Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wish List 2012

Every year I post a wish list of things I would not mind receiving for Xmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year, or my birthday (Jan 27). I usually don't ever get anything on the list which is fine. I am by no means in need of anything. To be honest, I have everything I need: a safe, lovely home, a decent job, good people in my life, my dog, and a big flat screen TV. I really am grateful for the amazing things and people I have around me. Everyday I thank my lucky stars. What more could a girl ask for (besides a new car)? Anyway, without further adieu, here is my wish list.

As you know, I love dogs. I love my dog, Spike more than anything. I have so much love for dogs that I really need another one to share that love with. My plan is to move to a bigger home with more space for two dogs and two humans to be comfortable. I also plan on adopting a pug. I cannot understand how anyone would consider buying a dog when there are so many in shelters that need homes. There are also several breed specific rescues that have purebred dogs for adoption. You just need to do a little research, which you should do regardless when you get a new pet. My family has always had multiple pets. I grew up with dogs, cats, turtles, lizards, snakes, fish, rabbits, birds, and a pig. If there's anything I am good at, it's taking care of animals. I don't care if it's a fawn pug, apricot pug, black pug, or white pug; I just want one to call my own!

Hanging Balcony Grill
Just because we're on the Green Team doesn't mean we can't grill! A small grill like this is perfect for a couple veggie burgs & hot dogs. Those big fancy grills are way too intimidating for me. I need something small and petite, like me.

Hello Kitty Chia Pet
I'm a big fan of Chia Pets since they seem to be the only plant I am incapable of killing. I have a Chia Garfield, Chia Crocodile, and Chia Herb Garden. They're pretty easy to take care of.

Salt & Pepper Grinder
I'm by no means a fancy chef or anything, but I have come to realize that fresh ground pepper is one if the best things to grace my kitchen. I'm looking for a good quality pepper mill, not one from The Dollar Tree (nothing against Dollar Tree). The Spice shop I sometimes frequent has a wide range of peppercorns that I am dying to try.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series Collection
When I was a little girl, the first major purchase I ever made was a foam chair of Leonardo (my favorite turtle). I paid for the chair all by myself via layaway (remember that). Every day after school, I'd rush home to fix myself a baked potato (latchkey kid), sit in my chair, and watch Ninja Turtles. It was probably one of the happiest times of my life. Recently, I went to the Alamo for the Secret of the Ooze All-You-Can-Eat pizza party with Ernie Reyes Jr. in attendance. It was a dream come true for 10yr old me. When I saw that they finally made a collection of the whole cartoon series, my head almost exploded. IT COMES IN A TURTLE VAN! I actually might NEED this.

Home Decorating Items
I will actually be moving to a bigger place at the end of the year. I generally despise moving, but I'm actually looking forward to it this time. New home, new start, new stuff. I could use some new accent pieces to liven up my new place.

Cthulhu Bust
Because we all need to call upon the dark forces every now and then. This would be a lovely piece for my living room.

Twenty Years of Tarantino Poster
I definitely have a big poster collection, mostly movie posters. This one is just too cool to pass up and would really compliment my INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS print. Unfortunately, it's sold through Mondo and those prints are gone before you can recite Ezekiel 25:17. They usually end up on ebay for three times as much. I cannot imagine a world without QT. He has definitely made my world a lot cooler. Lately, there's been much talk about his retirement and I call bullshit on it. QT has too much fire in him to just walk away from directing. What's he gonna do? Start making weird music & wood furniture like David Lynch. No he's not, he's going to keep making amazing films for people like me who appreciate & respect that fire.

Skull Chair
This chair is pretty Goth, but then again so am I.

Evil Dead Dress
I consider EVIL DEAD the other holy trilogy. I even read the Necronomicon in high school, which was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I used to love Sam Raimi, but now he has ventured into George Lucas territory. I won't get too into this remake business, but I will say it is a bad idea. Regardless of how I feel about Raimi & Bruce Campbell's current project, this dress is amazing. I would wear it with pride!

Xenomorph Ring
What better way to show an appreciation for the Queen Mother than with this delightful ring.

Wherever this holiday season takes you, I hope it's a happy one. I hope you get to spend it with the ones you love because the end of the world is only 30 days away.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween 2012

Everyone knows Halloween is my favorite time of year. I usually go apeshit crazy with decorations, treats, scary movies, and costumes. This year was no exception. However, this season seemed much more exciting than usual. Maybe it was the Halloween tree in our living room or the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON 3D screening at Alamo. I don't know, I just felt more Halloween magic in the air than ever before. Halloween weekend landed on the weekend of Austin Comic Con making it that much busier for us. Here's a recap of the events:

Friday, we went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see a new documentary about the Bones Brigade. If you're not familiar with the Bones Brigade then you're probably not a skater. This skating team was a big deal in the early 1980s. They are the stuff of legends now. Most tricks you see on Tony Hawk Pro Skater were invented by this remarkable group of men. This screening included a very special Q&A with Bones Brigade team members Lance Mountain and Rodney Mullen! It was really exciting to see these two men who I watched countless videos of growing up. This total sausage fest turned into a real emotional tearjerker by the end. You see, dudes that are into skating, are REALLY into skating. For most of them, it's not just a hobby, but more of a lifestyle. I really recommend this doc even if you don't know much about the sport. It's a very moving testimonial about doing what you love and having passion for life. If anything, I left this film feeling more adoration for Mullen & Mountain. They made successful careers out of a once overlooked sport. Rodney Mullen is a truly inspiring individual who borderlines on Rain Man status. He's probably the most humble and soft spoken man I have ever seen. The world needs more role models like this as opposed to other athletes who've been convicted of rape, murder, assault, steroid abuse, animal cruelty, or adultery.

Saturday and Sunday we spent most of the day at Austin Comic Con. This is such a fun event every year! I really enjoy the people watching that comes with Comic Con. Obviously, it is not of the same caliber of SDCC, but it's a good time nonetheless. I admit I was extrememly disappointed that James Marsters (aka Spike from Buffy) cancelled last minute. I still got to go to the Eliza Dushku panel. She's really pretty in person. The Walking Dead panel w/ the Dixon Brothers was really fun. Michael Rooker is a complete lunatic. It's nice to see him back on the show. Norman Reedus is much more attractive in person and I admit I have a tiny crush. I guess that's what happens when you wipe off all that zombie juice off him. I picked up a totally sweet Walking Dead print by local artist, Cody Schibi. If you haven't checked out his stuff, please do. It's awesome! It was a good time and I look forward to next year!

This year, I decided to throw a Halloween party at our house. I made all kinds of Halloween themed treats such as spiderweb pumpkin cheesecake, finger shaped pumpkin cookies, cupcakes, deviled eggs, and dip. Ross made some very tasty salsa and Chris P made delicious veggie stuffed mushrooms. The best costume award went to Jason D. for his incredible rendition of Jabba the Hutt. D. Beth was an excellent Han Solo to compliment Jabba. Spike and I decided to be the Dynamic Duo. I think he emmulated Christian Bale a litte too much because he was a cranky Batman. I was hoping for more of an Adam West Batman. Michelle was a very convincing Tyler Durden, Chris was his alter ego Luchador, and Vince was a scary Surgical Technician (like every other day). I was even impressed that resident curmudgeon, Uncle Kenny, dressed up. He made a surly-but-cute Ryan Reynolds...I mean Green Lantern!

I am really glad Hurricane Sandy didn't stop too many people from celebrating Halloween. I wish a speedy recovery to everyone on the East Coast. Special thanks to everyone who dressed up and came out to our party. We had a fabulous time. Hope to see you all next year!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Order

Well, it’s been more than a week since I went to Dallas with Ruth & John to see New Order and I am still reeling in excitement. I’ve talked about my love for New Order before so you can imagine what a big deal this was for me. New Order hasn’t been to the US in almost a decade and I’m sure it’s been a lot longer since they’ve actually been to Texas. This show was only one of seven dates on this tour. Sure it was way too crowded and hot, but it was well worth it. We did see a few idiots wearing Joy Division t-shirts as expected and I’m certain there were more than a few people there who could only count two New Order songs. For a band who's been around for over 30 yrs, they sound great. It’s nearly impossible to put into words what a wonderful time we had.

