Friday, December 24, 2010

Beats and Breaks of 2010

2010 began in a "chillwave", or at least that's what the kids were calling it. Dubstep was either in ascendancy or decline, depending on who you talked to, and either way, high energy sounds (especially rock-centric ones) were on the way out. For the most part, the trend away from rock and roll continued (my hetero-lifemate and I defied the trend, perhaps giving it a good send-off down south with this mix), early in the year.

The electro-banger persisted, in spite of those of us on the other side of that Geiger-counter begging people to stop remaking Pon De Floor with a 4/4 (or morse-code).

What follows then is an off-year list, one in which narrative builds gave way to experimentation rather than the search for climactic moments. What did I look for in my sets? The same things I always do, stuff that's good on or off the floor, with or without pills, of the moment but not a slave to it, and quite possibly crossover music for the bleep-blop resistant.

Here goes, in no particular order:

Jamie Lidell - I Wanna Be Your Telephone (Tiga's Party like it's 19909 mix)

Smooth, instrumentally spare, loquacious and surprisingly epic, this is a down, slow and dirty groove good for catchin' 'em unawares. Only for adventurous DJs (DO NOT SPEED THIS UP! 118bpm is just right, don't ruin it):


Scissor Sisters - Invisible Light (Siriusmo mix)

From the Teutonic wonder-kid, this remix is harmonious with the original, able to stand on its own, and just absolutely smashes it, through and through:


BT - Le Nocturne de Lumiere

Go ahead, count the notes. Count the edits. Count the sheer number of sounds. I dare you. Or just take it in. This is what BT does. These Hopeful Machines is as much an attempt at mainstream success as BT has tried since Emotional Technology, and as such it is a beautiful, powerfully earnest, but genuinely emotional and frankly transcendent record of electronic music. The man writes music for healing that works as dance music. I don't care what style you're into, you simply must hear BT, whatever he's doing. This is the most "underground" cut on the record, deep into the second disc, but even at his most anthemic, he could make the most hardened dance-music cynic sit up. As well we all should:


Om Unit - Searching (Adam Freeland mix)

Adam Freeland has had an amazing year, and he's done it on the DL. After two years working on and touring from his Freeland album Cope, he's turned back to DJ sets, touring and trainspotting. His ears manage to find un-charted records that yearn to be heard, making him a DJ in the classical sense. Do yourself a favor, and go download his most recent set here. My goodness, new things you will hear. The set also includes this bangarang fucking remix of Om Unit from late summer:


TWR72 - Shock

The Walk & Rogerseventytwo are two Dutch guys with wild imaginations. To me, this record is breaks. Period. It's the boom-tap, baby, just wobbly, and then that build and release? Flawless. Listen here.

Ramadanman - Work Them

This kid is twelve or some shit. And he has this kind of rhythm structure in his brain. Whatever, he's the closest thing to dubstep I'm really embracing right now, though there are others. This guy won me over with this song, slowly and gradually, and then I began to discover his other work, which is really impressive for a young-un. He's the most accessible experimenter of 2010. Also, this track is definitely breaks, not dub, in case you wanna fight about it:


Coin Operated Boy - Trust Me (Clouds mix)
Heard this track in an Evil Nine set, really contrasted the disco-vibe of theirs, in a good way. Gnarly, that's what this is, and that's what Clouds is. Just sick as fuck:


Evil Nine - Auto

Speaking of their disco-vibe, they've really rocked it out with that. Their brand new label For Lovers and three sets of long-form DJ mixes have really changed their direction for them in the past year. Still, don't fret, they remain, as ever, Evil Nine. Here's a clip previewing their new three-track EP, Auto being the track one:


Sandro Silva & Anjiro Rijo - Fifty What (Dem Slackers mix)

Every DJ needs a good Hattori Hanzo sword, and here's one crafted by Dem Slackers, another ridiculously young producer, this time out of the Netherlands:


Cassius - I <3 U So

We're gonna finish it off with some elder statesmen, the classic duo you may remember from the time of Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx (as if now isn't also their time), here's some remarkable and gorgeous stuff from Cassius, producing perhaps the first instance of "Frenchstep" I'm aware of. Take it away, 2010:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fair Game

Neither agitprop nor Jason Bourne-esque spycraft lie at the heart of Doug Liman's Valerie Plame thriller Fair Game. Few attempts are made to elevate your heartrate on the way to a well-known conclusion, and no attempt is made to heavily propagandize the events that lead to that well-known conclusion. Instead, what we have is a strange, thoroughly implausible domestic drama, wherein a hot-headed husband's big mouth gets his wife fired, forcing him to hit the road to clear her name (not to mention provide for their family). Were it not for the events depicted centering so closely on the actual, real world outing of Plame, none of what transpires in the film would have the slightest verisimilitude.

That conflict between the pragmatic, good soldier Plame and the truth-seeking, jusice demanding Wilson is really the main-thread of the movie, which is doubtless an improvement over the Michael Moore speechifying or Oliver Stone psychodrama you might be expecting.

Naomi Watts's Plame and Sean Penn's Joe Wilson are each a workmanlike rendition of a type we've seen lately, the Mr and Mrs. Smith couple, a la Prizzi's Honor (and played out in five or six other films this year). The difference here is they're not superhuman or smug or overtly comical (or assassins). They're real people, extraordinary public servants or not. Things are most interesting here when we see Plame's matter-of-fact approach to concealing her identity, going on the job, interrogating people and collecting intelligence, and finally dealing with her exposure to the limelight.

