Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thinking with Type

You're not gonna care about this one, but I sure as hell did. This is hands down the best typography book I've ever read.

This book is almost perfect. It's fantastic for novice designers to pro's. If I were teaching a typography class I would definitely make this required reading. There are certain parts I want to scan and send to Editors and Writers at work...but that would be...errr...rude? Whatever. As a designer you can really relate to this. It's casual and personal, yet it's theory driven and academic. It strikes a great conversational tone and you can just fly through it. Of course the book is a living example of what it's discussing and its killer layout just helped to bolster credibility as you read the contents. The layout is top class. It's simply the definitive book on designing with type.

You can buy it here. And this is the website for the book. I'll definitely nerd-out on that site later.

I'm not really gonna go into everything this book contains because you can surf over to Amazon on the book's site (both linked above) to get the gist. I won't say anything they won't say. In fact, they'll say a lot more. The important thing is that this book is a great shot in the arm. It helps to reestablish classic principles you already know as well as introduce you to at least a couple new things you weren't hip to before. And if you're a super nerd then you can check out all the books Ellen references throughout Thinking with Type. I like where she's coming from when she drops shit like Tufte's "Envisioning Information" or Tschichold's "Die Neue Typographie." Dig it, brothers and sisters.

the Art of Hammer

I know you already reviewed this, but since I picked it up too I wanted to give it a quick review on ye olde blog.

I found this to be a wealth of inspiration. It got me really excited as a designer. I will definitely look to this when designing future Hellmouth records. I don't mean as in simply ripping it off, but for inspiration in regards to composition and typography. There's a real variety of style depicted here because it showcases posters from all over the world. Nine times out of ten the Japanese poster is going to be the best. That's just life. They experiment with jarring juxtapositions and interesting layering effects. But anyway, they don't show a lot of Japanese artwork in here as it's focusing mostly on the country of origin (England). I should look into getting a book on Japanese film posters, though... I should look that up...

I digress. This was a quality book. Cool intro with some insight into why they choose what they choose to cover in this volume. A great selection of posters. It's awesome to see how radically different posters can be as you jump from territory to territory:

There's definitely some thievery going on within the metal community. Thievery/homage...whatever you want to call it. I spied quite a few posters that have been directly lifted for album art. Whatever. It's cool shit.

Funny thing is I'm pretty sure I read an interview with a guy from Death Breath who said he doesn't know how to use Photoshop or anything and he did this old school cut'n'paste style. However, I thought I remember him saying he drew the main dude... maybe he didn't say that. Clearly he didn't draw it any more than Quorthorn drew that fucking goat for the first Bathory album.

There's also some design inspiration going on regarding other film posters. You can see where certain designers borrowed from other designers. It's all good.

I realized that the One Million Years B.C. poster is one of the sexiest fucking images I've ever seen. If you want to get me a birthday present then I'd like the horizontal quad, please. I'll hang it on the inside of my eyelids.

Awesome book. Highly recommended for designers, painters, film nerds, horror nerds, or any kind of nerd at all.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

the Mill and the Cross

The Mill & the Cross was a better installment last night than the first flick we saw, Outrage. But I was still kind of thrown. I didn't expect what we saw at all. But it was a welcome surprise.

The film is about Breugel's "The Way to Calvary," which is a painting he did in 1564 depicting the passion of the Christ taking place in Breugel's home town. The film goes inside the painting to show you what's happening, as well as showing you Bruegel and his patron discussing the creation of the masterpiece.

The movie is cleverly created by using crazy CGI scans of the real artwork and animating and interlacing that imagery with actors and real locations. The whole flick has a cohesiveness to it, as well as a faithful interpretation of the original painting. If you know Breugel even casually then you immediately pick up on the autumnal color palette and period figures that he was famous for creating. Everyone looks like they just walked out of one of his canvases. It's pretty sweet in that regard.

I didn't expect the lack of dialogue. You could probably fit the entire script on the front of an A4 sheet of paper. It's a very sparse film that lets the action do the talking. I think this is the main reason I didn't "love" this film. It suffered a similar fate to Outrage; you just didn't care about anyone. It felt very hands-off. To a degree what they decided to show was relatively random (considering the hundreds of people in the painting), so nothing in the film became integral to the story. They could have chosen a dozen different people to portray and it wouldn't have changed as long as they kept the miller and Jesus, everyone else was ancillary and replaceable at any time with anyone else.

