We’ve Moved!

16 Aug

Ike2Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe’ve got a new look, new content, and our own dedicated domain with many user-friendly upgrades. Check it out at http://www.ikeandmikeblog.com/ .  This will be the last post to the WordPress site, so don’t get left behind!

Bronzeville: Culture Clash in War-time Los Angeles

11 Aug

CeCelia Antoinette, as Mama Janie, and Dana Lee, as Nahoma Tahara, in Bronzeville.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationSo, while we were in Los Angeles this summer, we saw the play Bronzeville with Danny Glover.

Ike2And by ‘with Danny Glover’ you don’t mean to say he was in the play.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationNo, I mean he was sitting next to us watching the play.

Ike2Ho-hum, just another day in the glamorous life of a blogging dog.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe should mention that Mr. Glover is a co-founder and longtime sponsor of the Robey Theater, which staged the production, and it was a bit of a coincidence that he sat next to us.

Ike2Sherry got a little schmoozy with ol’ Danny, huh?

SherryIcon2Hmph! We had a very nice chat. He was so warm and funny–he treated everyone who came up to him like they were dearest friends.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah, it was a real privilege to meet him.

Ike2Needless to say, you guys are hoping he does one of your scripts.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationSherryIcon2Needless to say.

Ike2Shall we talk about the play?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI’m for that. Bronzeville was written by Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk, who were brought together by director and Robey co-founder Ben Guillory to realize Toyama’s idea for a play set in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo during World War II. According to the  Robey website, Toyama felt he needed to partner with an African American writer to bring authenticity to the story of a  black family from Mississippi who moves into the abandoned house of a Japanese family that has been evacuated to a concentration camp.

Ike2The collaboration really worked, because one of the strengths of the play is the rich portrayal of the two families and their contrasting cultures.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationRight. The play has color and nuance that couldn’t be picked up just by reading a history book.  The story was inspired by incidents that occurred from 1942 to 1945, when Japanese-Americans were evacuated from communities throughout the West Coast, supposedly because they were suspected of loyalty to the Emperor.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThat image looks like something from the Jim Crow South, but the anti-Japanese feeling in the country was deep and pervasive.

Ike2Even Dr. Suess got in on the act:

JapaneseDrSuess

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationHe deeply regretted this cartoon later, but it illustrates how racist attitudes aren’t necessarily limited to the stereotypical bigot.

Ike2Most Americans have some knowledge of this shameful period in our history, but what few think about is what happened to the houses,  businesses, and neighborhoods the Japanese evacuees left behind. In the case of Little Tokyo, they were rented out by whites to black families who had migrated west to find work in factories during the war effort. Once blacks had repopulated the area, they semi-officially renamed the community ‘Bronzeville.’

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe way the old-timers describe it, it was like a little piece of Harlem, right there on the west coast, complete with jazz and blues clubs.

Ike2The play opens with young Hide, or Henry, Tahara, whose father was taken away weeks before as a spy. He tells a friend he won’t be joining him on the bus to Manzanar.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt seems Henry has been reading a little thing called the U.S. Constitution, and he refuses to bow to the injustice of forced removal. The friend, who is sifting through the remaining inventory of his camera store, can’t talk Henry out of his rash move, but he consoles himself by giving Henry one of his best cameras for safe keeping.

Ike2With a nice use of historic slides and audio, we transition to the Goodwin family–Jodie and Alice, their daughter “Princess,” Jodie’s brother Felix, and his mother Mama Janie. Just off the truck from Mississippi, they can’t believe their good fortune at finding a fully furnished, two-bedroom house.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAlthough they are a bit bemused by some of the furnishings–silk wall hangings, paper lamps, and what we later learn is a Shinto shrine to Henry’s deceased mother.

Ike2Aw, you gave it away. Their biggest surprise comes when Henry, almost starved after two months of hiding in the house, comes tumbling down the stairs.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe moral dilemma is whether to help Henry by allowing him to stay in what is really his house, or to protect the family by turning him in to the law.

