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Sunday we caught From Hell, the Jack the Ripper thriller staring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham. The Hughes brothers directed and it’s a fine film for a third effort. It’s dark and creepy in most parts and the cinematography is better than your average Hollywood release. The acting is fair, though Johnny was a bit flat at times. The script is interesting, with an unexpected twist here and there. Johnny plays a police investigator who has psychic episodes that come to him in drug-induced visions. (The vision scenes are probably the most interesting and dark and the film could have used more of this style.) Heather Graham plays an Irish prostitute.
“I’d buy that for a dollar!”
From Robocop
Her circle of friends is being butchered one by one by the mysterious Ripper. It's interesting to see how they made so few killings, by today's standards, horrifying and suspensful. It’s worth seeing, particularly at this time of year.

Despite poverty conditions I had to have the new Drive By Truckers CD Southern Rock Opera. I practically had to turn my head and cough to pull out the $20 for the double CD. As much as I like the cute folk-art-flavored packaging, complete with a lyric book, I’ve got to wonder how many they can sell at that price.
And it has some great tunes, most of which I’ve heard live as they worked on this collection over the last couple of years. But apparently at their live shows they wisely left out a few of the slower tunes and I think they could have told the tale they’re trying to get across on a single CD and saved me the extra $10. But it ain’t the money that is the real problem, the problem is this is just too much. In trying to pay homage to Skynrd and the duality of life in the South, they’ve gone a bit overboard. The nice thing about their previous efforts was the succinct way they cut to the bone with little fluff and little rambling. Or maybe this collection is just a little too dark, something I’ve always liked about the ‘Truckers, but before it was black comedy whereas Southern Rock Opera is just about all black. Even the order of the tunes leaves you on a down note. Had I been in charge, I’d have wrapped with the wonderful “Let There Be Rock”. It fits better after the plane crash tune that ends the CD as it’s laid out now.
Overall, they could have left out some of the morbid details (read “songs”) and had a fantastic single disc. Instead you’re likely to skip the first CD the second time you pull this out of your collection to play.

I’ve been doing a tiny bit of freelance work, thanks to degenerate MK, but it ain’t much. Unemployment has finally kicked in until the freelance checks show up but it’s even less. But at least the system is considerably friendlier than it was the last time I had to deal with it. Now instead of filling out a form every week showing what job contacts you made and trucking it down to the unemployment office and standing in line you can call a phone number and punch in a few responses to the automated menu and (poof) the check is direct deposited two days later. Handy. So then I went to defer my student loans for a bit until I find a job and found the forms right online. You still have to print and mail them, but at least I didn’t have to request the forms and wait 7 – 10 days for them to arrive.
Now if only finding a job were so easy…

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