Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Speaking of restaurants: I might have an actual restaurant down the block? GTFO

Photo by Brownstoner. Sign by restaurant.

Judging by all the shit that gets tossed around about Downtown Brooklyn, I'm surprised any life can be sprung from the mounds of figurative poop that suffocate this area.

Brownstoner is concerned that there won't be enough business huddling in this particular spot; I say if the food is good (also, depending on what the hell it is) I could probably eat enough to keep it afloat. If they have liquor it'd be a nice walk across the Metrotech and slightly less depressing than Harry O's. Hey, a Starbucks is doing just fine in the area. There's enough gullible college students that will want to do happy hour and then stumble onto the wrong stretch of Flatbush.

You can't really find this building; which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Bridgeview Tower has a terrible set of directions, so maybe I won't make it to this restaurant after all. I'm still psyched though. Maybe this is the real secret restaurant via can't-find-it.

Which reminds me, Mr. Bean and his shenanigans!

Secret Restaurant In Park Slope? Eh ra, not anymore bitches!

I don't like how the term "secret" used in conjunction with a bar or restaurant nowadays just kind of means trendy. Sure, people will say, hey, this is New York, if you don't like trendy, you can go elsewhere. I say fuck that. If something is written about in the local papers, it's no longer a secret. So when I see in Brownstoner that there is a secret restaurant behind Loki, I immediately think, LAMESAUCE.

For instance, when PDT first came out, I was like, this is awesome because you enter through a fake wall/phonebooth, not because it's a "secret" that got out. But the hype and idea of inaccessibility turned into trendy business is something that doesn't interest me that much. It doesn't do a business justice when labeled "secret", because that's just a label that high horse foodies and local media use to fill up their day. It's impossible to keep things secret in this city; the whole idea is to spill the beans about a secret place thereby destroying it's secrecy just to be the first person in your group of friends who has the honor of hyping something down the toilet.

So the "buzz" (why does that word suck so much) is that there's a new restaurant behind Loki. Park Slope doesn't really have the nooks and crannies to allow for real secrets. Follow that up with the fact that Loki is kind of a meh bar with no real character compared to their contemporaries in the area, you have something akin to impotency. I'm sure people disagree, but I say who cares?

In conclusion, I am in favor of of using the word "hidden" vs. the word "secret" when referring to an out-of-the-way place in the city, Brooklyn, Queens, whatever. Some random hole in the wall joint by an abandoned farm is a secret. These places are just hidden. Hidden also has a sense of urgency, like you should find it. It's a "find". It's almost more adventurous. Secrets that are by definition broken just makes it a oxymoron in a sense. Maybe I'm looking into this too much. Or, maybe I'm just pissed that I didn't find it first. But I'm not. Meh.

In tribute to useless trendiness, here's Soulja Boy's 'Girl You Stank Take A Bath'

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poster Critiques - Athlete, Courier, The Expendables Banner, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

I haven't done a poster critique in a while so let's do a whirlwind to make up for it. First up: Athlete, which I know nearly nothing about, but it comes out on DVD March 9. There are several different posters floating around but a couple of them are pretty striking but a bit vague about what the doc is actually about. My favorite is the version above and there's a couple of things I really love about it. The text is your usual inspirational stuff and written in a gritty handwritten way, but I like the fact that the socks are pulled up; it's not a stylish look and that's gives a sense that the film is less about posturing and machismo and more of the heart of what it means to be an athlete. I kinda hope that whoever this photo is of, that he or she is a character in the doc.

The next poster I'm looking at is Courier. Sure it's in development, but from the poster maybe they should just label it as "sucking." There's a lot of things wrong with this one upon closer inspection. A lot of the space feels either unused or useless; the numbers scrolling over the background map feels really cliched.

What's really bad is the copy; writers of Wanted is ok but who gives a shit about any of the Resident Evil movies, much less their director(s)? Adrien Brody is a lot of things but he's not an action guy, which is what the film is saying to me with the gun and the suit and the macguffin. It already feels miscast, maybe they leave his name out of it. He looks like he has a weak frame and those Diet Coke commercials ("HAY BRODY") tried to make him look cool but he just doesn't look cool. The tag line for the poster, "He Delivers", is just stupid. I think I've seen this movie before, it's called Transporter, Transporter 2, and Transporter 3. I'm sure this is a mock up but even at that it's pretty bad.

Next up is banner artwork for Expendables. I'm not totally into the poster with the back tattoo, just because it just kind of looks silly, trying too hard, etc. This though, is pretty awesome: Winged shiny skull? Fuck yeah. Blood text extension of 'Semper Fi' to 'Semper Fight'? Jizz. Weird combo of aforementioned Transporter actor, Sylvester Stallone (extraordinary director? Nope), and Jet Li. And he doesn't play an evil Asian dictator.

The last one for now, and what I think is the most interesting is Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to the Academy Award winning (a weak year perhaps?) Wall Street. Oliver Stone still seems like a scary asshole who would be a horrible father but I like the two initial posters that have surfaced for this.

There are some differences between the two, namely the presentation of Michael Douglas's more powerful father figure type character in the first one and an aging mentor type in the second one. Alternately, you can say Shia LaBeouf's character is two shades of young upstart. If you look closely, the rendition of the posters is what makes it cool and very old school, almost 70s. Throw in the simple font and you have a throwback poster style. It gives the characters weight and a timeless quality, as if what they are about is something important and elite. I also like the accessories shown, LaBeouf's pocket handkerchief and Douglas's pocket watch chain in the first poster. I also like that in the second poster especially, LaBeouf's profile is in a light background and Douglas is in the dark. Of course the trailer is kind of meh but these posters do this business film justice. I'm not a huge fan of the subtitle, but it's not a huge deal.

A necessary sequel? Probably not; but an old school look is one of the best decisions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegetarian Dim Sum For Chinese New Year

Valentine's Day (the film and the day) seemed to have overshadowed Chinese New Year this year with both falling on the same day. Except if you're in Chinatown, where you're either closing up shop for the day, part of a clan or a club complete with some woefully off rhythm drumming and confused dragons, or a tourist taking many a crazy photo of children shooting off pressurized confetti.

This year there were a couple of organized events (concerts/speeches in Roosevelt Park, sponsored by Verizon of course) but the real fun of Chinese New Year is the whole running around the nooks and crannies of East Broadway, Grand, and Mott street hoping to purchase something of value or something completely worthless (Canto pop music for instance?). After running around for 3 hours you sort of get the picture, and I sat down to some vegetarian dim sum over on Pell. We got some annoying treatment ("Sir would you like to sit in the basement?" - "What's in the basement haha...I guess nobody found that funny") and our food didn't come out for about half an hour. Which was fine, but this table that sat down way after we ordered got almost all of their food immedietely. I was pretty peeved at that. Don't you hate when you get your food after tables who have already sat down had gotten their food, and some of the same items no less? That should be a rule or something.

The dragons were a bit off this year; I blame the drumming, some of these kids just aren't very good at keeping the beat. You always want that slightly chubby, 40-something Chinese guy to keep the beat, he won't let you down. The 18 year old scrawny kid? Fail.

Anywho, I ate so much that I went to bed by 9pm and after 12 hours of sleep I was pretty good to go. We brought home leftovers from last night, but I forgot to put them in the fridge.

Girlfriend: Vic, you forgot to put the leftovers in the fridge!
Me: Oh, hmm I was too focused on getting the frozen dumplings in the freezer and I forgot. Different bags, I must have put it down and forgot.
Girlfriend: Barely different bags, I feel bad because you were going to have them today for breakfast.
Me: ....I'll still eat them, what the hell. It's vegetables so I should be good.
Girlfriend: If I wasn't here you totally wouldn't have given it a second thought would you.
Me: Definitely not.

So I ate the leftovers and my stomach felt like a bottle of Penzoil. Worth it? Yes.

With the Chinese New Year, I celebrate with Swordsman II, one of my favorite kung fu movies and favorite movies in general:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Soundtrack of Our Lives Ticket Giveaway (for 2.16 show at Irving Plaza) Chris Cab-tion Contest

Thanks again to the folks at Live Nation (or do I call it Ticketmaster? Or Livemaster? NationTicket? Ticket Nation? Nationmaster? Large Company? Ron Delsener?) the KCB is running a wonderful giveaway for a lucky person and a guest to attend The Soundtrack of Our Lives concert on February 16th. Besides having some old school looks and being from Sweden and totally understandable (unlike Ikea's directions), and cool looking promotional photos, and a nice looking official blog/site, I'm not too familiar with their stuff.

I looked up all those things about 5 minutes ago. What I can tell you is that their patient brand of straight up spacey rock, an oddity considering they aren't vapid like mainstream rock bands or something and almost feel kind of, post-rock version of, well early 70s rock? Even if I don't normally listen to them I definitely give them respect for doing their own thing and not sounding trendy. The Swedes just seem to always get it right stylistically. I mean they feel like they are still playing with the earnestness of when they started years ago, influenced by when rock was expanding in the mid-90s who in turn were influenced by the 70's base and 80's experimentation. I mean, you have to give TSOOL credit just for having awesome album covers. I kind of get this weird feeling of oak-y, woodsy, old PBS educational shows from the 70s. As you can tell, I just like typing the word "70s" in here.

Anywho, what ticket giveaway would be complete without a Chris Cab-tion Contest? Oh yeah that's right none. Just comment on the photo below in the comments section for a chance to win two will call tickets. If you're a tall Swedish blonde, your chances are probably even better.

Check The Soundtrack of Our Lives out on MySpace here. For more info on the Feb. 16th concert, go here. Here's their recent music video for "Flipside", Stone Temple Pilots "Plush" style.