Saturday, December 26, 2009
I didn't know much about Emmerich's career until I looked him up on imdb this morning. Turns out, he is responsible for one of my favorite movies, Independence Day, plus a lot of duds like The Day After Tomorrow and 10,000 BC. I kept thinking how 2012 had a lot in common with ID: Brisk walks through the halls of the White House, blowing up the White House, Air Force One, global destruction, giant vehicles, digital countdowns and probably a million other things I'm forgetting. I'd like to focus on one aspect of Emmerich's moviemaking that really struck me: the pursuit of people by disasters and their effects.
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) narrowly flees an earthquake in a limo, drives a plane away from a volcanic firestorm, and holds his breath for like, a half-hour while tsunamis approach. He drives a motorhome really fast, and when chunks of molten earth explode in front of him, he maneuvers that clumsy thing around them goddamnit. What made ID convincing was that the aliens could only attack so fast. If you got out of the city, you were safe for at least a little while. In 2012, airport runways collapse behind our heroes, and just when you think it's alright- whew, they made it, they're in the air- the skyline of Las Vegas takes its best shot. No relief and no release of tension. Combine that with the greatest act of Russian heroism since the Cold War, and you've got 2012. I'm leaving out so much. There's Woody Harrelson! So bad, it's good. Highly recommmended.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Leftover review from Cat Plaza #2.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
1. The actors lack chemistry to the point where I found myself questioning whether they had ever met each other. Did they film their scenes alone and have the editors mash them together? How would it feel to act with Vince Vaughn talking over you, rambling to discover something funny, and straying from the already too-complicated plot? I felt bad for Giamatti and Weisz, but hey, they signed on.
2. What kind of a movie is Fred Claus? It was too serious to be a children's movie, too goofy to be an adult movie, and not magical enough to qualify as a holiday film. The cast and crew jumped around from recession-era big business criticism to dancing elves to race relations. Oof. I wished they would have watched The Santa Clause to understand the importance of streamlining major holiday releases.
3. Speaking of race relations, what the hell was going on with them in Fred Claus? Fred (Vince Vaughn) is friend to the stereotypical street-wise black orphan, Slam (Bobb'e J. Thompson from Role Models), who takes Fred's advice too much to heart and becomes a jerk. In the end, everyone is redeemed, and Vaughn gets to play the open-minded hero. I don't buy it, and I don't buy that the only noticeable black elf was Ludacris, a disc jockey, and I don't buy that Fred dates a cool, beautiful British girl (Rachel Weisz, hubba hubba, best part of the movie).
4. Fred Claus made me laugh authentically, at my most generous estimate, twice. I laughed because I hated the film way more than that, but that kind of laughter also kills my soul.
5. 1 hour and 55 minutes. So long.
I hated Fred Claus, and now I kind of hate myself. Bah humbug.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Bonus points for the ill-conceived Luis (Bashar Rahal), a party-lovin', cliche-spurtin mess of a character. Very funny. Also note when the movie was made. Navy divers diving, Bush lovers thriving, and shark fans high fiving. God bless America.
Happy Thanksgiving. Next week, bad Christmas movies. Fred Claus anyone?
Friday, November 13, 2009
And won't you look at this? I figured out paypal! When you click this button, you will receive your order by mail. Please supply your address. Tell me if the paypal gives you trouble; I've never used it to sell before.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I expected the bad CGI. When Hack shoots raptors, I was reminded of my favorite 90s arcade game. They were ugly and unrealistic. I did not expect the dreadfully long, paint-peeling boringness of Hack and Jamie's conversations. Jesus Christ, go into the minutiae of your pasts why don't you? Didn't ask for that!
Overall, I don't recommend Raptor Island. If you need a taste, watch the first 20 minutes. You'll see the raptors, you'll get a feel for the dialogue, and the characters don't change at all so you don't have to worry about a dynamic ending. How Sci-fi felt this movie acceptable for their channel is a mystery to me. Must be why I don't get it anymore.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Another highlight for me was the soundtrack. Industrial soundscapes with creepy synths and massive drums made for some of the best horror movie music I've heard in a long time. Next week, we'll be watching Suspiria, with soundtrack by "Goblin." Master horror-movie-watcher Chris ensures me that the soundtrack to Suspiria trumps all. We shall see.
Monday, October 19, 2009
How was I supposed to know?! It got the Criterion treatment, and I heard critics refer to it as the British Psycho. In Peeping Tom, Mark (Karlheinz Bohm) gets his kicks by filming women, killing them, and then watching his footage. He connects with Helen (Anna Massey), but their connection cannot save him. He continues killing and spiraling out of control until the climactic end.
