in the latest batch of 5 for a week from the film buff:
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of a Black Pearl
The two biggest grossing films of 2003, back to back, last friday. Nemo was cute, and visually stunning (wishing now I had seen it on the big screen) although not quite as good as previous Pixar films. Still a solid, endearing effort and surprisingly Albert Brooks wasn’t annoying. So yeah, I quite enjoyed it, but I knew I would. Pixar has never let me down.
I was a little more sceptical about Pirates of the Caribbean. I mean, a movie based on a Disneyworld ride? Come on. Sure, Johnny Depp can lend any movie some cred, and Geoffry Rush is typically fun to watch, and I think Gore Verbinski had done a great job with the American version of the Ring and I liked his work on the Mexican (but maybe not the film)… but I still wasn’t banking anything on this film. Oh, and I really don’t like swashbuckling films.
But, early on (basically once Cap’n Jack Sparrow appeared on screen) I found myself enjoying the film. Not high art by any means, and not really a keeper, but definitely disposable fun.
All in all, I can see why both films made Disney a shitload of money. Completely non-offensive, but, hey, still enjoyable. Nemo’s special features (commentary and making of especially) really hit their mark for both kids and adults. The Pirates of the Caribbean were excessive and somewhat uninteresting, as disposable as the film itself.
Dogtown and Z-Boys
An intriguing insight into the history of skateboarding, and its evolution from the a troupe of boys out of the southern California slums. Although well done, and structured nicely, really, only for people interested in this sort of thing (extreme sports, punk culture etc).
Ah, finally, I bear witness to the unpredictable, meandering and quietly humourous film that is Rushmore. Brilliant performances all around and it acts as a bridge between Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums. Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson certainly have a rhythm to their work that doesn’t fit any sort of norm, although the film the Graduate is referenced by Anderson many times as inspiration, and you know, it fits.
The cinematography is interesting, emphasizing the comedic and the dramatic alike. Quite amazing, actually, as everything and everyone hits their queues, and the film comes together as a whole astounding package.
The Criterion Edition of Rushmore features Charlie Rose interviews with Bill Murray and Wes Anderson which are good but repetitive. There are short films, lots of photos, a directors commentary and more stuff I just couldn’t get through before I needed sleep.
This is my new favourite first 2/3s of a film. Everything in the first 2/3’s works brilliantly, and the last 1/3… well, it’s conceptually brilliant, but in execution it just doesn’t sustain the energy and peculiarity of the first bits.
The biggest disappointment with the DVD however is not the lackluster ending (I get it, I do, it’s just not as great as the rest), but the fact that there’s no special features. There’s so much to be gained by having interviews with the real Charlie Kaufmann, as well as interviews with the actors and director, and all the real life to screen participants in the film.
Anyway, I’m holding out for a special edition (Superbit, pheh). But a great, great film in so many respects.
in the latest batch of 5 for a week from the film buff:
HOLY KRUNK! I GOT TICKETS!
My goofy letter won them over and I have tickets to Conan O’Brien In Toronto (FYI they sent me word via e-Mail).
I’m going Wednesday, February 11….
It’s still undecided as to who is going to come with me (show tapes from 4:30 - 5:30, lineup starts at 3:00!) as Emma’s working and Gary from New York may or may not be in town and if he is he may or may not be able to get out of work.
I’m thinking of asking my boss if Gary falls through, and if the boss says no, well, then it’s contest time…
Keep your eyes peeled.
SCENE - studio recording booth. In the foreground we see the sound engineer (SOUND GUY) at his obscenely large console filled with buttons and knobs and dials and switches. Behind him is the DIRECTOR. Above the console is a large window of thick soundproof glass, through which we see the recording studio, small with microphones and a display stand for scripts.
JACK enters. He’s fifty-something man, no longer trim, but not overweight. He wears glasses, has close cropped grey hair and a graying beard. He sits in front of the script stand and puts on his headset. As he adjusts himself, there’s a loud squeal. JACK’s voice is deep, and very familiar. He’s THE voiceover guy.
JACK - Whoah, feedback.
SOUND GUY - Alright, let’s try this. This is the voiceover for “Comedian” movie trailer take 1.
