So, Transformers: We Weren’t Allowed to Name it After a Pink Floyd Album came out on Friday. In honor of that momentous occasion, I treated myself to my first viewing of Transformers: Legends of the Fallen. Yeah…it was awful.

And one of the things I noticed that really disgusted me is that Michael Bay shoots women in a way that makes me question my sexuality. I mean…if what he sells as “foxy” is actually foxy – this may just be my coming-out party – ‘cause I don’t fucking get it (now that I think about it, Pearl Harbor is a notable exception – if ony for the bespectacled nurse that looked creepishly like an ex-girlfriend).

I mean…these girls…spray painted orange…with ‘80s rok chik hairs…and jacked-up boobies…and slathered in Vaseline – you spend like forty hours turning some fair-skinned Aussie into a Oompa Loompa painted trollop, and you dress her in a series of ensembles so barely-there that we can tell when she’s moistened…and you still…can’t come remotely close…to the white-hot hotness of this:

Go ahead. Click it, do a Fast Five, and I'll meet you back here.

You’re welcome. YOU’RE ALL WELCOME!!

When I think of the reality of shiney/glittery drunk chix…goin’ out with their “bitches” (it says so right on their keychain)…drankin’ Frooty Booze (outta’ red plastic cups)…makin’ pouty/kissy/fishy face at a cell phone camera…makin’ out with some random chic so dudes buy her shots…and doin’ enough shots to make goin’ home with that Weird Beird dude (or, alternately – me) seem like a good idea…I blame two movies –

Pretty Woman – a film that sold a generation of females the idea that being a whore was the first step on the road to happiness…and:

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D


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“Tale as old as time

Film a sexist crime

Beauty and the Beaaaaast”

I don’t mean to get all Britta on you (but I think it would be pretty awesome to get a little Britta on me, if you smell what the Pollock’s cookin’), but Beauty and the Beast is an animated musical with an opening number about how fucking crazy/stupid it is to be an intelligent and self-sufficient woman. Little girls get a sing-song message about how strange it is for that pretty girl to crack a book – she should just stay pretty and vacant if she’s going to get herself a boy! And then the film actually gets misogynist!

This misguided Disney wreck and the Julia Roberts hate crime were released about a year apart, and I think that one-two punch explains why a lot of women in their late 20’s to mid 30’s are downright vile.

Which is why I don’t bother dating anyone over twenty-five.

Anyway, the BD is 3D – so the sexism leaps off the screen and smacks you around, and I’ve read that the Mouse House may have restored a song cut from the film called “Someday My Prince Will Hold Me Captive Against My Will and Abuse Me, but That’s Okay Because I Love Him and I Probably Deserved It.”

DEAD ALIVE


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So apparently the transfer on this iteration of Saint Pete’s zombie/splatter classic is crappo (it’s seemingly the old Trimark/Artisan print, so it’s soft and grainy and sometimes washed out), and there are no special features, but unlike the old DVD, it’ll actually be anamorphic. And the price will be incredibly low.

Still…I’ve come to expect a great deal more from the ‘Gate. You’ve let me down, friends.

FAST FIVE


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More than just a euphemism for quickly rubbing one out before work/school – it’s supposed to be one of the best action films this year. I’ve not seen it yet – thinking about taking AMC up on their sweet re-release deal.

HARAKIRI (Criterion)


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Ran’s Nakadai Tatsuya is a grieving father whose impending ritual suicide serves as the centerpiece of an impossibly somber reverse-narrative from Kwaidan filmmaker Kobayashi Masaki. The film eschews bombast in favor of an intimate look at a man who’s personal dignity and sense of honor fuels his outrage, and the swordplay element – usually edge-of-your-seat stuff – is made here to feel like an exhalation.

JIG


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I know there are some documentary junkies out there, and this is an acclaimed one about…of all things – Irish Dancing. The World Championships of Irish Dancing. Perhaps it’s worth checking out?

THE LION KING 3D


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Now here’s a Disney film I’m actually down with – because, like most crackers – I’m much more comfortable with racism than sexism.

I’m kidding – I disagree with the allegations of racism concerning this film (though I completely agree with the allegations of plagiarism). In reality – this film found a place in my heart no Disney film has been able to reach since the olden days. It is one of the most visually beautiful animated films ever, and I’m sure that Disney’s commitment to Blu will make it sing. And apparently the POST CONVERSION to 3D looks stunning - which proves that it actually can be done properly when the right amount of time is taken.

