Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Oscar Notes

I've only seen two out of the ten movies nominated for Best Picture, which is my personal best in the category of cinema-detachment.
For that fact, neither motion picture will win, Toy Story Three because it's an animated film that is nominated already for best picture in that specific category and a sequel to boot, True Grit on the other hand is a remake of a film that landed John Wayne an Oscar in 1969 and the Academy is sentimental about things like that.
Don't know who to pull for in the Best Supporting Actress category, I like Hailee Steinfeld but you know Helena Bonham Carter will wear some hilarious abomination to the Academy Awards, a sequined bunny costume or some sort of lace trimmed jocket gear the sort of fashion atrocity they'll be talking about in the year 2100.
How the hell can a talented 14 year old actress top that without getting confined to quarters?
I ask you it is an unequal struggle.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Eagle of the Ninth and Rebecca Cathcart-Monet

Some people have trouble making decisions.
Some women cannot figure out even to this day what they want to wear to work in under a half hour.
Rebecca Cathcart-Monet is all-decisiveness, except when she struts out onto the tarmac of her private aerodrome in Niftyborough NH and wracks herself with feminine indecision as to what classic style of avionics she favors when flying off to the movies.
For the record, she finally went with the Curtis Goshawk modified torpedo bomber...And you haven't lived til you've seen a Curtis Goshawk modified torpedo bomber execute a perfect three point landing in shopping mall parking lot in Newington NH.

Well whatever, biplane or turboprop I could still see her trademark orange scarf a mile off...this was a special day, I got to pick the movie (I think likely she was keen on it and simply never mentioned it to me, Rebecca is phlegmatic that way)..."The Eagle"!
No Satan, no demons, no Nick Cage muttering incantations...nope just hardly Roman soldiery and their devoted slaves scouring ancient Scotland for the lost eagle standard of the annihilated ninth legion.
So its a buddy movie, I mean forget about Tacitus...this is "Lethal Weapon" on horseback!
Channing Tatum's Marcus Aquila is a stalwart Roman soldier who wants to avenge his father's annihilation at the hands of the Picts by recovering the legionary eagle standard, James Bell's Esca is a local who is along for the ride. Considering that he hates the Romans with a passion he sure is steadfastly devoted his his nominal master...But then a trip home is a trip home for college students and Roman slaves I guess.
But then, there is always a whiff of hetero life partner love to these kinds of movies, the fun is solely invested in watching the buddy movie tropes get effortlessly exported to Roman occupied Britain.
The only thing lacking was Joe Pesci done up in Centurion drag, as such the duties of "exposition delivery & all around familiar face fell to a white bearded Donald Sutherland.
Otherwise, the movie doesn't make a lot of sense sense (Esca sticks by his master despite many opportunities to run off and pretty much turns on his own) and the big payoff battle in the end involves deux et machina Roman deserters rallying to the colors at the last minute.
Sort of like "They Died with their Sandals On"...but with an upbeat ending!

A mess but a hawt mess nonetheless...and yes I covet Channing Tatum's superheroic chin.
Rebecca though, smiled serenely as we exited and opined that the whole thing was a sort of peplum version of "Apocalypse Now" to which I rejoined that I'd a paid good money to see the late Marlon Brando painted up as a blue-assed Pict.
She laughed, cried contact!
And I spun the propeller, I'm getting good at this...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Does the literary estate of Stieg Larsson

has some sort of buy-in-bulk agreement with the MBTA's Red Line?

It seems that his novels are all anyone is reading from the marshes of Alewife to the Ramparts of Braintree.
I mean for the first time today, I actually saw someone reading a Non-Larsson novel right there out in the open on the train, it was "The Confederacy of Dunces" as a matter of fact.
Good book, good choice to defy the trend.
I'm making my last stand with books three & four of "The Gulag Archipelago".

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Devil and Rebecca Cathcart-Monet...

