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.

Comment [2]  

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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Argo

   17 June 2013, lunch time

I was in London a few weeks ago. I watched Argo on the flight there. The film tells the tale of the Canadian Government and the CIA helping six Americans holed up in the Canadian ambassador’s house escape Iran. They do so in part by saying they are the film crew of a fake movie: Argo. The film is well written, and features a pretty stellar cast sporting some great haircuts. Argo’s credits include photographs from the revolution paired with matching shots from the film. They start with the various actors and their real life counterparts, and move on to more iconic imagery. To his credit Afleck and his team did an amazing job bringing the period to life. Everything feels so pitch perfect. There are some scenes in the film of sweat shop children reassembling shredded documents. Now I was all, “bullshit,” but sure enough there is a photograph of an example of one of these reassembled documents at the end of the movie. Argo was really well done. You should watch it. Ben Afleck knows how to make good movies. Who knew?

The official Argo website.

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Kick-Ass

   17 June 2013, lunch time

I watched Kick-Ass over the weekend. I had missed it in the cinemas. It’s one of those, “what if superheroes were real” movies, based on a comic book of the same name. What sets it apart from most comic book films is probably its excessive violence. Also, it stars Nicolas Cage, who is fantastic in his role as the Batman-like Big Daddy. There are some pretty great action sequences. The fact they are super bloody is a nice bonus. If you haven’t seen Kick-Ass you should check it out.

The official Kick-Ass website.

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The Raid Redemption

   14 May 2013, late afternoon

I watched The Raid Redemption on the weekend. I think it’s safe to say there is no greater action movie. I mean that quite literally. The film was incredible. An elite police team need to break into an apartment building controlled by a criminal mastermind and arrest everyone. Things quickly go awry, and their plans quickly turn to escape. The film is super violent and bloody and so amped up. I could feel my heart racing while watching the movie. There is so much bad-ass action I don’t even know where to start. You need to watch this film. It’s so god damn amazing.

The official The Raid Redemption website.

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Like Somone in Love

    1 May 2013, early morning

I was at the Lightbox again last week to watch Like Someone in Love. Iranian super-star director Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film is set in Tokyo and is wonderful. Akiko is a call girl, presumably to pay for her schooling and board in her new home Tokyo. The film begins with her being sent off to meet a retired professor, forcing her to skip out on meeting her grandmother. Like Someone in Love is a film all about deception and human relationships. Most everyone in the film is lying about who they are, who they are with, etc. It’s slow and methodical. A good chunk of the films dialog takes place with characters who appear off screen. (I think every character in the film is actually first introduced via off screen dialog.) A lot of conversation happens about stuff that the viewer doesn’t see till much later. The movie feels very alive. The actors are all fantastic. I really enjoyed this film. Also, great ending.

Learn more about Like Someone in Love at the Lightbox website.

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Upstream Color

   30 April 2013, early morning

It’s been a week of movies for me. I’m rocking it like it’s 2005. I watched Upstream Color at the TIFF Lightbox a week ago. This is the second film by Shane Carruth, the man behind Primer. Like Primer, it has an unusual narrative structure. There is almost no dialog. A lot of the details about the plot are left unsaid, you just need to infer what’s going on based on what you see and how the characters react to the situations they are in. It’s a film about relationships, another similarity to Primer, but without the whole ‘the plot is a puzzle’ element of Primer. It’s a beautiful film, one that’s hard to describe in a sentence or two. Lucky for you, the trailer is fantastic. It’s probably not a film for everyone, but I think it’s well worth watch.

The official Upstream Color website.

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"My mother was Korean and my father was Black American."

    1 April 2013, early morning

I watched Miami Connection over the weekend at the Bell Lightbox. The experience was transcendental. I haven’t had that much fun at the movies in a long time. The film was made in 1987, by amateur film maker and all around boss Y.K. Kim. It’s clearly the product of one man’s vision. I will quote the description from TIFF because if that doesn’t make you want to watch the film nothing I say will.

The year is 1987. As motorcycle-riding ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, annihilating anyone who gets in their way, multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound decide that they’ve had enough. In between chasing beach bunnies and performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” the Dragon Sound boys embark on a crusade of roundhouse-kicking, karate-chopping, crime-crushing justice on the streets of Orlando, determined to never stop until they’ve destroyed the every last one of the dealers, thugs, bikers, ninjas — and the entire Miami Connection!

The film is available online for $6 bucks, or $10 if you want the deluxe edition. The soundtrack is amazing. I got both my brother and co-worker to watch the films, and they were not disappointed. Don’t watch the trailer. You need to experience this movie fresh. You definitely need to watch this movie.

The official Miami Connection website.

Comment  

They shot the six cabinet ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. It rained hard. All the shutters of the hospital were nailed shut. One of the ministers was sick with typhoid. Two soldiers carried him downstairs and out into the rain. They tried to hold him up against the wall but he sat down in a puddle of water. The other five stood very quietly against the wall. Finally the officer told the soldiers it was no good trying to make him stand up. When they fired the first volley he was sitting down in the water with his head on his knees.
— Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time

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