Thursday, July 31, 2008

'Heir to an Execution' Review



***1/2 out of ***** This is a pretty good documentary, directed by the Rosenbergs' blood granddaughter Ivy Meeropol, it covers in more detail the relationship the trial and execution has had on the family, than on the actual trial and evidence. It is clear and objectively shown that indeed it has had an arrant multigenerational effect and most likely will continue with the director's children. However, important in the film was the revelation of information contained in the 1995 opening of classified government documents (The Venona Papers) which pretty much proves Julius' guilt (guilty of passing secrets, but nothing supposedly as serious as atomic info) and exonerates Ethel. This is presented as a surprise in the film, although this information was revealed nearly a decade before the film had been made. We spend half the film getting to this point, whereas the film would've been much more effective and comprehensive if it would've started off at this point. I only say this 'cause the guilt, or the degree of guilt, affects this family's identity, and is highly relevant and a major theme of the documentary. This, and Morton Sobell's incomplete answers to the nature of their guilt (he was their co-defendant!!) made the film seem a little more biased than it had to be. The film also in a way martyrizes them, which is fine, I guess, if they were innocent (of passing atomic info), but a sad and unavoidable manipulation if not. Overall, this is slightly nitpickish on my part and anyone interested in this era of history will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brotherhood

Drinking a beer
Sitting with friends
There’s something to be said
About the brotherhood of men
In the heat of the battle
When the games in full swing
It is brother against brother
Battle to the end
But after the game
When the scores tallied up
They are slapping each others back
And trying to buy their foe a pint
Cutthroat in the boardroom
Buddies to the end
There is something to be said
About the brotherhood of men

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'Next Stop Wonderland' Review



(Spoilers) ****/***** The best way to classify this film would be to say that it's an indie romantic comedy. Going into it, you already know who will end up with whom, as they encounter each other in a multitude of ways, as if fate is knocking on their respective doors. There is a lighthearted theme throughout of destiny versus random events, but that is just part of this talky, at times seriocomic and sardonic, and other times genuinely affecting and somewhat enlightening film. Furthermore, it doesn't matter that you know they will end up together; this is about THAT journey, about fish in sea, or singles in bars, and the painstaking, embarrassing and asinine things we'll do to potentially seek that proverbial 'one' out. It is replete in imagery as well, half the time the characters are in what seems to be The New England Aquarium, including a little side story with a blowfish. Philip Seymour Hoffman is hilarious as Erin's activist ex-boyfriend, lost in his own little idealistic world too. However, in the end, boy meets girl, and they wander from Wonderland Station.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Liar and The Whore

“What the hell is this?!?” The man shouted as he kicked open the bedroom door. A fist of papers was grasped in his hand as he stormed towards the bed. The form in the bed just rolled over and groaned towards the verbal assault. “Who the hell are you? I invite you into my life, I give you all that I have, but what for? You are nothing but a liar and a whore.”

“Your not talking any sense baby,” the form said from under the covers. “Come back to bed, I’m cold.”

“No! I want you out of my house and out of my life. I never want to see you again.” He yelled as he pulled the covers off of the bed.

“Why did you have to do that?” the girl asked as one hand rested on her naked stomach and the other rested under her head and pillow. “We had a good thing going. Why did you have to go and ruin it?”

“Who are you? These papers say that you aren’t the woman that I fell in love with.” He threw the papers at her in disgust. “I don’t want some sort of crook under my roof.”

She sighed as she withdrew her hand from under her head and beneath the pillow. Her heavy navel revolver was brought into view and roared to life. Fine red mists exploded from his body as shot after shot penetrated his body. His blood splattered across the room and covered her naked body as he fell to the floor. “Why did you have to ruin it,” she asked, “We had such a good thing going.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

'Feast of Love' Review



*Spoilers*: **/***** There are a few nuggets of wisdom to extrapolate from this film full of tired, retread formulas, cliched characters and ridiculous, nonsensical twists and harbinger outcomes; the apex of this film is when Freeman gives his narration or he and Kinnear interact. Some of the preceding writing is pretty decent, unfortunately, the rest of the movie is buried amongst tired plot conventions and impractical character motivations. No better way to underscore this than in the ending where all the now sugary characters of shattered, debauched relationships come together to try to rescue the life of one of their crew. It is one of the most insipid and uninspired things I've seen in a movie in quite a while (you could see this 'surprise' coming a mile away, and why didn't they wait for an ambulance, as a football game had just ended with spectators walking around everywhere before trying to drive through it?). Overall, if you want to see a movie that writer/director Robert Benton made that was truly good, if not great, check out 1979's 'Kramer Vs. Kramer', or 1994's 'Nobody's Fool' with Paul Newman. For now, this feast has me bloated.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Time Flies

The pair danced back and fourth as deadly flashes of steel kept them apart. Clanging of their weapons melded seamlessly with the ticking of the massive clockworks in the tower.

“In the name of Queen and country, I demand your surrender,” the man in red called out between labored breaths.

“This is only the eve of what is to follow,” the man dressed in black retorted. His thin black mustache bounced and weaved, punctuating each word. “I can not allow you to stop me.”

The dark clad man lepta backwards onto a giant turning gear. Hesitating, the guard glanced down at the depths of the tower below them before following. The duo leapt from gear to cogs to gears again on their way down through the bowels of the clock tower. Staying one step ahead the man in black led the way. Exhausted, the guard faltered a step or two, but never gave up the chase.

“It is the dawn of a new era,” the darkly clad one shouted as they neared the bottom. The guard clutched his sword and lunged forward. Far above them an explosion echoed through the confined tower. Metal and fire rained down upon the pain. Massive mechanical parts came crashing down. The clock hands flew off and crashed into the building across the street.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Ups and Downs of Caps and Gowns

“Do it,” he said to me a few short hours ago as we were chugging beers. “No one will know.”

I took a long pull on my beer as I rolled it over in my mind. “But I’ll have no place to put my flask,” I retorted.

“I’ll be sitting right next to ya. I’ll make sure your booze won’t go missing… Besides, it’ll be an adventure to tell the grandkids.”

That’s how I got talked into this. My buddy passed the flask as I shivered in the Chicago night air. He kept ribbing me and chuckling. Finally it came to our turn to rise and follow the line of students towards the stage. The dean of students was handing out diplomas. I reached out to shake his hand and receive my diploma. A gust of wind rushed through the stage, blowing off my cap, raising my gown, and exposing my worth as a man to all the students and parents in the audience. The announcer called out my name…

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'3 Women' Review



****/***** I have seen 95% of Altman's films, and I would say '3 Women' is in the upper-middle echelon of his body of work. Stylistically and thematically, it reminds me most of his 'Images' from '72. And as others have mentioned, Altman basically derived the film from a dream he had. And yes, this film is like a dream; from the almost Jungian imagery of Willie's murals that are archetypal and could possibly denote the collective unconscious, to the idea that Pinky is basically reborn after falling into the pool(Altman said the water in the movie symbolized amniotic fluid), we are in a virtual dreamscape. Identities are reaccessed, and seem to shift as a barren desert engulfs them. Maybe it is about the cycle of life, as each of the three women, seem to embody some stage, or step on the ladder of life? We are introduced to these characters in a nursing home (where people are again in water), and leave these character's lives, after Millie helps Willie give birth (symbolic possibly of Willie channeling or embodying Millie, or vice-versa) to a still-born. They all only seem to consort with one man, that being Edgar, and in the end, live together a mesh of each other. But this is a dream. So one interpretation could be as good as the next. Or as irrelevant as the next. However, I wonder what Freud would think?

The Trap

The soft crunch of the freshly fallen snow was music to Steve’s ears as he trekked across the snow covered field. It wasn’t too far to the edge of the woods, and then it would only be a mile hike across a few different properties before he reached the tree stand that he had set up. The northern Wisconsin woods were peaceful, a place where you could go to lose yourself. No worries, no problems, no cell phone reception. Just the serine bliss that comes from being deep in the wilderness. The worst part would be having to drag out the buck. They can get quite heavy.

After the short hike Steve had his tree stand in sight, just where he left it.

Snap! Crack! Echoed through the woods when Steve approached the ladder to his tree stand. It took a moment for the shock to wear off, but when he looked down a large old rusted bear trap was clamped around his now deformed leg. As he collapsed in pain a note nailed to a nearby tree caught his eye. It read: You get what you deserve murderer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dat

“What’s going on in here?” Shohe asked as she entered the small room. “You’ve been in here for weeks. I’ve missed you so much. Please come out, I even made you some dinner.”

“I’m almost done,” Dat hollered back at his wife. “I’ll be up very shortly. As soon as I finish this little project. Now get out of here before I beat you.”

“Oh Dat,” she laughed as she shut the door, “You’re so cute.”

Dat had been working nonstop in his ‘lab’ for over a week. He had told Shohe that he was still looking for a job. That some deep soul searching and meditation, along with intensive Internet searching will find him a job. A job that he so desperately needed. A job that would keep his mind from wondering. As you know, idle hands do the devil’s work, doubly so for any type of engineer…

A few hours had passed, Dat kept working in his dimly lit lab. “I’m finished,” he finally yelled out. “Now they will pay.” Dat got up and walked out of his lab.

“Are you finished dear?” Shohe inquired.

“Almost,” he replied. “I just have to go talk to the boys for a second.” Dat continued down the hallway. Upon reaching the end he knocked on the closed door.

“What is it man?” A slightly Jamaican voice called out from the inside.

“I have finished it, Gergery. Now you will pay.”

“Thank you man. Here’s the $100 I owe you for the parts and labor.” Gergery opened his door and handed the money to Dat. “I’ll call Jamwes and we can install it right away. I’ll meet you at the van.”

Dat took the money and walked back to his lab. “Where did you go?” Shohe asked as he walked by. He flashed her the cash and winked as he walked by. “Ahh, I see now.”

Dat slowly opened the door to his lab. He kept it so dark in there that he could barley see where he was going. After tripping over a stack of books, he finally made it to his workbench. He hefted the heavy piece of machinery over his shoulder and carried it outside.

“Where are you going with that rail gun?” Shohe inquired as Dat walked by.

“Oh, um,” Dat tried to reply. “No where, just around.”

“Oh, ok. Your dinner’s getting cold.”

“I’ll be back shortly,” Dat grunted as he carried the rail gun down the stairs. He met Gergery and Jamwes outside at the van. “Now before I install this thing I just have to ask one more time. Are you going to use this for the powers of good or evil?”

“Ummmm,” Jamwes stumbled. “For the powers of evil, err, I mean good. Defiantly for the powers of good.”

“Ok, just wanted to make sure. Now tell me if you need any other devices, I’ll be more then happy to make them for you.”

Dat opened the rear door of the van and bolted down the rail gun. The question of how the rail gun will fight crime and help the forces of good never occurred to Dat. He was just happy to finally be doing something that kept his mind off the boredom that is his unemployed life. He walked upstairs and smiled to himself, knowing that he is now a better man, for he is not truly insane with boredom.

Monday, July 21, 2008

'Body Heat' Review




****1/2 out of 5 (Possible Spoilers)'Body Heat' is a complete success as an archetypal neo-noir, with all the classic elements. It is a virtual remake of 'Double Indemnity' of 1944, and in many cases, is just as good. It is said early in the movie that the stuffy and hot temperature can make people do crazy things, and this imagery serves the erotically charged indiscretion between Turner and Hurt very well(this film is what 'Basic Instinct' tried to be). Turner is sultry and seductive as the quintessential femme fatale and a good yin to Hurt's yang, a naive lawyer willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl, and possibly more importantly, her husband's fortune. But as we know, the scheming noir protagonist's dream seldom takes hold and there are dire consequences. For when Hurt arrives at Turner's house early on, the camera focuses on her many wind chimes shuffling in the wind, as if to suggest that the bells have tolled for him. This film succeeds on all levels: story, acting, direction, dialogue('Why don't you lick it off?') and the imagery is impeccable. Morever, this is a film that claims to be erotic, and actually pulls it off wonderfully, a rarity when mixed with brains too.

