Tuesday, April 29, 2008

MOVIE: ACE IN THE HOLE



ABOUT: Ace in the Hole is a 1951 American drama film. It marked a series of firsts for auteur Billy Wilder: it was the first time he was involved in a project as a writer, producer, and director; his first film following his breakup with long-time writing partner Charles Brackett, with whom he had collaborated on The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevard, among others; and his first film to be a critical and commercial failure.

The film is a cynical examination of the seedy relationship between the media and the news it reports and the manner in which it reports it. Without consulting Wilder, Paramount Pictures executive Y. Frank Freeman changed the title to The Big Carnival just prior to its release. Early television broadcasts retained that title, but when aired by Turner Classic Movies - and released on DVD by The Criterion Collection in July 2007 - it reverted to Ace in the Hole.

Kirk Douglas stars as Charles Tatum, a hard-drinking dishonest newsman who's been fired from several big-city papers and winds up, much to his chagrin, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When he stumbles upon a small story, he decides to manipulate it into a big national media event. After Leo Minosa (Richard Benedict), the owner of a curio shop, is trapped underground digging at an Indian cliff dwelling, Tatum arranges with a corrupt sheriff and a greedy contractor to intentionally delay the rescue for days while he builds the story--and his exclusive rights to it--into a frenzy of activity. He is aided by Lorraine Minosa (Jan Sterling), the bitter wife of the trapped man.





REVIEW: I've never really cared for Kirk Douglas all that much. Most of the movies that he was in didn't look at all interesting to me, until I heard about Ace In The Hole. He is great in this movie and so is the whole cast. Which is pretty rare, I think, for a 50's film. Usually back then you get an actor or two in a movie that could just ruin it for you with their performance. But everyone here right down to the old guy who plays the trapped man's father, are really good.

Director Billy Wilder does a great job of showing off the New Mexico desert and the feel of a media circus spinning out of the hands of the man who created it.


BOTTOM LINE: WATCH IT!


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Monday, April 28, 2008

MUSIC: SCARLETT JOHANSSON "ANYWHERE I LAY MY HEAD"


Anywhere I Lay My Head is the forthcoming debut studio album by actress Scarlett Johansson, scheduled to be released through Atco/Rhino Records on May 20, 2008. Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio) produced the album, and David Bowie contributed to two tracks, "Falling Down" and "Fannin Street."


Anywhere I Lay My Head features four songs written by Tom Waits, six songs written by Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan and one original composition, "Song for Jo."


  1. "Fawn" (originally on Tom Waits' album Alice) – 2:32
  2. "Town with No Cheer" (originally on Tom Waits' album Swordfishtrombones) – 5:03
  3. "Falling Down" (originally on Tom Waits' album Big Time) – 4:55
  4. "Anywhere I Lay My Head" (originally on Tom Waits' album Rain Dogs) – 3:38
  5. "Fannin Street" (originally on Tom Waits' album Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards) – 5:06
  6. "Song for Jo" – 4:09
  7. "Green Grass" (originally on Tom Waits' album Real Gone) – 3:33
  8. "I Wish I Was in New Orleans" (originally on Tom Waits' album Small Change) – 3:59
  9. "I Don't Want to Grow Up" (originally on Tom Waits' album Bone Machine) – 4:11
  10. "No One Knows I'm Gone" (originally on Tom Waits' album Alice) – 2:57
  11. "Who Are You?" (originally on Tom Waits' album Bone Machine) – 4:49

LISTEN TO:
FALLING DOWN (MP3)


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Sunday, April 27, 2008

MOVIE: KING CORN


ABOUT: King Corn is a feature documentary film released in October 2007 following college friends Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis as they move to Greene, Iowa to grow and farm an acre of corn. In the process, Cheney and Ellis examine the role that the increasing production of corn has for American society.

The film shows how the industrialization of corn has all but eliminated the family farm. In addition, by producing high fructose corn syrup, the processing of corn has an adverse impact on the health of America. The two return to the same small town that was coincidentally home to both of their great-grandfathers.


REVIEW: Corn is in almost everything that we eat and drink, right down to the steak on your plate. Since I'm a vegetarian I don't have to worry about the stake but that doesn't mean that I don't eat junk food and drink soda from time to time, which all probably has corn in it. As you may or may not know, corn is bad for you.

King Corn tries to tell us this but like most independent documentaries, the subject is better than the film. Two out of the three directors of the movie use the Michael Moore style and insert themselves into the film. They decided to plant their own acre of corn, just to see how it grows I guess, but this serves nothing to the film. They spend more than half the film talking about their acre of corn and their family ancestors that grew up in the small town where they are growing the corn. For me, that was half the film too long.

I wanted to know more about the effects that the corn was having on society. Like the cab driver who lost a lot of weight but was still diagnosed with diabetes. Interviews with bigwigs at cattle and corn companies come across like an orientation video for their employees. Instead of asking the obvious or tough questions they just sit there and make sure that they are on camera just as much as the person they are interviewing, if you can call it that.

For instance, they get an interview with Earl Butz who was the Secretary of Agriculture from 1971 to 1976. He is talked about throughout the film as the man who introduced policies that made big farms get bigger and smaller farms get smaller, which is one of the reasons why we rely so much on the corn because it makes our food that we buy the cheapest it's ever been. With the interview they have a great opportunity to ask him questions we are all thinking. But they don't! I don't even think they ask him about corn. They just sit there and listen to him talk about how things were different when he was a little boy.


King Corn is not a good film. But I am recommending it anyway because still not many people know about the corn and this is the only film that I know of so far that tries to tell us about it. Hopefully we will get a more informative one in the near future. With better interviews too!



BOTTOM LINE: WATCH IT!


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Friday, April 25, 2008

MOVIE: STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING


ABOUT: Starting Out in the Evening is the film adaptation of the novel by Brian Morton, which follows a writer (Frank Langella) whose world is shaken when an ambitious graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) convinces him that she can use her thesis to bring him back into the lit world spotlight. The film also stars
Lili Taylor and Adrian Lester.


Set in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was shot in 18 days at a cost of about $500,000. "We had no time, we had no money, we had no perks, we had no room to mess it up," Langella told an audience at a screening.

The film is Andrew Wagner's second, after 2004's The Talent Given Us, and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. As of March of 2008, the film has made more than $750,000 at the box office, its widest release being 43 theaters.


REVIEW: Frank Langella is one of those actors who you see in a movie and go "hey, its that guy! I like that guy!". He has never been in a movie where he was front and center. He has never really been able to play a character where he got to show off his acting greatness. He is most recognized for movies like Masters of The Universe and Cutthroat Island (if you didn't see it, its good). In Starting Out In The Evening, for the first time, Langella gets to shine. He is also in Ron Howard's upcoming Frost/Nixon, where Langella plays Nixon. It's as if, late in his career, the industry is now noticing him as an actor instead of a character actor.

The movie is a quiet little film that is good in parts of conversation and the acting. It might be a little slow for moviegoers who expect a lot to happen every 10 minutes in a movie, but for people who like movies with fleshed out characters, here is one that will deliver.

Ambrose is good but is out shined by Taylor. The director Andrew Wagner must really know what he is doing as far as directing actors. His first film, The Talent Given Us, starred mostly his real life family including his parents as the main characters who never acted before. I could have sworn that it was an actual documentary and maybe in parts it was, but for the most part his family was acting and doing a damn good job. I can't wait to see who stars in his next film.


BOTTOM LINE: WATCH IT!


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MOVIE: THE SAVAGES


ABOUT: The Savages is a 2007 Academy Award-nominated American film (Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Original Screenplay), written and directed by Tamara Jenkins. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It had a limited release on November 28, 2007. After drifting apart emotionally and geographically over the years, two single siblings Wendy (Linney) and Jon (Hoffman) must band together to care for an elderly parent (Philip Bosco). Visiting their father in his nursing home and their father's eventual death help them to deal with their relationships better.

REVIEW: Hoffman and Linney can do no wrong. Even if they were in a bad film it would still be worth watching if either of them were in it. Thankfully, The Savages is not a bad film. The writing and direction is excellent. We have Tamara Jenkins to thank for that. She also gave us the little gem that is The Slums of Beverly Hills which you might remember from some time ago.

The film is depressing at times but who says that a depressing film can't be good. The scenes that take place in upstate New York during the winter provide the backdrop to a movie that is as cold as the winter. The Savages will make you laugh, cry and remind you of your depressing childhood. If you had one that is.

BOTTOM LINE:
WATCH IT NOW!


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MUSIC: BUSH "THE SCIENCE OF THINGS"


The Science of Things is a 1999 album by the post-grunge band Bush, the last Bush album released by Trauma Records. The album has many electronic influences and, while successful, sold less than its predecessors, reaching double platinum and #11 in the US.

The singles "The Chemicals Between Us" and "Letting the Cables Sleep" saw significant airplay.

  1. "Warm Machine" – 4:26
  2. "Jesus Online" – 3:44
  3. "The Chemicals Between Us" – 3:37
  4. "English Fire" – 3:31
  5. "Spacetravel" – 4:45
  6. "40 Miles from the Sun" – 3:39
  7. "Prizefighter" – 5:41
  8. "The Disease of the Dancing Cats" – 4:01
  9. "Altered States" – 4:10
  10. "Dead Meat" – 4:16
  11. "Letting the Cables Sleep" – 4:36
  12. "Mindchanger" – 4:48

LISTEN TO:

LETTING THE CABLES SLEEP (MP3)


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

MUSIC: FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS


Flight of the Conchords is the debut full-length studio recorded album by New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, released April 21, 2008 by Sub Pop. The album leaked online on Saturday April 12, 2008.

All of the tracks on the album, with the exception of track 15, were featured in an episode of the TV series Flight of the Conchords.
  • Tracks 9 and 12 were featured in the episode Sally.
  • Tracks 2 and 10 were featured in the episode Bret Gives Up the Dream.
  • Tracks 3 and 4 were featured in the episode Mugged.
  • Track 13 was featured in the episode Sally Returns.
  • Tracks 14 and 16 were featured in the episode Bowie.
  • Tracks 6 and 8 were featured in the episode Drive By.
  • Tracks 1 and 11 were featured in the episode Girlfriends.
  • Tracks 5 and 7 were featured in the episode New Fans.

"Business Time" previously appeared on The Distant Future EP, along with live versions of "Robots" and "The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)".


  1. "Foux du Fafa" - 2:47
  2. "Inner City Pressure" - 3:27
  3. "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" - 2:09
  4. "Think About It" - 3:15
  5. "Ladies of the World" - 3:57
  6. "Mutha'uckas" - 2:27
  7. "The Prince of Parties" - 1:49
  8. "Leggy Blonde (feat. Rhys Darby)" - 2:42
  9. "Robots" - 3:43
  10. "Boom" - 2:18
  11. "A Kiss Is Not a Contract" - 1:55
  12. "The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room)" - 4:02
  13. "Business Time" - 4:05
  14. "Bowie" - 3:16
  15. "Au Revoir" - 0:22
  16. "Bret, You've Got It Going On" (iTunes Pre-order bonus track)



LISTEN TO:


LADIES OF THE WORLD (MP3)


I'M NOT CRYING (MP3)


MUTHA'UCKAS (MP3)



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MUSIC: ART BRUT "IT'S A BIT COMPLICATED"


It's a Bit Complicated is the second album by British band Art Brut. It is the follow-up to their debut album Bang Bang Rock & Roll and was released on June 19, 2007. It debuted on the UK Albums Chart at #123.

The initial reaction to the album has been generally favorable. However, Q's Simon Goddard stated that after their first album Bang Bang Rock & RollIt's a Bit Complicated sounds "extremely tired," with the "principal culprit" being singer Eddie Argos, who "is torturous after the full 34 [minutes]."

  1. "Pump Up the Volume" - 2:56
  2. "Direct Hit" - 3:34
  3. "St Pauli" - 2:58
  4. "People in Love" - 3:04
  5. "Late Sunday Evening" - 3:11
  6. "I Will Survive" - 3:31
  7. "Post Soothing Out" - 3:15
  8. "Blame It on the Trains" - 3:01
  9. "Sound of Summer" - 2:48
  10. "Nag Nag Nag Nag" - 3:10
  11. "Jealous Guy" - 3:18


LISTEN TO:




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MUSIC: THE BAND "MUSIC FROM BIG PINK"


Music from Big Pink is the 1968 debut album by folk rock band The Band. It features one of their best-known songs, "The Weight." 

With a rough sound, seemingly chaotic arrangements, and a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, soul and Americana, Music From Big Pink is generally considered one of the best albums by the Band, along with their 1969 second album The Band. The album follows the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as The Hawks) and time spent at a shared house in upstate New York recording what would become the Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The shared house, in Saugerties near Woodstock, was painted pink, providing the title for the album.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

  1. "Tears of Rage" (Bob DylanRichard Manuel) – 5:23
  2. "To Kingdom Come" (Robbie Robertson) – 3:22
  3. "In a Station" (Manuel) – 3:34
  4. "Caledonia Mission" (Robertson) – 2:59
  5. "The Weight" (Robertson) – 4:38
  6. "We Can Talk" (Manuel) – 3:06
  7. "Long Black Veil" (Marijohn WilkinDanny Dill) – 3:06
  8. "Chest Fever" (Robertson) – 5:18
  9. "Lonesome Suzie" (Manuel) – 4:04
  10. "This Wheel's on Fire" (Dylan, Rick Danko) – 3:14
  11. "I Shall Be Released" (Dylan) – 3:19


LISTEN TO:




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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MUSIC: SANTOGOLD "SANTOGOLD"


Santogold (born Santi White) is an American songwriterproducer, and solo artist.

Santogold attended school in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania and then went to college at Wesleyan University where she studied Caribbean and West African drumming. The artist got her pseudonym in the 1980s from a friend's nickname for her. She worked for Epic Records as an A&R representative, but left the position to write and produce How I Do, the debut album from R&B singer Res.

Santogold was lead singer of the Philadelphia-based punk rock/ska band Stiffed, whose 2003 EPSex Sells, was produced by Bad Brains member Daryl Jenifer. While in this group, she was offered a solo contract by Martin Heath of Marrakesh Records. Her initial singles succeeded based on heavy attention from Internet media. Working with fellow Stiffed member John Hill as co-producer, she recorded her debut album, Creator, which was originally slated for release on Downtown Records in January 2008, but was pushed back to April 2008. The album features appearances or production work from Freq NastyDisco DDiploM.I.ASwitch, Naeem of SpankRockXXXchange, and Clifford Moonie Pusey of Steel Pulse. Her style has been compared often to that of M.I.A. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Additionally, she has toured with the former and Björk and worked with Lily AllenMark Ronson and Ashlee Simpson.


SONG TO LISTEN TO: L.E.S. ARTISTES.MP3


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