Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day #22,469-470

Walk km 14,138-13,143: from Convention Centre back to hotel

Movie #2302: Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune (2010, Kenneth Bowser)

Just like Phil Ochs life: fascinating but very sad.

Movie #2303: Le Testament Du Docteur Cordelier (Jean Renoir, 1959)

Rather odd film (made for TV) of doctor who creates a serum that cures all morality deviations. He does that when a woman comes to him to say her 18 year old son needs help because he's sleeping with the maid. The doctor is mortified that he (a famous doctor) has the same problem as an 18 year old (he sleeps with his maid too). It doesn't work out well.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day #22,468

Walk km 14,132-14,138: to Paradise Buffet
bus disguised as a McDonalds advertisement
Approx km 14,138 Bonneville Transit Centre

Book #459: Death Bed (1980, Stephen Greenleaf)

I went to a used bookstore here in Vegas based on the recommendations on Yelp. Bad idea. I could tell this was a mistake as I approached the store. In the display windows they did not have any books - they had pottery! Oh no.
Inside almost all space is wasted (no high stacks of dusty books here). The books are nicely stacked on quality shelving in the middle of the room leaving plenty of room for sipping tea or whatever else a person might do in a used book store. However, it wasn't wasted time as I did find an Arthur Lyons and this Greenleaf. It was just the yuppie feel of the place that made it no fun at all.
Reading Greenleaf is like eating cheesecake. It just might be too much of a good thing. The similes and metaphors are piled on so thick that there's hardly room for anything else. However, that's probably just my bias. If you like your private eye endlessly cracking wise (both to others and to himself) then Greenleaf is the guy for you (and me too). 

Movie #2301: The Other Love (1947, Andre De Toth)

I think this is what is referred to as "a woman's picture". Barbara Stanwyck is sent to a sanitarium to recover from TB. The doctor falls in love with her but refuses to tell her how ill she really is. Andre is a mighty fine director but I don't think that anyone could do much with this plot.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day #22,467

Walk km 14,125-14,132: walk downtown
Kiss Bail Bonds
approx km 14,124 Las Vegas Blvd

Movie #2300: Beyond the Time Barrier (1960, Edgar G Ulmer)

They keep saying this Ulmer character was quite the director. Besides "Detour" I don't see it. Man takes off in 1960 in new supersonic plane. When he lands it's 2024. In 2024, there are people with German and Russian names who are up to no good. Ho hum.

Day #22,465-466

Walk km 14,115-14,117: to Sahara and back
Walk km 14,117-14,125: to Binion's
the Palace Station casino
approx km 14,116 Sahara Ave

Movie #2299: Crazy Heart (2009, Scott Cooper)

Not bad. Jeff Bridges is a fellow who takes the entire length of the movie to realize that there may be other people in the world who are just as important as he is.
Amazed to see T Bone Burnett listed as producer - so that's what happened to him.
I was just reading some of the comments in IMDB: did nobody understand this movie? It was a whole lotta "why did that terrible woman treat him so badly". #clueless

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day #22,463-464

Walk km 14,105-14,113: to Golden Nugget
Walk km 14,113-14,115: to Target

Are there 2 Sheldon Adelsons in Vegas?
approx km 14,114 Maryland Parkway

Movie #2298: Gog (1954, Herbert L Strock)

Crappy movie but interesting from a nostalgia point of view. There's very little plot here (just the Russians trying to foil American space research by infiltrating America's super computer). Instead, it's a series of lectures on various high tech experiments from the early 50s (solar power, robots, cryonics etc).
This isn't really a sci-fi picture (because the enemy turns out to be Russians not little green men) but still women are shown as inferior to men in the world of science: our leading man and woman are both suffering from exposure to radiation at the end - the woman faints and the man picks her up and carries her to the hospital. These type of movies always needed a leading lady for hubba-hubba appeal but they all had to be shown as inferior to the men.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day #22,462

Walk km 14,102-14,105: to Charleston at Las Vegas Blvd

Movie #2297: Thunder County (1974, Chris Robinson)

Took another break from Netflix to watch this offering from YouTube. It's a no-budget crime in the everglades flick that makes no sense at all. Mickey Rooney has a cameo - it's 15 years after "The Last Mile" and Mickey has not fared well. From a starring role in a "B" to a 5 minute cameo in a grade "Z". Poor fellow.
There are strange fadeouts about every 15 minutes - they didn't think they could sell this direct to TV did they? Maybe that's why Mickey's in it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day #22,461

Walk km 14,095-14,102: to Venetian

Book #458: Baby Moll (1958, John Farris)

Found this one in the nearby dollar store. It's part of the Hard Case series. Certainly "hard boiled" not a whodunit. Clever title but not much else to recommend it.

