Monthly Archives: January 2012

Flick Picks Vol. 1

Like I mentioned, I have been watching more movies since joining Netflix, and well why not document those as well! I will contradict myself here, and mention that spoilers will be listed, but not the endings of movies, just what happens in some scenes. It will be just movies this time; will mix them in future blogs. Or not. Fell free to let me know what you think of these, if you decide to based on what I say. Since I am goign through Netflix, if you have an account you can ge them easily.

13 Assassins – 2010

After hearing of the atrocities of a Shogun’s relative (Lord Naritsugu), culminating in the harikari of a political figure in protest, another district counselor and samurai vows to bring the man to justice and avenge those whom he has brought shame and death upon, by taking his life in turn. (Seems legit to me) Typical samurai plot of course, but done well here. The camerawork is brilliant, the acting authentic, sets and locations arranged wonderfully. Music is kept to a minimum for much of the movie, the gravity of thoughts and decisions weighing heavily and needing no prompts. You can truly sense the tension in the air as they conspire, knowing, accepting, even hoping(?) that many of them will almost surely die; they only wish to have it happen in a fight and to not be discovered/have their plot foiled. There is a scene *spoiler alert* about 30 minutes in, where Shinzaemon is shown a woman who had her arms and legs cut off, and as she writes (with a brush in her mouth), her family and village was massacred. This scene hit me very hard, it’s very intense. What brought it up even a notch from that was Shinzaemon’s response. “Fate has smiled upon me” he says calmly, with what seems to be intensely controlled mirth almost making him smile at what he is seeing. He speaks about being a samurai, the pride and honor of it – but that he is a samurai during peaceful times. This, he feels, gives him and other samurai the opportunity to do what they are bred for; to fight with honor and die with it. His body language, and the way he speaks, even though I needed subtitles to understand, transcended what even the best words cannot explain. One of the most intense monologues I have heard from a movie in a while.
The second scene, again with Shinzaemon he stands at the roof of a building facing Lord Naritsugu. Rather than simply continue killing the army, he reaches into his robes and unfurls a parchment; holding it out, we see the words that the mutilated woman wrote out “total massacre”. The scene, and that brief moment where the tension once again hangs in the air, is a definitive scene, considering also that (bad guy) doesn’t even get it, until it is explained, and even then gives a brief recollection that is meaningless to him.
The last half hour is all fighting, a good balance of dialogue, plot/character development, and sheer brutal killing. Yin and Yang. There is a bit of mysticism with one character; not getting more out of it was not too much of a loss for me, as it gives even more of an impression of a tale, which always has some small embellishments.

Grade: A. Definitely worth your time.

Keywords: Drama, Violence, Vengeance, War, Samurai


Saints and Soldiers – 2003.

A lower-budgeted movie set in World War 2. A group of American POW’s escape from their Nazi captors and try to maneuver through a wintry French countryside. Along the way they meet a British airman who has vital information that needs to be delivered. You know the formula – a group of completely different personalities have a seemingly impossible goal, come across smaller adventures/dangers along the way, while some of them start getting picked off along the way. As I said it is a lower budget flick (I think it went straight to DVD), so don’t expect much in known actors (they have made movies SINCE then, but no one that I recognized right away. Not much in F/X, or musical scores, but then again – who needs it? Simple script, a bit of drama from the soldier with PTSD, and some critics point out the religious/Mormon angles/ideals that are pushed a bit (it was funded by Mormons and filmed in Utah), but it’s not flagrant like Mel Gibson movies, or the Left Behind Series – I didn’t even pick up on it until afterwards.

Grade: B. Worth the 90 minutes on Netflix, for a snow day or if the fish ain’t biting.

Keywords- Drama, War, Violence, WWII, independent film, Nazi


Zombie Girl: The Movie – 2009

Low budget documentary about a low budget movie. Win win – if that’s your bag. A 12 year old girl who is a horror movie fanatic, writes a script for her own movie “Pathogen”, but in this day and age of easily accessible technology, decides that she wants this done, I mean really done, now now now. At first you’ll think that, again, in this day and age, a kid would not have the attention span to see it through. Well, you’re half right. Some small indie producers/actors, friends and other would be actors, local comic store/theater/trade show organizers, a crew filming a documentary, and her parents, all band together to support this movie. Are they helping her along or carrying her? You will see glimpses of teen angst/brattiness, and the film cuts to months later with little explanation (though schoolwork and budget are pretty obvious I guess), and her own half-hearted attempts to secure a film makers guild grant (why bother when you know your parents and/or the crew filming you will pay for it?), along with the obvious issues of amateur acting/filming in a suburban town. Again, the idea that this is getting done is just as much the overindulgence of the parents as her dedication, but you’ll find yourself rooting for her, and curious as to how the end product turns out.
If low budget flicks, and incredibly cheesy B horror movies in general, along with documentary crews who seem to be just as new as their subject in making films are your bag, well then you’ll like it. Otherwise, I would skip it, and just sit on your porch yelling at those rapscallions with their cameras and fancy phones to get off your lawn.

Grade: B-,  curved from C+. It’s a B movie after all…
Keywords: Documentary, Film, B Movies, Horror, Independent film.


Lisa Lampinelli: Tough Love- 2011

A recording of a live LL standup concert. She goes through the motions, picking out people from every demographic from the audience and goes back to them with stereotypical statements from bits in her routine, peppered in with sex jokes from her sex life. Not something that I wanted to visualize at all. Her voice is annoying, her routine outdated (I get that she is breaking through the thin-skinned PC rules of how specific races/cultures are, and yes I laughed, but I laughed at those jokes 20 years ago). Tried to get through it twice, but nope couldn’t do it.

Grade: Incomplete –F. A sign of the times. That sign is ‘dead end’.
Keywords: movies, reviews, standup, comics.


Joe Rogan: Live – 2006
Yes he’s host of Fear Factor and gets to ogle the women who have to strip down to bathing suits for at least one ‘stunt’, but that’s the only thing you would put the show on for. This concert is nothing but a musclehead with a backwards hat shouting stupid jokes. I can’t stress it enough that he shouts, endlessly. Sort of liek when people raise their voice when speaking to someone who doesn’t undertsand their language. If you’re not in a frat house doing a keg stand, you shouldn’t waste your time.

Grade: Incomplete –F. Again, if you like today’s comics, or comparing them to comics of yesteryear, then go for it.
Keywords: movies, reviews, standup, comics

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More whine, less cheese

Wining- Right now a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Summation (white) blend is half-done, after several nights of single glasses. It’s as promised, semi-sweet, no dryness, an underlying honeydew & mild honeysuckle on a creamy base, just a touch of spice to finish and bring me to reality. Not overly fruity, and a clear light yellow. I had this with a medium spicy Manhattan clam chowder; the pairing was ok, though I did not alternate hot soup with chilled wine. It did not clash with the meal, and a glass afterwards cleared my palate. I would drink this again, as I do like it better than the chardonnay, which has a darker yellow color, heavier ‘feel’ in my mouth/tongue and strong perfume/flavor of citrus fruits that does not pair with pasta or fish at all, for me. Perhaps I would pair that with a fish with something like a chutney or mango salsa. Will try it – all in the name of research!

Wreading – Star Wars: Choices of One, Timothy Zahn. An unofficial sequel to “Allegiance”, this book takes the adventures of Zahn-created characters (Mara Jade, Thrawn, the rogue stormtroopers) into a little more depth. Clearly attention needs to be paid to the contexts of ranking, status and mindsets of the characters. As this story takes place between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”, it’s technically ‘filler’, but has it uses in the Expanded Universe.

Whining…in Dining– I wrote a letter to Starbucks, asking why they raised the price of regular coffee the same 10 cents as the skinnydoublemochafrappocrapo with whip- which costs over twice as much, and requires several more steps/equipment/ingredients than my plain ground bean beverage. I won’t be buying SB until I have an answer – will post the letter, and response if I get one. Also wrote a positive/negative letter to Popeye’s; the positives were that the place was clean, and the shift manager had her place running like a well-oiled machine. No attitudes at all. The negative was that they still managed to forget the biscuit in my 3 piece meal deal. The biscuit seals the deal; hell I would have preferred they left out a piece of chicken over the biscuit. Or even the beverage/cup, since I rarely drink soda anyway! Again, will wait on a response.

Wrecipes – I found one for buttermilk biscuits. Yes I will attempt it. I need closure.

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Filed under 50 Books in 2012, Books, Complaints, Compliments, Food, Reading, Recipes, Restaurants, Whining, Wine

Re-Viewing

Already it’s 9 days into 2012.

Another year when I promised I would write more. Because that’s what I do best. It’s the way I express myself. If I don’t express myself, it builds up and flows away, wasted, dried up like a raisin in the sun.

Part of my expanded ideas/motivation for writing include the things that I am doing anyway, and I know that everyone gives their best shits of the week to know about them.

Plus it’s easier than exercise. Unless if you do easy exercises, like I do.

I went to WordPress and tried to create an account with this name, but someone else took it. WTF?!

As it turns out, I took it. So yeah. It was destiny all the way.

So I present to you!!!

Writing, Whining, Wining, Winning, Watching….umm Wrecipe, Wrestaurants, Wreading Wreviews.

AKA: WWWWWWWWWW AKA: W9

Ok after topics started coming together, it was alliterative for a while, but started falling apart. This is my way of preserving consistency, expanding the terribly incorrect 3W’s which we were all taught, so to all you former teachers of mine,
reap what you have sown!!

Just calling this braintomahawk is ‘easier’ though. All of those w’s might make you think this is a typical web page. Also this is how people* know me. *Maybe 3 people. Ok a few more. A FEW.

The topics in more detail.

Writing – Writing ideas and goals. From twitter updates, this blog, short stories to big ones, Day in the Life entries and letters to various people/places (see next)…

Whining – Writing letters of complaint, or even commendation. Who I write to and why. Will update with responses as they occur.

Wining – The wines I drink. How they are. Beers, ales and cocktails will be included. Maybe I should have said wasted. I still have incredibly low tolerance . Come, join me as I raise it!

Winning — I used to be really good at winning contests. Now I am lucky to get free samples. I would have called this category wishing, since that’s what we do to win. Also it reminds me of the old adage “Wish in one hand, shit in the other, then tell me which fills up faster.”

Watching – Making use of my Netflix subscription, I watched a ton of movies last year but didn’t bother to write them down. Now I will. From classics to trashy B movies, I’ll touch every category.

This is where Word starts underlying in red–

Wrecipes – New recipes, and some traditional favorites. Pictures may be included, maybe a video.

Wreading – Yes I still wread. I will update my list. The goal is always 50 a year. Unless it’s one of those epic classics, in which case I get a waiver.

Wreviews – What all of the things above are, theoretically, though the details I mention are usually the less important aspects, unless it’s recipes. I don’t post spoilers. And more. Oh so much more. I promise you, you will be looking for more, in either that “Wow I can’t wait until the next time he writes” context or “Geez that’s it?!”, a context I have never heard, at all, in my life. That’s right.

Yes I will work on the format as well…

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