Today's movies are brought to you by the letter F. Though neither are for the kiddies. The Flesh Eaters and Flesh Gordon. Two totally different movies to be sure. They both sound dirty but only one is. You probably can tell which one from the dvd covers, though they both look pretty lascivious. They are. The Flesh Eaters is science fiction, if only barely. The bad guy is a scientist, played by Martin Kosleck, alone on an island. His solitude is interupted by the arrival of a plane filled with trouble. Forced down by a storm we have a pilot, a movie star with a drinking problem and her assistant, a pretty young woman. When Martin is spurned by the actress he takes his revenge and releases the plane to the storm. Now they have no way off the island. It gets worse and worse for the innocent trio and the newest arrival to the isle of evil. A beatnick on a raft, all happy and free, man. Soon, he'll be eaten by the flesh eaters. Man. There's a long complicated story behind the flesh eaters, involving Nazi's and experiments, which you can read about in the above links, or in my review when I watched the movie back in 2005. It sometimes takes years to get back to watching a movie again. That's not true for Flesh Gordon, I did see it recently. Both movies had a jpeg in the DVD Covers Folder on my C drive. It's where I save the pictures that I scavage off the internet to decorate my blog. Thanks mostly to Amazon for the DVD and book covers. I have added over 1200 dvd covers and posters to that folder since March of 2005. The dates on the files tells me when I used them in my blog. At least the first time. I really should have an index but that looks like a lot of work keeping it up. Perhaps there is a new search app from Typepad. I'd look into that if I wasn't so lazy. I mean busy. Now I gotta go sort some LEGO. That Troll's Mountain Fortress is crying out for me to dismantle it and sort the bits. See, busy.
Up first My Bloody Valentine 3D. The dvd comes in two versions, 3D on one side and regular on the other. They even include 4 sets of glasses. I did read on Amazon that some dvd's did not have the glasses in a wrapper when they were shipped and the glasses scratched one face of the double sided disc. Isn't that typical. The limit of 4 pairs of glasses is partly why we picked it tonight, Greg was out of town again, so there are only four chairs filled. Not that he was missing much, it's just a mad murderer on the loose movie. Some guy in the movie gets trapped with several other men in a mine. He's in a coma when they find him. All the other men are dead, all their heads punctured with a pick axe. The guy wakes up in the hospital a year later, murders all the staff nearby, and heads back to the mine, where he kills some kids partying. The cops show up, guns blazing, and the murdering miner runs deeper into the mine where he's trapped by a cave in. Ten years later, the son of the mine owner and the only survivor of that fatal evening, arrives back in town to sell the mine. The murders start up again. We bailed on the 3D due to complaints of the effect. It's that red & green glasses 3D, not the polarized 3D. I didn't find it too bad, there was a good depth of field, but there are times when it looked a good bit fuzzy. It was used to good effect, some of the gore effects are sticking right out of the screen at me. Yeow! One kid gets a pick axe to the back of the head and his eye, stuck on the tip of the axe, gets pushed right out of his head. Yuck, huh! Hardly anyone of the people we meet are really great people you'd like to hang out with. Maybe the retired sheriff played by Claude Akin or Kevin Tighe's character. The new sheriff is a hot head, who's cheating on his wife with a young girl who's also pregnant. Most of the rest of the cast are cannon fodder. This is a remake of an 1981 Canadian film with the same name. I haven't seen it. I don't think I need to get a copy of the 3D version myself but I didn't mind seeing it. There's a bit of a twist at the end and it does leave the door open to a sequel.
