Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Take That Ball to the House! Pound it!

It is the twenty-fifth of December and that means the fat man cometh to bestow gifts onto those deserving. To all of those who are naughty, may the Krampus take mercy upon your eternal soul. I doubt that is the case though since you all are a high class people.

Anyway, to all of you out in the interweb, we here at PORTEmaus wish all of you a Merry Christmas. For our Jewish friends, I hope that a Happy Chanukah was had by all and that it was a glorious Festival of Lights. Not to leave our brothers who celebrate Kwanzaa out, may it be a joyous celebration as well.

It is another year gone and hopefully, the New Year will bring some up to date archives and possibly a redesign. At the very least, I will get cracking on my belated review of Skyfall and the best/ worst of lists. As always, I hope that the past year has went well and the next one is even better... Well, barring the country falling off the fiscal cliff.

Your humble servant,
Manny Funkowitz

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End is Nigh - Thankfully, the Mayan Absurdity ends today! Reason number: I

The world has ended! What was the main reason for it happening? The Mayans said it would happen or they were a little lax in their calendar duties.

(Brings finger to right ear)

I have breaking news! The sun has risen and the world continues to turn. Those of you who spent money on canned goods, guns/ ammo, gas and water certainly are looking sheepish right now. Sorry Funkowitz wee bairns, Christmas has been canceled since daddy bought into this whole mishegas about the sky falling and invisible space comets hell bent on annihilating mankind. Looks like we are eating canned beets well into the future. At least we have each other.

Seriously, I have said it for years that this whole Mayan prophecy was ridiculous. Glad to see nobody bought into it and no one spent any time covering it in the media. Damn.

Now, if you excuse me I have to get back to writing my review of Skyfall which I should have posted a month ago.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hidden Comet Warning: Mayan Apocalypse Sign Number two: #hashtags

Much like Communism, hash tags are great in theory. One is a classless society where everyone is equal and the other is a form of metadata to classify/ organize subjects. In practice, both are overwhelming failures. With that being said, I apologize to Lenin, Marx and Fidel but also twelve year old girls everywhere for my stance on Communism and social networking tools. At least the former is thought out... What do hash tags going for them?

While a hash tag might not be a sign that the world is going to end on December 21st, 2012, it damn well should be. It is not used in the context of its origin and has become the societal equivalent of a cut at the top of one's mouth. Sorry, Doc Pemberton. I truly hope the real creator of Coca Cola is spinning in his grave now that a fictional twitter version has filch his identity, to hawk Cokes and hash tags. Nothing calls for either of those. Well, except for the rotting of teeth and minds.

All obvious vitriol aside... You know, I can't even come up with something decent to say about these things and much like Windows 8, I hope that intelligent life in the cosmos are not exposed to it. Sorry but your picture of waffles does not need to be organized for ease of use and the use of specific hash tags (like #iamamorontopostapictureofmywaffles) defeats their purpose. So, hopefully the Mayans were right because every hash tag used leads us to our eventual intellectual destruction.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Race to doomsday - Mayan Edition: Part III - Revenge of the McRib

The world as we know it is set to end this Friday because an ancient civilization said so. With that being said, it is time to put on your best hobo garb, grown out that beard and spray yourself with animal urine... We are going to the street corner to yell incoherently. Now, where did I put that grammatical incorrect homemade sign?

One sign that has been overlooked by practically everyone, historians, naysayers and your run if the mill doomsday fanatics is the return of the McRib. Born from the minds of McDonalds' Reconstructed Meat Technologists to champion the cause of obesity, diabetes and clogged arteries in America, the McRib is an elusive piece of American fast food culture.

What better way to herald the doom of all of Earth's species than by it magically re-surfacing four days before the end of the world. It seems that the McRib has replaced death as one of the four horseman of the Apocalypse. I do hope that this conjures the imagery of a sandwich riding a flying horse (with a scythe) because it did for me but I digress. So, as you lay that first bite into your McRib, just know that this was one of the major signs that the Mayans prophesied regarding the fate of our world.

Addendum: It should be mentioned that McDonald's pushed its return from October/ November to December. Coincidence? I think not.

Monday, December 17, 2012

End of the World: Final Countdown - Number Four: The Possibility of Mitt Romney as President


Not sure if you know this but the world is going to end this Friday. Now, I have it on good authority from an ancient civilization that we are all doomed. During the time it takes you to put on a sandwich board, let me regal you with a tale about the next of five signs that signal our doom.
The number four entry in our series comes from the Presidential campaign of one, Willard Mitt Romney. Now, I realize that he lost and I do not intend to gloat but his campaign remains a scathing indictment of the American political process. You know that someone chugs when Newt Gingrich refers to you as a "bad candidate" and that "he would have preformed better..." If that is not the Pot calling the kettle, Newt.

