Sunday, April 29, 2007

In the Land of Women

In the Land of Women (PG-13) 97 minutes B-

Starring Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Meg Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Makenzie Vega, Elena Anaya, Clark Gregg, and JoBeth Williams

Carter Web (Brody) is a 26 year old L.A. screenwriter. He has just been dumped by his beautiful movie star girlfriend and he desperately needs to get away. Carter decides to go to Michigan to care for his ailing grandmother (Dukakis), focus on his writing, and "regroup". Once he arrives it doesn't take long before he is befriended by Sarah (Ryan), a forty something MILF, and Sarah's pencil thin teenage daughter, Lucy (Stewart).

Sarah is married, and by most standards, too old for Carter. Lucy is jail bait, plain and simple. Yet the vulnerable Carter finds himself smack dab in the middle of some heavy family drama.

...Land of Women manages to never get too cutesy, nor does it seem to ever take itself too seriously. It's a little predictable and a little sappy, but overall I was pleasantly surprised by its charm.

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As for my weekend... well it was a pretty good one. I watched 4 hours of the NFL draft on Saturday, did some yard work, cleaned my closet, did some laundry, went to dinner, watched the Nuggets game, played some pool and enjoyed a few spirits at the local tavern.

Last night I had some really weird dreams and this morning I woke up not knowing what day it was and I had no concept of time.

I dreamt that I had a roommate (who happened to be gay), and I stumbled upon one of his homemade sex tapes (on VHS) . It was pretty hardcore stuff with multiple partners, but as I watched I was totally unfazed by what I had discovered. I left the tape playing and went to my bedroom to put away my laundry. My roommate came home early and was surprised to see his sex tape playing when he walked in. He was pissed! And basically the dreamed ended with me apologizing and expecting him to kick me out.

The other dream was- I caught a kid spray painting graffiti (very artistically actually) on my backyard fence. I held the kid hostage and called 911, but the cops never showed up. I yelled loudly at the kid, making a big scene so that all my neighbors would notice that I had captured the neighborhood tagger. After awhile the kid's brother and a bunch of his gang banger buddies arrived, and I let the kid go and begged them not to shoot me.

I ate some pretty weird crap before bed last night. Among them was a dirty burrito I bought from some guy at the bar. He said it had potatoes and Mexican spaghetti in it. Hell... he had me at potatoes. It was tasty (and I wasn't even that drunk).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What if I were Romeo in black jeans

Michael Penn - Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea: A Michael Penn Collection

This album is essentially a "best of" with a twist. Penn has hand picked these songs himself and provided us with a few updated versions of old tunes, a demo, and a couple of previously unreleased tracks.

Penn was hailed as the next big thing when the single No Myth hit the airwaves back in 1989. But quickly after that he began to fade out of the spotlight. 1992 brought the brilliant and near perfect album-Free for All. The album featured the penetrating single Long Way Down (look what the cat drug in), which is rumored to be about Madonna and her relationship with Penn's brother Sean.

After that album Penn began to fade quickly from the mainstream, but he continued to make great music. Now, after 5 albums, Penn has chosen to release a career retrospective. I'm not crazy about "best of" albums (especially when I already have all the albums), but the newly recorded versions do make this collection feel fresher. This is a good introduction for those of you unfamiliar with Penn's music.

Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea: A Michael Penn Collection gets a solid B

Other albums by Michael Penn

March = B
Free For All = A-
Resigned = B
MP4 Days Since a lost time accident = B-
Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947 = A-

"We said goodbye before hello, my secrets she will never know" - Michael Penn

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sean Lennon - Live at the Bluebird Theater


Sean Lennon - Live at the Bluebird Theater
w/ Woman & Children and Kamila Thompson

Despite being a little under the weather I made it to the Sean Lennon show at the Bluebird

A band called Women and Children opened the show, their sound was unique and unusual... a little old school Gothic, a touch of rockabilly, and reminiscent of the Velvet Underground featuring Nico. Lennon came on stage and joined the band for the last song of their set. It was a very cool guest star/rock star moment. Lennon added a few moans and some fancy guitar licks on the gorgeous but haunting last song.

Kamila Thompson was the second act. She appeared on stage with a pink guitar, a good sense a humor, and solo acoustic. After two or three songs she was joined on stage by members of Lennon's band. Thompson (the daughter of folk rockers Richard & Linda Thompson), is working on her debut album due sometime this year. She is cute, English, good voice, decent lyrics, but after a few songs I was a little bored with her. Artist like her are a dime a dozen, and although I appreciate and even adore a number of them, their has to be something special to separate yourself from the pack.

Sean Lennon was welcomed to the stage with very enthusiastic applause. I was a little surprised by the spirited and vocal audience. Lennon wore white jeans, white shirt, red tie, a hat and sports coat that looked like it was straight off the thrift store racks. He wore big glasses that are so uncool they were cool. He looked like anything but a baby faced pretty boy- which I think some expected. His voice was absolutely amazing! He sounded just as good if not better than he does on cd. His band was tight, and they sounded crisp and clean. So clean that I wish they would've expanded on his sound a little more. If I had one complaint, it was that he didn't seem to spread his wings and really let go.

He did do a few guitar tricks and one or two extended jams, but he played very few songs from his first album which showcased a wider range of musical styles. When someone in the audience yelled "Cowboy Trilogy Part One", Lennon replied "that's too hard to play."

Overall, it was a very good show, and good rock star banter between songs. He touched on everything from beer, to Alec Baldwin, to his mom (Yoko Ono- who was in attendance), to inventing new catch phrases-"you go boyfriend!"

Sean Lennon= B+ /Women & Children= B /Kamila Thompson= C
Overall Grade B

Cp

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Pretty Good Year!

On Tuesday Trent Reznor dropped Year Zero, the new NIN album. It's easily the best NIN album since The Downward Spiral.

The album sounds loose, despite the heavy concept... which is something about the government and the year 2022 (a good music critic would've researched that beforehand). One article I read a few days ago referred to Year Zero as the digital version of Dark side of the Moon. Here Reznor creates a mood that's both desolate and engaging.

On track number 5, Vessel. Reznor begins with the lyrics "I let you put it in my mouth", hearing him say that and how he says it made my skin crawl. It sounds filthy, yet erotic, yet creepy. Track 8, My Violent Heart makes me want to jump up, shake my booty, and dance like I've had 8 red bull vodkas.

Year Zero's digital distortion and concept may seem bleak, but it sounds very vital! A-

Other NIN albums from my home collection

The Downward Spiral A+ (classic)
Pretty Hate Machine A+ (classic)
Broken A+ (classic)
With Teeth B-
The Fragile C+
Further Down the Spiral B+
Fixed B
Things Falling Apart C+

"Voters want a fraud they can believe in" -Will Durst

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Albuquerque

I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was awakened by the sound of music. I was groggy and disoriented, and when I finally gathered myself I realized I was in a strange medieval castle. I followed the sound of music to find Carol Van Dijk and the rest of her band (Bettie Serveert) working on a new album. Carol was laying on an air mattress, writing something in a notebook. She was wearing baggy gray cargo pants and a white tank top. There was a dense haze that filled the castle... like fog or smoke. I said to Carol - "I know we're close to Canada, and I know you've told me before... but where are we?" She looked at me as if she can't believe I'm asking this stupid question and replies - "Albuquerque." I feel dumb and find my way back to my room.

Movie Reviews
The Hoax (R) 115 minutes B

Starring Richard Gere, Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Stanley Tucci, Julie Delpy, Eli Wallach, and John Carter

A good film that had sort of a flimsy feel to it. Still, I liked the performances by Richard Gere, Hope Davis, and Alfred Molina. Inspired by true events, these films always drive me crazy because I wonder how much is real and how much is sensationalized. But it's usually a good thing when I walk away wanting to know more.

Bonus DVD Review
Come Early Morning (R) 97 minutes DVD release: March 20, 2007 B

Starring Ashley Judd, Jeffrey Donovan, Diane Ladd, Tim Blake Nelson, Scott Wilson, Laura Prepon, and Ray McKinnon

I really wanted to like Lucy (Ashley Judd), I thought that she was a strong but misunderstood woman. Judd does a great job here, as does Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy) who writes and directs this film. Come Early Morning is a small, intimate, and gritty look at a women who is trying to find herself in a small town with big baggage.
*Nominated, Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic), 2006 Sundance Film Festival

"Alimony is like buying oats for a dead horse." - Arthur Baer

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Channel Zero

Some of these news stories are so tiring. I'm so sick of hearing about Don Imus. People have asked me what I think about what he said, and frankly, I don't give a rat's ass. When I first heard what he said, I just chuckled and thought... "what a dumbass." Stuff like that doesn't surprise me at all. Now he has lost his job and he's being crucified by the media- Good enough for me.

And Larry Birkenstockhead is the daddy(of Anna Nicole's kid)... Thank God! Mystery solved! I've had enough of that story too. Duke Lacross- Not caring!

Let's focus on more important things... Like the NFL schedule which was released this week. Exciting stuff! During the offseason I look forward to things like free agency, the schedule release, draft day, training camp, etc... it bridges the gap until Aug 5th (the first preseason game).

Also this week, I finally finished A Dull Roar- It was a good read. Henry Rollins is an acquired taste for most but I find him very inspiring. A Dull Roar is basically a journal of how he spent his summer vacation 2006- working on his IFC show, training, touring with the band, writing, doing a movie, yadayadayada. He is a fascinating human being, and it amazes me how much he gets accomplished while fighting bouts of depression. He's a very liberal minded renaissance man who constantly longs for isolation, and all of this seems to cumulate into passionate writing and music. After finishing A Dull Roar I emailed Mr. Rollins and he emailed me back. Very Cool!

Today I joined a new gym... I rarely went to the old one, so lets hope that some new scenery will do me good. Normally, I get all gungho about this kind of stuff, then lose steam after a week or two. So I'm trying to stay realistic and disciplined. Maybe I'll get that itch like so many others who start going to the gym, and become so addicted that they feel distraught when they break their routine.

