Friday, April 29, 2011

Word and Vowel and Sense and Sound

Activating artificial artifacts
akin angry armadillos
arobically alighting
and assimilating.

Enraged entities ensconsed
entirely endothermic!
Enflamed, engulfed,

Incredible interests ignite
illucidated idiotic idioms

Overworked, overfed, overstimulated,
overestimated old organists
outliving outlandish, otherworldly

Unfortunately, underprivilaged underdogs
utilize unforgiving ulcers;
ulterior understandings undone.

Your young yearly yachtsman
yabber, yack, yield
yesternight's yellow, yawning

Limitless Ltd

"Limitless" was pretty much going to be the drug movie of the new age; the "Requiem for a Dream" of the 21st Century. It didn't really turn out that way. While it may have prompted me to read the book, it delivered some other, stranger messages. One of them seeming to be "drugs are great" and "if you do enough of them, you'll be president someday" which I find a little odd. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The film is about Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), a writer who is creatively-blocked, unkempt and just got dumped. He is glowering in the worthlessness of himself when he runs into his ex-wife's brother (Johnny Whitworth) and is given a mystery drug that bestows upon him more or less superhuman abilities. Of course, from here, things can only go up. Nevermind that the brother was, at a time, a derelict drug-dealer who should never be trusted.

Bradley Cooper was, as he always is, excellent in this role. He broke out of his normal role to play someone with a lot more depth and emotion, while also remaining a stylish and charming son of a bitch.

About halfway through the film, though, I couldn't help but ask: wait, wasn't Robert de Niro supposed to be in this movie? And he is. For very little of it. It kind of looks like they just got him in because it was a big name that would draw crowds, but he was still great in the role of tycoon Carl van Loon.

Sure, bad things do happen to Eddie even after he's taken the super-drug - most of the bad things caused by it - but I didn't feel there was any kind of evolution. He was a failure, he took drugs and became awesome. Period. I'll leave it up to you whether this fits the mould of a redemption or evolution story, but I don't think it does - and to its detriment. Usually, I'm all for subverting a genre and changing things up, but this just didn't seem to gel with me. Still, watching Bradley Cooper act for 2 hours up against de Niro was definitely worth the money and the cinematography and music were both excellent. 7.5/10

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Simply Pass By

"You need a beer," she said, sitting in her chair and smiling. A limp cigarette dangles from her lips that curled smoke into the nighttime air. "You do."
"I do," I said, looking across the table at the froty drinks in front of everyone else at the table. "I'll be right back."
I stood up and made my way through the bustling and drunk crowd to the bar. The queues stood three people deep, so I waited. A man to my left pushed past and slammed into the bar in front of me. Annoyed that he had cut in, I didn't say anything because he was clearly drunker and much bigger than I.
"Sorry mate," he said turning around, his eyes glassy from drink. "I cut in front a ya there."
"S'alright," I said.
The barkeep made his way to the big man and asked what he wanted. Big Man turned to me and said, "What are ya drinkin'?"
Taken aback I merely said, "A pint of Resches."
"Pint a Resches," he told the barkeep, "two Colds and a New."
"Thanks," I said.
He winked. It was then I noticed he was toting a very large bucket of feta cheese.
"What's the Feta for?" I asked.
"The Premium Collection." He said it with such definity.
I nodded and said "ah" and smiled, though I'd no idea what "The Premium Collection" was. The pint arrived on the countertop and the Big Man passed it back to me.
"What do I owe you?" I said, awkwardly reaching for my wallet.
He merely winked, put on a "don't worry about it" smile and waved his hand at me.
"Thanks," I said, stunned, and walked back to the table.
I sat down next to her again and said, "Someone just bought me a drink."

Some time into the night I bit the bullet from the pressure and got up to piss.
"Mind my seat," I said and threw my hat onto the chair. "And don't drink my beer."
"It's probably rufied," she said. "Date-rape: the joy of a night on the town."
"Shut up," was all I mustered as I sauntered like a drunk to the toilet. Once inside, I moved to the urinal and before I could unzip, the only other man in there yelled at me in a Cockney voice, "Louv ya haircut!"
"Cheers," I said.
"You in a band?"
I decided to have fun. Make something up.
"Yeah," I said in my best Irish voice.
"It a gay boy band?"
"Nah. Punk band."
"English punk or Irish punk?"
I stopped for a moment and then pressed out, "English punk."
Another man came into the bathroom then and stood, pissing, next to me. They clearly knew each other as they razzed one another with noogies and insults.
"I'll bite your face, cunt," said the newcomer.
"That should be yer next song," the Cockney said to me. He rocked over to me and stood right behind me and sang to no tune in particular,

I'll bite yer face, cunt,
I'll bite yer face, cunt,
I'll bite yer face, cunt,
even though I'm pleased ta see ya!

I had to admit, it'd make a good "oi oi oi" punk song. He laughed like a lunatic and made for the door. Newcomer turned to me and said, "He's a bloody champion."
"He's fucking insane," I said back.
But Cockney had heard me and yelled back into the now kind of crowded bathroom, "I ain't fuckin' crazy, ya long-haired hippie!"
And we all laughed.

I got back to the table and watched time simply pass by in the pints.

Walking Home

The peaceful silence of night,
abound in round turn arounds and
bugs in flight.

The ba-humbug men crawl from shadows and
honk their noiseless horns and
cry into the wind,
"We are the sky!"

No one listens because no one cares,
as long as they're home in bed by 9 with
food in their bellies - apples and pear.

