Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tim Kasher is best known for his work in the prog/art punk band Cursive, and also some work in band called The Good Life. With "The Game of Monogamy" Kasher melds these two worlds together. The music sounds more like The Good Life than it does Cursive, but its not nearly as down tempo as most of what I've heard from The Good Life. Lyrically, Kasher is as bleak as ever, and that is most definitely when he's at his best. This album chronicles his life from the start of his "grown up" life through the beginnings of a new relationship, to the monotony of marriage, and the disillusionment of where his life has ended up. "Now all we wrestle with is indifference, 'til we both give in, did we both give in? I thought love was supposed to spill from our hearts." This line, for me summarizes the entire album, its Kasher with an image in his mind of the perfect life, and learning to deal with the fact that that never happens. Tim Kasher hasn't been more personal or more searingly honest than he is on this album. "Writers are selfish, writers are egotists. I'm afraid i'm as bad as it gets. I keep forgetting to censor the truth." Kasher declares in the beautiful "Strays". Musically this album is quite lovely, but once you start paying attention to the lyrics, you'll need a strong will to make it all the way through. This is a wonderful record, however, i think for some people the subject matter may be a bit heavy for repeated listens. But if you can make it through a few times, you'll find yourself falling in love, which if you pay attention to the lyrics of this album, is hard to come by.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Human Centipede is marketed as a "midnight" movie because of its extreme subject matter. The movie is about a German surgeon, specializing in siamese twin separation, who retires and decides to basically do a reverse operation. He decides to connect three peoples gastric systems. And those of you who have seen "Clerks 2" know you never go ass to mouth, so of course this is an extreme taboo. At one point in the film, the doctor, (played by the super disturbing, Walken-esque Deiter Laser) explains what he plans to do to the three patients. Its the point in the movie where you realize, there is no plan for any sort of suspense, its just a gross out movie. The big payoff happens about halfway through the movie when you see the "human centipede" actually put together. After this happens the movie drags quite a bit. As disturbing as the premise is, the actual execution of it is a bit lacking. I may just be desensitized to so called "shocking" movies after having seen about 10 or so of Takashi Miike's films. (nobody does it better than Miike) Its a fun movie for people who are into extreme horror and strange movies, but its nothing too terribly exciting.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I cannot do this film justice. I don't have the experience nor the skills to review a movie like this, that cuts through the current social experience as this film does. The opening scene throws its hooks in you and just never lets up. There are quite a few instances in this film where you find yourself laughing... sometimes because its funny, other times because you've had these "facebook" conversations with other people before. Relationship status, "why does your relationship status say "single"?''...Arguing about the passive aggressive nature of posting a comment or blogging on something rather than saying it straight to someone's face. Even posting this blog after seeing this movie for a second time feels a bit trivial and somewhat inconsequential after seeing the massive impact "facebook" has had on our generation. Think about it, everyone you know is on it. People ask you, "did you see that thing i posted on facebook?" To paraphrase a line from the movie, "...you wrote it on the internet, its what the angry do nowadays." There are a number of lines like this in the film that really make you think about the importance or even the values we have in our society today. Its not necessarily a negative thing that we post things on the internet. We use it to keep in contact with people we otherwise would never speak to again. It seems i'm getting off topic. However i warned you that i could not do this movie justice. This movie cuts to the core of my generation. Its fucking brilliant.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I have to admit, my knowledge of old soul and R&B music is lacking, however, it is growing. So its hard for me to really compare this music to the original songs, but I can say this, John Legend and The Roots have put together a collection of updated R&B/Soul songs that is just amazing. The two entities alone are extremely talented in their own right. The Roots has got to be one of the best funk/hip hop bands on the planet... or just one of the best bands there is period regardless of genre. John Legend on the other hand, is one of the smoothest voiced R&B singers of the past decade or more. You'd be hard pressed to find a better singer these days. So what happens when they come together to jam out some old standards? Pure and simple greatness. Being of the generation I am from and not knowing the original songs, Its hard for me to imagine hearing them and feeling the same kind of excitement I experience when I hear these versions of the songs. "I can't write left handed" is probably the best example of all of these talents fusing together and, lets be honest, showing off a bit as well. But who cares?! The result is just mind blowing. On the other side of things, aside from the musicianship, is the lyrics of these songs, most of which are protest songs of some sort, that ring just as true today as they did in the '60's or '70's. Its music to make you think, but also something you could groove and dance to as well. ITs the best of both worlds really. So do yourself a favor and buy this album.