Thursday, July 31, 2008

MOVIE: THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES



The Spiderwick Chronicles is a 2008 fantasy film adaptation of Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's bestselling series of the same name. It was directed by Mark Waters and stars Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Martin Short, Nick Nolte, and Seth Rogen.

The Spiderwick Chronicles tells the tale of the Graces, a family who must adapt to their new strange surroundings. As the story begins, twin brothers Jared and Simon (Highmore), along with their sister Mallory (Bolger) and their mother (Mary-Louise Parker), move away from the big city to a mansion owned by their uncle. When a series of strange happenings suggest that Jared may be causing a number of disturbances, the siblings band together to figure out what is going on. Soon they discover the magical history of the property.




I've had this movie sitting around my house for a while and I even had the chance to see it on an airplane. The picture and sound quality was so bad that I skipped it and read an entire Lewis Black book instead. I finally found some time to watch it and after I had nothing else around to watch. I'm kicking myself now though because I was actually avoiding a really good movie.

Like that other chronicles movie, you know, the one set in Narnia and also Zathura, Spiderwick is an engaging fun movie. It combines the kids left home alone while mom or dad is out at work like in Zathura and the mythical type creatures that you would see in Narnia. I thought the Narnia movies and Zathura were great. Spiderwick isn't as great but it comes in a close second.

It starts off kind tipsy with bad acting and bad editing. Highmore, who is British, puts on a very bad American accent while also trying to play another character. Just when you think its going to go on like this the whole movie Thimbletack, wonderfully voiced by Short, shows up and gets things into gear. Suddenly, the movie becomes more exciting and you forget that Highmore is playing two different characters and think of them as separate performances.

All sorts of creatures start to show up and each one is a delight. Including Hogsqueal, voiced by Rogen in a role that kind of suits him. The whole cast is excellent which is a good thing in a movie dominated in special effects and action. Nolte shows up in a bit part that is fun to watch, Strathairn is the man, Parker is still beautiful while fighting goblins, Bolger is all grown up since In America and wouldn't mind seeing her in more things to come.

I was surprised to see that John Sayles was listed as a co-writer. At first I thought how weird it was that he went from his indie films to writing a family fantasy movie but then I realized that before his indie films he made Piranha and Alligator. He has also been in talks for years to write Jurassic Park 4. I hope he does and brings along the same fun he brought to Spiderwick.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: 7 out of 10

The special edition DVD features 4 deleted scenes, 9 Nickelodeon TV commercials and 2 trailers even though I don't know why the hell anyone would want to watch 9 commercials.


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MOVIE: THE BAND'S VISIT



The Band's Visit (Hebrew : Bikur Ha-Tizmoret, ביקור התזמורת) is a 2007 Israeli film from first-time director Eran Kolirin.

When the Ceremonial Police Band of Alexandria, Egypt, journeys to a gig in Israel, they can hardly anticipate getting stuck in a rut. But upon arrival at the Israeli airport, their hosts and transportation fail to show. Trapped in a middle-of-nowhere desert town, the group members try to figure out what to do and where to go.

In desperation, two of the musicians -- conductor Tawfiq (Sasson Gabai) and playboy Haled (Saleh Bakri) -- accept an invitation from sexy café owner Dina (Ronit Elkabetz) to bunk at her residence, and seemingly within no time, the unlikeliest of interracial (Israeli-Palestinian) romances begin to blossom -- not only between Tawfiq and Dina, but between Haled and local wallflower Papi (Shlomi Avraham), whose night together at a roller disco turns into a veritable comedy of errors.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the band members room with local resident Itzik's (Rubi Moscovich) family, which produces overwhelming conflict and innumerable tensions. As the days roll on, the co-mingling of Egyptian bandmembers and Israeli residents imparts each individual with insights into his cultural identity and that of the others.




The Egyptian band in The Band's Visit is probably the most awesome and interesting band I have ever seen. Screw the ones at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and I would have gone to every one of my high school's football games if they were playing there. It's a cool sight to see them walking across the Israeli desert in their bright blue uniforms hearing only the sound of their luggage wheeling on the ground.

The film starts off with plenty of laughs as they are lost in a foreign land and the locals don't know what to think of them. They argue for a while until they finally decide to stay with the nice lady at the cafe for the night. They split into three groups. One goes with the woman to her apartment, one goes with a man who works at the cafe to his apartment and the rest sleep inside the cafe.

