11 November 2018

A NEW - AND YET OLD - DIRECTION FOR THE URANIUM CAFE



When I started this blog way back whenever that was the focus was older horror and sci-fi, old exploitation style films, foreign films (usually older) and a few older movies that have had a lasting impact on me. Somewhere I got detoured and began doing more and more newer stuff. And that may well be okay if not for the fact I find myself really not liking anything anymore that is new. Well, I honestly cannot say I do not like anything new anymore tan I like everything that is old. A lot of old stuff is simply horrid. But I have grown sick of the over the top elements of newer films. I will give two quick examples of movies that left me uneasy lately: Terrifier and Wolf Creek 2. I just found them to be repulsive and I have never been a fan of ultra-violent films, the so called cinema of the extreme, like A Serbian Film or Irreversible. Even more excruciating than those films is when some "film critic" on Youtube reviews Irreversible and uses a french accent every time he says the word. And I have never seen the film and never will. I do not think it is too hard to make people feel uneasy or revolted. I would say that is the easiest thing to do. And I just do not want to explore those types of films any longer, either in viewing or writing. I am not anti-violence or even gore to some degree, but extreme cinema and torture porn type films are no longer my cup of tea. 

I will be returning to the types of films I enjoy writing about at least even if I do not always enjoy the total viewing experience. I will be sharing more old Japanese films and Mexican wrestling movies here, and giant bug movies and classic psychotronic fare. My period of trying to modernize the content is, for the most part, over. I may write some articles on the subject matter itself, like why I hate films like Terrifier. But I will not be reviewing those sorts of films any longer. Because I loathe them and see no reason why I should not. I will not review or write about movies the way I used to should you decided to check back to some of my early posts. Those posts were rather long and researched and often contained a lot of spoilers. I will go more for an over view these days and write no more than, let's say, a page and a half of a Word Document file. Thats enough. I may mention whether or not I liked the film and if it s real stinker I may suggest passing on it all together but will not tear it apart too much as I am prone to do with newer films. I will start with my next post and have no idea what it will be, but it will be before the 90's for sure. 


04 November 2018

TV SHOWS/DAREDEVIL



So I actually like the Daredevil TV series from Marvel and Netflix. There are a couple little problems I will mention but they are far from deal breakers. And while I am on the topic of Daredevil I will say I did not hate the 2003 movie version with Ben Affleck though most people seem to really give it a hard time. But lets not dwell on that. The comic book of Daredevil when I bought it (during the early 70's) was drawn mostly by Gene Colan with some issues drawn by Bill Everett. I was never a super fan of Colan's work but I loved Bill Everett. Everett has a lot of writing credits on the show and I think that is great though I am not sure whether he actually wrote anything or is given credit for story ideas from the original comic books. The character in the days I bought comic book (when it was about 15 cents) was not so dark as the one he evolved into later, becoming a sort of Marvel version of Batman's "Dark Knight" persona. The character had marginal super powers was a sort of an outsider and seemed a bit apart from the rest of the Marvel superheroes. I seldom recall him teaming up with other characters like Captain America or Spiderman. He was not Avenger material. And the TV show seems to capture that aspect of his personality. Daredevil/Matt Murdock is played pretty darn well by Charlie Cox. He is in great shape as Daredevil and as Matt Murdock the blind, sympathetic lawyer he is equally convincing. So far in my viewing he has dealt with Wilson Fisk (I am assuming he is King Pin from the comic books) and now he is scrapping with Frank Castle (The Punisher), played by Jon Bernthal. Elektra has entered the drama and I know from reading ahead that Dex will be introduced soon. As allies he is partnered up with law associates and friends Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. 



What I like about the series is the dark mood and eye to detail in the shots and scenes. The camera work is really exceptional. The fight scenes are never boring. Rather bloody and violent and super fast paced. I quit watching Iron Fist because I found the kung fu sequences to be pretty weak and dull. But here they are carefully choreographed and shot to near perfection. In one recent episode there is an almost single shot sequence where Daredevil fights a bunch of Irish mobsters as he goes down a staircase  and it is simply of the highest calibre of filmmaking. The acting for the most part is pretty good as is the most of the dialog. Of course there is some padding here and there and some parts drag on a little longer than necessary, but for the most part (not 100%) I can handle it. And I will mention that Matt Murdock has a hell of a work ethic. He gets his ass beat, shot and stabbed the night before and for the most part misses a lot less time on the job than I ever did in my prime. I will watch it as long as it stays on the air so that is as good a recommendation i can give to a TV show. Iron Fist didn't make it too long with me and I can explore that in another post. TV shows are not like a movie. In a movie you may have to lose, if you choose, ninety minutes to two hours of your time. A TV series requires more of a commitment. I had read that Netflix may even pull the plug on the series after season three but I hope not. 