I dug the parts when Breugel and his patron were discussing the painting. That was genuinely illuminating from an art history perspective. I wanted it to focus on that a lot more. I expected it to.

I'm done writing this review. The flick was pretty good, but don't rush out and trample anyone to see it.
If you're into Breugel then I'd say put it on your queue. But if you're not an art history fag then don't worry about it.


I hit up two films at the DFT last night; Outrage and the Mill & the Cross. Honestly, neither of them lived up to my expectations. I never leave the DFT wishing I hadn't seen the film at hand and this was no exception, but Outrage still wasn't anything I'd suggest you run out and see. It was pretty good, but nothing special.

It's a yakuza film. There's lots of mob violence and pinky amputation as you'd expect. But Takeshi never lets you connect to anyone in the film, so you have no stake in it. You don't care what happens. One guy does something fucked up, the rival family retaliates, and that back and forth scenario continues throughout the entire film until there's pretty much no one left. So what? That's not much of a plot.

There's copious amounts of back-stabbing, shooting, and inventive homicides. But that doesn't make for a super enthralling film. If Takeshi had delved deeper into some of the characters or if they all didn't have such typically stoic personas then I think this would have been a stronger film.

It's cool. See it if you want, but just don't expect it to make any "Best Of" lists this year.

Friday, January 27, 2012

the Punisher MAX - Kitchen Irish

Once again my Norse connection comes through with the second installment of the Punisher MAX series written by Garth Ennis.

This time the Punisher is cleaning up IRA scum and paddy nitwits like only the Punisher can do. Truth be told, the gang war that erupts in the story would probably have done the job and self-destructed without Frank Castle lighting a fuse, but let's say he just hastened the inevitable.

It's a good, complete, gang war story that centers around various Irish gangs fighting amongst themselves in Hell's Kitchen. There is the usual mix of archetypical bad-guys, sadists, idiots, cops and criminal lunatics that you expect from a Frank Castle yarn.

I really dig the MAX series because it allows the story to go into the dark, fucked up places that the comics only ever implied in the past. The Punisher is an explicit comic and concept, and this mature series really does Frank justice. This is real-deal fucked up shit. And it rules hard!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Woman

The Woman (2011)

Now this was a crazy movie...or at least it ended up being crazy. Started off pretty slow. Probably could have cut about 10 mins in the middle. It did end up building to a cool climax though.

Overall the acting was decent but the woman who plays "The Woman" does a really good job. She's fucking scary and believable as the savage, raised-by-wolves, backwoods type. Oddly, the guy who captures her comes off as a creepy Will Ferrell. That's not a bad thing though, it just adds to the weirdness of the whole family.

Amy didn't want to watch this one...can't say I blame her. It gets pretty gruesome.

My main gripe would be that they didn't go into any back story on "the Woman". The man discovers and captures her in order to civilize her, yet they don't seem to say why she isn't civilized.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

I know this isn't A. Awn material but here's why I was interested; Apes Taking Over The World. Sounds like a movie I would love to see. Animals revolting against oppression. Gorillas throwing humans around like dolls. Buildings tumbling down. Nature taking back the cities.

Well it didn't quite play out like that. Not enough people being killed by gorillas for me to really enjoy this movie.

Point Blank

Point Blank (2010)

French action thriller starring Gilles Lellouche ( also plays in Mesrine: Killer Instinct). Kind of reminded me of an 80s action movie...in a good way. The plot is a bit far fetched but I'm not one to get too caught up on things like that. Streaming on Netflix with subtitles, no overdubs.


Kidnapped (2010)

This movie should have been called Hostage because weren't really kidnapped.

Anyways, this is a cool Spanish indie flick about a home invasion/ransom situation. I liked it but unfortunately it was kind of hard to really get into due to Netflix streaming it with English overdubs. The overdubs make what seems like pretty good acting come off cheesy.

The movie moved along pretty quickly and did a nice job building up tension. The ending is what I felt separated it from other movies in this genre. Don't want to go into too many details but it was a nice twist ending.

Not a must see but I did enjoy it. Having subtitles instead of overdubs would have made it even more enjoyable.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Once a Jolly Swagman

Tonight was another installment of "shitty biker movie night" at my crib. The FSMC represented and we got down with a flick from 1939 about speedway racing in jolly ol' England.

