Friday, February 14, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Once Upon A Time In The West

Once Upon A
Time In The West
Friday, 02.14.2020

Bruce Johnson

Setup / Background

  1. I could just watch the credits for hours.
  2. This appears to be the quintessential spaghetti Western.
  3. There is almost no real dialogue for the first 30 minutes of this film
  4. But I believe the body count is up to eight
  5. Cinematography and soundtrack are excellent
  6. Watching this film is like watching a motion picture painting, it's just all visual and sensory overload with very little dialogue.
  7. The long slow unraveling plot told through a series of random events
  8. It all slowly starts to make sense.  But you never know what's going to happen next
  9. The great American story, the long-term development of resources
  10. It all makes sense in the end.
  11. I'm sorry but nobody looked as good as Claudia Cardinale does in this movie.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 38 miles
  • 165  minutes
  • Odometer =  11741.1 miles  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Naked City: Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, they went out with the bow and arrow

Naked City
Friday, 02.12.2020



Bruce Johnson

"Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, they went out with the bow and arrow"

Setup / Background

  1. First impression, I have no idea what is going on.
  2. Lots of background.  Very depressing
  3. Also artsy in a 1950s sort of way.
  4. The old cliche scene of talking to a headstone to fill in background.  No voice overs back then.
  5. OMG a very young Christopher Walken!  (As Ronnie Walken in the credits)
  6. Plot finally makes sense.  Geez the 50s were repressed.
  7. Social injustice and the struggle of the common man.
  8. Again with the headstone
  9. Basically the movie "Falling Down" set in 1950s New York
  10. Best thing about this series, location shooting in 1950s New York.
  11. Surprise ending
  12. Almost every episode I have seen ends in a bloodbath.  Bad men die violent deaths.
  13. More father son bonding in the end.
  14. Why does he hate his father? Because he loves him?

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 11.1 miles
  • 51 minutes 
  • Odometer =  11703.1 miles  

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Lord of War

Lord of War
Friday, 02.09.2020



Bruce Johnson

Disc One

Setup / Background

  1. Best opening credits ever.
  2. Beginning moves along quickly, a lot of voice over.
  3. No female lead yet, but a lot of brother bonding.
  4. Let's sell arms to EVERYBODY!
  5. Goodbye brother, hello love interest.
  6. Bye bye Soviet Union, Arms Sale Free-For-All
  7. Lots of sick corrupt people in this world.
  8. The scene with the cargo plane, OMG
  9. He loses his wife, his son and his brother, didn't expect a happy ending.
  10. In the end he loses everything, or does he?
  11. The final scene with Ethan Hawk, should be required viewing. 

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 12.6 + 15.5 =  28.1 miles
  • Time = 2 hours 2 minutes (122 minutes)
  • Odomenter =  11692 miles  

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Far and Away

Far and Away
Friday, 02.07.2020


Bruce Johnson

Side One


  1. Impressive credits, expecting quality film making.
  2. I can see this will not be a simple plot.  Gorgeous imagery.
  3. Whoever wrote the dialogue for this should have won an oscar.
  4. Enter Nicole Kidman.  Fiery !
  5. Talk about a series of unfortunate events.
  6. A duel in the fog….really?  Hilarious.
  7. Very good production values.  Accurate.      

Side Two


  1. Welcome to America.  Poverty everywhere!
  2. A very accurate film depicting the time.
  3. Was there really this much pugilism in the 1890s?
  4. No sex means more testosterone for the boxing ring.
  5. Oh Yeah, welcome to grass roots American Government (corruption)
  6. He loses everything for a woman….typical
  7. So many random events.


  1. Finally made it to Oklahoma sans Nicole Kidman, where could she be?
  2. There she is!
  3. Finally the big payoff scene (with menacing villain)

Side Three

The Big Scene - Land Rush

  1. Happy ending for sure, but the real moral is stay away from Irish Redheads, they just get you into trouble.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 14 + 19.3 = 33.3 miles
  • Time = 2 hours 20 minutes (140 minutes)
  • Odometer = 11663.9 miles

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Opera Sunday: Tannhauser (Wagner)

Wednesday, 02.05.2020



Bruce Johnson

Act One

That classic overture

  1. Lots of imagery, erotic dancing, oh my.  Some sort of flashback dream sequence.

Let's argue with the Goddess of Love

  1. Probably not a good idea
  2. Basically, the rule is, don't fall in love with a goddess.  They can be nasty
  3. A very minimalist production, but it works.  Moody and passionate

Act Two

Forget living with the Gods,  back on Earth

  1.  Apparently being able to sing in this culture is highly prized.  "Like dude! You sing better than us. Damn!"
  2. Intermission
  3.  Interesting tour of the festival grounds.
  4. The female lead in this really has some pipes
  5. So this all leads up to a singing contest…..
  6. This opera has almost everything,  Gods,  ballet,  chorus, duets,  fancy costumes…
  7. The loooonnnngggg drawn out emotional phrasing.

