So I've finally caught up with all of the shows I've seen the last few months. I only need to see 3 more bands to have seen 1000 different bands live!
Life & work have been keeping my spectacularly busy. For the holidays, my parents came down from Oregon and Mike flew out from Chicago. I made them dinner here on two nights. LZ made us all dinner the first night. It was nice to have Christmas in the house. I decorated and everything. I might have lost a little of my bah-humbug.
LZ and I then went down the California coast. We camped at Big Sur and Montana del Oro. Then we spent a night in Bakersfield. We went to Buck Owens' Crystal Palace for a little dancing. Bakersfield could almost be fun. Then we drove through more high desert to Desert Hot Springs, and spent a few days in a quaint little hot springs motel. We were there fore New Years. We saw more stars in Big Sur than there. LZ and I were alternating being under the weather during the trip. It made it all the more interesting. We're both glad to be back. #
So the program that generates this web site was just updated for the first time in about a year. I think that may be the slowest turnaround it has ever had. It only does one thing differently than before. I had to update it for other esoteric reasons. The java command line has a way of indicating how much memory a program should use. Unless I set it to 128 MB, it would not work. Previously it took 96 MB. I'm not too clear why, I assume that there's just more data to process. I'm not too keen into looking at why anyways. #
So I only bought 12 albums in 2010 that were made in 2010. Altogether I bought 25 albums. Here's the top 10 from 2010 that I bought in 2010.
So I've seen my 1000th live band. It was Fred Frith & Phillip Greenlief. This is good because Wikipedia tells me that along with his own long career, he's also played with Brian Eno.
So this got me to thinking. If I know band #1000, what about band #500? I could easily find this out. But then I realized I had a couple dozen shows that I didn't have the dates. So that would skew things. So I thought I'd try to figure out all the dates I didn't know. I don't actually think I'll be able to get all of them. I should be able to narrow them down to years and months however. But today I spent time searching the internet and contacting friends about my unknown shows. I was able to resolve about 12 shows that I didn't know the dates for before for PG-13, Blue Meanies, Michael Hedges, Six Finger Satellite, Laurie Anderson, King Kong, The Church, Ministry, Yo La Tengo, Red Red Meat, MC Hammer, and Def Leppard.
So now the world is a slightly better place. #
I've been more active lately. I actually have been going to the gym semi-regularly. I found a great article that says your social life affects your health. I know this because I started biking more several years ago because my friends did. I also cook much more often from home than I ever had. I also make much better food at home than I used to. For several years, just about the only things I ate at home were cold cereal in the morning and pasta with sauce from a jar at night. For days on end. For awhile now I have been making my own pizza sauce. I've been making lots of stuff with mushrooms I forage myself. For awhile there I was really into grilling on my Weber. It's all been due to the friends I'm hanging out with and spending time with. Once again, having good friends means a good life. #
I have seriously been talking about making this web site dynamic for over 10 years. Back then it was generated by a Carbon program written for Mac OS with CodeWarrior, and had only just started running on Mac OS X. Sheesh. I might as well have been using punch cards. #
I had never read this book. The previous book I had read, "Empire of Illusion", referred to this book quite often, so I figured I had to read it. The dystopian outlook on man's future is pretty interesting and unique for its time. Unfortunately, I was often distracted by the style of writing. It's quite formal, and some of the conversations were a little stilted. The concepts are long lasting and thought provoking. I think we are pretty much a soma-addled, "feelies"-addicted society nowadays. Many do not even care that they don't know what they don't know, and even take pride in this. I'd consider this a precursor to the also oddly put together film "Idiocracy". They both make really provocative points, but somehow fail in the execution. I fear most for a future like the one presented here. #
