Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Well 2016 is behind us, and baby 2017 has shown up in clean diapers.  Looking back it was a pretty good year at least art-wise, which is what I pay more attention to anyway.  I really didn't pick up much music from this past year.  I'm sure I bought some albums, but I can't think of anything from  2016.  I'm sure I'd like the new Radiohead album, and perhaps David Bowie's last album.  I always bought Bowie's albums in the past, but the last one I bought was on vinyl, which was the Tonight album.  It had the FM radio hit on it Blue Jean, and he had many albums after that, so I rather moved on to other music and genre after it.  But I collected just about everything up until then.  I think Black Star would be a good album to own, if not a bit depressing now that he's gone.

I've spent more time this year just listen to the radio.  One of my main stops is over at: accuradio.com  They have many different genre there to choose from: country, rock, indie, jazz, classical, electronic, whatever.  You're sure to find something.  I usually tune in over there to either jazz or some of the more mellow, New Age, ambient music.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year can be depressing times if you're alone that's why if you have family be happy that they are still around.  When my parents were alive I always enjoyed when I could be with them over Thanksgiving or Christmas.  There were a few times though when that was not possible with the job I had.  They gave us the day before the holiday, the holiday itself, and after, but if that happen to fall on the weekend, and you had the weekend off, you really didn't get any extra time off.  You had to work those days before and after, or you'd miss out on the holiday pay--Catch 22.  So when my family moved to East Texas seven hours away, that meant a day of driving down, and a day of driving back, which meant I spent one day with them.  We are really a workaholic nation.

Now there was a time when I first started working that you could fudge that a bit, and I did take advantage of it some, some might accuse me of more than some.  You could layoff an extra day before or after, but I noticed when Reagan got in power, that soon ended.  It seemed that corporate American got the upper hand and tighten the belt, and it was either suck it up and conform, or find some other line of work.  A lot of people don't recognize that change in America, particularly younger people that never lived through that era.  Where I worked (the railroad) they wanted to tighten their employment to the bare minimum, with just enough extra guys to cover a vacancy here and there for a couple of days of sickness or emergencies of some type, but they wanted you back to work pdq.  They wanted you to work longer hours as well. 

I also noticed that it was around this time that corporate American gradually started to fade out retirements for workers that had put in most of their lifetimes for a company.  Remember in movies where someone would retire and get a gold watch for being an elevator operator in a skyscraper for many years and there would be a party with co-workers wondering and asking him what he planned on doing with his life?   He might say in an aw-shucks manner, I dunno, maybe I'll go fishing more, travel a bit, or work more in the garage.  Something homey.  Those days are long gone, never existed, or existed only in movies, ha.  But at least there was a time where more companies offered retirement.  I guess I'm reminiscing.   I guess as my generation dies off, the next generation will reminisce about their first Apple computer or Nintendo gaming system.  Heck,  we are already there now!

At any rate, I digress, I've not seen the new Star Wars movie either.   I should plan on going to see this over the weekend as they are forecasting a bunch of rain later here, which is why I haven't been out to see it already. 

