Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
"If you know, you know. If you don't, you blow."
Someone recently imparted this little gem amidst an evening comprised of whiskey, poorly prepared nachos, and misbegotten narrative structures. I'm fairly certain that the comment was made in response to my query about the differences between boys and girls.
It's also what I'd like to say to myself right about now, because what I should know right about now is that while my ability to differentiate between periods of my life has never been great, by this point it has dissolved into a lukewarm puddle of urine that a jubilant preteen scurries to collect into a bucket to show his friends just how disgusting the world can be.
Example: I remember that I once had reason to run up behind a friend, Andy Mercil, and kick him squarely in the ass. I can't recall the reason for administering such swift justice, but I will note that, fortunately for me, my foot was positioned so perfectly that it wedged between his cheeks to pierce his very sphincter. He couldn't sit comfortably for a while, and it still brings a smile to my face, but I can't, for the life of me, recall if this had occurred during high school, or university. This position may be entirely facetious, but work with me here, if only for a moment.
True, unadulterated moments of joy are, perhaps, intrinsically timeless shards of perfection, but nevertheless I feel a sense of detachment from the vaunted kick of kicks, being that I yearn to place the action within its proper context.
Given my unfortunate predicament of ineptitude, I was delighted to successfully recollect that it had been about ten years since I played the phenomenal game that is Panzer Dragoon Saga, even if that reminiscence was accompanied by a longing to the play it once more. Luckily, I do have a copy stashed away somewhere in my parents' dingy basement, and the game is always eager to be resurrected (even if my Sega Saturn is not).
A quick search of the internet yields an almost inexhaustible supply of accolades, articles, and impromptu marriage proposals that exemplify a game so deserving of hyperbolic statements.* I need not regurgitate that which has already been said exquisitely, nor recount the exploits of a man who bought the game (alongside the underwhelming Shining Force III) with his last remaining beer money and didn't regret his decision, but I will express my feelings of adulation, albeit poorly.
In my defense, I can only describe the game, first and foremost, as ethereal substance, like a dream that creeps upon a drowsy man exhausted by numerous orgasms. Yes, Panzer Dragoon Saga is that good, so something more needs to be written.
The graphics were, simply put, sensational for the time in which the game was released (1998, to be precise), both technically and artistically. Whether it be in-game activity or cinematic sequences, Saga pushed the Sega Saturn's limitations to the maximum. Each locale was awash in pale, mildly depressing hues that best represented the scope of a desolate, yet fascinating world of broken dreams and pulsating desires. Sounds cheesy, yes, but it's true, and in contrast, the game would, upon a twist (or deviations) of the plot, present a player with splendidly nightmarish images of vibrant blue, green, and everything between.
The battle system itself strove to encompass traditional RPG elements, as well as exhibit a unique set of rules derivative of previous Panzer entries. I would argue that Team Andromeda was successful in their endeavor, insomuch that the battle system managed to be visually stimulating, marginally challenging, and appealing to the 'I hate role-playing games' crowd,** due to its demand for constant attention via active battle format, in which a player would have to navigate for the best position in which to avoid attacks, or land a heavy blow upon an opponent.
The morphing effect was both functional (in that you would change the abilities of your dragon to best suit the situation, and believe me, it made a huge difference in several battles) and pretty. I'll even go so far as to admit that I often selected my dragon type based upon its appearance, more than its purpose, but that's the price you gotta pay for style.
The sound, alongside the music, was perfectly mastered for the game. Whether it be the roar of your dragon, the piercing snarl of a mutated beast, or the clanging of diabolical machinery (in some cases, quite literally), immersion both inevitable and welcome. Some have called the soundtrack a bit too esoteric, and to that criticism, I would likely agree, but nonetheless it fit the varying situations of the game excellently. I won't be in a rush to add the music to my portable music device any time in the near future, but not because of its quality; if anything, Saori Kobayashi's work exists, at its most divine, in conjunction with the game. One link really doesn't do the score justice, but what's a brother to do when YouTube ain't playing ball, you know?
Panzer Dragoon Saga also had its fair share of stimulating artwork. If nothing else, it was a breath of fresh air amidst the miasma of cutesexycool anime art that predominates the industry.
