Archive for the Life Category

A Few Things That Require Addressing and the Future of this Website

Posted in Life on 16/07/2013 by Kevin Entrekin

A little house cleaning:

  1. I’m sorry. I have been lazy and inconsistent on this website for many months now. Laziness and inconsistency are two of the greatest sins I can think of for those who have made an effort to try to read whatever I write. And as is the way of the world, sin must be dealt with swift punishment. I have seen this in losing views on the site and support of those who once were gracious enough to offer it. I could slag it off and blame it on the viewers themselves. But if I want to really know why I’ve dropped so drastically, I need only look in a mirror. So again, I’m sorry.
  2. To atone for my laziness, it’s time to get back to business. In the immediate future, I’m going to get to watching some stuff so I can get to reviewing them. Tonight or tomorrow afternoon I should have watched the recent horror film Maniac starring Elijah Wood. Tomorrow night I’ll be seeing Pacific Rim. And if it requires me going to hell and back, I will find a way to see Nicholas Winding-Refn’s Only God Forgives this Friday. And just as a reminder, Saturday is the one year anniversary of the Aurora Colorado shooting. I have some of an article typed up, but I’m finding it difficult to finish for personal reasons. It’s still something that is difficult to discuss .
  3. Just as a foot note: If you scroll through my page, you’ll see that many of the posters I use are by a great artist known as Midnight Marauder. He recently won a contest where one of his posters for the above-mentioned Maniac will be used on a limited edition DVD. So go buy it off of Amazon U.K. Also visit his site and look at his other fantastic work.
  4. There is one other project in the works, and it’s one I didn’t expect. It was something that simply started as an essay, a little writing piece that wouldn’t be published. But it has blossomed into something more, and I’m hesitant to say that I hope to develop it into a novel, a piece of pure Gonzo journalism. It has been at times difficult. It’s personal so remembering some events and integrating them to a story has made me at times depressed, laugh, angry, but most importantly: It has been freeing. Which is why I got into journalism in the first place and it’s a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s not something that will be finished soon, or even possibly something I will finish at all. I don’t know where it will go or how I will get there.  But if I do, I’ll publish it chapter by chapter… right here. Hopefully Dr. Thompson would approve.
  5. I’m not going anywhere. This website will keep going. I’ll persevere. There was a period where I considered letting go and closing shop. Letting the Buffalo roam outside my heart, as it were. Then I realized that is not an option. It would be a bit insulting to the (rather small) group of people who have been reading my reviews from genesis. So thank you. And to say I’m sorry again is not enough.

Kevin A. Entrekin

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In Memoriam: Roger Ebert

Posted in Life with tags on 05/04/2013 by Kevin Entrekin

1365120570_1When I was a younger lad, I remember some film ads on tele had the words “… and two thumbs up from Ebert & Roeper” announced over the clips from said film. And without knowing why, I knew when those names were on the preview, it meant it was something good. It was only when I was older that I understood why those names, one in particular, held such weight and authority to them.

At the Movies came into my life at a very confusing and quite frankly terrifying time. Few people truly are prepared for life after high school. I was (and in some sence still am) one of them, wandering around in college, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life.  And one dreary night I somehow came across the show about midway through the episode. It was simple: two men discussing the worth of the weeks new releases.

It was magical too. Something enjoyable had possessed my body for the first time in months. I couldn’t wait for the next week when the new episode came on. Recorded it on the DVR and watched it multiple times. And around about the sixth episode, a thought came across my mind: “… maybe I could do that. Maybe that’s what I want to do in life.” And the result is the website you’re reading this on now. And for that, among others, I am eternally thankful to Roger Ebert.

I apologize that this has so far been about me. A bit self-indulgent on my part. But that’s one of things about reminiscing and grieving: You think about what someone means to you and how they have effected you. Roger was, and will in many ways continue to be, my go-to critic. Many call him the common man’s critic, but don’t let that diminish the eloquence of his writing. Even if you disagreed with what he said, you can respect the way he delivered his opinion. Many times when stuck on one of my reviews, I read his writing as a type of lubricate to get my own flowing.