Last fall I flew to San Francisco to see Peter Hook perform Joy Division’s second album, Closer. As memorable as that show was, it still felt very bittersweet. I recall saying immediately afterwards, “well that’s probably as close as I will ever come to seeing New Order.”

Fast forward to Friday, October 12, 2012, and it still felt like I was dreaming. It didn’t really register until they played Bizarre Love Triangle. It’s funny because Bizarre Love Triangle and Blue Monday are probably my least favorite New Order songs since they are the most overplayed. However, I used to sneak into the local gay bar back home with my fake ID to dance the night away to Bizarre Love Triangle when I was only 15 yrs old. I was also dancing to a lot of Pretty Hate Machine era Nine Inch Nails, but that’s a whole other story all together. Who would have thought, years & years later, I’d actually be dancing while New Order played that very song.

My all time favorite New Order song is by far Regret which they did not play. They have such an extensive catalog, it’s nearly impossible to narrow down a set list. The show went on for well over an hour & a half. I still feel like there are so many more songs I’d like to see performed. The encore consisted of four Joy Division songs. The Joy Division tribute was mesmerizing, but secretly I was wishing for more New Order songs. I already saw those songs performed once before, but I think everyone else really appreciated it nonetheless. It’s not always about me and honestly I cannot complain.


Age of Consent
Love Vigilantes
Here to Stay
Your Silent Face
Bizarre Love Triangle
5 8 6
True Faith
The Perfect Kiss
Blue Monday

Love Will Tear Us Apart

I really tried hard not to cry. I will admit that I did get a bit emotional during Your Silent Face and I just couldn’t help it by the time they played Temptation. I guarantee you there was not a dry eye in the building once Atmosphere started. The haunting video by Anton Corbijn playing in the background was beyond eerie. The videos of the show online do no justice because the energy at this show was completely exhilarating. Ruth got some good pics that you can find on her tumblr page. I didn’t get a chance to take photos; such are the perils of being short. You might hear Ruth and I screaming like school girls in these videos so be prepared. The live projections and lighting only added to the captivating concert. All the flashing images of Ian Curtis and Joy Division really gave me chills.

I've been fortunate enough to see most of my favorite artists live. I've see Elvis Costello & Billy Bragg on several occasions. Just this year I got to see Jesus and Mary Chain. This concert is definitely on the top of my list along with Prince and Descendents (1997). It was truly an experience I will remember forever. Now if I could just see The Replacements, The Clash, and Jawbreaker my list will be complete. I won't hold my breath on those.

Special thanks to Ruth & John for accompanying me. No thanks to all the football fans attending TX/OU Weekend while we were in Dallas.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


This has been quite a busy week for my little pooch, Spike. He celebrated his 8th birthday and attended his first movie premiere. He wanted to write his own review of FRANKENWEENIE, but he's tied up in meetings all day with his agent so you are left with me.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from this event. All we knew was that this was the world premiere of a long awaited Tim Burton feature and the opening film of Fantastic Fest. Never in my life as a little girl sitting at home watching BATMAN & BATMAN RETURNS did I ever imagine I would someday be at a Tim Burton film premiere! Spike donned his finest bow tie and received first class treatment. This marked the first time ever the Alamo Drafthouse reserved an entire theater for dogs and their guests. We posed for pictures on the red carpet mere feet from the film's own stars. It was truly a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

Living in Austin, I have been fortunate enough to encounter several actors, filmmakers, and musicians that I respect & admire so I do not usually get starstruck. That was until I saw Winona "I welcome death" Ryder! Any slightly strange, raven haired girl growing up in the 80s wanted nothing more than to be Winona Ryder (myself included). She is an icon and still looks amazing at the age of 41. In 2001, I had a Winona Ryder Halloween party (her birthday is Oct. 29th) in which I dressed as Lydia Deetz. I wanted to ask her what it felt like to be the head goth bitch in charge. Even Tim League (Alamo owner) was in awe of her greatness.

We also had the pleasure of seeing the legendary Martin Landau and Barbara Crampton who you may know from a little film called RE-ANIMATOR. Tim Burton was on hand to do his best Robert Smith impersonation as well as Robert Rodriguez who I happen to see at the comic book shop a few weeks ago.

