Sunday, April 30, 2006

United 93

First let me apologize for the tiny poster image. One of the better movie posters of 06 and the largest scan I can find is 200 x 200.
Second let me say: I went to this film begrudgingly, even more so than the "The Passion".
Finally: the event depicted here--based on whatever the government let us see and hear--is probably not the way it happened, but a way it could have happened. My worst fear is the movie is how people will remember it, not our own memories of that day.
The movie brings that all back, like it happened yesterday. Well, not really: i wasn't at work, I wasn't crying, and the image wasn't live--in the movie the impact on the towers is on screens on the screen--twice removed.
"Apollo 13" was a higher tension, more involving depiction of "actual events".
"United 93" does a great job in making us feel the size of the country and it's air space. It makes a good case for overhauling the military--now there is an easy target!
It also caused me to reflect on the fact that this was the most successful terrorist act I can remember. Not for the number of deaths, not for the "planning" but for the effect.
This act(yes, 3 targets, 4 planes, but one plan) changed our country for the worse, apparently forever. We are now insular, suspicious, and willing to allow our conversations to be tapped for the "greater good". This act allowed a "fuck the law and the truth" government to act brazenly in the face of the world and it's own people and attack a country not involved.
Talk about misdirected rage.
Talk about profiling.
Talk about torture. WHY is a civilized country actually flouting the Geneva Convention?
Oh wait--this is a movie review.
See it. You know you must. Don't plan much for the rest of the day though. See, this has never left my thoughts in the 5 years since it happened, because everything has changed.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Venus In Furs

1970. What a year that must have been!
My initial reaction to this film ran: "if I see one more "Incident at Owl Creek Bridge..."--Then I relaxed. This hit theatres in 1970, no need to bash the first few versions..And this one had a great jazz soundtrack. I picked the film up because Klaus Kinski is in the film, forever on my must watch list since "Little Drummer Girl" -- or was it "Fitzcarraldo"? This film has an Italian Director, Jess Franco, apparently known for his better than average "exploitation" films. This is apparently one of them..
Nice images and some worn psychedelic images accompany the softcore, James Darren plays his own solos and peppers his narrative with hip cat phraseology. Some risque interracial romance, 2 great songs and a delightful jazz coda mix with the blood and the sex and the calling of the demons. Klaus is reduced to a patrician madman orchestrating the erotic violence that sets the picture in motion.
My reaction mellowed and tempers itself on reflection and watching the extras. A nice interview with the director reveals that he initially intended for the main character to be a black trumpeter. His backers, in their eternal wisdom, assured him that was the fast track to disaster. Not an unsatisfying film on the whole, and I will look for more "Franco" films.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Breakfast On Pluto

Neil Jordan continues his gender bending streak..."Crying Game", Mona Lisa" and now "Breakfast on Pluto". At once a kinder and gentler "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", "Pluto" contains a subtext-background really-of dark terrorist violence.
The setting is early '70's Ireland, with bombings and hippies and talking birds--
Well, you get part of the picture. With Jordan at the helm you can be assured a thoughtful, entertaining piece. Nice to see Stephen Rea, fresh off his role as the heavy in "V for Vendetta", reprising his "Crying Game" role with a new maturation that is as fresh as the love he feels.
Cillian Murphy is astounding, leaving no doubt that he was borne for mod times..

Monday, April 24, 2006

Silent Hill

Brought to you by the director of "Brotherhood of the Wolf", Christopher Gans.
It occurs to me I am watching horror films. "Vital" is called horror. "The Jacket", "the Machinist"...And now, "Silent Hill". Well, if this is horror, I'm in.
Not scary..But nightmarish. Twisted realities like "Mirrormask"--all the "Brothers Quay" stop motion stuff--hell, even "The Cell" have fantastic, surreal imagery in common.
Apparently surreal = horror.
I have been under the impression--since, oh, long before "the Ninth Configuration" --wait, I've got it -- that episode in "Mash" towards the end of it when Hawkeye can't face what he has inadvertently done--
It is all about what the mind will let us see to keep us sane.
Gans has tapped into that. This is a must see big screener that will only be at the theatre two weeks so get to it.

Tully Project 6

Guitar Hips

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Guafa Trio

Fantastic Colombian jazz at the McCain Auditorium in Manhattan Kansas on the K State Campus.
Unadvertised show (at least to non students) but free...
3/4 full auditorium of students, adults, small children listened attentively to the magic. This was an all instrumental show, well received in spite of the foreign music form and the 1 word in ten English of the band.
Upright Bass, Flute, and Cuatro were the three instruments, I'll do some research and get the names and contact info of the group linked up later on today.

