Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Muzak: Wolf Like Me [cover version]

I don't do commentaries for my Monday Muzak's (much of everyone's relief) - but last year I used TV on the Radio's 'Wolf Like Me' as my Halloween track - unfortunately their bassist passed away earlier this year after a long fight with cancer - and I can't think of a more fitting song and a more fitting tribute...

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Awful Dr. Orlof [1961]

Dr. Orlof and his assistant Morpho are out on the town kidnapping pretty women – so he can force them to donate their faces (and bodies) to his disfigured daughter.

Remember when I said Franco likes to do medical oddity films? Well, I also should have mentioned that he likes to repeat the same themes – even plotlines of previous films. The Awful Dr. Orlof was remade by him as the film I reviewed for yesterday – Faceless. I wish I knew that before I went in – but I tend to hit the jackpot when I watch several Franco films in a row – they will end up being the exact same plots – Franco remaking Franco.

So, the Howard Vernon Dr. Orlof reference is no longer lost on me from Faceless.

The film was fairly fun – it had an old monster film feel to it – though I thought they spent too much time in the investigation than in the “horror” – so I was a little bored by the film. Morpho was a very disturbing monster – I quite liked the portrayal by Richardo Valle. The mask was a bit cheesy – but how he would walk, his posture and how he mouth words was actually fairly creepy.

Actually the entire cast was very good – though the roles were fairly standard. Vernon was a creepy Dr. Orlof – San Martin was a great straight up detective – Lorys was a steamy but sassy love interest with backbone.

I was a little taken aback when there were a few flashes of bare chests – I just wasn’t expecting that. It seemed as though this was a fairly mainstream horror film – like something along the lines of the Universal classics – so when Morpho grabs the girl and he rips her shirt off and we zoom in to see her boobs struggle – I was surprised. There wasn’t much of it – but maybe a full 15 seconds in the entire film – but like I said – I didn’t expect it.

I have a hard time with explaining this film – as it just felt like something was missing and I can’t really pinpoint it. Something with the story – it just felt stop & go with the plotlines – it just felt off. I kind of liked the movie – I kind of didn’t.

You can tell Franco was at the helm for the most part – but he was playing up as a sort of a classic monster movie director – so there wasn’t much exciting to talk about when it came to the style of direction.
The story was fairly coherent – though I would’ve liked more time with Orlof explaining his desire to reconstruct his daughter’s looks (and I’m not sure if I missed an explanation as to what happened to her). The direction was solid – the movie was kind of fun in that classic monster film sense – but was lacking – another take it or leave it Franco film for me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Faceless [1988]

Also known as - Les Preadateurs de la Nuit

While having a night out on the town a disgruntled ex-patient confronts Dr. Flamand with a beaker of acid – missing him and dumping it on Flamand’s sister’s face. Flamand becomes dedicated to figuring out how to do a face transplant surgery in order to save his sister’s, Ingrid’s, beauty – by kidnapping and forcing donors.

There I go again with another long synopsis – sorry about that.

Everything was a bit too 80’s for my taste – especially since it’s a Jesus Franco film. It was apparent he’s got a budget – and a one really crappy 80’s synth pop song to play over and over. In a way it the 80’s is a great decade for Franco to do another medical oddity film – considering that seemed to one of his favorite genres – the 80’s you have the rise of excess and plastic surgery – it makes sense.

The problem with giving Franco a budget though is that some of his filmmaking charm gets lost – and with a budget also comes producers wanting to wrap things up before they go over budget – so not every little fun part Franco may have planned can be included.

The acting was fairly solid – I was pretty impressed and happy that everyone fit into place wonderfully. Helmut Berger was delightful and intense as Dr. Flamand – and his devious sexy assistant Natalie [played by Brigitte Lahaie] made for a great duo with solid on screen chemistry. Chris Mitchum was a slimy private eye – looking into one of the missing girls – not sure if the role really needed slime – but it worked.

There was a fun cameo – with Franco alums Howard Vernon as Dr. Orlof and Lina Romay as his wife. I’m thinking I might need to dig into my Orlof box-set that I picked up on the cheap – maybe this will be a Jess Franco Halloween? Who’s with me? Who knows what the hell I’m talking about? Yay!

Anyway, Dr. Flamand had a really creepy obsession with his sister – it kept confusing me if it was his wife or his sister. I mean – getting off watching his sister playing dominatrix with their grunt is a bit much – and those lingering full lipped kisses in his flashbacks. Creepy. But hell – sexual deviance is a mark of a good Franco film – so I’ll take it!

The effects were pretty good – though it was obvious that Ingrid was tearing off latex from her face when the acid was thrown. The Nazi face transplant specialist tearing up the dummy head when the operation went bad was odd – and cheesy – but it was a solid effect. That’s one thing a budget will do for you – increase the realism/creepiness of the effects – which isn’t something that I’ve personally seen in a Franco medical oddity film.

The plotline was easy to follow – which was very nice. The pacing worked and the direction was solid. My only issue was that my copy just didn’t seem to work – every 20-minutes or so it would jump to the main menu – then I would have to fast forward through the chapter selection to get to where it left off and it would play fine for another 20-minutes.

It seemed like Franco wasn’t happy with the film – but said in the interview that with time he seemed to think “it’s not all bad” – and I’d agree. It’s all right – certainly watchable – not especially memorable.

This is my 400th published entry – thanks for reading & checking me out! I appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Rites of Frankenstein [1972]

Evil Caligostro sends his evil bird vampire woman creation to kill Dr. Frankenstein so that he may steal his monster to have it do his bidding!

The middle part of the film was a bit of a mess – and I’m not really too sure what Caligostro was aiming at having the monster kidnap beautiful women. It sounded as though Caligostro wanted the women for himself as Melisa mentioned at one point – they were to be of such beauty and please him – but suddenly he was interested in creating his own woman monster to pair up with Frankenstein’s monster. The purpose was also very unclear – maybe he liked watching monster sex?

There was a VERY undeveloped sub-plot involving Lina Romay as Esmerelda – who heard evil voices – that mostly liked to repeat her name. She would ask some old lady what the voices were all about – but I’m not sure if this old woman knew she was in a movie – she looked very concerned that this young woman in thigh high boots and a frock kept putting her head in her lap.

It’s especially a muddled up mess when you are introduced to the zombies – which I thought were called Panthos. I later come to question if they were just zombies and Panthos was some kind of demon spirit they all worshiped. If Caligostro had an army of zombies – why did he need Dr. Frankenstein’s monster? They didn’t explain that. From what we saw of the zombies – it only looked like they were good at wandering through the woods with sheets wrapped around them – with their faces poking out - looking like ghosts that were afraid they would bump into stuff.

Melisa the bird vampire creature was kind of fun – but the tweeting sound effects she made when she stalked or feasted was (really) annoying. She was hot though! Vera Frankenstein was a misguided character – I thought she was all about bringing down Caligorstro – but she pretty much turned herself in – and submitted to his will. Caligostro himself was a master of having Melisa speak for him – even though he was not mute – but it gave him time to stare with his eyes very wide. The monster was actually pretty good – a big man covered in silver paint – there wasn’t much more needed.

Here’s the thing – if you go into a Jess Franco film thinking that you’ll understand everything that is happening right away – or be able to follow a simple plot line – you’re going to be disappointed. He seems to provide puzzle pieces at times – and expects you to take the leap with those pieces in order to complete his story. It’s not exactly a successful narrative style – but for people who enjoy his work – it’s fun.

The other thing fans of Franco’s work expect – is a bit (of a barrel full) of sleaze – and for some reason there were plenty of great opportunities for sleaze – but no sleaze! A woman is strapped down to a table – perfect opportunity for her to be buck naked. There was an artist model posing fully clothed – and it made me really wonder if a nude portrait would be more fun. There’s a woman who’s taking off her clothes – another fairly good opportunity for her to be shown in the buff – but she’s a modest undress-er on camera. It turns out that the Synapse release was some non-sleaze version – where all the sleaze was actually hiding in the ‘Alternate Footage’ section of the DVD – but it also shows all those scenes redone with nudity.

Overall – for a Franco film – it was more coherent than some and fairly fun. I wish my version had the sleaze in the film – which would have made it better. Also, if Lina Romay got a chance to do anything more than lay her head on an old woman’s lap and sit by a creek – it would’ve been even better. Yet, as it is – it’s okay – a take it or leave it Franco film.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Video Game Challenge - Progress of weekend Oct 22 & 23

This weekend I didn’t so very much gaming – I don’t have much progress to report. I spent most of the weekend cleaning my apartment out – so that I could help clean-out my stuff from my parent’s basement.

The worst part of doing that was - as soon as I moved out over a decade ago my folks built a metal shelf in the middle of my closet – and blocked off all access to all my junk – so I’m going through stuff wondering where it all came from. There were plenty of great things in there that I could have passed down to my niece or my best-friend’s kids – that may go to Goodwill or Toys for Tots.

And the thousands of baseball cards... Some of which might actually be worth looking at – but most will probably end up in the recycle bin. I hope comic book shops buy comics in this area. All the adolescent song lyrics – so tragically bad!! My comic book novel I wrote and submitted to a publisher. I also found my anthology of comic strips that I drew – which I’m thinking of scanning – because they were actually quite silly.

~ Anyway – if you tuned in for the video game talk – here it is ~

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: Is fun yet frustrating – as most of the Lego games are. There are 6 characters – 5 of which are NPC (non-player characters) – and they are all trying to jump and land on a small platform at the same time – which knocks the player character off - which means you have to start from the previous platform – which means all the NPC characters jump back to the previous platform and knock the player character off... Or the NPC character will try to climb up the wrong side of a ladder – get stuck – and you have to restart the level because there’s no character reset feature – or you can’t get far enough away for the character to reset itself.

I didn’t play anything else – so I won’t talk anything else.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Thing [2011]

An alien spacecraft and creature are discovered under the Antarctic ice – they send a scientist down to meet with the established Norwegian research crew to discover what it could be. The creature – breaks loose and starts mimicking the humans – leaving everyone uncertain who is human and who is alien.

Usually, I leave the synopsis vague – but since this is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 remake (of The Thing from Another World, 1951) – I think we all know what’s really going on. The ultimate question is – does it hold up to Carpenter’s remake – in a word: Yes.

Sure, the effects are updated a bit – given a nice computer upheaval for elements that simply would be too difficult to do without computers – but there also seemed to be plenty of analog effects that worked just as well as they did back in 1982.

The scares were plentiful – and I’m not sure if it was just the theater I was in – but my ears are ringing a bit from all the intense sound effects. The story stayed true to the 1982 version – and you want to stay and watch the ending credits sequence – and run home and pop in your copy of the 1982 version.
The direction was just what you needed in a horror film – going from intense calmness or lingering fear – to scare! The acting was fairly standard – though some of these Norwegian’s looked the same to me (I don’t mean it that way – don’t give me that look – NO not all Norwegian’s look the same – you know what I mean – sorry – okay). The questions in regards to who is a Thing is a fun one – I liked how they tried to get to that – and I liked how for the most part the pieces fit.

Here’s the thing (didn’t mean the pun) – if you haven’t seen the John Carpenter version – it’s ultimately more creepy to watch that one and not even bother with the prequel (though it’s a good horror film) – because the aftermath of everything that happens is shown in the very beginning of that film – and it’s almost always better to be left with that air of mystery with a horror film. Carpenter’s version is one of my favorite films of the 1980’s – it holds up very well – I recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

I do recommend this film – if you’re looking for a big screen scare this Halloween – especially if you enjoyed Carpenter’s version and would liked to have a few questions answered. It’s a good film and it stands alone by itself – it encapsulates its very own story. I’m not going to tell you it’s creative – because it’s a retread of a lot of the ideas from the Carpenter version – but it entertains and doesn’t insult you and that’s just as good.

[SPOILER – there’s a Thing in this room!]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Howling [1981]

A TV news anchor, Karen White, is investigating a series of gruesome murders – ends up so traumatized she is sent off to a relaxation camp – unfortunately for her – it’s not too relaxing.

The film really set a great atmosphere. Investigating a serial killer – the dark claustrophobic city – the way everyone was so intense about this crazed killer – the close-up shots. It was exciting.

Then we find ourselves whisked away to the “woods” or the “beach” or the “mountains” (I really could not tell) to a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest set of weirdos – and it became fairly comical. How anyone was expected to “relax” at that “resort” is beyond me. The psychiatrist’s relationship with Karen and the rest of her news team really confounded me – and it didn’t seem so weird in the beginning – but as the film went on and his relationship with his resort really made me question the legitimacy of his character within their world.

The film ended up boiling down to be an effect film (which were saved up for the end as they were either really cool or really cheesy) – but felt like kind of a horror comedy. When someone is turning into a werewolf in front of you – you don’t just hang out and watch – make your move and attack or run (wolfmen have nards remember). The bizarre nympho woman character was entertaining I guess. The most likable character was killed – which is always a bummer in a horror film.
- -
So, I have a stack of 8 horror films waiting to be watched for the posts leading up to Halloween – some of the films I have seen previously but haven’t watched my copy of it – some of the films I bought blind. This was one of the movies I bought blind at the Goodwill – I figured that since it spawned a series sequels (some notoriously bad) – it might be worth a looksee. Unfortunately, it’s making me question watching these blind purchase horror films.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Somewhere [2010]

A world famous actor stumbles through the course of a few days looking for meaning – when his daughter is dropped off.

The acting was solid – the tired and lonely quality of the performance was not lost on me. Stephen Dorff was great – that was fairly surprising to me – not that I can recall something that he was in. The directing was a lot of just let the camera sit and let’s watch – so it felt very lazy – because not much happens – Sofia Coppola was smart to use that technique but considering not much happens – I wish one style would have changed – but that’s not what the movie was. The two scenes with the twin pole dancers were shot in an uncomfortable way. It felt like a letter from Sofia to her father or something along those lines about how she felt isolated as he was famous. Ultimately, I felt like this movie fell short of its potential and abandoned any narrative structure for a considerable more style over substance - and it was a frustrating film.

If you want to watch this movie and you are sensitive to SPOILERS – please look away.

By the end of the film – I was frustrated with it. They portray the main character as needing a direction – and when he gets his daughter for an extended period you start to think “this is that missing direction he needs” – but it’s not. He drops her off for camp – apologizes – and you expect that he’s going to correct his direction and make his life about his daughter. Yet, at the end of the movie he checks out of the hotel – abandons his car in the middle of the road out in the middle of nowhere and walks away – and gives a smirk to the camera. Thusly, abandoning his daughter at camp – and honestly – I don’t get it. The smirk is what gets me – I get the “fuck the world” kind of rebel attitude – but it just felt like it was misdirected and made an odd twist to what was expected.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dead Man [1995]

An accountant from Cleveland, Walter Blake, comes out west on promise of a job working for an eccentric tycoon – only to be turned away – and become an outlaw.

This was a great star studded dark comedy – which also made for a great western. Neil Young’s soundtrack was exceptional and made Blake’s journey more unnerving. Jim Jarmusch’s direction as interesting – he allowed for very static shots where nothing was happening while the distorted guitar would blare – and somehow it worked at being interesting as opposed to being annoying. Johnny Depp was off kilter as Blake – he had some great acting chops even back then - I wish he’d have gotten the credit and continued down that quirky road – instead of being Burton’s go-to puppet. I loved how this film could be left up to interpretation as to what was actually happening. I loved how it seemed like this film was kind of a commando production done in the back woods. It was most certainly dialogue driven in a better way than Tarantino’s films. I really loved the metaphysical change in Blake from an inept accountant to outlaw.

Overall – it was a great film – my presumption disparity may be off on this one – so the shock of being pleasantly surprised may tamper my long run view of the film – but I really liked it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop [2011]

Shot after he lost his job on the Tonight Show through the planning of his tour and concluding before the beginning of his new show on TBS debuts.

Conan the human seemed unafraid of letting his feelings be known – and he was very bitter and angry at times. Even though he felt this way – he claimed he couldn’t stop himself from entertaining because he doesn’t know how – that entertaining was all he knew. For his emotional well-being it appeared taking a break would have been good for him though. His humor seemed more bitter and angry towards his wife, staff and friends. He claimed that it was all a part of who he was outside of the show – having a cutting sense of humor but ultimately being out of love – unfortunately that’s something we wouldn’t know.

Can’t Stop was an apt title – as throughout the documentary he didn’t have any downtime – but that was how he scheduled himself. He could have easily taken the summer off – and relaxed with his family – but instead he did 44 live shows – and personal appearances between at the Bonaroo music festival and at his 25th Harvard anniversary – not to take into account all the meet & greets he would do (insisting it would be impossible for you to request an autograph from him and not get it). You could look at it as an “I’m down but I’m not out” attitude – or a subconscious need for attention.

The documentary was mostly upbeat – it did a fair job of portraying Conan in the moments that he wasn’t on television in the light in which he was. I’m not sure if it attempted to go for an overall positive light – or if it seemed he was simply a more upbeat person – with times of sadness.

The story of what happened at NBC between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien is an interesting one. Fearful of losing both stars – NBC made some really poor decisions – and the only real loser in this situation was Conan. He paid his dues – put on his own silly and popular show in hopes of one day obtaining the coveted Tonight Show gig – unfortunately NBC didn’t take into account how his style of humor didn’t really fit the branding of the Tonight Show – thus probably shouldn’t have lead him on.

He’s become a kind of pop culture folk hero – an underdog.

I have watched Conan since he premiered – I wasn’t always a regular viewer – but ever since his new TBS show started I have been DVR’ing it and watching it the next day after work. Some of his humor is great and it helps cut my post-work funk – some of it is lame – but he’s got a good energy to him – and I appreciate the fact that he’s willing to point out if a bit went bad. I really liked seeing him in a different light in this documentary.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video Game Challenge - Progress of weekend Oct 15 & 16

Despite yet another roller coaster weekend – I made a lot of progress toward my goal of completing video games prior to the release of SKYRIM – 11/11/11.

