Duke Ellington - Isfahan This is great. Pure silk.
The Prince Philip Movement is a religious sect followed by the Yaohnanen tribe on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu.
The Yaohnanen believe that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the consort to Queen Elizabeth II, is a divine being; the pale-skinned son of a mountain spirit and brother of John Frum. According to ancient tales, the son travelled over the seas to a distant land, married a powerful lady and would in time return. The villagers had observed the respect accorded to Queen Elizabeth II by colonial officials and concluded that her husband, Prince Philip, must be the son from their legends. MORE.
The view off the back of our porch. (Taken with picplz.)
(Taken with picplz.)
I’m a glutton for punishment. I really am. Having not had enough of the 1973 version of Wicker Man, I sought out the 2006 remake by Neil Labute, starring Nichola Cage.
I should’ve known better. The reviews of this movie online, in contrast to the glowing reviews of the original, are horrible. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 15% positive rating, which is pretty impressive.
Watching this movie makes me wonder what the hell any of the principles were thinking. Nicholas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski, Frances Conroy. All of them, accomplished actors. Nicholas Cage and Ellen Burstyn won Academy Awards, for chrissakes! And Neil Labute is an award winning playwright. But this movie is a mess, and it deserves all the poor reviews it’s received.
Where the original opened with a languid, panning flyover of the Scottish isles, the remake hurries into action as Officer Edward Malus, overacted in every possible way by Cage, witnesses a horrific accident that haunts him throughout the movie. The main problem with this is that the accident has little emotion and I felt especially cheated at the end when we learn that the whole thing was merely a clumsy plot device employed by Labute.
Malus falls into a funk because he wasn’t able to save the little girl from the crash, so he takes some time off from the CHiPs patrol to sulk at his home. He gets a note in the mail from his former lover, Willow- played with a deer in the headlights blank stare by Molly Parker- saying that her little girl, Rowan, is missing on an island in the Puget Sound. A quick search on the internet by Malus reveals that Summersisle (see what Labute did there? he changed the name, but just slightly…)is a private island with no phone service and the source of some sweet organic honey.
After some corny dialog with his partner- who, with his porn-star mustache and crazy expressions, looks like an extra from a Broken Lizard flick- Malus sets out to find the girl, even though he has no authority outside the state of California. Much is made of the fact that Summersisle is private property, and it’s apparent pretty quickly that outsiders are not welcome. Also apparent is that the women are in charge and the men are docile, and may possibly have their tongues cut out. Scary.
A triathlon of silliness ensues as Malus tears up the tranquil little town looking for clues to little Rowan’s whereabouts: he runs here, he bikes there, he swims somewhere else. Sometimes he wears a jacket and a tie, other times it’s a bear suit. (If the soundtrack included the theme song to the Benny Hill show, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all.)
Much of Cage’s acting is unintentionally funny, such as when he gets to the inn and starts banging his badge on the bar to get the patrons’ attention, or when he threatens a schoolteacher with a gun to steal her bicycle. Or when he tumbles down a hill in the middle of a field of bees screaming, “Not the eyes! Not the eyes!”
Of course, the whole thing ends up being an intricately plotted plan by Sister Summersisle(Burstyn) to get a male sacrifice to the island for the May Day celebration. It turns out the plot involved every woman in the movie, including the mother and daughter in the car crash and a female officer at the police station. It’s this kind of writing that really taxes credibility, even in a fantasy or horror movie. At least be consistent with the internal reality of the movie…
Cage is a sarcastic SOB throughout the film, and I’m not sure if Labute intended the character to be that way or not. The soundtrack is pure SciFi channel horror movie stuff, and although the music isn’t subtle, at least it’s appropriate, as opposed to the true weirdness of the folk music of the original.
Whereas the original film focused on the clash of pagan and Christian customs and mores, this remake is a jumbled mess of masculinity vs. femininity with some new age bullshit about goddesses thrown in for good measure. The whole undercurrent of sexuality in the original is replaced by overt violence in the remake. Gone is the seduction of the virgin from the original that resulted in Brett Ekland’s naughty wall dance. Instead, we get several instances of Cage as the scared male protagonist lashing out physically at the matriarchal world around him. It’s all B movie violence though; not a single beaten woman shows a bruise, let alone any blood. His beatdown of Leelee Sobieski is especially interesting since she’s able to fully recover from what looks like unconsciousness not ten minutes later for the festivities at the end.
I’m not giving anything away by saying the ending of the remake mirrors the end of the original. A nice flourish is having Rowan light the fire with a malicious little smile on her face…
I won’t lie to you and say I spent any money whatsoever on this movie. I downloaded the flick off of Pirate Bay and watched it, but I still feel like Neil Labute personally owes me about two hours of my life. You can just use Paypal if you want, Neil.
