Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I'll be posting a little one year anniversary reminiscence later on next month.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Some very strange conservative activists, apparently with far too much time on their hands, launched an initiative last November to limit U.S. troops’ access to adult materials. It never occurred to me that policy makers would take this seriously, but apparently, they are.
To quickly recap for those just joining us, Congress banned sales of sexually explicit materials on military bases 11 years ago, but the Pentagon continues to allow base stores to sell magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse, which officials don’t consider explicit enough to prohibit.
The American Family Association and the Alliance Defense Fund, two religious right groups, demanded the Congress and Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes steps to scrutinize materials, including magazines and films, sold to the troops and their families.
It's bad enough that these Republican dickwads won't give them the proper equipment, extends their tour of duties, and denies them proper pay and benefits. But given that these brave soldiers are dodging bullets and shrapnel for your sorry asses, the least you can do is allow them to clean their pipes!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
On Sunday, Tony Zirkle, a Republican candidate for Indiana's 2nd District, took time out from saving the economy by shredding vintage Playboys (of course!) so he could attend a 119th birthday celebration for Adolf Hitler. He claims he was only there to talk about his experience as a state's attorney in Indiana, his wacky theories about pornography, and to preach the gospel, so of course his being there had absolutely nothing to do with his segregation plan that would allow blacks to "have six states, so instead of having one half-black senator, well they would have 12."
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
"All Carolina folk are crazy for mayonnaise, mayonnaise is as ambrosia to them, the food of their tarheeled gods. Mayonnaise comforts them, causes the vowels to slide more musically along their slow tongues, appeasing their grease-conditioned taste buds while transporting those buds to a plane higher than lard could ever hope to fly. Yellow as summer sunlight, soft as young thighs, smooth as a Baptist preacher's rant, falsely innocent as a magicians handkerchief, mayonnaise will cloak a lettuce leaf, some shreds of cabbage, a few hunks of cold potato in the simplest splendor, recycling their dull character, making them lively and attractive again, granting them the capacity to delight the gullet if not the heart. Fried oysters, leftover roast, peanut butter: rare are the rations that fail to become more scintillating from contact with this inanimate seductress, this goopy glory-monger, this alchemist in a jar."
"The mystery of mayonnaise – and others besides Dickie Goldwire have surely puzzled over this – is how egg yolks, vegetable oil, vinegar (wine's angry brother) salt, sugar (earth’s primal grin-energy), lemon juice, water, and naturally, a pinch of the ol’ calcium disodium EDTA could be combined in such a way to produce a condiment so versatile, satisfying, and outright majestic, that mustard, ketchup and their ilk must bow down before it (though, at two bucks a jar, mayonnaise certainly doesn't put on airs) or else slink away in disgrace. Who but the French could have wrought this gastronomic miracle? Mayonnaise is France's gift to the New World's muddled palate, a boon that combines humanity's ancient instinctive craving for the cellular warmth of pure fat with the modern, romantic fondness for complex flavors: mayo (as the lazy call it) may appear mild and prosaic, but behind its creamy veil it fairly seethes with tangy disposition. Cholesterol aside, it projects the luster that we astro-orphans have identified with well-being ever since we fell from the stars."
It's a simple reminder of how Mayonnaise is part of the Holy Gastronomic Quadrilogy.
Monday, April 21, 2008
It was a great film, but I was particularly stoked about it because Daniel Radcliffe starred as Jack. I'm not a Harry Potter fanatic. I enjoy the movies and that's about it. However, I do enjoy the work of the three leads, and I have been nervous about how these kids will adjust and grow after all the Potter films are complete. Radcliffe was already on his way to doing adult roles through his stage work in Equus. Now here he is with (different shape) spectacles and very British mustache "going over the top" and doing a fantastic job.
And the good news doesn't stop with him. Last week it was announced that Emma Watson was taking the place of Scarlett Johansson in the period drama Napoleon and Betsy. Nice work, Hermione!
