Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spike Jonze Gets It

Abuzz on many different film blogs, IMDB message boards and other websites are the reports of a drastic change to the Spike Jonze adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. Rumors abound that Spike Jonze's cut of the Maurice Sendak adaptation (penned by Dave Eggers!!) is possibly going to be lost to something cutesy and more kid oriented. First off, here is a clip from the Jonze version to show you just what he is going to do with the story.

Although this is not a scene from the movie, this is the style of the creatures that Jonze is going for. The costumes are from the Jim Henson Workshop and only the faces are digitally altered. Even though this is some early test footage, this looks far and away better than any re-imagination might look. The loss of the costumes for completely digital characters would ruin the film. This clip alone looks more imaginative than any children's film or any other fantasy film in years.

In this article, we see how the studio may re-shoot the film. Basically, we would lose this interesting vision to something cutesy and cuddly. The story of Where the Wild Things Are is a scary tale and it's supposed to be. To change that would be another travesty caused by the film studios. Spike Jonze gets it. He gets the point of the novel and he seems to be interested in doing something unique (as he usually does.)

Let's hope this doesn't get changed and ruined. I am really looking forward to this project.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The fool looks at a finger that points at the sky

The only quote not chosen is from none other than Jean Pierre Jeunet's Amelie. A wonderful scene where Nino is hunting down his mysterious admirer and it leads him to a living statue pointing out. He stares blankly at it and a small kid utters this wonderfully whimsical line.

The winner of the guesses was that of Justin Leo. He wins... NOTHING! Except my undying respect.

Onward and upward.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Album of the Week Vol. 4 - Unonou

Tonight, landing at Johnny Brenda's is the infamous Acid Mother's Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Acid Prog will wreak havoc on the crowd. Opening for these outerspace rockers (aka- Japan) is Danava. These guys are quite the musical experience and their new album Unonou has garnered the official spot for the album of the week.

Danava have a crazy sound. As I've stated before when reviewing their self titled debut for Marginal Minds, I noticed that they are somewhere between early 70's prog and the early glam years of Bowie. Fantastical lyrics and mind numbing riffage flow from the Oregon three piece and mind altering speeds. The self titled debut was chock full of catchy riffs especially the tracks "By The Mark" and "Longdance." On the new album, the absurdly made up Unonou takes their sound and continues running down the field of psychedelia and grandiose rocking.

Unonou kicks off with an insanely fast paced syncopated rhythm with the titular track. The pace is frenzied, the vocals are howling and this continues right straight through to the end. Although Danava had great tracks, the variety wasn't really set in place that Unonou has proved. "Where Beauty and Terror Dance" is a fantastic song with interesting structure and an amazing synth/guitar outro that will haunt you as the next track bleeds into it. "The Emerald Snow of Sleep" is hypnotic with it's sequenced synth riff and it's slow build into epic rocking ending with horns and all. The standout track is definitely the more pop rock laden "A High or a Low" with the horns continuing and the beat jaunty and still filled with the magnificent howlings of Dusty Sparkles. The last half plods on with strides of rock glory and the closing epic "One Mind Gone Seperate Ways" is a homage to Led Zeppelin (although it sounds a little too much like "Achilles Last Stand"... but when was that ever a bad thing?)

Regardless of your thoughts on prog or glam, or prog glam for that matter, these guys rule. It's otherworldly and crazy goodness. Czech em out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fifteen Fav Movies

I saw this on a friend's blog and thought it was a decent idea. While I work on the Album and Movie of the week (yes I know it's been a few since I last updated), I figure I would steal this. Fifteen of my favorite movies will be put into quotes. Try to guess what each quote is from. They will be out of order so if you try to look at my old blogs with my top films list, you won't cheat. BWAHAHA!

1. "An honest man is always in trouble, remember that Simon. " Henry Fool -Stev

2. "It's just gossip, you know. Gossip is the new pornography" Manhattan - Leo

3. "Yeah, he's a nice kid, pretty kid, don't know whether to fuck him or fight him." Raging Bull - Leo

4. "You need more than guts to be a good gangster, you need ideas." City of God - Stev

5. "Because. I had a bad day at work. I had to subvert my principles and kow-tow to an idiot. Television makes these daily sacrifices possible. Deadens the inner core of my being." Trust - Stev

6. "Tell that stupid Mick he just made my list of things to do today." Rushmore - Valentine

7. "But captain, to obey - just like that - for obedience's sake... without questioning... That's something only people like you do." Pan's Labryinth - The Alid

8. "Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." The Shawshank Redemption - Leo

9. "I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do." 2001: A Space Odyssey - Leo

10. "This is your receipt for your husband... and this is my receipt for your receipt." Brazil - Stev

11. "Luther said I could learn some things from you. I already know how to drink." The Sting - Leo

12. "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more then ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks." Dr. Strangelove - The Alid

13. "The fool looks at a finger that points at the sky."

14. "Now that I've met you, would you object to never seeing me again?" Magnolia - Leo

15. "In one week, I can put a bug so far up her ass, she don't know whether to shit or wind her wristwatch." One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Leo

Good Luck.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Album of the Week Vol. 3 - Cheeseburger

Rock music seems to have some sort of need for either pretension or bloated corporate leadership behind it. The days where rock music was about having fun and thrashing about seemed to be long gone. Eccentric rocker Andrew W.K. seemed to be the last bastion of rock based on partying left...until now. Last year a little band hailing from NYC called Cheeseburger released their self titled debut to relative obscurity. Much like the sandwich they are named after, Cheeseburger is comfort food for your eardrums. After listening to their ultra stripped down guitar and drums rock fronted by a howling beast somewhere between George Thorogood and Iggy Pop, there is nothing more satisfying then a band just enjoying writing fun songs that are best listened to driving down to the shore or blasting at a beach party. And not the kind of beach party that Annette Funicello or Frankie Avalon at.

Kemado Records, which is by far my personal favorite label churning out the best forms of acid prog (Danava), Viking Rock (The Sword) and Insane-o Riff Metal (Saviours), houses these party boys who have a reputation of rocking an insane live show. Apparently be prepared to meet and talk to the lead singer. From their website it sounds like he likes to chill. Also, straight from Kemado and probably the best description of the bands sound: "Essentially, the record is an ode to New York City and the love and drinking that comes with it." How could this be bad? Songs like "Let The Good Times Roll" (no not a Cars cover) and "Tiger" are just fun riffy tunes that ooze with rock and rolls essence. Check out the video for "Tiger" below.

He kind of reminds me of Dick Valentine of Electric Six with his strange approach to front man status, so having more fun rockers around can't ever really hurt a situation. The album all melds together without really varying in sound, but that's what Cheeseburger is good at. Straight up, no frills attached rock and roll music at it's most simple state, yet with a style and flair all their own.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Film of the Week - El Topo

Never have I ever finished a movie and been baffled, confused, enraptured and truly freaked out all at the same time. After hearing one of the most addictive video games as of late, No More Heroes took some strange parallels to a film called El Topo, I had no choice but to bump it to the top of my Netflix queue and see what this film was all about. What I didn't know was I was in store for absolute insanity of epic proportions. This is a film not to be missed for anyone who doesn't mind having their mind fucked.

Alejandro Jodorowsky, director and actor in El Topo really knows how to pour on the visual content. Overload it if you will. From the stunning first shot of a rider shrouded in black holding an umbrella over his head with his young, naked son contrasted in ghostly white riding behind him, you know that this is going to be a visceral film as apposed to any film bathed in compelling storytelling. The story follows El Topo who is a gunslinger. After saving a young maiden from a savage and ruthless killer who takes over a Franciscan monastery to make it his own private fortress, he is commissioned to hunt down the four best gunslingers who can be found in the blistering Mexican desert.

From there on, the story kind of just reels out of control. The real triumph of this film as many of Jodorowsky followers already know is it's intense visuals. It's a masterpiece of visual cinema. Alothough this film predates Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, you can clearly tell that the violence and sexual depravity of that film may have taken some sort of visual influence from this film. Zoom shots of breathtaking beauty and colors that paint the screen like a sunset in summer. Here is the trailer. Sad;y, the quality of the Youtube trailer ain't to great, but you can get a sense of whats going on.

It's beyond like anything I have seen and I definitely suggest seeing it more than once to fully grasp it's savage beauty.