Monday, December 25, 2006

Rocky Balboa

Rocky Balboa is exactly like a Meat Cravers pizza on Saturday: predictably delicious, you just never know how long you will have to wait for the delivery.
Stallone is solid, the movie is as solid as can be expected.
I am on the trailing edge of the baby boom and Rocky's dealing with age and rage and the pain of his existence is nearly palpable to me..
Most of the boomers I know won't see this film, as they have long since bundled their lives against this sort of thing. They still have the new Waits record and the George Martin's gift "Love" to drink themselves to sleep to.
Please ignore the critics connecting the GOP/America/Iraq to this 49Up Stallone could not have made it any earlier..and not much later from the beating he takes for the team.
Darren says the reason I like the fighting in Ong Bak is because the guys are really hitting each other. Must be, because they are here too, and the boxing was top notch entertaining! (this from a guy that doesn't watch boxing of course)
Bottom line, you know what you are getting and you can't help but like it.

James Brown Dead.

I was reading an article about the Brits raiding a police station in Iraq. Various thoughts of right and wrong and anarchy and the now "better off Iraq" were cut short by the blurb on the left: Godfather of Soul dead.
This blog has not marked many deaths.
I am at that age when people I have admired are starting to go in larger numbers. I remember Lennon dying when I was 17 or so and not understanding Captain Kelloway being so broken up by it. 17 and blind of course. I'm 43 now, and I think I get it.
Mourning on Christmas morning.
The "Godfather of Soul" had a good run through turbulent times.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Wow this movie was good!
I managed to get a region 2 Pal version of this gorgeous animated science fiction film. The short line, think "Sin City" meets "Bladerunner" and "corporations still run the world" kinda sums this piece up while still selling it short.
Speaking of the short sell, there was a very short theatrical run that had the critics everywhere whining about eye strain. This is due to all of the ambient light in theatres! Normally I leave a low watt bulb on behind the hi-def to help the eyes, but this movie requires absolute black.
I pointed out the exits in case of fire, put the wine bottles within braille reach and wondered about the darn subtitles. OMG it has an english soundtrack! I normally prefer original language tracks, but animation, if done well, is the exception. Two "Brazil" alumni, "Ian Holm" <--also "Alien", "Sweet Hereafter" and "Naked Lunch", and Jonathan Pryce join the new Bond "Daniel Craig" voicing this animated tech noir.
Did I miss Mr Craig's ice blue eyes? Maybe a little.
There is a ton of visual information constantly assaulting you, from truly cool seques to night vision scattersuits coalescing in the rain..
The sound design -- even on my 2.0 system -- is top notch. I was just whining the other day about my speaker imaging problems and lo and behold good source material pays off in spades.
Please note I have mentioned the PAL and Region 2 without going on and on about the self proclaimed Planetary King of Media Exports tight control on what we can see and when we see it. I know you all know about the deliberate degradation of DVD reproduction, the real reason for "Region Coding", and, unlike me, have apparently embraced it in some vaguely droooling form of patriotism. iMovies foreva! But I digress.
So, bottom line: must see for animation fans, sci-fi people and mayhaps a Bondian completionist or two..

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Some New Music

4 new discs spinning here...
Tom Waits Orphans 3CD Megapackage
V/A Sensacional Soul 2CD Digipack
V/A Science Faction - Dubstep
Milanese Extend

..and the last shall be first...
Milanese Extend was one of a pair of CDs bought from Aquarius Records blind, based on a terrific review in their free newsletter. I can't beat their review, and if you know what "grime and dubstep" are, well, you probably already have this. What works for me is deep bass, great samples, glitch and chaos stuck to body bending beats. This one goes way off the map, particularly in the later tracks, but this is a record that brings to mind "Praxis" at their very best. The difference being, Praxis played the shit, Milanese constructs his..

Tom Waits Orphans provides the perfect collection for your hip boomer friends just in time for Christmas. How thoughtful! 3CDs, thematically labeled, and 1/2 of it reworked versions of some of his coolest songs guarantee a weekend of terrific listening. Their are a couple of name naming tracks that belie the esoteric nature and bring him directly to the here and the now. This is, regardless of the mediated nature, wartime. Act accordingly.

Science Faction Dubstep went something like this:
1. load in player
2. turn it up
3. no, louder
4. OMFG. Bring disc to Darren's. "Put this on now. Mark volume." His subwoofer woke up. His house shook.
This is the shit. Deep deep bass, reverb, Dub like you would not believe. Starts great, gets better. In a year of terrific releases this has my vote for best instrumental CD.