As for Rupert Grint, he hasn't exactly taken any high profile gigs outside of the Potter films yet, but I was heartened when I read a quote from him this morning on IMDb:
"I met Lindsay (Lohan) last summer and she talked about herself a lot. She said she was going to win an Oscar before she turns 25. I just kept thinking, 'But you can't act'. I haven't met Paris and don't want to either. She and Lindsay are the type of girls you need to stay away from."Those are some smart kids.
Friday, April 18, 2008
But this should not be construed as a slight against my own hometown one-screen movie palace that is the San Marco Theatre. The San Marco is still very near and dear to my heart (not to mention my house) and it will remain my number one place to see movies here in town.
So you can imagine my dismay yesterday when I read an article in the Jacksonville Daily Record that listed the venues for the 2008 Jacksonville Film Festival ... and the San Marco was not among them. The only reason they give for their choices was that they were "...limited to those with existing projection and sound equipment", which doesn't in the least disqualify either the San Marco Theater or Theater Jax in San Marco (also missing from the list).
So why? Your guess is as good as mine, though an inside source of mine hinted that the choice was a mutual one between the new festival director and the manager of the San Marco Theater. Either way, it's a piss poor one. The San Marco is the brightest light of cinema in this town, and for the festival to completely exclude it is insane.
I've attended the festival steadily for four years now, but I think I'll see a lot less screenings this year, if any at all. I'm certainly not going to take any time off work as in previous years. This year ... it just won't be the same.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I only got to hear the guy play once. It was at this shack in the middle of the woods just outside Tallahassee. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about Blues, but it struck me that it a very fitting place to hear my first Blues concert. The guy was good, and it's a damn shame for him to die at 29. Here's to him.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
It seems inevitable, then, that these last two wars, which had bad guys we could really root against, be combined into one:
Monday, April 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I would have though that YouTube would have answered this call, but not completely. There are a few that have made it onto there, which I discovered through this list of the 50 greatest comedy sketches of all time. The State scores multiple hits on the list, three of which I've posted below. It'll have to do until MTV gets of it's bloated ass and releases some DVD's.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Pastor Richard Gazowsky is an even amalgamation of both Ed and the Pastor, though as bad as Ed is at filmmaking, even he had seen movies before the age of forty.
I'm not posting the whole story (via Metalfilter); just the first paragraph. I urge you to go read the whole thing though. It's simultaneously sad and hysterical. Like me, you'll be itching to see Audience of One when it eventually gets distributed.
Attempting to fulfill a vision and a mission, without any practical experience, can be a foolhardy, even a dangerous pursuit. Pastor Richard Gazowsky fervently believed that God would fill in for his lack of experience and help him produce the biggest and greatest epic movie ever made. But he would soon discover, if not admit, that you need a lot more than God on your side to make a movie. Michael Jacob’s amazing and sobering film, AUDIENCE OF ONE, traces the journey of the pastor and his adoring, always believing flock of eager followers in their attempts to make GRAVITY, THE SHADOW OF JOSEPH. At times humorous, other times heartrending, the documentary makes clear the foibles of a God-driven ego wrapped in the mantle of belief and faith.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
On the non-FFF side, I spent a day at Downtown Disney where I spent lots of money at Virgin Megastore, the LEGO store (natch) and the faux Irish pub that nonetheless served a pretty good fish and chips. I also saw The Bank Job at the AMC theater there and enjoyed myself immensely. Finally, on the last day there, I went to the Birds of Prey center where the Audubon society rehabilitates injured birds of prey such as owls, eagles, falcons and so forth. It's a great exhibit and it introduced me to the Northern Caracara, which makes some of the oddest noises and neck movements I've ever seen.
