Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
As if new Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, and Ninja Turtles movies weren't enough to satisfy your 80s nostalgia itch, the wheels are in motion for Fraggle Rock: The Movie.
SlashFilm shares my relief, as well as surprise, over director Cory Edwards's aversion to "'Shrekking it up' for easy jokes," since Edwards's last (and only) movie was Hoodwinked, which seemed thoroughly Shrekked up. But - as opposed to most remakes of Things Important to My Childhood - I'm actually enthusiastic about this idea, in much the same way that I am about the forthcoming Muppet movie relaunch. It seems like both films' directors are fans genuinely interested in staying true to Jim Henson's vision...which is pretty much all a muppet fan could ask for.
All this should coincide nicely with the biopic Henson, in the works at indie studio Empire Film Group.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Directed by former Israeli soldier Ari Folman, Waltz recreates the real-life narratives of fellow soldiers by employing Flash animation, resulting in a style similar to rotoscoping. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film yesterday, meaning a wide release is most likely due soon.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee made a special appearance on SNL this weekend (sample line: "I ask you, what should we be looking for in our next president? Certainly, someone who is very, very, very old"), as did the Southern rapper, backing up musical guest Usher. NY points out:
After the senator finishes speaking to Usher, he turns, pats Jeezy on the stomach, and says something — but what? "I love that song 'Go Getta'"?
Hey, considering the guy's apparently an avid fan of The Hills and Sex and the City (what a maverick!), maybe that wasn't too far from the truth...
Friday, May 16, 2008
UPDATE: The new LP, Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust ("With a Buzz in Our Ears, We Play Endlessly") drops June 24. Download the first single, "Gobbledigook," for free, here.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Opener skater-MC Lupe Fiasco's set relied heavily on his solid, new effort, The Cool. But ticket order seemed to have been determined by spectacle rather than artistry, and Lupe didn't have much of a "stage show" to speak of. The Neptunes' rap-rock group N.E.R.D. was next, amping up the crowd considerably more with hits like "Rock Star" and "She Wants to Move," as well as tracks from their forthcoming Seeing Sounds. But pop sensation Rihanna, with her slew of backup dancers and costume changes, moved the concert closer to its stadium feel, giving the crowd what it wanted with the irrepressible "Umbrella" (during which, a sea of umbrellas could be seen throughout the pavilion). But all that proved merely a warm-up for the main event.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I fell in the camp of those lucky enough to have merely arrived late and left early, trying to enjoy the rain-soaked, freezing set as much as possible. Maybe everyone should've left home earlier (it took me three hours to get there - and, remember, I was one of the fortunate ones); maybe we should've worn ponchos and rainboots; maybe we shouldn't have gone at all...but when faced with only mild precipitation earlier in the day, and with "RAIN OR SHINE" prominently printed on our tickets, how were we not going to see one of the biggest and best bands in the world?
I should probably back up. In February, when Radiohead announced their first proper tour in five years, many of us in the Mid-Atlantic - On Tape included - expressed dismay at their choice of venue, especially given the band's emphasis on making this a "green" tour. Located in the middle of nowhere, there is no public transportation to Nissan Pavilion (for eco-concious city-dwellers, this meant carpooling in rented vehicles).
It's admirable for an act as huge as Radiohead to try and do what they can, environmentally, given the constraints on venues big enough to accommodate them. And, I suppose, I don't expect them to know the lay of the land in each city they play. But, as others have suggested, why not play again at RFK Stadium, which seats double that of Nissan, and is conveniently located in the middle of the District - where attendees could walk, bike, take the train or bus, etc - likely reducing both carbon footprints and congestion caused by flooding?
I'd heard some folks' warnings ("I won't ever go to Nissan Pavilion again, even for Radiohead") of the nightmarish traffic and general operations at the venue, but...this was Radiohead! Worth anything, right? Well, kind of, but this show should've been canceled. The Pavilion has been around for a long time; they should know how to deal with weather, and they clearly didn't. Add this to the fact that parking there is horrible under ordinary circumstances (the previous day's traffic for Kanye West was slow - though, obviously, nothing compared to this...but more on that tomorrow), and ticket holders were in store for a night of huge disappointment.
From what I did see, though, the band sure sounded great. And what could they really do? Thom Yorke & Co. seemed eager to try and please those who did make it, with a career-spanning, two-encore set, even busting out the rumored-to-be-retired "Fake Plastic Trees," dedicating it those who couldn't get in to the show. It killed me to miss the Kid A-era "National Anthem" (during which, apparently, frontman Thom Yorke shouted "Barack Obama!") and "Idioteque," which I only heard while running for the 15-20 minutes between the car and the stage. But getting to be there for classics "Paranoid Android" (before which Yorke apologized to the crowd) and "Just" was a treat - even if, due to weather, I assume, the screens on either side of the stage weren't on, leaving most of the audience with only a distant view of any onstage antics.
While petitions demanding refunds circulate, the band seems keenly aware of their ongoing misfortune in Washington (that's guitarist Jonny Greenwood up top, post-show): "There must be some kind of Biblical fix between us and DC. Frogs next time?" asks bassist Colin Greenwood on their site. Let's hope "next time" is someplace else...
Monday, May 12, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The commonality of those successful superhero pictures may just be the backgrounds of their directors: like Batman Begins's Christopher Nolan and Spider-Man's Sam Raimi, Iron Man's Jon Favreau got his start in independent film, writing Swingers and Made; the latter, his directorial debut. The movie looks great (Favreau's lack of reliance on CGI, in favor of a more organic feel, pays off), but excels because of the strength of its story and emphasis on character development.
Iron Man has taken a second-tier Marvel hero who could've seemed dated (in the comics, Iron Man fought Communists), and brought the story into a gritty, post-9/11 political landscape. Robert Downey, Jr. is a thrill to watch as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, who, after being kidnapped by terrorists using his own weapons against him, transforms from a morally ambiguous, war profiteering playboy into the Man in Metal. Once free, Stark reevaluates his priorities, and begins work on a "new project."
The suit (designed by Stan Winston), which Stark upgrades through a series of fun test drives, is fantastic in each of its iterations. And Iron Man's revelation scene is as cool as Batman's debut in either Begins or Tim Burton's Batman, which is saying something. Unlike countless other comic book movies, the origin story doesn't limit the potential of the likely franchise's first entry, but rather serves as an opportunity to offer a unique take on the classic redemption tale...with, y'know, a lot of ass-kicking.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
This, combined with their smattering of summer shows - including June 27 at Ram's Head Live in Baltimore - sounds perfect, but where's the punky "Ask Her for Some Adderall"? Here's hoping it's song 5, "Yeah Sapphire," with a new title...
UPDATE: Answer here.