Monday, July 28, 2008

Thicke, Bitch.

I love Thicke. Robin Thicke, that is. I still remember the morning I woke up, turned on the TV and saw his video for "When I Get You Alone" on MTV (yeah, back when they not only played videos, but when they played more than two types of music genres). I forgot, for the longest time, who the artist was. I searched everywhere to no avail. A friend finally found out "who that artist with one name" was. It turns out, his album Cherry Blue Skies never got a release until a year later when some additional tracks were added and retitled A Beautiful World. Luckily, the Internet once again came to the rescue and revealed it's bounty upon me. I grooved to Cherry Blue Skies long before many people knew who Thicke was (well, outside of being famous for his parents Gloria Loring and Alan Thicke).

His breakthrough album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, to my ears, suffered from too much modern Soul sounds. You know, finger popping percussion over either light Flamenco guitar or a driving string section. I missed the straight ahead funk of his debut album (in either configuration).

Well, a new single is out, entitled Magic. It's a return to the earlier, old school sound that made me love Thicke in the first place. The video is a good watch, too. It has a fun parody of the old THX theater snipe and a cool send up of key images from 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as some hat tipping to Fred Astaire. The video is below. Groovy.


One more My Sassy Girl remake trailer. Too much physical contact in my opinion.

....and they're KISSING????!?!!!?? This movie is going to emotionally kill me, I'm positive.

...and to wash the tast of that out of your mouth, here is the Music Video, I Believe, from the Original My Sassy Girl.

Note: It's not subtitled, but in the spoken word portion in the middle of this clip, Gyun-Woo is giving the Girl's new boyfriend "Ten Rules" of her likes and dislikes so he can get along with her better. I've added the subtitled "Ten Rules" after the Music Video.

God, the original film is so, so great. I love this movie. The remake is gonna kill me, I just know it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Speed Racer crushes the Batmobile!

Sorry, everyone. I've been gone away for a while. The reason for my absence is kinda funny. I've been hiding out, frightened for my life. Why? I was stupid to publicly say The Dark Knight was just okay. That's not to say I hated it, but I might as well have, considering the near violent reactions from all who've heard me speak of it. Honest to God, it seems that if I say it was anything less than amazing, then I'm a fucking leper and have no taste. I've been told I'm biased because of my less than stellar reaction.

The bottom line is this. Yes, I know it's an event film. Yes, I know I'm supposed to rhapsodise over Heath Ledger's posthumous performance. I wish I could just shit flowers all over this movie, but I can't. I went in with an open mind. Truly, I did. I wanted to be nothing less than entertained... and I was, but I didn't witness the second coming of cinema that night. It was just another Batman movie, but this time Batman was just a footnote to the story; a supporting character that just happens to be the film's namesake.

As much as I disliked the Tim Burton Batman (But I did enjoy the first sequel, Batman Returns), I'm seriously beginning to believe he got it right. Well, more right than anyone else did. ...and no one is going to sway my belief that Caesar Romero is the penultimate Joker. Hail Caesar.

He was far more annoying than frightening, but Heath Ledger's performance was great. No question.


  • 1) He wasn't (and shouldn't have been) the best reason to see the film

  • 2) There are many competent actors who could have pulled off that role. The entire role consisted of makeup, lighting and chewing of scenery. Hell, Carrot Top could've done it as well.
  • 3) I'm convinced, had he not died, there wouldn't have been near as much raving about this simply above average movie

  • 4) His ultimate best performance was Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain and it's unfortunate that he won't be widely remembered for that role.

Other complaints:

The film was too long. 40 minutes could've easily been excised. The film couldn't decide if it wanted to be a realistic crime melodrama or a dark graphic novel come to life. The script was a bit too mean spirited for it's own good. Christian Bale was woeful as Batman. That damn Bran Muffin in his throat killed every scene he was in. As Bruce Wayne, he was fine. I'll give him that.

Also fine in their roles were Gary Oldman and Michael Caine; their presence giving some balance and prestiege to the piece. Morgan Freeman was great, too, as always, but I'm puzzled by his presence here. His role amounts to nothing more than a pale copy of James Bond's "Q".

My biggest complaint is the disservice being done to the actor Aaron Eckhart who played Harvey Dent / Two Face. There was no mention in the advance press or previews of this particular villain's appearance in the film and, in my opinion, Harvey Dent / Two Face was a far more compelling character than the Joker.

The Joker's character arc was "I'm bad and crazy - I'm bad and crazy - I'm bad and crazy". In fact, his antics were getting a bit annoying towards the end. Harvey Dent / Two Face's character arc was much more complicated. Seeing how a true good guy could be perverted by vengeance and then redeemed was the real glue of the story in The Dark Knight for me.

So, no, I guess I wasn't The Dark Knight's target audience and I'm sure there a lot more people who don't like it as much as they say they do for fear of being an outcast. I don't care. Never did. That's why I have so few friends. Suffice it to say, I predict a ton of revisionism once it's released to Home Theatre systems.

At least it was far better than the royal turd that was Batman Begins.

The Summer Movie season in general has been pretty damn wonderful, however. I really liked Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and it's poor cousin, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D was light family entertainment that used it's 3D effects to wonderful advantage. I haven't yet seen Iron Man, but It's high on my list. The biggest and best surprise for me this summer was Speed Racer, an incredibly beautiful and surprisingly thoughtful film that I fully regret not seeing on the biggest screen possible. I'm sure it killed in IMAX. I have a feeling that Speed Racer will do wonderful business on Blu-Ray and I'm also sure it'll sell tons of Blu-Ray units as well. It will leave your eyes popping and your ears bleeding (something they also said about Suspiria back in the day). Speed Racer may well be my favorite popcorn movie of 2008.

(Heath Ledger is the new Matt Damon)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Major Labels' Major Debut Album

You may have noticed on the left hand side of this blog, there is a widget dedicated to a group called "The Major Labels" and their new album, Aquavia. I urge everyone reading this to stop and click on the widget. This is a brand new album by Expert Popsmiths Bleu, Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle and it is exquisite. I've personally had it on a loop for 2 weeks straight. It's a very addictive confection. You can listen to some samples of the album, but I recommend you dive in head first and immerse yourself into the album, start to finish. Although I loathe the term normally, the album is Beatlesque. The album is also T-Rexy, Bowie-y, Lennon and Mccartney solo-y and, to my uncannily trained ears, Hudson Brothers-y.

The opening and closing songs ("The Major Labels Got It Made" and "TML4EVA") bookend the inner content with the first proper song within those bumpers being, "Don't Hear A Single"; a paean to the great pop records of the past. If you're past 35, you'll be able to fully appreciate the sentiment here. There is some incredible Lennon/McCartney-ism going on with 2 seemingly different songs welded together to form a whole.

The next song is simply the best 3 and a half minutes spent in 2008. "Velveteen Queen" can be called a number of things: Baroque, Glam, Psychedelic... they may all fit, but labels aside, it's simply pop brilliance. The guitars, vocals, lyrics all come together with the nudge of a higher power's hand.

"The Bitter Pill" shares a kinship with "Don't Hear A Single" in it's record store delving theme.

"Richard Randolph" is a curious song. It's about a harmless middle aged man child who wants nothing more than to play with the local children. The parents, however, won't stand for it. The vaudeville type melody belies a darker lyric about automatically deeming anyone with a love for children and remaining a child himself (the Peter Pan Syndrome) a pervert. A worthwhile, challenging song.

"Hummingbird" is Bleu's beautiful second cousin to McCartney's "Blackbird". Simple and lovely.

This is where side two on a vinyl record would be (and one is forthcoming, I've been assured!) and it is an Abbey Road type suite of sweeping themes and melodies. It kicks of with the assaulting driving rock of "Jimmy Kenney" and lands on the doorstep of "The Sweet", a fascinating pop piece with movements and themes that would've made Brian Wilson proud.

Then there's "An Ode To Something To Cry About"... This is an oddball one joke one off. Possibly the weakest cut on the album, but it's a funny joke piece that reminds me of Nilsson's "Ivy Covered Walls" off of his Sandman Album.

"Deja Vu (All Over Again)" is a short and sweet Merseybeat like tune that comes complete with Ringo Drums and 12 string Rick melody lines. It's just an appetizer for the album's namesake.

"Aquavia" is a devastating and haunting song that wouldn't be out of place on an early 70's Elton John album. The melody and chorus will stay with you for days.

After the "TML4EVA" closer, the cheeky bums had the nerve to round out the album with 6 minutes of noise.

Seriously, this is one wonderful album and one of the best albums I've heard all year. Download it for free, or better yet, throw 6 or 7 dollars their way. They more than deserve it.

The Major Labels home base are on MySpace:

My Sassy Direct to Video Release

From the people who brought you... WHAT???

Yeah, that's right. I kinda knew it was going to happen when I couldn't find any solid release information for so long. The Elisha Cuthbert / Jessie Bradford remake of My Sassy Girl is going straight to video from 20th Century Fox (!) on August 28th in the USA. It's going to run 95 minutes (as opposed to the 121 theatrical minutes / 137 director's cut minutes of the Korean original) and it sports a PG-13 rating. It was given a Theatrical release in the Philippines this past June, but I guess that's it. I suppose after The Lake House tanked, there wasn't much interest in remakes of Korean movies. Shockingly, however, I feel kinda bad that I won't get to see this on a big screen. Not that I would have thoroughly enjoyed it, you see. I'd already made up my mind to about 25% dedicated to hating it (that's 75% still unsure). Still, it would've been nice for a Theatrical release to stir up some interest in the original.

Well, even so, you KNOW I'm gonna buy it on DVD, even if I watch it just once. Why? The original is in the top 3 of my all time favorite movies (as if you didn't know) and that means it's one of the few movies that I can watch anytime, anywhere without reservation. I also have 6 unique editions of the original My Sassy Girl already, so I sorta have to own it, even if I never watch it.

This whole "From the people who brought you My Big Fat Greek Wedding" thing. That bothers me. Once again, it's a case of filmmakers from the West taking a wonderful Foreign movie, remaking it and not acknowledging that it's a remake of a film that's almost certainly far superior.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Where The Hell Is Matt?

From Boing-Boing comes a link to one of the most pleasant, life affirming video clips I've seen in a long time. Yeah, this is one of those so-called "Viral" clips, but it stands, for me, as one of the most disarmingly fascinating videos I've seen anywhere in any media. It'll make you smile wide and may even make you tear up a bit. Seriously, this is the type of thing that should be playing before movies in theatres instead of TV commercials. Bring back the Short Subject. OK, soapbox, off. Here, for your absolute enjoyment is the Dance video from the "Where The Hell Is Matt?" website. This high quality version is actually from Vimeo, BTW.