Friday, December 14, 2007

No Country For Legend of Beowulf

Random Song 1: Sharon Jones and The Dab Kings - Be Easy (buy)
Random Song 2: Duran Duran - Falling Down (buy)

I Am Legend

I really liked this film. Well everything except the ending, which felt rushed and uneven. Almost as if the let Spielberg in the editing room at some point. Smith did a wonderful job keeping his performance grounded. Which helped to enhance the tension in the film. I was expecting a silly action flick with his trademark over-the-top one-liners (ala Men In Black, Independence Day etc.). Instead, I Am Legend turned out to be a fairly tight film, which is slightly smarter than your average zombie flick.

I thought CG work in the film was good. Sure the Dark Seekers could have been better, they kept reminding me of the "Mummy" films with Brendan Fraser. Still I thought the details for the various animals and many of the street scenes / action sequences were well done. Now I haven’t seen Omega Man, so I can’t compare the two films. Regardless, I found the film vastly more entertaining than a good number of the popcorn flicks released recently

Random Song 3: Barenaked Ladies - Be My Yoko Ono (buy)
Random Song 4: Jay-Z - Sweet (buy)

No Country For Old Men

Easily one of the coldest films of the year, and it’s also one of the best. Watching No Country For Old Men, reminded me of why the Coen brothers are so important to cinema. No matter what the genre, in this case western, they always make it seem new and exciting. No Country take a simple story of found money and turn it into an intelligent, and violent, cat and mouse tale. The plotting and pacing are so note perfect that you will be shocked by some of the events in the film. The best part is, the more you think about the film the more you realize that the Coen’s had been providing you clues all along.

The film has already received a few best picture awards from various critic’s associations, and deservedly so. This is one of the few films that actually lives up to the hype. The performances are outstanding. I’ve been a long time fan of Javier Bardem so I knew he would bring his usual “A” game. Yet even I was surprised by how deep into the role he got. The fear that Bardem instills in the audience in opening scenes alone is worth the price of admission. While I would have never pictured Josh Brolin as a leading man, he has definitely earned it this year. Both with this film, and his small role in Grindhouse’s Planet Terror, he has proven that he has the acting chops to handle more demanding roles. As for Tommy Lee Jones, well he plays a sheriff for the umpteenth time…and somehow still makes it interesting. I loved his portrayal of a cop who can no longer understand, nor handle, the new level of violence in today’s society. The violence and the ending are sure to leave some audiences with a cold feeling, but that is the point. The situations depicted in the film, are not ones that can be tied up with the typical Hollywood ending. No Country For Old Men is one of the best films of 2007 and should not be missed.

Random Song 5: Bloc Party vs Fergie - Blocalicious (courtesy of DJ Schmolli)
Random Song 6: Tori Amos vs PJ Harvey vs Bjork - Dissolved By The Water All These Years (courtesy Mashopolis)


I saw this film in standard format. While I am intrigued to see it in 3D, I can’t bring myself to shit through this crap again. The visuals were good but didn’t really excite me. Jolie looked great, as did a few lead characters, but everyone one else (especially the women) looked awful. It was like watching Shrek all over again.

I figured that they would take liberties with the text (boy, did they ever) but every version of Beowulf has so I could look past that. What I couldn’t look past was the fact that they basically made a two-hour commercial for a video game. The character development was none existent, and the subtext about the sins of lust was laughable. Not to mention that this latest version of Beowulf was more juvenile than the straight to video American Pie films. Seriously, computer animated nudity and boob shots, is that what the supposed future is with this technology? If so, anime is already light years ahead of Zemeckis.

Worst of all I found the film rather boring for the most part. The action sequences had no real thriller to them (again it felt like watching someone else play a video game); and Beowulf’s machismo was so over-the-top that even the soldiers in “300” would role their eyes in laughter. I may be too harsh on the film; but the more I think about it, the more I remember things that I didn’t enjoy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Doing The Can-Can

Recently watched "Beowulf" and "No Country For Old Men", I'll most likely have reviews of both posted next week. If you're looking for fun reads to past the time at work, be sure to take a look at The Sho'Nuff, Metamorphstuff, and Blah-Gorr.