One of the other things Roger taught me, which I only learned today with the aid of hindsight, is how much he loved life and in turn you should as well. He was not shy about his battle with cancer. He could have easily faded out of the public eye, but he decided not to. He instead decided to use a new voice, one where he utilized social media in a way few have yet. He didn’t slow down either. Last year he knocked out over 300 reviews, along with other articles and blog entries. He stayed busy and up to the end planned on more.

roger

Will there ever be someone quite like him in the field of film journalism? Is there someone else out there who can command such authority over this subject? In an age when anyone can make a site and fling out their opinion (finger pointed staunchly at my face), does the public even listen? I make my meager paycheck working at a theater. And it is evident based on observation that studios are quite content churning out mediocrity and the public are more than willing to pay, sit, and dribble while films with heart and story struggle. The weight that the name Ebert had is needed again.

I don’t know what awaits for us after we expel our last craggy breath. Whatever you believe, there is only faith and no absolute certainty. I’d like to think though that Roger and Gene Siskel are sitting in the balcony, waiting for the next great film to roll.

To celebrate his life, if you need something to do this weekend, why not pick a film from his Great Movies articles? The full list of movies are available here. For me, if time permits, I plan on watching Sofia Coppola’s brilliant Lost in Translation. But whatever you do, in the words of Roger, I’ll see you at the movies.

The Netflix Conundrum

Posted in A Few Thoughts, Life with tags on 22/08/2011 by Kevin Entrekin

I like Netflix. Ever since I started using the film rental service, I have been extremely happy with the service. Decent delivery time at a dead cheap service? I’m all for it. Our relationship has been like a cheesy high school romance that has been annoying you with Facebook statuses about how amazing things are. But much like that paper-thin relationship, it was inevitably going to end publicly and in ugly fashion. Turns out that my loving rental service only wants our union to continue if she can get more of my money but contribute nothing to the relationship.

What was the catalyst for the strained relationship? A month or so ago I, like millions of others, received an email from Netflix. The email, for those who did not receive it, stated that they would be separating their streaming service and DVD mailing service. Which means in order for me to continue receiving both services, I would be forced to pay $17.98, nearly 120% more than what I was originally paying. For me, this would not be a problem except for one thing: I make minimum wage wading through the trenches of a theater.

Like many people, I was furious when I learned this. I also considered cancelling my service to the trollop- I mean company. But then I came to my senses. I realized that it is the only reliable source of film rental available. Since traditional stores such as Blockbuster and Movie Gallery closed up shop months ago in my area, the only other service available would be Redbox.

But Redbox is unreliable. They never seem to have new releases until a few weeks after they come out and their selection of films is limited. So it looks like I am sticking with Netflix, but at a compromise: streaming only or DVD by mail only. Since this new plan goes into effect September 1st, I’ve had plenty of time to decide what service I want, but it has proven more difficult than I expected.

On the one hand, streaming is instant, unlike the mailed DVD’s which typically take three days to receive a new one. With streaming, all I have to do is power up my xbox, click on what film I want to watch, and away I go. And most new release foreign films are available on the day they come out. But most large new releases are not and the streaming selection is significantly smaller than the DVD’s by mail. This is why I believe I will stick with the old snail mail version.

In truth, this is not the superior decision. That title belongs to the streaming + DVD service. But I just don’t have the cash for that service. Which is a shame because it affects how I run this site in a way. For example, tomorrow I will probably be seeing the remake of ‘Fright Night’. Since I have never seen the original film, I would normally see if it was available to watch on streaming. If not, I would have it shipped weeks before the release. That way, I would have something to compare the new film to. Unfortunately, Netflix’s greedy ways have changed that. And for other people as well.

In Memoriam: Amy Winehouse

Posted in Life with tags , , , , on 25/07/2011 by Kevin Entrekin

There are few celebrity deaths that have really made me sad in recent years. Sure, there are some that I thought were greater losses than others. The loss of actor Pete Postlethwaite this year was a bigger loss than Michael Jackson in my opinion (not to say Jackson’s death was not sad as well). The loss of Amy Winehouse this week hit me harder than I expected. I did expected to one day pull up my news homepage and see the headline “Amy Winehouse found dead”, but as with most deaths I did not expect it now and so sudden.

For those unfamiliar with who Ms. Winehouse was outside of Jay Leno’s jokes, she was a gifted English Jazz singer-songwriter who rose to critical and social acclaim for her soulful voice. I hope you realize what a feat this is. How many successful modern-day Jazz musician do you know or is on the radio?

