Showing posts from June, 2008

Mother of Tears: Mother of God...

Let's get the bad news regarding Italian horror maestro Dario Argento's new film out of the way first: Mother of Tears is patently absurd, pitched stratospherically over-the-top, and presented with absolutely no restraint or subtlety whatsoever. The good news, meantime, is that Mother of Tears is patently absurd, pitched stratospherically over-the-top, and presented with no restraint or subtlety whatsoever. Regular visitors to the Dish know that I've been a big fan of Argento's oeuvre for years. He devises stunningly engineered, extremely gruesome chillers where visual magnificence skips merrily alongside nightmare logic and occasional flat-out goofiness. And while Mother of Tears probably isn't the most ideal introduction to the man's work (go here for some background and recommendations), it's his wildest, wooliest, and most entertaining feature in years. It opens in Seattle for a limited run at the Varsity Theater July 4. MOT details the vale of woe

Indiana Jones: A Chicken Bone that Won't Exit my Craw

My wife Rita posted a much more direct (and immediate) reaction to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull , but after watching Raiders of the Lost Ark again last night--and the entire preceding trilogy over the last couple of weeks--I had to add my two cents. I truly went into the new Indy film with the straightforward, simple expectation of a couple of hours of undemanding fun, and a comfy reunion with some old friends. Crystal Skull actually delivered that for me during its first, oh, fifteen or twenty minutes. Heck, even the Atomic Test Site scene genuinely amused me, and I momentarily (but enthusiastically) questioned why so much of the fanboy community had its collective Star Wars Underoos in such a bunch . Then came the remaining 104 minutes. And I'm inclined to blame most of it on George Lucas. The George Lucas who co-piloted Indy 4 is not the George Lucas who directed American Graffiti . Nor is he the brilliant-idea-laden visionary who

Requiem for a Pro: Sydney Pollack and Three Days of the Condor

It's been a few weeks since the sad passing of director/actor Sydney Pollack , but appreciation for his life and work will never get old as far as I'm concerned. The man helmed some truly great films throughout an era much ballyhooed as the last Golden Age of American Cinema--the Seventies. In contrast to Altman's loose-knit improvisation, Coppola's sense of bruised epic romanticism, and Scorsese's mean-street virtuosity, Pollack--like his aesthetic and generational peer Sidney Lumet --kept it direct. That unerring knack for setting aside visual or thematic showiness to tell the damn story imprinted itself all over Pollack's best directorial efforts, and nowhere is it more prominent than in 1975's Three Days of the Condor . It's out in bare-bones form on DVD, and (all high-fallutin' verbal foppery aside) it completely and utterly rules. Robert Redford plays Joe Turner, a low-level CIA researcher who comes back from lunch one afternoon to find his

A Helping Hand to Little Critters in Need

I normally try to keep this Blog focused on all things pop culture, but I'm breaking that unwritten dictum here. Singly and as a couple, the missus and I have had pet rats for over twenty years. They're smart, sweet, all-around terrific companions (see archival entry from this here Blog for more details). We adopted three new babies recently (as chronicled on Rita's Atomic War Bride Blog ) from a rat rescue service, and there's been an influx of rescues in recent weeks. A few wastes of human flesh and blood have even thrown some of these innocent creatures, caged, into dumpsters where they were just barely rescued from certain death. In between the adorable pictures of our new family members on Rita's Blog are links to rat rescue websites in Washington, Canada, and Oregon. If you're willing and able to give one a good home, please consider adopting a rat. They're relatively low maintenance, sweet-tempered, smart, and well worth the attention. And if you

Pop Culture Petri Dish's Greatest Hits

OK, a little bird told me that there might be a link from a wildly popular satire website/blog to here. And wouldn't you know it, I'm caught with my metaphoric pants down: Lotsa irons in the fire, but no new entries ready for street release. But I DO have the next best thing: A few links to some of the most popular entries on this here Pop Culture Petri Dish. So enclosed please find The Petri Dish's Greatest Hits (at least according to the old Site Meter). If you have a strong opinion about Tom Cruise, go here . Then here . And then here . If you think that an Indonesian action flick with Crocodile Men, head loppings, wholesale kung fu, and whip-wielding hags sounds like more fun than any of the Oscar-nominated movies of 2007, visit here . Aching to peruse some prattling about--God forbid--a really good movie? Go here , and here . How about horror movies? Go here . And here . Maybe here . And here . Ah, Hell...hit the archives: This Blog's rolling in horror stuf