Tuesday, December 6, 2016

UFO Secret: The Friendship Case


Models of UFOs dangle from strings in this speculative paranormal documentary. Two groups of extraterrestrials battle over the hearts and minds of Italian UFO experiencers, the W56 are the good ones, the CTR are the bad ones. Fruit gets teleported, TV programs get interrupted, and advanced alien communication devices get implanted in the paws of dogs at the beach. I'm not sure why. Suddenly, an ancient letter from Voltaire to the Count of St. Germain is submitted as evidence, where Voltaire speaks of 'talking pictures' and 'flying machines', which while compelling, doesn't really substantiate much. I don't know an awful lot about UFOs, advanced alien communication devices, or teleported fruit, but it only took me about 5 seconds to discredit the Count of St. Germain as a reputable source for anything, as Wikipedia claims Casanova called him 'a celebrated and learned imposter'. I'm not really sure what any of these guys have to do with UFOs, but I always liked this track by St. Germain.


I'm open minded about dog's paws, disappearing fruit, 18th-century philosophers, and house musicians, but I don't think they have much to do with UFOs.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My bus runneth over


Music has saved my life, and it's let me down. More often than not, it's gotten me through some tough times. 2016 has been one of those tough times. Music has always been an escape for me. It's taken me places I never thought I'd go. I've seen things I'd never thought I'd see.


I've said it before. Viewing the film Urgh! A Music War for the first time was one of those 'Music saved my life' moments. Without it, my life would be vastly different. Adrift in a sea of conformity, miles from the nearest shore, Urgh! showed me that there was something else on the horizon. It showed me there are Others out there. I'm not alone.



Lately, music hasn't helped. Movies haven't helped. Certainly the boxes of snack cakes haven't helped. The only thing that helps is the refresh button on the social media platform.


I press the button over and over in stark terror. I read the words. I go down the rabbit hole. I don't emerge.


It's illogical. Even when I say, "I'm not getting on the social media platform", I somehow find myself on it, and the next thing you know, I'm reading an article on the roots of Italian fascism, my face clenched in a knot, my fist in a bag of chocolate mini donuts.


I am an addict, and I'm addicted to current events. My particular brand is politics. Articles on the  spread of fascism is my weakness. I've let everything go. I'm struggling, and there is no cure.


It's fine. I'll just close out my tabs, and turn up the volume.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOAz4nPNvLI

Whew, am I glad I got that off my chest! I feel a bit better.

BTW, between posting that Motorhead video and writing that sentence, I checked Facebook and nearly read another article on fascism. Baby steps, I guess.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sharknado 4




I spent valuable time on July 31st watching the premiere of Sharknado 4 on Sci-Fi, took copious notes, ate dinner, wrote up the notes, and then abandoned the review. Why bother, I thought? I knew Sharknado 4 was going to be terrible. You know it's terrible. Everyone knows it's terrible. Well, in spite of knowing these things, here is the review. Don't forget, some of the stuff I talk about happened that evening, so your results may vary.

5 years after Sharknado 3, which ended enigmatically with the apparent death of the Tara Reid character, Carrot Top, Vince Neil, a ghoulish Wayne Newton are attacked by sharks at a shark-themed hotel in Las Vegas. Why is there a shark-themed hotel in Las Vegas? How cares, really. Family members are introduced, who may or may not have been in the first films, but none of them are particularly interesting. A newlywed son and his bride attempt a post-nuptial poolside plunge via parachute when threatened by a Vegas dust tornado, which surprisingly enough heads for the shark hotel because of course it does. Chippendales dancers come to the rescue, but too late to save Carrot Top. People scream, run, and unconvincingly die amidst various shark catastrophes, product placement, and celebrity cameos. Meanwhile, I had a disappointing microwave enchilada meal. I knew very good and well it was going to disappoint me, and I begrudgingly ate it anyway, which is exactly how I feel watching this film and we aren't even to the credits yet. Then David Hasselhoff wears a jetpack.

Suddenly, and with very little warning, Gary Busey appears as a mad scientist, and then Tara Reid appears, dragging a suped-up hot rod by a rope because she's now a leather-clad Bionic Woman. She is no Lindsay Wagner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZg2sKLVloY

Things explode, sharks get punched, and I think I'm supposed to know who all these C-list celebrities are. I don't. Then I watched a couple of commercials for Old Spice and POM pomegranate juice, both of which had better special effects and more compelling storylines than any of the Sharknado films.



In a desperate attempt to make anything tornado-related, there's a bouldernado, an oilnado, a lightningnado, and a nuclearnado, none of which are very compelling. Tara Reid and David Hasselhoff both attempt to unconvincingly run, and Stacey Dash attempts to act, and all three needed stunt doubles. Steve Guttenberg shows up promoting his giant tarantula movie driving the car from the film Christine, and sharks get embedded in the world's largest ball of twine.  I'm not sure why.



