Friday, November 22, 2013

Destination Denver: Unquestionable King of the West

This month on the Hypursuit blog we wanted to do a large feature on the city of Denver as a whole, now that I have been here about exactly three months. When talking to a lot of our cohorts, we realized that some things well worth mentioning were left out, but we tried our hardest! Living here is always diverse and interesting, and the backdrop of the mountains makes it even more thrilling and beautiful. Landmarks such as the Bluebird Theatre are always going to be some of the best in the nation, and restaurants like Pete's Kitchen will be there to give Denver residents their fix of killer diner fare.

I had a real blast taking the pictures for the article on a perfectly sunny day, in the middle of and south of downtown. Club Milk will always be one of my favorites, as are the dj's that spin there. We are happy at Hypursuit that it seems everyone was really waiting for a variety piece, right before the holidays. There are so many things to sample, see, and hear in this city that no one will ever be disappointing. We know that we were not able to touch on the ski resorts much and all the people that brings into the state, but are definitely thinking about writing about the resorts in the near future. Thanks everyone we interviewed and wrote about for this great piece on the Mile High City!

Monday, September 16, 2013

East Coast Inspired Succulence in Colorado; The Bagel Bakery

Over the last year, I'm proud to say that I have become just a bit more of a foodie. Well, I'm trying anyway. Finally learning about French Cusine, trying more things like ultimate vegan eats, and appreciating the beauty of things made from scratch have been among my small strides. In Providence, Rhode Island, I remember how incredible the Portuguese Sweet Bread was, and how the dough in the bagels was not as airy and tasteless back East, it was so much better layered and delicious. When you were able to get them fresh, it was a real ritual, not just a stop to chomp something down quickly during the day.

Coming to Denver the last month, I remembered all of the usual chains in the city, and trust me, a lot of them are great. But right off of Colorado and 128th, I found The Bagel Bakery, wandered on in and ordered an "everything" bagel with plain cream cheese. I was immediately impressed, and the abundance of poppy goodness and pristine baking rang through. With a nice decor inside of black tables and maroon color, I stayed around and talked to the owner about his love of East Coast flavor and bringing it to the Rockies. Wishing I would have saved more room for full scale lunch offerings, I immediately coveted the New York: Pastrami, Provolone cheese, spicy mustard and lettuce on a bagel, panini, or wrap with kettle chips.

You can also have offerings like the Italian, (salami, ham, provolone, pepperoni, cheese and Italian Dressing) or the delicious sounding Madison (turkey, avocado, Swiss cheese, Cusabi mayonnaise, and lettuce). To chase it all down wonderfully, you can get coffee or cocoa, Chai tea, latte, Americano, cappuccino, or fountain drinks. For the office, home happenings, or anyone you want to express appreciation to, you can obtain a half dozen, dozen bagels, Muffin platter, or even a fruit tray to perk everyone up from burnout in their cubicles or brighten up the breakroom.

Getting caught up in the cupcake craze is also a sugary sweet way to perk you up while running errands. Here at the Bagel Bakery there are greats like Banana Split, lemon, margarita, snickerdoodle, cookies and cream, champagne, strawberry and vanilla. For filling you can sample from Bavarian cream, blueberry, Nutella, lemon, marshmallow, and much more. You can even snag up a giant cupcake that serves 12-15, or go by the individual and by the dozen. Don't forget there are cakes here for any occasion as well, in this prime and distinctive neighborhood destination for the bagel connoisseur. Reading greats like Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" left me appreciating the goodness of items baked from scratch, prep time, and making running a food business your labor of love. So get on out there to explore the flavors for yourself, or check out their offerings on the website
HERE.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Futuristic ride through "Oblivion"; A Drone Repairman's Journey

Upon putting the newly released DVD "Oblivion" onto the big screen, a few true sci fi aficionados had warned me that it just didn't live up. I believed them, but was curious; seeing things through different eyes is sometimes crucial, and due to Indian Summer for weather, some good happenings, and the like; I was just not in the mood to pan anything unless it was as one dimensional and fake as could be. Another one of my friend's complaints were all centered around Tom Cruise as Jack Harper; yes, he has been demonized as a bit weird to say the least lately; but I buckled in and enjoyed the ride.

Jack is a repairman of sorts who tends to drones in an Earth that (Surprise!) has been brutally scavenged and raped of its resources. His romantic interest and partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) lives with him in an incredibly elevated futuristic home, wherein they are getting ready to depart Earth. The alien force Earth has been battling for the last 60 years have blown up the moon, and the rest of the populace has departed to Jupiter. In the beginning we are shown Jack seeing a woman in a crowded New York street (Olga Kurylenko), and we are guaranteed she will reappear.

Being a "Blade Runner" and "Star Wars" fan of course, I immediately loved the "cloud house" that the two live in and is their home base for patrolling the Earth. It simply didn't matter to me if it was kind of cliche, the modeling and backgrounds were intense, and done with great attention to detail. Jack flies through some of the last greenery left on the planet, and these sequences are wonderful as well. Every movie that depicts the future has it's own tone of white noise and sterility; all of the futuristic gadgets abound, but the main characters still battle themselves. "Oblivion" is no different; and when the woman Julia from New York comes back, we are shown that is in indeed Jack's wife, and he had his memory erased.

All this sounds like things that have been done in the movies before, and yes, they have. The formula has something special, and in this critic's opinion, if you don't enjoy Tom Cruise, it doesn't matter. We are shown a location in the woods that is a sanctuary, where none of us would want to leave. Yes, there are some throwbacks to "2001 A Space Odyssey" and some other familiar material. With a bit less of a "what if " ending and the first half being the stronger half; I have to give this one a thumbs up. Two nights before I had watched a film about bounty hunters in the South that was pure drivel; with no depth and nothing but killings and horrible dialogue.

"Oblivion" holds up for a fun big screen viewing, and takes from the older school of movie making. Is it perfect? no. But in times that are leaving us desperate, searching for spiritual salvation, and worried about the future, tales of search and rescue with some nice landscapes thrown in are choice. Don't think too much, don't draw too many parallels,and remember all the cool stuff you had like spaceship models. It's all here for the viewing, and is a great new release on blu-ray for the fall.












Friday, August 30, 2013

Surf Art by Jesse Miller; Endless Waves Through His Eyes

Since I have a passion for the ocean, I'm easily won over by surf art, and people who can paint. I can write, but my paintings look worse than a preschooler's. So today when
I was looking for my next feature, I ran across Jesse Miller's portfolio, and immediately deemed it WAY above average. The first picture I really fell in love with was "woodies" on the second row of the print page. It's a spectacular view of three surf cars from the rear with some beautiful orange Hawaiian flowers in the foreground.

The "Kneepaddle" print has an awesome vision of the ocean; it is a bit calm and rippled, even though the surfer is going over one wave, in preparation to turn around and surf the next. The hues of blue are immaculate, and these have the spirit of frontside carves, wall drops and Aloha all over them. "Casa" and "Waimea Light" are other treats on canvas, with a view of a pier and very dark dawn or dusk on Waimea. The "8A" painting is still a killer view of one that you may not think would be as nice as the ocean; from the highway. But it is absolutely killer, because you are exiting to the North Shore with some trademark Hawaiian mountains in the background.

Born in San Diego, Jesse was drawn to Brigham Young in Hawaii immediately because of his love for the ocean. Towards the end of school, he had progressed immensely and was winning awards in collegiate displays and exhibits. After school he got on as a lifeguard back on the mainland at La Jolla and Blacks Beaches; He has paintings in galleries in San Diego and has taught many aspiring others in watercolor and beyond. If you live by the ocean, or are landlocked like the rest of us and need a reminder of how pristine and moving it really is; these are some high up on the excellence scale. To check out his work in detail or contact him, click:
Here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Milk: Denver's Killer Kubrick -Inspired Alternative Club

Dj Roland at the helm
My first outing being back to Denver was Milk, the winner of Westword's "Best retro/goth" award in 2011. DJ Roland and Slave 1 were both performing that night. I heard more of Roland in the first room, but DJ Slave 1 sure does love her craft, and patrons really flocked to her to compliment her. A true haven of the underground; this is not for the frat crowd or young executives trying to impress others. Think "The Crow", Jesus and Mary Chain, Bauhaus, Skinny Puppy, and the like. Perfect for indulging in rainy night culture, latex fashion, and the darkly complex but beautiful people.

My hosts Beau Scott and Curtis Zito introduced me to all the bartenders and I met DJ Talcum X, some restaurant proprietors and Tattoo shop owners. Chatting with folks who were inked up to the nines and fully immersed in the music, we agreed that Denver had a huge "boomerang culture", one that would pull people back such as myself after being gone for awhile. Curtis and Beau had boasted so highly of the club because of its multiple room offerings, real underground vibe, and true peek it offers of a scene some other cities have mistakenly left behind for Bieber and the more mainstream sheep offerings.

Spinning + looking stunning; DJ Slave 1
Open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9pm till 2am, this club is a jewel in a city that has been at the top of the utterly hip and music scenesters list for the last decade. At 1037 Broadway, the first room has throwbacks in it's decor to "Clockwork Orange", enough to make any serious artist or critic pay attention. Dark, unique, and complex, there are luxurious seating areas scattered about; a nice plus. A lot of alternative clubs in the beginning were just dark holes that were fun, but not comfortable.

As far as fun and comfort, Milk definitely has both, and will always be at the top of this critic's list. So bust out that Cure or Joy Division cd you have been neglecting, and sample it for yourself. Embracing gothic culture and the individuals that crossed the line of avant garde years ago is art itself, not just opening some cookie cutter joint for profit. Bravo to the owners of Milk, and I'll be digging up some more black shirts and entering gleefully through the alley again soon.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ultra Cool Items: Dinosaur Jr Coffee table book

J Mascis plays a Jazzmaster among others and is very, very, very loud. When I saw Dinosaur Jr for the second time ever a while back, it was so deafening it hurt. Nonetheless, the recorded product is always choice, and believe it or not; has some quiet moments. This November, the book Dinosaur Jr. By Dinosaur Jr. will be released, with two different editions. There's even an extra tour diary and many behind the scenes photos.

In the current climate, some bands could release a book like this and no one would care. I guarantee that a lot of people will care about this one; they are a band with a one of a kind sound. Saying they are influenced by acts like Neil Young is true but doesn't even scratch the surface; There are tons of good riffs and sounds here. From "Green Mind" to "Farm", this band formed in 1984 had one of the most distinct sounds ever created. Large doses of feedback, gain, and distortion will definitely morph into tons of great coffee table pictures to look at.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Best of Denver Neighborhood Icon: City O City; Vegetarian Perfection

If the cosmopolitan city in question you're talking about is Denver, honors such as "Best Bike Friendly Business" and "Best Vegetarian" are like being compared to Scorsese or Tarantino in the film realm. The Watercourse Restaurant was named for both of these, and City O City, a sister venue from the same creators, has snapped up other valuable titles as well. "Best Neighborhood Bar" from 5280 and "Best Waffles" from Westword again last year.

Nestled at the top of Capitol Hill on the pleasantly urban stretch of 13th Street, City O City offers up vegetarian goodies like Chilaquiles, Sardou, Biscuits and Gravy, Hueveos Rancheros, and fruit with granola. On the lunchier side of things, there are delicious Vermicelli, The "El Hefe", a burger with mushrooms, egg and hot sauce; BBQ'd Tofu, and of course wonderful Mac N Cheese.

You can obtain gluten free Ho-Ho's, cakes and pies, pastries, and this gem in the Mile High gateway has an out of this world cocktail list. Happy Hour is from 2-6 PM daily, with an impressive Gin and Tequila stash as well. One of their "City Infusions" which really interests me is the Bourbon with fennel, apple, and clove; something I would love to sip while the first snow comes, and the smell of the tofu and scrambles waft out from the kitchen.

Curtis Zito is an old friend of mine who is a professor of sorts regarding Capitol Hill and dining/happy hour knowledge, and this establishment is at the absolute top of his list. As a longtime Watercourse customer myself, I would have to recommend that all customers take the professor's orders here. To quit daydreaming about all the goodies and check out how to get here and do it pronto, just visit their website: Here.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Folks up in arms for "Breaking Bad" final season

Image courtesy of AMC, Inc.
In a few days, everyone gets to take the final ride with Walt and the clan as they most likely descend into sheer depravity. One of the best shows ever penned for TV, period; "Breaking Bad" is the story of a man with cancer who decides to become a meth cook and eventual cartel pawn. Many people think it's the best thing they have ever seen, and watching Walt and Jessee negotiate, scramble, and duck their way through what happens to them is definitely intense. The New Mexico setting as a backdrop, supporting roles and Walt's brother in Law Hank's cat and mouse game are what set this apart from the usual prime time imitation.

