1.31.2009

Three Things....

I saw three things this week that a profound effect on me and they came from wildly different corners. The first was a Lewis C.K. Interview with Conan O'Brien last October. Lewis nails it – a biting slap at the very people in the audience applauding him and laughing along, the same sniveling blowhards that make up 90% of North American society these days (and the ones that have fucked everything up). In a weird twist of mass-delusion, most of these people entirely miss that Lewis's little observational rant it's ABOUT them. Post-modern comedy I suppose. Anyone with half a brain would sit there and shake their heads a the sheer depressing honesty of his commentary. NBC is pulling this from everywhere so watch it quickly. Lord knows they wouldn't want the truth getting out.



The second thing is a story someone emailed me ....

A Violinist in the Metro


A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the child stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Takes a minute to sink in doesn't it?

Which leads me to a final observation from this past week. Some bullshit magazine that gets stuffed into my Globe and Mail called "Corporate Knights" had their 3rd annual "Sustainable Cities Ranking". Things like this depress me utterly. They measured, among other things; Ecological Integrity, Economic Security, Governance and Empowerment, Infrastructure and Built Environment and Social Well-Being and of the large cities Edmonton ranked highest at 7.31 (out of 10, I gather) while Montreal sat dead last with a score of 5.96. I instantly thought about the Violin in the Metro story and in our endless mindfuck measuring fetish, how we miss the simple and obvious things. Anyone who has been in both Montreal and Edmonton, would never, ever, ever pick Edmonton as the place they'd want to stay. Montreal wins hands down. It's people like the authors of this detailed pile of statistical rubbish that need to called out and told to shut their fucking traps because they don't "know" anything. You can't measure society because it's a vibrant, ever-changing and dynamic thing, at least it's supposed to be. THAT is what makes it worthy and liveable, not some ridiculously subjective "empowerment" index. Ignore this crap because it makes us boring, dull and static people. Instead of moving to Edmonton to soak up some of their stellar 8.02 "Economic Security", make the place you live better by being interesting and doing something unexpected and if someone tries to measure your "Unusual Quotient" tell them to fuck off.

Hiding in lower Segredos with the cat,

Sporgey.

1.29.2009

Taking a cue from Ginger's year-end post....

Here's what I watched in January....

6 films I'd call "must sees"...

El Norte (1983), Harry and Tonto (1974), Conflict (1945), All Night Long (1962), Kiss Me Deadly (1956) (I rewatched this one) and The Yakuza Papers (1973) (again, rewatched)

6 Films I could easily recommend...

Onibi, The Fire Within (1997), Satantango (1994) (provided you didn't have anything else to do for 7 hours), The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960), Joy House (1964), Planet of the Apes (1968) (rewatched) and The Bourne Identity (2002) (rewatched)

A handful that were passable...

The Amazing Mr. Williams (1939), Max Payne (2008), Rocknrolla (2008), Cobra (1971), The Kremlin Letter (1970), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Appaloosa (2008), Studio One (6 or 7 episodes) (1950/1951) and The Night Caller (1965).

2 I'd skip...

Ken Russell at the BBC “Elgar” and “The Debussy Film” (1962/1965) and Burn After Reading (2008)

...and 1 I'd avoid but that I watched to the end for some reason...

Eagle Eye (2008)

Not a bad month

Sporgey

Bradagable


Is it just me or is Brad Pitt morphing into Clark Gable?

1.28.2009

Art Carney

Harry and Tonto – Directed by Paul Mazursky.

I somehow missed Art Carney in the '70s. I was fairly young and the two films he's most remembered for from this period, The Late Show and this one weren't exactly aimed at my demographic. They both slipped under my radar until just recently. Harry and Tonto is a road movie of sorts. It's only during the second half of the film that Harry actually hits the road but the film itself is about his journey, both physically and metaphorically across the States. Carney plays a vibrant widower in his '70s who is evicted from his family apartment and forced to temporarily move in with his son. His constant companion is an old tabby cat named Tonto and the two undertake a journey from New York to Chicago (and ultimately on to California) to visit his two other adult children. Harry meets a variety of characters along the way and what unfolds is a truly engaging experience of mid-'70s Americana.

This film is right in the meat of writer-director Paul Mazursky's best years (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love, Next Stop Greenwich Village, An Unmarried Woman, etc.) and Harry and Tonto might be his best. Even so, the film belongs to Art Carney in an astonishing performance that won him an Oscar. Carney portrays Harry with dignity and compassion but without bitterness. When was the last time that happened? Virtually every film I can think of with an older character seems to have as its central premise the goal of recapturing some youthful moment. Not here. Mazursky and Carney are happy to simply tell the story of a man satisfied with his life and his past. There are moments of reflection peppered through Harry and Tonto but none of regret.

I gather that part of the story here is about the United States itself. The founding father visiting his three children in New York, Chicago and L.A., each child somewhat representative of the place where they live. His journey is from east to west, like the expansion of America itself and the ever-expanding spaces that unfold. He friends and acquaintances include an older Polish New Yorker, a Black janitor from his building, a Puerto Rican grocer and he meets a veritable cross-section of Americans on his westward journey.