This documentary covers the financial crisis affecting our country and the moral crisis affecting our country's leadership rather well. It was interesting to see some sniveling courtesans squirm under the interviewers' questions. Nothing in this film was news to me however. I highly recommend reading Michael Lewis' "The Big Short" for a detailed breakdown of what went wrong. Frankly I was surprised this film didn't interview him. For some coverage of the moral breakdown in our country's leadership, I suggest "Empire of Illusion", by Chris Hedges. I've now referenced it twice today, so I'll try to write a snippet about it by weeks end. #
This is a fantastic film noir about hunting Nazis on the run in America. Edward G. Robinson is an Allied Nazi hunting detective. Orson Welles is a Nazi (Franz Kindler) in hiding out as a professor in Connecticut. The Allies let a low level newly religious Nazi out of prison, and he travels to find his old pal Herr Kindler to get him to repent for his crimes. They did this because no one know how Kindler looks. The film has many fantastic shots with low camera angles, and tons of shots with mirrors that let the viewer see more of the action. The soundtrack is great, especially towards the end as the church bells Herr Kindler has repaired ring out every 15 minutes. There is a terrific ending where Herr Kindler is trapped in the church tower. Chaos breaks out and the clock mechanisms are going haywire. Herr Kindler is impaled by one of the clock's rotating angel's swords, and he falls to his death. This is all witnessed by the common folk gathered around in the square below. I always find Orson Welles acting to be just over the top enough as to be perfect. He really knows what he's doing. Edward G. Robinson always is playing some authority figure, which is just funny with his face and body type. #
This is a pretty good B Movie about motorcycle gangs. A B-Movie really can't miss with Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, and Diane Ladd. The plot is thin. The Loser's chopper has been stolen by some Mexicans in the desert. So the gang rides out from San Pedro, CA to recover it. Blues is their leader, and they find the garage with the stolen chopper parts. A fight ensues, and the fuzz tries to break it up. The Loser steals a police motorcycle to get away. He's cornered and shot by the cops. Meanwhile the rest of the gang heads back to their camp, where they carouse and get drunk. One guy is apparently taking "horse", and Blues goes and beats him up when he does this. Many guys are hitting on The Loser's now single woman, even though they have no idea what has happened to him. The Loser has been taken to the hospital and is in recovery. The gang decides to go and steal him away from the hospital. Nancy Sinatra acts straight and under the pretense of being the Loser's sister visiting from Los Angeles, gets into the hospital to let the gang in. They get The Loser back to their headquarters, and all he wants to do is get high. He takes a drag from a joint, and dies soon thereafter with crazy googly eyes. His wife and the rest of the gang are all bedside.
So they head up to the town of Sequoia Ranch (or some such) for a funeral. They pay off a coroner, and parade through the town with a Nazi flag draped across the casket. They've paid a sketchy preacher for the service. Once he enters his church and sees the flag, he changes his tune a little, questioning what the dead man is about. The gang in the pews gets rowdy, and Blues response is the classic, often quoted "We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we want to do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that's what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time... We are gonna have a party." They then proceed to trash the church, knocking out the preacher. At some point they take The Loser out of the casket and set up his corpse up on a chair like he's partying. They put the preacher into the Nazi flag draped casket. Some of the gang decide to gang rape The Loser's widow. Blues jumps from his woman to another, taking some "horse" along the way. Once the party is over, they head to the cemetery to bury the Loser. The townsfolk follow them, and proceed to pelt them with rocks which starts a big brawl. Soon the cops are coming and everyone bails. However Blues sticks around to bury his friend, claiming "There's nowhere to go".