Tully Project 5

Nice Backside!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Laurel Canyon

This is an older film (2002) with great cast and director that I had wanted to watch at the video store. I popped the disc in the player. The opening scene of Christian Bale going down on Kate Beckinsale convinced me it was not work appropriate. Who says I haven't grown up? So I bought a copy.
So as movie logic goes, good sex is always interrupted...
I really enjoyed this movie, reminded me a lot of "Lords of Dogtown" as a portrait of California in the 70's. Laurel Canyon is a different part of the sunbaked west coast, but the flora and the pools and the relaxed tension appear universal to the state.
This is a terrific character study post "Blue Velvet" with an open end instead of resolve..
Tropes and rules are tweaked and bent, stereotypes more explored than exploded and man those tofu-burgers looked good. This movie had a terrific role for Frances McDormand as Christian Bale's mother. Lisa Cholodenko has created a world so hypernormal, with dialogue so natural it seems easy..

The Presidents Last Bang

A Korean film about the assassination of their leader in 1979. This film was lightly, and (for a regime) thoughtfully censored. It was billed as a black comedy a la "Dr Strangelove"..Which may be a stretch. There are some funny moments however and some very tense ones.
Charismatic actors, a wonderful singer and the largest blood pools under bodies that side of the Pacific round out the charms of this "based on real events" film. While I do not pretend to know the history of Korea, a coup is a coup. This film provides a glimpse into Korean culture that is not about disenfranchised youths or sword wielding martial artists.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lady Snowblood

Watched this 1970's Samurai epic Friday night at Darren's. Plenty of tequila complemented this blood soaked revenge tale.
It was like watching "Ghost in the Shell" after seeing the "Matrix"--Lady Snowblood is the "Kill Bill" template. Tarantino took bunches of things wholesale from this, and updated the story for an American audience.
I think any modern audience that enjoyed either "Kill Bill" film will love this..or maybe I just like chicks with swords?


Another terrific film from Shinya Tsukamoto, the director of "Iron Man" and "Snake of June". The film construct is a single metaphor. The metaphor resonates with me like the polish movie "Blue".
You will recall in "Blue" the scene where the widow is swimming laps alone at night in silence..and she comes up for air and is assaulted by the symphonic music her dead husband wrote...the director captured a truth there. Odd things, even sometimes the blank headspace of a workout routine, can trigger overwhelming memories..
"Vital" follows the recovery of an amnesiac. While the main character, appropriately perhaps, is an empty shell, the film lives and breathes around him. One does not watch flowers bloom, but that is what this film does in the space of 2 hours.
This is a must see..but don't be fooled by the "Asia Extreme" packaging..this is not "Oldboy" pain nor even horror. Drama without conventional rules perhaps? I must have missed them passing out the rulebook, but a quick glance at what is playing in theatres is clear evidence that --on this side of the Pacific-- not only was a rulebook distributed, it is enforced.
Rent this DVD and see what "speak American" (or my other favorite = I watch movies, not read 'em)has kept from us.

Still More New Music

A few really inexpensive buys based on reading and "Customers who bought X also bought Y"...Some of these are the Ys.
This first disc wasn't, this came from PBE. It is an odd, personal, found sound/acoustic instrument CD. Folkish, downtempo, requires repeated listens to penetrate.
A single, with a bunch of remixes.
Coppe is fascinating stuff, all texture and abstraction, with nice beats.
Folk music, melancholy, mostly acoustic and reflective. The title of the CD, "Comatized" is not misleading..And I like it.
Rock in the rulebooks under "life sucks for women who think or rock" chapter. Lennon thinks, and rocks and the world spits her out. Well, these are personal songs, not woe is me stuff, but provides an outline for alienation. We have a long way to go..

Friday, April 14, 2006

Snake of June

"Snake of June" has languished in the DVD drawer for far too long. Part of this long rest is time related, the balance is "Iron Man" related. I saw "Iron Man" in the theatre, and it was difficult viewing avant jazz listening I suppose..great live, but loses impact on vinyl.
My worries were unsubstantiated.
While this is not necessarily a comfort film, it is only as jarring as Lynch or Cronenburg--not Miike or Kitano--Which means the form doesn't overshadow the story/message/plot. There is plenty of style to be had; from the monochromatic, rain soaked locations to the the entire negative binder packed full of sharp focus long lenses shots of Rinko, the female lead.
This is the story of a mismatched couple along the lines of DH Lawrence's great short story "the Mollusk", or perhaps Takashi Miike's "Visitor Q", and the disruption a stranger brings to the eroding stasis of the relationship.
"Snake of June" succeeds on many levels, including the "entertainment" thingie--even if it may not make a great "date film". Ranks up there with "Carnal Knowledge" and "Bad Timing" as far as so-close-to-universal-truth-it-hurts goes. Rent this one before trying "Iron Man".

