Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Rest of the Movies I've Seen in 2012

Tokyo! will no doubt end up on my best films watched in 2012 list. Three short films directed by three different directors - Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Joon Ho Bong. Each film is very cleverly written and directed. The character Merde, who appears in Leos Carax's mini film of the same name, is resurrected in Holy Motors

 My hats off to Mel Gibson for Apocalypto! Believable story line, great characters! Wait until you see a use for those really steep temple steps.

A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop was a visual fest, but I got  pretty bored by the end. I gotta give props to a Blood Simple homage.

I actually got out to the theater and watched the new Bond flick. Boring!!!! Everyone just tried too hard. I like over the top, but this one just took itself a little too serious. I did of course like Ben Whishaw as Q. The gadget guy would be young. 

The Rolling Stones 1963 - 1969 Music in Review was a documentary with "experts" explaining why some of the early songs worked. Meh! Some of these experts weren't even born until well after Brian Jones had died. I wanted more technical background than some guy giving his learn-to-play-this-song explanation. NPR did a good job back in November to honor the Stones's 50th Anniversary by having  each member talk about a favorite song. With Keith's pick "Street Fighting Man", he shares the technical insight of using the cassette machine and an acoustic guitar.  In the interview for Mick's pick, "Gimme Shelter"  he shares his tidbit about Merry Clayton singing the ....rape...murder.....chorus in pink curlers. Now that's interesting!

I watched Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows while my mom stayed @ my house after her kidney stone removal. The on screen chemistry between Downey, Jr and Mr. Law is the magic part Guy Ritchie's Sherlock flicks. I would never have thought of putting the two of them together. A steam punk visual feast!

Another flick we watched while my mom was here was Best in Show. I love this film! I think I've only seen it about 4 times. I still squeal out loud during some scenes. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Moves I've seen but neglected to document

I saw Island of Lost Souls back in September @ one of Gary's Saturday night Movie nights.  Apparently Devo were quite the fans. The other movie that night: Curse of the Demon.

I saw Queen Live in Budapest @ Landmark Cinema. The film was made in 1986 and follows Queen after a triumphant Live Aid performance. That musical period of Queen was just not my cup of tea. The movie repeated some of the songs 4 times throughout the movie. Yuck! 

This is how I like my Freddie Mercury - rings, black nail polish and eyeliner (I'll even forgive you for the fur gladrag, darling). I still remember the first time I heard Killer Queen. I was delivering papers after school and heard it on a car radio. It was unbelievable. I'd never heard anything like that before. What the hell was that guitar doing? What a name for a band!  I have Sheer Heart Attack on my iPhone.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chun King

I don't know if it gets anymore  politically incorrect than these two time capsule masterpieces. The Dan Drapers of Madison Avenue probably had drinks after brainstorming these two gems.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bob Ross' Birthday and Sandy Comes to Town

Thanks for the morning chuckle, Google.

 And now for something not so funny....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Anatomy of a Murder

I was on fire to watch Anatomy of a Murder again. Turns out, Netflix does not have a streaming version available, so I had to "buy" it from Amazon. This movie is the perfect beast - Spot on acting, fantastic on-location filming, and interesting characters. Title sequence graphics by Saul Bass and an opening song by Duke Ellington (who plays a cool cat in the movie) set the tone that continues through out the entire film. You are in for a visual treat and some of the best film dialogue between characters and court room scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat. Lee Remick as Laura Manion just ooooooozzes sexuality.
Lee Remick is not the only one who sizzles; Ben Gazarra just smolders as the jailed murder suspect. Holy smokes, he has a cigarette holder!
Confession: I saw the movie version of Tell Tale Heart. zzzZZZ and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Naked City

Filming "The Naked City"
I saw "The Naked City" via Netflix @ home Saturday night. This 1948 movie by directory Jules Dassin is a gem. Jules is famous for directing the sumptuous black and white Rififi

The voice over commentary, shooting on location, and semi-mocumentary style make "The Naked City" a must see. A beautiful model is found drown in her bathtub by her loyal cleaning lady and a murder must be solved. Barry Fitzgerald stills the show as Lt Muldoon. The locations chosen for filming have frozen in time a NewYork filled with busy dinners, quaint horse drawn delivery carts, and really sharp dressed people.

Now you know what movie produced this memorable line:

"There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Therese Raquin

I had to get the images of Fear and Loathing out of my system, so I decided to finally watch Therese Raquin @ home. The picture above is deceiving; all is not so good. This movie had everything I like about European films - tragic characters, tragic situations, and a not very happy ending. The play turns out to be even more tragic.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Not Working

Been there, done that.  It really was an everyday struggle  not to just stay in bed. I was one of the lucky ones who were able to reinvent themselves. I want to emphasis the word luck.

I heard a bit about DW Gibson's new book, Not Working: People Talking About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today's Changing Economy. , on NPR. Rumor has it he interviewed folks from Indy too.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Gimme Shelter

 On the bill for movie night @ Alex's - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. One of the worst movies I've seen in quite sometime. Really bad script -  I'm taking drugs...again, oh...more old fast. The camera work  didn't do much for me either. It's always funny when they try to use a camera to give the audience the feel of taking drugs. Yes, drugs make you see dinosaurs and army jeeps. Yep.

Yes, I get the whole -Gonzo journalism thing. That's the point; the joke is on them/him. Hunter S Thompson hit the nail on the head. His own head, in fact. He was a product of the failed sixties movement himself. He was a product of the failed American dream. He just couldn't see it through the self induced, me-so-hip, I-can-afford-lots-of-drugs haze. I do lots of  drugs, ergo, I can see the truth.  Riiiight... This kind of hipper-than-thou life style made a show like Behind the Music so fascinating.

I've always liked Ralph Steadman's art. His style was pretty much ahead of the curve at the time. There are so many folks now who are clearly influenced by him. 

Anyway...the best part of the movie (no, not Dr. Gonzo's shining like the North Star gut) was hearing Gimme Shelter at the end. It made me think about Let It Bleed, the last Stones' album with Brian Jones. Brian had become so lost in his own drug-world, that he only played on two tracks and was replaced by Mick Taylor. He was sacked by the band, and died a few months later. Let It Bleed was released in December of 1969 and it is probably the best Stones' album ever. I download it from iTunes when I got home last night and I can't quite get the opening riff of Gimme Shelter out of my skull. Keef can play.

It's quite clear from the above picture that Mr. Jones has some dependency issues. Back in the day, it was cool to be considered elegantly wasted; people turned a blind-eye to drug abuse. Today, a quick trip to rehab would've been in order. Maybe we would've got a few more years out of Janice, Jimi, or Jim.

Speaking of drug abuse, I stumbled (sorry, (I couldn't resist) onto this picture of Courtney sporting a rather nice bit of ink work on her arm.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Big Sleep

 The Big  Sleep is a bone fide classic everyone who is into movies needs to watch.

Bogart can act and Lauren Bacall is  probably one of the most beautiful women to ever live. Her beauty is timeless. She could walk down the street today and turn heads.

The Phillip Marlowe character reminded me of The Dude in The Big Lebowski. Well, a lot of things reminded me of that movie. General Sternwood and "Big" Lebowski" are both wheelchair-bound men of money. Instead of a wayward daughter, "Big" has a wayward wife. The wayward daughter throws herself and Mr. Marlowe and the wayward wife throws herself at The Dude. Eddie Mars' wife is missing and "Big's" wife is missing. Both Phillip and The Dude get beat up a lot. There's an empty purse and an empty briefcase. Both Phillip and The Dude unravel the case despite the beatings and madness around them.

Call me crazy, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the titles of both movies are so similar.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

There is a house along the way to Canterbury Park, on my way to the Monon Trail, that usually plays music that I like. This guy has it blasting, nicely, out of his garage. Sometimes it's Pink Floyd, sometimes, it's the Stones, sometimes it's something I've never heard before. A couple of weeks ago, I passed by this house and heard this very haunting tune that I had never heard before. I knew I'd run across it at some point; tonight was the night.

I stumbled onto Amy Hanna's blog and read a bit of an interview on this blog. Lo and behold! Before I even clicked to play The Civil Wars video at the bottom of the interview, I knew I'd found the artists I'd heard that day on the way to the Monon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MesrineL Killer Instinct, Cutting Loose, and Detropia

I've had Mesrine: Killer Instinct in my NetFlix queue for a while. I remember hearing about it on NPR several years ago and thinking....File that away. Jacques Mesrine was quite the character: he pulled double bank robberies (hey, there's another bank across the street, let's rob that one too) and he was a master of disguises (hey, someone broke into  your house, we're with part of a team of  police investigating the crime). Vincent Cassel becomes Mesrine. Ahh....this is one of those lovely movies as only the French can create - Characters with depth and attention  to detail (my eyes were all over the place trying to catch all the day to day items in a scene),

 Cutting Loose won Best Matter of Fact - Short Film @ the Indianapolis International Film Festival this year. This film caught my attention in the festival flyer - Convicted murderer and two-time champion Francis defends his title at the Scottish Prison Service Hairstyling Competition - but he's distracted by his upcoming release. This was not a reality show view of someone's life we can't imagine, this is a look at the lives of folks we can quickly identify with.

