Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Metallica's 'Battery'

WELL. Just watched a particular video my friend Brian put up over on facebook. It is a German acapella cover of Metallica's 'Battery'. I'll put my comments after the video:

You know, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this being that Battery is one of my favorite Metallica songs. However, I am impressed. That took some serious effort and dedication which I always respect when done in some form of positive light.... And they're obviously Metallica fans so they can't be that bad. I noticed that their other youtube videos pretty much seem to be covers of heavy metal songs. I never would have even thought that was possible if I hadn't just seen it. WOW!!!!

Here's the original song:

And here's the same song done with a symphony, which some people didn't like but I happen to love!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Movies: District 9 and inglorious Basterds and other things

Well it has been about two weeks since the last time. I know you missed me. Anyways, I've been to the movies twice in that time. Saw District 9 and Inglorious Basterds. I enjoyed both immensely while I was watching them and immediately afterwards. They are both very different films and therefore cannot truly be compared, which I will not do, however I did like one more than the other. Let's get to it:

District 9

I really, really liked this film. The story was good, the FX were wonderful, and the action was great. My Sci-Fi geek was completely satisfied. My action junkie was totally pleased. My social conscious was not so easily appeased. And my social conscious is a rather strong part of me so I couldn't even switch it off while I was watching the movie. The most I could do was put it as far back in my mind as possible and let the other two enjoy themselves.
First: The aliens looked GREAT! The CGI used for them was absolutely phenomenal. Their social behaviour not so much. The story begins after they have been on earth for twenty years. A bit of backstory in the form of interviews tells how they got here and were established on the land alloted for them, designated District 9. Well after twenty years these aliens seem to have become the stereotypical sloppy, nasty, uneducated, and violent inhabitants of a slum. (Being an american of African descent these stereotypes strike a particular soft spot. Not so long ago the collective white populace thought this way about all non-whites. Some of 'em still do.) It's inferred that they were just workers on the ship they came on, so, I guess that is the reason for their apparent unsophistication. Personally I don't buy it. I don't care if they are just workers, they are workers on a SPACESHIP! That alone, to me, tells me they are more advanced than us. This intelligence I know should be there is exhibited in three of the aliens. THREE! And one of them is a child. These three for the entire twenty years were the only members of their race stuck on this planet trying to get off. For real?
Second: The humans were shown pretty much the way they needed to be with one exception. The Nigerians, the human criminal element among the aliens, were stereotypically and quite offendingly completely uncivilized. To properly explain this I gotta reveal the main movie plot so, you know, SPOILER ALERT for those of you who haven't seen this or don't know the story yet. Basically the main character, Wikus, is supposed to get the aliens ready to move to a new location. While going in and out of their 'homes' he finds something of interest in one of them with some liquid in it. Moron sprays himself with it. Begins turning into an alien. For the majority of the movie the extent of his transformation is his left arm has become an alien arm. And here's the rub. The aliens weapons are basically genetically coded so only they can use them. The company Wikus works for is private not gov't and they want to dissect him once they prove he can fire the aliens' weapons. Typical corporation. He gets away. Only one place to go. Distrct 9, of course. Things happen while he is hiding out. He needs weapons, goes to the local criminal element, the Nigerians. His arm is discovered. The Nigerian warlord wants to cut his arm off and EAT IT to grow one like it so he, too, can use the weapons. DOES THIS MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE?! Now, to Neill Blomkamp's (screenwriter and director) ignorant credit, he ESTABLISHES this scenario a bit earlier by showing the warlord taking the advice of his, I guess, female spiritual adviser/witchdoctor and eating killed aliens raw to absorb their power. Oh realllllllly asshole. Don't get me wrong. I know those beliefs existed and still do. BUT this is a man who runs a rather SUCCESSFUL criminal enterprise, has the presence of mind to stockpile a cache of the aliens' weapons even though he can't use them, just like the big evil corporation, so there has to be some above primitive intelligence here, yes? And when his solution walks right in his front door, UNLIKE said corporation, his solution is to eat the arm. WHAT THE FUCK? You couldn't come up with anything MORE INTELLIGENT than that. I came up with a very usable and more intelligent solution as I was watching the damn movie and was DUMBFOUNDED though NOT surprised at what was used. Real simple: cut the arm off, hollow it out, and use it like a glove. I mean COME ON! Wouldn't that have been more intelligent not to mention more FUCKING BELIEVABLE! I mean, it's not like the warlord was going to achieve his goal anyway, right? He just gets to blurt out his intentions before they get thrashed, right?! So where is the harm in making the man sound just a little bit intelligent as befits his status as a warlord running a SUCCESSFUL CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE! Can you tell I'm completely disgusted about this? (Don't get me wrong. I understand that people like this probably exist but it wasn't necessary to put them in this supposedly intelligent sci-fi flick.) I shouldn't be surprised as this tale comes out of and was filmed in the land of apartheid. I'm not saying Neill Blomkamp is a bigot or racist, but certain stereotypes and old cultural norms have a hard time dying. American cinema is not much different, still, and we know the history of this country, don't we? The excellent movie Alien Nation and it's even better television series did this scenario much better.
Otherwise, though now it doesn't seem like it to you, I did enjoy the movie. I've been dealing with shit like this in movies my entire life so I know how to roll with it. But I don't view quietly, so to speak.

Inglorious Basterds

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Quentin does the damn thing once again. Let me open with this: I went to see this in the daytime, early afternoon. When I see new films the day they open I like to see them then because most people are still at work or wherever and not at the movies. Opening nights are a hell I can't stand. NO patience for waiting in line for tickets, only to wait on another line inside just to get into the theater I JUST bought a ticket for. I find that obviously annoying. Also, the theater is FULL, which isn't bad unless you are at the back of the second line. And if you're with someone it's worse. Anyways, I like the afternoon. So I buy my ticket an hour early, go burn about fifty minutes and get inside about ten minutes before, like I usually do. I almost didn't have a seat. Imagine my surprise! That has never happened before, and I've been doing this for a while now. SO, I get my seat and I'm looking around and I notice a LOT of white hair and old faces. I'm still oblivious until I hear the couple on my left speak. The woman has a bit of an accent and it dawns on me: There's a LOT of old Jewish people here to see Quentin's re-imagining of WWII. My brain continues to work. They've been WAITING for something like this FOR A LONG TIME! I understand. They've never had a conscious communal catharsis of the massive amount of fear and anger they must harbor within. I mean, look at how they've protected the memory of what happened to them as a people. Every film dealing with their holocaust has been so meticulously dour, melancholy, and damn near depressing. Even the recent film, Defiance, which was about a small band of Jewish resisters, was not really a catharsis of negative emotion. Just another factual reminder of how little resistance was given. Who wants to see that ALL THE TIME! I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with those true to life factual depictions of such a horrific period, but something has to give! And to be perfectly honest there was no one better to open the floodgates of such emotion than Mr. Quentin Tarantino. Talk about catharsis! It's human to want revenge, even if it is fictional. TRUST ME! I know. My own ancestors had their own holocaust right here and to be perfectly honest there is no way to take revenge for such things other than fictionally, other than educating those that follow so that the same things don't happen again. Back to the movie. Yeah, brilliant. No one could have played the part of the leader of the Inglorious Basterds better than Brad Pitt. I guess that's why Quentin wrote the part just for him in the first place. Brad is hilarious in this. (SPOILER ALERT) Especially near the end when he's pretending to be Italian along with two of his Basterds. I was cryin' I was laughing so hard! The one thing I really, really liked about this film was that Quentin didn't make the nazi's evil caricatures. They were people, misguidedly evil yes, but they were people with real human emotions and real human reactions. The main antagonist, Col. Landa was wonderfully acted and developed. He was a detective and his main job in the beginning of the film is to hunt Jews in France. And he is good at his job. This, among other things, is why I think the catharsis truly works. You see the monsters are just people and can be dealt with. And they were dealt with! Col. Landa, upon finding out a woman he actually likes is a traitor, is crying as he kills her. That scene was really well done and acted by Christoph Waltz. You could see and feel the betrayal he felt when he jumped up and wrapped his hands around her neck, and the tears running down his face as he strangled her to death. Another nazi, Zoller, is portrayed as a regular young man who wants a girl, Shosanna, to like him. At the end, the nice guy role drops as he gets tired of being rejected. He's a nazi war hero, the film she's showing in her theater is about the event that made him a hero, and his arrogant superiority comes out because of his frustration of being turned down by this girl who should be flattered he even gives her his attention at all. The nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who made the film about Zoller, is given the highest compliment he's ever received from the man himself, Adolf. Adolf tells him as they are watching the film that it is the best work he's ever done. Joseph actually breaks out in tears and can barely thank Adolf for the compliment, he's so overwhelmed. See? Human. Just really had fucked up views of the world is all. And they needed to get dealt with. And in this film they get DEALT WITH! In particular Quentin style the story is told from the multiple viewpoints of the protagonists. With the exception of Lt. Aldo, played wonderfully by Brad, all of the Basterds are Jewish soldiers except one who's German. And though the title of the movie is the name of their little group the film is not just about them. It's very well fleshed out and well done. The story of Shosanna is set in motion because of the actions of Col. Landa. He kills her family and almost kills her, so, when she is presented with the opportunity to take out a bunch of nazi's, including Landa, she takes it. It's the opening scene and you get to see how intelligent Col. Landa is. The Inglorious Basterds are terror style shock troops and they do their job well! I'll leave the rest alone, just go see it! I will repeat though, Jewish people have been waiting for a film like this for a long time and they needed it. (They were all clapping at the end so I feel confident in my assessment.) I'm happy for them and I'm happy with them.

