Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day #21,896

Walk km 9252-9254: to Safeway
Walk km 9254-9265: every block walk: Laurel,42nd,39th,38th,27th,18th

a place to do Christmas shopping
approx km 9265 Cambie @ 18th

Movie #1886: The Yesterday Machine (1963, Russ Marker)

Another Grade-Z sci-fi flick from Nowheresville. Nazi scientist sets up a lab under a Texas cemetary and decides to take over the world by using time travel. Total utter rubbish - which is why it's so much fun. Totally looney tunes.
Director Russ Marker was never allowed to direct again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day #21,895

Walk km 9243-9245: running errands
Walk km 9245-9252: every block walk: 20th @ Dunbar to home

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day #21,894

Walk km 9231-9233 (12,661 to go): to Safeway
Walk km 9233-9243 (12,651 to go): test walk: Upper Lynn Valley to Lonsdale Quay

city street
approx km 9241 Lonsdale Street (North Vancouver)

Movie #1885: The Sun Sets At Dawn (1950, Paul Sloane)

I liked it. There wasn't much skill shown here but it's a noir: my favourite genre. In this one a totally nondescript loser of as fellow if framed for murder and sent to the electric chair. The fact that this character is played by a horribly inept actor kinda fits right in. In the end, the truth comes out and he doesn't fry. Why? God intervenes!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day #21,893

Walk km 9226-9231: every block walk: 13th, 14th, 10th Ave

Movie #1884: Flashing Lights (1978, Jacques Scandelari)

Crappy movies are good in a way: they make you more appreciative of the skill required to make a good movie. But they are also sad: what did Mr Scandelari think when he saw the finished product and realized that he had created 93 minutes of crap? He probably started out with high hopes and thought of himself as a fine director. Very sad.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day #21,892

Walk km 9216-9226 (12,666 to go): Metrotown Station to Rupert Station with Sharon

the Meetup group (Sharon)
approx km 9226 Rupert Station

Movie #1883 Easy Living (1949, Jacques Tourneur)

Hey, another stinker. Last night it was King Vidor and tonight Jacques Tourneur. Both excellent directors but I guess sometimes you just need to put bread on the table.
This was a pretty dull affair until the end. The payoff: we learn that to keep a wife in line you need to slap her around a bit. Oh, I see.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day #21,891

Walk km 9205-9207: to the library
Walk km 9207-9216 (12, 675 to go): test walk: Pacific Spirit Park

Sword Fern trail
approx km 9209 Pacific Spirit Park

Movie #1882: Ruby Gentry (1952, King Vidor)

I got this from the library. After watching "Lightning Strikes Twice" I was all set for another dose of King Vidor.
Ooops! What a stinker. Is this the same King Vidor? I guess so - the final swamp scene is well done but the rest is just plain crap. Avoid.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day #21,890

Walk km 9195-9205: Rupert Station to Metrotown with Sara

Book #400: Calling Out For You (2001, Karin Fossum)

It turns out that "When The Devil Holds The Candle" was no fluke. We've got another major Scandi crime writer on our hands. In this one, a small town is turned upside down when one person decides to do something totally out of character. Gunder decides to fly to India. He might as well have kicked an ant hill. I'm sure most readers will be upset by the ending. Where's the pretty package with the bow on it that will put everything back together? Well, there is no pretty package. It's going to take a while for that ant hill to be rebuilt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day #21,889

Walk km 9191-9195 (12,694 to go): test walk, Wreck Beach

a log over the stairs
approx km 9192 #3 Trail

Movie #1880: Lightning Strikes Twice (1951, King Vidor)

That's Hollywood! When I think of Hollywood, this is the kind of movie I picture in my mind. A woman gets off the Greyhound in a small town. She goes to the hotel to get a room for the night. And then............. Mr Vidor's given name certainly seems apropos.