When watching a series like this, we all wonder how hard it would be to manage a life with so many secrets. Some of us have had the duality of lying to a few people or cheating on one; but Walt finds himself in so deep that it keeps folks on the edge of their seat in a style that is standalone and distinguished.

Creating the perfect protagonist that many don't ever want to see fail, AMC has concocted a character that is so fleeting and fringe, we almost forget about the dangers of meth.... until we watch Jessee. Mike's character was explored in great detail last season, and I was personally sad to see him go. To see a full length article I did for Hypursuit Blog earlier this year, just click:

Here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Place Beyond The Pines" hits DVD/Blu-Ray this Week

"The Place Beyond The Pines" was for the most part my favorite movie so far this year. All though it is a travesty I have not yet seen the newest "Star Trek" installment and that could be tops for me as well, "Pines" releases on DVD today. Most Trailers lead you into believing that it is just a tale of cops and robbers, but the mysteries of upstate New York, Gosling's desperation to provide for his child, and the generational span of threefold really unwinds nicely.

Ray Liotta, known widely for "Goodfellas", a true masterpiece, is great here as another rural cop on the take. Some perfectly spun and delicate things happen here when they take Gosling's character out one night to search a house; and Bradley Cooper's portrayal of a cop who has to make a choice with his back against the wall really did surpass my expectations. "The Hangover" franchise was very successful, but the character he emulated here was a bit more like a conservative version of his role in "Alias".

With birthright issues, crime, drugs, and the things that can happen years after an occurrence of tragedy, this movie shines in a lot of ways. Gosling's donning of Metallica shirts and prowess as a getaway driver give this just a bit different of tone than the usual bank robbery yarn. There have been a few films that really do make you wonder what goes through your mind when you jump on the counter with a handgun and demand money, and this one gives a few different angles.

In an age where plastic films and remakes will soon become more commonplace after more flops like "The Lone Ranger", tales like this will be welcome for years by critics. There is a certain element with certain combinations of casts that will always win over many diehards, and watching this one unravel really is certain to do so. Sometimes just existing as a family unit and tending to your demons is hard work; and when you throw in some dirt bike skills and a location not filmed in frequently; you can hit the jackpot.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hot Filmmaker's Topic: the Sony Handycam Full HD 3d Camcorder

Even though many people argue about the future of 3D and the preferences of Indie filmmakers differ, this jewel by the main innovator Sony gives you a massive amount of goodies for the price. There is the Optical Steady Shot image stabilization, and you can view the 3d footage without glasses. With two Full HD sensors, it makes the 3D shooting experience much more layered, and the 2D just as clear and dreamy as ever. Even if your outdoor setting is at the peak hours of brightness, the LCD has glare reduction that will still give you an accurate means of quality controlling what you just shot.

You can get immaculately blur-free footage with this camcorder, and the 3-way shake cancelling gives you optimal sharp results even if you are cruising at warp speed. Well; maybe not warp speed, but you get the idea. A 17x extended zoom would be amazing at locations like the ocean or a cityscape from a distance. I have not myself been able to play with this camera, but can only imagine the possibilities when put in the hands of all the creative talent out there today.

Supposedly the glasses free LCD is better on Fuji models, but as someone that worked in a major broadcast center; I really always stood by the Sony brand. Whatever your preference, there are so many innovations out there right now that the future will have a lot of changes. For quick still images, the camera is 20 mp. Let's hope now that every good film in progress won't have to have a Kickstarter campaign just to get funding, what I believe is a sad new norm in the industry due to risk level. to view this model, click:
 here

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Mud"; When you can't find Paradise, there is only Crawfish and Unrest

"You can't trust love; it will up and run out on you". That is what the main character Ellis is told in this film by his father, who is getting ready to go through a divorce. It takes a lot for me to say a movie is perfect, and I swear that someday soon some flick will get one or two stars from me. But this is where my readers and film connoisseurs get their dinner and dessert to boot.

Director Jeff Nichols said that he wanted to bottle the excitement and pain of being a teenager and as far back as the 1990's; had envisioned Matthew McCaunoghey as an actor in it. Paying homage to the lifestyle; river culture, and scenery of Arkansas, this is the biggest production ever shot in the state.

Tye Sheridan as Ellis and Jacob Lofland as his adolescent sidekick Neckbone are making their way down the Mississippi when they find a boat that is high up in the tree from floods of the past. They poke around inside and find that a fugitive (McConaughey's character Mud) is hiding inside. Both are coming of age early because of the roughneck culture of the area; yet still hanging on to their childhood in different ways. The parallels to classics like "Stand by Me" are abundant; but not overused or earmarked too much. We are shown a man who has killed someone out of his love for a woman, and is marooned until some form of help arrives.

As any teenager would have to ponder, the two boys make a decision to trust Mud. They know that he is inherently dangerous, but they immediately think that he is not a threat to them. So many good things happen here; the usual throwback to Mark Twain doesn't even scratch the surface. You can almost smell the river catch and hear the old Ford trucks try to start up in the morning.

These characters are something concocted even deeper than the first layer of Americana; deep in the creekbanks and Piggly Wiggly stores of the south. This America is not as concerned with texting and Iphones (yet), and family roots are so troubled and encompassing that they could shift a home's foundation. The fixation with the river, old motors, salvaged parts, and first pangs of teenage love even bring to mind the way the first "Karate Kid" movie spins its plot.

Seeing Joe Don Baker cast as the leader of the ring that wants Mud dead is perfect, as is Sam Shephard in the role of a neighbor across the river who may or may not do something for Mud. About 45 minutes into the film we are shown more sunrises, more tension, small dirty hotel rooms, and Reese Witherspoon's character of Juniper is amazingly taut and fitting for the storyline.

As more and more happens, you are not lost in the script, or production values. Yes, the end is a bit different and feels like it had a different director's touch. It seems that pictures like "No Country For Old Men" are inspiration here for themes like desolation and loner issues. When a movie closely examines not only the plot at hand, but the whole landscape it takes place in with painstaking effort, it has to be selected by me as a triumph.

The vision of a class that could never find paradise but can only find unrest and crawfish; is impeccable. I went in preparing to be engrossed and went far beyond. If you have experienced teenage love, divorce, or being on the lamb, this film will speak to you. All I can say is "Bravo" and let the sentiment wash over you; we all have abandoned boats or salvaged motors dancing around in our subconscious somewhere.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Low and Clear" The Bonding power of Brooks, Barbs, and Bull Trout

In this heavyfooted, soaring documentary about two different men who take a journey to Canada, Nothing is left guarded; and this is the stuff documentary dreams are made of. We are shown JT Van Zandt, delicately gliding out to the Gulf one morning, amidst a few palms and orange sunrise. He tells us that there is no way to hide the personalities that come out when fishing, in a quiet early morning honesty with an almost dreamlike surrounding.