This is a departure from the normal biker flicks we eat up from the 60's in many ways. But it's also similar  on a thematic level. Bikers have been fighting the establishment for 100 years. Whether they're flying round a dirt track with a fucking ascot on or terrorizing the squares with their swastikas and Mongol attitude, rebellion is a continuous thread that unites them all. When Marlon Brando was famously asked in the Wild One, "what are you rebelling against?," he calmly said, "whaddya got?"

And then kicked ass.

Anyway, Once a Jolly Swagman was limey as fuck. Definitely not a flick that I think would get much traction in the states. Thick Welsh and English accents throughout the whole cast. A couple of us made up our own interpretations of what was being said at times.

I think everyone really dug it. The cinematography was really quite outstanding for the period. The D.P. did a fantastic job with framing, lighting, and blocking. Some of the camera angles really impressed the gang, for whatever that's worth. You could pause the film at any moment and pull out a frame and it would make a perfectly composed photo. (My all time favorite film like that is the Joy Division biopic, Control. That film is so well framed and composed I can't even explain. It was no shock to me at all when I found out the director was a photographer before he got into directing. That keen eye was evident in every frame.)

Back to the film at hand; I think this definitely transcends a film for bikers. This was a good film regardless of your preferred mode of transportation and I wouldn't have an issue recommending it to anyone who likes stylish, classic cinema.

It was funny at times (more so when you watch it with my good friend, the Magician, making comments), very well shot, exciting, and had a coherent story.

It's streaming on Netflix. If you want something a little different from what you normally watch, then check this out.

Such Hawks Such Hounds

Very amateur doc on stoner rock. I'm not really a big fan of this genre, more into doom metal personally. I do like my doom with some stoner & psychedelic vibe though.

Anyways, this was pretty blah as far as I'm concerned. The intro really turned me off. It had people like Billy Anderson, Wino and Matt Pike describing what they thought "heavy" was. They sounded like dumb asses. That wasn't the only time I was embarrassed by what was being said. The founder of Tee Pee records can actually be quoted as saying "...Sabbath are played out". He should be shot.

I really had a hard time listening to these guys talk about their art (especially with all the brain cells they've killed). Something about them blabbing on about how their music is so deep or powerful or introspective or whatever makes me roll my eyes.

I was under the impression this was going to be a little more in-depth. Supposedly covering the American underground hard rock scene between the 70s and present day. For the 70s they did a few minutes on Pentagram and that was it. Really? That was the only band worth mentioning from the 70s? They didn't even interview Liebling, Griffin or Hasselvander. Not to mention the fact that Pentagram was active through the 80s, 90s and 00s. The rest of the decades didn't go any deeper, with only brief talks about Vitus, Kyuss, Sleep and a handful of others.

Anderson & O'Malley from Sunn O))) managed to come off the most intelligible. They also kept a bit of mystique about them, as they were being interviewed in the shadows of a mountain of amps. Pike, Wino and Cisneros destroyed any image I had of them. They all sounded sad, kinda pathetic and like they've had one to many bong hits.

I've said enough. I don't recommend it, but I bet you can make up our own mind within the first 10 minutes if you feel it's worth watching. I should have watched the PJ documentary instead.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Red State

Dude, you never mentioned how intense this flick is. If you did, you certainly didn't underscore it with enough emphasis. HOLY FUCK!

I've been a huge Kevin Smith fan since day one. The guy is bone fide auteur. So it shouldn't surprise me that he pulled something like this off. I mean, it makes perfect sense that if he's going to react against what he's known for ("dick and fart jokes" as Holden references in Chasing Amy), then he's gonna go 180 degrees when he make a serious film.

Almost everything about this was different than a "normal" Smith film. Editing, score, cinematography, acting, plot, tone... But he can't (and wouldn't want to) divorce himself entirely from what makes a Kevin Smith film a Kevin Smith film. Namely; dialog and theme.

For being a Catholic, Smith has more jabs at Christianity than most anyone else of any religious denomination. In this case the film is taking aim at religious zealots like the Westboro Baptist Church, who use their warped version of Christianity as a guise/reason for homophobia, hatred and self-righteousness. He's also clearly referencing David Koresh and the Davidians. This is obviously alluded to by the weapons cache, botched ATF assault against a religious compound, and whole siege situation in general. The main preacher in the film even resembles an older David Koresh.

