looked really good (Criterion and all) well beyond the VHS experience of my past. The horsehead scene handily beats the Godfather’s horsehead scene for disturbing grossness (it was a natural for a picture here, but I just couldn’t do it… Opting for a more family friendly image) and there are lots more great scenes. Really just a strong movie all around. Very well acted, well produced, the boy looked just creepy enough, yet not really, to make the age and size issues seem not too unbelievable and a great story! I would suggest though reading the book and watching the movie.

the tin drum 44:30

We also watched Romper Stomper again. Back when, it was my first experience with Crowe and I thought, “wow, he sure is an ass.” Of course, now I realize that he wasn’t acting that part. But he does make a good ol ignorant fascist. Australians finding commonality with the Nazi’s seems a bit daft, but I think that adds to the character of the movie. The whole time I can’t help thinking, “Are you guys kidding? You’re in Melbourne”. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the interest to sit through an hour and a half of skinhead action and talk and nazi-worship. Keep in mind that nothing positive really occurs anywhere in the film but it’s got good tragedy, alot of action and the soundtrack is really good. Not just good Oi but the rest of the mood music is nicely foreboding.And on a lighter note, we watched Houseboat. I felt unsure as to if I had even seen a Sofia Loren movie before, so that was good and interesting, she’d be quite a catch for a ol’ stodger like Cary Grant… Speaking of Cary… I found his character an odd love interest for Loren and I’ve never liked him (strangely though, I think I’ve seen 6 of his films in the last year or so) or most of the characters he plays. This one was no different. In fact, I didn’t really like any of the characters, even the kids were annoying. It was enticing to see Werner Klemperer show up in the cast, but his role was very light, almost as if a bunch had been cut out. Regardless though, it was, of course, completely predictable and there were my issues with the cast, but it was a finely enjoyable old romantic comedy. And it had Sofia Loren!

Newflash! In my constant efforts to warn folks of the impending doom of all of our electro-magnetic emissions we’re soaking ourselves in, read this little tidbit about a college rejecting wi-fi for health concerns, here. How many of these kinds of results will it take before people really start to question the long term impact of sending wi-fi & cell phones signals though our heads, on top of all of the other crap we force our bodies to put up with. For a more indepth look, read here. I think this part best sums up my thinking on the matter “The associations observed are weak, however; the strong consistency of slightly positive effects has a very low probability of being explained by chance alone”

Some fun quotes:
Reviewer 1 (DelPizzo)
Degree of Certainty: The evidence regarding this endpoint has attributes very similar to those of childhood leukemia, with the dose-response relationship being less clear, but the consistency of results being even stronger and the plausibility being increased by having already established a high degree of certainty for the childhood leukemia risk. This reviewer is “prone to believe” that EMFs increase the risk of adult brain cancer to some degree.
IARC classification: “Possible Human Carcinogen, 2B.”

Reviewer 2 (Neutra)
Degree of Certainty:
…This reviewer is “close to the dividing line between believing and not believing” that EMFs increase the risk of adult brain cancer to some degree… In fact, it looks similar to the evidence for adult lymphocytic leukemia… This warrants a Possible (2B) carcinogen IARC classification, “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans…”

Reviewer 3 (Lee) 31
Degree of Certainty: The meta-analysis for the occupational brain cancer studies
indicates a slightly higher risk for electrical workers. As a result…relative risk … is considerably increased… by the positive association of EMF with childhood and adult leukemia. Hence, this reviewer is “close to the dividing line between believing and not believing’ that EMFs increase the risk of adult brain cancer to some degree. IARC Classification: …The associations observed are weak, however; the strong consistency of slightly positive effects has a very low probability of being explained by chance alone… classification, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

If you missed my earlier, enticing warnings before, please enjoy this long rant, here.

there’s always the tunnels…

Funny, all the movies I was going to watch while Cait was away (I planned on eight), turned out to really only be two. I was a bit suprised as to wherever the time went but we made up for it Thursday. To celebrate her return I took the day off and we watched 3 movies, between her 3 stints downstairs… Well, she missed one of them.

