Monday, March 31, 2014

the Grand Budapest Hotel

I loved this flick. Definitely my favorite Wes Anderson movie I've seen. (The only one I haven't seen is Bottle Rocket. But James tells me it's the best.)

This movie was fucking symmetrical. For reals.

Awesome set design, art direction, wardrobe, acting, cinematography, effects, script, everything. Yeah, I loved it. Such an awesome cast. I'm not a Wes Anderson fanboy by any stretch of the imagination. I think he's good, but I don't fawn over him like most people do. But this was legit, man.

Go see it in the theatre.

Hells Angels on Wheels

Watched this a few days ago. Jack Nicholson rules hard in this quintessential biker flick from the late 60's.

This one is another one that actually employed the acting talents of the real Hells Angels. But the movie augments their brilliant acting with some actual actors. And it works. They got some decent talent in the film. I wouldn't get carried away; these aren't Academy Award winning performances, but it's good shit nonetheless.

This film has it all. Bar fights, swazis, ravaging a small Cali town, rape (if I recall), crazy headgear, and even a biker wedding. First one of those that we've seen.

Oh wait, there's one thing it doesn't have at all: a plot. This one is completely devoid of plot. I mean, truly. They chase some sheep. They do donuts in a park. They get hassled by the Man. It was shot in 13 days and it kinda shows.

Anyway, I don't have anything revelatory to say about Hells Angels on Wheels that I haven't already said in any other biker flick that employs the words "Hell" or "Angel" in the title. Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, Hell's Bloody Devils, Psych-Out) did the cinematography. It's legit, man. This is one of the most professional flicks we've seen thus far.

I want to watch it with the commentary. Bet it's gonna rule.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Magnetist

"THE MAGNETIST is a short documentary about Micke, also known as 'The Magnetist', whose life revolves around cassette tapes."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Got pretty excited about this as soon as I heard it was in production. Up until 2014 I'd never been a legit fan of F1, but I liked the idea of it. I wanted to like it. It seemed like I should like it. But I didn't honestly understand it well enough to appreciate it. I watched the opening race of the season a couple weeks ago in Australia and dug it. I'm excited for this weekend's Malaysian GP. I recently read a book by Jackie Stewart so this is about as ready as I've ever been for F1. The chips are stacked.

So we watched Rush last night. It recreates the rivalry in the 70's between the two emerging world champion talents of Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The former, a complete race nerd. German engineering to a T. The latter, a British playboy more interested in the mile high club than shaving a hundredth of a second off his lap time. Both with raw talent, just different attitudes towards the sport. And self-preservation.

You don't need to be an F1 fan to appreciate the film. Of course Ron Howard's not going to make it so. It's accessible to anyone who cares for a good story. A good rivalry. Or who likes to see limeys versus krauts.

It doesn't have the straight up car porn that Grand Prix of Le Mans have. But it's still very much a car-guy's movie. Le Mans is such a car-guy movie that even with Steve McQueen in the film, I feel like it could still alienate viewers. It's by a gearhead for a gearhead. This tows a much more equal balance. Your grandma could get into it, assuming she's not a tool. Honestly, there isn't a whole ton of racing in it. I actually wanted there to be considerably more. Whatever. Maybe there's a Director's Cut on the Blu-Ray...

Overall, it's a bit too glossy. But I still really enjoyed it. It was funny, nail-biting, dramatic, exciting. It was a good film and you should see it.

And if you like it, maybe you should tune into FSN and DVR a GP or two...

The real Lauda and Hunt

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Northlanders 7: the Icelandic Trilogy

This is a book that just doesn't let me down, man. This particular installment ruled extra hard. I fuckin love Northlanders. It's a unique piece of art.

I love the stories, the characters, and the artwork. It's just a complete freakin package. Probably the best current comic. Get it!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Terrifying Girls' Highschool: Lynch Law Classroom

I came across Sukeban Gerira a while back on my never-ending hunt for biker flicks. Sukeban Gerira was a 70's exploitation flick from Japan. Part of the Pinky Violence movies. I thought it ruled so I wanted to check out other films from that sub-genre. Enter Terrifying Girls' Highschool: Lynch Law Classroom.

Grindhouse flicks always draw from the same well. The same actors and directors time and time again. The Japanese b-movie sleaze scene is no different in that regard. So Terrifying Girls' Highschool is just one film in a long line of depravity. You know the Japanese, they take everything to the extreme. They excel at depravity!

This flick is alright. Lots of hot Japanese chicks from the 70's getting topless every five minutes. Cool Yakuza dude. Blundering salarymen. Violence, nudity, torture, girls in school uniforms, nudity, torture, exploitation, suicide, rape, nudity, motorcycles. That's the film in a nutshell. Watch the trailer.

I don't really recommend this. But maybe it's your thing. Who knows. I can't definitively say it's the last Pinky Violence film I'll ever watch...who knows...

Torture in science class.

They getting it on. On a toilet.

Don't trust authority.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Angels Hard As They Come

Angels Hard As They Come. Great title, huh?

Another notch in our belt of classic biker movies. Tonight's was...different. It was the same, but different. It had a truly sinister edge to it like Satan's Sadists. And some particularly good acting, given the context. Plenty of incredible choppers, and some really nice boobs.

Biker gang terrorizes hippies. Biker gang tries to run a train on a hippy chick and things go south for everyone involved. Bikers vs. bikers. Weed, LSD, rape, silly headgear, hippies, and groovy music. Desert scenes, trikes, sissy bars, and switchblades. It's all there, brother.

Plenty of gratuitous scenes of choppers riding through canyon roads and open desert. It's good shit.

The sketchiest part of this movie was one of the M/C presidents. He was a Manson stand-in. This film came out a  year after Tate's murder, they literally reference the murder in the movie, and the "bad guy" prez looks like Manson. Not righteous, man.

I don't know if the transfer we watched is solely responsible for the extremely high contrast and darkness, but yeah...the cinematography left something to be desired.

Oh, did I mention Gary Busey plays a wimpy hippy?

You can watch the whole flick on YouTube above. We streamed it on Amazon Prime this evening. I wouldn't watch this as an introductory biker flick. But if you're a connoisseur of the genre, then it's a must-see.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Upside Down: the Creation Records Story

Just watched this today. Well done documentary about an upstart indie label you may have heard of...Creation Records.

Creation was home to the likes of Ride, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, the Boo Radleys, Super Furry Animals, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Oasis. A pretty outstanding roster of bands to say the least.

This doc interviews members of all those bands and more, as well as the founders of the label. It chronicles the labels inception in Glasgow through to its real birth in London, and it follows the bands and people involved from one drug to another. From one year to the next. Always getting bigger and better, until the label finally folded in November 1999.

I've been a big fan of a lot of the bands on the label for years and it was cool to see a professional doc on the label. Very easy to get through it. Check it out for sure.

Jackie Stewart: World Champion

I went to a rad little used book store a little while back. I had picked up a book on Frazetta and also walked out with this bad boy under my arm.

For those of you not in the know, Jackie Stewart is a world famous Scottish Formula 1 champion. One of the all time greatest drivers in history. This book chronicles his 1969 World Championship winning F1 season, as well as some of the time leading up to it. It was written right afterwards. I think I snagged a first edition. Anyway...

Anyone into motorsport would do no wrong by reading this. First hand account of one of the most exciting times in racing history, told by one of the legends.

Jackie doesn't get too technical. He writes from a novices point of view most of the time and does well to explain some of the technical aspects he goes into. But it's certainly not going to be over the casual reader's head. Stewart teamed up with a fellow Scotsman to co-author the book with, Eric Dymock. He peppers the book with his observations and helps tie everything together.

It's very visual. If you liked the movie, Grand Prix (which is fucking amazing!), then you'd dig this.

Definitely recommended for anyone who watches Top Gear and thinks they're an armchair Stig.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Meet the Fokkens

Feel kinda bad because Marie never watches flicks with me anymore, and when she finally decides's kinda crap.

Meet the Fokkens could have been a really interesting documentary. It could have been very emotional or very funny. But it was just pretty drab.

It's about identical twins in the red light district in the Netherlands. They've been whoring for five decades! This is their story. zzzzzzzzz...

There's no narration; they let the Fokkens tell their own story. I don't know if that was the best idea. It's very fly-on-the-wall. But with fifty years of tales this could have been a far more dynamic and compelling story and a deft Director could have made something far superior out of this content. They could have mined the content from a different angle. Unfortunately, pointing a camera at identical twin hookers doesn't just equate to cinematic gold. You have to work with it.

So, in a nutshell, don't watch this movie. Maybe Whores' Glory is better. I can't be bothered finding out right now...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Godfather: Part II

I've had the two discs sitting on my coffee table for quite a while. It's not every day you have 3.5 hours ready to carve out to watch a gangster flick. But last night was the night.

I hadn't seen Part Deux in forever. Probably 15 years. So I came at it with fresh eyes last night. Needless to say, I was stoked. But I just wasn't prepared for it. I forgot how much of a departure it was from the first one. Similar, but still very different in scope. It's clearly more of an epic tale. And Coppola didn't  mind taking his time telling the story. There's a lot that you could have conceivably cut out, but clearly Coppola was holding the trump card. With the success of Part I, the studio must have bowed to his wishes on this one. Interestingly enough, he didn't even want to direct it. He only wanted to produce it...but he ended up directing it anyway. Scorsese was actually slated to direct. Forgot why he didn't...

I really like films that are dialog driven and slow. So I really dug Godfather: Part II. With only sixteen deaths in the whole 3.5 hours of gangster shenanigans, it's not exactly Quick Draw McGraw.

Coppola weaves a variety of sub-plots together in harmony. Each one intertwining as the minutes pass by. But even though it jumps back and forth in plot and/or setting and/or decade; you don't get lost. It all adds up quite nicely. Sometimes gangster flicks can be a bit too heavy-handed with subtle background info about internal politics and shit. But this doesn't fall into that trap. It's clear-cut and everything moves the film forward.

Cinematography was great. Some great deep-focus shots. Great framing. Great lighting. Top notch stuff.

The acting throughout is pretty damn good, let's be honest. Couple weak links pop up here and there, but nothing to detract from the overall film. It's a strong cast. No doubt. Bobby DeNiro looks so damn young.

It's not like you haven't seen this flick. But maybe it's time to watch it again if it's been too long? Capiche?

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Hammer of Doom watched Kon-Tiki a while back and recommended it. Since I listen to him from time to time I gave it a whirl. And I dug it. I guess he gets to live another day. ;)

It's a true story of some mad-hatter Norwegians who build a raft from balsa wood and rope. They FLOAT 5,000 miles from Peru to Polynesia to prove that Tiki settled on Polynesia 1,500 years prior by the same means. It was a theory that Thor held after studying the Tiki for 10 years but no one would listen to him in academia. However, after doing it in 1947 (I believe was the date) everyone listened the fuck up. Thor became a life-long adventurer and everyone in his motley crew of 5 others went on to do great things with their lives.

Thor made a documentary about it in 1951 and won the Academy Award. He wrote a book that's sold like 50 million copies in 70 languages or something absurd like that. This is their story. It's crazy.

So, the story is amazing. You get that. How was the film? It was good, but I had my small gripes. I felt that overall it was far too glossy. The cinematography was so bright and artificially lit. It just seemed very glamorous in its visual presentation. And I think something more down-to-earth would have suited the story better. But other than that, this was a good flick. If you want some light-hearted PG-13 adventure in your life...look no further.

Do all Norwegians look like Varg?