Archive for December, 2010

“Love me!” Lorin watches some movie trailers.

December 16, 2010

Before I jump back into writing about movies and albums in ways besides list form, I thought I would ease into the ol’ bloggin’ rhythm by writing about a bunch of movie trailers I watched last night at two in the morning. Do these trailers pull off the hard work of making me want to see their dumb movie? Let us find out.


TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

The second Transformers movie is terrible but did have a pretty cool fight in a forest where Michael Bay held his shots for longer than a microsecond and it was kinda sorta great. That said, the rest of the movie was garbage and I have no reason to think DARK OF THE MOON will be otherwise. This trailer takes forever to forever to establish that NASA actually sent Neil and Buzz up there all those years ago to get Transformers samples. Since the other films already established that the Transformers have been around for forever and ever, how is this an interesting twist? Plus, I distinctly recall the Decepticons revealing their presence to the world in the last movie, so what does NASA knowing about Transformers in 1969 really mean at all? I GUESS WE’LL FIND OUT THIS JULY!

Verdict: I’ll let a kid at work tell me about it after he sees it

REAL STEEL

Hugh Jackman has been a movie star for ten years now. That was my first thought as this trailer began and when Hugh is shown yelling out the line “Let’s make some money!” I wondered, is that the kind of line an actor hopes to yell out when he’s “made it”? I mean, c’mon, Hugh has made it. He hosted the Oscars a couple years ago, he’s goddamn Wolverine and yet here he is in a very shitty looking movie about a boxing league for robots that hits all the same notes of a regular boxing movie and is thus forcing my brain to shut down. Clearly, there are two types of movie stars: your Leos and Brads who can do as many arty and interesting flicks as they like and your Hughs who are relatively big stars but have to spend years of their lives making fighting robot movies. Also the CGI is terrible.

Verdict: Netflix

I AM NUMBER FOUR

Olyphant is in this! (Hurray!) He’s relegated to being a side character that the ostensible hero will have to rescue (boo!). My first thought was Dark Angel meets Dark City (on account of the villain’s trench coats). These kids aren’t very interesting but like I said, Olyphant.

Verdict: I’ll let McCarty tell me about it after he sees it

RITE

Did you know that in November of 2010 the Vatican called together a bunch of priests and clergy to talk seriously about exorcisms? It was in the New York Times! Really, New York Times? Print is truly dead. Anyway, Rite would like you to believe that exorcisms are important and real and that one priest’s faith will be tested. I did like the part when a stray cat scares the priest and Anthony Hopkin’s uber priest asks, “Are you afraid of cats? Rome is infested with them. Don’t let them in my house.” DRAMATIC MUSIC CUE! Oh, I guess I also liked the part where a priest does an exorcism slide show for some weak stomached nuns. Shit was retarded.

Verdict: I’ll let an old woman at work tell me about how it was based on real events, so…

FAST FIVE

In. So fucking in. Along with bringing back everyone who isn’t dead, which includes Tyrese and Ludacris, the fifth Fast and the Furious movie has The Rock. With a goatee! And he warns his team to not let our heroes get into cars. Vin Diesel tells Paul Walker to stop thinking like a cop, Paul Walker looks sad that Vin doesn’t love him, and they jump off high ledges and onto and off of cars while being chased. Are you kidding? So. Fucking. In.

Verdict: Opening day

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

This looks just as awful as the last two. The most pointless film franchise of all time. How many films do we need to establish the fact that Jack Sparrow is a cad with a heart of gold? So far, four. And Penelope Cruz looks like she needs a shower.

Verdict: Don’t tell me about it because I don’t fucking care


SUCKER PUNCH

Zack Snyder’s 300 is overrated and Watchmen was fine but who wants to have their movie thought of as “fine”. His Dawn of the Dead rules. This is firmly in the wheelhouse of his more recent ventures but I can’t lie and say this doesn’t appeal to me on a very primal level of violence mixed with pretty ladies with swords. Plus, my old crush Jena Malone is in it. I would be most impressed if the end of this film was just like Jacob’s Ladder.

Verdict: I sat through KICK-ASS, and this looks better than that shitball.

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS

Christoph Waltz! Based on a beloved novel! Reese Witherspoon! Wait. Oh. Robert Pattinson is in this. Sorry you guys.

Verdict: If I flip by it on Encore Mystery one night in 2016.

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

They started with the song title and worked down from there. The blonde chick can get it, the fat guy is doing a Jack Black impression, and Topher Grace looks super sad y’all. And as my father likes to often mention, Eddie Money is TERRRRIBLE.

Verdict: Mila Kunis won.

THE TREE OF LIFE

I have only viewed two Terrence Malik films, Badlands which I liked a lot and The Thin Red Line which is boring. The Tree of Life trailer teases a potentially interesting story with Brad Pitt’s ill-advised parenting but if I’m following the narrative that Sean Penn is the kid all grown up, feeling sad and looking out windows, then I’ll probably skip this one. It does say something that at around two and half minutes Malik can still over do the nature shots. But what do I know, I’m excited for Fast Five. The Brad Pitt material looks promising and insightful but the work as a whole feels like a drag.

Verdict: Has the strong possibility of being boring.

Favorite Albums of the 2000’s: 10 – 1

December 2, 2010

Albums 100 – 91

Albums 90 – 81

Albums 80 – 71

Albums 70 – 61

Albums 60 – 51

Albums 50 – 41

Albums 40 – 31

Albums 30 – 21

Albums 20 – 11

10.  Primal Scream – XTRMNTR (2000)

XTRMNTR is awesome for a bunch of reasons, the main reason being that it is fucking bad ass. Primal Scream aren’t inherently bad ass but they pulled it off here. If you didn’t know anything about their other work(which I did not at the time of release) you would have figured them to be screaming revolutionaries with a big plan to burn it all down and start anew. Actually, they’re hippies(self loathing hippies). ANYWAY, XTRMNTR is generally angry, loud, and funky. So many great bass lines, or the same bass line on a different song. I know Kevin Shields was involved in this record but all my props go to the guy who wrote the bass lines. They rule. Bobby Gillespie’s atonal singing sounds positively amoral. Has anyone referred to this album as a giant boot to the face?

9.    Ghostface Killah – The Pretty Toney Album (2004)

Dude is incredible. Ghostface Killah is one of the greatest rappers to ever do it and he has an amazing ear for beats. No one, NO ONE, has as many consistently great rap records as him. The Pretty Toney Album finds Ghostface more soulful than usual, of course more soulful for Ghostface still means more references to “pussy” than one might expect. “Run” is another in the long list of great Ghostface crime songs and “Beat The Clock” is Ghostface arguing with himself to rap as fast as he can about anything at all AND WINNING. Well, his mind promises vengeance one day.

8.    The Strokes – Is This It (2001)

My favorite song on Is This It is “Alone, Together”. It contains my favorite Strokes lyric coincidentally: “Life is unreal/can we go back to your place”. Is there a better representation of being a young shallow guy? Nope. There is a striking honesty in that line that I’m sure plenty of critics caught on to that caused them to christen The Strokes as rock’s saviors. Every stupid(also not stupid) rock song is about getting girls, but The Strokes had a sly sense of humor about it. If only they’d stayed funny forever. Is This It is a quintessential “first record”, showing off a band who have honed themselves to their peak abilities and can only be harmed by all the rewards their success will bring.


7.    Ghostface Killah – Fishscale (2006)

Ghostface hones his craft. So many classics it’s surreal: “Shakey Dog”, “The Champ”, “Be Easy”, “Whip You With Strap”, “Big Girl”, “Kilo”. Ghost does every kind of track on this record and it is murder.  Ghostface is an emotional rapper and performer and he never traffics in anything but the truth. When Ghost raps to the girls doing cocaine on “Big Girl”, he may have supplied them with the coke but he isn’t blind to their lost potential. Ghostface thrives on the details, be it the brief history of a tenement denizen he passes on the stairs on “Shakey Dog” or the explicit ways in which he has dissed you on “Be Easy”(fucked your sister and given you urine to drink). Fishscale may not have reignited his career but it is a star-affirming work all the same.

6.    Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High (2007)

Infinity On High is Fall Out Boy’s “we are not a fluke” album. “The Take over, The Breaks Over” is the kind of punchy pop rock that no one does better than FOB. And “I Have All This Ringing in my Ears and None on my Fingers” is, title aside, Fall Out Boy at their finest. This is also the record that everyone realized that Pete Wentz’s lyrics are actually funny, sorta witty and way more interesting than about 95% of the lyrics in rock music today. Listen, I know most people don’t get or understand my love of this band. It’s admittedly tough to explain, but let me try. Catchy songs, great singer, genuine emotion; these are all the things I hear when I listen to Fall Out Boy. Pete Wentz is someone who loves a turn of phrase and Patrick Stump is the only guy who can take these lyrics and make them anthems. (Seriously, no one else can deliver these lyrics). The rest of the band developed in one album from a shaggy group to a tight unit who couldn’t just play their instruments well, but with skill and style. Great band, great album.

5.    Jay-Z – The Black Album (2003)

The greatest album by the world’s greatest rapper. Reasonable Doubt might be more consistent but The Black Album is Jay-Z at his career peak. “P.S.A.”, “99 Problems”, “What More Can I Say?”, hell, what more can I say? The Black Album is the ultimate Jay-Z primer for anyone who’s ever asked, “Hey, why is that Jay-Z guy so popular?” Because he spits insane fire all over this album, son! Jay-Z is at his best when he has something to prove, and with TBA he had to prove that there are none greater and that he cannot be topped. So he grabs up a murderer’s row of producers (Just Blaze, Kanye, Rick Rubin, Timbaland) and just kills it over their beats. Their best work produced Jay’s best work. The film Fade To Black is a nice addendum to The Black Album as it follows Jay-Z through the recording of the album and shows his process. His process: killing it. For a the best summation of my thoughts on The Black Album, see the the guy’s face at 2:33 in this clip.

4.    Radiohead – Kid A (2000)

Kid A is a bit of an obvious choice, but obvious because it is so obviously great. I’ve easily listened to it more times than any other Radiohead record. I recall at the time of it’s release people talking about Kid A in fearful, hushed tones. “Kid A is too quiet.” “The sound on it is so cold and distant.” “What happened to the guitars?” Then and now, I haven’t a clue what these people were talking about. Kid A is easily Radiohead’s best and warmest record because it was such a dynamic change for the band. Kid A is exciting precisely because Radiohead weren’t doing an easy record, they were experimenting and trying out new ideas and larks. I’ve heard a million songs and albums with guitars. There are so many other instruments in the world and Radiohead know how to play them! Let them.

3.    Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)

The joy inherent in the first 5 tracks on Discovery are the basis for Daft Punk’s career thus far. They were certainly genius’s on Homework but Discovery is the dance party that everyone truly rallied around. When people get excited about Daft Punk, it’s because of “One More Time”, or the guitar solo on “Digital Love”. Daft Punk seem on track to never top Discovery but asking them to do that is a pretty tall order. Like I said, have you heard this fucking thing? I’m surprised they can still get out of bed in the morning and consider putting out any other music.

2.    Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine (2004)

Sebastien Grainger goes through plenty of emotions(passionately) on You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. He vacillates between slick lover man and impassioned angry jerk from track to track, so one moment’s rough embrace is followed by a track of screamed recrimination. Which is all to say that Grainger is complicated guy with issues and Jesse Keeler wrote some fucking monster riffs. These guys were made for each other which is why they can’t stand each other anymore and dissolved the band. Reverse soulmates. I’ve actually met them both briefly, and from those encounters I found that Sebastien came across like someone with somewhere else to be and lacking in patience while Jesse was  thoughtful and genuine. Polar opposites really. That these guys were able to hash it out long enough to make this masterpiece is both a mystery and gift.

1.    Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (2000)

Just one of the greatest albums of all time. This record came along in the summer of 2000 and changed my life. This was the album that explained to me that music is wide and varied, that the rules do not apply because there are no rules. Rated R is eleven tracks of “Fuck the rules. Who made the rules, anyway? Fuck them too.” Drug songs of course but also in-jokes, eight minutes of manic horns to close out the record, and RIFFS. The guitars crunch out every riff and they’re some of the greatest riffs ever too. Josh and Nick were just starting their too brief partnership of awesomeness and much like Jesse and Sebastien, they utilized their differences to great effect. This is why all great bands end. Too many great ideas and powerful egos in one room, eventually something has to give. But before the implosion, they gave us Rated R.


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