Showing posts from January, 2009

Tagged and Despondent: The Conclusion (and Answer Key)

I didn't expect much, and I didn't get much. I figured there would be four or five correct guesses at most, and that is what happened.

For those interested, here are the answers to my post Tagged and Despondent Part II that I put up ten days ago, which gave the opening lines to thirty random tunes on my iPod. Nearly anyone who cared to check out the list easily guessed Fortunate Son, of course... that was pretty much one of only three or four gimmes on the list. I think part of the success in guessing these lists, if you actually know the person or persons compiling them, is how well you can guess what sort of music they would have on their iPod. How much music or the size of the iPod, and how diverse a list that might incorporate, also plays a part. My pal Erin just put her list up the other day, and already much of her list has been correctly completed by our group, and owing to her (and the group's) background in theatre, it is no surprise that there are a handful of sho…

Halfway to the Oscars, nomination-wise (and only through a slighly rigged system of counting...)

Been listening to a lot of my friends, old and new, discuss the Oscar nominations for 2009 and mention how few of the films they have seen, sometimes in an almost conspiratorial way regarding Hollywood (even if most of the nominated films would not be recognizable as "Hollywood" product in any year, past or present) and the Oscars' need to not allow popular fare into the major categories. Assuredly, I am as pissed (and shocked) as anyone over The Dark Knight getting largely cast aside, despite its not just financial but also huge critical success.

But what can you do? The Academy is the Academy is the Academy. It's hard to tell why they choose anything. Jen and I raced to Gran Torino two weekends ago, believing that it was bound for at least a half dozen noms, and it was shut out. They shot down Clint. Possibly because he and Morgan Freeman have their Mandela opus arriving next year, and the Academy didn't want to repeat themselves. Or maybe it just lost fair and …

Rik-O-Sound: Tagged and Despondent, Pt. II

I requested in the first part of this piece that you, my friends and acquaintances on Facebook, do not tag me for anything.

I said this because I was weary of the zillion and two notifications that greeted me every time I logged into the site, and I have noticed that I have begun to react to the act of logging in and finding this mass of requests the same way I do when I sense that the religious compatriots of certain of my friends are stalking about in my neighborhood on a Saturday morning. Don't answer the door -- pretend you are not home. Sometimes it's better to not log in at all than have to deal with the discomfort of blankly ignoring every single request from dozens of my friends. I feel like I am betraying all of them with every single click.

But then I remember that, in most cases, I am only on a list, and their action of clicking my name is no more personal than my action of removing their request is cold and uncaring. I am only balancing my well-being, after all. It …

Rik-O-Sound: Tagged and Despondent, Pt. I

There were two reasons why I got onto Facebook:

1) I was frustrated with my friends and their lack of email communication. Likewise, I was frustrated with my lack of email communication in return. Knowing that some of them had hooked up on Facebook led me to believe that this would be a mutually beneficial attempt at bridge-building.
2) I fucking hate MySpace.

I have railed about MySpace in the past, and will probably do so again the future (if I get to a point where I am actually involved with MySpace again -- I still have a page, which I have stopped just short of deleting several times, but only because I have a pair of friends on there that I do not have an alternate means of reaching. But I will never do any work on that page again. It's dead to me.)

As for email communication, you get what you put into it. As it turns out, my frustration is actually the same frustration I held when I lived back home over the telephone, and my lack of incoming calls from friends was actually pre…

Slipped Discs: The X from Outer Space (1968)

Director: Kazui Nihonmatsu
Japanese, 1:19, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 4

Don't blame Guilala if you don't enjoy The X From Outer Space. After all, he's doing the best he can given how preposterously he has been designed. A Godzilla-style body (down to the skin texture) attached to a head that looks like two cymbals crashing, with a chicken beak and goofy glowing eyes added for good measure. To prove he is here, Guilala also sports a trumpet-like device on his forehead that could have dropped off a tower in Whoville. And, yes, the antennae... in what might be a crude attempt to prove that Guilala really did come from outer space, and possibly to differentiate him from all those other kaiju waddling about unhindered about Japan in the 1960s, Guilala comes replete with a pair of unbelievably springy antennae. He is possibly from Mars, after all. Martians have antennae... at least, the ones I drew in school did.

