Sunday, May 27, 2007

back to the beach =)

Ayep. It's summer!Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Saturday's SHAUN screening & current movie guide

Saturday turned out to be a perfect rainy afternoon for hitting the movies. I think maybe 25-30 people showed up, a handful of my friends from work—Kim, Jeff, Larry, Kelly, Jen B., no vballers, Dan and Ray, a handful of my sister's friends, and a gang of archaeologist thugs that Rowan hangs with, one of them a "specialist in the dead." I didn't get to *ahem* pick her brain myself, but Rowan told me that she found SHAUN's zombie interpretations to be acceptable.

All but two of the audience chose to come up to the balcony for seats, without any explicit encouragement from me. Perhaps I'd already imprinted my balcony habit on enough of them that they just knew...? Well, it worked out quite nicely, as 25 people in the balcony in the dark feels like a decent crowd, y'know? =)

The two downstairs holdouts were Kelly and Mark, who sat there so that Kelly could have access to the restroom without having to disturb any other audience members. Very considerate, no?

Alas, I didn't see any of the other 'thonners there. Young Goodman Ryan was actually out in the wilds 'thonning for the Mass Audobon Society. Guess I'll hafta Watch-A-Thon hard next time around to get myself another chance at a screening! What to screen...? What to screen...? *sigh*

There was a bit of a technical snafu that had to be worked around. The deal with this screening was that I could choose any film from the Brattle's library of reels or any DVD I could get my hands on to be projected. So, I brought my own copy of SHAUN OF THE DEAD into the theater to be played. About 15 minutes into the movie, the DVD skipped back to the beginning of the film. Maybe the Brattle is picking up some grindhouse habits from the "Welcome to the Grindhouse" series its running? Well, I made my way downstairs and backstage to get Ned to switch discs. See, I'd brought *two* copies of the DVD (one of them mine, one of them a present to my sister, both now residing at our joint address), because I was paranoid about how they might play on the Brattle's unfamiliar (to the discs) equipment. They'd never given me any trouble on my player at home or my laptop, but y'know, I've never met this projector before. Sure, it's shown me great anime and indie horror, but I don't know what it's really LIKE. I'm going to be cautious, right?

Ridiculous thinking, I know, but, hey, whaddyaknow? Saved the screening!

I think there were maybe ten people in the audience who hadn't seen the movie before, and given the reactions in all the right places, SHAUN was well received. Patricia and Natasha alone were into it enough for two balconies, and SHAUN veterans Ray and Jen B. told me that they appreciated nuances and moments they hadn't caught on previous viewings.

I myself caught for the first time that when Shaun explains to his coworkers at the electronics shop that he'll be manager for the day, it's because *Ash* called in sick. Although I'd thought of Shaun as very much a British counterpart to EVIL DEAD's Ash, this was the first time I'd caught an explicit tongue-in-cheek reference in the film itself (aside from the clever "Join us-?" line Shaun throws at Pete on his way out of their flat on Z-day). Damn, those guys are Good.

Gotta get myself to another HOT FUZZ show before it leaves the big screen.

Me go lie down now. I'll leave you with a copy/paste of my thanks-for-coming-to-the-show email, with a current movie "study guide" of sorts.

Keep on keepin on~


THANKS to everyone who forfeited the lovely New England summer Saturday afternoon to sit in a darkened Brattle theater and watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD!  1.05 times, even. =)

If any of you were Brattle first-timers, I hope that you came away with a good feeling about the place, and will check the theater's schedule and come back for more.

If you enjoyed SHAUN, I highly recommend you check out a few recent releases that are still in theaters right now, as well as the ongoing "Welcome to the Grindhouse" series at the Brattle.  I'll write up some rambles on them at the end of this email.  *DO* go see them.  In particular, THE HOST, as I'm afraid it may be in its last week or two of local big screen play.

And, if you didn't enjoy SHAUN...

Go away.

Keep on keepin on~

p.s. I'm game for hitting most everything I'll list at least once more, schedule allowing, so if you're in need of a spotter for any of them, let me know. =)


HOT FUZZ - The creators of SHAUN OF THE DEAD jump from a zombie universe to a buddy cop action flick universe.  This time around, they're all about the buddy cop action movie, the best and the cheeziest, all represented in a really quite charming, smartly written, wonderfully acted, gorgeously choreographed, tongue-in-cheek simultaneous original vision and homage to cops-n-robbers films. With heart =)


THE HOST - From South Korea.  Ostensibly a monster film about a mutated creature from the Han River that terrorizes the city of Seoul, but very much more about a dysfunctional family that the creature offends when it abducts their youngest.  As much LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE as it is THE BLOB.

Now playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.


GRINDHOUSE - A double-feature of films by Robert Rodriguez (DESPERADO) and Quentin Tarantino (RESERVOIR DOGS) inspired by old-school low-budge horror and exploitation flicks.  RR's PLANET TERROR is a zombie action flick and QT's DEATH PROOF is fun with a homicidal maniac whose weapon of choice is his muscle car.  Before each film you're treated to some fake trailers by the two directors as well as the SHAUN and HOT FUZZ creators.  A super cheeky, campy, and fun adrenaline fixx.

Now playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.


"Welcome to the Grindhouse" - A series at the Brattle featuring films that fit the "grindhouse" bill.  You just have to check out the listings and description at the Brattle, I can't fairly describe this stuff.  Alas, ZOMBIE has already played—zombie vs. shark!—but there is more grindness to come!


28 WEEKS LATER - A crazy well-done new-wave zombie flick, follow-up and sequel to the most excellent 28 DAYS LATER.  "New-wave zombies" because they are *not* zombies as we know them from the Italian or Romero oeuvre.  These freaks can really move!

Now playing at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square.


SERENITY - Coming June 23 to the Coolidge for a special charity midnight showing!  SERENITY is the sci-fi adventure movie capstone to the excellent but greedtarded-Fox-exec-cancelled series FIREFLY, created by Joss Whedon, of BUFFY, ANGEL, and ASTONISHING X-MEN fame. However, you do NOT need to have soaked in all the TV series goodness to appreciate the film. It stands solidly on its own as a moving, well-paced story set in a wonderfully eclectic future populated with the most colorful and thoughtfully written and played characters who are driven by the most familiar desires and ideals. Whew, that was a mouthful, even typed out.

If you've got the time and access, tho, I recommend watching the pilot of the series available on the first DVD of the FIREFLY collection. It is NOT necessary, but it'll be a good bit of conditioning for you before hittin the hard stuff.

How is this connected to SHAUN...?  Well, it's pretty freakin awesome, for starters.  Also, there's space zombies, of a sort. =)

Coolidge Corner Theater.


SEVERANCE - Alas, this is *not* actually playing locally, but was released in the states this weekend.  I'm hoping it'll make its way into our market eventually, so keep your eyes peeled (what an uncomfortable word-picture, no?).  I caught this at the Boston Fantastic Film Festival last year and it is hilarious and horror-suspenseful, a brilliant piece of work in the ever-popular and crowd-pleasing office co-workers face off against psychotic trained mountain men killers genre! =)

Blurbs about the film describe it as THE OFFICE meets DELIVERANCE. Not a bad description. I'd also add that it feels a bit like DOG SOLDIERS, and in parts, demonstrates SHAUN OF THE DEAD Goodness. This film adds a slew of clever wrinkles to a classic killer-in-the-woods set-up. The office coworker character types and relations set up some opportunities for hilarity as well as some touching moments amid the carnage.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SMS archaeology

Gobble Gobble! =)
*** End ***

Hey Brian, Congrats on your rerate! You deserve it.
*** End ***

Wishing you a very merry Christmas. Hope you get everything you wish for.
*** End ***

Nurse Jen
Merry merry, my little zu zu
*** End ***

merry merry to you!
*** End ***

I lied to Santa and told him u were good this year. Hope u got lotsa presents, cuz i got nada for lying! Happy Merry!
*** End ***

U 2! We had fun. Should visit us more often!
*** End ***

"SpLEling" hahhaha that's awesome
*** End ***

If your not here soon your going to be on the canadian team
*** End ***

Gues im cming ova 2 watch 24 if its ok w u? Im DEF gona get lost but wat's ur adres so i can get wrong/confusn drectns frm sum crap site! Thnks n DONT wait 4 me.
*** End ***

