Tuesday, May 09, 2006

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be --

I thought I was being a bit coy this weekend, titling my post Seven Days in May Redux, but seems I was dead right. Now that Rumsfeld's comfy little mini-CIA within the Pentagon (initiated back in 2002-3 when Rummy wasn't hearing what he wanted to hear from the real CIA or State Department) is essentially elevated to supplanting the real CIA via Bush's latest promotion (of his military head of the now-notorious NSA, which has been illegally spying on US citizens under Bush's own assertion of absolute Presidential power), anything goes.

But enough on that -- you've plenty of sources to read far more informed online info on all that than I'll ever provide -- I'm going to bullshit a bit on comics and movies.

I by and large ignore all the "Summer Movies!" writeups, in part because I don't want to harbor any false expectations: I prefer to view films as best I can on their own terms, past, present, future. Still, I confess to interest in some late summer offerings down the pike, including a new Jan Svankmajer feature Lunacy, apparently building upon his early short meditations on Poe (and a film I won't be seeing with my dear amigos Dobbs & Martin!), the latest from Dog Soldiers director Neil Marshall The Descent, and the first documentary investigation of the inner workings of the MPAA rating system, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, from Derrida director Kirby Dick. Lots to slosh through before those August and September offerings, though, including the escalating courtship between Hollywood and the Christian audiences (from The Da Vinci Code to Stephen Hopkins's shocker The Reaping) I find so perversely fascinating. I'd also love to see Nick Cave's Aussie western The Proposition, if only to taste a bit of 21st Century Spaghetti Western residue a'la Mad Dog Morgan (one of my fave '70s westerns, and still best of the Australian genre offerings).

I keep hoping someone will make OxyContin Rush, a lurid TV movie about Rush Limbaugh's pharmaceutical addiction and fraud case history (Philip Seymour Hoffmann as Rush! Can't ya see it?), but no such luck as yet. The juxtaposition between the Rush reality and Rush's radio blasting of drug addicts, drug use and mocking of President Clinton's "I didn't inhale" and constant rants about drug crimes deserving ultimate punishment would make for great trash-TV-docudrama viewing -- but that's not in the running, as far as I know. Sigh. I guess the second Garfield movie will have to suffice. (BTW, in catching up on the news from our week+ away, I noticed Rush and his attornies cut a deal with the Florida prosecutors on his painkiller fraud case; they drop the final charge if Rush stays in a diversionary treatment program; the charge will be dismissed in 18 months if he stays on the court-defined straight-and-narrow and pay the court the $30,000 devoured by their investigation, launched in the wake of The National Enquirer's report of Rush's housekeeper's claims of the big man's drug habit.)

So much for the summer flicks. I'll see what I can, catch up with whatever I miss that looks interesting (like the spring release Slither, which came and went so fast without coming to our local theaters that it passed me by), and not fret about the rest.

Speaking of movies, check out the current issue of Premiere (May 2006) before it's gone -- purchased by moi not for the "Summer Movie Preview," but for the article on Vermont movie theater fixture The Savoy, with pix of my old friend George Woodard and my high-school movie-viewing guru Rick Winston and his partner Andrea Serota. I was still at Harwood Union High School when Rick and Gary Ireland launched the 16mm-based Lightning Ridge Film Society, showing classics and unsung gems on a monthly basis in a couple of venues in downtown Montpelier. It was there that my dear (and long-departed) friend Bill Hunter and I caught up on much of cinema history, thanks to the expansive range of films Rick & Gary selected and projected, at a time when the Barre-Montpelier Road still boasted the Twin City Drive-In (two screens, lots of exploitation and horror on screen #2) and Burlington offered stunning 1970s fare at the Flynn, The State and The Strong theaters downtown and UVM's Lane Series crash-coursed us on Bergman, Hitchcock and a horror film classic series. Burlington also harbored not one but two underground film societies, even as nearby Goddard College (were David Mamet and William H. Macy at the college then?) brought in speakers like Stan Brakhage, showing some of his current 8mm films (the unforgettable The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes capping the evening) between readings of Ezra Pound, which went right over my wise-ass high-school Junior head.

So, check out the new issue of Premiere, pp. 34-37. And God bless Savoy high school sophomore employee Thomas Murphey for bringing Guy Maddin's Cowards Bend the Knee to last year's Green Mt Film Festival -- among my favorite films of the year, and I'm overjoyed to have seen it on the big screen. Kudos to you, Thomas!

BTW, George Woodard is currently laboring over his first feature film as a director, The Summer of Walter Hacks, which is shaping up beautifully. George is deep in the editing process now, and his partner and film co-scriptor and producer Gerianne Smart has launched the website, which you can visit pronto by clicking on
  • The Website of Walter Hacks.
  • More on George, his film, and more later this spring.

    Speaking of Vermont and zines, the new issue of Vermont Magazine is out (May/June 2006) with a handsome spread on Vermont cartoonists, myself included (though not prominently). More on that later today --