Detropia won Best Matter of Fact - Feature Film. Detropia is not just a film about the end of  manufacturing jobs in Detroit;  it's about the end of middle class America as we know it. At one point 1.8 million people lived there, now the population is less than 800,000. Hipster artists moving into once luxurious apartments next to abandoned, destroyed neighborhoods gives me cold chills.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Madonna's Pig

  I finally made it to a film @ the Indianapolis International Film Festival last night and saw Madonna's Pig. What a delightful, magical movie! This film is so clever on so many levels. Put this in your NetFlix queue!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hell's Bloody Devils and Brain of Blood

This month's selection for Cult Movie Night @ Gary's -- Hell's Bloody Devils and Brain of Blood. Uh...don't the titles fool you, these are not really horror movies, so they at least get an "E" effort. This was such a fun film to watch riff track. A couple of really nice mustangs, a convertable pony and a silver Fastback (both sporting very stock wheels and tires) made for vintage car eye candy. A shoot out and explosion of an old abandoned car shows up in both of the films. And...yes, those scenes in the trailer really were in the movie.

B-O-R-I-N-G. Too many scenes of folks walking around in a daze, but enough inconsistencies and bad film making to induce commentary from the audience. In a supporting role, Regina Carrol, as the Amir's bimbo wife made Tammy Faye Baker look like Patti Smith (Btw,I really like PS)

The Big Blue and Bringing Up Baby

The Big Blue, directed by Luc Besson, was this month's selection @ Alex's. Staring Jean Reno and Jean-Marc Barr as life long friends who grow up to be competitive free divers. Rosanne Arquette's character is as limp and tastelss as boiled white spaghetti. The combination of under water scenes and camera work gave it a very hypnotic look. The Fiat 500, who seems to have a lot of personality for a car, is seen in quite a bit of the first half of the movie and I count it as an uncredited actor. Even the car gives a better performance than Arquette.

 I watched Bringing Up Baby staring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn @ home. I love the way the dialogue just whizzes by. Everyone is  so dapper and the leopard is so beautiful...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

If you are an artist, this is a must see movie. I love it when I think a movie is going to be good and it turns out to be better than I could have imagined: Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is one of those films. I knew Serge, sang, acted (yawn), but I had no idea he was, or rather wanted to be, an artist. A large portion of this movie covers Serge's life as a disillusioned artist. He carries a sketch book journal with pen, ink, and water color paints. There is a scene where he is messing with a large group of very well worn easels. Who must've painted on those? The movie even offers a glimpse into Salvidor Dali's house; I just squealed with delight! You'll know it when you see it! The director Joann Sfar is an artist and clearly the person to make this fabulous tribute. This goes on my really short of list of best movies I've seen so far in 2012. Warning: scenes from this movie will stick in your mind for days; that's a good thing

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Harder They Come"

It might have been at the beginning of year, can't remember....but when I heard Wes Anderson was ready to release a new movie, I was chomping at the bit; it finally made its way to Indy last month.  Wes took a different creative path with this one. He's utilizing a very muted color palate, like some faded Polaroid photo found in a shoe box, and he's toned down the quirky factor with the characters. MK is not "The Royal Tennenbaums" or "The Darjeeling Limited". Steering away from the art ascpect, Anderson is able to capture that pre-teen innocence in Suzy and Sam. This is not about sex, but about finding someone who "gets" you.  Coming from very different  backgrounds, and against all odds, they have found each other and they're not letting go. It's not a coming of age movie - it's the opposite. It's a movie about staying true to your beliefs and staying young and free.

Gary had a Cult Night Movie during the week and his choice: "The Harder They Come".  I'm a sucker for movie made in the early '70s anyway. I'm always calling out the names of cars, like some kind of Automobile Rainman. Really good story, sound track, and camera work. Just like the characters in "Moonrise Kingdom", Ivanhoe Martin hung on to his dreams, albeit, his story had a different sort of ending.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cult Movie Night @ Gary's - King Kong + The Searchers

Since I hadn't been to a Cult Night @ Gary's in months; it was time to go. He was showing "King Kong" and "The Searchers".

