Saturday, September 30, 2006

American Hardcore

Otis Redding: an unacknowledged godfather of punk rock. This is from 1967.

(Clip posted by Alquit.)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Who's Your Daddy, NASCAR Dad?

My thanks to Christine for pointing this out...

Deodorant Reviews

Right Guard Xtreme Invisible Solid: Arctic Refresh

Being a big Wu-Tang fan from way back, I figured if this product was good enough for Method Man to do commercials for it, it was "street" enough for me. The ads he and Redman did for this product no doubt led to the short-lived Fox sitcom Method & Red. And no deodorant in the world could cover the rank odour of that one. (The two forgotten shows I keep trying to convince people were real were this one and Robert Mitchum's early-nineties sitcom. But I digress...)

This line of manly, To The Extreme! anti-perspirants are designed for your sweaty, athletic lifestyle, and the least aggressive one in the line is Arctic Refresh. It feels like rubbing a miniature glacier under your arm. This line of deodorants introduced the Power Stripe - a powerful band of green anti-perspirant sheathed in more traditional white compressed powder. I wouldn't say it goes on dry, but I don't recall feeling anything running down the sides of my shirt during my subsequent racquetball game. It's a snow brainer - Arctic Refresh is a blast of fresh chilly air! B-

The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift

Stumbled across this Chav-friendly deodorant at HMV while inquiring if Method & Red: The Complete Series was available on DVD yet. They had racks of this Tokyo Drift deodorant alongside the two Fast and Furious films. Jesus, what would it make you smell like? The interior of a new Mitsubishi? Perhaps the faint tang of pickled ginger?

They certainly do get points for packaging. The container looks exactly like a DVD case. But perhaps the packaging is a bit too clever because try as I might, I couldn't get any of the anti-perspirant out. Nearly tore up my armpits trying.

Worst part: to my admittedly novice nostrils, it smelled like nothing. Is this what they mean when they say these things are odour free? I'm sorry, but Diesel never catch on. Can't recommend it. D-

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Before the Brawl

French Pop Wednesday puts a little too much sugar in your coffee today, thanks to the deadly sweet stylings of France Gall.

France was big in France in the sixties - the standard bearer of the Yé-Yé scene, responsible for some of the more massive hits in the genre. This is from her late sixties album '1968', a tumultous time in Paris, though she sounds unfazed by it, judging by the title of this number: 'Avant La Bagarre'. Her beatnik fighting technique is unstoppable.

And who was the genius who thought to set off her cornsilk-blonde hair against an robin egg blue-toned set? This appearance is from the French TV variety show Dim Dam Dom; so named because it aired on Sundays (Dimanche) and was aimed at the Salut Les Copains crowd (Des Dames et Des [H}ommes).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bollywood Brings It On: Satyam Shivam Sundaram

To kick off a recurring series of the finest Retro Bollywood clips YouTube has to offer, I'm starting things off with one of the greatest production numbers I've ever seen in my life: an absolutely mindblowing fantasy sequence from Raj Kapoor's 1978 melodrama Satyam Shivam Sundaram. This number looks like it cost 300 zillion dollars (not adjusted for inflation). There is literally too much going on here. Just the way I like it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Texas Chainsaw Manicure

Opening next Friday - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which comes along to fill in the backstory as to why a bunch of horny teens got sliced to ribbons by a power-tool-mad hillbilly. Turns out that a few years earlier, another group of horny teens got sliced to ribbons as well (Spoiler alert)!

I saw the trailer for this a couple of weeks ago - I couldn't tell by watching the teaser but apparently this one takes place in the late sixties, though that probably won't preclude it from having some generic crap-metal over the end credits.

This prequel to a remake was produced by Michael Bay, who is actually an unacknowledged master of modern horror - he was already riding a wave of property damage spectacles like Armageddon before the September 11th attacks. I wondered how he would conduct himself in the face of all that - did he not feel even slightly psychically or karmically responsible? How wrong I was - in 2003 he made Bad Boys II, which was practically an Al-Qaeda recruitment film. The film begins with a Klan Rally (complete with Bay's director credit over the image of a burning cross - 100% true!) and ends with the last surviving bad guy being blown to meaty bits by a landmine in front of the prison at Guantánamo Bay (no relation).

Charnel houses like Wolf Creek, Hostel, Saw, The Passion of the Christ and The Hills Have Eyes don't interest me. I'm not a prude - I saw Man on Fire twice in a week! I think it's because I like my pro-torture movies to be served straight up. Eli Roth dressed up Hostel by saying it was supposed to be an allegory/commentary on American foreign policy and attitudes. Whatever, Chomsky. Meanwhile Tony Scott's hero maims and kills half the male population of Mexico to avenge the murder of a little blonde girl who's not even dead (Spoiler alert)!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

French Meltdown

French Pop Wednesdays et la encore, par demande populaire - and things are getting heavy this week.

Léo Ferré was the original aging punk - an old-school chanson singer in the thick of it in May '68 Paris; around then he put out a weird psych-rock poetry album out, recorded with a band called Zoo. This orchestral rendition of 'Avec Le Temps' is charged with anarchic bursts of feedback - I think the microphone was wilting in Ferré's presence.

Do not get into a staring contest with this video of Léo Ferré. You will lose. If his visage seems familiar, that's only because Léo Ferré is for Quebec what Kenny Rogers is for red-state America.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Post Dahlia Report

If only I could tell you The Black Dahlia was worth it after waiting four years for the follow-up to Femme Fatale, but alas, it appears De Palma's heart wasn't in it...for me it never really got off the ground and here's why...

1. Josh Hartnett is a void at the centre of the screen. Why do people keep hiring him as the lead? And why has an actor with the flattest, blandest vocal delivery this side of Harrison Ford been entrusted throughout his career with the job of the narrator (Black Hawk Down, Sin City and now here)? The only time I quite liked Hotnett in a movie was towards the beginning of his career in his role as Trip Fontaine in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides; the listless film literally kicked into second gear the instant his character showed up.

2. Not enough Aaron Eckhart. Things were looking good at the beginning with Eckhart shambling around with his dim good looks, introduced early as a tough cop with a sideline image within the force as a boxer - De Palma seizes upon an amazing touch that nods to Eckhart's near-caricature handsomeness, outfitting him with a protective mouthplate that renders his goofy smile even more cartoonish - he is the modern equivalent to Russ Meyer's favourite beefcake go-to guy, Charles Napier. But for reasons made unclear in the narrative, he goes bonkers in the face of the Elizabeth Short investigation and gets done in about halfway through by the Phantom of the Paradise guy, both of them falling hard from atop a spiral staircase into a fountain that fills quickly with their blood, just like Tony Montana in Scarface...

3. Fiona Shaw. The acclaimed British stage actress plays Hilary Swank's demented mother in a performance so off-the-scale in its excessive scenery-chomping that I started wondering if De Palma had originally planned to have John Lithgow play the part (Raising Cain, anyone?).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Carro dos Povos

Turns out Robert Altman's Short Cuts is a remake of a 70's Brazilian car commercial.

(Obrigado, scaramanga1974.)