I look at all your hate mail as fan mail.
Writing shit down well knowing that you wouldn’t say it.
Why you buy a chopper if you wouldn’t spray it?
Little niggas breaking arms trying to play Rambo.
Die Rich by Joey Fatts (Feat Vince Stapples) produced by Cardo

The Grand Budapest Hotel

   31 March 2014, early morning

I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel Friday night with some friends and Shima. It’s so rare we do anything together after having Mythilli, so there was a lot of pressure on this film to be good. The movie stars Ralph Fiennes as the eccentric—of course—head of the Grand Budapest. Tony Revolori plays the new lobby boy, and his protege. This is Wes Anderson’s take on the heist film. There is thievery, murder, daring escapes mixed together with the charm of your typical Anderson movie. There are a million cameos throughout. Something interesting I noticed about how the film was shot: the movie is basically one long flashback, and this section of the film is is shot in what looked to be an almost square aspect ratio. This seems unusual for Anderson, though the film still caries his distinct style. I liked the movie a lot. It’s well executed, written, and acted. You should watch it while you can in the cinema.

The official The Grand Budapest Hotel website

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Inside Llewyn Davis

   11 January 2014, evening time

I watched Inside Llewyn Davis at the Lightbox. The film is the latest movie from the Coen Brothers. It stars Oscar Isaac as a starving artist folk singer who is both down on his luck and a man who makes terrible choices. He may be down on his luck because of his poor choices. He is moving in a circle going nowhere. This film is depressing and beautiful. I loved the cinematography. Everything is lit and shot perfectly. I’m not a big folk music fan, but the music in this film is excellent. The acting is superb. This movie was featured in a lot of best films of 2013 lists, a well deserved accolade. You should watch this movie.

Update: I’ve been thinking about this movie for days now. It’s probably one of my favourite films by the Coen brothers, which says a lot: they’ve done a lot of really great films.

The official Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack.

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Bridesmaids

    9 January 2014, early evening

Bridesmaids was on Netflix. It’s always strange seeing a movie that seems too new or popular showing up on that site. The film is excellent. As the title suggests, the film is about bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig plays a women having a rough go at life. Her friend, played by Maya Rudolf, gets engaged and requests Wiig be her matron of honour. Hilarity and hijinks ensue, as she competes with another bridesmaid for Rudolf’s character’s affection, and tries to move forward with her life. It’s a very funny movie. The supporting cast is all hilarious. It’s directed by Paul Feig of Freaks and Geeks fame, and was produced by Judd Apatow. Wiig wrote the script along with Annie Mumolo. They had an A-Team working on this film, and it shows. Maybe i’m the last person on Earth to have seen this, but if you haven’t you should go watch it already.

Read (better) reviews of Bridesmaids on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Moon

   17 December 2013, mid-morning

Moon stars Sam Rockwell as an astronaut working in a power plant on the moon. He’s been living there for almost 3 years, alone except for a robot assistant (voiced by Kevin Spacey). This sort of isolation has made him a little bit crazy. As he prepares to return to Earth things start to get a little weird. Moon was an enjoyable movie. Sam Rockwell is great. I don’t want to discuss his performance too much, as it will give away part of the story, but suffice it to say it is varied and interesting. This is some proper science fiction with a small tight focus: it’s a film about loneliness and what it means be human. (Like so many movies, I suppose.) Rockwell is the only actor we see for much of the film. I loved how it ends.

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Backyard Portraits

   29 November 2013, terribly early in the morning

I finished up a roll of film in my backyard taking a shot of everyone sitting on our deck.

Shawn

Shima

Jana

Matt

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Fallen Angels

   24 November 2013, late afternoon

I watched Fallen Angels again today. The film is the unofficial sequel to Chungking Express. They share similar themes, are shot in a very similar style, and even share the actor Takeshi Kaneshiro. There are lots of nods to Chungking Express in Fallen Angels: slightly remixed dialogue and scenes play out in Fallen Angels as an alternate-Earth version of events that transpire in Chungking Express.

Like Chungking Express there are a few stories of love and loss. In Fallen Angels the stories play out in parallel, rather than back to back. Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a mute that breaks into shops at night to run them as his own business. Leon Lai plays a hit man who takes his orders from (smoking hot) Michelle Reis: she’s also in love with him. Karen Mok plays a girl who has dyed her hair bright blonde so as not to be forgotten. Charlie Yeung plays a girl Kaneshiro’s character is infatuated with, who spends her nights trying to hunt down her ex-boyfriends current girlfriend.

Fallen Angels is very surreal. The film takes place entirely at night. Most of the film has this weird dream like feel to it. Everything seems amped up and unreal. Michelle Reis’ character seems to be operating in a constant daze, like she’s sleep walking. Most of the characters don’t seem to act or react like normal people to anything happening in their lives. I have mixed feeling about all of that. I find it harder to relate to characters in films that are too surreal. I think Fallen Angels doesn’t have the same emotional weight it would or could if it was played a bit more straight. It’d be a very different movie, though. This is a Wong Kar Wai film, so there is a lot of emotional weight. There is unrequited love. People being forgotten be their former friends and lovers. Loneliness—there is lots of that.

Like most of Wong Kar Wai’s films, Fallen Angels is at times quite visually stunning. Like Chungking Express there are lots of interesting ‘trick’ shots employed to good effect. A lot of the film is shot with super wide angle lenses. Most of the time the camera must be inches from the actor’s faces. (This distorts their faces, again making the film feel quite surreal.) This style of shooiting also lets Wong Kar Wai showcase what’s happening in the backgrounds of scenes as well, as most everything ends up being enough in focus. The last scene in the film is one of my favourites, and uses this effect quite well.

Fallen Angels is a weird film, but quite enjoyable. I think it’s a weaker movie that Chungking Express, but most films probably are. Hah.

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Aningaaq

   21 November 2013, early morning

Aningaaq is a short film by Jonas Cuaron, son of the most amazing director Alfonso Cuaron. This short film is a companion piece to the film Gravity. It’s the other side of a conversation that takes place in that film. If you haven’t seen Gravity you should probably watch that first, but this film really stands on its own and is quite beautiful. I really loved Gravity. This film makes me love it more.

Watch Aningaaq online.

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Funkaoshi: Year 10

   20 November 2013, evening time

Ten years is a long time on the Internet. It’s a long time in real life, I suppose. This site turns 10 today.

The glory days of this site were in its early years, 2004-2007. That’s really when I was posting the most, when the site might have had some amount of cachet. Back then the site was linked to from Kottke.org and had a PageRank of 6! I wrote about my life: going to concerts, watching movies, checking out bars, and all the boring stuff in between. It was an impersonal personal site. I linked to stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Those years were busy for the site.

The early audience for the site was probably other Textpattern users and my friends. I used to write lots of plugins for the Textpattern and was very active on its forum. It kept me busy after I had finished school, but before I had started working. That summer of 2004 was fantastic.

YearBlog
Posts
LinksMovies
Reviewed
200384 1 7
2004360549 80
2005287183997
2006252309647
2007233302037
2008157202150
2009141170433
201092 971 20
201131 635 4
201242 579 15
201332 496 15

There is more to this blog than posting frequency, though. 10 years is a long time. This blog has been around the entire time I’ve known my wife. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary earlier this year. I posted here the day before our wedding. In the time I’ve run this blog Shima was pregnant and had a baby, who then turned 1 and then 2. I was hit by a mother fucking car! and spent 6 weeks in a cast I’ve watched the city change, and then change some more. I also bought a wireless router, something apparently noteworthy in 2004.

There are lots of posts I like on this site, but the one I think I enjoy the most is about going to an M.I.A. concert back in 2005. (A discussion on Tamil people a few months later makes a nice epilogue.)

10 years! They’ve been great.

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Minnian-Wong: Do you still have a zero tolerance for drugs, guns and gangs?
Ford: Yes
Minnian-Wong: Have you purchased drugs in the last year?
Ford: Yes.
— Today’s city council meeting has been entertaining. Nothing beats a rich entitled white dude.

Two Spaces

   11 November 2013, early evening

The Elements of Typographic Style advises a single word space two separate two sentences. Most books on typography and layout do. Like most people my age, I had been taught to type using two spaces after a sentence, a hard habit to break. Or so I thought. Apparently sometime between junior high and right now I stopped typing two spaces after a period, but never noticed.

Two spaces? One space? It’s actually a complicated story.

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Oh, oh, BMO, how’d you get so pregnant?
Who’s the mother?
Oh, who’s the father?
Shh, I’ll tell you if you keep it a secret.
We will, we will, we will!
All right, last night, an electric presence came into my room and said,
BMO, I need your perfect body to host the human incarnation of a baby!”
BMO’s Pregnant Song

Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation, Communication

   21 October 2013, early afternoon

ed. I attended a conference on small business today for work. Most of the speakers were amazing. One was not. My notes from their talk.

