Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day #22,018

Movie #2012: Red Desert (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)

Monica and her son go for a walk through the sludge

Just chockablock full of symbolism. I think the Monica Vitti character represents modern man who has lost contact with nature. Whereas her fellow humans seem to adapt to this new wasteland envirionment, Monica is able to sense what we are losing and it drives her nuts. At least, that's what I think it means. IMDB may differ.

Television episode #12: Decoy: The Come Back (1958, David Alexander)

a day at the races - Peter Falk and Beverly Garland

Thought I'd check this one out for an early appearance by Peter Falk. Nothing else to recommend it.

Movie #2013: Spree (1979, Larry Spiegel)

It starts out like this may be one of the all-time worst. We have addled brained teens heading out into the country accompanied by some of the worst music you can imagine (it was the 70s and it doesn't appear that these kids have even heard of the Ramones).
However, once they wreck their van and come across a band of gun-running, dope-dealing baddies, the fun begins. Excellent action scenes abound. The best scene: one of the teen girls guns down a guy that had raped her. As he looks at his bullet riddled chest he looks back at her and asks: "do you still think I'm sexy" - then he dies. Hilarious.

Day #22,017

Walk km 10,264-10,267: running errands

Movie #2011: Vietnam: American Holocaust (2008, Clay Claiborne)

Documentary about how America (U.S.A.) was able to murder between 3 and 5 million Vietnamese in such a short time. Eye witness accounts of various killing methods. Really, quite revolting.

Television episode #11: Decoy - Tin Pan Payoff (1957, David Alexander)

I didn't know that Beverly "Stark Fear" Garland had her own TV series. In "Decoy" she plays a NYC cop. Unfortunately, the plot is whodunit and at only 30 minutes they only have time to trot out a bunch of suspects and then have Bev quickly point out whodunit. Alweays nice to see Ms Garland at work though.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day #22,016

Walk km 10,252-10,254: runnung errands
Walk km 10,254-10,264 (11,752 to go): Meetup walk: Burnaby Lake + Brunette River

ducks and geese
approx km 10,257 Burnaby Lake (photo taken by Yan Shan)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day #22,015

Walk km 10,241-10,252: every block walk: Duff & Gladstone etc

Movie #2010: The Warped Ones (1960, Koreyoshi Kurahara)

Now this is what a JD movie should be. Opening scenes show Akira straight outta juvvie jail when he steals a car, runs over some guy, kidnaps and rapes the guy's girlfriend. And that's just for starters. There's no moral tales here. Akira is barely above ape level. Instead of just getting by on the basics like any other wild animal, Akira has learnt "kicks". He lives for kicks. His victims are civilized - they want to fight back but they're way outta their league.
After so many Hollywood JD flix where the JDs are just misunderstood youth that learn the error of their ways, it's quite a surprise to see the real thing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day #22,014

Walk km 10,231-10,241: every block - Alice St, Welwyn St etc

Book #415: The Sailcloth Shroud (1959, Charles Williams)

Another superior crime/sea thriller from Mr Williams. Pages keep turning at a furious pace as seaman Rodgers finds he has a deckhand who's on the run and is planning to fake his death for the third time.

Movie #2008: Ariel (1988, Aki Kaurismaki)

Miner loses his job when the mine closes down. He tries his luck in Helsinki. He has no luck. Typical deadpan Kaurasmaki is a delight to watch.

Movie #2009: So's Your Aunt Emma (1942, Jean Yarbrough)

Two pluses here are Zasu Pitts as Aunt Emma and Elizabeth Russell as Zelda. Everything else is strickly routine.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day #22,013

Walk km 10,223-10,225: running errands
Walk km 10,225-10,231 (11,782 to go): every block: Arlington, 63rd Ave etc

approx km 10,230 59th Ave

Movie #2007: Bitter Ash (1963, Larry Kent)

warning: scenes of violence

Made by a bunch of UBC students for only $5000. You know what: it looks like it was made by a bunch of UBC students for $5000.
In the final scenes they added some sex and violence but it came too late.
I managed to keep my eyes open through most of it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day #22,012

Walk km 10,208-10,223 (11,789 to go): Meetup walk to UBC

mirror in a bush
approx km 10,216 Point Grey Road

Movie #2006: Convict's Code (1939, Lambert Hillyer)

You're never gonna see a movie with more plot holes than this one. It looks like they didn't even care if the story made any sense. Worthless.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day #22,011

Walk 10,198-10,208 (11,803 to go): Meetup walk in Pacific Spirit Park

Book #414: Beyond Blame (1985, Stephen Greenleaf)

It's Mr Greenleaf at his most Ross McDonaldish. Teenagers get caught up in the slipstream caused by the adult's bad behaviour. It's detective Marsh Tanner's job to set things right.
Doesn't have quite the page turning affect of McDonald's novels but I can't really but a finger on why. It's the same themes and the writing style is excellent.
The ending on the other hand, is quite preposterous and doesn't really fit into the story.

