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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teeth, Shutters And Loving Lamp

After managing yet another decent night's sleep I got up this morning and decided to treat myself to a pot of coffee, as I've been trying to consume sparingly in efforts to not 'have' to have something just to get through the day. I'm weird about little things like that, if I'm drinking a ton of soda I'll find myself limiting the intake to one a day, just to prove that I can. On the other hand, I'm over weight, so I'm not as much of a control freak as I could be, but rather only in pointless ways that deny me the small creature comforts of life.

I had the dentist today for a cleaning, the prognosis of which came back positive, so I feel like all the flossing and whatnot is paying off not only in not offending the world with my dragon breath, I now don't have some asshole trying to take a drill to my teeth every 6 months or so.

After the dentist I stepped into Best Buy, as they had a couple things on sale that I figured I could finally use up the Reward Zone certificate that I had been sitting on for awhile now. I picked up a sandwich for my late lunch and then headed home.

Remote Islands Are For SuckersThe wife had errands and the like in the late afternoon, so I got some stuff done on the web, then she and I settled in for the evening with Shutter Island, which had arrived from Netfux yesterday afternoon. I had very little idea about the plot of the film, knowing only that it was about marshals investigating the disappearance of a female patient from a hospital for the criminally insane, which as it turned out was a good thing, as the film was allowed to unfold without me having particular expectations or looking for certain things that might've spoiled the final act. I really enjoyed the way the film was shot and the visuals that Scorcese puts together are rather striking , particularly in a few dream sequences. Good little thriller, well worth a peep if you've not seen it yet. I'll be curious to see how it plays on the 2nd viewing, if it's as engaging when you already know where it ends up.

Go Fuck Yourself, San Diego!We wrapped the evening up by taking a look at the newly purchased Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy Blu-ray, which is currently a Best Buy exclusive and on sale, so I figured what the hell. I have to admit, I wasn't 100% sold on this flick the first time I saw it, but due to the pervasive influence of numerous quotes from the film and certain clips making the rounds on the web, I wanted to give it another go in its entirety. I have to say that I definitely liked it more on the second go 'round, and there's a ton of bonus stuff included on the 2 disc set, so there's a helluva lot more to dig into as I explore the weird ass world these guys created.

I may try to call it another early night, as I'm enjoying reading for an hour or so in bed before crashing each night.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Night Sci-Fi Turkey Double Feature

To my surprise I managed an actual full 8 hours of sleep last night, which is something of an accomplishment these days. Go me.

The wife was supposed to pick up her car from the dealership, as they were finally through with it after three months or so due to dragging of the heels on both their side as well as the insurance people, because hey, it's not their car, so why do anything in a timely manner? We dropped off the loaner vehicle at the Mother In Law's house, pausing to visit briefly. We ended up splitting in something of a rush when delivery men arrived to install a new refrigerator, as we had things to do and who needs 2 extra people underfoot in a situation that's already kind of a hassle to deal with?

I dropped the wife at the dealership and picked up coffee for us on the way back to the house. The wife had a quite afternoon planned, with a meeting in the evening, so we both piddled around the house a bit, she in the bedroom on her laptop and I in the Office updating some documents on the computer, lists and shit like that. It's rough to be this anal, I keep weird records of odd shit, but I figure it'll all come in handy for the police one day.

The normal routine has been re-established, so I met EL for lunch around 1:00, we had a good meal and a lot of conversation about art, as he's finally making some again and I'd actually like to do something (anything) myself to kick start the creative bug. I certainly feel as though I'm coasting on fumes with this shit at times, as I feel like I'm writing it from a fishbowl lately, so perhaps I need something more personal to call my own. Who knows, it's been years since I've sketched or painted, but there's still this look that I have in my head that I've never quite achieved on paper, so I may still give that a go in the near future.

I hit up the local books, music and video outlet before heading home, found a few things cheap, finally heading home in the late afternoon.

The wife split for her meeting, I found myself kinda hot from my shopping experience, as the store I was in doesn't seem to be prepared for summer in Texas, so I figured since I was sweaty anyway I would hop on the stationary bike for a bit, then hit the showers. I got a nice bit of cardio going, cleaned up and then grabbed the shaker and made myself a martini. Y'know, because my relationship with my body is one giant mixed message. Hey, we're getting healthy - have some alcohol.

The Cover Scene Is Most Definitely NOT In This FilmFrom the To-Watch Pile this evening I decided to dig into two more of the Roger Corman releases from Shout! Factory that I've been slowly picking up as they turn up on sales here and there. Having read a bit of the liner notes included, I was able to discern that Galaxy Of Terror proceeded my second choice, so away we went. I had become aware of Galaxy Of Terror because it was one of those films from the 80's that'd never hit DVD, was produced on a shoe-string budget and featured a woman being raped by a giant maggot. Since I was looking to complete my collection of 'giant maggot rape' films, this naturally sounded intriguing, so I gave that mother a spin. I can happily say that it was as gloriously awful and fun as I'd been led to believe, the sets are constructed of fast food containers stapled to walls and painted to give the illusion of a spacecraft hallway. It's pretty sweet.

This Scene Isn't Exactly In The Film Folks...The next film up was Forbidden World, which reused some (all?) of the sets from the other film, shuffling them around slightly but clearly recognizable, sending another ship into the great beyond with nothing more than large panels of toggle switches to somehow control the craft. Another film heavily (and I mean fucking heavily) inspired by the success of Alien, this one has a mutated creature on the loose in a remote outpost, making short work of the poor bastards who got stuck acting in this thing. Again, well worth the money and something I'd actually come back to and check out the commentaries on, as I'm curious what these people have to say for themselves.