Here in America her album Frank is lesser known than her Grammy-winning album Back to black but is just as soulful and wonderful. And that is it. She released only two full-length albums. Collectively twenty-two songs. And then she is gone.

Now we have people callously welcoming her into the “Twenty-seven Club” as if it is some great accomplishment to have died at the age of Twenty-seven. Do you think if given the chance Amy would have wanted to live past twenty-seven instead of dying in her Camden home? Do you think that she would want to have her draped body being wheeled-out by coroners into the streets of London while hundreds of Paparazzi and news agencies filmed it? Or Jimi, janis, Jim, and Kurt for that matter. For a group of people who mourn death in such a sad way, we sure get a morbid gratification from it.

In the midst of this tragedy, I hope one thing will come to light: that addicts are sick, not criminals. Throwing an addict in jail doesn’t cure them, it just briefly hinders their search for their pain-releasing substance. The solution is rehabilitation. And I don’t mean a twenty-eight day hug fest that sends the sick back into their old environments. That doesn’t work. I mean a program that last the rest of their life time and keeps them in check.

But like many things, this issue will go on unnoticed. Later on tonight Mr. Leno will step back on stage in an ill-fitting suit and will read off some joke that his writers wrote about Amy and the audience will chuckle. In the weeks that follow she will be forgotten by the very people who used to stalk her for a photograph because they will be too busy snapping a pic of Daniel Craig having dinner. Occasionally one of her song will come on the radio. Life moves on.

Goodbye sweet Amy. You truly did leave too soon.

A Few Thoughts and A Farewell to LOST

Posted in A Few Thoughts, Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/09/2010 by Kevin Entrekin

In my life I have been wrong only a few times (Family and friends, please stop arguing with your computer screen right now-people are watching). One of those few times was about J.J. Abrams television series LOST. Even though friends told me how good it was I did not believe them. Mainly I did not believe because they also said how awesome a show Heroes was and I was more than disappointed by that show. My feeling about Lost started to change when iTunes put up a free download of the pilot episode. After watching it I went out and bought the first season on DVD and have not stopped watching them until now. Honestly, I never thought that a television series would ever affect my life but Lost has.

Wednesday night I watched the final episode of the series, ‘The End’. Even though most people were not satisfied with how the series ended, I was. I believe that it was a great way to bring the series to a close. I can understand that people are upset that not all the questions were answered. But did they all really need to be? If all the mysteries of the island were presented, would you still find it interesting?

The main thesis of the series from episode one to the very end has always been in my opinion summed up in one simple word: faith. I know some are surprised at this but that was my interpretation. The good thing about a series such as Lost is that it allows fans to interpret the show the way they want to. Although there are many examples of faith in this series, I believe that my best argument comes from season two in the episode ‘Orientation’. Jack and John are arguing about whether or not to push the “EXECUTE” button. Eventually Jack decides to push the button, going on no physical proof that something will happen if he does not push the button. As stated before, this is just the main theme that I have noticed throughout the series.

One of the things that really made this journey through Lost so special for me was the people I met along the way. I met many people on Twitter who are amazing Lost fans who had already experienced what I had. They really encouraged me throughout the seasons and also made for multiple great conversations. I believe it would be irresponsible on my part not to list all these fine people and say from the bottom of my heart to the top…thank you. It really is a gift to get to know you all and now I am proud to say I am a fellow Lostie. Thank you @JAVAJ9, @CaliPH, @MonsterAtePilot, @DharmaScientist, @IslandConNews, @FlyAjiraAirways, @Nancymkq, @andalone, @Loster21, @jackiepanked, @LizPrietti, @aohora, @corrwill, @MikeFisky, and @brandilynnee.

So, we are left with the end. I did not think that I would get all my thoughts and ideas presented here, and I did not. But now that I have seen the entire series, I know I will revisit it soon. Like the characters, the island has an attraction that brings us back together. As I said, I never thought a television series would make an impact upon my life but Lost did. It has brought me a new outlook on life and a new set of friends. Most importantly, I know that if I go through life with faith, I can do anything I want to. Namaste.

