5 Quick Reviews of 5 New Movies on DVD

September was a big month for DVDs. I have five more reviews in my DVD folder, so here’s an extra post for September.

There are two movies about the end of the world. One a comedy and one not. There are two movies about a group of young anarchists breaking the rules. Ones a comedy and one is not. And the last film from an animation mastermind. And here’s a first; They are all pretty good. (some better than others)

Hope you enjoy them too.

To the reviews…

first up

World War Z (Paramount Pictures)

World War Z poster

Directed by Marc Forster

Written by Matthew Michael CarnahanDrew Goddard & Damon Lindelof  Story by Matthew Michael Carnahan & J. Michael Straczynski  Based on World War Z by Max Brooks

Starring Brad Pitt, Mireille EnosJames Badge Dale & Matthew Fox

Brad Pitt

I loved World War Z. It is an amazing audiobook and a great story. The movie mirrors the feel of the book in many ways. I first thought, when I heard that they were making it into a movie, that it would be a difficult book to adapt… and I was right. The book and the movie are two very different entities. On its own, the movie is enjoyable. It is suspenseful and scary and intense and Brad Pitt does a fine job as always. The zombies are fast zombies… and they are slow zombies. These are zombies that are slow until they are fast. They are frightening. Some of the scariest zombies I have seen in a while.

Zombies

But honestly, read the book. The book is a thousand times better. And they are not even similar so seeing the movie doesn’t spoil the book at all. (or better yet listen to the audiobook it is by far the best audiobook I have ever heard).

Zombies Climb!

World War Z is a decent adaptation and an enjoyable pandemic horror film. It tries to mirror the international flavor of the book by having Brad put in some serious air miles and it has a really cool and original climax that almost seems anti-climactic to those of us who grew up on the ultraviolent Zombie films of the past.

Rent it (Good film. Better book. Even better audiobook)

Next

The Bling Ring (A24)

The Bling Ring Poster

Written & Directed by Sofia Coppola

Based on “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales

Starring Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Georgia Rock, Emma Watson & Leslie Mann

The Bling Ring is yet another masterpiece by Sofia Coppola. My girl is an artist. This movie made me uneasy and queasy with how sleazy these kids were. The main characters are all vapid and privileged children of the internet age. It is so easy to hate them. But it is just as easy to feel sorry for them when you see their role models and in the case of one of the hollywood home invaders, her guardian.

Emma Watson Bling Ring

I wanted to hate this movie because the characters are so hateful but I loved it. There are no “adults” in this film. Everyone, from the thieves to the victims to the lawyers to the parents to the media to the artists that create the music on the soundtrack, EVERYONE is superficial and self-centered and ignorant (oh so very ignorant) and emotionless plastic people. The movie is so good.

Katie Chang and Israel Broussard

I love Sofia’s work mostly because she makes me feel like a fly on the wall. Like we’re looking in on someone’s fucked up life. The Bling Ring angered me… a lot. It frustrated me. Everything in the film is like designer nails on a limited edition blackboard. I see the movie as a scathing indictment of this generation; A generation of glorified and romanticized ignorance, of designer sociopaths raised on apathy and reality tv, chronicled by hashtags & selfies.

The Real Bling Ring

Say what you want about the possibility that this film perpetuates the problem, because I can see that argument and its merits, but I see it as a horror film. And not the comedy that it is. Though it is hysterical most of the time.

Bling Ring Emma

And Emma Watson is insanely good as the moral center of the film. A moral center with absolutely zero compassion or… morality. I like that she’s doing smaller films now, indie films and artsy films. And this is one of those movies that marks a generation. Rebel Without A Cause, Easy Rider, Revenge of The Nerds, Natural Born Killers… It’s awful and it’s awesome and it’s a true story. And I loved it.

Rent it (Emma Watson, Emma Watson, Emma Watson, Emma Watson)

Next up (more Emma actually)

This Is the End (Columbia Pictures)

This Is the End Poster

Written & Directed by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

Based on Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse by Jason Stone

Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera & Emma Watson

This Is the End makes fun of the self-centered celebrity and assures us that they are all going to hell. It is a very funny movie. It is a lot more religious than I thought it would be. But it is just as funny as I thought.

This Is the End Party

It has great cameo appearances from a bunch of my favorite people, all of them making fun of themselves in much the same way James van der Beek played himself in Don’t Trust The B in Apt 23 (I miss that show) or Matt Damon in House of Lies (on Showtime).

