Monday, February 28, 2011

Day #21,621

Walk km 6690-6706(14,915 to go): to Yaletown Station/(skytrain)/Cambie/Queen Elizabeth park/33rd/James/32nd/Prince Edward/John/28th/Sophia/30th/Prince Edward/30th/Fraser/32nd/33rd/St Catherines/21st/Main/1st/Ontario/Athlete's/seawalk/Cambie bridge/Expo/Abbott/Pender

big bird
aprox km 6704 seawalk @ Athlete's Way

Movie #1591: Punishment Park (1971, Peter Watkins)

Remake of "The Most Dangerous Game" where a bunch of "subversives" are sent out into the desert in order to be tracked down and killed by "the pigs". I don't think they really needed to exaggerate so much in order to get their point across but it did make it more fun to watch.

Movie #1590: Koruto Wa Ore No Pasupoto (1967, Takashi Nomura)

An interesting yakuza/spaghetti western. As you know, the spaghetti western was based on the Japanese samurai movie. So, Nomura brings the cycle around by basing his Japanese yakuza movie on the spaghetti western. Bonus: amazing fake-Morricone music. Minus: the lead actor (the hit man) who has cheeks so puffy he looks like a chipmunk.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day #21,620

Walk km 6688-6690: running errands

Movie #1589: Älskande Par (1964, Mai Zetterling)

Not nearly as much fun as Flicorna. Gotta admit that Mai has a great visual style for a first time director. Highlight is the goofiest wedding in cinematic history.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day #21,619

Walk km 6677-6688 (14,931 to go): Holdom Station to Phibbs Exchange with the Meetup group

two bridges
aprox km 6685 from the Trans Canada Trail

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day #21,618

Walk km 6668-6677: to Chinatown Station/(skytrain)/VCC Clark Station to Rupert Station via Columbia, Clark, John Hendry,Beaconsfield & Falaisse parks

Trout Lake
aprox km 6672 John Hendry Park

Movie #1587: Flickorna (1968, Mai Zetterling)

I saw a Mai Zetterling movie a long time ago where the ending was a house burning down in winter while everyone danced around outside. I thought this might be the one. Nope. I'll have to keep looking for that one.
This one is a battle of the sexes farce. The ideas are all pretty silly but Mai is having a good time with it so it's fun to watch.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day #21,617

Walk km 6657-6668: Spanish Banks to Dunbar Loop with Meetup group

Movie #1586: The Day The Sky Exploded (1958, Paolo Heusch)

Standard outer space flic with no interesting plot twists at all. Dullsville.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day #21,616

Movie #1584: Strange Holiday (1945, Arch Oboler)

One of those patriotic wartime movies made to rally support for the war. It's the usual baloney but this one piles on the ham pretty thick. Claude Rains is on vacation for two weeks: when he returns the country has been taken over by fascists.
The film's message: It could happen here, be prepared to fight for your freedom!
What they forgot: The fascists took over not by an invasion but by a revolution. And they did it all in only two weeks. That means that the population of the USA are all closet fascists just waiting for their chance to take over the government. Doesn't sound like a country like that is worth saving!
Update: it appears that there is quite a story behind this one. Arch was paid by General Motors to make this film. They were going to show it to their employees to get them to work harder. However, they never showed it but instead sold it to MGM. Oboler and Rains then bought it back from MGM and shot new scenes (the GM version was only 30 minutes long).