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tully Masterpiece Reveal 3

Ebony Bridge

XMas2005 MixVersion4

The annual "work" mix was difficult this year, more so than any other year. The usual stumbling blocks were all in place:
1. Mix must be "work friendly".
2. Mix must appeal/not offend to age range 18-80.
3. Cover/Track list must also not offend!
This year I had to add: my musical tastes have veered sharply from any semblance to "mainstream". This year I solved the usual problems with 4 different mixes--and prayed that I labeled them all correctly, as the wrong mix in the right hands may easily spell dismissal.
I went to give a copy of the mix to the warehouse (they had lost theirs) and grabbed one of the extras out of the drawer. It ended up being a version 4--definitely not work safe!
Rather than put it back I'll give you the list, and attempt to set up a download spot of the tracks. Yes, I own all the records, and there is one original track on it that I "produced".
1. Milton Cardona: A Kiss from Cambucha This is a terrific a capella doo wop song from a latin master. I know, weird, right? Perfect sweet beginning.
2. Sarah Vaughan: Peter Gunn Theme from Verve Remixed Volume 3 who knew that song had words?
3. Xlover: Darling Nikki from Pleasure and Romance Their version of the Prince classic turns up the electronics.
4. Sophie Rimheden: Pavan/Panik Mix from H2-FI Remixes takes the electronic route into head nodding, finger snapping.
5. Brazilian Girls: Don't Stop from Brazilian Girls add a touch of playful melancholy and soul please!
6. Mofro: Dirtfloorcracker from Lochloosa porch front soul they call it. Blue country for me, sorta.
7. Louis XIV: Paper Doll from The Best Little Secrets are Kept I love the Eon McKai Suicide Girls video to this song. Eon McKai is the torchbearer for the "Neu Wave Hookers", but I miss Jack Baker.Christ..he's been dead 12 years already!
8. Dizzee Rascal: Fix Up, Look Sharp from Fix Up single. Heard this krunker in the movie Rize! check it out.
9. Jahcoozi: Black Barbie from Pure Breed Mongrel this is the new shit. Ketaminah minah minaminah...
10. Gang of Four: Natural's Not In It from Return the Gift yeah. just because punk never sounded so damn good.
11. Razorlight: In the City from Up All Night modern version of the slow burning straight up rocking sound.
12. Queen Adreena: Pretty Like Drugs from Drink Me harder than hard feeding off the spark of Razorlight.
13. Johnny Cash: Hurt from American IV slow the pace down, let's reflect, heads bowed.
14. Quio: Berlin City from Like Oooh this was an xmas cd after all!
15. Human Sexual Response: Cool Jerk from Fig. 15 finally a band I was underage to see..
16. Harmonettes: Can't Go Halfway from Cargo Cult a little island music keeping the vibe moving.
17-18. Daniel Haaksman: Jonathan II/Popozuda Rock n' Roll from Favela Booty Beats notch back up and sustain-
19. Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs: Tick from Fever to Tell short, savage, ironic new rage.
20. Jay Z: 99 Problems from the single. The double R foots the bill most definately.
21. Queen Adreena: Kitty Collar Tight from Drink Me second track from these burning post grunge rockers.
Tully Family: Well, Well, Well (Fuck Folk Mix) Jason Schumacher smashed the kit and snaked a beat around Ms Hazel's delicate backing vocal. Music deconstruction.
Robbie Williams: Come Undone from Escapology ..end in pop melancholy...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Take the Lead

Based on a true story. The documentary "Mad Hot Ballroom" beat it out of the gate, but probably didn't do as well as "Take the Lead" will. I know, for example, that I missed the documentary when it came out, and now HAVE to find the Dvd. Similar to the dual skateboarding pair o' films last year--Z-Boys and then the fictional Lords of Dogtown.
Like those movies, "Take the Lead" sheds light on a world previously closed--ballroom dancing. Never mind the naysayers, this is an uplifting, fun film. Like "Coach Carter" and "Only the Strong" and 10 other troubled teens in school stories it finds hope were apparently there was none. We can never have enough of those..what was that film with the new Commander Adama as a teacher?
Bottom line, see it on the big screen.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Jet Li says it is his last martial arts film.
I say it is a must see.
My all region player came in handy as I had a region 3, Chinese subtitled version as the only way to see this film before whichever company in America that owns it finally decides the test audiences like it enough to risk showing it.
I am so sure there will be at least 2 Will Ferrell and 3 Adam Sandler movies before the lights come up for this outstanding film. Thank goodness the story is "timeless", and the wait will not mar the film.
The story is melodramatic, the backstory historical. The time frame is the dawn of the 20th century, when the British first made serious incursions into China. Yes, the time of "Once Upon a Time in China".
This film resonated with something in me--not sure what--but I was moved to tears both times I watched this by myself, and squeezed 'em back on the third. My film partner scratches his head at my reaction, but he hasn't seen the "Bird People of China", or "Where the Green Ants Dream".
The choreography is by Yuen Wu Ping, the director is Ronnie Yu, both masters of their trade. It may be time to buy that all region player.

A Tully Masterpiece... slow reveal.
Stay Tuned!

Basic Instinct 2

The Erotic Thriller comes to the Mall. Gloss, camera, Sharon and some great ties on our leading man. This envelope has been licked before. A sequel based on a classic that pushed boundaries that embraces our new edges...Which have retreated to outrage at a nipple reveal during the stuporbowl...
My phone is tapped, top secret secrets whispered in the ear of a lapdog press, "Ice Age 2" on two screens alongside a 40 something hardbody with an agenda...
I'll take door number 3 and applaud Ms Stone.
Is this the swansong of the "erotic thriller?" The twilight of bigscreen movies? When will we have a "Universal Home Theatre" bill?