Suddenly, there's a half-hearted Baywatch reunion, sharks and family members turn into aquatic Russian nesting dolls, a child goes over Niagara Falls in a barrel, Ian Ziering is resuscitated using miniature sharks as defibrillators, and Tara Reid flies and shoots beams from her hands. I'm not sure why.



Sharknado 4 is dumb, boring, tedious, unfocused, and obviously phoned in for cash. Stuff just seems to happen. Just when it seems as though Sci-Fi is going to nail the coffin closed on the franchise, they leave the door open yet again for another installment. Maybe we can all get together and fund a Kickstarter to keep Sci-Fi from making another one.



Check out my review of Little Blue Truck's Halloween at Winkbooks.



http://winkbooks.net

And I said some things about the speculative documentary Bigfoot from 1997 at Cultured Vultures.



http://culturedvultures.com/netflix-bigfoot/


And I said some unkind things about the Nicolas Cage film The Wicker Man.



http://culturedvultures.com/netflix-wicker-man-nicolas-cage/

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October on TCM

In between scoops of cheesy popcorn, handfuls of Halloween Oreos, and clips of dark ambient group Deathprod, I watched a few films on TCM.


I like music that sounds like it's crawling out from under the bed.

Anyway, yes, I know we got rid of the Dish several years ago, but Mrs. Deathrage needed to watch the Olympics. I find sports to be extremely inconveniencing. Since the Olympics ended, we forgot we had the Dish. Someone on Twitter mentioned that TCM was showing monster movies during October, so I put everything off to watch some movies I've already seen.


Although slow to get started, The Curse Of Frankenstein reboots the iconic monster successfully thanks to the addition of a bit of gore. The reveal of the monster's hideously scarred face still shocks.


The Curse Of Frankenstein's sequel is far less successful, mostly due to the lack of Christopher Lee as the monster and few scares.


Atmospheric and with a fog budget in the tens of dollars, Horror Hotel features witches, hooded acolytes, ritual sacrifice, and a gender-reversed Resurrection Mary. The ending is rushed and doesn't make a lot of sense, but its foggy, cobweb-strewn occultism is surprisingly fun.


I have a love-hate relationship with Horror Express. It's pretty much The Love Boat, only it takes place on a speeding train, as a 2 million year-old human/alien fossil runs amok. Victims bleed from the eyes, their brains are boiled within their skulls until they are smooth, and Telly Savages gargles. It's just awful, but it fills me with a nostalgia for drive-in theater triple features.



Mrs. Deathrage complained while watching this speculative documentary, saying that it was dumb, that I wasn't really paying attention to it, and that it was ineptly photographed, which sounds like a solid review to me.





Speaking of solid reviews check out my review of the book Little Blue Truck's Halloween over at Winkbooks.

http://winkbooks.net

And I said some silly things about the speculative documentary Bigfoot from 1997.



http://culturedvultures.com/netflix-bigfoot/


Monday, October 10, 2016

Antonio Gaudi


Wow, has it really been almost three weeks since I last posted? Time certainly does fly. I've been traveling a lot. I just returned from my trip to Canada, where I visited Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal.

Speaking of architecture, while I was in Niagara Falls I had breakfast at the Flying Saucer Restaurant, which is a restaurant shaped like a flying saucer.


I had scrambled eggs, home fries, and toast for $5.99 Canadian, which is either $.67 or $15.00 American. I'm not entirely sure which. I had some difficulty with the conversion, because that's almost math and math is for suckers. I don't have proof, but I don't believe Canadians have toasters, because I think they toast the bread on the same grill they cook everything else on. I was too afraid to ask, because there could have been either E.T.s or Men In Black manning the grill, and I don't have time to be taken to Area 51 for debriefing. It's just conjecture on my part, though. And by 'conjecture' I mean I'm almost certain my toast was buttered in bacon grease, which is fine unless you're vegetarian.

While in Toronto I had a chance to see Buzzcocks perform live, which was pretty sweet.


They were fighty and snotty and sloppy and loud and everything I could've hoped for.

Speaking of more architecture, I didn't take many pictures of buildings while in Toronto, but I took some pictures of sick murals, like this epic skull, which was painted on a dumpster outside our AirBnB.


I highly recommend AirBnB. It's someone else's house, so you feel a little like you're breaking and entering, but you have to clean up after yourself, and you get a glimpse of what other people's Netflix viewing habits are. To clear some questions up; no, I don't often frequent dumpsters or dumpster areas; no, I've never broken and entered; and no, I don't really care what other people's Netflix habits are, though if you must know they consist of episodes of Friends.

When I wasn't hanging around dumpsters, I visited the Bata Show Museum. They have an interesting exhibit going on now called Fashion Victims, which is an exhibition of clothing that could kill you.