The plot, characterization, and dialogue of Panzer Dragoon Saga were also quite attractive but, as things go, the passing of time has regulated them to the current status of dreamlike reminiscence, suffice it to say that Azel (pictured at the top of this post) alone made it all worthwhile.
All this said, I'd like to play through the game again, and I'd hope that you, discerning reader, would choose to enjoy it as well. From what I've read, there was an extremely low number of copies produced in North America (less than 30,000, supposedly), and Saturn emulators aren't yet what they should be. Worse yet, the odds of it being ported to another system or otherwise reproduced seem to be extraordinarily slim. What's there to say, beyond this?
Best wishes, and all that.
Orta (and her sexy beast)
* Where'd you go, sweet doppelgänger, when I needed you most?
** I'm talking to you, Star Car.
P.S. I'm ashamed to be the one that bumped the annual Denz post from atop its lofty perch, but progress waits for no man, not even an Australian.
Posted by Kmork at 10:07 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The end of the Olympics always leaves me feeling a little melancholy. I suppose I should be immune to the whole spectacle, I mean, I am an educated guy, right? And there was a great deal of motivation not to invest in these Olympics: the Chinese, for one, are a sinister lot, what with their systematic violation of human rights, competitively priced electronic goods and hot communist broads.
Inevitably, as I always do (hence my use of 'inevitably'), I bought into these Olympics lock, stock and barrel roll. That's right, my name is Denz and I'm an Olympic fanboy.
Thus, in the spirit of all things Olympic, I have decided again strap on my leotard and mount the pommel horse that is the blogosphere with some post-Olympic observations.
The ultimate "Olympic" moment of the games for me was Matthias Steiner in the weightlifting: winning the gold medal, after missing his last weight, on the last lift of the games, a year after his wife had passed away and then holding her photo aloft as he received his medal. Hell, the way he celebrated after making that last lift was enough to make any married man misty-eyed.
Unless, of course, you've been bucked in the face with a frying pan by the bitch.
It has been said, but Usain Bolt was an absolute freak. Can't wait to see him in the bobsled two years from now. That's how it works, right?
As a spectacle, the sprint finals are hard to beat. The only possible improvement I can think of would be to have linebackers from other nations present at the finish line to 'sack' the sprinters that don't medal.
Tyson Gay got ... JACKED-UP.
Speaking of jacked-up, two of Australia's swimming hopefuls were beaten (robbed) in somewhat suspicious circumstances. Grant Hackett's loss was especially painful. The man was going for his third Gold in the 1500M free over three consecutive Olympics, pantheon stuff, only to be beaten by a guy from Tunisia (or Andorra or one of those places I could never find on a globe within 60 seconds) who had just returned from an 18 month suspension for doping. Oh, fuck that.
What can we get for 63 cents?
The other, Eamon Sullivan, broke world records in the 100M freestyle heats, before losing it in milliseconds to some surrendering frogman named Alain Bernard. Pictured here:
How do you say "On the Juice" in French?
Best post-win interview of the games: (here).
On the hoops front, the Redeem (our self-esteem) Team proved itself to be, once again, entirely unlike the Dream Team. When Argentina busted out the zone in the semis and the NBA's finest collapsed like Shaun Livingston's knee, I almost pissed my pants in glee. What followed exposed the ongoing problem with USA team: 12 angry men does not make a team make. Add in Manu, subtract the Tim Donaghy-esque calls on Argentina (especially the three point foul on Melo) and the US medal hopes are going home with the stars and stripes draped over their coffin.
Hitman one, this is hitman two actual.
I thought Spain played admirably in the finals, despite the fact that the Australian broadcaster interrupted the broadcast at the 8 minute mark (ie. when Spain pulled within 2 points) to show the nightly news, which included critical information about Princess Mary of Denmark going to a park in Tasmania. Seriously, there aren't enough expletives in the world.
All told, Ricky Rubio is going to be a motherfucking star, despite being a shade older than the Chinese gymnasts, and Rudy F is my sleeper pick in fanball. Still, I concede that the US deserved the win, particularly with Kobe demonstrating why he is the best player in the NBA. That said, if the Olympics proved one thing, it's that Dwyane Wade is the best player on the fucking planet.
FIBA rules. Welcome back, Flash.
In view of Wade's performance, I think the Knicks should accept that Lebron is going to Brooklyn and ramp up their efforts to sign the dwynamite kid. If only to make Forbes feel even more awkward about his hoops infidelity. Miami Cuckolds, baby.
