Writing on the deck again, it’s a little cool but not too bad. Last night we went to Mike’s cd release show—that was good. John Shipe played some slide with him and that sounded sweet. We had a nice day yesterday, rode our bikes over to Valley River Center and saw Pelham 123. Then rode over to House of Records and for coffee and to the grocery store. I finished Paris Between Meals and started James Lee Burke’s Jesus Out to Sea story collection. I haven’t read a book of short stories in a long time and I’m looking forward to that.
Pelham 123 was alright. Denzel Washington was compelling and likeable, as always, and Travolta played a tightly-wound psychopath who was pretty complex, a real nasty dude. The cinematography was interesting—choppy and fragmented in the standard post-MTV way, but composed differently. Somehow they’re able to wash the screen in high-tech, mechanistic lighting and still grab and define a gritty element of the frame—a face in passing subway car, for instance. There seemed to be a brief nod to 70’s cinema in the first twenty second of titles, before the whole thing went into the computer editing blender.
The movie I watched Saturday, Machine Girl, also co-starred technique—violence animated by computers. For instance, a face would sort of melt away into a gory pop-eyed skull as it was wittled by machine gun fire. Throwing stars would slice victims into neat sections which would separate like slices of aspic. The gore was ridiculous, though it served classic themes of revenge, family honor, and loyalty. I’m not sure what that was trying to say, but I was pretty bored, and watched the last twenty minutes of the movie on high speed fast forward. Once you’ve seen fifteen or twenty headless torsos spraying phony blood, a chainsaw fight is not over the top, but way under the top.