Archive for the ‘Movies + Videos’ Category

Coachella Mixtape Pt. 2: Post-Festival Favorites

April 19, 2012

Back from Coachella. It was great! I thought I’d make another mix tape to reflect what I actually ended up loving at the festival (surprisingly different from what I expected in some cases). Thought this might help some Weekend 2 goers as they gear up for this weekend too 🙂 See below for the mixtape and my highlights/recommended sets.

Post-Chella Mixtape

  1. The Rapture “How Deep is Your Love” (Cassian remix). The Rapture was my favorite set of the entire weekend, and among my all-time favorites (This was my 6th year. Just sayin!). DO NOT MISS THEM. In addition to dancing your MF’in azz off, you will also see/hear some of the craziest saxaphoning of your life!
  2. Breakbot “Penelope Pitstop”. For those into the new disco/indie dance thing, Breakbot is your best chance to groove in the Sahara tent. Highly recommended dose of daytime disco with funkier beats than just about anything else on the electronic dance lineup this year. Quirky, colorful visuals add to the fun. Check out his video for “Baby I’m Yours” if you haven’t already.
  3. Miike Snow – “Paddling Out” (Penguin Prison remix). My favorite act of Saturday, Miike Snow brought their moody synthpop-rock to the Outdoor stage with one of their best performances I’ve yet seen. I especially enjoy this great new highly danceable track. Many a good remix of it out there already. One of the best songs of the festival IMHO.
  4. Feist – “How Come You Never Go There” (Beck remix). Feist was one of my biggest and best surprises of the festival. A beautiful performance by an ensemble of 20+ musicians led by her sheer rocking power. Another not to be missed.
  5. Neon Indian – “Halogen (I Could Be a Shadow)”. Despite the misfortune of a midday Outdoor time slot Weekend 1, meaning the strongest wind and rain of the festival, without the shelter of a tent, Alan Palomo and the gang pressed on through their dramatic, psychedelic synthrock tunes…The synth freakout parts seemed intensified by the dark clouds looming overhead and high winds causing a clamor amidst the palm trees. Purple-bobbed keyboardist Leann Macomber was particularly easy on the eyes, too… I like ur hair, gurl. And my heart definitely went pitter-patter when she also played slap-bass on “Fallout”. ❤
  6. Arctic Monkeys “Crying Lightning”. Speaking of hotties, and their hottness, WHOAH, Alex Turner. Mega-swoon. Ok, the rest of the band is cool too. I mostly swoon because I love their musicianship and cool lyrics that tell weird stories. It just so happens that as sung by Mr. Turner said lyrics make me feel things. In my pants. And in my brain! Whoah! Plus, I danced. Highly recommended main stage set at sun set. They rock out hard.
  7. Metronomy – “The Look” (Fred Falke remix). The best band of Sunday IMO, a pity they got a 2 pm set time on the Outdoor stage. If you can stand the heat, it’s totally worth it. They are a band of seriously quirky and fun individuals who clearly have a blast making original, danceable, and oddly relateable indie synthpop music. Highly recommended.
  8. M83 “Reunion”. Aside from that one song, that makes everyone freak out, I really found their closing song “Reunion” to be the standout of the set, especially because everyone expected “the other one” to be the last song. Simply beautiful! So overpowering live. Highly recommended. I’m imagining it will be very difficult to get close for their set next weekend (unless you go to the Rapture beforehand, hint hint)

Aside from those, I feel inclined to comment on a few others:

Amon Tobin – I went into this set not really knowing what to expect other than something bizarre and highly visual. It was both of those things and so much more. Be warned though, if you are in the mood for dancing and partying, this definitely won’t do it for you. But if you can open your mind or just want to experience something completely different, DO NOT MISS. Simply astounding audiovisual art experience completely unlike anything you’ve ever seen or conceived of. One of the most astounding sensory “trips” ever visualized and actualized on amazing technology that has to be seen to be believed.

Justice – was a huge disappointment. They really blew it weekend 1. Granted, tech problems are not entirely their fault, but there was a long time gap before they played. It should have been figured out. They went on 25 minutes late and only played 30 minutes, most of which was occupied by extra-long (read:10 minute) mixes of A/V/D and DANCE. Plus, the sound cut out entirely toward the end. The only part I thought was really good was the opening with “Genesis”. Hopefully it will go better for Weekend 2 people.