The closing ceremony initially had nothing on the Opening, but it was nice to see the Chinese be a little more relaxed, even if that relaxation was choreographed. My only problem was the BOB feed resulted in fairly lame audio, the likes of which I have not seen since my participation in the Pkast (see link to left).
Aside: Pre-Pkast, I actually bemoaned the fact that previous podcasts sounded as though they were recorded in the men's lavatory at Samgakji station. What I did not anticipate was the 10 dollar "Sorny" headset I purchased for the podcast would make me sound like I was speaking through a cardboard bugle, whilst in a toilet, 40,000 leagues below sea level. Coupled with my tendency to make 'matter-of-fact' statements that did not engender further discussion and my drop-d accent that is the voice-podcast equivalent of a "face for radio", I feel I have relinquished TMH of any concerns he had about the adequacy of his performance in PKast 2B. In retrospect, I feel it would have been more effective if I communicated my thoughts by tapping morse code onto a shared drain pipe. My only solace is that Sparky will either rate it as the best/worst debutante podcast performance in history. I do, after all, detest mediocrity.
Which reminds me, what is a shittier Olympic outcome: 2nd place or 4th place? To me, people who win the Bronze always seems like they are having so much fun. It's like "I was out of contention, but I medalled. I now have none of the responsibilities of a gold medallist, so I am going to use this as a free pass to bang as many Chinese volunteers as possible before I am deported'.
Welcome to Beijing.
Seriously, that's the worst part of the Olympics finishing - no more hot Chinese medal presenters.
As for the next Olympics, I was initially unsure whether the first image of the London games should have been a doubledecker bus, especially one with a roof that opens up. Too soon for me. Then I mused on it a little and realised this thought must have occurred to the London planners and, in the face of it, they decided to take back the icon with their cold, pasty hands. Bang up job, lads.
Still, it was interesting that none of the umbrella dancers elected to wear backpacks/hijabs.
Other masterstrokes included Jimmy Page (who is officially older than Gandalf), Beckham placekicking the hell out of a Chinese volunteer and the crazy as hell Lord Mayor. Fancy a spot of wiff waff, Boris?
But, obviously, what really allowed me to overcome my sadness at the end of the Olympics was the girl in the hotpants on top of the bus playing the violin. If that's the shape of things to come, then Rule fucking Britannia.
London is Calling.
Posted by denz at 6:17 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Not that I've been prolific or anything for a long-ass time, but there's a reason you haven't read anything by me in over a week. Three weeks ago this past Monday, I awoke with painful stomach cramps and a horrible bout of semi-diarrhea (it wasn't watery like my father's chili, but there was a lot of it, let me tell you). And, honestly, I wasn't phased a bit. I was actually quite surprised that prune juice works so well as a laxative.
Let me rewind for a second. See, the day prior, out in Sinchon with The 12th Letter, I lamented (see: whined like a little wussy-baby) that the mail hadn't been regulary delivered to my "office" in a few days, to which she suggested I try drinking prune juice*. I wasn't too keen on the idea, but there's a reason attractive women like me: because I let them boss me around. So I bought some prune juice (a 1-liter bottle for 8,000 fucking won) and drank the recommended 100ml serving suggested by the fine folks at Del Monte -- and Satan -- just before bed that evening.
This wasn't my first experience with prune juice. Back when the 18th Letter was a lower-case r, she sometimes got backed up like the service at Mister Donut when more than two customers are in the store; and I, being the admirable role model that I am, would sacrifice my pride and drink that fell beverage, hoping for a "monkey see, monkey do" effect. It has been my experience that children are easily fooled, but not so with young Rahne. Hell, the fiesty little creature has bested me at Simon Says not a few times, and at the rate we're going it won't be long before she's stealing my car keys to drive herself and her friends to a Dora the Explorer concert. (I mean, if I had a car.)
Anyway, prune juice tastes like gasoline without the pleasant smell. But it sure does work...or so I thought.
Tuesday morning, I again awoke with stomach cramps as painful to endure as James Joyce is to read**, and it was then I realized that prune juice isn't the effective constipation remedy I -- for a day, at least -- believed it to be. No, something bigger was at play here. Just what, exactly, I yearned to know. (Galactus?)
