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Thursday, July 31, 2008

International Waters Song

This is a song idea I'd been sitting on for a little while, so I threw caution into the wind and just went tried recording it. It's a lazy video though, coz I just wanted to put the song out there.

It's a parody of the Cheers theme "Where Everybody Knows Your Name". Except, this version involves bestiality.

Listening back to it on YouTube, it seems like there's an audio issue or two (it suddenly gets softer and louder at the occasional point, hmmmm.....)



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Filming the sequel to March Of The Engineers next weekend. Should be interesting to see if it's as widely embraced.


To be continued.

How I Spent My Birthday

I turned 25 last Sunday. It was the first time I'd ever had a birthday that didn't feel like a birthday. That's a bad sign. It means they're all starting to blend together and losing their impact. It means I'm officially a grown up.

Jac (my gf) got me the coolest present: The Complete First Season of Tales From The Crypt. :D :D GLEE.

One of my favourite shows when I was younger: sexy, gory, profanity laden horror/comedy with big Hollywood creative forces involved. In the 90's, it was screened at 1 in the morning on Channel 7 and still heavily edited for TV. It's never been released on DVD outside of the States. Meaning, Jac went and imported it well over a month before my birthday and kept it completely hidden from me. My heart grew when I opened it. :D

Celebrated by performing in Showstoppers with the Ignatians Musical Society - was an excellent show featuring some very talented soloists and ensembles doing versions of two dozen songs from two dozen different musicals. This year was my "sussing out" year with the group, to see what they're like and what they do, and I feel utterly stupid for not having tried out this year. So next year, auditions for me. :)

After show drinks. Stayed for an hour. Ducked out just before the speeches started. Sara (soloist/producer/photographer) instigated a mass singing of "Happy Birthday" to me as I was trying to sneak away. I winced, but nonetheless appreciated the love.

Had to get away because I'd organized some drinks at the RE. Small turnout, but good people, good friends. :)

Woke up the next morning with a cold. You can't ask for more of a return to reality. :p

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stephen Colbert's Guide To White Male Oppression

Stephen Colbert has, in his satirical right-wing talk show host character, written a piece for this month's Esquire magazine about white male oppression aka. "I Am A Martyr (And So Can You!)"

The online version is in this weird slideshow kinda format, but the content is the same. It made me giggle when I skimmed through it in Borders.

(Image from the Esquire article page).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Little Britain USA

The Daily Mail has revealed the first promotional images of Little Britain USA, including the new characters Matt and David have worked up. Check out the article for more.

I Heart Beaker

Beaker from the Muppets will always make me laugh. Especially when he tries to sing.

Here are some of Beaker's classic hits, including the super adorable Ode To Joy one that was recently featured on YouTube.


Ode To Joy


Habanera


Feelings


Danny Boy


Never Gonna Give You Up (may be fake) ;)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CONDOMS!

Coming home from rehearsal tonight, I stopped at a 7-11 in the city to buy a juice. I took it to the counter and bore witness to that excruciatingly embarrassing moment that all males encounter at one point in their lives or another: buying condoms.

With a new twist.

At this particular 7-11, the condoms were kept well behind the counter, with cigarettes and (more humourously) batteries. This young man standing at the counter in a black tracksuit hoodie is already mid-conversation with the staff member behind the counter. The black hoodie guy is clearly uncomfortable enough - his body language, one hand in his pocket fidgeting and there's a nervousness in his voice.

Problem is, the counter guy is not just a new guy, replete with "Staff In Training" badge and smiley face image, but he also speaks very very minimal English.

So this poor guy who's clearly about to get lucky if he can just get through this is uncomfortable enough that he can't buy these things discretely (take them off the shelf, slide them across the counter, get them scanned, discretely take them back, pocket them, pay, leave).

No. Here he is, in a 7-11, pointing at condoms on the wall two feet out of his reach, loudly exclaiming...
"No, CONDOMS! CON-DOMS! There! ... No, there! Next. Keep going. Keep going..."
to a staff member who A) doesn't understand the word he's saying and B) even if he did, didn't know where they were or what the hell he was talking about.

