Archive for March, 2009

2009 The Year In Movies: 6-Around The World


CHAN-WOOK PARK-Thirst

With Cannes announcing its line up in April, interest for film makers around the globe is booming while media tries to figure up the ones that may be selected for a slot in its competititve Official Section. Many of the most renowned world authors got their batteries recharged and new project to launch. Particularly promising, once more and after years of international overexposure are Oriental filmographies with a number of high profile project with crossover potential.

The most exciting of them all is Chan-Wook Park tackling Vampire territory in “Thirst”. The Korean master’s overstylized and violent cinematography reached its peak during his acclaimed Vengeance trilogy and looks set to give a needed overhaul to the traditional horror subgenre. Fellow Korean Bo Joon-Ho returns with “Mother” to his usual violent crime stories of past films like “Memories Of Murder”.

From Japan, the acclaimed young director of such philosophical works as “Afterlife”, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, got his last two movies waiting for Western distribution. The first of them “Still Waiting” went to win a myriad of awards in Asia and Latin America; the latest one “Air Doll” is probably being launched shortly in the festival circuit.

Other recent favourite among Asia’s new authors, Thai Apitchapong Weerasethakul is currently filming “Primitive”, the follow-up to “Syndromes and a century”. Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 The Year In Movies: 5-The Fantastic Genre

2009 promises to be a good year for the fantastic genre, even if it has begun with Zach Snyder’s long awaited adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel “Watchmen” not living up to its expectations. Snyder’s attempt to be faithful to the source it’s worth praising, even if it often fails to translate its relevance to the big screen. After a year of excellent comic adaptations, all hopes were on him to carry on that excellence. “Watchmen” unfortunately didn’t get there.

However, there are enough interesting projects scheduled as to make everyone forget this slip and embrace a fantasy-tinged year in movies. The first one in arriving to the UK will be “Let The Right One In”, a Swedish vampire movie who’s earned rave reviews in the US where it was launched at the end of last year. Thomas Alfredson’s classy film transcends the limits and stereotypes of the genre and presents an innovative take on the vampire tales whose cinematography and screenplay have also earned him a good deal of acclaim.

Other high profile revisit of the traditional myths in the horror genre will see Benicio Del Toro, fresh from his ground breaking, Cannes awarded portrait of Che Guevara, back to fantasy land in a new version of The Wolf Man that also includes Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt as part of its cast, with Joe Johnston of “Jumanji” fame behind the camera. Read the rest of this entry »

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Röyksopp’s Women: Listen to “Junior” In Full.


RÖYKSOPP-Happy Up There

After the mild disappointment that was their second opus “The Understanding”; Röyksopp, Norway’s biggest electronica export, are back to their most pop-tastic form in “Junior”.

The duo from Bergen has scheduled two albums to be released in 2009, when “Junior” is about to hit the shops and can be listened in full at the band’s myspace page; it will be followed by “Senior” at the end of the year. First impressions are more than positive . The album is packed with potential singles, most of them helped in the vocal field by the cream of Today’s cutting edge Scandinavian female artists. After the jump, a quick look at Röyksopp’s women. Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 The Year In Movies: 4-Comedy


BRUNO (Sacha Baron Cohen)

Carry on our review of the movies we’ll be enjoying in 2009, after the dramatic genre, now is turn for the comedies. And in the laughing bandwagon the most anticipated work is Sacha Baron Cohen’s new feature film, “Bruno”; taken from another of his TV show’s characters, this time a fashion-victim, Austrian gay TV presenter who will take his mega-camp attitude to all the wrong places around the States. The production of the movie has already stirred a big deal of controversy and everything leads to believe it will be a worthy successor fro “Borat”.

Other promising flick is Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic series, Scott Lee, telling the misadventures of a slacker (Michael Cera) who dreams with becoming a rock-star with his band the Sex Bob-Omb. “Scott Lee vs. The World” follows up the director’s international success with “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun Of The Dead.” Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 The Year In Movies: 3-Drama


THE BURNING PLAIN (Guillermo Arriaga)

A look at this year’s Sundance winners and the backlog of US independent films awaiting international release makes us believe dramas are prevailing among 2009 cinematographic offer.

Of Imminent arrival is Guillermo Arriaga’s debut as a director, “The Burning Plain”. Arriaga was the screenplay partner of Alejandro Gonzalez-Iñarritu (“Amores Perros”; “Babel”) but after famously splitting up with the Mexican film-maker, he decided to swap roles. His first project, also self-penned, shows again his trademark multiple stories in multiple geographical locations with a final link style. Kim Basinger and Charlize Theron figure on its cast. However, and regardless of the brilliant standard of his work in the past, this directorial debut received mixed reviews in Berlin.

Not only writers want to turn into directors, some actors also will take the lead, among them Samantha Morton. The Academy Award nominee British actress will debut with “The Unloved”, a view of the UK’s care system for orphans and children in danger, from the perspective of one of them. Little else is known so far. Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 MUSIC A-Z: E for Eternal Summers


Eternal Summers “Able To” from Indianface on Vimeo.

