whatever you say

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You know, I’d gradually _lost_  most of the respect I had for George Lucas, that I once had as a kid or teen or early 20s person. The more films I see, like some of the 60s war movies about WW2 and also Akira Kurosawa movies, I see how much Georgey borrowed from them when making the original trilogy. And after seeing the second trilogy I started to wonder if he’d had any hand in writing the screenplays for the originals at all. My theory was that Joseph Campbell wrote them, but I have no proof.

Anyway, it’s interesting to read <a href=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16525977″>this</a> news on a film he’s put together all by himself about the African-American pilots in WW2. Good for him. I hope it’s a success. I hope the dialog’s a bit better that when Samuel L Jackson was talking to Yoda. I’ll go see it when I’m back in Australia for the brief visit I’m heading for next week. That is, if it’s released then.

Tuesday is Soylent Green day

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6298456541/” title=”soylent-green-ext by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6045/6298456541_18bbceac3f.jpg” width=”500″ height=”217″ alt=”soylent-green-ext”></a>

I was just watching this movie again because as a countryboy australian living in korea, it really speaks to me. If, in some far off future, where lots of bad decisions were made on the way, australia could end up as polluted, noisy and crowded as korea. That sounds pretty over the top, but more subtle, yet real examples are not being able to see the stars at night, the milk just not tasting as good, you can’t drink the water straight out of the tap, and living in one-room apartments with low ceilings.

A quick check of wickerpedia says that the film was based on a 1966 novel titled <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make_Room!_Make_Room!”>_Make Room! Make Room!_</a> and that it was set in 1999, with a global population of 7 bil — funny eh? Which goes a way toward reminding us that things never turn out as bad as people and get alarmed about. (or do they?) I’m not very good at maths and such but I was wondering what the global population would be if everywhere was as densely populated as south korea. Not that it’d be sustainable for a week, even if we started eating eachother in neat little dried squares.

Anyway there’s a great story under all that ’70s clunkiness of Soylent Green and it’s definitely ripe to be remade. It got me thinking about why Soylent green is more or less buried and another dystopian future flick from about ten years after (Blade Runner) is considered a classic — what’s the difference? A vangelis score and some long shots of futuristic cityscapes? More than that – but it’s more than I’ve got the brain-power for right now.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6298988828/” title=”soylent-green-int by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6220/6298988828_967edde9bb.jpg” width=”500″ height=”221″ alt=”soylent-green-int”></a>

the movies are always groovy

Couple of films worth noting.

_Mikey & Nicky_ (1976) is something I came across via the beastie boys’ website.

<iframe title=”YouTube video player” width=”480″ height=”390″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/GKL8G_6pukM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

When watching it I thought there’s something a little odd about the scenes. Kind of reminded me of the way Lynch directs. Afterward I read on weeklepedia that the director, Elaine May, was basically insane and used more film in the shooting than was used in Gone wid da Wind. I guess she cajoled the two main actors into doing the same scenes 20 times over, with each take getting looser with the acting. That scuffle in the yootoob clip where Cassavetes slips over — you can’t act accidents like that.

_Suspiria_ (1977) is a film by an Italian director I only just heard of, Dario Argento.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5639610160/” title=”suspiria-2 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5302/5639610160_6162f74ae0.jpg” width=”378″ height=”298″ alt=”suspiria-2″></a>

Visually it was extremely rich and I love that. I’m guessing it was shot in some oldish buidings somewhere in northern Italy that look amazing; the detailing in the wood of the doors is one tiny example. It’s not a film set, it’s a real, bizarre place. And many of the actors were flat out weird looking. The audio had a strange quality because the (Italian) actors performed in English, but then in post-production, they dubbed native English (English and American) actors voices over it. The lip-syncing is okay but there’s no ambient noise in the shots.

