Author Archives: Eric

Trash Monday III

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Siiiigh… World Cup ’94 in the United States of America… so many memories of that huge and glorious event. I was in primary school back then and can perfectly remember how Italy lost their first group match against football giants Ireland or how could one forget; Roberto Baggio’s amazing penalty kick in the final game, against Brazil.

What I did not know back then was that Germany, apart from losing against Bulgaria in the quarter-finals, had support from overseas to pave their way to success.

In vain…

Dear DFB, I really really really like your football and I hope you’ll make it to the finals this year. But please; I beg you; do never collaborate with Village People again!

Thank you!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd_pCMGrAVE]

Intouchables

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Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy and Anne Le Ny

Directed by: Eric Toledano

Intouchables (or Untouchable, in English) was a very pleasant surprise to me for 2012. Considering that I’m not that much into french movies and that Intouchables is on the run to become the most successful movie in France, leaving La Grande Vadrouille (with legendary Louis de Funés) and Bienvenu chez les ‘Chtis (starring french superstar actor Cad Merad) behind, I must say that this flick deserves this award and that I’m extremely happy about it.

But what’s this movie about?

It’s about a quadriplegic aristocrat named Philippe who was injured in a paragliding accident and eventually engages Driss, a young african from the ghetto, as his caretaker. This “combination” might sound perplexed at first, but it’s the very essence of this great movie. I have rarely seen such a “piece of art” that has so much heart and transmits so much hope and warmth to the viewer.

The combination of rich and depressed Philippe (or should I say frustrated, which sounds harsh considering his physical condition) and open-hearted extroverted Driss couldn’t be any more frontal. It’s Beethoven, Wagner and Brahms meeting Kool & The Gang. And yet the constellation works perfectly. After a short practical training at Francois palace (yes, one can say palace, it’s a big ass crib!) both become inseparable mates. Francois teaches Driss how to behave and introduce himself correctly in front of high society; how to look at art and how to interpret abstract artworks. He even manages to motivate Driss to become a painter.

And Driss , for his part, gives Francois his long lost self-confidence back; showing him the joys of life one can have, even with a severe disability. From introducing Francois into smoking marihuana to better withstand his phantom pain; to exotic ear-massages by high-class hookers or how to educate his rebelling daughter the right way, this unconventional life-affirming assistant is the right resource to make Francois feel alive and worth again.

The experience throughout the whole movie is like a big emotional rollercoaster joyride. That’s exactly the strong point of this flick. Being a paraplegic; with absolutely no autonomy is the biggest “punishment” and burden one can bear. But with “Intouchables”, you’ll realize once more that nothing is impossible; independently of the barriers you have to take upon you. When you have the right framework around you, like Francois has; with Driss on his side, you’ll never forget what you’re worth and worthy, no matter what obstacles you’ll have to confront.

Because after all, what matters, is the individual and the dignity that is in each one of us; no matter what one looks like or what obstacles one’s got to overcome.

Honestly, never could a movie bring all this aspects on point as Intouchables did.

There are a few things I did not like that much. For example, making a running gag of manual disimpaction is not really that funny, not for the patient nor for the caretaker, and yes; I do know what I’m talking about.

Furthermore I do ask myself how Francois could keep his balance when sitting inside his Maseratti as he could not move his limbs at all; eventhough Driss’ argument that only horses or cattle are transported in the back of a transporter sounds like a valid argument to me. But I guess that I’m splitting hairs right now, as both aforementioned points did not disturb the overall visual experience at all.

Intouchables left me very positively impressed and I have to say that it already is one of my all time favorites. Most definitely a must watch!

Christmas Special – The Little Nazi

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The older I get, the more I dislike Christmas. Seems like I lost my “emotional bond” to this over-commercialized orgy of hypocrisy during the last 7 years or so. We are enchanted by this magic contemplation, whilst ignoring all the misery happening around us, but let’s be nice to each other, even just for the next 2 days. I might kill you next week, but hey; today is THE day and I have to get along with you!

