Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Eve (Eve)

2011...tasted like cigarettes
Last post of the year and I'm stoked. I can honestly say 2011 has sucked royally for yours truly. Good riddance. Here's to a better 2012. Even if the world ends next December, it will be a welcome change of pace from this past one. See you cats next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Movie Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The feel bad movie of the season is upon us. As many of you loyal readers know, I'm the type of misanthrope who enjoys spending his free time during the holidays watching a marathon of violence, sexual abuse, and psychological carnage on the big screen. David Fincher's long awaited adaptation of Stieg Larsson's novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has finally arrived in theaters. It's a long and viscous film. But while it's a bleak and draining experience, like the Swedish winter itself, it's also jarringly beautiful.

I remember I was initially upset this movie was even being made. Larsson's novels, dubbed "the Millennium" trilogy, had already been adapted into a series of films in his native Sweden in 2009. Thanks to the power of Netflix, I watched these films and quickly fell under the spell of Lisbeth Salander aka, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. As noted before here at Jim's Fear, I'm not too fond of bumbling Hollywood remakes/cash grabs of superior foriegn films (LET ME IN =/ ). That being said...I'm a huge David Fincher fanboy so my initial fears of this adaptation were quelled when I heard he was attached to direct.'ve never been?
Luckily, I was correct. Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo succeeded in not royally pissing me off and for that, I congratulate him. The film centers around disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by Daniel Craig) and his unlikely ally, punk rock/techno-junkie Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), as they investigate a 40 year old murder mystery. Of course there's a whole lot more going on in this film, enough to fill past the 2.5 hour mark! Part thriller, part crime caper, some dramatic romantic flare thrown in, and a whole lot of squeamish "adult" content, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is probably unlike any other film released this year. Of course, my main problem with this movie is that, it's already been done before.

As much as I love Fincher and enjoyed this new film, I must say I still prefer the previous Swedish version to this American one. True, Fincher's stylish camera work cannot be matched and his new film is supposed to be even more true to Larsson's original novel, something(s) just couldn't match the original. Rooney Mara's take on Lisabeth is breath taking and easily one of the best performances of 2011. In fact I'd say she's the best thing about this version. Noomi Rapace's portrayal of Lizabeth in the Swedish films is iconic and amazing for different reasons.The original film was more fluid/engaging and featured a stoic, almost two dimensional/Terminator- ish Rapace, playing Lisbeth like Joan Jett on crazy pills. Fincher's new film is the exact opposite. His Dragon Tattoo is sterile and exhausting but showcases a more open/moving portrayal of Lisabeth by Rooney Mara, who comes across as a reluctant gutter punk vixen. Both are amazing in their respective films, but for my money, it's the 2009 Swedish film > 2011 Hollywood version in the end.

Lisbeth Salander(s)
Of course on it's own this is still a very good movie. I'd say it mixes the brutality of Fincher's Seven, with the cold criminal procedural element of Zodiac, and the forlorn longing that underscored most of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It might not sit well with the faint of heart (movies with violent rapes and murders are kind of polarizing like that) but still a gripping film.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tis' the Season...

for SHRED-TASTIC Christmas music =p

Hope everyone enjoys themselves this holiday. Whether you celebrate the religious aspect of today (which I don't) or just like getting awesome gifts (I wish) or just like not working. Hell, even if you have to work, I'm sure it's a little slower than usual, and the traffic is light since everyone is staying home so, enjoy your half assed day on the clock. Either way, I'm trying to be cheerful for once so...yeah.

my Xmas face

Friday, December 23, 2011

Can't Wait...

Two awesome new film trailers took the interwebz by storm this week. Well three, but I'm only going to focus on the two that really got my juices going.

1st: The Dark Knight Rises

Hoooooly feces that got me all tingly. That kid singing the nation anthem all ominous as cool is that?! I'm a little worried about Bane's voice and Nolan's tendency to make characters sound quasi retarded, but Bane looks pretty badass a Mexican wrestler from hell with a cool/fashionable coat (dear Santa, I'd like a Bane jacket for Christmas please). At first I kind of didn't like seeing Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordin-Levitt in the same trailer because it made me think Inception 2 but I got over that when I realized Cotillard and Anne Hatheway are both in the this and their combined hotness already makes this one of the best films of 2012.  I'm super stoked about Catwoman's speech about striking back at Bruce Wayne and his 1% pals. Is this #OCCUPY GOTHAM? Should be sweet.

2nd: Prometheus

Ridley Scott. Alien Prequel. ENOUGH SAID. Yeah I know it's not supposed to be a direct prequel to Alien but I don't care dammit. It's in the same universe continuity wise and Ridley Scott has crafted some damn fine Sci-Fi way back in the day...and now he's got the special effects to do whatever the hell he wants! Also, the cast is top tier. Noomi Rapace, Micheal Fassbender, Guy Pearce, the black dude from Thor, Charlize Theron...sick! This is one of the few instances where I'm ok with Hollywood recycling from it's past. This isn't some desperate cash crab remake/re-imagining crap. This looks legitimately awesome.

So I geeked out pretty hard this week. The Hobbit trailer also arrived to great fanfare but it just didn't get me as stoked as these other two. Ian McKellen does look pretty rad as Gandalf though. NO! Must stop nerding out. Alright. Done.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Answer Is...(5)

Just as Jim feared (wow, can't believe I went there), Mr. Pat Hatt's encyclopedic movie knowledge led him to another victory. Thankfully, he abbreviated his answer and allowed a few others to play in the reindeer games as well:
So congrats to G and Nicole as well as the unstoppable movie trivia juggernaut that is Pat Hatt on guessing correctly. Although nobody identified the film's title, their answers proved sufficient enough. The answer to the previous challenge was:
Stanley Kubrick's hilarious 1964 classic, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The image I selected is of actress Tracy Reed. She plays General Turgidson's sexy secretary/mistress and also doubles as the film's Playboy centerfold, "Miss Foreign Affairs."

