Gutbrain Records

Sunday, 28 August 2005

Thanks to everybody who came to the show at Tonic last week. After we (pictured above) finished playing, Andrew D'Angelo took the stage with Trevor and Jim and played an amazing set! I hope I can see that group again soon.

I watched the new Ultraman movie a few days ago and was really disappointed. I was never a follower of Ultraman and the like, but I love monster movies and the Ultraman series is famous for its monsters. Like the old Gamera movies, though, it's really for children, which may explain why I never got into it. I never saw Ultraman on TV when I was younger, so I didn't get a chance to see it when I would have been most likely to enjoy it.

I'd heard that 2005's Ultraman was a darker story, though, more for adults, with really good special effects. Since something similar had been done with Gamera in the '90s, I was optimistic. I'm sorry to report that Ultraman doesn't have much to offer other than a few isolated moments which made me think that sequels could be better.

The movie has terrible music, the worst kind of wailing electric guitar garbage, like what you hear in TV commercials for the army. This kicks in immediately, as they introduce our hero, a fighter jet pilot. Top Gun seems to be the model here, not anything from the wonderful world of Japanese fantasy.

(Top Gun's success as a recruitment film is well known, and I wonder if there's any connection between this angle of the Ultraman movie and Japan's current controversial drive to widen the scope and increase the activities of its Self-Defense Forces.)

Anyway, our fighter jet hero flies into a strange red light which affects him in a way known only to everybody watching the movie. Then you'll sit there for about 45 minutes, wondering when the hell he's going to turn into Ultraman already. You probably won't wonder much about his son with the rare disease, but the filmmakers evidently thought that this question would be of paramount importance to the audience.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995), Gamera 2: The Assault of Legion (1996) and Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999) proved that a satisfying adult update of a popular children's franchise can be done. Gamera 3 is the best, highly recommended, but you have to see the first two, which are also very good, to get the most out of it. Ultraman you can skip.

In other news, last spring I started keeping track of all the different kinds of beer I drink. Yesterday I noted number 200. Almost all of them have been very good. Only 10 of them would I not want to drink again. There were five that I liked better than the rest:

La Choulette Ambree, a Saison from France's Brasserie La Choulette

Belgian Strong Dark Ale from the NYC Home-Brewer's Guild

La Binchoise Brune Tradition, from Belgium's Brasserie La Binchoise

La Trappe Quadrupel from the Netherlands' Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven

Herold 14¼ Bohemian Bronze Lager from Pivovar Herold Breznice in the Czech Republic

Favorite American breweries included Ommegang, Sixpoint, Southern Tier, Stone, Avery, Dogfish Head, Brooklyn, Goose Island and Stoudt's.

Favorite German beers included Schwelmer Weizen, Engel Bock, and Pinkus's Organic Ur Pils.

Some greatly enjoyed English Ales were Young's Double Chocolate Stout and Fuller's Porter. In fact, just about any beer from Young's or Fuller's is worth drinking.