Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spaceballs 25th Anniversary

image taken from a far superior site than this here blog.
So in my Prometheus review I posted the other day, I made a Spaceballs reference without even realizing it. Not sure if anybody picked up on it either (comments section made no mention at least) but it was later that day, as I read this article at that I realized what I had done.

The filmdrunk post gushes over the 25th anniversary/milestone of Mel Brook's legendary comedic spoof of the sci-fi genre, Spaceballs. If you've never seen Spaceballs before, stop what you're doing and hunt down a copy now! It's literally one of the funniest movies ever made. I was only two years old when this film was first released but thanks to the power of VHS I probably watched it like 5,000 times as a small boy in the early 90's. In fact, I'm pretty sure I watched Spaceballs more times than Star Wars and Alien combined. So when reviewing Prometheus the other day, I said something about Michael Fassbender's character David making all the other assholes in the movie seem like major assholes in comparison, I subconsciously made a reference to this awesome Spaceballs scene:

Dear lawd that still gets me every time. I'll be 75 years old watching this with subtitles and still laugh my ass off. So here's to Mel Brooks and Spaceballs. Thanks.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Movie Review: Prometheus

Ridley Scott's triumphant return to the sci-fi genre is here! Scott's work on Alien and Blade Runner from the 1980's (yeah I know Alien is from 79', I'm rounding up) have pretty much defined the science fiction genre for the past 30 years and now, after spending most of the last two decades on epic period pieces (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood), military flicks (G.I. Jane, Black Hawk Down) and dramas (Matchstick Men, American Gangster), Ridley Scott is back where he scary futuristic fucked up space travel genre!

For those of you out of the loop, Prometheus is a loosely associated prequel to Alien. It takes place in the same "Alien universe" only, about 30 years before the events of Scott's original film.

awesome cast is awesome
In Prometheus, a team of scientists and their corporate financiers (Weyland Corp., yes the same Weyland-Yutani Corp. from Alien...get it?? ok done) head off to a distant planet, well a moon actually, looking for who they believe are the creators of life on Earth. Of course this is a twisted sci-fi flick so things flip turn upside down rather quickly and their planned scientific journey of discovery becomes a nightmare. The crew of the Prometheus ship were hoping to meet their makers...some do literally, but most do, figuratively.

First things first. The film is GORGEOUS. I mean it's absolutely stunning visually. I think I could watch this film with the sound off and be just as excited because there's a not a bad shot throughout. I usually hate 3D movies with a passion but I shilled out the extra cash/eye drops for Prometheus and fell in love. The opening creation of life sequence is straight up breath taking and in my opinion worth the price of admission alone! It's like one of those IMAX National Geographic Earth documentaries, but with bodybuilder aliens!

The film's cast is amazing as well. Noomi Rapace did the impossible as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, she made me forget Lizabeth Salander ever existed! Guy Pearce plays old man Weyland like a real life C. Montgomery Burns, and Charlize Theron sizzles as the beautifully evil, Meredith Vickers. She's the only actress I can think of who can be smoking hot while playing someone so ice cold. Finally, Michael Fassbender steals the entire movie with his portrayal of David the android. Fassbender continues his path to utter world domination, playing David like a the bastard cousin of Star Trek's Data and Mr. Smithers combined. How marvelous is David the robot? Well he's basically the most compelling dude in the movie and makes the other assholes on the ship seem like major assholes in comparison, especially when you remember that he's not even human!

Now some people (re: THE INTERNET) are pissed because the movie has a few problems with it's plot. I agree there are some things that happen in Prometheus that make no sense at all. Like why would a team of highly trained scientist/explorers take off their fucking helmets on an alien planet?!?!? I mean, Buzz Lightyear warned us all what could happen right?? And also, don't touch anything man! Jesus.. So yeah, some smart people do some stupid shit but it's not really the end of the world. Overall, the plot isn't that hard to follow and the movie succeeds in asking some pretty lofty questions about the meaning of life while still managing to not only entertain but leave you squirming in your chair.
Prometheus Haters
In short:
Prometheus has amazing visuals and special effects.
Michael Fassbender/David the android rules.
The film introduces a new backstory/continuity timeline for sci-fi geeks to drool over.
The Engineers are bad mofos.
Scott ponders topics like the meaning of life and yet still revels in blood and guts entertainment(in 3D!).

If any of that stuff tickles your fancy, Prometheus might be for you. I saw it twice and wouldn't shut up about it for weeks. My girlfriend originally liked the film but I kind of ruined it for her with my ranting about Xenomorphs, Engineers, androids and Greek mythology that followed...oh wells.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Awesome Photo (9)

Engineer's Gonna Engineer. Behind the scenes look at the beginning of  Prometheus (movie review coming real doe!).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1st Day of Summer w/ The Hives

Last year, I declared that Slayer's South of Heaven was my 2011 SUMMER JAMZ album of the season.

