Monday, January 04, 2010

Welcome to 2010

and may 2009 rest in peace. Not a great year for me and many others. So here is crossing my fingers that this year will be a better one. As usual, I had an incredibly exciting New Year's Eve - staying in with my parents to watch Dick Clark. It just doesn't get much more fun than that. My mother stayed up mainly to see Dick Clark as she was under the impression that he had died. Even after seeing him, she isn't really certain he isn't. My guess is that they defrost him every year now for one day and then put him back into the deep freeze. This way he will be around for 1,000 more New Year Eve's!

Not much really going on. No New Year resolutions on my part other than inventing a drug that will reverse aging. And of course dating Hsu Chi. I have that one every year. The only real problem is that I read that she doesn't plan on dating till 2012 when she has some free time. Geez, I hope I am still single then. It is really cold here in New York City. I think I will go to the bank and withdraw a wad of money and just have food delivered till March and never go out. Except I have jury duty starting tomorrow. I hate jury duty. Sending people to jail sucks. I may steal a 30 Rock idea and go dressed up - maybe as Hello Kitty. Or Elvis Tsui in Eternal Evil of Asia. Dickhead if you have forgotten. I want to get back to Asia where it is warm and the curries are hot. Except by the time I can go air travel may be prohibited or I may have to go through a rectal exam to get on the plane. I actually am old enough to remember flying trans-Atlantic on Pan Am when they had silver ware and fold out beds. Now its spead your cheeks please. Wider.

My big project so far this year is to divide all my music on my MP3 player into playlists for the years 1963 -1975. So I am using Wiki for information on what years songs came out. It still astonishes me how much is on that site. Pretty much everything. I am checking tomorrow to see what I had for dinner tonight. I am sure someone will be adding that. Here was a surprising musical tidbit I came across. Everyone knows the Supremes and all the hits they had. But did you know they actually put out individual albums in which they covered the songs of The Beatles, Sam Cooke, country music, Rodgers and Hart and all the songs from the musical Funny Girl. How weird is that. Does anyone have any of those albums I wonder?

Ok, ok I am clearly wasting time here because I got nothing. The only Asian viewing I have done of late is when I came across a Youtube video on a Thai Blog. It is by this Thai-English teenager called Jeerawan and she has a whole load of self-made videos in which she basically does nothing but look cute and dance cute. Very cute. Cute is really taking over the world isn't it? And women pretty much have a monopoly on it. One of her videos has had over 60,000 hits on it. She gives make-up tips on it. Maybe I need to start doing that on this Blog. The world has gone crazy, but then I couldn't stop watching her videos either. I've lost it too. Next I'll be watching reality shows. Shoot me when that happens.

I have done a bit of old Hollywood movie watching recently. A few B films that I enjoyed. You know how when you buy something on Amazon they nicely tell you that people who bought that product also bought so and so. I have actually discovered some terrific obscure books, music and films that way. This time it was a series of Nancy Drew films from the late 1930's starring a spunky Bonita Granville. Everyone knows Nancy Drew of course - while boys like me read the Hardy Boys growing up, the girls read about Nancy Drew putting her nose into trouble constantly. These were great fun with Bonita dashing about in her splashy coupe and nifty hearwear. The oddest scene was when she and her friends go to a Chinese restaurant and don't have enough money to pay the bill. They have to sing their way out and launch into a razzamadaz version of Little Bo Peep. All four films come in one DVD package for $21.

