Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Incidentally, Irglova is only nineteen years old. Freaking talented kids who make you feel like you've wasted your life...I mean -- congrats on all the success!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
AllHipHop reports that Michael Eric Dyson - pastor, professor, writer of Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip Hop and Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac, among lots of others - may be working on an album in response to Cosby's State of Emergency. Should be interesting.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
King of Kong: The Feature Film, possibly starring Jason Bateman, coming soon (seriously).
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
A first taste of what's to come, the clip is basically awesome as is. For what Jonze calls a "cringy" monster suit, the thing is pretty great looking (how glad am I that Jim Henson's Creature Shop is handling this, and it's not some Dreamworks CGI affair?). Good to know they've made plenty of improvements since then, but that little bit feels like both a hip Spike Jonze movie, and one that should satisfy the book's fans of all ages - which is the ideal scenario.
Sadly, the movie that's just seemed too cool for a major studio to greenlight may have been exactly that: reports have been rolling in that Warners, originally scheduled to release Wild Things this fall, not only pushed back the date (possibly due to screening reactions of it being too scary or grown-up for kids...sounds perfect to me), it may be entirely reshot (!).
But what were they expecting when they hired the team they did? WB surely was aware of the intended tone. Of course, we don't know the full story, and maybe some serious tweaking really is in order. Here's hoping the picture can go through some "general audience" touch-ups and still live up to its potential as something very special.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I wanted to like both of these pictures - I'm their target demographic: I love the Coen Brothers; I love Daniel Day-Lewis; I love off-kilter, indie, period pieces; I love the dialogue in both; I love Blood's score, and I love that No Country doesn't have a score. But both left me feeling hollow and worse than when I entered the theater. Both left me wondering, "What's the point?"
I get that No Country's moral is, essentially, that life sucks, and that Blood's is that greed is bad. I'm also aware that one doesn't necessarily have to enjoy the experience of watching great stories unfold in order to recognize them as such. We only have to look to the tragedies of Shakespeare, the Greeks, the French, to see that depressing fare is usually regarded as being the most important. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find someone with a stronger distaste for happy, tie-up-all-the-loose ends stories than me. My beef is with the idea that because something is upsetting, it is automatically to be touted as "profoundly meaningful" and "adult."
It's a commonly held belief that good comedy is harder to do than drama, and, perhaps similarly, it's my opinion that "humanity is terrible" stories are easier than life-affirming ones. Of course, it's all in the way that the story is told, and Blood and No Country are certainly told uniquely. But while it might be cool to watch Daniel Plainview flip out and Anton Chigurh kill people, it doesn't resonate with me emotionally nearly as much as the journey the characters take in Ratatouille (it's also why - and again, I'm apparently in the extreme minority on this - I'll defend Juno's inclusion in the Best Picture category as every bit as well-deserved as the other contenders).
This all probably comes down to personal preference, and it could be that my taste level is incapable of developing the nuanced palette of a real critic. But when I think about my favorite movies, they're the ones that offer social critiques or observances, yes, but also hope and empathy. It's not that there's an absence of good people in the movies in question, or that a film must have relatable, "good" characters, but when, as is the case with Blood, the focus is so unrelentingly, bleakly one-noted, there's just not a whole lot I can take away from the experience.
There Will Be Blood is the story of Daniel Planview (Day-Lewis), a self-described "oilman" at the turn of the 20th century, and his personal undoing at the cost of aquring as much material wealth as possible. It's a thoroughly American picture, in that the crux of its message is the danger of unchecked capitalism and fundamentalism, though it's universal enough not to be a "message movie," but more deeply about human competition and deceit.
Both Day-Lewis and Paul Dano - as fiery, young preacher, Eli Sunday, every bit the snakeoil salesman Plainview is - give bravura performances in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's fifth film. The vast landscapes and sparse dialogue of the movie's opening scenes are striking because they both effectively convey the solitude and peril of Plainview's work, and in turn, set the tone for Anderson's signature bloatedness.
I'm yet again the odd man out for finding the director's last effort, Punch-Drunk Love, his most effective; although, like all of his work, Love is both flawed and justifiably assured filmmaking, it seemed he'd learned an important lesson about editing with that picture (namely, that it's a good thing). While Blood is Anderson's strongest, thematically, nearly every scene practically screams, "Look how much of a masterpiece this is!" Still, he's certainly right to feel confident about his abilities - every frame of Blood is beautiful.
Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is due much credit for his eerily foreboding score; the combination of Anderson's intense imagery and Greenwood's loud, hyper-unsettling compositions is electrifying. But while that filmmaking risk pays off, others don't. Of one thing, I'm sure: at times powerful, There Will Be Blood is an utterly unpleasant movie. Whether or not that does it for you, well -- that's a matter of taste.