Gabai does a great job as the conductor of the band who spends the night with the woman, played by Elkabetz who also does a great job. They don't spend it in the way you might think but they talk. They share personal things that you know they have never told anyone else. The cafe owner reminds the conductor of his wife.

The three band members staying at the young man's apartment realize that they are not so welcomed by his wife and parents. Although the dad tries to liven things up with talk of music. One of the band members talks with the young man and they both share insights on life with each other in a way that is very sweet.

There are some funny moments in between all this drama. When the playboy band member goes into town with another young man from the cafe who is on a blind date with a young woman who he seems not to be attracted to. He confesses however in the playboy that he really is, he just doesn't know how to talk to her. In a cute and funny scene, the playboy shows him physically what to do while both are sitting right next to the girl. He also explains to the young man what sex is like in Arabic and you don't know what he is saying but you have an idea.

The remaining band members at the cafe never talk. They seem to never sleep either. They just play their music. The final scene of the film, when the band reaches their destination and plays their music to a crowd of people is made more awesome because of everything that has come before it. Before the ending you never hear the whole band play together and when they do, knowing what you know about certain characters, it makes the music have a whole new meaning.

The Band's Visit: 8 out of 10

The DVD contains photos and a making-of featurette. Interesting to know is that even though it is a foreign film, it was not eligible for an Oscar because more than 50% of the film is in english.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MOVIE: SHINE A LIGHT



Shine a Light is a 2008 film directed by Martin Scorsese documenting two 2006 performances that took place during rock and roll band The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang tour. It also includes archive footage from the band's career. The film takes its title from the song of the same name, featured on the band's 1972 album Exile on Main St. A soundtrack album was released in April 2008 on the Universal label.

In addition to extensive coverage of the band's two-night stand at New York's Beacon Theater (an engagement that was staged as part of President Bill Clinton's lavish birthday bash), the film also features historical footage, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage from decades past. Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (JFK and The Aviator) supervised photography for the film, with an impressive array of A-list talents, including Andrew Lesnie, John Toll, Ellen Kuras, Anastas Michos, Stuart Dryburgh, Declan Quinn, Emmanuel Lubezki, Robert Elswit, and Albert Maysles, stepping in to insure that the Beacon performances were covered from every angle possible.




This is the first blog post I have ever written while being slightly drunk. I'm not full on drunk yet or else I wouldn't have been able to get this far. Let's just say it was a long day at work and I don't have to work tomorrow or maybe I'm channeling Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones who recently entered rehab because he was drinking two bottles of vodka a day and ran away from his wife with an 18 year old Russian girl. Oh dammit, I just spilled vodka on myself. Anyways, Wood's thinks he is a teenager when in fact he and the rest of the Stones are in their 60's and have no business doing what they are still doing. The bottom line is, the Rolling Stones need to give it a rest.

Maybe 15 years ago it seemed cute that they were still around but now they are overstaying their welcome. While watching Shine a Light my girlfriend threw up a little in her mouth every time she saw Keith Richards face and I don't blame her. They are all seriously old. They have no business sticking around in the music scene when everyone knows that they shouldn't be. Their last album was crap and they probably know it but I'm sure part of it is just so they can make some more money.

Shine a Light is a good film, however it is not a documentary. Well it kind of is but it is mostly a concert film that is shot by Martin Scorsese. You get bits and pieces between each song of the Stones' career in interviews from the past. My favorite scene is when they are doing interviews from the 70's and 80's. They are all obviously high on drugs and their answers to some of the reporters questions is genius.

You see a little bit of Scorsese here and there but he is mostly behind the camera, directing the concert that the Stones are putting on. At times the concert is hard to watch because the Stones are just so old. Mick is so old that his voice is just hard on the ears. It's like listening to an awesome Stones song filtered through my window fan. When Richards and Wood try to slide to their knees on the stage, it takes them a while. They seriously have to bend down on one knee first before they can put down the other.

I highly prefer Gimme Shelter, a documentary from the 70's, that mostly focuses on the Stones Altamont concert where a Hell's Angel stabbed a guy to death. It shows footage from the Stones' career up to that point and parts of the concert itself. It's one of the best documentaries ever and much better than Shine a Light, which in all fairness is not a documentary but a concert film. Shine a Light is gorgeously filmed and edited but its so good looking that I can see Richards' liver spots from a mile away. That is not how I want to see The Rolling Stones. They belong on my record player and not on an IMAX screen.