Ike2Jodie, as the “man” of the house, wants to turn Henry in, but Mama Janie, who was born into slavery, reminds Jodie of the family history. She tells the story of an uncle who escaped slavery, only to be turned in by a law-abiding citizen so, in the end, he could be lynched.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationJodie acquiesces to his mother’s wishes, of course, and he gets one of the best laughs of the play when he complains that he can never win an argument with his mother because she always trumps him with some story bout slavery.

Ike2Yeah, there’s actually a lot of humor in the play, considering the heavy subject matter. The cast is as good with the comic moments as they are with the dramatic ones.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnother point of contention is the traditional shrine, mentioned earlier, to Henry’s mother. It’s quite prominent in the living room, and it doesn’t sit too well with the very Christian Mama Janie, or her daughter-in-law, Alice. Mama Janie gets a little freaked-out, too, when Henry performs one of his father’s favorite prayers to help the garden grow. But these apparent differences also highlight the similarities between the two families–the love of gardening, the respect for elders, and the deep religious feeling.

Ike2Henry becomes a part of the family, even contributing to the household when Felix gets him a job as photographer at the jazz club where he plays. But this causes problems, too.

DSC00518Iman Milner & Jeff Manabat.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationPrincess becomes a little too close with Henry for Jodie’s comfort, and when she, Henry, and Felix get mixed up in a big fight at the club, Jodie does what he wanted to do from the beginning–he turns Henry in.

Ike2Ultimately, Henry can only avoid the concentration camp–and show his loyalty to America–by volunteering for one of the Japanese war units, many of which, like Henry’s, saw action in Italy.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe play builds to the tragedy we feared from the beginning–Henry’s death. But the really heart-rending moment comes when, after the war is over, Henry’s father returns to reclaim his home.

Ike2No blacks were allowed to buy the houses they moved into during the war, so once the Japanese were released from the camps, the blacks were evicted. This is when many African-Americans in Southern California moved to Compton and Watts.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe Goodwins are packing as fast as they can to avoid any confrontation with Mr. Tahara, but when he arrives–bent and shuffling like a man older than his years–instead of anger, he comes with gratitude for all the kindnesses the Goodwins showed his son, which Henry had written to him about.

Ike2The guilt the Goodwins feel over the betrayal is as unbearable as the sadness Mr. Tahara feels over the death of his son. As good as the rest of the cast is, when Dana Lee comes in for that final scene, he steals the show.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd that’s saying something, because CeCelia Antoinette as Mama Janie, Jeff Manabat as Henry, and all the rest of the cast are excellent. But when Dana Lee breaks down and cries, “I just want my boy back!” that was the moment for me.

SherryIcon2May I add my two cents?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationPlease.

SherryIcon2You know, generally, I prefer movies to the stage, but this performance showed me that a movie is no match for a really good stage production. When Henry’s father turns his back to the audience and prays–chanting and clapping his hands for all he has lost and gained–though his prayer is unintelligible to us,  we in the audience really feel it because, in being there, we are eye witnesses in a way we can’t be watching a movie.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd we’re with the Goodwins as, one by one, they join in–even the guilt-ridden Jodie–clapping and rubbing their hands in unison with Mr. Tahara.

SherryIcon2Metaphorically, we can never see things the same again.  Just as the actors have tuned their backs on the audience, we too must turn our backs on the old way of seeing things.

Ike2Well said!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationUnfortunately, Bronzeville’s run at the Robey has come to an end, and I don’t know of anywhere else in the country that it might be booked. So, yeah, you’ve read this long review, and now you can’t even see the play. But we were so moved by the performance, and so taken by the history it reveals, that we wanted to share it. We hope other theater companies will pick it up, because it is a story that needs to be told, and a story that any person with a heart will want to see.