Movie #1585: Der Freie Wille (2006, Matthias Glasner)

German/Austrian movies certainly do dig deep under those rocks to look for the most screwed-up characters you could possibly find.
Our hero is a serial rapist trying to straighten himself out. Halfway through the movie he finds true love and it looks like he'll finally be become a useful member of society. Wrong. That's when the shit really hits the fan.
Compelling viewing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day #21,615

Walk km 6646-6657 (14,958 to go): to and through Stanley Park

Siwash Rock
aprox km 6650 Stanley Park

Movie #1583: Frankenstein's Daughter (1958, Richard E Cunha)

I'm just not too fond of mad scientist movies.
Frankenstein's grandson decides to follow in the family footsteps but this time he creates a monster using the brain from a female. Why? He claims he can control the female monster easier because females are conditioned to obey orders.
One good scene is when the police spot a woman wearing a bathing suit but with an ugly ("monster") face. What do they do? They start shooting at her. You might get a fair trial if you commit murder but being ugly means instant death!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day #21,614

Walk km 6636-6646: Studen Union/East Mall/16th/Salal Trail/Lily Valley Trail/12th/McDonald/(bus)/Burrard/Robson/Georgia/Abbott/Pender

Salal Trail
aprox km 6639 Pacific Spirit Park

Movie #1582: Takeshis' (2005, Takeshi Kitano)

Surrealism comes to mainstream cinema. Kitano is a huge star in Japan. Star of idiotic Japanese TV shows by day and acclaimed cinema director by night.
Now Kitano has created a full-length surrealist motion picture for his fans. It stars himself in multiple roles and a whole troupe of extra characters playing multiple parts as well and all mixing together in a totally random fantasy of Kitanoisms.
How did the general public like this one? Can't wait to get to IMDB to find out.

Book #368: Humans (1992, Donald E Westlake)

This was a mistake. Someone suggested to Don that he was in a rut and he should write something totally different. So here we have a novel with angels and demons and suchlike. Don shoulda left this sort of thing to Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Don may have been in a rut but it was a darn good rut.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day #21,612

Walk km 6623-6636 (14,976 to go): from Patterson Station to 22nd Street Station with Meetup group

aprox km 6627 bridge over Marine Way

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day #21,611

Walk km 6620-6623: going out to eat

Movie #1580: La donna del fiume (1954, Mario Soldati)

Didn't think I'd ever see this one again. I saw this on late night TV sometime in the 70s. The only difference is that it was in b&w then but in colour now.
The whole thing is quite confusing. Do you need to be Italian to understand this? Sophia Loren says "no" to Rik Battaglia when she really means "yes". Afterwards the "yes" turns into a baby. On hearing the news, Rik shows his joy by shoving Sophia to the ground and walking away. Later on, the baby dies. So, Rik walks up to Sophia at the funeral and everything is lovey-dovey. Huh?
No, I didn't understand the motivation here at all but watching Sophia wade around in the river was worth the 90 minutes spent.

Movie #1581: Five (1951, Arch Oboler)

Another gem amongst the trash. I remember the name Arch Oboler from Andrew Sarris' book "The American Cinema". If a director was mentioned there then they were a name to watch out for. The first two Oboler movies that I've seen were nothing special.
Then there was "Five". Five people find each other after the rest of the world's population has been destroyed by atomic radiation after World War III. They have a chance to start civilization again but unfortunately some of the five begin to act all too human.
Points deducted for using that idiot plot devise where lies are told to people "for their own good" which drives the story to it's conclusion.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day #21,610

Walk km 6601-6607: Smithe/Granville/Drake/Seymour/seawalk/National/Main
Walk km 6607-6620: around downtown Vancouver with the Meetup walking group

wall murals
aprox km 6603 Seymour Street

Movie #1579: She Had To Choose (1934,Ralph Ceder)

This movie starts out great as a gal from Texas drives to Los Angeles and gets a job at a drive-in. They had drive-ins in 1934? I didn't know that. Anyway, it's all light hearted and fun until we have the commonest plot devise known to mankind (people lying to one another "for their own good") at which point it turns into a tragedy. Well, I liked the first half.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day #21,609

Walk km 6590-6594 (15,015 to go): running errands
Walk km 6594-6601 (15,008 to go): Hastings/Semlin/Ferndale/Nanaimo/Turner/Adanac/Cassair/Georgia/Boundary

front yard fulla junk
aprox km 6496 Ferndale Ave

Movie #1578: Fallguy (1962, Dann Harling)

This is the one and only film for director Dann Harling. It looks like Dann thought it would be fun to make a movie. Total "amateur hour" production but they do put their best effort into it. The scene with the newspaper boy and the car radio in the converatable shows just how much these guys were trying. Fun to watch.

