Thursday, 30 October 2008
Another Halloween horror short for your Autumn evening viewing pleasure: David Lynch's second short film, The Alphabet. Rather fittingly, 1968's The Alphabet had it's beginnings in an account about night terrors told to Lynch by his then wife Peggy. Peggy's niece had tossed and turned her way through one night, frenziedly reciting the alphabet in her sleep. Possessed of a harrowing scream-bleed soundscape that plays like a prototype run for reproduction anxiety feature Eraserhead, Alphabet combines live action footage and animation.
If you're feeling less naughty / spend-thrifty, The Alphabet is available as part of the excellent The Short Films of David Lynch DVD collection, which, I believe, finally got a Region 2 release just last week.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Happy Halloween! Being a generous sort, I thought I'd jab your present at you a little early. No need to thank me. I'm great like that. Traipse after these links below and find 1972 Spanish horror short La Cabina. For non-Spanish speakers that's: The Telephone Box. Cabina is a queasy, sweaty short, in which a knock-about silent comedy pratfall slowly matures into a pitiless desperation horror. Directed by Antonio Mercero, Cabina was infrequently broadcast on BBC2 as either late night filler in the 70s / 80s; always on hand to freak out night-owls when live allocated programming didn't quite fill a slot; or in a horror double bill with George Romero's lesser seen riot shocker The Crazies. Outrageously, Cabina is not easily available anywhere. There are rumours of an out-of-print multi-disc retrospective DVD release collecting a slew of Mercero shorts in the director's native Spain, although, unfortunately, I've never quite managed to find out much about the set. So, failing a brief root around torrent sites, youtube will have to do. The version linked here lacks English language subtitles, but fret not! All dialogue is merely perfunctory, and superfluous to the cringe inducing, unknowable machination frights. Broad, expressive, continental European acting helps too. Once seen, never forgotten. LA CABINA!
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Duracell is a Lyon residing one-man-band who, through use of his bare drum kit and a modular synthesiser, can thunder his way through vintage video game themes. Good man! Ports of call include a frantic jaunt in, and around, Hiroshi Miyauchi's triumphant Space Harrier suite, and a blistering race through a Chris Huelsbeck Turrican piece. Also of note is Duracell's guerrilla staging, man and kit in amongst the crowd, thrashing away, surrounded by tapping fans. Poke round his MySpace page for upcoming dates and news. One man band? He's a one-man Fantasy Zone!
Duracell has also lent his cyclone stylings to a lesser played PC Engine classic: Saigo no Nindou: Ninja Spirit. Unfairly overshadowed by the likes of Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Spirit adds a super fun twin-stick style slash control to well established screen-wander-kill-everything gameplay. Seek it out!
Duracell's take on an 8-bit home-computer-conversion Ninja Spirit theme.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Here's the Scream Awards Watchmen tease Snyder insists he prepared himself. Clip includes some shilling by principles; taste that insincerity! New footage does little to allay fears that the whole film has been shot in slow motion - however, I do see the thinking behind it; it stalls the image, albeit in a mechanical fashion, much like a reader taking time over a particularly astonishing image. Rodriguez and Miller's Sin City mash-up coulda' done with some of this time dilation, instead they amped up the narrative into a breathless sprint. That said though, Miller's manga infused image avalanche plays better to that particular brand of stylisation; Gibbon's maths panel begs for a more restrained, stylistically anaemic patter. Watchmen is more '92 Eastwood deconstruction than 60s Spaghetti belter. Ramble. Ramble. Displeasure must be strongly noted at Rorschach's newfound Sammy Davies Junior wall-run powers. Dear, oh dear. It's pretty central to Watchmen's thesis that Dr Manhattan is the only full blown superpower - the rest are all various creeds of degenerate playing dress-up. Word 'round the campfire is a massive chunk of the ending has been jettisoned too - no Harryhausen fans in Snyder's house? The knock on effect of which rather muddies some celestial noodling on man's relation to a God. Moaning and whining aside, I'm sure Watchmen will make for a much better film than than the ideologically compromised V For Vendetta movie or the dunderhead League of Extraordinary Gentlemen adaptation. Feint praise indeed. That was meant to sound positive! I'm a dreary nerd blogger. Quick! Think of something nice. Erm. I really liked Manhattan disassembling the tank! That was wicked.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Next time some crabby nerd bleats on that "Batman never kills!", tell them Bob Kane and Gardner Fox said: "Go fuck yourself."
