Archive for September, 2009

Hip hop video of the day, Tuesday 22 September 2009

Posted in Music on September 22, 2009 by thebigsmoke

Souls of Mischief: ’93 Til Infinity

I can’t stop listening to this chilled track from Californian collective Souls of Mischief. Hip hop videos should always be this scenic. I love it.


Rest in peace, DJ Roc Raida

Posted in Music, Stuff on September 20, 2009 by thebigsmoke

I just found out DJ Roc Raida died earlier today at the age of 37. He’s hardly a household name, and with all the high profile deaths this year this won’t seem a big deal to most people. For me, though, he’s one of the greatest turntablists of all time and it’s a tragic loss. In memory of Roc Raida, here’s his finest hour, winning the DMC World DJ Championships in 1995:

District 9 from outer space

Posted in Film on September 14, 2009 by thebigsmoke

It’s revealing that Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was produced by Peter Jackson, as he’s been heavily involved with the forthcoming Halo movie. There were parts of the film which could have been lifted straight from sections of a first person shooter such as Halo or Half Life.

That’s not a criticism, I thought District 9 looked stunning and loved the way it was filmed. The heavy use of documentary style footage added authenticity, the alien “prawns” were convincing and the squalid shantytown of District 9 was beautifully realised.

It’s true to say that worthwhile science fiction often uses ideas of the future to tell us about the world we live in. Reviews of District 9 have praised its examination of apartheid and modern attitudes to refugees. In this respect, the film is original and interesting, but I felt its moral message was never properly fleshed out.

For a film with such a bloody and action-packed finale, I was surprised it managed to fizzle out so spectacularly. My guess is they got halfway through production and were so pleased with what they had done that they decided to leave things wide open for District 10.

This is rather good

Posted in Music, Video Games on September 13, 2009 by thebigsmoke

Left 4 Dead 2

Posted in Video Games on September 8, 2009 by thebigsmoke

I’ve been playing Left 4 Dead a lot and it’s almost to the point I want to get a subsciption to XBox Live and play online. I wish I knew more people with XBox 360s so I won’t have to play against random 14-year-olds.

Anyway, games developer Valve has announced Left 4 Dead 2, which will be released a mere year after the first game. I’m getting quite excited about the prospect of even more zombie carnage. Here’s the game trailer so you can see what it’s all about:

Inglourious Basterds/Inglorious Bastards

Posted in Film on September 3, 2009 by thebigsmoke

I saw Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds last week and followed that up by watching Enzo Castellari’s Inglorious Bastards at the weekend.

Tarantino’s film is disappointingly self-indulgent but includes moments which are tantalizingly sublime. Overall it makes for a frustrating viewing experience, pretty much like everything Tarantino’s directed since Pulp Fiction but even more so.

Veteran German actor Christoph Waltz shines brightly as the villainous Col. Hans Landa and is no doubt fielding floods of offers from Hollywood as a consequence. Although he’s hampered slightly by inconsitencies in the script, he manages to give his character depth which is missing from Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine and his one-dimensional band of Nazi-scalping Jews.

Italian director Castellari, apart from being a superior speller, is a much more straightforward film-maker than Tarantino. His Inglorious Bastards, originally released as Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato (literally “That Damned Armoured Train”), is a no-nonsense war movie with a linear plot and plenty of action. The film has just been remastered for release on DVD and is being sold at a bargain price in order to promote the cinema release of Inglourious Basterds. Pick it up because it’s well-made and entertaining enough to be good value for money.

One of the extras on the new DVD release is an interview with the director conducted by Quentin Tarantino. I mention this because the viewing experience is unpleasant in such a way that it highlights precisely what is wrong with Tarantino.

The interview is a chance for two talented directors to talk about film-making and for Tarantino to probe Castellari on a film which has clearly inspired him and is of particular significance. Castellari is unassuming and english is not his first language, whereas Tarantino is in contrast manic and overenthusiastic about the clutter of his own mind. The result is Castellari gets bombarded by the dominating presence of Tarantino. They should be talking about Castellari’s film, but Tarantino insists on tying everything into his own experiences and aspirations. In other words, he appropriates everything and in doing so fails to fully appreciate perspectives contrary to his own.

When it comes to writing and directing, Tarantino has always written for himself. Because of his immense popularity, he now has free reign to indulge any whim which may take him. Consequently, his films of the last ten years are a jumble of ideas and references. There is a sense that if he were more selective during the creative process he might just turn out a cohesive masterpiece.

%d bloggers like this: