Friday, May 30, 2008

Picks of the week

Clearly it is tonight's double bill at the Harvard Film Archive, The Shaw Brother's Five Deadly Venoms with King Boxer both martial ars classics.
I'm definitely in for "King Boxer" tonight at 9pm and hopefully I can see "The 14 Amazons" on Sunday.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sighted at Alewife Station this morning

A real live nun.
Elderly to be sure but walking to the trains sans assistance.
Hell they are all elderly these days, nuns and priests...not sure where they get any of them anymore.
Good lord I think it has been thirty years since I've seen a young nun (under the age of fifty I mean)and I went to parochial schools where nuns did swarm freely.
I guess it is a sign of the times.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Redlining on the Red Line....

In case Dan Grabauskas is wondering, if there is a debilitating fire at Downtown Crossing, then it does indeed take about ninety minutes to walk from South Station to Central Square in Cambridge minus some drag time due to an untimely downpour on the Longfellow bridge.
Not that I minded, I got a chance to walk thru the financial district and relive my days as an ill-paid messenger for a great metropolitan corporate law firm. Hell it awakened in me a passionate desire to work downtown once again, the smell of money is ever in the air and the women are prettier all around.
As I walked past the State House I idly conjured with the notion of dropping in unannounced on my state representative and perhaps scouring his office for the inevitable hidden bottle of bourbon.
The plan foundered when I couldn't recall if the Great and General Court was in session moreover I didn't feel like hiking across the Common to find out.
At City Hall I ruled out knocking on Tom Menino's door to see if he had a spare bicycle or scooter I could borrow and at Beacon Hill I had to fight back the urge to hump up to Louisberg Square to see if Senator Kerry wanted to grab a slice at the Hi-Fi Pizza in Central Square.
Nope I just tromped over the bridge singing the occasional show tune on the way.
My days in college theater stood me in good stead tonight, I know a LOT of show tunes for a mangy old straight guy as at the time I thought I might have to hike all the way to Alewife.
Finally caught a bus in Central Square and made it home a mere three hours after leaving Drydock Avenue in South Boston.
"We MUST do this again some time!" I gushed to the MBTA starter in Harvard Square.
He got it, he laughed.
Frankly though, I've made better time in the midst of apocalyptic snowstorms.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

When Steven Spielberg runs out of ideas, he tends to dial back to an obnoxious infantalized view of family life a'la "Hook" or worse "A.I."
When George Lucas runs out of ideas (which is pretty damn often), he tends to recapitulate certain favored action set pieces from his earlier films, the interminable light saber duels that climaxed ALL the Star Wars prequels for example.
So when these two men collaborate in an identical state of idea-less torpor, the result is "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".
Otherwise known as a two hour long snoozer that drags poor Karen Allen out of an undeserved retirement and then frantically tosses communists, "Chariots of the Gods" rubbish and an AWFUL performance from Cate Blanchett into the pot to spice up something that went flat years ago.
Mind you, I think it's good to acknowledge that Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones is now pushing sixty in a the post WW 2 America, it's even nice that his leading lady is more or less his own age (Karen Allen) but Jesus this film both frantic and dull a waste of both actor's time in every way.
Meanwhile up in the production office, both producers indulge their worst tendencies, Spielberg trots out "Indy-as-a-man-who-needs-a-family" nonsense while Lucas just restages his favorite car chases like a model train enthusiast gone mad on crack.
The result is junk and not even fun junk, it was enervating junk.
Granted "Crystal Skull" isn't as bad as "Temple of Doom" but it is nevertheless a film that will in time dilute and dim the charms of the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" very nicely indeed.
Hell why all the "Indiana Jones" sequels anyway? I mean other than the fact that Hollywood's greed usually favors short money and proven commodities?
The more I think on it, the more I realize that the original "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was a freak of nature, a strange hybrid union of Republic Serial's pacing and relentless focus on action enhanced with A-List actors and's inherently ephemeral nature (all speed all sound no depth) meant it could never really perpetaute itself as a series of films.
Not that George and Steven haven't tried and tried and tried....
Honestly, skip this one it's a joyless motion picture in every way.
However with all due respect, let me note that last night the Mendon Twin Drive In was PACKED like a sardine can with families intent on seeing this film...and all during a summer season where gas prices may hit $4 a gallon as well. So some good came of it for the fine people behind the Mendon Twin Drive In.

Friday, May 23, 2008

In my Capacity as a Marshal of the Commonwealth

I hearby decree May 23rd 2008 as "Squalus Day" and enjoin all citizens in Massachusetts to recall in their thoughts and prayers those service-persons who died during peacetime.
They made an equal and ultimate sacrifice, they should be remembered.

Long Live the Commonwealth

Long Live the Republic

My gym

is located in a hotel on route 128...lots of wedding receptions happen there, baby showers etc.
Last night a certain tony suburb's High School senior class had a graduation dinner for the class of '08.
The young ladies were all "dressed to the nines" (as my old man would put it) in dresses and heels, floral prints, make up the whole schmeer.
The young men however were uniformly clad in untucked button down shirts, sneakers and a smattering of baseball caps.

The gap in expectations was immediately and vividly apparent.

Class all the way kid, class...all...the...way.

Kidding congrats to all grads this year, stay safe.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An MX Missile named "Big Brown"

My Ghod but my horse roared down the track like a corvette gone mad on crystal meth! Honestly, race horses are renowned for their stoicism but I swear I saw looks of consternation and raw amazement on the equine punims of the competition!
Yes, Big Brown has won the Preakness easy thus setting up dynastic triple crown hopes for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. Watch the hype on that, it'll be toxic and ludicrous I promise you.

Meanwhile is it some sort of regulation in thoroughbred horse-racing that each owner has to have a skinny bottle blonde wife in a preposterous hat with two uneasy step kids by her side?
I mean this must be like ALL Preakness owner's home situation in a nutshell.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

JK Rowling to speak at Harvard's Commencement on

June 5th 2008.
Given the way Harvard Square went nuts when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was released we can no doubt expect to see co-eds tarted up in "sexy schoolgirl" gear and rest of the graduating class sporting Harry's trademark national health spectacles.
Maybe even a Dumbledore or two, false beard and all.

Frankly, Ms. Rowling is an odd choice from my perspective...I mean she is standing where once George Marshall proclaimed the western alliance and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn denounced the USSR.

We have lived thru interesting times, and now these are the consequences.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Iron-Man (2008)

Is a plain fun movie all the way thru, billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) assumes the identity of the high-tech armored Iron-Man to track down who is selling his own weapons to terrorists.
Frankly the plot is entirely incidental, it is akin to more coherent and worthwhile version of Ang Lee's "Incredible Hulk" storyline. Mostly it works by not falling into the pitfalls blazed by "Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, the aforementioned Hulk etc etc.
Where Iron-Man rocks most excellently is in the solid casting, Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges play it absolutely straight up the middle, no mugging, no vaudville turns and no pretentious rubbish either.
This is important in a film about a crimefighting billionaire who uses an electromagnet to treat his cardial shrapnel wounds and features Gwyneth Paltrow outrunning a fusion explosion in strappy high heels.
Nope, Marvel has a winner here, my only question is this; How can Tony Stark operate sorts of computers and high tech design gizmos without everything wigging out from the powerful electromagnet implanted in his chest?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Idle thought on having been exposed to the "Speed Racer" trailer in Burlington last night....

Think of the millions of dollars Hollywood has devoted to convincing us that Christina Ricci is a sex symbol and a talent of the first rank. Cankles? A spoon face and uninspired performance technique...RUBBISH mere triffles, Christina is a STAR howls Tinseltown.
Her publicist must have unusual powers of persuasion thass all I can say.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Titicut Follies (1967) directed by Frederick Wiseman

This is a nasty little movie.
But an important one, it holds a mirror up to the casual cruelty and indifference of the staff at the Bridgewater State Mental Hospital circa 1966.
Hell it did too good a job, a judge slapped a gag order on the film citing patient privacy a concern that also prevent most of the citizenry of Massachusetts from seeing what sort of crude lowlifes had infiltrated the hospital's guards and orderlies.
We are talking about a cruel bunch of oafs here, paunchy, balding, ill-educated, prone to gruesomely teasing the inmates complete with the beady gaze one associates instantly with a patronage pay-triot.
if you want to see what a state senator's cousin or nephew looks likein his natural habitat, see this movie.
Local film critic Paul Sherman deserves maxi-kudos for reviving this film down at the MFA this weekend.
As part of the self generated publicity for his new book "Big Screen Boston" Sherman is also screening various Boston-centric films around town during May and June.
The stand out of the lot is "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" a local crime noir classic starring Robert Mitchum that has yet to be released on DVD or VHS for that matter. It is playing at the Coolidge Corner June fifth, and is well worth the effort....I strongly recommend attendance and buying Paul's new book for that matter it is a very well researched work.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Big Brown wins the Kentucky Derby...

blew past the competition like an MX Missile on Crack.


I backed a winner!

After years of triangulating the stats, playing the stable, playing the jockeys, betting on the weather and consulting the I-Ching, I went with a big brute and 5 to 2 favorite who hated losing.
And all from a lousy post position as well.

A doff of the old hat as well to the late Eight Bells, euthanized after breaking both front ankles in the straightaway....condolences to his backers, jockey and all those who wanted him to win.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Am I the only person on the internet who recalls

when Iron-Man was a knee jerk anti-communist?

Beating up the Viet Cong, quoting Lyndon Johnson...bashing spies etc...I mean Iron-Man was a commie-smashing icon for a while there. Then one day roundabout 1965 Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Stan Lee discovered how well Marvel comics were selling on campus and he threw out all the "Better Dead than Red" stuff.