I yell at you
I cry at you
I shout and scream and decry to you -
come forth and spare us your
unsacred lust
and make all the just unsuffer.

A lone wolf cries and we are all gone.

Thor: A Hard Look At

Everyone shoule be pretty much aware by now of the newest comic-book-superhero-to-film-superhero film "Thor" that is currently gracing our cinemas. The film is the newest link in the chain that wukk eventually culminate in the superhero extravaganza "The Avengers", to be directed by Joss Whedon.

First, let me say how surprised I was to find out that this was directed by directing giant Kenneth Branagh - yes, the one and same who did "Frankenstein" with Robert de Niro. The film is so far out of his style it's in another world - which, I suppose, suits the fact that these characters are not from Earth. By the way, that's not a spoiler. Promise.

Second of all, I want to express how impressed I was by Australian "Home and Away" star Chris Hemsworth. Despite his humble beginnings on an Australia after-school soap that's been running for so long, he's come to Hollywood poised and ready. The first time I saw him, which was not on "Home and Away" but as George Kirk in the 2009 J.J. Abrams "Star Trek", I was immediately impressed. The fact that his role in that film last only about 12 minutes shows just how grabbing he was. The emotions were palpable.
Unfortunately, the emotional range for a character like Thor is a little less diverse. He is a prince from an alien world whom visited Earth and whom the Vikings worshipped as gods. So, he's arrogant and boastful, but his comedic timing when exiled too Earth sans-superpowers, is priceless. Also, it helps that he developed himself into some worthy eye-candy for all the gay and female movie viewers - hot damn did I feel inadequate.

The film is supported by the ever beautiful Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings, who play his science-nerd friends once on Earth, and the always enjoyable to watch Anthony Hopkins as his father Odin. Stellan SkarsgÄrd was fun in his father-like role to Portman and Dennings, and newcomer Tom Hiddleston was impressive and believable as Thor's mischievous brother Loki.

Story-wise, it was a typical evolution/redemption story with some elegant action scenes thrown in for kicks. Admittedly the story seems lifted right from the comic book - and I knew that this hero would be the hardest to adapt to film because he was so, well, brazen. The dialogue is, at times, a little trite and couples itself with the wafer-thin storyline, but it does end in a way that I felt it should end - you'll see what I mean when you see it; and for the love of god stay after the credits!

Of course, while most of you are aware of my dislike of 3D as a medium, it can be done well. This film didn't need to be in 3D, but it wasn't too intrusive. The beautiful, sweeping landscape shots of Asgard are worth donning the 3D glasses, but anything on Earth - which is the majority of the film - isn't helped along at all by this new, hyped medium.

This film is an enjoyable, light movie and I do think is as good an adaptation of the comic as we're bound to get. 7/10

Monday, April 11, 2011

P.I. Story: Part 2

This was why I wished I was still a cop - backup. Now that I'm a freelancer, you don't get to call in any backup that doesn't take all the credit for your bust. I hiosted my friend off the ground.
"Turn around," which he did, mumbling obsenities at me as he did. "And shut up. You can talk when we get to the station."
"I thought you weren't a cop?" He said, yelping as I tightened some hand restraints on him.
"I ain't, but that don't mean I don't still got friends," I pulled him along towards my car. "Now, come on."

The rain didn't make driving easy. It felt like it had been raining since the dawn of time and it weren't likely to stop soon. Traffic backed up along all the main roads downtown and we were stuck in gridlock.
"Shit," I took out a cigarette and lit it up.
"You mind?" he said from the back. "I'm asthmatic."
"Boo-fuckin'-hoo." I looked him in the eyes via the rearview and blew smoke and smiled. He grumbled something and let out a weak cough.
"So," I said, staring at the tail-lights of cars in front of me, "wanna start talkin' now?"
"About what?" he said. He was looking out the window at the barges sailing into port.
"How's about why you ran from me if you're so damn innocent?"
"I never said I was innocent," he shifted to look at me through the rearview. "I just said this weren't none of your business."
"So you did," I blew more smoke, this time out the corner of my mouth in his direction. "And why's that?"
"Coz it's between me, the lady and the boss," and then he stopped, shutting his mouth. He'd said something he weren't supposed to.
"Who's the boss?"
"What lady?"
He twitched.
"Coz a dame's who put me on this case a yours."
"Yeah?" he said. "Well, looks like she's workin' all the angles, don't it?"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

P.I. Story

On days like this, I missed being a cop.
Thunk! Thunk!
Two more, that means the bastard only had one left in the chamber. It made me wonder how far those bullets would travel before they hit something - or something poor unsuspecting sucker - or just lost momentum and fell to the ground. Travelling through the wooden boxes like they did probably slowed them down some, but I ain't no scientist. Just a man used to be a cop.
"You'd be better off just turnin' yourself around and runnin' home to momma, pig," he shouted from somewhere behind the boxes. "This business don't concern you."
It never did and they always insisted on telling me so.
"I ain't a cop no more," was all I said. "I'm a private eye."
Got him.
I pulled myself over the boxes and went forward at a flat out run. Jesus, I must've gained some weight because that weren't as easy as it used to be. My shoes made a dull thudding as they hit the concrete. As I got to the boxes where he was hiding, I jumped over them.
Or, I tried to.
My foot caught on the edge of one of them and I trip and went head over ass, summersaulting until I stopped in a heap nearby. I got my gun up and pointed in the direction I thought he was in. I got lucky. He sat there, fumbling shells, trying to reload his gun while he stared at me, barely trying not to laugh. Or cry.
"Alright, dirtbag," I liked saying that, "it's time to go downtown."