But hey; even though I sound like a dick; it does not mean that one cannot have a good laugh for Christmas.

So what about a shortie of a random german family celebrating Christmas, where things couldn’t go any worse from minute to minute? Let’s take swastikas and a demented grandmother and shit will hit the fan, for sure.

Enjoy!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My_fj5B2VC8]

Eric

Mr. Oizo – Stade 2

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First off, if you’re into “cheap” electronic music and think David Guetta is an angel sent from heaven, you should not read any further. Just go to McDonalds and enjoy your Happy Meal as it is easily digestible. Thank you.

Quentin Dupieux a.k.a. Mr. Oizo did it again. He released another banger of a record named Stade 2. But how does it sound like? It’s system overload, busta! Stade 2 is THE soundtrack when accidentally getting the wrong hole at your girlfriend’s and, awkwardly enough, she’s enjoying it. This is no music you get to hear in your wannabe stylish lounges or clubs. The sounds are way too unconventional to fit everyone’s taste and a lot of people will not enjoy this record. These people are more used to standard 4/4 timed electronic pop with Usher whining about how sad his life would be without you (who is this you person anyway?). But really; who fucking cares? The only thing that matters is that there’s one french bastard who puts a smile on my face each time he releases a new record. It may not be as fucked up or “dancy” as Lambs Anger but I’d rather stick to Mr. Oizo craftsmanship than to Skrillex’ bullshit music. Wouldn’t you as well?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1xTQ9pHOb8]

Kirby’s Adventure

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Every single one of us has got his ultimate favorite videogame. When I talk to my friends about their favorite game, classics like Mario Kart, Rock’n Roll Racing, Mega Man or Zelda come up.

Given the fact that I never owned a Super Nintendo as my parents knew that this would worsen my mental labilities, I had to stick to my beloved old Nintendo; a gift from my uncle Sergio when I was 8 years old. (thanks man!!)

But as I never was a fan of complex, gruesome and scary games I preferred playing more childlike games, the likes of Super Mario Brothers, Ducktales or Chip’n Dale – Rescue Rangers.

But if there’s one game that changed it all for me it has to be Kirby’s Adventure.

Yes, KIRBY! The tiny pinkish cuteball whose appetite is more insatiable than a bulimic’s.

What I mostly love about this game is Kirby’s ability to transform into a vast number of objects after sucking and digesting his enemies. I adored the broad spectrum of choices this game had to offer, something I had never experienced in a videogame before. Just keep in mind that this cute little creature devours it’s enemies with ease. No blood, no traces of violence; and yet this adorable little fucker couldn’t be more cruel! I wonder why PETA did not come up with an Anti-Kirby campaign yet, considering Kirby’s gluttony towards poor, innocent creatures… Oh, how I love this game!

Some people may complain that the Kirby franchise is just too easy to play. So what? It’s the overall gaming experience that matters. This game is soooo enjoyable and cute. Simply, the best time waster on a rainy Sunday afternoon, trust me; I spent a lot of Sundays playing the whole game in 2-3 hours and I could never get enough of it. This is one of a few timeless NES classic that deserves an 11 out of 10.

And the best for last, I’m not even the owner of this game. Some bloke at primary school loaned it to me and forgot to claim it back… Dude, whoever and wherever you are; THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Another big Kirby fan undoubtedly is Destructoid’s Jim Sterling who couldn’t be more right with his National Kirby Day video. You should totally follow him on twitter and destructoid.

(Long video loading time is long, sorry…)

 

-Eric-

Staplerfahrer Klaus

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Directed by: Stefan Prehn & Jörg Wagner

Produced by: Michael Sombetzki

Starring: Konstantin Graudus

It seems just like yesterday when I first saw this gem of a short movie at Luc’s place. I remember watching Forklift Driver Klaus 6 years ago and the impact it had on me, since I’m not the biggest gore afficionado; but this masterpiece was just right for me. But what is this movie about, after all?