This Is the End's Emma Watson, Seth and Jonah

In the end, This Is the End is a movie about redemption and friendship but mostly it’s a movie about drinking & partying & doing drugs during the apocalypse. I liked it. I liked it a lot. It was very funny.

This Is the End Michael Cera and Rihanna

And sure, This Is the End can be crass at times but those times are few and there’s enough heart to make up for it. Not an amazing film but a fun film nonetheless.

Rent it (It’s fun, It’s funny… It’s biblical?)

Next we say goodbye to an old friend

From Up on Poppy Hill (Toho (Japan), Walt Disney Pictures (International), Gkids (US and Canada), StudioCanal (UK))

From Up on Poppy Hill Poster

Directed by Gorō Miyazaki

Written by Hayao Miyazaki & Keiko Niwa  Based on Kokuriko-zaka kara by Chizuru Takahashi & Tetsurō Sayama

Starring Masami Nagasawa, Junichi Okada, Keiko Takeshita, Yuriko Ishida, Jun Fubuki, Takashi Naito, Shunsuke Kazama, Nao Omori & Teruyuki Kagawa

From Up on Poppy Hill is yet another masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki’s. His films are so rich and detailed. I love his work. He makes 1960’s Japan look like Norman Rockwell meets Steampunk meets the comfort of a warm quilt on a stormy night. The themes are all grown up emotions and relations told through the experiences of youth. And they are… just… gorgeous.

Poppy Hill 1

Poppy Hill is no different. His latest and I hear his last film is the beautiful story of a school clubhouse slated for demolition and a girl who takes care of her family while her mother is away. It is the story of family and of love and of honoring the past. It is a wonderfully touching movie.

Poppy Hill 2

Don’t leave us Miyazaki. There is still so much we can learn from you. I was going to do an animated features series on this blog but after Hayao Miyazaki there is no one else. There is no one else at his level or even close to it. The only reason I don’t include him with my list of favorite directors is because animated features are a completely different skill set. But if I did, he would be in my top five easily.

Tokyo 1964

I sometimes wonder if one day we will remake his stories with live action. If someone would come along with the sensitivity and the talent to bring his stories to full life. I have compared him in the past to early Terry Gilliam (before he got all dark) and to Jeunet & Caro. But you would have to take these visual artists and add the storytelling ability of Kurasawa, and the photography of Kubrick & the rich attention to detail of Ridley Scott to truly get it right.

Poppy Hill 3

If this is his last film, then it is a beautiful tribute to his work, to his era, to his memory, to complete his collection and his lessons in life, in love & honor.

Hayao Miyazaki

Thank you, sir. There is no other director about which I can say I am a better person at the end of his films than I was at the beginning.

Buy It (along with everything else he has done)

Lastly

The East (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

The East

Directed by Zal Batmanglij

Written by Zal Batmanglij & Brit Marling

Starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page & Patricia Clarkson

The East… um The East? The East. The East! I just don’t know. I know I’m supposed to have an opinion about the DVDs I review (them’s the blogging rules… tell us you hated it and absolutely loved it or else we will be bored) but The East is so many things, so many wonderful things and so many awful misfires at the same time that I don’t know if I can say I enjoyed it.

Brit and Alexander

I don’t know. I just don’t know. Which is precisely what the film delivers. It brought me big ugly question marks because it tries so hard not to take sides (yet still does at times [mostly because it is impossible not to take sides] and I completely understand). The East is a film about a group of so-called Eco-terrorists or anarchists. But to me they are more like Eco-artists. A group that works in the medium of forced irony. They do to the corporate criminals what those criminals do to society and to the environment.

The East Group

There should be obvious good guys and bad guys. Yet, as with all the films of this type, the filmmakers work hard to paint a balance. They make the groups motivations less about justice and more about revenge and very personal. I both hate and love this thematically. It is a great idea poorly executed. Great writing poorly directed. Great acting poorly filmed. A courageous undertaking that wimps out on us.

Brit Marling

And again, the cast is superb and the writing is excellent. Brit Marling is slowly becoming one of my favorite people on the planet. She has (much like in the fantastic movie Another Earth) taken both a writing role and a starring role. And the movie benefits from her talents.

Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård

The film poses philosophical questions to the characters as well as the audience and while there are no easy answers and there are no uncomplicated emotions, In the end there are no good guys and I don’t know how I feel about that. So once again a film by the wonderful Brit Marling and friends has left me with my mouth agape and nothing to say…

Alexander Skarsgård

Except that the ending and the direction kind of sucked (I’m sorry). Alexander Skarsgård is too fucking gorgeous for this world (I’m not sorry). And I can’t wait to see what Brit does next. So I’m just going to stick with, I don’t know. If that’s okay with you guys.

Rent it (It’s extremely good and really bad at the same time)

So to recap…

World War Z is pretty good. It’s just nothing like the book and that made me uncomfortable.

The Bling Ring is insanely good. It’s just the characters are so maddeningly annoying it made me uncomfortable

This Is the End is very good. It’s just a little more religious than I expected and that made me uncomfortable

The East is really good. It’s just that it’s also really bad and I don’t know if I liked it and that makes me uncomfortable

and

From Up on Poppy Hill is extremely good. It’s just that Hayao Miyazaki says he’s retiring and that just makes me sad.

Okay now, guys. go out and watch some movies and by that I mean stay in and watch some movies. Make the movies come to you.

Until next time,

Mel

Volcano by Damien Rice w/ Lisa Hannigan

Don’t hold yourself like that
cause You’ll hurt your knees
well I kissed your mouth, and back
But that’s all I need
Don’t build your world around
Volcanoes melt you down

And What I am to you is not real
What I am to you, you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me
You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I’ll ask for the sea

Don’t throw yourself like that
In front of me
I kissed your mouth, your back
Is that all you need?
Don’t drag my love around
Volcanoes melt me down

What I am to you is not real
What I am to you, you do not need
What I am to you is not what you mean to me
You give me miles and miles of mountains
And I’ll ask

What I give to you is just what I’m going through
This is nothing new, no, no just another phase of finding
what I really need is what makes me bleed
But like a new disease, Lord, she’s still too young to treat
Volcanoes melt you down
She’s still too young +what I am to you+you do not need+is not real
I kissed your mouth
You do not need me

Photos from Around the Block 9 (Chasing the Sun)

Today I went outside. Well… I had to trick myself into going outside. I didn’t need anything from the store but wanted to take pictures. So I told myself that I needed bagels.

Didn’t actually need bagels. Didn’t even want bagels. But I made myself believe there was a shortage of bagels in my life and out I went.

However by the time my inner dialogue ended and I stepped outside, the sun was on its way down. Summer is over. I had waited too long and I’d have to start earlier next time around. But I wasn’t going to let this jaunt outside my haunt go to waste.

I would have to chase the sun.

Here are the pics.

Hey, it's not like I smoke everyday. Or did you mean that patch of dirt there?

Hey, it’s not like I smoke everyday. Or did you mean that patch of dirt there?

I'm surrounded by buildings and hills so it gets late early around here.

I’m surrounded by buildings and hills so it gets late early around here.

Summer is over and all of the little turtle kids are back in their shells.

Summer is over and all of the little turtle kids are back in their shells wishing they could be outside playing.

All the leaves are gone.

All the leaves are brown gone and the sky is grey a gorgeous shade of blue.

This is one of my neighbors. It's a little blurry but he was so cute.

This is one of my neighbors. It’s a little blurry but he was so cute.

Speaking of blurry. I still like this one a lot.

Speaking of blurry. I still like this one a lot. It’s kind of a mind fuck.

As the sun sets, the colors are beautiful even as the light dies.

As the sun sets, the colors are beautiful. They are more vivid and alive as the light dies.

Before the street lamps are lit, I chase the sun.

Before the street lamps are lit, I chase the sun.

There's my ride.

There’s my ride.

Wait, where are you going? I guess I was wrong.

Wait, where are you going?  (Guess there was no room)

Chasing the sun on my favorite pretty place of worship.

Chasing the sun on my favorite pretty place of worship.

big cross, little cross

big cross, little cross

Construction Trio

Construction trio getting it done before quitting time.

Yellow Hat gets his own pic.

Yellow hat gets his own pic. Don’t ask me why.

The hills hide the sunset

The hills hide the setting sun.

Chasing the sun through the shadows. It's much too fast for me.

Chasing the sun through the shadows. It’s much too fast for me.

Half of you are going the wrong way. "The sun is going that way!" I need an airplane.

Half of you are going the wrong way. “The sun is going that way!”

That's more like it. "Follow that sun."

Now, that’s more like it. “Follow that sun.”