Watts has a resume filled with serious, difficult roles, and a nack for playing them flawlessly. Penn's close-to-the-heart portrayal of Wilson as a boorish, passionate blow-hard, pursuing the truth at great peril to both of their livelihoods, is as you would imagine it. He's quite good, as usual, and plays the character without over-playing his own personal politics.

The film is not distractingly partisan, save for finding us the fattest Karl Rove in Hollywood. It depicts the Cheney underlings who cooked the books on WMD and then revealed Valerie Plame's identity to the world as thuggish, incompetent and treasonous, which of course, they were.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hunting Season

Powerful yearning, for escape from one’s roots, the love of a good woman, and an abandonment of violence as a way of life are all boiling to the rim of Ben Affleck’s comeback in The Town. Here we have, as with the superior Gone Baby Gone, a return to the working-class Bostonian roots of Affleck’s breakout role, as co-star and co-author (with Matt Damon, and most certainly Kevin Smith, respectively) in Good Will Hunting. Affleck takes the starring role this time, and the box-office receipts have proven that to be a decent gambit. Here is a star well past his phony tabloid meltdown and a string of bad pictures, clearly having spent the last five years figuring out where to go from there. His two most recent films suggest he’s back in the game, and would very much like you to consider an end to the backlash against him.

It is, first of all, a good and absorbing film. It’s a heist-movie, co-starring an apparently fat(?) Jeremy Renner and a reliably one-step-behind FBI agent Jon Hamm. It is in many ways a standard one-last-job/shoot-out-with-the-cops flick (To call it a cat-and-mouse game would be to give the cat too much credit). It’s a film of lean, physical toughness and swagger. With any good heist or streets picture, you go for the window dressing, not the frame.

Jeremy Renner plays Affleck’s lifelong friend recently released from prison on a stint that kept Affleck from going there himself. Renner is the wild-card, like his character in The Hurt Locker, only with a self-preservation instinct that won’t outpace the death one. He’s predictable only in the sense that you can easily expect violence from him. At what point it will emerge is anyone’s guess.

The more crucial force in the picture is Jon Hamm’s FBI agent, who, though smart enough to know he has his guys, can’t quite keep up with Affleck. He throws around the word omerta in a strong-arming interrogation session, knows what it means, and knows the guys he’s tailing are bound by it (but doesn’t understand quickly enough how deeply another character becomes bound by it).

The film, while not as great as Gone Baby Gone, speaks to how deeply we may have ourselves underestimated Affleck. In salvaging his career, he has now made two of his best pictures. He’s currently filming his next project for Terrence Malick. People can surprise you from out of the holes they pull themselves.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Soci(opath)al Network

“That’s got to be the land-speed record for talking”

David Fincher’s Facebook "exposé” opens to a roller-coaster of words, no faster in terms of pacing and screw-ball velocity than ones spoken during the set-matches of the rest of the film, but they feel faster. Your ears sit up. The first exchange is between Mark Zuckerberg and his Boston University girlfriend, and it’s more densely packed than an episode of House (if not The West Wing). It reels you in, makes you adjust to the pitch and timbre of the film, and may well be the interaction you’ll need to review the most to get the entire movie. It’s all right there at the start.

Recorded from the perpetual-motion-machine of Aaron Sorkin’s brain, it doesn’t matter in the slightest whether or not what occurs from thereon is even remotely true. We’re witnessing history re-written from the heights. A few facts are certainly inescapable, being that Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook, settled out of court with two different parties (or many, many more), and went on to become Charles Foster Kane (in a hoodie).

For those who both snickered at the notion of a Facebook movie being made and at the prospect of Jesse Eisenberg starring in it, you are offered Eisenberg's scrutinizing, contemptuous face, for two whole hours. And, while he’s flaunting your small-mindedness with his pitch-perfect performance, he’d like to thank you now in advance for never again comparing him to Michael Cera. There are fine performances here, particularly from Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield (our incipient Spider Man). What’s more of a surprise is how surely Justin Timberlake takes over the movie halfway through. He fares more than well enough with the speaking of Sorkinese.

David Fincher’s film presents what most people would be convinced are mundane affairs, through his usual shadowy, sepia-lensed viewfinder. In this, he gets the tone of Zuckerberg’s resentment-filled coming-of-age just right. He also takes us deep into the world of the elite Harvard establishment and power-drunk tweener-preneurs. It’s a very interesting film for our resentful times.

It’s also a classic tale of an almost Nixonian triangulator. Spurned from his lack of social and practical acceptance in the highest echelons and clubs, not to mention his puny ineligibility for the rowing team, Zuckerberg is forced to outdo them all.

That starts a war. We see the testimony of the three major parties, the Winklevoss twins, Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) and Zuckerberg, the first two suing the latter for theft of intellectual property, and quite literal disenfranchisement, respectively. The official line of the filmmakers is that they’re presenting a “Rashomon” scenario for the viewers. They claim they don’t know which version of events is correct.

The movie seems to know, however. The entire film flashbacks from its deposition frame-story to a narrative in motion that leads inexorably down Zuckerberg’s byzantine maneuvering and cut-throat deal-making. The endgame is your typical lonely man in a tower, loveless, friendless, and rich.

We’ve seen that movie before, a few times. What we don’t usually see is a protagonist who might not realize what he’s lost; the price of being the world’s youngest billionaire. One is led to believe he didn’t even know he was so Machiavellian, but it’s all right there in the first scene.

It’s a break-up movie, set to Trent Reznor, filmed in Se7en-vision. And it’s the best film made from a Sorkin screenplay yet. Go see it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

HEART YOU, CASSIUS



Holy shit, I'm not really blogging this year, eh?