A Fond Farwell to At The Movies

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , on 17/08/2010 by Kevin Entrekin

My first episode of At The Movies was only a few years ago. It was at a time when I was just beginning to explore the expansive universe of film and my love of movies. It just so happened one night that I came across a show called At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper. Interested, I tuned in to see what the show was about. Unfortunately Roger Ebert was not present on the show at this point because of health reasons and was replaced by Michael Phillips. I instantly fell in love with the shows format. I fell in love with how smart and quick Roeper was and how Phillips was just as opinionated and passionate about whatever topic was in the balcony at that time. Pretty soon the show just became a weekly ritual.

I never got the opportunity to see Roger Ebert review a film from the comfort of my couch. This may go without saying, but I also never got to see the great Gene Siskel do so either. I may get to read there work or get to see clips on Youtube, but it just does not hold that same magic as only the entertainment business can do. I did, for a short period, get to see Roeper and Phillips go head to head, which was thrilling to me.

Then there came the inevitable time of change. The show gained two new host, the calm but strong mannered Ben Mankiewicz and new comer Ben Lyons. I was one of the few who stuck around to watch these two try to update the show. Was Lyons inexperienced and unqualified for the job? In my opinion yes, but Mankiewicz was a joy to listen to. I tuned in every week until things got too unorganized.

Somethings are better left the way they are. That is what the two new host who took over the “two Bens” positions understood. Returning to the show was Michael Phillips. The other host had been on the show before and I was pleased with the choice of A.O. Scott. The show felt the way it used to when I started watching, two people passionately discussing films, be it good or dreadful. But unfortunately the damage had been done and it was announced that the show would end after its twenty-fourth season of national syndication. That time has now come.

So, as Siskel would have asked, what do you know for sure? Well, I do know that without coming upon this show that one night, these words you are reading now would not exist. I know that the experiment that I now call The Morning Thunder Buffalo would have never crossed my mind. I know that I would still be wandering around aimlessly in college not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. And I know that At the Movies will still live on, even if it is only in pixellated clips on Youtube. There is even talks of the show making a return. So with a tear in my eye and two thumbs held high I say farewell to At the Movies, even if it turns out to be momentary.

Why the Beautiful Game is Beautiful

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/06/2010 by Kevin Entrekin

Football. Futbal. Soccer. It is one of the oldest games played by human kind all over the world. It has spawned multiple sports, including American Football and Basketball. It is also one of the most easily accessable activities; all you need is a ball and two goals (if not available, a wall with a chalk outline or a field with two trash cans set a few feet apart will do). But football has another name:  The Beautiful Game. But why exactly has the sport been given this nickname?

The setting is certainly not the most beautiful usually. While there is the multi-million dollar professional fields and the Saturday morning fresh-cut suburbia fields, most football matches do not take place here. Many games take place in an unkept field with rusting post and no net. Many matches take place on busy streets or crampted alleyways with a goal post drawn on a grimy wall. Many games are played with a ball made of old rags covered in a tattered tarp. And unfortunately, some games take place in rubble streets of war-torn towns and crumbling cities. While in their own right beautiful, this is not why the Beautiful game is beautiful.

Maybe it is the heros of the game. There are plenty of them. Pelé. Beckham. Rooney. Ronaldinho. Beckenbauer. Moore. Zidane. They are the ones who rally us all together to accomplish the win. They are the brightest lights when defeat seems inevitable. We build statues of them and almost worship them as some sort of pagan god. They are the faces of this so-called beautiful game, so it makes sense that they would be why the game is beautiful. But they are not the reason that the beautiful game is beautiful.

Maybe it is us, the fans of the sport. Yes yes, it has to be the fans. We are the rally call, the heart of the game. We go out and play the game. We cheer on the teams of our choice and our country. We receive the bruises while trying to rocket the ball between those post. It has to be the fans! But no, the fans are not why the beautiful game is beautiful.

 The reason that the beautiful game is beautiful is simple: the connection. For ninety minutes in our broken corrupt world we put down our guns, we put down our hateful words, we forget about our differences, and we just play. We do no fight on a battle field; we passionately work out our issues on the pitch. We forget what they said and we forget the color of our skin and all of our focus shifts to a small ball. And for one month out of the year every four years, we all are united in one place and we celebrate the beauty of this sport. This is why the beautiful game is beautiful.

So lets all enjoy the 2010 FIFA World Cup taking place in South Africa and remember why we are playing this sport there.