Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Following on from the last post, I'm going to try to keep some notes here about the movies I've been seeing--lately a lot of them, both at home and in theaters. Part of it is simply wanting to take advantage of being in the same city as Scarecrow and part of it is having a girlfriend who likes to watch movies too, but lately the habit has become personal. Professional as well, to some degree: I'm planning a total of five Project X columns on the 15-star movies (five each for Music, Attitude, and Fun) in the Marshall Crenshaw-edited book Hollywood Rock (1994), which helps focus my renting. The first covered the movies chosen from 1959-64; the next one will cover 1970-73, for which A and I just watched Beyond the Valley of the Dolls a few hours ago (pretty ridiculous, pretty great). I also saw a couple other things for it; the one I flipped for was Let the Good Times Roll, a 1973 oldies-concert doc I purchased from the Video Beat site, and which is one of the handful of best concert movies I've seen. More when the column runs.

It's been a good week overall in terms of movie watching, actually. Sunday night I went to the U District and saw The King of Kong, which I loved; the quasi-villain looks like Yanni if he'd gone into middle management, and the use of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" in one of those scenes was just perfect. My favorite person in the movie, though, is probably the dude who pops up every so often during the playoffs to speak in sentences riddled with facts and figures he'd long ago memorized and doesn't even care if anyone knows he knows. That dude seems like he long ago accepted his own utter and incontrovertible dorkitude and goes through life with a kind of inner peace about it that I really envied; he made me feel like a scam artist trying to hide the fact that deep down I'm even worse than him.

I liked Le Circle Rouge a lot, though I'd have probably enjoyed it more if I'd been able to not see stars during it, thanks to a bountiful trip to Hempfest the weekend before. (The cookies worked amazingly well, the Rice Krispies treats far less so.) I got that one as a recommendation from Nate Patrin, who I'd asked for something in the vein of The Long Goodbye, which I'd seen on the big screen earlier this summer at the SIFF theater near my apartment; I mentioned the cat food sequence and he said there was a similar one in Le Circle Rouge. (There is, though it's not nearly as long.) Rouge is very clean and evenly paced, and I should watch it again at full capacity. The Long Goodbye is something of a landmark for me now that I've seen it--vaulted into my very-favorites list, an amazingly good time at the theater, a lot of things I've wanted from a movie that I both knew I wanted ('70s L.A., hard-boiled private eye) and that I wasn't previously aware I did (Elliott Gould, Sterling Hayden).

I should mention also Ghosts of Cite Soleil, a genuinely disturbing documentary about Haiti slums and the gangs that run them. It's gripping and well made, it offers no easy ways out, and I was really annoyed with the French relief worker who falls for one of the gang-leader siblings, in a "could you be any more fucking obvious a cliche" kind of way. That's another SIFF movie; I like that theater a lot, and hope it sticks around--most of the screenings I've caught there that weren't heavily advertised have been fairly empty. Then again, maybe that's because I'm only seeing Sunday evening screenings.

As I've written about here before, I've been renting a lot from Scarecrow Video, all kinds of stuff, roaming through movie history in dabbler fashion and really enjoying it. Not all movies, either: some TV stuff, including a few days ago a recent PBS documentary about the Jonestown massacre, which was pretty horrifying, and as TV, well made. Oddly coincidental to see Angela Gunn post about this list of Top 10 Incredible Recordings literally two days after watching that DVD; the list includes the last 30 minutes of Jonestown. All of the Top 10 includes MP3s you can right-click download, and for completism's purposes I'll have this in my archive, but especially having heard chunks of it during that documentary I don't think I'll ever need to listen. On the other hand, and in a lot lighter a vein, there is Florence Foster Jenkins, whom I've wanted to hear since I was in second grade, thanks to The Book of Lists. Er, wow.

Monday, August 27, 2007

• 120 Days, “Come Out, Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone (Reconstructed By Secret Machines)” (Vice)
• Atmosphere, “Sunshine” (Rhymesayers)
• Greg Oreck, “The Line” (Moodmusic)
• Hurricane Chris, “A Bay Bay” (Polo Grounds/J)
• Len Faki, “My Black Sheep” (Lenseries)
• Luke Vibert, “Swet” (Planet Mu)
• Mekons, “The Hope and the Anchor” (Quarterstick)
• Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators, “If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)” (Light in the Attic)
• Soulja Boy, “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)” (Collipark)
• Stefan Goldmann, “Beluga” (Macro)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Of the zillions of words that will be written about M.I.A.'s new Kala (which is precisely as good as everyone is saying it is), these are probably the best. Rich is so fucking awesome.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hey, guys? Thanks for the add.

Jackie Harvey lives. The Wolk dis says it all: "Thinking?!?!? Who on earth wants to THINK when we can just shill shamelessly and get free shit sent to us? [begins singing, to the tune of "Soldier Boy"] Gravy train--don't knock down my graaavyyyy traaaaiiin . . . "

Monday, August 06, 2007

• ASC & Mav, “Too Deep For Ya” (Covert Operations)
• Björk, “Earth Intruders” (Elektra)
• Caribou, “Melody Day” (Domino)
• Coltrane Motion, “I Guess the Kids Are OK” (Datawaslost)
• Disco Vibes Orchestra, “Cheeky Dub” (Mettle)
• Douglas Greed, “Ille und Soeren” (Freude am Tanzen)
• Fleetwood Mac, “You Make Lovin' Fun (Trailmix)” (Synergize)
• Junior Senior, “We R the Handclaps” (Rykodisc)
• Soren LaRue, “Desolution (D74 Ezri Dax Mix)” (Galaxy Traxx)
• The White Stripes, “You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)” (Third Man/Warner Bros.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My friend Mark called with the news about an hour and a half after it happened. I'm relieved my family and friends are OK, but this is absolutely horrifying. My thoughts are with everyone in my hometown right now.