Monthly Archives: October 2011

Nameless Horseman

Washington Irving

1783-1859

The old country wives maintain to this day that Ichabod Crane was spooked away by supernatural means, namely The Headless Horseman, (and most maintain that Johnny Depp was the worst portrayal of Ichabod ever) whom he came across in this Dutch cemetery that dates back to 1685 and where now rests the author of this classic trick or treat tale, Washington Irving. But between you and me I’d rather come across The Headless Horseman any day than this Dude in Sleepy Hollow!

 Happy Halloween!

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Martha My Dear

Despite the Sundance hype I was a bit skeptical given Elizabeth Olsen’s pedigree but from the get-go of Martha Marcy May Marlene I was immediately convinced of her brainwashed banter and constant fear of this cult and it’s scrawny Manson like leader (John Hawkes) who’s spell she falls under especially after he dupes her into thinking he wrote a song  for her. The only way to explain Elizabeth Olsen’s creepy performance is she channeled her twin Sisters’ long struggle and desperation on finding their own identities after Full House.

But what I found even more disturbing and intriguing was that I was not alone in my sick obsession of cults (excluding Scientology and the Blue Oyster Cult). Not only have I made the pilgrimage of the ruins of Spahn Ranch but I also trekked Badlands to the actual house of Heaven’s Gate. Olsen’s impressive acting debut is a haunting convoluted portrayal of an innocence lost, a yearning for acceptance, a defiant need to escape, and a search for identity, hence the title of multiple names. Also impressive is the writing and directorial debut of Sean Durkin who adeptly paces the unfolding story of seduction and fear between the organic dilapidated Amish farm like commune and the lakeside modernity glass house of her Sister and Brother in-law.

But as engaging as Olsen was, her character’s world view was as disposable as the Real Housewives. I’m not one to drink the Kool Aid or occupy Wall Street, and communal living is for sheep, so maybe that’s why I identified with that uptight Brit (Hugh Dancy) more. Plus I wouldn’t call Olsen’s detox cleansing but just plain sodomy. Nevertheless, the movie did tap into my primal fears of being seduced by the Dark side of the Force and losing a grip on reality. But then again if I was given a sinister name like Sexy Sadie or Squeaky then who knows what I’d be capable of. I do hope Olsen is able to replace dopey Scarlett Johansson as the new busty blonde with some actual talent and hopefully won’t turn out like her Sisters and Cease to Exist.

These Girls have some major Daddy issues.

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International Man of Mystery


During the 1970’s not only did Scorsese make Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull, but he also had a run of three fascinating and understated documentaries – Italianamerican, The Last Waltz, and American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince, which are now classics in their own right. During this time one can easily surmise that Scorsese was at the peak of his creative powers and innovation (though later The King of Comedy and Goodfellas are works of genius too) and with the exception of Public Speaking, his last few docs have just been a hagiographic poetic waxing bordering on star-fucking!

His latest, George Harrison: Living in the Material World may be even worse. At least Dylan’s creative output pre-motorcycle accident justifies him being deified as he went on to create masterful albums like John Wesley Harding, Blood on the Tracks, Desire, Infidels, Love and Theft, etc. (just to name a few) whereas George’s blew his wad on his debut, All Things Must Pass. I mean the proof is in the pudding – Gone Troppo? To be fair, he did have a few gems on his albums full of clunkers, but Scorsese was less interested in the music and more focused on George’s quasi spiritual journey from a Liverpool Teddy to becoming a some kind of Yogi Bear, secluded in a mansion surrounded by palatial gardens, gnomes…and that’s when I tuned out (basically when George’s Yoda, Norah Jones’ Dad, enters the picture and took Brian Jones’ cred for introducing the sitar to rock). It must be easy to believe in God when you have everything while I can’t get a night’s rest with post apocalypse roaches running around my apartment.

Speaking of the Stones, Shine A Light was also a missed opportunity and just another exercise in showcasing Mick and Keith prancing around, with only snippets of Charlie and Ronnie, completely neglecting that black Bass Player. One wonders why Scorsese didn’t apply the same steady shots, long takes, and editing as The Last Waltz where you can see how the musicians relate to each other – rather than creating the now standard MTV fake drama about a missing set list, cut with a bunch of close ups that can’t show off their guitar chops. But what really pisses me off is how the audience in front row of the stage, like product placement, is filled with models who probably never once even listened to Exile on Main St.! Where as I had to settle and stand in a long line of rejects to watch it in IMAX a year later.

Sorry. I know I come off sounding bitter and opinionated but I do love these golden gods and I Am the Walrus is my mantra – so Scorsese should be more mindful and artistic and not rely on just rare footage that he didn’t even have a hand in shooting and interviews in which he probably wasn’t present for (I refuse to believe that’s the most interesting corner in Eric Clapton’s house) unlike with Fran Lebowitz where he is an active participant. At least, given his track record, Ken Burns’ latest doc, Prohibition, will be infused with depth and not skip or gloss over chronological events with all the grit, grime, and glamour like Boardwalk Empire. But then again, I’m sure Ken Burns couldn’t deliver lines like “That you should see, what a 44. Magnum can do to a woman’s pussy.” Though I’m sure these words are no stranger to Phil Spector, who besides Austin Powers, appears to have the whackiest wig and most memorable appearance in Living in the Material World.



“Please, God, I don’t know what a goofball like me did to deserve this life, but thank you very much, and please let me know if I’m doing anything that would cause you to end it.” – Ringo Starr

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Shelter Skelter

In Michael Shannon’s latest psychotic episode, Take Shelter, he is plagued by apocalyptic bedwetting nightmares as he struggles to get a grip on his Midwest, mayonnaise salad reality. Though it doesn’t help that his Mother is plum nuts – nor does the added stress of paying for his deaf Daughter’s expensive surgery or a wife, Jessica Chastain, that sows and seams on the side (and has Kenny Power’s slutty Wife for a best friend). So as any man would do, he takes out a loan against his house to build a top notch storm shelter.

But before this exploration into Shannon’s psychosis, the Producers of the film were in attendance to provide a quick intro, and afterwards, a Q&A that made me wish I’d taken shelter myself. Like proud parents, except the fact they gushed and praised themselves – One who reminded us peons that she used go to the Angelika theater as an NYU student, trying to convey what a long journey it has been, while the other dude was busy dropping names – both ass kissing the director, Jeff Nichols and drawing comparisons to Close Encounters and The Shining. But I didn’t see no fucking aliens or ghosts, just another dysfunctional family trying not to fall from the tree of life. However, Nichols does succeed in examining Shannon’s mental breakdown. Then again after past run ins with Shannon on the streets it comes as no surprise when he loses his shit and flips the fuck out at the church dinner scene – “There’s a storm-a coming!” 

(Tyler Davidson & Sophia Lin)

So when the final credits were rolling the first question raised was, “What happened at the end?” Given that it’s ending is ambiguous they gave their pat answer as its soul is about a family’s communication and the state of the gloomy world. But that doesn’t explain that insane tsunami and multiple tornadoes threatening their vacation on Myrtle Beach. Too bad Shannon’s survival kit of gas masks and canned beans didn’t include a radio for they might have been a bit more in tune with Harold Camping’s sermon. In the end, I couldn’t care less if it was a dream or reality, Myrtle Beach is a shit hole anyway…and I’d rather watch my Serious Man Blu Ray.

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