Scenes that I Love: The Final Scene of Twin Peaks: The Return


Happy birthday, David Lynch!

One of the things that makes David Lynch so special is that he’s willing to take risks and somehow, he always manages to get away with the type of things that would drive you crazy if any other director tried them. For instance, what other director could end an 18-hour film on a note of ominous and disturbing ambiguity and have viewers say, “That was perfect!”

That’s the talent of David Lynch.

Today’s scene that I love comes from Twin Peaks: The Return. Agent Cooper returns someone who might be Laura Palmer to her home in Twin Peaks. However, it appears that the Palmers have either left the house or perhaps they haven’t even moved in yet.

“What year is this?” Cooper asks.

In the night, someone says, “Laura?”

Laura screams.

I know there are some who says that we need a new season of Twin Peaks to explain all of this. I’m not sure that I agree, though I’d love to see everyone again. But, to be honest, I feel this is the perfect ending to Lynch’s American dream.

Music Video of the Day: Falling by Julee Cruise (1990, dir by ????)


Seeing as how today is David Lynch’s birthday, it just seems appropriate that today’s music video of the day should come from Twin Peaks.  Julee Cruise played the singer at the Roadhouse during the first season of Lynch’s legendary show and her voice perfectly captured and, in many ways, helped to create the show’s mysterious and dream-like atmosphere.  (The Roadhouse, of course, became a much more menacing location when the series was revived for Showtime.  I mean, even “The Nine Inch Nails” ended up playing there.)

This video features a compilation of clips from the show.  Some of the clips were directed by David Lynch while some weren’t, so it’s a bit difficult to determine who should be credited as director for this video.  Regardless, this video still captures the unique power of Lynch’s vision.

Enjoy!

Don’t let yourself be hurt this time
Don’t let yourself be hurt this time

Then I saw your face
Then I saw your smile

The sky is still blue
The clouds come and go
Yet something is different
Are we falling in love?

Don’t let yourself be hurt this time
Don’t let yourself be hurt this time

Then your kiss so soft
Then your touch so warm

The stars still shine bright
The mountains still high
Yet something is different
Are we falling in love?

Falling
Falling
Are we falling in love?

Falling
Falling
Are we falling in love?

Drive My Car and Nicolas Cage Win In Seattle


On Monday, the Seattle Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2021 and it was another victory for Drive My Car and Pig‘s Nicolas Cage!

Best Picture of the Year
CODA (Apple TV+)
Drive My Car (Janus Films)
Dune (Warner Bros.)
The Green Knight (A24)
In the Heights (Warner Bros.)
Licorice Pizza (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Pig (NEON)
The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
Titane (NEON)
West Side Story (20th Century Studios)

Best Director
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Julia Ducournau – Titane
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car
David Lowery – The Green Knight
Denis Villeneuve – Dune

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Alana Haim – Licorice Pizza
Lady Gaga – House of Gucci
Renate Reinsve – The Worst Person in the World
Agathe Rousselle – Titane
Kristen Stewart – Spencer

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nicolas Cage – Pig
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM!
Dev Patel – The Green Knight
Simon Rex – Red Rocket

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Ann Dowd – Mass
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard
Ruth Negga – Passing

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Colman Domingo – Zola
Troy Kotsur – CODA
Vincent Lindon – Titane
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog
Jeffrey Wright – The French Dispatch

Best Ensemble Cast
Dune – Jina Jay, Francine Maisler, casting directors
In the Heights – Tiffany Little Canfield, Bernard Telsey, casting directors
Licorice Pizza – Cassandra Kulukundis, casting director
Mass – Henry Russell Bergstein, Allison Estrin, casting directors
The Power of the Dog – Nikki Barrett, Tina Cleary, Carmen Cuba, Nina Gold, casting directors

Best Screenplay
Drive My Car – Ryûsuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe
The Green Knight – David Lowery
Mass – Fran Kranz
Pig – Michael Sarnoski
The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion

Best Film Not in the English Language
Drive My Car (Janus Films) – Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, director
Flee (NEON) – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, director
The Hand of God (Netflix) – Paolo Sorrentino, director
Titane (NEON) – Julia Ducournau, director
The Worst Person in the World (NEON) – Joachim Trier, director

Best Animated Feature
Encanto (Walt Disney Pictures) – Jared Bush, Byron Howard, director; Charise Castro Smith, co-director
Flee (NEON) – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, director
Luca (Walt Disney Pictures) – Enrico Casarosa, director
The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Netflix) – Michael Rianda, director; Jeff Rowe, co-director
Raya and the Last Dragon (Walt Disney Pictures) – Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, director; Paul Briggs, John Ripa, co-director

Best Documentary Feature
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (Apple TV+) – R.J. Cutler, director
Flee (NEON) – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, director
The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films/Greenwich Entertainment) – Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, directors
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Hulu) – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, director
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (Severin Films) – Kier-La Janisse, director

Best Original Score
Dune – Hans Zimmer
The French Dispatch – Alexandre Desplat
The Green Knight – Daniel Hart
The Power of the Dog – Jonny Greenwood
Spencer – Jonny Greenwood

Best Film Editing
Drive My Car – Azusa Yamazaki
Dune – Joe Walker
The Power of the Dog – Peter Sciberras
Titane – Jean-Christophe Bouzy
West Side Story – Michael Kahn, Sarah Broshar

Best Cinematography
Dune – Greig Fraser
The Green Knight – Andrew Droz Palermo
The Power of the Dog – Ari Wegner
The Tragedy of Macbeth – Bruno Delbonnel
West Side Story – Janusz Kaminski

Best Costume Design
Cruella – Jenny Beavan
Dune – Jacqueline West, Robert Morgan
The Green Knight – Malgosia Turzanska
House of Gucci – Janty Yates
Spencer – Jacqueline Durran

Best Production Design
Dune – Patrice Vermette (Production Design); Zsuzsanna Sipos (Set Decoration)
The French Dispatch – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Rena DeAngelo (Set Decoration)
The Green Knight – Jade Healy (Production Design); Jenny Oman (Set Decoration)
Nightmare Alley – Tamara Deverell (Production Design); Shane Vieau (Set Decoration)
West Side Story – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Rena DeAngelo (Set Decoration)

Best Visual Effects
Dune – Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, Gerd Nefzer
The Green Knight – Eric Saindon, Michael Cozens
The Matrix Resurrections – Dan Glass, Huw J. Evans, Tom Debenham, J.D. Schwalm
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Walker, Dan Oliver
Spider-Man: No Way Home – Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein, Dan Sudick

Best Youth Performance (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming):
Jude Hill – Belfast
Cooper Hoffman – Licorice Pizza
Emilia Jones – CODA
Woody Norman – C’mon C’mon
Joséphine Sanz – Petite Maman

Villain of the Year:
Baron Vladimir Harkonnen – Dune – portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård
The Green Goblin/Norman Osborn – Spider-Man: No Way Home – portrayed by Willem Dafoe
Phil Burbank – The Power of the Dog – portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch
Rufus Buck – The Harder They Fall – portrayed by Idris Elba
Xu Wenwu – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – portrayed by Tony Leung

Best Action Choreography
In the Heights
No Time to Die
Nobody
Raging Fire
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Power of the Dog Wins In North Dakota!


On Monday, the North Dakota Film Society announced their picks for the best of 2021 and it led to another victory for The Power of the Dog!

Here are all the winners in North Dakota:

Best Picture
FLEE (Monia Hellstrom and Signe Byrge Sorensen)
THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson and Steven Rales)
LICORICE PIZZA (Paul Thomas Anderson, Sara Murphy, JoAnne Sellar and Daniel Lupi)
NIGHTMARE ALLEY (J. Miles Dale, Guillermo del Toro and Bradley Cooper)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier, Jane Campion and Tanya Seghatchian)

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson (LICORICE PIZZA)
Wes Anderson (THE FRENCH DISPATCH)
Jane Campion (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
Guillermo del Toro (NIGHTMARE ALLEY)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (TICK, TICK…BOOM!)

