28
May
08

Super Disco Friends – Dimitri from Paris and DJ Muro

Super Disco Friends – Dimitri from Paris and DJ Muro [2005]

Yes, everyones favorite DJ is back. Although born in Turkey, and of Greek decent, most people simply know him as Dimitri from Paris. Or ‘Dim’ for short.

This time he has brought with him another huge underground DJ. DJ Muro from Japan. Dim’s favorite past time is record digging, and while on hunt for rare gems, he met DJ Muro. While Dim was into soul and disco, Muro was into hip-hop. But they very similar taste, because hip-hops origins and roots come from soul and disco.

DJ Muro took him to a club in Japan where he began spinning tracks. Dimitri was blown away by his skill, and also the fact that he was playing sweet jams even Dimitri could not name. Although there was a language barrier, they got along great and decided to bring their collections together to make compilation album.

DJ Muro is big into early hip-hop. A/B rhyme scheme and old school breaks. Dimitri on the other hand loves late 70’s disco and rare dance beats. The two decided to make their album a tribute to the emerging block party scene in late 70’s and early 80’s.

This album is definitely another side of Dimitri most may have not seen. Gone are his white tuxedo and 60’s MOD hair styles. Instead, as shown above, he goes for the RUN DMC leather fedora and Adidas sweats. And I gotta say its a transition that is easy for him to pull off.

I am a HUGE fan of pretty much any black inspired music of the decades all the way up to the 90’s. Soul, R&B, Funk, Disco, and Rap are all expert areas for me. While this may seem out of character to some, to me it is not at all. Rap began as a way to get the crowd going at parties. Little short rhymes here or there done over breaks in the disco songs. Its a simple and easy marriage.

The album consists of 2 CD’s. Both CD’s feature old school rap and breaks. The first one is Dimitri’s go at it called “The Underdogs”. Almost every track is pure art. My favorites right now include:

Get Fly – TJ Swan

Boggie to the Bop – Mantus and Omega 88

Family Affiar (Instrumental) – Family

Very funky. Family Affair is a AWESOME break that makes me want to work on more break-dancing moves right away. And could someone tell me who the hell TJ Swan is?!?! Man that track is hot, but I cant shake that it sounds like a rap from a dancing video game.

The second CD is DJ Muro’s turn to show his stuff. Its no wonder Dim chose him to work with. He really is one of the best hip-hop DJ’s in Japan. And he knows his stuff too! His disc is called “The Foundation”. Current favorites include:

Positive Life – Harlem World, Lovebug Starski

Nobody Can Be You – Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame

I Just Wanna Do My Thing – Edwin Starr

Ultimate Rap (Holiday Rec) – Nice & Nasty

Ultimate Rap and Positive Life are great A/B rhyme scheme party raps. Great beats and great lyrics. I Just Wanna Do My Thing sounds like a 70s barbecue sauce commercial. In a good way. But my only criticism of Muro is not that bad at all. Its only that his tracks are all cut short. Like one of my favorites, Nobody Can Be You, is barley over a minute. I’m hungry and I want my prime cuts in large slabs.

Dimitri’s average song is 5-7 minutes long, where as Muro’s are 2-3. This may not be such a bad thing as it depends on where your coming from. Old soul and disco are known for 12″ LP’s that last forever with large instrument solos. Where as hip-hop is all about the break beat, or the small part of the song that is your favorite. So, I think this is merely a matter of taste.

I’m gonna go with 4 stars for now. Its not the best Dimitri from Paris I have heard, but it sure gives the best a run for its money. If you are looking for this kind of music, or this era, I dont think you could ever find anything more up your alley.

 

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21
May
08

Dragon Dynasty is the shazzle!

A few of you may have heard of Dragon Dynasty, or seen their logo on the top or spine of DVDs for sale.

Dragon Dynasty is a branding of martial arts cinema by The Weinstein Company and Genius Products. Not only do they work hard to release these obscure titles to the masses, but at the helm you have Hong Kong Cinema expert Bey Logan and Quentin Tarantino. Both are helping out with the promoting, marketing, and finished product.

I cannot say enough good things about Dragon Dynasty. When people work hard to earn your business… I mean REALLY hard, it takes a real jerk to not give in.

Not only do they dig up super rare titles, but they restore them and revive them with DRASTICALLY and the key word is NOTICEABLE improved picture and sound. Not only that, but they release modern classics as well. Their collection is wonderful. Out of many titles (now 30) there are few weak links. As a matter of fact, one mans weak link is another mans treasure. For example, I didn’t care for Jackie Chan’s Crime Story much, but on rottentomates.com, it scores a solid 92%!!! 

But probably the best thing about Dragon Dynasty is their bonuses. If you are in love with these films, they throw the book at you. Hours of bonus footage, rare interviews with screen legends that are now no names, great featurettes, etc… The list goes on. They talk to experts, they talk to fans like The Rza, they even talk to the guy in the background that took that NASTY spill off the balcony in your favorite flick! Just to ask him how it felt!

