Monday, February 28, 2011

MIX-N-MASH MONDAYS: 02.28.11



I don't know about you, but I need a little something for my Oscar hangover. For this week's download, I'm hitting up another group of awards show darlings - Arcade Fire!

Now, I'm not nearly enough of a hipster to claim that I've been a fan forever. But I am proud to say that I fell in love with their (now) Grammy award-winning album The Suburbs a couple of months ago. And then I found a mash-up that felt like it was just for me. How do you do that? You add some Blondie. Here's "Sprawl of Glass", for your Monday enjoyment:


Sprawl of Glass
(Sprawl II + Heart of Glass)
Arcade Fire vs. Blondie
Download Now

This week's download is from The Hood Internet, a site I recently discovered...and now love. Check out The Mixtape Volume 5 (the entire compilation is free to download and pretty nifty) for a proper demonstration of their skills.

Peace out, February!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ACADEMY ALGORITHM

In the battle between a modern masterpiece and a fickle Academy, can geekier heads prevail?

Ladies and Gentlemen...Happy Oscar Day! LA has been a chilly, rainy, and even snowy place this weekend, but it looks as though nominee/sorceress Helena Bonham Carter has bewitched the weather for a clear red carpet day.

Despite only having seen half of this year's nominees for Best Picture, I'm fairly certain that my opinions would not change even if I had seen the other 5 films. When it comes to the best of the year, my full support goes to The Social Network. Aaron Sorkin's writing, David Fincher's directing and Trent Reznor's music all combined to not only set a tone but create an entire world at the genesis of Facebook.

And yet, that world (like ours) would be incomplete without the talents of Andrew Garfield, Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake. All three actors manage to find a soul in their characters, despite none of their real world counterparts being particularly likable. They're not just nerds, they're nerds with power. Don't piss off this breed, world.

And speaking of people you don't want to mess with (more or less), let's give it up for Armie Hammer! His damn hot work as both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was most impressive. I still get chills when I think about the line, "I'm 6'5", weight 220 pounds, and there's two of me."

But how quickly the world forgets! Before he was rowin' crew and suin' nerds, he was scamming Manhattan's elite (including Serena Van der Woodsen's family) out of millions of dollars with scheming socialite Poppy Lifton on Gossip Girl. His multi-episode arc only had him shirtless once, but I'm willing to forgive it. Watching him manipulate the perpetually stupid Serena was entertaining in its own special way.

So here's to The Social Network. It's already won every other award, so I wish Fincher, Sorkin & Company the best of luck this evening. My second choice is easily The Kids Are All Right (read my original review here), as it was by far the next most original and captivating, in my opinion. Take a look at these very cool minimalist poster designs above, and click to make 'em bigger.

Andrew Garfield & Aziz Ansari at a pre-Oscar event. You're welcome.

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards begin tonight on ABC at 5pm here on the West Coast, but you'll definitely want to check out Andrew Garfield's tuxedo'd arrival on the Red Carpet starting at 4pm.

I'll be watching the show at home with friends as per tradition, and cracking champagne bottles from the limo arrivals all the way through the Death Parade! Check my Twitter feed for any mayjah updates. May the best films win!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

PECKING ORDER


Lessons Learned:
Birdemic: Shock and Terror Edition


Last night at the Silent Movie Theatre, Cinefamily hosted a one year anniversary screening of Birdemic: Shock and Terror, a marvel of ultra-sincere filmmaking. I saw writer/director James Nguyen's tour de force for the first time at last year's screening, and was utterly slack-jawed...in the best way possible. He's the ultimate genius/madman; so far beyond self-aware that his only goal in life is to entertain. And he's fucking hilarious.


A drinking game was given to us while waiting in line, by none other than Whitney Moore herself!

One year later, the secret is more than out - the theater was packed and the crowd was rowdy. And after watching the magic unfold yet again over the course of 90 minutes, we were treated to a late night Q&A with James Nguyen and his stars - Alan Bagh and the utterly delightful Whitney Moore.


Cinefamily's programmer Hadrian Belove, writer/director James Nguyen, and stars Whitney Moore and Alan Bagh

What transpired from there (and didn't end 'til after 3am) was by far the most entertaining panel I have ever seen. And usually Q&A's make me horribly uncomfortable. At several points it almost felt staged, but then I realized it was all real and became even more fascinated. I haven't laughed that hard in ages. Here's what I know:

1.
Substance abuse is encouraged. "How many beers you had? What have you smoked?" - Director James Nguyen

2.
Perfection takes time. In its entirety, the film took 7 months to shoot.


3.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. Asked what one thing she would have done differently, Whitney replied "I would have worn shoes at that Motel 6. Other than that, not a goddamn thing."


4.
Don't quit your day job. Nguyen still works as a software salesman (just like Rod!) to fund his true passion of filmmaking.

5. Spontaneity is the devil. Alan recalls that they were "absolutely not allowed" to improvise anything.


6.
Global warming IS all in your head. Nguyen stated very matter of factly that he wasn't trying to send a message. "If I wanted to send a message I would have used the post office."

7. Know your inspiration. Proving that he knows his share about the "Hitchcockian School of Romantic Thrillers", Nguyen proceeded to describe - in detail - several scenes from The Birds.

8. James Nguyen likes breasts.
While filming the first scene in the diner, Nguyen approached Moore with rubber breast inserts and told her to put them in her shirt. In front of the entire cast and crew.