It was quite the star studded event, but none compared to the adorable doggies walking the red carpet. We saw corgis, yorkies, poodles, wieners, and one pug. All the dogs were surprisingly well behaved during the film. Trust me, I’ve been to rowdier screenings at Highland Galaxy than a theater filled with costumed lap dogs.

A Q&A followed the film where everything from Vincent Price to Burton’s merits as a parent was discussed. Someone asked Winona if she was anything like the dark brooding teenage she often played on screen. She confessed to being a bit moody back in the day. Martin Landau compared working with Burton to working with the likes of Woody Allen or Hitchcock.

Now on to the film itself: I absolutely love the original short film, FRANKENWEENIE which starred Daniel Stern & Shelley Duval. You may also recall a cameo by a very young Sofia Coppola in a horrendous blonde wig. I’ve watched the short countless of times as well as Burton’s other films like BEETLEJUICE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, PEE WEE, ED WOOD, MARS ATTACKS, and the beloved NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. However, the last decade have seen Burton films that pale in comparison to his heyday. Since the abomination that was PLANET OF THE APES, we have seen a steady decline in Tim Burton’s work. Just this past May, I renounced him for the crimes committed against DARK SHADOWS.

I will now accept FRANKENWEENIE as an apology for the last twelve years. I had very high expectations for this movie as it would be pretty hard to fuck up your own film. I'm glad to see that Burton went back to his roots on this one. He recaptured the same magic he once conveyed with NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Burton once created a special world for anyone who felt like they didn’t belong. Since the day I saw Jack & Sally on the big screen as a young girl, I myself have tried to create my own Halloweentown, in my life & in my home. FRANKENWEENIE reminded me of the Tim Burton world I fell in love with so long ago.

This film pays homage to all classic Hammer/Universal horror and it does it well. Burton carefully chose the perfect actors to bring life to these delightful characters. Thank goodness he finally left Helena Bonham Carter & Johnny Depp (as much as I love him) out of a film! I had not realized the film was in 3D, but it never takes away from the story like most 3D films tend to do. Black and white was the perfect choice as well. I felt like it gave more perspective to the character of Sparky since dogs only see in black and white.

Obviously I knew Sparky gets hit by a car just like in the original, but when the scene approached, I still winced & teared up a bit. This film is not just about a boy and his dog. It’s about every animal lover out there. It speaks to everyone who’s best friend is a dog, cat, turtle, or even sea monkey. The film's message is that even when they leave us, our pets are still in our hearts. I can’t suggest this film enough, especially if you have children. FRANKENWEENIE is a must see for everyone!

Special thanks to CW & Austin American Statesman for drawing our names in the contest. Thanks to Chris P for escorting me & Spike to this glorious event. Thanks to Tim Burton for warming my cold, black heart once again. Special thanks to Alamo Drafthouse & Fantastic Fest for making a little girl's dream come true.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Killer Joe

It took me two viewings of KILLER JOE to finally get around to writing a review. If you recall, it was on my Most Anticipated Films of 2012 post. The wait was well worth it because it just might be the sleeper of the year. It’s definitely my favorite film of the year, but DJANGO UNCHAINED hasn’t been released yet.

I expected to be a bit abashed by William Friedkin’s latest endeavor. I did not expect to be blown away as I have. Friedkin is responsible for gracing the world with the greatest of horror films, THE EXORCIST. It’s true he’s had some duds (BUG & THE HUNTED), but he’s also had some major hits (THE FRENCH CONNECTION & TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA). I am here to tell you that Friedkin is back with a vengeance.

This film captures the true, ruthless, essence of violence that the movie DRIVE wished it could do. Let me just say that McConaughey looks a lot cooler in those ostrich boots & 10 gal hat than Hey Girl looks in that ridiculous scorpion jacket & racing gloves. It also uses the theme of a “foiled plan” a la Coen Brothers, but with a twist. KILLER JOE is also the first NC17 film I’ve seen since SHOWGIRLS (also starring Gina Gershon). NC17 means they did not skimp on the nudity or bloodshed; neither of which ever feels misplaced or exaggerated. There's more nudity in this film than SHAME.