Sensacional Soul is a compilation that borders a Soul Jazz release...digipack, booklet, great music on multiple discs. This is apparently Soul music made in the USA for the Spanish Market circa 1967-1974. Smokin' tunes, sung in english and spanish. mostly.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Fountain

It is a sad comment that an American director is tagged with "pretension" on his 3rd great film in a row. Did Kubrick deal with this scorn? Umm. Yep. Malick? That goes without saying...
Yet the stylish grind house romps of Tarentino--and not to denigrate his contribution-- are greeted with accolades of the highest order. The retread of Bond is somehow fresh and "Borat" a virtual cultural scholar.
God Forbid a director look beyond national borders and tackle the big stuff. Perhaps Aranofsky should have stopped during the last five years to read the reviews of "Solaris"---he could have thrown in the towel then and started on a made for TV Cop Show.
Ignore this film if you will, call it muddled if you have ADD, but don't pretend "Happy Feet" is all we have left. Aronfosky is an artist painting in film. When was the last time you went to a gallery? Put down the controller and read a book. Yes, I am angry as hell about the trashing this film is getting. I won't even talk about the trailer reveals, and you stay at home "connoisseurs", you deserve every inch of that plasma screen stuck where it hurts most.
This is a big screen film, and 60 don't cut it.
Clint Mansell, bravo! Mr Aronofsky, thank you.
A brilliant film.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bond is Brown

or, Leaving the Desert of the Real
Apparently "Bond Begins" is as good as the press says.
I wouldn't know, I left before the Title Credits "rolled" <--does a DLP projector roll film?"
I noticed the problem during the trailers: no red. The Coke bottle --because every theatre needs to show TV commercials--was brown.
This is opening night, 8pm show, packed house. I mention the color problem to the ever vigilant usher. "Wait until after the trailers" was the response. I said to my companion, I will walk if this is not fixed.
I walked.
Management offered me my money back.
A whole theatre of people watched brown blood cover the bullet iris and I was the only one who left.
Man this Big Mac tastes good.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Flushed Away

Terrific stuff here, "Flushed Away" by jaded critics. This is a complete shame. Outstanding clever animation, good soundtrack, and a Dreamworks distribution can't get America to bite. What a darn shame. It is, as the song says, "easy to be hard". Enjoy your "Click" and your "Bewitched" we are hardly worthy of the efforts of the Aardman Animation crew.
The "Wallace and Grommit" guys have switched to computer animation in a claymation style, and I can't help but wonder if the fire in their studio forced this move. They are none the worse for it however, in fact the computer seems to have freed them up to fill the screen to the very edges and beyond...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

The mockumentary bar has been raised. It is now safe to see a comedy in the theatre without fear of dropping 20 IQ points.
Borat is dead on, sophisticated satire painted in slapstick and cheap filmstock.
While America wages a pre-emptive strike against the enemy (you know, the ones against us) and builds a fence to keep our undocumented workers out the rest of the world stares agape at our xenophobic patriotism. Borat skewers the underlying inbred culture that got us here.

This movie provides nothing but a mirror, and it is shocking that he gets away with it..
See it now, and ponder the freedom we are willing to give away for security.

Flags of Our Fathers

The country has not embraced this movie, and yet it was made from the heart, and given to all of us.
With deceptively simple technique this movie tells the story of an iconic picture from an iconic war about the apparently iconic "Great Generation."
Clint Eastwood, no stranger to the director's chair, has now shown us the first half of his WW2 diptych. The second part is due soon, taking the same event from the perspective of the enemy--now our ally.
Music is important to Mr Eastwood, which may account for his film "Bird", and the tasteful restraint applied here, in "Flags of Our Fathers". The score is Period, minimal, and spot on.
What is more important to Eastwood, apparently, is getting it right. He has wrapped the ideaS of many books and films into 2 movies. Sections of this first film can be examined, deconstructed and absorbed days after viewing.
I did not leave the theatre dazed like I did "Apocalypse Now." I was not sick to my stomach like after "Saving Private Ryan", nor was I doe eyed with amazement a la "Thin Red Line". Instead I was introspective, mind on fire, sorting through the lessons and experiences that flow from this film unfiltered, like the emotion from the business end of Charlie Parker's saxophone...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Prestige Reprise

Second viewing, same theatre, correct volume. WOW!!!!
I know, I know, caps and 3 exclamations...
This is a film about men and magic. One of the supposed truths, which rings true during the film, is actually false: once you know the secret it is no longer interesting, it is worthless, and by extension, you. I'm paraphrasing the Christian Bale character's warning to a child after he shows him the mechanics of a trick.
This movie, by Mr Memento Christopher Nolan, is an elaborate trick. Second viewing, after the reveal, allowed the truth mastery of the form and story to shine through. The emotional core of the movie is exposed on second viewing, the story richer, the clues strewn about evident. The difference is this knowledge enriches and changes the experience.
Go back, I dare you.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dragon Tiger Gate

Donnie Yen!
Dragon Tiger Gate is an enjoyable kung fu
film, with some terrific fights and a decent plot. It is always a
pleasure to pop a disc in --that's right, not in theatres (imagine
that)--and find a good film that I have heard nothing about previously.

Sure, I could comb the Internet and the great support sites for
Asian Cinema, but you know what happens then: your mailbox is flooded
with cool discs but you have to sell your TV to make the rent!
is not a film for the uninitiated. While the story is not complex and
the action and editing fast paced, a good knowledge of the films that
have come before isdefinitely rewarded here. I try to catch as many Donnie Yen films as I can, ever since the "Iron Monkey" came to town.
There was not enough wire-fu or cgi to piss off my purist buddie, and enough to keep me smiling and air choppin' along with 'em.

The Prestige

Batman vs Wolverine in a world gone mad! Effects not by Magneto but indeed, Nikola Tesla himself!
This battle brought to you in a time blender by the formidable director Christopher Nolan of Memento and Batman Begins fame.
This is a costume drama set at the dawn of electricity about the rivalry between two magicians and two scientists. The scientist battle is only alluded to--Edison vs Tesla is apparently not nearly as photogenic as women being sawn in half!
Less convoluted then Memento--intentionally--there are some reveals to the audience that follow the same hammer the point in methodolgy of many American films. I try not to look ahead and unravel movies while I watch, and spent most of that energy reconstructing the timeline of events.
All viewers in my party loved the film, the rest of the audience was a touch restless on opening night in a packed house. Our new mostly all digital theater did let me down, I found myself begging the projectionist to turn the sound up! In spite of that technical problem I highly recommend this film.

The Departed

"Mr State Trooper...please don't stop me.." thanks Bruce.
What a terrific film! Great actors, great story, fine Scorsese camera.
The actors? Jack Nicholson, Matt Damian, Mark Wahlberg,
and Leonardo DiCaprio. It would have been a shame if this cast had
delivered a swing and a miss, but it has been done before! I am
remembering the Brando,Deniro, Bassett and Norton heist film that was
just awful. "The Departed" hits the ground running and keeps moving.
Fantastic performances throughout, and a couple of terrific supporting
roles taken by RayWinstone and Alec Baldwin.
The story? Well, "The Departed" is a re imagining of the fantastic Hong Kong film, "Infernal Affairs".

One of the nice things about these films is watching the two different takes on the same story. Both films stand up well, even viewed back to back. Not a dull moment in either,
and since the viewer knows allegiances the cops and robbers don't it is not like watching one reveals secrets about the other.
Both films highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Where have all the HK Actioners gone? Well, thanks to the turnover of Hong Kong we fans have been forced out of the Kung Fu ghetto and into Japanese Gonzo and Korean CGI. Not necessarily a bad thing, but Fearless and now SPL bring back a nostalgia for the days of kick or be kicked, doves, handguns akimbo, and lightning fast chops.
SPL brings one of the masters out in the role of mafia boss Po, and Sammo does not disappoint. I actually got to know the "real" name of one of my favorite actors, Simon Yam. He was one of my favorites from "Bullet in the Head". The other treat was, of course, Donnie Yen, still buff
and fast and apparently behind the action sequences as well.
In this political climate sitting down to drink wine with friends and watch corrupt cops had its moments of tension in the room..that gave way to enjoyment of hard boiled action pretty quickly. This film takes place in the early '90's, but the camera and the message are up to the minute. Which means, like Fearless, a terrific fight film ends on a sobering series of notes.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Checking In

It has been pointed out in more than one place, and not necessarily in a glib tone, that "everyone has a blog", and they are as easy as "making your own urine", and about as interesting to outside viewers/listeners/tasters. It has also been pointed out that I'm not particularly rabid or foaming in print, just in person. And finally, those that are also procrastinators point out that it has been a week since I last posted.
This is not to say I have been idle..or even too busy to post.
There have been plenty of include little things like the evisceration of the US Constitution by the executive branch, bombs in mosques, kidnappers and congressmen sexual dalliances, and the voluntary surrender of freedom by my surrogate daughter. On a personal
level, the banning of my Picasa Web Album features pretty highly.
That was a> unexpected, 2> unexplained, and C> frustrating! I have removed the link to that album from my sidebar. This is, of course, not the end of the saga. I have asked for an explanation of why and how to get privileges back, but, it is a bigGooglesphere!
The lack of movie reviews? Well--I saw "Fearless" in the theatre--wonderful--but already reviewed on this blog before release. I have also seen some movies on the big and the small screen, but, as many of you know, I don't write negative reviews.
That is based entirely on not liking things at one time and then liking later on. I am not saying this will happen every time, but on even the worst of movies some people have poured their lives (at least temporarily) into making it. It is wrong to spit a gob of opinion on something like that. Positive energy is at a premium these days.
So a list of movies not reviewed here:
"Bad Guy"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Black Dahlia"
To be reviewed after I finish the last installment, as I am loving it: "Smiley's People".
Keep the faith, I am here to stay.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stratosphere Girl