A few weeks back I went to see The Invisible Man at Film Forum and so I naturally followed that up by buying the Invisible Man set which has four other films about invisible people. All four of these are sort of second rate but still fun primarily for the terrific cast of character actors. The Invisible Man Returns (1940) stars Vincent Price as a man framed for murder. Fortunately, his friend is the brother of the original Invisible Man and he is able to become invisible and escape to look for the real killer. But this drug of course makes you go nuts after a while. Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Cecil Kellaway co-star. In the same year The Invisible Woman was produced but this one is strictly for laughs and claims no connection to the original. John Barrymore (in one of his last performances) plays a nutty scientist who discovers a way to turn people invisible and asks for a volunteer through an ad in the paper. A lovely blond answers because she wants to turn invisible to slap around her nasty boss, but some gangsters are also interested. A terrific B cast of Virginia Bruce, Charles Ruggles, Margaret Hamilton (The Wicked Witch) and as the bumbling bad guys you have Oscar Homolka, Donald MacBride, Edward Brophy and Shemp Howard (who was to become one of the Three Stooges a few years later). Not many of these names may be familar but if you watch many films from that period their faces would be.

The third in the set is The Invisible Agent (1942) in which the nephew (Jon Hall) of the original Invisible Man gets ahold of the serum and uses it to spy on the Nazi's in Berlin and saves the United States from being invaded! Not great as the spy is bit of an idiot, but it has the sleek sultry Ilona Massey as the femme fatale and a leering Peter Lorre doing his Japanese thing again (Mr. Moto) as a spy after the serum. Finally, there is The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944) the weakest of the lot with Jon Hall looking for revenge and getting a scientist (John Carradine) to turn him invisible. The set of 5 films is going for $23. It also includes the original.

That reminds me - Film Forum here in NYC is doing a 30-film retrospective of Akira Kurosawa this month. Wow. I have seen most of Kurosawa's samurai films, but as far as I can recall I have seen none of his other films. I should be spanked. Hopefully, I can make amends this month.


Glenn, kenixfan said...

Brian, if you tell me that you've never seen Ikiru I'm going to scream!

Thanks for the Linda Linda Linda links.

I keep seeing a video on TV here in HK of this Japanese four piece girl group. They are in school outfits and performing in the rain and they sound like The Donnas. I want to know who it is!

This is my new fave, Korean group 2NE1.

I like the girl with the bobbed haircut!

There are at least two versions of this video and they've got another one equally catchy/annoying!

Happy New Year!

Brian said...

Ikiru? I thought that was a Japanese dessert. Nope. I guess I should huh?

Cute but not as cute as the Happy Troupe Girls!

Anonymous said...

I checked out some clips from those Nancy Drew films on YouTube. They look pretty cool!

I'll second Glenn's recommendation for Ikiru. Scandal is also pretty good. Besides Toshiro Mifune, it also stars Li Xianglan aka Shirley Yamaguchi.

Brian said...

Dang, I never think to look on Youtube but those were some nice clips. Her boyfriend Frankie Thomas is surprisingly good for a teenage actor - he has a kind of Oh Golly Jimmy Stewart thing going on and later appeared apparently for 5 years on a famous children show called Tom Corbett, Space Cadet but retired soon after.

The Kurosawa films that most interest me in seeing are Stray Dog (but have it on DVD),the two Sanshiro Sugata films, High and Low, Scandal, The Bad Sleep Well and then re-seeing a bunch of the samurai films I love so much - Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Seven Samurai, Kagemusha, Hidden Fortress and Throne of Blood. One of my cinematic turnoffs are films about terminal illness - so Ikiru and Drunken Angel are not likely. It probably stems from seeing Love Story which may have scarred me for life!

Anonymous said...

Don't tell me you've stayed away from all the HK movies with terminal illness storylines. ;)

Brian said...

That was why I didn't see Funeral March! I see see C'est La Vie Mon Cherie long ago and was depressed for weeks!

Anonymous said...

Okay now I'm going to have 'linda linda!' screaming in my head for like a week. A week is okay. But after that I'm going to need more great music from you.

Happy new year!

Brian said...

I know I know! When I first picked up the soundtrack and then the Blue Hearts version I played it so often my cd player registered a complaint with the union.

ElPeevio said...

I know just what you mean about "Linda Linda Linda". It is a brilliant movie. And the soundtrack is to die for! I know it is bad for to advertise my own blog (in a similar vein but not a patch on yours), but here is my little mini-review

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