Saturday, January 29, 2011

New edition of my old chapbook

I've recompiled my old chapbook: "Like Bukowski In Drag", and am calling this edition (the fourth version of the book by the by) "Like Bukowski In Drag. Again." And yes it probably is kind of weird that you are staring at my cleavage. :p

Monday, January 24, 2011

Glib Reviews of Random Movies #9

Spirit of the Beehive

Holds up well. deep, literate film yet simply told story of two young Spanish girls in the late 30's with broken disaffected parents, and healthy imaginations. Gorgeously shot, paced.

The Insect Woman.

1963 Shohei Imamura. Back in tha day Imamura was a bit of a bad boy director... this was his comeback film after the awesomely titled "Pigs & Battleships" went way over budget (though did well theatrically) and the "system" chose to make him take a sabbatical - during which he wrote several scripts and a play - The script for this movie being one.  It's the most conventional (despite it's dated use of freeze frame etc) social history of Japan in the 20th C. that you will see from Imamura... he tends to stick to smaller scope stories. There are flashes of his later brilliance, and overall this is a very enjoyable picture. It has a circular structure and reinforces the old japanese adage about the nail sticking out, being pounded back down.

Intentions of Murder

1964 by Shohei Imamura... continuing to work my way through the new Imammura Criterion/Janus boxset of Imamura early films. This picture is where he really starts to get his groove going. You also cannot heap enough praise on his collaborator Shinsaku (credited as Misahasa iirc) Himeda... who was like a Japanese Gregg Toland! The visuals are truly stunning. It's still a very typical Japanese postwar tale of a young woman trapped by her low social class and antlike lifestyle. A dude breaks into her house, beats her up steals her savings, rapes her, then keeps dropping by for similar, eventually she tries to break free. It's a big very literate melodarama. I woke up with images from the film rattling through my brain.

Pigs & Battleships by Shohei Imamura.

It's the movie that got him noticed as an up & comer and yet briefly stalled his career as it went way over budget etc. Great film though about a gang of really small time yakuza and prostitutes, who live off scraps and black marketeering at Yokosuka US base in Tokyo Bay. There are a few Battleships, and lots of pigs. not quite as audaciously photographed as the last two of his films I detailed here above, but beautifully shot nonetheless. more traditional, less hand held, and camera trickery.

Coraline

3-D on DVD. The 3D is underwhelming compared to what they can do in a theatre these days. The story though is awesome and lifts this scary and beautiful fable above the need for 3D or any gimmickry at all, actually.

Wise Blood

John Huston from that Flannery O'Connor story you read in Uni. No not that one, the other one: "Wise Blood". Great Huston from a period that was fruitful but forgotten due to the films being hard to find for so long... Fat City being another that needs to get into a DVD pressing asap. Thank You Criterion. Gorgeously shot, realized adaptation of a great story. Brad Dourif is revelatory.

 Pontypool 

(Bruce McDonald) 
a nice twist on the Zombie tale. about a zombie plague caused by... well that would be a spoiler... so I'll just say it was well done, with some snappy camera work and good acting. Solid adaptation as well by Tony Burgess (no relation afaik) from his own novel "Pontypool Changes Everything".

The Friends Of Eddie Coyle

(1973) By Peter Yates. Starring Bob Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Alex Rocco, etc. great looking early 70's Heist-y picture with a bit of a rambling Nashville feel, set in Bahsstann. loose story, great characters, dialogue. Mitchum constantly talking utter nonsense but in a scary way so gets to mostly do what he wants. clever and yet bleak. Great unheralded/legendary flick. brought to glorious DVD by Criterion. Now they need to get on that Fat City release asap. Oh also Farewell My Lovely. speaking of Mitchum. that'd be an awesome Criterion release. oh ps some great actual Hockey footage from a 72' Bruins/Blackhawks game. Bobby Orr and etc looking great not a frickin helmet in sight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Favourite 25 Albums of Oughties

~ These are the albums I listened to the most throughout the ‘00’s … Some I listen to far less often these days (Gwen Stefani, the Streets, White Stripes, for example) but they occupied significant roles on my playlists,ipods over at least a few years periods in the ‘00’s.~

~ It is kind of eclectic, yet not really.~

The Streets - A Grand Don’t Come For Free ~ Totally blew my mind, and kind of still does, best concept/story album in decades. Could be a movie, but already kind of is.

Levon Helm - “Farmer Duology”  2 albums Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt ~ are both eminently re-listenable… great catchy band-esque, but not really-ish tunes from Helm and lots of guest artists.

Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch
~ a great album from Spektor, who is one of the most interesting singer songwriters in ages. She deserves bigger success yet!

Grey Album - Danger Mouse
~ maybe my mind is too easily blown, I am a sucker for covers and decent mashups, This is the Codex for  successful mashups that feel like  decent covers. Very re-listenable.

Johnny Cash - the Man Comes Around
~ Cash covering again, some genius cuts on this one. I love that late in his career Cash kept up his great re-interpretations of great songs.

White Stripes - Elephant ~ is the album that turned me on to the twosome of Jack & Meg. I still think it’s the most White Stripesy of their White Stripes albums, and to me that’s a good thing.

Black Keys - The Big Come Up
~ These guys rock me to my core with each album. I chose this one at random, but all their albums have been in my rotation since I discovered them while in Japan.

Lady Gaga - The Fame ~ I didn’t want to love Lady Gaga when I first heard about her, but after listening to this album, I changed my mind completely.

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - Fighting & Onions
~ another stomping kicking album from these guys. Great party music, gets me all revved up. With William Eliot Whitmore, these guys helped bestir my re-interest in old-timey mountain music & old country.

A.C. Newman - Get Guilty ~ best non-Pornographer work by a New Pornographer in my humble opinion, sorry Neko, & Dan. One of those albums you have to always listen to all the way through.

