Sunday, August 8, 2010

Music Video Monday featuring Grum, Kele and These New Puritans

Grum- can't shake this feeling

Kele- tenderoni

These New Puritans- hologram

The End

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Smothered in Transparent Blue

About a month ago I read Dennis Cooper's Smothered in Hugs, a collection of "essays, interviews, feedback, and obituaries" that were previously published in the likes of the Village Voice, Interview Magazine, Spin Magazine and more. Covering Courtney Love, Derek Jarman, River Phoenix, Nan Goldin, William Burroughs, Clive Barker and John Waters, just to name a few, I found Cooper's non fiction to be revealing and of course well written- sometimes staggeringly well written. The standout pieces for me are the investigative/reportage works 'Too School For School' (about students completing their graduate degree in Fine Arts at UCLA in 1994) and 'AIDS: Words from the Front,' a poetic and heartbreaking look at hustlers living with (and dying) from AIDS.
Cooper's taste in outsider art is impeccable and I made a list of music, literature and cinema to explore based on his recommendations and praise in Smothered in Hugs. The hilarious 'Hipper Than Thou: Ryu Murakami' documents Cooper's failed interview with the cool and controversial Japanese writer and film director, Ryu Murakami. The planned interview apparently went awry and spiralled into a farce due to the language barrier between Cooper and Murakami and a somewhat inept translator. Miscommunication aside, Cooper eloquently describes Murakami's work and hooked my interest enough that I did some research. I was surprised to discover I had bought and already read one of his books called In The Miso Soup. It seems that the novel didn't make a very strong impression on me.

However, I was intrigued by the reviews of Murakami's first novel, the Akutagawa Prize winning Almost Transparent Blue, originally published in 1976. Newsweek called the book "A Japanese mix of A Clockwork Orange [one of my favorite films] and L'Etranger [one of my favorite books]"- so I had to check it out. The novel is a slim 126 pages but packs a powerful punch as it brutally details the violent, drugged out, over sexed and dangerous lives of a group of Japanese youths living in a port town close to an American military base. Murakami's writing is often (and sometimes especially) beautiful as he describes the grotesqueness of the youths' reality and the bizarre hallucinations of the main character. The Washington Post listed my favorite things about the book, calling Almost Transparent Blue "a combination of exotica, erotica, and indigenous literary technique...Bugs and mucus, cheesecake and semen, rain and runways- all lovingly described."
I found a paragraph on page 113 particularly striking and true and though I would post it here:

"I remembered a friend who'd died of a bad liver, and what he'd always said. Yeah, he'd said, maybe it's just my idea, but really it always hurts, the times it don't hurt is when we just forget, we just forget it hurts, you know, it's not just because my belly's all rotten, everybody always hurts. So when it really starts stabbing me, somehow I feel sort of peaceful, like I'm myself again. It's hard to take, sure, but I feel sort of peaceful. Because it's always hurt ever since I was born."

Almost Transparent Blue is a surprisingly strong book that I highly recommend.

The End

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Music Video Monday featuring Girls and Pure

And oldie and a new one:

Pure- Anna is a Speed Freak

Girls- curls

The End

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dree Hemingway for Halston - Video

I caught a profile segment on model/aspiring actress Dree Hemingway (Ernest's great-granddaughter) while watching an old episode of Fashion Television. Though beautiful, Dree comes off a bit dim in interviews but she isn't really the point of this post anyway. While profiling her, Fashion Television showed a quick sequence of a video Dree did for Halston a few years ago. I loved the Kubrick-like tracking shot, graceful slow motion and eerie elements so hunted down the vid. Here it is:

The End

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Strange Boys and Kate Moss for Topshop

Check out Kate Moss dancing (awkwardly but looking hot) to The Strange Boys' "be brave" for Topshop's Spring/Summer 2010 video:

The End

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Music Video Monday featuring Diamond Rings, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Miike Snow

To make up for my absence, here is a stack of music videos- early!

Diamond Rings- show me your stuff

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart- say no to love

Crystal Castles- celestica

Miike Snow- rabbit

The End

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Music Video Monday featuring The Golden Filter

Late again, I know.