The rise of pedal distortion- led pop-rock, from the garage revival of the Vivian Girls to the fuzz and rawness of Times New Viking, is currently one of the creative fronts in popular music. And the E of 2009 is likely to add some more wood to this fire with brand new names such an Eternal Summers. In the jaunty and tuneful side of indie rock, this boy-girl duo’s debut EP is quickly earning them a great deal of devotion around the blogosphere.

Other recent source of hipness is the influence of Afrobeat in today’s US leftfield bands and in 2009 will keep on expanding. One of its most visible examples, Extra Golden , the band that’s made of the merging between Kenyan Benga music and American rock their USP, got a new album “Thank You Very Quickly.” Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 The Year In Movies: 2-Author, Author.


CHARLIE KAUFFMAN (Synecdoche, New York)

The Oscars are fairly accused of playing conservative. They don’t normally reward the adventurous and challenging, nor the works and directors who try and push the boundaries of the seventh art. That’s why many of the best films every year can be found outside the bandwidth of the Academy. With the independent sector shrinking, the hope for more rewarding filmmaking is in the hands of the so-called authors and their arthouse productions, and 2009 is full of well-established masters bringing their wit and wisdom to the big screen. Read the rest of this entry »

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P.J. Harvey & John Parish “Black Hearted Love” First listening.

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BLACK HEARTED LOVE.

“Black Hearted Love,” the first single from PJ Harvey & John Parish second collaboration album, “A Woman A Man Walked By” was previewed at Radio 1 last monday and is already circulating online. The tracklist of the record, to be released at the end of March,has also been confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Neil Young & The Jayhawks to play Primavera Sound Festival.

Neil Young – Fork In The Road

There’s a bailout coming but it’s not for me
It’s for all those creeps watching tickers on TV…
…There’s a bailout coming but it’s not for you
It’s for all those creeps hiding what they do

Those are part of the lyrics from the latest Neil Young track, “Fork In The road”, with which the living legend showcases a return of his most pollitically belligerant mood. A brand new album is soon to be released, while he is still compiling his “Archives” boxset. However the big news is that as part of a forthcoming European tour, that will see him headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Neil Young has also confirmed a two and a half set at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival, at the End Of May. Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 The Year In Movies: 1-Next Year’s Oscars


ACADEMY AWARDS MONTAGE: A LOOK AT THE YEAR AHEAD.

This year’s surprisingly good Academy awards ceremony ended up with a look at the future, thanks to a montage previewing some of the biggest movies to be launched over 2009. The clip included a mix of well hyped blockbusters and successful franchises next to some hints at potential nominees for the coveted awards in 2010. Among them: Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies”; Mira Nair’s “Amelia” and Lone Scherfig “An Education”.

With another look at that montage we begin a series of posts, looking at the most interesting movies (on paper) that the next twelve months will bring; divided by genres and starting by a deeper look at those movies that look likely to make an appearance in the next Awards season.
Read the rest of this entry »

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2009 MUSIC A-Z: D for Dr. Dre


DR. DRE FEAT. T.I. & NAS-Topless

The D of 2008 already belongs to hip-hop thanks to one of the most awaited comebacks of the decade. In fact is over ten years now since Dr. Dre released his last studio album. This long hiatus by one of the most influential figures of the genre has only served to fuel all sorts of speculations. Delayed again from its 2008 planned Christmas release, it is already being joked at as rap’s very own “Chinese Democracy”. You tube and the interned are currently plagued with videos and clips of songs allegedly included in the album, none of them particularly remarkable, but so far there’s no official confirmation of its tracklist. “Detox” will certainly be one of the most scrutinized albums of the year, and the arrival of Dre’s protégée Eminem new studio album benefiting from some of his Midas production touches, will help boosting the expectations. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Official Rober Awards 2008: Film Winners


THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Pozos De Ambición)


“There Will Be Blood” confirmed itself as the absolute winner in 2008’s edition of the Official Rober Awards. The Paul Thomas Anderson directed masterpiece earned five gongs, even when its cast was left empty handed. “Gomorrah”, the Italian film about the way today’s Mafia operates earned three Robers. Other multiple winners with two apiece were The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, Wall-E, Happy-Go-Lucky and Juno. The popular vote though went to The Dark Knight in six categories. Congratulations to the winners. The full list after the Jump.

“Pozos De Ambición” se ha erigido como la ganadora absoluta de la de los Premios Rober de Cine 2008. La obra maestra de Paul Thomas Anderson ganó cinco de los galardones, aunque su reparto, a priori favorito, se quedo con las manos vacías. “Gomorra” la película italiana sobre el modo en que opera la mafia hoy en dia consiguió tres Rober. Otros ganadores multiples, con dos cada, fueron “La Escafandra y La Mariposa”; “Wall-E”; “Happy, Un Cuento Sobre La Felicidad” y “Juno.” Los votos de la encuesta Rober-Paralelos fueron a parar en su mayoria a “El Caballero Oscuro”. Enhorabuena a los ganadores. La lista completa tras el salto. Read the rest of this entry »

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