Saturday, July 22, 2017

NEW THOR RAGNAROK TRAILER PROVIDES VALID REASON TO STAY ALIVE JUST A BIT LONGER


The colors, the jokes, the Goblin-esque, Giallo-tinged score... and the haircuts!

And don't even get me started on all the Hulk business.

This one... this is the Marvel movie that is going to finally win a forever place in my heart, I can feel it already.

Don't anybody mess this up with mean comments. At least, not for a little while. Let me have this nice thing... for now.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ EP. 3: REST IN PAIN


Considering the dark and mind-bending climax to the previous episode, Episode Three kicks off with in an oddly sunny manner. First off, as Cooper notes, it’s a beautiful day (see above).


Upon waking up from his post-dream sleep, Cooper goes to the Great Northern’s dining lounge where he is confronted by Audrey, who is lying in wait for him. I find it odd that Audrey’s comments are the first time Cooper has heard about Laura Palmer working at the Horne Department Store perfume counter, alongside Ronette (and other girls who ply their wares at One Eyed Jack’s, as we learned last episode). And this, mere moments after Cooper remarks upon Audrey’s perfume? Strange.


The oddness continues when Cooper is joined by Sheriff Truman and Lucy for breakfast. His unbridled enthusiasm about the weather, the quality of the food at the Great Northern (“Nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup collides with ham!), and his insouciance at having forgotten the name of the killer are all somewhat off-putting.


Another strange bit of business, what’s up with Cooper telling Truman and Lucy that they were both in his dream, when as far as we could see, they were not? Could this simply be just another tossed-off reference to The Wizard of Oz, as Lynch is occasionally wont to do? This seems too cheap, all things considered.


Laura Palmer has been dead for a few days now, but she's looking like one of those saints who refuse to rot.


Ben Horne getting up close and personal with his Department Store's one time perfume counter girl. What kind of a rinky-dink morgue is the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department running, anyway?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY, EP. 2: ZEN, OR THE SKILL TO CATCH A KILLER


The second episode proper begins with yet another of many scenes featuring domestic meal-taking. This time, it’s dinner at the Horne household, where Ben's disturbed, 28-year-old son Johnny, whom Laura used to tutor, is decked out in a full Native American headdress for some reason. As part of the rustic lodge decor, the screen continues to be filled with First Nations art of the Northwest Coast style, which is an extremely rich and varied network of differing artistic traditions. The works present throughout the series so far do not belong to a single tradition, although I've seen numerous instances of Salish and Haida works, such as is visible on the left side of the screen on the image below.


Uncle Jerry’s "back", even though it's the viewing audience's first time meeting him, and he’s brought brie and baguette sandwiches back from France with him.


Lots and lots of brie and baguette sandwiches. Literally dozens of bags full.


Ben and Jerry (their names allegedly chosen to match that of the ice cream company) both seem to love these sandwiches, as they try to speak with their mouths full of them.


Bringing so many bags filled with a European "delicacy" into a room/lodge filled with Native imagery (built on land stolen from Native Americans) strikes me as a possible satirical statement about the way these altogether ridiculous people live.

Possible Kubrick homage: Ben and Jerry talk about “a new girl, freshly scented from the perfume counter” (like Ronette!) working at One Eyed Jack’s, over the water (and the border) in Canada. According to Ben, Jerry’s got "a 50/50 chance of being first in line". To which Jerry responds: “All work and no play make Ben and Jerry dull boys.”

One Eyed Jacks, of course, is a Marlon Brando film that Stanley Kubrick worked on for months before Brando decided to direct the film himself. Also, Uncle Jerry cuts a peculiarly Kubrickean figure… sort of a cross between Dr. Strangelove, Alex from Clockwork Orange and Jack from The Shining (from which the “all work and no play” maxim is taken).

Furthermore, the aforementioned pervasive presence of Native American motifs throughout the Horne properties and elsewhere throughout Twin Peaks is also reminiscent of The Shining. Unlike Kubrick’s film, however, I don’t believe Lynch intended a sly political commentary. Instead, I think he likes the way the large sculptures of Pacific Northwest Native tribes resemble the iconography of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, such as the Sphinx, or the Winged Bull.

It occurs to me at this point, considering the series' sheer volume of visual references to Native American culture, art, and thus, inescapably, myths and legends, that I should definitely do more research in this direction. I can already think of a few good places to begin. The first book of Peter Levenda's Sinister Forces trilogy, for instance, devotes a great many pages to some of the darker practices of our haunted continent's Pre-Columbian, First Nations cultures.