This shortie is about Klaus’ first workday as a forklift driver where everything could possibly go wrong, from people falling off the forklift to amputations and a possessed motorsaw. The movie’s runtime is 9 minutes and just perfect for a no-brainer which parodies work safety films from the 80’s at its best.

Considering the budget of 90,000 € the effects are well made and the entertainment is at it’s highest possible value; so whenever you see this DVD for sale (which should cost no more than 5 bucks) grab this classic as fast as you can because it’s totally worth the money. The DVD features over 70 minutes of bonus material from interviews with the makers, storyboard and so on. Needless to mention that this movie earned a lot of awards among other the Canal+ International Award for Best Short Film in 2001.

Conclusion: LOVE LOVE LOVE

If you’re curious enough you can watch the whole movie on the video platform of your choice; yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

The Hunt

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I always hated the fucking dog at DuckHunt on the NES. His gleeful and malicious laugh always made me wish I could jump into my television and beat the crap out of that sucker! But this short movie made me shit my pants in fear as it is a dark take on the NES classic. Ain’t you a sweet little doggie? A-goo-goo-goo … Gosh, I better run and hide…

This movie is courtesy of Rainfall Films so give these guys a shout-out and some credit.

The Binding Of Isaac

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Platform: Windows & Mac OS X (Steam)

Developped by: Edmund McMillen & Florian Himsl

Published: 28 September 2011

Help little Isaac find a way to hide from his fundamentalist christian mom who wants to kill her son in order to proof her devotion to God. This indie RPGesque game leads you through a handful of levels in Isaac’s basement with a lot of ugly-faced enemies to kill, but beware! Despite the childlike graphics the game itself is pretty disgusting considering the cruel and scary hurdles little Isaac must overcome to survive and, YUCK, the bosses at each level end get scarier and more repulsive.

If the graphics look familiar to you, don’t be surprised. “The Binding of Isaac” is a side project of Team Meat’s (Super Meat Boy) Edmund McMillen who developped the game along with Florian Himsl. The soundtrack was composed by Danny Baranowski, who also contributed the O.S.T. in Super Meat Boy.

If you’re into heartless and gruesome game action mixed with simple gameplay and adorable graphics (oh the irony) this game is most definitely worth a try.

Available for 5,98 € on Steam and considering that indie developers do not solely live of love and tons of coffee, I summon all of you to support indie games as much as possible.

Lebanon

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Written and directed by: Samuel Maoz

Starring: Yoav Donat, Itay Tiran and Oshri Cohen

Release date: 15th October 2009

“Man is steel. The tank is only iron.”

Little did I know about the First Lebanon War and after watching this movie, I don’t want to know much more about it because war is something disturbing that agitates me. After the latest happenings in Libya and the “murder” of Muammar Gaddafi, I felt the sudden urge to watch this movie; not because it’s got something to do with the libyan “revolution”, but I was saddened that once again the bad guy got killed before his trial could take place with Gaddafi having the possibility of revealing a few inconvenient truths and facts about our western countries, but that is not going to happen now.

What’s it got to do with “Lebanon”? Well, I center my thesis on the failure of diplomacy and democracy. When you kill a fascist leader before he has his trial to which he may explain his points of view that’s a throwback in diplomacy and democracy. Because one has to listen and accept (not tolerate) an “asshole’s” opinion, no matter if it corresponds to our ideals or not. And when you start a war against a neighbour country, like in the movie, that is a throwback as well in both aforementioned points.

Last but not least, how many men had to pay with their lives for something they stood for or not? In our society, we tend to only recognize facts or numbers and forget the cruelty and barbarity of a war. We’re successfully stunned by media coverage and are barely shocked when seeing pictures of a dead fascist leader soaked up in blood. We’ve all become comfortably numb and that’s why this movie matters to me and this is why I drew parallels to the libyan revolution and “Lebanon”.

“Lebanon” is the story of Israeli paratroopers and a lone tank invading southern Lebanon on 6 June 1982. The tank’s crew consists of Assi, Hertzel, Shmulik and Yigal who follow orders of their Commander Gamil to invade a small city and head towards a place they call Saint Tropez.