Act Three

A lot going on here, Gods of Emotion vs The God of Christ?

  1. Lots of frustration, lots of denial.  
  2. Guilt and banishment, jeez.
  3. I really have a hard time believing that people ever really lived and thought this way.   Its more of a Nordic Fable focused on love, denial and sacrifice.
  4. Here come the three contest songs about love…….
  5. Banished for blaspheming at the song contest,  the Horror!
  6. So in the end,  what I believe Wagner is trying to say here,  is the struggle between pagan desires, and love of Christ through a pious woman resides in us all.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • Miles Ridden = 30.4 miles
  • Time:= 3 hours 9 minutes (189 minutes)
  • Total Odometer: = 10,768 miles

Monday, January 27, 2020

Opera Sunday: Die Fledermaus (Strauss)

(My Live Twitter Stream Of The Opera)

What amounts to a long and drawn out practical joke played on a friend for a past transgression.  The libretto (dialog) can be painfully long at time, but the viewer has to keep in mind the target audience, which is Vienna in the 1800s.  The subject is actually quite risque and scandalous, but also comedic.  Hence, you get the feeling that you are watching a 150 year old episode of 'Friends" with a really good soundtrack.  

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Things Old Guys Do - Windows 3.1

Finally finished tweaking and testing the complete Window 3.1 environment, with Wordperfect / Lotus123 / Photoshop Suites as well as other software.  It appears to be pretty stable (as stable as Windows could be back then) and it is lightning fast.  The entire Windows environment runs under Linux, using the DOSBox interface.  

I have been amazed at how well the video and music play.  There is no skipping or buffering.  And, I am finally getting to try and finish a copy of Myst, which is absolutely AWESOME played through the surround sound stereo. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

For RePeats Sake: Beethoven - Symphony #4 & #5


If you combine Karajan and Beethoven you are going to get some good music.  No surprise here.  Although the presentation is unique.  It is a live performance, but done in a studio with very intimate camera angles on the musicians and on the conductor.  I don't believe that the entire orchestra was ever present in one scene. 

Sunday Morning Opera: Arabella (Richard Strauss)


Unexpected.  The classic operatic comedy of misdirection and missed cues leading to misunderstanding and final resolution.  Dramatic comedy for the masses back in the 1800s.  Inspiring music and singing with very good direction and camera work.  

My live stream review of the film as I watched it can be found below. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

For RePeats Sake: Miles Davis - MIles In Paris


There is one glaring problem with this live performance by Miles Davis recorded in Paris, France.  It isn't long enough!  After 73 minutes of music and interviews, you come to the awful conclusion.  Which is, you don't know nearly as much about music and expression as Miles Davis did.  He was a bit eclectic, but talent would be an understatement. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

For RePeats Sake: Kitaro - The Light Of The Spirit


Smooth jazz with a background of natural images of rain, surf, snow, etc.  Great for background music and calming visuals, but otherwise nothing really earth shattering or interesting here.  What was probably an innovative presentation back in the 1990, is more like visual elevator music today. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

If You Want To See Karma In Action

The Long And Sordid History Of My First Wife

This PowerPoint presentation speaks for itself.  

For further reading and documentation, see the following links: 

(her inmate number is 340845)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

For RePeats Sake: Enya - Moon Shadows


A music disc comprised of five songs.  What appears to be a cross of an 8" music disc and a full Laserdisc, this is a one-sided CLV disc totaling 22 minutes.  Most of the work here is from cinema soundtracks and her other well known works.  It is artsy and laid back, ideal for background music, otherwise, somewhat forgettable. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

For RePeats Sake: Playboy Video Playmate Calendar - 1993


These discs were the holy (expensive) grail of collecting laserdiscs when they were still in production.  This is a video  extension of the Playboy Calendar (which was ubiquitous in every 1980s college dorm room). What we have here are six vignettes of wholesome young woman, with slick production and direction, who are mostly promoting Hugh Hefner and his brand of hedonism and masochism. However, by today's standards, you will see more scandalous content at the grocery store express check-out lane. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

He Saw / She Saw: Mr. Popper's Penguins


I figured this would be a cute, feel good movie with Jim Carrey and was not disappointed. He played a divorced dad, with two children, who inherited a penguin from his deceased father (and then wound up with 5 more).  Silly antics and over all theme that family is more important than work.  Some scenes were not realistic but overall a cute family film.