Changes comin'.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

No Words

Questions had been asked as to whether Duisburg, a city of 500,000, was capable of holding such a large event, which suited Berlin, where crowds spilled across its wide avenues and into parks, preventing overcrowding.

What. The. Fuck.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Canard

I won't be writing any sort of stabilized review of Inception until I take my boo to see it next week, and am able to sort it more clearly a second time.

Briefly, I will say, however, something I've said before about different material in the past. The complaint has been surfacing (spoiler?) that the lucid dreaming of these characters is impossible, that is, dreams just don't work like that.

I will not speak to the real world implications of this. Either the conceit of this movie is impossible or it isn't. But.....ahem:

You can't hear explosions in space. You can't bend a spoon with your mind. There are no such thing as replicants. It's almost 2015 and we don't have hoverboards yet.

Nobody talks like an Aaron Sorkin or Quentin Tarantino character in real life.

You don't accept the premise of Inception? Then you weren't paying attention to how carefully they set up the notion that our protagonists have been at this for awhile, are the special ops of the dream-world.

And you're just looking to complain, aren't you?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OH NO NO NO

- Overheard during the Guillermo Del Toro produced recent flick, Splice

Sad, really, that this movie, in this summer of flop-sweat on executive car-seats, had to go down with the rest. It's one of maybe three or so films with any ideas in it to come out since April.

And does it ever have ideas. So many, and so casually strewn in ornamental order, and in so short procession (the themes):

Man plays god, toys with nature

Man splices (titular!) genetic hybrid rabbit/fish/slug that harbors all kinds of disease curing possibilities

Man breaks rules (because man HADN'T broken rules yet!), combines own DNA with that of rabbit, bird, bat, fish (manticore?)

Man and woman have domestic woes. Raise subsequent she-beast together as though it were child

Man reads Frankenstein, realizes things will be JUST FINE

Step back for a second, replace the word man with Sarah Polley, and you've got the real story. Adrien Brody's character is playing rear-guard here. He has to be pleaded with for a good sixty minutes of the movie to be remotely on board with raising the central creature of this film, a female straight out of The Arrival with a stinger on her tail and a longing in her heart.

The film is compulsively watchable, interesting, and deeply creepy from start to finish. It has two or three very memorable scenes and a conclusion that will make or break your willingness to re-evaluate everything that has gone before.

The creature itself is the best reason to see the film. It's called Dren, and is named suddenly and decisively by Sarah Polley's character, who does everything here suddenly and decisively. Dren can proudly stand beside our greatest movie monsters. She's an ably designed, but most of all very well acted character indeed. It's worth remembering the words of Terry Gilliam:

My problem with E.T., and I think it would be a better film, are those big Walter Keane moonstone eyes, because you immediately love that little creature. There’s a moment in the film when they’re dissecting the frogs and they do a close-up of the frogs with those alien slit eyes. Now if E.T. had those eyes, then he’s a really grotesque ugly thing and the kid has to learn to love a grotesque ugly thing. It’s easy to love E.T. It should have been difficult to love E.T.

This movie keeps those moonstone eyes and makes it at times deeply troubling to find any sympathy for this creature, who is just NOT right at all. She shouldn't be. The story's inherent flaw, for me (though I sense the film is fumbling at a comment on our incredibly blasé times), is that our protagonists here take it as a given that they can essentially create life. There is nothing of the human awe we have in Croneberg's The Fly, in his protagonist's technological breakthrough. Stealing from the gods is so old hat.

True, Brody's character (wisely) fears their creation, knows it's just plain wrong, leaving Polley motivated by wounds I'll leave for you to discover. The whole thing is a domesticated affair. Everything is neatly tied into a homemaking, child-raising bow in this movie. It's interesting, but strikingly implausible. Genetic cut-chemists in love or no, if your significant other clones a human lady-bat-scorpion-frog-princess, it's actually perfectly reasonable to protest.

Splice is a series of bad decisions, played out on too everyman a stage. Stephen King is said to populate his stories with ordinary characters in an ordinary world, and confront them with extraordinary circumstances.

The couple in this movie is anything but ordinary, but they act like they're in a late-nineties sitcom together.

Still, it's fairly even-handed, in the sense that they both make about the same number of unfortunate choices. Brody's character takes the cake, by the end, making a profoundly terrible decision, and I must say, I haven't heard an audience talk back to a movie, in this way, in years.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Huh



I count myself lucky that none of my current favorite properties were casually offered up to this fucked-up burnout.

If you, after seeing The Happening and its box-office returns, still manage to throw a franchise away on the maker of that one, you should probably get fired.

My guess is that M Night Shyamalan is amassing every executive's secrets and is locking them away in his compound.

My favorite review of The Happening is here:

Equally odd is their insistence, even though they’ve known from the beginning that the deadly nerve agent is airborne, on spending as much time as possible outdoors. When fleeing by car, they leave the windows rolled down; anytime they want to look at a map or discuss what to do next they get out of the car to do so. It never seems to occur to any of the protagonists that they should get inside somewhere and tape the windows and doors --even though this is the only strategy we’ve seen work for anyone else. Eighty minutes into a 90-minute movie, Alma and Jess are still sitting in a small guest house with all the doors and windows open. When Elliot, who’s just watched someone fall victim to the toxin nearby screams, “Close the windows and the doors!” Alma innocently inquires “Why?”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

From The Producer of Craven Money Grab!

