Friday, December 31, 2010

Robbing My Infernal Dread

I received a card in the mail today saying that I am being summoned for jury duty in the middle of January, which is a lot like having 2010 piss in my face one last time before the new year. What a tremendous way to start off 2011. Oh and if I can bitch a little further with this subject: I swear to God there's a twist in the system skewing towards a higher tax bracket, because I got called for jury duty ONCE between the age of 18-30, now it's like every 8 months since I married the wife. That can't be a coincidence, no lottery ball is this lucky.

The wife and I met her friend JH for some lunch, caught up on her holidays, then headed back home to relax. We'd pretty much decided to stay in for the night, so once we got home we settled in to relax and chill out.

Continuous Hell? I Think I Understand The Concept...I started Infernal Affairs, which had been on the TiVo since this past January. I had resigned myself to having two films left over as we go into 2011, but wanted to get at least one more thing off the box before we ring in the New Year. I'd seen the film before, but since I had managed to pick up the two sequels cheap without the first film, I figured I should give it another look before checking out the stuff that came afterward. The movie holds up really well, I can definitely understand how it became the sensation that it did, even going on to inspire The Departed several years later. Great stuff.

Not As Much Dread As Just Kinda Fucking Gross...We had received the Clive Barker-inspired Dread in the mail from Netfux, so we gave that a spin next. Well, I did, the wife was around but she mostly spent her time reading a book about crochet, her current interest/hobby. The movie was very middle of the road, more of a character study than horror exactly, with a central character manipulating those around him to see what their fears are. I don't recall much of the short story on which it was based, so that was also a problem, it was hard to tell if it did the story justice or just went off on its own tangents. Don't get me wrong, there's a few gross bits, but overall it's never all that horrifying. Rental, perhaps?

We ordered in some deli food and while we waited on that to be delivered I gave the phone a shake and it randomly suggested the Dragon Dynasty release of Jackie Chan in Robin B. Hood, in which he plays a cat burglar you finds himself forced to steal an infant, then tries to protect the infant from much more intimidating criminals. There was a truly impressive amount of 'baby in peril' sequences and some stunts that still made me wince; hell, I hadda rewind at least a couple scenes to point out stuff to the wife, who was also drifting in and out of this one as well. Great little film, I really enjoyed it. Also my last film watched of 2010, as we moved on to some episodes of Lost afterward.

I popped in the Lost disc just because I figured that if the wife needed to see the Time Square ball drop shenanigans we could pause that easier than a full on movie. I actually ended up staying up to watch a second disc after the wife and I had rung in the New Year, because I've gotten off my re-watch schedule lately. Ideally I would just pop in a disc and watch a single episode each day, slow and steady to get through the series, but I naturally end up marathoning one or two discs at a time, then watching nothing of the series for the next week. It's kinda silly.

A brief message from the past:
I started this post on the laptop, which naturally wanted to do all manner of updates and shit like that, which pretty much zapped the battery down to nothing while it did so. Now I've gotta save this and post it in the New Year, because I'm not going to have time to finish it before this thing craps out on me.

And so I did.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Movie, Bad Movie, Worse Movie

Another quiet day around the house, this has been a nice week. I got out for a bit to drop off the recycling from Christmas, which included unGodly stacks of wrapping paper and who knows how many cardboard boxes. I also stopped to pick up lunch for the wife and I, then headed back home to chill out and dig into something else movie-wise.

Do You Feel Lucky Punk?I popped in Vigilante, Bill Lustig's riff on the whole Death Wish-style of film in which Robert Forster's family is killed by thugs, only to have typically shifty legal system fail him by letting the defendant off. The scene Forster makes in the court room lands him in jail, where he becomes even more bitter while clashing with his fellow prisoners and the crooked guards who frequently look the other way when it gets ugly. When he gets out of jail he approaches Fred Williamson, whose group has been taking the law into their own hands for some time, but Forster is willing to really take things to the next level, which escalates the violence all the way around. It's a nicely done film, making the villains truly villainous and the street justice all the more satisfying. Good stuff, give it a rental.

The wife retired to the bedroom to work on some crochet styles that she's trying out after the movie, so I decided to step out and drop it back into the mail to Netfux. I listened to a bit of a podcast on the drive, then grabbed something off the To-Watch Pile when I got back to the house.Yawn.

Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters was a Big Lots purchase, and no matter how interested I tried to stay in the film, it just never quite grabbed me. It's about a group of monks looking to a vampire king, with a subplot about a local man whose house is supposedly guarded by vampires in an effort to protect his wealth. The screenplay is by Hark himself, and I will admit that the various elements blend well enough, but it never managed to engage me, I dunno if the actors were just boring me or what, but even the fight scenes (which looked decent enough) never made me sit up and take notice. Oh well.

Plus Random Titties!The wife had an early dinner request, so I picked up food and we settled in to watch something off the Netfux Instant Watch Queue, a corny little Raiders Of The Lost Ark rip-off called Invaders Of The Lost Gold, which sees a swiftly dwindling expedition of folks headed into the jungle looking for gold hidden during WWII. There's not much mystery as to why folks keep dying, as the plot is paper thin, but there are some amusing moments here and there, including the revelation that the aging, boozey jungle expert with the huge eyebrows is apparently something of a pussy magnet, as every woman in the film throws herself at him, which is patently ridiculous. It's watchable, but I'd also suggest doing something else while you're doing so, as a magazine to pass the time will definitely help.

