February 20, 2005


Gangs of New York. Hard to say how I feel about it. It was too damn long, not that it wasn’t entertaining but that it was just too much story for a single movie. It had a lot of torture in it, and that generally bothers me, apparently, but it also had some decent acting and plot. I have a hard time believing it’s rooted in fact, but I also know practically nothing about American history that isn’t lie, so I suppose it’s possible. Cameron Diaz is ugly and can’t act her way out of a paper bag. The linguistic angle was satisfying, though not as satisfying as my favorite movie, the Big Lebowski. Very mixed bag on this one, I’m going to say $3.50.

Arlington Road—excellent, excellent, excellent. A bit of gore, a lot of suspicion, and centering on right wing extremist terrorist groups. Highly entertaining, don’t want to give much away or I’d say more. $8-15.

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December 11, 2004

Cobra Verde and The Audition

Cobra Verde is the third of the Kinski/Herzog classics I’ve seen. It’s also their last movie together, and the one with the famous suicide scene at the end which, according to Herzog, rendered Kinski unable to act anymore. It’s about slavery, and as usual, it’s both beautiful and very powerful. I strongly suggest everyone see it. It’s a hard movie to give an overview of, because so much of what makes it awesome is just seeing the acting and the settings. $12.00

The Audition was a creepy movie from Japan. I hesitate to call it horror, but I don’t really know what it should be called instead. It gets points for accurately portraying the stupidity of falling in love, at any age. It kind of lost me at the end, the coherence sort of went away. The torture is a bit much. I don’t think I got the “message” of the movie if there is one. If you want to be shocked, and have a good laugh at how screwed up love is, you should see it. $2.50

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November 28, 2004

Colorful, Suicide Club, The Hidden and Tapeheads

I realized I should start using Eric’s money system for ranking movies. He actually took it from one of his friends, but I can’t remember the name of his friend, so fuck it.


Nick lent this to me.

It’s a silly anime about… panties. That’s it. It’s just a bunch of vignettes (16 on the disc, with about 90 minutes of total runtime) of guys getting hot ‘n bothered seeing girls panties. It has some just hilarious moments, and it speaks to the male condition, but we had to watch it in three bursts, because it’s just a bit way too stupid and repetitive. Pretty amusing overall though.


Suicide Club

Nick also lent me this, for which I am deeply in his debt. It’s a truly excellent horror/thriller flick. The plot was interesting, with predictability only in the “horror” moments (“are they really going to do that!”) The theme was thought-provoking and it had a lot of truly creepy stuff. Very good, definitely recommended to horror fans and thriller fans who like buckets of blood. I wonder if it inspired Suicide Girls


The Hidden

The Hidden is a B-grade sci-fi starring Kyle MacLaughlin. It gets points for being just awesomely weird, but it was fairly predictable. It opens with some just excellent special effects, but they only revisit them briefly in the end. Definitely an interesting twist on the alien invasion theme.



Don’t bother. This is definitely the worst movie John Cusack has had anything to do with. Odd that Tim Robbins is also in it. It had a few entertaining moments, but a lot of crap to wade through to get there, and the crap wasn’t even marginally entertaining.


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November 23, 2004

Versus, Director's Cut

Now this here is a bad movie, but bad enough I was liking it. It’s another Japanese zombie horror flick, with a prophecy angle. The action was silly and overblown, the plot was almost non-existant, the gore was decent. Alex called it a cross between Highlander and Dragonball.

I think this is a movie Nathan and Eric would like quite a bit.

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November 22, 2004


Alex and I just finished watching Tapeheads. A very mixed bag, but not good or bad enough to be really satisfying. It gets a point for making John Cusack difficult to like though. :)

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November 17, 2004

The Manchurian Candidate

Yesterday at Wal-Mart we picked up a copy of the classic The Manchurian Candidate. It was truly excellent, shining through some rather dated performances and philosophies. Amazing how chilling it is.

