Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hell's Angel

Seems like about 75% of the books I read are non-fiction, and most of those are bio's. I think 2012 is the year of the bio for me. Did the Mayan's make any reference to that? Probably not. Idiots.

Anyway, I made it through Sonny Barger's bio pretty quickly. It's alright. His writing is pretty mediocre. It's like reading Lemmy's bio, y'know. He's hardly Wordsworth. The thing that I didn't like (or one of the things) is that I felt like I could tell the difference between a passage mostly penned by Sonny and a passage penned by the Zimmerman's (who "helped" him write it). Now, Keith and Kent Zimmerman both helped in writing Soul on Bikes, which I thought was considerably better. It was much more fluid and definitely more mature and high brow than this particular tome. Ok, so no shocker that Sonny Barger isn't terribly poetic. Moving on...

The book starts a little disjointed and then goes back to its roots and starts the narrative properly. It was like a false start or something, so I wasn't looking forward to it right off the bat but mercifully it got better. The book basically lays out the history of the Hells Angels as it relates to Barger. He started the Oakland chapter and it follows him as the M/C becomes what it becomes. For better or for worse, Barger is the nucleus of the HAMC. The thing I find odd is that for all the cries that the Angels make about not being a criminal organization and just being out to ride bikes...it sure doesn't seem like that according to Barger. While he never outright says they killed this person or trafficked drugs and guns to that person, a lot of the stories sure revolve around killing, torture, drugs, money, prison and guns. These guys are not saints. True, I know the media sensationalizes things and pins things on them they didn't do, but it's not like they're choir boys.

It's good to hear the stories from the horse's mouth. There are some really cool passages when he's talking about riding 200 strong and generally being rebellious. It's freedom. It's cool. But there are lot of times when he's talking about cocaine and revenge killings and time in the pen', which isn't so cool. It's one hell of a crazy ride, that's for sure. It's amazing he's not dead or currently in jail. Seriously. How he managed to dodge the bullets (literally and figuratively) is beyond my comprehension. Even cancer couldn't kill him!

Sonny is a gearhead and he rode some awesome bikes. The shots of the Angels in the 50's and 60's are bad as fuck. The summer of love, the music, the bikes...I dig that part of the book. The 80's just got all gangsta. I'm sure they started attracting far more criminals on bikes as the years went on, rather than bikers who turned criminal.

It's like reading an episode of Gangland or something. But without the stupid deep voice and ominous synth. I'm gonna buy Hunter S. Thompson's book about the Angels and see what he had to say. I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between the two books. Sonny can't be all that forthcoming (for fear of self-incrimination) and Thompson will be full of journalistic hyperbole, I'm sure.

So yeah, you pretty much know what you're getting yourself into if you buy this. It is what it is. I don't regret reading it, but I wouldn't rush out to buy it tomorrow.

Amazing bike! Springer front end, HUGE wheels, tough looking can, sweet bobbed fender. Love the whole thing.

Scary lookin dude.

Bad ass.

If you squint your eyes he has a slight resemblance to Clean Cut's dad.

She-Devils on Wheels

Worst. Movie. Ever.

So, I checked the Starz movies that are streaming on Netflix to see if I had any that I needed to watch before Netflix loses the rights to them tomorrow. There were a few I was sad to see go, but I can always get them on disc (like Ashes of Time Redux). No biggie. Anyway, She-Devils on Wheels has been in my queue for over a year and with two days left I decided to watch it at lunchtime with Bandit here at work.

The production values on this movie are so bad they make Plan 9 From Outer Space look like Terminator 2 in comparison.

It's hard to pick a worst movie ever. But in a pinch I'm gonna have to go with this one. It had everything wrong with it. We've already established that late 60's biker flicks don't generally have the best actors around. That's a given, but this all girl cast of "Man Eaters" were the worst of the worst. They were either stiff as a board, or bordering on acting in a children's pantomime (Is there an American equivalent of a pantomime? It'd be like if you were acting on stage with Gumby or Barney or something). Anyway, these chicks were awful. What I find slightly hard to believe is that these chicks were mostly real bikers. I've read that in a couple places. It's clearly obvious they're not actors, but for bikers they don't really know how to handle their bikes. I need to re-read the entry in my "Big Book of Biker Flicks" to see what else it says about this movie.

