Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Guinea Pig: Mermaid in a Manhole": a Japanese cult horror film found online

Guinea Pig: Mermaid in a Manhole” (2002, directed by Hideshi Hino, “Gini piggu: Manhoru no naka no ningyo”, 58 min) is a camp Japanese horror film, that could get revived as a cult or midnight film.

The link to see it free right now is here.  I had some trouble with the video player hanging and stalling a lot.  The subtitles are in French, and the dialogue is very simple to read.  The film is shot in the old 1.37:1 aspect and looks extremely low budget.

The film opens with an image of a “Chuckie” doll in a sewer (remember “Child’s Play” (1984)).  An artist (Shageru Saiki) investigates the manhole and finds a mermaid, an brings her up to his tiny upstairs apartment.  Her body disintegrates quickly with sores and worms.  The artist uses her body fluids as paint, in an exercise that seems to make fun of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.  It gets pretty gross, with the vomiting scenes (remember Roman Polanski’s "Carnage" (1/14/2012”), but when she dies, he dismembers the body.  The blood flows through a leak to an apartment below, and a young couple calls the cops.  He winds up in a mental institution, looking like a manhole, as the authorities say she died of cancer. (OK, we have American Carnage, and Japanese Carnage.)

Reid Ewing (a fan of Danganronpa, based on Japanese manga) found this link and shared it on his Twitter feed.  I’d love to see him do more short films (like in the “It’s Free” series) again.  They would fit into a dialogue on open access (which Jack Andraka has been pushing relative to science fair researchers.)  But I suppose we could see a Danganronpa movie some day (there are plenty of such “movies” extracted from the game series on YouTube now). .

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Milo Begins Construction on the Wall

Milo Yiannopoulos has made a satirical gay fashion film for “Breitbart Films”, “Milo Begins Construction on the Wall”.

Look at the nice bodies, some of them hairy, others smooth. Too many tattoos.  Breitbard has an accompanying article here.

Seriously, I wonder, if Milo making fun of The Wall (like the Austrian film, linked here on Blogger), or making fun of the objections to it.  He isn’t born in the US, but Milo might actually make a decent head of state.  Let him replace Bannon as Trump’s national security adviser.
Still, all the controversy about Milo, seems to be his rejection of political correctness and “crybaby” attitudes.

Here’s a CNN video on what it would take to build the wall.  About 1200 miles of the 1900+ border is unfenced. And in some areas illegal traffic is a real problem.

Wikipedia attribution link of El Paso-Juarez, my MWilliams151, CCSA 3.0.  I visited it and drove a rent car into Juarez in 1979

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Taylor Wilson": new lecture video from Clinton School of Public Service (I call this a movie where science "trumps" politics)

I don’t often propose that YouTube lectures be reviewed as “films”, but this 47-minute address and QA by 22-year-old physicist Taylor Wilson, recorded around Nov. 15. 2016 (about a week after Trump’s electoral win) at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, AR

The video would have been more effective if shown with slides, but Taylor has plenty of these on his own site, particularly “Expeditions”  (My own short story in DADT-III is called “Expedition” – coincidence).  You have to click through to see the various galleries.

Taylor grew up near Texarkana, AR but moved to Reno to go to the Davidson Academy.  He has gotten support from Peter Thiel.  I believe his labs are at the University of Nevada in Reno.  The dress is informal, and his facial features bear a striking resemblance to those of his mother. Brian Williams had done an outdoor hike interview of him (Major Issues, Nov. 7, 2015), exploring desert and caves for radioactive elements in western Nevada. .

Taylor is most famous for building a small fusion reactor at home at age 14, as explained the book about him by Tom Clynes (book reviews Dec. 14, 2015).

Taylor talked about his idea that the power grids could become more secure if decentralized by having a lot more small underground local reactors.  Many of these could be fission reactors, with new designs.

He also talked about futurism and space travel.  He did mention the medical issues associated with prolonged weightlessness of low gravity, which can include eyesight loss.  He thinks Mars should be settled before the Moon.  Is it OK to live at 40% gravity but not 18%?  One question not mentioned is artificial gravity, which can be generated with centrifugal devices, but applies only to objects in contact with the surface. I have to deal with this idea in my screenplay “Do Ask, Do Tell: Epiphany”.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture (pd) of Reno with University.

Also, the Oscar nominations for 2017 have been announced this morning, here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House": CNN Films makes this a real movie

CNN Films releases a “movie” tonight, “The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House”.  Ironically, ABCNews offers a commentary here,

CNN’s own rather festive link with many video clips is here.

The film starts with a recitation of the night that Trump won the election, scoring more runs with fewer hits (by analogy to baseball) with a realization coming over everyone gradually after about 10 PM.  The sun did come out on November 9, and President Obama gave a pep talk to a sad-faced audience.

A lot of the film does show the niceties around the White House, including the kitchen staff that stays there during many administrations.

The film did not get into the sensitive issues of actually transferring power – how do you keep the Pentagon running as defense secretaries change, how do you keep the chain of command in those minutes right around the swearing in, how do you keep intelligence services and federal law enforcement when leadership changes.  And it looks like not all the cabinet will be in place.
The title of the film looks odd as a blog posting title.  No, I expect more postings here.  But a president Trump could trample on user-generated content online over certain security arguments, given what has happened.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Local book-film club revisits "The Secret Garden"

Last night, the book club in the Westover Market considered the novel “The Secret Garden” (1910), originally published in serial form, by Frances Hodgson Burnett,  Having seen the movie “counted”.  In fact there have been three films, but the best known is the 1993 British film directed by Agmieszla Holland for Zoetrope (Francis Ford Coppola) and Warner Brothers.  To the best of my recollection, I saw it in the old AMC Bailey’s Crossroad’s complex that year.  But the movie and novel has some other intermittent connection to my life.  In 1961, in the summer, I was taking “Notehand” in summer school, and we made a field trip to GW in Washington to practice notehand on a lecture on children’s literature, and I think this book was discussed.  Sometimes this book is taught in high school English (probably ninth grade).

Then, back in 1998, I went to some kind of fireworks show in Minneapolis with some other people from the Libertarian Party of Minnesota.  I think this was a separate event from LGBT festival in Loring Park.  The college student who had set up my lecture on my first book at Hamline University was there, and for some reason mentioned this book and movie.  I can’t quite remember the context. He had read Nietzsche’s “The Gay Science” but I don’t recall any connection.

The story seems to be about childhood self-indulgence, of the Rosenfels “eternal feminine” kind. A girl Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly) is growing up spoiled in a British family in India.  When she is playing with her toys, an earthquake shatters the home and kills the parents.

She gets sent back to England to live in a manor run by a distant, schizoid uncle Craven (John Lynch). But she become enamored to the wonders of the place, especially a magic garden.  She meets a quasi-disabled cousin Collin (Heydon Prouse) whose physical weakness is a bit like mine.  Is it psychological and a kind of malingering or cowardice or anxiety personality disorder?  Apparently his birth drained his mother (as did mine).

But as the movie progresses, the wonders and healing of the garden itself take over.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Vertigo: the greatest of all time?

I’ve seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” twice, have the Blue Ray DVD, and most recently saw it in a theater in 1996 with a 70 mm reprint of the original 1958 Paramount VistaVision film (distribution changed to Universal with the reprint).
Is it one of the “greatest of all time”?  (Sorry, Timo, Richard Harmon isn’t in it.) The film is famous for its treasure-hunt plot and its use of mistaken identity (or perhaps deliberately forged) as retired police detective Scotty (James Stewart) falls in love with a woman he is hired to stalk, loses her once in a famous staircase and belfry tower jump, then finds her and chases her all over again.

The film opens with the rooftop scene that does conform to the expectations of conventional screenwriting, to put the hero or protagonist in dire trouble right at the very beginning.  Then there is a long conversation with Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes) in a San Francisco apartment, that seems talky by today’s standards, before he meets the shipping magnate Gavin (Tom Helmore), who hires him.

The bifurcation of the film with the first jump scene gives it a two-part “Op. 111” structure (“Body Heat”, in 1980, would do something similar).  Scotty also has to deal with the idea of cowardice after he supposedly failed to act at the first jump.

The obsession with Madelaine (Kim Novak) reminds me of a sense of loss that happened earlier in my life (1978).
Don't forget Bernard Herrmann's creepy score, especially the opening theme.
San Francisco has the charm here that only hints of its future as a “gay” city. I would first see the city in December 1966 as a grad student.

Wikipedia attribution link for p.d. picture of Castro Street today.

Monday, January 09, 2017

LGBT film wins best drama at Golden Globes; Meryl Streep's speech; Sophie's Choice

Last night Jimmy Fallon hosted the Golden Globes.

For “La La Land” to win best musical or comedy was entirely expected, but for “Moonlight” to win best dramatic film is quite remarkable: an LGBT film (and African American) film set in a troubled south Florida neighborhood, dealing with gangs and drugs, too,  It reminds me of my visit to Belle Glade in 1986.  I wondered if a film like “Judas Kiss” could ever win such an award, but then it occurred to me, that in films like “Judas Kiss” and “The Dark Place”, the gay characters are too clean-cut and establishment.  Even Shane Lyons fits the stereotypes of conventional attractiveness (even if he evolves into a real life Milo).

I like the way they gave a nod to Canadian actors, like Ryan Gosling.  Include Gregory Smith and Richard Harmon in the mix.

Then there is the issue of Meryl Streep’s speech, about Donald Trump’s propensity to humiliate others.

Well, Trump tweeted back, that he never mocked a disabled reporter (and his opinion that Meryl Streep is overrated), and here is one of his defenders:

Vox explains it this way. (Aja Romero).

I’ve imagined that Meryl Streep could play the high school principal in the backstory sequence (“The Sub”) in my “Epiphany” screenplay based on linking together my three DADT books in a sci-fi setting.

I remember particularly the horrifying backstory scene near the end of Alan Paluka’s 1982 film “Sophie’s Choice” with Streep as Sophie. Roger Ebert had said that this was not just another concentration camp story.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Milo's own "Ghostbusters"

I don’t normally do “guest reviews” on this blog (I am inviting them on my Wordpress “Bill’s Media Commentary”) , and I see that I never wrote even a “tidbit” review of Ivan Retiman’s 1984 summer comedy “Ghostbusters” (1984) (with Bill Murray and Dan Akyroyd), which I do remember seeing at Northpark in Dallas, I think on a Saturday afternoon.  The film would be followed by “Ghostbusters II” (1986) and “The Real Ghostbusters” (1989), like "The real Donald Trump".

So now in 2016 the franchise starts over with a film by Paul Feig for Columbia Pictures, with an all female cast. .

But I’ll link to bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos’s naughty review on Breitbart, with it’s catchy title, “Teenage Boys with Tits: Here’s My Problem with Ghostbusters”, as if it were a guest post.  Yup, Leslie Jones might have amplified the Twitter insult, resulting in Milo's being banned, to help sell the movie. But thanks to Milo, I don't need to bother with it.

Milo's message: stop whining. Stop pimping your victimhood.  More recent interview on ABC News here.

Will there be a documentary about Milo soon?

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Recalling some little known Disney movies from the 50s, especially "The Sword and the Rose" and "Stormy"

I was actually a fan of Walt Disney movies when I was a boy, and I followed the opening of Disneyland in 1955 (wouldn’t visit it until 1967) and even “Doodyville” about the same time. 
There are a couple of curious classic Disney films that everyone has forgotten.

One of these is “The Sword and the Rose” (1953), directed by Ken Annakin, which would be shown in two parts on the Disneyland show in late 1955 under the original title of the 1900 Charles Major (Edward Caskoden real name) book “When Knighthood Was in Flower” (a swashbuckling best seller), which had been filmed once in 1922 (Robert Vignola).

I rather remember the 15th century period spectacle.  But the story concerns a plan for Mary Tudor (Glynis Johns) to escape a forced arrange marriage with a French King by escaping to America, about the time of Sir Walter Raleigh, during the time of Henry VIII.  Arranged marriages sounds like an important topic now, given the modern debates over the privatization of marriage (even same-sex marriage). 

I also remember the idea of chivalry -- the way men supposedly protected women in that society.
There was 40-minute short around 1953 that I was with my mother, “Stormy”, about a race horse.  I can’t find reference to it now.  It was a short that went along with a cartoon feature (Ii think it was “Peter Pan”).

A good movie to mention today also is “ Lady and the Tramp” (1955), the first animated film made in Cinemascope.  (Today, most animated films seem to be made in standard aspect 1.85:1).  The story concerns a romance between farm cocker spaniel Lady and a mutt from the wrong side of the tracks.