Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Charlie Chaplin. What comes to mind? Funny actions? Silent Films? Spoofs from a billion cartoons? The two forks in two potatoes dancing on a table?
I'm not sure what I'd say before tonight if you asked me about Charlie Chaplin. He's one of those 'classic' people who people feel like they're forced to love because everyone callls them geniuses. Say like Shakespeare or Bob Dylan or Picasso. Sometimes it's really hard growing up in our generation and not really being exposed to these works of arts and sometimes its even harder to truly appreciate them.
When I studied Shakespeare in high school - it took a long while for me to appreciate him. I found Shakespeare's works quite boring, and the poetic iambic pantameter (how's that for pretentious diction) just didn't do it for me. I don't know what it was - but this all and mighty writer just seemed overrated to me. That is until I studied Hamlet. Hamlet really got to me and Shakespeare started making sense to me. And the study of literature really started to solidify in my head during my last year in high school where I read Stone Angel and Heart of Darkness as well.
My point is, sometimes it just takes some time to become properly exposed to these so called "geniuses" before you realize for yourself how great these people are. For Charlie Chaplin, that exposure came tonight during a film history lecture.
We studied two films of his, but what really hit home for me was City Lights. It marked Charlie Chaplin's return after a couple of years of hiatus. And the interesting thing was that it was a silent film that came out after sound had been introduced for several years.
Anyway, the point is, City Lights features the 'classic' Chaplin antics - his great physical comedy. And this isn't what impressed me. What impressed me, was that the comedy was laced in with one of the best love stories I've seen in film history. It was really touching and the ending of the movie actually got to me.
This is why I love productions like City Lights and The UK Office (disclaimer: I haven't seen the US office and have no opinion on it yet). But the thing is, these two works manage to have a surface comedy that's hilarious - but underneath there is real heart and touching moments that almost play stronger becuase they are put into a comedy. It gives these works great depth. To a lesser extent, the 40 year-old Virgin does this really well too. (Although, my primary reason for liking 40 year-old Virgin isn't the nice love story underneath, it's the fact that it's just a damn hilarious movie.) Anyway, my point is, people will remember things like the Office for its comedy, but the reason its so much more is because of the parallel touching story that you never see coming.
Well, my point is, you should definitely check out Charlie Chaplin's City Lights. I am by no means an expert on Chaplin, and this is really the first film of his besides Modern Times that I've seen. And all I can say is that it's a great movie with again, one of the greatest love stories I think ever told. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
So, what's the deal with Blu-ray players? They're not quite blue (well, actually they are) and they're not really players (err, wait, they're that too). Ok, terrible intro. So here's the deal. Just like any new format, the machines that bring new technology to our senses usually cost an arm and a leg. When the 3DO came out, I think it was around $1000. When DVDs were introduced, those players were probably around the grand mark as well.
How about the blu-ray players. Well, as far as I know, there's only one major one on the market - the Sony BDP-S1, and it comes in at around $1300 CDN. Now that's a hefty price tag for what is essentially the equivalent of a VCR or a DVD player. Not that I don't understand how technology pricing works, but really - could you imagine spending that much on something that just plays back audio and video. And buying this after you've bought your 1080p TV, that's pretty steep.
What's makes even less sense is that the standalone palyer costs $1300 CDN and a PS3 costs about $700 CDN. Aside from DVD upconversion, the PS3 to my knowledge does everything the S1 does. I think it even supports HDMI 1.3 which the S1 doesn't. Furthermore, if blu-ray goes belly up, you'll still have a great gaming machine with the PS3. So can anyone explain to me the logic behind the S1?
Well, it seems that Sony is closing the gap a bit on the ill logic behing the existence of the S1. It seems they've announced a BDP-S300 which will launch this summer for $600 US. Now this is still a pretty high price tag, but at least it makes some sense for this player to exist. It's slightly cheaper than the PS3, so it kind of has justice to be around.
Whatever, I've recently gotten excited about everything blu-ray considering more and more Blu-ray discs are fniding their way into my collection. So I thought I'd report on this and the fact that Blu-ray sales are surpassing HD-DVDs. So here's the deal, either both HD-DVD and Blu-ray will be obliterated by a third medium, or HD-DVD will die and Blu-ray will reign. I can't see it going the other way around. Thanks for reading.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Alright, as a whole...the Oscars last night were pretty dull. I wouldn't say Ellen did a bad job, but she wasn't that entertaining. The montages put together by Michael Mann and whoever else weren't that great. But it wasn't all bad.
I did enjoy Beyonce's performance quite a bit. Granted at some parts, it felt a little over the top- almost like Maya Rudolph was up on stage impersonating Beyonce. But overall, it was a damn good performance. Whether or not they deserved it, the Oscars given to Scorsese and The Departed were nice moments. The interpretive dance and the sound effect choir was really cool too. I was a little upset that Happy Feet won, but that's kind of unjustified 'cause I haven't actually seen that movie. Whatever. Forest Whitaker's win was kind of predictable, but still good. Either way, it wasn't exactly a great year for movies, and the Oscar ceremony itself was definitely on the dull side.