Well, today is the first day of summer 2012. Looks like The Hives are my band for this summer. Which album? All of them. I have an hour and 20min The Hives Mix I crank on my iPod. Here's one of their newest jamzzzz off their new record, Lex Hives.

Remember to listen to this stuff at full blast as you tear down the highway with the window down this summer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bret "The Hitman" Hart @ Frank & Sons

On Saturday June 2, 2012 one of my boyhood dreams came true. I met WWF super star (YES I'm always going to refer to it was the World Wrestling Federation and not that WWE crap), the excellence of execution himself, Bret "The Hitman" Hart.

Bret was signing autographs at Frank & Son Collectible Show, the coolest fucking place on the planet, which my girl friend has affectionately dubbed "Geek Land." It's like Comic-Con without the glitz and paparazzi. If you're into comic books, action figures, toys, sports memorabilia, video games, professional wrestling, sci-fi (Star Wars!), anime...if it's collectible and nerdy: it's here.

Old School FTW
I've been coming to Frank & Son's for about 20 years now. It's where I bought my first X-Men comic book when I was six years old and retains a pretty special place in this blackened heart of mine. Around the same time I got into comic book superheroes in the early 90's, I also fell under the spell of live action super heroes thanks to the wonders of pay-per view and professional wrestling...specifically, the WWF. Of all the high flying, body slamming brawlers who graced my television screen on Saturday mornings and Monday Nights, I had one absolute favorite. He was the best there is, the best there was...and the best there ever will be: Bret The Hitman Hart

Bret Hart was my hero. He was the like the ultimate wrestling boy scout. Hailing from a long and prestigious family of professional wrestlers, it's what he was literally born to do. Bret wasn't built like a tank or the flashiest wrestler in the business (Hulk Hogan anyone?) but he was easily one of the most talented. His skills in the ring are what got him ahead and won matches. A brilliant technical wrestler who could (and would) grapple with any opponent, ranging from 600 lb monsters (Yokozuna) to 7 ft tall giants (Kevin Nash/Disel), Bret was perhaps the most determined wrestler of his era. His finishing move was the "Sharpshooter," the back bending, leg twisting submission hold I used to practice on with my friends and cousins when we would play wrestling outside.

Basically, I was the the little kid in this video:

So 20 years later, Bret Hart came to my geeky home away from home, to sign autographs at Frank & Son. This was destiny.

Of course some things had changed in the last 20 years. It used to be that I was the wrestling fanboy who would root and holler for the Hitman while my mom stood in the background partially amused. I watched the WWF events because I wanted to kick ass like Bret Hart...she watched because she wanted him to be my new step dad (school girl crush 10x). So now it's 20 years later and the tables have turned. When I told her Bret would be signing at Frank & Son, my mom was more stoked than I was.

So the day had come and we made our way to Geek Land. Being the hoarder that she is, my mom unearthed a bunch of old WWF magazines from the 90's for Bret to autograph. She reminded me how I wanted to throw them away when I was a teenager but she intervened. Good call mom, good call. Frank & Son is always pretty packed on Saturdays but it felt more claustrophobic than usual thanks to the extra 300 or so people inline waiting for the Hitman. We waited for about an hour and half talking with other wrestling fans of the 90's. Some dudes must have dropped a fortune there, getting multiple large/crazy items autographed (posters, flags, replica championship belts, etc).

When the time came, I gave my mom the autograph ticket meaning SHE would be the one to get our magazine signed. She just completed her final treatments for breast cancer earlier in Spring and has been recovering nicely ever since. This Bret Hart signing was like the most exciting/fun/awesome-tastic thing she's experienced lately and needless to say, she was ecstatic when she shook hands with the Hitman.

and here's the autograph:

I met Bret Hart. Mom was stoked. Awesome autograph I intend to be buried with. Geek Land FTW.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nasum/Landmine Marathon/Nausea@ The Black Castle, Los Angeles. 5/30/12.

...long live the king
Nasum was an awesome Swedish grindcore band. Tragically, the band's singer/guitarist Mieszko was killed in the horrific Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. When Mieszko died, Nasum perished along with him. That is, until now.

2012 would have marked the band's 20th anniversary. Nasum founder/drummer Anders Jakobson decided to reform the band for one final tour to mark the occasion. Due to Mieszko's tragic and untimely passing, Nasum never got to say goodbye to it's legions of fans. Now, after 7 years on ice, Nasum was back (with Rotten Sound singer and friend on vocals) for one last hurray.

I was beyond stoked for this show. Remember, the band had been dead for the past 7 years. I never thought I'd be standing inline for a Nasum show, yet here I was. I didn't even mind that the venue was a dump (well, not a first). We missed the first act Early Graves which is funny because, I ALWAYS miss Early Graves every time they share a bill with headliners I want to see. We walked inside as LA grindcore legends Nausea were playing. I respect all that they did for the genre back in the 80's but the band was pretty boring. In fact I'd say about 1/2 the band members themselves looked bored out of their minds (including the frontman). The best part of their set was when they did sloppy versions of Terrorizer songs.

Landmine Marathon were next. Their schtick is that they're a death/grind band that has a girl singer. The band's music is kind of "eh" (competent riffs but nothing special...pretty bland/inconsistent drumming) but their live show is pretty awesome. Again this is all due to their female frontwoman:
She's pretty fucking crazy onstage. She's tall, thin and fair as snow but don't let her looks fool you, she's Linda Blair/Exorcist insane when her band starts playing. This was my 2nd time seeing Landmine Marathon and again I was not disappointed. I don't really follow their musical career, so I don't know much about their history or names of songs but so long as they keep Grace on vocals, I'm always down to see them when they role through town.

Remember when I said that I didn't mind that the venue was a dump? Well, now I did. Big Time. The Black Castle is basically a former auto body repair shop that's been hollowed out, painted black and had a stage thrown up in the back. There is no air conditioning or ventilation system at all inside. As the night progressed and more people arrived, the temperature inside skyrocketed. The "bar" was a U-Haul type trailer outside that sold drinks from the back of the truck bed. So as the bands played on and the smell of sauna-fied gym shorts filled the air, the outside U-Haul bar/holding pen became the only means of salvation/fresh air (and if by fresh you mean cigarette filled).

Anyways. Aside from me melting like the witch from Wizard of Oz, Nasum played a killer set. They came out and just slayed the place. They rarely addressed the audience and didn't make any official statements about this being their final tour or acknowledging Mieszko. No, they let their music do the talking for them. They played a lengthy set, with songs represented from most of their catalog. Keep in mind these are grindcore songs, where anything over the 2 min mark is considered "lengthy" so the fact that they played for an hour means they played a shit load of material!

I stood down in the front near the stage for the first 6 or 7 songs before my sweat glads had enough. I rushed outside for some (somewhat) fresh air and water, but alas, they sold out of my precious H20 and I had to settle for room temperature Coke instead. After returning inside I watched the remainder of their set from the sidelines. Despite the heat, the band and their rabid fans near the stage keep the energy level up all night. I looked around the room and say the awestruck grin on most everyone's faces toward the end. The "holy shit! They're playing "The Black Swarm!" I must be dreaming!" look. Truly an awesome and memorable night. That being said, there was slight specter of dread hang over their set. It was amazing to finally see Nasum live but this amazing show was less a reunion than a blazing farewell and I had to remember that. Bummer...Mieszko's still gone and the band is going back on ice after this. Still, hell of a way to go out if I must say so myself.

For mote high def photos from Nasum's Black Castle gig, check out:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Famous High School Dropouts

So I'm back. My near week long blogging hiatus is over (miss me?). I got busy doing job application stuff, sneezing, pushups, working, watching Prometheus a million times. Anywhoo, here's a fascinating article I stumbled across this morning on Yahoo:

Famous Celebrity Dropouts.

I already knew Jim Carrey, Mark Wahlberg and Charlie Sheen never completed high school (Jim had a ROUGH childhood, Mark and Charlie were just crazy) but was pretty surprised at:

                                                    Drew Barrymore

                                                        Simon Cowell

                                                      and Johnny Depp

So remember kids. When you're cramming for that physics final and are sweating it when all your bills are due at once but you still need money to fill up your tank of gas for the next work week....think of the success a lad like Simon Cowell has achieved without a high school diploma, and weep. Don't worry, it feel pretty good after a while.

Friday, June 8, 2012

DrumTHRONE: Kevin Talley

Kevin Talley is a legend in the underground metal scene and the dude is only 33 years old. He joined Dying Fetus when he was a teenager in 1998 and has been pummeling his way across the metal world ever since. Keeping track of the all the bands Kevin has played with over his career would require a graphing calculator and a coffee break but lets just say he's played with A LOT of top notch metal bands throughout the 2000's and it's safe to say he's made all of them better for it.

So Kevin first made a name for himself in Dying Fetus. I already gushed about the mighty Fetus in a previous Crunch Time post HERE, but long story short, Kevin's drumming on their 2000 album, Destroy The Opposition, is phenomenal. This is the record that put Mr. Talley on everyone's radar. After this he (and 3/4 of the Fetus dudes) jumped ship and formed Misery Index. Here's a clip of Kevin recording Misery Index's 2004 EP, Dissent.

