Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Women With Beautiful Voices and Synthesizers

by Au Revoir Simone

Sometimes you find things by chance. When I was looking at a page on the Creative Commons site with podcasting promos there was one from Au Revoir Simone. I checked out the site and listened to the two songs they had and I was hooked and ordered the CD right away. While waiting for the CD the two tracks were played often on my iPod and today the CD arrived along with a lovely little button. The song “Backyards of Our Neighbors” is one of my new favourites and I love the songs on the CD too. With a base of synthesized sound complemented with the voices of three women. I find that it’s a dreamy and irresistible mix of sounds that make me happy with a slight tinge of sadness on some of the tracks.

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Truro Loop

Watch the video
An animation created by using a still camera and moving around a monument on the campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Truro, Nova Scotia.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Good Dumb Fun

by Jared Hess

If you didn’t like Napoleon Dynamite you very probably won’t like Nacho Libre. There is a goofy earnestness to the whole film in an almost anachronistic way. While there is more of a structure than Napoleon Dynamite it doesn’t have the same feeling. It’s a bit darker, but there are some infantile, but funny jokes and everything is taken pretty much as far as it can go. The slapstick is way over the top, but some of the scenes between the characters are sweet. Overall it’s not very deep or profound, but good if you like that sort of thing.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Idiosyncratic Look at a Writer

by Mark Neale (II)

No Maps For These Territories is built around some interviews with William Gibson that took place in the back seat of a limousine. If you are interested in technology or Gibson it’s a compelling look at a writer and an exploration of the ideas that have moved from fiction to fact. The documentary is great to look at as the images in the car windows are occaisionally replaced and manipulated, altering the reality surround Gibson. Very interesting with great insight into our technologically mediated world.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dark Psychological Drama in the Midnight Sun

by Erik Skjoldbjærg

I suspect that more people would have seen the remake of Insomnia than the original, but I hadn’t seen either and after watching Prozac Nation I decided to watch Erik Skjoldbjærg’s film set in Norway with a Swedish detective. It’s a psychological thriller that is efficiently and subtle in the way it follows the detective on a twisty investigation of the murder of a young woman. Skjoldbjærg is able to visually illuminate the struggle the detective goes through as well as explore morality in the harsh light of the never-ending daylight of summer above the arctic circle. It smoothly moves along without a wasted scene or shot or lapsing into cliches.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Soundtrack to Adult Entertainment

by mr_melvis

With a title like Wakka Chikka Wakka Chikka you will probably recognize the type of music that is part of this recording. It’s from the (now archival) Comfort Stand Recordings , who have some wonderfully odd and lovingly produced recordings available for free. Heavy on the synthesizers, guitars, samples and breathing, this collection of songs consists of the soundtrack for porn films that don’t exist. It’s a strangely compelling tongue-in-cheek journey through music that is vaguely generic and loungy.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Exploring the Uses of New Technology Site and Podcast

I had a great time at the workshop in Fredericton last week and I created a site called Exploring the Uses of New Technology along with a podcast called Exploring New Technology With Chris which is where I'll explore some of the ideas from the workshop in a sonic form. Take a look and take a listen as it expands over the next few weeks.

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Soundtrack of a Country

by A. C. Newman

The documentary film Souvenir of Canada is based on Douglas Coupland’s books of the same name and with the theatrical release of the documentary an EP of music composed for the film has also been released. It’s a neat collection of songs that worked perfectly in the film and somehow manage to capture the same sense of nostagia and melancholy for the idea of a country that is explored in the film. Simple and evocative, just as a soundtrack should be.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Documentary About a Filmmaker and Father

Tell Them Who You Are is a fascinating look at a father by a son. What makes it quite interesting is that both Haskell Wexler (the father) and Mark Wexler (the son) are filmmakers. I thought that it would be a look at Haskell’s career with some personal insight, but it actually is a touching and honest portrait of the relationship between the father and son. You learn about both of their careers, but it is filtered through their personal lives which are closely linked with the films and projects that they have made.

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A story about the last time I consumed "Poutine"

I love poutine, which I discovered many years ago in Montreal. It’s a delicious combination of french fries, cheddar cheese curd, and gravy or sauce. It may be a little bit unhealthy I believe. But since I’ve been a vegetarian I haven’t had gravy, but one of my daughters recently went to Montreal and had some poutine, so I went and got the ingredients. I used a poutine sauce that isn’t animal-based (which I realize now that if you use that sauce, it’s vegetarian and if you eat cheese, it’s ok for vegetarians like me) and I made some today. It was very good.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Powerful Drama About the Humanity of Evil

by Oliver Hirschbiegel

Making a film about the last days of Adolph Hitler is a challenge as it is a sensitive subject and it is also something that has been done before. In Downfall Oliver Hirschbiegel creates a film that adds some humanity to characters who names are synonymous with evil. With a stunning performance from Bruno Ganz as Hitler the film follows his final days through the eyes of his young secretary. It also provides some context for what was happening in Berlin though those outside of the bunker as conditions deteriorated. It’s a difficult film to watch at times, but for me it somehow captured the final days of people disconnected from the world that was horribly and forever changed by them.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Challenging Look at a Serious Topic

by Erik Skjoldbjærg

With a film based on a true-life story of depression it’s a challenge to portray the person and the effect of the illness on those around them in a way that is watchable. In Prozac Nation it’s not always fun to watch, but skillful direction and a great performance from Christina Ricci manage to capture the highs and lows in a way that kept me watching and also gave me some insight. There are moments that I found amazing in the film in terms of the staging and shooting and editing. The film isn’t for everyone, but I found it worthwhile watching and I’m puzzled why it took so long for it to be released.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Documentary About Turbulent Times

by Bill Siegel

The more that I learn about the 1960s and 70s, the less I realize that I know. It was a complicated and confusing time when things were difficult to understand and many of the extraordinary and shocking events and struggles have been filtered through fictional lenses to the point where it’s hard to know what is real and what is nostagia. In The Weather Underground the story of one of the most radical groups of the late 60s and early 70s is told. What is fascinating about the documentary is the way in which the context of the time is established and perspective is provided by many of the participants today. What I was left with was a great sense of loss. There was a loss of life, of joy and of opportunity as the shadow of the war in Vietnam managed to divide and warp society in a way that still influences both politics and culture. The documentary provides a view of the events that is more human and personal than many other historical documentaries.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Exploring New Technology With Chris

As part of the workshop in Fredericton tomorrow for the NB Filmmakers' Co-op, I've created the Exploring New Technology With Chris podcast to put some stuff related to the workshop. I hope that it's fun and informative.
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