Friday, November 28, 2014

It's Frakking Star Wars!

I'm just gonna leave this right here. We'll talk later.

Bence

One last thought - Boyega!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Movie Night: Halloween Horror Movie Marathon

Every year we marathon horror films during the month of October, with one big push the last week where every night without fail we watch a scary movie. I say we in the broadest sense possible. While the tradition started when Twincess and I were living in Los Angeles, it has grown and evolved to all who care to join. Many of the sisters Funkowitz have joined at various points, friends can come and go as they please. But perhaps most important of all, is the addition of RC as my consistent and most wide eyed companion on my voyage through the dark side.

He started showing interest last year, but this year throughout October he was the one asking for more and more. His insatiable love of monsters and the strange has only fueled his desire to learn more about this endless well that is horror cinema. And while I obviously couldn't share the entirety of my favorites with the young lad, his experience perfectly demonstrates what I love so much about film. That film as an art form or media style is something that brings people together, it's something that can cause discussion and bond people over similar experiences. Like an old family recipe there are films that are passed down through generations. My dad showed me Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein when I was about 10 years old, I immediately loved it and it was something we have shared since. I showed RC the film this year and it was amazing to see just how much he fell in love with it. He even requested we watch it again immediately following the film. An amazing experience to experience the same feeling my dad must've felt when he showed me the film, and we owe it all to cinema.

As for scary movies in general? Well to hear ore of my thoughts be sure to listen to the PORTEcast in which we talk about a few of our favorites as well as my thoughts on scary movies in general. The short version? Being scared is a good thing, and something that we shouldn't try and protect our children from.

So without further ado here are some of the highlights from this years marathon.

Beetlejuice - started with this one this year and RC fell in love with this too. Watching this film amazes me just how weird and dark and fucking brilliant Burton could be. This is such a unique story inhabited by characters you hate and love and goddamn Keaton is impeccable.

Sleepy Hollow - the start of Burton doing strange adaptations? Well here we still have his mean streak throughout as I challenge you to find a film with more decapitations. Beautiful looking film thanks to Lubezki and maybe the last time we've seen Burton show off his true talent.

Drag Me To Hell - Raimi going back to his roots. This is less gory and more gross, don't worry there's plenty of blood but plenty of cat sacrifice and other fluids too

Trick R Treat - wonderfully charming passion project from the writer of X-men. This film is in love with Halloween and explores the holiday and it's tropes. This is scary and fun and some nudity for good measure.

The American Scream - a documentary on three "haunters" and just how much love they out into decorating their homes for the holiday. The film is full of lovable weirdos and we see the toll it takes on their families as well. Not really scary but full of heart and you see just how much people love the holiday and how it brings people together.

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein - just perfect. Shame on you if you haven't seen it

Witchin and Bitchin - have you heard of Alex De La Iglesias? Cause if you haven't go watch everything possible, if you have, this is his newest film. I imagine then that you've stopped reading and gone to find this film. This man bleeds out exuberance on the screen as violence and humor and heart spill all over the screen. He perfectly blends insanity with great filmmaking. He inhabits a strange world and he invites you to join him on a journey through his psyche . Oh yah this film is about witches... And silver Jesus.

The Exorcist - do I really need to say anything?

Halloween - Carpenter is such a badass, this film has so much inventiveness and cinematic flourishes. So much of what we see now is because of this movie. Also casual nudity is missed.

Re-animator - campy perfection. No one is making films like this anymore. I love how over the top this film is, equal parts hilarious and grotesque, rising up in my favorites. Also, boobs.

The Shining - the closer...always.

Bence

One last thought - so what did you watch this year? Oh yah this little movie made an appearance too.

Monday, October 27, 2014

PORTEcast (10/27/2014) - Sorry, we ran out of candy. Would you take some raisins instead? Was the middle finger necessary? - Halloween Part II



PORTEcast (10/27/2014) - Sorry, we ran out of candy. Would you take some raisins instead? Was the middle finger necessary - Halloween Part II

 It is time to wrap up the holiday known as Halloween. This time we address some serious subject matter... Horror films and the usual films that are watched around this time of year. Sadly, we could not get Bence to go further into his love for Scooby Doo - Monster Island. Instead, we spend some time discussing The Thing, which in retrospect is a much better topic of conversation. I am going to leave you with the new drinking game for this year's Halloween. Every time that an Elsa comes to the door, you must take a drink. Prepared to be drunk by the third group of kids. Happy Halloween!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

PORTEcast (10/24/2014) - Give me some candy! Halloween - Part I




PORTEcast (10/24/2014) - Give me some candy! Halloween - Part I

Halloween is a relatively awesome holiday. It has pumpkins, it has cobwebs and decorations, it somehow elicits a conservation about the detective abilities of Tony Shaloub. Seriously though, Halloween is a pretty great holiday and this episode (and Monday's) will discuss number three in the American holiday hierarchy. The result of this discussion is arguably the funniest PORTEcast to date with highlights including Manny crying like an old lady among others. 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

PORTEcast (10/20/2014) - The oeuvre that is Anderson



PORTEcast (10/20/2014) - The oeuvre that is Anderson

 Not many people can do what Wes Anderson has done. He has created a career out of creating whimsy and focusing on the exploits of lovable losers. I defy you to leave one of his movies and not feel happy. With that being said, Wes Anderson is the focus of this entire PORTEcast. We examine his entire body of work, beginning with Bottle Rocket and ending with The Grand Budapest Hotel. As a side note, we are creating a new drinking game, every time that Bence says "Oeuvre," you must drink. Also, reading the word counts.



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Monday, October 6, 2014

PORTEcast (10/06/2014) - Creating the Next Generation of Nerds



PORTEcast (10/06/2014) - Creating the Next Generation of Nerds

When did it become cool to be a nerd? Manny says it is nothing more than Madison Avenue hawking its wears on the unassuming masses and Bence makes the argument that parenting plays a large role in the development of the next Nerd generation. This episode examines the factors that influence the cultivation of nerd tendencies. In particular, parents are actively sharing the books, films and television shows that were important to them. In this episode, Manny and Bence share some of the cultural items that turned them into the coolest nerds on the block and how this has influenced their creation of miniature future nerds (their kids) as well.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

PORTEcast (10/03/2014) - Animation for Adults

 


PORTEcast
(10/03/2014) - Animation for Adults

For the longest time, adults only had the Simpsons as the only form of animation strictly for their age bracket. Then came South Park and a lot of shows that failed to catch on. Yet, now there are some great animation that contains a lot of adult themes and humor. Wazzman, Bence and Manny discuss some of their favorite animated shows outside of the Simpsons and South Park. Plus, all of the shows selected are quite different in terms of style, structure and even humor (even though Bence's selection is quite blue -- No, it isn't Hentai... Get your mind out of the gutter). I would mention what those shows are but that would spoil the fun.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