And now for some celebratory… bagels? Nope

I still have Butter Pecan Ice Cream in my freezer.

Now, that’s more like it.

’til next time,

– Mel

5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD in September (Plus 2 Edition)

This installment of 5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD is Super-Sized because it contains the six (count ’em six) DVDs that I review this month, including 2 extended reviews of movies I saw in the theater that are coming out on BluRay this month but also a review of a movie from 1996 that I saw for the first time a week ago. (It’s the Doctor Who Movie) That’s right that’s SEVEN movies.

SPECIAL NOTE: My Star Trek 2 and Iron Man 3 reviews include spoilers. Big ol’ nasty spoilers that will ruin the movies if you haven’t seen them yet. Be warned. They are both marked but the entire review in both cases is one big spoiler.

To the reviews…

Now You See Me (Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate)

Now You See Me Poster

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman

Now You See Me is a fun little movie. It’s not very good but it’s a fine distraction. It has a decent heist story. But I kind of wished the magic in it were either less fantastical or a little more so. It swings back and forth and back between possible magic, highly improbable magic and downright bullshit. But again it’s a fun movie. It’s not the best directed film or best acted but I really liked the story. The premise is pure fantasy but I like all these actors. It has a great cast and it has a good twist.

Now You See Me

So as long as you don’t take it too seriously, Now You See Me is a fun distraction. Sure there are other things you could be doing with the two hours, but if you’d rather not be doing those things that you should be doing (like rewriting) then Now You See Me is a decent waste of time.

That’s how I would describe it. Now You See Me is a waste of time but it’s a fun waste of time.

Rent it.

And now for the spolier-athon…

Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount Pictures)

Star Trek Into Darkness

Directed by J. J. Abrams

Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof

Starring John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Peter Weller & Anton Yelchin

ALL SPOILERS ALL THE TIME

SPOILERS!

Into darkness was not as good on the small screen as I remember it being in IMAX. It is, in essence, a remake, or a reboot, of the best Star Trek movie ever made; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and I remember being excited that it was… just that, a remake of Wrath of Khan, when I was in the theater and it took me by surprise and everyone was yelling and clapping and all that fun crap but now that the fireworks are over with, I’m a little annoyed.

Kirk and Spock

Into Darkness just isn’t as re-watchable as some of the other Star Trek films. (J.J. Abrams’ first Trek I’ve watched more times than I can count and it gets better every time) But Into Darkness is as campy as The Voyage Home. Its dialogue is, at times, as moronic as The Final Frontier. It doesn’t have the awesome space battles that are the hallmark of Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country. And worst of all, they bring back a dead Captain and explain it about as well as they did in Search for Spock. It is the worst parts of the Star Trek films that I didn’t like while forgetting to include the best parts of the ones I did like.

Star trek Into Darkness

I’ve watched it once in the theater and I watched it once on DVD and it’s like they are two different films.

The first one being an exciting Star Trek alternate timeline story of Kirk & Spock against Khan that even sets up the possibility of Khan returning in future films like he’s Kirk’s arch-enemy or something. The old trilogy formula of saving a heroes arch for the second movie. Loved it.

Khan

The second one is a tired and inadequate rehash of an already great story. And a filmmaking and writing copout of epic proportions. Even at times extracting scenes from the previous (and better) movie then twisting them a bit so as to annoy the shit out of me.

Khan

So I say these are two different Star Trek: Into Darkness films; The event movie that is an exciting time at the theater, And the campy, crappy, constantly reminding me of a better movie remake that should be avoided.

Skip it (It’s just not as good when you have time to think about how bad it is)

Next up on spoiler theater…

Iron Man 3 (Walt Disney Studios)

Iron Man 3

Directed by Shane Black

Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black  Based on Iron Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck & Jack Kirby

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce & Ben Kingsley

ALL SPOILERS ALL THE TIME

SPOILERS!

After watching Iron Man 3 on DVD I am less offended by the The Mandarin debacle. It is still horrible and watching while knowing the twist makes the filmmakers attempts to fool the audience even more annoying. There is an entire scene in the movie that is included just to fool the audience and for no other reason. However, upon re-watching, I noticed that the rest of this movie is very very good. I think it may be the best of the Iron Man films… And except for that huge glaring mistake and the line at the end where Guy Pearce says “I am the Mandarin.” (That still angers me) it’s pretty fucking good.