Going from my last post, and basing it on the "G" category of my picks, here was my success rate was 11/24. Not too shabby. I think I did a lot better last year, but not sure. Whatever.
On a completely different note, I saw The Number 23 and Casino Royale this weekend. The Number 23 as a whole kinda sucked. It had its moments, and definitely picked up in the last half, but as a whole, not so great. Casino Royale on the other hand was an amazingly great action movie. They actually found a way to slap an Aston Martin DBS and Parkour into a film and keep its integrity. Alright, that's it for now. Thanks for reading.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Alright, so I gotta get this in before the Oscars go live, so this'll be quick. There's basically 3 picks for every category:
-Who I think deserves to win (D)
-Who I think they'll give it to (G)
-Who I'd like to see win (L)
The difference between "D" and "L" is that "D" is who i think did the best. "L" is just things I'd like to see win for personal reasons. For example, when WIll Smith was nominated for Ali, I put him as an "L" just because I've always respected Will Smith. Oh, and just a heads up, I haven't seen A LOT of the nominated movies. Alright, here we go:
Performance by an actor in a leading role:
D: Forest Whitaker
G: Forest Whitaker
L: Leonardo DiCaprio
Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
D: Djimon Hounsou
G: Djimon Hounsou
L: Mark Wahlberg
Performance by an actress in a leading role:
D: Helen Mirren
G: Helen Mirren
L: Helen Mirren
Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
D: Cate Blanchett
G: Abigail Breslin
L: Abigail Breslin
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:
G: Monster House
Achievement in Art Direction:
D: The Prestige
G: Pan's Labyrinth
L: The Prestige
Achievement in Cinematography:
D: Children of Men
G: Pan's Labyrinth
L: Children of Men
Achievement in Costume Design:
D: Curse of the Golden Flower
G: Curse of the Golden Flower
L: Curse of the Golden Flower
Achievement in directing:
D: Clint Eastwood
G: Martin Scorsese
L: Paul Greengrass
Best Documentary Feature:
D: An Inconvenient Truth
G: An Inconvenient Truth
L: An Inconvenient Truth
Best Documentary Short Subject:
D: Recycled Life
G: The Blood of Yingzhou District
L: Two Hands
Achievement in film editing:
L: The Departed
Best Foreign Language Film of the year:
D: Pan's Labyrinth
G: Pan's Labyrinth
L: Pan's Labyrinth
Achievement in Makeup:
G: Pan's Labyrinth
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original score):
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original song)
Best Motion Picture of the year:
D: Letters from Iwo Jima
G: Little Miss Sunshine
L: The Departed
Best Animated Short Film:
Best Live Action Short Film:
D: Helmer & Son
G: Helmer & Son
L: Helmer & Son
Achievement in Sound Editing:
D: Blood Diamond
G: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima
L: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima
Achievement in Sound Mixing:
D: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima
G: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima
L: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima
Achievement in Visual Effects:
D: Superman Returns
G: Superman Returns
L: Superman Returns
D: The Departed
G: Little Children
L: The Departed
D: Little Miss Sunshine
G: Little Miss Sunshine
L: Little Miss Sunshine
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Alright, so I haven't updated in almost a week which is a lot considering I was averaging 1.5 updates a day. But I've been ridiculously busy this week. I couldn't even make it past 9:30pm every night, that's how tired and busy I was. But for all those readers of my blog (the whole 2 of you), I just wanted to let you know I'm alive and kicking. If I get a chance I'll post my Oscar picks considering they air tomorrow. I'll be honest though, I've been pretty bad this year with seeing Oscar nods, so my picks will be pretty unjustified. Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to tend to my blog again now that my busy week is over. Thanks for reading.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Alright, it's a retro day. And considering I'm not that old, retro means early to late nineties. For some reason I got into old music today and made myself a mix for my iPod. Anyway, thought I'd do a similar thing for my Mix of the Moment posting. So enjoy, and thanks for reading.
1. Hey Jealousy by Gin Blossoms
2. Leave it Alone by Moist
3. Push by Matchbox Twenty
4. #41 by Dave Matthews Band
5. Lying Awake by Our Lady Peace
6. Supersonic by Oasis
7. Forgiveness by Collective Soul
8. Turn by Travis
9. The Background by Third Eye Blind
10. Good Things by The Bodeans
11. I Am by Train
12. Big Machine by The Goo Goo Dolls
13. Stay by The Tragically Hip
Could it be? Hmnm, everytime you think Hollywood's done everything imagineable, they blow your mind again and again. I mean, I'm sure time and time again we've thought - we've seen all special effects can do. But then movies like Lord of the Rings and 300 come out blowing us away once again. How about visionary and artistic direction - after Moulin Rouge you think, hey, that's so crazy amazing - what else could they do?