The Golden Filter- memorial day

Monday, May 31, 2010

Music Video Monday featuring Ólafur Arnalds, Carte Blanche and Born Ruffians

Ólafur Arnalds- Hægt,kemur ljósið

Ólafur Arnalds – Hægt, kemur ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.

Carte Blanche(a.k.a: DJ Mehdi & Riton)- gare du nord

Born Ruffians- what to say

The End

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear 2010

From Aug 27 - 29, Rue Morgue will put on its annual Festival of Fear National Horror Expo and this year, the line up of guests is crazy!

(My highlights)
David Cronenberg
Ken Russel
Heather Lagenkamp
Joan Collins
Julie Newmar

Looking forward to it!

The End

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Music Video Monday goes pop

Yesterday was a holiday and of course I had to work. Gotta make that time and a half cash! So here is the delayed Music Video Monday post (beware, this one goes pop):

Quadron- Buster Keaton

Goldfrapp- alive

Robyn- dancing on my own

The End

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gregg Araki - 'Kaboom' (3rd clip and interview)

Here is a third clip from 'Kaboom' featuring some nudity and a brief interview with Gregg Araki at Cannes.

The End

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gregg Araki - 'Kaboom' (Cannes reviews)

Gregg Araki's 'Kaboom' had its premiere at Cannes and the reviews are in.

In an interview with Anthony Kaufman for indiewire, Araki says that he went back to his indie roots with 'Kaboom,' "cut[ting] the whole thing...on Final Cut," and that the film "is definitely an old school Gregg Araki cult movie. For those people who think all of Gregg Araki’s movies suck except ‘Mysterious Skin,’ they’re probably not going to be thrilled. But it was super-fun to make.”
An old school Gregg Araki cult movie?!? Sounds fucking awesome. 'Kaboom' remains the most anticipated release of 2010 for me, despite some of the mixed reviews. While Mike D'Angelo at the AV Club confirms my sentiments, stating, Araki's "maturity + technical skill + deliberate regression = awesome," Guy Lodge at In Connection calls the film "uneven" and in his review of 'Kaboom' for indiewire, Kaufman states that the film never transcends its "silliness" and Araki's "apocalyptic pastiche doesn't feel as urgent — or as subversive — as it once did."

Two previously unreleased clips have appeared:

A moment that reminds me more of Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' than 'Twin Peaks' which Araki cites as a reference. It also recalls 'Mysterious Skin' with the voice-over and bright, washed out look.

and a scene that reminds me of the moment in 'Nowhere' where the bathroom conversation between Dark and Mel is interrupted by Zero.

Check here for a break down of more reviews and their respective origins.

The End

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bret Easton Ellis' Vice interview (May 2010)

Gearing up for the anticipated release of 'Imperial Bedrooms,' a sequel of sorts to 1985's 'Less Than Zero,' Vice interviewed writer Bret Easton Ellis over the phone. I haven't read the whole thing as it contains a spoiler, but it is informative and insightful:

Apparently 'Imperial Bedrooms' "is darker than 'Less Than Zero' and more full of dread and horror." - I'm liking the sounds of that!

The End

Friday, May 14, 2010

Zero 7 hour long mix

Sam from Zero 7 has put together a brand new, hour-long mix featuring some of his favourite tracks past and present, set to pictures taken by the band during their autumn tour last year.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Karl Lagerfeld - 'Remember Now' (short film)

Is there anything the Kaiser can't do?

Shot in St. Tropez, featuring Elisa Sednaoui, Baptiste Giabiconi, Freja Beha Erichsen, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Heidi Mount and Leigh Lezark, 'Remember Now' is a 17 min short film written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld.
What exactly is the film about? Not sure. Will it be any good? Probably not. But like Tom Ford's 'A Single Man,' it will be amazing to look at.
Check out the trailer for the high fashion, dancing, partying and style.

The End

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fin Du Cinema

I can't think of a more fitting post for this blog.
Via Dennis Cooper's blog, Alan presents FIN DU CINEMA, a collection of 100 end titles:

The End

'I Spit On Your Grave' and 'Piranha 3D'

The recycling factory called Hollywood has been on a remake roll these past few years, pumping out updated versions of classic horror films. Here are two more to add to the already bloated list. Seems they are signaling out the year 1978 to draw from.
Sidenote/guilty admission: I'm actually looking forward to these.