An Open Book

Finding a book that is open is like permission to read the book. Lets say you go into your sisters room while your growing up. Why are you there? I don’t know. Does it matter? Maybe you were just throwing her sweatshirt into her room because your mother asked you to. It doesn’t really matter really. What matters is that you are there, in your sister’s room, and you see an open book on her desk. Not just any book, but her diary. Something that a little brother should never find. The brother-sister code, no, it demands, that you read the diary. You may start with the open page and then start flipping through. Finding all of the juiciest details about all the boys that she likes, girls that she hates, and her true loathing of her little brat of a brother. A wealth of information is laid out before you and it is your purpose in life to use and abuse the information that is discovered.

That is how Frank felt when he stumbled across the open day planner in his office cafeteria. Page after page of names, dates, phone numbers, and appointments laid out before him. Frank looked around the empty cafeteria. No one was in sight. No one that could own the day planner. Frank paged through the day planner but nothing jumped out at him, not even any contact information for the day planner owner. He flipped it shut and went to work on his laptop while nibbling a vending machine egg-salad sandwich. He was thinking that someone would stop by. Someone would miss the day planner and come looking for it. But no one came and the day planner sat there. It sat there and mocked him. “Open me,” it said, “read me.” After what felt like days the day planner won and Frank picked it up and started reading.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Knock Knock

Consciousness gripped me out of the realm of the dead when a loud banging emanated from my door. My eyelids were narrow slits, protecting my eyes from the afternoon sun that illuminated my apartment. I buried my head under a couch cushion hoping the tormenting demon would leave me alone. But alas, the banging at the door would not stop.

“What do you want?” I shouted from the refuge of the afghan blanket that covered me.

The banging continued.

I rolled my eyes as I buried my head deeper behind the couch cushion. “What do you want?!” I shouted even louder than the last time.

The banging continued.

Slowly I dragged myself from the couch. Beer bottles fell in my wake as I advanced towards the door. I had to watch my step to ensure I didn’t fall on one of the displaced bottles. My hand reached for the door, undoing the deadbolt and locking chain, before yanking the door open.

The knocking ended instantly.

“Excuse me sir,” the little girl mumbled. She was obviously startled by the door opening so suddenly. “Could you please turn down your TV? I’m trying to do my homework and it is so distracting.”

“Um, sure…”

I slammed the door in her face, switched the TV off, and dragged myself back to the couch. Sleep had once again become my refuge.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Bar Haiku

I am a poet
I bet you’ll never know it
I’ll rhyme every time

--------------------

Whiskey is my friend
I would drink it all day long
And into the night

--------------------

I like my Jack cold
Do not serve it to me warm
Best it is with coke

--------------------

Silently snow falls
Field is peacefully silent
A good day to live

--------------------

Beautiful woman
Sits across the bar from me
We will never speak

--------------------

I enjoy drinking
Jack and coke is so yummy
I can drink all night

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Peaceful

Belly warm, eyes heavy
Minutes tick off at a slow beat
It had been a long week
A long life
I just want to curl up into a ball
And sleep away my life
Things would be much simpler
No decisions
No work
No effort
Life would be peaceful

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ecotone

I see the world in shades of green. Everything from what mileage my car gets to how the university can reduce the emissions at the coal electricity plant. I even marched in a picket line for that one. You should have seen it, it was pouring rain nonstop for the entire time I was out there. The wet cardboard in my sign drooped as I was soaked to the bone. I was as sick as a dog the next day, but you know what? It was worth it. I just have to smile to myself whenever I think about it because deep down I know that I had an impact. Because of me the university changed their way of doing things. The world is a better place because of me.