Smith went for balls-to-the-wall with realism. The sound of the gunfire, the merciless killing and the insanity of both the cult-members and the ATF was rendered in absolutely brutal life-like sequences.

Marie left the room and started crying about a half hour into it, then started shopping for shoes online later.

I cannot believe how fucking good this was.

I can kinda see why I didn't hear much about this, either. It's not a likable film. It clearly indicts the government in gross negligence and bullshit politics. And the depiction of the fucked up homophobic killer Christian cult was so visceral and believable, that it's not the kind of flick you just recommend someone watches. It's not for the weak of heart. It touches on some really troubling subject. A whole lot of really deeply pervasive and troubling subjects in America.

Anyway, I need to get to bed. But seriously, this was a fantastic film and something that Kevin Smith should be very, very proud of. I think it should be mandatory viewing for high school kids.

The Art of Hammer

If I could I would wall paper my house in horror movie posters.

Cool book full of some bad ass B-horror movie posters.
I could post a bunch more...but you get the idea. You'll have to check it out next time you're over.

The Guard

The Guard (2011)

Bredan Gleeson plays an Irish cop that gets teamed up with an F.B.I. agent, played by Don Cheadle. Classic buddy comedy formula. Gleeson plays the comedic relief, Cheadle the straight-laced guy. The two are working to investigate a murder and take down a international drug smuggling operation.

Brendan Gleeson is hilarious. Loved the movie. I recommend it. It's not streaming (yet) so you'll have to get it by mail.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

the Artist

We just got back from watching the Artist. I literally hadn't even heard of it until we were on our way to go see it. It ruled pretty hard.

It was directed by Michel Hazanavicius and officially came out in 2011. It's a French silent film about silent film actors in 1920s/30's Hollywood dealing with love, loss, and the transition from the Silent Era to the Talkies. I wasn't particularly smitten with it right off the bat, but I found myself being won round and getting pretty invested in the characters. Particularly Jean Dujardin's mustache and his Jack Russell. Both of which are the stars of the film. Looking at Bérénice Bejo for 90 minutes wasn't any real hardship either. I look forward to whatever else she does in the future. Both the leads did a great job, to be honest. It was a fantastic pairing. Malcolm McDowell even makes a cameo.

It's a love story. It's a movie about movies. It's French. It's got a great wardrobe and a clever soundtrack. It's got a super hot chick and a sweet mustache. You know I dig this flick.

30 Days of Night

Once again, my esteemed Norse connection let me borrow another graphic novel I've been interested in reading. However, this time I was a bit let down, unfortunately.

I thought the plot was pretty unique. I dug the concept. But I really didn't think the art or the dialog brought a whole lot to the table. This could have been gruesome, but I don't think that Templesmith's artistic style was the best match for the subject matter. The characters looked different from page to page. It's a wash of expressionistic watercolor which is cool on a frame-by-frame basis, but I feel doesn't work for this whole book. It was sort of surreal and nightmarish, but I still would have preferred something a bit more straightforward or varied.

The dialog was pretty forgettable, but the worst offender was the denouement. It was such an anti-climactic final third. It just sort of deflated. I thought maybe someone ripped some pages out of the book...

Although it's rarely the case, I could see this being an instance where the film is actually better than the book. Maybe I'll watch it later this year to see. I heard it was pretty good.

I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading this. It's a very quick read. I just wouldn't go out of your way to check it out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pearl Jam Twenty

Just got done watching Pearl Jam Twenty by Cameron Crowe. It came out in 2011 and I've heard from a few people that it was a really good doc. Those people were right on the money. This thing is well worth watching.

It's very professionally put together and flows so well. It clearly highlights the golden era, but that's what I'm more interested in anyway. I've never heard anything post Vitology. It could be the greatest shit ever. Never heard it.

I loved Ten as a youth, but Verses aged much better. Verses has that awesome blend of rawness and high fidelity. The songs are more balls to the wall. I don't wanna hear epics like Jeremy anymore. I want the short-sharp-shock of raw power rock'n'roll that Verses delivers.

Anyway, this is a very well done documentary and it's definitely insightful. I don't have a lot to say about it. If you dig Pearl Jam, just go watch it. It's streaming on Netflix now.

(Blogger kept auto-correcting the band's name to Pearly Jam. Just had to edit the damn thing a few times once I caught it.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the Alchemist

Cool title. Shit book.

