Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quickie Review - Faust (1926)

R.W. Marnau's vision is mesmerizing from start to finish. Much like Nosferatu, years, possibly decades ahead of its time. While it didn't captivate me in the same way that Nosferatu did, I can't dismiss its brilliance. With all that has happened in the near almost 90 years since its release, it's better off if one ignores any historical background on anyone involved and enjoy it for the artistry. To deny, those with black hearts aren't capable of beauty, would be naive.

Faust is the timeless tale of man's struggle between good and evil and what we would trade in return for an improved state. Whether that be for ourselves or for others. The religious symbolism here isn't cleverly hidden, like many of today's films, but laid out for us to see and then critique. As we find with any struggle, it's our strongest emotions that guide us. Even if they appear selfish, they prove to be just, as the movie depicts.

Like all of Marnau's films, the use of light, music and slight comedy, to ease the tension is at a level unseen in today's world of CGI and filters. Marnau uses camera tricks that to some may seem amateurish, but if one realizes the skill needed to pull these techniques off, the respect is undeniable. His casting of an unknown in one of the major roles, played wonderfully, as her purity and innocent beauty shined through. Historical info of the lead and of the demon Mephisto adds to the story, but is unnecessary. I must add for anyone who doesn't normally watch silent pictures, ignore the words and admire what is being done with the camera. It's magical.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quickie Review - Child Of God

James Franco directs his version of a Cormac McCarthy novel. What could go wrong?

 If you can get past the fact that there is a plot hole in nearly every scene, then you are a better person than I, for I found them so incredibly distracting, it started to feel as if they were inserted on purpose. Franco's face on the poster, might be the biggest. I don't hate James Franco and actually believe he's a decent actor, but if you watch this, you'll understand my confusion.

My real problem has to do with the lead actor. Scott Haze simply can't act or was given truly poor direction from Mr. Franco. His mumbling was so bad, that many I know with suspect hearing would have definitely required subtitles. His mannerism and actual look failed to convince me this was a man without a home. At no point is there a decline in his appearance, despite some obvious time going by. So often we fall in love with the performance of someone deemed "troubled," ignoring the fact they aren't staying true to that person's actual affliction. Mr. Haze seems to bounce from clear thinking, albeit odd, to complete fantasy and disillusion within the same scenes. Once again, the plot holes made his poor acting even more noticeable and for that I blame Mr. Franco. This movie was given a tag line saying it makes No Country for Old Men like a walk in the park. Yikes! The reviewer who made this claim, must either have a Franco fetish or be in a (Scott) haze, as it doesn't contain a single scene that rivals even the worst of the Coen Brother's classic.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas: Things I Simply Don't Understand

Did anyone show pictures of their Christmas trees before social media? I have a theory behind this and it has nothing to do with the tree. I think people like to show off the fact that they can afford lots of presents and they post it almost to shun others. In their competitive minds, if they had more presents, they won some event they created in their heads.

If you're on Twitter, it's amazing how single girls out girls who are dating. One girl wrote word for word what about ten of my friend's wrote. Everything from "Santa did good," "the boy did good" "I think I'll keep him," etc. Even better was the one girl who said "Watch how many bitches show off their Michael Kors bags and then post something about 'present being nice, but it's really about who you are with.' Bitch you lying." I actually counted at least three people who not only did this, but did it with Michael Kors bags.

Ugly food. Now listen, not all Christmas traditions taste good, but I'll be damned if they don't look good. I also know that I post some ugly food pics, but I don't care and it isn't Christmas. That being said, it's kind of distracting when you show a beautiful roast or turkey, the slightly browned top of the marshmallows on some sweet potatoes, the delicious gray poured over some brisket or potatoes and then post your leftovers, all smashed into a bag or on one plate. I simply don't get it.

One thing that truly disturbs me is the dressing. I get dressing up for the holidays, especially when going to someone else's house, but there is no reason to have your son or daughter looking like they are hitting some dance club in the city. Especially when they are 12-15 years old. I'm not a prude, but I find it pretty freaking awkward when I can see your little one's areolas through her shirt or her underwear while she sits on grandpa's knee. I realize pics on your phone don't always show the detail, but that's why it makes even less sense. Why the hell are you on your phone anyway? I also don't think little Joey's fake gang signs or giving "the shocker" over grandma's shoulder is really how you want to be represented on Facebook. Oh yeah and when your older male friends are making comments about you and your daughter, I don't care if you're single and flattered, that is fucking creepy.

Celebrity pics. Why the hell are you on social media looking for celebrity's photos when you're with your family? I don't really have much more to say about this.

Phones. I must say, I was impressed. I saw a lot of pics today and for the most part, people managed to out their phones down to have their pics taken. I even saw one group shot with 17 people and not even a phone on the table in front. That's some sci-fi shit right there.

And the thing I don't understand the most. How much time did you miss with your family while posting the perfect pics? How do you think your kids, wife, husband, parents, whomever felt as they went to do something for you or to ask you something and they saw you on your phone?  I know my childhood appears to have been this mythical thing I made up, but the thing I always remember about the holidays was always feeling like i was part of the group. Even when I was playing with something, someone was joining in. Sure there were not cell phones back then, but there were phones and there were cameras and while both were present, they never felt like a part of the festivities. They shouldn't be now. Just my thoughts and like I stated, I don't understand.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Year Christmas Was Cancelled

I'm not trying to be Scrooge, but I've officially canceled my Christmas this season. I don't wish anything, but the very best for all my friends and family, but I'm done. This year has been a particularly difficult for me physically, mentally and now financially. That being said, I've made the most out of it, but I'm done. The past few weeks, with all that has gone on in the world, has shown me so many people's true colors, that I've become a little jaded at the belief that all that hate just upped and disappeared, because of a ripped off page on the calendar. The irony, of course, being that today was celebrate the birth of that man who told everyone to love one another.

I'm not trying to be negative or ruin anyone's day. Well, four people who read this might sense a bit of cynicism, but they get me. I'm just tired of the fact that we can't love thy neighbor the same day every day. That we can't share this familial joy on a Tuesday in March. Today, I snuggled under my covers, watched a movie or two and tried to rid my mind from the horrors of the outside world. I had intended on going to a party; even seeing someone it's been years since we reacquainted, but it wasn't for me. It's not that I don't like, even love these people, it's just that I'm simply done with the canned formalities. Anyone who knows me, knows I have such a low tolerance for bullshit and niceties that lack sincerity or deep feeling. I have such a hard time, pretending to be festive, just as I appreciate that not all enjoy my carefree spirit on that aforementioned Tuesday in March.

So I'm cancelling Christmas this year, but look forward to a very happy New Year. I'll be brimming with fake optimism, that once again a single page turned, maybe even the new calendar hung from the tack on the wall, will bring some spiritual enlightenment or even better, end my physical pain or fill my pockets with enough to enjoy more than the bare essentials.

All this being said, I do hope that those of you who have embraced this time of year more so than the rest, find the peace, health, happiness and tranquility that you desire. I hope your families, especially your children, get all they deserve and that you are rewarded with whatever items you had hoped for. I will once again, be beyond happy, with my Netflix, hummus and a warm bed.

I sincerely wish all who read this a very merry Christmas and the most joyful, healthful and fruitful coming year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Quickest Review Ever - House (Hausa) 1977

Want to see a beautiful coming of age story about lovely Japanese teenagers, who visit an old aunt, whose lover left for the war and never came back and then an evil cat causes the house to become possessed, trying to eat all the girls? Oh and a guy gets turned into....just see it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Life Doesn't Have A Color - #AllLIvesMatter

A million metaphors to destroy both "sides" arguments, but the fundamental problem is that there are sides. One side have always been the outcasts of society and they were kept that way for years, by the government and those who work for it. There is a dark, painful history to their anger.

One day, 13 years ago, brought up day after day this week. Some who lives 3000 miles away, speaking as if they were there. I read a note from a man, 28 years old, tells how he bleeds blue, because of that day. He was 15 at the time. Don't use my tragedy for your benefit. I suffered too, but have never stooped to using it as an excuse for another man's actions. I too have had a job where my life literally hung by a thread every day. I have never dreamed of telling others of it. I don't know what it is like to wake up black or wake up and put on a uniform. I've heard countless stories about both and not once did they truly see the other side. Isn't the job of both, to learn?

I hope those who posted blue all day realize that they didn't win. They lost horribly. A few friends liking or sharing their posts didn't make up for 45,000 people marching in the streets. That mocking their slogan only lessened the power of the message. Social media, for all its horrors, is a wonderful gauge of what is important. Last Saturday's hashtags trended worldwide. Today's didn't crack the top ten, even in New York City. It's not a knock, it's simply an observation.

I stand by all my friends who put that uniform on every day, but I also stand by the 13 year old who was slammed against a car in front of my house, looking suspicious, as he called me from out the window. I stand by my friends in blue who have wrestled weapons away from others who have tried to take their lives. I stand by my friends who have had their dignity taken away, because of their parent's biological makeup. I stand by friends, who have saved people from fires, crimes and theft and never received a single accolade, especially those who have done things we'd all be shocked at if we knew it went on in our backyard. I stand by my friend who was harassed for sitting in a park, while six others sipped bottles and were ignored. I stand by all those I've read about who have died protecting us from those who harm and have no value for another's rights. I stand by all of those who simply want to be treated as an equal based on the very fact they are human, regardless of whether or not they remind someone of another. At the end of the day, the men and women who put on that uniform and the men and women who can't and should never need to hide who they are, need to come together and realize that they are the same. When we started attributing a color to different people's lives, it only segregates us and lessens us as human being. We fail! We start winning when the hashtags start saying #AllLivesMatter or there is no need for them at all.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Elf On The Shelf Is Nothing More Than Bullying Your Kids

Every Christmas since I joined Facebook, my news feed is filled with that silly little elf. Sure, last year I had fun and posted pics I found around the net of the elf doing blow off of Barbie's ass and such, but I don't have kids and I wouldn't allow that little guy in my house if I did.

Here's the problem with it. It's bullying. Just because you attach a cute story to it, you're instilling the fear of no gifts to a child who is still naive enough to believe in Santa. Sure they will laugh when they awaken to see the Elf making cereal, but that wears off quickly and the thought that the elf might possibly have been watching them is creepy enough, but monitoring their behavior? That's plain sick.

I have a big problem with what I see friends doing these days and calling it parenting. I'm not saying a DVD from time to time isn't a needed break, but I know people who use this for hours on end. The lack of imagination they are using will hamper them socially down the road. Don't tell me you only use them for educational purposes either, because when your fifth grader can't understand math, because there isn't soothing Mozart and a puppet teaching it, it will be your fault.

