Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Shockedelic Radio Show: Episode 201 - "A New Beginning"

It's here! A brand new episode of "The Shockedelic Radio Show" (yes, we've changed the "a" to and "e", but it's still almost the same old show), Episode 201 - "A New Beginning"! Wow, it's been about a year since Renaldo and I called it quits after much in fighting and indifference. Renaldo took a trip around the globe and I did some soul searching. Renaldo returned a little while back and, after a tearful reunion, decided to join forces once again to bring all of you THE BEST IN INTERNATIONAL POP!!!!!

The show has been expanded from 60 minutes to a whopping, super sized 80 minutes and is chock full of all of the greatest pop music you never knew existed. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, we'll be doing lots more for all of you out there in Blogland.

So it comes down to this:

If you want to stream this show directly to your media player (WinAmp, WMP, etc.) and listen right now, then you're gonna wanna click right here.

However, if you want to download the show (just shy of 36 megs) for future listening pleasures, to put on your iPod or MP3 player or to burn to a CD (it just fits), then you should click on this linkage.

So there you have it. Have a listen and enjoy yourselves. If you have a comment, please feel free to, but be nice, OK?

Here's some disclaimers for ya: It's a very litigious society, so please understand that this MP3 Podcast is presented as a radio show promoting new and lesser well known artists. All of the music here is copyrighted and the copyright proprietors retain ownership of the material presented here. No rights are given to the downloader or listener or are implied as such. In short, listen to the show and enjoy it, but don't go dissecting the program. If you hear something you like, track it down and purchase it. Supporting the artist is crucial. Make sure you do your duty.

Wanna subscribe to this on iTunes? Do this:

Open iTunes
Go Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast
Type the following into the Pop Up Box (exactly like this. No Spaces.):

There you go! You'll be in tune with the rest of the Universe now!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Flash Eating Beatles

Thanks to the good people at Boing Boing, I was alerted to this video mashup. This is brilliant. See it now before those idiots at You Tube delete it.

BTW, a new episode of the Shockedelic Radio Show is finished and ready to go. I'll post it sometime this week. The format has been expanded from 60 minutes to 80 minutes and is, well, longer. I even got Renaldo to speak!!!!! be patient. It's coming soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Departed Affairs. I demand a recount!

So, I am, as always, a bit behind on this one. I finally saw "The Departed" last night. I don't know why it took me so long to see it, other than I kept finding better things to do. I think what really kept me away was my disdain for Warner Brothers in their efforts to shroud the fact that Martin Scorsese made a REMAKE of a Hong Kong action film. As we've all heard by now, "The Departed" is a remake of "Infernal Affairs", a rather popular HK crime potboiler. I've seen "Infernal Affairs" and I believe it's one of the best cops and robbers movies out there, right along side "Hard Boiled", which, for my money, may be the best one.

So, I sit down to watch "The Departed". In a nutshell, Martin Scorsese and company has managed to take an incredibly taut and fast paced 100 minute movie, throw it up in the air and cram it all into a long, rather uninvolving, 150 minute movie. That's right. he expanded (I'm sure he would say, "Improved") the film by ten minutes short of an hour with absolutely nothing to show for it.

So the basic plot is as follows (and I'm talkin' VERY basic; I don't want to get too long winded about this): A crime boss gets one of his gang into the police academy to act as a mole (in "the Departed", a rat. A word uttered so many times I was actually looking for James Cagney's corpse to be rolled out at any second) while the police get one of their own into the crime family to act as same. If you're an action film fan, that one sentence alone should have brought your heart racing. It's a good solid scenario, if you don't let too many facts get in the way. Co Directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak knew this and cut away as much fat as possible for "Infernal Affairs". In that film, the filmmakers were respectful of the audience enough to let us fill in the inconsequential blanks ourselves. There is a way of thinking that dictates, "Anything not shown or explained in a film just doesn't exist" and that, I believe, is a load of horse shit. Of course, 'Ol Marty Scorsese believes that dictate and pummels us with scene after scene of exposition. It's like he's trying to make another "Goodfellas". The narration is there (in lieu of letting the movie play out and giving the viewer some credit), the musical soundtrack of endless Classic Rock and Oldies is in place (in lieu of an actual proper musical score; Jesus, did he just leave the radio on during editing?) and annoying as ever and the language is just as foul as ever; racist and bludgeoning to an extreme. In fact, that's a major, major problem when comparing the two films. "Infernal Affairs' " dialogue is very concise and to the point; there's no room for pointless filler. "The Departed" is so leisurely, lazy and is more concerned with some foul mouthed crack against another character in place of an actual witty line or plot motivating dialogue.

Speech is another thing. It's set in Boston and deals with the Irish, so we're barraged with bad Bostonian and Irish accents from the cast. I believe I could have eased into the movie a bit easier had I not been constantly pulled out of it because of jarringly bad accents.

As for the cast, let me get this off my chest right friggin' now. I want everyone to sign a petition stating that Jack Nicholson be BARRED from ever acting again. How many movies does he have to ruin before he retires or dies? I mean, it really is a big problem. If you're going to be in a movie, at least try to play a character. No one is ever going to watch "The Departed" and say to themselves, "Wow, Jack Nicholson really buried himself into that role." It's not going to happen. I'm sure he's fun and fun to be around, but he was way out of place in this movie. It was like watching him play The Joker all over again.

I'm really sick of seeing crime bosses played as loony eccentrics that joke themselves through their lives until something triggers them into being a stone faced, cold blooded killer. Then, after the pressure is off, they go back to being that lovable mob boss guy. It's sickening, it's one note, it has to stop.

DiCaprio was all right, I suppose, as was Mark Whalberg (though the running gag that he's brutally foul mouthed and has to be apologized for is just not funny or needed). They were passable in their roles. I can't say the same for Matt Damon. His character is supposed to have an arc. He's bad and becomes good. That's how the character was written in the original film. Damon can't possibly handle that level of acting, so he just snowplows through the movie as the Bad Guy. He seems to have no other motive. "I'm Bad!", That's it. Vera Farmiga's role was the most problematic. Her character was an amalgamation of THREE different characters in "Infernal Affairs": The Shrink to the undercover cop, The girlfriend to the gang member turned cop, and the ex girlfriend of the undercover cop who has a child that may or may not be his. The melding of these characters was a huge mistake. It places a limp love triangle in a movie that doesn't need one. Farmiga is very good in her role, but the role is ultimately throwaway.

The plot itself is more or less completely intact, although the subplot about black market microchips is unnecessary and is left pretty much unresolved. Some things in the original film, like the ingenious use of Morse Code, are completely disregarded while others are simply moved about and rendered pointless in the process (the whole cast breaking scene).

I believe that Martin Scorsese is completely out of touch as a filmmaker and, now that he has his precious statuette, should bow out gracefully and rest on his laurels. I really don't know when the academy has awarded a less deserving film than "The Departed", though last years "Crash" left me scratching my head, also. At any rate, if you want to see what the movie was supposed to be like, rent "Infernal Affairs". Chances are, if you've seen "The Departed", you'll strongly disagree with me. If you do, that's perfectly okay since most people tend to like the film they've seen first over the one they've seen second. I guess it has something to do with knowing what's coming. Who knows.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

'ey, Yo! Y'know?

You know, I wasn't going to say anything about it, but it still haunts me a bit.

Last post, I called myself a hipster. Maybe I am, but I really don't think so, now that I think about it. Yeah, I'm into horror movies, Asian culture, Pop music (The traditional kind; that is, the kind that people think about when the phrase is uttered: Beatlesque, Beach, Surf, Motown Soul... that sort of thing), women, sex (not the same thing)... geez, the list goes on. I like a lot of things the hipsters like. The major difference is, I suppose, I don't like things to fall into a bag; to fit in, as it were. I could care less if you hold me in disdain for liking something you don't. I live for me, not the acceptance of others (which is probably why I don't have any friends left). Every time I think I'm turning totally hipster (and as a result, hollow) something happens to snap me right back into reality.

A week ago last Tuesday, I went to the dollar theatre to catch a flick. I was bored and I intended to see the new Bond flick, "Casino Royale". When I got there, I started looking at the posters and I was suddenly self persuaded to see "Rocky Balboa" instead. Must have been some kind of possession by some unseen force, but I gave in. I'm really, really, really glad I did. I've always liked the Rocky movies, but I was never Italian enough to take it to a "Star Wars" level of enthusiasm. In fact, I'm not Italian in the least. Not a drop in me. Still, I was curious enough to see what exactly Sylvester Stallone had on his mind. It's easy to dismiss him and his character, "Rocky". It's even easier for some to confuse the two into one person. It's a great mistake, though, to do that. He's more than proven his longevity from the early 70's to late in the first decade of this Century. You may not like the bulk of his (some would say) mindless, simplistic action films, but you can't deny his box office muscle or his charisma.

So, on to "Rocky Balboa": The first thing I noticed was it took THREE studios (MGM, Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios) to get this film made. I'd heard no one wanted to make this film and the fact that it took Stallone to enlist this many backers to get it done is a testament to his tenacity. He's a can do guy. I was already impressed. The next thing I noticed was something minor. The opening credits are centered in the frame. In previous "Rocky" movies, the credits were off to a bottom corner of the frame. It's an unimportant thing, I suppose, but it would've gone a long way to getting me into "Rocky" mode.