The wife got in halfway through the second film, we ate a late dinner and watched some tube before calling it a night. I picked up the kitchen a bit, then retired to the Office to finish up my list nonsense and get this thing written for the evening.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quick Post Before Bed

I managed to get into bed at a reasonable hour last night, read for about 30 minutes before crashing out, only to sleep like total shit yet again. I'm A Loser Baby, Etc. Etc.I dunno what is up with my sleep patterns of late, but something's really got to give. On the upside, being awake at odd hours, I have read most of the first collection of The Losers, a series I wasn't familiar with beyond the film that I watched last week. Interestingly enough, the film script seems to hew remarkably close to the dialog of the book, entire passages from the film that I recall are taken verbatim from the series, so that's a nice touch and it's interesting to see how well the comic's action was realized in the film.

The day passed rather quickly, as my eye was always on the clock, knowing that I needed to pick the wife up at the airport shortly before 6:00 this evening. I picked up a late lunch, watched some television and piddled on the web a bit before finally heading out the door. The Yorkie was rather amusing, seemingly excited as soon as I stood up from the desk in the Office, as if she knew that it was time to go fetch her 'mother'. I dunno if it's possible for the dog to acclimate in her head to the average time period that the wife is normally away, but she certainly seemed excited immediately, as if she knew what I was about to do even before I started towards the door.

The wife was happy to see us and had already gathered her bag from baggage claim by the time we arrived, so the pick-up was painless and hassle-free. The Yorkie nestled in behind the wife's head for the drive back, safe and sound. We picked up some drive-thru for dinner and spent the rest of the evening catching up and checking out the normal Sunday night television fare before calling it a night around 10:00.

I'm calling it kids, as I'd like to try and get some rest this evening.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Brother And Baumbachs

Ah sinus drainage, how else would I know that I'm alive? I was up hacking and coughing every hour or so until about 9:00 AM this morning, then finally got to actual sleep for several hours, waking in the early afternoon. So yeah, fuck my weekend.

The Yorkie was so kind as to not bother me while I tried to catch a few winks, so that was nice, then I got up and went in search of lunch once I got the house opened up for business. I had planned on trying to get a few things written this afternoon but I decided to blow that off and just dig into something off the TiVo instead.

Brother's Gonna Work It Out!Brother is (I think) the fourth film I've seen from Takeshi Kitano, or 'Beat' Takeshi as he's also known. Set in L.A., it centers around an exiled Yakuza (Kitano) who meets up with his half-brother who's running a small time drug trade for a group of Latino gangsters, then makes short work of the competition and begins to build their own turf in a series of bloody altercations. Aside from the gangs completely underestimating the growing Japanese and black adversaries again and again, I enjoyed this one fairly well. My only real beef might be the very end of the film, where Omar Epps basically speaks his feelings aloud for exposition, which felt pretty hamfisted as far as storytelling goes, but otherwise I could get behind the flick pretty easily; it had a strangely episodic 'slice of life' feel to it that I can dig. It also had a strangely 80's vibe to the cinematography and music, even though it was released in 2000.

Everyone Hates Everyone At Least Slightly...I eventually grabbed a cocktail and popped in something off the To-Watch Pile: Margot At The Wedding, from director Noah Baumbach. He's a director I've had on my mind since watching Greenberg last week or thereabouts and I always enjoy his portrayal of families full of (possibly over-educated) oddballs who are typically at a critical juncture in their lives and forced to interact with one another, occasionally against there will. I enjoyed the performances here, though I would definitely say that the ending wasn't exactly what I was looking for. The film is essentially the story of estranged sisters meeting up on the occasion of one of them getting married, a situation which is further complicated by the other sister's impending divorce and ongoing affair with a nearby family acquaintance which comes to light during the course of her stay. The film has some amusing moments, but quite frankly it's hard to watch Nicole Kidman's character be such a misanthropic cunt throughout most of the film. She's brutally honest with everyone with zero regard for their feelings, including her own son, who's at that budding sexuality cusp of his own life; it's kinda hard to take at times. I found myself wincing "Bitch, shut up!"

Don't Ask Questions, You Won't Like The Answers!I finished up my evening with Mr. Jealousy, an earlier Baumbach film that MacGuffin had recommended many moons ago. It was something that I picked up when I first started playing around with Swap A DVD, so I figured I should give it a go if only to make certain that it's not a lousy copy. The basic idea is that a guy gets involved with a woman, but due to his paranoid history of relationships, he begins attending a support group that an ex of hers in involved with in an effort to get to know about her past with him, only to have the situation naturally spiral out of control. This movie happily co-starred a couple other Baumbach alums from Kicking & Screaming (a film which might actually make a top 25 list for me) as the ex and our lead's best friend. The flick was interesting, though maybe not as engaging as The Squid & The Whale or K & S was in my experience. Still, well worth a look, and something that may grow on me with repeated viewings.

The wife gets home tomorrow afternoon, so I hope to actually get a few things done before it's time to pick her up at the airport.

Thus, I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Fucking Hostel (With Apologies To Pantera For The Bad Pun)

The Yorkie was kind enough to spend the night in the bedroom with me, rather than on the couch in the sitting area near the backdoor waiting for the wife to return, so that was a nice change of pace for the wife being out of town. The normal run of things usually puts her in the other room until at least the 2nd night she's out of town, when she resigns herself to being stuck with me.