God, What a mess: Summer Ends Festival Part I & The Replacements First Club Show in over 20 years

"They sing, "I'm in Love, what's that song? Yeah, I'm in love, with that song…"
~The Replacements "Alex Chilton," written by Paul Westerberg~

The Replacements are my favorite band. More appropriately put, they're "my favorite thing, bar NOTHING." I put Paul Westerberg's lyrics in a room with Bob Dylan. There's that room with those two, and then there's everyone else. Those words, that band, has meant so much to me that last year my wife (hereafter "human credential") and I drove over a dozen hours to outside of a Denver to see one of the 3 reunion shows at RiotFest. That's an experience that was near spiritual for me, and to be honest, I never wrote about it here because I don't know if I could do it justice. Maybe one day…
Photo by Hudson Hawk
Beautiful Melodies Telling You Terrible Things Vol. Now Everyone I know Knows the Replacements,
Though Now, If you Don't Know the Replacements...Then you're No one I know
THE SHOW - SUMMER ENDS MUSIC FESTIVAL: Not much of a stretch past Lucky Man's annual St. Patrick's Day Music Festival, it takes the same idea and same venue - a bunch of musical acts playing all day at Tempe Beach Park - and adds a couple days around it to turn it into one of those cool of this era Music Festivals. Those beautiful events filled with overpriced food from lucky to not be shut down by the health board vendors, bands no one's heard of so you can feel you're "in the know," dudes with patchy beards and girls who take headbands from the native Americans, a shall from a Geisha, their grandmothers giant sunglasses and shorts from their 3 sizes smaller than them little sister and call it a fashion statement. So here it was, Arizona's big chance to make a splash (pun intended) in the ever popular multi-day music festival market…

"God, what a mess, on the ladder of success,
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung…"
~The Replacements "Bastards of Young," written by Paul Westerberg~

Photo by Lucky Man Concerts
THE VENUE: TEMPE BEACH PARK: Tempe Beach Park is more of a place I like to visit with my wife (hereafter "human credential") than see a concert at. I like a more traditional amphitheater or inside venue and while it's size and locale would potentially mean that many more people would hear "Bastards of Young" for the first time, it also means it's very douchebag friendly for concerts. My earlier jokes aside, I enjoy most of the vendors that show up, and you can usually find a place to yourself in some hidden corner….

That is, if by "Summer Ends" it didn't apparently mean hurricane like monsoon. My human credential and I showed up about the time we figured the Maine would be coming on. Knowing parking would be atrocious and expensive, we parked across the Lake and in some covered parking. We knew shit was going down as soon as we got out and the wind was blowing over every trashcan in sight and a giant wheelchair accessible porta-potty was moving across the parking area like a skateboard…right into a car. Looking down on the river? Some geniuses enjoyed the rapids of the lake…
Photo of Idiots by Hudson Hawk
Now listen, I'm, just as much as anyone, willing to say that most Phoenix/Valley people are either one of two things when it comes to rain: pussies or idiots, but this took the latter choice to a new level. I saw a few jock douchebags pull up and get out their canoe and head out in major rain and lightning. It was obvious things weren't going well, and the music we first heard when we pulled up turned out to not be from the venue but from a guy in his car blasting a local band. We decided to make the trek across the Mill Avenue Bridge…well, this was almost as dumb as the creatures from the douche lagoon down below. Halfway across the storm crashed down like a hammer from Thor, if Thor was Aqua-Man and Marvel and DC lived in the same universe, which would then cause a multitude of both jizz and bitch festivals on the Podcasts featured on this very site. It didn't help they decided to try and block freeloaders from watching the concert with some heavy mesh material near the end of the bridge, and the wind had blown these up and into our faces. It was that, or walk into traffic. By the time we got to the entrance we were soaked (understatement) the venue was closed ( all the fans and workers already in were apparently huddled under the bridge like a sardine can) and we found really pathetic refuge in what could be called a overzealous umbrella. Better than the security guards stuck in it…
Photo of Soon to be reported missing guards by Hud-Hawk

We ultimately took one of the breaks in the rains action (it was reportedly waiting for enough cheers to come back for an encore, which it did) to make it back to our car to try and dry off. After a lengthy conversation with a band member, he ultimately got the official text "SHOW CANCELLED."

NEW PLAN - ZIA & CORLEONE'S: With the Show apparently cancelled, what else was there to do? We dried off, sort of, with the cars heater and made our way down the road and ultimately across a flooded Mill Avenue parking lot Noah built to Zia. Not all was lost as a used copy of Warren Zevon's Preludes: Rare & Unreleased Recordings was to be found, a release from 2007 I never got around to picking up. We then made our way across a flooded intersection, watching a Mustang behind us spin out like a scene out of the Fast & Frolicsome, before hitting Corleone's right on Mill. One of our favorite pre or post concert spots and a great place to get a cheese whiz covered Philly. Then I get word from my friend and fellow concert reviewer (and 'Mats fan) Mark "Show's back on at the Marquee, Replacements are playing." Wait, what…The Replacements, at the…Marquee? This Talent Show could be the "biggest day in my life" indeed after all…

Photo by 93.3 AZAltRock
THE ACTUAL VENUE: MARQUEE THEATER:  It's hard to remember the first show I saw here, but it's easier to remember the Marquee. A small little theater on the corner at the tail end of anything interesting on the northern end of Mill Avenue, it's a place with literally no bad views. Also, no bad breathing either since it was remodeled and no longer plagued by apparent asbestos falling from the ceiling. Paul Westerberg played a solo gig here in 2005 (his last solo tour, or tour of any kind until last year) and it's been a 'Mats fans dreams to see the reunited band in a place like this. It's been all big time festivals and then more recently stadiums in Minnesota and New York since their reunion. It took an act of God (obviously, much like his God's daughter was in filmmaker/writer Gorman Bechard's book, The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, God is a 'Mats fan) but dreams do come true. Even pathetic ones like seeing a band in a small club theater instead of a big festival setting.