Song #36,805: Perpetual Motion (1957, Jascha Heifetz)

Not enough classical music on this blog. Here's Jascha sawing his way through Harry Burleigh's "Perpetual Motion"

Book #367: The Long Road To Baghdad (2008, Lloyd C Gardner)

The only thing wrong with this book is that I've read pretty much all of this before. For that, I cannot blame Mr Gardner. Still, it made for a very slow read.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day #21,608

Walk km 6579-6590: to Yaletown Station/(skytrain + bus)/Dunbar/51st/Southlands bridle path/Pacific Spirit Park/Blanca/Chancellor/Drummond/Fannin/Belmont/Marine

a Chevy truck
aprox km 6580 Dunbar Street

Movie #1576: Teenage Thunder (1957, Paul Helmick)

That's interesting. This movie has almost the same plot as last night's "Hot Rod Girl". They've just got rid of the policeman's character and substituted a father.
The results are pretty much the same: lamebrain plot with lots of cool rods.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day #21,607

Walk km 6566-6579 (15.028 to go): around Stanley Park

Movie #1575: Hot Rod Girl (1956, Leslie Martinson)

Not a bad picture. The plot is useless but the main attraction here is the California youth culture. This would be the same stuff that the Wilson boys were watching that inspired them to become the Beach Boys. On the soundtrack we have no rock'n'roll: instead we have Bud Shank, Barney Kessel, Maynard Ferguson and other west coast jazzbos. And to top it off, the cop is played by Dodgers second baseman, Chuck Connors.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day #21,606

Walk km 6557-6566 (15,040 to go): University/Allison/Chancellor/Pacific Spirit Park/ beach path/Sasamat/Belmont/Marine/Discovery/Locarno/8th/Broadway

Movie #1574: High Lonesome (1950,Alan Le May)

This is a strange one. A 1950 western shot in colour. A colour western would be fairly rare around that time. Who could be the star? John Wayne? Jimmy Stewart? Gary Cooper? John Barrymore Jr? Yup, John Barrymore Jr. And the strangest thing is: John Barrymore Jr can't act. The best he can do is a grimace which seems to be on his face pretty much all the time. So why did someone put up a lot of money to make this film in colour and pick a guy who can't act? I'll have to check with IMDB.
The movie itself ain't so bad. It's colourful. Maybe the dialogue ain't so good but the plot is pretty good. Not a bad movie and watching the horrid Barrymore Jr does add interest.

Song #36,747: Goin' Steady (Faron Young, 1952)
The star of "Raiders Of Old California" could sing a bit too.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day #21,605

Walk km 6550-6557 (15,049 to go): Holdom Station to Confederation Park

Movie #1573: Raiders Of Old California (1957, Albert C Gannaway)

It's that rarest of all movies, the Faron Young western. And amazingly, Faron actually does quite well in it. It's obvious he knows his way around a horse. He may not be Spencer Tracey but he does a fine job.
Also in the cast is fellow country&western star Marty Robbins, Douglas "father of Kim" Fowley and Lee "the Bad" VanCleef.
Mr Gannaway also brings a few nice touches to the movie including some fine tracking shots at the beginning.
The only thing negative about this movie is the amazingly stupid ending.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day #21,604

Walk km 6542-6546: to Waterfront Station/(skytrain)/Main/Dunsmuir/Abbott/Pender
Walk km 6546-6550 (15,054 to go): Burrard/seawalk/Denman

a skytrain
aprox km 6545 from Dunsmuir overpass

Movie #1572: Ask A Policeman (1939, Marcel Varnel)