I think I will have my last sip of vodka and take my girlfriend to bed. So let's finish this up shall we...

Shine a Light: 6 out of 10

The DVD has no special features.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

MOVIE: VINCE VAUGHN'S WILD WEST COMEDY SHOW



Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland is a comedy documentary film directed by Ari Sandel and follows the 30 day comedy of tour of several stand up comedians.

Popular comic actor Vince Vaughn brings a newly invigorating sense of Old West attitude to the world of stand up comedy as he captures the carefree spirit of Buffalo Bill's turn-of-the-century "Wild West Show" on the stage, and the cameras are rolling to capture every belly-shaking laugh in this look at the 30-day, 30-gig tour that featured Vaughn serving as emcee to a wild host of renegade comics that included John Caparulo, Ahmed Ahmed, Bret Ernst, Sebastian Maniscalco, and a whole host of surprise special guests.

Of course, when you gather as many comedians together as Vaughn did for such a high-concept tour, the laughs are sure to keep coming once the show has ended, and in addition to offering standup footage of each comic in action, the feature-film version of the tour also offers a hilarious look at what it was like for a group of fun-loving guys to make their way across the American landscape while bringing down the house night after night.




Like the movie Penelope, I forgot that Wild West Comedy Show was on my to watch list, so I have been catching up on some movie watching this weekend. Unlike Penelope however, watching Wild West came about after fighting with my girlfriend for an hour. We both decided to make up and watch a movie. We both decided on Wild West and it was a good choice, not just as a movie but as a movie to watch after you have been fighting with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

I was expecting the stand up to be bad and it does start out pretty bad. As you start to get comfortable with the movie and with the comedians however, it starts to get good. There are short interview segments with all the comedians so you get to know more about them and when you do, their stand up seems to become more funny.

The movie also has some really good music as it shows the tour bus they ride in going from state to state. The documentary adds a good balance to the stand up stuff because too much of either one would have slowed the movie down. There is a funny and touching scene when they are doing a show down in the south right as Hurricane Katrina hits. Their tour manager tells the comedians to go and hand out free tickets to their show that night to the people living in trailers who have left their homes because of the hurricane. They start to bitch and moan how they have already made plans to go to Best Buy that day and that they are all cramped in one hotel room. As soon as they start handing out the tickets and talking to the people, they realize how sharing a hotel room isn't so bad.

So they hand out the free tickets to the show and donate the money that other people paid to the show and upcoming shows to disaster relief funds. You would think that handing out the free tickets is just a gimmick and made for good footage, which probably ran through the producers minds. But let me tell you, as someone who went through Hurricane Katrina when I lived in New Orleans and had to spend a week traveling through Texas with three pairs of clothes, I could have used a good laugh one of those nights. You can tell Vaughn's and the rest of the comedians hearts are in the right place.

Vaughn is his usual self but doesn't stand out in front of everyone the whole movie. In fact, the comedians are the ones who stand out the most. Some of them are not successful enough to make the stand up gig their full time job. They talk about after the tour that they will have to go back to their day job, and hope that because of the tour, they won't have to have a day job anymore. All of the stand up comedians are top notch and I was pleased to find out that after the tour, the ones with the day jobs became successful enough, that they didn't have to go back.

Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 6 out of 10

The DVD has no special features.


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MUSIC: BECK "ORPHANS"



"Orphans" is a single from Modern Guilt, the eighth studio album by American musician Beck. It was released on July 8, 2008. The album fulfills Beck's recording contract with Interscope Records. Outside of North America, the record is being released by XL Recordings.

"ORPHANS" (MP3)




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MUSIC: GRIZZLY BEAR "TWO WEEKS"



"Two Weeks" is a single from the untitled forthcoming album by the Brooklyn experimental combo Grizzly Bear.

"TWO WEEKS (LIVE)" (MP3)


MUSIC: AMANDA PALMER "ASTRONAUT"



"Astronaut" is a single from Who Killed Amanda Palmer, the forthcoming debut solo effort by Amanda Palmer, lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the "Brechtian punk cabaret" duo The Dresden Dolls.

On April 20, 2008, Amanda confirmed in an interview with Penguins in the Desert on WHRW, Binghamton University's radio station, that the release date would be September 16, 2008.




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MUSIC: ALBERT HAMMOND, JR "GFC"



"GfC" is the first single from ¿Cómo Te Llama?, the second album from Albert Hammond, Jr. "GfC" premiered on iLike on May 22, 2008.

