Archive for December, 2008

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The Last Deep Thought of the Year

December 31, 2008

Very Interesting…

http://mrsanarchangel.blogspot.com/2008/12/most-basic-of-differing-first.html#links

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Review – Blood Freak

December 29, 2008

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Once in a great while a film comes along that boggles the human skull – Blood Freak (courtesy of Turner Classic Movies last Friday) is one of those films. For those who thought Frank Miller couldn’t stage a scene to save his life – those people should watch this!

The film starts with a hip figure who dispenses wisdom to we Band of Brothers & Sisters who are brave enough to watch this – perhaps he is Nebuchanezzar, or even Solomon in his glory, dressed in a fine blue Qiana shirt as if to leave for the disco very soon.

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I’d like to identify this character and actor, but the only one identified positively in the credits of the film is Steve Hawkes – in the interest of (limited) accuracy, I’m going to go with the surmise of the plot synopsis on IMDB and identify the actors as they are in the synopsis, which makes this Brad Grinter. As he reads from his prepared script in front of a oak-paneled wall and smokes his Marlboro cigarette, he dispenses wisdom to us…about how we can meet catalysts for change anywhere. We’ll see Solomon throughout the film – like Criswell in Plan 9 From Outer Space, but much more mellow.

Herschell (Steve Hawkes, who also shares producer/director credit with Grinter) is a cowboy – on a steel horse he rides –  in a color-coordinated baby blue outfit.

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A good samaritan, he helps out a hottie named Angel (Heather Hughes) while she is stuck on the Florida highway.  Angel is a fundamentalist and vocal witness for Christ who explains that she has brought our Wolverine-lookalike hero to what appears to be a 70s-era drug party.  Here, right next to the fondue,  Herschell also meets his love interest, Ann (Dana Cullivan), Angel’s sister, and another hottie with a Valerie Bertinelli vibe going on*.

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Ann offers him some pot, but Herschell refuses – he knows Dope is for dopes.

Ann, made moist by Herschell’s masculine manliness and anxious to keep her out of Angel’s mitts, talks to her drug dealer friend, Guy (Larry Wright), who sets her up with some sort of drug that, if he smokes six of the hits, he will become hooked.  She gets him to do so by questioning his courage, and soon, Herschell is indeed hooked.

Meanwhile, Herschell finds a job through Angel, working odd jobs at a turkey farm, where they also experiment on the hapless turkeys for “chemical caponization”, giving them drugs of some sort.  In no time, another of Herschell’s jobs is sampling the meat of the experimented-upon turkeys to make sure it’s not poisonous(!)  Herschell has a bad reaction to the chemicals in the turkey and the drugs he’s hooked on and turns into a man/turkey hybrid!

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Naturally, Herschell stumbles about in the night (since he probably had problems seeing through the mask) and seeks out Ann to be the first to know about his new head.  Ann has a hilarious monologue (punctuated by random turkey noises when the editor could be bothered to put them in) about how she still loves Herschell, how she hopes the turkey head will be temporary, and how their kids would deal with having a turkey for a father.  Then Herschell turns out the bedside lamp…mercifully the editor lets the screen go black before we see any hot turkey (HA!) on brunette action… 

From there, Herschell goes on a one turkey rampage, killing drug users wherever he finds them (and some of them seem to have a little too much hands-on experience, if you know what I mean).  And when he kills them, he drinks their blood (hence the moderately good title Blood Freak, and not Herschell the Jive Turkey). Mostly offscreen of course, since the beak doesn’t work.

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Ann worries about Herschell to her stoner friends – one of them opines “It’s not only his physical appearance that worries me.  It’s his head.”  Indeed, sir – it seems that all the money for makeup effects went into the creation of that head.

Then, when Ann is handed to a drug dealer as part payment (Don’t ask) he dispenses rough turkey vigilante vengeance…

At last, Herschell has had enough.  He prays to God to deliver him and he is Delivered – through his head being chopped off!  Herschell ends his existence on Earth next to another turkey being devoured…

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…or is it?  A moment later we find that all the Turkey Head stuff was a drug-induced hallucination**.  Angel picks up a now-repentant Herschell, who, now clean & sober, begins his new life with Ann on a Florida boardwalk.

Solomon returns, and (if YouTube is working right) you can see that the production used every bit of film it shot…

 
My guess is that this was made by a well-meaning but inept team who worked at a TV news department in the 70s.  Now, I’ve not nothing personal against Christian proselytizing in film, but what staggers me is how they attempt to pitch their message – through a monster movie?  Seriously?  This is the best they could come up with?  Wouldn’t a letter to the editor in their local newspaper been just as effective – and cheaper?

And what’s up with the editing?  Herschell will carry off a woman without any noise whatsoever – although we see her struggling – and then, 30 seconds later, we’ll hear her scream: the same scream, for maybe 10 times!

