siskel & ebert on a favorite movie of mine
Really Bad Movies
a bard's eye view of love, life and psychotronic cinema
Friday, February 26, 2016
Thursday, February 25, 2016
yakuza apocalypse : .5 review
anna and nick didn't get home late this evening which allowed me a bit of time to turn on the roku and surf the offerings of our various streaming services. okay okay, i admit i was on youtube for a while because i wanted to finish watching a short documentary on the late chilean avant-garde poet juan luis martinez [do check out his work. all his books are available on his website]. then after the docu i went to amazon prime and found this bloodbath by none other than prolific filmmaker takashi miike.
anna and nick came home half way thru this pic so this is half a review. let me tell you my impressions. takashi miike does not let plot get in the way of his spectacular visual language. in fact the director has yet to meet a plot he can't say fuck you. i'm sure this film would make sense if you dropped a bit of acid. or toned down the noise of your mind and just be with this movie.
the plot concerns a yakuza boss who is much loved and feared in a small japanese city. a young man apprentices himself to the boss. the young man is a bit of an outrider for yakuza; he refuses to get tattooed on account of his 'sensitive skin.' but this kid can take a punch and is loyal to a tee. then his world is pulled inside out.
because his boss is a vampire! yes, a bloodsucker, undead , motherfucker! before you can go all what the fuck there is an earlier scene with a bunch of elderly men locked and chained in a basement set to knitting. yes, knitting! why? i don't fucking know. it is an odd, cruel part of the universe of this film. the elderly men's clothing is shit-stained. they are tortured. still they knit.
later a man dressed in a priest frock who carries a baby coffin on his back and speaks english faces off the boss in the street. an indian who speaks hindi? who is in league with the coffin wearing padre karate chops the boss in to oblivion. our young man witnesses this butt kicking and tries to protect his employer. no avail. for the boss is beheaded. the priest and his henchman disappear.
the young apprentice comes to after being knocked out and holds the head of his boss. the head reanimates bites our young man and turns him into a vampire. oh no; the shit doth hitteth the fan.
what then? that's when i turned off the movie. anna and nick came home. the second word in the title is apocalypse. a showdown between vampire yakuza and just plain ass weird yakuza is coming with arterial spray and lots of bodies. oh, yes, a goblin appears and warns the plain ass weird yakuza that another vampire is in their midst. this goblin is the freakiest damned thing of pure nightmare.
i'd forgotten how much fun a takashi miike movie is. balls out, splatterific, odd and goofy fun. watching this flick is like opening the window on a stuffy room to a warm spring day. it clears the mind and sharpens the senses. or warps the mind and distorts the senses. i'll go for the former. watching a really bad movie is one of the reasons to stay alive.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Friday, February 19, 2016
i just caught the tail end of a program broadcast on the national geographic channel about gen x
i am a gen xer so i saw the tv talk about the mis-perception of young people in the '90s
we were called 'twenty-nothings' and 'slackers'
nirvana spoke to generation x according the documentary
& how we are so anti-corporate that we are difficult to market to
i would like to see a program about gen xers in middle age
how slack did we become how marketable did we get
generations matter to the people for we all like to fit in with our group
i like being a gen xer
but then people are human no matter what age they are born
i suppose i would like being a baby boomer had i been born a decade earlier or a millennial had i been born a couple decades later
i wasn't given the choice of which decade or century to be born in
each group of young people discover for the first time everything like sex love responsibilities drugs friendships jobs etc etc
music speaks to our generation your generation too & i have listened enjoyed even loved the music of your generation
& & & i have read generations upon generations of poetry like rimbaud catullus horace ikkyu issa loy cavafy stein
i am these generations
& i am a man of this time who is confused & delighted by life
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
anticipating rain i gathered my two cloth shopping bags -- trader joe's -- & walked to the supermarket
i am rarely home during the weekday i wonder who are all these people what are they doing at home they are probably wondering the same thing about me
no rain indeed it is cloudy warm with shafts of sunlight peaking thru
i make it to the store pick up a hand cart & go about my business i buy the usual things like bananas nuts bread etc the products & actions of habit & daily ritual
i use the self-checkout kiosk i'm sure these devices are the same where you live swipe the bar code from the item across the scanner then set down your purchase but don't bag it yet for the sensor will freak out thinking there is a foreign object
bananas don't have a bar code neither do tomatoes but the damn scale on the damn self-check machine won't work
i hit the help button a red light flashes above me i stand there because i am a fool
oh technology the world is remade in your image
the store employee comes over & helps me
another item won't scan i punch in the bar # into the machine but the machine doesn't recognize the digits
