Thursday, October 28, 2004

Christmas Time Is Coming Fast

I'm such a selfish bastard. Really. I like to think that I would be a good philanthropist and all that, helping the poor and stuff. But the truth is that there's just so much stuff that I want.

Like this fancy item I came across at I love Criterion. They justify the existence of DVD. This is the ultimate gift for any film fan, so if you know anyone who has $5,250.00 that they want to spend to on me. Please send them this link.


Also, I would love to have this little baby as well. I need an iPod. And I love U2! It's a win-win situation people. Please buy it for me! As well as The Complete U2. That would be slick.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Almost Famous

So tonight I got to fulfill that frightening first in the world of the entertainment journalist: my first interview! I felt like William Miller in Almost Famous, finally getting to really become a "rock" journalist. However The Sheaf is a far cry from Rolling Stone, let me tell you.

The artist in question was Ivana Santilli, whom I had mentioned in my post yesterday. It was one of those crazy phone interviews, where one calls up at a pre-determined time and then goes to it. In this case the interview was initially set for 4:30 pm EST. Which Amelia had interpretted as 6:30 pm Saskatoon time. Of course it's actually 2:30 pm MST (which is what we are for the time being), but fortunately I figured that out. Of course, then Ivana didn't call at that time and then I had to go to class. But I got a call around 6:00 pm (MST) saying that Ivana would be able to do the interview at 6:30. So I raced to The Sheaf offices, only to find out she was stuck in the recording studio in Toronto until 7:00 now. So I stuck around and did some copy editing for Dave, then I got my interview.

It went pretty well. I didn't have it terribly scripted. It helped that I was a fan of her music, so I was able to ask questions that I think were decent. Fortunately she was in a talkative mood, and I got good long responses for her. Then she had to go to meet a friend for dinner, so we finished, with the addendum that I should stick around after the concert here in Saskatoon, Friday Nov. 12th and then we could chat some more.

So that was it. Now I'm thinking I'm almost famous...or at least I've interviewed someone who is.

Monday, October 25, 2004

J'ai Demande A La Lune

No, I don't speak French. Nor do I know what the exact translation for the phrase is - other than it involves "demanding" something from the "moon" - though, knowing the French perhaps I don't want to know.

Actually, "J'ai Demande A La Lune" is the title to a song by the French Euro-Rock group Indochine, off their album Paradize. I don't own the album, but I really like the song - and the cover to the album - and it's become a mainstay on my playlists over the past year or so. My brother came across the song in one of his French classes and we both took a lovin' to it. Funny how those kinds of things happen.

What a cover? Only in France.

Another song that I randomly stumbled upon is "Sun+Moon=Tomorrow" by Ivana Santilli - who if all goes well I will have the opportunity to interview for The Sheaf tomorrow via phone. I came across the song while having one of my not-so-rare sleepless nights flipping channels and laying on my bed. When I came across the video on Much More Music I stopped and was transfixed. I don't know what it was exactly about the song - other than my love for Jazz and Electronica - that caused me to love it so much, but I had to know who and what it was. describes the album as " a sensual blend of drum n' bass, soul and R&B wrapped into easily accessible pop songs." I think that's a fair description, though I believe some of her work would fit into the Jazz Fusion category - though admittedly it's a pretty fluid genre; Martin, Medeski & Wood are found under "Jazz" at a&b, while St. Germain is under "Electronica."

If anyone knows where I can find some good Jazz and Electronica, let me know, as I don't get out to shows much, and its not something that gets extensive coverage in Rolling Stone or on Much Music.

Jumping the Shark

What is the deal with this phrase popping up all over these days? Not only did today's PVP strip use that phrase, but last weeks Issue of Ultimate Spider-man also was titled "Jumping The Shark." Of course, the reason that I find it curious is that the phrase "Jumping the Shark" has entered popular ussage, especially considering that it comes from an episode of Happy Days in which The Fonz, jumps over a shark on water skis.

Monday, October 18, 2004

This Weekend at the Movies: Puppet Pandemonium

Here's my review of Team America: World Police.

Team America: World Police

Dir. Trey Parker

Featuring the voices of Trey Parker and Matt Stone

105 min: Rated 18A

The world is divided into three groups of people: dicks, pussies, and assholes. At least that’s the elaborate political metaphor that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the irreverent creators of South Park, put forward in their outrageous and hilarious new puppet-satire, Team America: World Police. If that doesn’t sound like a very sophisticated metaphor to you (not to mention you’ve been offended by the very utterance of those three terms), perhaps this isn’t the movie for you. For the rest of you that want to laugh, get your asses down to the movie theatre right now and prepare for the funniest movie of the year.

The idea behind Team America is that the world is rampant with terrorism, and only the elite task force of “Team America” (brought to life via marionettes, not unlike the famous 60s British children’s show, Thunderbirds) can combat the problem. However, in their battle to make the world safe from Weapons of Mass Destruction, the team doesn’t seem to care what gets damaged in the process, be it the pyramids or most of Paris. When a team member is killed, actor Gary Johnston is recruited from his lead in the Broadway musical Lease (witness the show stopping finale, “Everyone Has AIDS”) to “act” like a terrorist and infiltrate the enemy. Sounds like a really topical film doesn’t it? And it is. Of course like any good action movie, heroes doubt themselves, team members fall in love, and world safety is threatened by the plans of Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il.

Parker and Stone’s last film, the brilliant comic-musical South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, showed that the guys have no problem offending anyone and everyone with their biting satire of America and MPAA ratings…with a few dick and fart jokes thrown in for good measure. Team America continues the tradition, satirizing the war on terror, American self-image and Hollywood action movie clichés, and even more dick and fart jokes, including a ludicrous puppet sex scene that had to be cut down in order for the film to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating. Of course the idea that two wooden puppets engaging in strange fetishist sex is going to corrupt the youth of America, and a none of the other outrageous material that managed to remain in the film, including the above stated political metaphor, is…well, for that particular gripe see their last film (“Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty words”).

Ultimately however, the most scathing satire in the film isn’t directed at world leaders or political stances (both left and right can make compelling arguments that the film is an attack on their particular politics), but rather at Hollywood, be it the self-important actors who take it upon themselves to educate us lesser mortals, or the tired Jerry Bruckheimer-esque action film clichés which Parker and Stone seem to have down perfectly, including the training montage, the serious moment, the obligatory love interest, etc. One of the musical numbers is entitled “Pearl Harbour Sucked and I Miss You.” As expected, the guys take satire to the extreme, including naming the villainous actors union the Film Actors Guild (you figure out the acronym) and feature everybody’s favourite documentary director, Michael Moore as a hot dog munching suicide bomber. However, if you can’t take Parker and Stone’s twisted sense of humour, perhaps you’d better side with Sean Penn, whose scathing open letter to the young men was posted on the Drudge Report website last week, criticizing them for mocking the war on terror while hundreds of people die and even signed it “All best, and a sincere fuck you.”

For the rest of us however, we can see the humour in America’s sometimes rash “world policing,” or Hollywood’s tireless ability to show us how sensitive and politically apt they are. Nobody and nothing is out of bounds for Matt Stone and Trey Parker to satirize and ridicule. However, in the end they have created an entertaining, topical satire, full of clever songs, creative puppeteering (how they got all that vomit inside the Gary puppet I’ll never know) and yes, it’s crude and funny as hell. Rating: A-

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A Sick New Addiction

Well, there's no denying that it's compulsive and feeds into my love of movie trivia. I might as well admit that I've played over 129 games of Movie Hangman at Box Office Mojo over the past couple of days. Actually, I find that entire site and it's useless trivia completely entertaining. Some people like to keep track of baseball scores and statistics. Me, every Sunday night I check the studio estimates, every Monday the actuals for the weekend box office. Some might find it strange, but really it's no stranger than someone's love for baseball statistics. So, yeah I'm predicting a $22 million dollar opening weekend for Team America: World Police, so let's see how I do come Monday.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

Just as post to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone who reads this blog. I love Autumn, and I love Thanksgiving. Easily one of my favorite holidays. I like the rituals, and I like the meaning behind it. Kinda makes me wish that we made a bigger deal of it here in Canada like they do in the U.S.

So yeah, eat some turkey. Play some football. Roll in the leaves. Enjoy the beautiful fall weather. And be thankful for life!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Best Album That Almost Never Was?

I picked up Brian Wilson's long unfinished work, SMiLE on the Saturday, and sat down and listened to the entire thing before going out that evening. It's not The Beach Boys proper (and despite what critics will tell you the greatest Beach Boys album is Sunflower, even though Pet Sounds is close), but it's still a wonderful wonderful listen and brought a smile to my face while listening.

It's interesting hearing what Wilson was trying to acomplish with the album. It's not a pop-rock album proper, but rather an attempt to put together that 20th Century Americana into musical form. There is the trademark Beach Boys harmonies, but also some folk music ("You Are My Sunshine") and even elements of Gershwyn and other classic American music in there. The reworked versions of some old favorites ("Heroes and Villians", "Surf's Up" and "Good Vibrations") are initially a little distracting, but in the end they feel right, as if only Brian could rightfully tweak things and still maintain the integrity of the song.

All in all, this is a great listen and one of the best albums of 2004 (or is that 1967?). Grade: A