Harry is the wise, contemplative and open man I think we all want to become in time. I know it'll be tough to get any of you youngsters to watch this but I think you'll be surprised by how effective and sincere a film it is. At the very least, you'll get to see a once-in-a -lifetime performance by a great actor who obviously shared an affinity with this character. My highest recommendation.

1.27.2009

Huey is Hooey....

For those of us that actually lived during this low-ebb-of-pop-culture period, these are the true '80s video masterpieces.





'nuff said

Sporgey

Meanwhile, back in the film world...

Found this little gem today, in which Jean-Luc Godard lists his top 10 films each year from 1956-1965. What is most alarming is the quality of each film - any of which could have been a number one pick. I don't think it's a case of hindsight being 20/20, or a curmudgeonly "they don't make 'em like they used to" attitude - the sheer volume of fantastic film is astounding compared to today.
The link for this comes from the archives at the always amazing, insightful and heartfelt Moon in the Gutter, which, if I had to pick just one, is THE blog that inspired me to start up this one. You should check it out, too - great stuff.

1.25.2009

sECToRs #4!!!! this is the SOUND of the Buff

SEEEEEEKTOR FOOR! - des audibles

The question we workers of the Film Buff hear most next to the availability of certain titles is "What's playing right now?". Good question, here's a list of the top 5 records i was spinning instore for 2008.

(note: these musical selections can only be heard Thursday-Sunday at the Film Buff East)


5.LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
I've had this album for awhile but never really got into it until Britard started playing it. Through and through a great dance record, perfect for closing hour on Friday and Saturday nights. A few songs in the middle come at you in quick succession that sound the same, which would be fine if they were not the weakest songs on the whole album. Other than that, this overconfident energizer of a record is a helluva lot of fun. If you ever find yourself on a plane heading to New York City play this on repeat at full blast.


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4.M83 - Saturdays = Youth
The latest release from these Frenchies' feels like a soundtrack to a good John Hughes movie directed by Spike Jonze... if you get what i'm saying. Many tracks on this album are so achingly beautiful and nostalgic that you can't help but feel like you're in junior high again shaking at the knees asking that someone special to the hallowe'en dance.
What? don't follow?
Which i meantersay is that the album creates a soundscape that you can easily fill up with pictures from your own life. Creating a soundtrack for the looking back on yesterdays while keeping up hope for tomorrow, today.... follow? Really purty stuff.

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3.TV On The Radio - Dear Science
North America's most credible experimental pop rock act released its 4th full length studio album in 2008. Things may feel a little calmer than what the boys are expected of but if you pay attention you'll notice that the heart is here ten fold. This one plays well in the middle of a shift with a mouthful of burrito as you yell out with the chorus to "crying" which basically goes like this "crrryyyyiiiiinnnnnggg".

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2.The Kills - Midnight Boom
Also known as the "Thursday night special" this album has been a soundtrack to hitting dvd cases together as TardyBrit and I have walked the floor. This British/American two piece have produced an album that has the frenetic energy of some of the better indie Brooklyn releases of the early 2000's. Whereas TV on The Radio's Dear Science sees the band cuting a bit leaner and more controlled sound for 2008, it would seem that all of that gristle TVOTR threw away was picked up by The Kills who give us a slice of all the things NYC has forgotten while still remaining wholly original. Indie rock that isn't afraid of rocking. So much fun you'll hump a brit.

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1. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
This absolute gem of a record was heard more in the east end for 2008 than "would you like rice or noodles on that?". Ever wished you could have the best of the 80's without all the crap of having to feel like a loser with a Huey Lewis and The News compilation album? This is all the best things about the 80's wrapped into present day synth pop songs. It is full of loss, hope, and love and still makes you bop your head while figuring out the change on 3 ice creams, a latte and two kids flicks. The one record all of us Easties could listen to together and "feel the love". i remember one shift J.P. and I played this one 4 times in the span of 5 hours. yup!
By a mile, Cut Copy's latest takes the cake.

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I've realized while coming up with this latest top 5 list that i've only focused on the latter half of 2008, that is when i started working in the East end. So, honourable mentions must be given to releases played and enjoyed heavily for the first half of 2008, when i was fully a west ender.
here goes:

Honourable mentions for 2008 West End spins

The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals
Anything by Tom Waits
Anything by The White Stripes
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Anything by David Bowie
Mgmt - Oracular Spectacular
Figurines - When the Deer Wore Blue
Basically anything Le Sporge wouldn't shut off upon entering the store.
oh, and a special shout out to when Worsenfunk was home and for a week straight we played Daft Punk - Alive 2007 and had customers running from the store.


I'm playing around with the idea of making a weekly post about what we're playing instore. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

Last Sector coming at you faster than the speed of sound!
a heartfelt love post to a hidden gem in Toronto cuisine; Chino locos.

till' next time
you spin me round' right round',
-K.D.K.

