Friday, January 22, 2010

Cool Gift

We’ve all faced that customary Christmas query: “Did you get everything you wanted?” Most common response: diplomatically conceal the truth, say yes and patiently await the next celebration. I however have the luxury of having a birthday a mere two weeks after the commemorating of the birth of Christ and so unabashedly come back with every trinket and bric-a-brac not acquired. This year was something of an anomaly as after being asked the aforesaid question I heard myself responding simply, “Yes.” Thus those close to me will be required to do some major meditating before purchasing me a b-day gift.

One such carefully considered present came in the form of a jump drive, aka flash drive, aka USB drive (and I’ve appeased my Chuck Palahniuk fixation for the day). The 4 GB hard drive was filled with cool punk, experimental and indie rock music from such bands as the Riverdales, Mclusky and Animal Collective. My one complaint: the gig of free space. J slash K, this gift put the hunky back in hunky-dory.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mucky Pup

I had the pleasure of ushering out one of New Jersey’s best hardcore punk bands on Saturday night as Mucky Pup played Asbury Park’s The Saint for a final time before withdrawing into seclusion forever. Despite their advanced years, the five-man ensemble kicked ass as they serenaded about sixty-plus ardent fans with such colorful tunes as Little Pigs, Hippies Hate Water and Nazichizm. It is markedly unusual to hear such juvenile words sang in such harmonious voice - in this case by one Chris Milnes. However, the wit and cleverness of the lyrics matched with the incendiary guitar playing of Dan Nastasi (yes I did just shamelessly quote Cameron Crowe’s biographical personage William Miller) caused me to appreciate the band in a manner different than I had as a teen. Plus, there’s something oddly refreshing about seeing forty-five-year-old men and bottom-heavy women attempting to incite a mosh pit.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The House of the Devil

I am in awe of Ti West. We are but months apart in age, and though we were only children during the 1980s, both have a strong identification with that era’s “Don’t worry be happy” atmosphere. With House of the Devil, West creates a Hitchcockian suspense film in tune with the fright flicks of his youth.

Sam is a spry college student weighed down by a lack of funds and a callous roommate. She comes upon a quiet rental property and a fortuitous babysitting gig that’s the most dreadful depiction of the profession since John Carpenter’s Halloween. Throughout the course of the night Sam realizes there is something occult about the eerily compassionate couple who hired her.

The film is written, directed and edited by West. He is a horror enthusiast and understands the strength of mood and pacing. With House of the Devil he creates a stripped-down, retro experience that relishes its own sense of grim anticipation.

As a filmmaker I find West’s work wholly inspirational. He has a commendable knack for creating competent chillers from simple premises and meager budgets. Steven Spielberg is said to look at Seven Samurai and Lawrence of Arabia before going into production. I revisit Ti West’s The Roost.

The Roost (2005)
Trigger Man (2007)
The House of the Devil (2009)