Friday, January 31, 2014

Hell's Angels '69

Finally saw Hell's Angels '69 and it did not disappoint!

I've almost seen all the AIP biker flicks now. Just a couple more to finish that batch. This one was important, though. It features the real Hells Angels as co-stars in the film. Sonny Barger and Terry the Tramp have some serious screen-time. Sonny's not much of an actor, though, let's be honest. Terry looks like a bonefide caveman. Straight up Venom style with those leather gauntlets.

Hells Angels '69 has a legitimate plot. This in and of itself is unheard of in the biker flick genre. But this has passable editing and a passable plot. Obviously it's full of continuity errors, shitty acting, bad audio synching, and the whole nine yards, but still. The bar has been set from a somewhat professional level (not including Easy Rider which of course is the gold standard and on a whole other level than any biker flick before or since).

This movie covers all the biker cliches with the exception of boob shots and a dessert love-in. Otherwise it's all taken care of. The bikes are truly amazing. It's pretty awesome to see REAL Hells Angles from the 60's. Their bikes were phenomenal. Some really great camerawork showing the whole crew riding from various vantage points. It's pretty rad.

Everyone was impressed with this flick. It was given a "top 5" status by the Flying Skülls.

You can stream it now on Amazon Prime for free or I think you can catch the whole thing on YouTube.... Do it up!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Scorpio Rising

If you're into homoerotic bikers and do-wop then boy do I have a film for you!

I came across Kenneth Anger's 1963 short film, Scorpio Rising, when I was researching biker flicks. Wikipedia mentioned that Nazis rioted upon its release, it had the occult in it, and lots of bikes. What's not to love? James Dean and Marlon Brando? I'm in.

It's a half hour. No dialogue. Just 50's pop. It features loads of bikers. Gay ones. Jesus. And Hitler. It's crap. All the Harleys and Triumphs in it couldn't save it from being shit.

I wanna watch his other flick, Lucifer Rising, based on the title alone. But god knows what that'll be like judging by this one. I'll skip it for now. And you should skip this.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

the Social Network

I was interested in this flick. I wanted to know a bit more about the origins of Facebook. And from that perspective the film certainly delivers. It's all wrapped up in a neat little bundle for you.

Music by Trent Reznor, too. Nice one.

Overall it kinda sucks because it's a 2 hour flick about college kids. Rich college kids. So that's not so hot. But whatever, it's cool to at least get one side's perspective on how things all went down. Did Zuckerberg really STEAL the idea? Did he owe people millions of dollars for his theft? You'll find out what went down in court if you didn't know already.

Geeks vs. jocks. Open systems vs closed systems. To monetize or not to monetize. All this and more is covered in this look inside Harvard, start-ups and Palo Alto. Would I really recommend this flick? Meh, not really. I could have gotten the info from a web search in about 15 minutes if I really wanted to. But it was alright. No beef with it. Just standard fare.

Zuckerberg is portrayed as an insecure nerd asshole. I'm sure as the youngest billionaire on earth he doesn't give a flying fuck.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

KAZ: Pushing the Virtual Divide

Kazunori Yamauchi is the man behind the incredibly popular game series, Gran Turismo. I've never played the thing, but that didn't stop me from being engrossed in this documentary. Hell, I haven't owned a games system since SNES and I still think Legend of Zelda is the best game ever made.

This is very well done. High quality stuff. This doc is really cool because even though it's about's not. It is but it isn't. It's hard to explain. But put it this way, there's hardly ANY footage of the game. It's all about art, inspiration, and follow-through. What happens in the wake of a great artist. Because that's what Kaz is, a great artist.

This just premiered on Hulu yesterday. You can stream it for free with annoying commercials. I definitely recommend you watch this if you care remotely about motorsports. Or if you're a gamer then you need to watch it obviously.

It's inspirational to see Kaz's passion and talent for racing manifest itself in something like this. To see him prove the naysayers wrong. Fuck the bean counters. Fuck focus groups. It's cool shit.

Just watch the trailer.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

the Hellcats

We've watched some bad biker flicks, but this was downright shitty. Straight up not good. Not even so bad it was good. It was just bad. Pickin up what I'm puttin down?

Some hot mommas in it. And some rad freakin bikes. But even hot chicks and chrome couldn't save this from being the worst biker flick we've ever seen.

Thankfully we're moving past the Hellcats and into some classics in the upcoming weeks. We've got Hell's Angels 69, Hell's Bloody Devils, CC & Company and Born Losers all in the pipeline. They look awesome.

As purists we have to watch ever flick ever done, and that means crap like the Hellcats has to be endured. The cyclops chick in the movie was freak hot! But she looks retarded in the poster. They couldn't even capitalize on that. Sheeeeit.


