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"

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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

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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:

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Friday, January 15, 2010

'J'ai tué ma mère' / 'I Killed My Mother'

Caught a screening of 'J'ai tué ma mère' / 'I Killed My Mother' last night as part of the Cinematheque's presentation of Canada's Top Ten features of the year. Wow was I disappointed and confused! Why is this film winning so many awards and getting so much hype? Yes the writer/director/main actor is young, but that doesn't change the fact that the film is self indulgent, melodramatic, immature and aggravating. Style over substance. It takes more than a bit of Van Sant style slow motion and a few shots ripped off from Godard to elevate a vacant story. If I wanted to watch a selfish, spoiled, privileged bitch with no real problems (but a hipster haircut) yell at his mother and throw tantrums for 2 hours, I'd pay a visit to the American Apparel in the local mall. Plus he uses "tell me what to swallow" by Crystal Castles. Now no one else can use it! Good performance from Anne Dorval, nice cinematography and good sex scene though.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg ft. Beck- "heaven can wait"

Speaking of amazing videos, check out the tripped out, Dada inspired madness in the video for "heaven can wait" by Charlotte Gainsbourg ft. Beck. Love the costumes and randomness!

Charlotte Gainsbourg + Beck "Heaven can wait" from Fluor Ink on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp"

I don't know much about Brooklyn based Yeasayer, but their track "Ambling Alp" is pretty damn catchy and it is paired with one of the best (Jodorowsky inspired?) videos I have seen in a while. Check it out (embedding link is blocked):

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Joshua Hoffine

I first encountered the brilliant and twisted work of photographer Joshua Hoffine in issue #87 of Rue Morgue Magazine. Hoffine creates elaborately staged horror photographs often featuring his own children, nieces and friends. Check out his website for more examples of his work and his blog.
Here are some of my favorite shots, based on childhood fears:

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