The Gossip - s/t EP ~ Short sharp blast of what Beth Ditoo & the boys are best at: punching you in the face with their songs.

Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic
~ The former voice of one of my favourite 90’s bands (Soul Coughing) continues to make catchy pop music, he’s gone to a less sample-y keyboard approach to a more guitar driven indie vibe without missing a beat. this album is full of songs that should be hits.

Hymns For The Hopeless - William Eliot Whitmore
~ I found Whitmore through one of those music blogs where they link a couple of myspace tracks of various artists that the blogger is into. The track “Cold and Dead” has become one of my all time favourite songs, and rivals “Amazing Grace” as far as A Capella goes in my personal Canon. It will be played at my funeral.

Various Artists - I’m Not There Soundtrack
~ Some great covers of songs by a guy who gets covered only slightly less than the Beatles; Bob Dylan. Aptly enough the covers are from a movie where several actors “cover’ Dylan, aspects of him, at least, which is what a good cover is, a re-interpretation.

Live In London - Leonard Cohen ~ My only compilation/Greatest Hits album of the decade. Best Cohen comp, as it’s all him now near the end, givin’ ‘er as only he can.

Naturally - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
~ Totally sublime throwback stuff… I can listen to this album anytime.

Gwen Stefani - Love Angel Music Baby ~ gayest album on my list as it’s completely silly and even more ludicrous than any Gaga, Xtina, Britney mashup you could hatch. great bubblegum music for dancing with cute boys to.

Scissor Sisters - S/T album
~ Also pretty gay, but like the Gaga album & The Stefani, it also has a lot of gravitas and real musicianship, and geniusly crafted pop.

Rodney DeCroo - Queen Mary Trash
~ A long time friend of mine has made an awesome foot stomping country rock roots whatever album of trashtalk. Oft compared to Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, my pal Rodney is meaner than either ever thought to be, but with tongue firmly in cheek.

Senor Smoke - Electric Six
~ Dorkiest album/group on my list. Their songs almost all make me laugh while I’m dancing.

Stop Drop And Roll!! - Foxboro Hot Tubs
~ Easily the best Green Day album since back in tha’ day, is not a Green Day album. Catchy hooks abound.

StreetCore - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
~ Joe Strummer came completely back from the dead with this his best album of any kind since London Calling, then he died. :( RIP Joe!

Devotchka - Una Volta
~ Tons of people do this “Devotchka” sound these days, but I first heard it here on this album, which still is one of my all time favourite albums.

Johnny Cash - Unchained
~ Has so many great cash Covers including my fave, “Rusty Cage” ‘Nuff said.

Shiina Ringo - Shōso Strip
~ Japanese Lady singers are not all Ayu clones as the ever individual Shiina Ringo has proven by stepping sideways everytime she is about to break outside her loyal fanbase. This is the first album of heres I heard at a friend’s house when I was in Japan. Great ChickRock!

Glib Reviews of Random Movies #8

The Karl Malden helmed "Time Limit": starring Richards -Widmark & Baseheart. OK drama about North Korean Prisoners of War and the after affects of their Major, seeming to "go over" to the commies. Turns out he was trying to do the "right thing" but failed. Not enough action in this talky drama.

Dear Zachary -  Doc about an apparently awesome guy who gets murdered by the woman bearing his unborn son. Things get worse for his family from there. heartwrenching and messed up. If you don't think there's evil in the world. Look no further than the shores of Newfoundland.

Filth & Wisdom purportedly directed by Madonna.  It's ok.. has that Gogol Bordello guy in it, giving it a bit of a Borat tinge. Basically he plays himself, (annoyingly talking to the camera occasionally) living with two single gals, has the hots for one, hires himself out between gigs as a role-playing Man-Whore in the funniest sequences in the movie. Richard E. Grant has an oddly blah turn as a blind self loathing poet. The whole thing plays like an 80's brit comedy by Bill Forsythe or someone. worth a larf or two, nothing more. Weirdly (and better for it) Un-ambitious first film for Madge.

The Fountain

by Darin Aronofsky. I heard all these crap reviews, and The customers who dug it were assholes. Yet I was always enticed by the trailers. Turns out I quite liked it. The visuals are stunning in and out of HD. The story is really easy to follow, despite seeming tough in the first part. It all comes together nicely in a very literate way. Almost more of a novel than a film... with the parallel storylines in different times.  Also I thought Jackman & Weisz had really great chemistry. Good romance with trippy visuals. Just what I was in the mood for.

It's Not Me I Swear

Beautifully shot in rural PQ is this great paean to growing in the late 60's early 70's. A young boy's home is "broken" by separation, usual family strife. He does many "bad" things in reaction. most silly, some grave. Great child acting from kids who in a few years will become crappy teen actors. wonderfully dark yet comic realistic portrayal of small town life. Except for everyone speaking french, it echoes my own childhood very closely. Highly recommended.

Tokyo!
3 shorts directed by Gondry, (Eternal sunshine...) Carax, (Pola X) & Bong (The Host) that take place in Tokyo. All very different, fairly insane, and yet plausible visions of that city.

Dreams With Sharp Teeth.

fun long long in the making doc about the Last Great American Cranky Man - Harlan Motherfucking Ellison. The best parts are when they just let him rant. You do see some nice bits of Ellison's human side. Great bit when he watches some video of his dad, who died when he was 12 or so.interesting that he's been chums with Gaiman since before Neil even wrote "Sandman" and became "The Neil Gaiman" Both tell some good stories in the extra feature where they eat pizza and yak about Hollywood assholes. oh and there's a clip of a friend of mine getting ripped a new one at a booksigning, for incorrectly using the word "awesome".