I really wanted to end the review there, but I'll go on and tell you why it's shit...

This is the kind of book that people will call "life-changing." These are the same people who read the Secret or who took a Da Vinci Code tour of the Louvre. Whoever thinks this is "life-changing" is probably only one step above Twilight fans in the evolutionary ladder. Fuck Lemony Snicket, Twilight, Harry Potter and all that young-adult garbage. Anyway, the Alchemist novel might be better than the graphic novel; I don't know. I read the graphic novel and it's immediate benefit is that it's mercifully shorter than the novel. So it's got that going for it.

I'm not even gonna tell you what it's about. Just read the description from Amazon and tell me if you'd want to read it: "...The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found... The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams."

Someone shoot me. The book is filled with mystic shit about the universe all being one and everyone getting along. Jesus even makes a cameo.

But something that really set me off was the amount of typo's. These damn thing needed a decent Editor and Art Director on the case. They even used Papyrus. 

You're probably wondering why I read this damn thing? It was a gift, and the gift-giver has apologized profusely. Apology accepted.

Here are a couple alchemical songs that walk the left hand path...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Solomon Kane

"Follow along Kane's restless travels with pistol and rapier as he is compelled to be a weapon of God, ridding the world of evil wherever it may be found -- from the jungles of Africa to the high seas, and whether cannibal, demon, vampire, or pirate!"

I've read all the Solomon Kane stories by Robert E. Howard and I absolutely loved them! So I was pretty excited to read through all his adventures in comic form and I was not disappointed. A lot of these short stories appeared in issues of Kull the Destroyer and Conan the Barbarian back in the day.

Kane is brutal in his battles against all that is evil, from Satanic cults to Dracula himself. The dude is one violent and pissed off Christian! He resists all temptation when he rescues a beautiful naked young woman hanging from a tree by a rope in "Castle of the Devil". He then turns his repressed desire into rage towards all of Satan's spawns!

Although these stories deal a lot with supernatural things, these aren't as Sword & Sorcery as the Conan Adventures. All his tales take place in "the real world".

There was a movie made about the angry puritan in 2009 that's never been released in the U.S. I've seen the dvd on Amazon but it's in region 2 format. It stars James Purefoy and Maz Von Sydow. I keep waiting for a U.S. release.
The only song from the U.K. doom metal band Solomon Kane. Recorded live in 1983. Supposedly they are back together working on new material. Definite Sabbath worship.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Werewolves on Wheels

The M/C came over tonight for "shitty biker movie night." Tonight's installment was Werewolves on Wheels from 1971. The loose plot was that some idiot bikers come across a temple of Satanic monks in the desert, and the Satanic monks turn a couple of them into blood-thirsty lycanthropes.

Sounds WAY cooler than it is.

There were some cool scenes, some great bikes, and a hot 70's chick who dances naked w/ a snake and skull on top of a fire surrounded by Satanic monks in bad-ass robes. Oh wait, sounds WAY cooler than it is.

Definitely some sound-bites I could sample for Hellmouth. I heard Rob Zombie beat me to it, though.
The inconsistencies, inaccuracies and plot holes were unending. The production value teetered somewhere between zero and zilch. However, I will give it props for the best score (except Easy Rider of course) out of any biker movie we've seen. Definitely a good, hard 70s fuzzed-out score. There were boobs (which you can't say for most 60's biker flicks), so that was a plus. The intro got you psyched. It was the obligatory M/C rolling down the highway w/ sweet music. It tricked you into thinking the movie was gonna legitimately rule. I appreciated the allusion to Easy Rider early on when they got into trouble w/ a couple rednecks in a pickup truck. But in Werewolves on Wheels, retribution was served and Easy Rider's score was settled. I also appreciated the head-nod to Lon Chaney's original Wolfman later in the film. It was either an artistic homage, or the make-up dept. just ripped em off. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, unless you're a diehard moto-nerdario and you've got some pizza and good friends... I wouldn't put this in the top of your Netflix queue just yet.

The Skin I Live In


How did I miss this on my "best of" list?
This movie was incredible and I'd put it third on my list, right after 13 Assassins. I highly anticipated its release and it blew me away in the theater. How Almodovar took one of the most disturbing plots in the history of cinema, and turned it into such a beautiful movie is beyond me. He's a true auteur. Almodovar crafted a very detailed, perfectly shot, perfectly paced and perfectly cast film. I can't even tell you how amazing this movie is. I haven't seen anything since Control that has had this level of photographic beauty and framing.