As I said before, the Malcolm McDowell thing was awesome. When he got up on the stage, there were two chairs set up at angles like on an interview show, but these never got used. Nobody interviewed him, he just stood there for eighty minutes and talked about his career. Best anecdote: After A Clockwork Orange came out, he was questioned by some people about the film influencing street gangs, as evidenced by gang members starting to dress like his character Alex (bowler hat, white shirt and pants, jockstrap worn on the outside). He replied, "Well you should be thanking me, then. They'll be a lot easier to spot now, won't they?"
I hadn't yet mentioned the three short films I saw before some of the features. La Corona was a short film about the larges women's prison in Columbia and how they conduct yearly beauty pageants for the inmates. Apparently it's a huge morale booster for the population, as evidenced by the entire population screaming and running about in a non-riot fashion. We get some background on a handful of the contestants and see their highs and lows during the competition. It was a nice documentary short. It also shows you that any girl can grow up to be both a guerrilla fighter and a beauty queen.
My Olympic Summer was a very touching personal piece by filmmaker Daniel Robin about his fracturing family when he was a child. This is all revealed through old 8mm home movies and a letter he found as an adult from his mother to his father (unopened). Added to this is footage from the Munich Olympics and the hostage crisis as his father was the military Chaplin that was held by the terrorists for a time before being let go. It's a very haunting story and I highly recommend it to anyone who might come across it.
If a Body Meet a Body is a short documentary about big city morgues and the people who work there. We get some fascinating views of the whole process which could turn some stomachs. With one corpse, who has no identity and was severely burned, one of the folks at the morgue cut of the thumb, fill the shrivelled thing with some liquid, and then leave in a beaker of a different liquid overnight. The next day, the pad of the thumb has filled out and solidified enough to make a legible print, thus helping identification. Again, very interesting stuff, but not for the faint of heart.
My Brother is an Only Child was your typical coming-of-age drama comedy, except it's set in post World War II Italy. I get the feeling I would have enjoyed it more if I had known more about this period of Italy's history. Apparently, there was a lot of strife between the Communists and the Fascists, who yearned for the Mussolini years. Into this mix is the standard mutual love interest of the two brothers and the jealousy it engenders. A good flick, but nothing earth shattering.
Stuck takes an outrageous true story and turns it into a unique little horror comedy. Back in 2001, a woman hit a pedestrian who crashed through her windshield. Her reaction to this was to leave him there in her garage for the next three days until he died. The movie is pretty much the same story, though I won't give away whether the pedestrian dies in the film as well. I will say that he does not go gently into that good night and has a helluva time dislodging himself while dealing with too many outright awful people. It's directed by Stuart Gordon of Re-Animator fame, and I can tell you that his penchant for gore and naked people hasn't ebbed. Good stuff for those that can handle the material.
Fish Kill Flea tells the sad story of a shopping mall that opened to great fanfare back in the seventies only to become rundown and transform into a flea market. This is not a sad ending, though, as the flea market becomes a beloved part of the community of Fish Kill, New York, and it causes a lot of distress when the owner of the property decides to tear it down entirely to build a Home Depot. It's a sad story, and the filmmakers draw some nice context with the past, though they go for more "laugh at the rubes" moments than is necessary for the kind of social message they are trying to impart.
Tuya's Marriage takes place in Mongolia where a woman does all the work on a remote farm because her husband permanently crippled himself while building a well. When she sustains a lumbar injury and is told her working will only make it worse, she is compelled to divorce her husband and marry someone who can support her. I did wonder during the film why they didn't just hire somebody, but I suppose being piss poor and out in the middle of nowhere isn't very conducive to that option. It's a very moving film and one I recommend, though the ending is a curiosity and will have you pondering the film for a while after its over (not necessarily a bad thing).
Battle in Seattle was probably the one film out of the eight festival entries I saw that has the best chance at making it to the multiplex. Fictional characters are weaved into the real life events surrounding the Seattle WTO riots in 1999. Big names here include Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Connie Nielsen and Andre Benjamin. It's a very engrossing film, though it can be on the preachy side. You're likely to come away from it either resenting the protesters or wanting to become an anarchist yourself.