(SOUND GUY adjusts the volume and levels)
JACK - In a world where laughter is king…
DIRECTOR - Uh, no “in a world”, Jack.
JACK - What do you mean “no in a world”?
DIRECTOR - It’s not that kind of movie.
JACK - Oh? Okay. (Pause) In a land that…
DIRECTOR - No “in a land either”.
JACK - In a time…
DIRECTOR - I don’t think so.
JACK - In a land before time…
DIRECTOR - It’s about a comedian, Jack.
JACK - One man…
DIRECTOR - No.
JACK - When your life is no longer your own…
DIRECTOR - Wha, what does that mean?
JACK - When everything you know is wrong…
DIRECTOR - That’s wrong.
JACK - In an outpost…
DIRECTOR - No.
JACK - …on the edge of space…
DIRECTOR - There’s no space.
JACK - A girl…
DIRECTOR - No.
JACK - Two girls…
DIRECTOR - NO!
JACK - Now…
DIRECTOR - No.
JACK - …more than ever.
DIRECTOR - Stop it.
JACK - A renegage cop.
DIRECTOR - (sigh) I hate you.
JACK - A robot, renegade cop…
DIRECTOR - You’re fired.
JACK - You’re fired…
DIRECTOR - No, you’re actually fired
JACK - I’m fired. (JACK looks up in approval)
DIRECTOR - Get out of the booth, Jack.
JACK - No, I like it in here.
watch it it’s even funnier when you hear it.
You’ve heard of it by now, havn’t you?
The Google machine’s answer to Friendster?
It’s called Orkut, and no, I don’t know what it means either. Maybe it’s Deutsche for “peace pipe” or something.
I didn’t ever get in to the Friendster thing. Just didn’t have an interest, like the whole Blogshares thing and other such internet tomfoolery. Precious time invested for what amounts to buttfudge nothing in results. I never even really learned what Friendster was all about, just sort of ignored it in favour of wallowing in self-pity or something.
So along comes this upstart Orkut (maybe it’s Swahili for “beached whale”?), “in association with Google” and it’s promising to be the next big thing in on-line communities. I saw Accordian Guy mention it a couple of times on his blog, and Rannie sent me an invitation which I promptly deleted.
But then I had a change of heart.
That’s right, I’m jealous of mr. Chromewaves multiple Bloggie nominations… which doesn’t make sense because really I don’t give a rats ass about the awards. I could barely make it through *reading* the nominations list without getting all headspinney and nautious.
This jealousy is irrational, as Frank definitely deserves the recognition because he puts together a clean and interesting site, and he didn’t do any constant and flagrant self-promotion like a certain squeeze-box chum from Tucows (yeah I’m lookin’ at you DeVilla! heh heh) to drive the nominations. And when I think about it, I guess I’m just envious of the extra exposure Frank’s getting from all this… because I know from talking to him and various mentions on his site that he *was* getting the same volume of traffic I was. And now he’s big time and I’m still just geek.
But it’s not like I want to be famous for a blog, or is it?
Has my extracurricular novel writing career failed so poorly that I’m now looking to blogging as my claim to fame? Eeek.
I mean, really, come on.
The best thing about blogging since I started is getting my ideas out there, my social commentary, promoting the underexposed things I like, and meeting people amidst it all. I’ve met dozens of people because of this, some in person, some on-line, and I even like some of them. WOW!
So why would I wan’t more faceless disassociates trolling through my words? Well, I guess for the same reason I want to be a writer proper… to have my voice heard (despite an attack of laryngitis right now).
So that, my friends, is the long-winded reason why I joined Orkut (Mandarin for “wild kitten”?) - more exposure for my blog. But after decimating 2-3 hours on the site yesterday, I’m already a little tired of it. My notorious habit of being into things full throttle for a short time has resurfaced once again.