The Rocky Balboa we're introduced to here is a pretty broken man. He's lonely, his wife Adrian has passed on from what he refers to as "The woman Cancer" later in the film, and he's a creature of habit. He works out in the morning, visits his wife's grave in the afternoon and runs a restaurant (named after his wife) in the evenings; hosting his guests and regaling them with his past boxing stories. His son is now grown, taking crap from the corperate man and snubbing his father for having to live in the shadow of the great Rocky. It seems the only friend he has now is Adrian's brother, Pauly, and that friendship is mostly out of loyalty to family. Rocky pines for his lost wife and Pauly acts the supreme crumdgeon, finding the dark cloud in every one of Rocky's silver linings.

Things change when he ends up at an old bar hangout after a day of revisiting old haunts around the town on the day of he and his late wife's anniversary. There, in one of the best surprises in the film, he becomes reacqainted with a woman he walked home once, 30 years before (a minor character in the first film). His reconnection with a living, breathing lifeline to his cherished past gives him a reason to be, or at least something to do.

Before long, a computerized fight on ESPN, facing off an in his prime Rocky agains the current Heavyweight Champion, Mason "The Line" Dixon (I gotta admit, that name made me smile) sets off a national media firestorm when the digitized Rocky becomes the victor. Before long, the news of the fight gets back to Rocky and he feels the desire to box again, much to the dismay of all of his friends and family.

What realy amazed me about this film is how easily it jerked me around emotionally. I sat in my theatre seat and I felt some strong emotions wash over me. It was a combination of the terriffic script by Stallone, who also directed as well as starred and the earnest performances by the incredibly talented cast. Burt Young is always his gruff, uncomprimising self and that's all he has to be. Much Kudos to Stallone, though, for raising Rocky above that 2 dimensional cartoon of "Yo!" that he became after the first film. Rocky, in this film, is grounded in reality and an emotional mess. I, myself, felt the tears well up in a few scenes. One cast member I have to point out is Geraldine Hughes, who completely stole my heart as Little Marie, the woman Rocky reconnects with after all those years. She's from Ireland, Belfast, I believe, but there aren't any hints of her being European in her performance. She's aloof, world weary and totally Philadelphia street. I look forward to seeing her in more movies.

The script, and some may call me looney, has an incredibly Shakespearian manner to it. There are many great monologues in there and even a couple of short soliloquies by Rocky. Indeed, this film was about the demons we all have to face throughout out lives. They don't stop once we become a certain age and sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do to exorcise them. It also addresses how we don't have to stop living our lives the way we want to at a certain elevated age just because society (particularly the youth) mandates it to be so. The movie had me so spellbound that I really didn't care if there would have been a fight at the end of it. Of course there is, it being a boxing movie, and it's a great one. Once that Rocky fanfare begins, my hackels get raised and I'm pumped all over again. Also, being a boxing movie, it's smart that it doesn't pull any punches. There are no cheap shots; no out of place elements for the purpose of patronising the audience. Does he win or lose? Yes... and no... and yes... and no. You'll have to see the movie for yourself to understand that, and I hope you do. It's a favorie of mine already. I would've paid full price for it.

...and that's about as far away from hipster as I can get.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The 3D revolution... again.

This is FABULOUS! I'm a major fan and supporter of 3D movies and this news is mindbogglingly great. It's the first time since the 1950s that a MAJOR STUDIO has made a commitment liks this. DreamWorks Animation has commited to having all of it's animated features released in 3D by 2009!

Here is the article (LINK) :

DreamWorks going 3-D in 2009
Studio to produce two versions of 'Aliens'


DreamWorks Animation is joining the digital 3-D
Studio plans to release all its pics in 3-D starting in 2009. That should give a major boost to the fledgling technology now available on just a few hundred digital cinema screens.

New digital 3-D exhibition process, enabled largely by technology company Real D, has been gaining significant interest in Hollywood recently. Fox will release the James Cameron-helmed "Avatar" in 3-D in 2009, and Disney will put "Meet the Robinsons" on about 600 digital 3-D screens this month.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said the studio considered adding 3-D effects to some of its 2007 and 2008 releases but wanted to produce pics with the new exhib process in mind from the outset.

"We have not really been enthusiastic about turning 2-D into 3-D in
post-production," Katzenberg said, referring to the way 3-D effects have been added to pics thus far. "It doesn't begin to touch the quality of product that is originated in 3-D."

DWA summer 2009 release "Monsters vs. Aliens" starts production this spring and will be made with 3-D in mind from the outset. Studio will produce two versions, with a standard version for nondigital screens, DVD and TV.

By waiting until 2009, studio will also benefit from a significantly higher availability of 3-D enabled digital screens. "By that time, I think that in domestic markets we will be able to release a film entirely in 3-D," said Jim Tharp, prexy of domestic distribution for Paramount, which releases DreamWorks Animation pics.

There are just over 500 digital 3-D screens in the U.S., but that's expected to expand to several thousand by 2009. While the studio is counting on its movies to be available exclusively in 3-D in the U.S., foreign markets will likely still be installing digital cinema systems, which are required for the new 3-D process.

Katzenberg will be discussing the studio's 3-D plans with exhibitors this week at ShoWest. Many in the exhibition industry have been getting excited about digital 3-D as a way to differentiate cinemas from home theater systems. In addition, many exhibs have been charging $1 or $2 more for 3-D films.

"This is the first thing I've ever seen that is an actual opportunity for the movie business to become something completely new and unreplicatable at home," observed Katzenberg.

He said production costs on DreamWorks toons will go up, but he's confident his studio will make up for it with added revenue.

After "Robinsons," next pic released on some 3-D screens will be Par's "Beowulf" this fall.

In 2008, New Line will release "Journey 3-D," the first live-action pic produced exclusively for the new technology. Disney is also expected to release most of its future toons in digital 3-D, though the studio hasn't announced any definite plans beyond "Robinsons."

DreamWorks has hired Jason Clark, an exec producer on Sony's 3-D toon "Monster House," to head up its 3-D efforts along with Jim Mainard, the studio's head of research and development. It has also tapped Phil McNally, who did 3-D work on Disney's "Chicken Little" and "Meet the Robinsons," to oversee 3-D for "Monsters vs. Aliens."

Now, of course, a lot of this is hyperbolie. We got execs talking like 3D movies are a brand new thing when it's over a century old and it is replicable in the home with Shutter glasses and Field sequential media (on CRT televisions... there are already systems for viewing on HDTV systems out there, too). Thing is, it's very exciting and with New Line making a Live Action 3D film for this "new" System, well, the next 3 years are going to be a 3D fans dream... until cost cutting, greed and substandard product kill it for another 20 -30 years in the mainstream.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fountains of Wayne = Candy Corn

You know that Lewis Black routine about Candy Corn? I won't blatantly plagurize his bit, but it goes something, but not exactly, like this:

"I'll walk into a room and see a bowl of Candy Corn. I see the bowl and think, 'Candy Corn. Corn that tastes like candy!' (Chews, chews) SONOFABITCH!!!!!!!!!"

That's EXACTLY how I felt when I saw that Fountains or Wayne has put out a new album (sorry I'm old) CD.

"Ooh! A new Fountains of Wayne CD! Beautiful, sugary pop that will make me feel good in the deepest of my recesses... (Listens, listens) SONOFABITCH!!!!!!!!"

Damn it, Fountains of Wayne pisses me off. Pop hipsters seem to love them but, being a bit of a hipster myself (I shudder), I can't get their sound to penetrate my psyche. Mathematically, I should be all over them and fast. They play readily accessible pop music that just rolls off of them like flopsweat. I just can't get past the fact that they don't have a single original bone in their bodies. That in itself would be perfectly alright. I love lots of bands that sound like other bands. What I can't take is a band that sounds like a different band in each and every song they perform. There is, sometimes, too much of a good thing.

Perhaps maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here. The reason for this unleashing of bad karmas is due to the new, forthcoming Fountains of Wayne CD, "Traffic and Weather". Although I overall disliked greatly the last album, "Welcome Interstate Managers", there were at least "Stacey's Mom", "Hackensack" and "All Kinds Of Time" to listen to; One great Cars rip off and two beautiful ballads that belonged on three other, better albums. I can't afford the new disc even that compliment. It's all so quirky so as to be indisguishible. There are the sunny pop sounds and the country-ish tunes (that sound like uninspired Cracker outtakes) and it's all completely perfunctory. It's akin to watching a movie and knowing what the ending is going to be before the opening credits finish. Maybe some of you out there would like that, but not me.


Also, if anyone didn't yet hear... Justin Hawkins, the lead singer of The Darkness has left the band. The remaining members are staying together, but the name of the band (as of now, unnamed) will be different. Sorry, but what's the point without Justin? Great band, I know, but Justin was that pinch of spice that sent the band into the stratosphere. I mourn the loss of yet another great band.