Iron Man 3 Stark and Suit

The story is fantastic. Iron Man 3 has some of the best acting in the series. Some of the best banter in the series between Stark and… everyone. I loved the PTSD storyline. And I really liked the evolution of Pepper & Tony’s relationship.

Iron Man and Pepper

I even like the bad guys and how Stark created them in the beginning. A nice circle. (I like a nice circle). So, basically, if you just remove the name The Mandarin from Ben Kingsley’s character or say that he is pretending to be a villain from the 60’s called The Mandarin, (who is dead) then you have a perfect film. All I am asking for is a little respect for the source material. (just a little bit)

Iron Man 3 screenshot

Iron Man 3 is so close to being a perfect film. So close. And I think that is what annoys me most.

Rent it (It’s good but I don’t know if I will ever forgive them)

END SPOILERS!!!!

END SPOILERS!!!

next movie…

The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Great Gatsby

Directed by Baz Luhrmann

Written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce  Based on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher & Jason Clarke

The Great Gatsby doesn’t take itself seriously enough. For one, the choice of contemporary music dates the film a great deal. With a period film like this one, that creates some musical confusion. The film already has a music period. A period with some ridiculously good music. Sure it’s not rap and R&B but there is some truly fantastic 1920’s jazz music that folks used to swing to. And they could still have added a contemporary flavor to it. It would have been awesome.

Jay Gatsby

But what Baz Luhrmann does in Gatsby takes me completely out the film. Every time I hear Jay-Z’s voice it feels like a gimmick. I like the story. I loved Leo in it. Carrie Mulligan is exquisite. So really it is just the music that I had a problem with. It is a BIG problem.

Carrie Mulligan

And I like Baz. I loved his Romeo & Juliet and I thought Moulin Rouge was pretty fucking good. But the Great Gatsby is not good. Because it suffers from the contemporary music. It’s not a musical. It’s a party. A party in the 20’s where they are dancing to rap music. But I think the music is indicative of a larger problem. The film just doesn’t take itself seriously enough. So why should we. It feels like a waste of time.

Skip It (It’s a waste of time just like Gatsby’s parties)

Disconnect (LD Entertainment)

Disconnect

Directed by Henry Alex Rubin

Written by Andrew Stern

Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Andrea Riseborough, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Alexander Skarsgård & Max Thieriot

Disconnect is an incredibly anti-internet movie. Don’t go on the internet. Don’t chat. Don’t buy stuff. Don’t make friends. Don’t watch porn. The internet will kill you. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.

Disconnect

Disconnect is too long and too serious. I laughed twice all movie. I have laughed more times at a funeral. (not hyperbole. I have) This movie is like an After School Special or a PSA on the overly-religious network about the DANGERS of the internet. Nice casting. But enough with the tear-jerker directing. And the music is a crime against cinema. Disconnect is like one of those school assembly movies that they make you watch in the auditorium after something tragic happens to a kid you didn’t even know that well.

And this movie sucked. Oh man what a crappy movie.

Skip it. (Tear-jerker, Made for TV, After School Special, piece of crap)

The Iceman (Millennium Films)

The Iceman

Directed by Ariel Vromen

Written by Ariel Vromen and Morgan Land

Starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans & Ray Liotta

The Iceman is intense and ultra-realistic. I liked it for the psychological study of a sociopath. A psychopathic hitman with the sweetest family and no emotion. The Iceman is scary good.

The Iceman

The Iceman has great performances and a cool premise that’s well executed. It’s a brutal movie but it’s meant to be brutal. Michael Shannon is fantastic. And this is some of Winona Ryder’s best work since Heathers (I love that movie) The Iceman is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.

The Iceman

Based on the true story of mob hitman.

Rent it. (It’s an intense and brutal movie that is not to be taken lightly)

Doctor Who The Movie (1996)

Doctor Who The Movie

Directed by Geoffrey Sax

Written by Matthew Jacobs

Starring Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Eric Roberts & Daphne Ashbrook

Oh, how I wanted Doctor Who The Movie to be good. But it was worse than I feared. Oh, the camp. Oh, the crappy dialogue. Oh, the fact that nothing actually happens in the movie. No really… there is no plot!!!

Doctor Who

We spend the first act on the regeneration. The slowest regeneration in Who History. The second act on Eric Roberts standing in a green room and chewing the virtual scenery while Paul McGann plays it dumb and meets the girl. And then an idiotic third act that would have been better had the entire cast turned to the camera and yelled “Magic!” while doing jazz hands.

Fade to black.

