Taking stupid seriously

LA Times:

BORAT’S interviews fall into roughly two categories. He seeks out self-consciously genteel, almost impossibly schematic “life coaches” of one kind or another — people whose job it is to tell others how to date, tell jokes, find work, etc. — and barrages them with questions, requests and opinions that, despite being completely outrageous, consistently fail to get a rise or a reaction stronger than “We don’t do that here in America” or “That’s not a customary thing to do in the U.S. at all.” On the one hand, you have to admire his interviewees’ tact and even keel. On the other, you can’t believe that they don’t react more strongly than they do.

He also hangs out with “normal people” who happily reveal their prejudices. Shopping for a house, in one TV episode, Borat asks a real estate agent about a windowless room with a metal door for his mentally disabled brother, whether he may bury his wife in the yard if she dies, and whether black people will move into the neighborhood. At the wine tasting, he asks if the black waiter is a slave, to which the “commander” of the Knights of the Vine society in Jackson, Miss., replies that there was “a law that was passed that they could no longer be used as slaves — which is a good thing for them.” (“Oh, good for him, not so good for you!” Borat yelps, picking up an undercurrent that may not have even been evident to them.)

Here.

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This Roadie's Life

LA Weekly:

Do you have a Brit-humor-obsessed friend who pesters you to get in line and admit once and for all that Steve Coogan is a comedy god? Maybe he’s shoved one of Coogan’s Alan Partridge videos in your hands to get you up to speed on the egomaniacally obnoxious, socially inept talk-show-host character that has made Coogan a deity in the U.K., or dragged you to a movie theater to see Coogan’s star turn in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. That person is a good friend.

But if you’ve ignored the pleas, let me speak for your friend and tell you that you can get in on the ground floor Friday night with Coogan’s newest character, Tommy Saxondale. He’s a bearded, cantankerous, acrimoniously divorced ex-roadie with one fist still raised in rebellion, the other around a pesticide hose. Tommy has left the world of Jim Beam breakfasts, rock-star chumminess and changing Peter Frampton’s vocoder fuse for the life of a vermin killer. And why not? Music has gone in the crapper since “electronic bleeps and farts” replaced awesome fret work, according to Tommy, but he clings to the notion that even from his comfortable suburban existence with shop-owner girlfriend Magz (Ruth Jones), he can still do his part to give the finger to authority. Tommy’s idea of therapeutic betterment? Calmly telling the session leader in his court-ordered anger-management class that the notion of anger being bad is “horseshit”: If General MacArthur’s reaction to Pearl Harbor had been “to go someplace quiet and do some deep breathing,” he insists, “you’d be goose-stepping into this meeting!” Rock and roll!?

Here.

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THE GRINDHOUSE TRAILER IS UP

What Would Tyler Durden Do:

Finally a trailer for the Quentin Tarantino / Robert Rodriguez movie “Grindhouse”. I think I read it’s a remake of “Sense and Sensibility”, but that might not be right. Rose McGowan plays a stripper with a gun for a leg, Kurt Russell plays a maniac killer and I play an hotshot Navy SEAL, kicked out of the service for a crime I didn’t commit, lost in the bottle but finding peace by helping the disenfranchised. In the movie, you may ask? No, my friends, in my incredible real life.

Here.

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Offensive and unfair, Borat's antics leave a nasty aftertaste

Guardian:

There is a further reason why Baron Cohen causes injury and offence. Under Stalin’s forced collectivisation in the 1920s, about half the ethnic Kazakh population were deported or starved to death. In the early 1940s, entire populations of “anti-Soviet” peoples – including Tartars, Chechens, Ingush, Volga Germans and Koreans – were dumped in the Kazakh steppes. The one positive outcome of the forced population movements is that Kazakhstan has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world. Just over half of the 15 million population are ethnic Kazakhs, about 30% Russian, and the rest from a dozen different nationalities. There are more than 100 different ethnic and religious groups.

Given what we have been through as a nation, racial and ethnic tolerance is regarded as a practical necessity and part of our contemporary identity. It is no exaggeration to say that the stability of the modern Kazakh state depends on a shared recognition that we must do nothing to disturb the harmony among this complex mosaic of peoples. Consequently, Kazakhs generally do not care for racial slurs or think much of those who indulge in them.

Here.

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Kazakhs Shrug at ‘Borat’ While the State Fumes

NYT:

Mr. Ashykbayev denounced Mr. Cohen’s performance as host of the MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon last fall, in which a skit mocked the imperial aura that surrounds Mr. Nazarbayev, the country’s president since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Mr. Ashykbayev suggested that Mr. Cohen was acting on behalf of “someone’s political order” to denigrate Kazakhstan and that the government “reserved the right to any legal action to prevent new pranks of this kind.”

Mr. Cohen, who is Jewish, responded, as Borat, in a video posted on his Web site, citing Mr. Ashykbayev by name and declaring that he “fully supported my government’s decision to sue this Jew.”

“Since the 2003 Tulyakov reforms, Kazakhstan is as civilized as any other country in the world,” he goes on in the video, citing fictional details in the absurdly stilted English that is central to his act. “Women can now travel inside of bus. Homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hats. And age of consent has been raised to 8 years old.”

Here.

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Kazakhstan fights back ahead of Borat film release

Guardian:

Kazakhstan: land of superstition, religious intolerance, political suppression and goats. Wrong. Kazakhstan is actually a country of metals and machinery, an outward-looking, modern nation with a stable economy that attracts foreign investors to its cosmopolitan capital.

The Kazakh government took the unusual step yesterday of publishing a four-page colour supplement in the New York Times in what appeared to be in part an attempt to head off the fallout from a satirical film due out in November. Borat: Cultural Leanings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is the latest work from Ali G creator Sacha Baron Cohen. The film lampoons the central Asian nation through Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakh journalist who travels to the US to report on local customs.

Here.

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Street Trash (1987) DVD available at Netflix

Genres: Comedy, Horror

Tagline: Things in New York are about to go down the toilet…
Plot Synopsis: When a liquor store owner finds a case of “Viper” in his cellar, he decides to sell it to the local hobos at one dollar a bottle, unaware of its true properties. The drinks causes its consumers to melt, very messily. Two homeless lads find themselves up against the effects of the toxic brew, as well as going head to head with “Bronson” a Vietnam vet with sociopathic tendencies, and the owner of the junkyard they live in.
Plot Keywords: Surreal | Disturbing | Female Frontal Nudity | Female Nudity | Breasts | Gross Out Comedy | Male Frontal Nudity | Close Up Scene | Homelessness | Gore | Insanity | Mutant

Here.

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Hollywood turns cameras on Karadzic

BBC:

The film, called Spring Break in Bosnia, tells the true story of a group of journalists who in 2000 went on the trail of Europe’s most wanted man, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

In the course of their adventure, they got mistaken for a CIA hit team.

Here.

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It Was Loud. It Was Fast. But What Did It Mean?

NYT reviews American Hardcore. My review from a January showing at Sundance is Here.

NYT:

Musically hardcore was a repudiation of almost everything, from disco to the dilution of first-generation punk labeled new wave to, of course, the same high-flying and deeply loathed bands, like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Journey, that the original punks also despised. Hardcore was more than noncommercial; it was anticommercial. No one in the movement made more than spare change, and many lived hand to mouth. Poverty was synonymous with purism.

Directed by Paul Rachman, from a screenplay by Steven Blush based on his book “American Hardcore: A Tribal History,” the film, which is filled with grainy archival clips of hardcore performances, is a toned-down cinematic equivalent of the music: fast and loud, but not too loud. The movie scrambles to cover so much territory that there is room only for musical shards and slivers; few complete songs are heard, and no signature anthems stand out. These excerpts are spliced with pungent bits and pieces from dozens of interviews, the whole crisply edited into a rapid-fire history. If 9 out of 10 bands are groups almost no one ever heard of, the movie’s encyclopedic concept is touchingly thorough.

Here.

LovePixel

Here.

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Back to the computer

I’ve been in Vegas photographing Warren Jeffs and my Powerbook is in the shop. I’ll post something about photographing Jeffs once I get a minute or two.

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Bizarro Documentary Trailers from Finland

From WFMU’s Beware of the Blog:

Every week or so I can expect an email in my inbox from my friend Jussi in Finland, asking me if I know some totally-off-the-wall obscuro 1980’s metal band whom he worships. Recently he sent me a link to a documentary trailer for Shock Tilt, a film recounting the story of a Finnish group who went to Germany to seek fame and fortune only to have their lead singer butchered by their creepy manager, which became a big national news event.

Here.

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Doctor Who loses momentum

From the Guardian:

It’s another mystery for Doctor Who – where have the viewers gone?

BBC1’s Doctor Who revival has been lavished with critical praise and awards, but there are signs midway through its second series that viewers may be tiring of the time travelling sci-fi drama.

Saturday’s Doctor Who, the seventh out of 13 episodes in the second series, was the lowest-rated yet since the show returned last year to rave reviews and big audiences.

Here.

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Strap Happy

From the Guardian:

Last year’s Cannes film festival opened in a discreetly classy, impeccably French fashion with Dominik Moll’s Lemming. This time around the Cote d’Azur is set to become one big Hollywood circus, complete with a nocturnal laser lightshow that looks set to induce epileptic seizures in the old women and small dogs who routinely prowl the Rue d’Antibes. Incidentally, there was a press screening of The Da Vinci Code late last night. By all accounts, the film sucks to high heaven.

Here.

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When Preachers Cuss, video

From WFMU’s Beware of the Blog:
the late, great Dr. Gene Scott. Here’s the good doctor on the attack, throwing out every rule in the televangelist / NPR fundraising handbook, frothing at the mouth and insulting his viewers, one of whom Scott challenges to a duel.

Here.

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Blek on Film

From the Wooster Collective:

For quite some time, King Adz has been working with Blek Le Rat on a documentary which will be released on DVD in the coming weeks. The clip above comes from ‘Blek Le Rat – Original Stencil Pioneer’ There will also be a preview of the film tomorrow in Berlin at 16:00 at the “Eiszeit Kino”(cinema) Zeughofstrasse 20, Berlin

Here.

CrisisWatch No. 32

From the International Crisis Group, the April edition of CrisisWatch:

Clashes in Pakistan’s North Waziristan killed over 200 and threatened to spread to neighbouring tribal regions. In Uzbekistan, the government intensified its campaign on opposition activists and international organisations, expelling the United Nations refugee agency and sentencing dissidents to long prison terms. The situation also deteriorated in the Central African Republic, Chad, Ecuador, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau/Senegal and Turkey.

Here.

RSS feed fixed

Should work now.

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Animated Soviet Propaganda DVD Set

From Russiananimation.com:

From 1924 to perestroika the USSR produced more than 4 dozen animated propaganda films. They weren’t for export. Their target was the new nation and their goal was to win over the hearts and minds of the Soviet people. Anti American, Anti Capitalist, Anti Fascist, some of these films are as artistically beautiful as the great political posters made after the 1917 revolution. A unique series. With a unique perspective. Includes commentary by a leading Soviet film scholar.

Here.

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Missile Command documentary

Documentary by Jeremy Mack on one man’s attempt to break the high score on the classic arcade game Missile Command:

One quarter. Two Days. No Pause Button.

Here.