U coming to uno's?
*** End ***

Wingman should be here!
*** End ***

Yummy where?
*** End ***

Where, with, why?
*** End ***

Yes I'm there
*** End ***

Think i'll pass
*** End ***

01/29/06 04.32 pm
No can do. Thanks, though. Dinner date.
*** End ***

01/30/06 04.04 pm
Hi-do you need a ride tonight? i am home but planning to go to vball. hil
*** End ***

01/31/06 05.02pm
No. Absolutely not.
*** End ***

01/31/06 07.08 pm
Running late
*** End ***

01/31/06 07.11pm
Its jills fault!
*** End ***

Paris Jen
02/04/06 06.18pm
Want to super tom? Only 4 of us. chili n hot dogs. u r prob. Busybut would like 2 see u! also there will be fire
*** End ***

02/06/06 06.57am
He should be back by now
*** End ***

02/08/06 08.53pm
If ur home could u DVR kelly clarksons grammy performance? Pweeze? TX =)
*** End ***

Nurse Jen
02/14/06 09.04pm
Happy v-day. Whatev!
*** End ***

02/18/06 08.25pm
Sushi & ... W/ me & glen (9:30)?
*** End ***

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, May 13, 2007

THE HOST @Somerville Davis

My email alert/invite to check out THE HOST this week... That's right cheap tix, good popcorn, and *beers*! I found out during the IFFB that Somerville's renovations included setting up a beer (and wine, at least during the festival I think) concession stand in the lobby. I myself have yet to take advantage of it, but hey, pretty frickin cool.
Anyone wanna catch the Wednesday 7.30 show of THE HOST? A mutated menace monster movie from South Korea. While some might describe it as a South Korean GODZILLA, it really is as much LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE as it is THE BLOB. A portrait of a modern family in Seoul that just happens to be set against a monster's attack on the city.

Good crack. =)

It's playing at Somerville Davis thru Thursday night this week (alas, not in the big room : P). Cheap tix, good popcorn, and beers! Regardless of whether you can make the Wed show, do check it out!

trailer | ramble | Somerville Davis listings

Wednesday @7.30, let me know.

Also playing at the theater—GRINDHOUSE and 28 WEEKS LATER, both are must-sees for anyone who digs harrowing and creative zombopocolyptic action and drama! =)

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, May 12, 2007

SPIDER-MAN 3: alas, more like "number 2"

I saw SPIDER-MAN 3 last weekend, and as a wannabe comics nerd and a huge Sam Raimi fan, I hafta say, SPIDERMAN 3 was really disappointing. I can't *quite* say that you should skip it at the theater. A couple of the fight scenes are definitely big screen material, and for my money, Bruce Campbell's work is always enhanced at larger-than-life size. And if you're a parent of kids who are Spidey fans, well, there's definitely no skipping this one. I'm sure they'll eat it up. You, however, may find some of it hard to swallow.

The movie posse that evening included Ana, Lora, M, Dan, Ray, Ellie, and... frack, I've forgotten her husband's name. Most of us met up for dinner downtown at Penang before the flick. I liked the roti for apps, and when the platters came, I wasn't all that adventurous and stuck with the beef dishes and rice. I fore... umm... is "forewent" a correct conjugation? I forewent popcorn and soda that evening. Over the last four or five years I've found that my system processes a big soda and popcorn in less than 2 hours if I'm sitting in the dark. Not good for a movie that runs 2 hours 20 minutes, donchaknow. And megaplex popcorn more and more seems to be a gamble as far as taste and satisfaction go. Bleah.

The movie... I think it suffers a bit from what befell Lucas in EPISODE 1 in that Raimi seems to be playing to a younger demo.  Not just a "comic book" demo, but a childish one.  I suspect it may be the influence of his own children, whose names appear in the end credits, and faces appear in some not-so-well-acted crowd cameos, heh.  This leads to campier and just plain unbelievable scenes and set pieces that feel more like XENA than SPIDERMAN (a la the Jazz Club), and a completely different tone from the first two excellent movies.