Well, it seems we may have another movie on our hands that could blow our minds away once again. Or at least the trailer seems to indicate so. It's such a mix of feelings and styles that it's really hard to describe to other people what this movie is like once you see the trailer. I saw it the trailer the other day and instantly I was extremely excited about the movie. But when I tried to explain it to my friends, I was stumbling over my words like crazy.
So instead of trying to explain this one to you, I'm just announcing it that it's one to keep your eye on 'cause it really seems like a movie that people will be talking about. It's called Across the Universe and is directed by Julie Taymor who directed Frida. So enough talk, hop over to www.apple.com/trailers and take a look at the trailer. I'm sure it'll blow your mind. Thanks for reading.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Alright, so we already have Casey's Mix of the Moment, and now we have a new segment. This stems from a thing that me and my buddies Chris, Corey, and Iain send around. Enjoy. And thanks for reading.
Marge: Have you noticed something different about Bart?
Homer: New glasses?
Marge: No, he looks like something might be disturbing him.
Homer: Probably misses his old glasses.
Marge: I guess we could get more involved in his activities, but then I'd be afraid of smothering him.
Homer: Yeah, and then we'd get the chair.
Marge: That's not what I meant.
Homer: It was. Marge. Admit it.
Ok, while we're on the topic of commercials I hate - man, that new Pizza Hut commercial with the garlic bites crust annoys the hell out of me. I don't think Jessica Simpson is blazing hot, but at the same time, I don't really hate her - in my opinion she's harmless. But, when she's singing this stupid "these bites were made for popping song" - man is it ever annoying. And it doesn't help that the original, these boots were made for walking song sucks too. Then there's that kid. Now I know he's meant to look kind of geeky, and kind of annoying - but man staring at his blank face - that is really annoying. It's weird though, this business of annoying entertainment. There's good, there's bad, and then there's so annoying you want to keep watching because you're annoyed. "Always be your lover" by Robyn, or whatever the hell the name of that song was - man, that was so annoying and so bad that I wanted to keep watching just to be annoyed. I hate that stupid Nelly Furtado song too, Maneater, but when it first came out, I wanted to listent to it over and over just to be annoyed. Whatever - I digress. This Pizza Hut commercial is really getting on my nerves.
Actually, while we're still on the topic of commercials - what are some commercials that I like that have come out in recent times? I absolutely love the David Blaine spoof Nutri-Grain Munch 'ems commercials. I think they're hilarious. Geico commercials are still pretty good (although not as good as they used to be). The Smirnoff commercials are generally pretty good. The one with "That girl's got rhythm" was borderline annoying - but after I thought about it, it was actually pretty cool.
I'd probably have to think about it really hard, but right now, if you were to ask me what are the two greatest commercials I've ever seen? The first one would be for the BMW M5 which you can view at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plxNfU-PA2c. The second is almost like a short film:
and be sure to watch the making of this commercial proving that it's all real:
Thanks for reading.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Alright, so Toyota. It's a great company and on the verge of taking over GM as the lead car manufacturing company on the planet. I used to drive a Solara - and let me tell you, it was one of the smoothest rides I've ever been on. The Camry's new styling is definitely kicking it up a notch too. And their hybrids are pretty sweet too. Whatever. The thing is, with Toyota being on the verge of being the number one car company, they're coming into a lot of money. As such, they're coming into some sweet commercials. For anybody who caught their "The Town of Need and the Town of Want" commercial, which has the production values of a hollywood movie, you can see how much they put into their advertising.
Why then, are they playing this crap commercial on TV right now with the stupidest jingle of all time - "This is the place I want to be, and the place I want to live" - man that's annoying. For our outside Canada readers, not sure if you get this commercial, but man is it ever annoying. That's just a beef I've had for a bit and wanted to write about it.
Before I leave, the Infernal Affairs Trilogy has been released on DVD in North America which is sweet, so be sure to check that out (the chinese films that The Departed was based on). Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
(This posting was taken from my MySpace blog, dated Monday September 4th 2006)
So, alright, here's my big talk and promotion for CBC Radio. I've been listening to CBC radio for about a year now and have gotten a good dose of it - and let me tell you it's very very good. CBC Radio 3 has awesome indie music for sure, but I'm talking the Talk Radio of CBC Radio 1. I have to warn you readers though, its a big time acquired taste.
Oh wait - I forgot we might have some non-Canadian readers out there. CBC Radio is the government funded Canadian Broadcast Corporation Radio station. It's like the Canadian equivalent of the BBC (it seems people know more about the BBC).
Alright, so here's the thing. You have to listen to it and you have to listen to it for awhile 'cause every now and then you catch the quality shows. Granted, you might at times think, man, this is boring - but seriously listen to what they have to say. Sometimes they'll talk about your favourite bands like Rufus Wainwright, Broken Social Scene, or Wolf Parade. Way better than listening to those crap radio stations who play Three Days Grace and Nickelback all day.
