Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gogol Bordello at the Mayan, June 21, 2010

I am writing this review because it's impossible to write a review of a Gogol Bordello show and I just want to see if it's possible to do the impossible.
Wait ... Huh?
I don't know, don't ask me.
The my history with Gogol Bordello goes something like this:
Mid To Late 2008: I hear some crazyawesome song (Supertheory Of Supereverything) playing in a store and ask the clerk who is playing. She doesn't know how to pronounce the name but somehow manages to tell me it's Gogol Bordello anyway. I run out and buy Super Taranta, listen to it three times and, while I like the music, figure it's not something I'll listen to a lot and sell it at Amoeba.
April 2009: My mom, recently obsessed with the band, thanks to my brother and Thru The Roof 'N' Underground, asks me if I'd like to go with them to see Gogol Bordello in Ventura. I say sure, since I did like the music and figure it'll be a fun evening.
May 2009 to Today: I. Am. Obsessed!
Gogol Bordello don't know the meaning of the phrase "phone it in." ... Actually, they probably do. They're smart people. I'm sure they know exactly what it means. It's just not a philosophy they subscribe to.
You know how usually when you see a band there's one or two really energetic members and a couple more subdued members? Gogol Bordello has no subdued members. I don't know where they all get so much energy, unless it's from each other. In which case it's all contagious and that would explain how the audience seems to catch that energy, too.
Which has good points and bad points. When the show started I happened to be standing in exactly the right spot to be sucked into a mosh pit. I lasted one song there before having to push my way toward the back so I could dance like a madwoman in peace.
Gogol Bordello makes me dance like a madwoman.
And thank god they played a couple slow(ish) songs in the middle of the set, because all that dancing with no rest and no water makes a girl feel very lightheaded. So I got a little break during When Universes Collide and Thru The Roof 'N' Underground.
Not a huge break, though. I couldn't help dancing a little. And When Universes Collide made me cry for several reasons (it's my favorite song on the new album; it's a very sad song; it's an amazing buildup of music and energy that is more powerful when played live; I'd been sick all weekend; I was feeling lightheaded from all that dancing), but it was this weird sort of half sobbing, half laughing which, to my memory, I'd only experienced once before: Mike Patton singing an a capella cover of Crying in Spanish at a Peeping Tom concert.
Gogol Bordello have reached Mike Patton levels of making me emotional. That is an amazing feat.
And why shouldn't they? The fact that this band can make me dance like a madwoman and sing along at the top of my voice without regard to whether or not I sound any good (two things I ordinarily never do) must mean something.
It means they're the most powerful band in the history of time. And they earned every single one of the kisses I blew last night.
Blowing kisses. Another thing I never do.
Here's to knowing they'll use their powers for good and for awesome.

End of line.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Two guys, a Pilot and a Guy Wearing A Uniform But Reading A Magazine, open up the large crate they're hauling (the one with warning signs all over it) and get killed by Something.
Something turns out to be a Giant Snake, who goes all around town eating / spitting acid on people. For kicks, I guess. The police don't know about the snake, though, and suspect a local fellow of murder. His motive? He stole the sheriff's girlfriend and works at the town acid factory. (That's a thing, right? The ol' acid factory?)
Meanwhile Plot Exposition Military Guy interrogates Plot Exposition Scientist Guy so the audience will know what's up with the snake.
Python isn't bad, but it isn't good. I thought it was a made for TV movie, but there are too many boobs and swear words (ie: any) in it for that to be true.
The main characters are all played by People You Probably Haven't Heard Of but the supporting cast is chock full of People You Might Recognize (Casper Van Dien, Jenny McCarthy, Keith Coogan, Robert Englund, Sean Whalen, Wil Wheaton). Which is kind of fun, but leads to the problem of there being way too damn many characters, which leads to the other problem of the movie being way longer than I have the patience for.
And it ended, like, three times.
I think Python would have benefitted from taking out the part where a guy tries to sell Jenny McCarthy a house. It went on too long, it wasn't funny (I think it was supposed to be) and there were too many extreme close ups of Jenny McCarthy in unflattering makeup making really ugly faces.
Other than that, though, all the humor was goofy and stupid, which is nice because if the movie had tried to take itself seriously it would have failed way harder than it already does.
Actually, no. That's not fair. Python doesn't fail; it just doesn't win. It goes on too long and I stopped caring long before it was over (somewhere in between the first and second endings).
It was entertaining and fun and I can't say I hated it but I'd be hard pressed to ever be scared of a CGI snake.

