“Mother”: Korean neorealism?

Mother” – (2009, South Korea, 128 minutes – rated R)

The film opens with “Mother” (Hye-Ja Kim) walking through a field, stopping and then dancing to a theme by Byeong-woo Lee, a remarkable composition of musical motives evoking works by such diverse artists as Nino Rota, Roque Banos, Nick Cave or Frank Tetaz.

Byeong-woo Lee playing the piece live:

It starts with a cinematic work of art, further enhanced once it is revealed what Mother just did.

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Happy Birthday Julie Harris!

Julie Anne Harris was born on Dec. 2, 1925. She has always been one of my favorite actresses. In fact, she starred in my favorite movie, The Haunting, in 1963. Lastech wrote about it in Midnight Madness. She appeared in numerous movies and tv shows, including East of Eden. In addition to tv and movies, she has perfomed on stage.

According to IMDb,

Julie Harris is the most honored performer in Tony history with ten nominations and five victories. She won the award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for “I Am A Camera” (1952), “The Lark” (1956), “Forty Carats” (1969), and “The Last of Mrs. Lincoln” (1973); and as Best Actress (Play) for “The Belle of Amherst” (1977). Her five additional nominations were: for Best Actress (dramatic), “Marathon ’33” (1964) and “The Au Pair Man” (1974); for Best Actress (musical), “Skyscraper” (1966); and for Best Actress (play), “Lucifer’s Child” (1991), and “The Gin Game” (1997).

Julie Harris in the East of Eden Trailer

JBoD would like to take the time to wish Ms. Harris a wonderful and happy birthday.

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Nostalgia and wonderment: revisiting “forbidden planet”

Science fiction has always appealed to my imagination, for as far back as I can remember, and my favorite sub-genre remains the space opera.

Both in film and book forms, it allowed me to escape and hope the future would be better and more exciting than the present.

“Forbidden planet” is still the single most vibrant example of pure sci-fi for me, as Leslie Nielsen’s passing reminded me this week. This post isn’t intended as a review of the movie, rather it’s a look back on how it influenced me personally.

When someone like Leslie Nielsen passes on, it is difficult not to feel a pang of loss, so familiar was he to so many of us. Not just from films but from countless TV appearances over the years. It wasn’t uncommon to see him in an episode of some show before he’d appear again later the same evening on another.

He was one of those faces we grew up with, and he was never tabloid material. As young as I was when I first saw “forbidden planet” I knew Walter Pidgeon (another Canadian, like Nielsen) from various films and Earl Holliman from TV appearances, but I didn’t recognize Nielsen until years later, when I had an “aha!” moment.

I also believe my taste for electronic music (Orbital and such) stems from the fascinating soundtrack of the film, as does my love of open spaces which ultimately drove me westward.

Everything about the film, from the foreboding skies, ambient sounds and design of the underground city raised the bar for future movies, and for me there aren’t many space operas worth the time. I’ve never been a fan of the “Star Wars” series, so it’s slim pickings out there. I imagine younger viewers might find it hokey by now, but on the other hand, there are some undeniable qualities to this old pre-CGI favorite, after all theater also remains a popular art form. It still takes me back.

Leslie Nielsen in a scene from the trailer for Forbidden Planet

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Leslie “Don’t call me Shirley” Nielsen has died

He passed away Sunday, at the age of 84, due to complications from pneumonia.

Leslie Nielsen was born in Skaskatchewan, Canada in 1926.  He served in the Canadian Air Force and worked as a disk jockey before taking up acting.  He began working in television in 1948 with more than 50 appearances in two years.  He later went on to appear in a great many television shows.

He started in films in 1956.  His first roles were dramatic.  My first and fondest memories of Leslie Nielsen are as Commander Adams in The Forbidden Planet (1956) and the Captain in The Poseidon Adventure (1972).  Nielsen gained his biggest fame when he starred in Airplane! (1980) later in The Naked Gun  (1988) and it’s sequels.  His ability to play a serious character who is oblivious to the absurdity surrounding him brought him a new generation of fan.

Leslie William Nielsen will be missed by all.  We, at JBoD, extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis in The Forbidden Planet
Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis in The Forbidden Planet

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From creature-features to funny commercials: JBoD’s Sunday funnies

While Lastech was off shaving, I discovered that his post from earlier in the day had vanished. I noticed because the comments for it had become attached to another post and I was forced to delete them lest confusion reign. Very strange. I managed to go find it as one of Google’s cached pages and rescued it. Here it is again. 🙂 -Rudha-an

While inspired by Rhuda-an’s “guide to survival“, I wanted to work up a post about what to take on road trips to cover most emergencies.
As I ran through lists of items with shelf-life of varying length, a pain to keep track of and replace, a light bulb came on about an “organic” solution. All you’d ever need is a Trunk Monkey.
Watch the commercial, then enjoy the other two.

Like seafood? And “Kung Fu Panda”? You’re not alone.

“Bug”, a disturbing drama directed by William Orkin.

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Cityscapes: San Francisco in dream sequences

There’s always been some dream-like quality in films from Tarkovsky, Lars Von Trier or Kurosawa which I found attractive beyond the visual dimension, and it has to do with the way scenes flow, details and locations reveal themselves.
I used to dream this way: I would find myself going from one somewhat familiar location to a completely different one, a construct of my imagination, which could not possibly belong next to the original place in the real world, like going from day to night by the flick of a switch.
Living here in California means zooming by unknown treasures at 75 mph.
Exploring a city like San Francisco makes you wonder whether it was conceived by Morpheus. Take Mountain Lake Park, just off Highway one at Lake street, the park borders the Southern edge of the Presidio, and I’d never have known it was there, hadn’t we in fact looked it up.
The trail which starts at the Lake goes on for several blocks, seemingly forever.

Mountain Lake hiking trail

Within a large city, suddenly you find yourself in the woods, starting with a lake which once reportedly had an abandoned albino alligator as a resident.

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Friday night cat blogging: Dimension Mazuzu

A friend of the blog, HG, commented after meeting Mazuzu “he’s an alien!” Even for me, the fascination has not diminished.
I recently considered that rather than being an alien, Mazuzu may be coming from another dimension.

The Spice must flow...

That’s got something to do with the way he moves.
I posted before about his annoying habit of “backing up”, which is how the infamous butt up my nostril incident happened. And watching him at play with Tito, I wondered at times how it was Tito could keep up.

cat-wolf Tito has skillz

I mean the naked streaker is fast, and leaps higher and farther than most cats I’ve known.
But here’s the thing: it’s almost, though not completely, as if he cannot move sideways. I am thinking about testing his peripheral vision, not that I suspect anything unhealthy, but the bugger is just so worthy of observation, even Tito seems to watch him with amazement sometimes.

Watching them run parkour is one of the most spectacularly entertaining things ever, especially the leaps off or up the Tower of Power.
I imagine Mazuzu’s dimension to be like “Tron” with his brethren speeding across planes and lines broken by angles. By the way, he’s been known to…. cut the cheese on occasion, too.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

We just wanted to take the time to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving day.  We don’t really celebrate holidays like a lot of others, but we’re not stick-in-the-muds either.  Lastech didn’t grow up with a Thanksgiving day like me.  Some of our readers celebrate different holidays than we do in the States.

So….we’ve made this day our own.  We have many things to be thankful for.  We have our health and Lastech is working again.    In addition to having some pretty great friends and family,  we also have the added blessing of having two wonderful kitties.  We hope many of you can say the same.

We hope that all of you have a wonderful day.

Best wishes from Lastech and Rudha-an

Turkey and Football

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Thanksgiving loaded groovy gravy: “blood freak”

I was salivating about stuffing a turkey with Spam this week, how unoriginal I know… I do like Spam, even the kind we find in the site’s ‘Spam’ box.  Those buggers are getting semi-creative, as in this comment about “the worst journey in the world”:

“This was interesting and ive forwarded it on to all my friends on planet zikzar45. IF they like what you have written they may spare your life
but if they dont, well you should prepare your will. Earthling.”

Bet he or she drives a Plymouth Satellite (wink-wink), I’d like to have what he’s having.

But lo! Do I have a recommendation for your Thanksgiving night viewing….

Blood freak” – (1971, USA 86 minutes, rated R)

This is no longer available through Netflix, and my recollections might be –perhaps –   somewhat “clouded”…

Whatever your poison of choice is, even if it’s Wild Turkey, load up on it. Put the flick in the machine (can’t bring myself to even call this a movie). Well, look, it’s really bad. But in a groovy way, dig? As in dated… Carbon dated.

We’ve seen silent films which didn’t feel this fixed in their era.

Where was I? Thanksgiving started early…. Oh. So this dude Herschell (Steve Hawkes, born Sipek in Croatia), so named as a reference to Herschell Gordon Lewis, rides up on Angel, stranded by a flat tire, gives her a lift back to her pad where her sis is getting’ high with hipsters, yeah?

But Herschell, normally a righteous guy, partakes of the evil grass and boffs Ann, the baaaad sister.


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