I’m listening to this podcast the Daily Spill right now, it is hilarious and informative. Listen now here!
These guys quicky jump on my list of this week’s FAVORITE PODCASTS:
THE DAILY SPILL
COMIC GEEK SPEAK
FATMAN ON BATMAN
With the perhaps unnecessarily color titled BLACK NATIVITY headed to theaters this November, I thought now was the perfect time to take a pictorial gander at the films of its director Kasi Lemmons; a director who unfortunately like too many directors, particularly directors of color, does not get a chance to work enough.
Her 1997 debut film EVE’S BAYOU remains a personal and perennial favorite, being equal parts coming of age story and southern gothic tinged horror and magical realism. In the nearly 20 years since that film’s debut she has managed to make 4 feature films and one short, which is good to have at least that much work from a unique and talented director, and is also a tragedy to only have had that much work from a talented and unique director.
I do think the economics of making a theatrically viable film in Hollywood has kept her from truly exploring the promise of her first film; as I would have loved to see a dozen movies from Kasi Lemmon’s in her unique and dangerous southern gothic magic realism vibe. In the directorial genes of Kasi Lemmons, you had the promise of a director with the unique output of a David Fincher or Nicolas Winding Refn.
However the films we do get from her, even hampered by the constraints of producing more accessible and conventional movies, still are never completely… conventional. There are stylistic choices and decisions that in places, take your breath away. Particularly she has never shied away from strong Black protagonists, and Black male protagonists as heroes, leading men, rather than comedy relief or the sexless partner.
Kasi Lemmon’s cinematic viewpoint of Black Masculinity, even when that masculinity is dangerous or flawed, is never less than riveting and dignified and hopeful, and as such is a viewpoint that is virtually forbidden/extinct in Hollywood films. I doubt BLACK NATIVITY will be likewise blessed, but I will still support the film and go see it, in the hopes a respectable opening gets Lemmons back to making films, that transcend… convention.
The Caveman’s Valentine
Talk to Me
There is a lot to strongly dislike if not outright hate about the proliferation of reality television. Prominent among the bullet points are the devaluation of the role of writer, and the lowest common denominator nature of the ‘reality’ that is provided as entertainment.
However thankfully there are exceptions, and gems that rise against all probability from the mire. One of those gems, is the Food channel flagship show… CHOPPED.
It avoids the cartoony caricatures and idiocy of shows like IRON CHEF and just plays it straight, as a solid cooking competition, with worthy contenders and judges you can respect; and is just incredibly entertaining because of it.
At only half an hour it is the perfect length, and is completely addictive. It’s a great show for the girl or guy in your life to watch with you, especially if you are both fresh food and healthy food eaters, and constant cooks, like we are here in house Heroic Times. .
We have steamrolled through seasons of the show, thanks to Roku and Amazon Prime, and they just get better and better. In addition to being entertaining, CHOPPED is very informative to anyone who cooks or aspires to be a better cook. A great show!
This show appears to be on its 17th season, I say appears because how it designates a season seems to be a bit arbitrary and haphazard, but on the whole you get four seasons per year. Another failing is the show is not available on DVD or Blu-Ray. A failing because I think a DVD with special features, and extended episodes would be great. I would buy a nice DVD collection of a full year of shows. But till then we are stuck with on-demand and streaming.
The Big Scoop [HD]
the earth remembers
the stones remember
If the earth and stones could only speak
they would tell us many things
—Native American Proverb
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2003) – This movie is generally considered the best Godzilla film (ignoring as it does every other Godzilla film except the first one) and by the 25th minute mark, when the central conceit of this film is revealed, I begin to believe that.
Never a Godzilla fan I’ve seen other Godzilla films and they generally do not transcend the campy concept of watching rubber suits attack each other, with no real story.
This movie however has a story, only gingerly touched on, of Godzilla as some interpretation of the vengeance of God, a punishment for the attrocities of the War in the Pacific; an engine of destruction powered by the restless dead. It is a movie that has an unexpected conscience, calling to memory Japan’s (in many way’s overlooked) attrocities during the pacific campaign.
From rape and concentration caps, to ethnic cleansing and wholesale genocide, the Godzilla of this film is the personification of all the wrath for those wrongs, married to the mindless, unthinking attrocities of the atomic bomb, of true holocaust.
Godzilla is very much Japan’s antagonist in this film, and the antagonist of all the industialized world, a howling tirade against all that creulty and science that went into his creation.
And if Godzilla is the film’s heavy, the trio of other monsters he squares off against in this film are the protectors of Japan, the souls of earth and air and glade and all that should endure in the flora and fauna and hope of Japan. However it’s hard to, while not condoning Godzilla’s destruction, not root for him against all adversaries, Man or Monster. Given Man’s history it is hard not to root for the King of Monsters and the spirit of vengeance, and see man as some particularly virulent termite deserving of the heel.
This dichotomy makes it a far more complex film then its cheesy and campy origins should allow, as this particular Godzilla film becomes a film about war by walking acts of god, and as such beyond the judgement of men; can at best only be endured and hopefully survived by men.
Or for those seeking to read less into their rubber monster movies, it is also just a good monster throw-down. Either way it grades a solid B+.
HEADSHOT-Needlessly convoluted with a purposely fragmented and confusing structure, no doubt aping such films as MEMENTO, there’s room for frustration and dislike when watching director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s HEADSHOT. However it is, for much of its running time, done and played well; and the central conceit such an intriguing idea, that it transcends mimicry and suspect storytelling, to be an involving film in spite of itself.
Stylish and existential, this is a very different crime thriller, that has a voice over (a film noir trope for this new age film noir) that is compelling.
The movie does lose momentum mid-way through, forgetting to use in any meaningful way or examine the interesting idea of the title character’s affiction, and becomes a rather ordinary and plodding man on the run film.
So a film not without its failings but one that has enough intriguing moments to transcend those failings, and have you interested in the end. Grade: C+.
GRIMM Season 1- Surprisingly entertaining fantasy show that works in a way that other shows such as WAREHOUSE 13 do not
LIFE Season 1- A wry and off-kilter and charming and undeniably different tv drama. tinged with a whimsy and a bit of magical realism that makes it more than a simple police procedural
TOP SHOT Season 1, 2, 4- I’m not a ‘reality’ tv fan, but this history channel competition show is nothing short of fantastic. Additive and fun watching
TOP SHOT Season 3 – One competitor and the drama he introduces (the words functional psychopath come to mind) almost makes the season unwatchable. Thankfully he gets removed, and allows for an exciting season finale.
PRIMEVIL Season 1, 2
THE MEDIOCRE OR JUST PLAIN AWFUL
24 Season 1
24 Season 2- horrible and moronic writing and painfully contrived plot choices, and overblown performances makes this ultimately a waste of time
Today’s Recommended Roku Channel: VIEWSTER
Recently added to the Roku platform, VIEWSTER is a Swedish run on-demand channel that presents a surprising variety of free on-demand films. With a nice helping of Indie and Documentary films you are unlikely to find on other on-demand channels, as well as classic and current films.
Some that may be of interest this week are:
THE THIRD MAN
WHEELS ON MEALS
LOVE COMES SOFTLY
EVIDENCE OF A HAUNTING- the word on this movie is the only thing interesting is the poster, but you can see it for free here and decide for yourself
THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME
HE WALKED BY NIGHT
THE AMAZING MR. X
THE RED HOUSE
THE FRAGILITY OF SECONDS
SO YOU’VE DOWNLOADED A DEMON
UNDER OUR SKIN
THE SISTERS FOUR
THE MYSTERY OF SINTRA
THE BIG COMBO
Take a gander and let me know what ones you recommend.