Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reviews...from a reluctant critic.

Between new music and new movies, and my secret fantasy of working for Rolling Stone, I have some reviews for you. Being an artist that is often reviewed myself, I'm going for positivity ... here's what I have:


Julie and Julia - "...and if you're alone in the kitchen, who's to see?"

I went to go see it this morning ($6.00 matinees, yahoo!) ... certainly worth it, if for nothing else than Meryl Streep (even at full price). She has a luminosity on screen and captures a certain something in Julia Child, an uninhibited joy, that is the grand dame of cooking herself.

There's a generosity that effervesces through passion, and served a much-needed reminder for me about why I do the things that I do, regardless of banal, minute things that too often get in the way. So if you're in the need of a passion refill, go. If you love to cook and/or love food, go. If you only want to go to see the wonder that is Meryl Streep, definitely go. It's a great cast over-all, in fact, and the most creative (and least cliche) thing to come from Nora Ephron since "Michael."

Quick, non-movie related rant: I have been to three movies in the last week, and 2 out of 3 of them have at the preview for the apocalyptic film "2012." If I were going to go see "GI JOE: The Rise of Cobra," I would expect to see this trailer, but NOT when sitting in the movie theatre, preparing to watch a charming half period, half contemporary film about cooking. Worst part, is that the trailer for "2012" was the LAST trailer to be shown before "Julie & Julia" began. Bad form, movie makers. Bad form. If you like to be scared and agitated before indulging in a much anticipated chick-flick that you've been waiting months to see, raise your hand.

3.5 out of 4 paws

Funny People
- "Why did you cheat on me? I was so hot."

A different kind of movie for Judd Apatow ... it's part sentiment, part regret, and part foul dude language that for some reason, I get, and continue to come back for. Seth Rogen is my birthday brother (born same day/same year), and is actually the main reason I keep coming back to these "movies from a dude's point of view" ... he does dumb-but-lovable painfully well, and does not fail me in this. Adam Sandler pulls out some serio-comic talent as a character who has the potential to change, but can't get there without the aforementioned dose of dumb-but-lovable.

This movie is full of disappointments, but intended to be so. It's not the over-the-top zany and ridiculous that we're used to seeing from Apatow and his clinch-hitters. But it is 2.5 hours long, and could have potentially been two different movies. But if you're box-office gold and have the really tough demographic of 18-35 year old males enthralled, without the use of blowing shit up, then your name is Judd Apatow, and you can do whatever you want. Oh ... and cameos from almost every stand-up comic to grace the screen of Comedy Central in the last 10-15 years. Bottom line: Worth watching, but wait till it's out on DVD.

Random new person to watch out for: Aubrey Plaza plays the character of Daisy ... brilliant. Awkward, alternative, smart, bullshitless brilliance.

2.5 out of 4 paws

(500) Days of Summer - "Author's Note: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch."

Go see this movie NOW. Just do it. It's my 2nd favorite summer movie...

5 out of 4 paws (yes, it's my blog, I can do that. Because fractions are stupid, and I'm awesome.)

Away We Go - "Did you think that was fun? Because trust me you won't have that much fun until you discover oral pleasure."

My favorite movie of the summer. Yes, over Harry Potter. And over Star Trek (though Star Trek was awesome). You probably can't go to see it anymore, because it's out of the theatres. If you did catch it, PLEASE tell me you loved it. If you didn't, get it as soon as it's released. Maya Rudolph + James Krasinski = filmatic goodness.

What you CAN get now: The Soundtrack. DO IT. Mostly music by Alexi Murdoch, with some smatterings of George Harrison, The Velvet Underground, and Bob Dylan. 'nuff said. (4 out of 4 paws, I'll save you the trouble of posting an album review)

8 out of 4 paws. That's two bears, people.

The Constantines - Kensington Heights

The Constantine's American debut album (on the Sub-Pop label, 2003), Shine a Light, is pure Indie genius. They are classified under a music subdivision called "art-punk" (I know, it's no wonder I love them), and Shine a Light it definitely artful punk. The follow up album, Tournament of Hearts, seemed to have some typical and predictable sophomore album blues, with a couple of good songs, but not enough to let the album stand on it's own. In essence; growing pains.

This third major, full-length record has The Constantines back on track and growing like a wild-fire in Malibu. Mature lyrics, interesting and inspired guitar lyrics; the art in punk is back like an awesome habit; wearing Toques and Maple Leafs.

Choice tracks:
Hard Feelings - Can't sleep in a nation of imagination/ you can tell by the way I talk/ I've got hard feelings

Trans Canada - Hot dice keep rolling/ try to lose our nothin'/ now familiar, now forgotten/ to get the prize/ forget the song/ we're here and gone

Brother Run Them Down - This is a song for a sensitive man/ and the humor that he keeps/ for Tim who brings rest to the restless/ I sing so I can sleep

New King - Your mother and father/ walked out of the city/ bound together as they were bound to be/ to pull the bed from new beginnings/ of drift wood and fallen leaves

3 out of 4 paws

Modest Mouse - No One's First, and You're Next

Modest Mouse is easily one of my favorite bands. In fact, I would say they're definitely in my top 10. So please excuse me as I gush all over myself. Modest Mouse is a no-longer obscure band from Issaquah, Washington ... and you'd think (if you were me) that they came from the Sub Pop Label (which is in Seattle). But no. They gained fame and fortune through the SONY subsidiary, Epic. And there you go.

This album, is rather revolutionary ... it's kind of like Modest Mouse sat down and had a pow-wow with Wilco. And then went and smoked a bowl with Dave Grohl. And then went into the recording studio and jammed. The instrumentation and lyrics are typically Modest Mouse, but the tone, the style, the imagery ... a bit of a departure. Especially since the Mouse's last two albums, Good News for People Who Love Bad News and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, while both incredibly brilliant, revolve heavily around death. The only problem I have with the album is that there's only eight tracks.

Reasons to love Modest Mouse: Their band name comes from a line of Virginia Woolf. Oh, and they're pretty good at writing and playing music and stuff.

Choice Tracks:
Satellite Skin - If you break these moth wing feelings/ powdering dust on your fingers/ we know we're not praying we're kneeling/ hard enough just to say you believe them

Whale Song - I guess I am a scout/ so I should find a way out/ so everyone can find a way out

King Rat - We spun like birds on fire right/ down towards the residence and I/ I took all the time desired/ even crooks have to pay the rent

4 out of 4 paws

Regina Spektor - Far

I won't talk about this one ... just go buy it. She's brilliant.

4 out of 4 paws


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H said...

I love...*love*...LOVE your reviews and your "review system" (paws assigned as you wish to assign show your like/dislike for any film, album, etc.)

Thank you for your recommendations (which I have already taken to heart). :)

Kristin Quinn said...

I am coming to you now when I make my movie making decisions.I give your reviews 10 paws up :) Thank you!

Radical Bradacal said...

awwww ... thanks H and Kristin! :) Hmmmm... maybe I need to go to the movie theatres more often ...

Phoenix said...

Awesome reviews!! Now I need to buy the Regina Spektor album bc everyone is saying how awesome it is...and you gave it four paws.