What can I say about Dr. Strangelove that hasn't already been said? It's one of Kubrick's finest works and easily stands as not only one of the funniest movies, but you know, one of the greatest films ever made. Nearly 50 years after it's release, Dr. Strangelove's morbid/black humor is as potent as ever. While the Cold War may have ended peacefully, the larger theme of Kubrick's ingenious satire still rings true, that of mankind's uncanny ability to favor irrationality/bat shit insanity over reason and common sense. The smartest species to ever walk the Earth, is also the only one dumb enough to destroy itself and the entire planet as well. It's so tragic/terrifying when you think about it, all you can do is laugh at the absurdity of it all. Thats exactly what Kubrick does in Dr. Strangelove.

The film centers around a paranoid Air Force commander named General Ripper who launches a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union because, well, he's bat shit insane. The President gathers his top military advisers and tries to figure out how to stop the strike and do damage control with the Russians before they retaliate and the entire world is annihilated by way of mushroom cloud. Unfortunately, mostly everyone on the case is either out of their minds or utterly incompetent. Peter Seller's is brilliant playing three different roles. His President Muffley is the ultimate bumbling bureaucrat while his Captain Mandrake character is the film's sole voice of reason. Sellers also plays the film's title character, the president's chief scientist, former Nazi brainiac Dr. Strangelove. Of course my favorite character is George C. Scott's General Turgidson. His character sets the template for modern Neo-Con Rupublican's foriegn policy, which is funny because he's the equivalent  of  Daffy Duck in a military uniform.

Again, even though the film is nearly half a century old, it's held up amazingly well. I think this serves as a testament to Kubrick's innovative directing. Even the cheesy split screen/model plane shots look cool! 50 years later and his work still seems contemporary. The film's cast is superb, Kubrick's direction flawless and two generations later, the satire/political commentary is still biting. If you haven't seen Dr. Strangelove, I emplore you to do so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take a Guess 5

Time for another Take a Guess challenge! I'm changing things up a little this time. Instead of using a song/video, today we've got an image taken from a film. Can any of you bloggers guess which movie this image is from?

Feel free to answer below in the comments section. Please refrain from using google/wikipedia/youtube to find the answer...cheating gets you nowhere! I'll post the answer tomorrow (or the next time I update) and the winner gets my total movie nerd respect and a shout out/link for being awesome.

I'm a little scared Pat Hatt might dominate these little challenges, not just because he won the previous one, but mostly due to his insanely awesome movie title/rhyme post last month. We'll have to wait and see. Well good luck everyone (else, haha).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

60 Fwy Inferno

So I start feeling better and plan on doing some Christmas shopping yesterday on my day off from work when I step outside and see this:

A gas truck (carrying two full tanks) caught fire on the Eastbound lane of the 60 fwy. This is literally my front yard, well if I had one....damn apartments.

Don't care what that sticker says, fires outside your door aren't cool!
That bridge/overpass was basically my connection to the outside world. It's pretty much destroyed and is currently in the process of being torn down as I type this. While the repairs are going on, the 60 fwy is closed for 2 miles in both directions. As one would imagine, this is causing an absolute traffic NIGHTMARE.

So the toxic BBQ sent up some pretty gnarly fumes into the air. I'm not a scientist/doctor but I'm pretty sure the cough and insane amounts of phlegm I've developed since last night might somehow be related to thousands of gallons of burning chemicals unleashed from the accident.  As cool as it's been seeing news crews swarming my hood, and almost being interviewed at the mall and gas station respectively, I'd much rather make it to work on time and not spit black shit out of lungs.  Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

AWOL: Sorry

So I've neglected my blogger duties these past few days. Sorry about that. I was sick, screwed up/injured my arm at work, spent some time visiting family in the hospital and spent the other day with my girlfriend and her grieving family. Tis' the season for fucked up shit I suppose. Eh. I'm alive and well though, as I hope all of you are.

I've heard all these horrible stories in the news lately. Some nut shooting random people on the streets of Hollywood. A guy killing street vendors in Italy. Some Belgian dude throwing grenades at kids! What's going on? The tiny shred of hope I've had for our species is quickly vanishing =/

"You don't believe in Heaven cause we're livin' in Hell."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rainy Day Jamz

Some of you might remember that I like it when it rains. Maybe it's because we don't actually get much weather here in Southern California, so I enjoy the periodic rainy days whenever they pop up. I'll be blasting gloomy rainy day music like this all day, with a smile on my face:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Awesome Photo (4)

My soulmate Kelly Brook, with Verne "Mini Me" Troyer, passed out on her lap.

Sometimes...I wish I was dwarf =/

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trolling is an Art: Rick Perry for President

This is real:

Aside from this video being utterly hilarious, it's also kind of depressing. It's funny how Perry panders to the lowest common denominator within his party (re: GOP's "base") hoping to clench the Republican Presidential nomination for next years election by combining the two things conservatives hate/love the most, gays & Jesus' birthday, into one xenophobic ad. It's sad that here we are approaching 2012 and we don't have light sabers, jet packs or colonies on the moon, just good ol' fashioned bigotry. The more things change...

On the bright side, this video has something like 96,000 DISLIKES on Youtube as of now. It's only been up for a day and Perry's channel has been flooded with negative feedback over this thing. This causes me to laugh like no other. Why? Why would they post this type of add online? This isn't like buying airtime on some small backwoods morning news show. Either Perry's campaign is run by compete imbeciles, or the man is the greatest political Troll of our time. Neither would surprise me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To SHAY, or not to SHAY (MARIA)?

2012: I won't even care if the world ends.
It's now December. That means 2011 is almost gone. Some of you old timers might remember my dilemma during this time last year, when I realized I'd soon have to discard my precious The Big Lebowski calendar. I'm in a similar lurch this time around, as my wonderful Kelly Brook 2011 swimsuit calendar is soon to expire! What ever shall I do? Well, as luck would have it, there's a new 2012 calendar featuring model/dancer/internet phenom, Shay Maria.

Who is Shay Maria? This is Shay Maria.

She's beyond smokin' hot. That first picture is probably the most viewed image on the internet in the last two years. She's lost a lot of weight since she first busted onto the scene (see what I did...) and sometimes her facial expressions seem a bit harsh, but then I tell myself to shut up. Newer/thinner/long hair Shay is still a miracle disguised as a human. That being said, I'm still torn between ordering her 2012 caldendar...or just leaving my Kelly Brook one on the wall for another 12 months. Woe is me.

Times are tough, I called in sick from work a few times last week and will be a little short on cash this holiday it looks like I might have to hold off, if not pass altogether on Shay's calendar. Alas, here's a Shay video to help ease the suffering.

I guess this is kind of like a bonus/honorary edition of Female Obsession. I don't really know/care enough about Shay to do a proper installment yet, but I guess this counts for something. Merry (early) Christmas.

Monday, December 5, 2011

DrumTHRONE: Ben Koller

Punk as fuck
Ben Koller is one of my favorite drummers around. Like a human tornado, or Tasmanian devil on speed, the guy doesn't play his instrument, he bombards it. I've been luckily enough to watch Ben shred behind the kit in his main band Converge many times over the years. It doesn't matter where they played, be it tiny shit hole clubs, large theaters or out door festivals, Ben always channeled his inner John Bonham and brought the house down. Renowned for his blazing speed and off kilter times changes/drum fills, Ben is easily one of the most innovative drummers in modern underground, extreme music.

Here's some footage of Ben chillin' in the studio:

While he's made his name playing in Converge over the past decade, Ben is also currently a member of thrashers All Pigs Must Die, trippy punks Acid Tiger, and the hardcore super group United Nations. It doesn't really matter who he's playing with though, Ben has developed a signature playing style that Converge bassist Nate Newton has described as "punk as fuck," and shines through in all of his projects. Of course his drumming with Converge is my favorite amongst his repertoire. The first time I heard his playing on Jane Doe, I just about shat bricks. And he was only 19 or something when he recorded that album!

Sadly, there isn't too many videos of Ben doing damage with Converge online. I've found some pretty rad drum covers for you all to enjoy:
Exhibit A: Awesome Japanese Dude!

Exhibit B: Awesome Portuguese Dude!

These guys did some serious work on these covers but there's nothing like seeing Ben playing these jams for himself.

*Bonus Video*
Ben playing live with Converge.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chicks with Drums: Meytal Cohen

Time for another installment of, know.
Meytal is one of the reasons why I love Youtube and prefer the internet to television. She's a talented musician, likes metal/hard rock, is cute (DAT SMILE) and likes hitting things with sticks! *swoons*

She's amassed quite a following online since she began posting regular cover videos on her channel last year. I always look forward to her updates and hope to one day, see her live with some type of band or act...rocking out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Back to work

So I'm still kind of sick but had to go back to work yesterday. I figured maybe getting out of the house and back into routine might help me get on my feet again. WRONG. My day went like this:

Here's hoping today, and tomorrow, and the next day...go smoother.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Problems with The Dark Knight

As many of you observant bloggers already know, I've been sick all week. So that mean lots playing (and losing) a lot more Call of Duty and watching a lot movies. Last night I watched The Dark Knight again. There's something strange that happens with me and Christoper Nolan's last two films, because the more times I see Inception and TDK, the less I like them. Wait. Put down the pitchforks and let me explain. Inception and The Dark Knight are both great films. There's no denying that (well, unless you're a h8er). It's just that after repeated viewings, the faults in each film become more and more visible. Since I saw TDK last, that shall be the focus of this rant. And here, we....GO.

oh Hai Scarecrow.
My first gripe revolves around The Scarecrow. Remember him? Cillian Murphy as Dr. Crane/The Scarecrow in Batman Begins, he was awesome. But then all of a sudden he's yesterday's news in The Dark Knight and Batman captures/punks him in all of 5 minutes. Really? He was badass enough to be the villian of the first film, but now he's like, last season's Dragon Ball Z bad guy and a total chump in part 2? What gives? At first I liked the link between the two and continuity of the whole Nolan/Batman universe, but now it's just kind of insulting and IMO, diminishes the weight of the first film.

Next, the dialogue. Nolan and his brother are a dynamic writing duo if there ever was one (hehe) but dear lawd I cringed at some of the wooden lines these A+ actors were forcibly spitting out. Sometimes, their epic choice of word play works well. Joker preaching about a "better class of criminal" was awesome. Gordon waxing philosophical with his 10 year old son/concluding the film for the audience via voice over, well. It's the ending we need, but not the ending me we deserve. Catch my drift?