What is it about my old pal Rebecca and Olde Scratch?
A film built around the earthly machinations of the Devil has but to waft north on the breeze and she takes to the skies in her vintage Sopwith Pup kayoodling like one of Wagner's valkyries and biding me to join her at the cinema.
So of course, being a gentleman I fire up my classic modified 1972 Ford Galaxie 500 (powered entirely by the slow radioactive decay of my hopes & dreams) and made for the worker's paradise, Salisbury Beach.
We thrilled to Nicholas Cage in "Season of the Witch" if for no other reason than to watch amazed as Ron Perlman never once condescended to unfurrow that prognathous brow of his.
But of course if I was a disaffected medieval knight and I had to transport a real witch to some monastery for exorcism I'd want Ron Perlman at my side as well, the man is a like a smirking redwood tree.
Besides it was just nice to see Ron in a role where he isn't covered with three inches of colored latex appliances.
As for Nicholas Cage what happened to him? He raked in 20 million from pay-or-play deal on an meshugginah unproduced Superman movie AND STILL he ends up making B-movies fighting CGI demons like he was Sarah Michelle Gellar or something.
Its an object lesson in making good investments in hard times lemme tellyuh.
And then there is Anthony Hopkins in "The Rite".
I like Anthony Hopkins he is a scary guy, scariest Welshmen to ever play Richard M. Nixon in the movies as a matter of fact.
He just knows where in the script to put on that reptilian "Dr. Hannibal Lector" voice and let the chills radiate out from the movies screen and across the audience.
So when it came time to find an actor to play the Vatican's best exorcist who ironically become demonically posessed, I mean who ya gonna call?
Burt Reynolds?
NO, Sir Anthony he is your man!
Pretender to the vacant throne of Cinema's Malefactor Maximus, Boris Karloff, because like all great golden age horror film actors, Anthony has one edge on the locale competition, he is a foreigner and therefore exotic by the standards of Peru Massachusetts and beyond.
No my problem with "The Rite" was simple, like Kevin Smith's love letter to the sheer mystic power of Canon Law "Dogma, this film depends on validating Catholic theology in order to deliver the chills.
And maybe just maybe the film's biggest shock is director Mikael Hafstrom's naive belief that moist pink eared Colin O'Donoghue could ever shout the devil out of Anthony Hopkins.
Well whatever, I had a grand time twice...although I'm beginning to suspect Ms. Rebecca Cathcart-Monet has a sort of love-hate relationship with The Prince of Darkness.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sad News...

Late word comes to us from Alabama, that exploitation film producer David F. Friedman has up and died on us.

Let the record show that an interview with him constituted one of my earliest freelance co-writing credits at the Boston Globe, the god damned article wrote itself, no one ever accused David F. Friedman of taciturnity.
In his heyday he produced timeless schlock as "Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS" and "A Kiss of Honey, A Swallow of Brine" along with many many sexploitation films of the 1960's
Along the way he formed a very fruitful creative partnership with director Herschell Gordon Lewis and having burned down the dramatic potential of nudist camp movies the two of them created the modern splatter film with their seminal horror film "Blood Feast", literally the first horror movie to make human viscera the star.
"I produced movies that made Plan Nine from Outer Space look like Citizen Kane"! He happily barked into the phone with us.
Ever seen his erotic science fiction movie "Space Thing"?
Believe me he was not kidding!
Still the man had a good ear for next big thing, "Two Thousand Maniacs" is likely his best film a nasty little prophecy of rural white backlash and a strong contender as the world's first torture porn movie.
Dave was good peeps, he was a persuasive talker with rhetorical skills honed as a carnival barker back in the 1940's, his fascinating memoirs "A Youth in Babylon" is a must read for an aspiring young film maker who couldn't care less about taking Sundance by storm.
Foolishly, I loaned my copy of the book to our then editor at the Boston Globe, likely the damn thing is still circulating the office even to this day.
One of the great crimes of film literature is that Friedman's projected second volume "The Kings of Babylon" (which mostly dealyt with his long tenure as the President of the Adult Film Association of America) still goes unpublished.
Friedman told me down at a horror film convention in Jersey that the publisher got cold feet owing to the volume's length, Dave of course, righteously refused to edit what he regarded as history.
If Channel Zero, our poor wasted marginalized (yet defiant) film franchise has a certain exploitation edge, it's because of Dave Friedman who taught us "Sell the Sizzle Not the Steak!"

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Since we are all e-mailing & twittering & facebooking

which means the writing of letters is now a dead artform what is to become of annotated correspondence?
I mean once we get up to the letters of Andy Warhol, David Brudnoy and Dick Cavett thats it, time will have run out on that genre.
I mean who is gonna wanna read the "Annotated Tweets and E-Mails of Laura Ingraham"?
Think about that...

Meanwhile if you get a chance to skip out on the StuporBowl check out "William S. Burroughs: The Man Within" at the Brattle Theatre this week, well worth the time as it is a fairly comprehensive documentary overview of the man, his work and his various interests.