Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pretzels and Eggplants

For right now, this is going to act as sort of a place holder for some recipes I pulled off this week.

Sunday night I made soft pretzels using the recipe recommended by Alton Brown on the Food Network site. I did it without the stand mixer, just mixing the dough with a wooden spoon then finishing the kneading by hand. If you are going to try this recipe, I recommend letting the dough rise a bit longer. Next time I do it, I'm going to punch it down after an hour, then check on it again an hour later. After I roll out the pretzels, I'll probably let them proof briefly one last time, before boiling and baking. My pretzels really puffed up during the boil and bake, to the point that a few of them kind of turned into pretzel wads, rather than the expected shape. They tasted a-okay, though. For now, I'll just give you the link, but I'll try to add a little more commentary later, if I get a chance to try out the modified recipe:

Monday night, I made "eggplant parm" subs for the roomies. It worked out pretty well, in my opinion. I didn't use a recipe or write anything down, but I think I can pretty much recreate it here. I'll do that soon.

Monday, February 15, 2010

For the love of lousy cinema!

We're 46 days into 2010 and I've already watched 26 movies, which is better than one every other day. If this weather holds up, I might be able to get that average up to one a day. In a related note, I got a Netflix subscription over the weekend, which will give me access to tons and tons of new stuff. I did stick a bunch of wrestling DVDs into my queue, and those won't count for the movies list (unless they are documentaries, like Beyond the Mat, for example).

I gotta dig through the movie list in the Australian Exploitation Film Documentary, "Not Quite Hollywood", that I watched yesterday. There were a bunch of films I'd like to add to my queue.


This snow has given me plenty of time to watch movies, but I've been lazy about writing them up. I'll probably continually update this post, as I get around to it, giving more detailed reviews.  I'm also going to start listing the format, in case others are looking to see something. Stuff like Vanishing Point, She-Devils on Wheels and This Ain't Hollywood were all watched using the free streaming service on Netflix, for example.

11. The Great Escape
12. Bullit
13. The French Connection
These ran back to back on TCM last weekend. Damn. I missed the first hour of The Great Escape, but since I got to see hours 2 & 3, I figured I'd count it. I've seen it enough times to know what happened. TCM is great. I think these were uncut(?) or at least lightly cut and there were no commercials. I should watch that channel more often. AMC seems to show more movies I'm interested in though. (TV)

14. Serenity
I never much paid attention to Jos Whedon. I knew a lot of other nerds that just loved his stuff, especially Buffy, but I never watched it. Ever. I didn't even know about Firefly until well after this movie was made. Last summer, I noticed that all the episodes of Firefly were on Hulu, so I decided to see if they held up to the hype. After watching two, I was hooked, and sorely disappointed the series got dropped the way it did (but I guess I'm part of the problem, because I wasn't paying attention when it was on...oops). Anyway, due to fan demand, they released this film that continued the story of the member of Serenity. It played out like a big-budget extended episode of the series, which was great. I loved that they left it a bit open in-case there is a push for additional episodes or films in the future. (DVD)

15. Martyrs
Wow. Fucking brutal. Still not quite over this 5 days later. The French are making some intense stuff over the past decade. This new wave of French horror is very exciting to me, because it recalls many of the 70s exploitation and revenge films I'm so fond of. Very violent films based on real-life horrors, rather than ghosts and goblins (see also Baise-moi, Irreversible, Haute Tension, Inside, etc) Martyrs tells the story of a young girl who escapes from a life of abuse and ends up in a mental health facility. That's enough to get you started. See it.(DVD)

16. The Mist
I really had no interest in this, especially after the mixed reviews by friends who saw it. It seemed that some loved it and some hated it. I've never been much of a Stephen King fan, and I've never actually read the stroy this is based on, plus the CGI monsters even looked kind of lame in the trailer. All in all, not bad. Actually, way better than anticipated. I think they could have left a little more to the imagination, ala The Thing. You don't need to see EVERYTHING. A little more of the "we don't know what's out there" would have been refreshing. There were part I really liked and parts I hated. It was a bit over long, but in general, a fun flick. Well, not really fun. It was damn bleak, but yeah...you get the idea.(DVD)

17. Get Crazy
Most of Fear, Lou Reed, and Malcolm McDowell are in this movie. It's pretty lousy but fun. Ed Begley Jr. is a scum-bag business man who wants to put some famous club out of business (I think it's actually the Fillmore, in the movie). Essentially him and his lackey's try to sabotage the annual New Years Concert, which brings all kinds of "big stars" in for one night. It's supposed to be bands that got there start there, but are now huge superstar arena rockers. All the bands are fake, although it is clearly Lee Ving singing Hootchie Cootchie Man. It's free on Impact OnDemand right now if anyone is dying to see it. (Impact OnDaemand)

18. Blood Feast
Somehow, Brad never saw this little nugget of 60s gore. I've got about 1/2 the lines memorized. Such a classic piece of crap. I'm ready for the Egyptian feast! Amazing. (DVD)

19. Vanishing Point
Been meaning to watch this for a while and it fits in with all the other car chase/muscle car/road movies I've been watching. Signed up for Netflix this weekend and noticed it was available streaming. Nice. Watching this was partially inspired by Death Proof and the Dodge Challenger at the end. (Netlix Ondemand)