Random Song 1: The English Beat - Tears Of A Clown (buy)
Random Song 2: Britney Spears - Piece of Me (buy)

Video: Lupe Fiasco - Superstar (ft. Matthew Santos)(buy)

Random Song 3: Ol' Dirty Bastard - Shimmy Shimmy Ya (buy)
Random Song 4: Kevin Drew - When it Begins (buy)

Video: Alicia Keys - Like You'll Never See Me Again (buy)

Random Song 5: Mary J. Blige (ft. Busta Rhymes) - Work That (buy)
Random Song 6: Jens Lekman - The Opposite of Hallelujah (buy)

Video: Daft Punk - Around the World/Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (buy)

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've Got More Soul Than A Sock With Holes.

Just some songs and videos today...

Random Song 1: Jens Lekman - A Postcard To Nina (buy)
Random Song 2: Queen - Under Pressure (buy)

Video: Jay-Z - Roc Boys (And The Winner Is) (buy). Jay-Z performing on The Late Show With David Letterman.

Random Song 3: Wu Tang Clan - Method Man (skunk remix) (buy)
Random Song 4: Stars - Take Me To The Riot (buy)

Video: Emma Pollock - Paper and Glue (buy). I came across Ms. Pollock when she opened for The New Pornographers last month. The CD has been playing in my car ever since.

Random Song 5: Bobby Digital - La Rhumba (feat. Method Man) (buy)
Random Song 6: The Go! Team - Doing It Right (buy)

Video: Madvillain - Strange Ways (buy). This is a "fan-made" video that I enjoy. Mainly due to the fact that I love the Madvillain album, but I also think it's a good video in general.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Guitar Heroes Usually Apply Hairspray

The life of a casual blogger is an interesting one. What started out as a weekly musing of none relevant things, has somehow become a monthly musing of none relevant things. This may be due to the emergence of the video game reviewed below. Regardless, I will try to make an effort to get back to the weekly postings.

Random Song 1: Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle (buy)
Random Song 2: Jay-Z - Success (ft. Nas) (buy)
Random Song 3: Bloc Party - Helicopter (buy)
Bonus: Timbaland - Apologize (ft. OneRepublic) (buy)

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of Rock N’ Roll, or even video games for that matter, chances are pretty good that you will have fun playing Guitar Hero III. If you have never played any of the games in the Guitar Hero series, the premise is quite simple. You pick up the guitar shaped controller, and try to match the coloured notes on the screen with the colours on your controller. Where is the skill in that you ask? To be honest it seems fairly easy at first, but once you start to advance through the game the difficulty level increases drastically. Despite sever degree of the difficulty in later levels; what makes Guitar Hero III the quintessential party game for adults is the music. You get to play over 70 songs that include both classic rock bands/artists (The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Heart, Pat Bentar, etc.); and newer bands (Weezer, The Beastie Boys, The Strokes, Bloc Party, The Killers, etc.). With such a large range of artist and songs, the game also lends it self to spontaneous Karaoke-style sing-a-longs. Plus, unlike previous version, Guitar Hero III allows you to play as real life guitarist (GNR’s Slash, Rage Against the Machines’ Tom Morello, etc.); which definitely adds to the overall fun factor. The one complaint I have about the game, and it’s a minor one, is that you need to play the co-op career mode to unlock some of the songs by newer artist. While this does encourage you to play the game with friends, it pretty much slows the momentum if you wanted to unlock everything on your own. Still the fact that the game is ridiculously fun, and easy enough for a four year-old to learn, makes up for this minor gripe. I highly recommend getting some friends together and living out your rock star fantasies via this game.

Random Song 4: Weezer - My Name Is Jonas (buy)
Random Song 5: Britney Spears - Why Should I Be Sad (buy)
Random Song 6: Sunset Rubdown - Child-Heart Losers (buy)
Random Song 7: Avril Lavigne - Hot (buy)
Bonus: ABX - There Is No Mims In Threesome (Mims vs. Interpol)[courtesy of The Hood Internet]


I guess it’s fitting that I talk about a game that features 80’s rock hair bands; the same time I see a film titled after a hair product. When Hairspray first opened this past summer I had no desire to see it. Partly because I didn’t think the original warranted a remake, especially if John Walters wasn’t directing. I was also hesitant due to the fact that it was a movie based on a musical based on a movie. After sitting through the latest film version of the Producers, I did not want to endure such pain again. Yet the film was playing at a second run theatre for a mere two bucks, and friends were keen on seeing it, so I figured “why not?” Despite some extremely corny line, and several useless characters, the film itself was decent. Hairspray has always had the tough task of turning the hot button issue of racial divide, into a glossy bubblegum-style fair. In this aspect, the film succeeds in achieving its goal for the most part. I thought that newcomer Nikki Blonsky did a great job as the lovable overweight protagonist, Tracy Turnbald. I also enjoyed Michelle Pfeiffer’s villainous Velma Von Tussle. With Hairspray and Stardust, it’s nice to see Preiffer being evil more often. It was also nice to see some of the original cast (Ricki Lake, Jerry Stiller) in cameo roles. So while I can’t give the film a glowing review, I did not hate the film either. Yes there are far better movie musicals out there, but this film is what it is: a fun fluffy rental at best.

Video: Common - Drivin' Me Wild (ft. Lily Allen) (buy). Lily Allen and Jeremy Piven in the same video! What more can you ask for?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Michael Clayton's Lies Cease To Begin

Several new albums I want to talk about (e.g.Radiohead, Stars, Sunset Rubdown, etc.) but I will get to them another day. For now, I want to focus on one of my favourite films of the year so far.

Random Song 1: Stars - Today Will Be Better, I Swear! (buy)
Random Song 2: Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (buy)

Michael Clayton

If Michael Clayton were a basketball team, it would easily be the Phoenix Suns. The cast is filled with an all-star level of talent; who all bring their A-game. At first glance it is easy to assume that Michael Clayton will be yet another by the books “lawyer with a conscious” film similar to Civil Action. Yet the stellar performances, coupled with a great script, make this film a much deeper and more engrossing than most of its peers. George Clooney’s Michael Clayton is wonderfully layered character. The man is a corporate “fixer” whose own self is broken beyond repair. In fact, all the characters in the film are corrupt in their own way. Yet you fully understand the reasoning behind their actions. Twilda Swinton’s Karen Crowder goes above and beyond to maintain the status quo, yet you see the conflict and desperation that she struggles with every step of the way. The same can be said for Tom Wilkinson’s Athur Edens, whose actions constantly tread a fine line between morality and insanity. In regards to Wilkinson, I hope his performance at least gets an Oscar nomination. Truth be told, I feel all three actors should get nominations. Yet it is Wilkinson’s character that will make or break this film for audiences. I loved how his performance always left you guessing about Arthur’s true mental state. Just when you think Athur is completely bonkers, he quickly shows his sane legal prowess (and vice versa). It is moments like these that make Michael Clayton so riveting. The film is easily one of my favourites of the year. If you haven’t seen this film yet, get thee to a theatre pronto.

Random Song 3: Mark Ronson - Valerie (ft. Amy Winehouse) (buy)
Random Song 4: Radiohead - 15 Steps (buy)

Okay, so I snuck in one album review...

Band of Horses – Cease to Begin (buy)

On their previous album, Everything All The Time, Band of Horse was a nice blend of brooding emotion and southern “anthem style” rock. The album was not ground breaking by any means, yet I found that it was an easy album to put on repeat. So what has changed in their new album? Not much really. The guitar riffs and the lead singer’s unique vocals are the strong points for the group. The main problem I have had with both albums is that their slower tracks all seem to blend together. The once exception to this is the wonderful “No One's Gonna Love You.” Although it may appear simple on the surface, the song’s form and tone perfectly encapsulates the complexity of relationships. Another highlight for me was “Island on the Coast” which is just a straight up catchy song, which will have you humming the hook for sometime after the song is done. I just wish there a few more moments like this to off set the numerous “slow building” tracks. If you enjoyed Band of Horses previous work then you should enjoy this album for the most part. Yet if you are new to the band, I would suggest checking their debut prior to plunging into this album.

Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You (buy)
Band of Horses – Island On The Coast (buy)

Video: Band of Horses – Is There A Ghost (buy)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Darjeeling Not So Limited

Now that the wedding craziness is winding down it's time to get back to this little thing some call a blog.

Random Song 1: Talib Kweli - In The Mood (feat. Kanye West) (buy)
Random Song 2: The Go Team! - Flashlight Fight (feat. Chuck D) (buy)
Random Song 3: Timbaland - Scream (feat. Keri Hilson and Nicole Scherzinger) (buy)

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, is set around three brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) who embark on a journey through India. Similar to Anderson’s previous film, The Life Aquatic, Darjeeling deals with issues of estrangement, conflict, and lost within the family dynamics. Although the plot devices are similar, I found that overall execution was far better here. Stylistically, the film is everything you expect from an Anderson production: smart deadpan humour, wonderful shots in slow motion, and a killer soundtrack.