I’ll start off by saying – it’s really quite nice to have some sort of goal to reach toward in my recreational life. Having a movie watching goal isn’t as exciting as it’s more of a passive experience – so playing video games – though popularly called a “slacker activity” – makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

Batman Arkham Asylum: The game has been defeated! Hooray! The boss battles were a disappointment – but the gameplay was fun throughout. I followed along with an online guide – and times they were saying I was walking into a really tough part – I found those parts not so tough (easy setting might have had something to do with that). It was fun – worth the time invested.

With the sequel to this game coming out TODAY – I really really want to run out and buy it (for those interested there are many incentives to do so – Wal-Mart is giving away a copy of the first game with the purchase of the second – Kmart is giving out a $30 game credit if you sign up for their free reward program).

I know if I do purchase the sequel now – I won’t beat it and by the time SKYRIM comes out I will forget it. So, it will wait. It will wait until it drops down in price.

Mass Effect 2: Now, I remember the other reason why I did not complete this game. Once I was done playing Red Dead Redemption – I came back to ME2 looking to reconnect with the controls – unfortunately I was at a point where all the missions were completed.

So, I went from system to system looking for mini-missions – and couldn’t find any – and essentially became “space mining” the game - so I got bored and played something else. Same story on Sunday – I was starting to fall asleep playing the game. So, I really have no choice but to start the “suicide mission” and die a few times trying to get the hang of all the special powers and guns and such.

The Saboteur: Still sitting at 47% completion – ME2 should only take a short play session to beat (unless I can’t master the controls) – and I’ll get back to beating the snot out of Nazi’s again.
- - -
At this very moment – I am HALF done with my “challenge” with about 25 days left until SKYRIM – I’m betting this gets done easily. UNLESS, I somehow purchase another game... Like Lego Pirates of the Caribbean if it should happen to be $15 on Gamefly (used) this past weekend.

This was my compromise with myself – I kept obsessively thinking about getting the new Batman game and I saw this sale on Gamefly – and jumped (first time I’ve seen it for less than $20) – and now I keep telling myself I spent my video game money for the month (so I can’t buy Batman). It depends on when I get the game – whether I add it to the challenge – but this could be my no-brainer game that I resort to when I’m neck deep in SKYRIM.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Poison Ivy

I always felt that if it was appropriate that Batman wear his underwear on the outside of this costume - the same should be done with a villain... Or villainess to be exact... (this game is fun - I'm actually heavily considering getting the sequel on Tuesday - even if I'm behind in game playing)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Ides of March [2011]

In a tight race for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States – a young political consultant learns what politics are all about.

This is an actor’s piece – filled with lots of talking and facial expressions for all the wonderful actors to display how well they can flex. Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymor Hoffman all jump in with George Clooney (who acts & directs) and make faces at each other and say stuff that makes you think they are saying important stuff – so you better pay attention.


I liked the movie – but you know when you want to see a movie – and you go to the theater and your phone told you the wrong time? So, you pick something else that you kind of want to see – when you have yourself hyped up for something else? Well, I went to see Moneyball and get lunch at the local brew & view – my phone said it started at 1PM – but it really started at 2PM – and I had already killed time waiting until 1PM – and I was really hungry for a burger and some waffle fries. So, I watched The Ides of March – and I could tell you everything you want to know about it – but I just can’t review it.

It’s about loyalty – and dirty politics – and how shitty life is. It’s good – really good – compelling – it felt like a 2 hour movie but it wasn’t – usually a mark that lots is happening and you are engrossed – and I was certainly grossed in. Great pacing. Good directing. Great performances. You should watch it if you like political thrillers and/or the actors involved.

It made me feel icky. It made me feel like I needed a shower. It did its job. Really good – seriously I’m not making fun of it – I’m just having a rough go of it lately – so let me have this one.

Thanks, I'll try better tomorrow - I promise... But since it's the weekend - I might not try at all... I am sorry to all you readers...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Magnificent Seven [1960] blu-ray

A small town is under attack by a gang of hoodlums – and they go out and hire seven gunfighters to protect them.

I had fond remembrances of this film – it’s good – not great – not sure how people could really say that it is better than SEVEN SAMURAI with a straight face. It’s a cute film – but it’s just too Hollywood’ed up. This viewing what I really took away from it was how great a performance Eli Wallach put into this film – how Robert Vaughn’s character is the most interesting and complex of the Seven – and how skivvy Steve McQueen’s character made me feel. I mean, did he really long for the simple life? Or did he just want to rape some women? I felt he was far too aggressive with the women and the town folk had every reason to hide them away. And I still want to samurai sword chop that “kid” and his romance story.

