Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Strange day today, let me break it down for you. So I work on a television show, today is doomed to be the longest shooting day of the season, we have about three episodes to finish up in one day. This is bad luck - Friday the 13th. One of our grips (guys that move lights, gear, stand around smoke and eat) had just bought a brand new mercedes then his sketchy girlfriend spray paints his car and he calls the police on her, police come to the studio, this is bad luck - Friday the 13th. Finally, the Make-up department has hired a male stripper to perform during lunch for one of the girls birthday. This is odd, not your normal workday - Friday the 13th. So probably there are some people out there with stranger Friday the 13th stories, lay em on me.

DJ Signify - Sleep No More
This is a spooky hip-hop concept album in the tradition of Dr. Octagon. Sparse beats, eerie samples underlay what is designed as a horror movie soundtrack to a movie that has never been made. But the best part of this album are the MC's, Sage Francis and Buck 65. Two of the most prolific and poetic rappers in the arena today, and together on the same album? Damn. For anyone unfamiliar with either of these 2, actually three artists check this out, good and scary for Friday the 13th.

Neil Gaiman - Anansi Boys
This is a book on tape, not an album. Frank Steel has been begging for this post for weeks now so I'm starting today. With all of the music blogs out there I have yet to find an audio book site, which I desperately want. If anyone knows of such a site let me know! This is the first CD of eight that I will be posting each day. Neil Gaiman is a tremendous author and this is his latest novel. Somewhere between fact and fantasy, Gaiman explores the worlds in between light and dark, life and death, with humour and insight. I like all his books, and I love his graphic novel series "Sandman". Check this story out for an interesting read (or listen).

Top 5 Posters of 2005


Without any further blah-blah-blahing, here are the top five posters of the year according to Frank Steel. Fuck, this article took me four days to write, so it may be a bit disjointed.

Number 5: Inside Deep Throat

It was filmed in six days for 25 thousand dollars.
The government didn’t want you to see it.
It was ba
nned in 25 states.
It has grossed ove
r 600 million dollars.
And it is the most profitable film in
motion picture history.”

When I made my top ten list, I started by picking about fifteen posters, and then reduced the list to ten (well eleven, but I already told you to fuck off about that), and then tried to create the final order. This poster almost didn’t make my top ten list, and now here it is sitting in number 5. There are definitely no sexual undertones in this poster as everything is brought front and centre, however, I do think there is something weird going on with the image – mainly it looks plastic. Quite literally it looks like a blow-up doll to me, and I think that is really fucking smart. It really does surprise me that this movie didn’t do better at the box-office because if nothing else this is a provocative campaign.

Number 4: Batman Begins

Batman Begins had an amazing campaign from beginning to end, and is probably the best superhero movie ever made (which is not an easy accomplishment). Batman is definitely one of the easiest superheroes to tell a story about because he is human and very flawed. Anyways, onto these three posters… the first teaser poster is so bleak and stark that it completely corrupts my earlier comments about marketers needing to embrace colours to make their images stand out. The new iron bat-symbol is a much stronger (and possibly evil) symbol which perfectly captures the myth of Batman. The other two teasers are just brilliant concepts. If you go to you will see that there are about six posters that have the bats-flying-around-the-world image and they are all striking. It’s too bad that these are so fucking small because these images were used on billboards and that’s when they have a true impact.

Number 3: Walk the Line

This poster was designed by Shepard Fairey, a contemporary street/graffiti artist and genius behind the Andre the Giant has a Posse campaign which I have also posted above. The image he has created for Walk the Line is so iconic it seems as though it should have been, and therefore has, been associated with Johnny Cash long before this movie came out. The trademark black clothes are used as a backdrop to bring out the red guitar which works perfectly with the flames surrounding him. This poster is probably the best artistic achievement of the year (in terms of poster design), but it doesn’t get to be the best poster of the year in my opinion because it doesn’t communicate the story of the film well enough. I know this is kind of cheap because basically no bio-pic will be able to do that – the story is Johnny Cash – but fucking sue me, it’s my list. Definitely check out Shepard’s website

