17 Movie Soundtrack Motivationals to Facilitate your Fitness Resolutions

Posted by Kells, January 25, 2015 04:28pm | Post a Comment

It's way past mid-January, do you know where your fitness goals are? Have you found that your get-up-and-go up got up and went? Are you looking for that perfect mix to pump [clap!] you up? Whether or not the holiday pounds have still got you down, chances are you or someone you know is looking to get motivated and stay fit in '15, even if it's just for one more week. To that I say: JUST DO IT! Push those New Year's resolutions to the limit and stay physical with this list of schlocky soundtrack anthems, Scotti Bros. label classics, and movie montage motivationals! 

[note: this post is dedicated entirely to the one and only Danimal, without whom this list would not have been so inspired nor exhaustive (however incomplete) as we have, during the course of our respective overlapping Amoeba journeys, spent countless hours extolling the many wonders, peaks, and pitfalls of these storied stimu-jams!]

Frank Stallone - "Far From Over"

From the soundtrack to Staying Alive (1983), Sylvester Stallone's second ever directorial effort and follow-up to the successful Saturday Night Fever, comes this undeniable force of motivational rock courtesy of baby brother Frank Stallone. In more ways than one this track is the the leaping-point from which this film takes flight, providing a desperately high-impact canvas for the opening credits/dance-or-die audition montage. Catching up with Tony Manero's dreams of "making it" as a professional dancer in the cutthroat theater scene of the big apple has never been so sweaty, or lean.

Power lyric: "I'm diggin' in, I want it more than anything I've wanted/Save me darlin', I am down but I am far from over!"

Continue reading...

Cinema Exotica: Green Mansions (1959)

Posted by Kells, May 18, 2012 12:23am | Post a Comment

From here we embark upon a new adventure in film.

I've spent countless, happy hours fantasizing the paradisiacal ideal while imbibing perilous quantities of rum disguised as exotic cocktails courtesy of my favorite local tiki temple --- an activity that always serves to spur my desire to explore the visions of other folks who, like me, possess a natural inclination for romanticizing the genre Exotica in all it's mythic and delightfully bogus configurations. Specifically, a designated fantasy realm as glamorized almost as much as it is spoofed by the so-called civilized world, or tropical ersatz: the non-native, pseudo experience of Oceania and other enticing ports of call.

Until now I've kept these mental meanderings mostly to myself, only occasionally sharing my ruminations with whomever occupies a bar stool nearby and all the while becalmed beneath the warming fog of grog. From this day forward, however, I seek to nourish my untiring preoccupation with genre by delving into a more conceptual, considerate means of satisfying these vivid tropical itches I keep having. The time has come to put some sober thought into this journey beyond the music in favor of a more lively, animated intoxication I like to call Cinema Exotica (not to be confused with that mid-nineties Canadian film about a Toronto strip club).

But where do we begin? Perhaps with a question: if Exotica, the musical genre, provides the adventure-seeking listener an array of quasi-tropical aural impressions with which to induce a mini mental holiday, then how would these cerebral spells manifest if they could be fully realized? That is to say scripted, financed, and committed to film for the ages. Mulling this query has inspired a sort of personal silver-screen safari: my quest to find films that I feel qualify for classification into a logical Cinema Exotica film genre -- a genre that doesn't really exist as far as I can surmise. I mean, research suggests that the words have more to do with adult entertainment than anything else (google it any way you can and see what I mean).

No matter, this is the first of what I hope will be many forays into the exciting world of theatrically produced Exotica and seeing as this maiden voyage was inspired by none other than the verdant, au natural allure of the album art for Stanley Wilson's Pagan Love and others (see above), the first and thus far only genre compliance guideline is that films which bear no resemblance whatsoever to images related to the Exotica musical genre are to be considered categorically inadmissible. Meaning I have a rather broad net to cast, so let's get to fishing for this exploratory series with the inaugural Cinema Exotica post celebrating the 1959 romantic adventure (rom-venture?) film and critical box office failure Green Mansions.

Let me first begin by saying it amazes me that this film ever got made, but then time has not at all been kind to it. I knew from the start that most of the movies that approach Cinema Exotica levels of qualification would, in theory, pack a heady punch of stunning visuals but toe the line taste-wise and Green Mansions is no exception. It is at times visually pleasing but taken together with the stilted, emotionless acting and the deliriously bogus, soft-focus forested Hollywood set where the bulk of the "action" takes place, not to mention the racist, "ooga-booga" portrayal of the enemy jungle natives, the picture plays like a decayed dwelling --- a mouldering green mansion if you will --- creaking with age. Not even Audrey Hepburn's intrinsic charm as the mysterious jungle "bird woman" Rima could save it from being panned as an early-career disaster, though in my opinion any film that pairs Hepburn's doe-like demeanor with the actual animal-actor potential of a real live deer has to be regarded as something of a casting triumph, the proof is in these off-set candids:

