Thursday, November 30, 2006

Visual Arts closes down

One of the the weird things about growing older is seeing places you love vanish. The candy store where you bought baseball cards, the movie theater where you saw your first movies.Now another such place closes down: Visual Arts Bookstore in Condado.

I remember the first time I saw the store, it had a small sign outside. I walked in out of pure curiosity and inmediately loved the place.It was full of books about movies and had movie magazines I had never heard about. It was unlike any bookstore in Puerto Rico.

Soon word got around about this wonderful little store with all the books you could not find anywhere else. And there was also this talk about how Dominique, the owner, used to work in high finance but gave it up to create the store. It's something all of us who work for others, simply dream about.

Thanks to Dominique's store I learned about all kinds of movies, from Italian horror flicks to Oriental movies. When he had Viva Video there I was able to rent Chabrol, Truffaut and Orson Welles movies. I was also able to discover great magazines such as Video Watchdog and others.

But, that's the past. Visual Arts is closing down. There's a Liquidation sale. I will go there and buy a few books at a low price. But it will be a sad day nevertheless. A small of oasis of art and culture amidst the cheesiness of Condado is gone forever. Damn.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Today some tecato broke my car window . I guess he was looking for CD's or things like that. Unfortunately for him I had left nothing inside the car. Anyway, it's really not that big a deal, I guess. Although I do hope he overdoses and dies...


I read something today that made me realize how low peple can stoop in order to make some money. It seems tv host Hector Marcano has been seeking high ratings by hiring alleged psychics to "solve" the disappearance of a little boy (Rolandito) that happened more than 10 years ago. Every Sunday, a psychic goes in the show and then hits the road seeking the body of the child. Each one comes up with a wild theory about it being here or there.

Meanwhile, the parents of the boy have to see this circus played out on tv. One can imagine the pain they must feel by reliving their personal tragedy thorough the horrendous spectacle Marcano has created. Yesterday they finally wrote him begging him to cease exploiting their child's death for ratings. Amazing.

Marcano should stick to presenting hald naked women and ripping off Argentinian and Antena 3 game shows. That's what he should do and stop being such a heartless fuck.

Monday, November 27, 2006


This has to be the weirdest DVD ever. A LONGER cut of the most unnecessarily long movie ever. My God, I had to fast forward through the entire island dinosaurs scene. Who in his right mind thought "Yeah..that King Kong movie was too damn short. Give me an extra hour"

By the way, a friend of mine noticed something weird about "King Kong" is an island full of DINOSAURS ...and this moviemaker prefers to take home a stupid giant gorilla!!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

lazy days

Sometimes a long weekend arrives at the correct time.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Last Tycoon

This is a movie from 1976, a time when "a Robert De Niro movie" meant something. When he was the greatest, most interesting actor in movies.

It is based on an unfinished novel by F.Scott Fitzgerald. And it tells the story of a Hollywood studio head in the early 1930's who is working himself to death and is suffering a terrible case of unrequited love. The movie is truly interesting and it features some great actors in their last significant roles (Robert Mitchum, Ray Milland and others).

The movie drags a bit but it is worth seeing simply to remember how great De Niro used to be.

It's playing in Cinemax Thriller (For no apparent reason. this is not a thriller)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

Let's break all the healthy diets in the world. Enjoy!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

10 pop culture things I am thankful for ( A Thanksgiving thing)

10. The ending of "The Third Man"
9. The movie "Local Hero"
8. "If I Laugh" by Cat Stevens
7. Bach
6. "TopSecret" by Zucker-Zucker-Abrahams
5. The Beatles voices singing together in "Because"
4. Brigitte Bardot's nude scene in "Contempt"
3. The last sentence in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"
2. The Black Knight scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
1. "Penny Lane"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Don't Move

This is a very good Italian movie that starts playing at the Fine Arts Cafe on Thursday but has been on DVD for a while. A sucessful surgeon with a beautiful wife falls in love with a woman who cleans hotel rooms for a living. OK. Sounds like a soap opera, but it isn't. This is a complex, terrific film with an amazing performance by Penelope Cruz, maybe her best.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale

In the last, say...15 James Bond movies, there is a scene so stupid, so adolescent in its visuals or mainly in its dialogue, that everyone in the theater groans as if saying "Oh,please, no". Well there are none such scenes in this movie. Which means this is the best 007 movie in decades. There is no 007 theme. No corny, Playboy style opening credits. And it has the best James Bond since Sean Connery. In fact, well, at times he was, do I dare say it?...yes, better than Sean Connery. In terms of plot, well, it is not as outlandish and the action scenes are good. In fact they are a bit reminiscent of the "Bourne" movies. Eva Green is pretty good as the "Bond girl". The vilain is also kind of interesting. So, all in all, this is a very cool 007 movie. Loved the ending, by the way.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Cat is back (and I am so glad)

There was a moment in the early 1980's when I realized something. After John Lennon's death, The Beatles were never going to get together again. Sean Connery was never going to play 007 again. And Cat Stevens was never going to record another album. These three pop culture favorites of mine were gone for good.
Then suddenly, 25 years later, a small miracle happens. Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, was recording a pop album.
And here it is. And I am so happy about it.

Getting a new Cat Stevens album was always a cool experience. Because it was not only about the music, but about the album art. About the illustrations. About the small quotes he would write in the liner notes.There was something special about it. Something I had not experienced in 30 years.

So I am happy to report, the music by Yusuf is pure Cat Stevens circa 1972, which is perfect. In this age where whole albums are simply about sex, it is so wonderfully refeshing to listen to simple, melodic songs about life, happiness, longing.

It is amazing to listen to Yusuf's soothing voice, sounding the same as it did so many years ago. There's a song in the CD called "Maybe There's a World" which seems to be straight of out of Cat's masterpiece "Tea for The Tillerman". It talks about a perfect world, a place where people take no sides. And living in this cynical world of war, lies, torture, is interesting to feel for a moment that there could be a world like that. A world of peace. I don't know, maybe I just get corny listening to a song like that. But I can tell you one thing, I have been humming that song all day.


I don't remember the first time I saw Maria Bello in a movie. Wait a minute, I do. It was on a really awful that used to play on cable a lot called "Coyote Ugly" about some young women who worked as bartenders-dancers. But I recall I didn't seem to care bout the young bartenders but more about the thirtysomething woman who seemed to run the place.
Anyway, I saw her again in "The Cooler" a pretty good movie. And she was terrific in it. Her acting was excellent but also she projected so much sexuality in it, but not Pamela Anderson fake sexuality. She proved that attractiveness was not just about a pretty face, but about so much more. Then I saw her in "A History of Violence" and she deserved an Oscar for that performance. In a time, where actors don't take much chances, she did. It was a raw, amazing performance. But Oscars only go to showy performances and her performance was too real for wimpy Acedemy members.
I haven't seen her in any recent movies though. Which is kind of scary. It would be terrible to see her disappear from movie screens and see her in some Lifetime network movie. She could run the fate of so many actresses who grow old and are forgotten.
Anyway, catch her in any movie she's in. The movie can be awful, but she will never be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

reading two books at the same time

I usually don't do this, but I'm reading two books at the same time. First, there's this fascinating memoir by Gore Vidal. It's an excellent view at American history from 1960 until today. And it also contains some excellent essays about life and loss. Vidal can be moving and cynical at the same time and it makes for a great read.

"Thunderstruck" is a terrific book. It contains two stories. The development of wireless communication by Marconi and the story of a murder who became a sensation thanks to the development of that invention. It's a great History book and a great murder mystery too. The author also wrote "The Devil and the White City" and "Isaac's Storm" two other amazing non fiction books.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Healing through dancing

Someone mentioned to me the other day that any time things in life got tough, he would watch a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie and suddenly everything would be fine. This coming from a person who have had a serious injury that had left him bedridden for 3 months.

