Go watch “Cloverfield” (this is an order)!

February 19, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Entertainment, movies | 2 Comments
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If you haven’t done so already: You need need need need need to watch Cloverfield – not so much because of the massive viral marketing hype that accompanied its pre-release phase (there even was a signature drink that almost gave it its name), but because it is pure popcorn-crunching fun. I am not good at watching horror movies, I am particularly wary of films where victims get locked up in the dark with an unknown number of ghouls – but I kind of fancy skyscraper-tall monsters that make the ground move!

Ok, there is a bit of creepy crawly action going on once the survivors enter the tunnel – amazing to what kind of thrilling use one can put night-vision in a camera! A log line for Cloverfield: Godzilla meets Blair Witch meets Alien (the face-hugger) meets 28 Days Later. I won’t even try to provide a plot summary – you don’t need to know more than that. Narrative doesn’t matter, just enjoy what you see and feel.

A friend of mine once said anybody who didn’t like Brokeback Mountain had not heart (which applies to me, apparently) – and if you don’t like Cloverfield, you may have brains, but they are certainly not well connected to your guts and primal fears.

P.S.: The trailer on cloverfielmovie.com is odd – they added some distortion afterwards to give it more of that video tape appeal.

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R.I.P. Heath Ledger: No More Brokeback Reunions

January 22, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Posted in Entertainment, Film, Life | Leave a comment
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Minutes before going to bed I read that Heath “BrokeBack Mountain” Ledger died – devastating!

Perez Hilton writes:

At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A in the building for an appointment with Mr. Ledger, police said.

The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger unconscious.

They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. The police said they did not suspect foul play and said they found pills near the body.

Read the Google News on his tragic death. He was only 28 – 5 years my junior! It’s been a while that Academy Award winners died that young.

If this is true, Arthur Miller was a douchebag

January 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Entertainment, Literature | 2 Comments
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So Arthur Miller gave the world The Crucible, thank you. He divorced his wife Mary to be able to marry Marilyn Monroe the same month (June 1956), what ever. Happens all over the place. They filmed The Misfits together – I’ve not in any other MM movie seen the camera treat her with such disrespect. The scene where she plays with this ping pong toy (I have no name for it) and where the camera zooms in on nothing but her wiggling bum while (macsuline-voiced) bystanders cheer her on – enraging. Oh well. If Arthur Miller or Norman Mailer or Henry Miller do it, it’s art. Miller himself declared that shooting this film was the lowest point of his life – how is that for a good-bye present to MM whom he divorced before the premiere? MM OD’ed a year later. Not his fault or responsibility, of course.

Yet the thing that eventually makes me want to STRANGLE him if he weren’t dead already is that he had his son Daniel, born in 1966 with Down Syndrome, put in a home immediately and permanently straight after his birth. Arthur Miller is said to be the one who insisted – shame on the mother Inge Morath for agreeing to that as well. Daniel was excluded from their lives entirely – how’s that for a private witch hunt?

According to the Daily Mail, Daniel Day-Lewis, the husband of their daughter Rebecca, made him reunite with Daniel when his son had already turned 40 – although I am not quite sure how that would have worked out, as Daniel Miller turned 40 in 2006 and Arthur Miller died in 2005. In any case, if he saw him at all, it was pretty close to his own death.

By the way, another douchebag who exluded his son from his life is Desmond Dekker, the singer of “The Israelites”. I know because Lenina and I celebrated Christmas with his son Desmond, called Desy, in 2000. Desy is a musician and DJ who needs a wheelchair and the help of a personal assistant to help him get around – seemingly too much for Desmond Snr to cope with. He looks very much like his father who died in 2006. This might be his Myspace-Profile – at least he looks like Desy. Dr Lenina, please advice!

Speechless without writers

November 29, 2007 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment
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It’s too bad that one cannot embed videos Brightcove TV: That’s were the videos for the SPEECHLESS WITHOUT WRITERS campaign are hosted. EDIT: They’re also on Youtube – this one here is my favourite one

Other things that have been going on: I really, really, really like my new job:-) I like it so much that not even the 2 hour commute can get me down.

Why can’t we have disabled comedians, too?

