Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bad Movie Society - 2012

Christmas is a time for friends and families to get together and exchange presents.  Yesterday, three friends and I convened at the Tivoli in Downers Grove and received a lump of coal from director/ producer Roland Emmerich.  I didn't know it going in, but our trip to see 2012 became the first impromptu meeting of the Bad Movie Society, and also our first field trip.

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

Touch & Switch

Blowing up your RSS feeds.

To download the mp3, click here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bad Movie Society - The Star Wars Holiday Special

Until a few months ago, I didn't know about The Star Wars Holiday Special. Downers Grove's #1 internet personality without Facebook, John, told me about it. This was one of the nicest things he's done for me besides writing songs for our band, and let me tell you why. Star Wars is a great movie franchise, but Star Wars as a variety show is very bad. You get Chewbacca's relatives, a performance by the already terrible Jefferson Starship, and enough corniness to make Return of the Jedi blush. Cult-fans approve Boba Fett's introduction (I think this guy liked him a lot back in the day, too), but that's about all there is that's valuable here.  As such, I enjoy it very much. Find part 1 below, and you can do the rest. I should note that finding a hard copy of this is not easy, and that is why I love youtube.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Review: fun. - Aim and Ignite

Oh, that voice!  Nate Ruess sure has some pipes.  He had them in the Format, and he’s still got them in fun., his new band. This record hardly lives up to Dog Problems, but it doesn’t have to.  Fun. begs the question: just how poppy can it get?  At times, like in the opener “Be Calm,” fun. is making a Disney soundtrack.  A baker pokes his head out as birds fly by the town square and our young heroine sings the praises of prince charming.  Mix that with a bunch of goofy instruments (glockenspiel, accordion, I’m sure), and you’ve got Aim and Ignite.  For fans of The Format, duh.  The baker dropped his tray of buns!  Silly baker!

Leftover review from Cat Plaza #2.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review: Cold Cave - Love Comes Close

Wes Eisold from American Nightmare/ Give up the Ghost, XO Skeletons, and Some Girls turns out his first truly remarkable release as Cold Cave. Dark, moody electronic music for fans of New Order, JAMC, and The Knife. Cold Cave was just picked up by Matador so jump on board before they get huge!

Leftover review from Cat Plaza #2

Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: The Night Brigade - Save My Soul 10"

What this 10-inch lacks in duration it makes up for in quality.  My friends from ISU really brought it this time around.  The surge at the beginning of “Airing of Grievances” makes way for a delightful midtempo part which showcases Adam Gogola’s gruff but pleasing voice.  The highlight is “Conversations with Sam Schild.”  The intro-buildup calls to mind highpoints from Saves the Day’s catalog, but the victory is purely The Night Brigade’s.  For fans of The Bouncing Souls, Anti-Flag, and Jawbreaker.

Leftover review from Cat Plaza #2.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bad Movie Society - Fred Claus

Don't see Fred Claus. Read my review, but do not see it ever.

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.