Valhalla Rising

I watched this the other night. It was slow, meditative, and quite violent in spots. The cinematography was lovely - I assume it was shot in digital, but I haven’t looked into it. I imagine this movie would go well with a side of cubensis. Or not. That might be a terrible idea.

One wee gripe: this film was a UK/Denmark co-production, and shot entirely in Scotland. The actors who play the ”Christian Vikings” all have Scots accents - I assume they casted in-country talent. Now, granted, the movie takes place in 1000 A.D., and no one was speaking anything like the English we’d recognize today then, but it still threw me - we’re these people Norsemen or Scots? I understand that the Vikings in How to Train Your Dragon also spoke with Scottish accents. Is it becoming the go-to “barbarian” accent? It’s crap!

Hausu (aka House)

This is a nightmare-hallucination-DMT-freakout of a film. I’m not giving anything away by stating that it’s about a house that eats girls. But it’s so much more!

The Criterion edition is available from Netflix. The extras are worth watching if only to get the backstory as to how a film like this got made in what was an otherwise conservative Japanese film industry in the 70s.  

Dirty Three - “The Restless Waves”

This video is made up of outtakes from the movie Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks Its Back. Sometime in 1997, I bought the soundtrack to said film on a whim. The score was an improvised affair done by Boxhead Ensemble, an ad hoc group of mostly Chicago post-rock dudes (Tortoise, Gastr del Sol, Ken Vandermark, Will Oldham, etc), and remains one of my all-time favorite albums.

D3’s Jim White and Mick Turner have both done time in touring versions of Boxhead Ensemble (see the awesome live record The Last Place to Go).

The film itself is gorgeous. Much like the accompanying soundtrack, the 16mm black & white film is solemn and meditative, documenting the rapid encroachment of consumer society into what had been an isolated frontier town. Thanks to shows like The Deadliest Catch, Dutch Harbor, AK and the surrounding areas have gotten a lot more attention, for better, or probably worse.

As far as I know, Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks Its Back hasn’t been released on DVD yet, and who knows if it ever will. I’m hanging on to my VHS copy - the going prices on Amazon right now are $35.00 - $45.00! 

31 Plays

Tom Scott - “Today”

Holy shit, this tune was hard to track down. (Thanks to Andreas & Paul for the assist.) I’m posting it on here because it was such a pain in the ass to track down.

Anyway, you’ll no doubt recognize elements of this Jefferson Airplane cover as the basis of “They Reminice Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth. (The original ain’t half bad either - listen to the drums! Awesomely fucked up sounding.)

I was watching a Boondocks DVD the other night, and this song came in at the end of one of the episodes. I rewatched that scene three times just to hear the song. Soooo good.

two movies:

Anybody who knows me well knows that I’m a apocalypse/zombie-apocalypse/end-of-the-world/disaster movie junkie. I watch a lot of them. Here are my reviews of two recently released DVDs, in the form of haiku:

Autumn

Autumn

No budget Canucks
Least scary zombies ever.
Steaming pile of dung.

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli

Denzel Washington
The black David Carradine?
Better than Autumn.

OK, those haiku sucked, but sucky haiku are a good match for sucky movies. Autumn could have been cool in a z-grade genre sort of way, but the editing left a lot to be desired. There were long stretches where I had no clue what the hell was happening. Dream sequence? Sure! Awkward transition to a new location? Why not? I’ve watched (and enjoyed) some shitty movies, but I can’t recommend against watching this highly enough.

I did like The Book of Eli. Denzel Washington, playing a sort of warrior monk, wanders through a post-nuclear war made desert, trying to find a spot to drop off the last one of these bad boys. It seems pro-Christian on the surface, but I don’t think it would ever be used as a scare tactic recruting tool, like some of Kirk Cameron’s post-Growing Pains work.

One thing that really stood out to me about the film was the soundtrack. I thought it sounded like newer Nine Inch Nails. Turns out that the score was done by Atticus Ross, who co-wrote Ghosts I-IV, and has worked on the last four NIN records. Go figure.