I ran a few errands in the afternoon, picked up lunch and hit the post office to mail a couple Swap A DVD requests, then spent the evening at home with the pup watching a couple things off the old To-Watch Pile.

Still Hate The FratboysI'd long been planning to re-watch Hostel with the commentary by Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino (who Exec Produced the film), always joking that it'd just be 90 minutes of them struggling for the microphone, as they're both rather outspoken and a little in love with the sound of their own voices. The commentary actually had a few other folks involved (whose names escape me, if you want journalism, you've come to the wrong place), but overall was somewhat informative in relation to the film, even if they found a remarkable amount of subtext in what I still feel is essentially douchey fratboys being tortured to death. Their position is that once you see what happens to the loud American tourist types you'll find sympathy for them, but I still maintain that I have no interest in whatever happens to these characters, regardless of the situation. They can be getting high and double-stuffing hookers or be getting sawed in half, I still find them to be fairly repugnant either way, sorry Eli. I found nothing in them to relate to and couldn't care less that they die.

I still find Hostel only faintly interesting, I enjoyed Cabin Fever a bit more, if only because it seemed less sniggeringly frathouse-ish, which is the impression I have of Roth in general. For every one thing that comes out of his mouth that's interesting to me, there's another two or three that strike me as smug or whatever, I don't know how to really describe it. I see why he and Tarantino get along as they do, they share an enthusiasm that's almost annoying at times.

Better Than ExpectedI got much more enjoyment out of Hostel Part II on my initial viewing, so I decided to finish out the series with the commentary as well, just to see if it held up as well as I'd hoped. Happily, I enjoyed this viewing as well and felt that the comments about the story arc and all the other stuff they were trying to shoe-horn into the interpretation of the first film actually rang true this time around. There's an actual full fledged story here as we follow a group of girls in Eastern Europe who fall victim to the same people who killed our fratboys in the first film, but you actually have time to get to know and care about them rather than just hoping that they OD and shut the fuck up.

As a whole I have enjoyed elements of all of Roth's work, but there's always some small part of it that smacks of his smirky personality that makes me wince inwardly while watching it, it's a very hard thing to articulate. Suffice to say, I'll always be checking out the guy's stuff, but possibly avoiding his interviews.

I rounded out my evening with a couple episodes of Futurama off the TiVo and headed to the web to dick around with this stuff.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ciao Bella High School

The wife left today to visit her girlfriend in Little Rock who has recently had her first child, so she had promised to visit to commemorate the milestone. She had meetings and other rat-killing to take care of in the morning and early afternoon, so I grabbed a shower and went to get my oil changed before it got out of hand and I started to wonder why the car is smoking here in a couple months.

I had some lunch back at the house and tried to assuage the Yorkie's anxieties at the sight of the wife's suitcase. The Lawn Guys were almost a welcome distraction as they took the dog's mind off the wife's impending departure. I dropped her at the airport and then headed over to Odessa to poke around since it'd been awhile. The pawn shop didn't have anything really blowing my skirt up, so I talked myself out of a couple of 'maybe' items that would've forced me to really scrape around to find the extra item to push the purchase into the proper numbers to qualify for their 4 for $10 deal. I found a few things at Big Lots, browsed a few other stores before heading home, picking up my dinner on the way.

The Yorkie was naturally less than thrilled to see me return alone, but she's kinda relaxed over the course of the evening, actually chilling out in her little bed here in the Office while I dick around with this.

Flights Of -Yawn- Fancy...I finished up Fellini's 8 1/2 while I ate, finally finishing it. It's a film that I'd TiVo'd months ago, and I've been desperately chipping away at it for the past few days, waiting for it to ever fish me in enough to build the momentum required to finish it. This never really happened, so I made my way through the flick in 30 minute to one hour portions, which I'm sure is doing the film a disservice, but I was determined to see it though. Weirdly enough, I kept noticing that certain lines of dialog weren't subtitled, which I found maddening, as it was occasionally a phrase that was common enough for me to understand it, but many times I had no idea what the exchange meant between the characters. Since this was a TCM showing, I'd be rather surprised if this is the standard subtitling, as it seemed to skip entire lines of dialog in certain scenes, which feels like something of a dick move in what's already a fairly dense, inscrutable and surreal narrative. Honestly, if I hadn't already watched and enjoyed the director's films La Strada and La Dolce Vita I might be tempted to think that Fellini was going to be similar to Bergman, where it's a widely regarded director who I just cannot get into, regardless of their apparent universal appeal. Instead I find myself even further puzzled, having been fairly unimpressed with what is largely considered to be Fellini's best film, but liking his other works rather well instead.

The Ramones Are Fucking Ugly. That Is All.I went for something much lighter to close out my evening, popping in the recently purchased Rock 'n' Roll High School Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, a company that has been fast becoming a favorite DVD source of mine these past few months with their fairly lavish treatments given to the work of producer Roger Corman. The film is a ton of silly fun, P.J. Soles still reminds me of the wife's friend in LR, there's just something about her delivery that cracks me up. I can't really say if I've seen this film it its entirety before, but I have to say that certain bits seemed really familiar, so who knows? It's one of those iconic flicks that I know I've seen tons of clips from, so that may be what's giving me the impression that I've watched before. Oh, and another big selling point is Mary Woronov as the ball-busting principal who takes over and tries to outlaw rock music at her school. I really find this actress intriguing, as she's got a crazy dyke-y quality but also manages a strangely feral sexuality that I'd have to compare to Tim Curry in Rocky Horror, Rawr!which is a weird thing to admit. "Yeah, that chick is kinda hot, she reminds me of that dude in drag from that one flick..."

