Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook

The trailer for this film left me scratching my head. Crazy guy and crazy girl start dancing to get...less crazy? I saw De Niro playing Bradley Cooper's father but, after decades of phoned in performances in sub par movies, I'm sad to say that doesn't mean much anymore. There were only two things that caught my interest about this film. The return of Chris Tucker (Smokey from Friday, funniest movie ever!) and it's director, David O. Russel. Well, Russel delivers yet again. I loved this movie. I really did.

Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a man with bi-polar disorder whose life has been turned upside down following a traumatic episode that resulted in him being institutionalized. He get released but must now live with his oddball, elderly parents. As he struggles to get his life back in order, he meets a young woman with mental/emotional problems that seem to match his own (Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany). The film follows their strange relationship, two "crazy" individuals who help each other maintain their sanity...even though the rest of society and it's "normal" people seem to act worse than them.

I can't say enough positive things about this film. The acting is top notch. I've never been a big Bradley Cooper fan but he knocks this role out of the park. His take on Pat, a violent, rage filled man who desperately longs to atone for his sins and settle back down to his once normal suburban life, is tragic and hilarious at the same time. Jennifer Lawrence is simply stunning. She's beautiful and her dance sequences, maaaaaaaaan. Her chemistry with Cooper is amazing. Their back and forth, often volatile exchanges had me laughing and at the edge of my seat at the same time. Chris Tucker, it's just so good seeing him back on screen I really didn't care what he did, but he makes Pat's crazy friend from the mental hospital seem like someone I'd want to hang out with too. Finally, De Niro...he's back. No Meet The Parents/New Year's Eve cash grab acting here. This is one of De Niro best roles in a long, long time.
David O. Russel knows how to craft family dramas and explore relationships. His films, are like "people persons," they're for everyone. His use of handheld cameras for flashback sequences, as well as music and pop culture references (Metallica and Megadeth REPRESENT!) up the fun factor in the film. What could have been a sad story of two people with mental health issues turned into one of the funniest, touching and entertaining films of the year. Go see Silver Linings Playbook. It's worth it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall

First, I must make an admission. I’d never seen an entire James Bond film before this. I grew up playing GoldenEye on N64 and might have seen parts from other Pierce Brosnan flicks over the years (which all pretty much sucked), but I’m a 007 n00b basically. I heard all the hype/positive word of mouth this film was getting, and saw Sam Mendes was the director and said, why not?  That being said, I enjoyed Skyfall.

The film follows James Bond’s return to the espionage world after a near fatal accident in the field sent him into self imposed exile. Bond returns to find his beloved MI6 spy agency in ruins. Bond has to rush back into action, even though he’s horribly rusty and not fit for active duty, and stop the deranged cyber terrorist/rogue MI6 operative who plans on destroying the agency and kill its director; M. 

Daniel Craig is the coolest Bond I’ve ever seen (that doesn’t say much). He’s got the sophisticated British charm thing down, but looks like he would generally enjoying beating the shit out of someone at the same time. Javier Bardem is much creepier as the villain then I imagined. He puts a tortured, quasi-homoerotic spin on his character. He’s a damaged man, both physically and mentally and is just really fucking weird. The film’s visuals look great, even the shots of Bond’s gloomy pad in Scotland are beautiful. I did have a problem with the final act of the film. It sort of turns into a super spy version of Home Alone, and the big finale is a little anti-climactic. Eh, it’s still a good movie though.

Also while I was watching Bond wreak vengeance on that sniper in the Chinese hotel, I suddenly realized where Christopher Nolan gets all his juice from. Most all of Nolan’s films follow sharp dressed dudes who jet set around the world, using fancy gadgets on some epic adventures (The Prestige, Inception, Batman Trilogy) and now I totally see the Bond worship. It makes sense, Nolan is British and probably grew up on this stuff. In Skyfall, Mendes seems to acknowledge the cultural impact of Nolan’s recent Bond worship films (and their use of Bat-wings, memory extraction/inception devices and clones machines) and decides to root Skyfall in good ol’ fashioned reality. The villain is a high tech computer hacking terrorist while Bond is armed in the latest cutting edge gadgets: a radio and a gun. It may be old school, but it’s very refreshing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gaza @ Aladdin Jr's, Pomona. 12/10/12.