The film features several Anderson regulars in the cast, who all deliver good performances. Yet it was the newest addition that steals the show. Adrien Brody’s comedic timing is great; he also brings enough weight to the role to keep the character grounded. He is a perfect fit for the world that Anderson has created. Another thing that stood out for me was Anderson’s treatment of the surroundings. He could have easily made this a slapstick comedy about Americans in India. Instead the film is more of a love letter to the country. There is a lot of attention given to the various rituals and customs within the land. The Darjeeling Limited is definitely worth taking a look at.

Random Song 4: Kevin Drew - Lucky Ones (buy)
Random Song 5: Radiohead - No Surprise (buy)
Random Song 6: Animal Collective - Unsolved Mysteries (buy)

Video: 50 Cent - Ayo Technology (feat. Justin Timberlake) (buy)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kanye's Andorra Shall Pass

Kanye West – Graduation (buy)

The biggest surprise about Kanye West’s much hyped Graduation album is how mellow it is in comparison to his previous works. Beside the Daft Punk infused song “Stronger”, there is no other songs that will make you want to instantly hit the dance floor. While not his best, Graduation is easily Kanye’s most consistent album yet. The softer songs are the ones that really resonate. Song such as the stellar “I Wonder”, “Everything I Am” “Champion” and “Homecoming (ft. Coldplay’s Chris Martin)” will have you hitting the repeat button often. Yes, his ego is still big as ever, but he does have the talent to back it up. Even at his most egotistical, Kanye is still able to maintain a likeable persona. This often achieved by his effortless mixing of social observations and witty wordplay. The most interesting, and personal, song on the album is “Big Brother”. Part ode to his mentor/boss Jay-Z, part reflection on sibling rival; Kanye skillfully details the tension that undercuts his relationship with Jay. With the exception of two horrible songs (“Barry Bonds” and “Drunk N’ Hot Girls”) that slow the album to a crawl, there is much here to enjoy. Kanye may not be the best rapper in the world; but after three solid albums in five years, he has earned the right to be the Charles Barkley of hip-hop.

Kanye West - I Wonder (buy)
Kanye West – Homecoming (ft. Chris Martin) (buy)

Video: "Stronger" (previously posted here)

Caribou – Andorra (buy)

In a genre that has already seen strong releases this year from both LCD Soundsystem and Panda Bear, Caribou latest should have been the icing on an already sweet cake. While Andorra is a decent album, I feel that the euphoric critical praise it has received is a bit much. The album starts off with a bang thanks to the wonderfully infectious “Melody Day”. The problem with starting off with such a phenomenal track is that the rest of the album never catches up. Only “She’s The One” and “Sandy” seems to come close to being as memorable, but still they are a distant second. To be fair, the first half of the album is very strong. The real issue I had with the disc is the second half. It is here were the songs are listenable but not memorable. After a few listens, songs such as “Sundialing” and “Irene” seem to blend together. Again, this is by no means a bad album, just not a groundbreaking one. Should you give it a listen? Yes. Yet if you ask me which album deserves more praise Caribou’s Andorra or Panda Bear’s Person Pitch? I would say Person Pitch has this album beat hands down.

Caribou – Melody Day (buy)
Caribou – She’s The One (buy)

Video: "Melody Day"

Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass (buy)

Aptly entitled None Shall Pass, Aesop Rock’s latest album is a cryptic puzzle that is almost impossible to solve. Lyrically dense, it is hard to dispute the fact that Aesop Rock is anything but a gifted rapper. The problem is that he is too smart for his own good. Normally I support any artist who tries to bring a certain level of intellect into hip hop. Yet as an album, None Shall Pass is often more infuriating than clever. Even after numerous listens the same questions kept appearing in my head “what the heck is this about?” Needless to say, this album is not for the casual listener. This album requires commitment from the listener to focus on every single detail. The problem is there is no real payoff for the time you invest. Even the standout tracks such as the fierce “ Five “Fingers”, “Cintronella” and the title track, leave you wanting more clarification. I am sure that Aesop Rock is saying many insightful things, but unfortunately he has buried them under too much cryptic code. Frankly at this point, I am tired of digging for them.