What is Orkut (perhaps it’s Farsi for “circumcision”?) but a popularity contest with message boards? I’ve never been a big fan of popularity contests (I was the perennial clique outsider in high school), and it brings me back to the days when I first plunked myself in front of the net. September 1995, first year of University. The computer labs were open all night and free internet was had. I was transfixed by the net, addicted from the get go. Oh the simplicity of it all, searching Yahoo and Hotbot at the dawn of the information age, webpages scripted with nothing but HTML. High tech was an image map and a flashing gif. And there I found Scottland, the now defunct home of Scott Thompson (from the Kids in the Hall). It was an interesting multi-purpose/multi-media site, but the real activitity happened in the chat rooms, where, for a time I was an integral member, until I realized how pathetic this one internet relationship I had developed with a girl from Oklahoma was (when I started getting phone calls that promised visits I knew that it had to end). I just didn’t take it seriously.
This is what Orkut (maybe it’s Navaho for “scissors”) reminds me of. Yeah, it’s got more bells and whistles, and look(!) a bidet. But really, it’s the same thing. And sure, internet relationships have come a long way from being pathetic loners typing naughties in the night to a somewhat societal norm, but still, the whole thing seems so… retro.
I dunno. I’m still in it though, for now.
But what I want…
what I want is for someone to explain what Orkut (maybe it’s Icelandic for “pretty flower”?) is really all about. Why rank your friends? Why collect jpgs of peoples faces like they were Pokemon cards and call them friends? What’s the objective? First one to reach 1000 wins? Look at all these fabulous prizes. Look(!), a bidet!
So, following that, if you’d like to join… leave me a comment with valid email addie.
Meanwhile, around the blogosphere
My buddy Ryan back home explores Blogs Canada looking for more blogs from his neck of the woods (Thunder Bay), and really coming up empty (as he puts it in #2 on his list, “There are waaaaaay more knitters in the Ontario blog database than there are people with blogs in Thunder Bay”).
He also seems to have a beef with Toronto:
5) “There are too many bloggers in Toronto. I think that by law some of them should have to move to this gosh-foresaken half of the province. ”
8) “There are 140 pages of blog listings from Ontario and I had to stop about twenty pages in. I doubt that I am missing much though since most of them ARE IN TORONTO ANYWAY…not that there is anything inherently wrong with that.”
the rest of his list is pretty funny too.
There are few certainties in life. Even less certainties in Toronto. But there are two things you can always count on. First is it’s going to be cold in Februray, and second, the Hidden Cameras are going to put on a performance that will have people danceing and cheering. Of these I have no doubt.
You know, I was thinking how I could feel envious of those that get to experience the Hidden Camera’s for the first time, but being a veteran of the gay church folk pop explosion certainly has it’s perks. I can sing - barring that hum - along with most of the songs, I know the moves to the pre-fab dance routines for Breath On IT and Fear of ‘Zine Failure, and I’m not in such awe of what’s happening on stage I can get out amongst the crowd and dance my ass off. And in this case, with the Cameras performing with the Toronto Dance Theatre on a limited 5 night engagement, having had a handfull of previous Cameras gigs under my belt I could better resist the urge to get up and dance.
Okay, that’s bullshit, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop moving. I’ve seen the band perform before, but I couldn’t stop watching them bop around in place, to the point where I occassionally missed some of the TDT choreography. There’s so much energy in a Camera’s performace regularly that adding in a dozen dancers creates a power generation station, and there weren’t nearly enough transistors to handle all that electricity.
Sparked in mid-2002, “You Are The Same” has been a project some time in the making, and it was completely worth it. Held at the Winchester Street Theatre, a small church converted into a dance studio, the audience of less than 120 sat in collapsable bleachers and looked down upon the dance floor. The band, 12 members strong this go around, were relegated to the left hand side of the floor in a confined space, the limits of which would be constantly tested throughout the night for reasons that will soon be clear.
Kicking off with a tender two-man near-traditional ballet set to “A Miracle”, the show started off sweetly, a gente manner that would prove deceitful to those unaware of what they were getting into.
“Golden Streams” had all twelve of the dance troupe out on the floor, glittery yellow streamers attached to their wrists, performing in unison as three clusters of four, the pace just starting to pick up.
If you remember me talking about Channel 101 in the past, then you’re all set for this update.
