Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My only take away from the Whitey Bulger Trial

is that you cannot become an A-List gangster without mastering the subtle art of snitchwork. Even if you are good at it, sooner or later you run up against a situation wherein access to savage violence and huge stacks of US currency aren't gonna cut it...and at the moment of truth, you'd better know how to sing. So far the Bulger trial is like an audition call back for the Boston Straight Men's Chorus....everyone on key and singing a heartfelt ballad of former friends and business partners. These guys not only have no sense of honor they aren't even good to go with their own much hyped Code of Silence.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It comes as a final irony....

That Richard Matheson up and died the very week that his old "world of the living dead"(as posited in his novel "I Am Legend" 1954) motif reached it's logical conclusion in "World War Z", what started out as a project for the likes of Vincent Price ends up a Tentpole concept fit for Brad Pitt. Ah but that is Matheson unto the last, endlessly "homaged" in other words, the man broke ground early and often. His short stories are masterpieces of economy they ought to be in the core curriculum of any "writing speculative fiction" course on or off line. Moreover, he was one of the few all up A-List postwar fantasists with the capacity to adapt his own work with success, he proved this over and over again on "The Twilight Zone" and then all over the TV schedule during the 1960's. It is a great shame that his taut adaptation of his own book "I Am Legend" was not used by AIP in 1959 in favor of some hackwork written and shot in Rome in the weary wicked end. That original script deserves publication I'd love to get a look at it. Y'know, I have a theory, will never be a faithful adaptation of "I Am Legend" until some decides on a Fan Film version. I mean think on it, there are maybe five speaking parts, all you need is a secluded house as the prime setting, some zombie extras and plenty of brio. And at the age of eighty seven, he lived to have dozens of his ideas homaged and or just plain galling as it sounds, that can be a life well lead...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Channel Zero Returns to the Somerville Theatre, Friday July 12th at 8pm!

In a summer abjectly surrendered to Zombies, Superheroes and Seth Rogen, Channel Zero attempts counterintuitive programming with an epic screening of: “The House of Rothschild” (1934) Starring George Arliss, Boris Karloff Robert Young, Alan Mowbray & Loretta Young EUROPE: 1815 – Is it just possible that the only person who stands between Napoleon Bonaparte and World Domination is a Little Jewish Financier from London named Nathan Rothschild? Golden Age Hollywood’s first great character actor George Arliss stars in this rare Historic Biopic as the real life banker who battled both Tyranny and Anti-Semitism! Friday July 12th @ 8pm (sharp!) The Somerville Theatre (Micro Cinema) 55 Davis Square Somerville Ma, 617 625 5700 Admission $ 5 (cheap!) And just try and find us on Facebook, we dare yuh! Channel Zero: Now in our 18th year of genteel cinematic transcendence!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mensch and Ubermensch...

When Will Smith's superhuman "Hancock" tore up the town in a quest for Justice...indictments were handed down, mandatory sentencing was imposed! In contrast Henry Cavill's Superman wrecked two US municipalities trying to bring down "General Zod"....and with all that damage and casualties, no one thought to call the Justice Department. It's GOOD to be the White Superhero! OKAY! I'm kidding!! Kidding! I kid!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Man of Steel (2013) Directed by Zack Snyder

Somewhere in the Warner Brothers entertainment complex, perfect superhero scripts are written with the right blend of action, adventure, wonderment and escapism. These scripts are then sent down deep underground to a secure bunker where a trained chimp armed with a 12 gauge shotgun blasts away indiscriminately at the text until it is literally in tatters and riddled with plot holes. That script is then reverently handed over to the captioned director with the admonition he may not deviate one jot from what is therein written. How else to account for "The Man of Steel" a film whose half baked conceit is to turn Siegel and Shuster's creation into a sort of second rate "Wolverine" Wannabee...Warner Brothers is apparently desperate to take Kal El into a new direction In the Very Worst Way and by Ghod they have done it! This is a terrible film, long at times tedious, two thirds of it is utterly incoherent, the last quarter is a bewildering "square up reel" in which Superman's arch nemesis "General Zod" the superhuman Kryptonian General reduce both Smallville and Metropolis in an epic brawl. It looks great but after a while the mind wanders and you start mentally tallying up the hypothetical casualties until some very sobering thoughts are entertained indeed. I'm not even gonna justify it on grounds that it's a good cast undone by a uneven ill conceived script, I'll cut to the chase and simply note that Henry Cavill is fine as Superman but he brings nothing to the role that Brandon Routh didn't offer back in 2006, Michael Shannon's Zod although armed with a better motivation than is usually the case is not gonna make anyone forget Terrence Stamp. This seems to be the summer for second rate early eighties supervillainy tedium and unorginality all in one short season...marvelous. Amy Adams was a bit of fresh air as Lois Lane but she is only that, given the sheer carnage indulged and Superman and Zod really have to wonder what the hell she sees in the guy after seventy five years. This is the sort of mishaugas you get when you are desperate to break with past practice but have no real ideas about where you wanna go coupled with highly unrealistic expectations...And still this Sumbitch made two hundred million this weekend, given the sheer morose shellacking Superman's character took in this one, it'll be interesting to see if those numbers go up. Frankly thoughthe rumors are Chris Nolan and Director Zack Snyder are being groomed as the creatives to bring DC's Justice League of America to the big screen at long last...and if this is so and "The Man of Steel" is any indication, THIS is a thought to chill the blood!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Across Cambridge: A Brief Unused Itinerary for an Out of Towner on the Fly....