(with the power of the internet I could always edit my "best of" post, eh?)

Don't read anything about this. Don't let anything you have read put you off it. Just see it.

Tony Iommi - Iron Man

If you call yourself a Black Sabbath fan then you should want to read this, but if you're a super fan like myself then you don't really need to read this.

What I'm saying is, I didn't learn too many new things about BS. Sure it was interesting to read about how afraid of ghosts Mr. Iommi is and about him having "out of body experiences". But I was looking forward to something a little more revealing. Some real dirt. Reading the tour stories was fun. All the pranks he pulled on Bill Ward. All the drugs he did. All the women he married. I did learn that Geezer is actually responsible for the riffs in some of my favorite Sabbath songs though.

But I think the real issue is that Ozzy beat him to the punch when he released I Am Ozzy last year. I'd already read about the Ozzy era. So Iron Man was just confirming the stories for me.

When it came to the Post-Ozzy era, he seemed to just breeze over each album. He only wrote maybe a page and a half on the TYR album. He even admits to not really remembering much about the making of that album.

Overall it's still definitely worth reading. Tony Iommi is Black Sabbath and you'll finish the book knowing that without a doubt.

Can't wait for the RJD biography.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This is a flick I wouldn't mind seeing again later this year. The storyline is NOT easy to follow and it deserves a second sitting. It's a Cold War era British spy movie, and it doesn't dumb itself down for the plebs on high street who come in to see the film. It's very high brow and the attention to detail is fantastic.

I think we all agreed that the costume, cinematography and sets were outstanding. Not to mention the score. It was a beautifully rich film. However, for as much tension as there was and as much intrigue, you couldn't get sucked in ALL the way b/c the plot was confusing at times. You were concentrating too much on trying to figure out who was who and who did what and why, and that stopped you from being totally immersed. That's why I think a second viewing might do it more justice.

It didn't help that I was distracted by the lady next to me who started fucking knitting a sweater in the theatre! I had to politely ask her to stop. Totally bizarre. She did. And then left halfway through.

I particularly liked their ties and some of their suits. I like paisley, what can I say. And of course there's a fabulous Citroen that you couldn't deny. Everyone loved that bloody car. First film I've watched this year, but I'll be hard-pushed to see something in the next twelve months w/ more style than this flick. More engaging? Yeah. Better? Yeah. More stylish? I doubt it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


For those of you who immediately thought of AC/DC, I salute you.

However, this post isn't about Angus and co. It's about Erik Larson's book, Thunderstruck. For anyone who's talked to me in the last few months about books you know I'm digging on Larson. Marie passed me Devil in the White City last year and I freakin loved it. So when In the Garden of Beasts came out, I picked that up and read it. And now I'm going back to read his other two, Thunderstruck and Isaac's Storm.

All of his novels I'm aware of are based on historical fact. He write non-fiction but weaves the story into a gripping novel format. It reads like a wild fictional caper, but it's all meticulously researched and quoted. Thunderstruck is 400 pages long plus 45 pages of bibliography and notes! The effort he puts into these things is phenomenal. This one is about Marconi and a killer (who they put on the 2nd biggest manhunt for since Jack the Ripper). I'm not gonna say much about what happens. It's about turn of the century inventions that changed the world forever, and murder.

Devil in the White City is similar, but way better. It's about America's first serial killer and the Chicago's World's Fair. Leonardo DiCaprio has signed up to play the protagonist in the celluloid version coming out in the next couple years.

In the Garden of Beasts is about an American diplomat and his family living in Nazi-occupied Germany in the build-up to WWII. It's significantly different from the other two and honestly not quite as good. But having said that, still worth a read.

I highly recommend Larson. Start w/ Devil in the White City then move on to any of his others. You won't be disappointed.

Another Earth

Another Earth (2011)

I'm probably behind the times with a lot of the movies I'll be posting about because I rarely go see a movie in the theater. I usually just wait for them to arrive from Netflix.

Basically it's a story about two people on opposite sides of the same tragedy that meet and form a relationship. Brit Marling did a great job as Rhoda. I believed in her pain, regret and hope for redemption.

Some really cool shots of her going about her life with Earth 2 constantly shifting on the horizon. 

Maybe it's just me but I was hoping to get drawn in a little more. I was hoping for some real transcendental shit that I could dwell on for a bit. I wanted Another Earth to actually be about another earth.

Check it out if you haven't already.

Attack The Block

Attack The Block (2011)

Cool sci-fi/horror/comedy. Deals with some young inner city hoodlums defending their neighborhood from an alien attack. In the preview it seemed like Nick Frost had a bigger role than he actually did. So I was hoping for another Shaun of the Dead type movie. I ended up rooting for the aliens to kill the kids because I didn't really find them all that likeable. Early in the film it shows them mugging a woman, dealing drugs, etc. So yeah, I enjoyed watching the "blackest of black" aliens with rows of glowing fangs chomp their heads off.

Not bad but I'd hoped for more.

Entrails - The Tomb Awaits

I won't be posting every bit of music I discover, as I take in even more music than I do movies. But I had to post about this album because I was headbanging hard during the first listen.

Obviously anyone in the know can tell just from the logo and artwork that this is a Swedish death metal band influenced by Entombed. However, these guys are better than just an Entombed clone. They can write some seriously catchy Metal of Death. It's got the Boss HM-2 distortion, lots of groove and an evil atmosphere. I recommend.


NEDS (2010)

I watched this one this morning. I'm a fan of these sorts of coming-of-age stories involving street hoodlums. In the same style as A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, This Is England, Sleepers or The Outsiders.

NEDS is streaming on Netflix for anyone interested in watching. Also it has subtitles for those of us that don't speak Scottish.

Movie List 2011

I watched 203 movies in the year 2011. Yes I know that's a ridiculous amount of time spent sitting on my couch with 2 chihuahuas, but I only work 10 days a month.

My favorite movies I watched in 2011 released in any year: (in the order I watched them)
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
2. Seven Days (2010)
3. Enter The Void (2009)
4. M (1931)
5. Mesrine 1 & 2 (2008)
6. Animal Kingdom (2010)
7. Sheitan (2006)
8. X-Men: First Class (2011)
9. I Saw The Devil (2010)
10. 13 Assassins (2010)
11. Insidious (2010)
12. Hesher (2010)
13. Red State (2011)
14. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
15. The Man From Nowhere (2010)
16. Warrior (2011)

My favorite movies I watched again during 2011: (in the order I watched them)
1. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
2. Rio Bravo (1959)
3. Halloween II (2009)
4. Clue (1985)
5. The Doors (1991)
6. Phantasm (1979)
7. Green Street Hooligans (2005)
8. Bottle Rocket (1996)
9. This Is England (2006)
10. Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
11. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
12. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
13. Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
14. The Dark Knight (2008)
15. Halloween II (1981)
16. The Exorcist (1973)

Worst movies I watched:
1. Hereafter (2010)
2. The Last Exorcism (2010)

Favorite overall new movies I watched:
1. Mesrine 1 & 2
2. Animal Kingdom ( A very close second)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Icons of Men's Style

My lovely wife bought me this book for x-mas. I was stoked b/c it wasn't even on my radar. It's a very well designed and researched book on, well, icons of men's style. The book has a great, clean layout and it's printed on nice stock. My only design/production gripe is that they didn't shingle it correctly and hence the edges of the pages have uneven margins, but no one else gives a fuck about book shingling... Anyway.
The book is broken down into different sections like Outerwear, Accessories, etc. And each chapter highlights different iconic pieces such as the trench coat, bomber jacket, harrington, aviators, and so on and so forth. The cool thing is that the author gives you the history behind each sartorial selection as well as examples of who and how they've been worn through the years. He highlights iconic pieces that have stood the test of time. There are no fads in here. These are all classics. An interesting point he makes is that men are often more focused on style, where as women are often more focused on fashion. I think that's often very true and explains why women have to throw out their wardrobe and buy another pair of black boots every year; where as men hopefully fine one pair they like and wear them till they fall apart.
Having said that, that's also why my closet gets fuller and fuller and how I end up w/ enough shoes and jackets to wear a different one each day of the month; I rarely throw anything away.
This book is tight and well worth a read if you're a male and you think James Dean, Michael Caine, and Steve McQueen knew a thing or two about threads.

the Punisher Max

I've loved the Punisher since day one. Judge Dredd and the Punisher were two comic icons that really ticked all the right boxes for me as a wee lad in Scotland. They're kind of two sides of the same coin when you think about it. One IS the law and one works around the law. Same goal, just different methods. The Max series is awesome b/c Ennis wrote it (and he's responsible for one of THE greatest comics in the history of the world; Preacher). So you know it's awesome right off the bat. Essentially, this is the Punisher turned to 11. All the gratuitous violence you expect from Frank Castle, but w/ the added wit of Ennis and x-rated language and visuals that would have blown my mind as a youth. Dig this shit. Thanks to my boss for loaning me the first TPB. Hurry up and finish the rest, mang!

Harris Tweed: From Land to Street

Yup, I bought and read a book about tweed. Don't tell me that surprises you. I actually got interested in reading about tweed when I read Boyer's book on sartorial excellence simply called "Elegance." I dug that book and wanted to read a bit more about the origins of certain fabrics and styles of dress. Anyway, Harris Tweed is a photography book for the most part. It documents how real tweed is made in the Outer Hebridies of Scotland. The author spent a year photographing and interviewing crofters and weavers and documented it all in this beautiful book. It makes you wanna ride your motorcycle across the moors of Scotland really bad! It's so freakin beautiful. I love how nature influences the colors they use for their cloth. It's very unique. Cool stuff. If you like sheep there's copious shots of sheep in here, too. FYI.

Soul on Bikes

After reading One Percenter, I was itching for more bike action so I read Soul on Bikes by Levingston and Zimmerman in a couple days straight. This book is unique b/c it focuses solely on black bikers and specifically the East Bay Dragons MC from SoCal. Again, this book is surprising b/c it's not a bullshit glamorization of biker life. Instead, the author talks about his upbringing in the South and how getting into cars on the West Coast planted the seed for an MC that's been going strong for over 40 years. These dudes have some pretty gnarly choppers and even better hair. There's definitely some crazy stories in here about rivalries, fights, and whatnot, but it's not overly dripping w/ machismo. You can't escape that, but it's not peacock bravado stuff. I think it's written w/ sincerity and a clear head since the author has been the MC's prez since their inception in the 60's. He's able to reflect w/ a better perspective than if he had written the book when the crew was in its heyday, bumping shoulders w/ Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels. (side note: It aggravated me that they DID use an apostrophe in Hells Angels throughout the book when the real MC doesn't. Barger wrote the foreword. You'd think someone would have caught that. Whatever.)
Again, another good read. Dig it.

One Percenter: The Legend of the Outlaw Biker

This book looks kinda retarded, doesn't it? But it's surprisingly well written. Dave Nichols actually writes about 1%ers from an anthropological angle in this book. He examines the predecessors and the spirit behind outlaw MCs. I was a bit worried that it was going to be like a literary version of a "Gangland" episode (which is a yawn-fest). But it was so interesting and easy to read that I actually knocked out all 300 pages or so in 24 hours! If you ride a bike then you'll really enjoy this book. Thanks to the Captain for getting me this for x-mas.

Best flicks of 2011.

While I normally compile a list of every movie I watch each year along w/ director, year it was released, where, when and with whom I watched it w/; this post is simply going to be some Best Of lists. Cuz everyone loves to argue w/ lists...

Top 5 movies I watched in 2011 that were released in 2010/2011:
Mesrine (1+2)
13 Assassins
Midnight in Paris
Africa United

Top 5 McQueen flicks I watched this year:
the Great Escape
Le Mans
The Thomas Crown Affair
Cincinnati Kid

Top 10 Biker flicks I watched this year:
Sukeban Gerira
Easy Rider
Wild Angels
Girl on a Motorcycle (aka Naked Under Leather)
On Any Sunday
Devil's Angels
Satan's Sadists
Glory Stompers
Hell Ride
Angel Unchained

Top 5 Doc's:
Planet B-Boy
Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Vidal Sassoon

Top 10 movies I watched in 2010 from any year not mentioned:
Rear Window
Enter the Void
In the Mood for Love
Tell No One
the Wicker Man
The Italian Job
Letters from Iwo Jima
Le Jour Se Léve

Top 3 worst movies I watched in 2010:
Blade Runner
Tombs of the Blind Dead
One Week

Absolute favorite film my eyeballs saw in 2011:
Mesrine (1+2)