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11/22/2002 12:42:00 PM

Okay, Tolkien by himself (or even filtered through the eyes of demigod Peter Jackson) generally bores me, but somehow the mythos of Middle Earth becomes completely tolerable when in the hands of a German power metal band. And so it was with great excitement that I ventured to New Jersey last night to see the triumphant Blind Guardian on the sixth date of the first ever US/Canada tour in their 15-year career. Since their albums employ copious multitracking to achieve a HUGE sound, I always wondered if they could pull it off live, and I wasn’t disappointed. If the six guys onstage couldn’t quite replicate the records’ monstrous choral backing vocals, the audience was more than happy to pick up the slack. Hearing dozens of people loudly singing along with “The Bard's Song” was surreal and wonderful, as was singer Hansi’s apparent joy at his first time in the “beautiful state of New Jersey.”

11/19/2002 12:45:35 PM

It’s doubtful this will be of any interest to many people besides me, but since I can think of at least one regular visitor who shares my particular fascination with 1980s über-schlock B-horror, I’ll go ahead: I watched Chopping Mall for the first time in ages last night and noticed for the first time that it shared the director, composer, and a sizable cast percentage with the 1988 remake of the Roger Corman classic Not Of This Earth (which, by curious coincidence, I just dug out of the vault last weekend). I rented both of these movies countless times throughout high school and never noticed the similarities. Okay, that’s all.

11/15/2002 11:51:53 AM

Last night was an inspiring Ad Club lecture at York College given by Jim Sherraden, the disarmingly charismatic head of the notoriously lo-fi poster shop Hatch Show Print. They’ve been using not only the same technology to print posters for 100+ years, but also many of the same pieces of woodblock type, linoleum and woodcut illustrations and designs, and photolythographic plates, all lovingly stored in a monstrous archive in their Nashville headquarters. Even the archive’s shelves are built from old woodcuts! Sherraden gave us a brief overview of the history of the shop, shared some interesting anecdotes, showed slides of some of the shop’s more prominent works, and (of course) brought hundreds of their distinctive posters to sell.

11/1/2002 09:12:12 PM

I really have to start trusting my instincts. Hell, even trusting the evidence of my senses would have sufficed in this case. But some friends of mine that aren’t imbeciles gave The Ring a thumbs-up, so I followed an apparently misguided inclination to think I might agree with them. Ninety minutes into the film, I wondered if its payoff would be the most incredible cinematic redemption in history, or if this experience had merely been a (sadly routine) error in judgement. Of course the latter was true. The best defense I can offer is that it’s miles beyond this summer’s nearly identical FearDotCom, but that’s like lauding Showgirls as a masterwork in comparison to AI. The Ring’s plot holes were plentiful, its chills nonexistant, and its performances tepid—especially David Dorfman’s token psychic kid (damn you, Haley Joel, and the monster you’ve created). I haven’t seen Ringu (the 1998 Japanese film upon which The Ring was based), but given the fact that the retarded junior-high-urban-legend premise is largely to blame for The Ring’s failure, I can’t imagine a language difference or even a wildly disparate treatment would have helped Ringu succeed. Hackneyed “scary” editing tricks (loud and sudden is the rule) would have been the final nail in the coffin if it weren’t already six feet underground.

So then I snuck into Jackass: The Movie and saw exactly what I expected to see, as did the perfectly rendered composite sketches of the film’s demographic with whom I shared the theater.

11/1/2002 09:05:55 AM

Halloween was fun. The afternoon was begun with a matinee of P.T. Anderson’s pitch-perfect Punch-Drunk Love, and rounded out by a few hours of my traditional Halloween rock-a-thon, jumping around the house to an exclusively old-school Misfits soundtrack, careful not to expend too much of the energy that would be needed for the evening’s Andrew W.K. show at the Troc. Judging by the way I was able to wring out my shirt afterwards—if not by the fact that my child-size fireman costume was still reasonably intact—I’d say a good time was had. I got home just in time to finish the day with the IFC original American Nightmare, an outstanding documentary that discusses the cultural impact of the events of the late ’60s and ’70s on American horror films.

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