The subtleties are what really make the film. All the little Texas innuendos just fell together so effortlessly. I loved it all, from the shitty Busch Beer & Oklahoma jokes to the Gravedigger monster truck race. I also love how Rev Horton Heat (hometown hero & legend) is playing during the strip club scene. Kudos to the set designer for throwing in an old 90s pin-up pic of JGL. What also made this film extraordinary is the wonderful ensemble cast: Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church, and of course Matthew McConaughey.

I had never given Emile Hirsch much thought until my friend Joe E. praised his acting a couple years ago. Joe even watched SPEED RACER in the theater! This role really showcased his talents and I am now a fan. I've been raving about Juno Temple since I saw her in Greg Araki's KABOOM. You may recognize her in TDKR as Selina Kyle's roommate. Temple is so enigmatic and enchanting! She's going to be the next Chloe Sevigny, just you wait and see. Everyone really nailed the accent, but Temple's North Texas drawl is quit the accomplishment for a resident Brit. Gershon is a legend in her own right. Always the clever tongue-in-cheek femme fatale. She really plays up her bad side in this role. Thomas Haden Church may be one of the most underrated actors of our time. He's been in a ton of films, but often suffers from John C Reilly syndrome. He's not terribly handsome, so he's always cast in supporting roles which is unfortunate. I think he really has the presence to be a lead actor and he proves that in KILLER JOE. Church has excelled at comedic roles as well as dramatic roles. Hollywood needs to wake up and realize what an incredible actor they have on their hands.

I have always had a soft spot for McConaughey as a result of his role in DAZED & CONFUSED. People here in Austin (where he resides) are not unconvinced he is the sole embodiment of David Wooderson. He's a proud Longhorn (often seen on the sidelines at football games) and he likes to smoke weed while playing the bongos naked in Tarrytown. Everyone else is "getting older" while he "stays the same age!" So it was always really difficult for me to take McConaughey seriously. With films like SAHARA, MAGIC MIKE, and THE WEDDING PLANNER to his name, I had never considered his acting ability until recently. With roles in THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TROPIC THUNDER, BERNIE, and KILLER JOE, McConaughey has really proven himself. He walks a fine line of playing a character and playing himself which is probably his goal. I really think the year belongs to McConaughey as opposed to JGL, Tom Hardy, or even Jeremy Renner. He is a true Texas treasure!

My favorite part of the film is when Killer Joe says,
"Do you want me to wear your face?"
It's such a chilling line, but also a nod to another native Texan, Leatherface. Currently, KILLER JOE is at the top of my favorites list and I cannot recommend you see it enough. When the credits rolled, Ross leaned over and said, "It's like they made a movie just for you." Yes they did.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I woke up this morning thinking about how I was going to see TDKR in a couple hours and that it would be a good day. Then I read the news and felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Throughout the day, the more I heard about the tragedy in Aurora, CO, the more anger & sadness I felt. The events of last night have stirred me more than any other similar event in the past; keep in mind I was in high school during Columbine. It resonates in me because for all intents & purpose, I could have been in that theater.

As a devout cinephile, I spend plenty of time (often by myself) in movie theaters. Just this week alone, I went to four different theaters to see a film. I spend more time in theaters than most people do in church or their local bar. You see for me, the theater is my sanctuary because film is my passion. There's nothing in this world I enjoy more than watching a film. The theater is my place to find peace and for some worthless piece of shit to contaminate that makes me utterly sick to my stomach. Most people go to the movies to escape. I go to the movies to connect, to connect with different ideas & emotions, to connect with art, and to share thoughts with people who have similar interests.

It's really belittling to say, "oh it's just a movie." No one that waits in line for a midnight screening is "just seeing a movie." These people spent nearly a year looking forward to this event. They purchased tickets months in advance and waited patiently in line for hours in anticipation. For someone to destroy that joy is just gut wrenching. Badass Digest pointed out that these victims are our kin. They are people like you & me who love going to movies. They are our community and need to be remembered & honored.

I don't want to give the piece of shit responsible for this senseless act any recognition. I don't care to know anything about him or why he did this. Absolutely no explanation is reason enough for destroying so many innocent lives. I won't stop going to movie theaters and neither should you. No one stopped going to school, malls, Luby's, or McDonalds after tragedy affected those places in the past. This vile piece of shit is NOT gonna take away what I love. He does not get that satisfaction.

