Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the event - "to keep us safe" recap

The second episode of The Event started to answer some questions, but it also created more questions. Such as, is Jason Ritter going to become a sympathetic character any time soon? And does the show actually want us to root for the aliens over the humans? My recap is up at Vulture.

Friday, September 24, 2010

cannibal ox - iron galaxy

Can The Cold Vein, hip-hop duo Cannibal Ox's one and only album, actually be nine years old already? Unbelievable. Here's the opening track. Best line: "You were a stillborn baby/Mother didn't want you/but you were still born." Or maybe: "New York is evil at its core/So those who have more than them/prepare to be victims." Either way, the track's NSFW, people.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

stone sour's corey taylor speaks

Earlier this year, I interviewed Stone Sour's Corey Taylor while he was in Nashville working on Audio Secrecy. In retrospect, what's really interesting about this piece is that it occurred before two major events: the Nashville flood and the overdose death of Taylor's Slipknot bandmate Paul Gray. So keep that in mind when you read the article, which is now available on Revolver's website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the event - "I haven't told you everything" recap

Sort of a bad news/good news announcement: I won't be doing Fringe recaps this season for Vulture, but I will be handling The Event. Last night was the premiere, which I broke up into three categories: what we know, what we don't know, and what we really want to know. Enjoy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

beck - timebomb

Was the best Beck single of the last five years not off any album? Maybe. Plus, I love this fan-made video.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

toronto film festival 2010, from worst to best

I'm back from the 2010 edition of the Toronto Film Festival. So many movies to see and too little time, but here's my ranking from worst to best of what I caught (with links to reviews where applicable). By the way, I'm including films I saw prior to the festival that were part of the Toronto lineup...

The First Grader
Jack Goes Boating
Sarah's Key
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Easy A
Vanishing on 7th Street
John Carpenter's The Ward
127 Hours
The Big Picture
Waiting for "Superman"
Meek's Cutoff
Boxing Gym

Blue Valentine
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Bottom Line: I have a lot of films to catch up with now.

'sarah's key' review - toronto film festival

At the beginning of this year's Toronto Film Festival, and before the film even premiered, the Weinstein Company acquired the rights to the French drama Sarah's Key. So it was with extra interest that I checked out the film for myself. Kristin Scott Thomas is (not surprisingly) quite good in a story that, yes, involves the Holocaust. But, thankfully, it's a more personal tale than what you might expect. My review is up at Screen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

'john carpenter's the ward' review - toronto film festival

Wonderfully old-fashioned in all the right ways, John Carpenter's The Ward is a lot of fun. It appears that everyone at last night's midnight premiere who didn't like the movie immediately took to Twitter to register their disappointment. Me, I had a blast.

'ceremony' review - toronto film festival

When I sat down at the premiere screening for Ceremony, I noticed that Henry Winkler was in the audience. That seemed odd -- until I realized, duh, perhaps the film's writer-director, Max Winkler, was, y'know, related to him. Turns out Max is Henry's son.

I bring this up because when you're the son of someone in the entertainment industry, I'm sure you have to face certain resentments from others struggling to break into the business. (Jason Reitman, who's one of the film's executive producers, probably understands.) And while Ceremony certainly feels very familiar -- it's a Wes Anderson-lite look at a quirky younger man in love with an older woman -- it has real heart. My review is at Screen International.

Monday, September 13, 2010

'something's gonna live' review

Something's Gonna Live is a documentary that catches up with several distinguished production designers and cinematographers (now in their 80s and 90s) to reflect on their careers. It's undeniably sentimental, but these men are quite good company. My review is up at L.A. Weekly.

'127 hours' review - toronto film festival

One of the higher-profile offerings at Toronto is 127 Hours, Danny Boyle's follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire. The film would make for a fun double-feature with the forthcoming Buried -- both films are pure squirm-a-thons. As for 127 Hours, well, I think it gets to a pretty moving place. My review is up at Screen.

'vanishing on 7th street' review - toronto film festival

Brad Anderson is back in horror/thriller mode with Vanishing on 7th Street. Some of the character stuff is a bit lumpy, but the filmmaker has done a good job of rethinking the zombie movie without the zombies. Kinda. My review explains all, hopefully.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

'bunraku' review - toronto film festival

I'm covering several of the Midnight Madness films at this year's Toronto Film Festival. It's something I've discovered I really enjoy -- I don't get to experience midnight screenings much anymore, and the energy of the crowd at the Ryerson reconnects me with what I loved about a certain type of moviegoing in my youth.

Anyway, I say all that to mention that I've thus far been pretty disappointed with the selections for this year. Super was overly familiar, and Bunraku is a rather empty experience -- it's not nearly as cool as it thinks it is. You can read my review to see what I mean in more detail.

'the first grader' review - toronto film festival

The First Grader tells the true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan who decided to enroll in primary school so he could finally learn how to read, taking advantage of a new law in his country that allowed for free education for anyone. Sadly, the back story is far more interesting than the movie on display. I explain why over at Screen International.

'the big picture' review - toronto film festival

It's not a thriller in the conventional sense -- just like The American isn't -- but I found The Big Picture to be a fun little character drama, powered by a very strong performance from Romain Duris. I review the film for Screen International.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'it's kind of a funny story' review - toronto film festival

I think It's Kind of a Funny Story is hit-and-miss and easily the weakest film of Ryan Fleck and Anne Boden's still-young career. And yet I still seem to like it way more than others do. I do my best to explain my mixed feelings about the movie in my Screen International review.

'easy a' review - toronto film festival

Easy A may not be a great movie, but it is a fun one -- and I think if it does well enough it'll be the vehicle that finally cements Emma Stone's star status. She's a lot of fun to watch in this sassy-yet-sincere teen comedy -- and so are Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as her parents. My review goes into all that works (and doesn't work) in this semi-adaptation of The Scarlet Letter.

'super' review - toronto film festival

Writer-director James Gunn follows up Slither with Super, a painfully familiar tale of an ordinary guy (played by Rainn Wilson) who decides to become a costumed superhero. Wilson and Ellen Page give good performances, but the highlight of the film may very well be the animated opening-credits sequence. My review is up at Screen International.

Friday, September 10, 2010

stone - film review - toronto film festival

Stone is such a well-meaning, serious drama that you may feel bad that you don't like it more than you do. It's OK -- I feel the same way. But, honestly, it's a misfire. My review is up at Screen International.

m.i.a. - xxxo

I'm still uncertain about the album, but this song kills.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

stone sour - 'audio secrecy' review

When I interviewed Corey Taylor back in March for Revolver to talk about Stone Sour's forthcoming album, here's one of the things he told me:
“I went through a pretty brutal divorce about three years ago,” he says. “There are feelings that you just can’t let go of. But at the same time, I have a wonderful new wife, who I married in November. I’ve been writing about what I’ve been thinking about for the last six months -- there are ghosts from my previous relationships, and there’s great manic energy in the relationship I’m in right now.”
He nailed the essence of the new record, Audio Secrecy, better than I ever could. Nonetheless, here's my attempt at a review of a very good album I'll be really curious to revisit later in the year. I suspect it's going to grow on me.

Friday, September 03, 2010

baby dayliner - you push I'll go

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone. And thanks to KEXP for introducing this song to me.