When asked to be privileged enough to pre-screen this before release, I gladly excepted with the utterly wrong notion that it was a documentary about fly fishing. I knew I would not be bored, as I like the outdoors, but I simply do not love them as much as some people. Doesn't matter. Break down all your preconceived notions and buckle up for a ride with two different people who met in the mountains of Colorado. JT first tells us in the Gulf that first morning that "It's as if you are seeing a beautiful woman, you don't have the ability to do anything except what naturally comes in the situation" while fishing.

The first time we are shown Alex known as "Xenie" in the film, he is swearing profusely at the steep winds and inability to do things exactly his way during a quick cast of the line. He is a timber man, an ultimate Paul Bunyan; who hauls wood around the mountains and has a passion for fishing maybe unmatched by anyone alive. He keeps meticulous records, and has tens of thousands of photographs of catches. I thought of the 1970's novel "Sometimes a Great Notion" about Hank Stamper, the logging man of the Pacific Northwest.

Immediately recognizing that Xenie's temper is absolutely what makes him a good fisherman, JT makes a few phone calls and organizes a trip to Canada with his nearly long lost pal, who lives on his own terms while JT is very caught up on the phone, in a marina rental/refurbishing type of business. Even though he is close to the water, JT feels as if his fishing has been neglected, and the two set off to Canada to do what they do best.

As the two start to clash and still embrace what they love with the anguish of any fine artist or author, one of the top three moments in film of the last year occurs. Xenie makes his first catch of the trip, kneels in the water and proclaims, "I'm healed!!!" and giggles and nearly cries with glee. The rushing water, snow capped peaks, and freshness of it all takes you right along with them, feeling your boots a little wet and the different lures in your flannel pocket.

A pristine craft produced by Kahlil Hudson from Alaska; someone who has Discovery Channel notches on his belt, this really begins to soar about 20 minutes in. We are told that the mountain men who made America don't get much respect anymore, and about the lost culture of the respect of land. Living in Colorado for seven years myself, I saw some of the familiar peaks and valleys off of I-70 that I had known and wandered in. These catapulted me into a heap of questions needing metaphysical and spiritual answers in my college days.

A profile of how the most peaceful valley can breed angst, I am amazed at the perfection in this story. "Film lite" or watered down fluff has a certain potential for profit these days. And when you give people something gritty that is not film lite, like "Kids" amongst other films showed us in the 90's, we true connoisseurs chew it slowly and value it's integrity. "Low and Clear" is a homage to the stress of a relationship, the beauty of America, and the sorcery of fine craft.

We all need healing in these times of near feudalism and strife, and here we are given a sliver. Hopefully convincing cubicle dwellers, students, and stressed out people everywhere to don hiking boots and get out into the wild, "Low and Clear" shines immensely, an achievement of the most exciting caliber.

Friday, July 26, 2013

"The Beach"; not the usual tourist trail


Danny Boyle started something special as his forte when He put out "Trainspotting", a quirky, foot tapping humor that he then coats over as a director with rich visuals. "The Beach" is a tale of a forbidden island in Thailand and the consequences of trying to share it with others. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Richard, a college age American who is looking for something different, and starts out in Bangkok.

Right in the beginning we see one of director Boyle's touches, credits that illuminate a bit like the street lights of Bangkok. Many film viewers with myself included thought from the previews that this was going to be some sort of "Blue Lagoon" movie, all romance and just plain lame. Well, there is some romance, but what Boyle captures well is the spirit of traveling in a place like Asia. Years later in "Slumdog Millionare" we see him overlay the same rich tint to the nation of India, a more developed, choreographed film.

Even though parts of this movie are way overacted by DiCaprio and the rest of the bunch, the real treats here are the visuals. With the clear water of the paradise island and the journey, special care is taken to inject a sense of ambience into the movie. There are scenes of outer space, stars, and reefs under clear water that are very rich, and the idea is to make you feel as if you came out of a loud dance club and into this paradise. It is not old school cinema by any means, but it's ample.

Richard meets Francois (Virginie Ledoyen) and her French boyfriend (Guillaumme Canet) while in Bangkok and convinces them that a map he has acquired from a fellow traveler named Daffy (Robert Carlyle) is where they need to go, a promised land of blue waters and plentiful marijuana crop. Daffy is played by the same actor who was Bigby in "Trainspotting", crazily throwing a glass of the deck in a pub in that film, injuring a woman and laughing. After talking the couple into coming with him, they have to swim across a break to the island, and immediately encounter hostile marijuana farmers there.

Richard's biggest mistake is giving some surfers on the mainland of Thailand a copy of the map to the island, and they finally show up. They are killed brutally by the marijuana farmers who have made the rest of them promise to never tell anyone else where the island is. I won't spoil the rest, but just before this is where the movie gets slightly worse. It is very flawed, and in no way a masterpiece.

The best real purpose of it is watching for the visuals and exotic locale of Thailand. The over acting comes in the forms of yelling, high fives, and some weird communal activities on the island. But the first half is fun watching them get there and learn to survive. I have a soft spot for this movie, and it is definitely not for everyone. Some of my favorite places are remote parts of Hawaii and so I pop it in when I am craving to get somewhere warm.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Slave Surfwear; Kauai's Hawaiian clothing legend

Dave the Slave is a guy that coined that name by working so hard on tile and stone contracting, making sure that he could take one awesome surf trip every year. One year that trip was in Nicaragua, and he sent a picture of him shredding there back home. After his buddy wrote "slave" as a funny caption on the return email, the idea for a whole product line festered quickly in his brain.

There are plenty of surf entities and lifestyle brands these days that are a dime a dozen, but this is not one of them. To get a brand to stick out, the graphics or drawings they stem from have to be original. A circle with some type thrown in won't do; something truly representative of the spirit of the surf and the pristine feel of the entire island is needed. These designs make you think of the islands, and all the extreme sports that are plausible in paradise.

Too see their list of apparel and story, click
Here. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Anthony Bourdain Goes Deeper then Ever Before: Congo

I had been told that the season finale for Anthony Bourdain's new "Parts Unknown" show was probably the best one ever done. Going through an immense personal crisis in my life, I avoided it for a few weeks; even though I knew the other critics were probably right. Even though it is one of my favorite shows, I wrongly thought that he would break bread with some tribes in the bush, and maybe have a few difficulties along the way, like some little river cruise. When the night finally came to watch, I gave it my attention.