At first glance, you want to laugh at Guilala, but then another feeling ri…

Recently Rated Movies 2009 #1

The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)
Director: Earl McEvoy
Cinema 4 Rating: 6

I tuned into this one partly because it starred Evelyn Keyes, who died midway though 2008, but also because it was the one film in TCM's scheduled night of movie epidemics that I had not seen. While I do not normally indulge in, or really care for, the medical thriller genre, this one seemed like it might pose to be interesting, and I was certainly not disappointed. Killer has a noirish feel from the beginning, without actually following through fully on its dark promise, but it is an extremely engaging chase through the streets of New York, as a doctor, the police and even a T-Man pursue a woman who may be unknowingly carrying smallpox through the city. Keyes is the blonde target, a nightclub singer, who picked up the disease in Cuba while attempting to smuggle a pair of diamonds into the U.S. This one moves pretty quick, darting from location to location, so look quick for a bit part played by Jim Back…

Auld Lang Cine-ma - Part II

On New Year's Day, 1987, I dragged a handful of friends to a theatre, and the bulk of them sat through at least three of the five films I saw that day.

I can no longer name all five of the films I saw on that turning of the year, though with research I could probably piece together the last one. We definitely saw the musical remake version of Little Shop of Horrors, No Mercy (which truly sucked, mostly due to Kim Basinger not having learned how to act yet and because Richard Gere is a general dickhead), Witchboard (once again, truly sucked), a forgotten fourth film, and somewhere in there, in the last example of my sneaking into a movie unpaid, we took advantage of the low security in the Fireweed Theatre and crept into King Kong Lives, the abhorrent though somehow endearing (I blame Linda Hamilton's breasts) sequel to a generally stinky remake of my favorite film of all time. (See, I was right to have ended my criminal career sneaking into it, but we also snuck into Witchboar…

Auld Lang Cine-ma - Part I

On September 12th, on our first night of our second annual Walt Disney World vacation, Jen and I attended a late evening showing of the latest Coen Bros. effort, Burn After Reading.

It would be just over two months before we attended another film inside a theatre, when we hit an opening night showing of Quantum of Solace.

Two months without a movie. I do not do this very often.

For me, it almost becomes painful to not go and see a movie at least once a week, if not more. I am at my most relaxed inside a theatre; my most at peace. Even if the movie is unceasingly violent or unfathomably decadent, I am still deeply in peace in the surroundings of the theatre, the smell of the greasy popcorn (which I only buy perhaps one time out of every ten trips or so), the stickiness of the floors (not much of a problem these days) and even in the varied reactions of the audience, either in concert with the events in the film or merely immersed in their own rudeness and ignorance. Whether a positive or …

Buzzing Thru the Pylon: Kurosawa May Be Cake, But Extra Geniuses Are the Icing

Well, I wasn't expecting this at all.

I knew that Jen's mom, Sande, was clued in on my deep admiration for the films of Akira Kurosawa when she gave me a copy of the Criterion Collection set for Drunken Angellast year for Xmas. But I really did not expect her to toss this set my way for the current holiday season:

The Great Directors, Volume 1

Five discs, five films from some of the greatest directors in film history: Chabrol, Tarkovsky, Antonioni and Schlöndorff! Oh yes... there's also that Kurosawa guy -- you may have heard of him -- represented here by Dersu Uzala, a film which not only fascinates for its incredible cinematography, but is also remarkable for letting Kurosawa film outside of Japan. Also, no samurai (or the Japanese, for that matter) to be seen at all. What you get is a vigorous though touching story set in the early 20th century of a Nanai hunter and guide who heroically leads a Soviet surveying team through the harsh Siberian wilderness, and how he comes t…