'I Spit On Your Grave' (2010)

'I Spit On Your Grave' (1978)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dan Felton in short video "So Long, For Now"

Dan Felton looking hot in a vid for TEST Magazine UK, "So Long, For Now," set to an instrumental loop of Q Tip's "vivrant thing."

Untitled from Daniel Jaffe on Vimeo.

The End

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 major book releases

2010 is going to be huge for books with 3 of my favorite writers releasing new material!

Bret Easton Ellis - 'Imperial Bedrooms' (a sequel to 1985's 'Less Than Zero' that doesn't sound completely sacrilegious)

Dennis Cooper - 'The Weaklings' (a new poetry collection)

Chuck Palahniuk- 'Tell All' (a classic Hollywood/tabloid like melodrama?)

The End

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yeasayer - "o.n.e"

It is 4 something in the a.m. and I have a fever and can't sleep.
Luckily, the new Yeasayer video for "o.n.e" has been keeping me entertained with its trippy, Mad Max on meth club vibe and visuals.

I've also been enjoying the MMMatthias remix:

I should have got tickets for the fucking Toronto show.

The End

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Grammar Nazi's Lament

Poor grammar really bothers me. Spelling mistakes also piss me off.
We all slip up, but if you are going to write something, take the time to edit and spell check it- especially if what you write is a huge sign you are going to hold in front of the media while mourning the death of your sister/mother/friend (as pictured below in an image I scanned from The Toronto Star).
Ladies, grief isn't an excuse for poor grammar. Your sign should read:
"Jessica, you're our hero. Rest in peace sweet angel. You're safe in God's hands."

The End

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dennis Cooper's 'Guide' (1997) - page #5

The blue carpet in my bedroom is being torn up to be replaced by hardwood flooring that my parents claim will be installed in the next few months (realistically, in the next few years). I am in the midst of packing my books into boxes so my book shelf can be moved. While doing so, I have been reminiscing about reading some of my favorite books for the first time, thinking about what my life was like and what I was doing and thinking.

Though not my favorite book or even my favorite book by Dennis Cooper, 'Guide' contains one of my favorite literary passages (which you will find below):

"Once I dropped acid three times a day for a month. It was the summer, my sixteenth. My family was taking our yearly vacation on Maui. I'd made this friend, Craig, a local surfer with great drug connections. Every morning we'd score a few blotter hits, hitchhike to this remote beach, and spend the day zonked, hallucinating, babbling, and swimming around in the ocean. After several weeks, we started to lose it. We'd found this coral reef a short distance offshore. One day we robbed a hotel room, stole a truck, and transported the room's furnishings to the beach. We towed our loot, piece by piece, through the surf, underwater, and into this huge, cavelike nook in the reef, setting each chair, rug, et cetera in place, then swimming furiously back for the surface. Our plan was to live in this cave, rent-free, far away from fascistic reality. It never crossed our minds that we wouldn't be able to breathe." (page 5)

As demonstrated in this passage, the flow and pace of Cooper's prose is perfect and its simplicity is deceiving. He slices away the flesh and fat, cutting to the naked white bone of what he means to convey with the meticulousness of a surgeon wielding a scalpel.

The End

'Dahmer' (related) recap

Dahmer's victims:

The older sister of Jeffrey Dahmer's 11th victim, Errol Lindsey, freaks out in court and attempts to attack Dahmer. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic:

A homemade video for Sufjan Stevens' haunting 'John Wayne Gacy Jr,' one of my favourite songs. Creator Claire Carre incorporates 50's educational films and old family footage:

The End

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Probably due to the fact that Jeremy Renner is getting alot of attention these days (and an Oscar nom) for the disappointing 'The Hurt Locker,' I was craving rewatching one of my favorite films, 'Dahmer' (2002). Of course the Academy would never recognize a film like 'Dahmer' but I think Renner's nuanced performance as the disturbed yet alluring serial killer was much more deserving of an Oscar nomination. At least he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.
Late last night I satiated my craving and rewatched the film.

Serious, somber and sensitive, 'Dahmer' is not a stereotypical sensationalist bio pic. The opening credit montage of a chocolate factory assembly line eerily set to Patsy Cline's "just out of reach" immediately signals that this is not going to be the Jeffrey Dahmer movie viewers are anticipating even though the action then meticulously moves to Dahmer luring a victim from a department store back to his apartment where he proceeds to perform a partial lobotomy on the boy with a power drill.
Despite atrocious acts like the aforementioned lobotomy, director and writer David Jacobson refuses to demonize the tortured Dahmer. I think it makes people feel better to distance themselves from others who commit abhorrent acts by referring to them as "monsters." By doing so, people draw a clear line separating themselves from a murderer. It is true that Jeffrey Dahmer did monstrous things but it is ignorant to think that he was somehow less human or all that different from you and me. Dahmer was someone's son and someone's neighbour, not a "monster."
A moralistic perspective on Dahmer's actions is refused by director Jacobson. Instead, a coolly detached, restrained perspective aided by precise, sometimes stark camerawork by Chris Manley and editing by Bipasha Shom, show without telling. Events, including the murder and dismemberment of Dahmer's first victim, are presented in a manner that is startlingly matter-of-fact, stripped naked of a damning or condemning voice. This moral ambiguity is something I appreciate as it lets the viewer determine things on their own, reach their own conclusions and feel their own emotions without heavy handed guidance.
Jacobson also refuses to play the silly textbook game of connect the ( behavioral/psychological) dots from childhood to adulthood to somehow explain why Dahmer became one of America's grisliest mass murderers. Many horror films about killers, Rob Zombie's reworking of 'Halloween' (2007) and even the excellent 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer' (1986) for examples, paint simple pictures of a troubled, abused boy becoming a troubled, abusing (and killing) man. But realistically, things are not always so simple. The timeline of 'Dahmer' slides back and forth between the present and snippets of Jeffrey's adolescence. Sure his father is revealed to have been slightly oppressive and humiliating and his parents divorced, but Dahmer was not forced to dress in women's clothing and watch his mother fuck strange men who later molested him (as in 'Henry'). 'Dahmer' demonstrates that sometimes there are no clear, formulaic reasons for why we do the things we do, making the film all the more chilling.
Jacobson's direction and Jeremy Renner's portrayal allow viewers to not only sympathize but empathize with the dissolute Dahmer and I fully agree with the opening sentence of Ed Halter's insightful 2002 review of the film in The Village Voice; "The only gay movie protagonist in recent years whom I've identified with is [this] titular antihero..." Renner's nerdy yet attractive Dahmer is awkwardly shy and his graceless attempts at human connection feel squeamishly close to home for me, especially in a houseparty scene. When Jeffrey's parents go on vacation, he throws a houseparty where he is ignored and sits drinking alone as his peers dance and interact around him. After getting up and wandering out of the room like a ghost, Jeffrey hears a heterosexual couple fucking in a bedroom. With sad yearning, he pushes open the door and briefly watches the couple going at it, connecting in a way he ferociously desires but can't seem to manage. Later, in a gay bar, the houseparty scene is echoed when Dahmer is depicted as an alienated outcast, nervously navigating the fringes as men wearing tight t-shirts dance around him- another all too familiar scene. Gay life is unflatteringly rendered in 'Dahmer' as one that "exploits deep wells of loneliness" (Halter) and this is something else I connect and agree with.
Aside from a heartbreakingly beautiful scene at the end where a metaphor for Damher's desperate desire to connect, to get at another person's heart, is literalized by him slicing open a victim's chest and reaching his arm inside; the violence in the film is kept off screen and the gore kept to a minimum. Strangely, and to the film's detriment, Dahmer's real life cannibalism is left out. The large vat Dahmer used to store the corpses of his victims near his bed in real life is also omitted from the film. However, I think this was a good choice because in the film, Dahmer instead keeps the corpses in his bed, providing for some suspenseful and uncomfortable scenes.
'Dahmer' does not show the capture and imprisonment of Jeffrey, or his eventual murder at the hands of another inmate. In line with the film's austerity, seriousness and intelligence, 'Dahmer' concludes with a series of stark, mostly static shots depicting Dahmer's isolation and disconnection as he appears solitary in the frame. Instead of seeking help at a local AA meeting, he turns his back to the camera and the audience, walking off into a forest, symbolizing how Dahmer turned his back on society, unable to reach out or resist the urges within.

