October 31, 2004

The Lost Boys

Happy Halloween! This is a really good/fun/scary movie for Jack-o-Lantern Day. If you're having a Halloween party tonight you could consider running it in the background.

I would rank The Lost Boys as my favorite vampire movie because it's damn funny in places. And it's a real period piece. Late 80's. The film is like a vampire's I Want My MTV. All the bloodsuckers are young and with the post-new wave, post-punk look. Kiefer Sutherland, in one of his first feature films, looks great with his short-on-the-sides-long-on-top-with-prominent-dangling-earing countenance. The other guys could easily slip into playing bass for Warrant or Danzig.

The story takes place in the fictitious beachtown of Santa Carla, CA, which is obviously Santa Cruz to anybody who has been anywhere near there. Jason Patric and Corey Haim are two brothers who move there with their recently divorced mother for a new start at Grandpa's house. Grandpa, a taxidermist played by Bernard Hughes, lends his own charm to the flick. All the characters here, even the vamps, are charming. The vampire punks have a few meals but the attacks aren't so graphically portrayed that your stomach is a casualty. Kiefer is actually really good in this movie -- he does the supersexy neckbiter real well. No woman could resist this guy. And all the vampires ride motorcycles. I'm sure many pubescent females bought tickets when this was in the theaters.

Jason plays Michael, whom the little cadre of vampires wish to bring in as a member. And Corey encounters Edgar and Allan Frog (I don't remember which but Corey Feldman plays one of them) who are the self-appointed local vampire killing squad.

Another thing that makes the movie fun and a pleasure is the music. Excellent and timely song selection. Did I mention MTV? The kiddie music network had a major influence on this movie.

Joel Schumacher directed this film. He's the guy who did a couple of the Batmans, St. Elmo's Fire, Phone Booth, and Flawless among many others. The Lost Boys was beautifully shot with some lovely vampire's eye view flights through the air. An especially memorable schene is where the vamps grow their fangs and fully introduce themselves to Michael.

You'll never grow old Michael. And you'll never die. But you must FEED. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...!

Posted by Wayne at 05:32 PM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2004

The World Series

bosox.jpgBaseball is so nerve-racking to watch, especially in the playoffs. You can't run out the clock. Both sides have to keep playing till the end. This performance by the Red Sox is certainly one for the ages, but what are we baseball fans going to do now? The Red Sox perennial post-season failures are an institution in this country.

This Red Sox victory is a paradigm shift of monumental proportions.

Yes, we've still got the Cubs. Thank God for that.

But what will Boston fans do now that they can no longer lament their inferiority to the Yankees? Now the Sox are just another unnatural powerhouse with a huge payroll.

The rest of us can't love them anymore.

I'm sure they're real bummed out about that.

Posted by Wayne at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2004

The World Series, game one

manny.jpgI was going to rewatch Donnie Darko, but the WS only happens once a year, and this year there are no Yankees. I love watching the Series when there are no Yankees involved.

I loved the late inning shot of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck all cuddled up. It looked like they were in the same seat. What a publicity pig he is. I've read that his new Christmas movie is yet another dog.

Great game. 11-9. The highest scoring game one in history. I think it would be awesome to have a World series go seven games and have all the scores be in that range.

In a way though, it seems wrong that the Sox could survive those four errors.

And for those who don't know: Manny Ramirez (the left fielder who made the the two errors in the same inning) will be paid $20,000,000 this year.

For the Beantown boys to get their Series victory, it would seem appropriate that they would have to beat the Cardinals. Were it not for those pinstripers the Birds would be far and away the most legendary franchise in history.

I was just thinking, after the Yankees, and then the Cardinals, what franchise would have the richest history going way back? The Dodgers? The Red Sox? The Giants? The Braves haven't been consistent for enough decades.

Watching this post season has been very wistful for Royals fans. Carlos Beltran, Jeff Suppan, Johnny Damon, not to mention Jose Lima, Tom Gordon and Curt Leskanic. All former Royals.

Posted by Wayne at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

October 17, 2004

Donnie Darko

Sometimes when you are watching a film, you know that you are going to see it again, and maybe a third time. Sometimes you think this because you know the movie is really good. And other times you think this because the thing is so non-linear that it will take another viewing just to get a handle on the story. (What with our usual linear perception, non-linearity takes a varying amount of adaptation -- at least for me.) I knew that I would need to watch Donnie Darko again, maybe in the morning. I want to understand better what's going on here because visually this film is fascinating.

I strongly suspect this is a work of genius.

I just need to see it again to make sure.

From what I could gather, I'm pretty sure that Donnie is schizophrenic. I don't quite get the time-travel thing and its involvement yet. Give me a chance though, no comments until my second shot at it. What I did get is the general aura of foreboding in this film. I did not expect a scary film; rather a sci-fi/fantasy kind of thing. But no, this is the scariness of mental illness, and its accompanying black humor.

Frank is special though. The most frightening aspect. I nominate Frank for Best Fictional Rabbit Of All Time. Far superior to Harvey, Roger was annoying, and Bugs? Forget about it. And the Energizer Bunny never has any lines.

I enjoyed seeing Jake Gyllenhaal's sister play his sister. She's taken "average cute" to an artform.

Yes I look forward to watching this DVD again. I'd rather see the director's cut in the theater, but I think I missed it. Found this for $9.99 at Best Buy. I'm glad we bought so I can watch it several more times.

"I find it kinda funny -- I find it kinda sad,
the dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had..."

By the way, the website makes much more sense having seen the film.

Posted by Wayne at 01:11 AM | Comments (7)

October 10, 2004

Heavenly Creatures

There are many who do not realize that Peter Jackson did a couple of films before he did the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And if they are aware of this, they probably don't know the titles of those movies. This one caught my eye on the Sundance schedule purely because Jackson directed it, and I thought my wife Lucy might want to give it a try for this reason, which she did. However, I was prepared to stay up past 11 because of the subject matter. Jackson's involvement only heightened my interest.

By the way, like the first hobbit movie, Jackson has a deftly placed cameo appearance as a homeless guy. Remarkably reminiscent of his microseconds-long appearance in Fellowship.

This movie is based in fact, about two teenage girls in 1954 New Zealand. One is a daughter of a college president, and the other of a more working class background, yet they both wind up in the same school. They both have physical deficiencies which preclude them from athletic activity so they are left alone to talk during gym class. They form a powerful bond, which evolves into a homosexual relationship, and that becomes so obsessive that when one's mother becomes an obstacle to the liaison, they decide to kill her.

The screenplay seems to be based largely on one girl's diaries, which were used as damning evidence in their trial. The fantasies that the girls engage in are a big part of the story, and when you see how Jackson portrays these, you can't help thinking that he already had Tolkien on his mind when he was making this film. One of the girls makes clay figures, which come to life on screen in the minds of the girls.

We noticed from the opening credits that the personnel working on Heavenly Creatures was much the same as the Rings trilogy. And they did a great job, though they obviously didn't have the budget to work with that they did on their adventures in Middle Earth.

Heavenly Creatures is actually quite well done I thought. This was Kate Winslet's first film, and her talent is very apparent. You can see how her career took off.

Both of the girls were crazy to begin with, and when they got together their insanity was increased by a power of two. Disaster was unavoidable once they met, and Jackson actually made an almost entertaining story out of it. I can now see how he got the backing to put Tolkien on the big screen even though his portfolio was a bit thin. I need to find his other film, Dead Alive.

Posted by Wayne at 03:51 PM | Comments (5)

October 09, 2004

Fogtown

When you think of San Francisco, you think of a cosmopolitan city on the west coast. A beautiful city full of rich people with style and class. You don't think of street people, and a really gritty underground society of desperate dope dealers, two-bit hustlers and homeless crack addicts.

Peter Plate's book is about the latter. According to the liner notes of this novel, he lived as a squatter in the Tenderloin area of San Fran for eight years before he started his writing career. Peter obviously knows his subject matter, which is the people who inhabit the street.

He tells a very interesting and unusual tale. This is not a murder mystery or a romance or any bullshit like that. Fogtown is a story about Mama Celeste, Richard Rood, and Stiv Wilkins. Each has their own story, the three of which intertwine very closely, located mainly in and around an infamous SRO hotel.

A Brinks truck full of cash has a major accident very early in the morning. Mama Celeste, elderly and poor, witnesses the accident while waiting for the Social Security office to open. Yes, all the money falls out of the truck, and she and the other pensioners have a chance to grab as many Ben Franklins as they can carry. All the guards have been injured or killed.

The story grows from there. Mama doesn't know how to handle her unexpected and incredible good fortune. Stiv lives in the SRO and he owes money to Richard. Richard is not a nice guy about it. In fact he's not a nice guy at all, though his run ins with a particular police officer make you want to take his side in life. Stiv is not a smart guy, though he has some wild hallucinations along the way.

If you read this book you won't have anything to compare it to, though the settings will make you think of Charles Bukowski if you've read much of his work. I prefer the unusual and the quirky.

This was a book that jumped off the shelf into my hands at the local library. I love it when that happens.

Posted by Wayne at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)