Monday, January 30, 2006

Compelling Videos and Ads

by Nick Cave

While not as comprehensive as the Michel Gondry DVD, the Jonathan Glazer DVD has a great range of ads and music videos as well as scenes from Sexy Beast and Birth and most of them feature commentary and other material around them. The standout on the DVD is the video for the UNKLE song, Rabbit in Your Headlights. The video is a great short film in itself. The ads are interesting and a bit variable in terms of writing, but overall it’s another solid collection of great direction, camerawork and editing.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Quirky Emo Country Folky Alternative

by Rilo Kiley

I like things that are hard to classify and I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered Rilo Kiley through an Audioscrobbler recommendation. The two songs that I heard were “Hail to Whatever You Have Found in the Sunlight That Surrounds You” which had a nice rhythm and interesting lyrics, and then “The Execution of All Things” which is somewhat darker. Then I dug a little bit more and bought the album (or bought the right to download it). With adventurous production (that sometimes goes a bit too far) and a lyrical complexity that keeps me listening while the music builds, it’s one of my favourite discoveries.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Vu d'ici - Seen from here: So you wanna be a rockstar?: Les blogueurs du Cirque - Cirque du Soleil bloggers

m-c and Julien are Cirque du Soleil bloggers, which should be great to read and see as they blog, Flickr and podcast the latest show from the magical circus. It should be great.
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Monday, January 23, 2006

Great Political Thriller

by Fernando Meirelles

John LeCarre is a great writer who manages to create well-drawn characters and sets them within intricate plots. The combination of LeCarre’s novel with Fernando Meirelles of City of God works surprisingly well. Visually the film is amazing with the look of the film shifting dramatically depending on the time and emotional state of the characters. While a film that mixes pop and politics can tend to be a bit preachy, I didn’t mind it at all as the film constantly keeps you a bit off-balance with the characters and the audience trying to understand how their lives intersect with the events that are larger than themselves. Ralph Fiennes perfectly pitches his character as does Rachel Weisz. They are in love, but it’s a complicated relationship that isn’t all perfect and wonderful, which is the spirit all through the film and it is that element of realism that makes the whole thing work so well.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dark Classic Film Noir

by Joseph H. Lewis

The Big Combo is probably the most visually distinctive of the collection of films known as noir. Shadows and light are so intense as to make it appear almost as if the film was drawn. This story features a driven detective who breaks the rules and the sadistic mob boss who has a hold over the woman the cop loves. It’s classic film noir from the 50s with rapid fire dialogue and some great stylish touches.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Subtle, Surprising French Gangster

by Jacques Becker

I love French cinema, but I hadn’t seen any films directed by Jacques Becker, and I wish I’d been able to watch them sooner. In Touchez Pas au Grisbi we see a gangster at the end of his career, who has done one last job and is ready to wrap things up. But things aren’t that simple for Max. I was constantly surprised by this film in the understated way that the story unfolds. It’s a different type of gangster film very strongly built around the characters. It’s cheeky and funny and didn’t work within the restrictive censorship that the American gangster films and films noir skirted around. This film constantly kept me off guard as violence was always lurking under the surface, but it was never exploitative or gratuitous. A wonderful film with great characters.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Food For the Ears

by Matthew Herbert

A fascinating project that constructs music out of sounds related to (and caused by) food and all of the things that are associated with it. Plat du Jour is Matthew Herbert’s project and while on the surface it is musical it is also political and he creates tracks that examine our relationship with the food chain. The web site catalogues the extensive recordings and process behind the project and it is a singular achievement. I love listening to it and it’s great to find out more about the food that we take for granted.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bad Metaphor Podcast

The podcast is done, uploaded and the site is all ready as well. It’s taken a while to get it started, but I’m glad that it’s going. It’s called Bad Metaphor and it features me and my 9 year-old son talking about things that we find interesting. The format so far is that we pick a theme and then talk about that. The first episode is called Beginnings and we talk about our first computers and a few other beginnings.
While the podcast was ready a while ago, I had to play around with the site and was trying to understand the best way to keep it all together. We’re getting the second episode ready now and I think that I’ve got it stable enough to launch, so take a listen and enjoy if you are interested in this sort of thing.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

A review of "Apologies to the Queen Mary"

by Wolf Parade

My favourite musical discovery of last year has to be Wolf Parade. The driving rhythms of the drums and guitars combine with odd stories to create something that I alway love hearing. On Apologies to the Queen Mary each of the songs work well and the more I listen to it, the more I hear and the more I like it. My favourite tracks are the driving opening song, “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son” which starts with great drums and has a wonderful musical progression, the poppy “Shine a Light” and “I’ll Believe in Anything” which has the memorable chorus of
Nobody knows you and nobody gives a damn.

The vocals are distinctive and it’s a great mix of drums, guitar and synthesizer to have a fun sound that is also a bit more intellectual if you listen to the lyrics. I enjoy the little musical journeys that each song take me on.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A review of "Yes"

by Sally Potter

Sally Potter’s Yes is a stunningly beautiful film that left me breathless. The dialogue is all written and spoken in iambic pentameter which works remarkably well in the story of She who falls in love with He. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a wonderful combination of cinematic and linguistic poetry. So much is combined together, so many opposites and complementary elements it’s dizzying. Sexual politics and geopolitics, men and women, east and west, science and religion. A singular and bold film that I’m running out of superlatives to describe.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

A story about "Music for Film, Television and Radio, Vol. 1"

by Harmonic 33

Music for Film, Television and Radio Vol 1 is a very cool album from Harmonic 33 that is composed of soundtrack music from nonexistent tv shows and films, probably from the 60s or 70s. It sounds vaguely familiar and there are elements similar to spaghetti westerns, sci-fi shows, and other things that lurk in my subconscious. I discovered it on the Warp Records download site, Bleep , which is my favourite place to buy and download music. Lots of fun.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Slight Moleskine Obsession


I can safely cross this off my list now. I’m taking all of my notes in my Moleskine(s) and my collection has grown. While I first only had one pocket Moleskine and was slowly figuring it out, now I have more. Now I have one personal one for more individualized notes (the original Moleskine that I bought) and I take it with me just about all of the the time. Then I bought a pocket Reporter to keep with my camera for notes on photos I take with my Holga camera. Then I bought another pocket Moleskine for keeping all of my work related notes, which I did all last term and will continue to do through this term. Just before Christmas I picked up a pocket Storyboard Moleskine, but I haven’t really used that yet. For Christmas I received a Weekly Diary, which I’ve started using already. I love my Moleskines.

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Crappy New Year

Sorry for the slightly snarky title, but the new year hasn't been off to a great start for me online. For some reason just about everything I've been trying to do online hasn't been working. I finished my first podcast with my son John and tried to upload it before the stroke of midnight, but it didn't work with Odeo or Ourmedia. Then Quicksilver stopped working and my productivity dropped a lot. Then I went to download a free sampler that my favourite online music retailer Bleep had for me, but that wouldn't work either. I couldn't even submit songs to that I'd been listening to with iScrobbler! It's almost like the y2k things that were supposed to happen, but didn't. Oh well, I suppose that people were out celebrating and are probably resting now. Maybe it's another message about spending less time online.
It makes me realize also that I rely a lot more on apps online for sharing and working with things. I'm going to write more about that on Bitdepth.

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