Sunday, September 25, 2005


I just realized that though I screened the Sap City DVD some months ago, I hadn't bothered to comment on it. It was, after all, eminently forgettable. I take into account that it is merely a filmed comic book. But forgive me, I also forgot: it is really an oh-so-pretentious graphic novel.

I only remember a couple of things that might help to warn any tempted DVD renters to save their time and money. Bad acting is one. Horrific make-up is another and the tackiest element is a recurring plot line that could make a grown person groan. That plot line is that ugly men must set them selves up as the saviors and protectors of all women, whether they be young and vulnerable or mature and sexy. Every situation in the film is bassed on that simple equation. It is a teenage boy's wet dream. I am certain that many pages of the graphic "novels" that Sin City is based are permanently stuck together. I hope they weren't checked out from the library.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

I posted the following review about two years ago. Curious about what the two sisters who made this film and CLOCKWATCHERS were up to now, I hit IMDB and other sources, eventually coming across this interview, which is informative and a howl!

Screen both movies, and commentaries, then read the interview.

THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING is that rare delight, a movie that must be seen to be believed. It is deceptively simple and familiar, yet complex and quitely surprising at all times. I screened it at home a few nights ago, and its scenes, characters and concepts continue to challenge my imagination and gratify my affection for movies.

The DVD includes a commentary by the two sisters who wrote and directed the film, along with the man who edited it. The editor did a good job with the footage, but is a bore on the commentary. The sisters seem so modest and easy-going a pair, that it's hard to believe they had the chutzpah to get this film made. It is obviously low budget, and they speak a lot about the scenes they couldn't afford to shoot, etc. Yet, they are able to assemble Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaughey, John Turturro and other members of the excellent cast and help them all to give unforgettable performances. This is definitely Must See D V D.

And don't forget the interview.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Howard Hughes airfield

Two remaining Hangars
That's them in the lower right edge of the property, the brownish area stretching across the top of the photo and which is as large as LAX one mile south.

Aerial photo courtesy of Google Earth

3-IRON DVD revisited

Not the movie this time, just the commentary. Kim Ki Duk goes a long way to explain his essentially inexplicable film, and he should have left well enough alone. He is pretty clear on his work process and intentions, but I don't think he is really in touch with his creative process. As he spoke, the movie I was watching was much better than the one he was explaining.

Thumbs up movie, thumbs way down commentary

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Letter to the L.A. TIMES

Regarding a write-up on HOUSE.

Its creator demands credit in the L.A. TIMES:

Shore, who also has an Emmy nomination for writing for a drama series, admits he owes much to Arthur Conan Doyle, though the limp, he insists, was his own idea. "I wanted House to be damaged emotionally and to have a physical manifestation of that," Shore says. "

I have walked with a limp since childhood. Therefore, according to Shore, I must have been one hell of a sick-son-of-a-six-year-old to catch polio like that. And poor Stephen Hawking must be a nightmare bundle of neuroses inside that crumpled little body.

I can definitely give Shore credit for crassness, as well as lack of ability to create valid dramatic characters. We have seen plenty of ethnic and career stereotypes whenever a lame writer wants to depict laziness, sneakiness or greed. And now we can add television writers and executives as the stereotype for self-inflated hollow heads.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


I belong to a couple of fitness clubs in Southern California, mainly so that I can find a lane to swim this old body a little. African-Americans, Asians and Anglos abound in these clubs, but once in a while, paddling in the pool, I have to remember a mental snapsot from yesteryear.

I think I was about 14 years old. Garfield Heights was a small community on the other side of Calvary Cemetary from Cleveland, Ohio. Garfield Heights was mostly a public park with a swimming pool. I swam there every summer for many years. One day, I noticed a commotion on the grounds beside the pool. Checking it out, I saw that two young negroes were treed by a bunch of white kids. Apparently, these two boys thought that by paying the entrance fee they were allowed to swim in the pool. The white kids were lobbing taunts and stones at the treed youths to disabuse them of their expectation.

To be absolutely truthful, I have no recollection of what I might have thought, said or done, beyond the knowledge that I did not contribute to the throwing or taunting. Just seeing those two boys up that tree is the only thing I really remember. And it is a hard thing to write about even today.

I guess I can never forget that summer day, but I am grateful that some progress in the recognition of universal humanity has been made. But as these two brave young men demonstrated at the '68 Olympics, there is yet much more to be done.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Emerging Cinema Master - Kim Ki-Duk

So I'm a little behind the curve.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Great Photos

I have added a link to hengame's Flickr site.
This is a portfolio to be enjoyed--and envied.


1)I am not big on Korean cuisine and do not understand its local appeal. In fact you had better not recommend another Korean Bar-B-Kue to me anywhere this side of 37.1N and 126.58E.

2)Korean drivers are also a puzzle to me. They usually drift from one lane to another, usually at a pretty slow pace well below the flow of traffic, frequently make last second turns that cut me off and often burst out of cross streets with no regard for traffic in the existing right-of-way. Kind of like driving in the Bay Area.

