Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the economist goes for obama

Everybody and their mother does presidential endorsements, but The Economist's pick was the one I was most anticipating. (To review, in the last four elections, they've endorsed Kerry, Bush, Dole and Clinton.) This year?
[T]his cannot be another election where the choice is based merely on fear. In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency.
I couldn't agree more. The whole piece is here.

afi film festival

L.A. Weekly, as always, does a great job covering the festival (which starts tonight) from every angle. Here's a rundown of reviews and critics' picks, written by the regular Weekly gang, including yours truly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

rosemary's baby

Rosemary's Baby will be playing for a week at Film Forum in New York starting on Halloween. I recently watched it again -- I swear it's even better than I remembered it. I sing the horror classic's praises in The Village Voice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the other end of the line

The Other End of the Line stars Desperate Housewives hunk Jesse Metcalfe as a New York City ad executive who falls in love with the Indian woman (Shriya Saran) who's his credit-card customer service rep. She's delightful, he's insufferable, and the movie is just marginal.

Monday, October 27, 2008

saw v

If you know nothing about the Saw franchise, Saw V is not the place to hop onboard. In fact, these sequels are becoming more and more geared to hardcore fans, which is part of their problem.

Friday, October 24, 2008

rem: until the day is done

If your favorite R.E.M. album is Automatic for the People, then your favorite song off Accelerate is probably "Until the Day Is Done." For a "comeback" album that was hyped as their rock-out record, it's funny that Accelerate's best moment might indeed be this one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

fringe: the cure

Fringe was starting to show some improvement. Then the show decided to do a "character" episode. The problem? The writers focused on Dunham instead of Walter. I survey the damage over at Vulture.

noah and the whale

Noah & the Whale are an English group whose debut album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, is full of twee indie rock that's several notches above many other up-and-coming twee indie rockers' recent efforts. I explain why in Detroit's Metro Times.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the best guns n' roses songs ever

What else am I supposed to do until Chinese Democracy arrives? Here's my list of GNR's Top 10 songs. (Sorry, no "Live and Let Die.")

Sunday, October 19, 2008

please don't bother E at his house

In Geoff Boucher's great profile of Mark Oliver Everett (aka E of Eels) in today's Los Angeles Times came this upsetting tidbit:
"Those are for the stalkers," Everett said, nodding toward a bank of security-camera screens in the kitchen of his home. "It's nice when something you have written or recorded means so much to people, especially since you never thought about that happening when you're working on it. But I prefer letters to unannounced visitors."
He's the sort of distinctive, candid songwriter who clearly connects with his audience in a meaningful way. But nobody should have to deal with that type of fan craziness.

Friday, October 17, 2008

death cab for cutie: cath

I'm still undecided about Death Cab for Cutie's Narrow Stairs as a whole -- it's better than Plans, but not as great as Transatlanticism. But I do know that I like "Cath."

max payne

Max Payne hits theaters today -- it's pretty dreadful. Shoot 'Em Up is looking more and more like a classic each day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

filth and wisdom

Madonna's directorial debut, Filth and Wisdom, is very Madonna-y: overbearing, pretentious but also kinda loopy in a really endearing way. It'll mostly appeal to fans of Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz, who really is something else as the film's star.

plants and animals

Plants and Animals are a Montreal trio whose debut full-length album, Parc Avenue, came out earlier this year. As they tour the United States, I try to figure out how you describe their hard-to-pin-down sound for the Phoenix New Times.

political advertisement VII at redcat

Political Advertisement VII is the latest edition of an anthology of presidential commercials put together by artists Antoni Muntadas and Marshall Reese that covers more than 50 years of TV spots. It plays at REDCAT on Monday and is illuminating no matter what your party affiliation. I explain why at L.A. Weekly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

fringe: power hungry

Last night's episode of Fringe made me think about REO Speedwagon, Battlestar Galactica, and Airplane! Is that a good thing or bad thing? My recap is up at Vulture.

why the phillies are up 3-1 on the dodgers

The great baseball writer Ross Newhan says it's time to stop blaming Joe Torre for the Dodgers' problems against the Phillies. Instead, he offers a counter-theory for why the Phillies are ahead:
Has anyone stopped to think that the Dodgers are trailing, 3-1, in the series because Philadelphia is a better and more complete team?

Does anyone realize that Manager Joe Torre isn't operating with a full complement of postseason-caliber players?


Can anyone recall that only two months ago the Dodgers were a sub-.500 team trailing Arizona in a National League West that didn't exactly resemble Appaloosa and the only difference between that Dodgers team and this one is Manny Ramirez?


I mean, Ramirez is having one of the greatest stretches of big-time hitting any of us has been fortunate to see or will be fortunate to see again, but by now his back must be bending from the load.


How far and for how long can one man carry a team?
I agree -- of course, I picked the Phillies to make it to the World Series ... and lose to the Angels. (Hey, this predicting stuff is an inexact science.)

morning light

The new Disney sports-competition documentary Morning Light asks the question: What's scarier -- the ongoing popularity of reality shows or the Walt Disney Company's ability to find the planet's most squeaky-clean individuals? My answer is at The Village Voice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

mastodon speaks

I interviewed Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor for Revolver. We discussed their upcoming record, whether it's a concept album, and how Bruce Springsteen's Magic inspired its making. The interview is not available on the magazine's website, but the issue should be on newsstands now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

happy-go-lucky

Happy-Go-Lucky is perhaps the most divisive movie of Mike Leigh's career. I know people who love it and those who absolutely cannot stand it. I'm in the love category.

nirvana: scentless apprentice

Today is my buddy's birthday, so this one is for you, Will. Maybe someday this whole special will be available commercially?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

the used

I spoke with Bert McCracken, frontman for the Used, to talk about their upcoming album and how Nirvana's In Utero inspired its creation. My piece is in Kerrang!, and while it's not available online, it's at your local newsstand.

good dick

Good Dick tries to reinvent the romantic-comedy wheel, pairing two misfits in an unlikely love story. It doesn't work entirely, but it's a noble misfire.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

the express

The Express will be comfort food for lots of guys who love sports movies, no matter how generic. Elsewhere in Consumables, I review Blindness, Rachel Getting Married, Water Lilies and Bob Dylan's Tell Tale Signs.

daddy yankee in talento de barrio

Talento de Barrio features reggaeton star Daddy Yankee as a young crime boss who dreams of being a rapper. It's even more cliched than that description sounds.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

oasis - dig out your soul

Oasis return with Dig Out Your Soul. It's another solid but unspectacular set from the Manchester group. But it does have its moments.

margot & the nuclear so and so’s

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's is an Indianapolis indie rock group that has just released two new albums, Not Animal (which was approved by the band's label) and Animal! (the band's preferred track list). I review them both for Blender.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

michael wilmington on blindness

My review of Blindness will be up on Monday in Consumables, but in the meantime let me just say Michael Wilmington is one of the few people who agrees with me:
I was gripped by this all the way through, and it’s certainly an example, like Alfonso Cuaron’s fine movie of Children of Men, of the kind of intellectually and emotionally challenging material, that moviemakers with resources should tackle more often. At it’s worst, it’s a super-Twilight Zone episode. At it’s best, it’s a grand dystopian epic of social degeneration.

Friday, October 03, 2008

oasis: don't look back in anger

I've been doing a lot of thinking about Oasis this week, as you might have noticed, so here's their saddest, best song, "Don't Look Back in Anger." I love that since Liam doesn't sing on this track, he just, y'know, hangs out in the video.

cypress hill gets its due from vh1

On Monday, VH1 will be airing its Hip-Hop Honors program celebrating, among others, Cypress Hill. For the channel's website, I provide a brief history of the group and pick five classic songs.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

winona ryder and me

The Biography Channel will be premiering its Winona Ryder biography tonight. I haven't seen it, but I believe I'll be one of the talking heads in it. The viewing details are here. I hope I don't come off too badly.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

smother

Poor Diane Keaton. For those of us who still love her, Smother is a truly poignant viewing experience. She's not bad in it, but, honestly, isn't there anything else more stimulating she could be doing with her time? My review is up at L.A. Weekly.

fringe: the arrival

If you accept the fact that Fringe is just big dumb fun, I think you can enjoy it just fine. Last night's episode was a perfect example of what I'm talking about.