Sunday, June 22, 2014

Night Moves - Movie Review

Night Moves (R) 112 minutes B
Dam, I wish I was your cover

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, James LeGros, Matt Malloy and Katherine Waterson

From the director of Meek's Cutoff (hated it!) and Wendy & Lucy (loved it!) comes Night Moves, a low-key eco-terrorism film that is slow but steady.  Thanks to solid performances by the principle cast, Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, this film stays afloat and stays intriguing throughout.  It's likely to be a little too slow for some audiences, but I really enjoyed the quiet mystery and looming darkness that filled these characters.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dream Big, Be Epic (Album Reviews)

Teeth Dreams - The Hold Steady B+
Epic - Sharon Van Etten A-                                                                              
Released: March 2014
Dare I say that Teeth Dreams is the best Hold Steady album yet... Well, I should probably revisit 2006's Boys and Girls in America before making that declaration.  But, the first couple times I listened to Teeth Dreams I was pretty blown away.  It's everything I love about The Hold Steady- gritty, smart, catchy, sensitive and a little geeky.  Plus, this album rocks out with its cock out.  It's alt radio ready with a tingle of arena rock thrown in.  Regardless of whether this is or isn't their best album, it's sounds great right here, right now.  Favorite Tracks: "The Ambassador," "On with the Business," & "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" 

Released: September 2010 
Sometimes I hear an album and right away I know it's special.  That was the case with Sharon Van Etten's Epic.  Quietly, acoustically, and passionately this album penetrates and stays with me long after it's over.
Favorite Tracks: "A Crime," "Peace Signs," "Save Yourself," & "Don't Do It"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Blood Jet is Ariel (Book Review)

Published: 1965
Ariel - Sylvia Plath B+

During the last few months of her life Sylvia Plath wrote poems at a frantic pace, in a cold apartment (with no heat in the dead of winter), after her husband, Ted Hughes, reportedly abandoned her and the children for another woman. On February 11, 1963 Plath killed herself. Ariel is the poetry collection that best defines Plath. Not because it is depressing and angry, but because it is graceful, vivid and untamed. She was a remarkable talent and one of my biggest influences. Favorites include: "The Applicant," "A Birthday Present," "You're" and "Fever 103." 
"Daddy" from Ariel read by Sylvia Plath

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fed Up - Movie Review

Fed Up (NR) 92 minutes B
Sugar is the new Cocaine

Documentary: Directed by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric

Food documentaries can be a major downer; yet, they are the ugly truth. Complications from obesity kills more people than hunger these days. The culprit, according to Stephanie Soechtig's new doc, is sugar and the food industry's commitment to the almighty dollar. After viewing Fed Up I felt like I never wanted to eat processed foods again, but then I got hungry. I wish this documentary was required viewing in schools and offered up in the workplace. The message is compelling, relevant, and non-partisan. Realistically, people are never going to stop consuming massive amounts of sugar.  Futhermore, as long as there is money there will be food politics. But, Fed Up has the power to change the way people think about food and perhaps lead to healthier choices... and that's a start.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Neighbors - Movie Review

Neighbors (R) 95 mins B
The old me vs the new me living in disharmony

Starring:  Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ike Barinholtz and Lisa Kudrow

Sometimes I feel like Seth Rogan is performing in a different version of the same film over and over again; yet, it's still funny. Neighbors is pretty much what one would expect from a comedy starring Rogen- a clever mix of penis jokes, stoner humor, and pop culture references. But, what stood out to me in Neighbors was truth about crossing the invisible threshold from youthful revelry to responsible adult without losing "street cred." While I have definitely embraced some of the quieter moments of middle age, I often struggle with the reality that I am no longer young. Nevertheless, Neighbors is bound to remind you of a time when it was fun to be young and dumb... regardless of if that time was then or now.