Anyway, I have no D.D. reviews up yet, but I will be posting some soon, as I have already seen almost half of them. But until then, support these folks. Buy the DVDs, don’t copy. You will be heavily rewarded. And your putting money into the pocket of that poor guy that fell down the balcony years ago to entertain you.

21
May
08

God of Gamblers (賭神 or Dǔshén; lit)

God of Gamblers [1989]

This classic from Hong Kong stars Chow Yun-Fat as ‘Ko Chun’ AKA ‘Chocolate’,  one of the best professional gamblers in the world.

Ko Chun agrees to clean out a Singaporean gambler when its learned he killed a friends family member. The match is set up, but Ko Chun accidentally falls down a hill and hits his head the night of the game.

He suffers from amnesia and is picked up by some local pranksters and pickpockets. He regresses to a child like state and they name him Chocolate. His life is still on the line since he is a target for gangsters. He must gain back his ability and learn his past so that he can beat the Singaporean and put an end to all the mess.

Either this is a huge classic, or its just hard to find. The average price is like $25-$30 on amazon for a used copy. I always wanted this as I am a fan of romantic gambler movies and card manipulation. I found it at a local import store that was clearing out their movies for $6. I was very excited and picked it up right away.

Dang… I sure was disappointed. Chow Yun-Fat is awesome and a favorite of mine. But I don’t understand the draw to this movie. It has plenty of appeal, but never delivers. There is some action. There is some laughs. There is even a little XCM! But its too far, too few, too little, too late.

I think the thing that killed it the most for me is, in most gambling movies, (Maverick, Cincinnati Kid, Big Hand for the Little Lady, etc) people are blessed with extreme skill, wit, and even lady luck. But in this film, how good you are is completely based on how well you cheat. Everyone cheats, and everyone knows it. This includes our protagonist. So the question is, HOW did they cheat. To me, there is no honor in that. Where are the poker face mind games we all crave?

Unless you work security in a casino, why would you want to watch a movie where you have to tell how they cheat?

I’ll make this quick. 2 stars. Its got a tiny bit of action, comedy, charisma, and even card manipulation. But its lack of more delivery and the fact that cheaters always win that irks me. I traded in in and got $10 cause it was ‘rare’. I hope someone else gets their moneys worth.

21
May
08

Death Proof (Grindhouse: Death Proof)

 Death Proof [2007]

Death Proof is Quentin Tarantino’s 5th major movie and is also a part of the Grindhouse collaboration.

Kurt Russell plays ‘Stuntman Mike McKay’, an ex-stuntman that now, for whatever reason, roams the streets in search of young ladies to  murder.  His weapon of choice is some Detroit muscle.

But not just any car will do. Before he puts the pedal to the metal, he must “death proof” his car. This is a old stuntman tradition, done by heavily reinforcing the fame and placing an intricate web of roll bars into the car. When he is strapped into his seat harness, he is in an almost magical way, invincible. With this in place, he can now prey on helpless women around the highways with no fear of getting injured himself.

The movie can very easily be described in halves. Most people who have seen this movie know that there is the first set of girls and the second. Each set takes up a little under an hour to wrap up and tell their part of the story.

OK, this is gonna be a long one, so you want me to start with bads or goods first? Fine, lets get it out of the way.

The bads are quite a list to say the least. WOW. Where to begin. First of all, boring. Boring, boring, boring, boring. The first 45 min of the movie is hard for ANYONE to watch and be 100% engaged into the film. Why is that? Well, because the story, for the most part, follows around 4 of the most uninteresting young women you could ever hope to not meet.

These would be girls you see that work at Mervyns and are always outside on a smoke break. The girl that gave you a quick ride home last year. Remember? When you got in her car, it smelled SO bad and was completely trashed from top to bottom. She thought after High School, she would meet a doctor and run away. But he never showed up, so they continue their vain attempt to find a decent guy using booze and cheap perfume to lure him. For some odd reason, she has multiple PETCO P.A.L.S. cards in her purse. You get the picture. I already know too much about these girls based on their lifestyle and appearance. Why would I want to know more? Well too bad. You get novels of dialogue between them. Back and forth. Talking about weed, humping guys, bars, liquor, laziness, and…………………………. under ground, rare, impossible to find, old, soul music?

Wait… what?????

My main problem with the dialogue in this movie, is that it is obviously writen by a guy. These girls talk like guys. And not just any guy. They all talk like Quentin Tarantino himself. Its shown with their quirky taste in everything from t-shirts, poems, music, and yes, movies too. You ever wonder why Big Bank Hank from the Shugarhill Gang sounds like Grand Master Caz? CAUSE GMC WROTE HIS RHYMES! The same goes for this. Its TOTALLY obvious. The first 45 minutes is almost completely unbearable and I always find myself fast-forwarding through parts.

