Monday, July 30, 2007

Ingmar Bergman: 1918 - 2007


Trailer for Last House on the Left (1972) - Wes Craven's (implausible but true!) remake of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring!

Best I could do on short notice.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Frei Luft Kino

Colin's throwing his annual summertime backyard movie night tonight, and I'll be going for the first time... tonight's twin bill is Robert Mitchum in The Yakuza and (in a last-minute replacement for Barbarella) Monica Vitti and Terence Stamp in Modesty Blaise. Ahh, watching Sydney Pollack and Joseph Losey films under the stars, plus short subjects and a reel of 70's commercials and trailers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Nein. Es ist für mich."

Sad news for those who liked The Lives of Others as much as I did - Ulrich Mühe, the German stage actor who played the Stasi surveillance agent in the film, just died of stomach cancer... he won the European Film Award for Best Actor for his work here.

I've Recovered My Dog

Good news, French Pop Wednesday fans - France Gall got her lost dog back...I'm trying to find the video where she informs everyone that it went missing...

Two Inmates Brawl Over Woody Allen!

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel...
"According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, the fight began about 5:30 p.m. July 9 during mealtime when James F. Lala, 31, of Grafton asked fellow inmate Corey T. Wilson, 36, of Menomonee Falls what he thought of Allen's marriage in 1997 to Soon-Yi Previn, an adopted daughter of Allen's longtime companion, Mia Farrow.

"Wilson told Lala that he thought that was perverted," the complaint says. "Wilson stated he continued to eat his meal when Lala came up to him and punched him in the face," and the two began to fight.

The fight lasted several minutes, with other inmates looking on until deputies restrained the two men with the help of pepper spray."
Okay, bring on the punchlines...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No Static At All

Speaking of Yacht Rock...the trailer for FM (1978)! Love the K-Tel outro.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Don't Think I'm In Kansas Anymore

Movie files found while on an innocent trawl through Limewire, looking for Yacht Rock clips...no luck (damn you, Michael McDonald's lawyer) but the titles found instead are amazingular.
A Yacht
Mature Suck and Fuck At Yacht
Movies Showing A Slut Fucked In A Yacht
Prurient Slut Riding Man Wild On Yacht
Mature Babe Gets Assfucked On Yacht
On Yacht Movie
Many Wild Coitions On Yacht

Bonds Goes Electric

Sometime in the next few days, Barry Bonds will knock 3 more out of the park and become baseball's all-time Home Run leader, the latest milestone for one of the greatest players in the history of the game... but I expect there will be no joy in Mudville when the record falls. Major League Baseball is trying to turn him into Jonathan E in Rollerball - a solitary player who thinks he's better than the game, pursuing a selfish personal goal that will actually bring disgrace to the sport unless the event is diminished or condemned...so says the establishment...

You see, Bonds is juiced - he's been playing the last few years in a state of steroidal animation, as if the steroids themselves had been doing all the hitting. We can't be sending messages to kids that there are shortcuts to excellence. Plus he's a jerk - unlike the heroic, dignified path Henry Aaron took to take the Home Run King title away from Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds is doing this for Barry Bonds, in the culmination of his endless ego-trip of a career. No wonder the commissioner of baseball won't even commit to being there when the record falls - Hank Aaron certainly won't be there; another example of his quiet dignity.

First of all, why do people have to focus on the 'dignity' of Aaron so much when they only bring it up to contrast what a pig Bonds supposedly is? What kind of compliment is that? And while we're insulting Aaron, how do we know he wasn't taking amphetamines and stimulants back in the day just like every other seventies ballplayer was?

Bonds is as much of a uncooperative jerk in an interview as Bob Dylan ever was - check out No Direction Home to get more of a sense of the truly pedantic questions that came at Dylan hot and heavy, with actual answers expected ("How many protest singers are there?"); you can totally empathize with Dylan's tired, exhausted answers ("136...or 142.") that lent to his 'surly' reputation. Have you ever seen a picture of a typical Bonds press scrum? He looks cornered by a tightly-packed semi-circle of camera lenses and microphones; no wonder sarcastic comments get made...plus when you get a rep for being a prick, the questions that come at you seemed tailored to bring out the prick...Bonds' fault for playing along, but I've been more routinely horrified by recent players like John Rocker than by Bonds.

Oh yeah, and a few years ago when Mark McGwire was chasing the single-season HR title with those giant ham arms, no one was grousing about how he was cheating the whole time - and if they were, they didn't much hold it against him. And McGwire eventually took the fifth when Congress came around to asking him. Bonds hasn't even been charged with anything yet...

If Bonds was taking steroids that's because everyone was...you might as well put an asterisk next to the last ten World Series results and any other records that went down in all this time if you want to discredit Bonds' achievements by these lofty standards of purity.

Too bad Wesley Snipes already played Bonds in Tony Scott's The Fan because he'd be perfect to star in the muckraking Michael Mann version of the story we should all be praying for right now. Fine - get Jamie Foxx.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Brinksmanship

The big news in Toronto yesterday was the startling announcement from City Hall that, as a result of a tax vote in City Council being put off until after the Provincial Elections in the fall, severe budget cuts would have to be made immediately. The first announcement was that the Toronto Transit Commission would scale operations back drastically, revealing plans for the imminent cancellation of 29 bus routes (mostly ones that are primarily used by senior citizens as far as the downtown routes go - the Avenue Road bus, the Davenport bus) and most notably, the mothballing of the only six-year-old Sheppard Subway, which is apparently used by only 45 people a day. The talk is to close it down in January.

