Sunday, December 22, 2013

TEN Presents /// DONALD PLEASENCE THEATER Episode 1: Wake In Fright (1971)


1. Movies from 68-75. No cell phones. No computers. Story not spectacle. No technology to bail you out.  In the 70s, my parents were struggling newlyweds. Vietnam and hippies and civil rights. Look at the America in Two Lane Blacktop. It's another freaking world. And in the 70s, Donald Pleasence was still acting. As it should be. Something is broken now that D-Plez is gone. 

2. D-Plez. Loomis. Blofeld. The name above the title on Halloween movies. His death in Fantastic Voyage. His Presidential flip out in Escape from New York. But here: raw, manic, pathetic. Stealing every scene. But real. He exists, and you know him.  

3. The setting. Small country towns in the Australian outback. So many little details, the sun so brutal, the dust and rocks and dried out brush. The people's faces so weather beaten and mad, their heads baking in the furnace. You are trapped in this movie.

4. Our main character. School teacher that hates teaching. Better than everyone he meets. Condescending smirk. Feels trapped by circumstance. Unlikable but relatable.  

5. A horror movie about identity. Are we who we say we are or who we are told to be? If given permission, would we be different? I could be a monster, inhuman and sick, if given the right context. Existential terror, the best kind.

6. No one wants to hurt our hero. He is his own monster. The antagonists are nothing but nice and genuine and generous.  

7. The townspeople are wild rednecks who live on this moon base with nothing to do but drink beer and hunt kangaroo. A frat party that has been going on for generations. No escape. 

8. Kangaroo hunting shown in vivid detail. Chasing down kangaroo in a beat up jalopy over the scorched earth. Surreal. No cute fat Looney Tune kangaroos here. Instead, starving, hairless, filthy, rat-creatures, slaughtered by drunk rednecks. The movie has a disclaimer, it is all real and shown to bring awareness of their imminent extinction. It works as activism, but you will avert your eyes.

9. Coin flipping. In small towns, the men are crammed into a basements gambling away their money on coin flips. In case you wondered.

10. Ted Kotcheff. The first shot shows that you can lower your guard and trust the filmmaker. Ted was paying attention when he put the movie together. Movies where free to tell stories in ‘71. They didn't have to sell combo meals or be Oscar bait.

SHOWSTOPPER: The opening theme song. It will infect you brains.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vintage Geek

So here are some old Ben Cooper masks and some geeky blips from childhood.

What kid doesn't want the byproduct of a Swedish Satanist's opiate fueled nightmares for Christmas?

What kid doesn't want to dress up like it at Halloween?

Close Encounters T-Shirt

ET Shirt

ET Ben Cooper

Yes, I liked ET. 

Black Hole Lunch Box

Teaching Granddad how to play Atari 2600

6 Million Dollar Midget

Fight Evil
SD


Cookie Baby


Here is Abbie with one of the cookies I made and her big 40oz bottle of milk.

sd

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Hell Mary doodle


Working on a new mini-comic. This one about a killer nun.

Speaking of killer chickens.... rent it now!

SD

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cameron Pics

These are untouched photos Steph found on her phone. Cam got a hold of it and started wandering around. I love it when this happens. I understand if this is only of interest to me.


















chocolate light switch is my favorite
-SD

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ten Random Thoughts on Cosmopolis (2012)



1. Remember when Cronenberg made movies with squishy membranes and creepy twins? Or how about the Cronenberg who makes stuffy art films for film snobs. Remember that guy? Who do we get here? Squishy? Snob? Snob? Squishy?

2. Cosmopolis blew me away.

3. Ya know, I can sit and listen to an interesting monolog all day. I love them. Just watching Breaking Bad the other day, was so happy they gave character actor Jonathan Banks a nice big speech, where usually that guy is allowed to grunt "kill'm" and nothing more. This has AMAZING dialog spans in a style that I really dig. Not realist, but more like train of thought mixed with free association.

4. It would all be a train wreck if it wasn't so dang funny. Laugh out loud funny stuff. This is like a sci-fi comedy horror film. It is really out there. Scenes you just go huh? It is like theater, like really cool theater, so why not make a movie like that.

5. Samantha Morton in this movie just blows the whole thing up. Her character is fantastic.

6. Mr. Sad Eyed Vampire guy is in this, and he is really good. He's the guy who owns the world but has lost all connection to everything. He's a man adrift. I really dug him. No matter what awesome thing is happening, it's like he's a century old vampire again, having gone past happy and sad and hope and despair. He is just a sad view of what people are like now.

