Archive for January, 2008

dvd review: BLOOD CAR

January 10, 2008


Having heard positive things about Blood Car, I was looking forward to watching this horror comedy. But when I sat down to watch the film for the first time, and fell asleep twice in the first fifteen minutes, my expectations dropped considerably. In all fairness to the film and the filmmakers, I was a bit tired at the time, so that might have had something to do with my nodding off. Still, it was enough to make me wary about giving the film a second chance; and as a result I waited nearly a month, and made sure I was good and well-rested before trying to watch Blood Car a second time. (more…)

dvd review: Vin Diesel's STRAYS

January 9, 2008


The career of Vin Diesel has been an interesting one indeed. He seemingly came out of nowhere in the late 1990s when he appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), and then made a huge impression on audiences in the sci-fi action thriller Pitch Black (2000). From there, Diesel was poised to be the leading man action hero of the 21st century. In fact, I was one of those people that believed Diesel had what it took to be the next Lee Marvin—a steely actor who could handle both drama and action with equal intensity. Instead, he primarily appeared in films that were total crap—The Pacifier, Knockaround Guys, The Chronicles of Riddick—and it looked like the perceived talent of Diesel was just an illusion. This is what makes the recent release of 1997’s Strays, starring, written, produced and directed by Diesel, such a compelling film; because it proves that all the perceived talent is really there—it’s just been obscured by a decade of primarily bad decisions. (more…)

How My Mother Screwed Me Up

January 7, 2008


“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Perhaps the greatest irony of all time is that our parents are the ones who make us, but they are also the ones who break us, and we spend most of our adult lives trying to undo the damage they have done to us. My mother did the best job she could raising me, and when I hear the stories some of my friends tell about how bad their parents were, I really count my blessings. But that doesn’t change the fact that my mother, despite being a great human and a wonderful person, totally screwed me up as a kid. And now, as I slide down the slippery slope of being a single man pushing 40, and wonder how come I’ve had so many fucked up relationships, I realize how much of my current predicament goes back to my childhood. (more…)

Hero or Villain: Which Are You?

January 6, 2008


My friend Mike Russell and I had an interesting conversation recently after watching Blade Runner: The Final Cut. We talked about how in a weird way, Rutger Hauer’s character, the renegade replicant Roy Batty, was really the tragic hero of the film. This was a continuation of a conversation we’d had earlier about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where we both talked about the fact that the real villain of the film was Captain Kirk, and that in many ways Khan was justified in his homicidal quest for vengeance. It all depends on the frame of mind you use to view either film, but both are great examples of how point-of-view can drastically alter the perceptions that paint one as either hero or villain. Can you imagine a version of Star Trek II totally from Khan’s perspective? How about Blade Runner, as told through Batty’s experiences? (more…)

…maybe…just maybe

January 4, 2008


I never thought I would live to see the end of apartheid in South Africa or the release of Nelson Mandela, let alone his election as president. I never thought I would live to see the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the dismantling of the Soviet Union. I never thought I would live to see atrocities like the Tiananmen Square Massacre, or the 2000 Presidential Election. There are so many things I never thought I would live to see—both wonderful and horrific, inspiring and dehumanizing—and yet I have seen them. And when you look at the entirety of human history, you begin to see that most of the key moments—both good and bad—are defined by when that which seemed impossible or unlikely became real. Every second of every day that has passed since life began on this planet is part of the intricate fabric of history, but not all of these moments make history. But there are those moments, where the impossible turns into the probable, and then the probable becomes the inevitable, and then the inevitable becomes history. (more…)

Obama Wins Iowa

January 4, 2008

barack-obama.jpgSenator Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucus. Don’t ask me what that means, because I have never really understood how any of these things work. Just when I thought I had the American electoral system figured out, along comes the 2000 Presidential Election, which proved that you can win, and still lose. Personally, I figured Iowa would go to Clinton, Edwards and Obama, in that order. But I was wrong. It does happen from time to time. (more…)

If It Isn't Love (it must be Tainted Love)

January 2, 2008

princess-of-cups.jpgIt was New Year’s Eve, and I was pretty much standing around minding my own business, when this woman walked up to me and shoved a deck of cards in front of me. I had seen her doing the same thing to people all night, and without seeming obvious, I was trying to avoid her. But when she said to me, “Pick a card,” I decided to play along, and drew from the deck of tarot cards she held in her hands. (more…)

The Best Film of 2007

January 1, 2008


Film at its best has the power to engage us emotionally and spiritually. It can make us think and feel, and it can resonate deeply within our souls, reminding us what it means to be human. When a film is truly great, instead of bringing about little more than Pavlovian responses to song cues and other shameless manipulations, it ignites the humanity that has been lulled into dormancy by cynicism and sensory overload and the nagging notion of our own insignificance. And that is what makes the documentary Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life not only a great film, but the best film of 2007. Not only does DGW make you think and feel, it serves as a reminder that we, as human beings, have a capacity for greatness that can’t be bound by the limitations of the physical world. (more…)