Friday, May 30, 2008

Song of the Week

Islands - Creeper [mp3]

To commemorate my last week in San Francisco, here is the aptly titled "Creeper" from Islands' new album Arm's Way.

Found In Translation

Here are some movies that I'd much rather see if I knew them by their alternate English titles.

These are real.
~ In Italy, You Got Served is... Street Dance Fighters.
~ In Austria, Bend it Like Beckham is... Kick it like Beckham.
~ In France, Van Wilder is... American Party, and in Denmark it's Van the Man, in Spain it's Van Wilder: Animal Party.
~ In Germany, Bring it On is... Girls United.

And my personal favourite:
~ In the Philippines, Monster House is... Neighbourhood Crimes and Peepers.

So these are English-to-English translations, not the literal translation of the foreign languange title (such as Bridget Jones Diary becoming Schokolade zum Frühstück or "Chocolate For Breakfast" in German). That's an entirely different web of cross-cultural zaniness.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Science Projects

What happens if you microwave your cell phone?

Should've got the Juicy Beans kid on it...

What's Toronto Spelled Backwards?

Goodbye San Francisco, Hello Troll 2 (/Toronto)...

May 31 - The day after Ladyhawk is playing a farewell concert for me at the Bottom of the Hill in SF, the Bloor Cinema in Toronto is hosting a screening of Troll 2. I'm not one to get sentimental, but them some mighty signs of transition. I'm going to miss the screening as I arrive in the T-Dot the morning after, but it's nice to see the city's rolling out the red shag carpet for me.

Read about Troll 2 screening in Eye Magazine. Short version: Troll 2 is a so-bad-it's-good horror movie shot in Utah by Italian filmmakers and American non-actors. It's slowly gaining access into the new cult canon., there's no trolls in the movie (only goblins), and it isn't really a sequel to Troll.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rock Challenge - Remote Edition [Vol. 1]

Favorite Supergroup Song Titled after a Girl's Name (from a debut album).

1. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Guinnevere
2. The New Pornographers - Jackie
3. The Traveling Wilburys - Maxine

Still wondering what a Rock Challenge is? It's an age old tradition pioneered in the sweaty attics and dingy basements of Kingston, Ontario, Canada in the early Noughts.

First rule of RC is that there are no rules in RC (but that's always kind of been a lie).

Could sound daunting or overly competitive, but the challenge is really the listener's, as he or she is meant to pick their favorite in a category of three or more similarly themed or somehow connected songs. It's all quite simple, although certain Rock Challenges have been known to incorporate other media including books, video games, and strobe lights, but nothing is compulsory... just rock and awe.

So relax, smoke a j, and listen to the songs in consecutive order (right click to download) and then pick one that sticks out based on whatever criteria you see fit (on the poll in the top right of the page).

Headline of the Day

Monkeys Control a Robot Arm With Their Thoughts

read article (there's video too!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reconstruction Sites

YouTomb is a very cool, even valuable, web project devised by 'MIT Free Culture' that tracks videos taken down by YouTube for alleged copyright violation.

You can check out which videos were taken down, how long they were up for, and who's complaint caused the removal. It's a nice to have a watchdog for a site that is so insanely popular, and that since it was bought by Google in 2006 has been increasingly zealous about removing/censoring videos.

Also, check out the blog Overheard Lines, where things people actually have said (mostly in San Francisco) get posted to hilarious effect. Something I overheard was actually posted on May 22.

Trailer Park

Wow, who would've thunk it, but check out this trailer for a kids movie that's worthy of a kid's imagination: City of Ember [quicktime trailer].

Post-apocalypse! For Kids! Featuring an evil Bill Murray! Moi, je suis sold.

Oh, wait... it's based on a book. Well, maybe i'll do some summer reading then (outside of the usual Heidegger and Jughead's Double Digest). It's part of a trilogy so that's kind of annoying, but at least it's not 9 million pages like some other children book franchises.

In other trailer news, last night the 9th annual Movie Preview Awards (or Golden Trailers) were televised. And you'll be happy to know that The Dark Knight won for best action trailer, and I think it also won best overall trailer. That's what I thought when I watched it last night, but there's no proof of that on their website. In any case, it won for the 2nd version of the trailer, the very Joker heavy one that was released in January.

Check out the website
for other winners. Awards were even handed out for posters. My kind of awards show (Sinbad hosted!).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Untitled 1: Captain of Serenity

Check out a video tribute I edited to the TV show "Firefly", with music from Sigur Rós.