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain (THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE)
Alana Haim (LICORICE PIZZA)
Renate Reinsve (THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD)
Agathe Rousselle (TITANE)
Kristen Stewart (SPENCER)

Best Actor
Nicolas Cage (PIG)
Bradley Cooper (NIGHTMARE ALLEY)
Benedict Cumberbatch (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
Andrew Garfield (TICK, TICK…BOOM!)
Denzel Washington (THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH)

Best Supporting Actress
Caitriona Balfe (BELFAST)
Jessie Buckley (THE LOST DAUGHTER)
Ariana DeBose (WEST SIDE STORY)
Kirsten Dunst (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
Ruth Negga (PASSING)

Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper (LICORICE PIZZA)
Robin de Jesus (TICK, TICK…BOOM!)
Mike Faist (WEST SIDE STORY)
Ciaran Hinds (BELFAST)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (THE POWER OF THE DOG)

Best Screenplay
C’MON C’MON (Mike Mills)
DRIVE MY CAR (Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Oe Takamasa)
THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Wes Anderson, Jascon Schwartzman and Roman Coppola)
LICORICE PIZZA (Paul Thomas Anderson)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Jane Campion)

Best Cinematography
DUNE (Greig Fraser)
THE GREEN KNIGHT(Andrew Droz Palermo)
NIGHTMARE ALLEY (Dan Laustsen)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Ari Wegner)
WEST SIDE STORY (Janusz Kaminski)

Best Film Editing
THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Andrew Weisblum)
LICORICE PIZZA (Andy Jurgensen)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Peter Sciberras)
TICK, TICK…BOOM! (Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum)
WEST SIDE STORY (Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn)

Best Production Design
DUNE (Patrice Vermette, Richard Roberts and Zsuzsanna Sipos)
THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Adam Stockhausen and Rena DeAngelo)
NIGHTMARE ALLEY (Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Grant Major and Amber Richards)
WEST SIDE STORY (Adam Stockhausen and Rena DeAngelo)

Best Costume Design
CRUELLA (Jenny Beavan)
DUNE (Jacqueline West)
THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Milena Canonero)
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (Odile Dicks-Mireaux)
WEST SIDE STORY (Paul Tazewell)

Best Sound
DUNE (Mac Ruth, Mark A. Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett)
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (Julian Slater, Dan Morgan, Colin Nicolson and Tim Cavagin)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Robert Mackenzie, Richard Flynn, Leah Katz, Tara Webb and Dave Whitehead)
TICK, TICK…BOOM! (Paul Hsu and Tod A. Maitland)
WEST SIDE STORY (Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson, Tod A. Maitland and Shawn Murphy)

Best Visual Effects
DUNE (Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer)
THE GREEN KNIGHT (Kev Cahill)
NO TIME TO DIE (Charlie Noble and Chris Corbould)
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Walker and Dan Oliver)
SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
CRUELLA (Nadia Stacey and Carolyn Cousins)
DUNE (Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr)
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh)
THE GREEN KNIGHT (Eileen Buggy, Audrey Doyle and Barrie Gower)
WEST SIDE STORY (Judy Chin and Kay Georgiou)

Best Original Score
DUNE (Hans Zimmer)
ENCANTO (Germaine Franco)
THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Alexandre Desplat)
THE HARDER THEY FALL (Jeymes Samuel)
THE POWER OF THE DOG (Jonny Greenwood)

Best Original Song
ANNETTE – “So May We Start” (Ron Mael and Russell Mael)
DON’T LOOK UP – “Just Look Up” (Nicholas Britell, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi and Taura Stinson)
ENCANTO – “Dos Oruguitas” (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
KING RICHARD – “Be Alive” (Beyonce and Dixson)
NO TIME TO DIE – “No Time to Die” (Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell)

