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I suspect I am the last person on the entire internet to find this, but it struck such a chord with me that I wanted to blog about it anyway.

This is a self-described valentine to film noir, and man, is it EVER. Such great editing with a great selection (though in the notes she points out that she missed "The Sweet Smell of Success" and "White Heat" with the broken-spirited air of someone who has been smacked around by a million YouTube commenters). It's just the best thing ever, basically, if you enjoy some hard-boiled black-and-white shenanigans.

You know how to make an awesome tribute video, don't you, Steve? You just put your noirs together...and rock it.

P.S. I found this video while I was searching for a font. I love the internet.
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Just for the record, this is not an endorsement of any kind. The movie this clip is from is a disaster. Never watch it.

That said, this clip is my go-to on a bad day, because no matter how bad my day is, Cillian Murphy going about his daily tasks while sobbing uncontrollably never fails to make me laugh. (That sounds meaner than it is. I hope.)

(Let me state again that this movie, Watching the Detectives, should never be viewed by anyone. Cillian Murphy is a very talented actor who has made some great movies. He has also made some total stinkbombs, of which this one vies for the top slot. Trust me on this. If you're on a Cillian Murphy kick, go rent Disco Pigs or Sunshine or something.)

I have been so busy that my Netflix queue is backing up, I didn't even watch the Emmys, and apparently this is the last day of August, a joke I find unnecessarily cruel. Hopefully I'll have a handle on everything soon, at which point I will be able to go into detail about the filmographies of various actors with questionable taste. (Man, I am looking at SO MANY ACTORS right now.)
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Until today, the Dora the Explorer Inception spoof trailer was my favorite. ("You're talking about dreams...sueños.")

However, for sheer "Go Big or Go Home", this one might be catching up.


Bonus: as someone who leaves the house sometimes at night on the weekends, I think I've actually seen the end of this movie on sidewalks throughout the city. And I've seen the middle of this movie at diners throughout the city the morning after. ("It's only once you sober up that you realize you were actually plastered.")

Also, no joke, the attention to detail here is kind of great. That elevator lobby is amazing.

ETA: Another of my favorites, which I had seen and then unforgivably forgotten about, is Bill and Ted's Excellent Inception. Back when I wrote at about the effect Inception might have, I mentioned that if it did well, we could expect more smart sci-fi. I was shamefully unprepared for its potential for parody, which might exceed all of its actual effect on smart sci-fi in Hollywood.
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
They're not just narratives; they're snapshots in time, moments of pure joy.

Just like this scene from The Lost Boys, which came out in July of 1987. This means that they probably filmed in 1986, that moment when the 80s were just realizing what they could really become. It was a time of innocence and wonder; a time when a man needed only purple tights, leather underwear, and some chains to be fully dressed; a time when Jami Gertz had a promising career. (Remember Quicksilver? Anyone?...anyone?)

Full disclosure: this actually takes me back to a time when I was in high school and taking Photography. This was back when you had to know how to wind the film on the spokes in the dark and then pour in the developer and shake the canister, and if you did one thing wrong you ended up with a bunch of underdeveloped splotches and chemical burns on your hands, and then you had to develop each of the prints by hand using a series of complicated machines that they use for background props in movies like Splice now.

With the hours and hours of after-school work necessary to take that photo of your parents' backyard and make it into something you could pass off as your "Garden" assignment (because your photos of the Botanical Gardens looked like a thin black plate with some cottage cheese on it), you had to have something to listen to as you stumbled around in the darkroom accidentally bleaching the crap out of your clothes. And for whatever reason, the soundtrack to The Lost Boys did the trick, and I must have spent about 800 man-hours that year with it on repeat on my Discman (FOR CDs - WOW, this was long ago).

That is to say: this clip is cheesy and dorky and hilarious, and I am fully implicated in it, because I have heard this song about a bajillion times in my youth, and I probably loved it every time.
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This is what happens when you hit your biannual Bollywood kick right before you get on a plane: this song, in a loop on your head, for two hours.

Here's the thing: it's a really upbeat, catchy song, performed by Madhuri Dixit (who, for my money, is one of the best in Bollywood). If you do not read the lyrics, it sounds like the best time ever.

But if you read the lyrics, it is the happiest song about questionabe-consent field-going EVER.

This alternate translation is even less encouraging of flirty/fun-time readings, since the words "by force" appear often.

I saw somewhere that this is a folk song? She said, not knowing a damn thing. (Then again, that might have been YouTube comments, which are hardly citable.)

Of course, if it was, everyone's folktales/songs have undertones of Ye Ole Questionable Materiale, so it's hardly fair to single out any particular song from anywhere (and using only one of many possible translations) for having strange subject matter (I mean, Grimm's Fairy Tales, anyone?). I'm just saying that I first came across this clip without the translation, and enjoyed having it stuck in my head, and then I found the translation, and now I don't know what to think. It's too catchy to be wrong! Right?

