Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Pipes of Pan

Finally! I got to see Pan's Labyrinth. What a phenomenal film! Definitely lived up to all the praise it has been getting. Between the stunning visuals of Ofelia's fantasy world and the gruesome realities of Franco's Spain, the gothic fairy tale care of Guillermo del Toro is definitely one of the finest cinema moments all year. This movie has raw power. The performances in this film are spectacular. Ivana Baquero, who plays the 12-year old Ofelia not only drives the emotions of the entire movie, her innocence and love of her mother and brother show us the glimmer of hope in such a dark, dank time in history. Doug Jones, who plays the mythical faun, dons some of the most amazingly realistic makeup work (garunteed to win the Oscar for that category.) Here is a film that proves that very little CGI can make all the difference. If this were a George Lucas film, Pan would have looked like Jar Jar Binks. Yes the fairies are CGI and yes some of the other creatures have moments where they are CGI, but overall the movie is great set design, great costumes and great make-up. Now, where some fantasy films get lost in the visuals and turn out to be nothing more than just a festival for the eyes, Pan's Labyrinth is a festival for the emotions and for the mind. The themes of brutality vs. innocence and fantasy vs. reality are well fleshed out in the story. It's a flawless film. I believe this should clean up most of the awards that it was nominated for, at least it should if the Academy knows what they are doing.

So after viewing this, there are really only two must see films that I missed from 2006 that are no longer in theaters (The Prestige and Science of Sleep.) I am going to try to see Babel and Letters From Iwa Jima ASAP. The other important movies I missed will make my list whence I see them on DVD. This should be in the next few weeks.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Reelin' in the Years

January is almost over. Yuck. I'm losing ground on 2007 already! Regardless, some updates.

1) No one has died in the Dethpul yet. I know it's early yet, but come on! I'm itching for one of these bastards to go down! If you don't know about the celebrity Dethpul yet, check it out. Here are my selections in picture format.
1. Eli Wallach

2. Peter O'Toole

3. Stan Lee

4. Jack Klugman

5. Dick Cheney (wishful thinking)

6. Muqtada al-Sadr (Under 60)

Not gonna lie, my list is pretty sweet. I don't count on any, but if they do... sweet cash.

Also, updates on other things, good chance Noringo will be getting back for a rawkus show on the day of March 31st. It's for Ryan Carey's big party with Black Market Dynamite. So far, three of us say hell yes, but others are still incognito on whether or not they can join for the show. Let's hope they can cuz that would make my year fantastic.

Hanging out with a great variety of people this weekend. Tonight should be good to see some younger La Sallians. Tomorrow is Sarah Deal and Co, Sunday is Ms. Lavender. Oh yeah!

Check out Mr. Dogg for a review of The Good, the Bad & The Queen. It's a pretty acurate description of the album. I was kinda let down, but I still enjoy it at times for what it is. It reminds me of the moodiness of The Eraser (shut up, Hymen) where it really depends on what kind of mood I'm in. It was a let down overall.

As far as Oscar nods go, duh. The Academy sucks and the technical and writing awards are always where the money is. I'm just happy that Penelope Cruz is up for an Oscar. She needs to win although when Dench and Mirren are there, it's tough times. She's got it though in that movie, I'm telling ya.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I need something to do this weekend

CHICAGO—As Brian Urlacher triumphantly hoisted the George Halas Trophy Sunday, it was a symbol of more than just the Bears' 39-14 victory over New Orleans—it was a symbol of hope to the thousands of Chicagoans who are still struggling to resume normal lives after the fire that swept through a 2,000-acre swath of downtown, killed over 300 people, injured hundreds more, destroyed a third of Chicago's buildings, and left 100,000 residents homeless this past Oct. 8 through Oct. 10, 1871.
~The Onion

So yea. I can't wait for this super bowl game only because 1) the Gaytriots aren't in it and 2) the Eagles fans don't need to worry about losing the game and 3) these two teams are probably going to make it exciting. I'm not roting for the Colts. Peyton may be a way better QB than Grossman, but something about Da Bears that makes me want them to win. Even though it's not Ditka coaching and such. It's just something I want to happen. So for my prediction, it's Bears 31- Colts 28.