Perhaps my biggest problem with movie rests with my home boy Christian Bale. Dude is easily my favorite actor yet his performance in The Dark Knight royally pisses me off. Well actually, it's THAT VOICE! Bale channeling Patrick Bateman is an awesome Bruce Wayne and when he dons the bat suit, he's the sickest Batman ever. Unfortunately, his Batman voice in TDK is beyond over the top (think Rocky Balboa gargling nails dipped in acid) and butchers some of his already stiff dialogue.

"You'll be in a padded cell forever."=/

I didn't let this stuff bother me the first dozen times I watched this film but now it stares me right in the face. Still a great movie though. Amazing visuals, action scenes and stellar performances from Araon Eckhart, Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman. Bale is the new De Niro in my book and became a huge megastar thanks to this flick, I just hope he lays off on the tough guy voice a tad in the next one. As for Nolan, dude has yet to make a bad film, but words of advice, you don't always have to go...deeper

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buenos Dias: I'm Sick

So I'm sick. Spent the past two days in bed feeling like recycled excrement. You know the drill. This morning I woke up at 5:00am to use the restroom and lucky for me, couldn't fall back asleep. I watched some of the local morning news programs but they repeat the exact same stories every 30 mins and that got old around 6:00am. Thank God for the Spanish news stations!

Flipping the channels, in a half groggy, nasally congested stupor, I saw a radiant vision on Telemundo's Buenos Dias Los Angeles...her name: Elva Saray.

Now keep in mind this was six o'clock in the morning, I was half dead and had no idea what she or anyone on the broadcast was saying, but I still think I know true love when I see it. So if you're ever up at the ass crack dawn and in Southern California, I highly recommend you watch out for the lovely Miss Saray.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Metal Lulz: Hessian Hobbies

It's been awhile since my last Black Metal Lulz post. Fear not, I come bearing grim/hilarious gifts.
This video lampoons the wave of arson fires linked to Norwegian black metal bands in the early 90's, only this time, it's not to punish the Christian invaders, but for father-daughter bonding time!

This is exactly the type of stuff I plan on doing with my brood.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Movie Review: The Muppets

After a full day of driving and sitting and eating/gorging, sometimes you just want to unwind with some warm and fuzzy lulz. That's exactly what we did on Thanksgiving evening, watching The Muppets. I was taking a chance with this flick, hoping for some mindless fun and not a wretched train wreck. I grew up watching The Muppet Babies cartoon show and remember having The Muppet Christmas Carol on VHS but other than that, I'm wasn't too familiar with the original Muppets cast from the 1970's. I put my worries on hold though, after I recalled Jason Segel's awesome work with puppets in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Luckily, Segel and Kermit didn't let us down.

So the's a movie about muppets. It's funny because it plays on the cheesiness/absurdity of human/muppet interaction. It helps if you have some vested interest in the muppet brand (nostalgia goes a long way) but not entirely necessary. We went with some friends of ours who have never watched the muppets before in their lives yet enjoyed the movie all the same. The characters constantly burst into song and break the fourth wall, reminding us that it's all a movie. It's one thing when humans give a wink wink to the audience but when Fozzie Bear does it with his mouth agape, it's awesomely entertaining. I won't divulge much of the plot, since that isn't really all that important anyways. Lets just say, the muppet crew has been MIA for years but get reunited thanks to Jason Segel's character Gary and his muppet-ish brother Walter (yes, the little dude in the blue suit pictured above is supposed to be Segel's brother! ha) who want to save the old muppet theater from getting destroyed. Amy Adams' song and dance numbers are still enchanting (see what I did there?!), Chris Cooper plays a gnarly villain and the dozen or so celebrity cameos should surprise and delight even the snarkiest cynic. Dave Grohl and Selena Gomez were my favorites. Oh, Gomez...

So if you have a soul and like smiling, I'd recommend The Muppets to just about anyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thursday on Thanksgiving.

Yes. You are reading that correctly. Not Thanksgiving on Thursday, because this post refers to the band Thursday. News broke that the band is calling it quits after 13 years. Kind of bums me out. I was a huge fan of their  2001 album, Full Collapse. I liked their follow up War All The Time also, but sort of lost track of the band after that. Every time I'd hear about Thursday playing a Warped Tour date or doing a West Coast tour I'd say, yeah I'm down to see them live but never got around to actually doing it. See what happens when you procrastinate for a decade?!

So, I'm bumping some Thursday as I write this. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which always lands on a...Thursday. This is my favorite Thursday song, which happens to fit the spirit of the original Thanksgiving pretty well IMO.

Enjoy your holiday everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

under-covers: Cyndi Lauper/Arcade Fire

Perhaps, one of the greatest guilty pleasures in my life: the perverse enjoyment I get listening to musicians covering other artist's songs. The weirder the cover, the better! It doesn't matter how awkward or horrible the quality (shitty cell phone video, I'm looking at you), I'm an absolute sucker for this stuff. Here's the first in a new installment I'm proud to call, "under-covers."

Today, we feature Cyndi Lauper's smash 1983 hit, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." This song has been a favorite of mine since I first heard Homer singing the chorus way back in "Lisa's First Word" (Episode 10, Season 4.1992!)
"That's all they really waaaaaaaaant"
Here's Cyndi's classic:

Who doesn't love this song? It's easily, one of the catchiest songs in the history of creation. Not to mention, Cyndi Lauper's voice is one in a million.

Now Arcade Fire's take.

This may sound insane, but I kind of enjoy their live version better. The pulsating bassline pushes through everything else and makes ya wanna get funky right?....right? All the 80's electronics and studio effects are gone, leaving only wild, toe tapping musicianship to fill the void. Vocally, Regine is no Cyndi Lauper, but she sings the song with such an honest, giddy school girl quality it kind of makes my bitter heart melt. Also, how rad is it seeing a bunch of six foot dudes singing along to this jam?