P.S. It has now been stuck in my head four days and counting. I don't even know.

P.P.S. The movie this is from is Anjaam, the first pairing of Madhuri and Shahrukh Khan, who would go on to partner her in several movies, my favorite of which is Devdas. (I have a total soft spot for sweeping historical epics, as you'll see.) The plot of this movie, summed up as succintly as possible on Wikipedia. (You should click it; it's a work of art.)

I have seen this whole movie, and can confirm it is exactly as cracktacular as it sounds. Immediate addition to the list of my favorite potboilers.
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
Last week I stumbled on what is possibly the best historical doc ever on the Discovery Channel:

Cleopatra, Portrait of a Killer. (To be pronounced "KILLAH!" with Gloria Swanson eyes.)

On the right, Arsinoe. On the left, a KILLAH.

Their premise is that Cleopatra, because she hinted around at various Romans until her brother/husband and her half-sister got bumped off and left her sitting pretty on the throne, is a stone-cold killer. Also they have an extra five minutes to fill, so we're going to reconstruct some bones we found in Arsinoe's tomb and decide where she came from! (Not interesting enough for its own show, I guess, but apparently a nice way to bring home the fact that Arsinoe was dispatched by a KILLAH.)

Here's the problem with that: they must think we have never heard of a royal family before. Killing each other is what royal families more or less exist to do. (Last one standing gets the throne, you guys!) So, the fact that Cleopatra exerted some influence to rid herself of rivals to the throne is business as usual, and doing everything you can to keep yourself in power is not only business as usual, but history sort of vilifies you if you can't manage it, so you might as well really go for it and become Oxnard the Wrathful or whatever instead of Plinkerton the Waffling.

(Also, if we're talking about someone who is not afraid to fight for the throne, the ghost of Henry VIII heard this TV show title and looked up, superoffended.)

On the other hand, "Cleopatra: Portrait of Moderate Political Acumen" doesn't have the same ring to it, I guess.

But long as we're still competing for incestuous, murderous royal families, there's another amber-filtered desert-dwelling monarchy that makes Cleopatra's friends look like an episode of Blackadder. Just saying.

On the plus side, this had the best history-documentary extras EVER. They were really going for it, especially Cleopatra and Arsinoe, who did more intense-head-turns-to-the-camera than any other history documentary has ever attempted.

I think I've talked about this before, but I REALLY love extras. Extras in big movies, extras in small movies, accidental extras in crowd scenes, extras who look right at the camera, extras who are falling asleep, extras who outdance the leads, extras who are into it above and beyond the call of duty and gesticulate wildly in the background having a peas-and-carrots fight. But perhaps no extras are closer to my heart than the extras in historical documentaries, who usually look a little confused as to why they're doing whatever they're doing, but gamely push forward into a castle siege or something, just like they were told.

These extras came to win, though. They threw shade at each other and had silent freakouts and threw jewelry all over the place! I actually enjoy this Cleopatra in a completely non-facetious way, and watched the entire hour because I loved how much fun she was clearly having. You make it happen, Cleopatra!

Below, a clip from the show for your enjoyment. (She was a KILLAH!)

glvalentine: (omg no)
So, this Christian propaganda film is about the dangers of premarital kissing. (I suspect this is a joint production of Christian Propaganda Enthusiasts and the PDA-Weary NYC Subway Riders' Association, but there's no proof of this.)

Rich at fourfour found a gold mine with this one.


Even worse /better than the clip is the actual trailer for the movie, which has a Very Intense Narrator and some astoundingly awkward shots of the father making his daughter hug him, being in her bedroom at night, and generally violating all those personal-space rules he just made for little Pamela. ONE STEP BACK, DAD, THANK YOU.

glvalentine: (omg no)
I swear I am working on very long posts about movies and TV shows and narrative structure and how poor Ron Perlman's skin must be like titanium by now after all these years of pancake makeup.

In the meantime, however, I wanted to post something that is:

1) the best part of my day so far, and
2) what most of my first drafts look like: corpse- and transposed-letter-heavy.

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Sometimes, it's all you need to make your day: dogs, in slow motion, being adorable.

(The dog at 0:57 wins, if you ask me, but IT WAS A CLOSE RACE.)
glvalentine: (nerd alert)
As the workload is heavy, blogging this week will be light. So here, have something fun!

I'm sure everyone in the world has seen this already, but still: for whatever reason, I like the Drunk History series. (Minus the ones that show barfing. Come on, people, there's no need.) My favorite is the Oney Judge episode below; there's something so earnest about it, and the hiccups are amazing.

But the best part of this is the hand-smacking "SHE. LIVED. IN. THE WOODS," because now my sister and I can use that whenever things are terrible, and no one around us knows what's going on. Except, now, all of you. Keep that under your hat, everyone.

