The Bronze Buckaroo

tn_bronzebuckarooIn North America, February is Black History Month. I mean, it’s debatable how real of a thing it is. Every year we note that black history oughta be taught in other months also, and of course you got the “why is it the shortest month?” jokes. The U.K. musta foreseen that, ’cause they have theirs in October. But really 28 days of Black History Month is 21 more than the original “Negro History Week,” which was celebrated in February because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. It was intended to encourage teaching about African-American history in schools, which I guess did not go over great when it started in 1926. But 50 years later an expanded month long version was officially recognized by the government. So suck on that, 1926.

I don’t know what goes on in the schools today, but in the world of grownups it seems like the month isn’t that meaningful to most people. It seems more common to see it used for flimsy, borderline offensive corporate promotions than for any kind of legitimate attempt to fulfill the goal of bringing awareness to aspects of American and world culture that don’t tend to get enough recognition. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rush

tn_rushRUSH is a Ron Howard movie about race car drivers, but it’s better than that sounds. It follows the expected template and visual techniques except that it has two protagonists, two narrators, and really made me bounce back and forth about which one I was rooting for.

The guy most prominently featured on the poster is James Hunt, played by Thor. He’s the long-haired blond rock star of Formula One racing, a charming, dry-witted Brit, a fun guy, great racer and legendary lover of women. If he wasn’t so charismatic he’d be easy to hate because he has it all except the championship, and that he’s confident he’ll get too.

The other guy is Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Brühl, the NATION’S PRIDE Nazi sniper from INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. He’s kind of Hunt’s opposite. He’s terrible at making friends, and doesn’t see that as a bad thing. He’s blunt and insulting, finds a way to push his way onto a team and doesn’t mind that his own teammates will resent him for it. When those teammates go out of their way to be helpful and welcoming he doesn’t reciprocate. Also he agrees with Hunt saying he looks like a rat.

But he’s brilliant. He’s not just a good driver, he tells the team how to reconfigure the car to make it faster. He explains later that he was blessed with an ass that can detect any problems in a car that he sits in. When he gets on the Ferrari test track he tells them their cars are shit. He’s like the P.L. Travers of racing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mach 2

tn_mach2The Super Bowl is on Sunday. I noticed because here in Seattle people are losing their shit. Every single person I’ve run into in the last month has been a life long die hard dyed in the wool cradle to the grave never forget Seahawk maniac, judging by their shirts, hats, coats and conversations. At the grocery stores they have “12th Man” cupcakes, cakes, microbrews, wines, they have “Beast Cut” deals on meat, that type of shit. The local news had a story about a guy who “created an internet sensation” by putting a jersey on his cat. There’s more blue and green flying than there were flags after 9-11, and an hour doesn’t go by outside of my apartment without people yelling stupid chants at each other, or at nobody. (In fact I hear some right now.)

Yesterday a homeless drunk with an eyepatch gave me a fist bump because “yeeaaaah, that’s the look. That’s the look of a Seahawk,” then told me about “the best defense in the league” and something something Peyton Manning. Basically, these crazy fuckers are gonna burn my building down if I don’t try to exploit, or I mean support the team in some ridiculous way. But I’m sorry friends, I am an honest individual, I cannot tell a lie, I just can’t fake something like being excited that we finally have a local men’s team doing well at something. It’s not a sport I normally watch and it would be real fuckin covenient to start now, wouldn’t it? So the best I can offer is to review 2001′s MACH 2 starring the greatest Seahawk of all time (movie-acting-wise), Brian Bosworth.
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Nerd News: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

tn_luthorThis morning I was surprised to read on The ol’ Ain’t It Cool News that Lex Luthor and Alfred had been officially cast for SUPERMAN V. BATMAN. When I opened the story I glanced the name Jeremy Irons and assumed he was playing Luthor. It seemed like an okay but boring choice. It’s hard to imagine him caring about playing another fucking bad guy. When I realized that he was playing Alfred and Jesse Eisenberg was Luthor I coulda done a spit take.