Review the movie or rebut the reviews? Deconstruct and nullify the obvious "Lost in
comparisons, or highlight the essence of the differences between the two films? What if my loyal following hasn't seen either? Can a loyal follower not have seen "Lost in Translation"? Why can't I find a picture of the main character that captures her beauty on that mysterious series of tubes that Al Gore created without emitting any carbon we call the Internet? Is it appropriate to bury political slams in a movie review? When does the review start?
Point taken.
One line synopsis: Disenfranchised youth takes opportunity in foreign land without research and a confidence in strangers that belies her powers of observation.
Mayhem does not ensue.
The movie burbles along, enchanting us with beauty and camera and music. The stakes do ratchet
up, the passing of time jumbles, but our heroine remains at the center, beguiling the world and irritating her lesser companions with her unintended charm.
The soundtrack was put together by Nils Petter Molvaer, and is well suited to the film. Camera moves constantly, from macro focus through animated fades and cuts--appropriate for a movie centered around the journey of a artist who fancies herself a superhero in a comic book.
Perhaps my only criticism of the film is that a movie narrated by the female lead deserves a female sensibility to the camera. The camera tends to linger on the ladies, which is fine by me, but may alienate those inclined to cry misogyny without validating the power of the image.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Police State Embraced

This will take a bit to get right. Let me outline factors, then connect the dots, then argue my point. These are in no particular order.
1. Email monitoring at federal level without oversight
2. Phone tapping and monitoring without due cause. "terrorism" is not a blanket of due cause
3. Pouring bottled water out before getting on a plane
4. Lawsuits dismissed in the name of National Security
5. Reclassifying public records from 30 years ago to "secret"
6. Random car searches on a weekday on the only highway between Topeka and Manhattan
I work with people that defend these actions as necessary for a secure and functioning country.
These abuses will not stop until the citizens--you and me--leave work and take to the streets.
Have they stopped teaching history? I know the oath of office mentions the
Constitution, and there was even that movie "National Treasure" (yeah, I thought that was a horse too) that shows that we as a people had a backbone once. That our answer to job security wasn't the Great Wall of Mexico, but instead innovation. Our answer to spilled coffee used to be to clean it up, not sue. Planning for retirement used to mean more than buying a lottery ticket every week. Rewriting history, doublespeak, and newspeak were once the province of paranoid futurist authors, now they have their own departments, in every corporation(and the USA Inc). What was our budget for Iraq Propaganda? 20 Million this year? Propaganda used to be synonymous with Wartime Lies, now some of the best paying jobs in journalism are all about spinning, and retouching, and overdubbing footage...
I believe civilizations act like titration in chem class -- the green liquid stays green even as you add the clear drops until that one drop turns the entire beaker red. How will the green of our civilization turning red manifest?
Bio disaster?
Armed lock down?
I do not believe the USA will continue its slow downward slide into a gated community for the 1%...Rome's fall was slow because there was no tech.The "hyperpower" called the United States may be 6th or 7th on the tech ladder, but we still have the nukes--and the zealotry to use 'em.


Matador, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Wasabi, and now Crank. "Action Comedy" I suppose is the genre I am being dragged into, but that's ok, I love it. I don't want to split hairs here, but these are not as easy to pull off as it may seem.
Each of those movies above had the pace, charisma and smarts to leave me pumped rather than bloated when I left the theatre. Each of them had directors willing to push the camera, the actors, and the soundtrack to the roller coaster edge.
I am not talking groundbreaking stuff here, but a smart script leaned out and fed high octane images makes for a satisfying movie experience. Yes, it was too quiet on the Megaplex screen opening night--they need to stop setting volume during the louder trailers. Yes, the theatre was less than half full. Apparently not enough TV advertising.
No TV at my house, it was the trailer that dragged me in--the trailer that also set expectations so low no one thought it would be one of the magic B movies (see list above)and that is a shame. This will be on dvd in October no doubt, but catch it in the theatre, it has big camera.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


This is the picture of my daughter that I ran through the Photoshop mill to put on a postage stamp using Zazzle. You will note there is no link to Zazzle, but not because I am lazy. I originally wanted to post a picture of the stamp, but discovered that my photo in their template is their
intellectual property and I can't drum up business for them by showing you how cool it is.
So, consider this base shot a placeholder until the stamps arrive and I can take a picture of them. Hopefully the xenon-gamma watermarking virus won't erase my SD card in the camera..

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Miami Vice

I try not to write negative reviews. The creative process, and the movie making process are both more impressive than what I do, criticizing from the armchair seems wrong. 2 viewings and a week later I can say for sure:
Michael Mann has upped the ante on the sound and visual of large caliber weaponfire into vehicles, no mean feat after "Heat".
The Mojito is a delicious drink, decidely not just for Cuba anymore.
Mark's Dirty Mojito Recipe, Pint Size
In a pint glass:
2tsp sugar
6 mint leaves, chopped
juice of one lime
4oz Dark Rum
Shake or stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour over ice into a second glass, qs with Club Soda
Float rum on top
Garnish with mint sprig
Miami Vice is no "Collateral".
A shame, as this premise was rich enough to get Tully into the theatre.
Is that mint caught between your teeth?

The Descent

6 Women, 1 Cave and....
That might have been enough for this film, but this is more than an exercise in lighting and gore. The cave doesn't enter the picture for nearly 30 minutes. This is to lay the groundwork for the psychological Descent.
Yes, as in most ensembles, there are characters you like and characters you like not so much. Since this is a bunch of women we can't tell which of them are wearing the Star Trek red shirts. How much snippy dialogue and intentionally awkward silence can we endure before the flashlights die?
This movie will not be the poster child for spelunking. It is a study in claustrophobia and fear and morality in a world gone dark and wet.
To say I enjoyed this film...Well...Remember "Das Boot?" Three hours in a submarine with deadly bolts and a stench you could smell in the theatre? Remember surfacing into the bright outdoors after and feeling the sun..Yes, it is like that..