We were supposed to see Kno1 this evening, as he had asked about crashing with us overnight, so we spent some time catching up on a few other shows off the TiVo, including episodes of Nikita and The Human Target. Kno1 arrived and we visited about their recent Christmas trip to NYC, where they naturally got trapped by the inclement weather for a few extra days.

He soon crashed out and the wife went to bed to read more of her crochet book while I worked on this stuff.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whatever, Cornbread

I slept in today, getting a rather solid 8 hours of sleep for a change, as I've averaged 6 or so on and off for the past few weeks. The wife had errands to run, so she was actually back home and laying down to take a nap by the time I got up, because we're like two ships passing in the night at times.

I had a couple things I needed to drop at the Post Office, so I dressed and headed out to do that and picked up a salad for my late lunch on the way home. I've been in the process of the 200 Sit-Ups program for the past few weeks and have also been trying to at least half-ass curb my eating, if only to offset all the various Christmas baking everyone has been doing. The wife was leaving to catch a movie with a friend of hers who I can't really stand, so I said hello and goodbye to her before I settled into the den with my food and a little something off Netfux Instant Watch.Whatever Works Indeed.

Whatever Works is a recent Woody Allen film, starring Larry David as what I'd imagine to be a fairly reasonable avatar for Allen's own personality in his work and I was pretty amused by the film throughout. It does end on a perhaps uncharacteristically upbeat note given the rest of the film, but I was entertained and amused, so I'd definitely say it's worth a look, especially for any fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

I spent some time afterward picking up the house a bit, taking out the trash and getting the recycling together to drop off tomorrow, then the Yorkie and I went for a frolic in the back yard to enjoy the uncharacteristically warm 'winter' weather. Okay, to be fair, the Yorkie did most of the frolicking, I just kept an eye on her and made sure she wasn't getting into anything she wasn't supposed to in the great outdoors.

Catchy Theme Song Too!The wife wasn't feeling very well when she got in from her movie, so I stepped out to pick up an early dinner for us and hopefully settle her stomach. We ate while watching Cornbread, Earl And Me in my efforts to clean out the TiVo's palate a bit for the New Year. The movie is about a clean cut young basketball player who is mistakenly gunned down by the police on the eve of his departure on a college basketball and the resulting fallout in his neighborhood as the police pressure the locals to keep quiet about their mistake. The flick starts off in much the same way a lot of Blaxploitation cinema does, but this one really has a lot of heart in the relationships between two younger boys (including a young Laurence Fishburne) and their local hero, who seems to truly care about the kids and tries to look out for them around the rec center where they hang out. Great flick, now I wanna try to track it down for the collection, as I'm sure it'd be something I would watch again.

We rounded out our evening with some television odds and ends off the TiVo, as most shows seem to have petered out around the middle of the month, with plans to resume in January, leaving us a few mid-season finales to enjoy tonight.

The wife headed to bed while I got started on this crapola once again. End credits.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Shouting Disappearance Of Alice Creed At The End Of The Line

The wife had errands this morning, so she was up and running when I got up with my alarm and headed to the Office to piddle around for awhile, then dressed to go and grab a bite to eat, as I knew that the wife had lunch plans.

I grabbed a salad and then headed home where I chilled in the den while watching a Venture Brothers re-run before digging into the current project of clearing this past January's recordings for the TiVo.Serenity NOW!

The Shout was an odd flick to be sure, told from the point of view of a mental patient who claimed to have the power to kill with his 'shout' after learning Aboriginal magic, though these claims were rather dubious as his tale (told in flashbacks) was peppered with people/characters obviously taken from his everyday life in the hospital. The film has some truly surreal moments, leaving you wondering what is true and what is merely his fabrications or embellishments, making for a flick that would most likely bear out multiple viewings to approach it from various angles of truth.

I spent some time cleaning up in the Office, as I had some piles of junk to sort through and throw away during the late afternoon, then the wife and I found ourselves back in the den together for a little something that I wanted to get back in the mail to Netfux. I Wish This Were Related To Borg Queen Alice Krige Somehow... I found The Disappearance Of Alice Creed to be a perfectly watchable crime thriller, but due to the matter of fact storytelling employed, I never really felt any connection to any of the leads at all. I obviously feel for Gemma Arterton as she's been grabbed and tied to a bed while they wait for a ransom, but even then we know nothing about her save for her status as a 'rich girl' whose father can afford to pay a 2 million dollar fee for her return. It's an okay watch, but aside from some brief (and very welcome) nudity on Arterton's part, there's not a lot truly memorable about this one for me.

Our final selection of the evening was a random selection off the To-Watch Pile, the end of the world horror flick End Of The Line, in which religious zealots turn on the people unlucky enough to be riding the subway late one night. The true stinger of the film is trying to figure out if the religious nuts are actually onto something with the whole apocalypse preparation thing, or if they're all just batshit crazy. The wife wasn't as into this one, which I kinda felt bad about, as it was something I'd watched before and liked well enough, so I figured she might be cool with it too. Oh well, they can't all be winners, right?

The wife crashed for the night and I ran a pile of stuff back to the Media Closet and sorted some items back there before getting started on this nonsense.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Rise Of The Humanoids From The Underworld Across 110th Street

The wife ran a couple errands this morning while I slept in like a lazy fuckface, then I was getting up as she got home, so we lay in bed for a few and talked about what the rest of the day held for each of us. I was set to meet EL for lunch as per our routine, so I left the wife to chill at the house and went to run a couple errands before I needed to be at the restaurant.

