Tuesday 27 November 2007

Shrooms



Paddy Breathnach's Shrooms. A Hasty Review.

What works:
  • The film looks sumptuous. Whilst obviously aesthetically indebted to recent Asian mindfucks such as Ring and Dark Water, the predominantly Irish crew can be proud of their visual accomplishments in this piece... Locations, photography, post-production... Huzzah to you all on this front!
  • Don Wycherley and Seán McGinley are absolutely hilarious as the inbred local types. Think Podge & Rodge without the jaded cynicism.
  • Those Yank lasses sure are easy on the eye.
What does not work:
  • Those American characters sure are bloody annoying. Such preposterously cliched misfortunes - the jock, the stoner, the virginal good girl, the bitch - that it is impossible to feel even the slightest semblance of emotional attachment to them. Generic staples me hole!
  • Was it really necessary for them to be American? I do understand the marketing logic behind such internationalism when writing and casting. However would Irish youngsters really have been that unsettling for our overseas cousins? Such pandering to the American Dollar, whilst (possibly) fiscally sound, only serves to prostitute the artistic integrity of our national cinema in the long run... This might only be a horror flick, but it is symptomatic of a lack of self-confidence in our industry that continues to persist. There really is no need. Garage anyone?
  • The Irish dancing young ones in the airport. The constant talk of ancient druids. The ironic treatment of Oirishness that fell flat on its arse.
  • That monumentally fucking stupid, yet blindingly obvious ending!
  • The fact that Shrooms is not even a mite scary, dramatic, or funny (with the exception of the cow and the dogging scene). Even a stopped clock though, what?
In conclusion, Shrooms is a bit of mess. If you must, then at least wait a few months. A possible second rental, but only if you're stuck.

Alas, yet another opportunity missed.

Monday 26 November 2007

Really Bad Santa

The juxtaposition of headline and photo. The touching innocence/glaring stupidity of it all:

Friday 23 November 2007

Dawn Landes & Her Young Folks

I was feelin' something kinda rough this morning and I desperately needed some cheer. Luckily for me, this cheer was but a handful of button clicks away. It came in the form of Dawn Landes and The We Sorta Tried Bluegrass Band... A few months ago they came together to cover that most ubiquitous of recent summer hits "Young Folks", re-imagining it as an old-timey bluegrass delight. The beguiling alternating female-male vocals remain, but are now reinforced by a delicate amalgam of acoustic orchestration. Enjoy:



As a result of this tune, I started to give Dawn Landes a listen. I liked what I heard. This is her MySpace. Check it out. Y'all.

Thursday 22 November 2007

Sex In Irish Cinema Survey

RTE's The Clinic: As about as sexy as we get. Which is very sad.

Award-winning Irish screenwriter and actor Mark O'Halloran joins Film Ireland magazine as guest editor for the January/February 2008 issue which is devoted exclusively to the topic of sex in Irish cinema and television... The complete lack of sex in Irish cinema and television that is. This issue of the magazine hopes to discern the reasons behind our prudish filmic impulses. Is it deeply engrained Catholic guilt? Or is it that we are simply more emotionally mature than our European neighbours? Are we satisfied with the (figurative) hand holding? Not that restraint has ever struck me as a typically Irish characteristic.

Personally, I think the aeons of total cultural dominance that the Catholic Church enjoyed are an obvious factor. Sex is a sin and never may we forget it. Furthermore, the antiquated values of our censorship system hardly help matters. It is getting better but the procedure remains snail paced and quite behind the times.

You can express your thoughts on the subject
here. A simple, quick, and anonymous survey that will help in the compilation of what should be a fascinating issue.

One of the questions asked concerned what you believed to be the sexiest scene in Irish cinema history. I was utterly stumped. What say you?

Monday 19 November 2007

Girl Talk. In Dublin. For Christmas.


Ok, so I'm like a million years behind himself on this one, but how ludicrously exciting is this prospect?

FOGGY NOTIONS CHRISTMAS PARTY
DEC 13TH

GIRL TALK
DJ KOOL DROOL
PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS (
You're Only Massive)
PLUS VERY SPECIAL GUEST (Intrigued)

WHELANS. DOORS 8PM
TICKETS FROM WAV, CITY DISCS, ROAD, TICKETMASTER.

