Thursday, July 30, 2009


I was afraid of this film. I saw the preview, and it really reminded me of Solaris, which you can find reviewed on this very blog somewhere. Well I enjoyed this a bazillion times more than Solaris. This is a quality piece of Science Fiction, in my opinion.

Don't expect laser guns and space battles. It's not an action flick. It's a good SciFi story presented extremely well. It's good Science and good Fiction.

The Science is good in the sense that (as you might have guessed) it all takes place on the Moon. Much is inside a moon station, some is inside a six-wheeled lunar rover, and some is out on the surface in a space suit. The lunar landscapes and textures are amazing, the details inside the space station, all the video screens and LEDs in the background, the vehicles and lunar structures... they're done just right.

The Fiction is good in the sense that they set up a fairly simple plot, though it takes a bit of time to reveal it to the audience AND to the main character. As he figures it out, so do you. Once the plot is revealed, they play it out to it's natural conclusion. I won't spoil anything, except to say that it's a really neat SciFi sort of situation.

Now add to the good Sci and Fi is some really quality acting. I'm not talking about mellodrama, but real physical acting... having an actor portray different aspects and characteristics with more than just voice intonation, but with his entire body and movement.

I wish I could say more, but I WILL NOT spoil this one. If you can't get to your local art house to see this, be sure to rent it or catch it on cable when it's available. It will never see main stream theaters because it's just a bit too slow moving and cerebral. Like I said, no laser guns or space battles... but a really good story told really well with AMAZING visuals and quality acting.

Everyone who reads this blog should see this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Deadgirl - with spoilers

So I headed down to Houston St on Friday night to catch this intriguing little work called "Deadgirl". The write-ups I saw all implied that this was one seriously disturbing film. While I caught the brief synopsis of the plot, they really didn't fill us in on what was so screwed up about this movie. The producers managed to book this film into some art-house venues across the country over the weekend, accompanied by a Q&A session with co-directors and producers.

Among other things, the director made it known that nobody in Hollywood would touch this movie. It will never see the theaters, and will be out on DVD in a few months. They knew from the start that this was not going to make any money, that everybody involved was not in it for a paycheck, but that they all really wanted to make this film "the right way", or not make it at all. At the end of the day, this is probably not a big deal... not a paradigm shift in cinematography... just another indipendent movie that pushed some boundaries. It did get enough notariety that even Rex Reid reviewed it.

After the movie, as the lights were coming up and the co-director and a producer took the mic, they said "Give us a second, we want to see the looks on all your faces... hey, there was not a single 'walk-out'... very impressive.".

I'm not sure how this movie will hold up to a home viewing. The big screen and good sound system creates the mood which may or may not translate to your living room.

Deadgirl fits in the horror category, but can not be put in the same category as Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, or Night of the Living Dead. There is plenty of gruesome nastyness, but not nearly as gory as any of the Saw movies or Hellraiser. There are some halariously funny aspects to it, but it's not a comedy... by no means is this Shaun of the Dead. It's sort of a "coming of age" movie, but is far from Stand by Me or River's Edge. There is some influence from Donnie Darko, but mostly in sound track and audio, not so much in visuals or plot.

OK, so that's what it's not. But what IS it? Well I suggest you just watch it and make your own oppinion. On the other hand, this is obviously not for everybody, so I can't in good concience urge you to watch it. But if you really want to know, read on... spoilers start here...


OK, I can sum it up in two words... zombie rape. Two high school kids cut school, get drunk, and explore an abandoned psychiatric hospital. After pushing through a heavy door which was rusted shut, they come upon a room which was clearly unused and unseen for a long time. To their shock and amazement, they find a dead girl handcuffed to a gurney covered in plastic wrap. They poke at her to see if she's alive, and low and behold, her eyes and fingers are twitching, and she is breathing shallowly. This is where it gets weird. One kid is like, "OK, let's free her and call the cops and get the fuck out of here." The other kid is like "Let's FUCK HER!"

The origin of the dead girl is purposely left untold. She is, however, clearly a zombie. While the one kid runs out of there wanting nothing to do with her, the other guy stays behind to discover that this chick is in fact dead, can't die again, and that she can now be his permanent sex slave... leaving her chained up in this dismal underground abandoned wreckage. How does he find out she can't be killed? Well during his attempt at sex with her, he beats the crap out of her and snaps her neck... just because he like it like that. While it was not actually shown, he claims he killed her three times during the first sexual encounter, and she keeps coming back to life.