I had picked up a copy of the 2008 Brendan Fraser movie Journey To The Center Of The Earth when the dvd got cheapish at Target. Last tuesday it was on sale for a ten spot. Like our first movie it too was released in 3D. There is a 3D version of the dvd with red & green glasses. I didn't see that at Target or I might have bought a copy. Like the first movie there's a lot of time spent in a mine and both movies score a 6.0 on the IMDb. Brendan is the brother of Max who disappeared 10 years earlier. Max had gone to Iceland, gone up a mountain, and never returned. Brendan gets a visit from Max's wife. She's leaving her son, Sean, with Brendan for 10 days while she goes to Ottawa, which is going to be her and Sean's new home. She gives Brendan a box of Max's stuff which he explores with Sean. In it they find a copy of Jules Verne's Journey To The Center Of The Earth. It's been written in by Max. Brendan finds some information that leads them back to the lab and eventually to Iceland to inspect a monitor. Brendan is a volcanologist who is singlehandled keeping Max's volcanology work alive at a Boston University. That University is shutting him down. The two guys hire a pretty mountain guide and they all fall into the center of the earth after a wild Indiana Jones style ore car ride through an abandoned mine. There's evidence on their path that shows not only did Max come this way, and sadly expire, but someone a hundred years earlier had also come this way and escaped. It's all in the book. They build a raft and almost get eaten by some giant bitey fish. Then some carnivorous plants nearly get them. That's followed by dinosaurs. Man, that's no tourist destination for me, especially in regard to the exit transportation. I don't want to ride the volcano when the volcano is a volcano. I'm happy to watch the virtual ride from the comfort of my not-on-fire chair. It's a good fun bit of entertainment that has a sequel coming sometime. I'd wait for that to get cheapish at Target too.
I picked up the new Castle set 7097 Troll's Mountain Fortress yesterday. Mostly for those new large Trolls. I had the afternoon off and while watching Rodan twice, once in English and once in Japanese, I built the set. Once I was done I figured I'd take it over to the TCLUG meeting on saturday. I have mentioned before that I am not much of a set builder, prefering to part out the pieces to my own building stock. I kind of like that process. Sorting through the pieces and placing them with their like. The set has 844 parts, 46 of which are those tiny white barbed horns. There are 10 minifigs, counting the two large trolls with their new paint job. That's the Troll King with his brown crown, the Troll Queen/Sorceress, and the human King.
I was thinking it wasn't too bad a set once I had finished. It's modular. The parts of the castle can be assembled into different arragements. I'm not sure that I like the mix of colors but it's growning on me.
Here's the Bricklink description of the first part: Trans-Neon Green Wave Angular (Electric Zig Zag, Castle Magic Spark) with Marbled Trans-Bright Green Pattern. Wow. It's nice and green though. It's what the Queen/Sorceres has on the end of her staff. Her and the Troll King both have a tattered cape. It's bigger than a normal cape and could easily be used for a pattern to make your own. I'd like a cape to be able to wrap around the figure. To create a bit more concealment. There are 3 dark blay BURPs and 2 dark blay LURPs as well as 8 of the 2x4x6 dark blay small rock panels. It's not the brown color above. Maybe they could be called TURPs for Tiny Ugly Rock Piece. No matter, with the possiblity of more bluffs for Micropolis in the future I think they will come in handy. Certainly they suppliment the dark blay LURPs that I got in the Pick-A-Brick. There are a lot of good regular parts and some good additions to the pieces I already have. You get 6 of the curved fences above in black and 4 of the straight fence sections, also in black. A nice few pieces in dark green, some in dark brown, and 16 of the dark red 1x1 plates with a tooth sticking out the side. For the most part a pretty fun looking castle. and the modularness of it lets you arrange it anyway you want. And I do like those new large Trolls. Nice that you get one of each.
Every now and again someone makes something more artistic with their bricks. Erik Smit pulled this rabbit out of his hat and I'm not sure what it all means but it's a good trick. What the hell, it's entertaining to me. You can see a few closeups on his Flickr page where he goes under the name eti. It's hard keeping all these people and their fake monikers straight. Here's his MOCpages page and his photoblog.
I wasn't at BrickWorld 2009 but some of my LEGO went. I have had to rely on pictures like the one above, uploaded by attendees like Nannan Z, to see what my LEGO was up to. There's one building now. Oh, noes! Some monster has punched a hole in the side of the building with a flaming rock. Man. I hate monsters! The two pictures below are from Nannan's Flickr Photostream. You can see more of his BrickWorld pictures here. That's a close-up of Gary's Island Hotel. I tell you that Micropolis has some cool places to stay. When they aren't on fire.
TwinLUG had built up a pretty good size chunk of a city and there were rumors of other out-of-towners coming with their own modules. Much of the city, modules from Matt, Tom, Max and me, were transported by Gary, who also carried Erik. Yay, Gary. Thanks again. Nathan, Roy and Alice brought their own stuff and Roy and Alice carried modules from Brian and Lonn. I don't know if anyone counted the blocks but it looks pretty big. And with all the activity going on it sure seems like it would take a long time to go crosstown. There are a ton of great modules that make up a great looking city scene and the BrickWorld judges thought so too. Micropolis won the Best Group Layout award. Here's a pic from Bill Ward to prove it. The other small ones are from Bill Ward's Flickr. It's got some nice pictures. Worthy of a gander.
You Don't Mess With The Zohan finally got cheap enough to spend money on. I hadn't seen it but I can almost always count on Adam Sandler to make me laugh. I know a lot of people don't like him and I certainly don't care about that. That's comedy, love it, hate it. Nothing I say is going to change their mind. People have to find their own path through the rapids of comedy, some times you have to get your ass wet. I didn't care for Sandler when I saw some clips of him on Saturday Night Live back years ago. I saw The Wedding Singer, liked it, and started watching his other movies. I like romantic comedies and that's mostly what they are. They have their gross parts, jokes in poor taste, and manass, but they also have a good heart. YDMWTZ has Adam as a Israeli soldier who fakes his own death and relocates in New York City to become a hairdresser. He's tired of the fighting. He befriends Nick Swardson, who takes him home to meet his mother. Mom is played by Lainie Kazan, whom The Zohan bangs after dinner. The Zohan likes the ladies. He takes Nick clubbing in hopes of getting him laid. The Zohan meets a guy from Isreal who recognizes him. That leads to a job in a hair salon run by an Arab woman from Palistine played by Emmanuelle Chrique, who I thought I had seen before. She was the romantic interest in Snow Day, which was written by the guys who created and wrote the wonderful The Adventures of Pete and Pete. She was also one of the girls who gets murdered by "cannibalistic mountain men grossly disfigured through generations of in-breeding," in Wrong Turn. She's cute. Rob Schneider is a Palastine guy driving cab in New York City. He's got a grudge against The Zohan. John Turturro plays The Zohan's greatest enemy. The rest of the cast is great, especially all the old ladies who come into the hair salon for a style and a hump from The Zohan. The director is Dennis Dugan, who also directed three other Sandler movies, starting with Happy Gilmore. Dugan's an actor who often appears in the movies he directs. The only thing that I had seen him in that I remembered were the 4 episodes of Moonlighting he appeared in and his role in Happy Gilmore. I know I have seen many of the movies he's worked on. Glad to have a copy of all the Sandler movies and I do on occasion put one on to watch.
I would not do the same for Quarantine. Joe picked it out of many on Netflix. I had not heard of it, but would give it a chance. I'm not quite the Johnny Knoxville of movie watchers but I will stick my face right into some of the worst stuff and take a big whiff. Not always by accident either. I remember one summer when we were kids back in Winnipeg. We had found a can of sulfer in the basement. Left there by the previous owner. I don't know if you have ever had a can of sulfer nor what you'd do with it if you did, but we burnt it. I don't know if you've ever burnt sulfer but we did. We stood over the fire and sprinkled little bits of sulfer into the flames. The powder ignites in the air. It's very pretty. The bad thing about sulfer is the smell. I got to close to the fire and got a whiff of the stank. One second I was on my hands and knees and the next I was flat on my back. The other kids laughed. The movie starts in a firehouse with a young reporter and her camerman doing an on-site story. Night with the fireman sort of thing. Turns out the whole movie is going to be seen through the camera's eye. It certainly is a gimmick that I tired of quickly. The first call they go to is a woman sick in an apartment building. They go in and find the plump old lady all screwed up and groaning and shuffling about. She's got blood on her clothes. They don't know what's going on. The woman attacks and that starts the ball rolling. A cop is down, neck torn out, followed quickly by a fireman. When they go for the door to get an ambulance the people in the building find themselves sealed inside. The doors are closed and locked and the cops outside tell them they have to stay inside. Cellphones don't work, tv is partial blocked. They get a bit of the story from a snowy newscast. Appearently they were rescued from the now empty building. That would be comforting, except they're still in the building. Something's up. They do get a bit of the back story from one of the CDC guys. It's some sort of super rabies. That's not good. One after another the cast has their final day on set as the slaughter ramps up. Pretty soon it's the reporter and her cameraman against the final boss monster. It doesn't end good. You need to start over and hit replay. It reminds me of one of those first person shooter games since you only have one person's POV. There's even green night google vision. It's a gimmick like in The Blair Witch Project. I tired quickly with that one too. There's too much crying and nose goo for me, and then after sitting through all that whining, a guy falls over, and that's the end of the movie. Not very enjoyable. I actually sold that dvd. I'll keep the more enjoyable Zohan movie, which gets a 5.7 on the IMDb, and I won't think about picking up the less interesting and certainly less amusing Quarantine, which scores a 6.2. The story isn't very imaginative, bits and pieces tossed in together, and the characters are mostly the same people you always see. Don't care much for them and then they all die. Maybe it's me but I just feel let down by a movie that kills off all it's characters. There are rare occasions where it works for me, like John Carpenter's The Thing. Most of the cast survives in the original. Better to re-watch either of those.
It's certainly not shaping up to be a great year for reading masses and masses of books. April was another poor month with only 4 titles. Knowing what the future has in store from May does help add any numbers onto the annual total. I haven't got that many years left and there's a shit load of good books to read and read again. Speaking of good books to read I'm going to mention a really nice review of Freddy The Detective by Walter R. Brooks before I get going. I'm thinking of reading the series again. It one of my favorites. Not like my next book.
Richard gave me an advance reading copy of Shadowmancer by G P Taylor. He had read it and I think I remember him saying he liked it well enough. He didn't want it back when I was done. That cover isn't to the book I have. Couldn't find a pic online and this has the same illustration in the same colors as the book I read. The story is set in a fantasy England a couple of hundred years ago. There's a naughty Reverand who is seeking a pair of powerful amulets that will give him great power. He has one and wants the other for his nefarious plans. He's not so much religious as a greedy power mad sorcerous pig. Nothing at all likable about that guy. There's a kid who befriends the human half of the amulet who has come to town to retrieve the stolen half. There's a smuggler who comes to help our hero and the amulet guy. It mostly an ok story and the writing isn't too bad some of the time. Taylor, an ex-vicar, and an authority on wicca and witches, wrote the book to promote good Christian kind of stuff. The problem is he's promoting his message so hard that it kind of elbows the story aside. It's often touted as the Christian Harry Potter but it's no where near that league. It's too heavy handed a book. I wouldn't re-read it again and I doubt that I'll pick up the rest. Here's an interesting bit from the Wikipedia about GP's early life when he worked in the music industry: Taylor grew up in Yorkshire, but moved to London in the 1970s where he worked in the music industry with such bands as The Stranglers, Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello and Adam and the Ants. He became involved in the occult, and lived a life that was, in his own words "into all sorts of weird and wonderful things and wasn’t leading a godly life" . It was then that he turned to Christianity, and he later became a vicar with the Church of England
t's now been 24 hours since I started this. I got reading junk online last night and it got late. Too many distractions on the internet. I'm glad I don't have a wireless laptop so it can follow me around like a warm plump scrumptious pastry all wrapped up in a sweet sugary coating of yumm. I digress. I went and had some Cheerios. Now I'm going to bed.
It took me a couple of weeks to read Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory MaGuire. I had read some of his kids books and enjoyed those. I thought I should finally get around to reading one of the four or five adult novels I'd been sitting on. They are alternate or revisionist fairy tales. This is The Wizard of Oz told from the presective of the Wicked Witch of the West. She's green and she has a backstory to tell you why. It's a complicated backstory with lots of characters who lead complicated lives. Lots to think about, like serious thoughts on good and evil, religion, opression and betrayal, which reads slower than an adventure story. There's monkeys. Glad to have read it, going to keep it for the future, and I'll read the two sequels. I have the first one, Son of a Witch, and I'm sure I can find the second one, A Lion Among Men used. MaGuire is pretty popular so there are lots of copies in the used stores. There's some humor, some tragedy, much death and weirdness. Oh, yeah, those monkeys can fly.
Another day has past. This is the third evening that I have been tackling this post. Busy at work makes me lazy at home. Sloth, compounded with all the emails from being on MOCpages and Flickr sure make it hard to get back to work at home. I've been on MOCpages for over a year and I mostly like it. The price is right. Free Rocks! I'm getting used to Flickr. It has some advantages and some disadvantages over MOCpages. I can upload non-LEGO pics and quite a bit each month. I certainly won't use the 100 MB a month that they limit me to for a free account. I don't care for the presentation and it takes more time to flic through someone's pics. I do like the webpage look of MOCpages, especially since they started offering large pictures as an option. When presenting several pictures of a moc the viewer can see them all in one page.
The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander is a collection of short stories that relate to his Chronicles oF Prydain series. I have not read them and I think I have some of them. I picked up a stack of his books used during a harvesting several years ago. I had become enamored with Harry Potter and was looking at all sorts of YA fantasy. I bought a couple of hundred books around 2003 and 2004 and they overflowed my reading shelf. Many were packed in boxes for later perusal. I unpacked most of one of those boxes recently and there were some Lloyd Alexander books in there. Start with a small one. I don't remember a thing about the stories. Even after I went to the Wikipedia and read the synopsis of each I could barely remember anything about them. That's not good. Hope they were just not so memorable and it's not my mind going. I thought when I read it the stories were ok but I wasn't going to keep it. I sure don't like looking at the cover of this edition, and Prydain just is not an attractive word to look at or say. I'll work my way through some of those other Lloyd Alexander books on the to-read shelf. I hate to buy something and not finish it. Joe says he has no problem tossing a book aside, forever, and not worry about it again. I always have this nagging doubt that it might get better and turn my lack of enthusiasm back on. It certainly doesn't happen enough.
I picked up a copy of Walpulski's Typewriter by Frank Darabont because I enjoyed his films. The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are my favorites but I do like The Majestic for the most part. Roger Ebert, unlike most critics, liked the film. He said Darabont was trying to make a Frank Capra film. I would agree with that. Darabont wrote several films before he started directing. You can read more about that over at the Wikipedia. He doesn't make many films. Walpulski's Typewriter is a novella, in a small hardcover, produced by Cemetary Dance Publications. They're a small press publisher who specializes in horror and like that. Not something I am much interested in reading as a rule. I got this cheap, I think it's a $25 book, or I wouldn't have bought it. It's about a bad writer who can't make any money. His typewriter is broken too. He takes it to a guy who fixes it by installing a demon in it. The demon writes great books and eats small animals. As the books sell better and better the demon wants some bigger and better meals. People are next on the menu, so you know that it's all going to end badly. It's kind of funny, but certainly not worth the cover price, even as a collectible. I just looked on Amazon and there are copies over there for $5.06. It's also illustrated by Berni Wrightson but I don't think that we're seeing his best work. Looking back at the Wrightson work from the late 60's to the mid-70's is a treat for the eyes. Finding his early stuff might be hard though. I know his illustrated Frankenstein is still on the shelves of DreamHaven. Nothing is impossible to find nowadays with the power of the internet. Electrons Rock.