I loves me that stop motion animation!
Alice is a combo stop-motion, live action retelling of "Alice in Wonderland". Inventive, disturbing, boundary pushing and absolutely delightful. That being said, let me get the one legitimate criticism out of the way: dubbed vocal narration.
Alice is played alternately by a charming brat and a plastic doll..She ranges from pint sized to nickel sized...And man she puts up with a lot!
While this is not the first example of animated meat I have seen it is certainly a good intro to SRL for the potentially squeamish.
The film is not as shiny and bright as we have come to expect from animated features, but this is no Grimm misstep. A black animated tale to engage the mind with many wow did you see that moments.
The DVD also includes a short film involving self assembling body parts..

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hdr Photo Manipulation

Just started playing with this toolset, don't know jack yet, but should be fun! Here is a link to the Wiki on Hdr. Oh, the subject: That's Ariana, aka Corazon Suicide, from her Deactivated Robot set.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


"Crying Game 2001?" Well, not quite.
I loved "the Crying Game", a late '80's tale of genderbent love by the incomparable Neil Jordan. The difference in audience reaction is extreme 20 years later. Crying Game played in mainstream theaters, "Princesa" may have seen action in the big cities on the coast and Miami.
Crying Game is from the perspective of the straight man in love with a transexual, Princesa is from the point of view of the transexual, aka Princesa, aka Fernanda, aka Fernando.
This is a well shot film. Fernando is from Brazil, but most of the movie takes place in Milan, Italy, where it is night apparently most of the time ;)
The filmmaker does nice things, like choosing carefully what he wants to explore while just leaving shorthand clues through other aspects of the film. The straight man's obsession with Princesa after his initial rejection has the barest of outlines..While the effects of hormone treatments on mood are carefully explained and illustrated.
Princesa is a film on several levels, delineating ostracism and alienation in a world that just doesn't care. To the planet Princesa is just a variety of species, to Milan she is a denizen of a dark corner of their dark city, tolerated and corralled. To us she is a mystery..a standout beauty in a bevy of over the top glam trannys.
She has a goal, she has the plan to achieve that goal, and her singleminded approach finally delivers..or so she thought. This film is, in part, about that arc. There are many layers here though, the Cinderella tale just the surface, and more subtle truths reveal themselves in the background.
While doing research for the review I was shocked to discover that life went on for the real life Fernando that helped with the script, and turned for the worse. The suicide of the disenfranchised is a common occurrence, made real by this movie allowing a glimpse of what drives some to the edge.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


This movie hit me right between the eyes! I may be succumbing to the "action comedy" genre, something I would look forward to if they were all this good. I would hazard the hypothesis that this is due in part to the script, coupled with 2 good leading men.
Pierce Brosnan ups the smarm factor from "Tailor in Panama" and lives the role. Kinnear is an unheralded treasure that continues to rack up solid performances, after "As Good as It Gets" and "Auto-Focus". I am struggling here, looking for the sentence that will make you want to watch this, without just telling you that the high concept plot works --Brosnan as an aging dandy Assassin with heavy gravity sucking Kinnear across the event horizon.
There is some cynicism here, some pathos, but no winks to the fourth wall, these guys play it straight. Minor characters are drawn in short strokes, with costumes, haircuts and architectural notes dead on. This reality is tweaked and surreal and easily recognizable. There are oodles of nicely composed shots, montages and of course a Bullfight!


Ahh Marketing. This is Goth, Russia style. I'll ogle Olga, thanks anyway.
Sequels to low budget surprises have a few things in common: the bigger budget shows, things that didn't work in the original get the axe, and there is generally more action and less exposition. The minus--that the second part of a trilogy is just a bridge--is avoided here as this contains the intended end of the story!
So we get: Alisha, to up the fem content from Nightwatch, which gave us Baby-Tiger and Olga, and the woman with really bad luck.
Our melancholy main man has gone rogue after being the pawn in "big chess" and allows his already poor judgment, now wracked by guilt and self-doubt, to rule the day. This is a terrific sequel, and no, I don't miss the flames coming out of the tailpipes!
Seeing this is a foregone conclusion if you have been paying attention and saw the first one. I would suggest you see the first one first, as this world has as many arbitrary rules as the Matrix, which will leave you with similar questions (and equally irrelevant) like "why didn't Neo just fly away at the beginning?"
See it.