The trailer for Despicable Me, a lackluster looking Steve Carell vehicle which appears to have all the trappings of Cynical Sarcastic Kid-Movie Syndrome, contains the linchpin "From [Hollywood Mogul], the producer of Ice Age!"

Ponder that for a second. Never mind that the Ice Age series is second only to Shrek in low expectations for a kiddie flick, the little halflings don't know that or care. They see bright primary colors and hear orifices eructating, and if you're five, that's fine. Maybe you'll grow up one day to the personal discovery that the Pixar movies were so much better than that, in so many ways, and were, in fact, MOVIES, which trained your brains towards higher purposes. Some kids will happen upon that revelation, some won't.

The fact remains, unless you're Walt Goddamn Disney, nobody GIVES A FUCK WHAT YOUR NAME IS, OR THAT YOU PRODUCED ICE AGE, and certainly, NOBODY UNDER THE AGE OF TEN GIVES A FLYING FUCK AT A BADLY COMPUTER ANIMATED ROLLING DONUT, EITHER.

Isn't it enough that we watch a trailer and are either sold by it or not?

Yes, Pixar ads tout "From the Makers of Wall-E, Finding Nemo, etc.

That's because those movies inspire quiet awe and gentle concentration in young (and old) minds. And they speak for themselves, and Pete Doctor doesn't care if you remember his name or not, whatever your age.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Chautauqua

There've been a few DJ sets, preceding the one in yesterday's entry, that have so far this year kept alive the proper filthy naughty. Do they come from the places you'd predict I'd reconnoiter?

Would you have it any other way? After this set, lamentably missed by all of us not in Miami this past March? Scroll to minute 3:10 and tell me you didn't burn a hole in your britches. Liar:

Stanton Warriors - Miami Beach Party Session Live @ WMC 2010 by Stanton Warriors


The most impressive production duo currently alive and being monitored by the Men in Black is the Netherlands' The Walk and Rogerseventytwo. Here's why I'm right about that:




And here's access to their latest DJ mix, straight from the brand new label they call home.

Golden Bug has had a terrific year, out-producing almost everyone on the block, in quality and quantity (It's sad that the prolific producers tend to produce the most redundant stuff. That's not the case, here). If you haven't rocked the hell out of his Flamingo EP, you aren't a DJ this year.

Here's his Blah Blah Blah podcast set.

In which he introduced me to:



Now that you've had your cocoa puffs, pour some Balkan hot sauce on 'em:

Nico de Transilvania - Balktronic mix by Nico de Transilvania

Now push play on all these things at once.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Not Fighters

:: FOR LOVERS :: MIXTAPE NO.1 by Evil Nine

More posting this month than there was the last. For now, rinse yourself deeply in the Evils' new direction. It is clearly them. It is clearly different. It makes perfect sense in their timeline. Real Love and Ultimo would've pissed off their fans ten years ago. Here and now, those tracks are built on a series of perfect, quite natural musical choices.

A high point in the set for me is the Mustapha 3000 remix of Headman, which came out in '06, but still sounds incredibly forward thinking.

Cheers!

ikeya seki - kano
i need love ( morgan geist's love dub ) - hot toddy
funkacise ( instrumental ) - the funkacise gang
gin nation - tiger & woods
serious - donna allen
mindless boogie 20 - tina - villa edit
moisture ( mustapha 3000 remix ) - headman
real love - evil nine
zoid - retro-grade
invisible light ( siriusmo remix ) - scissor sisters
spaceship ( kris menace dub ) - kelis
kilometer ( aeroplane remix ) - sebastian tellier
lemonade ( deadstock 33s remix ) - erol alkan & boys noize
love dead ( evil nine remix ) - army of the universe
sweetlight ( boris dlugosch remix ) - boys noize
ultimo - evil nine
no way back - adonis
pelu tolo ( bo'tox lip dub mix ) - mickey moonlight
no manners ( jay zinga 666 edit ) - evil nine
no manners ( dannoso instrumental remix ) - evil nine
the mind of many ( obi blanche remix ) - zombie nation & friends
ultimo ( dem slackers remix ) - evil nine
so light is her footfall ( breakbot remix ) - air

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Bye, Wade

If, as they say, a movie is a critique of another movie, the fast approaching summer has at least three or four hard-edged barrels of bloody insouciance, coming right up, to do the hard critical lifting for us. Between The Expendables, the A-Team, and the already released Kick-Ass (more vigilante superhero than mercenary, but bear with me) and The Losers, does a critic even need to do the job?

If only wishing made it so, especially if The Losers is any indication of what to expect in terms of self reflection. Oh, it's self-REFLEXIVE, all right, revealing the source of its central frustration. It's sad when a movie attempts ironic detachment but pulls off mostly slovenly detachment. Don't even get me started on the "slick" camera work and editing, and the terrible, washed out pallet of the whole endeavor. For all the money they've obviously spent here, the movie just isn't that much fun to look at.

What's really any fun at all about this thing is the two-thirds of the cast that seems to be not taking it too seriously. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Jason Patric, and particularly Chris Evans, all seem to know what kind of movie they're in. Evans's giddy sketch comedy and collection of t-shirt insta-commentary should be about the only thing you remember from The Losers two weeks later. Idris Elba, it should be noted, does not look happy in this at all.

The story can be summarized fairly succinctly. An elite team of special ops is framed, by a billionaire megalomaniac, for the killing of some thirty or so Bolivian children. Zoe Saldana shows up months later and gains Jeffrey Dean Morgan's trust by beating the shit out of him and burning down his hotel. It's kind of like the Comedian's death scene from Watchmen, only boring. Afterwords, they together convince the team to sneak back into the U.S. and find the billionaire, to exact, well, what exactly? Swift vengeance? Do they go to clear their names? Now, consider the scene here where a helicopter full of children is shot down. You'd probably think you're in for a serious revenge story, right?