Lay that on top of the impressive box-office haul for the 3D theatrical re-release and, well…haters gonna’ hate.

And speaking of post-conversion – you know what would be GREAT in 3D…?

SALO: OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM


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Yet another film in the “This Got Jason Play” collection. Seriously. My life is a road map of pain…

Based on elements of the filmmaker’s life, bits of the Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri’s epic, not the Milla Jovovich album), and – obviously – the writings of our old friend the Marquis de Sade – Pier Palo Pasolini’s indictment of the state-sanctioned cruelty and depravity of fascism under Mussolini is a grueling thing, and while I can’t recommend that you run out and buy it, I must say that – should you be the type of person who considers themselves a “film fan,” or a “student of film”- then you absolutely must see this to understand how things work. It’s an incredibly moving film. There is no way to not be incensed – and quite possibly terrorized – by the end.

Still, to my mind, the film is nowhere near as disturbing or obnoxious as something like, oh say…

SPACE JAM


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…which, back in the day, was responsible for a bit of truly disturbing hilarity.

When the film was first released, there was a massive toy line connected with it – and one of the most brilliant bits was a large-scale Michael Jordan doll. When you pressed his chest, he recited lines from the film in the creepish zombie-robot tone he adopted for the production. He’d say things like, “I really enjoyed playing with you guys,” and, “Let’s play some basketball,” in a way that sounded as though he had been injected with ALL the tranquilizers.

This thing dropped to clearance prices with a fury reserved for Zhu Zhu Pets, and – as a collector of weird-ass toy crappo – I bought one. Eventually, it would up in my attic.

Years later, I ventured into that House of Horrors as if I was Ash searching the fruit cellar for the missing pages of the Necronomicon. I was on a mission to gather and get rid of all of the useless shit I had collected over the years – Michael Jordan being a prime example. I gathered a massive batch of junk.

At the time, my niece was around four, and she noticed this growing pile of colorful crud amassing on the couch. She toddled over to the island of way too many shitty Todd MacFarlane toys (or “Todd MacFarlane toys”) and the like, and picked up the Michael Jordan doll. She pressed the button on his chest…

Out of the tinny speakers, a long, high pitched, dead battery croak sounded. It was a J-Horror creepy-girl-ghost sound that I can still actually hear if I think about it hard enough.

I watched my niece’s face twist into a terrified grimace, and the shrieking and the tears began to flow.

To my mind…this is the only logical response to Space Jam.

SCREAM 4


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ALSO AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD VIA AMAZON PRIME!

GHOSTFACE STRIKES AT iTUNES!

A new installment of self-aware slasher shenanigans for a new generation. I’ve heard mixed stuff about the final product – apparently, Bob and Harvey fucked with the production in that nonsensical way you do when you feel like throwing your weight around where it’s not required. Still, it might be fun to see the old gang go one more round. Oh – also Alison Brie.

Additionally, our Helsinki Syndrome-afflicted friends at the Weinstein Company will be beaten by Bob n’ Harvey if I don’t mention that there are all sorts of ways to acquire Scream 4 – I’ve provided links to digital download above. Maybe that’s your thing? Go ahead and give it a shot, and you might save the life of a helpless junior exec hoping to nab a gig at Fox Searchlight.

SUBMARINE


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Ben Stiller produces, Paddy Considine and Noah Taylor star, and DEAN FUCKING LEARNER – Richard Ayoade – directs. I’m IN.

IT MEANS EVERYTHING: THE BLU RAY OF THE WEEK!

This week, two films share the spot. The transfers are glorious, the extras are bountiful, the price is fantastic. I cannot say anything about them that hasn’t already been said by smarter, better men – so I won’t waste your time. Must own.

BUY PULP FICTION FROM AMAZON!

BUY JACKIE BROWN FROM AMAZON!