As for this weekend, nothing really happening. Two things need to happen however.
1) I need to see Pan's Labryinth. WTF! This happens to me way too often. This time I act ually treid to see it but it was sold out. If anyone wants to see it sunday night or Saturday-day, lemme know.
2) Go out somewhere Saturday night. I work Sunday, but I want to hit the Philly bars. Anyone interested?

That's that.

Addendum to my last post:

Red Octane, you guys should include a new feature where the songs you play randomly shuffle. So say the shuffle starts with The Doobie Brothers, then it goes to Slayer, then it goes to Steely Dan, then it goes to some Freezepop bonus trakk entitled Rokk Out With Your Cokk Out. I think it would be a fun feature. Maybe carry over the meter to see how you are doing. And then when you get hit like 10 songs, the encore kicks in. Just a thought.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dear Red Octane

Here is my sales pitch for Guitar Hero 3. There are a lot of awesome goups on here that I figure you, as developers of video games, probably enjoy but might not jump the gun and just put them on here. You have surprised me in the second edition with such bands like Butthole Surfers, Avenged Sevenfold, The Sword and other crazy off the wall groups. My list digs a little deeper at times in more 70's power rock and also into some other bands from the 90's and now that are worthy of Guitar Hero status. Heed my words of wisdom and try to get the rights to some of the powerhouse bands on here that are clearly in desperate need to be on such a game. I figure the next edition will either be more than 40 major songs, but I set it up just like the last edition and in those specific categories. I tried to be as versatile as possible. Enjoy and make the next edition arleady!

1. Opening Licks
Alice Cooper- "School's Out"
The Doobie Brothers- "China Grove"
Dinosaur Jr.- "Feel the Pain"
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers- "American Girl"
The Velvet Underground- "Rock & Roll"

2. Amp-Warmers
The Clash- "Clampdown"
Pavement- "Date With Ikea"
The Fall- "Vixen"
Steely Dan- "Reelin In the Years"
Pink Floyd- "Have a Cigar"

3. String Snappers
Def Leppard- "Foolin'"
Collective Soul- "Heavy"
Weezer- "My Name is Jonas"
T-Rex- "20th Century Boy"
Foreigner- "Double Vision"

4. Thrash and Burn
Pearl Jam- "Dissident"
The Who- "Young Man Blues"
George Thorogood & The Deleware Destroyers- "Who Do You Love?"
The White Stripes- "Blue Orchid"
Yes- "I've Seen All Good People"

5. Return of the Shred
System of a Down- "Innervision"
Priestess- "I Am the Night, Colour Me Black"
Grand Funk Railroad- "Sin's a Good Man's Brother"
Radiohead- "My Iron Lung"
Led Zeppelin- "Dazed and Confused"

6. Relentless Riffs
Neil Young- "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"
My Morning Jacket- "One Big Holiday"
Built to Spill- "I Would Hurt a Fly"
James Gang- "Funk #49"
Dire Straits- "Sultans of Swing"

7. Furious Fretwork
Muse- "Stockholm Syndrome"
UFO- "Lights Out"
Man or Astro Man?- "Put Your Finger in the Socket"
Adrian Belew- "Writing on the Wall"
Metallica- "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

8. Face Melters
King Crimson- "21st Century Schizoid Man
Refused- "The Deadly Rhythm"
Soundgarden- "Jesus Christ Pose"
Slayer- "Raining Blood"
Ted Nugent- "Stranglehold"

Post your lists somewhere. You know it's brewing inside you. I think this would work. Maybe not enough metal bands or enough recent stuff or classics, but then again it's good to mix it up. Some are unconventional guitar heroes (Malkmus, Young, Martsch, Greendwood) but then again, they are pretty excellent to be mixed in with the likes of those who need to be put into the game (Page, Townshend, Thorogood, Walsh, Knopfler.) So that is sorta what I went for.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Oscar Predictions

Tomorrow the Oscars are going to be announced. I will still go on record as saying that 2006 was pretty weak, but then again, I missed afew key films. So once all of them come out in February (most of the stuff I missed is due out in the next month!) then I will reevaluate 2006 as a movie year.

So here are what I consider to be the five best in the five major categories and highlighted is who I would choose to win. None of the films I haven't seen will be included in this list. It's not predictions as much as fantasy draft style choices.

The Departed

Children of Men

Thank You For Smoking

The Proposition
So Children of Men pretty much blew my mind. A lot of people harsh on it's conclusion, but there really was no other way of ending it. Beyond that, it's story was funny, dark, bleak and had some of the most intensely artistic and visually breathtaking camera work in any movie I have ever seen.
Leonardo DiCaprio- The Departed

Matt Damon- The Good Shephard

Clive Owen- Children of Men
Aaron Eckhart- Thank You For Smoking
Joseph Gordon-Levitt- Brick

Yeah, Leo deserves this one. I mean, he was on fucking Growing Pains for Godsake. However much I used to hate him and think he was a terrible overactor, he finally subdued it a bit and gave his character a shattered personality almost virtually unable to feel. His psyche o being undercover for so long unable to connect with society pretty much topped most of all the other performances this year. Owen and Damon are a close second, however, but I don't even think they will get a nomination from the real Academy.

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz- Volver

Emily Watson- The Proposition

You know its bad when you can't think of any other leading performances by women this year. Suffice to say I haven't seen Little Children, Notes on a Scandal or The Queen yet. Regardless of that, Penelope will probably not get either the award or the nod for that matter. If she does, she won't win, but she should. I don't think anyone would think of Penelope Cruz as such a great actress (Vanilla Sky and Capt. Corelli's Mandolin come to mind) but thankfully she knows how to act. She's not just a pretty face and a nice pair of cleavage as her American roles lead you to believe. She actually brings a slew of emotions to her character Raimunda in this Almodovar effort. She literally will make you swoon and care for her in the strange situation that she is in.

Best Director

Martin Scorcese- The Departed
Pedro Almodovar- Volver

Alfonso Cuaron- Children of Men

John Hillcoat- The Proposition

Robert DeNiro- The Good Shephard

Two things here: 1) Although he deserved to win an Oscar many times, I will be half pissed, half overjoyed if Marty wins and 2)If for some reason the Academy noms DeNiro and he wins in directing BEFORE Marty, I will be half pissed and half mega pissed (although his direction in The Good Shephard is FAR superior than his debut film A Bronx Tale.) Regardless, Alfonso Curon deserves the award. His cinematographer should not only get the Oscar but a blumpkin on stage from Rachel Weisz. His direction of the actors, his structure of 6 minute tracking shots, his idea of realism and his sheer excellent driving suspense is pure cinema magic. Half entertainment, half social ideals. It's uncanny.

Best Script (Adaptation)

Thank You For Smoking

I'm not listing the other films here. I think this script was by far the tightest. Children of Men and The Departed were also excellent scripting, but the work in Thank You For Smoking was just impeccable. I was really impressed by this film (as you probably noticed,) and I was not expecting it at all.

Best Script (Original)


Not only does Almodovar write really unique awesome stories, but he can write womens roles like WHOA! There were literally three male actors in this movie and all the female roles were so taught and great. The dialogue he writes is pure gould.
So that's that. I missed a lot of good films this year, but whatever. I didn't think the Coppolla film looked any good as well as Babel and the Eastwood first flick. Letters from Iwa Jima however is probably awesome. It's somethign different for Clint, esp. since its an all Japanese cast. Pan's is garunteed to be amazing, The Prestive looked awesome and Little Children looked like a damn good drama. Oh well... I'll have to wait. Once I see these on DVD, my list of best films for 2006 will be posted.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quick and to the Pointless

Because I have nothing to say...

Step 1: Open your iTunes or other MP3 player.
Step 2: Put all of your music on random.
Step 3: Write down the first fifty songs it plays, no matter how embarrassing.
Step 4: Bold your top ten favorites.

1. Soundgarden- Jesus Christ Pose
2. Rush- Rivendell
3. Pete Townshend- Fake It
4. Radiohead- Where I End And You Begin (The Sky is Falling.)
5. Wolfmother- Dimension
6. The Who- Leaving Here
7. The Who- Pinball Wizard (Live)
8. Pete Townshend- Vivaldi (Baba M5 from Psychoderelict)
9. Stevie Wonder- Do I Do
10. Rage Against the Machine- No Shelter
11. Neil Young- Good to See You
12. Petra Haden- Our Love Was
13. Rage Against the Machine- Vietnow
14. Yes- I've Seen All Good People
15. Pink Floyd- Scarecrow
16. Warren Zevon- Rub Me Raw
17. Radiohead- 2+2=5 (The Lukewarm.)
18. Otis Redding- Try a Little Tenderness
19. The Beach Boys- Long Promised Road
20. Refused- Life Support Addiction
21. The Stranglers- Dry Dry
22. Neil Young- T-Bone
23. Pavement- Maybe Maybe
24. Neil Young- Revolution Blues
25. The Living End- 'Til The End
26. Queens of the Stoneage- Quick and to the Pointless
27. Us- The Refugee
28. Mike Doughty- Frog and Banjo
29. Temple of the Dog- All Night Thing
30. The Who- Someone's Coming
31. The Stranglers- In Celebration Of (The European Female)
32. The Shins- Girl Inform Me
33. Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart- Symphony #41 (Jupiter 1st Movement)
34. Pavement- Flood Victim
35. Van Morrison- Crazy Love
36. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Hump De Bump
37. Steely Dan- Show Biz Kids
38. The Who- Time is Passing
39. Rush- Bastille Day
40. Robert Fripp- Urban Landscape
41. The White Stripes- Now Mary
42. The Who- Rael 1
43. The Racantuers- Steady, As She Goes
44. Neil Young- Betty Lou's Got a New Pair of Shoes
45. Radiohead- High and Dry
46. Neil Young- Pardon My Heart
47. Steely Dan- Midnight Cruiser
48. Priestess- Talk to Her
49. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists- Building Skyscrapers in the Basement
50. The Reverend Horton Heat- Love Whip

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Holy Shit

I just saw the one movie that was probably made especially for me and is the reason I love film.

Just go see it already. I really can't talk about this until you have seen it.

So this is the new year...

...and I don't feel any different.

No shit. Anyways, Happy 2007! Same shit, different day. Working, hanging. Trying to turn a new leaf, but don't we all when the calender changes?

Goals for 2007:
1. Get into shape- Not a diet, but more like get active. I want to be able to run again, especially since Frisbee season will be here before you can say "huck me!" Maybe actually go to a gym *shudders*. Maybe I can ask if I can get a discount here at CHT with the personal trainers that started.

2. SAVE SAVE SAVE!- I don't mean hit the sales at the mall, I mean squirrel away some money so I can..

3. Move Out of the House- This may just happen. All available applicants apply. Let's move into a house or something so we can save moolaa. I'm talkin you, Danno. August. Let's do it.

4. Re-learn some Italian- Since my rents are taking me on a trip and I had three semesters of Italian, it's time to go back to night class!! AHHH! Re-learning the language may help when we actually go on the trip.

5. Get a Date- Sounds lame, but ya know what, I need to mix up my social life. It's been kinda stale the past year. Time to meet some new people and meet some new ladies. No offense everyone I see on a weekly basis, but let's be honest... a shake up is in the works.

6. Begin Planning 2009 Trip to Greece- This is the year of saving and preparing for such an adventure. A whole year in Greece? Don't know. It may just be three months. Regardless, it will be an extended amount of time to myself. All friends are welcome to plan a trip to visit, but no offense, I don't want a roomate for all this time. My plan is to live simply, not to move around all that much and to soak up my heritage that I feel a little less connected to then my Irish side. They are all Philadelphians anyway and I know that city like I know my backyard. Here is the plan:
a) Live on the island of Nisyros where my father was born and raised.
b) Read a ton of books.
c) Take care of a relatives house while they are on another more populated island working their business.
d) Write a lot.
e) Get a monstrous tan.
f) Live as simply as possible.

Thats that for 2007. Saving money, working out and getting out of the house with new people and hopefully a new lady. Ya never know.