Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Icons of Men's Style

I already reviewed this book in 2012 when I first read it. It's just as awesome today as when I first read it. Mandatory.

Straight Outa Compton

Got around to watching the Straight Outta Compton Director's Cut on Amazon.

It was decent. A very palatable big budget Hollywood version of N.W.A.'s story. Definitely seemed pretty soft around the edges. Not nearly as dangerous or sketchy as N.W.A.'s early image. I was expecting something darker.

Too much sunshine.

I liked watching it cuz I learned a lot about the internal politics of the band. I always thought Cube was the focal point of N.W.A., but the movie really paints Eazy as the main guy. Eazy definitely had the charisma, and clearly some level of business/marketing sense.

If you're in your mid to late thirties then you probably grew up on N.W.A. and you should watch this for a historical perspective. Biased of course, but still. But if you don't give a crap about N.W.A. then I'd stay away. It's kinda vanilla Hollywood stuff. Whatever.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Wild Angels

Instead of forcing us to watch a brand new biker flick each time, I've decided to start sprinting in some of the classics that we started watching 4 years ago. Not everyone has seen the likes of Satan's Sadists, Glory Stompers, Devil's Angels, etc. So the first one I brought back was the archetypical Wild Angels.

It stars Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra. It's THE textbook biker flick from the 60's. Swastikas, love-ins, rape, mammas, old ladies, AMAZING choppers, causing trouble in a small west coast town, disdain for "the man," racism, and plenty of beer soaked revelry. It checks every box. Oh yeah, including the "very thin excuse for a plot" check box. The Prez is too cool for school. He's even too cool for his gang. It's awesome.

We don't need to go into much detail on this movie. There's nothing of any real artistic merit to critique. It's simply one of the immortal 60's biker flicks, so that's why it was the first for us to revisit.

Good times.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59

I bought this a while back and finally got around to reading it. I got through it pretty quickly, as it was really well written. Douglas Edwards was the 59th employee hired at Google, and was pretty much the man behind Google's voice. He provided the words that supported the brand. So he bloody well better be a good writer!

Edwards has a very easy-going style. The story flows along at the perfect pace. He's very learned and has a great vocabulary, but most importantly he knows how to use it to great effect. Intelligent and conversational. Perfect.

I'm Feeling Lucky is very freakin interesting. It's a great peek behind the curtain of one of the most important and successful brands in the history of...history. It's not quite open kimono, but it's a great insight into their decision making process and product development, nonetheless.

Anyone who considers them a student of business should definitely give this a read. It's definitely thought provoking, if nothing else. It's great for learning about and discussing strategy. Highly recommended to anyone interested in business, innovation, or tech.

By the way, thanks to stock options I think Edwards is worth about 100 mil now. Yeah.

Le Mans

Last time I watched this was about five years ago. I needed a refresher so I purchased the Blu-Ray and watched it last night.

God damn, it's even better than I remembered. There isn't one line of dialogue in the film until about 40 minutes in. You could literally fit the entire script on to one piece of 8.5x11" paper. Honestly. It's a very sparse film, but in the best of ways. I loved it.

The movie is total car porn. Steve McQueen making love to Porsche for two hours. It's amazing. It's definitely been elevated in my list of all time favorite films after watching it again. The attention to detail is fascinating. The realism. The score. It's just a truly amazing film for any gearhead.

While Grand Prix is my favorite car movie, this is my second favorite. They're very, very different, but very similar, too. Grand Prix is Monaco, big budget, glamour, etc, and Le Mans is just straight up RAW. But both are undeniably car porn. Undeniably beautiful homages to racing cars and the men who drive them.

Mandatory viewing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

12 Angry Men

Wow. Can't believe I'd never really heard much about this flick. A trusted co-worker loaned me the DVD and I watched it tonight. It's fucking awesome. Almost brought a wee tear to my eye.

I knew it ruled from the opening few frames. Great cinematography and framing. Incredibly Hitchcockian in style and content. Hitch' loved "the wrong man" plot device, and was big on the camera telling the story. The camera often took a POV perspective and would focus on exactly what the viewer was supposed to see. Almost child-like in its simplicity. It just followed what needed to be followed. Clearly meticulously story-boarded. That's how this film rolls. The intro also kinda reminded me of Robert Bresson's "Pickpocket."

So I definitely loved the beautiful blocking and framing. Very well thought-out.

Acting was top class. The movie also reminded me of Jacques Becker's "Le Trou," in its intensity, singular setting, and character development. Another absolutely jaw-dropping film. Prison film from France. How can you argue with that?

Anyway, this movie is about a jury deliberating a murder trial. It focuses on 'reasonable doubt,' prejudices, and logic. It's 100% dialogue driven. 99% of the film takes place in one room.

It ruled hard.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Only Death Is Real

Bazillion Points Publishing rules. I have a lot of their books and they're always exceptionally well made. Such great production value. I bought this when it came out about five or six years ago, and hadn't re-read it since then. So I gave it another reading. It was so fucking good second time though. Practically just as awesome as the first time. 

Only Death Is Real recounts the brief history of Hellhammer in pretty incredible detail. I have such a shitty memory, I have no idea how Tom can remember all this crap. It took place over 30 years ago. But I'm glad he documented it because it makes for a really inspiring read. 

Like I said, the quality of the book is absolutely top notch. But the content is what set it apart. Tom writes earnestly and honestly. It's a very passionate story of young outcasts coming-of-age in a society they shunned. A lot of people who are deeply into punk or metal have that understanding. That kinship and shared experiences that arises out of hating the world and taking solace in music. It's all right here. Doesn't matter if you like Hellhammer. I don't. I love Celtic Frost but Hellhammer doesn't do anything for me. Makes no difference. It's about the tale, the drive, the perseverance, and the triumph (of death). 

It's a very inspirational book for anyone in band especially. Great read. I really can't recommend it enough. If you've ever believed in something or wanted something that other people didn't believe you could accomplish...this is the book for you. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Jesus Trip

I don't have a ton to say about this cuz the transfer was so bad that it was hard to freakin' watch. I'm sure it was a crap movie, but it was made even worse by such an awful transfer. It looked like the whole movie was shot day for night. But it wasn't. I don't think any of it was.

The copy I have looked incredibly purple with yellow accents. Contrast was very high. Lots of darkness. We had to adjust the brightness on the TV to 100% in order to make it even somewhat viewable. Sometimes you didn't know if it was a dude or a chick on screen. That can get awkward. And you weren't sure who was talking.

The funny part about the overall darkness and heightened contrast made it look like it was an art house flick. An unintentional Bergman shot in Texas with shit actors.

It's a 1971 biker flick, so no surprises on the content. Cops vs bikers with a twist ending, like many of them have. It's never over til the fat lady sings. You learn that quick when you've seen enough biker flicks of this vintage. The unique flavor for this particular biker flick is the inclusion of a nun-on-the-run, and a scene where the crooked cops bury some bikers up to their necks in sand and leave them for dead in the desert.

Tippy Walker played the nun. She was pretty freakin hot in this flick.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Stephen Fry Live: More Fool Me

Grew up watching Stephen Fry in Britain. He was a household name. Very funny dude. Incredibly smart and articulate. Sharp as hell.

Watched some of his stand up the other day. He was doing a quick bit to promote his most recent book, More Fool Me. The stand up included him reading a passage from said book.

I think the book would be super funny and engrossing. The movie was good, but I think the problem is that is wasn't full on stand up and it wasn't a full on book reading. So it was kinda hard to figure out what to make of it. I dunno. Not a great introduction to a brilliant man. If you don't know Stephen Fry I'd probably start elsewhere, most notably Blackadder.