2.27.2009

Toby Dammit (1968)

One of three entries in the Poe-adaptation anthology Spirits of the Dead, Federico Fellini's Toby Dammit is a phantasmagorical mindfuck that never allows the viewer to feel fully sober. Terence Stamp is incredible and gives a tour-de-force performance. The other two entries (by Roger Vadim and Louis Malle) on the disc are fairly standard Gothic melodramas/horrors, but Fellini's reinvention of the form is unbelievable, and the only one that NEEDS to be seen. Well, then, see it:

2.26.2009

Be there!


Dropkick is a Quadropheniac


Quadrophenia is a mod film starring Sting.


dope.

This concept film for the Who's concept album of the same name is a gritty look at mod culture in Britain during the 60's.
The drugs, the violence, and pop culture of the time are all accurately portrayed here. At least i think it is, i wasn't born yet.

This plays like many other morality rebellious youth films.
Like Kids or Basketball Diaries, the film follows a group of youthful people who fill up the majority of their lives with drugs, sex, and especially in this case rock and roll.
Films like these are usually critically acclaimed, usually by the same critics old enough to live through the time that's being documented on film ; some ten years prior.
What's important about films like these is not how accurately it shows a certain period of time but how accurately it reflects our own days of yore.

Quads, can be taken as a terrific portrayal of the Mod scene, of a time rife with youthful rebellion and the true beginning of the tradition that our young generation must always be lost and completely out of their minds.
but for me what stuck out were the little nuances that the characters showed in compassion, love, jealousy, lust, envy, and hate.
Our protagonist is a likable enough bloke who goes from charming to completely insane to downtrodden by the end of the film.
He's driven to this state by the simple effects of just growing up, and it becomes clear that some of us human beings simply can't cope with that.

This isn't The Who's film, this is for anyone growing up at a loss. Anyone can relate with how silly love can be growing up, how unfair things turn sometimes. How it drives us to vices and how it makes us want to drive really fast on our mopeds. right?


It's been over thirty years since this flick came out and i feel it's more relevant than newer pics on the subject such as Kids. This one gets the absurdity of being a teenager out right. Shows us that sometimes life just shits on us. That life is hard and it's how we deal with it that matters.

The last act was a bit of a write off to me. Too much Who playing trying to tie into a movie that wasn't playing enough Who for a film based on a Who album.
In quick succession we hear several Who songs as were shown long cuts of a kid uncertain about his life. It felt like a cheap tie in. Almost as if the film was getting away from itself with a good thing and quickly remembers it's trying to sell more records.

However the first two acts are extremely well done. A very young Ray Winestone makes a terrific turn as our protagonist's good old friend who is now a rocker which brings up ideas of loyalty. Can mods coexist with rockers? Can punks hang out with new wave kids? Can metal heads be friends with clubbers? Can hipsters coexist with yippies? and so on, and so on.
Sting is amazing as the much envied king Mod so to speak, who kicks rockers and coppers asses only to take their names.

Overall quite enjoyable and definitely worth its cult like status.
Only it's the heart that sold this one, not the Who songs.


Dropping out,
-Kick

2.25.2009

Where's Kristo?


Can you spot Dropkick?

2.24.2009

He's still not interested in girls but at least he doesn't kiss all the guys.... he kills them.

Every now and then I need a straight up action flick. Tonight, Hitman (unlike yesterday's fiasco) delivered in spades. Here's a film with no misconceptions about what it is or who it's for. It doesn't make sense and it doesn't matter. What does matter is delivering maximum carnage and emotion-free executions for one hour and 45 minutes. Hitman does this and does it well. Timothy Oliphant (of Deadwood fame) doesn't totally work as a bad ass assassin, but he works well enough. This is a film aimed at geographically-challenged video game players (and me) with things like "Moscow......Russia" appearing on the screen regularly. Oh...not Moscow, Nebraska?
Matters not. At least 60 kills and two Bourne-worth fist fights with cinematography that doesn't resort to jiggly cameras and endless jump cuts makes this a worthy contender for time-waster of the month.
There's a very hot Ukrainian girl too....and she's naked.
Twice!
I think I've got my Hetero-mojo back!
btw Joe..... 13!

The Discipline of DE (1982)

Here's a compelling early short from Gus Van Sant that I dug up. Based on a short story by William Burroughs, it's a weird, playful little trip that reminds me, in its exactness and fastidious attention to detail, a bit of Peter Greenaway's early shorts, or at least those included on the Zeitgeist DVD. Really cool stuff. Enjoy:

Kiss Me Dudley...

Oh dear...

As all two of you that read this blog know, the cat and I are hanging out at Segredos while the boss is away in Florida these next two weeks. This, of course, provides me with an opportunity to watch guy movies - that's "guy" with a "u" - tough, ass-kicking, take-no-prisoners action flicks. Yesterday, for example, I watched Day of the Outlaw with Robert Ryan (tough guy western), The Big Sleep from '78 (tough guy remake of the Hawkes/Bogie original with Robert Mitchum) and Puppet on a Chain (tough Swedish guy detective thriller with a man-sized boat chase from 1971). My blood, now coursing with man-movie testosterone, wanted more.

I grabbed a handful of new DVD's tonight – Fort Apache, The Bronx, Hitman and something called Kiss Me Deadly with a DVD box plot description that read “Ex-spy Jacob Keane is drawn back into the shadowy world of international espionage when his former partner Marta reappears after 17 years, her memory erased, on the run from a pair of deadly, psychopathic assassins.” Hmmm... sounds manly. Spys... check. International espionage... check. Deadly psycho assassins... check. Shannon Doherty... aging hottie... check.

I should have cottoned on during the 11 previews contained at the start of this Hero! label DVD. There seemed to be an awful lot of guys hugging each other in 11 straight (pun unintended) movies that I'd never heard of. Most of them seemed to be shot on that weird video stock that doesn't look like a real movie. None-the-wiser I skipped through the trailers and settled into this direct-to-video B-actioner. The film starts in a flashback to pre-Berlin Wall era East Germany with a Russian defector getting blown up just before our crack NATO-spy team can get to him. Pesky Russians... you'll get yours! I thought. We move forward to the present day in Milan and one of the NATO-spy's from Berlin is photographing two hot couples in bathing suits. Hotties! Check.

Then it happened. A huge, moist man-kiss at the 9 minute mark. The photogrpher/NATO-spy plants a big wet one on his little Italian love-muffin helper. I spilled my glass of coke all over my lap and thought momentarily that Keane was deep, deep undercover. No, as it turns out... he wasn't. He was a gay spy with a capital Q.

The cat glanced up with a suspicious look. “Well now...”, I could hear her little feline brain thinking, “...isn't this an interesting choice with the female away.” No... I didn't know. Grit. Please believe me!

