30 January 2010

3 Albums worth checking out

Hey, here's 3 new metal albums worth listening to if you're like me and completely bored with music right now. Give em a listen. I think you might like 'em.

24 January 2010

A Serious Man

The Coen Brothers really only make two kinds of films: Zany comedies or really dark dramas.

While their comedies contain moments of dark drama and vice versa, this is the first film that's truly equal parts of both. You could argue Fargo did it first but past laughing at all the Midwestern accents, there really isn't a lot of comedy in the film, at least not up to the level of the chase in Raising Arizona or, well, anything in The Big Lebowski. The dark ultimately far outweighs the funny in Fargo.

I thought A Serious Man was okay. First off, the Coens deserve a lot of credit for casting Michael Stuhlbarg. They could have easily gone with George Clooney or Brad Pitt but they went with someone who obviously captured the essence of the role and was right for the part. And the guy is good. He's one of the film's strong suits.

There are also two sequences in the film that are particularly masterful. The first is a prologue involving a couple's encounter with a seemingly dead distant relative. There's no clear-cut resolution and it segues perfectly into the opening credits. The atmosphere and tension in the scene outdoes most recent horror films and it confirms just how awesome the Coen Brothers are. As I've said above, they really only make two kinds of movies but the amount of craft and style that goes into each one makes that concept go over most people's heads.

The second sequence is a Rabbi's tale of an orthodontist who finds "Help Me" carved in Yiddish in the back of a patient's teeth. The editing and building of the sequence is brilliant but it's also where the problem with the film lies.

It essentially spells out the entire meaning of the film in the middle of said film. That doesn't mean the film is much ado about nothing and there's a lot to like to about the rest of it but it also takes away any real intrigue as to what could come at the end.

While the ending is unique and will probably have a lot of people scratching their heads, I didn't find myself as engrossed as I was with No Country for Old Men or something really old like Blood Simple.

And I guess that's the other thing for me. I'm still waiting for the proper follow-up to No Country. Take away Richard Jenkins and Brad Pitt getting shot in the face (Note: I like Brad Pitt but that scene is hilarious) and Burn After Reading really isn't that great of a movie. This is a step-up but evidently I'm a fan that possesses the tried and true "Their earlier stuff was better" mentality.

The movie also needed more Richard Kind. That guy is awesome.

Overall, the film, like any Coen Brothers movie, is worth a look. If you're still holding out for the raw power of No Country for Old Men, though, it looks like we're going to have to wait.

17 January 2010

Testing out updates with my phone. Just finished watching the golden globes. The good thing about the golden globes? DVD screeners leaked on the interweb. Definitely wanna check out Sherlock Holmes and it's complicated (yes, I like Meryl Streep)

Aside from work this could be a good week.

On a side note, I picked up new albums from Arsis, ihsahn, fear factory and the Devin Townsend project. Hopefully I'll give them a listen this week.

Oh and I'm glad the jets beat the chargers. Not that i'm a jets fan but the colts will have an easier time beating the jets.

I like peyton manning and think he's a classy guy.

Favre vs. Manning. Can't wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

14 January 2010

Hi, I'm Mike. I was invited to do movie reviews for this blog. I don't know how often this will be but I'll do my best. And I welcome feedback.

Anyway, this film was excellent. It's easily the best war film of the 00's.

Like other great war films, it immediately establishes the tone and atmosphere of its characters and their respective time periods. Full Metal Jacket has the head-shaving de-humanization of its Vietnam-era "grunts," The Big Red One has a black and white sequence with a lone, world-weary Lee Marvin killing a German soldier surrendering at the tail end of World War I, Platoon has its "lamb to the slaughter" imagery of its troops entering the "fuckin' 'Nam!" and The Hurt Locker gives us a POV shot from a robot scouting a bomb in the midst of the Iraq War.

It's a simple but striking sequence and it already tells us so much about the role of the characters in the war and how much combat has changed since Vietnam.

I've always thought Kathryn Bigelow was an underrated director. There really aren't a lot of major women filmmakers to begin with and she's spent the last decade or so in a considerable lull. So it's great to see her knock one out of the park and get the attention she deserves for doing it.

Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie are compelling leads. There was a lot of mention of Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes but make no mistake, the two former actors are the true stars of the movie.

Some of the images, like Renner showering in his uniform and seeing the blood run off it, the soldiers finding a dead child being used as a "body bomb" and a POV shot from inside a Hummer of a soldier being blown up are as compelling and striking as anything seen in Saving Private Ryan or any of the other major war films from the last ten years or, frankly, ever.

Check it out.

04 January 2010

Helloween? More like Hellowon't.

I love power-metal. I really do. The problem is, there really hasn't been a decent album since the late 90's.

However, I still find myself grabbing an album every now and then to check it out.

And I always find myself disappointed.

Case & Point is Helloween - Unarmed which is apparently a celebration of 25 years of Helloween.

Now i've never really cared too much for Andi Deris. They pretty much went downhill once Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske left.

So here they go, trying to recapture any excitement there may be by re-recording classic songs.

That's the first mistake. I can't think of any instance in which this was a good idea. Perhaps Testament's 'first strike still deadly' but that's it.

The second mistake? Re-recording songs and making them sound like they were recorded by a pop helloween cover band.

This is terrible. I started of with "future world", one of my favorite helloween songs. Acoustic guitar intro? What? Where was this in the original? I can't even describe how terrible it is. You must hear it for yourself.

The only somewhat listenable song is their homage in "the keeper's trilogy". At least they threw in some orchestration that makes it somewhat interesting.

I don't understand how this album can be a thank you to the fans.

Thank you for what?

Hey thanks for liking helloween, here's a turd.

You wanna thank me? Grab Kiske out of retirement and do a tour. And give me free tickets.

You're welcome.

03 January 2010

Testament to play "The Legacy" in it's entirety

Thrash legends Testament will be playing their 1987 classic "The Legacy" in it's entirety on their upcoming American Carnage Tour with Megadeth & Slayer.

One Word............Amazing!

editorial comment - not amazing? $50 ticket prices and $12 surcharges. Fuck you livenation.

01 January 2010

Mstrkrft - Heartbreaker

Not too bad. Check it out at the hype machine. Mstrkrft - Heartbreaker

Why do people like crappy remixes?

This is NOT good. And those who think it is need a serious lesson in what "good" is.

check it out for yourself. It's 7 Nation Teen Spirit. Nirvana vs. The White Stripes