The elf is a lazy way of controlling your kids, whether that was the reason you bought it or not. It also sets your children up for heartbreak if they don't get something they had hoped for. Imagine you get something for them that is the wrong size, shape, color, whatever the case may be? They will think in their hear that they've done something wrong. If you're reading this and saying, "My kid is much too smart for that," then why do you use the elf? Wouldn't they be smart enough to know the elf is false gimmick, just like Santa?

Kids who this was made for are in their formative years and if you attach a negative action to a positive objective, you create a world of doubt in a child's mind. I've seen children have complete breakdowns because a parent has forgotten to bake cookies to leave out for Santa and they had to run out Christmas eve and go buy them, just to console the child. What's the lesson? If you attach something to a child being rewarded, they will take that very seriously and if you create a game, where for an entire month, they worry about their daily actions and how it will affect their Christmas bounty, you create anxiety.

You don't have kids.
You don't understand.
You're over thinking this.
You're wrong.

Watch a Catholic walk into a Lutheran church and tell me child programming doesn't stay with us forever.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2 Quickie Reviews - Dead Snow 2 & Hansel & Gretel: Which Hunters

First off, you don't know Dead Snow, here is how I explain it to everyone. It's a Norwegian zombie film, but the zombies are fast, organized and don't want brains or to eat flesh necessarily. Oh yeah, and they are Nazis. To tell any more would be to ruin the fun, but it gets better. They made a sequel that starts right where the first left off.  The best part is that the sequel might actually be better. It's hilarious, has some nice looking (fully clothed) women and just enough over the top gore to make horror fans happy.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is far different. In what could have been a very great movie with a little more humor and better action, it fails to really pull you in. The odd thing about this, is both movies are directed by the same guy. A little more camp and funny dialogue, which there is some of and this one could have been great. It really did have the basis for a good idea and has its moments, but never finishes them off. That being said, it has a lovely to look at cast, especially my new crush Gemma Arterton and for the ladies, Jeremy Renner.

If you have to choose, obviously go for the double feature of the Dead Snow franchise. Oh and yes, I'm hoping they have a part 3.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Morning Observations

So much happens these days and we get our information instantly. The reasons are both good and bad, but it allows us to find out some necessary things, such as weather and traffic and it also forces our hand into making assumptions. Some of us wait for information, but most jump to ill-advised conclusions and then that silly little bastard named pride jumps into our minds. That is why the this weekend's parades were seen as so awful by some and so beautiful to others. Some have a vested interest because of the color of their skin and others because of the job they hold dear to them like a child. I won't pretend to understand anything other than pride. I only wish people didn't confuse pride with right and wrong. Pride has caused my faults to cause me more harm than they should and they've magnified my achievements, but what they can do on a large scale is move mountains. Some to clear a passage and some to throw down upon others. Both of these are happening from both "sides" all around our country.

All that being said, my mind isn't really there now. I'm worried about a dozen or so people in a Sydney Australia coffee shop, hoping for the best and hoping this incident doesn't become their Ferguson. Already, Muslims are in fear for their lives, because of the actions of what is believed to be one person. Can you imagine and entire town, state or country, deciding the fate of an entire group based on the actions of one person? I guess, when you think about it, all these religions with millions of followers are based on the word of one person, who claimed to know more than others. Millions believed and it spread, like a cancer, until some differed. Even the good, spreads like a disease, being slowed and often stopped by the bad. Ironic how the positives of religion and the negatives spread exactly the same way. Uneven facts, supported by people with extreme pride with the belief that they are true.

#illridewithyou

Regardless of what you believe, what you look like or what you think of me.

Questions about The Nightmare Before Christmas

I've copied and pasted my questions that I wrote on the IMDB website. Yes, the same one I get trolled every time I don't like a popular movie. 

Every time someone doesn't like something, they get trolled to no end on this site. So I'm going to ask a few questions and see if some can make some sense of the hoopla surrounding this. Yes, while hard to believe, I'm just getting around to seeing this.

1. Aside from the animation technique, what is it that truly grabs you about the movie? The music? The dialogue? The story?

2. Does anyone else feel that of all the Disney, Pixar, etc movies that have come out, that this one is the most simplistic? It's obviously made for kids, but it has so little to offer adults (IMO).

3. What in your opinion was the moral? As an adult I took a somewhat cynical look at it as being a "stay with your own kind" type of thing. If one was to really dig, you could come up with tons of racial, religious and class talking points, but I honestly think those were unintentional.

4. Why have I never read anything about this being a complete ripoff of The Grinch that stole Christmas?

Obviously, I didn't enjoy the movie. I thought it was silly, the music was pretty awful and the entire concept was stolen and turned into something without a silver lining. Aside from the love story aspect, it's messages seem to be mixed and then neatly wrapped up into a neat package. Oddly enough, this is my gripe with all of Burton's films, as they all seem to start with a great idea, then scatter, then come back at the end without any real feeling of closure or explanation. His themes always seem to be a mishmash of many and rarely work (for me). I completely understand this is a matter of personal taste and I'm in a very small minority, but can anyone give me some fresh insights other than the standard "You didn't understand it" or "It didn't need to have meaning." Thanks in advance.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Three People

I was thinking about three people today. I'm not friends with any of them on social media and I guess in many ways, you could say we're not friends anymore. I don't remember anything happening that wasn't civil, but the connection has been lost. 

The first is someone I simply lost contact with. I worked with him briefly and while we were never close, I sort of took him in, since he was an out of town guy. I found that we had fun when we went out, but I always had this sense he wasn't very honest. He always had me drop him off somewhere other than home and I later found out that he was staying at his grandmother's house. He invited me over at one time and when I asked if she lived alone, he said yes. The house was very modern and there were not pictures of any kids or grand kids. I played cards at her house and she was apparently out of town. I think he sensed that I felt there was something up and after, we never really spoke. I also always felt he had a child, but didn't let on. He was lazy, but a hard worker at getting work, if that makes any sense. I thought of him after a conversation today in which I referenced him.