Love this song. Love this cover.
What do you think?

*Bonus Clip*
Did you know Cyndi's Lauper's version wasn't the original?! It's technically a cover as well!
The song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was originally written by some dude named Robert Hazard. He gave the song to Cyndi for her debut album and helped her create the famous version we all know today. HA. My first post...a cover, of a cover!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Singing in the shower

Loooong day today. Just got home from work. Time to take hot shower and cleanse myself from all the bullshit I've endured,  like Ed Norton, American History X style.

Also, this is EXACTLY how I sound when I sing in the shower....just in case anyone was curious.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

#OWS: 1% Logic

and now...

The moral learned from these two clips?
Think Small. Save the rich. God bless Citigroup. 99%, enjoy your Ritalin and STFU. Nice. =/

Who knows how long we'll have YouTube, Blogger, Reddit or sites we should not mention that create maxim lulz. The SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act) is going through the House of Representatives right now. Designed to protect the interests of the entertainment industry (the internet gives you options, which is bad for crap movies & albums didn't ya know?), this bill might inadvertently...or totally on purpose, lead to the complete censorship/strangulation of the web. But hey, if it works for China and Iran, it's good enough for us.

It's a big club...and you ain't in it!
Republicans/Democrats. It doesn't matter. They all bleed green not red, white and blue. There's not an inch left on the planet that hasn't been bought/sold/imperialized. Hell, "when deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything: the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks." You know the drill. The internet is the final frontier. Or at least, it was.


Shout out to Dustee! I discovered those Garfunkel and Oates chicks from one of her posts last week. Thanks again Miss.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Awesome Photo (3)

A whole gallery of candid, behind the scenes Star Wars photos for your viewing pleasure, available HERE.

because you people are awesome...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fox Searchlight

In case you missed my previous post (you know, the one directly below this one!), I'll summarize it by saying, I really liked the new film, Martha Marcy May Marlene. It's now in wide release and shouldn't be too hard to track down. It's a Fox Searchlight film. Another in a long line of awesome little films.
Here's a cool montage celebrating highlights from Fox Searchlight's awesome track record:

Here's the list of all the films shown for the curious:

12" - Sexy Beast, 28 Days Later, The Last King of Scotland

30" - The Full Monty, Bend It Like Beckham, In America, The Wrestler, Stealing Beauty, The Darjeeling Limited, Millions, Night Watch

1'07"- Sideways, Sunshine, Waking Ned Devine, The History Boys, Ameila, Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State

1'32" - Thirteen, The Namesake, Titus, Thank You For Smoking, Antwone Fisher, Street Kings, The Dancer Upstairs, The Good Thief, Waitress, 500 Days of Summer

2'00" - Best Laid Plans, Kinsey, The Savages, One Hour Photo, The Good Girl, The Clearing, Quills, Super Troopers, Once, Boys Don't Cry, Whip It, Notorious

2'30" - Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Secret Life of Bees, Water, Sideways, Crazy Heart, The Wrestler

3'00" - Fantastic Mr Fox, Stealing Beauty, I ♥ Huckabees, Notes on a Scandal, The Dreamers, Slumdog Millionaire, The Ringer, 500 Days of Summer, The Namesake, Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine

...and that doesn't include recent films like Black Swan, 127 Hours, Cyrus, The Tree of Life, and now, Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Don't worry, I haven't see a good portion of those films either! But totally enjoyed the ones I did see.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Movie Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

A rose by any other name...
Great film. Horrible title. There, glad I got that out of the way. So yes, there has been great hype around this movie, taking film festivals by storm and generating positive buzz from critics. I was luckily enough to finally get a night off with the ol' girlfriend and hit up the theater for the first time in forever. She likes thriller type pictures so I conned her into checking Martha Marcy May Marlene out with me. We both agreed it was a good film, but I think one of us (me) enjoyed it more than the other...

^^if Maggie Gyllenhaal was pretty^^
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a disturbing, psychological thriller. Elizabeth Olsen (yes, Mary-Kate and Ashley's younger sister!) plays Martha, a troubled young woman who reconnects with her estranged sister after having spent the past few years living with a cult out in the wilderness. Martha struggles adapting to the routines of a "normal" household and has frequent flashbacks of her traumatic experiences on the communal farm. Fantasy and reality start to blur, leaving Martha's family and the film's audience just as bewildered as poor Martha.

The film confronts the viewer with acts of an uncomfortable, if not down right twisted nature. Scenes of rape, violence, and plain old awkwardness (skinny dipping in front of your new brother-in-law = lulz) make up the bulk of this film. The rest is carried by the Elizabeth Olsen's uncanny facial expressions and the stoic creepiness exuded by John Hawkes. Olsen's performance is nothing short of fearless. This, her motion picture debut is one people will be talking about for a long while. At first I was like, "Michelle Tanner's sister looks kind of tore up in this movie," but by the end I was like "...Full House? What? All I see is this amazing up and coming actress." As for Hawkes, dude won tons of accolades for his role in Winter's Bone last year and I'm almost positive he'll be back this award season for his chilling portrayal of the Charles Manson-ish cult leader Patrick here in Martha Marcy May Marlene. His character Patrick doesn't actually do much, but the way he carries himself and creeps into the psyche of his followers and even charms the audience is bedazzling.

