25 April 2010

Things I Liked Last Week 042510

01: MOJO 198, May 2010: By far the best general interest, all-purpose music magazine in an era when the magazine is dead, MOJO is one of those rarest of magazines - still worth buying at the newstand. The current issue features a Paul Weller cover story, a deep look at Lowell George, a satisfying interview with Steve Albini, and the How To Buy column focuses on Frank Zappa this month, and while I disagree strongly with the ranking, any Zappa love is greasy goodness, and MOJO has loved Frank alot over the years. All in all, a particularly outstanding issue of a magazine that never disappoints.

02: Granada TV's Sherlock Holmes: I'm one of those Sherlock Holmes freaks that believes Jeremy Brett's portrayal of the illustrious detective is the best ever and for all time. Brett captures the bitchiness of the Holmes character, his restlessness and impatience, and plays those traits for all their worth. The Holmes we get here isn't always the most likeable of fellows, but it's a brave and faithful portrayal, I believe (he does cocaine!), and Brett makes us love the flawed man anyways. There are detractors of this version of Sherlock Holmes, of course, and they've called Brett's performance heavyhanded, ham-fisted, and the like, but I like the brashness of it all. Holmes as a drama queen. Holmes as diva, not to mention his dear Watson. And if you can't get with all that, there are still the stories themselves, and sets and locations that are quite good for a television production. Anyways, I've got the complete series on DVD, and this past week I started watching again from the very beginning, and will go through it all, all 12 discs, however long that takes. And then a year or two later, I'll start all over again at the beginning, just like road construction up and down the East Wash corridor.

03: The Informant!: Director Steve Soderbergh has made a very engaging and funny film (one might say Coenesque) about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland in the 1990's and the whistleblower who tries to take 'em down, as played with a fine, nimble touch by Matt Damon. From the very start, we see that there's something peculiar about Mark Whitacre, as nice and likeable as he seems to be, and as the film progresses, the man simply unravels, oftentimes to absurd levels. He's seen to be a bit dumb and delusional, and it would seem a big fat liar (his delusions turned outward), but he's a genuinely nice and personable guy, and Damon makes us like him and keep on liking him, even as he fucks up over and over and over again, even as he creates spy games real and imagined, and both with heavy consequences Whitacre is all but oblivious to. Aside from Damon's excellent performance (Oscar-worthy, really), Soderbergh gets Marvin Hamlisch to do the film's score, and the music is the kind of music hall and ragtime stuff you might expect in a silent film perhaps, but works quite wonderfully here because it makes Whitacre's words and deeds just that much more comical and absurd, and the long line of lawyers and cops and accountants that he dupes looks like a bumbling collection of clowns in cheap grey suits.

04: Bunny Tracks Ice Cream: "Blue Bunny's signature flavor wins everybody over! This creamy vanilla ice cream comes loaded with plenty of your favorite goodies - chocolate-covered peanuts, peanut butter-filled chocolate bunnies, a thick chocolate fudge ribbon and a peanut butter caramel ribbon for a delicious ice cream treat!"

05: Final Draft 7: This past week I changed the working title of the screenplay I've been writing and re-writing in spurts for the past several years. The titular character is now named Scott instead of Todd, and the new title is The Legend Of Warlord Scott. Final Draft made it quick and painless to make the needed changes throughout the 11 completed scenes I've got right now in this latest version. Anyways, Scott is now the fourth name of the warlord in the history of this script, and it probably won't be the last. Ultimately, it has to be a name that was popular for 20 year old dudes in the 1980's and yet isn't a too-obvious homage/rip-off of Life Of Brian.06: Echo & The Bunnymen: "Never Stop" [mp3]: Another note about Warlord Scott - This song has found its way onto the "unofficial soundtrack" that I listen to while working on the script. It's a great song, and considering the story is set in 1984-85, I think it really captures a certain kind of sound and song that has come to generally represent the 80's two decades later - notably that big, bombastic drum sound - the gated synth snares and all that. Elsewhere, the song has synthetic strings offering propulsive stabs, a thin white metallic guitar splashing a bit of color here and there, plus a xylophone and congas. Add Ian McCulloch's dramatic voice and it's very much a song unmistakably of it's era. Stop.

07: Sydney The Shark: You are a shark. You swim and you dive and you leap in and out of the water and you eat anything and everything that crosses your path. You eat killer whales with three easy bites. You eat packs of dolphins scuba divers with less. You breach the surface and come crashing down on pirate ships and jet-skis and motorboats and yachts and helicopters...ETC... Everything explodes or gets eaten. You pull a jumbo jet out of the sky. That explodes too. This game is LOUD and FRENZIED with a bigger kick (and more reddish-brown liquid) than 128 ounces of Cherry Coke. You've been warned.

Hotcha! Hank

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Blogger Jas C said...

Hello Hank,
My name is Jasmine and i have quick question to ask you about your blog. No worries, I am no spammer. Just have a harmless question.

Please email me, crossjas@gmail.com.


April 29, 2010 8:34 AM  

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