Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Theories abound across the internets, which is to be expected when you market your film as Blair Witch meets Godzilla - complete with an endless array of websites somehow connected to the film, whether officially or not. But general consensus, weirdly, seems to be that the Japanese Slusho, a fictional slushy drink Abrams made popular on Alias, is heavily involved in the plot.
Yup, word is that Rob, the protagonist from the trailers, was planning to leave New York for a job move to Japan's Slusho parent company, Tagruato Corp. Turns out, Tagruato has been deep-sea drilling for the mysterious secret ingredient ("seabed nectar") which makes Slusho so addictive. Now that Slusho has begun its American marketing push, the story goes, all this somehow gets tied back to our monster.
Does drinking Slusho when it hasn't been properly frozen cause consumers to literally burst, as we seem to see in the trailer (Slusho's website tells us, "I'm so happy and full of Slusho that I might burst!")? Or somehow become mini-versions of a giant whale (the site also informs us that "Everyone who drinks Slusho will become a small whale!")? Or, worse yet, cause an infection which results in little monsters - or "parasites" to burst out of them? However they show up, there seems to be some evidence of smaller creatures terrorizing people in the trailer. But why does the monster show up in the first place? And is this going to turn out to be a Heroes movie? (It better not.)
So many questions. The most important of which may be, "Are they just pulling our leg?" I'd say chances are good that we'll never even really see this monster (you'll recall that we never saw the Blair Witch, and didn't see much of Jaws the shark or Alien the alien). Chances could be equally good that, come the infamous 1-18-08, some folks will be mad they were thinking hard about Slusho when that didn't turn out to have anything to do with anything. But hey, when there's this much hype and mystery, some people are bound to be disappointed, right?
In any case, two things are certain: Abrams is a marketing genius; Cloverfield's gonna be crazy.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Some initial concerns about the movie remained (wrinkly King Hrothgar looks real; unblemished Queen Wealthow looks like an unused Shrek character), but director Zemeckis retains visionary status by creating a strange, visually stunning rumination on human mistakes rather than heroism. Screenwriters Gaiman and Avery weave a kind of postmodern take on both the epic grandeur of the original poem and John Gardener's philosophical Grendel, striking a compelling balance between the in-the-moment action of heated battle, and the pride which clouds it. Also, it doesn't hurt that the 3D is sweet.
From the moment Grendel smashes on screen (his appearence should silence any naysayers - me among them - not immediately impressed by the trailer), and the effectively creepy, brutally violent scene that follows, it feels like we're witnessing something new - which is an accomplishment, considering the source material. Beowulf truly pushes the envelope, which almost gives a pass to the fact that the characters' unblinking eyes still look pretty dead.
What ultimately makes Beowulf a success is the strength of the story's retelling, which, rather than losing anything in translation, has been satisfyingly updated for today's audience, as it has been for centuries (the "campfire" quality of the oratorically-passed-down poem remains, in all its crassness). What we're left with is a cynical, if still hopeful, view of humanity. "We men are the monsters now," says Beowulf toward the film's end. "The time for heroes is over."
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This mo-cap thing isn't perfected yet
The digital motion capture process, which works so well for Gollums and King Kongs, still isn't entirely convincing with human characters...and, y'know, that's what we'll mostly be watching for 2 hours (although it must be said that they've clearly come a long way from Polar Express)
Story's been messed with
I get the whole "It's been retold in different ways for centuries; we're just retelling it again" angle, but why tinker with the classic story? I'd be willing to let the reinterpretation of Grendel's mother as a slinky seductress slide if they weren't marketing the whole movie around something that's not even a part of the poem
Can it really work?
There's a reason adaptations of the poem haven't been done much, and the trying-to-go-after-key-demographics journey to the big screen can sometime leave big projects like this a little muddled or uneven...will the idea be better than the realization?
Monday, November 12, 2007
Hvarf/Heim, the accompanying double album (featuring one disc of unreleased and live songs, and another, all acoustic, disc) was released last week.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Last time I posted on Radiohead - y'know, after the time before that - I asked (somewhat rhetorically) what Thom & Co. would do next. Here's our answer, according to NME: "Radiohead released a 'testcast' last night in the build-up to the likely release of their webcast tonight."
The testcast, which you can watch here, features - among other things - the band covering Bjork's "Unravel." As mentioned, they're expected to do a BBC webcast at www2.radiohead.tv at about 5 PM EST today.
What do you think they'll reveal in the webcast? That they're playing DC next year? Probably.
UPDATE: In case you missed it, Pitchfork has a nice play-by-play of the webcast, featuring videos and mp3s.
Looks like Sufjan heard my plea for some new Christmas stuff this year, and has responded with a wacky gift exchange: Suf is recording a holiday track and only "releasing" it to whoever wins a contest for the best original Christmas song - it could be you! Just write and record a hot yuletide jam and send it in. If you win, you'll own the rights to Sufjan's song (submissions will be streamed, along with his Songs for Christmas, on the Asthmatic Kitty site).
All of which is pretty sweet. Almost as sweet as if he was actually doing a 2007 Christmas record...
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
The usual depressing tunes of murder and adultery were showcased, but, looking svelte and clean-cut (by Bazan standards), not to mention decidedly sober, Bazan's standouts were new songs like possible faith/lack-of-faith allegory (aren't they all?), "Curse Your Branches," the strong-melodied "Heavy Breather," rocker "Weeds in the Wheat," and Johnny Cashesque "Please, Baby, Please," all of which continue the increasingly autobiographical tone of the EP and pick up where the twangy, complex structures of Pedro the Lion's final record, Achilles Hill, left off.
Bazan and his show, like the new songs, seem more focused than ever. Even when closing the set with the uber-covered "Hallelujah" (a move that seems more like a Bazan choice from ten years ago), he effectively answered the question, "Why would someone else try this song after hearing Jeff Buckley's version?" by sticking closer to Leonard Cohen's original, and somehow managed to still make it sound like a revelation.
David Bazan's first solo LP, Black Cloud, should arrive in the spring on his new label, Barsuk.