Green is my Ecotone, what’s yours?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Get Out Of My Way

Don’t you hate it when all the cars in front of you are going the speed limit? Or even worse, under it? It makes me grate my teeth in anger. I just want to lay on my horn and blast right past them while flicking them off. Some how I do control my rage. Usually by chanting to myself, “It’s a limit not a minimum, it’s a limit not a minimum, it’s a limit not a minimum…

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Scene: Bar/Dance Club

This is a little something I wrote on the back of a beer label last night when I was gallivanting around to downtown bars with friends.

--------------------

Red flows from the table tops as incense drifts, filling the area from ceiling to floor. Shouts of conversation can be heard over the thump of the bass. The table tips when leaned upon, shifting the liquid in my glass. On the dance floor women writhe and grind on each other while men stand around the perimeter drinking their beers. Glass bottles and cups line the ledge around the room with varying levels of liquid residing in the bottom of each container.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In A Nut Shell

Here we are
Just the two of us
Cramped in our apartment
That was built for two
One would think we would be used to it
Since we are twins and all
But these confines are tight
Even for two that had shared a womb
You have become salty as we aged
Actually, we had both changed
Which is why I can no longer do this
This living with you
Always soaked in beer
You wallow in your depression
Until properly roasted
I can’t deal with it anymore
I can’t deal with you
Soon I will break out of this shell
That we have been put in
And do something fun
For me
Like join the circus

Friday, July 11, 2008

Penumbral Gambit - Episode 1: Of Blasters and Credsticks

Disclaimer: Penumbral Gambit is a work of fan fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Several locations, items, and concepts belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. The picture is a combination of an image from Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and an image from Wizards of the Coast’s Star Wars Saga Edition role playing game book. This story and image is purely meant for entertainment. No copyright infringement is intended.

--------------------

I'm Dubja Buport, Gungan gunslinger and bounty hunter.

I grew up hearing about the Great Gungan Army and how it was formed. When I became of age I joined the army. I received my first training in the army. The Nabooian humans used Gungans as scouts and guards. Over time I realized how the Nabooians treated us Gungans, like pathetic savages. The more I hated how they looked down upon us the more I realized how right they were. The human army outfitted itself with guns and tanks while we used nothing more than clubs. Sure, we had energy shields and energy balls, but those weren’t enough. You can only protect yourself for so long. You need to strike out to beat back your opponent. Energy balls are only good against droids and machines. They are not good against a man. Not like a blaster. A well aimed blaster will drop a man in his tracks. As soon as I could I left the army in disgust and jumped system.

The cargo ship I hitched a ride on was headed to Malastare, the planet was on the Hydian Way trade route. I used my savings to purchase my first blaster, a Sporting Blaster Pistol. It was the best I could get and still be able to get a license for. While I was at the Galactic Republic outpost on Malastar I met up with the Hydian Way Bounty Hunter's Guild. Even in the high gravity the bounty hunters saw that I had a real skill with my blaster pistol. The Hydian Way Bounty Hunter's Guild worked to keep the Hydian Way trade route free from space pirates and other thieves. Most of their bounties came from large companies that needed to keep their freight safe. The bounty hunters were on their way to stop a space pirate and needed an extra gun so I joined up.

I kept working with the Hydian Way Bounty Hunter’s Guild for a few years. I learned everything there is to know about being a hunter and quickly moved up the ranks. It wasn’t long before I was taking down bounties on my own. Most companies pay for transport on one of their freighters, for me and my speeder bike, if I’m targeting a bounty for them so there is no need for me to have my own starship or know how to pilot one. Once I’m in the right area it’s just a matter of asking around and letting my blaster do the talking once I find the target. The perks of working for the guild include never having to set foot back into the savage wilderness. Starships can get quite cold, so I’m never seen without my all temperature cloak/poncho. It also works to keep my weapons out of sight whenever I’m in a civilized area.

My quick rise though the guild and results in the field must have caught the eye of one of my usual employers. There is no doubt in my mind that a corporate representative for some company passed my name along. Once I got the offer to join a bounty hunting group that worked exclusively for the Grand Chancellor I had to take it. I was starting to get restless with the usual scum that I have to pick up along the Hydian Way trade route. It’s time for bigger and better bounties.