Sunday, March 18, 2018

the fantastic four [1994]

roger corman's studio, new horizons, spent about a million smoliens to make this flick based on the marvel comic.  it was promptly shelved, never to see a release either in theaters, or dvd, or vhs.  but the internet is proof that nothing is ever lost.  even this non-release is easily found on the interwebs.

is it worth seeing?  depends upon your tastes.  i grew up on marvel comics.  i was not a habitual reader of the fantastic four but i read a shitload of them when i was a wee lad.  and what about this adaptation that was thought to be so awful as to never see a proper release?  let me tell you.

it ain't bad.  in fact, the script is quite faithful to the comic.  even the goofy one liners are scooped from the pages.  that is how this flick plays, goofy, fun and never taking itself serious.  the arch-villain dr. doom looks and sounds exactly like dr. doom from the comic.  if you can't  accept that then you are not the audience for super hero movies.

and remember this movie was made in the mid-1990s when superheroes were a novelty.  the 21st century has been pumped full of superhero pics where the action heroes are anguished super beings that take upon the flaws of human injustice.  that is quite a heady task.  and too much to bear even for a super creature.

naw, give me roger corman's version anytime.  ben grimm, aka the thing, says, once he accepts his misfit status, it's clobbering time!  exactly as grimm says it in the comic.  do you need more than that form your superheroes?  maybe.  our epoch is begging for help in the form of super beings.  our world is so fucked up.

and yet, roger corman knew that superheroes are a thing of the imagination.  so he allowed his studio to make a film that was truer to its source material than any superhero movie made in this century.  because this shit is goofy.  that fantastic four are a group of misfits, in life and our imagination.

this is not a good movie, but i loved watching it.  the actors were either hyperbolic or lethargic.  dr. doom was a delight to watch and listen to because he was straight form central casting.  you might ask who were the director, script writers, photographers, editors, and actors in this movie.  i second that; who?

doesn't matter.  i recognize neither name nor face.  and yet, each person who worked on this film earned my applause.  this is a really bad movie.  a superhero movie of another era.  should you watch this flick you will see how the contemporary world was built from the last century.  that sounds rather dramatic until  you stop and think about how superhero movies are made and played today.  superheroes are drawn in big tragic lines in our century.  and our digital culture utterly changed everything.  everything has changed.  i mean everything.  except for our need of heroes. 

and yet, why should we let changes stop us form enjoying a movie where the good triumphs over evil, even if for a little while.  embrace this version of the fantastic four.  for when this pic was released we had no idea how badly the world would change.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

the punisher [2017 --]

every once in a while i give myself a project and come hell or high water i will finish it.  my latest project was to finish watching this netflix series based on the marvel comic.  jon bernthal plays frank castle, a marine who got into some serious black ops, witnessed some fucked up war crimes, and for his pain his family was murdered by government assassins.  frank is an elite soldier.  revenge is his game.  shit is going down.

now frank has an antagonist in the form of former nsa analyst, david, who goes by the alias micro, played by ebon moss-bachrach, who blew the whistle on the aforesaid war crimes frank also witnessed.  and for his pains the government attempted to kill david.  the assassination attempt was unsuccessful but it looked realistic enough to allow david to go deep underground.  while david's family think he is dead, the former nsa analyst is a brilliant hacker who sets up camp and goes to work to bring the truth to light.

meanwhile homeland security agent dinah madani, played by amber rose revah, is bent on uncovering the truth about these war crimes too.  and so it goes for this series takes its time setting character and motivation.  it was a hard slog to get thru.  all three actors are quite talented and game.  the writing and direction needs some attention.  each set piece is so choreographed the viewer can accurately predict where the next punch will fall.

still, i like jon bernthal.  he does intense the way the great character actor james russo does intensity.  every eye twitch or balled fist is an encyclopedia of violent, brooding intent.  bernthal has a tough guy face, but he has the soul of a poet.  he is the thinking person's action man.  he is both arthur miller and joe dimaggio rolled into one actor.  bernthal is the reason i watched the whole predictable season.

does the punisher live up to his name?  does a bear shit in the woods?  don't mean to be so obvious to rehash a cliche but we've heard this song before, read this book, seen this movie.  revenge is not only a dish best served cold, but revenge is also a series of hyper violent set pieces.  when these set pieces work the effect is breathtaking.  frank castle is a superman with a few broken ribs, a fat lip and a will to kill.  if you don't like violent action steer clear of this series.  but if you like your violence delivered to you by a poetic soul than perhaps you might make your own slog thru this series and find that jon bernthal might be one of our best physical actors working today. 

quote unquote

Observe, connect, and do

--lew welch 'philosophy'

Sunday, March 11, 2018


sunday nite at 10:39 pm
after we
switched our clocks forward an hr
& what do you know
fuck my boots
i am wide awake
my circadian rhythm
is an hr earlier
i'm up but the clock tells me it is later
than i feel it now
i'm up watching 120 minutes on MTVClassic
what year did that echo & the bunnymen song get released?
boy am i feeling old
i really hate daylight saving time

Saturday, March 10, 2018

absolute music: the kings 'the beat goes on/switching to glide'

my great friend b. introduced me to this song by the canadian power pop band the kings.  we were in his garage shooting the shit and drinking beer.  b. has become something of a historian of late 20th century pop music.  when this song came on i asked who the hell is this.  you don't remember them, b. replied.  nope, i said.  the kings were active during the late 1970s, early '80s era of power pop.

last night, when anna, nick and i were driving home late after going to the theater and watching a terrible movie, we were clicking thru the satellite radio stations on the way home.  i heard this song by the kings.  do you remember this tune, i asked anna.  she did not.  well, to be honest, i remember the knack.  i remember cheap trick, to name a couple of power pop bands.  i confessed to anna that i didn't remember this song either by the kings.

no matter.  for in the pixels nothing ever dies.  i've watched this video several times now.  i love this tune.  it is bouncy, heady, fun, and goofy.  what does 'switching to glide' mean?  fuck if i know.  but i will take a guess at its meaning: turning off your work-a-day mind, and simply going with the flow.

and remember when this single was released the world was in a pretty dark place.  we are in an even darker place.  i am very pessimistic about our future.  i think we are supremely fucked.  maybe not in the immediate future, but in the middle and distant future, we are screwed.  we've done it to ourselves.  and yet, art, music, like this song, help to create our era, and that we still can dance to a funky tune.  it is an emblem, even in dark times, living is the best fun we will ever know.  let us remember that attitude.  every now and again, let us switch to glide. 

the message from a greaser beatnik hippie punk

peace & love, motherfuckers!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

old skool punk rock

'I Remember' by MDC

as relevant today as it was in 1982

where is today's protest music?

Saturday, March 03, 2018

ever since i joined the 21st century, got myself a smart phone, and stream movies and TV, i watch a lot of quality stuff.  we are in a golden age of TV.  and movies?  last year was a pretty good year for movies.  but what about really bad movies?  i confess, i haven't written regular movie reviews in some time.  the past year kicked the shit out of me.  writing about movies seemed frivolous.  my obsession with movies appeared to myself as extraneous while the climate heats up, politics becomes calcified into two armed camps etc etc.

but why should i limit myself and create a self-imposed exile of the things that i love?  my appreciation of horror/exploitation movies will not harm my resolve and commitment of living in poetry, and living as a decent person in the face of a destabilized climate, and fucked up politics.

i need to remind myself to enjoy the shit out of life, as best as i can.  and encourage all who might listen to do the same.  be a good person.  be aware of how fucked we are on this delicate, beautiful blue ball floating in the vast blackness of space.  be in awe of that fact.  watch a really bad movie, write poems, love as much as you can.  and take catullus' line, odi et amo, as a war cry.

i'll try to do that.  and write more about movies.  i don't care for awards so i won't be watching the oscars tomorrow night.  even tho sac fave, lady bird [2017], is up for five awards, i hope it gets the love this flick deserves, but finally what matters is the body of work, not the statue that one might get after the work is finished.

but for really bad movies, or just out right bad movies, the early 21st century was a renaissance of discovery and rediscovery of fantastic films.  there were a great many independent DVD companies that lovingly restored ancient prints of flicks and put these movies on DVD along with a host of extra materials.  often these DVDs had easter eggs hidden in the menus of the discs.  you took your remote and used the up/down/left/right arrows in the menus and should the cursor disappear from the screen, voila!, you found an easter egg of extra material.

streaming services don't produce these kinds of gems.  but what they lack in lovingly provided extra materials and easter eggs streaming services have movies and TV show in abundance.  and these digital platforms are easy to use.  sometimes the algorithms that these streaming platforms use to craft individual viewer profiles to recommend films and TV shows provide some surprises.  i found categories in Netflix that showcased scandinavian TV shows, south korean sitcoms, and french horror films.  for a film geek this is a treasure trove.

there is a lot of crap to be had on these platforms too.  when have we not created crap?  in abundance?  odi et amo, motherfuckers!  i'm gonna find something to watch.   

quote unquote

 I’m a poet because I’m very mundane. I’m only good with what I can taste and see and hear and smell and touch.

-ted wallace, played by roger allam, in the hippopatamus [2017]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

so then why does my HOA keep asking me to park my M1 Abrams tank elsewhere?