Blood Tea and Red String (2006)

Well, this was a delicious treat. Apparently 13 years in the making, Christiane Cegavske's Blood Tea and Red String is an enchanting "fairytale for grown-ups", that could just as easily be enjoyed by children. The lovingly handmade creatures and meticulous stop-motion animation recalls such classics as The Wind in the Willows and Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. There is a very visceral, tactile sense to the film, and you quickly become drawn in because of the realization that you are watching something that someone has actually MADE, manually. each frame of film is beautifully rendered. This is not a digital experience, or some cold, detached exercise in life-like CGI - the viewer is very aware of the obvious limitations of the puppets and the scenarios; but rather than a hindrance, this is very much an endearing quality and creates a very human warmth, even if we are watching fox-crows, devious, arrogant mice, and a frog-wizard...
The story goes like this - a group of aristocratic mice appears at the home of the Creatures Who Dwell Under the Oak, who are talented craftsmen. The mice commission the fox-crows (that is what they resemble, so I will call them such) to create for them a beautiful doll. A deal is reached and the doll is made, but the fox-crows become attached to the doll-lady, and when the mice return to pick up their product, the fox-crows return the mices' money and shoo them away, for they have no other desire than to hold onto the doll, who by now has become somewhat of an idol that the fox-crows seem to worship. Later that night, the mice come and steal the doll-woman, and when the foc-crows awake the next day, they set out on a hobbit-quest to bring her back. Along the way there are drunken woodland waltzes with a frog wizard, a bartering black widow, and an epic, absurd card game in which the mice become drunk on blood tea...
This is a fascinating, hilarious, altogether gorgeous film that exudes the love of its creator. There are also some very intriguing elements of pagan ritual in the film, so it is not merely a surface experience. Some may be turned off by the prospect of a 75 minute, dialogue-free (but accompanied by a magical, creepy woodwind score) stop-motion film, but they will be sorely mistaken if they choose to ignore this wonderful little piece of art.

The Cinema Epoch DVD is fairly shy of features, but does have a few short, insightful looks at early character sketches and set photography. Well worth seeking out. And it's a film that Robyn and I both enjoyed, so that's saying something huge right there...

Check it.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

97 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Well, at least Spain looked sumptuous and Patricia Clarkson was great. I had a very hard time caring about any of the other characters, who were oh so sexy/tortured/complex in their relationships with each other....except, they weren't. Instead of plumbing the depths of the Mediterranean Sea, Woody Allen chooses to splash about in the wading pool at Parc Guell. So shallow. Sure everyone and everything looked beautiful, but who cares? Seriously... And when did the killer from No Country For Old Men become a lascivious painter? And when did ScarJo start resembling a pulchritudinous porcine person?

Whatever, I'm sure this'll get women wet and guys wetter, and will thusly be prescribed as the perfect Valentine's movie. "Reignite the passion in your life....(that was never there in the first place)" Perhaps I'm being too cynical, but films like this really bother me. They put on airs of being "adult comedies", but in truth they're no more "adult" than the emotionally stunted douches who inhabit the screen. Give me EuroTrip any day - at least it (and films of its ilk) don't try to pretend to be what they're not. I didn't think I'd ever say this, but, seriously Woody Allen.....grow up. I won't waste any more time on this film that already took so much from me, and gave nothing back.

1.23.2009

Duuuuuude!

Some truly amazing news - I got an email from the NFB (well, not just me; kind of, like, everyone on their mailing list) a couple days ago but have only now had a chance to check out the super rad announcement they passed on: A vast portion of the NFB/ONF catalogue is now available to view online for free. Free. FREEEEEEEEE!!!!!! There are some absolutely stunning, revelatory films on the site. Never mind that this should have been the case years ago - this is an incredible and important cultural and technological milestone. I only wish they had done this 6 months ago, before I shelled out $60 for Waterwalker and King of the Hill. I suddenly know where I'll be spending much of my free time over the coming indoor months.

Go. There. Now.

1.22.2009

Mindscapes and that.


The mindscape… bills itself as "A psychedelic journey into one of the worlds most powerful minds". I was hoping for kaleidoscopes and Lou Reeds old band but what we have begins at least in a much more grounded manner.

For those of us that weren't aware of Alan Moore (including I must admit myself until very recently), he's been a prolific writer of comics since the late 80's and his comic to movie adaptations include The League of extraordinary gentlemen, From hell, V for Vendetta and the much hyped forthcoming Watchmen movie. A mixed list at best but finally with Zack Snyder (Dawn of the dead, 300) at the helm my hopes are high for Watchmen (The trailers alone are trouser tent inducing). This film isn't about the movies though; it's about the man. The big hairy hermit-man from Northampton.

The initial appearance of now legendary Mr. Moore is fairly earth shattering. Moore is old, unkempt and has a broad midlands accent akin to that of a bus driver from Warrington. I don't know what I was expecting but it's all about as glamorous and shrouded in mystery as Britney Spears getting out of a low slung Ferrari. Once the initial fascination has subsided you understand how this film will work. Moore can really talk. Obviously he's a storyteller and as a speaker he's no Stephen Fry, he's more like someone you might meet after 6 pints in a country pub and wonder why the hell this guy isn't famous. Except he is. This is the dog from Fraggle rock, sprocket.


As a captivating speaker Moore fills us in on his childhood, he's funny too and self-deprecating to a point. It's a story of academic failure and a teenage misfit seeking an escape. He documents his knock-backs and personal limitations and it's quite engaging to begin with. A particular point of interest is when Moore talks about making comics that exploited specifically the limitations of film. Making his comics much more than "just movies that don't move". It's this kind of insight that give this film its value.

Eventually, Moore's eccentricities start to show through and his credibility crumbles a little. It becomes an awkward struggle of mixed feelings as you try to decide whether this guy is a visionary or whether he should just get out more. By the time Moore is declaring himself a wizard and describing how society is turning into steam you have the giggles and have found yourself in 'for fans only' territory. By now I consider myself fan enough to watch on. He is truly mental and quite lovable.

A few interesting concepts are touched on and Moore muses on theories of time and human consciousness and perception. I really just left this film feeling like I'd had a meandering and wavering conversation with the man himself. As said before it would be after 6 pints at least because I don't recall much of what was said but it was an interesting time nonetheless. I guess to call it a psychedelic journey into the mindscape of Alan Moore is quite accurate, though I recall at some point they compared his brain power to Stephen Hawking. No.

For nerds and geeks it's well worth a watch and should be accompanied by several copies of New Scientist magazine and a youtube search for 'transhumanism'. In hindsight one of the best things about this movie is all of the ways in which they could have so easily messed it up and didn't. Enjoy this unique nugget. There I said it. Nugget.
Tom.

1.21.2009

Bad Boxart.... A Studio Speciality


Further to Joe's post below, this one really gets my blood boiling. On the left is the original theatrical poster for Zodiac. It's disturbing, brilliant and absolutely captures the essence of Fincher's near-masterpiece. The middle pic is the original DVD release box employing the dreaded "floating head" montage so loved by studio fuckwits. Notice the brilliant tension created by the bridge cables descending into the fog is gone from the DVD boxart. What the hell were they thinking? Last (and certainly least) is the latest DVD boxart for the 2 disk "Director's Cut" (or is it the "We Don't Know or Care What We're Doing" special edition?).
Boxart rents movies.
Period.

No Contest

My apologies for not posting much more about our hidden masterpiece contest. I've picked up some radio chatter about choices and look forward to your final selections.

Tom – your choice doesn't have to be on DVD or be of DVD quality, just grab the best copy you can find.

Kris – you can't pick Cannibal The Musical because it's not hidden, being one of the most famous cult pictures of all time. Dig deeper.

Joe – I think you should keep your first pick – the one I also ordered from the U.K. - in your back pocket.

Jules - I'm really hoping you haven't unearthed an early Jason Statham porno (Lock, Cock and Two Smoking Snatches, for example - real title btw)

Regarding the presentation format. If we have five films (Joe, Tom, Kris, Jules and mine), perhaps I should do burns of all of them and we can watch them separately. Alternately we could do one or two a week here (in the early afternoon) for a few consecutive weeks at Segredos. Your thoughts?

I think each of us should present our film and give an explanation of why we picked it. We all vote on the other 4 films but not our own, giving each a score out of 10. The film with the highest score takes all. Again, thoughts?

Even though I've already picked the winner, your modest choices will be entertaining at least.

Game on!

Sporgey

...And Justice For All




This one really impressed me; a scathing portrait of the American judicial system on all levels - a film that calls attention without any reservations to the amount of procedural rules and regulations written into ‘The Law’ that have the distinct ability to hide the truth from coming out in the court room. Not too mention corruption and politics, which come in as a no-brainer. What is more effective in this narrative is the little guys who meet their maker as a result of small technicalities. In (albeit far-fetched)succession a broken tail light, a planted knife, and a submission of evidence 3 days past the deadline lands a completely innocent man in jail. He eventually takes people hostage, etc, etc. as the melodrama quotient soars to sate Hollywood expectations, but what manages to come across is a feeling that this institution has truly evolved into something nobody can quite control or predict. An organism that feeds on people who have no one, nothing to turn to. The film is dark and gritty as many movies were in the 70’s and now are again today; but I noticed that unlike current films like No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Gone Baby Gone, Rambo, The Last King of Scotland, etc. here there is a strong dose of the absurd, of people coping through going berserk, losing their heads - and not a la Girl Interrupted or some other modern view of insanity - but kind of funny and just a bit looney tunes. There are some funny moments in this movie no doubt, which does not undermine the very depressing consequences of the film, but rather buttresses them. A sense of humor is always present in broken spaces for they are intrinsic and necessary for the continued participation and well-being of all the principal players. The movie does weave a fairly over the top story and would have been a disaster had Al Pacino played the part in 1995. But even during its climax, where Pacino has a barn-burning speech that is impossible to tear your eyes from (I watched the sequence again as soon as it finished), there is a genuine sense of integrity in what Al is yelling about. He is fucked; the bad guy will win, there’s no way around it - but there is an exhilaration of standing up, blowing the whistle, calling the bluff. That’s missing right now; a script written today could not allow a shit disturber to live; if he stepped out of line amongst the heavy weights he would be not only ‘disbarred’ but shot in the head 5 times. Any thriller made now kills those people in an attempt to make big brother or the powerful seem that much more scary and potent. Heroes today must find holes in their plot, catch 22’s and other sneaky and equally as manipulated and calculated gestures as the bad dudes are making. Or at best they succeed in hard handed, stone faced action. Here, that whole situation is deemed bull shit - ‘winning’ inside an abomination is not possible.

I I hear reports of how people wait for their court dates for a year in prison these days; yet I haven’t seen a movie come out in my lifetime that calls into question the courts - and I mean seriously and rigorously; JFK is close. Runaway Jury forget it. Basically topical films that call into question national and in this age international institutions and their procedures and mechanisms are non-existent; Blood Diamond and others are worthy subjects no doubt but they are exotic and are products of greater forces. Where’s the movie about Guantanamo Bay; Pharmaceuticals; Wall Street? The best we have is Michael Moore and Al Gore? Documentaries no matter how good, do not reach as wide an audience, regardless of ‘popular trends’, as much as narrative fiction movies do. ...And Justice For All does have a Hollywood script that manipulates the viewer into buying into unrealistic situations, but the spirit of the movie, what it actually says is greater than the sum of its coincidences, is a commentary of a sacred and ritualistic societal presence; and it does so with Tragedy and Comedy.

Never judge a DVD by its cover pt.1

Spurred on by some recent chats with Sporgey, I have been thinking about DVD presentation and how a cover draws me in. I have watched some awful films with amazing covers, but more often, amazing films with horrible covers. And almost each and every subpar graphic rendering belongs to the North American (region 1) release. Why do we always get the shitty version? Do DVD publishers think the viewer/collector doesn't care about what's on the outside of the package? More likely, the NA publishers themselves don't care. They are just widgets after all....

The biggest offenders seem to be the major studios, who think that just any old picture will do. Props must be given to the small labels who often take great care in preserving the original VHS artwork, or even that of the theatrical poster. And it begs a bigger question - does good DVD artwork equal greater sales/rentals, or do people already know what they want and are going to buy/rent regardless? Perhaps I'm in the minority, but a good DVD cover draws me in every time. Let's have a look see at a couple examples, so you can judge for yourself...

We'll begin with the film I was going to show in the "hidden gem" contest, though Scott informed me he's already seen it (though I think he's just saying that because he's scared of it), Valerie and Her Week of Wonders:
NA DVD:
EU DVD:
Johnnie To's latest, Mad Detective:
NA DVD:
EU DVD:

Witness the wackness of North American design.

I think I'll make this an ongoing series - I'll post a couple covers up every week so we can collectively wallow in the shit-pit of NA DVD art and tear up thinking what could have been - like that time when you realized that, hey, 28 isn't so young anymore, and you got really desperate for a life partner and "forgot" to pull out, only to find out the next day that ALL Thai hookers are on the pill anyway. HEY-O!!!

See-luh-kanth (not Ko-luh-kanth) out.

You think i ain't worth a Slumdog, but i feel like a Millionaire


It has been awhile since i have found myself skipping out into the streets after a film. Been awhile since i have felt more full of energy walking out of a picture than going in.
That is what Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire will do to you.
It had me clicking my heels in the bitter cold not wanting to go home even though it was very much past my bed time.

This is the second best picture of the year for my money (Synecdoche, New York being the first) and deserves the praise that it has received critically. Although, i have to say, do not go in expecting to be changed or particularly moved. Not to say there are not any scenes to be moved from, because it is filled with absolutely wonderful moments that (unless you are in the completely wrong mindset) should strike a chord with any human being with blood running freely through his or her own body. This film does not pretend to be anything but a sweet love story fortunately, it just so happens that it is incredibly well shot, edited, written, and directed.

If you are tired of the other big depressing pictures this year (The Wrestler, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Revolutionary Road) this will be the breath of fresh air you have been looking for. It is invigorating to see a film with so much hope and life.
Something worth braving the cold for.

1.18.2009

1.16.2009

SECTors #3!!! Worst of 2008 by Dropkick standards (low)

Se ct or TREEEZ

Gather round' as Dropkick KADARSKI goes over the worst movies of 2008, only the top 5 of them... there was a bunch of crap.
turdturdturd


5. Mirrors
not a complete failure. This at least has the so bad it's good quality and for the first half there is some scary shit going on. Too bad a device like your reflection wasn't used to its full potential. And i'm still debating if the last 10 minutes when Jack Bauer has a gun fight with a demon nun is the best thing that has ever happened or the worst... poor nun.



4. Wanted
The only redeeming qualities of this film are as follows in chronological order: Morgan Freeman dropping the F bomb, action sequence where gun is stuck in head but is continued to be used for remainder of said scene, Angelina's wetback. This movie is for guys who go home after work and play video games and dream of a life so unlike their own. The Matrix without a brain.



3. Journey To The Center of the Earth IN 3d!!!!!!!!
OH MY GAAAADDDD IT'S A SHITTY MOVIE! BUT IN 3D!!! now it's almost like you can taste the shit!


2. X Files: I Want To Believe
fan of the show? Prepare to be dissapointed. Not a fan? Prepare to be bored. There is nothing here that resembles anything worth to be put onto film. One of the only films i go out of my way to not recommend. I can't believe such trite can pass test audiences unscathed. Someone musta liked it, but i don't know the person. Tell them to come by the store. i will slap them.