ALL IN – THIS WEEK’S BLU:

The 12 Dogs of Christmas
African Cats
Almost Famous
Amer
Beauty and the Beast
Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season
Case 39
The Cider House Rules
Cinema Paradiso
Crazy on the Outside
Dead Alive
Deck the Halls
Fast Five
Frosty the Snowman
Harakiri (Criterion)
A Haunting in Salem 3-D
The Heart Specialist
Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island
Jackie Brown
Jackie Evancho: Dream with Me – In Concert
Jig
Ken Burns’ Prohibition
The League: The Complete Season Two
Legend of the Millennium Dragon
Life Is Beautiful
The Lion King 3D
Moby Dick
Nikolai Baskov: Romantic Journey
Peanuts Classic Holiday Collection
The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Planet Earth: The Complete Series
Pulp Fiction
Rob Thomas: Live at Red Rocks
Salo: or The 120 Days of Sodom Criterion
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Scream 4
Space Jam
Submarine
The True Story of Puss ‘n Boots
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Weird Al Yankovic Live! – The Alpocalypse Tour

AND NOW THE DVD STARTS!

14 Wonders of the World: Ancient and New
2002 World Series: Anaheim Angels Vs. San Francisco Giants
75th Academy Awards Short Films
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season 1
The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson Collection
African Cats
Alfred Hitchock: The Essentials Collection
Almost Famous
Amer
American Experience: Houdini
Ancient Egypt: 5000 Years
Ancient Rome: 5000 Years
The Battle of Britain
Beast Wars Transformers: Seasons 2 & 3
Beauty and the Beast
Beavis & Butt-Head: Mike Judge’s Most Wanted
Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On
Billy Blanks: Tae Bo Ripped Extreme
The Bionic Woman: Season 3
Bob Harper: Ultimate Cardio Body
Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season
Boston Bruins: 2011 Stanley Cup Champions
Boy Meets World: The Complete Seventh Season
A Boyfriend for My Wife
Bryce Canyon/Zion National Parks
Buck
The Busty Valley Girls
Caeser & Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre
The Caller
Captain Johnno: The Devil’s Hill Journey
The Century That Made America
Chop Kick Panda & Friends
The Cider House Rules
Cinema Paradiso
Crazy on the Outside
Crusade in Europe
Crusade in the Pacific
Cry Terror
Dance Fu
Dead Alive
Deck the Halls
Dinky Dog: The Complete Series
Dirty Like an Angel
Discover Christmas
Elvira’s Haunted Hills
Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared To Death / Tormented
Fast Five
First Light
Flights of Courage
Fresh Fields: Set 2
Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
Glacier National Park
Glass Maiden: The Complete Collection
Glorious Triumphs and Great Tragedies
Going for Broke
Gold Rush: Alaska
Grand Canyon
Grandview, U.S.A.
The Great Ghost Rescue
Great Indian Leaders and Nations
Harakiri (Criterion)
The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season One
The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season Two
A Haunting in Salem
The Head: The Complete Series
The Heart Specialist (Rental)
Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island
The High Cost of Living
The Hollies: Look Through Any Window 1963-1975
The Honeymooners: Lost Episodes 1951-1957
House of Women
I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK
In Treatment: Season Three
Isolation
Jackie Brown
Jackie Evancho: Dream with Me – In Concert
Jacques Pepin: Essential Pepin
Jig
Juche Idea
Ken Burns’ Prohibition
King of Cool: The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show
La Corda D’Oro: The Complete Collection
Legend of the Millennium Dragon
Lego Hero Factory: Savage Planet
Lie to Me: The Complete Final Season
Life Is Beautiful
The Lion King
The Little Drummer Boy
Living Will
Long Slow Death of a Twenty-Something
Looney Tunes Super Stars: Road Runner & Wile E Coyote
The Lovers & Friends Show: Season Four
The Lucy Collection
Lunopolis
Marry Me
The Maxx: The Complete Series
The Mighty Hercules
Moby Dick
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol
Mysteries of the Ancient World
National Geographic: Kissinger
The New Adventures of the Lone Ranger
The New Adventures of Zorro
The New Christmas Classics Collection
Nickelodeon Favorites: Merry Christmas
Nikolai Baskov: Romantic Journey
Nothing Personal
An Old Fashioned Christmas
The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set
Oz & James Drink To Britain
Peanuts Classic Holiday Collection
The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Perry Mason: Season 6, Volume 1
Phase 7
Pirates: The Quest for Snake Island
The PJs: Season 3
Planet Earth: The Complete Series
Pony Play Date
The Presence
Pulp Fiction
Real Pirates: Outlaws of the Sea
Red Chapel
Rob Thomas: Live at Red Rocks, Something to Be Tour
Rolling Stones: Four Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Rolling
Roots
Rosemary & Thyme: The Complete Collection
Sacagawea
Salo or The 120 Days of Sodom (Criterion)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Santa’s Magical Stories
Saving Winston
Scream 4
Sharpe’s Battle
Sharpe’s Eagle
Sharpe’s Enemy
Sharpe’s Siege
Sharpe’s Waterloo
Skins: Season 1
The Smurfs: Holiday Celebration
Snow Beast
Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story
Soapdish
Space Jam
Stanley
Submarine
Tom & Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures Volume 3
Too Cute Kittens
The Tower of London
Treasures of America’s National Parks: Yellowstone
Treasures of America’s National Parks: Yosemite
The True Story of Puss ‘n Boots
‘Twas the Night before Christmas
The Ultimate Cartoon Collection: Toon Time
Uncle Bob
Uncle Nino
The Undefeated
Upstairs, Downstairs: The Complete Fifth Season
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Weird Al Yankovic Live! – The Alpocalypse Tour
What Women Want
White Wash
Wilderness Adventure Collection
World Wonders beyond Time: 5000 Years
Yankeeography: Pinstripe Legends
Yoga Dance: Fire
Yoga Dance: Flame
Yoga for Depression & Anxiety
Yoga Journal: 21 Day Challenge