On May 27, 2008, Hammond released "GfC" on iTunes in the US. The song had already been played extensively live on his 2007 tour, along with "In My Room." A non-album B-side "& So it Goes" was released along with the single.

"GFC" (MP3)




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Saturday, July 26, 2008

MOVIE: PENELOPE



Penelope is a 2008 comedy-fantasy film from Summit Entertainment and Stone Village Pictures directed by Mark Palansky. It stars Christina Ricci as Penelope, James McAvoy and Reese Witherspoon.

A kindly aristocrat suffering from an unsightly curse breaks free from her extravagant, prison-like estate to seek adventure and discover her true self in a romantic, modern-day fairy tale. Generations ago, a witch placed a curse on the Wilhelm family that would result in the next girl being born into the clan having a porcine snout -- and now young Penelope (Ricci) has fallen victim to the vengeful hag's unsightly grudge. When tabloid reporter Lemon (Peter Dinklage) runs a misleadingly frightening photograph of the kind-hearted Penelope, her parents, Jessica (Catherine O'Hara) and Franklin (Richard E. Grant), lock the girl away in a sprawling mansion.

Though it is said that the curse can be lifted if a man of Penelope's status takes her hand in marriage, every man who lays eyes on the girl takes flight at first sight, never to return -- until the arrival of Max (McAvoy), that is. An unrepentant gambler with a heavy heart and an ulterior motive for meeting Penelope, Max is unexpectedly caught off guard by the pig-nosed girl's disarming charm, and suddenly flees before carrying out his nefarious plan.

Now determined to throw caution to the wind and explore the world on her own terms, Penelope makes the acquaintance of independent-minded delivery girl Annie (Witherspoon), who fast agrees to join her newfound friend on the ultimate journey of self-discovery.




I had forgotten that Penelope was on my to watch list until I went to see a friend of mine last weekend who has a pig nose. I know that is horrible to say but she agrees that she has a pig nose and you know its okay to joke about it when her boyfriend does. Although, once in a while you can tell that it gets on her nerves.

The thing is, her pig nose isn't that noticeable, unlike Penelope who most certainly does have a pig nose. However, that pig nose belongs to Christina Ricci, which makes me wonder why is everyone in this movie freaking out so much about her looking like a pig when she really doesn't. I'm sure the filmmakers didn't want to make a movie where Ricci looked like a hideous pig and you could barely recognize her, like Charlize Theron in Monster. It's a family movie so they had to have a fine line or else it would kind of be awkward to have McAvoy make out with a hell beast.

Aside from everyone freaking out over a nose, the movie is like an Asian girl, short and sweet. It's barely 90 minutes long and there is enough romantic fantasy to get through it. The whole cast is great, especially Dinklage (a midget American actor who strangely enough has been in a lot of British movies lately) . I always usually love whatever Ricci is in because she just has a way about her that you just can't take your eyes away from the screen, or her pig nose.

Penelope: 6 out of 10

The DVD has no special features.


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

MOVIE: THE DARK KNIGHT



The Dark Knight is a 2008 American superhero film co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is a sequel to Batman Begins.

The Dark Knight finds the titular superhero coming face to face with his greatest nemesis -- the dreaded Joker. Christian Bale returns to the role of Batman, Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the role of Rachel Dawes (played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins), and Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger dons the ghoulishly gleeful Joker makeup previously worn by Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero.

Just as it begins to appear as if Batman, Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are making headway in their tireless battle against the criminal element, a maniacal, wisecracking fiend plunges the streets of Gotham City into complete chaos.




My boss forcefully gave me the day off today to save some money for the company. Thankfully, I won't be working for her much longer, so I don't have to worry about any more of these days off. I dreaded having a whole day off, making no money and just sitting around the house. A friend of mine also had the day off so we both decided to do something with it and go see The Dark Knight.

I saw Batman Begins when I was still living in New Orleans before the hurricane. I thought it was a good effort but not a great film. The Dark Knight takes things up a notch, much like Spider Man 2 did with its franchise. The first Spider Man film was just okay but the second one was great. Better special effects, better writing, better acting (even though I hate Kirsten Dunst), and better action scenes. The Dark Knight does all those same things.

I don't think The Dark Knight is as great as Spider Man 2 was but it does have moments of greatness. The action scenes are great, with most of them having no loud background music which makes them kind of stand out more. The film's dark tone throughout the movie is great, it's probably the most serious and terrifying comic book movie ever. The acting is great, with the whole cast doing an awesome job, thank god Katie Holmes left.