Intimidad was a very touching look at a struggling Mexican trouble and their little girl as they try to make a life for themselves with some land of their own. The filmmakers themselves were there for Q&A afterwards, where they revealed that most of the profits would be going to the couple to help them pay off their property debt. Forgive me for sounding trite if I say that the two most memorable tidbits from the film were that (a) women get paid 18 cents for every bra they make for Victoria Secret and (b) the Mexican New Years tradition is to hold a rickety wooden lattice structure above your head and set it on fire.
Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story was my favorite. It's the story of William Castle, director and producer of goofy horror flicks that always had a gimmick. Far from being portrayed as a huckster, there is nothing but good feelings for the guy who apparently was just a really big kid and likable as all get out. Such reminiscence will leave a smile on your face. It's really a documentary for film geeks like me, and those of you who are will not be sorry you've seen it.
Son of Rambow comes in a very close second behind Spine Tingler as my favorite. The mood of the film is very much the same as it's time period: The eighties. You'll find yourself thinking a lot of The Goonies during this film and all the gleeful enjoyment you got from that kids-sized Indiana Jones sendup. Here we have a couple of outcast British kids that decide to make a film after being inspired by First Blood. That may sound dark, but it's not. It's a lighthearted valentine to imagination and friendship.
There were two venues that were used by the Festival. The Regal theater was, well, a Regal theater, but it was new and clean, so that made it comfortable. The Enzian, on the other hand, was a different animal altogether. There were about three levels of tables and chairs plus the lowest upfront level that had deluxe theater seats flanked by kidney-shaped couches and tables. I sat on one of these couches during Spine Tingler, which was an afternoon show and was lightly attended. I was able to lounge there and enjoy the Italian Sausage pizza I had ordered with my movie. I'm telling ya, you have to try this.
And I'll close this by presenting this ad for Peroni that they showed before two or three of the features at Enzian. Yes, it's a glorified commercial, but given how lovingly they pay tribute to La Dolce Vita, they at least knew their audience when they booked the commercial to show at a Film Festival.
Friday, April 04, 2008
A Couple Struggles
In Mexico To Unite
Their Family There.
Horror Film Huckster
Scares Them Silly, Makes Money,
And Lives A Good Life.
Eighties Brit Kids Find
Fantasy, Filmmaking And
A Lasting Friendship.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Well, it was a brand new day. After consuming a half dozen different medications over a 48 hour period, I felt a lot better.
All of this was for the best as I had a heavy schedule for today. My first event was "A Conversation with Malcolm McDowell", which packed the house. Malcolm had a blast telling stories and not giving a flying fig about what he said. It was a real fun ninety minutes and it compelled me to finally get around to watch O Lucky Man.
But on to the films:
A Decaying Mall
That Touches People Is Still
Part Of History.
One Strong Wife Must Leave
One Husband For Another:
No Easy Choices.
World Trade Ninety-Nine:
Regular People Caught Up
In World Stage Drama.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
What did I do? Spent most of the day at Downtown Disney spending lots of money on LEGO, CD's, books, an overpriced lunch and a showing of The Bank Job at the AMC 24 there. So I saw at least one new movie today, and here's the obligatory haiku:
The Bank Job
A Seventies Vibe
Plus A True Life Cover Up
Make A Great Heist Film
Because of this, I'm not felling especially wordy (even while typing), so I'll be doing my reviews in Haiku. Here are the first two I saw yesterday.
Sees Two Brothers Struggle With
Women And "Ism's"
Sex And Violence
With Immoral Dickweeds Makes
A Dark Comedy.
Julian: You better get a freak over here tonight. And no Gamma Rays neither. I don't care if she's blind, fat, no teeth, one leg in a kickstand. I ain't pledgin' no virgins. You got it?Incidentally, Mr. Esposito turns the big five-o later this month, so Happy Birthday, Giancarlo. You're a joy to watch and a joy to find quotes for.