September 29, 2008

Backbones don't do bailouts

In the thick of the ongoing rush to shove through a USD 700 billion bailout package for the USA's greedy financial industry, one Congressman — Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio — was one brave soul reaching for the brakes:

Run this remark through your cranium today:

Mister Speaker, when I was a child in Cleveland, there was a myth that if you took a shovel and dug a hole deep enough, you could get to China. We’re there.

And how right he is. And it isn't pretty.

[UPDATE 16h46: I have since learned that the House of Representatives said no to the bailout… 228 nays, 205 yeas. And that was enough to bring the Dow Jones down. Lots of crybabies on Wall Street, and hardly anyone willing to deal with the real issue, much less put a finger on it. Shall we start with deregulated markets gone wild?]

September 27, 2008

Music Time: Louisa John–Krol

Heads up, everyone: Australia's own faerie muse, Louisa John–Krol, is featured in this music video created for the French Prikosnovénie label by none less than Brian and Toby Froud (we knew that alone would get your attention).

Please enjoy "Which of These Worlds," from Mme. John–Krol's 2005 release, Apple Pentacle:

©2005–2008 Prikosnovénie / Imaginosis.

Mme. John–Krol's second album, Alexandria, which first came out in 1987, has been re–released in a significantly expanded edition by Dark Symphonies, the rest can be ordered from Prikosnovénie's website… including Mme. John–Krol's next album, due out in October.

[UPDATE 2008.10.09: The new LJK album is out now and ready to order from Prikosnovénie's website; it is entitled Djinn: le mystère des chats (Djinn: The mystery of cats). It's named for Mme. John–Krol's own cat. Or is that the cat who owns Mme. John–Krol? Depends on how you see things…]

And we're supposed to bail out bad bankers?!

The people at GOOD Magazine are back with a new video — this time focusing on just how much our nation's misadventures in the Middle East is costing us.

It's not pretty:

©2008 GOOD Worldwide, Inc.

Note that this production's a bit different from the last three presented here, and that there's narration this time as well. But rest assured, this is indeed from the magazine whose slogan still sticks: "America — Love It or Fix It."

Your Projectionist is subscribing to this one, and you should, too.

September 26, 2008

Creature Feature(tte): Dracula's Back

Tonight, dear friends, your Projectionist sends love to Ian and Kimberly Wilder, two Green Party people who take an occasional time out from their political work to have a good time… such as this low–/no–budget digital movie making class held at Huntington (Long Island), New York's Cinema Arts Centre, with Glenn Andreiev as their teacher:

2008 Ian and Kimberly Wilder.

And here is the quickie end result, Joel Moskowitz's Dracula's Back:

2008 Joel Moskowitz.

Please don't say the place formerly known as the New Community Cinema was that desperate for someone to work the counter.

Not bad, but let's see how you survive a Damon Packard masterclass. I mean, if you want to do kick–ass digital moviemaking…

Coming Attractions — NOT!

It's past your Projectionist's bedtime (and he has a job fair to attend tomorrow), but when CollegeHumor asked Liz Cackowski to join them in giving Republican vice–presidential hopeful Sarah Palin "the Disney treatment," well…

©2008 CollegeHumor.

No… wait a minute… that's just what some people will want! Oy.

September 25, 2008

Oh, McCain, McCain, yet again. Can't deal with Dave? (Letterman, that is)

Your Projectionist wishes to make it abundantly clear that he will not suspend blogging because of his nation's crapping economy. (Why should he, even in mere jest, with these guys?)

Besides, CBS' David Letterman had way too much fun nailing Republican presidential candidate John McCain for chickening out of a taping of the popular late–night talkfest.

Way too much fun:

©2008 CBS, Inc.

Meanwhile, the McMan has time for, of all things, the CBS Evening News?

Like the man said, don't get your Projectionist started.

Oh, yes: That is indeed MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (Countdown) towards the end.

[UPDATE 15h56: Go over to the Huffington Post to view the "Top 10 Questions People Are Asking the McCain Campaign." I can't embed it here, but it's worth opening a new browser tab or window.]

September 24, 2008

You want us to do what?!