From Detective Comics #30: Return of Doctor Death. Reprinted in Batman Archives Volume 1.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Cultural insensitivity day continues with this vintage Street Fighter II' Turbo instructional video. Hear! Ropey voice-over actors discussing their video gaming techniques in the first person! Baffle! At the broadstrokes stereotypical voice ticks! Cringe! At the dreadful 90s wailing guitar soundtrack! Wonder! How US Street Fighter II champion Tomo Ohira got wrapped up in all this? Get confused! Are the on-screen moves meant to match the hate speech? 61% less racism, but 24% more flirty back and forth here; and 100% more Capcom endorsed mullet meat and two veg technique here. Both from the same tape.
Cultural insensitivity! Japanese preschoolers are taught the ways of the world by a determined Tiger cub. Shima Shima Tora no Shimajiro schools the nation's youth in sing-song shitting protocol. What a trooper! Shimajiro's parents are always on hand to make him feel really awesome by singing about his bowel movements. How supportive! Shimajiro features some excellently daffy examples of Japanese folk religion hangovers that afford even everyday objects a spirit; absolutely everything is helpfully anthropomorphised, and dead friendly with it. Singing toilet. Singing wee. Singing pooh. Everything sings. Everything is friendly. Rejoice at Japan's open and positive attitude to toilet business, or laugh at those wacky shit lovin' foreigners? Your choice yo. THIS BLOG MAKES YOU THINK! About going elsewhere.
Friday, 17 October 2008
With a whitey title like that, I gotta be part of the problem! The Black Gestapo limped out at the tail end of the Blaxploitation cycle; grasping for ideas, one bright spark hit upon the truly bizarro idea of having a Black militant group adopt the aesthetic trappings and ideology of 1940s German fascists. Quite! Their objective? Putting the collective boot in on sleazy Italian mobsters flooding their neighbourhood with drugs and vice. Those swines! Starting out as brownish shirt self determined do-gooders The People's Army of Watts, events soon spiral greedy, and before you can say "Honky Bastard!" these National Socialists ain't no better than Nazis! Watch the trailer here, and discover that rather than a chilling Orwellian treatise on the corrupting nature of power, Lee Frost's Black Gestapo is a sleaze-o rape-in bottom feeder of a flick blessed with a wicked gonzo infamy title. You still want to see it!
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Someone at ad agency Fallon looks like they've read a Bond book or two. Following a spot on Setanta during the England match, Channel 4 screened a new Quantum of Solace themed ad for Sony's hi-def TV line-up last night. Associated press waffle suggests that Sony and Bond are both brands synonymous with sophistication, quality and international appeal. Blah, blah, blah. That's not quite what I got from the ad: Daniel Craig's Bond stands centre frame and is bombarded with gunshots, explosions and glass showers; barely flinching throughout. The light, mournful, ambient score reminding us that every Bond undertaking is meant to be a suicide mission. The ad seems to me of speak of psychotic stoicism in the face of annihilation. Quite apt given Sony's recent dwindling electronics fortunes. I'm sure the PS3 will outsell the Wii one day.
