IMDB Plot Summary: Martin was a normal teenage boy before the country collapsed in an empty pit of economic and political disaster. A vampire epidemic has swept across what is left of the nation’s abandoned towns and cities, and it’s up to Mister, a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin safely north to Canada, the continent’s New Eden.
Friday night I had the privilege of attending a free advance screening of Stake Land, a new post-apocalyptic horror tale set to hit theaters on the 22nd of April. As the Cinefamily site warned, even though this is a vampire movie: “These vamps don’t sparkle like couture in the sunlight, and they sure as hell don’t want you to love them — they’re dirty, scary bloodsuckers who’ve become the dominant predators in a post-apocalyptic hell.” Continue reading “Stake Land”
Director: Steve Gordon / Writer: Steve Gordon / Stars: Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, and John Gielgud Synopsis from IMDB: Arthur is a happy drunk with no pretensions at any ambition. He is also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan. He does not love Susan, but she will make something of him the family expects. Arthur proposes but then meets a girl with no money who he could easily fall in love with.
When I heard about the 2011 remake of the 1981 Arthur, it was a reminder to be me of being a kid from a poor family in a small Midwestern town in awe of the lifestyle where a guy could be so rich that they were free to stumble in and out of high-dollar public venues acting like a fool, making jokes that only he found funny, and more or less insult everyone he came across. I’m not sure I ever actually saw the movie all the way through as a kid, or even picked up on the fact that it was a romantic comedy. I always saw it as more of a jokester-type Caddyshack sort of movie than a quirky romantic Mannequin-type movie. And somehow, when I recently re-watched the movie—or watched it all the way through for the first time, rather—I was surprised to find that I thought it was far funnier when I was a kid than I do now.
For me, the opening scene sets a particular tone that the movie never comes back from. Drunken Arthur has his driver pull the ungodly expensive luxury car up to a corner somewhere in New York City, and he proceeds to engage in nonsensical dialogue with a couple of hookers. Continue reading “Arthur”
Director: Peter Yates / Writers: George V. Higgins (novel), Paul Monash (screenplay) / Starring:Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, and Richard Jordan When one of my friends offered to loan me the Criterion Collection DVD of The Friends of Eddie Coyle, I had never heard of the movie before. I didn’t bother to do any research about the movie before, or even immediately after, watching the movie. And while I did enjoy the movie, my deeper curiosity about it wasn’t really even piqued until a few days later, when a coworker saw it sitting on my desk and exclaimed “Oh – The Friends of Eddie Coyle – can I borrow that?!” Apparently this movie was all the rave back in the 1970s.
Then again, I suppose that part of the problem for me is that I’m not always crazy about crime dramas, particularly if they happen to be slow and or understated. As Ebert observes in his (1973!!) review of this film, the parts of this movie that hold our attention the least are the action sequences, when the banks are being robbed. The way the bank robberies were shot is, in fact, interesting to me, but because the real drama of the movie lied elsewhere, it definitely did feel a bit like I didn’t have much at stake as a viewer watching the robberies.
But maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. After all, the movie seems to be about a guy for whom the action just really doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of appeal. Eddie Coyle(Robert Mitchum) is a small-time Boston criminal whose chief aspirations seem to be to stay out of the can and be as good of a husband and father as a small-time criminal can be. The unfortunate thing we come to understand, however, is that Eddie is up for sentencing soon for a crime that didn’t go down as planned. Facing that rap, Eddie “Fingers” Coyle – who got his nickname for what his fellow thieves did to him when he was suspected of snitching before – finds himself thinking his only option to avoid getting locked up is to turn on his friends. Unfortunately for Eddie, the investigator he tries to work out a deal with keeps asking for more.
In some ways, this movie really felt like an early precursor to The Departed to me. A slower, quieter, simpler, and far less bloody precursor to The Departed, to be sure, but a precursor nonetheless. Robert Mitchum, an actor I recognize and feel very familiar with though I hardly knew his name before watching this, definitely makes Eddie Coyle very much a three-dimensional character. It was a little off-putting seeing Everybody Loves Raymond’sdad/grandpa playing bartender/mobster Dillon, but once I got over that, his relationship with Coyle sort of made the movie for me. I give this film an OM/YE thumbs up, for sure.
So, I finally gave in and jumped aboard the e-reader bandwagon. Not that it was a huge leap for me or anything, being the gadget-whore that I am, but I was just biding my time until I felt I could justify the expense. They made it easy for me by offering this refurbished Nook just within the double-digit price range. I’ve been enjoying it so far. I’d been using a Kindle app on my Android phone for quite some time—and even read all of Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore on my phone—but the price of the Kindle was a little more than the refurb Nook. Now that I have the Nook, while I certainly favor the more open epub format than the closed proprietary formats used by Kindle, I do miss the “Whispersync” feature of reading on Kindle. I’m hopeful that Barnes and Noble will pick up on that somewhere along the way.
Having an e-reader has also prompted me to start geeking out on how to create epub and kindle-formatted documents, which has been enjoyable. It turns out it may even have some useful applications in my workplace, which is also quite exciting. I am mindful of folks who seem to be against the idea of e-readers, although I suspect that’s actually more about Amazon and their arguably evil big business model. (They are Wal-Martish in many respects…?) I think it’s probably a good idea for more small publishers to look for ways to market ebooks as a way to combat the big business stranglehold on the market.
Anyway, all of that aside, one other thing I’ve managed to accomplish recently is getting my diplomas into some nice matching frames. Actually, they’ve been framed already for like two weeks now, the next line of business was getting them up on the wall. And that I have done. Enjoy.
For this week’s installment of OM/YE, I reluctantly decided to watch a movie that, at first glance, looked like it was going to be horrible. Now I’m not sure if this is a spoiler or not, but Android, in fact, turn out to be quite bad. The good news, though, is that it was almost bad enough to be entertaining.
The title sequence of the movie immediately lays down hints of what the movie is really ultimately all about: sex and robots. As the space-age music plays and the intro credits roll, we see the character we will come to know as Max playing with some humanoid metal toys, doing exactly what many young boys in that decade were doing with their sisters’ Ken and Barbie dolls: playing sexy time. In the first scene of the movie, we get a firm understanding of just how much a 1980s-era adolescent Max really is. First he’s getting worked up by watching some type of sex-ed film, then he gets a nagging intercom call from Dr. Daniel (Klaus Kinski) who is turning in for the night, and then he starts playing a video game that looks barely more sophisticated than Space Invaders. And, like with any good adolescent, once the parental unit has gone to sleep for the night, the hilarious hijinx ensue. Continue reading “Android”