JCVD (2008)

JCVD is a fictious biographical movie about Jean-Claude Van Damme, starring the man himself, directed by Mabrouk El Mechri.

Plot:
Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a washed-up action star. He only gets parts in movies he doesn’t actually want to make, and often loses them to Steven Seagal. His personal life is in ruins, too: He’s fighting for the custody of his child, he has no money and things seem to be closing in on him. When he decides to go back to Brussels to take a break and go for a fresh start, he gets caught up in a robbery of the post office – and the police think he’s the one doing it.

JCVD is an astonishing movie. Not only are you surprised that Jean-Claude Van Damme can act, it’s also nice to see that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. But none of this would have been possible without Mabrouk El Mechri, who wrote a phenomenal script and shot the movie in a way that treats Van Damme with sensitivity and respect, but makes a little fun of him, too.

jcvd-poster

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I am attending a meeting in Geneva of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This evening the United States government, in combination with other high income countries in “Group B” is seeking to block an agreement to discuss a treaty for persons who are blind or have other reading disabilities.

The proposal for a treaty is supported by a large number of civil society NGOs, the World Blind Union, the National Federation of the Blind in the US, the International DAISY Consortium, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), Bookshare.Org, and groups representing persons with reading disabilities all around the world.

The main aim of the treaty is to allow the cross-border import and export of digital copies of books and other copyrighted works in formats that are accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, dyslexic or have other reading disabilities, using special devices that present text as refreshable braille, computer generated text to speech, or large type. These works, which are expensive to make, are typically created under national exceptions to copyright law that are specifically written to benefit persons with disabilities…

The opposition from the United States and other high income countries is due to intense lobbying from a large group of publishers that oppose a “paradigm shift,” where treaties would protect consumer interests, rather than expand rights for copyright owners.

The Obama Administration was lobbied heavily on this issue, including meetings with high level White House officials. Assurances coming into the negotiations this week that things were going in the right direction have turned out to be false, as the United States delegation has basically read from a script written by lobbyists for publishers, extolling the virtues of market based solutions, ignoring mountains of evidence of a “book famine” and the insane legal barriers to share works.

Video Vriday

Bauchklang are an Austrian a capella group, who made it their goal to get a capella and beat boxing from their equally restricting genres of more or less annoying pop music and hip hop. The result are well written and well performed songs from various genres, most notably reggae and drum and bass – all performed without any instruments but their voices. And it’s amazing. Sometimes you forget that they’re actually beat boxing and singing.

Bauchklang – Barking News

Barking News is one of their reggae numbers. It’s not their best song, imo, but the video is really nice (also the only official video I know of). The simpleness of it – all black and white, only silhouettes – just emphasises their performance. And with Bauchklang, performance is a big part of what makes them so good.

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Spring Awakening (Musical)

Spring Awakening is a musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater. The production in Vienna is in German and stars Rasmus Borkowski, Hanna Kastner, Wolfgang Türks and Julia Stemberger. It’s based on Frank Wedekind‘s play.

Plot:
Wendla [Hanna Kastner], Melchior [Rasmus Borkowski] and Moritz [Wolfgang Türks] are teenagers at the end of the 19th century. They grow up in a (sexual) void – nobody tells them about sexuality. So they have to find things out for themselves – which doesn’t end very well.
Melchior is an atheist and rebel who, unlike most kids his age, knows about sex. Moritz, his classmate, is shy and haunted by erotic dreams he can neither understand nor handle and which make him fail school. And Wendla doesn’t even know where babies come from.

I’ve never read/seen the play, though I’ve been meaning to for a while. Judging by the musical, the play must be really very good.
The musical itself had some issues, most of which are production specific problems – the translation was horrible and the cast was pretty forgettable. [But worst offender was the choreography in my opinion (which seems to be international).] But apart from that, it was entertaining and the music is pretty good.

SpringAwakening

[SPOILERS]

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Links

Art

Tiny Art Director: Four year old criticises her father’s paintings. Harshly.

Books

Student keeps library of banned books in locker for other kids to borrow. Great stuff.