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November 14, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Excellent movie. Everyone should see it. It was much less rambling and unstructured than Bowling for Columbine—I assume because Moore wants to seem reasonable and get his point out more than just unleash his inner rage. I’m a lot less pissed off than I was coming out of Bowling for Columbine, a fact which I find sort of surprising given all the talk about the movie. I really don’t see how anyone who saw the movie could have remained pro-Bush, since almost all of the content was media clips incriminating Bush and his cronies.

Now, I am very, very pissed off about things, but I want to explain (in my opinion) why things are so fucked up, and why this really is so much more insidious than Nazism.

All government slowly devolves into a familial power structure. I think this is simply a property of power, and I think Bakunin would agree with me. People like familiar faces, people with power help out their friends, and soon you have a caste or class system depending on how long it goes on. My boss and his family are extremely anti-abortion, for example. I think if they knew the kind of people who need abortions, they would understand that it’s not middle income kids getting knocked up and skirting responsibility—they can afford better systems. It is the lowest classes, unemployed, futureless people who have nothing who need abortion. To the anti-abortion community, there somehow is a loving home for every child. They cannot comprehend the kind of poverty which necessitates it, as a humanistic right to reduce the overall misery of the world. They simply do not associate with that class of people. Unthinkable.

I don’t think our situation is one in which the Nazi’s showed up and said, “right, we’re taking over.” Clinton, after all, signed into law his fair share of liberty-reducing laws, mostly right after the Oklahoma City bombing. No, instead what’s happened is simply this:

  1. People with power acquire wealth, because they have power
  2. People with wealth acquire power, because they have wealth
  3. People associate with people like themselves, people they can relate to
  4. People with wealth and power maintain wealth and power

Nothing here is rocket science. It’s just ordinary cronyism. Something which I think can be good in small doses—look at the clan system. It is true that the current generation is much less violent than previous ones, many studies have found this. The clan concept is beneficial to us because it gives us a place to exercise our cronyist instincts and aspirations where it’s mostly a good thing.

Anyway, the current regime is only interested in trampling on our rights just enough to maintain their wealth and power. They don’t seem particularly interested in blocking what we say, so long as nobody is hearing us. The media seems to be in on it because they are owned by wealthy, powerful people, who are all basically friends in some capacity or another. They couldn’t be more distant from us.

This seems like a situation poised for a French-style revolution in 30 or 40 years, long after I’ve left the country. The regime maintains power by feeding the ignorant images of us as a free and democratic nation, liberating the rest of the world. The soldiers we send out are the poorest, least educated among us, who grew up absorbing the propaganda. They are surprised when the nation they are invading to liberate starts to fight back, unable to see the relationship between the death and destruction they are creating and the ill feelings towards them produced by it. It should be obvious, but it isn’t, because the soldiers are not educated (they usually join to pay for an education later on).

But I don’t think there is any real idealistic principles at work within the regime. They are playing a very simple game: maintain personal money and power at whatever cost. It’s just pure capitalism, and that’s why it’s insidious and frankly quite invulnerable in America, because we think we like capitalism. Every downtrodden man and woman in the country thinks, “gee, they musta shure hadta work hard to get them millions and billions. They loves the flag, the land and the people, I knows fur shure because they tells me so. I bet if I just work hard and loves the flag, the land and the people like they do, it’ll be my turn next year.” We know what Nazis look like: they have the whole marching, the whole arm band thing, the whole “final solution” thing, and these men aren’t Nazis. And I hate to say it, but they really aren’t. They’re just capitalists, who happen to be on top, protecting their investments and doing whatever it takes to maintain their power. Every middling capitalist in the country is going to back them up every step of the way, until they see something in it for them, some sort of way to put themselves on top, and then there will be a firestorm, Bush ‘n co. will be out of office, and we’ll have a new set of smiling capitalists, ready and willing to maintain the status quo that produced them.

This should also explain why the Democratic party has been castrated. They are the same top 0.005% fucksacks the Republicans are, they just have a false idealism to go with it. So, half of them are basically Republicans with a different color coat on, and the other half are limp dicks like Kerry, who pretend to be about the Democratic ideal but are rendered moot by the fact that they have all the same wealth and smiling friends as the Republicans. To prefer one flavor of dictatorship over another is folly. Support the Socialist party—nobody likes them, they’ll never get elected, they have no wealth and no friends. They’re a lot like the real American people in that regard, and I’d rather vote for a real person anyway.

In conclusion, I just hope I’m outta here long before I get to be proven wrong and find out that things are even worse than I suspect.

By the way, a special message to Eric: your faith in the American people (and the Democratic party in particular) is sad and misplaced. You should join up with me and the Socialist party, and I’d work harder at convincing you of this but I am too lazy and don’t want to take any action that might be construed as “organizing” or, really, as “taking action.”

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November 13, 2004


Neverwhere was actually pretty good. It was cheesy, sometimes way cheesier than my cheesy cutoff level, but it had a certain charm. The ending was good, it fulfilled my hopes right after almost dashing them. The acting was… acceptable. The sets were weak, but charming.

Don’t rush out to see it, but don’t turn down a chance either.

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November 08, 2004

My Best Fiend, Neverwhere, All the Queen's Men, The Stuff and Transylvania 6-5000

Last night, Alex and I watched My Best Fiend: Klaus Kinski and the first half of the Neverwhere mini series. The night before we saw All the Queen’s Men, a comedy featuring Eddie Izzard.

I didn’t think Neverwhere was so good—it’s very special-effect and set heavy, and that just doesn’t work on a shoestring budget. It did have some interesting stuff though, but I hate to give Gaiman any credit if it can be avoided. :)

My Best Fiend, on the other hand, was excellent. I saw Aguirre: Wrath of God a couple months ago because of a Plastic article about it, and it was just awesome. Kinski is really impressive as nutcases, probably because he was one. Eric strongly recommended Fitzcarraldo as one of his favorites, which is another Herzog/Kinski classic. I think I’m going to wind up making Alex sit through all of their five collaborations. My Best Fiend was basically a biography of Kinski combined with a documentary about the Herzog/Kinski relationship, and it had a lot of really hilarious moments. “Here we are at a film festival in Colorado, laughing and joking. I had only recently given up on serious plans to firebomb him in his house.”

All the Queen’s Men is probably the most multilingual movie I’ve ever seen. There are three languages being spoken: English, German, and a bit of Italian. You’re supposed to guess at the meaning from context, I guess, but we watched it with English subtitles anyway, mostly because the English was being spoken with a really thick British accent and I found it hard to follow. The plot was interesting, there were plenty of mad-funny silly scenes, and the language angle was very interesting, as was the sort of war theme they were going for.

Tonight, we watched The Stuff and Transylvania 6-5000. Both were uniformly terrible, though The Stuff had an amusement factor. It was basically about this nasty living cream stuff, a refrigerated dessert, which eventually takes over the brain, and when you die, it all comes back out of you. It wasn’t choice, but I think the main actor was one of the “Law and Order” actors. Not much to say about the other, Alex summed it up pretty well: “This is going to be terrible. They’re using Geena Davis for boobs.” She did look pretty good as the faux horny vampire I thought, boobs jangling about can be nice. It was one of those movies with a theme jingle, which (as always) was terrible. Michael Richards (?) had a lot of stupid laughs in it. Not much to write home about either one though.

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October 10, 2004

Happiness of the Katakuri's

This movie gets the big raised eyebrow.

The plot concerns an extended Japanese family who run a small bed & breakfast on the unpopulous side of Mount Fuji. They apparently purchased it run-down, and fixed it up. As the movie opens, they still haven’t had any guests. Under strange circumstances, they have five sets of guests over the course of the movie, of which three sets perish—not killed by the Katakuri’s. To save the guest house, they decide each time to bury the bodies down by the lake, as it would be fiscal suicide for their first guest to die under strange circumstances.