Movie #2005: The Queen (2006, Stephen Frears)

Really didn't know what to expect from this one. They would have to tread very lightly around this subject!
Turns out it's the story of a woman who has had the same job for 50 years. It's mind numbing work and it goes on 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. And yet, there is still a glimpse of humanity there even after all that time.
Of course that's Mr Frears' view of things. I'm not sure if Elizabeth would concur.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day #22,010

Walk km 10,195-10,198: running errands

Movie #2004: Return Of The Fly (1959, Edward Bernds)

It's the worst of both worlds with this sequel to The Fly. For 50s SiFi/Horror it's pretty big budget so that ruins any trash value it might have but it still retains all the idiotic non-logic of it's shoestring budgeted brethren.
When the fly/man splits in 2 they both have the human brain. In fact, one of the brains is so smart that it knows that Alan has an accomplice, and who he is and where he lives! Amazing. Then he walks all the way through Montreal to that place (despite having a fly-head) without being seen! Even more amazing. Then he kills the guy because he has the "killer instinct of the fly"! The fly has a killer instinct? I'm afraid humans are much more murderous than any fly could ever dream of being.
Crap with a shiny coating.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day #22,009

Walk km 10,181-10,183: to Safeway
Walk km 10,183-10,195 (11,814 to go): Meetup walk for 2 hobbitt houses

another permanent resident of a park bench
approx km 10,183 Denman @ Georgia

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day #22,008

Walk km 10,171-10,181: to visa office and every block: Trimble & Courtney

Chrysler 300
approx km 10,174 Crown Street

Movie #2003: Christine (1983, John Carpenter)

Not a bad killer car movie. However, the ending sucked. Since the car couldn't be destroyed by burning it or trashing it, how were they gonna kill it? The answer: just trash it more than before. Makes no sense.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day #22,007

Walk km 10,162-10,171: every street: Tasmania, Queensland etc.

permanent resident on this bench
approx km 10,164 6th Avenue

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day #22,006

Walk km 10,160-10,162: to T&T

What I've been mucking about with today: a Google "Fusion Table" that will display a map with points indicating the birthplace of various musicians. You can "point" to any place to see a YouTube address pop up so that you can view one of that musician's videos. Hint: most of the musicians entered so far are in the USA.

Movie #2002: Intimidation (1960, Koreyoshi Kurahara)

It's a nice little crime drama with a double suprise ending. The acting looks kinda artificial but the visuals are great.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day #22,005

Walk km 10,155-10,158: to Safeway
Walk mm 10,158-10,160: to T&T

Movie #2001: Missing Person (2009,Seo Lee)

Guy gets mentaly retarded person to kill dogs so he can make money from putting up "missing dog" posters. At least, that seems to be the plot here.
All characters are various degrees of scumy so there's no rooting interest. Just a look into their rather disgusting world.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day #22,004

Walk km 10,141-10,155 (11,849 to go): Meetup walk by polka dot houses

Meetup walkers
approx km 10,148 Lily Street

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day #22,003

Walk km 10,136-10,139: to apply for Chinese visa
Walk km 10,139-10,141: running errands

Movie #2000: J'en Suis! (1997, Claude Fournier)
Amazingly bad. This is one of those movies where you watch it to the end just to prove that you have an iron will.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day #22,002

Walk km 10,123-10,134: Meetup walk to Deer Lake Park
Walk km 10,134-10,136: running errands

Meetup walkers
approx km 10,126 top of the 312 stairs

Movie #1999: Freakonomics (2010, various)

This is supposed to be about applying economics to areas that you wouldn't normally associate with economics. It's not. The only segment that dealt with economics was about paying kids to get good grades in school. But, even in that segment, they just glossed over the economics. They set up an interesting system where they paid for good grades and also held a lottery for those with good grades. They never figured out which incentive was better. They never figured out why some kids weren't swayed by incentives.
The other segments were about looking at data. That's not economics. Economists may use that tool but it has nothing to do with economics itself.
The worst example was when they looked at sumo wrestlers results. They found that when a wrestler really needed to win a match and was opposed by an opponent for which the match was fairly unimportant, the wrestler for whom the match was more important won 75% of the time. Their conclusion: the wrestlers were cheating! Not only has that nothing to do with economics, it's just plain stupid.