Olga you sweet and vicious Other..
Imagine the shock, joy and, ultimately, the headshaking going on in Russia now. "Nightwatch" is a russian language film that did very well over there, so well that it caught the attention of Hollywood. A deal was inked for the three movies--this one, "Daywatch" and a third not yet written or filmed. In traditional Hollywood fashion, morning after regret set right in.
The ink wasn't dry on the trilogy before "Nightwatch" was pulled from the coast theatres. Apparently it suffers the same "lack o' gloss" that will doom the animated/cg/live action hybrids like "Casshern" and "Immortal". Apparently we can't enjoy "space opera" or unnatural horror without absolute realism.
A long paragraph to explain why I didn't catch this one in the theatre, no? Yes, "Casshern" has been picked up. Yes, "District 13", -which I reviewed before it hit the States- got no closer than 100 miles. Manhattan is within driving distance of about 7plexes with a total of over 70 screens, so it is not as if I live in isolation.
Marketing says...a military town will not like a movie about a gymnast/martial artist film about nuclear terrorism. Give the committee a raise!
Yes, Nightwatch has Olga, and so much more. CG is sprinkled/smeared across the film, which spans time and dimensions to tell its epic tale.
Great subtitles--and not just grammar and spelling--the placement, fonts, and dissolves move the story as an accent, not just a crutch for the non-russian speaking. The stars of the film are terrific, an odd collection of unpolished charismatics, immersed in a story of lifesucking otherdimensional mosquitoes.
This one is available for rent. "Daywatch", the sequel, is available online in the gray market between release in the home country and rerelease with new shiny trailer in the USA.

Lady In the Water

How does one review this film in the context of a blog? Well, sure, there are no "rules", but perhaps the word this qualifies that as my aesthetic, my rulebook. Three examples: any misspellings I want to be deliberate, not because I am careless. There should be pictures to catch the eye. Reviews should be concise, with as little synopsis as possible.
Which brings us to the fable "Lady in the Water", a self aware film that manages to overcome its own navelgazing to delight the open viewer...and there is the catch.
As viewers we rely on critics to cut down our wasted time. Trailers can make drivel look exciting, which is, of course, their primary function, to entice you to see the film. The other aspect of trailerhood--revealing the whole movie--exposes the lack of art to the craft of the trailer.
After "The Village" one got leery of M Night Shyamalan trailers. It didn't matter that The Village was a solid take on the "The Big Chill" generation, it was not, for the most part, the horror film the trailer promised--and was savaged for that.
Hollywood is not producing fables these days outside of animation and that is a shame. Thanks in part to a parody of a movie critic character in "Lady in the Water" that is probably not going to change much after this film.
"Lady in the Water" is a well shot, captivating and otherworldy film that ups the ante on the Spike Lee motif of being in his own films, without jarring you out of the picture whenever he is on screen. Giamatti and Bryce Howard hold our attention, the CG, while not stunning, serves the film well.
What's not to like? Nothing if you can ignore the 4th wall. When's the next one coming out?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Quake 3 is officially revived!

The Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) announced today that it will use id Software's Quake 3 as the primary featured one-versus-one game for the soon to be announced CPL 2006 World Season.
The Game of games returns...stay tuned for Quake Tattoo Photo(s)

read more | digg story

Tully Masterpiece Complete

Things you can build in your garage..

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Monk @ Carnegie

This is a special recording. Don't take my word for it, read what Blue Note has to say!
Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane..these names are synonymous with Jazz. This recording, in case you did not read the Blue Note link, was made in 1957 and promptly put in the Archives. It surfaced in 2005 and was released on CD shortly thereafter. This is a live recording nearly 50 years old and it sounds great.
My good friends the Deans sent me a copy and I was somewhat shamed by not already owning it! First listen was magic, then played it again. This disc is now part of the Sunday Brunch collection, since everyone knows jazz is brunch music...

Tolcha Gestalt

Here is the new stuff. Tolcha have crafted a disc that will finally replace the Conjure record in the continuous play slot at the ValisCafe! This CD is almost a compilation, as guest artists infuse each track with a different sensibility.
Common to all the tracks is head nodding, body movin' bass. Most of the hip hop I listen to is instrumental, or sample based, and I am a breakbeat fan. This disc is very electronic, very layered and filled with vocals. Pretty sure I picked this cd up because the woman from Jahcoozi(Sasha Perera) sings on it, but the tracks with other vocalists were excellent as well.
On a sad note, this is the last disc I will be getting from David at PBE, he is relocating overseas. Not sure what his plans are, but I hope to get another PBEdate before Christmas!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Satellite imagery shows oceans alive and well

Observations of global chlorophyll patterns tell scientists where ocean surface plants are growing, which is an indicator of where marine ecosystems are thriving. Phytoplankton are the base of the food chain: regions that support large phytoplankton blooms also tend to support a diverse marine population.
More good news, as the oceans are our "Canary". I say more good news as yesterday's mention that the USA was actually going to honor the Geneva Suggestion signaled a shift in our Cowboy "Diplomacy".

read more | digg story

Saturday, July 08, 2006

ABC wants to disable FF on DVRs

ABC HAS HELD DISCUSSIONS ON the use of technology that would disable the fast-forward button on DVRs, according to ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw, with the primary goal to allow TV commercials to run as intended.