The first thing that I did not realize was just how in ruins almost the entire place is. Occupied by Leopold of Belgium and rid of literally hundreds of thousands of it's inhabitants, so much of what used to be there is in farther abyss than we could even perceive in our country. You really have to imagine the most ruined destination you have been through with grass growing all over and just a few old rails and concrete blocks sticking out. Mile after mile.

Anthony points out well here that the land is rich in resources, but has been mismanaged to it's utter breaking point and basically left to rot like a carcass. Flying out of an airport in a very old prop plane that used to be for royalty, they are roughing it way, way more than even the Amazon. This is truly no man's land, and a gift of a bracelet from the 1930's is a highlight of the show. There are parallels here to the Libya episode, but here in the Congo, everything has done happened, left, and there is not even a caboose to watch go away in the distance after you have been ran over. There is just not much left but struggle.

Speaking of cabooses, It is amazing that there are proud people in the Congo that work on failed old railroads and also a library full of moldy volumes. Not being paid at all for God knows how long, they still show up. To see this up close in real life was probably a shock, we know Anthony has seen poverty before, but... this is a desperation of a very pillaged land. From a production standpoint, there are probably times during this episode where the shooting was simple; but most likely not. Libya looked difficult at times too; but this area most likely took the cake.

I think the reason why this was such a grand finale was they way in which Anthony encountered chaos and turbulence. He knew he always wanted to go here, and also knew that when he did it was deemed to be a bit hellish, as the "Heart of Darkness" references insist. And while finally on a boat going down the river, cooking appeared very, very difficult. Most of us here in the states would have given up. In the morning the guide takes some shots of hard liquor, probably a very rough roadie's start when you already are maybe rationing your water.

I had went back to visit the Boston episode of Bourdain and loved it just as much, for the pub culture and commentary. During "The Layover" when he goes to Montreal, there is some incredibly fine dining shown and his usual engaging excellent style. But I think he was really taken aback by this location, beyond primitive; basically destroyed. He is starting to obviously miss his family and things are getting more raw. This Congo episode is really a must see, and sooner the better.

A great one to watch after this would be an older show where he goes back to work a shift in the busy restaurant he got his start in; traveling the globe like he does now did not come overnight, or easily. Knowing everything foodie and beginning to know everything culturally, he will be seen as an authority on globe trotting for a long, long time. He has fallen in love with everything from Venice to Vietnam; and wears his heart on his sleeve for the duration.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Skater Quick Profile: Natas Kaupas

Image copyright Santa Cruz, inc.
Natas was a skateboarder that was truly ahead of his time; he was one of the most innovative street skaters of the 1980's, and far beyond. Doing amazing tricks on curbs, spinning on fire hydrants, and maybe the first to do wallrides, banging yourself harshly against a vertical wall with no ramp or transition to ease you in. It is said that he had one of the first attempts to do a railslide down a handrail at a contest in Oceanside, and later perfected stand up grinds down handrails.

He had a certain fluidity and prowess that was the opposite of a deep end pool rider or vert skater, but came up on the scene at a time when streetskating was making major waves. in 1986, there were many great street contests in California, Atlanta, and the rest of the US, and things like launch ramps and trashed old cars were made into gnarly obstacles.

People like Natas, Steve Rocco, and Julien Stranger really made a big name for themselves, as kids nationwide started to realize they could skate whatever obstacle they had handy, especially curbs. "Wheels of Fire" and "Streets on Fire" were great Santa Cruz videos that really highlighted his ability to do shove its, no complys, wall rides, and many, many more tricks on the streets.

Catching any of the clips of him available on YouTube and elsewhere will show you that back in the day when street masters were born, they controlled the board under their feet like no one had ever achieved before. The setting of Santa Monica, Venice and elsewhere with long curbs close to the beach are still some of the funnest to watch videos of skateboarding ever; where technical tricks were starting to blend quickly with the basic fundamentals of skating.

Friday, July 19, 2013

"The Mosquito Coast"; Harrison as an inventor gone awry

Far from the epic adventure and thrills of the Indiana Jones franchise, a picture came out in 1986 that was under the radar for quite some time. "The Mosquito Coast" was a story of an inventor named Allie who takes his family to the lush foreign jungle, to escape consumerism and the capitalist structure of the states. Supposedly Jack Nicholson was the first pick for this film, and although that could have been a good choice; Ford is still a silver lining to this tale.

Helen Mirren is his wife, and a young River Phoenix is one of his sons Charlie. Some said this was boring and others like to comment on how it is Harrison's only movie that perhaps has not even made its money back. Being the son of missionaries who traveled to Bangladesh and other locations in Southeast Asia, I was drawn to it immediately. Shot mostly in Belize, the spirit of the jungle is definitely conveyed well. Allie invents in ice machine that does not impress the family's landlord, who is disappointed that the asparagus on the farm has not been tended to.

 And he is a die hard atheist, not impressed by the efforts of local missionaries to convert and mold the natives. After arriving in an area that he deems perfect, Allie begins to build a civilization, with massive water systems and buildings. He even invents an ice machine that forever transforms the jungle economy and keeps the locals in amazement. As he slowly goes mad, he starts to mistreat his children and wife more. Even though it may never be said out loud, they are most likely yearning to get back to the states. After a violent conflict they all end up at the coast, where they build a lean to and Allie lies, telling them that America has been destroyed by nukes.

They almost perish in a storm, and it is quite painful to watch the family stranded by the sea, with a man who is now delusional. In the end of the movie the family drifts down the river again, starving and very distraught. A few other key things happen that I will not spoil, and we are shown a portrait of someone who went so far over the edge that he takes others down with him. A simple parallel to "Apocalypse Now" is not justice; this is an entirely different jungle tale. Some of the best parts are Allie's early rants about what is happening to America, and while in states of pre-delusion; he is half right.

This is not a movie for a "big night" on the blu ray, or for your blockbuster viewing of the week. But it could be perfect for a Sunday afternoon or a college class on social studies or political science, there is a lot to be said here. You have to go in a bit guarded, because it becomes a little dismal. But Harrison's performance is stellar, he seems utterly committed to success... a bit like Jonny Depp in "Ed Wood".

