Saturday, February 6, 2016

More sweet sounds



It was never my intention to make this blog a revolving memorial and it still isn't. Still, I liked Dan Hicks. His records from the seventies made fine contemporary singer-songwriter tunes from early jazz/swing influences.

Stay tuned for another Final Songs. Looking at two albums from the late sixties, and not 100% sure which comes next.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Taking it easy



Oh well, did at least get the inspiration to dig through the archives for this one. Well worth it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Going places


The above picture is by Adam Simpson  He's a British illustrator from what I understand. I just got a book from the library, Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, that I'm going to start reading tomorrow. The cover is painted by Simpson. Just an array of ray guns, but as you see, he's got a certain style.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Further adventures in ???

Sadly, January passes without a Final Song. Soon enough there should be another one.

Welcome To Devils Island from Lana Connors on Vimeo.

Yeah, I don't know what this is about either. But somehow I dug it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Walkin' after midnight, searching for you

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is an unusual horror movie in a few ways.

For one, it apparently aspires to look like Prince's Under the Cherry Moon. Well, that might not actually be the model. But it does evoke the era circa 1986-89 when rock videos classed up by going monochrome. Its black and white is much more reminiscent of old MTV than old(er) movies. My speculation on the reasons for that in a minute.

It does not really have a lot of jump scares. The direct cause of this absence is that the vampire is also the protagonist. You could call her the hero, even. With one apparent exception her attacks are on behalf of wronged women.

Still, while there's not a lot of shock horror, the film maintains a very eerie atmosphere in its unusual urban setting.

The third quality that sets it apart is that the dialogue is in Persian. This despite the fact that it was shot entirely in California, and Elijah Wood is one of the producers. Its setting of Bad City is both an American and an Iranian one, really taking place in a world of symbolism.

Due to its content, this is not a film that could have been shot in Iran in its current political state. But I feel it was made for Iran. This is a movie made to be secretly traded as a bootleg in places it's not supposed to be. That's the reason for the rock video aesthetics. It's part of the tradition.

I like that, because while America's successful movies are exported all over the world, we don't often take the trouble to talk to other peoples on their own terms.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Oh MY

Matt Fraction is an interesting comics writer. He wrote a too-short-lived Marvel book called FF, about a handpicked substitute group that watched over the Fantastic Four's property while they were away.

He also turns out to be a pretty sharp film critic, here analyzing a memorable but somewhat controversial scene in the Coens' Fargo.
It doesn’t come immediately after the Mike Yanigata scene (there’s José Feliciano, sex, violence, a box of money, and a red ice scraper before we get there) and, like that scene, it feels weird at first blush: “Hey remember that funny scene a few minutes ago? Yeah that guy was even sadder and creepier than he appeared. Ha ha! Can’t believe you fell for that.”

It lets us know, though, that Marge pushing the guy out of her booth and back to his own wasn’t remotely selfish or unkind. Her evil detector pinged. She forced the bad guy out of the frame. 
A few people have expressed bafflement to me over what the Mike Yanigata scene was doing in the movie. While I never objected to it, I had a hard time coming up with a straight answer. He does come off as manipulative, in a way that men would do well to memorize with a "don't be like this" warning appended. Adding him to the mix as a demonstration of Marge's policewoman instinct is a move of sneaky brilliance.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The long haul

I heard - overheard, the conversation had started when I got there - a bus driver saying that he gets up at 3:20 in the morning. I had to ask to make sure I'd heard that right. But he was used to it because he'd been a long haul trucker before that. Trucking is a notoriously weird and disorienting job, and you can see why.

He also said that he knew a bus driver who kept a six pack in the trunk of his bus. Thereby hangs another tale.