"Firefly" is just so damn awesome. From creator Joss Whedon, the series was cut short at 14 episodes, then followed by the film Serenity. The majority of the footage in the video is from an episode called "Out of Gas".

The song is "Untitled 1" or "Vaka" from ().

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hidden Dragons

So everyone's pitching in to provide relief for victims of the Burma cyclone and the China quake, right?

Well, you have to wonder if private citizens/institutions/governments are doing as much as possible when you read something like this:

More after the jump...

From Yahoo News: "She [Ziyi Zhang, star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon] said she donated $144,000 and received a pledge of $100,000 from Wendi Deng, the Chinese-born wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch."

Good for Zhang and sounds generous of Deng at first glance, but consider the fact that Deng's husband is worth $9 billion. I'm no mathlete, but I think that's like the average person donating a penny or a dime or something. And perhaps Deng/Murdoch's donation would be somewhere closer to pocket change if Deng wasn't a business partner/friend of Zhang.

There's a whole host of (very different) complicated politicalisms underlying both the Burma and China disasters, but it makes you wonder what the publicized international relief efforts really amount to. Wikipedia has decent summaries of what the community of nations has donated to each China and Burma. For example, the US government's relief for the Sichuan quake is under that of less economically potent nations like Ireland, Norway and Spain.

I don't know, but what's the point of amassing overflowing wealth if not to use in emergencies such as these? And even if it doesn't arise from noble intentions, it seems like such charity can only benefit you or your government's political/moral/power standing in the long run.

But maybe giving gets in the way of morning swims.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy BDay Mr. Stewart

Today is Jimmy Stewart's (1908-1997) birthday. For sure one of my favourite actors, you might remember him from such films as Vertigo, Rear Window, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
And if you haven't already, make sure to also check out The Shop Around the Corner, Rope, and The Philadelphia Story (amongst others).

His final role was Chief Rocket Science Professor is the TV series "Goof Troop" in the classic episode "E=MC Goof". And you thought Orson Welles's turn as Unicron had the market cornered on unfortunate swan songs.

But (un)fortunately I don't have a clip of that, instead check out quite possibly the best drunk acting ever, and the reason C.K. Dexter Haven is quite definitely the best screen name ever. I present Jimmy Stewart as Macaulay Conor in The Philadelphia Story (1940):

Cary Grant and Stewart, what a screen team! At any point in this movie, I felt they might start high-fiving each other.

Ay Carumba!

This has been floating around for a while, but Anime Simpsons is just so damn transfixing that it is worth a second or third look. (Click image to enlarge).

This via Space Coyote.

Also check out the animefication of Calvin and Hobbes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Victoria Day!

Hopefully all Canadians are having a nice day off.

For any curious/jealous non-Canadians, Victoria Day is traditionally celebrated with an array of fireworks to commemorate the Battle of Ursine Tundra, when Queen Victoria's Royal Battalion staved off the insurgent Polar Bear Army on what is now known as Victoria Island.

Queen Victoria doesn't take no guff...

Harbingers of Disaster

This is a photo taken May 10 in Taizhou, Jiangsu.

2 days before the devastating Shichuan earthquake killed upwards of 35 thousand people, injured 245 thousand, and left tens of thousands more missing, swarms of toads were spotted migrating through different communities in Sichuan province and beyond.

Keep reading...

The same strange phenomenon was obvserved closer to the epicenter of the quake in Mianzhu, Sichuan on May 9.

NY Times has an interesting article discussing the antagonizing relationship between the Chinese governement and the toads, and other natural omens.

And follow this link to another weird PT Andersonesque happening. These rainbow clouds were spotted 30 and 10 minutes before the quake hit, though they have been debunked as unrelated.

Speed Racer - A Graphic Review

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tears of Joy

TDK. Two months from today. Yes, July 18 is the day we get to revel in the Batman movie we've been waiting for since June 24 1989 (the day after Tim Burton's Batman was released).

To celebrate this pre-monthiversary, take a look at the newest full trailer. Great quality version available for streaming or download at whysoserious.

I don't want to understate it, but it's probably the greatest trailer ever. As close to pure cinema as Hollywood can get.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


This here is some next level shit:

via Kung Fu Rodeo via Drawn!

Fraggle Rock Go Movie

If you haven't heard, Jim Henson's kids puppet TV series is turning into a movie.

I'm sure it will end up being watered down, but as long as I get to hear the awesome theme song blasting out some fucking huge theater speakers, then i'm fine with it.

