Friday, October 30, 2009

Nirvana - "Aneurysm"

The Nirvana Live at Reading CD/DVD comes out on Tuesday. Folks, it's great. And it got me thinking about all the Nirvana songs that are less known because they weren't featured on the studio albums. Like "Aneurysm."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

afi fest 2009 reviews

As usual, L.A. Weekly is all over this year's AFI Fest, which kicks off tomorrow. The four films I reviewed for the Weekly were each quite good -- you can read all about Moscow, Reporter, The Secret in Their Eyes and Woman Without Piano here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

chuck klosterman speaks

I interviewed Chuck Klosterman about his new essay collection, Eating the Dinosaur, for Vulture. Here's a sample:
"There’s a really strange moment that happens for guys when you’re about 14 years old, and all of a sudden you find yourself thinking, 'I would rather be David Lee Roth than Larry Bird.'"
He also talks about his interest in the Unabomber. The whole piece is here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

peter weir and me

.... OK, maybe not quite. But this Wednesday, I'll be speaking at the Palm Springs International Film Society as part of its "Daring Debuts" series, which celebrates the first films of esteemed directors. My film will be The Cars That Ate Paris, from director Peter Weir. If you only know him from Witness or Dead Poets Society or The Truman Show, it's a real shock to experience this early grungy dark comedy of his. I think it'll make for a fun discussion.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

tony jaa of 'ong bak 2' speaks

Via email, actor (and now director) Tony Jaa answered some questions about his latest martial-arts flick, Ong Bak 2: The Beginning. The piece is up at Vulture. I loved his answer to how the Ong Bak films reflect his own personality.

In case you're wondering, I saw the film at Toronto and my review from back then is at Screen International.

Friday, October 23, 2009

michael jackson - I can't help it

With This Is It hitting theaters next week, I was thinking about Michael Jackson. You know his big smashes, but do you know his album cuts? For instance, do you know "I Can't Help It"? You should ... here it is.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

'antichrist' review

Once you've read Roger Ebert's dead-on-the-money take on Lars von Trier's Antichrist, perhaps you'd like to head over to my Consumables column, where I review Antichrist, Where the Wild Things Are, A Serious Man, (Untitled), and 35 Shots of Rum.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'A Woman Under the Influence' at MoMA

Starting Saturday, New York's Museum of Modern Art will be screening the newly restored print of John Cassavetes's 1974 film, A Woman Under the Influence. Star Gena Rowlands will be there for Saturday's screening -- if you can make it that night, please give her a standing ovation for me. I discuss the film's impact over at The Village Voice.

Friday, October 16, 2009

'astro boy' review

If you can see the new animated film Astro Boy in digital projection, by all means do it. (And as my colleague Michael Rechtshaffen mentions, you also don't have to put on some annoying 3-D glasses to enjoy it.) Alas, I think the film's story is merely so-so. My review is at Screen International.

fringe: dream logic

Last night's Fringe wasn't one of the season's best, but, hey, at least the team took a little road trip to Seattle. My recap is at Vulture.

alice in chains - check my brain

I don't think I've mentioned how much I love Alice in Chains' new album, Black Gives Way to Blue. It's a really impressive piece of work. Quick story: I interviewed the band for Kerrang as they were finishing up the record in the studio. When my time was nearly over, they invited my to hear a couple cuts off the album. So, we all got into a big station wagon and Jerry Cantrell popped in a disc.

Now, I've listened to yet-to-be-released material in a band's presence before, and it can be a little worrisome. I mean, if you don't like what you hear, what do you say? That didn't happen here. The first song he played had this near-demonic guitar riff that blew my mind from the first second. I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time we listened to it.

That song sounds just as fantastic on the album. It's called "Check My Brain." Here it is.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

'opa!' review

Four years after playing at the Toronto Film Festival, Opa! gets a theatrical run in Los Angeles starting Friday. The movie stars Matthew Modine, who, incidentally, I've been told I look like. (I don't see it.) My review is up at L.A. Weekly.

Friday, October 09, 2009

fringe: momentum deferred

You needed a scorecard to keep up with everything that happened on last night's Fringe. Or you can just read my recap over at Vulture.

the velvet underground - sunday morning

Maybe I just heard it at the right time in my younger years, but this song always does feel like Sunday morning to me. And if you love this Velvet Underground track, the good news is that it plays twice in this YouTube clip.

'the damned united' and 'an education'

Two movies coming out today are based on true stories. But while An Education can't fully escape conventionality, The Damned United totally rethinks the sports movie. Both movies are featured in my latest Consumables column, which also includes reviews of The Informant!, Still Walking, Beeswax, and the criminally underrated Julia.

Monday, October 05, 2009

'nashville' at the new beverly

Robert Altman's Nashville will be playing Oct. 14-15 at the New Beverly. You know why it's a great movie, but if for some reason you don't, I take a fresh crack at it over at L.A. Weekly.

Friday, October 02, 2009

fringe: fracture

Last night's episode incorporated one of my favorite recurring bits of goofiness in the Fringe universe: the notion that Peter has a litany of "underground" contacts that he can utilize to make the seemingly impossible possible. I go into detail about this in today's recap at Vulture.

David Letterman - First Show After 9/11

Last night's Late Show will go down as one of the handful of truly unforgettable episodes David Letterman has filmed over his now-27-year career. Not because it was an exceptionally great episode -- it's just that Letterman talked to his audience about an extortion attempt regarding sexual encounters he's had with female staff members. That means it was big, juicy news, which means lots of people who usually don't care about David Letterman suddenly started caring about him a whole hell of a lot.

Last night was riveting television, and for those of us who love the man, it demonstrated yet again what makes him a fantastic talk-show host: his charm, his integrity, his wit. The argument can be made that if he had more integrity he wouldn't sleep with underlings, but I think if one is going to acknowledge past failings, you couldn't have done it much better than he did last night.

This got me thinking of his most memorable Late Show moment, which has to be his first show after the 9/11 attacks. Forgive the mediocre video quality of the below clip, but I think the essence of the man's decency comes through regardless. Again, the argument could be made that to draw comparisons between one man's romantic infidelity and a nation's great sadness is perverse and a bit of a stretch. But I think that Late Show is at its best when Letterman talks straight with us. Last night, he did that. And eight years ago, he did it as well.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

'new york, I love you' review

New York, I Love You is from the same people who brought us Paris, Je T'Aime. It's not as great, but enough of the short films work to make the experience worthwhile. My review is up at Screen International.