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
M. Night Shyamalan has gotten a somewhat bad reputation as of late. At least with moviegoers I've spoken to, and from viewers comments on sites like www.metacritic.com and so forth. I suppose these thoughts by the fans may have gotten to him, so he decided to give one of his stories to another director and see how they could do with it. Devil is a story about 5 people who get stuck in an elevator after a suicide, which has nothing to do with the people, it just allows the devil to enter this world. He punishes them for things they've done in their lives and tortures them, kills them, and then takes their soul to hell. At least this is the tale that is told at the beginning of the film, setting up what will happen later on. The movie is pretty solid as far as these types of movies go. There is never really a blatant "tell" if you will from any of the characters giving away any evil that may be lurking inside of them. The film makers did make a small mistake in giving away who may be the one torturing all these people, but it was very small and the person who saw it with me didn't notice it at all. I will say this though, they did keep me guessing up until the end when my suspicion was confirmed. All in all Devil is a pretty intriguing movie with a good bit of suspense. No real scares in the movie, a few jump out of your seat moments, but not much more. Its more a story of redemption and faith than it is about the devil just having his way with people on earth. ITs a fun movie, and it kept me quite interested. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a way to kick off the halloween season. Its got a great creepy feel to it, ominous and dark throughout. Go check it out if you've got a spare dime.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Southern Star is not a brewery I'm very familiar with. However, this beer suggestion by my local beer guru will change that. Southern Star is a brewery that is based in Conroe, TX, which is about a half hour north of Houston for those who don't know. The Buried Hatchet Stout is the first beer I've had the pleasure of trying from this tiny brewery in south Texas. (They're still so small they don't have their own delivery trucks, they deliver in a rented Ryder truck) So getting to the beer; Stout is a very dark, usually very heavy and somewhat syrupy beer. The hops and malt are roasted, which gives it its dark color and roasted coffee and molasses flavors. This particular beer is a bit heavier on the carbonation that say a Guinness or Old Rasputin. I'm not sure whether this is natural or if its been added artificially. The flavor is still definitely there, coffee, molasses, toffee, and some other earthy flavors that some might find a bit off putting, but they aren't so strong that its undrinkable. This is a great beginners stout in my opinion. The excess carbonation dulls the flavor just a bit, but isn't overpowering. This brewery packages their beers in 4 packs of cans. At about $10 per 4 pack, its a bit pricey, but its worth a try if you're into good beer and supporting local businesses.
For those who don't know already, the Resident Evil movies are based off of the capcom video game saga. Having not played any of the games all the way through, I can't comment on the films continuity with the games. Having said that, the stories in the films flow nicely into each other. This addition to the saga picks up just about where the third movie, Extinction left off. The story starts off quite slow, and is pretty much just shots of Alice, Milla Jovovich's character, walking slowly through abandoned landscapes and narrating with very poorly written dialogue. Luckily the movie picks up about halfway through, and ends with tons of mindless action and slow motion scenes shot specifically for the 3D cameras that were used to film it. There is very little story here, and the action seems to have very little to do with what the original story was. The villain in this movie is only present for about 5 total minutes of screen time. ON the positive side, the film looks amazing. The 3D is wonderful. It was actually shot specifically to be in 3D, unlike so many movies lately that have been shot, and then turned into a 3D film just to cash in on the 3D craze. On the whole, this movie is really just aimed at fans of the franchise. It definitely won't win over any new fans, but people who enjoyed the first three should be sufficiently entertained.