Keep watching this space for more details. Now, let's get back to Episode 2... and to One Eyed Jack's.


Monday, July 17, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY, EP 1: TRACES TO NOWHERE


It's a cold and rainy Pacific North West day. Immediately, we are treated to yet another menagerie of dismembered animal parts, like the wayward stag’s head at the bank in Episode One.


In Cooper’s ridiculously rustic, “clean and reasonably priced” room at the Great Northern Hotel (room 315), we see dear hooves shaped into a gun rack, and an assortment of trophy animals and/or simulacra thereof crowds the kitschy log cabin décor. 




Cooper hangs upside down, most likely for his back, but still, it makes for a literal portrayal of his, let’s call it unique perspective on things. 


Another aspect of Cooper’s character (and, perhaps, Lynch’s project) is revealed when he admits to curiosity about the Kennedys’ relationship with Marilyn Monroe, and harbors doubts about the assassination of JFK. 


In other words, the only way Agent Dale Cooper could be any more American is if he shat apple pies and farted Yankee Doodle Dandy.


Which brings us to another element of Twin Peaks that percolated into the national consciousness: the connection between the Pacific Northwest and an excellent cup of coffee. There have been other allusions before Episode One, but it is in THIS episode that Cooper’s cuppa obsession reaches its apotheosis. 


The Great Norther’s java doesn’t disappoint.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY - THE PILOT


First things first, Twin Peaks kicks off with a real stylistic bang. Angelo Badalamenti's score, otherworldly and ethereal, plays over video showcasing the peculiar rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest intercut with industrial images of machines sharpening the teeth of other machines, with nary a human being in sight.


And as for the color scheme chosen for the titles... what even are those colors? An ugly, murky brown bordered by a vivid coniferous green, as best as I can make out. As Badalamenti’s score fades out it all makes for a rather intoxicating blend.


The sign on the outskirts of town, in the shadow of the titular (no pun intended) mountains, reads: “Welcome to Twin Peaks Population 31,201”.


With Laura Palmer dead, that brings the population to 31,200. 312 AD is the year Constantine converted to Christianity. In some esoteric traditions, 312 is considered to be an “angel number”, but I doubt this is of any meaningful significance in this case. Still, the idea that Laura is the town’s “plus one” sort of puts her outside of things. She stands, or stood, alone, not really part of the population, almost a vestigial member, wiggling away on the periphery, primed to fall away from the rest.


After a brief image of a waterside lodge, the first image we see is a close up of two stylized statuettes on sawmill owner Josie Packard’s desktop. They appear to be statues of Anubis, the Egyptian god of Mummification and the Afterlife.


Considering Laura's state upon being discovered by Pete Martell, mere moments later—wrapped like a mummy, in plastic, bringing the Ancient into the Modern—makes this seem like more than mere coincidence. Also, consider the idea that the whole series (and film) are essentially Laura's "afterlife" in more ways than one.


“Ghostwood” country club and estates certainly is an interesting name for (Laura’s father) Leland Palmer’s planned development project.

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ INTRODUCTION


Against long odds and at a time when any good news seems miraculous, it appears as though the third series of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks is something of a masterpiece. In light of this incredible development yer old pal Jerky has decided to revisit the beloved, landmark television series (and the film) that spawned so many enduring trends and motifs that it has become one of the cultural lodestars by which we understand the 1990’s and beyond.

At the time, the series launched numerous careers, became a cottage industry in itself, and exerted a profound influence on mass culture. Everything from Grunge Rock to The X-Files has some Twin Peaks DNA inside of it. But more importantly, it changed the way people take in popular culture, perhaps not creating but definitely bringing to the fore a sort of paranoid narrative style.

This, I suspect, is an artifact of Frost reining in and diluting Lynch’s wild industrial surrealism just enough to make it palatable to the uninitiated entertainment consumer. That way, the show could appeal to the average viewer who was just looking for something different, while also leaving itself open to deeper levels of interpretation by the obsessive, Mystery School set.

Succeeding at the former made the show a huge success. Succeeding at the latter made it into an enduring legend. For better or for worse, I think an argument could be made that the Twin Peaks phenomenon has had an effect on our culture that is only now--with the notoriously prophesied arrival of the third series some 25 years later--beginning to be understood.

Here is how I am going to go about this public exercise.

First, I’ll be commenting on one, two, or three episodes of the first two series per blog post. Then I will have a little something to say about Fire Walk With Me. After that, I will devote one blog post to every episode of series three (which is ongoing).