Other pleasant surprises: Pulp was surprisingly fun, their stage setup and the antics of Mr. Cocker are worth checking out. The visuals of Sub Focus are also pretty amazing and made them the best thing of Saturday night for me (not a Radiohead fan at all, their performance did nothing for me.)

Overall, a great year though quite strange in some ways (mostly the weather!). I’m praying to the Coachella gods for lots more disco, synthpop and indie dance flavor next year though… (not just top-to-bottom euro-trance/house cheeze!!! /rant)

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Oskas

February 27, 2012

I didn’t end up watching the Oscars, but was very pleased to hear that The Artist did so well, including the Best Picture win. 😀 The first time since 1929 a silent film has won. So cool.

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I always enjoy checking out what everyone wore, too. Where the Grammys fashion is usually about flash and fun, trend and trash, the Oscars are just straight up the Glammest of the Glam. I’m not going to do a full outfit roundup, but here’s a few of my faves.

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Michelle Williams looks simply adorable in a gorgeous Vuitton gown. I just love every detail of this look. So very sweet yet so stylish. It’s just perfect for her.

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I totally LOVE Gwyneth’s chic, sleek white Tom Ford gown and cape. Understated yet futuristic, very polished. I love that it reminds me of the “future fashion” of movies like Metropolis, Things to Come, Forbidden Planet etc, but is so subtle and refined.

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Love everything about Glenn Close’s look. She exudes power with a feminine edge in a Zac Posen gown that’s just the right color, fabric, and fit. Especially love the Art Deco styling of the bustier-type top. The sheer train and stylized blazer complete an interesting and lovely ensemble.

Computers of Love

February 3, 2012

Killer Sci-Funk song by Chrome Canyon. Definitely gotta seek out more of their material. Unsure where this video footage is from, but I love it… it looks like a cheesy TRON spinoff. I do remember seeing the “melting metal lovers turn into dragonfly” rave graphics played at high school dances though.

Space Stallions

February 1, 2012

Incredibly RAD 80’s throwback animated clip. Swords and sorcery in space! It’s pretty much He-Man/She-Ra+ Jem + My Little Pony. AKA Everything about this is awesome. Really incredible job by all who worked on it!

Time Masters/Moebius

January 30, 2012

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Since discovering French artist Jean Giraud AKA Moebius I have become obsessed with his work, particularly his SF/Fantasy stuff. In addition to his comix and art, he did production design and storyboards for The Fifth Element, Alien, TRON (1980), The Abyss, Little Nemo, and more. He also worked on the uncompleted Jodorowsky Dune film and his work has been a huge influence on Star Wars (especially the prequels), Blade Runner, and countless other SF works. He was one of the founders of the French magazine Metal Hurlant, which became Heavy Metal when brought to the US. And, a friend of Hayao Miyazaki, they have sometimes collaborated, and Moebius even named his daughter Nausicaa!

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Stills from the animated 1982 feature film The Time Masters, directed by Rene Laloux (whose most famous work is the 1973 animated feature for adults, Fantastic Planet), design by Moebius. (Overall I thought the movie was just OK, but I did like the visuals a lot.)

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These shots show some of what I love about his style. Crisp yet expressive lines, lots of gorgeous details, and some of the most delicious color palettes around… his work really is candy for the eyes. The comix are even better… more on which, I hope, later.

Lash La Rue

January 25, 2010

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Well, in total randomness, I just had to post some of this stuff from the Wiki article on Lash La Rue.

The reason I was looking up Lash La Rue is because I was looking for an old band called La Rue I’d just barely heard of (there’s also apparently a 90s Christian sibling duo of the same name), and I was interested because of the currently awesome La Roux. Suffice to say, there are a lot of famous La Rue/Rouxs running around.

Anyway, Lash La Rue. He was a popular western motion picture (and comics) star of the 1940’s and 1950’s noted for his exceptional skill with his Bull Whip trademark (and, incidentally, his bull whip.) In 1983, he was one of the first winners of the Golden Boot Award. He also had an imitator called Whip Wilson!

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Another interesting tidbit: A role as the villain in a pornographic western, Hard on the Trail, led him to repentance as a missionary for ten years, as he had not been informed of the adult nature of the film and would not have consented to appear in the film. (He did not actually appear in any of the pornographic scenes.)

La Rue was also noted for instructing Harrison Ford in how to use the bullwhip for the Indiana Jones movies.

WHERE IS THE BIOPIC, PEOPLE?? This is way too good.

In other news the top result on google tells a more sordid tale:

“When his career began to wane, the handsome cowboy, once known as the screen’s "King of the Bullwhip," often found himself arrested for drunkenness, vagrancy, misdemeanors, small crimes, and drugs. While destitute, he chose a lead role in a pornographic film, Hard On The Trail, and, after being married twelve times, found God and became a preacher on the rodeo and country music circuit.”

I again say… where is the biopic 😉 haha.

“In his last years, La Rue continued to drive around Hollywood in his 1968 black Cadillac hearse with a bumper sticker that read "God Loves You".”

Wow, Lash. Just… wow.

Bullets Over Broadway (Woody Allen, 1994)

January 17, 2010

Ahh, I’m sorry I’ve been lagging on the posting front lately… I always have things I want to blog about, but I’ve been really busy working n stuff this week. Anyway, if it was up to me, one thing I would probably spend a lot of time doing: lounging around watching every single other Woody Allen film I’ve not yet seen… I’ve seen about 12 of them, which means there’s only like.. 30 left to go!

I’ve really liked or even loved most of the ones I’ve seen (a few exceptions: Small Time Crooks, Curse of the Jade Scorpion [both from the time around 2000 when Woody seemed to be in a slump], Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex…) and recently had the pleasure of viewing the spectacular Bullets Over Broadway, which brought on this renewed urge to make my way through more of his ouvre.

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Lush, vivid, mostly-fun-yet-also-weighty, Bullets Over Broadway blends Broadway theater with the mobster genre, bringing them together in a Jazz-age delight with interesting and complex ideas about art, artists, and morality. Not to mention a knockout cast, in particular Dianne Wiest in an electrifying (and Oscar-winning) performance as a highly dramatic, frequently insightful, and somewhat inebriated actress.

The film got a slew of other nominations and awards, rightly deserved I feel! The script crackles with energy and the cast really delivers – this one is a great example of Woody’s capability and artistry as a writer and director.

XMAS Movie Favorites: MST3K Edition

December 23, 2009

If you’re not familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000, I seriously recommend giving it a try. That is, if you like things that are extremely campy, in that B-movie way (and hilarious).

“The series features a man and his robot sidekicks who are trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch a selection of bad movies, initially (but not especially limited to) science fiction B-movies.” (thx wikipedia)

I’ve been an avid viewer of the show (never actually viewed it on broadcast television) since I discovered it about 6 years ago. I haven’t seen anywhere near all of them, but I’ve seen a lot. (I’ll post more about this another tiem so this Christmas post doesn’t get clogged up).

And, there are Christmas episodes of course! Really good ones, I might add. The movies themselves are really, reeeally terrible (I actually watched Santa Claus Conquers the Martians normally before seeing the episode :X What does this say about me.. haha) but the riffing is all the more hilarious for that fact.

MST3K Season 3, Episode 21 (1991): Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

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Currently ranking at #77 on the IMDB Bottom 100 list (where it has long been a regular fixture, often ranking even higher), SCCTM is not for the faint of B-Movie heart. Martians kidnap Santa Claus to make him be Santa on Mars, since the Martian children seem down in the dumps. They don’t have any toys, and all their food comes in pill form, so why wouldn’t they be??

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There’s a lot of ridiculous forced and too-long laughter from Santa and any child that ever appears onscreen. There’s  a ridiculous Martian buffoon named ‘Droppo’, the “laziest man on Mars”, who eventually decides he wants to be the Martian Santa. The movie also features its own Christmas song during the beginning and end credits, the chorus of which is as follows: “You spell it S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S, HOORAY FOR SANTY CLAUS!”

All in all it is extremely campy and extremely terrible, which makes for a fun watch (if you’re into that kind of thing).

MST3K Season 5, Episode 21 (1993): Santa Claus (1959, Mexico)

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This one’s currently ranked at #44 in the IMDB Bottom 100, wow! But I guess that’s well-deserved, too. As a small preface, this movie hails (haha, almost typed ‘fails’, which is true too) from Mexico, where Santa Claus has never been a tradition, so this Santa story has a lot of liberties taken with the facts about SC.

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In this truly bizarre film, Santa has a workshop in space (“above the North Pole”). He doesn’t have elves but rather uses children from all over the world to help him make toys (all of whom are dressed extremely ethnically, and introduce themselves and their countries one by one in a very lengthy and grueling series of songs). He has wind-up reindeer, and all kinds of gadgets for spying on the children of earth. In fact, this Santa is severely creepy (but B-movie Santas seem to possess the ability to be creepier than any other cinematic Santa).

He also gets help from Merlin. Yes, that Merlin.

Furthermore, the villain is a demon named Pitch, sent by Satan to Earth to try to corrupt children into doing evil. Seriously.

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Heard enough? This is one of the truly weirdest movies I’ve ever seen, and I feel pretty confident in saying I’ve seen some weird stuff. With a particularly awesome round of MST3K riffing, it provides some pure hilarious and strange fun.

This entry caused me to think about non-MST3K’d holiday B-movies, of which there are many, but I haven’t seen a lot of them because I’m not THAT much of a glutton for punishment in that way (anymore.) Most of the ones I’m aware of are holiday-themed horror and are mainly funny because of their titles. Christmas Evil. Santa’s Slay. Silent Night, Bloody Night. I think they’re all basically the same movie, though.

XMAS Movie Favorites part 2

December 17, 2009

Since Christmas is getting to be very close by now, I decided I am going to post in this series more often in order to cover more ground, because there actually are a number of good Christmas movies out there that deserve mention. Which is not to say this list is going to be exhaustive or comprehensive (need to leave some for next year, mind).

Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003)

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Ok, let me just start by saying this movie is way funnier than it has any right to be. A grown man who thinks he’s an elf, played by a well-known comedian. By all rights, that should result in something horrible. (Imagine if Chris Kattan did it.)

But it’s HILARIOUS. Will Ferrell completely makes the movie and gives it the perfect tone. Of course it does have the requisite corny “meaning of Christmas moments” which I feel cannot help but come off as trite at this point, but the movie is full of enjoyable, wacky humor that is light-spirited and truly fun for all ages.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989 – written by John Hughes!)

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This has got to be one of my most-watched Christmas movies, and it never seems to get less funny. It’s an unrelenting slapstick bonanza peppered with holiday gags and bizarre characters (Cousin Eddie, played by Randy Quaid, shows up in his motorhome – “Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!”). Well-meaning Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase, who has to have one of the most rubbery, cartoony faces ever captured on film) bumbles ahead full-force in the pursuit of a Good Old-Fashioned Family Christmas, leaving a comically huge wake of destruction in his path in many scenes.

Another Christmas comedy that somehow manages to be way funnier than it should. It ridicules Christmas in the jolliest of ways and builds to a delightfully silly climax in which we all (surprise) re-learn the True Meaning of Christmas.

But, we should all know by now that the True Meaning of Christmas isn’t why we watch Christmas movies, and at least these ones deliver some well-executed concepts and great laughs along the way.

Who Are You, Polly Magoo? – (William Klein,1966)

December 10, 2009

Long and very photo-heavy post ahead!

Yesterday I watched this amaaaazing 1966 French movie called Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?

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Admittedly, this won’t be for everyone, as it is rather strange (but with my taste in movies, it’s just about right, haha). It’s delightfully absurd and extremely stylish, crammed with intricate and awesome pop art costumes, makeup, sets, and more. It’s worth watching for the visuals alone, but it also has quite a bit of intellectual weight and interesting ideas well-presented.

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Fairly loosely plotted, the film uses a fictional documentary TV news program called “Who Are You?” to take a close look at Polly Magoo, the world’s most popular supermodel (hence the title) and in the process, ruminate (often satirically) on fashion, fame, and wealth.

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It’s an art film through and through, and in the truest sense of the word. It’s extremely edgy, surrealistic, and critical of the fashion world, which exploded into a new shape during the 60s (haute couture really getting “out there” – no longer about wearable clothing but about making ‘art’ on the human form).

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Released on the wonderful, sparkling Criterion edition now, the film is definitely worth a watch if you want are into non-boring art films, fashion, makeup, or just a viewing experience way off the beaten path. I think much of the criticisms of the fashion world are just as valid today, if not more.

But at the same time, of course, the film is very much exploring, and in some way, celebrating fashion too, in this bizarre, almost sci-fi-like vision.

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And yet it’s just about impossible to imagine a film like this being made today. It oozes 60s Frenchness in its every frame, like a watchable time capsule (as any movie is, really, but you take my meaning).

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I went a little nuts with the screencaps while watching this (obv). But compared to how many I took, I’m not posting that many, haha. There were just so many amazing shots, I don’t want to leave out any great ones that I managed to snag. Click on any image to enlarge it.

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So stunning. That’s the only word for a lot of the visuals in the film!

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Ok, I’ll stop now. I think that gives a pretty good overview of how crazy and awesome this movie is. ^_^