So voyeurism used to be scary, but it isn't anymore, or maybe I'm too much of a voyeur to have a proper perspective on the topic. This movie has no nudity, no gore, no hardened violence, and that's a problem. I've talked about the power of suggestion/ subtlety in horror movies before, but a few home movie clips of a tormented youth hardly build tension. If you remember back to Psycho, we know Norman is fucked because he's talking to his corpse-mom. All we know about Mark is that his childhood sucked, and now he likes to take home movies. Where I come from, people with this problem listen to Mineral or the rawest of black metal and pick up Livejournaling. The makers of this film should have put less stake in their philosophy books. My friend Chris, horror-movie fan numero uno, agrees. We talked about it at Cro-Mags a little before the Clockwork Orange theme kicked in.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Last week, the BMS changed things up and didn't watch bad movies. Instead, we (meaning, me and Andrew) watched 1968's Night of the Living Dead. The lighting was surprisingly creepy considering the budget, and the acting was above-average considering the budget. Considering the budget, I'd say Night of the Living Dead was pretty good!
Let's get specific about what makes this movie fun/creepy. When Barbara's (Judith O'Dea) brother is killed by cemetery-zombies, she flees to a farmhouse. There, she runs into Ben (Duane Jones), a black guy who pretty much takes over as leader and only common sense-haver. Barbara gets all catatonic for the rest of the film. She wasn't attacked or infected, but she gets zombie-fied nonetheless. The horror lies not in the zombies outside, but in Barbara's zombie-like disposition. What's her problem, and what is she gonna do?
This is a problem a lot of modern horror movies have: no power of suggestion. George Romero, the director, lets us know that there's a zombie-child in the basement, but he never gives us a candid look; she's just a threat. Hell, we don't even get to see the zombies outside too much. The real terror lies in the boarding up of windows, the conversations people have about the child they know must be killed, and the bizarro-world in which a black guy can order around white people with success. Just kidding about the last one, but imagine what some moviegoers must have thought!
PS. An amazing sweatshirt.
Friday, October 2, 2009
And a good demo is really all a band needs to succeed at first. EY released a 7-inch on Think Fast! records, but I prefer the demo. Maybe it was a time-and-place thing, but that demo spent an entire winter in my car stereo. I can't remember the last time such a young band made that kind of impression on me.
Get it here!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
In Troll 2, goblins (not trolls) terrorize a family vacationing in a rural community. The acting is weak, the plot is confusing, and the dialogue is stiff. This movie truly stinks. The filmmakers seem to want to make a horror/ thriller, but their execution is laughable. A truly good horror movie builds and releases tension. Take the Michael Myers walk. The audience forgives Michael's "laziness" because they know he will ultimately catch up to his victim. In Troll 2, the goblins give the Waits family all the time in the world to eat their poisonous food (which is hardly enough, as the Waits family is monumentally stupid and slow at coming up with plans). The only acceptable responses from the audience are to leave or celebrate brainpower. Even we could make a better picture.
Still, I recommend Troll 2. There are some great one-liners, a popcorn sex scene, and this. Next week, in honor of October, we'll be straying from the usual format to watch Night of the Living Dead.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
If you want a copy, contact me any way you know how. I'm selling them for a buck in person, but if you want me to send one in the mail, consider sending me $2. Yes, I'll put a copy aside for you if that's what you want.
Look at the cover!
I'm going to start work on #2 soon. If you want to submit something, get at me. Panther1215@hotmail.com. I'll take fiction, poetry, opinion pieces, record reviews, drawings, photographs, whatever. If your shit is good, I'll print it. Simple as that.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
PS - How do I get around Myspace's block on Mediafire links?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
When you go through your closet, and thinking about the day to come, choose to wear a shirt or sweatshirt with a band logo or image on it, you shoulder exciting and basically unspoken responsibilities to that band, that band’s fans, and music fans in general. You are obligated to talk about the band whenever another person approaches you with the intent to talk.
He or she (usually he) could say something as simple and harmless as dude, nice shirt. In this case, you ought to say thank you or hell yeah! depending on your mood. After all, the compliment-payer might be a norm, in which case he probably just likes the graphic or something.
In the event that the compliment-payer says great band, you should reciprocate with enthusiasm. In this case, hell yeah! is more acceptable than thank you. Frankly, thank you doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
It doesn’t happen a lot, except for maybe at shows, but when a person comes up to you and wants to strike up a conversation (or even a friendship) with your band shirt as the lead-in, you must have at least some opinion about the merits of that band’s work. It will usually go something like this:
Compliment-payer: Love the shirt, brah. What’s your favorite (let’s say) Saves the Day (but New Found Glory, Slayer, Nas, etc. would all work fine) record?
