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    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Eastern Promises

    A quick review I wrote to a friend who'd not only begged me to see the movie, but paid for it as well.

    I just saw EASTERN PROMISES. I enjoyed it. However, it felt a bit uneven to me and I really got thrown out by the voice over at the beginning, and I love voice over, but the first few just weren't grounded. I didn't know how it was I was privy to the information at that point. It wanted to be a love story, and a thriller, and an indictment of human smuggling/enslavement, and etc. It also wanted to be both her story and his story and I'm not quite sure it pulled any of that off. That being said, it did pull something off. What it was exactly, I'm not sure I have words for yet. I think for me I'd need to see it again without whatever expectations I had going in. It's definitely more European in story style and pacing. The fight in the steam bath will go down in cinematic history as being one of the most daring and realistic fight scenes ever filmed. I think Viggo was outstanding and same with Stahl, but I really don't think any of the other characters were given much to do, so I really can't blame the actors. They all did fine, I just wanted more from their characters. Truth be told, the movie I want to see, most likely because I've been overly corrupted by American cinema, is the movie that begins with the last shot of this one. I actually think it's worth a sequel of sorts, because I could watch Viggo's character all day long and I want to know how the story ends. I'd also like to see what scenes were cut out, because I felt once it was over, that I was somehow not watching the best edit of the film. I think somewhere along the line there was a slightly longer better edit. I actually think there's another ten minutes or so that should probably be in there, but I don't know what it is.

    Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, just not as much as I had hoped to. What I am glad about is that I think Cronenberg's shift both in style and content of his films that he's making the best work of his life.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    I just figured it out

    The new Flash Gordon is actually the best Saturday morning TV show since 1982. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to it, and it had nothing to do with the acting/story or special effects. It was a longing for a childhood that was lost to Saturday morning live action TV. Sleestax anyone?

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Kitchen Nightmares

    Fox - Wednesday Nights 9:00 PM PST

    One of the shows I loved to watched but cringed while doing so was HELL’S KITCHEN with Gordon Ramsey. His “in-your-face” style of teaching/mentoring/judging seemed less genuinely effective and more a show for the cameras. With his new show KITCHEN NIGHTMARES I think you actually get a better idea of who he might be. By trying to help floundering restaurants turn themselves around, even at his most aggressive, it seems a genuine necessity to be brusque. The most interesting moments are actually watching him cringe during moments of conflict between both the owners and staff and outside agents such as bill collectors. You see a business savvy in Ramsey that didn’t come across in his previous efforts. His concern for the future of the places seems genuine and refreshing. Truth be told, I think he has probably come across more truthfully on his UK shows than his American ones, and it’s nice to witness this side of him. It’s nice to see someone other than Ramsey tearing the kitchen apart. I’ll be checking back into this show.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    SciFi Friday

    The through line of the new series FLASH GORDON is, “How can we take the really interesting bits of Flash Gordon and make it filmable for ten cents?” We have the technology to not repeat the serials of the 40s and 50s. Why can’t we pull it off? Might as well dig Buster Crabbe up and make him into a marionette. It’d be more interesting. I’ve come to this based on many things, but solidified it on the portrayal of the “Hawkmen” as testosterone laden idiot cape gliders. FLASH GORDON gives shows like HURCULES and XENA a bad name. At least they knew what they were, and we loved them for it.

    The Friday Sci-Fi line up is antithetical in that it begins with the new DOCTOR WHO and ends with PAINKILLER JANE. It’s basically telling the audience to tune out after the good stuff. They should have done it in reverse order, so people would suffer through two hours of crap to get to DR. WHO. When was the last time anyone said that about Dr. Who, and I’m the biggest Dr. Who fan I know?

    On a good note, Sci-Fi has finally found HAUNTED and is premiering it Wed, Sept 26. Watch this show, of course knowing it will never fully evolve. I’m pretty sure it never even made it to 9 eps. But what I remember, it was solid, honest and scary in ways no show has been since. Plus it’s Mathew Fox of LOST being righteous in a completely new and interesting way.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007


    test post via e-mail.

    Saturday, September 08, 2007


    I have much laundry to wash today and should have RSVP’d a Columbia Alum get together that is occurring tonight. I couldn’t bring myself to drive an hour and a half round trip to take part in the thing even though I think it could possibly be of use to me in the future. I’ll see what the e-mail update brings with regards to how they all decided to help each other get ahead in the industry. Saturdays are odd for me. The whole weekend is really. It’s the only time during the week where if I want I con devote the whole day, or two, to working on my stuff with as few interruptions as possible. Of course other things happen on the weekend that I should do, but I usually don’t. Sometimes on Saturdays I walk to the mall in the morning to see a movie. Nothing really to see today except for 3:10 TO YUMA, which I’ll probably see next weekend, and I woke up too late to care about trying to get there before 10:00 AM.

    I should really drive around in my car and try to find a place to recycle all of the recyclables I’ve built up both in the trunk of my car and next to the door to my apartment. Every time I’ve tried before the places have either not existed where they were supposed to or were closed on the weekend. It’s starting to look like I’m a hoarder and soon I’ll have to build a tunnel through the debris just to get into the apartment. So, I think they’re going down the trash chute today. I’ll feel bad about it, but maybe a few homeless can profit from my lack of any further motivation to recycle. Lucky for whoever finds them that they’re already rinsed out and separated into convenient plastic grocery store bags. I’ll take care of the trunk load at some later date and may just keep those packed in as extra cushioning should I get rear-ended on the road.

    I finally opened a checking account here and found that the thing it is most useful for is getting rolls of quarters for bus and laundry. Up till now it’s either been steathful use of the change machine at the laundry mat down the street or begging and pleading the bartenders for quarter love.

    During the week I’ve been working my way through MEADOWLANDS and really enjoy the show. I’ve mentioned it here before. It’s a BBC show via Showtime in the states. I’ve also been waiting to finish watching JEKYLL, which I’ve only seen the first ep of so far. I’m not sure they know what tone they want, but it’s completely enjoyable and hopefully as it continues they’ll settle in. The thing I love most about the BBC is the risks they take with new shows. Of course they limit seasons to 6, 8 or 12 eps, which is great because then a show can mature slowly and if it doesn’t come back, there’s a nice short arc that doesn’t have to end with a major story cliffhanger. While I don’t think the first season of ROBIN HOOD was as solid as it could have been I’m still looking forward to the second. There’s also a show called AFTERLIFE I want to check out. As usual, it looks like the BBC has done a nice twist on the “I see dead people,” trope. There have really only been two shows of this genre I’ve really liked. One was HAUNTED, which was killed after 5 or 6 eps and the other was THE OTHERS, which lasted half a season I think.

    Oh well, warmed the keys with the blog and no reason to bore you further.

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007


    It would seem that I left the house without my regular glasses, so today shall be conducted with sunglasses only, making me seem more cool all day than I actually am.

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Labor Day Weekend

    I’m driving to Bakersfield today to see a friend who was supposed to be coming to LA, but got sidetracked for “Logistical” reasons. Of course Bakersfield is in the middle of a heat advisory, so it should be 110+ degrees there. It should be a fun drive over the most dangerous stretch of the 405, better known as The Grapevine. My tires have odd wear on them and actually need to be replaced, but I don’t currently have the funds. Hopefully nothing will blow as I travel north into what most people in LA believe to be an actual Hell dimension. Nothing like spending Labor Day weekend sweating in an air-conditioned car with one eye on the road and another on the temperature gauge for the engine. Ever since I had work done on the car, long drives elicit a small burning of radiator fluid, which exits from under the hood on the drivers side as white smoke.

    10:30 AM – I arrive in Bakersfield having survived the road and did a bit of shopping at Target. I then went across the street and walked around in the mall to keep cool. I called my friend to check on progress of the Volunteers Cruisin’ crew who are riding motorcycles from Berkeley, CA to Knoxville TN in a fund raising effort in support of Breast Cancer research. As of noon, all she could say was that they were hours away but had no idea beyond that. She suggested I go see a movie, which wasn’t a good sign.

    Luckily for me there was a theater behind the mall so I caught the 1:15 TRANSFORMERS. The film was actually enjoyable before the Transformers began to talk. For some reason the screen writers though that at that point the movie should diverge from action film to an action film geared toward 12 year olds. I’m an old fan of the original cartoons, but there was no reason this movie could not have been dead serious. There’s a scene where all of the Autobots huddle outside the protagonist's house while he retrieves the “important object”. The thought of putting a robot driven slapstick scene into this movie made me cringe. But, at least the air conditioning was working in the theater.

    After the film I called to check on their progress, but had to leave a message. I called three more times over the next two hours, but to no avail. I was starting to get a bit worried. I drove to the hotel where we would be staying but they weren’t there so I parked my car in the shopping center lot in front of the hotel and sat sweating for another forty-five minutes or so.

    At 5:15 PM I gave up and went into the BLACK ANGUS restaurant in the lot of the shopping center and left one last message warning that I was beginning to drink and they’d better arrive soon. About a hour later she finally called and told me there’d been no cell range. I was greatly relieved and it took the edge off the building anger that I’d wasted an entire day, 8 hours at this point, in a place I had no reason to be.

    They finally arrive around 8:30 PM, which put me about five beers in. I got some dinner and then finally had about 5 hours to catch up and talk before going to bed around 1:40 AM. Woke up this morning with the wake-up call at 5:45 and then finally dragged myself into something resembling alive around 7:30 AM and joined the crew outside as they geared up for their second day of cross country travels.

    I got back to LA around 10:30AM this morning and that was pretty much my Labor Day.