It's cliched to talk about how precious life is, but we should always live like it is. Let this be a reminder to not take anything for granted.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I’m not going to call out SPOILER ALERT because there is nothing in this film the average fanboy/girl did not already know about (myself included). So I was fortunate enough to see THE DARK KNIGHT RISES two days prior to its release at a special screening at The Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. Special thanks to Chris P for hooking me up with a ticket. I have never seen a film in IMAX and it was truly a remarkable experience. I wanted to reach out and touch the screen; it was so close and encompassing. Over an hour of the film was specifically shot in IMAX. You never really noticed the scenes that weren’t IMAX which was amazing. The cinematography is just sensational! I really wanted to like this film and for the most part I do. I have a love hate relationship with Nolan, but I am interested to see what he does next. I made it a point going into this film to not judge it by continuity, but by the actual nature of the film. On the surface, it’s a really good film. There are some truly amazing actors (Oldman, Cotillard, Bale, and JGL), it’s visually stunning, and the story fairs well. Now to the meat of the matter: I don’t necessarily think this is a film strictly about Batman or his rumored demise. I think Nolan is trying desperately to make a statement about the socio-economic climate in the US which is an interesting concept coming from an English fellow. Keep in mind this film started shooting a little more than a year ago when the Occupy Movement really started gaining momentum. We had already seen the stock market crash (which is a huge plot in the film) and bank bailouts take place. In the film, the key phrase is, “there’s a storm coming.” All across the world, there really was a storm approaching. As much as this film highlights these events, it also misses the mark at times with dialogue that can be construed as a bit trite. So what happens when the 99% take back what’s there’s? According to Nolan, pure anarchy ensues. This is where I disagree; you cannot divide the world into two categories: good guy/bad guy. People are a lot more complex than this. Wherever your opinion stands on the Occupy Movement, there are a million other presumptions about it. Like Nolan’s assessment, they should all be taken with a grain of salt.
Batman was always my favorite superhero as a kid. I still think he’s the most important and powerful superhero. He isn’t a mutant, alien, lab rat, freak, or science experiment gone array. He’s a regular ass dude who by his own will becomes extraordinary. Obviously, regular ass dudes are not generally billionaires, but that’s a whole other story. All the same, Batman gave regular ass kids (like me) something to believe in: themselves. Anyone & everyone could be exceptional and that power only exists within you. I think Christian Bale really captures this theme. He does a phenomenal job of encompassing Batman’s complexity. In this storyline, Batman is supposed to be 55yrs old and retired. I guess adding a couple gray streaks to Bale’s hair are supposed to achieve this. My only complaint with this performance is the lovelorn pining he does throughout the trilogy. The real Batman would never let this weakness consume him. It’s lonely being a superhero, but that’s all part of the job.
I’m not going to rant about Bland Hathaway. Obviously, I was disappointed in this casting choice. She wasn’t as bad as I expected, but her breathy purr got a little annoying at times. I was also disappointed in the Juno Temple character (Holly Robinson) because it was completely misplaced and unnecessary. I love Juno Temple and really feel like she’s going to do big things soon, but this was definitely a waste of time for her. I also didn’t really feel the chemistry between Bland & Bale, not like with Keaton & Pfeiffer.
Marion Cotillard was great as Talia al Ghul. It was no surprise to me that the Miranda Tate character was really Talia; IMDB had already cast the child version of Talia who looked remarkably like Cotillard so that wasn’t too hard to figure out. In the comic book, Talia is also a very complex character, often times blurring the lines between hero & villain. Having grown up with the League of Assassins and a father like Ra’s al Ghul, she has an affinity for the criminal life. But, falling in love with Batman has pulled her in another direction. Later on we see Talia become the baby mama of Batman. We also see their son, Damien, become Red Robin.