Regardless, the men weren't much better. But it wasn't just the rotten acting that made this possibly the worst film ever made. The opening credits sucked, the music was disjointed and inconsistent, the plot was paper thin, the theme was generic and uninspired, the audio was shitty, the continuity errors were so vast that if you entered them on imdb you'd probably crash their server, the dialogue was beyond juvenile, the effects were atrocious, the editing was crap, and the worst violation of all was the unbelievably poor camerawork. Holy fuck, I've never seen a motion picture with such lousy camerawork. Apart from being poorly edited and having no artistic vision, the technical operation of the camera was ghastly. Panning was never smooth. Focus was out. I think they might have had one camera to shoot the whole film with. And whoever operated it clearly hadn't peered through a viewfinder before. People can make far more sophisticated and artistic movies on their iPhones in a day than these guys pulled off with this movie.

As for the audio, I think they had one boom mic for the whole movie and the direction was to pretty much yell so you could be heard. There was a particularly funny scene when the chick clearly turns off her bike but the audio dub of the motor is still running loud as ever.

Anyway, the film is about a gang of motorcycle chicks who race each other to determine the order in which they choose their "stud". Essentially, they go over to a club house with a bunch of pansy ass dudes and choose who they want to bang. And by bang I mean just roll around fully clothed on the ground cuz it's a PG flick from 1968. The orgy scenes leave much to be desired. They do this a couple times. They get in some hassle with some dudes in cars. They beat up one of their dudes, they beat up one of the chicks, and then the chicks exact a cunning revenge and get all giggly when they kill someone. There's an obligatory "drag someone from the bike" scene, too. The plot sucks. The chicks are ruthless. The men are wimps. But this one Richie Cunningham looking dude has a sweet 'vette.

I can't believe I'm writing this much about such a bad movie. Needless to say, I don't recommend this. But in a bizarro way it actually kept me entertained for the last two lunch hours...

Stunning effects. I almost thought it was a snuff film. Yup.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ghost Rider: Hell Bent & Heaven Bound

Little disappointed in this one, to be honest.

I haven't read Ghost Rider since I was a wee lad. I used to read it in the early 90's when I was reading Deathlok, 2000AD and Punisher. While Punisher and Judge Dredd hold up and I still love em, this particular Ghost Rider series had me pining for what I perceive to be the glory days. I thought the art was lack-luster at times and the characters were just a little too stilted.

I wasn't engrossed. And that sucks because what's fucking cooler than the spirit of vengeance riding a freakin flaming motorcycle with a fiery skull and spikes?! It's all right there, all you have to do is write a compelling story around such a bad ass character. I just didn't care what happened.

I'm going to go back to the 90's comics and see if I can find a much better writer/illustrator combo and try again...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight

I just watched Milton Galser: To Inform and Delight. I was eating vegetarian meatballs with spaghetti and arrabiata sauce and I needed something to mellow out to. The sauce was too spicy and the flick was luke warm.

This is a surface level kind of second rate documentary on an important icon of graphic design. Milton Glaser is like the Tiger Woods of graphic design. He's big. But honestly, his work doesn't move me in the way say Paul Rand's does. Or obviously Saul Bass's work. I'm not really taking anything away form him or trying to knock him, but I don't look at his pieces in awe. But he's really important to the movement, especially from a sort of revolutionary perspective. He opposed Swiss design when it was all anyone was doing. He's much more eclectic and illustrative in his approach. But at the end of the day I'm just not that into his work. Cool dude. Great ideas. Iconic. Whatever.

The documentary isn't that good. It's fine if you want to eat your pasta and chill out and you're an art director. It's a waste of time if you're not an art director. There are many far superior design docs out there that I would recommend to non-designers. Helvetica, Objectified, Julius Shulman, Art & Copy...

Skip it. Watch Helvetica.

(this is a shitty trailer for it. looks like it was made by PBS. the real documentary is a lot edgier, for lack of a better term, than this make it out to be. why the hell would you use Futura in the titles when you're talking about a film that's solely about Helvetica?)

