Saturday, January 30, 2010

sherlock holmes



oh look, more guy ritchie!
this movie was way better than i thought it would be. the atmosphere is amazing: the sets, the costumes, the athletics, the soundtrack, especially the soundtrack:



well done mr. zimmer. i read a quote from him about working on the soundtrack, he purposely sought out a broken piano and did hideous things to it.

the movie itself is really fun, robert downey and jude law are great together, the story for not being based on any of the books was actually quite similar in structure to the stories. it's one of more amusing takes on sherlock holmes.
so yes, i really enjoyed it. there are a few minor gripes, like the bits with the dog weren't really funny, just stupid, and while it was nice they didn't overdue it, it would have been nice to see the detective vision one more time.
i really hope to see a sequel to this, could be a fun series.

four out of five

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

revolver



and odd philosophical crime drama staring, andré 3000, pussy, and... jason statham.
it's not a perfect movie, but it's not horribly flawed either.

it concerns a man (statham), that after being wrongly imprisoned for seven years, gets out and decides to make a fortune and get revenge on the man that put him in prison.
andré and pussy play mysterious loansharks, that take statham in, protecting him from his enemy's henchmen, all the while humiliating him and bleeding him dry of his money.
a lot of it also has to do with a secret formula statham learned in prison, a formula for running the perfect con.

what the movie is really about is the the elimination of the ego. our ego is our true enemey because we believe the ego to be who we are. any enemy we think we have, our perceived enemies, are someone that have damaged our ego.
andré and pussy turn out to be the two mystery men statham was locked up with solitary, this is no big shocker, and it turns out they've been humiliating him and making him give away his money so he'd learn his real enemy is his ego, not the guy that got him thrown in prison.

the antagonist (other than the ego) is played by ray liotta, he's the contrast to what statham becomes, he's entirely ego. and he fears the ultimate crime boss, mr. gold, who doesn't even really exist, he's an idea used to control those that fear, those that buy into the ego.

it wasn't as deep or arty, although i'm not sure guy ritchie was trying to make it be, it was however interesting and entertaining.

three and a half out of five

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

rock

in the never ending quest to expand my music consumption, i picked up a few interesting albums recently.

first off boris



this song isn't actually on the album i picked up, however after discovering them through the soundtrack of the limits of control, that video on youtube convinced me that they were definitely worth checking out.

next up, TUSK



i discovered them at a listening booth in a portland record store years ago, i really dug it, but ultimately decided to get something else that day. and i never really saw the album anywhere else. this past weekend i went back to that record store, and they had it in stock. thank you jackpot records.

based on those two selections, they even gave me a southern lord promo cd.
bonus.
a friend of mine made a joked that listening to these bands, i wasn't going to be able to stay straight edge.
i countered if such logic were true, the other album i picked up had a good chance of turning me gay.



i've loved the magnetic fields for years, and always put off buying one of their albums for whatever reason. and really this album is far more beautiful than i thought it would be.
shame i couldn't find decent version of i don't believe you, or i thought you were my boyfriend to post, they're by far the best songs on the album.

lastly i picked up some oldschool vinyl for fairly cheap, namely built for speed, which i'm sure everyone is familiar with, and generation x:



the self titled debut of billy idol's old poseur punk band. or well as SLC punk taught us, we're all fucking poseurs. that movie first introduced me to the song kiss me deadly, and i've loved it ever since.

not a bad haul.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Biff does Dallas, and your mother.


here we have mclusky do dallas. an album i would have loved to include on my top albums of the past ten years.
it's fucking fantastic.
the problem however, is that it's quite hard to come by.
why it is out of print, i have no idea.
here's to hope that it might come back one day.
and to the fact that at least their other albums are easier, or at least cheaper, to get a hold of.


franklyn



i think the most amusing part of this movie is that that the section viewed through the eyes of a mentally unstable man is written like a frank miller comic.
SHOCKING, i know.

so we've got a story that's about what you believe in, and how real that makes it.
there's the real world, and the steampunk world, known as "meanwhile city"


that said, i'm not sure this movie makes all that much sense, so we've got the two lost people that need to meet, the heart broken baxter has his imaginary friend from childhood slightly guiding him along, and the suicidal art student has a magical russian janitor. because that's never been done before.
then there's the crazy dude trying to kill his religious father, believing that his father killed his sister, because it was the way of god.
and that's all fine and dandy, but the janitor and the imaginary friend, who got horribly torn out of reality, don't really fit in to either the real world, or meanwhile back in frank miller berg.
it really bothers me how the imaginary friend was torn away, the clip is there in the trailer, she just looks so frightened.
and the janitor just disappears offscreen and leaves his mop behind. lenívyj.
it was a fairly entertaining movie, easy to figure out what was happening, but still as it went on i was getting into it, i did enjoy the fairytale about the storyteller.
and meanwhile city was amusing, i think it still took itself a bit too seriously, but preest had an awesome mask.
i'm all about awesome masks.

three out of five

Thursday, January 14, 2010

burn hollywood burn



this movie has the reputation of being one of the worst movies of all time.
plan 9 from outer space did better than this movie.
and it honestly doesn't deserve this rough treatment.

i first saw this movie, about ten years ago, it was on some movie channel in the middle of the night, and i loved it.
i watched it again today, and i while it wasn't as good as a i remembered, it was no where near the worst movie i've ever seen.

it's an insider movie, making fun of hollywood, and hollywood making fun of itself.
and i tend to like insider things, i'm one of eleven people that enjoy ambush bug.

so the story is, the studio picks this nerdy film editor to direct a big budget action film, they pick him because they know he'd be easy to control. the studio cuts his film, and he deems it as shit, so he kidnaps the reels and goes into hiding.
the director is played by eric idle, and the movie he was directing trio, was a cop movie staring sylvester stallone, whoopi goldberg, and jackie chan. the interviews with them were some of the best parts, nice to see stallone has a sense of humour about himself. and the directors that he goes into hiding with are played by chuck d and coolio.
cameos abound, hell this movie even has harvey weinstein playing a joe friday type character.

this movie had an excellent idea, and a lot of potential, but it did lack in a lot of ways.
i loved how ridiculous it was, however the end seemed very thrown together at the last second.

in the film the director's name is alan smithee, and it used to be, that if a director disowned a movie, that's the name they'd use. and it's funny because the director of this movie hated the final cut so much he wanted his name off, and originally i just thought it was part of the joke.

the story is still fun, and who doesn't agree with the sentiment:



three out of five

Saturday, January 9, 2010

there will be blood



why did no one tell me this was a dark comedy? why do most people not talk about it being a dark comedy? did they take the performances seriously? i mean don't get me wrong, day-lewis and dano were both amazing, and day-lewis totally deserved the oscar, but this movie was wacky.
plainview was such an odd character, and eli was a creep, he bothered me far more than plainview did honestly.
i was completely caught off gaurd with this movie, with it's fifteen minute nearly silent opening, the bizarre characters, the interesting soundtrack, the different types of shots.
it was a great character study, the story was interesting, and the end is ambiguous and hilarious.
i put off watching this just because it was sold to me as a serious and hard hitting drama, and it wasn't.
i wasn't rolling on the floor laughing or anything, but it's so over the top at times, i can't help but laugh.
brilliant movie.

four out of five

up in the air



honestly, i didn't like thank you for smoking, and i avoided juno on principle. however jason reitman has managed to pique my interest with this movie.
the story itself is fairly basic and predictable, however it's told really well.
i think what works is that it all comes across real, the documentary type responses from the people getting fired was a nice touch.
clooney's character is a bit ridiculous, but we can relate to him, feel bad for him, envy him, you do end up invested in his character, and that's rare in most movies.
it's well acted, well directed, clooney is dreamy.... it's a good movie is what i'm saying.
go see it if you haven't.
also it's got a cameo by sam elliott, the dude abides.

four out of five

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the limits of control




i saw a trailer for this movie not quite a year ago, and instantly knew i needed to see it.
unfortunately it never came to any theaters around here.

and while the movie really isn't what i was expecting, i absolutely loved it.

this movie is nearly universally hated, and i understand it not being everyone's cup of tea.
however that doesn't change that it's brilliant.

on the surface it's about a hitman going through a series of contacts to get to his target.

really the movie is all repetition and symbolism. discussions of philosophy and the value of life.
and apparently la vida non vale nada

the movies goes like this: the hitman looks at some art, and then meets someone that corresponds to that art, cubist violin = the man with the violin case. a nude painting of a woman = a naked woman in his bed.
they all say the same things, yet share their own interests, film, music, science, sex, drugs...

the importance of all this is of course based on the ideas of william s. burroughs.
words are control.

the only real conversation seems to be with the american, played by murray, who was watching everything from the sky in a black helicopter. and he's just trying to convince the hit man that he's seeing it all wrong, his mind is polluted from all this art and science, and killing him won't give them control over some artifical reality, as the artists don't know how the real world works.

the important part is right there in the trailer, how did he get to bill murray? he used his imagination. something that can never be controlled.

and it being a jarmusch film, the soundtrack is sublime. it's sparsely used, but creates this amazing musical landscape. it rival's neil young's work on dead man.

it's slow and odd, and i understand why most people would hate it.
but it's beautiful fucking art.

five out of five



He who thinks he is bigger than the rest,
must go to the cemetery,
there he will see what the world is really like—
it is a handful of dirt.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

close but no cigar

here are some honourable mentions:

lily allen - it's not me it's you

no secret that i love lily, but i love her music as well, her first album was great, but a bit uneven, had a few goofy pop songs, i dunno. but this album showed a lot of maturing, and more of that attitude i love. it's just too fresh in my mind perhaps.



amanda palmer - who killed amanda plamer

again love. and the tone of that song aside, the album is really dark, and quite beautiful.



she has an amazing relationship with her fans and i've actually seen her perform live on webcam.
ain't technology grand.

the b-52's - funplex

this album is so much fun.

beastie boys - the mix-up

when i first heard about this, i honestly didn't know what to think, but damn.
instrumental beastie boys, it's awesome.

gogol bordello - super taranta!



oh no! oh my! - between the devil and sea

this is an ep, so it doesn't count, but it's a indie pop at it's best.

leftover crack - fuck world trade



that's been one of my favourite songs for ten years. i always loved chocking victim and early leftover crack, but this album is so much more.
they went beyond their ska influenced crust punk, and brought in violins and accordions, and just wrote some rocking songs. it's just mature for a modern punk band, and i love it.

arcade fire - funeral

loved this album when it first came out, absolutely loved it. overplayed it, got way burned out on it. neon bible is also really good, but never sticks out in my mind as more than a sequel to this album.

none more black - loud about loathing

this ep just fucking rocks. and this has to be the best punk song of the past decade.

mos def - the new danger



i don't know whatever happened to black jack johnson, but bring 'em back mos. you guys were fucking amazing.

tom waits - blood money

i bought this album when it came out, i didn't know tom waits, i just read a review that said it sounded like oscar the grouch singing old french love songs. how could i pass that up? so this was my first album by him, but after picking up his other stuff i realized i had heard a bit of him throughout the years, just never know it was him. and damn do i love me some mr. waits now.

the faint - danse macabre



dark sexy dance pop

explosions in the sky - those who tell the truth shall die, those who tell the truth shall live forever

this one was probably the hardest to cut, i think i went with sigur ros instead.
there's a brilliant video that synced up the quote from the thin red line in have you passed through this night with the movie, but the copyright attacks on youtube likely mean it's long gone. ah well, this is a beautiful album.

algebra one - conscious pilot

this one i left off, mainly because the only people that know algebra one are people that were in the richmond scene in the 90's and nerds like me. amazing fucking band though.
once again i have to post reverb, as it's art.

the anniversary - designing a nervous breakdown



beautiful jangly indie pop. kind of picks up where the promise ring left off after they cleaned up their sound. sadly the anniversary's second album was cleaned up as well, it's just not as charming or fun. that said i love this album, my only issue is that it starts really strong but doesn't go anywhere, the later songs don't stand out as much.

reggie and the full effect - under the tray

this is reggie at his best.

the decemberists - castaways and cutouts

not a perfect album, but close enough. by far the best album they've done, shame they put shiny on an ep, rather than putting it on here.

bright eyes - lifted...

this originally was number nineteen on the list, until i realized i had excluded she wants revenge. by far his most mature work, and some of the songs are even fun, way beyond whiny emo boy here. this is best, much more interesting than the odd stuff he got into later.




and there it is, albums of the past ten years that i think rock.
don't take it too seriously though, while i do own hundreds of albums, there are hundreds more i have yet to find.

Friday, January 1, 2010

1. excellent italian greyhound

(2007)

holy shit.



this album simply rocks.
the end of the radio
is honestly one of the most amazing songs in recent history, and the album just keeps going from there.

they're one of the best live acts i've seen.


how many other bands simultaneously play on one drum set?
i don't care! they don't do it as cool as shellac.
and how many other bands make mckenzie bros. references while bantering with the crowd?
don't know who the mckenzies are? fuck you!

come on, this is steve albini's band, like any other bands had a chance at getting number one.
buy this album, and everything else he's touched, they're all gold.

i've got fifty-thousand watts of power

2. change

(2001)


and here it is, the last album by one of my favourite bands.



everything about the dismemberment plan is amazing. the lyrics, the music, all four albums of theirs are in heavy rotation, and all have songs that have emotional ties of events in my past, or just a reminder of best friends.
this album was a brilliant one to go out on, it's amazing to listen to their evolution from "!" to this.
i mean of course this was their only album to come out in in the past 10 years so it got in by default, however that doesn't change that this is my favourite album of theirs.
sentimental man is beautiful, we've all had a relationship like the one in the face of the earth, but the metaphor is great, and the music is interesting, superpowers is a haunting "no one is going to save the world with what i've got"
ellen and ben always cracks me up, as it's basically the song they end their career on. i actually knew a couple like ellen and ben, only one day the moved away and not too many people heard from them again.
i just enjoy how it's about this odd relationship he seems moderately annoyed with, and then cuts in with facts about his life, the planes (a big theme in this album) and hanging with his nephew. it kind of sounds like he had a thing for ellen, which could explain why he wants to be part of the story. it's real.
like i said, this album seems to mention planes, flying, airports, and the like quite a bit, and that's the thing, listening to this album is like going on a trip, you're always somewhere different when you're finished listening to it.
the cover and title sum it up nicely.

there's no heaven and there's no hell

3. summer in abaddon

(2004)


rarely do albums reach this level of music bliss.
pinback is an amazing band, yet their other albums fail to match up to this one, and oddly enough it doesn't even have my favourite song by them.
this album just has amazing flow, wonderful sound, and is all around just pleasant.



when i first got this album, i misread the title as summer in abandon....

be sure to check out the other bands of rob crow and zach smith, anything they've been involved with is worth checking out.