Heath Ledger probably plays the best villain I have ever seen as the Joker. A lot of people are saying that Ledger gives an Oscar worthy performance and he does. The whole film does really. I have no doubt that he will be nominated for best supporting actor and the film too for best picture. Eckhart is also really good, especially when he becomes hard to look at as Two Face. Oldman gets more screen time then he had in Batman Begins and uses every second of it to be awesome. I kind of forgot that Bale was in the movie since we see so little of him and more of all the other characters. Even though he also plays Batman it was a surprise every time I saw him on screen without the costume. Although no one stands out or gets left behind, all the performances are equally great.

After Spider Man 2, the third one in the series was a complete mess. Everything that was great about the second one seemed to disappear. I hope that doesn't happen to Batman and it continues with Nolan behind the wheel.

The Dark Knight: 8 out of 10

MUSIC: MILEY CYRUS "BREAKOUT"



Breakout is the second solo studio album by American teen pop singer Miley Cyrus.

"GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN" (MP3)




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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MUSIC: CSS "LEFT BEHIND"



Left Behind is a single by Brazilian band CSS. It was released on July 14th, as the second single and first to have a physical release from their second album, Donkey.

"LEFT BEHIND" (MP3)




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Monday, July 21, 2008

MOVIE: 21



21 (referred to in advertising as "21: The Movie") is a 2008 drama film from Columbia Pictures. It is directed by Australian director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) and stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, and Aaron Yoo. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team. The film draws from Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich.

Ben Campbell (Sturgess) may be shy, but his wallflower reputation betrays his inner brilliance. As smart as Ben may be, however, if he can't pay his tuition he'll be kicked out of M.I.T. Fortunately, the answer to all of Ben's problems is right there in the cards.

Recruited to join a team of extremely gifted students who have used their mastery of numbers to beat the odds at blackjack, Ben procures a fake identity in order to join the casino scammers and their brilliant leader -- eccentric math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (
Spacey) -- in some highly profitable weekend excursions to Las Vegas. Counting cards isn't illegal, and by using a complex series of signals, this team has cracked the code.

Of course, it doesn't take long for Ben to become seduced by the glamorous Las Vegas lifestyle, and the attention afforded to him by his sexy teammate Jill Taylor (Bosworth) finds him pushing his luck to the absolute limits. Fishburne stars as Cole Williams, the Sin City security chief who catches on to the group and makes it his mission to expose their lucrative blackjack scam.




The first and only time I have played the card game 21 at a casino was a couple of months ago and it was disastrous. First off, I was extremely drunk because for some reason, my girlfriend and friends thought it would be a great idea to go to the casino after we had already been drinking for a few hours. I contribute my intoxication to my $50 loss at 21, which didn't seem like too much until I lost a little bit more than that at poker a little later on that same night. Needless to say, I don't think I will be going back there anytime soon.

The whole counting cards scheme seems like a great idea to me and I wish I could do it but I still have to use my fingers to count most of the time. Before I even saw the movie 21 I could tell that little of it would be based on fact. I saw the History Channel documentary and read up on those MIT students. They counted cards on the weekends, at first just to see if they could do it and then to gain a profit. If you have seen the same documentary and know about this story already then this movie will seem like a different story to you. The movie is nowhere near close to the true story and even though most movies based on true events are, they usually at least try to.

The true story of the MIT students is way more interesting than the story in the movie, which is basic and runs rather long. The first half of the movie is quite good until it tuns up the drama and everything becomes predictable. I wish I could have seen, or at least close to, the true story of what really happened because 21 only does an okay job of it.

21: 6 out of 10

The DVD features a few things here and there, along with director's commentary, but I didn't hear what he was saying because I was too busy trying to figure out how to count cards.


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Sunday, July 20, 2008

MUSIC: SAM CHAMPION "YOU CAN'T STOP"



"You Can't Stop" is a single off of Heavenly Bender, an upcoming album from Sam Champion.

MUSIC: MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS "INTO THE GALAXY"



"Into The Galaxy" is off of Dystopia, the debut album from Australian electronic band Midnight Juggernauts. Dystopia debuted at #21 on the Aria Charts.

You can currently listen to the album in it's entirety on their myspace page.