This is exciting news for future Toronto urban explorers - wait till the suburban indie rock kids of 2065 discover there is a secret subway system leading halfway to the Scarborough Town Centre (by that point a maximum security prison) - they will probably bust in through a set of double doors nearby Bessarion Station and run up and down the cobwebbed platforms and darkened tunnels.

If the TTC is really that hell-bent to save money, they should consider pulling the plug on the unnecessary remodeling of several of the stations on the University Line. Nothing wrong with the beige-tiled sixties public washroom vibe of Museum Station as it stands now, but they have already begun the work to bring the platform design into the nineties: Next on the renovations block is this headache inducer - St. Patrick Station, soon to be renamed Art Gallery!
It's almost as if they're trying to get people to not use the University Line either...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup

The one-off TV variety special Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup (Milk Teeth, Wolf's Teeth) looks like the T.A.M.I Show of French Pop - another genre-defining masterpiece by the genius Pierre "Anna" Koralnik. This special stars not only Serge, but also France Gall (singing his already leering 'Les Sucettes'), Françoise Hardy (in a silver lamé biker jacket) and Marianne Faithful (speaking of biker jackets). Oh, and The Walker Brothers. It seems to be a musical retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in a disco designed by Marshall McLuhan.

Jesus Christ, is this not the best opening to a TV special you've ever seen?









Hey, France! America put out a 3-disc edition of Elvis' 68 Comeback special - ou est le Dents De Lait DVD?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here, My Gere

Richard Gere: not one of my favourite actors, I'm afraid. We were talking about him a while ago when he was touring India telling truckers to use condoms to prevent AIDS. A friend of mine said "When has he ever been good in a movie?" which led forth the litany of Planet Normal classics such as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and An Officer and a Gentleman, ego trips like Red Corner (the ultimate Rice King film, by the way) and him running around in diapers in King David, interchangeable mock-Euro pretty-people-love-triangle melodramas like Intersection and Unfaithful, his Belfast Lucky Charms accent in The Jackal...

But he's been very good a couple of times. The movie that made the best use of him in his tousle-haired Soloflex Adonis prime was Jim McBride's Breathless - the 80's reverse polarity remake of Godard's A Bout De Souffle. They had a field day mocking this film at the time, but have you seen it lately? It's right up there with Miami Vice, Scarface and To Live and Die in L.A. in terms of oozing top notch Trashy Eighties Chic (with production design by Richard Sylbert no less!); it's a film as emblematic of its era as the original, in retrospect (McBride also directed another now-obscure but excellent genre-bender: 1967's David Holzman's Diary). Gere is a very compelling hustler, a dim sociopath here for a good time but not a long time, as they say...and the chemistry he has with the young French actress Valerie Kaprisky is what we go to the movies for...at least that's how I felt when I saw it as a teenager (it didn't hurt on some subconscious level that Kaprisky kept cooing the name 'Jesse'). MGM dumped it out on DVD in a full-frame transfer some time ago and it deserves a proper reappraisal, as I'm sure it has achieved in France...

Gere's other great performance is in Mike Figgis' Internal Affairs (1990) as another psychopath, this one operating under the guise of authority as a cop who presides over an incredible syndicate of hidden corruption. He's a sleazy manipulator in the film, his potency confirmed by his brood of children sired by different women who all form a sprawling suburban coven clearly under his implicit control, like pretty much every other person who gets near him. He throws off an investigation by Andy Garcia's dogged cop by driving him crazy with quite plausible insinuations he's screwing his wife, manipulating Garcia right down Othello Road. Even the sight of Gere's smirky good looks perceptibly going to seed just deepens the portrayal of moral rot on display here. The end of the film reeks of a reshoot, but whenever it's on TV I tune in to watch most of it...

He wasn't bad as the showoffy attorney in Primal Fear which is one of those "Sort of want to see this, but why should I rent this film when it will be the NBC Sunday Night Movie a couple of years from now for free?" films - Norton's performance is the one people remember but Gere was pretty good too. He was fine in Days of Heaven as well. Haven't actually seen American Gigolo but probably should. And when's Looking For Mr. Goodbar coming out on DVD?

Black to Fade



Headline of The Globe and Mail's 'Report on Business' section today:
'Black Found Guilty of Obstruction And Could Spend 35 Years in Prison'

Headline of Financial Post's section today:
'Black Guilty of Some Fraud Charges'

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Comme Un Boomerang

Still missing Jean-Claude Brialy - here's another highlight from my beloved Anna... but unlike a boomerang, he's not coming back.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gitanes, Moi Non Plus

Ahh, Serge Gainsbourg, ignoring beautiful women once again; not even Françoise Hardy singing one of his songs on throw pillows in a mini-soundstage can rouse him from his Gitanes-tinted, scotch-fueled haze.