I'm going to try so very hard to be in De Big Schmoke for this. It could be fair decent like:




Saturday 17 November 2007

Michael Palin. On Home & Away.

A decidedly Pythonesque Michael Palin talking to Flathead and Marilyn about sharks and surfing. How very peculiar:



The hat tip must go to my mate Ronan. Jolly good show old boy!

Friday 16 November 2007

30 Days Of Night


David Slade's 30 Days Of Night . A Hasty Review.

What works:
  • Having vampires descend upon an isolated Alaskan town - Barrow - that endures a month of night during the winter is a simple and ingenious premise. Well done Steve Niles!
  • The cinematography is sumptuous; the contrast between the dark red blood and the untainted white snow resonates smartly throughout.
  • There are some terrific set pieces. Elaborating further would only diminish their impact.
  • Danny Huston is a malevolent bastard as the head vampire. The vampires as a whole are impressive; supernatural inbred gimps with a penchant for throat ripping.
  • Melissa George. Angel.
What does not work:
  • For every victim massacred by a vampire there is a plot hole. These vary from the minuscule and fleeting to the jaw droppingly stupefying... We're at Day 3 of the attack. Now we're at Day 18. How did that happen?
  • The romantic subplot between Josh Hartnett and Melissa George is a cliched mess that only serves to distract from the main action. The actors battled valiantly. Alas, the situation was beyond rescue.
  • Dialogue often as clunky and derivative as it comes. Even for a horror flick.
  • Be prepared to groan at that final shot.
In conclusion, 30 Days Of Night presents a fairly enjoyable horror experience. A lost opportunity in terms of the purity of the premise, but that's Hollywood for you I suppose. Only worth a trek to the cinema for the true vampire aficionados, a worthwhile rental for everyone else.

For some reason I just can't help thinking that the creators of Northern Exposure missed a trick.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Prostitutes For The Disabled

This is a bit fucked up... A Swiss welfare group has begun recruiting volunteers to have sex with disabled people. The Basel-based Welfare Group for Disability and Sexuality already arranges erotic massages for people with disabilities. However, it is now branching into full sexual intercourse and is seeking homosexual volunteers to have sex with homosexual disabled people.

The group's leader Aiha Zemp had this to say:
"It's a big taboo that needs to be broken. Having sex is a basic human need like eating and drinking and we have to fight for this right for the disabled."

At present three men and one woman offer an erotic 'touching service,' and nine new volunteers have come forward to offer sex at £65 per hour.

Yes. That's right. These volunteers are getting paid to have sex with strangers. However, Zemp insists that this does not make them prostitutes:
"The big difference between the assistants and prostitutes is that the assistants show tenderness and are conscious of the needs of the disabled, rather than rushing and just taking the money,"

Erm, no. Aiha pet, they are still prostitutes. They are just good prostitutes.

Lewis Hamilton - My Book


Lewis Hamilton... You know the guy... He's that British young lad who is good at driving incredibly quick cars incredibly quickly. His autobiography has just been released. It is entitled Lewis Hamilton: My Story. Now, for any of you who may be eager to read this story, I have a nice surprise. Below lies the complete transcript of Lewis' tome, utterly verbatim. Bask in the intoxicating relevance of it all:


Chapter One:

I'm very young. I'm really good at driving go-karts quickly. I'm not famous.

Chapter Two:

I'm still young. I'm really good at driving F1 cars quickly. I'm quite famous.


Chapter Three:

Erm... I've been famous for less than a year now. Still driving the same car.

Chapter Four:

I had somebody ghost write my book. You bought it.


Seriously, Lewis Hamilton is 22. He is good at one thing, which he has been doing at the highest level for barely twelve months. What's more, the team he was driving for have been stripped of all their championship points for the year and fined close to $100 million because they were fucking cheating! Lewis achieved what he did whilst he was driving a car designed by cheats. Wow! Lewis Hamilton, you're my hero!

I just do not see what gives this guttersnipe the right to burden us with his twelve month story. At most there is enough there to fill a generous and picture laden pamphlet... Something to distract you while you sit in your doctor's waiting room, hoping to find out just what that odd rash on your elbow actually is.

"I wonder what cream I'll need for this... Seriously, why is that pregnant woman staring at me with eyes as twisted as Dante's inner circle... Oh look, Lewis finished in the top three in some race. Again. He's amazing!"

Bah humbug.

Sunday 11 November 2007

Cultural Exchange

There was a Polish man wearing a Chelsea jersey being ever so slightly patronised by Derek Mooney on Winning Streak last night.

He won a car and a holiday. Which was nice.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Hooray For Humans & Crayonsmith @ Róisíns


Not much to say here really. That title is quite all encompassing... The splendidly upbeat Cork crew Hooray For Humans and Dublin dazzlers Crayonsmith are playing the Róisín Dubh next Thursday. Admission is free and the gig is followed by the all-knowing Gugai and his Strangest of Brews. Festivities commence at nine bells and you would be quite the eejit to not pop down.

Apparently Hooray For Humans need a new drummer. For those interested in the position, this is what it would be like to play with them live:

Too Much Time On His Hands (And Knees)

Some fellow created the following miniature city entirely out of stacked eggs. Could not find any information on why he chose to do so, but it looks damn impressive nonetheless:


Via
Popsucker.

To appreciate just how long this must have taken, have a peek at the following egg stacking enthusiast
in action. One has to wonder why.

Friday 9 November 2007

The Great Sufjan Song Xmas Xchange

Sufjan Stevens is a bona fide genius. None could genuinely dispute this fact. He is also a generous soul... Sufjan has composed an original Christmas song, and has decided to give this song to a deserving fan. However, it being The Season (TM) and all, he wishes to receive something in return. It is "The Great Sufjan Song Xmas Xchange", and those vital folks over at Asthmatic Kitty explain the venture thusly:

Here's how it works: write an original Christmas song, record it, and email the song to us. Asthmatic Kitty will pick a winner, and that person will trade rights to their song for rights to Sufjan's song.

Just like a gift exchange, Sufjan's song becomes your song. You can hoard it for yourself, sell it to a major soft drink corporation, use it in your daughter's first Christmas video, or share it for free on your website. No one except Sufjan and you will hear his song, unless you decide otherwise. You get the song and all legal rights to it. We get the same rights to your song.


Owning an original Sufjan Stevens composition. Now that would be rather sweet. If you're interested, perhaps the following clip may be an inspiration:



I normally despise talk of Christmas in early November. I find myself in a strangely jolly mood today though. Huzzah!

Thursday 8 November 2007

Little Dragon in Róisíns & Free Beer in Car Parks

Fronted by Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon are a Goteborg based collective who specialize in melodically luscious, downbeat glitch-soul. Nagano's voice is a joy to behold; her dexterous lyrical wanderings a potent ally. "Twice" is just such an endearing tune:



These guys are playing Róisíns tonight at 21.00. Admission is free, making this a gig decidedly worth checking out... But not until you have sampled the following free shindig, also occurring this evening in Galway.

Sorry ladies, but I've got plans.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

"I just don't get it..."


TULCA is a Galway based season of contemporary visual arts exhibitions, live-art performances, discussions & forums that aim to offer opportunities to local, national and international artists and to develop and stimulate the growing visual culture in the area. It is indeed a principled and intriguing prospect.

However, I am finding one of TULCA's resident exhibitions somewhat difficult to understand:

Michael Mayhew, artist, will create a project called the ritual of being not being (vanished = to die away from latin) using stories from live interviews on campus with 25 people regarding persons that have vanished from their lives. Interviewing five people per day between Monday November 19th and Friday November 23rd inclusive, he will create a text from these stories and in the evening at 6pm, in the gallery, the stories will be written onto his body in ink and then washed off with water from the River Corrib. The water will be collected and poured into a cast of part of his body, then frozen.

When the five evenings have been completed and the five casts filled, the project will finish on Nun's Island where the casts will be defrosted and the contents melted on canvas. 25 words, one from each story, will be tattooed onto his body while this is happening. To set the project in motion there will be a talk by the artist on Thursday 15 November at 6.00pm, in the NUI Galway art gallery, where the artist will be sheared and shaved from the waist up in preparation for the project, while talking.

