Friday, November 26, 2010

bob dylan - must be santa

It's officially the holidays, people. If you're going to crank the Christmas songs, make sure they're good ones. Like this:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'faster' review

My love of Dwayne Johnson continues unabated, and I was pleased to see him return to action mode for his new film. And I was almost willing to go with Faster, but then it just gets dumb. My review is up at Screen International.

Friday, November 19, 2010

rod stewart - tomorrow is a long time

The latest installment of the Bob Dylan "bootleg" series, The Witmark Demos, is out now. If you're a Dylan fan, you already have it by this point, but I wanted to point out one specific song on it. "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" was written by Dylan, but like several of his compositions it's better known for being performed by another artist. Rod Stewart's version off his fantastic 1971 album, Every Pictures Tells a Story, is just really, really wonderful. If you've never heard it, here it is.

'burlesque' review

Burlesque is a classic take-it-or-leave-it movie: You either get on its sexy/shameless/campy/bitchy/frothy wavelength, or you spend two hours restless in your seat. I was willing to go there, and I got rewarded. My review is up at Screen International.

Friday, November 12, 2010

kid rock - 'born free' review

Ever since I interviewed Kid Rock for Blender back in 2007, right before Rock N Roll Jesus came out, I've liked the guy. Warm, personable, and much smarter than you might think, he was fun company. His new album, Born Free, invests too much energy in "I am like you, Heartland listener" bromides, but it's a record that's stuffed with strong, mellow country-pop tunes. You can read my review to get all the details.

kanye west - runaway

As you've probably heard already, Kanye West's new album has leaked online. Everybody loves it, and I can't wait to hear it. In the meantime, here's the video version of "Runaway," which is a terrific song. (Confession: I haven't yet sat down to watch the 30-minute-plus extended cut.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

afi fest 2010, from worst to best

Tonight concludes AFI FEST 2010 presented by Audi. (Yes, that's the festival's full name. And give Audi credit: They helped make the damn thing free for audiences.) Here's my ranking, from worst to best, of the films from the festival, including movies I saw prior to the festival that were included in the lineup. (Links are to my reviews.)

Casino Jack
Made in Dagenham

The Company Men

A Screaming Man

Two Gates of Sleep

Oki's Movie

Black Swan

Blue Valentine
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

I'm intentionally not including Film Socialism, which I also saw. My digital screening didn't include the subtitles, which made it a tad difficult to accurately judge the film. Still, it's a gorgeous looking movie. Very excited to see it again whenever I have the chance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'the next three days' review

Watching Paul Haggis' latest film, The Next Three Days, I was reminded what's the most annoying aspect of Haggis' Oscar-winning Crash. It's not that the guy isn't talented -- it's that he is talented. He's got an ability to come up with clever dialogue and situations, but he consistently torpedoes his own films by being so pleased with his own cleverness. I go into depth about The Next Three Days over at Screen International.

Friday, November 05, 2010

teenage fanclub - baby lee

For 20 years, the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub have been making gorgeous, somewhat disposable power-pop that's been largely ignored in this country. (Sadly, they're mostly known in the States for the fact that their album Bandwagonesque beat Nirvana's Nevermind in Spin's 1991 end-of-the-year list.) Anyway, this song is off their latest, Shadows.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

'morning glory' review

J.J. Abrams has produced Lost, Fringe, Cloverfield and of course Star Trek. But Morning Glory has to be the most unbelievable, fantastical project he's ever been involved in. I explain why over at Screen International.