Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oswald might've been a pussy, but he was a great shot.

Nine Inch Nails.

I just bought tickets to go see them at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. I usually don't like to buy really expensive tickets because I just don't think it's worth it. The last show I spent an ungodly amount of money for a show was to see NIN back in late 2008. It was for the Lights In The Sky tour.

The previous time I had seen them was during their With_Teeth tour. In between the time they toured for that and when they came around next, they released 3 albums (4 if you include remix albums): Year Zero (Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D was the remix album released shortly after), Ghosts I-IV(a 2 discer full of instrumentals), and The Slip which was a free download from nin.com which can be found here [ http://theslip.nin.com/ ]. It was pretty exciting to see them play this material, but it was also the most impressive stage/light show I've ever witnessed. They interacted with the screens behind them...

Nine Inch Nails - Echoplex Live (Lights In The Sky, Multi-Cam) from Pier-Philippe de Chevigny Le Bla on Vimeo.

and in front of them...

Nine Inch Nails - Only (Lights In The Sky Tour, Multi-Cam) from Pier-Philippe de Chevigny Le Bla on Vimeo.

...and had images seem to circle around them while they were playing in between screens. The screens would raise and lower and the stage set up would change every 4 or 5 songs. It was incredibly unique and unlike anything I've ever seen.

Trent was using a screen on stage so he could have control of the images and what not on the screens.

Nine Inch Nails - The Great Destroyer (Lights In The Sky Tour, Multi-Cam) from Edgar Desrives on Vimeo.

Trent said that he had no intention of ever creating a tour as big as this again which is sad, but who can blame him? It must have been pains in many asses night after night pulling all that shit off. That being sad, going into a show that is guaranteed not to have as big a stage presence as before could be disconcerning to some, but this band has never let me down out of the 9 or 10 times I've seen them. That and they're touring with Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper (Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello's new project) which is a plus.

Nine Inch Nails - The Big Come Down (Lights In The Sky Tour, official footage) from Esther Derive on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"I blame rap lyrics. Damn you, Heavy D!"

Tonight the Watchmen is finally out. After all the red tape, and bullshit, we finally get to see it. It looks fantastic.

Lately, I've been catching up on Y: The Last Man. I'd never really gotten into it, and now I'm kicking my own ass because I waited so long to get into it.

The thing about Y: The Last Man is that I feel anyone who has even a passing interest in literature, history, a fascination with the apocalypse or science...I really feel this would be a great read for them. Most people view comics, in general, as a passe art form for the low brow, the nerds or losers who can't talk to girls or something. And thats fine, theres a lot of misconceptions this comic destroys easily. It's funny, brilliantly written, ahead of it's time, and I really think theres something here for everyone.

As Miles mentioned in his post previously, The Walking Dead, which is another comic thats miles ahead of the heard, is something amazing.

It takes places during the zombie apocalypse. It's the story of survivors who more often than not turn themselves into the actual monsters.

I've always been a fan of this comic as well, because even though it's in black and white...it kind of defies color, some how. That the lack of color some how makes it grittier, and makes the scenes more intense. It might be the best representation of the zombie genre I've ever seen, quite honestly. It's another one I highly, highly suggest picking up.

It was even the inspiration for the title for my other blog, Days Gone By.

But in all this comic revelry, I do have a spot of sad news. One of my all time favorite reads has come to an end. It came to an end a while ago, due in part, largely I assume, to the lack of readers. Out of all my friends I talk too, none of them have ever actually gotten into the series, and thats indicative of the franchise of it entirely.

The Exterminators was another comic that was light years ahead of itself. Let me make something clear, as far as comics go, thats actually pretty hard to do. But all the comics mentioned here today, the Watchmen, Y: The Last Man, The Walking Dead and the Exterminator; they are all light years ahead of their time.

But the Exterminators was always kind of the underdog because of it's content. While at times it doesn't even attempt to be subtle with the message it's trying to do, and it's overly bleak view of humanity sometimes get to be just a tad too much, I really feel that the mere fact that it deals with bugs is what did it end.

Some how it's more palpable to death with human beings being dead and eating other humans as opposed to bugs eating us. Ironically, dead humans don't each other in real life, but bugs do.

Reading the final note to the audience from the author, you get a sense that it was heart breaking for him to end something he felt this passionate about, and I'm sorry as hell to see it go.

I've not even started it yet, and I've had it for about two months because I just...don't want it to be truly over yet.

Bug Brothers Forever.

Other than that, theres not much going on. I need some new books to read, so please feel free to suggest anything to me. Same with comic book titles.

As far as movies are concerned, I'm really excited about "I Love You, Man" coming out. It looks hilarious, and in keeping with todays theme of comics, it even has the Hulk in it. YES!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I like to dissect girls. Did you know I'm utterly insane?

Wondercon came and went. Every year around this time I get somewhat excited about the event that is such. The costumes, the stench of BO, the shoulder to shoulder crowds, a place where my nerdiness pales in comparison, and cheap graphic novels. Sure, it's no comic-con, but what would I know? I've never been, but would love to go. From what I gather though, Wondercon is comic-con's sister who is not as hot nor as popular.