The second is a friend who I was very close with for a brief time. I found him once and he found me, but the time apart made our friendship always seem strange. The oddest part of all of it, is I became friends with his sister on Facebook and we've never discussed him. I know the family has dealt with tragedy recently and while I did express my condolences, I didn't feel like asking at that time. In my mind, the window is now shut from my side, but who knows.

The last is someone who I liked a lot and who I shared a romantic relationship with over a short period of time, but it was one of those people, you always found yourself back with, even if not emotionally. I kept in touch and we always said we'd get together again, but I think it was my constant taking her for granted that she finally got sick of. Even when I did reach out, I acted immature and the way I did when we were much younger. I do actually miss her though and strictly as friends. I sort of understand her decision, but she never discussed it with me and for all the weirdness between us, that was the first time it went that way. I wish her all the best and hope she worked out the problems in her life that plagued her. I know she was a strong one, despite that not being who she portrayed to me. 

Well, off to bed to think of others or maybe just them some more. 

Quickie Review - Guardians of the Galaxy

Without giving anything away, let's just say this. If you want to laugh, be excited and listen to some pretty groovy tunes. this is the movie for you. Normally, I'd tell you about the great camera work, dialogue or subtle nuances that appealed to me, but this is just pure fun. In my opinion, the special effects actually kind of suck. The story isn't anything new, but it works. The cast is a group of oddball space cowboys and they all get thrown together. Basically, if you like Star Wars, but you're too impatient to watch three movies, check this out. Lots of big names and some you might not quite recognize.

Now listen, I normally despise sci-fi and even more so, superhero movies. This is both and it is neither. It is first and foremost an action movie, but secondly it's a comedy. Even better, it's message is somewhat timely and when you throw in the amazing music, it's a can't miss. Sure you'll be bothered that it leaves a possibility for a sequel, but what doesn't these days?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Free Writing - Take 67

I haven't had more than ten headaches in the past 15 years. I think I've had one steady headache now for a week, maybe longer. In that time, I have had weird sleeping habits. An hour there, two hours there, the occasional four hour marathon there. Never feeling rested when I awake. The heat from one room dries out my sinuses, while the bitter cold in the rooms I frequent most, has my entire body so tense, my neck feels as if I'm the freshman nerd, getting a Vulcan neck pinch by some senior who is beaten at home. I now feel for those I know who are always cold. It's hard to enjoy anything. Coffee goes cold in mere minutes and food loses it's taste as the warmth leaves and the juices run away, the meat tougher with every chew. I spend as much time as I can, tucked away beneath the sheets. This isn't odd for me, as I've lived in a place for a decade that allowed only for a chair and a bed, the horizontal position being the favored choice. I hated that place, but to step down on a warm bathroom floor, each and every morning. Aaaahhh! The other day, asleep but twenty minutes, I stumbled out of the warmest room, the temperature literally set at 50 degrees, but sauna like in comparison  to the knockout punch of cold I was hit with. My dried skin, sliding across the floor. I could feel myself waking up as I fumbled for the drawstring on the sweats I was wearing in bed. I returned the "heat." Two hours later, I'm sitting at the computer, typing some nonsense about a movie I'd just seen or my gripe of the day. I look at pictures of people all over the world with less and feel guilty that I am uncomfortable, but I wonder how they'd feel. Even in the most grim circumstances, we can find that one thing to comfort us. I laid once in a hospital bed, finding peace in knowing I didn't have to move. I found piece while sleeping on a cramped bus, well trying, in knowing I was joining friends for a night out. Months ago, I slept well, knowing the noise of that slamming door was 230 miles away and the smell of mildew or later, that metallic paint was gone. I am trying to find comfort, but the body doesn't allow us sometimes. I joke with my mind, telling it that it's in my head. A thermometer tells me it's not, as my exposed skin is below the temperature where hypothermia begins. This, not a result of a drunken walk home, but sitting watching television for a mere two hours. I walk into the heated room and start to sweat. Shocking the body into a bit of a malaise. I sleep until the afternoon has arrived. All would think a good night's sleep, but I didn't dose until their morning tea had settled in their guts. Today it gets fixed or so the rumor goes. I am skeptical, but my hopes are higher than one can imagine. My always bare legs have been covered 24/7, for nearly three straight months. The skin is so dry, to scratch an itch makes them look like some primitive cave drawings. I scratch the word HELP, but really I mean hope. I hope things change soon, because the cold is affecting other parts of me and none that a revamped boiler can fix. I thought it would be different this time. Much different than in '85, but it's more of the same and there really isn't anyone to blame, but I'd like to think I'm doing what I can, there just ain't much out there or anywhere that can bring on the change I need. Heat would at least let me concentrate on that. I feel for those who need it more than I and wonder if they'd be able to handle this alone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quickie Review - Dog Soldiers

How this 2002 horror flick escaped me is a mystery. Someone on Twitter mentioned it a few days ago and I threw it on top of my queue. Glad I did. It's fun from beginning to end. Unlike most horror films, the acting is actually enjoyable, the monsters look pretty real, thanks to a lack of CGI and the violence and gore is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of horror.

