Pacquiao/Hatton Madness

April 26, 2009

hattonpacquiao

Amidst the hoopla and circus of the NFL draft and all the pain and drama that Redskins fans like myself are subject to, I have been finding it hard to carve out time for too much else in the sporting world. However, the upcoming Ricky Hatton – Manny Pacquiao fight is the one event that I’m following. For the record, I’m predicting (and rooting for) a Pacquiao victory. Seeing Manny dismantle perhaps my least favorite all-time athlete, Oscar De La Hoya, was one of my greatest boxing memories. It’s no secret that the heavyweight division is terrible right now in boxing, which I think is the primary cause for mixed martial arts stealing away its popularity, but Pacquiao is as fascinating of a fighter as you will ever see.

HBO has been doing a good job hyping the fight with its 24/7 show that gives us a behind the scenes look at both camps as they prep for the fight, and episode 3, which just aired, really has me pumped for the matchup. I was also really glad to hear Sammy Davis Jr.’s “The Goin’s Great” play at the beginning of this episode. Something about Sammy always makes me get images in my head of Vegas, which always sets the mood right for a good fighter. Written by Stan Applebaum and Sammy Cahn, “The Goin’s Great” is Sammy Davis Jr. at his best. Check out the video below:

My girlfriend has been bugging me lately to to take her to this new indie foreign film called Treeless Mountain from writer/director So Yong Kim. This Korean film follows the lives of two sisters who are sent to live with their mother goes to search for their father. Anyway, it’s just now opening in the US, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing it sometime soon. Funny thing, I have hardly seen any movies this year, but now I’m going to go to two in one week.

Despite the fact that I generally hate the tear-jerker type dramas, I have some reason for hope, and that lies in the trailer (shown below) which features the wonderful Asobi Seksu song, “Layers.” Beautiful in its understatement, “Layers” really does pile on the layers (excuse the pun) of lush keyboards and gentle vocals to create a dreamy soundscape. Singer Yuki Chikudate has one of the best voices in music today, one that will remind you of Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins or the Deheza twins from School of Seven Bells.

In the end, I know that even if the movie sucks, I can just close my eyes and hopefully zone out to what I expect to be a good soundtrack. Besides, of all the tear-jerker drama movies, the few that I like are generally foreign films, such as Life Is Beautiful. Anyway watch and listen for yourself below.

UPDATE 4/29 : Saw the movie, and it was better than expected because it was not nearly as sentimental as most of these types of movies are. I also really enjoyed the cinematography, director So Yong Kim used a lot of close ups to capture the facial expressions of the two excellent child actors, and that did more to convey the emotion of the film than the script (although I will say, I’m sure a lot of the script’s language gets lost in translation to the subtitles.) Anyway, I recommend the movie…and for you Granddaddy fans, there’s even a scene in the film where kids sing a Grandaddy tune in Korean.

Treeless Mountain Official Website

Asobi Seksu on MySpace

State of Play

April 21, 2009

The new political drama/thriller State of Play, starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, looks awesome. Definitely something I’m trying to catch this weekend, and considering the scorching hot weather here in LA, I think I’m going to be attending a matinee. Russell Crowe rarely disappoints when he’s used in roles like this, and I actually think Ben Affleck will probably be OK in this role, too.

For those of you who don’t know about this movie, there’s a trailer below and it also features a great song, “Unstoppable” by Minutes Til Midnight. Minutes Til Midnight is another Los Angeles-based band that seems to be on the rise. They’re a bit like Shapes of Race Cars (who I’ve previously blogged about here) in that they mix electronic and indie rock influences, but they’re a little heavier and a little darker i.e. less Kill Hannah more Black Angels. Check it out in the trailer below, or listen to the full version of it on the band’s MySpace page.

Update: Saw the movie over the weekend…and although I thought Russell Crowe did a fine job (as expected) it was Jason Bateman that stole the show. He doesn’t have a huge role, but his character, Dominic Foy, is definitely the most intriguing aspect of this film. Though the script overall doesn’t have as much of the wit and humor that the mini-series had, Bateman’s leather-clad, Oxy-addicted, larger-than-life version of Foy strikes a nice balance of darkness and humor to counteract the sometimes overly serious tone of the film.