It runs for three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). I went on Saturday when the majority of the stuff was going on that I wanted to witness. Sure Friday had a panel with Will Arnett, but Saturday was filled with more shit that I cared about. The day started out with a nice little wait before the Watchmen panel. The guests included director Zack Snyder, cast members Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, and artist Dave Gibbons. Zack Snyder came out and discussed some obstacles on making The Watchmen and then showed us the opening 15 (roughly) minutes, including the opening title sequence which is phenomenal. Directly after the opening footage, it cut to the scene with Jackie Earle Haley in the food line in prison which gave me goosebumps. If you have yet to read the book, I won't say what happens, but it's fucking badass. After the footage, the cast members were brought out and handled some questions during a brief Q+A. A hilarious moment I thought I'd share took place when a fan asked if there was a scene that they were either dreading or one they were looking forward to shooting and Jeffrey Dean Morgan quickly answered he couldn't wait to get to shoot the rape sequence. Didn't miss a beat. It was rad.

After that panel, which was the one I was most excited for, we walked around the floor and looked at all the booths to see what they had to offer. We accidently got sucked into the autograph line for Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. Fuck. I knew the movie "stars" there charged for their photos and/or autographs, but Mark was fucking charging $100 for a signature. I don't know what shocked me more, if it was what he charged or how many people were in line to get said signature. After we made our rounds and caught site of Adam West, Honky Tonk Man, and various other washed up movie stars, Kim and I went to give blood. It was either that or go check out the new Star Trek trailer and/or footage. I don't really care about that, although I will probably end up check it out, we chose to give blood.

When we went to line up for the Terminator: Salvation and we accidentally caught the Up panel. Pixar's latest outing looks pretty awesome. They were pretty tight lipped about the plot and what not, but they did show us a few clips which funny and made me all the more excited for it.

About an hour later, the panel for Termaniator: Salvation began. Let me begin by saying that I am a huge fan of the first two Terminator films and thought the third one was a lot of fun and worth watching. I've held the same mindset for Terminator: Salvation for a while now, but after seeing the new trailer which will be released Friday in front of The Watchmen, it's hard not to be excited.

McG was very excited and seemed to have the fans in mind while making this as did some of the cast, but we'll see. McG began the panel with him calling Christian Bale and holding the phone up to the mic. He left a message saying that we're all excited that he is in the film, but Bale is dead to McG because he didn't come to Wondercon. Anyway, the trailer started up after McG said something along the lines of it "blasting our balls up our asses" which sounded good to me. I'm not going to go into detail about the trailer itself as it will be seen by many of you on Friday, but I will say it made excellent use of Nine Inch Nails' "The Day The World Went Away". It looked pretty fucking cool. I really like the idea of a company using people and them not knowing they're machines which was the direction this shit was headed. We took off mid-panel in order to get a ride and not BART (bay area rapid transit for those not living the bay area). I usually don't spend much when I go to these conventions, but I ended up with the first 3 hardcover books of The Walking Dead which I've started and already am in love with, the first Dark Tower graphic novel, and a Day of the Dead shirt. Overall, an awesome way to spend my Saturday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yeah, maybe. Maybe he went to heaven. He was a little fucker. He could've gone to hell.

It's been a while. I wanted to wait for Miles to update, but he's got a bit of a shakey connection, but he's working on something pretty cool. A show review he recently went to, so it's gonna be awesome!

Lately I've been writing a short-story compilation book, and I've got exactly one song to go, and one to re-tool a bit. So I've been staying pretty busy, actually. In fact, I got published online over at Bitter Press for one of the stories thats going to be in the book that I'm going to call File Under Powerviolence. The published story is called Shootin' At a Mound of Dirt, and I'm pretty proud of it. None of the stories are the same, and I tried really hard to differentiate any type of trappings in them, as far as running themes or sounding exactly the same in each story. Check it out. Hope you hate it!

A lot of whats influenced me in life, to be quite honest, is music. I'm sure thats the same for everyone, too. For whatever reason you listen to music, you listen to what speaks to you. When I was younger I felt completely alienated. I liked some rap music, but couldn't completely appreciate why exactly it was that NWA was saying "Fuck the police". I never liked modern country music (and I still don't, either) and when I was in 3rd, 4th, 5th grade the biggest bands on the planet were the Spice Girls, Hanson, Matchbox 20, Aqua and Ace of Base. I completely couldn't relate to that. That type of pop music is just so shallow and vapid, even as a dumb ass little kid, I just couldn't do that.

The closest I ever got to relating to anything for so long was Bone Thugs N' Harmony. Now don't get me wrong, I think that Bone Thugs are great. I really, really do. But it's something that at the time I couldn't feel anything outside of, "Hey this is cool".

One day I discovered Green Day, and within a week I discovered a band called Operation Ivy.

From the moment I heard the first song off of Energy, "Knowledge" I finally found something I was looking for. I'm not sure from Kindergarten to 4th grade I said one word outside of my family and two friends. Bookworms who play chess and spend their recesses playing basketball alone, or reading in a corner of the library aren't exactly the first to be invited to parties.