But, if you’re the uninitiated, here’s the quick and dirty rundow:
Channel 101 is one part internet “television broadcasting station” and one part game show. Almost every month there’s a call for submissions of pilot programming (that is an episode acting as a pitch for a new series) which is pared back to the finest of the finest. Also each month a new episode of the ongoing series’ are produced. In both cases the program has to be under five minutes.
The videos are pitted head to head at a bar full of drunkards who vote for their favorite episodes. The top 5 ranked become the “Prime Time” shows for the next month. The rest are relegated to either the “Failed Pilot” or “Cancelled” bin.
Now, what’s the big deal? Well, it’s promoting creativity and challenging both struggling professionals and wannabe struggling professionals alike… it’s drawing the attention of some small grade celebrities (like Jack Black) and even smaller grade celebs (like Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke). And all the videos that get screened are on-line for download.
Now, fair warning, this is low-budget (often no-budget) entertainment. The great ones manage to overcome that fact, the good ones use it to their advantage, and the bad ones, well, are just bad.
For the newcomer, I’d say just go straight for Prime Time and the Cancelled sections (as there’s really very little of value in the Failed Pilots.
So anyway, there hasn’t been a drunken voting session for Channel 101 since November where “the ‘Bu” made it’s spectacular debut, Timebelt climbed to the top of the ranks, Computerman fumbled a little, and Ultraforce and The Fastest Samurai still held on.
Two months later, and another round of beers, followed by another round of voting, and some site design updates, the winners have been announced:
- “The ‘Bu” claimed no. 1
- A new pilot from a previous Prime Time team makes no. 2
- “Timebelt” remains a perennial favourite at no. 3
- And finally a new pilot from Earthworm Jim creator and writer/artist of 2003's best comic book Creature Tech (Doug TenNapel) called "Sock Baby" takes no.5
This has effectively killed Jack Black and Dan Harmon's homo-erotic sci-fi-lo-fi "Computerman", and and the retro-80's, post-apocalyptic future dirtbike actioneer "Ultraforce". Sad. "Computerman" was wearing thin, but Ultraforce certainly had at least another ten minutes in it.
Anyway, nothing from this round of voting (taken place on Jan 25) has been placed on-line for viewing yet, as the Channel 101 guys ummm... ran out of server space.
In the meantime they *had* placed a "Making of Timebelt" documentary available for download, but alas, now that has gone missing (much like the infamous Batman pilots). And it seems like the site is in a complete state of flux as they update it with each redesigned element as it happens... so I'm getting pretty confused.
Anyway, they promise the January 2004 episodes will be on late tonight, but they aint there yet. No more patience! It's been 2 months... I need TIMEBELT! And I'm really fricken eager to see what this Sock Baby is... Doug TenNapel is fricken awersoma!
*UPDATE* all the new episodes are on-line now waiting to be downloaded: Quick reviews - “The ‘Bu” is slow but has a good payoff, “Harper Teen Mysteries” is quite funny, “Timebelt” crosses over brilliantly with “Computerman”, “Fastest Samurai” really brings it this time, “Sock Baby” may be my new favorite, “Computerman” sadly deserves to be cancelled, and “Ultraforce” dropped the ball this go-round.
alas, methinks now that I will indeed miss mister black running around in his gootch with a cardboard box on his head… oh well.
One last “Compy” romp for old times’ sake.
when you only one 20-minute streetcar ride away from work, you really have no excuse to go home early. Even when you look out your sixth floor office window and no longer see the cool downtown Toronto cityscape, but instead just… white.
Literally. It’s just white.
So as others leave the office, scrambling towards their long commute/multi-transfer point ride home, I sit comfortably in my office chair looking at the stack of papers on my desk and attempt to continue on with my day in this 3/4 abandoned office.
(later tonight, Channel 101 news and that Hidden Cameras review on the monkey, plus some filmstuffs)
as I go to bed Channel 101 has not yet put new episodes up, but the site reads: ” January’s uploads will be done tonight. For real, this time.” which changed some time around 11:30pm.
Also, the Hidden Camera’s/Toronto Dance Theatre “You Are The Same” review is up. It hasn’t been edited yet, so fair warning.
