Sunday, October 24, 2010

Follow You Down But Not That Far (Music Review)

First Impression Music Review Gin Blossoms - No Chocolate Cake D+
Release Date: September 28, 2010

I've always been drawn to the GBs catchy pop rock sound and modest lyrics. But No Chocolate Cake feels terribly unoriginal and dated. With the exception of a few songs and a few appealing lyrics this album borders on cheesy. It reminds me of ripped jeans and big hair, if this was 1988 it would be epic!

Favorite Tracks: "I Don't Want to Lose You Now" & "Somewhere Tonight"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Social Network - Movie Review

The Social Network (PG-13) 121 minutes A
A War He Can Afford

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara and Justin Timberlake

It's fiction loosely based on nonfiction (Ben’s Mazrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires) and yet more proof that the pursuit of beauty, money and to some extent, revenge, is what fuels the world.

Essentially The Social Network is a film more about revenge and less about social networking. The opening scene finds Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) being dumped by his girlfriend who exclaims, “dating you is like dating a Stairmaster” before leaving our antihero bewitched, bothered and bewildered at the bar. Moments later back in his Harvard dorm room, drinking insistently and still fuming from the break-up, Zuckerberg creates “Facesmash”, which later becomes "thefacebook" and eventually just “Facebook”. It all results in Zuckerberg becoming the youngest billionaire in the world and a world-class asshole.

I loved this film mostly for its exploration of human behavior. Minus the smarts and access to free money (from his friend “Eduardo” played by Andrew Garfield) Zuckerberg is a familiar representation of today’s society of longing to belong, status updates and friendship. Many times during the film I found myself cheering for Zuckerberg while simultaneously wishing he wouldn’t be such a jerk because then he could have it all. But his jerkiness is what makes the film so winning and keeps the audience engaged: he's the geek you love to hate.

The Social Network is talky, it’s one of the few (but common) complaints I’ve read about the film. Yet it’s masterfully made- crisp and clean with a witty upbeat pace. Not to mention it's scored by none other than Trent Reznor.

Highly Recommended!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Switch - Movie Review

The Switch (PG-13) 101 minutes B-
Bateman & Switch

Starring Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, Jennifer Aniston, Patrick Wilson and Juliette Lewis

The Switch isn’t much more than your typical Hollywood rom-com but it does have a couple things in its favor: the always attractive (no matter how bad the film is) Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman who makes any film he’s in better.

In The Switch Wally (Bateman) and Kassie (Aniston) are bff’s and of course Wally is in love with Kassie and Kassie is oblivious to this...or so it seems. After a few colossal screw-ups by Wally he realizes he’s in love and has to win her back. Sound familar? Yeah, it's the same old same old plot line. But The Switch still manges to entertain due in large part to Bateman.

Loosely based on a short story called "Baster" by Jeffrey Eugenides the film also features nice supporting roles by Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Interruption of my time (Book Review)

Terry McMillan - The Interruption of Everything D-
Publication date: July 2005

I had to force myself to finish this one. I didn't like or care about any of these characters. Disappointing.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Never Let Me Go - Movie Review

Never Let Me Go (R) 103 minutes B-
Longing, hopelessness and Cary Mulligan looking sweet and innocent

Starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Charlotte Rampling and Sally Hawkins

I didn't read Kazuo Ishiguro's novel (of the same name) from which this film is based, nor did I have any idea what this film was about before I saw it. But the trailer looked intriguing and I heard the novel was terrific.

Tauted as a sort of artsy science fiction film, it's really just a haunting romantic drama laced with longing and unrequited love. It follows three friends, an adolescent love triangle and their deadly fate. Never Let Me Go unfolds slowly, it's not terribly exciting or uplifting, but Cary Mulligan makes it worth watching.

If you're looking for a good cry this is the film for you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Living the Dream...Or Not (Book Review)

Juliana Hatfield - When I Grow Up B+
Publication Date: September 2008

Juliana Hatfield was buzzworthy in the early nineties. Her first solo album, Hey Babe, was one of the top selling indie albums of 1992 and the follow-up one year later, Become What You Are, spawned two successful singles - "My Sister" and "Spin the Bottle".

These days Hatfield is less popular but just as relevant. As a fan of her music I enjoyed the insight into her rocknroll fantasy and sequential reality. In this memoir she tends to get a little bogged down in mundane details and I would've preferred more about the albums/songs. Nevertheless it's still an interesting glimpse into the life and pressures of an indie rock musician who was once the "next big thing".

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rock Crowd Put Your Arms Around Me (Music Review)

First Impression Music Review
Pete Yorn - Pete Yorn B-
Release date: September 28, 2010
Could Pete Yorn have come up with a less original album cover and album title? And what about the second track on the album- Rock Crowd? The first time I heard it I thought it could be the cheesiest song he'd ever written.

My first spin of PY left me feeling less than impressed but Yorn has an uncanny way and growing on me and really getting under my skin. After about 4 or 5 listens I can't get Rock Crowd out of my head even though I still think it sounds a little cheesy.

I read that he recorded the album while fighting the flu, knowing this gives the album an element of suffering yet determination. Sorta like Game 5 of the 1997 NBA championship between the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls when Jordan had the flu but still managed a very memorable 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. PY may not be that remarkable but it has its moments.

Favorite tracks- Precious Stone, Velcro Shoes, Stronger Than & Future Life

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Eternal Flame For Sonic Youth (Concert Review)

Sonic Youth w/Caldera Lakes @ the Ogden Theatre B

Tonight was my 6th Sonic Youth show and probably the must understated one that I've seen. With a wave and a smile the band walked on stage and kicked off their set with Bull in the Heather from 1994's Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, followed by Sacred Trickster from their most recent album, The Eternal.

Fans expecting to hear a heavy dose of the ever popular (and classic) Daydream Nation were probably disappointed because almost half of tonight's set consisted of songs from The Eternal. Nevertheless you can't go wrong with a Sonic Youth show, they're easily one of the greatest bands and live acts of all time.

Here is tonight's set list:
Bull in the Heather
Sacred Trickster
No Way
Calming the Snake
Catholic Block
Anti-Orgasm (dedicated to the Tea Party)
Poison Arrow
What We Know
Massage the History
Encore 1
The Wonder
Encore 2
Shadow of a Doubt
Expressway To Yr Skull

Friday, October 1, 2010

Easy A - Movie Review

Easy A (PG-13) 90 minutes B+
A high school sex comedy minus the sex

Starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Church, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Aly Michalka, Stanley Tucci, Fred Armisen, Juliette Goglia and Jake Sandvig

Easy A is the story of how a little white lie can snowball into an avalanche of lies (despite temporarily enhancing your social and financial status). On the surface it may seem like just another teen comedy... and it is more or less. But it's also clever, smart and funny.

Directed by Will Gluck the film also pays homage to 80's cult favorites like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Say Anything giving it a certain amount of cinematic street cred so to speak.

Great cast, lighthearted and recommended. Get your popcorn and enjoy!