A little of this and that as I lie here on my deathbed, hacking and wheezing from what I really hope is not avian flu...
New Michel Gondry music video for The White Stripes "Denial Twist" (Quicktime), featuring Conan O'Brien? If you believe music videos are primarily a conceptual art form, then Gondry is the reigning master. To get your own Director's Label DVD from here on out, you really need to direct a White Stripes and/or Bjork music video.
Fun e-mail thread b/t Mark Cuban and The Sports Guy. Simmons got in a few jabs I'm sure everyone wanted to level against Cuban, but the Mavs owner largely resisted the bait. Would that more sports journalism exchanges were so candid (or any type of media interviews, for that matter).
In Movies101 tonight, they screened the new movie version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. It got me thinking that I should start growing out my mutton chops and working on my English accent now if I want to be Mr. Darcy for Halloween next year. The mutton chops was apparently to that period what the mullet was to the 80's. If Jason Priestley could do a British accent, he'd still be working now.
For someone who enjoys being surprised, the teaser trailer for Darren Aranofsky's The Fountain provides just the right amount of information. Which is to say very little. Even that web page is nothing but white sans serif text on black.
The trailer for Steven Spielberg's Munich, based on a screenplay by Tony Kushner based on a Vengeance : The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, by George Jonas, is from a more traditional school of Hollywood marketing and gives away too much. Still, I couldn't resist watching it because Janusz Kaminski's cinematography is so damn beautiful.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse finally comes out in American theaters this Friday (well, at least in LA and NY), nearly half a decade after it first released in Japan. Miramax bought the rights, contemplated an American remake, and basically sat on the picture for years. Being a big fan of Kurosawa's movies, I rented a DVD copy from Scarecrow Video in Seattle in late 2001. The DVD's legality was suspect, as was its quality, but that added to the thrill, like finding some rare concert bootleg on cassette tape and having to rent a tape player just to listen to it. I watched it one night, home alone, and experienced several outbreaks of horripilation, which does not mean I soiled myself, though I almost did that, too. I enjoy a good cinematic scare, but somewhere along the line, monster/serial killer/slasher movies became formulaic and lost that ability to surprise, and thus to scare. Sure, if something hideous pops out on the screen to a percussive jolt, I'll startle, but I'll also bleed if you punch me in the nose. Pulse works at a subtler level and infuses the audience with visceral unease, a rare experience at the movies these days (If Pulse doesn't come to your town, plenty of DVD copies can be found on eBay).
Werner Herzog, now there's an always interesting filmmaker, whose Grizzly Man was one of the better movies I saw this past year. His next movie seems no less unique: The Wild Blue Yonder, a science-fiction fantasy.
The new Madonna album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, has leaked out onto the web. At last check, the Megaupload link was still active, though I'd be shocked if Warner Brothers wasn't busy cranking the winch on a giant cannon to line up the link in its sights. Thou shalt not steal, but if you've pre-ordered the album and can't wait for Tuesday, it's really damn catchy and danceable. [yay for Stereogum]