PHIL/GEEK/PHIL


Torture With Style
October 29, 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , ,

Check out The Incompetents, a band from Lebanon, with catchy tunes and an overwhelming feeling of fun (despite the title of this post).

They just put out a record; a collaboration between, well, many many people, all headed by muti-instumentalist producer Fadi “Fe” Tabbal and songwriter Serge Yared.

Their songs are solid, catchy and don’t seem to take themselves too seriously (and I mean that in the best way possible). The whole thing sounds like Danny Elfman sat down with Saturday Night Live, with supervision from a couple troubadours from the middle-ages and started writing songs.

It’s been a while since a band sounded like genuine fun, and that’s to be applauded !

Read about them here

Listen here




Wassup 2008
October 28, 2008, 10:54 am
Filed under: comedy, politics | Tags: , , , ,


Sarah Parrot
October 24, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: politics | Tags: , , , ,

hilariously true.



Blindness
October 23, 2008, 10:52 am
Filed under: Books, Movies | Tags: , , , , ,

I read Jose Saramago’s novel, Blindness, recently and was blown away. Rarely has a novel moved me so much. It sheds light on the state of the human condition today like no other book or film I’ve read. It’s a perfect allegory of how incontrolably lost the human race has become, locked in a  vicious system that is forcing it to lose its humanity day after day…

The biggest strength of this book is that it never takes a melodramatic approach, despite it describing a very dramatic situation : the entire world going blind for no apparent reason ! You would think that, with a story like this, that features violence, excrement, loss of dignity, death, etc. you would get some strings playing in the background. Well, there are no strings here. Instead, we get a borderline ironic narrator, who describes the situation like he’s watching an ant try to climb a wall. and it works like a charm.

Saramago’s style is unique, intelligent and innovative. The character he depicts have no name, no face, no vision. Saramago knows human nature, he understands how we function and he depicts it with a scary precision. By the end of the book, we almost feel that he’s talking about our wretched sould, rather than some fictional characters in a fiction city.

My only reservation would be the final quarter of the book, that drags a little. But the final few pages are so eye-opening and philosophically rich, that I understand why Saramago felt like a little break was required.

A great read.

Note : Jose Saramago won the novel prize for litterature.

***

A movie was also made recently, based on this supposedly inadaptable book. I saw it, and actually liked it. I think it was missing some of the wit of the book, but it made sure that melodrama was pushed aside and left space for pure observation. The look of the film was stunning (cinematographer Cesar Charlone had already impressed me with his work on The Pope’s Toilet) and adds to the experience. The cast, headed by Julianne Moore, found a way to internalize the characters and bring them to life. Overall, I don’t think the film is a masterpiece, but is worth checking out. Mainstream reviews are unfair (mostly because of the huge anticipation surrounding the movie) and I would suggest ignoring them.



A wedding you don’t want to miss…
October 23, 2008, 10:37 am
Filed under: Movies | Tags: , , , ,

Usually, at this time of year, the word buzz starts resurfacing as the Hollywood distributors release the ‘best films’ they have in stock, in hopes of getting their foot in the Oscar race.

This year, the first serious buzz we heard was about Anne Hathaway’s performance, in Rachel Getting Married. Of course, being the cynical guy I am, I was a bit apprehensive. However, I find myself in the peculiar situation of actually working for the distributor of that film, and am therefore a bit biased when I say : This film not only exceeds the buzz it’s getting, but it establishes (or should I say confirms) director Jonathan Demme as one of the great contemporary directors.

Borrowing from Altman, Dogma filmmaking and even a little from HBO-style filmmaking, Demme crafts a movie that is not only enjoyable, moving and gripping, but also real. REAL. How often do you hear that about a movie? I guess a lot. but rarely rightfully: the word is used loosely, but in this case, thanks to a fabulous cast, immaculate script and top-notch cinematography and camera work, you feel like you’re illegally thrown into these people’s lives and somehow they can’t see that you’re sitting in the living room with them. That’s an experience I would recommend to anyone who isn’t afraid of feeling a bit awkward, like a voyeur.

The film revolves around Kim (Hathaway, who gives the performance of her career… for now at least), a junkie ex-model who gets out of rehab to attend her sister’s wedding. There, the family scars will slowly unravel… But this is not your typical family reunion flick. The characters are as real and rich as it gets. Kim is despicable, irritating, narcissistic but yet we sympathize with her. Rachel is jealous, stubborn and a bit selfish, but we often understand her. and so on…. What I mean to say is that the characters are not stereotypically defined, and are a little more “normal”. The movie constantly asks you to reevaluate your perception of these people, as it slowly uncovers the underlying history (a tough one) of this family. Also, the film may have a lot of drama in it (and heavy drama that is) but it also knows that in life, you can easily jump from tears to laughter, and isn’t afraid to show it on screen.

Enough said. This film is amongst the year’s best and should not be missed by anyone who remotly likes cinema.



Momentary Setlist (oct 13)

Portishead – Plastic
Parlovr – Sandwalking
Wolf Parade – Call it a ritual
Aimee Mann – Medicine Wheel
N.E.R.D – Spaz
Christina Aguilera – Keeps Getting Better
Does it Offend you yeah – Wearerockstars
My Morning Jacket – Touch me I’m Going to Screem 2
The Luyas – Dumb Blood



‘irrelevant’ is the new ‘newsworthy’
October 9, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: politics | Tags: , ,

if you still thought Fox News was a news channel, check this out.