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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Malignant

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

A cool thing about MALIGNANT is that the trailers made it look like the new movie from James Wan, the director of INSIDIOUS and THE CONJURING, when it’s actually the new movie from James Wan, the director of INSIDIOUS, THE CONJURING and AQUAMAN. After you direct Dolph Lundgren on a seahorse you’re not content to just do a fuckin demon possession or haunted house for your next horror movie. You gotta go further.

I feel a little out of step for not loving all of Wan’s movies. In my CONJURING 2 review I wrote, “Like all of Wan’s ghost movies, I started out thinking ‘This is one of the most effective ghost movies I’ve seen!’ and ended thinking ‘I guess I just don’t really like ghost movies that much.’” They’re extremely well directed and I have a bunch of nice things to say about them, but I guess that genre just doesn’t do it for me. (And I’m still uncomfortable that the great CONJURING protagonists are based on real life charlatans who never face accountability for their lifetime of exploitation.)

So I’ve always been in the weird position of being more into Modern Master of Horror James Wan’s occasional non-horror movies. FURIOUS SEVEN, of course, and I love AQUAMAN, and it was DEATH SENTENCE that really turned me into a fan. I still think that’s a brilliant and under-recognized version of the “vigilante revenge is not as great as it sounds” story, with some really original and well-executed action sequences, and Kevin Bacon giving a full-hearted dramatic performance unhindered by the pulpiness around him.

In Wan’s first film since AQUAMAN (2018) and first horror film since THE CONJURING 2 (2016) he combines those well-honed horror chops with what he learned from making a movie with an octopus in warpaint playing FURY ROAD drums, and I’m so happy to finally be fully on board a James Wan horror joint. MALIGNANT is a keeper. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Back in 2003, a whole voting-age-person ago, I wrote about the 1984 documentary STREETWISE, along with a fictional movie somewhat inspired by it, and by the same director, called AMERICAN HEART. The latter is interesting, the first is a straight up masterpiece. You can read that review (though I’m embarrassed of a few lines – nothing too bad, but I was stupid back then) but the gist is that STREETWISE is an incredible movie about a group of teenage runaways who used to hang out on the block between 1st and 2nd and Pike in Seattle. Kind of the main character was a 14 year old girl nicknamed Tiny. She lived in an abandoned hotel with her boyfriend Rat, had a badass red jacket and mullet, also the poor girl was a prostitute and they actually had footage of her getting picked up by the world’s worst grandpas. She said she hated doing but she liked the money and kinda laughed about it. The movie vividly illustrates that some of these people you walk past on the street every day maybe have it even harder than you would’ve guessed, and also are just really interesting people worthy of love and compassion that they don’t get much of.

Of course I live in Seattle, and back when I first saw it I walked near there every day on my way to work, so the movie haunted me for a long time. As I wrote in the review, “It kind of feels like spying on ghosts or something. After watching the movie you find yourself trying to calculate how old these people would be now and guess if they’re still alive. Would you recognize them if you saw them walking around somewhere?”

Well, there are three pieces of news here. One, this great movie that was only available on VHS in the U.S. is finally easy to see because Criterion released it on blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday. Two, it comes complete with the 2016 followup film, TINY: THE LIFE OF ERIN BLACKWELL. Three, that’s a great movie too. (read the rest of this shit…)

Get Carter (2000)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Nearly 30 years after GET CARTER and its American cousin HIT MAN there was another version of the movie and/or its source novel, Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis. It starred Sylvester Stallone and was almost universally hated. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t fare well if hung up on a wall next to the 1971 version, but I find it at least interesting as an exercise in adaptation and an oddity in the Stallone filmography. And maybe I’m a little easier on it because it takes place in Seattle, with some of it actually filmed here.

In the mid ’90s, the ground was shifting under everyone’s feet. Hair metal bands felt displaced by Nirvana, MC Hammer decided he had to sign to Death Row Records, and the action heroes of the ‘80s were starting to see the writing on the wall. So by the end of the decade the once dominant Stallone was trying to find his place in a new world. JUDGE DREDD (1995) had been a notorious flop, and ASSASSINS (1995) and DAYLIGHT (1996) were poorly received. He couldn’t get Tarantino to cast him as Max Cherry in JACKIE BROWN. Though COP LAND (1997) had been one of Stallone’s best performances, it didn’t seem to bring him the critical credibility he was looking for, and his followup, the thriller D-TOX, was sitting on a shelf (it would be barely released in 2002 under the title EYE SEE YOU). Stallone been pigeonholed by his massive success as a larger than life action god, and many critics were more interested in rooting for his failure than seeing him evolve, or even return to his roots. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wheedle’s Groove

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

tn_wheedlesVisitors to Seattle, and people who talk about us on TV and stuff, have a certain stereotype of Seattle as white, latte drinking liberals, fish throwers and Space Needle polishers, Bill Gates personal assistants and sasquatch poachers standing in the rain talking about Nirvana doing a cover of Jimi Hendrix doing a song about Bruce Lee’s posse being on Broadway. All of it is true, but do they also know about our past as a hotbed of soul and funk music?

Alot of people didn’t until 2004 when the great local label Light in the Attic Records released Wheedle’s Groove, a compilation of songs by forgotten Seattle groups from 1965-1975, many of them with corny names like Black On White Affair, Robbie Hill’s Family Affair or Cold, Bold & Together. A cratedigging DJ named Mr. Supreme had discovered a few funk 45s with Seattle addresses on them, did some research and learned that a whole scene of talented musicians had thrived in Seattle’s Central District in the ’60s and ’70s, only to be forgotten because they never quite hit outside of our isolated encampment here. This documentary extends their story into a visual medium. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern is sympathetic to those in ZOO – the yearnings, the love… the bestiality.

Monday, September 10th, 2007

SPOILER ALERT !!

ZOO, directed by Robinson Devor, is a movie you might’ve heard of when it played Sundance last January. For some reason it had a very limited theatrical run, it was not really given the same chance a SPIDER-MAN or a SHREK would get to catch on with the public, but fortunately THINKFilm releases the DVD September 18th.

I really liked Devor’s first movie THE WOMAN CHASER. That one, COCKFIGHTER and MIAMI BLUES are the only movie adaptations of my favorite writer, Charles Willeford. Patrick Warburton is so good playing a bored used car salesman turned desperate embezzler/nihilistic independent filmmaker that I have a hard time not picturing him as the lead in other Willeford books as I’m reading them. I can’t recommend that movie enough, but unfortunately it’s never been released on DVD, and good luck finding the VHS. (read the rest of this shit…)