Let's take "Freestyle" for example. Now again, if you start listening to this show for the first time, you may think - man, these guys are squares and are only pretending to be hip. Their tone of voice may suggest that. But after a few quick listens, you realize, these guys really know what they're talking about. I remember listening one day and they played Sondre Lerche! Damn - I dare you to name another radio station who's even heard of Sondre Lerche. Today they had a sweet show on songs of summers 1984 to 2006 and I must say - the really nailed some of them. Definitely a great show.
The really nice thing about talk radio too is that it's always different. None of this hear the same song 3 times within an hour. I don't care how much you like "I Hate Everything About You", when you hear it 3 times in an hour it gets tiresome. On CBC radio, you're always hearing things for the first time.
Sometimes you really hear interesting stuff too. Today (I can't remember what show), but they were interviewing this guy, Ian Kootz who wrote a book on male adolescent questions like "Do we really need to shower?" and the answers were quite entertaining. Or questions like "What does it feel like to be buried alive?"
Sometimes you get things that would only happen on live radio (please refer to one of my previous posts).
But what I wanna stress is that aside from all the great talk radio you get from CBC Radio 1 - the rare moments when you catch the music - it's really good music. All you "indietastic" lovers will love the music they play. Again, I've heard Sondre Lerche, Rufus Wainwright, and Wolf Parade. And they're always talking about BSS (and all their subsidiaries).
For music lovers, you have to check out the show "The National Playlist", I believe it's on at 11:30 weekdays. It's like a top ten with panelists. Panelists select songs up for nomination and then discuss the songs and have listeners vote. The discussions are very good - like true music lovers discussing good music with very little pretention. It's really interesting to hear what others have to say about some of your favourite songs.
I can thank CBC radio for my discovery of Madeleine Peyroux.
Oh and I guess another really big thing about CBC radio - it keeps you informed while entertained. I very very very rarely watch or read the news. But CBC Radio cleverly (manditorily) sticks the news between your favourite shows in short 3 minute updates and bam - you're back with the rest of the world. If TV played all the days news during commercial breaks, I'd probably watch it.
Basically here's my thing - I though I'd be the last person to listen to talk radio - but when I got sick of my CDs I wasn't about to listen to the crappy radio stations. So I turned to CBC radio and I discovered such a gem. You guys really have to give it a chance. Find your local tuning of it or listen to it on the internet (cbc.ca). It really is an amazing radio station.
P.S: You have to check out the show Brave New Waves - I think it's on CBC Radio 2. It's got the most entertainly weird music ever!
Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
So the Oscar Nominated "The Departed" came out today on DVD, HD-DVD/DVD Combo Disc, and Blu-ray. If anybody is a regular reader of this blog, you'll know I have a slight problem with Blu-ray discs - having to do with the price you pay vs. the special features included. Well, I'm happy to report that The Departed seems to have proven me wrong - if only once, but hopefully this will be an on going trend. And the thing is, I'm not sure if I should be thanking the studio or Futureshop, but here's the deal - I bought The Departed on Blu-ray today which features every special feature that the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD has, safe one documentary called Scorcese on Scorcese which apparently has nothing to do with The Departed itself, just the director. But what blew me away - is that the Blu-ray disc cost the exact same amount as the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. So essentially, I"m getting the HD version of the film, with all the same special features for the same price! So well done whomever I should be thanking - let's try to keep those HD DVD and Blu-ray prices this low from now on. Btw, for all your hi-def needs, be sure to visit www.highdefdigest.com. Thanks for reading.
Monday, February 12, 2007
I'm lucky. I'll say it. I'll admit it. I've just been really lucky in life. As such, I've been one of those lucky people who managed to get his hands on a 17" Powerbook. I've had mine for about 3 years now, and I still stand by that it's the nicest piece of technology that I own. No to go along with this beautiful laptop, is a hi-res screen of 1440x900. And if you're one of those even luckier people who bought a Powerbook or Macbook Pro even later, you've got an even higher resolution that I do.
Here's the catch, to keep your Powerbook, Macbook Pro, or really any Mac looking really sweet, you gotta have a nice desktop wallpaper to complement it. Now, granted, the blue swish backgrounds that come with TIger and Panther are seriously some of the best designs of seen, but they get tiresome after awhile. Plus, they don't really show of the gorgeousness of the monitors. Now, what's weird, is that the screensavers included with Tiger and Panther feature incredible hi-res pictures. Those beaches and space shots - man those look nice. But for some reason, Apple didn't include these pics as pictures that you can use as a desktop. Which is really too bad 'cause they are so nice.
Then there's the option of designing your own wallpapers on Photoshop. It is a good way for sure, but unless your an avid photographer, or someone with a lot of spare time on your hands, your own creations can get tiresome.
Well, what about sites like www.digitalblasphemy.com or www.plasmadesign.co.uk? These are amazing sites, yes. And they do feature amazing desktops at resolutions that are suitable for our hi-res screens. But all the good wallpapers at these sites aren't free. What about all the free sites on the web? Sure, they exist, but usually the wallpapers kinda suck, or anything above 1024x768 isn't available.
So we're stuck.