Steve Jobs

Last night I finished the behemoth tome you see pictured above. Steve Jobs. What a dude.

It's close to 600 pages and I could have read another 300 easily. It's a fascinating book that really follows Steve from one revolution to the next. It's incredibly insightful and very well written. Steve, as per normal, didn't pick a dud when he chose Walter Isaacson to write his bio. He hounded Walter to do it and gave him unrestricted access to himself as well as anyone else he could possibly want to interview to get the goods for this book. In fact, Steve didn't even want to read it before it was published. It wasn't supposed to be some sugar-coated bullshit to boost his ego. It's a riveting true story about a motherfucking genius.

I really took a lot away from the book as it relates to my art and my career. It's inspirational, but not in an Oprah book club kinda way. More like in a gnarly counterculture fuck you I won't tolerate anything but the best out of myself and my company type of way. He's a measuring stick for integrity. But he's also flawed as hell. And the duality is clearly recounted in this book. It's not all roses.

I'd recommend this book to anyone with eyes.
But moreover, I'd consider it essential reading to anyone in business.

Steve was the man. It actually bums me out to see his picture. I feel a genuine loss that's he gone after reading this book. I think the world honestly lost someone great who will be remembered in the same league as Henry Ford.

I'm not gonna go into what Apple has meant to me, my art and my career. I'm hungry and I need to finish this post without getting carried away. But the bastards better come out with the new iMac asap. I want to upgrade to the 27"already. C'mon, Tim, it's overdue! Chop chop, get those Foxconn workers on it double-quick.

Elite Squad (2007) & Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)

Oh man, this is what gritty, action-packed, true crime dramas are all about. I didn't even feel like I was watching a movie at times. It felt more like a documentary about a different planet. That's how far removed our worlds are from the one in these movies.

I started watching Elite Squad: The Enemy Within before I realized it was a sequel. And although it's obviously better to watch them in order, I don't feel it took anything away from my enjoyment of the films.
Both movies were great but I thought the second film was the best. It had a larger budget and a better look in my opinion. The violence in these movies was graphic and ruthless. Like I said before, I felt like I was watching actual footage of these things happening. 

The pace is pretty fast throughout both films. Lots of fast dialogue and small but important characters, so you really need to pay attention. I'm guessing the subtitle translation isn't completely accurate at times but that's a minor complaint.

Obvious comparisons are to City of God, The Departed and every inner-city gang style movie yada yada.

The sequel is streaming on Netflix but you'll have to order the dvd of the first one.

Dirty Deeds

I wasn't a fan of AC/DC until we saw them at the Palace a few years back. That night they blew me away.

Reading this book had a similar effect. Not that I was blown away by Evans writing skills but just by how bad ass AC/DC were. Nothing makes you appreciate something more than knowing all the blood, sweat and tears involved in making it happen.

Not every book on rock bands that I've read has had this effect on me though. So that's why I'm recommending this one. It's way better then White Line Fever. Slightly better than Iron Man. But not even close to as good as I Am Ozzy or The Dirt.

One similarity between this book and I Am Ozzy is that it makes me want to read a different book on the main force behind the band...in this case ANGUS. That dude seems like he would have some real shit to say. The only real thing I learned about him was that he preferred "ciggies & tea" to booze & drugs and that he was an anti-social little cunt. But based on these things, I really would like to read a book from his perspective.

You should borrow this.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oscar Nominated Shorts

Marie and I drove down for this year's Oscar Nominated Shorts at the DFT. As per usual it was packed. Probably sold out. Parking was a bitch and we were surrounded by bitches. Why is it that some people laugh at fucking everything? It's like these people only get out the house once a damn year. I can't imagine what they'd do if they saw a truly hysterical film. Would they actually die? Would they piss their pants? It's just like when we go to the Redford and people are laughing out loud at some Hannah Barberra cartoon that they show before the film. Really? Porky Pig cracks you up that much? Elmer Fudd's speech impediment is still funny as an adult?

Anyway, this year was different because the DFT only showed the nominees, where as normally they show the nominees plus a few other films, too. Runners up and whatnot. So tonight's endeavor wasn't as butt-numbingly long as it normally is. The five animated shorts ran about an hour total, half hour intermission, and then about an hour and three quarters for the five live action shorts. It all flowed really well.

The animated shorts were A Morning Stroll (UK), Dimanche/Sunday (Canada), The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (USA), La Luna (USA) and Wild Life (Canada). Marie and I both liked Wild Life the best. It had hands down some of the most incredible scenes in it. I think A Morning Stroll was probably our runner up. I'll give my prediction to Wild Life. La Luna was a Pixar film and just a little too soppy. Good, but ehhh. Same for The Fantastic Flying Books...it was too sentimental, even though it was a good little flick no less.

The live shorts were Pentecost (Ireland), Raju (Germany/India), The Shore (N. Ireland), Time Freak (USA), and Tuba Atlantic (Norway). For me, Pentecost stole the show. It was pretty fucking funny. I think maybe so because I grew up in the UK so I could relate to the premise a little bit better, but still, it got a great response from the audience. Raju was the runner up for me, but certainly wouldn't surprise me if it won the Oscar. In fact, I'll bet it does. It was really well done. I liked the Shore, too. Again, very well done. Funny and touching. It had an actress from Intermission (great flick) and the HBO series ROME. It starred Ciaran Hinds from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and ROME. Time Freak was alright. Funny premise, but it seemed more like a student film than an Oscar winner. Tuba Atlantic was kinda crap. It was alright, but not very compelling.

All in all an enjoyable evening.

Friday, February 17, 2012

the Mini-Skirt Mob

"They ride hard...no matter what they're mounted on!"

This was slightly unusual for a biker genre film. It's from 1968 so it's right in the midst of the genre, but it stands out from the pack due to the sinister jilted lover played by Diane McBain. She's actually a cut above the normal bottom of the barrel acting we're used to from films of this ilk. But of course she isn't backed up by anyone with any real acting capabilities either, so the film is still filled with poorly delivered lines from a script that a teenage boy could have written in between classes in high school. As you well know, that's a winning combination. Crap dialog, shit acting, motorcycles, and hot chicks in mini-skirts. It's all good, brothers and sisters. It's all good.

Most of the characters, nay, all of the characters in this film are morons. Biker films of this vintage aren't generally filled with Nobel laureates and rocket scientists, but still, even for biker films these guys seemed dumber than dumb. Single digit IQs all around. Maybe it's cuz most of them were rodeo bikers (an odd concept, I know). I felt like I was watching "George Dubya: The Early Years" or something like that. I gotta say, I prefer my bikers to be bikers...not redneck rodeo douches. But that was one of the film's unique angles, I guess. Some of the actors went on to do a lot of movies you'd recognize, actually. And some of them are biker genre regulars.

It had all the hallmarks you want from a biker flick like the obligatory 60's love-in scenes in the dessert, and great chase sequences. There were some hilarious lines delivered in this movie. Sometimes accidentally and sometimes not. But we were rollin' quite a lot. I'll tell you what though, they got some hot chicks for this flick with knock-out bodies! Holy smokes, a couple of these broads had incredible bodies by anyone's standards. I was really digging on Sherry Jackson (Connie) and Patty McCormack (Edie). They knew how to cast for legs that looked great in mini-skirts, that's for sure. Mmm mmm.

Oh yeah, the plot: Arizona rodeo champ leaves his biker gang and crazy-ass (but hot) biker chick to marry a "normal" chick who works at a bank. Said chick is hotter than his ex and nowhere near as crazy. She also seems to be a bit of a nympho. So he trades up. Good for him. However, the ex is scorned and vows to exact revenge to sooth her broken heart. She'll either get her rodeo biker back, or she'll kill them in the process! She manipulates all the goons in the gang to terrorize the rodeo star and do her evil bidding. Death and calamity ensue.

It's a good flick. I mean, it's shit. But it's worth watching if you're into hot 60's biker babes and Bonnevilles. And who isn't?

Foxxy Lady

Nice shorts, bro. He's a bit of a pussy to be honest. Like a third-rate Steve McQueen. But he got a lot of ass.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I just watched NEDS, and would you bloody believe that there's no way to turn the subtitles off even with the DVD?! It's like a conspiracy against me. I found it pretty distracting at times to read the English subtitles when I can understand everything they're saying. Granted, unless you've spent any considerable time in Scotland this movie would seem like the actors came from another planet. (The subtitles weren't always accurate, either.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed it. Immediate comparison to This is England, which I would definitely give the edge to. But still, this was top class. A pretty good performance from most of the cast. Normally I hate child actors, but these guys pulled it off. 

While I never got caught up in knife fights or otherwise hospitalizing other kids, this is a very accurate portrayal of Glasgow youth culture. The side I stayed away from as much as possible. Fortunately it doesn't represent everyone, but it's rampant and pretty saddening. The fucked up part is how young these idiots are who are walking around with shivs, just looking to stab anyone for no reason. Doesn't matter who you are, if there's a half dozen wide-o's looking to rumble, they'll make it happen.

A couple other British flicks you might want to look into are This Sporting Life and If.... They're both by Lindsay Anderson and If.... features none other than Malcolm McDowell in the lead. The former is a kitchen sink drama and the latter is a more art house school boy rebellion flick. Definitely recommended. And both easier to understand than NEDS. 

Also, if you want some real bleak kitchen sink shit then check out Nil By Mouth by Gary Oldman. I have all these on DVD btw if you need to borrow them. I'd suggest both Anderson films first, but if you want some self-masochistic realism then watch Nil By Mouth.

Back to NEDS: I liked the story, pacing and editing. It's definitely not half bad and anyone reading this other than you (Hammer of Doom) could do no wrong by adding it to their Netflix queue. 

Y'know the beginning when they're showing how the teachers are? That's accurate down to a T. 
Teachers in Scotland are maniacs. 

Midnight In Paris

I know you really liked this and I had heard lots of good things about this one....but I am not a Woody Allen fan.

I can appreciate the idea behind this film because I consider myself rather nostalgic. What I cannot appreciate is the dialogue and Owen Wilson. Wilson has been all downhill since Bottle Rocket (ok, I liked Shanghai Noon). He is just so sappy, which I guess goes well with Allen's dialogue.

Obviously we're supposed to figure out that Wilson and his fiancee don't go well together but it's just soo obvious. The conversation between those two characters was not believable. Really? There's a woman out there that's completely bored by Paris? I doubt it. I'm not even gonna talk about how bad of characters her parents were.

Whatever though. I didn't hate it. I just didn't think it was that great. My favorite part was the opening credits. It got me really excited to be in Paris this spring.


This is a movie about Irish republican Bobby Sands and the hunger strike he lead while in prison in 1981. It's no secret, so it's no spoiler that he was on strike for 66 days before eventually dying. You'll be treated to some brutal, disgusting violence, as well as seeing what exactly a "no wash" protest is.

Violence, male nudity and feces make this movie difficult to watch, but well worth it. Michael Fassbender makes a insane physical transformation into a man starving to death that is equal to Christian Bales performance in The Machinist.

Overall the film is pretty artsy. There's a great single shot scene that lasts about 17 minutes and that's probably the most dialogue in the whole movie.  You don't really get to know any of the characters too well but that doesn't diminish their importance. For example, there are two prison guards that have little to no dialogue and are only in a couple scenes but they show two very different/critical sides of the prison guards viewpoint.

It's director Steve McQueen's first feature film and the first movie I've seen of his. I've been wanting to see his other movie Shame that came out last year, also starring Fassbender.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


This probably isn't in your queue...but I think it should be. The acting was top notch.  JGL delivers a great performance as usual and Seth Rogan is funny as usual. I actually prefer Rogan in a supporting role like this one. His schtick can get old when he's the lead actor. Anjelica Huston has a small role but does a great job as the overbearing/overwhelmed mother. 

The movie is 50/50 funny and sad...go figure. I don't usually find myself getting involved with a movie emotionally but there were a few scenes that were sad as hell. Got a little teary eyed. 

Check it out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Page One: Inside the New York Times

I watched Page One: Inside the New York Times last night before I hit the sack. Being in the publishing industry I was interested in the premise of the documentary. It focuses on the "demise" of print media and the growth of digital media as it relates to the New York Times in particular.

Our company has shifted from being a litho printer to developing mobile web, mobile applications, video, etc, and seen a very real decrease in print-runs. Print will never die. It just won't, and I don't want to get into a discourse on why print is superior or necessary...but just like most things in life, moderation is the key. It's no longer a one-sided industry. There's a blend of media out there and that's the present and that's the future. You can't get better than a gatefold record experience with a fucking mp3 any more than you can get better than a beautifully printed book with a download to your iPad. But vinyl doesn't play in your car, and you can't take that that oversized tome with you on the subway. So we need both.

Anyway, this flick is very well done, down to the Phillip Glass-esque score. It has high production values and it's very well edited. The film is about how newspapers are collapsing on the one hand, and how consumers are consuming information on the other hand. It doesn't really play out like you expect it. It's not some bullshit heavy-handed diatribe against the internet. It's smarter than that.

I found it very enlightening and palatable. The politics don't go over your head and the jargon isn't over the top. This is an excellent documentary and I'd recommend it to anyone. While we're on the topic of slick documentaries, I want to mention Client 9: the Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. I watched it last year and while it won't get a review on Cürrent451, I would definitely suggest you watch it, too!

If you're gonna bang a top-dollar hooker, it might as well be Ashely Dupre.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Being Elmo

I didn't even know Elmo was red. I thought he was blue.

Well, unless you consider him black.

Marie heard an interview on NPR with Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo, a while back. She said the movie sounded interesting so we checked it out at the DFT last night.

I'll pretty much see anything at the DFT because they have the best curator in town. I'd wager to say one of the best in the country. And Being Elmo was no disappointment. It wasn't terribly well done, it seemed somewhat low-budget to be honest, but the story was well told. Kevin was engaging and he seemed like a really genuine, nice dude. As bizarre as it sounds, he's been passionate about creating puppets ever since he was a little kid growing up in Baltimore. Even when kids would bully him for it. He should have been playing ball or whatever. He was just into puppets. Whatever floats your boat.

The film shows how he simply stuck to his guns, followed his dreams, and insert any other cliched lines you want...and ended up as an integral part of Sesame Street. He had the desire and managed to make it a reality. He was mentored by his idols and now he's carrying Jim Henson's torch.

I dunno why but it was a pretty emotional ride. I think it's cuz Kevin seems so selfless.

I wouldn't run out and see this, but I'd throw it on your queue and check it out some time when you're feeling in a documentary mood about something you know absolutely nothing about.

Like I said, I thought Elmo was blue.

Rosemary's Baby

I just finished Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. Marie had an old edition from 1968 kicking around the house so I thought I'd check it out.

It's a bummer reading it when you know what's gonna happen. It loses the thrill of the plot unfolding when you know damn well who's in on the conspiracy, but whatever. It's a good read nonetheless. It's really quick and accessible.

I really dig the design of the book cover. And the original poster (with the type at the bottom) is one of my all time favorite posters. I almost bought an original for $195 or so a while back. I thought that was a fair price. It's a fucking awesome poster and an incredible film.

Reading this book in the 60's would have been a trip. It's a callous and terrifying premise for a novel. The book builds at a pretty slow pace but starts to gain and gain towards the latter half as the pieces of the puzzle start slotting together. Levin puts in the work up front and it really helps for the pay-off in the end. It's a bleak ending, but really pretty satisfying. I think endings are the hardest part for any author to get right, but Rosemary's Baby nails it pretty well.

Again, I don't have to say much on this. You've seen the movie, now read the book. It's quick and it's worth it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fallen Angels

If Quentin Tarantino was on vacation in Hong Kong in 1995 and he had a dream about Nouvelle Vague cinema, then it might end up looking something like Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels."

Crystal clear? Good.

I'm a huge Wong Kar Wai fan. I've got two more flicks to see and then I would have seen his filmography. I need to see his debut and Ashes of Time. I'll watch em both this year. Maybe I should watch all of them in order in 2012. That sounds like a grand plan!

Anyway, not only does he write the most compelling stories, but much like Tarantino, he uses a select group of actors and artists to craft his movies time after time. What will the next Tarantino film be like now that his long-time editor, Sally Menke, has passed away? She was so key to his visual style. In the same way Sally was crucial to Quentin's output, Christopher Doyle seems like a cornerstone in Wong Kar Wai's jigsaw puzzle. He is an incredible cinematographer who has an instantly recognizable style. He bathes his films in a beautiful wash of deep light. You know the scene in Vertigo when the neon sign of the hotel outside the apartment is glowing red and casting a rich hue across the room? That's like the predecessor to Christopher Doyle right there. It's like his films are deep oil paintings but somehow rendered with watercolor.

I haven't really touched on Fallen Angels in particular, though. It's cool. It's about a hitman and lost love. It's slow and kind of dream-like. It has a couple different plots that loosely connect to one another. They're firmly connected thematically, though. There's a good amount of shoot-em-up action. Great soundtrack. The 'partner' is super hot.

Wong Kar Wai is like a romanticized, self-mutilating, art-fag Quentin Tarantino. And I mean that in the highest regard to both men. They're the two greatest directors on Earth right now, in my humble opinion.

Having said that, if I were new to Wong Kar Wai then Fallen Angels wouldn't be my first choice for an introduction. Or even second or third. I would start with his greatest achievement, In the Mood for Love. Then go to Days of Being Wild, then Chungking Express, then 2046, and then Fallen Angels, Happy Together and My Blueberry Nights (his only film in English, and unfortunately upon seeing it in the theatre in Thailand I wasn't very impressed. I'll definitely watch it again this year, though). I can't comment on As Tears Go By or Ashes of Time as I haven't seen either yet.

By the way, I want to mention that I actually sat down to stream NEDS tonight but once it came on I realized that it was fucking subtitled. It's in English for fuck's sake. I don't need subtitles to watch something in English!!! It really pisses me off that just because it's shot in Scotland it defaults to subtitles. If you can't understand them, then get tae fuck, ya wee prick. So I'll have to get the disc so I can watch it as it should be seen.

Rant over. Wong Kari Wai is as close to god as you or I will ever know.

Watch my movies, motherfucker.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sukeban Gerira

Dude, I've blogged about this on the FSMC page. I LOVE this film and I've seen it three times in about four months. Needless to say; it comes highly recommended. (The above video is a link to the entire flick, but you're better off getting the disc from Netflix for the audio commentary and better quality.)

While people were cramming into seedy theaters in Times Square during the 70s to see the Grindhouse film de jour, the Japanese were gettin' down with their Pinky Violence genre (aka Pink Film or softcore sexploitation) in no doubt equally scummy theaters. This flick is the third in a series of seven movies that focus on girl crime bosses. I watched it again last night with the Flying Skülls cuz Sukeban Gerira is about an outlaw female motorcycle club called the Red Helmet Gang. While the motorcycles aren't exactly aplenty, most everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed it. It's hard not to with so many bad ass chicks showin' their boobs every two minutes and getting in gnarly chick fights.

My cohort, PH (you can ask me what that stands for later), said it reminded him of the flick Bitch Slap. I checked that out real quick and that seems to be an accurate comparison. Bitch Slap is streaming on Netflix. It's a 2009 throwback to 70's sexploitation films. Looks tight (if that's what you're into for an evening) so I added it to my queue. I hope it's even 1/4 as good as Black Dynamite!

Anyway, back to the hot asian bikers at hand...
If you rent the dvd from Netflix then watch the movie a second time with the audio commentary on. I found it really illuminating. There are a couple über nerds going on about the cast and whatnot, but I found the societal perspective of the film rather interesting. What seems like a straight up exploitation flick on the surface is actually deeper if you look into the context of what's going on. I'm sure living in Japan as seeing this film in the early 70's would be really cool and slightly shocking. At its heart its a film about rebellion and rejection of normal society, uptight tradition, bullshit establishments, and 'the Man'; which is something we can always dig! FTW!

She's so freakin hot in this flick.