Confession - I actually had never seen either of these films before. For me, "King Kong' stands the test of time. The scenes on the island with Kong fighting any number of pre-historic creatures were very realistic and gruesome; Fay Wray was simply beautiful. For me, Victor Wong as Charlie the Cook stole the show. Playing a stereotypical  Chinese ship's cook, he bestowed wisdom and insight to deaf White-man ears.  It's Charlie who quickly makes the connection between the Islander's bracelet he finds on deck and the whereabouts of Ann. The scenes of Kong on stage in New York looked pretty darn realistic to me too. His escape route through the city left a swath of destruction.  If this had happened in the present day, Carl Denham would've been sued by the City of New York for all the damage caused by Kong.

Movie #2 was "The Searchers". Filmed in VistaVision widescreen, you really get a sense of the vastness of the desert; lovely 50's postcard-like scenes. John Wayne can act. He plays Ethan, a civil war vet, who returns home to his brother's house. There's weird tension between Ethan and his sister-in-law. We joked about Ethan's quasi-flirting with the way-too-attractive Martin character, played by Jeffery Hunter, who interestingly enough, turns out to be the guy who decided not to film an additional pilot of Star Trek after playing Christopher Pike in "The Cage".  Ethan and the men folk respond to a neighbor's call for help when his cattle are stolen; it turned out to be a trap. People are killed, the house is burned, and a couple of the girls are kidnapped by Comanches. We later learn it's a revenge move by Scar. Ethan vows to find Debbie, the only one left to survive and spends the next several years, with the help of Martin, tracking her down.  Maybe there's a reason he won't give up looking for Debbie that had to do with the tension between his sister-in-law earlier?

This is not a Cowboys and Indian movie. I realize that's sort of what the movie poster would have you believe. There are very well developed, believable characters. John Wayne plays an asshole.  My fav character was Mose Harper, played by Hank Worden.

Both movies stand the test of time. Each is a classic in its own right and should be on everyone's Must See Movies Before You Die list.

I brought a hummus/bean dip concoction. I took a can of garbanzos and a can of white cannellini beans. I added tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil and threw it in the food processor. I also added jalapeno sauce for some heat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rest In Peace, Sigmund

Master Sigmund, aka Muncher Man and my baby boy, passed on to the great scratching pad in the sky yesterday. No, he was not named after that famous Austrian neurologist; he was named after this guy:

I miss you, Sig Munch.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mayans Were the First Graphic Artists

After reading a recent article in the New York times about the discovery of a ninth-century-workshop of Mayan scribes in Guatemala,  I realized these guys were the original graphic artists; beautiful, simple, powerful line work. Please note: The National Geographic Society, which supported the excavations, will describe the research in the June issue of its magazine.

I think it's funny that they have to mention, "Rest assured, however, that nothing written on those walls foretells the world coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, as some have feared through a misinterpretation of the Maya Long Count calendar." HAHA! Like they'd have the guys in mural painting bootcamp  practicing that. 

The article also mentions The Horse's Mouth, an odd movie staring Alex Guinness who plays what appears to be a rather bawdy artist who finds a wall that yearns to be painted on; I've added it to my Netflix queue.

Like a bunch of guys in the 70's, my brother had a Mayan calendar belt buckle in high school. I found it a few months ago while going through a junk drawer. Apparently you can buy these things new from Amazon. Who knew?

And...funny enough...I've already been invited to a "We'll All Go Together When We Go" movie night @ Joe and Brian's on December 21 to celebrate the Mayan calendar end of the world. I voted that we watch Apocalypto.  Prediction - Mayan wear - all things Mayan - will pick up steam as we approach that date.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stutz Artist Annual Open House

This past weekend was The Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House.  It's always a treat to navigate your way around the enormous Stutz Building. That little van is adorable!

Not really a good photo, but it sort of captures what Open House must mean for these folks. The guy in this studio created photographs of these vintage doll heads on black backgrounds. You can see the heads on the back shelf. The window above displays the warehouse look that is Stutz. Flowers and drinks in front signal guests are coming for Open House.

This was taken in a jewelry studio, but the cat stole the show.

My favorite piece, Pink Moon,  by Adam Collier Noel. It appears to be a mixed media/image transfer of some sorts. I've always been fascinated by image transfers; they seem so magical. I found his Etsy shop of prints.

 Photo taken right outside of Lydia Burris' studio.  I remember seeing her mother's work over the years and just wishing I could do that.  Her mother Catherine Burris was a painter and assemblage artist, among other things. I didn't realize she'd passed away until this morning. I remember going to an art show at the Columbus Commons and actually getting to see Catherine's work up close. Her husband, and I realize now a young girl who must've been Lydia, were watching over Catherine's pieces. I stopped by to comment how beautiful I thought Catherine's was. The husband told me that, "Some people think it is scary and some people think it is beautiful."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Friday April - Chimaera's Attic

Finally getting around to posting pix from First Friday. I hung out exclusively in the Fountain Square area, primarily the old Murphy Building, for Chimaera's Attic. You can see Maryanne Nguyen's "Gold Chained Hearts vs. Pearls" on the left in the picture above. The long white object is actually a very intricate paper cutting by Jacqueline Picardo. The never ending construction (over a year now) was never ending. I was disappointed to see that part of the construction involved replacing the grungy, worse for wear side walks with spiffy new Mall of America/Tourista looking side walks. Ugh. That well worn-ness is the attraction of Fountain Square.

This is a view to the street from a second floor glassless window.

The Old Murphy Building is a smelly creaky affair. Maryanne Nguyen has a cosy studio in the corner. I recognized her white collar worker animals from her Etsy shop. That's also her work on the left in the first picture.

It's the juxtaposition of art and decrepit building that gives the Murphy Art Building its appeal. Painting above by Stacy Novak.

I really liked this guy's hoody. I couldn't tell you what he looked like from the front. He may have had a third eye for all I know. My eyes kept going to the back of this jacket. The picture does not do it justice. It's a vibrant pink silk screen with a lot of detail on a cool black hoody.

These guys had pretty much setup camp in the corner.

Trying to capture the griminess that makes the Murphy Building rock.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Movie Night @ Alex's

Two Czech films this month @ Alex's - "Little Otik" and "Lunacy". Based on the folktale "Otesánek" by K J Erben, "Little Otik" is the the story of a childless couple, Karel and Božena, who "adopt" a tree stump baby and descend into baby madness when it comes to life. The couple cannot conceive and the husband sees babies everywhere. In fact, when they buy a little cottage in the country, the husband begins to clear out the trees, he takes a root and jokingly carves it into a baby to present to his wife. This joke backfires, as the wife immediately starts playing mommy and baby. Things spiral out of control when Little Otik comes to life. The neighbor girl, Alzbetka (Kristina Adamcova) figures out early on that everything is not as seems with the couple. Her character is the one stable person in this very indulgent, adult-baby world, but even she slurps her eggs and succumbs to Otik's needs.

Everyone wants everything right now. Božena decides to fake her own pregnancy, but can't wait the full 9 months. Alzbetka becomes sympothetic to Otik after he is locked in the basement for killing and eating the cat, the postman, and a social worker. This reminded me of the Night Gallery episode "Brenda". (I just loved that series as a kid, btw)

One of my fav reoccurring scenes were the ones with Alzbetka's dad on the couch after work drinking booze and watching commercials; he was clearly hypnotized by the media blitz. There was this constant mouth/food/slurp theme throughout the movie.

Here is a painting by Ana Bagayan titled "Little Otik".

It turns out there is also a restaurant in East Berlin called Little Otik.

The next film, Lunacy:

Pavel Liska plays Jean Berlot, a young, but mad lad, returning from his mother's funeral. He hooks up with the Marquis de Sade (Jan Triska) during one of his bad dream episodes while staying at an inn in the country and proceeds to go about the country side in a carriage. Jean is doomed from the start; his very cadaverous skin tones foretell that things will probably not end up well for him. They soon arrive at an asylum where the inmates and keepers have switched places. It seems the staff have been tarred and feathers and imprisoned in the basement. Charlotte played by Anna Geislerova, who is both beautiful and mad, convinces Jean to help free the captive staff members.

I loved the fog, overall dampness, and the dancing meat segments. Yes - I said dancing meat segments. Between each scene section we were treated to a piece of stop motion raw meat madness and calliope music. I can still here that music in my head. I kept glancing over my shoulder as I walked veeeery slooooowly past the meat counter this morning at the grocery store.