Paul McGann

What a dumb movie. And I expected dumb but it’s also empty. I wasn’t expecting that. Useless. Why would you waste a regeneration on this crap? They must have thought this would be the last Doctor Who. Luckily the 2005 restart came along to erase this from memory.

Skip it (It’s not worth the time unless you’re a Doctor Who completest)

So To Recap…

Star Trek: Into Darkness is not that good and I don’t think I will ever watch it again.

Iron Man 3 is not that bad but I need to get over the twist if I’m ever going to watch it again,

Doctor Who The Movie is not that good and I’d rather watch any episode of Doctor Who than watch it again.

Disconnect is not that good and I’d rather be surfing the internet than watching it again.

Now You See Me is not that bad and a pretty good waste of time. I may even watch it again.

The Great Gatsby is not that good and an awful waste of time. I can’t watch it again & you can’t make me.

The Iceman is very good and I may watch it again.

See you next time movie fans

– Mel

Photos from Around the Block (Primary Edition)

I voted in the Primary Election today. Took my camera with me. It was hot & humid. But I walked up the hill to my polling place and voted in the three races that I knew something about. Left the other ones blank. I refuse to vote based on the name alone. In the November General Election, I will vote in every race. First based on knowledge and then based on party and then based on gender (We need more women in elected office). But if there are two women (or men) both Democrats and I’m not informed enough to make an intelligent decision, I do the responsible thing in those cases, I hold my nose and just pick the second name. YOUR ALPHABETIC SUPERIORITY ENDS TODAY.

Here are the pictures.

In my neighborhood, we vote on private property. While I was taking pictures I was asked to leave. I said, "I'm documenting the voting experience.

In my neighborhood, we vote on private property. While I was taking these pictures I was asked to leave. I told them, “I’m documenting the voting experience.” They understood.

The route is not clearly marked. You have to know where you are going to find the polling place and even then it's hidden.

The route is not clearly marked. You have to know where you’re going to find the polling place and even then it’s well hidden. Don’t let these signs fool you.

This is the only sign on the way up the hill. If you miss it, you're out of luck.

This is the only sign on the way up the hill. If you miss it, you’re out of luck.

This parking lot is for residents only. And once you're through the gate, there are no signs. The door is up the stairs behind the cars.

This parking lot is for residents only. And once you’re through the gate, there are no signs. The doorway is in the back up the stairs behind the cars. There are no signs.

There was one sign. Love the parenthesis.

Actually there was one sign. This little pink one was hiding near the ground. Love the parenthesis. The designer of this sign gets a big ol’ LOL from me.

Up there. That's the door. This is my eighth year. So I knew where it was. My first year I wandered around the building for half an hour... looking for it.

Up there. That’s the door. This is my eighth year. So, I knew where it was. My first year, I wandered around the building for half an hour… looking for it.

It's so clearly marked and inviting. No, really, we want you to vote.

It’s so clearly marked and inviting. No, really, we want you to vote.

They also keep it locked. The first year I tried the door. Thought it must be a laundry room, so I kept looking. How about a fucking sign?

They also keep it locked. The first year I tried the door. Thought it must be a laundry room or something, so I kept looking. How about a fucking sign?

Once inside I took one picture of the room and was told I couldn’t take pictures. They had replaced the electronic machines of the General Election with the lever machines of the past. I asked why and they said they only use the computers for the General. I like the big, physical, lever machines better. But what do I know. I wanted to show you guys the new booths, the ones with no privacy. I think they make it harder for people to vote their conscience, with a controlling and dominant spouse able to look at your picks in these open booths. You can’t tell me that wasn’t the point. Secret ballot my ass.

Here’s the cropped & blurry picture… they can all bite me.

Bored of Elections?

Enough of that. I took some more pics on my way to the store for celebratory ice cream.

School Bus

Friendly Neighborhood School Bus Driver is a cutie.

Hydrant on the Hill

Hydrant on the Hill

Hydrant II: The Sequel

Hydrant II: The Sequel

Girders and Trees

Girders and Trees

Flowers in the Shop Window

Flowers in the Shop Window

A closer look.

A closer look.

Post no Bills

Post no bills on this padlocked shop.

Cash for Cars

Cash for Cars. Cash for Cars. Then I noticed that in my neighborhood, every fifth car was for sale. They know their market.

That’s all I have this time out.

Gonna have ice cream (butter pecan)

See you guys next week.

– Mel