In case you didn't notice from the video above, Kevin Talley plays drums like a fucking mad man. He hits loud and hard. I remember watching his instructional DVD and he said he never uses double strokes, always sticks with singles because he wants the maximum amount of power from his hits. Well, mission accomplished buddy. The last time I saw Kevin play was with Six Feet Under on this past summer's, er,  Summer Slaughter Tour and man he straight up demolished those drums. 

So Kevin is renowned for his creative grooves (especially in Dying Fetus where it sounded like he was playing Hip Hop beats sometimes), speed (Misery Index) and rock solid timing (Chimaira). He's also kind of like the #1 hired gun drummer in the extreme metal world. I watched him play for both The Red Chord and The Black Dahlia Murder (filling in for their MIA drummers) in ONE night. The drummer from Hate Eternal quit the band before a major European tour, they called Kevin and he learned their entire set in 8 hours. The drummer from Devildriver gets food poisoning...they call Kevin and he hops a plane, learns the set in 3 hours and plays their show that night

Perhaps the coolest thing about Kevin Talley, at least in my book, is that he auditioned for Slayer back in 2002 and pretty much NAILED it. He was the top pick before Dave Lombardo (founding member of Slayer and DrumTHRONE honoree) rejoined the band that year. How amazing is it that this dude leaves home at age 18, becomes a professional musician and not only has a thriving career playing with Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Chimaira, Daath and now Six Feet Under, but he basically was accepted into Slayer. SLAYER man! All this and he's barely in his early 30's. Talley is living the dream.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Movie Review: Men In Black 3

*sigh* Here we go again...again.
At first I swore I would never pay to see this gimmicky cash grab nostalgia/exploitation movie. Then I started hearing how great Josh Brolin was impersonating Tommy Lee Jones so I almost changed my mind. Almost. Luckily my friend scored from free movie tickets so, I upheld my sacred oath and didn't have to pay/contribute to Will Smith's kid's crappy music career.

Anywaaaaays. I digress. So back to the movie. It wasn't horrible but sure as hell wasn't good. The first Men In Black was an awesomely tongue and cheek B-movie that rocked some cool special effects and played like a 90's version of Ghostbusters meets Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The sequel, well I don't really remember the sequel that's how much of an impact it left on me. So this third film really had nothing going for it other than a vehicle to refresh Will Smith's ATM card. I mean, he's a worldwide mega star so his cocky street tough character is hardly believable anymore and actually comes off as kind of annoying. Also, his character "J" is like 40 years old now, and he's STILL partners with Tommy Lee Jones who's pushing 70 in the film. I mean, Christ, they've been partners for 14 years and it's the most unnatural chemistry I've seen between two actors ever.
Shut Up Will.
Finally, the whole wow factor of MiB universe is just done also. CGI effects have been done to death nowadays. I remember the little animatronic smart ass aliens and the talking dog from the first film were like huge deals in the 90's. Now we've got Andy Serkis doing entire characters with computer/motion capture technology. Also, how many films about aliens have been released in the past two summers? It's just overkill.

The ONLY saving grace about this film is in fact, Josh Brolin, who does a good job playing the younger version of Tommy Lee's Agent K. That's it. There's a few cool gags with the whole time travel thing but even then, they totally dropped the ball with that also. I know not every time travel film can match Back to The Future but c'mon guys, this weak plot is kind of insulting.

If you want to kill some time and just chill out with some popcorn in a dark room then MiB3 might do the trick. Barely though.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wonders of Pandora: The Big Sleep

So now that I'm officially in the 21st century, I've been listening to Pandora a lot. Oh the wonders of online radio. I had planned to do a different post today (Movie Review actually) but can't stop listening to this song on repeat so here we are.

 Thank you Pandora for exposing me to this awesome little jam.

Friday, June 1, 2012

under-covers: Roy Orbison/Van Halen

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 latest installment of "under-covers."

Today we feature one of the greatest singers of all time, Roy Orbison and his 1964 classic, "Oh, Pretty Woman." I'm sure everyone knows this song (and the movie...c'mon I know you do)

 My god that voice! Orbison's voice is just uncanny. He could literally sing the phone book and I'd be stoked to hear it. It doesn't hurt that this is probably one of the catchiest tunes in the universe.

You know what else is catchy and totally rad in a different way? Van Halen. Here's Eddie and the boys cover of "Oh, Pretty Woman," from their 1982 album, Diver Down.
Spiffy. Spiffy stuff right there. I love how this cover remains so true to the original, yet sounds so much like a Van Halen song in it's own right. This just shows how huge an influence Orbison and all the classic early rock'n'roll pioneers of his era were on the band.

I love both of these covers but gotta say, nothing beats the original in my book. David Lee Roth is (er...was) one hell of a frontman but he's got NOTHING on Orbison when it comes to vocals. Roy's dreamy/lonesome voice is probably the most tragic yet heart warming thing I've ever heard. What do you folks think?