The latest dispatch from The Onion could very well bring American self–determination to its most logical conclusion:

McCain's Economic Plan For Nation: 'Everyone Marry A Beer Heiress'
©2008 The Onion.

Of course, gold–digging should have gone the way of the 8–track stereo tape cartridge, convertibles, glam boots, and Herbalife.

September 23, 2008

Coming Attractions: The Princess of Nebraska

Your humble(d) Projectionist is slowly getting up off the floor due to a nasty virus that laid him low for a few days. (Imagine all your joints aching simultaneously, lying in bed or standing.) While part of him is still stiff and sore, all signs are looking great again, and he will soon be back at his normal activities (and pursuing a new full–time job) with renewed, vigorous force. (The Damon Packard DVDs — especially the ones of Reflections of Evil, The Untitled Star Wars Mockumentary, and SpaceDisco One — have also been a tremendous help.)

And with that out of the way…

The big news is about The Princess of Nebraska, the new film from director Richard Wong, who made Colma: The Musical. That film landed him a moviemaking gig with no less than Chan is Missing director Wayne Wang — with the goal of adapting two Yiyun Li stories; The Princess of Nebraska, intentionally made on new digital camcorders as well as on actual cellphones (we're not making this up), is the second. (More details are up at NPR's Monkey See blog.)

And now that we have your attention, young no–budget movie moguls (that includes your Projectionist), here is a taste of what's to come… and how Magnolia Pictures will unveil it to the world on Friday, October 17th (not rated at the moment):

Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

That's right, folks. A YouTube premiére. Not for downloading or embedding (it'll be inside YouTube's Screening Room). But why not jack in on October 17th to have a look?

Hey, someone want to get the popcorn and some fruit?

September 16, 2008

Say what?!

Meet Billy Mires, the bus driver of Senator (and Repubican candidate for the U.S. Presidency) John McCain, complete with his own YouTube page and a claim you just might find hard to swallow, much less digest:

Now where did I store that bridge I picked up in Brooklyn?

[UPDATE: Silly me to forget to track down the people truly responsible for the Blackberry. All I needed was to check Wikipedia and — voilà!

That's right, folks… Research in Motion… a Canadian company, no less.

Now, wanna tell me a new one?]

September 15, 2008

Intermission: Roll over, Aunt Jemina?

Like any other "superhero" (what?), your friendly neighborhood Projectionist has another life — as a mild–mannered part–time custodian at his local King Kullen supermarket.

So don't be too alarmed if he suddenly dashes for a phone booth (or more likely, the rest room at the Chinese takeaway across the street) should this land on store shelves:

©2008 American News Project.

I can hear it now: "I'm David Duke, I bought the company, and I approved this message."

UPDATE 2008.09.17: It gets worse: If the facts–gatherers at Firedoglake are correct, then one of the duo responsible for this product, Mark Whitlock, also works for Fox Faith, the "spiritual" arm of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Both he and co–conspirator Bob Moss also worked for Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family, which is the parent organization behind the Family Research Council, which in turn produces the Values Voter Summit events. Got that?

But wait, folks — there's MORE! Courtesy of the Brooklyn Comedy Company, that is:

©2008 Brooklyn Comedy Company.

Case closed, peoples.

September 12, 2008

Coming Attractions: Proud American

Your Projectionist went through his little folder of Conservative bookmarks (some of which might make a few people scratch their heads), but it seems that no one has yet written about Fred Ashman's new feature Proud American, which opens today without studio distribution of any visible kind — but has sponsorship from The Coca–Cola® Company, American Airlines, and (yes) WalMart.

It's too bad that the conservative movie blog LIBERTAS is on still very much on hiatus. They are easily annoyed by anything that shows the United States in a less–than–flattering light, to put it mildly. (Go through the back posts to see how easily irked they can be.) Judging from the trailer — which I can't embed online, but which you can see on the Proud American website — it looks like this film could be a welcome tonic for them.

In any event, your Projectionist is intrigued by the trailer, and he just might go to catch a matinée. Watch this post for updates and possibly a full review.

[UPDATE 2008.09.15: No need for a full review here, considering that this film, despite all good intentions from Mr. Ashman and his Lightsource company, turned out to be a hard sell — especially with new films by Joel & Ethan Cohen (Burn After Reading, Universal–Focus) and Tyler Perry (The Family that Preys, Lionsgate) which did very well, at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. Mr. Ashman's own efforts — which include a well done midsection about a Chicago youth who escapes the streets and becomes a family doctor — are undone by some sappy music choices (which could have come from a Christian patriotic pagent "musical" — name your own choices here) and what seems to be an attempt to appeal to diehard 1970's TV variety show fans. I guess patriotism can be a very hard sell — especially if you prefer full–blown show tunes to something more… well, restrained.

One last note: I was the only one in the auditorium for the matinée. Fancy that. My own private screening, for a movie with promise that should have been better handled than it was.]

Namasté, and good luck. To you, Mr. Murdoch

Sorry for being away for an extended spell, due to an ongoing search for a full–time job on the one hand, and an ailing MacMini® on the other (I have three computers: one MacMini® plus one Hewlett–Packard desktop and one Sony VAIO which run Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution).

Now that we're back, we can note this item reported by Agence France–Press and elsewhere:

US film studio and distributor Twentieth Century Fox and the Star entertainment and media group on Tuesday announced a joint venture to produce Asian-language films for worldwide distribution.

The new organisation, to be called Fox Star Studios, will first work in India, with a view to expanding into China and southeast Asia, they said in a joint statement out of Mumbai, Hong Kong and Beverly Hills…

You might know about Star TV, if you've seen their copyright declaration at the end of a huge number of Hong Kong movies on home video — or if you've seen the Fortune Star logo on Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's Region 1 DVDs of those movies.

But you might not know how big a presence they are in North America. More digital cable services (plus Dish Network and Mr. Murdoch's DirecTV) offer Star packages of one kind or another in major cities and metro areas. (Dish Network offers the most Star bang for the buck in DSS land. I don't know how Cablevision and Time Warner fare.)

I'm not sure what to make of this news. Bollywood companies have certainly been looking to expand their audiences beyond India and its global diaspora. And to be sure, they have quite a few converts — myself, for instance, a new fan of Farah Khan's delightful hommage, Om Shanti Om, having finally seen Eros International's DVD.

Think back, also, to Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan (Once upon a time in India), produced by Aamir Khan (whose own first directorial effort, the acclaimed Taare Zameen Par [Every Child is Special], already out in India via T–Series, will soon hit a Disney Region 1 DVD in North America).

And I'm hearing nothing but good words about Mr. Gowariker's 2007 feature, the epic Jodhaa Akbar, which (judging by the trailer DVD that came with my copy of the soundtrack CD) looks gorgeous, appears to be well–cast and directed, and (like Lagaan) boasts a A. R. Rahman score that is guaranteed to make a positive impression.

Which leads to one of the few Bollywood studios that can go toe to toe — or is it frame to frame (or reel to reel)? — with Hollywood's finest: UTV Motion Pictures, which co–produced Jodhaa Akbar with Mr. Gowariker's company (AGPPL). Go to their website and take a look at the streaming trailers online, especially Mumbai Meere Jaan and the thriller A Wednesday!, and you'll see what I mean.

UTV is one of the few operations that is serious about everything that goes into great moviemaking, and it shows. They'll probably survive a Fox Star invasion. So will Sony, which brought Lagaan to a global audience and which co–bankrolled Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya (available in North America on a well–received Sony Region 1 DVD). How the others will fare is another story.

Rupert Murdoch's presence in Asia is one that has commanded high viewership of the Star network system. I just wonder how much resentment has gone along with it.

And will Fox release Region 1 DVDs of their Fox Star flicks, or will they just be "for local consumption"?

Of course, I have to wonder how well some of Fox's {ahem} domestic catalogue will go over abroad. Anyone for Babylon A.D.?

September 8, 2008

And you know you want the tacos

In the grand tradition of the one–panel comic in which one anguished cow tells another that she's just seen how hamburger is made… we bring you the latest marvel of Real American Genius, courtesy of the "Public Service Administration."

Tell you what they're gonna do…

"Oh, you and your leftist conspiracy theories — get a grip, honey."

Coming Attractions: Slacker Uprising

They can assault him with mere words (as did one Paul A. Ibbetson quite recently), and they can keep making muck flicks mocking him (yeah, Citizens United, I mean you) — but you can't keep Michael Moore down, much less away from a camera. Case in point: The trailer for his latest, Slacker Uprising:

Courtesy Brave New Films / Dog Eat Dog Films.

U.S. and Canadian residents only: Sign up on the website to download the feature for free (and make sure you've got sufficient disk space!).

The NTSC DVD streets on September 23, for USD 10. And yes, it'll have enough extra stuff to keep you entertained.

There's more about the film over at BuzzFlash, including some backstory on the movie's original title and what (sadly) ended up on the cutting room floor due to music royality issues. (Guess you can't have everything.)

September 3, 2008

Oh, McCain, McCain, not again

Your Projectionist has smelt the GOP/neo–con Kool–Aid® just by tuning in to some of the conservative talk stations which dominate AM radio in the New York Metropolitan Area (yeah, WABC, WOR, and Salem's WNYM a/k/a the Apple, I mean all three of you). The way they support presumptive Republican presidential and vice–presidential hopefuls John McCain and Sarah Palin, it's almost as if they can't inhale (or make) enough gallons of the bug juice. (Michael Medved, once an interesting movie critic on public television, especially worries me now.)

Maybe they need to wipe their chins, tone down the rhetoric, and listen to Dr. Philip Butler, who remembers the McMan quite well…

©2008 Robert Greenwald/Brave New Films/Brave New PAC.

Now, Mr. Medved and company: As you were saying…?

Young People's Matinée: Jojo kaj Bubu en la parko

This may be a little late for the young ones going back to school, but it's so good that your Projectionist — who is also an Esperantist — couldn't resist.

Produced by the generous folks at Lausanne, Switzerland–based DANNIRéalisations, this is a simple short entitled Jojo kaj Bubu en la parko. Yes, it's about two friends — a puppet rabbit (Jojo) and a bear (Bubu) — having a great time at a amusement park.

The Esperanto in this short is easy enough that I'm certain every komencanto (beginner) will get it.

Ĝuu, karaj amikoj! Enjoy, everybody!

©2007 DANNIRéalisations.

Elkoran dankon! Thank you, our good friends in Lausanne!

September 2, 2008

And then they came for Pacifica Radio

Out of all of yesterday's protest coverage from the 2008 Republican National Convention (in St. Paul, Minnesota), this was probably the hardest to deal with:

2008 Pacifica Radio.

Yes, that was footage of Amy Goodman, veteran Pacifica/WBAI–FM journalist and host of Pacifica's Democracy Now!, being arrested yesterday — for trying to intervene on behalf of two colleagues, producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, who were themselves being arrested while trying to cover the protests near the Xcel Energy Center, where the RNC is being held.

From the program's blog:

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a "peace officer."

All three have since been released, but the charges have not yet been dropped.

Whether Pacifica or its five stations (including WBAI) will themselves face further fallout from this incident — at the hands the next Presidential administration, that is — isn't very clear right now. But I suspect that conservative pundits are having a field day with this one.

If I spy some choice words (how carefully do we use the word "choice"!), I'll add them here. Otherwise, any talk about Ms. Goodman and her colleagues' run–in with the wall of blue is probably being washed down in coffee and a cognac or two.

September 1, 2008

From Tweedledee to Tweedledum-ber

You may recall, boys and girls, how much experience Sarah Palin believes she will bring to the table if she is {ahem} elected as Vice–President of the United States (perish the thought!).

Well, that must be some pitcher of GOP Kool–Aid®, because Cindy McCain (spouse of the current Republican presidential hopeful) apparently took too big a swig herself:

©2008 ABC News.

Wow. Alaska is closest to Russia, What brilliant deduction.

We'll stick with subMedia's It's the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine updates, thank you very much. (Never mind the frequent swearing.)