I watched the movie, The Nice Guys, which I did not enjoy.  I don't know why so many people enjoyed it.   It's sort of a buddy picture and a nostalgic romp through the 70s years, but even that didn't do much for me.  I found the comedy boring and vular and not to my taste.  But hey, you might enjoy it, many others have.
I did enjoy Hell or High Water.  It was a modern take on westerns with local bank robbers robbing the man, in this case small town banks, to pay off their small homestead.  It's a low key western with good characterization, dialogue, and nicely shot.  It supposedly takes place around parts of Texas which I enjoyed, however, I don't know if it was actually shot in Texas or not.  It certainly looked like it was with the exception of one scene where they are driving up toward the Lubbock area, which is flat as a board, and they sort of enter this mountainous area.  I question that location, but who knows?   Some have found the ending not to their liking, but it didn't bother me.
Both of the movies, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Girl Who Played with Fire, are pretty much kicked ass, I thought.  They are Swedish films adapted from the trilogy of books of the same name, the third being The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was also adapted into an American movie as well with Daniel Craig in one of the starring roles.  Both are mysteries, the first one deals with a journalist hired by a wealthy donor to find his niece that disappeared many years ago. Michael Nyovist plays the journalist, and Noomi Rapace is a computer hacker whom meets up with Nyovist's character about midway through the film.  The second movie, The Girl Who Played with Fire, deals with a sex ring among some other plots.  I think it's best to go into these movies cold for better impact.  They are suspenseful and at times edgy, but if you enjoy that type thing, they're great.
I can see why The Neon Demon would be such a polarizing film to a lot of people.  I enjoyed it myself.  The imagery in it was really good, and it's more or less an art film or what they used to call an art film.  It's been noted as a horror movie, and I think you can go with it in that way or you can sort it out however you want to.  It's filled with metaphors and such, but that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it--it's not so easy to digest or pigeonhole.  It's mostly though about the fashion industry in LA, and Elle Fanning plays an under age ingenue trying to break into acting or modeling.  Pretty good movie.
San Andreas is definitely a guilt pleasure type film.  I wouldn't say it's bad as I did watch the entire thing, whereas I couldn't make it through The Nice Guys.  Having said that though, it is a over-the-top blockbuster popcorn movie.  It's rather ridiculous and has many scenes in it that induces eyerolling, but hey if you are just wanting to watch a big dumb, action flick it works on that level.   I imagine had I have seen this when I was around eighteen I probably would have enjoyed it all the more.

Here's a Woody Allen book review on a graphic novel, Mary Astor's The Purple Diary:  The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936.  
I've been reading Lee Child's first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor.  I enjoyed the first feature film so much starring Tom Cruise that I was curious about the character.  Killing Floor was not adapted into the first movie, which is a plus for me.  It starts out after Reacher has just gotten out of the military, and is just traveling around the country.  He stops off in a small town in Georgia for coffee and to find out more about the blues musician, Blind Blake on a whim.  While at the diner enjoying his coffee he is arrested for suspicion of murder.  It is tough guy fiction, and sort of pulpy, but I like the way Child writes, which is easy to read, and it moves quickly. 







Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fake

L. Ron Hubbard was a Sci-Fi author, but most probably know him as the scam artist that invented Dianetics or Scientology.  Who hasn't been to a used bookstore and run across his little tome called Dianetics, which shows the volcano blowing up?  I'm old enough to remember the commercials on TV that hawked for new members to come and check out the new way to improve your life.  Even I was gullible enough to pick up the book and thumb through it just out of curiosity.   Heck, I probably might have even gone to one of the "churches" or whatever they're called just out of curiosity alone.  That's probably how they first bait someone, or try and coerce new members.  Glad I never did it after hearing some of the horror stories.

I had a friend that lived in Austin back in the 70s who did just that.  He went to the (I hate to legitimize them by calling it a religion or church) I'll call it a campus, and checked into what all it was about.   In Austin at one time, they had a big building right on the main drag across from the University of Texas to lure college students into their bogus religion.  That tells you how much money they had at one time (and still do, if not more) as real estate across the street from a major university isn't cheap.  So anyway, out of curiosity he visited for a while.  He related to me and my friend it wasn't for him, so he tried to leave, and even back then he said he got a lot of harassment in trying to do so.

People from Scientology would come by and bother him about coming back just to visit some more.  He never said why he left per se, but I imagine once they sprung on him the money angle to start buying into some of the books and all that, being a poor college student, he said, no way.

The lure for many was the promise of an eternity of spiritual enlightenment. Many young people from that era wanted to save the world or were searching for enlightenment and were among the first to fall victim to this cult. There are many layers of brainwashing going on - reincarnation and isolation from the outside world via the naming of a common enemy (in this case, psychiatry). The real deep, mostly little known story behind scientology is the intended genocide of all non-scientologists. L Ron Hubbard was really a psychotic malignant narcissist.