Now, it might well be ignorant of me to say, but what unadulterated bollocks! Seriously, can somebody explain the point of this to me?


Please.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Subtle - Pitchfork Interview


Over at Pitchfork, there currently resides a very interesting interview with Subtle frontman Doseone aka Adam Drucker. Well worth checking out.

Doseone on writing his break up song:

"I am writing a breakup song about all this stuff. It is hard to be in a relationship and then be alone, and be left to that. She grew a dichotomy where an "us" was. And I returned to only the far side of that dichotomy. So it was terrible. And I felt pretty fucking abused."

On the next Subtle LP and commercial success:

"The Mercury Craze is actually the blueprint for this entire record. We entered that out there in the single world. It didn't do any of what singles would do. People enjoyed it, it's good music out there, but no limos to the door or any of that. And then like months later, Tom Brown (at Lex Records) has this Scroobius Pip song that goes fucking gold on digital downloads, you know? So, I'm sitting there going, "Okay, it's just a window you throw shit at. Whether we get through or not doesn't fucking matter." It also made me not as stressed about the notion of making bright music, and making something different in the song world. I was like, just because you make a pop song, it doesn't even matter. It's just music you make."

Thankfully, the music Doseone and his band mates conjure up is sublime:




"The Mercury Craze". Unquestionably my favourite single (and video) of the last few years... If this is the blueprint, then their burgeoning album could be immense.

Buck 65. Utter Hero.

Buck 65 is a bit of a genius... Of this fact we should all be already aware... Situation is his new album, and judging by what I have sampled thus far it seems to be a damn impressive collection. "Dang" has managed to lodge itself deep within the recesses of my mind; it being a somewhat catchy record:



One Canadian and his suit, succinctly rocking it four seperate ways. Pas facile... Do be sure to check out other Situation tracks over at his MySpace.

Do it now!!

Saturday 3 November 2007

Hunter S Thompson's widow unhappy with Jann Wenner's HST bio


Anita Thompson, who was married to Hunter S Thompson for two years before his death, is quite displeased with Jann Wenner's Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, An Oral Biography. She had this to say to the NY Daily News about the book:

"There are beautiful parts in [Wenner's] book, but it sensationalizes Hunter unnecessarily. It's meant to portray him as losing his mind at the end, but he was not. He was just as kind and decent and brilliant as when he was younger.

"When Hunter was compiling his second letters book, there was some humiliating correspondence between Hunter and Jann. His publisher was urging him to put it in, but in the end, Hunter didn't run it. It would've sold more books. But he protected his buddy. I'm sad that Jann didn't do the same."

"Jann is going to make quite a lot of money off this book, and we're having trouble paying the bills."

Jann felt inclined to counter her claims:

"She's attacking the book because she's not in it... We just took her out. We took her narrative thread out and had other people tell the story. Anita and I get along fine, but she has an exaggerated sense of who she was in terms of Hunter. She had another kind of role."

A needlessly bitchy comment from Jann there, I'm sure you'll agree. However, it is interesting that Hunter's good friend Johnny Depp wrote the introduction for the book... He clearly found no fault with the material.

A messy one this (via
BoingBoing).

Personally, I would question the need for a HST bio. Via the decadent and depraved - wink, wink - tenets of Gonzo Journalism and his constant insistence on the truth, Hunter S Thompson put more of himself to paper than any other could... More of the man, and more of the myth.

Electric Picnic 2008 Tickets. Already.

Yup, tickets for next year's Picnic shall go on sale from next Friday, 9th November. These limited Early Bird tickets will be priced at €199 and available from Ticketmaster and all the usual contemptuous shylocks. Etc.

Not even a hint of a line-up though.

I must say that this whole enterprise smacks of cynicism and consumerist stoicism to me. What say you?

I'm off for a Heineken.

Thursday 1 November 2007

The Insane Covers Of YMCA Compendium

So, do you prefer the Jane Fonda aesthetic of this Finnish version:




The slightly less restrained Korean interpretation:




Or these snowboarding French Christmas penguins: