Thursday, June 11, 2009

Imagine...Yusuf Islam - 'The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens'

A couple of years ago I was in a very dark place- mentally not race wise. I was living in a very large well-lit and spacious appartement in Amsterdam looking over the canals.
It was my year of seclusion and hedomism, not many pictures exist and my memories are hazy too. I wanted to erase most of the experiences and I do not revisit that year often.

But switching through the channels on TV I came across this documentary about Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens and something clicked in me.
It wasn't a rediscovery of my faith as I am still waiting for that moment to happen. But it was seeing a man struggle and searching which I guess I was doing too and maybe will continue to do so.

There are some moments in life that have an impact on you and create change, this documentary for me was one of those moments.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Foighters behind the foights

I just started reading "Y-The last man" my first graphic novel in digital format. Not entirely convinced of the experience I'm about to have as you can say I'm as old school as oversized backwards Levi's.I just know I'll be missing the feel of paper and the wush wush-sound every page flick makes.

But in these times of global economic meltdown even I start getting in touch with the hippie within me. In a quest to heal the planet by saving paper I have gone digital.
In short the story is about some crazy mysterious shit that makes all the men on the face of the planet die except our lead character. With only women around and one man the world goes to shit.How a male fantasy for many is is a problem for this dude is what the story is supposed to be about.

In any case it was a toss up between Y-The Last Man and Kick-Ass which is getting the cinematic treatment helmed by Matthew Vaughn director of Layer Cake and producer of the good Guy Ritchie movies.

Comic book movies aren't getting me as excited anymore as they used to.We've recently seen all the major characters do their thing. The Hulk thinks he's Brad Pitt just after he was an Isreali assassin, Iron Man used to go out with Ally Mcbeal. And frankly I don't think it can get much better then the double whammy of Dark Knight and Watchmen of the past years.

But watching this next clip did got me excited again.
This guy Damien Walters is one of the stuntmen in Kick-Ass and I think if they just leave the camera rolling on him for 90 minutes doing some crazy flips, then they can consider me be a satisfied popcorn and yellow M&M's consumer.

Props to Slashfilm as always. The source for all film news. I'm definitely going to check out the comic before the movie comes out.

But it made me think of other dudes behind the scenes or even in front that are really bad ass.

So here's a pick of some awesome fighters:

Marko Zaror
See I do not know much about the country of Chile. Apparently they are a proud nation of lama herders(live animals being one of their major exports) and I think they also send out those panflute players out in the world saving us from Guineau Pigs attacking but that claim has yet to be proven.
What the country should be exporting is Marko Zaror's version of kicking ass!
If you've seen a little film called The Rundown starring the Rock( AKA Dwayne Johnson- his mortal name in the matrix) you've seen this man's stuntwork.
If you really want to see him hurt people with ankle knives(didn't even know ankle knives existed) cop yourself his solo Chilean flicks Kiltro or Mirageman.
Low in budget and high in body counts, just the way we like it.
Another thing that works for me is the fact that I am complete unaware of the Chilean film Industry, maybe they only have Marko Zaror starring in every movie they make. Watching movies from a new region always has that surprise element that anything could.

Cyril Raffaelli
Although most people don't know the name, every action aficionado has seen his work.
His most prominent role was in Banlieue-13 and the fight scenes in Transporter 2 (One of the final battles with the blond twins and jumping through the most ill-desgined room with glass windows) and The Incredible Hulk.(Tim's Roth supersoldier Body double)
He kicks ass with a certain "I don't know what" in french.
The trailers for the sequel Banlieue 13:ultimatum are out and it looks like they kicked up it up a notch from the first one. I wonder if Leto's sister will be stoned out of her mind again.

Honorable mention to David Belle too but the dude invented Parkour so he has his name in history books.

Donnie Yen
Donnie hasn't been able to find his foothold crossing over to the mainstream yet.
I only recently started realizing who he was and caught up to his Hong Kong work.
He's the classic mould of a Hong Kong action star but he also did the stunt coordination for Blade II.

Tony Jaa
I feel I have a special bond with Tony Jaa. Like Tony I try to use my elbows and knees to as much devastating effect as I can and I also go borderline insane whenever I am close to a jungle.
Bruce Lee was before my time and even though we all agree he was the original bad ass (Genghis Khan coming a close second), his fights never seemed that intense as you knew Bruce would NEVER get hurt.
Jackie Chan was something different I saw him getting tortured in Police Story 2, I saw him getting the crap kicked out of him in Drunken Master and he also cracked me up many many times.
But I also saw him getting raped by Hollywood in The Tuxedo. (George Lucas ain't got nothing on Kevin Donovan)
Tony doesn't do any of that crap, Tony kicks ass and doesn't even take names, probably coz he got a squeaky high pitched voice.

Jackie Chan
I was looking at my list and couldn't keep the king off.
I grew up on his stunts and look forward to any non-Hollywood movie he makes with baited breath. These are maybe not his best clips but they do take you down memory lane.

Warning: all video clips contain shitty techno music