Aesop Rock - Five Fingers (buy)
Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass(buy)

Video: "None Shall Pass"

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kala's Challenging Eardrum

Here are three albums that will most likely make my year end best list for vastly different reasons.

M.I.A. – Kala (buy)

Although I enjoyed M.I.A’s debut album, Arula (buy), the glow wore off after several listens. Yet the exact opposite happened with her latest effort, Kala. While a few tracks stood out immediately, like the insanely catchy single “Boyz” (previously posted), the album itself needs to be digested a few times before its true beauty appears. This is mainly due to the fact that Kala has no aspirations for commercial appeal. Despite the presence of Timbaland on one song, the album is not designed for the casual listener. M.I.A. really demands your full attention. Kala is a mixture of biting observations on world politics, homage to her Sri Lankan heritage, and floor pulsing dance beats. Although her message is strong, I never really found M.I.A. to be the best rapper. Luckily the production makes up for her shortcomings. “Boyz” and Timbaland’s track will probably get the most notice; the standout tracks for me were the darkly dreamy “Paper Planes” and the African influences “Hussel”. Similar to a Bjork album, Kala is bound to receive praise from some listeners and infuriate just as many others. Regardless I say it is worth giving (several) listens to.

M.I.A.- Paper Planes (buy)
M.I.A.- Come Around (ft. Timbaland) (buy)

Video: M.I.A. – Jimmy (buy). While I love that she is paying respect to Bollywood, I’m still on the fence about the video.

Talib Kweli – Eardrum (buy)

Unlike M.I.A., you get the sense that Talib Kweli is aiming to finally get that commercial success that has allude him for so long. Not that it’s a bad thing, especially since Kweli sticks to doing what he does best. Delivering fierce lyrics that will have you thinking about more important then rims and cash. The difference is this time he has an all-star lineup of talent (e.g. Norah Jones, KRS-One, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, etc…) helping him out. To be honest I hope this album reaches a mainstream level of success. I really think it is one of the best rap albums to drop this year. On Eardrum, Talib tackles such topics as love, religion, politics, urban ignorance, and an overall need for change. Despite the subject matter, Talib never preaches or talks down to his audience. To be honest; this is on of the few albums where there was not a single track that I didn’t like. Everyone seems to talking about the publicity stunt…err I mean feud between Kayne and 50 Cent these days. Which is a shame because albums like Eardrum really deserves more press. Rap albums this good do not come around too often.

Talib Kweli - Hostile Gospel pt.1 (buy)
Talib Kweli - Soon The New Day (ft. Norah Jones) (buy)

Video: Talib Kweli – More or Less (buy). Not the best video but the song is great!

The New Pornographers – Challengers (buy)

It has been interesting seeing how the latest album from The New Pornographers has divided the critics. The biggest complaint most people seem to have is that it is not the same “upbeat power pop” that the band has delivered in the past. Which is funny considering those same critics use to criticize the band for being too upbeat. Yes, Challengers is a more adult sounding album but I think the change is actually I good thing. While there are still a few upbeat poppy songs, such as the standout “Myriad Harbour” (previously posted), but it is the new softer sound that surprising lends the album to repeat listens. It also forces everyone in the band to raise the bar as the intricacies of each song are now thrown to the forefront. As with previous albums Carl Newman, Neko Case and Dan Bejar (Destroyer) each have their moments singing lead, which gives the band its trademark sound. Similar to M.I.A.’s Kala, this album will be a slow burner for many. It will take several listens before it really sinks in. Once it does, the songs will stick in your head for days. Yes, the album is a departure from their usual fair, but the result is far better than the critics would have you believe.

The New Pornographers - Challengers (buy)
The New Pornographers – Entering White Cecilia (buy)

Video: The New Pornographers – My Rights Versus Yours (buy). The band performed (a tad nervously) on The Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Your After Work Social Net Ball Team Practice.

As both HBO's "Big Love" and "Flight of the Conchords" (today's video selections) come to an end, it only brings home the fact that summer is almost over. Needless to say I will be making the most out of the remaining warm days. On the bright side, the new album from The New Pornographers, entitled Challenger, hits stores tomorrow. Make sure you get it. I am hoping to snag some tickets to their show in October.