Not the case. The tone of the movie kind of allows you to forget. It certainly doesn't presume you should care. Say what you will about Kick-Ass, whether you can sustain yourself through its sky-high level of violence or not, the stakes are always pretty emotionally clear. Deaths, kidnappings, beatings, atrocities, etc., are always felt and felt hard, in spite of the flick's cavalier tone.

The Losers seems to be approaching a similar revenge story, aspiring to the same level of hip, cool self reflexiveness. Kick-Ass succeeds wildly where The Losers seems not to try at all. I must stress this point: Thirty-plus children are brutally murdered onscreen in the first ten minutes of this flick, and by the end, they haven't really been mentioned again, and then the villain ESCAPES. Instead of retribution, we get some more goofball mugging from Chris Evans, which is entertaining, but more YouTube friendly than $10.50 a pop, right? It's sad to think they were setting this up for a sequel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Opposite Day

"Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans?"

Via Sullivan

At this point, the collective heaving sigh of millions of people, weary of the lunatic hatred, the fringey nuttiness and the charbroiled ideologies and the grandiose schemers, are just turning it all off. People who read blogs are people who read blogs (and newspapers). If you're one of the handful who reads mine, you'll still peer into this insanity from time to time.

But really, I feel a certain calm with this right now. Even if Palin or somesuch other wingnut wins in 2012, terrible though that would be, really, it's not ok, but something will rise out of its ashes. It may be the end of American politics if that happens, but its actual possibility (unlikely though that possibility may be), raises questions I will be asking anyone they pertain to come 2012:

- What does your party propose to do to solve our increasingly complex problems?

- What do you mean when you say you're "taking your country back"?

- How are things really going to be different or better for you under President Palin/Gingrich/Pawlenty?

- Do you really imagine that progressives, queers, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics, liberals, (actual) socialists, professors, scientists, doctors, writers, lawyers, the ACLU, Hollywood, anti-war activists, and on and on and on, will just pack it in and absolve themselves of the political process henceforth? Do you think the Civil Rights Act is going to wind itself back and rescind?

Especially if you galvanize us even harder with a politician as poisonous as her?

You really do live in The Outer Limits.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Citizenship



The whole interview is well worth it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Attn Wing Nuts

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Big Bang Treaty
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


I wish you all would watch this video. Watch it. Become less appalling. You know who you are, but of course, it's my blog, so you're not reading this.

These people are out-of-their-minds fucking wailing-at-the-moon crazy. Who WANTS to use nuclear weapons? Mostly it's people who'd call 'em "nucular", that's who. Stupid is always out for power. I wish their flocks would goddamn watch something like this, but of course, they won't.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

F A T

The final part of Red Letter Media's AOTC review. It works as a standalone bitch slap to George Lucas and is highly recommended:



Note: This clip contains the ultimate expression of devotion to The Empire Strikes Back

Monday, April 05, 2010

Bugbears

Here we find two of the most common pundit afflictions: (1) a compulsion to assert equivalencies even when they don't exist, and (2) a willingness to spout anything without doing the slightest work to find out if it's true. Douthat's claim about Maddow -- that "conservatives are only invited on [her] show when they have something nasty to say about Republicans" -- is completely false.

- From Glenn Greenwald, who is always clear and direct.

Somehow, a very real and understandable discontentment with the the red-state blue-state divide has managed to produce a moral equivalence meme, regarding journalists, pundits, etc. My Sullivan addiction notwithstanding, his essentially moderate views notwithstanding, I don't think he's even a symbol of this, with his Moore, Hewitt, Malkin, etc. awards. He's still, essentially, a moderate (who calls himself a conservative).

I don't blame the President, either, based on his 2004 "we're not red states or blue states" speech.

I think it's a more amorphous, insidious muddying of clarity that's afoot. You cannot sufficiently tell me that the left's most potent rhetoric has anything on the far-right's spitting on people and making fun of or screaming at Parkinson's sufferers. We have one side that uses words like "socialism" where in private they're using the epithets they wish they could still use in the open.

This separates them from perfectly helpless, small-C conservatives who have legitimate concerns on spending, the deficit, taxes, etc. I've never felt these were inherently shallow things to focus on politically.

Rachel Maddow, someone whose videos I've obviously posted here a lot, is not an example of a dismissable journalist, damnable on the basis of her partisanship.

She is absolutely indispensable, largely due to her bias. She is honest on where she stands. She has a worldview, a variety of left-of-center political stances, and an absolutely fearless willingness to challenge people's orthodoxies, on both sides. She is learned, articulate, and always backs up what she's got with some kind of factual representation. We must stop condemning people simply for the courage of possessing a worldview.

The right in this country developed all on their own the myth of the "left-wing media".
They've used that meme to essentially elevate it into its own reality. It took them forty or so years.

So which side, now that there are two warring journalist sides, is correct? The right-wing side has managed to hold onto their own base while disillusioning other people into thinking that both sides are "equally wrong". They're masters of this.

So don't let them win. If we start swallowing this idea that both sides are equally wrong, both sides are damnably biased, we're invariably receiving our genesis of that idea from a long outdated right-wing talking point.

And worse, we're acting like children. It's the media's job to present us with the facts, not all sides of every issue. For "all sides" read "conservative ideology".