In a perfect world I'd have more time to put pen to paper and post more often on this blog. Truth is I don't always have the time I need to knock out some decent posts. The troubles I have, no time to blog. The greatest generation has nothing on me...

Here's a couple quick notes...

Drinking Buddies. Heard good things about it. Good cast and a film about some people who work in a micro brewery? Sounds great! What's not to like? Well...the characters. They all kind of sucked. Not a bad film, I just wasn't rooting for any of them. 

MUD. I really liked this movie. It kind of reminded me of Winter's Bone (which I dug) meets Stand By Me. I was a little off put by the PG-13 rating, but don't let that bother you. It's a solid movie. I'm surprised I'm typing this, but Matthew Mcconaughey's movies are almost becoming a must watch. Killer Joe, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street...

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I side with the Prez on his negative view of movies that use too much CGI. So that's a strike against it for sure, but I will say the level of detail Jackson puts in these movies is damn impressive. Even down to the links of the chains that were specifically created by the dwarves...nerdy I know, but I noticed. It was a pretty impressive movie to watch in 3D (which I normally don't like) and in IMAX...the two Manhattans I had in the theater might of helped some too.

Elysium. Noting what I said above about my disdain for CGI, I will say Blomkamp does it right in his movies. Those robots looked real. I was really looking forward to this movie, I loved District 9, check that movie out for sure, but I was somewhat disappointed by Elysium. I think I expected too much. The movie was fine and I would recommend checking it out, but the plot was just a little too cookie cutter for me. Visuals were awesome, but the story lacked. The social commentary was there, but it was a little too heavy handed this time around.

Monday, January 13, 2014

the Lords of Salem

Was very excited to see this movie. Was not disappointed. The Lords of Salem showed another very fucking talented side of Rob Zombie as a Director. Goddamn.

Marie was in the bedroom on the other side of the house when I was watching this. She was terrified just from listening to the soundtrack. She would have died if she watched the flick. Or at least left the room prior to imminent vomiting from nervousness.

I was on edge the whole time. But enthralled. I wanted to see what happened next. Zombie always has excellent photography in his films. But I feel like he took it to a higher artistic plain on this flick. Not sure who the DP was, but again, they fucking ruled. The film was shot so beautifully, and edited with just as much nuance and artistry. A great looking flick. Plus, the was perfect. And brutal. It hit all the right notes. There were a couple cheap shock parts but that goes with the genre, I guess.

The most interesting thing for me was how Zombie was spreading out into a different area of Horror. This movie is 1/3 Rosemary's Baby, 1/3 Stanley Kubrick and 1/3 Rob Zombie's extreme touch and Directorial stamp. He takes anything Polanski and Kubrick would have done and dials the "fucked up" to 11. It's a different time and a different viewer threshold for psychological terror.

Parts of the flick also come across like a music video for Nine Inch Nails. Or if Marduk were to do a video with Rob Zombie. And that music video style isn't accidental, considering the concept of the film.

Is this as good as House of 1000 Corpses or the Devil's Rejects? No. As good as the first Halloween he did...maybe actually. Not sure. Definitely better than the second Halloween. But all that's besides the point because Zombie has set his Directorial bar so goddamn high that whether this is better than a masterpiece of horror like the Devil's Rejects doesn't matter. You can't look at Hitchcock's oeuvre and say that "this wasn't as good as Rear Window" or "that wasn't as good as Vertigo." They're great in their own right (most of em).

This was a side-step for Zombie. This showed his depth as a horror Director.

The insane part to me is that Hammer of Doom told me Zombie's leaving the Horror game! His next flick is a sports drama. I'm all for Zombie doing other genres, but considering he's probably the only Director around right now that gets me geeked for horror flicks I really hope he doesn't depart from the genre for too long. Cinema needs him. I've said it before and I'll say it again, he should have been directing films decades ago. Cuz White Zombie suck.

Monday, January 6, 2014

the Elements of Typographic Style (ver. 3.2)

Just finished the Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst.

This book is to typographers as Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding is to anyone who lifts weights. It's your holy book. It's the book everything else is measured against. It's definitive. It's a classic.

Bringhurst leaves no stone unturned in this tome. He covers absolutely everything you could conceive of that relates to typography. History, theory, best practices, specimens, it's all there. Fortunately for the reader, the bulk of it is actually theory-based. He gets into the most finest minutia regarding typesetting in English as well as foreign text. But he does so with wit, warmth and a great sense of readability. It's essentially a dry subject, but he handles it as well as anyone could hope to. He imbues it with personality, passion and professionalism. It's authoritatively written without being stodgy.