Most are viewing Mitt through hindsight and frankly, that is downright moronic. He made some ridiculously stupid statements and adopted positions that no sane person (let alone a presidential candidate) should make. Nobody made comments about how the GOP needed to change when the polls were "close" (Do not get me started on that). Catchers Mitt embodied what was wrong with American Conservative politics and now, he is the scapegoat for his loss. I guess that is what happens when you over correct.

P.S. Newt... There were a lot of things that were with the GOP's presidential primaries/campaign and Catchers Mitt was not solely the source of them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Armageddon watch: Signals of the end times. Part Five.

As one might know, the world is going to end on Friday. After all, if an ancient civilization (even one where the multitude of believers cannot locate the country of origin) or that incredible documentary starring John Cusack says that it is going to happen, then we best pack it in. Yep, game over. It was not a missing zero that did us in, it was the prophecy of Mayans.

Now, we here at PORTEmaus take such things seriously, we broke Harold Camping and once time travel is created, yours truly plans on socking Nostradamus in the kisser. Why do we believe in such eventualities? I am glad that you asked, we are going to the five revelations that have cemented our fate. The first of which was the creation of Windows 8.

Do not get wrong, I (as an Apple user) had high hopes for the once dominant software juggernaut and the latest version of their operating system. It looked like (kinda) snazzy and frankly, looked like a movement away from the same old tired Microsoft product. Sadly, I was wrong after demoing it at work, one fateful day in October. It is a colossal mess, all of the snazzy aesthetics would feel right at home on a tablet, cellular phone or the xBox but do not fit the average user's desktop.

In fact, that was Microsoft's replacement for the start menu... Good job, Ballmer. Plus, you marketed the OS with advertising that is reminiscent of an old man trying desperately to be cool. You guys are trying too hard. What next, are you going to offer candy to the neighborhood children? Hopefully, the Mayan's are right and the world ceases to exist, so no record of this blunder is accessible by alien life forms.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fashionably Delicious: Target and Neiman Marcus bring Xmas and fashion together

Is it really that time again? Is it already here? Cause it seems like the last one was just here. Thanksgiving? No that passed. Christmas? No that's another post altogether. I'm talking of course about the latest capsule collection from Target. After mild success with their "shops" concept, Target is here with another conceptual collaboration. Neiman Marcus has partnered with Target and with the help of 24 designers, they have created the gifting shop to end all gifting shops. First and foremost. I love this idea.

In case you didn't know I LOVE Christmas, but more than that, I love the holiday season. Whatever you celebrate or don't celebrate December feels different than any other month, as people come together with a spirit of giving and hope. It's an incredibly optimistic time and you better believe that I love every minute of it.

Back to the task at hand. This concept is built from the idea that these designers all get to design a few gifts for this collection. With people like Rodarte, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and Marchesa I'm sure the excitement is at a fever pitch. What I love most about this, is the amount of whimsy an out of the box thinking that went into it. For instance Rodarte? They're offering up wrapping paper, and Gap alum Diane Von Furstenburg? She's giving you the most fabulous yoga mat around.

It's just the kind of magic that I love to see blend into reality. Would you ever have imagined Band of Outsiders making Cookie Cutters? Now there are over 50 pieces to choose and to be fair not all of them are winners. But they offer wide range of choices, and while I'm not excited about it, I'm sure there are plenty of you out there excited about a Tory Burch lunch box. So rather than go through each piece, I'm going to highlight my six favorite pieces.

Before we get to that though, if we had a daughter Jason Wu and Marchesa's pieces for little girls would be at the top of my list. I mean look at them...adorbs

1. Band of Outsiders cookie cutters - tastiest most classic American masculine style with a modern fit cookies are on there way

2. Altuzarra bar ware - just recently we have begun to realize that sometime in the past few years we stopped drinking cocktails out of plastic Iron Man cups from 7-11 and began to care whether we were using a high ball or a tumbler. It makes me sad to, but the new and improved thirty year old me, says this set will make all my friends jealous at the next bourbon party.

3. Jason Wu ornaments - didn't I mention I love Christmas? I am so excited for these to give my tree the whimsical yet subtly detailed elegance of Wu.

4. Rag & Bone shot glasses - I didn't mean for alcohol to take over this list, but refer to my thoughts on Altuzarra. Either way these are badass.

5. Phillip Crangi accent box - another Gap Alum, this box just looks hard, and nothing better to hold trinkets than something hardcore.

6. Rodarte wrapping paper - seriously?! They made wrapping paper? That is just too cool.

There's plenty more to love and I'm sure your favorite pieces won't be as focused on decorations and alcohol as mine. That's what's so great about the holidays, to each his own.

Thank you Target and happy holidays

Bence

One last thought - I didn't write about it but Twincess and I Loved the Patch NYC collection, if you were able to make it for Thanksgiving then you know just how obsessed we are.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mitt Romney:

As I continue to enjoy my self-imposed media blackout, it is time to highlight the opponent to the "Whitest" man in America, Mitt "Catcher's Mitt" Romney.

As the former Governor of Massachusetts, Catcher's Mitt (as he is affectionately known around these parts) created the basis for what would later become known as Obamacare. During the primaries, he was so hated by his opponents that they ran as the "not Romney" candidate.

Romney is known for his trademark smile and his well-known regard for the plight of the poor in America. He is a man with unparalleled tact when speaking about the such delicate issues.

Case in point:


Oops... Wrong video. I miss John McCain. I am glad that he received my write-in vote.

Halloween Traditions....what better way to celebrate Election Day.

You know 90 minutes on the train everyday really yielded a lot of time to devote to writing. Going to have to figure this new situation out better.

Either way another HALLOWEEN has come and gone. The evolution of Samhain into Halloween is a gloriously pagan tale that has intrigued people for ages. For us, it marks the beginning of the holiday season and of course out yearly Halloween marathon. This year we introduced the youngest of the sisters Funkowitz to the celebration and in doing so we were able to enjoy some great Halloween moments as we exposed her to one of my favorite yearly traditions.

This year was all about a broad spectrum. Rather than focus on pure frights, I wanted to delve into the diversity that "horror" has to offer as well get through some classics of the genre. Easily one of the most successful we've had. Here's our list with some quick commentary. I hope you all had a great Halloween.

Trick R' Treat - Michael Dougherty
Great way to start off the month with this underrated celebration of Halloween. Filled with great character actors and plenty of fun, this is a great way to introduce the spirit of Halloween.

2. The Beyond - Lucio Fulci
On the other side of the spectrum we have Italian horror maestro Fulci, at his grotesque best giving us a tale of hell on earth. Zombies, and demons, and spiders and ghosts abound in this "collection of images" as Fulci calls it. The loose plot and Italian style dubbing definitely didn't resonate with the uninitiated sisters Funkowitz. But the brilliance of imagery is undeniable.

3. Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein - Charles Barton
An absolute classic and completely timeless. My favorite collection of monsters on film. If you haven't seen this Universal released a great Blu Ray recently, I strongly suggest you pick it up.

4. Cabin in the Woods - Drew Goddard
Celebration and condemnation of horror films and how formulaic they have become. Whedon and Goddard have crafted a supremely entertaining love letter that has its fair share of gore and more than enough monsters for any movie goer.

5. Ed Wood - Tim Burton
Going behind the scenes with Burton's fairy tale telling of the b movie master Ed Wood. This rather optimistic take on the infamous director gives us a look at the outcasts and misfits behind the scenes of the schlocky monster films of yesterday. Like I said trying to hit all aspects of the horror industry.

6. Cabin Fever - Eli Roth
Nothing like a good teens in the woods story to set the frame of a great horror film. Eli Roth burst onto the scene with this nostalgic tale, which reinterpreted the slasher film as a flesh eating virus. Love the references in this movie, underrated in my opinion.

7. Hostel II - Eli Roth
Not sure how we ended up watching so much Eli Roth, but I like the guy and think he has a great knowledge of the genre. He definitely has no qualms about going for the jugular. This sequel to his torture porn original expands on the world glimpsed at in the first one. Rather than being just a retread of the first film he gives us an idea of the expansive reach this company has. I actually prefer the original, but Roth gets a lot of shit for his torture porn, when he's actually doing it well.

8. V/H/S - Multiple directors
The new anthology film from quite a few up and coming horror directors. This is extremely low budget and really takes a look at the multiple types of found footage films there could be. As to be expected the film is uneven. Ti West with his story of a struggling relationship on the road is a standout entry that goes to some pretty dark places. Joe Swanberg also turns in a creepy ghost story told over Skype, with a turn that is surprising rather than insulting. Radio Collective however turns in the final film which is easily the most entertaining and most fun to watch, what they were able to accomplish is impressive and the story loves up to the technical prowess. The framing story as well as the first film and the middle film leave much to be desired.

