Friday, April 28, 2006

The day is's a wears a badge...

and I plan to see this later today - thank you connections.

Nicole Holofcener is a filmmaking goddess. If you've not seen her films Walking and Talking (1996) or the beyond brilliant Lovely & Amazing (2001), stop reading this and seek them out. Now please. When Lovely & Amazing came out on DVD it was around the same time as the terrible The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I would constantly let female customers know that Lovely & Amazing is a thousand times better, as its dialogue rings true and sincere, not like the tastes-like-screenplay patois that the Ya-Ya film foists upon its viewers. Each and every time they'd come back and thank me for recommending Lovely & Amazing.

I also plan to make some headway in regards to TiVo and Netflix (Aeon Flux is winging its way to me; hopefully it'll arrive tomorrow) and maybe try to see American Dreamz or The Sentinel today or tomorrow as well. I have to work 2-6 on Sunday.

will see United 93. People can hem and haw over whether or not a 9/11-themed film should exist at this point in time. My personal belief is that Hollywood churned out film after film about WWII *during* WWII and that as long as the subject matter is treated with care and a steady hand, it's fine. Early word on the film states that writer/director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, The Bourne Supremacy) has crafted a masterful, gripping, haunting film experience that is never exploitative and that United 93 is the first four-star film of the year. Greengrass also worked closely with the family of the Flight 93 passengers and 10% of the opening weekend grosses will be going to 9/11-related charities. In any case, I will watch United 93. I think certain people will be alot more apprehensive when Paramount releases Oliver Stone's 9/11-related film on August 11th, World Trade Center, starring Nicolas Cage as a real-life port authority worker.

I am almost finished reading
The Da Vinci Code and it is a very taut, spellbinding novel and I can now fully understand why the Catholics are up in arms over it -- especially the sect known as Opus Dei.

Edward Norton produced the latest film he's in and it looks exceptional with a great cast. The trailer just debuted online at Apple's movie trailer page. Click the poster to check it out. It's a small film so of course that means we here in the uncultured dregs of a city known as Savannah will only get to see this when it's thrown onto DVD by ThinkFilm this August. Have I mentioned that this town is quite lame, arthouse movie-wise? Because I think I have.

Down In The Valley

Whatever the case may be, I plan to post reviews of several films that I see this weekend. I've been slacking off for far too long lately.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

After Silent Hill ended, my mother and I picked up a Toshiba DVD player as the old one conked out, sound-wise. It seems the thing kept emitting a loud buzz through our sound system whenever we'd turn it on. The damn thing wasn't even a year old yet! So much for SONY being top-shelf. Then after Bill Maher's show ended we watched...

I've had this for almost a week from Netflix. Suffice it to say I love Franka Potente (she will be mine...oh yes) but all in all this was a two-star affair. It started out promising but then after the characters start behaving like toddlers halfway through it undermined the entire rest of the film for me. It's a shame too as the film was well-made and well-directed with great cinematography inside London's Underground.

I just finished Dan Brown's novel
Angels and Demons and am currently reading...

in advance of the film's release on May 19th. I need to start reading again. TiVo has bewitched me as we all know and I think I should dive right back into the frothy cool waters of the printed page as I'd not done so, until recently, in quite some time.

In the land of radio buyouts and format changes, steady constants are always cool and delicious.

First a bit of Savannah radio history...

In the mid '90s Savannah had a really cool alternative station - WZAT-FM Z102 - Savannah's Rock and Roll Radio. The DJs were *always* live and you truly had the feeling that if you turned the dial you'd miss something. Hell, my freshman year of high school I attempted to do my four hours of community service (all Georgia high school students must complete four hours of community service, in addition to maintaining their grades, to pass) interning at Z102. I did so under the tutelage of the amazing, awesome Tripp West, who's now at WSTR-FM, Star 94, in Atlanta (and has been for quite some time). It was an experience I'll never forget. Pulling commercials (this was *before* the automated computerized stuff), watching the behind-the-scenes stuff - it was fascinating.

Then, Cumulus flashed their cash and bought the station in 1998, flipping it to Top 40 as "Z102 - Savannah's Hit Music Station". And for a while it did extremely well. Then Clear Channel flipped their Hot Adult Contemporary station WAEV-FM - Mix 97.3 - to Top 40, relaunching the station under their national Top 40 banner as "97.3 KISS FM". And then Z102 began its slow descent to the bottom of the ratings pile, where it still lingers today, as a weird Top 40/Hot AC hybrid. Z102 continually winds up being beaten while WAEV towers in the market.

As for the alternative rock scenario now in Savannah? Well, none to speak of. We do have a rather kick-ass Adult Album Alternative station, Wave 104.9, - - but nothing along the lines of WZAT. Triad Broadcasting, which owns Wave, also owns the boring-as-hell WFXH-FM (Rock 106.1). If you like hearing Chevelle and Nickelback three thousand times a day, be my guest. It's horrible. Their standard operating procedure must be - nothing melodic --
EVER! Tama Broadcasting might be launching a new rock station -- The Hawk 104.7 but only time will tell as they're still simulcasting their Variety Hits station, Freedom 92.3.

So suffice it to say, there's nothing here for those of us who like a diverse menu of alt-rock goodness. For more than ten years, WAVF-FM has shone like a beacon of hope from Charleston, South Carolina. If you love great alternative music, look no further than this gem of a radio station. If someone could bring a station like this to Savannah, it'd clean Rock 106.1's clock -- no doubt about it. Ah, if only I had the the 96 Wave logo to hear aural brilliance.

 96 Wave - Charleston's Rock Station

beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

In 2002, director Christophe Gans created a masterpiece with Le Pacte des loups (otherwise known as Brotherhood of the Wolf). It was ambitious, smart, and an all-around well-made film with a vibrant and alive mythos populated with strong characters. Now, four years later, the French filmmaker has teamed with Pulp Fiction co-writer and Killing Zoe writer/director Roger Avary (he wrote Silent Hill) to craft one of the very best horror films in quite some time.

Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) and her husband Christopher (Sean Bean) have been having issues with their adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who's taken to sleepwalking and uttering the phrase "Silent Hill". Medication has not helped so Rose decides to take Sharon to the place she keeps uttering, much to Christopher's dismay. But along the way there's a car accident and when Rose awakens from it, Sharon is nowhere to be found. It is in the nearby town of Silent Hill where Rose searches for her daughter, alongside a no-nonsense cop (Laurie Holden) who followed her. The town is seemingly deserted, save for the ash that rains down by day. At night, a blaring siren signals to all in the vicinity that something horrible is coming.

I have never played the video games upon which Silent Hill is based (my video gaming ended somewhere around the Sega Genesis era) but one need not be well-versed in any of the video games to enjoy the film. Christophe Gans and Roger Avary use musical cues, slight CGI, good-old fashioned makeup, and several different film techniques to convey the sheer hellish nature of the decrepit town. Walls melt, moaning demonic babies and barbed wire-covered corpses come alive to help create a vivid and beyond nightmarish landscape. In all of the other video game adaptations so far, the emperor truly had no clothes. With Silent Hill, Gans and company (kudos to Carol Spier's production design) have made a film that feels like the love child of Clive Barker and Dario Argento, a movie that has a carefully detailed backstory (some might say *too* detailed) that gives weight to the otherworldly images we witness.

Some reviews are treating this film as a graphic exercise in sadism and revulsion that only a maniac would view. But then again horror films as a genre have never been given a fair shake. This is not the watered-down PG-13 pablum that most studios are now trying to pass off as a "horror" film. It is a gripping and plot-driven horror film that is head and shoulders above any in a very long while. If you truly enjoy a scary and enjoyable time at the movies, see Silent Hill. It may not reinvent the wheel but it damn sure covers it in gore, with a style and craftsmanship that's really refreshing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Can someone help me...I think that I'm lost...lost in a place called America."

So, blogging can be a fun and informative way to pass on information between one person or a set of people to millions and possibly billions of others across the globe. My little corner of the Internet seems to become active in sporadic fits and starts.

My plans for today mostly consist of...

1. Go to sleep

2. Enjoy my day off and finally see V for Vendetta.

I really want to see Thank You For Smoking. It *finally* opens in nationwide release this weekend.

But I'm really jonesin' to see Rian Johnson's directorial debut, Brick. It's film noir with characters still in high school.

Learn more here -

Writer/director Rian Johnson also has a forum of his own at
It's really cool; he replies to posts and has been posting new release date schedules as he gets them. I asked him about the release plan for Brick here in Savannah and he said it bodes well if we got the Focus Features films 21 Grams and The Constant Gardener (pre-Oscar noms), (which I'd mentioned we had) as the same guy is in charge of distribution. So in other words - hurry up and get here Brick! I need my noir fix. In the meantime I plan to sate my lust for all things noir with a list I procured from the Internet and will soon check out a few film noir titles on Netflix.

I guess I should come clean as to WHY I've been blog absent. You see, dear reader, I've fallen in love. I am smitten and have been wooing my dear lass for several days now...

What, you thought I was speaking of a female? That's funny. First you'd have to assume there's a girl out there that thinks I'm more interesting than debit cards, text messaging, "American Idol" and Abercrombie & Fitch or Aeropostale and that said imagined girl would think me a nice and witty chap. And that is stuff you only find in badly written romantic comedies. But I digress.

I've long been a fan of Turner Classic Movies, or TCM, for short. If you look back on the maelstrom of cable activity in the early/mid '90s, it was amazing. You had new cable channels popping up all over the place. Cartoon Network, E!, Game Show Network, The Sci-Fi Channel, and Turner Classic Movies were just a few new faces on the cable landscape. Each sought to carve out a special niche in the marketplace, one that until then had largely gone unfufilled.

Now it's almost two decades later and what has happened? Cartoon Network has turned into a repetitive noise-machine of regurgitated "original series" while forsaking the classic cartoons they originally aired (so much so they had to create a sister channel, Boomerang, just to air said cartoons!), E! resembles The Paparazzi Channel, save for their weekly series The Soup, Game Show Network is now called gsn - the network for games and throws in reality series and poker, poker, poker, and The Sci-Fi Channel now dubs itself simply SCI FI while upon closer inspection, the channel could not be any less devoted to science fiction, as it constantly eschews the genre it's named for in lieu of demos, ratings, and the almighty dollar.

But in the loud den of the money-hungry claptrap that the race for viewers causes, one channel has stood the test of time by staying true. One channel has remained committed and devoted to its founding principles: classic movies 24/7. They've proven that they can make money and yes, Bonnie Hammer at SCI FI *still* retain a hefty viewership. That channel is, of course, Turner Classic Movies.

I will turn 25 later this year and Turner Classic Movies is truly like a breath of fresh air. I've ignored this channel for far too long. On May 22nd, they'll be airing the Orson Welles-made documentary F for Fake! That's never shown on television! Tonight theme (as each night has one) is films by director Norman Z. McLeod. They'll be playing The Marx Brothers classic Horse Feathers plus the film Topper, to name a few.

It'd be one thing if they only ran movies. But Turner Classic Movies goes the extra mile by really conveying just how much they love these great films. Each film is more often than not introed and outroed by the inimitable Robert Osborne, the vast film encyclopedia. He is amazing and provides a lush detailing of each and every facet that you might want to know about the film you're going to watch or the one you just did. Then there's the channel's movie promos, TCM's "One Reel Wonders" in which they'll air a short (in between movies) from yesteryear, one that no doubt played before a movie in one of the country's grand movie houses, "Cartoon Alley", where classic cartoons are screened, and sometimes we'll get treated to Robert Osborne interviewing a classic film star. In September, select episodes of The Dick Cavett Show will air, each featuring interviews with legends of film including Groucho Marx and Alfred Hitchock, to name a few. Some bemoan the fact that they'll be airing this show; I welcome it as an added bonus to hear a candid and in-depth interview with some of Hollywood's best and brightest who are no longer with us.

And as for a web presence...whoa nelly! TCM's website, at , is really something. There's games, schedule info, a message board, and a newly unveiled movie database, which is a technological marvel in and of itself. Their web team really outdid themselves.

As long as Time Warner keeps their mission statement in mind, this amazing, amazing, treasure of a cable channel, with its great films that harken back to the silver's screen's best and brightest of yesteryear and wonderful on-air style, sophistication, and presentation, will truly remain the one and ONLY crown jewel on cable television - PERIOD.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

...unless we get a little crazy....


I *will* see this movie this weekend, come hell or high water. It's so far one of the best reviewed film of the year, with an 86% Tomato reading over at

It's just a damn shame that it's not doing as well as I'd have liked it to. Damn snot-nosed brats and their foolish adherence to Ice Age: The Meltdown. A lovingly crafted throwback to great '80s horror comedies like Night of the Creeps and Tremors and the masses simply bring their soccer mom SUVs to the same old, same old retread of a CGI movie that wasn't all that great in the first place. But dollars speak volumes. Oh well. If there's a silver lining in there anywhere it should pick up a bit this weekend and then next weekend there's no competition to speak of so it might rake in a couple more million before recouping its cost on DVD in three months. Longest run-on sentence ever. Thank you very much.

The blog has taken a backseat recently and for that I apologize as I've been busy with work. I had inventory from 11:30 last night to 4:30 this morning. We would have been out of there earlier but we had to re-scan the XBox and Gamecube section and then reshift all of the movies. I came home at 5, watched some lovely TiVo, then crashed about 8 and woke up at 3.

I have this to watch. I've heard good things and I pray that David Benioff's screenplay isn't a lame pastiche of all thing Sixth Sense. I'm in the mood for a good, smart, effective supernatural thriller and I hope this is it.

Also on the bill is...

The Horror Channel gave this one a good review and at work it's been slim pickings as far as new horror titles that look halfway decent (i.e. that don't have that filmed-in-the-backyard-by-imbeciles look) so we'll see how this one turns out.

If you live in Connecticut, please donate to Ned Lamont. Hell, if I had some extra cake to spare, I'd donate. Joe Lieberman needs to be kicked the hell out of office as he's been the best Democrat the Republicans could ever want - a mewling, nodding sycophant willing to parrot any right-wing trope that's ever thrown out there. Lest we forget the shudder-inducing kiss he received from Bush after that State of the Union address a while back.

Here's a few links of what's going on in CT via Daily Kos...

and then georgia10 over at Daily Kos really does a bang-up job dissecting how, even thought the Bush censure won't take, it's still a marvelous tool that could effectively help the Democrats regain Congress this November by painting the Republicans into the now-testy corner of having to defend an indefensible Bush. Mr. 33%, indeed.