So after waiting in line for nearly two hours we got in…only to wait another hour for the stagehands and crew to finish the preparations of moving everything over, and then the Maine to soundcheck. It sucked, sure, but you had to give these guys and Luckyman Concerts for making such a quick, and necessary (just see that earlier destroyed Beach Park stage pic) change. The only problem? It's to be a condensed show, opener for 25 minutes, next few bands for 40 minutes each then the Replacements for 45. However I talk to a crew guy who tells me "the Replacements are gonna have free reign to keep on if they feel it." I can only hope, and I'll talk about the other bands we saw later, but for now…
Photo by Instagram User Asstomouth
MY FAVORITE THING: THE REPLACEMENTS: Much like the earlier bands, it seemed to be taking forever to the Replacements soundcheck to get finished up. Suddenly Paul Westerberg shows up, rocking a hat, cigarette in mouth, leprechaun like threads on, with band in tow. Tommy Stinson, ever that teenage boy from the bands early years (they started when he was 13), rocking a telly-tubbies costume. Most bands, especially ones their age, could try something like this to only fail or feel contrived. But this? This just felt like the Replacements. One cigarette put out (don't worry, there would be "more cigarettes," just not the song) and before you know it, Tommy's bass is thumping, and that jangly guitar comes on as the band opens up with "I Will Dare," maybe the greatest single to never make it big. Only problem? Interupting a soundcheck has issues, like your mic not being on. It didn't matter though, the crowd filled in the blanks and Paul had fun with it, even pushing guitarist Dave Minehan's mic up and away from him being able to add any backup vocals. Early on into the next song, "Kiss Me on the Bus," the mic's kick in and the crowd erupted. Afterwards Paul, ever the smartass, quips "that's the first time we were cheered for people being able to hear us." After barnstorming through the absolute punk rock of "Takin' a Ride" off their debut LP, Paul mentions they're going to do some songs then take requests.

Photo by Hudson Hawk
The thing that sticks out about this show is the absolute variation in song types the band was able to put out. The Descendent's, the prior band, almost equally legendary, equally as old, played a fun and blistering set but it was filled with the same type of punk song over and over. The Replacements would go punk with "Take Me Down to the Hospital," dial it back to get a melancholic singalong with "Androgynous," rock out alt-rocker "Merry Go Round" (even changing maybe the best verse about "waking to find the wind blowing out of key with your sky" to instead be about waking up to find another piece of cake missing) to an ironic yet all too genuine cover of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," only to make you laugh in between songs at banter or Paul's sarcastic ability to self deprecate at any lyrics he blew. I know several guys I talked to on day 3 of the festival (day 2 for us we didn't hit day 1) left after whatever band they were there for and missed the Replacements, and I can't help but thing of those that stayed that had never heard them before. There's no way to walk away from the eclectic mix of ironic punk and introspective rock the band poured out without feeling they absolutely shredded ever act that came on the stage before them. My human credential's favorite band is the Violent Femme's, and as much as she loved their performance on day 3, she too couldn't help but admit they were her second place performer to the 'Mats.

Photo by Devon Adams
Around a third of the way into the show, long after Paul had lost his hat and jacket and Tommy had thrown his tele-tubby head and costume into the crowd (he said he was "keeping the boots cause they're the best of of the costume," though he threw out those, too, after the show) they got back a legal pad and paper Paul had Tommy hand out, saying "write down your favorite songs, Maybe we'll play some." The first one read off was "Don't You Get Married" (which Paul sarcastically at first read as "Don't You Guys Practice?," a reference to a remark Bob Dylan made to them in studio has they did a spoof of his song "Like a Rolling Stone") and that got my heart palpitating. One of my true favorites of the rare kind. We had already gotten outtake/B-sides such as "Nowhere is My Home" and the anthem to those drunk, lonely and horny everywhere: "If Only You Were Lonely," now this too? Nope, Paul Tim, and then Westerberg took out a harmonica for "White and Lazy," saying the person who requested it said they did because "they look funny while playing it." Legendary Tony Glover joined them on-stage for this some weeks back, but even he would have to give a nod of approval to Paul's mouth-harp playing here during this ramshackle white-boy blues fused with punk.
went to the next one, announcing it as drummer Joss Freese's least favorite song, "a little Mascara" as Paul faked tears. I'm not sure why it's Freese's least favorite song, maybe the lyric about "for the kids you stay together?" After rocking Mascara out, it led into "Left of the Dial," much like it does on the album

Photo by Hudson Hawk
After maybe their two best known songs, "Can't Hardly Wait" and "Bastards of Young," the band left, already long past their 45 minute set-time with over 20 songs already played. They returned though, rocking out "Alex Chilton," much as they did in their return to 30 Rock on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon recently, another 20+ year long wait. Westerberg has long stated he gets nothing out of playing "Unsatisfied" from their seminal college rock masterpiece Let it Be anymore, but they played it, and he sang it like he did. After "Love You in the Fall," a song from the Open Season soundtrack that reunited Westerberg and Stinson, they went back to the request board. After all, as Westerberg said, "we don't' have anything else to do but go back to the hotel room." After teasing with a few seconds of "Mr. Whirly" ("Mr. Whirly!? We haven't played that since Bob died…" Westerberg smiled and said to his brethren, and Bob's half brother, Stinson) before they finished up with a song they often covered in the old days but hadn't done since reuniting, "Another Girl, Another Planet" by the Only Ones. "I think I'm on another world with you," indeed. At 1AM, they were done, and Westerberg simply said "This was nice. I wanna thank you guys for this," before disappearing behind the rest of the band.

I walked out, barely, My knees and legs more or less shot from the days proceedings and several hours of standing and rocking out. I've gotten to see the Replacements twice now, and I've seen two fantastic shows. I was too young (as the Femmes put it in "American Music": "I was born too soon, I was born too late…") to see them in the old days. I saw a guy with a self made shirt that said "I got to see Paul, Tommy, Bob and Chris in 1984!" and I had to wonder, did you get your moneys worth like I just did? Or was it just fun legend? Then I realized, one day I would be saying "I was there the night a huge monsoon hit and the Replacements ended up playing the Marquee theater, their first club show in over 20 years…" and then I realized, there's nothing wrong with that.

SETLIST:
I Will Dare
After-Show Photo by Drummer Josh Freese, his son sleeping
Kiss Me on the Bus
Takin' a Ride
Favorite Thing
I'll Be You
Valentine
Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
Take Me Down to the Hospital
Color Me Impressed
I Want You Back (Jackson 5 Cover)
Nowhere is My Home
If Only You Were Lonely
Achin' to Be
Androgynous
Merry Go Round
Little Mascara
Left of the Dial
White and Lazy
Can't Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Encore:
Alex Chilton
Unsatisfied
Love You in the Fall
Mr. Whirly (Only for a Few Seconds - "a moment, just not a memorable one" as Tommy said)
Another Girl, Another Planet (The Only Ones cover)

One Last Hawk, er Thought:We got teased a bit during the soundcheck as someone sound checked an acoustic guitar, obviously tuned to the tune of "Skyway,"  but beggars can't be choosers, especially since the legal pad passed around never came my way. It's not like they could have read my writing if it did. So an acoustic guitar was never played, but plenty of others were, and that's good enough for me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

PORTEcast (09/29/2014) - Another helping of Leftovers





PORTEcast (09/29/2014) - Another helping of Leftovers

To say that The Leftovers was the favorite show for Manny, Bence and Wassman would be a bit of an understatement. This episode delves into the second half of the season and discusses the controversial finale. I say it is controversial finale because of Wassman's insistence that a person would spend 30,000 dollars on a lifelike doll only to burn it. I know that has your attention... Pop in those earbuds and hear three gents discuss yet another great show in HBO's stable of quality television. 