The book is very well-organized, and obviously very well laid out from a typographic perspective. It had to be pretty fucking spot-on to bolster Bringhurst's credibility. And it is.

You definitely can't just sit down and fly through this book. You just can't. It's essentially a text book. It's academic. It's hardly a Dan Brown page-turner. BUT he made the most out of it.

I learned a lot about things I was familiar with, and I was introduced to a million things I had never considered or even knew existed. Robert's knowledge is deep.

I took notes on my iPhone when I came across tips and tricks, and I shared those tidbits with my team at work.

This is a book with very esoteric knowledge. It's only for typographers/designers. No one else will give a flying fuck about it. And that's okay. It's not for you. But from a design perspective, I would say this is mandatory reading. I would recommend it to any designer young or old. I wish I had read it when I was in college, to be honest.

This is the gold standard.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I Am Street Fighter

I was invited to play an Arabic card game last night. I passed and sat on the couch and watched a documentary on Street Fighter II. It was pretty cool.

Actually, it was about the Street Fighter series in general, but focused on II since that was THE significant title.

If you have fond memories of playing SFII as a 10 or 11 year old, then this doc is for you. If you didn't grow up with your eyes glued to tv screen as you spent hours perfecting your combos then skip it. This is nostalgia. That's all.

It's kinda cool because it shows you how much of a freakin impact SFII had on the gaming community. It changed everything. Most of the interviews are with people in their 30's who grew up on the game in the arcade. They're looking back and telling some crazy stories. It's neat. It transcends gaming and draws parallels to any other sub-culture that revolves around a shared interest like music film, games, comics, whatever. Die-hards, man.

Now I get subscriptions to heavy metal magazines, motorcycle mags and fashion mags. But as a youth those fashion mags were replaced with gaming mags, man. I used to read up on the latest cheat codes, walk-throughs, tips, tricks, gossip and industry rumors. I remember seeing SFII for the first time, amazed at how life-like I perceived those sprites to be. They looked like they were actually breathing! It was next level shit. SFII was a whole universe unto itself. It ruled.

This isn't the greatest doc ever. But if you played SFII and want a 72 minute trip to a time when nothing else mattered other than getting the newest SNES game or the latest and greatest LEGO...then check it out.

Ken was my main character, btw. Probably followed by Guile. I thought Ken's helicopter kick, dragon punch and fireball were the best, man. But Guile's sonic boom was pretty sweet, too. I dabbled with Chun-Li cuz I liked her downward kick when she jumped over people. And E.Honda's crazy fist of fury thing was pretty sweet. It was awesome when you landed Zangief's spinning pile-driver! But Ken...he was the most well-rounded. And he was clearly a little more bad-ass than Ryu. He was my boy.

Yeah. Those were the days.

Friday, January 3, 2014

the Pink Angels

This was a shocker! Holy shit.

As you know, the Flying Skülls are making our way through every biker flick in history. This endeavor even includes watching homosexual satire biker flicks, too.

The Pink Angels came out in 1972 after the biker genre had peaked. By this point they had started mixing genres to attract new audiences. Horror-biker, femme-biker, Nam-biker, black-biker...and ultimately once they'd ran out of

The Skülls were skeptical, but the film was funny as fuck. It couldn't be denied. In many ways it was identical to all the other flicks of the era. 90% of the film had bikes in it, there were fake mustaches, horrible edits, poor audio synching, a campy script, shit acting, a paper thin "plot", a desert love-in, swastikas, sexism, sub-par rock music, everything you'd want. It had all the hallmarks of a great/horrible traditional biker flick. Except the six protagonists were flamers.

Honestly, it was hilarious. We loved it. Better than a lot of the "serious" flicks we've seen from that era. But the ending...holy fuck! I won't mention what happens...but we were all pretty shocked and perplexed.

I consulted my books on the biker flicks (yes, I have more than one) and they didn't offer a whole lot of insight other than it was the Director making a comment on how the counterculture of the 60's was treated by the establishment. It's a bad trip, man.

Anyway, I totally recommend tracking this down.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Watched a documentary on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Like most things in life, I know very little, but what I do know I get from a documentary. ;)

I had a high-level understanding of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and PFC Manning. This documentary was pretty interesting. It gave a pretty concise holistic explanation of where WikiLeaks came from and ultimately went to. The main focus is on WikiLeaks' biggest leak...that of PFC Manning and almost a half million classified US gov't documents.

This is a good documentary. Good primer on the subject. It didn't address whether Julian bleaches his hair or if it's naturally white, but I'm pretty sure he bleaches it. Cuz that's of REAL importance.

Anyway, this is streaming on Netflix. Check it out if you want to know anything about the topic...