There are plenty of things wrong with the film. As a fan of things like Anthony Bourdain and having traveled a lot myself I can cuddle up to it a bit more. But anyone who loves film will surely enjoy watching a very mainstream actor take on a very deeply disturbed person. It is not epic, but so valuable in many ways. "The Mosquito Coast" shows us a much different heart of darkness, not as bloodthirsty; but still with a yearning for the barter of the villages and the lapping mouth of the river.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Manhattan Portrayed as Purgatory: "Jacob's Ladder"

Billed as both quaint and devastating, "Jacob's Ladder" is truly in a category on a bit of an island; it is one hard movie to figure out the first time you see it. Tim Robbins plays Jacob, a Vietnam era veteran who starts on the ground in the war, with some deafeningly slow and loud chopper blades, a hell of a lot of confusion, and enemy fire. Many of his comrades start convulsing and having lethal problems, and shaking like epileptics. Jacob runs into the jungle and is stabbed by an enemy, abruptly and spookily.

Then we bounce to a shot from the floor of a New York City subway, where he is now a postman. He is unable to get out of the turnstile area and while another train passes, it looks like there are some sort of morbid ghosts on board. We see the woman he is now living with (Elizabeth Pena), who also works with him. They seem to have a claustrophobic yet normal Big Apple relationship, both working as much as they can. Jacob gets an incredibly high fever one night, and is thrown in a bath of ice. He sees some of the most hellish visions yet, a morgue, a mental hospital, and even places resembling the gore of the first "Saw" movie.

Whenever he goes awry he is back on the tweaking table with his chiropractor Louis, who is akin to a supernatural figure, the only one who can steer him on track. Jacob also lost a son before the war, and is haunted by visions of him in his Saturday morning pajamas and other tender family times. This has the ability to mess with him letting go or dealing with any of these wild things happening to him, and he meets with some old war buddies. Now the government says they were never in Vietnam, and his other buddies are seeing intense and otherworldly things as well.

Through some hard to follow happenings, we see that Jacob was killed by a fellow troop, and that they were given a drug called "The Ladder" to make them more aggressive. It is evident that now the whole time in New York has been a journey while dying, and it is horrifying. This movie can really get under your skin and can be a bit anguishing but is a true B movie hit. The story is told very trickily, and many viewers wouldn't have it any other way. When Louis is repairing Jacob on the table, he tells him a memorable thing, "If you are frightened and you are holding on, You will see devils. But if you have made your peace, the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth".

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hawaii surf design spotlight: Eric Arakawa Surfboards

The North Shore of Oahu is definitely where a lot of the surf action takes place, and this is where Eric Arakawa designs now calls home base. Creating a product that has been ridden in many major competitions and events worldwide, he has traveled to many of the surf hotspots around the globe to enjoy the feeling of riding a wave and creating the coveted medium to do so. Rated amongst the top ten creators of surfboards in the world by Surfing Life Magazine, he utilizes the highest technology and bona fide island style gut feeling to create his product. Shortboards, Fishboards, minis and longboards are all among the wonderful creations offered up by this company. Hawaii is a land that requires respect when treading the waters and paying homage to its traditions, and this iconic surf brand is all encompassing when it comes to the spirit of Aloha and feeling the power of the North Shore waves. For product line info and details, go to their website:

At this Link.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Flashback for Sci-Fi followers: "The Day the Earth Stood Still"


An excellent 1951 classic., "The Day The Earth Stood Still" is a story of an alien that comes to our planet with the aide of a robot to give a profound message to our human race. The great images, stealth silver outline of the crafts, and depiction of a landing in Washington, DC are all killer elements of this wonderful sci fi blast from the past. The fear of the alien beings, premonition to Cold War themes, and an aim to promote a strong United Nations were elements of the film. Many true Sci-Fi devotees claim it as one of their favorite black and white films ever, and Arthur C. Clarke himself ranked it very high. At a time when curiosity of the unknown was peaking, and an economic boom was festering the probability of exploration in later years, there is many ways in which this film came along at the perfect time.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sao Paulo and Star Trek; not Two Elements you'd imagine to Collide


"Star Trek; Into Darkness" was a great film that maybe didn't even need much promotion beyond trailers, because.... it's Star Trek, a timeless classic. However as part of a high tech promotion, a room in the Sheraton Hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil had a themed room with quite the array of bells and whistles. Super cool diagrams on the walls, delta shields on pillows, and an assortment of remote control LED lights are among the things to play with. The room was only there for one month and cost 700 dollars a night to stay in, but was probably quite an awesome experience. Of course you got tickets to the movie, and one very out of this universe evening of sleep.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Orange is the New Black"; First Impressions

Said to have already been renewed for another season, "Orange is the New Black" is the story of Piper Chapman,(Taylor Shilling) who is sent to prison for being in possession of a large amount of drug money. Created by the brainchild that served us up "Weeds", the expectations for the series were high. I got the chance to sit down and go through the first two episodes tonight.

At first I was skeptical and did not know if the leading character of Piper would appeal to me. Jason Biggs, of the "American Pie" franchise, is cast as Piper's fiancee, and I felt so neutral about him that I had no idea if I would enjoy this journey. He is really quite endearing as the perhaps half-employed writer who has to take her to prison and see her off to being locked up. She is the epitome of someone who would "not make it" behind bars, delicate and not street smart.

I was a fan of "Weeds" but was leery going into these first episodes, and should not have been. It is refreshing, dark, and shines enough light into a scary place while reminding you that you do NOT want to be there. The flashbacks are really set up quite perfectly. We see some of the same old cast of  "Weeds" and they are given ample room to shine and show us their same quirks with another storyline.

Every prison story is just a little bit different. But this one taking place in a women's prison is actually quite refreshing. There are the same sexual stereotypes that go along with the setting but they are played out a little differently than normal. Without really giving too much away, some of the best things that could happen to Piper happen, and some of the people she would want to see least are also there to greet her. No one wants to be behind bars, and there are many things that are inappropriate about this story.

It really has to be that way, because each prison is its own take of Hell on Earth. With only two episodes down, I can see some interesting alliances, and enemy forces at work as well. You really do wince when watching Piper first hit the cell block, and just calling her and her fiance "yuppies" don't do them justice. They have their own special kind of hipster love; with funny little quirks. Reminding us of where we don't want to go is part of what "Weeds" got popular for, and I have a feeling that I and much of the rest of the viewing world will be eating up the remaining episodes of this show quickly. Even if it is sneakily by flashlight, after lights out.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buscemi bleakly navigates his way through kidnapping, "Fargo"

When you are dealing with the Coen bros telling a story about a struggling car salesman who arranges to have his wife kidnapped, you know that it's probably going to be quirky, strange, and desolate. Billed by Siskel and Ebert as their favorite movie of 1996, "Fargo" shows us the story of Jerry Lundegaard, who is under pressure from his boss at a car lot to upsell features; and it's all really not working for him. He is cast perfectly as someone who no one seems to care about; his problems are real but his father in law (Harve Presnell) and wife (Kristin Rudrud) naively think he will keep plodding along.

