Sunday, August 29, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Smells like fish . . .
Kelly Brook in Piranha 3D
Mrs. Flickhead says the youngest munchkin she saw was about five or six. One of the clans parked their sorry carcasses in the row behind us. Tee hee! I thought. This should be good!
Wife to husband: You know this is rated R.
Him to her: Yeah, yeah... Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.
Their frikkin’ kids started bugging out during the trailers — even they were rated R, with tits, blood, torture, the works. FYI, Resident Evil/Milla Jovovich junkie that I am, I can’t wait for the new one in the series due in a few weeks — also in 3D!!
Ten minutes into Piranha 3D, total carnage. Fifteen minutes in, tits, thongs, hineys firm enough to bounce a quarter on, total Girls Gone Wild shenanigans, resplendent with the sixty-mile-an-hour zinger. Kelly Brook and porn actress Riley Steele engage in an erotic underwater ballet that sent my jaw crashing to the floor. Then, blood, body parts... ‘star’ Richard Dreyfuss — as Matt Hooper, the character he played in Jaws! — buys the farm in the first five minutes! Better duck: a fairly hefty dismembered penis floats at you in 3D!! No fan of contemporary horror, the missus was about to toss her cookies when one girl’s hair got caught up in a boat propeller, sucking the flesh of her face right off the bone of her skull.
I sat either laughing or stunned for ninety minutes, thinking how far greater it would be on a head full of weed. I give it a thumb’s up — it’s classic exploitation fodder, not far removed from the crap that came out of New World Pictures in the 1970s — only with amped technology, boobage and grue. But I couldn’t imagine sitting through more than ten minutes of it in 2D. And it ain’t for kids. Not unless they’re carving swastikas in their foreheads or drowning kittens. One of the tykes in back of us wanted to leave after forty-five minutes, but dad was way too engulfed in the parade of surgically-enhanced female flesh. Can’t say that I blame him.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
On the beach with Ava Gardner
Via Fuck Yeah Ava Garder. Click image to enlarge.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
The time you ran was too insane
It played the festival circuit and PBS-TV’s American Masters before debuting on DVD and Blu-ray, which offer supplemental interviews with Morrison’s sister and father. As the documentary avoids the cliché talking head cross talk with those who were there — given their absence in the credits, existing Doors band members Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore may have had no involvement with the production outside of providing memorabilia — the brief home video bonus features shine the brightest. Especially the father, a retired military officer who belatedly accepted Jim Morrison’s art, albeit through clenched teeth. No one bothers asking him for his bead on Morrison’s “The End,” which includes the line, “Father? Yes, son? I want to kill you. Mother? Yes son? I want to fuck you.”
Johnny Depp narrates, charting The Doors’ meteoric rise from Whiskey A Go Go bar band to chart-topping stardom, but his script, credited to director Tom DiCillo, doesn’t bother to probe their creative process or talent as musicians and songwriters. It feels safe and conventional, tailored to fit a predetermined running time. Which is, in its way, the antithesis of The Doors as both a rock act and, for lack of a better term, performance artists. Morrison’s alcoholism and drug addiction destroyed him, but before his death at the age of twenty-seven, his demons surfaced onstage to bewilder, anger and fascinate all who were present, including the cops working security. Likewise, the intricacies and qualities of his and Krieger’s songwriting are barely addressed at all. (It was Krieger who wrote their biggest hit, “Light My Fire.”)
Which isn’t to say When You’re Strange is a total loss. Indeed, far from it. There’s a jubilant enthusiasm in the profiling of an era, chockablock with eye-popping footage of a time and place seemingly beyond anything that could ever happen again. The ‘60s youth movement threatened to be this country’s biggest upheaval since the Civil War, cut short by violent police action and rampant drug use. Director DiCillo tries to pack way too much of it into 86 minutes, but what he’s put on the screen makes one wish it were three times longer.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Gold: Before Woodstock. Beyond Reality.
A film by Bob Levis and Bill Desloge. With Del Close, Garry Goodrow, Caroline Parr, Sam Ridge, Orville Schell, Dorothy Schmidt. 89 minutes. Filmed in 1968, released in 1972.
Available on DVD from See Of Sound
Visit the Official Website
DVD review by Albert Schweitzer
Made in 1968, Gold was mostly forgotten for the better part of forty years, and barely seen at all. It was not released until 1972 and then only in England. Its U.S. “premiere” wasn't until 1996. Now in 2010 it’s available on DVD, the only feature film credited to director Bob Levis.
Del Close in particular has become something of a legend. Prior to his death in 1999 he had established himself as the chief influence and mentor of Chicago-based improvisational comedy, including most of the original Saturday Night Live cast as well as subsequent members of SNL. Essentially all American improv leads back to Del Close and his name is uttered reverentially by its best known practitioners. Despite his reputation, Close’s filmography is a curiosity. It’s not terribly long and is filled with small, forgettable roles. But the bit parts are in high profile pictures like Lucas’s American Graffiti, Michael Mann’s Thief, Paul Schrader’s Light of Day, De Palma’s The Untouchables, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and several off-beat B movies like Larry Hagman’s Beware! The Blob! He also appeared in Philip Kaufman’s first film, the 1965 Goldstein. It’s a meager filmography with nearly all appearances in films by major directors. Gold is, it seems, the only film in which he has more than a bit part. A lifelong drug and alcohol problem seems to have been the limiting factor in his career, though he spent the early 1980s employed as “acting coach” at Saturday Night Live.
Goodrow is less known but has been far more visible, with a filmography that runs from the 1960s (The Connection, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) through the ‘70s (Slither, Stay Hungry, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), ‘80s (Eating Raoul and tons of TV) and mondo beyondo (he played Adolf von Luftwaffer in Linda Lovelace for President). He was one of the leading lights of the Committee, a counter-culture improv group that appeared on the Smothers Brothers Show, The Dick Cavett Show and other more adventurous TV programs of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
Taken on its own 1968 terms, Gold is fairly tough sledding because so much of it meanders like someone on acid. But Close and, especially, Goodrow are pros who manage an occasional moment of inspiration. It helps to watch while listening to the bonus track, with Levis and Goodrow reminiscing — though Levis seems intent on claiming all kinds of innovation in the film, from nude hippies immersing themselves in mud (“Mud people!” exclaims Levis, “a year and a half before Woodstock!”) to solarized images (“We did it first!” followed by Goodrow’s wet blanket, “Well, no, Man Ray did it back in the ‘20s.”)
The film contains relatively graphic nudity and sex for the period (tamer than HBO is today) and Levis mentions that he tried to sell the film to a nudie distributor. He was turned down because he was told it was the “wrong genre.” In fact, the film would fit no genre until Easy Rider popularized the Hippie movie — a genre which lasted only about three years. But it was long enough for Gold’s British co-producer to finally get it a limited release in the UK.
Much is made of the fact that some of the songs are by the MC5. And Ramblin’ Jack Elliot makes an appearance (as does a silent Dan Hicks as an extra). But the rest of the soundtrack includes mostly forgotten names like David McWilliams, Barry St. John and a group named Beastly Times. The film also shows many attractive young women that the filmmakers say they wish they could find now. With so many forgotten faces and names, the lasting legacy of Gold is that it unintentionally captured a world that seemed eternal at the time but which is now as lost and far away as the world in Flaherty’s Nanook of the North.