Friday, July 30, 2004

Pick of the Week plus a personal note... is pretty much status quo movie wise this weekend.
The Tri Town Drive In (3 Youngs Road Lunenberg Ma.) is going with "King Arthur" and "The Village" whilst the Mendon Twin (route 16 west Mendon) has "The Thunderbirds" and "Spiderman II" with "The Village" and "King Arthur" on screen 2.
I gotta go with the "Thunderbirds" this time around...I doubt the film will come up to the original but ya never know.
But then why re-make "The Thunderbirds" at all?
Other than to give series creator Gerry Anderson a nice phat pay day...
Frankly the charm of the original program lies in it's serendipidous mix of old technology (puppets and puppetry) with the high tech symbols of the age, rockets, space travel and the like.
That particular zeitgeist can't be recreated no matter how hard someone tries. is worth checking out-some films just must be seen at the drive in and nowhere else..."The Thunderbirds" falls into this category.

I'll post a full review in due course.

Meanwhile on a personal note, this is my last day on the job at my clerical position within a huge "name" high tech company.
I've been there some twelve years now, stuck perhaps in a job beneath my abilities...but it was a nice place to work and I made many lasting friendships therein.
Besides when I started I was in serious serious debt and needed the money very badly.
Today I'm debt free and oddly hopeful...maybe it is just John Kerry's speech last night...who knows.
Still, it is going to be hard to say goodbye, "the devil you know" and all like that.
However it is time to move on and this is a big opportunity for me.
So opportunity-wise if anyone hears about anything good, drop yer old  pal a little note...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Greatest Video Store in Metropolitan Boston...

is undoubtedly Video Oasis at 625 Cambridge Street in East Cambridge Mass. Next to the live poultry butcher and across from the New Deal Fish Market.
Owner Dennis Arruda, surely one of the last independent video store proprietors in the area, has a simple philosophy....lots of everything.
And if it's a cult movie you are after, Oasis is your fact it's the perfect store from which to start a film's cult!
"Terminal Island", starring Tom Selleck and Marta "Lost in Space" Kristen?...Dennis has it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite muscleman movie "Hercules in the Haunted World"?...again Oasis provideth.
The best horror film section north of New York?
Oasis again....
A Wall stretching the length of the store crammed with Hong Kong action videos...thass Oasis agin'.
Practically every time I go in there I find something new, offbeat or plain interesting.
With 15,000 tapes, DVDs, AND the last local source of laserdiscs there is a lot of stuff to wade through, lemme tell yuh.
Yes the rental prices are a tad higher, but with Video Oasis you get a collection of stuff that will keep you coming back year after year!
Compare that with some jerkwater outfit like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video with it's Mcdonald's marketing mentality.
And the adult section Ohhh LA LA!
Suffice to say Something Weird Video of Seattle's many many classic porno tapes have a place of honor at Video Oasis.
Dennis has no website so I can provide no have to go prepared to spend time and to browse. The sections are broken down by genre there is no other system at work so fortune favors those with a spirit of discovery...all others can simply ask Dennis to look up a title.
Check it out I kid you not.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Howzabout dem Red Sox...?

They finally figured out the Yankee's Achilles' Heel.
The hated New York franchise seems to have a big collective glass jam and thus cannot stand up to a serious whomping...
Okay so anyone who knows me realizes I don't do sports reportage....I've existed quite happily now for forty one years without concerning myself unduly with the Sox, da Broons, or da Pats....but the melee on Saturday was just too good to pass up.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Pick of the week:

That would have to be the Harvard Film Archive's screening of Frank Capra's WWII propaganda piece "Divide and Conquer" part of his seminal "Why We Fight" series.
Capra made lavish use of German newsreel footage and even snatched up bits and pieces of Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will to forge a compelling anti-Nazi argument in film.
Screens Sunday July 25th at 7pm at the Harvard Film Archive 24 Quincy Street Cambridge Ma.

The Archive has always been a court of last resort for the lost and Channel Zero they revive the un-revivable...except they have a real budget.
I can recall with the simplest nostalgia the summer Gerald Peary was the acting curator...Betsy Sherman and I sat enthralled in that theater as the first five episodes of the 1940 serial "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" were screened in all their glory. We were the only people in was magnificent to say the least.
And that is the sort of film program all decent citizens should support!

The Last Spiderman II review:

Yeah I know it's old news, but I'm facing a layoff at work and what with the convention and last week's show at the Zeitgeist...I'm running behind.
Fortunately though, I had the good fortune to see the Spidey sequel at the Tri Town Drive In 3 Youngs Road Lunenberg Mass (978-345-5062)...which thanks to it's hu-uge outdoor screen is the perfect venue for any summer blockbuster no matter what!
So given all that was I impressed with Spiderman II...well sort of...
The whole subtext of the film revolves around Peter Parker (Tobey McGuire) and his ambivalence with his heroic role as Spiderman. For a brief time he seems to lose his powers and tries to live as a normal human being with mixed results. Now why exactly Spiderman's abilities fail him isn't made clear....the issue may be psychosomatic.
All this is fine, but since much of Parker's angst comes from his unresolved relationship with girl friend Mary Jane one gets a very strong whiff of Superman II off the script.
Which brings us to the film's strange repetition of un-maskings...Spiderman is un-masked by one of his enemies, he take it off inexplicably as a prelude to saving a subway car and then of course he has to show Mary Jane the truth. Once would've been fine, three time betrays a lack of creativity.
And then there is the film's villain "Dr. Octopus" (Alfred Molina) a reluctant cyborg who fulfills a contract taken out on Spiderman by Peter Parker's best friend Harry Osborne. The Doc needs money to finish off his dangerous fusion experiments...thus imperiling New York City quite nicely at the climax.
Or not....if case you are wondering a out of control nuclear fusion experiment can be safely doused with the salubrious waters of the East River.
However the film is impeccably cast, McGuire was born to the role, Alfred Molina is a suitably conflicted villain and everyone else rises to the occasion with wit and grace. The action scenes are even better than the original and Sam Raimi's direction has never been more assured.
It is just that the movie has these weird deadspots in them that could've been easily edited out. Peter Parker's schlep-like inability to score a canape' at a ritzy reception-once is funny but the gag is repeated three times in five minutes to the point where I felt like screaming "just track down a candy machine you jerk!"

All in all though, I give it a B+ well worth the money at the going rate.

Statement of principles...

Welcome to Channel Zero, a blog that supports and expands on the mission of Boston based film and video franchise.
I will be noting upcoming Channel Zero events, posting film reviews and offering up varied types of cultural commentary as time goes on. I don't think this blog will be updated every day but I will try to post as frequently as possible.
In all things I will try to be informative,
if that doesn't work I'll be funny,
and if that doesn't work I will be brief.