Often I make the mistake (in other people's opinion) of going into horror films with the same expectations as regular films, but foreign horror has taught me that horror doesn't have to be all camp and poor acting. It can actually be a piece of art just from the simple fact that the acting is taken seriously. Dog Soldiers would be good if the enemy wasn't a monster and this is why it works. It could as easily have been Rio Bravo or Assault on Precinct 13. But it's not, it's Dog Soldiers and it works almost perfectly. Even within the twist, the little homage to past movies of the same ilk are paid. Works and the in jokes work even better. Must see for fans of the beast/monster genre.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'm Officially Done For The Year

Yep, for the next 22 days, I'm politics free on Facebook. I've come to realize that people's bias is so strong over the state of things in this country that even as they're stating their non-bias they are being biased. So for the next three weeks, I'll stick to pictures of my lunch, movie reviews, sports babble and the occasional story of inspiration and/or frivolity. I'm truly done for the year and possibly, we'll see, done with Facebook in the near future.

I've moved away and not that it matters, but I feel like when I do come back, it will be to faces of people I don't really know. The amount of hate and vitriol displayed over the past four months has been nauseating. I have some friends who have dropped the N word, but two sentences later mention their "black friend." I just can't take it.

So for most of you who have told others what a jerk I am and how I'm stupid, a hypocrite (almost always using the word incorrectly) or simply an asshole, you have your wish granted. For those of you who like it, I'm sure you'll find something else to entertain you.

So if you're looking for a conversation about anything serious, please refrain. Otherwise, fire away. I'll be glad to tell you how I believe the Mets will soon trade an arm for an outfielder or the fact I'm positive Mark Sanchez doesn't start this Sunday. I'm happy to talk about how much better I believe Demi Lovato is than Ariana Grande or that today's artist, really need to stop trying so hard to capture the 70's and early 80's graffiti vibe, because viewing it in a gallery and thinking you understand the culture form which the medium came, is a fake.

I also hope to get signed up for insurance in the next week or two and if anyone has any tidbits of information, please let me know. I despise using Facebook like Google. I also despise when others do it, drawing attention to something completely different from what they are asking. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that when you ask where to get your BMW serviced, you don't care about the garage, but simply that people know you have a BMW. Congrats you paid a lot of money for a car that does the exact same thing that a Camry does. It just costs more to fix.

I'm sure I'll use this medium for something and I always welcome comments, but rarely get them. Other than that, I'm putting the wreath on the Facebook door, getting out the menorah and getting into that holiday spirit. Hope you all embrace this time of year. I usually do, but I have enough worries in my own life than to worry about whether someone understand the change that is coming, but more importantly why. I know, I'll live with that; For now.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Quickie Review - The Retrieval

The Retrieval is one of those movies where you read the synopsis and tell yourself, "No thanks, I'm not in the mood for this." It's the odd era of American History that nobody talks about. When slavery wasn't really legal, but wasn't really illegal either. It was an odd time and this story, which tells of a young black boy and his "uncle" who are sent out to coax a freed man to come home, so that their bounty hunter "boss" can collect and pay them. 

The obvious conflict of interests here are the least of the story. The story is so simply told, but with such incredibly complex themes, that you lose yourself in the story, much like a stage play requires you to really fixate on the minute details. I don't know if the writer/director Steve Eska thought of this, when filming, but each of the main character's gaits is different and perfectly describes their attitudes towards life and their own self being. It's a pretty incredible feat. 

The story isn't meant to be heart-wrenching, because we know the plan from nearly the beginning. It's a coming of age story, but for everyone. Even the most awful people in the film, have some semblance of order in their lives. There are two or three scenes, where people's actions are simply a result of doing what one has to. The symbolism is scarce as most of the story is on the surface and the deepness comes from the characters themselves. With relative unknowns in the cast, you really spend a lot of time watching them and realize how brilliantly acted it is. Will played by Ashton Sanders is amazing as the conflicted youth, protecting himself while trying to figure out who he is. Tishuan Scott is Nate, the man the seek to bring back and the one who changes everything for everyone he comes across. William Oberst Jr., who is one of those "hey that guy is in it" is truly amazing, because you want to hate him, but you don't, whereas Keston John plays Marcus, the guy you want to give a pass, but realize you can't. 

If you're looking for a glitzy tale of slavery and human rights, this isn't it, but that's not to say it's all sadness and horror. It's men being men and a boy trying to become a man. It's that simple concept that makes the film work perfectly. 

Quickie Review - Oculus

Oculus is the newest entry into a long line of horror movies that feature nearly all the exciting parts within the trailer. There is nothing new here and sadly, it's been done so much better and actually with the same symbolic "bad guy." The one thing Oculus has that some of the lame horror geeks out there will go gaga over, is production value. It's a clean film, which in my personal opinion, hurts it. I prefer grittiness in my horror, but that's a personal craving.

Oculus has a very nice looking and serviceable cast. The acting isn't the problem, it's the painful predictability. I'll just say this. The apple scene I saw coming a mile away and even the buildup was horrendous. The film is low on gore, violence and any real scares. There is also no clear reason for anything that happens, meaning the writer and director went into this with clear intentions of having a sequel, a la Insidious.

The shining star is Annalise Basso, who plays the younger version of the lead character Kaylie and does so in convincing fashion. Sadly, she can't make up for an awful ending, once again, seen coming a mile a way and a bit of an easy way out ending. This film is everything a film student would do, forgetting the importance of sound, editing and especially lighting. This just came out and already it screams for a reboot. If this was done like many Korean films are done, you'd probably have to adjust the brightness on the screen, but then think better of it, knowing you probably didn't want to know what lurked in the shadows.