Karen Black, Icon of the ’70s, Will Be Missed

9 Aug

KarenBlack TrilogyOfTerrorKarenBlackFP

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe lost actress Karen Black yesterday, who died at age 74 after a long struggle with cancer. Although for today’s audience she may stir only vague recognition as a character actor, she was a defining figure of 1970s Hollywood, with key roles in such important films as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Nashville, and Alfred Hitchcock’s last picture, The Family Plot . Although she worked with the biggest names in Hollywood and appeared in everything from prestigious failures like The Great Gatsby to commercial blockbusters like Airport 1975, ask anybody my age what they remember her most for, and you will likely hear of a little made-for-TV thriller called Trilogy of Terror. Written by sci-fi master and Twilight Zone alum Richard Matheson, Trilogy featured Black in four roles in three separate tales. The first two segments are little remembered, but the third, which had Black trapped in her apartment with a toothy African doll animated with the murderous spirit of a dead Zuni warrior, was the talk of the school cafeteria the next day. It was such unusual, and genuinely frightening, fare for TV of those days that I can still play back in my head the image of that little, knife-wielding warrior jumping out from under the sofa. It was ludicrous, of course, but Karen Black’s terrified responses to a little puppet on a stick sold it. RIP.

Review: ‘Wolverine’ Makes Hugh Jackman an Indestructible Star

8 Aug

Wolverine

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationFor the sixth time and counting, Hugh Jackman plays Marvel mutant superhero The Wolverine.

Ike2What the heck is a wolverine, anyway?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationLike Lugosi and Dracula, or Karloff and Frankenstein, Hugh Jackman personifies The Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan. It’s hard to imagine any other actor playing the role, yet with high-profile appearances in pictures like The Prestige and Les Miserables, Jackman has somehow managed to avoid the typecasting trap many before him have fallen into.

Ike2Here’s a picture of a wolverine, if anybody is interested: Portrait of Wolverine Captive Summer Canada

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationHmm. Between the claws and the frowny-face, I definitely see a resemblance.

Ike2Plot summary, please.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWell, The Wolverine is your basic boy-has-immortality, boy loses immortality, boy gets immortality-back scenario.

Ike2That’s the best you can do? I thought it actually had a pretty good story.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt does. which makes you wonder how it came out so muddled. A mega-wealthy Japanese industrialist offers Wolverine the “gift” of mortality in a ploy to steal his powers of regeneration so that he himself may live forever. The whole thing of Wolverine becoming vulnerable and facing real, life-threatening danger should have made for a more compelling film, but it’s weighed down with too many characters and confused motivations.

Ike2Like, what was the deal with the Ninja Guy? Whose side was he on? And all those ninjas dancing around and turning flips–they looked like extras from Beverly Hills Ninja.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe ninjas were oddly comical. And just to give an idea of what a head-scratcher this movie could be, we are specifically told at one point that Evil Dad (these characters do have actual names, but who cares?) is just  “all right” as a swordsman. So when he gets in a fight with our super-powered hero, we expect him to go down pretty quick, right? Wrong. It soon becomes obvious the only way the regenerating Wolverine is going to beat this guy is if he wears out his sword slicing up Logan’s mutant hide.

Ike2Which made it all the more gracious of Wolvey to allow Evil Dad the “punishment” of living with himself.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd may I please ask, if the bad guys want Logan’s powers, why go through all the rigamarole of making him vulnerable and risking him getting killed, and then taking his powers, when they could have just taken the powers right off and let it go at that?

Ike2But then we would have missed the amazing three-hundred-mile-an-hour bullet train fight!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah, that was pretty great. Totally unbelievable, but imaginative and entertaining.

Ike2I liked that the movie is set in Japan. That added some real flavor.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe tie-in to Nagasaki was nice, too–especially since they didn’t just drop it after the first reel.

Ike2Pardon me, Cecil B. DeMille, did you say, “The first reel?”

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThey still use that term.

Ike2Do they? Well, it’s an epic motion picture with colossal special effects and a swell supporting cast. The box office should be boffo.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI’ll ignore that and go with your mention of the supporting cast. Rila Fukushima, as Logan’s red-haired, pint-sized bodyguard, swings a mean sword.

Ike2I thought she should have kicked a little more butt, though.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah, and Tao Okamoto was effectively poignant as the corporate heir caught in the middle. She showed she could hold her own in a fight, too, although some aspects of her role troubled me.

