Saturday, July 23, 2011

Horrible Bosses - Movie Review

Horrible Bosses (R) 100 minutes B+
Desperate Times Desperate Measures

Starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland, Jamie Foxx

I liked Horrible Bosses.  It's one of the best comedies I've seen this year.  However, it does feel like a retread of a clever Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis film.  The subject matter (albeit exaggerated) is something most of us can relate to.  The dynamic cast and current job market makes it funny and relevant. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Colorado Proud! Jeni Olin Strikes a Nerve & Keeps on Truckin (Book Review)

Hold Tight: The Truck Darling Poems - Jeni Olin  B+
Publication Date: May 2010

Hold Tight: The Truck Darling Poems are wild, crazy and unpredictable. I love the images these poems evoke and the way Olin's words crash and burn with fearlessness. In the poem Welcome To Costco. I Love You, Olin delivers the catchiest line of poetry I've heard in a long time-"downing pale ales & downy pale males". While Closer, one of my favorite pieces from this collection, brilliantly captures her wit and vulnerability with precision- "touching each other professionally until it hurts just right."

Jeni Olin earned her BA and MFA degrees from Naropa University (Boulder, CO). I recently read that she has changed her name to Truck Darling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Larry Crowne - Movie Review

Larry Crowne (PG-13) 99 minutes C-
Downsizing two of Hollywood's biggest stars

Starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson

Larry Crowne (Hanks) is an ordinary guy.  He spent 20 years in the Navy. He works hard.  He is divorced.  He never went to college.  He is a victim of downsizing.  He can't afford gas. He buys a scooter.  He enrolls in community college.  He bags Julia Roberts.  We should all be so lucky.

Hanks and Roberts are the best and worst things about this film.  I also find it ironic that a film about tough economic times stars two of the richest people in Hollywood.  The script is surprisingly unoriginal and bland.  Fans of uncomplicated, big budget, adult rom-coms might find this appealing.  For everyone else, proceed with caution.

Best Films & Music of 2011 so far...

Wow! I didn't realize how weak the first half of this year was until I sat down to make this list.  Excluding the Sundance films I saw in January (which haven't officially hit theatres yet), this has probably been one of the worst years (so far) for films and music.  Nevertheless, here it is:

5.  Cedar Rapids  
4.  Midnight in Paris
3.  Win Win
2.  Beginners
1.  Bridesmaids

3.  Demolished Thoughts - Thurston Moore
2.  Several Shades of Why - J Mascis
1.  Collapse Into Now - R.E.M 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I was unable to upload my video...

So this picture is all you get. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beginners - Movie Review

Beginners (R) 105 minutes B+
melancholy and the infinite sadness

Starring Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, Mélanie Laurent and Goran Visnjic.

Beginners is a semi-autobiographical film by Mike Mills (Thumbsucker). It's the story of Oliver (McGregor), a 38-year-old commitment phobe, graphic designer, who is coming to grips with his mother's death and her relationship with his father. Oliver's father, Hal (Plummer), has recently announced he's gay. This revelation is interesting but not heavy-handed.  The film doesn't delve into Oliver's feelings on homosexuality because Hal has also discovered he is terminally ill.  It's weighty subject matter that comes off honest, likable and bittersweet.  

Also present, Oliver's commitment issues.  Much of Beginners centers around his romance with a free-spirited beauty named Anna (Laurent).  She too has commitment-related issues, but watching them fall in love is wonderful.  Yet, Hal is ultimately the most memorable.  He effects everything in the film, and is a testament to how short life can be when you miss so many opportunities.  Expect more drama than comedy despite the talking dog scenes; a touch that is executed rather nicely.  This one might surprise you.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Catching up on First Impression Music Reviews

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts B-
Release Date: May 24, 2011
This is a mellow album.  Much has been made about it being produced by Beck.  However, this album lacks the accessibility of Beck's 2002 mellow masterpiece, Sea Change (I can't help but assume that's what Moore was going for).  Demolished Thoughts is a little bit of a grower, but it's definitely introspective.  This album would be a perfect companion on a long drive, a dark road, and miles of nothingness... or slitting your wrists.  Highlights - "Benediction", "In Silver Rain with a Paper Key" & "Mina Loy" 

TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light C+
Release Date: April 12, 2011
I will admit, the first time I listened to this album I thought, "what the f*ck!" I was expecting a catchy, immediately accessible, phenomenal follow-up to Dear Science.  Initially, the first half of Nine Types of Light didn't grab me at all.  While the second half struck me as some sort of curiously addicting Cameo (the band) revival.  Fortunately, the album continues to grow on me with each additional listen. Highlights - "Caffeinated Consciousness" & "New Cannonball Blues"

Duncan Sheik - Covers 80s C+
Release Date: June 7, 2011
I normally don't like cover albums.  Although, I think it's cool when an artists covers a song and either makes it their own, or stays so true to the original that there is no drop off.  Unfortunately, most artist can't sustain the latter for an entire album. Hence, the latest by Duncan Sheik, an 80's cover album.  Previously I heard Sheik cover Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" (a trendy choice but excellent nonetheless), D-Mode's "Blasphemous Rumors" and The Smith's "Reel Around the Fountain", all with good results.  So why the hell are those songs missing from Covers 80sHighlights - "Stay", "William It Was Really Nothing" & "The Ghost in You"

Nas - Hip Hop is Dead  B+
Release Date: December 19, 2006
Vibe magazine called it "disorienting and sometimes brilliant", I agree wholeheartedly.  I am really starting to like Nas, yet the album that most consider his magnum opus, 1994's Illmatic, is still a head scratchier to me.  Highlights - "Black Republican", "Hip Hop is Dead" & "Carry on Tradition"

Julie Doiron - Loneliest in the Morning B
Release Date: August 26, 1997
So what if she sounds like a million other female singer-songwriters with an acoustic guitar.  She writes a damn good song!  Each song sounds similar to the next, yet they still stand on their own.  I'm curious about the rest of her catalog.  Highlights - "Explain", "Sorry Part 1" & "Sorry Part 2"

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times - Movie Review

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
(R) 88 minutes C+
The Death of Newspapers

Starring David Carr, Bill Keller, Gay Talese, David Remnick, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Larry Ingrassia, Seth Mnookin, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Nick Denton, Jimmy Wales, Rick Lyman, Dean Bacquet, Ken Auletta, Bruce Headlam and Carl Bernstein.

I think journalists are cool, and I love watching how an edition of the newspaper is born each day. Page One, Andrew Rossi's documentary about the New York Times is an interesting examination of dead tree journalism.  However, there were few  revelations in this examination. This would've been better off as a documentary about David Carr first, the New York Times second. 

Recommended for news junkies and/or anyone interested in journalism.