But I was so enamored with Operation Ivy. Through them I dug deeper, eventually getting into bands like 88 Fingers Louie, AFI, Suicide Machines, Minor Threat, Bad Religion, the Ramones and the Clash just so many of these bands.

It might sound tacky and toolish to say, but without punk rock music...I'm not exactly sure where I'd be. Something actually existed out there that didn't care about skin color, fitting in or being cool. Just being yourself was enough.

People don't give punk rock proper credit. Easily assumed is "fuck the system, up the punx, fuck society" and things of that nature, but to me it never seemed like that. It wasn't rebellious for the sake of being rebellious. It was something of a breeding ground for airing your grievances in a constructive and often times, positive manner.

I've always been into to reading and science. Again, these things weren't exactly popular subjects in social circles. So it was something I loved, but wound up being overlooked. I guess people labeled as nerds really get painted into a corner, and that stigma really never goes away. If I ever have a son, he's gonna tease me about being nerdy, or something. Too bad I'll always kick his ass in basketball.

But there was never really a band that catered to my interests like that. I mean, to be honest when I was that young, and getting into this type of music and all it's sub genres...it was totally fun and exciting, but the flip side of that coin was that at this point in time the advent of the internet wasn't as prevalent as it is today. So discovering these bands was extremely hard, and all I could rely on were liner notes in CD's.

So it was hard finding these bands I could relate to. But one day I came across a band called the Descendents. Melodic and complex, more then just pop punk or hardcore punk...it simply was what it was; the Descendents. I discovered the album, "Everything Sucks" and from that moment on, I was just completely mesmerized.

Just being a regular person is so passe. Every one wants to live some abnormal facade, because the alternative just seems too depressing. But the Descendents did it with so much grace...instead of letting the exterior take over, they let the music do the talking.

One of the most annoying things that come with punk music is the uniform. The stereotypical, "non-conformist, rebellious" look. You know what I'm talking about. Neon colored hair in a 14 inch high mohawk (or liberty spikes for those lazy punks) patches covering the studded leather jacket, or studded sleeveless denim jacket. It's always struck me so asinine, this need to be non-conformist, but looking exactly like your counterparts down to the bullet belt and torn Chucks.

And I mean, I've dyed my hair plenty of times in my day. But I've never had a mohawk, I've never felt the need to don a leather jacket or modify a denim jacket. It's too much work, honestly. Furthermore, I just have nothing to prove. I spend a total of 2 minutes looking at my self in the mirror, and thats mostly because I'm brushing my teeth.

These kids want to give the illusion that they don't care, but in the end they wind up spending as much time in front of the mirror as Paris Hilton, and to be honest thats something I couldn't get on board with.

Discovering the Descendents was a highlight of my youth. Songs about girls, poop jokes, intricate melodies, a mean guitar, a legendary voice and lyrics that could be diverse and subtle, to straight forward no-nonsense. A no schtick approach to making music, and living your life.

The Descendents were always a place to go. They existed for not only the "crust punx" hardcore punk crowd, to casual listeners who just enjoyed good pop-punk with a bit of bratty attitude, and a whole chest full of heart-felt sincerity.

Milo Goes to College and I Don't Want to Grow Up were such seminal foundations for my life. So much so that I can listen to those albums today and still feel it hit me the same exact way it did so many years ago when I felt alone.

I never got to witness the Descendents live, and that does suck. But the legend they've left behind, the imagination they've captured and inspiration they've struck within me are indelible.

It started with Energy, and it became solidified with not wanting to grow up. The rest of the conclusions I've come to are my own, but because of those stepping stones along the way I now have the confidence to be okay with who I am, and know that when words fail me I'll always have three chords and a hook waiting to pull me back to my feet.

I've learned more to 2 minute anthems than I have from history books. If anything, those short bursts of revelation have made me want to look for deeper meanings in life, to not want to settle for anything less than glory.

It can start in a basement or a hole in the wall. Fists raised high, and souls bared and voices waining thin.

For those bands that opened the door...

"You don't get played on the radio
That's not the game you play
Well I don't care anyway
I glued your tape in the stereo
So I know every word, every note
And every chord is right - right on
When I feel weak you make me feel strong
Make me feel strong feel like nothing's wrong

I won't say your name
You know who you are
I'll never be the same again now - no way
I just want to say thank you for playing the
Way you play"

Thats why I go and waste my time at the rock and roll shows.

You know who you are. Thank you.

Talk into my bullet hole, tell me I'm fine.

Saturday night at 8pm the only thought in my head while standing around the corner from the entrance to Gilman was "Shit. I don't think we're getting in". The line for the show that night (which included Thorns of Life, the only band on the bill out of five that I wanted to see) wrapped a quarter of the way around the block. I've been to a handful of shows there and I've never encountered a line, let alone one that disappeared around the corner. An hour and a half later, we finally got in, sat through the 3 band of the night. After they left the stage, the place got significantly more full. I found myself shoulder to shoulder and not being able to falter half a step forward or backward. All I could muster was my freeing my right hand to be able to hold it above my head to take pictures, but even then I had to be careful not to elbow my friendly neighbor in the head.

