Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jeff Who Lives At Home - Movie Review

Jeff Who Lives At Home (R) 83 minutes B
Lonely people show signs of life

Starring Rae Dawn Chong, Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer

This unsuspecting film follows Jeff (Segel) as he sets out to run a simple errand.  What ensues is a comical, sad, and heroic adventure that will change his life forever.  Jeff Who Lives At Home isn't for everyone, but many will be pleasantly surprised by how much this one stays with you.
Bonus DVD Review
Margot at the Wedding (R) 91 minutes A-
Strange but true

DVD Release February 2008
Starring Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, Flora Cross and John Turturro

I am a big fan of Noah Baumbach (Squid and the Whale, Greenberg).  All of the characters in Margot at the Wedding are wonderfully flawed and oddly realistic.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friends With Kids - Movie Review

Friends with Kids (R) 109 minutes C-
Friends with few benefits

Starring Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Edward Burns and Megan Fox.

Friends With Kids has its moments and features an interesting cast.  But, ultimately it is a trendy, contrived, romantic comedy that is all too predictable.    
Bonus DVD Review
Jack Goes Boating (R) 89 minutes B-
Odd, but intriguing

DVD Release January 2011
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega

Jack Goes Boating is a low-key affair about two outcasts seeking love while attempting to balance their fragile lives and psyches.  Jack (Hoffman) is a reggae-obsessed, New York City limo driver, and Connie (Ryan) is on the edge of a nervous breakdown at the funeral home where she works.  The two are set up on a blind date by mutual friends Clyde (John Ortiz) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), a couple with major problems of their own.  Between the four of them, we explore the birth of new love, the death of old love, and what happens when you add marijuana and cocaine to the mix. This film was originally an off-Broadway play, and is Hoffman's feature film directorial debut.  JGB is humanistic, a little awkward, but strangely appealing. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Was Only Chocking (Book Review)

Choke - Chuck Palahniuk B+   
Publication Date: June 2002 

I listened to Choke during a road trip to Nebraska, and it stuck with me for days afterwards. Our protagonist, Victor Mancini, is a sex addicted, med-school dropout turned con-artist with a heart of gold.  This is one of those stories where it's hard not to root for the bad guy.  Choke is a profoundly dark comedy with a slightly odd/slightly humorous twist.  It begs the question, "what would Jesus not do?"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Catch and Release - First Impression Music Review

Sinead O'Connor - How About I Be Me (And You Be You)? B+
Release Date - February 2012 

Fresh from the tabloid hell, Sinead O'Connor is back!  How About I Be Me finds the infamous singer hopeful, angry and introspective.  Musically, the album doesn't break any new ground, but lyrically it's on point.  It plays like a living, breathing, piece of art that imitates O'Connor's recent past (I love the confessional self-exploration), and one that is more of a rebirth than a comeback.  It's easily one of my favorite albums of 2012 so far.  My favorite tracks include: Reason With Me, The Wolf is Getting Married, V.I.P and the John Grant cover Queen of Denmark.   

Lyle Lovett - Release Me C
Release Date - February 2012 
Lovett is a musical icon, and a personal favorite. But, Release Me, with its 12 covers and 2 originals, sounds a little phoned in.  Apparently, it's the last album of his contractual obligation with with Curb Records (see album title and cover art).  The album isn't without some outstanding moments- Girl With The Holiday Smile is among his catchiest ditties ever.  While, his cover of John Grimaudo and Saylor White's Dress of Laces is achingly beautiful, it stood me still the first time I heard it.  Yet, Release Me is more filler than substance.  To quote Josh Langhoff of PopMatters, "This album isn't good, but it has good intentions.  My favorites include the two aforementioned tracks, and Night's Lullaby.