Sunday, April 24, 2005

Snow, Snow Go Away!

It's been snowing like crazy (yes, I am writing this at the end of April) so I've had some to watch some movies I've taped off cable.
Just finished watching Ichii the Killer --- Sheesh, that is one gruesome movie. A lot of the violence is comical, but Miike uses so much freaking blood it's still hard to watch. There's also too much sadism in it for me. I don't mind a bit of well placed torture (Reservoir Dogs), but Ichii just packs loads of it, and most of it is placed on women. I'd say I liked Sin City better, but I really can't compare the two. I think Miike went too far in his unrelentess frenzy for violence, and unlike Sin City most of it does not involve guns. No, Ichii prefers blades and knives so there's much more limb-cutting, head-splitting scenes.
I also have mixed feelings about Ichii as a character. He's awkward, confused, shy and doesn't speak much, but does convey a lot of feeling through his eyes. Miike tries to get a bit of empathy toward him, however, after seeing what he does to people, I couldn't just say "well he's just confused about his life, isn't he!" I would recommend Ichii, if you think you can sit through it twice. With most subtitled movies, I like to watch them a second time, so I can focus less on the subtitles and more on the scenes (in Ichii's case the subtitles are a nice distraction). I feel I could put a few more pieces together to the set-ups to some of the confusing scenes if I watched it again. I'm just not sure I want to.
Another movie I recently watched and enjoyed much more was Naked Weapon. Overall a fun, well done, action movie with some risk and yes, some exploitation.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Book Review: A Fistful of Rain - Greg Rucka

Before reading A Fistful of Rain I was familiar with Greg Rucka as the comic book author, not the paperback writer. Several comic book authors transition back and forth from comics to novels, most of the time with mixed results. The John Byrne novels I've read aren't very good, while I've heard Peter David has written some worthy novels. I would put Greg Rucka on the worthy list, his crime fiction is gritty, realistic, fast-paced and fun. A Fistful of Rain is a standalone novel about Mim Bracca, guitarist for a popular rock band whose life is being turned upside down.
Starting with a disarming, domestic scene that took place in Mim's childhood, Mim's life is a rocky road, although things are looking up due to the the success of her band, Tailhook. With an overly-excited manager, coverage on MTV and a Rolling Stone cover, Tailhook is presented as a band on the cusp of mainstream success. Mim’s the gutar player, the lead singer, Van, is the focal point of the band and Click, is the cool, mostly silent, African Amercian drummer. The way their sound is descibed, as a powerful rock band with a female lead, sounds much more exciting than most of what is topping the charts today. Unfortunately, Mim's got a drinking and self-loathing problem that won't let her enjoy fame and fortune. As a result she's sent home during Tailhook's tour to get some "quiet time." Mim's time home is where the plot kicks in and finds Mim with anything but "quiet time.” First, she’s abducted in a strange manner, then returned home to find embarassing pictures of her have been posted to the internet. The rest of the novel is a roller coaster ride of thrilling events as Mim examines her life and her faults, while running away (and sometimes chasing) the criminal that has already killed a family member and is threatening to do the same to another. Rucka’s good with setting up scenes and creating fully dimensional characters. From the details of Mim’s life, contact with her family and her distrust to accept help from anyone, we’re left with Mim trying to save her life while simoutaneously destroying it with her destructive drinking binges. While the ending leans a little heavy on contrived scenes and trying to wrap it all up in too nice of a bow, I still really enjoyed Fistful of Rain.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dorkier than Dorkwave

I want so badly to have a life, when I see stuff like: There. I said it. It's out there.: The Dorkiest Wave Ever, I know I am just missing out big time. It's okay can still read the Metro Times and check out whatevs.org and pretend....

Other stuff, I taped Ichii the Killer off Sundance a couple nights ago. I can only hope it measures close to Oldboy, which I haven't seen, but my friend wrote a killer review of it.

And lastly, here's my hidden horror of the week --
Luckily, I subscribe to XM!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Beck and Kaiser Chiefs

Just bought 2 CD's this week --Beck Guero and Kaiser Chiefs Employment

I bought Beck's latest because I honestly believe Beck is the hippest, baddest, coolest, pop artist that still has a career left in him. I've enjoyed both his somber side on Sea Change and his crazy, funky side on Midnite Vultures. Guero's high point is it does a fine job bridging these two sides of Beck. I also appreciate Guero gets better on additional listens. I think its great now, and week ago I thought it was just okay.
And, speaking of just okay, despite the fantastic hit I Predict A Riot, Kaiser Chief's Employment is pretty dispensible. I'll admit I bought Employment for the $6 sale at Target, but I thought I was getting a steal. KC reminds me of the Damned, only not nearly as damning. So what's left is catchy, slightly punky music that needs more risk. It's a shame because, Everyday I Love You Less and Lessis such a terriffic starter! Too bad it's ends with duds like Time Honored Tradition. And, if you name check Pet Sounds by titling a song Caroline, Yes then you better make it one hell of a song!

Friday, April 08, 2005

I'm baaaack!

Actually I've been back a few days but just haven't had time to write in. Sooooo many things to catch up on:
I saw Sin City, I'll be quick and just say it's awesome. What it's lacks in depth it makes up for with unbelievable look and action. I will say, even for my "uncoventional" taste there's too much grit, blood and gore in one movie. Both my friend and I agreed it would have been better as a muti-part hourly mini-series, like Deadwood.
Got the new Beck CD "Guero", it's aces. It has a slick, laid back, latin vibe that sounds better with every listen.
I watched this weeks episode of the Shield and now I'm starting to see the great, gritty cop drama I remember. It's good to see the sub plots on the show are developing nicely.
Here's a new entry -- the hidden horror of the week.


I read a few books while on vacation, and I've got reviews written for each so those will be coming.