Author Archives: Clint Hardesty
Whisker Biscuit Killshot, Octane Hostage, Bodoodle Zapper 300: Three affordable and super high quality hunting rests
I saw them all in chronological order:
1. Amores Perros
2. 21 Grams
Biutiful starring Javier Bardem is a wonderful film. I’m also amazed when I watch a “slow-moving” film and find myself just as engrossed if not more so, than I normally find myself in something that moves along at a much faster pace (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford comes to mind).
I simply could not stop watching Biutiful. Javier Bardem stars as Uxbal a single father who lives in modern day Barcelona. Uxbal is a black marketer who is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. As time runs out he makes an effort to “put things right” in his life and come to grips with his impending death. It is a great meditation on life, death, family (the scenes with Uxbal’s dead father are so amazing), and the after life.
Inarritu presents Barcelona as practically a fourth world city. Many of the Spanish citizens as well as many African and Chinese immigrants struggle to provide for themselves and their families in whatever way they can. The story is great and Bardem’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen.
After watching Biutiful I decided to re-watch 21 Grams because it is available on Netflix Instant Watch. It is a great film as well. I did not like it as much as Biutiful but it is a lovely film with great performances by Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. It has more of the classic Inarritu plot/scene jumping around, moving back and forth, and then ending up tying all together than Biutiful. I want to say Biutiful was a little more on the “classic” side in regard to plotting.
I hope you will watch them both, but I especially hope you take the time to see Biutiful. It is not the feel good hit of the summer. It is sad and soul wrenching, but immensely hopeful and spiritually powerful.
I think maybe the Koreans are making the best movies in the world these days. Or how about, they are making some of my favorite movies these days (OldBoy, Crying Fist, Welcome to Dongmakgol, JSA, Tae Guk Gi, Memories of Murder, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Silmido).
Kim Ji-Woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, The Good, The Bad, and The Weird) has made of my favorite revenge/serial killer/moral tale/thrillers in I Saw The Devil.
Choi-Min Shik (Oh Dae Su in OldBoy) plays Kyung-chul a sadistic sexual predator/murderer who messes with the wrong guy’s (Soo-hyun played by Lee Byung-Hun, The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, A Bittersweet Life )fiance.
Along the way Soo-hyun brutalizes Kyung-chul. He catches him, tortures him, releases him, catches him again, tortures him, brings him back from the dead at least once to torture him again. You also get to meet Kyung-chul’s old college buddy…a canibalistic murderer who likes to eat raw human flesh.
Of course, things don’t go as planned for Special Agent Soo-hyun and he learns the age old lesson that so many other characters if movie and film have learned about revenge. Nevertheless, the way Kim Ji-Woon “tells” this story is very engaging, unique, and visually superb. It’s not even close to the best Korean movie I’ve seen, but it’s a very good movie and worth watching and better than just about any recent American thriller I’ve seen.
It’s available (subtitled) on Netflix Instant Watch. I recommend it!
Here’s the trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O7wgp0acAo
1. Silence of the Lambs: I’ve seen it close to twenty times and it just keeps getting better. As someone who has been writing fiction for a year now, I think I am much more able to appreciate what an amazing story this actually is. The characters are well-developed and intriguing. Of course Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter is probably the greatest villain of all time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silence_of_the_Lambs_(film)
2. Strictly Ballroom: A good 15 years before Dancing with the Stars some Australian filmmakers made this incredibly charming movie/spoof about ballroom dancing competitions in Australia. Again, an amazingly well-crafted story. It’s funny and surprisingly poignant and inspirational. The dancing is phenomenal. If you don’t like this movie you are not my friend.
3. The Grifters: John Cusack plays a con-artist who just about lost his life when a scam fell through. His mother, played by Anjelica Huston, is also a con-artist and is now trying to convince her son to leave “the life”. You won’t believe the orgy of back-stabbing, deceit, and intrigue this film offers up. The darkness of this story will not surprise those familiar with the writings of Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me, The Getaway, Pop. 1280).
Superhumans is a new show on The History Channel created and co-hosted by Stan Lee…yes that Stan Lee: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Lee
The show is co-hosted by Daniel Browning Smith, the world’s most flexible man: http://www.therubberboy.com/
Mr. Smith travels the world investigating the claims and exploits of real-life superhumans.
In episode one, Mr. Smith travels to India to meet a man who can conduct enough electricity through his body to power a hot plate and a blender, a man in San Diego who can calculate complex math problems faster than any calculator, a blind man who echo-locates so well he can safely ride a bike on the street, and a man in Texas who can fold skillets and break wrenches with his bare hands.
My favorite so far as been Bob Munden, the world’s fastest quick draw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thCl_mYIUBE
Not only can this guy pull his gun and get off a shot faster than you can blink (literally) his marksmanship is unparalleled. Watch the video and you can see him shoot a playing card in half (not the broad side either), shoot quarters out of the sky, I mean this guy is un-freaking believable.
Bob Munden is featured in episode 2 as is the Shaolin Monk whose one-inch punch is more powerful than a 30mph car crash.
Check this show out it’s awesome and it is available on Netflix Instant Watch.
“The whole history of science shows us that whenever the educated and scientific men of any age have denied the facts of other investigators on a priori grounds of absurdity or impossibility, the deniers have always been wrong.”–Alfred Russell Wallace (co-discoverer of the Theory of Evolution)
Did you know that the guy who first published a theory of evolution, the very theory that inspired Darwin to formulate his own theory, was a Ghost hunter?
Alfred Russell Wallace was not only the “co-discover” of the theory of evolution, he was also a social activist and one of the first prominent scientists to examine the impact of humanity on the ecology of earth….he also spent a lot of time going to seances and visiting psychics. However, he visited them in order to see whether or not he, and a whole host of his colleagues (including the father of American psychology William James), could study these unexplained phenomenon scientifically.
The story of Wallace, William James, Crookes (renowned Chemist and Physicist), and other notable scientists is told brilliantly in Debra Blum’s book Ghosthunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life after Death (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143038958/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1AXG7J2G2CA6Z1AJKVSS&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846).
I highly recommend you read it and learn more.
I first learned of H. H. Holmes when I read Erik Larsen’s fabulous account of the Chicago World’s Fair in The Devil and the White City http://www.amazon.com/Devil-White-City-Madness-Changed/dp/0375725601/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303743037&sr=1-1
In a nutshell, H. H. Holmes built a “murder castle” a few blocks from the fair. It was billed as a hotel, but what the guests, many of whom were young women, did not know was that many of the rooms were soundproofed and equipped with gas lines that let in…gas, whereby the trapped inhabitant would suffocate. Holmes used a secret chute to drop his victims’s bodies into his basement wherein he had constructed an incinerator room and an acid pit. Furthermore, Holmes would often sell the skeletal remains of his victims to medical schools.
Holmes managed to build the castle without any of his hired construction crews ever knowing the true nature of his architectural schemes. He did this by firing workers and hiring other workers and then firing them in order to ensure that know one really knew what the hell they were building.
There’s a pretty good documentary about Holmes on Netflix Instant Watch titled H.H. Holmes America’s First Serial Killer: http://www.hhholmesthefilm.com/
However, I think Larsen’s book is also worth your time.