Sunday, June 28, 2009

Teenage hoodlums from another world on a horrendous rampage!


James Frey, noted confabulator, is back -- with a young-adult novel, of all things:
The story of “I Am Number Four” is about a group of nine alien teenagers on a planet called Lorien, which is attacked by a hostile race from another planet. The nine and their guardians evacuate to Earth, where three are killed. The protagonist, a Lorien boy named John Smith, hides in Paradise, Ohio, disguised as a human, trying to evade his predators and knowing he is next on their list.

It seems to me that he's gone from making stuff up to stealing stuff. That's pretty much the plot of Teenagers from Outer Space:




(If you click on the video, you'll go to the YouTube page where it's located, and find links to the other eight parts. Poke around YouTube, and you'll find the MST3K version -- it's a good one.)

I'm really hoping the Frey book has a monster that looks like a lobster. That would be aces.

The writer/director of Teenagers, Tom Graeff, was more than a wee bit crazy -- and tons more interesting than James Frey. There's some Graeff bio information here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quotation of the day


So, you've heard about Shawna Forde, a far-right-wing nutjob affiliated with various "mainstream" Minutemen and militia groups, who killed a man and his 10-year-old daughter, hoping to find drug money and thereby fund vigilantism, right?

Love this quotation from the Times this morning:
Merrill Metzger, who worked for the group for six months just as it was getting started in 2007, said Ms. Forde had often traveled from Washington to Arizona with weapons. In March, while stopping over at his home in Redding, Calif., she presented a plan for the group to undertake, Mr. Metzger, her half-brother, said in a telephone interview.

“She was sitting here talking about how she was going to start an underground militia and rob drug dealers,” he said.

Mr. Metzger quit the group, alarmed, he said, by a number of things, including Ms. Forde’s demand for extreme loyalty, right down to the choice of cuisine.

“I had to take an oath, and part of the oath was that I couldn’t eat Mexican food,” he said. “That’s when red flags went up all over for me. That seemed like prejudice.

Form an underground militia? Check. Rob drug dealers? Check. Give up chimichangas? Hey, now hold on just one blasted minute!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You know you want it


I got an e-mail today with the subject line: Vicodin: you know you want it.

And I thought, brother, you don't know the half of it.

Can you believe I slept through The Velvet Blog's fifth anniversary?!?! Yes, we hit that milestone two days ago. And not one of you sent a card.

On that note, The Velvet Blog will go on hiatus for a couple of weeks. It deserves a vacation.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Things I learned from the descriptions in a book devoted exclusively to bean recipes


These unusual pancakes have a surprisingly good flavor.

This Athenian treatment produces a meal worthy of the Gods.

Pastisio, a mass of steaming noodles covered with a golden brown topping, is as attractive in taste as in appearance.

This famous Greek casserole, usually made with meat, is equally appetizing with beans. It is especially nice for buffets.

The addition of beans makes this quiche more satisfying than most.

Lentil balls are unlike meatballs, but they are delicious with this tomato sauce.

I like to serve this attractive entree at lunch, but it is enjoyed at dinner, too.

Beanburgers are delicious, satisfying, and easy to prepare. You will want to have them often.

A piquant sauce gives the lentils a special flavor.

This high-protein, eggless [tofu] mayonnaise is simple to prepare and has few calories.

These easy-to-prepare beans are designed especially for breakfast, but are excellent for lunch, brunch, or supper. They are best served on buttered toast.

In North Carolina, the "Tar Heel" state, this dish, with its piquant flavor, is very popular at church suppers. It is, however, enjoyed anytime.

This takes some time to prepare. The results are well worth it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If sock monkeys wrote Pride and Prejudice and Sock Monkeys

sock monkeyIt is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man sock monkey in possession of a good fortune banana must be in want of a wife another banana.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man sock monkey may be on his first entering a neighbourhood rain forest, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man sock monkey of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants monkey butlers are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"

"Bingley S. Monkey."

"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man sock monkey of large fortune; four or five thousand bananas a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

They've got, uh, printers in the basement you could use (Now with Updates!)



Welcome, visitors. It seems a number of you have wound up here after doing searches for After Last Season. Note that I eventually saw the film, and my review is here.

The K. Gordon Murray trailers I posted last week are -- inarguably, I think -- fascinating in their sheer oddness and exuberance. Sure, they look bad, but really, really fun-bad. Settle-down-on-the-couch-with-a-beer-and-a-large-bag-of-Doritos fun-bad. I'd love to see the movies themselves at some point, though I know I'll probably be disappointed.

But every once in a while, a film comes along that, while undeniably bad, appears to be more fun to be read about than seen.