Or maybe I didn't, because for the next two weeks, despite chronic intestinal pain and a stool collection to rival your local pub's, I continued to forge on in life. I'd wake up (or, to be more precise, I'd be woken up), crap three or four times, go to work, come home for lunch and crap another couple of times, go back to work, come home, eat dinner, have a few beers, then go to bed.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
It wasn't until last Wednesday that I had to admit that this problem, ostensibly, wasn't going away, that it might be with me for the long haul. My intestinal cramps persisted all day, and I called into
work that morning and said I wouldn't be in.
Now, you would think that, for a man who prides himself on never missing work, Wednesday would have been my impetus to finally see a doctor. After all, even though I felt like a can of smashed assholes, I still felt guilty about not going to work. (This probably stems from the fact that, in the eighth grade, I missed something in the neighborhood of 35 days of school due to fake illnesses, and karma is, my friends, indeed a bitch.) So I should have gone to see a doctor and tried to find out what the hell was wrong with me me, right?
Perhaps; but don't give me too much credit for being intelligent, let alone rational. I went back to work on Thursday and felt fairly well, but Friday hit me like a bitch***. I still went to work, a Herculean feat on my part, but I stayed home that night writhing in agony.
On Saturday morning I went over to l'hopital, and boy was I fired up! I couldn't wait to learn the results. Ulcer? Intestinal cancer? A bad bout of gas that lasts three weeks? Gastroenteritis? The summer heat? Place your bets, folks.
I had a blood test, a urine test, some X-rays****, and that was that.
They didn't find anything wrong with me. Of course they didn't. That would have required actual medical work, such as looking inside my intestines. The doc didn't suggest that planet X of action, even though I probably need an endoscopy like Kobe needs Shaq, like Freddie Prinze Jr. needs Matthew Lillard...like...wait for it...I need you*****.
I can empathize. The doctor wanted to break north and enjoy her Saturday, and while I adamantly disagreed with her diagnosis (let's pretend she had one, instead of the "who the fuck knows what the hell is wrong with you, you slow mutant?" one I received), who am I to argue?
I may have a Ph.D. (a pretty huge dictionary), but the only post-graduate education I have came from The School of Hard Knocks, AND THEY DON'T GIVE OUT SCHOLARSHIPS. So I took my pills, said my prayers, and ate my rice porridge, hoping that whatever the hell was infesting my dungeon would be slain, if not by my immune system, then at least by whatever prescription the pharmacuetical global village would ration out to this forsaken continent.
"Do those pills have any side effects?" I inquired.
"Well," she retracted, "they might make you constipated."
Fast forward and replace "might" with "did." Still, I can't complain. My lower abdomen has been cooler than a polar bear's toenails for the past few days, and I think my Jimbrowski has reawoken from its ancient Mumra. (Not that it ever sleeps: Jimmy stays alert like Red.)
But, hell and damnation, I'm constipated.
* But not before asking if I was wearing an adult diaper.
** Am I trolling my own blog? I do believe I am!
*** with a saucepan
**** I mentioned this to Kennan the Barbarian: "They didn't cover my gonads with a lead blanket. Free vasectomy!"
***** That's your Valentine's Day gift for the next 12 years, sweetheart.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 4:40 AM
Sunday, August 17, 2008
And here I thought the Genius had retired.
Back in the day, I bought almost every Wu-Tang Clan or Wu-affiliated release (Hello, Killarmy and La the Darkman), like each album was a Marvel crossover event that I had to collect in order to get the full story. When the Wu started to lose its touch after -- or, perhaps upon release of -- Wu-Tang Forever, I kept on trucking, picking up releases such as Cappadonna's The Pillage (pretty good) and Method Man's Tical: 2000 (an aural abortion); because like sex, basketball, and ketchup, Wu-Tang was my religion.
I bought The W in the winter of 2000 -- my first year in Korea -- and I think I cried a little. Fuck that, a lot. Here were the Wu, assembled again with RZA at the helm...How on Earth could they create a subpar effort? Well, Constant Retard, it happened, and it happened hard.
I lost faith, but I never gave up hope. I bought Iron Flag (strike two) and some other releases (Jesus, I even bought Cappadonna's second solo release, which I'm pretty sure has been quarantined by the EPMA). But a man can only take so much; and I'm actually proud that I stuck with the Wu-Tang "brand" for as long as I did, because when 8 Diagrams was released last year to much disappointment*, I felt as though I were a man who had escaped from under the doctrine of some sort of mind-controlling religion/Nintendo.