What I Took Away 7/1-7/7

I'm at my happiest alone, in bed, watching a movie with a cup of coffee. Sure the touch of another is missed, but there is something about completely absorbing a film that makes me feel whole. Even if it's terrible, I look for things. I spent about 20 minutes trying to think of how I'd do it differently and I must say, my version of the movie, which I'll write a quickie review of tomorrow, would be better. Much better.

A friend made a statement about intelligence, average intelligence and what makes someone less or more intelligent than the average. OK, maybe her statement was more simple, but the comments that followed, including mine, challenged and confirmed her beliefs. I believe we're dumb. We're universally dumb and if we don't strive to learn something new each and every day, we fail. Today I learned that some people think Selma of the civil rights movement was a person. People are dumb.

Today I came to the conclusion that routine will be my undoing, People are so completely obsessed with repeating their mundane routines, because it gives them security. From what, I have no idea. I've never been one to succumb to routines and having to abide by others is painful at times. I realize if you have a schedule of 8-4, breakfast will be before or after you get to work, lunch will usually be around the same time and dinner also, but why? Fuck it. Bring last nigth's dinner leftover to work and eat them when you're hungry, not when society says it's breakfast. Eat lunch at 4pm for all I car. Eat dinner at midnight. Why does it matter? Because Men's Fitness said don't eat four hours before bed?

I've taken away that 1% of my "friends" are in some way prejudiced against a group for no logical reason, despite their belief that they have one. I've also taken away the fact that the other one percent are criticized unmercifully for being naive or ignorant. Isn't bigotry simply the ignorant dislike of another? The same as faith is a belief that can't be proven. So what is faith in humanity? Ignorance or is it complete acceptance of what you don't know or understand? I don't know. It's a tough one, but I'll stay with these one percenters, until someone proves to me that taking a side against a certain group of humans, because of the actions of a few, has a benefit. That being said, I hope those few get what they deserve, no matter what group they belong to. Every individual must be accountable for their actions without the benefit of hiding behind a group and without the stigma of the these groups.

Being cold is not a good thing. I spent the last 25 years of my life being oblivious to the cold. The reason was, because I was able to either stay active while in the cold or simply having the knowledge the cold would be gone once I went inside. I'm cold 24/7 now and it's debilitating. It's physically exhausting and for someone who doesn't sleep routinely, it's nerveracking. I fear that it will end up with my having a bad sick spell, which I've actually managed to avoid all but three times in the past five years. Yes, despite me lacking the look of healthiness, I've had three colds that have lasted more than one day in the past five years. All three times they lasted about five days and usually involved me laying in bed and wanting to die. I do not look forward to these moments.

With all the research I've done on nutrition, despite ignoring it, I have consumed more sodium in the past five months than I have in years. I can feel it in my body and the feeling is awful. I'm dehydrated despite drinking and not consuming even close to the alcohol I've been accustomed to. I just feel awful. Truly awful and with every processed or premade meal I eat, I feel so horribly afterwards, I actually feel pained. Psychosomatic? I don't know. I just know that I've eaten so many things that were foreign to my diet that I feel completely ill by it. I won't go into certain details, but anyone who truly knows me really well, will understand that when certain things don't happen, something isn't right.

I'll end with a happy note. I realized that I worry about some people and when they do well, I'm fine. I have clouds over me like nobody knows, but it doesn't matter when certain people tell me good stuff. I also noticed that they struggle more than most, so maybe that gives me hope. That being said, it's this feeling that makes me feel festive and yes, for once, I'm looking forward to Christmas. No fanfare, just the feeling. Peace!

P.S. For some reason spellcheck isn't working and it's 4:37am, so sue me if you want to pick on my errors.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Personal Blog

I know nobody reads my blog. When I started it, I figured I'd post some funny, silly and maybe thoughtful things that friends would get a kick out of. I soon realized that most of my friends are too busy to read anything more than two or three sentences long. Ironically, they claim to be very aware of the world around them and why it's falling apart. I spend three or four hours a day just trying to make sense of a crazy world I'm part of and people who have actually told me they don't read because my blogs are too long, tell me they know better than I about why people are protesting. I guess I'm missing something.

I find it interesting that I was thinking about something, rather someone, wondering what they are up to. We shared a "moment" and I hesitantly wrote about it long ago. I was looking back and realized that memory popped into my head and onto these pages right around the same time of year, a few years back. Maybe it's the cold that brought back warm weather memories, I do not know.

It's interesting that I wrote about items I couldn't live without a year ago and half of them I haven't used in five months. I'm even more amazed that I felt so much emotion about people that I rarely think about now. Some friends, some romantic, all not worth the time and effort I put into them. I'd rather have all that time back than the moments I waste on social media or worrying about things I can't control. It would be years.

So much happiness and anger, pride, frustration and relief in these pages and for what? So that six people might understand me a little better? So I'll be noticed? I do notice that my writing skills have deteriorated and for that, I blame social media. Surrounded, it seems, by people oblivious to the laws of grammar, spelling and punctuation and this in turn has made me lazy. I can't blame others really, but it seems like the effort to do things properly is lost in all facets of life. Funny how the people who have criticized me publicly about a misspelled word, find no fault in their simple errs.