Being the modern liberal man that I am, I decided that I wasn't going to be homophobic and pressed on. A little gay bathroom action with a stranger in a bar and a gay bathhouse murder that included several full on male frontal nudity shots had my hand edging closer toward.... the remote! I know what you're thinking Joe and you're wrong! (and trying not to make eye contact with the cat, who was now squinting at me by this point) but I summoned up the courage to continue.

About an hour in though, I bailed. The hero just kept kissing all the other men and the plot ahh.... well, sucked actually. I honestly tried. It wasn't really a gay movie, it just had a gay lead. I kinda liked him too.

It was all that kissing and hugging... and more kissing... with no girls around. Did I mention that I kinda liked the lead actor?

I wonder what else he was in?....

Think I'll iMDB him....

....so to speak.

2.23.2009

Mickey - YOU are the real winner in my heart, and the only true person in a vast swath of insincerity and self-congratulatory hand-wringing. Keep on keepin' on, brother...

2.21.2009

A Worthy (albeit unintentional) Oscar Primer

What Just Happened?

The opening 55 minutes of Barry Levinson's What Just Happened? is an engaging Hollywood satire about the fast-tracked fall of a Hollywood producer's stock after a disastrous test screening of a new Sean Penn film. DeNiro plays the producer who spends most of his time juggling ex-wives, megalomaniac film types, powerful studio heads and his small but eager staff. The film reunites Wag the Dog director Levinson with lead DeNiro and for a time they seem to have rediscovered the magic of their 1997 pairing. Unfortunately the air leaks out of this project in the third act and what's left (other than a very aptly-titled movie) is an accidental satire about a satire about the film industry.

Notwithstanding a couple of ticklish self-lampooning turns by the likes of John Turturro, Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci, What Just Happened? just isn't all that funny (or perhaps more damningly, all that insightful). After a promising start, the film just doesn't go anywhere and the whole affair ends up feeling self-indulgent rather than revealing. Its release on the Tuesday following the Oscars isn't unintentional but the film misses it's mark because it takes the whole tinsel-town thing far too seriously. Had Levinson taken the source material (real-life producer Art Linson's brief, episodic memoir) and really had a go at it, we might have got something worthy of a quasi-sequel to Robert Altman's wonderfully sardonic dissertation on Hollywood, The Player. If ever a film needed a reworking by David Mamet, it's this one. Instead, the film ends up reconfirming what the acerbic Oscar Levant once said “Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you will find the real tinsel underneath.”

2.19.2009

Oscars

As much as I agree with Sporgey's rant about the lack of soul of the whole Oscar/Hollywood celebration that they throw for themselves. It's like a Golf club, that used to be so exclusive that everyone wanted in, but was racist, so they excluded some really great people, and then to make up for it they let in Tiger Woods' cousin or something... Bad, bad analogy, but it's fucking late, ok?

So yeah, as much as I agree with ya Sporgey, for the first time, I have actually seen all of the major players in the oscar nominations for this year, so for once in my life I feel like I can really participate in the Oscars and know what the fuck I am talking about, not just what the hype of critics tells me about a film. Too bad I don't own a TV to actually watch the stupid thing. And yeah, I watch that shit, because a) I like to see the beuatiful gowns I will never have any reason to wear and b) who's going to do something fucking weird, or which dude decided to show up in a tux with some sort of grizzly beard.

This list is not about picking who I think will win, because I am quite sure that I do not know what a board of this kind will take into consideration when picking the winners, obviously, since I don't even know why the fuck they pick the nominees. But, I know who I think should win... and who really, really shouldn't.


Oscar Ballot teef'd from evite.com

BEST PICTURE

[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] Frost/Nixon
[ ] Milk
[ ] The Reader
[X] Slumdog Millionaire

By far, Slumdog Millionaire was the overall winner for me in this category. If the best picture category is truly about honouring the idea that filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and about recognizing the value of a film in all of the areas which are required to give it substinance, then Slumdog is for sure the number one.

DIRECTOR
[ ] David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
[X] Gus Van Sant, Milk
[ ] Stephen Daldry, The Reader
[ ] Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Obviously if I was trying to predict the outcomes of the Oscars, I would never choose a different film for best picture and best director. For the longest time when I was younger I never even knew that these were two separate categories. If we are speaking strictly direction, though, I think that Van Sant deserves to take the prize. The different styles in this film were expertly woven together. Gus pulls documentary style images and scenes, which gave pertinence to the story of Harvey Milk and his role in a movement, and combines them with extremely personal viewpoints which give credence to the fact that this important movement depended on a man, who was really just a man.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

[ ] Frozen River
[ ] Happy-Go-Lucky
[X] In Bruges
[ ] Milk
[ ] WALL-E

I will admit that I have not seen every film in this category, and I will admit, I am no expert on what constitues a great screenplay, but, from the first time I saw In Bruges (and I have seen it at least three or four times at this point) I thought that the script was utterly fantastic. All of the dialogue between Gleeson and Farrell, and the shorter occasions where we are graced with Fiennes’ additions, is quick and hysterical. There is no moment in this movie to not be entertained and despite being a hitman comedy, the entertainment does not come from explosive scenes or schwazenneger-worthy catch phrases, it relies on action scenes confounded by stupidity and catch phrases which are uttered by the many slightly-needs characters which make up this film.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] Doubt
[X] Frost/Nixon
[ ] The Reader
[ ] Slumdog Millionaire

I don’t know if one is allowed to discuss this category properly without having read or viewed all of the original works from which the screenplays were adapted. I also wonder if perhaps it is easier to adapt a play into a film, but I don’t care. Frost/Nixon was at the very lease better than The Reader (a movie which was probably an excellent book for women to read and cry about and ignore the irony of reading a book about an illiterate woman), Doubt (which, in my opinion, was really only a good film because of its cast) and Benjamin Button (Forrest Gump II: Story of the Backwards, Slightly Less-Racist Gump).

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
[ ] Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
[ ] Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
[ ] Sean Penn, Milk
[ ] Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[X] Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

I could have maybe picked this film for best direction had it been an option. A mockumentary that never mocks anything, or reveals itself to be documentary-style in anything but the direction. So supremely executed. The only other thing, besides the directing, which gives this film that amazing appeal, is Rourke’s amazing performance.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
[ ] Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
[ ] Angelina Jolie, Changeling
[ ] Melissa Leo, Frozen River
[X] Meryl Streep, Doubt
[ ] Kate Winslet, The Reader

I didn’t even really like this movie. But I loved Meryl Streep, so she must have been good.


ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
[ ] Josh Brolin, Milk
[ ] Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
[ ] Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
[X] Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
[ ] Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Gotta do it. He was just way too good.


ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

[ ] Amy Adams, Doubt
[ ] Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
[ ] Viola Davis, Doubt
[ ] Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

I don’t even want to pick anyone in this category. This is a joke.