Most of my blogs will consist of bare bones, maybe even point form, running commentary. I won’t be trying to solve any mysteries, or make any conclusions, beyond basic observation. At least, not as a general rule.

For the time being, I will be severely limiting my intake of any Twin Peaks scholarship or analysis undertaken by others. You may see me get excited about finding some new clue or symbol that you already know about because it was mentioned on some other Twin Peaks website, or maybe you spotted it yourself, but please allow me any minor joy that my independent discoveries might bring, and, if you have a link to an article or blog post that builds upon my “discovery”, I would be grateful if you please included it in the comments section.

I’ll also be trying to avoid pointing out symbols or connections that are too obvious, pedantic, or general, the art of symbology being so wide open as to be essentially meaningless if one doesn’t attempt to streamline its application to some degree.

Watch for the first installment no later than tomorrow afternoon!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

NEW ON NETFLIX ~ BULLET REVIEWS


THE HISTORY OF THE EAGLES / NOW MORE THAN EVER: THE HISTORY OF CHICAGO ~ Over the last couple of weeks, I've spent a combined total of nearly six hours watching these documentaries about two of the most successful bands in the history of popular music: The Eagles and Chicago. Odd thing is, I didn't much care for either band prior to watching these in-depth, decades-spanning, warts-and-all explorations of their career highlights and lowlights... and now, after spending so much time with both bands, I still don't care for their music. At some point in both docs, the bathos gets to be a little difficult to swallow: "Waaah! We had too many hits! Waaah! The cocaine was too pure! Waaah! The groupies were too beautiful!" Both movies do an admirable job of chronicling the clash of monumental egos, the back-stabbing management shenanigans and record company rip-offs, and the obligatory late career comebacks, always suffused with a tinge of regret and, at the very least, one or two left-behinds who are unable to rise above the hard feelings generated by all the drug-fueled drama and chaos. But you can really see how much of what would turn out to be the worst parts of the 1980's were presaged by some of the seedier undercurrents in the popular culture of the 1970's. Before watching these, I'd seen the "Blue Jean Committee" episode of the Bill Haider/Fred Armisen parody series Documentary Now (IFC), and it turns out they were way more gentle and soft than they could have been. So, yeah... both these docs were a hard slog. But it could have been worse. It could have been a 4 hour documentary about Uriah Heep.

***

It's So Easy and Other Lies ~ Whoever convinced Duff McKagan that getting (kinda) sober, having two kids, and developing a mid-life obsession with martial arts is the stuff gripping biographies are made of... that person did the Guns and Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist a great disservice. I mean, the Duffster seems like kind of a nice guy and all, but this... this flick is an embarrassing enterprise on all fronts. From the idea of having Duff up on a stage, reading (slowly, haltingly) from his own recently published biography, to having him be surrounded by musicians providing a bed of cues and vamps that build towards what should be moments of great catharsis, only to have those moments be something utterly banal, like "we had another hit record!" Everything is so disconnected in tone that it leads us, the viewer, to feel completely alienated from Duff's life as he lived it. Actually, come to think of it, maybe that perfectly realized alienation makes It's So Easy the most true-to-life rock documentary ever made!

***

THE KEEPERS ~ Ryan White's ridiculously complex, infuriating, and disturbing documentary series dares to stare deep into the heart of darkness for hour after life-sucking hour. He might as well have called this one Trigger Warning: The Series. I won't bother giving you the details. This is, after all, a bullet review. If you're partial to the wave of Scandinavian Noir books, movies, and TV shows that popped up in the wake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, then you'll probably dig The Keepers. If you liked Making of a Murderer, you'll find White opening up a whole new bag of tricks for this outing. Either way, if you do decide to watch this, try to remember what Nietzsche said about staring into the abyss. Small bites... and maybe take a Jim Carey break between each episodes. I recommend Dumb and Dumber.

***

KARDASHIAN: THE MAN WHO SAVED O.J. SIMPSON ~ I suppose the success of ESPN's incredible documentary series O.J. Made in America made this documentary look into the life of the man who may have been instrumental in Simpson getting off inevitable. Surprisingly, it didn't make me vomit into my own mouth. Your mileage may vary.

