Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar? Not bad...

The Oscar ceremonies were broadcast last night and I watched them through a flu induced haze. Not the ideal way to experience one of my favorite shows of the year, but hey...

So, looking back at my predictions, with the exception of the female categories, I pretty much nailed it. Daniel Day Lewis won for Best Actor, Javier Bardem won for Best Supporting Actor and the Cohens swept the Best Director and Best Picture awards and deservedly so.

I didn't expect Tilda Swinton to eclipse Cate Blanchette and, as I wrote previous, I didn't have knowledge of Marion Cotillard (although, after seeing her channel Edith Piaf in the few clips that were shown, it made perfect sense. I can't wait to see "La Vie En Rose".) so I was kinds lost on those two.

The largest delight for me during the show was the performance of "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for the film "Once" and their subsequent triumphant win in the Best Original Song category. I was disappointed when Bill Conti cut off Marketa before she could give her acceptance speech (a total miscommunication between her and Conti), but was overjoyed when, after a commercial break, she was allowed to return to the stage and give her speech. It was a lovely moment.

The other great moment, for me, was Javier Bardem's acceptance speech, wherein he spoke the last few sentences in Spanish for his mother, whom he brought with him as his companion. He brought his mom. He's the greatest.

Of course, the show didn't go completely well for me. There was always the looming dark shadow of the beast that is "Juno". Thankfully, the academy was smart enough to realise there were much, much more deserving films out there. Unfortunately, the Academy did give best Original Screenplay to "Juno" and the writer/ex-stripper/current Hot Topic fashion victim/Suicide Girl wannabe "Diablo Cody" (the quotes are because it's not her real name). Seriously, did anyone read the script?

"Your Eggo is preggo."

"That ain't no Etch A Sketch. This is one doodle that can't be un-did, Homeskillet."

"Yes, hello? I need to procure a hasty abortion?"

"Honest To Blog"

Not exactly the kind of dialogue found in the worst Oscar nominated screenplays, let alone the best. Ah well, Methinks the Academy was being a bit to friendly this year and wanted to recognise everyone.

All in all, though, it was a fine telecast and it came in at under 4 hours and that's a plus.

I'm feeling better, by the way. Thanks for asking. My fever broke last night and I woke up in a stew of my own juices... Oops. I shouldn't write that. Not because it's gross, but because Diablo Cody might read this and use it in her next Oscar winning screenplay.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom!

OK, it's like this. It doesn't matter a lick what this film is about. Forget that it's essentially about an American kid that is transported to Ancient China to become a warrior. The ONLY thing that matters here is this:

Jackie Chan and Jet Li in the same movie!

Here is the trailer for "The Forbidden Kingdom":

...and here is a much better trailer (in both quality and presentation), but it's DIVX (you'll need a DIVX codec), so be sure your computer can handle this (slow connections need not apply):

It's awesome beyond belief. I don't know when it's coming out, but this is a wet dream for Kung Fu fans.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Damn it! Kimura Kaela has done it yet again.

She has this knack of releasing singles that just stick in the brain. I swear, it's like having a musical leech attached to the cerebral cortex.... and I love it!

The song is called "Jasper" and I believe it's the theme song to the Japanese release of "Mister Magorium's Wonder Emporium" (or so I've been told). At any rate, here is the PV of the song "Jasper".

Warning, it's addictive!

Cuddle up with Kuu-chan...

This past week, I got my super limited edition pressing of Koda Kumi's new CD/DVD release, "Kingdom". I'm, admittedly, not really into this type of music at leage, but I really like Kumi (or Kuu-chan, as her fans refer to her). I don't know what it is about her. Most people I confess my adoration for Kuu-chan to say something along the lines of, "Eew! She looks dirty!" I don't think so. I think she's pretty, though it's obvious to me she's had some work done. She's kinda like the Japanese Christina Aguilera, another singer I like even though I'm not really into that type of music.

As many of you know, as far as Japanese Pop and Rock go, I'm firmly into the rocking side of things: Love Psychedelico, Kimura Kaela, The Pillows, Beat Crusaders and the like, but when Kuu-chan does her upbeat dance funk numbers, she really gets me pumped (her song, "But", was in high rotation at my home for a couple of months. Great song!). Sadly, I'm not really about her ballads, which are what her fanbase seem to really enjoy. I'm sure that has to do with my extremely tenuous grasp of Japanese. Ballads rely largely on lyrics, you see, while dance music relys more on the pelvis.

So, I get the 3 disc set and I'm impressed. Disc one is the music CD, Disc two is the "Kingdom" album on DVD as a series of PVs and the thrid disc is a live show DVD. The package is rounded out with goodies for the fans (photos, a poster and stickers).

Of the three discs, I'm most infatuated by the live one. The other two discs are good, but Kumi is best in her live element. The second disc of videos had a preview for yet another concert DVD coming sometime this year that promises to be even more spectacular than the one included here. I can't wait.

Here's the intro from the DVD:

UPDATE 2/10/08: I'd like to comment that I had heard about Kumi's "scandal" prior to the release of "Kingdom" and I think it's shameful. To the one's that don't know, a few days before the album's release, Kumi made an appearance on a late night radio show and was fielding questions from fans and such. One queston was if she would like to become a mother someday. She responded that she would, but before the age of 35, because, at that age, a woman's ambionic fluids become rotten. She said it with a laugh and the statement itself is quite absurd, but many Japanese women were outraged and were calling for her tour to be banned and for her sponsors to drop her.

This is quite distressing for me, since I (wrongly, I suppose) tend to hold the Japanese people to a higher standard than the rest of the world. I can't believe such an absurdist comment would cause such an unnecesary stir. Double shame should go to her record company for leaving her twist in the the wind like that. Kumi went on television to give a tearful apology (one that, I believe, she didn't need to give) a few days later.

Luckily, the incident didn't affect her record sales at all. She sold a very respectable 400,000+ copies of "Kingdom" the first week (not bad at all, especially considering the album was released in 3 formats ranging from $20 to $50 {US currency adjusted}).I know she doesn't speak English well at all and she'll not read this, but I still encourage Kuu-chan to keep the faith... and maybe start looking for another record label.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

John Rambo

I saw Sylvester Stallone's newest, "John Rambo", last night. I was absolutely smitten by "Rocky Balboa" a while back and that was enough to get me to see what Sly's done with his other iconic character. Although it was way too short (77 minutes without the end credits!), "John Rambo" was absolutely great. There will be detractors, of course; people who will always knock films like this, but I say fuck 'em. As there will always be high art, there will always be high exploitation.

The plot is as such: John Rambo is living in Thailand, capturing snakes for sale and manning a longboat for hire. A group of missionaries hire his services to get them by boat to Burmese, where the locals are being slaughtered en masse. He's extremely reluctant, but he agrees to take them, thanks to Sarah, the lone woman of the group.

Long story short, the group gets captured and Rambo, along with a group of mercenaries, go back to rescue them.

This film is brutal. It's filled to the hilt with brutality. It's also filled to the hilt with old school jungle action. In that respect, this film is spectacular. The first part of the movie is dedicated to making us hate the villians by bludgeoning us with the genocide of the Burmese people. Once the film hits the one hour mark, bodies just explode and disintegrate for the next 20. There really isn't a middle ground. Either you'll be repulsed by the goings on here, or you'll be roused. I was completely roused.

You may be asking, "Terry, you love this movie but you hate films like "Saw", where the body counts are much lower". Well, yeah. There's a large difference here. In "John Rambo", the violence is triggered by a kill or be killed situation in a Genocidic warzone. Those (so-called) Torture Porn movies are about a person, or persons, who believe they are intellectually superior to all other humans on Earth and believe they should dictate who lives and who dies. The same goes for that sad television drama, "Dexter". Things like that are smug and overtly realistic. "John Rambo" is a grand comic book of a movie and I only felt cheated by the short running time.

Do you miss 1980's action films? Go see this and get your fix. Now, where's Chuck Norris and the next "Missing In Action" movie?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Greatest Movie Preview Ever Made!

I know this trailer (aka preview of coming attractions) has been seen millions of times, but it bears repeating. If you've seen this one before, sit back and smile. If you haven't, get ready for the Greatest Movie Preview Ever Made. I'm not kidding. It's that great.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Preview for the double bill "Frenzy Of Blood"...