i hit the help button again i've been at this machine for several minutes now other customers waiting their turn see an old grey-haired man & think oh yes old people don't know their tech
the store employee kindly calmly explains how to enter the sequence of digits into the machine i am back in school at the blackboard solving for x
only then when i am done scanning my items then swiping the store card then swiping my credit card & after the computer indexes tallies & adds up the dollar amounts can i bag my groceries
& when i start bagging the sensor of the machine freaks out because there is a foreign object on it
but the walk home was nice the streets packed with people doing their thing the sky clouds over again as i wait for rain
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
i don't believe in alien abduction
little green men
or crop circles
& i've been waiting
all my life
Monday, February 15, 2016
i found myself eyeballing the books used as filler in dept. store displays today
the store specialized in containers
stuff to buy when you need to organize the abundance of your stuff
the books in these containers were quite good, including a collection of poems in draft facsimiles by john keats
i wondered who picked the books for these displays could it be a person with an advanced degree in the humanities even an mfa who took a job in corporate u.s.a. whose compromise with capitalism is vouchsafed by a selection of literary works to be used in store displays
or the selections of books could be quite by accident the books are remainders and so are cheap to buy
there was a floating remaindered bookseller back in the '90s
i would become a kid at christmas when i found one of these remaindered bookstores
i have no idea if books are valued or devalued i do know people regular people ordinary people the kind like you and me do read and often a lot
the books at the store are certainly valued at least by me and i know many others
i don't worry about the fate of books and literacy in our present age i worry about our viability as a species
language survives its making so does books so does poetry
language will not survive us when we die so does language
until then we shall continue and record and express our amazement at being alive in these wild times
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Thursday, February 11, 2016
I write because I am entranced by dusk, confounded by the government, at once scared and beguiled by the future, envious of children, forgetful of the past, exasperated by myself, uncomfortable in crowded rooms, curious, ignorant, egotistical, good with vegetables, selfish, lost in the snow and by the sea, hopeful, human.
--martin stannard 'why I write' [conversations with myself: selected reviews and notes 1984 - 1998; stride, 1999]
for look at this graph of the history of the universe from the big bang to the present & find your place in it
Sunday, February 07, 2016
a few years ago i read an article about l.a. based artist billy al bengston in my favorite, now closed down, magazine shop, the newsbeat. i loved the newsbeat. i would stop in at least three times a month from the early 2000s to its closure. the store had a wonderful selection of periodicals including a large choice of art mags. that is how i discovered billy al bengston. and i wondered where the hell he'd been all my life. he's the kind of dude who created a kind of abstract pop art that incorporated suburban malls and asian influence. i still haven't seen a bengston painting in person. but, below is a video presentation of billy al bengston show from 1969. hopefully the artist gets an art book of his own soon.
fox mulder, played by david duchovny, is having his faith tested in middle-age. his sense of wild wonder and discovery has left him. he says so, in last weeks episode of the newly rebooted the x-files: mulder & scully meet the were-monster. half a lifetime chasing ufos and things that go bump in the night and not getting closer to THE TRUTH can wear a person down.
so dana scully, played by gillian anderson, is wondering where the old mulder went. because now she gets a sad, self-lacerating, self-pitying man who thinks he has wasted his life. scully, the ever reasonable side of the duo, wants the old mulder back.
but does he return to scully, and to us, the viewers, who like our mulder as a slightly paranoid conspiracy-theory laden freakonicus?
i don't want to spoil the episode for you if you haven't seen it. this episode was played light and for laughs as much as scares. mulder's mid-life plight is similar to many 50-somethings: how to retain mystery and wonder and the love of life in middle-age.
well, it can be done. mulder might be discovering how. life is a freaking wild adventure even in its most domestic form. scully and mulder reminds us to lift up the curtain of disbelief and look with our crazy eyes upon our fathomless world. for it shall astonish us.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Have a good look -- stop the breath, peel off the skin, and everybody ends up looking the same. No matter how long you live, the result is not altered. Cast off the notion that "I exist." Entrust yourself to the windblown clouds, and do not wish to live forever.
A fleeting dream
So why be alarmed
At its evanescence?
Your span of life is set and entreaties to the gods to lengthen it are to no avail. Keep your mind fixed on the one great matter of life and death. Life ends in death, that's the way things are.
--ikkyu 'poem with skeletons' [barbaric vast & wild: a gathering of outside and subterranean poetry from origins to present ed. by jerome rothenberg & john bloomberg-rissman; black widow press, 2015]