Day #22,001

Walk km 10,120-10,123: running errands

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day #22,000

Walk km 10,115-10,120 (11,880 to go): every block inc. Maxwell St.

everyone on this street has something atop their gatepost
approx km 10,117 Maxwell Street

Movie #1998: Pretty In Pink (1986, Howard Deutch)

in the 80s it was cool to dress up like your gramma

I was feeling like something really ditzy so when I looked over "new on Netflix", there it as: A Molly Ringwald movie!
Little did I realize that the movie was about class warfare. Or maybe it was about the senior prom. Anyway, I didn't get it.
All through the movie, the Andrew McCarthy character acts like an asshole. Then at the prom all is forgiven and he "gets the girl". Huh? I'll have to check with IMDB to try and find out what I missed.
Back from IMDB: They had to re-shoot the ending! The test audience wanted the Molly character to end up with the asshole so they re-shot the ending to give the audience what they wanted! Which just goes to show: A) Some people will do anything for money and B) People in the 80s musta been dumb as stumps.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day #21,999

Walk km 10,101-10,103: to T&T
Walk km 10,103-10,115: Meetup walk with Outdoor Club

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day #21,998

Walk km 10,092-10,101 (11,897 to go): to Glen @ Terminal

Movie #1997: Angel Baby (1961, Paul Wendkos)

Oh boy, they had to tread a fine line here. This is about traveling tent show evangelists. Now, they wanted to get at the seedy side of such an enterprise but they couldn't step on any religious toes. Their solution: the evangelists are all as pure as the driven snow - it's their backers who are corrupt. Leading the corrupt here is the mighty Mercedes McCambridge as a sex craved sinner (of middle age) who lusts after choir boy George Hamilton. She makes him not only a star evangelist but also her husband.
Fellow evangelist Salome Jens (with a perfect Joanne Woodward voice) is having her troubles too with her backer who craves not sex but the almighty dollar.
This is a real cauldron of sin and redemption (but mostly sin - the redemption comes in the final scene).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day #21,997

Walk km 10,081-10,092 (11,905 to go): Meetup walk Cambie @ 49th Ave

Book #413: Toll Call (1987, Stephen Greenleaf)

Greenleaf and Jonathan Valin are probably the two best of the 80s/90s detective fiction writers. As with all good fictional detectives, Tanner is not perfect no matter how hard he tries to be. In this one he's out to help a friend even if he's not sure whether the friend wants his help or not.

Movie #1996: L'Oeil Du Malin (1962, Claude Chabrol)

A two-bit writer finds himself in the same village as famous writer Hartman and his wife. He cannot stand their happiness so he makes plans to destroy it.
It's OK but somehow we really never get the full impact of just how creepy this guy is.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day #21,996

Walk km 10074-10081 (11,915 to go): Commercial to Renfrew Station and VCC Clark to Main Street Station

Movie #1995: Ju-on (2000, Takashi Shimizu)

This is what you get when you enter "English subtitles" into Google and then do a video search.
This is a direct-to-video movie about ghosts and black cats and evil spirits and haunted houses and lots of bloody bodies. I'm not sure if this would make any sense to a Japanese horror connoisseur but it made none to me.
After looking at IMDB: I was amazed to find that instead of a direct-to-video that only a handful of people have seen, this is actually a very popular movie with tons of reviews and comments on IMDB. Supposedly, this movie was made twice: once in 2000 and again in 2002 (same director). The 2002 is even more popular than the original.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day #21,995

Walk km 10062-10074 (11,921 to go): Meetup walk along False Creek

Movie #1993: Untamed Youth (1957, Howard W Koch)

It's the "Gone With The Wind" of JD flix. Mamie Van Doren and Lori Nelson (and a bunch of other very tame youth) get caught hitchhiking and are sentenced to 30 days of pickin' cotten. All kinds of goofiness ensues.
Just one thing holding this one back: the music. It's supposed to be rock'n'roll but they got Les Baxter to write the music so it's all pretty square (even with Eddie Cochran in the cast - they shoulda got him to write the music). Also, the added on calypso number is a waste of time.
Howard Koch must be the king of the low angle shot. Always effective.
This got a 24 on IMDB! Those people obviously don't dig trash.