'Dahmer' suffered from poor marketing as it was pushed as a regular, mainstream horror movie (demonstrated in the stupid official trailer that I refuse to post) when it should have played the festival circuit.
Sidenote- the minimal score to the film is creepy and perfect. As are the soundtrack choices. Below are some of the tracks used in the film:

Patsy Cline- just out of reach (used in the opening credits)

Freddy Cannon- Tallahassee Lassie (used in a scene where one of Dahmer's victims dances drunk in Dahmer's apartment before he is attacked)

Gladys Knight and the Pips- with every beat of my heart

The End

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Back when David Cronenberg was known as ‘the Baron of blood’ or Dave ‘Deprave’ Cronenberg and before he was awarded France’s Legion of Honour or lunched with Tom Cruise, he infected the imagination of cinema audiences with Videodrome (1982). Provocative, prophetic and even philosophical, Videodrome blends Cronenberg’s predilection for the perverse with Marshall Mcluhan’s musings on media to create a cautionary Sci-Fi / Horror film that brings new meaning to the expression, “television will rot your brain.”

Videodrome follows Max Renn (James Woods), a sleazy underground cable TV programmer in Toronto, as he stumbles onto the transmission of “Videodrome,” a show consisting of “just torture and murder. No plot, no characters.” Max thinks he has found “what’s next,” something his desensitized audience has been craving and something that will “break through.” After hooking up with the kinky Nicki Brand (Blondie’s Deborah Harry), Max begins to experience violent and sexual hallucinations resulting in mind-bending (and blowing) special effects by Academy Award winner Rick Baker. Television screens pulsate like organs while videotapes bulge and breathe as if alive. In an attempt to locate the source of “Videodrome,” Max discovers its transmissions are encoded with a signal that induces a brain tumor, eventually transforming the viewer’s reality into video hallucination. The signal was originally intended to be the next stage in human evolution as a technological being by its inventor, media prophet Brian O’Blivion (Jeck Creley), a parody of Mcluhan. Instead, Barry Convex (Les Carlson) has hijacked the signal and plans to launch it through Max’s cable channel as a mind-controlling device.
Exploding bodies, exploding television sets, a vaginal torso slit and a transmogrified pistol-hand all contribute to the ensuing imagery as Max descends into extreme hallucinations of mutation and murder, drawing the film to a viscera drenched conclusion.

Though at times convoluted and uneven, Videodrome is a prescient parable about the intrusive and identity-threatening force of the media, specifically television, and the dangerously desensitizing effects of overexposure to sex and violence. Forecasting society’s sadistic bloodlust for violence as electronic entertainment, predicting the reality TV craze, and inspiring/influencing countless films including The Matrix (1999) and The Ring (2002), Videodrome remains as relevant today as it was in 1982. It is unfortunate Cronenberg does not return to this kind of thoughtful, edgy filmmaking and instead pursues a proposed blockbuster starring Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington.

The original trailer- one of the most random and also one of the best trailers ever:

The End

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Aldo Spring 2010 video / The Cramps- "human fly"

I'm o.k with Aldo ripping off Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs in a recent Spring 2010 campaign. Hell, everyone is ripping off those two and at least Jessica Stam looks hot in the shots. But "I got 96 tears in 96 eyes" from seeing the short video/TV spot that uses an awful cover of "human fly" by The Cramps. Is nothing sacred?

Check out the video here:

Or skip it and just listen to the original track:

The End

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blondie for Converse

Like many bands before them, Blondie has teamed up with Converse and designed a collection of limited edition Chuck Taylors featuring animal prints, graffiti-style text and graphics from the band's iconic album covers. The shoes seem pretty cool and in line with the band's aesthetic:

I might get a pair to go with my limited edition Misfits Chuck Taylor style shoes by Vision Streetwear (pictured below):

The End

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Levi's Cords by Opening Ceremony - short video

A short video was made to accompany Ryan Mcginley's shots for the launch of Levi's Cords by Opening Ceremony. It features an unknown version or remix of the awesome track "gothstar" by Pictureplane. The video itself is a little too pretty or cutesy for me but it has a few cool moments. See below:

Pictureplane's low-fi video for "gothstar":

The End

Monday, February 22, 2010

'Street Trash'

Frank Schnizer- "I don't need this. I already got trouble with my kids, my wife, my business, my secretary, the bums...the runaways, the roaches, prickly heat, and a homo dog. This just ain't my day."

The above snippet of dialogue is from the outrageous and offensive 'Street Trash' (1987), an opus of gore and bad taste. Catching this exploitation epic at February's Cinemacabre Movie Night put on by Rue Morgue at the Bloor cinema was the most fun I've had at the movies in a long time. The following laundry list of lewd acts and scenes only begins to describe the vile hilarity and sleazy insanity of 'Street Trash': melting and/or exploding hobos, a penis castration and subsequent game of 'monkey in the middle' played with the severed dick, the gang rape and murder of a drunken rich woman, a "homo dog" licking his obese owner's crotch and a cop finishing the job of violently beating up a hit man by jabbing his fingers down his own throat and vomiting on the man's unconscious body. My favourite scene aside from the classic toilet melt consists of a homeless black man attempting to shoplift mass amounts of food (melons and packages of chicken thighs!) in his pants from a supermarket. An old white woman snicthes on him, leading to a side splitting confrontation including these lines:
Burt- "Well, what you starin' at, bitch?"
Old Woman Shopper- "You're robbing the store, young man! And I'm telling the Manager."
Burt- "Yeah, you do that. Old wrinkled, honky motherfucker. Telling on me... Well, what she think this is, Junior High?"

The central story line of 'Street Trash' is pretty straight forward. An unscrupulous yet opportunistic liquor store owner discovers a box of bottles containing mysterious, 60 year-old booze called 'Viper' in his basement and begins selling the stuff to homeless veterans and vagabonds. Unfortunately for them, 'Viper' brings new meaning to the term "gut rot" as it causes everyone that drinks it to melt and/or explode, allowing for some exceptionally vibrant, neon tinged gore. The rapidly depleting hobo population and discoveries of electric coloured, acidic goo puddles sets the ridiculously inept police department on an investigation. From here the plot branches out all over the place, depicting various inane issues plaguing the demented denizens of the inner city.
Apart from all the splattering viscera, racism and sexism oozing from the script, 'Street Trash' also contains a somewhat confused but heartfelt social commentary on the treatment of veterans and the misconceptions surrounding 'combat-shock.' Surprisingly, what the film lacks in good performances, it more than makes up for with inspired cinematography, especially the Steadicam work.

Check out the trailer:

The End

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


'Frozen,' directed by Adam Green and starring Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore and newcomer Emma Bell, is one the most intensely gut wrenching, well crafted and well acted horror/thrillers I have seen in a long time. After hearing reports of audience members fainting and throwing up at Sundance, I patiently waited for the film's theatrical run to begin. Unfortunately it only opened in a few random cinemas here but no bother, I was happy to be one of only 5 other people in the audience when I saw it this week.
Zegers and Ashmore play long time friends and Bell plays Zegers' girlfriend. The three of them go on a skiing trip and find themselves stranded on a chairlift, forced to make harrowing life-or-death choices to avoid freezing to death as the resort won't reopen for a week and no one knows they are stuck.
The first thing the film has going for it is that the characters are instantly likable and relatable. They are not the typical, cliched 2 dimensional horror/thriller cut outs that prove themselves so annoying or stupid that they deserve to die. You start caring about them from the beginning (it doesn't hurt that Zegers is hot). On top of that, the actors deliver excellent, realistic performances.
Director Adam Green exhibits true talent, slowly turning the screws of tension and suspense until you are at the edge of your seat. It is rare that I want to hide behind my hands during a film but this one had me ducking into my seat, trying to put distance between me and the horror on screen. Green also impresses by flipping between moments of restraint/subtlety (keeping violence offscreen, letting characters talk things through) and moments of terror (gore).
'Frozen' is brutal and unrelenting but rare for a horror/thriller, it is also smart and emotionally involving. Highly recommended- unlike Green's prevous slasher 'Hatchet' (2007) which should be avoided at all costs.

I'm throwing in some completely unrelated shots of Kevin Zegers just for the sake of it:

The End

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Song to the siren"

I watched a bootleg dvd of 'The Lovely Bones' the other day with a friend. Not that I was expecting much from the film, but I was especially disappointed with the selection of music. It is bad enough that "Alice" by the Cocteau Twins is featured in the film (and the trailer) but someone had the gall to include This Mortal Coil's version of "song to the siren" to sappy effect.
I can't remember when or where I first heard the track, but I do recall it taking my breath away. Dark, subtle and hauntingly beautiful, the song gave me chills and still does. At the risk of sounding sentimental, only a few songs have managed to burrow so deeply into my heart and I feel very protective of them and their use in film and TV. This Mortal Coil's "song to the siren" has no place in 'The Lovely Bones.' It has also been used in 'Lost Highway' (1997) and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (2003) but I feel it somehow fits the scenes in those films a little better. That being said, enough is enough. I firmly believe that once a song is used on a soundtrack it shouldn't be used again and some songs shouldn't be whored out on soundtracks in the first place.

"Song to the siren" was originally written and performed by Tim Buckley in 1970:

But I much prefer the version by This Mortal Coil released in 1983:


On the floating, shapeless oceans
I did all my best to smile
til your singing eyes and fingers
drew me loving into your eyes.

And you sang "Sail to me, sail to me;
Let me enfold you."

Here I am, here I am waiting to hold you.
Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you here when I was full sail?

Now my foolish boat is leaning, broken love lost on your rocks.
For you sang, "Touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow."
Oh my heart, oh my heart shies from the sorrow.
I'm as puzzled as a newborn child.
I'm as riddled as the tide.
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Or shall I lie with death my bride?

Hear me sing: "Swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you."
"Here I am. Here I am, waiting to hold you."

Here it is being used in the trailer for 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (2003):

and featured in a scene from 'Lost Highway' (1997):

The End

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy (Anti) Valentine's Day

Me, a few years ago:

One of my all time favourite slasher films, the Canadian made 'My Bloody Valentine' (1981):

My favourite track off My Bloody Valentine's 1991 album 'Loveless':

The End

Thursday, February 11, 2010

R.I.P McQueen

The End

Depeche Mode- "hole to feed" (video)

I am a huge fan of Depeche Mode but their most recent album, 2009's 'Sounds of the Universe,' totally slipped through the cracks for me. I never end up playing it because it is boring. That being said, I stumbled across the weird video for "hole to feed" the other day and it really disturbed me (at least that is something). I can't stand the sight of people licking the tongues of other people or messy makeout sessions. Keep your tongues in your holes!
Check it out here because youtube took it down.

The End

Monday, February 8, 2010

Christina Ricci for Donna Karan - 'Four Play' video

From 'The Ice Storm,' to 'Buffalo '66' to 'The Opposite of Sex,' Christina Ricci has delivered some of my favourite female performances in some of my favourite films. A few years ago a friend of mine was working for the Toronto Film Festival and I was helping him run errands. We had to drop off a package at the Intercontinental Hotel but accidentally went to the wrong room. Instead of some bored publicist opening the hotel room door, Christina Ricci did. It was one of the few times I have been star struck. Surprisingly, she was really sweet and down to earth which only increased my liking for her.
Connecting to my little run in, Ricci stars in the video advertisement for Donna Karan's Eldridge bag, 'Four Play.' She plays the Dreamer, the Expressionist, the Paramour and the Voyeur, four versions of the same woman who interact in a hotel room.

The End

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Xiu Xiu- "Dear God, I Hate Myself"

Xiu Xiu are set to release their new album 'Dear God, I Hate Myself' on the 22nd. I am really looking forward to it based on the single and video for it of new band member Angela Seo repeatedly sticking her fingers down her throat and forcing herself to throw up.

The End

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

'Greed & Generosity' - a short video

In 2007, my favorite chain smoking Romanian film professor assigned us a project where we each had to interpret a poem by Rumi and make a short video. Here is mine:

The End

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jay Z ft Swizz Beatz- "on to the next one"

Creepy, hot and creative, the Sam Brown directed video for "on to the next one" from Jay Z ft Swizz Beatz is electrifying. It is always refreshing when a hip hop video strays away from the typical formula of flashing cash, hoes and bling (or at least experiments with the formula). This black and white vid does both, throwing in Damien Hirst references, strange characters in skeleton makeup and striking images of bouncing, burning basketballs and bleeding walls while the hoes wear weird makeup, costumes and blood on their lips.

Swizz Beatz's beats and collaborations are always fresh and exciting. He can do no wrong.

Best lyrics from the song:

"No I'm not a Jonas,
Brother I'm a grown up,
No I'm not a virgin,
I use my cojones"

The End

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Canada's Top Ten Short Films

I went to both programmes of Canada's Top Ten Short films at the Cinematheque the other night and was very impressed with the quality of work on display- much more impressed than I was with 'I Killed My Mother' (one of Canada's supposed Top Ten Features of the year). Here are some of the most notable films:

Programme 1

'Runaway' - Director: Cordell Bark

Wacky and witty, 'Runaway' is a fun, fast paced and imaginative animated gem propelled by a jazzy score.

'La Vie commence' / 'Life Begins' - Director: Émile Proulx-Cloutier

One of the strongest short films I have ever seen, 'La Vie commence' / 'Life Begins' is subtle and striking, packing an emotional punch and a powerful closing image that had me gasping. Almost dialogue free, the film focuses on brothers Joseph and Mathieu and what happens when their house is broken into and their father's gun is stolen. An unsettling, mysterious and disjointed tone is set from the opening edits which sharply cut establishing shots, and builds throughout the film's 14 min running time until the closing image and ambiguous ending. Dealing with the bond and relationship (possibly one that has crossed a line and gone too far?) shared between two brothers, 'La Vie commence' / 'Life Begins' is poignant and thought provoking.

The Armoire - Director: Jamie Travis

Though he has only made short films so far, Jamie Travis is one of my favourite Canadian filmmakers. His meticulous art direction, precise cinematography and refined style create unique, campy worlds where children deal with coming of age through demented games and (usually) musical numbers. 'The Armoire' follows a young boy as he struggles to remember how his best friend went missing while they were playing a game of hide and seek. Not as good as his previous film 'The Saddest Boy in the Wold,' 'The Armoire' is still a notable piece, containing references to things as disparate as 'The Shining,' David Lynch and day time soap operas. Sidenote: I was glad to hear Jamie say that he is finished making movies about children and wants to move on to working with adults. He was beginning to come off like a one trick pony and I am looking forward to what he will be doing next.

Check out the trailer

And website

Programme 2

Danse Macabre - Director: Pedro Pires

Haunting, heartbreaking and breathtaking, 'Danse Macabre' was the standout film for me. Set to an operatic score, the choreographed twitches and spasms of a corpse are turned into a poetic and morbid ballet. The composition and level of craftsmanship is astonishing and the film soars with a rapturous energy and beauty.

Check out the trailer

Check out the website

The End

Gregg Araki - 'Kaboom'

Anyone that has read this blog knows Gregg Araki is my favorite filmmaker. I can't believe I didn't know about this earlier, but he is reuniting with James Duvall (and a hot, young cast) for his next film, 'Kaboom.'

Official synopsis:
A hyper-stylized TWIN PEAKS for the Coachella Generation, featuring a gorgeous, super hot young cast, KABOOM is a wild and sex-drenched horror-comedy thriller that tells the story of Smith, an ambisexual 18-year-old college freshman who stumbles upon a monstrous conspiracy in a seemingly idyllic Southern California seaside town...
Smith's everyday life in the dorms - hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella, hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London, lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor - all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night. Tripping on some hallucinogenic cookies he ate at a party, Smith is convinced he's witnessed the gruesome murder of an enigmatic Red Haired Girl who has been haunting his dreams.

Sounds like Araki is getting back to his 'Doom Generation'/'Nowhere' roots and will hopefully redeem himself after the disappointing 'Smiley Face.' I can't fucking wait!

Here are the first stills from the film:

The End