End of line.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Possessed is a movie I bought for a dollar at Amoeba and, thanks to lack of reliable translation and the suspicion it might also be a bootleg, I can't find any information about it online at all.
A kid is possessed by a ghost and kills his mom and sister. Then the ghost moves on and possesses somebody else, claiming it wants revenge. There's a priest grieving over the death of his wife (I guess he became a priest because she died) and a couple who used to date hosting a TV show about supernatural goings-on. They're all involved with the angry ghost, too.
The movie was kind of choppy and hard to follow (which was not helped at all by very, very iffy subtitles. For instance, a priest talked about how Sedan tries to make people lose their faith in God. Apparently my car is evil) but I bet if I had watched it at night and hadn't been falling asleep it would have been pretty creepy.
Slow moving ghost stories are not good viewing for the sleep deprived.

End of line.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slashed Dreams

This review is one giant spoiler, but the movie doesn't have a plot (or a point) so I can't see how anybody could honestly care.

The original title of this movie was Sunburst; Slashed Dreams is the title they gave it for video. And I'm completely convinced they did that to capitalize on a certain cast member who became quite popular playing a guy who slashed teenagers in their dreams. 'Cause Slashed Dreams is a title that makes no sense for this movie.
Honestly, Sunburst doesn't either.
The movie starts with a college class where everybody's talking about society and what their generation has to connect to and where their roots are and general '70s hippie stuff (I bet after class most of them went off to the school's theater for a Hair rehearsal). Then there are a few scenes with Jenny's boyfriend being a total asshole. So she breaks up with him and goes out to the woods with her friend Robert to visit their other friend Michael who moved into the forest and built himself a cabin a couple of years before.
And most of the movie is Jenny and Robert wandering around the woods, Jenny and Robert eating berries, Jenny and Robert watching a bear eat all their food, Jenny and Robert swimming, Jenny and Robert barging into a cabin because they assume it's Michael's (it is, but he isn't home, so it still seems rude).
Then, about twenty minutes from the end, an event actually happens. It's a miracle! Oh, but the event is Jenny gets raped. 'Cause it's the 1970s and you can't make a movie that isn't about things that are very serious and depressing. (I wasn't there, but I get the impression they outlawed fun in the '70s.) So then there's a whole lot of Jenny sitting by herself and not talking and being understandably very upset.
Then Michael comes home and, in about two minutes of talking to her, manages to kickstart her emotional healing process. Basically, he comes in and says "I'm going to make you some tea, and you're going to work that demon out of you." And she's all "Okay, that makes sense," starts crying and falls asleep.
Meanwhile Robert goes off and attacks Jenny's rapists. Jenny and Michael, hearing the commotion, run out to help him (I guess) and the rapists run away and Michael says "They won't be back" and sounds very certain he's right.
And I guess he is right, 'cause they don't come back. Jenny reads a poem about healing or having to experience pain to be a complete person or something, and she and Robert walk away into the sunset. The end.
I don't get it. What's the point? It's a Some Shit That Happened movie that's somehow even more boring than all other Some Shit That Happened movies I've seen.
That poem at the end made it seem like the moral of the story is "Being raped makes you a complete person," which is the most fucked up moral I've ever heard in my life and I refuse to accept it.
Maybe the moral is "Hiking is only fun for the people who are doing the hiking," because most of the movie is Jenny and Robert wandering in the woods, and it's boring as hell.
Maybe the moral is "Robert Englund is magic," because apparently he can help rape victims recover from their horrible ordeal in, like, fifteen minutes. She's totally better by the time she walks away into the sunset, which was less than twenty four hours after she was attacked.
Maybe the moral is "Nobody in the '70s had any imagination," because this movie is dull, boring and stupid.
And why did they make such a huge deal about Jenny breaking up with her asshole boyfriend if he wasn't going to come back into play? It seemed like a huge plot point, I thought he was going to follow them into the forest and be a creepy stalker ex asshole boyfriend. But he just disappears. The movie could have started with Jenny saying "Hey, Robert, I just got this letter from Michael and he seems really happy. We should go visit him." The movie would have been just as effective.
Which is to say, it wouldn't have been effective at all. The only thing I took away from this movie is "Robert Englund sure is pretty." Too bad he's only in about the last ten minutes.

