Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I've only recently discovered the joys of the used CD store. Partly because Victoria has stores with slightly better selection than say Tramps back home in Saskatoon. The used CD store is a great way to fill in the "holes" in my collection, which are many (everytime I think about Joel's CD collection I realize how far I have to go). So I bought a few older CDs this past week that were new to me--and for prices that couldn't be beat. The first thing was to fill in one of the most glaring ommissions in my collection. After talking to Anton on Saturday morning and how he had been enjoying some Bob Dylan, I decided I needed to get some full albums (rather than just the random few MP3s of his that I had). So I picked up Highway 61 Revisted and Blonde on Blonde. And I've had a Bob Dylan weekend enjoying both these CDs immensely. Dylan really was a great songwriter and it's hard to pick out the best songs, but obviously "Like A Rolling Stone" stands out. Also, "Queen Jane Approximately," "Visions of Johanna," "Desolation Row," "I Want You," "Just Like A Woman," and "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" are among my favourites (yes, I like the really long songs that he ends both the albums with).
I also picked up The Stone Roses self-titled (or eponymous if you prefer) album, which was a must buy given my current interest in 80s Indie British pop music and the Madchester scene. It's a fantastic album that totally fits into my current mood and tastes. Of course so far the songs that I enjoy the most are "I Wanna Be Adored," "She Bangs The Drum," and "I Am The Resurrection." They do a greata job of combining the solid, hook laden psychedelia of the 60s with a touch of the 80s dance beats. The result is an album I have a feeling will become a favourite of mine.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's time for a music related post.

We're three months into 2006 now, and I thought I'd give a little bit of a look at what some of my favourite music has been so far this year (always makes for an interesting comparison at the end of the year to see what stays on the list and what doesn't).

Top Five Singles of Jan.-Mar. 2006

5. "Skinny Boy" - Amy Millan or "Rise Up With Fists!!" - Jenny Lewis or "Hold On, Hold On" - Neko Case

I'm going to cheat and put all these together cuz they seem like a theme project. 2006 - the year of female vocalists from popular indie rock bands' solo projects. We have Amy Millan of Stars fame, Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley, and of course the beautiful vocals of Neko Case from The New Pornographers.

4. "Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix)" - Feist

I just loved this remix, having been a big fan of the original last year. Apparently Feist is busy at work on a remix album as we speak.

3. "White Collar Boy" - Belle & Sebastian

I linked to this as a "song of the day" a few weeks ago.

2. "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" - Arctic Monkeys

I love these guys. While you might be surprised that this wasn't my number one pick, overall this is by far my favourite album of 2006 thus far. Good ol' "drunken lad" music, this is the perfect soundtrack to a night out on the town with the gang, getting into trouble, or staying at home and pretending to.

1. "Number 1" - Goldfrapp

I might not technically count as a 2006 release (UK release was last fall), Ewan was allowed to call Free The Bees a 2005 release, so I'm calling this a 2006 release. It deserves the attention. This is just a fantastic electro-pop song, showcasing one of the most underrated pop acts out there. Alison Goldfrapp is incredible. I just love it. And the video is one of the most disturbingly fascinating I've seen in a while.

Some other songs that are right up there:

"You Only Live Twice" - The Strokes

The opener to their latest album is the best song on the disc. Too bad they didn't pick this as the single instead of the quickly tiresome "Juicebox."

"Who Left The Lights Off Baby" - Guillemots

It's hard to pick just one song off the EP From The Cliffs, the American compilation of the bands UK releases last year. So I'll just tell you to go out and pick up the whole thing.

"You're All I Have" - Snow Patrol

Just heard this one today (leaked onto the Internet), and it has potential to be a fantastic pop single. Worth checking out if you like this kind of thing.

If you hear any of these, hate any of these, or love them all, let me know.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

So I saw V for Vendetta this weekend. As a fan of Alan Moore and David Lloyd's comic book, I was quite excited for this. Also, I wanted to see if the Wachoski Brothers could atone for the lackluster Matrix sequels with the screenplay and producing credits on this film (poor James McTiegue might be the most ignored director of a major feature film since Tobe Hooper and Poltergeist).