That is, we were stuck. Until a great site called Interfacelift showed up. This site is amazing for completely free hi-res wallpapers featuring some fo the greatest photography that really displays the high resolution of your screen. Seriously, if you're into making your comp look nice and pretty - you have to check this site out. The photographs really showcase your monitor. It's like the difference between watching a scene featuring a concrete wall on your HDTV vs. watching a scene featuring grass. The grass by its nature has many blades and showcases how sharp your HDTV really is. These wallpapers do the same. There's just so much detail in these shots. So be sure to drop by, www.interfacelift.com. Oh, and by the way, for car lovers, the best car site for hi-res wallpapers in my opinion is the Porsche Website, www.porsche.com. Thanks for reading.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Following my post below "All that Mraz", as promised, today's edition of Casey's Mix of the Moment pays tribute to Jason Mraz. It's a good taste of music that might change your mind on him. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.
1. Life is Wonderful - Jason Mraz
2. The Boy's Gone - Jason Mraz
3. Sleep All day - Jason Mraz
4. After an Afternoon - Jason Mraz
5. Tonight, Not Again - Jason Mraz
6. Unfold - Jason Mraz
7. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
8. 1000 Things - Jason Mraz
9. Please Don't Tell Her - Jason Mraz
10. Did I Fool Ya' - Jason Mraz
11. Halfway Home - Jason Mraz
12. Better - Jason Mraz
13. Clockwatching - Jason Mraz
14. Song For A Friend - Jason Mraz
Jack Johnson. He's overrated. I understand his style of music is laid back style, just chillin' with your friends on your stoop, or lounging around on a summer day at the cottage. But my problem with that style is that it just seems so passionless and boring. Every now and then I'll listen to him yes, and when it comes on, I'll acknowledge it. But when it comes down to it, I think he's sorely overrated.
But there's probably another reason I'm just not down with JJ. I mean, yeah I don't like his music, but there's something that drives that dislike, dare I say hate, even further. Around the time Jack Johnson came out with his big single, Flake, I had a bunch of his music and a bunch of music from a fella named Jason Mraz. The first two songs I got into from these two guys were Flake and 0% Interest. The thing is, their intro's and general chord pattern are quite similar. But when it came down to it, I liked 0% interest better. The vocals had more dynamics, there were endless lyrics, and there was passion. So from this shallow one song preview, I had made my judgment, Jason Mraz was the better artist. Luckily based on further listening, I was right. Jason Mraz was the better artist.
But here's the thing, Jack Johnson was the more advertised artist, and thus, everyone was on the Jack Johnson train. I guess it's kind of unfair of me, because really, no one ever said Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz were in the same boat and were battling it out. It wasn't say like Oasis vs. Blur, Apple vs. Microsoft, The Killers vs. The Bravery, The Aston DB9 vs. the Jaguar XK, or Pepsi vs. Coke. No, this was just some comparison I made up myself. But anyway, everyone kept raving "Have you heard of Jack Johnson?", "You gotta listen to Jack Johnson" and so on. All the while I'm saying "No, Jason Mraz is a lot better", but no one would listen because everyone was all up on Jack Johnson.
Well, again, no one would ever call listening to Jack Johnson and listening to Jason Mraz mutually exclusive, but today, I'm saying Jason Mraz is better, and I want to spend some time talking about him.
First of all - people who've kind of heard of him have to dismiss their opinions that he's just your typical pop artist. With songs like "You and I Both" and "The Remedy" being his only 2 big singles, people probably have this one-dimensional view of Mraz. The first thing I noticed about Mraz was his amazing voice coupled with his amazing ability to skat. You have to hear his Live at Java Joe's album to really appreciate this. It really shows his talent that's above and beyond your typical pop artist. Secondly, he's amazingly versatile. Yeah, he's got the hip hop ness to him, with a great ability to rap, and freestyle. Now mind you, his rap is kind of geeky white rap - but he's still good at it. It's never gonna be as good as Mos Def or Talib Kweli, but it works for him. But I've seen him live twice and I've seen him successfully pull off this white boy geek rap, good pop ballads, slow love ballads, island beat "yah man" jams, amazing skats, and yes, even country!
Either way, anybody who's passed on Jason Mraz, you should seriously give him a second chance. You have to hear his full spectrum to realize what a good artist he really is. I understand some people's beef with his cockiness, and I understand his style of music is not for everybody, but seriously don't make your judgments based on just his singles. He's got an amazing repetoire behind it. I'm going to post a Jason Mraz mix for my next Casey's Mix of the Moment, so be sure to check that out, and for info on him, be sure to check out www.jasonmraz.com and www.mrazmerized.com. Thanks for reading.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
So LOST is back. And man have I missed it. I watched the new episode recently which was soooo good, and got me back into the spirit of it. As I mentioned in my last entry, there are 2 CD soundtracks of the original score released, one for each season and it brought to a realization: I love it when companies give fans what they want. As opposed to what? As opposed to what's marketable. Well, I guess not so much that, it's more that I love it when companies don't hold back something because it's not marketable (I know those are kind of the same thing, but the latter expression is more relevant to what this entry is about). Let's think about it for a second. Sure LOST is a huge phenomenon. Sure die hard LOST fans will buy anything and everything that's attached to the franchise. But really, 2 soundtracks is pushing it when it comes to making a profit, or worth investing your time. I mean I'm sure there are people who will buy it (well, me for one), but the majority of the population wouldn't even acknowledge the existence of these CDs. So I love that studio released these CDs.