After an excruciating thirty or so seconds of this, the transaction was sorted and the black hoodied guy fled the scene, off to complete another transaction of sorts. ;) The staff member simply smiled as he was trained, moved onto me, blissfully unaware he'd put a poor guy through more torture than necessary.

I then had to explain the concept of "CASH OUT" to him when I wanted to use my EFTPOS card. The juice was overpriced.

What's the lesson here? Buy your condoms well in advance. Take advantage of what most of Africa cannot take advantage of.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Comedy Hour

Last week, ABC Melbourne Radio has launched "The Comedy Hour", which posted a callout earlier in the year for joke and sketch comedy writers. Myself and a handful of friends made submissions but we never heard back. :( At least some people got rejection emails.

Nonetheless, the program has debuted on ABC Melbourne radio - here is the first broadcast, in the form of a topical sketch show. A mix of sketches, commentary and songs.

Hearing what the show is now like, I'm a little disappointed none of us were contacted, let alone accepted or rejected - it seems predominantly people in Melbourne were given notice (one of the successful people was from Rockhampton). And, listening to the show, it seems like exactly the kind of thing we would have been really good at writing for.

Oh well. Best of luck with the show, Aunty. I hope it does what they set out to do - get comedy going again on the radio, as much as the BBC.

To be continued.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Monash Law Revue 2008

This week in Melbourne, the Monash Law Revue opens under the title "The Monash Law Revue Is No Longer Listed As Single". Our more southern and wellsponsored revuers will be appearing at the Grand Central Hotel in Richmond from Thursday the 24th of July. Tickets can be booked through the official site.

Here's the trailer - "I JUST WANT A WIFE!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watchmen And The Golden Age Of Comic Book Movies

First up, I'm not going to do an in-depth review of The Dark Knight, because there's nothing I can say about it that hasn't been said already. It's fantastic. Bale does get overshadowed by his villains though, but not as much as Keaton or Clooney were. You see the Joker, not Heath. Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent is beautifully done - his downfall is a true tragedy. I'm seeing it again on Saturday night and now knowing the fate that befalls him will make it all the more tragic. Chris Nolan is yet to not impress me, and I'm pissed that I have to wait another three years at least for a new one.

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2008 has produced some of the most acclaimed comic book movie adaptations in some years.

At the start of the millennium we had X-Men and Spiderman getting raves, breaking all kinds of records. Then Daredevil and especially Fantastic Four managed to dilute that quality. With the exception of Hulk, they were much more silly (definitely not Hulk) and disposable entertainment but not in the way X-Men and Spidey were (at least until their third outings).

This summer there is at least four major comic book adaptations hitting the screen.

Iron Man got raves and did MASSIVE business. The first movie of the year to break $300 million. Bob Downey Jr. is the man to thank for that.

The Incredible Hulk - did okay business, average reviews, but was agreed upon as a vast improvement over the last Hulk. Ed Norton is the man to thank for that.

The Dark Knight - rave reviews, will do massive business, will score Oscar nominations. Touted as not only the definitive Batman movie, but the definitive comic book movie.

Hellboy II - the first movie I didn't quite think was that crash hot, even though a lot of people loved it. The second movie is also being praised and doing decent numbers at the box office. Said to be even more imaginative than the first one, I'm keen to see what Guillermo's pulled out.

BUT THEN...

The much hyped trailer for Zack Snyder's adapation of Alan Moore's highly acclaimed Watchmen was screened prior to The Dark Knight in the States. We didn't get it here. Or at least I didn't. Instead of...

Terminator 4
Watchmen
Harry Potter
Body Of Lies

I got X-Files: I Want To Believe, Taken and Tropic Thunder. The first and last weren't bad but still disappointing when I was waiting for the others.

But the Watchmen trailer finally made its way onto the web... and I'm kinda disappointed even so. Granted, the graphic novel is very deep and heavy. Especially the incredibly downbeat ending which reportedly has not changed for the movie.





Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) looks cool, as does Rorshach (Jackie Earle Haley) and both of the Silk Spectres (Malin Akerman and Carla Gugino). But I look at Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) and they look so metallic and cold. Then again, if they looked exactly like they did in the graphic novel, it would look incredibly silly...

So to me, this looks like it's going to be as heavy and woe is me as Ang Lee's Hulk. It works as a graphic novel, but when you put a synthesized Billy Corgan-sung song over those images, it really makes it depressing looking.

I very very much hope I'm proven wrong.



P.S. Check out this amazing review nay essay by Ain't It Cool's Moriarty on how Dark Knight and Hellboy II mark the highpoint of all time movie adaptations of comic books. It's very very well written and if there's one thing I love it's reading well written things by people who are passionate about the things they're writing about.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dr. Horrible Is Here (For Now)

After an initial hiccup with hulu.com and viewing outside of the US, Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, written and directed by Joss Whedon is finally online. Neil Patrick Harris is Billy aka the eponymous Dr. Horrible - a wannabe evil genius who in his professional life is constantly thwarted by the handsome and heroic Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), and in his personal life is painfully shy and has a crush on local activist Penny (Felicia Day).

Act 1 is now up - but this will soon be taken off (as in, today) and replaced by Act 2 and Act 3 over the next few days.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Not Quite Hollywood

I booked a few tickets for the BIFF tonight - one of which is this movie: Not Quite Hollywood. I bought a ticket to it before seeing any footage of it and now I've seen the trailer, I'm super fucking psyched. I wrote an essay discussing Australian horror back in 2005 and got top marks for it; seeing this trailer gets me all pumped up about them again and want to see some of the flicks in this Ozploitation retrospective like Patrick, Long Weekend, etc. I just wish Brisbane was showing more of the movies that the Melbourne Film Festival is showing, like Dead End Drive-In, Razorback or Roadgames.

Featuring Quentin Tarantino, Dennis Hopper, Jamie Lee Curtis, Steve Bisley, George Miller, (the late) Richard Franklin, Graeme Blundell, James Wan, Leigh Whannel, Barry Humphries, Jacki Weaver, Sigrid Thornton, Jamie Blanks, etc.

To quote Tarantino in the trailer - "This movie fucking rocks." I hope so. :D

If this doco is half as fun as the trailer, this may be the guilty pleasure highlight of the festival for me. It's getting a general release at the end of August through Madman.




Here is a second, shorter one on YouTube, with other snippets...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Scrabble

FINALLY, after much ballyhoo and difficulty with YouTube, managed to upload another engineering short - "Scrabble".

A battle of wits so witty, nobody actually gets it.



For Drill In.

I'm Actually Excited About BIFF For Once!

The schedule for this year's BIFF has been announced. Tickets go on sale July 18, but luckily, because I'm with St. George, the main sponsors of the festival, I get to buy my tickets now. Hehe.

Unlike the last year or two, when there would be, at most, one film I really wanted to see, this year there are several...

(images of Son of Rambow, Redacted and The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie from their respective pages on the BIFF site)

Son Of RambowRedactedThe Adventures Of Barry McKenzie

Son Of Rambow (UK) - directed by Garth Jennings who helmed the underrated Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy movie. It's about two young boys in the 80's who innocently try to recreate Rambo. I've heard nothing but very positive reviews of this movie as being incredibly sweet, funny and nostalgic. Both of its sessions will sell out once word gets out it's screening.

Acolytes (Australia) - a dark revenge thriller involving teens and a serial killer, starring Joel Edgerton and written by my screenwriting tutor from back at uni. He talked about it three years ago in class about making the sale, and I'm interested to see how it turned out.

Redacted (US) - Brian dePalma's supposed return to form, a brutal, in-your-face drama from the front lines of the Iraq War. Lauded and (ironically) censored in the States, I'm interested to see if this will be censored for the Australian festival screening.

George A Romero's Diary Of The Dead (US) - yet another Romero zombie movie, this time, done in the style of a mock documentary at the birth of the zombie invasion. Actually, this is in my maybe pile, due to negative reviews.

There's also an Australian retrospective titled "Ozploitation". If you'll recall, during the Australian New Wave of the 1970's, the Australian film community was divided between classy and high art films like Picnic At Hanging Rock and Newsfront. Here is the other end of the spectrum: films deemed crass and commercial, but damned if they didn't get Australians going to see Australian movies. It's featuring screenings of 70's Aussie "crass classics" like Alvin Purple, Long Weekend, The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie, Patrick, Stone, The Man From Hong Kong and the infamously terrible Turkey Shoot. I'd be keen to see just about any one of these on the big screen for the first time - particularly Long Weekend.


