Heartless wins Leeds + another French gorefest

November 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm (Movies, Reviews)

One of the films I really liked at this year’s Sitges, Philip Ridley’s Heartless, just won the Melies d’Argent award at the Leeds International Film Festival. This is great news – especially after the Melies in Sitges was won by an Irish flick I didn’t particularly enjoy, The Eclipse.

Each year, all 9 accredited fantastic film festivals in Europe give an award called Melies d’Argent to the best European fantastic film in their competition. All 9 winners will then compete for the main award, the Melies d’Or, in next year’s Sitges. This makes The Eclipse and Heartless the first two “nominees” for Sitges 2010.

This year’s Melies d’Or winner was French flick Martyrs. It was presented this June at TIFF @ Cluj-Napoca, but I missed the whole event, so I only got to see the film last night.

Despite being severely flawed, especially in its final third, Martyrs represents another piece of the fantastic new wave of French horror. It’s one of the most difficult to watch films I’ve ever sat through. Not only it’s gory and brutal, but it also acts on a psychological level, and is completely missing the fun over-the-top elements that made A l’interieur a much easier watch. Superbly acted, directed and edited, Martyrs is as sick as everything I’ve ever seen, literally defining a new level of shock and violence. The final third could (should) have been even more touching and unwatchable – if only the main character wasn’t so underdeveloped. Still, a great watch. 7,5/10.

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Deftones plays for Chi

November 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm (Music, YouTube)

Deftones played 2 shows this weekend to raise funds for their bass player, Chi Cheng, still in a coma after last year’s car accident. They were joined on stage by members of Metallica (Rob Trujillo), System of a Down (Daron Malakian & Shavo Odadjian), Linkin Park, Incubus, Cypress Hill, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Children of Bodom, Motley Crue, Far, Suicidal Tendencies, Sugar Ray and Incite.

This is the setlist for one of the shows…

And here are some special clips:

Battery (Metallica cover) (feat. Rob Trujillo of Metallica + members of System of a Down, Children of Bodom & The Dillinger Escape Plan)

Aerials (System of a Down cover) (feat. members of System of a Down)

Engine no.9 (feat. Rob Trujillo of Metallica)

Street Carp (with Ben Kenney of Incubus)

Rock Superstar (Cypress Hill cover) (with Cypress Hill)

Remember – you can donate whatever you feel like for Chi, and also get constant updates on his condition, over at www.oneloveforchi.com.

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This is why soccer should use instant replays

November 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm (Sports)

France qualified for World Cup 2010 after scoring the equalizer following a blatant handball from Thierry Henry, in the extratime of the playoff game against Ireland. This is the reason why instant replays should be used in soccer. This huge mistake by the refs shattered the Irish World Cup dreams, and France goes through in a disgusting, undeserved fashion. Of course, in a normal season, a game lost because of the refs isn’t the end of the world – there are 37 other games to right the wrong. But in the extratime of a playoff game? This shouldn’t happen.

Soccer is the last of the major sports that is still surprisingly reluctant to the idea of using video replays for big decisions. America paved the way – all their major leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) use video replays for certain game moments, and, well, champions are champions because they deserve to be, not because they cheated their way to winning. Why soccer doesn’t to so, is beyond me. It’s like they don’t want to get rid of referee mistakes.

Needless to say, France quickly climbed my shitlist all the way to top three – alongside historical fellow cheaters Italy and Portugal. Hopefully they’ll have a miserable World Cup. It’s not like they deserve to be there, anyway.

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FlashForward @ AXN

November 16, 2009 at 11:03 am (TV shows)

The best new TV show of the year, FlashForward, is kicking off tonight, at AXN Romania. Make sure you tune in every Monday @ 23.00, it’s well worth it. Also, props to AXN for bringing it so damn early – the US premiere was less than 2 months ago.

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Oldboy remake cancelled!

November 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm (Movies)


There is justice, after all. Apparently, the planned Hollywood remake of Korean masterpiece Oldboy has been cancelled. Thank God! I really don’t care that Spielberg was involved – Oldboy is simply too good to be remade by anyone, without becoming pathetic.

The Hollywood trend of remaking every quality foreign film, with their recognizable actors and in their own language, is starting to get on my nerves. Apparently, the dumb American audiences can’t stand watching foreign flicks and prefer lighter, stupider American versions. Which might actually work in some cases, but it won’t in most. I don’t even wanna think about the way Matt Reeves will butcher Let the Right One In – probably the best European film I’ve seen in the last couple of years.

My advice to everyone: learn to tolerate subtitles, and watch the originals. Go grab Oldboy, grab Let the Right One In, and enjoy the real films, not their fake and useless clones.

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Enough is enough

November 10, 2009 at 10:20 am (Sports)

I have always been against the Romanian way of dealing with soccer coaches: a couple of bad results, and the coach is fired. That’s stupid and irresponsible, because no new coach can impose his style on a team in less than at least a year. Whenever a new coach is hired, he should have enough time to change things, bring new players, new tactics. But Romanian owners are too eager for immediate results to understand it’s pretty much impossible for any coach out there to turn a messy team around in such short time.

However, Rafa Benitez has had plenty of time. 5 years, lots of money, (almost) all the transfers he wanted. He turned FC Liverpool from a British club into a semi-Spanish team by bringing in his favorite Latin players, won a Champions League trophy on the way, but failed miserably at exactly the job he was hired for, in the first place: bring the title back. Heck, at least contend for the title. In 5 seasons, the Reds were real contenders only once (last year).

This season seems the worst of all. The team lies mid-table in the Premier League – already 11 points behind leaders Chelsea, needs a miracle to go through the Champions League, and, worst of all, plays like crap. Sure, we won against the Scum (aka Manchester United), but lately we did that on a consistent basis anyway. Sure, there have been plenty of injuries. And plenty of bad luck. But this is no excuse for this miserable season.
Considering it’s highly unlikely for Rafa to do the right thing – quit -, hopefully the owners will realize sooner rather than later that there’s no light at the end of this tunnel. If Rafa hasn’t been able to do the job for the last 5 years, it’s unlikely he’ll ever be able to do it.

I say, get rid of him, bring a new coach and give him enough time to impose his style, so that maybe, just maybe, next season we’ll be contenders.

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Halloween madness

November 2, 2009 at 11:47 am (Movies, Reviews)


I have seen plenty of horror movies this Halloween weekend – none impressed and shocked me as much as French gorefest A l’interieur. This uber-violent thriller about an insane woman terrorizing a soon-to-be-mother in order to take her baby is a flick as sick, twisted and gory as I’ve ever seen. It’s an exercise in excess, filled with scenes so tensed, gruesome and well done, it puts Hollywood puppies like Saw and Hostel to shame. And when, during the film, you’re thinking that’s as much as you’ll possibly get – the directors (newcomers Bustillo and Maury) come back with something even wilder. The film is also helped by its short runtime (less than 80 minutes), which leaves no time for fillers and keeps the madness rolling along at a super-fast pace. Even when there’s a more quiet scene (meaning – no sadistic violence and pools of blood), everything is so tensed you can’t help but feel uneasy. This remarkable accomplishment is also helped by a good engaging story, great acting and very interesting characters – the film’s killer is by far one of the most insane, memorable and fucked up villains I’ve ever seen. The cinematography is also top notch – the film is beautifully shot, and the claustrophobic feel you’re stuck with throughout also deserves praise. By far, the best horror I’ve seen this year. 9,5/10

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