Friday, July 30, 2010

the roots - how I got over

America's best band is either Drive-By Truckers or the Roots. My glowing review of the latter's How I Got Over will be coming soon. But in the meantime, here's the title track.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

'get low' and 'countdown to zero' reviews

A general grumpiness pervades my latest Consumables column. I take on Get Low and Countdown to Zero, two average films that have been given far too much respect simply because they're "indie" or "art-house" or whatever. Enough, I say.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

scissor sisters - 'night work' review

Their first album was a sensation. Their second album was a dud. On album No. 3, Scissor Sisters return to the cheeky irreverence that made them so successful in the first place. My review of Night Work is up now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

'scott pilgrim vs. the world' review

Is Edgar Wright ever going to make a movie as brilliant and heartfelt as Shaun of the Dead again? I'm starting to worry, although I had a blast watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. My review is up at Screen International.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

top 40 R.E.M. songs

Normally for About, I make Top 10 lists of bands' best songs. But with R.E.M., it became a much bigger task. Even cutting it down to 40 took some doing. Well, after a lot of soul-searching, I've come up with R.E.M.'s top 40 songs of all time. Let the debate begin.

'cats & dogs: the revenge of kitty galore' review

I'll say this about the Cats & Dogs sequel: I chuckled much more often than I was expecting I would based on the commercials. But in the final analysis, this kids' film has the same problem as so many of them do: It's so frenetic it's hardly ever charming. My review is up at Screen International.

Friday, July 23, 2010

thom yorke - "after the gold rush"

I was watching the American Masters documentary on Neil Young, Don't Be Denied, over the weekend. It's OK -- a very typical "hit the highlights" portrait of an icon -- but it did inspire me to seek out this Bridge School Benefit performance by Thom Yorke. He does a pretty decent cover of the great man's "After the Gold Rush," due in part to the fact that his voice can match Young's ethereal wail from the original.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

'beautiful islands' review

"Placid" is usually not the sort of adjective you want associated with your movie, but Tomoko Kana's documentary Beautiful Islands is a pretty serene piece of filmmaking. It's a portrait of three islands across the planet affected by global warming, including Venice. My review is up at L.A. Weekly.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

'salt' review

Angelina Jolie wanted to play a James Bond-like character. A producer had a James Bond-like script with a male protagonist. A gender switch later and we have Jolie starring in Salt, about a tough-as-nails female CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy. If your parents thought those Jason Bourne movies were too nerve-jangling and hand-held shaky, then they might find Salt more their speed. As for the rest of us ..... well, it's a bit dull. My review is up at Screen International.

Friday, July 16, 2010

danger mouse, sparklehorse, david lynch - dark night of the soul

To celebrate the official release (finally) of Dark Night of the Soul, how about the title track for our Friday? I sure do miss Mark Linkous.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

'inception' review

As I've been bragging to anyone who will listen, I have avoided all spoilers, commercials and reviews for Inception for the last several months. (Only on Sunday did I realize that Ellen Page was in the movie.) Well, now I've seen it, and I review the film for my Consumables column. To the best of my abilities, I don't believe there are any spoilers in this review, so dive in if you'd like.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to read all the other Inception reviews.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

rogue wave - 'permalight' review

Rogue Wave haven't made a bad album yet -- not even close. Their fourth, Permalight, is their most pop-centric, but it's a real delight. My review is up at the Metro Times.

Friday, July 09, 2010

'the sorcerer's apprentice' review

If movies were all about effects, then The Sorcerer's Apprentice would be a real treat. But we need characters and clever stories too, right? That's what I thought. This Nicolas Cage action-comedy will make a boatload of money but isn't very good. My review is up at Screen International.

gil scott-heron - me and the devil

Creepy songs deserve creepy videos...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

'despicable me' and 'great directors' reviews

We're living in a golden age of animation, and yet people still like stuff like Despicable Me? I don't get it. I review the film for my latest Consumables column, plus I have some (guarded) praise for the documentary Great Directors.

Friday, July 02, 2010

talkin' softball

If you follow baseball at all, you know that Ken Griffey, Jr. recently announced his retirement. Sure, he's a guaranteed first-ballot Hall-of-Famer but, perhaps more significantly, it means that the entire team of professional ringers Mr. Burns brought in to win the power plant's softball championship are retired. Yes, this is a Simpsons reference. And here's the great song from that very great episode.