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Opening the festival this year is Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? - Morgan Spurlock's follow up from his Oscar nominated international hit Super Size Me. Interesting choice to open the festival. I've heard predominantly negative reviews of it, but maybe there's something that the BIFF peeps have seen in it. Spurlock will be attending the screening on 31st July.

The showcase gala screenings which I would never actually pay to go to since the tickets are incredibly expensive for movies which will get a general release anyway include David Mamet's newbie Redbelt, starring the always good Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tim Allen, and the critically praised animated film Persepolis. Also screening is Irish gangster comedy In Bruges starring Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson.

The closing film of the festival is John Maybury's The Edge Of Love starring Cillian Murphy, Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Matthew Rhys. You may have read about it because Keira supposedly has a sex scene in it and her mother wrote the script. Um, so?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Evil lurks everywhere...

With the online debut in about a week, there's a prequel comic to Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog that's been produced by Dark Horse comics on their MySpace page. Co-written by Zack Whedon (not Joss) it introduces superhero Captain Hammer...



Funny and short. Looking forward to it. :)

Rebel Without A Crew


Last week, I finally received my copy of Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without A Crew. I'd read it years ago and was unable to find a copy of it in Brisbane through traditional publication outlets. Yes, even Borders. Which usually has everything. Finally came last week after I ordered it on the internet - read it.

It's still awesome. It's inspirational. I highly recommend it to anyone. Everyone.
A very easy read.

You may gloss over some of the technical stuff he says about cameras, film stock, lenses, negatives, masters, etc. but the overall story is amazing. It's his journal of his rise from making shorts in Austin, Texas to submitting himself to medical research to get a bit of money to making his first feature with no idea how far it will take him to editing and finding a distributor in the Spanish video market to getting an agent in Hollywood and getting schmoozed by everyone. The rest is history.

I posted a mention of Peter Biskind's Down And Dirty Pictures as a retrospective look at the rise of "independent" cinema in the 90's. Rebel Without A Crew is the contemporary (i.e. written at the time) look at it - it's literally his journal he wrote at the time, going to Telluride and Toronto and Sundance. How a little movie he shot on 16mm with a borrowed handheld camera and edited on video at the local television station became the talk of Hollywood. He mentions his first meeting of Quentin so casually at the time, as he does with his mention of some project he's writing called "Pulp Fiction".

And he's so humble and likeable! For a personal journal, he never says "fuck" unless he's quoting someone else who says it to him e.g. an agent or film exec. He just says "go out and make movies. Learn by process. It's more fun."

I'm glad I finally own it after looking for it for years.

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I've seen my first full episode of Doctor Who. It was the Christmas special where David Tennant was introduced. He's funny. :D With bare minimal knowledge of the mythology of the Doctor, it was most entertaining.

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Am currently watching An Inconvenient Truth to prepare for a sequel to March Of The Engineers. Have to have a script ready in the next few days in order to recruit cast. It will be a major step forward for me technically, as I'm probably going to have to utilize chroma key for the first time. AND how to compress it down to to four minutes. Hmmmm....

The new engineers video is finished, just waiting on approval from a secondary organization which is taking a bit longer than I thought. Will be up early this week hopefully.

To be continued.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Weinstein Tapes

NY POST HEADLINE: MIRAMAX STUDIO INSIDER WRITING TELL-ALL BOOK ON WEINSTEIN BROTHERS.

Last year, a mate of mine loaned me a book to read titled "Down And Dirty Pictures" by Peter Biskind - a book which charted the comeback of the independent cinema scene in America in the 1990's. It was fascinating, with retrospective interviews with many many players at a time when the indie cinema somehow became mainstream. It tended to focus heavily on two aspects - Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival, and the rise to power of Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Harvey did not come off clean. He went ballistic when he read about it. He had refused all interviews for the book previously, as had Robert Redford.

While it was an amazingly entertaining yet scornful picture of the big man as told by filmmakers, executives and former employees alike, I couldn't help but think "surely this is being embellished a bit here? These are peoples' interpretations of what was said and done? And well after the fact. YEARS afterwards. Could the passage of time surely have muddied them up a bit?" I'd been assured it hadn't - and trust me, I believe Harvey Weinstein is just the angry angry man many a people claim he can be.

Well, the New York Post today reported that an ex-employee who never signed a non-disclosure agreement has sourced fifteen years worth of phone recordings and files of Harvey and other Hollywood players. To prove the source wasn't bluffing, he or she had sent the Post a seven minute phone conversation of Harvey riling then Disney president and now executive at Revolution, Joe Roth.

It's all part of a new book to be written about Weinstein and the Disney years - all of the files were originally collected by one of Bob Weinstein's paranoid assistants prior to his death in the World Trade Center.

I want to hear these tapes. I hope these tapes and files are released concurrently with the books. It's not that I doubt Harvey Weinstein can be an arsehole (or asshole) - it's just I want my criticism of Down And Dirty Pictures to be ... I don't know, resolved? Cleared up?

I AM a bit skeptical since the Post (not THE most regarded publication in itself) filed this in the Page Six entertainment/gossip section, and was picked up by WENN which has a bit of a gossip reputation itself (feeding the IMDB - where I found this story). It could be bullshit gossip.

But if the book gets written and published, and some of these tapes get made available (come on Drudge Report and Smoking Gun, where are you on this one??), I will be interested.

And bet your arse Harvey will come after them with lawyers.

--

Down And Dirty Pictures was a follow up to Easy Riders, Raging Bulls - a similarly very well received account of the New Hollywood era of the 1960's-1970's. Both books have had documentaries made (or in the making about them - here and here)

Interesting reaction to the WALL-E teaser...

Found this video of a woman who filmed herself having a massive emotional reaction to the teaser from Wall-E (courtesy of The Pixar Blog). This video managed to do the rounds at Disney/Pixar and it turns out she scored herself an invite to the Pixar wrap party a month ago. Nice one. :)



While I didn't myself have this physical reaction, I've certainly been a little choked up at the trailers with that cute little guy. The news it's Pixar's masterpiece with rave reviews suggesting it will get a Best Picture nomination - unheard of for an animated film since Beauty and Beast back in 1991 - brings my anticipation levels to a high and don't know what the hell Buena Vista was thinking of releasing it in September instead of NOW. School holidays then, school holidays now. What's the dif, really? They clearly didn't have faith in it's appeal, given the huge gamble Pixar was potentially making...

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

It's a damn good thing I've never been exposed to gamma radiation, because this trailer makes me angry. And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry... and seeing this trailer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nuke The Fridge



Drawn from that laugh-out loud scene in Indy 4 because it's so preposterous, the new phrase that seems to be catching on is "nuke the fridge" - a phrase which adapts "jump the shark" to cinematic franchises.

I like it. :D

The phrase has been added to the humourous site "Urban Dictionary" as a contemporary replacement. Check out the multiple definitions and usages in respect of killing off a movie franchise.
“Star Wars didn’t really nuke the fridge until Jar Jar Binks was introduced.”

“Peter Parker dancing around the bar in Spider-Man 3? Kinda nukes the fridge!”

“The Godfather: Part III nukes the fridge.”

“Gremlins 2 more or less nuked the fridge.”

Interestingly, in relation to this particular scene in the movie, I'm yet to find any commentary from Spielberg, Lucas, Ford or David Koepp. No-one's defending it yet. Are they ashamed? Are they content because it played out exactly how they wanted it to, and if people don't get it, then fuck 'em? From what I've read, the scene WAS in Frank Darabont's highly praised script that's been doing the rounds.

Perhaps this was part of the plan. They wanted a deliberately silly, B-grade moment to go with the theme of the movie. In the same way people laughed at the preposterousness of Plan Nine From Outer Space, they wanted a moment so ridiculous that the fans would go off and laugh it for being so stupid. That's what they were trying to emulate...

That's what I think.

Either way, it's earned them a buttload of dollars. Second movie of the year to cross the $300 mil mark.