Too bad the bpNichol isn't still around to contribute to the script. Yes, "Fraggle Rock" was so damn cool that in it's heyday, they had transcendent Canadian avant-poets writing episodes. I doubt the Weinstein Co. is into fostering such talent.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Song of the Week

This week I present you with an oldie, but a greatie.

Recently my thieving little fingers clicked their way to Paul McCartney and Wings' "Band on the Run" album. It's something I've always wanted to check out, and it didn't disappoint. Take a listen to the final track of the album, which sounds like it belongs on the Boogie Nights soundtrack - yes, it's that good.

Paul McCartney & Wings: "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five"


On a sidenote, Song of the Week almost didn't happen this week because my uploading page was disabled due to an infringement of copyright laws. The issue stemmed from the fact that I posted an mp3 from the Kooks on Pop Gunning back in March (and the 3 and a half people who listened to it really threatened their album sales). So the site disabled me, but I figured out a way to bounce back. So in conclusion, don't ever buy any music from the Kooks. Probably not a healthy counter move, but they kind of stink, so it's easy. Let's hope I never have a copyright beef with a good band.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Time for Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival officially gets underway tomorrow and this year's competition is kind of exciting, definitely a change from the last few years.

There's a couple of Canadian pictures (Egoyan's Adoration and the Canadian co-production Blindness), some solid directors (Festival darlings the Dardenne Bros., Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders) and a massive Che Guevara double feature (starring Benicio Del Toro, directed by Steven Soderbergh). Other promising films include Synechdoche, New York from Charlie Kaufman (his directorial debut) and Three Monkeys from Nuri Bilge Ceylan (the Turkish director of Climates). Read the full list of movies in competition below (with links to the Cannes official site).

Most exciting of all though, is the debut of Wong Kar Wai's new edit of his 1994 martial arts epic Ashes of Time, Ashes of Time Redux. Yes, apparently he's altered it to better suit his original vision, including a new score by Yo Yo Ma.


If this means there will finally be a decent print released on DVD, I'm all for it. This movie is spectacular enough as it is, so I can't wait to see an improved version. It's definitely underloved so I think a re-release is a smart move (especially considering the recent floppiness of My Blueberry Nights). I never really could figure out why Ashes never received as much praise as Wong's other films. But it's definitely on the shortlist of my most important movies. Back in the year 2000, I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen at a special screening in Toronto, and it has really informed a lot of my taste in movies ever since.

Read more about the Redux at Kaiju Shakedown. Watch the original trailer here or check out the higher quality version here.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Another Reason to Buy a PS3...

If it wasn't enough to suffer the indignity of staring into people's windows watching them play the new Grand Theft Auto game, this news pretty much guarantees I'm going to blow some cash on a Playstation 3 in the near future (which reportedly might be cut $100 in price come October)

The good(?) news comes from Criterion - they're going to start releasing Blu-Ray versions of their collector series DVD titles. I guess they were smart enough to wait out the silly format war with HD-DVD.

More after the jump...

From their website:

"These new editions will feature glorious high-definition picture and sound, all the supplemental content of the DVD releases, and they will be priced to match our standard-def editions.

Here’s what’s in the pipeline:

The Third Man; Bottle Rocket; Chungking Express; The Man Who Fell to Earth; The Last Emperor; El Norte; The 400 Blows; Gimme Shelter; The Complete; Monterey Pop; Contempt; Walkabout; For All Mankind; The Wages of Fear"


Who says professional athletes don't have a sense of humour?

The video above shows now Cleveland Cavalier guard Delonte West waxing poetical on a variety of topics from his mural painting (3:04) to wanting to be Bugs Bunny (4:28).

Here's more evidence of Delonte's comedic genius: explaining the fictional origin of his tattoos; dealing with the league's change back to the old leather ball; the commercial where he trademarked his "wiyah hangah" catchphrase; and some proof that he actually plays basketball.

The Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh also fancies himself a comedian. He might be a bit more earnest, but this new video is slightly hilarious (mostly in a grade school video project way).

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Scuttlebut and Shuttlecocks

Looks like Milk, the Harvey Milk biopic starring Sean Penn, has an official release date: November 26 2008. Just in time for consideration from Oscars the grouch. EW has a "first look" of Penn in the role. First official look I guess, because pretty much all San Franciscans or anybody with an interest already's got the scoop.

More G.I. Joe pictures have hit the whole wide world (www). Empire reports that in order to combat unofficial, unfinished, cheap looking photos that leaked, the studio has now unleashed official, cheap looking photos. What's with all the black? Seems pretty uninspired and bleak. I still like the casting though, especially Sienna Miller as Baronness and Said Taghmaoui as Breaker. Check out Cinematical for all the photos. Popgunning's previous post on the matter.

More after the jump...

Heard rumors of Superbad's Jonah Hill joining the Transformers 2 cast as Shia's comedic relieving college roommate. Well, it's not happening. Seemed like a good fit. But does anybody really care? As long as the robots blow up stuff, and Megan Fox exposes her midriff, I think fans of puerile special effects extravaganzas will be happy.

In more exciting news, apparently there's already talks of a third Batman film after TDK. Word is no more Joker (recasting Heath seems like it would be a horrible idea) and lots more Two Face. I say throw in a new Batman villain that hasn't graced the screen yet, like Harley Quinn. Christopher Nolan will probably be at the helm (phew) but after a third one, not so much.

Lastly, there's also talk of a big screen, big budget version of "MacGyver". Yikes!

I think I need a trial separation from Hollywood.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Where the Ladies At?

This is why they should've never taken the Wonder Woman movie away from the incomparable Joss Whedon.

Manohla Dargis gets it exactly right in an NYTimes article about the scary lack of heavy hitting films starring leading ladies.

Read the article here.

She mentions everything from the Britney Murphy/Legally Blonde effect to the men-women in Judd Apatow's movies.

Monday, May 05, 2008

You ain't never seen these before...

Breaking Animal News!

Antelope, flying squirrel, goat, you thought you've seen it all. Sorry to blow your mind friendo, but new species were just recently discovered in Brazil.

Including a legless reptile (not a snake!), a "very cryptic" horned toad that's likely new to science, and the Stenocercus quinarius which scientists liken to a "miniature dragon".

More after the jump...

"The lizard—part of a separate evolutionary line from snakes—is one of 14 species believed new to science discovered on a four-week expedition to a 1.77-million-acre (716,000-hectare) protected area in the Cerrado (an extensive savanna shrubland mosaic and the largest ecoregion in the Americas--not to mention the sixth largest in the world. Across parts of southern Brazil, northeastern Paraguay, and eastern Bolivia)."

This comes courtesy of National

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Iron Man - A Graphic Review

click to enlarge

Saw Iron Man last night. Almost overshadowed by the (fucking spectacular) new TDK trailer, but it managed to shine in its own right. If you check it out, make sure to stay until the very end of the credits for a li'l treat.

Friday, May 02, 2008

New Hulk Trailer

Second time around they seem to have got it right. More solitude, more tension, and less Liv Tyler speaking. Check it out.

Popquiz: What Toronto building is featured in this trailer? (no Zanzibar in this one)

Still, it seems no match for Iron Man and TDK, just bad timing I guess. If this was released last summer against the dopey Spiderman 3 and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it would've ruled. Now it's just the lesser of three thinking man's comic book films.

Happy May Day

Here's Fidel addressing the May Day crowd in Habana in 2006. Hundreds of thousands of people!

Wonder how Raul carried the torch this year? (no communism puns intended). Well, he didn't. He attended but did not speak.

BBC has more on it.

Akron/Family, more like Stankron/Family

There I am, way in the back not caring.
After hearing heaps of great things about Akron/Family's live dynamic, and being quite the fan of their recorded work, I finally saw them in concert on Wednesday night at SF's Rickshaw Stop. And wowzers, what a stink fest. Not only the stink of marijuana and sweaty moustaches, but also the stink of a very self-indulgent band of psuedo-neo-hippies.

As if Phish's bratty little cousins stole their instruments and went nuts with tin whistles, drums, remedial melodies, and a seriously inflated sense of their own powers.

They were joined by SF upstarts The Dodos for the entirety of their 2 sets, which only muddled things further. It seems following the departure of their main vocalist and songwriter they're trying to put things back together (he up and joined a commune or something). But as evidenced last night, me thinks that he was the core of the band. For instance, they played 1 recognizable song off of their 3 LPs (albeit I did miss the 1st half of the 1st set so I could've missed out huge).

More than anything though, I was put off by their lame ass crowd prodding antics. Before even starting their 2nd set (after a 35min respite), they were calling out SF as being lame, "c'mon LA dances, even New York dances". I felt like I was at the Vans Warped tour or something. And now, thanks to the brain melting decibel of their monotonous grooves, my ears are still ringing 24 hours later.

Read another take on the concert.