Be an adult. Weigh and consider the facts you are handed. And fuck "balance".

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He's Your President Too



I've knocked around Bill Maher a little bit in the past year, but I do still like the guy. He's right on this one, whether you like his atheism movie or not.

Get 'em, Roger

Does it make me a liberal if I believe Jefferson has been more central to American history than Calvin? That Lincoln was our greatest president, and Davis not our President at all? That the Theory of Evolution towers with majesty above those who, in some cases, believe the earth may be 10,000 years old, and that men walked the earth with dinosaurs? No, it doesn't make me a liberal. It makes me an educated, rational being. Unfortunately, in some precincts of Texas that may appear to be nearly as bad.

(Via)

Friday, April 02, 2010

No Right Not To Be Shocked

I wonder how often this book will brought up in protest at my store.



(The book in question.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

5 Dollars



Roger Ebert, proud, lifelong 3-D hater.

via

RIP At the Movies

IN July

Oh, these. These are great.



The version I grew up with:




(Via)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Earth + Plastic



Some perspective. We don't have any voices like this one right now. This one struck down the din.

He wrote an excellent memoir, a great little history of our values, much like the work that preceded it.

Don't Wannnna Clooooose My Eyyyyes.....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Always Amazed

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That gun-toting, John-Birching lunatics have no doubt in their minds that they'll actually win a bloody fight against the National Guard, the police, the U.S. Army, etc., is a constant source of amazement for me. There's just no doubt at all that they'll triumph over "tyranny". And replace it with what? Haha, why, freedom, silly.

Choose symbols instead of well-defined concepts, and violence will be read upon them.

We ignore these stories at our peril.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Our Daily Mwomp

Popping in to share a wee little twitter moment between myself and the current frontrunner of breaksy-dom:



The chooooon under discussion:


Mr B - Little Acid People (Peo De Pitte Remix) by rogueindustries

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sorry, Comrade.



















Better luck elsewhere.

Chastity Porn:

Made almost bearable by Rifftrax since its dvd inception:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oldie but a Goodie



Let's give this here some American listens.

(and when the eff is Rogerseventytwo & The Walk's album coming out? Must needs futurism)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

N@zis

Per all the certainty 'round these parts that Avatar was going to win, well, I acknowledge both my brazen error, and my enthusiasm for The Hurt Locker victory. It's a great film. I can't say better about the whole thing than this.

My favorite film (which is never what actually wins) last year was Basterds, as you may have heard. The reason I bring it up again is that I heard nearly the dumbest thing I've ever heard, in my life, ever, and I've watched Paint Your Wagon.

Somebody, somewhere, actually complained that Inglourious Basterds, get this, was not a good film because it was not HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.

Marinate in that for a minute.

Blind as a Newborn Kitten



(Via)

Bracing, yeah?

What I've never been able to understand, and have been forced to contemplate again after many years of leaving it alone, is why does it take so much effort for these people, these fundamentalists, to believe in the big G?

I mean, this country is still only the barest fraction non-believer. What's so threatening? We have the hugest, I mean hugest "Faithpoint" section I've ever seen in a BAM before. It's like we've got a whole Lifeway in there. How much supplemental shit do you people need? You've got all that, and you want to take over the whole rest of the print/electronic media? Why? Is this really a gotta-catch-'em-all scenario?

Makes me reaaaally hope I'm left behind. Would you really want to share an eternity with people who need this kind of blanket?

Better vote, and you better do it in droves, people, from now on. Serious shit's afoot.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Majority IS the Will of the People

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These assholes were voted out in droves. Keep on with your Obama temper-tantrum. It's gonna be a long one for you.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Accuracy, Cont.

Army of One

The Hurt Locker's chances of winning have not been damaged one bit by all the Army-Partisan knitpicking. The film will still lose to Avatar, just as scheduled.

Accuracy is a funny thing, sometimes we want it, sometimes we don't. Filmmakers have no responsibility whatsoever to provide you with accurate details. They should have no allegiance to any one group, or ideology, ideally. If you want specific, informative, accurate detail, get a textbook (unless you're in Texas). But don't go to the movies for it. That's pretty foolish.

Besides, define accuracy accurately. Try it. We know some facts to be inherently true. There are things we can verify. An IED defuser leaving the barracks for an entire night to wander deep into a dangerous area of town might never happen, but then again, it might. What, you're going to tell me it's impossible?

The type of uniform a soldier is wearing only matters to someone who used to be or is still a soldier. But filmmakers have no allegiance to you. Sorry. It would be nice if they had gotten that right, but did they maliciously get it wrong? That's quite doubtful.

Would a commanding officer allow an enemy combatant to bleed to death? You're going to tell me it's impossible? In this war?

The military is not an organization above scrutiny. And while you are respected and admired for your self-sacrifice, you do not get to dictate to filmmakers how their films are made. Complete fealty to your institution ignores the My Lais and Shock and Awes that occur under its purview.

I'm more than tired, really, of all this fealty to the military, anyway. I'm not anti-military at all, in principle, but not every soldier is a hero, and there are numerous documents, stories, films, photographs, memoirs, tv shows, and on and on to give anyone who is interested more than enough detail to absorb, accurately. And some of it is accurate information the Army and its enlisted men and women would rather we'd have never seen. Here're some facts for you. Go ahead and tell me what they mean.

Bigelow's film is not concerned with strict realism. It is being marketed as an action film, but it plays like an existential drama in the desert. If they've gotten some clothes or protocol wrong, they're only human, but, right or wrong, their priority is to tell the story they are telling, not the one you'd prefer.