Random Song 1: Talib Kweli (ft. Justin Timberlake) - Nature (buy)
Random Song 2: Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan (buy)
Bonus: Kevin Drew - TBTF (buy)

Video: Flight of the Conchords - Bret You've Got It Going On

Random Song 3: The New Pornographers - Miss Teen Wordpower (buy)
Random Song 4: Ne-Yo - Crazy (ft. Jay-Z) (buy)

Video: Flight of the Conchords - Goodbye Leggy Blonde

Random Song 5: Rilo Kiley - Love and War(11/11/46) (buy)
Random Song 6: Oasis - Morning Glory (buy)

Video: Flight of the Conchords - Business Time (buy)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Swollen Ankles and Long Weekends

Lot to talk about today and no time to do it. So instead of reading reviews of the latest films I watch (The Simpsons Movie, The Bourne Ultimatum), or the recent albums I picked up (Tegan & Sara's "The Con", Pharoahe Monch's "Desire", Common's "Finding Forever" etc.), you'll just have to be content with the following selections:

Song 1: The Submarines - Brighter Discontent (buy)
Song 2: Common - Drivin' Me Wild (Ft. Lily Allen) (buy)

Video: Tegan & Sara - Back In Your Head (buy) Track previously posted here.

Song 3: Flight of the Conchords - If You're Into It (buy). Funniest show of the summer.
Song 4: Tegan and Sara - Nineteen (buy)

Video: Pharoahe Monch - Body Baby (buy)

Song 5: Pharoahe Monch - Welcome to the Terrordome (buy)
Song 6: The New Pornographers - Myriad Habour (buy). Very exicted that the new album, from one of my favourite bands, hits stores this month!

Video: Common - The Game (buy)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Springfield vs. Shelbyville

Although I make a point to see most comic book movies, it had been a long time since I had read any. Usually I just read Metamorphostuff to keep abreast on the latest developments in the comic world. Yet I must admit Marvel has me hooked on their World War Hulk series. It is the latest epic, or gimmick depending on your view, to shake up the Marvel Universe. Still, I'm keeping hope alive for a World War Archie series. After 50 years, Archie still has problems deciding between Betty and Veronica. Make up your mind man!

Now let the countdown to "The Simpsons Movie" begin...

On Repeat: Interpol - Mammoth (buy)
Random Song: CRS (Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West,Pharrell) - US Placers (buy)
Bonus: The Simpsons - Homer's Barbershop Quartet (buy)

Video: The Simpsons - Homer and Apu (aka. Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart) (buy)

Random Song: My Chemical Romance - Helena (buy)
Random Song: Kimberley Inniss- My Hips (ft. Lil Rick) (buy). Think Rihanna is the only musician to come out of Barbados? If so, Kimberley Innis will soon change that.
Bonus: Daft Punk - Superheroes (buy)

Video: The Simpsons - The Monorail Song (buy)

Random Song: Q - Tip - Work It Out (Myspace)
Random Song: Luscious Jackson - Ladyfingers (buy)
Bonus: The Simpsons - Kamp Krusty (medley) [ft. Gene Merlino's South of the Boarder] (buy)

Video: The Simpsons - A Fish Called Selma (ft. Dr. Zauis) (buy)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Back to the Start

Ever have one of those days that just sucked the life out of you? On the bright side the weekend is here, and there is 26 hours of non-stop music on television courtesy of the Live Earth concert. Plus, I finally got around to mailing my Summer Burn CD so I can officially cross it off my "to do" list.

Random Song 1: Kardinal Offishall - Whatchalike (ft. Busta Rhymes) (buy)
Random Song 2: The White Stripes - Conquest (buy)

Video: Coldplay - The Scientist (buy)

Random Song 3: Dr. Dre - Still D.R.E. (ft. Snoop Dogg) (buy)
Random Song 4: Rogue Wave - Catform (buy)

Video: The Pharcyde - Drop (buy)

Random Song 5: Phoenix - Sometimes In A Fall (buy)
Random Song 6: Stars - The Night Starts Here (buy)
Bonus: Stars - What I'm Trying To Say (buy)

Video: Mute Math - Typical (buy)

Bonus Videos: Kanye West - Stronger (ft. Daft Punk) (buy)/ Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (buy). At first I was a little under-whelmed with Kanye's "Strong" video; but it is starting to grow own me. This is most likely due to the subtle nods to the anime classic " Akira". Regardless I'm glad Kanye's track, and the insanely creative "Daft Hands" video (see below), are causing people to revisit Daft Punk's Discovery album. An underrated gem if you ask me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Naked Souls

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
The Pirates of the Caribbean series perfectly embodies the term “mindless summer entertainment”. With each consecutive film the plots get more convoluted, and the running time gets longer (seriously, the film did not need to be three hours!). Yet when all is said in done, not much actually happens. When you really think about it, the majority of the characters aren’t even needed at all. So what keep this unstoppable franchise going (a fourth film is already in the works)? The endlessly entertaining performance of Johnny Depp! Jack Sparrow is so entertaining to watch, that the film's many flaws only appear whenever he is not on screen. Luckily this installment wisely uses Geoffrey Rush’s Barbossa and Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones to fill the void at the beginning until Sparrow finally makes his appearance (almost thirty minutes in). Rush and Nighy are the underrated gems of At World's End. Similar to the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, the real fun of the Pirates tales is watching these three talented actors having a blast goofing off. By time you reach the end of At World's End , chances are pretty good that you’ll only remember those three performances. You are not going to really care about: the East Indian Trading Company’s attempt to vanquish the pirate lifestyle; the lame Calypso subplot; the much hyped, and utterly pointless, Keith Richards cameo; Orlando Bloom's Will trying to save his dad Bootstrap Bill, etc… Despite the writer’s best attempts to tie together the paper-thin plots from each film, at the end of the day, At World's End is nothing more than entertaining fluff. Which is exactly what we have come to expect and appreciate in the series.

Little Children
Little Children may be one of the best movies about suburban life ever made. It is easily one of the most entertaining. The “children” in the title refers to Sarah (Kate Winslet) and Brad (Patrick Wilson), to stay at home parents whose lives intersect at the local playground. Both are disappointed by the fact that married life has not turned out the way they each envisioned. Sarah is stuck in a loveless marriage, shackled by the fact that she spends all her time with a daughter that she somewhat resents. Brad on the other hand appears to have it all on the surface. He has an attractive wife, the local women secretly fantasize about him by referring to him as the “Homecoming King”. Yet Brad longs for the carefree days of his youth. Instead of studying for the legal bar exam, he spends his time watching the local teens skateboarding. Sarah and Brad strike up a friendship that will ultimately test their individual desire for change. To say anything more about the plot would be a disservice to the film. I will say that there is a subplot involving a recently released pedophile (Jackie Earle Haley) that impacts several key moments in the film. Many will most likely compare this film to American Beauty, but I found Little Children to be much more bleaker. Yet despite its dark tone, there is a surprising amount of humor in the film. Part of this is due to the wonderful use of narration in the film. Voice-overs in film are a tricky thing, If done wrong it tends to beat you over the head with already obvious symbolism (e.g. The Pursuit of Happyness). Fortunately director Todd Fields avoids this by sparingly using it throughout the film. Ultimately Little Children looks at the choices we make in life. The responsibilities that people often don’t want yet have no other choice but to take ownership of.

Vers Le Sud (Heading South)
Laurent Cantet's Vers Le Sud revolves around three women who frequently vacation on the beaches of Haiti. Ellen (the always wonderful Charlotte Rampling), Brenda (Karen Young), and Sue (Canadian actress Louise Portal) view the trips as a way to reclaim their sexual freedom. They take pleasure in hooking up with the young black men. Brenda even recounts a tale about her first sexual encounter with one of the men (who was 15 at the time) on a previous visit. They marvel at the bodies of the black men on the island. Commenting on the fact that they wouldn’t even considering dating a black man back home in North America. The women even go as far as paying the men, and showering them with gifts, for their services in the bedroom. Ellen makes it clear that she has no problem with this arrangement. The women revel in this attachment free life style. They are constantly being adored without ever having to worry about love complicating things. It is at this point that the film's layers start to unravel. Despite their tough talk, the women ultimately start to fall in love with the men. To make matters worse, Ellen and Brenda fall for the same man. Which ultimately complicates the friendship amongst the women, and threatens to ruin their “perfect situation”. The thing I found most disturbing about the film, was how oblivious the women were to the political climate in Haiti at the time. All they seem to care about is their perfectly sheltered paradise at the resort. The women also never really see the men for what they are either. Ellen and Brenda are so enamored with their stud, Legba (Menothy Cesar); they never realize that he actually hates being a paid "escort". Vers Le Sud is not perfect film but it is an interesting one. The film raises a whole slew of issues (e.g. how we view: women over forty in today’s culture, racism, prostitution, etc…) that will surely lead to lively debates afterwards.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Dedication to Frank Grimes. R.I.P. Grimey.