The plot is actually pretty lame and follows the standard slasher-flick structure. Still interesting to look at.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5639610222/” title=”suspiria-3 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5263/5639610222_7ccd6c2fff.jpg” width=”500″ height=”230″ alt=”suspiria-3″></a>


My friend Pirooz is making another film called ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ and is asking for money for it. Sunny Breaks in no way condones shoplifting but even if we did, doing it from clothing stores is pretty difficult because most places have those dye-markers. Despite the punk ethos of shoplifting living on, it’s never really OK’d wearing clothing with intact dye-markers attached. Here’s the short:

<iframe frameborder=”0″ height=”410px” src=”http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/322702815/shoplifting-from-american-apparel-movie/widget/video.html” width=”480px”></iframe>

I actually like this better than the last one. I always thought that if you wanted to make a (first) movie and you wanted it to be successful, then you’d know you’re on the right track if you could explain what it’s about in one snappy sentence. Like, “It’s _Fantastic Voyage_ meets _Apocalypse Now_ “. (PS. that’s my movie idea.)

Anyway, this trailer doesn’t say much of what the movie is about but I can definitely relate to how I am not one of the productive people in society, and masturbation. Also, multimedia-layered film is very hot these days. If you want to know more go <a href=”http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/322702815/shoplifting-from-american-apparel-movie”>here</a> and if you wanna give the money go <a href=”http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/322702815/shoplifting-from-american-apparel-movie/pledge/new?clicked_reward=false&logged_in=false&p=0&v=u”>here</a>.

I too bemoan the state of televison and cinema these days, and how there are these people who say, ‘no, the audience will not like/sit still for blah-de-blah normal thing. In fact I was just appreciating some awesome on-screen acting pauses the other night in The Original Series Star Trek episode: Amok Time, from season 1. Kirk and Spock are broaching the awkward matter of Vulcan ‘biology’. Great acting, but better than that was that they were allowed the few seconds here and there to let it really come alive. Stuff like that just doesn’t get made any more.


I’ve been watching ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It’s really funny without intending to be. The only thing that lets it down is the main actor, Robert Vaughn, who has a sneery look about him. The episode, ‘The Strigas Affair’ from 1964 guest-starred both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Pretty cool.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5494007573/” title=”strigas by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5098/5494007573_10abdd2a60.jpg” width=”500″ height=”376″ alt=”strigas” /></a>


Addendum: the very next episode, the finny foot affair, guest starred the young Kurt Russell. I didn’t know he was a child-actor.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5501065919/” title=”young-kurt-russell by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5213/5501065919_1a56e027ef.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”young-kurt-russell” /></a>

nice beaver

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So goodbye to Leslie Nielsen. It re-occurred to me a few years back how funny he was and so watched through the Naked Gun movies and even found a few of the Police Squad shows on the internet. But I think the key was the teaming up with the Zuckers’ (and Abraham’s) writing. For something different the last two nights I watched a couple of lesser known things from his filmog: _Spyhard_ and _The Poseidon Adventure_. The best thing about Spyhard was the theme song by Weird Al. On wikipedia it says it was shitcanned by critics and I can see why. Nielsen only had a small part in _Poseidon_. That was a pretty lame movie too, but kind of interesting because I didn’t realise that Poseidon (2006) was a remake. That was a snorefest too but the casting connections are interesting. Is Kurt Russell the hollywood/spiritual of Gene Hackman? Yes. And Red Buttons –> Richard Dreyfuss?  Maybe not quite, but the evolution of that character’s backstory is interesting. Red Buttons was a dapper little man who owned a haberdashery but never had the time to find the right woman. Richard Dreyfuss was a gay man with AIDS. I guess neither AIDS or being gay in movies were invented in 1972 so they had to think of something else.

Other lesser known things that Nielsen did include appearing as a guest star on The Streets of San Francisco *twice* and narrating some sort of nature doco which was later sampled by Boards of Canada in their track Dandelion from the Geogaddi album.

ps. Anyone want to go halfies on an aircraft carrier with me? I have two thousand dollars and I’ll tell them I promise to pay the rest later. If so, put a bid in <a href=”http://www.edisposals.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/Disposals-Public-Site/en_US/-/GBP/ViewProductDetail-Start;pgid=MieqQ4wkQg8000ArvQ_8K1sp0000vKBL0R31?ProductUUID=38jAqBIQwVwAAAEsaApaBWLN&CatalogCategoryID=VaLAqBELPagAAAED8GeasfoP&JumpTo=OfferList”>here</a>.

I love you Philip Morris (2010)

Current movies can be a strange thing here. I did go and see _Inception_ at the cinema (snore!) but when you’re relying on the DVD pirate-man that sells his burnt discs on the subway steps you can get anything at anytime.  And so I don’t know if this film has been released in Australia or America or what.