Best Animated Feature
ENCANTO (Jared Bush, Byron Howard and Charise Castro Smith)
FLEE (Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
LUCA (Enrico Casarosa)
THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES (Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe)
THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS (Patrick Imbert)

Best Documentary Feature
THE FIRST WAVE (Matthew Heineman)
FLEE (Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
PROCESSION (Robert Greene)
SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) (Questlove)
VAL (Ting Poo and Leo Scott)

Best International Feature
DRIVE MY CAR (Hamaguchi Ryusuke) – Japan
FLEE (Jonas Poher Rasmussen) – Denmark
THE HAND OF GOD (Paolo Sorrentino) – Italy
TITANE (Julia Ducournau) – France
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD (Norway) – Joachim Trier

The African-American Film Critics Association Named The Harder They Fall As The Best Film of the Year!


On Monday, the African American Film Critics Association named their picks for the best of 2021!  Their pick for film of the year?  The Harder They Fall.

Here are the rest of the winners:

Best Picture: “The Harder They Fall”
Best Director: Jeymes Samuel (“The Harder They Fall”)
Best Screenplay: Adam McKay (“Don’t Look Up”)
Best Actor: Will Smith (“King Richard”)
Best Actress: Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”)
Best Supporting Actor: Corey Hawkins (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
Breakout Actor: Saniyya Sidney (“King Richard”)
Best Ensemble: “The Harder They Fall”
Emerging Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green (“King Richard”)
Best Music: Jeymes Samuel, Kid Cudi & Jay-Z (“The Harder They Fall”)
Best Independent Feature: “Who We Are”
Best Documentary: “Summer of Soul”

Music Video of the Day: Liquid Dreams by O-Town (2000, dir by ????)


In this music video, the clean-cut members of O-Town sing about having a collective wet dream about a dominatrix super model.  The song is directed to the person who they wish was in their collective wet dream which …. yeah, that’s not creepy at all, guys.  According to the lyrics, this person is a combination of Madonna, Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie, Tyra Banks, Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford, Janet Jackson, Salma Hayek, and Jennifer Lopez.  Apparently, in between performances, the members of O-Town spent all of their time masturbating on posters of their favorite celebs and then singing songs about it.  O-Town was creepy af.

Of course, O-Town was a fairly creepy enterprise from the start.  The band was put together by the notorious Lou Pearlman, who was responsible for a lot of boy bands.  He was also apparently a crook who defrauded the musicians he managed and who later served time in prison for all sorts of financial crimes.  He also just looked like a creepy fellow.  I can say that because O-Town was actually a part of the first ever season of Making the Band.  Though the show was technically about the band, most episodes centered on Pearlman gloating about how much money he was going to make off of O-Town.  I don’t really remember a whole lot about the show, beyond Pearlman being scary.  I do know there was one episode where the band’s choreographer threw a fit because the members of the band weren’t doing the steps correctly.  O-Town apparently didn’t have that much say about their music or their image.

Liquid Dreams finds the members of the band making out with water people.  Since the song is about a wet dream, I guess that means that …. well, never mind.

Enjoy!

Posters of love surrounding me
Lost in a world of fantasy
Every night she comes to me
And gives me all the love I need
 
Now this hot girl (hot)
She’s not your average girl
She’s a morphorotic dream from a magazine
And she’s so fine (dang), designed to blow your mind
She’s a dominatrix supermodel beauty queen (oh)
 
I dreamed about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child
Just a little touch of Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile
Throw in a body like Jennifer’s
You’ve got the star of my liquid dream (my liquid dreams)
 
Angelina Jolie’s lips to kiss in the dark
Underneath Cindy C’s beauty mark
When it comes to the test well Tyra’s the best
And Salma Hayek brings the rest (oh-oh)
 
Now this hot girl (hot)
She’s not your average girl
She’s a morphorotic dream from a magazine
And she’s so fine (dang) designed to blow your mind
She’s a dominatrix supermodel beauty queen (oh)
 