Other examples? How about TV show DVDs. I mean there are soooo many shows on DVD right now it's ridiculous. How many times have you gone to HMV or Futureshop or Best Buy or whatever, and passed a TV series on DVD and thought - what the hell? Who would buy this? It's one of those situations where a studio knows that however small a fanbase there is, there's still a fanbase nonetheless. Take Felicity. Felicity was a show that went off the air after just four seasons. Clearly it became a show that was unwise to keep going. So for the DVD release, I'm sure they knew that the fanbase wasn't exactly huge. But nonetheless, they released all four seasons on DVD. Like basically I love how DVDs are bringing back shows for everybody. I mean the other day I saw the Gummi Bears DVD - never thought I would have seen that.
I'm not naive to think that studios are doing it solely for the fans - I mean of course they're making money off it. But still, with how much stuff they could release, I'm glad they're making an effort to release things that probably won't get the huge record breaking revenue and not just shoving it on the shelf.
I started this entry with companies releasing things that people want - but really the best example I can think of that is DVDs. So I'll end with this. It's nice to know that even though you were the only person among everybody you know who enjoyed a show or movie, you can rest easy that it's probably on DVD. And if it's not, you can probably rest easy that some studio is working on getting it out (damn, when are they gonna clear the rights for The Wonder Years). Wow, my thoughts are really all over the place. I guess it's a good thing my blog is entitled "random thoughts". Anyways, I'll end it there. Thanks for reading.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
This is gonna be short, and I apologize to the readers for the lack of updates recently. It's been a pretty busy week. Anyway, I just wanted to throw up a post to celebrate the return of quite possibly my favourite TV drama of all time. So here's to 16 staight weeks of LOST, it's gonna be sweet. Btw, just random additions, the LOST soundtrack is one of the best original score soundtracks I've bought in a while. I've also just found out there's a season 2 CD as well which should be just as good. Anyway, LOST plays on ABC at 10:00pm and for my fellow Canadians, you can also catch it on CTV at 7:00pm on Wednesdays. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Following my "All That Jazz" post below, this edition of Casey's Mix of the Moment is gonna be jazz themed. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.
1. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go by Madeleine Peyroux
2. Sunrise by Norah Jones
3. Four On Six by Wes Montgomery
4. Give Me the Simple Life by June Christy
5. Colors by Amos Lee
6. My Favourite Things by Kenny Burrell
7. Nuages by Joe Pass
8. Evidence by Thelonious Monk Quartet and John Coltrane
9. Dance Me to the End of Love by Madeleine Peyroux
10. O Tannenbaum by the Vince Guaraldi Trio
11. Come Away with Me by Norah Jones
12. Naptown Blues by Wes Montgomery
13. I'll Look Around by Madeleine Peyroux
Alright, let's talk Jazz. Alright, I'm one of those people who when asked, "what kind of music do you listen to?", I answer "pretty much everything". At a time, it was truly just about everything from pop, to pop/rock, to alternative, to country, to hiphop, to thrash metal, to indie rock...like the list went on and on. However, when it comes down to it, although I'll give most music a chance, and I genearlly don't hate any type of music, there's definitely a list of genres I listen to more than others.
Recently, say over the last 5 years, Jazz has become one of those genres. My love for Jazz really started with Jazz guitar. I play guitar myself and so I'm always impressed with good guitar playing - and there's nothing more impressive than Jazz guitar (ok, Don Ross is pretty damn good too.) Aside from that though, the thing I loved about Jazz guitar (and I realized this about most jazz music in general), was that it set such a good mood for whatever you were doing. For example, if you're hosting a dinner party, or a party where you just have general mingling going on at one point, and you really want to stand out? Slap on some jazz music. If you live in a samll apartment, filling you space with jazz music all of a sudden makes it feel really classy. And what about Christmas? There's no better music to play during the spirited season than Christmas Jazz music (of note is A Charlie Brown Christmas, greatest christmas album of all time). However, the thing, aside from the mind-blowing technique of the jazz guitarists, and the amazing mood setting that jazz offers, there's one major reason you should be listening to it: basically it's really good music.
Now there's a catch. Over the years, because my love for jazz has grown, I've started to discover, like any other music, there's music that's good, and music that's not good. The jazz that's not good? SMOOTH JAZZ! Grrr....smooth jazz is really nicely polished recorded jazz that instantly brings Kenny G to mind. It just sounds really corny. The kind of jazz that I like is the old school bare-bones recorded stuff. We're talking Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Kenny Burrell, Thelonius Monk, etc. Now obviously jazz has a broad range, and a lot of the newer artists are still recording in the old style, so when I say 'old school' I'm not referring only to old recordings.
