Saturday, September 12, 2015

A CoUPle oF qUicKieS

I've been surfing the net this morning as I often do--generally killing too much time on it.  But I need to get up as I want to start a piece of artwork that will be part collage and part painting (mixed media).  It seems the direction I'd like to experiment more with lately.  Sometimes I feel like there's too much art, until I see stuff that really stimulates me, which is more often than not.  And then I think wow, and want to try something, which is a good thing.

I wanted to point out a Sci-Fi/ Fantasy/Horror site I ran across today that I'll probably go back to as it had reviews, and some other cool stuff on it.  Check it out Cinefantastique.  I might be wrong, but it's possible it's remnants of the old magazine of the same name.  But I have not investigated it enough to know.

Here's another one, that is along the same line called Destination Nightmare.  It  has some old comics on there that you can read too, so that's fun, right?

The past few days I watched quite a few movies.  Here's a quickie rundown of what I saw:

 The documentary Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World was about H.R. Giger, the famed Swiss surrealist painter whose dark artwork was showcased in the Alien films, Species, Dune, and was also used on various rock album covers. Most of it takes place in Giger's creaky home and shortly before his demise. It includes friends, family, and acquaintances. It's a bit amorphous in its content, and I wish it had delved deeper into perhaps some other areas, like his technique on doing some of the art or his creative process. But perhaps it is as simple as the movie shows in one segment--he just sits down and doodles out a picture, and keeps embellishing that until he's satisfied.  But for what it was, and since I enjoy art so much, it was worth a watch for me.  Others might find it too dry or dull.
 The Gunfighter starred Gregory Peck as the famed gunfighter whose reputation proceeded him when he would arrive in towns, and therefore has other gunmen either challenging him all the time, or there's rumors about him like how many men he killed in cold blood or how ruthless of a man he was (mostly false). A large part of it takes place in one salon, and it's pretty dialogue heavy rather than containing loads of action, but it's still worthwhile.  Since I don't believe it's available on DVD and I'd never seen it previously, I was glad to catch it on TCM.
Most hardcore Sci-Fi fans might rip this film apart.  That said though I did find it enjoyable.  It's influenced by The Matrix with the kung fu fighting, which some might find silly as I did to a degree as well.   It's not really silly, it's just outrageous or you have to suspend your sense of disbelief, which if you cannot do that why watch Sci-Fi anyway?  (But, yes, I understand that too--we all have our thresholds of whether or not we think certain films go beyond that barrier.)   At any rate Equilibrium is a combination of many other films like THX-1138, The Matrix, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451 among others.  It's a dystopian society that tries to extinguish a person's feelings as they think that leads to war and violence.  A silly notion, I'd agree.  Like I said there are a lot of things in this film that just don't make a lot of sense.  It's more style over substance, but despite it all, I got drawn into the film, and enjoyed the style and story of it.   It stars Christian Bale, whom I generally enjoy.
 At the first part of the week, I watched the first part to Ken Burns documentary, The Civil War, and then turned over to see what was on TCM. The Tin Drum was playing, which I'd seen bits of before, and I'm still not sure what I make of it, although I understand it's about the Nazi occupation.  However, it has surreal moments and weirdness in it. It sort of reminded me a little of the way maybe Forrest Gump was framed around the weirdness of some of his life & times or David Lynch. It's not a film for everyone, and plus you have to read the subtitles, but if you're looking for something a bit outside the box, it's different.
Kingsman: The Secret Service was quite a bit of fun.  It was adapted from the comic book limited series by Mark Millar, who has had other comics adapted into films.  The first being the film, Wanted, which was sort of about trained assassins and secret societies,and Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2, which were more or less super hero spoofs.  He does the same type send-up with Kingsman, but it's about the secret service and a 007 type character played by Colin Firth.  Basically Firth takes his nephew under his wing, who has drifted towards a criminal path, and induces him into the service.  Overall I thought it was quite funny in some scenes, and had a lot of action.  It's one of those films that gets crazier and crazier as it goes along. The scene in the church was pretty hilarious, and a good way to use Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird.  Who knew?
On Her Majesty's Secret Service was one of the James Bond movies I'd overlooked, but had been meaning to see.  They had a James Bond marathon over the Labor Day weekend, and I got to catch several I had not seen before.  On Her Majesty's was the best one of the bunch, along with Goldfinger, which they also showed, and may have moved up into my top five or so of James Bond favorite films.  I really enjoyed the Alps location and snowy scenes, George Lazenby's portrayal of Bond was excellent, Diana Rigg as Tracy was good in her supporting role, and it had good stunts, and Telly Savalas played a good villain, Blofeld.  Supposedly director Peter Hunt's first choice for the role of Tracy was Brigitte Bardot, but she had recently signed to star with Sean Connery in Shalako.  Catherine Deneuve was another early contender, but the filmmakers ultimately chose Diana Rigg, who had found fame on the TV series, The Avengers.  Nice choice.
The Lords of Salem is by director, Rob Zombie.  I can't say I'm much of a fan of the man's music or his past movies, however, I could see he was trying to do something different with this film.  For one, his saturation of color, and the way he shot different scenes was a big bump up from anything he'd done before.  I think I either read or heard, he's studied Stan Kubrick and used some of that influence on this film.  I could see that.  Sheri Zombie (Heidi) is the main actress in the film, and she does a pretty good job, also noticeable was a better script, with better dialogue, which I think a lot of his films have suffered from in the past.  The film's plot revolves around the Salem witch trials, and how the witches have this curse that is trying to manifest itself in the present day in the guise of an occult musical recording.  You are left wondering if Heidi is going mad, or what is happening.  All in all, a pretty good effort.



At 1:51 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

I’ll never argue against being stimulated’

I read “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass back in the ‘70s (it was published in ’59) which somehow put me off seeing the movie. I’m not sure why. I often look forward to film adaptations and this one is an Oscar-winner, but it did. Having read the book in translation I really can’t speak to the quality of the prose, but the plot is a surreal one in which Oskar decides not to grow up, so doesn’t; he remains a child by choice. This gives him a unique perspective on the Nazi era and the collective postwar inclination to avoid acknowledging it – all the more ironic when Grass finally revealed in 2006 having been in the Waffen SS. There are a number of books I’ve read to the end because they are “important” rather than because I enjoyed them; this was one of those. Despite (or because of) its more straightforward narrative style, a novel covering much same period (and more) that I did enjoy was “The Heritage” by Siegfried Lenz (1978), though that has not been made into a movie so far as I know.

“The Gunfighter” is the basis for any number of clichés in Western movies that followed, but it still holds up.

I haven’t seen “Kingsmen” but it has good reviews, including yours. I’ll get to it at some point.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

The way you describe The Tim Drum book pretty much mirrors the movie. The movie also showed the young boy's odd vocal ability whenever he'd get agitated or stressed he could scream and shatter glass, sort of like an X-Men. I wouldn't say it was a bad film or that I didn't enjoy it on some level, but indeed it's odd. Thanks for the recommending The Heritage.

Yep, The Gunfighter is definitely worth seeing. It's not quite as classic to me as say Shane, or Red River or perhaps some others, but it's worth watching.

Yeah, The Kingsmen, fun stuff.


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