I have a couple problems and will mention them just because I like to talk about things I don't like. One problem I have is the use now and then (not all the time) of shaky cam work. Usually when two or more people are in a room talking. I hate shaky cam work. I just hate it, but I hate it more when it is a situation where a steady cam seems the only option. In a fight sequence or battle scene (like the beginning of Saving Private Ryan) it can work. But in a room with two people talking I do not want to be reminded there is a hungover guy walking around with a hand held camera. I also feel like some of those talking scenes go on a bit too long. Like, way too long. In fact last night I just could not take a scene where Frank Castle is opening up to Daredevil on top of a building about the roots of his anger. Good grief it just went on and on. I even began to click the advance scene button on my video player, moving it forward ten seconds. And it just kept clicking and clicking! Maybe they don't have another scene to cut back and forth to or something, but it just has the feeling of gratuitous padding. "We need to fill in five minutes of film time here folks, so... ah...talk a lot." I do find myself skipping forward during some of these type of scenes. Another small peeve I have is about the shapely Karen Page character. Seems every time Foggy or Matt makes a piercing legal pint to an opposing member of the legal community the camera pans to Karen and shows her snickering and gloating in the background. I really is a cheap shot in terms of laying out the scene's message and does not look professional at all. It has happened so far three or four times and it just does not fit in with how the characters should be evolving or whatever it is characters do. But she's pretty hot in those office dresses so I can let it slide. (NOTE: A few episodes later and this issue with Karen snickering and smirking while Foggy or Matt is talking some heavy duty law stuff to the DA or whomever is still going on. Really annoying.)

And the last thing that bothers me, and bothers me the most, is the character of Foggy Nelson. Not only does actor Elden Henson annoy me whenever he is on screen but Foggy seems to be the most poorly written character of the show. His shaggy long hair, pot belly and baggy pants and attempts at comic relief are just off putting. It is as if the writers and director and Henson himself decided they would try to recreate one of those goofy sidekicks from the old matinee movies whose sole function is to make the hero look even better. Even worse are scenes where he becomes serious and emotional, or even tough. He is a necessary character and the comic book character was a tad slovenly as well with his bad suits and bow tie. But to be honest I do not think this actor pulls off whatever it is he is trying to do with the character.

One cannot have everything the way they want it in life and I can live with one irritating character and a few quirks in an otherwise well made TV adaptation of one of my favorite Marvel comic book superheroes.



28 October 2018

MY COVER OF 96 TEARS


- 96 Tears -
Billy Daniels and the Bent Eights

07 October 2018

TV SHOWS/MINDHUNTER


I thought I would do a few posts on some TV shows I have watched, or tried to watch, either recently or in the past year or two. Now I must make a couple things clear. I live in China and so none of these play on either Chinese TV or Chinese streaming services. I have to download them and I tend to binge on an entire season at a time or in some cases (like the current Better Call Saul episodes) I download online as they come out and watch them week to week. I also tend to not even know what is playing or what new shows are coming out. I do not scour the web that often looking for movies or TV shows. I find out about things from other people's blogs or from some place like IMDb. And I probably will not get into who the actors are since I usually do not care about the names of most TV actors. In some cases I do, but usually I don't care. They become something like "the guy who played the skinny genius on Criminal Minds".

So, with that as a background let me get to the first show here. It is Mindhunter from Netflix and I will assume that this show needs little introduction as it is considered super popular. Its what everybody at the water cooler is talking about these days. It is rated really high on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. But guess what? I didn't like it. I got sucked into It because David Fincher's name was attached to it so I figured it couldn't be too bad. To have the name of a renowned director like that involved in the project surely guaranteed success. Then I remembered goddamned Twin Peaks.