It was emancipating. I'm pretty sure the Hip-Hop Bible states, "Thou shalt not disparage the WTC," but if blasphemy is wrong I didn't want to be right. Here is a man who wouldn't take it anymore. Like elephants and ants on see-saws, the Wu had produced more shitty albums than good ones; and like Peter Finch in Network, I was mad as hell, and I wasn't going to take it anymore.
I've long felt -- for the past three weeks -- that people have a tendency to hate what they once loved (and vice-versa), and my theory was put to the test. But true love never dies, and that's why I still keep tabs on the American comic book market and why my interest is piqued whenever a new superhero** flick is released. It's also why, whenever the Wu members release solo material, I turn into my sixteen-year-old self. True love never dies, and neither does hope. Not really.
Last week I heard that the GZA -- long my favorite Wu-Tang MC -- was set to release a new album, Pro Tools. If you search the archives, Bruce, you'll find that I basically once called GZA the Steve Francis of hip-hop; but I get it, I really do. Drop Liquid Swords on the populace and your job is pretty much done.
Not to be all up on the man's tip like a gnat on a dog's dick, but the GZA has always been my favorite lyricist. Sure, KRS is the God of hip-hop; but, for me, the GZA is hip-hop's Aesop: a master storyteller (my apologies to Slick Rick). GZA is a narrator whose choice words and flow penetrate your soul in a manner that sounds so effortless, so easy. Possibly the best moniker assumed by an MC, The Genius is just that when it comes to how nonchalent he sounds and how convincing his words are.
(Deep throat is easy if you learn how to properly breathe through your nose.)
Gary Grice's first album, Words From the Genius showed his potential, but it wasn't until 1994's pinnacle of the genre***, Liquid Swords, that the GZA proved his place among the hip-hop elite. GZA's follow-up, 1999's Beneath the Surface was a worthy -- and somewhat underrated -- entry in the Wu discography, but the same can't be said for 2002's Legend of the Liquid Sword. The lyrics were far below the Genius's standard, and the beats were at times good, most of the time boring. Like talking to corpses.
Enter: Pro Tools, GZA's new album.
Raise the dead.
It works, but why do I feel like my back is up against the wall at a high school dance?
It's no "Knuckleheads" as far as album openers featuring crew members go, and Masta Killa sounds like he's had a sex change operation, but RZA salvages the mediocre beat with a long-ass verse where he displays a flow he's never kicked before. RZA, experiment with the vocals instead of the beats, okay? (See: 8 Diagrams, The)
I love that GZA rhymes like he's chewing gum. The A-B-C chorus is awesome. Rewind worthy.
GZA's tutoring his son to become an MC. Let's hope this works out better than The Rumer Willis Experiment. I dig the "Damage" homage, even if it was unintended.
Perfect. The "Liquid Swords" homage (the song, not the LP) is definitely intended. I'm smiling.
Like EPMD made songs about Jane, GZA has to make wordplay tracks a la "Labels," "Publicity," and "Animal Planet" on every album. This time it's about cars. I'm not mad. Dude flows for four minutes straight. (But I think I can hear where they made an edit.)
Not a big fan of those chimes. Or the chorus. It could be worse, I suppose. The guitar loop is pretty decent. Guest MC Rock Marcy's line, "More bricks than when the Knicks is on" made me smile.
GZA takes a shot at G-Unit, then qualifies it. Then...
A 50 Cent dis record? The Wu are still beefing with Fiddy? This is the first single, by the way. Hmm, I wonder why. Could it be that this album was released on Babygrande? Might as well swing for the cheap seats. "Flea Unit." Ha. As far as RZA beats go, this is more "Duck Season" than an adrenaline-fueled banger.
A crime tale a la "Investigative Reports." Sounds like it could have been on Beneath the Surface.
GZA handles the chorus and hands over the emceeing duty to newcomer Ka (is dude a Dark Tower fan or something?). Ka sounds like he ate a fucking cigar. He's nice enough on the mic, I guess. I should mention here that all the cuss words on this album are censored, which leads me to believe that GZA's on some Q-Tip shit, because none of his lyrics contain foul language. Which is pretty impressive, actually.