First off, I must state that I thoroughly failed to watch The Damned. I’ve tried for 5 “German” movies this week (one won’t be on here until next time) and I must say that the three actual german movies were all quite good. The two non-german ones were, well, not that great. I’m including The Damned there, though it does have some actual German connections. For The Damned, I gave it a good half hour or more but I was a little distracted and it just didn’t grab me at all. The description sounded good and I guess there were political goings-on and but none of it was presented in a way that was very interesting and visually it didn’t stand out. Anyway. It might have potential and it may be one of those that grows on you if you watch it long enough, but I got bored of it easily. So there.

Today we started off with Das Experiment. I thought it was pretty good. It was a bit different than I expected but it was interesting and surely had it’s gripping moments. Some of the peoples reactions seemed a bit far fetched, and I felt like the lead character behaved in an unusual fashion, for one with his agenda. I seemed to recall hearing it was maybe based on some real like incident, which makes me a bit curious… But I’m not sure if that’s true or not. There were some good violence and brutality scenes, some of which really made you feel for those poor fools. The “guards” really got into their roles! Regardless, it certainly wasn’t an experiment I would have ever signed up for.

I also took in, finally, The Bunker. After spending soo much time with Germanesque films, seeing German soldiers with british accents saying “bloody” and such things was a bit disconcerting. Aside from that, it was alright. not too scary but it got kind of wild at the end, with shooting and skulls and funny moaning sounds and an old guy rolling up in barbed wire and such things. The accents though… I just don’t know. It really just made me want to watch The Keep (where’s that dvd?).

Though, of course, comparisons to Total Recall are hard to avoid, making such a statement about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is too easy. I found the movie quite enjoyable and pretty original… Though at first it was a bit hard to get used to mister Carrey. I have spent many years avoiding his films (I had yet to have seen one) and also, to some extent, In Living Color due to a strong distaste for his “comic” antics. Also around the beginning, his voiceover bugged me, something about the tone of his voice seemed a bit unsuitable for the moment. But, he really wasn’t too bad, thankfully it wasn’t one of those smoosh your face and dance around comedies. It is a movie I had been wanting to see but not seeing due to ol’ Carrey and I’m glad I saw it. Not really thought provoking but a little interesting and fun to watch with some nice visual effects.

We had some friends over to watch Grey Gardens. This is a movie that I am rather fond of, I find something new in it each time. Though I feel that I can only watch it about once a year. Cait, on the other hand, could probably watch it once a week. I don’t blame her though, it is very good and thought provoking and I doubt that anyone could watch it without being uncomfortably reminded of some relative of theirs. Though it has some unsettling moments, it is no where near as discomforting to watch as Salesman.

grey gardens 55:17

Yesterday we watched Dogtown and Z-Boys. I’m not sure how I hadn’t gotten aorund to seeing this one yet. So many good chances… But now I have. It was pretty interesting. A well done documentary with good interview and a lot of old and good stills. The soundtrack was really great, a bit in the background, but not many weak songs within. Some of the action scenes started to seem a bit repetitive, as I never was a skateboarder or surfer or anything, but I would still recommend it.

In music news, Brian and I went to Anthem records and I picked up Sons of Northern Darkess (spurred on by the promise of a included bonus dvd.) I haven’t really heard much since Demonaz stopped playing, but I liked it still. The dvd? Well, the live stuff is pretty unneeded, far away and not super interesting, but fine enough to have. The photo gallery, on the other hand… I don’t know… I dig the BM outfits and all, especially when it’s a dark and gloomy land they dwell in: hiding in the woods or some sinister environment, but well-lit against a white background? Bad move. Man. This must have been a tough shoot to sit through with a straight face.

sorry i can’t give you a better present…

Well, my sweetie’s gone. Two days in, I now am, with 4 more to go until her return, well ready for her to be back. And Lottie’s pretty bored now too…
At least we’ve got movies to watch…

I finally got around to finishing The Lord of the Rings, yes, it took a few sittings. No, the original one. I imagine that it’s less “accurate” than the Peter Jackson films (it’s been quite a few years since I last read the books), but I still have a fondness for it. For one, I am a fan of Bakshi and his funny rotoscope style. But maybe that’s because I’m not really a fan of animation anyway. Of course, the ring wraiths were my favorite part of this movie, those and the orcs. The new movies have nice wraiths, but I don’t like the new orcs…. One thing that stands out right away in this old version is the title music. The music that they play for the opening credits sounds like it was swiped from The Great Escape or some ol’ WWII film… Hmmm. Anyway, I wouldn’t really recommend it to fans of Jackson’s films, but for us old Wizards and Heavy Metal crowd, this one is a lot of fun.

Then next was The White Diamond. Nothing to say but: Herzog and his nutty guys. You would think that he and Kinski would be enough driven ego for one lifetime, but seemingly Herzog needs to continue finding and filming such things. These men with very driven personalities, driven to the point of unsociability. I also can’t help but wonder why they flew an airship all the way across the world to test it. Maybe more of Herzog’s South American fascination? Anyway, it was pretty good to watch.

Last night it was all The Downfall. Started off scary. We already tried to watch the Hitler’s Secretary documentary, it bored us out of our heads. So we didn’t finish it.. Now The Downfall starts off with the same bit and I was certainly hoping it would end if I fled to the kitchen for a moment. Well… It did. On with the movie! Made some “schnitzel” & kraut and red wine to go along with it and had a nice viewing time. The movie started off a bit disconcerting, having the air of a film which has had a lot of scenes removed. Trying to keep the ever changing cast of characters straight was a bit odd, what with everyone running about, but it all worked out. Speaking of cast, it was a good move to get Ulrich Matthes for Goebbels, he looked even creepier than the real thing. When he was on the screen, I was torn between not wanting to look at him and not knowing how to not look at him. Anyway, it was interesting. I always like it when movies show the difference between the regular German army officers and Nazi’s. I also thought they did a good job in expressing some of the public psychology of the time and, while they didn’t really get into the causes that led to Hitler’s power, they kind of showed some of the feelings that people had towards him. Anyway, but about the movie. It was interesting and well done and it’s engrossing. One touch I liked was showing the model for the Greater Berlin. It’s something that I have long had an interest in. Speer’s Neo-Classical designs, though rarely completed, are iconic in their scope and ideas. Though I have a book on his Greater Berlin plan with diagrams and photos of models, it was nice to see a full representation of the model.

the downfall 15:19

Tonight I watched Dog Soldiers. A recent and fairly highly thought of werewolf movie. Now, like I’ve said before, I’m not really into werewolf movies but I thought I would try this anyway. It’s a very low-budget affair, with lots of bloodshed and none of that cgi junk. I would say that they do a good job with what they have and it wasn’t too bad. One of those that I feel I may like more in retrospect than in the moment. The early vague shots of the werewolves looked a bit hokey, being silhouettes, but I actually got to kind of find it endearing after a while. Lot’s of removed limbs and lots and lots of shooting made it a pretty energetic movie after a kind of slow start and while the wolves weren’t top-of-the-line, I still liked them… very tall… Sort of reminded me of Pumpkinhead. One thing though, that seemed a bit off… The first night, they’re sitting around their camp and a dead cow with big bite marks falls into the middle of their camp. They decide to investigate it in the morning? Um? A big dead cut-up cow just fell, from above, into the camp? Yeah, let’s look later…

Then tonight I snuck out to Paul and Robin’s and finally got around to watching Up in Smoke. It occurred to me that I think I had seen it before, but it didn’t ring all the bells that the two movies that followed it did. Anyway. What to say? It was Cheech and Chong. Some parts were pretty darned funny. Including a lot of humor that I normally wouldn’t like, but with C&C I find acceptable. As Paul put it, the police were a bit too Keystone Kops, but Stacy Keach did a respectable job for his role. For the finale, though it was fun to hear the song from Earache My Eye again, the scene itself isn’t that great.


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