Jedi Mind Tricks in action
In fact, the entire film mirrors Hawkes performance. It's slow yet mesmerizing. Restrained, yet eerily terrifying. This film may not be for everyone though. My girlfriend enjoyed it yet claimed she wanted "more." A few people were unsatisfied with the film's abrupt ending (like the old guy who screamed, "terrible!" at the screen) but after much consideration, I've decided I liked it just fine. Isn't that the hallmark of a great film anyways? When it stays with you and leaves you asking questions? Great directors are supposed to show the audience, not tell them. First time director Sean Durkin does just that. All the pieces of Martha Marcy May Marlene are there, it's up to the viewer to form their own conclusions.

Friday, November 11, 2011


It's moments like this where I wish I spoke Spanish...

I still lol'd super hard at that video. I imagine it would be funnier if I actually knew what the hell they were saying though =/ 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

21 Jump Street

I've been a busy lad these past two days playing MW3 (and a bad blogger I'll admit). It's been quite the thrill ride. Things were going oh so well. Then, then I learned about some terrible news...

There's a Hollywood remake of the 1980's TV show 21 Jump Street slated for a 2012 release. Worst of all, it star's Jonah Hill. WHY?! WHHHHYYYY?!

For those of you who don't remember, 21 Jump Street was a sweet ass TV show that ran from 1987-1991. It was about a bunch of young looking cops doing undercover work in local high schools, posing as students and busting all the teenage drug dealing/gun running/prostituting scum that was ruining G.H.W. Bush's America. Might sound lame now but man, it had the sickest theme song/intro ever!

SEE! Holly Robinson (Peete) sang that bad boy as well. Oh yeah..and Johnny Depp was on the show too. You know, biggest movie star on the planet.

Now the Hollywood crap factory is shitting out another turd/re-boot

Ok, I laughed like once of twice during that trailer. BUT STILL! I heard (read online) that the original cast are set to make cameos in this new film. If so, count me in, if only for the Vile Nostalgia factor.

Please Hollywood, stop raping my childhood...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Moment of silence for Black Ops

Well, the day is almost here. Call of Duty: MW3 comes out at midnight. That means we all shall officially, be living in a post-Black Ops world tomorrow. Ha. Lame right? All this over a video game but still, serious business you know?

I came into this whole Call of Duty thing a bit late. I didn't own a video game system for years. No, I was content playing Counter Strike on my laptop whenever I couldn't sleep/was bored. My GF didn't like this since I wouldn't answer her calls while pwning noobz on DE_dust so she got me a PS3 one Christmas and a little game called, Modern Warfare 2. The CIA calls this type of shit "blowback." I call it, awesomeness.  I gotta admit, I was pretty unsatisfied with Black Ops multiplayer but the zombies, dear lawd the zombies! I don't even know how many hours of my life I've spent on the Kino Der Toten map with my Ray Gun and Bowie Knife. With Modern Warfare 3 being released in mere hours I'd like to have a brief moment of silence for Black Ops and it's always awesome Zombie Mode.

Ok. Done. I'm playing Zombies one more time before I officially start murdering dudes on MW3.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crunch Time: Metallica

so let it be written, so let it be done...
Metallica. The biggest metal band on the planet. They're so huge they can cut off their hair, sue their own fans and suck for the better part of thirteen years and STILL play sold out stadiums around the world. My love/hate/love relationship with the band is well documented. It was only a matter of time before I did a Crunch Time feature on the four horsemen and perhaps the greatest song in their repertoire, "Creeping Death."

Usually there's one awesome riff in a song that brings out my inner caveman and makes me want to blog about it from the mountaintops. "Creeping Death," has two! Yes, the first Crunch Time riff comes in at the 0:20 second mark. This main riff is pretty much the heart of song and sets the galloping pace that has gotten heads banging and fists pumping (pre Jersey Shore) for decades! Just hearing this part conjures images of invading nomads swooping down on unsuspecting villages atop demonic horses, armed with fiery swords. Why? Because it's just that awesome.

The 2nd riff comes in after the guitar solo at the 3:38 mark. This is Kirk Hammet's riff he recycled from his days with Exodus and their song, "Die By His Hand." No biggie though, Kirk wrote the riff and just transplanted it into a better song. Still, they kept the lyrics almost exactly the same, tweaking the original phrase into, "...die by my hand." Either way, the playing of this riff makes me stop in place and spontaneously chant "DIE. DIE!" at the top of my lungs.

riff #1- 0:20       riff #2- 3:38

Another thing I love about this jam is, the lyrics. Metallica got the idea for this song while watching a scene from The Ten Commandments and bassist Cliff Burton (R.I.P.) described the plagues against the Pharaoh as being, " creeping death." I totally picture the young dudes in the picture above drunk off their asses and having a total Keanu/Matrix moment.

So there it is. Everything about this song rules. Fantasical/sci-fi lyrics, some of Kirk's finest guitar soloing, these two Crunch Time riffs, and when played live, the INSANE crowd participation during the breakdown. I've already shared my favorite clip of Metallica performing "Creeping Death"
live in my original Metallica/Jason Newsted rant last year (it's from their Wood Stock 99' performance if you're curious). So here's my 2nd favorite live version, from their 1993 concert in Mexico City.

I know Cliff basically named the song, and Rob is a damn fine player and renewed the band's energy...but this video reminds me why I miss Jason Newsted =/

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#OWS: People Are Strange

Did I say strange? I meant idiots. At least the people who partook in this 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll are.

They picked Ronald Reagan. Yes, when asked which president they would choose to steer the nation during these perilous economic times...they picked Ronald Reagan over FDR.