Movie #1994: Death In Small Doses (1957, Joseph Newman)

Chuck Connors in his real life role as the Dodger's second baseman

From the mid 1940s until the 60s there were a series of "cautionary tale" movies made. Each described some horrible societal ill and the brave men of some-or-other federal agency who worked to eradicate it. These movies were all staunchly anti-whatever while at the same time trying to make a buck from portraying it onscreen. This one describes the scourge that is "bennies" - pills taken by truck drivers to keep them awake on long hauls.
True to form, the bad guys (bennie pushers) are captured and the Feds get a well deserved pat on the back. Nothing special but some OK truck drivin' scenes and neat scenery chewing by hop head (and former Brooklyn Dodger) Chuck Connors.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day #21,994

Walk km 10052-10062: Meetup walk along Ambleside

Movie #1992: Catch Us If You Can (1965, John Boorman)

Even the great directors must start someplace. This was it for John Boorman.
There's a lot of AHardDaysNightish stuff. Quite a few scenes of nothing happening with e-z listening music. Most of the DC5 tunes were hacked up and scattered here and there. A real hodgepodge.
Weird scene: a group of hippies are attacked by the army. In 1965? Hippies? Attacked by the army? In 1965?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day #21,993

Walk km 10043-10052 (11,941 to go): test walk for False Creek bridges

Movie #1991: Motor Psycho (1965, Russ Meyer)

Sharon Lee and some barbed wire

This is the last of Russ' black&white epics. After this it was colour but I think that the black&whites were much better. This one is more of a standard movie than yesterday's silly "Common Law Cabin". Three bikers (riding scooters - pretty funny!) terrorize the countryside. It's up to the local vet to track them down. Lots of goofy stuff in the first half but standard storytelling in the second. The best part: the horse breeding scenes with Sharon Lee.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day #21,992

Movie #1990: Common Law Cabin (1967, Russ Meyer)

It's the usual over-the-top cartoon style male fantasy stuff from Russ. It's interesting that he made this in 1967 and he still could not bring himself to show nudity. Quite the prude.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day #21,991

Walk km 10031-10043 (11,948 to go): Meetup in Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
approx km 10034 Lynn Canyon Park

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day #21,990

Walk km 10019-10031: Meetup walk from Edmonds to Patterson Stations

two-tone house
approx km 10023 Byrne Road

Book #412: False Pretenses (1994, Arthur Lyons)

I've read this before. The start sounded very familiar and with 50 pages to go I knew "whodunit". Arthur tries a little too hard in the first half of the book. He spreads the hard boiled PI style on a bit too thick. In the second half, he calms down and pretty much sticks to the unfolding plot. Pretty good private eye tale.

Movie #1982: 200 Motels (1971, Frank Zappa)

It took me 41 years to see this film? Yikes!
Anyway, I needn't have worried - it's pretty much a stinker. Lots of frantic cutting and visual effects makes this a freakout? No.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day #21,989

Walk km 10014-10019 (11,970 to go): every block: William Street

Movie #1980: La Morte Saison Des Amours (1961, Pierre Kast)

It's amazing what obscurities you can find on YouTube. Here we have 100 minutes of the idle rich continually telling each other what a terrible life they lead. Yech!

Movie #1981: Festival Girls (1962, Leigh Jason)

Leigh Jason's final film - he went from Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanywyck in "The Mad Miss Manton" to Arch Hall Jr in "The Choppers" to this.
Actually, it's quite entertaining but not due to any talent from the cast or crew. They were setting their sites very low and they hit the target. For the "blonde dynamite" they couldn't even afford a woman that looked good - although Barbara Valentin does look fine in a bikini. The striptease scenes at the end appear to be tacked on. One looks like it came from a JD movie.
An entertaining mess.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day #21,988

Walk km 10001-10014 (11,974 to go): Meetup walk from Cleveland Dam to Dundarave

Movie #1979: Two And Two Make Six (1962, Freddie Francis)

a poster for this film using its charming American title: The Girl Swappers

It's a strange thing about British comedies: there is no requirement that they be funny! Instead of the usual misunderstanding this film is based on the actual physical switching of two people. And that's the whole film - they milk that one switcheroo for a full 90 minutes. It gets rather dull after awhile. However, Janette Scott is smashing!