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Monday, September 22, 2014

PORTEcast (09/22/2014) - An End of Summer, A Conclusion to the Tour Around the World of Beers



PORTEcast (09/22/2014) - An End of Summer, A Conclusion to the Tour Around the World of Beers

Manny would like to take the time to apologize for the lack of intros and the missing episode from last Friday. He was off witnessing the birth of a new wee bairn. Friday's episode should be a return to form now that he has the whole late nights schedule down. Anyway, this episode offers the conclusion to the immensely popular "World of Beers" series and the wit derived from the belief of what happens at a brewery. So, grab a your favorite Ukrainian brew and bid adieu to the Summer with the gents from PORTEmaus.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Digging through the Crates: Warren Zevon's 'Stand in the Fire: Live at the Roxy'

"What' a five letter word for excitable boy? Zevon, booya!"
~David Duchovny's Hank Moody from Californication doing a crossword puzzle~

Digging through the Crates: Warren Zevon's 'Stand in the Fire: Live at the Roxy
Beautiful Melodies Telling You Terrible Things Vol. The Ayatollah his his problems too

You notice there aren't many live records from more recent artists released these days? Sure, you get some, even occasionally brilliant releases like Wilco's Kicking Television, but the truth is if you glance over anyones greatest live releases of all time lists and you're not gonna see many recent records make it. Why is that? Well let's be honest, Miley Cyrus (to take one pathetic example) isn't going to make headlines on her tour except for one reason: making controversies regarding, say, her ass and another countries flag, or absolutely butchering a cover song. Truth is? Nobody wants a live album from Miley Cyrus, because all it would be is studio tracks with canned audience audio. Nobody gives a fuck about the music or content or what she has to say, it's just about what dumbass antic she'll come up with and how drunk you can get watching it. Remember when the Black Eyed Peas performed at the SuperBowl? Yeah, me neither, certainly didn't give me the drive to go see them live, just reminded me Fergie is the poster child for Butterface.

Which brings me to another issue, which is the actual lists people come up with of greatest live records of all time. If I have to see the Who's Live at Leeds on another list I'm gonna pull  Kurt Cobain and have my wife set me up as a suicide. I don't know about you, but hearing the Who drunkly sing their songs off key makes no interest to my ears. Yet Warren Zevon's absolutely fabulous, outright balls out first live affair, Stand in the Fire: Live at the Roxy is rarely, if ever, mentioned in such conversations. Hell, even the man himself forget he recorded the fucking thing…

At least Dave and Paul fondly remember Stand in the Fire

By the time of 1980, Zevon had released four records (if you count his equally often forgotten debut, Wanted Dead or Alive) and was an extremely talented and respected songwriter, though that respect came more from fellow musicians than the public itself. At the time he had two major singles under his belt, one being the mistaken as just a jaunty fun pop song, "Werewolves of London," and one of them being Linda Ronstadt's cover of "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me" which was a nice hit for her. Ronstadt also did a nice version of his "Hasten Down the Wind," which on the extended remaster of this LP is not only featured but some great intro banter ("I was poor and strung out and screwed up when I wrote it, now I'm just screwed up…it's great to be alive") from Zevon precedes it. He was recently sober at the time (he referenced his friend/producer Jackson Browne's role in getting him into rehab with "I saw Jackson Browne walking slow down the avenue/You know his heart is perfect" in a "Werewolves of London" ad-lib on this LP), and this recent sobriety was to his wellbeing's supreme benefit, being the term rock n' roll was more representative of Zevon's personal life than his records. A classically trained pianist with a penchant for pop hooks and alarmingly bizarre lyrics, Zevon's voice and records were more of the country or blues rock variety than true rock n' roll.

This all leads us to Zevon's "The Dog Ate the Part We Didn't Like Tour," which is represented here from recordings at his tenure in his adopted homeland of LA's legendary Roxy Theatre. The sober Zevon seemed fully dedicated to showcasing his hand and he could rock out with the best of them, and that they did. Zevon's voice sounds like he stayed up all night drinking while listening to Dylan/The Band's Before the Flood and is trying his best to match the mean spirited bellow of Dylan on that great in it's own grooves live records. Zevon is in great spirits throughout the set, often showing a great wit and changing up lyrics to playfully shout-out various Hollywood and music icons in the room.

The records is loud and lively, and doesn't feel remixed or overdubbed and glossy like so many live rock records. This feels straight from the can, with loud bass, imperfect vocals and a thumping drum backbeat, like a good ol' fashioned bootleg you bought under the table. That's what I like about it best, it's loud and an earful, just like a real rock show, this record isn't lip sync bullshit more about theatrics than music, it's just plainly put one of the most exciting live records out there. "Werewolves of London" has all the vicious bite the original studio's lyrics had, but now the music matches it in all the ways it teased it could and the lyrics throw a few ad-libbed bones our way ("little old lady got mutilated late last night…Brian DePalma again!"). "Excitable Boy" now teeters off it's rockers a bit, much like the songs lead character,  while "Mohammed's Radio" sounds like the words are coming from a shell shocked solder of misfortune, with some ad-libs referencing the then-curent Iran hostage crisis, and it's tales of over-priced gasoline still relevant to us today. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is no longer a singer finding himself in a suicide silouette but a defiant middle finger to those who say you can't live forever.

Though it's probably in "Lawyers, Guns and Money" that makes the defining statement concerning the show, and maybe even Warren's life itself: mid-way through he crackles through a walk away from the mic yell of "The shit has hit the fan!" Give me a choice between drinking twelve beers from around the world or listening to this record right from a theater in LA in 1980, and I know which one will do my soul more good.

Available on: Original Vinyl LP, CD and 2007 Rhino remaster which adds four previously unreleased tunes from the show, telling us that if the Dog did indeed eat the parts they didn't like, he threw them back up. Thank God, because I'll love any version of "Frank and Jesse James" and a live version of "Play it All Night Long" drives palpitations into my heart and gives a whole new meaning to it's chorus of "play that dead man's song."

One Last Hawk, er thought: The album was originally dedicated to Martin Scorsese, and it's a bit ironic considering the live record basically disappeared but around half a decade later Scorsese's use of the original studio version of "Werewolves of London" in The Color of Money (one of the masters all-time great music in film moments) added some needed bite to Zevon's name and pocketbook.


Monday, September 15, 2014

PORTEcast (09/15/2014) - It's Small World of Beers After All... It's a Small Small World - Part One





PORTEcast (09/15/2014) - It's Small World of Beers After All... It's a Small Small World - Part One

Today's episode has Manny, Bence and Wassman navigating the treacherous waters of international beer offerings. While those gents try a pint of lager, they did what all bar patrons do, they talked. Some topics covered during their ramblings was the best film of the summer and end with the worst one. They also debated the design choices found certain beer labels such as the horribly named: Clown Shoes beer. If Part One is this awesome, I cannot wait for Part Two! Also, the sponsors for this episode for the PORTEcast are the National Institute of Health's eight part symposium on Liver Health and irony.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Gonzi won't be voting for Hillary in 2016

To say I grew up in a liberal household when I was growing up would probably be the biggest understatement I've ever made. My parents are 2 Puerto Ricans who grew up in New York City. My dad was a librarian at a college for most of my life. We had a celebration in my house when Nixon died; so of course I grew up to be a liberal. And all of my adult life has been spent voting for democrats; in spite of the sour taste put in my mouth from my very first vote cast for one Al Gore in 2000.