Movie #2296: Elevator Trap (2009, Keisuke Horibe)

The blurb from Netflix sounded like this could be weird but it's more mainstream crime with a little gore and just a tiny touch of weirdness. OK.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day #22,460

Walk km 14,092-14,095: bus to Golden Nugget
Movie #2296: Silver Tongues (2011, Simon Arthur)

Picked this one more or less at random. It's kind of a fun movie about a couple who go around screwing with people's minds. The only problem is that the suckers don't really react like normal people would. That wrecks the credibility of the plot. But, still fun (in a sick sorta way).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day #22,459

Walk km 14,089-14,092: around the Venetian and Palazzo

Movie #2295: OSS117: Lost In Rio (2009, Michel Hazanavicius)

Another one from the French Tarantino. This time it's a spoof of 60s secret agent films. I think this has been done before. Not as much imagination required as spy movies are ripe for spoofing. Entertaining.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day #22,458

Walk km 14,083-14,089: To Sahara at Las Vegas Blvd via Desert Inn
the Riviera
approx km 14,088 Las Vegas Blvd

Movie #2293: Bad Girls From Mars (1991, Fred Olen Ray)

Fred Olen Ray was in "American Grindhouse" but I'd never seen one of his movies. Now I have. It's one of the worst genres of all: the intentionally bad movie. Crap. Even crappier than most crap. The crappiest.

Movie #2294: The Artist (2011, Michel Hazanavicius)

Talk about a movie with a gimmick. It's silent movie time again except that this movie has quite the soundtrack including Bernard Herrmann's love theme from Vertigo during the climactic (pre happy ending) scene. Oodles of charming plot ideas (and the music) make this a fun watch.
By the look of Hazanavicius' credits, he appears to be France's answer to Quentin Tarantino (he makes movies about movies).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day #22,457

Walk km 14,081-14,083: bus to Golden Nugget

Movie #2291: Hell Bound (1957, William J Hole Jr)

I should have liked this one more than I did. It's a cheap 50s crime drama. It has all kinds of neat little touches. The shoe routine. Les Baxter score trying to imitate Bernard Herrmann. Two femme fatales. Big climax in a scrapyard.
Somehow, it's less than the sum of it's parts. Still entertaining  though.

Movie #2292: World For Ransom (1954, Robert Aldrich)

I was lucky to see this one. It was set to expire from Netflix tomorrow. It's an early Robert Aldrich that I've never seen. Robert was moving up pretty fast: he's listed as co-producer on only his 2nd movie as director.
Dan Duryea is an adventurer in Singapore trying to help out the woman he loves by helping out her husband. It can't end well.
I didn't realize there was so much fog in Singapore. I've been there a few times and I've never seen fog. Aldrich has the fog machines on full blast!
All kinds of nice touches by Aldrich. 

Day #22,456

Walk km 14,078-14,081: Flamingo Ave to Venetian and back

my 25,000 chips
approx km 14,079 Venetian Poker Room

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day #22,455

Walk km 14,074-14,078: to Sahera at Las Vegas Blvd
Paradise Buffet
approx km 14.077 Fremont St Las Vegas

Movie #2288: Uptight (1968, Jules Dassin)

I watched a few Netflix movies the other day by picking off of their regular website. Today I tried the Netflix Instant Watch Tracker and almost all the movies are gone. Although it shows that they will be available until 2038, I had to click on about 12 before I could find one that was really available. Pretty soon Netflix USA will look like Netflix Canada!
However, the one I did find was a doozy! Dassin does it again. It's a remake of The Informer but it starts the day of Martin Luther King's funeral and takes place in Cleveland. Tank is the main character and he wants to be part of the black revolution but his heart just isn't in it. He wants to be included because his friends are. He's actually proud of the 20 years he spent working for whitey.