Well, well, well Wearer-of-band-shirts, the burden now rests with you. Tread lightly.
Answer #1: Through Being Cool, of course!
Analysis: Good answer. You stuck with a fan-favorite and older record, a good strategy with most bands. The compliment-payer should react positively, and if spirits have been served, you two might get involved in a wee sing-a-long. “Holly Hox” anyone?
Answer #2: I like the newer stuff a lot, maybe even more than the old stuff.
Analysis: Whoa, dude. You’ve just entered no man’s land. On the one hand, your loyalty to a great band is commendable. On the other hand, you’re wrong. If compliment-payer doesn’t clown you, you’re sure to hit it off.
The point is, don’t ignore someone if they like your shirt. This especially applies if the shirt is from an obscure band. Remember that music people are some of the best people out there. For every geek waiting in wings to discuss the American Nightmare demo, there are countless others who can get all-up-in-your-face, and guess what? They want to talk about The Fray. Be thankful that you’re in-the-know and you’re not alone.
Sincerely,Cat “Why don’t you want to talk about the Descendents?” Plaza
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
DO - See the National. They haven't put out a record in a long time, but this new video of a new song suggests that their new record will be more of the same. IOW, awesome.
DON'T - Wear jeans, long sleeves, carry an unnecessary umbrella, or act like the Coachella Wizard.
DO - See Fucked Up. The put out a good record last year, and they rule live!
DON'T - Forget to drink water. Especially whilst under the influence of magical mushrooms.
DO - See Mew. Their record Frengers is seriously awesome. Here's an example. They will most likely kill it, as opposed to...
DON'T - See Japandroids or The Very Best when you could be watching the Thermals. You should probably skip The Walkmen, The Black Lips, Beirut, and basically every other band in order to watch the Flaming Lips, M83, and Vivian Girls. But wait, you're saying, doesn't Vivian Girls sound a lot like some of the aforementioned bands? Yes, they do, but this is my blog, and if you want to write about one of the other thousand garage revival bands out there, be my guest.
DO - Go to the first day. Obviously, it's going to be sweet.
Lollapalooza looks pretty dumb. Won't be going. It sucks to miss The Beastie Boys. How bad are Silversun Pickups and Thievery Corporation? Enough. Have fun.
P4k - July 17-19, Union Park, not a whole lot of money
Lolla - August 7-9, Grant Park, a whole lot of money
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Get it here!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Get it here!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Get it here!
Friday, May 1, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The most impressive number on Woodlands is "Goodbye, Mr. Evans." When Phil's solo builds and explodes at 2:30, and then again at 3:20, I go nuts. Woods has a history of writing tribute songs (go get this record), but his ode to Bill Evans is the best. The author of Woodlands's liner notes remarked on how great the pianist's solo was in "Goodbye" being that he followed Phil and that the track is about the best jazz pianist ever. The other songs aren't bad either, and since this thing's been OOP for awhile, have at it.
Get it here!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
For those who don't know, there are four raging songs including my favorite jam "That's Not Like Me." The version of "So Awake" is rawer and doesn't have that awesome instrumental prelude. It's betterness is hotly debated. There's snow on the ground, but early summer is just around the corner. Celebrate it properly.
Get it here!
PS - I checked to make sure this is really OOP. I couldn't find it for sale on AMR's site, and I suspect they're one of the few vendors that would still have copies. 2000 pressed on black, many years ago.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Black Dice subverts this expectation. The tension comes from these noisy, sampled melodies that morph into one another. The effect is that when the song ends, the listener has to replay it to remember where it started, and when we do remember, the effect is so satisfying. The pulse of these songs comes not from bass but from fucking with the sample tempos and other stuff like crunchy bass-esque sounds. Again, this is not a dance album. But why do I feel like dancing? In my bed? As I listen to Repo with headphones on?
When they released "Kokomo" on Load Blown, they added their own notch to the "Kokomo" franchise, which until that point pretty much consisted of a Beach Boys song and old-man covers of a Beach Boys song. They've gone and done it again with "La Cucaracha." Once you've heard it, you may no longer think of the folk song exclusively.