"INTO THE GALAXY" (MP3)




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Thursday, July 17, 2008

MOVIE: THE BANK JOB



The Bank Job
is a British 2008 crime film directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Jason Statham, based on a 1971 true-life robbery of a bank in Baker Street, London, from which the money and valuables stolen were never recovered. The story was prevented from being told because of a D-Notice (now known as a DA-Notice) government gagging request, allegedly to protect a prominent member of the British Royal Family. According to the producers, this movie is intended to reveal the truth for the first time, although it includes significant elements of fiction and the extent to which it represents historical fact is difficult to determine.

It also may be based upon the scandal causing Lord Lambton's resignation, with Lew Vogel representing the Soho porn baron Bernie Silver.

Terry Leather (Statham) was a small-time car dealer who was trying to leave his shady past behind and start a family. Though he'd never been involved in any major crimes, he wasn't exactly on the straight and narrow his whole life either. Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) is a beautiful model from Terry's old neighborhood who knows that her former neighbor is no angel. When Martine proposes a foolproof plan to rob a Baker Street bank, Terry recognizes the danger but realizes this may be the opportunity of a lifetime.

As the operation gets underway, the resourceful band of thieves burrows its way into a safe-deposit vault at the Lloyds Bank in Marylebone, quickly hitting a literal treasure trove of cash and priceless gems. But while the crew did know that the safe-deposit boxes contained millions in riches, they didn't realize that they also contained secrets that implicated everyone from London's most notorious underworld gangsters to powerful government figures, and even the Royal Family.

Though the crime would make headlines all across Britain for several days after the fact, a government gag order eventually brought all reporting on the case to an immediate halt. Could it be that the most notorious bank robbers in recent memory were actually the most innocent people involved in this scandalous crime?




I mostly liked The Bank Job because it is a movie that you wouldn't think would be based on a true story when it is and instead of the filmmakers trying to action up the real life story, they don't.

Statham, who is probably one of the busiest actors in the movies today, turns in a good performance of a man who gets himself into something that he didn't expect and tries to get himself out. Statham has been in some movies that I will never watch but he is good at his job when he picks the right movies, like The Bank Job. I expected The Bank Job to be a thrill a minute movie with Statham supplying some head banging. He does do a little head banging but the movie sticks with its plot and doesn't turn into an action movie.

I'm sure the filmmakers distorted some facts here and there but for the most part, I think they stuck with the actual events. The movie plays like it could have happened this way with just a little bit of flare and dramatics. Although there is a little bit too much of the dramatics and the movie runs a little long than what it should be. All in a all, a good movie with a true story that I am going to read up on Wikipedia.

The Bank Job: 6 out of 10

The DVD features a making-of thingy, a trailer and a behind-the-scenes thingy.


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MUSIC: FLEET FOXES "WHITE WINTER HYMNAL"



"White Winter Hymnal" is from Fleet Foxes, the debut album of the Seattle-based band Fleet Foxes.

"WHITE WINTER HYMNAL" (MP3)




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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MOVIE: THE WALKER



The Walker is a drama film that was written and directed by Paul Schrader and was released in 2007. It is a British-American independent production and was proclaimed to be the latest installment in Schrader's "night workers" series of films, starting with Taxi Driver in 1976, and then followed by American Gigolo in 1980 and Light Sleeper in 1992. The Walker shares a similar plot to that of American Gigolo.

Woody Harrelson stars as Carter Page III, an overtly gay, Virginia senator's son, paid as an asexual escort of middle-aged women in the upper-crust circles of Washington, D.C. Carter's regular clients include three politicos' wives: Natalie Van Miter (Lauren Bacall), Abigail Delorean (Lily Tomlin), and Lynn Lockner (Kristin Scott Thomas), to whom Carter is closest - so close that he squires her, regularly, to sexual rendezvous with her lover, the lobbyist Robbie Kononsberg (Steven Hartley).

When an unknown perpetrator stabs Robbie to death, and Lynn discovers his murdered body at his condo, Carter attempts to protect Lynn and her husband, Larry (Willem Dafoe), from media intrusion by informing the police that he found the body himself, despite the fact that it makes him an immediate suspect. In time, Carter discovers from the women (during their gossip over a canasta game) that Robbie was involved with a shady insurance company, on the verge of being investigated - and that the investigation would have uncovered dirt and scandal on each woman. To shield Lynn from trouble, and deliver himself from incrimination, Page ultimately decides to investigate the crime himself, with the close assistance of his lover, the German-Turkish photographer Emek (Moritz Bleibtreu). Schrader authored the original script.