Number 2: Lord of War

Lord of War plays on the conventions of the movie poster really well. When I first passed this poster in a movie theatre I thought nothing of Nicholas Cage being front and centre on the poster – in fact that’s what every studio would do. In fact, I didn’t even notice that his face is made up of guns. Now, I know that the whole picture made of other pictures is in fact a pretty tired concept (it seems like these things were everywhere in the year 2000), but for some reason this poster stuck with me. Maybe it is because it is an amazing title as well – the second poster of the film posted above shows the great tagline “got guns” in a great guns/bullets font). Another high-quality movie, I am starting to see a pattern develop, if I like the movie, I will probably like the poster…

Number 1: Sin City

I must confess that I have loved the Sin City comics for several years now, and, as anyone who has read them knows, these things were fucking screaming for a movie to be made about them. That being said, I was terrified that they would fuck it up. Thankfully, Robert Rodriguez is unbelievably cool and not only did he make a kick-ass movie that was faithful in look and feel to the comics (something I didn’t even think was possible); Dimension Films made it an absolute event by producing these posters. Everyone who saw these posters wanted to see this movie. To create a set of posters and each of them having their own tagline is absolutely brilliant. I love: “Skinny Little Nancy Callahan. She Grew Up. She Filled Out.” “Do I Take This Cop Down and Risk it All”, and “Hell of a Way to End a Partnership”. Damn, I have to watch this movie again.

That’s it folks – coming up in the next couple of weeks, the worst posters (which should be a more fun article than this).

Howard Stern: 1-12-06

The Howard Stern Radio Show
Anyone listening to these downloads has to hit this website and sign this petition. For those of you that don't know, for some crazy reason Stern is not available on Canada's Sirius satelite system, hence these posts. If you think it's crazy that a pay service is being censored sign this now!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mark & Wes - Sound and Vision

In a very odd seguey to yesterdays post, Mark Mothersbaugh has actually scored music for Target's (Department Store) SpongeBob Squarepants commercial, believe it or not. Mark is a composer, for film and television AND he was also the lead singer of DEVO. Here is a great interview with the man himself, very inciteful.

Wes Anderson is one of the best new directors working today, and one of the few that could be called auteurs. He has a very distinct visual style, and humour that are prevelant in all his works. The storylines are often complex and compelling, emotional journeys on the brink of absurdity. Wild characters in normal situations, and normal characters in insane scenarios. I am a big fan of all three of these movies, plus "Bottle Rockets". There are three things I champion Anderson for above all else. First, I credit him for resurecting Bill Murray's career (amazing in all films). Second, his films always have two endings and I'm serious, there is always a point where the film could end, but then continues in a completely new direction for another 20 minutes (I know this strange tendency drives some people crazy). Finally, Anderson's intensely melodramatic use of music in all his films, from the "real" tracks to Mothersbaugh's brilliant compositions. And here are the soundtracks, enjoy.

Various Artists - Rushmore Soundtrack

Various Artists - The Royal Tenenbaums Soundtrack

Various Artists - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Life Sucks for Frank Steel

I've been too busy to do much these last couple of weeks, so I figured it was time to post a couple of amazing videos I've stumbled across recently. But first, check out this letter from Chuck Norris' website:


I'm aware of the made up declarations about me that have recently begun to appear on the Internet and in emails as "Chuck Norris facts." I've seen some of them. Some are funny. Some are pretty far out. Being more a student of the Wild West than the wild world of the Internet, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It's quite surprising. I do know that boys will be boys, and I neither take offense nor take these things too seriously. Who knows, maybe these made up one-liners will prompt young people to seek out the real facts as found in my recent autobiographical book, "Against All Odds?" They may even be interested enough to check out my novels set in the Old West, "The Justice Riders," released this month. I'm very proud of these literary efforts.
~ Chuck Norris

Yes, this is real, check here.

Then to celebrate your love for Chuck, click here (from gorillamask).

Finally, I was talking to Sumo while watching this Family Guy clip and he had never seen the original version of Rocketman by William Shatner that Family Guy was spoofing. If you have never seen this, be prepared to witness the greatest moment of television history here (both clips via Devil Ducky).

I hopefully will have another post tomorrow.

Howard Stern: 1-11-06

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ween Wednesday Pt.3

Yes it has returned, Ween Wednesday Volume 3. Like a bad dream for some, or a favorite weekly cafeteria special for others, Ween is still coming at you. If you are eating in the caf today the special is fish and beef, let's begin with the fish. First of all the album covers are bigger today, because I think these are both nice looking and worth seeing. I'm also curious to know if anyone out there has actually been grabbing all of these albums, if so let me know if you're converted or a born again fan. If ot at the very least enjoy the goods, cheers.