While Hepburn serves born-this-way aesthetic realness as nymph-like denizen of the woods, the casting of an obviously Japanese man as the chief of an Indian tribe living deep within the South American jungle is only a sample of the distractions which further confuse the already wildly incoherent plot. The story of Green Mansions, based off of the 1904 novel, Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest written by William Henry Hudson, revolves around a traveler Abel (played by Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame), who, after escaping from the political strife of Venezuela, travels deep into the jungle exploring for gold, only to discover a strange girl of the forest, Rima (Hepburn) and the two fall in love. One of the many convoluted plot-wrenches stems from the jungle tribes desire to kill Rima, but there is no apparent explanation of why this must be so. Also, there is a whole mess of further disorienting story details like Rima's hang up about her mother being killed and/or finding out her true identity via the old hermit she lives (shacks up) with but none of these are ever fully explained. But, dang does it look every bit the Cinema Exotica head trip, starring Audrey Audrey Audrey...

All in all, it is really too bad this film was such a flop. I imagine that the themes and ideas inherent to the novel are chock full of poetic beauty potential and, given the right creative reigning, could've been rendered into a classic cinematic precursor to Fern Gully (sorry Mel Ferrar). Unless you unconditionally love Hepburn this film is just plain painful to watch what with the continuous plot holes and the errant miscasting and if Green Mansions isn't an altogether long forgotten blunder it is surely one of her lesser known films. Still, I have to rate this one at...well, how about a rating scale? I hadn't counted on figuring that part of this exercise out yet. What shall it be? A recommended cocktail remedy to dull the blow of, or, enhance the viewing experience? That's easy!

for Green Mansions: pour thee a Painkiller, times three.

Imbibing "Rummy 4" (In Which the Spiritus of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is Deemed Grog-Worthy)!

Posted by Kells, May 25, 2011 04:10pm | Post a Comment

Like any cinematic guilty pleasure worth weathering, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is more than just an overblown, summer  swashbuckler expressed by as yet untapped, stay-puft and plunging poet-shirted, scally-wag stereotypes. Nay, this flick be an opportune seaworthy vessel for a cine-booze cruise. Having veraciously enjoyed the film myself, I offer here some possible guidelines for dissolving that fourth wall of Disney imagineering with the real spirit of the eighteenth century --- RUM! --- an endeavor that'll surely have you listing near to scuppers or otherwise passed out in the bilge by journey's end: be ye warned!

First off, the obvious: 1 drink whenever anyone drinks, cheers matey. This is a pirate movie after all, savvy? (Make that a sip for every "savvy" uttered as well.)

1 drink for every instance of weird religious undertones. Hear me now believe me later, there is enough missionary madness and religious righteousness invoked here to warrant suspicions as to the possible narrative of Rummy 5.

1 drink when Richard Griffiths flashes his nasty, royal grill!

1 drink for every "Aye!" Geoffrey Rush's pirate turned privateer, Captain Hector Barbossa, delivers.

1 drink for every veiled dick-joke, sexually suggestive slight or instance of implied bawdiness.

1 drink whenever Blackbeard, played by "bad man" Ian McShane, strokes, draws or nefariously itches his sword.

1 tipple for every mermaid nipple hidden behind a mess of salty tresses. (Fun fact: Disney sought to cast talent with au naturel treasure chests for their mermaids, favoring mammary realness rather than epic breast augmentation.)

1 drink for every time a chalice is lost or otherwise not found.

1 drink whenever a flag is brandished.

1 drink every time the movie makes fun of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.

I think it best to end it there, as I'm sure these points alone are enough to float any boat game enough
to imbibe a right ruthless water-logging, wreckage and ruin. Please make free to raid and pillage this list at your own risk --- drink up me hearties, yo ho!

Back in Bag End Again: Keeping Up with the Hobbit

Posted by Kells, April 15, 2011 01:05pm | Post a Comment
Production has begun on Peter Jackson's two film epic adaptation of The Hobbit and what better way to keep geeks (like me) in the know than to keep a Hobbit blog replete with photos and boss video updates:

I love how down to earth (Middle Earth!) Sir Peter is and this first look into what promises to be an unprecedented documentation of modern movie making (3D, yo!) and down-home togetherness (the Maori blessing of the set and hongi greetings portrayed in this, the first, ten minute video blog are heart-warming) the likes of which Ringers the world 'round will lap up with fervor. Keep 'em coming, Kiwis!

