Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Hot Club

Congratulations to Mike Solomon who won the 5th Ward city councilman race over Patrick Butler. Butler was a gentleman as he stopped by to concede. Mike told me that I should have "Stopped the Presses" and held up Sportzine last Tuesday until the election results were in. Sorry, Mike, I'll remember next time.

Jennifer was on bar 5 and Mr. Contraire was sipping some suds. I said, "He's the only one I know that drinks beer with ice cubes. Jen said, "No, there are others." I told her "You're defending Contraire. That will get you in the Zine."

The Sisto Kid was in town and we had a Sisto-Fest at the HC last week. Bobby has a manic motor and his rants zip thru topics like a knife. A Zip drive. The Human Zip Drive.

The subject of the South came up and Bobby said the lesson he learned was "Keep your mouth shut and keep on driving."

A woman told us she had dated a guy we knew. Bobby told her she was lucky to have come thru it unscathed. Bobby said, "Just being around him, the shrapnel was flying."

Someone was talking about a stripper doing a lap dance for a very hefty guy. She asked him where his lap was.

Ran into old Pawtucket native and fellow St. Ray's attendee Paul-lea. He thought the Hot Club was called the Hot Spot. We were talking about when people have a child that's unexpected. Paul called it a 'whoops birth'.

Paul lives on the Cape (Brewster) and told me that he gets a magazine called Casino Player. According to that magazine, Foxwoods and Mohegan have some of the worst payouts (slot machines) in the country. I found it interesting that Paul gets the magazine.

We were talking about a high school reunion. One guy came in a tuxedo accompanied by a woman who looked like an 'escort'. Paul thought the guy got a package deal. He had to have the suit and the woman back by midnight.

There were conversations about the Goon, Pass Out Pete and dwarf slapping in Las Vegas. But I can't tell you any more than that.

The Warden said that after he got his dog an election haircut, they wouldn't let the dog into Wise's victory party. Mike K. says they are filing a grievance on Tuesday.

Who thought death could be so much fun? Here's where the series started. The first one, directed by James Wong (who also did Final Destination III), sets the framework.

Seven people avoid their demise only to learn that Death is very vindictive - and relentless.

In this one, a group of 40 high school seniors are taking a plane trip with 4 teachers to Paris. Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) 'sees' an outcome he doesn't like and gets off the plane with 6 others.

The survivors think they've cheated death. However Alex and schoolmate/friend Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) learn from the mortuary man Bludworth (Tony Todd) that Death has a design.

The rest of the movie is about the discovery of that design, the details, and, of course, the deaths. In fact after you've seen this one, you know what will happen in the next two installments(mostly), just like the ancient Greeks knew the outcome of their tragedies.

If you have a fear of flying like Alex Browning (or Erica Jong), you might not want to see this film. The plane scene is horrific and a marvel of special effects. Once witnessed, you won't soon forget it.

The story then plays out as the survivors try to dodge death.

The fun is in the telling and the way death stalks the survivors. There is a chain of events that conspires to cause a reaction of deadly consequences.

The elements, like wind and water, have a heavy hand in exacting the justice required by Death.

The music, by Shirley Walker, has the right touch of terror. She also makes use of songs by John Denver (Rocky Mountain High), Nine Inch Nails (Into the Void), Jane Siberry (All the Candles in the World) and a version of BS&T's And When I Die by one Joe 90.

Director Wong keeps things moving and uses his characters' names to pay homage to greats of the horror world - (Tod) Browning, Val Lewton, Hitchcock, (Lon) Chaney, Schreck, Dreyer and Murnau.

The movie is from a story by Jeffrey Reddick and a screenplay by Reddick, Glen Morgan and director Wong.

Final Destination gets a solid 3 boxes of popcorn - with a sprinkling of blood of course.

The second installment returns Ali Larter as Clear Rivers, but not director James Wong. David Ellis directs number two. The screenplay is by J. Mackye Gruber and Eric Bress. It's based on a story by Gruber, Bress and the original creator of the characters, Jeffrey Reddick.

What the first did for airplane travel and the skies, #2 does for the byways and highways. In fact, the most fun in each movie is the spectacular scenes of mayhem and destruction that befall the poor unfortunates that meet their Maker before they are ready.

Each film contains a series of amazingly random events that come together and spell out death for those who figure out too late that they are doomed.

In this one, a chain reaction highway collision starts Death's plan. Then we follow the survivors to their outcome. However the characters are not as interesting as those in the first and third. And the devices of death that consign the characters to their conclusion lack the cleverness shown by Wong in the first and third.

With AC/CD's Highway to Hell and 2 versions of Rocky Mountain High, neither of which is as good as John Denver's original.

This one gets 2 bags of popcorn, but I'd see it anyway just for the demolition derby scene.

In this edition, director James Wong returns with his co-writer Glen Morgan. The two work in bits from the first (e.g. Flight 180) and while they don't have Tony Todd's physical presence (he's in all 3), he is Satan's voice for the roller coaster ride Devil's Fright ("You can ride, but you cannot hide." Once more Shirley Walker does the music, an important part of any horror film.

Here again the elements of wind and water play a role. Wong weaves them into the story, which begins at an amusement park. What the first did for flying on a plane, this one does for riding the roller coaster. Fear of flying. Fear of falling. The roller coaster ride lasts almost 5 minutes of running time. Or dying time.

There are fatal flaws in the characters that help lead to their own fatalities. The human errors combine with Fate to fulfill Death's design.

This installment has some great scenes and devilish deaths that surpass the first two. I'm sure Wong's budget was a hell of a lot bigger this time. There is a Rube Goldberg-esque quality to the chain of events that result in each dance of death. Intricate, amusing, and final. This version is much gorier than Wong's first effort.

And Wong continues his homage to horror directors of the past with characters named Polanski, Romero (played by Texas Battle), Robert Wise and Dreyer.

Where Wong used John Denver's Rocky Mountain High in #1, here he utilizes the old song Turn Around, Look At Me by the Lettermen. Other songs that are used to good effect: Tommy Lee's Love Train, the Ohio Players' Love Rollercoaster, and the Ramones' Blitzkrieg Bop.

With the watchwords "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

This is the best of the three. I give it 4 boxes of popcorn.

Oh and this DVD has both a theatrical version and a chance to "Choose your Fate".

And you know there'll be more installments. It's as certain as death and taxes.


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