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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nostrafilmus: I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK.

South Korea has an amazing track record for making not just good movies, but excellent ones

Posted By on Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM



For those of you not keeping score, South Korea has an amazing track record for making not just good movies, but excellent ones. Actually, they might have the strongest output of any other country in the world right now, including the USA. Directors like Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Memories Of Murder, Mother), Kim Ji-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life, I Saw the Devil) and Park Chan-wook (The Vengeance Trilogy, Thirst, I’m A Cyborg…) are making films on a level that hasn’t been achieved since  filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppala and Martin Scorcese ran Hollywood in the 1970’s. 

My initiation into Korean cinema was Park Chan-wook’s 2003 release Oldboy, one of the finest revenge tales ever committed to film (so good that Will Smith is attempting to remake it as we speak). After Oldboy, I went back and watched the first part of his Vengeance Trilogy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and then found the third part, Lady Vengeance. These three films combined make for some of the finest filmmaking I’ve ever seen in my life. His newest film, Thirst, is the second greatest vampire film of my generation (after Let the Right One In). Park is consistently working on the same level as Hitchcock, early DePalma and Polanski, but without any missteps in his filmography.

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK is his film between Lady Vengeance and Thirst and the first “light” film of his career. “Light” meaning that it’s not about revenge or self- hating vampires, but instead it follows a mentally ill girl during her stay in a mental hospital. Young-goon believes she is a cyborg and, after she slices open her wrist and connects it to a power cord, her mother has her institutionalized. The film follows her experiences meeting the eclectic patients, while also chronicling her refusal to eat because she’s afraid it will destroy her circuitry and kill her. The subject matter is incredibly serious, but Park shoots the film as if it’s a light-hearted fable, creating this dreamlike quality that sweeps the viewer right into her world.

Bouncing between handheld, crane, and dolly shots like it was the most natural thing in the world, Park once again proves that he isn’t just a great Korean director, but one of the finest filmmakers working today. I’m A Cyborg isn’t as showy as Oldboy or as devastating as Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, but the film can stand proudly by them as an example of Park Chan-wook’s effortless versatility as a filmmaker. If you’re looking to start getting into Korean films, I wouldn’t start here (I’d start with The Host or Oldboy), but once you have a good handle on the rhythms and themes of Korean filmmaking, it’s very much worth your time.



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Friday, February 24, 2012

Blacksmith Founder Bankruptcy Contested

Owner of Amalia claims Gavin McMichael owes him $180,000

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 1:34 AM

A roadblock was thrown in the path of the bankruptcy proceedings of founder and manager of the Blacksmith Restaurant, Gavin McMichael, earlier this week when one of his creditors objected to the bankruptcy.

James Orsillo, owner of Amalia’s restaurant in downtown Bend, claims he loaned McMichael money for his restaurants, including the Blacksmith, Bourbon Street and Gatsby’s, based on McMichael’s representations of the financial health of the restaurants that were not accurate, according to an objection filed by Orsillo earlier this week.

In the objection, Orsillo alleges McMichael “intended to deceive and did in fact deceive [Orsillo] into thinking that [McMichael’s] restaurants were financially sound and successful” in order to convince Orsillo to loan him money.

Since then, Bourbon Street and Gatsby’s have closed. Blacksmith remains open.

McMichael said Thursday night that Orsillo's objection filing is "absolutely dead wrong." McMichael said he is hoping a judge overseeing his bankruptcy will dismiss Orsillo's objections outright.

Orsillo, according to the objection, loaned McMichael $75,000 to expand the existing restaurants listed above in February 2011. Orsillo later spent well over $100,000 on a project to create a new restaurant with McMichael next to Gatsby’s, which was to be called the Ruby Lounge. This restaurant never opened.

The objection claims that McMichael owes Orsillo a total of $182,273 plus attorney’s fees.

Orsillo said in his objection that McMichael provided spreadsheets and a PowerPoint presentation, which all showed that McMichael’s restaurants were financially healthy when they were not.

McMichael said the spreadsheets and PowerPoint Orsillo references were projections for how much the restaurants could make. McMichael said he made it clear to Orsillo that those forecasts were not actual numbers showing what the restaurants were currently making. 

"Again," said McMichael,"he is sort of making this up."

McMichael said he was expecting an immediate dismissal of Orsillo's claims. 




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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nostrafilmus: Hulk Smash?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Today, the internet caught on fire a tiny bit with the release of the first picture of The Hulk from The Avengers, due to be released in May. It’s interesting because we’ve got Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) replacing Edward Norton (Fight Club) as the eight-foot tall green harbinger of doom, yet the facial design for the completely computer- generated character evokes Lou Ferrigno’s late ‘’70’s, early ‘’80’s- Hulk more than anything. I’m not saying the new Hulk should completely toss the baby out with the bathwater in terms of character design, but in a time where motion- capture technology is at its peak and we can truly see the actor behind the animation, why couldn’t they meld some of Ruffalo’s hangdog features into the not-so-jolly green giant? Since The Avengers is still a few months out, the effects are probably still undergoing a few tweaks, but since Ruffalo will be the 4th actor giving his interpretation of the Hulk, I’m hoping they find a way to separate this one from Bill Bixby’s prickly version, Eric Bana’s dull take and Edward Norton’s cerebral interpretation. Maybe this one can just smash things like he’s supposed to.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Get cheap Mt. B pass, support CASA

Mt. Bachelor picks CASA for fourth annual April Charity Ski Week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Central Oregon’s CASA chapter was recently picked by Mt. Bachelor for the mountain’s Fourth Annual Charity Ski Week fundraiser, and if you act now you can support CASA and ski for cheap.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. This mostly volunteer crew of men and women from Central Oregon get to know abused or neglected children as their cases move through the area’s court systems. CASA advocates for the right of these children to live in a safe and loving home.

Here’s how you can support the organization and get a full-day pass for $25. Call 541-389-1618 to reserve your voucher. Then pick up the vouchers during the week of March 26th at the CASA office at 1130 NW Harriman St., Ste. 122.

Present the voucher and $25 at the mountain from April 2-6, or April 9-13 and have great day of skiing while supporting one of Central Oregon’s most active and important nonprofits.  

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WinterFest Highlights (with pics!)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 1:23 AM

Even if winter never showed, the rest of us had a great time at WinterFest. That goes especially for the Source staff—we got to spend most of the weekend in the Bent Lounge, 20 feet from the only bar at the festival serving hard drinks. (Sigh). It's a hard life. 

Here's some other highlights from the weekend. 

The plethora of food options was killer this year, with new carts like Real Food Street Bistro making WinterFest their debut. Here Country Catering employee Cody Serbus pulls a slow-roasted pig off a spit.

The snow sculptures were a little lackluster this year in the 40+ degree weather, but the ice sculptures, which were shaded from the sun under a tent, stuck around much longer. James Royal demonstrates expert little-bitty saw-wielding technique with his "Rocket Man."

RailJams on Friday and Saturday nights brought out the crowds. Here Jordan Welter wows the peeps in the snowboarding division of the event.

The music acts are definitely pretty sweet at WinterFest. Local Hero MOsley WOtta pumped out the love on the Main Stage on Saturday night. 

Later on Saturday night, The Coup, out of Oakland rocked the crowd with political hip-hip.

On Sunday, Snow Warriors took to an icy, muddy and obstacle-filled 5k race course with one goal in mind- victory at all costs, including dignity.

All in all, WinterFest was a reminder that our town knows how to throw a winter party, even if the weather decides to be all sunny and nice and whatever.

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