We don't need no stinkin' buttons. This changing of what we "can" to what we "can allow" is all over the internet. We will still be caught napping (money speaks louder than consumers) by the suits I'm afraid, they are relentless.

read more | digg story

SFgate,Op-Ed: George W. Bush Is Dead To Me

"What a difference a handful of years makes. Now, overseas, we are a joke. A threat. A toxin. We are considered reckless and arrogant and ignorant, dangerous not just to the rest of the world but to the overall health of the planet. No one anywhere understands how a man like Bush can be the leader of the Free World."
Mark Morford is a fine writer. This column hits the nail square, and I like a guy who shares my tastes in diversions..equal parts Astroglide and Scotch.

read more | digg story

Friday, July 07, 2006


My Next Tattoo Template 
The plan is the mounting plate in small of back, cables running to various plug-ins across body. Hopefully an exercise in negative space!
This wire cluster powered a gas pump at the now defunct Hercules Service Station
Hot Tin Roof  
Who Loves Architecture? A cool roofline in the Westloop Plaza.
sponsor logo Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Atrocity Exhibition, Happy Birthday USA

"a few bad apples"
Ex-soldier charged with rape of Iraqi woman, killing of family It remains to be seen if the "other soldiers" will be indicted, or will this "disturbed" individual swing by his lonesome.
Some cool precedents:The Rape of Okinawa
No Rape here, just murder
What was that boat doing getting in the way of the Submarine? In "fairness" to the military the NUCLEAR sub that collided with the civilian boat was also being driven by a civilian. When do I get my turn, Daddy?
Take heart, it is not just us!
The Rape sword cuts both ways, so says our fearless, Viagra poppin', sex tourista Rush. The poor GOP, picked on for a few worthless civilians.
Women are scarce, how about we do our fellow soldiers? Wait--that can't happen here..Can it?
This happened during WWII? The "Great Generation"...I don't believe it!
What? We have troops in Manila? Where the hell is that?
Alright. I can do research for pages, this a rant--spurred by readers who say my blog is milquetoast. My point here: We as a people have a long way to go. A society is measured by its compassion, even in times of pre-emptive war.
We have punished servicemen and cops that break the public trust, but not nearly as often as we have covered it up. We need not take pages from the bad guys book and give them to lawyers to read and rewrite--Rendition is the result.
While our emails/bank records/phone calls are apparently public property held by the NSA, our government retreats into secrecy. We should have nothing to hide. We need to be proud of what we stand for, and what we do. We need to move to the light, unblinking, unflinching. No one made up the "Ugly American", we did it ourselves.
Last One: The Geneva Suggestion Problem.
Wake up.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Security Uber Alles

UPDATE 7/5/6 Judge Stops Sonar Use during these exercises! A Ray of Hope...
It is one thing to endure the myriad indignities of post 9/11 life in the United States, and another to completely lose our minds. You might think I am talking about the Homeland Security Budget, or perhaps the human toll of the Iraq War(never mind the cost), but you would be wrong.
Perhaps you know me personally and think I'm ranting about faux airport security and the confiscation of Medal of Honor pins from veterans, but you would be wrong. Perhaps it is the phone tapping? The bank monitoring? The surveillance and harassment of protesters? Nope.Deliberate Whale beaching by the Department of Defense. More incidental than deliberate, to be fair. The Navy is aware, and a separate federal commission confirmed, that excess sonar use spooks whales, causing them to beach themselves in large numbers.
An exemption to the restraint on sonar use has been granted in the name of "National Security".
It is like not signing the Land Mine Ban. Not following the Kyoto protocols. Hell, ignoring the Geneva Convention and destroying the version of America I want to be a citizen of--the one on the right side.
All of these decisions are the result of succumbing to fear, and the citizens acceptance of it.
The corollary here is faith based science: where science says one thing, the science is deleted, have faith in the government. Yes, scientists have had there results altered for the "good of the country", for what are facts if not inconvenient?
this refers to the removal of Sonar as a possible cause in whale beaching from a report.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Justice Served

Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito were convicted in April of involvement in eight murders on behalf of the Mafia between 1986 and 1990.
Relevant Links:
NYT Article"
BBC (where I read it first)

That is real life.
They charges have been dropped.

Public "trust" shattered, the image of the police tarnished.
8 murders, 4 years, committed by police detectives.

The charges have been dropped.
A clear message has been sent: The Mafia can do whatever they want.
When are the Sopranos on again?


How many times do you have to see Serpico to get it?

Let me make it personal: here in Kansas they caught the guy who stole my stereo, holding my stereo. I got a letter: we are not going to prosecute, but I was free to hire a lawyer and seek damages.

A clear message was sent: violate my property, steal my things, we do not care.

Fsck the World, We are the Children of God

This is our planet, given to us, right? Do what we want.. "let them have dominion over the fish of the sea" is the quote I believe, which is interpreted as carte blanche to
strip mine, pave, drop and test "soul killers", for all eternity.
More sport fishing "fun".

Great hammerhead shark sets litter record from

A great hammerhead shark caught off the Gulf Coast of Florida last month was reportedly pregnant with 55 "pups" -- setting a record.

