Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"What does the 'G' stand for?" "I don't know."

"Invader Zim" told the story of an overachieving alien from the planet Irk who tries to take over Earth, but whose attempts end in failure. So as not to be detected, he disguises himself as a human boy (though his disguise is so flimsy, one can only assume that the people around him suffered from 'Clark Kentitis'). Just as driven in his efforts to expose Zim, though no more successful, is classmate (and conspiracy nut) Dib, the only person who sees Zim for what he really is.

At the outset, the premise seemed pretty hackneyed, but eye-catching designs, fine voice work and some strong bits of dark humor won me over. However, the show wore thin after a while, with the humiliations suffered by Dib particularly insulting. Still, the fact that something like this ended up on Nickelodeon at all deserves respect. (Even with my reservations about the show, it's something of a travesty that "Zim" gets cancelled, while "The Fairly Oddparents", which also premiered nine years ago today, continues to decay with every embarrassing new season.)

All these years later, one of the show's strongest elements is still Kevin Manthei's imaginative and amusing scoring. The best tracks were compiled for a promotional CD which I am all too happy to own. As with a number of animated shows, the music was created with samples and electronics, but instead of some grating, sixth-rate Carl Stalling impression like you hear on so many shows, Manthei's work bursts with invention and more than a little cleverness.

The orchestrations are constantly surprising, shifting from suspenseful strings to cooing babies ("Baby Alien Mission"), weird woodwinds ("Tak's Theme"), pounding tympani ("One Big Video Game"), crazed fiddling ("Chicken Chase") and brooding male choir ("Rankles Wrinkle").

There are some nuggets of thematic identity, such as the psuedo-march of "Combat Montage", reprised in the end credits and the recurring use of harpsichord for Dib's sister, Gaz, in tracks like "Gaz and the Shadowhog", "Angry Gaz" (topped off with angelic voices!) and the John Carpenteresque "Gaz's Mission". What is ostensibly a motif for the Irken Empire is introduced in the low-key "In the Beginning" and reprised in "It’s On!".

Though the show seems serious at the outset, it could get downright wacky at times, as reflected in "Kitty Rally" (synthesized yowls and hopeful choir), "Carne Beat" (a bouncy hip hop beat), the bouncy "Bestest Friend", "Carnival Nightmares" (a demented waltz) "Parents Crack" (frantic strings), "GIR's Circus" (use your imagination), "It's Love" (swing-derived horns), the goofily heroic "Super Waffles" and "Meats of Evil" (whose foreboding chanting of the title seems to accentuate a fondness for pork products; see also the mad chantings of "Membrane Tests" and "Gaz and the Shadowhog").

Of course, when the occasion calls for action, Manthei goes at it in tracks like "Battle of the Planets" (with Beltrami-like horn hits!), "Bank Robber Chase", the aptly named "Drum n Thing", "Sizz Chase" and "Escape on the Pig".

Other tracks of note include the weirdly beautiful "Parents Waltz", the tense "Building Montage" (which is very reminiscent of "Building the Deathcoaster" from Army of Darkness, but it’s good nonetheless), the rousing "Zim Saves Earth" (which adopts an inexplicably Middle Eastern feel towards the end) and the exciting, horror-influenced "Zim’s Escape".

The "Source Music of Doom", taken from various episodes, makes for a nice sampler of Manthei's range and how nuts the show could get, from thrash-metal to elevator music to disco funk.

The CD is now disastrously out of print, but one should not deprive themselves of the opportunity of owning this if it comes along. It's some of the finest animated scoring of recent memory.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's official: I just walked in on my best girl, FYE, getting fucked by a new guy - Chapter 11. I hate that asshole. He's been popping up a lot lately in town.

In any event, I was able to obtain the soundtracks of The Ghost Writer and How to Train Your Dragon (only an hour before seeing the 3D!) from Borders. They're more expensive than what I've been used to the last couple years of shopping at FYE, but the feeling of actually going into a store and walking out with CDs is indescribable.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Have you ever burped and sneezed at the exact same moment?