I’m a little indifferent towards the Bane character, not to disregard Tom Hardy (he’s a wonderful actor). They really could have brought a little more savagery to the character. I realize the reason they chose not to was to keep a PG rating. We must remember that Bane is Batman’s mortal enemy. Their showdown could have been a lot fiercer; this is the character that literally breaks Batman! I think Bane is the most dangerous villain in the Batman universe following the Joker. My initial thought was that the fight scenes between Bane & Batman were a lot tamer than Rocky v. Drago/ Drago v. Apollo. I also wish there were subtitles because I couldn’t understand a fucking thing Bane said.
Some added touches I loved in the film include the Scarecrow cameo. Cillian Murphy did such a fantastic job in that role; it was great to see him back for a brief moment. Also, one of the orphan kids was supposed to be Tim Drake. Drake later becomes Robin as well in the comic book. Gary Oldman is great as always; he can do no wrong and neither can Commissioner Gordon. I was always a bigger fan of Michael Gough’s Alfred, but Michael Cain really got me this time. His climatic scene was probably the most moving thing in the entire film. Nolan always said he would never include Robin in his trilogy. Bale even said he wouldn’t do the movies if there was a Robin. Why is everyone so averse to Robin? Robin is an incredible character! I think it’s because Schumacher turned Robin into an irresponsible frat boy which couldn’t be further from the truth. I really wanted Robin in this film because he’s a pivotal part of the story. Initially, Batman enlists Azrael to take over following his near fatal battle with Bane. This causes a huge rift between the dynamic duo. Robin resents Batman for overlooking him. What Robin doesn’t realize is that Batman only wanted to protect Robin and deter him from taking on Bane himself. Even before I knew JGL was cast in the film, I thought he’d make a great Robin. Nolan quickly dispelled that rumor. Then I saw the very first trailer released with the football scene. The message boards pointed out that a particular fan sign in the stadium spelling out R-O-G-U-E-S (the fictional Gotham City football team), the "R" just happened to be in the same font as the Robin comic book. Sometimes such conspiracy theories turn out to be true. The more I thought about it, the more I realized JGL had to be Robin! The scene where he reveals his “real” name is none too subtle. He should have used one of the other aliases like Jason Todd, but then no one would have known who that is.
I still think the Burton Batman films are the best. Burton brought the darkness back to the bat. Prior to this, Batman was very kitschy (not to disrespect Adam West). Even Caesar Romero’s Joker was a little more comical than and nowhere near as menacing as Nicholson. Nicholson really brought out the sinister side of the Joker. And if you read the comic books, the Joker has done a lot more fucked up things than shove a pencil through some guy’s head. I’ve said before that I do not appreciate Ledger’s performance so I won’t get into it again. It’s just so hard to condense years (literally) worth of story into one film which is why TDKR is almost 3 hrs long. Keep in mind that Nolan’s trilogy is basically the Cliffs Notes to the Knightfall & No Man’s Land storyline. I’ve read some of the negative reviews and I am not really surprised. There are only two kinds of people who watch this film: the ones who read comic books & the ones who do not. Remember that Nolan wanted to make a film for both audiences so it is impossible to make everyone happy. Overall, TDKR is an enjoyable film. It may not be totally accurate, but nothing is without flaws (except Tarantino). Yes, they leave the door open for someone else to pick up the franchise but what do you expect? Nolan did what he could with what he had. Would you prefer to have Zack Snyder or Brett Ratner direct? Or god forbid another Schumacher train wreck! This trilogy showed me that it’s possible to separate yourself from a film and still have fun watching it. If anything, TDKR made me want to go back and buy all the seasons of the Animated Series from the early 90s. I’m certain this trilogy will inspire a whole new generation of Batman fans just like the Burton ones did for me. My only hope is that it also inspires people to dive into the rich history of Batman through the comic books. After all, everyone needs something to believe in.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Raisin Arizona