Storytellingwise, given the 2 hours 20 minutes I saw on screen, the film could have benefitted from some serious editing. At the same time—and I know this sounds kind of crazy, given the running time—I feel like the film is missing significant chunks of story and development, and frankly, want to *add* to it as well as edit. Some things just happened too fast.

Plot and character-wise, well, the themes of "power corrupts" and the imperfect human condition are great generators of drama and development. Too great, unfortunately, yielding two movies' worth of material that Raimi and company ended up having to jam into one this one film. The result—everything is flat. Some of it I enjoyed, in a comic book cliche way... The symbiote falling from the sky.  The origin of the Sandman, a classic stereotypical comic book origin, and Hulk-ish.  I enjoyed the recognition of these comic book-y devices as well as the level of suspension of disbelief involved.  But introducing Brock, setting him up as an Eddie Haskell type of pigheaded smarm-monger, and then having him embrace his Venom persona (and other revelations) in so short a span of time... That was hard to swallow.

The multithreaded story was just too ambitious for a single feature film. What would have been better is a SM3 and SM4 that could be released a year apart, a la the PIRATES sequels. I would've been much happier if Raimi could have planted the seeds of Eddie Brock and the symbiote in one movie (if they'd known enough, and had time enough, to do it in SM2, it would've been perfect), and have the SANDMAN fully developed but still rogue, maybe end the movie with Peter, unwittingly jumped by the symbiote, going dark on Osbourne, then finish it all in a second movie when Osbourne learns that Peter didn't kill his dad, the symbiote jumps from Peter to Brock, and then do the team-up action.

Random "whoa"—Teresa Russell?  Where'd they find her?

Random "wha?"—Wasn't Doc Connors some sort of biologist in the comics?  He messes w the regenerative powers of reptiles by design, in his own field, right? In the movies he's a physicist?  That didn't register w me until this film. Would've been nice to have a crossover with Reed Richards of the FF.  Guess that would cause too much paperwork in legal, tho, eh? Hopefully it'll eventually happen.

Seeing Gwen and Captain Stacy was grand, an introduction of characters that can be played with in sequels. Although, connecting Gwen to Brock was a little too much. Yeah, that's right. I like the bad-guy-from-outer-space, but I've got a problem with some jerk having a smart girlfriend who's a model and the daughter of an NYPD captain. Wannafightabouddit?

Some *SPOILER*y remarks follow...

My favorite fight scenes from 3 are the two between Osbourne and Parker, both times with Parker in civvies.  The first one, when he almost loses the ring, and the second one, when he confronts Harry in his penthouse and they're both out of costume.  Kinda surprising, but also disappointing, cuz *damn* those scenes of Spidey vs. Doc Ock in 2 are just so freaking amazing.  I mean, if a guy with 4 remote arms fused to his spine with a malevolent artificial intelligence were to fight with a kid who can stick to walls and shoot webbing from his wrists (does he lose weight when he does that?  how much does he have to eat?), it would look EXACTLY like what we see in SPIDERMAN 2. =)

I haven't kept up on all of the Spiderman books, but I can't recall any version of the Goblin fighting alongside Spidey.  I know that Harry was psychologicaly unstable and was the Goblin for a while, and then not, and then was again, and then wasn't, but never saw him side-by-side w Spidey against another enemy. Jim thinks that his character went that way based on James Franco's popularity. I don't see it, but then, he thought of him as relatively unknown when SM1 came out, but I of course thought he was already ready for the big time, post FREAKS AND GEEKS.

Teaming up kind of felt okay, tho, given the way the characters have developed in the films. Spidey's always been about team-ups in my head, a notion planted by his MARVEL TEAM-UP title in my formative years.

I felt like the Sandman effects seemed to be created to be too "realistic," instead of Sandman-y. True, a guy made of sand who chooses to maintain the illusion of wearing a black and green striped shirt seems a bit dumb, but what are ya gonna do? That's who the Sandman is. =)  Gotta say, I was disappointed with how chunky and "monstrous" he appeared when he was supersized.

I was surprised at how well the symbiote's weakness to sonics and ultimate defeat actually worked for me on screen.  I was thinking about it as the movie went on and worried that I wouldn't buy it when the time came for Peter to actually figure out how to beat it.  If they'd introduced some villain or tech that involved sonics it could've been easier, but maybe too (ha) obvious.  But they managed to get just enough key moments in there, and just the right flashbacks, to make it work.

Allright, enough rambling...

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, May 03, 2007

LOST: Dear Mr. Sawyer...

Locke and Pops Locke, finally! Heh, an episode with flashbacks to just a few days ago! Interesting that Pops seems to think he knows where he is...

Pops: Don't you know, John? Don't you know where we are?

Locke: What does he mean?

Did Sawyer kill him in Australia and Locke, or Ben?, wished him here, bringing him back to life?
Ben: We're going to a new place, an old place, actually... Would you like to come with us?

What place is that? How is this campsite new and/or old? Should I recognize the site?

Meanwhile, in Sawyer's tent...

His actual tent, I mean.
Kate: It's nothing personal, just old habits, y'know.

Sawyer: You want me to walk you home?

Frickin frackin... Poor Sawyer. This relationship reminds me of some other fictional back-asswards one-sided romance. Maybe from THE STAND? With the guitar player and Flagg's betrothed...? Nah, that's not quite the right fit. It's been bugging me for a few episodes, the odd familiarity. Hopefully it'll come to me soon.

Locke's coming to Sawyer with his troubles. I gotta ask again, did Locke's dad ruin Sawyer's dad's life?
Locke: I'm not a murderer.

Sawyer: Neither am I.

Locke: Except for that man you killed in Sydney.

Hey now. Did we know that Sawyer killed the wrong man? That it was an accident? I can't rightly recall. The most I can sort of seem to remember is... The guy was doing the ice cream truck thing? Or a grease truck, maybe? And Sawyer shot the man and left...? Frack. Am I gonna hafta break down and get the show on DVD?

Back at the new/old place camp... Cindy, the Aussie flight attendant makes nice w Locke. Tells him everyone's excited he's there. Talking about him like Tank talked about Neo. A frickin "chosen one?"
Ben: When people join us here on this island, they need to make a gesture, of free will, of commitment. That's why you're gonna have to kill your father.

Ahhh... hazing!

Desmond and the pips. They're just gonna sit on helicopter girl? Ah, but where Jack's concerned, Desmond's right to be suspicious, yeah.

Whoa. Harsh, matter-of-factly dropped background on Locke...
Locke: But it doesn't say why your father shot your mother, or why he turned the gun on himself. That must have been hard for you.

Very nice takedown of Locke. Some real rage. I really did despise Sawyer in the first season of the show. Now, he's definitely one of my faves.

Words from helicopter girl. Her name's Naomi Dorik(?). According to her, Flight 815, the plane, the bodies, all found in an undersea trench. Heh. I love Sahid's disbelief...
Sahid: Who are you here to rescue?

Naomi: Him.

Sahid: Desmond?

And his suspicion... *And* her reaction. Feisty. =)

Meanwhile, back at the Others frat house...
Pops: You're wasting your time, bug-eye.

Hrmm... Quick on the nicknames. Maybe he's *related* to Sawyer? Heh. Or a characteristic of the confidence trade, showing how well Sawyer's followed in his quarry's footsteps...?

And, when Locke refuses to kill his kidney-theiving dad...
Ben: I'm sorry, he's not who we thought he was!

Man, Ben's gotta dress down Locke like that in front of all the Others and Other pledges? Just plain rude. But the way he says it... Makes me think that the guy who *can* kill Pops (so, Sawyer?) is meant to be some kind of chosen one among the Others. Which in Ben's mind would apparently be the guy who's most naturally in tune with the island somehow.

Ben's walking around... And he says he has Locke to thank for it? As if Locke's very presence helped heal him...? Does that make any kind of sense? Never mind that Jack apparently successfully operated on and removed the tumor from his spine, right?

Locke leads Sawyer ot the Blackrock...
Locke: It's an old slaving ship, mid 19th century. My guess is they captured the slaves, brought them here, tried to mine the island.