The whole mission turns into a disaster and the troop will land in some kind of ambush in an apparent dead end, with the tank being seriously damaged by a bazooka.

The whole action in the movie is centered on the insides of the tank with a few crosshair shots to the outside world. What you get to see, as a spectator, is the raw and perishing atmosphere of a war zone. You can smell the anxiety of each soldier and you suffer a lot throughout the whole movie, feeling more and more miserable with each bullet being shot and with every single blood drained body lying on the floor. One can almost feel the claustrophobia prevailing inside the tank, that is in a deplorable state after the bazooka strike and you don’t know if you should sympathize or pity the crew in it’s desperation with Assi getting insane by the end of the movie as the whole situation becomes more hopeless with each passing minute.

I was absolutely speechless after having watched “Lebanon” as it is a gut-wrenching and merciless experience. It reflects the cruelty and reality of war perfectly and gives the spectator the right insight into something he may have not experienced or imagined yet. For most of us we simply do not know what war is.

Sometimes we do care too little about what is happening around us, in some exotic countries we can barely spell. Perhaps we’re just trying to avoid some inconvenient truths as well? Let this movie open your eyes a little.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTvYM-hyFSk]



Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972 & Dropped Pianos

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For the last months I unfolded a passion for a music genre that I’d like to call abstract music. Most people tend to define this genre as ambient / drone / whatever, but I prefer to rely on my own definitions of music instead of blindly following trends and assuming new tags on last.fm as my own, for instance.

Montreal based musician and producer Tim Hecker suits the definition of abstract music very well. He’s been the first artist who introduced me to the ambient / drone genre apart from Southern Lord’s finest; Sunn o))).

I remember the time I first listened to his album “Harmony In Ultraviolet” and I was stunned, in a pleasant way. Never had I heard something like that before and it was a thrilling experience to me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUpA8R01d50?rel=0]

Ravedeath, 1972 follows his “classical” songwriting, if this can be called so. Multilayered soundscapes chased through all possible effects giving enough room to the listener to sink in an imaginary dream world and cancel contact with the here and now. Hecker lifts the sound of conventional instruments to a whole new level and to me he is one of the big players in the ambient league. Pianos, organs, guitars; all mixed and modified to a pleasant yet challenging listening experience; where you do not know if it is a violin or perhaps a saxophone you’re hearing. And you just couldn’t care less, because you’re already sucked into the whirl of this work of art. And that’s what makes this album so special. The songs can wrap you like a warm veil and in another instant hit you on the forehead and make you feel miserably for what you are.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K33Ka4yauQ?rel=0]

Dropped Pianos is the complete opposite of Ravedeath, 1972. I could interpret this album as an homage to the piano, but it’s more. There’s more to it than just a few chords randomly hitten with a lot of hall. It’s the saddening, melancholic undertone of the so called “sketches” which makes this album worth listening to. The ethereal acoustic of the piano gives this album a more organic note, a more conventional approach to “ordinary” music than Ravedeath does, so I can fully recommend Dropped Pianos to all the people who have never heard of ambient / drone music before. It’s easier to digest but at the same time a challenge, because Dropped Pianos could also be described as the soundtrack of the apocalypse. Burning bridges and the metal twisting towards the fiery skyline, people desperately running for shelter and looking for their beloved ones; everything’s held with the eye of a voyeuristic camera in slow-motion. Dropped Pianos is a slow paced listening experience in unsurpassable intimate beauty.

In a society in which musical trends wither within the blink of an eye, new bands having a raison d’être for their hip moment and old bands losing credibility for not evolving during their careers, Tim Hecker is some sort of hero to me. His music does not follow any conventions and is the antithesis to trends and hipsterism.

Who needs arpeggio-laden synths, time signatures, people with fancy Hitler hairdos and trend whores when there’s one man with a laptop who unleashes the fury with minimalism as a big fuck you to the (trends) establishment?

Conclusion: The soundtrack for this autumn, most definitely! Thank you for everything Tim.