The thing I like most about this blog is being able to go back and remember certain times in my life and see what else I might have forgotten. The reality is, I haven't forgotten all of it and going back only seems silly. So many I've thought of deleting, but who would notice? Even less than those who might have skipped over it the first time around. As I sit writing this, I'm thinking what I normally think, when writing anything I post here that isn't filled with emotion caused by others. I think it's stupid and I shouldn't share it. I'm probably right.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Tired of the Hate

I've written three blogs tonight and deleted all three. I'll just say this. If you see that I'm no longer your friend on Facebook, please don't think this doesn't mean we're not "friends." It simply means that I'm weaker than you and while you can and have put up with reading things that you disagree with, I can't handle your racist tones. If you defend someone because he's your friend, but bash every other black person, because he's a thug, that is racism. Your loyalty doesn't mean you're not racist, it just means you're selective.

I don't mean for this to only apply what is in the news now. If you think there is comedy in women being raped, I'm going to have to stop reading your posts and I assume, you mine. I've always found it interesting that men with daughters continue to be friends with rapists, but that's your business. That women support the husbands of their beaten friends. I've never understood that logic or the logic of knowing deep down that a friend hurts his children and doing nothing about it. I for one have never been able to sit back and take that.

Listen, if we're together and you want to make fun of the fact my mother was Jewish and call me cheap or tell me I have a small penis, that's fine. I grew up with blacks, Spanish, Asian, Jewish, Christian, Muslims and everything in between and I've made fun of all of them and them me, but this was to each other's faces and with no animosity. It's the anger, the rage and the ignorance that disturbs me. If we were face to face, I would ask you to stop or walk away, so just view this as me walking away. If you take it personally, I can't help that, but know that you hurt our friendship, not I, because I thought I knew you and you proved me wrong about yourself.

I am sorry, if this offends anyone down the road, but the things I want to say might have become too personal. So I'm leaving this as the only thing I'll say.

Quickie Review - Godzilla (2014)

I'm just going to come right out and say it. It's easily, without question, one of the worst movies ever made. Now, this is not to say there isn't something for people to like. It's two hours of mind-numbing stupidity, but with that comes relaxation for some. Many thing I have overrated Raid: Redemption, because the plot is pretty simplistic and the acting is pretty much nothing more than being able to fight, but I found so much more and non-stop entertainment. Even it's weak sequel had some flashes of brilliance. This movie, none. Even the most exciting scene, the HALO drop is so silly, because when you see what happens, you realize it's completely unnecessary.

So why is it so terrible? Bryan Cranston to start. Now I must admit that I have not sat through eight seasons of Breaking Bad and to be honest, I've only seen four episodes, but I can say without question, from what I have seen, he's easily one of the worst actors alive. He's a good guy and a great interview, but he's not very good at his craft. Maybe Breaking Bad is something special, I will find out one day, I'm sure, but until then, let us please stop using him as a leading man. How they convinced Juliette Binoche to co-star in such a meaningless role, absolutely baffles the mind. The kid from Kick-Ass was absolutely dreadful in every scene he is in, although kudos for making me laugh, when he two brags about his bomb defusing prowess. Even the shining star of the horrid remake Oldboy, Elizabeth Olsen, completely mails it in as the always crying army wife. It's horrible.

So, who the hell cares about acting? This is an action movie with monsters. First off, two of the monsters look like a praying mantis if their eyes lit up with LED lights. Then there is Godzilla, who I must say, looks like he's been hitting the gym. His long neck is now much more muscular and he has longers arms and hands. Oh yeah and his whole body lights up for absolutely no reason and instead of breathing fire, he breathes, whatever it is, but let's just say this, it's the kiss that tops Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. Did I mention David Straitharn is in this? No really, he is and he mails it in too. Sally Hawkins is basically an extra. Who the allowed this?

Anyway, it'll be a long time before I consider checking out a sequel to this mess, but it can't be worse, so it does have that going for it. Hell, even Troll 2 was better than Troll.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Free Writing - Take 66

I've been making lists in my head lately and while it's something we all do, these have been so scattered. I've been thinking of songs I love that I haven't heard in ages. I've been thinking about people I've been meaning to reach out to privately, but fail to do so, because liking a silly picture is so much easier. Lists of things I'm dying to eat or books I need to read. I've been thinking about how my desire for knowledge has been waning, because I have nobody to share it with. Even my sports, the thing I spoke so often on Fridays through Mondays, is a thing of the past. I've been jotting down in my memory bank all of the people who I miss and all of those who I thought would miss me more. I think about the ever growing list of people who were constants who mean nothing to me anymore and I to them. I've been making lists of the things I did, each and every day, that I've not done in this, my 155th day away. I took a break from this, looked away and saw a picture of someone. Someone I have probably spoken to three, maybe four times in my life. A friend of a friend, but someone I may have known when she was younger. Now she's grown, probably 30? So beautiful and I remember the night I teased her, she teased back. I miss those things. Put that on my list. Teasing. I'm making lists of things that are driving me crazy, the most of all the repition. My personal hell is speaking and not being heard and repeating myself constantly, to the point where I start questioning if I'm making these things up. Tonight, I disclosed a list. A list of one thing, the one thing that hurts me more than anything. A nod, an verbal affirmation and not 3 minutes later, the actions that proved, it meant nothing. Christmas is coming and I don't have a list. I never have made a list. List of things I want. What a repulsive thing for a child to make, let alone an adult. We make lists all the time, but when the list become things we want? A bucket list of things we can't lay on our death bed proud of. Yes, that fucking diamond necklace looks beautiful, I hope everyone fights over it when I'm dead. Here's my Christmas list. Ask for what the guy whose birthday it is would ask for. Embrace that or is that concept too difficult. Maybe I should just stick to movies and songs. Anyone care to hear my favorites?

Quickie Review - Pontypool

Pontypool is one of the few movies, I've ever watched, been absolutely amazed with (most of it) and then read the writer and director's comments in interviews and was at a loss. So much so, it changed my view of it. This in no way is meant to take away from Stephen McHattie's brilliant performance in the lead role.

While I realize the film takes place in Canada, I felt throughout that this was a strong social commentary on how talk radio and media in general has created so much hysteria that anything is possible. I felt, like War of the Worlds, this film was entirely about hysteria created by the spoken word, which, because the movie was made in 2008, coincided with the ending of one administration and the true rise of power for cable news. There were other things, I won't bore you with, like the plays on words, the anagrams and a few others, but this is where I was let down. I read the interviews and comments and absolutely none of this was intentional. In fact, the entire idea was a three part trilogy that would look much more into the lives of those affected, well infected.

Don't get me wrong, for a good hour, it's about as good as I've seen, but the finale is just plain silly. The acting falls apart and a little digging allows you to find out why. I also thought that the scene after the credits let in a little insight, but once again, after reading the reason for it, it too was a big let down. I really just wish the movie went in one of about twenty different directions in the last 15-20 minutes. It seems like everyone simply bailed on a brilliant idea, because they wanted to leave open the chance for a sequel. Finding out that was the only thing they planned, was a true letdown.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Dream About The State Of Music

I had a dream about music. Something I love, but have let slip away from my daily life. I'm so frustrated with music being secondary to the ugly packaging it's wrapped up in. Ever since people like Elvis, became legendary, while the writers and true performers, who sung with passion and danced with feeling, slipped through the crack, music has gone downhill.

Gone are the days of paying homage to the greats like Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson, the man, the myth, the legend. Does anyone remember when the box set of lost recordings came out. It was the biggest moment in music history at the time and how many people say outside of a Tower Records, waiting to grab the genius' work? This is done for Dave Matthews, Guns 'n' Roses and One Direction. Bands who have cornered a market on sameness. For every Nirvana, there are twenty grunge bands who would have yelled to Cobain to grab his shine box, but they marketed themselves to the future Starbucks sipping, hipster wannabee, fake angst crowd.

I just woke up from an afternoon nap and angered by the edge the Wu-Tang seems to have lost, but make no mistake, it's simply them trying to stay relevant, forgetting that they are the ones who set the trend, not the other way around. I am inundated by the sounds of Taylor Swift, who I do not despise. At least she writes many of her songs and when she was pure country, she sang from her tiny inexperienced heart and it was gold.

Gone are the days of Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten, their bastard children, The Clash, who kids today don't know is the primordial ooze from which their Green Day spawned from. It's why I gravitate to female singers, still trying to be as big as the boys, but having always sung from a place of pain, men will never know. Adele reminded of us of what Ella, Edith and Janis told us. I remember a night when a 24 year old girl said "Yeah, baby Bessie Smith" as I stood at the jukebox and I spent the night buying her drinks, partially helped by the bartender, as we both stood amazed, not only at her knowledge, but her appreciation.

Musicians who bled the music, not because it was part of the aura they tried to facilitate, but because it was all they knew how to do. Jelly Roll to Louie to Buddy to that little fucker in purple, who many don't know is quite possibly the greatest guitarist they've ever seen.

Say what you want about the early rappers, but it was all from the heart. Spitting rhymes about the atrocities they saw in our innermost cities. Atrocities now, that are summed up in 140 characters or less. I read the words of Chuck D now and remember when he told us to Fight the Power. The song resonates, just like it did backing that powerful movie, but the reality is, the power is winning. Dylan, Nelson and Chuck are still plugging along, but their power is passing down their craft. The real power is in the kids and the same kids who choose to wear wool caps and like songs about sitting by a pond and drinking beer. Where are those who will give us shelter from the storm?


Belated Giving Of Thanks

Ever since I joined Facebook, I'm amazed at how shallow people are. Even those, who I thought shared common views with, fall into this selfish rut, sometime after Halloween. Thanksgiving always brings out what most feel is their sincerity, thoughtfulness and unselfish side, but then why is every posts the same? Why do so many thank people for all they do? Why would you choose a holiday to share your admiration? Isn't it a cliche? I'm not saying, you aren't thankful, I'm simply saying it's selfishness you are praising, not sincerity. Why are all but a handful of posts about what others have done for them. Whether big or small it's all about how we benefited from their actions. I'm sure, I could scroll back or check some old blogs and find the same, but I doubt I've ever seen this time of year as solely a time to acknowledge help. I've always been one who values what people do for us. The people who I share a mutual bond with where the giving isn't part of the equation, because it's we both receive time together. I've spent so much time alone lately, that much of that part of my life is lost, but I'm thankful for the memories and the knowledge that some will always have a place at the table waiting and I for them. I'm thankful for mutual understanding. I'm appreciative to those who care that I'm gone, but I'm thankful to those who've taught me more in their silence. I'm appreciative to my family, for always being there when the chips or down, but thankful for the every day reminder that they don't stay down. I'm appreciative for a warm meal and a roof over my head, but I'm thankful that I've been there when others needed it from me.  I'm appreciative for the one person who has made me feel so missed, but thankful for the one who proved to me that simple distance isn't worth a friendship. Who knows how many years I would have wasted, calling them friend. I'm appreciative for those who say "how are you," but thankful for those who say "when will I see you."

I'm appreciative for the little I have. I'm thankful for never feeling that I need more.