Paul Blart: Mall Cop (7/10)

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This should be an awful movie. The fact that it is produced by Adam Sandler should be enough of a deterrent. But it turns out, as long as Adam Sandler is nowhere near the front of the camera, with his terrible delivery and annoying baby-talk voice, a movie has a chance to be funny. Kevin James knows how to play the title character earnestly, without the Sandler-esqe winks to the camera after every joke. The stupid premise actually works as both a parody of Die Hard or Rambo and as a goofy SNL-type character skit movie.

Battle Royale (8/10)

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Another Japanese movie. This one is about a future where the only way to keep those rotten kids under control is to pick a class of forty or so 15-year-olds to battle to the death on a deserted island. The film was well-paced, entertaining and features one of my favorite actors, Beat Takshi. It could have used a quite a bit more character set up so that we actually care about (or at least can distinguish) the kids who are getting killed. Still, it’s a fun, wild ride.

Uzumaki (6/10)

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Japanese horror movie about a town in which the inhabitants slowly become mesmerized by uzumakiUzumaki translates to spirals. Mind you, this is not a metaphor or symbol. They are literally obsessed with spirals: snail shells, winding staircases, etc. Once under the power of the swirly-swirls, characters start to become suicidal, pale and ghost-like. The acting is terrible and story thing never quite makes any sense, but it might be worth watching just for some of the typical contorted Japanese-y ghouls.

Fuck the Mummies by Mummies, The - CD (7/10)

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This is a bootleg CD release of The Mummies’ shelved debut record. The recordings are uncharacteristically clean and professional. I can see why they decided not to release this. Without the on-a-budget mayhem there is not much to distinguish the band from the hundreds of other garage rock rehashers. Also missing is much of the organ playing that features in most of their best recordings.Thankfully, a 20 minute live recording is also included as a track which more than makes up for the sterile first half.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (10/10)

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An extremely well written fantasy novel that steers clear of most of your standard fantasy fiction clichés. Sure, there is magic and mythical beasts, but the story is all told with such plain spoken realism and believability that you never feel totally nerded out. In many ways it is like Harry Potter for grown ups—you’ve got your “Snape” character and “Malfoy” character—sans the “anything goes” magic system (Batman… er… Potter, use your handy shark repellant spray…er…I mean wand).

Comment Spammers Ahoy

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You know I loves to get comments. But let’s not deceive ourselves here, visitors and their witty comments are a rarity around here. I was quite excited to see that I was getting lots of comments in the last day, but it turns out some less-than-moron with small genitals is taking the time to answer CAPTCHA forms just so they can post links to their stupid male-enhancement scam websites. For the time being comments are disabled until these trolls go away.

Idiology by Mouse on Mars - CD (8/10)

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I bought this CD after a talk from one of the members of Negativeland who recommended the band. This is a hodgepodge of styles, the binding element being the use of glitchy electronics. The variety is nice and keeps the CD from falling into the repetitive thump-thump-thump of most electronica. It also means that a few of the tracks kinda suck.

Modern Movie Zombies Suck

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A dorky cutesy zombie.

Leave it to Generation-Y2K to take something that was once cool, convert it into a stupid Internet meme, and ruin it for everyone. They are doing it to zombies just like they did it to Rick Astley, bacon and pirates. Well, pirates were never cool, and that whole “talk like a pirate day” crap was never even mildly funny, but you get where I am coming from. It’s been thirty-plus years since George Romero defined the zombie genre in film with Night of the Living Dead and what do we have? People dressing up in rags and pancake makeup and running 4K zombie fun runs, zombie themed weddings, zombie themed cakes, zombie themed wedding cakes, zombies in cereal commercials, Hello Kitty zombies, hip blocky “designer” zombie toy figurines, and don’t get me started on the reams of spiral notebook paper dedicated to inane ‘tude rife b-boy style art:

Ha ha! Zombies are cute! Lolz!!

Without even having to resort to a Google search, you can bet some jackasses are busy making preparations for a rival “Talk like a zombie day.”

Okay, I guess I’m glad that there are people out there being creative in showing their love for the zombie, but, as a result of all this pop culture saturation, people are losing sight of what was so great about zombies of the past. Compare the crappy illustrations above with this awesome clip from the third-rate Italian zombie movie, Burial Ground:

Burial Ground: Nights of Terror

The makeup is cheap but effective. No CGI. Just a couple of lumps of clay, some maggots and old burlap convey a sense of stinking death, decay and supernatural dread that is mostly absent in modern takes on the genre. Modern filmmakers are always trying to give us a rational explaination behind the existence of the zombies’it’s a highly contagious virus that makes everyone super aggressive  (Zombieland and 28 Days Later). I’m sorry, but if that monster isn’t a reanimated corpse and just some dude with a really bad 24-hour flu, it’s not a zombie. Personally, I have always thought that Fulci’s notion that the zombies are the result of a more biblical apocalypse worked best. Woe be on to him who opens one of the seven doorways to Hell! I miss those iconic images of a rotted corpse digging itself out of the ground for no good reason at all. I gather that the real purpose for all these contemporary “zombies” being extreme cold-sufferers is that the producers need to have fast-moving zombies. Zombies lurch, stagger, scratch and crawl. They don’t run! Their power comes from their numbers and not their totally rad parkour skillz.  And since when were zombies all about brain-eating? It was a cute joke in Return of the Living Dead, but I thought zombies weren’t that particular about what cut of meat they ate. Okay, now I’m just making myself so upset that I am forgetting to add paragraph breaks…

Ah, that’s better. I should just chill and watch a little Burial Ground: Nights of Terror. It’ll relax me.

The Curse of La Lloroña by Monarchs, The - 7" (9/10)

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The Monarchs were a 90s garage band from Michigan for which I have always had a big soft spot. Their  LP, Et Vincere et Mori is some of my favorite garage revival music and worth seeking out. I like this single too, although the live lo-fi quality is a bit harsh. The title track is an epic western tinged ballad that ranks with some of the band’s best. If you have any other recordings by this great band let me know. I’d love to hear more!