Our first choice was still closed for the holidays (I guess they were really celebrating the fuck out of Christmas and needed an extra day or two to recuperate), so we reconvened at an alternate location and had a nice meal while catching up on the holidays and discussing plans for the coming New Year's weekend. I headed home afterward and checked in with the wife, then retired to the den to see what was up with the TiVo.

Invisible Borders Are Deep...I'd noticed the other day with some dismay that I have about 6 movies on the TiVo from January of this year, so I've made it my little crusade to sit down and give each of them a day in court this week before we get into the New Year. To that end I watched Across 110th Street, which I was expecting to be something of a straight up Blaxploitation flick, but was actually a fairly straight forward crime drama/police procedural in which a group of thieves rob a meeting of black gangsters and Mafia types and are then on the run from both the criminals as well as the police. The tensions between Yaphet Kotto and Anthony Quinn are palpable, as the racial issues as well as their differing ages makes things interesting to say the least, as Quinn feels like he's got a younger guy clambering after his job, which is pretty much the case in actuality, but Kotto is rather devoted to his job, so he's not doing anything out of the ordinary. Good film, glad I finally gave it a peep all these months later.

I stacked up some more stuff off the To-Watch Pile to start scanning them into the My Movies app for the iPhone while I re-watched a random selection (gotta love the random number generator) from the Pile itself. I hadn't seen Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans since I first rented it from Netfux, so I popped that in and gave it another peep. I liked it well enough, as I have something of a soft spot for this corny series of movies, and I have to say that the werewolves looking more wolf-ish in this one was a nice selling point, as they almost appear feline in the first two films. Their snouts are too short, giving an almost cat-like appearance to me, it's irritating in certain scenes, but in this one their faces are very clearly lupine. The wife caught the end of this one with me, then she made dinner and we ate while watching an episode of Ace Of Cakes off the TiVo, as I knew it was the last new one for a few weeks.

Mars Needs Women And Fish Need Pussy!We wrapped the evening with something the wife gave me for my birthday, the new Blu-ray release of Humanoids From The Deep, which is just a fun film all the way around. The creatures look great for a low budget affair, there's some bits of humor in there, as well as some strange turns that you can poke fun at yourself, it's a great little film. I poked around in the extras a bit, watched an interview with Roger Corman conducted by Leonard Maltin, whose appearance made me smile, though neither the wife nor I could recall what show he used to review films on. Actually, I may have to wrap this up and go Google that shit, as it's gonna drive me crazy otherwise.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Houses, Running, Huckabees And Martha

I got a somewhat reasonable amount of sleep last night, though the Yorkie did manage to nag me awake around 3:00 AM wanting some food. The wife and I both rose with the alarm to meet Morris for breakfast, then we dropped off his vehicle at the Mother In Law's and ran him out to the airport. Since we were already out and about, I suggested popping over to Odessa and taking a troll through Big Lots, so we did that, the wife and I both found a few items of interest, then picked up a coffee for the return drive and headed home.Worst Sorority Evar!

We watched a little flick called The House On Sorority Row off Netfux Instant Watch, which we both enjoyed as the occasionally silly 80's era slasher that it is, then we both actually lay down for a bit and took a nap. I had to read for a bit to unwind enough to fall asleep, so I slept about an hour before waking up and heading into the den to piddle with some more films I wanted to add into the iPhone app for proper cataloging.

I popped in Running Scared for a re-watch while I worked my way through a couple stacks of movies and the wife eventually joined me. She hadn't seen the film before and was surprisingly interested in it given the more action oriented nature of the flick. Existential ComedyOnce it was over, the wife started our cooking our dinner and I threw on another item from the To-Watch Pile, the David O. Russell comedy I Heart Huckabees, which I hadn't seen since it first hit DVD several years ago. It's pretty amusing, though I know more about the horrible on-set battles between Lily Tomlin and the director than anything about the film itself, which is kinda sad. The wife finished that one with me as well, then we debated what to watch next.

I popped in something I had grabbed for the wife, a made for TV movie called Martha, Inc., which looks at the behind the scenes of Martha Stewart's career, including her troubles with the law and all that fun stuff. Cybill Shepherd wasn't all that convincing as Martha, but overall it was interesting enough and informative as far as her background goes. Definitely worth the $2 at a closing Hollywood Video back during the summer. We rounded out the evening with the usual Fox animation re-runs, then called it a night.

And now here I am doing this.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Another Christmas In The Books

The wife rose early, as she'd gone to sleep before I did, so I sprang out of bed around 11:00 feeling a little sheepish at keeping her just dicking around the house for so long on Christmas morning. We did our little gift exchange, she was ridiculously generous as usual and seemed to like all of the items I'd chosen for her, so that went well all the way around. Hell, even the Yorkie liked her new chew toys, so we're all covered for the season.

We were to have Christmas lunch/dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon, so by the time we'd done our thing and I had gotten some coffee down my throat it was a little after 1:00 already. The wife headed to the Mother In Law's house a bit early, to help her nail down the last few details on the meal (which was catered and meant to be warmed up, so I was a bit fuzzy what she needed to 'help' with, but whatever. Don't make a wave.), so I stepped into the shower and then dressed to head out. The Yorkie was crashed out on her couch with a new toy as I left, it was rather cute; the early morning obviously wore her out.