It's a classic "the freedom we have isn't all it is cracked up to be" film. The sentiment actually is carried much better in many films of the 1970s. I did like the low budget look and feel of this film, however. You can tell that they were having a good time while making it. They got to go to many interesting looking places and goof around. The soundtrack seemed to be completely dubbed over, but I'm not sure if that was a result of watching this on Netflix streaming. Which is odd enough, because Netflix claims this isn't available on DVD. They background sounds during the party scene in the church were interesting. There was generic party sounds, some canned rock and roll music, and an odd low in the mix woman singing what sounded like a hymn. I really enjoyed this B movie. #
This novel is centered in the town in Mendocino near where I bought my property. When I saw it in the bookstore, I decided I had to buy it. It's set in the late 80s or early 90s (there are mentions of yuppies and there are no cell phones to be found). John is a recovering yuppie. He leaves his life, his wife, and his miserable parents to live in Boonville where his grandmother had lived as an artist for a few years. She has an old house full of squirrels carved into blocks of wood. Much of his time is spent unwittingly getting too drunk with the locals. They knew his grandmother, so they call him Squirrel Boy. Sarah is the child of a woman who left San Francisco to live on a hippie commune so that she could be liberated. This did not happen. Sarah is surprisingly level headed for having grown up on a hippie commune. The problem is that she rebelled by marrying a redneck townie before she could make something of herself. She's finally gotten over her man to get out of town and back to San Francisco when she meets John at the Buckhorn in town. Then this book turns into a non-love story love story. You hear about the local dialect, called Boontling. Many locations that are I can find today are name dropped. You hear of the strange happenings in the hippie communes. You hear about weed being grown for profit. You hear about lesbian communes in Albion. Sarah describes her commune as a "make-shift laboratory of failed results". She also says "Good decisions resonate throughout your life as pervasively as bad ones, and with just as much regret."
This book had me early on, but the non-love story direction the book took lost my interest. It ends with the yuppie John making art, combining his grandmother's work with Sarah's discarded work, with the help of local denizens along Highway 128 in the middle of the night. He does this so... Sarah will think of him as she drives out of town while moving to San Francisco the next morning to get an abortion and become an artist? OK.
I read up more about the author. I learned he was the screen writer for the horror film they filmed up in Anderson Valley, "Pig Hunt"! It is now at the top of my Netflix queue, since Netflix doesn't stream it.
This book will move to a bookshelf in my cabin in the woods, once this cabin exists. #
I decided to watch the Illini (who wound up losing) in March Madness. I don't have a TV. I couldn't find any friends who wanted to go to a bar, even the ones who usually invite me out. Then I remembered hearing that you could stream all of March Madness to your computer. I tried it on my Mac Book Pro first. It's the very first generation Intel based Macintosh. It's been kicking for about five years. So it can do stuff, but sometimes it struggles. Actually the only time it struggles is with Flash. March Madness was streaming with Flash. This meant my CPU was working madly, making my fans spin up and making the other stuff I was doing slow down. And even then, the video was really blocky since it was being compressed for real-time streaming. I then remembered that I read something about March Madness and iPad. So I fired up my iPad 2 and learned that there was an app for that. I downloaded it, installed it, and then saw the video. It was great if not fantastic looking. The fans of the iPad 2 did not kick in, since it has none. It never once stuttered in playback. If I had a TV with an HDMI port, I'd have been able to watch the game on my HD TV with the iPad 2 plugged in. If I had an AppleTV hooked up to my HDTV, I'd have been able to stream this video wirelessly to my TV.
It's crazy to me that Flash still exists. It's nutty to me that I know for a fact that all the support that the NCAA is using in iPad 2, works on my ancient Mac Book Pro too! The NCAA should switch to the full HTML5 video support they are using on iPad 2 on Mac OS X too. I wouldn't be able to stream it from there to my TV at all, but I'm sure it would not fire up the CPU and the fans as Flash does.
Die Flash Die. #
This movie came out in late summer 1981. I remember going to this for a birthday party. I even think it was my birthday party. So I first saw this when I was 11. I loved this movie. Seeing it again nearly 30 years later, I still love this movie. I think in the intervening years I may have seen it another time. Things I like about it now are the odd jokes and somewhat adult humor the Monty Python cast members and others bring to the film. I like the juxtaposition of the childlike wonder with the craven thieves played by the dwarves. I like the evil minions covered in plastic. I like that technology is evil. I like that the entire final scene is made out of giant Legos. I can't get enough of the pre-digital special effects, with its miniatures, backwards film, and odd camera angles and lenses. I like that the film ends with the kid alone after his parents blow up. There are so many questions at the end, it makes me wonder what I was thinking when I was 11. This film works so damn well. #
I nerded out on this one. I had read about this film on the internet awhile ago when this movie came out. On many of the Mac nerd web sites I read, they mentioned there was a scene apparently shot in the secret Apple industrial engineering lab. I'd never seen it. So I streamed this on NetFlix just for that reason. It wasn't that exciting. A static shot of the lab with an interview in front of it, and no action.