***

IS GENESIS HISTORY? ~ There's an old publisher's cliche about how any news story or book title in the form of a question can usually be answered with an emphatic: "NO!" This most definitely turns out to be the case with Is Genesis History?, a competently produced but also profoundly dishonest attempt to frame the creation/evolution question as one of Deep Time orthodoxy versus the possibility of rapid Earth changes. The former is portrayed as Charles Darwin piling errors atop the foundation of 19th century geologist Charles Lyell's folly (Deep Time), while the latter is shown as being HIP! and FRESH! and backed by much beautifully photographed and convincingly argued (for the layperson) evidence. A brief perusal of online critiques of this film indicate that people who actually know what they're talking about find it even more offensive than just plain old activist atheists do... and we all know what a grumpy bunch THOSE guys are. Anyway, if you have no interest in checking out rebuttals afterward, I'd probably just skip this one. It's basically really well made Christian Fundamentalist propaganda... and who needs that in their lives?

COMING SOON! FROM TWO MEDIAVORE FAVORITES!


From the twisted madman who brought you the hauntingly bizarre Scarfolk Council website and book and the jazz-flavored genius behind The Mighty Boosh and Mindhorn (see our review) comes DICK and STEWART! Watch this space for updates!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

OH, HELLO!'S GEORGE ST. GEEGLAND AND GIL FAIZON BACK AT THE Y!

If you haven't yet watched Oh, Hello! on Broadway on Netflix yet, or even if you have, you should check out the not so dynamic duo's return engagement at the 92nd St YMCA, to get your first taste (or an extended second helping) of their signature, rapey brand of aging New York "values". The funniest, most drug-centric comic team since Cheech and Chong, hands down! L'Chaim!


If you're as big of a fan of these two as yours truly is, then you've probably already seen their first visit to the 92nd St Y, in which they wax nostalgic about their legendary prank show Too Much Tuna, how "the Dersh" stole the show at the "Screaming About Israel" conference, and the joys of SUNY Yonkers campus life. Mazel-Tov!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

NEIL BLOMPKAMP'S NEW SHORT FILM, RAKKA


Read more about the production of this film, and the innovative release partnership with Valve/Steam, which allows you to download many of the raw elements of the film to create your own version, including extended full takes, voice over tracks, all the way down to digital wireframe figures that you can customize.

Monday, June 12, 2017

LONG FORM COMICS REVIEWS: MY FRIEND DAHMER, KAFKA, HENRY & GLENN FOREVER AND EVER



MY FRIEND DAHMER
A Graphic Novel by Derf Backderf

Jeffrey Dahmer has always struck me as an outlier among the grisly menagerie of celebrity serial killers that bubbled up from North America's subconscious and into the world of tabloid television back in the Reagan/Bush era. Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, Richard Ramirez and John Wayne Gacy all seemed unambiguously evil.
There was something different about Dahmer. His obvious relief at being apprehended and his apparently sincere remorse - he had no reason to lie, as he was going to be spending the rest of his life behind bars no matter what - stood in sharp contrast to his aforementioned cohorts, most of whom basked in the Satanic afterglow of their despicable deeds, courting media attention and reveling in their hard earned notoriety.

Enter John “Derf” Backderf, whose semi-autobiographical work has extensively chronicled the middle-American punk rock experience, and whose long-running comic strip “The City” has been a mainstay of metropolitan alt.weeklies for years. Derf’s unique visual flair, his familiarity with the milieu, and his solid storytelling chops would, in and of themselves, be enough to make him a good choice to bring the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s formative years to the printed page. Add to this the fact that he was there, that he witnessed these events with his own two eyes, and that makes him uniquely suited to the task.

You see, the title of his book isn’t just some writerly conceit, a flourish of artistic licence. Backderf really was there, in the woody suburbs of Bath, Ohio, as one of the small group of people who counted themselves among Jeffrey Dahmer's "friends". And his wonderful book helps to explain, without ever excusing, how a damaged young boy could turn into a truly tragic monster.

Even the most ardent of serial killer aficionados is bound to find something new, here; some tantalizing new bit of trivia, or insight into the origins of Dahmer’s malfunction. I won’t do potential future readers the disservice of spoiling any of these. Instead, I will simply offer this endorsement: My Friend Dahmer is a worthy addition to the genre of serial killer lit, and as a graphic novel, it is a major milestone, perhaps one of the decade’s finest.

***



KAFKA 
by Robert Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz

Anyone wishing to learn about the life and writing of the massively influential Modernist writer Franz Kafka will find a wonderful guide in this beautifully illustrated, very well researched and engagingly written biography.

Crumb is the undisputed master of the form, and it’s clear that he enjoyed his subject here. He is equally adept at portraying (relatively) mundane incidents from Kafka’s day-to-day routine as he is at vividly bringing to life many of the horrid images from Kafka’s most important works, many of which Mairowitz aptly describes in brief but illuminating capsule summaries.

This is one of those rare works that should appeal to serious Kafka scholars, students looking to bone up on the subject, and newbies who want to get acquainted with the author before delving into his work. 

***



HENRY & GLENN FOREVER & EVER
By Tom Neely and Friends

This second collection of stories about the fictional relationship between hardcore punk/metal icons Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins may be an extended, inside joke, but it’s a great joke, well told - both narratively and visually - in an intriguing variety of ways.

Bringing together all of the second wave of Henry & Glenn Forever mini-comics, the book also features a full color gallery of cover art all done in instantly recognizable comic book styles, and more than half the book is made up of previously unpublished material.

The quality of the artwork varies, of course, but some of the work on display here is truly exceptional. One particularly excellent tale (my favorite in the collection) involves a mythical re-imagining of Danzig’s infamous backstage encounter with an overweight roadie who, after being viciously shoved by Danzig for making an “impertinent” request, knocks the diminutive rocker unconscious with a single punch. This graphic version of that oft-viewed encounter had me laughing so hard I had to put the book down and take a brief break, making it worth the price of admission all on its own.

Not that there aren’t any other good stories here - there are plenty. In fact, the second half of this weighty collection (over 250 pages) is, if anything, superior to the first half; so if you find your interest waning on first read, stick with it. Or hell, just jump right to the stories in the second half if you want; it's not like this is a chronological collection.

Bottom line, if you’re a fan of either Danzig or Rollins, you’ll find plenty here to appreciate, and you’ll be fending off your buddies’ attempts to “borrow” (i.e. steal) the damned thing.


Monday, June 5, 2017

BOB DYLAN'S NOBEL PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH (UPDATED JUNE 13)


In recognition of his being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016, Dylan eloquently appraises the impact that great literature has had on his songwriting, in particular Melville's Moby Dick, Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, and Homer's Odyssey. Whether or not you think Dylan was deserving of the honor (personally, I'm ambivalent), his acceptance speech is worth listening to.

UPDATE: Turns out he plagiarized his speech from SparkNotes.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DOCUMENTARIES ON NETFLIX ~ BULLET REVIEWS


GET ME ROGER STONE ~ Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank, and Morgan Pehme are the three people responsible for bringing us this landmark political documentary, perhaps the best of the genre since 2003's The Fog of War by Errol Morris.

To mark their film's debut, they penned an op-ed about it for The Daily Beast: "Over the course of the five-and-a-half years that we followed him for our new Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, Roger Stone went from being a down-and-out, has-been political dirty trickster to the individual most responsible for making Donald Trump the president of the United States."

If you're even minimally invested in the ongoing soap opera of the Trump Era in American politics, Roger Stone's personal arc as presented in this film is something you will feel in your bones, like pulling heavy G's. Early on, Jeffrey Toobin calls Stone "the sinister Forest Gump of American politics", a spiffy bon mot that hovers over a stark, dark truth that grows all the more terrifying and inescapable the longer you continue to ignore Nietzsche's warning and gaze upon it.

Anyone hoping to understand what the hell is going on these days needs to make this documentary part of their personal political education program. Watch ASAP and help spread the word.

*** **** ***


COMMAND AND CONTROL ~ Part of the PBS "American Experience" series, Robert Kenner's Command and Control tells the long-suppressed story about how a minor screw-up, followed by a number of bad decisions, eventually escalated into a deadly explosive outcome at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas, 36 years ago.

Combining harrowing historical footage, interviews with those involved, and exacting re-creations shot at a decommissioned Titan II silo, Command and Control is as gripping, suspenseful, and compelling as the best that Hollywood has to offer.  To call it entertaining would be crass, but denying the effect this film has on viewers would be foolish. It's a documentary, yes, but it's also a thriller.

Fortunately, Command and Control informs as it thrills. Alongside its detailed journalistic exposé of the Damascus disaster, the filmmakers also treat us to a compact history of America’s nuclear weapons programs, buttressed with information from a number of recently declassified documents.

Some of you will be pleased (and others, nonplussed) to learn that Command and Control steers clear of too much philosophical chin-stroking on the awesome subject of nuclear armaments and/or nulcear warfare in general. Suffice it to say that the facts in this case speak volumes on their own, for those inclined to hear.

This is another one to see ASAP and to help spread the word about. Tell your friends and family to watch!

*** **** ***


BOWIE: THE MAN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD ~ This film is lazy documentary wheel-spinning at its absolute worst. There is nothing new here, and it doesn't even do a good job of regurgitating what we already know. It's the same old anecdotes (his eyes!) told by the same old talking heads (whispering Bob!). Pounding the last nail in this doc's coffin is the fact that the filmmakers' were unable to secure the rights to even the briefest bits of Bowie's music, which means we're often treated to the bizarre spectacle of Bowie silently mouthing the words to his songs, while generic instrumental "soundalike" tracks play along. One of these days, we'll get a truly great David Bowie documentary. This one, however, is to be avoided at all costs.

*** **** ***


DMT: THE SPIRIT MOLECULE ~ This 2010 film is the documentary version of Dr. Rick Strassman's earlier book of the same name. Both explore the findings from Strassman's five-year study into the amazing, and occasionally spooky, effects of the naturally occurring psychedelic hormone N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, more popularly know as DMT.

Like the book, Strassman's film isn't for all tastes. For instance, while you don't need an undergraduate degree in organic chemistry to "get it", at some points a solid grounding in basic chemistry will make the difference between being able to follow along, or having the voices blur into the "WONKAWONKA" of Charlie Brown's teachers from those old TV specials.

Though there is a great effort put forth by the filmmakers to present the nitty-gritty granularity of the science behind the DMT experience, the heart of the film is most definitely the "experience reports" provided by those volunteers who took the heroic doses, traveled to the Other Side, and came back to tell us about it.

Depending on your previous levels of exposure to psychedelics, and to the lingo of the psychedelic experience, your mileage may vary. Personally, I found this doc to be incredibly fascinating and deeply satisfying. The first-hand reports are compelling, to say the least, and they have the ring of truth to them... even, and maybe especially, when they dip into those spookier realms. Because when scientists are forced to ask themselves whether or not they're accessing something akin to another "place" beyond four dimensional time/space... and furthermore, to wonder whether that "place" may be populated by conscious entities with a kind of existence that is so unlike our own as to make them invisible to us during our normal waking lives... Well, that's my sweet-spot, right there.

If the sentence previous to this one appeals to you, watch this movie. If not, don't.

*** **** ***


FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK ~ This documentary by Adam Nimoy--son of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who embodied the character of Mr. Spock for over half a century--is both a son's loving tribute
to a father, and an in-depth exploration of a bona fide pop culture phenomenon.

To put it bluntly, For the Love of Spock is everything that David Bowie: The Man Who Changed the World is not.

To start with, it's chock-a-block with novelty and revelation. If you weren't a full-blown Trekker/Trekkie prior to watching this film--the kind who reads all the actor biographies and autobiographies as they come out--you are pretty much guaranteed to learn a LOT of things you never knew about Leonard Nimoy before. Some of it good, some of it bad, most of it interesting... MOST of it.

Ultimately, Adam has provided us with a fine, complex portrait of his father, a man whom people the world over recognize at a glance, but without ever giving a thought to the hidden depths contained within the man beneath those infamous pointy ears. Now, they'll know. He should be proud.

Oh, and Zachary Quinto seems like a really nice guy. Recommended for a lazy Sunday afternoon watch with the whole family!

ROGER WATERS' LATEST IS TRANSCENDENT AND DEVASTATING

I seem quite incapable of stopping myself from listening to "The Last Refugee", the latest preview cut from Roger Waters' Is This The Life We Really Want?, over and over again. It's an incredible track, a paradoxical mix of raw, open wound production over a delicate yet devastatingly poetic mise-en-scene... an absolute, unqualified masterpiece, right out of the gate. 

That production should be provided by Nigel Godrich is only fitting, perhaps, seeing as Radiohead carried the Pink Floyd mantle into the 90's and beyond (much to their chagrin at times). A match of artist and producer that was obviously forged in heaven, or Valhalla, or wherever all transcendent things are forged.

As a life-long Pink Floyd fanatic who has always, more or less, found things to love in Waters' solo output, I have to admit that the passing of a quarter century (and the release of his opera, Ca Ira) left me more than a little skeptical that he would be able to recapture the magic of old. 

As of today, I am no longer a skeptic. Is This The Life We Really Want? is shaping up to be a worthy successor to Amused to Death, Waters' previous and best post-Floyd release, if not its equal, or perhaps even its superior. Either way, we'll know for sure in two weeks, when the album is finally released.

Oh, and if you're reading this... thank you, Roger. For everything.