Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lonely But Not Alone (Album Review)

Released: April 2014
Everyday Robots - Damon Albarn B

After hearing the review on NPR of Damon Albarn's new album, Everyday Robots, I knew it was something I needed to investigate further.  Albarn, who is best known for being the frontman for Blur and half of the virtual band Gorillaz, has finally ventured out on his own. But not without help from a few friends, namely Brian Eno, Natasha Khan, and The Leytonstone City Mission Choir. My least favorite tracks are those featuring the aforementioned choir. Nevertheless, Everyday Robots is a fairly penetrating affair that characterizes a few arresting moments of the human condition. Case in point, the tracks "Lonely Press Play," "Photographs," and my favorite, "The Selfish Giant (featuring Natasha Khan)." This album is easily accessible. It looks and sounds deeply personal from the cover art to the tripping Timothy Leary sample on the track, "Photographs." All in all, this is a very nice album that I recommend for those lazy summer days when one needs to hear something airy, smart, introspective and relaxing. Check it out.

Here is the NPR review by my man Tom Moon

"It's hard to be a lover when the TV's on and nothing is in your eyes." - The Selfish Giant

Monday, May 26, 2014

God's Pocket - Movie Review

God's Pocket (R) 86 mins B
A South Philly Tale

Starring John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, Caleb Landry Jones

God's Pocket is based on Pete Dexter's first novel (of the same name) published in 1983. The film is written and directed by John Slattery and Alex Metcalf. It features two of my favorite actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Richard Jenkins, as well as a voluptuously captivating Christina Hendricks. This gritty drama, sprinkled with dark humor, is set in a rough South Philly neighborhood circa 1978 and centers around Mickey Scarpato (Hoffman). Mickey is a blue collar, hard luck, second tier criminal who is struggling to keep his money right and his wife satisfied. When his maladjusted stepson is "accidentally" killed on a construction site, life gets considerably more complicated for Mickey.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I enjoy a gritty drama with dark humor. This film is not necessarily the best example, because it feels a little watered down. Nevertheless, it is still highly intriguing and enjoyable. The performances are understated but effective. Fans of Hoffman's indie films won't be disappointed. Everyone else should proceed with caution (and/or wait for it on Netflix).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tales From The Hood (Book Review)

Published: July 2007
Drown - Junot Diaz A-

File Under: "Writers I am in awe of." This collection of stories offer an undaunted look at urban life in New Jersey via the Dominican Republic.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Morrissey 25: Live (Movie Review)

Morrissey 25: Live (NR) 92 minutes A-
Maladjusted & Magnificent
Tonight there was a special screening of Morrissey 25: Live in Denver - one night, one showing. The concert film marks 25 years as a solo artist for Morrissey. It was shot on March 2, 2013 at Hollywood High School after a sold out show at LA's Staples Center the night before.

If given the opportunity, this film is best experienced on the big screen in all its glory with the volume turned up. Morrissey 25: Live is simply about one night with Morrissey, his music, his band and his crazed fans. Anyone expecting anything else will be gravely disappointed.

Track listing
  1.  Alma Matters
  2.  Ouija Board, Ouija Board
  3.  Irish Blood, English Heart
  4.  You Have Killed Me
  5.  November Spawned A Monster
  6.  Maladjusted
  7.  Still Ill
  8.  People Are The Same Everywhere
  9.  Speedway
  10.  That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
  11.  To Give (The Reason I Live)
  12.  Meat Is Murder
  13.  Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
  14.  Action Is My Middle Name
  15.  Everyday Is Like Sunday
  16.  I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
  17.  Let Me Kiss You
  18.  The Boy With The Thorn In His Side  

Available on DVD & Blu-ray.