Review: Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon is what an action-drama should be. Disclosure: I’m a Peter Berg flunky (“Clear Eyes! Full Hearts!”). I even own Battleship, but who doesn’t like a movie that stars Tim Riggins, Eric Northman, and actual Navy veterans?

What impressed me the most about Deepwater Horizon were the sets. After the movie,  I watched all of the bonus features and learned about how much were actual “live” affects. Flames, explosions, geysers of mud … they even built their own mini rig on the water! Say what you will about Berg, but the man is extremely passionate and doesn’t half-ass things (I met him once, and he was a wee bit intimidating).

Deepwater Horizon director Peter Berg (R) promoting Battleship with Alexander Skarsgard (L) and Brooklyn Decker (center) at WonderCon 2012

John Malkovich oozes creepiness. His character personifies corporate greed and his accent is kinda amazing. Thankfully, my hometown boy, Mark Wahlberg, made no attempt to sound southern. Maybe just slightly less Dorchester.

If you’re keeping track, this film rounds out Kurt Russell’s Trio of Movies with Facial Hair (Hateful Eight and Bone Tomahawk being the first two). I can never unsee what I saw in Bone Tomahawk. Never. You should watch it.

Deepwater Horizon felt like a good tribute/depiction of the actual events. Berg wanted people to remember that there wasn’t just an oil spill (the worst in our nation’s history) but that lives were lost. Sure, they take liberties, but I’m not so close to the subject material to take umbrage. I don’t know if I will be able to say the same about Patriot’s Day.

Deepwater Horizon was the eighth movie that I’ve watched this year. Check out my film diary on Letterboxd

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Review: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 

I kicked off 2017 by watching a VHS copy Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer on a CRT television. I’m thoroughly modern. For younger readers, CRT is an acronym for Cathode Ray Tube. Until LCD and plasma displays came along, CRT was the standard for televisions. Translation: the TV is old and the picture gets cut off on the sides when I watch TV.

Henry is a movie that I had always meant to watch, but hadn’t gotten around to seeing. My first job was at a video store, and I remember handling Henry. Viewing it on my VCR seemed appropriate because it made Henry seem even more gritty.

Michael Rooker, of The Walking Dead fame, churns out a disturbing performance as our titular character. Going toe-to-toe on the creep factor with Rooker is Tom Towles as Henry’s roommate, Otis. Actually, I found Otis to be waaaaay creepier than Henry.

No one has a merry life in Henry. Probably a given when “serial killer” is in the title. Tracy Arnold’s Becky is possibly the most disheartening of the three. She is down on her luck, experienced a horrible childhood, and has horrific taste in men.

Henry manages to portray a serial killer without being overly-graphic. There’s no torture porn. It’s left to the viewer to imagine the events leading up to most of the deaths.

It may not have the high production values of American Psycho or Natural Born Killers, but Henry works on a different level. Plus: it’s a fantastic time capsule from 1986. Millennials can learn all about portable videotape recorders!

Keep an eye out for that Rooker guy. I think he’s super! He may have already slithered into your galaxy. (Bad puns, I know. Sorry.)

1 Second Everyday

 

 

This 1 Second Everyday video shows you one second of my life from everyday in 2016. This past year was the second year that I recorded at least one second, everyday for this project.

2014 was the year that I got hooked on the 1 Second Everyday app, thanks to my friend Andrea. We were at a Placebo show and she took a one second video. At the end of the year, she had this very neat retrospective of her year.

2016 was my Rear Window year. I had surgery that kept me rather immobile for the first two months of 2016. Thus, this video features an awful lot of comic books, television, and doctors’ offices. But there are still some fun moments from Disneyland, concerts, and my travels. Plus: my friends’ cats and ginger kids!

If you’d like to create your own 1 Second Everyday video, just click on the link in the first paragraph. The app is pretty easy to use.

104 Movies and a Year with Women 

For the past few years, I’ve taken on the FiftyFifty challenge to watch 50 films and read 50 books. In 2016, I fared better with the films, watching 104 movies that I had never seen before. This list doesn’t include repeat viewings of favorites like Highlander, Mad Max: Fury Road, Donnie Darko, or all things Edgar Wright.

With much remorse, I write that I only read 22 books! But I read loads of comic books, which suck up most of my reading time. I blame my fantastic Local Comic Book Shop (LCBS), The Outer Limits.

But, this post ain’t about reading!

I kept track of my movie watching on Pinterest. It was more fun when Pinterest let anyone browse boards. Now, you can only see a wee bit of a board before you’re prompted to login or create an account. For 2017, I’ll be tracking my films on Letterboxd.

My #FiftyFiftyMe Films board can be found on Pinterest

In 2016, I watched 103 movies. I also tried my darndest to watch 52 films by female directors, inspired by A Year with Women. It was hard to find female-directed movies that I hadn’t seen before. I fell short with only 22 films viewed.

I’m glad that I tried to spend A Year with Womenbecause I stumbled upon Maya Deren. Her short films from the 1940s were revelations! As I was mesmerized by Deren’s Ritual of Transfigured Time, I caught a glimpse of a woman and thought, “Is that Anaïs Nin? No. Yes? Yes!!! It is!” Then I completely geeked out because Nin is one of my favorite writers and I had never seen her in a moving picture before!

Check out my Year with Women Pinterest board

 

If you are a fan of avant-garde cinema, I recommend checking out Deren’s films. She was ahead of her time. I hope that someday, her films will get the Criterion treatment. Currently, Maya Deren: Experimental Films is out of print but many of her films are available to view through Amazon and YouTube. I borrowed the DVD from my Local Public Library (LPL).

My absolute favorite film of 2016 is One More Time with Feeling. This 3D documentary, shot in black and white, chronicles the creation of Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. When I saw this movie, I felt a communal sadness in the movie theatre. I’ve never experienced something like that before.

One More Time with Feeling is a study of the musician’s creative process, but also a poignant and tasteful look at how grief affects a family. The DVD is scheduled for release on March 3. That gives me something to look forward to in 2017.

Top Ten Albums of 2016

Once upon a time, I worked in the music industry. Newbury Comics, WFNX, Harborlights, Paradise Rock Club, Warner/Electra/Atlantic, Maverick Records, and last, but not least, Ryko Distribution. Remember Rykodisc? Their CDs had green jewel cases? Those guys. In the past few years, I have dipped my toe back in a wee bit as a merch girl for friends’ bands.

So, obviously, you should take great stock in my Top Ten List. No one else is writing Top Ten Lists at this time of year! Also, I am sarcastic.

10. David Bowie – Blackstar

9. Deftones – Gore

8. Butch WalkerStay Gold 

7. Joy FormidableHitch

6. SavagesAdore Life

5. PhantogramIII

4. DaughterNot to Disappear 

3. Deap VallyFemijism I am obsessed with this album. I saw this duo open for DFA and BRMC and they killed it. That’s them in the photo up top.

2. GarbageStrange Little Birds 

1. Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsSkeleton Tree
And my favorite EPs of 2016 are ..

LushBlind Spot

Miki Berenyi of Lush at Royale in Boston. Photo by Amy Galante

Letters to CleoBack to Nebraska

Letters to Cleo at the Rickshaw in San Francisco. Photo by Amy Galante

Best Split 7″

Julee Cruise and King DudeJulee Cruise and King Dude Sing Each Other’s Songs

Of course, as soon as I publish this list, I’ll realize that I’ve forgotten an album or two. On December 23, I hope that I will be impressed with Not the Actual Events EP by Nine Inch Nails. On the Nine Inch Nails website, there’s a quote from Trent Reznor:

“IT’S AN UNFRIENDLY, FAIRLY IMPENETRABLE RECORD THAT WE NEEDED TO MAKE.”

That sounds pretty, pretty, pretty delicious to me.