All posts for the month January, 2006

The joke keeps getting told, but despite all predictions, it has not gotten funnier. The hype-factory that keeps dry-humping what it perceives to be hip young media coverage hasn't stopped touting the holy hyphenation of "Next-Gen" long enough to tell us what has taken that mantle that is actually, pardon my Korean, fucking fun for godsakes. I can't pretend that the dive down the Uncanny Valley is a rollercoaster of hardyparty.

I had my doubts, as probably most people did, but the Nintendo DS still managed to sell out in Japan, and now the redundant Gameboy Micro is picking up too. This ugly, gaudy, gimmicky device really hauled a tactile ass. Phoenix Wright is out-of-stock says Capcom. Any objections? HD-DVD add-on for the XBox 360? Are you fuckin' smokin'? How about a penis attachment for the sleek pimp that drew too quick? The sex they're selling sure feels granny.

What is it that separates Nintendo rehashed games from the rehashed games of every other system? I can't quite place my finger on it, other than the fact that a 5-yr old could tell ya Mario World to Mario Sunshine is a bigger koopa hop than Splinter Cell A, B, and C. What should worry the other big boys is that the Big N has started to work on its greatest flaw… stubbornness. I don't get it, but I keep underestimating them along with everyone else. Given the popularity of Geometry Wars and Hexic, I predict Revolution to be a shameless smash. Brothers. Online. Please. For. The. Love. Of. Gawd.

And with that, my quota for taking deities in vain has been filled for the day.

Ok so the title refers to the Marines, but it felt strangely appropriate because today we got the first two discs of concentrated, granulated, unprocessed intensity we call The Shield: Season Four. So far, Glenn Close has been awesome. Not the badass I was expecting, instead a more nuanced streetwise captain as opposed to the politically tainted Aceveda.

If you don't know what I'm talking about and a touch of blood doesn't turn you off, and you want something as addicting as Naruto, you need to see The Shield. It's got more "oh shit how the fuck are they getting out of this" moments than any TV series I've seen.

The only thing that made this day better was the news that Jon Stewart will be hosting the Oscars. And incidentally Billy Crystal was double-dipped into the formic acids of ex-comedian hell somewhere between the fifth infernal circle and the distance I throw my remote everytime I see the unfunny fuck. Life is good.

Longhorns. Usurped. Trojans. Though Cal lost it's title as the Trojan Achilles' Heel, the Longhorns did me proud. It was a masterful 41 – 38, with Texas losing an early lead only to pull out all stops at 00:19 to punish our silly southern warriors for attempting to take one more yard at 00:53 and regain first down. One yard, "less than" Scotty says, versus a kick with a delay and a push back. I can see how it was a hard decision, but the greatest Rosebowl team of all time took unjustified offense, and my favorite city of my favorite state exhibited their rawk.

By the time Scotty came back to our apartment, we had a little surprise for him up on the wall. His only consolation was the delicious ice cream sandwiches we bought. But we didn't give him any. You see, a parade un-rained upon is a charade ungained from. Let me check… oh he's still down… I'll be back later, got more kickin' to do…

This link for Bruins too.

I was so excited thinking to myself how Julie Taymor is the greatest female director (directress?) when the gut-punch came… she was the ONLY female director I could name. Sure I knew a few others, but no one that fell in my snobby who’s who list. It’s just that she has such a distinctive style that what she brings to film transcends the question of her gender, making her simply a great director.

An incredibly VISUAL director, may I add. She was the director/costume/set designer for the Lion King musical, but I’d say that barely scraped the surface of her eye. Titus, still one of my favorite movies, shook the breath out of me when I saw Caesar’s, Mussolini’s, and Ciampi’s Rome all forced onto one vulgar stage. Trojans accompanying a bulletproof bubble car into a palace filled with orgies and video games… what was incredible about it wasn’t so much the design itself, but the audacity. She had captured the malevolently charming Shakespeare at youth, when Titus, his first play, was both biblical and Kill Bill-ish at the same time, a wry play of spaghetti for the Elizabeathens’ grindhouse.

It’s funny we’ve been subconsciously choosing character pieces. The unwatchable must-see Irréversible, the disappointing and pedestrian Kinsey, and a second viewing (Xstine’s first) of The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. Luc Besson, I realize, appeals to me on the same level as Julie Taymor, as they are theatrical rock-stars who take visual cliches and, recklessly, polish them with timing and tone into moments you can’t believe were so stirring in retrospect. I love that mix of embarrassment and teenage glee their shots excite.

This whole line of thought came after watching Frida, which I had mild expectations for. Boy was I slapped into this aside. Mia Maestro’s perfect ass, wrenching effects and forced perspectives, top-notch set design, a Brothers Quay animation of a hospital on Días de los Muertos (Grim Fandango fans will love their tongues in cheeks), and my big fave Alfred Molina whose performance was not ruined (as I had expected) by a distractingly attractive Salma Hayek. In fact, Salma wasn’t bad at all. At her worst, we saw a little too much of her real self, and at her best, it was a deep homage to her personal heroine.

I will agree with every bad review I read of it at RottenTomatoes. Frida is fairly textbook in the telling, possibly even boring to some, and it doesn’t dwell much on the effect of her physical pain on her art. But IMO, Frida Kahlo would have wanted it that way. As she said to her adulterous husband, co-artist comrade Diego Riviera, “I had two big accidents in my life Diego, the trolley and You… You are by far the worst.” For someone who had shattered half the bones in her body and had a metal pole piercing her vagina, I think we can infer that the film’s focus on their relationship was in the right. Regardless of the inspiration that was borne from her physical pain, it was her creativity, borne from her emotional anguish, that gave her work the delicate touch balancing the comfortingly common and the outrageously perverse.

Perhaps that’s why Kill Bill didn’t shock so much as bemuse. It was more homage than directing, and when you design a story in which the upper limit of gore has already been done away with, it just isn’t challenging. What Taymor has done is as challenging as Titus, whose rape and mutilation scene is still one of the most disturbing I’ve ever seen. This from someone who had to cover Xstine’s eyes through the first half of Irréversible. Tone is infinitely more multiplicative of violence than quantity. Frida understood that.

I've sent out eVites to all those I think would be able to make a housewarming party at our place Jan. 21st. If I missed anyone, and you'll be around, lemme know! We'll be decked out in costumes to hit up Guitar Hero while munching burgers. I'm thinking Gruyere-stuffed, hickory smoked, and splashed with Texas Roadhouse worcheshire sauce.

Speaking of the mighty game that is Guitar Hero, I'm nearly done with Hard mode, having just beat Bark at the Moon but still stuck on Cowboys From Hell. My arm gets brutalized halfway through that song, and my respect for the late Dimebag Darrell and the rest of Pantera bootstraps even as I sleep.

We also bought a Shun Elite santoku knife, MSRP $189.99, and the apples on our counter were literally quivering as I brought it out of its custom case and threw in the instructional mini-CD. I'll have a better review later, after I've hacked at everything in sight, but I think my cutlery addiction has been momentarily sated. It's made me a virgin samurai, as I live but three minutes from the Japanese market where the modern descendants of Edo buy their Engrished porn- "I Want Fuck You, Sister" comes to mind.