As his pressures escalate, he talks a convict at his car lot into introducing him to introducing him to two criminals who will kidnap his wife, while pocketing some of the ransom from his rich father in law. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stromare play the two crooks that are hired, and their dual combo of sleaziness is rigidly perfect.

Buscemi plays the ultimate con man, not nearly channeling the dominance or organization of his role in "Boardwalk Empire". Stromare is a Nordic, angrier, more pissed off criminal who really does not say much. A cop is killed after stopping them for not having license plates, and immediately afterwards a couple who witnesses this is shot by the criminals as well.

Enter Marge Gunderson, (Frances McDormand), who shows up at the homicide. She is very pregnant and has the true northern accent; this is her signature role as a woman who is painfully simple but has her police wits entirely intact. One of the real treats of this movie is watching her navigate the case while having to be utterly physically uncomfortable.

 Her candor is perfect and her charm is so subtle it's like taking a strange pleasure in scraping the ice of your windows. And in the locale of this movie, there is plenty of ice to scrape. The first meeting with the ransom gets utterly botched, and Buscemi is shot in the face. Jerry's father in law is shot here, and things escalate into madness. The best things about this movie are Marge's persistent persona of investigation, and watching Jerry try to hide a secret.

We are led to believe that he does love his wife; that this was probably just a scheme to get money. The real element of choice film here is watching things get worse for Jerry. A tale of a man's problems takes extra craft to spin this well, and it is a signature role for Buscemi as a crook whose main nuance is having no real care for anybody in the world.

This is a top notch film; and it's themes of desolation are Paralleled by "No Country for Old Men". The two films would be great to watch together on the same evening, to expose yourself to the true quirks that make the Coen recipes taste so good.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

“Town Red”, the Gutsy Zombie Short Film From the Garden State”


As of late, the zombie craze has taken over mainstream movies and television.  Various Hollywood franchises have taken a stab at this genre, and many have been successful at differentiating themselves from one another in order to create a loyal fan base and successful films. Not so difficult when you have millions of dollars and a massive professional crew at your disposal. Up and coming directors, on the other hand, have an even greater task to tackle if they want their work to stand out from the rest. 

They must not only create something unique and appealing, but they often do it with a bare bones budget and a crew smaller than a football team. Independent filmmakers, like Ryan Geiger, writer/director/producer of Town Red, spend countless hours working on their films wearing many hats in the process, no doubt sacrificing their own livelihood and sanity for months or perhaps even years. 

Shot over the course of four months last year, “Town Red” is the story of three men who attempt to survive  a horrific zombie plague that has wreaked havoc on their town. Patrick, (Geiger himself) is a religiously steadfast man who, in the opening scenes, faces a heartbreaking decision that causes him to sacrifice decades of precious memories in a matter of seconds. His working assistant and lifelong friend, Jeffrey (Michaiah Castro), is a fatally loyal man who  remains by Patrick’s side throughout every bend in the plot. 

Neil (Michael Jefferson) one of the few survivors  left in town is a selfish country thug with a rotten attitude. Possessed by a heart full of hate and prejudice, Neil is willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to get out of town and flee to safety in a neighboring state.  When he arrives at Patrick’s garage in need of a vehicle, a large confrontation occurs, ultimatums are handed out, and deep seeded family secrets surface.

The nature of the zombie portrayal in Town Red is quite unique compared to many of the zombie movie prototypes. George Romero’s, early classics, for example, portrayed zombies as a class of rabid beasts that attacked in mass numbers by taking over shopping malls and even entire cities, needing the power of helicopters and special forces to gun them down. Other successful zombie films such as 28 days later and Walking Dead, also address a potential zombie apocalypse from the mass perspective. While these films will always stand out as benchmarks in this genre of film, it is refreshing and thought-provoking to watch a film like Town Red that deals with the notion of a zombie plague on a more personal and elusive level.   
 
Town Red stands out as a film with a heart in a class of films that typically concerns itself mainly with gore and danger.  The film ultimately draws a parallel between a zombie outbreak and the many socially infectious behaviors that already invade our daily lives. Through this, Geiger asks us to consider the question: when human beings are pushed to their limits and stripped of absolutely everything, who are we? Who do we become? Even scarier, do we stay exactly the same?  

Monday, July 8, 2013

"The Killing" Tv show now in third season

I have only watched the first two seasons of "The Killing" but I really did like what I saw. I wrote a full feature on the show for Hypursuit a few weeks back and it was obvious that it had a large following. For me the rainy location, whole seasons to solve one murder, and brooding characters were great. It seems that right now a lot of shows are over-technicalized and very busy. I love "Fringe" and I also like "CSI". They just kind of have their own time and place, and "The Killing" from AMC somehow just stepped up and filled that void for those who liked things to unwind. The location couldn't be better, and I was really hooked instantly. From a network that brings you "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men"; these are probably storyboards and plots that are not just dreamt up overnight. You can see my full take on the show:

here at this link.

Coming Back Cinema Presents the Road Warrior screening in LA

At Los Feliz 3 Cinema in Los Angeles, they are showing "The Road Warrior" on Wednesday, July 10th. This would be a chaotically pleasant outing indeed, to re visit the mohawk brandishing thieves who terrorize the survivors inhabiting the Australian desert landscape. Filled with action and car stunts that are respected to this day, the movie is one of a kind and one of the funnest sequels ever. Full of fuel rationing, apocalyptic messages and bits of very stark violence, it's one of the greatest cult classics ever made. Brutal in many ways and with a simple plot; it's still easy to re visit multiple times, and have a blast on each return. Easily one of the best films of 1981, experiencing it on the screen would be a film lover's supreme treat.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Its safe to go in the water and watch: "Jaws 2"

Everyone around knows that "Jaws" was a masterpiece, and many were very obviously worried that when the sequel "Jaws 2" was released it would not even come close to measuring up. Some people argue that it does not, and while in some ways that could be true; it is a highly watchable sequel. The barrage of merchandising was much more elaborate; trading cards, towels, and models were made. I was able to get the full set of trading cards online two years ago and one of them has a great still of the shark coming up behind the waterskiing woman! It is generally viewed in the film world as the best Jaws sequel.