The Walker is a very slow and quiet film that never goes much of anywhere except to stay in that calm spot. This made me almost not like it but Harrelson got me through it. He makes the film a lot better than it is. Without him, I think the film would have been on a lot of worst movies of the year lists, that is if anyone saw it.

All of Schrader's films are usually cool and calm but in an interesting way. There is something about them that keeps you watching. Even his Exorcist film wasn't a scare a minute horror movie, which is why they probably fired him after he made it. The Walker doesn't have any of that aside from Harrelson. He is the one that keeps you watching and not the movie, even though both should be doing that.

There isn't a scene in The Walker that Harrelson isn't in, which is probably why I was able to keep watching all the way through. In the end, I said to myself that that movie wasn't very good, but Harrelson sure was.

The Walker: 5 out of 10

The DVD has no special features.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MUSIC: THE VERVE "LOVE IS NOISE"


"Love is Noise" is a song by English alternative rock band The Verve and is the second track on their upcoming fourth album, Forth. It will also be released as the first single from the album on August 4, 2008 in the United Kingdom. The song received its first airplay by Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 on June 23, 2008. The promo video for the song debuted online on July 9.

Lyrically, the song is clearly influenced by William Blake's "And did those feet in ancient time", commonly known as 'Jerusalem', with its "Do those feet in modern times/Walk on soles that are made in China?", and allusion to "Bright prosaic malls" instead of "dark Satanic mills". This is the second time Richard Ashcroft has referenced Blake, following 1995's "History".

The song has been played live as early as the late 2007 gigs, but was given different names such as "Modern Times." The band played it with a huge warm reception at 2008's Coachella as the setlist's closer, something that was repeated in Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage on June 29.

VERVE "LOVE IS NOISE" (MP3)



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Monday, July 14, 2008

MUSIC: KAISERCARTEL "OH NO"










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MUSIC: ASHER ROTH "ROTH BOYS"










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MOVIE: CONTROL



Control is a 2007 film, directed by Dutch director Anton Corbijn. The black-and-white film is a biopic about the late Ian Curtis (1956–1980), lead singer of post-punk band Joy Division. The screenplay written by Matt Greenhalgh is based on the book Touching from a Distance, by Curtis's widow, Deborah, who is also a co-producer of the film.

Control documents the life of a legend who changed the face of modern music but never lived to witness the remarkable impact of his life's work. The time was the late 1970s, and the post-punk explosion was just gaining momentum in England. At the forefront of this movement was a band named Joy Division.

Formed in 1976 and first calling themselves Warsaw, Joy Division favored mood and expression over the aggressive stance that had come to define punk rock. The band was championed by Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, and collaborated with producer Martin Hannett on the album that would become their undisputed masterpiece -- 1979's Unknown Pleasures. But despite the band's rising popularity, lead singer Curtis was not in good mental or physical health due a debilitating battle with epilepsy and an extramarital affair, and hanged himself in his Macclesfield home on the eve of the band's first U.S. tour. Newcomer Sam Riley stars opposite Samantha Morton in the film that sets out to tell the definitive story of a true rock & roll legend.




It's sad that this is all we have from Ian Curtis. Two albums and a legacy that lives on because of his sudden death by his own hands. Maybe if he didn't die we wouldn't be talking about him. Maybe Joy Division would have faded away after a few albums and forgotten. I doubt it but we will never know. What we do know is that he killed himself and left some great music behind. We will never get to hear what more he could have created.

After his death, Joy Division went on to become New Order, a completely different type of sound than Division. I like New Order but they don't come close to their sound when Curtis was around. While watching Control, I realized that Curtis is a much better Jim Morrison. They both have the same type of sound, both were great writers, both married early, both cheated on their wives and both died young. I'm not a big Doors fan but Morrison had a talent that is much like Curtis but any day I would pick Curtis. The way he moves onstage and his awkwardness is fun to watch. An added bonus is that the music is great too.

Control is a well made piece of filmmaking. It is true to life since Curtis' wife produced it and beautifully shot in black & white. Riley does a great job as Curtis. Not so much as looking like Curtis but nailing the way he played onstage. After the movie I went on YouTube and watched some videos of Curtis. Riley doesn't miss a beat and neither does the movie.

Control: 8 out of 10.

The DVD features commentary, making of stuff and some music vidoes that are a treat to watch.


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