November 5, 2007 at 8:20 am | Posted in Entertainment | 3 Comments
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Have you ever heard of Toño, the devil on wheels (el diablo sobre ruedas)? I stumbled upon his performance via this blog. I understand absolutely no Spanish (due to this lowest-possible-challenge Spanish course I took a year ago where the teacher was so afraid that we’d feel threatened by the grammar and leave the course – I almost left it because I didn’t learn anything, not even possessive pronouns!) yet would love to understand this. And what’s the business with those ants in the desk? It seems as if he is looking for work in this skit: Busco trabajo.

Evelyn Hamann is dead

October 31, 2007 at 8:28 am | Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment
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Evelyn Hamann at Wikipedia

Britney Update: K-Fed given 100% custody of kids until further court order

October 2, 2007 at 1:01 am | Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment
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From now on I’ll refer you to the man Perez Hilton for all your Britney-watching needs. He covers it all.

A Los Angeles judge on Monday took away Britney Spears‘ custody of her two children, Tater Tot and Small Fry.

The former pop star, who the court labeled a frequent and habitual user of drugs and alcohol, must turn over custody of her kids to Kevin Federline by Wednesday.

The children will stay with K-Fed indefinitely, as he has been granted 100% full physical custody of the boys.

Read: Britney Loses Custody Of Her Kids!!! | Now That She’s Lost Custody Of Her Babies…

Tater Tot

Job Search = Alienation

May 22, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Film, Job, job search | Leave a comment
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So I am currently in the process of reading many many job ads, applying for some, dismissing the most and generally in the process of developing a grudge against capitalism. I don’t think I’d be happy in any of the jobs that I have had a look at so far if it were full time and I getting a acute sense of what ALIENATION really means. Who, seriously, can develop a passion for direct marketing? I am deliberatly choosing this topic because I used to work in direct marketing and customer relationship management – and one part of me thinks that I could do it again and probably even enjoy it. But the other part thinks that I could only do that if I SOLD MY SOUL another time. It’s so annoying: to think that you would have to buy into capitalism first before being able to work in the majority of office jobs that are available. Who could ever be passionate about selling things? Who could be passionate about working in advertising – of course it is VERY easy to be VERY passionate about advertising, at the very moment that you realize the POWER that advertising (and as such: YOU) has over people. But it’s alienating, alienating, alienating.

Český sen (Czech dream) is a fantastic movie from the alienation department: It’s the final year project of two Czech film students. Together with an advertising agency they developed a campaing to market a new supermarket – that actually doesn’t exist. They interview families,pretending to be looking for the Český sen family, and it’s painful to see people confess in front of the camera what shopping means to them. The bit below shows the final 10 minutes: The public is invited to a grand opening, only to find that the supermarket itself is well a kilometre away from the parking lot where they have convened. So they’re already grumpy when approaching the supermarket – only to find out, once arrived, that it’s nothing but a facade. Fantastic!

Here are some of the trailers for the fake supermarket that were broadcast on Czech TV:

Kareena & Paris: Twins Separated at Birth? 22/40

March 14, 2007 at 7:33 am | Posted in Bollywood, Celebrities, Entertainment, Film, Stars, video | 14 Comments
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It’s probably a bit unfair towards the Indian actress, but I realized recently that Kareena Kapoor and Paris Hilton have a lot in common, feature-wise. Also, both come from well-known, affluent families. The Hilton clan is well known for their trade, the hotel industry, and have also produced minor celebrity Nicky Hilton (Paris’ sister), while the Kapoor clan has produced some fine Bollywood actors, including the probably biggest star ever (I think), Raj Kapoor. Kareena actually looks a lot like him, but he might as well be Paris’ father. And they’re practically the same age, Kareena been born in September 1980 and Paris in February 1981.

Twins

In the film that meant her breakthough, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kareena played a spoiled brat reminiscent of Paris in the first part of the film, but then her character bethought herself of traditions and spirituality and became a decent (if particularly fashionable) housewife in the end.

Regarding Paris, she was said to have marketed her own private photographs and videos in a clumsy guerrilla warfare strategy recently. The idea was to try to make people believe that Paris wasn’t able to pay her storage unit bill, that her stuff was auctioned off and that ‘they’, i.e. the makers of a site named Paris Exposed, had bought it. Access was granted for $ 49. Here is a link to the trailer video of that same website (which seems to be down now). The video is boring, hence no inclusion into my post, but if you ever wanted to catch a glimpse of Paris’ nipples (yawn), go watch it.

Apart from that, Paris Hilton was received with major ennui in Austria when she appeared at the Vienna opera ball this year. Her appearance first attracted major media interest, but the unanimous verdict was that she wasn’t worth a penny of the alleged € 300.000 she received for attending the ball. For most of the evening, she sat in construction magnate Lugner’s VIP box, looking bored, checking either her looks in a hand-mirror or her cell phone for new messages. Neither was she seen on the dance floor nor seen socializing with the Viennese haute volée. The general assumption was that she had expected more attention – but the Vienna opera ball is certainly not the place where an American heiress who’s good at aprés ski or exposing her undergarments would make much of an impression. Those people have seen worse in their own circles, but at least they know how to be cultivated.

While mentioning Paris’ cellphone addiction: Kareena Kapoor apparently spent most of her time on the set of Asoka with her cellphone glued to her ear, only putting it down when being called by the director;-)

But all in all, the clear winner of this comparison is Kareena – even though I think that her eyes, like Paris’, are too close to each other. At least she has never lowered herself to crotch shots or published homemade sex videos, nor to marketing such material through dodgy websites.

Some films featuring Kareena (all for which she received awards):
Don (2006, Cameo, but hot!)
Omkara (2006)
Dev (2004)
Chameli (2004)
Kabhi Khushi KabhieGham (2001)
Asoka (2001)
Refugee (2000)

Some ‘films’ featuring Paris:
House of Wax (2005, Teen Choice award for Best Scream)
1 Night in Paris (2004, the infamous sex tape her ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon released; she received directorial credit for the video which won the Adult Video News award for Best Selling Video; just a note on the side: she also looked bored in that video)
The Simple Life (2003-, TV)

Two odd war movies: 300 vs Asoka 21/40

March 13, 2007 at 7:30 am | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Film, Stars, Youtube | 3 Comments
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I’ve got some thoughts on my mind about the relation between the consumerist mindset, the popularity of wellness products and services and the ever spreading belief of some people that they should ‘learn to do something for themselves’, relating furthermore to a certain tendency with some to assess friendship on the basis of its ‘what one gets out it’ value. But before I formulate this any clearer, I’d like to wait for a response from Jetsam on my response to his most recent Baudrillard post (don’t feel pushed into anything though!).

While that thought keeps fermenting, I’d simply like to juxtapose two films featuring scenes from the battlefield – the upcoming film 300, directed by Zach Snyder and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller on the one hand and the already mentioned Asoka on the other, directed by Santosh Sivan, featuring Shahrukh Khan, and loosely based on the life and times of the Indian emperor Ashoka who embraced Buddhism after realizing the cruelties of the wars he had waged.

While the former aspires to a hitherto unseen, graphic, formally aesthetic depiction of the fights on the battlefield, the latter eschews graphic detail, in spite of the numerous fighting scenes. The former relies heavily on the bluescreen, the latter on costume and physical abilities. The former is graphic eyecandy, the second a family movie and vehicle for SRK.

I didn’t manage to dig up a fighting scene from Asoka, so you’ll have to make do with the trailer. Please appreciate the suggestions of bloodshed which can be found throughout the movie, for instances splashes of red water against the sea shore. But for most of the time, choreography hides the bodily part where the wound is afflicted.

The piece from 300 was heralded as the ‘most violent scene in the entire film’. Please appreciate in particular the achievements of the Foley artists, in particular the sound of blood gushing out of the fresh wounds. Sounds pretty much like a bathroom party to me;-)

I don’t know how you feel about 300, but I am no more interested in watching it. According to Jetsam’s review, the images are stunning, but the characters contrived and uninteresting. Judging from the footage and screens I have seen, you can expect a photorealistic trying to be surrealistic image overflow – but I’ve already grown tired of CGI, to be honest.

On the other hand, the swords and armament in Asoka resemble the equipment of toy soldiers all too often – neither is the story the most intriguing ever told, but hey: it’s got SRK in it. I am afraid to sound too fanatic or naive – but SRK is definitely the best reason for watching the film. If anybody has the magic aura of a star, then him – goofy nose, warts and all. You just don’t want to take your eyes of him – from the blood feast in 300, I do happily want to avert my eyes.

I think we’ve got a meme 17/40

March 9, 2007 at 1:45 pm | Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Film, Meme | Leave a comment
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My blog stats told me today that ‘Borat naked’ has apparently become a meme on the web:

Searchterms

In the words of Wikipedia (which in itself is a collection of memetic knowledge) a meme is

a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another. Dawkins said, Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. A meme propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion — analogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene (the unit of genetic information). Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.