Now I'm not trying to hate on The Gipper. I could rant about how Reagan didn't win The Cold War, bring up the Iran-Contra Affair, his shameful stance on the AIDS epidemic, or his Gestapo tactics against UC students during his tenure as Governor of California...but I'm not going to do any of that. Besides, he liked jelly beans, Star Wars and was kind of senile, so I'll cut him some slack in those areas. What I can't do, is ignore the "voodoo economic" policies his administration implemented during the 1980's that set the field for the warm and fuzzy financial catastrophe we find ourselves in today.

Anyone? Anyone? Voodoo Economics...
Reagan's supply side economic polices, dubbed Reaganomics, were all about lowering taxes, cutting government spending, and deregulating the financial markets. This sound familiar? It's basically the play book from the recent GOP Presidential debates. The only problem doesn't work. Tax cuts usually sound nice, but not when they primarily benefit the wealthy and places a disproportionate burden on those with lower incomes to basically fund the nation. Shrinking the size of government has it's appeal (less functions = less waste), but not when it means cutting services to the very people who are bankrolling the operation in the first place. As for deregulating the financial sector, is it ever a smart idea to reward a gambling junkie with unlimited, federally insured funds? Probably not, or in America's case, definitely not. So Reagan lifted some New Deal regulations and gave Wall Street a license to gamble, and almost bled the middle class dry:

(bonus points for Reagan's son disavowing his Father's handy work!)

So yes, let's bring Reagan back to guide us through this Great Recession. Hell, let's get Jefferson Davis to run the NAACP while we're at. I'm not surprised by the 68% of Republicans who voted for their boy Ronnie in that poll, but man, those 34% of Independents and especially the 16% of Democrats are just, well:

The thing that really gets my eyelids twitching is that Reagan finished above FDR. What the hell are they teaching people in schools? Didn't everyone learn about the Great Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal?! Or his wheel chair cage match with Hitler? No? Guess not =/

I did kind of hate on Reagan a tad in this post. At least I didn't follow this dude's example!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011: Scary Music Overdose

It's Halloween. All week I've been spamming my facebook profile with random "dark" themed songs that none of my normal people friends give two shits about. Thankfully, I can always count on you bloggers to put up with my crap!

"...please take my hand."

"...need to know!"

"...enter to the realm..."

"...sworn to black we'll always be."

So happy Halloween. I guess. haha. I worked all weekend so didn't really do much celebrating (other than watching Evil Dead II at a friends house which is always awesome though). This year Halloween lands on a Monday, so blaaah. Here's a pic from a two Octobers ago, the last time I dressed up:

*hint* I'm not the mouse with the crooked ears. I'm the half-assed Abbath!

Friday, October 28, 2011

No Time

I'm working 6 days this week and 6 days next week as well. I swore I'd scrap together a legit blog post today but I just got home from work and am too tired to stare at the screen for too long, so I'll just share this with you...

Driving home last night. iPod on shuffle. This song comes on:

Immediately started speeding/rocking out.

I forgot how awesome Third Eye Blind's self titled debut album was. They have all the hits, "Semi-Charmed Life," "Jumper," "Graduate" and "How's It Going to Be" lined up all in a row! Twas' the greatest drive home I've had in some time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Answer Is...(4)

Congratulations to YeamieWaffles and Pat Hatt for winning yesterday's Take a Guess Challenge! I've never had two winners before, but you two both know your stuff! Congrats again.

The answer to yesterday's post is:
Fred Dekker's 1987 cult comedy/horror classic, The Monster Squad.

So what is The Monster Squad? Well, imagine The Goonies on steroids. Instead of dealing with crooks and pirates, The Monster Squad kids battle the unholy forces of evil! They're not a bunch of sniveling pussies either. No, the sassy middle school punks from Monster Squad, use foul language, raunchy humor, weapons, explosives and like to look at naked chicks with binoculars, voyeur style. And while Sloth did look kind of gnarly in The Goonies, he's got NOTHING on the awesome creatures in Monster Squad. The film features all the original Universal Studios monsters from the 1930's, re-imagined by Stan Winston and updated for the Reagan era. I first saw this film in either or 90' or 91'. The point is, I was extremely young. My aunt recorded it off HBO one night using fancy VCR technology. I cherished that tape for the next two decades.

So the film follows a group of pre-teens who like to hang in their tree house and talk about monster films/comics and other geeky sci-fi shit. Seems innocent enough, until Mother Fucking Count Dracula comes to town. Dracula starts rounding up a posse, consisting of some jailbait lolita vamps, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster and the coolest looking Creature from the Black Lagoon (aka the Gill-Man) ever. Strange things start happening, people start dying, 2,000 year old mummies vanishing from museums. You know, weird shit. With all the grownups head's firmly up their own asses, it's up to the members of the Monster Squad to save the day!

Sounds cheesy I know (and it partially is), but this flick is way more mature than it should be. First, the monsters are pretty hardcore. Dracula and the Wolf Man tear through more cops than I can count. Every time you see a dude in a Sheriff hat he's only moments away from getting his ass kicked. That, and they're also trying to kill a bunch of children. Like legitimately kill the fuckers. Dracula evens TNT's their tree house! Second, the kids get away with saying and doing some stuff that simply would not fly in a modern PG-13 movie. Case in point:

Ok, that wasn't so bad. Just a cutesy five year old hanging with a giant zombie, using a little profanity.
The rest of the squad is bit more frank. They curse, vandalize & blackmail their little hearts out and it's oh so amusing. This might sound crazy, but I think the Monster Squad gang was an indirect influence on South Park. Watch this movie a few times and I think you'll agree with me.

my personal hero: RUDY
Like most 80's popcorn flicks, Monster Squad is rife with ingenious one liners. That clip above where little Phoebe calls her brother's gang chickenshit. There's Rudy, the ultimate badass this side of The Man With No Name, valiantly heading into battle saying:
                                             "I'm in the goddamn club aren't I?"
And how could we forgot the moment where Fat Kid kills the Gill-Man and proudly clarifies what his real name is:

So there you have it. The Monster Squad is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. I watched that VHS tape my aunt gave me for 15+ years until I found a bootleg rip of the film on DVD in the mid 2000's. Then, in 2007, the film was finally, officially released on DVD in a special two-disc 20th anniversary edition. I'm still reeling with excitement in case you can't tell!