We ate after watching the Niece and Nephew open their gifts, the food was good and the meal was quiet and without incident, as it'd been boycotted (unsurprisingly) by the Middle Sister. I was amused to know that the Middle Sister did call shortly after the meal was over to ask how the food was, which just seems amazingly passive aggressive to me, but again, better a phone call than a big scene.

The kids came over after the meal to see our house, which they'd somehow never visited during the three years that we've lived here, then the wife ran them back home to see their new Christmas treasures. I watched something off the TiVo, a Myrna Loy film called Man-Proof, in which she tries to catch the eye of the man who got away and married her friend. It was an okay watch, but nothing I see myself revisiting any time soon.Just Say No! We Get It, Okay?

Morris came by in the evening, we visited about our respective holidays while watching some television, then I eventually put on Less Than Zero for background noise. Hey, it's a depressing anti-drug 80's movie, but it takes place at Christmas break, so that makes it a sort of Christmas movie, right? Right?

Morris is leaving tomorrow, so he split to spend the rest of the evening with his Mom and get some rest so he's not completely wiped out for his trip home. The wife and I finished up the film, played with the dog a bit (as she was suddenly showing interest in her new toys), then she and the wife crashed while I started piddling with this.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Reindeers, Christmas Stories And Bad Santas

We began the day early with the Middle Sister's soon to be ex-husband and child coming by to spend a few with us and let the boy unwrap his presents. We chit-chatted about harmless non-divorce related topics and I busied my self with a bit of laundry and a pot of coffee before we had to usher them out the door and head to the airport to pick up Morris, whose flight was arriving around 11:00.

The airport was as busy as I've ever seen it, which still surprised me, as I know a lot of people travel on Christmas Eve, but I have always had the impression that our locals arrive well in advance of the holidays themselves, just because it's small town atmosphere. There were actually four entire lanes of traffic filled up with people being picked up and dropped off, though one lane was annoyingly empty because one lady in a Lincoln Navigator absolutely refused to budge from the third lane position at the back of the pack and roll forward to let others pull up closer to the terminal. I don't know what her problem was, but people kept throwing up their hands in disgust/frustration and pulling around her; I believe one person even gave her a brisk blast of the horn to illustrate their irritation. Since Morris' plane was late I debated about tapping on her window and asking if she knew that she was fucking it up for everyone, but decided that it'd solve nothing and just make someone's Christmas Eve into a scene, so why bother?

We ate downtown at a little Italian place that everyone who moves away seems to gravitate towards when they visit, then stopped at the Mother In Law's place, where Morris borrowed a spare vehicle to use during his stay. Morris went on his way to visit his Mom and we headed home, where the wife piddled in the kitchen with another batch of cookies of some description and I threw in something from the To-Watch Pile.

Does Any Heist EVER Go Smoothly? I Mean, Really?I hadn't watched Reindeer Games in forever, but I had a vague recollection that it at least peripherally involved Christmas, so I figured it fit my recent viewing criteria. The flick is a pretty decent heist film, though as with a lot of films of that genre it may suffer from one to many twists and double-crosses, but otherwise it's watchable enough.

The wife joined me and we finally got around to watching the Blu-ray of A Christmas Story that I'd bought for her as long ago as last Christmas, possibly even Christmas before last. The movie is cute, a true classic for obvious reasons. After the film wrapped we loaded up and headed over to the MIL's place afterward for the little family dinner that we usually do on Christmas Eve. Grandmother and the Uncle were already there, we visited a bit, had a cocktail and then settled into the meal, which kinda varied from the usual menu but maintained the 'Mexican food' theme. The food was good, we ate well and discussed more of the ensuing drama around the Middle Sister's divorce, as her apparent need to cut all ties with both her husband as well as her son (unless everything happens strictly on her terms) is a point of contention for those of us with more of a realistic view of the situation. Oh well, I'm glad none of this shit directly effects me, just amounting to peripheral annoyances.

Fuck Me Santa, Fuck Me Santa!Once we got home for the evening we re-watched a perennial favorite, the Terry Zwigoff directed Bad Santa. I love this movie so much, it's at the same time sweet and amazingly vulgar, which is a tremendous thing to strike a good balance with, and this film is near pitch-perfect for me. Great stuff, and Lauren Graham is super-cute as the bartender who likes to fuck guys dressed as Santa, much to Billy Bob Thornton's good luck.

Morris came by for a bit as we flipped channels after the film, then we visited a bit more before calling it a night around midnight.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas, Nerditry And Then More Christmas

It's late and I know that the wife and I have to hit the ground running in the morning due to the fractured family Christmas we've got going with one of the wife's Sisters' being in the middle of an impending divorce. This means we had to 'book' time out (so to speak) with her estranged husband and child to give the boy his Christmas gifts tomorrow morning, only to have that kinda butting heads with our picking up Morris at the airport around 11:00-ish.

Thus, this post may be one of those yadda-yadda bullshit posts that breezes over the day in less detail than I normally might.

I was able to sleep in a bit today, catching up on my weird sleep patterns while the wife ran an errand and then returned with some lunch. We watched something from the To-Watch Pile (Don't Open Til Christmas) while we ate; that film was as cheesy as I remembered it being from a streaming presentation I saw online last year, but it's a lesser known Christmas horror film and I figured I'd give it another day in court just for the hell of it.