The trailer for a film called After Last Season, made by the pseudonymous-sounding "Mark Region," has been online, including Apple's movie trailer site, since early April. It's spawned quite a bit of speculation online. Is it real? Is it yet another piece of viral marketing for some other film? An April Fool's Day joke that's lived beyond its use-by date?

Here's the trailer:



But I also noticed that, mysteriously, a new trailer went up last spring, one that attempts (with only limited success) to make the decidedly crazy movie look more linear and conventional:



Where does one even begin to deconstruct this? How does one start? With the MRI machine that's made out of cardboard boxes and deployed in what appears to be someone's bedroom? The non sequitur dialogue? The cutaway reaction shots signifying nothing? The CGI that appears to have come straight from somewhere in the late '80s? The moving plastic bins?

Why doesn't that woman go to the main market? Why are there printers in the basement? Should I really use them? I don't know!!!

Last weekend, honest-to-God 35-mm prints of After Last Season snuck into a few theaters in out-of-the-way places. No newspapers covered it, unsurprisingly, but a few brave souls have ventured forth to see it, and have lived to tell the tale. There's one review here, and another here.

But as fascinating as it is to read about such cinematic oddities (well, fascinating for anyone who owns a well-thumbed copy of Incredibly Strange Films, as I do), and despite the fact that I've watched this trailer at least 10 times, the thought of sitting through an hour and a half of this is more than my brain can handle.

UPDATE: Some people are thinking about this movie an awful lot.

UPDATE UPDATE: An interview with the director. It clears up a bit, but not a whole lot. That cardboard MRI?:
The way it happened, first we made the MRI, and it looked pretty good from far away. We couldn't tell it was made from cardboard or bits of plastic -- it also has plastic. But when you shoot with 35mm, and sometimes because of the light, some lines across the front of the MRI became visible. When we shot, we couldn't tell, but on film the lines are darker -- you see it's not a polished surface. That’s how the MRI came to be.

And the budget?
Filmmaker [Magazine]: In an earlier interview you stated that the film's budget was $5 million, which seems like a high number considering that you had a tiny shooting crew and only shot for five or six days. Is this number correct?

Region: It's correct. When we shot, the budget was $30,000 to $40,000, but to do those special effects and the computer animation, the budget went to that number.

Filmmaker: To $5 million?

Region: Yeah. And that also includes a few other things -- titles, lab costs.

To put that in perspective, the budget for one episode of Lost is around $4 million -- and that's high. Mr. Region needs to sue his special-effects house.


UPDATE: There really are printers in the basement you can use.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Photo of the day



Is it just me, or are melons a little frightening when you really look at them?

Anyway, I liked the way the seeds spilled out of this. (And it was really sweet.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Like living a storybook adventure!: More K. Gordon Murray madness



Oh, Puss N' Boots, where have you been all my life?



My question to you is: What the HELL is going on in that guy's lap 40 seconds in???

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Brace yourselves


I believe I have stumbled over the absolute worst movie trailer of all time:



I saw a lot of crappy kiddie matinees growing up (yes, I actually endured Santa Claus Conquers the Martians back then), but this ...

Words fail me.

UPDATE: Info on producer K. Gordon Murray here. And there's an upcoming documentary about Murray, too.

UPDATE UPDATE: For those of you arriving from TwoBusy, there's another Murray trailer, for Puss N' Boots, here. It's equally bizarre.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Still, I'm open to the idea of a monkey butler


Well, that's probably the last time I send a sock monkey out for beer. Unless I'm really lazy.

The banana taste of Wells' Banana Bread Beer is fairly subtle. The fruit taste isn't nearly as up-front as, say, cherry beer I've had. But that doesn't mean the taste really works with beer -- it's just kind of there. I probably drank three-quarters of it and the rest went down the sink.

Sorry, monkey.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pop quiz: Children's books coming to a multiplex near you


One of these live-action feature films, based on popular kids' books, is fake. Which?:

--Where's Waldo?, based on the completely plotless picture books about a guy in a striped shirt who might be hiding from the law or an ex-wife or something. It's not really clear. Whatever, people are looking for him in crowds.

--Walter, the Farting Dog, based on the picture-book series about a flatulent family pet. Disney's Jonas Brothers are attached to this project, to be helmed by the Farrelly Brothers (gross-out kings behind the distinctly R-rated There's Something About Mary).

--Everybody Poops, based on the how-to manual for children, with illustrations of animals and people pooping. Will Ferrell is attached to this project; director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are) has expressed interest, but has not yet signed.

So, basically, he's W., except for the "proficient in English" part


SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea's Kim Jong Il has anointed his 26-year-old son -- said to be competitive, proficient in English and a heavy drinker -- as the next leader of the communist state, news reports said Tuesday. --The Associated Press