These complaints are kind of the equivalent of the imdb Goofs section, writ large, because, understandably, the enlisted have very strong attachments to how units are run. I get that, but I would like to gently persuade anyone offended by it, that even if the The Hurt Locker were one hundred percent accurate, it would still not be making enough bank to qualify as a consciousness raiser for the people who made the hideous army recruitment ad, Transformers 2, the second biggest hit of 2009.

And you're going to tell me turning Bigelow's movie into Army propaganda and getting the suits right would get through to people? Not without giant Deceptinuts, Private. Hate to break it to you.

You may say Bigelow and co. are dishonoring the troops. Well, that is not their intention. But it is also, right or wrong, their right to "dishonor" the military if they find fault with how it or individuals within it are operating.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oscar Predix

Avatar will win best picture, because no, Hurt Locker won't, neither will Sandra Bullock Helps the Black People, neither will Jews in Trouble, neither will Disney Kills Old People, etc. etc.

You remember the last time a movie earned the most money ever, was directed by James Cameron and won? Well, it's gonna happen again. And get over it, 'cause Avatar was a good movie, mmmkay?

Kathryn Bigelow will win her directing Oscar. She won the DGA, end of story. They're not going to give it to her ex, since they didn't give it to him for his 'Fuck You Money" movie 13 years ago.

I think the best actor category is really a face-off between Jeff Bridges and Jeremy Renner. Not entirely sure though, because I haven't seen Crazy Heart yet. The buzz around Bridges is huge, so it's probably a good bet. They're not going to give it to Morgan Freeman. C'mon, are they really serious about him getting this nom when the main character in Rugby Cures Racism was played by Matt Damon?

Christoph Waltz will win best supporting actor for his turn in Inglourious Basterds. This is a fact, like photosynthesis. Sorry, Sir-in-Canada Christopher Plummer. Better luck next time.

Sandra Bullock will not win best actress for ending racism with sports, especially if Matt Damon won't win in that role, ESPECIALLY if Morgan Freeman won't win for playing Nelson Mandella. Except Bullock will win. Because the Academy sent us a message a few years ago that films the likes of Crash are high-caliber social commentary. They are very, very stupid, after all. Sorry to all the other nominees, but this is Bullock's year. I'll be sure to rent The Net to celebrate.

Really don't know who's winning best supporting actress. Haven't seen most of them yet. Vera Farmiga is very good in Up In The Air. But the Crazy Heart buzz may give it to Gyllenhaal.

Animated category's hard this year. I loved so much of it, but I especially loved Up, and Pixar's a good bet in any year, especially since, in the new expanded (and perfectly uselessly expanded) category, Up won't beat Avatar. So Up it is. As much as I love Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox, they're more niche market films, and we know how the Academy feels about those!

Film editing, cinematography and screenwriting must all go to Inglourious Basterds.

And frankly, it was the best film of 2009, period, and I will brook no argument on this. It's an extraordinary, extraordinary film.

In the Loop should win adapted screenplay, but Up In The Air will win, which is ok, because it's awesome, and Jason Reitman deserves a screenplay award for writing this wonderful movie.

All that scribbling here, but really, this is Avatar's year, because in case you haven't noticed, Hollywood needs money too, right now, and Avatar will bring it in like Tolkien did seven years ago. Avatar will win every fx category there is, for all its animation and 3-d layering. So be it. It was a good movie.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Always Wanted This

Q. I've read enough of your writing to gather that you admire, or did admire at one time, the film "Pink Floyd - The Wall." This is one of my all-time favorite films, and you are my all-time favorite film writer. I've read enough of your reviews and commentary to pick up on multiple references to this film, always positive, but have never read your actual full length review of the film. I assume there must be one. Maybe there isn't. I can't find it on IMDb.com or your own website.
Paul Apel

A. I did and do love it. I have no idea why I didn't review it at the time. It has been chosen for opening night of Ebertfest 2010, and between now and then I plan to write a Great Movie piece about it.

- Ebert's Answerman Column

It was, and remains, an extraordinary movie:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An Example...

....of a producer whom I would not normally find myself in a position to play, but still find very, very interesting, and of course, very good. Tricky, unique production technique here:



Major Lazer - When You Hear the Bassline (Tony Senghore mix)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Dutch, Bitch



Rogerseventytwo - Imagination

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh Bother

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Remember this, from last week? Well, it turns out strapping them down Alex-the-Droog isn't the worst advice, because apparently their entire careers are dependent on their collective amnesia and the amnesia of their followers. Christ on a melting cap.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Required Viewing

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Every single one of these unbelievably addlepated nitwits who've been repeating this meme ought to be forced droog-in-a-chair to watch this clip and get goddamned real.

The stupidity of these people would just be funny if it weren't so predatory.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Idiocracy



Every two months or so she comes back. People start acting like she has a chance. I don't know, maybe she does. I still doubt it.

My family is in lockstep with comparing Obama to Latin-American dictators. They believe everything they hear on the radio and on Fox News. They think Obama's going to raise the taxes on people's retirement funds (since they heard this on the radio, it's probably complete bullshit).

He may well have to, though. And if that happens, I'm not crying for anyone in my family who voted for two criminal presidents starting in 1968, and supported policies since then that have driven up the deficit and rammed our economy into oblivion. Not crying for any of you who did that. If you really believe in limited government, vote like it. You never, ever have, and in my most extreme moments, when I look at the likelihood of retiring with any sort of benefits myself, I gotta say, I don't care if they tax you into the stone-age. You break it, you bought it.