Monday, February 18, 2008
While it's nice that Oscar is recognizing animated features at all, the field effectively corners cartoons into the kids' table, perhaps preventing them from competing in bigger categories. The only animated film to be nominated for Best Picture was 1991's Beauty and the Beast, which many feel Ratatouille at least matches, if not surpasses, in quality. If the "Best Animated" category had existed in the '90s, goes the argument, Beauty almost certainly wouldn't have been up for Best Picture. (Incidentally, while Ratatouille and Persepolis were rightly nominated as best animated pictures, the other contender is Surf's Up. Seriously, Academy? That's better than The Simpsons Movie?)
It's also probably safe to assume that the fact that Ratatouille is essentially a G-rated family comedy prevents it from being considered as "important" as other, more dramatic —but lesser—movies. After all, it's just a cartoon, right? More on that tomorrow, though...
Friday, February 15, 2008
Kanye just throws on the beat from "Stronger" and mumbles a "Yeah, uh" in his "Billie Jean 2008." He slows down the tempo a bit, and the secluded string part does sound nice, but I kind of thought this would be an opportunity to use what's one of the best pop songs of all time for something a little more exciting. will.i.am's "P.Y.T. 2008" fares a little better, but his uninspired "The Girl is Mine 2008" also falls flat.
Meh. That'll teach me to have expecations.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
IESB tipped readers off to Snyder's conversation with fans about the movie, which should further appease doubters.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Look, Cliff Huxtable (along with Mr. Rogers) served as a kind of surrogate TV father for me, as he did for many products of the '80s. But sir, I must protest...Paste reports that the beloved comedian - who once helmed one of the most important television shows of all time, and now, mostly gets continually accused of sexual assault and wages class war on the black poor - has a hip hop album, State of Emergency, in the works.
Hey, maybe he'll get Polow da Don to cook up some hot beats, and it'll turn out that the Cos has sick mic skills. Or maybe it'll be a spoken word style event...which actually might not be terrible. But this doesn't bode well. Still, chances are, Emergency's "concious" (i.e. lecturing) rhymes probably won't sound like this.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
What's a Washingtonian to do? Radiohead released their first set of North American dates, but not a ton, and more are on the way. Problem? One of those dates is in Bristow, VA, an hour from DC. Given the listed stops so far (two Florida shows, two Texas shows, etc) and the promise of more dates, it's somewhat reasonable to assume they'll come here, right? Or does one just go ahead and get tickets to the existing date? It's a pickle.
The same question could be applied to Kanye's first set of dates - not many listed, supposedly more on the way...cause for concern? Meanwhile, Jay-Z is coming to DC, but tickets most likely start at around $60, so, sorry, Hov, I'm ok with sitting this one out.
UPDATE: Kanye has released the full dates, including a stop in Bristow, VA the day before Radiohead's show. Considering that's listed as his Washington stop, I'm going to go ahead and assume Radiohead won't be coming any closer than that, either. No word yet on when tickets go on sale for the second leg of Ye's tour, but the sale for Radiohead's first set is Saturday morning...
Monday, February 11, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Cleverly transfered from comic to film by co-directors Satrapi and Vincent Parannaud, the movie—as with the book—garners its primary strength from its simple, beautiful cartoon style and the uniqueness of its author's voice. Thoughtful but cynical, hopeful yet uncertain, Marjane's account effectively conveys a complex, painful history through the lens of a young girl finding herself.
The picture's handdrawn animation, kept wisely in the comic's black-and-white, is a breath of fresh air in a field of CG-ridden, animated "family" films. Its story translation fares a little less well, only because the episodic format of the comic doesn't translate altogether smoothly, sometimes resulting in a lack of focus. Also like the book, the story's second half is weaker than its first.
Still, the intent and voice of Persepolis remain strongly intact. Satrapi has said that her goal with the film is to convey to audiences around the world that, even in the land of their "enemy," "People there are just like them, and have friends and familes and hopes and dreams." Rather than a civics lesson, the picture serves as a testament to our universal humanity—no small feat for what some might initially perceive as "just a cartoon."
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Directed by Jesse Dylan, the will.i.am song, "Yes We Can," featuring Common, John Legend, Scarlett Johansson, and a bunch of others, samples Sen. Obama's New Hampshire primary speech. The Wyclef-ish track comes on the heels Pearl Jam's "Rock Around Barack."
Monday, February 4, 2008
According to IMDB, "Jason Bateman has confirmed plans are underway for a movie version of Arrested Development." The cast has apparently received calls from the studio about reuniting post-strike, and Bateman says their "fingers are crossed."
Ok, so it's not much news, but it's enough to give Bluth-heads hope, right? Let's hope Fox actually get this going, and don't find themselves saying, "I've made a huge mistake..."