Anyway, Fallon have neatly captured a core appeal lacking throughout the Moore / Brosnan years: Fleming's Bond was never much of a sophisticate, instead he's more of a fair natured, but boorish thug. His strength lying mainly in a total reluctance to give up, despite (more often than not) lovingly described near catastrophic torture. James Bond is a bewildered puppy-dog punishment sponge! He possums and rope-a-dopes 'til he gets an opening, then it's all despairing lethal efficiency.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Don Cheadle replaces poor Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes in the upcoming Iron Man sequel. So says The Hollywood Reporter. They sound impressive. Howard apparently ran out of luck by asking for a little more of that blockbusting blockbuster money. Oh well, Howard's poorly advised blockbuster loss is our blockbuster gain: Soderbergh / PT Anderson favourite Cheadle to get his own gun metal Tony Stark hyper-armour, but with added First Amendment powers? Multi-phase missiles, enemy wilting flamethrowers and all round death-rod bullet vomiting? Yes please! P Diddy will do a shit - and no not because of some dreary blingin' gangster rap reference, lord no! Puffy is just all for mainstream equality superheroing. Recently moored in birdbrained Bratner boobery, Ocean's sequels, and Oscar pretender mulch, it's nice to see The Chead' in a position to perhaps have a bit of centre(ish) stage fun and make some cash. Cheadle may even be able to get his Black Panther take on Cleopatra Jones, or Elmore Leonard adaptation Tishomingo Blues back up and running. I can dream. Now, if only they could work out a part for Luis Guzman, and set the whole film in the back of a surveillance van, Iron Man II (Iron Men?) might well be the greatest film of our times.
Monday, 13 October 2008
Scrambling around for something contemporary (and linkable) for animation director Daisuke Nishio, I came up with this: Jango's Dance Carnival, a short One Piece gag adventure that preceded the second feature length animated movie Clockwork Island Adventure. Witness! Some rather spiffingly observed mass Para Para hypno-hysteria! Comforting to know Nishio still moves in Shonen Jump circles.
Sunday, 12 October 2008
This here be a music video for Zero, the second single by Japanese MySpace breakout singer-songwriter Tamurapan. Why the disaster interest? The video features an avalanche of eye-catch animation from anime anthology sequel: Genius Party Beyond. This second Genius Party features work by Mahiro Maeda, Koji Morimoto, Kazuto Nakazawa, Shinya Ohira and previous post favourite Tatsuyuki Tanaka.
You can follow the name links for more info on the first three directors detailed, but word on Shinya Ohira is a little harder to come by. Instead of reading a dry credits heavy wiki page that doesn't exist, why not check out this excellent animation reel?
Big thanks to S, who linked me up music in the Tatsuyuki Tanaka post comments.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Clobbering fans rejoice! According to anime blog Canned Dogs we can expect a new 35 minute DragonBall Z animated movie. The fight feature is written by series creator Akira Toriyama, set two years after Goku abandons everyone he loves to train a stranger, this shitkicin' short purports to feature Vegeta's long (never?) lost little brother - hopefully sporting another vegetable pun nom de plume. Introducing a previous unmentioned super sibling for reformed one-man-genocide Vegeta, despite stretching plausibility beyond breaking point, is quite a canny move on Toriyama's part. Who doesn't prefer the original nasty little Napoleon Prince from the Namek end of Z (as seen above) to the simpering character growth family man who closed the saga? Don't we deserve to see a naturalised order-taker superman brought low by his insufferable on-message kid brother? Disaster Year 20XX expects howling disappointment from new bro the second he finds out big V has bred with an 'under race'.
Good vibes are also being sent standout series scenarists Daisuke Nishio's way. Who dat? Apart from a chap who I hope has mucho involvement with this new project, Mr Nishio is responsible for two of the best adaptations of Toriyama's manga - Movies 6: Clash! The Ten Billion Power Warriors! and 7: Extreme Battle! The Three Great Super Saiyajin!* Although only broadly patterned after themes rather than content in Toriyama's serial; both yarns feature exemplary fraught super-battles in bleak existential wastelands. Ten Billion Power Warriors in particular ups the Western hero tic melodrama into abstraction as mech might multiply men avalanche out of heat haze desert plains, whilst our heroes get some Butch and Sundance fatalism. Much more in keeping with Toriyama's nearly finale Namek saga than the endless logic pits, and sub-par animation, the hyper elongated TV series stumbles around.
*After doing some further credit digging it appears we have an info conflict on this movie's director credit. The Funimation dvd lists Nishio as the director, but Anime News Network credits one Kazuhito Kikuchi. Hmm. I know which horse I'd back, and it ain't the folks publishing the merchandise. ANN ain't 'the internet's most trusted anime news source' for nuthin'. Oh well, at least Movie 7 isn't the one I spun purple about.
Friday, 10 October 2008
Marvellous! Wednesday saw an exciting Tokyo Game Show reveal from Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture; people living in disaster year 2010 can expect to be charmed smiley by Wii colon sequel No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle. T2 teaser tribute trailer here! Quite apparently the only gaming outfit dedicated to the knockout combo of exciting wavey Wii controls and PS2 prowl beater aesthetics, Grasshopper have returned to the well for another grin 'em up. 2007's No More Heroes is mainly noted for letting you smash about the local criminal element with a George Lucas laser sword, whilst it succeeds manfully in this department, it's also worth remembering for packing in directionless young male melancholy and in-action adventure yarn deconstruction thesis. That game had chops! No More Heroes narrative backbone was a brutally aimless assassination competition in which our hero Travis Touchdown must off a succession of ranked murderers. In encounters patterned after Chilean psychedelic western: El Topo's Four Master of the Desert sequences, Travis' showdowns were neither heroic nor uplifting. Aim for the top! The only thing that matters is being the best! But not before you've completed a raft of (actually really fun) dead-end mid 20s gopher jobs. Travis can only get his foot on the ladder by engaging in repetitive time-waste tasks designed to ingratiate himself with local folks of note who can make pally pally big money hook-ups. Lawns mowed and thugs vapourised, you'll find yourself cash-heavy. You can either blow it all on Wrestling VHS' and gnarly threads, or stump up your union fees and battle those with which you have no quarrel. Be the best! Fingers crossed and shaking for much more of this.
Friday, 3 October 2008
Just finished reading Tokyo Zombie. Dead people rise out of a rubbish tip! Bald and Afro martial arts blue collars must kick ass and drive gaudy trucks to survive! Expect swearing, pig surfing, and minutely observed renderings of mixed martial arts grappling. With a grin on my face I raced to my computer to look up author Yusaku Hanakuma. Here is his website. Aside from being a field leader in heta uma (Bad, but Good) style, Hanakuma is also an accomplished martial artist. He has earned a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and writes newspaper columns about the sport. In short, Hanakuma is dead manly and draws treats.
I was disappointed to discover that no more of his work is available in English. Ho-hum. I will have to content myself with perhaps viewing the film adaptation of Tokyo Zombie, or purchasing a wallet featuring his work.
Tokyo Zombie was lovingly translated and touched up (f'narr) by Ryan Sands and Evan Hayden, who run awesome blog: SAME HAT! SAME HAT!
Also! Why not read Jog's review of the book? It's great. And where I stole the youtube trailer link from. I'm not proud. I'M NOT PROUD!
Been catching up with Season 3 of Batman Beyond. Beyond is an anime cum Blade Runner future set serial; a pension age Bruce Wayne has turned over the reigns of Batman to young buck Terry McGinnis. Cue vintage 60s Spider-Man burning-candle-at-both-ends domestic turbulence, married to mecha bastard of the week adventuring. Fantastic stuff! So pulpy. I don't think an episode goes by without someone being captured and electrocuted by some sort of death tentacle thing - another mongrel trope taking in Japanese sex threat and 20s pulp lethality. Not this this is some bat shaped knocking shop. Nope. Nope. This is Saturday morning kids TV hopped up on violence numbers.
A Justice League of the Future two-parter: The Call. An elderly Superman, sporting a badass black and white Kryptonian get-up redesign, flips out and causes a ruckus. Terry must man-up! Flanked by the Justice League Unlimited: Big Barda, Aquagirl, Warhawk and a Dali Lama Green Lantern; Terry must bash the last son of Krypton's head in. Or at least help him regain his senses.
Also of note is a fountain of youth bubbler that sees Bruce and Terry getting mixed up in sex-swap Ra's al Ghul machinations. Heh. Episode makes a point of repeatedly stating the correct way to pronounce the master criminals name: RaySch, instead of RARhz. "Common misconception" apparently. Take THAT Christopher Nolan.
Also! It is excellent X 1000 to hear the snotty old nutter inflect: "Detective!" in his sneery terrorist voice.