I never want that ever again. It felt like my heart was about to stop.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Random thoughts.

It's been far too long since the last time I did this.

- Had the weirdest dream last night: all mention of vampires had been wiped from existence...and, because of it, some of my soundtracks were missing. Also, all mention of "Danny Phantom" was erased. Hell if I know what that means.

- Honestly, can you believe that people are bitching about the Futterwacken in the new Alice in Wonderland? "What is that, breakdancing?!" "Oh, it ruined the film." To those people, I wholeheartedly and sincerely say this: how about laying off the diapers and giving big boy pants a chance?

- Still, if only to silence the haters, I do agree that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp need a vacation away from each other.

- A bit in last night's newspaper told of a new keyboard with no lettering on the caps. Apparently, it's to allow for the brain to memorize the positions of the keys. To paraphrase two lines from "Futurama": That's a stupid idea. You're stupid...and you should feel bad!

- The more I see of Hot Tub Time Machine, the more excited I get for it. A while ago, I heard of John Cusack showing animosity towards one of his best films, Better Off Dead. In HTTM, he gets into it with an asshole skier. I should also mention that Cusack is one of the film's producers (and, therefore, has a say in what the final product will look like). His opinion toward Better Off Dead has to have improved significantly. I mean, why else would he take on a role like this?

- The trailer for Predators looks awesome...and, sadly, I seem to be the only person who finds the multiple Predator sights bit fucking hilarious.

- Seeing Amanda Seyfried a) in the trailer for Chloe and b) on the cover of Glamour, I can't help but think, 'They had her play the mousy nerd in Jennifer's Body?!' Fuckin' Hollywood...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Change the channel!"

I've done my share of bitching about cable channels in the past (nowadays, TV is pretty much what's on in the background). Still, a thread at Toonzone got me to thinking: what channels would I change and how? Sadly, I've become one of those fuddy-duddys reminiscing (spelled it right, that time) about how things used to be. Here's a post because a) there's no way I could name one and b) I don't want to go a whole week without posting anything:

USA: This choice is fairly easy: bring back the sitcom reruns and game shows (GSN has clearly lost interest in many of the game show reruns I grew up with). Resurrecting 'Up All Night' isn't such a bad idea, either. Really, is Rhonda Shear doing anything these days?

SyFy: Time-warp it to the late 90s/early aughts: classic genre shows, MST3K reruns, anime on Saturday mornings, funny bumpers and do I even need to say 'change the effing title?!'

AMC: With the editing for television and commercial breaks, it's just like every other channel. Fix that crap...and bring back "Backstory".

DisneyXD: Change it back to Toon Disney. That's all I ask. Oh, and dipping into the Fox Kids library every now and then won't kill them.

Cartoon Network: The last few years of the channel have seen an unfortunate, ill-advised shift. This one is super-obvious: diversify the schedule. Who really needs four showings of "Chowder" and "Johnny Test" a day?

It's not too late to save cable television.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corey Haim (1971-2010)

It feels so weird having to type that.

Whether killing vampires, trying to prove himself to the girl of his dreams, rocking a mullet or palling around with Corey Feldman, one can't deny that he made an impression. Could this have been averted? Certainly. Hopefully, he'll find salvation in the afterlife. (I don't mean to get all 'thumpy', but this remembrance is bound to be more sincere than a lot of others, I imagine.)


Sunday, March 07, 2010

My Oscar post.

I don't want to call it a liveblog ('cause, really, what would be the point; no one else comes here), but I'm going to be making observations about the ceremony as it happens.

8:30 Introducing the nominees for Best Actor and Actress.

8:31 Yep, that's Marc Shaiman doing the music. NPH doing a catchy and funny musical number.

8:34 Holy crap, is Antonio Banderas up for the lead in a Sebastian Cabot biopic?!

8:35 Nice intro, Steve.

8:43 Cloondawg does not look happy.

8:48 Supporting Actor goes to...Christoph Waltz (1/23)!

8:50 Ryan Reynolds introducing The Blind Side. I'm still surprised that it was nominated.

8:56 Talking to the stars of the nominated features. Weird gimmick, but it's working, esp. the bit about The Princess and the Frog.

8:59 Animated Feature goes to...Up (2/23)! Predictable, yes, but still deserving.

9:04 Original Song goes to..."The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart. All due respect to Jeff Bridges, but ever since I heard about it, I couldn't believe it and still can't: Colin Farrell as a country singer?!

9:05 Chris Pine introducing District 9.

9:13 Robert Downey, Jr. "...that actress that I hate." Wait, what?

9:15 Original Screenplay goes to...The Hurt Locker. Not my choice, but Mark Boal was actually in the soup before going into writing, so more power to him.

9:18 A very nice tribute to John Hughes.

9:24 Samuel L. Jackson introducing Up.

9:27 "It is my pleasure to introduce two beautiful actress, because I'm tired of introducing all these ugly actresses."

9:29 Talking to people who used short films as a springboard to big careers. I've got some ideas in the oven.

9:31 Animated Short Subject goes to..."Logorama". Okay, the brief clip looks interesting.

9:34 Documentary Short Subject goes to..."Music by Prudence" (3/23). I chose this one based on the title.

9:35 Live Action Short Subject goes to..."The New Tenants".

9:39 Ben Stiller as a Na'vi. It likely was a better idea in rehearsal.

9:41 Makeup goes to...Star Trek. (4/23)

9:44 Jeff Bridges introducing A Serious Man.

9:50 Adapted Screenplay goes to...Precious. Nice speech by Geoffrey Fletcher...somewhat ruined by Steve Martin's quip.

9:55 The Governor's Ball honoring Roger Corman, Lauren Bacall, cinematographer Gordon Willis and executive John Calley.

9:59 Supporting Actress goes to...Mo'Nique(5/23). Another heartfelt speech.

10:07 Art Direction goes to...Avatar. And so it begins.

10:10 Costume Design goes to...The Young Victoria. Nice comment by Sandy Powell about how the designers of modern and low-budget films deserve recognition as much as the costume drama nods.

10:12 Charlize Theron introducing Precious. Somehow, I think she should have done District 9.

10:18 A tribute to horror. Among other things, nice transition from "Tubular Bells" to the Halloween theme.

10:23 A nice explanation of how Sound Mixing and Editing work and an amusing bit from Morgan Freeman.

10:25 Sound Mixing goes to...The Hurt Locker. Quite well-deserved, it seems. Seeing the winner, I'm reminded of a bit from Funny People. I'm sure you all know the one.

10:27 Sound Editing goes to...The Hurt Locker. Having already said his peace, I think he should've let the other guy speak.

10:29 John Travolta introducing Inglourious Basterds.

10:36 Cinematography goes to...Avatar. I liked Mauro Fiore's work on The Island and Smokin' Aces and I look forward to seeing his work on The A-Team. I'm not kidding.

10:37 Demi Moore. She's alive!

10:38 In Memoriam. But what of (off the top of my head) Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon and Leonard Rosenman?

10:45 Original Score. Finally! However, interpretive dancers? Did I hit my head and wake up in 1998? The award goes to...Up (6/23)! Fuckin' A! Maybe now, Disney will release it in stores.

10:54 Visual Effects goes to...Avatar (7/23). Saw that comin'.

10:57 Jason Bateman introducing Up in the Air. Hopefully, he'll get his chance at an Oscar.

10:58 Cloondawg seems to have lightened up. He was jamming to Zimmer's Sherlock Holmes.

11:04 Documentary Feature goes to...The Cove (8/23). Seriously, Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens. Go figure.

11:06 Tyler Perry: "My name at the Oscars. I better get used to that, 'cause that'll probably never happen again."

11:07 Editing goes to...The Hurt Locker. Wait. Bob Murawski and Chris and wife? I did not see that coming.

11:09 Keanu Reeves introducing The Hurt Locker. I just got the connection. "I am an FBI agent!"