I've been listening to Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun and Radiohead - Com Lag: 2+2=5 today. Both sound pretty good. It's good to throw in some NeoSoul every now & then to shake things up. Radiohead sounded very refreshing as well.

Cp

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Music, Food, and the Sunday Night Blues

Just a few things...

Michael Penn has a new album coming out in a few weeks, and their reissuing his last album- Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947. Michael Penn is great, so hearing about a new disc and a reissue is exciting news.

Also, this is shaping up to be a great year for concerts! Morrissey is here next month! The Hold Steady will also be here next month... and many many other cool shows are coming to town soon. I read that Freedy Johnston has an album due in September, plus he's working on an album of all covers. Suzanna Vega has an album coming out in June, and Nine Inch Nails, Bright Eyes, Wilco, Afghan Whigs (a retrospective), and Megadeath all have new music on the horizon in the coming weeks! Plus, there is plenty of new music I haven't gotten yet... (like the new Son Volt cd, the samples sounded pretty good on their website).

On a different note... a couple random things before I go to bed. The Sopranos are back- good 1st episode!

And back by popular demand; A list of my 5 favorite foods.

1. Cheese (queso, nacho, etc...)
2. My very own turkey or chicken chili
3. Pho (soup)
4. Pad Thai (w/chicken &/or sometimes shrimp)
5. Hooter Wings

"Husbands are like fires, they go out if unattended." - Zsa Zsa Gabor

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Living With The Law

It is a cold night in the mile high city. I'm sitting here listening to Living With The Law by the late great Chris Whitley. For those of you who haven't heard Chris Whitley, Living With The Law is a classic and his most popular album. Whitley was passionate, raw, experimental, and always inspired- a true artist. I really dig LWTL, but I also have a special fondness for Din of Ecstasy, his second album (LWTL was his first album). Whitley made honest music, he seem like the kind of musician that truly loved music and didn't care about fortune, fame, or what was cool.

Mr. Whitley died in November of 2005.

So it was back to school this past week. Work continues to be an uphill battle, and I finally pulled the trigger and got some home improvement stuff done. I also went to the Rockies home opener last Monday... good times.

As for the upcoming week, I hope it's productive and smooth. I expect to finish reading A Dull Roar in the next day or two (the latest book by Henry Rollins), and hopefully I'll stop procrastinating and start the two papers I have to write for school. Happy Easter everyone!

"You gotta tell me was it love
Or some high-grade alcohol" - Chris Whitley

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Namesake - Movie Review

The Namesake (PG-13) 122 minutes C+
Starring Kal Penn, Tabu, Irfan Khan, Jacinda Barrett, Glenne Headly, Linus Roache, and Daniel Gerroll
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, The Namesake is a very sentimental and likable film. It's the story of an Indian-American family and their struggles to balance cultural traditions, family, and all the possibilities that come with migrating to the United States.


I thought this movie was going to be more about the interracial relationship between Gogol (Kal Penn) and Maxine (Jacinda Barrett), but it goes much deeper than that. Most critics really loved this film for its compassion, honesty, and humanistic detail. But it never seemed to grab me emotionally. This film is an exploration of life, love, and cultural traditions that strives to be moving, emotional, and uplifting.

The story begins in the late 70's, and spans two generations. The film is set up nicely, and proceeds through varies stages of the characters lives. It is well acted and features a surprisingly spunky soundtrack. But this amiable film didn't invigorate my emotional vulnerabilities like I hoped it would.

Perfomances by Indian model/actress Tabu and Kal Penn (you might recognize him as "Kumar" from the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle movie) were especially strong. Ultimately, this is a nice film that I think some of you will really enjoy....especially if you like films about culture, tradition and family. There were a few things I didn't quite understand... but all in all it was an entertaining film despite its shortcomings (being a little too sentimental and feeling a little long).

The Animal Years

I went to a party tonight. It wasn't a dinner party or the standard run of the mill birthday party. It was pretty much a good old fashion kegger/house party. Generally I think I'm too old for this type of party, but I looked forward to this one simply for the change of pace.

It was a good time. I met a lot of cool people and had some very mature conversations. Everything from having children after 30, staying in shape after 35, and why Bill Richardson of New Mexico should run for president. I also learned that Hilary Clinton has cankles, and it's illegal to bring your own wine to a restaurant in Colorado.

Tonight I drank slow but steady, and I never caught a buzz (despite skipping dinner). My biggest challenge tonight wasn't to stay sober, or to resist the gravity defying bodies of 23 year old girls. It was to withstand the urge to binge eat when I got home...I failed. I should have just went to bed when I got home, but instead I turned on my computer, put Josh Ritter into the cd player and made bean & cheese dip.

This Josh Ritter album is amazing. I love it, It's called The Animal Years. I highly recommend it. It plays like the soundtrack to my life right now, it's one of those albums that had me at "hello". I hope he comes to Denver this year.

"God sends meat and the devil sends cooks" - Thomas Deloney