The g/f picked it. In fact, I never buy these pirate dvds. For some reason, more often than not she ends up picking films that are overly violent or have terrible rape scenes or stuff like that. Not on purpose, but that’s what happens when you pick things without looking too much into what they are. I site previous examples of _Blindness_ (2008). I didn’t even want to finish watching that one. What a pointless piece of trash! And _The Killer Inside Me_ (2010) which, oddly enough, I’d read the novel of a couple of years ago. I read one book about every three years these days thanks to my attention span and being forced to read twaddle for study. As a book it was pretty boring and all up, I was finding the crime noir genre pretty disappointing. The movie was pretty violent and boring.

Pirate-man’s choices, in my opinion , are in line with this pattern I’ve observed with Korean TV’s choices of what English-speaking movies to show — it’s mostly crap. Any night of the week you’re gaurunteed to come across a Steven sSegal film, or failing that, a Nicholas Cage one, and not a good one like _Wild at Heart_.

Anyway, _I Love Phillip Morris_ was good and it had nothing to do with cigarettes. Jim Carey is chronically under-rated as an actor and seeing him snog Ewan McGregor was great.

rag n bone

My close personal friend and birthday-day sharer (Jun 11) Barry Adamson has a new single out called Rag and Bone.

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For me Barry falls into that category of where I think he’s really good at what he does but isn’t a millionaire, so I’s happy to hand over the 1pound for the single + b-side. Good one for using bandcamp, making it easy to pay.

While interesting as a song, but less enticing as a shopper is Wang Chung’s song frm the movie of the same name, ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ Just watched it last night, as part of the car-chase genre. Small car chase, but interesting movie. 1985 but showed no obvious signs of influence from Miami Vice. I think one of the best things about it is the title. Tupac must’ve thought so too, because he also made a song titled in like, but had absolutely nothing to do with the Wang Chung song. Ironically it’s even lighter sounding than the W.C. version. I thought those gansta-rappers were supposed to be hard…

Anyway, the only way I can find to buy that song is through amazon and they want 99cents US for it which seems a bit steep for a non-classic gold song from 25years ago. This is another reason why the big record companies are rapidly going down the gurgler.


<a href=”http://cognitive-psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/psychology_of_heavy_metal_music”>From:</a>

Effect on Animals

A student named David Merrill subjected mice to the music of a heavy metal band called Anthrax 24-hours a day to discover how it would affect their ability to learn new things, but instead of completing Merrill’s maze, the heavy metal mice all killed one another.

In a subsequent experiment in which the mice listened to heavy metal music for 10 hours each day, they did not become homicidal, but they did grow worse at solving the maze than they had been when they first encountered it. But research indicates that reactions to music are shaped by whether or not it is the genre of choice, and it’s highly unlikely that if the mice had a musical preference at all, it would have been Anthrax.

All I can say is when mice rise up and take over scientists will be in for some cruel and unusual times. David Merill, you have been warned.

*   *   *

I was thinking more about car colour and why black, white, silver are so prevelent here now. Car colour choices correlate with economic conditions. In boom times people want exotic bright colours, but in more conservative times, like these economic times, the dulls predominate. And Korea always thinks it’s in hardtimes. If only it would relax, take a day off work and stop throwing rubbish on the ground.

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*   *   *

A couple more car chase movies:

_Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry_ : had a lime green 69 Dodge Charger in it. Script was pretty lame and I was cringing at how heavy Susan George’s natural tan was, although I never picked that she was English and doing an American accent.

_The Seven Ups_ : Have no idea what the title was about. Second of this subgenre to star Roy Scheider. I like Roy Scheider. He’s like a solid actor who was in some pretty big films of his day, but if you asked someone who was the main actor in _Jaws_ (not the fish) most people wouldn’t have a clue. He was an important part of making the films that he was in, without being bigger than the film itself. I like to think of Sunny Breaks as being the Roy Scheider of the blog-O-sphere.

Seven Ups also featured some of those great landmark bridges they have in New York, reminding me of GTA4. And it was shot in the dead of winter which seems so distant now.

_Magnum Force_ Written by that great hollywood hack, John Milius, with david Soul as the motorcycle cop baddie. Don’t know if this was an inspiration to T2, but manm, motorcycle cops can look evil when they want to.

