Friday, October 27, 2006

Stuntin' Like My Daddy

What is with this album cover? It looks like the cover to the soundtrack for a John Woo ripoff directed by John Singleton. Bonus points to the H-Town Art Department for rendering the Godfather font in Bling. I hope they have a Best Ringtone category at the Source Awards.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bollywood Caravan

My tribute to Retro Bollywood continues - here's something from the musical Caravan (1972) - featuring Helen rocking it to some Asha Bhosle playback, all on a fabulously artificial rooftop set. But I'm telling you, if I were the bartender she'd be CUT OFF!

(Clip courtesy of the fine people at Raymondo1960)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Super Inframan Returns

Finally! A domestic release of one of my very favourite insane action films on DVD - The Super Inframan, 1975's Hong Kong ripoff of Japan's Ultraman, which I knew as Infra-Man when growing up. Back at the 1979 TIFF (back when it was the Festival of Festivals) Infra-Man was shown as part of the amazing 'Buried Treasures' sidebar, programmed by no less a man than Roger Ebert, who knows camp when he sees it.

The film can best be described as a cross between a sci-fi kung-fu monster movie and an episode of H.R. Puf'n'Stuf. Ebert described the titular hero (played by future HK star Danny "Inspector" Lee) as "a bionic combination of Bruce Lee, Superman and a pocket calculator". He saves the world from the evil Princess Dragon Mom and her army of demons, including bad guys in skeletal suits on motorbikes, a giant blob on legs and robots with fists that fly off their arms on springs.

Super Inframan came out a year or so ago in Asia as part of Celestial Pictures' massive restoration and DVD release of the entire Shaw Brothers catalogue - the Region 3 version was only in Cantonese and Mandarin. But the fine people at Image Entertainment picked up the rights to about 70 Shaw titles for NTSC release, including this one, and have in their wisdom included the crazy English language track for our version. It's probably the only film I prefer to watch dubbed.

Here's a Bin Laden-esque transmission from Princess Dragon Mom, culled from the old panned-and-scanned VHS - now imagine this presented in full-blooded ShawScope! Run, don't walk...

Thanks, Avary!

Rourke and Pinion Steering

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Serge Suppressor

French Pop Wednesday has a question for Serge Gainsbourg: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

Here he is making like the Big Bad Wolf to France Gall's Little Red Riding Hood...'Pauvre Lola', indeed. Reminds me of an exchange from the Gene Hackman movie Night Moves:

"I mean, there oughta be a law!"
"There is."

(Gemear, you love Serge as much as I do...)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Real-Life Bond Villains

Name: Kim Jong Il
AKA: Dear Leader, Lil Kim.
Leader of: North Korea
Running Tings Since: 1994
How Did He Seize Power?: His father died - only communist country with royal succession in effect.
Example of Super-Villainy: Where do I begin?
Pet Peeves: He reportedly wasn't amused by the depiction of him in Team America: World Police.
Fun Fact: Supposedly has a collection of over 20,000 films in his personal library and a harem of babes known as the Joy Brigade. Kidnapped a South Korean filmmaker and forced him to make propaganda epics on behalf of the state.
Awards: One of the films made by the kidnapped filmmaker won a Best Director award at a Czech film festival.
Bond Movie he would have been the bad guy in:You Only Live Twice

Name: Sean Combs
AKA: Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy, Diddy.
Leader of: Bad Boy Records, Sean John apparel
Running Tings Since: 1997
How Did He Seize Power?: His career rose in the immediate aftermath of Notorious B.I.G.'s death - his ghoulish tribute to Biggie "I'll Be Missing You" took the karaokesque use of a Police sample all the way to the top of the charts.
Example of Super-Villainy: Check out this party invite.
Pet Peeves: People who would rather die than vote. People who successfully sue him.
Awards: Hosted the MTV Awards once and announced he would be unveiling his new nom de mic 'Diddy' that evening: "You gonna see that in the entrance. You gonna see that swagger. You gonna see how I'm gonna navigate you through the journey."
Fun Fact: Invented the Remix. And then there's this.
Bond Movie he would have been the bad guy in: Goldfinger or Diamonds Are Forever

Name: Muammar al-Gaddafi
AKA: Mu‘ammar al-Qadhāfī, معمر القذافي, Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (official title)
Leader of: Libya
Running Tings Since: 1969
How Did He Seize Power?: Military coup.
Example of Super-Villainy: Goes around with a phalanx of camo-ed out bodyguard babes, in a possible nod to Professor Griff.
Pet Peeves: Pretty much everybody.
Awards: He gives out awards, recently bestowing upon Hugo Chavez his annual International Human Rights award.
Fun Fact: This year Lionel Richie headlined a concert commemorating the 20th anniversary of Reagan's bombing of Tripoli. The English Opera Company recently mounted a new production based on his life called Gaddafi: A Living Myth.
Bond Movie he would have been the bad guy in: Moonraker

Name: Rupert Murdoch
AKA: The Dirty Digger
Leader of: News Corporation (20th Century Fox, Fox News Channel, Sky Television, HarperCollins publishing, MySpace.)
Running Tings Since: The 1970s.
How Did He Seize Power?: Engulfing and devouring newspapers first in Australia, then Britain and America.
Example of Super-Villainy: Fox News Channel. Bought a house once owned by the Rockefeller family for 44 million dollars. Cash.
Pet Peeves: Liberals, anti-monopoly legislation.
Awards: Named the most influential Australian of all time by the Aussie current affairs magazine The Bulletin - he was heckled at the ceremony.
Fun Fact: The late Dennis Potter named the tumour that killed him 'Rupert' in his honour.
Bond Movie he would have been the bad guy in: Tomorrow Never Dies

Name: Saparmurat Niyazov
AKA: His Excellency Saparmurat Niyazov "Turkmenbashi" President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers (official title)
Leader of: Turkmenistan
Running Tings Since: 1985
How Did He Seize Power?: Rose up the ranks of the Communist Party. Supported Gorbachev in the final days of the Soviet Union; when Turkmenistan was granted its independence Niyazov retained control of the country.
Pet Peeves: He has banned opera, ballet, beards, long hair, makeup (for television anchors) and gold-capped teeth. Closed all libraries in rural areas.
Example of Super-Villainy: Statues of him are everywhere in the nation - one of them, a giant gold-plated statue of himself that stands in front of the country's largest building, the Neutrality Arch, rotates so it always faces the sun.
Awards: The 'Hero of Turkmenistan' award (5 time winner)
Fun Fact: Criticized the state television network for imposing his face on the screen during broadcasts, saying he found it embarrassing - the network interpreted his statement as a coded warning that they weren't using it enough, ramping up the Turkmenbashi accordingly. Introduced a new calendar in the country with the month of January renamed after him.
Bond Movie he would have been the bad guy in: Die Another Day

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Yesterday or Tomorrow

French Pop Wednesday - Saturday Bonus Beats edition.

Memo to the Criterion Collection: why don't you put Pierre Koralnik's Anna out on DVD? You're doing a nice job with restoring Godard and Truffaut, and that Eric Rohmer box is grand, but I think this obscure TV special from 1967 is key to the Nouvelle Vague - a Gainsbourg soundtrack, Anna Karina and Jean-Claude Brialy as the leads, and this strange cameo from Marianne Faithfull as some form of Trouble, waltzing through a party scene cooing Serge's amazing song 'Hier ou Demain' (AWOL from the official soundtrack).

This eye-popper was once put out on DVD in Japan (now OOP - I got my DVD-R rip of it from the wonderful people at 5 Minutes to Live who stopped carrying it shortly after I scored mine...) - on y va, Criterion!

(Spikedcandy, Je T'aime...)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dose Huevos, Por Favor

Did you know that Dose is still around?

Remember Dose? It was the daily tabloid for the "urban, intelligent, and fun 18-34 year old" that was launched in 2005 by the CanWest media conglomerate. It offered a mix of irreverent news coverage, smartassy editorial and tons of celebrity coverage, along with Chingy ringtones. They spent a lot of money out of the gate on flashy dispenser boxes on every major intersection in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal, and lavish expenditures on TV and print advertising, making Charles Foster Kane-like predictions that they would lose 5 to 6 million dollars in their first year of publication. But Kane said his papers would go bankrupt in 60 years; Dose stopped publication in the middle of its second (was that why it was called Dose - as in uno, dos?)

And just like how when George H.W. Bush ended his memoirs on that Simpsons episode by saying he had accomplished everything in his first term and didn't need to be re-elected, when Dose announced the end of their newspaper operations, they sent out a press release saying “in this very competitive newspaper market, we feel the printed publication will not produce the financial results we expect over the long term, however, we see a growing product in the Dose online and mobile offering which we will continue to develop.”

I forgot all about Dose until today when I found a link to their on-line operations. They're still around. And apparently "what didn't kill them made them stronger". So how mighty is Dose now that it's Is the news even more irreverent? The editorial even more ballsy? Not sure - when I went to the site I was hit between the eyes with a pop-up window for Molson Canadian Cold Shots (little bullets filled with beer - bad news for the 18-year-old targets in most provinces: you're not old enough), and the top story in their amped-up 'Celebrity' section: how Maggie Gyllenhaal is Tinseltown's Latest Yummy Mommy. There is a link to news (all stories off the wire services) and no editorial to speak of. And ChavMillionaire ringtones for the downloading.

Wake me up in sixty years, Mr. Bernstein.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


French Pop Wednesdays climbs up the Wall of Sound this week, with a leg-up from Françoise Hardy.

Françoise could do no wrong in the sixties, and this is one of her more heart-rending numbers, hailing from her 1967 LP Ma Jeunesse Fout Le Camp (in English it roughly means 'my youth has fucked off' but something is lost in translation...)

Unlike pretty much every other girl singer in France's pop scene at the time, Hardy had direct involvement in writing her own material; this was her final album for her old label Vogue and the first album under her own production company, Asparagus (a joke on her tall, thin physique). The sumptuous arrangements on the album are provided by such luminaries as Charles Blackwell, Jacques Dutronc and John-Paul Jones (yes, that John-Paul Jones). This bit of Spectorian splendour was the hit single. I didn't know there was a video until today, though.

(Merci, Abborna!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

State of Denial

I don't know why the Liberal Media has worked themselves up in a lather over this Mark Foley scandal - according to the White House press secretary, these are just "simply naughty emails" we're talking about here. Come on - Foley was the former co-chair of The Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus in Washington. This is the thanks the man gets? Can the American people please concentrate on the real threats to the nation - the "cut and run" crowd and the gay marriage lobby?

Thank God at least those Diebold machines are in place to correct any mistakes the American voters might make on Election Day.

(As usual, Chris Morris saw this coming...)