Blanking: The Unseen Art

Hey friends!

A wee while ago me and my pals entered New Zealand’s V48 Hours film competition. For the uninitiated, this is a competition where you are given 48 hours to make a 1-7 minute film. Each film must be made in a certain genre that is drawn by each team (out of a possible 12). It must also include a certain prop, a line of dialogue, a character and as of last year a certain technical feature. This year our film had to fit the following guidelines.

  • GENRE: We drew ‘Fad Film’ the example being ‘Planking’ which is very popular these crazy days.
  • PROP: A bent piece of wire.
  • CHARACTER: Bobby Young (an Ex-Bully)
  • TECHNICAL FEATURE: A freeze-frame ending (à la The 400 Blows)

The result was Blanking: The Unseen Art which you can view below.

Blanking was pretty well received. My mum laughed which was a big plus. And we didn’t hate watching it which was a big plus. We also got through to the Wellington Finals which was completely unexpected. There, we got nominated for ‘Best Script’ which was pretty funny because Blanking was largely improvised (although improvisation is still scripting in a sense, aye John Downie?). The lovely Stella Reid was also nominated for ‘Best Actress’ which was very well deserved I thought. Best of all though was having Graeme Tuckett tell us he loved our film and also having the guys who made Fistfull of Crime say they liked it too. You should watch their utterly insane and wonderful movie below.

Funnily enough a fellow Whanganui team ‘The Couch Kumaras’ made up of some rad high-school guys took out the Wellington Finals and, in my opinion, were robbed at the National Final. You should also check out their beautifully shot film Sketch, winner of way too many awards to list here.

Anyways please enjoy ours too. Please.

*Also please note this is a slightly altered version. The film itself is still exactly the same, I just re-did the credits so we could thank everyone that was involved. I did however forget to thank my buddy Tyrone Ohia who was ‘Typography Advisor’.

I Listen to Music!

Hey. Have you guys heard of music?

Well not only have I heard of music, I can actually confirm that I have heard music.

And now, through the power of the infonet you can see what music I have heard. And when I heard it. How bout that?

Lastfm is a rad program that you can download. Once installed the audioscrobbler takes note of all the music you listen to, not only on your computer but even on your ipod! It then gives you charts and stats and the like showing you what you have listened to.

I’m posting this because I recently signed up for a new lastfm account which you can follow here. I got a new one after my girlfriends sister plugged in her ipod one time making ‘Sex on Fire’ my favourite song by a whopping 300 plays.

Lately, as you can see, I’ve been pumping my fist to ‘Tao of the Dead’ by …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead (check out the cover!) and ‘Age of Adz’ by Sufjan Stevens whose show in Wellington last week was one of the best I’ve ever been to.

So now you can see that I’m a cool guy that knows about music as well as movies. Next I’m gonna check out books. I might even read one. Maybe.

I Film great bands!

My good friend Brandon Sayring is a bona fide cool guy and he runs an impressive new musical venue in my hometown Whanganui. It’s called The ARC Theatre (in honour of well known Whanganui musical figurehead Al Cameron) and lately some pretty radical bands have been playing there.

Here are some clips I shot at the Halloween grand opening show which was a pretty incredible spectacle. Using The ARC Theatre’s Vimeo channel I’ll upload more musical marvels, so keep an eye on it if you like what you see!

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD!

OL’ FOUR EYES!

OCELOT!

To come! The spooky sounds of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and the glitch banging beats of ITTERATA!

My Xmas Wishlist

Friends! After an appallingly meagre output this year I probably don’t deserve a present. However, with a new computer in tow I endeavor to improve my blog batting average.

Truth be told, I’ve barely watched any movies of late, although like just about everyone else I did see The Social Network (Verdict: Superb). The reason I’ve been avoiding my first love is because I’ve been indulging my second; Television. And how about that show Deadwood? Good grief, what a stellar effort in just about every way. And HBO canned it! Travesty. I almost can’t fault the damn thing, except that her indoors has shifted her obsession from Eric Northman to Seth Bullock. What I wouldn’t give to have a wingman like Charlie Utter.

Now that I have filled my HBO quota for the time being I’m about to end my movie drought by watching Bob Rafelson’s The King of Marvin Gardens. And lo and behold it’s available in the most exciting Criterion collection release of recent times.

Can you believe this? All these pictures, including Jack Nicholson’s previously unreleased directorial debut Drive, He Said all in the same set with screeds of extras. Only Criterion could have done this and released it just in time for Xmas. So it should be fairly obvious what I’d like to see under the tree with my name on it.

When I do get this set (and I will get it so help me God) expect to see the odd post detailing my progress through the set. In the meantime go and watch Deadwood if you haven’t already. You’ll be growing a moustache in no time.

Jesus.

Jesus, I haven’t posted anything since March. And now I’m going on holiday for two months. Shameful shit. I’m sorry reader. I’ll be back with the vengeance of a cat o’ nine tails, so help me God.

I’ll post like 200 travel snaps, how does that sound? I’ll stand by some castles and maybe some bridges. A picture of me looking tired at the airport. Some clouds and the wing of the plane. You’ll go nuts, believe me. In the mean time read my friends blogs. Those diligent bastards.

