Sunday, March 27, 2005

"You call this a soccer riot!?"

I just finished "Hoolifan: 30 Years of Hurt" by Martin King and Martin Knight, two guys who know more about throwing punches than all of the boxers on "The Contender" combined. What this book did, though, was serve as a major eye-opener to a completely unfamiliar culture.

The book is set mostly in the late 60's and all of the 70's, when soccer "rioting" was in its hey-day. Now a thing of the past because of the heightened security concerns at stadiums these days. Martin King was a prominent member of the Chelsea Headhunters, a group of soccer "hooligans" who attended games primarily for the sport of kicking the tar out of the other team's supporters. And they were good at it too.

The amazing thing, though, was that even these groups of guys (and every team had one, as he vividly recounts his run-in with each team's groups throughout the book) had a strong sense of dignity. King himself actually likens the fights to boxers, in that both sides understand that they are going to get bashed, but are willing to shake the hand of the man striking him. Fighters whose reputation preceeded them at the stadiums would often receive standing ovations when they entered on a matchday from the opposing team's supporters. That's right. The very people that were the victims of his punches.

On a more general scale, it is amazing to be reading about a group of people who made a hobby of travelling from town to town (wherever the team went) and scrapping with the other team's supporters. That this became an actual sub-culture and has never really been experienced stateside is intriguing as well.

Even though almost the entire book is the authors recounting brawl after brawl, the book is an incredibly fascinating read from start to finish, if nothing else because of its shock value. The prevalence of this phenomenon is truly amazing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Brad's Upcoming Movies

Well, it took me forever but I finally got around to compiling the (rather short) list of movies coming out that I'm actually interested in seeing. So, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order.

"Millions." A film by Danny Boyle ("The Beach," "Trainspotting") about two brothers who find a boatload of money along some traintracks. One thinks the money should be put to good use, the other prefers to spend it.

"Appleseed." A CGI/Anime movie out of Japan that doesn't appear to have made it to theaters, but will be released on DVD stateside this May. I highly recommend looking it up on under Independent because the visuals are simply stunning.

"Kingdom of Heaven." Hey, what would a summer blockbuster be without Orlando Bloom? Anyways, Hollywood finally got around to making a film about the Crusades, and this is it. From Ridley Scott, the director of Gladiator, expect an amazing film.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." I'm not normally a Tim Burton fan, but I am definitely interested in seeing how his adaptation of this classic story plays out. Even the trailer is intriguing, and I think Depp was a great choice for Willy Wonka.

"Hostage." Starring Bruce Willis, this movie is already out in theaters, but looks great. The title makes it sound as though its a straight-up kidnapping story, but the plot twists much more than that, although it is a Bruce Willis movie so it will probably be heavy on stuff blowing up and low on thoughtful dialog.

"New World." Another summer blockbuster (though I believe it comes out in November) about the founding of America and the first contact with the Native Americans. The movie stars Colin Farrell as John Smith and chronicles the settling of our country.

"The Interpreter." A summer thriller starring Nicole Kidman as an interpreter at the United Nations who accidentally overhears an assassination plot. Sean Penn plays the government agent who doesn't believe her story but is forced to protect her from those who think she knows too much. But what else is the interpreter hiding?

"A Scanner Darkly." You could say that this film is 'starring' Keanu Reeves, but the entire film is actually animated. The actors (Reeves, Downey Jr., Harrelson) are strikingly rendered to look as real as animation can make them. Worth seeing just for the visuals.

Well, that's about all I could come up with. The problem is that Hollywood is opening the floodgates for crap such as "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" and "Guess Who" to flow freely into cinemas, making the typical summer blockbuster indeed a rare gem. But the few gems that will be out there this summer will be precious.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The NEW way to read about movies!

Check out the newest collaboration from Brad and Steve, the guys who brought you "Beautiful Day." Add to your favorites and links!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Movie Madness Described

As everyone knows, I have become a NetFlix junkie. It was Dariano that got me started on it last November, and I haven't looked back. I'm paying roughly $18 a month for this service, which makes it cheaper than Blockbuster if I can go through about 6 discs a month. Also around this time last November (I believe it was over Thanksgiving break), I had a conversation with Steve in which I said that I was hoping to expend my movie horizons beyond the "Fast and the Furious" movies of the world. I think Steve was so happy to hear this that he volunteered to put together a list of 87 movies that he had seen that were not in the "Hollywood formula." Hence, Steve's List was born.

Movie number 16 on Steve's List ("Bully") will be arriving in the mail today and I hope to see it soon, possibly over the weekend. However, I just also sent back "The Italian Job" this morning, certainly not a movie recommendation from Steve! My point is, that although I am continuing to see movies that I always wanted to see ("Italian Job" last night, "SWAT" sometime next week) I also am genuinely interested in seeing movies that maybe I wouldn't have normally picked anyways. The great thing is, NetFlix is allowing me to both at a fraction of the cost (yay for broke college students!).

So, OK, you're thinking, who cares? All you really want to know is what type of movies are on each list. Well, Steve's list has movies that include "The Godfather," "Requiem for a Dream," "American Beauty," and "Kill Bill." My list has movies that I have always wanted to see, such as "SWAT," "Das Boot" and "Open Range." Additionally, my list has recommendations from friends. Justin has recommended "Spirited Away" and "Secret Window," Failor recommended "The Recruit" and "Ronin", Ted recommended "Seven Samurai" and "The Man Who Would Be King," and Tim Campbell recommended "Igby Goes Down" and "The Virgin Suicides," and all of these recommendations, as well as the others that they have suggested, have been included on my 89-film list.

So basically, the hope with NetFlix is that I will get to see all sorts of movies from all sorts of genres made in all sorts of styles that I have never seen before, instead of watching the same movies over and over. This also is not a competition to determine who has better taste in movies. I'm just enjoying watching movies, and I appreciate everyone who has helped me find the ones I've watched already and the ones I'll watch in the future.

For complete Steve's and Brad's lists, please IM me with your preferred email address.