ANIMATED FEATURE
[ ] Bolt
[ ] Kung Fu Panda
[ ] WALL-E

Kung-Fu Panda hands down. Kris, youknowwhatI’mtalkingabout. I coulda sat through that shit again... but instead we went to go see Indiana Jones... shame.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
[ ] The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
[X] Encounters at the End of the World
[ ] The Garden
[ ] Man on Wire
[ ] Trouble the Water

Once again, I have no technically seen all of the films in this category, but I have seen more than I thought I would’ve considering I don’t watch a ton of documentaries if they don’t come from PBS, NOVA or National Geographic. Encounters at the End of the World probably just appealed to that nature-doc love of mine, but despite showing these fantastic images of nature’s wonders, it was not a nature documentary truly. It was a documentary about a place, the natural wonders of it and the inhabitants and their lives, both creature and man.

Do the rest of these even matter to anyone but the nominees?

ORIGINAL SCORE
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] Defiance
[ ] Milk
[X] Slumdog Millionaire
[ ] WALL-E

ORIGINAL SONG

[ ] "Down to Earth" - WALL-E
[X] "Jai Ho" - Slumdog Millionaire
[ ] "O Saya" - Slumdog Millionaire

ART DIRECTION
[ ] Changeling
[X] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Dark Knight
[ ] The Duchess
[ ] Revolutionary Road

CINEMATOGRAPHY
[ ] Changeling
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Dark Knight
[ ] The Reader
[X] Slumdog Millionaire

COSTUME DESIGN
[ ] Australia
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Duchess
[X] Milk
[ ] Revolutionary Road

MAKEUP
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Dark Knight
[X] Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Yeah, that's right Benjamin Button, I said it. I couldn't even pay attention to the makeup because the CGing of Brad Pitts wrinkly face onto a child body was so fucking terrifying.

SOUND MIXING
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Dark Knight
[ ] Slumdog Millionaire
[ ] WALL-E
[ ] Wanted

Who knows?

SOUND EDITING
[ ] The Dark Knight
[ ] Iron Man
[ ] Slumdog Millionaire
[ ] WALL-E
[ ] Wanted

Who cares?

VISUAL EFFECTS
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Dark Knight
[X] Iron Man

It deserves something for making me cream my pants so hard.


FILM EDITING
[ ] The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[ ] The Dark Knight
[X] Frost/Nixon
[ ] Milk
[ ] Slumdog Millionaire

Meh.


Hope you enjoyed my 4am post. Why didn't I just write my essay?

Mike Leigh on the CBC

Wednesday morning I heard the latter part of a radio interview with British director Mike Leigh on the CBC. Interesting stuff, and in light of his recent Oscar snub for Happy-Go-Lucky (as Sporgey noted below), I hunted down the video for the interview (which was actually recorded during this year's TIFF). Skip the first couple minutes to pass over some lighthearted banter and technical adjustments. The real interview starts about two minutes in... Enjoy!

Why the Oscars are Boring

The Oscars....

Can anyone think of a more ridiculous drivel-fest than the Oscars? (OK, not counting American Idol)...Seriously though...what is it about this pompous group ass-lick that gets people so bloody excited? I just don't get it. The films are invariably the same – overwrought tragidramedies of Gumpian proportions that would bore any real film fan into a rocking fetal position. And yet... billions watch, hanging on every scripted utterance as though something profound was happening.

Oscar nominations are typically political and rarely relate to film as an art form. This year's Best Picture nominations fall into approximately the same groupings as they always do. We have a vaguely British film (Slumdog by way of U.K. director Danny Boyle), a social conscience movie (Milk), a political/media flick (Frost/Nixon), an epic-length slice o' Americana (Buttons), and a quasi-literate drama relating to war (The Reader). You have to go back a long way to find an Oscar Nominee list that doesn't contain some minor variation on these same 5 kinds of movies. It isn't that this year's films are particularly bad (they're no worse than last year's or the year before) but rather that they remain dull and predictable choices. More importantly, they also don't matter in any real way. The Oscars have and continue to be about the colossal waste of time that is celebrity worship. The industry is only too happy to form a giant yearly circle jerk and blow a big Hollywood sized load all over their worshipers. That what it's all about.

I'm going out on a limb here because I haven't seen a good number of the films that follow but I'd like to see an Oscar nomination list that manages to include some innovative and boundary pushing works for once. How about films like Synecdoche, New York, Tell No One, The Pool, Elegy, My Winnipeg, Gomorrah, Let the Right One In, The Wrestler, Waltz with Bashir, Son of Rambow, Funny Games, A Christmas Tale, Happy-Go-Lucky, Rachel Getting Married, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Wendy and Lucy, Trouble the Water, Ballast, Che, Chop Shop, Doubt, Shotgun Stories, The Fall, Frozen River,
The Flight of the Red Balloon, Alexandra, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Class, Encounters at the End of the World, I Served the King of England, Still Life, Young at Heart, Silent Light, Hunger, etc. If you want to really push the envelope why not Martyrs, Cloverfield or the Orphanage?

When I think back on the best film performances I saw in 2008, the one that sticks out for me is Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. I couldn't shake his nuanced and completely believable take on a shattered soldier. Stallone may not be a great actor in any traditional sense but this was a deeply moving and utterly sad portrayal of a man trapped by his own ruthless prowess as a killer. It wasn't a theatrical turn (a la Ledger's Joker) but a more complete assumption of character. It probably sounds ridiculous, but I bought it. I never once thought I was watching an actor. I was watching a serial killer.

My point in all this nattering is this; film award shows are boring because the choices are canned. The film experience should be a varied and challenging one and the Oscars do not take this into consideration. The Academy Award nominees are beige Toyota Camrys year in and year out. It's dull and boring as a result.

2.18.2009

Oscar poll!

I know there are only a handful of days left before the Academy Awards ceremony, but I figured, what the hey, let's gauge public opinion for that short while. I added polls on the right for each of (what I consider to be) the main categories (best film, director, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, foreign feature and doc). The polls close at 8:00 PM, Sunday Feb. 22, so you've got up until the official ceremony begins to vote. Vote in as many of the categories as you wish, although you may only vote once in each category. Leave your picks in the comments if you wish.

2.17.2009

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

Adapted from the second short story in volume one of Clive Barker's Books of Blood, The Midnight Meat Train, for the most part, is a ferocious descent into hell and madness. If you want to go along for the ride, you'll follow one man's downward spiral from aspiring art-photographer to a butcher forced to kill in order to feed a sect of older-than-humankind monstrosities. Wha?!?! Yup, you read that right.