9. Always mess with their heads. When asked by an audience member why he couldn't make the single shot during the basketball scene, Alan Bagh revealed that he had made a basket...and wasn't sure why Nguyen opted not to use it.


10. Filmmaking is a cycle.
"I love making movies, because...I make movies because...I love making movies." - Director James Nguyen



Big thanks to the Birdemic: Shock and Terror trifecta - as well as the fine folks at Cinefamily - for an unforgettable evening. You can now experience the Romantic Thriller anytime, as B:S&T is available on DVD and awe-inspiring Blu-ray. And the most anticipated sequel of all time is currently in "pre-production":


It's revolutionary green tech!

Monday, February 14, 2011

LOVE VS. MONDAY


Happy Valentine's Day!

Like clockwork, Cupid and his band of troublemakers are back for their annual heart-shaped takeover. And whether you're love's champion or its bitch, I'd like to think we can agree on one thing - I'd rather be on Team V-Day than Team Monday. So let's celebrate, shall we?


Troy and Abed's adorable "relationship" on
Community showed just how strong it was on the 2nd annual Valentine's Day episode last week. And this bumper at the end was just plain adorable.

LOST-themed Valentines! Yes!


Desmond & Locke were my other favorites. Check 'em all out and download a printable pack for distributing to your nerd sweetheart here. Thanks, Adventuring Company!

And finally, one of the most romantic scenes in television history, courtesy of the gang from My So-Called Life:


Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Whether single or coupled, make sure you tell someone you love them today. Love is a lot bigger than one day for the greeting card industry, but it's still a nice excuse to appreciate those you care about most. Otherwise it's just Monday. Embrace it!

Infinite X's and O's!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

HEY MISTER DJ


Put a record on (and take your shirt off).
I wanna dance with my baby.


So I guess Garrett Hedlund is also maybe a DJ. Because now the world is just torturing me. What do you suppose he's spinning? "Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)" by Enrique Iglesias? "You Spin Me Round" by Dead or Alive?


As a special Sunday bonus, here's GarrHeds playing with himself. This happened at Comic-Con last year, and I think I may have unknowingly felt it on the show floor.

Hope you've all been having a sublime weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL TOMORROW


Happy 10th Birthday,
Disney California Adventure!


Thinking about how Disneyland's sister park has been open for a decade is enough to make my brain hurt. I was there on opening day on February 8, 2001, just a few months after my arrival in Los Angeles. It was an exciting time. And while I remain an avid supporter of this little park that could, I'm willing to acknowledge - like Disney themselves, now - that Anaheim's second gate was never quite up to snuff.


But all of that is changing! Thanks to regime changes (oh, and that $1 BILLION budget), Disney's California Adventure is on its way to becoming Disney California Adventure. The name change may be minor, but the improvements are anything but. Quickly disappearing is the asphalt jungle and all its charmless "design", making way for a near-total overhaul of theme all over the park.

Disney has never - repeat, NEVER - attempted such an undertaking before. Soon we'll have an all-new entrance harking back to Walt's own arrival in California, a Victorian-era Paradise Pier, Hollywood sans-backlot, a Little Mermaid ride, and expansion in the form of the massive Cars Land. So while the construction walls are pretty much everywhere, it's comforting to me that it's all for such a good cause.


Before World of Color, there was "LuminAria". Before Monsters Inc: Mike & Sulley To The Rescue, there was "Superstar Limo". And let's not forget about the crotch-grabbing stage show spectacular "Steps in Time", or the Whoopi Goldberg-enhanced journey through California history in "Golden Dreams".


Walt Disney was all about progress. He dreamed of a "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", and in the next couple of years Disney California Adventure will become just that. I'm with you 'til the end, DCA! Now just tell me what you did with that Cher audio-animatronic figure. TELL ME.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MAKE THE CALL


It's really easy to be supportive of your friends. You offer praise and smiles, and at the end of the day everyone involved feels good. But you know what's even better? When you get to be not only supportive, but also excited.

That's exactly how I feel about Hello Caller, a new short film written by and starring Tom Lenk. If you're a Buffy fan, you'll remember him as Andrew. That's how I first came to know of him, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to being one of the finest character actors working today, I'm also fortunate enough to call him a friend. And it doesn't stop there!

The dream team continues, with Tom's amazing co-star Tara Karsian (Lovespring International), and my friends Andy Putschoegl directing and James M. Barry composing the film's score. Editor's Note: You may also know James as "Disposable Culture", frequent Mix-N-Mash Mondays contributor. He's had to take some time off from my humble blog to work on his actual career as a film composer. You can check out his blog for more of his fantastic work and upcoming projects.



But back to the topic at hand! Hello Caller had its world debut at the Slamdance Film Festival, which takes place concurrently with Sundance in Park City, UT. And what a debut it was! Hello Caller won the 2011 Theatrical Release Offer Award for Short Film, which means that soon you'll be able to see this hilarious film on the big screen (if you live in one of the lucky cities).

So what's it all about? I've seen it and can attest to its awesomeness, but I'll let Tom and Tara explain in their own words - here's the trailer:


You're obviously hungry for more, so head on over to Hello-Caller.com for all the deets. I'm so excited and proud for everyone involved! I may be a townie when it comes to working in the entertainment industry, but I know quality when I see it. Applause!