Fool’s Gold

The new film ‘Gold’, starring Mathew McConaughey, proves that not all that glitters is gold. His company Washoe Mining skyrocketed and became the darlings of Wall Street after striking gold in Indonesia. Unforeseeable events occur which complicate things, such as the mines being taken over by the Indonesian government. Meanwhile other big companies, like Newmont Mining, are trying to buy them out on the cheap or shut them down through any means necessary.

Much of the film makes McConaughey look like an impulsive lush. He has some positive attributes also. He is hard working and visionary. Tenacious too. He has a loyal girlfriend, well played by Bryce Dallas Howard. And part of the main character’s drive is his dream of supporting her on a big ranch. So it is revealed his vision is not entirely greedy.

I can’t give the plot twists away. However, the films plot lends credibility to some age old adages. Namely, one in the hand is worth two in the bush. And also that physical assets trump paper assets. This film gives useful insights into the mining industry. It shows that the miners themselves take large financial risks, while the shareholders are seeking safety and secure investments. This creates friction and inherent instability in the mining industry. This film also boasts great cinematographic shots of the river and jungle in Indonesia. And McConaughey’s performance was Oscar worthy – though he got stiffed. His performance as a balding, overweight, partier (yet at the same time charismatic, relentless, adventuress, visionary and business-oriented was worth the ticket price alone. –Steve

Til The End of the World (5 hour version)

Thanks to a friend of mine, I inherited a region-free DVD player and the German director’s cut 3-DVD set of “Until the End of the World.” This film by Wim Wenders is a no-longer-available in the U.S. 1991 sci-fi saga starring William Hurt, Solveig Dommartin and Sam Neill about a futuristic 1999 world with great technological advances in which the world may be about to end due to a malfunctioning nuclear satellite. Against this backdrop, three lovers tour the globe, for reasons involving a massive amount of stolen money and a mysterious invention which may allow the blind to see.

I don’t want to talk about this film’s plot too much because it’s not the movie’s strength. The film’s strengths are its performances, its ideas, the depiction of technology, the music, the locations, and the special effects. First, all the performances are good and draw the viewer in. Max Von Sydow and Jeanne Moreau are the best actors, performing their hearts out as an inventor and his blind wife. The main trio of actors (see above) are also good as characters whose motivations are somewhat mysterious.

The ideas of technology that can help the blind see and, later, allow the recording of dreams are rather stunning. In terms of general depiction of technology, you can find GPS’s, cell phones, video phones, and other devices which are indeed in use now. Illuminati coding was present in this film, as it was in Back to the Future II. Other classics such as Metropolis, and Things to Come also were the elite hinting at what the future what be like according to their plan.

The soundtrack features R.E.M., the Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Julee Cruise, Elvis Costello, U2, Peter Gabriel, K.D. Lang, and others performing music composed for the film. In the short version, you hear only parts of these songs but in this 280-minute director’s cut you hear the entire songs. The film also was shot on four continents in ten countries, which is a level of verisimilitude that I have never seen in a film. The special effects, which use then new high definition technology to show images that the blind can see as well as the recording of dreams, still amaze today. What’s it all about? I think the director is saying that technology is a wonderful thing but it’s bad to worship it or become too dependent on it.

Anyway, this film is supposed to come out on the Criterion collection and was rereleased in America in 2015. I can’t think of a better introduction to foreign cinema than this German classic (mostly in English though).. The short. 158-minute original release version on VHS and laserdisc was good, but of you get a chance to see the Director’s Cut. don’t miss it. It’ll change your life.

Decline of Porn

A new documentary claims that fewer scenes are being produced these days, due to piracy.

photo of documentarian

 

 

 

 

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/porn-tube-sites-threaten-children-actors-critics-055907990.html

“Tube” sites make the pirated copies of scenes widely available for free. And personal webcam services like CamZ (with live cam interaction) are also filling the void. What scenes are still being filmed are paying actors peanuts and the content is more hardcore than ever. Earlier this week we noted that huge bondage company Kink.com is shutting down film production at the Armory in SF also. As porn declines in general, we will see whether VR porn or perhaps sexbots will rise to the forefront.