Recently, I embarked on a road trip to the great state of Arizona. Armed with my SPF 30 moisturizer and documents proving I am a US citizen, we headed west. Ross’ family lives in Tucson, so we usually try to visit once a year. The sad truth is that it’s not that much hotter in AZ than it is in TX. It rained a few days when we got it which was absolutely lovely. Desert rain is truly enchanting. Of course we stopped at The Thing to pick up my all time favorite pistachio nuts. To my surprise, I got a call from Visa Fraud Protection asking if I was really buying $40 worth of nuts in New Mexico. I appreciate them looking out for me, but I do not appreciate being judged.
This also marked Spike’s first major road trip. Until recently, he had only traveled to South Texas and back. Spike was such a well behaved pooch. Poor Spike, he was incredibly confused by the desert terrain. He couldn’t find a patch of grass to poop on and had no idea what was going on with the gravel. He was also terrified of the doggie door at his grandparent’s house. He had a great time playing with his cousins.
We visited a couple comic book shops (none of which compare to Austin Books), antique malls, and of course Eegee’s where I indulged in the legendary teagee & ranch fries. At one particular antique mall, there was an entire booth devoted to religious artifacts. I’m pretty fascinated by religious memorabilia to begin with so imagine my delight when I set eyes of this giant bust of Pope John Paul II. We had a lovely Fourth of July with our dear friends Kevin & Daniara. They always have unbelievably delicious vegan treats. Maybe I can finally convince them to move to Austin so we can brunch it up and hunt for corgis on a regular basis.
I also visited The Loft Cinema which is Tucson’s answer to The Alamo Drafthouse. There are doing this summer series of “movie bad girls” with a bunch of classic films starring Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Ann-Margaret. We got to see STRAIT-JACKET which was really fun. I felt a bit of sadness because The Loft reminded me of how the Alamo used to be in the old days on 4th & Colorado St. Before everyone was talking about the Magnited States, it was our own little secret here in Austin. Back when we had the QT Fest, Fulci Fest, and Spike & Mike. A time before a bucket of Lone Star cost $21.50 and a couple potato skins cost $9. I’ve always loved and supported the Alamo, but lately I feel like our relationship has become severely strained. In recent months, they raised ticket prices and food/beverage prices. At The Loft, you can still get a bag of popcorn for $3 and if you’re a member, it’s always free. I read a lot more about the membership benefits to The Loft. The lowest tier is $50 a year and you get special pricing, occasional free tickets, and ALWAYS free popcorn! I often spend $50 on two trips to the Alamo. How come The Alamo never did anything like this? Because they’re too busy being greedy capitalists with their bourgeois priority seating. Guess what Alamo? There’s no priority seating at The Loft! Everyone is an equal, there’s no silly class distinction! Not to sound like a total ingrate, the Alamo is truly an amazing place. And now with their well known reputation, it has afforded them the ability to draw in bigger events and special guests which I appreciate. I just sometimes wish it was back to being my little theater that catered to true film fans. I really feel like they’re too focused on appealing to fans on a wider scale, like people who see MAGIC MIKE or ONE FOR THE MONEY. The old Alamo would have never screened something like THAT’S MY BOY, but they did at the Ritz. I’m just glad that places like The Loft exist around the country. The world needs a little variety.
We also spent a day in Phoenix. We had some truly amazing Mexican food at a place called La Condesa. They had a delectable salsa bar that had about fourteen different salsas ranging from pecan salsa to strawberry salsa. Every one that I tried was tasty. We also got to visit Lulubell Toy Bodega in Tempe. They have a lot of Japanese Kaiju toys. This place is a mecca for serious vinyl toy collectors. I was only hoping to see their infamous pug Winston, but apparently he was off work that day. The highlight of my trip was visiting Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm. It's right off the highway between Tucson and Phoenix. They had donkeys, deer, goats, ostrich, ducks, and lorikeets that you can all feed. Ross got bit by a donkey and one of the ostrich (barps) almost took off my pinkie finger. All the animals are super cute and fun, but be careful not to get bit. I told Ross to help me get this lorikeet off my head before he pooped on me and he just said, "wait let me take a picture first." Thanks a lot Turkey.
I always make a point to stop by Bookmans in Tucson. They have several stores around AZ and are the equivalent of Half Priced Books in TX. I think Bookmans is a bit more reasonably priced and they have a wider selection of other media. I picked up three books for $8 a piece which probably would have cost $12-14 each at Half Priced. Their selection also hasn’t been picked over by Hyde Park hipsters looking to decorate their brand new IKEA shelving. The best pick of the week for me was this one of a kind Justin Timberlake action figure (doll) from the “Bye Bye Bye” era.
We really had a lovely time in AZ as always. It really is nice to get away sometimes, but it’s even nicer to be home.