Eventually several people find out about their discovery and some of them come down to the room to fuck the dead girl. Through the rest of the movie, the dead zombie girl gets raped continuously, beaten, shot, and stabbed.... some scenes more graphic than others. (With only two tiny edits, the director said they got an R rating.)

Eventually she starts to stink as her wounds are festering, and they're faced with the delema on how to make her more attractive and more sexually appealing.

I think I'll leave it there. There's a bit more to the plot, with some interesting twists and turns, but by and large, that's the gist of it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sir Paul McCartney

I swore off big stadium shows this summer, and when I saw McCartney coming around, I thought about it for about 30 seconds and decided that I wasn't interested. But then my brother Ed told me he got me a ticket for the show at the new Citi Field. The three Wilk bros and Harry B. I was prepared to pretend to enjoy the show just to be polite, and to appreciate it for it's historical value... it's not every day you get to see a Beatle doing Beatles songs. But Paul is known for the more hokey Beatles songs (Honey Pie) as well as the slow sentimental ones (Yesterday), so I was nervous.

Well it turns out the show really ROCKED. He chose mostly upbeat and high energy songs... even broke into Foxy Lady instrumental for a few minutes. (hey, did you know Paul could actually play guitar?) They inserted several honest to God arena-rock type jam sessions. They did a rocking versions some otherwise slow-ish songs like Elenore Rigby and A Day in the Life (into Give Peace a Chance). Began the slow George Harrison song "Something" on the ukelele before the band drifted in. I was especially pleased when they broke out into Helter Skelter... wow, totally rocking! Taxman, Drive My Car, and some of the old Rock and Roll era numbers kept people on their feat. Add a few Wings numbers like Jet and Band on the Run... and you got yourself a real Rock Show ! Also, they went APESHIT with pyro and fireworks for Live and Let Die. And perhaps best of all was the finale... Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the reprise version, you know, the one that ROCKS) into one of my favorites from Abby Road (the rocking jam that ends with "... and in the end, the love you take is equal too the love you make").

Sure, he brought it down a few times with Yesterday and Hey Jude and a love song he wrote for Linda. But that included a rendition of Blackbird, so I was happy. Also, some nice little anecdotes in between songs was appreciated.

Band was fairly minimalist, flanking him were two additional guitars, one of whom swapped for a bass when needed, keyboard player, and an amazing Samoan drummer (looked like a villain henchman from a James Bond flick). Paul swapped often between his signature bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and piano. Of course everybody on stage was brilliant, but they also cold sing the ooohs and ahhhs in the high pitched Beatles style (at first I was looking for the black girls singing backup when I realized it was all just them). I can't say enough about the drummer. He was banging the drums with GUSTO from the beginning to the end.

McCartney did not hide behind his band to cover his ass, you could always hear him in the mix. For a few songs Paul was on stage alone w/ just his acoustic. He is known for a wide vocal range, which makes a lot of his songs hard to sing. Well he hit the high notes, the low notes, the gravelly "Helter Skelter" notes, the bluesy skat-improvs.. simply put, he delivered the goods.

Paul took the stage at 9pm and went on to 11:30, did well over 30 songs, and put on a great rock show. My hat is off to this great performer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Boring Congressional Hearing ?

I decided to tune in C-SPAN to check out the Sotomayor confirmation hearing and was immediately struck by the sense of doom about how boring this was going to be. In the audience right behind her, you could see a teenage boy yawning... and the hearing hadn't started five minutes earlier. This is especially true during the first few speakers who will pontificate about generalities about the hearing and process, as well as the formal platitudes even from her opposition. She won't get a chance to answer questions or even speak for several more hours. Right now it's just the committee members blathering on and on.

BUT, a few minutes after Senator Feinstein started her monologue, somebody in the audience started shouting "Senator... what about the..." I wish I could tell you what he was saying, but it was not really audible. The committee chair then took to the microphone and instructed the police to remove the protester and admonished the audience that such outbursts would not be tolerated by anybody either for or against the judge.

So that made my morning... nothing like some good old fashion activism to liven up a congressional hearing.