Anyway – this was a really great looking blu-ray conversion. Everything was crisp and clear and nice – up until there was a fade out scene – then things got really muddy. This being a Hollywood western – there were many fade-outs – but I wouldn’t know how you’d fix something like that. I saw only a few small scenes where the full picture wasn’t as crisp as you’d hope – but the blacks were black and not grainy. If I loved the film – I would get the blu-ray of it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

50/50 [2011]

A young man is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer that the internet says he’s got a 50/50 shot at survival – this is the story of how he copes.

Honestly, this was a great movie. Much better than I had hoped - but my presumption disparity was geared toward expecting a lower brow stoner comedy – with “heart”. Mainly due to the fact that Seth Rogen was involved – I find him amusing at times – and much (much) less than amusing at other times.

Happily, the film remained in the correct tone throughout – it had its ups – it had its downs – and the performances remained strong. Not once did I feel like it betrayed the topic and tried to make it all a big laugh. The film generated laughs organically – from the story and from the characters – not from gags. The only thing crude and/or low-brow was some of the language – but who the fuck cares anymore?

The film kept up a good pace – allowing us to dwell in some of the down times for just long enough as to not be depressing – but to get a solid feelings across. I’ve seen a lot of great performances on the big screen this summer as I’ve been picky with what I’m paying to see these days – and Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave a powerhouse performance. That scene of sudden intense fear before surgery was subtle and beautiful – that scene will stick with me. I expect Levitt and Angelica Houston to both get a lot of much deserved Oscar buzz.

The film was written by Will Reiser based on his experience with having cancer – so the truths explored in the film were rooted in reality – and all that makes it all the more hopeful of a film. It’s a great screenplay – something I would like to read – time to do some research.

I don’t know if it’s too early for me to say this – as it’s still all too fresh – but it’s certainly the frontrunner for my movie of the year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Video Game Challenge - Progress of weekend Oct 8 & 9

In the immortal words of recently un-cancelled Gob Bluth “I’ve made a huge mistake”

I don’t want to say that I’ve failed my video game challenge – maybe I just over estimated my skills as a gamer. Not to say I was thinking I was anything better than a novice but it turns out that Crysis 2 is beyond my skill level even at its lowest difficulty.

When I think about getting a first person shooter – I will look at gameplay videos before I take a dive into one. I find those really popular war games to be too detailed – meaning I can barely tell the difference between the enemy and the background – so I spend my time shooting at falling leaves while these crack shots are pounding me repeatedly. The first level – which is basically a tutorial – I died 10 times or something insane – against the easiest of foes.

So, unless I find an invincibility cheat – I won’t be able to beat this game by November 11th.

I’m going to have to adjust my challenge.

Fallout: New Vegas: Still beaten – but it is funny how there was a Bethesda sale over the weekend and I could have picked up two of the expansions for the price of one. I passed though.

Crysis 2: You win. I lose.

The Saboteur: Still sitting at 47% complete – I will get to you later.

Batman Arkham Asylum: I loaded up Batman again this weekend and saw that I was 19% of the way through – and said “bullshit” – started looking up info on the interweb – and I was 12 chapters into the 16 chapter game as one gamer put it. I guess the game is counting all the Riddler challenges and secret-secrets that I either couldn’t get to or didn’t go for.

After a few thumb injuring sessions this weekend – I’m hunting down the Poison Ivy with the antidote for the crazy juice the Joker gave her. Then from my understanding it’s on to beat up on the Joker.

Mass Effect 2: If it wasn’t for Red Dead Redemption – I would have beaten ME2 a while ago because I was almost done with it by the time RDR took over my XBOX. I have my crew’s loyalty – I’ve got my ship upgraded – the portal thingy is ready to go – and all I needed to do was to make the jump through the portal and I was on the very last level.

So, I’m adding 2 games to replace Crysis 2 – so the challenge has been upgraded to beating 4 games before SKYRIM comes out on November 11th (one month from this post). I’m fairly certain I will get 3 out of 4 of them done – and if I don’t get one done it will probably be The Saboteur.

As a side note – I played some Lego Star Wars III – and got that up to 100% completion – which I won’t count towards my challenge – but it is pretty neat.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the blog entry of eternal annoyance

I sat down in the theater with my buttery popcorn and extra-large soda – the floor was sticky and the seat was soft and cool to my bare naked ass. There was a lady in front of me that smelled like dog biscuits – her hair was in a bun and there were dried peaches on her shoulder. There was a large man in short shorts behind me and in his bright yellow bag next to him there was a sedated cat that was part of his murderous routine of drugging alley cats and bringing them to the movie theater to be strangled. Then the lights dimmed and I experienced what would fast become another forgettable movie that I’m super excited to tell you all about right now!