I was hoping for some light hearted slap-stick entertainment from Mr. Rubberface himself.  Sadly, what I ended up watching was another retread of Hollywood's obsession with re-uniting the broken family through some cute plot twist.  It gets tiring after a while.  There were some key scenes that were apparently cut from this Blu-Ray presentation which made it even more confusing to watch at the end.  The best part of this film was the CGI penguins. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Little Perspective Please....

So, I am doing a little Spring Cleaning on the computer and came across this project from five years ago.  I was trying to gauge the manipulation of the news media by documenting the top stories that were saturating the airwaves back in the day.  I am sure that most of us have forgotten these, but a quick glance through them reminds us that the more things (seem to) change, the more they actually stay the same. 

September 12, 2015
Worry #1 - The Pope is coming, the Pope Is coming.
Worry #2 - Trump or Fiorini - CUCH!
Worry #3 - ....(ow yea, 700 Muslims died yesterday on the Haj)

September 2, 2015
Worry #1 - Negro Shot by Cop....
Worry #2 - Cop shot by negro......
Worry #3 - ....(repeat ad infinitum)

August 30, 2015 ·
Worry #1 - Trump/Cruz/Paul/Huckabee/Clinton
Worry #2 - Going to any crowded location where a mass shooting could occur
Worry #3 - Bad weather, somewhere, somehow.

March 26, 2015 ·
Worry #1 - Co-Pilot Crashes German Airliner - Luftansa/Luftwaffe
Worry #2 - Ted Cruz is the first one in the pool - be afraid, very afraid.
Worry #3 - Bergdahl - AWOL. (5 terrorists traded for this?)

March 13, 2015 ·
Worry #1 - Wait Wait, more killings in Ferguson MS, they aren't done yet!
Worry #2 - More Drunken Secret Service antics, are these guys the modern day Keystone Cops?
Worry #3 - Senators are not conducting Foreign Policy (Iran Letter)

March 12, 2015 ·
Worry #1 - Hillary's e-mail
Worry #2 - ISIS killings, now with little children!
Worry #3 - Apple Watch - EVERYWHERE

February 5, 2015 ·
Worry #1 - Un-Vaccinated children (really?)
Worry #2 - Be burned alive in a cage....yes, religion of compassion and love indeed)
Worry #3 - Don't fly on ANY Asian Air Line.

January 15, 2015 ·
Worry #1 - Charlie Hebdo - France has terrorist too!
Worry #2 - Mitt Romney - Third Times A Charm?
Worry #3 - Boko Haram like to kill lots of people, somewhere in Africa.

December 30, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Another Asian Airliner bites the dust.
Worry #2 - Attempted ambush of LAPD officers (is there a trend here?)
Worry #3 - Everybody owns a drone now.

December 22, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Police officers Executed in NY (didn't see that coming)
Worry #2 - Cyber War with North Korea (maybe we will get to see Kim Jung Un's emails now)
Worry #3 - Bad Christmas Travel weather - same thing every year.

December 18, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - North Korea / Sony Hacking (why is this news?)
Worry #2 - Normalized Relations with Cuba (woo who.... cigars!)
Worry #3 - Terrorist killing in Sydney, Australia / School Massacre in Pakistan.

December 15, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Gunman Hold Up Everywhere, Sydney - Philadelphia
Worry #2 - Sony Pictures hacking, never ends....
Worry #3 - More Storms Hit California

Greg Martin
December 11, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - California Super Storm
Worry #2 - CIA Torture Report
Worry #3 - Sony Pictures email hacking.

December 8, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Riots from Ferguson Decision
Worry #2 - Riots from NY Decision
Worry #3 - California Rain

December 4, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Islamic State Attacks
Worry #2 - California Rains.
Worry #3 - NY Police Officer Killing Acquittal

November 28, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ferguson is burning
Worry #2 - Bill Cosby still Raping.
Worry #3 - Black Friday Shopping

November 24, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Bill Cosby has fathered million's of children through rape?
Worry #2 - Ferguson MS Grand Jury results pending
Worry #3 - First lots of snow, now lots of melting.....FLOOD!

