Tuesday, October 30, 2007

michael clayton and the amazing george clooney

If you want proof that I'm not one of those critics who hates everything that comes his way, check out my latest Consumables column, where I liked all nine things I wrote about, which includes Michael Clayton, The Darjeeling Limited, Eastern Promises, Bruce Springsteen's Magic, and M.I.A.'s Kala.

Monday, October 29, 2007

saw iv

At this point, you're either someone who watches ever Saw sequel or someone who badmouths the whole franchise. That sorta makes a film critic-proof, huh? Nonetheless, here's my take on Saw IV (as well as the whole series, really).

Friday, October 26, 2007

roger ebert nails grindhouse

It's been a delight to have Roger Ebert back reviewing movies every Friday; we had lost his distinctive critical voice for several months while he fought cancer. As if his full slate of new movies isn't enough, though, he's also been writing a new piece each week on a movie he missed while recovering. These reviews have allowed him an opportunity I think many critics would like to have: a chance to evaluate a movie long after its hype has died down and the pressures to file a review on deadline have expired.

A perfect example is today's piece on Grindhouse, a film that many critics I respect and admire loved back in the spring but which didn't do much for me. Ebert, blessed with perspective and his usual writing talent, sizes up the movie so clearly that his conclusions help explain not only why this B-movie double bill is terribly flawed but also why it didn't end up as any kind of box-office hit. Read his review here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

black irish

Writer-director Brad Gann's Black Irish takes on one of the cinema's most overdone dramatic territories: the suffering Irish family. My review is at the L.A. Weekly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

a film about jimmy carter

Man From Plains, a Jonathan Demme documentary about Jimmy Carter, is one of the best films of the year. But it's about more than just the former president -- a lot more. My review appears here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the season of joy division

Ian Curtis has been dead for 27 years now, but his old band's legacy still looms large. Control, a film about Curtis directed by Anton Corbijn, drew raves at Cannes and is now making its way across the country. My review appears at L.A. Weekly.

ac/dc: their hidden gems

If you just know "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Back in Black," then enjoy my analysis of some of AC/DC's lesser-known tracks at VH1. (Hint: Most of 'em have something to do with sex.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

joni mitchell

Shine, her new record, isn't a galvanizing return to form, but if you give the disc some time, its beauty can sneak up on you.

chamillionaire doesn't drink or smoke

Those were just two things I found out about the "Ridin' Dirty" rapper in my recent interview with him for Blender.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

band of horses

Cease to Begin is the South Carolina band's second album -- it's even more lovely than their first. My review appears at Blender.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the kite runner

The award-seeking adaptation of the Khaled Hosseini novel won't be arriving in theaters until December, but my review is up now at Screen International.

kid rock talks to me

To promote his new album, Rock N Roll Jesus, Kid Rock sat down for an interview with me. The results can be found at Blender.

the final season

Another inspirational baseball film? I'm afraid so, but The Final Season has its heart in the right place at least. If it's on cable, give it 15 minutes or so. My L.A. Weekly review appears here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

baby elephant

Turn My Teeth Up! is the name of the new album from Baby Elephant, a collaboration between hip-hop producer Prince Paul (of De La Soul fame) and keyboardist Bernie Worrell (of Parliament-Funkadelic fame). It's an uneasy mixture of oddball humor and sincere testimonials to Worrell's legacy. My review appears in the Metro Times.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

blender's 40 worst lyricists in rock

Yup, Blender magazine picked Sting as rock music's worst lyricist. But who were the other 39? The link to the piece, which I helped contribute to, is here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

bergman at the new beverly

If you've never seen Cries and Whispers or Autumn Sonata, now's your chance: Ingmar Bergman's harrowing family dramas screen at the New Beverly this weekend. My musings on both films appear in L.A. Weekly.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

lake of fire

Filmmaker Tony Kaye's abortion documentary Lake of Fire opens this weekend in New York. It's an affecting but imperfect work. My review appears here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

bruce springsteen returns

The Boss is back with his new album, Magic. In honor of the occasion, I look back at Springsteen's greatest non-hits for VH1.

Monday, October 01, 2007

kanye west

Graduation, the new record from Kanye West, heads my latest Consumables column. Also included: reviews of Into the Wild, Justice, Beck's "Timebomb" single, The King of Kong and more.