1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Watching Indiana back in the saddle was the visual equivalent of achieving the brown sound. My stomach was turning within the first minutes and by the time the giant fire ants came out i was up to my third pair of clean undies. This is the worst kind of bad movie, because this was asked for. So many of us wanted this and so many of us thought as long as Ford was back and had his hat and whip there's no way it could be bad. Alas, Hollywood showed us it's still full of magic, even in today's troubling times, and completely surprised us with this overlong; over expensive; over exaggerated time waster. Just a shame, 8 year old kris is still healing from this one.

Coming soon
Best Music heard at FBE in 2008 while Kris was managing (hey macarena!)
Crazy Chinese Burritos and why i love them! (yum)

1.11.2009

Dropkick loves Men on Wires


NINE ELEVEN

There, i said it.
Man on wire is an absolute gem of a documentary about Philippe Petit's illegal high wire routine he performed between the The World Trade Center Towers in the 70's. I was skeptical of this one, i knew going in of this routine, and i knew there was no video footage of his actual wire dancing which is a let down because he was up there for 45 minutes. Someone coulda got something for the archives. Still, the doc presents the actual walk during the climax in photographs but so rich are the words and testimonies of everyone who was there that you won't be able to tell the difference. Philippe Petit's beautiful moment of conquering the towers is so richly painted as an act of beauty, magic, defiance, resilience, and hope that you can't help but feel moved by the stills.
What makes this film so great is that it never mentions the towers not being there anymore. Wether or not this film would be made without what happened on 9/11 or not is up for debate but by not mentioning it, by letting the towers represent this one man's dream as they really did for him and then seeing him achieve that dream is such an inspiring message.
I remember Roger Ebert said soon after 9/11 while reviewing Zoolander and pointing out that the twin towers were digitally removed from every shot, "we shouldn't hide the twin towers. Let them stand tall in all their glory for all of us to see and admire."
The fact that the towers are not around in present day had no impact on the film, they talk as if they were still standing today and by the end of it while you're brushing your teeth before heading to bed, it hits you. The towers aren't actually there anymore, you drop toothpaste on your shirt, but for the duration of Man on Wire you couldn't tell. It's as if they were always there, standing tall as just a building, an obstacle or the encompassing idea of dreams and hopes.
Gorgeous.

1.10.2009

Lurkers

I'm calling you out. Why haven't the following people ever posted:

- buffOsaurus (c'mon man - I'm sure you can muster a few words about Secret of the Grain/Brick Lane? Just write what you told me...)
- J.P (just do a two sentence/300 BPM review of Go or Human Traffic. And there's always Bangkok Dangerous...)

DOOOOOOOOO ITTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!

Bangkok Dangerous


I wanted to love this movie, a hitman has to kill four targets in Bankok. This is the perfect plot of a Asian action movie, But the problem is that it's not an Asian film, it's a piece of crap remake of an awsome Thai film with the same name. Nicolas Cage is the worst hitman ever, the city of Bangkok could have been much better used in creating a atmosphere. The movie should not have been made it only taintes the awesomeness of the original movie, also this movie could of used a lot Jason Statham... I mean A lot... I'm going to watch Crank now, witch by the way there making a sequal too. Man I love him.

1.04.2009

sEctOrs #2!

SECTOR DOSE!!!

wherin Dropkick creates a list based on the best films he spied upon for the duration of 2008 A.D.
Only thou films mentioned herein were created during times prior to that of 2008 A.D.
WOWZA let's kick it



5. Murder Party (2007 Dir. Jeremy Saulnier)
Not much more to say than the review i wrote up earlier this year for our hugely successful Hallowe'en campaign. It's a terrific film and if these guys can kick out some more gems they'll make the Apatow camp run to their mommies. Since no one listens to what i say and the Film Buff is still very much Murder Partyless feast your eyes on one of the better horror gags i've seen in a long time.





4.Mad Detective (2007 Dir. Johnny To)
JOhnny To's latest crime flick is also for my money his best. An old detective who is exceptional at capturing criminals due to a talent he has to actually see people's personalities sounds a bit far fetched but the device is handled with such care and thoughtfulness. It's used more as a point of reference for various characters' inner turmoils. All around terrific picture.



3.Band of Outsiders (1964 Dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
The Madison. My god, the madison scene in this flick is the essence of cool. My personal favourite of Jean Luc Godard's work, and yes that does mean i like this more than Breathless. I know what you're thinking "ces't impossible!" but it is true. Find me a film closer to poetry in motion than this picture and i'll do your homework for a week.



2.Blast of Silence (1961 Dir. Allen Baron)
You want noir? Oh this film will give you noir. So much noir you won't know what to do with all the extra booze, cigarettes, dames and bullets. What makes Blast of Silence stand out more than just any other film noir is how well the characters (mostly the protagonist) are written. The story is as tough as nails and our main character is too, only this film shows what is really underneath all the grit and harshness. We find out our hero, a hit man, is a flawed lonesome person. When he sits at the bar drinking and smoking it isn't what he really wants. He wants to not be alone but he's afraid of people, people seeing the real him. People not accepting him. A masterpiece of the genre without the themes of personal identity but with it this becomes something really special. Perfection.


1.Army of Shadows (1969 Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville)
This was the first year i watched any Jean-Pierre Melville films and he's quickly becoming one of my favourite directors of all time. Even though i've yet to see all the director has to offer i'm going to go out on a limb and call this his best work. Mainly because if i see a film better than this one anytime soon i think my head will explode.

Stay tuned!
still to come worst of 2008 and beyond, instore soundtrax, best burrito at Chino Locos. YESSS!

1.02.2009

Missing Ball

Now deep in the heart of winter, holidays over, a little under two months until players start reporting to spring training camp in sunny Florida and Arizona, I'm itching for baseball to start up again. One of my favourite blogs, the hilarious, incisive and dead-accurate Drunk Jays Fans has started posting film reviews of cinematic baseball classics. They are a great read, often pants shittingly funny, and a hell of a lot better than anything I could say about them....the first few in the ongoing series are linked below:
Bang the Drum Slowly
Bull Durham
Major League
Battlefield Baseball
*new* Bad News Bears
I'll continue to link as they go up, so check this post every couple weeks until spring training begins...

So Long and Thanks for the Fish

After a decade of holiday seasons you would think that we'd have the ebbs and floes of retail down pat and have a pretty good idea how the humans operate right? Nope. Every year brings a new pattern and this year was no different. I take notes every year and they don't apply the next. Weird. A preliminary look at our December numbers would suggest that we're (at least temporarily) somewhat removed from the worst of the recent retailing nosedive experienced by most in late 2008. The FBW was off slightly (as compared to 2007 which to be fair was a perfect storm December – 5 weekends and a Wednesday Xmas day) The FBE will match last December's solid totals making it a growth month. Well done boys and girls.

We had two customer complaints in +/- 6000 transactions during the month of December. Hard to argue that (but seriously Dropkick – you can't call people crybaby's even if they are). Graham spent New Years with his girlfriend and 2 gay couples and was called a sexist pig on his first shift back. A connection? I wonder. Ought-nine's opening blog entries are Joe's fascinating “What I watched” list and the Kris(t) Child's favourite comic book movies from 2008. That some set of kohonies you're sporting there Dropkick – I sure don't have the nerve to put Speed Racer on my list.

I'm having a hell of a time figuring out how we're going to get all of our shifts covered in the FBW. Everybody keeps bailing on me. Damn you all and your “schoolin'”! They aren't any jobs out there anyways for love of Pete. Just give up now – it'll save you thousands of dollars too.

I'm gonna throw out an off-the-top-of-my-head '08 top ten DVD releases out too (I realize some are 2007 movies but I don't get out much). In no particular order.....

The Fall
Before the Devil....
Michael Clayton
Edge of Heaven
Assassination of Jesse James
No End in Sight
Deep Water
In the Shadow of the Moon
The Band's Visit
Gone Baby Gone

H.M. Speed Racer

Best to all in 2009.

Jenny G./K-Doll - get the hell back here as soon as you can.

1.01.2009

SeCToRS #1

2009 is SECTORS

here's a few lists i've made up looking at different sectors of 2008
lists are fun to read but writing them is a whole different kind of sensation

TOP 5 Films seen in 2008 that were constructed in 2008:


5. Speed Racer
I really enjoyed this. People were so frustratingly angry about how bad this film was that when i finally got around to watching it, i was so surprised that it made me love it. Just plain fun, and like i've said before "AMAZE INDUCING". Great addition to the futuristic racing genre sector of film.


4. The Incredible Hulk
I dug this movie a lot, and think it got everything right in terms of comic book adaptation. It was heavy on the action, light on the drama, and creamy in the sector of comedy. It was a self aware film that wasn't trying to take itself seriously. I enjoyed this one more than Iron Man. Robert Downey JR. is terrific but you got him in this too. so whatever.


3.JCVD
Incredibly impressive. See this is the perfect example between what makes most of North American films shit, and most European films amazing. There is a film coming out later this year in North America called My Name Is Bruce starring everyones favorite B-actor Bruce Campbell. The story is about a small town that is fending off this ancient samurai demon but they need help so they send word to Bruce Campbell, the actor, using the logic that he has fought demons as Ash in the Evil Dead films. Early reviews say this film is absolute crap and the trailer makes me nauseous. Brucie plays himself as a loathsome clown and it looks like it's loaded with cliches. What a waste of an opportunity.
Now look what the French do, they take Jean-Claude and play with our ideas of him now. The ideas of him being a wash up and a hack actor. We follow him around making films in Hollywood that he despises but needs the money to support his daughter whom him and his ex wife are having a custody battle over. He decides to return to his hometown and start over, find some worth in his life. He continues his fight for his daughter in the courts and is asked by his lawyer to wire him money by noon one day or to have the case be closed... well basically.. what happens is incredible. i don't want to give anything away. Great stuff, look out for a 5 to 10 minute scene of JCVD talking to you the viewer, breaking the fourth wall and baring his soul. He cries and you find yourself breaking up too. Strange what a good actor he is, Time Cop never had none of that. Check it out.