I watched two science fiction movies that are as far apart from each other as can be. They sit pretty close together on the shelf only because I put all of my Ed Wood movies together. Plan 9 From Outer Space is Edward D.Wood Jr's 1959 take on the alien invasion. If you can call three aliens an invasion. Close enough for Ed, close enough for me. It's easily my favorite of his movies. People always pick on it and call it the worst movie ever. It's not. Not by a long shot. I like watching it, not because it's bad, but because it's enjoyable. I have a soft spot for all those 50's SF movies, no matter how bad they are, and there are worst than Ed's movie. Plan 9 is a familiar old friend and I take it like it is, warts and all. I like to laugh at the antics of the aliens. They are an enjoyable lot with their plans and their shouting and their hitting. The story is wacky and it doesn't matter if it doesn't make so much sense. Neither does the world but I'm still rollin' with that. Within Plan 9's own universe it works well enough and the good guys win. That's what you want from an alien invasion movie. Set the aliens on fire and send them crashing to their deaths.
Unless you like them and want them to get away which is what happens in my next movie. Julien Temple's 1988 film Earth Girls Are Easy, like P9FOS, has three aliens in it, but they aren't invading. The aliens in EGAE are accidently on earth. They have mechanical problems with their super cool looking spaceship. They land in Geena Davis's pool. Geena nearly drowns from the shock and the blue furry alien guy rescues her. He brings her into the ship. Startled at first Geena soon makes friends and invites the guys into her house for lunch and cultural acclimation through exposure to tv. It's going to take a day to drain the pool before they can work on their ship. What to do? Get a make over! Yay! Geena takes the alien trio to the hair salon where she works and Julie Brown, her bouncy co-worker, takes charge. Under the furry alien surfaces we find Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans and Jim Carrey. Julie takes the guys out to the beach and later to a nightclub. They look so hunky and handsome all the girls fall for them. Julie, who also co-wrote and co-produced the movie, sings several songs. Brand New Girl, I Like Them Big and Stupid and 'Cause I'm a Blonde. They're all great, bouncy pop-songs sung by a gal with a wonderful sense of humor and just the right amount of cleavage. Some other group sings her Earth Girls are Easy for the title credits. It's ok too. I'm not a big musical fan but I like a few and this is one of them. The rest of the music is fun, mostly current pop of the day. I'm not a big Depeche Mode fan but their version of Route 66 has a guitar and vocal mix that digs right into the pleasure centers of my brain and gives them a bit of a squeeze. I can listen to that over and over. Charles Rocket plays Geena's naughty doctor fiance. He's wonderfully sleazy and he rightfully looses our heroine to Jeff Goldblum who was Geena's husband at the time. The movie is a fun romp that never fails to make me laugh and smile and sing along with Julie. She really is a treat.
That the bit of farmland on the edge of Micropolis. You'd think it might be less dangerous but huge farm equipment can slice off an arm faster than I can pop one of Gary's yummy Oatmeal cookies into my mouth. If you look closely at the farm on the left (see close up below right) you can see the crop circles. In the Micropolis reality, there are aliens, and they are up to no good. Perhaps we'll be saved in the end by some of the superheroes the town has attracted or we're just screwed.
It's the weekend before BrickWorld. Some TwinLUG folks are going and taking Micropolis modules for those of us who are staying home and watching it on the internet. About our usual attendance with Tom, Roy, but no Alice, Erik, me, Gary, Brian, Max, Nathan and his cute little shadow, Jeremy, Matt, and returning from school in Chicago, Kyle. These photos are stolen from Matt's Flickr page. No one went for pizza, too busy, sad for Pizza Luce.