Thank Christ: Bigtime Creepface Guillermo Del Toro And Disney Team Up to Terrify Children

  • Posted by
  • on September 15, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

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This is a little tidbit that hits me at the opportune time in my life. In the past few years I’ve come to the definite conclusion that children need to be scared more.

It’s hard to tell if it’s because I’m older (and fending off exaggerated-by-nostalgia feelings of enthusiastic terror) or if it really is a lack of appropriately-chilling contemporary family films, somnology but I remember the tremendous feeling of triumph I vicariously felt after the protagonist in a given film endured true terror and emerged not only victoriously, allergist but a bit wiser to the world.

Charlie may have inherited a Chocolate factory but in doing so he had to clench his fists and grit his teeth as Wonka put him and his peers through an extreme amount of psychological upheaval (culminating in the boat-ride psychedelic freak session). And now, since he’s experienced first-hand such fear, that lifetime supply of chocolate will taste all the sweeter.

This is why I feel instilling a healthy dose of terror into a young person is a beneficial choice. Not only does it elevate the relief/triumph that comes with a satisfying dramatic finale, but it gives context to the children. It makes them appreciate the simplicity and safety of a warm bed and the potential excitement of a nightmare.

So, it pleases me greatly to see that top-rate scaryface-craftsman – Guillermo Del Toro – has partnered with Disney to bring a slew of panic-inducing animated films under the appropriately-titled banner Double-Dare You. This is how he explains it:

“As a director, I love to take audiences into fantastic new worlds and provide them with some anxious moments in the process. It is part of the Disney canon to create thrilling, unforgettable moments and villains in all their classic films. It is my privilege for DDY to continue in this tradition. To partner up with The Walt Disney Studios, with the support of Dick Cook and John Lasseter, is to belong to a storytelling partnership that I admire deeply. It is a true honor. I look forward to coming up with fresh and original stories that will take Disney films in a whole new direction. The emphasis is on fun, and we have some great ideas already on the storyboards.”

I’ve recently been on a Disney-animated kick and caught a Charlie Rose interview with Del Toro where his enthusiasm for the monstrously-absurd makes me think this union of man and myth is nothing but logical. I think my nine year-old cousin is in for a treat.

Michael Moore Aggressively Bites the Feeding Hand

  • Posted by
  • on September 11, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

Michael Moore obviously doesn’t give a fuck. That being said, healing he definitely gives a fuck.

And that’s the essence of his persona. He’s the rebel with a cause. He’s the  little prankster that utilizes the sheepish grin in defense of God’s Americans. He’ll throw a tantrum and scream and yell until some Momma somewhere show’s the cookies.

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I write that he doesn’t give a fuck because history holds that, ascariasis if one chooses to galavant as a filmmaker, ed one must bow to the studios.  They give the money, you take the money. They say you can’t have the money and you cry until a pillow is soggy. Moore, not too-surprisingly, does not conform to this paradigm. You may not agree with his politics or the methods in which he delivers them, but you have to admire the balls he travels with. Take the following quote as evidence.

Why would these companies give money to me, a guy who is diametrically opposed to everything they stand for? One of the beautiful flaws of capitalism is they will use the rope you give them to hang themselves if you can make a buck.

This bit of bewildered skepticism is targeted at Paramount, the studio which financed his latest documentary titled Capitalism: A Love Story.

He has more gems in the same FUCKYOU vein that reveal a man who knows exactly what his words will do and how they will be interpreted by the targets of his ire:

They are not an ideology, they are just about money. I can imagine the conversation – ‘Look what he’s said about us’ says one man, and other says ‘But look how much money he made.’

This is a very refreshing bit of honesty that goes a long way in calling out the latent sickness in the system. Most aren’t naive enough to believe a studio is interested in much more than making some bucks, but to articulate the extent at which they go for that buck, like Moore did,  is giggle-worthy.

Moore knowingly calls out the flaws because he is in a very rare and privileged sect of filmmaking (especially documentary filmmaking).  He is successful. Very successful. Call him a propaganda-slut if you want to, but the man was able to make millions of dollars on a 9/11 documentary. He was able to churn out green while making a documentary on fucking Columbine.

So, with this success, it gives him room to say exactly what he’d like to say. Which only further perpetuates his own wily-outsider legend. As evident by the cherry on top of his calculated tirade:

I have been saving up my money since ‘Sicko’ to get to this day. I will always make my own movies. Now I have my own money to make them.

I have often wondered what a man like that, a man with so many problematic issues related to our monetary system, does with the excess he garners from success.

To burn bridges and then build up your own in their place is exactly the sort of behavior that renders me susceptible to his manipulative charm. And it makes me glad he’s still around. Sitting in the back row of class, cracking-wise.

Experimental Dental School Get Song Captured by Video

  • Posted by
  • on September 3, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

When faced with spare moments during the course of a day one has to make many difficult choices. These moments that have been wrestled from hustle and bustle should not be wasted on activities of superfluous nature. No regrets. If you suffer from indecision in regard to how to use these rare minutes I suggest devoting at least one to the new video from local duo Experimental Dental School. The song is “Royal Fantasy Snow” and the swirling momentum of the video was captured and crafted by Portland badass – Jeff Guay.

Experimental Dental School “Royal Fantasy Snow” from Jeff Guay on Vimeo.

A Night at the Museum, sans Ben Stiller, add Free Beer

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The Portland Art Museum is continuing their rabid pursuit of youth-oriented hi-jinks by assembling, refractionist with care and precision, Shine a Light: A Night at the Museum. A special event taking place on September 19th from 6pm until the stroke of midnight.

