Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Vision

Here's the juiciest bit of casting news I've heard in a while... my friend Gord told me today that not only is my favourite modern actor, Mathieu Amalric (Kings and Queen, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly) going to be the villain in the upcoming (and currently untitled) James Bond film (sic), but rumour has it he's also going to be playing the ultimate Bond baddie - Ernst Goddamn Stavro Fucking Blofeld (triple sic)!!!

Every few years, the Broccoli family try to get me to see the latest James Bond film, usually tantalizing me by casting amazing contemporary actors as the new Bond villain; sometimes it works (Christopher Walken in A View To A Kill) and sometimes it doesn't (Robert Carlyle in The World is Not Enough). And I can tell you right now that I have mentally already bought my ticket for this one, if only so I can reconcile these two trailers in my brain.

Actually...this Scopitone might help tie everything together...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Going To The Movies In Buenos Aires

The best part about seeing a film when you're travelling is if you luck out and pick a good one to go see, you get sucked into it and when it's over, you walk out of the lobby and are suddenly reminded that you are in another city, not your own.

I saw two films when I was in Buenos Aires. My friend Matias and I had to arrange to get a cab to take us all the way out to a shopping centre in the Bs. As. 'burbs to see Beowulf: La Leyenda (in 3-D IMAX! With IMAX-sized Spanish subtitles!) The tickets cost 14 pesos - or about $4.75 Canadian. You could bring beer into the theatre as and IMAX goggles, plus the trailer for Soy Leyenda!

On my last weekend in town I went to the Palermo multiplex down the street from the massive Alto Palermo shopping centre to take in a trasnoche screening of Gone Baby Gone. A trasnoche, film-lovers, is a movie-going tradition on the weekends in Buenos Aires - shows start between 1 and 1:30 a.m and are PACKED! You have dinner at 10, maybe an ice cream afterwards, then you roll over to the trasnoche, and THEN you go out clubbing. You can get popcorn either sugared (the local preference) or salted (no such thing as buttered popcorn in this town either way). And no Diet Coke - round here it's called Coke Light. Got to see some amazing Argentine commercials plus the trailer for P.T. Anderson's upcoming HabrĂ¡ Sangre. Except for kids films, all international movies are in their original language with subtitles en Castellano. Argentinian films for the most part play in their own cinemas.

I couldn't find any of the massive theatres that used to exist in Buenos Aires in their original state; the Monumental, right down on Lavalle (the pedestrian tourist trap) used to have 3,000 seats (you can get a glimpse of it in its former glory in my previous post, at the start of one of the 60's Sandro trailers I linked to) but is now a run-down movie pit - they were playing Supercool, Michael Clayton and El Asesinato De Jesse James Por El Cobarde Robert Ford, plus two films that haven't even come out in North America, a thriller by Andrew Lau starring Richard Gere and some John Travolta / Salma Hayek period piece...

I learned something about Toronto while I was travelling as well, a lesson that left my city in the general deficit column. A small Romanian film like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days wins the Palme D'Or, and that fall it quietly pops up in Toronto and plays at the Cumberland for a couple of weeks, before winding up at the back of the Carlton for a couple more weeks. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, the very same film plays at every multiplex downtown, often with giant ads for the engagement in the lobby, and when I went over to the Palermo on a Saturday night at midnight, the 1:30 a.m. show was already sold out. What are we to make of this?

(See my modest set of Buenos Aires movie theatre pictures here...)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Proof!

Proof they knew I was coming down to Argentina!

Monday, December 10, 2007

This One's For Las Chicas

This report is filed from a locutorio in Buenos Aires. Locutorios are internet spots that are all over the city - in Buenos Aires, even the act of surfing the net all day can be part of your active social life.

I'm here because my vacation ends tomorrow and I'm on my way into a Musimundo store (there are no HMVs in Buenos Aires) to grab a couple of DVDs of Sandro, a living legend, a man I had never heard of before until I arrived here. He was all over the papers because he had recently turned 60 and was on yet another comeback trail (his last comeback apparently had him hooked up to an oxygen tank on stage but that wasn't enough to keep him from being snowed under by women's underwear).

But sometimes you achieve something that gets you buried in women's underwear for the rest of your life.

Sandro, the Argentine Elvis Presley (or is he the Argentine Amitabh Bachchan?) was a pop singer who made a dozen or so musicals in the sixties and seventies that were massively popular in Latin America... like Presley's films, they seemed to exist as pure vehicles to deliver the man candy to the's a trailer or two of the goods.

If you want your own Sandro DVDs but can't hike it to Buenos Aires, you are in luck.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Taking Care of Bs. As.

I´ve been in Buenos Aires for 5 days now and although I could never say I´m making myself at home, I am starting to get my bearings in terms of geography, if not communications. I can read Spanish somewhat, but I can´t necessarily understand it as it is spoken, especially in the Latin American dialect, where the double L in words is pronounced with a J sound instead of a Y sound (e.g. - a crazy chicken is El Posho Loco instead of El Poyo Loco ).

Buenos Aires is New York as designed by the French with Spanish dialogue. All the pharmacies have the flashing neon green cross out in front and the street signs are often blue plates with white writing on them. No such thing as a house - everyone lives in apartments with grand balconies.

Here´s a defining moment - last night my friend Matias and I took a big long walk from the north of the city back towards my neighbourhood in Barrio Norte - we were on one of the main drags (Avenida Santa Fe) on a Monday night at 1 am and on the other side of the street there were about 50 young people wearing hospital gowns and surgical masks jumping up and down in excitement, gathering up their group that proceeded en masse towards a club - it looked like a flash mob-slash-Sprite commercial. Three young guys passed us watching them as well, and Matias told me one of them muttered en castellano to his friends "God. Every day, the same thing."