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.