Do click the link(s).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns

(image by Trevor)
Review coming soon..
[09:04:47] no blog on superman, how was it?
[09:06:30] check blog again
[09:06:37] hit refresh
[09:07:24] ok
[09:08:22] but to answer: i felt funny. good, bad, derivative, bloated, polished, plotless, silly, serious, Superman as Christ raising the dead father
[09:08:37] so not quite finished digesting.
[09:08:44] ok
[09:08:55] (sounds like another viewing will be in order)
[09:09:02] it was no Batman Begins
[09:09:03] yeah
[09:09:13] It was no King Kong
[09:10:18] but King Kong had the closest know the character and the story and this is a more polished amped up version who's message has been dated: we know it was not beauty that killed the beast.
[09:10:37] wow..there is my review!
[09:10:44] lol

Monday, June 26, 2006

Stevie Wonder - Superstition Sesame St

Sesame Street, Muppet Show, Zoom, the Electric Company--all great TV..

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Terror Tractor

PJ's Pub in Aggieville June 23rd
Terror Tractor
Torn Apart
A good music night, bad picture taking night.
Missed the first band, Torn Apart, I was drinking some at the T-Star..
Unmerciful had a nice wall of sound to warm up my ears..
By the time Dryline started I realized that my funny shiny black rubber disco shirt was not the post modern hoot I thought it would be..
Place was full of serious tattoos, piercings and black. The lighting was dim, camera was saying things like "focus it yourself" and "how about some flash?"

My subject, Terror Tractor had the benefit of playing last. I had dropped my camera (damn scotch) and exhausted the batteries before they played their first track. I did capture them setting up...Those shots are even weaker than these hottie shots..
I left when the moshing got rough during the Tractor set, the boys were rockin' the house down.

This last pic is a hardbody who should have felt as out of place as I did, but she didn't care..
Less scotch next show will net y'all some good shots. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Little Fish

A wonderful, independent Australian film. Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving are the names we know, rounded out by a talented bunch o' aussies.
When I saw Jackie Chan Supercop, one of the best parts of that movie was the glimpses of rural China, not on a movie set. This movie caught some terrific everyday Australian vibe in a similar fashion. Subtle influences from the Pacific Rim, different foods, drink, and, dare I say it?Sport.
Heroin is the same all over.As much as I might dream of a society that accepts the Pursuit of Oblivion, the cold facts today, yesterday and tomorrow do not bode well for those caught in the dope web. This drug becomes the center of the world, a black hole with deep, personal gravity.
The neat part is that by the time the survival reflex/humanity/"will to live" kicks in one's life has spiraled so far down the climb out becomes the sentence.
Cate has nearly done her time in a video store and wants to put her life back together.
Her history, and her family's history are revealed slowly, while the tension mounts and forces circle. Sam Neill is terrific as a minor--but still Lord--druglord. He gets little screentime, but the sketches of the Sopranos trope twisted are remarkable.
This is not your geek friend's Agent Smith either.
This is no "New World", or "Requiem", but it is a fine film, highly recommended for the set that does not need a car crash or fart joke to enjoy a movie.

Conjure Bad Mouth

Conjure is the name of the band Kip Hanrahan put together for the texts of the Writer/Poet Ishmael Reed. This is the third record with Reed and Hanrahan remaining as the constants--oh wait--the other constant is the absolute genius on display!
I saw Ishmael speak at a library in Cambridge when his book "Japanese By Spring" (yes, read it!) was published. During the Q & A afterwards, I had the task of rescuing him from earnest white college students asking about how he could possibly understand the black perspective of--well you get the picture--so I asked when he was going to do another Conjure record.
It was great to see him smile, apparently he likes the project(s), but at that time there were no plans. Well, it has been a decade and it is here.
Smokin' funk/Latin/gospel/rock it hit the landscape and disappeared.
The iPod Generation apparently can't be bothered with modern adult music.
The topical tracks are killer...Literally. My Republican friends (I know, right?) will not be spinning this record more than once. Who would have guessed Bruce Springsteen and Ishmael Reed would have so much in common?
Regardless of political themes, the music here is absolutely the finest avant world jazz funk poetry being made today. That being said, if I hadn't been waiting for this record I would have missed it. The music world is insular, jazz music moreso, and that is a shame. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life--iPod, Muzak, streaming game themes and ringtones--and yet the music we here is like poetry--outside of our daily experience.
Nate (grad student) once said to me, "who reads poetry?" My reply? "academics, until they get a job".
Find this CD, it may change your life...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift

This is not your older brother's "Grease".
Some similarities:
Fast cars
Hot women
Good soundtrack
High school setting <--played by people too old to pass as college students
Improbable story
Some differences:
Cars skid to win
The hot women are Asian
Not a musical, no singing along, even in the land of Karaoke.
Well. The skidding was cool. The women were hot.
Really hot. Is that reason enough to go to the movies?
Probably. I didn't even mind the audience cell phone usage, it fit the movie and the demographic: "american idiot".