Although he wrote the short story upon which the script was based, and had a hand in the film's production, Barker himself did not direct. That role was left to Ryuhei Kitamura, probably best known for his 2000 effort Versus and less so for the hugely underrated 2004 flop Godzilla: Final Wars. In the film, we follow Leon, an art-photog on the cusp of breakthrough as he begins to stalk and photograph a man who he believes is killing people in the subway. Leon begins to lose both his perspective and his grip on reality, and becomes obsessed with the butcher Mahogany (an incredible, wordless turn by Vinnie Jones). Once it is revealed that Mahogany is indeed a killer, the film becomes less about the hunt and more about the quickly shrinking mental/physical divide between he and Leon. In the end, Mahogany is dispatched by a now near-mad Leon, who is then unwillingly handed the role once occupied by the recently deceased butcher - that is, he is now charged with harvesting the meat supply for the creatures who live in the abandoned subway station. If only the lower-Bay installation at last year's Nuit Blanche could have been this dope...
The story sounds completely wack, but it actually works for a few reasons. One is the performances - Jones is chilling as the tongueless butcher and carries far more menace here than in his "enforcer" roles in the Guy Ritchie films. The other characters aren't as strong, but they do a serviceable job. Two - if you sympathize with Leon's slow melt into insanity, you'll appreciate the film much more than if you don't care. Without that, it's simply a bloodbath. But what I find sets Barker above other schlock-meisters is the depth of his characters, and his complete willingness and unafraidness to go deeper and deeper still - sometimes there isn't a happy ending, and sometimes, when you hit rock bottom, you don't climb back up, but instead burrow further - recall Hellraiser, Candyman, even Lord of Illusions (I count myself as one of three people who actually liked that film), all of which deal in much more complex and mature relationships to the self - to sex, to death, to pleasure and pain and ecstasy - than your stock "horror" film. And three - Kitamura, along with Max Payne lensman Jonathan Sela, employs some incredible camera work and displays an incredibly dynamic visual sense. The camera is always moving, zooming, panning, swooping, and seems very much a character itself, as cliched as that is.

Barker's obsessions, even from this early story, are evident here - rough sex, twisted personalities, the real and the imagined, and the base, dumb physicality of meat. While not his best work (or adaptation thereof), The Midnight Meat Train is an intriguing film in its own right, and a solid addition to the Barker cinematic oeuvre. And it takes place largely in a subway, which automatically makes it amazing in my book (see: The Warriors, Jacob's Ladder, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, etc...). I've got this thing about subways in film...

The R1 Lionsgate DVD has a few nice extras in which Barker talks about his painting and writing and breaks down his philosophy of art, and also an "Anatomy of a Murder" feature, in which various cast and crew explain the behind-the-scenes workings of one of the film's subway murders. Not for everyone, but if you dig horror or Barker's work or subways, then I say, "All aboard....the Midnight Meat Train".

2.15.2009

T-Shirt Possibility?




Should I get a few T-shirts made up?

2.14.2009

Cold Prey (2006)

It's no longer just the way my Asian friend pronounces her favourite British pop band du jour...

Norway has long been known for its fjords and an influential black metal scene, but horror films...not so much. Along comes Cold Prey, or if you're Scandinavically inclined, Fritt vilt, to prove all the naysayers wrong. The only problem is, it doesn't prove much of anything, except that perhaps the Norwegians should stick to what they do best, and that is burn churches.

Cold Prey has airs of a modern slasher (read: attractive, nubile 20-somethings, sexual tension, remote, vaguely spooky location), but fails to deliver in the blood 'n' boobs category that the genre so desperately needs in order to be successful. Yes, there is character development (for the first hour), to which defenders of the film will likely cling, and there is sumptuous cinematography. But other than that...nada. A boring exercise which sadly cannot build any meaningful suspense or even provide the smallest of jump-scares, and a killer who you've basically figured out by the end of the first scene. Hell, I even liked My Bloody Valentine 3D (even sans the third dimension) far better than this. Skip, unless you take pleasure in looking at snow-encrusted mountains and abandoned ski-lodges in the midst of a blizzard; but I figure that by this point in the year, everyone would rather watch Under the Tuscan Sun. (I just noticed Diane Lane shares my birthday - hot!).

Vincent Price month

As some of you may or may not know, my favourite actor of all-time is Vincent Price. I have been thinking about him a lot lately. No, this is not going to become some shirtless Vinnie fan-boy masturbation post. I want (if you want) everyone who contributes here to pick a VP film and review it over the next month. I posted a brief musing on The Abominable Dr. Phibes (coincidentally as a lead-up to Valentine's Day) way back, so that's out, but anything else is fair game. It doesn't have to be a starring role, but the review should focus on VP in the film. What say you? I've got a few of the gothic/Poe horrors we don't have at the Buff, if anyone wants to do those (The Oblong Box, Scream and Scream Again, The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum), not to mention the (at least) dozen we have between the shops. Claim your film in the comments, if you're interested. If not, I'll probably just watch and review them all myself. I've got mad love for Vinnie. Did you know Vincent Price was in The Ten Commandments? I didn't... In the meantime:

2.12.2009

The Polish... win

What is this crap?
Here is North America's poster for Weekend at Bernies,


and here's the Polish take...



i know...
don't say it...
i know...
what
the
fuck...?

the future is here and it fucking sucks

2.11.2009

Never judge a DVD by its cover part 2

This time, the comparison is a bit more judicial as it occurs between two like-minded DVD labels. This isn't Criterion vs. Universal, but rather the quite discerning Kino label vs. the UK's Eureka! Masters of Cinema imprint. Today, we're going to compare F.W. Murnau's classic vampire tale, Nosferatu. Again, the US release, which at first glance looks interesting because it is an illustration rather than some photoshopped badness, still relies on the floating head hook, along with some random castle (which looks closer to middle-Eastern than Eastern European) in the background. I do like the black hole sun, though. The much more compelling and effective (to my eyes) UK release features a frighteningly rigor mortised Count Orlok dancing from the grave flanked by rats, both of them harbingers of doom and disease. What do you think?
US Kino:
UK Eureka! Masters of Cinema:

drunktown feat. dropkick and some films

ok ok
fuck it... WE'LL DO IT LIVE!
ever seen that youtube vid of o'reilly... is funny. i say is funny
o
ok

anyway, i saw some movies
here was one




fitzcarraldo
yeawh i liked it, thought it was pretty as shit.

no literally after i've made a big breakfast with some susages it's as pretty as that morbibg rush hour to the bathroom.
in the beauty way.
it's slow and makes you think... real hard.
but honestly kids... i digest.
my fave herzog i've seen... funny ccuase errytime i pick up a new herzog i dig it more than the last.
great guy... ben j where you at? my old flame..
okok ok



the fall
yeah it was pretty. looked like the cell. funny cause it's the same guy who directed the cell. could have been amazing. great directing, great acting, great shots. just missing any of the scenes that made me as a viewer give a damn about waht was happening...
yeah.. eat that shit tarsaraamamalam
also having only one name? no last?
or fast?
that's like saying i'm KRIS
i directing this shit. eat it... love it.
too mch pride
tarsem.... i think
that;s what it was.

