The Chilean Sebastian Lelo-directed film Gloria has already garnered awards and accolades from festivals and critics around the world, with praise being heaped on its direction and the lead performance of Paulina Garcia as the 58-year-old divorcée title character. The film chiefly follows her as she begins a romance with Rodolpho (Sergio Hernandez), another senior who claims to have recently been divorced from his wife, though his two grown daughters are still deeply dependent upon him. Gloria also has two kids with whom she is close, a son caring for a newborn and a daughter who is pregnant with a man from Sweden who she’ll soon be joining in his home country. Last weekend it made its way back to Toronto, playing at Varsity Cinema after being shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Unfortunately, Gloria is apparently one of those not-too-uncommon cases of a film loved by ‘the critics’ for incomprehensible reasons. Long, boring, and filled with all the senior citizen sex one could ever want to see, it’s difficult to think of any reason for which to recommend Gloria. Other than perhaps as an educational film on avoiding dating in later life.
While competently made and performed, it was never particularly funny, insightful, moving, or interesting, and featured a number of subplots that all seemed pointless. Admittedly, as a single, 23-year-old Canadian male I was not the target demographic of this film, but assuming most critics who saw the movie were not single, middle-aged women, it’s baffling that any review commended it for being anything other than tolerable.
The unstoppable David Kleiser puts out another bunch of weird homespun psych tunes as The Walls Are Blonde, this time in the form of the album Karaoke’eko.
Toronto/Montreal ‘shaman beat’ trio Doomsquad make some pretty crazy new age sounds on their full length debut. It drops February 25th on Hand Draw Dracula and No Fear of Pop but you can stream the full thing now courtesy of Dazed. And I recommend you do – or at least check out “Head Spirit (For Our Mechanical Times)”. That song’s nuts.
Also – the band is doing a release show in the city next Thursday at Comfort Zone…man, it sure would be great to be guestlisted for that or something…doo doo doo…
Mexican synth-wavers Capullo are adding some flow to my morning. I think it’s off an album coming out soon…my spanish isn’t that good. (via Matinee As Hell)
Even while in Israel, word reached me of the latest endeavour of Paul Pope (100%, Batman: Year 100). So does the book live up to the hype? Mmmm…
Battling Boy is the story of the book’s title character, a 12-year-old boy of godlike origin (not unlike Thor…) who is sent to Earth to save the city of Arcopolis from a bunch of mysterious monsters after the city’s Batman-like hero Haggard West is killed in battle. ‘Mr. Boy’ is loaded up with a bunch of magical T-shirts and a number of other resources to help him in his mission – a sort of traditional coming of age ordeal – and also has a hand from West’s daughter Aurora West - though she’s suspicious of him and makes her feelings quite obvious.
As is clear, it’s not the most original story; every aspect feels like it’s been pulled from another familiar source. But admitting that, it all works fairly well. The problem is that nothing makes it more than that – nothing particularly interesting is done with the characters and there’s no edge or twist given to the story or the way it’s told. By the end of the book, one simply wonders what was the point of retelling such a familiar tale in such a familiar way.
As for the art, Pope’s work is playful and at least provides some character to the proceedings, but it isn’t unique or amazing enough to make up for the over-familiarity of the story. Battling Boy is by no means a failure of a graphic novel, and Volume 2 may well take this origin story to new and exciting places, but as a stand alone work, it simply lacks anything special enough for which to recommend it.
Some more weirdness from my hometown – synth-wavers Mimico are also playing the Zones cassette release show (see previous post). They’re cool too.
The Toronto-based project of visual artist Derek McKeon, Zones‘ music is a psychedelic swirl of dubby new-agey sounds. There’s a cassette release show on March 13th at Izakaya Sushi House that’s being DJ’d by my favourite tumblr-er and all-around-cool-dude Prince Pleasure.
I first heard Japanese electronic/synth-pop artist Yukihiro Takahashi last week when Alex Low (Hellaluya) was DJing Jef Barbara‘s show and he played Takahashi’s “Drip Dry Eyes”. I found out the song using Shazam and later looked him up online.
Turns out Takahashi’s greatest claim to fame is as drummer and lead singer of the influential Japanese electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra. However, Takahashi’s been putting out solo albums since 1978, apparently most notably Neuromantic, a solid collection of English synth-pop songs that includes the aforementioned “Drip Dry Eyes”. Though not particularly incredible or unique among the era’s many synth-pop albums, it’s aged fairly well and in the light of 2014′s reassessment of 80s sounds and styles feels like a minor lost treasure.
If anyone wants to recommend other Takahashi (or Japanese rock) works for me to check out or post about in Obscurity Points, let me know in the comments.
The other night some friends and I went to see Gia Coppola‘s Palo Alto, playing as part of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival. Based on a book of short stories by James Franco – who also stars – and directed by Francis Ford Coppola‘s granddaughter, the film is the interwoven stories of a couple characters, but mostly focuses on April (Emma Roberts), a teenage female soccer player who attracts the attentions of not only her older soccer coach (James Franco), but also the film’s other lead, Teddy (Jack Kilmer, son of Val, who makes a cameo appearance), a directionless juvenile delinquent who’s had a crush on her since forever.
Though those I saw the film with were less impressed, I respected Palo Alto as an understated, interestingly shot film with a wonderfully dreamy soundtrack by Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion, Blood Orange) and Robert Schwartzman. However, a major flaw of the film is its conclusion, which fails to satisfactorily tie up the various narrative threads.
In the final scenes of the film, April apparently returns Teddy’s feelings, but for no apparent reason other than the fact that the two are the same age. There’s nothing particularly endearing about Teddy, nor is he ‘cute’ or anything. Admittedly, April doesn’t prove herself to be so great or likeable a character either, but at least she seems to want something of depth from the world and her life. As creepy as Franco’s premature-”I love you”-ejaculating coach character was at times, at least his character hinted at a level of depth that made sense of the connection between them.
Palo Alto is less than a success as a film, but as other reviews have noted, it is a somewhat promising debut for the newest director of the Coppola family, and another interesting work of the ever-intriguing James Franco.
So check it out: Gold Soundz 2.0! Hopefully you – whoever you are – reading the site like the new look. We’re still tweaking things so hopefully soon everything will be perfect, until then…whatever. I made this mix last week because I had some old playlists for this kind of stuff but I felt it was time to put together something new. Also, soon I’ll be posting mixes of recent mp3s (just like back in the old days!) but I haven’t posted many new mp3s lately because of all the getting out of the army-coming back to Toronto-redoing the site stuff.
This mix is a little on the short side, but whatever, it’s a good starter. Also you’ll notice two of the songs are from middle eastern artists – Lebanese pop star Nancy Ashram and Tel Aviv shoegazers Vaadat Charigim. I guess I’m not totally tossing out the middle eastern interest I’ve tried to inject into this blog since I moved there nearly two years ago. Hopefully it makes your makeout session (should you ever put this mix to use) a little more exotic