Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tout Ce Qu'on Dit

French Pop Wednesdays come every time Françoise Hardy comes around, our London London Bridge wants to go down?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

If It Ain't Broke, Break It

The mind boggles...

The Paramount, the former flagship theatre of the Famous Players chain in Toronto, underwent a name change overnight this week, caught in the crossfire of synergy between the place's new owner, the Cineplex chain, and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Now when I make plans to go to a movie I'll have to say something like this: "Hey, let's go see Ghost Rider tonight - I'll meet you outside the Scotiabank at 9 o'clock."

Famous Players was part-owned by Viacom at the time the place opened (it was called 'Festival Hall' while it was being built, in a brazen attempt to court TIFF as it's future home, which didn't quite work out the way it was planned...) so it made semi-sense to name the place the Paramount, which at least is a historical movie theatre name in the United States. Renaming it the Scotiabank to me seems shameless and boring, though I'm sure the Cineplex/Scotiabank marketing departments could talk my ears off with why it's the perfect name for a movie theatre. Here's an attempt, from the story in the Toronto Star:

"We're rewarding customers for doing what they already do: go to movies and do their banking," said Scotiabank spokesperson John Doig.

The whole enterprise revolves around the idea that audiences would go to the movies to participate in a rewards program. I guess if you go to first-run movies a lot, it may now also be easier to secure a loan to support your habit.

To make matters worse, unlike the artists' rendition of the new facade seen above, here's what it looks like in real life - it might be temporary, but I have a feeling (a prayer, really) the whole idea is temporary...

But they shouldn't stop the rethinking there - maybe they can address the damn Klingon ship they have dangling over the dizzying escalators. Or maybe they can do something about what I call the epileptic's entrance (a nondescript, non-warp-speed elevator hiding to the left of the box office area). Speed that puppy up!

And get rid of the giant Rubik's Cube! And make it easier to find the concession stand! I got points to cash in!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Five Minutes To Love

French Pop Wednesdays hews to the exact middle of the road this week with France Gall - right at the tail end of her "listenable" period (1963-72)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Portable Radio

I love Yacht Rock, Hall and Oates now more than ever.

Dollar Daze in Chinatown

Been a while since I've been to the China Town Dollar Mart.

They had put up a Going Out of Business sign a few months ago but the subsequent spike in business that must have followed this dire warning seems to have propped the business up indefinitely.

Things were as off-kilter as usual...

...but took a turn for the deeply disturbing when we entered the pest control section of the store.

And MGM, I know you've been having money trouble the last few years, but come on!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

On Such a Winter's Day

Denny Doherty - RIP.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Light at the End of the Tunnel...

On the platform of Batthyány Tér metro, one of the more sci-fi subway stations in Budapest...

(Nice shootin', asparagustips!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hardy Birthday

She's so nice I'll say it twice.

This is the title track from Françoise's 1973 LP Message Personnel.

Monday, January 15, 2007

La Ragazza di Sogno Originale

Mina Mazzini era la regina dell' Studio Uno canzone degli anni sessanta. Non posso ottenere abbastanza del suo stile vocale potente. Qui è uno "showstopper" tipico: "Mi sei scoppiato dentro al cuore" (1966)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Obsession: Canadian Wonderbra Jingles

Alice in Bollyland

Here's some Bollywood psychedelia. The film is Justice Chaudhury, from 1968 1983.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Despite All My Rage I Am Still Just Nicolas Cage

Lowlights from last fall's remake of The Wicker Man - I might have to start trolling the $4.99 wall at Blockbuster in a couple of months based on these head-shaking excerpts...

(Thanks for the headz, Anthony!)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

N'avez-vous jamais mellow ?

French Pop Wednesdays celebrates Françoise Hardy's birthday a little early. She turns 62 on the 17th.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Optimus Prime

Summer can't come soon enough - here's the Japan-only promo for Transformers: The Movie.

So I'm confused - Spielberg hardly did any interviews to promote Munich but he'll hang out and speak Japanese with Michael Bay?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fist Pumping Lyrics

A Canadian Wonderbra commercial from 1975.

