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)

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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".

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.