On that note, I'm going to fuck off and do other stuff, as I have a few things that I need to get ready to mail tomorrow and I'd like to be in bed sooner than later.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Suicidal Wolfmen

So today I finally watched a little something that'd been hanging around for over a week so that I could return it to Netfux before the turn of the century.

Yawn. Boobs. Yawn. Repeat.Suicide Girls Must Die! was something I'd been curious about, as these gals turn up at horror conventions and shit like that, even though there's no direct link to the horror genre aside from the occasional rockabilly tat of the Bride Of Frankenstein or stuff like that. The film sends a pack of them to a remote cabin to shoot a calendar, then the begin to disappear and the woman in charge of the calendar doesn't give a shit. That's almost the entire plot, broken up with the standard photo-shoots, so there's boobs and whatnot to break up the monotony of these girls yakking with each other non-stop. I took notes for a review, as I was really curious if this would be any good or not, so I'll be trying to run through that in the next few days.

The mail today brought another Netfux flick, so I decided to try and get a jump on that one rather than letting it collect dust, so I finally watched The Wolfman this evening, as the wife had a meeting to deal with. I was rather impressed, settled in for the director's cut of the film, which looks to add about 17 minutes or so into the film. I wasn't 100% thrilled with the CGI used in the film, but it certainly wasn't the worst that I've seen either. I could definitely see myself owning and re-watching this one once it actually gets down to a decent price. I've just not been willing to drop the cash on this for more than $15; the Blu-ray market isn't so great that I need to pay these assholes almost full retail for a film.

On a complete wild hair I decided to stick with the whole werewolf theme for the evening and pop in Wolf on Blu-ray for a re-watch from the old To-Watch Pile. The flick holds up well, though it definitely feels like more of a drama than a horror flick at times, becoming more concerned with the power struggles between Jack Nicholson and James Spader at their corporate offices than with too much in the way of typical horror fare.

The wife got home near the end of the film and we caught up on her evening and watched some television before calling it a night.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Late Morning Tech Support, With A Chance Of Suicides In The Afternoon...

The Maid actually arrived today, bright and early (about an hour and a half earlier than she normally does, actually) with her cousin in tow. The emergency she'd mentioned when she canceled on us a couple weeks ago was apparently gall bladder surgery, so she brought along someone to help out, which is all well and good, I would've just preferred to be fully awake when it happened. I ended up throwing on some clothes and stepping out to pick up some breakfast in my effort to wake myself up, figuring that operating a moving vehicle would startle me into some awareness of my surroundings.

The Troof.The wife had meetings and the like, so I tackled something that I was dreading for the past week or so: a tech support call to Microsoft about why our version of Word has suddenly started asking for a product key about 2 months after we bought it, even though it's already been activated. This process took about an hour and a half from start to finish, as the first phone number I'd tracked down was to an automated system that has you repeating certain prompts aloud like you've lost your fucking mind "Office products, dammit!", usually with people looking at you like you've forgotten your medication or something.

So after fucking the program up even more by following some of their automated prompts (don't ask, it's ridiculous), I finally got an honest to God human being on the phone, whose name was Kumar, because every cliche in the world is eventually a truism in your lifetime. This dude walked me through some magical 'remote access' ninja-type shit which would allow him to uninstall some things and then replace the Home and Student stuff on our PC with its proper validations.

Feeling rather pleased with myself for getting this shit sorted, I decided to look into the whole Best Buy exchange idea for the defective copy of Hot Tub Time Machine, so I grabbed that and headed that way to see what was up. The exchange was painless and I crossed my fingers that I wasn't getting totally hosed again. Naturally the new disc was identical to what I came home with yesterday, so I headed back out to do the same song and dance again. I explained the situation and after standing by patiently while an employee verified that there was indeed content missing from the disc, we gambled on opening and testing a third.

The third time is truly the charm, as this one had the features advertised on the box art and I was finally able to get the hell out of there. So, yeah...great bargain, but maybe not worth the ensuing hassle, might've been worth the extra $5 to have simply bought this shit a month ago and not had to fuck around with all these return receipts. Oh well, my punishment for trying to be frugal every now and then.

The wife had stuff going on with a mailing she's printing up, as well as some kind of dinner nonsense that she'd committed to but thankfully let me off the hook for, so I was basically left to my own devices in the late afternoon and evening.

Neditry!I ended up catching up a few things I had been ignoring due to Word being largely unavailable over the weekend, then chilled in the den with a cocktail and Fanboys for a re-watch, as I'd picked it up recently and wanted to give it a peep instead of adding it to the To-Watch Pile. The flick holds up rather well, made me smile a lot, even though I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, I've been around it peripherally long enough to get most if not all of the humor. I piddled the rest of my night away with oddball TiVo suggestions, then caught up with the wife once she got in.

We called it a night near eleven, really pushing it for elderly folks.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Bare Bones Time Machine

I'm starting this rather early because we suddenly found ourselves with a surprise visitor, and as I don't know how long she'll be loitering in my den, I headed to the Office rather than just ask her to GTFO, because it's rude to be honest with people, I prefer the disingenuous method of just talking shit about them on the interwebs to a faceless void. Lookit me, embracing technology!

As irritating as this actually is, I can only hope that it will encourage me to hit the bed earlier than usual this evening, which could be a nice change of pace. It seems that no matter how much I try, I won't ever be in bed before 3:00 AM, it's like a curse.