20. She Devils on Wheels
Kind of crappy female biker flick from HG Lewis. Kind of fails because it's not as gory as his gore flicks or as nudie as his nudie flicks. Pretty slow, too. Stick to his gore flicks. (Netflix onDemand)

21. Not Quite Hollywood
Awesome documentary about Australian exploitation. Covers Sexploitation, Horror and Action, mostly. Talk to the directors, stars, etc. I don't know a whole lot about Australian genre films, aside from Patrick and The Road Warrior, and this inspired me to dig deeper. One of the better documentaries about the film industry I've seen. Tons of gore and nudity clips from the movies, too. Awesome. (Netflix onDemand)

22. The Werewolf
50s werewolf movie cashing in the renewed popularity of the Universal flicks, I'm guessing. Not bad. Takes place in the US. Lycanthropy caused by medical experimentation. Cool concept, but a little slow. (On Fearnet onDemand)

23. Planet Terror
24. Death Proof
I actually own the Japanese Grindhouse box set, and it has the theatrical release as a double feature, with the trailers and other stuff in tact. I think this version is far superior to the American DVD releases, but whatever. (DVD)

Stupid 80s sex-comedy with Fran Drescher and Dennis Quaide. Really awful, but it had a few moments. (On Impact OnDemand)

26. See No Evil
Horror vehicle for WWE wrestler Kane. Typical Lion's Gate fare. Kinda hot dudes and chicks in a gory little mess of a movie. There are some good things and bad things about it, but if you go in expecting complete shit, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. I actually saw this theatrically because I over heard the dudes working in Incredibly Strange Video talking about how it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be. How's that for a ringing endorsement? (DVD)

Monday, February 8, 2010

More Movies. Been lazy about writing

7. Until the Light Takes Us
Question for people that didn't know the story before going in...Did it make any sense? I was sitting there wondering that the whole time...it seemed so disjointed. Jumping from Varg rambling about corn flakes and posers to Fenriz walking around and smoking to Varg talking about stockpiling weapons to to some pictures of people who died to robot voice Faust to Fenriz walking around smoking cigarettes some more to Varg talking about varg burning churches to stock footage of Norwegian news to Varg talking about how awesome jail is because he got to read a lot of books to Fenriz almost in tears about how trendy BM was getting to a bunch of random pictures of Varg to Frost walking around then riding an airplane to uhh...what is this performance art thing? Is that Frost or some artist in corspe paint? They were just talking to Frost, so I think that is him, but maybe not...hmm....

The whole thing seemed "messy" or something. I felt like the director kind of failed to tell a story. Conceptually, I like the idea of them trying to play Varg and Fenriz as foils, but they ended up just being talking heads on the screen. If you're at all familiar with this scene, it's nothing new. I thought the mini-doc that's a bonus feature on "Metal: A Headbangers Journey" did it a lot better, and it about 30 minutes, but whatever. It's still cool that it actually played here.

8. Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry

Yeah...keeping up with the car chase movies I mentioned in my last post about movies. I picked up this DVD because I think they name-dropped it in Death Proof. I don't really know much about gearhead/car chase movies, but this one is pretty rad. Peter "I rarely survive a movie I'm in" Fonda, plays Larry, a down on his luck Nascar driver who needs money fast. Along with his mechanic, they hold up a grocery store then run from the cops. Mary, a local girl with a thing for the Larry, jumps in to increase the mayhem. The acting is actually pretty good and there are some genuinely tense moments between characters. The cops sort of get the "Dukes of Hazard" treatment, constantly ending up in ditches, but it works. I barely know anything about cars, but I know I like Dodge Chargers and this movie has Dodge Chargers!

9. Race With the Devil

We were looking for something to watch while the snow poured down Friday night. Here's another one Brad borrowed from his coworker, which also features some good chase scenes, but this time it's a satanic cult chasing Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, and Loretta "Hot Lips" Swit in an RV! How's that for mixing it up?! Anyway, this is pretty much straight up drive-in fare, with Oates and Fonda witnessing a satanic ritual/murder. The cult catches on and starts chasing them. Every where they turn for help, they get a cold shoulder. Eventually the viewer picks up that this is bigger than just a cult, as horrible things happen every time they stop the vehicle. Snake attack, low-bridge gag, and the satanic ritual were definitely the highlights for me.

10. Two Lane Black Top
The snow was still falling Friday night, so we knew we weren't going anywhere, so we decided to pop in this early 70s cult classic, starring James Taylor as Driver, Dennis Wilson as Mechanic, and Warren Oates as GTO. I still don't really know what the hell is going on with this movie, but I liked it. Is it really just a road movie or is it THE road movie. Is it just a couple gearheads traveling across the country or do they represent something larger? And why cast a couple of musicians who can barely act? For the name recognition? Is that it or something else? The film left me with so many questions and very few answers, but sometimes that's okay. I can't imagine a better representation of the isolation of the road. There are millions of others traveling those same roads, yet you know nothing about them. I know very little about the "art of film making", but the pacing, lighting, dialog, even acting (or lack there of), really pushed this beyond "just a movie" for me, but I'm still not sure why. Weird stuff.