Friday, November 28, 2008

pavement: cut your hair

One of my greatest regrets of the '90s? Only really getting into Pavement as the band's brilliant career was winding down.

Monday, November 24, 2008

slumdog millionaire

Today's Consumables column features Slumdog Millionaire, A Christmas Tale, Ballast, I've Loved You So Long, and Quantum of Solace. It's my super-busy time as I prepare for LAFCA's end-of-the-year vote in just over two weeks. So many more movie reviews are heading your way soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

guns n' roses: chinese democracy

I didn't think I would ever write these words: Here is my review of Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

paul simon: you can call me al

Very '80s in many ways: The song has a slick, processed feel; the video is built around a jokey high-concept idea; and, good lord, those clothes. But the song is still great, and let's be honest -- if this video came out now, there would be 10,000 YouTube parodies/homages buzzing around the Web. It's like the precursor to OK Go's "Here It Goes Again" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies" except it stars schlubby guys.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

transporter 3

No one need question my affection for Jason Statham. But Transporter 3 isn't worthy of his talents. I review the film for Screen International.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

revolutionary road

Director Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road is, to my mind, a better and more empathetic variation of American Beauty, the Oscar-winning suburban drama that launched his film career. Between this and Jarhead, I think Mendes is becoming a subtler and looser filmmaker, and therefore a much more interesting one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the new pornographers: myriad harbour

Last year's Challengers might not have been the finest album from the New Pornographers, but there were some great songs on it. Like this one ... and the video might be even better.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ryan and sean's not so excellent adventure

What happens when two YouTube sensations get their own movie? Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure. If you like jokes about pooping, little people and "I drink your milkshake," oh boy, this is the movie event of the fall. My despairing review is in the L.A. Weekly.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the beautiful truth

The Beautiful Truth is a preachy documentary about Dr. Max Gerson, who came up with the controversial Gerson Therapy in the 1920s that aimed to cleanse the human body of pollutants through organic juices and coffee enemas. I'm all for a healthy diet, but noxiously manipulative movies I can always do without. My review is at The Village Voice.


Defiance, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Edward Zwick, is based on an interesting true story from World War II, a tale of three Jewish brothers who organized a ragtag army of fellow Jews to fight back against the Nazis. Unfortunately, the film's solemn tone and lack of creative spark leave it feeling stolid instead of thoughtful. My review is at Screen International.

Friday, November 07, 2008

magnetic fields: busby berkeley dreams

Is 69 Love Songs the greatest concept album of all time? It's either that or Dark Side of the Moon.

This song goes out to all the people who still keep their Busby Berkeley dreams alive.

synecdoche, new york

Synecdoche, New York heads up the latest edition of Consumables, which includes reviews of W., In Bruges, Taxi to the Dark Side, Moving Midway, Summer Palace, and Boy A.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

elf power

While I try to find my copy of Creatures, which I still think is their best record, enjoy my write-up on Elf Power, who are touring America as we speak.

a quiet little marriage at afi

L.A. Weekly concludes its coverage of the AFI Film Festival with a roundup of reviews for films playing this upcoming weekend. My (positive) write-up of A Quiet Little Marriage is here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

pray the devil back to hell

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is that rare thing -- an understated documentary about an inspiring subject, the 2003 nonviolent protest of Liberian women during that nation's bloody civil war. Though the film has several other commendable qualities, that by itself is impressive. My review is in The Village Voice.

prop 8

Marc Lacter of LA Biz Observed puts its victory in perspective:
Shameful. And what's truly stunning about the results - though not surprising - is that African Americans voted overwhelmingly against extending to gay people the civil rights once denied them. One possible factor behind the yes vote: depressed voter turnout in California due to the early calls back east in the presidential race. The ironies are mind-boggling.
I couldn't agree more. We Obama fans patting ourselves on the back today about how much America has changed should remember there's still a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

repo! the genetic opera

My hunch is that you will either love or hate Repo! The Genetic Opera. It's not for all tastes, but if you can envision yourself enjoying the silly camp appeal of a sci-fi/horror rock opera, this might be the movie for you.