Gold

First off, you are probably expecting a review of the new Matthew McConaughey movie “Gold,” but, well, Homey don’t play that…this is about the unheralded 1974 Roger Moore exploitation film. Set at a South Africa gold mine, the film’s about a conspiracy by the owners of the mine to cause the mine to drill a hole in the mine and flood it, making money off the rise in oil futures. To do this, they bring in Roger Moore as the new general manager, hoping his inexperience and naivety will make him an easy fall guy when their plans come to fruition. They didn’t count on his bullheaded courage, however, and he ends up saving the mine instead of destroying it.

This film is underrated and only showed at drive-ins as part of a double bill in America and is now a public domain DVD. Right off the bat, it opens with a great title song as the letters G-O-L-D flash on the screen. Indeed, Elmer Bernstein’s music is top-notch. Then we see that the film not only has Moore and Susannah York but also stars Oscar winners John Guilgud (from “Arthur) and Ray Milland. Moore is the man in this movie, rescuing miners and bedding married York. He is a man of suave sophistication and fierce resolve. Between the extramarital affair and the exploitation of South African men, this film is hilariously amoral. The reason I enjoy this film so much is that it is a product of a bygone era. No longer can films be so carelessly exploitative and get away with it. Also, “Gold” is from some of the better Bond filmmakers, including Peter Hunt, director of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and John Glen (director of 5 good Bond films including “License to Kill”).

In short, “Gold” is a gem, a silly drive-in classic. Watch for it in the bargain bin DVD section and stay tuned for more reviews soon!

Who Will Survive?

Inspired by the heights of our New Years’ Eve VHS Marathon featuring such classics as “Wheels of Terror,” Deplorable Steve and I decided to continue our VHS marathon with “Massive Retaliation,” a 1984 movie about the dangers of nuclear war. As a fan of such films as “Threads,” “Testament,” and “The Day After,” this film was impossible for me to resist. Comparing this film to the other three, how does it stack up?

Well, the setup for all four films is much the same. In all of these films, a nuclear war is imminent, and people prepare. In this one, a group of survivalist families retreat to their bunkers while waiting for other family members, such as Jason Gedrick (from “Iron Eagle” and “The Heavenly Kid”) to arrive. Because of the seriousness of the situation and the graphic nature of the similar TV movies, we anticipate mass nuclear carnage but this flick goes in a different direction. It’s about how nuclear tensions lead to violence. We know we are in heady territory when Bobcat Golthwait, in his first “serious” role, appears and gets in a violent standoff with the other survivalists.

Another memorable thing about this movie is how it shows 1980’s nuclear tensions. But this film’s main strength and weakness are the same: because the nuclear crisis is evaded, the film is to be commended for avoiding cliché but called to the carpet for not being serious or gory enough. It’s not a bad little movie, but it doesn’t live up to the video box. Then again, what could?

California Porn Exodus

The California porn exodus continues, with Kink.com shutting down film production in SF.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/jan/25/porn-bdsm-kink-armory-closing-san-francisco

Kink was filmed in a former giant military barrack called the Armory, a giant brick building by what used to be the presidio. Skaters were always doing tricks on the wide stone stairs in front of the building. I’ve been there a few times, and the building itself (mostly vast, empty, and having been abandoned very creepy Silent Hill-like atmosphere.

 

Having worked in the porn industry, it is sad to see all the companies leaving the state or shutting down altogether. First all the southern California studios moved to Vegas ( after the condom law was passed). I never really liked Kink (for reasons I will explain), but it still makes me sad to see a whole industry wiped out in our state. The Armory will join other landmarks in the Bay Area, like the Mitchell Brothers’ Burbank Theatre, (now abandoned) which is on Bascom next to 280 in San Jose.

When I was working in porn, early in my career I was told I should apply at Kink. I did, and they called me in a for an interview. They wanted to cast me for all their sites practically, but all their sites were way too messed up for me. Ended up doing a pissing/bj shoot there. Found it hard to pee live on camera! I guess that was my bad. Had no experience with that. I showed up ready to shoot though, and (as studios often do) there was an hour or two of waiting around during delays while the girls did makeup. I think had we just got down to business I would have performed better. They also were asking me to fool around before the scene and stuff that I wasn’t used to.

At one point they asked me to refer some female models I knew. So I referred some high end models I was friends with at the time like Shyra Sheer and Torri Paige. I put them in touch with Kink, but they didn’t want to shoot with them , since their shoots were crazy. After i started getting them in touch with hot amateur female models instead Kink started complaining that I wasn’t sending them ‘nice’ girls. I thought that was ironic since hardcore BDSM doesn’t always draw the nice ones as much.

 

Later I was invited to a party there. And it was supposed to be an orgy. It was setup a lot like the orgy in Eyes Wide Shut. Problem was that the women there were prudes that year , and only the paid performers were doing anything. Party’s end was nearing , and when I got my date to head out, the Aceworth jerk who runs the company began to stand between me and the girl, trying to block her from leaving – though she wanted to. I blew a lid at the guy and then as we were leaving I kicked a big full garbage can across the room. Oh the memories.

While I didn’t like much of what they shot there, I must admit they were innovative. They had live crowds at many of their events, and did a good job of inviting the bdsm community to parties and such. One site called Ultimate Surrender (if I remember correctly) featured women wrestling nude in front of a crowd and then the loser getting fucked with a strap on in front of the crowd!

The bottom line is that the porn industry is just one of a series of industries that has been regulated (condom laws and inspections of studios) and cheated (piracy) out of existence in California. Our state keeps adding more and more people to the population. Yet we keep chasing industry after industry out of the state. Its no wonder so many damn Californians end up on welfare. We can also thank technology for making pirating so prevalent that there’s no profit in that industry hardly anymore. Good job Apple and Youtube – you have killed porn as well as the music industry.  Maybe the Hollywood sign will also become a symbol of an industry which USED to thrive in the Golden State. Piracy and  over-regulation also threaten Hollywood. Some of the recent Star Wars films were intended to be shot in California, but were moved due to it being hard and expensive to get permits. Can’t track that link down (due to the Mandela effect), but here is similar evidence: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/How-George-Lucas-bid-for-a-Presidio-museum-6232165.php

Meanwhile, China has bought AMC, and is moving much more aggressively into film production, including having built the world’s largest studio and sets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hengdian_World_Studios

 

Men’s Rights

 

1. No person shall make men lift heavy objects while women stand by commanding them without helping.

2. No man shall be made to pay for babies they did not agree for the woman to have.

3. No man shall be forced to listen to Dave Mathews band in any public place, at any time.

4. No business shall discriminate against hiring men because of facial hair, since that is a sexist principle.

5. Women shall pay their exact share of the bill and percentage of tip (as proportional to their order).

6. Men who are physically attacked by women will be taken seriously by authorities, and women will be charged accordingly.

7. Sexist comments against men in the workplace will be considered sexual harassment, and men will be paid through cases of beer (after arbitration).

8. Any woman who wishes to see the latest romantic comedy shall pay for both the tickets, and the refreshments, as well as any additional fees incurred by the male, including any subsequent parking tickets or DUI’s.

9. The government shall charge and prosecute razor blade companies with anti-trust violations, since they have conspired in causing razor prices to be unbearable.

10. Valentine’s Day shall be abolished, since it violates the Equal Protection clause and 13th Amendments of the Constitution.

Robot Rights Passes E.U.

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A European Union commission voted 17 to 2 to grant robots certain rights, including to be free from beatings. There were some developments on this back in June, and now things are progressing. Now, robots in the E.U. will officially be considered to be ‘electronic persons’ under the law. I suppose this means you can ride with a sex-bot shotgun and drive in the carpool lane now!

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3002559/robot-rights-eu-votes-to-grant-electronic-personhood-to-cyberdyne-t-800s

The bill, which has been compared as a robot ‘Bill of Right’ also designates that humans are to reign over robots (not vice versa). And also includes a stipulation that kill switches be installed on robots, as a weird form of mercy-killing. That idea was based off of an old Asimov concept apparently.