Path of Destruction
A tale of fallen youth. The sound clips on this are pretty neat. Thumbs up, I guess.
The beat sounds like discount Wu production, which it is. How can I say this politely? This is just dumb. GZA whisper-raps, and the result is as cringe-worthy as you'd expect. He sounds like he's trying to talk sexy rather than sounding suspenseful. It's creepy in a "hitting on my mom" sense. And his son, Justice Kareem, appears again, frantically whispering the chorus. It's always embarrassing when an artist doesn't realize what a horrible misstep he's made.
Intermission (Drive-In Movie)
Did they really have to make this a separate track? Just stick it onto the beginning of...
Life is a Movie
The concept if similar to Midnight Marauders's "6 Million Stories" (at least GZA's verses are). RZA actually produces a cutting-edge song again! RZA, I take back what I said earlier about not experimenting with beats. The dude singing is a little iffy, though. I can picture fans arguing over that decision.
A live performance from some concert. Stick around for the awesome "freestyle." (Of course it was written, but it's still dope.)
Unless you're completely fucking delusional -- hey, I was once like you -- the Wu can't return to its glory days, so any hopes that this album would be such a harbinger are pointless. What Pro Tools is is a good album, one that I hesitate to call "very good." Factor in the incredible lyrics -- GZA's best effort on the mic since Liquid Swords -- and take away the awfully conceived "Cinema" and it surely is. Still, some people are calling this outstanding, and it isn't. Byron Crawford called it the best Wu release since Ghostface's Supreme Clientele, and, if you believe Wikipedia, Pitchfork rated the album a 9.4 out of 10 (the Pitchfork website contains no review of the album, but I wouldn't put a rating like that past those hipster champions of mediocre hip-hop). I suppose it all depends on how you look at it: if you're a hardcore fan of lyricism, you're probably going to dig the album and wish that some of the beats were of equal talent, and if you just want to listen to banger after banger, you're going to be a little disappointed.
For me, Pro Tools is like the US women's swim relay I watched on Sunday morning. Australia won the gold, and the American women were like, "We knew Australia were too good, so we're very happy with silver."
(In that analogy, Australia = Liquid Swords).
I'm very happy with silver.
* Pitchfork, those contrarians of good hip-hop and good The Mars Volta, gave it a positive review. Zut Alors!
** Trademark, Marvel and DC
*** Even though Cuban Linx is still better
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 5:45 AM
Friday, August 15, 2008
This time around, I'd like to tackle three separate (and yet related, perhaps by fate) topics:
Hypermodern Ensemble Films: Off-the-wall characters and off-the-wall situations beg for memorable, if not great, music to accompany them. Think Pulp Fiction, Go!, Rules of Attraction, Snatch, etc. This list is hardly exhaustive, but the PK Intern couldn't find all the right links,* much to my dissatisfaction.
Foxy, Foxy, by Rob Zombie.
Thug, by ZZ Top.
Atlanta, by Stone Temple Pilots.
Starlight, by Muse.
Fever, by Kylie Minogue.
11h30, by Danger.
The Breakup Song, by the Greg Kihn Band. (The version on YouTube is slightly different than the version I remember, but it's close enough.)
Great DJ, by the Ting Tings.
Dance Commander, by Electric Six.
Our Bleeding Hearts, by Great Northern.
Dimension, by Wolfmother.
The Kids Don't Stand a Chance, by Vampire Weekend.
Kansas City Bomber Remake: If there ever shall be a remake of the classic Raquel Welch film, it will need a soundtrack befitting of its greatness.
Enter any Bay City Rollers songs not used in a previous film here.
고추 임금 - The Eoin Forbes Story: By personal request, the life story of Psychedelic Kimchi's very own Sparkles. Each of the following tracks was personally approved by the gentleman himself, so rest assured that it best reflects the trials and tribulations of a man amongst men.
Unlike previous entries, the tracks are labeled in a particular order.
1. I Was a Lover, by TV on the Radio.
2. Phoney Phranchise, by Del the Funkee Homosapien.
3. The Handshake, by MGMT.
4. Hands, by the Raconteurs.
5. Just Hangin' Out, by Main Source.
6. Blueberry Pancakes, by Fink.
7. The Makings of You, by Curtis Mayfield.
8. Over and Out, by the Foo Fighters.
9. Chick Lit, by We Are Scientists.
10. Feelin' Satisfied, by Boston.
11. Positively Inclined, by Wax Tailor.
12. 4 Minute Warning, by Radiohead.
13. Don't Worry About It, by N.E.R.D.
14. The Big Come Down, by Nine Inch Nails.
15. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', by Michael Jackson.
16. Where the White Boys Dance, by the Killers.
17. Walk on the Ocean, by Toad the Wet Sprocket.
18. Constellation Funk, by El-P.
That's a life we should all envy!
Posted by Kmork at 12:50 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Movies and music often go together like chewing gum and cashews, so it's no surprise that we here at Psychedelic Kimchi have our own opinions about songs that, to our knowledge, haven't been used in film,* but would nonetheless delicately accentuate cinematic extravagance. How, where, and when they would fit in, is a separate question best left to (other) professionals. Details don't concern visionaries like us!
Mostly, I'm referring to music that could play during a scene of some kind, as opposed to credits and whatnot, because that's an entirely different issue to consider, one worthy of a distinct post. (I suppose the details do concern us a bit.) I will also grant that some basic, perfunctory categorization be in order, as I wouldn't want to leave Dear Leader** in utter disarray.
Lo (and get sold).***
High School / College Films: These films, almost by definition, require music to accompany all the angst, trials, and tribulations of growth.
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!), by Garbage.
I Wish I Could Have Loved You More, by Candie Payne.
Someone Great, by LCD Soundsystem.
Us, by She Wants Revenge.
Stuck in Here, by Filter.
Hand to Mouth, by Local H.
You're Too Young, by VAST.
Sunday, by Bloc Party.
Twilight, by Elliot Smith.
Headlock, by Imogen Heap.
Drug Addiction / Drug Trade Films: C'mon, like you don't want to hear music in this kind of movie.
Uncle Jonny, by the Killers.
Wash Me Down, by Talk Show.
Does Your Mother Know, by ABBA. (Yes, I'm aware that it has been used in Mamma Mia! and Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English, but the former was a musical, and the latter an atrocity against humankind, so neither count against my decision.)
Like Cockatoos, by the Cure.
Hateful, by the Clash.
The Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore, by Rob Zombie.
By Starlight, by the Smashing Pumpkins.
After the Glitter Fades, by Stevie Nicks.
Nicotine & Gravy, by Beck.
Hospital Beds, by the Cold War Kids.
That's about enough for today. You can only have your mind blown so much at any given time, so I'll accord you a short reprieve from PURE AWESOMENESS.
Next time, we discuss the soundtracks for 고추 임금 - The Eoin Forbes Story, a remake of the greatest Raquel Welch movie ever (guess which one!), and much more.
* If said songs have been used in a previously produced film, then this entire post is screwed with a tire iron. Again. Feel free to correct us in the comments section. (You can't really blame me, though, as I instructed the PK Intern to scour the web for soundtrack connections, and the results came back negative. Something tells me she was slacking off, but I'm too lazy to check up on that stuff.)
** Bet you didn't know that approximately eight percent of our website hits come from North Korea. Weird, but true.
*** I had planned to make a joke about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but Sparkles is already a bit pouty, so I'll abstain.
Posted by Kmork at 11:51 PM
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
It's been almost a year since my daughter, Rahne Victoria Forbes, left Korea for The Land of the Morning Snow Shovel. Always a cheerful girl (which is enviable if you consider all the BS she had to go through with Beetlejuice), for the past year Rahne has been the epitome of delightful happiness.
I talk to her every day, and every day I miss her. Especially this one.
I'll talk to you in an hour or so, Rahnebow. I know you'll love your presents.*
* One of which is Nintendo DS Lite. I swear to God it wasn't my idea.
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 5:33 AM
Monday, August 04, 2008
Ostenibly an homage to Sergio Leone's cinematic masterpiece, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, TGTBATW is a Korean, um, western set in Manchuria during the years of Japanese imperialism and living dangerously. And while it's unfair to compare the flick to Leone's classic, I'm going to anyway. Because I'm an asshole.
