Please enter the text in the image above here:
Vice Magazine is somewhat of a mixed bag, often throwing in an interesting article or two next to a lot of sophomoric cleverness, hipster self-indulgence and deliberate 'ditchtwat offensiveness. However, the most recent issue, which is film-themed, is a treasure trove of interesting articles. Such as, for example, interviews with Werner Herzog, Dario Argento, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch and Spike Jonze, an article on how the BBC's Play For Today changed British cinema in the 1960s, pieces about spectacularly goodbad Nigerian religious thrillers and low-budget Mexican crime/exploitation films and photographer Ryan McGinley's list of top 10 art films.
Here's one for the next edition of the Book of Heroic Failures: a West End musical adaptation of The Man in the Iron Mask, written by a 72-year-old aerospace engineer and funded with his own money, closed early, after some of the most damning reviews in recent memory:
Staging it was the last wish of his late wife, Shirley Ann. As she lay dying of cancer, she made him promise that he would present his show in a West End theatre.
The Times wrote: "The lyrics are mostly vile . . . The twists of behaviour would take platoons of psychologists to unravel." Others suggested that the only member of the three-strong cast to emerge with any dignity intact was the central character, and only because he spent the evening with a bent saucepan on his head and would therefore be unrecognisable at auditions for future work.
Could this be the worst album ever recorded? A Star Wars Christmas album from 1980, forever debunking any claims that the Star Wars franchise once had a pre-Jar-Jar Golden Age. This album has everything; C3PO and R2D2 singing duets, lots of jingling sleigh-bells and sugary strings interspersed with Star Wars sound effects, corny comedy routines from "droids" and wookies, inane dialogue, the obligatory extra-large helpings of schmaltz, and if that wasn't enough, a young Jon Bon Jovi leading a high-school choir. (via bOING bOING)
Concept of the day (via Found): The Mary Sue story. This is a piece of fan-fiction which is obviously intended as the author's wish-fulfilment trip, features a character who's an idealised version of the author getting to hang out with their favourite Star Trek/Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings characters; the Mary Sue character usually has an Aura of Smooth which causes other characters to trust them and/or fall in love with them for no stated reason, or do other out-of-character things, and often is ridiculously cute, smart, talented or magically endowed, and/or consumed with a very contemporary teen-angst. And, more often than not, has long raven-black hair and exquisitely pale skin.
Or, obviously, Galadriel's secret love-child (Aragorn's unacknowledged daughter) who runs off to join the Company of the Ring, sorts out Boromir's problems, out-magics Gandalf, out-fights Aragorn during the melodramatic scene in which she reveals her true identity, demonstrates herself to be so spiritually elevated that the Ring has no effect on her, and wins Legolas' heart forever.
As you can expect, Mary Sue stories (most of which are probably written by people in the lower reaches of the Geek Hierarchy) are ripe targets for mockery. There is a LiveJournal community dedicated to examining the most egregious examples of Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter fanfic and ripping them gleefully to shreds here; some of the examples (like "Kairi", the raven-haired elf whose abusive father is in league with Sauron, or, indeed, this, or this) sound thoroughly cringeworthy. Anyway, go and read it; it's a laugh-riot.
For the past few weeks, Warren Ellis' blog has been running predictions for 2004 from the various gonzo futurists, scifi writers, early adopters and scary goth camgirls he knows; Matt Jones' predictions are probably the most interesting of the series:
BrIC: 2004 is the year where the cultural and economic dominance by BrIC [Brazil, India, China] starts to emerge. More movies of the calibre of 'City of God' dominate the movie and soundtrack charts. Brazil's equivalent of the Neptunes dominate the global ringtone charts. Kids on the 8mile practice not rap, but capoeira battles.
CORMANRINGS: In 1977, Lucas unleashed Star Wars. There were a gazillion cheapo ripoffs on tv and screen including Roger Corman's awesomely bad-but-I-love-it "Battle beyond the stars": y'know the one with John-Boy Walton as the hero... The oscar-winning success of Peter Jackson's Tolkien trilogy coincides with the low-low price of pro-am digital video and film production to produce a bumper crop of copyright-skirting elvish nonsense of a similarly amusing/appalling ilk.
(Machinima meets Dungeons & Dragons, anyone?)
Update: There's more on BrIC in the news: a piece on the Brasilia Consensus replacing the Washington Consensus, and a piece on the G20 (which includes BrIC) and EU issuing a joint communique on global trade talks. (Though isn't the EU, economically speaking, an inherently neo-liberal construct?)
I've been unusually disciplined so far this year, with regards to CD buying. I'm trying to keep my habit under some measure of control (for reasons which will become apparent later), and not to grow my collection too rapidly. So far, the total number of CDs I have has only increased by two.
Over the past two weeks I picked up Flunk's For Sleepyheads Only, an OK piece of chill-out electronica from Norway. It hasn't really grabbed me; the version of Blue Monday there, incidentally, is a bit irritating IMHO. (Aside: why is it that every cover of that song ends up sounding disappointing; we had Orgy's whiny mall-goth take on it, Pee Wee Ferris' cheesy commercial-dance cover (don't ask), and Flunk's, while not dire in the way that they were, is still disappointing.)
Last night, I picked up local spoken-word artist Klare Lanson's Every Third Breath; which is mostly ambiguous cyberbabble over glitchy, vaguely Björkish electronic beats and bleeps (proviced by Cornel Wilczek, aka Qua), replete with lyrics written in cod-XML. It's technically quite good, though whether it'll have lasting appeal remains to be determined.
Today I went to Dixon's Recycled and picked up three more CDs, though sold three which I wasn't likely to listen to anymore. One of my new acquisitions were plunderphonic art piece Deconstructing Beck (on a classy unprinted CD that just screams "copyright violation"). Another was an equally (if not more) choice find; one of the Least Essential Albums Of The '90s. That's right, dear readers; I'm now the proud (but only in an ironic sense) owner of The Adventures Of MC Skat Kat & The Stray Mob. It'll sit proudly in the bulldada section of my record collection, next to Acid Brass, my Wesley Willis CDs and Spaced Out: The Very Best of Nimoy/Shatner.
In the vein of Little Ayse and the Magic Dwarves, another inexplicably bizarre Turkish remake of a well-known film; in this case, Turkish Star Trek, or Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda as they say in Istanbul.
The teleportation effects are, like all Turkish special effects, a strange combination of retarded and rad. The four men stand as still as possible while the camera goes out of focus. Ten seconds later, the film gets scratched in their general area and they run out of frame while the guy holding the camera hits pause and unpause. This gives more of the impression that something's wrong with your VCR than of people being transported through space. Miniskirt technology is a much higher priority among their people than visual effects.
Spak finally comes to his senses after the evil licking shapechanger leaves, and Kirk is strangely uninterested in why he just tried to kill him. They avoid discussing it as they walk to the next wasteland where they get attacked by 20 Tarzan karate bots. That's what I said. This sets off a chain reaction of stupidity with naked robots kicking and punching in random directions and Omer almost pulling a face muscle with his mugging. Professor Krater built these robots for love, not karate, so the fight mostly consists of them rushing Kirk and Spak then stopping just short of them to scream "YAAAHHH!" and dance.
(via bOING bOING)
Please enter the text in the image above here: