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Everything posted by opus

  1. opus

    Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble

    Barnes & Noble is selling all Criterion titles, including Blu-Ray titles, for 50% off (60% off if you're a Barnes & Noble member). I just picked up Au Hasard Balthazar, Brazil, Ikiru, Harakiri, and the Seven Samurai box set myself and I'll probably make another purchase when I get my next paycheck. Get out your credit cards...
  2. So... has anyone else on here heard of this guy?!? What with all of the acclaim this guy's been receiving over the past year or so for his last album, Michigan (one of my faves of last year), someone else has got to know about him. I just got his new album (Seven Swans) in the mail this week, and it's one of the best things I've heard so far this year. A good deal more stripped down and sparse than Michigan, but still absolutely breathtaking.
  3. http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/37/features-finke.php Apparently, discussions like this one were instrumental to the site's beginnings.
  4. opus

    Miyazaki/Ghibli Updates

    Just saw this on Nausicaa... Apparently, Porco Rosso will be out in April, and they're currently working on the Nausicaa dub with Patrick Stewart, Uma Therman, and possibly Natalie Portman. They don't say who's dubbing who, but I'm assuming Stewart will be Yupa, Therman will be Kushana, and Portman will be Nausicaa. And, even more exciting (IMHO), they've finished translating Whisper Of The Heart. Here's another related article...
  5. "Susanna Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell' Will Be A BBC Series" I've had Susanna Clarke's novel for a few years, but have never finished it. However, that's because of my own laziness and not due to any fault of the book, which is very fun and imaginative. If done well, this would make for a fantastic series. Link to our preview thread re. a potential movie adaptation (which appears to be no more).
  6. opus

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Super 8 is a legitimate comparison because they're both mining the same type of tropes and source material, but while I enjoyed Super 8, I'd argue that Stranger Things delivers more in the end. I know it resonated with me a lot more strongly then Super 8 ever did.
  7. opus

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    We're about 2/3 of the way through it and so far, we're loving it. Yes, it shamelessly traffics in '80s nostalgia, but it's actually kind of eclectic and avoids obvious cliches. (Or maybe I'm just not used to hearing Joy Division songs in TV shows.) And it references lots of classic films, from Stand By Me to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So it's shameless that way, too. But I just don't care because it's just done so well, a classic case in how to use nostalgia well. I love the characters, even the minor ones. (One of my favorite scenes is when the boys are having a discussion with their dweebish science teacher and they throw out a Dungeons & Dragons reference and he knows exactly what they're talking about.) And I love the show's aesthetic, which feels very authentic in terms of setting, wardrobe, etc., while adding to the atmosphere. For example, the way the camera lingers on scenes after they're technically over, which only adds to the sense of gloom and foreboding. I realize it could tank by the final episode, but I'm very hopeful. We'll probably binge watch the final episodes tonight.
  8. opus

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

    As far as I know, this is the first official still from Edgar Wright's (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic book series. That is Michael Cera wielding a flaming katana while Jason Schwartzman looms in the background and some guy does a flip. In other words, it is awesome. If you've never read Scott Pilgrim, you're missing out. It's a weird mishmash of manga, video game nostalgia, lovable slackers, and indie-rock culture with a distinct Canadian twist. The film's official website can be found here, and here's the official synopsis:
  9. opus

    The Witch (2015)

    "Beware, Horror Fans: 'The Witch' Has Just Been Named an Official 'Satanic Experience'" Make of that what you will. FYI, the Satanic Temple were the folks who tried to get a statue of Baphomet placed in the Oklahoma State Capitol.
  10. opus

    Synecdoche, New York

    The trailer for Synecdoche, New York has just popped up in the Intertubes -- click here. And yeah, it looks like another Kaufman flick: brilliant, absurd, and rather mind-bending. Here's a brief synopsis:
  11. opus

    Independence Day: Resurgence

    Agreed. The original was as big, dumb, and loud as it gets, but from the one-liners and hamming it up, the film knew it. Based on the trailer, the sequel seems to think that darker and grittier is better. Sure, you have to raise the stakes for the sequel, but does it need to be so grim-dark?
  12. opus

    Guardians of the Galaxy 2

    I am very OK with this casting decision.
  13. opus

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon... 2?

    The film is now titled Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny, and Netflix has released the first trailer. I haven't been following the film's production, so I was a bit surprised -- but perhaps I shouldn't have been -- that it'll apparently be an English language film. The martial arts action looks pretty good, which one would expect from Yuen Woo-Ping. But really, a dreary synth-y cover of "Bad Moon Rising" for the soundtrack? That was... odd. Also, is the film a prequel? Everything I've read indicates it's still a sequel.
  14. opus

    Marvel's Netflix Shows

    We Saw the First Episode of Marvel's Jessica Jones and Now We Want More:
  15. opus

    Song of the Sea

    FWIW, my wife and I watched this over our anniversary weekend. It was an absolutely beautiful film, but thematically speaking (especially the final scene), I'm not so sure it was the wisest viewing choice for that particular weekend.
  16. opus

    Talk Talk/Mark Hollis

    Is anyone here a fan of Talk Talk and/or Mark Hollis? I've been listening to Hollis' solo album today, and am reminded of just what a cryptic and subtle work it is. Hollis was the frontman of Talk Talk, who achieved some fame in the early 80s with their new wave (though, in truth, those early songs were far more intelligent and soulful than new wave tends to be). Then, after getting a taste of popularity, they completely abandoned their new wave sound, opting for something quite a bit more avant-garde, mixing jazz, orchestral arrangements, pastoral ambient washes, and of course, Hollis' cryptic lyrics and soulful voice. Along with Bark Psychosis, they were one of the first "post-rock" bands (in fact, the term was created to describe their music). Hollis' album is like Talk Talk's sound taken to the extreme. It's incredibly muted and sparse, usually nothing more than Hollis' voice - which is barely audible most of the time - and dusty acoustic guitar, with slight piano and horn accompaniment. This quote from Hollis sums it up quite nicely: "Before you play two notes learn how to play one note - and don't play one note unless you've got a reason to play it." It could be described as "folk", but it's much darker and starker than one typically thinks of folk music as being, with meandering song structures and lyrics that barely make logical sense. Yet the sound of them when wrapped up in Hollis' voice evokes such a strong mood. Excellent music for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
  17. opus

    Asian films

    Not sure why The Man From Nowhere is part of "Kung Fu Fridays" but it's a solid, gritty action/thriller. It's like Taken, only much better. As for Into the Badlands, I was initially underwhelmed by what I saw. But the more I think about it, the more the bonkers premise has grown on me. The blend of old and new, and putting wuxia-style swordplay in a semi-modern context, reminds me of films like What Price Survival, Heroic Trio, The Executioners, and Savior of the Soul. Those weren't necessarily good films (though I believe What Price Survival is a truly hidden gem), but they can be entertaining in their bonkers-ness to watch. I think/hope Into the Badlands will be along the same lines.
  18. opus

    Greenbelt 2015.

    I sincerely hope some footage from the RAIJ's performance appears on YouTube soon. And yes, their new album is fantastic.
  19. opus

    No Place to Call Home

    BuzzFeed (of all places) has posted a pretty long, in-depth piece that delves into JPUSA's history in light of No Place to Call Home. It's a pretty heartbreaking read.
  20. opus

    New Stuff Worth Hearing

    A few recent faves of mine... CFCF - The Colours of Life 40 minutes of instrumental pop that blends together world music influences and '80s music tropes -- think Bill Laswell remixing a Phil Collins cover of Talk Talk. You might find it really cheesy, and it sort of is, but it also hits a real sweet spot for me that taps into '80s nostalgia but goes into some new directions. The Green Kingdom - Vapor Sequences A 4-song EP of minimal ambient dub -- think a more spacious, ethereal Burial. Perfect for late night coding sessions. Lightning Bug - Floaters Lo-fi shoegaze/ambient/experimental pop at its finest. Brings to mind Broadcast, Slowdive, Flying Saucer Attack, and Amy Annelle, but has a singular emotional wallop all its own. This one came out of left field and just bowled me over. Pilotpriest - W/W/D/K/F Cinematic synthesizer music reminiscent of Daft Punk and Makeup & Vanity Set. Cascading Slopes - Towards a Quaker View of Synthesizers The best album that Joy Electric never released. Absolutely beautiful and emotional synth-pop.
  21. Just saw this while perusing The Ross Theatre's website... Cinema India! - The Changing Face Of Indian Cinema And here's the itinerary... Bariwali (The Lady of the House) Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (The Braveheart Will Take the Bride) Kandukondain, Kandukondain (I Have Found It) Maqbool The Speaking Hand: Zakir Hussain and the Art of the Indian Drum Waisa Bhi Hota Hai (Anything Can Happen) I caught Maqbool at last year's Toronto Film Festival, and it was excellent - a Bollywood take on Shakespeare by way of Martin Scorcese. And I'm pretty stoked about the rest of the films they're showing as well.
  22. opus


    I caught a couple minutes of Naked several years ago on cable, and for some reason, that scene just lodged itself in my subconscious. I finally got a chance to see it last night, and wow... I'm still reeling from it. In fact, as I was sitting in church, of all places, I found myself constantly replaying the movie, contemplating scenes, etc. Johnny is a compelling character, quite disturbingly so. On the one hand, he's a rapist, thief, conniver, etc. But there's something about his undying and desperate cynicism that just really hits me hard. Anyone who knows me will tell you I've got a cynical streak a mile wide. Watching Naked, you see cynicism taken to its total and deadly extreme. Johnny isn't just cynical; he's a black hole, willing to draw in anyone with his charms and intelligence and destroy them in a flurry of wit (the scene with Johnny explaining Revelation to the security guard is brilliant in that regard), and yet always left empty. What I find interesting is how self-consuming Johnny's cynicism and alienation has become, such that it's difficult to know if even he believes what he's saying, if he even knows how to communicate truthfully and straightforward. But at the same, he knows there's something wrong with him, even if he's so good at communicating the wrongness and foolishness in others that he can't say it about himself. Contrasting Johnny is the landlord. Whereas there are moments when you feel some small measure of hope for Johnny, if only because he knows there's something wrong and is willing to say something about it (even if he does so in a terrible manner), the landlord is completely and utterly soulless. And so much great dialog. I already mentioned the scene with the security guard, which is probably the "highlight" of the movie for me. And I love Johnny's rant against boredom, which in some ways, is the bit of dialog that sums him up and his anger perfectly. I hope this all doesn't sound like I'm glossing over the film's truly disturbing aspects. The sex scenes, in particular, were quite hard to stomach. And there's no getting around the fact that Johnny is a wholly unsavory individual, to put it mildly. But reflecting on the movie, I don't feel any sense of moral outrage or indignation. I just feel sadness because I recognize, in Johnny, the same dark cynicism and tendency to alienate that I have. (BTW, I looked and didn't find a thread specifically devoted to this film. If there is, my apologies.)
  23. I've been really enamored with Mass Effect as of late. I may have bought my Xbox 360 so I could play Halo 3, but Mass Effect has been getting way more time in the 360. Great plot, characters, and role-playing aspects -- but then I'd expect nothing less from BioWare. It's not perfect, though. The gameplay could've used an extra round of polish before the game was released, and there are some graphical bugs that, while not as annoying as some would make them out to be, are noticeable. And then there's the morality system, which I wrote about at length here.
  24. opus


    "Myst, best-selling adventure game EVER, heads to the screen" "Computer Game 'MYST' Gains Movie Steam" I could see a Myst movie being very cool and unique, so long as it stayed true to the mysterious nature of the source material.