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The 5 Greatest Movie Musical Soundtracks

Of course not. I’m totally messing with you.

Quite a few musicals have made it to the big screen and with them come a specially recorded album just for the movie version. In some cases those albums surpass the original or at least create fierce debates amongst devotees.

This is my personal list of my top 6 movie musical soundtracks. I LOVE these, many times over the original and they are all awesome.

5. Rocky Horror Picture Show

Come on. This soundtrack RULES. While the original LA soundtrack, hard to find but well worth it stand up perfectly well against the movie version, it’s the movie version we all know. This is a classic.

4. Little Shop of Horrors

I find as the years go by that every time i pick this up to listen to is till enjoy the living bejeezus out of it. The songs are awesomely fun to sing in the shower. Suddenly Seymour… you can just stand outside on a hill with your arms outstretched belting this out like there’s no tomorrow. At least i do. But i have no shame. The rest of you i hope have at least a little shame.

3. Moulin Rouge

“But Paul, this was never a stage show. The whole thing is just hyperdramatic renditions of tons of pop classics with an utter emotional masturbatory excess.” My reply is: YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH. YOU SHUT IT RIGHT NOW. THIS IS WHAT AWESOMENESS SOUNDS LIKE. HOLY MOTHER OF MAHOGANY DO I LOVE THIS SOUNDTRACK. IF I HAD THE CHOICE BETWEEN SAVING THIS SAVING THIS SOUNDTRACK OR SAVING ENTIRE REGIONS OF THE GALAXY I WOULD CHOOSE THIS SOUNDTRACK.

But that’s just me.

2. Grease

Why do i rank this over Moulin Rouge? Well, for one thing it’s stood the test of time. Made in the 70s, still sounds killer today. Two: Its influence. The influence of the Grease soundtrack cannot be understated. I might personally rather listen to Moulin Rouge, but here’s the thing: play Summer Nights or One That You Want and EVERYBODY around you will get down to it. No matter what music they like or don’t like. Everyone knows it. Everyone loves it. Try playing the soundtrack and NOT sing along with it. You can’t. No one can. Three: Summer Nights is one of the 3 best songs about love ever written.

1. Hair

Hair is what started this whole post. A friend and i took opposite sides of the debate which was better, the cast album or the movie soundtrack. THE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK. Dude… i LOOOOOVE this soundtrack. It’s not just fun. it’s not just singable. These songs in the soundtrack recording groove like MOTHER*******. Seriously, the band KILLS this stuff. Wipes the walls with it. Then add the fact that the songs are all truly great, and THEN add vocal performances that are just…. transcendental. Doesn’t hurt that the movie is ******** AWESOME. This is the greatest movie musical soundtrack ever made. The songs.. the grooves, the vocals….. i literally want to have sex with this soundtrack.

P.S. When you write to tell me the soundtracks i left off please do not mention: Hairspray (sucked), Phantom (can bite me) or High School Musical. You COULD mention Once. That’s an awesome soundtrack. West Side Story, Singing In The Rain, hell, i’ll even accept Annie as an acceptable argument. They’re not MY personal all time top favorites (although West Side is pretty damn stellar, if this list went to 6 i would probably have to put it on), but i could see how they could make someone else’s list.

And yes, my one great hope for X-Mas is that i can add Les Mis to this list. Holy crap can i not wait for that movie.

 

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Jetty (La Jetee), A Sci Fi Masterpiece

This is one of my favorite things EVER, of all time. If you’ve never seen it i envy you. It’s only 26 minutes and yet it is one of the greatest masterpieces of sci-fi ever put to film.

It’s great for several reasons. First of all the storytelling is brilliant. It’s exactly the kind of thing i aspire to. It’s out of the ordinary, unlike anything else,  fresh in it’s storytelling methods but clear and coherent. It’s told entirely through still photos and voice over. Does this attract you? Dull your interest? Just watch it. I don’t gush this passionately for nothing.

Two, the story itself is Drop Dead Awesome. It’s a brilliant story i can only aspire to. GREAT concepts. Moving. Touching. Mind blowing.

You DO probably know the general story, though. This 1962 short film was remade my Terry Gilliam as The 12 Monkeys. Now i like Terry Gilliam. A lot. But i’m telling you, the black and white 26 minute original made using still photos and voice over BLOWS AWAY 12 Monkeys. It does. And 12 Monkeys is a very good film. But the original is a masterpiece. Seriously. Masterpiece.

Made by Chris Marker in 1962, i present to you La Jetee, although i give you the English voice over.

WATCH. THIS.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Steampunk Kung Fu

I don’t know what to say other than it’s about time.

The movie Tai Chi O is set to be released in theaters on Sept, 27, 2012. It’s Chinese of course, because let’s face it, no one, and i mean NO one makes kung fu movies like the Chinese. And Director Stephen Fung, with Enter The Pheonix and House Of Fury under his belt is a solid choice, not to mention it’s produced by none other than Jet Li.

Tai Chi Zero is part 1 and the sequel, which was shot at the same time is Ta Chi Hero. You want a synopsis?

“In legendary Chen Village, everyone is a martial arts master, and uses a powerful form of Tai Chi in all aspects of their life. Yang has arrived to try and learn it, only to find that it’s forbidden for the villagers to teach their secret style to an outsider. But when a mysterious man comes to town with a frightening steam-powered machine and plans to build a railroad through a village, the villagers realize they may have no choice but to put their faith in Yang, who has a secret power of his own.”

It’s a kung fu movie. Don’t overthink it. Just pass the popcorn

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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H+ or More Future Apps Coming To Take Over Your Brain

Hear me out.

I know know what you think of the concept of a webseries. I’ve seen a few, but they were all light, comedic stuff. I’m aware that they are a burgeoning media form and are getting more serious and ambitious, but none of substance have interested me or crossed my radar. Until now.

Following the theme of that vid i posted a few days ago, here are the first two (and only so far) episodes of this webseries called H+, which honestly seems pretty damn cool. It’s also working the theme of next gen apps installed into your widdle brains.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Top 10 Uses Of Mars In Pop Culture

Rock and roll, NASA! Hats off to you folks and this historic day. The rover is down and we’re exploring Mars! That fills me with happiness.

To celebrate we’re going to dedicate today’s post to my top 10 favorite uses of Mars in pop culture. You know, what the title to this post pretty much told you.

10. Total Recall

Yes i know there’s a new one out, no i haven’t seen it, but let’s face it, the old Schwarzenegger one was pretty damn fun. Based on the Philip K Dick story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, the reason the movie makes this list instead of the story is that in the story the protagonist never actually makes it to Mars.

9. MST3K Santa Claus Conquers The Martians

Let’s be clear. I am not suggested the 1964 film Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is good or even bland or even just bad. It is jaw droppingly terrible in every sense a movie can be horrible. Thus makes it perfect fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Perhaps some of you don’t know of that show, but in the 90s there was this show where… ugm…. a guy and his robot friends watched really, really bad movies and sat heckling them the entire time. You were watching a bunch of wise asses make fun of a bad movie. And you know, it was awesome.

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8.Acme Novelty Library #19 The Seeing Eye Dogs Of Mars

This is a graphic novel by Chris Ware. Ware is renowned for his moody, melancholy works and his story The Seeing Eye Dogs Of Mars fits the bill perfectly. The story functions as a tale written by his main character’s father, a mildly talented sci-fi writer who scored his one real success with a 1950s story The Seeing Eye Dogs Of Mars in which two couples are sent up to begin the colonization of Mars. Still with me? Look, it’s really good. Everything by Chris Ware is really depressing and really good.

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7. John Carter Warlord Of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Ok, i know, the recent movie was a total flop. But the old pulp series by Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan for heaven’s sake, deserves its place on this list. First written in 1911 it may not be as well known today, and Lord knows the movie hasn’t helped it (to be fair the movie was okay), but the influence of John Carter Warlord of Mars cannot be understated. Star Wars? Heard of it? Lucas sites the Burroughs books as inspiration. Avatar? Heard of it? (I personally hated that stupid movie, but damn did it look amazing) Once again, these books sited as major inspiration. Dune? Superman? (Yes, you heard me) That’s right, once again, the Warlord of Mars books sited as… you get the idea. Moment of respect.

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6. Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars (the Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson

There are many who claim this trilogy is the best hard science fiction novels of this generation. Unlike the adolescent fantasy of John Carter, this series if extremely intelligent, serious and painstakingly well researched. It takes the idea of colonizing Mars and thinks it through as realistically as possible, from technology to politics to people. That may seem pretty dry, but it’s really not. It’s a credit to the author’s talent and skill that he creates a trilogy which is captivating and believable. I have friends who will debate over these books for HOURS if you just keep the beer flowing.

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5. War of the Worlds: Spielberg

You know what? This move kicked ass. It really did. I’m not saying it’s one of my all time favorites or anything, i’m just saying at the end of the day it kicked as. I was actually so freaked out  by the damn aliens that i utterly forgot that i already knew how it was going to end. When the ending came  i was suddenly shocked back to the fact that of course i knew that but i had forgotten because i those aliens were so freackin’ bad ass they had me clutching my seat. So i’m putting this movie on this list. There’s other Mars movies, but you know what? They’re not this good. That Val Kilmer one? You know it’s not as enjoyable as this.

4. The Extraordinary League of Gentlemen Vol #2

This graphic novel series also kicks ass, especially the first 2 volumes (out of 3 currently, but i know there’s a new one due out soon) and especially vol two which deals with Mars. Actually, it deals specifically with both War of the Worlds AND John Carter Warlord of Mars. Alan Moore, meta god of comics, took every possible sci fi  character from victorian and edwardian fantastical fiction and built utterly awesome stories utilizing them. Really, this one is a must read.

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3. War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells

Do i even need to bother writing an explanation for this? Published in its complete from in 1898 this is the book that started every single alien invasion story ever written. Yes. That is not an exaggeration. If this book had not been written someone would have invented alien invasions sooner or later i grant you, but HG Wells got there first and if i listed the influence of this book on pop culture we’d be here all feakin’ day how much time in a given day do you think i have to bang these posts? I’m scoring the damn show. I’m only on Annabelle’s Lament. I got work to do. Just trust me, this book is huge. Just… bow before it and let’s move along.

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2. The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

You might think i’m nuts ranking this book higher then War of the Worlds, you’d have a case, but you know what? The Martian Chronicles is deeper and greater. Bradbury’s signature work is in every single sci-fi best of all time list, and will probably be for the forseeable future because it’s really that good. Call it personal preference, but this book did a number on me when i first read it years ago and i can still recall the emotional impact.

Wells is great and all but there’s a reason this song was written about Bradbury:

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1. Congratulations NASA. The number one pick on the countdown goes out to all of you.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hilum

Welcome to the weirdest, creepiest marionette video you will see all day. For most of you who don’t seek this stuff out (what DO you do with your days?) this will probably be the top creepy marionette thing of your week, even your month.

This is made by Les Antliclastes, a puppet theater company in Allier France. They have this to say about their short little film:

“Hilum is a micro comic-tragedy based on the cycles of the washing machine. A mixed batch of nursery rhymes, cartoon images, partial objects and other references to childhood locution are thrown into the spin cycle with the aim of airing the fairy tale’s dirty laundry.

Hilum takes place in the basement laundry room of a second-rate Natural History Museum. The cellarage is populated by a host of dubiously adorable urchins who have, for some reason or other, been cut off from the rest of the kingdom of curiosities that has remained ordered upstairs. Orphaned and liberated from their hosts, the prenatal rascals amuse themselves as most children would do at this age. Washer-women attend to their opus of bleaching laundry, despite the frequent shenanigans of the children.What starts off as mere women’s work and child’s play eventually becomes impossible. In the cubic crucible- whites mix with colours, wools are washed with warm water, the cat is chucked into the heavy duty rinse… and playtime quickly becomes a downright theatre of cruelty.”

They are currently at work on a puppet opera. I would love to do a puppet opera. If you ever want to do one, email me.

Hilum:

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Jan Svankmajer: The Creepiest Alice Nightmare You Never Had

 

It would be criminal of me to bring up the Quay Brothers and not Jan Svankmajer.

Jan Svankmajer is a Czech film maker, born in 1934 who is also internationally reknowned for his stop motion films. Many people assume he was a major inspiration on the Quay Brothers, and indeed the stylistic similarities are plentiful at first glance, but despite that the Quays did a short film homage to Svankmajer titled The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer , the truth is that they discovered him rather late, after most of their style had already been formulated. Kindred spirits are all they are.

Svankmajer is from Prague which has a long history of puppet theater which was an enormous influence on him. He studied at the College of Applied Arts in Prague and later in the Department of Puppetry at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. He worked with Semafore Theater and Laterna Magika, two famous Czech  visionary theaters before beginning his film career in 1964.

A few years later Svankmajer embraced surrealism heart and soul and thus began the film work that has made him famous. He made his first surrealistly influenced film The Garden in 1968,  joined the Czechoslovakian Surrealist Group and married Eva Švankmajerová, an internationally known surrealist painter, ceramicist, and writer. Svankmajer and Svankmajerova (in Czech culture when a woman marries she takes her husband’s last name plus the postfix –ova) collaborated on several of his movies, including Alice, Faust, and Otesánek.

Today we will focus on Alice. I don’t think it takes much guesswork to figure out it’s a take on Alice in Wonderland, but with more scissors and creepy dolls.

Allow me to demonstrate:

As long as we’re here we might as well show a bit from Faust, which shows Svankmajer’s puppet, theater and surrealist influences all at once, while being a bit more linear.

Lastly, i cannot recommend highly enough his film Little Otik from 2000. It’s a story, not an experiment in surrealism, so if you really just prefer stories you needn’t worry. The story centers around the modern telling of an old Czech folktale about a couple who raises a log like a child. It’s mostly live action with some of Svankmajer’s stop motion worked with extraordinarily appropriateness. You just have to trust me, it is REALLY, REALLY awesome, and totally worth seeing. Little Otik.

Little Otik. Just go watch it.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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