I’m sorry – I’m sick of this Journalism 101 painting the scene of whatever. Sick of hearing some bullshit that has nothing to do with what people are writing about – I don’t care about your physical experience with whatever happens before – tell me the actual experience of it all.

Upon meeting my hero for the first time – I cut my toe nails in the shape of his name – shave my forearms – ate a 12 lb turkey and basted my crotch with garlic sauce. My hero came striding confidently into the room while eating what appeared to be an elderly man’s shoe. He sat down and started complaining that the chair was not rust colored like he requested – and began to belch big gassy burps that had the faint smell of vanilla and elm trees all while he checked his belly button for lost Smarties Candies.

As much as I painted an interesting picture for you – you’ll never really know what the physical experience was actually – the reader is not there. I am guilty of it – I’m sure – but I try to steer away from it at a crutch.

I’m just raging on because I’m reading too much lately – I need to start watching more stuff – reading is stupid.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trollhunter [2010]

Trollhunter was a fine concept – but unfortunately it was the narrative structure that they chose for the film that was their downfall. College film students decided to follow a suspected bear poacher – and soon discover that he’s not a poacher at all – he hunts trolls. I thought that with the whole cinema verite style that they chose to tell the tale – was a good choice – but ONLY if they wanted to stay within that realm and not venture off that path. I don’t know many documentaries where instead of shooting what they were out to shoot – they relied so heavily on showing reaction shots of the filmmakers. When there’s a troll coming your way – and it’s never been filmed – and you’ve got a big huge motherfucking amazing story to show the world – something that exposes and causes doubt in everything as a society we all believe – why do you turn the camera away from it in order to see the sound girl gawking? SPOILER: With about 30 minutes left in the film they bring on a new character – essentially to replace one of the other characters – this whole thing broke my suspension of disbelief – they are no longer student doing a documentary but now something entirely different. Students are still students – and to replace a character like that doesn’t make any sense using the narrative structure they chose.

Otherwise – it was an all right film – like I said I liked the concept of it all – but if they would have just dropped the cinema verite structure and made it a straightforward film – it would have been much better. Neat effects.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bullit [1968] Blu-Ray

I finally unwrapped my BULLIT Blu-Ray disc that I got for cheap on Amazon – I really wanted to follow along with the plot this time – all my previous viewings left me lost by the time Frank was being talked down to by his girlfriend for being too callous. I really liked the styling’s of the film and the car chase was amazing – and that kept me coming back to this film – and though I lost the plot it didn’t matter to me as much.

This time I kind of spaced in the beginning of the film – and came back to the film usually where I lose the plot. I still like the film – but knowing it completely hasn’t made me jump to the love plateau. I somehow feel like that chase is the climax of the tension of the film – and you’re almost left with a bit of a new plot to figure out. Maybe it’s because it’s more internally developing as opposed to the external – “let’s sit down and review what has gone on thus far” kind of plots.

If you haven’t seen it – I recommend it – it’s a very good movie. I’m going to give it more time and try and watch it all the way through again.

As a Blu-Ray – unfortunately it’s not as great as I had hoped. There seemed to be a fair amount of static in the background and in the dark scenes – the foreground was crisp and the colors really popped well. Steve McQueen and the cast looked great! The car chase left certain things blurry (as they should have been) - but certain classic scenes looked really nice. When it comes to the other scenes - I have to wonder if they were skipped over. For that reason, I have been putting off getting older films on Blu-Ray because I get the feeling that studios aren’t going to put the money in to doing a FULL clean restoration of older titles unless they are TOP titles. I get the feeling that they are just sharpening them up and releasing them as Blu-Ray to pad their catalog.

Then again I may not fully understand Blu-Ray. I do remember an in-store demo showing how in a battlefield the blurry soldiers behind the focal point – were clear. And I remember seeing the boat on the ocean where the background waves were as crisp and clear as the ones in the foreground. I’m not sure if that’s really the point of the medium or if it’s a mere selling point to get you to jump.

My experience with films shot before Blu-Ray and digital technology – has been mixed – but mostly on the poorer side. TERMINATOR did not look great / FRENCH CONNECTION looked horrible / THE WILD BUNCH was so-so (though I stopped watching a half-hour into it – I wasn’t in the mood for it) / BULLIT was nice in the foreground – spotty in the background.