9. The Intruders - Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Really excited to see where this guys career takes him. Unfortunately this film is as forgettable as they come. A kind of ok ghost story with some ok visuals, that just loses whatever potential it had with a lackluster and honestly confusing ending...so it was all in their head? Does that mean the psychiatrist's intervention was right?

10. Death Proof - Quentin Tarantino
Quentin's entry into the grind house experiment plays like a fetish film for all of his regular obsessions. But while Kill Bill was post modern to an extreme here there is an overwhelming sense of fun throughout. If you never thought Quentin was actually obsessed with legs and feet, well this is the film to turn you around.

11. The American Scream - Michael Stephenson
The follow up documentary from the director of Best Worst Movie. This film takes a sympathetic look at those who call themselves "home haunters". The people that take decorating their house for Halloween to the next level. What Stephenson does so well, as in his last film, is show us these eccentrics, these weirdos, but most of all he shows us the passion they all have for creating a memory for one night. Really excited to have this one in the rotation, like I said trying to run the gamut of what Halloween had to offer, this at the end definitely was a nice way to being winding down.

12. The Shining - Stanley Kubrick
Wanted to finish with an absolute classic of the horror genre, it came down to this or Rosemary's Baby. Both would've been great choices, but I went here as Kubrick's tale of a descent into madness is so downright creepy and uncomfortable that its hard to not let the film seep into your soul. Jack Nicholson gives high strung and crazy better than anyone and the result is one of the best movies of all time and easily top five horror films of all time.

Hope you had a great Halloween, now it's time to vote.

Bence

One last thought - next year I HAVE to work in Suspiria.

If you undecided here is why you should vote for Barack Obama:

The Muckraker has grown quite lax in its coverage of the 2012 Presidential election. Frankly, I tend to blame it on the negativity of both campaigns and the apathy borne out of it.

With that in mind, I would like to use this forum to illustrate why you should vote for one candidate or another.

Since I am trying my damnedest to be impartial, I will let Chris Rock speak on my behalf.

Why should middle class White America vote for President Obama? Here is why...


I have cupboards with cans of food, filtered water and I am not coming out until this all over."

It is that time again. Who would have thought that a quadrennial cycle would pass by so quickly. Now, we are faced with a difficult choice. Not so much for me, I already a while ago but I am a political "brown nose."

In spite of my enthusiasm for early voting, I will not be said to see this election cycle draw to a close. It has without a doubt highlighted everything that is worrisome about American politics. It has made even though most politically stalwart amongst us into an apathetic shell of the man that we all know and love.

Do not let me rain on the most holy of our democratic holidays. Go out there and exercise the hell out of your civic duties! Get that "voting sticker" and wear it proudly on your chest. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to sequester myself to my cave located somewhere in Appalachia.

I will pop in throughout the day as weather and Internet connections permit.

Your humble servant,
Manny

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Flick Bits: Marvel Phase 2 UPDATE

Hey MAUSketeers just wanted to bring you a quick update on some great happenings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically with their "Phase 2". I have some monster posts brewing but some of this news is just too exciting to pass up.

Some of this is a little old but I thought I'd chime in with some thoughts.

James Gunn Confirmed for Guardians
Wow. Marvel is not afraid to think outside the box and boy are they getting crazy with this choice. Gunn is a crazy director, who's foray into the super hero genre yielded a genuinely unique and dark entry in the genre. You can read my thoughts on Super here. Not my first choice for a sci fi epic, but if anyone can bring a rough around the edges leader and a badass raccoon with a talking tree to life it's Gunn. Extremely excited about this.

Sharon Carter in Cap 2? Carol Danvers in Avengers 2
Rumors are up and swirling about the lead female characters in some of these new Marvel films. We all know Portman is back for Thor 2, but with Cap jumping to the modern day it seems destined for Sharon Carter to be introduced. As for Carol Danvers? She's an integral part to the Avengers as of late, not to mention more powerful than most of the men on the team. They say Emily Blunt is up for the role, I definitely think she can bring enough badass to the role to make it work, but also the levity needed. Looking forward to see these play out. Maybe if they wait like 8 years Chloe Grace Moretz can get the role.