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Way back when, I mentioned a bizarre pop starlet named Lady Gaga. Since then, she's broken through, and is now everywhere, all the time. The sun never sets on the Gaga Empire.

In a remarkable show of consistency on Lady Gaga's part, everything I said in that entry still holds true, especially the part about false social constructs and the part about her music burrowing its way into your cranial folds so that during important moments - say, addressing the United Nations - you will stand before the throng and say, "I promise this, promise this. Check this hand, 'cause I'm marvelous." (And if movies have taught me anything, the UN will give you a standing ovation and/or break out a dance party over the credits, depending on whether you've been in a drama or a road-trip comedy.)

I'm checking in with her now to run down her crib notes for her latest video, "Telephone."

- Girl in a club on the phone with her boyfriend, who has called several times that night.
- She's out dancing with friends, and she's sick of him trying to reach her.
- She tells him to stop calling, presumably breaking up with him.

- Russ Meyer girls-in-prison pulp movies
- Truck stop diners
- Unlawful fugitive road-trip movies
- Living on a sheep farm
- Cooking shows
- Mass murder
- Tiger suits with exoskeletons

Gaga made this list, looked it over, and said, "We don't have time to find sheep. Let's just film the rest."

Below, the NOT SAFE FOR WORK ten-minute video for "Telephone."

Say what you will about this video (and I actually don’t like it, for several reasons), she still managed to turn in a product that widens her image. She's previously existed in the space-alien realm, but she hit the Russ Meyer trash-movie rockabilly revenge angle as hard as she hits everything, taking genre trappings (women-in-prison, greasy spoons, cigarettes) and pushing them into the absurd. The lit-cigarette sunglasses in particular made me groan, then laugh, as I'm pretty sure is their purpose. (If we are supposed to take them seriously, then she and I need to talk.)

Best part: at the 6:21 mark, one of the backup dancers slides across the bottom foreground of the frame, listening to the head of lettuce he has pressed to his ear. That right there? Is ART.
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Judging by how far behind the curve I am on most things, I am the last person in the world to see this, but I have to share, because, well, it's the Star Wars tuna commercial.

I would like to personally high-five everyone in this commercial, just for the record, because some people act, and some people act on TV, and some people make real art. I think we all know what has happened here today. (Or, in 1970whatever.)

(Via [ profile] vintage_ads, which is always amazing, and today is about fifteen times as amazing as usual.)

A Carol.

Dec. 25th, 2009 08:48 pm
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But since I can't sing, we'll let Chanticleer do it instead.

Here's the thing about this iteration of Chanticleer: CDs don't do them justice, and even this DVD, which is awesome, doesn't get it across because of the multiple mics picking up some voices more strongly than others. When we heard this Chanticleer live, it was even more balanced and smooth - really, one of the best live performances of anything that I've seen. The next year, half these guys left, and the magic was gone. Basically, this DVD of them is one of my #1 arguments for why recordings are so great - sure, it's good now, but it could suck at any moment!

Luckily, this moment was not one of those, and they deliver my all-time favorite arrangement of "Ave Maria," by Franz Biebl. It's a lovely piece of liturgical music that goes perfectly with a quiet, snowy night at home.

(Home for Christmas; regular posting will probably resume next week.)
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Found on ONTD - there is a new Oscar category for Best Thing in the World, and this person is the ONLY NOMINEE:

"Cinema 2009: 1 Year, 342 Movies, 12 Months of Production, 7 Minutes."

I don't know if anyone knows this, but I love movies a lot? Anyway, this is basically what the inside of my head looks like, all the time, awake or asleep. (This also explains why I forget real-life stuff - you notice there is no frame in here that says YOU ARE OUT OF MILK, for example.)

Dear person who made this: you are a genius.
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Apparently my favorite Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers number, from Carefree, has gotten the chop, so I can't repost it here and talk about why Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers remain one of my favorite screen pairs of all time. (Hint: because they are awesome.)

Also, good news: the movie was slightly better than I remembered, because at least Fred wasn't the guy who clocked Ginger. (The rest of the movie makes no sense. Never has, never will. There is a whole song about yams! There's nowhere you can go from there!)

Instead, I will show you this awesome miniature clip-show of them set to Cake's "Love You Madly," which gives the casual passerby a sense of what they could do together (hint: ANYTHING THEY WANTED, THEY WERE AWESOME).

ETA: This is on my mind because the Turner Classic Movies channel is having a Fred and Ginger marathon today, for anyone in the US who feels like tuning in and enjoying!
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1. I suspect this is what all period films look like to my sister.

2. The 1:36 mark is for every English major who ever took an Austen course.

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Tango is strange; danced socially, so much of the nuance is in the feeling between partners that what seems to you like a spectacular dance can look relatively low-key to other dancers. To casual observers, it can look dead boring.

There are things that are easy to notice. In the video below, it's clear that the embrace is fluid, opening and closing a few inches as needed. You can see the perfect balance of each dancer (wheeee!); you can see her articulate adornments that accent the music; you can see the skill and precision of their footwork.

What I can't know any more is what else comes across, things that I didn't know before I started dancing it; the invisible third axis created in the space between partners? The ease of long partnership in the way their chests always meet, even in the wider embrace? The way he adjusts the embrace before the complicated steps when he knows she'll need his support? The drawn-out pauses that highlight the melancholy chorus? How GOOD they are? How much they love it?

P.S. If social dance in New York was anything like this, ever, I wouldn't have stopped dancing. I couldn't have; just look at them.

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One of the movie requests made on my Strange Horizons post was Center Stage. This is a movie about a bunch of teens who want to be ballet dancers, which is good news for most of them, since they certainly won't get very far as actors. There are a few exceptions, including a young Zoe Saldana (who studied ballet as a girl), Eion Bailey (who went on to Band of Brothers) and Peter Gallagher (giving us his best Hostage Eyes), but nobody watches this movie for the acting.

You can just hear the wind whistling, can't you?

The only reason people watch this movie is for the ten-minute ballet at the end that includes a motorcycle and the moment where we pan up from her pink shoes to see she has a new outfit and hairstyle, then we cut to a full-shot and she's got red shoes on, even though no movie-time has passed. This is also the ballet that assumes movie logic, so people are constantly riding up out of the frame as if there is no audience who would have noticed the five hundred backup ballerinas scuttling, crouched, around the set. (It's genius.)

The movie is what you would expect; the shy girl gets her moment in the sun, the bad boy loses the girl to the Nice Guy, the sassy "streetwise" ballerina gets to prove she can hack classical ballet, the overachiever with the stage mom abandons ballet because it's Not Her Dream, But Her Mom's Dream. It's the glimpse into ballet culture that sets this movie apart from any other movie about a bunch of insufferable teenagers.

Hint: ballet culture is MEAN.

Shitty turnout all over the place. )
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My freshman year in college, I was with a group of friends eating lunch in the cafeteria. Above us, the TVs were blaring music videos. Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever," came on, and one by one, all the men in the cafeteria stopped eating, their eyes fixed on the TV. Then, all the women.

Afterwards, there was a long silence, the sort of bizarre and awkward silence that happens when half your table is fighting a hormone surge that would cripple ordinary men. Finally, one of the guys broke the hush.

"Dude. What the hell?"

And that's the thing about Shakira, right? Sure, she's totally sexy and sells it relentlessly. But somehow she's never had the "sleazy" tag appended (unlike the Britneys of the world), maybe because her songs seem so upbeat that the sexual thing comes off like a funny mistake, like it's 1996 and she's the exchange student that will change Dawson's life forever with her carefree topless outfits? I don't know. It's clearly all sex all the time, but whenever I see her I'm just like, "Oh, Shakira," like she's trying to get me to decoupage my coffee table or something.

She has a new video out, "She Wolf." I saw a clip of it that confused me and thought no more of it until my friend E. said, "No, you have to see the whole thing."

You guys, Shakira rolling in mud in front of a herd of horses was vaguely eccentric. This video is fucking loon behavior.

I'm not even talking about the naked cage part. The cage part is obvious and hilarious and a blow to feminism and a boost to nude-leotard manufacturers the world over and at one point she circles one of her legs like it's a tail, but at least all that makes sense. The rest of it is just – she's dancing in a colon? One of the lyrics is, "A domesticated girl, that's all you ask of me/Darling it is no joke, this is lycanthropy"? Then she sees a wolf that's really a woman, so she puts on her samba outfit and goes up and performs her So You Think You Can Dance solo on the roof? And one of the lyrics is, "I'm starting to feel just a little abused, like a coffee machine in an office/So I'm gonna go to my closet and get me a lover and tell you all about it"? (Wait, WHAT?)

Then she falls into her closet and goes to sleep, which, fine, all of us have fallen asleep in strange places. Also she enters the room from the doorway, then lies down facing the doorway and looks out the window at the moon even though that's not physically possible and seriously, can we talk about the giant sparkly colon again? Seriously.

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You guys, there's a TV show called The Vampire Diaries, adapted from a YA series of the same name. I have not read the books and therefore cannot comment, but the show is clearly trying to be the small-screen Twilight (smart move), no matter how hard they have to wrestle it into shape.

Basically, this preview clip is five minutes of comedy gold, is what I'm saying. Enjoy our pregnant pauses!

My favorite part: They go to high school inside the west wing of a Mondrian, for some reason.

(Oh, Ian Somerhalder. Was rent due?)


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Genevieve Valentine

September 2010

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