« June 2010 | Main | August 2010 »

July 2010 Archives

July 29, 2010

Heroin branding

Now and Laters, candy version

The Daily News reports that a big heroin and crack ring operating in a Bronx housing project just got busted. After a year of investigation cops arrested 6 dealers yesterday, but haven't gotten the leader of the operation yet.

There are a few colorful details about one of the dealers they picked up, Tyrell Blue, who liked to post pictures of himself holding a wad of cash with a "$100 billion" wrapper around it on his MySpace page (which sadly looks like it's been deleted.) The article includes another shot of Tyrell with his arms around two girls who look like they're 14 and whose moms might like them to put on a different shirt.

Anyway, the article also mentions some of the brand names the guys used for their products, a form of marketing that I never get tired of hearing about. These guys sold heroin named after a luxury clothing line: Gucci. A classic brand of Mexican motorcycles: Carabela. A generic tough-sounding name: Power. And a leading brand of taffy: Now and Later. Love that one.

A month ago, the Times did a story on an art exhibit called "Heroin Stamp Project", in which members of the Social Art Collective gathered empty heroin packets from all over the city and displayed 150 of them.

Some of the brands are standard bad-ass sounding names with an aura of danger, like the names you might come up with if you had to name a new men's perfume: White Fang, Notorious, Last Temptation. One sort of inexplicable brand is Daily News, that also used an image of a camera like the paper's logo. And some are surprisingly blunt about the deadly nature of the product inside the packet: Last Shot, Game Over, No Exit. One called Shooters, with two guns facing each other John Woo standoff style, is apparently intended as both a reference to shooting up and as a threat to another dealer who was trying to sell on his block.

A thread on drug site Bluelight has tons of crazy heroin brands from the last 20 years. Some highlights: G.I. Joe, Marlboro, Tuna, Nestle, FDR, Dog Food, EZ-Pass, Adult Content, and my favorite, Fleetwood Mac. More threads here--people can talk about this forever.

July 26, 2010

Hamm/Hall mag spread

There's at least one other person out there besides me who wishes that Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall had formed the gorgeous on-screen couple of the year in The Town, instead of her and not-gorgeous Ben Affleck. Because W Magazine has a big sexy photo spread of the two of them lounging around draped over each other looking really stylish and hot!

Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall

Clearly this set of photos is far more satisfying than a few pained movie scenes of awkward, hesitant desire thwarted by the unsentimental realities of modern life, FBI regulations, and anti-erotic Boston accents.

But in a less gritty, New Englandy movie, they would make one handsome couple. Check out that profile:

Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall

Wow. More here.

July 22, 2010

TUSH 2010: I'm out of my league

Nicki Minaj

Every summer, there's one song that blah blah blah "totally ubiquitous summer hit". Hence, TUSH. In previous years, blah blah blah Rihanna blah blah Nelly, examples of summer songs you could not avoid hearing even if you wanted to, blah blah Rite Aid, car stereos, beach snack bars, your clock radio, blah blah blah blah "Macarena".

This year's TUSH isn't clear yet, at least not that I can tell. The contenders blah blah blah "OMG", "Bulletproof", both songs that I still hear all the time, but blah blah blah blah released 4 months and over a year ago.

Blah blah blah freaking hate every single thing about Katy Perry blah blah don't care how many goddamn weeks on Billboard blah blah blah Black Eyed Peas.

In New York Mag's "Song of the Summer" posts, it seems like they just look at the charts, without any of the more nuanced cultural analysis blah blah blah 2005 was obviously not "We Belong Together". It was "Hollaback Girl". There are rules here, people, and one of them is that the TUSH is never a melismatic slow jam.

Anyway. This year doesn't have a clear front-runner other than Katy Perry, who I refuse to acknowledge based on her affront to everything that is good and righteous in this world. If you feel like you know what this year's TUSH is, and it's a recently released feel-good, sunny tune that you cannot avoid hearing constantly in every aspect of your daily life, please tell me. I stopped being in the right demographic for this many TUSHes ago.

One dark horse entry for a late bloomer TUSH: Nicki Minaj's "Your Love". I've heard this song twice on the radio in the last couple of days, and I have Top 40 radio on for 5 minutes or less most days, so it's getting out there. It uses a sample from Annie Lennox's "No More I Love You's" and the girl-on-girl sword fighting video just came out. It's catchy, a little less energetic than a classic TUSH, but still could be a contender.

I like Nicki: she's been around for a few years, dresses like Anime Barbie or radioactive Wonder Woman, and is the first female rapper to have a #1 song on the Rap charts since Missy Elliott's "Work It". "Your Love" has been at #1 for two weeks now, so that's got to count for something.

I'll check back in August--by that time the one true TUSH will be exalted in all its glory.

July 20, 2010

Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, and The Town

The Town, Jon Hamm

Ben Affleck might not be the world's greatest actor, but I will give him this: he knows how to hire a great cast. He's now directed his second movie, The Town, which comes out in September. Here's the new trailer. [Warning: it seems to me like the trailer gives away a lot of plot twists, so if you're not into that kind of thing, maybe don't watch it.]

Even if you have no idea what this movie is about, I bet you can predict all its main features: 1) crime, 2) Boston, 3) uneducated white people who live on the fringes of society and swear like feckin' crazy.

But that's not the interesting part. The cast looks phenomenal for this movie. He's got Jon Hamm as a tenacious FBI agent determined to bring down some bank robbers (who, in a Boston heist movie cliché so obvious it almost transcends itself, dress in nun costumes) and Rebecca Hall as some kind of bank employee/love interest. Unfortunately for me, she's not Jon Hamm's love interest, because then they would have been the most beautiful screen couple of the year.

Instead, she's Ben Affleck's love interest, who decided to just give in and cast himself in this movie, a temptation he resisted for his first movie Gone Baby Gone. Judging from the trailer, it looks like he's one of the movie's weaker links, but he did make the creative choice of including a scene of himself doing pull-ups that's dramatically lit to highlight the chiseled topography of every ab and pec of his body. Nice one, Ben.

Anyway, there's also Jeremy Renner, who post-The Hurt Locker should finally be a real superstar. He's about a hundred times tougher and more scary than Ben Affleck in the trailer, and he's only on screen for about 4 seconds. There's Pete Postlethwaite, one of my favorite actors ever (even if half of the movies he does are of the Clash of the Titans variety,) and Blake Lively as a stripper who let's just assume is a real sweet girl deep down. And is that Chris Cooper as Ben Affleck's dad? Awesome.

Here's the trailer.

July 14, 2010

Mark Ronson and the French

Mark Ronson, Bang Bang Bang

Happy Bastille Day!

In celebration, here's the video from a new single from the dependably wonderful Mark Ronson, "Bang Bang Bang". (thanks, King Pigeon!) It features a Japanese talk show, breakdancing preteens, and a chorus with lyrics taken from the French children's song you probably sang in 2nd grade music class, "Alouette". And MNDR and Q-Tip on vocals.

The video walks a fine line between funky kitsch and tired '80's video parody, but somehow everything comes together just right to make a phenomenally cool video. Does Mark Ronson ever make stylistic missteps? I don't think he does.

His new album "Record Collection" is coming out in October under the name Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, and it will include guests vocalists Ghostface Killah, D'Angelo, Simon LeBon, and BOY GEORGE. How does he do it?

His last album, "Version", was all covers of pop songs, with lots of really inspired selections on there, including the last (ever?) great recording by Amy Winehouse, "Valerie".

In watching the video for "Bang Bang Bang", I started wondering about those lyrics to "Alouette", which I've half-known since childhood. "Alouette, gentille alouette, je te plumerai." Then you go through all the different parts of the bird--the head, the beak, the wings, the tail. It's pretty much the only French I know, besides "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)", which every American girl is required to know so she can scream it at house parties when that Christina Aguilera song comes on and imagine she's very cosmopolitan.

But although I assumed the song was a sweet tribute to a bird, I had no idea what a lot of the words meant. So I looked them up.

Turns out that "plumerai" means "pluck". It's a song about plucking a DEAD BIRD. Gentille alouette! I'm going to pluck your head!

What I had always thought was a mild song celebrating a beloved bird as it happily fluttered around in the French countryside turns out to be a gruesome tune about ripping the feathers off a bird's dead little body.

Those sick French bastards.

July 10, 2010

The Kids Are All Right vs. I Am Love

The Kids Are All Right

I Am Love

I happened to see two movies yesterday that had so many things in common they were like companion pieces for each other. I Am Love is a gorgeously stylized melodrama about a wealthy northern Italian family. It's by Luca Guadagnino and stars Tilda Swinton, who solidifies her status as one of greatest actresses of all time by showing once again that she can do absolutely anything, including speak Italian with a Russian accent. The Kids Are All Right is the third movie written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, and it's my favorite. The movie's about a family headed by two moms whose lives are turned upside-down by the introduction of their kids to their sperm donor, the gaspingly sexy Mark Ruffalo.

They were both great. I won't give anything big away here, but let me list some of the things both of these movies prominently feature:

  • Infidelity
  • Lots of naked not-exactly-young flesh
  • The irresistible seductiveness of hot organic farmer-chefs
  • Lesbians
  • Mia Wasikowska and Alba Rohrwacher, who each play the protagonists' daughters and look uncannily alike:
  • Mia WakisowskaAlba

  • And one scene in each movie that is seriously identical. I won't reveal it, but the lesson of the scene in both movies is that certain people should really be more careful about where they leave snippets of their hair.

One movie will probably provoke a strong desire to be rich and Italian, the other to be rich and Californian, and both could inspire you to have crazy illicit sex in a beautiful, lush botanical setting.

And both have awesome soundtracks. The Kids Are All Right is all old Bowie and contemporary cool stuff like Fever Ray and Deerhoof, and I Am Love has swooningly romantic and gorgeous music by composer John Adams (apparently this is the first time he's allowed his music to be used in a movie.)

The two movies finally diverge in their endings and overall attitudes about family life and domesticity vs. passion. But both are some of the best things I've seen yet this year.

July 8, 2010

Harold & Kumar, numero 3

Harold and Kumar

The weirdest part of today's news about the third Harold & Kumar movie should have been the easiest to guess. Because it's the third installment. Starting with 1982's Friday the 13th Part III, it's been the corporate duty, the moral obligation, of big movie franchises to release the third one in 3D. Jaws, Spy Kids, Ice Age, Step Up, and Toy Story all did it, and Men in Black and Transformers are both coming. (Shrek missed the boat.)

But Harold & Kumar in 3D -- that's going to be funnier and way more contrived and ridiculous than all of those. In this one, Harold and Kumar will enter the third dimension in their quest for the perfect last-minute Christmas tree. That story doesn't have quite the same urgency as getting to White Castle or escaping Guantanamo, but that's what we've got.

Joining NPH and other usual cast members will be some great-sounding surprises: Patton Oswalt, Danny Trejo, and Fred Melamed. First timer Todd Strauss-Schulson is directing--he's the creator of many goofball College Humor-type videos like "Drunks vs. Highs" and "The I Have To Go In A Minute Show", so obviously we're in capable stoner-movie hands.

About July 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in July 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2010 is the previous archive.

August 2010 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35