And my instinct was sympathy for the vocal hateful nerd community of the internet. Like “Maybe you guys were right.” As you know, the default internet stance on everything is negative. The nerd community in particular tend to be against most things that exist other than the TV shows Community and Sherlock, most of the Marvel movies (for now, but there will be a vicious backlash in a few years guaranteed) and… bacon I guess. According to the products on the websights, bacon is one of the main things they respect. I’m old fashioned, I don’t think of bacon as something a man puts on his shirt, so alot of times I feel like I’m on the other side from these guys. But for a second when I read this I thought “shit, I know how they feel.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Angel 4: Undercover

tn_angel4In ANGEL 4: UNDERCOVER, the chapter after the final chapter, Angel rises from the streets to invade the corporate world. “Executive by day, hooker by night. From the boardroom to the bedroom.” Cool idea, right? Seems like a very ’80s idea, but it was still the early ’90s, it wasn’t too late to explore those still relevant themes of corruption and cruelty hidden behind mirrored skyscrapers and fancy clothes.

I should specify, that’s what the box of ANGEL 4 is about. The movie itself is a standalone story where she’s not an executive and there’s no boardroom (or bedroom, really) and she doesn’t look like the same lady on the cover and doesn’t become a hooker again. But you know, you gotta let the marketing people express themselves too. They had a story they felt like they were born to tell, and they just had to let it out.
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Royal Warriors

tn_royalwarriorsROYAL WARRIORS is a pretty good 1986 Michelle Yeoh vehicle directed by David Chung (cinematographer of ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA) with action choreography by Hoi Mang (YES, MADAM!, NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER).

Michelle, called Michelle Khan at the time, plays Michelle Yip, who at the beginning is visiting Japan and enjoying one of those things where Japanese youths dress up rockabilly style and dance in the street. She happens to be in the way watching a guy play barrels as drums when some gangsters come by chasing a fleeing kid. So when she sees what’s happening she goes after them, stickfighting, climbing on statues and kung fu-ing them before she whips out her badge and we learn that she’s a Hong Kong cop. (read the rest of this shit…)

Kon-Tiki

tn_kon-tikiKON-TIKI is light, well-constructed and direct, just like the raft it’s named after. It’s the true story of the Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl embarking on a dangerous raft trip to try to prove that ancient Polynesia could’ve been populated by South Americans. This was before American Idol and stuff so back then you would have to try to prove or discover things to get famous. And then instead of a reality show you would film an actual documentary about your adventures. They just didn’t know any better, you know? I’m sure if Jacques Cousteau had known about sex videos he would’ve just done that instead of winning an Oscar by having an ax fight with a school of sharks while Louis Malle filmed him.

Anyway, Thor here comes up with this theory while living on an island, and he wants to write about it, but all the publishers of scientific books and magazines (I’m calling you out, National Geographic!) laugh him off as an idiot. He comes up with the raft idea but still has trouble getting funding, ’cause this was before Kickstarter. He has to go around talking to people who often think he’s a crazy man. Which he kind of is I guess. (read the rest of this shit…)

Angel III: The Final Chapter

tn_angel3ANGEL III: THE FINAL CHAPTER, the third and last of the four ANGEL movies, finds Molly “Angel” Stewart far from her roots. She is no longer played by Donna Wilkes or Betsy Russell, now she’s played by Mitzi Kapture (Silk Stalkings, Baywatch, The Young & the Restless). She’s not a prostitute or a lawyer or runner anymore, now she’s a photographer helping out the police (we see her go along on a gambling bust to take pictures of people running away) and in her spare time trying to work on a photography book about street kids. Most drastic of all she doesn’t live in Hollywood anymore, she lives in New York. (read the rest of this shit…)

Prisoners

tn_prisonersPRISONERS is a crime mystery elevated to near-epic status by its patience and taste. It has intense performances, especially by leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman, but also supporting players Paul Dano, Terence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Melissa Leo. It has gorgeously bleak Roger Deakins cinematography of grey, rainy Georgia suburbs that looks just like my neck of the woods. Serial killer central. It takes its time, doesn’t drum up fake excitement with bombastic music. It has the kind of careful, deliberate camerawork and pacing we associate with Kubrick, or at least Fincher. Smart directors with so much cinema in their blood they don’t know how to shoot anything without transcending the perceived limitations of its genre.
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Avenging Angel

tn_avengingangelAVENGING ANGEL takes place 4 years after ANGEL. Lieutenant Andrews (now played by Robert F. Lyons) has become Angel (now played by Betsy Russell from DELTA HEAT and SAW III-VII)’s guardian and paid her way to leave the streets of Hollywood for a college somewhere a few hours away, where she’s studying law and excelling at track and field. She goes by Molly again and has a preppie boyfriend named Terry (Richard DeHaven, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) who doesn’t know about her past as a gun-toting teenage prostitute.
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