Thorns of Life is fronted by former Jawbreaker/Jets to Brazil frontman Black Sch... and backed by ex-Crimpshrine drumer Aaron Cometbus and Daniela Sea from Showtime's "The L Word" and Cypher in the Snow. Hailing from Brooklyn, this three piece knocked me on my ass. Forgive me for not having a setlist or even song names. Blake did mention some names of songs, but I can't remember them. They opened with a song about losing your virginity, my second favorite song of the night next to a song about the story of a man who is friends with a robot who slowly starts to fall apart and malfunction, but he has no spare parts to fix him. Said story was written by an author whose name escapes me. I love robots. Robots love me.

There also was a "singalong" where the chorus where the second half went something like "sink me teeth into babies knees / baby baby baby please". They played for a solid hour and their sound was sort of like a cross between Jawbreaker (Dear You/24 Hour Revenge Therapy era) and Jets to Brazil. They had the heart of Jets to Brazil and the carefree-ness of Jawbreaker.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and an excellent show, especially at 8 dollars. It also doesn't hurt to be waiting in line for a little while with Davey Havok right in front of you...literally.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"I'm afraid she's on her way out..." "We all are--act acordingly."

Well it's been about a week, or over a week since I last updated you with my shit list, so this week I thought I'd go ahead and right this wheel spinning out of control and drop some brown-ass loving...that didn't sound right....on you.

As much crap as there was out there this past year, there were some really, really good movies that also came out. I truly feel it was the year of Robert Downey, JR. but 2008 was really good to a lot of people, too.

So here we go:

Top Ten Best Examples of Cinematic Glory in 2008:

10.) Young People Fucking.

That just sounds like it shouldn't be any good whatsoever. It really, really doesn't. It just comes off as something thats either going to be smut disguised as art (a la 'The Brown Bunny') , or it could've been highly pretentious like After Sex. But the end result from this practically no name cast is an independent masterstroke, destined for cult status. It's funny, well written, and smart. What impressed me most is the movie feels like it couldn't have been shot for more than 15 dollars, but the ambition of the film feels like that of a summer block buster. It's a movie with a lot of heart, a savvy view on modern day relationships. It's a lot more than just a title with a swear, it's got a lot of heart.

9.) In Bruges.

Collin Farrell is in top for in In Bruges, playing a role I think is best suited for him; a sardonic hitman trying to cut his teeth in the assassination business (I don't remember that table at Career Day) and is being mentored by an aging hitman looking forward to retirement, played by Brendan Gleeson. But apparently Farrell can be a fuck up, and Gleeson is hired to take him out. Hijinx ensue, accents to be had, twist endings galore!

8a.) Charlie Barlett.

This film got so many delays, and that sucks because I kind of feel it got overshadowed and buried. I think it could have done so much more if it would have gotten a proper push, but regardless this is still the little film that could. Kat Dennings, Anton Yelchin, Tyler Hilton (not related to Paris, thank God) and Robert Downey, JR. all give A+ performances.

As far as movies centered around High School, this one is much more believable than most of the other basically exploitation films out there. But Bartlett itself is part Catcher in the Rye, part Abbie Hoffman.

Not only is it a funny, smart, quirky, fast and endearing movie, I also feel parents who don't feel they understand their teenage kids should watch it to get either a reminder, or an idea of what they might be going through. Every kid has an identity crisis, sure, but so do adults when they work jobs that they don't have the heart to continue.

8b.) Step Brothers.

HI-LARIOUS. Thats all that can be said. The only reason it's not higher on this list is because it's more one-dimensional than the other films, but god damn it...funniest movie of the year. Long live the comedy team of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly!

Not to be over looked, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Adam Scott and Rob Riggle round out this ensemble perfectly. It's almost entirely worth owning this movie for hearing Steenburgen say, "What the fucking fuck?!" to be quite honest.

But only Ferrell and Reilly could make this premise work on any tangible level. Months before it was released, I found myself scratching my head every time I read about it wondering how in the hell they would pull it off, but they knocked it out of the park.

Their knack for improvisation is unparalleled (except maybe by another Frat Pack alumni, Steve Carrel) and I'd be surprised if the script had any actual dialogue whatsoever. The only thing that could have made this a bit better would have if Riggle would've gotten a bigger part.

7.) Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

Morgan Spurlock is a fucking genius. Anyone who disagrees with that is a pinko bastard commie who doesn't deserve to not only watch movies, but is also not intelligent enough to enjoy a documentary that isn't about penguins (although it's a great documentary). Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden is an exercise in journalistic integrity and documentary film making that Michael Moore couldn't even fathom of doing on his best day.

It's interesting to see how vastly different our cultures are (including Spurlock having to grow a beard and tan in order to be safe in certain countries.)

Morgan Spurlock isn't afraid to ask the questions we're too scared to ask, or pursue a villain thats been pushed out of our minds eye in lieu of the Iraqi war. His brave style of film making, coupled with his razor sharp wit and daring add up to making such an documentary way it should be made.

I have such a great deal of respect for Spurlock, and everything he does seems to push the envelope of the boundaries we've made for ourselves in this post 9/11 world.

5.) Pineapple Express.

