Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Girl/Boy Songs circa 2010

Florence and the Machine - "You Got the Love (The XX Remix)"

Alphabeat - "Hole In My Heart"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Me to the rescue

Deerhoof vs. Evil is really quite good.

Graphic Film Analysis #1: The Runaways

You can see how this might be a problem.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Direction Home

From Nick Davis re: the Tom Hooper Best Director win:

I only got as far back as 25 years in asking myself, has any director ever copped this prize despite exhibiting less of a native knack for "getting" the cinema as an art form? I think Costner's best sequences trounce Hooper's, and Howard's populism and Minghella's swoony pictorialism connect to key valences of the medium. Mel Gibson's sadism at least feels alive on the screen if rabid and overdone. Sam Mendes, whose post-American Beauty struggles on screen have been sad to witness, at least had a lot of ideas in his Oscar-winning vehicle. Risks were taken. Who could say that of Hooper's work on The King's Speech? He's good with actors. So was Scott Cooper last year. He makes you feel. So did everyone whose movie got a Picture nomination, much less a Documentary or an Animated Feature nomination. So does the script by itself, and so does the historical incident that inspired the script. I simply don't get this win, and with divisive but fervently championed artists like Fincher, Aronofsky, Russell, and the Coens in the losing circle, it'll be even harder to validate...

Pretty much on point, I think. And there were things in this movie that felt maybe slightly unexpected - a few shots that follow a walking Firth, the low-angle outdoor stuff, the off center close-ups - but with at least the last two of those there really seems no good reason for them to be there. Worst award of the night for me.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Chicago House icons Cajmere (aka Curtis Jones aka Green Velvet) and Gene Farris have put out another two track EP (cop here) of the type of jackin' yet fluttery house that I hope will carry me into the spring. The video they've uploaded for a preview of the track is basically, well, let's just say my parents were ballroom dancers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


So, I could write a 10,000 word Oscar preview but my prose is not feeling very sharp. So how about a simple series of lists with the people/movie I think are gonna win in bold and, much more importantly, listed in my order of preference.


- Toy Story 3 (Genuinely shocking)
- The Social Network (Makes an honest effort to explore the relationship between the public and the personal)
- Black Swan (Wonderful trash horror about the relationship between art and personal sacrifice)
- Winter's Bone (Ozark noir, another sub-genre I never knew I wanted until I got it)
- The Kids Are All Right (It's really funny!)
- The Fighter (D.O.R. doesn't explode the Boston Movie or Boxing Picture, instead lovingly makes great ones)
- True Grit (fun, gorgeous, and well-acted, if not particularly revelatory)
- 127 Hours (50/50 between the great desert/rock scenes and the annoying Boyled flashbacks)
- Inception (Plotted very neatly, but oh how I wish so much of the plot didn't hinge on the Leo/Cotillard love stuff)
- The King's Speech (not all bad, but it looks terrible and doesn't quite attempt to say anything about anything)


- Jesse Eisenberg (brilliant, brilliant, brilliant)
- James Franco (absolutely nails the big interview scene)
- Colin Firth (better than the material required)
- Jeff Bridges (good, you know)

*Haven't seen the Javier Bardem one, realized I haven't really altogether liked an Iñárittu movie and it probably wouldn't worth it for me


- Natalie Portman (uses her Portman-ness to great effect)
- Annette Bening (the Joni Mitchell scene is is jaw-dropping)
- Jennifer Lawrence (works hard throughout the movie for the big emotional payoff at the end)
- Michelle Williams (maybe the structure makes it easier to see what she's doing, but she does it real well)
- Nicole Kidman (the Kidman Forehead isn't altogether unrealistic for the character, actually)

- Christian Bale (not subtle, obvi, but the physicality is awesome)
- Jeremy Renner (like a little Boston pitbull James Cagney, so entertaining)
- John Hawkes (emotionally mysterious and excellent, like most of the supporting performances in Winter's Bone)
- Mark Ruffalo (subtle Cali bro skills)
- Geoffrey Rush (charming)

- Amy Adams (plays the Supportive Girlfriend type, but makes sure you know there's more going on than just Standing By Her Man)
- Jacki Weaver (the escalation of menace throughout the movie is gr8)
- Hailee Steinfeld (great shit-talking, though again, this is in every appreciable way a Lead Performance)
- Melissa Leo (fun, but I think less convincing in her mannerism than her opposite number Bale)
- Helena Bonham Carter (a decent performance in a nothing role)

- David Fincher (not an achievement on the level of Zodiac, but shapes the Sorkin script into a super fast yet super clear stunner)
- Darren Aronofsky (great delirium)
- David O. Russell (manages the tone brilliantly, throwing in some screwball along with the inspirational and dramatic)
- Joel and Ethan Coen (pretty landscapes and the usual Coen skill for creating fun supporting characters)
- Tom Hooper (movie is carried by the acting, can't tell that Hooper did anything positive, to be honest)

- Toy Story 3 (the dialogue is great, the story is perfect)
- The Social Network (I was very worried when I heard Sorkin was writing this, but he did a great job, though I suspect the editing, acting, and direction aren't getting enough credit for how well they make his writing work)
- Winter's Bone (maintains both an air of mystery and emotional insight)
- True Grit (the broad comedy stuff might be my favorite, actually)
- 127 Hours (a lot of the Franco talking to himself stuff works, a lot of the psychoanalysis really doesn't)

- The Kids Are All Right (to say that it's just a family dramedy and not a lesbian family dramedy undersells what it accomplishes)
- Another Year (insightful about aging, and much more insightful about friendship and other complicated interpersonal relationships)
- The Fighter (solid take on the various genres, but I think it's the direction and acting that's really special)
- Inception (the exposition is pretty good under the circumstances, but the character interactions don't interest me all that much)
- The King's Speech (solid prestige movie dialogue, as corny as expected, but solid)

- Inside Job (Very neatly laid out, super-intense, and even manages to justify its blood thirst)
- Restrepo (the editing is done really well; the quality of and balance between the art and journalism is dope)
- Gasland (makes a very compelling argument against fracking, narrator really sounds like Johnny Depp)
- Exit Through the Gift Shop (quite entertaining, however, there lingers a suspicion that's it's not actually saying anything about anything)

*Didn't get to see Wasteland


- Alexandre Desplat will probably win for his score for The King's Speech. He totally deserves it...for his score for The Ghost Writer.
- Alice in Wonderland is not the worst movie ever made (Helena Bonham-Carter is probably actually better in it than she is in The King's Speech), but it might just be one of the ugliest. Any technical awards for it will be sad.
- I don't mind the Art Direction in The King's Speech at all, but the cinematography, with its low angle street shots and slightly off center close-ups, is horrendous. I really hope Roger Deakins finally gets his Cinematography Oscar instead of dude from King's Speech.
- Will be cheering against Let's Pollute for Best Animated Short. It's not nearly as bad as last year's Logorama, whose Political niche it fills, but it does seem to me rather half-baked. All of the other nominees are better than it, including the big-budget, 30 minute long British-Actor-Filled adaptation of kids' book The Gruffalo, Pixar's Day & Night, and especially Madagascar, carnet de voyage, which you should totally watch.

God I hope the King's Speech doesn't win. But it will. Let's drink!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beast mode


Here's the title track from the Meltdown EP Ill Blu dropped today and it's an absolute heater. You can't really mess with these guys right now as far as rhythmic intensity, but "Meltdown" isn't completely free of subtlety either, like that twinkle that comes in around 1:55 and reappears once later on and can't help but remind me (is it just me?) of Mary J and Meth's "You're All I Need". I was kinda eh on their Hyperdub single last year, but this one places Ill Blu right back at the forefront of what I'm checking for these days.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I purposefully didn't embed the video, because its boilerplate brattiness honestly makes these lyrics sound even more boring than they already are. That said, I've been jamming this song a whole lot for the last month because the chorus kills me, mainly through those non-verbal runs (I've also been playing the ultra-classic "I'm With You" a lot since the Rihanna song that samples it came out). I've never been too invested in Avril as a persona, but when she gets hold of a great hook she can definitely sing it. Song of the month for January 2011?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snap reactions after listening to the Britney single 5 times

- Definitely hits harder than I expected it to.

- Full of sounds that I don't really like

- The chorus is full on 90s Euro-trance-pop-whatever. As far as contemporary stuff, it's much closer to mining the same territory as Cascada than Gaga, Katy, or Ke$ha.

- The breakdown will code as dubstep because of the wobble (and because dubstep is becoming just popular enough with certain folks that something will be able to "code as dubstep" in 2011), but rhythmically it's not at all extreme for, like, a slightly R&B leaning pop song.

- I actually really like the breakdown, Brit sounds great on it.

- Whoa trance buildup

- If this is actually just Max Martin and Dr. Luke, what the hell did Britney's actual sessions with Tiesto sound like? (did that even ever happen?) Actually, with the breakdown being what it is, it's like Luke and Max were just like, "she's working with Tiesto and Rusko? We can just do all of that ourselves!")

- I guess I don't like this very much, but if a track can fairly accurately be described as Dr. Luke doing Tiesto, I guess the odds of me liking it aren't very high.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Maybe this Sky Ferreira song will get a push and a re-release next year and maybe her album will come out. But with the way pop music works these days maybe it won't, so it's #1 for 2010. Another great year of traxxxxxxxxxxxx. Assembled for your listening pleasure is a YouTube playlist of the tracks from my top 90 of 2010 (the ones available at YouTube). Power Hour available upon request.

1. Sky Ferreira - "One" (Parlophone)
2. Taylor Swift - "Mine" (Big Machine)
3. Kingdom - "Mind Reader ft. Shyvonne" (Fool's Gold)
4. Willow Smith - "Whip My Hair" (Columbia, Roc Nation)
5. Young Jeezy - "Lose My Mind ft. Plies" (Def Jam)
6. Gyptian - "Hold Yuh (remix ft. Nicki Minaj)" (VP)
7. Girl Unit - "Wut" (Night Slugs)
8. Ciara - "Ride ft. Ludacris" (LaFace)
9. Big Boi - "Shutterbugg" (Def Jam)
10. Katy B - "Katy On a Mission" (Rinse)
11. The-Dream - "F.I.L.A." (Radio Killa/Def Jam)
12. Tensnake - "Coma Cat" (Permanent Vacation)
13. Robyn - "Dancing On My Own" (Konichiwa)
14. Yelawolf - "Pop the Trunk" (Interscope)
15. Caribou - "Sun" (Merge)
16. Javiera Mena - "Hasta La Verdad" (Unión del Sur)
17. The Fives - "It's What You Do ft. Vanya Taylor" (?)
18. Sade - "Soldier of Love" (Sony)
19. The Crystal Ark - "The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous" (DFA)
20. Little Big Town - "Little White Church" (Capitol Nashville)
21. FaltyDL - "My Friends Will Always Say" (Planet Mu)
22. Wacka Flocka Flame - "Hard In the Paint" (1017 Brick Squad/Warner Bros/Asylum)
23. Nebraska - "This Is the Way" (Rush Hour)
24. jj - "Into the Light" (Secretly Canadian)
25. Gucci Mane - "Electricity" (mixtape)
26. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - "Bottled in Cork" (Matador)
27. Subeena - "Picture" (Opit)
28. Ludacris - "How Low" (Disturbing Tha Peace)
29. Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand" (Fool's Gold)
30. Justin Bieber - "Baby" (Island)
31. Roll the Dice - "The New Black" (Digitalis)
32. Keri Hilson - "Pretty Girl Rock" (Interscope)
33. Storm Queen - "Look Right Through" (Environ)
34. Diddy-Dirty Money - "Ass On the Floor" (Bad Boy)
35. Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains" (Merge)
36. Joanna Newsom - "Esme" (Drag City)
37. Funkystepz - "For U (ft. Lily McKenzie)" (Safe and Sound)
38. Kanye West - "Power" (Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam)
39. Jazmine Sullivan - "Love You Long Time" (J Records)
40. The Extra Lens - "Some Other Way" (Merge)
41. Lloyd - "Lay It Down" (Young Goldie/Interscope/Zone 4)
42. Lil Silva - "Perfussion" (Night Slugs)
43. Young Dro - "Freeze Me" (Grand Hustle?)
44. Hole - "Samantha" (CherryForever/Island Def Jam/Mercury)
45. LCD Soundsystem - "Home" (DFA)
46. Brad Paisley - "Water" (Sony)
47. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Round and Round" (4AD)
48. Los Campesinos - "Straight In at 101" (Arts & Crafts)
49. Enrique Iglesias - "I Like It" (Universal International)
50. Andre Nickatina & the Jacka - "My Middle Name Is Crime" (I-Khan)
51. Justin Martin and Ardalan - "Mr. Spock" (Dirtybird)
52. Zinc - "Wile Out (ft. Miss Dynamite)" (Zinc Music)
53. Miranda Lambert - "Only Prettier" (Columbia Nashville)
54. Glasser - "Mirrorage" (True Panther)
55. Wiz Khalifa - "Black & Yellow" (Rostrum, Atlantic)
56. Katy Perry - "Teenage Dream" (Capitol)
57. Corrine Bailey Rae - "Paris Nights/New York Mornings" (EMI)
58. Moody - "It's 2 Late 4 U and Me" (KDJ)
59. Laura Marling - "Alpha Shallows" (Virgin)
60. Rick Ross - "MC Hammer (ft. Gucci Mane)" (Slip'n'Slide/Def Jam)
61. Mad One - "House Girls 6" (Devine uk)
62. Horror Inc. - "Aurore" (Haunt)
63. Kourtney Heart - "My Boy (ft. Magnolia Shorty)" (?)
64. Teengirl Fantasy - "Cheaters" (True Panther)
65. Grinderman - "Worm Tamer" (Mute)
66. J Stalin - "D-Boy Blues 2010" (SMC)
67. Keith Urban - "Put You In a Song" (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville)
68. Emeralds - "Genetic" (Editions Mego)
69. Beeda Weeda - "Baserock Babies" (?)
70. Lindstrøm & Christabelle - "Lovesick" (Feedelity)
71. Ost & Kjex - "Continental Lover" (Diynamic)
72. Oneohtrix Point Never - "Returnal" (Editions Mego)
73. Damian Marley & Nas - "As We Enter" (Universal Republic/Def Jam)
74. Cassie - "Fuck U Silly ft. Nicki Minaj" (unreleased)
75. DVA & Fatima - "Just Vybe (Soul Power Mix)" (Hyperdub)
76. Dam Funk - "Hood Pass Intact (ft. MC Eiht)" (Stones Throw)
77. Shit Robot - "Take Em Up (ft. Nancy Whang)" (DFA)
78. School of Seven Bells - "ILU" (Ghostly International)
79. The Gathering - "In My System (Jef K System Mix)" (Silver Network)
80. Actress - "Maze (Long Version)" (Honest Jon's)
81. Erykah Badu - "20 Feet Tall" (Motown)
82. Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup - "We No Speak Americano" (Ultra)
83. Trace Adkins - "This Ain't No Love Song" (Show Dog/Universal)
84. Ramadanman - "Glut" (Hemlock)
85. Alphabeat - "Hole in my Heart" (Polydor)
86. Ajay D - "Sax Breeze" (?)
87. Âme - "Rrose Sélavy" (Innervisions)
88. Jam City - "Ecstasy Refix" (Night Slugs)
89. E-40 - "Lightweight Jammin' (ft. Clyde Carson and Husalah)" (Heavy on the Grind)
90. Nina Sky - "You Ain't Got It (Funk Dat)" (self-released)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

My only resolution is to get this blog good again (and if not good, than at least updated). Here's to a stunning 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


It was a great year. These records are all awesome.

1. Caribou - Swim (Merge)
2. Yelawolf - Trunk Muzik 0-60 (Interscope)
3. Waka Flocka Flame - Flockaveli (1017 Brick Squad/Warner Bros/Asylum)
4. Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Big Machine)
5. The-Dream - Love King (Def Jam/Radio Killa)
6. Big Boi - Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Purple Ribbon/Def Jam)
7. Actress - Splazsh (Honest Jon's)
8. Ost & Kjex - Cajun Lunch (Diynamic)
9. Jazmine Sullivan - Love Me Back (J Records)
10. Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Real Life is No Cool (Feedelity Recordings)
11. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh (Motown)
12. Diddy-Dirty Money - Last Train to Paris (Bad Boy)
13. Rick Ross - Teflon Don (Slip'n'Slide/Def Jam)
14. Los Campesinos - Romance is Boring (Arts and Crafts)
15. E-40 - Revenue Retrievin' (Day Shift) (Heavy on the Grind Ent.)
16. Ciara - Basic Instinct (LaFace Records)
17. the Extra Lens - Undercard (Merge Records)
18. R. Kelly - Love Letter (Jive)
19. Mad One - House Girls - the Album (Devine uk)
20. Mr. G - Still Here (Rekids)
21. Twin Shadow - Forget (4AD)
22. Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me (Drag City)
23. Sade - Soldier of Love (Sony)
24. Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here? (Editions Mego)
25. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can (Virgin)
26. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks (Matador)
27. Roll the Dice - Roll the Dice (Digitalis)
28. Grinderman - Grinderman 2 (Mute)
29. Ikonika - Contact Love Want Have (Hyperdub)
30. Efdemin - Chicago (Dial)

More writing to come. Singles list (w/ YouTube playlist) on 11/9 after it is counted down in a power hour format at my birthday party.

*science could reposition these ad infinitum, btw

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The ever-forward-thinking Sony (via J and Arista) (who did such a great time promoting this album, btw, have you heard about it?) won't let me post a YouTube of the huge, Salaam Remi-produced "Love You Long Time", so listen to the also very-good single, "Holdin' You Down", and then check out Jazzy's album Love Me Back.

A lot of the modern R&B I'm into (Dream, Ciara, etc.; Erykah is the big exception) spends most of its time going for futurism, and that's not what Jazzy does at all. But hers (and her producers') is not a conservative retro, but rather one open to playing and having fun with 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s R&B (and hip-hop and reggae), and her voice is one expressive and varied enough to put a lot off.

Year-end lists are coming, figured I should do some writing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ciara - "Gimmie Dat" video

This shit is amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Waka Flocka Flame's wonderfully named Flockaveli

The bad:
Most of the guest appearances by the less-known rappers are pretty forgettable, and there are a lot of them. The Wale verse in the middle of the otherwise excellent "No Hands" is such that I'm probably going to make an edit of the song without it ("I'ma put her on the train/little engine could" is the actual closing line of his verse) and the Gudda Gudda verse is a typically embarrassing affair.

The good:
Pretty much everything else. Driving from NY to Chicago and back in July, I told fellow traveller Molly (who loves Waka) that I didn't know if I could take a whole tape's worth of Waka at once but this album proves me about 100% wrong. He's not a bad rapper, but he's a great performer. If you think that ad-libs and yelling can only take a rapper so far, I think this might be the album to prove you wrong (listen to the last minute of "Bustin' At Em" to start. The mostly Lex Luger produced tracks are busy and jarring and loud-as-hell and they combine with Waka's energy as well as any producer-rapper tandem have in a while, and when Drumma Boy stops by with a Roscoe Dash hook for "No Hands", Wacka kills it as well. I'm still trying to figure out how this doesn't get boring for me over 72 minutes, but it's just such great high-energy rap that I keep putting it on. WAKA WAKA WAKA WAKA FLOCKA FLOCKA FLOCKA FIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! (oh, also, there's a song with Pastor Troy called "Fuck the Club Up" so you should listen to this now).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

mooooovies (#8) (playing catch-up)

The Ghost Writer (dir. Roman Polanski, 2010)
Anyone hoping for an Auteurist reflection on Polanski's legal flare-ups (are those people out there? I'm prolly just strawmanning) probably won't find much here, but it's definitely a solid thriller that falls apart in the last act (fucking Google) but is still totally worth it. MacGregor is fine, but Brosnan is great whenever he shows up as either a patsy or a master conspirator who's losing it or both. Olivia Williams is great too and Tom Wilkinson comes in at the end to grab a scene with his teeth and take it the hell away from Ewan. Finally, the score is ill.

Leaving Las Vegas (dir. Mike Figgis, 1995)
A few Sundays ago I went to a bar at 11am to watch Liverpool play, then took a cab to a different bar to watch the Bears play, then went home and roommate Sarah wanted to watch this one, which she had on Netflix. I hadn't seen it since the first time I saw it, at which point I was probably way too young to see it. The fact that Nic Cage won an Oscar for this amazes me, cynical Oscar obsessive that I am, because he's really not holding back any of his ridiculousness. The exchange about whether Ben is drinking as a way of killing himself or killing himself as a way of drinking is awesome in how the movie acknowledges the line's cleverness and dismisses it at the same time.

The 19th Wife (dir. Rob Holcomb, 2010)
Of course we were gonna watch a Lifetime Mormon Murder Mystery, though we probably could also have predicted that it might get boring after a while. It did. I'd rather be watching Big Love for my LDSploitation kick (though we are watching TLC's Sister Wives tonight).

Piranha 3D (dir. Alexandre Aja, 2010)
Aja is a talented dude (even Mirrors had like 2 good things in it) and it's nice to see he can do horror-laughs as well as tragic murder/rape/burning alive scenes. This was pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be, and Jerry O'Connell is surprisingly hilarious as Joe Francis. The only disappointment is (SPOILERS, but not ones that should make much difference ) that the main character doesn't end up leaving Jessica Szohr (not any more fun here than she is on Gossip Girl) for Kelly Brook. Elizabeth Shue is suitably heroic.

Greenberg (dir. Noah Baumbach, 2010)
I don't think the advertising for this accurately portrays how much of an asshole Ben Stiller's character is. So, for a while, I avoided the movie, thinking, though I don't know why I was being so pessimistic, that they gap between what the movie would expect me to feel for the character and my actual opinion would be huge. It turns out, Stiller's Roger Greenberg is a monster of a character prone to ill-timed freak-outs and being completely inappropriate, and he's not all that charismatic or charming, but Stiller plays him well enough to allow some empathy. and Rhys Ifans and especially Greta Gerwig are king-sized in this. Looks pretty too.

Catfish (dir. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, 2010)
Whether it's faked or not (and if I had to bet money I would bet that at least some of it isn't exactly on the up and up), I'm kind of split on Catfish. On one hand, it does have an interesting subject (the one the fillmmakers "stumble upon", not the protagonist, who is not at all interesting) that raises some good questions about what we do with reality in the virtual space. On the other in hand, the more I think about the movie the more I think that the filmmakers could do better with it. The visual style that constantly reminds you that the movie is about the internet could go, for one. But the worst part for me is the narrators and how, once they find a subject that is obviously more interesting than their original subject (co-director Ariel Schulman's little brother Nev), they can't pull back a little and take themselves further out of it. I would still probably recommend this, but it would probably be better as a short subject that cuts a lot of the stuff with Nev out of it.

Kick-Ass (dir. Matthew Vaughn, 2010)
Kick-Ass has an oddly similar problem to Catfish, in that if it dumped it's main character for a movie about the endlessly more entertaining Hit-Girl and Big Daddy (the latter played by Nicolas Cage, so obviously he's awesome), it would probably at least stand a chance. As it is, I really disliked most of this. I've never read the graphic novel this is based on and I haven't read Wanted either, so maybe it's just a coincidence, but I think after these two movies it's safe to say that if you're adapting a Mark Millar book for the screen, you should probably just find a way to cut out the voice-over narration.

The Town (dir. Ben Affleck, 2010) (SPOILER below)
I had pretty high expectations for this after Affleck's excellent Gone Baby Gone, and I'm happy to say that I liked it a lot. The acting is the best part, especially from Jeremy Renner as a little pitbull of a man and Affleck as a local-boy-makes-good-makes-bad-tries-to-just-even-out. Blake Lively is a pleasant surprise too, more or less playing a younger version of Amy Ryan's Gone Baby Gone character as filtered through J-Woww. There's a good car chase, the heists are well-staged, and while Affleck is playing with a lot of types here, the characters work. Just like in Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby Gone, the concept of neighborhood is a major theme here, and I really dug the kind of optimistic fantasy of the ending, which has it both ways as Affleck's character is forced/able to leave the neighborhood but is still able to contribute to the neighborhood by donating money to build a new hockey rink. Considering the harsh moral decision at the end of Gone Baby Gone, it caught me off guard in a good way. If Ben wants to keep adapting crime novels or Boston novels or whatever, let 'em do it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

mooooovies (#7)

Machete (dir. Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez, 2010)
A few weeks after The Expendables comes another long-awaited B-action movie and on the whole this one is probably a little better. Everyone here is king-sized, Michelle Rodriguez (once finally revealed in the eye-patch/leather ensemble) making as striking of an entrance as Trejo. But Trejo is great, no doubt about it; just like the Expendables wins by focusing on the faces of Stallone, Rourke, Lundgren and co., Machete makes the most of every wrinkle in his face (along side his comic timing, which is awesome, but not nearly as awesome as Cheech Marin, who is as funny here as he has been in a while). Also, the way Jeff Fahey's (villainous) character eats Mexican food at lunch ("pass the salsa") without comment is a better than anything in (the bad) Crash or Babel by far. (okay so the deaf club scene in Babel was pretty great).

the Crazies (dir. Breck Eisner, 2010)
It's kind of a sum-of-its-parts Horror Movie (let's see if I can make this work), by which I mean that the overarching concept isn't revolutionary or super-interesting (it is a remake, and I haven't seen the original but don't really know anyone who loves it), but the horror scenes themselves are so well done that it all works wonderfully. American Horror movies (dramas too obvi) have been mining the terror of rural Americana for almost half a century, but Eisner uses the grey landscapes more effectively than I've seen anyone do in a while. Farm equipment and (especially) a car wash are also used well, and hey, I guess I do pretty much like Timothy Olyphant.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This movie is probably going to be terrible, but...

...what is it about the framing of this shot (from the trailer) that makes me almost sure that Carrie Mulligan is about to get hit by an oncoming truck?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Givin' you more of what you're funkin' for

52. Funkadelic - "One Nation Under A Groove" (Warner Bros., 1978)

Perhaps the clearest statement of the part of the P-Funk ethos that sets out to unify everyone into one groove nation (and maybe the clearest statement of that by anyone, it's certainly not an ideal limited to George Clinton), "One Nation Under A Groove" is the kind of sloganeering that gives sloganeering a good name. I would say that if you only had to hear one P-Funk song it would be this one, but if you hear this song and don't feel like looking further into the catalog for more bass lines, harmonies, and total-body grooves like this one, we have fundamental differences, you and I. The 12" version is 11 and a half minutes long and about 8 and a 1/2 minutes in, when the synth-bass groove starts changing it up under the chorus, is when it goes from next level to that other level.