Movies

27 taglines to put you off a film.

RunPee: tells you when it’s okay to go pee during a movie and what happens while you’re gone.

Here’s something I though I’d never write: Terminator the Schmaltz Song.

Have some trailers:

9.

[I’m kinda glad I’m not a huge Holmes fan, because WTF? But as it is, I can say it’s gonna be awesome!]

And here’s a fanmade one. But wouldn’t it be great?

And here’s another fanmade one, except that this time, there’s an actual movie to go with it: The Hunt for Gollum.

Famous actors stepping out of the fictional closet.

Buffy the Movie remade without Joss Whedon? That’s how you spell catastrophe.

Politics

Transgender People Mentally ill? [This reminds me of what Foucault said: Mental illnesses are culture specific.]

So, Apple doesn’t want you to download Project Gutenberg books on iPhone because they’re dirty – even though you can buy them for the iPhone Kindle reader. *headdesk*

Sometimes, the world makes me cry.

Is this racist?

Science

Why We Stare, Even If We Don’t Want To.

TV

The Midwest Teen Sex Show.

The Fall TV Cheat Sheet.

Completely Different Things

(this genius piece of music brought to you via)

*rofl*

Rubik Cube as font generator.

John Barrowman split his pants. And I wasn’t there… *sigh*

Real Life Twitter.

Method Actors Say the Darndest Things

The Chemistry of Death (Simon Beckett)

The Chemistry of Death is the first novel in Simon Beckett‘s David Hunter Series. It’s a crime novel.

Plot:
Dr David Hunter fled London and his job as a forensic anthropologist after the death of his wife and daughter and went to Manham, a village in Norfolk. He works as a GP there and tries to forget everything that happened. But when a mutilated body is found, his past catches up with him and he finds himself confronted with the poisonous atmosphere of a small town in panic.

The Chemistry of Death adhers strongly to the genre conventions. It’s not badly written and if you like crime novels, you can do worse. But if you want to be surprised, you’ll have to look for a different book.

thechemistryofdeath

[SPOILERS]

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Un secret [A Secret] (2007)

Un secret is a French movie by writer/director Claude Miller, based on Philippe Grimbert‘s [French] autobiographic book [French] and starring Cécile de France, Patrick Bruel, Ludivine Sagnier, Julie Depardieu and Mathieu Almaric.

Plot:
The movie tells the story of François [in order of age: Valentin Vigourt, Quentin Dubuis and Mathieu Almaric] and his parents [Cécile de France, Patrick Bruel] in the 50s, 60s and today, respectively.
He always was a small, rather sick child and harshly felt the disappointment from his father, an athlete himself. To compensate for that, François imagines to have the perfect brother, who achieves all the things he doesn’t dare to.
But more things are going on in this family than just an overcompensating little boy in past-war France. And François slowly uncovers the secrets that are kept from him.

This really is a well-written, well-acted and well-made movie that I thoroughly enjoyed – after it stopped trying to surprise me.

secret

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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Questions, Again (Seriously, I’m running out of memes and appreciate suggestions) – Meme Monday

Have you had sex in the past 24 hours?
Always these sex questions… just keep reminding me that nothing is happening on this end of things.

Are you gay?
Nope.

Do you have hairy legs?
Sure. When I don’t shave them, that is.

Do you smoke anything?
Cigarettes and sheesha. Anything else you had in mind?

Do you like monkeys?
Not especially. I don’t dislike them either. They’re neutral. Like Switzerland.

How many fillings do you have?
Four… Oh my poor, poor teeth.

Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?
A lake. Saltwater is not my favourite water.

Have you ever licked one of those square batteries?
Who hasn’t? I tried it once, saw that you actually get a hit and then never needed to do it again. Some things, you just have to experience.

Have you ever read the Bible?
No. I started once, but somewhere in Genesis when it’s all “and he got this son and he got this son and he got this son”, I gave up.

Did you ever go to Sunday School?
Nope.

Do you wear a lot of black?
I like my shirts to be colourful but my pants and skirts usually are black.

