Archive for August, 2009

dvd review: ART OF WAR III: RETRIBUTION

August 30, 2009

artofwar
A masochist is defined as someone who derives pleasure from pain, suffering or humiliation. And while I have never considered myself to be a masochist—having never enjoyed pain, suffering or humiliation—I’m now beginning to realize that in fact I do have certain masochistic tendencies. That is the only explanation I can come up with for my decision to watch Art of War III: Retribution—a decision I made of my own free will. You see, only a person who enjoys pain and suffering would decide to watch the third film in a series that he absolutely hated. (more…)

film review: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

August 21, 2009

inglouriousbasterds

My initial reaction after watching Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, the World War II action drama Inglourious Basterds, was that I would need to watch the movie again to fully process it before deciding if I liked it or not. The problem was that I didn’t want to watch it again. Not never ever again. Just not any time in the foreseeable future. And perhaps not any time in the unforeseeable future. (more…)

film review: DISTRICT 9

August 16, 2009

district-9

Much of the hype surrounding director Neill Blomkamp’s politicized science fiction/action thriller is well deserved. It may not be as great as some people are making it out to be, but District 9 is really, really good—to the point it is bordering on “fucking awesome.” It is also one of the most balls-out entertaining movies of the last few years, and the perfect film to end an exceptionally disappointing summer season (Star Trek being the one exception of the craptacular summer blockbusters, of course). District 9 is an incredibly well-crafted film that offers a near perfect blend of action, humor, special effects and political commentary that manages to not be too heavy-handed. It is what the original Alien Nation wanted to be, but failed miserably at (although the subsequent television series was good). I’m not going to get into a long-winded review of the film, primarily because I’m too lazy to write that much, but also because sometimes you just want to enjoy a film as an audience member and not scrutinize it as a critic. If you want a more in depth review, check out this piece by Fatboy Roberts over at Geek in the City (he pretty much echoes my feelings). Or, you can just go with this rather abbreviated recommendation and believe me when I say that you truly enjoy genre films—and by that I mean science fiction, horror, action and all the other shit that makes watching movies fun (minus the gratuitous sex and nudity)—then District 9 is well worth checking out.

Black Boys on the Corner

August 8, 2009

msicc

“I’m a little black boy and I don’t know my place. I’m just a little black boy, I just threw my ace. I’m a little black boy, recognize my face.” – Thin Lizzy
Yesterday afternoon I was forced to close the program that I’ve been running for the better part of six months. I was working with young people, most of them black and most of them boys and young men between the ages of 10 and 18. It was a great program, the kids in the program were great, and if I had my way, I’d be going back to work on Monday like nothing had happened. But that ain’t how it’s going to be. We’ve all been left to fend for ourselves. (more…)

David's Blues, Part 2

August 5, 2009

together-brothers2a

“Lolo” is one of my kids. He’s 11, kind of small for his age, but smart as hell. His mom enrolled him in this summer aviation program, and two weeks ago the kid flew a plane. When she first brought him in to my program, he had been getting into steady trouble and his grades were slipping. The problem was that his regular school wasn’t challenging him properly because it wasn’t engaging him the way he needed to be engaged. But he found his groove in my program, and I’ve watched him grow in just a few short months. Today I told Lolo that we were closing. He almost started to cry, but he’s too cool for that. After all, he can fly a plane. (more…)

David's Blues

August 4, 2009

mayfair2

“These boys, now, were living as we’d been living then, they were growing up with a rush and their heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities.” – James Baldwin
I was all of 19 years old when I first read James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.” That was a lifetime ago; but Baldwin’s short story stuck with me more than anything I had read up to that point in my life, and that sentence in particular. Perhaps it was because of the time in my life, and what I was going through. Guys I knew, who I had grown up with and called friends, were dying and going to jail. I was at a loss to explain the pain and rage and sadness that was consuming me, let alone attempt to find a reason for what had gone wrong for so many of those that had stood next to me. And then James Baldwin articulated it for me—they had bumped their heads on the “low ceiling of their actual possibilities.” (more…)

Hard Times at the Post Office

August 3, 2009

I read an interesting story today in the news about the financial woes facing the United States Postal Service (click here to read it). It got me to thinking about my time as an employee of the USPS. For those of you that don’t know, I chronicled every day I worked as a temp at the post office. You can read all those entries here. Start with DAY 1, and then work your way to the end.