Mindhunter's general premise is the development of the FBI's serial killer profiler section back in the 70's. The storyline here is fictional but it is a compelling premise nonetheless. I have read loads of serial killer books in my life (comes from spending ten years in the Pacific Northwest) and so the names of the killers were familiar as were many of the terms. Of course for some reason the development of the department is met with detective show cliché resistance from superiors and in true form of newer crime shows at least one of the team will be a sexy, powerful and sophisticated female. All of this is okay. If these were obstacles I could not watch anything. The first two episodes directed by Fincher were nice looking (and I understand he directed the last two episodes of season one as well, but I did not make it that far) but one could really tell when he was not helming the camera and direction. The other directors were okay but they were not David Fincher. But even with that the first two episodes were really slow. Like, really fucking slow. And therein, along with a couple other issues, lies the paramount problem for me. The mood of every episode was just… well… boring. I kept waiting for things to get developed and move along. Even the interviews with infamous serial killers were dull and contrived.  The FBI interviewers employed all the routines, from good cop bad cop to  sympathizing with and even buddying up to the killers. But it was dull to me. Unless shifty eye glances is exciting. Okay, one sick ass guy whacked off on a high heel shoe. That was riveting I guess. I was looking forward to it all but I gave up on the series at about episode six or seven I think.


If you stare long and hard into the abyss 
you know what stares back? High ratings!

The series also had a social justice laden agenda against white men and I sensed a theme being espoused was that all men (especially white, straight  ones) were innately misogynistic an dangerous animals. The series seem to moving in a direction showing the similarities between the two male FBI agents and the killers they were interviewing. Like when the FBI guy looks in the mirror, maybe he sees a rapist killer looking back! Holy shit! It is so thought provoking. I also took issues with other obvious social justice messages that were progressively anti-American. For example the remark about (referring to Richard Nixon directly but methinks Donald Trump by way of "clever" innuendo) how could a person be the President of the USA and not be a sociopath. What? The? Fuck? And I also did not get into odd remarks about serial killers being the sick by products of a sick society. How can you not have serial killers in a decadent culture like America that spawns such confusing issues as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War and (of course) Watergate. The young white FBI agents in training are painted as misogynistic, homophobic racists. Give me a break.I felt I was being clubbed over the head every episode with one message after the other.

I wanted to see serial killer drama and suspense, not another liberal Hollywood critique on evil white guys and conservative politics. And hell, I could have accepted that even. But the long drawn out scenes of people moping and brooding and being sour like a pack of European existentialists was just to much. You know, they staring into the abyss and it is staring back. The scenes are all washed and dark out and the score is always bleak. Okay, I get it, I get it. Serial killers and rotting America and the fermenting evil in the hearts of men and so we need all this artsy dark photography and actionless acting. Yea, I get it. Maybe for a two hour one shot movie it may have worked, but not for a TV series. Not for me anyway. I seem to be in the aesthetically enlightened minority here and the other people who did not dig it seem to have the same gripes. Pretentious liberal messages. Anti-American (at least anti conservative America, as liberal pot head hippies are all portrayed in a more favorable light), anti-white male and simply BORING.  Seemed like my cup of tea at first but I had enough pretty early on.


Well, from this scene can you guess who wears the pants on this team. 



04 October 2018

4/20 MASSACRE

Well I guess you can learn something new everyday if you want to. Keep your mind open. Sometimes I actually do not even want to learn anything new and yet I do. Like regarding this crappy ass independent horror movie called 4/20 Massacre. I already knew that most independent horror movies sucked big time, and this one was no exception. It sucked so bad I think I watched less than  ten minutes of it total before I just could not take it any longer. But I did learn that pot heads have an actual "holiday" of sorts on April 20th each year. Why the 20th exactly? I guess I could Google that up but I don't really care. Just knowing that there is an actual day of celebration for nothing other than huffing on cannabis was more new information than I could take in one day. Now mind you that while I do not drink or do drugs myself any longer in life back in the day I smoked my share of pot and did some other pretty wild ass things related to being "cool" and drinking and drugging. Yea. It was pretty hip and enlightening and all. But back then we did drugs, like marijuana, the way drugs should be done. With the knowledge that we are actually harming our minds and bodies and deep inside under our hippie arrogance and paranoid conspiracy theories about "big brother" watching us, we knew we had a problem. A serious problem. And we longed to actually not be smoking pot and drinking and snorting shit. Sure, we were young and dumb, but guilt ridden. In a good way. Well, now a new generation of dumb ass young people with smart phones have a Weed Day. It must be like Earth Day or Gay Day I guess. For Weed Day they must stand up and toke away and be proud and take selfies of themselves all stoned. And hell, nowadays pot isn't bad for you any longer. What the hell did we know back in the Led Zeppelin days? We didn't have the Internet yet so we were a bunch of unread hicks back then. I know I was. Hell, If you knew something you had to have read it in a book, newspaper or magazine. And that stuff ain't nowhere as reliable as Reddit or Google +. So guess what! Pot not only does not cause cancer or other ailments, but it actually cures them all! Hell yea. We didn’t know that shit back then. We just assumed inhaling a burning weed that caused immediate mental impairment into our lungs and holding it as long as we could had to cause some slight bit of harm. Nah. And anything you read to the contrary is propaganda from the tobacco and alcohol industries. 