Another friend told me that there is a connection between Hubbard's thinking and the Eugenics Society (which inspired Hitler, btw) of the early 20th century. This has been whitewashed out of ALL American History textbooks.  Read here:  https://scientologymoneyproject.com/...y-is-genocide/

 Since the death of Hubbard, it was taken over by one of his underlings, David Miscavage.  He changed some of the aspects of scientology, and now it is an even bigger money making machine than ever.  This past week I have been watching the special on the A & E network with Leah Remini on her dealings with leaving the cult. She was indoctrinated into it as a child.  That's the sad part about it.  Many are introduced to it at an early age before they really have any choice on the matter by their parents.  Once that's done it's even harder to get out.

 British documentary maker Louis Theroux made a movie on Scientology last year, it is typically light-touch but does expose their bizarre and controlling methods. It's an interesting and diverting watch if it ever pops up on your networks.

The newest episode to the Leah Remini series comes on Tuesday.  They also rebroadcasted some of the other episodes this past Tuesday, so I got caught up.  It was very interesting as to how some of the influence, cognitive dissonance, thought stopping, brainwashing, etc. went on. All very powerful and very real. Not only that but they scam the IRS for a tax exemption.  For those who are interested, go here for a daily dose of what's behind the curtain of the most destructive cult in America, if not the world:  http://tonyortega.org/

Monday, December 12, 2016

Radio Garden

I'm posting this as I ran across it today while surfing the web and now I'm listening to a radio station up in New Brunswick, NJ at Rugers University.  Pretty cool, huh?  It's at WRSU.Rutgers.edu so my guess is that it is the college station up there.  On of the down side it does not have a way to find out who or what music is play as you listen.  That is to say it doesn't list the current songs playing with text or who is playing at the moment or during the past half hour or whatever.

Okay, the station at Rutgers just played "So What" by Miles Davis, the disc jockey just announced that, so at least some djs will tell you who just played, others don't.  Still if you are into casual listening, it's great, and it goes all over the world.  You just have this little turnstile type map, and you just move it with your mouse, and you can go all over the globe.  It would help too if the map was a little easier to read or had some lines around it like a regular globe sort of like they had in school.  I'm a music lover so it's a cool little site.  Here's a link so you can check it out yourself.

Another feature that would be a nice addition would be a way to bookmark some of your favorite station finds.  For example if I wanted to bookmark that Rutgers station there would be a way to do that, but so far there isn't.  I'm guessing this is Radio Garden (as it is called) is new, so it's in its infancy.  Hopefully they'll add new features and stuff to it over time.  But yeah, a book marker would be great.  I like this station at Rugers though, they play a broad range of music.
There's another site on the web that I've found to my liking as I like jazz, but they also have other genre over there as well.  You can find it at: accuradio.com   I've been listening to their avant garde radio and there's one for ECM jazz, which is sort of a moody type jazz, which lately has mirrored the winter type weather here lately, although ECM jazz can be diverse too at times.  I tend to think of it as being reflective in nature though.  At any rate, if you enjoy music give them a try too.  It's one of my go-to spots when in the mood for music. 






Friday, December 02, 2016

Pauline Oliveros RIP

Pauline Oliveros (May 30, 1932 – November 25, 2016) passed away in November.  She was one of the early musicians that experimented with electronic music, along with musical concrete--a way to combine music, snippets of sound, found sound of machinery or whatever else and snip up tape to create an aural sound composition.

Pauline Oliveros Women Early Gurus of Electronic Music. Central figure in the development of experimental and post-war electronic art music.
* Extract from An interview with Pauline Oliveros
By Alan Baker, American Public Media, January 2003

Let's talk a little bit about… or maybe you can just tell me about your arrival in California and what eventually led you to electronics.