I want Seth Rogen inside of me. With his humor, not with his wang. That being said, this guy is on fire. It seems like almost anything he's ever touched has been nothing short of solid gold (minus the slight misstep with Zack and Miri Make a Porno) and you throw in Danny McBride, James Franco, Gary Cole, Craig Robinson and a cameo by Bill Hader; well...it's almost impossible for it to be anything less than noteworthy.

The concept was original; who doesn't like stoner comedies? Who doesn't like raucous adventure flicks? This movie had it all. Plus, it dabbled with teenage tang. You go, Rogen. Thats the American dream! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

4.) Iron Man.

I've said it a thousand times, I'll say it once more: 2008 was the year of Downey, JR. If you disagree (which you're entitled too) you probably thought Speed Racer was criminally underrated. Raise your hand if you feel that way, then look around and notice you're all alone, and you've just become King of the Assholes.

Terrance Howard is in top form, as is Jeff Bridges. This ensemble set the tone for what comic book movies could really be, and how mainstream audiences perceived the genre as well.

Iron Man succeeds because even though it's a big budget movie, every cent was wisely spent, and I'm not even going to pretend I'm not salivating for the moment the sequel is released. I could watch RDJ zip around in a red suit of armor, and Terrance Howard be Terrance Howard for two hours, and I'd pay 13 dollars for the privilege happily.

3.) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I really didn't expect this movie to be as amazing as it was. It had a lot working against it, being nearly three hours long and being based off of the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Obviously some liberties were going to be taken given the fact that there wasn't as much content to work with, but in the end every decision made paid off royally. Brad Pitt delivers ten-fold with his performance, and every moment of this movie is just entrancing.

I really like that with this kind of a movie they took time to go into depth with the characters, and really flesh them out so they didn't stand as just pawns in a chess game. It wasn't rushed at all, and you'd think that being nearly three hours long would hurt the movie, but to be honest you get lost in it so easily you barely even notice it.

What I found particularly interesting was they way the handled events happening during the time-line, and I won't spoil it for you, but it's one of those little nuances that for me make a movie more than just a few hours of entertainment.

Cate Blanchett...I don't think I've ever seen her do better, truthfully. This is a role where she was used so properly, and how she rose to the occasion is just great to see. I really think she should be a shoe-in for Lead Actress.

2.) Slumdog Millionaire.

Holy. Shit.

This is the little movie that could. Theres a lot of hype around this movie, and for good cause too--it's just amazing. Nothing short of flawless. Danny Boyle brought his A-game with newcomers Freida Pinto (this was her debut movie!) and Dev Patel.

Boyle doesn't know what the definition of mediocre, and I'm convinced he may be an unstoppable tour de force.

I had no idea what to expect from Slumdog, other than Boyles' name was attached. That's honestly enough for me to check it out. But I was surprised to find out that it was at the core of it all, a love story. Damn it! Fooled!

Jamal and Latika had some real serious problems, yet through it all they persevered. Suck on that, Romeo and Juliet, you immature pricks.

But this film shows the transition India is facing; one of staunch tradition to a more modern society; poverty to vast wealth. The evolution of each of the characters is endlessly fascinating, and I left this movie feeling like I'd gained something.

Theres so much depth, heart and soul in Slumdog that it's nearly impossible not to fall in love with this movie. People have asked why I like this movie so much, and I wish I could explain it. If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest you remedy that as soon as possible, if not sooner.

1.) The Spirit...Okay, thats just a bold face lie, but drumroll please!

1.) The Dark Knight.

No surprises here. Heath Ledger brought something to the legacy of one of Batman comics' fans favorite villains of all time in the Joker.

Initially I felt it was absurd to say Ledgers performance was on the level with Jack Nicholson's portrayal, but after watching it I have to say it's just impossible to compare either because they are so monumentally different.

Christian Bale is my favorite Bruce Wayne thats been cast, but as Batman...that voice he does is irksome, though I appreciate the effort of disguising it.

But the cast here...Morgan Freeman, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, and Michael Caine all make bring nothing less than their collective bests. And none of them seem to try to upstage each other, which is amazing to me. Every one of the aforementioned actors could quite easily be a marquee draw themselves, but in working together they've built something thats going to stand the test of time.

For everything that Iron Man did for the comic book genre, the Dark Knight flipped it on its ear entirely.

Despite the passing of Ledger, it doesn't over shadow the film itself. I feel the attention, while deserved after having seen it for myself, on the Joker takes away from how amazing Eckhart did with Two-Face/Dent. Aaron brings such a phenomenal performance to the table thats criminally overlooked, yet understandably so.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is in my opinion the only weak link in this movie. That sad faced turtle made me nearly want to scream at the screen every time her dopey face came into view. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, and bad ass vigilante--Harvey Dent is regarded as Gotham's White Knight. You mean to tell me that ugly broad is who their scrapping over? Thats the hardest part of this movie for me to believe.

But the writing, the cinematography, the delivery...everything here was done so masterfully that it's not hard to see why this film grossed nearly a billion dollars world wide.

Well thats it. Tune in soon for my wrap up of books, honorable mention movies and music of 2008. It won't be a week between this time I hope.

See ya in the lobby!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

See madness is like gravity. All it needs is a little push.

