The Best of MK Arular

The musical purchases have slowed down considerably recently, here are a few that I need to catch up on.

Blondie – The Best Of

This is a double-up my brother gave me when I was in NZ, and I was chuffed to get it as I like early Blondie.

All of the good songs are here including “Heart of Glass”, “Hangin’ on the Telephone, “The Tide is High”, and more. There is no real need to buy any other Blondie albums as they are one of those bands that have one or two great hit songs on an album, then a lot of filler. Later Blondie was just plain awful (1982’s “The Hunter” is a terrible album).

Good stuff.

MKULTRA – The Beautiful Mind of MK

This is a Bandcamp purchase I had my eye on for a while, so I finally bought it a few weeks back, I think I paid $5 for it.

It is an experimental hip-hop release with a singer who likes to swear a lot and talk about all kinds of stuff…not really sure what he is going on about really. I quite like it though, something different.

M.I.A. – Arular

I was in Book Off intending to buy a CD by a band called Beef Terminal when I came across this, and decided it would be worth getting instead.

A few years back M.I.A. (she is from Sri Lanka, but now based in the U.K.) had a hit called “Paper Airplanes“, whichis a very catchy number, so I thought this album might be worth a try.

On first listen though it did not grab me at all, can’t really put my finger on why. Perhaps it needs a few more listens. Here is a track to give you an idea.

Still, she is original and has a message to get across. Respectamundo.

Music count 2019: 19

Hurlyburly

This is a 1998 drama starring Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey based on a 1984 play, and it shows because there is a lot of talking.

It tells the story of three Hollywood players who like to do the drugs and other things we all know Hollywood types like to do. Sean’s character is especially wigged-out on drugs and gets really paranoid and stressed out.

Most of the film takes place in one house in the hills somewhere, so there is not a whole lot going on, just a lot of rambling about things that don’t really make for good film watching.

Anna Paquin turns up as a young drifter who would do anything for a place to stay, she was a refreshing change from all of the drama going on about her, but alas did not have much screen time.

The performances were good by all, and Sean was trying really hard to get an Oscar, but he did not succeed. Chazz Palminteri was excellent, with both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright doing their best with what they had too.

This isn’t terrible, but it could have been a lot better.

Date watched: May 11th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2019: 15

The American Friend

The last film in my Golden Week of film watching was this 1977 Wim Wenders neo-noir starring Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz.

And it was a good film to end off a week of good film watching.

It told the story of a man who was diagnosed with leukemia and was contacted by a French mafia guy and asked to bump off a rival gang member, and promised big bucks to help support his family when he died. Dennis Hopper’s character was a fake art seller who was involved in organising the hit, but he ended up becoming good friends with Bruno.

There was not a whole lot of action, the story concentrated more on the friendship between Dennis and Bruno, and did it very well. Both actors were most excellent in their parts.

It was fascinating to see late 1970’s Europe, especially the Paris underground (where a hit took place), which was immaculate. Hamburg though looked like a rather depressing place back then.

Wim casted three other directors in the gangster roles.

I did find it a tad long, but overall this was an excellent film to end my week of films.

Date watched: May 5th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2019: 14

Buda Muses Tori

It is time again to catch up on a few Cd purchases.

Buda – The C Sides

I bought this for $2 at Slow Boats Records in Wellington.

Luke Buda is a New Zealand musician who makes darn good music, and this release is no exception.

Throwing Muses – University

I am not a big fan of the Throwing Muses, but if I come across anything by them used I will probably buy it. And I came across this for only 108 yen, so it had to be bought.

And it is good. I am still not an enthusiastic fan, but I like it nonetheless.

Tori Amos – The Beekeeper

This is another CD I got from my brother whilst I was visiting him in Wellington, he let me loose on his collection saying I could take what I want, so this is one that I grabbed.

Very Tori album, which is to say that it is good listening.

Music count 2019: 16

Fish Tank

My roll of excellent films continues with this 2009 BBC drama film, written and directed by Andrea Arnold.

As you can see on the poster above, there are a lot of stars which signifies that this is indeed a very good film.

It tells the story of Mia, a rather angry 15 year old who is not going to school and gets into all sorts of trouble. She is a loner and picks fights with the neighbourhood girls, and like her mother drinks a lot. But she is a talented hip-hop dancer, and wants to become a dancer like those she sees in hip-hop videos. She lives with her mother and younger sister, and in the film the mother becomes involved with Michael Fassbender, which is where all of the drama begins.

This is a very raw film, no dramatic music or over-acted dramatics, just a very real look at problems in an East London council estate (depressing-looking places). The acting by all is superb. The girl playing Mia’s younger sister was especially good, she must have been 9 or 10 at the time.

From Wikipedia about the actress who played Mia:

Katie Jarvis, who plays Mia, had no prior acting experience. She was cast for the film after one of Arnold’s casting assistants saw her arguing with her boyfriend in Tilbury Town.

And…

In early 2014, she was reportedly under consideration for a role in the Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens after taking a hiatus from acting to concentrate on her family. However, she did not appear in the film.

She has just finished a role in EastEnders.

Excellent stuff.

Date watched: May 4th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2019: 13

Children of Men

I watched this back in 2008 and recently decided I had to see this excellent film again.

As I wrote in my original post for this it is a brilliant film. It is extremely well made, acted, and told. The story is pretty depressing stuff on the whole, but it ends with hope for humankind.

Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine were all bonkers good, as were the rest of the cast. The cinematography was stunning, especially the long shots which this film is well known for. The dark post-apocalyptic style of the film looked very good, they certainly went to a lot of trouble to make it look that way.

Some of it seemed a bit forced, especially the extras who were trying just a bit too hard to look desperate and downtrodden. No biggie though.

I will definitely watch this again in another 11 years time, and blog about it again of course. Gee, I wonder what Tommo will be starring in then? He will be 67 in 2030.

Date watched: May 3rd
Score: 9/10
Film count 2019: 12

Headhunter

This is a very slick 2011 Norwegian thriller about a headhunter/art thief. It was dubbed into English, unfortunately.

The headhunter, who for some reason has the very English name of Roger Brown (in the original Norwegian language film as well), headhunts a Danish fellow who worked for a big American tech company, but what Roger does not know is that he is being used as part of a scheme to steal secrets from a rival company. It is actually a lot more complicated, but not too difficult to follow. Everything is very neatly tied up at the end.

It is very well made, very Hollywood in style, but being Scandinavian it goes places where Hollywood would not dare tread (nudity and some gore). It is also very well acted and is just an all-round good film to watch for a few thrills and action.

The rights for an English language remake were of course bought by an American film studio (Summit Entertainment), and were actually sold even before the Norwegian film had finished production. I have no idea what kind of budget it will have, but if it gets big money then of course Tommo will get the main part.

As I wrote earlier, it was dubbed with American voice actors and it was quite jarring. I don’t like anything dubbed, so even if Tommo himself dubbed the main character I still wouldn’t like it… actually, having Tommo voice-act the main role could be quite entertaining.

Certainly the best Norwegian thriller I have seen for quite some time. Maybe only.

Date watched: May 2nd
Score: 8/10
Film count 2019: 11