November 20, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Another college shooting somewhere, shooter dead, again
Worry #2 - Ferguson MS Grand Jury results pending
Worry #3 - Bill Cosby is a serial rapist, but denies it.

November 19, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - November Winter Storm - Snow everywhere!
Worry #2 - Ferguson MS Grand Jury results pending
Worry #3 - Bill Cosby is a rapist!

November 14, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Republicans Control Everything! (Except Obama)
Worry #2 - Ebola Nurses and Doctors that come home.
Worry #3 - Russian Bombers off our coasts (is it 1962 again?)

October 31, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ebola Nurses
Worry #2 - More High School Shootings
Worry #3 - Mid-term Elections

October 23, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ebola
Worry #2 - Quebec Parliament Shooting
Worry #3 - Radicalized ISIS youth

October 16, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ebola
Worry #2 - Ebola
Worry #3 - Ebolapocolypse

(But surprisingly nothing more about Hannah Graham or the police shooter in Pennsylvania that has been on the run for over a month.)

October 8, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ebola
Worry #2 - Ebola
Worry #3 - ISIS Be-headings

September 29, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Mystery Virus Similar to Polio
Worry #2 - Ebola back in the news
Worry #3 - Hannah Graham abduction / murder

September 17, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Hurricane Odile
Worry #2 - iPhone 6 and Apple Watch
Worry #3 - Domestic Violence in the NFL

September 8, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Another New Royal Baby
Worry #2 - Major storms across the US
Worry #3 - Ukraine Sanctions / Islamic State Retaliation

September 4, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Another Be-Heading by ISIS Militants
Worry #2 - Naked Celebrity Cell Phone Hacking
Worry #3 - Ebola and Fighting in Iraq / Civil War

August 21, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Foley Be-Heading by ISIS Militants
Worry #2 - Ferguson MS shooting and rioting
Worry #3 - Ebola and Fighting in Iraq / Civil War

August 18, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ferguson MS shooting and rioting
Worry #2 - Ebola and Fighting in Iraq / Civil War
Worry #3 - ISIS genocide in Iraq

August 15, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Ferguson MS shooting and rioting
Worry #2 - Weather, Flooding on the East Coast
Worry #3 - Ebola and Fighting in Iraq / Civil War

August 5, 2014 ·
Worry #1 - Still Ebola
Worry #2 - Weather, Flooding in California
Worry #3 - Israel / Gaza - more mass killing - rocket attacks.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

For RePeats Sake: Oriental Dreams

Take Away: 

The ideal repeat disc for the Man Cave.  Generic soft jazz with images of topless woman cavorting on beaches and riding motorcycles.  Sort of like a cross-over disc for young boys transitioning from Anime to Pornography.  It is simple and makes for great background music and visuals, but not much else.  Interestingly enough, this is a CAV disc (nerd speak), so you only get 30 minutes per side, but you can freeze every luscious frame!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

He Saw / She Saw: Full Metal Jacket


This 1987 war film was directed, produced and co-written by Stanley Kubrick.  Based on the novel called The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford.  I thought this was a great movie! The story begins with a platoon of US Marines at boot camp, under the profane, power-saw guidance of drill instructor Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey, a real-life drill instructor whose performance is one of the most terrifyingly realistic on record). Part two takes place in Nam, as seen through the eyes of the now thoroughly indoctrinated marines.  I would recommend this movie highly.


As a Kubrick fan, I had seen this film a long time ago and mostly recalled R. Lee Ermey stellar performance as the Drill Sargent.  On this second viewing, I wasn't so much impressed with the visuals of the film (which are stunning), but the character development and life lessons that Kubrick was trying to get across.  If you haven't seen it in a while, it might not be the film you remember.  I highly recommend it. 

He Saw / She Saw: Downton Abbey (The Movie)


Having watched the series, I was excited to see this movie.  It did not disappoint and I absolutely love watching Maggie Smith playing the part of wise grandmother.  I loved it when she said, “I never argue, I explain.”  For those who have not seen the series it may be difficult at times to follow, but overall, was happy to see almost all the original characters from the TV series.


I don't recall how, but we got sucked into this series back in the day when it was still running on PBS.  I gotta admit, it made me feel homie.  Sort of like an upper crust version of Friends with the Sopranos thrown in .  So, when they all came back in a movie (and I found it in the bargain bin at Safeway - impulse buy!) Sue and I were punching up the microwave popcorn and kicking back the recliners.  It does not disappoint, hitting all the right notes and making you feel satisfied in the end, sort of like eating cotton candy.  (but really GOOD cotton candy)