The premise of everyone interviewed in the film is that design is terribly important to making the world a better place. While I agree with this sentiment, I find it unlikely that people who are passionate about what they create for a living are likely to think they aren't making the world a better place. My take on the personalities of many of the people interviewed is that they are pompous and used to everyone hanging on their every word. In that sense, this film succeeded. #
So this is the fictionalized story of The Runaways. This was the best teenage girl rock band in the late 1970s. I'm sorry I can't state it without the qualifier. The wanted to rock and they did. They were schooled by a nut job named Kim Fowley. He pushed them to be more like dudes while they rocked. Some readers may be interested to know that Kim Fowley is played by the same actor as who plays the intense FBI agent in "Boardwalk Empire". He's nice and freaky and over the top in this production as well. So the story of the band is pretty well known. They were 16 and they rocked, and they toured around the country and the world, and well they were only 16 and partying a lot. And their singer left and the band didn't get along. Oh, and Joan Jett was their guitarist and in a few years wound up making them all look soft and out of her league. The story is told from a perspective that is very sympathetic to Joan Jett and Cherie Curie. Another documentary I've seen about The Runaways is a little more even handed. I could have used more of Lita Ford and Sandy West, as they are really interesting people in their own right. Here's a video of "Cherry Bomb". #
So this is the movie that was written by Robert Mailer Anderson, who wrote the book "Boonville" that I read a week or so ago. He's actually in the film as one of the rednecks as well. Some San Franciscans leave the Haight (they start off at The Pork Store, in fact) to head up to John's uncle's property to go on a pig hunt. It's supposed to be a guys weekend out, but John's girlfriend comes along. They get to Anderson Valley (but it's actually Comptche) to stop at a store. There they see some odd hippies, and the rest learn that John's uncle was killed somehow up there. They also learn there's a big pig in the woods. It's a great B-movie horror flick. It's mostly keeping you waiting to see who is going to die and how. There's very little footage of the main monster until the very end. There's goofy humor. This one takes on hippies, rednecks, San Franciscans, marijuana growing, and more. It was fun to see the landscapes in the film that I can recognize. This film is exactly what it is. #
This is a really long classic Sergio Leone western. The music is fantastic and odd and of course by Ennio Morricone. It's odd because it's strangely happy sounding during definitely sad portions of the film. James Coburn plays a IRA terrorist on the run in Mexico during their revolution in the early 20th century. Rod Steiger plays a stagecoach hijacking criminal. The movie is about revolution, and what makes a revolutionary in comparison to a criminal. It's epic. The problem is that many transitions from scene to scene are jarring. Lots of time and action have occurred in the interim. You wind up feeling that you're watching a heavily edited movie, despite its length. It's a classic Sergio Leone film. There's greasy poor and greasy criminals and hoity-toity rich folks. There's scenes with characters of questionable morals doing questionable things. I enjoyed James Colburn. There were odd flash back scenes to his life as a revolutionary in Ireland. They had no dialogue, and were usually in super slow motion. They served as background to explain his actions in the present. The oddest part was that for most of them you believe he's in love with a woman and has a friend. This friend winds up being tortured and ratting him out to the British. Colburn kills him. Then in the last flashback scene, he's out with the woman and the man. He kisses the woman, then the man moves in, and he and the woman also kiss as if they are in love. I'm assuming that's a metaphor for revolution, presumably betrayal. #
This is a very beautiful sparse film. The dialogue, the pace, the action, the soundtrack, and the scenery are all wide open. Along the way you see the protagonist, who is billed as the Lone Man, learn more about what his task will be while in Spain. Each time he learns more, there is a conversation the always starts in Spanish with "You don't speak Spanish, right?" Usually there is then a small one-sided philosophical conversation, usually focused on what the connection is thinking about. The Lone Man doesn't say much. He'll prevent them from using their mobile. They then exchange matchbooks, alternating a red one and a green one with each connection. After the connection leaves, Lone Man will open the matchbook. Inside is a small piece of paper with cryptic information written on it. He's study it intently, crumple it up, and eat it. He'll wash it down with one of the 2 cups of espresso he's already ordered. He'll then move onto his next task. He'll also stop in at art museums in Madrid. He only goes to see one painting and then leaves. A memorable connection is Paz de la Huerta (who I first know from "Boardwalk Empire"). She's memorable because she is nude the entire time she's on screen (except for a clear raincoat in one scene and an open sweater in another). In the end the Lone Man accomplishes his goal and he returns what seems to his normal routine.