It’s midweek, and the honey and I are making plans to watch a few horror movies Saturday night- good ones that neither of us have seen before. I look around on the web and see some positive reviews of an old British horror film called Wicker Man. I check IMDB, and I see that the flick has a pretty good rating- like eight stars out of ten. You can’t argue with the cast, either: Edward Woodward, who played The Equalizer on TV when I was a kid, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland. Excellent- I have my pick.
So we pop the movie in after dinner, and almost from the first frame, we get the feeling the movie is gonna be strange, but I have faith in IMDB, I really do. With reviews like this:
Simply a perfect movie
by Scifiboy666 (Sat Jul 26 2008 21:06:53)
I mean, is there anything negative to say about this film? I think it’s a perfect movie. Everything about it is just so chilling and so real. The acting, the music, and the scenery makes it so authentic, almost like it’s actually happening. It’s a spectacular movie…
who wouldn’t? Really, if Scifiboy666 thinks it’s spectacular, who am I to argue?
The movie opens with the protagonist, Sgt Neil Howie, played by Woodward, flying his single engine police pontoon plane over to the small Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a girl on the island, Rowan Morrison. What’s truly weird about this opening scene is the progression in the music from a totally appropriate Scottish sounding tune to what sounds like folk music sung by Tiny Tim, in baritone and minus the ukulele. But you know, it’s the early 70s, and we let it slide.
Howie meets some resistance, but he’s obviously a determined detective, and he doesn’t give up the search despite the initial reluctance of the inhabitants to tell him anything resembling the truth.
We follow our hero to the isle’s inn, where we’re treated to a few more gems of song, which climaxes in a dance of seduction- in the buff- by Britt Ekland, playing the innkeepers daughter, Willow. Click the picture to see the dance…
It might be sexy and seductive, except that the whole thing is extremely corny and the words to the song are atrocious.
Having somehow survived the night without going next door to bang miss Willow, Howie spends the next day gathering clues to Rowan’s disappearance and gradually we learn that Howie is a devout Christian virgin, this is a whole island full of pagans with loose morals, and the crops have been bad these past few years…
Of course, there’s another musical number, that consists of a kid playing a mouth harp and a bunch of preadolescent boys dancing around a maypole singing about the erect male penis. (No, I’m not making this up; I haven’t even gotten to the circle of nude virgins jumping through a fire and singing fertility songs, yet…)
By the end of the day, Howie has met the Lord of Summerisle- played by Christopher Lee- and concludes that Rowan is to be offered as sacrifice the next day in the May Day celebration, so that the good people of Summerisle can once again offer their delicious apples to the Queen. Sigh.
Howie’s second night at the inn, alas, brings no nude dancing by Britt Ekland, but the next day, we get to see Howie dress up as the Fool and take part in the May Day parade.
Oh yes, that is foreshadowing. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that the duel between the pagans and the Christian takes part largely through Woodward screaming some prayers and bargaining for his life.
This movie is hard to describe- it has an earnestness that can’t be denied, and from what I’ve read about the movie, they did a lot with a small budget. The cinematography is excellent, and Woodward in particular is good in his part. But the vibe of the movie veers wildly into the campiness of the Batman TV show and it’s definitely not a horror movie. Even the shock of the ending, which isn’t quite as astonishing as the reviews make it out to be, is lessened by the jarring juxtaposition of the final scenes with the funny costumes and bad folk music throughout.
The short “making of” extra on the dvd was interesting, but as we watched it, I found myself wanting to see the movie they were talking about, because it most definitely wasn’t the one we watched that night.
Watch it for the weirdness alone, don’t expect much, and you may enjoy. We didn’t.
A short but interesting interview with the new mayor of Flint, Michigan about his plans for the future of the city. Flint is well known as the birthplace of General Motors and during the early to mid 20th Century it became a major industrial center. The city has struggled to redefine itself since the sixties, when GM started closing its plants there. Michael Moore’s film, Roger & Me, dealt with issues surrounding plant closings, unemployment and the attendant problems of homelessness, drugs and crime.
An interesting house. This is not my style at all- I tend to like less modern structures, but I can appreciate the clean lines and although the minimalist landscaping is not to my liking, it accents this place well. Especially like the tree that’s been trained to grow through the railing and over the walkway below.
“However, he admits that not all insects make good cuisine. He also advises anyone trying his cockroach recipes not to think about what they are eating.”
Simply amazing wood sculptures.
“For an educated adult living in a developed nation, designing and building a wind turbine that generates electricity is something to be proud of. For a half-starved, uneducated boy living in a country plagued with drought, famine, poverty, disease, a cruelly corrupt government, crippling superstitions, and low expectations, it’s another thing altogether. It’s nothing short of monumental.”