State of Play Official Website

Minutes Til Midnight on MySpace

Malbec on Chuck

April 21, 2009

NUP_111042_1145

Last night’s episode of Chuck featured great music. This comes as no surprise, as Chuck frequently plays tunes I love (the show has been a big supporter of one of my favorites, Bon Iver). However, it did surprise me to hear Malbec’s great tune, “Answering Machine,” which played during the scene when Emmett orders Morgan to fire the morons and Morgan walks out.

Malbec are truly one of the most original groups I’ve heard in a long time. Their sound has traces of electro, hip hop, folk, and the serene, dreamy  pop of groups like The Clientele or Deathcab. Really, I can’t say enough about this band, and I definitely predict them as the next big thing. Check out the music video below:

UPDATE: I’ve found a link to the clip from Chuck. So check this out, too.

Chuck on NBC

Malbec on MySpace

So Harley Davidson is trying to boost sales in this sagging economy with it’s new Super Ride test drive program, and while I’m not exactly in a financial position to be in the market for a new bike, I did notice their new commercial, which features the song “52 Ford” by one of my favorite bands, Murder By Death. Can’t really think of a better song or band to fit the Harley image – Murder By Death’s sound has a bit of the classic Americana thing going on, but with a modern edginess. I’ve heard them called a punk/indie rock take on Johnny Cash, and I’d say that’s a fairly accurate description. Anyway, here’s the commercial for your viewing pleasure…

Life…

April 7, 2009

life

Why does it seem like all my favorite TV shows are cancelled or at risk of being cancelled, while American Idol is still going strong? Arrested Development = gone. The Beast = endangered. Damages = likewise. Another favorite show of mine that seems to be suffering in the ratings department is Life. One thing that does give me hope though is that NBC has a history of keeping shows running that weren’t exactly huge ratings successes, but scored well critically (Seinfeld, The Office). So maybe there is hope…we’ll find out soon enough.

Life has always struck me as having high production values – quality cinematography, good-looking sets, tasteful music selections, etc. “Initiative 38” was no exception. I won’t spoil much, but at the beginning they find a dead body in a hot tub while Earlimart’s “The World” plays in the background. I always thought “The World” was an underrated track off of Mentor Tormentor, and the song’s ominous presence really fit the scene perfectly.

Update: It’s been really hard for me to find a video clip of this song/scene….so if anybody could help out it would be much appreciated!

colt

Well, ladies and gentlemen, Jay Cutler is officially a Chicago Bear. And thank God. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cutler, as I mentioned before, but the price tag is too much. Reportedly Chicago sent 2 #1’s, a #3, and Kyle Orton to Denver for Cutler and a #3. We definitely did not have the ammunition to pull that off, so I’m glad we didn’t win out…but the fact remains, we were in the Cutler sweepstakes. Now Campbell is in the same position that Cutler was in in the wake of the Matt Cassel deal. Campbell has already come out and said he wouldn’t react the same way Cutler did, but this has to rattle his already shaky confidence…wow ,just what we need Campbell playing even more scared and tentative. I reckon we should still move him to Tampa for a #3 and a conditional 2010 pick. Having a lame-duck QB isn’t the answer, and we have too many needs to use #13 on Mark Sanchez (who probably won’t be there anyway).

So who do I think should start next year? Well if it’s not obvious by the large image at the top of this posting, I think it should be Colt Brennan. I love Brennan for the same reasons I love Cutler (minus the huge arm). Brennan has what Campbell lacks = moxie, not to mention pinpoint accuracy. Brennan reminds me a lot of Joe Theismann and Drew Brees (a comparison drawn by former offensive coordinator Al Saunders), and our own coach, Jim Zorn. He would fit perfectly in Zorn’s version of the West Coast Offense. Let’s face it – Campbell is about maxed out for his potential here. He could succeed much better in a smaller market, where he is just asked to be a big manage-the-game QB. Think Roethlisberger-lite. But we need a playmaking sparkplug and I see no other answer than Colt Brennan. Now excuse me while I go watch the HOF Game from last year and salivate at the possibility some more.