I dreamed about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child (oh, Destiny’s Child)
Just a little touch of Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile (Janet Jackson’s smile)
Throw in a body like Jennifer’s (oh, ooh)
You’ve got the star of my liquid dreams (my liquid dreams)
(My liquid dreams)
 
Seem everything she’s got the sweetest personality
(Like Halle B) Halle B
My mama thinks I’m lazy, my friends all think I’m crazy
But in my mind, girl I leave the world, oh
(World behind every night I dream)
 
Liquid dreams, my (she’s my) liquid dreams
She’s my liquid dreams
Waterfalls and streams, these liquid dreams
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
 
I dreamed about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child (I dreamed, I dreamed)
Just a little touch of Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile (Janet Jackson’s smile, ooh yeah)
Throw in a body like Jennifer’s (she’s my)
You’ve got the star of my liquid dream (my liquid dreams)
(My liquid dreams)
 
I dreamed about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child (be my liquid dreams)
Just a little touch Madonna’s wild style (be my liquid dreams)
With Janet Jackson’s smile (oh)
Throw in a body like Jennifer’s (Jennifer’s)
You’ve got the star of my liquid dreams
(You got it, you got it, you got my liquid dreams)
 
I dreamed about a girl who’s a mix of Destiny’s Child
Just a little touch of Madonna’s wild style
With Janet Jackson’s smile
Throw in a body like Jennifer’s
You’ve got the star of my liquid dreams
(My liquid dreams)

Novel Review: Scarface by Armitage Trail


First published in 1930, Scarface tells the story of Tony Guarino.  Tony was an 18 year-old hoodlum, working his way through the Chicago rackets.  Unfortunately, for Tony, he started to draw too much attention from the cops and his gangster boss told Tony to stop hanging around so much.  Miffed, Tony decided to join the Army.

Tony served with a valor in World War I.  He was natural leader and had no hesitation when it came to killing people.  He was “a good soldier,” as the novel puts it.  When he’s wounded in battle, he’s left with a facial scar that changes his appearance to the extent that even his own family doesn’t recognize him when he returns to Chicago.  Of course, due to a clerical mistake, they also think that Tony’s dead.  After killing his former mistress and her new lover, Tony somewhat randomly decides to change his name to Tony Camonte and take over the Chicago underworld.

He gets a job working for Johnny Love.  Scarface Tony, as he is called now, works his way up.  Soon, Tony is in charge of the Lovo mob and he even has a girlfriend, a former “gun girl” named Jane.  Unfortunately, Tony also has a lot of enemies.  Captain Flanagan may take Tony’s money but he still wants to put Tony behind bars.  The DA may take Tony’s money but he still wants to put Tony behind bars.  The cops way take Tony’s money but …. well, okay, you get the idea.  Tony can’t trust anyone.  Complicating things is that his older brother is moving his way up in the police force and his younger sister has been hanging out with Tony’s main gunman.  And there’s a new gang boss in town.  His nickname is Schemer.  You know he has to be bad with a nickname like that!

I read Scarface yesterday.  It’s only 181 pages long and it’s a quick read.  It’s also not a particularly well-written book.  The prose is often clunky.  The dialogue is awkward.  Tony really doesn’t have any motivation beyond the fact that he’s a jerk.  We’re continually told that Tony has become one of the most powerful gangsters in the country but we don’t really see any evidence of it.  One of the basic rules is that it’s better to show than to tell and this novel is all about telling instead of showing.  What there is of a plot feels like it was made up on the spot.  For instance, with the exception of an off-hand mention of her in the first chapter, the character of Tony’s sister doesn’t even figure into the story until it is nearly done and, yet, the story’s conclusion pretty much hinges on her existence.  Though not as well-written, Scarface is still a bit like The Epic of Gilgamesh.  Writer Armitage Trail just kept coming up with complications until he finally ran out of tablets and had no choice but to abruptly end things.

