Laughs »What English Sounds Like to Foreigners

gibberishOll right!

My friend Jessica clued me in to this awesome viral video in which “an Italian singer performs a rock piece whose lyrics are gibberish intended to sound like English”. And guess what? We sound freaking funky. Oll right!

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Posted on January 10, 2010

Songs »Ce Garcon

ce garcon les surfsI found the song Ce Garcons from a RC link Marcus wrote up about the lost art of the Scopitone. As he informed us:

“The Scopitone was a sort of ?ideo jukebox' that was first started in France during the 60s then slowly made there way to the US for a short time (there were about 5-600 in the States until the 70s, maybe killed by cable and the beginnings of MTV?). It had a 26″ screen on which a special 16mm music film were displayed.?It operated very similar to a jukebox so I sort of envision a moppy haired mass of teens crowding around it in some bar or coffee house.?Checking out, looks indeed like the French really elevated this art form.?Sort of makes one wants to dig up an old film camera and start a fake band.?Who's with me?”

As for the adorable Les Surfs themselves, I have very little information. The only wikipedia entry is in French and no par lay voo. But the pint sized band also covered Be My Baby.

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Posted on September 28, 2009

Movies »Oldboy

oldboyDirector Park Chan-wook's revenge thriller Oldboy is a noted entry in the cinematic canon of Asian Extreme… which is an apt moniker for the genre – and this movie in particular. The plot is extreme: a man is imprisoned in a room for fifteen years without any reason only to be unexpectedly released into a bazaar game of cat and mouse.

The violence and action sequences are extreme: some scenes will make you squirm and, unlike most cinematic combat scenes, the ones here are memorable and pop off the screen – one in particular took seventeen days to perfect and was shot in a single, continuous take. The movie leaves you feeling socked in the gut – and liking it.

It's based on a manga series by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya who, someone along the line, must have been inspired by my favorite sci fi writer, Jack Vance. We were thrilled to see so many of his classic ideas on screen, even if it is just a coincidence (nowhere online can I find any concrete evidence of his influence… perhaps I'm the only pseudo scholar with a dual Vance/Park Chan-wook interest?).

The movie itself falters at the end; as is often the case, the conclusion of a compelling mystery can never be as intriguing as the initial investigation. Still, it's a worthy investment if you crave an action thriller and find that Hollywood just hasn't been delivering.

Chan-wook has a new vampire thriller out in theaters now called Thirst.

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Posted on September 7, 2009

Movies »Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant

Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant was my introduction to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and it was an introduction long time coming. I've always been intrigued by the covers in video stores of beautiful pained women and the titles like Beware of a Holy Whore and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Still, I hesitated for years to watch one of his films, but once most were available to me on netflix on demand, I no longer had any excuse.

I've learned that the controversial director with a complex personal life (check out the drama on his wikipedia profile) has a certain style of directing which equals twenty five minute scenes of people talking. It may sound trying, but because the characters are talking about the gossip of their lives as their relationships rise and fall apart, and the acting is so superb, the visuals so stunning – it's riveting.

Fashion wise, the film is beyond incredibly inspiring. See a collection of stills here and long for theatrical wigs and makeup, intricate dense beading, and wild necklines. Petra's apartment bedroom/workspace too,?in which the entire film takes place will haunt your aesthetic dreams. A fully covered floor with white bear skin? I've certainly heard worse ideas.

Even if the setting is stunning, the limited scope gives a claustrophobic portrait of a manic woman locked in her own mind and world with little interaction with reality. It's hard to interpret who you are meant to have sympathy for, if anyone at all. Even Marlene (played by Irm Hermann, once Fassbinder's lover and victim of abuse), the movie's most beaten down and enigmatic (especially when we learn she's been packing heat the whole time) is not wanting for your pity.

It's a slow and challenging movie if you're not in the right frame of mind but it's a rewarding and haunting experience. My curiosity to see more of his prolific career has been piqued.

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Posted on August 3, 2009