what else did i wathc?



joy divison
great doc... if you like that sorata thing.
see... i don't.. no i do. joy divison i love you, you anid i... we gonna go places and touch each other in different ways but tat's just hw i feel
this shoulda been called ian curtis love in cause that's waht it was.
but ian curtis = joy divison
kris = awesome
it's how it happens. life happesns sometimes
and sometimes
it's dope


who's afraid of virginia woolf
- dope...ness..mad...dope...dope...ess..mad dop.

ok..
ima say it
fubu.... ther.e.

top five awesome towns:
#5
my town

#4
your town

#3
Larabanga Ghana, Africa
great little village where you can alwasys feel welcomed;
when i stayed i slepy on roofs of clayed hutts and the locals even through a celebration for my comming. if only the developed world could get on that train

#2
Our town

#1
my town



i n the end i only got the cheese so i'ma eat it.. good night

1982 - The Year God Smiled on Hollywood.

1982, the year I finally finished Grade 13, also happened to be one of the greatest periods of outstanding film making of the past 50 years. The quality and quantity of terrific films from that year I think speaks for itself;

Megaforce – Barry Bostwick leads a rapid deployment counter-terrorism strikeforce. Need I say anything else? Megastunning!

Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3D – Sunday the 15th is what my coolio friends and I called this little horror gem back in the day.

Tron – K2 nails this early CGI masterpiece with his spot-on post yesterday.

Butterfly – Pia Zadora, a vastly underrated actress utters early on, “Don’t it get lonely out here?” the mystery gal asks, “Or is milkin’ that cow good enough for ya?” After taking a sip of fresh cream, she licks her lips and purrs, “I like it warm with foam on it.” ….Do ya now, you dirty little whore? A personal favourite.

The Pirate Movie – Kristy McNichol and Chris Atkins in a steamy PG rated reworking of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance? Right ON!

Superman II – A pre-bonebag Chris Reeves flies around and fights Lex Luther (Gene Hackman in his greatest role) in a film by the Richards. This one is so good it took two directors, Richard Donner and Richard Lester, to finish. Shite ham-actor Marlon Brando sued everyone and was thankfully cut from the final edit. Even better than Superman Returns if you can believe it.

Trail of the Pink Panther – The funniest of the Pink Panther series with a tight script and the always fresh Peter Sellers at his best, even though he was dead before filming began. How's that for acting ability? The sixth movie in the franchise is, in essence, just a recap of the earlier 5 films. Hmmm, that's the same as, ah … never mind.

Conan the Barbarian – Arny of Shadows. 'Nuff said

Grease 2 – The greatest musical ever? I gotta think so.

Poltergeist – A brilliant allegory on the power of television and its ability to corrupt children. Vastly misunderstood to this day, Poltergeist remains a powerful indictment of the dangers of unregulated TV viewing by youngsters.

Is it any wonder I ended up pursuing my dreams of being a video baron?

Suck on my titles, boys.

My favourite Hooters

Ever since I was but a wee kinderling crawling on my parents kitchen floor, subsisting on stray Cheerios, toast crusts and tea finings, I have, simply put, been enamored of owls. And I've just realized, wow, I've never posted anything on owls, my favourite avian friends, on the blog. Spurred on by recent posts about posts...about...posts?, I have decided that it would only be proper to cast a shining ray of God's gentle sun upon a very subjective list of the best owls. Now, keep in mind, this is not a compilation of Strigiformes (oops - don't let me leave you in the dark - that is the Latin name for owls. So, next time you see a Latino or a Latina, say "Como esta, Strigiforme", which literally means "good morrow, owl", "owl" being the Latino(a) equivalent of the popular African American term "dog"), but only the ones that make me smile when I view them in the pages of Canadian Geographic, and similar magazines about the nature.

So, without further ado, I give you my list:
#5 - Elf Owl
This little fella is the smallest owl ever. Which automatically makes it the cutest, and by extension, the strangest. Poet and naturalist "How did it get so small?" you're probably asking yourself right now. Well, I don;t know, but it probably is either a species that is a baby and then dies before it gets too large. And who can't love a dead baby? I think this might even be the only owl to ever have flown from Mexico to Point Pele National Park, but I'm really just guessing.

#4 - Saw Whet Owl
I don't know anything about this owl, but one time when I was a younger human, I spied one in the tree in front of our house. But it was night and it could have been a paper bag blown there by the wind. Nevertheless, I feel a great connection to this special owl, and if I were to choose one owl to represent me in the House of Parliament, this would probably be it - not because it's the smartest, or even looks smart, but because it's really small (I think?) and could easily sneak into the other parties clubhouses and spy on them for me and tell me great stories like what (if any) kind of moustache wax Jack Layton uses, and what, oh WHAT, is under Steve's sweaters. Then we would laugh and share pancakes. I would not want to know things like whether or not Elizabeth May shaves down there, and whether Gilles speaks English or French when making the love. I would certainly not want to use the Elf Owl for reconnaissance missions, as it would very likely get lost because of the smallness. The Saw Whet is almost my favourite owl, but not quite. So it's no. 4.

#3 - Barn Owl
Everyone loves a barn owl, mostly because of it's easily recognizable facial disc, an interesting feature that all owls have. But the barn owl is the only one where the facial disc is truly prominent. They also resemble mind bong. I like the facial disc, because it is truly the only feature that differentiates owls from humans, and, ostensibly, apes. I wish I could give you more information about the Barn Owl, but it lives an a freakin' barn?!?!?! How amaaaaaaaazing is that? Well, it's AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZZINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! David Suzuki told me in a dream I had about the show "The Nature of Things" that all Barn Owls can be linked to the same barn in Rome, and that contrary to popular belief, Barn Owls are the only creatures that can actually survive in a barn. Horses die every night, and they have to buy new ones every morning from the factory. Basically, the Barn Owl is a SURVIVOR. Oh, and facial disc.

#2 - Great Grey Owl
Ooohhhhhhh, I tricked you, I bet. I bet you thought that was going to be no. 1, didn't you. No, it's not no. 1 for two reasons: because it's far too omnipresent in the public's mind. This almost made me pick it as no. 1, just for the pity factor - because no one's ever going to make it no. 1. But that still doesn't make me make it no.1 Pity doesn't cut it any more. A fun fact about the Great Grey Owl - the famous Canadian conservationist Grey Owl took his name from the Great Grey Owl. Neat! This owl is the one that Merlin kept as a pet (or maybe it was a Great Horned Owl, I can't remember right now), but either way, some magicians probably have Great Grey Owls as pets, or familiars. So that's cool. Another fun fact is that when the sky is overcast, the Great Grey Owl is completely invisible. I love that. They eat mice, which is sad, but I guess since witches eat Great Grey Owls, it's only fair. Anyway, Great Grey Owl, no. 2, just like Commander William T. Riker. The Great Grey Owl looks very wise. They sometimes wear those caps you get when you graduate from school or something.