Ike2The love-interest bit? Didn’t you think she and Logan were actually kind of good together?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThey were, except for two things: Hugh Jackman is old enough to be her father, and Logan is old enough to be her grandfather.

Ike2And he was supposed to be protecting her. Nice ethics, dude!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe should also mention Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper. Every second she was on the screen, she owned it.

Ike2I never could figure out what her character was up to, exactly, but Viper was awesome. Also, she demonstrated once again the super-hero movie principle of “Pulverize the villain one time–no problem. Pulverize the villain later at a more plot-convenient time–instant death.”

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWell, now you’re just being nit-picky.

Our Review:

Wolverine franchise keeps regenerating

Fresh setting, new faces add interest

Good story hook, muddled execution

Some fine action sequences

Dancing ninjas

Three tail-wags out of five

Land of the Lost

5 Aug

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThere’s nothing funny about a lost pet…

Ike2But these flyers are worth a chuckle…

LostWormhole

 

Review: ‘Fruitvale Station’ Is Powerful, Sadly Familiar

2 Aug

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI’ll come right out and say that I not only recommend people go see this film; I really want people to go see it. We were fortunate enough to hear writer/director Ryan Coogler speak a few weeks ago at a Los Angeles Film Festival seminar, and I was deeply impressed.

Ike2I thought you were going to run up on stage and hug him.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI’m man enough to admit I wanted to. He came across as so genuine, thoughtful, and sincere–

Ike2Not to mention adorably shy–

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationHe’s like the polite, hard-working neighbor’s kid parents secretly wish they could trade their own under-achieving kid for.

Ben1 [Editor’s Note: This is a metaphorical statement. Any resemblance to actual, under-achieving kids of actual parents is purely coincidental.]

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd while it’s become a cliche, since the Zimmerman trial, for urban youth of all races to proclaim, ‘I am Trayvon,’ Ryan grew up not far from where the film’s subject, Oscar Grant, was shot. He knows the neighborhood and its people, and he knows the pain they felt over the incident, because he felt it too, not as an outside observer but as one of them. When he said at the seminar that this is a personal story for him, that he could have been Oscar, it was clear to me he was speaking from the heart.

Ike2Absolutely. But we don’t want people to get the wrong idea. Fruitvale Station isn’t just some heart-on-the-sleeve message movie; it’s way too honest for that.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt sure is. Not to harp too much on the 27-year-old filmmaker’s age, but the film has a maturity of execution and viewpoint that is all too rare in today’s movie houses. It’s stylish without being flashy; gritty without being degrading; and it somehow manages to be very warm towards its characters without sugar-coating their flaws.

Ike2For those unfamiliar with the story, Fruitvale Station stars a very engaging Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African American who was fatally shot while in the custody of Oakland, CA, transit police early on New Years Day in 2009. The film also stars Octavia Spencer as his mother, and Melonie Diaz as his girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe film opens with cell phone footage of the actual shooting, underscoring the sense of inevitability many audience members will likely bring into the theater. The bulk of what follows is a straightforward chronicle of Oscar Grant’s day, meticulously reconstructed from interviews Coogler conducted with family, friends, and eyewitnesses. One of the extraordinary things about this film is the community participation in its creation. Even BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit authority, whose officers were ultimately held responsible for the shooting, cooperated with the filming.

Ike2The movie really serves as a portrait of Oscar Grant, and he’s so fully realized onscreen as someone that you could imagine as a neighbor, family member, or friend, that–even if somehow you don’t like him–you still have to feel sad and outraged at his senseless death.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationJordan does a great job bringing to life a young man who has a good heart and a winning personality, who wants to turn his life around, but whose immaturity and impatience for forgiveness from those he has hurt often thwart his best intentions.

Ike2I thought a key moment was when his girlfriend learns he lost his job without telling her, because he thought he could go back after a couple of weeks and talk the manager into rehiring him. Pointing out that people don’t rehire people they fire just because you ask, she says he thinks life is  joke.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationOne of the sad things about the film is that, although Oscar knows he has to straighten himself out, it’s clear he has no clue how to set his life on a sustainable course. That’s not so unusual for a twenty-two-year-old, but as the film shows, there is less room for error in life for those at the bottom of the social and economic ladder.