And to complete yesterday’s Korean trio experience, I realize I don’t understand Korean movies, but I like what I screened on DVD last night. 3-IRON is a pleasant enigma: I film I don’t understand but found absorbing to watch and provocative to think about.

It’s not so much a story, but a presentation about a strange young man and the lives he affects, and is affected by. We are introduced to this Young Man as he hangs advertising fliers on residential door knobs. We assume it is his job, but that is hardly the case. The Young Man has no job. He apparently doesn’t need one. He would appear to be independently wealthy, or at least well off, as he rides a huge and obviously expensive motorcycle on his errands and adventures.

His main adventure is to return to the prepared door knobs and, where he sees his flyer still hanging, he picks the lock—with professional tools—and simply moves into the home for a day or so while it’s owner is away. He helps himself to available foods, but takes nothing else. In fact, he uses his handyman skills to repair objects and appliances he notices the need of. He seems to submit himself to the life style of the absent occupants, always taking photographs of himself in his new surroundings, and moves equally comfortably in rich homes and poor.

His modus operandi gets a bit sticky, however, when one home he moves into is still painfully occupied by a battered and cowed wife. A curiously non-verbal relationship begins between them and the dream quality of the film slowly segues into a nightmare. What 3-Iron is all about from there on is your guess as good as mine, ‘cause I ain’t got none. If you think you have some answers, the buzzer is in your hand.

I might find out more about 3-Iron, eventually, since writer-director Ki-duk-Kim does provide a commentary on the DVD which I will dip into later. At this time, I want to express my opinion and recommendation of 3-Iron based solely on what this lowly western mind can comprehend.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

John: 3/16

We've been seeing this slogan a lot for several years. Often on banners at sports events. Don't you love it when a professional fighter knocks his opponent senseless and the first thing he does in the post-fight interview is to thank Jesus, his savior, for the victory. I mean, how much more christian can you get?

Knee-jerk christians genuflect to Jesus as their salvation. This is a very common position in Louisiana, Mississippi and other regions currently feeling the wrath of Katrina. Now I am wondering if salvation in a Jesus hereafter is really sufficient unto their current duress.

If I believed in a god I would really be pissed at the reckless way he, she or it is running this planet. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, not to mention rising gas prices. Give me a break!

Unfortunately, since I don't recognize the existence of any supernatural authority I have nothing to blame except bad luck and the idiocy of citizens who stick their heads in the sand while offering their fannies to political profiteers and war mongers.

I wonder how many persons in this world really and truly believe in a deity. I thought I did when I was younger, but then I realized that I had no inherent belief in the supernatural, I only had belief in what my parents, teachers and clergy had been indoctrinating me about god, Jesus, heaven and hell. When every essence of my heart and mind finally revealed to me that god and Santa Claus were merely pleasant fictions, I began to look elsewhere for my pleasures.

I know a few devout deists. Usually, their belief was the result of having been spared from death or some other personal disaster. They are, in effect, paying homage to a good luck charm. After all, it might come in handy again, But I don't think I have ever spoken with someone who expressed a personally felt belief in the existence of the god of their choice. The only knowledge of god conveyed was the catechism of cliches we had all been taught.

It's under circumstances like Katrina that people should come to recognize their true beliefs and look for ways to achieve a better life here on earth because, John: 3/16 notwithstanding, it's the only one we got.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I dropped Peter at LAX and went to the Spectrum Sports Club for a swim. There was only one handicap space available at the far end of the parking structure. The car in the space beside it was parked over the lines and I had to maneuver my Trooper to squeeze in. I got out of the Trooper and took a close look at the two-door black Honda beside me. I saw no handicap placard. I checked the plates for the blue icon, and it wasn't there. In fact, there were no plates, front or back.

The windshield was covered and the other windows were heavily darkened but I could tell that someone was in the driver's seat so I spoke through the glass. The driver buzzed his window and I asked to see his handicap placard. He asked if I was parking security--obviously not in my workout clothes--and said he didn't have to show me anything. Okay, I said, I'll get a security guard over here.

He started up his engine and said he was leaving. As he backed out of the space, another car positioned itself to move in and I stood and watched. The young man in the Honda called out to me something like, "Hey, Old man, mind you own business." This is something I find difficult to do, especially when told to do so, so I followed him as he backed into a nearby, non-handicap, space, and continued to berate and argue with him about his illegal and egregious lack of consideration. He told me he would only explain his parking to an official security guard.

A kiosk attendant came passing by so I called him over and described the driver's mis-behavior. The driver was getting pretty flustered and blurted out to the parking attendant that he was doing a video surveillance of a potential fraud case.

"Quick thinking," I said. "Let's see some identification." "I'll show him, the driver whined, not you!" And he held up some paperwork for West Indies Origin attendant's puzzled examination.

I had to laugh. "You are doing undercover surveillance?" I asked. "Yes," he answered. "I'm not making any trouble."

"And you're so good at it, you've been busted by an old man just trying to park his car. Good luck," I gasped as I laughed and headed out. "You're going to need it."

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