#1 - Screech Owl
Here's a cool mind-melter you can play at the next party you're at: ask the guests this "What do Dustin Diamond's character on Saved by the Bell, a popular Newfoundland rum, Lupe Fiasco's album The Cool and the greatest owl all have in common?" No one will know the answer, though many will think they do. After many unsucessful attempts are made at a guess, you shout "Nothing!!!!" Hahaha, that has worked everytime for me (re: getting hated by people). If on the off-chance someone does guess "nothing", you should quickly unzip your fly and produce your now semi-rigid penis and make direct, unwavering eye-contact at whoever guessed the answer, all the while repeating aloud, "You've won the prize". Anyway, the one thing that doesn't belong in the list (if you are asked by the police to explain yourself) is Lupe Fiasco's The Cool. The others, of course, are all connected by the word "Screech". My favourite owl. The big one. They are kind of diminutive, in size, but that only works in it's favour. You may have noticed that three of my best owls are coincidentally quite small. This is no coincidence. As the poet once said, size only matters in owls and horseshoes.

Some other notable exclusions from the list:
Snowy Owl - got the cover of a Glen Loates (the poor man's Robert Bateman) illustrated volume of owls I had when I was younger. Though slim, this text provided much of the work that I would later plagiarize to create my award-winning Grade 5 speech, aptly entitled "Owls".

Great Horned Owl - Excluded simply because it looks like the devil, and everytime one is born (or "fledged"), God weeps a single tear.

Burrowing Owl - Ever since I didn't see the movie Hoot, I have been fascinated by this owl, the only diurnal one. It stands on what look like chicken feet and it looks very cross all the time, even when it's a nice day, or after it ate a good mouse. One of the more intriguing brands of owl.

Laughing Owl - I love them, but they're extinct, so that automatically excludes them, because they're not SURVIVORS. If you ask you're grandparents they might know about them, but they have not been around since cameras were invented by Kodak, so there isn't a picture, just this idea that someone once had that this is what they might have looked like. This is an ARTWORK:

Well, that's about all I have for you for now. Check back next week when I'll actually have all the owls I've rated rate my post and give comments as to whether or not they think my assessment of them is fair (possibly two posts). Also, a review of Farley Mowat's literary masterpiece about two of my favourite owls, Wol and Weeps, Owls in the Family.

Facial Disc.

2.10.2009

Tron Pron - short reviews for short people



I threw this on late one night trying to catch some zzz's and instead it had the opposite effect. It kept me up until the wee hours of the morning until Jeff Bridges had his way with that pesky Master Control Program.
Amazing how the special effects of this film still hold up after all this time. The idea of worlds inside computers has been explored since with movies like The Matrix, The Lawnmower man, and shows like Reboot. But this was the first, at least to my knowledge, of those stories in film.
It executes the idea well by alluding to different computer programs as actual characters and having them embody their specific program characteristics.
Also, how the programs refer to us as "users"; these unseen entities that look over them and give them commands to follow is a nicely used allegory in reference to modern religion. I also really liked how the real life characters had counterparts inside the "system" that were played by the same actors. Sort of a Wizard Of Oz type theme going on here. Still, great fun.


Apparently Tron 2 is filming now, it is entitled TR2N. i don't know how to say that.. so i won't. It's like that pop band in the 90's called 5ive.. what the hell is that? doesn't make any sense. do i say five ive? Or that Daft Punk movie Interstella 5555: The 5tory of 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. gimme a break with that.
yeah tron. check it out.... and that's all i have to say about that...

Movies, oddly enough

In an effort to correct course and steer our blog back toward film, this post will be exclusively about movies. A novel thought to be sure. I was afraid that K2's final Sectors post would be a 3000 word dissertation on his favourite 2008 T-shirts but as it turns out it was a ranking of his previous 5 Sectors posts. What a relief...

On to the matter at hand.....

Radio On (1979) Director: Christopher Petit. PAL (but I ordered an NTSC copy for the FBW)

A revelation. Radio On is an existential masterpiece of understated post-punk angst set in pre-Thatcher Britain. It's technically a road movie I suppose, although substantially different in tone and execution from the American variety released earlier in the decade (Two Lane Blacktop comes most immediately to mind). The journey presented here is nearly random, existential in the extreme and motivated by the protagonist's desire to simply “find something out”.

Radio On is a sparse, sombre and haunting film, beautifully film shot in black and white by Wim Wenders' cinematographer Martin Schäfer. It takes the travelogue into unexplored territory: literally - the A420 to Swindon and Bristol - and figuratively: a Britain stricken by economic decline. This is a film in love with both exile and empty places, its characters drifting along without motive or direction. It may resonate with present day audiences more profoundly as we enter our own swift and seemingly unstoppable decline.

A final note about this outstanding film. Music. It defines and shapes Radio On in ways I don't think I've seen before. Music is central to the film and its characters. It is at once an antidote to the loneliness of these people and a point of reference when their paths cross. It reminds us how music – particularly that of our own time – says something of who we are, where we came from and in a way, where we're going. Radio On is a disaffected, evocative and yet strangely hopeful film.

A new entry in my all time top-ten list that bumps Don Siegel's Charley Varrick into 11th.

The Mighty Boosh, Season 3 (2008) PAL


A bit of a let down to be honest, the Boosh has long remained the most ridiculous (and often most hilarious) show on BBC 3 but this latest season was a bit flat. It has some great bits but I think this ship has sailed.

Female Agents (Les Femmes de l'ombre, 2008) PAL

Four French Resistance fighters stationed in Britain slip back into Vichy France just before D-Day to get a British geologist out of a Nazi hospital. The twist is... they're woman posing as nurses. Similar to Verhoeven's 2006 Black Book, this apparently true story is in many ways a straight up wartime rescue flick. It's well acted and zips along nicely. I think Hot Cross Bunnies would have been a far better English translation of the title.

2.09.2009

SECTOR SIX SIX SIX!!! !!! !!! - The Hidden Sector

Attacking from a hidden base Dropkick has one last trick up his sleeve.
The SIXTH SECTOR - BONUSSSS



so this is truly the end of all this sector business. but i thought it fitting to finish up my love for top 5 lists to list off my favourite top 5 lists.
here are Dropkicks top 5 sectors, of the sector lists created by Dropkick.
mad..
dope...