We were watching Miracle On 34th Street (which I hadn't seen in years) when I got a phone call from a friend I hadn't talked to in months, so I excused myself and spoke to him for about 45 minutes while the wife finished the movie. Darth Farts! Nyuck!
The wife started picking up the kitchen, as she'd finally finished her baking projects earlier in the day, so I broke into the newly arrived Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy and re-watched the first two installments while the wife started cooking dinner.

We ate while we finished up the final chapter, It's A Trap, which was pretty amusing, then I poked around through the extras on the disc before offering to wrap the evening with a final Christmas flick for the wife.

Fuck Christmas.We ended up watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which I doubt I've seen in the past decade, so that was a good bit of fun, trying to see what would come back to me before the film got to the various punchlines. Great little flick, it holds up amazingly well and it kinda bugs me that we've replaced Chevy Chase in roles like this with Ben Stiller in the whole Fockers series of bullshit, as it just feels like weak sauce comparatively. I always liked the fact that you knew Chase was on a razor's edge of sanity when dealing with all the shit life throws at him, where the stuff we seem to get nowadays always makes you want the lead to just stand up for himself instead of just bending over and taking it when life screws him. I think I'm comparing directly to Stiller because it's the first thing that jumped to mind, but hands down, Chase was more entertaining if only because he embodied the everyman on so many levels in those films where I feel like the Fockers material speaks to a certain type of personality that I frankly don't want to identify with, quite frankly.

I digress heavily, but I feel that the Stiller films are the modern equivalent of the Vacation films and they just don't measure up in my gut reactions. Maybe a re-watch of things would change my mind, but I don't see that happening anytime soon, quite frankly.

I spent about 45 minutes this evening getting the last of my wrapping done and presents placed under the tree, then started playing around with this.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Worms, Lunch, Friends, Dinner, Evil

The Yorkie made it through the night without getting ill, and since she ate this morning the wife figured she was okay to go to the Groomer so she wouldn't look like a ragamuffin for the holidays.

I got up with the alarm, got some coffee started and tried to shake off the lack of sleep as I got the house opened up for business and started some laundry. The To-Watch Pile beckoned, since I knew that the wife and I were to have lunch with one of her girlfriends from out of town, so I grabbed something off the stack and settled in to watch that before we had to split.
Lair Of The White Worm
is a bizarro film that I had always heard about over the years but had never gotten around to checking out, and I can happily say that it was as puzzling and fun as I would have hoped. Ken Russell is known for his strangely sexualized tales of horror and the supernatural, and this pays off well with freaky LSD inspired visuals that look like they were taped off of broadcast television and inserted into the film when characters are meant to be having visions. Loosely (I'd imagine very loosely) based on a Bram Stoker tale, this features a snake cult, seductive Amanda Donohoe and Hugh Grant looking like he's about 15 years old at the time of the film being made. The film manages a weird campy tone, peppered with some boobs and interesting visuals; what's not to like?

The wife got home while I was watching the film, we caught up a bit, then I dressed and we went to grab our friend for a bite to eat. The restaurant was crowded but the food was good, then we went to pick up the Yorkie from the Groomer and headed back to our place to chill out for a bit while the ladies started baking some cookies. The wife eventually ran her girl back home and I watched the end of my movie, which I had paused before lunch, then I spent some time transferring another couple shelves' worth of DVD's into the new movie app on the iPhone.

We were supposed to have dinner with Brian this evening, so he turned up around 6:00 and we chitchatted for a bit before heading out to eat. We had a quiet meal, then grabbed coffee and made our winding way through a few neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights, as is our standing tradition, then I aimed the Maxima towards home; the hour was growing late.

Brian split shortly after we got home and the wife and I re-watched Christmas Evil with the commentary from the director and John Waters, who is a huge fan of the film and evidently sees a lot of gay elements in the obsessed murderous Santa. The commentary was fun and the film is as mystifying as ever, even on a 3rd (?) viewing. Good stuff.

We called it shortly thereafter. The dog is still acting a little 'off', but not truly sick, so I'm crossing my fingers that this holds. She's at least been eating normally again, so that's a good sign after yesterday's weird 24 hour fast.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Character Study, Action Film, Santa/Satan Wackiness

Slept a reasonable amount last night, which was cool for a change, then woke about 30 minutes before the alarm was to go off. The Yorkie took advantage and annoyed me into petting her, then went so far as to wake the wife up as well, so we lay in bed for a time, chit-chatting and then finally got up and moving shortly before 9:00. I gathered our prodigious amount of recycling and then dressed to go and dump that off before grabbing a coffee and a breakfast item at Starbuck's.

I headed home with our drinks, then ate while watching some tube and reading today's newspaper, kinda killing time until I was supposed to head back out to meet EL for an early lunch and a bit of catching up. As it turned out we both had some wacky shit to share on both sides of the table, so lunch ran a little long, then I split to poke my head into Big Lots and see if they had anything new. I was quite happily surprised to find several things I had heard to be turning up at other stores in stock here locally, so I collected my treasures and then stood in line for what felt like hours, listening to all the asinine conversations around me and postulating the theory that Big Lots may have replaced Wal-Mart on my list of places I would imagine hell to be like.

Count How Many Times They Say 'Cunt', I DARE you.The wife was catching a nap back at the house, so I chilled in the den with a random selection off the To-Watch Pile, a British film called 44 Inch Chest. In it Ray Winstone plays a married man who's forced to come to grips with the fact that his wife has been cheating on him and has left for another man. The way he comes to terms with this is by kidnapping and tormenting the guy with three of his mates, all of whom goad him further and further towards violence. It's an interesting character study, almost stage-bound in a way, as the majority of the film takes place in a semi-abandoned building where they are holding the guy. Worth a look, interesting stuff.

Via the same random number generator I found myself inadvertently popping in a quasi-Christmas movie for a re-watch: Die Hard does in deed take place on Christmas Eve, so while it may be neither religious nor animated, it's still sort of a Christmas movie, right? I hadn't seen the flick in years, but have to admit to being pretty impressed by how well it holds up, such a well put together film, regardless of the diminishing returns of the sequels and the other action genre material that followed it.

The wife's iPhone 4 had croaked on her about 3 days ago, but she was able to secure a replacement that was to arrive this afternoon. FedEx turned up with this as my movie was getting into the final act, so she spent some time working on getting her SIM card transferred out and making sure that nothing was lost in the process, then we started talking about what we might wanna do for dinner. We ended up picking up sandwiches and then returning home to settle into the den for a little Christmas themed comedy.

MST3K: Santa Claus features the robots and their human snarking at a really puzzling film in which Santa does battle with Satan for influence over a group of random children that the Dark Lord is trying to lead astray. It's full of puzzling bits that play fast and loose with the typical Santa mythos and was pretty damned funny from start to finish, the wife enjoyed it quite a bit as well.

We called it a night shortly afterward, though we'd both by this time noticed that the Yorkie was moping around as she does in anticipation of getting all sick and pukey, so I can only assume we'll have that shit to look forward to at Christmas, because FML.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Errands, Stockings, South Park

I finally slept last night, and this morning, and almost into the afternoon, so I guess the insomnia is relenting a bit, or at least letting me catch up before it takes another swing at me in the latter part of the week.

I finally got up, showered and shaved, then headed out to run the final few errands I had to be able to put Christmas to bed for the year, or at least until this coming Saturday. I gassed up the car, picked up a few odds and ends at a drug store for the house and for the wife's stocking, then stopped to get the oil changed in the car. I hit a couple stores afterward on blind whims, as I sort of knew what type of items I was shooting for with the stocking idea, but had no real specifics in mind. I ran into a couple women that the wife knows, one of whom works at one of the stores I visited and she was kind enough to spitball a few different ideas with me, so I had a sounding board at least. Now mind you, if her ideas have steered me wrong I'll throw her under the bus in an instant, as the item I selected wasn't something I might've normally chosen if left to my own devices. I called the wife at the house to see if she was up for an early dinner, as I had yet to eat today, and took her order for food.

The wife was in the Laundry Room when I got home, so I was able to drop off the food and then sneak off to the other side of the house to stash away my latest purchases, then we ate and watched some television in the den. Having easily pissed the day away, it was already into the early evening by this point, and I excused myself for about an hour to wrap gifts in the Library and start sorting through the stocking stuffer items as far as what order they need to go into the stocking for a decent presentation.

I eventually joined the wife in the den and we spent the rest of the evening with a marathon of South Park episodes on Comedy Central before calling it a night.

I listened to a recording of (Cool) Shite while I started working on this and have managed to be up later than I intended, which should be now shock to anyone.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Confidential, Factotum And Blueberries

I slept about two and a half hours last night, then woke up with the coughing and hacking that's normally associated with the sinus drainage that tries to kill me in my sleep from time to time. I tried to get back to sleep, but after laying there, coughing and tossing and turning for about 20 minutes I gave up, grabbed a book and headed over to the far side of the house and read for about an hour and a half in the Library, watching the sun come up and listening as the birds started waking up and chirping happily at one another. Like nails on a chalkboard, that.

The wife and Yorkie got up around 8:30 or so, came visiting me to make sure I was still in the house and hadn't been guerrilla-pimped into white slavery on my way to the bathroom, then they headed back to the other side of the house to leave me to finish my book.Pretension Ahoy!

I eventually moved into the den and popped in something from the To-Watch Pile, choosing something I'd already watched before, lest I fall asleep and miss half the movie. Art School Confidential is a Terry Zwigoff film based on the work of Daniel Clowes, who wrote the screenplay for the film. There's a murder mystery in there, but you're essentially watching a parade of all the various wackjobs that you might encounter in an art school environment, and it's a fun little freak show. I really love this flick, it'd been forever since I'd seen it, so I was happy to see that it held up.

A Person Having Many Diverse Activities Or Responsibilities.The plan I formulated in my head was to try and stay awake until at least mid-afternoon, so that way if I took a nap I could be awake again by 5:00 or 6:00, in an effort to not completely screw up my sleep patterns this evening. With this in mind, I popped in Factotum, recently acquired from a Swap A DVD trade. Another film based on the work of Charles Bukowski, this time starring Matt Dillon as Bukowski's alter ego Hank Chinaski, it has some recognizable bits taken verbatim from the prose work, though I remain a little disappointed by Dillon's performance as a whole. He has some of the mannerisms down, though I really wish he'd committed to the voice a bit more, as Bukowski sounded so distinctive that it's hard to hear his softer delivery of the man's lines without being taken out of the moment a bit. Overall it is a good film, but there's small tweaks that could've been made that would have bumped it into a higher rating in my estimation. Oh well, still a good film, well worth the time to check out.