Well, I arrived in California in 1952. I had my accordion and $300. I supported myself with a day job for about 9 months, and then I began to get a string of accordion students. I went back to school at San Francisco State where I met Terry Riley, Lauren Rush and Stuart Dempster. We've been friends since then, and still work together in one way or another. When I arrived there I didn't know anyone, and I had to make my own way. I began to play my accordion at casual engagements, and so on. Eventually, through going to school at San Francisco State College, I met Robert Erickson who became my mentor and teacher for 6 or 7 years. I met, as I said before, my friends, and I became connected with a kind of group of people who were interested in new music. This eventually led to the founding of the San Francisco Tape Music Center with Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, which was transferred after several years to Mills College and became the Center for Contemporary Music. It is still there as that today. So that's a brief nutshell history of my arrival in San Francisco.

Below is a lecture she is giving much later in life on music and deep listening:
From a site:  Pauline Oliveros is one of modern music's most important figures, precisely because her work transcends music itself. While many people have heard of her contemporaries like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, Oliveros' five decades of work is so wide-reaching that popular culture has barely kept up. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the '60s, and devised a musical concept called Deep Listening, which stemmed from a trip into a giant underground cistern with a 45-second reverb. Those echoes led to an exploration of the difference between hearing and listening and a pursuit of a heightened state of awareness in sound. Oliveros' ideas have inspired not only musicians and music fans but scientists, philosophers and everyday people to think about the link that listening builds between us and our surroundings. So while recordings like Crone Music and Deep Listening are heralded by experimental music and drone heads alike, Oliveros is equally acclaimed for devising instruments for disabled people and teaching students with no formal music training to improvise together.

John Cage was a fan and so is Rabih Beaini, AKA Morphosis, who recently released Fire Above Sky Below Now on his label Morphine, exposing Oliveros to yet another audience of potential converts. She's now 84 years old and still performs and educates around the globe, and when she spoke to Mark Smith at CTM Festival in Berlin, she gave an insight into the mind of woman whose creative impact is still reverberating.

Go here to hear a 45 minute piece by her.  There are also recordings on Youtube that are quite arresting and beautiful.

Here is a live concert that they shot on film of one of her performances with some other musicians.







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Arabella of Mars

Arabella of Mars sounds like the type book I'd enjoy, and also the type book Hollywood would want to option for a movie.  It also reminds me of something akin what anime craftsman, Hayao Miyazaki, might have created.  I wish I could speed read about five times or more at the level I presently read at as there are far too many books I'll never get around to reading for various reasons.  I have a fantasy invention: What if scientist invented a chip you could install someway that activates the brain, and you could just skim books like those speedy readers of older television ads, you know the guys that just skim with their fingers down a page, and flip the page.  It looks like they could finish off a novel in a couple of hours--the time taken to flip thru each page.   There used to be a fashionable course or method to that some years back promoted by Evelyn Wood.  You don't hear much about that these days.

Anyway, I have too many distractions to be a very in depth reader.   Below though I'll post a link to an interview with the author David D. Levine.  He talks a bit about the craft of writing.  In it he says his approach to writing is to write clean.  In other words, he sort of proofreads and keeps his errors and such updated and to a minimum before moving too far along.  I think that would be the way I'd probably go about it, and might be the standardization for many other writers.  Just seems natural, to proofread your work before you move too far along on unless your story and ideas are just too immediate that they just compel one to manically get it all down.  And if all that inspiration or chunk of the story is coming to you so fast and furious, you'd probably be better off just outlining it, then go back and begin writing.   With writing like a lot of the arts, there are several ways to go about the craft.  I find that is true to some degree with creating visual art, photography, writing poems, songs, etc.  They sort of come in stages (or at least to me they do).  They first appear as ideas, I jot them down on paper to capture the initial idea, then try and produce some sort of rough cut.  Then you have to shape and work that into something.  I, unfortunately, can't say that anything has ever come to me fully formed, although I've heard artist claim that that does happen to them ie. Neil Young says that is the case for him, and maybe Paul Simon.  It must be wonderful to be so talented and have that gift.

At any rate, here's a review of what Arabella of Mars is about, and below that is the interview with the author.






Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Alien Interview Audio Book

Halloween is upon us, and I've been enjoying the change in the weather.  However lately, I've gotten some aches and pains, and I don't know if that just a part of older age, arthritis or what?   I've had occasionally bouts of arthritis when there would be certain changes in the weather, but whenever they've happened in the past they didn't stay long.  However I'd had this pain in my foot and hand that has lingered lately, and it's troublesome to a degree.

With Halloween  I've watched my fair share of horror movies.   Really more this time around than previous years.  Some have been good, but most really have been middling to fair, but there were several I was curious about so it has been fun to watch them.

I'm probably not going to remember every one of them, but a brief rundown would look like this:
 Annabelle--I caught this one this past Friday.  It got a lot of negative reviews, and there have been a lot of possessed doll stories in the past or so I read.  It is also a prequel (sort of) to the film The Conjuring, which I enjoyed, and I look forward to seeing the sequel, Conjuring 2 as well.  I enjoyed Annabelle to some degree.  There are a few scenes that I thought could go one way or the other, like  a scene in which the mother gets fed up and tries to smash the Annabelle doll.  It all involves these neighbors that are in cult that lived next door to the main couple and they've summoned up a demon that is within the doll.  Your mileage may vary, but I enjoyed it on some level.
Dawn of the Dead--by George Romero, is the sequel to the original Night of the Living Dead.  I've got it on DVD, but was eating supper and tired last night, and decided to re-watch it as it was somewhere in the middle of the airing of it.  It's the one where the survivors are taking cover in a shopping mall.  Some cheesy acting, and the zombies have this blueish greasy-paint effect, but it's still fun.
The Black Swan really surprised me.  I'm not too much of a ballet fan, but the way it was shot, the acting, the sets, the production, and story pulled me in.  In a broader sense, I guess you could call this horror, either way, it's a good film.   It reminded me of something like Dario Argento's Suspiria, both having ballet themes, and there's a bit of body horror in it as well, like David Cronenberg is known for.
The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, I'd seen before many times, but it's one of those films I can revisit and still be entertained by it.  Tippi Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette are beautiful, but also have good roles and although you'd think since both had feelings for the same man, played by Rod Taylor there would be some kind of flair up, but Hitchcock subtly creates tension there, but doesn't have a full blown confrontation over it.  There is one scene in it that I had not became aware of, and I need to Google it or re-watch the film (again), as there was a death scene with one of the secondary characters toward the end.   Spoilers:  I'm not sure if that was the character played by Pleshette or another character, but it happens towards the ending when they stop at a house and pick up one of the little girls.  That's the thing about classics, they are worth watching multiple times, and you can sometimes glean something from them later.
Session 9 I'd heard about, and finally got around to watching.   An asbestos clean-up crew low bids on cleaning up the asbestos in an old abandoned mental asylum.  They are chosen as they low bid the job, but also they can get it done within a shortened amount of time.  The dynamics of the crew are shown.  One of the crew is dating an ex-girlfriend of one of the other guys in the crew, and there's friction there. Some get along well, while others tolerate each other.  The days tick by, and things start to unravel, and fray with in group.   While working in the asylum one of the men find a recorded taped session (nine sessions) with a inmate, Mary Hobbes,  that has a multiple personality disorder.   In his down time, he starts to listen to these tapes.  It's a pretty convoluted film, not totally satisfying for me, but was worth the watch. 

I've seen other films this season.  Halloween by John Carpenter generally airs here in the states.
I saw at least parts of the original film, along with II, III, and IV.  Halloween III is the only one that doesn't have Michael Myers in it, and perhaps one of the better sequels.  The original is a classic, but boy it does have some cringe-worthy acting in it.  Sequel II is okay, and brings back Jamie Lee Curtis.  III just goes off on it's own tangent, and was sort of about a novelty shop owner, and witchcraft.  IV is mostly about a little girl and Myers wanting to kill her.  Surprising for the ages of the little girl and the young woman playing her foster sister, they act pretty well.

I ran across this audio book on YT about aliens.  If you are a conspiracy fan or Roswell fan, you might enjoy it.   I'm not particularly diehard about either subject.  I tend to think along the same lines that Carl Sagan does about that whole incident--there really hasn't been shown any hard evidence on the matter to analyze.  That said, however, I don't discount that perhaps life might exist out there somewhere. It's called Planet X: check it out here. 









Monday, October 17, 2016

Art Geek Monday

I've been busying myself lately with making art work.  There's an art show coming up at the end of the week, and if I'm going enter I need to get something officially together as the deadline is Friday.  I think it's doable.  It's just a matter of what I decide to enter.  You can enter three pieces, and then they get judged by a panel from the gallery. 

I'm a bit indifferent to it all, but most of the time I enjoy the experience.  The above art is by me (a photo).  The theme of the show is called, Glassy and Glossy.  Yes, it's vague theme as most are, but it allows one to brainstorm and fit some kind of art into that subject.  It went on to say something like be as creative as you like and try to meet both criteria.   That's a bit hard as in my mind they are so closely related (somewhat), but I think the above work applies.  I'm still putting a few things together. 

I was surprised with the last showing that I entered.  I entered three pieces of art, all photos, one which had been digitally altered.  They chose two of them for the show.  Well, I attended the opening and looked around to see what everyone else had entered.   Tyler is a fairly small-ish town, but don't undersell the artist here.  There are quite a few, and most are very good.   Anyway, when I went to go pick up my artwork on the day of closing, I was told one of my pieces had sold.  Surprised the heck outta me.   So that made my day.  I asked who had bought it, and I didn't know the buyer.  So that made me feel even better because the patron, being a stranger just found the art work pleasing in and of itself without having any other familiarity.   So yay me.


Speaking of art and nerdy stuff, I ran into this interview with SF artist Vincent Di Fate over at the Omni magazine site.  If you are into that sort of thing, you can read about it.  

While over at the Omni site, there is another interview with SF artist, Jim Burns.  I love how both artist can tell a story more or less without any words, just from looking at their subject matter.  You can find that interview here. 

While on the topic of geekdom.  There's a guy over at Youtube I enjoy listening too, Steve Donoghue.  He's an older gentleman that I found while perusing their book Vlog videos.  I'll admit I'm not a voracious reader, but I admire those who are.  Plus I'm always interested to know what someone is reading at the moment and what sort of things they are interested in whether it be books, comics, music, TV shows, movies or what have you.   Well Steve does just that in the below video.  Like a lot of us, his favorite TV shows, comics, TV series, and so forth are informed and inspired by his childhood and early years. Those things that energized and excited us when we were younger in life (and really still do to this day).  I guess that's normal.   Either way, check it out. 







Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hey Kids Comics & Crime

Halloween is just around the corner, and I've been in full mode by enjoying some horror movies lately and such.  I picked up Ed Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser's comic, Kill or Be Killed the other day.  It deals with supernatural horror, or does it?  The jury is still out because when reading it one is left with the questions:  Is there something supernatural going on here, or is it all in the main character's head?  I guess we might or might not find out conclusively, but for now, the first issue is just out so it has only started. 

Brubaker wrote another comic series not long back called Fatale which also dealt with supernatural horror in a H P Lovecraft vein.  He mixes up the genres with noir crime, the mob, and monsters.  Overall it worked pretty well.  He's one of those writers that has the ability to pique my interest.  I don't know if it's the topics he writes about or the way he writes, but his projects generally interest me.

If you enjoy that sort of thing or if you're an Ed Brubaker fan, I ran across a great little article on him from the folks over at A. V. Club.  Brubaker also talks about the new Sci Fi series, Westworld.  I've not been able to see any of that series yet, as I don't subscribe to the network, but if it turns out well, I'm sure I'll watch it when time allows.  I certainly enjoyed the original movie, Westworld, and the follow up movie,  Futureworld.   Here's a link to the Brubaker  article.  

