Thursday, February 25, 2010
Another iamamiwhoami video. Strawberries. Dogs. Llamas. More codes that point to mandrakes. The nose is pretty Gaga-ish. I don't think I'm quite ready to totally rule her out. This may not be her aesthetic right now, but it could take a turn quickly. Doesn't look like Aguilera to me. Not totally sold on Little Boots. The sound/eyes are a little Lykke Li, but the rest of the facial structure (however warped) doesn't seem quite right. I can't think about this now...I'll go absolutely insane.
Is it somehow connected to this? I'm scared.
Monday, February 22, 2010
In other news, The Hurt Locker is looking more and more like a safe bet for a Best Picture win on the big night. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts had their award ceremony over the weekend and the film took home 6 awards including recognition for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The winner for Outstanding British Film was the highly acclaimed Fish Tank, while in the acting categories the tops spots fittingly went to Colin Firth for his stellar performance in A Single Man and Carey Mulligan for An Education. As can be expected, supporting wins went to Christoph Waltz and Mo"nique. The full list can be found here.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
If this had been what school spirit entailed at my high school, I probably would have been all about it. Luke McDaneld, a senior at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas gathered 350 students from all different groups and social circles and organized a single shot "lipdub" to Kim Wilde's "Kids in America". It's meant to be part of the school's winter festival activities, and the kids in the BK crowns are all on court.
Anyway, it pretty much looks like the most fun ever, and has that great sort of idealistic high school experience feeling that makes me feel a bit of false nostalgia. Thanks, Luke McDaneld. Very pleasant. (I really want to make one of these now. Really)
Friday, February 19, 2010
Last week, I didn't care about Johnny Weir. A friend sent me this video clip awhile back of Weir skating to "Poker Face" and I kinda watched it, but was right in the middle of my "the damn Olympics are going to screw with my NBC comedy Thursday" crankiness and I was like "so what? A skater can skate. Big deal." Clearly I am an idiot because if I'd been awake like at all I would have known immediately that Weir is one of my favorite kinds of celebrities: the pseudo-androgyne, quip machine, sparkle and flair sort with the talent to justify all their other ludicrous behavior. Watching Johnny Weir skate is like seeing Velvet Goldmine on ice. The man is a diva in pink lacing and watching his exasperation and effeminate hand motions is fantastic. I'm not just saying that.
I know that last night's gold medalist Evan Lysacek has got the skills. He's good, really good. He delivered the performance and I have to step up and give him the mandatory Chicagoland homegrown pride. He deserves the gold and the accolades that go with it. But, ahem, that said....Johnny Weir's was like way more poetic. A little emo, yes, but poetic nonetheless. I don't know what Lysacek was thinking when he chose the music and got to his insane amounts of practicing, but I have this sense he doesn't feel it like Weir feels it. Watching Weir feels personal. You get the sense he might just be a natural, that he was born leaping and spinning. It's a show, but he's showing you something other than high sheen polish. He's got a performance art vibe wrapped up with his athletic persona, and I dig it.
Thus, I really feel like he was gypped both nights of the men's competition. His routines had an almost untraceable amount of flaws, yet he was knocked out of medal contention both times and actually placed behind Mr. Spinny Switzerland (whose spins are incredible, but who fell like three times). Granted, I know almost nothing about the technicalities of figure skate scoring. I also haven't seen IFC's reality show about Weir and his catty ways. Even so, I can't help but feel like maybe Johnny Weir was knocked down by his over-the-top personality and not wholly because of what Scott Hamilton kept referring to as 'the relative simplicity of the routine'. Execute it well, bring the crowd to their feet, and get a joke of a score? Please. Snubbed. Robbed. Is it too much to make the obvious suggestion and say that the Olympic figure skating judges (ahem, figure skating judges) are playing to a little homophobia? Are Weir's flamboyant nature and controversial mouth preventing him from getting the recognition he deserves?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
In all likelihood, you have already been told to read Esquire's epic essay on Roger Ebert. If you have not yet taken that advice, do so. It's a beautiful, perhaps prematurely elegiac piece on a great man who has truly left a huge impact in his life so far. Really wonderful and filled with insight.
"When I am writing my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be."
I meant to post this the other day, but apparently lost all track of time and memory. This is a video from the BRIT awards (the UK equivalent of the Grammys, at which pop music I actually enjoy is recognized (once again suggesting that I'm in the wrong country)) of Dizzee Rascal and Florence + the Machine doing a live remix of "You Got the Love", one of my favorite songs from last year. Unfortunately, the picture quality is a little on the sketch side, but the audio is decent enough. Not bad.
I haven't done much coverage on New York's Fashion Week this time around. It's not that things haven't caught my eye, they certainly have. Right now we're in one of those glorious periods where my tastes are just about perfectly aligned with what the fashion industry wants to sell me (how many different black and white striped shirts can you own? I'm not going to answer that, suffice to say that the b&w stripe is the uniform for prisoners, artists, and me). This is never a good thing for my bank account, but my god it feels right. I can't go shopping anymore. I'm not allowed. Because, literally, every time I step near a place where garments are being sold I leave with something I don't necessary need and this, my friends, is what people call a vice.
Luckily, when it comes to Fashion Week, we're dealing with a look don't touch scenario. On my measly student budget, the price I will pay for appearances is limited by necessity. Unfortunate, but true. This means that looking and admiring the runway collections is akin to daydreaming.
As daydreams go, I'm pretty enchanted by the threeASFOUR show. The way they've blended structure with organic shape is gorgeously alien and I'm definitely digging the cut-out leggings that actually manage to look really classy (I think) and not, for once, like they'd be worn by a strung-out junkie crawling through the gutter searching for a pony pack.
Anyway. Let's all admire the threeASFOUR collection and think about how great it would be if these things were in my closet for special occasions. You know, like the million and a half weddings I'm slated to attend this year alone. Yes, friends, if you doubted it before you can rest assured that if I had the means, this is basically what I would wear to the various celebrations of your future marital bliss. Maybe not that olive/gold number...but the other ones, yes.
Just you wait for the day I actually have a real job. Oh, just you wait.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Another iamamiwhoami video has appeared. This time it's titled 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.18.1.1110 which spells out mandragora. A mandragora is a little doll made from a mandrake root given to sorcerers by the devil himself to consult when necessary. They are, essentially, fetishes in the anthropological, supernatural sense of the word. If you wanted to really stretch the supposed Aguilera correlation, you could shoot back to the beginning of her career and remember when she was the face of Fetish cosmetics. But, like I said, that seems a stretch. You could also say that the woman we keep seeing is the mandragora and a mislead for whatever is lurking in that little house...but...
In continuation of me wasting way too much of my time on these videos, I actually don't think this one looks much like Christina Aguilera at all. Granted, some of the camera work is a little warped here and there, but the shape of the eyes is seems off to me. It does, however, look rather like Little Boots. Granted, this would mark a sea change for her as well, but the sort of strange off kilter mysticism and nature imagery has been incorporated into her more futuristic look for the last album Hands. The girl in question also looks a little like Ellie Goulding, though when you see the cover art for her upcoming album, that feels pretty hard to believe. Then again, some of the images seem to be getting more specific. Last time we had a whale. This time we have a bee. We have a lot of dogs. The only thing I can find connecting bees and whales is this absurd little youtube nature video, which I'm pretty sure has some false information in it...
Of course, the iamamiwhoami youtube videos actually have links to other youtube videos in their description section. With #3, there was a link to a National Geographic segment about the whale shark that described the animal's diet: its mouth is a filter, it consumes fish eggs during spawning. Is that a nudge towards previous suspect The Golden Filter or merely an interesting fact? #4 goes to an amateur shot short of a bumblebee on a sunflower. #2 is all about the vocals of the barred owl. #1 is a goat birth. Goat. Owl. Whale. Bee. In short, I quite honestly don't know what to make of this. And, like MTV's James Montomery, it's sort of driving me crazy. I want to know. Even if it's a major disappointment, I've sort of hit that place where I need to see the pieces add up to something.
Friday, February 12, 2010
MacKenzie Fegan directed this inevitable counter strike to the Super Bowl commercial for the Dodge Charger. It's an absurd ad, put-out men whining about their supposed emasculation and listing the supposed 'sacrifices' they've made in order to co-exist at peace with their spouses. It's oh so lame, offensive to both genders, and totally deserving of the bitter lampooning it receives in the above short.
Toy Story 3 Trailer 2 in HD
Trailer Park Movies MySpace Video
Look! There are so many toys in this new full trailer for Toy Story 3! If you didn't see the first full trailer, let me try to explain a bit of what's going on. Andy's growing up and his toys are boxed up and donated to a daycare facility. The result? Probably a really sad scene mirroring the tragedy of Jessie the Cowgirl's abandonment in Toy Story 2. It'll likely be a bummer of epic proportions and will cause me never to give up anything ever again because Pixar has convinced me that inanimate objects have souls. In other news: I'm oddly not super psyched about the third installment of the Toy Story franchise. While I have no doubt it will be good, I would prefer if Disney/Pixar just continued to make brand new solo-works instead of follow-ups to earlier successes. I have young enough relatives to know that Toy Story and Cars (which gets its own sequel in 2011) are the brand's major money makers for the under-10 set, and that these two films in particular are ideal for product placement and revenue, but still, I'd rather skip ahead to the end of 2011, when the company has its first fairy tale The Bear and the Bow scheduled for release.
And now for that really random thing I promised in the title...because we all know how amused I am by pointless internet videos. This one, which I'm reposting from Videogum, features a Pumpkinhead, alligators, and Journey. It's proof that it doesn't take much to amuse me before noon.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Oh no. The crazy people who tarted up Rainbow Brite for a whole block of college kids decided to go and do the same to the muppets of Sesame Street. Are they 'cute'? Are they disturbing? Should they be for children (obviously not as short)? Why do they exist for adults? I'm seriously bothered by the notion that there's a need for a 'sexy Big Bird' costume complete with pink patent stripper heels. Why is this happening? Do we need to blame the furry people?
Monday, February 8, 2010
If Swift’s work connects with teenage girls, it does so on the most simplistic, reductive territory of all: pining for boys, walking in the rain, kissing in the rain, crying drops of tears on her guitar, driving in trucks with cool boys, wanting boys she can’t have, more rain, more letter-writing, more stalking, more broken hearts, breathing problems as a side-effect of broken hearts, fairytale princess this, white horse that, more pining at the window, more psuedo-stalking, more incomplete hearts yearning for your touch, and one song that misinterprets Shakespeare and The Scarlet Letter so criminally I’m certain she’s never read either."*
This weekend's SNL posed a valid question: What is Burn Notice? It seems simple. It's a TV show. But past that, what do we really know about Burn Notice? Who's watching Burn Notice? I began to reflect upon all the street posters and pre-movie commericials I'd seen for the show and realized that I really had no idea what that show was about. Nor did I realize the other factoids SNL drops in the segment (it's entering its 4th season, really?).
This morning, I've decided to become informed. Granted, I'm not planning on actually watching Burn Notice. I could really care less. No, instead I took the lazy researchers way out and looked it up on wikipedia. What I can tell you now is that Burn Notice is a show that isn't about any of the things the ads I've seen for it suggest. I'm with the folks on SNL. It's about a spy. Apparently, a 'burn notice' is something issued by an intelligence agency that marks an unreliable agent. So, the show is about a spy who can't leave his hometown (Miami) because if he does someone will go hunt him down. The catch is that he doesn't know who burned him, and apparently he takes odd jobs to fund his own personal investigation. If you ask me, it sounds like someone wanted to make an espionage show that offered a chance to show a lot of half naked ladies without actually throwing down the cash to shoot in all the exotic locales 007 travels to.
Now that that question has been answered, we can ask the next one: What is Royal Pains and who in god's name is watching it?
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I watch this demonstration of stop motion insanity and then I sit back, hold my head in my hands and nervously contemplate the exact amount of super frustrating work that must have gone into making this four minute short. So many little papers. So many little images. So many frames. Hours. Hours upon hours upon hours. I've really gotta hope that whoever was making this at least got some school credit for it. Otherwise...oh man.
This is what French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot has done for a piece of installation art at the Curve at the Barbicon. The finches fly about and create a wall of strange auditory sensation with every peck, landing, or attempt at six-string nest construction. Innovative and cute. Fantastic!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Massive Attack's "Splitting the Atom" isn't the newest anymore. I posted the leaked track back in August, but now the song has a shiny new music video chock full of destruction and well, that's something worth posting.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
- “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
- “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
- “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
- “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
- “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
- “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
- “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
- “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
- “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
- “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers
Actor in a Leading Role
- Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
- George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
- Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
- Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
- Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”
Actor in a Supporting Role
- Matt Damon in “Invictus”
- Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
- Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
- Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
- Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
Actress in a Leading Role
- Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
- Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
- Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
- Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
- Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”
Actress in a Supporting Role
- Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
- Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
- Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
- Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
- Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Animated Feature Film
- “Coraline” Henry Selick
- “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
- “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
- “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
- “Up” Pete Docter
- “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
- “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
- “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
- “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
- “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray
- “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
- “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
- “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
- “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
- “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger
- “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
- “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
- “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
- “Nine” Colleen Atwood
- “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell
- “Avatar” James Cameron
- “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
- “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
- “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
- “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman
- “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
- “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
- “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
- “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
- “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa
Documentary (Short Subject)
- “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
- “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
- “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
- “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
- “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra
- “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
- “District 9” Julian Clarke
- “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
- “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
- “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz
Foreign Language Film
- “Ajami” Israel
- “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
- “The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
- “Un Prophète” France
- “The White Ribbon” Germany
- “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
- “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
- “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore
Music (Original Score)
- “Avatar” James Horner
- “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
- “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
- “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
- “Up” Michael Giacchino
Music (Original Song)
- “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
- “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
- “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
- “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
- “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Short Film (Animated)
- “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
- “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
- “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
- “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
- “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park
Short Film (Live Action)
- “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
- “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
- “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
- “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
- “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson
- “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
- “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
- “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
- “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
- “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers
- “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
- “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
- “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
- “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
- “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson
- “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
- “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
- “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
- “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
- “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
- “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
- “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
- “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Writing (Original Screenplay)
- “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
- “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
- “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
- “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
- “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy
Monday, February 1, 2010
Guys, it's really time to own up to the face that the Grammys are an outmoded, out of touch suck fest of an award show. It's a big popularity contest where music will almost never be rewarded for innovation. It's bad enough that they seem to consider The Black Eyed Peas and squinty princess Taylor Swift the finest artists in music this past year, it's worse that with all the different sorts of categories the awards actually cover, they do only a small percentage (the top 40) on the televised award show. As a music awards show, too, it's not very exciting. I've learned this. I don't watch it in completion, but just fast forward to see if anyone will somehow manage to surprise me. See, there's a certain amount of prestige to the Grammys, which means that unlike the shenanigans at the MTV video awards (which is a nonsensical award, but a generally interesting commercial), the performers generally get serious and play the bland songs that do things like 'show their range'. For example: Lady Gaga brought in Sir Elton John to perform a dueling piano version of "Speechless" and Beyonce mashed-up ballads like "If I Were A Boy"...snore. It's a sad evening when pompous old Jamie Foxx is the one who brings the crazy, and apparently we can blame that on the alcohol. Snore. Snore. Snore. I'm done. If you weren't already aware, the night's big winners were Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, and Kings of Leon. Here's what I think of that: insanely boring, are you kidding me?, alright, and boring. But hey, at least Phoenix got some recognition! No further comment.
I don't know if the groundhog will see its shadow, but I'm pretty sure Jon Hamm's Sergio will. I have absolutely no idea what prompted this SNL Digital Short's conception (was someone watching Drag Me To Hell and listening to smooth jazz?) , but I'm not going to ask too many questions. It's just too ridiculous. Mostly, I think, this weekend's SNL specialized in catching Don Draper with his shirt off. Fish eyes was up for it, I think, and I do appreciate this little sketch about our new senator/centerfold from Massachusetts: Scott Brown. "I'd like to introduce something to the floor...."