Here's the clip from The Monster Squad that features the horribly awesome Michael Sembello song from the previous Take a Guess challenge. This is montage of the squad preparing for their coming battle against the monsters is perhaps my favorite 80's montage of all, 2nd only to Rocky IV's training in the snow sequence.

This year, spend your Halloween with The Monster Squad, and kick anyone dressed as a werewolf in the balls =)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Take a Guess 4

It's been a while since my last Take a Guess Challenge....time for a new one!

Can any of you bloggers tell me what movie features this song?

Feel free to answer below in the comments section. Please refrain from using google/wikipedia/browsing the youtube comments to find the answer...cheating gets you nowhere! I'll post the answer tomorrow (or the next time I update) and the winner gets my total movie nerd respect and a shout out/link for being awesome.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Immolation & Scion: match made in heaven (hell).

Last night Immolation played a show here in Southern California. A headlining show with another sweet band I love called Gigan. Alas, I was stuck working and couldn't make it to the show. Even if I had ditched work, there was a family shin dig going on I would have been obligated to attend so, I was doubled fucked from going to this show regardless.

I've seen Immolation several times before but never headlining on their own. Bummer. See, this band doesn't exactly get out much. They're a bunch of regular working class dudes with full time jobs who, for the past 20+ years, sporadically meet up to record albums and tour the country in a van as this interview attests to.

I think that's their secret weapon though. Most bands usually start to suck by this point in their career, but Immolation keeps getting better and better. I actually look forward to their new material. So I was stoked when the mighty Scion swooped in and teamed up with the band to release a brand spankin' new EP, Providence, completely free of charge.

Some people hate on Scion or Vans or Converse or any other company for snooping their noses in the underground metal scene and throwing their corporate money around for publicity. Well I say, MOAR! Moar Scion sponsored albums and music festivals! Immolation is a perfect example of corporate sponsorship done right. The band doesn't have to change their sound and pander to a mainstream audience that will never embrace them to begin with. No, instead they get paid to keep doing what they always do. The audience gets free music/concerts and best of all, it doesn't suck either! Everybody wins. This is my fourth Immolation post of 2011. Three of those posts (including this one) were because of Scion. I rest my case.

Here's a the first song off Immolation's awesome new, Scion sponsored release:

It's heavy, ominous, twisted...and the guitar harmonics sound like angry kittens. Everything I love about this band.

You can get your paws on the the entire Providence EP (for free!) HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jedi Kittens!

I'm allergic to cats and I still love this video:

Star Wars and kittens. I'm sure Lucas would have just made them CGI if he had done this, but wheres the cuteness in that man? I'd rather watch this video a 1000x than Episode I in 3D.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Female Obsession: Lucy Liu

Gorgeous. Intelligent. Sexy. Creative. Lucy Liu is many things, but most of all, just plain awesome. It's been a while since she's appeared on Hollywood's radar but the ever elusive Lucy Liu remains as productive, and beautiful as ever. Welcome to the latest installment of, Female Obsession...

Liu as "Ling"
Lucy Liu began acting on television in the early 1990's. She had a few small roles on random shows here and there (like her awesome appearance on Home Improvement!) until Lucy finally got her big break in 1998, becoming a regular on the Fox smash, Ally McBeal.  My mom was all about this show back in the day. The only thing I remember about Ally McBeal was Calista Flockheart danced with that CGI baby, the cast would do karaoke at a piano bar and Lucy Liu's character was crazy. Crazy, and HOT. Lucy Liu's eyes were unnaturally beautiful. It was like she could see beyond the camera lens, across my TV, actually look through me and after wards, slap me across the face. She was terrifying and invigorating at the same time.

Liu crossed over to the big screen and starred in a string of Hollywood films in the early-mid 2000's. Most notably, the Charlie's Angels franchise and Quentin Tarantino's epic, Kill Bill.

If you haven't seen Liu's performance as the deranged mob boss O-Ren-Ishi in Kill Bill, you are missing out. Watch THIS clip, then hunt down the Blu-ray/DVD/bootleg VHS copy and learn something.

Painters Gonna Paint
Of course, Ms. Liu has taken on more than a few questionable roles in, um, how do I say...less than stellar motion pictures. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Code Name: The Cleaner, Rise: Blood Hunter? Yeah, I'm not so sure about those ones. She's stared in the uber succesful Kung Fu Panda animated films but I haven't gotten around to seeing those yet. Regardless of her choice of acting roles, Liu has a lot of other things on her plate. She is also an accomplished painter/artist, practices martial arts, speaks something like 6 languages (Madarin & English fluently, some Italian, French, Spanish and Japanese too!) and is an all around awesome human being, advocating for marriage equality/gay rights.

So yes, Ms. Lucy Liu, you are amazing. I'd love to hang out at one of your art exhibits, talk about film, religion, social issues and maybe even impress you with the handful of Spanish & French words I sort of know. Here's a clip of Lucy being awesome with my personal hero, Craig Ferguson.

Oh's Lucy Liu being gorgeous:

*BONUS Lucy Liu Overdose clip!*
*Original Youtube clip was removed =/ Here's new improved version: