Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thell Reed ... The Armourer

Charlene Rose ... Dolly Parton lookalike / Opera Singer

Christian Slater ... Ray

Jeffrey Tambor ... Geek / Jeffrey / Dr. Geekman


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Movies I've watched since the last time I wrote one of these things, from favorite to least.

Most biopics stray from reality to either streamline the story or make the characters more palatable. The French Connection alters the outcome of its story in a crass attempt to let both political sides get what they want from the film. Here, Robert Bolt imports issues about egotism and violence into a story that didn't really have them, subverting the heroism with anti-war angst while maintaining the grand spectacle. Not really fair to its subjects, but possibly more fascinating than if it had been.

What Rich said. I bet Brian DePalma was real impressed, too.

Not only is Jason Statham shorter than the villian, he's shorter than the villain's girlfriend. Nothing else in the movie is particularly atypical for an english-language movie about fast cars and kicking people, other than its consistent enjoyability.

Slow, gorgeous, punctuated with just enough violent interludes to keep you awake - perfect for a massive hangover. Charles Bronson isn't the most engaging "man with no name," but the peculiarites of the climax can be chalked up to macho dream logic.

So England's going to turn all of its major controversies into cinema verite biopics now? Good thing they've got all those actors!

One of those Michael Bay movies I only found offensively incoherent and retarded after it was over (probably helps that I was drunk). While it was on, I laughed at the Transformers-out-of-water jokes, was impressed by the CGI and admired the decision to dress the teenage love interest like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. John Turturro, obviously excited to be in a blockbuster, gives the film his all and I think he deserves an Oscar nomination. Letting a Transformer piss on you has to count as "a brave choice."

Kevin Costner takes on his most daring role since Robin Hood, playing a family-oriented businessman addicted to serial killing. William Hurt, Demi Moore and Dane Cook do their best to make his performance look intriguing by default.

Daniel Craig and Samantha Morton's picnic is interrupted when he and a group of bystanders attempt to rescue a small child from a wild hot air balloon. They fail, and one of the good samaritans dies. Craig suffers intense guilt and gains a homosexual stalker as a result. None of this succeeds at making you think.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two things that music nerds who don't read ILX would actually regret not knowing about.

Bone Thugs'n'Harmony feat. Phil Collins - "Home" (from 2002!)

Shred videos by StSanders

(much more where that came from, folks)

The next post will be a bunch of blurbs about DVDs, I swear!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Darren Hayes, "On The Verge Of Something Wonderful"

Only this and the outstanding Camille tribute "Bombs Up In My Face" stuck out when I heard the former Savage Gardener's new DOUBLE CD on aolmusic, and what I remember of the rest was too dense with ballad for me to revisit unless a free copy wandered into my housemate's promo pile. His suit and hand gestures in the video go for timely Timberlake (the clip for the chirpy follow-up "Me, Myself & I" drowns in it), but I doubt anyone in America will be fooled. This is pre-9/11 AC technopop of the highest order, and it's a shame he and Enrique Iglesias can't seem to make this shit cross over anymore - it's strictly for Popjustice enthusiasts and the Logo network now.

The lyrics are the kind of portentous prattle Tiga would kill for, opening with "a serpent, a rabbit, a walk in the forest" and climaxing with "but life is for leading, not people pleasing," somehow wedging a trip to the dentist and "there's a decent living to be made in the selling out of ideals" in between. My favorite is the line about the guy who "said he never meant it BUT HOW HE STILL DROPPED THE BOMB," which I took for righteous indignation over celebrity hate speech. His site claims its "but HARRY still dropped the bomb," so maybe it's about Hiroshima. I prefer my version, seeing as how this is Hayes' first track since admitting that "I Knew I Loved You" wasn't about Kirsten Dunst or anyone else with a vagina. Song ends exactly like "Where Do I Begin" by Chemical Brothers and Beth Orton, which happened to be released the same year as Savage Garden, where he began.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Movies I watched this afternoon, from favorite to least.

Frequently praised as a "fairytale for adults," but its not the fairytale that got the R rating. It's a shame how much of the film revolves around a chock-full-of-stock fascists-vs-resistance storyline that the young lead doesn't personally witness, as critics and poster designers alike clearly get more juice out of her fantasies, which are rendered mundane once you recognize the "fascism is bad" analogy Guillermo Del Toro was going for (something you might let pass if it was for kids). A stuttering freedom fighter gets more screen time than the eyeballs-in-his-hands dude, so I have no problem claiming false advertising. I originally planned on quipping "Spielberg's Labyrinth," but that isn't fair to Del Toro - who's nowhere as brazenly pathological - or The Muppets.

The future belongs to the analog loyalists. Fuck digital.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Muse, "Supermassive Black Hole"

Muse has more Queen in them than any other post-Radiohead combo I've heard, a juicier brand of grandiosity I doubt any of the competition has the impetus (or energy) to attempt. This does one better by replacing the Radiohead with Crystal Method, giving us the Hot Space 2000 Freddie never got the chance to make. Singer Matthew Bellamy (who really needs a more Maxwell Dragon-esque handle) seems to be losing some of the Yorke in his throat and word is their next album will be more dance AND more symphonic so hey hey, somebody's got the right idea.

Last week I didn't get around to watching any movies I hadn't already seen before, so there won't be any image swiping from my employers until next.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Top Ten Of 2007 That Weren't In My Last Top Ten Of 2007

Against Me!, New Wave

People bummed by the new Springsteen (any self-respecting fan should be, but I doubt he has any self-respecting fans left) should check out this A+ real rock cheese. Now this is colon blow!

Chromeo, Fancy Footwork

It's possible that I'd be nonplussed by this if I'd heard everything they were ripping off, but I'll still take the best Stereolab over Neu. Plus, I think I have heard a healthy amount of '80s electro, thank you very much.

Clinic, Visitations

Fresher after four albums than Linkin Park after three!

Electric Six, I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master

When there's a youtube for this album, I will share the youtube for this album. Don't ever think I wouldn't. Don't you ever think it.

Roky Erickson, You're Gonna Miss Me Soundtrack

The 12 tracks here may look skimpy compared to the 21 on You're Gonna Miss Me: The Best Of Roky Erickson, or the 43 on the I Have Always Been Here Before box. But better to leave the listener hungry for more than certain they've heard more than they need to. Plus, unlike on the best-of, the title track on this ain't a live recording.

Lloyd, Street Love

I was genuinely surprised to see how Omarion he comes off in videos; the album's lush ease promised something more assured and adult. This bodes well for the future, as the guy's just old enough to drink.

Rakes, Ten New Messages

No post-punk dance band has matter-of-factly bopped through its sophomore slump this consistently since REM's Reckoning, and in both cases I actually prefer it to the debut. And if Sleater-Kinney's Dig Me Out counts as "post-punk dance," that fits too.

Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad

This year's Itunes queen, casual and comfortable in a world of cheap stimulus.

Tegan & Sara, The Con

Having realized their sound with So Jealous, they start to play with its parameters here - not aggressively fucking with it, but definitely getting a feel for what it can take.

Timbaland, Timbaland Presents: Shock Value

Lots of dance-pop, some pop-rap, some teary ballads, some mall-punk, She Wants Revenge - Timbaland seems to think my "2007 hits" playlist would sound better if he produced all of it. His beats, so lively if hardly futuristic, make a great case.

Friday, October 05, 2007

This week, I downloaded almost every song this band recorded, and discovered I enjoyed about 95% of them. I also turned 28. Only a few years ago, I couldn't get past those sub-Bowie vocals. How my tastes have refined since then.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Movies watched last week, from favorite to least.

The sound editing deserves all the acclaim it gets - Peter Greene's psychotic would fascinate either way, but the collage of sounds closes the distance between us, showing us his horror as much as that of what he does.

I didn't think it'd be so easy to listen to Spalding Gray talk for an hour and a half. His affectations should be unlikable (that flat, shrill scream!), but instead they're hypnotic. If his observations were offensive or smug it would fall apart, but his ability to be wide-eyed about every detail of his life keeps the film afloat.

The last movie I saw about the frustrations of a chubby, pre-growth spurt adolescent was Happiness. This movie does much better by the archetype.

No director with visual imagination equal to Bob Fosse matches his appreciation for simple kinetic movement, which is part of what makes this the most enjoyable ponderous valentine a director ever made for himself. His cast is the other. I never imagined Roy Scheider could be so playful.

The hawk attached by a rope to Paul Giamatti's arm as he deals with severe guilt and insecurity may be an extremely obvious metaphor, but its also a very visceral one.

The idea of Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis (as Elvis and JFK!) fighting a mummy in a nursing home is so brilliant for a b-movie that its heartbreaking when the climax turns out as lifeless as it does. The actors truly deserved better.

A bloated John Cusack, haunted by the past, goes through some wicked DTs. Starts more promising than your average Stephen King adaptation, but the ending is as contrived and unengagingly grand as all the rest of them. Samuel L. Jackson role is so small that it would have worked better as an uncredited cameo rather than top billing.

At first I was impressed that director Robert DeNiro wasn't going for an obvious Scorcese vibe until he crosscut between Matt Damon hugging his son and the kid's fiancee being thrown out of a plane by Damon's goons: "Oh, right...he worked with Coppola too." The two hours and forty five minutes of murmuring, secret handshakes and homoerotic subtext add up to nothing, but Damon's closed-in performance is uniquely transfixing, always promising that the film might eventually deliver.

Gooey body organs, a nerdish but charismatic male lead, stiff attempts at perverse sexuality, wan inscrutability - something from every era of Cronenberg's career.

You'd think a movie where Sting molests an invalid and jumps through a window would be entertaining, but you have to watch Joan Plowright and Denholm Elliott go through some bad, bad English family drama to get to those last few minutes of insanity.