Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ahhhhh Booooo!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From Schuba's to Lincoln Hall

I have given the Schuba brothers a lot of money this month (although not complaining, because it was reasonably priced and always a great time). I got to see a show at Schuba's on October 17th. Then I got to go to the grand event at their new location Lincoln Hall on October 25th. My thoughts...

First the show at Schuba's. I have always loved this place. So initmate that you are basically on top of the performers. It is a great place to catch bands before they strike it big and move on to larger venues (more on that in a minute). There in lies the problem. First, Chicago crowds are notoriously terrible. Its not that they aren't responsive, but depending on the act, they're loud or annoying. Grand Archives was the band I saw at Schuba's. It was a good show but because they have loud songs and quieter ballads as well, the crowd will adjust their noise accordingly... in reverse. You can't hear them when the band gets loud. But you can hear a lot of conversations during the quiet songs. Why are you coming to these shows, people? I watched 2 sets of couples repeatedly turn around to glare at this guy and girl who kept up a full volume conversation the entire set. Other than that, great job as always. I love the fact that Schuba's post the set times on the doors. So you know when the band you came to see is going onstage. The only other trouble with Schubas (or if you're like me and would like to just get away from it altogether) is they have no backstage. So if you want an encore, they come right back out. Yay.

Now the brothers Schuba have added a second venue to their empire. Lincoln Hall located where the uncomfortable beer serving Three Penny Cinema used to be housed. I have heard concerns about putting a rock venue where there is no parking. About how LP Trixies don't deserve a rock venue. But I think its great. You've got a venue right off the red line Fullerton stop. You can get DePaul kids to straggle in. Plus since I live so far south now, it's a quick trip to get there.

They made this venue their "step up" venue. For acts they originally booked at Schubas, if they are gaining popularity and need a bigger site, this is it. It is about 5 times the size of Schubas. It has bare brick walls that are matched with the warm wood bars. But they've also contrasted the look with some harsh metal accent walls. The "pit" as I call it, reminds me of the Thunderdome. The balcony above make a U shape around three sides above. If you heard the chanting of "two men enter, one man leaves" the ambiance would be complete. But for the most part, they have been able to get a larger space while keeping that initmate feel of the original venue intact. I got to see Ted Leo for their Grand Event and he brought the thunder. I can see that the site will be able to hold up for hard rock shows. I still say Ted's best set was at the Metro, but that's neither here nor there.

Overall, the Schuba brothers have done well to earn my money and I will continue to attend their bookings.

The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais directed a movie. He wrote it too. He asked people to be in it. Tina Fey. Ed Norton. Phil Seymor Hoffman. Louis C.K. Tina Fey. Jonah Hill. Jason Bateman. Jeffrey Tambor. Tina Fey. John Hodgman. Jimmi Simpson (McPoyle has the funniest part). Have I mentioned Tina Fey is in this? Well, she is. Martin Starr. Christopher Guest. Of course Stephen Merchant shows up with a pipe (second best part).

The farcical tale of a world void of the ability to lie. Ricky's character becomes the first. If this were made by an American it would be raunchy and zany. Luckily we're in better hands. But that is also its undoing. For such heady material, it is somewhat light on laughs. When they come they are pretty great, but they are somewhat far between.

As per my post yesterday, I'm more excited that this material is getting released than I am about the final product. There's nothing to dislike here, but that is split about evenly with what there is to like. When Ricky Gervais' career gets looked over long after his corpse is feeding daisies, this will be a minor entry.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I finally know Where the Wild Things Are

The day has finally arrived. Since the book became popular (not on it's true original release but later) people have been trying to make this film. Results: Amazing. But, that said, it didn't capture my imagination. It is visually stunning. The kid playing Max by a kid named Max is great to the max. Hey, remember that show the Maxx on Mtv? Yeah it was awesome.

The production was fraught with peril (I've always wanted to say that!). Serious work by Spike Jonze started in 2005. All studios (original Universal and finally 20th Century Fox) had trouble with the tone. It's a credit to everyone involved that they got this final product out.

So why don't I love it? I guess it all boils down to relation. Most reviews I have read come from guys who say they relate to Max. I might have been a terror as a child, but I don't see myself in him. And that's probably the biggest problem. Many will love this movie and many should. One can only hope and pray that filmmaker's visions make it onto the big screen. For what's playing out there right now, you could do worse (ahem Saw 11). But as sad as it pains me, this won't make my top five of the year.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?
Yes. No. Maybe So.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Whore Err Moo V Post Errs

To end my Halloween tribute week I would like to share with you some of the movie box cover art that used to haunt my dreams as a kid. Our grocery store rented movies when that became popular and whenever I saw these boxes I'd have to quickly move past them. Please to enjoy.

Come on, how does that not scare kids from using the toilet?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Whore Err Moo V's

Thanks to this movie, I've never felt safe in the water. Who knows how many times I've seen this film. So why keep going back? Because Spielberg's technical issues helped him craft a quiet nightmare of a film. Because you take the shark out of the movie and you still have a great drama on your hands. Because the only gimmick in this film is the size and they sell it as utterly believable.

There really is no part of this film that you don't buy. I love this movie. This is the only way to finish the week. Because this is in my top 5, not just top 5 scares, top 5 total.
Now at my age, the first one of this series that was released in theaters when I was able to understand such things was part 3 (which even though it is terrible, I still quite enjoy).

But this is the high water mark. Of course it is. A small New England island town is terrorized by a silent killer. It sticks around because the people in charge are idiotic bureaucrats.
The town sheriff brings in an expert to help them out. Those top three names to my left, they are the ones doing the heavy lifting. The score by John Williams does the rest of the work. If you never want to feel safe in water, be it ocean, lake or pool then watch this.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whore Err Moo V's
Day of the Dead

Night of the Living Dead: the original was the first gory movie and was ahead of it's time. There's a remake by Tom Savini that I would recommend for fans.

Dawn of the Dead: where he really got good at inventive kills (along with his usual social commentary), but the bright blue makeup really takes me out of it.

Day of the Dead: the money picture. I remember seeing a Saturday morning creature effects show about this. How they used inventive effects and really set the bar.

I only got to see it for the first time about 8 years ago. IFC was doing their Halloween screenings (paired with Dead Alive, jackpot). But the second time I saw it was at a screening at the Biograph attended by George Romero himself. Awesome.

This is the 3rd in his Dead series. The army is stuck in a bunker with some scientists. Nothing really else to say. Things go badly. Watch out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whore Err Moo V's
The Thing

Can you see the poster to the left? The ultimate in alien terror. I concur.

This gem was under my radar until junior year in college. I was at my fraternity one weekend when a lot of people had gone home (easter, christmas, something?).

It was just starting so I figured I would give it a viewing. So I sat alone in my fraternity in the dark. Yeah, I was 21, but damn is this scary the first time you see it.

The tale about some Artic team running a foul of some nasty aliens. One by one the team gets killed and replaced by this alien presence.

Great creature effects, great cast. It's like a haunted house that you can't escape because you're miles from civilization.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Whore Err Moo V's
Fright Night

It's Fright Night. This one I remember my mother and aunt watching. Again, I was little and wanted to hang around and was told that if I wanted to be in the basement (home to many of my nightmares: Aliens, Creepshow, Fright Night) I could close my eyes. Don't I have great parents. Well, they did subscribe to HBO and Cinemax, so thanks. You created your own monster. One who loves a good scare.

Now onto Fright Night. It took me years to get through this movie all the way. The tale of a vampire who moves next door.

It is an early version of self referential movie. The kid goes to get help from a TV Host of Horror movies.

It's a funny movie without being haha. The effects are practical but still very scary. These monsters transform into animals. They all have big teeth. Not as well known as some other creature features, you don't want to discount this flick. Where else can you see Amanda Bearse as the love interest.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whore Err Moo V's

Another one that I couldn't watch as a child. Now I know it as the movie everyone says was 'ghost' directed by Steven Spielberg.

The closet scene. The clown doll. The tree. The pool. The TV. The guy's face. You don't even need to finish any of those sentences.

Nothing really gory or nasty, this is a clean honest to god scary movie.

The two sequels make you realize you can't catch lightening in a bottle twice (nor thrice). In fact you need to watch the Siskel / Ebert review of part three.

But this one, amazing. A tortured family being haunted due to 80's greed.

I am going to put this one on my queue because I KNOW my woman has not seen it before. For shame.

"This clear."

Whore Err Moo V's

Another one that gave me nightmares as a child, Aliens is a different breed. Jim Cameron takes the horror sci fi genre and blends it seemlessly with action.

I remember seeing the movie box for this film right next to the movie Alien and trying so hard to figure out the difference. I guess I'm advocating the sequel numbering system. Otherwise you'll have baffled kids out there renting movies in the wrong order. But I guess you can still get confused, like if you rent Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 as a double feature. You'll definitely feel like you just watched the same film twice...and you'll feel like you might be going insane. But I digress.

Aliens is great. I don't have to tell you that. Do I? Ripley has been asleep for like 80 years (since the end of the first one). When she wakes up, of course they ask her to go back to identify the aliens. She gets military backup. Things don't go well.

I remember seeing it on ABC as a kid where there was a turret scene keeping an eye on a hallway. When I watched it years later that scene was gone. I didn't understand until DVDs started putting out special additions with scenes cut back in. Apparently they had to add some extra scenes to the TV version to pad out the time and cut some of the gore. But at least it put my mind at ease that I wasn't crazy.

Anyways, going back to childhood, there are three scenes that really terrified me. The chest burster scene (even the mock version of that scene in Spaceballs scared me as a kid). Terrifying. Then there's the scene with 'Mad About You"s Paul Reiser. With the bings and blips. Super scary. And then of course the water scene with Newt. Yikes. But...that's the point. It is scary and awesome. And one of my favorites.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Whore Err Moo V's

In honor of our Mayor's favorite holiday (and one I'm fond of as well) lets talk about scary movies that have a special place in my heart.

This is one of the first scary movies I remember seeing on TV. I was playing Electronic Battleship with my dad. I was terrified and asked him to turn the channel. He said I could go upstairs if I wanted. I stayed. And with that, my love of horror began.

This is an anthology tale based on comics from way before my time. George Romero and Stephen King team up to bring us some tales. Some funny, some scary, all interesting in one way or another.

We've got a father who comes back to get his revenge (on Ed Harris for one). In another a poor yokel gets a bad case of fungus. A really bad case. The third story shows the serious side of Mayday Malone and Lt. Frank Dreben. Number four has a monster in a box. The last story (my least favorite of the segments) has a guy at war with bugs.

They have various degrees of success in their telling but as a whole the movie is scary and fun. Anthology films are very difficult and horror lends itself best to it. Recently another anthology tale has been released on DVD called "Trick 'R Treat". Early buzz (well it was made 3 years ago) says its good. I will find out soon for myself.

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Time to Nut Up
Or Shut Up

What can I say about Zombieland that will convince you to see this movie? It's probably the most I have laughed at a theater this year. At least top three. It's probably one of the few times I felt something for the characters legitimately. Again, top three.

If nothing else, like the previews highlight, this is a true roller coaster ride of a movie. From the very beginning when "Columbus" starts giving us his rules to (literally) live by, I was in. This movie doesn't need to explain zombies. It doesn't have to set up the world crumbling. The world is gone. Those remaining are out for themselves. They follow their own codes to stay alive.

There is a great nugget of joy presented to fans in this movie. I'm not going to spoil it. But if you are a male between the age of 25-50 (being generous) you'll love the second act of this film. That's all I'm going to say.

Whatever problems do exist in this film (there are a couple) they in no way bring down the level of enjoyment you'll get from this film. If you like end of the world movies, if you like horror (or can tolerate a little gore) and if you situational humor (not "jokes") then get your butt in the theater.

Did you enjoy it?
1,000 times yes.

Would you see it in theaters again?
Yep. Who's with me?

Would you rent it?
Most definitely

Would you buy it?
It will go perfectly next to my copy of "Shaun of the Dead"

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moving Out

Yikes. Well moving is done. Super tired. 4 days was needed to get organized. But everything is in place. New Krull Nugget offices are set up with wifi, so I can Nug from bed or the bath. Got some art hung. Had our first Pork Chop guest (I call him Valentine).

Went home for lunch today. Grilled turkey and cheese sandwich, thanks for asking. Yep, things are really looking up for old Liz Lemon. Now begins the planning for the ever ellusive quintuple feature at Rivs East. Oh, it will be done.

Here's my thinking for a lineup: The Informant!, Zombieland, Invention of Lying, Jennifer's Body and Surrogates.