Finally, with Repo, part of the charm comes from the terrible fact that I have no idea how they made these songs. What instruments did they use? What buttons did they push? What knobs did they turn? It's always fun to hear a record that sounds great and that you can play (with your own guitar) straight through. Sometimes though, it's more fun to hear a record that's totally foreign. I have a feeling people won't be covering Repo for a long time. I hear Endtroducing in songs like "Whirligig," but Black Dice is a truly original band. Highly recommended...and I'm in before the hype!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I don't know anything about theory, but Redman's records sound like they could have been released forty years ago. On his 1996 album, Freedom in the Groove, he plays swing/ bop that calls to mind the great Blue Note tenor players Sonny Rollins and Tina Brooks. My personal favorite Redman records are the '93 debut- Joshua Redman (he plays a great "Salt Peanuts") and '94's Mood Swing.
Here's a video of the making of Compass. It'll give you some of his personal background.
Joshua Redman EPK
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
2. Millstone (Alternate)
"Brothers" should have made the cut, somehow. You may know it from the Fight Off Your Demons demos (Untitled 3). They could have gotten rid of "Handcuffs" or something. Anyway, it's an acoustic song with cool lyrics and vocals. The Millstone is pretty cool too, with some new lyrics and an echo effect. For the first time in awhile, I'm upping it for your pleasure! (Not so fast: If you want "Jesus," you're going to have to use your internet powers to find it- easiest task ever.)
Get it here!
Note: When I refer to the single- I mean the CD single- not the vinyl that was only pressed in the UK and 15 dollars to ship over. When will they finally press the LP?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Crimson has some fun songs. In "Time to Waste," lyrics like "Such a basketcase, hide the cutlery" prevent me from totally rocking out, but the music's pretty cool still. "Mercy Me" always impressed me. It felt like an Infirmary b-side. Some songs flop really bad, like "Smoke" and "Burn" (though the ending of the latter is sweet). Crimson is a nice addition to the catalog for when you want to shuffle around, but as albums go, stick with the older ones. One positive: Matt's voice sounds a lot better than on Good Mourning. 2005-Pat liked this record more that 2009-Pat does.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Parsley has a pretty good reputation in S & G's catalog, but it's no Bookends and no Bridge Over Troubled Water. For some reason, I always felt protective of Parsley and I've defended it before from naysayers and skeptics. "Cloudy" is pleasant rainy mood music. "The Dangling Conversation" is the same. Actually, pretty much all the good songs on the record work well in the fall and during rainy seasons. There are some stinkers, like the 60s-tastic and embarrassing "Simple Delsutory." Nevertheless, Parsley is a good record and perhaps my favorite S & G.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Be cautious: saying The Harder they Come OST is your favorite reggae CD is just as bad as saying you like Legend the best. Tread lightly. Even if the Maytals's "Sweet and Dandy" makes you want to dance, "Many Rivers to Cross" makes you want to cry, and you write personal statements to "The Harder they Come" you gotta pick a more obscure favorite reggae album. Lie as best you can.
That's not to say Gorgoroth is obscure. You can probably watch them on WGN right now. Still, Pentagram wasn't everywhere in 2003 like it is now. (Was it?) Kinda like with Emperor, I really only listen to this one record. I love the vocals, the mosh parts, everything. This band could play hardcore shows, I think. I remember that after my copy came in, a second copy sat on the shelves probably until the store closed. They also had some weird Gorgoroth bootleg concert vinyl in the back, but I don't like pic discs and who knows how it would have sounded.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I bought Into the Nightside Eclipse by Emperor there, and to this day it's my favorite Emperor record. The first track is really long, but it's one of the only black metal songs I know the words to. Every other metal record with keyboards sound cheesy to me, so I'm surprised this record is so good. I downloaded Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk a few years later and was underwhelmed. "We are the Black Wizards" is awesome, and the vocals in "Gypsy" are hilarious. Long live Emperor.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Mahanthappa graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Mass. before discovering Kadri Golpanath, an Indian Carnatic saxophone player. He got in touch with his Indian-American heritage, studied with Golpanath in India, and then created some genre-bending jazz jams that are currently blowing my mind. His album is in the top 30 at Amazon! A fucking jazz record! People are so into India right now. All the best to Mahanthappa. I can't wait to buy Apti, his latest trio record with a guitarist and tabla player. But maybe I'll get Kinsmen instead. That record features Golpanath, and I'll post a link to an ensemble performance on youtube. Who said jazz in the new millenium sucked? When you have dudes playing ragas and talas on the saxophone, who knows what other shit could go down.
Myspace for the Apti record
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Ronettes clearly win this battle. The song has more momentum, clearer vocals, and one of the sexiest bridges ever. I love the Crystals, but I'd take the Ronettes any day.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Get it here!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Be sure to check out his myspace! I wonder if he likes Lil' Wayne? The question is: does it really matter when you own one of the most precious archives of American music ever assembled?
