Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I'm thrilled and honored to be included in the latest issue of Paracinema magazine. My article, "Boy to Men (And Back Again)" will be featured in their seventh issue along with pieces by Adam Protextor, Todd Garbarini, James Gracey, and many more.
Two new reviews up in the latest Metro Times:
Sex with an attractive girl with no emotional strings attached? Sounds like what dreams are made of for many dudes — just look at Craigslist. If that hot girl was actually more room temperature and discovered bound in the basement of a mental hospital, this might present a problem for some dudes ... but not all. READ MORE
Scenes are crosscut with 1961 Adam in Tel Aviv, where he's confined to a mental institution with other Holocaust survivors. This section shifts from Patch Adams bathos to Awakenings pathos (though Robin Williams is nowhere in sight). READ MORE
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Monday, September 07, 2009
It used to be that when a guy dropped out/got fired from the legendary rock band KISS that their replacement would adopt a new, made-up (maked-up?) persona to fit in with the "The Demon" "The Starchild" "The Spaceman" "The Catman" pantheon.
Those are the days of the past, apparently, as current (and long-time) members Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer have officially donned the greasepaint for the current incarnation of KISS. However, they're not portraying new "characters" but those of old. Back at the end of 2001, Singer put on the whiskers to become "The Catman" for the remaining gigs in the KISS Reunion Tour after Peter Criss left the road. A few months later Thayer donned the space suit to fill out the roster when Ace Frehley departed from the group again.
Since then it's been Singer and Thayer as "The Catman" and "The Spaceman." Had this been the early '80s, Singer and Thayer may have adopted new make-up designs. That was the case for drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Vinnie Vincent. These unfortunate musicians joined KISS when the idea of someone slapping on the Criss or Frehley make-up must have seemed distasteful. Or, perhaps, the characters had been so associated with Criss and Frehley than a switch-up would just be too odd. Regardless, Carr and Vincent endured the early days of their tenure in KISS as "The Fox" (originally "The Hawk") and "The Ankh Warrior". So, yeah, maybe Singer and Thayer just recycling Criss and Frehley's make-up is for the best.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Surveillance (Jennifer Chambers Lynch, 2008)
Returning to the director’s chair after a fifteen year hiatus, Jennifer Chambers Lynch delivers a taut, albeit predictable, thriller. Surveillance would have felt more at home in the early ‘90s as a fast follow-up to her initial outing, Boxing Helena, as many of the characters feel as if they’ve been taken from her dad’s playbook. Corrupt cops and odd FBI agents populate Surveillance, as if they were refugees from the first act of David Lynch’s Fire Walk With Me. Viewers expecting the quirky charm of an Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) or grim humor of Sheriff Cable (Gary Bullock) will be sorely disappointed. Odd moments of humor crop up during Surveillance but they feel awkward and sloppily integrated with the film as a whole.
Surveillance opens with a murder followed by an investigation by a pair of FBI agents—Agents Anderson (Julia Ormond) and Hallaway (Bill Pullman). The narrative unfolds in a series of flashbacks as Anderson and Hallaway interview survivors of an attack by a pair of serial killers who recently slaughtered a family and Deputy Conrad (French Stewart). Apart from Captain Billings (Michael Ironside), local law enforcers prove troublesome: they’re a bunch of trigger-happy yahoos who enjoy terrorizing innocent travelers as they cut across the barren Western landscape. Conrad and his partner, Bennet (Kent Harper), love shooting out the tires of passing motorists and then playing upon their fears of authority with a sadistic game of good cop/bad cop.
Pullman and Ormond provide a few entertaining moments. Hopefully Surveillance will serve to get Lynch reacquainted with filmmaking and provide better fare in the future.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Alien Trespass (R.W. Goodwin, 2009)
Eric McCormack stars as physicist Ted Lewis, a big brained scientist—you can tell because he smokes a pipe. After a UFO crashes in the Mojave, Ted becomes host to Urp, a space ranger with Klaatu’s fashion sense. He’s out to recapture the Ghota, a hungry space slug that may have been spawned from the same brood that gave us the evil vegetable overlord of It Conquered the World. Along with Ted/Urp, all of the familiar character tropes are on hand and the film plays out exactly as to be expected, hitting every beat.
Opening up with a newsreel that sets up Alien Trespass as a “lost film” from the ‘50s, viewers will find that R.W. Goodwin’s film is a faithful recreation of sci-fi films from the era. Unfortunately, the film is a little too faithful. Unlike other films over the last few decades that have spoofed Atomic Era creature features such as Invasion! (1999) and Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001), there’s no sense of subversiveness in this button-downed pastiche. It plays out as a faithful homage rather than any kind of parody, leaving viewers to question the necessity of this film. Why not stick to the classics instead?
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Aburdistan (Veit Helmer, 2008)
Rub a dub dub, there’s no water in the tub for the butcher, the baker, or the candlestick maker in Veit Helmer’s Absurdistan after the pipeline to the village stops working. Taking a cue from the Lysistrata playbook, the women of the village put the brakes on the lusty behavior of the men folk until the water flows again. Laziness, however, proves a greater force than lustiness, demonstrated by the myriad attempts the men make to get laid when there’s a nookie drought. At the heart of Absurdistan are Aya (Kristyna Malérová) and Temelko (Maximilian Mauff) two literally star-crossed lovers who are destined to conjugate for the first time during a cosmic conjunction.
Absurdistan shares the same light-hearted spirit and pure storytelling as director Veit Helmer’s 1999 film Tuvalu. The narrative plays out without need for dialogue with scenes often comprised of a simple setup and payoff. There are only a handful of spoken lines. The faces of the villagers do well enough to communicate their emotions. Maximilian Mauff frequently resembles Buster Keaton with his stoic, put- upon expression.
A simple story, yes, but Helmer and the cast make Absurdistan a sublime, silly love story.