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City Scenes: The Sean Smith Trio & John Vanderslice Present their Favorite Flicks! August 1st & 2nd

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 8, 2012 04:30pm | Post a Comment
 

On August 1st and 2nd, Cinema SF and folkYEAH present the third and fourth installments of City Scenes, the on-going series that pairs musicians with their favorite films.

This time around, local guitar-wizard Sean Smith (Citay) will perform Kraftwerk’s 1974 krautrock masterpiece Autobahn in its entirety followed by a screening of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult comedy Big Lebowski (1998).

The following night, master songsmith and Tiny Telephone founder John Vanderslice performs David Bowie's dystopian glam opus Diamond Dogs in its entirety, followed by a screening of Michel Gondry’s meta love story The Science of Sleep (2006).

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Samurai Valentines: falling in love with Kudo Kankuro's Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 14, 2009 01:39pm | Post a Comment
Yaji & Kita The Midnight Pilgrims DVD Kudo Kankuro
Perhaps the only thing better than seeing a highly anticipated movie you suspect you'll love is seeing a random, unexpected movie you never knew you needed until after you've seen it. A few days ago some friends and I sat down to watch a movie, like you do, without any prior knowledge of the film, only to find ourselves physically exhausted by the time the film had ended. No joke, we had to pause the movie several times to take breaks for the fits of laughter we were driven to. I cannot ever remember any film causing such violent cries of laughter to escape from my face the way viewing Kudo Kankuro's Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims did. I'm fighting back the giggles even now.

This film leaps into oblivion from the very beginning when Kita admits to Yaji, his lover, "I can't make heads or tails of reality." The film could easily be summed up with this single line alone, but it falls short of capturing some of the, let's say, more memorable moments in the film (hello! the bath scene!). A short synopsis of the film might go a little something like this: A gay samurai couple, Yaji and Kita, leave Edo (old Tokyo) on a quest to rid Kita of his heroin addiction. A song that could be called "Born to be Gay" gets the whole town singing and dancing in synch as they send our boys off on their merry way. A motorcycle appears and they hit the road. Hilarity ensues at every stop along the way and there are many, many points of departure and arrival in every sense (making no sense at all in most cases). The couple cuts a 7" single love song; like it or not, it is as popular as the Bearded Courtesan's single. The audience is treated to an impromptu karaoke sing-along featuring the Bearded Courtesan herself. King Arthur's sword is drawn from the stone and the two are separated by the river Styx and everyone looks like the same guy in the after life.... the bearded courtesan, hige no oiran, from Yajo & Kita the Midnight PilgrimsWell, I don't want to spoil it for you.
 
By comparison one could say this movie is an orgy involving the sucker-punch gauntlet of a plot Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and to a lesser extent Spike Jones's Being John Malkovich -- especially in the "afterlife" sequences), the modern meets Japonisme of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, or, better yet, the colorful, comedic retelling of Takeshi Kitano's Yojimbo. Add to that the Broadway medley insanity of Takashi Miike's Happiness of the Katakuris, the psudo-lezzie, unconditional BFF love found in Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls and, just for good measure, the drug-induced porno-bowling musical montage from the Cohen Brother's The Big Lebowski. The list could go on and on, but that's the best I can do at the moment to try and capture just how lethally laughable and uniquely enjoyable this carnival on acid of a love-buddies-on-the-road flick this is. I've tried a few times to find the right words, heck, barely adequate words to give this movie life in the mind of those who haven't seen it; I know it's cliche to say "seeing is believing" when attempting to summarize the glory and afterglow of Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims. By my standards I declare it to be one of the great new additions in contemporary Japanese cinema with a cast comprised of many of Japan's finest and famous comedy stalwarts and standard bearers to prove it. Nope, this one's not to be missed, but like Levar Burton says, "don't take my word for it, find out for yourself."

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HOW MANY "F" WORDS IN THE BIG LEBOWSKI?

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2008 11:01pm | Post a Comment

I hadn't seen the movie The Big Lebowski since it came out in theaters ten years ago and hence only vaguely recalled how the "F" word and other cuss words were uttered so very liberally throughout the comedy.  But upon recently watching the short but entertaining The Big Lebowski -- The Fucking Short Version clip above by YouTuber BunnieLebowski I realized just how frequently the F word was actually worked into the 1998 Coen Brothers film script.  A lot!  Count them if you can manage to keep up with such characters as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (played by Jeff Bridges) dropping the "F" word..  And look for the DVD of this great movie at Amoeba Music.

 And speaking of the "F" word, check out the short English lesson on the word in the clip below.