Here’s some words detailing the intricacies of the evening:

“The event consists of six hours of performances, installations, tours, workshops, and games by 15 artists drawn from Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice Program, led by Harrell Fletcher and Jen Delos Reyes. The Northwest Film Center joins in by breaking out of the Whitsell Auditorium to present vintage and contemporary works in some surprise locations. The projects are centered on artist and audience participation and visitors are encouraged to experience the Museum’s spaces and collections in new ways.”

In addition to official written intent provided by the higher-ups, here are some weapons you can use to tactically coerce friends to attend:

– Performances by E*Rock, Atole, Mirah, Joe Preston of the Thrones, Honey Owens of Valet, Christopher Doulgleri of Hooliganship, Alex Guy, Drew Slum and Blacque Butterfly.

– Free Beer! Not only ordinary beer or even ordinarily-awesome Portland beer. For the occasion there will be beer that has been inspired by art works in the Portland Art Museum’s collection. Brewed special for this one night from Laurelwood, Lompoc and Lucky Lab.

Basically the event is a composition and culmination of the most substantially gnarly aspects of Portland living (music, beer, galleries) and your absence on the occasion would be a white flag to the army of lameness. All of the festivities are free with museum admission.

Also! I’ll be slinging tickets for the duration, so you can complain directly to me if you feel bamboozled at night’s end.

More info here.


The Biggest Record Collection in the World

  • Posted by
  • on August 28, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

I didn’t make it to the Soapbox Derby this year, look but I’ve been a few times so what’s the difference. Let me set the scene: a couple thousand people hang out and watch a couple of dozen teams race homemade cars down the side of Mt. Tabor here in Southeast. The crowd drinks openly and gets nerve-wrackingly close to the track. Volunteers with blowhorns yell at people who come dangerously close to getting hit by speeding, viagra drunken projectiles, remedy barreling down the side of Mt. Tabor.

It’s awesome, it’s a Portland institution.

This video from Portland filmmaker (who goes by the handle Brewcaster) sums it up pretty well. The second video from the Yakima team (which fared second place) is also worth checking out. While overly high-tech compared to the competitors, this Yakima car is pretty sweet. Their mounted camera turned out some cool footage.

This short documentary is a Sundance Selection from 2009 about Paul Mawhinney, page
a man who is believed to own the largest record collection in the world. He amassed the collection while running a record shop in Pittsburgh for many years and archiving vinyl as he went. Now, health
the collection of about 1 million albums is estimated to be worth about $50 million. Mawhinney has come into health problems and economic hard times and has been struggling to sell it for a modest $3 million.

This was directed by Sean Dunne, a filmmaker in Brooklyn, New York.

Pan and Scan Deconstructed by Famous Directors

  • Posted by
  • on August 28, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

At this point the injustice of practice of pan-and-scan (cropping movies to fit the standard 4:3 television screen) is widely accepted. Once the ire of filmmakers, hepatitis savvy film viewers are increasingly in the same boat with the opinion that changing the format of a movie in turn changes the moviegoing experience. And never for the better.

But this short peice, order featuring some excellent examples and interviews with directors like Michael Mann & Martin Scorcese, makes the most convincing argument I’ve heard. Curtis Hanson‘s Last Supper analogy pretty well puts the nail in the coffin.

“All films made from 1953 on for the past 50 years, have been made in one widescreen form or another. Whether it’s just normal widescreen or the 70mm or Cinemascope or Panavision.” – Martin Scorcese

KRS-One Kickstarts New Religion

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EXTRA! EXTRA!

Hip-hop legend KRS-One has written a six-hundred page text dubbed: The Gospel of Hip Hop: The First Instrument, clinic which he would like to someday serve as the anchor to a religion of hip-hop.

This sort of tidbit could easily be laughed out of memory and left to die a miserable anonymous death due to the general public’s lack of exposure to ludicrous boldness, this site but I feel it’s worthy of a second thought. Not only because all religions appear nothing more than widely-held beliefs anyway, but because this particular man is not a flavor-of-the-month with a lack of substantiality.

KRS-One has established himself as a man who has been in the creative trenches for a handful of decades, honing his craft all the while. In addition he has been an active and vocal leader in the “Stop the Violence” movement (an attempt to diffuse the violence that has permeated hip-hop).

To assume the boldness of spiritual articulation is just magnificent and I admire it tremendously. As much as religious-fervor serves as antagonist to my protagonist, to approach an art form with the respect of holiness appeals to the romantic in me. And if a handful of people could start the Mormon religion in Utah, who’s to say KRS-One can’t get a foothold.

Hopefully the children of the future will have to wake up early on a future-Sunday in order to plug in their future-headphones. Then bible study will begin.

2009 Adult Soapbox Derby

I didn’t make it to the Soapbox Derby this year, pills but I’ve been a few times so what’s the difference. Let me set the scene: a couple thousand people hang out and watch a couple of dozen teams race homemade cars down the side of Mt. Tabor here in Southeast. The crowd drinks openly and gets nerve-wrackingly close to the track. Volunteers with blowhorns yell at people who come dangerously close to getting hit by speeding, drunken projectiles, barreling down the side of Mt. Tabor.

It’s awesome, it’s a Portland institution.

This video from a Portland filmmaker who goes by the handle Brewcaster sums it up pretty well. The second video from the Yakima team (which fared second place) is also worth checking out. While overly high-tech compared to the competitors, this Yakima car is pretty sweet. Their mounted camera turned out some cool footage.

Puppy O’Shaughnessy Remembered

“I had a different name for the guy: leave-em-for-dead O’Shaughnessy.”

Check out this mockumentary about a fictional bike messenger in Portland. It was made by Joe Lumbroso, who runs a design and new media firm in San Francisco (it appears he used to live here.) I really dig the performances.