Japanese Breakfast – Be Sweet

“I want to believe in you.”

The very-talented Michelle Zauner delivers a new short film which pays tribute to The X-Files, while being its own funky thing.

The Korean singer/songwriter, who also directed the music video, partners up here with Marisa Dabice, herself a key part of the Philly punk band Mannequin Pussy.

Co-written with Jack Tatum from Wild Nothing, the song wiggles its way into your earhole with ease, then stays there for days.

Meanwhile, in the video, Zauner and Dabice go Mulder and Scully on us, chasing things which go bump in the woods at night.


West Side Story

It’s a rumble on the dance floor.

Mixing racial hatred, doomed romance, and epic song-and-dance scenes which beg for a really big screen, this 10-time Oscar winner still stands mighty tall.

Documenting life during (inner-city gang) wartime, it follows the Jets and the Sharks as they scrap for a hunk of NYC turf, while lovebirds cross into the danger zone, starting a forbidden romance.

Leads Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer are fine — though others do their singing — but it’s Rita Moreno who blows the hinges off the door.

She’s the real deal, and sizzles from start to finish.


La La Land

The Oscar winner that was, then wasn’t.

Years from now, long after the Best Picture snafu recedes from memory, hopefully this pretty fun musical romance and the beautifully-rendered Moonlight will be remembered best for what was onscreen.

Anchored by an ethereal Emma Stone, who did get to keep her little gold man, this one follows an aspiring actress and a self-absorbed “serious musician” as they come together, then fade away.

Dreamy and bittersweet, it’s a love letter to old school Hollywood, and one which hits all the right notes.

Two dreamers passing under a starry night — something to savor.


The Peanut Vendor

And I shall never sleep again.

This two-minute burst of nightmare fuel, concocted in 1933, was way ahead of its time, at least in terms of technical achievement.

But yeegads, someone should have taken a second run at designing the star of the show.

The singing, dancing Lord of Hell … I mean, the monkey … is a pop-eyed beast who might have been more at home in a slasher-fest.

Instead, he’s out there boppin’ along with a swaying palm tree, trying to force us to buy his peanuts before we go to sleep.

Or else!!!


Noir c’est noir

The Dude abides.

France’s answer to Elvis, the ever-rockin’ Johnny Hallyday was the fashion icon Johnny Depp aspires to be, a tabloid-pleasing wild man who remains an icon three years after his death.

He did it all — topping 110 million record sales, starring in 30+ movies, and marrying five times.

Wikipedia estimates he sung around 1,154 songs during a 57-year career, but this is the one I love.

It’s a remake of Black is Black by Los Bravos — one of the great underappreciated tunes of all time — and Hallyday’s version topped the charts for seven weeks straight.

Swing those hips, baby!