So I decided to watch my first Astaire-Rogers movie in its entirety. I had seen bits and pieces of their movies on TCM, but never the whole thing. So last night I watched their first big movie together "The Gay Divorcee". And I think I understand why these movies have healing powers. The plot is very light, there are some good one liners. But the music and the dancing are something else. Their first dance scene in the movie is flawless and it flows so amazingly well. It is a scene in which basically seduces Astaire by dancing. And in a way, it is so much like a love scene that when they finish dancing, Astaire offers Rogers a cigarette.

And there's the music, the highlight which is "Night and Day" by Cole Porter.

Anyway, it was great seeing this movie. And something tells me I will be watching out for their movies on TCM.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

3:10 to Yuma and why I like Westerns

I like westerns. That's something not many people my age like. Western movies were really popular in my parent's times. In the 1940's and 1950's. Bu I've come to enjoy them a lot. They are a truly original American art form. They have their own rules, their own storytelling myths. And they allow for the telling of some really radical ideas. "High Noon" allowed Fred Zinneman to comment on the Communist blacklist of the 1950's. Directors like John Ford, Howard Hawks and Sam Peckinpah took the genre and elevated it to true art. It is also not strange, that almost every big director, American and European has tried his or her hand at creating a Western.

Which brings me to this great film I saw this afternoon. It's called "3:10 to Yuma".
a 1957 classic movie about a man (Van Heflin) who is about to lose his farm. He's presented with the job of taking a prisonener (Glenn Ford) and making sure he gets on a train to Yuma. Only an interesting realtiosnhip develops between the two men. Honorable man and outlaw each begin to respect and understand each other. It is an amazing psychological movie. It also refuses to see the world in terms of good and evil. The outlaws seem to have a higher code of honor than do the good guys. This movie is full of such themes.

This excellent movie is palying on Encore Westerns.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

well, I had to take a photo of this, right?


Finally. The American people realized the complete lie that George W had sold them. The unnecessary war. The using "fear of terrorism" to get votes, insinuating that Democrats would be soft on terrorists. The making decisions based upon what religious fanatics think.
It took them a while. They should have kicked his ass on 2004. But they did it.
George W. is now a lame duck president. Finally.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

around NYC

Isn't the Chrysler building much cooler than the Empire State?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

freedom 1, religious nuts 0

As the world moves in one direction, there are people who want to move it in another way. And here, we have these groups of religious organizations that want to take us back to an age of complete sexual repression. They want to censor, to impose their beliefs on others. And this week, they tried by trying to intimidate the producers of the sex expo "Exotica 2006". Even asshole Monsenor Roberto "I represent the Church with the Pedophiles" Gonzalez joined in. But no avail.

The free and the horny won. The activity went on as scheduled, althouth they did chicken out a bit and placed pasties on the stripper's breasts to avoid trouble.
But the point is, freedom won. And the small minded lost and showed everyone how few they are and how little power they still possess.

Monday, November 06, 2006

so true......

"The divine wrath is slow indeed in vengeance, but it makes up for its tardiness by the severity of the punishment."
[Lat., Lento quidem gradu ad vindictam divina procedit ira, sed tarditatem supplicii gravitate compensat.]
- Valerius Maximus I, 1, 3

At the MOMA

Wish I had spent more time there. But I did enjoy the time I did. Watching the paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso and others. It was also cool seeing the really pretentious stuff,like the timer switch that made a light go on and off in a room, which I guess was some kind of conceptual art.

Borat movie

Is is as funny as they say it is? Yes.Yes.
It's niiiiiiiicccccce.
Plus, I saw it on the Sunday 11:00am showing at Plaza. No previews!!!!!!
No teenagers and their cell phones!!!!!
Very niiiiiiiiice!!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


It's been a long time since I shed tears from too much laughing. And I did last night when Iwent to see this play with my friend who now lives in NYC. The play based on the cult movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is truly funny. I especially loved the Andrew Lloyd Weber parody, a song called "The Song that Goes Like This"...a musical wonder that makes fun at those awful " Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "Memories" songs that seem to appear again and again in Broadway musicals.

For a Monty Python fan like myself, this was heaven. And my friend who had never heard about them, well...she was also shedding tears from laughing too hard.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006