THAT’S WHAT CHUD CALLS MUSIC – WITH JEB DELIA:

We’ve got a slightly attenuated music section this week, due principally to the fact that, by the time you read this, I will have spent three days wallowing in free music in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park (with Ryan Bingham, Robert Plant, Those Darlins, The Punch Brothers, and Southern Culture on the Skids among my expected high points).  For better or worse, more full reviews and capsule rundowns next week.

FEIST – METALS


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The resurgence of big-voiced female singers continues. Leslie Feist may be a tad less plush than Adele, but she’s got more on her mind than blaming her boyfriend; she may be marginally less gritty than Joss Stone, but there’s more good writing on any given track here than on the entire running time of Superheavy.

“The Bad in Each Other” kicks off the album in big, reverberant sound, driven by a twisted guitar riff and handclap percussion, Feist doing her best Kate Bush wail, wrapping up with a big, brassy finish, leaving the vocals behind as a lost cause. Even in the context of Feist’s previous work, it’s not the most uplifting set of songs; in fact, “Bittersweet Melodies” would have been a pretty on-the-nose choice for a title song:   “We had the same feelings at opposite times, ” “A good man and a good woman / Bring out the worst in the other / The bad in each other.” “The Circle Married the Line” is all heartbreak vocal, vibes and pizzicato strings, while “Graveyard” is just about as cheerful as you’d expect: “Roots and lies / Our family tree.” Even the bucolic Big Sur setting of the album’s recording gets turned on its ear when “Undiscovered First” shifts from lip-licking vocals with stomping, chain-gang percussion and broken, slashing guitar riff, into a massed chorus and vocal that fades out on the despair of “Is this the way to live /  Is it wrong to want more?Metals isn’t the conceptual leap forward I think a lot of fans were hoping for, but it’s certainly well placed in the emotional here and now.

ZOLA JESUS – CONATUS


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By now, the whole “Rename Someone as Jesus” thing is getting old (once we had the “Jesus of Cool,” all other iterations became redundant), but Nika Danilova almost justifies it with the washes of electronic sound and powerful vocals.

“Vessels” almost delivers a change-up from expectations, with more vocal FX than actual singing, but the track builds confidently, finally surging over the thudding percussion to a powerful ending. “Ixode” employs a similar buildup-and-release to good effect, while “Hikikomori” and “Shivers” get their goth on appropriately. And while it’d be hard to imagine a more teeth-gnashingly coy song title than “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake,” it’s also the catchiest tune here. Bleak? A little. But let’s face it: a gal fleeing Wisconsin winters for the sun and smog of L.A. is entitled to the weird mixture of drive and disillusion she sings about.

MERLE HAGGARD – WORKING IN TENNESSEE


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As I mention above, I’m spending this coming weekend (well, by now, past weekend) at San Francisco’s free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, and while I’m looking forward to such non-rootsy entertainment as Devotchka, Broken Social Scene and Bob Mould, there’s no question that the live pairing of Haggard with Kris Kristofferson is likely to be one of the high points. And, just in time, the Hag delivers his 5,263rd or so album. It’s almost redundant to speak of the consistent high quality of the music making: the simple fact is that Haggard’s an unusually intelligent and empathetic musician with a knack for the telling detail and an ability to mine the classic without sacrificing the vernacular.

If you find yourself in lockup, write a song about a jail.” And that sums it up pretty well:  the difference is that, even if you or I survived a night in lockup, we’d be hard pressed to keep our wits (much less muse) about us to produce something as loose-limbed and funny as “Laugh It Off.”  Part of what makes the current run of Haggard albums so strong is that the spectre of his battle with lung cancer doesn’t loom over the material: in addition to “Laugh It Off,” topics include love for the music of Bob Wills, life on a houseboat, a surfeit of boogie woogie, and the cheerful hard living of Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues.” Even when things sober up (“What I Hate,” “Sometimes I Dream”), Hag’s vision is of the possibility of a better future, not a bleak one. Hag saves the guest appearances for the end, so that the album wraps up with the one-two punch of his son Ben, along with Willie Nelson, harmonizing with Merle on a new version of “Workin’ Man Blues,” before wife Theresa trades sly, affectionate put-downs with him on the Cash-Carter classic, “Jackson.”

OTHER NOTABLE 10/4 RELEASES:

DJ Shadow, The Less You Know, The Better
Indigo Girls, Beauty Queen Sister
Jack’s Mannequin, People & Things
Julian Lennon, Everything Changes
Paul McCartney, Ocean’s Kingdom
MGMT, Late Night Tales
New Found Glory, Not Without A Fight
Odd Soul, Mutemath
Siberia, Lights
Various Artists, The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams

TONY’S PLAYIN’ GAMES!

DARK SOULS (360,PS3)

Those who played the earlier Demon’s Souls are either excited to stumble blindly to their death again in Dark Souls or they are small weenie people who serve as playthings for the real gamers. If you’re the kind of player who got into fist fights in grade school over who could clear Wily’s Castle the fastest, take note. Just like the olden days, this game fucking hates you. It hates you more than the most challenging of NES games. Ninja Gaiden isn’t sixty hours long. Other players couldn’t murder you for fun in Zelda II. The Souls games are about the challenge and the skill. Fuck, I’ll go ahead and say; they are about bragging rights. True bragging rights. They even put a bell system in the game so other players know when you downed a giant dragon with a million teeth and a tail made of despair and pain. Dark Souls isn’t going to be fun for anyone currently on the fence about buying it. If you’re a completionist, stay the hell away or book a few hundred hours of quality game time. If frustration serves as your fuel and you already have spare controllers bought, get ready to not touch another game for the rest of the year. Sure, we haven’t even hit the true onslaught of November yet, but Uncharted and Skyrim have difficulty settings. Difficulty settings are for your mom.

RAGE (360.PS3)

I don’t know what worries me about this game. It’s been around for five years and I still know so little about it. I know it looks a lot like Mad Max, with the post-Apocalyptic setting and the cool cars, but it’s also full of mutants and looks like it takes place in a series of hallways. It has some sort of multiplayer, including co-op, but I don’t know if it is part of the campaign or a separate entity. Hell, it could be a racing game. I do know what doesn’t worry me about this game. id. It’s fucking id. Yeah, Doom 4 and all that jazz. But this is a new IP and, even though it’s pretty as all hell, it doesn’t look to be a glorified lighting demo. Fingers are crossed that whatever the hell Rage is, it’ll at least have a good, solid shooter in there.

OTHER DROPPINGS

NBA 2K12 is the followup to one of my favorite sports games of all time. Even someone mildly interested in Basketball has something to get excited about, with the plethora of classic teams, players, and games to mess around with. I wish more sports games would celebrate the history of their sports instead of worrying about rooster updates. Basketball, and 2K12, obviously need the boost right now, but hopefully more strong sales will teach EA a thing or two. Spider-Man: Edge of Time is also coming out. I don’t know what Activision is doing with their Marvel properties, but it’s starting to skeeve me out. The download front is PSN heavy this week, with Chrono Trigger, God Hand, and Odin Sphere among the releases. Once more for the late comers; Chrono Trigger, God Hand, and Odin Sphere are on PSN this week! Need I say more?

No, Tony – you needn’t say more. I think I have to go download God Hand, God Damn it. 

FIN.