The film uses a variety of techniques that seem cribbed more-or-less outright from Peter Jackson: claymation, disgusting food scenes, and strange musical interludes. Indeed, there were at least four moments when suddenly, the movie presents you with musical theatrics replete with singing, dancing, and (in one case) a sing-a-long.

If you like strange movies, you should check it out. I’m not sure what I think of it.

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We actually watched this movie last week. It was in the horror genre on Netflix, but Alex and I agree that it really wasn’t scary. The only other genre it might belong in would be mythology, if that were a film genre.

The film is set up as four short ghost stories. The first was predictable, the last was sort of a directionless Lovecraft rip with too much silly combat. However, the middle two make it one of the better Japanese movies I’ve seen lately. The second story concerned The Snow Maiden, and was both effectively creepy and romantic. “It was beautiful, that’s what it was” says Alex. The third story was an excellent restless spirit tale.

The movie overall gets recommended for the excellent sets, colors, tone and mood. I intend to own it someday, because it was captivating and immersive in a way that few movies are. I’d give it 4 stars. Alex wasn’t all that impressed however.

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September 25, 2004

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer

Alex and I are really getting into Japanese Horror movies. Tetsuo II is one of the more highly-referenced of the genre. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it to be particularly enjoyable.

The cinematography was annoying—blurry, weird angles, bad color (no red apart from fruity volcano and workout stock footage) poor film quality all combined to make it very difficult to even tell what was going on. I guess this is part of the point, but I didn’t care for the low-end MTV format at all.

The plot was interesting, if sort of hard to get a grip on. The main character can’t remember much of his past, and then his kid get kidnapped, and then weird mechanical things happen. The story is entertaining, but even the moments of frank elucidation on the part of the arch villain didn’t really reconcile all of the weird threads. This movie was made to be pretty first, and make sense second.

The special effects were quite good, probably seeming better than they were due to the overall poorness of film quality. It’s hard to tell what technique someone is using for a particular effect when it’s hard to tell what effect is going on.

I found the music enjoyable, but as seems to be the norm nowadays, the quiet moments were far too quiet, and the loud moments were pretty damn loud.

Visually, there were many moments I definitely could have lived without seeing (killing a dog, gun/sex play). They will probably stick out in my mind for some time, and I guess the director gets points for making me queasy (it is a horror movie, after all).

I’m having a difficult time putting a rating on it, because it was pretty effective, but at the same time I’m not sure I’m going to want to see it again. Not wanting to see a movie twice generally reduces the score (for example, American History X is a good film, but I don’t recommend it because I don’t want to ever see it again). Hmm.

If you really want to see weird special effects of people having guns and such crawl out of their skin (which I did), you should see it at least once. If you want to see something that will leave you with a generally weird feeling, you should probably see it. Otherwise, you should probably pass on it.

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July 03, 2004

The Last Samurai

Last night, Alex, Faust, Hillary and I watched The Last Samurai. I must admit, I didn't manage to remain completely aware of what was happening through the whole thing, because I was sort of tired from the day, but what I did catch was quite good and I think I can safely recommend the movie.

The movie is a drama about the exploits of a former army captain under Custer's command. He's an alcoholic who hates his life because of the things he has done in the service of the government. He is hired by the Japanese government to squash a rebellion on the strength of his record with this kind of thing.

It seemed like a good movie for what I caught, and I definitely intend to catch it again before giving it the buck rating. Definitely has some heartstring tugging scenes, and it's noteworthy for taking a character so hatable and making him respectable, perhaps admirable. And of course, there are so many nipponiphiles around that will love it nothing more need be said.

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June 23, 2004

Mary Reilly

I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who likes horror or love stories. It is about the only movie I can think of that manages to meld the two themes successfully, or to have even tried.

The movie is the story of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, from the perspective of the doctor's house servants; particularly Mary. Mary and Jeckyl's strained proto-romance is a welcome new perspective on the story. The gore and special effects were also quite nice. Definitely worth $4.

Posted by FusionGyro at 11:17 AM