So, in any case, what is this movie about? I really don't know. I hated it so much I turned it off. It was too bad for me. I don't know want to know anything about it. Maybe you have to be stoned on some of that marijuana stuff to get into it. Takes place out doors. Teenagers hiking and camping. Bunch of dumb girls with bongs. So, pretty original from the start. And the "dense forest" the girls are often turned around in and that the killer creeps around in camouflage in looks more like the type of sparsely wooded area you might find around a rest stop or State park. Shit you can see fifty yards away in any direction. Later, I gather from some frustrated fast forwarding, some psycho in the woods starts killing them off in typical slasher style to protect his crop of homegrown dope. But this so called action does not occur until about  about two thirds of the way into the film. Or more. So many of these crappy outdoor movies rely on lots of walking and lots of talking to move the story along. The filmmakers are too dumb to do anything else with the cheap actors and expensive equipment. In one dismal sequence even fast forwarding couldn't save me. It seemed like I could not get out of a section of the film where two stoned girls were just walking and talking through the "deep dark” wilderness. It just went on and on. Unbelievable to be honest. And just what the heck were they yammering about for so long? Who cares. Who fucking cares! It is a way of just filling in frames of film to pad out the movie. I am sure the thing was shot on video but you get my drift. I just began praying for the slasher killer to start shredding them to bits, to make the misery end. This movie is bad, bad, bad. Not in the so bad it is good sort of bad, rather it is just so bad it is simply fucking bad kind of bad. This is what happens when loser stoners make movies I guess. I suggest people avoid this film. It may well be a gateway movie. After this you are may start thinking Troma films aren't really so bad after all. Just say no. 




Yes brother! Kill them all! Kill! Kill! I am with you!


09 August 2018

CONFESSIONS OF A JADED OLD BLOGGER/PART ONE

Recently I have yet once again reevaluated my blog and my overall blogging goals or lack thereof. I made some decisions I will try to abide by (for my own sake and the sake of my dwindling but dedicated  to the core readership) and have taken some some under the hood action as well. I looked over my entire blog from my first post way back when to my most recent. I did some deep and profound soul searching, the type of which few in our modern society are equipped to undertake, and made some discoveries, some good and some bad and some (you got it) ugly. Let me share the parts I can remember with you. 

1) I still enjoy blogging and want to maintain my old blog. Despite all my struggles with even being able to do the blog from inside China, where Google and all its products are blocked, I still find myself wanting to do a post more than now and then. It is not that I do not want to blog or lack material or the basic ability to write about things in general but it is rather I have suffered so many set backs and let downs that I have lost more than a little bit of zest and passion. I think that is natural to lose some momentum even under the best of situations and one does not have to maintain the same level of zeal he had at the beginning of an endeavor all the way to the end. And while I am far from passionate about blogging the way I once was I still want to churn a few more posts before either I give up utterly or I can no longer access outside sites from China or Google just drops Blogger because Google is about as evil as China in the end. But slightly less evil of course. 

2) I do not like my newer style of writing/posting and my selection of content too much. This is actually a complicated issue. The original Uranium Cafe of way, way back started off on some Opera hosted blog platform. That got blocked and then more and more stuff started getting blocked in commie China about 2006 or so. About the time they were making promises to not block the Internet. I switched to a self hosted site and then it got too expensive and troublesome to manage and decided to host here at Blogger. I actually over time have dropped over 100 posts of content because it all did not fit in to what I originally wanted for the site, which was to focus on older, more "psychotronic" styled films. I started another blog called Necrotic Cinema that I used for writing about newer horror films or more gory styled movies. It became a struggle to maintain two blogs, and I merged the content form that blog into this one. 

If you were to go back and check the content of my first pages (easy to do since I use a page navigation hack at the bottom of my blog pages so you can zip around easily) you would see all old movie stuff. Those old posts were also written in a style I do not use anymore and doubt I ever will again. Long researched posts with loads of original screen captures. Written with a tone of respect and admiration at times even for schlock.  I like old bad movies a lot. And old good movies I really truly love and watch over and over. About half way through my back pages all the films shift to newer horror, mostly after 2000. This is where I merged NC with this blog and then deleted that blog or stopped posting to it at least. I forget. Maybe it is still out there. But after that this blog took a new and different direction. I am more burned out and cynical these days. I now find myself not even writing much about movies and seemed to be doing this sort of angry tirades about social justice Hollywood. And that brings me to my next point...