#5 Sector #1
Indeed the sector that started this whole charade is the one i find least appealing. My top 5 films of 2008 that were released in 2008 is pretty ridiculous, Speed Racer? Hulk? whaaa? I saw some great flicks in 2008 but i think i was going for humor more than anything with this piece. I do strongly believe however, that the top 3 JCVD, Dark Knight, and Synechdoche New York were incredible films and deserve to be up there. I think i was just having a laugh with the other two.


#4 Sector #5 enter the burrito
I found it difficult to review food. I had never tried it before, and although i really dig food it just didn't feel natural going on about it. I was at a loss for certain words and found myself quickly trying to get through the damn thing. I also forgot to mention that the staff at Chino Locos add to the experience. They do fully embody the name of their establishment and make everyone feel welcomed and make you feel like Norm on Cheers whenever you enter their place. Great guys, great joint... my little write up doesn't do em' justice.


#3 Sector #2!
Wherein i rated films i had seen over the course of the 2008 that were made in another time.
I dig the list alot and still fully agree with it, though there's so much vying for a position it's hard to feel proud of this list. The write ups for every individual film could have been fleshed out a bit more, especially Melville's Army of Shadows. Although i feel like i could never really review a film of his proper. what not being a learned film critic and all. Still... not bad.


#2 SECTors #3!!! worst of 2008
I feel much more comfortable talking shit about movies than praising them. This one was a helluva lotta fun to write up and to rank. I don't think i'll ever live down the shit that is X-Files and Indiana Jones, but writing this helped. Still, i could have gone on at length. but, i've already given my two cents about these films at the time of their respective releases. X-files even had a two part smear campaign!
it was also nice to see randoms comment on that particular post. Who are these people? also when you get Kenny Chan to chime in you know you're doing something right.


#1 SECToR #4!!! Sounds
I think overall this was the best sector. Surprisingly i found it really comfortable to go over music. Felt more at ease than writing about film. I also think aesthetically it's a nice little post and the write ups are quick and to the point. This one had the most feedback that i saw personally. I've had more than one person tell me they had checked out an album on that list because of the post. and you know what? that's why i get up in the morning and contribute to this blog... it's all for you guys. thank you.

and there you have it. The Sector saga ends here.
thank you all for making it such a worthwhile and crazy ride.
let's do it again sometime
-Kridas

It's just you and me here Joe.

An eerie cyber-silence has me thinking we should just call each other Joe and talk. It'd make more sense. This is a lot of work that could be easily avoided.

I saw 3 great movies this weekend. Call me and I'll tell you about them.

S

sector 5!!!!! - Burritos of Fury!

SUCKter 5, the final chapter... Enter the Burrito


During the last half of 2008 the East End of Toronto was shocked asunder by the opening of a new restaurant at the corner of Greenwood and Queen East.
With Ghalis kitchen closing up shop midway through the summer
Rumors filled the foothills with talk of Mexican food.. yet others spoke whispers of Chinese cuisine. Finally on one fateful day as i stepped off the oh so reliable Greenwood 31B i came face to face with new signage in Ghalis window. Where before there was a scribbled note on a piece of cardboard from Ghali himself... something about being thankful for the patronage, now there was a bright colourful sign boasting a curious name.
"Chino Locos", with an even more curious side note read underneath
-tasty good burritos.
Concaleath and i talked about what kind of burritos we'd like to have.
Con pointed out that the name quite literaly meant the crazy chinese.
hmm, chinese... burritos? really? has the world gone mad?
how would the two come together? would they have refried beans?
funny how the same location that once sported Jamican style Italian food would have a Chinese take on Mexican right after... hmm. East End is all about the melting pot.

When the store finally opened and was up and running smoothly we found that all of us staff at the Film Buff (British lads excluded) had become addicted to these delicious treats.

for only 6 bucks you don't get to just enjoy a burrito that is pushing the envelope of what makes or should be a burrito. No, a Locos burrito quite frankly destroys all boundries and envelopes in place of existing burrito guidelines. It's food that exists on its own plane of existence, a meal wrapped into a whole wheat tortilla shell that brings you from one side of the Earth to the other and back home again. It's a godsend for East Endies who were torn between Canadian Chinese local Sea Breeze and heart palpatating fried chicken at ChickenJoy. Both restaurents do have their own charm but it's Loco that's carved a real niche in the void between The Beaches and Leslieville.
Like the foreign masterpieces we rent out at the Buff most people will bite their thumb at what Loco has to offer.
And indeed i have found in my experience that customers with a broader taste in film are more likely to enjoy a Chino Locos burrito, while more mainstream customers seem to have their taste buds and film tastes pretty much in tune with one another making them dislike the burrito. But that's a generalization and i have neither the bravado or proper length of tools to make such assumptions strongly. maybe i have the girth tho... ah well.. for another post maybe.
Here is my take on the best 5 burritos to order up at Chino Locos


#5 The Weekly Special
The "special" burrito changes quite often and feels more of a daily occurence more than a weekly affair. Since the special is so broad and takes many different forms it is only fair that it takes the top spot of the list. Although it must be said that some of the best edible things i've ever put in my mouth are included under the heading special. A prime rib special is not only rib meat but also is packed with mashed potatoes, cheese, and corn. Making it more of an American burrito, and quite literally a whole dinner in a shell. What's better though, but will cost you a little more, is the lamb burrito. Lamb instead of prime rib with all the fixings is incredibly delcious although pretty rare. Other great specials include jerk pork or chicken. Both can be amazing but i would never walk away from the pulled jerk pork. Really something special. Also an assortment of curry burritos which are takes on their regular burritos but given a carribean feel leaving you wtih a taste of having a roti but still holding on to such goodness as cilantro and cheese.

#4 Paradise Vegan
This slice of vegetarian heaven is really something to get excited that you watched Babe too many times as a kid about. This baby has got tofu steak, eggplant, and shitake mushrooms. Fixings you won't find in any burrito. It's a buck more than the other burritos but hey, it was your choice to not eat the cute animals now you gotta pay for it.

#3 SWWEEET
The house signature burrito. The one that started it all. I advise first comers to try this one out. Slow roasted pulled pork with ginger relish is what got me hooked to these bad boys in the first place. Best had with noodles and the extra fixings.

#2 Pollo Loco
Their chicken burrito cooked in a Mexican tinga sauce. A terrific stand by and something anyone can get up close and personal to. If the fusion idea freaks you out too much try this one out with rice instead of noodles. You'll find yourself in familiar burrito territory yet still have half your body in unfamiliar waters.

#1 Off Da Hook
The mother of all burritos. Quite easily wins the award for best burrito I've ever had. Seared steak with black beans best had spicy with noodles and the extra fixings: sour cream and cheese. Your taste buds will love you for trying it out.