That said, the book is notable in that it served as the inspiration for Howard Hawks’s 1932 film, Scarface.  The Hawks film, which only loosely follows the plot of Trail’s book and which wisely abandons some of the less credible plot points, would later be remade by Brian De Palma, with Al Pacino stepping into the role of Tony.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Film Review: Assault on VA-33 (dir by Christopher Ray)


Adrian (Weston Cage Coppola) is an international criminal and terrorist, a man who isn’t going to let a little thing like being wanted by the FBI prevent him from getting what he wants.  Adrian wants his brother to be freed from prison.  He wants money.  He wants a plane that he and his criminal associates can use to get out of the country.  His plan is to take over a veteran’s hospital and hold the patients and the doctors hostage until he gets what he wants.  Among the hostages is General Welch (Gerald Webb) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Also inside of VA-33 is Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flannery).  Jason is a decorated veteran who is struggling with PTSD and a bad leg.  Jason’s wife, Jennifer (Gina Holden), is a doctor at the hospital and also one of the hostages.  With his 14 year-old daughter waiting for him outside and the initially skeptical police chief Malone (Michael Jai White) providing as much support as he can, Jason must take out of the terrorists and liberate VA-33.

Assault on VA-33 is an entertaining action film.  The film was directed by Christopher Ray, the son of Fred Olen Ray.  From his father, Christopher Ray obviously picked up the ability to make an enjoyable film on a low budget.  However, Ray also served, for seven years, in the U.S. Navy and there’s a deep respect for veterans that runs throughout Assault on VA-33, a respect that sets this film apart from many of the other Die Hard-inspired action films that have come out over the years.  For me, the film’s key scene is not any of the many action sequences but instead it’s when Jason first attempts to call the police and finds himself being dismissed because the man on the other end, upon hearing that Jason is at the VA, just assumes that Jason is suffering from paranoid hallucinations.  “Thank you for your service,” the voice at the other end of the line says somewhat condescendingly as Jason struggles to get the police to understand that this is all really happening.  The consequences of war is a theme that runs through the entire film as both Jason and the General struggle to deal with the physical and mental scars with which they’ve been afflicted.

Sean Patrick Flannery is a good action hero, playing Jason not as being superhuman but instead as just being a tough but weary man who, due to his past injuries, doesn’t move quite as fast as he used to but who is still trying to do the right thing and protect innocent people, including his wife and his daughter.  Adrian’s henchmen are all properly memorable and menacing.  I especially liked Tim McKiernan as the terrorist who is left in charge of the front desk.  Rob Van Dam has some good moments as the terrorist who has been assigned to wait outside in the van and who keeps reminding everyone that his name is Zero.

Assault on VA-33 is a fun and quickly paced action movie.  Flannery is an effective hero and the villains are all properly evil.  I would also suggest sticking around through the end credits, just so you can enjoy the film’s musical score, which is definitely a bit better than the music that we typically associate with indie action films.  It’s an enjoyable movie and a good way to spend 88 minutes of your life.

Music Video of the Day: Cruisin’, covered by Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow (2000, dir by Bruce Paltrow)


Does anyone remember that film Duets?

It came out in 2000 and it was a film about the cutthroat world of karaoke competitions.  If you don’t remember it, that’s okay.  It’s not like it’s some sort of lost classic or something.  I saw it a few years ago and my main impression was that whoever made it was so fascinated by the world of karaoke that he never considered that not everyone else would be.