I got our recycling gathered up today to drop on my way to lunch with EL, as we've given up on the idea of trying to (generally unsuccessfully) include a third party in our reindeer games. We'd changed days of the week to try and accommodate a mutual friend joining us, only to have him become largely unavailable almost immediately. I hit the post office and a few other odd errands on the way, then caught up with EL at one of our usual haunts.

Holy Shit, The Eighties!Best Buy finally had a decent price on something I was interested in, so I decided to pick up a copy of Hot Tub Time Machine on my way home, just to see what's up. It has enough positive elements to keep me intrigued, so I took a gamble.

****************************************************

Now, several hours after I began this post I can report that I did indeed really enjoy Hot Tub Yadda Yadda, but was completely dismayed to realize that for no apparent reason, the sell-through copy that I purchased at Best Buy is actually a bare bones rental disc in the regular discs' packaging. I suppose that tomorrow I'll begin the dance of getting the Best Buy clerk to somehow understand that the pretty shiny disc is a big fat lair, regardless of what the package says, and that I need a new one. My biggest fear is that their entire shipment might be cocked up in such a manner, complicating matters further. ::crosses fingers::

The wife is in bed knitting, because we're elderly. I'm going to wrap this silly shit up and head to bed myself, as we have the threat of the Maid tomorrow (no really, for reals this time) and I wanna be rested and alert when she arrives.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday, Bava Sunday

I slept in today, got up and started the rest of the laundry that I had put off since Friday afternoon, then dressed to step out and pick up some lunch for the wife and myself.

Well Worth Your Bucks FolksWe ate while watching another flick out of the 1st Mario Bava boxset, one which we'd not seen before: Black Sabbath, which was pretty interesting as far as Gothic sets and hot Euro-babes went, but ultimately wasn't all that exciting as far as some of the man's other films have been. Don't get me wrong, it looked great, the stories in the film (it was an anthology of three tales) just never got all that unnerving or creepy, except perhaps the last one, about a woman haunted by the rictus-grinning corpse of a woman that she'd stolen from, 'cause that dead bitch was pretty freaky looking.

The wife caught a nap in the afternoon, I spent some time with the laundry situation and sorted some books that heeded to be filed away in the Library, then settled in for the final unwatched film in the Bava set, one which I wasn't looking forward to in spite of the rave review on the back of the case. I wasn't sure what to expect with Knives Of The Avenger, though it looked like some sort of swashbuckling affair based on the trailers that were on the other films in the set. The film breaks down like this: a mysterious stranger turns up to help a possibly widowed woman and her son fight off invading marauders while she hopes against hope that her husband may still return. There's a ton of knife throwing and I found the overall thing passable even though it definitely drug on for me in spots. I kinda chalked that up to my general lack of knowledge about (or rather my admitted indifference to) the genre.

The wife made dinner around 6:00 or so and we settled in for the normal Sunday evening television fare before calling a night around 10:30, as is our custom.

I'm beat.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maybe I'm Out-Growing This Man's Work

The mail today brought the Netfux copy of Cop Out that'd been threatening for a week or so now, so decided to pop it in and see what the fuss was all about. Game Over, Kev.The critical response had led me to believe that this film was about as funny as watching your loved one get an abortion against your will and Kevin Smith's ensuing public airing of the grievances with the critical community had left me wondering if this would even be worth my time.

The short answer would be: barely. There really isn't anything about this movie to set it aside from a straight to video film with no-name actors that might turn up on late-night cable, and what the leads do with the material doesn't manage to raise it above STV levels of quality at any point during the film. Smith's public trashing of the very idea that critics are allowed to attend films for free (seemingly sour grapes over their not liking his most recent film) began to border on the ridiculous as the months have gone on and he still trots out that drum to beat on from time to time via his Twitter account; frankly doing little but further alienating me from a writer/director who used to feel like he was writing for guys like me. He wasn't the writer on this particular project, but the fact that he's also been going on about how the title was indicative of the quality of film they'd been shooting for (thus insinuating that he and his actors were making a mediocre film on purpose?) is also hugely off-putting, as it basically says that they weren't interested in doing a high-quality, funny film because...what, they couldn't be bothered? If I were any of his actors I'd definitely be calling him out on this shit, but who knows, maybe it was just a paycheck film for them as well.

Bottom line I suppose is that I'm glad I didn't blind buy this turkey when it hit stores, as I was sorely tempted, just to find out what the huge fuss is all about. If it gets really (I mean REALLY) super-cheap I may eventually pick it up to check out Smith's commentary, as I understand that it's somewhat amusing and was quoted by at least one interweb acquaintance as being the 'best part of the Blu-ray'.

I happened to flip the television over to the normal cable signal just in time to see Twilight in its sparkling glory on my TV screen. I paused briefly to make certain that this wasn't something TiVo had decided to suggest to me, as I would need to take time to soak it in a tub full of water as a punishment, just to teach it a lesson. Thankfully TiVo wasn't in need of a waterboarding, it had simply been left on one of the movie channels, so no harm, no foul.

She's A Witch! Burn Her!The wife spent some time with one of the Nephews this evening, then once she got home we watched something out of the first Mario Bava boxsets, as I figured I only had three of five films in the set to check out for the To-Watch Pile. I'd seen Black Sunday before, but the damned DVR cut off the last 10 minutes of the film, so I decided to give it another day in court while we caught up on the wife's day and chilled with the Yorkie. Bava remains an amazingly watchable director even to this day, his stuff looks pretty amazing, even put up against a modern sensibility. So now from this set I still have Black Sabbath to check out, which I've heard nothing but good things about, and then something called Knives Of The Avenger, which looks kinda blah, to be perfectly honest, but I'm willing to give it a go.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Them? Oh, They're With Me...

