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Monthly Archives: May 2014

One-Track Mind, May 2014 Edition

And welcome to another post of one-paragraph ruminations on music you’ve probably never heard of before…

STANDING DISCLAIMER: It would be ridiculous to try and do Full Disclosure on these. Just assume I know everyone here at least via the Internet, and most of them in person. You’ll be right far more often than wrong.

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Making Scenes (2002): Drama Queen

Adrienne Eisen, Making Scenes (Alt-X, 2001/2002?)

[originally posted 21Jan2002]

A drawing of a woman without a face in a contemplative pose adorns the book cover.

In the distance.
photo credit: goodreads

Riddle me this, Batman. The copyright page of Adrienne Eisen’s debut novel Making Scenes puts the copyright date as April 2001. Amazon has it listed as available. Yet a handwritten note I got with the book says it will be published April 1, 2002. An out-of-date April fools’ joke, or an inaccuracy at the printer’s? You be the judge—assuming, that is, you end up reading the book.

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Booked to Die (1992): Can We Reschedule for Next Tuesday?

John Dunning, Booked to Die (Pocket, 1992)

[originally posted 21Jan2002]

The shadow of a man originates from behind the shelves of a used bookstore on the cover.

“We found him, suffocated, under a stack of Robert Ludlum first editions.”
photo credit: oldalgonquin.com

This book’s probably got a niche market in the same way that Christopher Morley’s wonderful turn-of-the-century bookstore-themed mysteries did. You’re going to get a lot more out of this book if you’ve ever trod the bibliophile’s path yourself, or at least have some other kind of collecting bug in your bonnet. Otherwise, you might do well to avoid this one.

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The Deep Blue Sea (2011): Jelly Fish

The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies, 2011)

Tom Hiddleston nuzzles Rachel Weisz on the movie poster.

You look to the future. I’ll keep looking at your neck.
photo credit: impawards.com

Every review I have read of Terence Davies’ 2011 effort The Deep Blue Sea has singled out the performance of Rachel Weisz. Deservedly so; Weisz comes as close to carrying this movie as she possibly can. Unfortunately, one performance does not a movie make, and there is far too much else going on here, most of it mediocre at best, to even be able to sit back and enjoy Weisz’ performance, which probably should have netted her another Oscar nomination. Yes, she is that good. The film, however, is not. That this is a remake of Anatole Litvak’s 1955 weepie of the same name (with Vivien Leigh in the role Weisz reprises here) should probably cause me to cut the film some slack, but somehow it doesn’t.

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Machine Gun Preacher (2011): My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

[once again playing catch-up after a crazy day…]

Machine Gun Preacher (Marc Forster, 2011)

Gerard Butler, framed by a cross, strikes a contemplative pose on the movie poster.

THIS! IS! SUDAAAAAAAAAN!
photo credit: Wikipedia

Marc Forster directed Quantum of Solace, to date my least favorite James Bond movie. Still, even that did not prepare me for the jaw-dropping idiocy that was Machine Gun Preacher. Even better, checking Forster’s IMDB page shows that as of this writing he’s also got a TV movie called Hand of God in pre-production. Two questions immediately come to mind. 1. When did Marc Forster find Jay-zus? (And how, if he has, was he enticed to direct the decidedly non-evangelical World War Z between the two?) 2. What in the flying hell possessed him to go back to the most ridiculous excesses of eighties-era evangelical film, rather than following farther down the road taken by more recent Christian filmmakers like Robby Henson (Thr3e) and Rafal Zielinski (Hangman’s Curse)? Because those guys are making movies that are at least bearable even if you’re a non-Christian. This is fund-raising, altar-call claptrap that has all the sincerity of The Cross and the Switchblade without any of the talent—which is pretty impressive given Forster behind the camera and the roster he put in front of it. Coriolanus aside, I should know better than to watch anything with Gerard Butler’s name on it.

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Shrek (2001): The (Short-Lived) Return of Adult Animation

Shrek (Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, 2001)

[originally posted 4Feb2002]

The principal cast adorn the movie poster.

Oh, Oh, Ogre!
photo credit: Barnes and Noble

Shrek is the consummate fairytale, a sendup of hundreds of fairy tales that have come before while still being one itself. It also has one of the finest endings in modern filmmaking, but by the time you get there, that’s almost beside the point; you’ve had so much fun on the journey that you hate to see it end.

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The Bat People (1974): Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh…

The Bat People (Jerry Jameson, 1974)

A bat person holds a lovely blonde on the movie poster.

Count Smackula.
photo credit: vampyres-online.com

In the days before direct-to-video, you’d be surprised at the things that found their way to movie screens. If you were born after about 1984, when the VHS player explosion happened and DTV started becoming standard for low- and no-budget movies, it’s possible you may not have any concept of this sort of thing. Hell, I was there and I find myself still surprised on a regular basis by some of what found its way onto the big screen between the formation of the MPAA and the proliferation of the VHS player. There are few examples of this that will provide you as much evidence for the lack of judgment of film distribution companies as The Bat People, Jerry Jameson’s 1974 cheesefest about werebats. That’s right, werebats.

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