Aside from the classics, there's a couple artists who have come along just recently who are absolutely phenomenol. Everyone knows about the first one I'm going to talk about, Norah Jones. Granted, she blends other types of music, but you can play her music side by side with classic jazz and not miss a beat. With her third album released just the other day, Norah Jones has done really well for herself and has done an amazing job of bringing good jazz into the mainstream. There's no denying it, Norah Jones is everything the hype says she is.
Another artist that's borderline jazz, but only because his sound is reminiscent of Norah Jones (that is, he sounds like NJ, and NJ sounds like Jazz, but he doesn't sound that jazzy himself) is Amos Lee. I wouldn't say he's nearly as good as Norah Jones, but he definitely has a couple of tracks worth listening too. Again, he's another mesher of styles so, some of his tunes are very jazzy, other are not.
But I've saved the best for last. There's an artist who's a little lesser known that's come out recently who has definitely captured the jazz essence from the past and polished it up nicely for modern day listening. Everytime I play her CD, people are always asking me if its Ella Fitzgerald. She's a favourite among music supervisors in hollywood as her music's been used several times in pretty big movies. And finally, her first release, Careless Love, is agurably my favourite album in the last 5 years or so.
I'm talking about Madeleine Peyroux.
Sometime when I starting getting old and started listening to CBC radio, I caught "Don't Wait too Long" one of her big singles and I instantly fell in love. I got a hold of her album Careless Love and let me tell ya', what an album. If you absolutely hate jazz, of course you won't like it, but if you have even the most remote admiration for this genre, you have to hear this album. The nice thing about jazz albums, and people may argue that this is what makes jazz bad, is that different songs don't stray much from the mood that jazz sets. Like from the upbeat happy, to the romantic love songs, there's not a huge leap. That's what makes is such a good album - it flows really nicely together. That what makes albums like "O" by Damien Rice so amazing, the whole album has a mood to it. Given, it's a lot easier to do in jazz, because all Jazz sounds pretty similar, but still. Madeleine Peyroux came out recently with a follow-up, Half the Perfect World, back in the summer of 2006, and although not as good as Careless Love, it was still a strong album.
Now, I'm not going to claim that I'm a huge jazz buff, I'm pretty new to the field. I mean jazz listeners are notorious for their "collections", and I what I have could hardly be considered a collection. However, I am getting into it, and I highly recommend you guys start listening to it. If you need a starting point, I'm going to have another edition of Casey's Mix of the Moment that's jazz themed. But until then, check out Madeleine Peyroux, Norah Jones, Wes Montgomery, June Christy, and Kenny Burrell. Thanks for reading, and all that jazz.
Btw, the best Jazz albums I've heard (yes, I'm a sucker for the holiday albums)
A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi Trio
Indigo Presents Holiday Jazz by Various Artists
Careless Love by Madeleine Peyroux
Monday, February 5, 2007
Two 4 litre engines. Both 8 valves. Giving us a W16, 8.0 LItre engine. If that's not enough, let's slap 4 turbo chargers on it. And to cool it, say, I don't know 10 radiators.
I've kinda been behing the ball on things when it comes to super cars. 'Cause sometime around last year, I missed probably the biggest annoucement in car history. The Bugatti Veyron. I might have heard rustlings of rumors about it, but apparently not enough for me to remember the name, or its specs. My buddy Chris reminded me of the affair recently, say about 2 weeks ago, and I found the past Top Gear episode about it (the series 7 episode). Aside from the specs I just opened this blog entry with, there are 3 figures I have to draw you attention to if you don't know what all the huff fuff is about. They are: 1001 BHP giving a zero to sixty miles an hour in 2.5 seconds, and a flat out speed of 252 MPH!!! (407 km/h!!!!!) How in god's name did I miss this car?
Clarkson made a really good statement that with the way things are going evironmentally with global warming and such, this could quite possibly be not only the fastest street legal car today, but the fastest street legal car ever! The reason I bring it up today, is that yesterday's episode of Top Gear finally but this behemoth of a car to its limits. James May (a.k.a captain slow) was given the task to bring the Bugatti Veyron to its top speed to prove its claim. I tell ya', it's weird how this actually makes good TV. 'Cause in essense, you're just watching a guy sit in a hunk of metal and press a pedal - I mean you don't sense 407 km/h just by watching TV. Yet somehow, the geniuses behind Top Gear managed to give a great sense of the euphoria that ensues hitting a blindingly fast speed. It was a short, but really well constructed segment.
Be sure to read up on the Bugatti Veyron if you haven't done so already, and if you get a chance, get your hands on that series 7 episode of Top Gear, and yestereday's series 9 episode. Top Gear airs Sundays on BBC2 at 8:00pm, and more info can be found at www.topgear.com. Thanks for reading.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Here's a post that originally appeared on my myspace blog, and I had nothing else to write about today, so I thought I'd migrate this one over.
So into utter oblivion where the crossing of cows and sheep of lesser mortals never understand the virtues of the way things truly work. When the analagous flows of the river start to slow down, how can the presence of the mind truly start to wander. There's nothing left in the infinite rants of ants and convoluted twists of mists in the air that it disgusts me to fathom the true passion of men. How can we be expected to dive into the plethora of problems of others when we, ourselves can't mitigate the battle between our own soul and being. But maybe it's not so grim. Perhaps the being that so many before us decry and so many before us repent is simply a misunderstanding. Perhaps the being that is associated with all the material goods and earthly matter is truly the transcendant being. In the ethereal tones of violins and pianos that ring in my ear, you can hear it. Just listen. You can hear the cry of small gods and even smaller princes. Kings will finally receive their praise. Men will finally be revered as the beauty that rings within. But all in all, there's not much to be found. Not much to be found. For once the cracking of the megalomaniacal being surfaces and comes to light, the soul will protrude shortly after. The soul will sell out, and the sould will find ways to become corrupt. After all, police were introduced with a good intention. A truly good intention. But never mind what the words of stupid people say. Be who you want to be. Sell outs don't exist.
By the way, recently I've noticed people's comments popping up on my blog, meaning one thing that I never saw coming - people are actually reading my blog. So I just wanted to give a thanks to those out there. I'll try my best to keep up the frequnecy of my updates. Thanks for reading.
Friday, February 2, 2007
Back in my university and high school days, there was something I got heavily into: Tim Horton's non-donut servings. I mean, for forever, Tim Horton's was always the donut place and in the later years, the French Vanilla Cappucino place. But it took me awhile, say til I was about 17 to discover the great other half of the menu. You know, the soups, the sandwiches, and much more nowadays. I eventually settled on a usual which became the soup and bagel deal. With a drink, you got a great meal for dirt cheap.
Now, the thing is, when I find something I like, I stick with it like crazy. I hate to admit it, but for about 4 months straight, 5 days a week, I got the same quizno's sub and drink. So the Tim Horton's soup and bagel deal was no exception - anytime I hit up TH's, it would always be the same Chicken Noodle soup with a Everything bagel toasted with butter. The drink varied from time to time, and every now and then I'd get the herb and garlic cream cheese.
Now, for about 6 months, I'd forgotten about my Tim Horton's usual. They're just not as common where I moved to recently. So anytime I ate out, I'd be eating Subway, or at our school cafe, or quizno's, or Indian food. These meals were costing me on the expensive side of fast food, not unreasonbale, just the expensive side - say between 7-12 dollars CDN. Today, I decided to go back to my roots, and hit up Tim Horton's and the thing I realized I missed most, and the whole point of this post really, is how much cheaper it is to eat at Tim Horton's. It's so much better. I got my soup and bagel, and a peach juice, and a donut - all for under $5.00! And the thing is, it was a very satisfying and delicious meal - I wasn't over stuff, but I wasn't still hungry afterwards. And chances are, what I ate was slightly healthier than what I usually eat. My point is, for all you Canadians out there who haven't experienced the brilliance and low cost of a Tim Horton's meal, it might be something to consider next time you go out to eat. Just as a side note, their taste of the month - the cherry cake ring is a GREAT donut. Thanks for reading.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Alright, some of my pun titles are just not so great, so forgive it. I was going to do something along the lines of "I have a beef, a LaBeef" but then realized that beef in french is spelt "boeuf" not "beouf". This will all make sense in a second.
Alright, so a couple of years, perhaps more, I fell in love with a movie called October Sky. For those who haven't seen it, it's one of my all time favourite feel-good-chase-your-dream movies. Playing a lead role for the first time, we were introduced to Jake Gyllenhaal. He did an amazing performance and delivers one of my favourite speeches in feel-good movie history. Such a good performance in fact, that I followed his career shortly after. News came out about a movie called Donnie Darko. Before we knew it, Jake was on his way making blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow, small respectable films like Proof and Moonlight Mile, and oscar nominated flims like Brokeback Mountain. He had risen to be such a good actor when a lot of us spotted him way back in October Sky. I'd be impressed if anybody spotted him way back in City Slickers.
Well, my next call is Shia LaBeouf. You heard it here first. I mean he's already a pretty big star, and a decent amount of people know about him, but there are still people who say "who?" when you mention his name. Like October Sky, a feel-good-chase-your-dream movie, for me, Shia LaBeouf was introduced to me in The Greatest Game Ever Played. Now that movie wasn't nearly as good as October Sky, but to me it showed that Shia could act. He had a small role in I, Robot, but The Greatest Game Ever Played was his first lead. Then he went on to A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Surf's Up (which btw, imo, looks way better than Happy Feet - am I the only one against Happy Feet?) and now, the hugely anticipated Transformers movie and what looks like a remake of Rear Window, Disturbia. My guess is, he's gonna be the next big young actor. I already respect his work, but his name is gonna start popping up everywhere.
Again, you heard it hear first. Thanks for reading.