Sunday, March 18, 2018

Shadowlands 002 (2018)

Rip City vets' new project, atmospheric yet immediate, dread with beats per minute. A binding spell requires a quiet night.

(Please listen to this and ignore the Decemberists' new album with everything you got, goth and grind, vampires don't dress like vampires, Colin Meloy will suck your life force, you've been warned.)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

GOOD TIME dir. Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie (2017)

Takes a minute to hit the gas, but when it does it is cut from the BLUE RUIN/GREEN ROOM cloth: awful scenarios with desperate people doing everything they can in each circumstance just to get to another, like every situation is its own escape room. Of Mice and Men inverted story-structure-wise and upgraded with a fraternal hysteria of loyalty.  I am a sucker for unrelenting fugitive situations and Robert Pattinson owns in this one. Coupled with the best soundtrack of the year, by Oneohtrix Point Never, the night sweats are real and nooses only get tighter.

It had the most comically lengthy opening credits run that I've ever seen.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Road Chief STILL IN A DREAM (2018)

Proggy synthy sunshine music, like a creek full of fresh spring rain running high and fast through your brain.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Goodbye Gravy Cat

We lost Archie a month and a half ago.  We had him for 4 and a half years, and he was at least 11 when we got him.  A family Steph knows took him when he was a full grown cat starving to death.  Apparently city folks drop off cats in the country once they're no longer kittens.  They called him Honey and got him nice and fat but had to give him up due to allergies.  Steph took him in, and worked with the vet on a plan to save his kidneys, which fail in a lot of older male cats including our Archimedes.  With some experimentation they managed to get his levels up to normal and he was actually the poster boy for an alternative treatment.

All this is just context to say that I was hesitant to adopt him but that he was a singular creature and taught me more than any teacher I've ever had and I mean that 100%.  He had his claws, we had a dog that bullied him, but he never once lashed out.  He was as gentle a living thing as I've ever met.  He loved being alive.  He valued and enjoyed his life every single hour.  1% of the time he was asking for what he wanted.  4% of the time he was considering what he wanted.  95% of the time he was relishing getting exactly what he wanted.

More than anything, he wanted two things: warmth and gravy.

He loved sunshine and hot days and laying in our rock garden.  He loved finding the best spot under the blankets, between the sheets and spending hours there.  He loved finding a crook in your sleeping arm and melting there.  I would wake up holding a cat who was MIA when I'd gone to bed.

He loved gravy.  He'd eat solid food when necessary, chew the occasionally tasty morsel, but above all he loved licking all the gravy off a can of wet food and then hopping off the counter for adventure.

I could carry him anywhere and he'd hold on to me like a sloth baby.  I could bend over and untie my shoes and he'd hang upside down and not bat an eye.

When I couldn't sleep, I'd rustle him up and lay him directly on my chest.  He would never fuss. I normally sleep on my stomach, but with Archie purring on my chest I'd be out within five minutes.  It was like vibrating to the frequency of the universe.

He developed cancer in his nasal passages, and it was completely untreatable without resorting to things that would destroy his kidneys.  We made his last few months as lovely as possible.  He got to try all kinds of new food, we were feeding him roast beef and turkey bite by tiny bite.  I just wanted him to make it to summer again.  I wanted him to be able to pass away in the garden, warm, knowing he'd always be warm.

He didn't make it.  Cats can't breathe through their mouth unless they're awake, so we had one night where I held him while he dozed and woke up constantly, sneezing to try to clear fluid.  Steroids and antibiotics cleared up his breathing for a week, and we were feeling good about his chances, but after a week they shut down his kidneys.  He was going to need to be hospitalized over the weekend to stabilize.  We didn't want him to be alone and scared. The vet said there wasn't really any path back to health. Steph had to have him put down while I was at work.  It was the worst day in so so long.

We buried him in a wooden crate, wrapped in a blanket, in our back hill.  I'm going to plant day lilies there.  I miss him.  Together we were warm.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

ANNIHILATION dir Alex Garland (2018)

Holy bovine this was a godsend!  It is coming to Netflix in one week, but I'd advocate you see this on the big screen if you at all can, it was truly an experience, the most visceral time I've had at the movies since FURY ROAD.  Bonkers creatively, with so many ideas and so much to give.  Driven by this unspoken collective worry, guilt and sorrow born of living through our anthropogenic mass extinction event, it is like a FANTASIA (1940) for these end times.

I mean, your mileage may vary, this had two of my biggest academic interests- ecology and cancer biology- paired with two visual codexes that haunt my brain- William Faulkner and TRUE DETECTIVE.  But I believe its power and timeliness are just undeniable. Garland himself is a mutant, having ingested the DNA of our masters of horror, suspense and sci-fi and warped them into a singular flowering beast.

Major kudos to producer Scott Rudin for refusing Skydance Productions' demands to alter the ending and main character, even if it meant losing any promotional push and having it shunted to Netflix after a few weeks. The man preserved an epic.