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June 2 - 8 New Bev Film Explosion

Posted by phil blankenship, May 31, 2009 03:47pm | Post a Comment
www.newbevcinema.com

June 2-8 New Beverly Film Explosion!
Amoebite Phil Blankenship takes over the New Bev for a full week of double (and triple) features of MOVIE MANIA!


Tuesday June 2

Class of 1984 plus
3:15
The Moment Of Truth


Class of 1984 screenwriter Tom Holland will appear IN PERSON to discuss the movie, schedule permitting.

Class of 1984 7:30pm

3:15 The Moment Of Truth 9:30pm


Wednesday
June 3


Witchboard plus
Witchtrap


Director Kevin Tenney will appear IN PERSON with other special guests to discuss the movie, schedule permitting.

Witchboard 7:30pm

Witchtrap 9:30pm

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Oiran So Far Away: Making sense of Mika Ninagawa's Sakuran

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, May 31, 2009 12:23pm | Post a Comment
Want candy but concerned about empty calories? I had been looking forward to seeing Mika Ninagawa's candy-colored film adaptation of the manga Sakuran for quite some time and, like a child hypnotized by sugar-filled display cases at the confectionary house, I had become quite sure of its deliciousness before I had a chance to taste the rainbow, so to speak. 


There was no doubt in my mind that this film could be anything but great. The recipe seems flawless: director Ninagawa's photographic vision delightfully compares to the eye-popping, richly colored superworld of noted fashion photographer David LaChapelle, sultry J-pop songstress Shiina Ringo lends her musical caress to the soundtrack, and actress Anna Tsuchiya, an ex-model turned J-pop strumpet who stole the show as a teenage biker girl gangbanger in Kamikaze Girls, seemed like the perfect sort of rough 'round the edges, streetwise prima ballerina to play the rebellious-yet-kept lady of the night lead character trapped in the red light of Sakuran.
anna tsuchiya in mika ninagawa's sakuran
Though we never learn her true name, the story follows a young girl sold to a house of ill-repute in the notorious Yoshiwara district of Edo, a "pleasure quarters" area of what is now known as modern day Tokyo. We watch this girl grow up learning about womanhood, sex, and the art of allure and deception, as it pertains to prostitution, from her working-girl housemates and mama-san handler. (It should be mentioned here that there is a surprising mini-montage of various angles and close-ups of breasts and nipples during a bathhouse scene that caused me to verbally chasten my television for revealing such an unexpected anatomical expose.) The girl is given the name 'Kiyoha' and, armed with what we are supposed to understand as sort of preternatural understanding of "desire," hers becomes the name on everyone's lips whether whispered passionately by admirers or spat out like venom in hatred. This leads to great fame and high, ahem, society for Kiyoha as she eventually makes the move from nobody "new girl" to celebrity oiran, a sort of esteemed courtesan who gets to parade around town in fabulously lofty footwear. Drama!
anna tsuchiya in mika ninagawa's sakuran
The infallible foundation and sturdy framework of the film is not the story, but rather the luscious scenery; the visuals satisfy cherry-pie like cravings while the tepid plot-points weaken the elastic of your undergarments like carbohydrate loading minus the burn. It doesn't help that the story is a familiar one. Many folks draw comparisons between Sakuran and Memoirs of a Geisha and, to a lesser extent, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. It's true Sakuran shares a similar story line to that of Memoirs, but I believe it is the better film for two reasons. First, the cinematograpic orgasmatron that Sakuran flaunts is colorfully, texturally and artfully way above and beyond anything showcased in Memoirs, including that crazy, cathartic dance scene. Second, I've always had trouble with movies that are dripping wet with a specific "other" cultural fragrances yet cast actors for convenient English speaking roles (the artistic biopic Frieda starring Salma Heyak comes to mind); Why? Is it too much to ask of an American audience to check out some subtitles? Too much trouble getting the production staff on the same page linguistically? (Sorry to digress Arsenio Hall-style, but I'll forever store this phenomenon in the things that make you go "hmmm" file.) Sakuran may be just another "geisha" picture, but it's got wicked style enough to make the 110 minutes you'll sit basking in it worth your time.anna tsuchiya rocks some tall shoes in mika ninagawa's sakuran

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No sound no tell, Gay Cinema in the silent era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 31, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Frederic Lord Leighton Flaming June
Frederic Lord Leighton's Flaming June

June, in addition to being Vision Research Month, Fireworks Safety Months, Light the Night for Sight Months, National Candy Month, Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, Cancer in the Sun Month, Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Pest Control Month, Safety Month, Scleroderma Awareness Month, and Zoo and Aquarium Month, is also Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, first established by Bill Clinton back in '00. Therefore, I may in the coming weeks blog about iced tea or become aware of Scleroderma, but for now I will focus on Gay Cinema.

One of the first things I noticed about gay people's feelings toward Gay Cinema is that they're almost all negative.  Exceptions are usually foreign films, which are almost invariably downers. The first year Amoeba observed Gay and Lesbian Pride month in the movie department in the form of a display, we all had an uncomfortable chuckle about the unfailingly depressing storylines of the films we featured. Films based on the lives and deaths of famous gays like Joe Orton, Brandon Teena, Oscar Wilde and James Whale all ended tragically. And here I thought gay meant happy!

closet

The history of Gay Cinema is quite unlike most minority driven alternatives to Hollywood. Unlike American Asians, blacks, Latinos and Natives -- whose identities have always been fairly obvious (except in cases of passing) -- gays have always had the option of remaining invisilble. Therefore, gays were never required to sit in the back of the bus, attend special schools or live in segregated neighborhoods. In the silent film industry, most gay actors understandably chose to hide their identitites. Though there are few overt representations of homosexuality in silent films -- mostly in European films -- most are merely hinted at. More importantly, however, the contributions of gays both in front of and behind the camera are many and noteworthy.

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Amoeba Hollywood Latin Music Best Sellers For May 2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 31, 2009 02:52am | Post a Comment

1. Mexican Institute Of Sound-Soy Sauce
2. Zoe-Reptilectric
3. Eydie Gorme Y Los Pachos-Cantan En Español
4. V/A-Salsa Dura Show
5. Don Omar-IDON
6. La Excelencia-Mi Tumbao Social
7. Manu Chao-Clandestino
8. Mexican Institute Of Sound-Piñata
9. Federico Aubele -Amatoria
(Five releases tied at #10)

Mexican Institute Of Sound
's latest release, Soy Sauce, takes the number one spot from April’s big seller, Zoe. Soy Sauce has received great reviews and much support on public radio, not to mention the Anglo crossover appeal. All the exposure has helped M.I.S.’s overall catalog sales. Their previous release, Piñata, took the number eight spot as well. Eydie Gorme Y Los PanchosCantan En Español is at number three, thanks in part to the fact that this album seems to be a perennial Mother’s Day gift.

May also brought to Los Angeles the 11th Annual Los Angeles Salsa Congress and with it, many Salsa fans from all over the world. I had the pleasure of helping people from Australia, Japan, Puerto Rico and some peeps from all over the U.S. Some of the Salsa enthusiasts even made last minute trips to Amoeba just before heading to the airport on their way home. Now that’s some determination, if you know L.A. traffic! Among those releases was La Excelencia’s brilliant Mi Tumbao Social and The Salsa Dura Show compilation, featuring deep Salsa jams put together by Nick Aguirre, host of one of the most popular Salsa internet radio shows in the world, Nick Aguirre's Salsa Dura Show.

A few new releases hit the charts as well. Reggaeton icon Don Omar's much-anticipated new joint, IDON, came in at number five and Federico Aubele’s third release, Amatoria, came in at number eight. Fans of Aubele’s music should know what to expect-- dubby, down tempo electronica with Spanish guitar, sultry female vocals and Tango influences. Also, along with Aubele’s new CD, there are a few new 12” remixes of previous released songs, such as "Maria Jose" from 2007’s Panamericana.

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Your Pals Are Not What They Seem 2: Faith and Reason in Lost's Season 5 Finale

Posted by Charles Reece, May 30, 2009 02:07pm | Post a Comment
Page I

john lock weird eyes lostjohn locke dead coffin lost

Being a congenital skeptic, I had expected Lost to go the way of other fantasy shows exploring the issue of faith. It began by establishing the central antagonism between its central characters, the rationalist doctor Jack Shephard (the de facto leader -- get it?) and the faith-filled, ironically named John Locke (the namesake of the famous British empiricist whose philosophical inbred progeny was one B. F. Skinner). In regaining the use of his legs after crashing on the island, Locke was granted something of his own revelation. By way of this objective correlative, Locke and the audience had a inkling that there was something more to the island than Jack's skepticism allowed. Throw in a smoke monster, people coming back from the dead and time travel and any reasonable person starts sympathizing with Nochimson's vaginal heroism. The lure is there to wrap the antagonism up in the same generic package as all the aforementioned failed fantasy programs. Affirm faith by killing it with literalism (compare the deracinated horror of Stephen King's CGI-infested movie-adpatation of his The Shining to the dread of Stanley Kubrick's).

Seems to me that faith is both an opening and a closing. The believer must remain open to mysterious possibilities that defy the normative limits given by our best explanatory models while digging his heels in the sand and claiming his irrationally derived belief is the truth. Therefore, faith requires mystery. If the implausible is made normative, as it is so often in fantasy, there is no faith involved. Of course, the recipient (viewer, reader) must maintain a level of faith by way of the classic suspension of disbelief. Similarly, lest the believer become a mere ideologue, he must live with uncertainity, a nagging suspicion that he might be wrong (i.e., not all that different from the fantasy genre's suspension requirement).

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