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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Burgspektakel Regensberg

I visited the fantastic castle spectacle in Regensberg today. Unfortunately I have to return to the military tonight, so I can't describe all the great things I've seen. However, the time was sufficient to upload the pictures I took today. Enjoy :).

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

On location: Kevin

The last couple of days I spent in Leipzig where I could join the film crew of "Kevin" a fictional documentary about the integration of vampires into our society. The movie is based on a script by Christian von Aster who is also directing. The three days on the set were extremely interesting and instructive. I've left Leipzig with a good feeling and thrilled by the prospect of visiting the opening night in Leipzig next year. By the way, if the movie comes to a location near you, go and check it out! You may even spot me in the first two scenes of the movie!!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

The Host

To celebrate one of my last free evenings for a while, I met up with a good friend of mine and we spontaneously went to the cinema.

We picked The Host in the cinema Riff Raff. This is a creature horror movie made in South Korea, which doesn't hesitate to dish out a good deal of criticism directed towards the US's take on world policies.

Some years after a huge amount of toxic waste was dropped in Han river a mutated creature appeared to get its revenge. The military is soon called in to evacuate the area, however, when an American soldier who was in contact with the beast dies from a mysterious virus, the situation starts to get drastic. Everyone present during the beast's first appearance is quarantined and the US government announces the use of Agent Yellow, a new weapon against biological warfare which should terminate any virus within a 12 mile radius.

The story focuses on 12 year-old Hyun-seo, who was abducted by the monster and deposited in the city's sewer system. Meanwhile her remaining family make an attempt to escape government observation and rescue her.

Even though there is quite a bit of gore in the movie, there are also many humorous scenes, and the monster's looks and moves are just awesome. So if you want to see what movie makers can accomplish outside of Hollywood and you can bear a seeing a little blood, then you should definitely watch it.

Rating: 8/10

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Mittelalterlich Spectaculum in Singen

There could hardly be a better way to flee from the Street Parade than to immerse oneself into Medieval times :).

Even though the weather forecast was a bit unclear we made our way to Germany. The Mittelalterlich Spectaculum a medieval event which is touring throughout Germany made a stop in Singen. The stalls at the medieval market were as always well worth a visit, and there were even some that I hadn't seen at a Spectaculum before.

One of my personal highlights was meeting so many people from the Middle Earth Festival. I didn't count, but there were surely more than twenty people and Meri even brought a flag along so that we could easily spot the meeting point :).

Another highlight was the Fangdorn Dragon Saga. However, to be completely honest, the dragon was grand, but the rest was borderline. I've seen way better sword fighting as well as better acting. But the ten meter long fire breathing dragon was a sight to behold and remember for a long time :).

As always and important part of the Spectaculum was the music. This time Rapalje and Saltatio Mortis had the honor to perform as main acts. Rapalje is a celtic folk band from the Netherlands, who played a wide array of songs, to many of which we could dance :). Before and during the big Dream Spectacle Pill and Pankratz also had a short show block. Their comedic songs were very funny, especially the disagreements they had about the song texts. The rest of the Dream Spectacle revealed nothing new, though and so it was almost my personal low-light of the day. Saltatio Mortis on the other hand is a regular guest at the Spectaculum and their night concert drew a lot of people who enthusiastically sang and danced along. Their gig was scheduled from 11pm till midnight, but they ended up playing more than 90 minutes!

We had a great day, even though we got wet from time to time, the sun was always nice enough to make a comeback.

My pictures from this event :)

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Goodbye Party @ GASB Uster

Two years after their first unplugged concert at the GASB in Uster (read more about it), Labia was asked to return once more to perform at GASB's Goodbye party.

This time, however, only Ari and Fernando, the Spanish speaking part of the band, took to the stage. To make the event even more special they covered a selection of their favorite songs such as 'Everyday is exactly the same' by Nine Inch Nails, 'Meds' by Placebo and 'Say it aint so' by Weezer. Nevertheless they didn't hesitate to add their own interpretation to the tunes and the result was breathtaking. Ari and Fernando both displayed their immense talent and the concert was over far too soon.

By the way, if I counted this as a Labia gig it would have been my 30st gig anniversary!

Same as last time the main act of the evening were Gigimoto and Jean-Pierre von Dach, who played a two set concert to great applause. Making this another great evening. It's a pity though that it was the last of its kind in this charming venue.

Ari and Fernando's song list:
  • Hurt by Johnny Cash

  • Go with the flow by Queens of the Stone Age

  • Meds by Placebo

  • Karma Police by Radiohead

  • Feeling Good by Nina Simone

  • Say it aint so by Weezer

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer in the City with Elfish

The idea was great: To host an open-air concert on a nice summer evening in a park in the middle of the city. Unfortunately, Saint Peter had no ear for the music and let it rain throughout the day. So it was a rather wet affair when Petite Machine took to the stage. Despite the rain there were about 100 spectators present and most took refuge under an umbrella, which kept one dry, but blocked the view to the stage for the rest...

Anyways, Petite Machine played a solid half-hour gig and there were even some who asked for an encore. Their music is best described with the term Indiepop, easy and nice to listen to, but most of the times it didn't blow me off my feet ;).

Then it was time for Elfish, the main act of the evening. They played a very enthusiastic concert and I had to control myself not to dance too vigorously (because I was standing on a bench under a tree *g*). What moved me the most were the sometimes mystical undertones of the songs and of course Nora's powerful voice. Elfish even made me forget that it was raining :). This time the calls for an encore were louder and they were answered. The gig ended after an hour and I happily bought one of the limited T-Shirts *g*. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Elfish in concert another time.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Book Tip: JPod by Douglas Coupland

Funny, absurd and unconventional are words that describe JPod very well. The story focuses on Ethan and his co-workers situated in a dead-end part of a software company, the last person to leave this particular cubicle group died... A main part of the story are the strange things these guys come up with to find some distraction from work such as writing a love letter to Ronald McDonald or finding a wrong number in the first 100'000 digits of Pi. Those 100'000 digits are even printed, so the reader can search as well. Another unique thing about the book is it's design there are pages where the writing is minuscule others where a couple of catch phrases are supersized and take up almost all the page.
All in all it's been a very entertaining read and I'm definitely going to check out more of Coupland's work.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Next

What would you do with the ability to see two minutes into the future? This interesting question is the premise of the movie Next starring Nicolas Cage.

For most of his life Chris Johnson (Cage) was hiding in play sight with a small magic act in Las Vegas. He used his gift to survive and earn some money on the gambling table. But then suddenly 8 million people are in danger and the FBI is after him to use his unique ability...

The movie is great entertainment and there are many amusing scenes, especially in the first half. In the second part the plot begins to tighten and suspense kicks in. There are some extremely cool pursuits both with cars and on foot. Even if the end disappoints a bit, I'm quite sure that Philip K. Dick's story (on which the movie is based) finished a couple of minutes earlier, it was time well spent :)

Rating: 8.5/10

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Book tip: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust tells the story of Tristran, who goes out into Faerie lands to search a fallen star. On the way he encounters witches, Unicorns, flying boats and many more strange creatures.

Neil Gaiman manages to present a dazzling fairy tale for adults, capturing the weirdness of Faerie as if he had been living there himself. Besides enjoying the terrific story there's another good reason to read the book now: The story was made into a movie and will be on the big screen in the second half of this year. Thus this is the perfect opportunity to let your imagination roam unbiased through Faerie.

Rating: 5/5

PS: I can't wait for the movie adaption :)

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Spanglish

Ok, I admit I cheated a bit. I wasn't at the movies on Friday, however, I did watch a movie in a friend's home cinema. The movie we picked was Spanglish, a romantic comedy with Adam Sandler. Flor (Paz Vega), a Mexican immigrant who only speaks Spanish gets a job as a housemaid. Things start to get complicated when the Claskys move to the beach for summer. Because of the remoteness of the place the housekeeper has to stay with them, bringing Christina her twelve-year old daughter along.

One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Flor has a fight with John Clasky (Adam Sandler) and Christina has to act as a translator.

Overall it is a really cute and refreshing comedy.

Rating: 9/10

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Transformers

After the hype it received from my friends I just had to go and see it for myself :). I'm not too familiar with the Transformers story so I'm just gonna rate it on it's value as a movie. What's obvious from the very start of the movie are the brilliant special effects. The Transformers blend perfectly in their environment and their movements are extremely detailed. Fortunately this is not the only strength of the movie. There are also many funny scenes, most of them revolving around Sam Witwicky.

All in all a very entertaining movie :)

Rating: 9/10

I have to add a comment about the cinema Metropol. Even though it has the coolest screen (it is extremely wide), the seats are probably the most uncomfortable in town. It's just painful sitting through a movie longer than 90 minutes and with 144 minutes Transformers was rather on the longer side... Let's hope that they recognize the error of their ways and renovate soon.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Surprise Movie

Every first Wednesday in the month a surprise movie is shown in one of Zurich's cinemas. It's a pre-screening of an upcoming movie so the chances were pretty high that it would be either Rush Hour 3 or Evan Almighty.

As it turned out we saw Evan Almgihty, the loosely connected sequel of Bruce Almighty, well, there's the same God, but that's about all they have in common. Evan Baxter a newly elected congressman meets God and receives the job to build an ark. Of course he thinks he just had a bad hallucination but when animals start to follow him in pairs and his beard resists shaving he slowly has to accept his mission.

The movie is quite funny, especially the scenes with the animals turning up all over the place, however, it doesn't reach the brilliance and ingenuity of Bruce Almighty. Nevertheless, it's entertaining and so it was an evening well spent.

Rating: 8/10

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

My movie-week continued yesterday with The Simpsons Movie. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, the trailers of course were hilarious, but could they keep it up for 90 minutes? I needn't have worried, it is fantastic with one joke chasing the next, they aren't afraid to stab fun at themselves either "Why should we pay for something, that we can watch free on TV?". I don't want to reveal any more details here. So, if you like The Simpsons on TV you just have to go and see them on the big screen!

Rating: 9/10

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