I would subscribe to a digital channel that was just 24 hours of random 70's TV commercials.

The Beloosh

I'm popping the popcorn and getting ready for 8 o'clock - no, they're not hanging Saddam again, but it is a guy dying on TV - it's the season premiere of my favourite sitcom, 'According To Jim', which has been on for six years!

The Beloosh! If America were decimated in a nuclear attack, I have a feeling 'According To Jim' would still be on next season. Who is watching this show? What is the appeal? Has anyone written their thesis on it?

'According to Jim' is actually dubbed in other languages and syndicated around the world! Here are its international aliases:

Austria: Jim hat immer Recht! (Jim's Always Right!)
Brazil: O Jim é assim (That's Just Jim)
Croatia: Svijet prema Jimu (The World According to Jim)
Finland: Perheen kalleudet (Family Jewels)
Germany: Immer wieder Jim (Jim Again and Again)
Sweden: Jims Värld (Jim's World)

Before the Beloosh inherited the Tim Allen mantle, he had an all over the place career. He was sort of a late-Reagan-era movie star at one point (Red Heat) - and he was all right in Thief and Salvador, in fact, but my god, three K-9 films? And an erotic thriller? Ponder that for a moment - a Jim Belushi erotic thriller.

It's All Gone Bob Mackie

French Pop Wednesdays is awash this week in a teal blue sea of buckskin and background dancers. Sylvie Vartan sings Irresistiblement. Points given for the art direction and overall gusto. Subtractions taken for not fully working out the choreography.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Department of Give and Take

Got a letter from my friends at Rogers Cable today.

"Dear valued customer", it begins. "On or about February 6th, 2007, Rogers™ will be making changes to your cable television programming lineup."

Besides moving the channels at the end of the dial even further out into the hinterlands (CPAC goes from channel 68 to channel 104), they are adding BBC World to my cable package but at the same time are dropping CNN Headline News. I think it nets out to be an improvement to my cable package, and my bill's not even going up...

CNN Headline News was once a very simple channel - just a half-hour package of news that I discovered was not actually updated on a half-hourly basis, but rather when it needed to be updated and otherwise re-run all day. But a few years ago someone in programming decided to spice up the format, to kick things up a notch, if you will, by introducing a block of "personality-driven" opinion shows in primetime, none of which have anything to do with headline news and are re-run into the night.

Nancy Grace is a shrill victim's rights advocate who constantly employs 'Breaking News!' banners on her legal affairs program while covering missing children's cases which are not breaking-news-status stories elsewhere. She spends the whole show in a state of moral outrage, bugging out her eyes and stomping over the last three words of everyone's sentences. She's a walking Saturday Night Live skit, only a skit about her wouldn't be as funny as her show actually is.

And then there's the monstrous persona of Glenn Beck, a talk radio gloater who identifies himself as more conservative than the Bush administration. He's Pepsi to Rush Limbaugh's Coke, a Howard Beale manqué in beige Dockers who goes after "political correctness" and holds "Rally for America" events through the heartland, a part of the country known for their ambivalence towards the flag. When he had the first Muslim elected to Congress on his show, he actually said to him on the air "What I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies'".

Headline News also runs an entertainment news show indistinguishable from the others, except for the fact that every five minutes they remind you to watch the weekend edition of the show as well. They are quite emphatic that you do this. Okay, Rogers™, you're right. Take this channel away and thanks for the upgrade.

I wish it was the CRTC that was taking Headline News off the grid but it's just Rogers moving their pieces around the board. I heard the CRTC was considering revoking the Canadian broadcast license of the Spike channel, which used to be a country music station out of Nashville but has deteriorated into a pro-date-rape-and-body-spray channel where they give out Video Game Awards; one of the categories one year was "Best Performance By A Human Female" - Dame Judi Dench was nominated, but she lost to Brooke Burke. Who happened to be co-hosting the show.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Rated "Arrr!"

You could never get away with this ad now.