7.Cronenberg, like Coscarelli are still making movies like they give a damn. Cronenberg can get too stuffy for me. Spider and A Dangerous Affair, I couldn't finish, but this was a revelation to me. A new kind of thing.

8. So I was wondering where I had heard this POV before then saw in the credits that this was based on a Don Dellilo novel, and I ain't going to lie, I felt really smart for reading White Noise years back. I'm petty, so I ran into my closet and put on my tweed jacket with patches and started smoking a pipe.

9. Pastry Assassin Guy has just the greatest scene ever, watch the photographers around him, having the time of their lives. This movie is pretty loose and playful, stylish like a music video, and just super funny. It is like other Cronenberg movies, like Existenz, where you have a pretty good movie punctuated by amazing scenes.

10. Paul Giamatti is in this. That's what made me watch it. I had no interest in seeing a movie with Twilight boy riding around in a limo for the whole movie. But I heard that the carrot I'd get is a long scene with Giamatti playing a psycho. And he's great! He's got a towel on his head! What more do you need? You people are impossible.

OPENING CREDITS - Arty and cool. Snap your fingers daddy-o.

SHOW STOPPER - Besides Pastry Assassin Guy, the music here is really cool. It's Howard Shore collaborating with Metric. Go Canada!

If you want to see a flick just like Cosmopolis, but with a killer chicken... click here!

SD


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Geek Virus is taking hold! Bwahahaha!

Hey Internet Planet!

So here's the deal, a few milestones in the whole Cameron thing.

Milestone 1: "I want to watch Star Wars" - He came to me and asked, not prompted, he's never shown interest.

Milestone 2: "No more adventure, I'm not going that way" - First Star Wars Quote. He seems to really like C-3P0.

Milestone 3: Wanted to start Empire right after Star Wars."More Star Wars, more outer space!"

Milestone 4: First Star Wars fan art. (it's the Sand Crawler on Tatooine, I'll post later).

So the plan is the shield him from the prequels, like they never happened. The true Star Wars experience is to fall in love with the originals, and in about 15 years I will introduce Episode 1-3.

And on that dark day, he will know what it truly is to be a fan. Bwahahahaha!

It'll be good for him. All idols must crash and burn. It's part of growing up.

sd




Unicorn Diary is a Gooooo!

- things I want to remember about the weekend.

- took kids to White Water. They had a great time. It took me a while to warm up. I felt like a microbe in a petri dish. But then something happened. As I was watching people all crammed into the lazy river and the wave pool, all desperate to have a little fun, I though about how sad and beautiful and ridiculous the human race is. Here we are, on the downward spiral to oblivion, yet we still go out of our way to squeeze a moments levity out of life. I am really a fun guy to be around, if you haven't guessed. Seriously, White Water is like being in a bath house for ex cons.

-people having fun, just the contrived ridiculousness of theme parks gives me hope for humanity

-Great American Adventures was a mini Six Flags made for kids that closed down a few years ago. The park is still there, right next to White Water, so I loved being able to see some abandoned theme park stuff.

-Cameron did not want to share something over the weekend, he was pretending to be a spy and did not want Sarah to also pretend to be a spy, so he tried to block her into a corner with some Rubbermaid stuff, that she skipped right around and it upset him. I said,"You are going to let Sarah be a spy too, do you understand, say you understand!" Cameron said, "I understand that I am going to lock Sarah in the pantry."

-Cam is autistic, and seeing Sarah his sister work with him at White Water, staying with him on the playground and holding his hand and taking him on the slides made me very proud. She is an awesome sister and kid. I get choked up on everything these days. Fatherhood has made me maudlin.

-Lots of really bad tattoos out there. Saw them at White Water. It was like a carnival mixed with a terrible art gallery. I don't have any, but I agree with friends that if you want one, you should research the artist and think about what you are doing before marking yourself up. This was the first time going to White Water since I was a little kid, and people look so different now than they did in the 80s. Everyone had tattoos. It was like hepatitis planet. The world is becoming more and more like a carnival everyday. Anyway, I saw a lot off really terrible tattoos, my kids draw better than some of the junk I saw. The worst was the lady with song lyrics written all over her ribs. Second place was the grim reaper on this guy's back that looked like something an 8th grader would have scribbled while daydreaming in Algebra class. I'm judgmental!