To be quite honest, while there were some awesome movies released in 2008, by and large I felt it was actually kind of a turd-fest year. You had such 'memorable' class acts such as M. Night Shamalamadingdong's 'return to form' in his much touted 'first R-rated film' with The Happening, to and absolute waste of Jonah Hill in Strange Wilderness. Not all was lost, though. 2008 saw not only a resurgence, but a complete revitalization of Robert Downey, JR with two runaway hits in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder (not to mention his great performance in Charlie Bartlett). 2008 was the year of Robert Downey, JR without a doubt.

So, just like Miles did with his recent update, I will be giving my year-end lists, from 'best of's', to 'oh my god I actually devoted time to this hunk of absolute shit'. Here we go.

Top Ten Biggest Examples of Cinematic Diarrhea in 2008:

As I mentioned previously, I felt this year wasn't exactly a strong one for cinema. Unfortunately, I have this love affair with movies. They have a hold on me. Even when I don't want too, they make me watch them. It's like Hollywood is an abusive spouse, and I'm a lonely girl from Montana with big dreams. They keep promising me the moon, and giving me the gutter.

10.) Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins:

(Fun little piece of trivia, my face mirrored the look of shock and disgust this screen shot also shares with the movie.)

I don't know what in God's name I was thinking. I want to believe in Martin Lawrence, I really do. It was so bad that I'm sure it could've been higher up on my list had I not blocked a great portion of it out of my head. Like a bad break-up, I spent weeks trying to drink this away and I think I may have actually succeeded. My only regret is that I had to relieve the momentary horror by recapping it here. Well...that, and having seen the movie.

9.) You Don't Mess With the Zohan:

How much longer can Adam Sandler continue his rain of shit? He hasn't had anything worth writing home about in so long, and it boggles my mind that his fan base continuously (and ravenously) supports his movies. I know he's capable of better, we all know that with such comedic classics as Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore.

I get it, though. He's a likable guy, he's genuinely funny and despite how you may feel about it, this is a guy that knows what his fan base wants and expects from him. Sure, he's thrown a few curve balls with some independent jaunts, but he still keeps true to what his fans want.

The problem is you can only have so many jokes about something like Hummus and a poor accent going for so long. What's that? Mariah Carrey was in this too? Fuck...thats a heavy decline from a Bob Barker cameo (The price is wrong, bitch. Strange how that applies.)

8.) How To Lose Friends and Alienate People:

Oh man, I feel so sorry for EVER lumping Simon Pegg into a category like this. The only thing that salves my burning conscience is the fact that he wasn't to blame whatsoever for this terrible movie. The two major problems of this movie didn't involve him whatsoever due to his genitalia and his nationality. I know that sounds creepy, so please let me elaborate:

As far as his genitalia being brought into the proverbial picture and it not being held accountable...a major problem with this movie was the casting of Kirsten Dunst. Every time I see her on screen I want to call the poor girl a dentist to fix those GOD AWFUL teeth. You were in the Spider Man series, for God's sake. I know you have money, bitch. Please get them fixed and stop offending me.

The other reason is Pegg's nationality. Yes, it actually saved him. I'll explain:

American's don't know how to use Simon Pegg. He's at his best when he's scheming with his British-y cohorts Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. American film makers by and large (as well as that particular audience) don't understand the magic of subtlety, especially when it comes to comedy. They have to be led by the hand to the punch line, and then beaten over the head with it, much like a mallet in those old cartoons. American film makers do not know how to use Pegg, because the vast majority of the audiences don't get half the reasons why Spaced was such a great show and must never be reproduced like original Office.

7.) Be Kind Rewind:

I like Mos Def, I really like Danny Glover, Michel Gondry is cool and I want to like Jack Black. The idea for this film was pretty unique, I think. It just didn't translate well, and in the end it was just...boring. It was such a shame to see this kind of a goose-egg come out of these actors and director with so much talent and promise. I feel like Jack Black hasn't found where he really fits at in movies, which is sad to see, but I know one day he will find his stride.

6.) Semi-Pro:

(I too have hoop dreams, coach.)

I like Will Ferrell. There aren't many people that don't. I also really, really like a lot of the supporting cast in this. Hell, I even love Andre 3000 and wish Outkast were still making music, because rap-hip hop, at least the modern version of it, is almost completely unlistenable.

Will Ferrell for some reason loves to make schticky sports themed comedies. Talladega Nights, that skating one...there was probably another in there somewhere but I just don't care to rehash it right now, and I really wish he'd just fucking stop. He's capable of making some of the best characters come to life. And the mad genius about him is that some of these characters are so far-fetched, I truly believe there isn't another actor out there that could make me believe it besides him. Take Step Brothers for example. What he and John C. Reilly did there was basically poetry, in a way.

But Semi-Pro is just abysmal. The writing was poor, it was entirely too predictable, and this is a role we've seen a thousand times from Ferrell. I honestly do fear he's gonna get type cast in this mediocre-to-poor type of role one day, and that could be the death knell for American Comedies. If you don't think he's not a major part of the reason why rated-R comedies are making a comeback these days, then you're absolutely fucking wrong.

5.) Wanted:

After seeing this movie, I 'wanted' (see what I did there?) to gouge myself in the testicles with something rusty. Why? Because at one time I think Angelina Jolie might've been really beautiful, but now that she's adopted 10,000 Ethiopian children and apparently wants them to feel more at home so she's taken to starving herself, and now she's become the epitome of boner-killing. If boner killing were a category of the Razzies (which I fully content that that category should be created now because of what old Skeletor has become) then she'd win not only the inaugural award, but lifetime achievement for it in the same trip to the podium.

Did Morgan Freeman sign a contract drunkenly right after the wrap up party for Driving Miss Daisy, and that contract stated that he had to be in every single movie thats been released from then on out, despite how good or bad it may be? He can't be enjoying these roles whatsoever. But God help me, every time that man is on screen my heart flutters. He could shine a turd into a diamond if he were given enough time. Unfortunately that whiny little bitch James McAvoy sits on screen too long, acting from his vagina and having it bleed everywhere the entire time. "Oh, I'm not sure if I can curve a bullet, everyones being mean to me, I'm going to pout and cry."

"Oh, but it was like the Matrix..." Fuck off. The first Matrix was (at best) alright, and everything after that was worse than watching someone you love set your pets on fire.

4.) W.:

I want to marry Elizabeth Banks. It's unfortunate that she's worked with Judd Apatow in the past (he's been known to give up and comers the advice of "Just saying no. Come into this business saying no), but still seems to take every role she can. But I understand, and am grateful because watching her in any capacity makes my entire week better. However, W. is such a processed, manufactured piece of absolute wretched filth and shit that I hope to God Oliver Stone (who put out Platoon, one of the greatest movies of all time) should never be allowed to even watch TV again.

Politically speaking, I find this film over overwhelmingly insulting. The timing of it, the "it's funny cause he's a joke" pandering that so much of Hollywood (and the media) is known to do. It's demeaning, and I'm glad this movie barely recouped what it cost to make it in the first place.

Somewhere along the line Stone lost the ability to have an original thought, and instead opted to only make topical movies about tragedies and disaster not even a decade old yet. I understand that some of these topic should be made into movies because forgetting about them is absolutely atrocious on so many levels, but with him making the movie about the World Trade Center (movie of the same name) was nothing short of exploitation and taking advantage of a wound not even six years old (at the time the movie was released).

The problem I have with this movie is why did he wait until Election Day to release it? What the fuck is the point of having a message like that? It's akin to that of the Titanic's SOS calls being answered after it was already rusting on the ocean floor and Jack was already digesting in sharks bellies. It's cowardice, its spineless and its pandering in its highest form.

How long until Stone pitches the idea for Katrina: Waves of Doom? Prick.

The film itself can be somewhat fair, which I suppose is nice. But it still reeks of the hypocritical nature of not only the film maker, but the audience it's intended for. "Look, he talks funny. Hyuck, hyuck, a-hyuck! He mispronounced nuclear! What a tool!" Yeah...except that guy has access to the button, and no one tried to impeach him.

3.) The Happening:

M Night Shamalamadingdong (referenced and linked above, and yes I refuse to acknowledge his birth name, as anyone who could continuously churn out crap like this can't possibly have a soul. At least not a human one) should be thrown into Guantanamo Bay and be forced to work off every cent he's made off a movie since right Signs. And even that movie was pure projectile vomit for half of it, so he should have to work off that as well. And he should be forced at gun-point. If he stops too long to wipe the sweat off his brow, they should shoot him dead.

Trees. TREES, are you fucking kidding me? Thats the big twist, wind and trees? In the real world it would have taken me three seconds to figure out what was 'happening' (I did it again), and I'd put on a gas mask, let a few more idiots die and then go to town on those trees with a chain saw. Are you fucking kidding me? I still can't believe it was trees. Trees are about as scary as fucking marshmallows. They only time they cause real danger is if a kid falls off one, or one falls off you. But I live in Arizona. We don't have fucking trees here, so maybe I'm missing something.

See in Arizona, we have things called 'Cactus'. I'm sure you might've heard of them. What a lot of people who don't know what a real desert looks like might not know is that one of the cacti's cousins is called a "jumping cactus". Broken down simply, it shoots it's needles at you. It's natures pipe bomb, and it fucking hurts. Make a movie about that, Shamalamskateran. It's a whole hell of a lot more believable. If someone dies because they are allergic to trees or something, that gets a somewhat pass, but if you kill yourself because of it's pollen....good. I'm glad that happened.

A tree?! Really?! The thing we hang tire swings and build clubhouses in?

2.) Strange Wilderness:

I only have myself to blame for this. I should have known, I really should of. But I mean...it has Jonah Hill in it! It has Kevin Heffernan! It should have been, on paper, so much more. But as things like this go, it was bad, bad, bad. God damn, it still stings.

I suppose it's my fault thought. I assumed comedies were supposed to be fun, but you know what they say about assuming...

1.) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skulls:

I've never in my wildest nightmares, even for a moment, would have expected myself to hate anything Indiana Jones related. I honestly had no idea.

I not only hated it, I almost walked out of the theater right after his miraculous survival technique of hiding in a refrigerator while a nuke was dropped.

Aliens. Aliens do not belong in fucking Indiana god damned Jones, and I don't give a fuck what George Lucas or Steven Spielberg thinks. You want aliens, fuck-twats? Go remake ET. I won't watch that one, either.

This is one of the biggest atrocities to ever happen, but the biggest downside is the inevitable turn that its going to take for the worse. Because this movie made so much money, LucasFilm will assume that it's alright to continue sharting on this beloved classic, just like he did with Star Wars. And I'm the biggest asshole here, because when Indiana Jones and the Fortress of Killing My Childhood Memories comes out in the next few years, I'll be there front and center weeping into my popcorn and thumbing a revolver.

Shia LaBeouf has no business in this movie. I don't hate him necessarily, but I have no idea what he did or who he has naked pictures of in compromising positions that enables him to be in so many of these big movies. It seems like just a few years ago he was Lindsay Lohan's bitch on Disney, but somehow he's here riding a motorcycle and making Indy somehow sit bitch. I don't understand it, I don't like it, and I feel like Lucas and Spielberg should be hung for allowing this idea to get off the ground. I wish when I hit puberty I got a sense of entitlement I didn't deserve, and it allowed me to be in big blockbusters, no matter how shitty.

When you come into a movie with low expectations, but still do it with a smile because the franchise was so amazing, and you still have your heart dashed to bits...thats just some kind of all time low.

To read what my initial reaction was to this movie, I highly suggest clicking this link. I'm not one to do movie reviews, but under the guise of an open letter, I aired my broken heart and anguish.

I can't even write about how badly fuck this movie anymore. It literally pains me too much to do so. This should have never been made, and I have no idea why Lucas continues to fucking shit on his own legacy. Would some one please tell him to stop? It's gotten to the point where I didn't even watch the Clone Wars. No one did, and to be honest...it's the only piece of the Star Wars puzzle I haven't bought into in some shape or form.

Thats all I have for now. I need to grab a shower to wash the dirty off of me. I feel like a prostitute who got 'stiffed' (I keep doing it) out of her money. Kind of like if her vagina was a Taxi, and as soon as the guy got where he was going he ran out without paying. Thats exactly how I feel right now.

Come back tomorrow night when I have my best of list for movies, and maybe if I feel up to the task my favorite albums of 2008.

Until then, I'll see ya in the lobby.


Monday, January 5, 2009

All these years, all these memories, there was you. You pull me through time.

I just finished reading Fugitives and Refugees by Chuck Palahniuk. It was his little guidebook in a way for Portland, Oregon. Even though I've never been to PO or have any plans to go (although I would fucking love to!), I had a great time reading this book and imagining what a blast it would be to go up there and check out all the spots still in tact and up and running using the book as a guide. I'm sure like roughly a little more than half are still around, but I heard it's a beautiful place to check out anyway. This was the last Chuck book I had yet to read and now I'm all caught up. He is easily one of my favorite authors, but has not written my favorite book. My favorite book would be...well here's a top 5 of my favorite books.

1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
2. Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar
3. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
4. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (7 books in all. I'm currently reading the 6th book, but already it's kicking my ass and I'm loving it.)
5. Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Alright. Since it's the new year now, I thought I would post my top 10 films of 2008. I know so far there are a lot of top 5 or 10 lists, but I love lists, and you, as the reader, need to know what kind of taste Aaron and I have so you can start making fun of us or worshiping us. Either or. We don't care.

Top 10 best films of 2008

1. The Dark Knight

2. Slumdog Millionaire

3. The Wrestler

4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

5. Synecdoche, New York

6. Gran Torino

7. The Visitor

8. Funny Games

9. The Band's Visit (while being released in Israel in 2007, it wasn't released in the states till 2008).

10. Milk/Let The Right One In/Doubt???

I have yet to see Milk, Doubt, Let The Right One In (tonight possibly), and a few others, but right now I feel pretty confidant on this list. I'm saving that last spot for one of these possibly based on reviews I've read. Needless to say without the good you can't have the bad. So...

Top 10 worst films of 2008. **spoilers** but do you really care?

1. The Happening
2. Max Payne
3. The Love Guru
4. Wanted
5. Seven Pounds (I actually have yet to watch this, but a man giving away parts of his body and commits suicide via jellyfish? You fucking kidding me?!)
6. Quarantine
7. Postal
8. Hancock (didn't see this one either, but Will Smith is a jerk so here's this)
9. 10,000 BC (another shitty movie I could smell a mile away so I avoided it.)
10. Strange Wilderness (watched about 5 minutes of this and couldn't deal)

I have yet to mention music and put up any lists of albums or songs or what not. I will get to it soon enough. There's already 800 lists up here so...we'll split it up a little. Sorry there hasn't been too much substance on my blog adventures yet. There will be next time. I promise. Maybe. Aaron and I had talked of making another list of the top however many films that were the most forgettable. I would definitely throw up Tropic Thunder (with the exception of Downey Jr's performance) and Valkyrie on that list. What would be the point of listing forgettable films though? I'd like to just forget them.

Remember, feel free to comment or email (castor_90@hotmail.com) us with suggestions for top 5 or 10 lists. I know it's only the second one, but I'd like to get creative with these lists. Let's hear 'em.