'Course, you could support a policy of raising the tax-rate for the wealthy back up to a pre-Reagan 70%. Deficit fixed, debt paid down, well before the middle-age of us millenials.

But we won't. And Obama won't. Because he's a radical socialist(?).

And they may have to raise your taxes, your never-ending Obama temper-tantrum notwithstanding.

Good luck with your Alaskan horrorshow.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Oh, For the Love of Beagles

Today at the Daily Dish:

Stay Classy, Rush

The now Miss America judge said this to Gretchen Carlson:

I love women. I don’t know where all this got started. I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.

Again: imagine Reagan saying something like that. You can't, can you?



Love your writing, Sully, even though your Reagan-crush blinds you, sometimes:

...But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet.

- Ronald Reagan - A Time For Choosing (Speech 1964)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

University of &$#*&$



I don't agree with a lot of this, but holy shit it's funny (and great film criticism).

(Hat Tip: Nastinchka)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our President, Consitutional Scholar

Article II, Section 3

"He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

First, it's not only allowed that the president would give his views on the 3rd branch's ruling, it is a constitutional requirement, if he feels it needs consideration by Congress...

-Excellent letter to Glenn Greenwald, response to his excellent entry today.


















More context here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

In Other, Happier Posts

Grum is awesome. That is all



(via Too Many Sebastians)

With This One.....

I don't want to get philosophical. I don't want to try and wade through finer points of the law.

It's simple: Abortion is legal, and shooting doctors point-blank in church is first degree murder.

Any other judicial consideration of that crime is enabling the murder of conscious, feeling human beings, who, along with their loved ones, are capable of suffering.

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These conservatives are lawless.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blech-quiem.

From reader reactions at The Dish:

I was looking at the tally a few minutes ago, and it looks like Brown won by 100,000 votes. 100,000 people get to derail the possibility of health insurance for 40 million? In a state where they have already passed this same reform? How does that make any sense at all? The states represented by Democrats in the Senate have populations that vastly outnumber those represented by Republicans. They need to represent us.

Health-care reform is a bastardized gift to private insurers. I dunno, maybe this is for the best, somehow.

If they're gonna call y'all a bunch of pinko socialists and (GASP) liberals, might as well push for single payer and a repeal of DADT. Just sayin', cowards.

Addendum:

All that said, and as horrible as the Democrats have been all year, the most amazing -- and depressing -- aspect of all of this is how Americans have so quickly forgotten how thoroughly the Republicans, during their eight-year reign, destroyed the country. Whatever the source of our national woes are, re-empowering that faction cannot possibly be the answer to anything.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Subhuman Garbage

You may have heard that Rush Limbaugh said some stupid, hateful shit about Haiti and how Obama blah blah blah. I never, ever listen to Limbaugh, so I, like most of you, I assume, only ever hear about the worst of the worse things that come out of his mouth. His most recent comments take the cake.

Many people on the left, like Olbermann, have said their piece (I have yet to hear anybody whatsoever on the right condemn Limbaugh).

None comes close in their rejoinders to Roger Ebert. It occurs to me, the two have at least one thing in common. They both have wide audiences. Limbaugh has millions of listeners a day, and Ebert has perhaps that many readers and fans. The differences start after that. One encourages, inspires, and nurtures a journey towards clearer, more mature discernment of nearly all things. The other takes direct advantage of the base ignorance of his following. One can be enjoyed by the illiterate. The other, well:

To: Rush Limbaugh
From: Roger Ebert


You should be horse-whipped for the insult you have paid to the highest office of our nation.

Having followed President Obama's suggestion and donated money to the Red Cross for relief in Haiti, I was offended to hear you suggest the President might be a thief capable of stealing money intended for the earthquake victims.

Here is a transcript from your program on Thursday:

Justin of Raleigh, North Carolina: "Why does Obama say if you want to donate some money, you could go to whitehouse.gov to direct you how to do so? If I wanted to donate to the Red Cross, why do I have to go to the White House page to donate?"

Limbaugh: "Exactly. Would you trust the money's gonna go to Haiti?"

Justin: "No."

Rush: "But would you trust that your name's gonna end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes?"

Justin: "Absolutely!"

Limbaugh: "Absolutely!"


That's what was said.

Unlike you and Justin of Raleigh, I went to Obama's web site, and discovered the link there leads directly to the Red Cross. I can think of a reason why anyone might want to go via the White House. That way they can be absolutely sure they're clicking on the Red Cross and not a fake site set up to exploit the tragedy.

But let me be sure I have this right. You and Justin agree that Obama might steal money intended for the Red Cross to help the wretched of Haiti.

This conversation came 48 hours after many of us had seen pitiful sights from Port au Prince. Tens of thousands are believed still alive beneath the rubble. You twisted their suffering into an opportunity to demean the character of the President of the United States.

This cannot have been an accident. A day earlier, a sound bite from your show went viral, in which you said Obama would exploit the situation to please his "black followers -- both the light-skinned and the dark-skinned ones."

Sen. Harry Reid made his careless comment thoughtlessly. Yours must have came after some thought. A one-liner in code to please your listeners who enjoy hearing African-Americans discussed in racist language. Yes, racist -- as anyone living in this country must realize.

You have a sizable listening audience. You apparently know how to please them. Anybody given a $400 million contract must know what he is doing.

That's what offends me. You know exactly what you're doing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just The Facts, Ma'am.

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There are things worth griping about with this presidency. But lately, all I've been hearing is Republican talk, everywhere, and it attempts to obscure the facts.