Monday, April 25, 2011

Forbidden Zone (1982)

As a member of the Forbidden_Zone_passSeattle Horror Movies Meetup, I receive notes about upcoming movies and events related to the genre. For three reasons, I was intrigued when Forbidden Zone with Q&A by Richard Elfman (Danny's brother) was announced:

1. It was free.

2. As a fan of Oingo Boingo, the Elfman name enticed.

3. It played at Cinebarre in Mountlake Terrace where you are able to eat and drink(cocktails and beer).

Admittedly, I didn’t expect much more than to see if Richard resembled his brother, Danny. As my posse and I arrived, we were surprised at the crowd nearly filling the theater. A reception with the director had been in full swing. Pre-movie, Elfman entered the theater, banging a drum and marching with his impromptu Cinebarre-collective band.

King Fausto (Hervé Villechaize) and Queen Doris (Susan Tyrrell) rule over the Sixth Dimension. In another dimension, Frenchy Hercules (Marie-Pascale Elfman) finds a door in her basement that deposits her (via an intestine) into the Sixth Dimension. When King Fausto lays eyes on her, he goes mad and makes her his concubine. The Queen finds out and goes ballistic and places her in the clink. The Hercules family set out to find Frenchy and bring her back home.

There are memorable characters, such as The Princess (Bridget Fonda lookalike Gisele Lindley), who for the whole of the movie is topless and outfitted only with high-waisted women’s white panties. There’s the Servant Frog (Jan Stuart Schwartz) and Danny Elfman as Satan. You get lots of random humping. LOTS. With animation and hijinks against a trippy soundtrack, the movie is perplexing yet engaging. If you stay with it, you are certain being chemically altered might cause everything to make sense.

Richard ElfmanPost-movie, Elfman fielded questions from the crowd. My favorite was, “What the shit?” Several said Forbidden Zone ‘changed their lives.’ (I  wanted to Q&A with them and get deeper on what they meant. Perhaps I’m the one missing the point?) With no shortage of questions, he spoke for a long while until none remained. Then, it was out to the lobby where the party continued. When I finally got over the shyness and wanted a picture with Elfman, the line was longer than I wanted to wait.

The Seattle Horror Meetup gets a resounding kudos for a job well done helping promote this event as was a singular experience.

Director: Richard Elfman

Country: USA

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 75 minutes

Scale: 2.75

The Poop! Tagger

Honey Bucket_Ravenna

On a recent jaunt into Ravenna Park, I noticed the Poop! crew tagged their/his/her threatening moniker on a few locations in the area, including the above Honey Bucket and a light pole.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Foals (Showbox at the Market) (April 11)

Who says Mondays aren’t a fun night for live music in Seattle? Not the crowd at Showbox at the Market.

Last night’s line-up drew a SOLD-OUT show with headliners The Foals, supported by The Naked and the Famous and Freelance Whales. I’d heard a few Foals songs and was curious to check out their set. As I walked in, The Naked and the Famous played. The venue was already packed at 8:30pm. I cannot accurately comment on The Naked and the Famous as I didn’t hear much, but they were vaguely reminiscent of Passion Pit.

Freelance WhalesThe five-piece Freelance Whales sire from New York. Mellow, fresh-faced and talented, their musical repertoire included the banjo, 6- and 8-string guitars, a glockenspiel, a Roland JP-8000 synthesizer, drums and a harmonium. Band members interchanged instruments, a guitarist used a violin bow to play the guitar and their mellow synth indie rock pleased the all-ages fans. Aforementioned crowd went wild for last song, which was rocking, unlike the rest of their sleepy set.

The FoalsUK math rock band The Foals turned out to be much different than expected from the few songs I’d heard (more hippy in their indie). These five alt-indie hippies jammed, making unique psychedelic-meets-world-beat music for a fantastic live show. The drummer is Dave-Grohl-intense and sick (as Chris would say). The lead singer sounded like Robert Smith, minus the goth. As they played, they danced and congregated around their drummer. I didn’t always get off on the music but their intensity, the way they connected with one other and the crowd was compelling, almost hypnotic. The few recognizable (to me) songs were strung together by drum solos or all jam. Definitely an experience. I got the feeling that each time they perform, they give it their all to create an unforgettable memory for each fan.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The King’s Speech (2010)

The King’s Speech blasted into theaters amid so much praise that it begged the question—is it deserved?

King's SpeechThe King’s Speech tells the story of King George VI (Colin Firth) of Britain’s sudden rise to the throne and his relationship with a speech therapist who helps him with his stammering. George has consulted every renowned specialist and their cornucopia of treatments to no avail. One day, Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) makes her way to the consultation office of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Despite the shabby and sparsely decorated office, the confident Logue makes an impression and soon the Queen is there with the King.

The acting is impressive and the character development is rich and nuanced. Firth is believable as a stammerer. Rush is delightful as his speech therapist; I relished each moment of his screen time. So much so that when Christian Bale won the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, I was offended. (Then, I saw The Fighter and understood why it had to go to Bale—not that Rush wasn’t still da bomb, but if you saw The Fighter and Bale’s performance, you know).

Beyond the talent, the story is magnetic and has comedic moments. You have a man who’s stammered since he was a boy. His powerful father who tries to bully him out of stammering. His brother, the ascendant to the throne who wants no part of it. The hesitant man taking over the throne when a war is brewing. The wife who supports her husband through his suffering and believes the stammer can be cured. While supportive, she also challenges him. It’s refreshing to see a strong female royal, wherein you they’re typically depicted as ceding to their more powerful husband or boyfriend.

It must be stated that the the trust that develops between King George and Logue is bromantic napalm. When it ended, I wanted to see it again. The plot moves toward its climatic ending and, when you get there, you know there’s no other way it can end.

Director: Tom Hooper

Country: USA/UK

Genre: Drama

Run time: 118 minutes

Scale: 4.5