Wednesday, December 31, 2008

erykah badu made the best album of 2008

And Jess Harvell of Idolator will tell you why:
Badu's self-dissection lacks the ego-engorged glibness of her college-spurning, casually misogynistic peer, and in a singularly shitty socioeconomic year, she sold down-and-out, day-to-day life as hard as she wagged a mystical finger at new jacks who paid more attention to strip clubs than stump speeches; dismissed consumption-drunk gangstas who name-checked while missing her point(s); and refuted an industry happy to squeeze modern African-American music through the current pinhole parameters of MTV Jams.
New Amerykah heads my list of the year's top ten albums of 2008. You can read the whole list here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

jarvis cocker: running the world

A perfect holiday song, don't ya think? After all, it was featured in Children of Men, which came out Christmas Day 2006. And, oh yeah, NSFW or, as the case may be, not safe for playing around your family and young children.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

bedtime stories

Oh, Adam Sandler. Sometimes, you can be so funny, and then sometimes you can do stuff like Bedtime Stories -- what gives? My review is at The Village Voice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

marley & me

Perhaps the nicest surprise of the holiday-movie season has been Marley & Me. I went in expecting just a cute-dog movie -- turns out it's more poignant and thoughtful than that. Put it this way -- it's way better than Bedtime Stories.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Neko Case - "Favorite"

Fan-shot concert footage on YouTube is my last resort when I'm trying to find worthy tracks for this Friday Video feature, but it's the best way to find Neko Case songs.

Middle Cyclone drops March 3. My expectations are a tad high.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

not hating seven pounds

If I get around to it, I'll write a review for Will Smith's new film, Seven Pounds, but in the meantime, I refer you all to David Poland's defense of the movie. I'm less interested in his attacking of film critics who have disparaged it, but I agree with him that Seven Pounds has more going for it than just being this winter's Pay It Forward or Sixth Sense.

Poland's theory that its critics would have more willingly accepted the film if it had been in a foreign language is questionable, though.

Monday, December 15, 2008

yes man

In Yes Man, Jim Carrey plays a man who decides to say "yes" to everything that comes into his life. It's a decent comedy, but Carrey is stuck between playing the goofy slapstick comedian of his early career and the sensitive leading man of his Eternal Sunshine period. My review of Yes Man is here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the raconteurs: old enough

The Raconteurs' second album, Consolers of the Lonely, got dismissed a little too quickly, in my judgment. It's a less immediate record than the band's first, Broken Boy Soldiers, but I think it's a stronger collection. So, here's "Old Enough" from Consolers.

the day the earth stood still

I love the original 1951 sci-fi film. As for this new version of The Day The Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves? Read on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


In the latest Consumables, I review ...

Wendy and Lucy
Gran Torino

... so have at it.

dragon hunters

Cartoon Network junkies may remember the short-lived French animated show Dragon Hunters. The series has been turned into a film now -- but not a very good one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

dark streets

The blues and jazz songs that populate the soundtrack to Dark Streets are lively. The movie itself is another matter entirely.

scott weiland speaks

I interviewed Scott Weiland for Kerrang. We discussed the Stone Temple Pilots reunion tour and his new solo album, "Happy" in Galoshes. The interview isn't available on the magazine's website, but the issue is on the newsstands now. All in all, I found him to be a thoughtful guy who's gone through a lot lately -- drug problems, divorce and the death of his brother.

Update: I hadn't seen this news item. This poor guy can't get out of his own way.

r.e.m.'s murmur

Murmur just received the deluxe reissue treatment. It makes an excellent holiday present for the R.E.M. fan in your life who doesn't own any of their pre-Document albums. (Note: You have to scroll down a bit on this page, but, trust me, my write-up is on there as part of the Metro Times gift guide.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

the los angeles film critics association speaks

LAFCA, of which I'm a member, voted for our annual awards this morning. The full list is here. I'll say more when I do my final, official Top 10 list the night before the Oscar nominations, but I was pleased with the results -- smart choices were made, making room for some pleasant surprise upsets.

Friday, December 05, 2008

richard and linda thompson: the end of the rainbow

OK, really, it's just a Richard Thompson song. (And if you haven't heard Elvis Costello's version, you should seek it out.) But regardless, "The End of the Rainbow" gets my vote for Most Depressing Children's Song. I don't think I want to know other worthy contenders for the prize.

nobel son

Remember all those awful Tarantino ripoff movies of the 1990s? Well, Nobel Son is in keeping with those films -- it's a crime caper that goes awry in quirky, hip ways. It's pretty insufferable.

ac/dc: the last rock band

AC/DC are back on the road promoting their new album Black Ice. For the Phoenix New Times, I propose that these Aussies are the last true rock band in the world -- and why there's an integrity to that.

And if you only know the band's big hits, I recommend checking out these hidden gems.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

tennessee ... starring mariah carey

Tennessee is a family drama and a road movie, but it will attract the most interest because Glitter star Mariah Carey plays a supporting role as a waitress who longs to be a country singer. Some people will probably be hoping the movie is a total trainwreck, but, eh, it's not so bad.