If have hence now included the naked Borat footage, courtesy by youtube, into the post that curiously attracted the attention in the past: a post about about a visit to an artfair where a ‘naked little dead man’ was exhibited as a sculpture. Johnny Malmedy had commented on this, pretending to be Borat, hence establishing the link that I couldn’t explain at first. I even put up a Quick guide to Borat, assuming it was just general interest in the character Borat. But it’s the naked Borat they want:-)

If you haven’t watched Borat, here is the footage another time:

I think what this memeplexe is about is

  1. the outrageousness of the imperfect, naked body (the perfect body, in that sense, is not naked, not conspicuous enough to be naked)
  2. the outrageousness of the naked, hairy body (more specifically defining the nature of imperfection)
  3. the outrageousness of the naked, hairy, fat body (doubly marginalized)

Haven’t we all wondered in the past if the penis of a really fat man isn’t probably covered by body fat to an extent that it is not even visible anymore? Now we know: Fat men don’t have visible penises. On that note: Enjoy!

No Lent note today. I’ve given that up for Lent:-)

Helge makes Lent music 7/40

February 27, 2007 at 7:36 am | Posted in Comedy, Culture, Entertainment, Film, Food, German, Lent, Posts in German | 8 Comments
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LentToday I propose a combined Lent & Life post in which I declare Helge Schneider the perfect composer and performer of Lent music. Those who keep regular contact to the German language sphere will certainly know his hit single “Möhrchen” (Little Carrot) from 2003. In this song, he proposes to abstain from drugs and to have carrots instead, using the following memorable lines:

Mariejohanna is nich gut
Mariejohanna is nichte gutta
Mariejohanna is nich gut
Makt dir auch die Futte kaputt

Tuma lieba die Möhrchen
Tuma lieba die Möhrchen Mama
Mama lieba die Möhrchen
die Möhrchen aus dem Glas.*

I also love the video, for its low budget production and Helge’s acting:

The Lenten lifestyle is further propagated in his latest hit, Käsebrot (cheese sandwich), featuring a German Käsebrot, which has very little to do with a cheese sandwich actually, even though that is probably the best translation. Just like bread from the UK or US has very little to do with German bread. That’s one good thing about being German: We may not have humour, but definitely absolutely the best bread ever. Some lyrics to accompany the video (and no meat, sugar or alcohol in these either):

Käsebrot ist ein gutes Brot
Käsebrot ist ein gutes Brot
Käsebrot, Kä-Kä-Kä-Käsebrot
Sexy Sexy Popäsebrot

Zeitungsinserate
Liegen auf dem Tisch
Doch ein Stückchen Käse
Schmeckt auch gut zu Fisch**

I’m not so sure whether Helge Schneider is also the suitable ambassador to propagate German humour, but I cherish the idea that he is something like a weirder Weird Al Yankovich. Anyway, Helge is beyond argueing for me. Earlier this year, he played Hitler in Dani Levy’s Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler which met with great expectations which it apparently didn’t meet (mainly for not being able to decide between a comic and a moralist approach). I did not see it, although my spontaneous reponse was that, if anybody could play Hitler, it would be Helge, the muttering comedian (think of Charlie Chaplin’s gibberish when he played Adenoid Hynkel in The Great Dictator). Helge also has the reputation of a top notch musician, playing the piano, saxophon, vibraphone, accordion, guitar, bass, violin, ukulele, recorder, drums, trumpet, Hammond organ, church organ and cello (and probably more. he keeps adding). I guess that also doesn’t quite come across in the examples of music above.

Helge Hitler

Translations:

*
Maryjane isn’t good (3 times),
it ruins your brain too (or your feet, depending on the interpretation).

Rather get the carrots,
get the carrots, Mama,
Mama rather the carrots,
the carrots from the jar.

**
Cheese sandwich is a good sandwich (2 times)
Cheese sandwich, Che-Che-Che-Cheesesandwich
Sexy Sexy Shmeesesandwich

Classifieds
Lying on the table
But a piece of cheese
Goes also well with fish

Slavoj Žižek’s wives

February 10, 2007 at 10:41 am | Posted in Entertainment, Gender | 42 Comments
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Renata SaleclAnd there goes another post triggered by my recent quest to explore the public persona of Slavoj Žižek. I’ll stay comfortably on the surface of things, like a tabloid, to leave the rest to your own imagination. I can’t come up with a coherent story about Žižek’s wives, I couldn’t even find out whether he was married two or three times. What difference would it make anyway? According to Wikipedia, he married the second time in 2004, according to Rebecca Mead in The New Yorker, he was already divorced twice in 2003.

The top right image shows his first or second wife Renata Salecl, Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law Institute of Criminology, Centennial Professor at the department of law at the London School of Economics and a visiting scholar to various institutions (Duke University, Berliner Wissenschaftskolleg, New School for Social Research, to name a few). She has written and co-edited a number of publications, alone and with Žižek, and she is very attractive.

In 2004, Žižek, the psycoanalytic philosopher, married a woman by the name of Analia Hounie (sorry, couldn’t keep the emphasis to myself), who is also very attractive, yet in a different way (see pictures). She is a (then) 26-year old model from Argentina, and according to some “the daughter of a major Lacanian thinker and a very serious scholar herself” [I-Cite].

Ruflan via K-Punk writes about her as “Zizek’s new adquisition: the intellectual model”:

Someone was wondering if she’s a genius or something like that. Well, she is. And she is not.
She is: she’s a literature student and she married Zizek. (eeek) anyway, when the old man dies he’ll leave her a really important book collection.
She is not: i’m actually a literature student and the thing is i got to be sitting with her in the same class room several times. Legally blonde.

Zizek WeddingSee how a story is beginning to form in your head? No further comment from my side… I do, however, not want to withhold the wedding photograph from you, also courtesy I-Cite, with which she raised the question:

“Is tabloid coverage good for materialist, psychoanalytic, philosophy?”

Read the comments on I-Cite’s blog, they are entertaining.

(EDIT: Word on the street has it Žižek has already divorced Houni and hooked up with a blonde Harvard student – 2009-05-16)

SRK in my bathtub and on KBC2 – a star descending to TV?

February 8, 2007 at 9:57 am | Posted in Bollywood, Entertainment, Film, Popular Culture, Television, Youtube | Leave a comment

Yesterday I stumbled upon the Shah Rukh Khan rules! group in flickr. Quite some time ago, when I posted about the state of the European (in particular German) infatuation with SRK, I took a picture of my bathroom adorned with Bollywood themed devotional cards. Someone called Another Penny Lane left a note on the picture, showing the man in HER bathtub.

SRK

Who wins? No comment necessary. 😀

Penny’s comment also reminded me that it is time to check how SRK is doing on KBC2 – Kaun Bangea Crorepati (Who wants to be a millionaire?). See for yourself – I think he is keeping up, although not quite big enough to walk in Amitabh Bachchan’s shoes.

Regardless of the question of the competition with the Big B, I’m intrigued by the fact that it seems to be possible, after all, for a Bollywood film star to descend to TV (also think of Shilpa Shetty in the Big Brother house – or was her career already faltering?). No such thing is likely to happen in the Western World. Imagine Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow or Meryl Streep becoming a TV show host! It would spoil their glossy veneer, I suppose… but does not seem to harm SRK. Or does it? What do you think?

Btw: Watching KBC also seems to be one possible way of learning Hindi – the host’s speech is riddled with English words, and the questions are presented both in English (in writing) and Hindi (read out by the host).

Brief DSDS update: Lindsay and Aleksin were sent home yesterday, Mark Medlock was the show’s king of of hearts [link to video]…

Slavoj Žižek: Love is Evil

February 7, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in Entertainment, Youtube | 9 Comments
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Posting just this cliplet featuring maverick philosopher Slavoj Žižek probably means to discuss him (or whatever he stands for) out of context – but it might be fair if one considers how difficult it is to stay up to scratch with his thinking. I suppose that I don’t really understand any of Žižek’s theories. And even worse, the main reason for that might be that I don’t WANT to understand or think of psychoanalytic theory as anything more than a metaphore (even if it is of the Lacanian denomination). But Žižek is certainly entertaining, I have to give him that.

So even if I fail doing Žižek justice, this piece is still good for explaining why I am fascinated with the public persona Žižek, and at the same time sceptical regarding his coherence as a theoretician. He’s sharp and quick as silver (and in a way a world wonder in his own right), but I sometimes feel that he is missing out a few tiny logical steps in his argument. I saw him “perform” once in Cologne and also had the feeling then that he sometimes got carried away by his own inclination to hog the limelight when confronting an intellectual crowd.

Lest I forget: Johnny Malmedy posted about this two days ago, but I couldn’t find what he wrote about the sexual act in this video.

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