While on the topic of crime, I saw a good crime noir movie last night called The Lineup starring Eli Wallach, who played the part of a crazy pschopath, Robert Keith as his older accomplice, and Warner Anderson  as Lt. Ben Guthrie.  The story was basically about a criminals trying to smuggle heroin  into the US by way of using innocent victims in their ploy.   Evidently the film was taken from a TV series that came before it, but I had no knowledge about that series.  Evidently a later TV series, Dragnet, was also modeled off  The Lineup TV show.  I basically rented the film as it was an early effort directed by Don Siegel who has done other crime movies like the first Dirty Harry film, The Killers, Charley Varrick, and many other noteworthy films.

The movie itself was made in the late 50s, but don't let the date distract you from watching this classic film.   Also worth noting is that it's shot in the San Fransisco area, so you see many of the sites around that area many of which are gone now.  It's an area that Siegel would revisit again when he made his more famous film, Dirty Harry. 

So I watched The Lineup last night, and as I watched it, I recalled I'd seen bits of it before on the TCM channel.  I just didn't know what I was watching at the time as I had tuned into late before the opening credits ran.  If you rent the DVD don't overlook the bonus features.  I generally don't mess with bonus or special features, but in this case I checked them out and was surprised that Eddie Muller, a crime aficionado, and James Ellroy, a crime novelist did a commentary track on the bonus features.   If you happen to rent the movie, don't overlook those bonus features as it added a lot for the appreciation of the movie, the town of San Francisco, which is where Muller grew up, and there's a lot of humor and banter between the two gentlemen. 






Sunday, October 09, 2016

Star Wars: And Yet Another Sequel

Unless you live under a rock somewhere on Altair IV, you know there's a Star Wars movie slated for the end of the year.  I'm as big a Star Wars geek as the next Storm Trooper walking around Comic Con, so I know, unless it's a huge critical bomb, I'll be warming a slightly worn stadium seat with my trusty buttered popcorn in hand when it arrives.  I enjoyed Star Wars: A Force Awakens, and I think it helped reboot a franchise that I think even some of the diehard fans felt was needed. 

I read somewhere that it was these  blockbusters like the Marvel films, the endless Fast and Furious movies, the action films, or what-have-you, that keep the money flowing so that Hollywood can occasional make the smaller or less known films.  So I guess it's all good in the end, unless you're like me at times, and you sort of get fed up with them after a while--haters gotta hate syndrome.   But I know in the end, that's what they are, and two, I like some of those films as well.   I'm not a very sophisticated movie critic.  There are enough films out there that no matter what you love or hate to go around, and in the end enough to please most people. 

Here recently I've been watching some horror films.  'Tis the season.  Just this past weekend, I saw Beyond Re-Animator (a sequel to Re-Animator) based on a H. P. Lovecraft story.  For a sequel it wasn't too bad.  They closely followed the original film, had a love story as part of the plot,  Jeffery Combs reprises his role as Dr. Herbert West, and as the film goes along it goes right off the rails with the horror and violence as the first picture did.  Sometimes that's all that's need in a sequel.  That's one of the reasons Star Wars I, II, and III didn't vary a lot from IV: New Hope, V, and VI.   Fans I think want to revisit some of the original story, and experience or try to recapture some of that warm fuzzy a second time around.  For the most part it works, it works as far as a retelling device goes.  Of course now with the computers, forums, and the like, fans and people of all ilk can hash and argue over whether or not it worked.  For a SF fan or genre geek, it's their playground at the water cooler like sports might have been or still is at one time. 

I saw a shift in that at the office as a matter of fact.  When I hired out and was the new greenhorn learning the ropes, I worked around older gentlemen.  Then they talked about family, some sports, household fix it stuff, farming, or some such.  As the years went by, and a newer generation came in, you saw a slight shift.  They'd still talked about family to a degree, sports, but also throw in something about Star Wars, South Park, and so on.  Pop culture was getting more mainstream.

Anyway, I'm bloviating a bit here.   A friend sent me something comical covering the Star Wars franchise so I thought I'd shared it here in case you had not seen it.  I'd not seen or knew of Mr. Plinkett's views over at Youtube.  It is pretty funny.