Ike2My favorite scene was the flashback to Oscar’s time in jail, when his mother visits him.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThat was tremendous. When Oscar is taunted by a white inmate, the mother watches her loving baby boy transform so fully into a prison-hardened tough that he can’t even hear or see her sitting right in front of him. Even after he sits down and looks at her, Jordan is able to convey with his eyes that his mind is miles away, until it’s as if she suddenly appears out of nowhere and he’s happy to see her again.

Ike2Then it’s even more heart-breaking when the mother tells him she won’t be coming back, and he goes right back to being a little boy, begging for a hug as the guards drag him away.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt’s an Oscar-worthy moment for both Jordan and Octavia Spencer. Spencer beautifully conveys the helplessness the mother feels in protecting her child. Even her best advice–to take the BART on New Year’s Eve so Oscar won’t be driving and drinking, only leads to tragedy.

Ike2You hit on it when you mentioned inevitability a moment ago. As you watch the bad choices of Oscar’s life pile up, it’s hard not to see every move he makes as leading him straight to disaster.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt’s partly the way the film is constructed, and partly the sad familiarity of the thumbnail sketch of Oscar’s life–unwed father, dealing marijuana, time in jail, cheating on his girlfriend, losing his job. The fully fleshed-out characterization of Oscar takes him well beyond that stereotype, and it shows how the steps he was taking to turn things around were tragically cut short before he had a real chance to follow through on them.

Ike2This is not to imply that Oscar was in any way responsible for his own death.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationNo. In fact, when the showdown occurs, it is Oscar who is trying to calm everyone down. But that moment also shows the dilemma a black male in America too often faces–how one is to react, knowing the danger of talking back to police, yet burning with outrage at being singled out and abused. One thing the film made me think about was my own youthful encounters with the law and how protected I was from the direst consequences of what I said and did because of the color of my skin.

Ike2I’ll bet you were a real hard case.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationFar from it, and the cops knew it. But would they have seen so readily how non-threatening I was if I had been black?

Ike2This would be a great movie to screen in classrooms, because of the discussions it will generate.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationBut with its artistry, humor, and emotional impact, anyone can appreciate Fruitvale Station as a piece of high-level entertainment.

Ike2Go see it.

Our Review:

Mature, honest filmmaking.

Sensitive, well acted portrayals.

Powerful, thought-provoking, and sad.

Five tail-wags out of five.

Must Love Dogs; Hating ‘Avatar’ Optional

29 Jul

NoJamesCameron

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationOkay, so we’re pretty sure we saw James Cameron the other day, walking his dog on Beverly Drive.

Ike2It was amazing. The little fur-ball saved his life.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWhat are you talking about? All the dog did was walk along beside him on a leash.

Ike2Which I assume is why you didn’t run Cameron down with the car. You couldn’t risk hitting the dog.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationOh, come on, I don’t have anything against James Cameron. In fact, I’m working on a sci-fi script that would be perfect for him. It’s about a little Javanese boy who dives for pearls for a native fisherman who is being exploited by an international mining corporation. The boy once saved a dolphin he found stuck in a tuna net, and one day, when the boy is overcome by oil spewed from from a leaking offshore drilling rig, that very dolphin rescues him and takes him to the only place on Earth with the advanced medical knowledge to revive his lifeless body–the dolphin city under the sea!

Ike2Oh, man…

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI should mention that the dolphin city is sustained by nutrients that flow into the sea from a river that has its source in the Javanese rain forest–which is being clear-cut by the very same corporation!

Ike2Wait, I thought it was a mining company.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationActually, they’re a pearl-mining, lumber-cutting, tuna-fishing, non-sustainable energy conglomerate.

Ike2I really hate what Hollywood is doing to you.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationLook, making movies is tough, and everybody I’ve ever met out here gives it their all. I’m not into knocking anybody.

Ike2Titanic

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationA movie with some terrific sequences. When the water starts overwhelming the ship–

Ike2The ‘Star of the Sea’…

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd James Cameron really has his finger on the pulse of the movie going–

Ike2‘Unobtainium’…

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAll right! I hate Avatar and Titanic with the heat of a thousand Pandoran suns! They are fatuous, over-blown, effects-laden, monuments to lowest-common-denominator filmmaking.

Ike2But with some effective sequences and cutting-edge special effects.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationBut with some effective sequences and cutting-edge special effects. In any case, they are undoubtedly the two most overrated films in history.

Ike2Are we forgetting Shawshank Redemption is the highest-rated movie on IMDB?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThat’s a rant for another day. And while we’re on it, Terminator II was no great shakes either.

Ike2The Abyss had some really intense sequences–and then the goofy aliens showed up.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYet another two-and-a-half hours of my life I’ll never get back. But come on, James Cameron is clearly a very talented guy who supports some noble causes. And he obviously loves his dog.

Ike2And Jerry Lewis says…

Ike2Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationSo did Hitler!

Ike2That’s a nice shot. It has a real Nazis-next-door quality.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt’s amazing how many photos of Hitler and his dog are available online.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhich should tell you something about dogs.

Ike2Oh, like you wouldn’t suck up to anybody with a can of tuna. And not even dolphin-safe tuna!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATab Hunter sucks up to no man. I would take the tuna, though. And the dolphins are on their own.

Ike2See? There’s a cat for you!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, go eat a dog biscuit.

Ike2Oh, yeah? Well, I–uh–you know, a dog biscuit would be good right about now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStupid dog.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationActually, I think Tab has a point–

Ike2No! Tab never has a point!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI won’t go so far as to say that dogs always see the good in us, but they do see the human in us, and I think anyone who can relate to a dog must have some semblance of humanity in them, no matter how inhuman, or inhumane, they may be otherwise.

Ike2But who wouldn’t like a dog?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAhem…

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationHate to burst your bubble, buddy, but try Googling ‘I hate dogs.’

Ike2What?! They’ve even got a Facebook page!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd a logo:

NoDog

Ike2Oh, that’s heart-breaking.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWell, consider the source. Here’s a sample post: “Its just a page i love animals ess Dogs i hv just created it for likes and nothing else dont get centi  :-p  Love Gods Creation  🙂 “

Ike2Oh, so even more so than dogs, they hate good grammar.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationInterestingly, in two totally unscientific surveys on amplicate.com, 27% of respondents say they hate dogs, compared to 35% who say they hate James Cameron.

Ike2Come on! It can’t be that close!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI wouldn’t put much stock in either one of those numbers.

SherryIcon2May I put in my two cents?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationHi Sherry–please do.

SherryIcon2I know plenty of people who like Avatar, and plenty who hate Avatar, and they’re all perfectly lovely, but I don’t trust anybody who doesn’t like cats or dogs.

Ike2Amen.

SherryIcon2And by the way, I’m not so sure that was James Cameron.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationReally? You didn’t think he had that smug, king-of-the-world look about him?

SherryIcon2Allowing for the fact that it was Beverly Hills, all I saw was a perfectly nice-looking man out for a morning walk with his dog.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYou know, now that I think of it–James Cameron or not–that’s what I saw, too.

Television Academy to Zombies: “Drop Dead.”

24 Jul

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWhat’s a zombie got to do to get a little love from the folks who dole out the Emmy nominations?

Ike2Apparently, affect a lubricious Southern accent and talk directly to the camera, if House of Cards is any indication.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah–hey, wait a minute. did you just say ‘lubricious’?

Ike2No.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYou did. You said ‘lubricious.’

Ike2Did I? We must have our lines mixed up.

SherryIcon2Arf!

Ike2Oh, har-de-har.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnyway, for the 10th year in a row, The Walking Dead has been snubbed by the Emmys, and the people are outraged.

Ike210th year? The show’s only been on three seasons.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationReally? What am I thinking of?

Ike2Susan Lucci, maybe?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationGaaah! Just hearing that name gives me the willies!

