You don’t care about my thoughts on movies…

…but I’m going to post them on this blog anyway.

I am a film fan, and when I say that, I’m not referring to what seems to constitute cinema these days – in other words, I don’t care about sparkling vampires and hormonal teenage girls who can’t decide between said vampires and werewolves. I like movies that make me think (“Inception”), or that impress me in some other ways – maybe the cinematography (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”), maybe the superb acting (“There Will Be Blood”), or sometimes it might just be the creative way a story is told (“Pulp Fiction”).

Confession: I also like some cheesy B-movies just for the sake that they are terrible. Ever watch some of the original SyFy movies? “Sharktopus,” for example.

My schedule does not always permit me to take the time to enjoy a movie, but when it does, I try to make it count.

On Christmas day, I saw “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” It’s a Guy Ritchie film, which made me want to see it. (I still, unfortunately, have not seen the first one, but that didn’t take away from this one.) I’ve been a fan of most of Ritchie’s work – especially “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch.” “Revolver” was strange, but still had his style, and I would like to see “RocknRolla” further developed into the trilogy that he has mentioned.

Anyway, the new Sherlock Holmes movie is great. It definitely has his style throughout – most notably, aside from the gritty visual aspect, in the slow-motion to fast-motion and fight scenes. It’s very reminiscent of the bare-knuckle boxing scenes from “Snatch.”

The story line and effects are well done, too. And the acting and very eloquent set design fits perfectly with the time period.

And in the “I’m really late to the party” files, I finally watched “Casino Royale” recently, as well.

First of all, Daniel Craig plays a great James Bond.

Second, the action sequences in this film are brilliant – very stylish and just over-the-top enough to be a great Bond film (as opposed to Bruce Willis on a freakin’ jet plane in “Live Free or Die Hard” and the entire “Shoot ’em Up” film that even Paul Giamatti’s acting couldn’t salvage for me.)

What seemed like an ending seemed to go on way too long, which was the first clue that there was more to the story line, and it’s a great story line, but I’m sure you probably already knew that because you probably saw this movie five or six years ago when everybody else did.

I guess next on the list of films to see is “Quantum of Solace” (yes, I’m still late to the party on this one as well) and of course, the first “Sherlock Holmes” that Ritchie made.

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Holiday hangover?

I hope your holidays went well, and that you’ve completely recovered from any holiday hangover you may have had – whether it was induced by alcohol, family, stress or just eating your weight in Santa-shaped chocolate.

But, now that you’ve had a couple of days to recover, it’s time to plan the week before the new year, so here are (to borrow a Latest Disgrace term) this week’s Best Bets:

Thursday, Organic Hippie is putting on another original show at It’ll Do Tavern. This one features Bearhead, from Birmingham, and Montgomery’s own …and the Lawyers. I have seen two Facebook event listings for this one, this one created by Organic Hippie, and this one titled, “more like bare head, amirite? cuz fifield’s bald…” It’ll Do is located near Lagoon Park and the Northern Blvd in Montgomery.

Friday, Kids on Coffee is playing at Head on the Door in Montgomery.

And on Saturday, BPM will be at Head on the Door to ring in the new year.

All of these events are free. No cover. You just have to go.

And here is a grammar lesson, courtesy of pleated-jeans.com:

Seasick

Why had I not heard that Silversun Pickups recently released a 10″ vinyl EP containing three songs recorded during the “Swoon” sessions?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but the EP, titled “Seasick,” is on Spotify, and the record is for sale on their website and on Amazon. It’s really good, and if you enjoyed “Swoon,” these three songs have a similar feel to them.

Also, for the folks in Montgomery, Ala. who may be reading this, don’t forget about the Banditos show tonight, sponsored by Organic Hippie. It’s also being advertised by 104.9 The Gump radio station.

Stuff you should know…

First of all, mark your calendars for this coming Thursday. Yes, Thursday, Dec. 22. Why, you ask? Because Banditos is playing in Montgomery.

The Birmingham band is returning to Montgomery and playing at It’ll Do Tavern (North Blvd./Lagoon Park area.) Starts at 9:30, and there is no cover.

This show is the first of a concert series sponsored and curated by Organic Hippie.

Next, one of Hail the Titans‘ favorite venues needs your help! The Squeaky Lizard in Ocean Springs, Miss. is currently holding a fundraiser to help keep the doors open. This venue has been very good to us, and is run by some of the nicest people in the business.

More information on their fundraiser can be found on their IndieGoGo site. If you’re in or near Ocean Springs, especially, help keep your original music scene alive.

Also, if you haven’t heard, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il has died, which presumably will spell the death of the “Kim Jong Il looking at things” Tumblr site, unless someone decides to go all “Weekend at Bernie’s” with the body.

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

While I did not know Christopher Hitchens, nor had I ever met him or seen any of his debates (although I wanted to), I admit that when I found out this morning that he died last night, I was saddened by the news.

Most, especially himself, knew this day was coming, and coming soon at that. It was just last Friday, in fact, that I read his latest piece in Vanity Fair called “Trial of the Will,” in which he challenged the Friedrich Nietzsche notion of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It’s a nice piece in terms of philosophy, but in human terms, as he describes his fight against the esophageal cancer that ultimate took his life last night, it’s a painful read.

I’m still working on finishing his book “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” which not only showcases very reasoned arguments against religion and dogma, but also showcases his wit, intellect and eloquent writing style.

I didn’t always agree with him, but when it came to issues such as the dangers that religion has been shown to bring on societies, the defense of “Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie against a fatwa issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and free speech in general, I thought he was brilliantly spot on.

While he may not be around anymore, his writings are, and I would say the issues he wrote about are still as relevant today as they were while he was alive.

Stuff to do: Holiday edition, part 1

Here are some things going on this week that you might just want to check out:

Thursday, the Honey Tree Band is at Head on the Door in Montgomery. Their music is described as “blues, funk, roots rock.” Details here.

Friday:

The Nick in Birmingham has this lineup: The Great American Breakdown, Bearhead, Hail the Titans. You know you want to be there. Details here.

For those in Montgomery, you should stop by Head on the Door and see my friends Swank Sinatra. They’re from Atlanta. They’re good. They’re entertaining. They’re nice. Details here.

Saturday:

The Smokehouse way up in Florence, Ala. is hosting Refuse the Fall, Rowe and Hail the Titans. Oh… and it’s all ages, so if you’ve got friends or family in or near Florence, please spread the word. Details here.

That photo is a bit bigger than the amount of text…

…so talking about the next event will have to be delayed by a few words…

…these words here, to be precise…

Yep.

So if you’re in Montgomery on Saturday, I encourage you to check out “The TACKIEST Holiday Party EVER!” It’s hosted by Montgomery’s River Region Rollergirls at Santa Barbara on Vaughn Rd. Details here.

Also, Hail the Titans released our music video yesterday for “I Am Become Death.” Big thanks to everyone involved (full cast and crew list here.) Again, thank you to everyone who helped make this video happen. Your help and support is very much appreciated.

Most of the filming was done in one day. (The opening scene was re-shot at a later date.) We had close to four hours of raw footage that was condensed down to the 5:13 run time. I think I lost track of how many hours of editing it took (15? 20?), but thanks to Hillary Andrews for allowing me to commandeer her computer for that length of time.

If you haven’t seen the finished product yet, here it is:

Sometimes I die…

…or do I?

See:

And this one:

Adam Davila took those while we were filming Chaser, a short action film written and directed by Raquel Walker. These were some re-shoots for the film. We actually filmed the bulk of it back in July in what felt at the time like the hottest day of the year. I posted about that on July 10.

I’m not sure when it will all be finished, but I’ll post about it here when I know more.

Ps – while the July shoot was extremely hot, yesterday was not. It was about 40 degrees in a tunnel (acting like a wind tunnel at times); I had on short sleeves, laying on cold concrete with cold stage blood and ice water dripping off me… you know, standard Sunday night stuff.

[witty title involving photos goes here]

First, here’s your reminder that tonight is the Pint Bottle Photography showing at Head on the Door. Prints are for sale (and make great gifts… I mean, who doesn’t like art? And if they can’t appreciate art then you may want to rethink your friendship with them because maybe, just maybe, they have no culture, and their level of artistic depth is a Nickelback album – you owe us one, Canada!)

OK, where was I? Oh yeah… the art show tonight. The Montgomery Advertiser’s GoPlay section has an article about it: “Local photographer’s work on display tonight.”

Also, speaking of photos, Organic Hippie has posted some from their 1-year anniversary show. Click the photo below for the entire gallery, which includes photos of The O’Dudemen, Banditos and Hail the Titans.

Other than that… I was able to catch that comedy show on Tuesday. (I mentioned it in a post on Monday.) It was pretty good. Funny stuff.

And I have been catching up with some friends, enjoying some good conversation, good beers (’tis the season for a good stout!) and not getting enough sleep. So, uh… I’ll see you at the art show tonight!

Oh, what to do… what to do…

First of all, thank you to everyone who came out to AlleyBAR Friday night to see Hail the Titans, The Trews and the Poison Kitchen. I also heard the Head on the Door show Friday with The Sneaky Hand and Dark Room went well. Thanks to all who supported that show as well. I was hoping to get to see my ATL friends, but time was against us this time. Next time!

So what’s going on this week?

Tomorrow, I’m told that Jason Fifield (of the band …and the Lawyers) will be doing a stand-up comedy routine at the Blue Iguana in Prattville. Details here.

On Thursday, Pint Bottle Photography is having a showing at Head on the Door in Montgomery. Details here. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 11. I feel I should stress that because music shows start much later. Also, the prints will be for sale, so bring yo’ monies. Art makes a great Saturnalia/Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus/Kwanzaa gift.

And on Friday, Midtown Pizza Kitchen (if you haven’t gotten food from there, you’re missing out, by the way) is having their “Sweetwater Takeover,” which means the Sweetwater brewery, based in Atlanta, will be bringing some special brews to Montgomery. Details here.

Also on Friday, Last Transgression is playing at Head on the Door with Hematovore and Double Barrel Democracy. So go get your ears filled with metal (and if you haven’t already done so, you might want to pick up a copy of the Last Transgression’s new album.) Show details here.

Back in early November, I briefly mentioned a photo shoot with Pint Bottle Photography (where I got a little preview of the Denied and Underexposed event.) Well, the shoot was a spy-themed shoot. Click the photo below to check out the gallery.

Randomness 14.0

I finally watched “Predators.” I know… you’ve all seen it already. Good for you. I thought it was pretty good. It left many unanswered questions. It had a nice twist. This is not a full review by any means, and apparently not enough text to even make it to the bottom of the movie cover image to the left. Can I add enough filler to this paragraph to make it to the end of the image? Is that possible? Would you read it if I could? These are not the unanswered questions from the movie, but if you’ve read this far, some of them just got answered.

I got to see Rowe, Bearhead and The Trews Wednesday at The Nick in Birmingham. It was a fun show. The guys from Bearhead dropped it like it was hot. No, really. I’m not just saying that. They booty danced.

Speaking of The Trews, they’re in Montgomery tonight at AlleyBAR with Hail the Titans and the Poison Kitchen.

And here is Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, courtesy of MovieWeb:

"I drink your milkshake and win the Civil War!"

Word.