3) I just don't like newer movies all that much. I simply hate all the social messages and woke themes and simple lack of fun in most newer films. For example I watched a video about how out of touch old movies were when they said things like "wonder how many Germans we're gonna kill" in WWII type films like The Dirty Dozen. You should never insult an entire nationality. Better to have made clear they were going to kill only Nazis. Or Imperial Japanese soldiers, not actual Japanese. As if it is all two different things. Nowadays it is better to show dirty Americans executing hapless Germans or Japanese soldier. You know, showing the "truth" about the evil empire And is always okay. I have touched on this sort of thing enough recently and am getting tired of it. It annoys me so much I find myself watching fewer new movies. Add to that the fact that the horror genre is loaded with a shit load of crappy ass indie material that is simply unwatchable and I can see why I am flustered. Social justice message movies and amateur drek. 

4) My attitude towards social media and the elusive so called "blogging community" has changed. The very nature of blogging itself has changed and people tend to view the Internet on their smart phones or tablets while walking or on the bus or in Starbucks. The attention spans of people in general have become shorter and more prone to boredom or the "meh" attitude. It became harder for me to keep writing those long, overworked posts and have them ignored in terms of views or comments, while a pinup girl post of a woman in a swimsuit, with no text, became my most visited post ever. In time my whole attitude towards all it became bitter and even hostile. For a variety of reasons I quit social media and have no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on and so on. Nothing except this blog (and a couple other blogs) and Youtube. While Youtube is in fact social media it is different and I also watch a lot of old schlocky ass movies there. But even here at this blog I recently did some house cleaning in some departments that go back to the days of trying to be part of the rancid joke that is the blogging community.

5) My feelings towards other blogs and bloggers has either matured or soured, depending on how you look at things. I was invited to be part of something called the League of Tana Tea Drinkers years ago and I was very flattered and grateful for that. I did not solicit myself and and want to say thanks to the gentleman who started it all and invited, John C who is a fantastic blogger (check out his blog here). But I took down my banner from my side bar that displayed my membership there. I have no hard feelings but rather the club is sort of defunct and the site has not been updated since 2012. But I really liked having that coveted banner in my sidebar. It was hard to take down and I spent a long time thinking it over. The deal was I just want to blog for myself now. I removed all such banners, like the stupid and worthless Horror Alliance banner. I also got sick of the Blogger Follower gadget. Not only had my number of Followers not gone up from 151 for about five or more years, it WENT DOWN! To 149. Fucking shit. Two twerps unfollowed me recently. I angrily took the gadget off along with the useless ass Google + badge. The goddamned thing can't go up one follower for over five years then recently the count goes down two. Who needs that lame ass shit I ask you?

NOTE: Later I had a change of heart and put my LOTTD badge back. John was always nice and helpful to me and encouraging, and it is the only group that ever approached me and invited me in. I also put my follower badges back up because, well, to be honest, I am desperate and no matter how "tough" I might sound here in these posts, I have a hard time being an asshole and hard ass. 

Further I am going through my blogroll blogs and deleting any blogs I do not care for. The only reason I followed most of those blogs was that they might follow me back and the number on my Follower gadget would get higher and higher, and as the numbers got higher so would my worth as a human being I guess. Well in fact I do genuinely like a lot of blogs and when they are updated I check them out and may even leave a comment. But a lot of those blogs I follow suck and I am not going to follow a blog that sucks anymore. And maybe some blogs don't really suck but I may had some falling out with the guy who runs the blog, back in my really stupid period of trying to connect with other members of the blogging community. I could tell you some stories but it is a waste of time and energy. I found that they are all mostly pretty much a bunch angry America hating liberals and could be downright aggressive at times with their opinions. Okay, maybe it seems I can be too but actually I am often tongue in cheek and using hyperbole and satire. I don't tell people to "fuck off" and unfriend them or unfollow them on some pussified social media platform because their view on some issue is not a carbon copy of mine.  But now I have decided why not. Fuck 'em. You pussies! Goddamned socialists! 

I think it is always good to end on an up note and so I will wrap up this first part of this most riveting topic for now. I will conclude my deep introspections shorty in part two. Please stayed tuned as there will be the most profound and lofty introspections to be revealed at that time. I might dare say they could well change the current path that humanity is mired down on.