Anyway, when the movie came out, the main thing that everyone knew about it was that it featured a scene where Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis sang a song together.  That song was a cover of Smokey Robinson’s Cruisin‘ and even though the movie was never a big hit, the song was on the radio all through 2000 and 2001.  Some people thought it was weird that they were singing a somewhat romantic song when they were playing father and daughter.  Well, maybe so.  But let me tell you something about karaoke — you go with whatever song you can sing.  My sisters and I used to sing karaoke all the time.  We would embarrass the Hell out of my mom and we once had a DJ yell at us because one of us very dramatically dropped the microphone on the stage after we finished our song.  (Yes, it was me.)  Now, my sisters all have good singing voice.  Me, I can barely carry a tune.  I can dance but I can’t sing.  However, I did discover that I could sing backup on Love Shack so every time my sisters and I hit karaoke night at Grandpa Tony’s, the first thing that we would do would be find some guy drunk enough to sing Love Shack while Erin and I provided backup.  As long as I got to yell “Rusted!” after Erin said, “Tin roof!,” I was happy.  Grandpa Tony’s, by the way, was a nice little restaurant that was near the airport.  It was owned by an ex-boxer who always came out to flirt with mom.  They had the best chips and queso and, every Friday night, there would be a lot of drunk pilots and flight attendants singing Love Shack along with us.  Unfortunately, the place has since closed down.

Where as I?  Oh yeah, today’s music video of the day is Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis covering Crusin.  Enjoy!

Baby, let’s cruise away from here
Don’t be confused, the way is clear
And if you want it, you got it forever
This is not a one-night stand, baby, yeah
So, let the music take your mind
Ooh, just release and you will find

You gonna fly away, glad you’re goin’ my way
I love it when we’re cruisin’ together
The music is played for love, cruisin’ is made for love
I love it when we’re cruisin’ together

Baby, tonight belongs to us
Everything’s right, do what you must
And inch by inch we get closer and closer
To every little part of each other
Let the music take your mind
Just release and you will find, baby

You gonna fly away, glad you’re goin’ my way
I love it when we’re cruising together
The music is played for love, cruisin’ is made for love
I love it when we’re cruisin’ together

Cruise with me, baby
Cruise with me, baby

Cruise
Ooh, ooh, baby, yeah
Oh, baby
Oh, oh, ah, baby
So good to cruise with you, baby
So good to cruise with you, baby
Ooh, yeah, you and me, baby

Oh, baby, let’s cruise
Let’s flow, let’s glide
Ooh, let’s open up, and go inside
And if you want, it you got it forever
I can just stay there inside you
And love you, baby, oh…
Let the music take your mind
Just release and you will find, baby

You gonna fly away, glad you’re goin’ my way
I love it when we’re cruising together
The music is played for love, cruisin’ is made for love
I love it when we’re cruisin’ together

You gonna fly away, glad you’re goin’ my way
I love it when we’re cruising together
The music is played for love, cruisin’ is made for love
I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it…

Music Video of the Day: Atomic by Blondie (1999, dir by ????)


Through the Shattered Lens has already shared the original video for Blondie’s Atomic, the one that was released in the late 70s and which featured the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in a small role.  This second music video is for the live version of the song.  It was filmed in 1999, while the band was performing at New York’s Town Hall.  The entire show was filmed by VH-1.

What can I say?  I just like this song.  It’s a song that makes me want to dance.  It’s also a song that makes me appreciate my hair.  “Your hair is beautiful” is a simple lyric but it’s also one that perfectly captures a very certain feeling, that feeling that this night is going to be greatest night of all.  Of course, the song itself is often interpreted as being about the end of the world.  If the world was ending, wouldn’t you want your hair to be beautiful?

(For the record, Debbie Harry says that “Atomic” was simply a way of describing something as being powerful, that the lyrics were just some words that sounded good to her, and that there really isn’t any sort of deep meaning to the majority of the song.  I would argue that the fact that Atomic is about nothing makes it about everything.  I would also argue that it’s occasionally fun to make pseudo-profound pronouncements and see if anyone takes them seriously.)

Enjoy!

Uh huh make me tonight
Tonight make it right
Uh huh make me tonight
Tonight
Tonight
Oh uh huh make it magnificent
Tonight
Right
Oh your hair is beautiful
Oh tonight
Atomic
Tonight make it magnificent
Tonight
Make me tonight
Your hair is beautiful
Oh tonight
Atomic
Atomic
Oh