British comedy of a Keystone Kops type with 3 bumbling policemen. Mildly amusing only. Kinda hard to understand all the dialogue due to the actors having strange accents.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day #21,603

Walk km 6531-6542: from UBC Loop to Dunbar Loop via Belmont Ave

Meetup group members
aprox km 6532 Wycliffe Road

Movie #1571: Uptown New York (1932, Victor Schertzinger)

Pretty decent drama with one big plus: the "bad guy" ain't so bad after all. Usually, they set these things up as strickly black and white so that you can cheer for the good guy and hiss at the bad guy. It's not too often that the bad guy turns out to be a pretty good egg himself.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day #21,602

Walk km 6519-6531 (15,071 to go): around Burnaby Lake with the Meetup group

Movie #1569: The Inner Circle (1946, Philip Ford)

Run-of-the-mill mystery with a few snippets of amusing dialogue.

Movie #1570: Crossing The Bridge (2005, Fatih Akin)

Documentary about the music of Turkey. Not really for learning anything about Turkish music. More just a travelogue of music.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day #21,601

Walk km 6509-6519: Holdom/Curtis/Fell/Hastings/Trans Canada Trail/Yale/Bridgeway/McGill

railroad bridge
aprox km 6517 from the Trans Canada Trail

Song #36,632: Everything I Own (197x, Ken Boothe)

With my last 49 cents I downloaded this 70s cover tune done reggae style. I had to look up who originally recorded this one (it was Bread). The entire 70s radio experience might have been better if everything was done up reggae style.

Movie #1568: Law Of The Lash (1947, Ray Taylor)

So that was Lash LaRue. I'd heard tell of a cowboy star that used a whip instead of a 6-gun. Well, he does use the whip on occasion but he still has his 6-guns to do the heavy lifting.
One weird moment in an otherwise pretty pedestrian western is when one of the bad guys does a voice-over. I don't think I've ever heard of voice-over being used in a western.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day #21,600

Walk km 6499-6509: to Waterfront Station/SeaBus/Carrie Cates/Lonsdale/Esplanade/Low Level/Cotton/Main/TransCanada/Hastings

Burrard Inlet & downtown Vancouver
aprox km 6501 from the SeaBus

Song #35,630: Smacking Down On Funny Farm (2011, Thirteen)

This is the B-Side of their Colour Shoot single (released today!). A like the groove.

Movie #1567: Rocketship X-M (1950, Kurt Neumann)

Osa finally gives in to the charms of Lloyd Bridges

It's an Osa Massen double feature. Watched this one on YouTube (crazedigitalmovies3) and the picture was outstanding. However, due to picture quality it was rather jerky and the audio & video went out of synch.
The movie itself was just standard pre-mid50s si-fi. Nothing strange happens and it's a bit on the dull side. Osa tries her best but in the end she has to agree that women shouldn't be chemists - they should be housewives.

Movie #1566: Million Dollar Weekend (1948, Gene Raymond)

A likeable entertainment. It has a few pluses: 1) Raymond adds a few nice visual touches and 2) Osa Massen is excellent as the femme fatale/love interest.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day #21,599

Walk km 6487-6499: Patterson Station to Marine Drive Station

Meetup group members
aprox km 6492 along Kerr Street

Movie #rewatch: The Violent Years (1956, William Morgan)

that poor man - he is about to endure a fate worse than death

All you need to know: screenplay by Ed Wood.
There are two scenes that put this movie in the hall of fame:
1) Four delinquent teenage girls attack a couple who are kissing in a car. They tie up the woman and march the guy into the bushes at gunpoint. We find out later what this man had to endure when the ringleader of this gang of teen girls starts to have "stomach cramps".
2) The judges monologues. Ed Wood of course was a moron and his dialogue is pretty awful but when spoken by a bunch of hoodlums it kinda makes sense. But when a judge starts spouting a bunch of Ed's idiotic nonsense, hilarity ensues.
Two minuses: bad print quality and 56 minutes instead of the original 65.

