Lemon Slushie

I’m doing a short course in the melbourne cbd just down the street from Allens music store. It’s going to be hard resisting the temptation to snap up one of these lovely looking lemon-top “slash” epiphones. Cheap guitars are the best guitars but I really don’t _need_ another one. Good to see there’s still at least one shop that has prices competitive with what’s available via the internet.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/19283694292″ title=”Slashy  lemon by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3675/19283694292_c45b2f110f.jpg” width=”375″ height=”500″ alt=”Slashy  lemon”></a>

Why Runaway Train (1985) is probably my favourite movie ever

Until last night it must have been over ten years since I’d watched _Runaway Train_ and I wasn’t even remembering it right because I thought it was Charles Bronson in it but it’s Jon Voight. And I didn’t remember all the prison scenes at the start either. But what did stay in my mind all that time was the shots of the train blasting through the snow.

Here’s what really works in this film:

1. shots of the train blasting through the snow

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/18512845384″ title=”run-awaytrain-2 by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/352/18512845384_9fbb52e5af.jpg” width=”500″ height=”273″ alt=”run-awaytrain-2″></a>

The four locos teamed together, muddy-black in colour. The long shots show the desolate Alaskan winter and the driving snow emphasises the speed of the train. This is what cinematography is all about to me; showing something in pictures that can’t be described in dialogue or words of any kind.

2. The basic elements of the plot

Apparently this was a story and screenplay originally written by Akira Kurasawa. It was later adapted by the people who put together this film but there’s something about the way the main elements of the story hang together that have Kurasawa’s name all over them. I actually don’t know that much about him — I’ve only seen a couple of his B&W 50s(?) samurai films but there’s a simple way of story-telling though visuals he got down that others have been influenced by for decades.

The reason I can tell it’s not pure Kurasawa is the way it jumps from the scenes in the train what Voight kills, and the scenes in the train line control room. It’s like going from a quality drama to _<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Airplane!”>Flying High!</a>_ Who ever was casting or directing, in these bits at least, really dropped the ball.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/18947677130″ title=”control-room by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/299/18947677130_761363918d.jpg” width=”500″ height=”273″ alt=”control-room”></a>

3. Jon Voight.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/19129647552″ title=”jon-voight-as-manny by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3954/19129647552_c2c8b56d94.jpg” width=”500″ height=”276″ alt=”jon-voight-as-manny”></a>

He probably did the only good acting in the film. Even then I wonder if the way he did the character might have been influenced by the way Stallone played the character Rocky Balboa. There was a couple of short monologish scenes that he nailed to the point where if this was a more popular movie then people would be parroting them the way they do De Niro in _Taxi Driver_.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/19138799831″ title=”clean-that-spot by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3881/19138799831_2f1582029a.jpg” width=”500″ height=”273″ alt=”clean-that-spot”></a>

Honourable mentions for cool things are – The actor and character that played the head prison warden. Every crazy, deathwish-seeking escaped convict needs an equally crazy sheriff hell-bent on bringing him down.

In both of these characters I can see an archetypal simplicity that Kurasawa would’ve outlined that made them so easy or successful to play.

And the on-train stunts and cinematography of the stunts. Hyper-real in how they look and the angles at which they were captured at. No CGI. The way heavy-falling snow combined with the speed of the train creates a darkening of the shot. Plus everyone knows how slippery ice is and _everyone can guess_ how slippery it would be when trying to climb onto the nose of an <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_F7″>EMD F7</a> at 70 miles an hour.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/18947763138″ title=”EMD-F7 by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/409/18947763138_d7d8ea7e46.jpg” width=”500″ height=”275″ alt=”EMD-F7″></a>

Because of the ’80s schlock of the control room I’d almost say that this was a film ripe for re-doing but I know they’d never get the good parts right. No one in the two thousand teens wants to see a train barrelling through the snow, right? We’ve got too much ADD for that. No one wants to see relationships and motivations unfolding inside a boring, boxy black locomotive’s interior. So I can live with the bits that are a bit quaint because I know that Hollywood today would red rubber-stamp the whole thing ‘QUAINT’ including the live action stunts and the symbolism of an out of control train carrying a rebel on his last flight.


forty one and still having fun

Yes it was my birthday a week ago. Here is what I got!

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/18699934660″ title=”On his 41st birthday by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3674/18699934660_32533d48bb.jpg” width=”400″ height=”500″ alt=”On his 41st birthday”></a>

For over two years I’ve been wanting to watch Korg 70 000 BC and for over two years I haven’t seen it anywhere as a torrent, so here we are. I got the DVD. This is another show that I dimly remember seeing as a child on BTV6. I can remember being at a friend’s house on a Saturday arvo and seeing it. This would’ve been in 1981 or ’82 I suppose. I won’t say too much about the actual show now because there’s not much info on the net so I might do an episode by episode synopsis. I will say that it kicked off in my birth year, 1974. And I thought the episodes would be 45mins each but are more like 25mins.

Also, Crocs. Really I was just looking for footwear that were comfortable enough to take over duties from another pair of comfortable plastic shoes made by Rivers that I now realise were crocs knock-offs. Apparently most people don’t like them and consider them hideous which is a shame because I think they’re really quite good. People say they make your feet look like hooves but my feet _really are that shape_. And hopefully wearing them with socks is <a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gilt-manual/bush-crocs-presidential-socks-obama-flip-flops_b_805337.html”>the only thing I have in common with george w bush</a>.

As long as the strap is back over the ankle so they don’t fly off if you are running I really think these are our footwear of the future and we all will be wearing them in the far off future along with shiny silver jumpsuits that have a big triangle on the front.

sunny day in June

Well it’s half a week now past me submitting my last essay for the semester and I feel like writing something again. I repainted my telecaster body yesterday. This is something that’s been brewing for a while and requires at least two long backstories. Nice to see flickr have stopped adding that rubbish javascript to embedded fotos.

<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/18508647821″ title=”HipstaPrint by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/280/18508647821_25eb522686.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HipstaPrint”></a>