The clock had crept by the noon hour by this time, so I looked for a shorter film to pass the time before trying to catch a few winks. So Many Pie Jokes, So Little Time...I settled on My Blueberry Nights, Wong Kar Wai's first English language film, which I recalled liking but not loving on my initial viewing. I can say that it stands steady at that same impression upon a 2nd viewing, dialog I might find passable in Cantonese with subtitling sounds weird being spoken directly, for whatever reason, I can only assume that this can be chalked up to a possible language barrier, but who knows? The film looks gorgeous, and I do enjoy the performances, it can be just slightly taxing at times with the lengths it takes to get to certain scenes or revelations. Still, it is head and shoulders above most cinema out there, so give it a look if you get the chance, it tells a nice little romantic tale in typical Wong Kar Wai fashion; the man seems obsessed with the circuitous routes we take to find the one we want in this life.

The entire family laid down for a nap, I ended up reading a bit to unwind, finally sleeping from 4:00 until shortly after 6:00. I got up while the wife was in the middle of a phone call with Morris, so I started watching some television and looking at Twitter while she wrapped up her conversation, then we talked about what to do for dinner. The wife was kind enough to step out and pick up burgers for our dinner, then we spent the evening watching the usual Fox animation stuff, as pretty much everything is wrapped until at least after the first of the year.

The wife had been wrapping some gifts today, so I finally took some time to do the same, scattering a few things under the tree myself and taking stock of the last minute stuff I may need to do this coming week. So now I have to post this crap and take a serious look at getting a list of errands together for Monday and Tuesday, so I will have all my ducks in a row as we get closer to the day itself.

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Laughing, Houses, Bloodstains, Shadows And Starmen

I was up late watching bad movies last night, so I worked on the blog until I was satisfied that I could come in today and touch up the last few details, allowing me to head to bed after my movie and read for a bit. Starry! I've been rotating between three books lately, two novels and a film guide, but the past couple nights I've been reading my way through James Robinson and Tony Harris' 3rd volume of the Starman Omnibus. The series was one of the last superhero titles I recall following back in the day, aside from the Grant Morrison weirdness over at Vertigo and it's also a series that I never finished out. The omnibus editions collect the series as well as a few mini-series featuring related characters and text pieces that the author deems to be relevant to the reading experience; it's a great way to plow through the series.

The wife had a busy morning while I slept in, so she was getting home shortly after I got up and got the blog posted properly. We visited about her day a bit, then I stepped out for a few to grab a late lunch and allow her to return a couple of phone calls.Painterly!

Once I got back home I settled in with The House With Laughing Windows for a re-watch off the To-Watch Pile. It holds up rather well, offering the same unsettling, unwelcoming vibe for the lead as something like The Wicker Man. The poor guy comes to a small village to restore a painting and soon finds himself involved in a murder mystery as he investigates the life of the notorious painter. Good little film, kind of a slow burn, but very watchable.

Mystery!I had another film on hand starring the same lead (Lino Capolicchio), so I popped in The Bloodstained Shadow, a Giallo in which a professor returns to his hometown as a string of murders begin to happen, the first of which is witnessed by his older brother (a priest) in the middle of a torrential downpour. He spends the rest of the film trying to follow the precious few clues left at the scenes of the following murders, building to a decent little climax that you may see coming, but is still enjoyable to watch play out.

We rounded out our evening with disc 3 out of the season two of Lost, wrapping that around 10:00 PM. I headed off to dick around with this and the wife hit the hay, as we never know when the Yorkie will nag her awake in the morning.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

A Day Of Triple Double-Features

I slept about five hours last night, waking with a star because the Yorkie was in the front room barking at something. Thinking she might've heard Kno1 slipping out the door, I sprang from the bed to go and shush the dog and make sure the door was locked after our guest. Imagine my surprise to find the wife already awake and on the phone, planning out her day.

She caught me up on her itinerary, then I headed back to bed, determined to at least sleep until my stupid alarm went off. After laying there for about 10 minutes, wide awake and not even vaguely sleepy anymore, I finally gave up and got up, turned on the PC and started poking around the web. I eventually got a call from El Vox, so we caught up for an hour or so about this and that, then I was wrapping up in the Office when the wife got home. She and I talked about her day thus far, then I headed to the den to watch a movie while she retired to the bedroom for a nap, as she was feeling her early morning.

Sic Semper Whitlow!I popped in one of the recent Shout! Factory releases of old Roger Corman material, the double feature of The Evil/Twice Dead, two films that are about 10 years apart, but both have a distinctly 'drive-in' feel. While the first flick is a passable haunted house tale, the second one was of more interest to me, as it co-starred Jill Whitlow of Night Of The Creeps fame as part of a family who move into a somewhat seedy neighborhood, only to find that the gang harassing them on the street isn't their only problem: they've also got a ghost haunting their dilapidated mansion. The movie was made in 1988, and it definitely shows its age, down to the corny gang members with Duran Duran hairstyles and the various 80's fashion casualties. It's a fun little set of films, but I'd recommend it more for the 2nd film than the first, but I have a soft spot for Whitlow.

