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Showing posts from 2007

The chauvinist guide to feminism, part 1

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Introduction
Feminism. To some of us, just like other excuses for ineptitude, not a religion but a way of life. To others, it is one more reason not to speak your mind, not to honour your true feelings and slowly wither under the weight (and they do have the weight advantage) of political correctness and equal opportunity. Similar in frustration to being stuck in a confined space with a religious nut, trying to put the Christ back in Xmas, when there was no Christ in Christmas in the first place. After decades of cooking our own meals, doing our own laundry and in some extreme cases, even watching soapies, it is time for one formerly advantaged chauvinist to step back and determine how relevant feminism is today, with our negative first world population growth and third world population boom. What exactly is negative growth anyway? It either grows, or it shrinks? Make that first world population shrinkage. But first, he has to try and comprehend what this feminism is.

A definition of …

The Terminator (1984)

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Director
James Cameron

Cast
Michael Biehn
Linda Hamilton
Bill Paxton
Shawn Schepps
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Plot
The film takes place in 1984. A robot is sent back from the future to assassinate a woman. Her unborn son is destined to lead a rebellion against the future robot leaders of the world. This son also sends back someone to protect his mom and himself. The robot and the soldier end up ruining half the economically active population in their battle for the woman's life, but all is fair in love and war. Even time travelling and big poodle hair.

Review
This is a superb twist on the 1984 Big Brother theme. Imagine being stalked by an indestructible cyborg from the future with an Austrian accent to boot. Of course, the pitiful machine is up against Linda Hamilton. Even “the Governator” Arnie doesn't stand a chance against that much testosterone.

Brad Fiedel deserves a special mention for his creepy synthesiser soundtrack. While the film has aged badly, it remains a classic. The dialogue …

Evil Dead (1983)

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Director
Sam Raimi

Cast
Betsy Baker
Bruce Campbell
Richard DeManincor
Ellen Sandweiss
Theresa Tilly

Plot
Five college students decide to make vacation in a cabin in the woods. The desolate forest leads them to do what college students are inclined to do, namely indulge in a little occult ritual in addition to making hanky panky sexy time.

They stumble upon an audio cassette player (it's like the iPod of the eighties that works with a steam engine) that summons evil spirits. If you remember audio cassettes, you can summon spirits with them by playing the tape backwards, or if you let the tape lie on your dashboard in the sun and then play it. Of course the only persons with enough mojo to play a tape backwards were Satanic musicians and evangelist preachers. Interesting connection they share.

This cassette contains passages from the Necronomicon, a mythical book invented by H.P. Lovecraft as part of his ploy to mock religion. The Necronomicon of Evil Dead is not so innocuous, and evil spirits…

Ministry - Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs

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Personell
M Balch – Keyboards, Programming
Paul Barker – Bass, Programming, Vocals
H Beno – Programming
Gibby Haynes – Vocals on "Jesus Built My Hotrod"
Al Jourgensen – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Hypo Luxa – Producer
P Manno – Engineer
J C Newell – Engineer
Hermes Pan – Producer
Bill Rieflin – Drums
Mike Scaccia– Guitars
Louis Svitek – Guitar

Track listing

N.W.O
Just One Fix
TV II
Hero
Jesus Built My Hotrod
Scare Crow
Psalm 69
Corrosion
Grace


Review
When Ministry recorded this album, they were rising superstars of the er bludgeoning industrial scene. Although they do not make industrial in the strict sense of the word, they do employ studio wizardry to infinity and beyond. Aggressive and more like 10 000 punches in your face than Nine Inch Nails would ever muster, this appeals to me although I mostly like my metal.

You might wonder who Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan are. Hypo Luxa is a pseudonym for Al Jourgensen, and Hermes Pan is the alias of Paul Barker. Maybe this was their way of screwing the record …

The Golden Compass points in the right direction

The Golden Compass (actually Northern Lights) is part of a trilogy by novelist Philip Pullman. The trilogy, His Dark Materials, is designed as an Atheist alternative to the Christian children story Chronicles of Narnia.

The Catholic Church removed the book from its school libraries because it did not contribute to Catholic philosophy. Their statement was carefully worded to prevent their action from appearing like another witch hunt, and there is nothing wrong with the Catholic Church censoring the content of its libraries. After all, one goes to Catholic school to learn Catholic thinking, not to learn freedom of thought, freedom of expression or other dangerous intellectual pursuits. One goes there to become one of them, to think as they do and to do as they say.

More recently, Nicole Kidman starred in a film adaptation of the award winning novel. This film caused an uproar in the Christian community. The Vatican condemns the film, claiming it "promotes a cold and hopeless world …

Cryptopsy - Once Was Not

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Personell
Lord Worm - Vocals
Alex Auburn - Guitars and backing vocals
Eric Langlois - Bass
Flo Mounier - Drums, percussion and backing vocals

Track listing
1. Luminum
2. In the Kingdom where Everything Dies, the Sky is Mortal
3. Carrionshine
4. Adeste Infidelis
5. The Curse of the Great
6. The Frantic Pace of Dying
7. Keeping the Cadaver Dogs Busy
8. Angelskingarden
9. The Pestilence that Walketh in Darkness (Psalm 91:5-8)
10. The End
11. Endless Cemetery

Review
Canada has long deserved extermination due to the crimes against humanity Celine Dion commits each time she has a concert. Fortunately, Cryptopsy redeems Canada. Capable of skinning a ferret alive by sheer sonic force, Cryptopsy is perhaps the most intense band on this planet, and possibly a few others. As a teaser, there is a very tranquil guitar intro before the marsupial stripping brutality commences. Lord Worm returns with his trademark incoherent splutter. Older, wiser, and meaner, his voice does show some wear and tear. Then again, the ma…

Iced Earth - Dark Saga

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Personell
Jon Schaffer - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Matt Barlow - Lead Vocals
Randall Shawver - Lead Guitar
Dave Abell - Bass Guitar
Mark Prator - Drums

Track listing
1. Dark Saga
2. I Died For You
3. Violate
4. The Hunter
5. The Last Laugh
6. Depths Of Hell
7. Vengeance Is Mine
8. Scarred
9, Slave to the Dark
10. A Question of Heaven

Review
The Spawn cover created by Todd McFarlane suggests that this is a highly cultured band. With their minds steeped in such fine literature as the popular comic book, the fire and brimstone permeate every track. Perdition is after all a fine topic for a metal album. Matthew Barlow handles vocal duties. His voice can be described as a masculine Geoff Tate, which would render Iced Earth into Kingsrÿche, if you will. Sparse yet effective lead guitar parts are pasted over some emotive vocals while the guitar rhythms can give you razor burn. This is a fine album by the band poised to fill the throne abdicated by Metallica. Singing along to someone's perdition never f…

Dragonforce - Inhuman Rampage

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Personell
ZP Theart - Lead and backing vocals
Herman Li - Lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Sam Totman - Lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Vadim Pruzhanov - Keyboards, piano, backing vocals
Dave Mackintosh - Drums, backing vocals

Track listing
1. Through the Fire and Flames
2. Revolution Deathsquad
3. Storming the Burning Fields
4. Operation Ground and Pound
5. Body Breakdown
6. Cry for Eternity
7. The Flame of Youth
8. Trail of Broken Hearts

Review
Cheese warning! Straight from the Camelot of Camembert, this is nothing but the leanest, meanest, fastest, purest, geographically shaped axe-wielding power metal twenty pieces of silver could buy. With a vocalist whose practice regime consists of shattering glass goblets with his voice and a guitarist who has more blisters on his fingers than Celine Dion had death threats, how wrong could you go?

From the first track, you want to play air guitar and pull your nose like you stepped in the manure of your favourite noble steed.

Conclusion
Take up t…

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

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Director
Wes Anderson

Cast
Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Angelica Huston, Bill Murray.

Plot
Steve Zissou (Murray) is an oceanographer and documentary film maker. To say he is eccentric is to describe fascists as angry people. When his partner, Estaban (Seymour Cassell), dies due to a shark attack, Zissou sets off to avenge his partner's death. Known only as the "jaguar shark", Zissou and his gang face illegitimate children, not so legitimate illegitimate children, former wives, pirates and each other's eccentricities in their quest to kill the creature.

