Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Big Year - Movie Review

The Big Year (PG-13) 111 minutes B+
For the Birds

Starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Rosamund Pike, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston, Rashida Jones, Dianne Wiest, JoBeth Williams, Kevin Pollak, Joel McHale and Tim Blake Nelson

The Big Year is billed as a comedy about competitive bird-watching (or "birding" if you will); however, it's really a film about sacrificing everything to follow one's dream.  In this case, that dream is birding all over the world for one year.  I really enjoyed this film, and found it somewhat inspiring.  But it isn't very funny, especially considering it stars three of Hollywood's most popular funny men.  Nonetheless, if you're seeking a smart adult dramedy with heart, go see The Big Year.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pretty Girls With Guitars (Concert Review)

Katie Herzig @ Larimer Lounge 10/28/2011  B+
with Butterfly Boucher       
Photo courtesy of Beth Wooley

There are few things in life that give me a natural high like a good rock show. I can't say I'm a big Katie Herzig fan, but I will say she puts on one helluva live show. This is my second time seeing her perform. Each time has been a small venue, and each time she sounds like an angel. Somehow she manages to sound crisp and clean without sacrificing honest emotion. Plus, she played "Hologram," the song that blew me away the first time I saw her in the summer of 2010.

Opening for Herzig was Butterly Boucher. I'd never heard of her before; however, she might be one of the sexiest creatures I've even seen on stage. She's got the whole skinny rock grrrl thing down pat, and her sound is full of seductive hooks. When she ramped of the volume and the beats I was thoroughly impressed, but when she slowed things down I got a little bored. Nevertheless, she's one to watch.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Biracial in the USA & the Dubstepper (Music Review)

First Impression Reviews
Lenny Kravitz- Black and White America C+
Release Date: August 2011
Black and White America is an ambitious and admirable musical statement.  But unfortunately this retro hodge-podge of funk, soul and rock feels a tad overdone.  For every great song (Come On Get It), there's an equally disappointing one (Dream), and lots of songs that I will either like or loathe after more listens.  This one is catchy enough to be a commercial success, but ranks somewhere in the middle of his catalog of music. Favorite Tracks: Come On Get It, Black and White America (Acoustic Version), Superlove       

James Blake - James Blake B
Release Date: February 2011
It has taken a while to digest this one.  Initially, it struck me as more interesting than good.  But this much-ballyhooed, blue-eyed soul dubstep album is beginning to grow roots and plant its self inside my head.  Trippy, yet sensitive...  Favorite tracks: I Never Learnt To Share, Lindisfarne I, Unluck  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Secret Lives of Women (Book Review)

Fly Away Home - Jennifer Weiner B
Publication Date: July 2010

Fly Away Home is surprisingly sad but entertaining. It's the story of three women (a mother and her two daughters) at the crossroads; Sylvie- the politician's wife, Diana - the overachieving (super freaky) older daughter, and Lizzie- a recovering addict with good intentions.

I got a little bored with Sylvie about half way through; however, Diana and Lizzie more than made up for that. On the surface, this will remind you of several scandalized politicians, their fractured lives and public humiliation. But underneath you will find an emotional story of longing, lust and self-discovery.

Monday, October 10, 2011

50/50 - Movie Review

50/50 (R) 99 minutes A-
A Cure For the Pain

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston.

I was squirming in my seat all throughout this film.  The thought of a massive cancerous tumor growing on my spine is a bit unnerving.  Yet, that was the predicament of our protagonist in Jonathan Levine's latest film, 50/50.  The dramedy starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is about a twenty-something public radio employee, Adam, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. Adam, who doesn't drink, smoke or drive, naturally views the diagnosis as a death sentence.  Furthermore, to add insult to injury, his relationship with his girlfriend dissolves during chemo treatments, leaving him to rely on his womanizing best friend, his inexperienced (but terminally cute) therapist and worrisome mother.  It all sounds pretty serious and sad (and it is), but it is also laugh-out-loud funny.  Based on a true story (Rogan's real life friend, Will Reiser), the film was better than I expected.  It also had me weeping like a little b*tch!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ides of March - Movie Review

The Ides of March (R) 101 minutes A
The politics of hope

Starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright and Max Minghella. 

The Ides of March was so good that I did not want it to end. The gripping political thriller (based on Beau Willimon's play Farragut North) follows the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Morris (Clooney), as he tries to win the key state of Ohio.  A once promising campaign begins to derail when it's best and brightest young star, press secretary Stephen Meyers (Gosling), engages with the enemy.  This sets off a chain of events that reaches a crescendo more emotionally intense than anything I've seen this year.  Great film!