2. The Dark Knight
This film was suppose to be another batman flick. It was suppose to be just another comic book movie. It was suppose to entertain you and throw alot of flash in your eyes but guess what happened. It decided to show up to prom stag, spiked your punch and take your date home. This is genre bending filmmaking. It's a thriller that is genuinely thrilling, every frame has your heart beating. You leave the film feeling a bit violated, a bit melancholy. You feel on edge, films like this should be praised. Even if it's killing itself with its own hyperbole. This isn't titanic, this is a film worthy of the hype. The surface of which we haven't even begun to scratch, i would start with the cinematography sector.


1. Synecdoche, New York
What can i say? One of the most beautiful films i've ever had the pleasure of seeing. I don't think i'd be able to articulate how beautiful i felt this film was, and what it meant to me. Charlie Kaufman, the writer and first time director said when asked about mixed reviews the film was getting "there are no good or bad reactions, it's whatever you take from the film. That is the right reaction". Do yourself a favour and see this one as soon as possible.

Honorable mentions to Martyrs (which i really enjoyed but until that film gets a proper release date i thought i'd save it for next year) and Who's Nailin' Pailin?

Stay tuned for more sectors! such as, worst of 2008, films i've seen in 2008 but were constructed at another time, and soundtracks:the best of the music played at the buff.. and the worst. yessss.

The Coelacanth Watched Movies

I did an interesting thing (that did not involve any reproductive organs) in 2008. I watched a bunch of movies. Out of curiosity, though, I wrote every one down in a notebook. You probably don't care, but I thought it was kind of neat, and some fairly obvious patterns emerged.

If you care to scroll through the list, a couple of explanatory remarks: the film titles with (C) beside them are ones I saw in the cinema.
In some cases (i.e. TV series/some films), I didn't watch the entire thing on that specific day, but the day listed was simply when I completed the series/film ("Baseball" being the obvious one).
Some of the films I had seen before, some I had not. Here goes:

January

3 - Hostel: Part II
4 - Psycho III
Natural Born Killers
5 - Stardust
6 - Angel Heart
Big Trouble in Little China
Shoot 'Em Up
8 - Hannibal Rising
10 - Henry Fool
There Will Be Blood (C)
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?
12 - Phantom of the Paradise
13 - No Country For Old Men (C)
14 - Onibaba
A Bell From Hell
17 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes (C)
19 - King of New York
20 - Coal Miner's Daughter
21 - Thunder Road
23 - Saw IV
24 - Ms. 45
True Romance
The Mechanic
25 - Into the Wild (C)
27 - MASH
Control (C)
28 - Blow Out
Night Moves
29 - They All Laughed
31 - Michael Clayton (C)
Rambo (C)

February

1 - Death Sentence
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
4 - Smokin' Aces
6 - Death Hunt
8 - The Orphanage (C)
11 - Race With the Devil
13 - Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream
14 - Diary of the Dead (C)
17 - Out of Sight
Garbage Warrior (C)
19 - Vive le Tour
Kurt Cobain About a Son
28 - Meatballs
29 - Crimes of Passion

March
6 - The Tenant (C)
Sleepaway Camp
9 - The Flying Scotsman
After Hours
12 - Cruising
24 - Persepolis (C)

April
1 - Ken Burns' Baseball
9 - Juno
13 - P2
23 - White Mane
The Red Balloon
26 - Paddle to the Sea
Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone

May
8 - Zombie (C)
19 - Los Muertos
29 - Iron Man (C)
30 - Monkey Warfare

June
3 - The Late Show
4 - Ils (Them)
8 - Gothic
10 - 3 Women
17 - Deadly Strangers
18 - Honeydripper
24 - Frontiere(s)

July
6 - The Tracey Fragments (C)
22 - Doomsday
23 - The Dark Knight (C)

August
1 - Waterwalker
5 - King of the Hill
18 - Sans Soleil
28 - Woman in the Dunes
Smiley Face

September
5 - V For Vendetta
7 - Cloverfield
9 - The Burrowers (C)
10 - Martyrs (C)
13 - Inju, la bete dans l'ombres (C)
Prince of Darkness
14 - The Host
20 - Forgetting Sarah Marshall
30 - Nightmare Detective

October
2 - Vampires
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
8 - Inside
14 - The Strangers
17 - The Old Dark House
18 - Halloween
Pumpkinhead
Return of the Living Dead
Demons
22 - The City of the Dead
25 - In the Mouth of Madness
27 - Child's Play
Fright Night
28 - The Oblong Box
31 - Satan's Little Helper
Halloween III: Season of the Witch

November
2 - Hellboy II: The Golden Army
10 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer S1
13 - TransSiberian
18 - Red
20 - Antonio Gaudi
23 - The Last Winter
26 - Scream of Fear
27 - Vanishing Point
29 - Buffy S2

December
5 - Buffy S3
12 - Paranoid Park
14 - Ed Wood
Bell, Book and Candle
Scrooged
16 - Buffy S4
20 - The Unforeseen
22 - Escape From New York
28 - The Wrestler (C)

Roundup:
Films/TV watched: 120
Watched in cinema: 21
2008 releases: 14

New Year's resolutions: watch more current film/go to the cinema more often.

Try to keep your own film diary for 2009. It's fun and informative.