Linger On

After four days, I still carry the scent of campfire in my hair. This pleases me deeply. Won’t someone please capture this delightful oder in a shampoo?

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SIFF Review: Camille

There is a certain target audience for a movie like “Camille”. It is the story of a simple southern girl named Camille (Sienna Miller) who convinces a reluctant petty thief named Silias (James Franco) to marry her. They take off on a honeymoon road trip to Niagara Falls, but, along the way, there is a accident. Luckily, it is a MAGICAL accident, and Camille winds up becoming the most beeyootiful zombie that evar unlived.

Given the zombie element to this love story, you might thing the target audience is more Fangoria than Fairy Tale But you would be, as I was, sorely mistaken. As someone who ordinarily steers as clear as possible from overly sentimental Hallmark crap like “Maid of Honor”, it takes a quirky element to get me to watch anything baring the “romantic comedy” label. For example, a machine that erases memories, or, say, a woman who comes back from the dead. However, the writer of this fluffy little torture piece squandered every opportunity to make an original film. At his point, I’m pretty convinced that he stole the idea from someone else but then had no idea how to properly execute it.

For those of you who loved “Runaway Bride” or think Sienna Miller is just SOOO pretty, this movie is definitely for you. Never mind if you “can’t watch scary movies” or “think zombies are gross”. Trust me. There “gore” in this thing is strictly PG. The presumably dead Camille only grows more radiant as the film wears on. Wouldn’t Silias’ falling for Camille been more romantic if she’d been losing appendages and turning green? And no, a little broken finger under a glove or a tiny bloodless bullet wound doesn’t count. Also, that bitch really needs to stop taking her ring off on moving motorcycles and over open drains.

What could have been a cool embalming scene becomes a boring, soft-lit sponge bath. All the potential hilarity of a rotting living dead girl is simply…missing. Don’t even get me started on the dialog. Let’s just say there’s plenty of people believing in other people and true love prevailing and junk.

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Leave a beautiful corpse.

By the way, what the hell is UP with David Carradine? Is he senile in real life? His role as a rambling mystical circus cowboy doesn’t make any sense. Surely somewhere they are making an updated film version of Kung Fu starring Will Farrell or Vince Vaughn. Give the poor man a cameo. He is clearly hurting for work.

As for me, I’m going to watch a well-executed undead love story to try and wipe this experience from my memory.

NFT Radar: Sidecar for Pigs Peace

Just a sandal’s throw away from the vegan pizzeria Pizza Pi and not one but two head shops, is Sidecar for Pigs Peace. I like to call this area Little Woodstock. Sidecar, a vegan goods store owned by the Pigs Peace Sanctuary, is a vegan treasure trove run by wonderful people working for a worthy cause. All proceeds go to the non-profit Pigs Peace Sanctuary, which provides amnesty to abused and abandoned animals and spreads “the message of compassion and respect for all animals.” Sidecar packs a lot into their tiny space, including packaged vegan snacks, canned soups and proteins, frozen entrees and delicious sandwiches made fresh every day. If you’re wary of feeding mystery meat to Fido, check out their line of vegan pet food. And they don’t just cater to the stomach. They also offer various and sundry guilt-free wares from adorable handmade wallets and bags to greeting cards. It’s a little known fact in the omnivore world that vegans are experts at desert-making. So even if you don’t abstain from the dairy, you will have no regrets about stopping in for some chocolate or a donut. The little piggies will be glad you did.

sidecar for pigs peace
5270 University Way NE 98105
206-523-9060
www.sidecarforpigspeace.com

X-Posted from Not For Tourists.

Memorial Day Camping Recap

Esswine is an amazing spot outside of Granite Falls, WA. It is well worth the $60/night price to reserve a private campground which fits up to 25 people and several cars. Dogs welcome. A stone’s throw away from a peaceful river and short driving distance to many transcendent hikes.

We were unable to check out the ice caves due to a road closure, so instead we hiked the stone train track ruins of the Old Robe Trail. This was some serious Indiana Jones shit.

We scaled rocks and fallen trees, crossed streams on logs…
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…and walked through tunnels.
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The trail was alongside a rushing river most of the way. It felt exciting but still safe. It ended right after the second cave, dropping off into the river.
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And oh my god, was it beautiful.

The rest of the time, we played Bocce Ball, ate our weight in camping treats, smelted aluminum in the fire to make treasures and giggled our way through the weekend. What a great group of people! What a kick-ass spot! What a delightful way to kick off the Summer of Love.

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Granite Falls also seemed like a pretty cool little town. One of these weekend, we have to go back, get a motel room, and absorb the local color via their several taverns, one of which boasts Friday night karaoke.

Summer Aught Eight!!!

SIFF REVIEW: My Effortless Brilliance

The phrase “You either love [something/someone] or hate [something/someone]” is not only overused, it is often used erroneously. There are very few things which can actually universally inspire such extreme emotions. Nonetheless, I have heard people say that about the star of “My Effortless Brilliance”, musician, author and former Stranger film critic, Sean Nelson. It’s true that he does inspire intense loathing from people, mostly in his film critic incarnation (it’s a tough business to have opinions), and intense love from people, also from his writing and his having fronted a popular 90’s rock band. But I, for one, find his work…enjoyable. That is a pretty moderate emotion as far as good feelings are concerned. It’s tough to admit that I appreciate the work of Sean Nelson. It’s so cool, you see, to LOATHE. That said, if you ARE taking up residence in Bunk 5 of Camp Naysayer, you will not, in the slightest, enjoy “My Effortless Brilliance”. If you summer anywhere else, you will probably have a pretty great time watching it.

With all the films made in the Northwest, and even many films made in Canada but “set” in Seattle, it baffles me that there are so few true “love letters” to the state. It’s truly a marvelous place to live. So much culture in the city of Seattle and so much beauty inside and out of it. Washington state is utterly breathtaking and full of interesting stories. So why aren’t there more filmmakers depicting that? Why do we only get fluffy romantic comedies? Or heavy-handed political dramas? Or shocking true stories? Where is the every day slice of life? I’ll tell you where. It’s in “My Effortless Brilliance”.

Using a sparse cast and crew and mostly improvised dialog, director Lynn Shelton (“We Go Way Back”) adeptly utilizes the Cinéma Vérité style to tell the story of a lonely, narcissist author named Eric (Nelson) and his attempt to repair a broken bond with an old friend, Dylan (Basil Harris). Eric’s efforts bring this soft city boy to Eastern Washington where Dylan has taken up a sparse existence running a small paper and living in a cabin in the woods. Eric surprises Dylan with a visit “on his way” back from a reading and, thanks to beer, ends up staying a couple of days.

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There is much natural humor in this uneasy fish-out-of-water story. When Dylan’s neighbor, Jim (Calvin Reader), rides up on horseback with a shotgun in his lap, talking earnestly of loose cougars, Eric realizes just how far from the city he is. He is unable to assist in the chopping of wood. He cannot even make the coffee. He can only crack-wise about the books in Dylan’s cabin (“Spiders…and Their Kin”) and watch helplessly from the porch. He is a man who is used to getting by on his charm alone. But his charm has long worn off on Dylan, and Jim is clearly a man who is rarely amused. It is up to alcohol (indubitably) and a preposterous situation to remind Eric and Dylan of the rapport they once shared.

Ironically, it is a tricky thing to make improvisation seem natural. But the cast pull it off remarkably, never over-expositing or over-emoting. Along with the shaky-cam and occasional out-of-focus shots, we are (sometimes literally) peeking through the window into a realistic complex human relationship. This fabricated tale feels more genuine than any reality TV show.

By the way, Sean Nelson would like you to know that his uses of the word “literally”, both correct and incorrect, were entirely intentional.

Goodnight Moon(light)

Questions brought up by TV’s Moonlight whilst watching the series finale.

1. Why are vampires brought into an orgasmic state and vamp out when they drink blood from humans, but can drink blood from a glass like it’s a fine Cabernet?

2. Why are the human lady friends always so appalled by the fact that the vamps like to drink small amounts of blood from volunteers? a) That is SOOOOO much better than killing them and b) Vampires drinking blood from you is totally sexy. It’s like making out vamp style. Don’t even act like you’re not turned on by that, Beth.

3. How many times have sensitive vampires said the line “One thing about being a vampire is you’re always having to reinvent yourself.”

4. For that matter, how many times do they start a sentence with “One thing about being a vampire…?”

5. Why do vampires seem to blend in so well fashion-wise, are in fact HYPER fashionable, to the decade in which they are currently living? Aren’t they like really old people? Old people don’t advance WITH the trends. They shun them and praise the old ways. They are confounded by change. I liked that Angel could never figure out how to use a cell phone though.

6. Who wears their hair that this, REALLY?
mick

7. Is wanky pop singer-songwriter balladeering really the appropriate soundtrack for a show about vampires?

trucalling8. Is the last scene of the series the biggest anti-climax in supernatural drama history or is there something lamer? Tru Calling, perhaps?

Of Bladders and Camera Phones

I have a new blog called Bathroom Wisdom. It’s about the things that people take the time to write or draw in bathrooms. Often, one assumes, while they’re expelling bodily fluids. I find this phenomenon fascinating enough to document pictorially. But I need help! This can’t be a blog about the graffiti in ladies’ rooms ONLY. The world must know what men or drunk ladies who wander into the mens’ room write as well! So the next time something written in the bathroom makes you LOL, please snap a picture of it and send it to me! In the meantime, enjoy my findings at Bathroom Wisdom!

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