Ike2While the show tends to clean up in the technical categories, like make-up and sound, it has yet to receive a single nomination for writing, acting, or best dramatic series.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWhich, to me–and I’m really no fan of the zombie genre–is ridiculous. If shows like American Horror Story and Game of Thrones can rack up the nominations–and even claim some prestigious wins–why not Walking Dead?

Ike2Of course, the first season of American Horror Story was pretty awesome.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationSure, but what the heck was going on this season? It seemed like Shutter Island and The X Files put in a blender with Nunsense. I couldn’t stay with it.

Ike2But Jessica Lange is fantastic.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationSure, so is James Cromwell. Look, I don’t mean to take anything away from anybody who was nominated, but The Walking Dead is consistently brilliant in my book and deserving of recognition. The first season, I grant you, was shaky, but seasons two and three have been at a level few other shows ever attain. The acting, for one thing, is not only great, sometimes it is downright heroic.

Ike2   Yeah, I’d like to see Kevin Spacey make his little speeches to the camera while covered in zombie guts.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationNot only that, but Andrew Lincoln does a more realistic Georgia accent!

Ike2I wonder if KS is really going for realistic, though. I mean, the character is half Richard III and half Foghorn Leghorn.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe should probably mention here that we love Kevin Spacey and think he’s great in House of Cards.

Ike2We do!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAgain, it’s not about knocking anybody else.

Ike2No, that’s just our way to be a little–

SherryIcon2Meow!

Ike2Stop that! I was going to say ‘snarky.’

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationBack to Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick. I was so convinced he was the real southern deal that I almost fainted the first time I heard him interviewed and out came the British accent. So points for that. Plus look what the character has been through: Losing his family, then finding them, then losing his wife, then going crazy, being the hero for so long only to become an object of contempt for his son–

Ike2And don’t forget, he had to kill his best friend–twice!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIt has been a truly epic portrayal, but then, so has virtually every performance in the series, from Stephen Yeun, as Glen, to Sarah Wayne Callies, as Lori, to David Morrissey, as The Governor. And Norman Reedus, and Michael Rooker, and Laurie Holden–I could go on and on. The changes these characters go through beat anything we’ve seen on virtually any other show.

Ike2And don’t forget Chandler Riggs, as Carl.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationOh, my God! That kid deserves a special Emmy for Outstanding Portrayal of a Kid in the Apocalypse.

Ike2Of course, you have to give a lot of the credit to the writers.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd how. Critics love to talk about how David Chase and James Gandolfini (God rest) made a sociopathic mobster into a sympathetic character in The Sopranos, but in the justly famous ‘barn full o’ zombies’ episode from season 2, they make you feel sorry for the zombies!

Ike2Hey, I can top that. When Michonne ran you-know-who through the head with her sword, they made me feel sorry for the Governor!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd the moral debates–first Shane and Dale and Rick, and then Hershel and Merle and Rick–come on! No doubt, it’s a great show.

Ike2So what’s your theory on why it’s never gotten any nominations?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWell, it is about zombies.

Ike2Yeah, there is that.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationHonestly, the show puts a little too much emphasis on the many different ways a zombie’s head can be pureed like a tomato.

Ike2Sometimes I have to cover my eyes with my wittle paws.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationThe zombies are the weakest link for me. It’s the characters that make the show, and too often when the zombies pop up it’s just–yawn. You get the sense even the creators are tired of them, the way the characters dispatch them so easily now.

Ike2Didn’t Glen take one out with his baseball cap?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationAnd I think the Governor waylaid that one group by using his eye-patch as a slingshot.

Ike2Maybe the show would do better if the zombies dressed in narrow suits and swizzled scotch.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah, and talked about how floor wax makes you pine for lost youth.

Ike2Mad Zombies!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration“Good morning, Sterling, Cooper, Draper–Oh, my God! It’s Pryce! He’s ba-a-a-ck! Aaarrgghh!

Ike2Say goodnight, zombie.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationGood night, zombie.

INFERNO-2033!