Still my favourite Simpsons episode to date. I'll most likely revisit the Season 8 box set this weekend.

Random Song 1: Eve - Tambourine (Myspace)
Random Song 2: The Hidden Cameras - Hump From Bending (buy)

Video: Kelly Rowland - Like This (feat. Eve) (buy). She's right, I honestly "didn't think [she] could bump like this." Boy did she ever prove me wrong. Looks like Rihanna will have a little competition this summer. Bump on Kelly, bump on.

Random Song 3: The Arcade Fire - (Antichrist Television Blues) (buy)
Random Song 4: Handsome Furs - Sing! Captain (buy)

Video: Handsome Furs - Dumb Animals (buy). I first caught wind of the Handsome Furs when they opened for Arcade Fire on Wednesday night. The band consists of Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade) and his wife Alexei Perry. Personally I think "Dumb Animals" is one of the weaker songs on the album. Regardless, the rest of the album is strong enough for me to recommend them.

Random Song 5: Amanda Blank - Take It Easy(feat. M.I.A) (Myspace)
Random Song 6: M.I.A. - Hit That (Myspace)
Bonus: Spoon - The Ghost Of You Lingers (Myspace)

Video: Lil Mama - Lip Gloss (Myspace). Hmmm could lip gloss be the new bling? Maybe Mini-Missy Elliott, I mean Lil' Mama, is on to can one get it "popping" if the lips are chapped?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunshine, Lollipops, Rainbows...

It's pretty sad that I found this IMac parody more interesting than the majority of Spider-Man 3. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but I still think Spider-Man 3 is a huge mess of a film. There was less crying and cheesy melodrama in the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Anyways, I finally got around to watching United 93, which I have had on DVD for months. If you haven't seen United 93 yet, I highly recommend it. It is one of the best, and most underrated, films to hit theatres last year.

Random 1: Beyonce & Shakira - Beautiful Liar (buy)
Random 2: Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver
Bonus: Incredible Bongo Band - Apache

Video: Bjork - Earth Intruders (buy)

Random Song 3: Rhymefest - Build Me Up (feat. O.D.B) (buy)
Random Song 4: Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
Bonus: Digital Underground - Humpty Dance (buy)

Video: Radiohead - Just (buy). Classic video I haven't watched in a while.

Random Song 5: Dream Warriors - You Wash Your Face In My Sink (buy)
Random Song 6: The Arctic Monkeys - You Know I'm Know Good (Amy Winehouse cover)
Bonus: Guns N' Roses -Don't Cry

Video: Dragonette - I Get Around (buy).

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Dolphins Passed On Quinn???

The NFL Draft is officially more boring than watching paint dry. I've endured more than two painful hours in hopes that my beloved Miami Dolphins would end their quaterback woes. It looked like the stars were finally aligning this year. Prime QB candidate, Brady Quinn, was all but ready to jump on stage and hoist the Dolphin's jersey. Yet the Dolphins ended up selecting a wide receiver! Are you kidding me? I'm sure Ted Ginn Jr will be a fantastic wide receiver in NFL. I just do not see how he is expected to catch any balls; there is nobody to throw them to him! I predict another painfully year for us Dolphin fans.

Random Song 1: Franz Ferdinand - All My Friends (LCD Soundsytem cover) [courtesy of LCD Soundsystem's Myspace page]
Random Song 2: Lil Wayne - Seat Down Low (from Da Drought 3 mixtape) (buy)

Video: Rihanna - Umbrella (buy). Although I featured this track in my last post, I just saw the video today. Plus Rihanna does her best "Goldfinger" impression by covering herself in silver.

Random Song 3: Bjork - Innocence (Produced by Timbaland) (buy)
Random Song 4: Basment Jaxx - Good Luck (buy)

Video: Travis - Closer (buy). This is for those Ben Stiller fans. I guess Travis didn't have the budget to get Owen Wilson as well.

Random Song 5: Young Galaxy - Outside the City (buy)
Random Song 6: The Prodigy - Out of Space (buy)
Bonus: Bjork - Hope (buy)

Video: Ne-Yo - Because Of You (buy). After writing Beyonce's uber-hit "Irreplaceable", amongst many other top ten songs, last year. Ne-yo's new album finally hit stores this week.