Friday, January 13, 2012
Monday, November 28, 2011
After taking heavy fire from cookware with stubborn cooked on goop we made headway into the actual kitchen itself. Looking back I saw the causalities strewn about like ragdolls after the family dog got to them. There were bodies on the couches, the arm chairs and draped face down over the coffee table. The snores were so loud, like jungle drums of hidden hostile natives. I was alone now.
Most of the dishes had been done and we managed to get everything into the refrigerator. Some things, like the beverages (and the turkey tuna casserole Aunt Mary brought) had to go outside on the balcony. By four am that night we managed to find the fridge. By 5:30 it was mostly over. However, the refrigerator itself was near bursting pressure. It just wasn’t designed to hold all that food.
There was only one thing to do. I had to eat my way back to safe appliance conditions. It would be no easy task. I would have to sacrifice my cholesterol and my sparkling six-pack abs but, hey, that’s the kind of selfless guy I am.
Bring on the leftovers….
Saturday, November 26, 2011
After dinner on Thanksgiving we were bogged down in heavy dishware. The warm thoughts were exchanged. The thanks were given. The cranberry sauce was passed. It was carnage. When it was over not one guest was spared. They were laying all over the room in various states of tryptophanity. Turning my attention to the mess I cried out for help sure that none would come. After the dinner feast I took it upon myself to assemble a team and clean up. No easy feat considering the body count. Food remnants were piling up, stomachs were expanding and near-empty wine glasses were lying on their sides exsanguinating like fallen Roman soldiers. I was on my own…
Looking toward where the kitchen should be and began to assess; dishes were piled on the counter like trunks of the mighty Redwoods. Bowls of potatoes and stuffing rolled like vast dunes of the Sahara. On the dinner table I saw all the pies and other confections spearing out into the distance like a sea of sugary sweetness. I felt small, very small. Somewhere among the debris there was a sink for washing everything and a refrigerator to put everything away.
I donned my rubber gloves, strapped on my welders goggles, belted on my back mounted soap dispenser and unsheathed my scrub brush. Arching my eyebrow, I said a small prayer and went in…
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I started the car and everyone piled in behind me. All the small rabbits bear cubs, spiders, mice, rats, a vertically challenged giraffe and rather small elephant. It looked like I just robbed a concession stand at an arcade.
“Where we goin’?” asked the rabbit.
“Off to get the Thanksgiving turkey.” I replied.
There was a collective, “Oooooh” from the back seat. The crew never had a proper Thanksgiving dinner and since they’ve slowly been finding their way into my house ever since the marshmallow incident I figured the least I could do is be a good host. I mean, where else were they all going to go?
“Where do we get a turkey?” asked one particularly reserved spider. He was one of the only ones who chose not to wear a costume on Halloween insisting he was Holiday Appropriate just as he was.
“Well, we go to the butcher and get one there. They have them frozen and fresh killed.”
There was the silence of an inky black night coming from the back seat.
The giraffe craned his neck to reach the front. “What does it mean, “fresh killed”?”
This was going to be a problem.
“Well, um….it means…um....there’s a turkey and the farmer has an…” I had nothing. There was a small army of All God’s Creatures in my back seat expecting a feast of epic magnitude and having no understanding as to who the star of the show was. I had the stuffing, the beans, the peas, the carrots, the onion casserole, the potatoes and the yams and all I needed was that succulent juicy turkey to make the day complete.
“So,” said the spider, “we’re going to get a turkey to bring home to have dinner with us? Well that’s very nice of you.”
“Well, no not exactly. You see we go to the butcher and –“
“Who is Butch and is he coming to dinner, too?” asked the elephant.
That Thanksgiving there was a feast of stuffing, beans, peas, carrots, onion casserole, potatoes, yams, two pepperoni pizzas, one calzone, two dozen rice balls and a bill from Vinny’s Pets for a 20lb. bag of seed , chicken wire fencing and one turkey, Phillip, who was very happy to be seated at the table instead of on it.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
And here's the article....
Great (Documentary)You Should Catch: Marwencol
What it’s about: Marwencol is a documentary film about the unusual recovery of Mark Hogencamp, who was viciously beaten outside a bar in Kingston, New York. As a means of dealing with the trauma, Mr. Hogancamp created a detailed 1/6 scale World War II-era town called Marwencol in his yard which he populated with military-style dolls that represent himself and the people in his life. The town serves as an escape from the war for Mr. Hogancamp’s character, Mark and an escape from reality for Mr. Hogancamp who exorcises his demons by playing out various conflict scenarios with the dolls. His world is so precise, so thick with narrative and a strong back story that you’d think you were watching a film maker fleshing out his storyboards.
Sometime during the evolution of Marwencol, Mr. Hogencamp began photographing the scenes he created. While it is obvious the figures in the shots are dolls, the set up of each shot is so precise that it could be mistaken for a photograph of an historical reenactment.
Mr. Hogancamp’s personal story plays out much like a non-documentary. The reason for the attack that served as the progenitor of Marwencol isn’t revealed at the beginning. The story unfolds as the film progresses but in truth, I was so taken with the immaculate details of the dolls, the town and the story Mr. Hogancamp created that I almost forgot about the Why.
Who made it: Marwencol is the debut directorial effort of Jeff Malmberg.
Why you should see this: Mr. Hogancamp’s story is very compelling and told with tenderness and care. He isn’t necessarily acting out with his dolls as much as he is actually living in their world. The doll is his alter ego placed in an alternate reality that enables him to maintain his sanity.
If you have any interest in art, models and miniatures you will love this film. Mr.Hogancamp’s artistic talents are considerable. For art buffs, WWII buffs and documentary buffs Marwencol is a must. If you can appreciate the journey the mind can take toward healing, Marwencol is a must.
Technical Stuff: The film was shot over a four year period between 2006 and 21010 and released in limited theatrical run in 2010.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Colorful costumes were everywhere. The rabbits, bears, bats, ghosts, mini elephants, penguins and spiders were decked out as everything from swashbucklers to Phantoms of the Opera. There were sashes, masks, vegetable weaponry and the occasional mini-phaser.
The marshmallows all dressed as Zorro. The wheel of cheese had a Jason mask and a cheese knife. The cats were in hiding because the marshmallows all tried to ride them like horses. They were yelling things in Spanish while brandishing little toothpick swords. They were having so much fun I hadn’t the heart to tell them they didn’t know Spanish. It was just a bunch of words they picked up being so close to the Goya section in the market. But they were also close to the Japanese section so what they were yelling was something that sounded like a bunch a chipmunk Antonio Banderas’ ordering sushi in a very romantic way.
There was popcorn and candy corn, bubble gum and apples. “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” had been playing all day and now that night was creeping up, they switched to Zombies, vampires and space squid. Root beer was flowing, candles were burning and spirits were about. The house was bathed in an orange glow and somewhere an organ played while a wolf howled in the night. Children were coming and going with tricks and treats.
There was a chill in the air and the smell of wood smoke. As the evening went on they all huddled together to watch movies until the inevitable mass nap took hold.
Friends don't let friends watch scary movies alone...
Happy Halloween everyone from the inside of my head to yours...
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Movies that robbed me of hours of my life: 30 Days of Night.
Serafini here, continuing my study of Halloween-style films to get your fur all a rising. This episode’s experiment was 2007’s 30 Days of Night. I was looking forward to this for a few scares. I wish I could say it was great. Hell, I wish I could say it was good. Watching it felt more like 30 Days of My Life.
What’s It About?: Every year the town of Barrow, Alaska the northern most town in the United States experiences, um, 30 days of night. Many townspeople leave because they can’t handle it. Those that remain pride themselves on their thick skin. A Renfield-type character shows up as a harbinger of the carnage to come. Shortly thereafter, a horde of UV light-phobic vampires descend upon the snowy outpost town after coming to the conclusion that, once cut off from the world, Barrow would serve as a month-long buffet orgy of blood. And it took them centuries to realize this. Carnage ensues in a way that makes CGI geeks all weak in the knees.
The film breaks down into the age-old format of pitting a group of survivors we don’t care about against either one monster (Alien) or several (um, Aliens)and slamming popcorn while the factions duke it out.
The setting and even some of the initial story set up is reminiscent of Outpost 31 in John Carpenter’s masterwork, The Thing (yes, I said masterwork. Because it is.) Then it all falls apart.
Who’s In It?: The group we got stuck with is led by the Sheriff (Josh Hartnett) and is estranged wife (Melissa George) who take charge by constantly trying to figure out where to go and what to do. At first the group tries to figure out who the invaders are. The next question that comes up again and again is how to kill them since they seem to be invulnerable to everything (except cutting them in half with heavy equipment, running them over, crushing them, getting a clean head shot or decapitating them with an axe). Despite all that, they never seem to definitively settle on a method. The second great hole in the film comes when the Sheriff goes into action and proclaims to his band of bug-hunt fodder, “We have two things going for us here, we know the town and we have the cold. We live up here because no one else can.” These two strategic revelations never figure into the film again. The vampires seem to have no problems with navigation and most are dressed for spring casual, sundresses and all while our heroes are lumbering about in parkas.
Now let’s talk about the vampires. They look like rejects from a Euro electronic band with their leader, played by Danny Huston constantly spouting either A. the obvious or B. philosophical clichés as if to let the audience know the older guy in the business casual is the old and wizened leader. Though they understand English, their spoken language seems a jarring mix of Klingon and a fax machine. The subtitles are a great help since you don’t want to miss any of the self absorbed gems uttered by the leader.
Why It Sucked: I could go on all day about this but I will leave it at the climax without spoiling the action for you. I really wanted to see some kind of great finish here. The Sherriff and his band of dwindling survivors have endured the entire month of carnage. All they have to do is wait it out an hour or two and the sun comes up. The vampires up the ante by taking a particular course of action that could have been countered by countless measures. Instead, the Sherriff chooses the dumbest one he could come up with and uses it to a predictable and incomplete extent.
In Summary: If you don’t care much for a strong script and a tight plot and if you like your vampires toothy and numerous and you blood copiously flowing then this one is for you. There is nothing atmospheric or chilling here, it’s an out and out modern gore-fest. I’d go so far as to say you could watch it with the sound off and you’ll still love it.
What Can It be Compared To: It wants desperately to be The Thing or 28 Days Later. Not as gratuitous as Saw.
What’s a Polar Opposite?: Anything with a plot that makes sense within the world of the story.
Though this film did a good box office and the reviews were much better than mine, I’d still set the Lame-o-meter on High.