Now to the other things. My blogging anniversary passed and I didn't even notice until my best friend David mentioned his was coming up. Since I started mine before his I realized my anniversary had just passed. Well, I'm actually glad I got to do this post for my blogging anniversary. I'll be starting classes again at Fordham University in about a week. I'm dually looking forward to it and dreading it. But I'll be fine. I always am. Things are moving along. I'm still looking for a new place to live but I'm good. That all for now. Thanks for checking in. Until next time, LAter.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Interesting the small connections that are life. Being a kid in the early 80's and a fan of stories, written and visual, I was drawn to the fantastic. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the most fantastical of fantasticals, Sword and Sorcery. I LOVED sword and sorcery fantasy as a kid. I still have a soft spot for it today, though my tastes tend more towards harder Science Fiction and less Fantasy. However, Little Tarrell, who still has some control in me, is still very much in love with those sword and sorcery fantasy stories. I must be honest though, Big Tarrell is still a huge fan of Conan. But I'm talking about the past here.

A long, long, longlonglong, time ago, I was sitting in front of the television and I was watching one of the coolest most fantastical movies I'd ever seen. I don't remember the details or plot of the movie. All I do remember are there were warriors, a dwarf, and an elf on some sort of mission. In particular there are only two things I remember about this film. One: the elf was the coolest character EVAR! The elf shot arrows like a machine gun. That was SO COOL to a kid like me. Analyzing the images as an adult now I realize the camera trick they did to do that but the childhood memory ignores such things and sticks with COOL! Two: One specific scene. These band of companions are trying to get information out of this one person who just isn't talking. Yet he has a reputation for being a blabbermouth. SO, the warriors stake him down to the ground (in a forest of course) and string a VERY heavy mace directly above his face. They put the other end of the rope in his mouth and walk away. If he keeps his mouth shut, someone may come along and help him. If he can't keep his mouth shut, bye-bye birdie! Well, I remember there was a short scream followed by a rather large thunk not long after the band of companions rode off. Off camera of course. Even at that young an age I understood what happened. COOL!

SO, many, many years later, I'm an adult and I remember these little bits about this movie. What I don't remember is the damn NAME of the thing! SO, I'm at work, on the computer, in the very early stages of the intarnets and search every way possible I can but cannot find the title to the damn movie. I give up. Many, many more years pass. I periodically remember the film but never sit back down to search again. The intarnets have improved exponentially but the initial devastation of that first search just left me feeling it was pointless to try. WELL, imagine my surprise when I found it today, not more than about 15 minutes ago. Here's what happened:

I had a tab up for an article on MSN called, 40 fantastic time wasting websites. I click on one in particular because of it's description: "A must-try for any music or film fanatic, LivePlasma helps you find new movies and music by building interactive maps around your current favorites. It's like six degrees of separation, customized to your cultural interests." Well, if you know me at all, you know that that description is something I'm just NOT going to resist! I fart around with some initial things then PING! a light goes off in my brain. I'm talking about a lightbulb popping up lit up over my head just like in old cartoons. Six degrees of separation for movies? I can search for that elusive movie with the cool elf! I have a BUNCH of favorite fantasy movies from back then and that elusive movie with the cool elf just HAS to be a degree or two away from one of those! And I know the PERFECT movie to try first: The Sword and the Sorcerer! Come ON! How could that NOT pull up what I'm looking for? If this website is worth it's code and wishes to justify it's existence, it MUST have what I'm looking for! Well, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you HAWK THE SLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!

I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THIS FOR YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, when I first saw the thumbnail image of it on the site I nearly jumped up and down like a retard 'cause I just KNEW I found it. But I had to be sure. I went to IMDB to check the plot summary. In my mind Little Tarrell screamed at the top of his lungs, "I FOUND IT!!!!!!!" I must say I really do love when I make that kid happy. Big Tarrell knows going in that this movie is gonna look cheesy as hell, but he knows how to take a backseat and let Little Tarrell have his fun every once in a while, so yeah, I'm gonna get it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