Movie #1881: Hey! Hey! U.S.A. (1938, Marcel Varnel)

The English have no sense of humour (at least, pre Monty Python). So, watching an English "comedy" can be a dreary business. This one stars a most tedious gentleman named Will Hay. For some strange reason, the English thought that he was funny. That's a laugh!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day #21,888

Walk km 9182-9183: running errands
Walk km 9183-9191: every block walk: 17th, Guelph

Book #399: When The Devil Holds The Candle (1998, Karin Fossum)

In our quest for more Scandi crime we now arrive in Norway. Karin Fossum does not disappoint. There are some hard to believe plot twists that detract from suspension of disbelief but do add to the "page turning" effect as you wait for the next shoe to drop. Good character development. And there are plenty of situations in the lives of the "lucky ones" that kind of mirror what's happening to the less fortunate. The affect is to make us believe that except for a little luck any one of us could have ended up as a character in this book.

Movie #1879: Les Week-Ends D'Un Couple Pervers (1976, Georges Fleury)
There is another genre of movie on the internet that I hadn't tried before: the erotic. Sad to say, I was already looking at the time (when will this end) long before it was over. I know that these films abandoned plots fairly early on in their history but in 1976 there still should have been a story. No, just skin.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day #21,887

Walk km 9173-9182: every block walk: 30th & 31st Ave

street with rain and leaves
approx km 9175 31st Ave

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day #21,886

Walk km 9161-9173 (12,713 to go): in Stanley Park with the Meetup Group

members of the meetup group
approx km 9166 Stanley Park seawall

Movie #1878: The Visitor (2007, Tom McCarthy)

This is another winner for Tom "Station Agent" McCarthy. However, nothing explodes in this movie so I'm sure it wasn't boffo at the box office. 37 credits as an actor but only 3 as a director: I wonder if he makes his money as an actor so that he can direct?
One problem: only an American could make a film where the whole cast is so devastated about the prospect of having to live elsewhere.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day #21,885

Walk km 9152-9154: running errands
Walk km 9154-9161: UBC to Broadway and Alma

snow in the suburbs
approx km 9157 College Highroad

Movie #1876: Maniacts (2001, C W Cressler)

It's a cute slasher movie. Serial killers decide to leave all the killing behind them and start a new life as farmers. Quite entertaining - available free at DailyMotion.

Movie #1877: City Streets (1931, Rouben Mamoulian)

Standard ganster yarn but due to the excellent visual style of Mamoulian (and probably photographer Lee Garmes) this one rates as one of the best of the era.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day #21,884

Walk km 9142-9151 (12,733 to go): very block walk: 11th Ave and Alder
Walk km 9151-9152: to a concert

Book #398: The Invisible Man (1897, H G Wells)

More of interest as a historical object than a novel. I'm sure Stephen King could have done this better. However, in 1897 I doubt that there were too many books about invisible men (or time travellers or men in the moon).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day #21,883

Walk km 9129-9142: from Phibbs Exchange to downtown with Meetup group

Movie Rewatch: Shanghai Express (1932, Josef Von Sternberg)

Marlene always did look spiffy in men's attire

It's been a long time since I saw this one. The main attraction here was the exotic locale as Von Sternberg turns the Paramount backlot into China. The love story plot has it's moments. It's a standard misunderstanding between lovers type except here Marlene explains why she refuses to straighten Clive out: if he can't figure it out himself (or forgive her without figuring it out) then he's not worth having!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day #21,882

Walk km 9122-9129: running errands via Science World

outside of Waterfront Station
approx km 9123 Cordova Street

Movie rewatch: Point Blank (1967, John Boorman)

Since I just finished reading "The Hunter" I thought this would be a good time to watch the movie version. The main thing that Hollywood did here was make this a good guy/bad guy story. The novel is a bad guy/bad guy story. Parker is after "his" money (it's not really his) and he kills a whole stack o' people to get it. Here, they make sure that Lee Marvin's hands are clean. They obviously didn't think that the movie going public was ready for a movie where there are no "good guys".

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day #21,881

Walk km 9111-9122 (12,759 to go): test walk: Metrotown Station to Rupert Station

the top of the 312 steps
approx km 9113 Dover at Royal Oak

Movie #1875: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002, Don Coscarelli)

JFK and Elvis ain't dead. They're spending their last days in a Texas senior's home. The only problem is that an Egyptian mummy is feeding on the seniors so Elvis & JFK must team up to destroy this hyroglifics writin' monster.
Almost any other plot option would have to be better than this mummy bit. Still, you could tell that there was some talent behind this one. And a few of the lines were funny too. Just not enough.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day #21,880

Walk km 9099-9101: to Safeway
Walk km 9101-9111: test walk: Rupert Station to Metrotown Station

overpass across Kingsway
approx km 9110 near Metrotown

Book #397: The Hunter (1962, Donald "Richard Stark" E Westlake)

This is the first of the Parker novels by Donald E Westlake and since I've read more of the later Parkers, this is quite a contrast. In this one, Parker is like Mike Hammer on steroids. He's constantly killing and maiming people and only half the reason is because they owe him money. The other half: he enjoys it. That half would be gone from later Parkers as he became the consummate professional criminal.
Not bad but probably not as interesting if you haven't read the later Parkers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day #21,879

Walk km 9086-9099 (12,780 to go): Aberdeen Station to Steveston with Meetup group

some of the Meetup walkers
approx km 9091 West Dyke Trail (Richmond)

Movie #1874: Slither (1973, Howard Zieff)

Aw, the 70s. The music was crap but there were a lot of good movies with wacky characters. The best of the type were the Jack Nicholsons. If you can't get Jack, how about James Caan, Sally Kellerman, Peter Boyle and Louise Lasser? Not bad. In a road movie? Even better. Fun stuff.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day #21,878

Walk km 9077-9084 (12,794 to go): test walk: Waterfront Road
Walk km 9084-9086: running errands

Movie #1873: D'Est (1993, Chantal Akerman)

A movie composed almost entirely of tedium. Akerman films eastern Europe and her favourite place to film is the bus stop/bus station/train station. It's 100 minutes of film showing people waiting and 10 minutes of other stuff. Reviews state how wonderfully Akerman has captured the mood of eastern Europe. Poppycock! Make a film in North America and limit yourself to bus stops and bus stations (a train station would be just too hard to find) and I guarantee a snooze fest!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day #21,877

Walk km 9069-9077 (12,800 to go): test walk New Brighton Park

loading docks on Burrard Inlet
approx km 9074 from New Brighton Park

Movie #1872: Trash Humpers (2009, Harmony Korine)

I still remember seeing Korine's "Gummo" at a theatre in Ottawa. Now that was sick! Well, so is "Trash Humpers". The problem is that it appears to be pretty much the same movie. Instead of cracker youngsters, we now have cracker oldsters. It's the same wall-to-wall depravity. Wereas, "Gummo" was entertaining because Korine had a fresh (and revolting) way of looking at things, this is just more of the same.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day #21,876

Walk km 9057-9069 (12,807 to go): Brighouse to Steveston with Meetup group

Movie #1870: Ring Of Fear (1954, James Edward Grant)

The worst movie ever made? Maybe. But like most of the worst-of-the-worst you keep watching so you can say that you've seen it. It's awfulness makes it more entertaining than a mere dull-as-dust flic. First off, this isn't really a movie: it's an extremely long advertisement for the Clyde Beatty Circus. They do throw in a psycho killer subplot but the main idea here is to sell you on what a great spectacle the circus is and that you oughta go to it the next time it's in town. There is also a sub advert for Signet Books and the novels of Mickey Spillane. And I wouldn't doubt that Coca-Cola may have thrown in a few shekels too.
And the acting: Clyde Beatty and Mickey Spillane are top billed: that sums that up. The psycho killer subplot was written by connecting cliches. Gotta admit the circus stuff looks nice: colour and Cinemascope. However, to see how the animals are treated would turn off many a potential customer today.
To sum up: mesmerizingly bad.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day #21,875

Walk km 9046-9057: Science World to Burrard Bridge and back (with Meetup group)

Movie #1869: Let Us Be Gay (1930, Robert Z Leonard)

A pleasant drawing room comedy. I seem to remember Norma Shearer as a real nonentity - here she's excellent. Probably just a better role.
Note: In 1930, "gay" had a different meaning than today.