The first half also has the ‘Grindhouse’ feel with the cheap horror music, bad editing, and damaged film. This look is one of the better parts of the first half… but for some reason… its gone in the 2nd half? Totally doesn’t fit or make sense.

Another thing about this movie is that is almost a collage of references. As if it was the art project where you cut up magazines and make a big ugly poster of all the things you like. Its no secret Tarantino is a fan of the old road movies, so you may call it a “tribute”, but it borders on the line of straight unoriginal. Its everywhere. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Convoy, Vanishing Point, Gone in 60 Seconds, Smokey and the Bandit, Gator… the list goes on! Every time I see a road movie, I see something that Tarantio took! There are so many ‘nods’ in this movie, it may as well be a giant bobble head!

Sounds pretty abysmal doesn’t it? Well, he’s not the great “QT” for nothing. He can work wonders at times… It seems he needs a big knock out to recover from this brutal beating. Can he pull it off?

Well, there is many great things about this flick as well. The 2nd half of girls have much better lines and its way easier to care and follow whats going on. Although its still obvious a geeky film buff wrote this script, based on their very niche interests. The acting is better, the lines are better, and the pace is better.

Tarantino is not of big fan of CGI (nor am I for that matter!). And this is clear as he set out to make a car movie with no computer animated driving or stunts. THANK YOU QT! Because of this film, he put plenty of old stuntmen to work. Hollywood now a days doesn’t want real action. It costs too much and takes too much time. They would rather pay some gord in his parents basement to computer animate a sequence because its faster and cheaper. The chase scenes are some of THE BEST in history in my opinion. Gets me excited every time. Hats off to QT and the stuntmen who worked very hard on this film!

Also, Kurt Russell does a great job of the “Cowardly Lion” like killer. He plays a washed up has-been stuntman that thinks hes still slick. Even though no one has heard of the TV shows or movies he as worked on. He really thinks he is impressing these girls with his credentials and his John Wayne impression! That may work on girls in the 70’s, but not now! What a great out of touch creep he plays. It was said by Kurt that the character was actually based on a stuntman he grew up around.

Every car is hand picked to be a killer! You get a Nova, a Charger, a Mustang, and a Challenger. Great picks and nice variety. The abrupt ending is fantastic, and very ‘Grindhouse’ / B-movie feel. I couldn’t have ended it better!

Well, when its all said and done, this movie drains the life out of you, then pumps it back in. It would easily gain a 5 star rating if they had just been more careful what they put in. But instead you get a 0 star that works its way back up to 3 star.

So, if I confused you, 3 star. You will love and appreciate the best stunt driving in history. The story may make you laugh in the end. And Kurt Russells performance is perfect. But the first half of the movie will drain and drag you down, leaving you to fast forward the first parts over and over.

21
May
08

Woah! What a delay!

Hey! I have had a crazy week or so! I know I promised some reviews, but…. well… a lot of stuff went down! After my car breaking down, my cat peeing on my mattress, and work cutting my hours, I went insane!

My birthday was the 18th, and I got my Bush Tax Cut. So after all the bad news, I decided to do what every red blooded American would do with $600 USD.

PLAYSTATION 3!!!!!!!!!!!!! So after playing Heavenly Sword, Ninja Gaiden, Portal, and Lost Planet to death, I went back and watched a few movies. I’m getting ready to post them tonight and tomorrow… we should have 3 or so new ones. I also got a book coming, and two new CDs. So expect some more mixed media reviews other than just movies.

Enjoy!

13
May
08

Ballapeno

Meet ‘Ballapeno’.

Ballapeno is the mascot for the San Antonio Missions. When I first saw him, I thought he was a pickle. Or a turd? Well at any rate, he resembles a jalapeno. But on closer observation, he is in fact, a BALL-apeno. Whatever that is.

Well, my green friend marks the return of my trip to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. I had a great time at my wife’s Air Force graduation! I am so proud of her, and I was extremely excited to be reunited with her once again!

Well, she shipped off again to Shepard AFB, and I will visit her again hopefully soon in the summer. Until then, count on me for watching countless hours of movies so you don’t have to. 🙂

I hope to have a couple new reviews up tonight or tomorrow!

07
May
08

There’s no basement in the Alamo!

Howdy Yall! Im off to Texas to visit my wife for her Air Force graduation! I will be returning on the 13th with possibly some new reviews! Until then I left you with a 5 star and a 1 star to browse over.

Does this mean my wife is back for good??? No.

After her boot camp graduation, she goes off to Tech School. In Tech School, she learns the skills she needs to preform her specific job in the Air Force. It will probably be sometime in August that we are reunited for good. Until then, stay tuned for more reviews!




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