Review
This larger than life comedy proves how little mankind knows about aquatic life. In particular, it proves how little a man named Steve Zissou knows about aquatic life. Follow mister Zissou on a journey of debauchery, piracy, pregnancy and even bankruptcy.

This film is critically misunderstood, commercially unsuccessful and highly underrated. Anderson studied philosophy at the University of Texas. His pl…

Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (1980) review

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If you follow the "no Ozzy, no Sabbath" philosophy, you will miss out on this essential heavy metal landmark. With Ozzy booted or quit, depending on whose version you believe, the Brumbies team up with Ronnie James Dio. One of the world's greatest singers teams up with one of the world's greatest bands. With his miniature Gandalf stance, Dio helped to forge Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and Dehumanizer at different periods in their career.

Ozzy sustained himself on a diet of spandex and pigeons. Dio sustained Black Sabbath with a diet of Elvish magic. His Dioisms are encoded in Quenya and then translated into English for our pleasure. One of Dio's magical abilities is transcending the boundaries that space and time infringe on us mere mortals, as with the phrase "throw away the key, and lock the door". By employing the logic of the imagination first described by Elliot, Dio manages to defy even logic. Indeed, Dio laughs in the face of logic, as with "l…

Strapping Young Lad - Alien

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Lead singer and guitarist Devin Townsend is hyperactive on a quiet day. In addition to several side projects, he fronts an amalgamation of pure genius that is Strapping Young Lad. This album kicks off with all cylinders firing at maximum overdrive, and doesn't show mercy for even a second. Well, maybe for the pastures green interlude in Two Weeks.

Shop for Strapping Young Lad albums at Amazon.com!

Townsend suffers from bi-polar disorder. Disillusioned by the chemical lobotomy he has to live with due to the medication for that illness, he decided to quit his medication in an experiment to see what it does to his creative output. Alien was conceived and recorded during this period of chemically (well, at least medical chemicals) stoic habits.

Lauded for his production abilities, Townsend offers an amazing choir consisting of overdubbed vocals with the aid of Sharon Clark. As if this is not enough, the rest of the lad consists of some road-worn heavyweights such as drummer Gene Hoglan a…

The Ninth Gate (1999)

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Director
Roman Polanski

Cast
Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, James Russo, Emmanuelle Seigner.

Shop for Ninth Gate on DVD at Amazon.com!

Plot
Meet Dean Corso (Johnny Depp): book seller; raconteur; conman extraordinaire. He capitalises on his extensive knowledge of rare books, the ignorance of those in possession of these and his skills to manipulate people. Never too busy to pass by an opportunity to increase his fortunes, he decides to look for prints of a book called The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows on behalf of Boris Balkan (Frank Langella). There are three known prints of this book. Balkan already owns one, and Corso has to find the others to verify their authenticity. If he believes them to be real, he must acquire them at all costs. All expenses paid!

Corso manages to track down the remaining two, and finds discrepancies in the illustrations. At first, Corso is lead to believe that the discrepancies mean the books are counterfeit. A series of unfortunate events and a fe…

Faust: Love of the Damned (2001)

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Director
Brian Yuzna

Cast
Jeffrey Combs,
Andrew Divoff,
Mark Frost,
Jennifer Rope,
Monica Von Campen.

Synopsis
John Jaspers (Mark Frost) is a struggling artist (aren't they all?) spending some quality time with his girlfriend when they suddenly become victims of an armed robbery, which leaves his girlfriend dead. The motive for the robbery is unclear, but it gives Jaspers motivation enough to sell his soul to a mysterious character named M (Andrew Divoff). M - short for you guessed it, Mephistopheles - grants Jaspers the power to turn into a horned demon who has a penchant for being a very bad person. Armed with supernatural powers, Jaspers sets off to avenge the death of his girlfriend, only to discover a much more sinister plot. M plans to release a far more fierce demon by opening the gates of hell on a hot midsummer night. Not content with avenging his girlfriend's death, Jaspers spends the rest of the film gathering new floozies and preventing the impending apocalypse.