And where did he get such hot looking women for the film?  Hawkes must have been one smooth talker…

*And I don’t care if that dates me – if she’s good enough for Eddie Van Halen, she’s good enough for me.

** and what a cop-out that is.  Like in Total Recall, if the foregoing in both films are hallucinations/implanted memories, why are there expository bits explaining what’s going on without the main character being present?

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Review – The Spirit

December 26, 2008

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Took myself out for a treat – a real movie in a real theater.  Now, I’m aware of the bad reviews (read this one for an epic smackdown of Frank Miller…

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39573

but I’m thinking it’s flawed, but not absolutely hopeless: which is something to be said for somebody who, if I recall correctly, lionizes films as inspiration for his comic work.

If I were to offer an autopsy – it would be:

– The mistake of Samuel Jackson’s costuming choices.  They didn’t do much of anything to advance his character at all (and will in all probability be used as a comedy referent for the rest of Jackson’s life.)

– the first beatdown with the Octopus vs. the Spirit maybe should have been moved to the middle of the movie after we had some time to get into their characters.

– Having the Spirit speak to the camera for WAY too long.  A little narration goes a long way…

– the interlude in the day time with the Spirit talking with the reporters and telling kids to brush their teeth.  Same style of joke done before in Miller-related movies (Robocop 2’s  line “Isn’t this a school night?”; script by Miller & Walon Green)

– I can understand the stunt casting (Scarlett Johansson & such) as being part of the reason the studio was ready to pony up the money to make this. I hope that gets curtailed in the years ahead (weren’t Jackson and Eva Mendes enough?)

– Overlong (felt like 2 hours, supposedly 103 minutes)

– what the HELL was up with the reference to Superman (the film)’s ad campaign?

Stuff I liked:

– The Octopus had some bitchin’ revolvers that looked like they had extra grooves cut into the cylinders. I wants me one of those! (couldn’t find a pic of them, sadly…)

 – Sarah Paulson telling the Spirit “to leave the mask on”.

I don’t know if i could recommend this to people for full price at the theater.  Maybe at the local budget cinema?

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The cameras are up, but nobody’s watching…

December 26, 2008

Via Bruce Schneier – http://www.schneier.com/blog/

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Letter to the Editors

December 24, 2008

Now I know why I’ve been archiving news articles like this one…

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2007/aug/13/sneak-and-peak-warrants-debated/

The Journal-Sentinel published an opinion piece on how it would be good for Wisconsin to have sobreity checkpoints.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/36468949.html

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And my letter to them…

 

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I’m leery of writing to the fishwrap around here because the first time I attempted it, I went to the defense of someone I had thought was a defenseless bystander who got roughed up by a gang, wondering if the man would have fared better if Wisconsin had concealed carry.  It turned out the man was looking for a crack fix…

Well, let’s see how the Journal makes a monkey out of me this time.

UPDATE: That’ll show me to post fast – I didn’t mean in the above that I don’t believe crack customers shouldn’t have self defense rights. What I meant to say was that the fact that the man was a crack customer was used against me in print to paint me as a crazy person – “that’s great, the crackhead would shoot everybody!” I apologize if there was confusion.

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Appleseed pt. 12

December 22, 2008

So I picked up my scope from Cabelas on Saturday-it seems solid enough.  Came with a bikini lens cover with see-through plastic pieces so you can look through it while still protecting the lens.  I couldn’t figure out why there’s a set screw on the focus ring – my guess is that it’s for somebody who wants to keep the focus at a particular setting rather than have it adjustable.

The view through it is nice and clear to my eye – but what do I know?  The reticle picture that’s in the post below is accurate at the maximum setting.  This is a scope that has the reticle appear bigger as you zoom in.

So I get all happy and start looking for a mount for the freaking thing.  Those cheap M1A mounts you see advertised around the web (<$150)? Utter crap, says my web browsing. To get a good one, one I’m not going to have to struggle with or call in a gunsmith? $250-$350.  Glad I got a cheaper scope, so I can mount this sometime soon…

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Appleseed pt. 11

December 18, 2008

So, I’m thinking that I may have run into a wall with my Appleseed training.  I’m getting better, but I want to start moving out to longer ranges than 25 yards.  In order to do that and enjoy myself doing it, I realize that I’m going to have to acquire a scope.

After much dithering, I decided on getting the Cabelas Alaskan Guide Rangefinder in the 3.5-10×42 config.

alaskan-guide

Why this model?  It’s got an implementation of a rangefinding reticle that is recommended by Fred in the Guide,

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it’s got side focus, (preferred by Chris Byrne here at Anarchangel, though I can’t find the citation), it’s got parallax adjustment, and most importantly, I can afford to buy it (rather than buying a piece of junk that won’t hold zero).  Now I’ve got to acquire a mount, rings, and a new case to carry the damn thing around in…