21 Jul

Ike2Nice teaser, huh? Mike & Sherry’s latest film project is entitled–can you guess? Inferno-2033. It’s a sci-fi adventure set on a super-massive prison ship in the not-to-distant future. The story involves government conspiracies, nuclear war, steel cage death matches, an intrepid hero, a beautiful political prisoner, a daring escape, and–well, just watch the trailer:

 

Ike2For more information, you can go to the Inferno-2033 website. Be sure and click on “About Us” to see bios for Mike & Sherry and our buddy, producer Allan Walsh. As you can see, the project is in development. We’re starting off with a CGI web series, which will ultimately become a feature film. The target date for our Kickstarter campaign is August 15. Let us know what you think!

http://www.inferno-2033.com/img/logo_big.png

Pacific Rim: No-go, Jiro

17 Jul

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe’ve attached a 3-1/2 minutes ‘featurette’ instead of the usual trailer, so readers can get a fuller idea of the production than what everybody has probably already seen in the trailer and TV ads.

Ike2Or, so you can just watch the featurette and save yourself the price of a movie ticket.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationCome on now, let’s remember that Guillermo del Toro is the same director who gave us the brilliant Pan’s Labyrinth.

Ike2Not to mention Blade II!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationWe wish the man, and his movie, well.

Ike2Well enough to get Mountains of Madness off the ground, but not well enough for Pacific Rim II.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationIke–summarize.

Ike2Pacific Rim follows the adventures of a boy and his jaeger as he and an elite team of giant-robot fighters make a last stand to save the planet from city-stomping monsters from a trans-dimensional portal in the Pacific Ocean. Basically, it’s Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidora meet Transformers.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration‘Trans-dimensional portal’–nicely done! The film stars Charlie Hunnam, as Raleigh, the jaeger fighter with a past, Rinko Kikuchi, as Mako, the wanna-be jaeger fighter with a past, and Idris Elba, as commander Stacker Pentecost (!)

Ike2(!)

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationA former jaeger fighter, who has a past with Raleigh, a past with Mako, plus a past of his own that causes him to have lots of nosebleeds and carry a tin of Altoids.

Ike2Plus a few other people with other pasts or issues guaranteed to cause lots of HIGHLY DRAMATIC PERSONAL CONFLICT.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationNone of which is very interesting, and most of which just gets in the way of the only real reason to see this movie, which is the monster fights.

Ike2Which were freakin’ AWESOME.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah, except for the stupid parts, and the parts where you couldn’t tell what was what.

Ike2I was completely lost during most of that last fight. Which one had the sword, and which one got his arm yanked off?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI think that was the same one.

Ike2Didn’t both of them have nuclear bombs? I couldn’t figure out why it was the broken one that had to go in the hole.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationYeah, I’m not sure anything about this movie would hold up to logical scrutiny. Why was it that missiles and nukes and giant swords worked against the monsters only if they were deployed by robots? Some of the fight stuff had a definite pro-wrestling vibe to it.

Ike2So did some of the acting, but considering the lines they had to deliver, I’m impressed the cast was able to keep a straight face. Except for Ron Perlman, of course. He seemed to be in on the joke. Otherwise, it was grim going.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I almost wept for joy when Charlie Day showed up. His character brought welcome relief.

Ike2But we agree that the standout in the cast was little Mana Ashida as Young Mako. She was fantastic–the only one who could steal the scene from the monsters.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationI hope casting directors were paying attention, because that girl really brought it. With all the faux emotions flying around, her scenes were the only ones that really made me feel anything.

Ike2Oh, I felt something during other scenes, but I won’t say what.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart IllustrationSo, to sum up, if giant monsters fighting giant robots sounds cool to you, go see Pacific Rim. But if you require a storyline, characters, and dialogue that operate above an eight-year-old level–

Ike2Rent Pan’s Labyrinth.

Our Review:

Fantastic special effects.

Wooden acting, but minor roles stand out.

Tedious ‘dramatic’ scenes.

Focus on the popcorn and the fights.

No jagermeister jokes!

Two tail-wags out of five.

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