In the pilot, Susan (Sarah Alexander) and Steve (Jack Davenport) start dating. Steve's Jane's (Gina Bellman) ex, and Susan's Patrick's (Ben Miles) ex. Susan (Kate Isitt) and Jeff (Richard Coyle) kind of drift about causing chaos and trying to shag whoever. If you can't tell, Coupling is all about sex, relationships, and modern love (good Bowie song).
Everyone says it reminds them of Friends, but I disagree. For one, Coupling is funny. For two, the tangling plots and characters have more to do with Seinfeld. In one episode, Jeff explains how an invisible man can take your erections when you need them the most. Soon, everyone starts goin' limp. Never profane, Coupling owes a lot to "The Contest" episode in Seinfeld. Have you mastered your domain tonight?
Verdict: Boom! I hope the library has Series 3. Just wondering: who's the hottest?
Friday, January 30, 2009
Keane released Perfect Symmetry in October 2008. The greatest of Keane fans, Jordan, told me that I should expect 80s vibes throughout. He was right. I don't like the record as much as he does, but I can't fault Keane for trying out new things. Still, my favorite songs sound like they could be on Hopes and Fears, or even the enjoyable, Under the Iron Sea. In the standout, "The Lovers are Losing," Tom belts out unusual vocal lines over Tim's anthemic chorus. Nothing really rhymes, but that makes it stand out. On Hopes and Fears, everything rhymed, fit, and sounded just right. I'm pleased that Keane takes (very small, but appreciated) risks. Other standouts are "You Don't See Me" and "Love is the End."
I don't highly recommend this, but it's good for a few spins.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
A year ago, I saw the Lawrence Arms plays "15 Minutes" and "Kitchen Floor". Still, I can't help but think that the Broadways would have played it a little faster, a little gruffer, and all because they were just a little bit more punk. It would have been better.
Get it here!
PS - On my first trip to Record Breakers some five years later, I bought Tuesday's Freewheelin', The Suicide File's Twilight, and Gorilla Biscuits's Start Today. Not bad.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Something to Write Home About Vinyl
Some prefer: Four Minute Mile
They must be preparing for a(n) (unnecessary) reunion!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
A Skin, A Night is a worthy companion to Boxer. The film follows The National as they write, record, and tour during the creation of their newest LP. If you're expecting interviews and straightforward multi-camera live videos, you came to the wrong place. I think the National like to be enigmatic (is that too obvious?) . Matt's lyrics depend so much on the listener's interpretation, so why shouldn't the documentary? That being said, it's quite abstract. Sometimes I feel like Moon let the camera run at arbitrary places and then shut it off when the good parts were about to come. I admire the editing, of course, and it looks really pretty. Still, the DVD left me wanting a little more. Guess I'll wait until 2010 for the next LP.
The Virginia EP, collects Boxer b-sides, unreleased jams, and live performances. Chances are, you bought the package for the CD anyway. And it's good. "You've Done it Again, Virginia" is a fine opener, though I'm happy it was cut from Boxer. The next four songs are very good. My favorite is probably "Blank Slate," the b-side from that 7-inch they did. Word of warning: the "Slow Show" demo is pretty lame. I know a lot of "Slow Show" fetishists, and if that's you, my advice is to steer clear.
PS - Matt Berninger seemed like a wreck while making Boxer. In a way, it's comforting to me. Not everyone can leave their self-consciousness at the door. Music is fucking scary, man.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
An acquaintance once told me that she loves to fornicate to For Emma. Maybe she killed it before it had a chance to grow. My vote for overrated in 2008 goes to Bon (as she pronounced it) "eye"ver.
PS: As a responsible blogger, I've listened to the new Animal Collective. It rules, and maybe I'll talk about it later, but for now, that's all.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant understand this phenomenon. In the holiday special for The Office, the final scenes take place in the office during the Christmas party. Naturally, as there is a DJ, there is always background music. Not only do the writers move the story along, but they also give us a sort-of crash course in really popular 80s-90s British music. In the most heart-wrenching scene, The Spice Girls and Take That provide the soundtrack with inexplicable success. I'm not a fan of the Spice Girls, sure, and I hadn't heard "Back for Good" in many years, but while watching this scene, I kind of dug it. Man, I like the Take That song. And the lyrics comment on the onscreen drama. Very nicely done, blokes.
Don't watch it if you haven't seen the series and still intend to. It kind of blows everything.
Gervais and Merchant continue to work their magic on Extras. Hint: England's biggest 80s and 90s melodramatic and possibly celibate singer makes a soundtrack appearance.
I might just like the BBC Office better than its American counterpart. I wish they would have made more. Cheers.