11:15 Nino Rota's Amarcord! Really, this should've won in 1974. Awesome score.

11:16 Foreign Film goes to...The Secret in Their Eyes.

11:19 Kathy Bates introducing Avatar. Nope, still not seeing the appeal.

11:25 Past and present co-stars offering anecdotes on the nominees for Best Actor.

11:32 Actor goes to...Jeff Bridges (9/23)! A nice valedictory, I think.

11:42 Now, the same thing is being done for Best Actress.

11:49 Actress goes to...Sandra Bullock?! Good for her, but...I'm taken aback.

11:55 Director goes to...Kathryn Bigelow (10/23).

11:58 Picture goes to...The Hurt Locker (11/23)! Maybe it's about time for me to see it.

And so ends another Oscar ceremony. Can't wait to do it all over again next year.


Half-hearted Oscar pix.

Because I have nothing to do, and because I just want to do it, here are my picks for tonight's Oscars, based on little more than hearsay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence:

Picture: The Hurt Locker. I'd like it, personally, to be Inglourious Basterds, but I think it'll be this one. It may be as hyped as Avatar, but I think that this actually has the substance to back up such hype.
Actor: Jeff Bridges. It's about time, really.
Actress: Gabourey Sidibe. I liked Sandra Bullock's work in The Blind Side, but I don't see a win in the cards for her.
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz.
Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow.
Original Screenplay: Up.
Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air.
Editing: Inglourious Basterds.
Cinematography: Inglourious Basterds.
Art Direction: Sherlock Holmes. If only for the rendering of 221B Baker Street.
Costume Design: Nine. Hey, I love Colleen Atwood's work. Not enough to see the film, mind you, but still...
Animated Feature: The toughest category of the lot...for me, anyway. It'll probably go to Up and I have no problem with that. Really, any of the nominees, even the one I've never heard of, could win and I'd be cool with it. How often does that happen?
Animated Short Subject: "A Matter of Loaf and Death". Really, who's gonna bet against Aardman in this category?
Live Action Short Subject: Miracle Fish.
Foreign Film: A Prophet. It's the only one I've heard of in this category.
Visual Effects: Avatar. Resistance is futile...and speaking of which...
Sound: Star Trek, because this movie ought to get something, don't you think?
Sound Effects Editing: See previous category.
Make-Up: See previous category.
Original Score: Up. Let's face it, if "Married Life" was the only cue that Michael Giacchino wrote for this film, the award would be his. They'll probably pussy out and give it to Avatar, but I'm gonna hold out hope.
Original Song: "Almost There". A lovely tune.
Documentary Short Subject: Music by Prudence.
Documentary Feature: The Cove. Apparently, it was co-produced by Fisher Stevens, who's been in everything from Short Circuit to Hackers to Michelle Pfeiffer.

Best of luck to the nominees. I won't need it since I don't bet on these things.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

You ever get the feeling that your hometown is fucking worthless?

Like if you're riding the bus and you see some woman get on and, being the gentleman you are, you offer your seat to her, only for her to pass you by like you didn't exist.

Or if you search for your favorite comic book at not one, but two comic book shops. only to find that it's not there.

Or if you're on a bus packed with teenagers and none of them will move to the back of the bus even with a seat and plenty of standing room.

Or if there's a sign at a grocery store saying that all lottery bets must be written down,yet people will still call then out to you.

Or if you try to do things for people or get by people, but they're stuck in their own little worlds, unwilling to pay attention to what you do for them.

Or if you're looking for a speciality magazine, but it doesn't ship to those stores in the area, because who in the ass-bleeding fuck would care about screenwriting in Buffalo, New York?!

Yeah, I'm sure you do.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Two things: the headache's gone and while I promise to have my lengthy post up someday, Mutant Reviewers from Hell has a neat list of things that are great about going out to the movies.


Got a headache, likely as a result of yet another day when some cunt would rather yell at me then think for themselves. It should not be a crime to kill the stupid/obnoxious.