Friday, April 29, 2011

beastie boys - ricky's theme

The Beastie Boys are offering a free stream of their new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, so naturally I've been thinking a lot about these guys lately. And I thought about my favorite Beasties instrumental, "Ricky's Theme" off Ill Communication. It's smooth.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

'jumping the broom' review

Jumping the Broom starts with a promising idea, but then it becomes essentially the African-American version of all those bad, melodramatic wedding movies where you laugh and cry and learn lots of deep, dark family secrets. Blegh, I say. My review is up at Screen International.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

'prom' review

If I was 13 years old, I wonder what I'd make of Prom, the high school comedy-drama coming from Disney this Friday. The movie sure makes prom seem like the biggest, most awesomest thing ever. But because it's a Disney movie, the high school is the most unrealistic version of a high school you'll ever see: Everybody's teeth are way too perfect. I reviewed Prom for Screen International, which you can read here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

'the beaver' review

Well, after all the wait, The Beaver will finally be coming out May 6. I just saw the Mel Gibson comedy-drama-satire and reviewed it for Screen International. Overall, it's an honorable misfire, but Gibson's quite good in it. I go into more detail here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

fruit bats - the earthquake of '73

Five years ago, I got married to an amazing woman. This was the song for our first dance. I still get happy whenever it pops up on shuffle.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'incendies' review

Incendies was the Canadian entry for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. It's an involving drama, but also a really frustrating one. I review the film for Yahoo.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

'meeting spencer' review

Consider the career of Jeffrey Tambor. Most people my age know him as the obnoxious sideman to Larry Sanders on The Larry Sanders Show and the unscrupulous father on Arrested Development. Two great TV shows, sure, but his film career has never been as impressive. So it's nice to see him as the lead in the world-of-theater comedy Meeting Spencer, but, oh boy, this thing isn't very good. My review is up at Screen International.

Friday, April 15, 2011

frank ocean - we all try

Frank Ocean is a member of Odd Future, and his new gratis album is Nostalgia, Ultra. (Really, go to his site and download it for yourself.) It's a pretty solid set of songs, but "We All Try" is simply out of this world.

Not since Erykah Badu's visionary "Me" has an R&B/hip-hop song hit me with such a force. Like "Me," "We All Try" is sort of a "state of the union" address, and also like Badu's song it's such a stunner that it gets away with lyrics that I can't always agree with. (For instance: Ocean thinks the moon landing never happened.) But if Badu can shout-out Louis Farrakhan, Ocean ought to be allowed his views as well. That's what great music does: It opens you up to conflicting viewpoints.

I worry that I've made this post preachier than I meant. Bottom line: This is a beautiful song, underlined with lyrics that come from the heart.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

'scream 4' review

Wasn't the first Scream really fun? Well, that was 15 years ago, folks. Which brings us to this weekend's Scream 4. It's better than it needs to be, but not quite good enough to recommend. There's a lot to enjoy, even if the movie doesn't really have any worthy reason to exist. I struggle with the horror sequel over at Yahoo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

sidney lumet has died

Director Sidney Lumet died on Saturday at the age of 86. The first year I was a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, we gave him a Career Achievement award: The man had just directed the fantastic Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and he was full of energy. I remember the man and his movies over at Yahoo.

Friday, April 08, 2011

de la soul - eye know

You may have read that, among other albums, De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising and Steely Dan's Aja were added to the National Recording Registry. Some smart folks immediately thought, "Hey, those albums share a connection!" Sure enough, 3 Feet's "Eye Know" very nicely samples "Peg," which appears on Aja.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

'Meek's Cutoff' Review

I first saw Meek's Cutoff in Toronto. Catching it near the end of the festival, I was fully aware of all the praise director Kelly Reichardt's film had received already, and I had loved her previous drama, Wendy and Lucy. And while I was duly impressed, Meek's Cutoff didn't fully bowl me over. So I caught it again this week. I'm even more convinced that it's an amazing piece of work, but not quite a masterpiece. I try to take the full measure of the movie over at Yahoo.

'meet monica velour' review

Meet Monica Velour is a low-budget indie about a dorky teenager who's obsessed with a porn star from the 1980s, played by Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall. He decides to meet her, and, well, things don't turn out quite like he planned. I review the film for Screen International.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

foo fighters - 'wasting light' review

Being a Foo Fighters fan isn't easy these days. Foo Fighters and The Colour and the Shape are albums that most people can agree are good, but after that? It gets a bit harder, although I think there's a lot of great stuff on There Is Nothing Left to Lose. So Wasting Light is sorta what you'd expect, which is both a good and bad thing.

'hanna' review

Thus far, people seem to be pretty high on Hanna. Me, I think the action sequences are superb, but the rest of it? Ah, that's where things get a little dicey. I review the film for Yahoo.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

'your highness' review

Defiantly, gleefully vulgar and crass, Your Highness is definitely funny in a "I can't really believe I'm laughing at this" sort of way. Unfortunately, the movie runs out of comic energy before it reaches the finish line. I give Your Highness the once-over at Screen International.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

2011 baseball predictions

I figured I might as well put these up somewhere so that I can have a document of them in case I'm right. I won't be, just so you know: My track record is horrible in making baseball predictions. But what the heck....

2011 Major League Baseball Predictions

AL West: A's
AL Central: White Sox
AL East: Red Sox
Wild Card: Twins

NL West: Giants
NL Central: Brewers
NL East: Phillies
Wild Card: Reds

World Series: Red Sox and Brewers

Friday, April 01, 2011

sleigh bells - infinity guitars

"Infinity Guitars" is being used in some commercial currently -- I can't remember which one right now, and I don't feel like looking it up at the moment -- but every time it comes on, I'm reminded all over again how much I love that Sleigh Bells album. And, yeah, "Infinity Guitars" sorta is cheerleader-rock, which the video slyly mocks.