Monday 21 January 2008

"I've lost my equilibrium, my car keys and my pride..."

Tom Waits, lyrical genius... "For No One", a lost animated Waits video from 1979 in which a growling Tom lazily serenades a sensuous stripping lady on a sidewalk... They really don't make them like they used to:

This delightful nugget comes via Fabulist. Huzzah to thee girl(s)!

Interesting Bit Of Trivia About This Video #1 (And Only):

The chief animator on "For No One" was a certain David Silverman
. If his name seems familiar it is because he directed last year's The Simpsons Movie. He also co-wrote the ubiquitous "Spider Pig". There were however less strippers in those particular pieces.

Eddie Griffin's Irish Jam

Some things are so bad, they're good. Other things are so bad they make you want to stab yourself repeatedly in the forehead with your own eyeballs:

Strangely enough this one went straight to DVD in 2006... In the US and, erm, Serbia. Worry not however, as it's now also available in Ireland. Phew!

Sunday 20 January 2008

Ruth Negga. Ireland's Loveliest Actress.

Yup. According to a poll conducted by Film Ireland, Miss Ruth Negga is the sexiest actress to hail from these shores.

The poll is actually part of a wider survey conducted by the magazine for their January/February issue. An issue that fittingly enough deals primarily with sex and Irish cinema. (I merely thought that the lovely girl angle would reel in more punters. Cynical?)

The issue is quite a fascinating read. Paddy Breathnach, Lenny Abrahamson and Colin McCarthy all talk about shooting Irish sex. Mark O'Halloran and Niamh Creely discuss the results and implications of the various polls. Mairead Whelan contemplates the murky depths of Irish porn, or Lepreporn. Irish Film Censor John Kelleher offers some interesting insights into Irish film censorship in our new era of atheist perversion and skiing holidays. For example:

"By the way, it is not an offence for a retailer to sell an over 18s film to someone under 18, that's not a crime. It's absolutely crazy... If we made a porn film available as an 18s to a kid, it wouldn't be illegal."

Oh, yes, lest I forget. Colin Farrell topped the poll as the sexiest Irish male actor alive today. In other earth shattering news, most footballs are spherical and gravity still works.

No Country For Old Men. A Review.

It is the wont of this blogger to be excessive in his appraisal of certain creative endeavours. And for that tendency I shall never apologise. A good thing too, because without an excessive superlative or two one might struggle to adequately describe No Country for Old Men.

Put simply, the Coen Brothers are back on form with this one. Their quirky and often glib cinematic idiom resonates throughout, yet it is reinforced with a thematic certainty and pathos not seen in a Coen flick in many a year. Since Fargo, to be exact. The gritty prose of McCarthy's novel is the perfect partner for their filmic intelligence.

This one had everything for me. Glorious dialogue, obviously... A collection of pitch perfect performances, at turns gripping and whimsical... A certain narrative unafraid to develop at its own pace, or to treat its audience as creatures of intelligence... Sumptuous cinematography in awe of the harsh beauty of its surroundings... In Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh we witness a behemoth of malevolence, the photo negative of humanity as we like to imagine it... That silenced shotgun.

Sure, this film is often gory. Sure, it is primarily a chase/suspense narrative. Sure, there are many lines lifted directly from the lexicon of Western sheriff simplicity. Yet it is the exactitude of manipulation of every aspect of this movie that makes it such a resounding success. Through their marriage of generic cinematic conventions and McCarthy's thematic concerns, the Coens have produced cinematic poetry. No Country For Old Men is a lament for bygone times, real or imagined. It questions the existence of men of decency and duty. It is also damn entertaining.

Finally, for those plebeian rows on Friday night who questioned the restrained tone of the final act, allow me a brief rebuke. You did not get it because your desire for a wham-bam generic resolution is exactly what the Coens are so keen to critique with this movie. Immediacy and petulance are now deeply ingrained in our society. And with them will always come immorality, incessant and impure. We crave something, therefore we must own it. After all, "you can't stop what's coming." The question put to the audience is how can any man - be he indeed old or young - live in such a twisted milieu?

This is not to say that inside every man there resides a miniature Shigurh, armed and ready to explode. Shigurh is a cinematic psychopath for the ages, yet he is primarily a symbol. This story is a parable folks. Michael Bay doesn't do them.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Hear The Puffincat, Erm, Roar?

The Call of The Puffincat.

That is the title given to the new blog of Dublin sketch comedy troupe
Diet Of Worms. It is quite the worthwhile smorgasbord, mirthfully randomized. As are their hilarious Dublin Stories:

This gang shall be performing in Róisín Dubh on the 16th of this month. It all kicks off directly after the ninth bell.

Rathmines... The Funniest Place On Earth!

My word, how sincerely do I jest.

What in the name of Jehovah was that? Seriously RTÉ, what did we license payers do to be yet again afflicted with such a monstrosity? In case you did not see it last night, The Roaring Twenties, the latest shitcom that you paid for, is every bit as appalling as that bizarre trailer suggested.

Derivative and lazy muck, bereft of even a sliver of originality... When a main character in a sitcom is described as a business student who plays tag rugby - and that's intended as a punchline - then you know difficulties are imminent.

And yet, as spectacularly woeful and all as it is, I must say that I find the broadcasting of The Roaring Twenties oddly inspiring. If that can get made, then anything can... I'm actually working on a treatment for a new sitcom as I type.

It shall be called "Chuggers" and it will be set on Grafton Street. And in Rathmines, obviously. It will be about a group of twenty-something chuggers who live in a crappy Rathmines bedsit and spend their days annoying strangers on Grafters; thereby making them as likeable as those Twenties gits. There will be witticisms galore as an enraged public continuously tell them to piss off. There will be unlimited pathos - a post-Gervais comic necessity - as the gang fester in self-loathing and denial over a shared pint of Erdinger down their local. There shall even be elements of slapstick as Timmy Midlands (our main protagonist) berates the wrong Northsider on a particularly rainy day near the Green... Oh, the myriad chuckles presented by Timmy finding himself unable to move properly in a cast! Such a fresh and untapped comic resource that!

All I'll need is a budget similar to that of The Roaring Twenties: a moist packet of Tic-Tacs and the thumbs up from a dyslexic tramp. Heady times.

Just one last question of you then RTÉ... Why? Why did you make me lie on New Years Eve? I told everybody it was going to be a happy new year. Now it's already a write-off. Roll on 2009.