Review
This f…

Spine chilling film scores: Music of Christopher Young

The other night, while watching Nightmare On Elm Street 2, I couldn't help but be enthralled by the brilliant score, which was done by Christopher Young. Unlike the film score Jerry Goldsmith did for The Omen, which sometimes becomes really mushy and over sentimental (although it is still good music, I don't think it always works in the film), the scores of Christopher Young tend to blend in with the background. This morning at 3, I watched Exorcism of Emily Rose and became paranoid. Certainly it is a scary movie but it's not all that creepy, and at some point I realised the reason why I am having a panic attack is the music! I checked the blurb of the DVD and much to my delight the score was also done by Christopher Young.

A drummer by trade, mister Young graduated from Massachusetts Hampshire College with a BA in music. After this he did a post-graduate at North Texas State University studying big band writing and classical composition. He noticed a record by the great Be…

George Hurrell - a study in glamour

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This may come as a surprise to you, but my blog is rated as one with genius level content:



Don't worry, it comes as a surprise to me too. Now back to the genius content:

When the word Hollywood is mentioned, images of glamour are automatically conjured. In fact, Hollywood and glamour could be synonyms. Even in this age of three named teeny boppers and politically correct Disney drab, the mention of Hollywood puts stars in your eyes.



Photographer George Hurrell is largely responsible for creating this image of glamour associated with Hollywood. During the golden age of Hollywood, he authored publicity photos of all the big names. Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, Norma Shearer, Rita Hayworth and even less glamorous ventures like the United States Army all gained benefit from Hurrel's eye for composition and the intricate play of black and white portrayed in his work.

Following his work for the United States Army, Hurrell worked for fashion magazines in New York. During th…

Come on, Hollywood! Remake these films already! Part 2

This is the second part of my list of films I want Hollywood to give a face-lift.
You can find the first part here.


Spiderman 3
The Sisterhood (2004)
Scanners
Driller Killer
Spawn


Spiderman 3
Venom makes his entrance into Sam Raimi's Spiderman series. Exciting, since the first two films of his series delivered the goods. The casting for the first few was right on the money, so the appearance of Venom would be awesome! Or not. I know girls who fell asleep during this chick flick. Girls who love seeing beefcakes in spandex. Sam Raimi of all people should know better. Was he trying to impress us with an Evil Dead 3 brand of surreal humour again? If so, I don't get it this time. Just go back and read the Venom comics. In fact, just read the series of six comics I have gathering dust here which feature the origins of Venom, then try again.

The Sisterhood (2004)
A bevy of busty teenage sorority girls are being seduced by an even more buxom beauty who is actually a vampire. How exactly can you…

Come on, Hollywood! Remake these films already! Part 1

Inspired by a recent Bloody Disgusting feature, I decided to make a list of films I want to see remade. Granted, there are few things more idiotic than remaking classic Horror films. Recent drivel such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wicker Man and The Omen remakes continue to shame their predecessors and serve as a case in point, but that is another blog entry waiting to happen. I decided to take off my usual De Bono's black hat and tried to be positive about remakes. Positively speaking, one can't help but think the remake recipe could be useful for a few films. Here is the first part of my list:


God Told Me To
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Shock
The Last Man On Earth
Friday the 13th


God Told Me To
This film has a few brilliant ideas and they are executed pretty well throughout, it is just dated. There have been rumours about a brand spanking new Larry Cohen remake doing the rounds, but nothing has come to fruition yet. The 1976 film does have a certain charm, even with the d…

IBM invents DVD advertising for The Man

I read about this on the Pure Distortion blog. It is a very impressive blog and rightly won a blog of note entry recently. It is written by the geek for the geek, so enjoy.

"A method wherein contents of DVDs may be restricted based upon purchased certificates is provided. The certificates allow for secured information on playback. Specifically, whenever a DVD is to be played, a certificate is consulted to determine whether the content of the DVD should be played with or without commercial interruptions. If the certificates provide for commercial interruptions, then commercials can be obtained from an online service that renders commercials on demand, or from the DVD itself. In such a case, the content of the DVD may be interspersed with commercials."[1]

Now that is useful. Considering that I do not go to the cinema nor watch television because I dislike advertisements I can't control. Considering that I built a collection of DVDs partially because the DVD rental shops in m…

Two Alice Cooper DVDs

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I recently got these 2 DVDs of live performances by Alice Cooper. Typically, I am drawn to the older Alice Cooper with a stable kick-ass band lineup that diluted due to megalomania - something necessary to both the survival of a band and its downfall - and the tolls of the rock and roll lifestyle. This lineup captured a performance on film, but that's not one of the ones I got hold of, unfortunately. The first solo tour of singer Alice Cooper after the band Alice Cooper became defunct is offered on the first DVD, while the second DVD offers an Alice Cooper from the eighties when his antics proved a hit with the ümlaut heävy crowd.