- South Atlanta Comic Con. I got cornered by a dude in a walker, and we started talking the new superman movie, and he quickly brought up how there were no red underoos this time and that the darker suit made the crotch stand out too much. That's why I go to conventions. Awesome conversations. I did speak with some cool folks making their own comixs, talked some shop and found a cheap cheap place that prints comics that look amazing. Note to self.

- I got a cool print for buying an artist some Wendy's.

- Mike Pedrotti is selling toys at conventions now. I brought him some comics to sell. I am getting rid of stuff, liquidating assets for a rainy day. We are looking at working a Day of the Dead booth next year.

- hanging out and watching movies with my niece Kay. That was cool, we watched a zombie movie called Warm Bodies.

- Cameron loves angry birds, he loves showing me how to win the levels. He also loves laughing when I mess up.

- Sarah and I love Adventure Time. We all laid in bed and watched our favorite episode last night, the one where they create Neptr, the pie throwing robot.



- Abbie now will run up and hit you when she wants to be picked up. She will hit me and grab my shirt and then start trying to jump, more like bouncing on her feet. She says a loot of words now, and is very huggy.

- Stephanie bought me some sharpies and composition books and set them in the car for me this morning, just because. Love that Woman!

- Mike Jackson and I are gearing up to sell some mini comixs at the next South Side convention.

- Clown Versus Monkey, gotta get back on it. Part 4. I just don't have a deadline pushing me this month.

SD

Sunday, July 14, 2013

South Atlanta Comic Con



Really had a great ime checking out the booths today, and got a great deal on this Chucky print. One day I will have a Geek Layer in which to hang it!

sd

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ten Random Ramblings: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters


Mood Disclaimer: it's Friday, I'm off, had a sandwich, my one year old sleeping in my arm crook, pretty good mood i must say.

1. Gemma Arterton as Gretel gives a great performance. Renner was on "check please" mode

2. Famke Janssen makes a great evil witch.

3. This is a movie about make up effects and fight choreography.

4. Edward the Troll was a great throwback rubber monster.

5. The gathering of the witches had some neat witch designs. Best part of the movie really, a lot of theme witches.

6. I liked the recreation of the old fairy tale at the beginning. Especially the design of the candy house.

7. Tommy Wirkola, the director who did Dead Snow, is a total geek, making geek bait. He is out having a good time and makes "wouldn't it be gnarly if..." movies.

8. Peter Stormare is in this being a jerk, that's reason enough to check it out.

9. Blood and guts, especially when Edward Troll attacks. Serious unrated Lord of the Rings shenanigans.

10. The witches fly around on limbs, and it is great. It brings fond memories of speeder bikes.

SHOWSTOPPER - Blessing the weapons.

How are the credits - total awesome, a three dimensional look into old woodcut medieval artwork. The end credits has nice witchy goth rock on top of blood and guts mixed with freaky witch hunting weaponry.

Final: Don't want to oversell this, it is just fun stuff, not going to hit your top ten of all time, bit it is what every sci-fi original strives to be.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ten Ramblings on MAN OF STEEL!


1. Let me just get this out of the way. Your eyes are going to blow up. Krypton! I am so used to seeing the big snow globe from ‘79 ! I was not prepared for the imagination overdrive on display during the opening of this movie. Where else is there to go now that you just got three movies worth of awesome in thirty minutes? Well, Man of Steel is just getting warmed up. You still have two more incredible hours coming. Do not leave your chair. You will miss something great. Sure, it is all CG overload , but at its highest level. When people say CG is ruining movies, they prob mean stuff like this, but I was enamored by the big big hugeness going on all over the screen. I mean, who doesn't like a parade sometimes?

2. Pacing! This big epic movie pulls you in then straps you down then whips you around at warp speed all over the theater. It is 2.5 hours but it felt 30 minutes long.

3. Product placement. They must have said, yes we will put your product in the movie, but it will be crushed, smushed, burned, and pulverized. Thanks for the check.

4. This is all the stuff you love about the past Super Movies all blended together and distilled into one concentrated bullet to your head. We have Part 1’s origin, and Part 2’s bad guys, and the good scene from Returns. We just needed the Robo-Hag from 3 and maybe a John Cryer cameo. This is the best of them, but all built on the foundation that Donner put down. Take Part 1 and Part 2 and then crank them up on nuclear powered steroids, then set them on fire and push them off a cliff into a pit of poisonous vipers. That is what this movie is all about.

5. I walked in just hoping it wouldn't be about real estate again. As my friend pointed out, it is, but you will not be disappointed.

6. Costner is great, a bit of a stickler for his “don’t let anyone see Clark use his powers” rule, but we all know Movie-Costner never backs down on principle.

7. I love Michael Shannon, lisp of evil and all. You don’t want Zod mad at you. He is all forehead and bulging veins.

8. The guy playing Superman is a mannequin. Not terrible, just, I felt for him because of all the great origin scenes and great actors reacting to him. He did project a decent farmboy trying to do the right thing vibe. Reeve’s performance felt more relatable, like Superman was a real guy Three dimensional. Whatever, it was still cool.

9. Snyder is pretty awesome, he is also as subtle as a jackhammer on rollerskates. He is the master of overkill. He does everything with such enthusiasm you don’t really care that he is pushing your head under the water. He’s like what Stephen Sommers would be is Stephen Sommer’s wasn't a robot. There is some unintentional humor here due to Snyder’s insistence that everything has to be underlined, highlighted, and circled. Not complaining, he is a great director, it’s just his nature. I laughed, cried, and cheered and was totally with this movie all the way. Saying that a Superman movie directed by Zack Snyder for a big summer release was not a subtle piece of filmmaking is like, well, did you hear that water is wet? I’ll shut up now.

10. For a while now we have been living in post Noland Batman world. But let's be real, Avengers was a game changer and the transcendent glow it gave me was like childhood's second chance. I look forward to summer movies again because of Avengers. Now, with that out in the open, Man of Steel gave me the first total immersion I've had since. This will be the summer movie to beat. It will make all the money. We will see sequels and spin offs and maybe a decent Justice League movie come out of this. The audience gave wild applause when the credits hit. I was with them. I will see this at least two more times. Once to catch it in 3D IMAX, and later just to wallow in its grandeur.

Show Stopper - Evil. Space. Woman.

How are the credits?- nothing to report, white on black titles, and no stinger at the end. The audience that stuck around all groaned when the lights went up. Marvel movies have spoiled us. I was thinking how mad I would be to have worked on this and to have blown the audience's mind for two and a half hours only to have them whine because I didn’t toss in a thirty second villain cameo at the end.
Man of Steel, speechless. That is going to make all the money.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tow truck came this morning,they let Cam sit in truck and control the winch, he was really excited.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Cam Walk 01

Cameron and I want for a walk and I told him to take cool pics. I then casio'd the heck out of them on pixlr.

But I like'm.










Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Directors from 2000 on up plus one!

Is there anyone out there that I think is awesome today? Someone who didn't make a name for themselves making 1970s horror films. Here's what I came up with....


1. Chan-wook Park - This guy can do no wrong, he is a super freak.


2. Ryƻhei Kitamura - Give me a Versus, Godzilla: Final Wars, Midnight Meat Train triple feature any day of the week. This man is a rock star!


3. Alexander Payne - Election and About Schmidt are awesome. I feel jealous when I watch his movies.


4. Edgar Wright - One of those super geniuses, hate him.


5. Joss Whedon - Didn't really care until last year. Buffy never got me. Firefly got me interested. Avengers blew my mind.


6. Hayao Miyazaki - The imagination rampage in this dude's movies is insane. It's an insult to call it anime.


7. Michel Gondry - Man, I hate this guy. Eternal Sunshine just made me too mad to think.


8. Paul Thomas Anderson - Sure, I couldn't make it through The Master, but if Punch Drunk Love was playing on an endless loop on my TV, that'd be okay.


9. Brad Anderson - he's had some recent missteps, maybe going too mainstream. But Session 9 is wonderful, and Transiberian i watched then watched it again right after. He's a tie with Scott Derrickson, who makes really pretty movies.

10. Neil Marshall - Doomsday was the best time at the movies. The Descent (original cut) is the ultimate. This man is the mega mega. I will follow him to HELL!

11. Jim Mickle - He makes quiet textured little movies. They have strong characters and powerful scares. Mulberrry Street had me up and cheering, and that doesn't happen too often.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ten Random Thoughts on Day of the Dead (1985)


Mood Disclaimer: Good mood, saw this at the Plaza as part of the Splatter Cinema series. A very nice sized crowd came out, much bigger than Event Horizon. Shocker!

1. I have seen this movie one million times. But never in a theater. I was nervous. What if it didn't hold up? What if I am just too fried now to enjoy the obsessions of my childhood? Thank god this movie still "does it for me".

2. I always ranked this one right behind Night '68. Nothing can topple Night. It's a monster and iconic and the bottle that launched a million ships. It is impossible to imagine life with out NOTLD. But Day was always second. Now, having seen it big, maybe Dawn is better. Just because it has more boom bang. But I don't know, this movie still effects me in ways Dawn doesn't. Dawn is scarier. Day is just a freakish little story that gets under my skin.

3. MoFo Joe Pilato as Captain Rhodes is one of those force of nature performances that cranks this movie up all the way and blows out the windows. He is a tsunami of rage and frustration and maybe the single most electrifying performance in all the Dead movies. Take every John Wayne, Elvis Presley,  Eisenhower Military Industrial Complex stereo type and throw in some Baptist Fundamental Preacher and bake in a meth lab for 100 years and you have Captain Rhodes.

4. They knew they had no money on this one, so all the bing bang pow isn't from big action set pieces with lots of coverage and a cast of thousands, that stuff takes time and money. It's the performances that create the spectacle here. We are talking a cast of Jack Nicholsons from the last 20 minutes of The Shining. It all is pretty broad, like a really amped up vulgar cartoon. So that maybe why this one was more accessible for me growing up. Who knows, maybe when I'm old and grey I may like Survival of the Dead (haha).

5. Zombies are just people, the masses. They must be controlled and governed or eliminated. The scenes where the scientists and military are sitting around talking about what to do about us, um, I mean the zombies, well, I bet it happens all the time. Maybe we can gas them so they'll be nice to us and let us do what we want! Romero often says that zombies are the new order taking over. They are benign, not really evil or anything. I love how if it wasn't for the insane remnants of the old society, everything would be peace and love on planet earth. Zombies just want to hang out. They leave a zero environmental footprint. Romero is such a dirty hippy.

6. People complain that there is no one to root for in this one. And the problem is that Romero is a dirty hippy that sees society as broken, the old structures and bureaucracies as pointless, so sure, he's not going to make people representing that world very likable. If you are going to root for someone, root for Bub. Bub is the hero of this movie. He's the only one that goes through any kind of change. Bub is like an adorable innocent corpse who takes down the establishment. Dirty Hippy. At the screening, the audience poured love on Bub. The scene where he finds his dead dad was great on TV, but with an empathetic theater audience it was the best scene in the movie. Howard Sherman should have won an Oscar. The Dead movies are never on the side of the humans. It's like 2001, where by the end of the movie the only relateable character is a computer.

7. So what struck me this time seeing it, no longer being 13 and staying up until 2am to catch it, was how much I saw this as being about conflicting parenting styles. On one side you have the bully Captain Rhodes who wants to intimidate people into doing his will. And I get it, I've looked at my kids with that same manic frustration, felt that blood boil when they've knocked down my house of cards and won't conform to my dogma. I've had my Rhodes days certainly.

8. One the other side you have the calm, patient, intellectual Dr. Logan. He is so good with Bub. He has some of those new "fancy parenting ideas" where you talk to kids like their adults and reason with them and give them little treats when they put on their shoes when you ask them. Of coarse Rhodes sees Logan as being nuts. Replace "zombies" with "kids" and you will see the same shrill conversations going on right now on parenting message boards.Permissible parenting is going bring down the world vs spanking is for neanderthals. I don't think Romero is a spanker judging from this movie.

9. The other stand out performance is Tim Deleo as Miguel, the shattered dude who is not keeping it together. This freak is the love interest for our heroine?  Wha? That shows you how this movie doesn't play by the rules. The relationships are as dysfunctional and as poisonous as everything else the humans do. Try to find a positive portrait of a couple in these dead movies. Well, there is Tom and Judy in NOTLD. Yeah, that worked out pretty well for them didn't it.

10. This is the last independent movie Romero made in Pittsburgh. After this he has the half movie Two Evil Eyes, and then it was studio funding with Monkey Shines and Dark Half. After that he was snarled up in Hollywood politics for almost a decade. When there is no more room in development hell, the dead will go to Canada. And that is what happened. It's sad, but Romero could no longer get funding for movies here in the states. It became too expensive to shoot in Pittsburgh, so starting in 2000 with Bruiser, he has been doing all his stuff in the Great White North. It's a shame. At least he is independent again.

BONUS - I never noticed the Uzis on the gun rack in the little trailer home, that made me laugh.

SHOWSTOPPER - Rhodes, everytime he is on screen this movie goes into overdrive. His little marionette dance at the end is cinematic gold.

PAIRS WELL WITH: 12 Angry Men