While watching this movie you feel extremely calm, much like our protagonist. You're also piecing together everything at the same time the Lone Man is. He seems to have some purpose that he knows more about than the viewer, however. I believe the film is about dreams and how our dreams work. There are repetitive themes that you come back to in all of your dreams. There's the wonderful odd feeling that you know exactly what is happening while at the same time you don't know what will happen. People show up, most likely ones you have seen somewhere at sometime, with whom you interact. And in the end, you finish your goal and it's over. There's a limit to how much control you have over your dreams.
A few months ago I had learned in some way that Jim Jarmusch had a recent film out I had never seen nor heard of. So I added this to my NetFlix queue. Then last week I read an article about Paz de la Huerta, which mentioned she was in the film. Then it just happened to be the next DVD in my queue. Sort of like a dream where everything works out. So I just had to check to see if there was a new Jarmusch film coming out soon, but there isn't as far as I could find. #
Two great things go great together. Superchunk and cats are in the video for "Crossed Wires". Perfect. #
Sometime ago I had decided I should see some more Kung Fu flicks, so this came through my NetFlix DVD queue. This is actually just side one of the DVD. This the story of a lone kung fu master who is awesome. He lives in the Valley of No Return, so called because he kills anyone who comes to visit him. The story goes is that he went here because he had become "sick through exercise". Meanwhile there's another younger dude who is kick ass at Kung Fu, and his mom is ill. So he fights Shaolin monks so that they will let him borrow of book of healthy potions for his mom. After winning the book and making this potion, this actually makes his mom sicker. Soon he learns his father has left them because exercise made him sick. His mom says this amulet that she gives him as she is dying has only one match, presumably his father. So then there's a prince who wants to be king, and he knows the Kung Fu guy in the Valley of No Return would surely make him win if he were on his side. So there is some sort of a switcheroo with the book of healthy potions. This is why the kick ass young guy's mom dies. The real one is taken into the Valley of No Return, as an enticement to bring this Kung Fu guy out. Well he has these two spinning hoods of blades of death. The english dub sound track calls these Lightning Bolts but the movie is called Fatal Flying Guillotine, and that is much more descriptive of these weapons. So lots of guys die while losing their heads, and then the young guy who kicks so much ass kills his father. Only he doesn't realize it's his father until he's already dead when his amulet falls to the ground. Then there's a disguised guy with a snake, which frankly made no sense. Some fun fighting in this movie. The viewer has to connect lots of dots, which is an interesting task as you're dozing off. #
This was at a special showing at the Roxie. It seemed interesting and Suze was into it. While waiting for her to arrive, I ran into Jeff & Zabet and they saved us prime seats. While the theatre was filling up, there were old YouTube clips of Eno and Roxy Music playing. Soon Doug Hilsinger and Caroleen Beatty played an opening set of a few songs off of "Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy)". Then the documentary started. It was interesting but there were a few problems. They talked about every album in exquisitely long, on the very brink of tedious detail. They relied too heavily on talking to various Eno biographers. They spoke with some old friends of Eno's too. But there was very little of Eno himself! The film is in dire need of extreme editing. It was clocking in at what felt like 3 hours. The best clips they had of Eno also appeared to be the same ones we saw beforehand ripped from YouTube. The highlight was the bassist from the Winkies, Brian Turrington. He was pretty funny. He had a very pragmatic take on his place in the Eno universe. He didn't seem to quite understand why Eno liked him & his playing so much, but Eno kept at it, and so did he. He seems really grateful and surprised he was able to take part is such things. The cool thing is he 'wrote' the bass line from Third Uncle! He told the story of how he messed up during his take, and apologized to Eno, saying he'd get it right the next one. Eno said, no it's perfect. Eno was of course right. I think it's must be hard to make something that great intentionally happen. It's a shame this movie wasn't one of them. The DVD stopped playing just before all the details you ever wanted to know about "Before and After Science". So we bailed then since we were tired and hungry. #
So you want to see a Spaghetti Western starring one of Orson Welles' Mercury Players (Joseph Cotten from "The Third Man") as a crazed former Confederate general? Well then this is the movie for you. It's a tale of ex-Confederates roaming the Southwest. They steal some cash from some Union soldiers they massacre and stash it in a coffin. They have a prostitute acting as a sorrowful widow so they can get the coffin past authorities without them asking too many questions. The problem is that the prostitute is an unreliable drunk, and she is killed by one of the general's sons, who is a serial rapist. Another dashing young son goes to town to find another woman to play their widow, and convinces a far fairer maiden to take her place. She and the good looking son eventually fall in love and don't like what his father is up to. So they manage to get the coffin buried at a Union fort, after they are saved from bandits by Union soldiers. But that night the sons are all forced by the father to go back and dig it up in the rain, while the fair maiden is forced to stay in the cold rain by the crazed Confederate general for making his good looking son turn on him. She gets pneumonia, and is debilitated. So they drag the coffin closer to their destination. Then their horses are all killed by a crazy hobo. Now they need to get new horses and decide to send the rapist son to buy some from a friendly nearby tribe of Indians. Instead of buying a horse, he rapes & kills the Chief's daughter. He comes back to camp without horses, and says we got to get going. The Indians catch up, and the rapist is killed by the other greedy son, who is in turn killed by the good looking one. In the meantime the general is mortally wounded. So he's dragging the coffin on his own to keep the money in it. It soon pops open, and there's a body of the main bandit in there instead of the cash. The end. #
iOS 5 is going to be cool. That was announced on Monday. I have some code shipped in there.
I've seen 300 shows in San Francisco now. I think that's been true for a month or so, but I just realized it tonight myself. #
This is a crazy Western that takes place in the snowy Utah mountains. Everyone is always wearing fur and scarves during the film. Lots of the fur is so long that it looks like long hair. It gives things a very odd look. The main bad guy in this film is played by Klaus Kinski. He's a murderous freak bounty hunter known as "Loco". Apparently bounty hunting is the law of the land that is about to be superseded by trial by jury and assumption of innocence. The bounty hunters are out to get their money before that happens. The Governor of Utah assigns a new sheriff to a county where "Loco" is running a gang.
There are many bandits hiding out in the mountains. They steal the new sheriff's horse for food, leaving him alive to get back to town. There he finds a Justice of the Peace who is more than willing to pay bounty hunters. A stranger comes to town who is known as "Silence". This is because he doesn't talk. He's also the fastest draw in Utah. And his modus operandi is to annoy his target to the point where they draw first. Then he shoots then faster and he can get off safely, since it was clearly self-defense.
Meanwhile Loco kills a black man in this Utah town. His widow is determined to get her own vengeance against the vengeful bounty hunters. So she hires Silence. Of course, they soon fall in love. He shows her that he cannot speak because he has a large scar across his entire throat. A flashback tells us that his throat was in fact slashed by bounty hunters who killed his father. They wanted to keep him silent. They succeeded but he became as driven by vengeance as his tormentors. Soon the Justice of the Peace rapes the widow, while Silence is tortured while watching. We learn again via a flashback that Silence had in fact shot off the thumb of the ex-bounty hunter Justice of the Peace. Silence manages to break free of his torturers and kill the Justice of the Peace, but not before he is injured in the shoulder.
Sometime later, Loco is busted by the sheriff for something like not following the due process of law. He's then taken up to the hills to show the bandits that the bounty hunter is caught, and they can safely come to town for some food the town put out for them until amnesty and the blizzard pass. As they are headed back to town, Loco says he needs to pee. The sheriff un-cuffs him. He tells Loco to hurry up since they need to cross this frozen lake he happens to be standing on before dark. Meanwhile, Loco has conveniently chosen to pee at a location where he's hidden a rifle in the snow. He then draws on the sheriff and shoots into the ice at his feet, causing the sheriff to sink into the frozen lake.
Loco he finds his bounty hunter buddies to get the bandits as they head to town to get their food. They round them all up. They hold them hostage so that they can get Silence out into the open. Silence is bound by duty and just as strong a sense of vengeance as the bounty hunters, and heads to the saloon where the hostages are held. He's ambushed and shot in the hands, so he cannot shoot back. He's then brutally killed by Loco. The widow runs up to her love and is also shot by Loco. Then he tells all the bounty hunters to kill the hostages they have tied up in the bar. They are massacred. As the movie ends Loco takes Silence's gun and heads off screen.
This is a pretty film with all the snow capped mountain horseback scenes. Klaus Kinski is enjoyably deranged. The dialogue and dubbing are forced at times, but you can tell some are handling their own voices. The ending is violent and harsh. I'd simply say the theme is everyone is driven by vengeance. Everyone also has their own correct sense of justice and law as well. Nevertheless, you know watching the film that the filmmakers do not believe vengeance to be any solution to the worlds problems. #
This is an interesting Japanese film. It was unusual starting right from the opening shot. The young doctor's assistant is speaking directly to the camera about the stages of life for a man. He then says he's familiar with this and he'll show us how. The camera pulls back, and he walks towards others in the doctor's office and the story begins.
The doctor's assistant is familiar with everyone in a small traditional Japanese family. The parents still wear kimonos and wooden platform shoes. The assistant knows the father is having trouble in the bedroom. He knows that wife knows that the father is having sexual problems too, but tries to hide it from her. She believes it is her that is causing his problem. The assistant is also dating their daughter, and he's a little closer to her than they may suspect. He hopes the money he thinks her family has can help him out in the doctor business.
So the father invites the assistant over to dinner, and proceeds to get his wife very drunk. She pounds the hard alcohol when he tells her, because she is a good traditional obedient wife. The problem is that she can't hold her liquor and passes out in the bath tub. The father and the assistant go to help her out. Then the father realizes he gets turned on by how attracted the assistant seems to be to his wife. So he does this again. He also takes nude photos of her while she's passed out that he shares with the assistant, who then shares them with the daughter. Lots of odd power struggles and sleeping arrangements and secrets continue until everyone is dead at the end.
Suze and I were both impressed by how interesting this film's subject matter was especially for a movie from 1959. It was showing at the Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley for its "Japanese Divas" series. #
This is one of those modern comedies that seem to revel in making the viewer very uncomfortable. The premise is that a loser divorced guy is dragged out to a party by his ex, so that he will get laid. He meets a fantastically beautiful woman and they hook up. She leaves quite early, but she comes back again another day, just to leave early again without an explanation. So he follows her home to discover that she lives with her 20-something son. They have an oddly close relationship, and the son is predictably very upset his mom has found someone new. Then the hijinks ensue. It was a very uncomfortable movie, only compounded by the strange hand held camera jerky zooms all the time. Next time I go over to Sova's to watch a movie with Junse, I'm making the pick! #
This was a crazy Italian Western. My Netflix queue seems to be in a big vein of Spaghetti Westerns right now. This one stars a Cuban actor who lives in Italy, playing a Mexican peon. All he uses for a weapon are knives. Through circumstance, he becomes the only one who knows where the Mexican revolutionaries have hidden all of their gold. There are several others (including a woman from the Salvation Army who tries to clean him up) also all trying to get the gold. Cuchillo is over the top, and there are quite a few odd torture scenes. There's a fantastic stand off at the end that ends with a knife fight. The film ends indicating this is just one of many adventures that Cuchillo will embark upon. #
I went to see this at the fantastic Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland with Suze. They had the organist playing beforehand. They also had newsreels and a cartoon. Also a giveaway with a corny MC. The film is odd. A very young girl decides to buy a horse and with the help of a vagabond who just happens to be an ex-jockey, trains her horse for the biggest race in Britain. Unfortunately when they get there, they find out all jockeys are foreign and not good enough for her horse. They both separately decide they will be the jockey in the race, but Velvet wins out. She wins the race and passes out. Which is when the doctor learns that a girl has won the race. This is not acceptable, but Velvet and her horse become famous. One of the odd highlights of the film is Velvet completely crazy younger brother. What an odd character, he made no sense. #
This is about four unlikely partners, a gambler, a whore, and crazy black man, and a drunk, who are run out of town for being no good. They are the lucky ones, since they aren't dead. The town was ransacked the evening before, for reasons that aren't too clear to me.
We learn the prostitute is pregnant, and she and the gambler pretty much fall in love. The meet Chaco, played by the same Cuban actor from "Run Man Run". He's sadistic. They are attacked by a sheriff, and Chaco tortures one of them by skinning him alive and pinning his badge in his chest. He steals everything they have after giving them all peyote. He then rapes the prostitute Bunny. Meanwhile he has painted red crosses of blood under his eyes.
Our partners wind up in an abandoned town. It's raining a lot and the drunk dies from his wounds suffered during the fight. Our partners are hungry and the crazy man comes back with some meat that they all eat ravenously. The gambler goes out and finds the body of the town drunk with a big chunk of meat missing from his butt. The crazy person has served them drunk man meat. So the gambler and the prostitute leave our crazy man in the ghost town.
They find themselves up in the snowy mountains, and the prostitute goes into labor. The problem is that they wind up in a mining town only full of tough men. Fortunately they all have hearts of gold (and one knows how to be a midwife). The prostitute dies during childbirth, and the gambler leaves the baby with the miners, as they as a group are better fathers than he will be. He then goes out and finds Chaco, and killing him in a bloody scene. It's probably one of the last Italian westerns.
I read more about the characters and the woman who played the prostitute was married to Peter Sellars when he died. He had divorced her, but not yet updated his will when he passed away. His children have none of his estate and her mother has it now, ever since she died of alcohol-related reasons. Crazy story. #
Rose brought over this DVD when I was sick at home with food poisoning. It's not until now I realize it was directed by the son of David Bowie!
The film's premise is a doozy. Of course the film starts out where the viewer is just as much in the dark as our protagonist, Colter. So there has been a terrorist attack, and military man Colter must figure out who did it, because they will strike again.
It appears Colter is in some sort of a pod where he can travel through time to get to the very scene of the crime. It winds up they can do this because the human brain keeps the last 8 minutes of it's memories for a short period of time. And people have figured out how to preserve that. And they have also figured out how to get other people's brains into that brain in order to look around. Crazy. So they are going to use this technology in order to find out who placed the bomb.
The problem is that for this to work, logically the original brain must have seen and done things the other brain is doing. So Colter goes in, and digs around, gets off at train stops where the other guy didn't get off. Despite this, he eventually gets the terrorist (who is a home-grown terrorist, in a little bit of face-saving for movie terrorists everywhere).
In another twist the other brain is actually a man who is close to death. They've saved the shell of his body to keep his brain alive so it can jump into these other brains somehow. The pod that he appears to be in is the way his brain is coping with the fact its in another brain. The problem is that the government has this great technology, but they are still bastards. They have told Colter's dad he's dead, and even shipped him some fake ashes.
Soon Colter learns he's dead and that he'll re-live the terrorist explosion until he solves the crime. Along the way he gets sympathy from a soldier who is running the experiment. She allows him to go in one more time in order to save everyone. He does this and falls in love. What is the reality now?
This was a fun movie whose plot has many logical holes. It was great for a sick afternoon at home. #