Ant-Man CONFIRMED for late 2015
Edgar Wrights passion project finally gets the go ahead. After years of speculation and campaigning it seems that we will finally see an Antman film after Avengers 2. I suppose that puts this in "phase 3" territory, either way I can't wait. Not the hugest Ant-man fan, but with Gunn on Guardians and Wright on Ant-Man we are in for some(hopefully) incredibly unique super hero films. And ...maybe Ant-man will lay the ground work for Ultron in Avengers 3.

Bence

One last thought- Coulson LIVES! At least in TV form as it seems Coulson will be an integral part of the SHIELD TV series

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

God as a Zilla... King as a Kong.

It has been awhile since the last time I addressed you all in this manner and I hope that I have not been forgotten. I have taken the opportunity to escape from my doctoral shackles to take some time to bring you up to speed with what is happening in the hallowed halls of the Maus.

Foremost, Bence has relocated to a place where it gets so hot that rain evaporates before it hits the ground. A location where winter is merely a slight breeze on an ordinary 70 degree day in December. Anyway, welcome to Arizona, one of the oddest states in the union. Take that daylight savings! You have no place here.

With all of us here in one state, hopefully it will mean that we will create more content for all of the PORTEmaus loyalists out there. All three of you. Hopefully, this means more PORTEcasts that will be recorded to only sit edited on my laptop. Well, I know what I will be doing this evening...

Finally, what letter from the editor is not complete without a progress report. While such a number might not seem like a big deal to most, our proverbial little engine that could has hit 50,000 hits! Not bad for web site that used to only be viewed by the people who wrote them (we are not narcissists, I swear). Anyway, it is always great to know that things are moving forward and not simply standing still.

Your humble narrator,
Manny Funkowitz

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Movie Preview

In the middle of a cross country move...sorry for the delay on this as well as my lack of presence here. I'll be back up in full form soon. Miss you all.

Wow that went by fast. I really can't believe Summer is over and the Fall movie season is about to begin. I missed out on a lot of great stuff this Summer which hopefully I'll be able to catch up on. Life is definitely never dull in the house of Bence. Without further ado I bring you my Fall Movie Preview Spectacular. For the sake of this article Fall is defined as September through November.

10. The Man With The Iron Fists - Rza
This could be bottled insanity, or it could be shit. I'm hoping it's fun.

9. Solomon Kane - Michael Basset
This was actually made a long time ago, but finally got distribution here in the states. If you don't know who Basset is, check out some of his earlier work. The guy can build atmosphere and is so good at drawing you into the story with interesting characters. Here we have an adaptation of Solomon Kane and his fight against evil. This poses to be a much different take on the hero genre.

8. Wreck-it Ralph - Rich Moore
The ultimate nerdgasm. Video game characters live inside the machines. They have self help groups and portals. RC and I will be there opening night.

7. Argo - Ben Affleck
There is a continuous growth in his work as a director. While neither film has completely blown me away, both have intrigued me and had a lot to like. This looks to be the film that catapults him into a strong director. The story is amazing and the feel that the trailers give off makes me think Affleck nails this one. Here's hoping.

6. Seven Psychopaths - Martin McDonagh
The McDonagh brothers are a sardonically funny bunch. Can't wait to see this film, In Bruges was brilliant dark comedy that showed the talent we saw in Farrell's early career. Hoping he pulls another amazing performance and delivers the same laugh out loud incredibly dark situations we had in the first film.

5. Lincoln - Steven Spielberg
Maybe the most excited I've been for a Spielberg film in a long while. And no matter what the man has earned a place here for the rest of his career. Us here at the Maus were said to see Neeson leave this project, but damn if Daniel Day Lewis doesn't look amazing as Lincoln.

4. Skyfall - Sam Mendes
Fuck you, I liked Quantum of Solace. Besides that, Craig is just beyond cool as Bond and Mendes is an amazing director. I love Jarhead and Manny would get upset if I didn't mention how great Road to Perdition was.

3. Cloud Atlas - Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer
I'm much more excited about Tykwer's involvement than the Wachowskis. Either way both directors have bold visual eyes and the trailers give us a sense of something completely epic. I didn't hate Speed Racer, but I definitely didn't love it. And for me The Matrix does not age well. I love Perfume and The Princess and the Warrior. Hoping these three directors came together to create something amazing

2. Looper - Rian Johnson
If it weren't for The Master this would own the Fall for me. Time Travel? Rian Johnson's amazing dialogue and Levitt? I'm there.

1. The Master - Paul Thomas Anderson
Hey Nolan, here's your competition.

Bence

This was just announced a few weeks ago that it would actually get released this year. Alright, I'm intrigued ...,