Another high point is that at least of course Roy Scheider is still chief Brody; that would have been a little different to swallow another actor taking over those reins. In the beginning some divers are shown taking pictures of Quinn's boat from the first movie, and are attacked by what appears to be the ominous great white breed of shark. Then the shark moves closer to the town, who have already endured this dread before. One of my favorite scenes is that of the waterskier; close to shore a woman is devoured by the shark, and these sequences provide as fun a watch as some of the ones in the original film. Some of the shots are right at water level and really instill the fear of being hunted in the water.

The driver of the boat mistakenly uses a flare gun and kills herself when gasoline spills on her. The way in which it all goes down is pretty high on the "chomp-a-rific" gore scale, and the movie really fought for a PG rating in 1978. When the mayor gets angry again at Brody for the shark warnings, it is not stale, the pacing is good and its fun to watch the town under siege and panic once again. There is a great scene where the chief mistakenly fires at bluefish while watching over the beach; and he forbids his son to go sailing; making him get a job for the summer to keep him safe. Brody is then fired, and since we flirt with this a little in the first movie it's nice and heavy to watch it be brought to light in the sequel.

Brody ends up going after the teenagers who take sailboats out, and there is a great chomp scene of a helicopter pilot. The shark then goes and terrorizes the teenagers on some modified sail and pontoon boats. Having one of the girls be so scared she goes into shock and unable to speak is also a good horror based touch. These different boats make for a nice change of dinner plate for the shark to eat off of, and the ending where Brody comes to the rescue is suitable. The success of "The Godfather II" was churning behind this one to make sequels a big thing, and "Rocky II" was a big one opening shortly after this. Some say it is predictable and we don't get all the sheer horror of the first; but it can be watched again and again; and it is actually somewhat of a blueprint on how to not completely ruin a sequel. It is great to revisit; and captures a fairly revolutionary time in film making.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Early Sneak Peek trailer released for Ridley Scott's "The Counselor"



When it was announced that Ridley Scott would take the helm for a Cormac McCarthy novel's translation to film, many wondered just what it would be like. "No Country for Old Men" was a divine masterpiece, and this tale of a lawyer in too deep with the drug trade probably will be as well. Many have questioned the cast of Pitt, Diaz, Cruz, and Bardem's ability to shine; I have no doubt that it will. Drug dealing tales are always fast paced and salivary; the double crossing, hot locations and briefcases full of contraband will always tide the viewer over. Yes, Penelope has been in other drug movies (Blow); but this one should have a certain kick to it to get viewers excited. When I read McCarthy's "Cities of the Plain" I was engrossed; the desperado entity meeting all the other elements involved should create wonderful fireworks for a film.

Surfing without Paddling; attractive even if Cheating

Everyone on a surfboard has imagined at one time not having to do the hard work of paddling out, turning around and sometimes.... just waiting for a long time for a wave. Even though it could be considered not purist, so could the use of jet skis, which really enable pros to go where they want to in the water right away. This battery powered motor is built into some surfboards, at a cost of close to five thousand dollars. A bracelet remote controls the motor, which also kills automatically upon wipeout. Long ago the valiant riders of the South Pacific and California would have scoffed at this, but at speeds of up to 12 mph; you'll have a little bit of arm power left to sling the cooler of beer close to the campfire later.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Depression Era Gem: "Road to Perdition"

Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law are at the forefront of this story about a connected man and his son who are on the run and in search of those who murdered the rest of their family. After finishing "American Beauty", director Sam Mendes wanted to have something that focused more on imagery and not as much diolouge; this was part of it's criticism, but also part of it's acclaim. Tom Hanks is Michael Sullivan, who works in Rock Island, a smaller city in Illinois crime ridden 1930's. Tyler Hoechlin is the child actor who plays Sullivan's son, a twelve year old who witnesses a murder.

The party who was in charge of the witnessed murder kills Sullivan's wife, and other son, and the two head out to Chicago to seek work with Al Capone and find the wherabouts of the murderer, named Connor. Before all this we get a glimpse of life before the incident, and Paul Newman is excellent as the local Rock Island crime boss. When the Capone crew is asked permission to work for and kill Connor, they do not oblige, putting Michael and his son is a predicament. They begin robbing banks that house Capone's laundered money, in hopes of making an exchange.

Some people did not enjoy Jude Law cast as a henchman hired by Capone to kill Sullivan, who broodily photographs his victims. For a few reasons I highly enjoyed him in this, he seemed a little crazy and not as hard edged as some gangsters. There is a scene in a diner where he begins to actually talk to Sullivan and his son, and they quickly realize its a setup. Sullivan teaches his son to drive the getaway car, and the movie shifts gears into a bit of a father/son classic. When i first saw this, I did not know it was based on a graphic novel, which has got to be kind of a nice specimen, a gangster novel instead of monsters and superheroes for a brief change.

Sam Mendes had attempted to make a gangster film here that avoids the same themes as others, and I widely think that he has. It is a bit hard to re watch because of the somewhat surprise ending and some drawn out moments. Some critics felt detached from it, like they did not have the ability to care about the characters. 2/3 of the way through, Sullivan is injured and the two have to stay with a couple on a farm; at this point we see some wonderful things happen; that engrossed me a bit more in the relationships. This is one of my favorite roles for Tom Hanks, who is known as a a take him or leave him actor.

There are some great scenes of the 1930's car rolling through the Midwest, and with that moving car, there is a theme of comfort, as if Sullivan, the boy, and the car are one. The best thing about this is that if you are able to be pulled into it quickly enough, it sticks with you; and there are some cold sensations that the winter, rain, and robberies conjure up in you. When you as the viewer ride with Sullivan and his son in the old car, there is a bit of foreboding doom. But there is also a glimpse of a land with promise; that was being eaten by the economic and criminal cancers of the era.

Horror Movie list from the 1970's!

The 1970's were a very defining time for horror. While there were some movies that didn't meet the bar, this inclusive list is full of a lot of the ones that did. "Young Frankenstein", "Halloween", "Piranha" and "The Swarm" are many of the fun ones on the list. Sometimes the long pauses, imperfect editing, and glitches of the genre have a lot to do with these great movies. This was the decade where a lot of real terror came to screen, and of course launched the slasher films in higher volume. From big blockbusters like "Alien" to other treasures like "The Brood", it's one fine period of horror that could be known as the best. It doesn't always take computer generated effects to get you to jump out of your seat! Here is the website with the list:

100 great 1970's horror films: