Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What's Your Game Now, Can Anybody Play?

French Pop Wednesday covers The Hollies with Clo-Clo this week.

This is the strongest argument for the colour 'beige' I've ever seen in my life.

And proof that it's time for that Dim Dam Dom DVD box set.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Sustained Look at the Caruso Style

Enjoy this while it lasts...

Help! Truck Driver

French Pop Wednesdays is driving an 18-wheeler this week, answering Jane Birkin's distress signal. We told her to lie on the piano and wait for us.

(Merci, Pollyscake!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bond Shoots First

In anticipation of Casino Royale overtaking For Your Eyes Only as the gayest Bond movie ever, here's a chronological look at the evolution of the Bond Gunbarrel Opening. My notes below.

Seeing them in order, it occurs to me that the various Bonds all have very telling Bond Themes.

Connery's era is the most straight-ahead in terms of the delivery we have in our heads when we think of the theme - the huge horn opening and string section with the twang guitar lead and the loud gunblast. It was first messed with on You Only Live Twice, where they gave the theme a vaguely Eastern spin. George Lazenby's only theme is really wimpy - flutes and an Moog synthesizer; perhaps Jean-Jacques Perrey was in charge of the orchestration. Diamonds Are Forever goes back to the formula but does so in brassy, ballsy Hazlewood style.

Roger Moore's era is a travesty across the board. Live and Let Die leaves the twang guitar to compete with its successor: a flabby horn section, which here play comedy-style, almost like the Tijuana Brass. Plus Bond isn't wearing a hat! And he holds his gun in both hands! The Man With The Golden Gun sounds like James Last. The Spy Who Loved Me brings back the twang guitar at least but then has the crappest ending of them all. Moonraker sounds like background music from Hart to Hart. For Your Eyes Only is the only disco cowbell opening. Octopussy sounds like they had to slow things down to keep up with Moore as he walked across the screen. A View To A Kill has a fucking oboe playing lead.

Dalton's themes are bi-polar. The Living Daylights sticks to the symphonic Moore formula; if anything it's even more woodwind-reliant. And then comes License To Kill; the twang guitar must be here because it was already sitting in the kitchen sink.

Brosnan's intros are mostly in bad taste. Goldeneye is the most blatant reimagineering - pure mid-90's minimalist eurotrash synthwash. The only one that sticks to the classic Bond intro formula is the last one and even it has been drowned out by techno beats. The crap CGI bullet flying at you is the cherry on the cake.

How they start off Casino Royale will be interesting to see after watching this. And will Craig wear a hat?

(Neat-o, SexBeatle!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Il Fait Beau Dans Le Metro

The Musical

The Documentary

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Throw Pillows

French Pop doesn't get much french poppier than this - Françoise sings Gainsbourg. Dim Dam Dom strikes again. And the kids in the back of the room? They're alright.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Barry Ryan Brings It On

A lesson in showmanship, courtesy of Barry Ryan, belting out "Eloise" on the West German show Beat-Club in 1968. Good luck getting this song out of your head.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Goodbye, Rummy

It's a start, anyway.

This is how I'll always remember him.

Oh, Sheila

French Pop Wednesday kicks out the gams with some more Dim Dam Dom - this is Sheila kickin' it like Cleo from 5 to Expo 67.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Would You Like to Buy an O?

Two vital DVD releases of late...

Available at finer bookstores everywhere is the latest issue of a quarterly DVD compendium called Wholphin, Dave Eggers' new baby, with Oscar-nominated shorts and such. I'll get around to it. The reason I had to grab it on sight is because it comes bundled with a very compelling bonus disc - the first part of Adam Curtis' three hour BBC series The Power of Nightmares, a dense, brilliant documentary chronicling the rise of both American neo-conservatism and radical Islamic fundamentalism in the face of the end of the Cold War, and how they both work to manufacture the threat of terror in their respective kingdoms to maintain power. It aired on CBC Newsworld last year but it would never in a million years be shown on American public television; the critique is just too intense. It's also unlikely to be officially released on DVD, not so much for its content as for the rights clearance and licensing headaches; the visuals are densely assembled from sources as far-flung as newsreels, international propaganda and period tv commercials, and the soundtrack is all source material including John Barry, Ennio Morricone and even some John Carpenter synthery! This stealth release in Wholphin (hopefully to be done in all three installments) may likely be the way to go to have a copy of your own.

Also quietly released recently - the answer to my prayers. Sesame Street Old School, Volume 1, 1969-1974 is seven hours of retro Sesame Street - 5 complete episodes as they aired more than thirty years ago (starting back to when PBS was NET) and dozens of extra skits and cartoons. Great idea. Now when is someone going to put a box set of retro television commercials out?

Healthy Looking Skin™

Ein Film von Tony Scott

Regular readers of the TT-P know that I'm a big Tony Scott fan from way back. His latest, Déjà Vu, sounds like a step back from Scott's hyperbolic subject matter of late (one-man death squads and babealicious bounty hunters); this one is a time-travel cop thriller starring Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer. I will lay even money this film ends with a small room filled with people chaotically firing guns at one another.

In anticipation of Déjà Vu, let's travel back in time together to view the not-for-broadcast director's cut of one of Tony the Tiger's early works, the Glenn Frey/Don Johnson Pepsi commercial from 1985.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Popcorn and Sticky Floors

I have been invited by fellow film scholar and man-about-town Colin Geddes to contribute to an exciting new blog called Popcorn and Sticky Floors, which pays tribute to some rich cinematic traditions that are falling by the wayside in the multiplex mentality of modern moviegoing - the golden age of grimy single-screen theatres playing lurid double (and triple) bills in seedy neighbourhoods. Trailers, posters, photos, memories. Anyone who ever read Sleazoid Express will know what they're in for here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Noir est Blanc et Blanc est Noir

French Pop Wednesdays goes through the looking glass this week with something you probably thought you'd never see - Jodie Foster fluently covering Serge Gainsbourg, with the help of Clo-Clo himself, the late Claude Francois. I think if they are able to get enough momentum going on that swing they can do a 360 degree loop and enter another dimension.

(You talkin' to me, Absentreferent?)