This last talk is pure nonsense. Mostly new-age this and that. I wonder if he will be able to talk like this for a whole 45 minutes without actually saying anything. I regret not leaving before he started. It seems rude to leave now.

People are slowly trickling out of the talk. He sometimes mocks them as they leave.

He has all the ticks of a great speaker: he’s funny and engaging; his tone is conversational; he repeats his points; he speaks with a smooth cadence; his voice rises and falls at just the right moments. He’s just not saying anything. It feels like he’s strung together a series of platitudes into a whole talk.

He’s talking about about how these sorts of talks are mostly bullshit, by delivering a talk that’s mostly bullshit. It’s all very meta.

Something something continuous improvement something something. That sounds like it might be worth listening to. He doesn’t say anything useful, though.

“A true entrepreneur sets out to discover the truth.” Seriously. Like Magellan, apparently. Magellan was hacked to death by Filipino villagers.

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Gravity

   17 October 2013, early morning

Date night last night (with Mezan). We had dinner at Momofuku Noodlebar, and then watched Gravity. The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in will they won’t they romantic comedy romp in space. Nah, just kidding. The movie opens with a space walk gone wrong. Space debris destroys the shuttle and the structures the group were working on, and risks killing them all. Sandra Bullock is sent hurtling into space. And the movie moves on from there. Gravity was incredible—if you are willing to let the occasional cheesy Hollywood dialog slide. You should. I don’t think i’ve seen another film quite like it. I’m curious to see how it was shot. I watched it in IMAX 3D, and it was such an immersive experience. It feels like you are in space with Bullock. The film is full of tension. It’s so intense. You should watch this while it’s still in the cinema. It’s well worth watching on the big screen.

The official Gravity website.

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Trip to the Park

   16 October 2013, lunch time

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I developed a big batch of film recently. It cost me a lot of money, and i’m not too happy with all the photos I got back. That’s not Downtown Camera’s fault, though. I need to take more photos again. And look at them. That’s how you get good at photography. (That’s a pro-tip for all of you just starting out taking photos.)

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Breaking Bad

   29 September 2013, evening time

I’ve seen a lot of really good television. Breaking Bad is probably the best television show ever made. And that’s that.

Comment [3]  

Yurusarezarumono (Unforgiven)

   14 September 2013, mid-morning

I watched a Japanese remake of Unforgiven tonight at TIFF. If you have seen the original, replace the cowboys with samurais. If you have not, stop reading this and go watch Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. That film is amazing. This remake stars Ken Watanabe (of course) in the lead role, playing a retired blood thirsty killer who has renounced his old ways. He joins his friend to kill two men who cut up a prostitutes face, as he is in need of money to feed his family. This film is amazing. Does the world need a samurai remake of Unforgiven? Hells fucking yes. Westerns are samurai films are westerns. It’s interesting to see just how neatly the story travels from the Wild West to North Japan. Ken Watanabe does a fine job, as one would expect from an actor of his calibre. The scenery of Hokkaido makes a great backdrop for the film. It’s a beautiful movie. I’m only watching two films at TIFF, I think, so I’m very glad this was my second and probably my last. I really can’t recommend it enough.

The TIFF writeup for Unforgiven.

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Blind Detective

   12 September 2013, evening time

Last night I watched Johnnie To’s latest film Blind Detective at TIFF. I was expecting something along the lines of Vengence, Full Time Killer, Election, The Mission, Expect the Unexpected, etc. Very quickly I realized this film was a full on romantic comedy buddy cop film. If I had know Sammi Cheng was Andy Lau’s co-star I might have guessed what was up. Still, it was an enjoyable movie. Andy Lau plays a blind detective helping super-rich cop Sammi Cheng track down her missing childhood friend, in between trying to solve other cold cases for their reward money. He has a knack for getting into the criminal’s head and figuring out what happened at the scene of a crime. The film features a lot of Sammi and Andy reenacting scenes from crimes, which jump between being grizzly and hilarious. It’s very strange. Some of the humour is very slapstick and kind of stupid, but a lot of it is quite funny. Andy Lau’s character is kind of a jerk, and he plays it to great effect. The movie reminded me very much of a 90s HK romantic comedy, the sort of thing I’d watch on CFMT. I’m guessing that’s probably not most people’s thing. The movie tries to be a thriller, buddy cop film, and a romance, which is pretty hard to pull off. I’m not sure he did here, but he gets an A for effort.

The TIFF write up for Blind Detective.

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Celeste & Jesse Forever

   13 August 2013, terribly early in the morning

Shima and I watched Celeste & Jesse Forever. It was my sort of romantic comedy: the whole film is tinged with sadness. The movie begins at the end of a love affair: the titular Jesse and Celeste are getting divorced. Things are ending so amicably it’s weirding their friends out. Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as they would like. I love Rashida Jones, who stars as Celeste. It’s possible my feelings about the film are coloured by that, but I don’t think so. The film focuses on Jones’ character and how she reacts to Jesse, played by Andy Samberg, moving on before her. I suppose the film also deals with the whole hot single women who shouldn’t be single but are thing. The film features some great acting and writing. The soundtrack is also killer. (You need to listen to the Biggest Crush Edit of Baby right now.) The film is at its best when it pulls away from its romantic comedy roots. The movie ends with things neatly tied up. It might have been a stronger movie had it ended a bit sooner, at the point Jones is delivering an amazing speech about love and marriage at her friends wedding. Though, it probably would have been a very different film. People complain I recommend all the movies I watch, but whatever, go watch this: I liked it.

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Pacific Rim

   23 July 2013, early afternoon

I watched Pacific Rim over the weekend. Have you seen it yet? If not, what’s wrong with you! Go watch it already. This movie was so satisfying. It takes 5 minutes to explain why their are giant robots and giant monsters, and then spends the rest of the film pitting giant robots against giant monsters. It’s thoroughly cheesy, but also thoroughly good.

The official Pacific Rim website.

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My Life as a Weapon

   11 July 2013, late morning

I’ve had absolutely fantastic luck with comics recently. Luck too good not to share. I’ll probably turn this into a short series of posts: to start, Hawkeye!

If you are burnt out on stupid super hero books, but just can’t give up on them, you need to be reading the new Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction and David Aja. It’s been collected into two trade paperbacks at this point: My Life as a Weapon and Little Hits. The comics focus on what Hawkeye gets up to when not being an avenger. It’s barely a superhero book. He goes to BBQs and takes his dog to the vet. Somehow it’s super engaging. And yes, there is some crazy action too. One whole issue pokes fun at all his zany arrows, and its brilliant. One issue is told from the point of view of his dog, and people are going absolutely batshitcrazy about how good it is.

You don’t need to know anything about the Avengers, Hawkeye, the Marvel Universe, etc, to enjoy this comic. I don’t think you even need to be a comic book fan to enjoy this one. It’s so well done.

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Man of Steel

    2 July 2013, late morning

I watched the new Superman movie last night. It was god damn incredible. How has this film been getting mixed reviews? The “cold-open” of the film takes place on Krypton, and is thoroughly kick-ass. From there we move to the present day, where Superman is living like a drifter, helping people and trying to stay under the radar. His life on Earth is revealed over the course of the first half of the film as a series of flashbacks, mixed in with his discovery of his true origins. The second half of the film is Superman punching shit and it is so unbelievably fantastic. It’s all Kyptonians fighting Kryptonians, and the destruction one would expect from that. I loved this movie.

The official Man of Steel website.

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Google Reader: RIP

    2 July 2013, terribly early in the morning

So google.com/reader now sends you to a page letting you know the site has shut down. I knew this was coming, but it still leaves me feeling wistful and let down. Google Reader was so god damn fantastic. I’m curious to see how the competitors that step up to take its place fare. Feedly seems quite nice, and looks to be the early favourite amongst my friends. I’m actually still not sure what i’ll switch to. Right now i’m using Fever once again. Goodbye Google Reader. You will be missed.

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Kamakura

   25 June 2013, early morning

First song about the sun, the moon and the stars.
Never thought you’d make it but here we are.
So we dance.
And we sing.

Kamakura is the opening track to Modal Soul Classics II: Dedicated to Nujabes. It’s by far the best album of Japanese hip hop I own, and is probably one of my favourite albums period full-stop. Nujabes died in a car crash in February of 2010. This album came out at the end of 2010. It’s so god damn soulful. This track is really stand out. Pase Rock sings about his friend, and it is good.

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Star Trek Into Darkness

   24 June 2013, terribly early in the morning

I watched Star Trek Into Darkness this past Friday. The crew of the Enterprise have to fight Sherlock Holmes. The movie opens with a crazy action sequence and moves quickly from there. It’s as fast paced and action packed as the first film. If you think too hard about it no doubt you’ll find some plot holes. There are definitely lots of lens flares as well. Still, the movie is lots of fun. I quite liked it.

The Star Trek Into Darkness website.

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