Did you ever bring a weapon to school?
No? This question is scaring me a little.

Have you ever hugged a tree?
Ah, unreciprocated love…

Do you know what a sphincter actually is?
I have to admit I checked the dictionary just to make sure, but yes, I know.

Describe your hair?
Blondish-brown (more brown than blond), longer than usual and in dire need of a cut.

Are you a wildbeast?
Depends on the definition of that.

Do you like to have fun?
No, I hate fun. Fun sucks. Fuck Fun. Who wants to have fun?

Do you like drama?
As in theater? Yes. As in personal? No fucking way.

Have you ever taken a bong hit?
Well, I do own a sheesha, which is a waterpipe, as is a bong. But as bongs usually refer to illegal substances, I prefer not to answer that question without my lawyer present.

Do you like mayonnaise?
Sometimes. Like, once a month in one sandwich. I’m more the ketchup fan.

Are you afraid to die?
Nah, it’s the not living anymore that scares me.

Do you like playing in leaves?
Haven’t done that in ages, can’t really say.

Have you ever peed your pants as an adult?
No.

Have you ever thrown up on somebody as an adult?
No.

Are you an adult?
Yes. Or at least that’s what most people believe.

Ever won a spelling bee?
No spelling bees in Austria.

Do you ever eat because you’re depressed?
I just had to correct the grammar in this question. Where’s my chocolate?

Are you a television addict?
No, I can watch all the shows I want on my computer as well. It doesn’t need to be the TV.

Do you think OJ was guilty?
I don’t know. I really don’t know that much about the whole thing.

Do you enjoy spending time with your mother?
Yes, I really like her. But it shouldn’t be too much at once – usually four days is the most I can stand until I wish that I was in my own flat, alone. But that’s true not only for spending time with my mother, but basically for everyone.
[I’m a fucking misanthrop.]

Have you ever had sex in a hot tub?
No. I’ve only ever been in public hot tubs and no, really not interested to have sex there.

On a swing?
No. That’s interesting, though.

Do you like Elvis?
Yeah.

Do you enjoy watching animals do it on the Discovery channel?
What? If you want to know whether animal sex excites me – no. If you want to know whether I watch the Discovery Channel – no.

Ever been hit on at a zoo?
As I haven’t been to the zoo in about 15 years, gee, I hope not.

Have you ever had sex with a total stranger?
Depends on your definition of total stranger, I guess.

Do you enjoy the calming effects of turkeys?
I guess not, since I never noticed it before.

Does your mom think someone is hot?
Sure thing. We also have a freakishly similar taste in men. The two men we can’t agree on: She really thinks George Clooney is hot (I can see the pretty, but he doesn’t do anything for me) and she doesn’t like Christian Bale (how’s that possible? beats me).

Are you a sugar freak?
I like sugar. Does that make me a freak?

Ever been arrested?
Nope. But I once had to go to a police station in the middle of the night to get my brother’s friend out of the drunk tank.

Ever commit a crime and get away with it?
Actually, yes. I once left a bar without paying. I can talk about it now freely, as it’s barred. ;)

Do you like orange juice?
Sure.

What sign are you?
Who cares? Aries.

Ever do the party boy dance in front of the elderly?
If I only knew what the party boy dance was, I’d probably do it in front of the elderly.

Where do you wish you were right now?
Lying in a hammock in the sun, reading a good book and slowly getting a tan, chasing away the ridiculous whiteness that is my skin.

Did you enjoy this?
I’ve had better. But I’ve also had worse.

Wendy and Lucy (2008)

Wendy and Lucy is the new movie by Kelly Reichardt, starring Michelle Williams.

Plot:
Wendy [Michelle Williams] is driving to Alaska with her dog Lucy, in the hopes of finding a job there. Unfortunately, in a small town in Oregon, her car breaks down, her dog goes missing and she loses more and more of the little money she has left.

It’s a slow movie and incredibly depressing in its inevitability. The low budget it had is noticeable, but that fits the story pretty well. I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed by Michelle Williams though.

wendy-and-lucy2

[SPOILERS]

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