The disgusting leviathan of the deep was actually the first Ween album I owned. It starts of with a SpongeBob on acid type theme, (Strangely enough, Ween ended up doing music for SpongeBob Squarepants). The next tune, the title track, is one of my all time favorites, reminiscent of 70's prog rock, sets the tone for the whole album. Through an ocean/underwater theme Ween swims through this prog rock approach, of course with many liberties. This is probably the best orchestrated album from these guys, very complex.
And now the Beef. This album got a lot of flack when it was released but really the only complaint I have is that it only has ten songs! It is a complete genre album this time, ranging from "tear in my beer" style ballads, to foot stomping, line dancing rock, or even saloon style vaudeville. "12 Golden Country Greats" is like a Coen Bros. movie. If you have seen their films (Miller's Crossing, Fargo, etc.) you'll know what I mean. Basically they take a genre turn it on it's head and the result is a hilarious masterpiece. And there is something really weird about seeing the Parental Advisory sticker on this classic looking cover.

The Urban Hunter Returns

The Urban Hunter Returns

I have returned a little later than hoped from my mountain celebration with Elsbeth, for reasons I’ll explain later. Here’s a picture that Elsbeth took of me as I was heading out.

As I was on my way out to the mountains, tracking a polar bear with my new GPS tracking dart system, some lunatic kept ambushing me and yelling “Mazzafakka” and screaming about how he was going to shoot my balls off. Luckily he wasn’t a very good shot and obviously wasn’t very experienced at tracking, because he kept missing me and I was able to lose him pretty easily. But then just as I was closing in on my own target, he caught me off guard and shot off one of my right toes. And then as I was trying to stop the bleeding he stole half my equipment, leaving me only with my Smith & Wesson Magnum, my axe and the squirrel balls. I don’t have much to recognize him by other than this pic I snapped right before he pulled out a gun and shot me, and that he smelled like a hippy.

The plus side to losing my toe and half my equipment is that this seemed to satisfy my stalker because I didn’t see him again after that (except for one time I coulda’ sworn I saw him looking through a pair of binoculars at me while I was changing) After the attack, I was no longer able to hunt down a polar bear, so I just went straight to the mountain and started building the igloo and hanging the squirrel balls for Elsbeth’s arrival.

Now since the lunatic had stolen my watch as well, we totally lost track of time and ended up staying out there way longer than planned… and now I'm writing to you from the hospital where I'm being treated for gangrene on my toe. So for this week I’ve found a lost article from Halloween last year, although I don’t remember writing it…

Hallowe’en ‘05

I may or may not have had shrooms slipped into my raccoon stew last night. I have sent the remainder of it to my friend Montana to do some tests in his basement lab, so we should all find out soon. By the time whatever it was in my stew had kicked in I was also pretty drunk, because it was Halloween after all. So I decided to go out and do some hunting.

Now I didn’t know exactly what I was hunting, all I knew was that I needed to kill something, so I had to make sure I was prepared for anything that might come my way. I started by strapping my M-1 .45 Colt/.410 Derringer into my ankle holster, then I followed that up with two Smith & Wesson Model 1911 Pistols in my thigh holsters. Then I strapped my Remington 870 MCS Shotgun into my shoulder holster, which is great because it allows me to assemble the system as an Accessory Weapon, a Ballistic Breaching Tool, a CQB Weapon or a High-Capacity Conventional Shotgun so I would be ready for any situation. I also strapped on my 15mm CO2 Hypodermic Tranquilizer Dart Gun into a concealed shoulder holster under my vest. Then I slipped my Folding Alpha Hunter Knife into the back of my pants and put a few Model 36 Mills Bomb Hand Grenades into my pockets and I was ready to go.

What happened next was beyond anything I had ever seen out in the field before. There were urban animals everywhere, some of them were even as big as me… and they didn’t have the usual fear of humans that wild animals have. I decided that I had to get to a more remote area, so I climbed into a nearby tree and took out my Remington shotgun in preparation to hold off these insane rabid animals that had taken over my city.

I swear I shot a Care Bear, and possibly a blue Alien in a giant clear bubble at one point in the night. I also managed to capture a large male bird specimen with bright pink feathers in my net that I had set up earlier in the week. I decided not to kill this one right away, so I shot him with a few tranquilizer darts and I dragged him home where I tied him up in the basement so I could study him sometime later today.

The rest of the night is mostly a blur, but at the end of the night I had used up all my grenades and ammo… I’m just glad I made it home alive. So take this as a warning fellow urban hunters… until I can figure out what happened, be careful out there!

Dean Hardcore

Howard Stern: 1-10-06

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Wu Part 2

Not sure why I'm hitting you with two days of Wu-related releases, but I always marvel at this group. There is nothing I can say about these guys that hasn't already been said. Look for an in depth analysis by Duggy Digital in the comments section. First up is another quality release from Think Differently Music, Wu Tang Clan "The Lost Anthology" is a must have for all fans. I think I saw this first on, top notch site for all things hip-hop. Combining a blend of rare, unreleased and freestyle tracks this album is guaranteed to bop you. Lots of Ol' Dirty material, its amazing to hear him freestyle, using his crazy, "James Brown on Crack" vocal flow.
Wu Tang Clan - The Lost Anthology
Disc One: Pt.1, Pt.2
Disc Two

I found this killer live recording of the Wu last week on Schrikdraad. Click here for the link to the album. I've also seen it on Stylesbythegram, thanks for the pic and the tracklist. Thanksgiving, 2005 all the old boys are on this one (minus Ol' Dirty obviously) backed up by a live band, El Michels Affair. I usually don't like posting links from other sites, but I know Duggy Digital won't be able to find this otherwise.

Howard Stern: 1-09-06

Howard Stern gets Sirius, first show

Howard Stern Radio Show

Monday, January 09, 2006

Short and Sweet

Monday... No time today for much of a post, here are 2 albums I found on the weekend. Hope you enjoy.

Ghostface Killah and Trife Da God - Put it on the Line
A solid album released in December, always love Ghostface, and Trife Da God has some chops.

RZA - The World According To RZA pt.1 & pt.2
If you can handle rap in different languages check this album out. RZA takes his beats to Europe and lays them down for some talented MC's.

2005, A Year in Movie Posters: The Best, Part One

I know that I have left everyone in a weird parallel universe where Burt Reynolds is still one of the most eligible men in Hollywood, but I have decided that I have to delay his colossal collapse a little bit longer and devote the next couple of weeks of movie poster posts to the inevitable best-and-worst of the year lists. I have no idea about how long it will take me to finally complete these lists, but what the hell, I can accurately say that by the end of the month of January I will have completed the 5 or 6 posts necessary to have outlined the 10 best and worst North American movie posters and 10 best foreign posters (I have to say that it is much harder to find a comprehensive list of foreign posters, so a lot of them are Japanese). As I have no idea how long this will take I will start with the 10 best…

Honourable Mention: It’s All Gone Pete Tong

Okay, so it’s fairly anti-climactic to start with an honourable mention, but fuck off - write your own fucking list. I think part of the reason I love this poster so much is that I absolutely love this movie, it is easily one of the best movies of the year, and it absolutely needs all the exposure it can get (buy it now… here). I will start with a negative comment, because this poster could have easily cracked the top ten if it wasn’t for a couple of major flaws. My biggest problem is the tagline: “The Legend of Frankie Wilde – the Deaf DJ” looks like the continuation of the title. You don’t need a tagline (some posters that are higher on this list don’t have tagline’s), but I hate the idea that quotes can replace taglines. Maybe it is just me, but I absolutely refuse to read movie poster quotes – even ass movies get quotes so how can you trust them? I absolutely love the colour of this poster. Posters have become more and more muted in terms of colour (for reasons that I do not understand), so something that is vibrant immediately makes an impact. His pose makes me laugh because it reminds me of the Karate Kid. I don’t know if it is intentional, but it works for me. Hell his face makes me laugh – but I know that’s because I have seen the movie. On to the actual top ten.

Number 10: The 40-Year-Old Virgin (I don’t care if they don’t care that their title is grammatically incorrect, I do)

From the moment that I saw this poster I knew that I would love this movie. Steve Carell is not a household name, so I think they were able to have fun and basically embrace the character instead of being caught in the trap where they had to cater to the star (can you imagine Tom Cruise in this pose – you wouldn’t buy it at all… and he would never play a forty-year-old… ever). The costume/hair in this poster is classic, as it was throughout the movie. You look at this guy and you know that he is a nice guy (he’s even got the puppy-dog eyes going) and you also know he is never getting laid… perfect. As I discussed above, I’m a pretty big sucker for a colourful poster so I love the two-tone background (it also gives him an even more “innocent” appearance). Finally, the tagline is not perfect, but it makes you laugh. I have also chosen the UK poster as one of the best foreign posters of the year so in a couple of weeks you’ll see what could have been.

Number 9: House of Wax

There is something very, very creepy about this poster. I was looking at stuff like Boogeyman and Wolf Creek, but they certainly don’t hold a candle (really bad pun alert!) to this image. I just erased a big chunk of this paragraph where I highlighted empty eye sockets and dripping wax as the keys to this image, but now I think they are complimentary to the real “hook” of this poster, which I think is that the lifeless body is supposed to be attractive. Now hold all hate mail, I am not saying I find that corpse attractive, but the way her body is positioned (and obviously topless) combined with her long flowing hair looks like a fairly classic vanity pose (I actually think that this is compounded by the dripping wax, which looks like the water that is constantly glistening in glamour shots). Combining this image with hollow eyes and dripping wax is not just creepy, it’s fucking creepy. The tagline: “Pray. Slay. Display.” sounds crappy, but it reads really well it takes your eyes from the dripping wax right down to the title, which has a funky font effect of its own. Great poster. Crappy movie, but a great poster.

Number 8: Childstar

Again, I worry that my love for this poster may have more to do with a personal bias (in this case my absolute hatred of child stars) than anything concrete design wise, but I like this poster A LOT. While the previous three films previously listed have only had mediocre taglines, “When you’re only famous for fifteen minutes… every second counts” is fucking brilliant and basically makes the poster for me. The image isn’t funny in a 40-Year-Old Virgin way, but when given the ironic distance created by the title and tagline it’s pretty smart. I love the how he has that greasy fucking little smirk; it really makes me angry and irritated. The fact that he looks like Macaulay Culkin is a definite bonus because it directs my rage towards someone in particular (thus capitalizing on my bias even more completely). Even the way Childstar is written makes me think of some stupid kid that will never have to work another minute of their lives thinking that it’s shitty to be alive for no reason whatsoever. Anyways, I haven’t seen the movie, but I do plan on it (unfortunately I’ve been planning on it for a while).

Number 7: King Kong

I had to put King Kong on the list because they released about six really striking images, but this one is the best of the bunch in my opinion. The representation of Kong, by both Andy Serkis and Weta Digital has to be one of the greatest filmmaking achievements of the year, and that is captured very well in this image. There is a deep humanity in his relationship to Naomi Watts, although it is much like a child with his or her favourite toy and that is perfectly represented in this image. The beautiful Naomi Watts looks unbelievably striking and pure in that ultimate-white white dress that she is wearing (this is despite the fact that a fucking 25 foot monkey has been carrying her around for the last couple of hours – realism is highly overrated anyways). The massive city landscape which surrounds Kong and Naomi Watts is gorgeous to look at and fully shows that you this movie is an event worthy of your $25,000 or whatever it costs to go to a movie today.

Number 6: Oldboy

I have previously discussed my hatred of using quotes and fucking laurels in lieu of a tagline, but when I look at this image I just pretend that they aren’t there. Given the taglines listed on IMDB, I am really happy that they didn’t clutter up this gorgeous image with one of those disgustingly worded phrases. I really like the composition of this poster, unlike House of Wax which uses the whole poster to bring your eyes to the title, Oldboy uses the title to draw you down to the main characters. Given the insane plot of the film, I love the chaos and confusion that this poster invokes. Similarly, I am generally very angry about most modern hand-painted character drawings, but again due to the surrealism of the film a realistic poster wouldn’t work. I know this is an inside joke, but anyone who has seen the film will find this poster even more satisfying because it includes several references to the film inside the credit block (the octopus, the hammer, etc…). This is another one of the best movies of the year, if you haven’t seen it – watch it!!!

Check back soon for my choices for the five best posters of the year!