Friday, June 29, 2007

Zombie Boy Stickhandles Media Interloper

"Never answer the question asked of you. Answer the question you wish you'd been asked." - Robert McNamara

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hefner by Ratner

They are finally starting production on a film about the life and times of Hugh Hefner. Unfortunately the screenplay was approved by Hefner himself, so I imagine it will be pure hagiography. In which case, the guy they got to direct is the ideal man for the job - Brett Ratner. He's the modern embodiment of the Playboy philosophy - a supposedly straight-edge party animal who mostly directs undistinguished franchise entries (The Rush Hour series, Red Dragon, X3) when not closing down clubs and living with Robert Evans. There was a big piece in 'Vanity Fair' a few issues ago about Ratner. Everyone in the article swearing that someday he would make an important, award-worthy film - if that's true, then here's his big opportunity. I would have preferred the Oliver Stone or Brian DePalma version of Playboy: The Motion Picture, but alas...

So who should Ratner cast? Hefner is kind of like a James Bond figure for introverted American males of all ages. He's living the dream. Who best to embody this dream? The rumours involve DiCaprio but that's too easy, and not quite right. My shortlist would be Jake Gyllenhaal, Ashton Kutcher, and Topher Grace. Maybe Aaron Eckhart?

I want Robert Downey Jr. to play Bob Guccione, Scarlett Johansson as Dorothy Stratten (if Ratner goes there) and Mickey Rourke as LeRoy Neiman.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Apartheid Adverts

A fascinating series of tv commercials from South Africa during the dying days of white control.

(I salute ye, Briantw!)

Guess I'm Dumb

Here's an interesting footnote to musical history - Glen Campbell in 1965 on 'Hullaballoo' or some such Teen Beat show, performing an exquisite piece of pop melancholia from Brian Wilson, "Guess I'm Dumb" - surely it wasn't a hit, but it was a very telling preview of the Pet Sounds approach to subject matter and production that would come along months later and change the game. Never heard this song until today.

(Thanks for the tip, Mr. Thorner...)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Serge On The Ledge

After the preamble, a trippy minimalist music video for Serge Gainsbourg's 'New York USA' from his Afro-Cuban phase of the early sixties.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Night Walk

Back in the eighties, the Global Television Network had an ingenious idea to run 24 hour programming that wasn't an all-night Christian call-in show or a series of infomercials (that would come later), while also saving money on syndication acquisitions. They ran a three hour block of programs called Night Walk, Night Ride and Night Moves - super smooth Clint Eastwood-end-credits jazz (but Canadian! Featuring Guido Basso!) playing over steadicam footage of the empty Toronto streets. When we all saw it for the first time we were at a party - we were convinced it was airing live and were trying to pinpoint their coordinates and general direction so as to jump in a cab and intercept the broadcast.

Night Moves
was by my recall the more experimental of the three but only visually; sometimes there they would show the footage in slow motion or backwards. Either that or I was hammered every time I came home and flipped it on.

There was only one episode of each and Global ran them all night every night well into the nineties. To see it again now is to get even more bitter about the continuing Fifth-Elementization of downtown. We had it good....

This clip contains primo footage of record store row on Yonge Street.

Friday, June 08, 2007

There's A Rainbow In Toronto..

It's not Goin' Down The Road, but it's pretty close. Presenting Sam's in all its glory, as seen on SCTV!

Bonus beats: The RIO!

Four Point Oh

Here's an indicator that America has a tainted international rep that Hollywood has to tip-toe around sometimes - Live Free or Die Hard will be known around the world as Die Hard 4.0. To me it would have been a techno-savvy title if they had made the film in 1998. Now it sounds like a bit like a Windows 3.1 upgrade. If they want to keep going with this nineties chic thing they can call the next one Die Hard!

This one wasn't directed by a madman like John McTiernan or Renny Harlin - it's from Len (Underpants) Wiseman, so that takes away a great deal of what dwindling anticipation I would have about a new Die Hard installment. The first film was sensational entertainment but the sequels have been successive letdowns. And Bruce Willis waited almost as long as the Crocodile Dundee guy to make a followup...the trailer makes it look like a high-budget episode of 24. Of course I'm going to see it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Espressos and Pinball

In memory of Jean-Claude Brialy.