Stay The Hell Out Of ArkansasI'd started sorting through a few stacks of movies while watching that disc, so I decided to move onto another double feature, this one from Anchor Bay's 'Drive-In' series. This one featured a film called The Initiation backed with Mountaintop Motel Massacre. The first flick was something of a standard slasher, featuring the debut of Melrose Place's Daphne Zuniga as a girl pledging a sorority, who finds herself running for her life in the middle of some hell week pranks. It has soemthing of a "Huh?" ending, affording it one more twist than it can truly support, but as a little background time waster it's an okay watch.

We'd been invited over to a neighbor's house this evening, which I had flatly refused, as I know the next week will be eaten up with friends and family holiday stuff, so I wanted to basically spend the next three days in the house if at all possible. The wife left to go and visit over some dinner, so I made myself a little snack and moved on to the 2nd film, which was amusingly set in Arkansas, where the wife has family ties. I was even more amused to hear the (largely terrible) actors name-check a few places in Arkansas that even I've heard of. I can definitely see showing this one to the wife at some point, as I think she'd get a kick out of it, if only for the Arkansas novelty of it all.

The wife got home as I was popping in another double feature, this time something from Something Weird Video, featuring The Defilers and Scum Of The Earth. Entertaining, But PuzzlingThese two flicks are mid 60's 'roughies', quasi-sex films that lean heavily on violence towards the nudie cuties who appear in them (why the fuck this was ever a genre is beyond me), though it does feel rather tame by today's standards. The disc is set up to simulate a drive-in experience, complete with trailers, snack bar ads, all that nonsense peppered in around the two features. The wife and I had fun cracking jokes at the first flick, then she crashed out for the night. I grabbed the laptop and started working on this while the second feature plays, as these things aren't exactly all that demanding of one's attention, leaving me free to multi-task here in the wee hours of the morning.

As an aside, I do truly puzzle over the appeal of these films back in the day, as they do show a little skin, but who is finding any of this sexy, what with all the dudes smacking women around and forcing them to have sex? While there's never anything truly explicit, it's still a disturbing implication that'd stop any normal person short in their tracks if they were reaching for the lotion as the gal started to lose her top. I'm watching this with a modern eye and finding an interesting window into a world I never knew, but I can't imagine any of this as arousing, it's just too foreign to me. It makes me wonder who buys these movies, and for what purpose, as I've yet to find a single Something Weird release to be truly erotic or exciting. Instead they are all kinda quaint, kitschy glimpses of a bygone era, but never anything I wanna watch 'alone', if you catch my drift. I mean, hell, the most fun the wife and I had was checking out the old singage and architecture in the backgrounds of most scenes, as it's all been lost to the urban sprawl now.

As it is, I may end up posting this tomorrow morning, as I don't feel like polishing it up and finding all the proper links and pics right now, it's just too late this evening to be starting all that jazz.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baadasssss Cobra

But mostly, I mean bad Cobra. More on that later.

I stayed up a bit late last night, in spite of trying to crash early, as I got caught up reading when I went to bed. Some shit never changes.

The day was spent at the house for the most part, where I got last night's blog post updated and posted for the general disinterest of the interweb. I eventually stepped out to mail something at the Post Office, but afterward I settled into the den and watched another couple things off the To-Watch Pile.

Can You Dig It?Baadasssss Cinema is an IFC documentary about the Blaxploitation film movement and speaks at length with stars of the films as well as numerous film critics and the like. I'd caught it on cable before, so when I ran across it for $3 I figured I had to jump on it. It's pretty interesting and informative, worth a look if only to see Quentin Tarantino speaking about the genre wearing an outfit that looks like he's been shopping Keenan Ivory Wayans garage-sale, circa the old In Living Color days. Suffice to say, it's a bizarrely colorful outfit, complete with what looks like a leather driving cap in equally loud colors. Good stuff.

Nothing On This Poster Happens In The Film.Since I had just seen several interview snippets with Fred Williamson, I decided to finally break out the 50 Martial Arts Films set that I knew had several films from late in his career, all under the moniker Black Cobra. A sort of Dirty Harry-esque film, Black Cobra sees Williamson as a cop who plays by his own rules, etc. etc., and who is meant to protect a photographer who witnessed a murder from the biker gang that now want to eliminate the only person who can ID them. The...well, what I suppose you'd call 'action' of the film is remarkably slow moving for what is meant to be an exciting film, as there's a lot of slow sequences of Williamson stalking intruders through apartments, rough looking fight sequences, and even some dialog near the end lifted almost verbatim from Dirty Harry (most of the whole 'Do ya feel lucky, punk?" is spoken by Williamson, it's awful) leaves you thinking that the movie should quit while it's behind. Then it drones on for another 15 minutes with a villain who can seemingly survive anything thrown at him. The film is silly as hell and I am now kinda dejected to know that there are at least a couple sequels that followed it, as I can't imagine how awful those are going to be.

**Note: I just hit Wikipedia, which alleges that the plot of Stallone's film Cobra (1986) is identical to Williamson's Black Cobra (1987), only, y'know, with a black dude a year later.** I guess I'm watching Cobra sooner than later for a little compare and contrast. Thanks, interwebs!

Kno1 was scheduled to spend the night with us, so the wife made a nice little dinner for the three of us in advance of his arrival. We feasted in the den while watching the 2nd disc of season 2 of Lost, a show which I knew Kno1 liked, so I figured he'd be up for it. He ended up calling it a fairly early night after our large meal and a beer to relax, but the wife and I stayed up until 10:00 and finished out the disc before calling it a night. And now here I am pecking away at this.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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