Gaza's music is challenging. Some might call it abrasive, ugly, or sheer noise...I call it tragic. Imagine the Frankenstein Monster immolating himself after throwing that poor girl into the pond. Gaza's blend of hardcore/grind/sludge and even shoegaze, sound like the woeful screams of the Universal monster.

Back in 2010, I saw Gaza nearly steal the show not once, but twice, when they opened for my beloved Converge. I've been hooked ever since. From my spot perched above the stage (on some sketchy wood pallets), I watched Gaza knock the Pomona audience into a stupor. New songs off their glorious 2012 album, No Absolutes In Human Suffering were absolutely crushing live. New jams such as "This We Celebrate" and "The Truth Weighs Nothing" mixed with older tracks "Calf" and "Canine Disposal Unit," it was enough to make want to jump off my perch and raise hell on the floor. Of course I couldn't do that, I had a birds-eye view of Gaza's drummer Casey Hansen shredding his kit all night.

I watched young fans in the crowd, who had previously moshed their hearts out during opening act Code Orange Kids, stand mouth aghast during the heavy mindfuck sludge parts of Gaza's music. Jon Parkins, Gaza's vocalist/frontman/tallest dude in the building, spent most of his time offstage. He was on the floor, interacting with the crowd often times screaming without a microphone and still manged to be heard.

Gaza aren't rock stars. I don't think the word "ego" is in any of the band member's vocabularies. I went to both Southern California stops on their 2010 tour with Converge. After their set on night one, I asked Jon if they could play my favorite Gaza song "Hospital Fat Bags" during their set in night two. They did. Instant lifetime respect points earned.

Gaza make ugly, tragic, fucked up music that reflects the ugly, tragic fucked up world we live in. They say the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. Gaza has doing most the lifting for the human race in that department since 2004. Keep up the good work fellas.

My favorite Gaza song. DAT ENDING:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hell is empty and all the Devils are here:

Last week's massacre in Connecticut
was beyond horrible. It took a little bit of time for me to wrap my ahead around what actually happened. I've never been so ashamed of my species before.

These are odd times we live in folks. Mankind has progressed enough to accomplish great things, yet not enough to stop killing each other. This event will probably start a long debate about gun control and mental health issues here in The United States and I think it's about time. But that isn't enough.

The day of the shootings, after spending all morning shell shocked in front of the TV, I went to run some errands in the afternoon. As I locked my door the lady from the apartment across the way was coming home. We didn't say anything to each other but we made eye contact. I knew from her expression that we were both in the same boat. Disgusted, frightened, heartbroken people. People who under normal circumstances, were too caught up with the mundane "importance" of their everyday lives, and never interact with one another. But not here. In that hallway, on that horrible day, we were just human beings. Acknowledging each others existence and hoping for better days ahead.

I wish one day, this song won't be so accurate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Savages In This Town: Car Vandalized Edition

Hey. Long time no blog. I've been MIA for a bit and here's why:

My car was vandalized last Thursday night. Had a fun time out with friends near down town, came back to find my automobile utterly annihilated. times.

Aside from smashing four of the car's six windows, my favorite pair of sunglasses were taken. That's it. The stereo, iPod, and other personal items (including an extra jacket) were spared. As you might imagine, the inside was completely covered in glass. It's been nearly a week and I'm still finding small chunks of my windows inside.

The car was towed, the windows replaced and I was driving it home within 24 hours. Since I only have liability coverage, my insurance wouldn't do a thing to help, so naturally I was forced to pay out of pocket. I have zero information about what actually happened. I spoke with several business/building owners on the street where the incident took place hoping to use any security cameras in the area to fill out a police report. No dice there either.

Looks like some random asshole(s?) raped and pillaged my car and there's nothing I can do about it. My blogging activity has been sparse, and will continue to be so for the immediate future as a result of this little Christmas miracle. I'm trying to pick up some more shifts/sell some items to pay the damages.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Aaron Sorkin is a famous, Academy and Emmy award winning writer. His successful string of hits in film and television have made him akin to Hollywood royalty as of late. Yet, this following video will illustrate that Sorkin is a con man. He's gotten famous from plagiarizing, his work filled with recycled quips from none other than: Aaron Sorkin. Aaron Sorkin for all his success, is guilty of ripping off, himself.