Friday, March 29, 2013

Searching for Sugarman

Marie and Amy watched Searching for Sugarman at the Main last week. They came back with glowing reviews. I added it to my queue and accidentally added it to the top spot. I was surprised when it came in the mail, but interested to watch it nonetheless. I was supposed to get The Loveless. But I digress...

I had heard of Rodriguez because a friend of mine and Marie's dated his youngest daughter, Reagan. But other than testimony from one person that Rodriguez was an amazing forgotten Detroit artist, I hadn't heard anything else. Never heard anyone else talk about him and never heard his music. Forgot about him.

Turns out South Africa didn't forget about him, that's for damn sure. I can't really get into the story of the documentary because that would ruin the whole thing. It's a surprising and eventful journey as a couple of men search for their elusive folk-hero. The story is filled with so many "what if's". It's amazing how everything comes together. And how certain things didn't come together. You'll see it. It's worth it.

The film is well done. Good pacing. Good editing. The soundtrack really let the music breathe when it needed to (all Rodriguez songs, of course). Archival footage mixed with recent interviews. Very little in the way of reconstruction.

Cold Fact sales will be going through the roof due to this film. Obv.

I'll buy it...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

the Conqueror Worms

I've never read horror fiction before. This was my first foray in the genre. I gotta say, I thought the Conqueror Worms was pretty damn good. Evidently Brian Keene is heralded as the next Stephen King. I wouldn't be able to validate that because I've never read Stephen King, either!

I think I saw my friend, Mike, post about it on Facebook and I thought fuck it, I'll give this a whirl. I picked it up used on Amazon for a couple bucks. Mike turned me on to Love Sex Fear Death and it was rad, so I thought I'd give his book recommendations another go.

The Conqueror Worms is about rain. Lots of rain. It's been raining torrentially all over the globe for about 6 weeks. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, you name it. Islands are submerged like Atlantis. Coastal towns are long gone. The only survivors on Earth are the people who live on high ground like the mountains. This book is written from the perspective of one of the survivors. An octogenarian who's scribbling down what he can remember since the flooding began.

Needless to say, the world is grim. It's like living in an Immortal song.

Shit gets crazy. You don't need to know anything further about the plot. It's an apocalyptic story with a slow burn. I really appreciated the slow pacing. The first half of the book is all leading up to a crescendo. Once the cymbals clash, the tempo of the book starts to pick up and there are more peaks and valleys. It's cool.

I'd definitely recommend this book. It's not overly sci-fi or fantasy based. Clearly you can see based on the cover it's not a likely story, but it's not so over the top that it lost my interest. It's about how real people face real tragedies. When the world is going to shit and Satanists are surfing down main street...What do you do? What do you do?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Run, Angel, Run

"Do you like choppers, honey?"

We watched Run, Angel, Run on Thursday at Biker Movie Night. Another one from 1969. But this time we're back out of the Asian jungle and back into the concrete jungles of the West Coast.

This was William Smith's first biker flick of the era. He went on to do several more including Chrome and Hot Leather, CC and Companny, Angel's Die Hard, and Nam's Angels. 

This has some absolutely classic continuity goofs, like Bill's fucking fake mustache! It changes style from scene to scene. Brilliant. Another good one was the fact he was riding a sweet Sportster Chopper but in the scenes that he's doing some off-roading the bike magically turns into a dirt bike with knobby tires etc. Then when he's back on the slab, his bike morphs back into the chopper. Of course, there's the obligatory poor audio dubbing where the engine noise isn't even a fucking Harley motor, he's not revving the throttle even though the engine is squealing, or in one scene I don't even think the bike is ON but the engine bursts into life. 

There's the typical late '60 patter that makes for many classic one-liners. Everything's groovy this and far-out that. Dig this and jazz that, maaaaan. Good stuff. 

"Your old lady's officially a momma now, man."

The story is straight-forward, as they always are. Biker sells-out his gang by doing an expose piece in LIFE (aka LIKE) magazine for 10 g's. He splits town with his old lady after the article is printed. He's on his way to 'Frisco to collect his pay-off while the rest of the gang is in pursuit. So there you have it. Angel's on the run with his old lady and shit's about to get ugly. There's small-town America (like there always is), swastikas, iron crosses, amazing fucking choppers, and by now you know the Biker Film recipe. It's all there. 

This was cool, but somehow not quite as exciting or stupid as some of the others. Dunno what it was. Maybe it focused on Smith's character too much. It might have been a touch more successful if the rest of the gang had some better character development. 

It's on disc on Netflix. It's worth viewing alone for Bill's fake mustache.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Losers

What do a dozen dudes do on a Thursday night in mid-Winter? Sit around and watch a movie called the Losers. That's how we roll.

Chalk up another 'Nam biker flick. Third this season. Karate chops? Check. Backwards Swastikas?! Check. Biker in a foursome at a Vietnamese brothel? Check. Red paint for blood? Check. Same red paint used on the Chinese' uniforms? Check. Ridiculous racism? Check check check.

It might not be as controversial as Django Unchained, but if this came out now it would raise the hackles on many-a-civil liberties group. The racism knows no bounds. We were dying with laughter.

Errr, this was one of the slightly more serious biker flicks though, in as much as it was really trying to be a hybrid action film and biker film. It tried to hit that crossover market. It sort of succeeds in doing so. There's a lot of action, and enough bikes and bikers to make it a legit biker flick. It would just as soon nix the explosions and shit and keep it straight biker, but it is what it is.

It's got a real plot you can follow. There is some attempts at real acting. It's trying to be legit. But there's even some sword-and-sorcery as a mechanic in a barren workshop in the depths of Vietnam magically transforms a Yamaha dirt bike into a Harley / Volkswagen hybrid trike with mounted machine guns. WTF. FTW.

Who cares what it's about. There's lots of whores, white people acting as asians, some bikers, and plenty of killing in the jungle going on.

This isn't streaming. You have to get the disc from Netflix. If you're not a biker I don't know if I would put this top of my queue. If you are, you should see it. Eventually.

What the hell, it entertained all of us on a Thursday night.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Conan: Throne of Aquilonia

Volume 12 of the current Conan series by Dark Horse.

It would take an act of Crom to fuck up this series. By and large, it's pretty fucking awesome. Hence I'm religiously purchasing each trade as it comes out. BUT I gotta say the current penciler and writer aren't my favorite duo. There's some real clunky exposition. Just some ungainly scripting. And the art is pretty harsh. Lots o' angles. Not a terribly mature style.

And looking back on this story...quite an absence of boobs and booty. But some witty details to be caught, no less. I like Conan stroking his chin in the background as a fine lass saunters past in the fore. Good times at the local pub.

So, volume 12 is good. How could it not be? But I hope volume 13 is better. This just left me wanting  a bit more.

Crom's balls!

Friday, March 1, 2013

the Hurt Locker

Just watched this for the first time. I dunno. Wasn't as good as I had expected.

I'm not a war movie junkie by any means, but I still like a good war film from time to time. I believe this won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. I don't remember what else came out that year but I gotta believe there was something better. It's not that the Hurt Locker wasn't good. It was. It's just that it wasn't THAT good. But fuck the Oscars anyway; it's just a bunch of smoke being blown up people's asses.

Anyway, the cinematography was good. I dug the hand-held documentary style they achieved. It was a very real film. I'll give it that. Thankfully I've never been in combat, but this flick appears to be a legitimate portrayal. Or at least a legitimate glimpse into war in Iraq.

Fuck that. Fuck war. How any of my friends made it back in one piece is beyond me. Rolling the dice every freakin day.

Acting was good. Script was good.

There's hardly any music in the film. It's sparse and low-key. Unobtrusive.

My only gripe is that believe it or not, I felt like it could have been MORE dramatic. They could have dug a bit deeper to illicit emotion and empathy from the viewer. You have to see it to know what I'm talking about. I looks like it would be a nail-biter, but it wasn't really. Only for brief moments.

You want a nail-biter? Watch Le Trou.

So, this was good, but didn't blow me away. ;)


A co-worker came across this flick. We rented it on Amazon and watched it at work today. Good shit!

It's a one hour long documentary about a wood-type museum in Wisconsin. That probably sounds boring to you. I don't blame you...but it's not. Well, from my perspective as a designer it's certainly not boring. We often think about metal type when we think about movable type, but here we have wooden type. It's an artform within an artform, with its own idiosyncrasies. It seems rather wabi sabi to me. Part of its beauty is the inherent flaws in the wood that accumulate over time. Or the uneven and unreproducible distressing that occurs from print to print. It's definitely a respectable yet endangered artform.

So, here we see the museum, the scant few who frequent the museum, and some of the artisans who worked at the wood type factory when it was still operational. It's all pretty cut and dry. No frills documentary. I wouldn't suggest this wins any awards, but if you're in the design field then you should see this flick. That's all there is to it. Everyone's only an hour!