So one would think that in the almost near certainty of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016, that she could count on support from Gonzi. 

Not so fast there, Lady McPants suit. Here are some of the reasons I personally won't be voting for Hill Dawg. 

The Kennedy's, The Bush's, and The Clintons: With great power, comes great responsibility.....that most people ignore and just use the power for their benefit. Did you know that Ted Kennedy drowned a woman? Drowned! And then fled the scene! Do you know what his punishment was? He got only got to be Senator instead of President. Did you know that Laura Bush killed a guy? Killed! And that's only the deaths we can prove! And these are the kind of families you want in continually in the White House? Wasn't the whole reason this country was founded was to get away from families running nations for hundreds of years? Oh but they were elected so it's different. Yeah..don't piss in my mug and tell me it's coffee.

....Yeah...I'M paranoid though. 

Not all Clinton's are created equally: You know those 2 brothers. One is cool, the charismatic one. The other can't communicate properly, gets flustered, etc. You also know that married couple that are opposites: one's kinda quiet...the other is a raving lunatic. No example could be more on point than that of Bill and Hill. Bill is smooth. So smooth in fact that he convinced (in the words of Tommy from Goodfellas) "A Jew Broad" to give him head in his office. Hillary gets her jollies off by making her young staffers cry. Hillary will rule with a chip on her shoulder; constantly trying to brush of inevitable comparisons to Bill. It's not a good look.

I'm drowning in a Sea of Red: So in spite of my political views, I live in a red state. In a consistently red district. In other words, my vote doesn't matter. Got that? Even if I let the red surrounding me actually poison me...it wouldn't matter...because these Republicans were gonna win anyway. 'My' Governor, Both Senators, Congressman, State Senators, State Legislators, City Council, and probably my mail man are all Republicans. Hillary isn't winning Arizona. You can forget about that shit right now. So the way I see it, and this is key, if I'm gonna 'waste' my vote, I might as well 'waste' it on a candidate who isn't backed by a Super PAC and actually walks the walk when it comes to 'being liberal'. I'm looking at you Bernie. Make it happen with the Green Party.


But I know that will never happen. The bottom line is this: Voting in America...especially when it comes to presidential candidates...is useless.

Got that? USELESS. Between Citizen's United, the bullshit electoral college, gerrymandering districts, and THIS FUCKING TWO PARTY DOMINANCE....we are all at the will of the wealthy.

The will of the Bush's, the Kennedy's, the Clintons, The Koch Brothers, and the rest of the Illuminati....(YEAH NIGGA I SAID IT!)

I'm not wasting my time and I'm not signing off on any 'leaders' these wealthy cunts are putting in front of my face. And the sooner you all get angry about this, the sooner we'll get people worth voting for. Fuck "voting for the greater of two evils". Why would you ever give someone who you know nothing about other than what gang they belong to your vote? Or vote for someone just because of what their last name is. What does that say about you?

To me it says either you don't know or don't care. Either case is inexcusable. We have computers...we have internet....Google some shit! Find out how they are funding their campaign...who's donating to them...that will tell you almost all you need to know. Connect to these politicians...ask them why they supported something. If they give you the time of day and they come off honest, that tells you pretty much everything you need to know as well. Don't be a sheep.


Or...just keep doing what you've been doing. Vote for Hillary...what do I give a shit.



Hillary can eat a DICK as far as I'm concerned.



Word to Monica.











PORTEcast (09/08/2014) - Best Films v. Favorite Films





PORTEcast (09/08/2014) - Best Films v. Favorite Films

I do not know if you know this but we here at PORTEmaus love movies. We cannot get enough of them and would probably spend our days, months and years watching them... If we did not have jobs, kids or wives to worry about. This episode of the PORTEcast examines the difference between a best film and a favorite film (Trust me, they are different) but also the uselessness of the types of 'best of' lists appearing on such sites as IMDB and Empire. Yes, we are flexing our film, production and comparative literature degrees on this one and yet, we cannot seem to reach "high brow" on this one...

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Friday, September 5, 2014

PORTEcast (09/05/2014) - A Fond Look at America's First Family, The Simpsons


 
PORTEcast (09/05/2014) - A Fond Look at America's First Family, The Simpsons

The Simpsons are a cultural phenomenon in its truest sense. I suppose that it would have to be considering the longevity of this show and its title as the "Longest running animated show/ Primetime scripted show/ Longest running sitcom" in American history. The gents at PORTEmaus are going to sit an discuss our favorite episodes from the show and bits from a show that had a lasting impact on how we view comedy and comedic writing as a whole. Also, we risk burning down the studio as we attempt to replicate the concoction made by famous by Homer Simpson, the Flaming Moe.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

PORTEcast (09/01/2014) - Good Idea, Bad Idea / Guardians of the Galaxy






PORTEcast (09/01/2014) - Good Idea, Bad Idea / Guardians of the Galaxy

We here at PORTEmaus hope that you had a fantastic labor day full of brewskis, chilling and grilling. While you were having fun, we were hard at work getting another PORTEcast ready for your listening pleasure. Today's episode marks the return of Good Idea and Bad Idea, where Bence poses some thought provoking questions about the possible Inhumans film and also the explicable decisions made by the suits with regard to the Edge of Tomorrow re-branding. The second portion of the episode focuses on Guardians of the Galaxy and the discussion of its place not only within the Superhero genre but its place in cinematic history as well (Lofty statement... Yes. However, some people say that it is as good as Star Wars). With that said, I hope that you are not too partied out as this PORTEcast is about to start!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

PORTEcast (08/29/2014) - A Spirited Debate about a Chap Named Tarantino



PORTEcast (08/29/2014) - A Spirited Debate about a Chap Named Tarantino

On this episode, the newly named Wassman (formerly the man known as Rico) takes on Manny on a sophisticated topic such as Quentin Tarantino. They verbally go at it on the subject of Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Bastards in a no holds barred cinematic debate. It goes without saying that Manny will be assuming the role of the dissenting opinion of Mr. Tarantino. They will touch on absurdity of  Tarantino's initial decision to not film Hateful Eight and then subsequently changing his mind. We are about to enter a holiday weekend and I cannot think of a better way to start it, so let's get to it.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BONUS PORTEcast Episode (08/27/2014): BANG! You Have a Love Letter.