Welcome To My Nightmare
Alice Cooper started in the sixties as one of the first ghoulish leather-clad shock rock mayhem makers, and not as a stunt double for The Crow as rumours may have you believe. Welcome To My Nightmare hosts one of the most compelling and influential performers of all time battling his way through props comprising gigantic spiders, sk…

Lady Frankenstein (DVD)

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The nubile Lady Frankenstein returns from boarding school where she achieved her medical degree. She follows in the proud footsteps of her father, also Dr Frankenstein, by animating freshly deceased animals like rats, burglars and rapists. He looks more like a hair-plug infested soap opera star than a doctor, which is all good because soap operas do need to animate corpses from time to time.



Soon, Lady Frankenstein improves on the controversial methods of her father and starts animating corpses left, right and centre in a hapless attempt to satisfy her lust. See, the Lady loves the dead, in more ways than one.You can tell the animated corpses from the normal humans by their gigantic latex heads, but that looks almost as wrong in print as what it looks like on screen. The lady might as well call her town "Frankenstown" after a short while, and if you care for a plot, you might lose what pray little there is between the body swapping, the retired porn stars, the gigantic latex …

The controversial essay by Serj

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One of my pet hates is Mall-core (well, that is what I call it, you know it as Nu-Metal).It follows that I have a special vial of pet hatred stashed for System of a Down (well, that is what you call it, I know it as Syndrome of a Down). This is my take on the controversial essay posted by Serj (lead syndrome of a down singer) shortly after the 11-9 attacks (well, that is how we know it here, since we know the date first and then the month, you probably know it as 9-11, you imperialist bastards).



The only reason why I even bother commenting on this is that SonyBMG found this essay significant enough to remove from their web site. They are the honourable record company in the privileged position of sporting such drivel as System of a Down releases - or at least some of them. The vial of poisoned hatred I have for record companies and SonyBMG in particular (ask me about rootkit software, I dare you) is far more potent than the Mickey Mouse one I have stashed for Mall-core, so in this Serj…

The amazing pavement Picasso

Julian Breever is an artist who employs trompe-l'œil techniques to create extraordinary 3D effects on an ordinary pavement - with chalk.








The technique most employed by Breever is anamorphosis. Anamorphosis involves using a distorted projection which requires a particular observation point to be effective. To create this illusion, Breever uses a camera on a tripod and keeps checking every mark he makes. Breever's pavement artworks usually take 3 days to produce. He works for the sake of entertainment and a satisfying photograph providing conclusive evidence of his labour at the end.In his quest for making objects appear out of pavements, he faces many challenges from the elements as well as the authorities, but generally his efforts are accepted well.

"Art shouldn't be locked away in galleries and libraries and books. Art should be for everybody and not just art boffins, historians and so-called experts."

That is true. I just wish the wannabe graffiti artiste in my …

Commentary on "A Gentleman's Pornography" - real men don't exfoliate

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This is an interesting account of pornography in its softest form. You can find the article in its entirety here, at GWS - Feminist Knowledge.

Playboy (it was originally going to be called Stag Night), was similar to other pornography in that it objectified women for the purposes of male masturbation
It is best to prevent getting caught up indefinitely in definitions, but the Merriam-Webster definition of pornography makes it clear that pornography is material intended to cause sexual excitement. In the style of Wikipedia, the assumption that pornography is meant exclusively for a male audience as a jerk-off aid requires at least a [citation needed]. Pornography in the broad sense enjoys a rough 50/50 at worst and 60/40 demographic division between male and female consumers at best. In many categories, such as adult dating, free sex and "teen sex"(?!?), there are more female consumers than male ones. It is also interesting to note that most consumers of porn are between 35 and…