Movie #2289: Festival (1967, Murray Lerner)

Gee, why haven't I seen this before? You got Bob & Joan & Buffy & Pete and all those old-timey folk and blues singers.
It differs from Woodstock in that Woodstock had all complete songs whereas this is mostly a lot of snippets. Full songs are better but with snippets we do get to see more people besides Bob and Joan.
What struck me is that all these performers are now in the old-folks home but Bob just keeps right on marching along.

Movie #2290: Vice Raid (1960, Edward L Cahn)

This one is kinda like "Festival", maybe not so great but I like it. In Festival, I liked it because of the music. For this one, I like it because I'm a sucker for cheap crime movies. Especially ones with voiceover. Even more especially ones with Mamie Van Doren. She's not Allison Hayes but she ain't bad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day #22,453-454

Walk km 14,066-14,072: to Fremont Casino for breakfast
Walk km 14,072-14,074: bus to Binion's

Movie #2287: Guns Of The Trees (1961, Jonas Mekas)

I decided to give Netflix a rest and see what was new on YouTube.
This one is really quite useless but very interesting. It's a hodgepodge of poetry, folk songs, anti-war diatribes and anti-capitalism diatribes all masked in a trendy experimental style. It's very New York City 1961. It's just the fringe of New York City 1961 but that's quite an interesting time/place combo.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day #22,452

Walk km 14,056-14,062: to Bonneville transit Centre

Movie #2283: That Kind Of Girl (1963, Gerry O'Hara)

Cautionary tale about the dangers of venereal disease. It starts out with a bit of nudge-nudge wink-wink but as soon as the 1st person gets VD it's all deadly serious and dull. And who started all this: the dirty old man. But, the coppers nab him all right.
Above average as these things go. This O'Hara chap seems to know what he's doing.

Movie #2284: American Grindhouse (2010, Elijah Denner)

Entertaining history of exploitation pictures (not grindhouses).
Even some stuff in here that I didn't know.

Movie #2285: The Last Mile (1959, Howard W Koch)

This is a remake of the 1932 original which you can see on YouTube.
A plus over the '32 version: better quality due to Netflix vs Youtube and no doubt better technology 27 years later.
A minus: Mickey Rooney. either the man can't act or he's just unbelievable because he's Mickey Rooney (the rest of the cast are no-name character actors).
Like the '32 version, it's a superior prison drama.

Movie #2286: Hong Kong Confidential (1958, Edward L Cahn)

Non too exciting affair with Gene Berry as a lounge singing secret agent. Watched this for Allison Hayes but it's not one of her best: she plays the "bad girl" so they slapped way too much makeup on her to make her look sinister.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day #22,450-451

Walk km 14,051-14,053: around the Rio
Walk km 14,053-14,056: bus to Golden Nugget

Movie #2282: Natural Selection (2011, Robbie Pickering)

Excellent premise: mild mannered church going lady with degenerate drug addict in a road movie.
The execution is not all that it could be but fairly entertaining nevertheless.

Unfinished book: The Watch That Ends The Night (1958, Hugh MacLennan)
I gave up on this one. It's a book without a plot but with excellent character development. However, since nobody does anything, it's hard to retain interest. I guess this is a major work of CanLit but I'll have to give it a pass.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day #22,448-449

Walk km 14,047-14,049: between bus and Golden Nugget
Walk km 14,049-14,051: between bus and Golden Nugget

Movie #2281: A Technicolor Dream (Stephen Gammond, 2008)

For Roger, this was Love

A documentary about psychedelica coming to England. Mostly about Pink Floyd and mostly just talking heads.Roger Waters comes off best as a totally un-hip square: "Syd was really into Love. I didn't know who Love where, I still don't know who they were." So, in 1967 I was trendier than Roger Waters? Yup. Thanks Roger.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 22,446-22,447

Walk km 14,038-14,042: to Bonneville Transit Centre
Walk km 14,042-14,047: Venetian to Maryland Parkway

TV episode #54: Leave It To Beaver - Beaver gets "Spelled" (1957, Norman Tokar)

Hard to know the actual quality of this one because the whole thing is encased in nostalgia (used to watch this when I was a kid).
I get a kick oughta watching Mr and Mrs Cleaver at the dinner table in their sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. In fact, they do everything in shirt and tie/party dress. Odd family.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day #22,443-445

Walk 14,029-14,030: to airport
Walk 13,030-14,038: around Deerwood Bay and the section

approx km 14,034 Road 32 East Manitoba

George Jr's dogs
approx km 14,038 Deerwood Bay Manitoba