All burritos come with great fixings like cilantro, edamame, and avocado but it's their signature chipotle sauce that really brings these suckers ahead of the pack when it comes to amazing cheap eats.

other things on the menu that didn't make the list are
The Finest: this basa fish burrito looks good and got a great write up from Eye Weekly i just can't eat fish. so there.
Dessert Burritos: i've yet to try any of these. I'd like to give it a go one time but i never have room for anything else after i've had a full burrito.

An honourable mention to their take on ice cream. I had the pleasure of testing it out, a corn and cheese ice cream doesn't sound (or look for that matter) too appealing but it's a subtle delicious little treat that i hope they go somewhere with.

When they first opened the Now gave Locos a pretty unfavourable review giving them two N's out of a possible 5. I chalk that up to the boys still getting up on their feet. Yet the Now did like the dessert burritos.
Eye Weekly recently gave them the once over and gave them a glowing four star review out of a possible five, stating the only thing that didn't sit well were the dessert burritos.
Funny, if you mix the two... like i do then you got a glowing 6 star review out of a possible five. i like that.

Now's review

Eye Weekly's - great pic too!


Well old sports that wraps up this little Sector experiment. I'm not really sure how it came about but it sure as hell was fun writing it. 2009 looks to be an exciting year for us here at the Buff and for the worldwide economy in general... i mean yes we can change things right!?
love,
for all ya'lls

2.07.2009

The Quare Fellow (1962)

My only previous experience with Patrick McGoohan was through a well-worn VHS copy taped-off-TV-in-two-parts of the fantastic Pryor/Wilder vehicle Silver Streak. My best friend Mark Sampson and I watched it at least once a week, without fail, from age 9-12. We could recite the movie by heart, and often did, even the blurred out curses, making it suitable for TV broadcast and safe for our young ears. We always got a kick out of McGoohan's Roger Devereau (I didn't even have to look that up), and looking back I realize what a restrained and wonderfully sinister performance he gave in the film. McGoohan's character was not a blustery supervillian, full of sound and fury, but instead displayed a restrained and calculated criminality.

It is with that as my sole reference of McGoohan that I went into his much earlier and different work in The Quare Fellow. Based on a play by Irish playwright Brendan Behan, the film is a superb exercise in realist acting and cinematic humanism. Unlike many theatre to screen adaptations, The Quare Fellow does not suffer from stagey direction, and has just enough in the way of sets and locations to keep it real, but not too much so as to distract from the central premise. McGoohan plays Thomas Crimmin, a newly appointed guard or "screw" at an Irish prison. We see him go through a major change in the film, from thinking justice is black and white to realizing that there exists a far greater grey zone than he ever believed. Throughout, we see McGoohan struggling to reconcile his theoretical ideas of justice with the very real lives he sees wasting away in front of him.

The film runs an economical 85 minutes and is very much worth watching for both the involving story and the excellent performances from not only McGoohan but also Walter Macken, Sylvia Sims, and a group of Irish actors who do a wonderful job portraying the inmates with a fatalistic black humour necessary to create a sense of realistic incarceration. The recently released Kino DVD is an excellent transfer, though the sound mix is a little raw. For a film that is relatively obscure and more than 45 years old, that is a flaw that is easy to overlook. There are scant, though nice, extras, including a short doc called "Behan's Dublin".

I've become slightly obsessed with McGoohan recently (who sadly passed away less than a month ago), and have begun watching The Prisoner. I've only watched one episode and am already hooked. Looking forward to getting further into this fantastic show.

Bloody Godard's Valentine to Cinema

Lads,

I'm about two excruciating hours into Godard's Histoire(s) de Cinema and fading fast. I thought that I could get into the rhythm of the piece but I think it might be beyond me. I'm finding the whole thing rather annoying, which may speak more to my lack of sophistication than specifically to the merits of Godard's free association cinematic exploration of film. I mean I get what he's doing – the investigation of cinema using a variety of cinematic techniques, but the endless cross-cuts, fades, washes, and text trickery feels like I'm being attacked by noisy French mimes.

This was undoubtedly a massive undertaking by Godard, an experimental film project ten years in the making covering a huge swath of the history and culture, but I can't help in these early stages thinking that the whole thing is a bit of a bloated act of hyper-pretension. I'm going to ponder on this a bit striking my “The Thinker” pose and sit on a globe for a while.

Alright...so it's now a few hours later and I can't wait to get back to the stupid thing. Go figure. I'm loathe to put the 3rd season of the Mighty Boosh on hold and yet too compelled to to see where Godard's going with this thing to let it go.

I'll keep you posted.

Sporgey.

2.01.2009

My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

Although it's still 2 weeks away from the romantickest of romantic days, last night I felt romance stirring in my nether regions, and decided to take my sweetheart to the most fitting of date films, My Bloody Valentine 3D. Yes, THREEEEEE-DEEEEEE!!!!!

There was much consternation on various horror message boards over the last year with psoriatic goths and me bemoaning the fact that one of their favourite 80's slashers (and Canadian to boot) was to be remade by the heartless Hollywood machine. Well, trailers began to leak, and it didn't look so bad after all... Word sprang up that the film would not be a "remake", but a "reimagining" (aren't they all?), and would be projected in three glorious dimensions. Cautious excitement began to build...

So, what it comes down to is this: I'm an absolute sucker for 3D - I won't watch ANYTHING just because it's in 3D, but I will suffer through what would otherwise be some godawful films if it were not for the technology. What I was more impressed with in this newest effort was the use of something called "Real D", which turned out to be a really cool experience, completely pulling you into the action, somewhat akin to watching a theatre performance - the people on screen were almost real - too bad the characterizations were paper thin.

Anyway, the film itself wasn't horrible - your standard stalk and slash type deal, which in my eyes, was a rare superior to the original, and surprisingly gory for "mainstream" fare. I liked that part, and there were a few scenes that had even a seasoned gorehound like myself wincing and curling my toes. And there was a pleasant scene in a hotel room, where....well, let's just say it's pretty surreal seeing 10 foot tall boobs pushing out of the screen, although I am ashamed to admit they had me reaching lustfully toward the screen, pants tenting slowly... And it's always a treat to see living B-legend Tom Atkins on screen.

Unfortunately, the film was unable to build much suspense - except for a couple scenes, notably the one in the grocery store - and the killer is obvious about 30 minutes in. I'd give the film itself a 3.5-4/10; with the Real D, it notches a solid 7/10 for a fun, fun time. If you're going to see this one (and I suspect no one reading this will), it has to be on the big screen.

We fittingly finished off an evening of empty calories with a visit to Smoke's Poutinerie down the street from the cinema. I highly reccomended the pulled pork poutine for your weekly sodium allowance in a single dish. Deeeeelish!