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Showing posts from July, 2016

I can't stop watching the Wonder Woman trailer

We live in an age where big budget movies are promoted a year or more out from their release dates and their trailers—especially the all-important debut trailers—can make or break their success. I watch most of the trailers when they first blow up online, when my friends' Facebook and Twitter feeds won't let me ignore them. But I still tend to ignore most of the hype around these movies because, frankly, it's just a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. I kind of miss the days when a movie wasn't spoiled a year out, or when people hadn't made up their minds about it based on a few trailers. That said, I saw the Wonder Woman trailer along with the rest of the world after it debuted over the weekend at San Diego Comic Con. Any sense of cynicism or annoyance with the big studio machines and their endless cycles of promotions completely vanished after I watched that trailer. Folks, this movie looks phenomenal. I mean, I can't stop watching it and geeking out

I'd rather be reading

The other day I was listening to author Chuck Klosterman discuss his upbringing on a farm on WTF with Marc Maron. Klosterman talked about his utter lack of handiness, especially in contrast to his father and brothers seeming so effortless in the art of fixing stuff. And not just fixing stuff, but knowing how to fix stuff. He said his first reaction when something breaks is never to fix it. Do you ever have that moment where you hear someone express something that so perfectly encapsulates how you feel about that same thing? This was one of those moments for me. I'm what you would call unhandy. There's an absence of handiness in me, a large void resides in its place instead. I recognized this early on in life but have only recently come to accept about myself. Some people would rather tinker on their cars or build a new front porch than read, create art, or just think about stuff in conceptual ways—some of my favorite activities. This is not to say that people can't be int…

Bukowski's poetic naturalism

Years ago, tucked away in the shadow of the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay, I discovered Bukowski Tavern. I'd read some of poet and writer Charles Bukowski's work in high school or college, or both, but it had been a while. Walking into the tavern to meet a friend for drinks and dinner, my first thought was, "Yeah, this seems right for a place named after Bukowski." Great beer selection, old-time neighborhood bar feel, and packed tight with unpretentious locals and visitors alike. Seemed like the kind of place where Bukowski might feel at home. That's assuming it was possible for him to feel at home anywhere, because his writing was often expressing a desire to retreat from the world, from what he and his characters saw as the inanity of daily life in America. That had always been my impression of Bukowski's work. After visiting the bar all those years ago I resolved to return to his work at some point. It took a while but I finally did and…

Cult Classics: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was shot on a low budget and in a cinema vérité style that makes you feel like what you're watching isn't faked, but in fact seems all too real. It's a horror classic, no question, and it scared the living hell out of me when I saw it as a teenager. I'd been hearing about the film for years, usually in hushed and reverent tones, as if the older kids who raved about it were still traumatized. Well, it lived up to the hype, and then some. It took twelve years for a sequel to materialize, but in 1986 Leatherface returned to terrorize theater goers again with his favorite power tool, the chainsaw. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has a lot in common with its predecessor, most notably an admirably perverse goal to scare the living daylights out of you while rarely, if ever, taking a break to let you catch your breath. In most ways though, it's also a very different film from the original, and at the time of its release these difference…