_Duel_ Spielberg’s first film, which shows that the guy had talent before he had huge budgets to help him through. I loved the way it focussed on the truck as an entity. Part of what the car chase movie is about is long shots of the car — glorification of the car — something that _Dirty Mary…_ completely missed. _Duel_ was a really simple idea that really worked, is just as relevant today, with road rage and all, plus it was kind of ballsy to use so much internal dialog.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4925653240/” title=”Duel by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4925653240_48da16c111.jpg” width=”400″ height=”300″ alt=”Duel” /></a>

concentration on one thing? gone in 60 seconds (1974)

Man I should really be writing about Grunge but it’s hard to concentrate. I’m seriously thinking about writing to the uni and proposing that they start to transition the system for the next generation of permanently ADDed slackers, of which I seem to be part of. I was sick of this thesis topic before I’d even started tapping the keyboard. I’ve probably written it here before but I’d much rather have done four or five 4-5ooo word topics.

*   *   *

Car chase movies: the original _Gone In 60 Seconds_ was the next one I could find. Interesting in that it’s another bit of what life was like in my birth year (1974) and unusual in that it was classified as an independent film. It was the brain child of one guy – most of the cars used in it belonged to him, and he got his friends to do the “acting” in it. There weren’t any professional actors. There’s a whopping 34 minute car chase in the finale, which helps it to blend in with much higher-budgeted films of its time. When looking at the directing of the dialogue and actors I was just thinking, ah that’s the 70s for ya.

The best bit about it was the wigs, sunglasses and suits. In fact I think, in some small way, one of my fav video clips, Beastie Boys’ Sabotage is ahhhn ohmaaage to it.

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From the movie, this is H.B. Halicki, writer, producer, director and main actor:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4906184399/” title=”60secs-1 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4141/4906184399_7109c834bc.jpg” width=”274″ height=”324″ alt=”60secs-1″ /></a>

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4906773010/” title=”60secs-3 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4906773010_2d80419d1d.jpg” width=”325″ height=”318″ alt=”60secs-3″ /></a>

Apparently, the wigs were to fool the cops. I think he just had a funky wig fetish.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4906184453/” title=”60secs-2 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4121/4906184453_1592729f3d.jpg” width=”282″ height=”337″ alt=”60secs-2″ /></a>

Here is the token black guy in the car-stealing team, and a young lady dressed in a rather racy 70s way.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4906773084/” title=”60secs-5 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4073/4906773084_f7fe112595.jpg” width=”478″ height=”339″ alt=”60secs-5″ /></a>

There was a caddy full of homies cruising around that was kinda cool too.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/4906184541/” title=”60secs-4 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4121/4906184541_80c5ded982.jpg” width=”500″ height=”220″ alt=”60secs-4″ /></a>

people like frank

It was my birthday a week ago. I turned 36. I realised I’m not coping well with birthdays in recent years. I think I have some sort of expectation that I should be somewhere or doing something and I’m not. Also partly because I don’t feel like I’ve done much in this last 12 months. On a day to day basis I guess things are okay and I’m healthy so that’s a good thing. “Almost anything you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” — Mohandas Ghandi.

*   *   *

While I’m sweeping up half-saved drafts:

Yes Dennis Hopper died (a week or two back). It’s sad but everyone dies. The most notable mention alongside this has been easyrider. I’m only mentioning this here because Hopper happened to be in two of my fave films. (Oh, also, there was this great doco series I saw once called something like, ‘the fine art of seperating people and their money’ about advertising and its history. dennis MCed it.)

But what I really liked, was that he played the more-than half-crazed photo-journalist in _Apocalypse Now_. Did you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life?

Even better than that (no not _Space Truckers_) was his playing Frank Booth in _Blue Velvet_. I remember ages ago seeing some DVD end-matter that was telling how Lynch was doing the casting for the film and Dennis had read the part and was pleading to be Frank. Lynch was hesitant because Dennis had been on and off the drugs for a while and would probably be unreliable. Hopper said that _he was_ Frank Booth and that’s why he needed the part. Anyway there were heaps of great lines that came out of that character but I just thought that it was great, that as an actor, you might get the opportunity to explore parts of your own psyche through a role, particularly the darker parts.