What's new in Memphis?
Memphis was hot 55 years ago (Elvis). 45 years ago, organ was king in Memphis (Booker T & The MGs). Elvis isn't back but that organ sound is. Here are Memphis soul/jazz/funk organ trio The City Champs as well as Memphis vocalist Maggie Louie whose backing band here has a nice organ sound.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day #21.598

Walk km 6479-6482: to Army&Navy
Walk km 6482-6487: Central Park/49th/Butler/47th/Doman/Waverley/Rupert/44th/Earles

Movie #1565: It's Love I'm After (1937, Archie Mayo)

Frightfully clever. At first it's a little off-putting because the characters are just props for the dialogue but eventually the sheer volume of the witticisms wins one over. Fun stuff.

So what's Billy been up to?

Back in the early 90s I dedicated one radio show (CHUO at the UofO) each year to Billy Childish and played a bunch of his latest tunes. Have to admit I've slipped behind a bit on keeping track of Billy and his seven zillion different bands. Here's a fairly new one: The Vermin Poets.
We've got a live tune and a track from their LP showing that they still haven't thrown out those old Who albums that they bought when they were youngsters.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day #21,597

Walk km 6469-6479: UBC Loop to Dunbar Loop via Pioneer & Sasamat Trails

winter scene in Pacific Spirit Park
aprox km 6472 Pioneer Trail

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day #21,596

Walk km 6455-6469 (15,127 to go): to Stadium station and then from Patterson Station to Marine Drive Station

Song #36,565: How Long (2011, Charles Bradley)

Another winner from Daptone records. I believe the backing band here is the Menahan Street Band. Charles is 62 years old but is just now making his recording debut. Funk certainly has made a huge comeback in recent years but soul ain't far behind.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day #21,595

Walk km 6444-6446: to Safeway
Walk km 6446-6448: to library & T&T
Walk km 6448-6455: Robson/Denman/Alberni/Tatlow trail/Lees trail/SeaWall/Denman

Stanley Park in winter
aprox km 6452 Lees Trail

Movie #1564: So Long At The Fair (1950, Darnborough & Fisher)

A "Twilight Zone" plot in a period piece. This is quite similar to "Return Of The Whistler". Someone checks into a hotel and the next morning they've disappeared! This plot goes one step farther because the hotel room also disappears.
I'm beginning to think that there were some British movies that weren't just dreary and drab.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day #21,594

Walk km 6436-6444: Granville/41st/Cartier/45th/Montgomery/54th/Selkirk/54th/Oak/55th/Oak/57th/Laurel/58th/Granville/59th/Montcalm/67th/Cartier/Cartier PL/Montcalm/73rd/72nd/Granville

log styled house
aprox km 6441 58th Ave

Movie #1563: Suzie (2009, Micheline Lanctot)

For some reason this movie ran at the wrong speed. At first I thought it was on purpose but when it continued, I stopped it and started it at the beginning. The result: regular speed. That kind of ruined any chance of this movie getting a proper appraisal.
This one brings together two giants of the Quebec cinema. From yesteryear, Micheline Lanctot (in 1972 she was Bernadette!) and Pascale Bussieres. I would watch anything either of these two were in. Together, it's a must see.

Song #36,518: The Killers (à Juan) (Caroline, 2011) appears to be working today so here's that track by Caroline that I wanted to update yesterday. Interesting sound - grabs your attention right away with the 30 second preview. Caroline are from France and their new release contains one CD of original material and one CD of cover tunes (all with references to a "Caroline").

Book #366: Metro Stop Paris (2008, Gregor Dallas)
It's never a good sign of a book's worth when you receive a notice from the library telling you that "time's up". Yes, it took a long time to read this and it wasn't because there was a lot to read.