We love that Cinefamily brings us the obscure film runnings. And we know that they love music too because Dublab and one of our favorite tree-killers, LA Record, are sponsors. Last night at LA's Silent Movie Theatre we were presented with director Teinosuke Kinugasa's 1926 silent film called "A Page of Madness." As seen before, Cinefamily decided to add their own musical score to this film. But what would pair well with the Kinugasa's theme of hallucinations and obsession played out in Japanese kabuki and the use of superimpositions, flashbacks, rapid montage and complex subjective camerawork? None other than California's psychedelic soundsmith, The Gaslamp Killer, who we first discovered from Sound in Color Records and who is now rocking with Obey Records.
Check the Cinefamily website for upcoming experiments in music and film, including an upcoming evening with Mike Mills.
Our friends Trifonic have just informed us their latest collaboration is featured on Apple's HD quicktime gallery. And it's a doozy. The short film (essentially an insane music video) is called "Parks On Fire", and the visuals are courtesy of Scott Pagano, an emerging digital filmmaker, motion designer, and "spatial reconstructionist", according to the press release.
Fans of the rich, textured visual imagery of Aeon Flux, The Cell, Encyclopedia Pictura, and Gondry should enjoy. Pagano has also created motion art works for such artists as Funkstorung, Christopher Willits, Monolake, The Kronos Quartet - and now our SF area homeys Trifonic.
Check the high-res madness (youtube eat your heart out) here:
We were first in line to see the latest rap biopic, "Notorious" in LA on Tuesday night courtesy of Nike (and Flux). The Biggie Smalls story has been waiting to be told since he was tragically murdered in our fair city, Los Angeles, back in 1997. During his short career Biggie's lyrical prowess has been elevated to legendary status and #3 on MTV's "Greatest MCs Of All Time" list even though he only released two albums and was gunned down at the tender age of 24. Even after his death he's continued to be prolific with new tracks featuring his unmistakable vocals.
Of course the music was dope in the film. The opening club scene rocked out with the Biggie banger "Hypnotize" testing the (Nike) Montalban Theater sound system. That set the tone for the story of the rise (and fall) of one of the best story tellers. But that's what you'd expect right? So we're left wondering about the Biggie story that we don't know about. We mean, we already know about Big Poppa slanging dope on the street corner and hooking up with Sean "Puffy/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Diddy" Combs and Uptown/Bad Boy. We felt "Notorious" could've chosen a different path than the commercial biopic that was delivered. But, instead we got to see Lil Kim's breasts, some foul language and got an R-rated film. What about his real friendship and rivalry with Tupac? What was his mother's advice? Who really had Biggie's back?
There was only one way this film was going to go when Diddy's involved. After all, the man who gave Biggie his break has blinged himself out with reality TV shows (MTV's Making The Band and VH1's I Want To Work For Diddy), won awards for his clothing line, Sean John, and even has a luxury liquor brand. All said, even though we don't love "Notorious" we know there ain't been a rapper to fill Biggie's size 14 shoes since he passed. R.I.P. B.I.G.
Slumdog Gazillionaire: Really nice to see the Golden Globes acknowledging the underdog this year for best original score, even beating out nominations for Peter Gabriel and Hans Zimmer respectively. The film is filled with the streets and sounds of Mumbai and for anyone into the BRICs it's really nice to see the depiction of another world hit mainstream media. There's something about this film and the departure of Danny Boyle's normal composer John Murphy that was somewhat of a shock. But when you see the film you understand why. The decision to get A.R. Rahman to compose the score probably took all of 3 seconds. With his Bollywood credentials (he's Mumbai's Hans Zimmer) and a collaboration with M.I.A. (she recorded her last album in his studio), the soundtrack has just been released by Interscope. They made the play before all the nods at the Globes and its soon to come recognition at The Oscars. It's a mash-up of hip hop and Bollywood and we say fair shout to all involved. If only the film ended like this instead:
If you missed this past friday's CMJ screening of Soulwax's Part Of The Weekend Never Dies, you missed a kick-ass film that induced a late, late night dance-a-thon after wards. However, just to ensure the party mentality really never dies, we're bringing some of it your way. As its title insinuates, the film documents the Belgian electronic magicians as they toured through 120 shows around the world. The film includes cameos by other night owl legends James Murphy, Nancy Whang, Erol Alkan, Tiga, Justice, Busy P, So-Me, Peaches, Kitsuné & Klaxons. It's a perspective of the party where feet that never stop moving, lasers never stop shining, drugs never stop working, dawn never peaks its bold shining face, and time, age, and priorities rest on a permanent standstill as you await the pulsing beat.
If you're on the west coast, you lucked out; Soulwax is bringing the party your way this wk. Otherwise, the film will be released 12/9.
Live Dates -- SOULWAX LIVE! + special late DJ set by 2MANY DJS:
Oct 30 San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine
Oct 31 Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Auditorium
Nov 01 Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico @ Moroccos Concert Hall
More Screenings for Part of the Weekend Never Dies:
Now that the hype has settled down, we think we can all agree that in retrospect, Juno was pretty awesome. OK, it might not be the Heathers that Diablo Cody had hoped for, but it’s a solid movie, with one of its biggest components being the soundtrack (which, somewhat randomly, landed a reunited Moldy Peaches on The View). Juno’s director, Jason Reitman, recently created a playlist of inspiring tunes for West coast radio station KCRW, and of course, where music and media cross paths, there’s always the SEEN RCRD LBL blog to report on the results. Check out their commentary on the playlist below.
Jason Reitman is one of the most promising young film directors today. The 31-year old son of “Ghost Busters” helmer Ivan Reitman, Jason has steered two very different ships to success in “Juno” and “Thank You For Smoking”. Raised in LA, Reitman listens to KCRW as we do so we were all ears when he shared his love of music in a recent radio interview and played tunes that have influenced him over years, especially during the making of the two aforementioned films.
Who would've known that Steve Winwood's "I'm A Man" was a driving force during the making of "Thank You For Smoking". While that tune didn't make the film soundtrack, the attitude of the lyrics permeated the film in more subtle ways. Makes one wonder what the film Juno would've been like if the main character was cast as a punk music fan instead of a lo-fi band lover?
Given his age, Jason Reitman should be creating great films for years to come. And anyone who lists RJD2 in their playlist is a friend of ours. Tune into KCRW to hear how intrinsic music is to Reitman's creative process and how he uses radio as his record store to discover songs that influence his film projects.
Jason Reitman's Playlist:
1. Steve Winwood - "I'm a Man"
Album: The Best of Steve Winwood (Island)
2. Yo La Tengo - "You Can Have it All"
Album: Juno B-Sides: Almost Adopted Songs (Rhino)
3. Moldy Peaches - "Anyone Else But You"
Album: Juno - Music From The Motion Picture (Rhino)
4. Noel Zancanella - "Lovely"
Album: Stereo: A Fantasy for Electromagnetic Tape (Sonom Records)
5. Penguin Cafe Orchestra - "Telephone Rubber Band"
Album: Penguin Cafe Orchestra (Astralwerks)
6. RJD2 - "Good Times Roll pt. 1 [Explicit]"
Album: The Horror (Def Jux)
The Visitor is this year’s little film that could. It's based on a true story in which two very unlikely paths cross in the megalopolis that is NYC. A middle aged and bored Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins/Six Feet Under) comes home one day to find two new residents in his apartment: Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), a Syrian man, and Zainab (Danai Gurira), his Senegalese girlfriend. Learning that they're victims of a real estate scam, he befriends them and allows them to stay.
Moved by this, Tarek, a drummer, insists on teaching Walter to play the African drum. The instrument captures Walter's spirit and so begins a friendship between the two men. The differences in culture, age and temperament disappear.
In what can only be described as a dark twist, Tarek is pulled up by the NYPD on the Metro after returning with Walter from a lunchtime drum circle practice. Tarek is arrested as an undocumented citizen and held for deportation. As the situation moves from bad to worse Walter departs his sedentiary existence and enters the brutal world of immigration deportation policy and detention centers.
What's interesting in this film, apart from the inside look at immigration policy and it's systemic deployment after 9/11, is the film's sophisticated and special use of music. As the central characters get to know each other through playing music, both of the characters undertake a transformation. Music is used as a method to communicate and as a way to cross language and emotional barriers. The score to the film is created by Polish born Jan A.P. Kaczmarek and lends the film a soft and gentle side to the harsh realities undergoing Tarek. But the director Tom McCarthy (Station Agent/The Wire) doesn't stop there, in using “Je'Nwi Teni” (Don't Gag Me) by Fela Kuti as their drum practice song and as the only song in the film, the director is more than judicious with his use of music and therefore makes its use all the more powerful. Somehow the use of this song reminds us of why we all share the same planet.
As the Cannes Film Festival rages on, I thought I'd write about a movie that made the official selection last year and was released in the UK a couple of months ago and just about now in the US : Water Lilies by Céline Sciamma. I'll leave it to Steven Jenkins to leave it to the French:
"Leave it to the French to eschew the clichés of American “coming of age” dramedies, preferring instead to chart their tweens’ trials and triumphs through uniquely Gallic “age of possibilities” films, highlighted by such disparate studies as François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Catherine Breillat’s Fat Girl and Pascale Ferran’s genre-defining The Age of Possibilities. To this list we must add Céline Sciamma’s astonishingly assured first feature, focusing on three schoolgirls of varying experience and élan who explore the alternately liberating and perilous possibilities inherent to their youth, burgeoning sexuality and fascination with synchronized swimming. Imagine a pubescent Esther Williams shipped overseas to a public school in the suburbs outside Paris, and you’ll have some idea of the alluring blend of teenage athleticism and ennui embodied by Marie (preternaturally perceptive lovestruck loner), Anne (zaftig party-crashing eccentric) and Floriane (sultry swim team tease), the titular water lilies who dive deep into the chilly waters of adolescence with only nose plugs, training bras and each other’s kisses and confessions for protection." —Stolen from the San Francisco International Film Festival
It's a splendid movie, fully realized by its soundtrack, produced by Para One.
We know we need to be eco-friendly, but we still have real love for the battery-eating boomboxes of yesteryear. It's the pulsing LED lights, the EQ slider, the volume knob...it's the whole weight! Remember Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing"? Much respect to the boombox and the films that we found that featured the urban icon. Here we go...and by no means an exhaustive list, nor necessarily films of high regard:
The Survivors - 1981
Wild Style - 1982
Flashdance - 1983
Breakin' - 1984
Body Rock - 1984
Krush Groove - 1984
Barry Gordy's The Last Dragon - 1985
A View to a Kill - 1985
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - 1986
Do The Right Thing - 1989
Say Anything - 1989
Pump Up The Volume - 1990
Bad Boys - 1993
Any we've missed (and there are loads of them)? Leave a comment.
If you're inspired, check out this link to the Boombox Museum. But if you're too attached to your iPod to think about going back to analog then we found this impressive accessory...the iPod boombox. Word.