Thursday, February 28, 2008

romulus, my father

Actor Eric Bana (Munich, The Hulk) has two films coming out this weekend. The higher-profile one is The Other Boleyn Girl, but he's also in Romulus, My Father, a coming-of-age drama that deals with poverty and mental illness. It's understandably somber, but it's also almost too glum for its own good. My L.A. Weekly review appears here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

jon stewart and the oscars

Last night's Academy Awards made for an entertaining evening, says I. Also in Consumables, I discuss U2 3D, Be Kind Rewind, and Diary of the Dead.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

vantage point

Most reviews thus far have been unkind to Vantage Point, but I actually think there's some merit in the film. You can read my musings at Screen International.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

odelay

It's been 12 years since Beck's landmark record Odelay brought phrases like "two turntables and a microphone" and "got a devil's haircut in my mind" into the pop-culture lexicon. For Detroit's Metro Times I review the new Deluxe Edition of the album and try to figure out what all the fuss was about back then.

Friday, February 15, 2008

electric apricot

Les Claypool is a revered cult musician -- he was the driving force behind Primus -- and he's hung around the business most of his life. Now he's putting that experience into ... a mockumentary. Electric Apricot, his spoof of the jam-band universe, has some funny moments, but, well, it's another mockumentary. My review is at L.A. Weekly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

sia

There's a good chance you've heard Sia's music and didn't even realize it: She appears on the soundtracks of shows like Six Feet Under and commercials such as KCRW's movie-theater spots. As I note in this week's Phoenix New Times, she's a great example of the future for up-and-coming artists.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

eels

The Eels have two collections out now: a best-of (Meet the Eels) and a compilation of outtakes (Useless Trinkets). No matter the Eels fan in your life, one (or both) of these will be up their alley.

Monday, February 11, 2008

how good is the new r.e.m. single?

My answer is here in the latest Consumables. Also, my reviews of The Counterfeiters, The Band's Visit, the Ting Tings and the revamped B-52's.

Friday, February 08, 2008

paris hilton invades your movie theater

The Hottie and the Nottie, starring Paris Hilton, opens today in a very limited run. How bad is it? Find out here.

the best new artist grammy: a career killer?

Feist, Amy Winehouse and others will be competing for the Best New Artist prize at the Grammys on Sunday. It sounds like a prestigious prize -- a validation of your up-and-coming status -- but this particular award has a reputation for cursing its winners to mediocre, disappointing careers. Is it better not to win? For VH1.com, I looked back at past winners and discovered it's a pretty mixed bag of artists. You can read my findings here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

ugly me

Bárbara Mori plays a beautiful woman who decides to hide her looks so that she can be appreciated for her brains in Ugly Me, a Chilean romantic comedy. Yeah, it's totally predictable what happens next, but that doesn't make the movie any less fun. My review appears in today's L.A. Weekly.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

the eye

Is The Eye scary? Can Jessica Alba act? And what's Parker Posey doing in a horror movie? All the answers are contained in my Screen International review.

Friday, February 01, 2008

obama for president

The L.A. Times is endorsing Barack Obama for the Democratic primary. The well-argued editorial ends with this...
In the language of metaphor, [Hillary] Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long -- a sense of aspiration.

That just about nails it. The entire piece can be found here.

drive-by truckers

Brighter Than Creation's Dark is the first Drive-By Truckers record since the departure of one of its three songwriters, Jason Isbell. They survive the lineup shift mostly intact. My review is at Blender.