Out of curiosity based on the Sitemeter info from the past week or two: Hey Tulane.edu, Facebook-link following New Orleans web-lurker type, sound off like ya got a pair. I'm just curious if you're who I think you are.

Table For Myself And My Hangers-On Please...I'm still somewhat ridiculously behind on some reviews for a site that I don't know if I even want to continue to write for, so I spent today marathoning through the 5th and 6th seasons of Entourage to try and catch up with notes for a later review. This process seriously ate my entire day, though we did have Brian over for dinner in the evening which was a decent break from the show while we ate. Brian seemed to enjoy the episodes he was around for and after he split and the wife called it a night I stayed up later than normal to finish out the season and be done with this little project, as the reviewing process for a complete season strikes me as fairly daunting at times, so I figured I'd take advantage of the momentum I had going.

Now to tackle the process of actually knocking it all together into a coherent review tomorrow afternoon...

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hope, Payne And Guffman

This afternoon I ended up giving a look to another Bob Hope flick, as I'd rather enjoyed the first one I saw awhile back. Predictable FunThanks to TCM I have a few things to choose from, so I ended up watching a flick called Bachelor In Paradise, which I was directed by Jack Arnold, who I was kinda surprised to realize had also directed such diverse fare over the years as the original Creature From The Black Lagoon down to stuff like the super-awesome Fred Williamson vehicle Boss Nigger during the heyday of Blaxploitation during the 70's. What a wild career; Arnold seems to slip easily from genre to genre, you have to respect the workman director who can do that without cocking up the resulting films. That digression aside, the Hope film was pretty funny as he plays a confirmed bachelor who makes his living writing about the dating scenes of various exotic locales (kind of a Sex & The City from a male perspective, I suppose), but when he has to make some quick cash to pay off the IRS he hides out in a planned community where he quickly draws the attention of the bored housewives and agitated husbands while trying to romance Lana Turner, the only single woman for many miles. Funny and charming stuff, well worth a peep if you have the chance to check it out.

The wife had a meeting in the late afternoon, then a mailing to work on at another woman's house in the evening, so I figured I'd just grab something off the To-Watch Pile to continue my little comedy streak. I Am NOT Drinking Any Fucking Merlot!I happened across my copy of Sideways, which I'd grabbed on sale at Best Buy shortly after we'd rented it, placed it on a shelf at the old house, then eventually packed it up and moved it to this house when we moved, only to let it languish for at least a few years here. This is one of those movies that I know for a fact should discourage me from buying anything else, well, frankly ever again, as I don't get around to giving a lot of it the proper time, but damn my collector urge. The movie holds up rather well, and I was happy to see that director Alexander Payne has a new film in the works for next year that'll star George Clooney. I also have his About Schmidt film floating around here somewhere, I really want to check it out again as well.

I wrapped my evening with a re-watch of Waiting For Guffman, just because it was the first comedy I happened to see on the shelf after picking up Sideways. It held up as it always does, Parker Posey's Dairy Queen employee-turned local theater participant constantly cracks me up, especially when she waxes philosophical about the "Dee Q" and her vague knowledge of the items they serve. The wife got in super-late because her mailing had turned into a cluster-fuck for reasons unknown, so I was even working on this dumb shit before she made it back. We caught up a bit, the Yorkie was finally content to have her home so the two of them retired to the bedroom to sleep while I finish this up.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Action Packed Wednesday

Today ended up being strangely action oriented, as I watched something off the TiVo this afternoon that'd been in there since January of this year, which is a little sad, quite frankly.

Or, Duck, If You Prefer...I had never seen Duck, You Sucker (AKA A Fistful Of Dynamite) before, even recorded it without connecting the AKA title that it was broadcast under to the Sergio Leone box cover that I've frequently seen in stores. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, though I have to admit to sorta feeling the two hour and thirty minute running time by about the halfway mark. I just wasn't all that into the various flashbacks and somewhat meandering route that James Coburn and Rod Steiger take on their way to becoming heroes in the Mexican Revolution. I'm not saying anything is bad per se, I could just have lived with maybe 30 minutes or so being edited out of the flick, that's all I'm saying.

I made myself a martini around the hour and a half mark for strength, so by the time the film had finished and the wife started dinner I was well into my second olive-laden beverage of the evening. It just so happened that as we sat down to eat that Commando was coming on cable and the wife expressed charm at how cute a young Alyssa Milano was and curiosity about whether or not we were going to watch the film. I hadn't seen it in enough years for it to basically be new to me, aside from the one-liners that are so awful they'll stick with me beyond the grave, so I said what the hell. One thing I've definitely learned is that the wife is an easy mark for 80's era stuff, I'd imagine that she'd sit through a snuff film with me if there was enough shitty pastel furniture on display and a Patrick Nagel painting in the background!

Fun And StylishWe wrapped our night with a look at the Netfux copy of The Losers that arrived this afternoon. I've recently bought the first volume of the comic, but have yet to read it, so I went into this one cold and was rather pleasantly surprised. The film is rather stylized in its execution, which is kind of an easy way to pique my interest, 'style over substance' type that I am. The story of a group of disgraced wet-work types who are forced to go after their handler once he proves that he's willing to liquidate them in the field, we follow Jeffrey Dean Morgan and company on their mission to kill the hell out of Max, played by Jason Patric. The flick maintained a light tone overall, the camaraderie between the leads was fun, especially what Chris Evans does with his happy go lucky Jensen character. I'd definitely give this another look at some point.

We called it a night shortly afterward, then the wife piddled around a bit in the Office with me while I got started on this, then headed to bed herself.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fun Curmudgeons

The Maid was a total no-show again this week, though she did leave a half-assed message in the late afternoon on the wife's cell-phone saying that she'd be here next week. It's A Steal! This freed me up to have lunch with EL and his son, though I popped into a pawn shop on the way and found a random film noir called House On Telegraph Hill for $.50, which seemed like a bargain.

I quite literally know nothing about the film, but I've been burned for way more than $.50 many a time, and if I'm not mistaken this was something that Macguffin had in his collection, being a fan of the noir genre and films of that era. I look forward to checking it out sometime before the next format change.

I had lunch, visited a bit with EL and his boy, then decided to step into Big Lots to see what was up, even though I haven't heard of anything all that interesting turning up there. I was happy to leave empty-handed, and I also ran into the Middle Sister there as well, so it's nice to see her maybe getting back into her routines and that sort of thing. Bitterness Is Hilarity!I headed back to the house and ended up watching the newest Noah Baumbach flick on Amazon Video On Demand, as I'd been curious to see what that was like. The service was fine and I enjoyed the film well enough, though Ben Stiller plays what you at first feel might be a lovable curmudgeon, but who later seems more and more dickish and self-destructive, though I suppose the film ends on something of an 'up' note, so it's all cool in the end? I enjoyed the flick well enough, though I might have to give it another watch before deciding if it's something I'm just in love with or simply kinda on the fence with, but that seems to be the standard for Baumbach's work, it generally has a dark undercurrent to it, even at its most light-hearted. One standout line was hilarious though: Stiller's Greenberg character says to a group of 20-somethings that he hopes that he dies "...before I end up meeting one of you in a job interview"; which really cracked me up.

We had dinner over at Grandmother's house, as one of the Uncles is leaving tomorrow and since he has a long drive ahead of him was naturally three sheets to the wind when we arrived. We ate and visited a bit, though after a time the drunk thing began to wear on me slightly, so I kinda mouthed to the wife about our exit strategy and she commented that it was already pushing towards 8:00 anyway. We said our goodbyes and split behind the Mother In Law and the New Beau, though we did get slightly waylaid in the yard by (you guessed it) the drunk Uncle, wanting to tell us a story we'd heard from him on his last visit. We finally extricated ourselves and stopped for an ice cream cone on the way to the house, settling in fro some television with the Yorkie.

We caught up on what appeared to be the last episode of The Real L Word, happy to see that one of the more toxic couples finally, finally (!) at Goddamned last split up, because all they did was fight constantly because the more butch of the two is a total asshole most of the time. I feel kinda dirty for getting fished into this reality show's shtick, but it did manage to engage me for the past however many episodes, so there ya go.

We called it a night around 10:00, after an episode of the new season of Being Human.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Decorating Our Lives Part...Um, Six?

I finally started the second volume of Darwyn Cooke's version of The Spirit last night, reading for about a half hour before bed.Only Happy When It Rains It's interesting to read such a fun, fairly innocent comic in today's world, it captures the flavor of times gone by rather well, and the art is terrific. Cooke has a slick style that perfectly straddles the divide between cartoony and the more realistic stuff you might be accustomed to seeing in the average comic. Great book, well worth tracking down.

I woke this morning knowing that the Interior Decorator and his people were supposed to turn up to give us the proposal about what he sees happening in our bedroom, so I rose with the alarm to get some interweb rat-killing done before they arrived in the early afternoon.

The proposal looks good enough, though my obvious concern is the Yorkie, who gets vomitous at the slightest provocation The idea is that we're going to have these people custom make bedding from a certain type of lush and expensive fabric, then let little Miss Barfs-a-lot sleep on it? It seems a little idiotic to me, but whatever, it's the wife's project, who am I to try to monkey wrench it?

Park It, Take A Load OffThe Interior Decorator's assistant had an idea about a chair and loveseat to replace the ones that sit in our little sun room/sitting area off the kitchen, so their delivery guys arrived with those and spent time setting that up, the results of which the wife and I aren't exactly 100% sold on but we're trying to reserve judgment until we've lived with it for a few days and have the rug he's describing to sort of anchor things. I do have to admit that it has a nicely charming glow in the evening that makes it rather appealing, so this rug may not have to sell me very much.

The wife had a couple evening meetings, so I relaxed in the evening with a couple martinis while the dog explored the new furniture, evidently deeming it sleepable for her purposes.

The wife and I watched a few things off the TiVo once she got home, then called it a night. We allegedly have the Maid tomorrow, so I need to stop dicking around with this and hit the hay, as the wife will be out of the house tomorrow afternoon and I'll be left to look after things here.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tee, Vee & A Dubya Tee Eff

Continuing the slow protracted death of this blog today we have an afternoon spent with the television, as I slept late and didn't really find the time to try and watch a film, either for my own interest or for review.

There was a little marathon of Arrested Development showing on IFC this afternoon, which I happened to catch several of while I looked through the newspaper and ate lunch with the wife.