Don't remember hearing any real theorizing about the ship before...

And once Sawyer's locked in with Pops...
Sawyer: Who the hell are you?

Ha! That's almost like Han Solo's "I've got a bad feeling about this." I wonder what the running count of Sawyer saying that line is.

Some more Sawyer gold, along with a fun tight-lipped exchange of words between philosophers...
Sawyer: I can hear you, you bald bastard!

Locke: Rousseau.

Rousseau: Locke.

Locke: What brings you to the Blackrock.

Rousseau: Dynamite, and you?

Dr. Albert drops in on Locke to play nice a while... Volunteeers and explaination of Ben's apparent goal with the public hazing the previous night, and then conveniently delivers a solution to Locke's patricide issue. Well! Whaddyaknow? A file on Sawyer! Which we're supposed to believe Ben's never read....?

Hrmm... Interesting tidbit (or lie) about Ben being obsessed with trivial things on the island, when there's so much more to explore.

Returning to the Blackrock...
Pops: Means that bald headed bastard outside that door is my son.

Sawyer: How did you get here?

Pops: I'm driving down I-10 in Talahassee...

Okay, right. The "magic box" is a metaphor... for...? Dharma/Other agents tracking down and abducting Locke's dad out of the real world and bringing him to the island, apparently. So, a metaphor for Ben's scheming.

And Pops gives up that he conned Locke out of his kidney! Fireworks time!
Sawyer: You ever been to Jasper, Alabama?

Pops: Why?

Man, Pops Sawyer is one cool customer. I suppose believing you're dead and in hell already is likely to give inspire unusual bravado and outright obnoxiousness, eh? Great to see that note still in Sawyer's pocket, and kind of a marvel to hear it read back with the history all laid out for us now. Damn, jerkass tears it up! Time to die.

Sawyer takes him out like Leia takes out Jabba! Only, y'know, no metal bikini (thank Buddha). Part of me wishes that the end was more violent, drawn out, with a torturous beating component, y'know? But then, Sawyer's *not* a murderer or a sadist. It's right that it should be in a fit of passion, set off by rage, that he should kill him. And damn straight, he totally had it coming.

If Locke could've handled it himself, would've been insanely fun to see him carve his kidney back out of his pop's body, eh?

Yeah, I'm a sick little monkey.

Afterwards, Locke owns up to being on his own journey, which he's always been on, and then gives Sawyer a bit of real intel on Juliet, and the proof to back it up. Nice play. Of course, given how things look back at camp, with Jack and Juliet in double-secret cahootz on *something* it's designed at some level to cause trouble. Great, just what we need with a couple episodes to go—more infighting and confusion. The prefect set-up for the Others to pull off an abduction, tho, eh?

Gotta say, before they part, Sawyer has the good sense to ask a pretty good question of Locke...
Sawyer: Is it true?

Locke: Is what true?

Sawyer: That he threw you out a window. That you're a cripple.

Locke: Not anymore.

Terry O'Quinn is a really solid actor, playing a friendly authority type or true believer seems like an easy gig for him. I gotta say, seeing him go dark, cold-hearted, angsty, or psychotic, is pretty intense. You see glimpses of it throughout this episode. I highly recommend the first movie I remember seeing him in—THE STEPFATHER—for more of the same, and in general a great horror-thriller of a rental (with Shelly Hack! =).

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

God is in the (fourth tier) details...

It is sad that I get most of my news from THE DAILY SHOW, but, thank Buddha, they do such a fine job of it!

Check out this report on the placement of 150 Regent University Law School grads by the Bush administration. This came to light as part of the background of a recently resigned aide to the Attorney General who has been granted immunity for her testimony in the ongoing investigation of the attorney firings. She was a Regent grad herself.

The school was founded in the late 90s by Pat Robertson and was originally named the Christian Broadcasting Network University (see the DAILY SHOW clip or click around at the school's website for more).

Also, read the op-ed by NYTimes writer Paul Krugman which identifies these hirings as part of a bigger picture strategy that he feels needs to be widely acknowledged and better understood and watched.

Keep on keepin on~