1.) The Maritime Museum at M.I.T. A small but well organized collection of professionally ship models. It is otherwise a good showcase of an art form that if it hasn't been abolished by digital imaging it soon will be. The scale model of the "USS President" alone is worth the trip. 2.) Either Central Square or Inman Square...a decision that would have to be made on the fly. In Central there is "Rodney's Bookstore" one of the last independent publisher overstock/used bookstores left on Mass Ave (an empire that once stretched from the Back Bay out to Route 128). For shits and grins we can stop in at the Pandemonium Bookstore, which shells fantasy and SF exclusively, these days it is a front for marathon RPGs. Not sure just how they make their money quite frankly. My parents grew up in and around Central Square, it has been trying to "class up" since 1936 with little luck, it'll fruitlessly continue this process right up until perdition. 3.) If Not Central, Then Inman: Home of the "Lorum Ipsum Bookstore" a gathering place for the last of the amateur "zine writers" of Metro Boston. Small but good collection of vintage pulp paperbacks. Also home of the "S&S Deli", lunch here is still considered a corporal work of mercy in the Dioceses of Boston. Targets of opportunity "The Zeitgeist Station" and "The Lily Pad", they might be open and they might have interesting art therein displayed who knows? 4.) Harvard Square: Across Cambridge Common on Foot perhaps a look see into the remnants of the Coop, definitely a stop in at the "Million Year Picnic" (if only to paw thru their collection of pulp fiction). A stroll thru Harvard Yard, the Steps of the Widener Library by which to briefly gawk at the progeny of the overclass, Memorial Hall and the cheesy-ass student center under it. There is no point in seeing The Harvard Film Archive unless somehow something worthwhile is being screened, the building is unremarkable and given over to modern art exhibitions for the most part. Oh and of course "The Harvard Bookstore" best used book outlet left in Cambridge, I buy a lot of stuff here, it's ability to beguile should not be underestimated. Oh and the Grolier Poetry Bookshop round the corner, if only because they still believe. Targets of opportunity, The Porcellian, well hidden Harvard Frat composed well heeled layabouts. In Your Ear Records, an actual for real used record store! The Harvard Lampoon which is off limits to helotry but nice to look all the same. And then there is the Mount Auburn Cemetery, last resting place of the Brahmin Elite of Boston, a class of cold unyielding people given over to austere theology and self denial...when they died after a lifetime of eschewing all immodesty they'd be buried under a two ton replica of the Sphinx or perhaps if of a retiring disposition the Temple of Athena. See it all soon, a lot of it is bound to vanish over the short term.

Good Frickin' Riddance...

To the CBS national telecast of the 4th of July Pops Concert. They always pushed the fireworks off til after ten O'Clock and turned the evening into an endurance test for television viewers and attendees alike. And worse the CBS contract brought in just enough money to warrant scheduling a marquee headliner, INEVITABLY it was some unctuous country western shitkicker singer whose sole reason for doing the Esplanade Concert was to reassure viewers in Houston Texas and Marion Ohio that a gol-durned Patriot was a singin' ta the heathenish liberals in Boston. Condescending and transparent to say the least. Boston, You Are Stronger Without em!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Grace Note on a Sunday Afternoon

"I don't think God wants to be worshipped. I think the only pure worship of God is by loving one another, and I think all other forms of worship become a substitute for the love we should show one another." Charles M. Schulz

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Dr. Who News...

Per this link Matt Smith is calling it quits as the BBC's long running Time Lord. If they can't get Chow Yun Fat (think of it, Chow Yun Fat IS "Dr. Wu") then I say go whole hog with Alexei Sayle.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Pick of the Week

Hands Down it belongs to Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in "From Russia with Love" screening at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square tonight at 7pm. Somewhere on my bucket list (next to a driving trip to Marion OH to see Warren Harding's federalist style tomb) is a heartfelt desire to see ALL the Connery Bonds on a the big screen as God Almighty Intended. When I was a wee Justin, I had to make do with the "ABC Sunday Night Movie" don'cha know. AND IF You are of a Bohemian disposition with rarified tastes, then you may then wanna ease your way over to the Harvard Film Archive where at 12:15 am EDT they are actually screening Jack Benny in "The Horn Blows at Midnight", wherein Jack plays the angel seconded by the Almighty to blow the Horn heralding Armageddon...this is actually a comedy, who sez the Golden Age of Hollywood admitted no surrealism??