TGTBATW's major flaw is that it's hard (out here for a pimp) to make a film as loved as Leone's when you have three of Korea's biggest movie stars, um, starring. Give me Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and (especially) Eli Wallach any day. Because when you take the industry's biggest names and make a movie that -- ostensibly* -- features them, someone's going to get short changed in this menage a trois. In this case, that man is Jeong Woo-seong as The Good. Jeong -- even though his bleached teeth are Tony Robbins-level scary -- does a commendable job for someone who is basically written out of the movie. He's pretty much a plot device to get Song Kangho's The Weird from one place to another; which is a shame, because it appears that the director or screenwriter didn't realize what made TGTBATU so special: the interplay between The Good and The Ugly. Instead, what we get is The Weird and The Bad starring, with sporadic cameos from The Good. Rule of thumb: don't rely too heavily on your bad guy, Korean filmmakers. And please don't give him a stupid haircut and have him wear eyeliner. That shit's just dumb.
Oh, the plot? Sorry. This movie has plot up the yin-yang. Here's the Cliff's Notes version:
The Bad wants to steal a map-MacGuffin on a train. This map contains some sort of secret treasure**. The Weird beats him to it. The Good, with information that said map could lead to Korean independence (and, ultimately, edible Mexican food in Seoul), tracks down The Weird. But The Bad is hot on their trail. The Bad and The Weird have this rivalry thing going, sort of like how Kmart gets when I beat him at Mario Kart or don't eat my french fries/omurice/donut. The Weird sneaks off with the map while The Good is sleeping. He goes to an opium den and stabs a guy in the ass. Then a bunch of dirty-faced kids save his, um, ass by doing the same thing (I'm not joking). Upon learning that the map has gotten into the wrong hands, the Japanese army, the Korean independence movement, and -- I'm pretty sure -- Smurfs all chase after the map stealer, which begs the question If this map is such a big deal and no one should have stolen it, how in pluperfect hell does everyone know where the secret location is? a 10-plus-minute chase involving horseback riders, men on motorcyles, the Japanese army in Jeeps, dynamite, cannons, exploding horses***, and myriad old men ensues across the Manchurian Plateau, this little ditty culminating in the three titular characters facing off against one another.
Which brings me to my biggest gripe about this admittedly fun picture. See, in TGTBATU the standoff at the end happens naturally. Everthing, to be sure, has been leading up to the moment, but it's handled so deftly that the tension has reached a boiling point. In TGTBATW, however, The Weird reaches the destination, The Good catches up with him (which makes absolutely no sense, by the way), and then The Bad strolls in, asking the other two to play a game in which the spoils will go to the last man standing.
So, fuck me like a gaping stomach wound, this movie will be resolved by a deus ex machina in the form of screenwriter incompentence. "Let's play a game." Are you fucking serious? And, to make matters worse, the shootout that follows is both overlong and poorly edited. All involved get riddled with bullets, but only one dies (try and guess who; it's not that hard). And that's one of the film's many flaws: it's too preoccupied with violence for violence's sake to make it a compelling movie, so before the audience has time to feel any sort of tense atmosphere they're interrupted by explosions, blood, and terrible sound effects.
A lot (and I mean a fuckload) of praise should be heaped upon Song Kangho for making this film enjoyable. Like I said, he's no Eli Wallach, but his scenes -- discounting the awkwardly filmed and poorly conceived opium den mess -- are pretty much awesome; and what the film lacks in homage it almost makes up for in a scene where Song Kangho's The Weird, ducking from a shitload of bullets, dons a diver's helmet to deflect enemy fire. The man has presence.
This should have been a great movie. Instead, it's a pretty good one filled with terrible screenwriting, god-awful direction (please, stop using that 360-degree camera pan, Korean filmmakers; and just because The Borne Supremacy made a lot of money doesn't mean that shaky cam is a good thing. It's not.), and a shitty score. Seriously, you had to use the same music from Kill Bill? Hang your head in shame, The Good, the Bad and the Weird.
PS - I'm a horse. An exploding one.
(As far as the image goes, fair is fair, right? You deprive me of what people are calling the cinematic blowjob of the summer to ensure that your domestic film, released on the same day TDK opened in North America, makes some bank, and I'll hit right back, Peninsula. Good luck at the Olympics. I hear that a little head-to-head competition isn't your forte, though. Which is why you'll clean up at archery.)
* Doctor, it's happening again.
** the answer to whether or not Lee Hyori's tits are fake
*** that alone worth the price of admission
Posted by Harrison Forbes at 5:55 AM