All That Biodigital Jazz, Man

Posted by Kells, December 30, 2010 10:55am | Post a Comment

I remember the first time I caught sight of the glowing, blacklit neon appeal of TRON. The boxy upright console outshone the others in my hometown Putt-Putt arcade and I couldn't help desiring to bask in its purple hazed portal though I'd always considered Centipede to be my one and only love. Let's be honest, playing TRON was about as exciting as the saccharin in a can of Tab, no matter how romanced I was by that Starlight Express meets Pinball Wizard of a design story. It's a silly game popularized a silly movie and it seems the good folks down at Disney completely understand that. TRON may never be taken seriously for its dramatic narrative and that's exactly right-on, but it is bursting with cinematic content. For me, re-viewing the 1982 classic TRON flick and the recently reimagineered TRON: Legacy was pure pop Sci-Fi pleasure the likes of which anyone this side of the Logan's Run Carousel knows better than to over-analyze.

Anyway, what better way to punctuate sweet freedom of another semester completed and celebrate the spirit of the season than seeing TRON: Legacy in IMAX 3D over Christmas vacation? Disney's new take on the ambitious yet sketchy Rotoscoped, post modern, science-fantasy arcade-gaming jam delivers a not very smart but sometimes clever cross-section of tired sci-fi/fantasy genre clichés, slickly redesigned to diamond-cut, mind-blowing visual perfection, ever flying the promotional gaming flag and still driven (literally!) by a pre-Lebowski albeit CG'd Jeff Bridges (which raises questions about the ethical treatment of dead actors' imminent bodies of possible future work) as well as the more popular (and less obviously plasti-complexioned) post "Dude" Jeff Bridges. Aesthetically, TRON went from this: 
to this:

...clunky helmet no longer required. I really love the visual shift in the application of a primary color scheme from TRON's UV tinged, patent eighties neons to the updated laser red, tungsten yellow and halogen blue as they appear both on and off their respective renderings of "the grid," not to mention the thrilling, hi-tech hard edge TRON: Legacy has over the crappy vectorgraphic "effects" dealt by its predecessor. However, TRON: Legacy does manage to shovel its fair share of shit: what's with that queeny Castor character and his, or should I say HER, swishy hardly-head-of-security counterpart? Accommodating the Brits-as-villains Star Wars stereotype much? Castor's little ditty and dance act should be cast out. And how about all that easy, cheesy dialogue? I swear some of those lines were straight up lifted from the Matrix --- is that why this film wasn't made ten years ago? And while I'm not buying so much the Neo/Jesus/Skywalker/Solo vibe of Kevin Flynn's son (played by Garrett Hedlund), Sam, I am totally vibing on Jeff Bridges' Obi Wan/God/Gandalf "zen thing" update of his completely timelapsed character, under the influence of a heavy dose of his Dudeness (Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing). I mean, really, if Bridges hadn't had his prior engagement with the brothers Coen, TRON: Legacy would probably only have its visual wizardry going for it and zero characters for folks like me to latch on to. Besides, I was more than ready to settle in and enjoy the ride after that opening sequence: Bridges' voice, speaking over Daft Punk's excellent score of electronic minimalism meets classical orchestration --- incorporating Wendy Carlos' original TRON soundtrack in a fitting homage --- urging us to think of a time when computers seemed more magical than mechanical and menacing, the inevitability of A.I. more a willing dream than nightmarish catastrophe. "The Grid," he recalls: "A digital frontier. I tried to picture clusters of information as they move through the computer. What did they look like? Ships? Motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see. And then, one day, I got in."

In short, the good parts of TRON: Legacy are really
good and they mostly make up for any short-comings Disney inserted or let slip into the big picture. The restraint in shown in choosing to present certain scenes in 2D and the impressively seamless transition from early eighties to late eighties to present day, not to mention tasteful use of songs by Journey and the Eurythmics, add a touch of class and sophistication to what should by any reckoning be a silly remake of a silly movie concerning an attractive yet silly video game where hot fem-bot types still manage to stomp it out stilettos and impossibly wide tires, or whatever, corner like a ten-speed on ice. Whatever, Daft Punk's cameo was flawlessly fun and I got a kooky idea for an interior lit Jedi cloak that'll look fabulous flapping in the wind while riding a TRON bike. Plus, seeing TRON: Legacy has only kicked off my holiday Sci-Fi/Fantasy movie marathon extravaganza by putting me in the mood for, well, every film I've mentioned above plus about ten others like Bladerunner, Soylent Green, Westworld, Zardoz, They Live, Star Trek IV (the one with the whales) and Star Trek VII (the better one with the Borg), just to name a few. Here's the trailer, if you choose to go out and see it, do yourself a favor and shell out the extra ducats to see it in 3D IMAX, it really should be the only way to view it.

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