BONUS PORTEcast Episode (08/27/2014): BANG! You Have a Love Letter.

What is this? A mid-week PORTEcast... I am shocked. I suppose if you finished the episode from Monday, you are wondering what happened to the audio of Bence, Rico and Manny playing a round of BANG! and Love Letter. Well, for those die hard PORTEmausketeers (or what every you would like to be called), I have surprise for you. Available right now, you can listen to those three gents playing both of those games as well as Manny the iconoclast's opinion on the experience. I do not know about you but I am going to grab a cup full of moonshine and cue this bad boy up. Enjoy.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

PORTEcast (08/25/2014) - Roll Die Again... Game Over, you have been killed by the Orc



Today's Episode:
PORTEcast (08/25/2014) - Roll Die Again... Game Over, you have been killed by the Orc


If it has not been said yet, it will be now. We are nerds or at least that is the territory we are venturing into on this episode of the PORTEcast. Bence and newcomer Rico attempt to get me to understand the joy of tabletop gaming, also known as the type of gaming not endorsed by the tyrants at Parker Bros. who want to continue their monopoly (Get it?  I will show myself the door) on fun. They are going to discuss some of their favorite games and I need extra courage from our fictional sponsor this week, Southern Moonshine to make it through this episode.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

PORTEcast (08/22/2014) - HBO wants more Leftovers






PORTEcast (08/22/2014) - HBO wants more Leftovers

The great news from this past week is HBO's decision to renew the Leftovers for another season. Quite frankly, this show has been the lone positive spot this summer on the television front. Sure, there really is nothing on at the moment but this show would be great regardless when it is on. In this episode, we will discuss The Leftovers from a several different perspectives including the decision to renew it in spite of the "low ratings," the characters, its examination of loss and how it relates to past shows such as LOST. That sounds like a good time to me, lets get started.

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The Violation of Gonzi Supreme

I'm about to embark on a tale. A tale of violation. A violation of trust. A trust lost.......because of a violation.

So I'm on a company mandated business trip. (Gonzi is always working...even when I'm not). And it's the last day of my trip. My business concluded by Noon and my flight wasn't until later that evening. Why not go to a local mall and see the same exact stores that exist near my home? Am I right??

So there I am in the midst of my scroll. Watching people. Judging People. Hating being out in public. Such is the life of an anti socialite.

Wander. Wander. Wander.

When I notice, from where I'm standing at about 10 o' clock....What can be only described as a little enclosure...a corral if you will....of masseuses. Complete with the ergo friendly massage chairs, lotions and all of that. Before I have time to retrain my eyes on my set path ahead, I connect eyes with a tiny little woman who may or may not have been Asian. I don't want to prejudge but judging by the fact that she couldn't speak English, I think it's fair to say she wasn't born in the area.

Anyhow, she runs over and anxiously gestures me over to her area. I happened to be tired physically after the traveling and sleeping on a mattress in a hotel. A mattress that probably had just been used for a hate fuck session between an old white racist and 400 pound African American woman named Dolores the week before.

I caved. Fine. I'll let this little lady work out some of the kinks before being on my merry way. She brings me into the corral where there is an Asian American man who takes my baseball cap and shopping bag. She points to the chair and I sit:

Where pain and stress go to die.....And shame and victimization are born

There I sit. Face down. Already feeling more relaxed before the massage begins. All aboard the relaxation train! After a few seconds, I feel her hands begin to rub my shoulders and get to work. I think:

"Not a bad way to end a long business trip" Famous last words, right? 

As the massage continues, I think: 

"Wow. She's got a firm grip."

This is normal. Due to my large stature, masseuses generally use a lot of pressure, so no red flags yet. 

"Wow..Wo..UGH..Wow...She sure is strong for such a small lady. Good for her! She probably never bugs her husband about opening jars for her and shit."

The pressure of the massage intensifies. 

"Well I guess I'll be sore for a little while...stop being a bitch.."

Just as I'm talking myself into enjoying this massage...I hear a voice. A voice that has to be within a few inches of my head. It's in a foreign dialect...maybe Chinese...not sure....One thing I am sure of....is that it came from a Man. 

"A MAN?!! What happened to the lad...."

I then hear a voice that is definitely a woman and definitely not as close as the man was....giggle. 

I shout in my head:

"THAT DECEPTIVE LITTLE...OH SHI...AHH!!" My brain realizes what my heart is already been telling me...

"You're about to get man-handled, son!"

The male masseuse proceeds to apply more pressure to my back muscles...more than I've ever felt before. 

At this point..we are about 3 minutes into a 20 min massage. The next 17 minutes involve my face getting mushed into a badly placed metal bar on my chin where the face holder is. Him twisting my arm like I'm under arrest. Punching the shit out of my legs. Before finally saying...

"Okay sir..all done!"


I had been deceived. I had been hoodwinked. Violated and then charged for the experience. 


Let me be clear. The idea of a professional male masseuse giving me a massage doesn't bother me....especially while I'm fully clothed. 

What bothers me is the fact that a little Asian Man who couldn't have weighed more than 135 pounds could make me (a 6'3 300 pound man) cry and shout in pain. He could have his way with me. And HE DID! 

All I could do was take it. 


The moral of the story is: When a masseuse half your size runs up to you in the mall, shout "RAPE!" and run the other way. 



Monday, August 18, 2014

PORTEcast (08/18/2014) - The Dark Knight Returns... From the Archive



PORTEcast (08/18/2014) - The Dark Knight Returns... From the Archive

Who likes cliffhangers? I know that I do not. I want instant gratification damnit! Anyway, this is the conclusion to the materials found in the PORTEmaus crawlspace and for the most part, it is quite jazz-like. It is the stuff that you come to expect from us, a lot of riffs and in the case of this episode... Zero structure. Which makes sense since this episode discusses such topics from Batman and Rise of the Planet of the Apes to such inane topics as Zooey Deschanel's knees and Twilight. We also get to the bottom of what Ahmed Best has been doing since his breakthrough role in the Phantom Menance... Well, that took a nerdy turn. Why are you still reading this? There is a good time to be had! Pop in those earbuds and set the volume to a reasonable level, a PORTEcast is about to begin.


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Friday, August 15, 2014

PORTEcast (08/15/2014) - The Dark Knight Rises (Part I)



PORTEcast (08/15/2014) - The Dark Knight Rises (Part I)

We were rummaging through some boxes in storage and came across this gem from the archives. Never before posted on PORTEmaus.com comes the episode that covers the prologue and trailer to The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, this episode has been edited together multiple times and then subsequently lost multiple times... It truly is a miracle that this ever made it to air well over two years after being recorded. This episode also seeks to explore and confront the hidden (and horribly written) underworld of the teen movie reviews. Gonzi, Hawk and Manny conclude the episode by discussing the less than favorable review (if you can it that) of a film that was an entry in a local film competition and the cult behind directors in cinema. So, enjoy this gem because it is highly likely that part II might be lost before next Friday.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

PORTEcast (08/11/2014): "Good Idea, Bad Idea"




Today's Episode (08/11/2014): "Good Idea, Bad Idea"

Rumors about movies are the damndest things. Like most speculative things, they may end up being true but most times, they are so horrible that you do not want them to be true. Other times, they tend to be made up simply to fool people. This is the thought process behind Good Idea, Bad Idea. Bence sits with Manny and picks his brains on the prevailing rumors in the realm of television and film to get his opinion on such matters. Interspersed within the real rumors are some that are blatantly fake and some that Manny wishes were (No, I am not going to spoil the bits). So, let's give this a listen shall we.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

PORTEcast #2 (08/08/2014): Something Found in our Storage Locker



Today's Episode: Something Found in our Storage Locker

It is a Friday and that means that today another PORTEcast is being released and it covers such up to date content as the Summer Blockbusters from 2011! Yes, there will be a brand new episode on Monday, we just felt that it would be nice to get everything in one place. After all, if you did not catch Volumes I through III than this is new to you! Also, you will not have to travel various places to get these three episodes as they have been spliced together into a slightly longer version than your normal PORTEcast. So, enjoy this blast from the past for the first time or as a nice morsel to tide you over until Monday.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what:" To Kill a Mockingbird

PORTEmaus Literature Society: To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

For most, To Kill a Mockingbird was required reading in Junior or High School. During these periods of my life, this book (for one reason or another) was never on my personal reading list. Curse the melancholy of being a twelve year nerd and the allure of the Russian masters. Regardless, Lady Funkowitz gave me a copy as a gift and honestly, I regret not reading this book sooner. Certainly, it is a simple book by its structure and accurately reflects the point of view of the main character. Yet, there is a power within that simplicity that offers the reader a glimpse into black mark in America's history and the reasons for why all individuals require dignity and respect.

While I have this in mind, is there a greater moral barometer in American fiction than Atticus Finch? In many ways, Finch is an oddity among virtually every character in this book. He is in a class of humanity by himself, whether this merely because of Scout's (or more specifically, Harper Lee's) reverence for her father is irrelevant. He is the embodiment of what a person be, someone whose does the right thing, not because should do or expected to but rather because it is the only choice a person has. What makes him different in Maycomb is that nobody else in that community is willing to rise to that challenge.

It is sad that it took thirty-one for me to read this classic of American literature. I do not know why Harper Lee never published a second literary work and frankly, I am not to concerned by that. She accomplished something that few authors achieve and I am not referring to the Pulitzer. Lee created a book that is a timeless and moral tale about the evils of discrimination. The fact that this book is still relevant from the perspective of its content, message and characters is a testament to the what Lee wrote. To merely write this book off as something to be read for a class is doing this book a disservice. So, put down that novel by one of the Russian master and give this bad boy a read, you might be pleasantly surprised as I was.

Parting Thought(s):
Is there a finer and more impassioned monologue than Atticus' closing argument for Tom Robinson? I suppose that is a loaded question but it mighty fine.

Also, you can bet that will be reviewing the film as well.

PORTEcast episode 08/05/2014

Who would have thunk it? It looks like we were able to get the bulk of us together and get a microphone to record it. Well, the second time at least after failing to record the first thirty minutes and let me tell you Jerry, it was gold. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum going and publish these with more frequency than say once every two years. Anyway, for your listening pleasure, I bring you: PORTEcast episode (1) - 08/05/2014.


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boehner v. Obama - What is a little legal action between friends?

Hark! Does thou hearest that? I feel a slow clap coming on... John Boehner is suing the president of these United States. Bravo... Well done... Splendid. It seems that the esteemed representative from Ohio needs a lesson not only in "letting it go" but American Congressional politics as well. Boehner is seeking legal action against President Obama on the grounds that the President is bypassing the legislative branch with Executive Orders. Boehner was last seen screaming the following from a mountaintop: “The President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action.”

Gasp! The villain! He must have the nation pinned beneath the weight of his arm and the blade that is executive action. Boehner, my good chap, how do I join this legal campaign of yours to end his tyranny? I have to ask, how many times has this scoundrel used this secret weapon in the past sixty-five month? 300...? 700...? Over a thousand? Am I hot or cold? 182. Wait, what? Well, that doesn't sound so bad, Boehner be a lad and give a brother some context. Let's take a look at the previous five commanders in chief shall we: Reagan - 381, Bush I - 166, Clinton - 364, Bush II - 291 and Obama - 182.

It seems like Obama's usage is in line with the presidents that preceded him save for Bush I. Which if one thought about it logically, Obama's usage is not extreme and if it is, why is Boehner pursuing a reckless lawsuit with little chance of success? Elementary my dear Watson, he is simply engaging in political theater with the hopes of riling up the base. Nothing like engaging in a frivolous lawsuit that will be paid with taxpayer money. Sign me up! Let's all waste political capital and effort on suing the President... Yeah, that makes sense! I guess frothing at the mouth over the Affordable Care Act has become a little stale. It will be interesting to see how this plays out since a recent poll puts fifty-percent of the participants against this pointless lawsuit.

One last thought:
I hope they don't use this as evidence--

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"The Disease was immune to bureaucracy" - In Defense of Blindness

In DEFENSE of: Blindness

I recall seeing the preview for Blindness prior to seeing a film with Hawk and Bence that I will not to defend (The Happening) and I was intrigued. After all, Fernando Meirelles has directed some films that I enjoyed such as The Constant Gardener and City of God. If one takes the devastating reviews of Ebert, the percentages of Rotten Tomatoes and the rest of critics to heart than you might be steered away from a relatively solid two hours of film. Is Blindness a great film, not really, the question should be turn to the faithfulness of the adaptation to source material. If it cannot convey the allegory present in the text than it truly is a failure.

Outside of some minor deviations from the source material, Blindness is quite similar to its literary counterpart. The problem that led to the adaptation failing to break even on its low budget was the message was missed completely. Protests from organizations representing the blind condemned the film as portraying the community as animals. I will be the first to groan (loudly) when people fail to understand allegory (in this case), metaphor or a plot device. These organizations latched onto a literal interpretation of the behaviors being shown on screen. The film was not an indictment of the actions of afflicted blind individuals as animals, it was one of humanity in general.

Namely, if a person is in a dire enough situation and all measure of social structure and control, there will likely be chaos or to put it in the context of the film, they will behave in an animalistic nature. Such critical luminaries as Ebert referred to the film as 'unpleasant and unendurable' because of the content flashing across the screen. I tend to disagree with this sentiment since a vast majority of the review deals with complaints about aesthetics and the score (While completely missing the point of what he is seeing). True, Blindness will not be gracing the Criterion Collection anytime soon but it is a solid effort by Meirelles and co. that remains faithful to the source material.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Movie Night: Top Five from the First Half of the Year

I can't believe we're here. How are we halfway through 2014 already? Well like every other blogger on these inter webs I love any reason to tout my "listalism" abilities. So without any fanfare here are my top five films from the first half of the year. One bit of knowledge for all you out there, there are multiple films that I wish I could have seen but have not found the time, so please keep that in mind when screaming at me for not having Under the Skin or Only Lovers Left Alive on my list.

5. The Lego Movie
Unbridled unapologetic and sincere fun. This film is far better than it deserves to be. Leave to Lord and Miller, the masters of the oxymoronic idea of irrevent homage, to craft an incredibly heartfelt film out of one big giant commercial for Legos. This makes me think they should take over the reins of the Transformers franchise. Their story here is incredibly relatable, yet they imbue this ode to creativity with some of the best humor of the year and some jaw dropping animation. This is a world constructed entirely of Legos and you could spend the whole time marveling at the design present in each frame.

4. Cheap Thrills
I just wrote about this, which you can all read below. In short, this is a tightly made incredibly well written and executed film. This film caught me off guard from the moment it began. There's no twist or secret, but as the film unfolds it takes you down a dark path that you were not expecting. It does this with such confidence and subtlety that before you know it, you're strangling the neighbors dog without remorse. This is indie filmmaking at it's best.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Best Marvel film ever? Well I've only seen it once, but if this isn't better than the Avengers then it's right on par with it. Captain America comes into the modern age and brings along a 70s inspired spy thriller that is full of action and somehow one of the most comic book like films Marvel has made. Evans owns the film as Cap, never once becoming a boring Boy Scout, but rather you see his internal struggle as he fights for his ideals even if it means questioning authority. Black Widow and Fury finally have a significant amount to do, and again Falcon was never this cool in the comics.

2. Noah
Aronofsky's incredibly ambitious bible epic turned super hero enviromentalist fable is unlike anything you're likely to see in the multiplex. As such I had easily my most divided response to this undeniably beautiful film. As time goes on, and I revisit my thoughts on the film, I find it growing in esteem. His imagery is unmatched, this film is full of some of the most cinematic and original frames of film I've seen. Aronofsky isn't likely to win any awards with this one, but I imagine in a few years time people will begin to realize the brilliance on display here. From the almost futuristic setting, to his gloriously bleak color palette, to his incredibly heroic framing of Noah even when he goes insane. This is a film that is overrun with layers. Easily one that could keep climbing the ladder.

1. Grand Budapest Hotel
At this point Anderson has perfected his particular brand of film. With each film he seems to fine tune and explore various interests of his, all the while staying within his own idiosyncratic stylistic choices. This is a director obsessed with perfection and attaining his own personal vision rather than pushing the limits of cinema. So while he may not be as dating as say Aronofsky or that other Anderson, he is still an impeccable craftsmen who engages with cinema in such a personal way it's impossible to not find his films whimsical and charming. This last film just might be his best, with all exuberance and wit of anything else he's done, there is a darkness and sinister undertone that slithers through the whole film. As fascists and murderers and thieves invade the film, it is up to our storyteller to keep the technicolor ideal of
the Grand Budapest Hotel alive.

Like I said there is still a ton of films I've missed, as well as the latter half of the year which I'm sure will bring us some amazing gems. Soooo what did YOU like this year?

Bence

One last thought - I would put this here, except I really feel like if you have no knowledge of this mans filmography the film will play little more than a fetish piece. Which I guess for him is par the course.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cool Stuff From Cool Directors: Jonathan Glazer

By all accounts Glazer has made one of the best films of the year with Under The Skin. A film that I, sadly, was unable to find time to catch in theaters. With the blu ray release quickly approaching I thought him a perfect candidate for this column. Having cut his teeth on music videos, Glazer's career has been defined by his incredibly unique approach to the medium. Reality is always slightly grim and incredibly cool. There is a calmness to everything he does, highlighted by moments of extreme energy or intensity. Beauty is ever present in each impeccably crafted frame with an undeniable darkness that slowly makes it's way to the foreground.

His work often has a subtle supernatural element that isn't necessarily explained. This Levi's commercial is a great example of this idea. Incredibly simple in concept, two people run through walls in jeans, but absurdly cool and well executed. He knows he doesn't have to tell you everything, but rather he lets the film speak for itself. Convention is nowhere near this guys work and cinema is better to have someone like him, continually engaging with the form at such a visceral level.

Bence

One last thought - dying to see this.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Movie Night: Cheap Thrills

So this is what it takes to make good use of David Koechner? The man known for his crass, loud, overtly chauvinistic brand of comedy turns in a great performance as an exuberantly rich man who meets our two heroes as they both are drinking away their sorrows on one particularly sad night in Los Angeles. What starts off as playful bar hijinks, first man to get a girl to slap him, escalates as the film moves on. When we finally reach the home of Koechner's Colin, the depravity continues to slowly degrade until before we know it we are seeing some horrible acts as the theme of desperation takes our characters to unbelievable lows. Ladies and gentleman welcome to a film by E.L. Katz, Cheap Thrills.

The film follows Craig, a man facing eviction who has just lost his job, as he runs into Vince, an old high school friend who happens to be down on his luck as well. Pat Healy and Ethan Embry, yah that Ethan Embry, play the two sad sacks and give them each enough charm and darkness to keep us completely engaged. While the film is often played for laughs, at no time do we venture into the ridiculous. While the dares that Koechner's character delivers to our heroes reach extremes, the script is so well done that our journey to these horrible acts seems somehow logical. Koechner is a big part of this since his character is the catalyst to all of these events. He still plays a variation of his standard role, but this time there's restraint and a sinister edge that runs through the film. We believe that he's just desperately trying to impress his way too hot wife.

While it would be easy enough to devolve into torture porn, the film never glorifies or even revels in these acts of depravity. Rather the film is shot in a simplistic but efficient manner. The camera is never assumptive, it never lingers too long it never foreshadows the horrors that are to come. It presents us this story in clear and well lit scenes with proper coverage. It spends a lot of time across our actors faces showing us the subtle changes as we journey from fun pranks to the incredibly sinister finale. Once the gore comes it is extremely straightforward. It knows when to give audiences the gut shots and it knows when to ratchet up the tension. Again the slow burn on this film is so impressive and before you know it you're on the edge of your seat tense as could be.

This is refreshingly dark comedy. Incredibly brutal yet never over the top, there is raw nature to the film that is almost sincere in its melancholic depiction of this battle of class. This is indie film showing you just what is possible with some talented actors and a great script. So far this is the biggest surprise of the year and sure to make it's way into a standard rotation of movies to suggest when people ask for something different. Entertaining from start to finish, when the last frame drops you'll have no idea what hit you. And that dear readers is exciting.

Bence

One last thought - you all know I love spoilers, stay away from other stories on this film. Watch it and comment below if you wanna talk more about it.