One Lowest Common Denominator Attacked By ANOTHER Lowest Common DenominatorMid-afternoon I was kinda dismayed to notice that a lot of people on Twitter were somehow suddenly coming out in favor of the Juggalos behavior in the whole Tila Tequila debacle. Briefly, for those who might not know or care: Every year, mediocre rappers Insane Clown Posse holds something called the Gathering Of The Juggalos (the odd handle that their fans are known by), which is a multi-day festival of music, wrestling, carnival rides, all sorts of entertainment options for their fans. For some dumbass reason, Tila Tequila, mediocre singer/television personality was invited to perform at this event (and she showed like an idiot, a bad idea, I freely admit), where the ICP fans pelted her with rocks and bottles, growing even more violent after she took off her top while performing a song. The nudity thing puzzles me; my only theory would be that she's known for being in Playboy and the like, maybe she thought these people would stop throwing shit if she showed them her tits, thinking it was what they were expecting? Either way, I think she's a waste of time to worry about as a general rule, but really, what kind of person throws rocks and bottles at a 100 lb. pound woman simply because they don't like her? What kind of assholes are these people, and what's up with the pack mentality? I mean, it's all fun and games to be a snarky bitch on the web and whatnot, but if you seriously think that it's cool to just physically attack a tiny woman just because you don't like her or her music, you're a fucking sociopath and need to be thinned from the herd before you have a chance to breed, because we really don't need any more hate-filled fuckfaces taking your place in greater numbers.

Maybe I'm just mellowing in my middle age, but I don't have as much strength to hate shit as I once did, and I sure as hell don't understand how a group of people can turn on a tiny woman, no matter how shitty of a person or performer she might be. And I accept the idea that her appeal isn't to the crowd at this show and I have no fucking idea why she was asked to perform (or why she'd actually show up), but there's no way in hell that anyone should have a buncha slack-jawed idiots throwing rocks at them just because they suck. If that were the case, I'd have a great throwing arm by now and just stand outside the mall with a bucket of river rocks, but instead I find other ways to express my frustration and am actually able to pass within an actual human society. The people who attended this thing obviously can't say the same.

So to re-iterate for the slower folks among you who may be tired of Tequila's face and think that she sucks: she probably had no business being there, but it's still fucked up and out of the question that a bunch of dudes and whatever females may be there would throw rocks at her like we're stoning criminals in the Old Testament.

Anyway...

As I said, we spent most of the day with the television, I eventually showered and we went to the Nephew's 12th birthday party, which was painless, just the usual cake and presents with the family. The wife and I headed home afterward and settled in for the normal Sunday night fare of True Blood, Entourage, etc., then called it a night around 10:30.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dee, Eee, Eff, Um, Aitch?

Yeah, still barely hanging onto caring by the skin of my teeth. You know what you can do.

Not As Noir As You Might ExpectI started the day with something I have for review, which I just realized is already late, as I don't fully know that I'm gonna commit to working with the new regime at this site. Don McKay is an odd little film, as the cover blurbs describe it as a 'taut neo-noir', which I never found to be the case, as it's got some elements of the noir genre like the femme fatale and the multiple double-crosses going for it, but overall the tone isn't one of tension for my tastes. It's honestly more one of puzzlement for the first half hour or so and the occasional darkly humored scene. I usually like Elisabeth Shue in most things, and she doesn't disappoint here either, but Thomas Haden Church is a little too grimace-y for my tastes this time around; I almost began to wonder if he had a constipation issue after awhile.

And You Thought Political Elections Got UglyI grabbed us some lunch at a drive-thru for a quick bite and dove back into the To-Watch Pile to see what was up with Johnnie To's Election. I wasn't sure if I'd watched the film before or if I just recalled a couple different reviews so vividly, but as the film got into the halfway point I had to decide that I had indeed seen it before. I have no idea if this was a cable viewing or a Netfux rental, but the film holds up well to another look, so that's cool, I'm glad that I caught it on sale used a few months back. Simon Yam is a very watchable, charismatic actor; I have to make a point of tracking down more of his work sooner than later.

The wife's Middle Sister turned up in the middle of the film, but I figured since it was a sub-titled film I couldn't care less, so I let those two visit in the den while I finished watching my film, though some of the violence between the Triads in the film seemed to bother the Sister a bit, which I suppose should make me feel bad. I guess it would had I invited her over to watch a movie, but as it stands, not so much.

Nice Upgrade, Worth My Ten Bucks!I had already decided to continue my alphabetical theme, so once that film ended I grabbed the recently acquired Blu-ray of Wong Kar Wai's Fallen Angels to give that a day in court. Also, the sub-titling was a plus, as I had no idea how long we'd have a guest. The film looks simply gorgeous on Blu-ray, and since I've only watched it a few times before I was happy to give it another look, giving me the time to take note of the cinematography and visual flourishes rather than having to pay the utmost attention to the sub-titles, since I already knew where the film was ultimately going. The sister split midway through this film, to pick up dinner for her family and head home, which also left the wife and I thinking about of own evening meal.

I ended up picking up Thai food, as it felt like everyone in both of the films had been eating some kinda noodles or dumplings or what have you, which put it in my head. We ate our dinner while watching a few episodes of that borderline shitty series called The Hunger off of Netfux Instant Watch, the quality of which was Gawd-fucking-awful, I dunno what's up with that suddenly. I'm obviously hoping that it's an issue relating specifically to that series, or the two episodes that we watched, as I do enjoy the streaming option from time to time and would be super-pissed if our TiVo has suddenly decided that it's done with streaming that signal clearly. I might brave something different from the queue tomorrow afternoon and see what's up; probably my blood pressure, if my normal luck holds true.

Be seeing you.

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