It satisfied me. The story of one man fighting back against an oppressive and injust regime will always be popular. There were a number of tweakings to the plot, streamlining the serial nature of the original story and modifying things to fit better in today's climate of fear--for one they moved the film into the future 2020, as the book's "future" of 1997 might have seemed a little dated to those of us presently living in the 21st century.

Natalie Portman does a great job as Evey, even if her British accent isn't perfect. She is the human heart of the story, and it is through her that we really experience V's fight against the regime. Stephen Rea is good as inspector Finch, bringing some humanity to the enemies of V as well, and showing how a good person can get stuck in an oppressive beaurocracy.

Really I think the film is definitely worth seeing, if only to raise questions about the role of government, the definition of "terrorism," and whether the ends justify the means. I always enjoy the films that satisfy the "popcorn" desire to see some great entertainment (V's knife battle toward the end is one of the best action scenes in ages) and still have room left over for some interesting ideas as well. You can thank Alan Moore on this one, even if he doesn't think much of the films of his books thus far (and after suffering LXG and Constantine do you blame him?).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This is news for Star Wars fans only. Specifically those of us who actually like the films post-ROTJ. The rest of you piss off. Joking. Joking.

Rick McCallum has announced that the new Star Wars TV show will be about the adventures of young Luke Skywalker! Sounds pretty cool to me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ha ha. I bet you all thought I was done with King Kong related posts. Well, you were wrong. Peter Jackson and Co. won Empire magazine's Best Film award last night. Is it better than an Oscar? You can watch Peter Jackson's acceptance speech here, and enjoy the outtakes (WARNING: Lots of foul language in the outtakes, in case that kind of thing bothers you) as well as a special scene at the end showing the hitherto unknown way that they got Kong back to NYC!

Oh, and the DVD of Kong is out on March. 28th. Woo hoo!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Edmonton Oilers just made themselves a better team for the playoffs. They picked up a solid number one goaltender in Dwayne Roloson, which was a good pick up considering how hard to come by goaltenders are in the NHL these days.

But better yet, they added some offensive power by acquiring Sergei Samsonov from the Boston Bruins!

As Pierre McGuire said on TSN, "imagine having Ales Hemsky coming down one side, Sergei Samsonov flying down the other and Ryan Smyth crashing the net up the middle. There's a lot of weaponry in Edmonton now." Woo hoo!

Here is my belated list of my movie journal for February.

It was a slow month, partly because the weeks around the break were filled with school work and other activities that meant I didn't get a chance to get to the theatre as much. My favourite first viewing was Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People, which is a funny and fascinating look at the "Madchester" music scene in the early 80s, and bands like Joy Division, the Sex Pistols, and the Happy Mondays. Plus, Steve Coogan is just hilarious. Both Walk the Line and Capote were excellent films as well. And I reminded myself of my love for Spielberg's Jurassic Park films.

*First Viewing


2.02.06 *Walk the Line (James Mangold, 2005) Theatre, ****

2.04.06 *24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002) DVD, ****

2.05.06 *Capote (Bennett Miller, 2005) Theatre, ***½

2.06.06 *Croupier (Mike Hodges, 1998) DVD, **½

2.09.06 *Jacob’s Ladder (Adrian Lyne, 1990) DVD, **

2.12.06 *Hitch (Andy Tennant, 2005) DVD, ***

2.18.06 *MirrorMask (Dave McKean, 2005) DVD, ***

2.19.06 The Frighteners (Peter Jackson, 1996) DVD, ***½

2.20.06 Road House (Rowdy Herrington, 1989) DVD, **½

2.23.06 Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) DVD, ****
The Lost World (Steven Spielberg, 1997) DVD, ***½

2.25.06 GoldenEye (Martin Cambell, 1995) DVD, ***

Sunday, March 05, 2006

One little fact that may make tonight's Oscar's historically interesting: if Ang Lee wins Best Director for Brokeback Mountain, he will be the first non-white male to win EVER. That's right, every single recipient of the Best Director award has been a white male. So, Ang Lee could make history tonight. I know I'll be watching.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The song of the day is "White Collar Boy" by Belle & Sebastian.