On DVD: High-Rise is an Elite Film

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One of the few terrific films so far this year is “High-Rise,” an alternate-future dystopian sci-fi film based on the ’70s cult novel by J,G. Ballard. It’s about a futuristic high-rise which is encompassed by Britain’s entire class system, with the poor on the bottom and going up in class level with each floor. Tom Hiddleston from the “Thor” films and “Marvel’s The Avengers” stars as the newest resident of the buildings, a doctor who is a bit befuddled when both Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons (who plays the building’s architect) take an interest in him. People in the high-rise seem to have lots of free time, which they spend sun-bathing or socializing at parties. Some of the elite in the high-rise wear baroque-styled garb. There is a certain giddiness in the high rise until the power outages begin and all hell starts to break loose. As the poor work their way up the building total chaos ensues. People start getting chopped into bits in a brutal anarchistic state of nature.

The plot description sounds pretty simple, but actually this movie is pretty hard to follow. My brother and I watched it three times prior to attempting to review it, since its so off-beat and eccentric. So much happens that it’s hard to keep track of it all, but that’s ok because “High-Rise” consistently works as an exercise in surrealism. There is, for example, a gigantic party in which everyone is dressed in sort of Victorian garb while symphonic versions of Abba songs are played by a large orchestra. The scene doesn’t make any sense, but it’s mesmerizing. The film as a whole is funny and sad. It’s funny because it’s very eccentric, but sad because so much of Ballard’s futuristic vision of class strife has come true. This is a very good movie and I highly recommend it, but be ready to pay close attention. It’s a must for fans of offbeat cinema. –CoolAC & Steve

Lights Out Sucks

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There have been some good horror films this year, such as “Don’t Breathe.” On the other hand, there are the bad ones like “Lights Out.” “Lights Out” received some good reviews when it opened earlier this summer. The mind boggles as to why after seeing the film. If nothing else, the film proves that total darkness is not automatically scary. While films like “We Are Still Here” find ways to make a spirit in the dark scary, all “Lights Out” can give us is pointless jump scares and an extremely low body count. Another bad thing about the film is the idea that a mentally ill person could be a conduit for malevolent spirits. This is insulting to the many people suffering from mental illness, who need love and friendship, not fear. The idea that darkness equals death is likewise ridiculous. Most of us sleep in darkness and do just fine.

Audiences need to stop supporting horror films that aren’t scary. The success of “Don’t Breathe” shows that there is a real demand for a good horror film that works. But “Lights Out” should’ve gone straight to video. It resembles an even worse film from May, “The Darkness,” a really bad flick in which <SPOILER!> no one dies and an autistic boy is a conduit for demons.

“Don’t Breathe” works much better because it has a simple plot with real terror that is well executed. When the lights out, we fear for the characters because suspense has been established and the director has played fair with the audience. A smart, deranged blind man makes for a great villain,Similarly, “We Are Still Here,” a limited release horror film from last year, works because the spirits are unpredictable and have far-reaching powers. “The Shallows” uses a gigantic shark. By giving the audience a truly menacing antagonist, these films work.

Message to Hollywood: stop with the clichés and pay attention to what works. Stop using mentally ill people as conduits of demons and give us something scary and involving. And remember: darkness itself isn’t scary. Likable people in realistic jeopardy is. “Lights Out” indeed! -CoolAC

Bad Trends

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Racist robot beauty contest judges. Prefers whites and Asians. As if we don’t have enough problems with race issues in society already these days: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/08/artificial-intelligence-beauty-contest-doesnt-like-black-people

Taking your sexdoll to ground Zero is too disrespectful: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3782563/I-lost-husband-sacred-ground-m-disgusted-British-stag-cause-outrage-taking-selfies-NAKED-BLOW-DOLL-Ground-Zero-eve-15th-anniversary-9-11-police-order-leave.html

Eugenics through extreme natural selection, as women freeze their eggs while awaiting the ‘perfect male’: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3778407/The-REAL-reason-women-freezing-eggs-Women-waiting-perfect-father.html

More signs of a blue -collar trend in fashion towards strictly grunt threads. Ironically, I do not think this is positive. I think its a result of our current economic stagnation that excessively plain working class fashion is in (like in Hunger Games or 1984): http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/tom-ford-designer-turned-director-925601

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Carrying cell phones in pocket causes sperms to die: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3781953/Why-men-NEVER-phone-pocket-Study-shows-prolonged-exposure-radiation-steadily-destroys-sperm.html

Scientists have named a parasite after the current president: http://www.infowars.com/finally-scientists-name-blood-sucking-parasite-after-obama/

World’s ugliest sexdoll: http://www.nerve.com/entertainment/web/this-mans-homemade-sex-doll-is-absolutely-horrifying

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Clumsy bots are bumping into people at conventions. Meanwhile robot fashions are in on the catwalk at high-end fashion shows: https://heatst.com/entertainment/robots-take-over-new-york-fashion-week-with-mixed-success/

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Orgasm injections for women don’t sound very legit: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/sep/15/dr-charles-runels-o-shot-women-orgasm-sexual-cure

This new game coming out for the new Sony virtual reality headset coming out next month would be better if you could flirt with real women virtually (like at a virtual bar) rather than flirting with a computer simulation: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/virtual-love-display-annual-tokyo-game-show-103925322.html

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Experts Wrong About Sexbot Supremacy

Here is an expert who says sexbots will be supreme to humans sexually:
http://metro.co.uk/2016/09/06/sex-robots-will-be-better-in-bed-than-any-human-being-expert-promises-6113375/

My take is that that would be an incorrect assumption. It is true that robots have beaten humans in many intellectual endeavors such as chess. And depending if you count machines as robots, then there are many physical tasks which they better humans at. But when you are talking about sex you are talking about a sensual (touch) and mental connection as well. Sensitivity, intuition, even impulsiveness are all facets in which a human will excel beyond the capability of any machine.

How about the classic example of angry sex, revenge sex, make-up sex etc. ?? Women dig that stuff and no bot will provide that catharsis. A robot will obviously be a good sub for bdsm, since its presumably built to obey orders. But people will not get the same thrill out of whipping or paddling a sexbot as they would out a a fine -ass momma human woman. Also lets take a look at other things that were computerized, like EDM (techno). Despite its popularity, techno has caused music to lose its human touch. Which is ironic since the song lyrics tend to be somewhat emotional and “E”-inspired. Or take a look at fake limbs ( like a pump up dick surgery so one’s cock stays hard all the time). I don’t believe the average woman wants that. And while I do recognize that a legit. counterargument can be made for instance the Aussie gold medal winning runner who had robotic legs- its the human element which is attached to the robotic part which provides the emotional drive which makes the physical feat at hand possible.

There are other obvious advantages a sexbot has over a human sexually – in terms of endurance, thrust strength , not getting sore, and more. The idea they would be more hygienic in terms of them staying free of stds would depend whether they are cleaned/shared and remains uncertain in its implications. A sexbot will not be able to provide the same level of mental emotion , sensuality, kinesiology, nor the same level of satisfaction from having connected with that a human will have. I also fear that they could break down and parts could be expensive. And I could see them getting computer viruses and going haywire, or having the government use sexbots to spy on people (along the lines of what Snowden talks about). The average sexbot may offer advantages over the average human. But the truth is that you can’t keep a good man down.

Steve C.

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Viva Joe Bob Briggs!

 

For those of you who are wondering what happened to Joe Bob Briggs, drive-in critic, author and satirist from The Movie Channel in the 80’s and 90’s, keep reading.

Joe Bob Briggs, also known as John Bloom, is a comedian, writer and former host of “Joe Bob Briggs Drive in Theatre” who earned praise and controversy for writing and talking about exploitation films in reverent tones. He called films like “Out of Africa” and “Witness” as “indoor bullstuff” and wondered why the real “best films of the year” like “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Make Them Die Slowly” did not receive recognition. In response, he created the Drive-in Academy Awards and the song “We Are The Weird,” with such luminaries as Leatherface singing about their plight.

I loved Joe Bob with his redneck humor and political incorrectness, He rated films according to such categories as blood, breasts, beasts and the “vomit meter.” He rated his films from one to four stars but only “Halloween 3” got one star because it failed to bring back Donald Pleasance, the Shape, and Jamie Lee Curtis. If Joe Bob Briggs liked a movie, though. you could be sure it was entertaining and outrageous. Check out his book “Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In” https://www.amazon.com/JOE-BOB-GOES-BACK-DRIVE-/dp/038529770X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473298609&sr=8-2&keywords=joe+bob+goes+to+the+drive+in for his reprints of his columns and film criticism.

I wasn’t the only person who liked Joe Bob Briggs; he was cast in the films “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” “The Stand,” and “Casino..”

I lost track of Joe Bob in the 2000’s; I couldn’t find him on the web very easily. But recently, he seems to be surging.

First of all, he is writing extraordinarily interesting columns for Taki’s Magazine, http://takimag.com/contributor/JoeBobBriggs/245#axzz4JcAzcojV an online publication that I subscribe to for free. He writes articles about such topics as “Donald Trump, You Ignorant Slut.” “Why the New York Times Will Endorse Donald Trump,”, and Olympic coverage that neglects fascinating people like Kimberly Rhode, who has won medals in six Olympics in categories like skeet shooting but received no coverage because she in pro-NRA. Secondly, he is appearing as John Bloom on September 8 at 7 am at Books Inc. (301 Castro Street by the Caltrain Station) in Mountain View promoting his new fact-based book “Eccentric Orbits,” about a “darkly weird” (his words) NASA project, and he wants all his fans to be there so he can talk to “regular people.” So all Joe Bob Briggs fans like me should be sure not to miss this exciting free event! He is only selling John Bloom books there but if you bring your Joe Bob Briggs material there he will sign it. Don’t miss it! : https://www.facebook.com/JoeBobBriggs/photos/a.10152609996514556.1073741827.162253609555/10153694682714556/

CoolAC

The Cure by @Hartator

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The Cure

It was time.

Actually, it wasn’t. But, Ella Rudson believed she deserved to treat herself. It would be the third time she undertook the procedure. Her body age was only forty-two years old. She was still considered biologically young for the procedure. However, it would feel so great to be eighteen again.

Matthew Brooks tried to dissuade her. He liked her the way she was. He had gone through the procedure only once. Matthew was seventy-three years younger than she was in actual age. They had been seeing each other for just a couple of months. He couldn’t possibly know what’s best for her or for them.

It was frowned upon to undergo the procedure before fifty. Nevertheless, Ella outperformed at her work at the Organization every single year in the past five years and got a special permission from the Organization. Her job at the Veracity organ was important. Computers were constantly monitoring the individual spheres, the global sphere and everything in between. They were looking for discrepancies. Ella’s task was to restructure the data to eliminate these discrepancies. It was helping getting everyone on the same page. It was mostly small things. It was for the good of the Organization and it was for the good of the people. She was making a better world.

The procedure was invented by John O’Connor a while ago. He funded the O’Connor Institute and, first, he invented a technology to slow down aging dramatically. He quickly acquired fortune and fame. Later, he found a revolutionary way to transfer human minds from old bodies to younger ones. The whole mind was shifted, from the global neuron charges to the quantum states of every particles. He then got greedy. He refused to share the procedure with the people. He refused to share the procedure with anyone. Fortunately, the Organization elders stepped in. They took over the O’Connor Institute by force. John O’Connor disappeared. The Organization elders then decided to sacrifice themselves. They vowed to never used the new procedure on themselves. Instead, they promised to ensure the people will be the ones benefiting from it.

At first, everyone had access to the procedure. Unfortunately, people started abusing it. The new bodies were unanimated dolls with a blank state. It required time, energy and man power to grow them. The Organization couldn’t bare the costs. The elders decided to divide the people into two groups. The first group would be living in the upper city. People of this group were selected by the Organization according to their estimated worth. They will be the ones working for the Organization. In exchange, they will have access to the procedure. Ella was proud to be part of this group. The second group would be living in the lower city. These are people that the Organization can’t used and didn’t need. They will be provided generously with everything for the rest of their life and they won’t have to work a single day. However, they won’t have access to the procedure. It was a fair system.

A calm tone accompanied with a dim blue light stopped her thoughts. She had arrived at the O’Connor Institute. She stepped lightly out of the bus and paused for a moment. She then felt the bus going away by itself, silently floating a few inches away from the ground. She entered the building with a smile at the corner of her lips.

Everything was exactly like she remembered. The ceilings were high and it looked more like a train station hall than the entrance of a building. The comically enormous bust of John O’Connor that was welcoming visitors before has been replaced years ago. Now, stood a globe made of pure gold and, on it, one could see hundreds of inch-tall figurines representing our people. The front desk receptionist looked twenty year younger. She must have gone through the procedure relatively recently. She did looked stunning. She greeted Ella with a warm “Miss Rudson, we were waiting for you.” and pointed to the elevator.

The elevator knew where she was going. It stopped on the seventh floor. A round pale purple light was waiting for her in the air. It guided Ella to her room. Three men were waiting for her. One recognized her. He said with a smile “Welcome back, Ella. So, what do you think?“. Inside a transparent tube, her new body was here, floating in a heavy brown placenta. New bodies didn’t have to be perfect clones. Slight variations in genetic code were allowed. She had ordered some minor improvements including this turned-up shape nose. She had always wished to have one. The results were beyond expectations. After thoughts, she should have also asked for a bit more prominent cheekbones. Maybe next time.

She nodded with a small smile. The men went back to their stations. They were getting ready for the transfer. She stripped from her clothes. She then stood still, her back against the padded wall used for transfers. She was just five feet away to her new body. She had a last look to it with a bigger smile. She nodded again to the operator and faced straight. He typed a few commands. A large white plastic sheet moved towards her. It covered her entire body and warped it tightly to the wall. She couldn’t move. It was mildly uncomfortable, but she knew it was only for a few seconds. Like the last time, she felt life fading away. Her closed eyes saw the familiar white light.

The smell was first to kick in. It wasn’t the usual smell of placenta being removed. Instead, it was a disgusting rancid odor. A mix between decay and spoiled meat. It didn’t felt she was in a new body. She tried to open her eyes, but couldn’t see anything. The place was perfectly dark. She could barely breath. She felt stuck. She was surrounded on all sides by some sort of flabby bodies. Her whole skin was covered by a granular viscous oil. She was still naked.

Ella slowly managed to climb up. She extracted herself from this putrid mix and felt on the side. She caught her breath for a few minutes. Her eyes began to acclimate to the bright light. She realized she just came out of a dumpster. She looked inside. She saw horrified a stack of maybe thirty naked human corpses. It looked like the bodies people were switching from when they were going through the procedure. Until now, Ella thought the Institute was incinerating these bodies. She couldn’t believe they were doing it this way. She felt like throwing up. She had a massive headache. It wasn’t unlike the ones she was getting after trying new drugs at the club. She looked around. She was probably somewhere in the lower city. It looked like a back alley of what must be a bar. They were a few passerby. Some looked at her with some interest, but oddly without surprise.

She just wanted to go home.

reprinted with permission by @hartator

https://medium.com/@hartator/the-cure-9c6d7bbf2588#.m6vj1l3om

War Dogs Annihilate Kubo

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“War Dogs” is an extremely well done dark comedy based on fact about two losers who somehow become successful international arms dealers. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller give two of their best performances by making these two asses relatable and somewhat sympathetic. As they get in over their heads so does the audience, as people who may have expected a “Hangover”-style comedy instead get a piercing critique of American capitalism. One of the film’s most interesting aspect is the use of title cards to indicate what is going to happen next; it actually creates suspense rather than lessening it. A lesson learned from the film is not to ever tell your wife what you’re really up to because she doesn’t really want to know and wouldn’t understand. The movie represents a big improvement on the similar “Lord of War” with Nicolas Cage and is superior entertainment.

However, “War Dogs” is apparently not what people want to see, judging by the empty theatre. No, they want to see “Kubo and the Two Strings,” the new stop-motion animated film. In fact, due to good reviews, I did too, so I sat down in a packed house and waited for the film to start. Let me get the positives out of the way: this movie is extremely well animated and scored, and creates a fairly interesting fantasy world. What’s the problem, then? The story sucks. It doesn’t make much sense, with lots of talk about how Kubo is the chosen one and weird emphasis on blindness as a plot device and heroic monkeys and beetles or something and a happy ending that’s not really happy. I hated “Finding Dory” but at least I could follow it. I was lost within 20 minutes of “Kubo.” Nevertheless, the audience loved it; there was laughter throughout and applause at the end.

Lesson learned: audiences prefer mindless pap over anything piercing and real. We will probably get a zillion Harry Potter clones over the next few years and hardly anything related to real life. Capitalism sure is great, isn’t it? –CoolAC

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Real Men Read Classics

dave(litho by Coop)

With the explosion of male-thug icon as the symbol of the modern look, one might think its necessary to watch the NFL and listen to gangster rap in order to be hard and masculine. That notion would be quite mistaken though. There is actually stuff way manlier and way more intellectual than modern masculinity if we look to the classics. And the truth is that real men read classics.

Mark Twain once said that, “a classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” However, here are some classics that are written in a balls out style that is captivating, and which are still relevant (after many years):

Lysistrata by Aristophanes

Basically the women in ancient Greece decide to hold out the pussy from these ancient Greek warriors. This is because their dudes are always out on foreign conquest for glory and treasure, while their babes are stuck at home cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and so-forth. This is a most un-righteous situation. While the younger women hold out the P , the older women take control of the Treasury, and the guys wind up double- screwed because they get diseases from not having clean laundry.

It gets funny as the men retaliate by letting the garbage pile up and by making the women do the heavy stuff (like fetching water from the well). Also the women are doing lots of teasing and stuff of the men (sexually) but then holding out. There’s lots of crude ancient raunchy sex jokes through-out this ancient Greek play. Plus its not overly long. This book exemplifies the underpinnings of the feminist movement, but does so in a way that is subversive and funny. ‘Know thy enemy’ is an axiom that most men would do well to remember. And it is also advantageous to be somewhat intellectual while in pursuit of the female species, since it is a quality which adds mystique, and that women find appealing.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

This is another book I read recently, which is a collection of short stories. I was really taken back by how much testosterone is in it . The short story the book is named after is really raw and brutal. Its tough and mean, like the state of nature. The main character’s truck breaks down. Then he faces a blizzard and a leg infection. Then finally, hyenas come for him.

The other stories in that collection are equally relevant to men in their own respective ways. ‘Fathers and Sons’ is a touching short piece about a father and son confronting the reality of their own mortality. ‘The Killers’, about an existential hit-man who is supposed to kill a boxer. As a footnote one version of that (which was filmed) added in a crime boss character, and Ronald Reagan was cast. ‘Fifty Grand’, about a boxer making a big, shady bet on himself on his last fight before retirement. He gets double-crossed, yet prevails. These stories are all written with a poetic iconic Americana-laced grit and simplicity to them -which is absent from much of today’s authors. Men would do well to become more familiar with the classics, in order to help restore balance in the battle of the sexes.

Its time to burn all the Twilight books in a large pyre, and hoist up more robust and manly books like Hemingway back to their proper place in the social order. – Steve C.

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Ben-Hur Slays Pete’s Dragon

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If you avoid one kids’ film this year, make it “Pete’s Dragon.” For some reason, I thought this film would be entertaining; I even got the 3D glasses for it. What did I get for my faith in this film? A phony-looking E.T. dragon and Robert Redford, looking about 80, telling stories to 7-year olds. It is a mystery to me why this film received good reviews. After about 20 minutes, I stormed out of the cinema and got a full refund. I NEVER do that, but then again, this film is boring sludge masquerading as quality entertainment.

On the other hand, the new “Ben-Hur” is a rather good remake of the Charlton Heston classic. I rather liked the mix of bloody action and Christian themes, and cutting back on the gay subtext from the classic film resulted in a much shorter movie. In addition, I liked Morgan Freeman’s performance and the slave galleon and chariot race sequence are really well done. Also, the script is surprisingly good, with a strong focus on characterization. Ok, it’s not the greatest film ever, but I liked it. You could do a lot worse. Somehow this film managed to flop and lose $120 million: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ben-hur-faces-120m-loss-925302 –CoolAC

 

 

Book Review: Saint Odd is Bloody Good

whiskey 012“Saint Odd,” Dean Koontz’s final installment in his best-selling Odd Thomas series, is the perfect book for those of us who hate bloodthirsty Satanists. Odd Thomas, a fry cook with supernatural powers, is a refreshingly homespun protagonist who maintains an aw-shucks demeanor even as he blows away bad guys. Koontz used to be a Stephen King imitator, but in this series he has found a fresh voice and gives us a likeable albeit very bloody tale. I have not been keeping up with his recent books, but clearly I underestimated him and he is a better writer than I thought. I recommend this book to all horror fans. Also it was weird that the actor who played him in the film version of this recently died that bizarre accident where his own car pinned him to the wall. That’s weird since he is psychic in this series and has a somewhat bad fate in the book as well. -CoolAC