SF spree

Okay, so a while ago my best friend David mentions that is having a sale on everything SF on the site. Pretty much half off of everything SF! You KNOW I couldn't resist that! Me being the SF freak that I am and the admitted consumer that I am I had to go and look, knowing I would not be able to resist a mini buying spree. Now usually when I get into one of these spending modes I just pick damn near everything I feel like buying at the time, which is ALWAYS a lot. Then right before I'm ready to purchase, I begin to wheedle down the items I have usually according to what I really really want and the prices. I do this online and in the store as well. Anyways, since I was online and it was a super duper sale I put everything that I wanted in my wishlist 'cause I didn't want it all in my cart and then make a bad mistake. I picked from my wishlist and still got rid of stuff after it was in my cart just cause I'm so weak and gotta push it to the absolute limit. SO, what did I get? Here's a list:

1. Eureka - Season One
2. Eureka - Season Two
3. Eureka - Season 3.0
4. Shigurui: Death Frenzy Complete Box Set BluRay
5. Firefly: The Complete Series BluRay
6. Patrmony: A Pip and Flinx Adventure (book)

You'd think I was done, and so did I, however about two weeks later I get an email from telling me that it's the last days of the big SF sale! Needless to say my mind was blown! I can get more?! See, I thought the sale was over. In stores the sales usually only last a week, so, I figured I got what I really wanted at the time so cool. WELL! It had been just over two weeks! I have MORE MONEY!!!!! See where this is going? I'll just get to the second list now:

7. Crossworlds
8. Supernova
9. They Live
10. Alien Nation - The Complete Series
11. Alien Nation - Ultimate Movie Collection
12. Stargate (Extended Cut) [Blu-ray]
13. Samurai 7: Box Set (Viridian Collection)
The Arrival [Blu-ray]

Well that's it. A bit about the purchases. I've only caught a few of the episodes of the Eureka series but every one I've seen I've liked, plus I'm a huge admirer/fan of Salli Richardson and Joe Morton, so I got 'em all. I saw the trailer for Shigurui on my Afro Samurai 2 dvd and was blown away, so I just said fuck it. And you know the trailer had to be REALLY good for me not only to buy it but get the BluRay, too. Firefly, because, you know, it's just GOOD. David had it already and showed me all the good episodes and I loved Serenity, so, no brainer here. Been a Pip and Flinx fan since the early days, been reading these a LONG time, so, again, no brainer. Always liked Crossworlds, mostly 'cause Rutger Hauer is in it, and when I first saw it I hadn't seen him in a film in a LONG time. Ever since Blade Runner I've been a Rutger fan/admirer. And I really liked the way they portrayed dimensional travel. Supernova is a space sci-fi film starring Angela Basset and James Spader. No brainer! It was also really good. I'm not one of those crazy fanboys that will just get something 'cause someone I like is in it. I'll check it out for that reason, but I'll only buy it if it's good. Where am I? Oh yeah, They Live. Do I really need to explain this? No, I don't think so. If you don't know, I can't help you. One word. CLASSIC!!!!!!! Onwards. Alien Nation: I got both of these because I am a huge admirer of the series and the tv films and I loved the original film. It is still one of the best Sci-Fi films to me and the series actually pulled off continuing the storyline very well. Which is rare. Usually a tv show and tv movies made from a studio film suck. These did not. Stargate: Now, you know, I really, really, really, really, really like this movie, right?! I mean this is a triple dip for me. I have NEVER triple dipped before. I rarely double dip. IF you check my dvd list out, you will see that I have this movie TWICE already. A very barebones edition and a really super duper Ultimate edition. Neither of which has an ENGLISH subtitle option. I know, I'm weird. I get it. I know you're saying, who gives a shit about subtitles?! Well, I do, thank you very much. I LIKE subtitles. They come in very handy sometimes. And I just like them. So I really like them for a movie I just LOVE. Stargate is one of those movies. Not a big fan of the show though. And I only got it 'cause it is BluRay. If it had been another regular dvd edition with english subtitles I would have just been pissed but I wouldn't have bought it. Anyways, moving along. Samurai 7 'cause I heard it was cool. It wasn't a definitive coolness so I didn't get the BluRay of this and also the BluRay edition was twice as much, so, no. I better like it ;-). And lastly, The Arrival. Now, I remember way back when when this movie came out. I heard so many bad things about it. So it took me a long time before I got around to seeing it. When I finally watched it I was PISSED! It was one of the BEST Sci-Fi films I had ever seen! I mean it was straight sci-fi all the way through. Most sci-fi films do well because they're about 20-15% sci-fi and 80-85% action. The Arrival was like 95-98% SCI-FI! That just doesn't happen very often. And when it does usually the movie suffers for it but in this case it didn't. At least to me. I was thoroughly impressed and entertained by this film. And THAT'S why I got the BluRay version, too. I just can't believe this film isn't more popular than it is. Oh well, I like it. And David likes it so whatever.

Anyways, just thought I'd share. LAter.