It will start becoming a cost selling point if I don’t start seeing a big improvement in the Blu-Ray’s that I rent of older films. If the Blu is cheaper – I’ll do it – but if it will just look like an upconvert of the cheaper DVD – I might as well save the coin. Though I have been noticing in some of the newer releases on Amazon of the films I have been interested in that the Blu-Rays are coming up cheaper than the DVD – but these are newer films – I think that’s the beginning of the possible phase out (I hope not though).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Video Game Challenge - Progress of weekend Oct 1 & Oct 2

Despite other things – this weekend I finally defeated Fallout: New Vegas – it wasn’t as much of a thrill as I had hoped – but I’m now a third of the way through my pre-SKYRIM video game challenge.

Fallout: New Vegas: I took no sides apparently – I was hoping that I was lining myself up for the side of the “good guys” – but I must have overstepped one quest or the game’s glitches closed a door for me – I cannot honestly say.

I had been following along with my strategy guide – reading up on what requirements I needed for each outcome – and at no point did I read – if you do THIS you will never get to THAT on the path I took. Oh well.

The glitches were pretty funny though – as I only played the game for maybe a half-hour to wrap it up – BUT with it freezing twice – it turned out I had to restart several areas and that made me play it for about an hour instead. I mean right as the narrator was about to tell me how my actions affected the Mojave – the game froze – and with no auto-save chronicling my fight with The Beast from the East – I had to face off with him twice to officially beat the game.

The Saboteur: I loaded up the game to see how far along I was officially – and I’m 47% of the way through the game. I’ve got many Nazi’s still walking around and guard towers and such to annihilate – so this could take a while.

Crysis 2: I finally unwrapped the game and flipped through the instructions – I wonder how long it will take me to beat that one.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nevermind again...

Listening to this album 20 years after it has been released in the newly “remastered” form – really doesn’t add much to the experience honestly. It’s not like the original cut was so muddy or that the remaster was cleaned up incredibly startling so that we can hear so much more – it’s pretty much the exact same album (minus pretty much all the time between Something in the Way and Endless Nameless).

I wonder if they could have published this remaster with different takes – or analog – or whatever they’ve got back in the vaults. Something like that would have made it an easy purchase for me – rather than the hesitant purchase that it was.

I think I hear Breed cleaned up a little – but it’s not as amazing as the Butch Vig rough cut on the box set. Territorial Pissings seems to have lost a bit of power in the build up from intro to song – Kurt’s voice seems crisper – but with a song like this it’s almost better that it’s muddy and lost in the music a bit. The moan at the beginning of Lounge Act is crisp and gave me a little chill. I prefer the down and dirty fun of Pay to Play to what ended up on Nevermind as Stay Away – so this cleaned up version just makes me miss the original that much more.

The b-sides off the singles sound nice – even though I have all those songs from various sources already – the solo to Even in His Youth had me bouncing up and down like a nerd. The Smart Session tracks are nice – they are great to hear how some of the songs progressed (especially Imodium (Breed)). I love their VU cover of Here She Comes Now – one of my favorite VU songs and just a hell of a cover. The “Boombox” demos – are interesting and kind of fun – but mostly unlistenable sound quality wise.

I’m about to speak some (what many may perceive as) blasphemy – so if you are sensitive Google up some kitten pic’s and skip this paragraph:

I’m a fan of Nirvana – but I am willing to admit that Kurt’s overall songwriting capabilities were still in such a beginning stage at the point of Nevermind. Though narratively stronger than people give him credit for - he relied on several little tricks – and a few of the songs sound very similar to each other. Not to say that I’m going to bash him for being a terrible artist at this stage – because he was revolutionary musician. What I’m doing is comparing him to himself – and even though he was great – he wasn’t amazing on Nevermind considering his body of work. Kurt really blossomed into an exciting songwriter in In Utero – he took his edgy – jokey – personal shit out in that album – and I think it’s a vastly superior album to Nevermind. That being said – I still love Nevermind.

Did you enjoy your kitten pictures?

When you think about this album – you really must place it in the context of the time in which it came out – because it’s been forever imitated ever since it was released.

My favorite song on Nevermind is Breed – I love the play on the words throughout the song (we can plant a house we can build a tree) – the fact that it’s a hard song but he’s playing the role and telling the story from the woman’s perspective. The other reason is because I used to be a singer in a horrible little garage band – and this is one of the songs we finally were able to really nail once we got a great drummer.

With all that’s been said about this album – I think my bullshit hasn’t really added to the conversation – but it’s still my bullshit and I like to share. I would get the album if you really want it – I would ask for it as a gift if you kinda want it but don’t want to part with the scratch – if you love the original and don’t feel that you need another copy – I wouldn’t blame you.