The photo above is a Victorian gown in a lovely shade of Arsenic Green. Speaking of things that could kill you, I had some of Canada's infamous ketchup flavored chips, which were as ghastly as they sound, and some cheese curds I purchased from a rest stop, which were surprisingly squeaky to the tooth.


I ate one ketchup chip, which resulted in me tearing out my hair, rending my clothes, and begging and pleading for a comet to destroy the Earth so I wouldn't have to swallow it. I then had to eat 6 Coffee Crisp candy bars to get the flavor out of my mouth.

*Coffee Crisp bars not shown because they were eaten.
*Also, Coffee Crisp bars are wrapped in black packaging and called Coffin Crisp bars for Halloween.
*Coffin Crisp bars not shown because they were eaten.
*Rest stop cheese curds not shown because they were left in the AirBnB refrigerator because of excessive and disconcerting squeakiness.

After visiting Toronto, we stayed a couple of days in Montreal. This is probably going to be somewhat of a shock to you, but they speak French in Montreal, and they mean business about it. French is written on every building, sign, and parking ticket. It's a very pretty city, and nearly all the architecture has a French accent.


We hung around Old Montreal for about a half-an-hour for the architecture. It's very, very touristy, and these boots were worn specifically to keep me from looking like a tourist.


We spent the day at the Montreal Museum Of Fine Art and checked out the Mapplethorpe exhibit. I thought this photo was very nice.




We drank many coffees and had many bagels. We visited the Redpath Museum and looked at all the taxidermy and fossils. And although I hate the outdoors, we visited the Botanical Gardens, where we saw creepy, crawly insects at the Insectarium, and the beautiful illuminated Chinese and Japanese gardens.


So anyway, back to the film. Yeah, you remember. The one about Gaudi.

The works of the Catalonian architect are examined in this beautifully shot documentary. Nearly dialogue-free, the film focuses on the undulating, swirling, organic forms of his architecture. The shell-like, jewel-like, wave-like ornamentation of each structure; the labyrinthine brink columns, the intricate wrought iron work, and broken chunks of colorful ceramic tile and shimmering stained glass, each structure seems alive and breathing, and this poetic film's cinematography gorgeously ponders over each building. The film ends as it details Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. Began in 1882, work on the ornate cathedral is ongoing and scheduled to be completed in, wait for it...2026.

I know, right? That's an awfully long time to work on anything.

Anyway, Antonio Gaudi is a lovely, meditative film, but unfortunately, I can't find a trailer for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4Gb9dbYYoA




Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Mum Talks To Aliens



A skeptic son treats his mother who has written several books about aliens like a jerk in this paranormal documentary. A veterinarian son travels with his author mother while she attempts to enlighten him on her career, meanwhile he whines about how embarrassed he is and calls her a loony. In an attempt to justify herself, one of her abductee clients fails a lie detector test, which doesn't bode well for her case. She then attends a UFO debate and sits on a panel with astrophysicists, where she's savaged in front of college students. This causes him to reevaluate his feelings about his mother, and calls her brave in the face of ridicule. She shows him a video of lights in the sky, which confounds him. Playing her final card, the pair meets a man who supposedly has alien DNA evidence, and then they meet an astrophysicist who scans the sky for laser signals from outer space. The man with the alien DNA takes a polygraph test and passes, which perplexes the son further.

Less a story about aliens than it is about the dynamics between an arrogant, disrespectful son and his wide-eyed mother, My Mum Talks With Aliens is a paranormal documentary likely to bore the UFO enthusiast, but might thrill those looking for a familial drama with an extraterrestrial twist. Although the evidence presented in the film is suspect at best, and tries to show her in the best light possible while skirting some unflattering talk of crop circles, the mother seems to be patient, caring, and overly earnest about the subject of UFOs, but is always a professional businesswoman, who clings to an unconventional belief system which threatens her family life, but never thoroughly earns the label of 'loony'. The son comes off as petulant, and seems too easily swayed at lie-detector evidence and inconclusive Youtube UFO footage. I'm glad he came around to a half-hearted appreciation of his mother, in spite of her unscientific beliefs, but she should have stood him in a corner for backtalk and sass long ago.


ICYMI, I reviewed the horror-themed game show Hellevator at Cultured Vultures. You should check it out.





Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Top Spin



The lives of several competitive table tennis players are examined as they head to the Olympics in this sports documentary. Highlighted by dynamic slo-mo footage of table tennis players in action, the intense pressure and grueling workout regimens of these athletes is examined in a day-by-day format until the Olympic Trials. Balancing school and practice, the dedication & sacrifice the athletes endure is remarkable. Illuminating differences in styles of play, techniques in offense and defense, and varying spins on the ball help to clarify misconceptions on a sport that is somewhat obscure in the US, and often just seen as a pastime.