Saturday, September 26, 2009

On a day when one could not

visit one's father in the VA nursing home, then it is NOT recommended to be driving around Boston's Back Bay at twilight listening to "Siegfried's Funeral Dirge" by Richard Wagner.
Just a word of advice you unnerstan'.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Assuming this story is true...

then by a country mile, MacKenzie Phillips is still the reigning champ as The Most Messed Up Woman On the Face of the Earth.
I mean she had baggage as a teenaged TV starlet and she has even more today as a middle aged actress whatever it is, it just doesn't stop does it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jim Carroll is dead?

Helluva shame.
"Catholic Boy" was a great freakin' album, even if Jim's vocals did not justice even to Bob Dylan's celebrated wheezy croak.
And "The Basketball Diaries", great book, equal parts gritty and naive', truly Jim was the spiritual grandson of the Beats in every way, same spontaneous prose, same fascination with states of addiction and purity and the same spirit of urban adventure.
I used to listen to "City Drops into the Night" to pysche myself up for rehearsal back in my wandering days as a freshmen in one of Southern New Hampshire's Most Prestigious Catholic Colleges.
Catholic Boy indeed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Last Three Movies:

"The World's Greatest Dad" (2009) Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait - Robin Williams stars as a shleppy high school teacher who profits from faking his son's suicide (the lout in fact expired from auto-erotic asphyxiation) and then can't take the guilt and shame of his fraud. Yup, after a long haitus, Robin Williams is back scrounging for street cred in a low budget black comedy. Unfortunately his sense of sheer chutzpah has been dulled by years of easy ass work in dreck like "Patch Adams"or sentimental trash like "RV", that plus the fact that the script while audacious is light on laughs makes for an indifferent viewing experience. However mega props to Daryl Sabara who turns in a bravura performance as Williams' thoroughly appalling teenaged son whose death sets the whole mishaugas rolling.

"District 9" (2009) Directed by Neil Blomkamp - BEST sci-fi movie I've seen all summer! Directed by an unknown and full of unknown South African actors, I mean who knew???
Unsightly insectoid aliens land in South Africa, where they are immediately segregated into a giant shanty town and exploited mercilessly. Eventually their numbers grow to the point where the government resolves to relocate them to a concentration camp. Sharlto Copley plays a geeky bureaucrat charged with running the forced re-location at least until he gets exposed to some secret alien goo and starts mutating into one of them!
Science fiction preachments is one of the hardest genres to get right, so it is nice to see a good honest stab at using the prism of speculative fiction to examine issues of class and race, somewhere in Valhalla, Rod Serling is wiping away a tear.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) Directed by Quentin Tarantino - Well I wanted to like this one very much, I am normally a big QT apologist, but this film just rambles way too much despite its many virtues. chiefly a great star turn from Brad Pitt as "Aldo the Apache" a US Army commando sent to France with an all Jewish guerilla team to harass the Nazis in preparation for the Normandy invasion. Well they get mixed up in a bid to kill Hitler and the Nazi high command at a Paris film premiere. this all sounds great and a perfect set up for the old Tarantino ultra-violence, but the Basterds of the title get sidetracked half way thru the film while Melanie Laurent's story (a vengeful Jewish Theater owner in Paris) and Diane Kruger's arc (a turncoat German actress) hold sway. In short the story meanders horribly.
And another thing, Tarantino has a gift for great dialogue it is very baroque but the ear tunes to it naturally, when it is rendered as German or French subtitles something is definitely lost.
Nonetheless the performances are all very strong especially Eli Roth as a vengeful member of the Basterds and Christoph Walz as a Jew-hunting member of the SS, all very recognizable Tarantino character types. And let me take a moment to note that whatever else is lacking in this film, Tarantino does have the courage of his convictions, other directors would make a long discursive arc around the issue of historic accuracy, not Quentin though, he wants to put Hitler and Goering in a Parisian fire fight and damn the consequences, too bad the film is never more than the sum of it's parts.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Disney acquires Marvel Comics...

For what seems to me a bargain price of 4 billion USD, I mean the film rights alone to all five thousand assorted characters ought to be worth that along and here the Mouse gets the publishing division and assorted licensing goodies in the bargain.
Of course all this commerce is ironic when you consider that Marvel rose to market predominance in the early 1970's on the basis of a grim-n-gritty "heroes with problems" motif that was an explicit and very profitable repudiation of their rival DC's comics more "Disney-esque" version of super heroics.