I know! Re-watch The Wire and then when I get back we can talk about how much stuff we missed the first time round. We can talk about Randy and that scene, you know the one I mean.

If they have the internet in Europe (still not sure if they do) I may even post something. Maybe a picture of me and Terence Stamp. Love that guy.

Anyways, see you when the Delorean hits 88.

Scores of Scores.

There are few original film scores that I can listen to while I’m washing the dishes, picking up things and putting them in different places (commonly known as tidying), or just sitting in a chair lamenting the fact I haven’t yet done either of the two former tasks.

Furthermore, many scores are too synonymous with their films that it’s hard to listen to them divorced from the moving image. Even Clint Mansell’s score for Requiem for a Dream, a score I like very much (much more than the movie actually), just makes me think of that guy from ’30 Seconds to Mars’ getting his arm cut off, or that girl from Labyrinth doing horrible things in front of businessmen.

This got me thinking about scores that have made their way into my regular iTunes playlist. Initially, the only one I could think of was Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Infact, recently ‘White Lunar’, a collection of their music from Jesse James, The Proposition and most recently The Road, has been racking up a high play count.

Then of course there are others like Curtis Mayfield’s score for Superfly, and practically anything by Jon Brion or Mark Mothersbaugh. Shit, I’m well known for professing my love of the latter’s score for the Playstation One classic Crash Team Racing. There’s also Angelo Badalamenti’s work for David Lynch, RZA’S work for Jarmusch and Tarantino, Joe Hisaishi’s for Miyazaki and Kawai’s for Mamoru Oshii. And what about Gustavo Santolalla’s score for The Motorcycle Diaries. Jesus, I’ve named quite a few really haven’t I?

Oh well, the real reason I bring this all up is to shed some light on a gem of a film and an absolute stunner of a score. It’s possibly my favourite ever although I accept that is a momentous call.

The composer is Bruce Langhorne and the film is Peter Fonda’s elegiac Western The Hired Hand starring Fonda himself and Rushmore Film Society favourite Warren Oates. Hot damn, what a score!  It’s a score that suits the films tone so perfectly it’s a marvel, a goddam marvel. It’s music which makes me feel justified in throwing around Mojo Magazine terms like ‘achingly beautiful’ and even, dare I say it, ‘gorgeous’.

Problem. It is super rare. Between you and me, about the only place you are likely to find this score is in the far margins of P2P or on renegade blogs (not like this one) with those naughty rapidshare links. If anybody out there has this on Vinyl I would do almost anything to get it. Not almost anything in the Jennifer Connelly-Requiem for a Dream way, but almost anything else.

So, to hear it you’ll just have to watch the film I guess.

After trawling youtube I managed to find a son of a gun who’s uploaded the film and below is the hypnotic opening scene with my favourite piece from Bruce Langhorne’s score. I hope you enjoy as much as I do. Also, please let me know of your favourite scores or the ones you think hold up best as everyday long-players. I’d be keen to hear.

And also, just for the hell of it, here’s Stewart Copeland’s “Don’t Box Me In” from Rumblefish. ‘Cause it’s awesome and ’cause Mickey Rourke as Motorcycle Boy is everything I wish I was.

Film is a Weapon.

My good friend Brendan Olphert, author of the Cola Wars Blog and longtime John Carpenter afficianado directed me to two masterpieces made by the grey haired prince of darkness. Carpenter (like Sidney Lumet) is a director who has been wildly prolific despite a popularity which runs hot and cold at times. Many of his great films (I’m thinking The Thing) were overlooked and only achieved masterpiece status with the passing of many years.

The first film, In the Mouth of Madness, is as good a psychological horror as you’ll ever see. Featuring New Zealand’s very own Sam Neill as well as a frightening turn by David Lynch regular Jurgen Prochnow as the enigmatic writer Sutter Kane, In the Mouth of Madness manages to continue a genuinely terrifying plot with some superb sequences that scared the heck out of me. The scenes of Neill and Linda Carmen driving to the town of Hobbs End are particularly stirring as they play on the simple fear of witnessing the impossible.

The one that really got me however is Carpenter’s Masters of Horror episode Cigarette Burns. The story of cinema manager Kirby Sweetman and his obsessive pursuit of a print of La Fin Absolue du Monde (The Absolute end of the World) a lost film which reduces audiences to murderous rage and supposedly depicts the real mutilation of an angel. It’s a brilliant hook, especially for cinephiles. As Sweetman tracks down people who know about the film he encounters a critic who has spent his entire career attempting to write a review which can describe the film adequately. He also discovers those aquatinted with the director Hans Bakovic, a filmmaker who believed film could be used as a weapon. Cigarette Burns is a clever story and an easy one to watch, especially due to it’s short running time. The more Carpenter I see the more his excellence appears to me. If you can find Cigarette Burns or In the Mouth of Madness check them out, I’d reccommend watching them as a double feature as it’s quite clear that they contain similar ideas and can even be considered as companion pieces.

If you want to know more about Carpenter I suggest asking the expert Brendan Olphert, he’s pointed me to some stunning pictures and I’m sure he’s more than happy to do the same for you.

In the Mouth of Madness

Cigarette Burns