End of line.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Great Smokey Roadblock

Elegant John is dying of Old Man Movie Illness but he wants to make one last perfect run before he goes. So he sneaks out of the hospital and steals his rig out of the impound lot and goes off in search of a load to deliver, picking up an uptight hitchhiker who won't stop spouting religious jargle along the way.
Meanwhile, Penelope's brothel gets shut down by the police and, rather than go to jail, the girls decide to skip town and set up a new house in South Carolina.
Golly, I wonder how these two plot threads will intersect?
The Great Smokey Roadblock is a summer Sunday afternoon movie, when it's too hot to move and you just want to watch something that's entertaining without having to think about it. It's probably not the best movie I've ever seen, but it was fun.
And the cast is awesome: Henry Fonda; Eileen Brennan; Robert Englund; Susan Sarandon; Austin Pendelton; a bunch of people who looked familiar but I don't think I knew who they were.
I only really had two problems with the movie:
1) Beebo (the hitchhiker) loosens up about midway through the movie, I guess because he and one of the hookers fall for each other, but rather than show that happening he just gets turned into a background character. As soon as he stops spouting religious jargle they don't give him anything to do at all. I think The Liberation Of Beebo (or whatever) would've been a good subplot (and I'd think that even if he weren't played by Robert Englund).
2) This one is spoilerish so you may skip it if you like. The movie could have had two logical endings: a happy one and a sad one. It had both. The sad one just seemed kind of tacked on and pointless. We all knew that was going to happen, but we didn't need visual proof. But I guess because it's a movie from the seventies it had to end on a downer.

Also, this is pretty much amusing only to me, but The Great Smokey Roadblock and Eaten Alive came out the same year, and I just think it would be too funny if Beebo and Buck were the same person (not just played by the same guy). He starts out all uptight and "I serve no man" and blah blah blah, then he learns to loosen up thanks to his girlfriend the prostitute. Someone starts calling him Buck, the nickname sticks. He loosens up too much and starts frequenting other brothels and cue the beginning of Eaten Alive.
This very lazy fan fiction brought to you by me.

End of line.

Night Of The Living Dead 3-D

I watched it on Sunday night and basically completely forgot that I'd watched it until Monday evening. That could probably be the review all by itself. But I'm going to keep going.
Except I don't know what to say.
It sort of follows the same story as the original (all the characters have the same names as characters in the original), but only if the original took place in a hippie commune kind of house where everyone's stoned and watching Night Of The Living Dead on TV.
Wait, huh?
But even the one really, really high guy who actually sees the parallels between the movie he's watching and what's going on around him doesn't mention "Hey, we all have the same names as the people in the TV." He mostly just constantly asked to be reassured that Barb was just trying to scare him and there aren't really zombies in the cemetery.
Also, these people live in a world where they're aware of what zombies are but they don't know the Two Basic Rules Of Zombie:
1) Shoot them in the head (I believe the phrasing from the original Night Of The Living Dead was "kill the head and the body will die").
2) If a zombie bites you, you become a zombie.
No, that first one doesn't seem to come up at all and the second one has to be explained to them by Plot Exposition Guy, who shows up about twenty minutes from the end.
Oh, and one last thing that just irks me: When a couple of the characters are arming themselves, one guy asks the other if he knows how to fire the gun and the second guy says something like "Are you kidding me? I grew up on video games." So did I, but I don't know how to fire a gun! I know how to fire a Zapper, but that just shoots light and doesn't have any kickback. If I tried to fire a gun I'd probably end up breaking my nose on it. This guy's an idiot.
Everybody in the movie's an idiot, really.
Most of the movie just seems like a bunch of college kids decided to remake Night Of The Living Dead, and they got it sort of accurate. A bunch of people are holed up in a house arguing how to deal with their zombie situation. Then, midway through production, they managed to sign Sid Haig and decided to change the ending of the movie in order to give him something to do.
And it wasn't really terrible, but it wasn't all that good, either.

End of line.