Book #396: The Adjustment (2011, Scott Phillips)

So, what will it be? Scott Phillips writes novels in 2000, 2002 and 2003 - then silence. Now, in 2011 a new book. His last one was very convoluted - he was going for epic. Eight years pass and here's "The Adjustment". The first thing you notice: only 215 pages - not epic length. In fact, there's nothing epic here at all. It's all straightforward depravity. Looks like, after all these years, Scott has given up and decided to settle for being the new Jim Thompson.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day #21,874

Walk km 9036-9046 (12,825 to go): test walk: Stanley Park

Brockton Point Trail
approx km 9040 Stanley Park

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day #21,873

Walk km 9027-9030: running errands
Walk km 9030-9036: every block walk: Elm,38th,Dunbar,34th,Crown

Movie #1867: X The Unknown (1956, Leslie Norman)

one of the crappy reaction shots

There's a radioactive glob oozing all over Scotland "melting" everyone that comes in contact. Only the Brits could turn this idea into tedium. The reaction shots are especially bad.

Movie #1868: Jazz Boat (1960, Ken Hughes)

What a mess. It's a comedy. It's a musical. It's a drama. It's a bit of everything. It has some swinging 60s music: Ted Heath! A lead character who looks just like Ray Davies: James Booth. An amazing dolly bird: Anne Aubrey. A gay character: Bernie Winters. A character who looks just like Anthony Newley: Anthony Newley. Most obnoxious musical number ever: Jean Philippe singing "Oui Oui Oui".
But it does have a kind of goofy charm.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day #21,872

Walk km 9024-9027: to Safeway

Book #395: My Friend The Mercenary (2010, James Brabazon)

Two books in one. The first part is about the author filming the civil war in Liberia with the aid of mercenary Nick De Toit. The second part is about the attempted coup to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. The author did not participate in the coup but Nick De Toit did.
The first part makes compelling reading because it's a first person account of what was actually happening in Liberia in the early 2000s - and it's not pretty. Here the author has already lost his objectivity (he was supposed to be a journalist). In the second half of the book, the objectivity is totally gone as the author searches for reasons to exonerate Nick De Toit. However, to be fair, the author readily admits to his shortcomings.
In the end, although this Nick is a very slimy character, the author becomes his friend and ally because they both went through hell together. This becomes a much stronger bond than moral considerations.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day #21,871

Walk km 9011-9024 (12,847 to go): Patterson to Arbutus with the Meetup group

Movie #1865: Examined Life (2008, Astra Taylor)

It's a documentary about philosophy. It's totally junk except that it is entertaining. Philosophy should be read: that way you can stop and think about what people are saying. Does it make sense? But in a film, it just keeps right on rolling - there's no time to think things through. Film is the wrong medium for philosophy.
However, it is entertaining (for the most part) to listen to these people (each one gets about 10 minutes). As far as I can tell, most of them are mostly wrongheaded. In other words, their philosophy is not mine.

Movie #1866: Seven Dumpsters And A Corpse (2007, Thomas Haemmerli)

the corpse in happier times

Filmmaker films the cleaning of his dead mother's apartment. She was a hoarder. Her mother was a hoarder. The mother's life is reconstructed - everything seems OK on the surface. Will the filmmaker and his children suffer the same fate?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day #21,870

Walk km 9007-9011: every block walk: 35th and Knight

approx km 9010 35th at Prince Albert

Movie rewatch: A Big Hand For The Little Lady (1966, Fielder Cook)

Just in time for the November Nine WSOP final on Sunday, TCM screens the all-time #1 poker movie. Henry Fonda is on the poker wagon but cannot resist just one more big stakes game while his wife (Joanne Woodward) is down the street getting the buggy fixed. Henry's hand is so good that he has a heart attack and Joanne must finish the hand for him. The poker part of the movie doesn't make any sense but it's all in fun.

Day #21,869

Walk km 8996-9007 (12,862 to go): Richmond at night with Meetup group

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day #21,868

Walk km 8981-8983: to T&T
Walk km 8983-8996 (12,872 to go): Brighouse Station to Steveston

approx km 8995 Steveston

Day #21,867

Walk km 8973-8975: to T&T
Walk km 8975-8981: to Yaletown Station via Denman