Movie update tomorrow. Mebbe.
oh this kid is just too cute
Smart as a whip, too.
11 year-old kid with speech impediment for President!
You say you want a revolution? Yeah, well, you know, put an 11 year old kid with a speech impediment in office! The world will bow at his adorable little knees.
“No mowa woawa in Iwaq, let settow this peacefuwwy. We wiww woik wif the Muswim people and the Sewbs and the Kewds and all of them to cweate a bettow nation for aw peopows of all waces and wewigions to wive in.”
Oh, somebody pinch his cheeks already!
Is it too early for me to declare something the concert of the year?
Because, truly, I don’t think it’s going to get better than this.
>From January 21 - January 25, after months of preparation, the Hidden Cameras performed five sold out shows with the Toronto Dance Theatre, their presentation dubbed “You Are The Same”. Taking their energetic and kinetic, innuendo-endowed pop sound and translating it visually and viscerally through body movement, the dance troupe and the cameras (both representing as a gang of twelve) participated in playing instruments and reciting choreography.
There was a constat acknowledgement of the audience presence, though at times we played the silent observer. In the end, with an “impromptu” encore of “High Above the Church Grounds”, the audience was pulled down from their perches to the dance floor amidst bellaclava-clad boys in thier underwear as the band jammed out an extended 10 minute version of the song.
It was a glorious and, at times, near-religious experience, that left nary an attendee not elated.
It’s amazing that this experience was experienced by so few people. There were under 120 seats in the house and at five nights, less than 600 people would have bore witness to this spectacularr. That’s less than if they had played one night at Lee’s Palace, nevermind the 1000 seat churches they can sell out.
The program leaflet we received states that it’s the first collaboration between the Cameras and the TDT… so hopefully it’s not the last. But yeah… best show of the year. It will take something pretty awe-inspiring to top this.
A full review coming soon.
Joel Gibb, the ringmaster of the Cameras, plays 3 songs with string players as part of The Box @ the Rivoli on February 25. FYI.
Anyone else remember fondly Test Pattern?
Only the greatest Canadian game show ever.
How I’d love to hear that theme to Pablo’s Hands once more. To see Dan Gallagher’s smiling mug once again. To see Luciano Kasameiri’s hairy back…
Blah blah blah, see previous post, only substitute references to “books” with “movies”… only I’ve seen much more off this list than I have off the book list.
Apparently this list comes from IMDB’s top rated films
this lovely meme has been spreading around the net.
it asks that you take this list of the top ranked books (by who’s list I dunno) and bold the ones you’ve actually read. On precursory check, I think I’ve read one, perhaps two. Never been much for the classics. *sigh*
You know, it doesn’t matter how good or genre busting a song is, overexposure is overexposure. Despite the fact that it did indeed make my top 20 songs list (and pretty much every top singles list of ‘03, indie or not), I’m finding myself getting evermore tired of the song. Hey, yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
When you start getting cheap flash animations featuring lame rhymes and crap Weird-Al inspired parody using Saddam Hussein or taking Charlie Brown animation and adding it to the song, or even the inevitable cover versions (already)… well, if songs could jump the shark, Outkast’s Hey Ya would certainly have done it by now.
It’s being used in trailers for Adam Sandler comedies, it’s getting an abundant amount of airplay on Muchmusic, and it’s on mainstream radio hooking more and more people with it’s catchy handclaps, which only perpetuates the song as suburbanite club hoppers blast the song in their Miata’s and Lexus’.
Besically, yeah, I’m sick of the song… the more I hear it, the more frustrated I get with it. I don’t know if it’s just my “indie sensibilities” and distrust of the masses. People have a tendency for liking things without ever taking the time to understand why they like it. Not that I’m saying you have to analyze life to death, but I think it’s important to know what it is you like about something. But some people see music as a disposable commodity (and it’s not just consumers but the record companies and radio stations et. al). But I guess that’s what it’s become. If you buy a painting for your wall, does it become any less fresh if you stare at it every day? Well, perhaps you just ignore it, occasionally staring deeply at the textures and details, remembering why you bought it and admired it so. But mostly the picture’s just background, wall noise. Music can be like that, but for some reason, an indie-head like myself has trouble ignoring music for the most part, especially bad music. But bad music, like bad art, draws attention to itself, whereas mediocre music/art just sort of lingers.
But “Hey, Ya” is neither bad nor mediocre. It’s a catchy, boundary-bending song, but it just doesn’t seem to have the stamina to withstand listener bombardment. It’s what music, even good music has come to: disposable, ultimately unforgettable. I don’t think it matters how many parodies or covers of this song there are, in fact I think these imitations only serve to hurt the longevity of the song. These replicas trivialize the work, destroy its uniqueness, for what? Kitsch’s sake. Argh, damn you, the internet, damn you!
The song, though, just wont have any lasting power. I don’t think any song these days can really have the lasting power that music once had, more specifically I don’t think any song could withstand the multi-media bombardment that music these days face. Even fucking a Mozart couldn’t withstand corporate pushes and consumer demand.
Yeah, sure, “Hey, Ya” may wind up on the K*Tel best of ‘00 compilation in 7 years. I can see the the “OUTKAST/hey,ya” highlighted in yellow amidst the white text, stuck between “COLDPLAY/yellow” and “BRITNEY SPEARS/hit me baby one more time” scrolling over a picture of the Speakerboxx cover in the background with an audio clip of the song “Shake it, shake it, shake, shake shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture” before segwaying into the next overhyped and overplayed arbitrary pseudo-jazz song from the summer of ‘06.
Yet another one-hit wonder.
But that’s just it, Outkast aren’t one-hit wonders (can there even be one-hit wonders in these days of corporate driven musicians?). They’re hip-hop innovators, with each album pushing the limits of their music genre. They’ve had other chart toppers, but nothing of this stature. Not many artists have a song of this stature… but the question left I guess is can Outcast survive the attention. With it help them or hinder them.
You know, I’ve always hated when this happens, when an artist or song I like gets overplayed. I hate it when something I enjoy becomes something I detest.
I was at my favourite video store yesterday, and there I saw it:
waydowntown is finally out in dvd
If you’ve never seen nor heard of waydowntown, then you’re completely missing out. As a corporate grunt movie it’s on par with Office Space. Set in Calgary, where the downtown core is connected by a series of tunnels and catwalks, four recent graduates, now cubicle warriors, make a bet to see who can go the longest without setting a foot outside. Despite the scale of the interlocking system, the confinement has some serious negative effects on the four.
This film had a serious impact on me a year after I graduated with a business degree that had proven itself nearly worthless. The rigours and doldrums of cubicle working as portrayed in the film made me think about going back to school and doing something different with my life (although I hadn’t yet found an office job which I had been looking for). Since then I’ve worked retail (which, in a corporate run store, is just as bad, if not worse than cubicle slogging), I worked in a small office which was easily the worst job ever (yes, worse than Wal-Mart!), and where I’m currently working, an open-concept, progressive corporation that treats its employees with respect and emphasizes team development.
There was a problem for a number of years as the production tried to find a distributor to release it in the States, which they nearly did, but it fell through. In the meantime, the video was released but the DVD rights were tied up, although a DVD was released in Region 3 or 4 (the Australian region code). But it’s out now, and you can buy it from Amazon.cawaydowntown
For those of you who read and understood both the humour and horror of Eric Slosser’s Fast Food Nation, then I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear about Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary showing at Sundance called Super Size Me
Taking a nod from other guerilla filmmakers, namely Michael Moore, and appropriating the culture jamming sensibility of Adbusters, Spurlock examines the negative effects McDonalds has had on North American (and world) society with interviews before, ultimately, turning the camera on himself. What does he have to say that is so important, that hasn’t already been said? Well, how about an experiment grander than the legendary Stinky Feet?
Spurlock went the entire month of February eating nothing but what was on McDonalds’ menu, three meals a day, and he chronicles the effect that it took on his body and his mind.
Distribution could be tricky as you can be McDonalds is going to have their leagal beagles all over this one, but keep your eyes peeled and your ear to the ground… it may actually happen, or it may pop up on KaZaA a little sooner than you think.
A Reuters review available here
The official website is nifty lookin’.
Gotta love the Film Buff’s 5-for-a-week rentals… give you ample time to digest some quality cinematic viewing. From the 10th - 16th, I posessed:
This is the quasi-documentary that made many critics’ top 10 list for 2003, and while I’m sure visually it was even more encapsulating on the big screen, I think that the nearly 2 hour documentary on the making-of on the DVD is an even better film. I guess they really need to work together to have the full effect. But when they’re in the friggin Andes (or some other mountain range of high peaks and cold temps) and they lose their birds for two days, well, shit that’s good drama.
As a package easily a top film/dvd contender for ‘03.
I desperately avoided this in the theatres as I’m 99 percent not an anime fan, and the trailers did not serve to entice me any with it’s whacked out cultural metaphors and it’s annoying (and typical) American voice-over artists.
But then again, the one anime film I did like was Miyazaki as well: Princess Mononoke, of course the anglified script by Gaiman certainly didn’t help.
I knew Emma wanted to see this when she saw trailers so I decided to pick it up instead of Finding Nemo.
I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was entertained and entranced. The script is wonderful, the story colourful, and the caracters, well, maybe relatable isn’t proper, but enchanting perhaps? A bang up job by all involved… as witnessed on the great making-of features on disk 2.
The Devil’s Backbone
In an attempt to tide me over until Guillermo Del Toro’s rendition of Hellboy comes out in April, I picked up this one, his subtle Spanish Civil War ghost movie. But it’s not really a ghost movie, in the same vein as Del Toro’s Chronos isn’t really a vampire movie.
There is indeed a civil war going on outside the center of the story, a boy’s orphanage smack in the middle of nowhere, run by a one-legged widow and her long-time companion/admirer. A former resident helps out, but his entire presence is suspect, and a new boy arrives, abandoned by his tutor. The new boy is quick brought through the paces of living in the residence, but in the inevitable boys-will-be-boys scenes, the ghost of an unmentioned boy emerges.
Certainly not horrifying, it’s not nearly as dark as it could have been. It’s interesting that Del Toro chose instead to tell the story of the orphanage and not the ghost. It’s a strength as well as a weakness, as it at times seems to get a little too quite.
But the acting is strong, the characters are engaging, and the directing is primo. Just too bad the dvd is only in Full Screen. Whatupwiththat?
Directed and written by Wes Anderson, co-written and starring Owen Wilson, also starring Luke Wilson, this is a quiet comedy-drama-caper-love story… really. Much in league with Anderson’s other films, this film not only defies conventions, but it doesn’t even feign interest in them. It’s completely unpredictable. The characters are exaggeratedly quirky which lends both an air of realism and cartoonishness. Not quite as good as Anderson’s later films, but still an amazing-right-off-the-bat first effort can stand proudly amongst his more heralded works.
Set in 1980’s Toronto, Philip Seymore Hoffman takes the lead role (finally) and holds the film completely and utterly upon his rounded shoulders. An excellent support cast including Minnie Driver, John Hurt, and Maurey Chayken provide some levity to this heavy film about the bad business of gambling, and it’s addictive qualities. Based on a true story, the exaggerated elements are a little obvious but not entirely distracting. Alternating between tense and funny, the acting is great and the film captures that Canadian television circa 1983 look perfectly. A great, but not brilliant, film. Highly recommended… except for the fact that, once again, we’re stuck with a fullscreen only release, and a poor encoding as well.
It’s gotta be -10 outside, maybe even -15. It’s gotta be.
But the air is pretty still, it’s not that cold out. But still soup would be nice.
You and your companion select a restaurant along Queen Street West, in the village of Parkdale. It’s a village with 20 times the population and 40 times the cultural diversity of a village proper. Such it is in Toronto.
The restaurant you pick with your mate looks busy, but on a Wednesday night, it’s not too busy. Not packed full at least. There’s no line-up and you only have to wait to be seated, with a moments pause while the waitress wipes some rice off of the table the hostess wants to seat you at.
The table is solid but it’s pedistal base has a bit of a wobble. It’s lit by a dim bulb from overhead, making things dark, but intimate. You’re seated directly in front of a window facing Queen Street and you realize in the scant two or three minutes it took to be seated that it’s started snowing outside, and the wind has picked up quite noticably.
A chill rolls up your spine. You can feel the small hairs on your lower back raise up, like a cat’s does when they’re agitated. The bleak and blizzardy scene of coldness outside has suddenly caused your internal temperature to drop 5 degrees. Your companion, with their back to the window, has hardly made note of the weather outside. They smile at you, and you smile back, just as a lit candle is placed between you by a foreign hand.
You look up, your line of site pointed directly at breasts, hands moving animatedly in front of them. You make polite interaction with the waitress, and she decides for you that soup is a good idea to start with. Warm potato and onion soup. You agree, that would take the outside edge off. Your companion opts for a hot toddy instead.
What is a hot toddy, you ask yourself, in your head, for fear of seeming foolish. You’ve heard of them but you’ve never had one, and you certainly don’t know what it is.
You’re surprised the restaurant even serves them, as they sound so… antiquated.
You stare at your partner in comfortable silence, as they look around at the artistic decor, the demi-gallery installed by a local artist whose name is illegible on their work, and conspicuously not present on the display cards, although the price is certainly promoted.
Your soup arrives sooner than expected, but no hot toddy with it. Looks like you’ll be left in suspense just a little longer. Across the table your opposite smiles at you, and encourages you to start without them.
Your hands cup the bowl as you steal it’s warmth. You lean your head into the soup-steam and inhale deeply, uncontrollably reacting with a pleasurable smile. You pick up the spoon to the right of the plate your bowl rest upon, and begin to blow and slurp. Blow, slurp, blow, slurp.
Each time you lean your head down to slurp you unconsciously look up, but avoiding contact with your companion you instead look out the window. On your next slurp you look up, only to see a man run by. A curious man with a manga-esque coiff, and no apparent winter clothing. Bare armed and toquless he jogs past your window, steam erupting from his mouth. There’s a margarine container under his arm… or perhaps a 500mL container of sour cream. You’re not sure. But the site was a silly surprise and you can’t help but laugh as you slurp, spraying your partner with hot potatoey goodness.
That man running in the cold, my friends, with no hat, jacket, mitts or scarf, with what was actually a container of cottage cheese (1%)… that my friends, was me.
Yes, it’s lasagna night at Queenwest.
Aren’t you jealous?
- Emma’s on a bus (or waiting for one) on her way home
- the lasagna just emerged from the oven
- DJ Shadow’s endtroducing is playing in the kitchen
- the cat is upset because I wouldn’t let her rub her ass on my monitor
- I’m sore from working out yesterday
- I’m also very hungry
You are a yeti with a big club.
He is a penguin falling from a cliff in your direction.
They have placed flags every 50 feet.
HIT THE PENGUIN, YETI!
my current record:
*WARNING* more addictive than heroin, but won’t make you any thinner.
the original site has been taken down… here’s but one mirror
Mi amigo Gary was in Finland (Finland, Finland/ the country where I quite want to be/ your mountains so lofty/your treetops so tall/Finland, Finland, Finland/ Finland has it all) over the Decemberist holidays visiting family, snow, cold, and darkness all with some photodocumentation or another… but all of that quite pales in comparison to his utterly phenomenal Northern Lights photos.
This is just a tase, well worth having a look. There are thumbnails that you can click on for the larger, more stunning image.
A company called Bat In The Sun is taking the concept of fan fiction to the next level. Amatuer filmmakers and Batman fanatics collide in the creation of two different bat-centric productions: Batman: Dark Justice and Batman Beyond:Year One
The site currently has stills and trailers of the 40-minute program with a complete download coming soon. It doesn’t look great, but it’s at the very least intriguing.
There’s nothing on the Dark Justice side, yet, but there’s a site template in place, and a temporary photo gallery with pictures from the ten-minute production. This too will soon be available for download, so keep your eyes out on the site.
Perhaps these will help to tide you (and me) over until Christopher (Memento) Nolan’s Batman:Intimidation Game premiers next year (maybe).