Wednesday, 29 April 2009

KCRW: Angus and Julia Stone - Private Lawns

Best thing I've heard in a long time.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Monday, 27 April 2009

TIME interviews Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari Interview

Poehler now stars in Parks and Recreation, a spin-off series from The Office.

Below is an interview that one of her co-stars in the show, Aziz Ansari, gave following the season premiere earlier this month.

Michael Shannon "Revolutionary Road" Interview

I started watching Revoluationary Road on the flight home from Bali this past week and finally finished watching it this evening. I originally thought it looked slow and melodramatic but was pleasantly (or depressingly) surprised - it is a thought-provoking film with brilliantly intense acting.

The period drama set in the 1950's stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Frank and April, a young couple who appear to be living out the American dream, with April as the stay-at-home wife rearing the couple's two young children, and Frank succesfully climbing the corporate ladder. Below is an interview given by Michael Shannon who plays one of the key roles in the film as a recently-released mental patient befriended by the couple and who ironically provides the most scathingly honest assessments of the couple throughout the film.

As the story progresses, it meanders through excitement, shock, heartbreak and tragedy, closely examining the timeless questions around finding one's life partner, how that goal fits in with individual life fulfilment, and the concept of love. If we fall in love with people that share our dreams and aspirations, what happens to that love when those dreams and aspirations change? When one spouse's happiness is at odds with the other spouse', whose one should win out and how should the decision be made? If you come to love the life you have, despite it being a fraction of the life you originally wanted to live, does it make you a complacent coward or have you simply matured?

Directed by Sam Mendes, it is an adaptation of the celebrated novel by Richard Yates. Watch the trailer here.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Discovery: Surviving a Big Wave Wipe Out

Surfing seems like a lot of fun, until you see this video. Combine these images with the shark attack videos of hapless surf victims, it makes learning how to surf seem less fun. Maybe I'll just stick to the hot-tub.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

TRAILER: Blood the Last Vampire (June 2009)

I'm all about kung-fu rocking, swort wielding, school-girl outfit wearing vampire killers.

Directed by Chris Nahon, starring Gianna Jun.

Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Comedy: Super Mario Rescues The Princess

Sunday, 19 April 2009

NPR: Kinky singing "That Girl"

Kinky is how I like it, but is also the name of a five member band originally from Monterrey, Mexico. They have a decent international following, despite limited commercial airplay. They toured in 2002 with Cake, De La Soul, Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse among others for a US tour, also appearing at Coachella.

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Office Bloopers (Season 4)

More great bloopers from the best American comedy in a long time. Enjoy!

YouTube has removed videos I previously posted, but found this link where you can still watch some. Hope it stays up long enough for a few of you to enjoy - come back and visit.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

TRAILER: Observe and Report

This definitely is the R-rated, dysfunctional version of "Paul Blart Mall Cop".

If this comes out in HK, the censors will have certainly have destroyed anything remotely funny about the movie, resulting in 75 minutes of film - essentially as bad as watching tv with really bad reception - it's jarring and annoying. I was watching Knocked Up on HBO the other day and it was the saddest and most boring thing ever because all the funny parts have been edited out. All instances of "f*ck" are taken out, as well as any drug scenes and nudity. What can you do.

Monday, 13 April 2009

TRAILER: 2012 (summer 2009 - directed by Roland Emmerich)

I can't wait to see this movie for the special effects; this seems like an IMAX movie. The subject matter of the film is indeed bizarre, occult and just plain scary. Theories vary as to what will happen on the fateful day of December 21, 2012 but dooms-day believers hold that the Earth will experience profound and life-altering changes resulting from the Earth, the center of the Milky Way, and the Sun (an event that occurs once ever 25,800 years) being in perfect alignment and resulting in a pole shift.

The History channel did a special on this date; I've posted the introduction here for all those doomsday theory fanatics out there.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Human Rights First: Primetime Torture

I ran across this video and found it to be very well-done and thought provoking. I am an ardent 24 fan and wish I could be Jack Bauer, but it's difficult to say that my views on torture and what is morally allowable, practical and condonable have not been affected (consciously or otherwise) by the numerous torture scenes found in every season.

For those unfamiliar with 24, Jack Bauer is essentially a good man who feels the ends justify the means. He has really bad luck as he seems to always be involved in some situation where terrorirsts are in process of doing something amazingly awful so it does simplify the argument for torture in those few scenes where a nuclear bomb is about to detonate and he is forced to choose torture, as the lesser of two evils.

But as this video explains and those who oppose some of the style of the series agree, Jack Bauer's methods are far from an accurate depiction of effective interrogation techniques. Not only are these techniques infreqntly used, some argue that their use and depiction in mainstream media may enforce negative and incorrect ideas about the US' view on terrorism and interrogation techniques.

After thinking about the video, I realized that it's not a dissimilar argument put forth by those opposing movies such as "Passion of the Christ" (which I saw and enjoyed as a movie). The argument essentially revolves around the idea that there are a lot of close-minded and less educated people out there that see the same thing that I can, and will come away with very different ideas than I did, hence the need to boycott such material etc. So even though I didn't walk away from 24 or Passion of the Christ thinking that it's ok to torture people or that Jews killed Christ and are bad, does NOT mean that plenty of people do come away with those ideas.

What do you think?

Click here for the second part of the film.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Consumer Psychology in a Recession

This is an intelligent analysis of consumer psychology during a recession by John Quelch, Professor at Harvard Business School. Particularly interesting are Quelch's thoughts on opportunities for marketers beginning around 8:10.

Key take-aways:

  • Pre-recession segmentation is in effect obsolete; companies need to re-frame their segmentation approach given the new economic situations
  • Four consumer archetypes have emerge: 1.) "Slam On the Break" - most affected resulting in only purchasing bear essentials, 2.) "Pained but Patient" - also affected and may restrict spending but they are positive and believe economy will improve , 3.) "Live for Today" - young consumers likely not severly impacted yet by economy due to lack of investments, thus they are still following same purchasing patterns, 4.) "Comfortably Well" - well-off OR shielded from economic downturn and thus little impact on their patterns.
  • Cash-rich companies should maintain or increase marketing activities, as many cash-stripped companies will be pulling back efforts, making it cheaper to gain market share for cash-rich companies
  • Consumer demand for new products that add value to their lives remains; companies should not cut product development but rather focus it to ensure they are delivering the best product possible.

24 Season 7: Cast Interviews

Best action drama that I miss so much currently. I've heard the new season is a little different from past seasons (as you'd expect) and seems to be just as good. I did see the two-hour movie premier which was very impressive. Are you in the US and glued to 24 (or not glued) and why or why not?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Ozomatli: City of Angels

Ozomatli is an eight-member band hailing from Los Angeles whose music is a combination of funk, reggae, salsa and jazz. Perhaps the best description of their music comes from a 2007 NPR interview in which one of the band members offered this definition, "You drive down Sunset Boulevard and turn off your stereo and roll down your windows and all the music that comes out of each and every different car, whether it's salsa, cumbia, merengue, or Hip Hop, funk or whatever, it's that crazy blend that's going on between that cacophony of sound is Ozomatli, y'know?" Enjoy!

Monday, 6 April 2009

TRAILER: Year One (June 2009)

Directed by Harold Ramis. Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, David Cross, Paul Rudd

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Star Trek Next Generation Voice Overs

Star Trek TNG was the best series in my opinion, but it was nothing compared to what it would've been like if this clip was the norm. Enjoy!